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Links 3/11/2017: IPFire 2.19 is Out, Black Duck to Vanish

Posted in News Roundup at 12:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Are open source solutions set to take the high ground in the telecoms industry?

    With open source solutions rapidly growing across the telecoms industry, we’re seeing a major shift with the migration from voice and data services to an encompassing set of networking tools. Operators are moving away from traditional hardware and software systems, says Robin Kent, director of European operations, Adax, with open source solutions now viewed as a key enabler of transformation and innovation.

    While open source solutions do have clear advantages, allowing third-party deployment without having to solely manage or develop the software, challenges still remain. For example, if there’s a bug that causes reliability problems or a crash in the network, how long does it take to fix the bug and who’s accountable for it? Until such industry issues are properly addressed, it seems that open source solutions will not be taking the high ground in the industry anytime soon.

  • Beyond Bitcoin: Oracle, IBM Prepare Blockchains for Industrial Use

    There’s been a lot of talk recently about blockchains beyond its original use for supporting Bitcoin. Earlier this year, we covered a session in London where the takeaway from the panel was there are too many problems to be solved. But that was in February, and a lot has changed since then.

    Judging from some of the blockchain sessions at the recent Oracle OpenWorld conference, the emerging potential uses for blockchain are kind of staggering.

  • Looking at November 4th

    There is a communications exercise this weekend that is being held by the United States Department of Defense involving the amateur radio community. That is to say, ham radio operators are doing a drill with the military in the United States. The subject of the drill is a simulation where a simulated Coronal Mass Ejection event causes a simulated nation-wide power grid failure and there is a call-up of stations on an interoperability frequency in the 60 meter frequency band to see who in all the three thousand counties of the United States of America is out there. The lights will not actually go out and there will not be an actual mass of charged particles hurtling towards Earth from our local star’s corona that would make a human-created EMP generator’s output look miniscule in comparison.


    If anything, this will be fun. This is a simulation on a continental scale. Sadly, I don’t have any working transmitting gear so I won’t be able to fully take part. I will be able to set up the RadioShack DX-398 and listen in, though. Folks without radios at home can utilize the WebSDR (Software Defined Radio) network of receivers perhaps by learning more by pointing their browsers at http://websdr.org/.

  • Events

    • Embedded Linux Conference Europe videos posted for free streaming

      The Linux Foundation has posted 13 videos of Open Source Summit Europe keynotes and 57 videos of Embedded Linux Conference Europe sessions on YouTube.

      The combined Embedded Linux Conference Europe (ELCE) and Open Source Summit Europe event held Oct. 23-25 in Prague, is now available for all to see. The Linux Foundation has posted 70 videos of events on YouTube, including videos of 57 ELCE presentations.

  • Databases

    • Alibaba leads $27m open source database MariaDB’s funding round

      MariaDB’s wallet just got a little thicker with a strong Series C investment round that featured Alibaba as the lead investor.

      The round, which saw the open source database company raise $27m in investment, was led by the Chinese company to the tune of €20 million of the total €22.9 million raised, according to Tech Crunch.

    • MariaDB reports successful investment round led by Alibaba

      MariaDB Corporation announced that it raised $27 million in an investment led by Alibaba Group. Combined with a recent $27 million investment from the European Investment Bank (EIB), this latest capital brings MariaDB’s total funding this year to $54 million. MariaDB will continue its collaboration with Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, to deliver new solutions for the cloud and emerging use cases. MariaDB reaches more than 60 million developers worldwide through its inclusion in every major Linux distribution, as well as a growing presence in the world’s major cloud providers. The latest investments reflect the rising interest in MariaDB from every commercial region around the world.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.3.7 Is the Last in the Series, End of Life Set for November 26

      LibreOffice 5.3.7 is now available as the latest update for the series, bringing a total of 49 bug fixes for various of the office suite’s components, including Writer, Calc, Draw, Impress, Base, and Math. To see what exactly was changed in this point release, you can study the changelog attached at the end of the article.

  • CMS

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Public Services/Government

    • ‘Tallinn declaration’ commits EU to increase use of open source

      When building or rebuilding ICT systems, public services should make more use of open source software solutions, the Ministers of the European Union Member States and EFTA countries agreed in Tallinn (Estonia) on 6 October. The recommendation is part of the ‘Tallinn Ministerial Declaration on eGovernment’.

      By signing the Ministerial Declaration on eGovernment, the ministers agree that using open source solutions and open standards helps to avoid IT vendor lock-in. They call on public services to make their ICT solutions publicly available, and to encourage the private sector and civil society to reuse the software.

      In addition, the ministers call on the Commission “to consider strengthening the requirements for use of open source solutions and standards when (re)building of ICT systems and solutions takes place with EU funding – including by an appropriate open licence policy – by 2020.”

    • NHS Digital wants to beef up information exchange healthcare solutions through open source APIs

      Expressions of interest are invited from suppliers and INTEROPen members to get involved in new API Lab

      NHS Digital has announced plans to develop a new API Lab in Leeds to solve information exchange problems for patients and clinicians.

      The objective is to make patient information and securely accessible to healthcare professionals at the point of need.

      The API Lab will pool the expertise of developers from both industry and NHS Digital to accelerate the development of open source APIs designed to improve system integration across the NHS and social care.

      The Lab will work according to open standards group INTEROPen’s openness and transparency principles to address information exchange problems for patients and clinicians.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Company that sought to control Google search results is a no-show in US court

      Earlier this year, a small Vancouver software firm called Equustek earned an extraordinary legal win against Google. The Supreme Court of Canada ordered the search giant to de-index all pages from a former Equustek distributor—not just in Canada, but worldwide.

      Google’s response to that was to file a lawsuit in US federal court asking a judge to rule that the Canadian order is unenforceable in its home country. Google called the Canadian order “repugnant” to the First Amendment, and it pointed out that the Canadian plaintiffs “never established any violation of their rights under US law.”

  • Programming/Development


  • The Google Docs Lockout Fiasco & The Failed Promise Of The Cloud

    While it wasn’t always called “the cloud” people have been talking about and predicting the future of remote computing for the past few decades (and, sure, I know that in the early days of mainframes and terminals, that’s how things worked, but I’m talking about in the modern internet era). And some argue that we’ve now finally reached the true age of the cloud. After all, tons of people can survive with most of their documents really stored in the cloud. Indeed, for many people, they have little use for much storage on their own computers (and, sure, I know some of you will get snooty and talk about how crazy that is, but the simple fact is that many people are not like you and don’t need much in the way of local storage).

    But, as I’ve said before, and will say again, I think by letting companies like Google and Amazon control “the cloud” we’ve actually missed out the real possible benefit of the cloud. The version that I had always pictured separated out the storage layer from the service layer. I’ve made this point in the past concerning online cloud music services (which are now pretty obsolete due to streaming services) where I’d prefer the ability to store all of my (legal) MP3s in one spot, and then point a music playing service at those files. Instead, every cloud music service required you to upload local tracks to servers somewhere, and you’d have to do it all over again if you switched. This is obvious lock-in for those services, but it’s a pain for end users, and diminishes the possibilities for more innovative services.

  • New Zealand library cracks case of the missing books

    Staff discover homeless people had been carefully hiding books under shelves at Auckland library so they could return to them without losing their place

  • Science

    • Trump pick for science position withdraws due to Russia connection

      Yesterday, the Trump administration’s pick for a science post at the Department of Agriculture withdrew his name from consideration. Sam Clovis, who was a talk radio host before joining the Trump campaign, had been a controversial pick to begin with due to his complete lack of experience with either agriculture or science. But his nomination was terminated due to his role in the Trump campaign, where he supervised George Papadopoulos, the first person to plead guilty due to Robert Mueller’s investigation of the campaign’s Russian ties.

      Since Trump’s inauguration, Clovis has served as a White House advisor within the Department of Agriculture. Earlier this year, Trump nominated him to a formal position within the department: the Undersecretary of Research, Education, and Economics. That position coordinates research within the department, and the person who holds the position is often referred to as Agriculture’s chief scientist. The law that created the position indicates that the person nominated for it should be chosen “from among distinguished scientists with specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics.”

    • EPA bans research grant recipients from advising agency on science

      US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt took another step to reshape the independent boards that advise the agency on science Tuesday. The newly announced directive bars scientists who receive EPA research grants from serving as science advisers to the agency. The move follows previous decisions to dismiss a number of academic researchers in favor of greater representation from industry representatives.

      In a news release, the EPA described the move as ensuring that advisers are “independent and free from any real, apparent, or potential interference with their ability to objectively serve as a committee member.” Pruitt and some other conservative critics of environmental regulations have recently argued that scientists who have performed EPA-funded research have a conflict of interest—that they are biased toward approving new regulatory efforts. “Whatever science comes out of EPA, shouldn’t be political science,” Pruitt said in the agency’s release.

    • Lamar Smith, chair of House Science Committee, leaving Congress

      Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today acknowledged he is retiring at the end of his current term. Smith was one of the key sponsors of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which attracted widespread criticism for the powers it would grant companies going after copyright infringement. For the past five years, he has been chair of the House Science Committee, where he has intruded on peer review at the National Science Foundation and gotten into fights with NOAA because he refuses to accept the evidence for climate change.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Companies claim marijuana makes cancer “commit suicide,” FDA loses it

      The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday publicly scolded and threatened companies claiming that marijuana-based products could treat or cure cancer.

      In the harshly worded announcement, the agency suggested that the “deceptive marketing” was tantamount to “health fraud” and that the agency was “increasingly concerned at the proliferation of products claiming to treat or cure serious diseases like cancer.”

    • Uganda Parliament Passes Bill To Promote Use Of Genetically Modified Materials, Biotech [Ed: It sounds as though a corrupt lobby has finally bribed enough officials and bodies there to impose Monsanto et al]

      Several genetically modified crops that are more resilient to drought, flooding, saline or acid soils and temperature extremes resulting from climate change are already being researched in Uganda and are in advanced stages. The enactment of an enabling law, the Uganda National Biosafety Bill 2017, is intended to enhance the development of modern biotechnology.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • ISIS’ power is waning, but its child slave trade is still booming

      Three years on, ISIS’ slave trade continues to prosper, even as the extremist group’s power and influence wane. ISIS has been largely driven out of its former Syrian stronghold, Raqqa, in recent days — only sleeper cells are thought to remain in the city.

    • Why Trump Has Nothing to Say About ISIS

      The Trump Administration’s shady ties to the Turkish government may have had something to do with the decision. [...]

    • USS McCain collision ultimately caused by UI confusion

      On November 1, the US Navy issued its report on the collisions of the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain this summer. The Navy’s investigation found that both collisions were avoidable accidents. And in the case of the USS McCain, the accident was in part caused by an error made in switching which control console on the ship’s bridge had steering control. While the report lays the blame on training, the user interface for the bridge’s central navigation control systems certainly played a role.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Warning of ‘ecological Armageddon’ after dramatic plunge in insect numbers

      Three-quarters of flying insects in nature reserves across Germany have vanished in 25 years, with serious implications for all life on Earth, scientists say

    • Republican tax plan kills electric vehicle credit

      The nascent market for electric cars will suffer a big setback if the Republican tax plan released on Thursday enters into law. Among the changes to the current tax code would be an end to the Plug-In Electric Drive Vehicle Credit. That’s the tax incentive that currently means up to $7,500 back from the IRS when you purchase a new battery or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

    • High Court says previous National Government should have done more on climate change targets

      The previous National-led government failed to take appropriate action over some of its climate change emissions targets, according to the High Court, but it won’t face any consequences because it’s no longer in power.

      Justice Jillian Mallon released her decision on Thursday after Waikato law student Sarah Thomson took former Environment Minister Paula Bennett to court in June over alleged inadequate action to address emissions targets.

      The High Court dismissed the judicial review. But in her written decision, Justice Mallon acknowledged that when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its fifth assessment reports in 2014, the Government failed to undertake a satisfactory review of its 2050 emissions targets.

  • Finance

    • SEC warns that celebrity cryptocurrency endorsements may be illegal

      The Securities and Exchange Commission has issued a statement warning celebrities that they may be violating the law if they make paid endorsements of cryptocurrencies without disclosing the payments.

      Just a few months ago, there would have been no need for such a warning because there were very few celebrities endorsing blockchain products (though Mike Tyson has been endorsing Bitcoin products since at least 2015). But with billions of dollars flooding into initial coin offerings, celebrities like Floyd Mayweather and Paris Hilton have begun promoting new cryptocurrencies on social media.

    • Bitcoin blows past $7,000, double its value in mid-September

      Six weeks ago, it looked like Bitcoin’s latest boom might be coming to an end. The virtual currency had been worth almost $5,000 in early September, but then Chinese regulators announced a harsh crackdown on China’s Bitcoin economy. On September 15, Bitcoin’s price reached a low of $3,000.

      But then the currency bounced back, and it has been on a tear ever since. Last night the price of one bitcoin soared to about $7,000 for the first time—that’s a ten-fold increase over the last year.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Media Spent Months Lionizing General Who Defended Slaveholders’ Revolt

      According to corporate media, the top general who just complimented the commander of the slavery-defending Confederacy is the greatest hope to rein in President Donald Trump’s extremism.

      Since retired Marine Corps four-star Gen. John Kelly was promoted to White House chief of staff in July, pundits have insisted that the former head of the Pentagon’s Southern Command is a positive, moderating influence on the far-right president.

      Kelly swiftly dispelled such a notion in an October 30 interview with right-wing Fox News host Laura Ingraham. Kelly spoke highly of Robert E. Lee, the leader of the Confederate army that fought to preserve chattel slavery during the Civil War.

    • Trump on lack of nominees: ‘I am the only one that matters’

      President Trump pushed back Thursday on concerns about a lack of nominees for key positions at the State Department, arguing it wouldn’t affect his agenda.

      “Let me tell you, the one that matters is me, I’m the only one that matters because when it comes to it that’s what’s the policy is going to be,” Trump said on Fox News when pressed about vacancies by Laura Ingraham.

      “We don’t need all the people that they want,” Trump continued. “Don’t forget, I’m a business person and I tell my people, well you don’t need to fill slots, don’t fill them.”

    • Congress Pats Itself On The Back Via Social Media For Its Opportunity To Slam Social Media

      As you may have heard, this week there were three Congressional hearings in two days, allowing various Congressional committees to drag out officials from Facebook, Twitter and Google and slap them around for the fact that some bad things happen on those platforms. The general sentiment appeared to be sputtering anger that social media companies haven’t magically figured out how to “stop bad stuff” on these platforms.

    • Here are the Kremlin-backed Facebook ads designed to foment discord in US

      Facebook, which has conceded that Kremlin-backed ads might have been seen by as many as 126 million people, has been taking the biggest beatings in these hearings.

      Today, the House Intelligence Committee finally, and officially, released some of the Facebook ads and the handles of several thousand fake Twitter accounts—all of which were designed to foment discord in the United States.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • The Price Wolfenstein 2 Had To Pay To Get Around Germany’s Anti-Nazi Laws Was Removing A Mustache

      The last time we talked about Germany’s Strafgesetzbuch law, specifically section 86a that prohibits the display of Nazi symbols, iconography, or historical figures with few exceptions, was when Ubisoft accidentally sent the country versions of a South Park video game chock full of swastikas. I feel much the same today about the law as I did then: I get why the law was created, but it’s probably time for it to be retired. While the law does make room for Nazi symbols to be displayed for the purposes of art and education, too often those exceptions are either not actually adhered to in real-world examples, while those that might be able to fit their work within those exceptions don’t bother trying, too chilled by the law that limits their speech. Coupling that along with the simple fact that German citizens who really want to see Nazi symbols don’t have to work particularly hard to circumvent the law resolves the whole matter as being somewhat silly.

    • Estonian Presidency on © & Censorship: Oops!…I did it again

      The Estonian Presidency compromise proposal on the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market has been published and guess what… Oops: they did it again.

    • Anti-censorship group explores York College efforts to restrict access to art exhibit

      With York College hosting REWIND, an art exhibit focusing on the history of racism and racial injustice — – in the United States, local artists reflect on the impact this kind of art can and should have on society.


      The National Coalition Against Censorship recently interviewed Rucker about his exhibit and the college’s handling of it.

    • On last day of work, rogue Twitter employee deactivated Trump’s account

      Twitter announced Thursday evening that an employee, on his or her last day of work at the company, deactivated President Donald Trump’s notorious Twitter account. The president’s account was only absent for 11 minutes before it was restored.

    • Donald, YOU’RE FIRED: Rogue Twitter staffer quits, deletes President Trump’s account

      For a few minutes on Thursday afternoon, Pacific Time, the Twitter account of US President Donald J. Trump ceased to exist – sensationally deleted by a Twitter staffer on their last day of work, we’re told.

      The absence of such a distinctive, dare we say divisive, social media voice was immediately noticed, and welcomed by some.

      “For a brief moment Trump’s twitter was down & outside my window white nationalists were paying reparations to black people,” commented writer and Harvard PhD candidate Clint Smith. “Then I awoke.”

    • Rogue Employee Shut Down Trump’s Twitter Account On Last Day Of Work

      What can you do on your last day at work? Possibly, delete the Twitter account of the President of the United States. The handle @realDonaldTrump was back on the microblogging site after straight 11 minutes of exile.

      An initial response from Twitter’s Government and Elections team blamed a “human error” as the cause of Trump’s account getting “inadvertently deactivated” by an employee. They also said that the deactivation was initiated by a Twitter customer rep on their last working day.

    • China Again Expands Censorship to Overseas Academic Publishers

      One of the world’s largest academic publishers has confirmed that it blocked access to some 1,000 journal articles to Chinese internet users because they contained banned keywords relating to political topics such as Tibet, Taiwan, or the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

      Springer Nature, which publishes Nature and the Scientific American, blocked the articles, all of which appeared in the Journal of Chinese Political Science and International Politics, the company said in a statement.

    • Springer Nature blocks access to articles in China
    • Springer Nature blocks journal articles in China
    • Nature publisher bows to Chinese censorship
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • You Can Spy Like the NSA for a Few Thousand Bucks

      Gaining access to the global network used by spies to track phone calls and intercept communications is relatively cheap and easy for hackers, criminals, or even anyone, a Daily Beast investigation has found.

      The network, known as SS7, has faced renewed attention in the past few years, especially after researchers exploited it to eavesdrop on a congressman’s calls in real-time from the other side of the world. But a major concern is that more sinister hackers could conduct this sort of surveillance. To test just how possible opening the door to SS7 really is, The Daily Beast posed as a small potential customer to a telecom in Europe, and was offered SS7 access for just a few thousand dollars.

    • Trump wants to keep our draconian surveillance laws. Don’t let him do it

      While it’s an uphill battle, if enough pressure is put on representatives in the coming months, there is a real chance some of the most controversial NSA surveillance powers exposed by Edward Snowden could be substantially restricted.

      Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa) – the controversial spying provision that allows the NSA to spy on hundreds of thousands of foreign individuals and warrantless access to Americans’ emails – expires at the end of the year. The Trump administration and intelligence agencies are lobbying for the law to be permanently reauthorized, but a bipartisan coalition of congressmen are pushing for important reforms.

    • EDITORIAL: Close the back door to our freedoms

      The government shouldn’t be able to spy on Americans without a warrant. Yet that’s what Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act allows the National Security Agency to do.

      With the provision set to expire at the end of the year, it is critical that Congress stand up for the constitutional rights of Americans and put hard limits on the surveillance powers of the federal government.

    • Canadian Court Says Law Enforcement Doesn’t Have To Hand Over Info On Stingray Devices

      This may end the line of discovery as it relates to law enforcement’s IMSI catchers, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the prosecution will be able to move forward. The defense plans to challenge the lawfulness of the prosecution itself. Withholding evidence possibly crucial to the defense doesn’t make for a fair trial and it appears the defense will argue charges should be dropped if information isn’t going to be produced. It’s not like there isn’t any precedent to work with. Earlier this year, the government chose to let 35 accused Mafia members go free rather than discuss Stingray use in court.

      Clayton Rice, who is representing one of the accused in this case, has graciously sent over a copy of the court’s ruling [PDF] on the issue. (This ruling was under a publication ban until mid-morning Tuesday.) Rice points out this is only an interim ruling and doesn’t necessarily represent the final word on the subject. The court has granted the government the (possibly temporary) right to withhold certain information about its cell tower spoofers, which includes its make and model. The order is heavily redacted, which is one of the reasons it’s only now being released despite having been decided back in August.

    • Challenging Government Hacking: What’s at Stake

      The government should protect privacy and security. Secretive and unregulated government hacking endangers both.

      The FBI is making increasing use of an investigative technique that puts the public’s internet security at risk. This month, the ACLU filed amicus briefs in two cases to challenge the FBI’s use of this technique, which has significant cybersecurity implications for everyone.

      The technique — government hacking — involves sending malware over the Internet to search computers remotely, often for information that is transmitted by or stored on anonymous targets’ computers. The malware can give investigators total control over a computer system. Absent extraordinary circumstances, courts should not grant this kind of power to law enforcement — much less with just a run-of-the-mill search warrant.

      Malware — software designed to covertly damage a computer, take control of a system, or steal data — is not new to the federal government. The FBI has been deploying tools to search anonymous users’ computers since at least 2002. More recently, however, the FBI has expanded its use of this technique. Rather than deploying tailored malware against individual targets, the agency is now conducting “watering hole” operations that deliver malware to everyone who visits a particular webpage or pages. This can result in hundreds or thousands of computers being compromised, as well as the uncontrolled distribution of malware around the globe.

    • Liberty Act Presents Another “Fake Fix” To Controversial NSA Spying Program

      Ever since Edward Snowden helped reveal the true extent of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) massive spying program, U.S. politicians have attempted to “fix” the program’s gross violations of the Fourth Amendment with legislation. While some legislative efforts were “fake fixes,” others were well-meaning but have fallen short, as legislators still lack key information regarding how the government interprets and uses Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and Section 215 of the Patriot Act to legally justify its dragnet collection of citizen phone records and other information.

      Indeed, over the past four years, Congress has been stonewalled by the NSA in its attempts to learn more about the program. The NSA has repeatedly refused even to estimate how many Americans are spied on by the agency’s most invasive programs and has even refused to reveal whether it spies on members of Congress or other elected officials in the United States.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Dustin Hoffman Apologizes After Accusations He Touched 17-Year-Old Without Consent

      Hollywood star Dustin Hoffman has apologized after a former female intern named Anna Graham Hunter said Hoffman touched her without her consent when she was only 17 and working on the set of the movie “Death of a Salesman” more than 30 years ago.

    • Kim Dotcom makes police pay heavy price for ‘military-style’ dawn raid
    • Kim Dotcom settles lawsuit against NZ Police for raid he says ‘traumatised’ his family

      Kim Dotcom has settled a lawsuit against the New Zealand Police over alleged unreasonable use of force in a raid of his north Auckland Coatesville mansion in January 2012, according to a statement from his lawyer today.

    • Dotcoms Announce Settlement of Lawsuit Against NZ Police

      Kim Dotcom and Mona Dotcom announce that they have resolved their lawsuit against the New Zealand Police in which the Dotcoms sought a remedy for their claim about the unreasonable use of force in the military-style raid of their family home in January of 2012. The Dotcoms also raised the concern that their home and family had been under intrusive visual surveillance by the Police which had not been authorised by the Court.

    • Dotcom wins settlement from police over the 2012 dawn raid which saw him arrested

      Kim Dotcom and his former wife Mona have accepted a confidential settlement from the police over the raid which saw him arrested, saying he did so to protect their children and because the Government “recently changed for the better”.

      He said that their previous desire to see accountability had been trumped by wanting to “do what was best for our children” by bringing an end to the court case.

    • First Circuit Appeals Court Latest To Overturn Playpen Suppression Order

      A third Appeals Court has ruled on the tactics the FBI used to track down users of a dark web child porn site. And the third one to rule — the First Circuit Appeals Court — continues the government’s shut out of suppression orders at the appellate level.

      In the two previous cases to reach this level (Tenth and Eighth), the judges found the FBI’s Network Investigative Technique to be a search under the Fourth Amendment. This wasn’t much of an issue because the FBI had a warrant. The real issue was the warrant’s reach: it was issued in Virginia but the NIT found a home in computers all over the US, not to mention the rest of the world.

    • Video dooms cop who arrested nurse for not letting him take patient’s blood

      A Utah nurse who was roughed up and arrested on July 26 by a Salt Lake City cop because she told the officer that he needed a warrant to draw blood from an unconscious patient has settled for a $500,000 payout.

      Body cam footage from the scene shows University Hospital nurse Alex Wubbels calmly telling the officer, who was trained for the task of blood withdrawal, that he cannot take a blood sample because the patient, who was involved in a vehicle crash, had neither been arrested nor gave consent. Then the cop lunges and grabs the nurse as she was fearfully backing away. He rushes her outside the hospital, and handcuffs her. All the while, she’s screaming that there’s no reason for her detainment.

    • Sen. Feinstein Wants Wikileaks’ Lawyer Chats in Violation Attorney-Client Privilege

      However, the Twitter account @granmarga belongs to Wikileaks lawyer Margaret Kunstler, who posted this message identifying herself as a Wikileaks lawyer. Her identity can be confirmed because the article that she tweeted out identifies herself as an attorney for Wikileaks who is writing in support of that organization, in an article entitled, “Wikileaks Attorneys Blast Citizen Four Maker Poitras.” It should be noted that Kunstler is a New York civil rights attorney with the law firm HRBEK Law, according to their website. The site notes that Kunstler “has spent her career providing movement support and protecting the rights of activists.”

    • Another Stash House Sting Criticized By The Court… But Lengthy Sentences Left Untouched

      The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has let some more stash house sting convictions stand. But not without considerable discussion of the government’s tactics. And not without one judge appending a long rebuke to her reluctant concurrence.

      Once again, the ATF has managed to secure multiple convictions predicated on nonexistent evidence. The sting, helmed by veteran ATF agent Richard Zayas, involved a made-up drug stash house “containing” at least enough drugs to trigger 10-year mandatory minimum sentences for the defendants. Zayas’ sting operations always include fictitious armed stash house guards, otherwise the ATF’s involvement would be unnecessary.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Boss Demolishes Media Ownership Rules In Massive Gift To Sinclair Broadcasting

      FCC boss Ajit Pai has been busy ignoring the public while he kills popular net neutrality rules. But he’s also been working hard to weaken broadband deployment standards to obfuscate a lack of broadband competition, to gut programs that provide broadband to the poor, killing previous FCC efforts to improve cable box competition, to protect prison telco monopolies from oversight, and to make it easier for business broadband monopolies to rip off smaller competitors. All while proclaiming to be a stalwart defender of the little guy and a champion for bridging the digital divide.

    • AT&T struggles to get Trump administration approval for Time Warner merger

      AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner Inc. is reportedly hitting a speed bump as the Trump administration’s Department of Justice considers filing a lawsuit to block the merger.

      This wouldn’t be a death knell for the merger because the DOJ often files lawsuits against deals that it ultimately approves, and AT&T today said it still expects to get approval. The DOJ’s antitrust division could file a lawsuit to block the proposed merger while at the same time filing a proposed settlement that would allow the deal to be approved, as it did last month with CenturyLink’s purchase of Level 3.

    • Giant International Egos May Derail The Sprint T-Mobile Merger

      We’ve been discussing how Sprint’s plan to merger with T-Mobile would be notably awful for the wireless industry. Not only do Wall Street analysts predict it would kill anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 jobs (potentially more people than Sprint even currently employs), but it would reduce the number of major competitors in the space from four to three — dramatically reducing the industry’s incentive to compete on price and service. The resulting competitive lull could derail many of the good things a resurgent T-Mobile has encouraged in the sector (like the death of long-term contracts and the return of unlimited data plans).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Qualcomm sues Apple over alleged software licence breach
    • Qualcomm Continues Legal Battle With Apple, Files Suit Over Software License
    • Apple accused of sharing Qualcomm’s software secrets with Intel in new lawsuit
    • Qualcomm accuses Apple of helping Intel with chip software
    • Qualcomm sues Apple AGAIN in new row over chip code
    • Qualcomm Says Apple Breached Contract on Phone-Chip Software

      Qualcomm Inc. has sued Apple Inc., accusing the iPhone maker of failing to abide by the terms of a software license and said it may have used its unprecedented access to that code to help Qualcomm-rival Intel Corp.

      The chipmaker filed the lawsuit against Apple on Wednesday in California state court in San Diego, adding yet another front to their bitter legal battle. Apple is being sued for breach of a contract that governs the use of software needed to make chips work with other parts of mobile phones and communicate with networks.

    • Why We Must Fight for the Right to Repair Our Electronics

      On balance, all this technology is probably making our lives better. But there’s a downside, too: The stuff often malfunctions. Unlike the 30-year-old mixer on your kitchen counter that refuses to die, new technology—especially the smart devices with fancy, embedded electronics—breaks more quickly. That trend, confirmed by a recent study by the German government, applies not just to delicate products like smartphones and tablets but also to equipment we would expect to last for a long time—like televisions, washing machines, and even tractors.

    • How far to take user rights into consideration? Repair?

      And so—the question: Is there a compelling explanation why the legislator should enact such a right to repair? Unlike the rationale for a user’s right with respect to copyright, e.g., the better to maximize the milieu in which copyright creation takes place, a user’s right to repair does not directly address any core element of an IP right. But there still is a connection. After all, it is the public, through the legislative branch, that provides the statutory authority for (most) IP rights. One can imagine a dystopian world where digital products of all kinds are more and more prone to repair. A refusal to enable repair, forcing the need for more and more replacement purchases of an item, could then lead to a situation where the public throws in the towel and orders their legislators to cut back on IP protection so as to make self-help repair more feasible. Yes, there is TRIPS, the Berne Convention and the like. But none of them is self-enforcing. “Repair” may yet find its way to the pantheon of rights.

    • Blaming Inequality On Technology: Sloppy Thinking For The Educated

      The argument for intellectual property is well-known. The government grants individuals and corporations monopolies for a period of time, which allow them to charge well above the free market price for the items on which they have a patent or copyright. This monopoly gives them an incentive to innovate and do creative work.

    • Trademarks

      • Court of Appeal hails London black cabs as not distinctive

        In another ruling demonstrating the difficulty for UK trade mark owners to protect their designs, the Court of Appeal has upheld a ruling that The London Taxi Company’s trade marks are invalid. The case would present some interesting issues were it to be pursed to the Supreme Court

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate TV services are taking a bite out of cable company revenue
      • Collateral Damage Not Russian Site-Blocking’s Only Failure: Pirate Video Market Has Doubled As Well

        Over the summer, we discussed how laughably bad Russia’s efforts at blocking so-called “piracy sites” has been. In the course of four years of attempting to stamp out copyright infringement in the country, the Russian government managed to block 4,000 sites it intended to target as piracy sites, and 41,000 sites it had not intended to target that were caught up as collateral damage. Those are the kind of numbers that would make a cluster bomb blush.

        Even so, you might have imagined that this heavy-handed iron-fist routine must surely have had some reduction effect on the rate of piracy in Russia. The short answer to that is: nooooooope. Instead, over the course of the past few years, the market for pirated video content in Russia has doubled.


Links 2/11/2017: Valve Survey, MariaDB Funding

Posted in News Roundup at 10:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Switching From Windows To Linux

      Windows is there in our life from a long time. From our school’s computer labs to our PC at home where we had been playing games to every neighbor in the hood everyone is using windows since a long time. Switching is never easy especially when most of the thing you own is compatible with Windows only not Linux. But there are reasons why you want to switch that’s why you are here, to find out the problems, their solutions and most likely reasons why you want to make the switch.
      ​I will help you in the best way I can because I also made that decision, so I know what could be problems and their solutions.

    • 10 obscure (but useful) desktop Linux distros

      You’ve likely heard of Ubuntu, Red Hat and Fedora, but there are strange, lesser-known versions of Linux worth knowing about.

  • Server

    • 10 Best Linux Server Distributions of 2017

      Linux is free and open source, this has emanated into low total cost of ownership of a Linux system, compared to other operating systems. Although Linux operating systems (distributions) are not entirely doing well on desktop computers, they are commanding the stats when it comes to powering servers, mainframe computers as well as supercomputers in data centers around the world.

      There are several factors attributed to this: the first and most important that you might have thought of, is the general freedom associated with it, stability and security among others.

  • Kernel Space

    • WireGuard Could Soon Be On Its Way To The Linux Kernel

      Announced last summer by Jason Donenfeld was the “WireGuard” project as a next-generation secure network tunnel for the Linux kernel. It’s looking like this network addition could soon be reaching the mainline Linux kernel.

      Back in January they talked of their mainline kernel ambitions and while it might not be ready for merging in 2017 as it doesn’t look like it will make it for the 4.15 merge window, it’s sounding like it will be here soon enough.

    • SCO vs. IBM case over who owns Linux comes back to life. Again

      The seemingly endless legal battle between SCO and IBM battle over who owns UNIX, and perhaps bits of Linux, too has re-emerged. And this time SCO has had a win.

      As Groklaw records, this case kicked off in 2003. The dispute centres on “Project Monterey” a joint effort by SCO and IBM to build a unified UNIX capable of running on several different microprocessor architectures. SCO – at that time known as the Santa Cruz Organisation – sold versions of UNIX and tossed some of its source code into the Project Monterey mix, as did IBM. The parties signed a “joint development agreement” (JDA) to formalise the deal.

    • The foundation announced Acumos Project, initiated by AT&T and India-based Tech Mahindra.
    • AT&T partnership will bring ‘open source AI marketplace for businesses’
    • New Collaborative Platform to Spur Open Source AI Development

      The Linux Foundation this week announced an agreement with AT&T and Tech Mahindra to launch the Acumos Project, a new platform for open source development of artificial intelligence.

      The new platform is part of a broader effort to open up opportunities for AI collaboration in the telecommunications, media and technology sectors.

      The Linux Foundation has been working with AT&T and Tech Mahindra for months to put this deal together, in the hope of creating a framework for new development in a standardized environment.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMDKFD For Linux 4.15 Adding Usermode Events, Dropping Radeon DRM Support

        Building off an earlier update in DRM-Next of upstreaming more AMDKFD changes for Linux 4.15, a second batch of feature work was proposed today for merging into DRM-Next.

        Oded Gabbay has sent in a second batch of AMDKFD driver changes for Linux 4.15. AMDKFD, of course, being the HSA kernel driver. With this second batch of changes, it still is mostly focused on upstreaming APU work and not yet the discrete GPU bits needed.

      • GL_EXT_semaphore Being Prepped For Mesa, Used By SteamVR

        Andres Rodriguez of Valve has posted a set of 17 patches for implementing the OpenGL GL_EXT_semaphore extension within Mesa and wired through for RadeonSI.

        GL_EXT_semaphore is part of the OpenGL memory object support that was introduced as an extension this year for porting these semaphores / memory objects concepts from Vulkan back to OpenGL. Semaphores are synchronization primitives and the GL semaphores map to the semantics of Vulkan semaphores.

      • Etnaviv Gallium3D Driver Now Wiring Up ASTC Texture Compression

        The Etnaviv open-source driver stack providing reverse-engineered Vivante Linux graphics driver support continues on its feature streak.

        Some of the recent successes in the past several days for the Etnaviv driver have included Vivante GC7000 series patches for supporting this newer hardware, OpenGL 2.1 support, plans for eventually supporting OpenCL, and more.

      • Meson’ed Mesa Allows For 10 Second Build & Deploy Of Intel’s Vulkan Driver

        Among the projects recently adopting the Meson build system has been Mesa 3D. The build time benefits are quite encouraging for developers.

        The Mesa onboarding of Meson has been happening in their Git code the past several weeks. Similar to other projects, Meson with the Ninja back-end is allowing for much quicker build times than using GNU Autotools and alternatives.

  • Applications

    • scikit-survival 0.4 released and presented at PyCon UK 2017
    • Signal Introduces Standalone Desktop App for Windows, Mac, Linux

      Open Whisper Systems launched Signal desktop app through Chrome browser back in 2016. The company is finally bringing a standalone app for the private messaging service. “Signal Desktop is now available in a new, standalone form, and the Chrome App has been deprecated,” the company said in an announcement blog post.

      The new standalone desktop version of Signal means that it will run independently of the browser. “If you’re a Firefox or Safari user, you don’t need to install Chrome to send and receive Signal messages on your computer. If you’re a Chrome user, having your browser open will no longer be synonymous with having Signal Desktop open,” explains the company in a blog post. The standalone Signal desktop app has been launched with support for platforms including Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 as well as macOS 10.9 and above. The company has also released a standalone app for Linux distributions supporting APT like Ubuntu or Debian.

    • Standalone Signal Desktop

      Signal Desktop is now available in a new, standalone form, and the Chrome App has been deprecated.

      The new desktop version of Signal runs independently of your browser. If you’re a Firefox or Safari user, you don’t need to install Chrome to send and receive Signal messages on your computer. If you’re a Chrome user, having your browser open will no longer be synonymous with having Signal Desktop open.

    • Lucidor – A Lightweight & Cross-Platform Ebook Reader

      Lucidor is a cross-platform ebook reader and manager with support for catalogs in the OPDS format and the EPUB file format.

      As a XULRunner application, it resembles the look and feel of the famous Firefox web browser with its tabbed layout and configuration settings panel.

