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EPO: Goodbye to the Rule of Law and Hey Hi, AI!

Posted in Deception, Europe, Law, Patents at 6:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Oh, hi! Welcome to the EPO, where examiners are now forced to violate the EPC.

On maths, stats, hey hi, technical contribution

Summary: The EPO’s embrace of buzzwords — no longer a unique EPO strategy (it has already spread elsewhere) — puts examiners in a very bad position and they’re grappling with nerve- and mind-racking dilemmas (risk of unemployment for truly upholding the EPC)

THE “HEY HI” (AI) buzzword is pure magic. Things are “innovative” just by virtue of being labeled “HEY HI” (AI) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) nowadays exploits this buzzword — boosted by at least two years of unprecedented media hype — to discard/disregard 35 U.S.C. § 101. The hype is also exploited by abusive WIPO and occasionally in Munich’s abusive think tanks, which serve litigation firms.

“Using new guidelines the EPO more or less forces examiners to allow such illegal patents (or risk losing the job).”As noted here before, WIPR’s puff piece “IP5 hold joint AI response meeting” (based on EPO fluff alone) contributed to the idea that media was ‘captured’ by maximalists and European Patent Office (EPO) management, pushing for software patents in Europe at every turn not because software professionals want these but because litigation firms want these. António Campinos meddling in a Board decision (upcoming case) regarding the matter is another insult on top of an injury (caused mostly by Battistelli).

The other day, promoted through a network of law firms was this piece by Yasar Celebi (CMS Netherlands) which leverages “HEY HI” (AI) as means by which to bypass the EPC and grant patents on algorithms. To quote:

Under the European Patent Convention (EPC), you can’t patent software ‘as such’. Case law shows that software is patentable when it can be presented as a new, non-obvious technical solution to a technical problem.

The European Patent Office (EPO) has amended its guidelines to provide more clarity on the circumstances under which inventions in the field of AI are patentable. According to these guidelines, AI-based inventions are patentable as long as the method used serves a technical purpose. For example, the use of a neural network in a heart-monitoring apparatus for the purpose of identifying irregular heartbeats makes a technical contribution and is thus, in principle, patentable.

It boils down to maths and statistics, but when the EU is seen promoting this whole AI hype (not even a new thing, it’s decades old) we’re supposed to ignore that simple fact and resort to vague nonsense like “technical contribution” (or “effect”) and tolerate grants of illegal (invalid) patents. Using new guidelines the EPO more or less forces examiners to allow such illegal patents (or risk losing the job). In other words, they’re compelled to break the law to comply with rules or put in a position where they must choose between employment and obeying the law.


Links 26/1/2020: MuseScore 3.4 Released, New Kate Icon and Solus 4.1 Fortitude Available

Posted in News Roundup at 4:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • 6 Customized Linux Desktops to Inspire You

        Linux is, without a doubt, the most customizable OS on the planet. Unlike the alternatives, where you can customize the desktop experience with a wallpaper and maybe a set of icons on Linux, you can replace the whole desktop environment if it doesn’t look and function as you’d like.

        That’s why, as you’ll see, the following desktops use different desktop environments on various distributions. They’re equipped with different apps, wallpapers, icons, and docks. Each looks radically different, tailor-made for their owners, who truly made them their personal desktop.

        The common factor between them? They all look fantastic and can act as an inspiration, nudging you to replicate them or go on your own adventure to construct your own original desktop, unlike any other.

      • Linux For Everyone

        Linux is almost like the boogey monster of operating systems. People consider it an OS for hackers and users with advanced computing skills. However, this is not true, most simple operations in Linux are as easy to perform as they are in Windows or MacOS. It should be noted that all Linux distributions are not created equal and it might be best to choose something that is well supported and easy to use.

        Why switch? There are two big reasons to switch to Linux, the first being it works excellently with older hardware, giving it an extension of life. The second is, it is free, which makes it an excellent alternative to all the paid operating systems out there. Programs on Linux are also free and they are good enough to be used professionally. Now that you are convinced here are six of the best Linux distributions out right now.

      • Open Laptop Soon To Be Open For Business

        Since we started eagerly watching the Reform a couple years ago the hardware world has kept turning, and the Reform has improved accordingly. The i.MX6 series CPU is looking a little peaky now that it’s approaching end of life, and the device has switched to a considerably more capable – but no less free – i.MX8M paired with 4 GB of DDR4 on a SODIMM-shaped System-On-Module. This particular SOM is notable because the manufacturer freely provides the module schematics, making it easy to upgrade or replace in the future. The screen has been bumped up to a 12.5″ 1080p panel and steps have been taken to make sure it can be driven without blobs in the graphics pipeline.

        If you’re worried that the chassis of the laptop may have been left to wither while the goodies inside got all the attention, there’s no reason for concern. Both have seen substantial improvement. The keyboard now uses the Kailh Choc ultra low profile mechanical switches for great feel in a small package, while the body itself is milled out of aluminum in five pieces. It’s printable as well, if you want to go that route. All in all, the Reform represents a heroic amount of work and we’re extremely impressed with how far the design has come.

      • Microsoft will never win the search engine wars by forcing people to use Bing [Ed: A little OT]

        Bing is known as the default search engine for Windows, and not much else. Microsoft’s solution? To forcibly install a Bing search extension in Chrome for Office 365 ProPlus users.

        The company says that this is designed for enterprise and business users to find relevant workplace information directly from the browser address bar, but we all know Microsoft is desperate to get more people using its search engine. It sounds harmless, but here’s why forcing people to use Bing won’t help Microsoft in the long run.


        Fast forward to today, Bing still has a few problems that need to be addressed, and where Microsoft should put some extra attention towards, instead of forcing Bing down people’s throats. These include both search relevance and design — the two core areas of any search engine.

        First of all, there is a search relevance. In our testing, searching for Digital Trends on Google and Bing provide two different results. On Bing, we get a look at some older Digital Trends articles, which at the time of this writing, were older stories from 4, 6, and 3 hours ago. Compared that to Google, and articles are more relevant pulled from a most recent time frame.

    • Server

      • Octarine Open Sources the Kubernetes Common Configuration Scoring System and kube-scan

        Octarine, the continuous Kubernetes security company that simplifies DevSecOps, today announced the release of two new open source projects: the Kubernetes Common Configuration Scoring System (KCCSS), a new framework for rating security risks associated with misconfigurations, and kube-scan, a workload and assessment tool that scans Kubernetes configurations and settings to identify and rank potential vulnerabilities in applications within minutes.

      • Octarine releases open-source security scanning tools for Kubernetes

        Octarine, a startup that helps automate security of Kubernetes workloads, released an open-source scanning tool today. The tool, which is called Kube-scan, is designed to help developers understand the level of security risk in their Kubernetes clusters.

        The company is also open-sourcing a second tool called The Kubernetes Common Configuration Scoring System, or KCCSS for short, which is the underlying configuration framework used in Kube-scan.

        As Ocatrine’s head of product Julien Sobrier points out, there are 30 security settings in Kubernetes, and Kube-scan can help you see where you might be vulnerable on any one of them, measured on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being extremely vulnerable.

      • SReview kubernetes update

        About a week and a half ago, I mentioned that I’d been working on making SReview, my AGPLv3 video review and transcode system work from inside a Kubernetes cluster. I noted at the time that while I’d made it work inside minikube, it couldn’t actually be run from within a real Kubernetes cluster yet, mostly because I misunderstood how Kubernetes works, and assumed you could just mount the same Kubernetes volume from multiple pods, and share data that way (answer: no you can’t).

        The way to fix that is to share the data not through volumes, but through something else. That would require that the individual job containers download and upload files somehow.

        I had a look at how the Net::Amazon::S3 perl module works (answer: it’s very simple really) and whether it would be doable to add a transparent file access layer to SReview which would access files either on the local file system, or an S3 service (answer: yes).

      • IBM

        • OpenShift: Working with Internal Docker Registry

          OpenShift provides an internal container image registry that can be deployed in an OpenShift environment to locally manage images.

        • IBM’s Quarterly Sales Finally Rose—But Not By Much

          IBM’s shares rose by around 5% on January 21 after it said its fourth-quarter revenues had increased by 0.1%, to $21.8 billion, after five quarters in a row of year-over-year sales declines.

          Big Blue’s fortunes were boosted by a new mainframe product line and revenues from open-source software giant Red Hat, which it acquired in July 2019 for around $34 billion. Adjusted net income for the quarter fell about 5%, to $4.2 billion, while the company reported earnings per share of $4.71 compared with analysts’ consensus estimates of $4.69. IBM saw its full-year 2019 revenue fall 3.1%, to $77.1 billion, and its net income drop by 10%, to $11.4 billion.

        • Six months after IBM spent $34 billion to acquire an open source software company, IBM’s Q4 results showed that ‘Red Hat goodness is kicking in’
        • IBM Sales Expected to Dip Despite Red Hat Purchase: What to Watch

          International Business Machines Corp. is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings after the market closes Tuesday. The technology giant may be heading for its sixth successive quarter of year-over-year revenue decline—but has been trying to reverse that slide, in part, through the $33 billion purchase of open source software giant Red Hat Inc.

        • IBM Earnings Hint at Signs of Turnaround

          International Business Machines Corp. reported a slight increase in quarterly revenue, ending a streak of falling sales and providing a first indication Chief Executive Ginni Rometty’s roughly $33 billion acquisition of open-source software giant Red Hat may help turn around Big Blue’s fortunes.

        • IBM Open Sources SysFlow Monitoring Platform

          Fred Araujo, a research scientist in the Cognitive Cybersecurity Intelligence Group at IBM Research, said IBM developed lightweight SysFlow agent software and monitoring tools as a way to provide more context around the telemetry data being collected while simultaneously reducing the amount of data that needs to be stored.

          SysFlow encodes a representation of system activities into a compact format that records how applications interact with their environment, Araujo said, noting that level of context provides deeper visibility in everything from container workloads to cybersecurity forensics. However, unlike existing monitoring platforms, SysFlow doesn’t require IT organizations to collect a massive amount of data to achieve that goal—it is intended to provide for a superset of the NetFlow framework used to analyze network traffic patterns to capture system events, he said.

          Araujo noted IBM doesn’t envision SysFlow eliminating the need for legacy log analytics platforms, as they provide a way to analyze log data. However, SysFlow does enable IT organizations to apply analytics via a graph-like visualization to surface patterns that goes beyond a comparative simple rules-based approach, said Araujo. For example, SysFlow’s approach will make it easier to uncover the relationship between various events that make up a cybersecurity attack and subsequently to identify what countermeasures to employ to create the appropriate kill chain response. It also should substantially reduce the amount of fatigue cybersecurity teams experience from chasing down false-positive alerts, he said.

        • Open source principles key to digital transformation

          The book outlines how open source principles can be used to build a better business by powering the transformation of not only technology, but also culture and business practices.

          However, there is no single understanding of exactly what digital transformation is. Most people recognise that the world has changed with digital devices and services connecting everything and everyone, and customers have more choice than ever before.

          As a result, every industry faces disruption and businesses have to change – transform – if they are to meet new consumer demands and stay ahead of the competition.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Noodlings | Kontact Solaar through a VPN

        The killer feature of the Plasma Desktop has been the KDE Personal Information Manager, Kontact. I have been using it since 2004 time frame and although we have had a tenuous relationship over the years, specifically the switch to the Akonadi and the pain that came with it in the early years. I actively use Kontact on multiple machines for the feature richness of it and haven’t found anything in existence that I like better. I also exclusively use Kontact on openSUSE Tumbleweed with the Plasma Desktop Environment.

        I have decided to publish my reference concerning the maintenance it requires. I could be an edge case since I have five mail accounts and multiple calendar accounts as well. Historically, I have had issues where losing network connection, regaining it, suspending and resuming my machine over a period of time would cause the thing to have fits. So, here are my fixes, whenever the need arises.

        You know those stories of people that have these crazy habit ts that don’t make sense, things they do that don’t really help or solve a problem like making sure the spoons are organized in just the right fashion? Yeah, well that could be what this whole post is and my obsessive-compulsive tenancies are in full expression. So, take all that into account should you choose to use any of these references.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.6 Is Looking Like It Will Be Spectacular With A Long List Of Features

        Linux 5.5 is likely to be released later today and with that are many new features. But as soon as 5.5 is released it marks the opening of the Linux 5.6 merge window and this next kernel has us particularly exciting… It’s certainly shaping up to be one of the most exciting kernel cycles in recent times with many blockbuster features and improvements.

      • Intel SST Core-Power Support Ready For Linux 5.6

        Earlier this month I wrote about Intel SST Core-Power patches as part of Intel’s Speed Select’s functionality for more control over per-core power/frequency behavior based upon the software running on each core. The “core-power” profile support appears ready now for Linux 5.6.

        While Intel Speed Select Technology support was added to Linux last year as one of the new features with Cascade Lake, the “Core-Power” (or SST-CP) profile hadn’t been wired up in full to this point. Intel SST-CP allows for dealing with per-core priorities when encountering power constraints.

    • Applications

      • VirtualBox 6 review – Not bad, not bad at all

        When it comes to virtualization – mostly semi-pro or casual usage you’d find in a typical nerd setting, VirtualBox offers an excellent bundle of goodies; a friendly UI, lots of features, reasonable performance, simple and advanced options to suit every skill and mood. I’ve written about VirtualBox many times in the past, reviewing a whole range of topics, from the Guest Additions configuration to sharing & port-forwarding and then some. Several dozen articles to be more precise. Including major release reviews among them, of course.

        Recently, VirtualBox 6.X has been released, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to take a look at what’s new, check some of the improvements and fixes, and see whether you should move off the 5.X branch onto the latest edition. Come along, let’s see what gives.

      • MuseScore 3.4 Release

        Today we are pleased to announce another significant update, MuseScore 3.4. In addition to dozens of bug fixes, it introduces UX improvements when working with score elements and telemetry.

      • Music Notation Software MuseScore 3.4 Released!

        Right-click on the Appimage, then go to Properties -> Permissions, check the box ‘Allow executing file as program’. Finally run the Appimage to launch MuseScore 3.4 and enjoy!

        MuseScore also available as Snap (runs in sandbox), which can be installed directly from Ubuntu Software, though it’s still v3.3.4 at the moment.

        Also the flathub repository contains MuseScore flatpak package….

      • Cawbird – Native Twitter desktop client for Linux

        Who doesn’t love following their favorite celebrities, shows, or people they like, in general, or even FOSSLinux? One social platform that has been helping people and organizations a lot is Twitter.

        Now, if you want to use Twitter on your Linux system, there’s the web browser, but here, installing a dedicated desktop client have their advantages. In this article, we showcase you a native Twitter client for the Linux platform Cawbird.


        Compared to the browser web interface, which looks slightly puffy and bloated, and consumes a lot more resources than it is supposed to, Cawbird has a pretty minimal and efficient interface. It is also a very lightweight client and doesn’t make your system work too hard.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Zombie Panic! Source getting the big 3.1 release with Linux support ‘as soon as possible’ – needs testing

        The Zombie Panic! Team put out another update on the progress towards version 3.1, what’s turned into a massive overhaul to many parts of the game as Linux support also comes in.

        Not long to go though, with version 3.1 Beta Update 5 being released yesterday which should be the last major update as they move onto focusing on the smaller things to get a “public release as soon as possible”. This still could be months away, depending on how many issues come up.

      • Lazr, an impressive cyberpunk physics-enhanced 2D platformer is on Kickstarter with a big demo

        After an impressive tech demo, then an expanded demo, the physics-enhanced ‘clothformer’ Lazr is now on Kickstarter to help it cross the development finishing line.

        The developer, Garrick Campsey, didn’t originally plan this to be a full game. Being made as a result of a challenge from another game developer adding dynamic motion simulation into a platformer. A video of the prototype then went somewhat viral on Twitter and they decided to continue it into a proper game.

      • ‘ReDoomEd’, a port of the original Doom level editor, was released on Linux

        DoomEd was a program written by Carmack and Romero on 1993, to directly build the levels from the original Doom. Seventeen years later, the developers behind Twilight Edge Software are releasing a free and independent port based on that program, appropriately called ReDoomEd, which is based on DoomEd’s source code, publicly released by John Romero himself on 2015.

      • Plague Inc: Evolved hits new all-time high on player count due to the Coronavirus outbreak in China

        Plague Inc: Evolved, a strategy/simulation mix that supports Linux, has seen a sudden surge in popularity recently as China has a real-life Coronavirus outbreak people are testing it out in the game.

        In the last 24 hours, it’s hit a new all-time high peak-player count of over fifteen thousand people all trying to cover the world in something terrible. This is thanks to the modding support the game has with the Steam Workshop, there’s multiple packs that add in some form of the new Chinese Coronavirus.

      • Valve’s ACO Helps The Radeon RX 5600 XT Compete With NVIDIA’s RTX 2060

        As shown yesterday the new video BIOS of the Radeon RX 5600 XT paired with the corrected SMC firmware on Linux yields impressive performance improvements that — similar to Windows — allows the card to compete better with NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2060. For Linux users, activating the Valve-funded ACO compiler back-end for the Radeon “RADV” Vulkan driver helps turn up the competition even more.

      • ‘Push Me Pull You’ is a strange but kid-friendly multiplayer comical wrestling game featuring humanoid conjoined twins

        This somewhat bizarre but at the same time completely original game, sponsored by the Victoria State Government and Film Victoria Australia, has been out since July 2016 with Linux support, but it was overlooked by almost everyone. Also, it didn’t help the fact that several months ago I requested the developer to send a copy for the GOL staff to check, but they said they were no longer handing review keys. Although it barely has Steam user reviews, it has received a number of awards and the few people who wrote reviews for it seemed to like it.

      • All courses from online learning site ’3D Buzz’ went free, due to the website shutting down; torrent available

        Although most of the courses were paid, a couple of weeks ago the site had to shut down, following the ramifications of one of its founders’ tragic death by cancer in 2017 (memorial and portfolio page); however, they decided to release absolutely all the content (about 200 GB of videos) for free to download, out of appreciation for all the community’s support across the years.


        In my personal case, I didn’t check any course due to lack of time, so I can’t tell you about their general quality, but if you want to get a glimpse, they have a YouTube account with dozens of old videos to see if their style of teaching suits you.

        This unfortunate event shows another facet of such an horrific disease; sometimes it’s not only about the extreme torment of the affected person and the psychological devastation that causes on relatives and friends, but also the catastrophic financial consequences that worsen an already grisly situation. However, an excellent gesture like this at least helps to keep the person’s legacy alive, and opens the slight possibility that somebody uses this (now free) content to release a masterpiece in a couple of years. One can only hope…

      • Rocket League ditching Mac and Linux, Stardew Valley sales pass 10 million, and more of the week’s PC game news
      • “Rocket League” Will Not Be Playable On Mac or Linux Online

        Over the past few months, the devs have made some really cool additions to the game, but have also made choices that have angered the players. The community is still reeling from the decision to end the loot system and switch to a blueprints system for upgrades, which many of the players detested once they realized how much they lost in the transfer. We’ll see how the community reacts in the longterm to this decision, but if you’ve been a loyal player on Mac or Linux this entire time, it has to be a little heartbreaking.

      • Fun 2D Retro Platformer ‘Open Surge’ Available as Snap

        Open Surge, a fun 2D retro platformer inspired by Sonic games, available to install in Ubuntu Software easily via Snap package.

        Open Surge is also a game creation system that lets you unleash your creativity! It’s free, open-source, and written from the ground up in C language, using the Allegro game programming library.

        You can play the using a keyboard or a joystick.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • New Kate Icon

          For years, Kate had a very generic icon. Unlike most other editors, that have very distinctive ones, we went with an icon that represented the use case of the program but provided no branding.

          In 2014, we tried to improve our branding by introducing a mascot – Kate the Woodpecker. Thought we used that in some places, like on the web site and in the about dialog, overall, the only thing most people did see was the generic icon (that even differs a lot between different icon themes).

          I was not very happy with this and reached out last year to Tyson Tan to improve on this, given he already provided our mascot design. I wanted to have some distinct icon that matches a bit the idea we had with the mascot.

          After some iterations this process has lead to a new icon for our lovely text editor as can be seen below.

        • This week in KDE: Converging towards something special

          Plasma has gained its first user of the new notification inline reply feature in 5.18: Telegram Desktop!

          Big thanks to Kai Uwe Broulik for venturing forth to contribute a patch to Telegram that made this possible.

          Next up, we have a winner for the Plasma 5.18 wallpaper competition: the elegant and soothing Volna, by Nikita Babin!

        • KDE Developers Continue Polishing Ahead Of Plasma 5.18 LTS

          KDE developers were busy as always this week working to polish up the forthcoming KDE Plasma 5.18 and other areas of their open-source desktop stack.

        • conf.kde.in retrospective (1)

          I spent a week in Delhi on a trip to be part of conf.kde.org. During the event I twitted a whole bunch, for each of the talks, but here’s a bit of a (short) write-up. First of several, because I want to get the general “I traveled” out of the way, and focus on other people’s work later.


          I gave four talks (Calamares, Transifex, Frameworks, and more Frameworks) and also some impromptu stuff during a technical break (about Rick Astley). I’ll put them up on my site eventually, when I figure out how to do that effectively (they’re generated out of Markdown). There might be pictures of those talks; I took pictures of most of the other talks.

          Other talks were about translation, and Open Source migrations, and Plasma deployments, and GCompris, and Plasma Mobule, and .. well, and lots of stuff. I really enjoyed hearing from all the students and other KDE contributors how they work. New student attendees were treated to a show of “here’s how we work, this is how welcome you are”, which I think is a good way to start.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GtkSourceView branching

          We’re currently finishing up the cycle towards GNOME 3.36, which means it’s almost time to start branching and thinking about what we want to land early in the 3.37 development cycle. My goal is to branch gtksourceview-4-6 which will be our long-term stable branch for gtksourceview-4.x (similar to how the gnome-3-24 branch is our long-term stable for the gtksourceview-3.x series. After that, master will move to GTK 4 as we start to close in on GTK 4 development. The miss-alignment in version numbers is an unfortunate reality, but a reality I inherited so we’ll keep on keepin’ on.

          That means if you are not setting a branch in your flatpak manifests, you will want to start doing that when we branch (probably in the next couple of weeks) or your builds will start to fail. Presumably, this only will affect your Nightly builds, because who targets upstream master in production builds, not you surely!

    • Distributions

      • 5 Reasons Why Would You Want to Use Manjaro Linux

        Manjaro is an Arch-based Linux distribution that is perceived in the community to be better than Arch for those who are less experienced in the Linux world. The distribution combines a lot of hard work and effort to offer an excellent user experience out-of-the-box. It is a very active distro nowadays.

        In today’s article, we’ll give you 5 possible reasons for why you may consider using Manjaro as your daily driver OS.


        Manjaro is an excellent introduction to the Arch world for those who don’t want to be fully invested in the technicalities of Arch. So much care and effort was put into it to make suitable for a lot of people out-of-the-box.

      • The Dracut Initramfs Generator Is Slow – Could Be Much Faster As Shown By Distri’s Minitrd

        Dracut that is used for generating the initramfs image on Linux distributions like Fedora / RHEL, Debian, openSUSE, and many other distributions could be much faster.

        Former Debian developer Michael Stapelberg recently demonstrated that Dracut is quite slow and could be much faster. Stapelberg was researching the initramfs generation speed by Dracut as part of his work on Distri, the experimental Linux distribution project researching fast package management. Distri remains just a research project for constructing a simple and fast package management system for constructing a Linux distribution built off Stapelberg’s frustrations with Debian.

      • What’s your favorite Linux distribution?

        What’s your favorite Linux distribution? Take our 7th annual poll. Some have come and gone, but there are hundreds of Linux distributions alive and well today. The combination of distribution, package manager, and desktop creates an endless amount of customized environments for Linux users.

        We asked the community of writers what their favorite is and why. While there were some commonalities (Fedora and Ubuntu were popular choices for a variety of reasons), we heard a few surprises as well. Here are a few of their responses:

        “I use the Fedora distro! I love the community of people who work together to make an awesome operating system that showcases the greatest innovations in the free and open source software world.” — Matthew Miller

        “I use Arch at home. As a gamer, I want easy access to the latest Wine versions and GFX drivers, as well as large amounts of control over my OS. Give me a rolling-release distro with every package at bleeding-edge.” —Aimi Hobson

        “NixOS, with nothing coming close in the hobbyist niche.” —Alexander Sosedkin

        “I have used every Fedora version as my primary work OS. Meaning, I started with the first one. Early on, I asked myself if there would ever come a time when I couldn’t remember which number I was on. That time has arrived. What year is it, anyway?” —Hugh Brock

      • New Releases

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora program update: 2020-04

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora this week.