      As simple as it is, you can use it to convert web pages and web feeds into ebooks, update your library’s metadata from the internet, and even search for and download ebooks online.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Akademy 2018 site visit

        Last week I was part of the expedition by KDE (together with Kenny and Petra) to visit the local team that is helping us organize Akademy 2018 in Vienna.

  • Distributions

    • How Two Teenagers Created Zorin OS and Made it a Popular Linux Distribution

      Two teenagers created a Linux distribution 8 years back. Today it has become a prominent name in the Linux world. Artyom Zorin tells the inside story of Zorin OS and its future goals.

    • Arch Family

      • Arch Linux 2017.11.01 Is Now Available for Download with Linux Kernel 4.13.9

        Every month, the Arch Linux developers bake an up-to-date installation image (a.k.a. ISO) that includes all the security patches and package updates that they’ve pushed through the stable software repositories of the GNU/Linux distribution during the month that just ended.

        Arch Linux 2017.11.01 is the ISO snapshot for the month of November 2017, powered by the Linux 4.13.9 kernel and incorporating all the updates released during October 2017. Weighing around 523 MB in size, the Arch Linux 2017.11.01 installation image is supported only on 64-bit platforms as 32-bit installations aren’t possible anymore.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 17.10 Review: A Little Slow While Booting (Compared to 17.04) But Quite Stable

            As mentioned earlier, I’ve been using Ubuntu 17.10 for more than a week now. Compared to Ubuntu 17.04 it is a bit slow while booting, yet slightly lightweight, very responsive (again, I had to manually tweak the I/O scheduler to make it responsive), power efficient, shuts down fast and is very stable. Even though there is no Unity desktop shell anymore, they’ve tweaked GNOME to look a lot alike as well. So all in all, I’m quite happy with this release.

            That said, I’ve been using KDE plasma desktop that came with Manjaro 17.02 for the past few months, and I’m beginning to love KDE more & more. One of the reasons why I was forced to look for an alternative was because of some of the limitations of the GNOME desktop (I’m not going to go into the details since I’ve mentioned some of the these reasons in my other reviews). Therefore, despite my judgement derived from this Ubuntu 17.10 review, I’ve decided to switch to KDE (well, for now at least).

            But I wanted to stay closer to the core Ubuntu platform, thus I’ve chosen the old girl, Debian, Debian 9 (‘Stretch’) KDE edition, to be precise. I’ve already downloaded it and going to give it a go. That said, if you’re an Ubuntu fan, and want to try out the 17.10 release, then why not, it looks good to me.

          • The Best GTK Themes for Ubuntu

            We roundup some of the best GTK themes for Ubuntu. Our list includes Arc, Adatpa, and Numix, and other GTK themes guaranteed to give your desktop a makeover.

          • System76 Galago Pro Review with Pop!_OS — Is Pop!_OS Just Another Distribuntu?

            But what really drew me in was the stunning iconography, which was particularly surprising. Despite Linux being synonymous with customization and there being too many icon sets to count, many of them, while attractive in their own right, fail to embody what we expect in a professional or commercial product. That’s not to say that their artwork itself is unprofessional, but many are intended to be playful or are created with a particular style in mind that is not typical of professional environments. System76 has created a stunning set of icons that don’t undermine the power of Linux and will hopefully attract professionals from all fields to try out Linux as a part of their productivity suite.

            The final release of Pop!_OS has been released, and since I encountered no bugs while playing with the alpha, I’d be hard-pressed to believe there are any show-stoppers in the final release, so I highly recommend you give it a try and show your non-Linux using friends how cost-free doesn’t necessarily mean aesthetic-free.

            Find the high-resolution Golago Pro pictures here on Google Drive.

            Did you find this System76 Golago Pro review interesting? Don’t forget to share your views with us.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • My suggestion for QEMU

    I have been involved in open source software since 1993. And in 1994, I believed so strongly in the ability for people to come together to write code that I created the FreeDOS Project, to replicate the functionality of MS-DOS. And twenty-three years later, I’m still using and developing FreeDOS.

    My desktop system is Linux, and I run FreeDOS using QEMU (Quick EMUlator). QEMU is very easy to use, and provides great flexbility to define your virtual machine. I run FreeDOS in QEMU when I want to play an old DOS game, or when I want to test some legacy software, or when I want to write code to update a FreeDOS program.

    But one problem pops up occasionally when using QEMU. A lot of old DOS software uses the function keys to do various things. The most extreme example is WordPerfect, which was arguably the most popular commercial word processor of the day. WordPerfect is notorious for using all of the function keys, in every combination, including use of Ctrl and Alt to access all the common features. I think WordPerfect probably used all of the expanded keys too, like Home and End.

  • Databases

    • Open source database startup MariaDB confirms $27M investment led by Alibaba

      Open source database startup MariaDB has announced a new $27 million round of funding led by Alibaba, confirming the news that TechCrunch reported in September.

      As we wrote then, Alibaba contributed the majority of the round, supplying €20 million of the total €22.9 million raised.

    • Alibaba leads $27m round in US-based open source database firm MariaDB

      US and Finland based MariaDB Corporation, which provides an open source database, has raised $27 million in a series C funding led by Alibaba Group.

      The investment will see the company expanding its reach globally as the open source database standard.

    • Alibaba Group leads $27M funding round for MariaDB

      The source of the investment is part of what MariaDB Chief Executive Michael Howard (pictured) called “a funding hat trick” with nearly equal parts of the company’s total cash hoard coming from U.S., European and Asian investors. That reflects a new, more global way of doing business.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Microsoft Engineer Installs Google Chrome During Presentation After Edge Freezes
    • Microsoft: 40 percent of VMs hosted on Azure are powered by Linux [Ed: This article, from a pro-Microsoft site, is filled with lies, including the feature image. Marketing.]

      Microsoft has increased its commitment to open-source technologies recently and has a wide variety of Linux virtual machines (VMs) available for Azure users to deploy. In September, the company revealed that it was working with Canonical for a custom Linux kernel for Ubuntu VMs on Azure.

    • Ubisoft has made its Sharpmake game dev tool open-source [Ed: Well, if you make something FOSS but it's about Microsoft's proprietary C# does that still count?]

      The tool itself could offer game developers an alternative to tools like CMake and Premake, specifically one that Ubisoft says generates 100 to 200 times faster and works well with both big C++ code bases and multiplatform projects.

    • VMware open sources VR overlay for vSphere [Ed: but vSphere is still proprietary; Microsoft style of openwashing]

      VMware has open-sourced a “VR Data Center Experience” that puts a virtual reality overlay over its vSphere product, to give you a virtual view of virtual machines.

      The company first demonstrated this code at VMworld Europe, after it was whipped up at an earlier hackfest.

  • BSD

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Making transparency work for Harvard’s Dataverse Project

      A culture of transparency permeates the Dataverse project, contributing to its adoption in dozens of research institutions around the world. Headquartered at Harvard University, the Dataverse development team has more than a decade of experience operating as an open source project within an organization that values transparency: the Institute of Quantitative Social Science (IQSS). Working transparently helps the Dataverse team communicate changes to current development efforts, provides opportunities for the community to support each other, and facilitates contribution to the project.

    • Chinese Startup Goes All Out Cloning Tesla Via Open-Source Patents

      Thanks to Tesla’s decision to open-source its patents, Chinese startup Xiaopeng Motors has already manufactured several Model X clones.

    • Open Source Machine Learning Helps the Fight Against Cancer

      Here’s an open invitation to steal. It goes out to cancer fighters and tempts them with a new program that predicts cancer drug effectiveness via machine learning and raw genetic data.

      The researchers who built the program at the Georgia Institute of Technology would like cancer fighters to take it for free, or even just swipe parts of their programming code, so they’ve made it open source. They hope to attract a crowd of researchers who will also share their own cancer and computer expertise and data to improve upon the program and save more lives together.

    • Georgia Tech researchers release open-source AI algorithm to predict effectiveness of cancer drugs

      A team of researchers from Atlanta-based Georgia Institute of Technology introduced an open-source algorithm Oct. 26 that predicts a cancer drug’s effectiveness based on a patient’s genetic data.

      The researchers developed the machine learning algorithm using gene expression and drug response data from the National Cancer Institute’s panel of 60 human cancer cell lines. Their goal was to create an algorithm that predicts optimal drug therapies based on individual patient tumors.

      In a study of 273 cancer patients, researchers found the algorithm to be about 85 percent accurate in assessing the effectiveness of nine drugs. By releasing the algorithm on an open-source platform, they hope other researchers will participate in refining their work.

  • Programming/Development

    • Why Go is skyrocketing in popularity

      The Go programming language, sometimes referred to as Google’s golang, is making strong gains in popularity. While languages such as Java and C continue to dominate programming, new models have emerged that are better suited to modern computing, particularly in the cloud. Go’s increasing use is due, in part, to the fact that it is a lightweight, open source language suited for today’s microservices architectures. Container darling Docker and Google’s container orchestration product Kubernetes are built using Go. Go is also gaining ground in data science, with strengths that data scientists are looking for in overall performance and the ability to go from “the analyst’s laptop to full production.”

      As an engineered language (rather than something that evolved over time), Go benefits developers in multiple ways, including garbage collection, native concurrency, and many other native capabilities that reduce the need for developers to write code to handle memory leaks or networked apps. Go also provides many other features that fit well with microservices architectures and data science.

    • 15 Most Disliked Programming Languages That Developers Don’t Want To Work With

      It’s a well-known fact that your choice of a programming language decides the growth of your career as a developer. For example, if you’re an Android developer, you must start learning Kotlin programming and join the army of developers who are ready to walk with the changing trend. The same could be said for iOS developers who are learning Swift.

      But, what if you are a programming novice and looking for a new language? In this scenario, it’s advisable to start with easy-to-learn programming languages like Python or JavaScript. To help you out in this decision and give you a good idea of the languages which are disliked by the programmers, Stack Overflow has published a blog post.


  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Death toll rises to 231 in Somalia truck bomb attack

      The militant group promotes strict sharia law, which includes amputating the hands of thieves. The group’s attacks have added to the difficulties faced by Farmajo, who was elected in February to lead the country of 14 million people that ranks among the poorest nations in the world.

    • Blowback and the Manhattan Terror Attack

      When I was British Ambassador in Uzbekistan I very explicitly warned that the support NATO countries were giving the appallingly repressive Uzbek regime – military, financial and political support – would cause hatred of the West among Uzbeks. I felt so strongly about this I was prepared to give up my career for it, and in Murder in Samarkand (Dirty Diplomacy in the USA) I published a 440 page account of how our policy was fundamentally wrong. It gives me no pleasure whatsoever to be vindicated in this way.

    • Defense Department: The War On Terror Has Cost $250 Million A Day For 16 Years

      The Department of Defense periodically releases a “cost of war” report. The newly released version, obtained by the Federation of American Scientists Secrecy News blog, covers the time from the September 11th terrorist attacks through mid-2017.

      The Afghanistan War from 2001 to 2014 and Iraq War from 2003 to 2011 account for the bulk of expenses: more than $1.3 trillion. The continuing presence in Afghanistan and aerial anti-ISIS operations in Iraq and Syria since 2014 have cost a combined $120 billion.

      The report’s costs include only direct war-related expenses such as operating and maintaining bases, procuring equipment, and paying for and feeding troops. It most notably does not include the expense of veteran’s benefits for troops who serve in these wars or the intelligence community’s expenses related to Global War on Terror.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Hundreds lose jobs as Surakarta closes iconic Sriwedari park
    • Puerto Rico residents resort to tainted water at Dorado Superfund site

      Levels of industrial solvents in some of the wells at the Dorado Superfund site are too high for drinking water

    • Fossil Fuel Lobbying means EU Pushes for ‘False Solutions’ at Climate Talks — Report

      The European Union is being influenced by big polluters and corporate interests in a way that is “threatening” the realisation of the Paris Agreement, according to a new report.

      Published days before countries head to Bonn for the next round of international climate talks, it claims that big polluters have infiltrated the negotiations process and are pushing for “false solutions” and lobbying against tougher regulations.

      Despite media focus on the role of the US since Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the report — co-authored by NGOs Corporate Accountability and Corporate Europe Observatory — suggests that the EU is “perhaps worse” than America in “undermining climate policy”, despite often being hailed as “a climate hero”.

      Last month, the EU Parliament agreed to push to curb the access of fossil fuel lobbyists at the international climate negotiations. But Europe’s environment ministers later omitted any mention of stopping vested interests participating in negotiations in a formal statement outlining its priorities for the talks – reducing the chance of the progress on curbing conflicts of interest in Bonn.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why Twitter Is the Best Social Media Platform for Disinformation

      So what should be happening? Twitter should own up to its values, acknowledge it’s a public news platform (in contrast to other social media networks), and stop editing the news. After all, Twitter designed its service in a way that gives every single regular post a publicly accessible and unique URL, no login required to view. Such openness has been a key ingredient in the company’s recipe for success. Tweets are on the public record, indeed some have become the public record.

    • Actually, No, Bob Corker and John McCain Are Doing Nothing to Hold Trump Accountable
    • Do Facebook and Twitter Have Control Over Their Products? It’s Complicated

      Even if that happened, it would likely be a partial picture. National security experts testified that they don’t believe these companies have found more than the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to Russian interference. Nor did they believe the likes of Facebook and Twitter, with their Earth-sized footprints, have the ability to figure out the true identities of their millions of advertisers.

    • Zuckerberg Is ‘Dead Serious’ About Russia, Open to Legislation
    • Political Twitter Is No Place For Moderates

      Our research surveyed 3,938 Twitter users1 who together generated 4.8 million tweets that we downloaded in August 2016. We then coded the most common 12,000 words based on whether they were political, either because they used an explicitly political term (say, “president”) or a proper noun that was likely to be political (“Romney,” “Maddow” or “CNN”). In all, we found just 293 of the 12,000 words to be political.

    • Sweden is ‘in the process of dismantling democracy’: ex-Social Democrat head

      “When he is old he won’t be living in a democracy but in a technocracy, or a dictatorship. It’s sad as hell. I am sorry to say it, but I am 100 percent sure. We are in the process of dismantling democracy.”

    • Planned Mosque on Historic Battlefield Invokes Debate on Sweden’s ‘Rootlessness’

      Earlier this year, the Halmstad municipality reportedly sold 7,000 square meters of land intended for a mosque. The decision was railroaded through despite the fact the mosque imam had previously made controversial statements on the internet, comparing homosexuality to a virus. Henrik Oretorp of Halmstad housing committee told the Swedish national broadcaster that it was impossible for the municipality to waver in such an important land sale agreement. According to SVT, the municipality receives SEK 1.4 million ($170,000 or roughly $25 per square meter) for the land sold to the Islamic Children and Culture Association.

    • Does This Trump Move Seem Familiar? Probably Because George Bush Did It First.
    • The Intellectual Dishonesty of the Guardian

      In an instance typical of the morally abhorrent neoliberal propaganda rag that the Guardian has become, it reports that the latest respectable opinion poll puts support for Catalan Independence at 48.7% – while failing to report that the same poll puts opposition to Catalan Independence at 43.6%. By excluding the don’t knows and failing to admit it has done so, the Guardian quite deliberately leads readers to presume that the 48.7% support for Independence means there is a majority against. In fact the true figures are roughly Yes 53%, No 47%, excluding don’t knows.

    • The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

      It is difficult to understand the provenance of this “sex list” of Tory MPs. What was the standing of the junior Tory researchers who allegedly compiled it, and at whose behest? Assuming this copy is genuine, we know that at least some of it is accurate because individuals like Mark Garnier have admitted the detail of the allegation. But I publish it as a matter of intense public interest at the moment, and I publish it as evidence that this is what is alleged. This list is already extremely widely available online. I am not in any sense endorsing or promoting as true any of the specific individual allegations, which may be groundless nonsense. I understand that in some cases these allegations are strongly denied.

    • The Best Reporting on Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and, Of Course, George Papadopoulos

      Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, his protégé Rick Gates and the less well-known Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos have all faced scrutiny before Monday. Here are our favorite stories on them.

    • Marcy Wheeler Says Indictments in Russia Probe Further Incriminate Attorney General Jeff Sessions

      President Donald Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort and his former business associate Rick Gates surrendered to the FBI, after being indicted on charges that include money laundering, acting as unregistered agents of Ukraine’s former pro-Russian government and conspiracy against the United States. The White House said the indictments have nothing to do with the president’s 2016 campaign. However, Trump stopped tweeting yesterday after his former campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. We speak with Marcy Wheeler, who in a new piece writes, “George Papadopoulos’s Indictment is Very, Very Bad News for Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”

    • Georgia insists server deletion was “not undertaken to delete evidence”

      Georgia state officials said Monday that the recent reports of server deletion “were not undertaken to delete evidence.” The conclusion came as part of a two-page “investigation report” authored by Ryan Germany of the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.

      As Ars reported last week, a university server and its backups, believed to be key to a pending federal lawsuit filed against Georgia election officials, were deleted, according to e-mails recently released under a public records request.

      Also this week, the state’s Office of the Attorney General (OAG) told plaintiffs that it would no longer be representing state election officials. The lawsuit will now be taken over by Barnes Law Group, headed by former Georgia Governor Ray Barnes.

    • Inside Hillary Clinton’s Secret Takeover of the DNC

      Before I called Bernie Sanders, I lit a candle in my living room and put on some gospel music. I wanted to center myself for what I knew would be an emotional phone call.

      I had promised Bernie when I took the helm of the Democratic National Committee after the convention that I would get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process, as a cache of emails stolen by Russian hackers and posted online had suggested. I’d had my suspicions from the moment I walked in the door of the DNC a month or so earlier, based on the leaked emails. But who knew if some of them might have been forged? I needed to have solid proof, and so did Bernie.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Privacy is constantly under threat; here are ways communities can help to protect it locally

      Stories about privacy have a depressing tendency to be about its loss, and the increasing threats to it in the future. Perhaps we need to spend more time thinking about how to protect it, to prevent the loss and head off the threats. That’s easier said than done, since the latter come from many quarters, and take many forms. But even if it is not possible to draw up a complete and definitive approach to defending privacy, it is worthwhile looking at what has worked in the past in order to bear it in mind for future battles.

      One episode in the annals of privacy has been taking place in Oakland, California. Back in 2013, Oakland residents discovered that the City of Oakland City Council was intending to approve a second phase of a port security monitoring system. This entailed extending Oakland’s Domain Awareness Center (DAC) into a city-wide surveillance apparatus that would have combined feeds from cameras, microphones, and other electronic monitoring assets throughout the city – see DAC Technical Requirements slide above for details.

    • Liberty Act Presents Another “Fake Fix” To Controversial NSA Spying Program

      Ever since Edward Snowden helped reveal the true extent of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) massive spying program, U.S. politicians have attempted to “fix” the program’s gross violations of the Fourth Amendment with legislation. While some legislative efforts were “fake fixes,” others were well-meaning but have fallen short, as legislators still lack key information regarding how the government interprets and uses Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and Section 215 of the Patriot Act to legally justify its dragnet collection of citizen phone records and other information.

      Indeed, over the past four years, Congress has been stonewalled by the NSA in its attempts to learn more about the program. The NSA has repeatedly refused even to estimate how many Americans are spied on by the agency’s most invasive programs and has even refused to reveal whether it spies on members of Congress or other elected officials in the United States.

    • Verizon Wants FCC to Ban States From Protecting Your Privacy | DSLReports, ISP Information
    • It’s not just online privacy, Verizon also wants FCC to ban states from protecting your net neutrality

      Verizon does not want states or localities to have the ability to enact their own net neutrality rules should the FCC vote to destroy net neutrality under the guise of “Restoring Internet Freedom” later this year. A recent Verizon whitepaper (pdf), which was mailed to the FCC last week, reveals the company’s incessant pushing. And the valid concern is that the FCC, currently chaired by a former Verizon employee – is actually listening.

    • Do Not Track Implementation Guide Launched

      Today we are releasing the implementation guide for EFF’s Do Not Track (DNT) policy. For years users have been able to set a Do Not Track signal in their browser, but there has been little guidance for websites as to how to honor that request. EFF’s DNT policy sets out a meaningful response for servers to follow, and this guide provides details about how to apply it in practice.

      At its core, DNT protects user privacy by excluding the use of unique identifiers for cross-site tracking, and by limiting the retention period of log data to ten days. This short retention period gives sites the time they need for debugging and security purposes, and to generate aggregate statistical data. From this baseline, the policy then allows exceptions when the user’s interactions with the site—e.g., to post comments, make a purchase, or click on an ad—necessitates collecting more information. The site is then free to retain any data necessary to complete the transaction. We believe this approach balances users’ privacy expectations with the ability of websites to deliver the functionality users want.

    • Centrica shuts down UK data centres in move to the cloud [sic] with Microsoft

      The UK and Ireland arm of energy giant Centrica has nearly finished migrating its enterprise systems and data from an on-premise data centre to Microsoft Azure, shifting to Office 365 and Dynamics 365 in the process.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

  • DRM

    • With Denuvo Broken, Ubisoft Doubles Up On DRM for Assasin’s Creed Origin, Tanking Everyone’s Computers

      There are really two themes when it comes to DRM, software supposedly created to stop video game piracy. The first and most notorious theme is what an utter failure DRM has been in accomplishing this core mission. Even once-vaunted DRM platforms like Denuvo have been reduced to code-bloat within the games they’re meant to protect. And that’s the DRM on the effective end of the spectrum, relatively speaking. But the other theme, one that is arguably far more important and impactful, is how absolutely great DRM software tends to be at annoying customers and prohibiting them from enjoying the games they legitimately purchased. This theme presents itself in multiple forms, from people being flatout unable to use the software they purchased at all, to performance hits due to the DRM software slowing down the customer’s computers, to opening up grand new security holes through which malicious actors happily dive into the lives of those very same customers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • The User Rights Database: Measuring The Impact Of Copyright Balance

        (CC-BY) PIJIP’s Copyright User Rights Database tracks changes to copyright user rights (aka limitations and exceptions) over time in a sample of 21 countries of different development levels. The data assesses the degree to which other countries have adopted exceptions that are as open as the US fair use right – i.e. open to a use of any kind of work, by any kind of user and for any purpose. The instrument and results are available at infojustice.org/survey.

      • This Weekend: Celebrate the Life and Work of Aaron Swartz at the Internet Archive

        On November 4 and 5, the Internet Archive will host the Fifth Annual Aaron Swartz Day and Hackathon. Aaron would have turned 31 on November 8. The late activist, political organizer, programmer, and entrepreneur was a dear friend of EFF’s who made a lasting imprint on the Internet and the digital community. Aaron’s life was tragically cut short after overzealous prosecutors sought to make an example out of him under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for using MIT’s computer network to download millions of academic articles from the online archive JSTOR. At EFF, we carry on Aaron’s legacy every day through our work on open access and CFAA reform. And this weekend, we’ll join our friends at the Internet Archive in celebrating Aaron’s life and work.

      • Trolls Want to Seize Alleged Movie Pirates’ Computers

        New legal cases filed on behalf of copyright trolls are requesting authority to seize alleged pirates’ computers after they failed to pay cash settlement offers. A Finnish law firm says there’s a risk of another ‘Chisugate’, the massive controversy that ensued when police raided a home and confiscated a child’s Winne the Pooh laptop in 2012.


Links 1/11/2017: GNOME 3.26.2, 4MLinux 23.0

Posted in News Roundup at 6:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Linux command line tools for working with non-Linux users

      I spend most of my computing life in the Shell (command line, terminal or whatever you want to call it on your platform of choice). This can be a bit challenging, though, when I need to work with large groups of other people, especially in big enterprise companies that — well — use anything but the Shell.

      The problems that crop up are made worse when other people within your company use a different platform than you. I tend to use Linux. If I’m doing a lot of my daily work from a Linux terminal and the bulk of my co-workers use Windows 10 (entirely from the GUI side), things can get … problematic.

    • Yes, you can use Linux without knowing the command line

      If there’s one thing surrounding Linux usage that bothers me more than anything else, it’s when the detractors say you cannot work with Linux without knowing the command line. This is a bit of FUD — fear, uncertainty, and doubt — that keeps new users from giving the open source platform a try. I’m here, right now, to dispel that myth.

  • Server

    • Demand for Certified SysAdmins and Developers Is On the Rise

      Even with a shortage of IT workers, some employers are still discerning in their hiring requirements and are either seeking certified candidates or offering to pay for their employees to become certified.

      The Linux Foundation’s 2017 Open Source Jobs Report finds that half of hiring managers are more likely to hire a certified professional, while 47 percent of companies are willing to help pay for employees’ certifications. Meanwhile, 89% of hiring managers find it difficult to find open source talent.

      The demand for skills relating to cloud administration, DevOps, and continuous integration/continuous delivery is fueling interest in training and certifications related to open source projects and tools that power the cloud, according to the report. Workers find certification important, too. In fact, 76 percent of open source pros say certifications are useful to their careers.

    • Video: The State of Linux Containers

      Christian Kniep is a Software Evangelist at Docker. With a 10-year journey rooted in the HPC parts of the german automotive industry, Christian started to support CAE applications and VR installations. After getting bored with the small pieces, he became the InfiniBand go-to-guy while operating a 4000 node crash-test cluster and pivoted to the R&D department of Bulls BXI interconnect. When told at a conference that HPC can not learn anything from the emerging Cloud and BigData companies, he became curious and is now pushing for containerization within Sony Interactive Entertainment. Christian likes to explore new emerging trends by containerizing them first and seek application in the nebulous world of DevOps. As an organiser of three workshops at ISC HPC and ISC Cloud as well as talking frequently at HPC Advisory Council events, FOSDEM and MeetUps, Christian has a long standing commitment to share valuable information about Linux Containers in the HPC and BigData community.

    • Cloud-Native, Seven Years On…

      Back in 2010, I published a blog post defining the term cloud-native, based on discussions between I’d had with my colleagues at WSO2. At around the same time, Netflix also started using that term in presentations. Since then the interest in cloud-native has rocketed, including many blog posts, books, and of course the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

      The high-level concept of cloud-native is simple: systems that give users a better experience by virtue of operating in the cloud in a genuinely cloud-centric way. In other words, the cloud may make an existing database easier to start up, but if the database doesn’t support elasticity then it can’t take advantage of the scaling capabilities of the cloud.

    • 20 questions DevOps hiring managers should be prepared to answer
    • 7 Non-Technical Skills You Need To Succeed In A DevOps Career
  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation to host Acumos AI project backed by AT&T

      The Linux Foundation introduced the new Acumos AI project which is still in formation and is expected to be launched in early 2018. The project aims to make artificial intelligence (AI) available to everyone by providing a common framework and platform for the free exchange of machine learning products. The founding organisations include AT&T and Tech Mahindra. Others are invited to participate as members in the coming weeks as the Acumos Project establishes its governance model.

      With the Acumos platform, the organisation said it’s working to create an industry standard for making AI applications and models reusable and easily accessible to any developer. The Acumos platform will be user-centric, with an initial focus on creating apps and micro-services.

    • Linux Creates New Open-Source Project for Artificial Intelligence

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, has introduced the Acumos Project, which aims to make artificial intelligence (AI) available to everyone – including drone developers – by providing a common framework and platform for the free exchange of machine learning solutions.

    • The Linux Foundation Announces 20 New Silver Members

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced that 20 new organizations have joined the Foundation as Silver members. Linux Foundation members help support development of the greatest shared technology resources in history, while accelerating their own innovation through open source leadership and participation.

    • Intel Graphics Driver Likely To Re-Enable Fastboot By Default

      For the past five years or so has been work on Intel DRM “Fastboot” support and it’s looking like this feature may finally be re-enabled by default.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel i965 Mesa Driver Finally Lands Its On-Disk Shader Cache

        Intel developers have finally landed their patches for supporting the i965 Mesa OpenGL on-disk shader cache.

        While RadeonSI has implemented its on-disk shader cache since earlier this year, the Intel shader cache that originally pre-dates that work was finally carried over the finish line last night and are now in Git. This work is present for the Mesa 18.0 release due out in early 2018 and not the upcoming Mesa 17.3 update due out in about two weeks.

    • Benchmarks

      • 18-Way Radeon GPU Benchmarks On Ubuntu 17.10 With Linux 4.14 + Mesa 17.4-dev

        Continuing on in our fresh Radeon Linux graphics benchmarks in commemorating 10 years of AMD’s open-source driver strategy with already showing how the driver compares to the old Catalyst/fglrx and Ubuntu 14.04 to 17.10 OpenGL tests, up next is an 18 way graphics card comparison of both old and new Radeon graphics cards while using the very latest Linux driver stack.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma Mobile: Inside KDE’s Plan To Create A Full-featured Linux Smartphone Software

        The Linux smartphone scenario has never been so exciting. Recently, Purism’s Librem 5 smartphone achieved its crowdfunding goal and scored partnerships from GNOME and KDE. On the other hand, postmarketOS is also showing some good promise.

        When KDE partnered with Purism, it announced that Plasma Mobile will be ready for the real world and integrate with a commercial device for the first time. “Slowly, but surely, hardware vendors have discovered that Plasma Mobile is an entirely different software platform to build products on top of,” KDE developer Sebastian Kügler wrote in a blog post.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.26.2 released

        I’m pleased to announce the release of GNOME 3.26.2, the final planned release for the GNOME 3.26 series. It includes many bugfixes, documentation improvements, and translation updates. All distributions shipping GNOME 3.26 are strongly encouraged to upgrade.

      • GNOME 3.26.2 Released
      • GNOME 3.26.2 Released as Last Scheduled Maintenance Update for the Linux Desktop

        GNOME’s Michael Catanzaro is announcing today the availability of the second and last scheduled maintenance update for the GNOME 3.26 desktop environment carrying numerous bug fixes.

        GNOME 3.26.2 is out just in time, as initially scheduled, and it’s here three weeks after the first point release to improve the stability, security, and reliability of your GNOME 3.26 desktop environment. It will be coming soon to the stable repositories of your favorite GNU/Linux distro, so make sure you update as soon as possible.

      • GNOME Bug squash month
      • GNOME.Asia summit 2017

        GNOME.Asia summit 2017 was held in Chongqing city of China. The venue was the Chongqing University approximately 90 years old with the vast beautiful Eco-friendly campus. I was invited as one of the speakers. The topic of my speech was “Why FOSS in education make sense?”. The message of my talk was to incorporate the open source in the education system. I believe that faculty members in the computer science department in various Universities around the world should be made aware and practice open source software and also if possible contribute to open source project. This way they can guide their students in the best possible way. They can act as the medium between the student and the open source project mentors as the teachers knows their students well. They can direct their students according to their capabilities and interests.

  • Distributions

    • Solus 4 Is Working On Restoring Wayland Support, NVIDIA Improvements

      The Solus Linux distribution project has shared some of the work they are currently pursuing for their Solus 4 operating system update.

      Solus developers are planning to turn back on Wayland support for the distribution. They are also planning to improve the NVIDIA driver support, including making use of the GLVND library (OpenGL Vendor Neutral Dispatch) so its OpenGL driver can co-exist happily without disturbing the Mesa drivers on the system. They are also looking at enabling EGLStreams support to allow the NVIDIA driver to work under Wayland on their operating system. As part of their GLVND push is also looking to improve NVIDIA Optimus laptop support.

    • New Releases

      • 4MLinux 23.0 STABLE released.

        The status of the 4MLinux 23.0 series has been changed to STABLE. Create your own images with GIMP 2.8.22, edit your documents with LibreOffice and GNOME Office (AbiWord 3.0.2 with Gnumeric 1.12.35), share your files using DropBox 37.4.29, surf the Internet with Firefox 56.0 and Chromium 61.0.3163.100, stay in touch with your friends via Skype and Thunderbird 52.4.0, enjoy your music collection with Audacious 3.9, watch your favorite videos with MPlayer SVN-r37931 and VLC 2.2.6, play games powered by Mesa 17.0.4 and Wine 2.19. You can also setup the 4MLinux LAMP Server (Linux 4.9.52, Apache 2.4.28, MariaDB 10.2.9, PHP 5.6.31 and PHP 7.0.24). Perl 5.24.1 and Python 2.7.13 are also available.

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • GNOME Project Welcomes Canonical and Ubuntu to GNOME Foundation Advisory Board

            With the release of the Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) operating system, Canonical replaced their Unity user interface with the GNOME desktop environment, and now they’re looking to sponsor the project by becoming a member of the Advisory Board.

            Among some powerful members of GNOME Foundation’s Advisory Board, we can mention Google, FSF (Free Software Foundation), and Linux Foundation. And now, Canonical will also support the GNOME Project by providing funding and expert consultation.

          • Ubuntu Linux-maker Canonical joins GNOME Foundation advisory board
          • Canonical Joins The GNOME Advisory Board
          • Canonical Has Joined the GNOME Foundation Advisory Board

            It’s a timely and logical appointment what with the recent Ubuntu 17.10 release being the first version of Ubuntu to ship with the GNOME Shell desktop environment by default.

            But what is the GNOME Advisory Board?

            Well, GNOME explain it as “…a body of stakeholder organizations and companies who support the GNOME Project by providing funding and expert consultation.”

            Other members of the board include Google, The Document Foundation, Red Hat and SUSE.

          • Canonical joins GNOME Foundation Advisory Board

            As you’re no doubt aware, the default Ubuntu desktop is now running GNOME Shell following the 17.10 release and so we naturally have a great deal of interest in the plans and direction of the GNOME project. The best way for us to get more involved in the future of GNOME is to become a member of the Advisory Board, and so, I’m happy to announce that we are now fully signed up members.

          • Retiring my Ubuntu Phone after 1000 days

            With some sadness I recently replaced my Ubuntu Phone with a Nexus 5. It lasted me just over 1000 days (almost three years) as my everyday phone, and I last wrote about it at the 500 mark.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Zorin OS 12 Passes One Million Downloads Mark, 60% Are Windows and Mac Users

              Seven months after reaching half million downloads, the Zorin OS 12 GNU/Linux operating system passed today the one million downloads mark.

              Zorin OS is an Ubuntu-based distribution targeted at those who want to migrate from Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s macOS computer operating system to an Open Source alternative that offers them a more secure, stable, and reliable computing environment. Zorin OS 12 is the latest stable version of the Linux OS, and it got its second point release in September 2017.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Happy birthday ROS: A decade of open-source robotics

    It all started ten years ago. ROS grew out of several early open-source robotic software frameworks, including switchyard by the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

    The same year, legendary research lab and technology incubator Willow Garage hired its first employees: Jonathan Stark, Melonee Wise, Curt Meyers, and John Hsu. You can point to a lot of seminal moments in robotics history, but this is a top contender for the year modern robotics was born.

  • Why you should consider open source IoT solutions

    The society-wide adoption of the Internet of Things into our everyday business and cultural lives has left many company’s scrambling to find the best fit for the IoT in their businesses. Most of them have encountered serious trouble; choosing which IoT platform is right for you is no easy job, and the complexities of your decision can sometimes seem overwhelming.

    Considering an open source IoT solution to your company’s problems can help alleviate some of the burdens brought on by this decision. A quick review of how open source IoT solutions stand to benefit you without breaking the bank shows why this route may be the go-to option for IoT practitioners in the future.

  • What Happened When One Texas County Tried To Build A Cheap, Open-Source Election System

    STAR Vote’s goal was to make voters more comfortable with the security and reliability of electronic voting, DeBeauvoir says. STAR Vote would have provided voters with a paper receipt of their ballot. Such a receipt is called a Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail, or VVPAT.

    “The purpose of a VVPAT Is to make sure the voter knows for a fact that the choices they have entered on the electronic voting system are in fact the correct choices that really represent their decisions,” DeBeauvoir says.

    Besides reassuring voters, a paper trail can help election officials perform post-election audits.

    “Most people think what we’re using the paper trail for is a recount,” she says. “You can just do post-election audits because you’re double-checking the math and the statistics of an election.”

  • Open-source—‘the way the future is being built’

    Pineberry Manufacturing Inc. makes friction feeders that insert coupons, paperboard inserts, envelopes, cards, etc. The firm claims to have the only open-source feeders in the marketplace, which means proprietary electrical components have been eliminated. Pineberry Manufacturing’s HSF and SF Series friction feeders, says the firm, are characterized by an unmatched level of operational simplicity, reliability, robustness, and cost efficiency. Also, they can be easily integrated into manual or automated lines. The HSF operates at 8,000 inches/min and the SF at 3,000.

    “Our friction feeders are open-source, servo-controlled power platforms with a Schneider Electric PLC touchscreen controller, reducing the overall number of components to the machine,” says Pineberry Manufacturing President David McCharles. “Users can get information from the terminal remotely through an app on a smart phone. Open-source technology is the way the future is being built.”

  • Events

    • Watch Keynote Videos from OS Summit and ELC Europe 2017 Including a Conversation with Linus Torvalds

      Check out the on-stage conversation with Linus Torvalds and VMware’s Dirk Hohndel, opening remarks from The Linux Foundation’s Executive Director Jim Zemlin, and a special presentation from 11-year-old CyberShaolin founder Reuben Paul. You can watch these and other ELC and OS Summit keynotes below for insight into open source collaboration, community and technical expertise on containers, cloud computing, embedded Linux, Linux kernel, networking, and much more.

    • 2017 KDE Edu Sprint

      Between the 7th and 9th October the KDE Edu team met in the Endocode offices in Berlin to work on and plan KDE’s educational software.