          I will not hold office hours next week due to travel, but if you’ll be at FOSDEM, you can catch me in person.

        • Fedora Workstation 33 Aiming To Have SWAP-On-ZRAM By Default

          Fedora IoT already uses swap-on-ZRAM by default given IoT devices are often running with limited amounts of RAM, but for Fedora Workstation 33 the developers are looking at enabling SWAP-on-ZRAM by default for all new installations.

          SWAP-on-ZRAM is for compressing the swap space in RAM leading to lower memory utilization / more RAM left for the applications/services themselves. This isn’t the first time that Fedora Workstation has pursued swap-on-ZRAM but they hope Fedora 33 will be the charm where it happens. Currently developers are debating on which implementation path to pursue.

      • Debian Family

        • New Debian Developers and Maintainers (November and December 2019)

          The following contributors got their Debian Developer accounts in the last two months:

          Louis-Philippe Véronneau (pollo)
          Olek Wojnar (olek)
          Sven Eckelmann (ecsv)
          Utkarsh Gupta (utkarsh)
          Robert Haist (rha)

          The following contributors were added as Debian Maintainers in the last two months:

          Denis Danilov
          Joachim Falk
          Thomas Perret
          Richard Laager


    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • ProtonVPN becomes first VPN to go fully open source

        ProtonVPN is the Swiss-based VPN run by the people behind the highly regarded ProtonMail encrypted email service.

        It has been a welcome addition to the VPN marketplace since launching in 2017 and despite its relative youth, it has hit the ground running in a way not too many other start-up VPNs have managed.

        Now, the guys behind ProtonVPN have taken two big steps which are likely to cement their reputation as one of the most dependable providers on the market. They have gone fully open source and submitted to a full independent security review.

      • ProtonVPN Makes its Software Open Source & Publishes Independent Audit Results

        ProtonVPN has always been one of the most respected and trustworthy VPN services. As noted in our hands-on review, you can count on having your privacy protected in the most secure way possible. In addition, this is a no-logs VPN service, which means that connection and usage logs are never collected. However, to further cement its position, this VPN service has now decided to open-source its software. We also have the results of the VPN’s latest independent audit, showing that ProtonVPN is a highly secure solution.

        When it comes to making its software open source, ProtonVPN counts on making its code as transparent as possible. This is a bold move as it can show potential weaknesses, considering that just about anyone can inspect the way this VPN functions. In other words, this move is showing us ProtonVPN’s confidence in its software, which is going to have positive long-term effects.

      • ProtonVPN Apps Open Sourced for Added Transparency and Security

        The code for ProtonVPN apps on all supported platforms – Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows – is now open source, the maker announces today, a move that follows a security audit from an independent party.

        The decision distances the service from all the other options on the market and is in line with the company’s belief in ethics, transparency, and security as core values for a trusted VPN (virtual private network) provider.

      • Proton VPN Becomes The First Fully Open Source And Audited VPN

        In a blog post, ProtonVPN just announced that it is open-sourcing its source code and has released the security audit reports as well.

        With this step, ProtonVPN aims to become the most transparent and accountable VPN provider in the VPN market. The company has also conducted an independent security audit, which will become a crucial factor for users in trusting their VPN service.


        ProtonVPN has operated as a free service as well as a premium one. It is currently used by millions around the world and serves as an important tool for Internet freedom in places like Iran, China, and Russia.
        While there are currently open-source VPN clients available, ProtonVPB is “the first to open source all their apps and publish a security audit of them all.”

        In a statement issued to Fossbytes, ProtonVPN said that its app differs quite significantly from other open-source VPN clients such as OpenVPN as they provide a complete VPN service and “include additional functionality such as kill switch, always-on VPN, IKEv2 protocol support, split tunneling, etc.”

      • Boston Dynamics Robot Dog Now Freely Available to All as Open-Source Code

        Boston Dynamics‘ robot dog Spot has gone through extensive updates in order to become the finished product it is today, and now the Softbank-owned company will make the bot’s SDK available to everyone via GitHub. The release will allow developers and robotics alike to “develop custom applications that enable Spot to do useful tasks across a wide range of industries,” according to Boston Dynamics VP Michael Perry.

        The access was previously only open to early adopters, but now it’s available as open-source code. However, fellow developers will have to join Boston Dynamics’ early adopter program in order to lease a robot. The company says its to “create custom methods of controlling the robot, integrate sensor information into data analysis tools and design custom payloads which expand the capabilities of the base robot platform,” according to the company.

      • The programmer behind wildly popular open source project Jenkins and Atlassian Bitbucket’s former head of product raised $3.2 million to speed up software testing
      • 6 Reasons Why Network Monitoring Software Should Be Open Source

        Open-source software (OSS) is built upon code that’s free and available to anyone who needs it. It adheres to the Debian (Linux) free software guidelines. The only type of certification comes from the Open Source Initiative, which makes sure that coding listed as “open source” meets their criteria by a) Being available for distribution to anyone without any restrictions, b) Making sure the source code is available, and c) Including a license that stipulates that any modifications or improvements are released with a new name or version number.

        Unlike closed, proprietary code, open-source requires no licensing fees or permission as long as you adhere to the terms of service outlined by the developer. Although tech support is hit-or-miss and depends on the developer, it has a large and active community of developers who are happy to help you work out any issues. You’ll also find dozens of digital libraries on the internet that contain base code, modules, and fully formed apps that you can use, alter, and share. There are many reasons why working with open source code is preferable, and these are especially applicable to network monitoring apps and tools.

      • 2020: Expect more from containers, open source and cloud

        2020 is the year in which open source will become even more fundamental to the success of companies as they move to become fully-fledged, digitally-led businesses; proprietary software will lose relevance; companies will increasingly turn to the cloud to deliver value and capitalise on growth opportunities; and containers will finally become mainstream.


        He also believes that the new decade will herald unprecedented growth when it comes to companies not only becoming container-led but also cloud-native – ready to benefit even more from a cloud-centric (and open) landscape.

        “South African businesses are having more serious discussions around multi-cloud and hybrid cloud implementations. Throughout this, an open approach, relying on an agile approach through containers, gives organisations the impetus they need to be digital-first,” he says.

      • Rodney Don Holder: Here’s why open source AI is important for development

        As these names suggest, open source references a mindset popular in the Silicon Valley tech industry. Artificial intelligence and machine learning operate on computer coding and incredibly refined hardware components.

        The open-source mindset believes that making these batches of code and hardware blueprints available to the public does more for humanity than does keeping it all close to the chest.

        In contrast, Rodney Don Holder explains that a closed source approach seeks to protect code and hardware from the public eye. Their concern is more proprietary than it is collaborative. One example of closed source software is Apple as they work hard to maintain control of their software.

      • What is Apache Tomcat? Introducing the Widely Used Java Servlet and JSP Container

        What is Apache Tomcat? Essentially it’s an open-source Java servlet and Java Server Page container that lets developers implement an array of enterprise Java applications. Tomcat also runs a HTTP web server environment in which Java code can run.

        Three years after the original release of Java in 1995, Sun Microsystems architect James Duncan Davidson developed an open-source servlet reference implementation for the first Java Servlet API. Java servlets are small Java programs that define how responses and requests are handled by the server. A developer would write their servlet or JSP and let Tomcat conduct all of the routing and backend work.

      • Teledyne Extends S-Parameter Leadership with Open Source Software: SIGNALINTEGRITY

        Teledyne LeCroy, a worldwide leader in electronic test and measurement solutions and a business unit of Teledyne Technologies Incorporated, announces today the availability of an open-source software tool, SignalIntegrity, offering free solutions to signal integrity problems for design and test engineers. In order to avoid signal integrity issues in today’s world of gigabit-per-second transfer rates, engineers must have superior tools for the necessary combination of simulation, modeling and measurement. The goal of this software is to provide free tools for solving real-time signal integrity problems. More than 1,500 users have downloaded the Python-based software since it has been made available.

      • Open source all-in-one DevOps platform: OneDev’s UI is easy to use

        Variety is the spice of life, and now there is another DevOps platform to choose from. OneDev is a new, all-in-one, open source Git server with a simple to use UI, customizable issue states and fields, and auto-refreshing issue boards. Browse some of its features and see how it compares to other popular tools. Who knows, maybe OneDev is the platform that you have been searching for.

      • DFINITY Foundation Demonstrated ‘LinkedUp’ Open Source Platform

        It also empowers the next generation of developers so that they can build a new breed of tamper-proof enterprise software systems and open internet services. They aim at democratizing software development.

        He also added that the Bronze release of the Internet Computer would provide the developers and enterprises with infinite possibilities of building on the Internet Computer. All of this is a reflection of the strength of the Dfinity team that they have made so far.

        Dfinity has also said that its Internet Computer Protocol enables a new type of software that goes by the name autonomous software. This software guarantees permanent APIs which cannot be revoked.


        Their second major milestone is of demoing a decentralized web app called LinkedUp on the Internet Computer, which can run on an independent data center in Switzerland.

      • Google Open Sources Albert NLP

        Google has made ALBERT (A Lite BERT) available in an open source version. ALBERT is a deep-learning natural language processing model that the developers say uses far fewer parameters than BERT without sacrificing accuracy.

        Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, or BERT, is the self-supervised method released by Google in 2018. It has become known for the impressive results the technique has achieved on a range of NLP tasks while relying on un-annotated text drawn from the web. Most similar NLP systems are based on text that has been labeled specifically for a given task.

      • Scientists working with Google just published the most detailed brain scans ever created

        Google and its partners at the Janelia Research Campus today released the largest, most detailed set of brain scans ever published. The project encompasses nearly one-third of the brain of a fruit fly and includes detailed mappings for more than 25 thousand neurons featuring more than 20 million synapses. The best part: it’s all been released open-source to the public. This is a great day for science.


        Luckily for organizations and individuals who can’t afford the resources it would take to build this particular project, Google and the scientists at the Janelia Research Campus have published the entire project open-source. Even better, the team painstakingly formatted the data, images, videos, and other information in a way that makes it easily accessible to everyday people and usable by world-class researchers.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Developers love Rust programming language: Here’s why

            In fact, Rust has been voted the most-loved language for the past four years in Stack Overflow’s annual developer surveys, even though 97% of respondents haven’t used it. So how has it become the most-loved programming language?

            “The short answer is that Rust solves pain points present in many other languages, providing a solid step forward with a limited number of downsides,” explains Jake Goulding on Stack Overflow’s blog.


            Mozilla Research describes Rust as a “systems programming language that focuses on speed, memory safety, and parallelism”.

            It’s often seen as an alternative to systems programming languages like C and C++ that developers use to create game engines, operating systems, file systems, browser components, and VR simulation engines. Mozilla, which continues to sponsor the project, says programmers can use Rust to make software that’s less prone to bugs and attacks.

          • I finally switched from Chrome to Mozilla Firefox — and you should too

            I have been in an on-and-off relationship with Mozilla Firefox for the past five years. Every time I’d get ecstatic over a major new Firefox update — hoping to, at long last, break free from the hegemony of Google Chrome — my hopes would be crushed as soon as I began browsing the web like I normally do.

            Firefox’s performance would fall noticeably short and struggle to keep up with my workflow, sending me scurrying back to Google Chrome after a few minutes of poking around. No matter how compelling the rest of Mozilla’s offerings were, they could never convince me to hit that “Yes” button whenever Firefox asked whether I’d like to set it as my default browser. Catching up to Chrome almost started to seem like a far-fetched goal for Firefox — until recently.


            Today, in addition to being fast, Firefox is resource-efficient, unlike most of its peers. I don’t have to think twice before firing up yet another tab. It’s rare that I’m forced to close an existing tab to make room for a new one. On Firefox, my 2015 MacBook Pro’s fans don’t blast past my noise-canceling headphones, which happened fairly regularly on Chrome as it pushed my laptop’s fans to their helicopter-like limits to keep things running.

            This rare balance of efficiency and performance is the result of the countless under-the-hood upgrades Firefox has rolled out in the last couple of years. One of the recent major performance updates arrived in May when Mozilla natively integrated a handful of clever optimizations for which users previously had to rely on third-party extensions.

          • Passive aggressive baking at its finest

            Cakes are a long standing weapon in the browser wars. Whenever a major browser hits a new milestone or makes an important release, cakes are rapidly exchanged.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • SQLite Release 3.31.0 On 2020-01-22

          The legacy_file_format pragma is deactivated. It is now a no-op. In its place, the SQLITE_DBCONFIG_LEGACY_FILE_FORMAT option to sqlite3_db_config() is provided. The legacy_file_format pragma is deactivated because (1) it is rarely useful and (2) it is incompatible with VACUUM in schemas that have tables with both generated columns and descending indexes.

        • SQLite 3.31 Released With Support For Generated Columns

          This first big release of 2020 is SQLite 3.31. One of the major features of SQLite 3.31 is support for generated/computed columns. With generated columns, the columns of a table are values returned by a function of other columns in the same row. These auto-generated columns are read-only and have other limitations but are open to a variety of interesting use-cases.

        • Elastic: Big Data Needs Effective Search To Drive Value

          Elastic N.V. (ESTC) is a provider of opensource software which is used in applications like real time search and analytics. Elastic’s rapid growth is being driven by a rapid growth in the volume of data being generated globally and the need for improved search tools. Elastic potentially has a bright future even as cloud computing vendors introduce the same technology, provided the company continues to offer customers a compelling value proposition.

        • MariaDB Announces Cloud Native Open Source DB

          There’s a new version of MariaDB that is designed to make it easier to develop apps using smart transactions and cloud-native data storage.

          MariaDB began life as an alternative to MySQL when Oracle took over the original MySQL. The new release, MariaDB X4, was announced by MariaDB Corp, which develops and sells an enterprise version of the open source MariaDB database management system. MariaDB has a SQL interface for accessing data, alongside GIS and JSON features.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6.4 RC3 is available

          LibreOffice 6.4 RC3 is available for downloading now. There are builds for all main OS for 64 bit. There is a 32 bit build for Windows also. These builds are only for testing.

      • CMS

        • People of WordPress: Robert Cheleuka

          You’ve probably heard that WordPress is open-source software, and may know that it’s created and run by volunteers. WordPress enthusiasts share many examples of how WordPress changed people’s lives for the better. This monthly series shares some of those lesser-known, amazing stories.


          Robert first came into contact with WordPress in 2014 when he and a friend started a local tech blog. Before that, all he knew was basic, outdated HTML from high school and some knowledge of Adobe Dreamweaver. They decided to use WordPress, and their new blog looked like it came from the future. They used a theme from the repo and got such positive feedback from the blog they decided to open a content and media publishing agency.

          While they got a few web redesign jobs thanks to the exposure the blog brought, they lacked the administrative and business skills needed and ended up going their separate ways. Then in his first real job after college Robert finally took it upon himself to learn the ins and outs of WordPress. He learned how to install WordPress on a server and did some research on customizing themes.

          With that knowledge alone he got his first web design clients and started earning nearly as much as he did at his job. Robert soon realized that free WordPress themes would only take him so far, especially with his limited code skills.

          Because in Malawi only people who travel abroad have access to credit cards, paying for premium themes was impossible. Like many WordPress designers in developing countries, Robert turned to using pirated themes instead. He knew that was both unsafe and unethical, and decided to learn how to code. Knowing how to build themes from scratch would surely help him rise above the competition.

      • FSF

        • Free Software Foundation Asks Microsoft To Release Windows 7 Code

          The Free Software Foundation this week announced that it has established a petition demanding that Microsoft release its proprietary Windows 7 code as free software.

          The foundation aims to get 7,777 signatures to that effect. By “free,” the organization means that “the users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software,” according to its definition. The organization claims that free software is different from open source software in terms of “values.”

          Windows 7 reached its end-of-life stage on Jan. 14, meaning that Microsoft no longer distributes free software patches for it, although a paid Extended Security Updates program is available. The operating system is considered to be “unsupported” software by Microsoft, and it’s thought to be potentially insecure to use it, since Microsoft won’t patch software vulnerabilities, even if they are publicly known.

        • Windows 7 should live on as open source, spectacularly optimistic petition demands

          After all, Microsoft is huge on everything open source these days, right? It’s all about open source, listening to user feedback, and acting on it.

          The feedback from FSF might raise a few hackles at Microsoft, though, as the wording of the petition is, shall we say, on the strong and blunt side.

          It reads: “On January 14th, Windows 7 reached its official ‘end-of-life,’ bringing an end to its updates as well as its ten years of poisoning education, invading privacy, and threatening user security. The end of Windows 7’s lifecycle gives Microsoft the perfect opportunity to undo past wrongs, and to upcycle it instead.

          “We call on them to release it as free software, and give it to the community to study and improve. As there is already a precedent for releasing some core Windows utilities as free software, Microsoft has nothing to lose by liberating a version of their operating system that they themselves say has ‘reached its end.’”

          And FSF further directly addresses Microsoft executives to “demand that Windows 7 be released as free software”, and urges them “to respect the freedom and privacy of your users – not simply strongarm them into the newest Windows version.”

        • Free Software Foundation ‘demands’ Windows 7 be released as free software

          WTF?! The Free Software Foundation (FSF), the same group behind the 2009-era Windows 7 “sins” campaign that encouraged users to throw Windows 7 in the trash, has now started another initiative — one that demands Windows 7 be opened up as free software.

          The FSF has launched the “Upcycle Windows 7″ petition, and if the opening paragraph doesn’t persuade Microsoft to open source Windows 7, then I don’t know what will.

          “On January 14th, Windows 7 reached its official ‘end-of-life,’ bringing an end to its updates as well as its ten years of poisoning education, invading privacy, and threatening user security. The end of Windows 7′s lifecycle gives Microsoft the perfect opportunity to undo past wrongs, and to upcycle it instead,” the petition reads.

          Yikes. At any rate, most users probably agree that Windows 7 already undid Microsoft’s past wrongs, being absolved for the sins of Windows Vista. Hey, maybe the FSF should ask for Windows Vista instead. You know, shoot for the moon and land in the stars kind of thing. Something’s better than nothing.


          Then there’s the not insignificant fact that much of the codebase in Windows 7 lives on in Windows 10. In other words, the chance of seeing Windows 7 in a GitHub repo anytime soon is unlikely, to say the least.

        • Windows 7 As Open Source? Petition Filed To Upcycle Microsoft’s OS

          Windows 7 reached its “end-of-life” on January 14, 2020, as Microsoft stopped releasing any free security updates for the operating system. However, on January 23, 2020, the Free Software Foundation filed a petition urging Microsoft to open-source Windows 7 and upcycle the OS.

          “Microsoft’s support of Windows 7 is over, but its life doesn’t have to end. We call on Microsoft to upcycle it instead,” said the foundation.

        • Fund SPO demanded that Microsoft open source code Windows 7

          The representatives of the Free Software Foundation, an organization promoting the idea of free software was published online petition in support of the proposal to enable independent programmers to improve Windows 7. For the implementation of this idea requires access to the OS code. Fund SPO offers Microsoft to allow third-party developers to modify and distribute the software to respect the users, not to force them to move to other operating systems because of the lack of choice. In the organization plan to receive from the Corporation of evidence of user support. The Fund SPO 7777 intend to collect signatures to petition Upcycle Windows 7 and he set the example of the production of utilities of the OS in the form of freely available programs, which is practiced now.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

      • Programming/Development

        • Confessions of a Recovering Proprietary Programmer, Part XVII

          One of the gatherings I attended last year featured a young man asking if anyone felt comfortable doing git rebase “without adult supervision”, as he put it. He seemed as surprised to see anyone answer in the affirmative as I was to see only a very few people so answer. This seems to me to be a suboptimal state of affairs, and thus this post describes how you, too, can learn to become comfortable doing git rebase “without adult supervision”.


          Fortunately, one of my colleagues pointed me at tig, which provides a dynamic ASCII-art display of the selected commits. This is again not as good as gitk, but it is probably as good as it gets in a text-only environment.

          These tools do have their limits, and other techniques are required if you are actively rearranging more than a few hundred commits. If you are in that situation, you should look into the workflows used by high-level maintainers or by the -stable maintainer, who commonly wrangle many hundreds or even thousands of commits. Extreme numbers of commits will of course require significant automation, and many large-scale maintainers do in fact support their workflows with elaborate scripting.

          Doing advanced git work without being able to see what you are doing is about as much a recipe for success as chopping wood in the dark. So do yourself a favor and use tools that allow you to see what you are doing!

        • Perl / Raku

          • Perl Weekly Challenge 044: One Hundred, Two Hundred

            We can populate each place “between digits” with one of three possible values: a plus sign, minus sign, or nothing. To check all the possible permutations, we’ll use an indicator function similarly to The Knapsack Problem. In this case, though, there are three possible values, so we need to loop over numbers in the ternary numeral system.

            The only operation we’ll need will be the increment, so we don’t need the full support for arithmetic in base 3. We can implement the increment ourselves: we start from the right of the number, change any 2 into 0 and move left. Once we find 0 or 1, we increment it and we’re done.

            To create the expression, we just need to intersperse the digits with the operators. See the apply subroutine below.

            To evaluate the expression, we won’t use eval, as we don’t want to introduce security problems into our code. As the operations are just addition and subtraction, we can transform the expression into a large sum of positive and negative numbers (the latter correspond to the numbers being subtracted). We’ll use a regexp match to split the expression.

        • Python

          • Python 3.9.0a3
          • Python 3.9.0a3 now available for testing

            Python 3.9 is still in development. This releasee, 3.9.0a3 is the third of six planned alpha releases. Alpha releases are intended to make it easier to test the current state of new features and bug fixes and to test the release process. During the alpha phase, features may be added up until the start of the beta phase (2020-05-18) and, if necessary, may be modified or deleted up until the release candidate phase (2020-08-10). Please keep in mind that this is a preview release and its use is not recommended for production environments.

          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccxii) stackoverflow python report
          • Prettier logging with Rich

            There are a few things going on here. Important fields are rendered in their own column to make it easier to scan. To reduce visual clutter, the time field is only rendered if it changes and I’ve set the date format to time only, which is fine for local development (if you forget what day it is you need a vacation). The message column has some syntax highlighting applied to it, tuned for web development, but more importantly it is word-wrapped. Finally there is a column for the python file and line that called the log method.

            This would be my ideal logging for web-development, your mileage may vary and you may want to tune it for your domain.

          • Release of Relatorio 0.9.1

            We are glad to announce the release of Relatorio version 0.9.1.

            Relatorio is a templating library mainly for OpenDocument using also OpenDocument as source format.

          • How to write a very simple calculator in Python as a complete beginner programmer

            As I progress with my journey as a computer coder, I have realized that for one to master the art of writing scripts and applications, hours of practice matter more than months of study being spent on How To Program books. Reading theory about computer programming matters, but it does not make one a code writer. Based on such conclusion, I have decided to share real world scenarios materialized in computer code, mostly Python.

            Through this article you’re going to learn how to put in practice basic concepts in Python with the main purpose of pushing your skills to the next level as a doer, instead of just a thinker.

            Although once finished you will end up with a simple calculator which supports basic maths, at least you will know how to properly make use of builtin utilities such as input, def statements and the while True loop.

          • How to create image quotes from scratch with nider open source python package

            Being a blogger, I have needs on tools which can ease my job as a content producer. Having knowledge on the Python programming language I have discovered an open source package which fits my needs when it comes to generating images with text.

            As an ‘advanced’ terminal user, I truly like automating stuff on the console. Before launching a fresh command prompt on your own computer, make sure you meet the requirements shown below in order to follow me through the rest of this blog post.

          • An open source alternative to Internet Download Manager written in Python, pyIDM

            Most of the computer geeks are familiar with the Internet Download Manager tool. Although it is one of the best among download managers; being a soldier of open source software, I decided to share pyIDM as an alternative for anyone who is passionate about computer programming.

            According to the official documentation shared on the Github platform, pyIDM supports multi-connections at a high speed due to its download engine which relies entirely on LibCurl.

      • Standards/Consortia

        • Does Your Domain Have a Registry Lock?