      We split up the work into three general areas: organization, infrastructure and coding.

      The KDE Edu team is diverse in that there are different people interested in different tools. A sprint such as this one is the ideal meeting place to work on making sure that we are headed in the same direction. We discussed the website and how we present our projects to the outside world. We also covered improvements to our usage of Phabricator and our roles on the different goals we set for ourselves. We wanted to make sure all our members are aware and on board with them.

    • CppCon 2017: trip report

      During the last week of September I attended the 2017 edition of CppCon, in Bellevue, WA. Unusually late due to my presence at Qt World Summit which took place just after it, here’s my trip report.

    • Percona Live Open Source Database Conference Europe 2017 Showcases Power, Popularity and Innovation of Open Source Database-Powered Infrastructures

      Percona, the company that delivers enterprise-class MySQL®, MongoDB® and other open source database solutions and services, announced the success of Percona Live Open Source Database Conference Europe 2017, which took place September 25-27, 2017 at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Dublin, Ireland.

    • FOSDEM 2018 – SDN/NFV DevRoom Call for Content

      The SDN & NFV DevRoom is back this year for FOSDEM, and the call for content is open until November 16th. Submissions are welcome now!

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • 10 Fascinating Things We Learned When We Asked The World ‘How Connected Are You?’

        We inquired about people’s relationships with their connected devices, like smart TVs, Fitbits, and routers. Questions ranged from “What connected devices do you own?“ to “What is your biggest fear as we move toward a more connected future?”

        Nearly 190,000 people around the world responded. People from the tiny islands of Tuvalu to the huge landmass of China and everywhere in between. (Mozilla released the survey in six languages: English, Spanish, German, Italian, French, and Portuguese.)

        What we learned is fascinating. Like: People in India are more likely to own a smart appliance, whereas people in Argentina are more likely to own a smart TV. And: People everywhere are worried that a more connected future will jeopardize their privacy.

      • $275K for Creative Gigabit Projects Across the U.S.

        Mozilla is partnering with museums, universities, nonprofits, libraries, and high schools in Texas, Louisiana, Kansas, and beyond.

        “We’re focusing on projects that leverage gigabit internet speeds — up to 250x average speeds — to make a positive impact in the communities we serve and across the country,” says Lindsey Frost, who directs Mozilla’s gigabit work. “Projects use augmented reality to train first responders; raise awareness about coastal erosion through virtual reality simulations; bring robotics into high school classrooms; and much more.”

        Through the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund — a partnership with the National Science Foundation and U.S. Ignite — Mozilla invests in projects that leverage lightning-fast gigabit internet connectivity to further education and workforce development.

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • pfSense 2.3.5 Security Update Addresses WPA2 KRACK Issue, Improves WebGUI

      If you haven’t upgraded your pfSense BSD-based firewall to the major 2.4.x stable series yet, we have some good news for you today as the pfSense 2.3.5 security update is now available to download.

      pfSense 2.3.5 is a maintenance and bugfix release for the pfSense 2.3 stable series of the world’s most trusted open source firewall, and it’s here to patch a few critical security vulnerabilities, including that nasty WPA2 KRACK (Key Reinstallation Attack) issue.

    • OpenZFS RAID-Z Online Expansion Project Announcement

      The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce a collaborative project with Delphix to implement one of the most requested ZFS features, to allow RAID-Z pools to be expanded one disk at a time. We’ve combined our resources with iXsystems and Delphix to bring this project to fruition. The RAID-Z Expansion project will allow OpenZFS users to incrementally add storage to their RAID pools, one device at a time. The expansion will happen online, in the background, with zero downtime, and while maintaining the redundancy and reliability of RAID-Z.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • GitLab Changes its Contributor Licensing to Better Serve Open-Source Projects

      Self-hosted Git repository management tool GitLab today announced that it is abandoning its Contributor Licensing Agreement (CLA) and adopting a Developer Certificate of Origin (DCO) and license.

      According to the company, which claims 67% market share in the self-hosted Git market, “the DCO gives developers greater flexibility and portability for their contributions.”

    • GitLab Transitions Contributor Licensing to Developer Certificate of Origin to Better Support Open Source Projects; Empower Contributors

      GitLab, a software product used by 2/3 of all enterprises, today announced it was abandoning the industry-standard Contributor License Agreement (CLA) in favor of a Developer Certificate of Origin (DCO) and license. The DCO gives developers greater flexibility and portability for their contributions. The move has already attracted the attention of large open source projects who recognize the benefits. Debian and GNOME both plan to migrate their communities and open source projects to GitLab.

      GitLab’s move away from a CLA is meant to modernize its code hosting and collaborative development infrastructure for all open source projects. Additionally, requiring a CLA became problematic for developers who didn’t want to enter into legal terms; they weren’t reviewing the CLA contract and they effectively gave up their rights to own and contribute to open source code.

  • Programming/Development

    • NEWS: Node.js 8 Moves into Long-Term Support and Node.js 9 Becomes the New Current Release Line

      We are super excited to announce that later today Node.js 8 will be ready for production as it transfers into the de facto Long-Term Support release line opening it up to a larger user base that demands stability and security (Node.js 8.9.0 is the first official Node.js 8 release to hit LTS status). Node.js 8 is one of the biggest release lines from the Node.js community to date with features and add-ons like Async / Await and V8 JavaScript Engine 6.1. It is up to 20 percent faster than its predecessor Node.js 6 (source nearForm) in typical web applications. An early tester found that Node.js 8 cut its web response by 70 percent:

    • Open Source Sparse Tensor Computation Is Fast

      Tensors are data tables in n dimensions and when they occur they are often sparse, i.e. most of the entries are zero. In the past we have hand-crafted code to work efficiently with sparse tensors, but now we have Taco, an open source compiler that can automatically generate code that can run up to 100 times faster.


  • Security

    • Kaspersky purged from ‘vast majority’ of US government systems

      Michael Duffy, who leads cybersecurity and communications at the DHS, explained that fewer than half of their agencies were using Kaspersky’s anti-virus software.

    • The EU’s GDPR is even more relevant to Linux systems, and here is why

      This new regulation represents a tightening of the data protection laws. The new regulation requires far faster responses to data breaches (within 72 hours), and the maximum penalty for breaching the legislation has increased by over four times to twenty million euros or four percent of a business’s annual global turnover, whichever is higher. In addition, GDPR will unify the processes by which EU countries regulate their data security. This will ensure breaches are easier to report, investigate and respond to the new supervisory authorities being introduced.

    • New Network Security Standards Will Protect Internet’s Routing

      Electronic messages traveling across the internet are under constant threat from data thieves, but new security standards created with the technical guidance of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will reduce the risk of messages being intercepted or stolen. These standards address a security weakness that has been a part of the internet since its earliest days.

    • Disney-branded internet filter had Mickey Mouse security

      A Disney-branded home internet filtering device might keep bad content out, but it was an open door to bad actors until earlier this month.

      That’s what Cisco Talos’s William Largfent found when he took a look at “Circle with Disney”, a Circle Media parental control device on which the entertainment giant slapped its brand.

      Whatever its qualities in filtering an screen time management, the US$99 box is riddled with 23 vulns, as the Talos post discloses.

    • Episode 68 – Ruining the Internet: Episode 68 – Ruining the Internet
    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Trump administration reportedly kills vehicle-to-vehicle safety mandate [Updated]
    • Members of Congress want you to hack the US election voting system

      This summer, DefCon’s “Voting Machine Hacking Village” turned up a host of US election vulnerabilities (PDF). Now, imagine a more mainstream national hacking event backed by the Department of Homeland Security that has the same goal: to discover weaknesses in voting machines used by states for local and national elections.

      That might just become a reality if federal legislation (PDF) unveiled Tuesday becomes law. The proposal comes with a safe harbor provision to exempt participants from federal hacking laws. Several federal exemptions for ethical hacking that paved the way for the DefCon hacking village expire next year.

      The bipartisan “Securing America’s Voting Equipment Act” also would provide election funding to the states and would designate voting systems as critical infrastructure—a designation that would open up communication channels between the federal government and the states to share classified threat information.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • CIA releases 321 gigabytes of Bin Laden’s digital library, Web cache crap

      Today, the Central Intelligence Agency posted a cache of files obtained from Osama Bin Laden’s personal computer and other devices recovered from his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan by Navy SEALs during the raid in which he was killed on May 2, 2011. The 470,000 files, 321 gigabytes in all, include documents, images, videos, and audio recordings, including Al Qaeda propaganda and planning documents, home videos of Bin Laden’s son Hazma, and “drafts” of propaganda videos. There is also a lot of digital junk among the files.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • ITC suggests Trump impose up to a 35% tariff on imported solar modules

      The International Trade Commission (ITC) issued its recommendations for solar panel component tariffs on Tuesday, a month after it decided that US manufacturers of cells and modules had been harmed by cheap equipment imports. The commissioners offered three different recommendations, but it will be up to President Trump to decide on which recommendation to follow—or to make a completely new recommendation.

  • Finance

    • Time To Get Rid Of Corporate Sovereignty? USTR Robert Lighthizer Seems To Think So

      As we noted a couple of months ago, the topic of corporate sovereignty — also known as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) — has rather dropped out of the public eye. One post on the subject from earlier this year pointed out that an editorial in the Financial Times had called for ISDS to be “ditched”. That was welcome but surprising. At the time, it seemed like an outlier, but it now looks more as if it was simply ahead of the field, as many more have started to call for the same. For example 230 law and economics professors are urging President Trump to remove corporate sovereignty from NAFTA and other trade deals (pdf).

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Reporter Arrested, Thrown To The Ground For Cursing

      Do the police in Fairfax County, Virginia really not know about the 1st Amendment? It certainly appears that way after watching the video of them violently arresting a reporter named Mike Stark, who was trying to cover the gubernatorial campaign of Ed Gillespie. Now, because some people will want to mention this, I’ll note that the following is (a) true and (b) makes no difference at all to this story: Stark works for a highly partisan website that is strongly opposed to Gillespie. But the points here would be identical if it were a reporter at the other end of the partisan divide following the opposing candidate. The positions of the reporter (or the candidate) are meaningless to the basic question of why the fuck was Mike Stark thrown to the ground, piled on by cops and arrested.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Verizon Lobbies FCC To Block States From Protecting Broadband Privacy, Net Neutrality

      Earlier this year, the Trump administration and GOP handed a giant gift to the nation’s telecom duopolies when they dismantled FCC broadband privacy protections. While ISPs whined incessantly about the rules, the protections were relatively modest — simply requiring that large ISPs be transparent about what personal data is being collected and sold, who it’s being sold to, and that working opt out tools be provided to consumers. The FCC’s rules were only created after Verizon was caught modifying packets to covertly track users around the internet and AT&T tried to make consumer privacy a luxury add on.

      But in the wake of the GOP’s myopic dismantling of the rules, more than 30 states began considering their own disparate privacy protections for consumers. The EFF threw its support behind one such bill in California, arguing that it could provide a good template for other states to follow in order to gain some uniformity. But Google, Comcast, AT&T and Verizon collectively lobbied to scuttle that law last month, leaked documents showing how they lied to California lawmakers by claiming the rules would have emboldened extremists, boosted annoying popups, and somehow harmed consumers.

    • The Web began dying in 2014, here’s how

      What has changed over the last 4 years is market share of traffic on the Web. It looks like nothing has changed, but GOOG and FB now have direct influence over 70%+ of internet traffic. Mobile internet traffic is now the majority of traffic worldwide and in Latin America alone, GOOG and FB services have had 60% of mobile traffic in 2015, growing to 70% by the end of 2016. The remaining 30% of traffic is shared among all other mobile apps and websites. Mobile devices are primarily used for accessing GOOG and FB networks.

    • AT&T admits defeat in lawsuit it filed to stall Google Fiber

      AT&T is reportedly abandoning its attempt to stop a Louisville ordinance that helped draw Google Fiber into the city.

      In February 2016, AT&T sued the local government in Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky to stop an ordinance that gives Google Fiber and other ISPs faster access to utility poles. A US District Court judge dismissed AT&T’s lawsuit in August of this year, when he determined that AT&T’s claims that the ordinance is invalid are false.

    • Dead People Mysteriously Support The FCC’s Attack On Net Neutrality

      We’ve noted for months how an unknown party has been using bots to bombard the FCC website with entirely bogus support for the agency’s planned attack on net neutrality. Inquiries so far have indicated that whatever group or individual is behind the fake support used a bot that automatically pulled names — in alphabetical order — from a compromised database of some kind. Earlier this year one reporter actually managed to track down some of these folks — who say they never filed such comments or in many instances had no idea what net neutrality even is.

    • Verizon has a new strategy to undermine online privacy and net neutrality

      Verizon has asked the Federal Communications Commission to preempt any state laws that regulate network neutrality and broadband privacy.

      The FCC’s Republican majority is on course to overturn two-year-old net neutrality rules, perhaps by the end of the year. Broadband privacy rules passed by the FCC during the Obama administration were already undone by Congress and President Donald Trump early this year.

      With the two sets of rules either gone or on their way out, it’s possible that state governments might impose similar rules to protect consumers in their states. Verizon told the FCC in a filing last week that the commission should preempt laws in any state that does so.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • CBS sues man for copyright over screenshots of 59-year-old TV show

        CBS has sued a photographer for copyright infringement for doing something that’s practically ubiquitous in the news and entertainment business—publishing still images from a television show.

        The lawsuit against New York photojournalist Jon Tannen, filed on Friday, is essentially a retaliatory strike. Tannen sued CBS Interactive in February, claiming that the online division of CBS had used two of his photographs without permission. Now, CBS has sued Tannen back, claiming that he “hypocritically” used CBS’ intellectual property “while simultaneously bringing suit against Plaintiff’s sister company, CBS Interactive Inc., claiming it had violated his own copyright.”

      • ‘Pirate’ IPTV Provider Loses Case, Despite Not Offering Content Itself

        A company that sold Kodi-based software which accessed infringing TV, movie and sports streams has lost an interesting case featuring Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN. MovieStreamer claimed that it only provided a referral service to third-party content through a series of links but the court found that despite the convoluted process, it still communicated copyrighted works to the public.

Links 1/11/2017: Wine 2.20, Cutelyst 1.10.0, F1 2017 Coming

Posted in News Roundup at 5:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Migrating to Linux: An Introduction

      Computer systems running Linux are everywhere. Linux runs our Internet services, from Google search to Facebook, and more. Linux also runs in a lot of devices, including our smartphones, televisions, and even cars. Of course, Linux can also run on your desktop system. If you are new to Linux, or you would just like to try something different on your desktop computer, this series of guides will briefly cover the basics and help you in migrating to Linux from another system.

      Switching to a different operating system can be a challenge because every operating system provides a different way of doing things. What is second nature on one system can take frustrating time on another as we need to look up how to do things online or in books.

  • Server

    • Operating a Kubernetes network

      I’ve been working on Kubernetes networking a lot recently. One thing I’ve noticed is, while there’s a reasonable amount written about how to set up your Kubernetes network, I haven’t seen much about how to operate your network and be confident that it won’t create a lot of production incidents for you down the line.

    • How to make the case for Kubernetes

      Kubernetes isn’t even easy to pronounce, much less explain. So we recently illuminated how to demystify Kubernetes in plain English, so that a wide audience can understand it. (We also noted that the pronunciation may vary a bit, and that’s OK.)

    • Heptio Debuts Contour Project to Enable Kubernetes Envoy Load Balancing

      The Envoy open-source project was originally developed by ride-sharing service Lyft and officially became a Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) project on Sept. 13. The CNCF is the home multiple open-source efforts, including the Kubernetes container orchestration platform.

  • Kernel Space

    • SCO, the Not-Walking Dead, Returns

      SCO. There’s a name I’ll bet you thought you’d never hear again. Guess what? It’s back.

      Wasn’t there a Bond film called “Live to Die Another Day.” Even if there wasn’t, that applies here.

      When last we talked about SCO, in March, 2016, we told you this might happen, although Judge David Nuffer had all but put a bullet through the already dead and bankrupt company’s brain (there’s an oxymoron if ever I wrote one) on February 29, 2016. But exactly a month after the judge’s ruling, the company had somehow managed to scrape together enough spare change to pay the filing fee for an appeal. Today, the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that that the appeal could go on, on a claim of misappropriation, but upheld Judge Nuffer’s other two orders.

    • AT&T announces Acumos, an open-source platform for sharing and reusing AI apps
    • AT&T is working on an open-sourced AI project with Linux Foundation

      The nonprofit Linux Foundation has announced that is working on an open source AI project, and AT&T is one of the founding organizations. Called the Acumos Project, its goal, like many open source platforms, is to enable a free exchange of ideas and machine learning solutions using an artificial intelligence framework — and eventually become a marketplace for AI apps and services.

      The Acumos Project aims to provide tools for casual users, not data scientists, and will focus first on making apps and microservices. While The Linux Foundation’s announcement was light on details, it noted that it will sustain the Acumos Project for some time and AT&T and other founder Tech Mahindra will contribute code.

    • Acumos: The Linux Foundation’s New Open Source Project Brings AI’s Power To Any Developer
    • AT&T Tackles Artificial Intelligence with Open Source Acumos Project

      AT&T and Tech Mahindra are developing an open source artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning platform that will be hosted within the Linux Foundation. The Acumos Project is expected to be launched early next year.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA 387.22 Linux Driver Released With GTX 1070 Ti Support

        NVIDIA has shipped the 387.22 Linux driver today as their first stable release in the 387.xx series.

        The NVIDIA 387.22 Linux driver builds off their recent 387.12 beta driver. That earlier beta release introduced a number of Vulkan updates, including full-screen flipping using X11 swapchains for possible performance improvements. That beta had the Vulkan updates and mostly an assortment of bug fixes.

      • NVIDIA 387.22 driver released, adds support for the GTX 1070Ti and more

        The latest NVIDIA driver release 387.22 is now out. This is a stable driver release which builds upon the 387.12 beta driver that was released earlier this month.

      • AMDGPU-PRO 17.40 Linux Hybrid Driver Promoted To Stable

        Two weeks ago AMD released an AMDGPU-PRO 17.40 driver intended for cryptocurrency mining systems while now that v17.40 series driver has been promoted to being their general purpose stable Linux hybrid driver.

        The headline feature of the AMDGPU-PRO 17.40 beta was introducing large page support intended to help blockchain compute workloads with OpenCL. Sure enough, AMDGPU-PRO 17.40 is much faster for cryptocurrency mining like Ethereum though we haven’t found many performance improvements in other OpenCL compute workloads.

      • Broadcom’s VC5 Gallium3D Now Supports MSAA, More OpenGL Functionality

        Eric Anholt of Broadcom has continued bringing up the VC5 Gallium3D driver for supporting the company’s next-generation graphics hardware that is much improved over the VC4 hardware found in the Raspberry Pi SBCs to date.