          Dijkxhoorn said one security precaution his company had not taken with their domain prior to the fraudulent transfer was a “registry lock,” a more stringent, manual (and sometimes offline) process that effectively neutralizes any attempts by fraudsters to social engineer your domain registrar.

          With a registry lock in place, your registrar cannot move your domain to another registrar on its own. Doing so requires manual contact verification by the appropriate domain registry, such as Verisign — which is the authoritative registry for all domains ending in .com, .net, .name, .cc, .tv, .edu, .gov and .jobs. Other registries handle locks for specific top-level or country-code domains, including Nominet (for .co.uk or .uk domains), EURID (for .eu domains), CNNIC for (for .cn) domains, and so on.

  • Leftovers

    • Charlie Chaplin and Truly Modern Times

      Acrobat, musician, composer, clown, mime, movie star, director and producer, Academy Award winner for lifetime achievement, but still driven from the United States for his backing of the Soviet Union, Charlie Chaplin should need little introduction, except perhaps for Millennials and other late alphabet generations. He was the global star in the crossover from silent films to talkies, making an astonishing $10,000 a week during the Depression, with $150,000 in signing bonuses. Knighted by the Queen, Charlot was universally loved and admired.

    • Science

      • Action Research: Acquiescing to the Awful

        In a research course during a graduate program in counseling, students were given a choice between completing a traditional research project, with rigorous statistical standards, or completing what was then called “action research.” I chose the latter being delinquent in mathematics.

    • Education

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Cisco Warns of Critical Network Security Tool Flaw

          The flaw exists in the web-based management interface of the Cisco Firepower Management Center (FMC), which is its platform for managing Cisco network security solutions, like firewalls or its advanced malware protection service. Cisco has released patches for the vulnerability (CVE-2019-16028), which has a score of 9.8 out of 10 on the CVSS scale, making it critical in severity.

        • No big deal, Rogers, your internal source code and keys are only on the open web. Don’t hurry to take it down

          Source code, internal user names and passwords, and private keys, for the website and online account systems of Canadian telecoms giant Rogers have been found sitting on the open internet.

          The leaked software, seemingly uploaded to GitHub by a Rogers engineer before they left the telco, is written in Java and powered various components of Rogers.com. The materials are marked “closed source” and copyright Rogers, yet can be found on the web if you know where to look. Details of and credentials for services and systems on the ISP’s internal networks are included.

          This kind of information, along with source code to skim for security bugs, is a boon for miscreants casing the telco to compromise it. These details may have already been exploited by criminals, or may prove useful for future attacks. It’s also a reminder that engineers and management must take all precautions to avoid pushing private company code to public repositories.

          It should be noted that no customer information nor account details – beyond the names, passwords, and email addresses of some members of the ISP’s web development team – are present in the public code repository. The web app blueprints date back to 2015, so just how much of this code remains in production is unclear. One hopes the passwords and keys have been replaced over the past five years, at least.

          With any luck, this may well be more of an embarrassment to one of Canada’s biggest broadband’n’telly telcos than anything else.

        • Rogers’ internal passwords and source code found open on GitHub

          Sensitive data of another major Canadian firm has been found sitting open on the GitHub developers platform.

          Security researcher Jason Coulls said he recently discovered two open accounts with application source code, internal user names and passwords, and private keys for Rogers Communications. No customer data was found.

          He suspects the code belonged to a developer who has left the telco.

          Coulls, who works in the IT department of a Toronto firm and has his own security consultancy, initially told The Register of the discovery, after which the news site contacted Rogers.

          One problem is the code he saw describes data payloads and how it goes between databases and web services.

          “You can use that to get to the stuff that people [thieves] would go after,” he explained.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Kevin Owocki on Gitcoin, Controversy and the Future of Open Source Funding

              Some of that controversy has been from outside the Ethereum community, pointing to Consensys and Ethereum Foundation support as an example of centralization. Some of the controversy has come from within, as debates rage about what is or isn’t an acceptable use of “public” resources.

            • Sonatype: Secure code with less hassle

              Software development has changed drastically over the past decade. Take a 22-year-old graduate with a degree in computer science. At one time, they would start off testing code, then start to write code line-by-line. Today, 80% of applications are developed using open source software. Instead of laboriously worrying over each caret and comma, code is grabbed and assembled. This can make for quick iterations and rapid project completion.

            • Lyft’s open source asset tracking tool simplifies security

              The modern map — in fact, any map since the Age of Sail — serves an important purpose in navigation. Exploration feats, such as Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe, Lewis and Clark’s American expedition, or more recent excursions to the Earth’s polar regions, would not have been possible without mapping knowledge and ability.

              A cursory look at ancient or medieval history shows that early maps, prior to their use for navigation, served a different purpose entirely. The map in the 15th century manuscript La Fleur des Histoires was by no means intended to be geographically accurate. Instead, it was designed to convey a concept or idea — in this case, the separation of ruling powers by region. However, the real power of mapmaking — that is, for navigation — would not be realized for generations.

            • vChain, the Makers of the CodeNotary Open Source Code Trust Solution With Over 9 Million Monthly Customer Integrity Verifications Raises $7 Million in Series A to Secure Today’s DevOps Process

              vChain, the leading trust and integrity company, announces the close of a $7M Series A investment round. Elaia, a leading European tech venture fund, led the new investment round which includes also other notable investors such as Swiss-based Bluwat and Acequia Capital (Seattle, USA). vChain was founded in late 2018 and released its first product in April 2019.

            • Open source licence series – WhiteSource: permissive is winning, but is there a hurt factor?
            • Open source licence series – Instaclustr: Is open core a rotten deal?

              Ideally, open source software should be, well, free and open.

            • Open source licence series – Percona: is the battle won, or is this a different war?

              Recently, the Cryptographic Autonomy License (CAL) was submitted for OSI consideration. As Holo’s co-founder Arthur Brock explains in his blog post, his goal is to protect end-user privacy and autonomy. Restrictions in this case focus not on whom, but how the software should be used.

              While many on the OSI board seem to support the licence, Bruce Perens, OSI co-founder and the person who drafted the original Open Source Definition (OSD), resigned from OSI saying, “… it seems to me that the organisation is rather enthusiastically headed toward accepting a licence that isn’t freedom-respecting. Fine, do it without me, please.”

            • Open Source Wood Innovation Award Given to an Active Member
            • Open Source Plant Material And Intellectual Property

              Today we hear the term “open source” more and more. It is a term that is most commonly identified with software and firmware development out of the Silicon Valley. However, the term is becoming common in the plant industry.

            • Garadget review: Open your garage door with open-source technology

              There’s no scheduling system nor (surprisingly) a logging system built into Garadget, but it does support Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, IFTTT, and a whole host of lesser-known third-party tools, but all of that will invariably force you into the system’s forums again. For example, there are two Garadget Alexa skills, one for if you want to say “smart garage” and one for if you want to say “Garadget” to invoke the skill. Setting up a connection to SmartThings requires using Samsung’s developer tools.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Intel joins CHIPS Alliance to promote Advanced Interface Bus (AIB) as an open standard

                CHIPS Alliance, the leading consortium advancing common and open hardware for interfaces, processors and systems, today announced industry leading chipmaker Intel as its newest member. Intel is contributing the Advanced Interface Bus (AIB) to CHIPS Alliance to foster broad adoption.

              • Intel Joins CHIPS Alliance, Contributes Advanced Interface Bus

                Intel this week became a member of CHIPS Alliance, an industry consortium that is working to accelerate the development of open source SoCs (and SiPs) for various applications. As part of their membership, Intel has also contributed its Advanced Interface Bus to the group, giving developers access to the bus and thus the means to interoperate with Intel (and other) chips that will be using it.

                Designed for use with system-in-packages (SiPs) devices, Intel’s AIB is a high-bandwidth, low-power, die-to-die PHY level standard that uses a clock forwarded parallel data transfer mechanism (akin that used by modern DDR DRAM interfaces). The technology is agnostic to manufacturing processes and packaging technology, so it can be used to connect a wide variety of chips/chiplets using different types of packages, including Intel’s own EMIB, TSMC’s CoWoS, or other 2.5D technologies from numerous vendors.

                Intel’s AIB has been available to third parties on a royalty-free basis for a while now, so contributing the technology to CHIPS Alliance is the next step for Intel in increasing its adoption. By making AIB available to a very broad group of chip designers, Intel is encouraging development of an ecosystem of chiplets that can later be used with its own CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, and other components to build special-purpose multi-die SiPs.

              • Cloud Foundry Foundation Announces 2020 Summits in North America and Europe

                Cloud Foundry Foundation, home to open source projects helping build the future of cloud applications, today announced Cloud Foundry Summits for North America and Europe, now co-located with the Linux Foundation’s Open Source Summits. Cloud Foundry NA Summit will take place on Thursday, June 25, 2020, in Austin, Texas and Cloud Foundry EU Summit will take place on Thursday, October 29, 2020, in Dublin, Ireland. Early bird registration for Cloud Foundry NA Summit is now open.

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

        • Security

          • KeePassXC 2.5.3

            KeePassXC is a community fork of KeePassX, a native cross-platform port of KeePass Password Safe, with the goal to extend and improve it with new features and bugfixes to provide a feature-rich, fully cross-platform and modern open-source password manager.

            KeePassXC currently uses the KeePass 2.x (.kdbx) password database format as its native file format in versions 3.1 and 4. Database files in version 2 can be opened, but will be upgraded to a newer format. KeePass 1.x (.kdb) databases can be imported into a .kdbx file, but this process is one-way.

          • How to manage your entire passwords with KeePassX, single master key for all of them

            Having many accounts on different social media networks, I have to keep trace of different usernames and passwords. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and chat applications; different login credentials for each one of them. Not to mention the local accounts.

            Due to the struggle that comes with remembering all usernames and passwords, and of course due to loss of many important accounts in the past, I have decided to store my entire login credentials in a database which can be accessed through a single master key.

          • How to fully take control of KeePassX through the command line with pykeepass open source python package

            Having needs on secure personal data management, KeePassX is the software which I have chosen to solve my own problem. Being open source, many developers have written their own libraries from scratch to fully interact with KeePassX from the command line.

            After many hours of research on Github, and a lot of tests on my local environment, pykeepass ended in my toolset. Fully open source and free of charge, this python tool supports interaction with the entire features being integrated on KeePassX; directly from the command line.

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

            • How to patch your open source software vulnerabilities

              Software vulnerabilities are a fact of life. Researchers — if not hackers — constantly discover new ways to compromise popular software libraries. It’s up to enterprises to quickly deploy patches to secure software before hackers get in.

              Consider the Equifax breach, in which a hacker exposed the data of more than 145 million users, resulting in $575 million in fines for the credit rating agency. A U.S. Senate investigation identified a backlog of over 8,500 unpatched vulnerabilities at Equifax — the hacker gained access through just one of those unpatched systems.

              Vulnerability backlogs are especially prevalent within enterprises that rely on open source components. Nearly all applications make use of some open source components that take the place of either mundane or arcane coding tasks. An open source project often has an active community to maintain and augment it, but that’s not always the case. Ultimately, open source software requires a leap of faith from the user that what they’re adopting is secure and effective.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Defence/Aggression

      • ‘Iraq for Iraqis’: Hundreds of Thousands Flood Streets of Baghdad to Demand US Military Leave Country

        “We want to see Iraq with full sovereignty.”

      • Why Constructive Criticism of the US is Not Anti-American

        International parents and students are neither stupid nor gullible. Among their key concerns about study in the United States are gun violence, a broken visa system, monitoring of social media information, the uncertain status of the H-1B and OPT (Optional Practical Training) programmes and the widespread perception that the US is not as open, friendly and hospitable as it once was.

      • It’s Time to Bring the War Home Again

        As the dust settles on Donald Trump’s latest high octane game of chicken with the Islamic Republic, an eerie calm seems to have risen like fog from Soleimani’s grave to take its place. But while the whole world exhales, war nerds like myself struggle like David Carradine to find the loop to loosen the belt around our throats. That’s because deep down in our wonky ill-nourished guts we know that this shit is far from over.

      • U.S. vs. Iran: Which Side are You On?

        On the brink of war with Iran the Trump administration presented to the American public and to the world the following stated or implied theses:

      • Turning Point: The new documentary “Coup 53”

        A historical turning point is a moment, perhaps small, perhaps larger, that becomes uniquely causative of events that follow. Obvious examples might include the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand that set off World War One, the U.S. Supreme Court handing the election to George W. Bush instead of Al Gore, or 9-11.

      • Southern Peace Activists Help Soldiers Become Conscientious Objectors

        The South is arguably the engine of the U.S. war machine—but also a center for anti-war activism.

      • Global Protests Say “No War With Iran.” Can They Inspire a New Antiwar Movement?

        Today, people around the world are taking to the streets for an International Day of Action against war with Iran. The protests are in response to the Trump administration’s dangerous warmongering with Iran and offer an opportunity for the U.S. left to revive antiwar organizing. As we do so, we cannot overlook the renewed wave of uprisings that have spread across the Middle East and North Africa. We must build solidarity with these movements and connect their struggles to ours.

      • Venezuela Must Remain Vigilant and on Guard Against US Hybrid Warfare

        A meme circulating on social media shows the distraught gaze of Venezuela’s opposition member Juan Guaidó with a caption that says in part, “he is not a head of State, he has no army, he has no ministers, he never participated in presidential elections, he was a ‘guarimbero’ [violent rioter] and he is called interim president.” None of that can be argued. But as of January 5 Guaidó is also no longer the president of the National Assembly. Despite a theatrical take over of the NA chamber and proclaiming to still be the president – well documented on video – in reality he lost that position to a rival opposition leader. We have already described that as the most public display of the split between competing opposition groups.

      • What the Right Wing in Latin America Means by Democracy Is Violence

        It was a curious exchange. Frustrated by the attacks on his party—the Movement for Socialism (MAS)—former president of Bolivia Evo Morales made an audio recording in which he called upon his supporters to form militias. Maximilian Heath of Reuters went to Argentina to speak with Morales about this leaked recording; Morales said, “In Bolivia, if the armed forces are shooting the people, killing the people, the people have the right to organize their security.”

      • Biden’s Shameful Foreign Policy Record Extends Well Beyond Iraq

        Presidential contender Joe Biden has come under fire for his support for the 2003 Iraq War, but continues to tout his foreign policy experience as a key selling point for his candidacy.

      • In the Name of “Israel’s Security”: Retreating US Gives Israel Billions More in Military Funding

        Billions of US tax-payers’ money will continue to be funneled into Israel in the next fiscal year, and for many years in the foreseeable future. Republican and Democratic Senators have recently achieved just that, passing a bill aimed at providing Israel with $3.3 billion in annual aid.

      • Turkish Leader Slams ‘Propaganda’ as Quake Deaths Rise to 29

        The death toll from a strong earthquake that rocked eastern Turkey climbed to 29 on Saturday night as rescue crews searched for people who remained trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings, officials said.

      • Nepal: Recent Steps Undermine Transitional Justice
      • Episode 64: “Afghanistan Papers:” Bi-Partisan Deceit, Lies, And War Profiteering – Along The Line Podcast

        Along the Line, is a member of the Demcast network, brought to you by the Media Freedom Foundation. On today’s episode hosts Nicholas Baham III (Dr. Dreadlocks), Janice Domingo,  and Nolan Higdon explore the Afghanistan Papers, ATL’s  Creative Director is Dylan Lazaga.  Mickey Huff is ATL’s producer. ATL’s engineer is Janice Domingo. Adam Armstrong is ATL’s webmaster.

      • Former AMU student leader refuses to apologise over ‘Muslims can destroy anything’ remark

        Former students’ union president of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Faizul Hasan who earlier said Muslims can destroy anything if they wish to do and the community has constantly been tested since 1947, has now refused to apologise for his remarks.

        A case is being registered against Faizul under Section 153(A) of CRPC over his remarks.

        According a report in ANI, Faizul has said that he is from a community that can destroy anything ‘if it resolves to do the same’.

      • IDF strengthens cyber-defense coordination with US Cyber Command

        Just like civilians, he said, modern militaries understand that as soon as new capabilities are introduced, new risks also appear. “But no one can roll back modernization,” he said. “Therefore, we must make the required adaptations.”

        He compared the evolution of the threat to the way households have gone from using cash only to relying full on digital banking services, despite the common awareness of ongoing cyber attacks on banks.


        “We set out to simulate a number of scenarios that are relevant to both militaries. This is similar to the intimate, strategic ties in place between the U.S. and Israel across a wide number of areas. In the area of cyber cooperation, the same thing is taking place,” said Lt. Col. O.

      • Mohiussunnath Chowdhury: Alleged jihadist told undercover cop he was ‘free to kill unbelievers’, court told

        Mohiussunnath Chowdhury, 28, was unwittingly caught on tape stressing the importance of an “ambush”, claiming “they shouldn’t know what’s hit them”, jurors at Woolwich Crown Court were told.

        They also heard he felt “so much peace” before slashing police with a sword outside Buckingham Palace because he was “guaranteed paradise”, the court heard.

        Prosecutors allege Chowdhury was planning to kill members of the public at tourist attractions including London’s Madame Tussauds and the Gay Pride parade last year, but did not realise he was confiding in undercover officers who had him under surveillance.

      • ‘We will soon establish the caliphate, liberate Jerusalem and conquer Rome’

        Rome will be conquered by Islam in the near future, Palestinian preacher Nidhal Siam told an enthusiastic crowd last week at an event in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque marking the anniversary of the 1453 C.E. capture of Constantinople by the Ottoman Empire.

        In a video uploaded to the Internet on Jan. 17, Siam can be seen telling a crowd that three prophecies will soon be fulfilled and expressing his hope that his audience will be the ones to fulfill them.

      • Violent Chaos Is Practically American Foreign Policy
      • U.S. General Says Troop Surge in Middle East May Not End Soon

        ABOARD THE USS BATAAN — Over the past eight months, the United States has poured more than 20,000 additional troops into the Middle East to counter the escalating threat from Iran that peaked with the recent missile attack on American forces in Iraq.

      • Americans Need to Hear More from Iranians. Here’s Where to Start.

        Here are a few illuminating and emotionally resonant pieces by real Iranians on life under sanctions, the brutality of war, and the recent crisis.

      • 34 Soldiers Suffered Brain Injuries in Iran Strike, Pentagon Reports

        The Pentagon said Friday that 34 U.S. troops were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries suffered in this month’s Iranian missile strike on an Iraqi air base, and that half of the troops have returned to their military duties.

      • Aftermath: The Iran War After the Soleimani Assassination
      • ‘We Apologize’ for Trump’s Reckless Aggression, US Peace Advocates Say in Open Letter to Iranian People

        The letter, from activist group CodePink, comes ahead of peace demonstrations scheduled Saturday in 200 cities around the world.

      • ‘The Most Dangerous Situation That Humanity Has Ever Faced’: Doomsday Clock Now 100 Seconds to Midnight

        Citing the worsening nuclear threat and inaction on the climate crisis, scientists issue a historic warning about the risk of global catastrophe.

      • Pakistan Is Cleaning Up Trump’s Mideast Mess

        The Middle East has always been a difficult region for the West, especially for the United States. During the Cold War era, America’s efforts to establish its hold over the region’s key oil-producing countries backfired, resulting in anger and resentment in those countries. Be it the CIA-backed coup to overthrow the Mossadegh government in Iran for nationalizing the oil industry in 1953 or Charlie Wilson’s war to oust the Soviets from Afghanistan in the 1980s, the results have been devastating for the U.S. The repercussions from these American campaigns continue to resonate even today in Afghanistan and Iran. Are the two connected in any way?

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Exclusive: This site pays Americans to write ‘news’ articles. Signs indicate it originates in Iran

        American Herald Tribune bills itself as a “genuinely independent online media outlet.” Set up in 2015, it publishes in English and pays Americans to write articles. But multiple investigations by American tech companies, details of which have not previously been reported, point to the site originating in Iran.

        A Facebook spokesperson told CNN Business that company staff who looked into the website’s Facebook page say it was linked to Iranian state media. Facebook removed the page in 2018. FireEye, a top cybersecurity company, says it assessed with “moderate confidence” that the website originates in Iran and is part of a much larger influence operation.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • The US-China Trade Deal is Mostly Symbolic

        On January 15, the US President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He signed a “phase one” trade agreement to de-escalate an 18-month trade war between the world’s two biggest economies. After months of tough negotiations and retaliatory trade actions, both countries agreed to proceed ahead with the “phase one” trade agreement. The core elements of the “phase one” trade agreement include intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services, currency, and exchange rate policies. Besides, the deal establishes a bilateral dispute resolution arrangement to resolve any disputes on matters listed in the agreement.

      • ‘Little Women’ and the American Attitude Toward Poverty

        With Greta Gerwig’s new take on Luisa May Alcott’s classic 19th century novel, Little Women, in theaters, I decided to reread the book.


        When any of the sisters are overtaken by vanity or greed for finer things than they can afford, they learn their lessons. Love and hard work are enough to sustain a family, the story goes, and more important for one’s happiness than money.

        What intrigues me is the double standard Alcott — and Americans — have for charity. Helping others is portrayed as virtuous. Receiving help, on the other hand, is not.

        That poses quite a dilemma: How can any of us practice charity while others practice refusing it?

        Alcott’s answer seems to be that only the “truly” destitute may accept help. In the book, the March sisters often help a family even poorer than they are. While the March sisters can stretch what they have to make due, the other family is starving.

        This is more or less how means-tested government programs work today. To qualify for the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps, in 2019, a family of four could earn no more than $33,475 — a pitiful sum — and could only have a small amount of assets in savings.

        When others want to help the March sisters, Alcott does not always approve. She’s comfortable with them receiving help from a wealthy aunt, but usually not from anyone outside the family. After one of the sisters, Amy, marries well, her husband disguises his charity to his sister-in-law Jo, so she doesn’t recognize it as such.

        Again, giving is noble, but receiving is not.

        This ties into Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, which describes a value system in which financial success is considered a mark of moral goodness. If one is rich, that shows they worked hard and practiced virtue. The flipside, by that logic, is the poor are lazy and morally suspect.

      • A Modest Proposal for Socialist Revolution

        At this point in history, two things are clear. First, Marx was right that capitalism is torn by too many “contradictions” to be sustainable indefinitely as a global economic system. In its terminal period, which we’re entering now (and which we can predict will last generations, because a global economic order doesn’t vanish in a decade or two), it will be afflicted by so many popular uprisings—on the left and the right—so many economic, political, and ecological crises causing so much turmoil and dislocation, that only a permanent and worldwide fascism would be able to save it. But fascism, by its murderous and ultra-nationalistic nature, can be neither permanent nor continuously enforced worldwide. Even just in the United States, the governmental structure is too vast and federated, there are too many thousands of relatively independent political jurisdictions, for a truly fascist regime to be consolidated nationwide, in every nook and cranny of the country. Fascism, or neo-fascism, is only a temporary and partial solution for the ruling class.

      • What Minimum Wage Would Be If It Kept Pace With Productivity

        Until 1968, the minimum wage not only kept pace with inflation, it rose in step with productivity growth. The logic is straightforward; we expect that wages in general will rise in step with productivity growth. For workers at the bottom to share in the overall improvement in society’s living standards, the minimum wage should also rise with productivity.

      • From Paris, With Tear Gas…

        Coming from the south on Avenue d’Italie on foot or bike things were obviously out of the ordinary, impossible as it may be to define ordinary in France at this moment. Long lines of cars pressed together, red and white tape strung everywhere it wasn’t five minutes before, sidewalks lined with gargantuan tour buses, their windows dark, no riders, no one at the wheel, enormous docile circus animals their eyes pitch black. Something was up. I stopped to talk to two RATP workers lounging in a small electric bus half on the sidewalk.

      • Why Student Debt is a Human Rights Issue

        Student debt in the United States is estimated to hover at over 1.5 trillion dollars which makes student debt the second-highest consumer debt after mortgage debt. According to the Federal Reserve, 43% of college graduates are burdened by student loan debt with the average debtor still owing between $20,000 to $25,000 on their balance since 2018. Unlike the United Kingdom where student debt is payable upon earning a minimum income and where student debt is wiped away after 30 years, in the US student debt is harshly controlled, it is not dischargeable under Chapter 7 (bankruptcy). That is until earlier this month when Kevin Rosenberg’s $221,385 student debt was actually wiped away by a New York State judge after Rosenberg filed for bankruptcy, a case that is still viewed as an anomaly.

      • Corruption in Campaign Finance Is a Racial Justice Issue

        Ten years ago, on a narrow 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision that has reshaped our country’s democracy.

      • The Long History of Elite Rule: What Will It Take To End It?

        Elites have ruled over people and commanded the surplus produced by their labor for many millennia. It is this long history we have to contend with in today’s crisis of capitalism that has produced endless wars and environmental catastrophes as corporate billionaire rulers continue to promote business as usual while preparing to fight each other with armed forces and nuclear weapons. This has all been “normalized.” Concentrated elite power ends up massively distorting people’s understanding of the nature of big business rule. Their highly paid spokes people even shamelessly deploy concepts like “freedom” and “liberty” to rationalize the enslaving and killing of millions for profits in resource wars. But we also need to understand that despite this long reign of (t)error, human beings lived for most of their evolutionary history (a much longer period of time than that during which elites have ruled) in nomadic hunter-gatherer societies where life conditions produced a rough equality among the Paleolithic family groups. If there was anything that could be called freedom here, it was a consequence of a primitive subsistence level that demanded participation from all in obtaining the means of survival while providing minimal incentives for large-scale social conflicts. Cooperation was primary; it is what made human societies — not competition. These conditions also kept the human populations low and in balance with available resources, while as some anthropologists speculate (see Marshall Sahlins), providing significant amounts of free time for cultivating social ties.

      • Uber and Lyft Price-Gouge Customers Trying to Flee Seattle Shooting

        On Wednesday evening, a fight broke out in Seattle’s Pike Place Market that escalated into a shooting, killing one woman and leaving seven injured, according to officials. Bystanders, realizing what was happening, began to flee, some turning to Uber and Lyft for a quick getaway. Yet many were caught off-guard when they realized that the rideshare companies’ algorithmic pricing schemes had detected high demand, resulting in hefty “surge” pricing — the companies’ friendly term for price-gouging.

      • Women Perform 12.5 Billion Hours of Unpaid Labor Every Day

        The global economy is polarized on multiple dimensions. Even as the gap widens between the extremely poor and ultra-rich, a chronic economic divide persists between men and women. Millions of people subsist on an income of a few dollars a day, and billions of women work for nothing at all.

      • Trump’s Rosy Economic Outlook Is a Big Lie

        President Donald Trump this week addressed the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, exaggerating the successes of the U.S. economy to such a great extent that it was as though he hoped to match reality to his fantastical claims by sheer force of will. The WEF — a yearly meeting that he chose to skip last year — is a gathering of global elites that this year convened at the same time his Senate impeachment trial began in earnest. Trump’s attendance was perhaps a deliberate attempt to distract from the proceedings that could lay bare his corrupt dealings. He seemed to be saying, “Ignore the scheming corruption I was engaged in, and look at the riches I have brought Americans.”

      • Hedge Fund Billionaires and Former GOP Megadonors Power New Democratic Super PAC

        A new super PAC that says it will spend $75 million to support Democrats in 2020 is funded in large part by billionaires who run hedge funds, including some with a history of supporting Republicans, according to recent filings with the Federal Election Commission.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Slow Death of European Social Democracy: How Corbynism Bucked the Trend

        Following Labour’s disastrous election results last month and Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to stand down as leader, the party’s Blairite wing, backed by their mates in the Tory press, is doing everything in its power to impress their own interpretation onto the loss in order to put a pro-capitalist back in the driving seat.

      • Impeachment as a Distraction

        Well, the circus has arrived in the United States capital, and the media is all agog at the show! In the Big Tent, sometimes referred to as the White House, announcements about forthcoming performances are being tweeted at a breath-taking rate. Many of them are coming directly from the star clown himself, none other than the orange-complected and bewigged Donald Trump! Oh, the excitement.

      • Who’s Speaking?

        Who’s speaking, writing, texting, posting, messaging, emailing, and tweeting?


        What we have done, or technology has done to us, is democratize mind, intellect, thought, brought what was selective and hierarchical to an “all minds equally speaking” status Anyone would have a difficult time in authorizing his or her own voice as more equal than other voices. We can no longer recognize any superiority of one speaker over another which means that we can no longer recognize any quality of mind and its knowing as better than any other, certainly not our own.

        In a way we haven’t so much democratized our voices as privatized them, brought them into a melee out of which no voice representing common understanding is authorized. All voices from the Tower of Babel attract their own audiences. Thus, privatization here refers to a turning from “promoting the General welfare” to promoting personal expressions of personal welfare, the “General welfare” conflated into personal welfare.

        This is disastrous, hardly any sort of advance except for enterprises that seek to avoid any prosecution by a public tribunal that applies commonly acknowledged standards of judgment. Those standards are now blithely challenged by their inverse without public outcry. That public outcry now lost in a whirlwind of personal authorizations of truth and reality.

        The drama of that disaster is now visible in the Senate trial of President Trump.

      • Pelosi’s Choice: Enough for Trump’s Impeachment but not going All Out for Removal

        House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has her reasons for limiting her impeachment articles to offenses stemming from the abuses and violations related to Ukraine. Unfortunately, she declined to pursue a broader impeachment approach that recognizes multiple provable, serious violations of the Constitution. Speaker Pelosi overruled Chairs of Committees, including the Judiciary Committee, and other senior lawmakers who wanted to forward to the Senate a broader array of impeachable offenses.

      • Pompeo Denounced for ‘Insulting and Contemptuous’ Statement Lashing Out at NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly

        The secretary of state’s statement was framed as “a shameful assault on press freedom.”

      • Trump: The King

        As of this writing (Thursday afternoon), the outcome of the Trump Removal trial currently underway is not entirely fixed in concrete, but the Party of Execrables, formerly known as the GOP, is hanging tight; its servile resolve to do Donald Trump’s bidding seems secure as ever.

      • Bernie Sanders Calls Out Trump’s Lie About Saving Social Security

        Just over 24 hours after threatening to cut Social Security at the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering of global elites in Davos, President Donald Trump on Thursday vowed to “save” the New Deal-era program from supposed Democratic efforts to “destroy” it — prompting Sen. Bernie Sanders to accuse the president of peddling “more lies.”

      • Trump’s Presidency Brings Us Closer to Midnight on the Doomsday Clock

        The legendary Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS), which tracks issues related to technology and global security, has issued a terrifying warning: We are less than two minutes to midnight on the Doomsday clock. It’s very bad news, representing “the most dangerous situation that humanity has ever faced.”

      • The Company Trump Keeps

        A man is known by the company he keeps.  The make-up of Team Trump is known, and as this is written, the trial is under way and by the time it sees the light of day,  may already be over. Nonetheless, is not too late to admire one of the almost members of the trump defense team, two of the well-known members and draw attention to one member who has been sadly overlooked.  It is not that she has not had as illustrious a career as her colleagues.  It is just that it is slightly less newsworthy.

      • ‘The Only One I Didn’t Want Her to Pick’: In Secret Recording, Trump Admits Fear of Clinton Picking Sanders as VP in 2016

        Leaked 2018 audio recording of president was released by legal team of Lev Parnas, close associate of Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. “You know, [Sanders] basically says we’re getting screwed on trade,” said Trump. “And he’s right.”

      • Up Six Points as Buttigieg and Biden Stall, Sanders Takes Commanding Lead in New Iowa Poll

        The new Times poll showed Sanders with 25 percent of the Iowa vote and 40 percent of support from those under 30 in the state.

      • Rep. Jerry Nadler: Trump a ‘Dictator’ Whose Behavior ‘Has No Analog’ in US History

        The New York Democrat’s accusation came a day after he said Trump’s behavior “puts even President Nixon to shame.”

      • Why the Primaries Matter

        The tired cliché that ‘this election is the most important ever’ is given weight this go-around by the seeming inability of American governance to solve problems with potentially catastrophic consequences. Marketers for the establishment parties claim the same old same old, that their alleged opponents are the problem and that they are the solution. But an increasingly disaffected polity isn’t buying it. As argued below, a self-perpetuating oligarchy is inviting political instability through its unwillingness to even feign a public interest.

      • Trump Lawyers Argue Democrats Just Want to Overturn Election

        President Donald Trump’s lawyers plunged into his impeachment trial defense Saturday by accusing Democrats of striving to overturn the 2016 election, arguing that investigations of Trump’s dealings with Ukraine have not been a fact-finding mission but a politically motivated effort to drive him from the White House.

      • Pompeo Lashes Out at Journalist; NPR Defends Its Reporter

        Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lashed out in anger Saturday at an NPR reporter who accused him of shouting expletives at her after she asked him in an interview about Ukraine. In a direct and personal attack, America’s chief diplomat said the journalist had “lied” to him and he called her conduct “shameful.”

      • For Corporate Media, Bernie Sanders Is Bigger Threat Than Donald Trump

        Tarring Sanders with the same brush as Trump on any grounds is a tactic clearly intended to discredit Sanders among the anti-Trump public.

      • ‘If Truth Doesn’t Matter, We’re Lost’: Watch Rep. Adam Schiff’s 9-Minute Closing Argument on Why Senate Must Remove Trump

        “You know you can’t trust this president to do what’s right for this country. You can trust he will do what’s right for Donald Trump. He’ll do it now. He’s done it before.”

      • Democrats Focus Day 2 of Trial on Trump’s ‘Dangerous’ Abuse

        Pressing through a second day of impeachment arguments, House Democrats scoffed at President Donald Trump’s claims that he had good reasons for pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political foes.

      • An Open Letter to the Green Party for 2020

        As the 2020 presidential election approaches the Green Party faces the challenge of settling on a platform, choosing a candidate for president, and deciding its campaign strategy. In that context, Howie Hawkins, a contender for Green Party presidential candidate, recently published a clear and cogent essay titled “The Green Party Is Not the Democrats’ Problem.” It represents a precedent Green Party stance which may guide Green campaign policy. We agree with much, but find some ideas very troubling.

      • Progressives Want to Beat More Than Just Trump

        What follows is a conversation between the Working Family Party’s Maurice Mitchell, activist Jennifer Epps-Addison and Jaisal Noor of The Real News Network. Read a transcript of their conversation below or watch the video at the bottom of the post.

      • ‘Conspiracy theories’: What Americans and Russians reveal about themselves in the stories they tell about each other

        In recent years, we’ve witnessed a strange convergence of Russian and American conspiratorial thinking. They’re talking about each other again in Moscow and Washington, often spinning stories that aren’t exactly rooted in facts. Whether it’s Russiagate in the United States or color revolution in Russia and countries across the former Soviet Union, diabolical plots are afoot.

      • A Letter From Iowa

        “Sanders is a Threat”

      • Law Professor: Trump Could Also Have Been Impeached for War Crimes, Assassinations, and Corruption

        “The Democratic managers, the House managers, have laid out a meticulous case for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.”

      • Unequal Justice: Call Trump to Testify at His Impeachment Trial

        None of the potential witnesses identified by Democrats could offer evidence as relevant as the President on his motives in dealing with Zelensky and ordering a hold on American aid.

      • Chris Hedges: Democrats Have No Moral Authority on Impeachment
      • ‘Take Her Out’: Recording Reveals Trump Demanding Ouster of Yovanovitch Directly to Parnas—Man He Claims Not to Know

        “Why is POTUS, who has the power to remove ambassadors, conspiring with goons to do so?”

      • Consortium News sues for libel over claims it aided “Russian disinformation” campaign against Canada
    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • US v. Sineneng-Smith: Does Immigration Law Trump Free Speech?

        Are you free to express your opinions? The First Amendment says yes, but 8 US Code § 1324 says no. A case currently before the US Supreme Court, United States v. Sineneng-Smith, will presumably clarify the matter, hopefully in favor of free speech.

      • Twitter Asks Judge To Dismiss Devin Nunes’ Frivolous Lawsuit Via Section 230

        It’s kind of incredible that Devin Nunes’ first frivolous, censorial lawsuit is still going on — but it is. This is the one against two satirical Twitter accounts that made fun of Nunes, as well as political strategist Liz Mair and Twitter the company itself. Twitter had tried to get the case dismissed on jurisdictional grounds, saying the case belonged in California, but that failed. Now Twitter has played the next obvious card: saying that Section 230 of the CDA prevents Nunes from suing it over the satirical accounts. Tragically, the Fresno Bee has not posted the actual legal filings, and they’re in a state court that does not make them easily accessible to the public, so I don’t have the full filing yet. Update: The filing is here and embedded below. However, from the Fresno Bee’s account, it appears that Twitter is making a pretty typical CDA 230 argument…

      • French teenager in hiding after insulting Islam online

        The 16-year-old has been advised to stay away from her lycée (sixth-form college) in southeast France after calls on the internet for her to be killed, raped or attacked.

      • Burning Medical Book By Advocate of ‘Islamic Medicine’ Causes Outrage In Iran

        Tabrizian who lives in Qom, the city of seminaries and the religious capital of Iran, has written several books on the so-called Islamic medicine and runs an Islamic Medicine Center. Herbal and natural medicine, as well as other products such as “Islamic toothbrush”, “Islamic soap”, Sormeh (eyeliner made from natural products), and even “Islamic ink” in various colors, are on offer for sale on the website of the Islamic Medicine Center.

        In its statement the seminary management body said Iranian seminaries condemn the “obscene and ignorant” act of burning [Harrison's Textbook of Medicine which is] one of the major medical texts.

      • The Denazified Library

        Public libraries and universities were initially seen in a different light. The Handbook for Military Government, issued in December 1944, had ruled that books in these libraries “not be removed, impounded, or destroyed.” Education and Religious Affairs in particular favored unrestricted access to any library material, drawing a distinction between adult reading and re­quired school textbooks. Through the spring, however, the policy hardened. Local army commanders closed libraries and ordered librarians to halt the circulation of objectionable works, although this effort was haphazard. New guidelines hammered out in June made clear that public libraries were to be brought into line with publishers and booksellers. They required that all forbidden materials be removed from open shelves and placed in secure rooms, available only with the express permission of the military government. Staff members filled out Fragebogen, detailed questionnaires in­tended to reveal Nazi affiliation or beliefs. Library directors were required to sign a certificate stating, “I fully understand that it is my responsibility to see that the library is completely denazified.” Applications to reopen a library certified that “no ardent Nazi will be employed” and no literature circulated that supported Nazi doctrines, militarism, or discrimination on the basis of race, nationality, creed or political opinion. Once approved, military government officers had the authority to reopen noncommercial libraries. Similar rules applied to university libraries. Academic librarians segregated objectionable volumes in rooms that could be used only by au­thorized researchers. Into the fall of 1945, these materials were largely works by prominent Nazi authors or those with explicit militaristic ide­ology, such as Clausewitz’s On War or biographies of Bismarck.

      • Missouri bill proposes ‘parental library review boards’ that could land librarians in jail

        The bill would ban libraries that receive state funding from allowing minors access to “age-inappropriate sexual material.” To identify what that content is, the bill would include the creation of “parental library review boards” made up of five locally elected community members. The boards would then review what content it considers appropriate.

      • Proposed Book Banning Bill in Missouri Could Imprison Librarians

        The bill — the Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act or House Bill 2044 — aims to add several provisions to the state’s funding law for public libraries. These new provisions establish “parental library review boards” that would evaluate whether any library materials constitute “age-inappropriate sexual material.” Members of these five-member boards, who would be elected at a town meeting by a simple majority of voters, are empowered to determine whether material is appropriate, including by evaluating its literary merit. Public librarians are explicitly barred by the statute from serving on such review boards, even if they are from the community.

        “This is a shockingly transparent attempt to legalize book banning in the state of Missouri,” said James Tager, deputy director of Free Expression Research and Policy at PEN America. “This act is clearly aimed at empowering small groups of parents to appoint themselves as censors over their state’s public libraries. Books wrestling with sexual themes, books uplifting LGBTQIA+ characters, books addressing issues such as sexual assault—all of these books are potentially on the chopping block if this bill is passed.”

      • SmileDirectClub Is Trying To Silence Criticism By Tying Refunds To Non-Disparagement Agreements

        The New York Times has noticed a company with the word “smile” in its name really isn’t all that friendly. Nearly 2 years ago, SmileDirectClub sent legal threats to Gizmodo after a post discussing the potential drawbacks of getting your teeth fixed over the internet was published under the title “You Could Fuck Up Your Mouth With SmileDirectClub.”

      • Victory! Lawsuit Challenging FOSTA Reinstated by Court

        SAN FRANCISCO–A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of FOSTA, a federal law that has driven marginalized communities and speech about sex and sex work offline, was reinstated today in a court ruling that recognizes the statute poses a substantial threat to free speech.The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that two plaintiffs in the lawsuit—brought by Woodhull Freedom Foundation, Human Rights Watch, Alex Andrews, the Internet Archive, and Eric Koszyk to block enforcement of the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA)—had “standing” to pursue their constitutional challenge to the statute. The lawsuit argues that the act expansively criminalizes online speech related to sex work and removes important protections for online intermediaries in violation of their First Amendment rights. The plaintiffs are represented by EFF, Davis, Wright Tremaine LLP, Walters Law Group, and Daphne Keller.“We are pleased the court recognized that the law’s undefined and vague terms can sweep up constitutionally protected speech and potentially lead to federal, state, and local criminal prosecution, as well as civil liability,” said EFF Staff Attorney Aaron Mackey. “The court’s ruling recognizes that plaintiffs face a substantial threat of broad criminal and civil liability merely for speaking online or hosting forums that support sex workers.”FOSTA makes it a felony to use or operate an online service with the intent to “promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person,” vague terms with wide-ranging meanings that can include speech that makes sex work easier in any way. FOSTA also expanded the scope of other federal laws on sex trafficking to include online speech, and reduced statutory immunities previously provided under  Section 230 (47 U.S.C. § 230).

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Waiting for Justice in New Jersey

        Ask 100 New Jersey residents who is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and more than 90 will quickly reply, a civil rights leader.

      • Our Dire Need for “Creative Extremists”—MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
      • Disabled People Are Tortured in Solitary Confinement, But Tides May Be Turning

        Charlene Liberty, a woman with a history of childhood trauma and mental health diagnoses, has cycled in and out of Rhode Island Adult Corrections Institute (ACI) for several years. The Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RIDOC) has repeatedly subjected her to solitary confinement, a practice that consists of sensory deprivation, social isolation, and eating, sleeping, urinating and defecating in a concrete cell for 22 to 24 hours a day. During solitary “recreation” time in Rhode Island and many other states, people may spend an hour in outdoor cages that resemble oversized dog crates.

      • Activists Plan Boycott of US Companies Backing India’s Anti-Muslim Policies

        Activists from South Asian caste and religious minority communities are coming together to organize against Indian American businesses that support India’s move to strip its 200 million Muslims of their citizenship.

      • Watching Star Wars in Berlin

        It doesn’t take massive expenditures of imagination to see—and hear—the Star Wars trilogies as an allegory of American movie might, that crucial branch of the imperial project. Clandestine operations have their place, but sometimes the Watchdog of Democracy just wants to be watched—by millions on screens big and small.

      • Isabel dos Santos and Africa’s Lumpen-Bourgeoisie

        Thirty years ago, I was part of a Tecnica delegation that visited the African National Congress headquarters in Lusaka, Zambia. We were there to discuss the feasibility of a technical aid project for the ANC and the frontline states with Thabo Mbeki, the future president of post-apartheid South Africa. Back then, the term frontline referred to a group of other sub-Saharan nations that were also fighting for liberation.

      • FBI, King and the Tremors of History

        Nothing like trying to rewrite history.

      • Is Our Right to Peaceful Protest Disappearing?

        More and more, we are seeing examples of this freedom of expression being criminalized.

      • The Department of Life Except For, You Know, Brown Kids In Cages, Poor People, Mass Shooting Victims, Jews/Muslims/Atheists, Women Who Want Control Over Their Own Bodies and Other Malcontents
      • The Camp by the Lake

        The Japanese-Americans, both citizens and immigrants, living in Hood River, Oregon were given seven days’ notice that they were going to be “evacuated” from their homes. They were told to pack their belongings into one bag and assemble at the Union Pacific train station on the morning of May 13, 1942. They had no idea where they were going, how long they would be detained or what would happen to their property and businesses while they were imprisoned.

      • Globalizing the War on Indigenous People: Bolsonaro and Modi

        A man who has repeatedly romanticized dictatorship and advocated the use of torture seems like an odd choice for guest of honor at the annual celebration of the constitution in the biggest democracy in the world. However, it makes perfect sense that Brazil’s notorious President, Jair Bolsonaro, has been invited to India’s Republic Day parade by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

      • Trump to Issue New Rule Restricting Visas for Pregnant Women in Latest Attack on Most Vulnerable

        “If you think this won’t be used to blatantly discriminate against immigrants based on gender and age, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.”

      • Bernie Sanders Was Right to Talk About Wage Slavery. We Should Talk About It, Too.

        It is natural to think there is something deeply unfree about work in the contemporary United States. Describing her job in an Amazon warehouse, journalist Emily Guendelsberger writes, “I walked up to sixteen miles a day to keep up with the rate at which I was supposed to pick orders. A GPS-enabled scanner tracked my movements and constantly informed me how many seconds I had left to complete my task.” A man employed at a different facility said he found pervasive surveillance and inhuman speed “so soul-sucking I found myself nearly crying in my car right before I was supposed to walk in.”

      • Police under fire for displaying journalist’s Hong Kong ID card during live stream again

        On Sunday, the Stand News journalist in question was being searched by officers in Admiralty ahead of a protest rally in Chater Garden. During the search, an officer displayed the identity card in front of a camera for around a minute as the reporter live-streamed.

        The journalist then used his phone to conduct a second live stream. Another officer took his phone and broke the device’s screen.

      • Woman ‘Brutally’ Beaten in Mississippi Prison Died Because Officials Failed To Give Her Medical Care, Lawsuit Alleges

        “During the course of this unconstitutional assault, not one single jail guard or official attempted to stop the attack, intercede to prevent further abuse or offer medical assistance to Ms. Rathmann after she was obviously seriously injured or dead,” reads the lawsuit.

      • ‘Marry-your-rapist’ bill to be introduced by lawmakers in Turkey

        United Nations agencies warned the bill would generate a landscape of impunity for child abuse and leave victims vulnerable to experiencing additional mistreatment and distress from their assailants.

      • No Religion Prescribes Use Of Loudspeakers For Worshipping: Allahabad HC Declines Mosques’ Request To Install Loudspeaker For Azaan [Read Judgment]

        Stating that no religion prescribes the use of loudspeakers for worshipping, the Allahabad High Court declined the permission sought by two mosques to install loudspeakers, for the purposes of Azaan.

        “No religion prescribes or preaches that prayers are required to be performed through voice amplifiers or by beating of drums and if there is such practice, it should not adversely affect the rights of the others including that of not being disturbed,” division bench of Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Vipin Chandra Dixit held.

      • Nigerian pastor who praised God in ransom video beheaded after refusing to deny Christ

        Andimi was not the only Christian leader reported to have been killed in Adamawa state this week.

      • Biggest swimming pool in Russia’s Muslim south bans women, causing outcry

        The Anzhi Arena spa-complex near Makhachkala, the capital of the internal Russian republic of Dagestan, announced its policy change on the Instagram social media platform on Monday.

        “From Jan. 20 onwards attendance of the pool is open only to men,” it said.

      • New Report Offers Blueprint for a ‘Clean Slate’ for Workers to Fight Economic Inequality and Strengthen Labor Unions

        “Democracy at work should be a right, not a fight.”

      • India’s Failed Democracy
      • I’ve Seen Firsthand the Heartbreak of ICE Detention. This Must End.

        Five hours into the dark, rainy drive, Ana Hernandez and Edwin Loredo laugh about how they’ve never seen the sun in Georgia. It’s their third trip in as many months, and every time, it storms the whole way — nearly nine hours — from their home in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

      • Comes Now the Winter of Our Discontent

        If we look to history for direction in these difficult times of hyper-partisan divisions, we might take comfort in the admonition of James Madison, who wrote during the Constitutional Convention that the Senate should serve as “a necessary fence” to protect “the people against their rulers.”

        While Madison and Paine directed their words toward the tyranny of the English monarchy — and the depredations and sufferings it leveled upon its colony in the new world — it’s impossible to ignore their applicability to Trump’s wildly authoritarian excesses and disdain for the laws, institutions, and the system of checks and balances upon which our nation was founded.