        Since earlier this month VC5 Gallium3D merged into Mesa but it does not yet work with any actual hardware due to the VC5 DRM driver yet to be completed kernel-side and merged, nor is that happening for Linux 4.15. But Eric has been making good progress on quickly getting the VC5 Gallium3D OpenGL driver up to par as he’s also been working towards a VC5 Vulkan driver too thanks to the new hardware’s capabilities.

      • Etnaviv Driver Sends Out Patches For Vivante GC7000 Support

        The developers behind the open-source, reverse-engineered Etnaviv KMS+Gallium3D driver stack for Vivante graphics support have been very busy recently.

        Etnaviv just recently reached OpenGL 2.0 support and then this week cleared OpenGL 2.1 support and now patches have emerged bringing up Vivante GC7000 series hardware support within their Gallium3D OpenGL driver.

      • NVIDIA Previews Open-source Processor Core for Deep Neural Network Inference

        With the proliferation of deep learning, NVIDIA has realized its longstanding aspirations to make general-purpose graphics processing units (GPGPUs) a mainstream technology. The company’s GPUs are commonly used to accelerate neural network training, and are also being adopted for neural network inference acceleration in self-driving cars, robots and other high-end autonomous platforms. NVIDIA also sees plenty of opportunities for inference acceleration in IoT and other “edge” platforms, although it doesn’t intend to supply them with chips. Instead, it’s decided to open-source the NVDLA deep learning processor core found in its “Xavier” SoC introduced last fall.

      • Nvidia 387.22 Linux Graphics Driver Adds Support for the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti GPU

        Nvidia released a new short-lived proprietary graphics driver for UNIX systems, Nvidia 387.22, which introduces support for the recently unveiled GeForce GTX 1070Ti graphics card.

        Support for the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Ti was added only to the 64-bit and 32-bit Linux and FreeBSD drivers, as the Solaris build of the Nvidia 387.22 graphics driver doesn’t offer support for this cheaper video card designed for gamers. A comparison between GeForce GTX 1070 Ti and GeForce GTX 1070 is available here.

      • Mesa 17.2.4 Graphics Stack Arrives with More Bug Fixes, Mesa 17.3 Gets Second RC

        Mesa developers Andres Gomez and Emil Velikov announced the availability of the fourth maintenance update of Mesa 17.2 stable series, and the second Release Candidate (RC) of Mesa 17.3.

        We reported last week on the upcoming availability of the Mesa 17.2.4 update to the open-source graphics stack for GNU/Linux distributions, and it arrived on October 30, 2017, bringing us another layer of fixes for the AMD Radeon RADV Vulkan, Broadcom’s VC4, as well as both the Intel i965 OpenGL and Intel ANV Vulkan drivers.

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KStars 2.8.7 Released!

        Another minor KStars release is now available for Linux, MacOS, & Windows. KStars 2.8.7 brings several bug fixes and new improvements!

      • Plasma Mobile Roadmap

        In the past weeks, we have noticed an increased interest in Plasma Mobile from different sides. Slowly, but surely, hardware vendors have discovered that Plasma Mobile is an entirely different software platform to build products on top of. For people or companies who want to work or invest into Plasma Mobile, it’s always useful to know where upstream is heading, so let me give an overview of what our plans are, what areas of work we’re planning to tackle in the coming months and years, where our focus will be and how it will shift. Let’s talk about Plasma Mobile’s roadmap.

        Our development strategy is to build a basic system and platform around our core values first and then extend this. Having a stable base of essentials allows us to focus on an achievable subset first and then extend functionality for more and more possible target groups. It avoids pie-in-the-sky system engineering something that will never be useful and designed for a unicorn market that never existed. Get the basics right first, then take it to the next levels.

      • Plasma/Wayland and NVIDIA – 2017 edition

        More than a year ago I elaborated whether KWin should or should not add support for NVIDIA’s proprietary Wayland solution. I think it is time to look at the situation of Plasma/Wayland and NVIDIA again. In case you haven’t read my previous blog post on that topic I recommend to read it as I use it as the base for this blog post.

        Compared to a year ago not much has changed: NVIDIA still does not support the standard Linux solution gbm, which is supported by all vendors and nowadays even going to enter the mobile space. E.g. the purism phone is going to have a standard graphics stack with gbm. So no additional code required. But NVIDIA doesn’t support gbm. Instead it has a proprietary implementation called EGLStreams, which no other vendor implements. Due to that Plasma/Wayland cannot support OpenGL for NVIDIA users.

      • KWin Maintainer On KDE Wayland Remains Uninterested In NVIDIA’s Driver

        KDE KWin maintainer Martin Flöser remains less than interested in supporting NVIDIA’s proprietary Linux graphics driver as long as they continue pursuing the EGLStreams approach until the long talked about new memory allocation API is ready.

      • KDE’s Plasma Mobile Roadmap From A Feature Phone To A Full-Featured Smartphone

        Longtime KDE developer Sebastian Kügler has posted a Plasma Mobile roadmap of sorts for those interested in the direction of this mobile KDE stack.

        His roadmap basically covers they are done with their initial “prototype” and currently pursuing the requirements for Plasma Mobile to be fitting for a feature phone. Following that, they will pursue basic smartphone capabilities while their further out goal is for Plasma Mobile to be ready as a featured smartphone.

      • Cutelyst 1.10.0 released!

        Cutelyst the Qt Web Framework got a new release, another round of bug fixes and this time increased unit testing coverage.

        RoleACL plugin is a very useful one, it was written due the need for controlling what users could access, sadly the system I wrote that needed this got unused (although I got my money for this) so this plugin didn’t get much attention, partially because it was basically complete.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • AVR32 devices in fwupd

        Over 10 years ago the dfu-programmer project was forked into dfu-utils as the former didn’t actually work at all well with generic devices supporting vanilla 1.0 and 1.1 specification-compliant DFU. It was then adapted to also support the STM variant of DFU (standards FTW). One feature that dfu-programmer did have, which dfu-util never seemed to acquire was support for the AVR variant of DFU (very different from STM DFU, but doing basically the same things). This meant if you wanted to program AVR parts you had to use the long-obsolete tool rather than the slightly less-unmaintained newer tool.

  • Distributions

    • Solus 4 Linux OS to Bring Back Wayland Support, MATE Edition Will Get Some Love

      First off, it looks like the Solus devs plan to re-implement support for the next-generation Wayland display server in their GNU/Linux distribution, though the ISO images will come with the 2D X.Org graphics driver enabled by default and use open source drivers for Nvidia GPUs as they want to further improve Nvidia Optimus.

      “We’re working to improve the NVIDIA situation and investigating a switch to libglvnd, enabling of wayland-egl/eglstreams, etc.,” reads today’s announcement. “We’ve moved back to open drivers to allow Ikey to further research NVIDIA Optimus. [...] We have no timeline on this but we’re actively looking into it!”

    • Manjaro vs Antergos | For The Record

      Both Manjaro vs Antergos are rolling release Linux distributions that are derived from Arch Linux. On the surface, they might appear to share a number of similarities. But it’s also important to realize that these two distros have some stark differences.

      Before we get too deep into the Manjaro vs Antergos similarities, let’s first look at the roots of these two distributions – Arch Linux.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Web services for writing academic LaTeX papers as a team

        I was surprised today to learn that a friend in academia did not know there are easily available web services available for writing LaTeX documents as a team. I thought it was common knowledge, but to make sure at least my readers are aware of it, I would like to mention these useful services for writing LaTeX documents. Some of them even provide a WYSIWYG editor to ease writing even further.

        There are two commercial services available, ShareLaTeX and Overleaf. They are very easy to use. Just start a new document, select which publisher to write for (ie which LaTeX style to use), and start writing. Note, these two have announced their intention to join forces, so soon it will only be one joint service. I’ve used both for different documents, and they work just fine. While ShareLaTeX is free software, while the latter is not. According to a announcement from Overleaf, they plan to keep the ShareLaTeX code base maintained as free software.

      • Debian/TeX Live 2017.20171031-1

        Halloween is here, time to upload a new set of scary packages of TeX Live. About a month has passed, so there is the usual big stream up updates. There was actually an intermediate release to get out some urgent fixes, but I never reported the news here. So here are the accumulated changes and updates.

      • Monthly FLOSS activity – 2017/10 edition
      • FLOSS Activities October 2017
      • Free software activities in October 2017
      • Derivatives

        • DebEX Barebone Linux Returns to LXDE, Now Based on Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster”

          Powered by the Linux 4.13 kernel series and based on the Debian Testing (upcoming Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster”) and Debian Sid repositories, DebEX Barebone LXDE Build 171030 replaces the LXQt desktop environment that was used in previous versions with LXDE, probably to make the ISO smaller and the OS a bit faster.

          “The ISO has decreased from 1860 MB to 1330 MB, which makes it easier to run the system live from RAM,” said Arne Exton in the release announcement. “That ability allows DebEX LXDE to be very fast, since reading and writing data from/to RAM is much faster than on a hard disk drive.”

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 14.04 To Ubuntu 17.10 RadeonSI OpenGL Performance

            As part of the multi-year comparisons for marking AMD’s open-source strategy being 10 years old, here’s a look back with fresh OpenGL Linux gaming benchmarks from Ubuntu 14.04 through Ubuntu 17.10 using a Radeon HD 7950 graphics card with the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver. There’s also a similar comparison with a Radeon R9 Fury.

          • Ubuntu Server Development Summary – 31 Oct 2017

            The purpose of this communication is to provide a status update and highlights for any interesting subjects from the Ubuntu Server Team. If you would like to reach the server team, you can find us at the #ubuntu-server channel on Freenode. Alternatively, you can sign up and use the Ubuntu Server Team mailing list.

          • Juju GUI: get your users started with getstarted.md
          • MAAS 2.3.0 beta 3 released!

            I’m happy to announce that MAAS 2.3.0 Beta 3 has now been released and it is currently available in PPA and as a snap.

          • Online course about LXD containers
          • LXD Weekly Status #21: Console Attach, Distribution Work, & More

            Last week @brauner and @stgraber were traveling to Prague for the Open Source Summit Europe.
            We got the opportunity to talk about LXD, system containers and various bits of ongoing kernel work as well as meet with a number of our users and contributors!

            All this travel and conference time reduced our ability to do feature work this week, so we’ve mostly been reviewing contributions and pushing a number of bugfixes with things going back to normal this week.

          • Ubuntu 17.10 quick screenshot tour

            Ubuntu 17.10 is the newest version of this world famous Linux distribution, and this one is especially interesting because Canonical decided to dump its controversial Unity baby and use GNOME desktop environment instead.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu Desktops Compared

              The Ubuntu desktop has evolved a lot over the years. Ubuntu started off with GNOME 2, then moved onto Unity. From there, it came home to its roots with the GNOME 3 desktop. In this article, we’ll look at the Ubuntu desktops and compare them.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Ensuring Openness Through and In Open Source Licensing

    Some of the largest forces in business today—consumer-facing companies like Google and Facebook, business-facing companies like SUSE, companies outside the tech industry such as BMW, Capital One, and Zalando, even first-gen tech corporations like Microsoft and IBM—all increasingly depend on open source software. Governments too, including the European Union, France, India, the United Kingdom, the United States, and many others have discovered the benefits of open source software and development models. Successful collaborative development of software and infrastructure used by these organizations is enabled by the “safe space” created when they use their IP in a new ways… to ensure an environment for co-creation where the four essential freedoms of software are guaranteed.

  • OpenIndiana Hipster 2017.10 Released with Latest X.Org Server, MATE 1.18 Desktop

    The latest release, OpenIndiana Hipster 2017.10 arrived today with numerous changes and up-to-date components, including the latest X.Org Server 1.19.5 display server and corresponding libraries and drivers, ABI compatibility for using Solaris 10u10 binaries, as well as updated cluster suite and text installer.

    “Text installer now can perform basic OpenIndiana installation to existing ZFS pool,” reads today’s announcement. “The option is considered advanced and should be used with care, but allows you to install minimal OI system to existing pool. To use it, press F5 on ‘Welcome’ screen.”

  • OpenIndiana Hipster 2017.10 Released With MATE 1.18 Desktop

    OpenIndiana “Hipster” 2017.10 is now available as the OpenSolaris-derived operating system using the Illumos kernel build.

    OpenIndiana 2017.10 pulls in the MATE 1.18 desktop environment, upgrades to the X.Org Server 1.19.5 display server, their text-based installer can now support installing to an existing ZFS pool, the cluster suite was updated, there is ABI compatibility with Solaris 10 Update 10 binaries, and they have begun removing GNOME 2 packages in favor of MATE.

  • The Origin Story of ROS, the Linux of Robotics

    Ten years ago, while struggling to bring the vision of the “Linux of Robotics” to reality, I was inspired by the origin stories of other transformative endeavors. In this post I want to share some untold parts of the early story of the Robot Operating System, or ROS, to hopefully inspire those of you currently pursuing your “crazy” ideas.

  • Open-source software for data from high-energy physics

    Most of the universe is dark, with dark matter and dark energy comprising more than 95 percent of its mass-energy. Yet we know little about dark matter and energy. To find answers, scientists run huge high-energy physics experiments. Analyzing the results demands high-performance computing – sometimes balanced with industrial trends.

  • Why you need more than just open-source

    More IT decision-makers are turning to open source to drive better efficiency and digital innovation, as its flexibility enables organisations to build new customer experiences, services and products more quickly.

    As more enterprises tap open source there are some misconceptions about what open-source means. Open source technology allows for incredible collaboration between people, communities and projects. Yet many inadvertently associate the words “free” and “easy” with open source which is not always true. Open source makes tech easily accessible and collaborative, which drives incredibly fast innovation. But open source is much more than easily accessible tech. Enterprise needs must be considered and that is why the business of open source tech is about more than just accessibility.

  • GoPro’s Old But Efficient CineForm Codec Goes Open Source

    In the age of the unstoppable rise in resolution and thus in video data rate, GoPro has unleashed CineForm – its most efficient codec yet – to the public.


    CineForm was one of the first codecs to offer significant compression that balanced quality, speed and performance, even more than Avid DNxHD and Apple ProRes which arrived later. From a technological point of view, its better performance over ProRes and DNxHD is due to its better compression methods (Full frame wavelet comparing to DCT). Without getting too geeky here, it means one can compress more with fewer artifacts.

  • How to get involved with open source if you’re a cat

    These days, it’s not hard to find a good open source project whether you’re looking for one or not. A casual glance at GitLab or GitHub renders quick results. Something a little more curated, however, is sometimes nice.

    OpenHatch is a site dedicated to connecting open source contributors like you to open source communities, tools, and education. It’s not just a list of open source projects in need of help, it’s a training resource with actual training missions that you can do to learn the basics of software development.

  • Events

    • OSS/Ksummit 2017

      Last week was kernel summit in Prague. Based on feedback from Linus and other people, kernel summit was a 2 day open technical forum along with a half-day “maintainer summit”. Open Source Summit Europe was also happening at the same time and I attended somethings there as well.

      Darren Hart gave a talk about x86 platform drivers. Darren is the current maintainer of the x86 platform drivers. He gave a nice overview of what a platform driver actually is (a bunch of glue) and some history about how big or small drivers can be. One of the sticking points about drivers in general is that most hardware vendors only really focus on Windows and the driver philosophy there is different from Linux. This results in Linux needing to play catch-up and work around firmware that was only tested on Windows (see also the example of vendor “To be filled by O.E.M.”). Hardware vendors can make this easier by using standard interfaces and also open sourcing firmware, something the Fedora community cares deeply about.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Apache Software Foundation is bringing open source ML to the masses with PredictionIO

      The Apache Software Foundation has announced a brand-new machine learning project, PredictionIO. Built on top of a state-of-the-art open source stack, this machine learning serve is designed for developers and data scientists to create predictive engines for any machine learning task.

      PredictionIO is designed to democratize machine learning. How? By providing a full stack for developers, they can create deployable applications “without having to cobble together underlying technologies”. Making it easier to use should widen the appeal and keep the machine learning bottleneck from getting any worse.

  • CMS

  • Healthcare

    • NHS Digital announces API Lab with INTEROPen

      NHS Digital has announced plans for an new API Lab to be run in conjunction with the INTEROPen community. INTEROPen is a community formed to develop open standards for the health and social care sectors. By creating the API Lab, NHS Digital hopes to get a set of open source APIs. These can then be used by developers to create new apps and speed up integration between systems in both health and social care.

    • NHS to get open source API lab

      NHS Digital plans on launching an API lab before the end of the year, with the goal accelerating development of interoperability in health and social care


      “By partnering with INTEROPen we will be able to create APIs even faster, delivering real benefits for the health and care system,” he said.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Wireline Launching ICO For Open Source Developers

      “Currently open source projects are underfunded and developers aren’t motivated to build new applications because maintaining them is a thankless task,” says Wireline CEO Lucas Geiger. “We want to change that by creating an ecosystem that rewards developers, and helps enterprises gain leverage from the extended open source community. We’re excited to open the application process, see the ideas and support the talented people building the next generation of cloud apps.”

    • FundRequest introduces a blockchain incentive platform for open source projects

      After over a year of development, FundRequest has released a new blockchain platform built specifically for the funding, claiming, and rewarding of open source contributions. The company aims to introduce a new approach towards open source development that benefits both the developers who are creating the code and the organizations that use it with the overall goal of further driving the applications of open source technology.

  • Radio


    • Federal employees can now support the FSF through the Combined Federal Campaign

      The Free Software Foundation today announced its participation as a beneficiary charity in the 2017 Combined Federal Campaign, the workplace giving campaign for United States federal government employees.

      The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is the world’s largest annual workplace giving campaign, allowing US federal civilian, postal, and military employees to pledge donations to nonprofit charities such as the Free Software Foundation (FSF). Last year, federal employees voluntarily participating in the CFC contributed more than $167 million to charitable causes.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Compliance Is Not Just For Copyleft

      Just because the “compliance-industrial complex” wants you to fear reciprocity, that doesn’t mean you should. Each case needs understanding on its own merits. Who knows — in your case, embracing the GPL may well be the least-cost option.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Metsä Wood: Maarten van der Breggen Receives First Open Source Wood Award

      …call to action to architects, designers and engineers to join forces, share innovation and contribute knowledge about large-scale, modular wood construction.

    • Georgia Tech Researchers Offer Open-Source Cancer Treatment Algorithm

      “Despite the documented advantages of the open sharing of code, to date, the practice has been extremely limited within the field of cancer drug prediction,” a group of Georgia Tech researchers write in a new PLOS ONE article. But they’re trying to change that.

      Calling its project “a gauntlet,” the team wants other researchers to take, use, modify, and expand upon a machine learning platform it built to judge cancer treatment effectiveness using genetic data.