        Those who have been following the progress of only the third presidential impeachment in 232 years would be absolutely correct to point out that the Senate’s Republican Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, has already foolishly blurted out that under his dubious “leadership” the Republican majority in the Senate would be acting in concert with the White House.

        In essence, McConnell has already broken his oath to render “impartial justice” which was administered by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John G. Roberts, and signed by every senator. How, one might credibly ask, can someone who says they will coordinate their actions with the accused sit as an impartial jury during Trump’s impeachment trial?

        Make no mistake, the eyes of history are upon the nation’s capital and will remain there for weeks to come. When Rep. Adam Schiff delivered the articles of impeachment last week he read them aloud on the Senate floor, saying: “President Trump warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.” Schiff, who has been repeatedly insulted by Trump, added the president has “demonstrated he will remain a threat to national security and the constitution if he is allowed to remain in office.”

      • Outrage as GOP Lawmakers Push Trump to Intensify Attacks on Women With Broadened Global Gag Rule

        “This proposal by a group of infamously anti-woman, anti-choice Congress members is egregious to say the least.”

      • U.S. Imposes Visa Rules for Pregnant Women on ‘Birth Tourism’

        The Trump administration on Thursday published new visa rules aimed at restricting “birth tourism,” in which women travel to the United States to give birth so their children can have U.S. citizenship.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Comcast Says It Will Respond To Cord Cutting In 2020 With…More Price Hikes

        Cord cutting continued to set records in 2019 despite years of cable and broadcast executives trying to claim the trend wasn’t actually happening. Now that they’re finally acknowledging the threat is real, many of these same executives are doubling down on the kind of behavior that brought them to this point in the first place.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • See you later, Sonos: Meet the open-source audio system that would perhaps perhaps no longer ever die

        This week, Sonos launched — after which therefore retracted — that it would perhaps perchance ruin-of-life a assortment of popular audio streaming products made by the corporate at some level of its first 10 years in alternate.

        Sonos had made up our minds to complete improve on yarn of these first-skills products lack sufficient processing vitality and storage to accommodate contemporary aspects.

        Regardless that there delight in been many enhancements in presents, miniaturization, and general efficiency, loudspeaker skills has no longer fundamentally changed since its introduction in the 1920s. Offered that they’re no longer inclined outside their efficiency specifications, the drivers and cones can closing a long time. Diverse elements inner speakers encompass magnets constituted of ferrous and uncommon earth presents that attain no longer expire.

      • So long, Sonos: Meet the open-source audio system that will never die

        Sonos had decided to end support because these first-generation products lack sufficient processing power and storage to accommodate new features.

        Although there have been many improvements in materials, miniaturization, and overall performance, loudspeaker technology has not fundamentally changed since its introduction in the 1920s. Provided that they aren’t used outside their performance specifications, the drivers and cones can last decades. Other components inside speakers include magnets made out of ferrous and rare earth materials that do not expire.

        In addition to solid-state MOSFET-based signal amplifiers, self-powered speakers also contain transformers, which are made of solid cores of metal wound with fine conductive wire. Updates to transformer technology in recent years include Gallium Nitride (GaN), which reduces heat and overall footprint. These components, particularly MOSFETs do not “go bad” unless they are abused, such as being subjected to high temperatures, very high voltages, or transient power spikes, which can be mitigated by a simple surge suppressor or power conditioner.

    • Monopolies

      • Book review: The Innovation Society and Intellectual Property [Ed: This book's title contains an error. It's a lie and a misleading propaganda term of the litigation zealots and monopolies they work for. Until we abandon or shun this term we cannot have a serious, facts-based debate.]

        This latest volume is edited by Prof. Josef Drexl (Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition) and Prof. Anselm Kamperman Sanders (Maastricht University).

        The title of the book was chosen as the theme of the two EIPIN conferences in 2015 (one in Maastricht and the other one in Munich).

      • Patents

        • Software Patents

          • Webinar on Patent Eligibility and Section 101 Update [Ed: Some law or litigation firms still trying to enforce fake patents such as algorithm patents in the US]

            McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP will be offering a live webinar entitled “Patent Eligibility and Section 101 Update” on February 18, 2020 from 10:00 am to 11:15 am (CT). In this presentation, MBHB attorney and Patent Docs author Michael Borella will provide an update on all fronts, and synthesize disparate threads into a cohesive set of best practices for handling 101 issues in patent prosecution in particular. The webinar will focus on software, business methods, and other technologies that relate to the “abstract idea” exception, though the issues and recommendations do cross over into the life sciences fields as well.

      • Copyrights

        • Reminder: Our Public Domain Game Jam Of 1924 Works Has One More Week

          Here’s a quick reminder that we’re running a Gaming Like It’s 1924 game jam, asking people to come up with both digital and analog games using newly public domain works from 1924. While the US spent decades not allowing any new works into the public domain, that changed last year (finally!), and now we’re slowly getting works into the public domain drip by drip. But what good is a public domain if it’s not used to inspire new creative works? So, as we did last year, we’re running this contest for the month of January. All the rules are at the link above, but there are lots of great tools and templates out there for anyone wanting to try their hand at creating something.

        • Don’t Write Copyright Law in Secret

          We’re taking part in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of copyright law and policy, addressing what’s at stake and what we need to do to make sure that copyright promotes creativity and innovation.

          The United States is the world’s chief exporter of copyright law. With recent news that President Trump is expected to sign the US Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement next week, we’re one step closer to Canada being forced to align with the US copyright duration to life of the author plus 70 years, keeping important works from being able to enter the public domain for another 20 years.

        • As We Get Closer And Closer To The EU Requiring ContentID Everywhere, More Abuses Of ContentID Exposed

          EU member states are getting ready to implement Article 17 of the EU Copyright Directive, which will more or less force every platform that hosts any user-generated content, to either license every damn thing (impossible) or to put in place a tool like ContentID, that automatically spots and takes down “infringing” content. Despite the fact that Google spent over $100 million on its ContentID and competitive offerings (mainly Audible Magic) are quite expensive, defenders of this plan kept insisting that those filters work. Plenty of people have pointed out that they don’t work very well at all, and it’s even worse than just leading to legitimate content being taken down. Having such a tool, means that it will be abused.

        • Swedish Court Issues ‘Dynamic’ Pirate Bay Blocking Order

          Sweden’s Patent and Market Court has ruled that Internet provider Telia must block access to several large pirate sites. The order, which targets The Pirate Bay, Dreamfilm, FMovies, and NyaFilmer, was requested by several Hollywood studios. It is the first dynamic blocking order in Sweden, allowing the rightsholders to expand the blocklist when new URLs pop up.

        • Russia’s Anti-Piracy Deal to Delete Content From Search Engines Extended Until 2021

          The ground-breaking anti-piracy deal signed by Russia-based content and Internet platforms in 2018 will not be written into local law any time soon. The agreement, which sees search engines voluntarily delete allegedly-infringing links, was supposed to be formalized in recent months but in the face of complexities and parliament being tied up with other things, will now be extended until 2021.

        • Internet Provider RCN Asks Court to Dismiss Piracy Liability Lawsuit

          US-based Internet provider RCN has asked a New Jersey federal court to drop the piracy liability lawsuit several major music companies filed against it last year. The ISP stresses that it’s not responsible for copyright infringements allegedly committed by its customers. Among other things, RCN argues that the underlying piracy notifications lack credibility.

        • Rivendell Has Now Sent Half a Billion DMCA Takedown Requests to Google

          This week anti-piracy company Rivendell made history by reporting its 500 millionth infringing URL to Google. Speaking with TorrentFreak, the founder of Rivendell and sister company LeakID says that his team works closely with Google and finds the search giant very cooperative and helpful. He credits pirates for being resourceful but loves finding ways to “outsmart” them.

        • YouTube Streamer Hit With Demonetization Over Copyright Claims To Numbers ’36′ And ’50′

          We’ve long had discussions about how wide open for abuse and error YouTube’s copyright and demonetization practices are. Between the hamfisted method by which the accused is treated as guilty from the get go, to the impossibility of doing large-scale policing like this in a way that’s even moderately good, to the avenue for abuse that all of this creates, the fact is that YouTube’s stance on copyright is a mess. The end result of all of this is that creators on YouTube operate in constant peril of having their accounts suspended or video revenues taken by others with the recourse for fraud and error being convoluted and lengthy. For a site that is in the business of content creation, that’s a real problem.

MIT and Microsoft Have Done Nothing to Actually Tackle Pedophilia and Ephebophilia

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Microsoft at 10:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

They just seeded some face-saving press releases through publishers/operatives who are media partners (as if words can substitute action)

Why listen to victims? You can manipulate the media instead
MIT continues taking money from some of the worst abusers (facilitators of pedophilia and ephebophilia)

Summary: MIT never actually resolved the issue that caused Joi Ito, Richard Stallman and others to be ejected; Microsoft meanwhile continues to profit from life-changing abuse (while seeding puff pieces in friendly media, just to pretend otherwise)

THIS INTERLUDE-type post does not directly relate to our series about Bill Gates, which has occupied a lot of our time (and behind-the-scenes efforts) lately. The series did, however, attract a number of sources who are victims. We collaborate behind the scenes as our investigation and fact-checking endeavors move forward. Of course we use encryption.

“We collaborate behind the scenes as our investigation and fact-checking endeavors move forward.”A recent theme in IRC (very/most lately) is that Microsoft’s Bing gained from pedophilia and when forced to put an end to it much market share was lost. This was mentioned as recently as yesterday by a former Microsoft MVP (Ryan). Mainstream media currently reports aggressive strategies of Microsoft/Bing as the market share diminishes. Many pieces were published about this in recent days, e.g. “Microsoft will never win the search engine wars by forcing people to use Bing” (Microsoft tries to do just that; details in our Daily Links).

The above-mentioned sources who are victims took note of Microsoft’s horrible stance when it comes to these matters.

“The above-mentioned sources who are victims took note of Microsoft’s horrible stance when it comes to these matters.”“Gates, Microsoft, et al. has come up consistently as people who profiteer off myriad surveillance of underage kids and exposing them to an unprecedented scale of predation,” one victim told me. “As more of Epstein’s connections and investments in tech come to light, we are both very invested in making sure the tech infrastructure that supported him is ripped out… we’ve been tracking use of digital technology for pedophilia and ephebophilia for many years…”

“We looked through some of those today and are planning on reviewing in more depth in the coming days,” she carried on. “Absolutely fucking disgusted with Bill Gates as per usual…”

“MIT ended up punishing people for merely receiving MIT funds from offenders or for making excuses for Minsky (if he is guilty at all, it’s all posthumous and his surviving wife denies everything).”As we await the next installment from the police (hopefully actual documents) we remain concerned that progress is far too slow. It’s being slowed down by the police itself. For background, (re)visit part one, part two, part three and part four. The fifth part and the sixth part speak about the role of the media and the seventh part — along with part 8 — speak of the latest progress we’ve made.

We wish to make very stern clarifications upfront; we never defended what Richard Stallman had said. Speaking for myself, I don’t share his views on sexuality. Au contraire — I repeatedly distanced myself from views he had expressed on the subject of consent age. I even condemned these views (things he said years ago about pedophilia and some of what he said about Minsky). Stallman has his own views, which differ from mine. He has a site where he expresses his own views. His words regarding consent age, for example, aren’t good; they’re not good at all. The things he said years ago were a lot worse and he has since then retracted those — not that it helps entirely because people can doubt the sincerity of the retractions.

“Not many (or enough) people are aware that Bill Gates’ maternal side of the family (the Maxwells) — set aside his powerful paternal side — is rooted in the State Senator and a large bank (there’s ample literature on this topic).”What’s wrong is the way this Minsky scandal (or Stallman and his old views etc.) were tailored if not designed to distract from the real/bigger MIT scandals and let off the hook the actual, direct offenders. MIT ended up punishing people for merely receiving MIT funds from offenders or for making excuses for Minsky (if he is guilty at all, it’s all posthumous and his surviving wife denies everything). At the behest of self-interested parties, MIT protected money and power (and itself or its donors), not women or children. It was grotesque.

Based on the mainstream media, ephebophilia and rape of teens were all too common among people directly connected to the top of Microsoft (top-level executives) and corporate media/publishers ought to do more, e.g. to at least speak about it. Microsoft pays them (e.g. advertising budget), so it’s not difficult to understand some reluctance to deal with it; the editors just pass over the subject. What we’ve all along deplored was the media’s (and MIT’s) inability to actually hold the worst offenders accountable, maybe because they too are MIT donors. Maybe because they’re well-connected. Gates isn’t just wealthy but also highly politically connected all around the world. Not many (or enough) people are aware that Bill Gates’ maternal side of the family (the Maxwells) — set aside his powerful paternal side — is rooted in the State Senator and a large bank (there’s ample literature on this topic). This side of the family played a considerable role in getting Bill the ‘big break’ with IBM. It’s not the hard work or spark of genius, it has a lot to do with connections — connections which have since then only grown stronger and more global/international. How much can these people get away with?


Nothing Has Truly Changed Since Netscape and Antitrust

Posted in Antitrust, Microsoft, Standard at 3:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This kind of thing is all but uncommon

GitHub warns Firefox for iOS isn't supported, and doesn't work (infinite loading, unresponsive buttons). Does anyone have the same issue?

Summary: The same old crimes persist, as well as the blatantly anticompetitive behaviour

When the Monopolists and the Patent Litigation Industry Hijack the News They Control the Narrative

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 2:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hardly independent. They want something in return.

Labiotech patrons

Summary: Money buys perception and litigation firms have certainly ‘bought’ the media coverage, which fails to convey the issue at stake and instead paints a rational court decision as tragedy for “innovation” (by “innovation” they mean monopolies on nature and on life)

THE SEEMINGLY ENDLESS MEDIA CHEERLEADING for the UPC — and deliberately false predictions — have long amused or entertained us. Sure, lies can be rather obnoxious, but we chose to approach it all with humour, including lots of memes and jokes. Team UPC didn’t appreciate the funny side of it because its sociopathic members lack a sense of humour and honesty. They see truth-telling as scorn or ridicule.

Each years for about half a decade they’ve been telling us that the UPC would come the following year.

“Without UK participation the UPC itself is doomed, but never mind those ‘pesky’ facts.”At the end it was, as usual, proven false. The UPC is buried and this new comment has just said: “Brexit is starting to show its effect. And there are still people thinking that UK might be participating in the UPC. Time to give up this dream…..”

Without UK participation the UPC itself is doomed, but never mind those ‘pesky’ facts.

Desperate for a miracle, António Campinos did a photo op earlier this month, akin to this one of Battistelli and CIPA. We reproduce it below.

CIPA meeting with Stephen Jones

Compare it to this month’s Campinos photo op, begging for UPC in defiance of constitutions and many other things. Did anything at all change at the European Patent Office (EPO)? Not really. The main difference is, the media became indifferent and uncaring for EPO staff. EPO bribes and threats (directed at the media) played a role. A lot of the media is corruptible and EPO ‘slush funds’ just ‘took care of that…’

“Compare it to this month’s Campinos photo op, begging for UPC in defiance of constitutions and many other things.”It’s pretty astounding when one looks for patent news in 2020. There’s virtually nothing but press releases and statements by law firms. There’s no journalism. Almost none left.

Promoted through Mondaq by John Leeming (J A Kemp LLP, proponents of all the bad things that promote excess litigation and monopolisation) was this piece with overview of software patent cases and related cases, offering tricks for getting software patents in Europe. This is what he wrote about the upcoming T 0489/14, which might as well demonstrate that many if not all software patents granted by the EPO are junk:

2019 has been another busy year for the EPO Boards of Appeal covering computer-implemented inventions, although the most significant case has not reached a conclusion. In T 0489/14 (Pedestrian simulation/CONNOR) of 22.2.2019 questions relating to the patentability of simulations and modelling were referred to the Enlarged Board of Appeal, which has not yet set a timetable for a hearing and decision. Although the questions asked are primarily related to the narrow field of simulation of physical systems, it is possible that the answers given could have a broader impact by affecting what is considered technical.

As has been the case for many years now, the definition of “technical” remains the most significant unanswered question in this field. However, progress has been made, with several decisions developing the approach to separating technical and non-technical features by reference to the “notional business person” first expounded in Cardinal Commerce (T 1463/11) and some other decisions analysing the circumstances in which non-technical features may be considered to contribute to a technical effect.


This case is discussed in more detail in our briefing here. At the time of writing, a board has been appointed and numerous amicus curiae briefs have been filed, along with invited comments from the President of the EPO. However no timetable for oral proceedings or a decision has been set.

The majority of the amicus curiae briefs and the comments from the President of the EPO are supportive of the existing case law: that simulation or modelling of a specific technical or physical system is patentable, that the simulation has to be based on scientific or technical principles and that the same applies if the simulation is part of a design process. However, there is no guarantee that the Enlarged Board will follow this approach and previous Enlarged Boards have rewritten the questions they have been asked. It is possible therefore that the Enlarged Board will give a decision that has ramifications beyond the field of simulation.

Having said that simulation or modelling of a technical system or process is usually patentable, T 2677/16 (Drug target/QIAGEN) is a case where it was not. In this case, the purpose of the method was “identifying a drug discovery target”. A drug target is a molecule in the body, usually a protein or a gene, that is associated with a particular disease process, and could theoretically be targeted by a drug to treat the disease by interrupting the disease-related metabolic pathway. The examining division considered that the potential to produce a therapeutic effect was a sufficient technical purpose but rejected the application for lacking inventive step for not achieving that purpose. The board however held this unduly broadens the concept of a technical purpose to encompass any scientific endeavour in medicine, observing that a “drug target is not a therapy: it has no therapeutic effect, but is merely a promising direction for future research.” Thus the invention was considered to be about making discoveries, which are not patentable.


The EPO recognises the claim categories method, apparatus and product (often created by the method or apparatus) and usually considers a claim to a “system” to be apparatus (hardware). However in T 1499/17 (Pathway recognition/UC) board 3.5.05 observed that ‘claims for an “ecosystem” are unheard of. An “ecosystem” neither has an established meaning in the relevant art nor can be construed as an apparatus solely because it has the word “system” as a sub-string.’

In T 1125/17 (Parallelizing computation graphs/AB INITIO) board 3.5.06 commented, obiter, that a “computation graph meant to be executed is, essentially, a computer program.” However, the fact that such a graph may be “easier to parallelise” does not provide a “further” technical effect in the absence of a parallel execution platform in the claim. The mere potential for a speed-up by parallelization was not sufficient.

A common issue in some fields of technology is whether a claimed invention provides a technical effect across the entire scope of the claim. This issue rarely arises in the software field but two cases raised similar issues in 2019. T 2223/15 (User-configurable multi-function key entry timeout/Doro) and T 1882/17 (Malware detection/QUALCOMM) refused cases for not demonstrating that a technical effect “is credibly achieved over essentially the whole scope of protection sought”.

In T 1164/15 (Printer colorant usage/IPC) the application was rejected because ‘the claimed printer controller is defined solely as a “black box” rather than specifying its essential properties for actually finding an optimised trade-off’.

All the above are computer programs, but the lawyers try really hard to find ways to justify these. They don’t care what the law actually says, only what their clients want.

“They don’t care what the law actually says, only what their clients want.”And speaking of these patently dishonest law firms, watch what the law firm Novagraaf has just published. The piece by Oliver Harris (“Lessons from CRISPR: Getting your European priorities straight”) has just been boosted in Lexology — possibly for a fee — and the piece is making it sound like a mere formality — something to be easily overcome by tricks — was the reason CRISPR patents are rejected. But no, the lesson is that CRISPR patents are junk and worthless, hence should not be pursued anymore.

Harris is not a journalist; his boss is a patent maximalist, so he said: “In a somewhat dramatic twist, the Board of Appeal indicated during the oral proceedings that it might refer the matter of priority to the EPO’s Enlarged Board of Appeal, only to decide a day later that it could deal with that matter without such a referral. Ultimately, the Board re-affirmed the EPO’s ‘all applicants’ approach to valid priority entitlement, whereby all applicants of a priority filing, or their successors in title, must be named as applicants on a later case, for that later case to validly claim priority to the priority filing.”

“Nature is simply not an invention.”It was not exactly a “dramatic twist” and the reason oppositions succeeded against such patents was their ludicrous nature. Patents ought not be granted on nature. Nature is simply not an invention. Modifying it a little does not make it a human invention, either.

On at least 4 occasions (4 articles) we’ve taken note/stock of the very poor level/quality of press coverage. It was surreal!

What happened to journalism? Is it unofficially over in 2020?

This morning we saw another example of this trend. A site called Labiotech issued this “press release” (that’s how it was labeled!) under its “CRISPR” section to say something (mis)labeled in the headline “Analysis” (spin would be the proper term). To quote:

A decision from the Boards of Appeal at the European Patent Office has revoked the claim of the Broad Institute to general patents on CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology, strengthening the position of its opponent UC Berkeley in Europe.

The Broad Institute in Cambridge, US, is one of the main contenders in the ongoing battle for the rights to the intellectual property of CRISPR/Cas9 technology, which is making gene editing easier and faster than ever before. While the Broad Institute has secured CRISPR patents in the US, the European Patent Office (EPO) revoked one of its key patents in 2018.

Now, the Boards of Appeal of the EPO have corroborated this decision. The hearings that took place in Munich last week revolved around the filing date of one of the Broad Institute’s CRISPR patents. The Broad was contending the decision of the EPO that the earlier filing date of a provisional application submitted in the US could not be considered the filing date of its patent application.

So far, so good (the introduction), but then it says “this dispute is affecting many other applications where exclusivity would not be necessary” and quotes talking point from the monopolists, claiming that it somehow harms small companies.

“The situation is paralyzing small companies.”


Then it promotes the patent troll MPEG-LA. To quote: “A solution to this problem would be setting up a patent pool, so that anyone that wants to use the technology can get a single license that covers the IP of all different parties. While the US patent firm MPEG LA has been trying to set up such a patent pool, its efforts have so far not been successful.”

“What happened to journalism? Is it unofficially over in 2020?”A pool of fake patents? Like those patents on maths that MPEG-LA uses to blackmail everyone, leveraging these bogus patents in bulk? This way it’s virtually impossible to wage a legal challenge. Overall, it became a profitable cartel.

The author, Clara Rodríguez Fernández, works only for this site (as far as one can see) and the site is a German “Trade/B2B” firm. It is more like a business front group than a publisher — consistent with the pattern we’ve been noting here for over a week.

“A pool of fake patents? Like those patents on maths that MPEG-LA uses to blackmail everyone, leveraging these bogus patents in bulk? This way it’s virtually impossible to wage a legal challenge.”Aside from the above we’ve also found more self-promotional stuff from law firms. Hours ago we found another new example, this time from DLA Piper.

There was also this paid press release about a new patent grant (drowning out any real journalism about the EPO). To quote:

Kitov Pharma Ltd. (“Kitov”) (NASDAQ/TASE: KTOV), a clinical-stage company advancing first-in-class therapies to overcome tumor immune evasion and drug resistance, today announced receipt from the European Patent Office (EPO) of a Notice of Intention to Grant for its patent application entitled “Combinations of IRS/STAT3 Dual Modulators and Anti-Cancer Agents for Treating Cancer.” The patent, which expires in 2036, covers the treatment of NT-219, the company’s novel dual inhibitor of IRS 1/2 and STAT3, in combination with EGFR antibodies and inhibitors.

One more patent among millions. Is this newsworthy? ResearchAndMarkets are once again reposting their advocacy of software patents to make sales (of seats). It’s a paid press release.

“The money is in litigation and extortion. This means that patent maximalists run the show.”This, believe it or not, pretty much sums up all one can find about the EPO in the news. Still not a single article about the strike vote, not a word about the absurdity of patents on code and nature, not a word about various scandals and blatant corruption of EPO management. Who controls the press? Wrong question. What controls the press? Money. The money is in litigation and extortion. This means that patent maximalists run the show.

Links 25/1/2020: OPNsense 20.1 RC1 and DXVK 1.5.2

Posted in News Roundup at 12:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • TriggerMesh Aims to Orchestrate Serverless Computing on Kubernetes

        TriggerMesh has raised $3 million in additional funding to advance the integration of Kubernetes clusters with serverless computing frameworks. In addition, the company announced it has made available open source integrations between its namesake orchestration for serverless computing frameworks and IBM MQ event sources, VMware vSphere event sources and the Microsoft Azure Event Hub channel controller.

        The TriggerMesh platform provides access to a cloud bus to facilitate application flow orchestration and the consumption of events emanating from any data center application or cloud source. It is designed to trigger serverless functions using a declarative application programming interface (APIs) and a set of tools for defining event flows and functions.

        Company co-founder Mark Hindle says that as IT organizations embrace modern application development platforms, a transition is occurring in terms of how stateless and stateful applications are constructed. Initially, organizations limited container use to building stateless applications. Now, however, many stateless applications are being built using functions that access serverless computing frameworks.


        Unfortunately, serverless computing standards, de facto or otherwise, are a work in progress. Google and its allies are making a case for a set of open source Knative middleware that integrates Kubernetes clusters with any number of open serverless computing frameworks. However, the adoption of open serverless computing frameworks is still relatively nascent. The most widely used serverless computing framework is the proprietary AWS Lambda service. However, the adoption of rival frameworks is expected to increase substantially in 2020—a report published this week by Allied Market Research predicts the global serverless architecture market will reach $22 billion by 2025, representing a compound annual growth rate of 27.8% between 2018 and 2025.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-01-24 | Linux Headlines

        Permissive licenses are on the rise, Open GApps comes to Android 10, Intel unexpectedly joins the CHIPS Alliance, and KDE receives another large donation.

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • NVIDIA Contributes Much Less To The Linux Kernel Than Intel Or AMD

          Yesterday I put together some statistics on the AMD vs. Intel contributions to the upstream Linux kernel during the 2010s, but a request coming in off that was how do NVIDIA’s contributions compare. Here is a look at the NVIDIA contributions to the Linux kernel over the past decade.

          Obviously NVIDIA’s contributions are much less given they are primarily focused on a proprietary graphics driver stack compared to Intel and AMD with their Direct Rendering Manager drivers within the Linux kernel. But NVIDIA does contribute to the Linux kernel: they ultimately upstream their Tegra SoC support and other bits where it makes business sense. While they do not contribute much right now to open-source desktop graphics, they do contribute more to Nouveau where it concerns the Tegra graphics.

        • Nsight Graphics 2020.1 Released With Profiling For Vulkan+OpenGL Interop

          NVIDIA on Thursday introduced Nsight Graphics 2020.1 that to its profiling support can now handle OpenGL + Vulkan interoperability for games/applications making use of both APIs. While not many game engines / apps are yet using the likes of OpenGL 4.6 ARB_gl_spirv, Nsight is ready.

          Beyond profiling support for Vulkan+OpenGL interop, there are other profiling improvements, the Nsight Aftermath SDK is added for generating GPU mini-dumps with DirectX 12 software, and support for new Vulkan extensions. On the Vulkan side is now shader clock support, SPIR-V 1.4, and shader subgroup extended types.

        • Mesa 20.0 Now Defaults To The New Intel Gallium3D Driver For Faster OpenGL

          After missing their original target of transitioning to Intel Gallium3D by default for Mesa 19.3 as the preferred OpenGL Linux driver on Intel graphics hardware, this milestone has now been reached for Mesa 20.0!

          We’ve known that the revised Intel goal was Mesa 20.0 but that change-over was looking less likely especially with Mesa 20.0 entering feature freeze next week, but just in time the default change-over from i965 to Iris Gallium3D has happened.

        • Intel’s OpenSWR Rasterizer Starts Seeing Tessellation Support

          OpenSWR is Intel’s software rasterizer driver developed within Mesa as an alternative to Gallium3D’s LLVMpipe and the slow Softpipe. OpenSWR is designed for delivering good CPU-based OpenGL graphics performance designed for visualization software running on workstations to HPC clusters. Like LLVMpipe, OpenSWR employs LLVM for some of its CPU optimizations.

        • AMD Ryzen 4000 Mobile Series “Renoir” Graphics No Longer Experimental With Linux 5.5

          While the Linux 5.5 kernel is expected to be released as soon as this Sunday, a last minute change to the AMDGPU DRM driver makes the Renoir graphics no longer treated as experimental. With that, there is open-source support out-of-the-box rather than being hidden behind a kernel module flag.

          AMD has been working on the Renoir support for Linux going back to the end of last summer. Renoir was sent in for the Linux 5.4 kernel but initially treated as “experimental” support while now at the end of the Linux 5.5 cycle it’s no longer treated as experimental.

        • Disable Nvidia GPU on the Thinkpad T490

          I wrote about installing Linux on the Lenovo ThinkPad T490 last month and one of the biggest challenges was getting graphics working properly. The T490 comes with an option where you can get a discrete Nvidia MX250 GPU and it packs plenty of power in a small footprint.

        • Intel’s Vulkan Driver Squeezes Another Optimization Into Mesa 20.0

          Patches written two months ago for Intel’s ANV open-source Vulkan driver have now been merged ahead of the imminent Mesa 20.0 feature freeze and branching.

          The work worth mentioning is allowing HiZ in read-only depth layouts. “These layouts don’t mean “sampled” they mean the same thing as DEPTH_STENCIL_OPTIMAL only the client promises to not write the depth or stencil buffer as indicated. Since HiZ depth testing is much faster than non-HiZ depth testing, we really don’t want to disable HiZ for these.”

        • RadeonSI Introduces A Live Shader Cache With Mesa 20.0

          In addition to the AMD RadeonSI Gallium3D driver’s on-disk shader cache and in-memory shader cache there is now a “live shader cache” to help with deduplication of compiled shader objects.

          AMD’s Marek Olšák landed this live shader cache on Friday. The introduction of this new caching level stems from the behavior of when games concert separate D3D shaders into linked GLSL shaders, the same vertex shader is often used with many different fragment shaders. In introducing this live shader cache of the compiled shader objects, for affected titles there should now be fewer resident shaders and fewer shader state changes.

    • Applications

      • Use tmux to create the console of your dreams

        In this series so far, I’ve written about individual apps and tools. Starting today, I’ll put them together into comprehensive setups to streamline things. Starting at the command line. Why the command line? Simply put, working at the command line allows me to access a lot of these tools and functions from anywhere I can run SSH. I can SSH into one of my personal machines and run the same setup on my work machine as I use on my personal one. And the primary tool I’m going to use for that is tmux.

        Most people use tmux for very basic functions, such as opening it on a remote server then starting a process, maybe opening a second session to watch log files or debug information, then disconnecting and coming back later. But you can do so much work with tmux.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • WineD3D Vulkan Back-End Is Back In The Works Following Wine 5.0

        One of the features that didn’t materialize in time for Wine 5.0 as the annual stable Wine release was the work-in-progress Vulkan back-end to WineD3D. Rather than going from Direct3D to OpenGL as WineD3D currently does, there has been efforts to introduce a Vulkan back-end similar to the likes of DXVK.

        The WineD3D Vulkan back-end just began forming in 2019 via CodeWeavers developers. This is at the same time the Wine developers have been working on VKD3D as their solution for Direct3D 12 over Vulkan albeit developed outside of the Wine code-base.

      • Direct 3D to Vulkan translation layer DXVK version 1.5.2 is up, lots of fixes for games

        The DXVK team have released another new version of their Direct 3D 9/10/11 to Vulkan translation layer with 1.5.2 now available.

        Firstly an important note: It requires more up to date drivers again, as they’ve upped the requirements to Vulkan 1.1 support. A good time to go and check, Vulkan 1.1 has been supported in both NVIDIA and Mesa driver for quite some time now so it really shouldn’t be an issue. Why did they up the Vulkan version used? They said the “Vulkan 1.0 fallback path was largely untested and did not always work correctly” and it allowed some code cleaning.

        As for what’s new, on the Direct 3D 9 support side, they added in some “missing D3D9 swap chain functionality” so more games should run including ATi ToyShop demo, Atelier Sophie and Dynasty Warriors 7. There’s also some Direct 3D 9 bug fixes and “minor performance and memory optimizations” so it should run Windows games a bit smoother now.

      • DXVK 1.5.2 Released With Many Game Fixes

        Coming a few weeks past DXVK 1.5.1 is now version 1.5.2 and it brings with it quite a number of improvements.

        First of all, DXVK 1.5.2 now targets the Vulkan 1.1 graphics API (not to be confused with Vulkan 1.2 that was just released). In requiring Vulkan 1.1, the graphics driver requirements are slightly elevated but still not bad at all as late 2017 Mesa drivers and newer are fine and the NVIDIA 390 series or newer. Nearly all Linux gamers should be set with their current drivers unless running quite an outdated distribution.

    • Games

      • Rocket League Will No Longer Be Playable Online on Mac, Linux

        Psyonix announces that it will be ending support for Rocket League on MacOS and Linux. This is the third controversial decision that the developer has made in the last year after fans criticized Psyonix for being purchased by Epic Games and for taking loot boxes out of the game.

      • Psyonix ends Rocket League support for Mac and Linux

        Psyonix has decided to end support for the Mac and Linux versions of Rocket League, saying both platforms combined represent a tiny percentage of its active player base.

      • ‘Rocket League’ loses online multiplayer on Linux and Mac
      • Linux gaming night: Shotgun Farmers – come join tonight

        Tonight, we’ve decided to do something a little different. We’re organising a Linux gaming night and you’re all invited to join us.

        Getting into the whole community spirit thing here, channelling some positive vibes for the Linux gaming community and for a fun indie game that’s quite unique and cheap—let’s play Shotgun Farmers. A good time too, as on Steam right now it’s 30% off making it £4.89 / $6.99 / €5.73.

      • GOG have now launched their own big Lunar Sale with tons of DRM-free of deals

        If Humble Store and Steam didn’t sway you yet, perhaps some DRM-free games from GOG might as they’ve now launched their own big Lunar Sale.

        As this is a very Chinese themed event, GOG have prepared a little “gaming horoscope” page. Since I entered this world in the year of The Dragon, according to GOG I am “confident, intelligent, and enthusiastic” and well suited for RPGs. Can’t really argue with that.

      • Valve’s ACO Shader Compiler Back-End For Radeon Vulkan Is Now In Good Shape For GCN 1.0

        As last minute material for Mesa 20.0 is making Valve’s “ACO” AMD compiler back-end for the RADV Vulkan driver in better shape for GFX6/GCN1.0 graphics hardware.

        Enabling RADV ACO, which was mainlined in Mesa 19.3, can shorten Vulkan shader compiler times and help with overall gaming performance. The results have been compelling and initially was focused on the very recent AMD Radeon graphics cards.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Distributions

      • Patriot OS Provides Revolutionary Computing Convenience

        Peach OSI’s Patriot OS is a “peach” of a Linux distro for any user skill level. It is a great choice for Linux newcomers. It is an even better choice for Linux vets who want something a little different.

        The only thing about this distro that quickly wore thin for me was the Fireworks sound that plays as the system starts. That is easy to turn off, however. Go to Settings -> Session ->Startup -> Application Autostart. Uncheck the box next to Autostart Patriot System Sounds.

        The ample inventory of background images is filled with patriotic scenes. Adding other images is a bit more involved.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Blocking spammers in https://progress.opensuse.org

          But our ticket system is not really planned to become a ticket system: we run Redmine, which originally is intended to be a project management software. The ability to create issues (or tickets, as we call them) in the system by sending an Email was not really intended in the beginning. So the ability to detect and mark Spam Emails as such simply does not exist. Even worse: every Email results in a user, that get’s created automatically, to allow us to send out an Email to this person as answer to his ticket.

          All of this is not really problematic: you learn to deal with it. But with over 14,000 “users” in the database (and over 17,000 real tickets), the system started to become slow. So we invested a bit of our time and looked into the user list. Good for us: most of the Spammers seen to have special days to submit their stuff. And even more interesting: they do it at the same time from multiple accounts!

      • Fedora Family

        • A forum for Flathub

          Flathub is primarily built around GitHub, where applications manifests and infrastructure code live. Unsurprisingly, it turns out that code hosting platform isn’t exactly a go-to place for the community to connect, even if one slaps a discussion label on an issue. Timezones and personal commitments mean that IRC is also not an ideal platform for discussion, and Flathub does not have a mailing list for discussion and announcements.

        • F31-20200122 Updated Live isos released

          The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated F31-20200122 Live ISOs, carrying the 5.4.12-200 kernel.

          This set of updated isos will save considerable amounts of updates after install. ((for new installs.)(New installs of Workstation have 1GB+ of updates)).

          A huge thank you goes out to irc nicks dowdle, Southern-Gentleman for testing these iso.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Teaching Robotics with ROS on Ubuntu at SRU

          This week, as part of my work on the Ubuntu Robotics team, I headed up to Slippery Rock University in northwestern PA to meet with Dr. Sam Thangiah and to introduce students to the Robot Operating System (ROS). New semester, lots of new opportunities for learning!

          We started with a really simple robot environment. Check out this build! This Raspberry Pi runs an Ubuntu 18.04 image which gives it all the built-in LTS security advantages. It’s mounted on piece of plexiglass with two motors and a motor controller board from the PiHut. We worked through about 75 lines of sample python code which hooked the RPi.GPIO library to control the general purpose I/O pins, and we created an abstract Motor class. This got our two-wheeled robot up and running…running right off the table. Oops.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • CircleCI automates Continuous Delivery to multiple clouds

        Modern software development is fast, continuous, and automated. Today, by research company Statista’s count, 88% of organizations are using Agile methods and Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD). Yet there remains one major stumbling block: Moving a freshly minted program from a CI pipeline to delivery to a cloud or other service provider. That’s where DevOps company CircleCI comes in with a new suite of orb integrations with 20 partners such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Salesforce, and others. These enable developers to automate remote deployments in minutes from their CI/CD pipeline.


        CircleCI’s partners are happy with the expansion of orbs. Rayn Veerubhotla, Google Cloud’s Director of Hybrid Partnerships, said: “Google Cloud Run helps developers run stateless containers and focus on writing high-value code, without worrying about the underlying infrastructure. By launching these new tools, CircleCI is enabling developers to further streamline and simplify their experience on Cloud Run, ultimately helping businesses bring new services and products to their customers more quickly.”

        The same is true of all the clouds that orbs are now supporting. If you find your CI/CD team slowed down by final step deployment issues, you should check this new offering out. It could save you time, work, and money.

      • Dfinity launches an open-source platform aimed at the social networking giants

        And to prove out the concept of how an application would run on its new network, Dfinity today demonstrated an open social network called LinkedUp.

        The startup has rather cheekily called this “an open version of LinkedIn,” the Microsoft-owned social network for professionals. Unlike LinkedIn, LinkedUp, which runs on any browser, is not owned or controlled by a corporate entity.

        LinkedUp is built on Dfinity’s so-called Internet Computer, its name for the platform it is building to distribute the next generation of software and open internet services.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox Is Seeing Work On Wayland VA-API Video Acceleration

            Some exciting news this week for Firefox users running on Wayland…

            Martin Stránský of Red Hat who is on the Fedora Firefox team and was involved in bringing up Wayland support on Firefox has worked on an interesting improvement for the browser. Martin this week posted a patch implementing FFmpeg-based VA-API video acceleration for Firefox on Wayland.

            In leveraging the recent Wayland DMA-BUF support within Firefox, it’s finally possible with this patch to have Video Acceleration API (VA-API) GPU-accelerated video decoding within the browser when running natively on Wayland.

          • The Firefox Browser is a privacy nightmare on desktop and mobile

            The Firefox Browser is not as private as you may think – especially on iOS and Android. Mozilla recently announced that they would be allowing any Firefox user a means to request Mozilla to delete stored telemetry data that is tied to said user. Mozilla maintains “strict limits” on how long they store this logged telemetry data, but any duration is too long if the telemetry data can be associated with an individual Firefox browser instance on a particular IP address through a government request. Sure, the collection of this telemetry data can be turned off, but the vast majority of Firefox users are not using Firefox with telemetry turned off, and are therefore incredibly vulnerable.

          • Firefox Team Looks Within to Lead Into the Future

            For Firefox products and services to meet the needs of people’s increasingly complex online lives, we need the right organizational structure. One that allows us to respond quickly as we continue to excel at delivering existing products and develop new ones into the future.

            Today, I announced a series of changes to the Firefox Product Development organization that will allow us to do just that, including the promotion of long-time Mozillian Selena Deckelmann to Vice President, Firefox Desktop.

            “Working on Firefox is a dream come true,” said Selena Deckelmann, Vice President, Firefox Desktop. “I collaborate with an inspiring and incredibly talented team, on a product whose mission drives me to do my best work. We are all here to make the internet work for the people it serves.”


            I’m extraordinarily proud to have such a strong team within the Firefox organization that we could look internally to identify this new leadership team.

            These Mozillians and I, will eventually be joined by two additional team members. One who will head up our Firefox Mobile team and the other who will lead the team that has been driving our paid subscription work. Searches for both roles will be posted.

            Alongside Firefox Chief Technology Officer Eric Rescorla and Vice President, Product Marketing Lindsey Shepard, I look forward to working with this team to meet Mozilla’s mission and serve internet users as we build a better web.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Two alternatives to Microsoft Word that are free and customizable

          If you’re looking for an open-source office suite, LibreOffice is the software package for you. Its word processing program is LibreOffice Writer–which, incidentally, this story was written with, so I can attest to its excellence. You’re able to choose from different fonts and text styles, embed images and figures, and use a variety of other functions you’d expect from its paid competition. It can save files in an Open Document Format (ODF), a number of Word formats, and export your work as a PDF for wide-ranging compatibility.

        • Improved rotated text handling in Writer’s table rows with automatic height

          Writer now has better support for rotated text in tables containing rows with automatic height. This post also presents two related fixes.

          First, thanks Otevřená města who made this work by Collabora possible.


          Before diving into improved rotated text handling, first a continuous section break import problem (tdf#128605) was fixed: this was a case when we created a new page style, but only a new section was intended.

      • BSD

        • GhostBSD 20.01 released, here’s how to upgrade

          The GhostBSD Team announced the release of GhostBSD 20.01. In the official release announcement, GhostBSD Project founder Eric Turgeon said, “I am happy to announce the availability of GhostBSD 20.01 with some improvements made to the installer, mainly improvements to the way the installer UI deals with custom partitions involving GTP and UEFI.” The first iteration of GhostBSD, 1.0, was first released in the FOSS community in March 2010, based on FreeBSD, with the project goal to combine security, privacy, stability, usability, openness, freedom, and to be free.

        • OPNsense 20.1-RC1 Released For Popular BSD-Based Firewall / Routing OS

          The release candidate of OPNsense 20.1 is available this weekend, the FreeBSD/HardenedBSD-based networking/firewall OS that forked from pfSense now a half-decade ago.

          The OPNsense 20.1 release has been working on a variety of security improvements, VXLAN device support, working on the transition to a fully plug-able device infrastructure, plug-in updates, and many other changes.

        • OPNsense 20.1-RC1 released
          Hi there,
          For over 5 years now, OPNsense is driving innovation through modularising
          and hardening the open source firewall, with simple and reliable firmware
          upgrades, multi-language support, HardenedBSD security, fast adoption of
          upstream software updates as well as clear and stable 2-Clause BSD licensing.
          We thank all of you for helping test, shape and contribute to the project!
          We know it would not be the same without you.
          Download links, an installation guide[1] and the checksums for the images
          can be found below as well.
          o Europe: https://opnsense.c0urier.net/releases/20.1/
          o US East Coast: http://mirrors.nycbug.org/pub/opnsense/releases/20.1/
          o US West Coast: https://mirror.sfo12.us.leaseweb.net/opnsense/releases/20.1/
          o South America: http://mirror.upb.edu.co/opnsense/releases/20.1/
          o South-East Asia: https://ftp.yzu.edu.tw/opnsense/releases/20.1/
          o Full mirror list: https://opnsense.org/download/
          Here are the full patch notes against 19.7.9_1:
          o system: support for manually removing static route entries
          o system: migrated logging to MVC
          o system: regenerate default DH parameters
          o system: randomize session ID in test cookie
          o system: remove legacy XMLRPC push on changes
          o system: deprecate the use of services.inc
          o system: opt-out on "Allow DNS server list to be overridden by DHCP/PPP on WAN" for selected interfaces
          o system: increase PHP memory limit to 512 MB
          o system: opnsense-auth can now respond with extended properties in JSON on successful authentication
          o interfaces: loopback device support
          o interfaces: VXLAN device support
          o interfaces: first steps toward fully pluggable device infrastructure
          o interfaces: remove default load of netgraph framework on bootup
          o interfaces: interfaces: move description into top block and rename titles
          o interfaces: only trigger newwanip event for affected interfaces
          o firmware: revoke 19.1, trust 20.1 fingerprint
          o firmware: new mirror in Zurich, CH contributed by ServerBase AG
          o firmware: add live search to mirror selection
          o dhcp: add OMAPI configuration support (contributed by Yuri Moens)
          o ipsec: add configurable dpdaction (contributed by  Marcel Menzel)
          o ipsec: refactor tunnel settings page
          o unbound: add options for logging queries and extended statistics (contributed by Flightkick)
          o mvc: BaseListField ignoring empty selected field
          o ui: jQuery 3.4.1
          o plugins: os-dyndns 1.19 adds dynv6 and Azure DNS support (contributed by Ralf Zerres and martgras)
          o plugins: os-haproxy 2.20[2]
          o plugins: os-zabbix-agent 1.7[3][4]
          o ports: ca_root_nss 3.49.1
          o ports: curl 7.68.0[5]
          o ports: openssl 1.1.1d[6]
          Known issues and limitations:
          o HardenedBSD 12.1 has been postponed to the next major release
          o Nano growfs does not work on this release candidate, but a fix for 20.1 already exists
          o Installer still advertises 19.7, but a fix for 20.1 already exists
          o Legacy MPD5 plugins os-l2tp, os-pppoe and os-pptp have been deprecated and will no longer receive updates
          o i386 has not been deprecated for the time being 
      • FSF

        • Tell Microsoft to upcycle Windows 7. Set it free!

          It was just last week that Windows 7 crossed into the afterlife. While we can’t say we’ve been in mourning, we have spent that time thinking back on Windows 7′s legacy of abusing users, and reflecting on Microsoft’s change in tone over the last few years. For one, they now state clearly that Microsoft “loves open source” (sic).

          But things were not always this way, and we can thank software activists around the world for making the message of software freedom too loud to ignore. In the headlines we’ve seen many stories of people feeling burned by the support cutoff, and justifiably angry by being forced to upgrade. Microsoft is leaving its users high and dry, but they don’t have to. There is another option.

          Microsoft has taken a few steps in the right direction, such as releasing some small but important components of Windows as free software. We want to push them to go further. We need Microsoft to prove to the world that their “love” of free software isn’t just an ad campaign, and that they aren’t just reaping the benefits of free software in order to exploit users.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Introducing The Lunduke Journal – New Name, New Website

          With so many people reading the articles, obviously those articles need to live somewhere under my control.

          Up until now I’ve been publishing them over on Patreon. I made those articles free for everyone to read, but utilized Patreon as simply a publishing platform. This worked well enough for the occasional article… but that needed to change.

          You can now find every article published under the Lunduke Journal name right here at Lunduke.com. You can also find an always up to date RSS feed of the articles right here as well. That way you can get notified the moment a new article (and corresponding episode, audio and video) is published.

          If you’ve been enjoying the content over the last few months, never fear. No significant changes to any of that, outside of the name, branding, and website changes. The meat of what made The Lunduke Show is exactly the same in The Lunduke Journal.

        • Open Access/Content

          • California to resume Elsevier talks after signing deals elsewhere

            The 10-campus California system — now more than six months without access to Elsevier’s library of 2,500 journals — announced that the two sides will hold “a meeting to explore reopening negotiations” early this year.

            Given the open access deals the California system has signed elsewhere, the system’s library leaders said in a statement, “we are hopeful that this suggests that the publisher is ready to discuss deals that align with UC’s goals”.

            The California-Elsevier showdown has been watched nationally and globally, a reflection of the size and importance of the two players and the multibillion-dollar stakes surrounding the challenge across academia of making published research findings open to all.

      • Programming/Development

        • RcppArmadillo 0.9.800.4.0

          Armadillo is a powerful and expressive C++ template library for linear algebra aiming towards a good balance between speed and ease of use with a syntax deliberately close to a Matlab. RcppArmadillo integrates this library with the R environment and language–and is widely used by (currently) 680 other packages on CRAN.