      “We feed in genomic data. We use RNA expression data. Basically, we’re just looking for correlations,” John McDonald, PhD, told Healthcare Analytics News™. McDonald is the director of Georgia Tech’s Integrated Cancer Research Center and one of the study’s lead authors. “We put expression data in and we match that to responses to chemotherapeutic drugs.”

  • Programming/Development

    • pinp 0.0.3: More docs, more features

      Our pinp package for snazzier one or two column vignette received it second update. Now at version 0.0.3, it arrived on CRAN on Saturday with minimal fuzz as an ‘CRAN-pretest-publish’ transition.

    • Google lets Android devs see nanosecond-level GNSS data

      Created for phone designers, The Chocolate Factory has decided the raw GNSS data is also valuable to researchers, writing that the data “allows you to see the behavior of the GNSS receiver in great detail, including receiver clock offset and drift to the order of 1 nanosecond and 1 ppb [part per billion – El Reg] and measurement errors on a satellite-by-satellite basis.

    • ES8, the Javascript standard of 2017

      Surely you will know that since 2015 it was agreed to update the Javascript standard every year in order to keep JS up to date in a smooth way. The changes of last year were very decaffeinated, but this year we have some juicier news.


  • Last Friday Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev finally decreed that the language would shed its heavy Cyrillic coat and don what he hopes to be a more fashionable attire: the Latin alphabet.
  • 500 Years Since 95 Theses, Martin Luther’s Legacy Divides Some Of His Descendants

    [...] according to legend, is where Luther posted the theses on October 31, 1517.

  • Science

    • Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin: Breaking Through the Political Barriers to Free Education

      The educational system was a highly predictable victim of the neoliberal reaction, guided by the maxim of “private affluence and public squalor.” Funding for public education has sharply declined. Tuition has exploded, leading to a plague of unpayable student debt. As higher education is driven to a business model in accord with neoliberal doctrine, administrative bureaucracy has sharply increased at the expense of faculty and students, developments reviewed well by sociologist Benjamin Ginsburg. Cost-cutting dictated by the revered market principles naturally leads to hyper-exploitation of the more vulnerable, creating a new precariat of graduate students and adjuncts surviving on a bare pittance, replacing tenured faculty. All of this happens to be a good disciplinary technique, for obvious reasons.

      For those with eyes open, much of what has happened was anticipated by the early ’70s, at the point of transition from regulated capitalism to incipient neoliberalism. At the time, there was mounting elite concern about the dangers posed by the democratizing and civilizing effects of 1960s activism, and particularly the role of young people during “the time of troubles.” The concerns were forcefully expressed at both ends of the political spectrum.

    • Move By Top Chinese University Could Mean Journal Impact Factors Begin To Lose Their Influence

      One of the advantages of this idea is that it recognizes that publishing in non-academic titles can be just as valid as appearing in conventional peer-reviewed journals. It also has the big benefit of encouraging academics to communicate with the public — something that happens too rarely at the moment. That, in its turn, might help experts learn how to explain their often complex work in simple terms. At the same time, it would allow non-experts to hear about exciting new ideas straight from the top people in the field, rather than mediated through journalists, who may misunderstand or distort various aspects.

      However, there are clear risks, too. For example, there is a danger that newspapers and magazines will be unwilling to accept articles about difficult work, or from controversial academics. Equally, mediocre researchers that hew to the government line may benefit from increased exposure, even resulting in them being promoted ahead of other, more independent-minded academics. Those are certainly issues. But what’s interesting here is not just the details of the policy itself, but the fact that it was devised and is being tried in China. That’s another sign that the country is increasingly a leader in many areas, and no longer a follower.

    • Mobile Disruption Case Study: Camera Industry. Lessons for all inside mobile disruption from advertising to banking to AR Augmented Realitydown

      We just have news from Nikon the Japanese camera giant, sadly, shutting down a giant factory of 2,500 employees in China. That reminded me, that I could do an update to the first-ever case study of what happens to an industry when it is hit by the mobile revolution. It is a severe case of the ‘digital’ revolution which powers the internet and before it, the PC-related disruption. Mobile also combines obviously the effects of the parallel ‘social media’ revolution which only gained true power after social media discovered mobile (as chronicled on this ‘Communities Dominate’ blogsite).

      But the camera industry is the first case study of an ‘outside’ industry being hit by the mobile revolution. [...]

  • Hardware

    • Apple’s spat with Qualcomm may reportedly escalate to the hardware level

      Apple and Qualcomm’s feud appears to be escalating further heading into the fourth quarter, as a new report by The Wall Street Journal this evening indicates Apple is designing iPhones and iPads that would not include Qualcomm’s components.

    • Apple reportedly building iPhones, iPads without Qualcomm chips

      The latest news in the Apple-Qualcomm saga suggests that Apple may be trying to leave the chipmaker behind as soon as next year. A report by The Wall Street Journal states that Apple is designing iPhones and iPads that do not use Qualcomm components. Instead, the tech giant may source modem chips from Intel or MediaTek.

      Apple began stepping away from Qualcomm chips with the introduction of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, both of which use a combination of Qualcomm and Intel chips. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which came out in September, also use a combination of Qualcomm and Intel chips.

    • Apple reportedly looking to ditch Qualcomm components

      Apple, which is locked in a fierce battle with Qualcomm over patents and licensing fees, is designing iPhones and iPads for next year that would ditch the chipmaker’s components, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. The company is instead looking to get its modem chips from Intel and possibly MediaTek, sources told the newspaper.

    • [Old] New Toys – 200G DWDM in Juniper QFX10000

      Sunet got the opportunity to test Junipers new DWDM card for the QFX switching platform. It was on beta testing run in Europe and we got to steal it for a week before it was going back to the US.

    • Hewlett-Packard historical archives destroyed in Santa Rosa fires
  • Health/Nutrition

    • Welcome to Sheffield – where the council takes you to court for defending trees

      It would surely have been a first. A councillor sent to prison because the council they sit on didn’t just bring its own legal action against them, it called for a custodial sentence.

      Alison Teal, a Green councillor in Sheffield, has long opposed the council’s plan to fell thousands of roadside trees. On this occasion, she was accused of breaching an earlier court injunction, which forbade people from entering “safety zones” the council has set up around trees it wants to fell. Teal said she had been “fastidious” in respecting the terms of the injunction.

      On Friday, a judge threw out Sheffield council’s case against her. But the authoritarian and heavy-handed approach of the Labour majority council is symptomatic of a problem that is widespread across England.

    • MSF Secures Deals For Key Hepatitis C Medicines, Price A Fraction Of Branded Drug

      Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors Without Borders) announced today that it has secured deals for two key generic hepatitis C medicines, dropping prices dramatically.

      In a statement, MSF said it secured generic medicines for sofosbuvir and daclatasvir for as low as US$1.40 per day, or US$120 per 12-week treatment course.

      The two medicines were launched in 2013 by Gilead (sofosbuvir) and in 2015 by Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) (dacatasvir) for respectively US$1,000, and US$750 per pill, leading to a combination treatment course of US$147,000 per person for a 12-week treatment course, the statement said.

    • Man Gets $37,500 Payout After Field Drug Test Says Donut Crumbs Are Methamphetamines

      Law enforcement agencies aren’t going to stop using cheap, faulty field drug tests. But they might soon be spending a lot more of the public’s cash settling lawsuits springing from false arrests. NPR has rounded up a few stories of field drug tests declaring normal, legal “substances” to be illegal contraband, starting with a man whose Krispy Kreme donut residue led to an arrest… and a $37,500 payout.

    • Florida Man Awarded $37,500 After Cops Mistake Glazed Doughnut Crumbs For Meth

      But Riggs-Hopkins had noticed some crystals on the floorboard of the car, and when officers used a field testing kit, the white substance tested positive for methamphetamine.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Trump Admin Continues Threats & Provocations Against North Korea, Laying Groundwork for Nuclear War

      Tensions continue to mount between the United States and North Korea, after U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis’s week-long visit to Asia and ahead of Trump’s 12-day visit later this week. Mattis emphasized a diplomatic resolution to the standoff between the two countries, but warned that the U.S. would not accept a nuclear North Korea. Congressional Democrats are pushing legislation that would prevent President Trump from launching a preemptive strike against North Korea. We speak with Christine Ahn, founder and executive director of Women Cross DMZ, a global movement of women mobilizing to end the Korean War.

    • Congress Could Accidentally Unleash Trump’s War Powers

      Sixteen years after voting for a war on terrorism that turned the world into a global battlefield, the Senate is taking a tentative step at reconsidering the law that authorized that conflict, the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force. Yet the leading replacement for the AUMF might, in the guise of reasserting congressional power over the war, be even more of a blank check.

      Late on Monday afternoon, the secretaries of State and Defense, Rex Tillerson and Jim Mattis, are scheduled to tell the Senate’s foreign relations committee how Donald Trump’s administration views its war powers and their limits under the AUMF.

    • Danish amateur submariner admits to dismembering reporter

      The case involving the alleged murder of a Swedish reporter by Peter Madsen—engineer, inventor, and the man behind one of two Danish efforts to create a sub-orbital rocket to put a person into space—has taken yet another twist. About the only fact that Madsen had previously admitted to was that Kim Wall, who was writing a feature story about Madsen’s mission to put himself into space, had died on the evening of August 10 aboard UC3 Nautilus—the submersible craft he designed, built, and maintained with crowdsourced funding and the assistance of members of Copenhagen Suborbitals (another group of space enthusiasts).


      While Madsen previously confessed to dismembering Wall’s body, he still asserted that her death was an accident, claiming she was overcome by carbon monoxide poisoning from a leak in the exhaust of the submarine’s diesel engine. Steen Hansen, a press officer for the Copenhagen Police, said Madsen is “claiming that there wasn’t enough oxygen in the submarine and that she suffocated, and that he was upstairs and didn’t notice and found her when he came back.”

      Madsen’s latest claim, Hansen told reporters, will be followed up with further forensic investigation. “Now we have to talk to people who know the submarine to see if it’s a possibility,” he said. Also today, officials announced that Madsen’s trial date has been set for a block of eight days in March and April of next year.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Declassified Docs Show NSA Trying To Prosecute A Journalist For His Successful FOIA Requests

      MuckRock has been digging into a large pile of declassified CIA documents for the past several months and has come up with some surprising finds. It recently liberated nearly 13 million pages of CIA documents — known as the CREST archive — via a FOIA lawsuit. Since this monumental release, MuckRock has covered everything from a CIA report on an Italian pasta shortage to deeper, darker topics like a CIA asset in Mexico being linked to a long list of atrocities.

      Digging through the CIA’s archives has dug up dirt on other agencies as well. Emma Best details another MuckRock/CIA gem — one that shows the NSA attempting to prosecute a journalist for obtaining documents via FOIA requests.

    • Man finds USB stick with Heathrow security plans, Queen’s travel details

      An unemployed London man discovered a USB flash storage device lying on the street as he was headed to the library to check the Internet for job listings. When he got to the library, he plugged it in and found it was filled with security details for London’s Heathrow International Airport—including security measures and travel details for Queen Elizabeth II. The man turned over the drive to a reporter at the Sunday Mirror.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Sandy Five Years Later. What Have We Learned?

      Five years ago, Post-tropical Cyclone Sandy struck at high tide, driving catastrophic storm surge into coastal New Jersey and New York unlike anything seen before. Thirty-four New Jersey residents lost their lives. Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed, causing over $62 billion in damage.

      Five years later some areas have recovered. Some have not.

      “Nature is ferocious, and a major coastal storm can devastate a community in a matter of hours. Severely impacted communities need both patience and inspiration to recover: patience with the time it takes to repair the economic and social fabric that sustains communities, and inspiration to envision and plan for a future that is less vulnerable to coastal storms,” says Darlene Finch, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator with NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management.

    • Energy Group Labels Creators Of Video Game As ‘Eco-Terrorists’

      The fever-pitch from those that claim that violent video games lead to real-life malicious activity is such that it produces some truly dumb diatribes and soundbites. Despite vast evidence that human beings are at least intelligent enough to separate digital violence from real-world violence, and given how rife with error and purposeful obfuscation the opposing research has been, we still get the silliness. Dr. Oz spouts off about the harm video games do to teenagers, forgetting to back it up with anything resembling evidence for his position. Dan Brown was sure video games lead to real-life violence, forgetting apparently that his own novels are stuffed with violent episodes. And Pat Robertson told his addled audiences that killing in a game is no different at all than killing someone in real life, indicating that we are a nation chock full of mass murderers that will be judged harshly by the Lord his god.

    • Energy Company Accuses Anti-Pipeline Video Game of Eco-Terrorism

      The game sends an obvious message in support of political activism, offering advice on its website for users who want to take action against fossil fuel extraction. That’s not pipeline-advocate Energy Builders’ apparent problem, though. Its issue it has is with users blowing up pipelines, according to a press release. Energy Builders considers this signature move “an act of domestic terrorism.”

  • Finance

    • The Dilbert ICO: analysing Scott Adams’ crypto offering, WhenHub SAFT

      The token business model isn’t convincing because there’s little reason for the end service providers to accept these tokens over actual money or even bitcoins, but Adams seems to have tried to get his legal ducks in a row concerning the ICO itself.

    • Bitcoin mining uses more energy than Ecuador – but there’s a fix

      All that processing guzzles a lot of electricity: one of the latest estimates put the annual electricity consumption of bitcoin mining at 23.07 terawatt hours, roughly the amount of electricity used by Ecuador each year.

    • Center For American Progress Makes a Failed Case for Charters

      President Donald Trump swept into office on a platform that included support for charter schools and other alternatives to public schools, and his Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, an ardent supporter of “school choice” in all its forms, recently announced her department would provide over a quarter-billion dollars to help expand charters.

      So it’s surprising to see the Center for American Progress, originators of the #Resist campaign, issue a “Progressive Case for Charter Schools” that decries the “waning” support for charters among Democrats and scolds charter school skeptics for being against progressive institutions.

    • Government refuses to release details of studies into economic impact of Brexit

      The Brexit department has refused to release key details about the 58 secret studies into how leaving the EU will impact the economy, saying officials need to make policy in a “safe space”.

      Seema Malhotra, a Labour MP on the Brexit committee, had asked to know the scope, terms of reference and state of completion of the work on 58 sectors of the economy, but the department refused to release the details under freedom of information laws.

      “There is a strong public interest in policy-making associated with our exit from the EU being of the highest quality and conducted in a safe space to allow for design and deliberation to be done in private,” the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) said.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump’s “Chickens” Come Home To Roost

      I think anyone who voted for Trump should be asking themselves why Trump surrounded himself with so many liars and cheaters with close contacts with Russia. Trump always said he was going to put USA first in everything he did, but it hasn’t been so.

    • Upstairs at home, with the TV on, Trump fumes over Russia indictments
    • Head of Puerto Rico Electrical Workers’ Union Demands Corruption Probe of Whitefish Energy Contract

      Democracy Now! has just returned from Puerto Rico, where we interviewed Ángel Figueroa Jaramillo, head of the Puerto Rico electrical workers’ union, just as the island’s governor announced he was instructing the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, known as PREPA, to cancel its controversial $300 million contract with the tiny Montana-based company Whitefish Energy. The move came after enormous pressure and scrutiny of the contract to reconstruct Puerto Rico’s electrical power grid devastated by Hurricane Maria. Whitefish Energy is based in the tiny hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The head of the private equity company that backs Whitefish, Joe Colonnetta, was a Trump campaign donor. All of this comes as a leaked copy of the contract sparked even further outrage last week, when it revealed that the terms barred penalties for work delays and prohibited the project from being audited.

    • Catalonia crisis hits home in Belgium

      Jan Jambon, the interior minister and deputy prime minister from the N-VA, was not aware Puigdemont was coming to Brussels, his spokesman Olivier Van Raemdonck said. “Everyone knows Jan Jambon and the N-VA are sympathetic towards the Catalans. But that’s something completely different than sitting down with the man as a member of the federal government,” he added.

      Still, Francken’s original suggestion to harbor the Catalan leader — echoed on Twitter by the minister later as well — is read as a frank endorsement of Catalonia’s separatist agenda.

      That’s a problem for Michel, because the unity of his government rests on a deal between liberals and nationalists, under which the nationalists have put their separatist agenda on ice.

    • Trump pollster: Sanders would have won general election

      The pollster for President Trump’s campaign says that he believes Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) would have defeated Trump in the general election had he secured the Democratic nomination.

      Tony Fabrizio said at a Harvard University Institute of Politics event Monday that Sanders could have prevailed where Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton did not.

    • Facebook, YouTube admit to wider-ranging campaigns by Russian “state actors”

      Reports from The Washington Post and Recode separately claim that Facebook’s Tuesday testimony will state that up to 126 million people were exposed to Russian operations on its site during the 2016 presidential election season. Facebook’s official statements have previously focused solely on the reach of paid advertisements. This new, larger number is due to Facebook now counting non-ad operations conducted by the Internet Research Agency, a disinformation organization with Russian ties. Reports have pointed to the IRA creating seemingly legitimate American accounts with aims of indirect political disruption.

    • Twitter will tell Congress that Russia’s election meddling was worse than we first thought
    • Twitter’s multi-million dollar US election pitch to RT revealed in FULL

      RT was thereby forced to reveal some details of the 2016 negotiations during which Twitter representatives made an exclusive multi-million dollar advertising proposal to spend big during the US presidential election, which was turned down.

      Having since been banned, and in order to set the record straight, we are publishing Twitter’s presentation and details of the offer in full.

    • Live updates: Facebook, Google and Twitter testified before Congress today

      Facebook, Google and Twitter are in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday for the first of three public hearings with congressional committees to discuss Russia’s attempt to influence last year’s U.S. presidential election by spreading misinformation online.

      The three companies have already admitted that, unknown to them, Russian-backed accounts used their respective sites to share and promote content aimed at stirring political unrest. On Facebook, as many as 126 million people may have seen content from accounts tied to Russian sources.

    • Trump adviser Roger Stone has been booted off Twitter

      Roger Stone, a longtime adviser to President Donald Trump, has been suspended from Twitter following a rant against two CNN reporters.

      It is one of the highest-profile account suspensions since Twitter has said it will take stronger action against bullying and threats of violence on its service.

    • 126 Million People, 60 Protests, 1,100 Videos: How Russia Used Facebook And Google To Influence 2016 US Elections
    • Your Guide to Mueller’s Russia Investigation

      By now, few American elected leaders dispute that elements of the Russian state meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election — though President Donald Trump has continued to say it “could have been a lot of different groups.” What remains unknown, or at least unproven, is whether anybody from Trump’s winning campaign assisted in that meddling. As Trump dismisses talk of collusion as “a total hoax,” a wide-ranging criminal investigation continues. It’s produced one guilty plea and two indictments so far, but no proof yet of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

    • REVEALED: Trump’s Incredibly Stupid, and Brilliantly Effective, Media Strategy
    • White House Says 16 Women Accusing Trump of Sex Crimes are Liars

      Meanwhile, the White House confirmed Friday that its official position is that all 16 women who have accused President Trump of sexual misconduct are lying. This is White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, being questioned by CBS’s Jacqueline Alemany.