          A second small Armadillo bugfix upstream update 9.800.4 came out yesterday for the 9.800.* series, following a similar bugfix release 9.800.3 in December. This time just one file was changed (see below).

        • What 2020 brings for the developer, and more industry trends

          As part of my role as a senior product marketing manager at an enterprise software company with an open source development model, I publish a regular update about open source community, market, and industry trends for product marketers, managers, and other influencers. Here are five of my and their favorite articles from that update.

        • Perl / Raku

          • GPW2020 – Keynote, accepted talks and extension of the submission deadline

            We are really happy to announce that Curtis “Ovid” Poe will present a keynote at the 22nd Perl/Raku workshop in March in Erlangen!

            Curtis runs Tau Station and is a long time contributor to the workshop.

            The list of accepted talks has grown, with varied topics from “Progressing from Humans to Developers”, “A new Lisp, in Perl” and “Querying the Etherum Blockchain Nodes with Raku”. All accepted talks are listed here .

            Since we still have some slots free for talks, we have extended the deadline for talk submission to the 3rd February 2020. If you have a topic you want to present, please submit your talk .

          • Announcing MooX::Pression

            Kind of like Moops but with less hacky parsing.

          • Paws L (A little party planned)

            Well it looks like a wrap for PAWS XML as the last thing I am working on is getting the test suite to pass

        • Python

          • Release 1.1.0 of python-sql

            We are proud to announce the release of the version 1.1.0 of python-sql.

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

          • Talk Python to Me: #248 Climate change and your Python code

            The most critical issue of our time is climate change. Yet, when you think about our carbon impact in the software industry, what comes to mind? Business travel? Commuting to the office so you don’t miss filing that TPS report? Yeah, those are bad. But data centers, servers, and our apps consume a substantial portion of the total energy used by modern humans.

            In this episode, you’ll meet Chris Adams. He has been advocating for a greener software environment and has concrete advice to make your Python program more climate-friendly.

          • Python 3 Functions – Learn Python Programming Tutorial

            What is a function? A function is a block of code used to perform a specific task. It can be a collection of many tasks strung together to perform a single task. It is a block of code which can be re-used elsewhere inside a Software application, helping to build the application, brick by brick, function by function. Python programming language provides the capabilities to build software applications using functions. Through using Python you can build your own functions or use the Python 3 standard library which contains pre-written functions. These functions can help you build your software faster without the reliance on having to build everything from scratch.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

      • Standards/Consortia

        • Results of the Pan-European Quantum Internet Hackathon

          In November 2019, we organised the first ever multi-location Quantum Internet hackathon.


          Since the Quantum Internet is still really new, most practical results were obtained by sharing existing software and protocols and receiving feedback on how to improve them. Actual bug fixes, additional features and new software were also valuable outcomes of the event. All the links to the produced software were collected on the PEQI2019 pages on GitHub.

        • How fast can a new internet standard for sharing patient data catch fire?

          Six big tech companies — Microsoft, Google, Amazon, IBM, Oracle and Salesforce — have also joined to support FHIR and broader sharing of health care data through a government-endorsed project called Blue Button, which is intended to make it easier for patients to view and download their health records.

          Consumer advocates and cybersecurity experts warn that personal health information shared on the web could be compromised. They want to make sure the risk is minimized before any widespread rollout of FHIR products. Patients do not have a say in how their health providers store medical information, but patients can request their records be sent in the format they prefer, including paper.

          Facilitating access to all that data for both patients and providers without first determining how to keep it secure may open a Pandora’s box that can never be shut, warned David Finn, executive vice president of strategic innovation for CynergisTek, a Mission Viejo, California, and Austin, Texas-based cybersecurity consulting firm.

  • Leftovers

    • ‘NewsHour’ Host and Debate Moderator Jim Lehrer Dies at 85

      Jim Lehrer, longtime host of the nightly PBS “NewsHour” whose serious, sober demeanor made him the choice to moderate 11 presidential debates between 1988 and 2012, has died, PBS said Thursday. He was 85.

    • Science

      • Themes from Real World Crypto 2020

        Over 642 brilliant cryptographic minds gathered for Real World Crypto 2020, an annual conference that brings together cryptographic researchers with developers implementing cryptography in the wild. Overall, RWC 2020 was an impressive conference that demonstrated some amazing work. Here we explore three major themes that emerged: [...]

    • Education

      • Australian government accused of politicising grant announcements

        The government appears to be sitting on information about research initiatives while it awaits politically advantageous times to announce them. This undermines the perceived independence of the grant award process and risks discouraging research into subjects unlikely to offer a political edge, one researcher said.

      • The Public School Teacher Attrition Crisis

        In spring of 2019, I finished a semester of student teaching, completed my Master of Arts in Teaching, and accepted a full-time job offer to teach high school English at a public school just outside of Salt Lake City. A couple of weeks ago, after teaching only one full semester, I quit.

        Although I loved teaching English and engaging with students, the current working conditions at my school–and in schools across America–are so poor that teachers are leaving in alarming numbers, causing a vast teacher shortage that has escalated to a crisis in many states. Considering that enrollment in teacher training programs is drying up and the teacher shortage is only set to increase, it is important to understand why teachers are leaving the profession. I can only speak for myself, but recent research and an internet full of anecdotal evidence support the idea that I am not alone.

      • Global: Urgent Action Needed to Meet Education Deadline

        Governments should end all discrimination in children’s access to education and urgently strengthen policies and funding to ensure all children are able to benefit from their right to quality education, Human Rights Watch said today on the International Day of Education.

        Governments have 10 years left to meet the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include commitments to guarantee that every child completes primary and secondary school, and is able to read and write. Governments have also committed to giving all children access to pre-primary education, and tackling discrimination against girls, women, and persons with disabilities.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Impossible meat from Maloyaroslavets How a Russian startup is changing Europe’s vegetarian food market

        A decade ago, demand for vegan and vegetarian products began to grow rapidly across Europe and in North America. By 2018, the global vegan food market size was valued at $12.69 billion and expected to expand to over $24 billion by 2025. Vegetarians and vegans account for only part of this growing demand. Consumers who eat meat are convinced that cutting down on animal protein has major health benefits, so omnivores are also in the market for meat substitutes. A Russian company called “Greenwise” is now shaking up the faux meat sector. The three young founders, Georgii Zheleznyi, Yulia Marsel, and Artyom Ponomarev, have figured out how to make a plant-based meat replacement that tastes like the real thing. They manufacture their own products in a small town called Maloyaroslavets, about a two-hour car ride south of Moscow. Meduza tells the story of how this new meat-free food made it from its small factory onto the international arena.

      • Overdose Deaths Among People Over 55 Increased 17-Fold Between 1999 and 2017

        My brother William struggled with drugs and alcohol addiction much of his life. So, I was shocked but not surprised when he was found dead in his apartment, just a few months before he was about to turn 70. The only boy among six sisters, William died alone in a hoard of wadded up papers, tons of cigarette butts, and calcified Thanksgiving turkey sitting atop his rusted and mildewed stove. Pieces of his beloved computer equipment were scattered among traces of crystal meth and marijuana.

      • YouTube moderators are being forced to sign a statement acknowledging the job can give them PTSD

        Accenture said it shares information about potentially disturbing content with all of the content moderators it employs, including those who work on its contracts with Facebook and Twitter. But it would not answer questions about whether it specifically informs Facebook and Twitter moderators that they are at risk for PTSD. The Verge has previously interviewed Facebook moderators working for Accenture competitor Cognizant in Phoenix, Arizona, and Tampa, Florida, who have been diagnosed with PTSD after viewing violent and disturbing content.

    • Proprietary

      • AWS outage cripples ACT Emergency Services Agency website as Canberra bushfire rages

        The outage hit as Canberra Airport was shut to commercial traffic because of the fire, with residents around Oaks Estate warned to get out of the road of the oncoming blaze after two fires merged and engulfed a rubbish tip.

        It is still unclear why the ESA website was hit by a single point of failure, however the blaze, known as the Beard fire, is burning close to the industrial suburb of Fyshwick which houses several data centres.

        The blaze near the airport is also within stone’s throw of the the Australian Signals Directorate’s Australian Cyber Security Centre offices at the Brindabella Park office complex that houses a clutch of other technology, consulting and miltech tenants.

      • The Pentagon CIO office’s plan for better software

        In his speech, Ranks detailed several efforts underway at the DoD to increase update speed. To start, Ranks said, the DoD CIO’s office is changing policy to allow for more iterative processes in acquisition, a departure from the current process where requirements are laid out years before technology is delivered. To complete that goal, Ranks said the DoD needs the enterprise capability to provide the tools necessary to create a more iterative process.

      • Google and Microsoft have gone too far

        Google and Microsoft are using dark pattern design to trick or force users to do things they never intended. Is it time to switch to more ethical search engines? (We list 10 alternatives.)

      • Security

        • BlueTooth Security Risks

          Security risks involving bluetooth vulnerabilities include techniques known as: bluebugging, bluesnarfing, bluejacking, denial of service and exploits for different holes.
          When a device is configured in discoverable an attacker may try to apply these techniques.

          Today mobile security was strongly increased and most attacks fail, yet sometimes security holes are discovered and new exploits emerge. As mobile devices prevent the user from installing unmonitored software freely most of attacks are difficult to carry out.

          This tutorial describes the most common Bluetooth attacks, the tools used to carry out these attacks and the security measures users can take to prevent them.


          While bluetooth attacks aren’t widely used (when compared with other types of attacks like phishing or DDOS) almost every person carrying a mobile device is a potential victim, therefore in our countries most people are exposed, also through bluetooth, to sensitive data leak. On the other hand most manufacturers already patched devices to protect them from almost all attacks described above, but they only can issue a fix after the vulnerability was discovered and published (like with any vulnerability).

          While there is not defensive software the best solution is to keep the device turned off in public spaces, since most attacks require a short range you can use the device safely in private places. I hope you found this tutorial on Bluetooth Security Risks useful. Keep following LinuxHint for more tips and updates on Linux and networking.

        • Arm Has Many Changes On Tap For Linux 5.6 From Spectre/Meltdown Bits To New RNG

          While the Linux 5.5 kernel isn’t even released yet, it’s ideally coming out on Sunday should there not be a one week delay. But in any event Arm’s Will Deacon has already sent in the pull request of the ARM architecture changes for Linux 5.6.

        • The Pentagon pushes back on Huawei ban in bid for ‘balance’

          Huawei may have just found itself an ally in the most unexpected of places. According to a new report out of The Wall Street Journal, both the Defense and Treasury Departments are pushing back on a Commerce Department-led ban on sales from the embattled Chinese hardware giant.

          That move, in turn, has reportedly led Commerce Department officials to withdraw a proposal set to make it even more difficult for U.S.-based companies to work with Huawei.

          Defense Secretary Mark Esper struck a fittingly pragmatic tone while speaking with the paper, noting, “We have to be conscious of sustaining those [technology] companies’ supply chains and those innovators. That’s the balance we have to strike.”

        • Privacy/Surveillance

          • Survey finds majority of Americans are concerned about data collection by governments and companies

            The majority of Americans are concerned about how their data is used by companies and the government. This is based on a research study by Pew released in late 2019. The Pew Research Study team wrote about major privacy concerns unearthed in their study:

          • YouTube Gets Streaming Rights to Major Esports Leagues

            The deal, signed between Alphabet Inc.’s Google and video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc., gives YouTube the rights to broadcast the new Call of Duty League and the already-popular Overwatch League, which was broadcast on Amazon.com Inc.’s Twitch for the past two years at a reported cost of $90 million. As part of the agreement, Google will provide cloud infrastructure for Activision’s online games. Financial terms of the multiyear deal were not disclosed.

          • Education Technology: Schools Are Using Apps to Collect Student Data, Track Attendance

            “The idea that students are being pressured into installing third-party monitoring software on their personal devices…is very saddening,” he said. “I’d probably react similarly to how many might react to students being handed cigarettes officially during admission.”

          • Telia selling user location data in Finland

            Telia downloads the location data from cellular relay stations. This means the link station is able to share location data even if users switch off geo-tracking (GPS) settings on their devices.

            However, customers would have to give explicit permission for a carrier to sell any identifying data, according to Helsinki University communications law professor Päivi Korpisaari.

            “Selling location aggregation services to third parties is in no way a necessary part of carriers’ business,” Korpisaari told Yle.

          • Trump administration threatens trade war with UK over digital tax plan

            The US has threatened to hike taxes on car companies if Boris Johnson presses ahead with plans for a levy on tech giants such as Google and Facebook.

            In an escalation of tensions, Steven Mnuchin, Donald Trump’s treasury secretary, said the US considered the UK’s proposed digital services tax to be “discriminatory” and warned that Washington could impose retaliatory taxes on the automobile industry.

          • Met begins operational use of Live Facial Recognition (LFR) technology.

            The Met will begin operationally deploying LFR at locations where intelligence suggests we are most likely to locate serious offenders. Each deployment will have a bespoke ‘watch list’, made up of images of wanted individuals, predominantly those wanted for serious and violent offences.

            At a deployment, cameras will be focused on a small, targeted area to scan passers-by. The cameras will be clearly signposted and officers deployed to the operation will hand out leaflets about the activity. The technology, which is a standalone system, is not linked to any other imaging system, such as CCTV, body worn video or ANPR.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Trump’s fitness to stand trial questioned by professionals: “Serious signs of deterioration”

      “He is on trial for engaging in misconduct … At the same time, as Maya points out, he constantly engages in conduct that calls into question his fitness, if not his mental and physical condition,” she said. “And this, I think, is a pressing concern that Congress needs to take seriously, because the Cabinet, which would have some authority under the 25th Amendment to do something about it, apparently doesn’t.”

      Yale psychiatry professor Bandy X. Lee, the founder of the World Mental Health Coalition, agreed with the attorneys’ assessment in an interview with Salon.

    • “Cyber Rambo”: How a US Army vet aided the right-wing coup in Bolivia

      A US Army veteran from Bolivia created an application that shared as many as 69 tweets per second to help spread disinformation in support of a right-wing coup that ousted the country’s former socialist President Evo Morales.

    • [Crack] of Jeff Bezos’ phone likely happened through Saudi crown prince, analysts tell UN

      Following an exchange of WhatsApp messages, bin Salman sent a malicious and encrypted file to Bezos, which led to the exfiltration of large amounts of data, according to the release. The interaction took place months before the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, which American intelligence agencies have determined was carried out under orders from bin Salman. Bezos also owns the Washington Post.

      After meeting bin Salman — also known as MBS — Bezos began working with FTI Consulting to investigate whether his iPhone had been hacked, CyberScoop has learned. FTI Consulting began working on the analysis in February of last year, according to FTI Consulting’s technical report, first obtained by Motherboard

    • The Bezos [attack]‘s shockwaves

      Reports emerged this week alleging that Jeff Bezos’s iPhone was compromised in 2018 after the Amazon founder and Washington Post owner received a video file in a WhatsApp message sent by Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salam (MBS). The news sent tremors through Washington and Silicon Valley.

    • Germany Islamist jailed over planned terror attack

      C., who came to Germany as an asylum-seeker in 2011, was arrested in August 2018, and his trial started in mid-May, 2019. He has reportedly confessed his loyalty to the “Islamic State” terrorist group.

    • Closer than ever: It is 100 seconds to midnight

      Humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers–nuclear war and climate change–that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society’s ability to respond. The international security situation is dire, not just because these threats exist, but because world leaders have allowed the international political infrastructure for managing them to erode.

    • Stumbling Toward Doomsday

      It’s been 30 years since the end of the Cold War, when, at its peak, the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics together possessed roughly 70,000 nuclear weapons.

      But are we safer now than we were then? The answer, according to the Bulletin, is a resounding “no.”

      Reflecting the heedlessness with which the current administration has treated the global arms control and nuclear non-proliferation regimes, the Doomsday Clock, as of today, is now closer to midnight than at any time since its creation: We are now 100 seconds away.

    • World Court Rules Against Myanmar on Rohingya
    • The Absurdity of Guantanamo

      In the gallery at the back of the courtroom at Guantanamo Bay’s military commission hearing, I could open a copy of Enhanced Interrogation, James Mitchell’s widely available book chronicling his role in the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) interrogation program. But Mitchell is prevented from citing some of his own words during his testimony at the hearings – the government objects, citing national security concerns.

      Such is the absurdity of the seemingly endless proceedings at Guantanamo.

  • Environment

    • EU’s Timmermans detects hints of US shift on climate

      There are signs US President Donald Trump is starting to engage more seriously on climate change and listening to the concerns of corporations, the European Commission’s vice-president and head of its ‘Green Deal’ said on Thursday (23 January).

      Frans Timmermans, who is driving the Commission’s work on a multi-year, trillion-euro plan to make the European Union’s 27 member states carbon-neutral by 2050, said the science could not be ignored, even by the US president.

      “We’ve seen over the last couple of years that radical climate-change deniers have changed their position because the facts are so overwhelming. It’s an untenable position,” he told Reuters as he arrived in Davos for the World Economic Forum.

      “I would assume, as a politician myself, that Donald Trump is thinking about the next election and he’s looking at American society. And if you see how much support there is in American society to act upon climate change, he’s probably doing the math and thinking that if I want to be reelected, I have to take this seriously,” said Timmermans, a former Dutch foreign minister.

      “That gives me hope because the people want this. Corporations in the US are on the same page as we are. States are. Cities are.”

    • The Paris Agreement Is Officially Too Little, Too Late

      The fevered arguments about how the world can reach the Paris climate goals on cutting the greenhouse gases which are driving global heating may be a waste of time. An international team of scientists has learned more about the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide (CO2) − and it’s not good news.

    • Trump’s Latest Attack on the Environment May Be His Most Alarming Yet

      Early this month, the Trump administration released planned major changes to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the oldest environmental law in the U.S. The debate over NEPA is, like most other environmental debates in the U.S., a debate between people representing industry interests and people interested in protecting communities and the environment. And recently, the fossil fuel industry has helped push through another potential win against the law — and this one could have major consequences.

    • Mocking Call for Fossil Fuel Divestment, ‘Foreclosure King’ Steve Mnuchin Tells Greta Thunberg to Go Study Economics

      “Here’s what Mnuchin learned from economics studies: he ran a company that booted elderly residents from their homes due to onerous loans and technicalities.”

    • AOC Shared Support for Greta Thunberg After Trump Administration’s Steven Mnuchin Talked Down to Her

      “My gap year ends in August, but it doesn’t take a college degree in economics to realize that our remaining 1.5° carbon budget and ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and investments don’t add up,” Greta wrote, including a video showing different projections of how reduced carbon emissions could slow global warming. (Reducing carbon emissions is one of Greta’s go-to talking points.)

      She continued, “So either you tell us how to achieve this mitigation or explain to future generations and those already affected by the climate emergency why we should abandon our climate commitments.”

      AOC also took to Twitter to weigh in on Mnuchin’s remarks. She explained that even though she graduated cum laude with a degree in international relations and economics in 2011, she knows all too well that academic credentials aren’t what really keeps people in power from listening.

    • Trump Administration Lessens Clean Water Protections For Streams, Wetlands

      The new rule creates four categories for waters protected under the Clean Water Act: territorial seas and traditional, navigable waters like the Atlantic Ocean and the Mississippi River; perennial and intermittent tributaries; certain lakes, ponds and impoundments; and wetlands that are adjacent to jurisdictional waters. It does not include features that gather water after rain, groundwater, most roadside and farm ditches, farm watering ponds and waste treatment systems.

      Environmental groups are likely to sue. Some experts say the issue will have to be decided by the Supreme Court to stop the regulatory back-and-forth.

      “This all-out assault on basic safeguards will send our country back to the days when corporate polluters could dump whatever sludge or slime they wished into the streams and wetlands that often connect to the water we drink,” Janette Brimmer of Earthjustice said in a statement.

    • 2020 starts with the plain prospect of rising heat

      Emissions will climb further. Each decade is warmer than the last. The oceans are feeling the rising heat. The economy is threatened. And that’s just January.

    • Energy

    • Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • How Trump’s Trade Policies Failed Workers

      Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed “great negotiator” and author of The Art of the Deal, promised to use his bargaining skills to help the American worker.

    • After Our Reporting, Connecticut Officials Are Taking On Housing Segregation

      Frustrated with the lack of options for low-income families in Connecticut’s tony suburbs, the governor and the leader of the state Senate are calling for new measures to entice towns to build more affordable housing.

      Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, said that he is poised to tie state spending on transportation upgrades in affluent communities — such as new or renovated train stops — to local approval of more affordable housing projects.

    • Insurance Lobby Talking Points Don’t Come With Warning Labels

      Ever since The Intercept (11/20/18) found several planning documents by the Partnership for America’s Healthcare Future (PAHCF), a benign-sounding corporate alliance formed to prevent any kind of reform and prop up the dysfunctional US healthcare system’s profits, corporate media have been reporting on the PAHCF’s efforts to defend the US’s for-profit healthcare system (The Hill, 6/28/19).

    • One Hundred Years: the Proletariat in Search of a Class

      Apparently, the super-indoctrinated, Trump-voting American working class, dulled by the mass media and the “American dream”, has changed very little since the crushing of the great textile strikes that swept The United States in the 1920s. Not an iota of class-consciousness has it absorbed. (Nor has it been explained and offered to all wage earners in sufficient doses.) For also the middle classes, crushed by an ever more desperate, an “end of times” form of capitalism, has not yet grasped that they too are now part of the American proletariat. In that respect it seems that the old, often criticized word proletariat is still quite adequate.

    • Following Earthquake, Puerto Rico’s Largest Bank Hinders a Just Recovery

      The earth still shakes. People, especially those who live near the epicenters, have anxiety and fear. The electrical system is weak and blackouts are reported. More than two years after the destruction brought by Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico faces another challenge brought by nature.

    • Trump Signals He Will Seek to Cut Social Security and Medicare If Re-Elected

      While attending the World Economic Forum’s summit of global elites in the Swiss mountaintop retreat in Davos on Wednesday, President Donald Trump openly admitted he would — if reelected in 2020 — consider cutting back funding for key social programs including Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare.

    • Can capitalism solve capitalism’s problems?

      Capitalism is in trouble – at least judging by recent polls.

      A majority of American millennials reject the economic system, while 55% of women age 18 to 54 say they prefer socialism. More Democrats now have a positive view of socialism than capitalism. And globally, 56% of respondents to a new survey agree “capitalism as it exists today does more harm than good in the world.”

      One problem interpreting numbers like these is that there are many definitions of capitalism and socialism. More to the point, people seem to be thinking of a specific form of capitalism that deems the sole purpose of companies is to increase stock prices and enrich investors. Known as shareholder capitalism, it’s been the guiding light of American business for more than four decades. That’s what the survey meant by “as it exists today.”

      As a scholar of socially responsible companies, however, I cannot help but notice a shift in corporate behavior in recent years. A new kind of capitalism seems to be emerging, one in which companies value communities, the environment and workers just as much as profits.

      The latest evidence: Companies as diverse as alcohol maker AB InBev, airline JetBlue and money manager BlackRock have all in recent weeks made new commitments to pursue more sustainable business practices.


      Presumably realizing how important these constituencies are to their bottom lines, businesses are paying attention.

      Shareholder capitalism is this year’s theme at Davos, the global gathering of the world’s elite in the Alps. And last year, the leaders at some of the world’s largest companies said that they are ditching shareholder-first capitalism and instead embracing a corporate purpose that seeks to serve all constituents. The sentiment is hardly isolated.

      Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kroger, Walmart and L.L. Bean, for example, responded to growing concerns over mass shootings by restricting the sale of guns. Procter and Gamble, a major sponsor for U.S. Soccer, expressed support for the quest of the women’s team for equal pay and donated $500,000 to help narrow the pay gap with men.

      Airlines including American, United and Frontier refused to knowingly fly children separated from their parents at the border following outrage over the Trump administration’s policy. And even though Amazon shareholders rejected the worker-supported shareholder resolution described above, Amazon set stronger goals for reducing its carbon footprint after the resolution was introduced.

      These actions have sometimes hurt the bottom line. The decision to restrict gun sales cost Dick’s Sporting Goods $150 million. Delta lost a $50 million tax break in Georgia after severing ties with the NRA.

      But these and other companies didn’t back down. The CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods explained that when something is “to the detriment of the public, you have to stand up.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Recording Links Trump to Ouster of Ukraine Ambassador

      NEW YORK—President Donald Trump can be heard in a taped 2018 conversation saying he wants to get rid of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, whose removal a year later emerged as an issue in Trump’s impeachment. The president was talking with a small group that included Lev Parnas, an associate of his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, according to a report Friday about the audio recording.

    • ‘More Lies,’ Says Sanders as Trump Vows to ‘Save’ Social Security Just One Day After Threatening Cuts

      “As a candidate, Trump said he’d protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Now he has an obligation to tell the American people: ‘I was lying. It was all just a campaign ruse.’”

    • Corporate Media Equate Sanders to Trump—Because for Them, Sanders Is the Bigger Threat

      As Bernie Sanders emerged as a threat to Hillary Clinton’s presidential nomination in 2016, media began liberally tossing around articles equating Sanders and Donald Trump (FAIR.org, 4/15/16, 12/9/16). These typically acknowledged that the comparison seemed far-fetched, but pointed in their defense to some version of a “remarkable amount of policy convergence” (Atlantic, 1/6/16)—which included shared positions like opposition to trade agreements, protecting Social Security, opposing big money in politics, and opposing foreign military intervention—or to the two candidates’ reliance on “angry white men” for their base of support.

    • AK-46: The Case Against Amy Klobuchar

      Jacobin is back at it with their Warren-Bernie obsession. There is a false premise here. The left is not competing against itself. Rather than be bogged down by specific manufactured divisiveness of the corporate media, supporters of Sanders should be attempting to convince people who believe in Warren’s platform that we need a more radical confrontation with the ruling class and that Warren simply has the wrong strategic approach to the class struggle.

    • CNN Poll: Sanders Is The Most Electable

      Remember CNN’s attack-debate last week? CNN did what it could to end Bernie Sanders’ campaign for president.

    • Final Phallus

      We are coming to our final form. Ultimate enjoyment without ideology to speak of. But this is not without an obligation to the mythic past.

      I want to compare two events here: the making of the movie Bombshell and the spat between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Both deal with the question of the phallus: who has it, who can qualify for it, and how we all lack it. Now let’s start by talking about Warren vs. Sanders broadly. I do buy that it’s just classic CNN, which is enough of a tabloid to be run by the Murdochs.

      CNN does operate differently though. The Murdochs started off with tabloids and then later made a PR effort to be labeled as “fair and balanced” with the insertion of Fox News, which is a tabloid that talks about politics. CNN sort of did this in reverse. For Fox you start with the initial credibility of gossip and fill the gap with a political thrust. For CNN you start with the initial credibility of politics and fill the gap with a gossip thrust.

      The psychological difference between the liberal and conservative is revealing here as far as enjoyment is concerned. The conservative suppresses political enjoyment, the liberal suppresses gossip enjoyment.

    • Jeff Bezos’ Hack Inquiry Falls Short of Implicating National Enquirer

      In the post, Mr. Bezos said he had retained the security expert Gavin de Becker to investigate how the tabloid had obtained his text messages. This week, a forensic analysis commissioned by Mr. Bezos was made public, and it concluded with “medium to high confidence” that his iPhone X had been [cracked] after he received a video from a WhatsApp message sent to him from an account reportedly belonging to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, with whom the billionaire had swapped contacts at a dinner in Los Angeles.

    • Jeff Bezos’ girlfriend shared compromising texts with her brother, who sold them, WSJ reports

      However, some security professionals felt that FTI’s report didn’t prove that Saudi Arabia [attacked] Bezos’ phone. It’s primarily based on coincidences, not evidence that Bezos’ data flowed back to Saudi Arabia. And although Bezos also hinted in an earlier Medium article that there is a connection between Saudi Arabia and the National Enquirer, it doesn’t appear that either Bezos or his security consultant have evidence linking anything from the apparent [attack] by Saudi Arabia to the National Enquirer’s story about Bezos’ affair.

    • The Guardian has outed the true identity of the mysterious founder of the Base, a white nationalist terror group

      The Base is a white nationalist terror group that made the news when three of its members were arrested and accused of planning to start a civil war at this week’s gun rally in Virginia by murdering cops and opening fire on the pro-gun protesters.

    • Impeachment Shouldn’t Overshadow Saudi Scandals

      After he started speaking out against the Saudi regime, Almutairi became the target of both online abuse and mysterious threatening messages. According to The Daily Beast, within weeks of the Khashoggi assassination, the FBI intercepted two men traveling to Los Angeles to make an unannounced visit to Almutairi. One was Almutairi’s father, the other someone not known to Almutairi but suspected by him of being a Saudi government agent.

      This incident happened during a period when the FBI was warning other Saudi dissidents living in America that their lives were under threat from forces within Saudi Arabia. The Saudi embassy was contacted by The Daily Beast about Almutairi’s allegation, which is backed up by independent sources, but did not respond.

    • Clinton Says Sanders Achieved “Nothing.” My Community Clinic Shows She’s Wrong.

      Hillary Clinton has touched a nerve with her attacks on Bernie Sanders in a new docuseries premiering on Hulu and a subsequent interview with the Hollywood Reporter. In the docuseries, Clinton paints Sanders as an isolated career politician who failed to achieve anything meaningful in the Senate. “Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done,” Clinton said.

    • Sanders Takes Double-Digit Lead in New Hampshire Poll After 14 Point Jump Since December

      “Prepare for establishment meltdown.”

    • Trump Brags About Withholding Evidence as Impeachment Trial Proceeds in Senate

      During the opening day of oral arguments in the impeachment trial, President Trump was accused of abusing his office to “cheat an election.” House impeachment managers spent about eight hours on Wednesday laying out their case for why President Trump should be removed from office. The Senate trial comes a month after the House impeached Trump for withholding congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine as part of an effort to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate Trump’s political rival, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. While the impeachment trial was taking place in the Senate, President Trump was across the Atlantic at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he tweeted more than 140 times and dismissed the impeachment trial as a hoax. Trump also appeared to boast about having withheld evidence from the impeachment process, saying, “We have all the material; they don’t have the material.” For more on the historic impeachment trial, we speak with Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor and Supreme Court reporter at Slate.com.

    • End of Blame Game: Sanders (and His Supporters) Helped Hillary Win Popular Vote in 2016

      Sanders voters were an indispensable contribution to her popular vote tallies.

    • A Cesspool of Constitutional Nonsense-Impeachment in the Senate

      The process moves to the Senate. Will the mockery continue after the procedurals and pomp are put to rest and the hearing begins?  Or will there be a genuine attempt to find some truth no matter how shallow? Since the House of Representatives closed up its hearings in December 2019, the most interesting event to happen in this story of Trump’s impeachment was the interview with the fellow Parnas in which he stated that Trump knew him and knew what he and Giuliani were up to.  What they were up to was getting dirt on Joe Biden for Trump. Even the government’s Budget Office says that is illegal.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • A Perversion of Justice in Russia

      Last weekend, news broke that Russian police had placed a surveillance camera in the bedroom of Anastasiya Shevchenko, an activist currently facing criminal charges for involvement in an “undesirable” foreign organization. Shevchenko’s daughter, who posted the news on social media, also said Anastasiya’s apartment had been wired for nearly five months in 2018, prior to her initial arrest. Unbeknownst to Anastasiya, the police installed a hidden camera pointing at her bed. It’s unclear what police were trying to catch on film in Shevchenko’s home, but what is certain is they have grossly violated her privacy in an inappropriate and humiliating manner.

      The police surveillance warrant request says Shevchenko could present a threat to Russia’s security and public order, alleging her potential involvement in organizing mass unrest, extremism, incitement of violence against government officials, and involvement in an “undesirable organization.” Russian law criminalizes involvement in foreign organizations it has banned as “undesirable.”

    • Jokes in Russia Are No Laughing Matter

      This week, a stand-up comedian fled Russia fearing prosecution over a recent set.

      Aleksandr Dolgopolov published, on January 21, a letter sent by police to a bar in Saint Petersburg where he performed last winter. In the inquiry, police demanded “full information” about Dolgopolov and his performance, a recording of which now has more than 2.8 million views on YouTube.

    • Russian comedian who dissed Putin flees country

      Aleksandr Dolgopolov, a 25-year-old Russian comedian, made some jokes about Russian President Vladimir Putin and Christianity during a stand-up performance last year. Dolgopolov says he has now fled Russia over fears for his safety.

    • Russian comedian who joked about President Putin flees country

      Dolgopolov later shared an image on social of what he said was a formal letter sent from Russia’s interior ministry to the HopHead bar in St Petersburg, asking event organisers to confirm his February performance.

      He told Russian broadcaster Current Time that he was recently forced to cancel a performance in Moscow moments before taking to the stage after learning that someone had entered the venue and was questioning members of staff about him.

      “I didn’t plan to be persecuted simply for joking,” he said.

    • DMCA takedown demand and aftermath

      Consequently, we have begun a comprehensive review of all articles published at oc-breeze.com for possible questionable copyright material. As part of that review, we have suspended publication of all articles prior to January 1, 2019 until each one can be reviewed and cleared. The articles also have been scrubbed from the cache of our load-leveling service provider, Cloudflare.

  • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Pompeo Cursed Out National Security Reporter, Asked Her to Find Ukraine on a Wordless Map, She Did

      Kelly spoke about what happened next on NPR: “I was taken to the secretary’s private living room, where he was waiting, and where he shouted at me for about the same amount of time as the interview itself had lasted.”

      Kelly then said Pompeo asked her: “Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?”

      Kelly continued, “He used the F-word in that sentence and many others. He asked if I could find Ukraine on a map, I said yes. He called out for his aides to bring him a map of the world with no writing, no countries marked.”

      “I pointed to Ukraine,” Kelly said. “He put the map away. He said, ‘People will hear about this,’ and then he turned and said he had things to do, and I thanked him again for his time and left.”

      Pompeo was right, people are hearing about this.

    • Covering impeachment: Senate rules test press duty to inform

      These individual takes, of course, are only each lawmaker’s opinion. They aren’t reported pieces with comments from both sides and relevant context. They don’t give Americans the full picture of this historic trial, however partisan it may be.

      Which is why journalists have objected so strenuously to the restrictions imposed on them by the Senate Republican leadership and the sergeant-at-arms.

    • German journalist accuses Israel, Russia of hijacking Holocaust memorial ceremony

      Reporting from the event, Müller noted how both countries had recently made fresh verbal attacks against Poland and that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Miniter Benjamin Netanyahu held “overlong bilateral talks” that kept other world leaders and elderly Holocaust survivors waiting. Müller’s comments appeared to reference Putin’s accusation last month that Warsaw colluded with Adolf Hitler during World War II.

    • Extradition hearing for WikiLeaks’ Assange to be split in two parts

      The London hearing to decide whether WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange can be extradited to the United States to face charges including spying will be split in two, with the second half delayed until May, a judge ruled on Thursday.

    • What’s Going on with Julian Assange? Extradition Hearing of Wikileaks Founder Due to Start in February

      The extradition hearing of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will now be split into two parts and is not expected to conclude until around June this year.

      The decision was made during a court session yesterday at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London by Judge Vanessa Baraitser, after both sides said they needed more time to gather evidence and prepare arguments, Reuters reported. Assange appeared via video-link.

    • Julian Assange’s lawyers demand more time to meet the Wikileaks founder in Belmarsh prison as decision on whether he will be sent to US to face hacking charges is put off until June

      Julian Assange’s lawyer today complained about lack of access to the Wikileaks founder at the maximum-security Belmarsh Prison.

      The 48-year-old is wanted in the US for allegedly conspiring with army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to expose military secrets between January and May 2010.

      Assange appeared via videolink at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today wearing a black suit, defiantly saluting his supporters by raising his fist above his head.

      It also emerged that the hearing to decide whether Assange can be extradited from Britain to the US will be split into two, with the second half not finishing until June.

    • WikiLeaks Editor: US Is Saying First Amendment Doesn’t Apply To Foreigners In Assange Case

      WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson gave a brief statement to the press after the latest court hearing for Julian Assange’s extradition case in London today, saying the Trump administration is arguing that the First Amendment of the US Constitution doesn’t provide press freedom protection to foreign nationals like Assange.

      “We have now learned from submissions and affidavits presented by the United States to this court that they do not consider foreign nationals to have a First Amendment protection,” Hrafnsson said.

      “Now let that sink in for a second,” Hrafnsson continued. “At the same time that the US government is chasing journalists all over the world, they claim they have extra-territorial reach, they have decided that all foreign journalists which include many of you here, have no protection under the First Amendment of the United States. So that goes to show the gravity of this case. This is not about Julian Assange, it’s about press freedom.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Feds Plan to Move Epstein Warden to Prison Leadership Job

      The warden in charge when Jeffrey Epstein ended his life in his jail cell is being moved to a leadership position at another federal correctional facility, putting him back in the field with inmates despite an ongoing investigation into the financier’s death, two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.

    • The Paradox of Populism

      For those of us who wish to see a world beyond inequality and oppression, and who believe popular movements are key to achieving it, the past decade has been dizzying.

    • Alaska’s Public Safety Officer Program Is Failing. Can It Be Saved?

      A task force of Alaska legislators is proposing an overhaul of key elements of the state’s failing Village Public Safety Officer Program.

      The group of legislators spent five months looking for ways to fix the 40-year-old program, which uses state money to train and pay officers working in remote villages. In 2019, the number of VPSOs fell to an all-time low of 38 — compared with more than 100 in 2012.

    • Come ‘Say This to My Face,’ Says Ayanna Pressley After Betsy DeVos Compares Being Pro-Choice to Being Pro-Slavery

      Democratic congresswoman and chair of the House Abortion Access Task Force said she “would welcome the opportunity to educate” the Education Secretary on reproductive rights. And maybe U.S. history of chattel slavery?

    • Jump for it Russian governor draws criticism for forcing firefighter to leap for keys to new fire-engine

      Mikhail Ignatiev, the head of Russia’s Chuvashia Republic, is facing criticism in Moscow after he forced a firefighter at an official ceremony in Cheboksary to leap for the keys to a new fire-engine. United Russia (Ignatiev’s political party) says it’s looking into the matter as a potential violation of his duties as governor.

    • Russian prime minister orders special category of security officers to be eligible for up to double pay for ‘complex’ work

      Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has ordered bonuses to be made available for law enforcement, military, and National Guard officers who work during mass protests.

    • Vijay Prashad on India Demonstrations, Manuel Perez-Rocha on NAFTA 2.0

      This week on CounterSpin: Millions of Indians—maybe a quarter of a billion—have taken to the streets in recent weeks. The far-right Modi government’s discriminatory ideas around citizenship have been a trigger for the massive demonstrations, but our guest explains that is not the whole story. Historian and journalist Vijay Prashad is chief correspondent at Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute, chief editor of LeftWord Books and the director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

    • ‘I felt I wouldn’t survive to age 18’ How a Russian teenager faced years of abuse from her own mother and finally tried to escape

      On September 6, Zhenya Rodionova, a 15-year-old girl from the Moscow region, published a post on Instagram asking for help. A few days later, she reposted it in a group called Anonymous Haters on the Russian social media network VKontakte. Zhenya wrote that she was “in a rather difficult life situation” and needed the help of a lawyer, because she had been “beaten up once again” and now was staying in a shelter.

    • The Troubling Decline of International Law

      While it is true that rogue states – most notably the USA – have always posed a threat to the rule of international law, I see no serious room to dispute that the development of the corpus of international law, and of the institutions to implement it, was one of the great achievements of the twentieth century, and did a huge amount to reduce global conflict.

    • Archivists are racing to identify every Jewish Holocaust victim

      The 1.1m people killed at Auschwitz, an extermination camp in occupied Poland, were born as far away as Finland and Morocco. Most of the victims, after journeys of brutalising squalor, were led directly from the trains to the gas chambers. When the Red Army liberated the Third Reich’s biggest death factory on January 27th 1945, 75 years ago this week, it found 7,000kg of human hair shorn from the corpses.

      The tally of the dead is hard to comprehend. Of the 9.5m Jews in Europe before the war, 6m were murdered. If you spent five minutes reading about each of them, it would fill every waking hour for 90 years. The overall civilian death toll attributed to the Nazis–including Gypsies, disabled people, gays, prisoners and bystanders to combat–was perhaps three times greater.

    • What happens when we’re too old to be ‘useful’?

      He explained grandmothers helped with chores and babysitting but when they got too old to be useful, you couldn’t be sentimental.

      Brutally, the usual method was an axe to the head. For the old men, Ach̩ custom dictated a different fate. They were sent away Рand told never to return.

      What obligations do we owe to our elders? It’s a question as old as humankind.

      And the answers have varied widely, at least if surviving traditional societies are any guide.

    • Attacks on Aid Workers in Northeastern Nigeria

      Worrying reports of gruesome attacks and killings by insurgents in Nigeria’s restive northeast region appear to show an escalation of attacks on aid workers and other civilians over the past several weeks.

      On January 21, Boko Haram insurgents executed Rev. Lawan Andimi, Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Adamawa State, after refusing a ransom offered for his release. Andimi was declared missing on January 2, and a video later emerged on Twitter confirming he was in Boko Haram’s custody.  

    • Workers Shut Down the Louvre. The French Labor Strike Is Here to Stay.

      French railway workers remain on strike for the second month in a row and workers across industries continue demonstrations and work stoppages against the government’s plans to restructure the pension system. Meanwhile, the leaders of France’s moderate unions have been in talks with the government to negotiate cosmetic changes to the reform plan and ultimately stop the strike.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Will Britain follow France’s lead in delaying the introduction of a digital services tax?

      The Treasury is going to need some revenue-raisers from somewhere. That’s one reason why multiple Conservatives have this week told me that they expect the Budget to trigger a row over car taxes, as vehicle excise duty and the fuel duty freeze are the only guaranteed revenue raisers that haven’t been specifically ruled out. And that same very tricky fiscal reality is one reason why the British government may decide that it can’t wait to introduce its own digital services tax until the era of Trump is over.

  • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

  • Monopolies

    • Clayton Christensen, guru of disruptive innovation and Latter-day Saint leader, dies at 67

      Christensen initially used the term “disruptive technologies.” Grove dubbed it the “Christensen Effect.” After Christensen altered it to “disruptive innovation,” the term became ubiquitous. Five years ago, the Economist said it had long since entered the zeitgeist.

      Though he coined the term, Christensen grew uncomfortable with it as he saw it overused and misapplied. He utilized it narrowly to describe innovations that upended existing markets, but only if they fit a certain pattern he had discovered. A true disruptive innovation, he taught, first appealed only to a niche market and appeared less attractive than the powerful incumbent it eventually usurped. In fact, the incumbent typically looked down on it as inconsequential until it ate up huge swaths of its market share.

    • Patents

      • Software Patents

        • $7,000 Cash Prize for Prior Art on DivX Patent

          On January 24, 2020, Unified added a new PATROLL contest with a $7,000 cash prize for prior art submissions for US 10,212,486. The ’486 patent is owned by DivX, LLC, a subsidiary of well-known NPE, Fortress Investment Group, and generally relates to playing back encrypted video involving cryptographic information. This patent is being asserted against Netflix and Hulu in district court.

        • Update on Federal Register Notice on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Patent Issues

          As noted in our previous post, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a request for comments for a list of questions regarding Artificial Intelligence (AI) Patent Issues in the Federal Register on August 21, 2019. While the comment period has closed, a few developments regarding AI patent issues have occurred that are particularly relevant.

        • Update on Federal Register Notice on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Patent Issues

          R Street noted that a long-standing definition of conception requires “formation in the mind of the inventor, of a definite and permanent idea of the complete and operative invention.” R Street states that computers cannot be inventors for at least two reasons 1) inventors must be human under the Patent Act; and 2) computers do not have minds and cannot satisfy the legal requirements of inventors.
          R Street agreed that no special considerations should apply to AI enablement or written description requirements.
          However, R Street commented that AI may impact the level of a person of ordinary skill in the art. Particularly with respect to “obvious to try” rationale and what is considered a “small” number of alternatives.
          R Street noted that “to the extent the USPTO is interested in whether it should advocate for policy change to enable machines to receive patents, the answer is no.”
          R Street takes an interesting stance in saying “inventions generated by an AI system would only be patentable when a human recognizes and evaluates the significance of the AI system’s results.”

        • Update on Federal Register Notice on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Patent Issues
    • Copyrights

The Linux Kernel is No Longer Free Software?

Posted in DRM, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Kernel at 8:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[Direct link YouTube | Direct link lbry.tv]

Summary: Gardiner Bryant, the creator of The Linux Gamer as well as The Off Topical Podcast, reacts to our articles about DRM in Linux (he even pronounced my name correctly)

Sometimes Proprietary Software is Proprietary (Secret) Simply Because It is Not Good and Obfuscation Helps Hide Just How Ugly It Is

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Security, Windows at 8:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The story of FortiClient resembles what I’ve often encountered over the years with other proprietary VPNs (not of my choice)

Proprietary Software. You pay to be abused.

Summary: Why nonfree (or proprietary) software generally fails to catch up with Free/libre software — at least on technical grounds — and then makes up for it with marketing and FUD offensives (discrediting perfectly-functioning things, based on their perceived cost)

OVER the years I’ve encountered and used a lot of VPNs. It’s one thing I’m quite familiar with, having configured and debugged VPNs quite a lot. At work, we use Free/libre VPNs that we host and manage ourselves (typically OpenVPN and IPSec/StrongSwan). But clients’ choices of VPN are another matter. Occasionally I must access a client’s GNU/Linux server to carry out maintenance, patching and software upgrades. It’s quite a routine thing.

“Why is it that Free software generally works a lot more consistently than proprietary counterparts and why do some people pay a lot of money for VPN tools that not only cost a lot of money but need to be ‘repurchased’ (re-licensed) annually or any time one ‘upgrades’?”VPN software varies from client to client and some VPN tools are so awful that it’s not even funny. It can be painful. At times impossible!

Why is it that Free software generally works a lot more consistently than proprietary counterparts and why do some people pay a lot of money for VPN tools that not only cost a lot of money but need to be ‘repurchased’ (re-licensed) annually or any time one ‘upgrades’? Suffice to say, many of these proprietary things have holes in them (kept under the rug), so one might actually be paying for additional security holes rather than security. Snowden’s stash of leaks revealed some evidence to that effect.

“Much time down the drain.”One might say I’m opinionated, but I’m not alone. It’s not only me who complains by the way; a colleague explained that “[a]t the moment the only access we have for [client] is via a horrible proprietary VPN. You are only able to get clients for Windows and Mac officially, however an Ubuntu client has been found that works too. To make things more complicated it does not appear to work at all in Windows Server, meaning we can’t provide access though the Windows [shared/remote virtual] box. If you have a Windows or Mac box, you can download the client from http://forticlient.com/ and the Ubuntu one can be found here https://forticlient.com/repoinfo…”

Well, nothing that I’ve tried allows me to access the client’s network. Much time down the drain. You can try again and again (dealing with binary blobs). The FortiClient software is defective, however, as it shows an unimpressive blank window each time it starts (I tried other, more complicated things) and there’s no way to debug this.

So-called ‘Client’; Whose exactly? Spy agencies?

If I run this from the command line it says:

"Platform detected: fedora" (which is false by the way, it’s not even an RPM-based distro, so I think they need to do more work on their client-side tools if it’s advertised as cross-platform)

“The bottom line is, proprietary VPN software is utterly bad, it rarely prevents security incidents, and it is more like duct tape on top of something inherently broken.”Our internal wiki indicates that we cannot access this over a virtual Windows Server, either. Because that too is not supported. What other access options may there be? And why need they complicate access to the point where they shut out people who merely try to keep their machines secure and up to date? As a Techrights associate recently noted, the whole concept behind VPN is flawed. It seems to assume that operating systems in use aren’t safe if connected to the Web (there are NSA back doors, for starters), so complete separation and insulation from the network is seen as desirable. Later this year our combined lifetime for Tux Machines and Techrights will be 30 years. We’re a high-profile target for attacks, Techrights in particular (many DDOS attacks over the years), but we never had any security incidents and we never used VPNs. We even gave up on so-called 2FA, knowing that it sounds better in theory than (how it works) in practice.

The bottom line is, proprietary VPN software is utterly bad, it rarely prevents security incidents, and it is more like duct tape on top of something inherently broken. Moreover, the quality of proprietary VPN software is utterly appalling. The same can be said about proprietary software other than VPNs, but these companies compensate for that with heavy marketing campaigns and waves of FUD directed at Free software counterparts.

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