    • Spinoff: Whatever The Reports About Russian Trolls Buying Ads Is Initially, It’s Way, Way Worse

      With several reports about data breaches occurring over the past few years, we’ve developed something of a mantra around here: it’s always, always worse than first reported. Yahoo just went through this having finally admitted that literally every email account was compromised way back in 2013 after having first said it was only a few hundred thousand accounts that were impacted. Deloitte and Equifax followed this same playbook with their own breaches, trickling out little by little just how wide an impact those hacks had achieved.

    • Facebook, Google, Twitter tell Congress their platforms spread Russian-backed propaganda

      Top officials from Facebook, Google, and Twitter told a congressional panel Tuesday that their platforms hosted a disinformation campaign carried out over their networks by Russian state actors. The propaganda centered on the presidential election, immigration, gun rights, gay rights, and racial issues, the companies said. None of the three organizations said they supported proposed legislation requiring them to disclose who is buying political advertisements on their platforms, although these Web companies promised more public transparency about who is buying ads on their networks.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Facebook, Social Media, Aiding Jihad; Censoring Those Who Counter Jihad

      That major technology companies are openly stifling the free speech of people trying to counter jihad is bad enough; what is beyond unconscionable is that they simultaneously enable Islamic supremacists to spread the very content that the counter-jihadists have been exposing.

    • Craig Brittain’s Senate Race Page Reports Craig Brittain’s Personal Account As An ‘Imposter’

      Former revenge porn site owner Craig Brittain is now a Senate candidate in Arizona. He’s not a viable candidate, mind you, not even with Arizona senator Jeff Flake recently announcing his retirement. But he has filed the proper paperwork and is now engaged in a charm offensive offensive offensive to win the hearts and minds of whatever demographic feels the public would be best served by someone who reacts to every perceptible slight with unhinged personal attacks.

      As a former revenge porn entrepreneur, Brittain has a bit more pre-run reputation management to engage in than most candidates. Just shortly after his candidacy was announced, Brittain issued two bogus “privacy” takedown requests targeting videos criticizing his ridesharing vaporware and his voluntary interview with journalists about his revenge porn site operations.

      Brittain followed this up with more reputation mismanagement, raining down insults on a Twitter user who dared to unfollow him. He’s continued to poll the electorate in similar ways on Facebook, telling people they’re wrong about everything if they don’t agree with him, but especially about free speech and the concept of consent.

    • Finally, RIAA Front Group Admits That Forcing YouTube To Police Site Doesn’t Work Well

      Here’s one I certainly didn’t expect. A group known for spreading a bunch of bogus RIAA talking points about the evils of YouTube seems to be admitting two odd things: (1) that it’s impossible to expect YouTube to accurately police all the content on its site and (2) that sharing entire published news articles is clearly not copyright infringement. The group in question is the “Content Creators Coalition” — last seen around these parts whining about the DMCA’s safe harbors on a site that only exists because of them. And it seems that bizarre and self-contradictory publicity stunts are basically the norm for this group. They’ve specifically been whining about how one of their videos got taken down on YouTube over an apparent terms of service violation. They complained, and YouTube reviewed it, and put the video back up. But, the Content Creators Coalition is using this to argue… something about how YouTube is trying to censor criticism?

    • China Censors Block Hunger Games-Style PUBG Video Game Because It ‘Deviates’ From Socialist Values

      The record-breaking video game did not pass the censors’ test as it “severely deviates from our socialist core values and traditional Chinese culture,” the China Audio-Video Digital Publishing Association, a division of the censorship body State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, ruled in a statement released on its website Monday, quoted by Reuters.

      The South Korean–made game became a huge hit, counting more than two million concurrent players at a time and selling more than 15 million copies since its release in March, according to the database of online gaming platform Steam.

    • China’s New, Severe Curbs on the Internet Leave Little Left to Censor
    • Xi Jinping Thought: Combining Mao’s Totalitarianism And Deng’s Crony Capitalism
    • Leading global publisher Springer Nature bows to China censors
    • THE REICH DECISION? Wolfenstein II: The New Collosus bypasses German censorship laws by removing Hitler’s moustache
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Who Speaks for The Billions of Victims of Mass Surveillance? Tech Companies Could

      Two clocks are ticking for US tech companies in the power centers of the modern world. In Washington, lawmakers are working to reform FISA Section 702 before it expires on December 31st, 2017. Section 702 is the main legal basis for US mass surveillance, including the programs and techniques that scoop up the data transferred by non-US individuals to US servers. Upstream surveillance collects communications as they travel over the Internet backbone, and downstream surveillance (better known as PRISM) collects communications from companies like Google, Facebook, and Yahoo.

      Both programs have used Section 702’s vague definitions to justify the wholesale seizure of Internet and telephony traffic: any foreign person located outside the United States could be subjected to surveillance if the government thinks that surveillance would acquire “foreign intelligence information”—which here means information about a foreign power or territory that “relates to [] the national defense or the security [or] the conduct of the foreign affairs of the United States.”

    • The Chilling Surveillance and Wrongful Arrest of a Chinese-American Physics Professor

      Most of the innocent people whose emails and phone calls the government spies on never find out. Not so for Professor Xiaoxing Xi, a Chinese-American physics professor at Temple University.

      One morning in May 2015, FBI agents showed up at Professor Xi’s house before dawn. They arrested him at gunpoint while his wife and daughters looked on, and went through the family’s home from top to bottom. The government charged Professor Xi with wire fraud, but in its court filings, it cast him as a spy for China who shared sensitive technology.

    • Wyden’s Reform Bill Would Also Deter Misuse Of NSA Powers To Compel Tech Company Assistance

      Sen. Ron Wyden is again raising concerns about NSA tactics, this time through his recently-submitted Section 702 reform bill. The USA RIGHTS Act contains a number of improvements, including addressing backdoor searches of NSA data by federal agencies and increasing the reporting requirements for access of US persons communications and data. It also permabans the NSA’s “about” collection — one it shut down voluntarily after years of misuse but recently expressed an interest in restarting.

    • Ex-NSA, FBI Officials Call for Cyber Cooperation Between Public and Private Sectors

      The U.S. government and the private sector need to work together much more in order to prevent cyber attacks, said the former directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency at a cybersecurity event Monday. Keith Alexander, former director of the NSA, said at the Rethink Cyber conference…

    • Calgary police cellphone surveillance device must remain top secret, judge rules

      The MDI (Mobile Device Identifier) technology — which mimics cell towers and intercepts data from nearby phones — is controversial in part because in at least one Canadian case, prosecutors have taken watered down plea deals rather than disclose information related to the device.

    • Microsoft joins IIT Kharagpur to create ‘deeper’ search engine

      Microsoft’s Senior Applied Researcher Manish Gupta partnered with professors from IIT Kharagpur to conduct a study on extracting meaningful information from social conversations to help search engines answer social list queries better by deploying artificial intelligence and machine learning.

    • Internet security 101: Six ways hackers can attack you and how to stay safe
    • Is Facebook secretly listening to your private conversations?

      Kelli Burns, a professor at the University of South Florida, last year used a Facebook microphone feature available to US users to test whether discussion translated into ads.

      It seemingly did. In one experiment, Burns read “I’m really interested in going on an African safari” directly into the smartphone. Within minutes, safari trip and Jeep ads had popped up.

    • Facebook denies eavesdropping on conversations to target ads, again

      Another fact that has bolstered suspicions is that, since almost every Facebook user will have shot video or photos with it or Instagram at some point, or used Messenger to carry out a video or audio conversation, the app already has the permissions it would need to – hypothetically – carry out the eavesdropping.

    • SC To Set Up Constitution Bench To Hear Petitions Challenging Centre’s Decision To Make Aadhaar Mandatory To Avail Services

      Earlier today, the apex court questioned the West Bengal government for filing a plea challenging the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of various social welfare schemes while asking how a state can challenge the mandate of Parliament.

    • Will obey Supreme Court directive: Mamata Banerjee on Aadhaar

      The apex court today questioned the West Bengal government’s petition challenging the Centre’s decision to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of government welfare schemes, saying it was against the federal structure.

    • DHS expanding national biometrics database to hold details on over 500 million people, including many US citizens

      We’ve just written about China’s ambitious plans to add voiceprints to its existing national biometrics databases. Given the country’s long record of keeping a close watch on its citizens, it’s easy to see this as part of China’s surveillance exceptionalism – the common belief that it is “different”, and that its experiences don’t have much relevance for Western nations. But that would be a mistake.

      In many ways, China is not different, just in the vanguard. Ideas that are tried out first in China, where there is little hope of organizing resistance to them, have a habit of turning up later in Western countries, despite local and vocal protests. The main difference is that China is generally not shy about announcing ever-more surveillance of its people, on the grounds that it will supposedly make society safer, whereas Western governments do it surreptitiously, for example by gradually extending the reach of systems that they initially present as mainly aimed at foreigners. That’s been the case for the mass surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden, where local laws were sidestepped on the grounds that the spying took place abroad, or only targeted those in other countries.

    • How to delete or disable your Facebook account

      Deleting your Facebook account, on the other hand, kills it completely. You won’t be able to log back in to retrieve or view anything you’ve posted to Facebook, and if you want to use Facebook again, you’ll have to start from scratch. You can find all the details if you hit the help icon at the top right of your Facebook account page (it looks like a question mark) and type deactivate account into the search bar that appears. Hit the let us know link in this description to start the deletion process.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Chicago Detective Accused Of Framing 51 People Defiantly Takes The Stand

      A retired Chicago detective accused of framing at least 51 people for murder testified today for only the second time in eight years, expanding on a brief appearance two weeks ago for the appeal of a grisly double homicide case he oversaw in 2000. Accused of beating the two defendants into confessing, he told the court that he had no recollection of the incident and declined to review the evidence he was presented with.

      A Cook County State’s Attorney asked the detective, Reynaldo Guevara, 74, to review police reports and testimony he’d previously given in the case. Guevara refused, quickly flipping the pages and then handing them back.

      “Are you refusing to even look at” the report, Assistant State’s Attorney James Papa asked.

      “I don’t remember,” the detective answered.

    • ICE Is Trying to Deport Families Who Fear Religious Persecution Without Due Process

      We joined a lawsuit to halt the deportation of more than 50 Indonesians who fear religious persecution.

      In 2009, the Boston Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office initiated a program called “Operation Indonesian Surrender,” which it characterized as “a humanitarian effort” meant to “bring folks out of the shadows” and send the message to Indonesian Christian community members that “we will work with you.” Eight years later, ICE is trying to deport all the participants.

    • U.K. Anti-Terror Censorship Law Stupidly Used Against Guy Who Fights Terrorism

      Prosecutors in the United Kingdom didn’t think Josh Walker was an actual terrorist. But they treated him as if he were one anyway, because of a book they found in his bedroom.

      Fortunately, they failed. But the case, highlighted at The Intercept, details some of the terrible consequences of trying to criminalize dangerous thoughts or ideas rather than actions.

      Walker was prosecuted for downloading and having in his possession a copy of The Anarchist Cookbook, an infamous guide to homemade explosives (and other tools for lawbreaking) that was first published in 1971.

    • Protest of class amounted to censorship

      “I think the demonstration is unfortunate,” Weigel said. “The question of slavery is a very serious issue and the people out there make some interesting points and valid points about the horrors of slavery. But I believe to have a protest just about the idea that Robert E. Lee can be seen positively is a mistake because we have the right to have differing opinions about historical figures.

      “We shouldn’t demonize historical figures … because of the fact they were slave owners. There were 12 presidents who owned slaves. Washington, Jefferson and Madison stand out.”

    • On Being a Rebel

      The Francoist ultras of the Spanish government have gone the whole hog, and are charging Puigdemont and his colleagues with sedition and rebellion. And before anyone can interject with any nonsense about prosecutorial independence, let me assure you that in no country, ever, in the history of the world, has anybody been tried for sedition or rebellion without the explicit approval of the political rulers.

      Puigdemont is in excellent company. Gandhi was jailed for ten years for sedition in 1922 for seeking Indian independence from Britain.

    • We’re Suing the Government for Its Detention and Abuse of Rosa Maria, a 10-Year-Old Child With Cerebral Palsy

      At this very moment, the Office of Refugee Resettlement is detaining Rosa Maria Hernandez, a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who recently underwent gallbladder surgery, and is refusing to release her into the care of her family, despite her doctor’s advice. How exactly did this child with developmental delays become the Trump administration’s target for deportation? It’s an egregious case of government overreach, and now the subject of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit.

    • Judge Smacks Down Another Anonymous Cop’s Lawsuit Against Black Lives Matter

      For the second time in less than a month, a judge — the same judge — has tossed out lawsuits from anonymous law enforcement officers filed against the social movement known as Black Lives Matter. Much like the no-name cop in the other idiotic lawsuit, this anonymous cop swore up and down (as one tends to do in legal filings) Black Lives Matter was responsible for injuries he sustained during an ambush.

      Judge Brian Jackson warned the unnamed plaintiff his suit was on its way to the dustbin of history shortly after tossing the first officer’s suit — one that included a hilarious attempt to hold a Twitter hashtag responsible for injuries sustained during a protest. Finding this suit to be more of the same, the judge warned the officer to start making some actual actionable claims or face dismissal. No such claims have been stated apparently, as Courthouse News Service reports.

    • Researchers warn state system to catch voter fraud has 99% false positive rate

      A database system that will now be used by Indiana to automatically purge voter registrations that have duplicates in other states is 99 percent more likely to purge legitimate voters, according to a paper published last week by researchers from Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, Yale, and Microsoft Research. Using the probability of matching birth dates for people with common first, middle, and last names and an audit of poll books from the 2012 US presidential election, the researchers concluded that the system would de-register “about 300 registrations used to cast a seemingly legitimate vote for every one registration used to cast a double vote.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net Neutrality: Why Artists and Activists Can’t Afford to Lose It
    • Another broadband merger: CenturyLink gets FCC approval to buy Level 3

      “The FCC’s approval of CenturyLink’s acquisition of Level 3 is great news and means we now have all the regulatory approvals we need to close the transaction,” CenturyLink Senior VP John Jones said in an announcement today. The merger, valued at $34 billion, previously received approvals from the US Department of Justice and regulatory bodies in more than 20 US states including California and New York.

    • Portugal Shows The Internet Why Net Neutrality Is Important

      And while these mock ups were tongue in cheek, large ISPs have given every indication that this idea of freedom costing extra isn’t too far from their ideal. And abusing a lack of broadband competition to force users to shell out additional funds to access to the content and services of their choice isn’t too far off of what has already happened, whether we’re talking about AT&T’s decision to block Facetime from working unless users shelled out for more expensive plans, or Verizon’s recent decision to charge users $10 more just to avoid arbitrary video throttling.

    • Seven into seven.

      I don’t pretend that these are easy questions to answer. But if we need technology that’s not simply fast or pretty, but just, it’s worth putting AMP under a critical lens. (As well as, yes, Facebook Instant Articles, and Apple News, and, and, and.) If we fail to do that, we can’t be sure how well it measures up to our needs, much less the needs of the web as an open medium. And we definitely won’t know how well it serves entities other than Google.

    • The meaning of AMP

      I don’t think those statements are even truthy, much less true. In fact, if I were looking for the right term to semantically describe any one of those statements, the closest in meaning would be this:

      A statement used intentionally for the purpose of deception.

      That is the dictionary definition of a lie.

  • DRM

    • Assassins Creed Origin DRM Hammers Gamers’ CPUs

      Assassin’s Creed Origins gamers are reporting massive CPU utilization. While the game is said to be quite resource-hungry already, game cracker Voksi informs TorrentFreak that anti-piracy efforts are to blame. With Denuvo in trouble, Ubisoft has called in reinforcements which are reportedly dragging down all but the most powerful machines. “It’s anti-consumer and a disgusting move,” he says.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Marketing Guy: Google Image Search Is A Honeypot Set Up By Aggressive Copyright Litigants

        There are a lot of people out there that don’t understand intellectual property issues. But perhaps no one misunderstands them quite as badly as internet marketing guru Dan Dasilva. And Dasilva has no excuse. He’s been on the losing end of a copyright infringement lawsuit. Despite this, Dasilva continues to express his ignorance — and proclaim his victimhood — publicly on his YouTube channel. (h/t Techdirt reader Andy Gural)

        Dasilva snagged an image from Google’s image search and used it on a website he set up for one of his clients. The photographer who took the picture — Michael Grecco — sued Dasilva for infringement, ultimately ending up with $27,000 settlement and $10,000 in legal fees.

      • CBS Sues Man for Posting Image of a 59-Year TV-Show on Social Media

        CBS Broadcasting has launched one of the most unusual copyright infringement cases in recent history. The media giant is suing a New York man who posted a screenshot of a 1958 episode of the TV-series ‘Gunsmoke’ on social media. The man now faces $150,000 in potential damages, but since he sued CBS first, it’s likely that the case will not come to that.


Links 30/10/2017: Linux 4.14 RC7, Acumos, Free/Open Source Software as Philanthropy

Posted in News Roundup at 7:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Fresh bit o’ Linux to spruce up that ancient Windows Vista box? Why not, we say…

      The Linux OS is flexible. If one Linux distro is an unfriendly fit, you can replace it with another one that has a more appealing options list on the desktop environment or user interface front.

      Debian-based Q4OS, developed by a team of software designers in Germany, has a lightweight design that allows it to run on nearly any hardware config. I have run it on ageing computers from the early days of Windows Vista.

  • Server

    • IBM Wheels And Deals For Power Linux, But Where Is IBM i?

      The whole point of the convergence of the RS/6000 and the AS/400 families of systems – including pSeries and iSeries and System p and System i – was not only to get a common, converged hardware platform that made IBM’s life easier, but to also – or so we have always believed – give a consistent deal to customers using AIX or OS/400-i5/OS-IBM i.

      “A foolish consistency is,” as Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, “the hobgoblin of little minds.” While that may be true, a smart consistency is the Spider-Man of great minds. Or at least those that think alike. Like we all do out here in IBM i Land.

      IBM i customers need a deal, something to get them excited about modernizing their platforms and moving ahead.

    • These two vendors are most likely to bring Kubernetes containers to the enterprise

      Kubernetes won the container war, but the question of who will win Kubernetes is very much in play. As the two highest contributors to the project, Google and Red Hat could be serious contenders.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.14-rc7

      Back home, and back to the normal Sunday afternoon release schedule.

      And rc7 is also normal in size – in fact looking at statistics for the
      4.x rc7 releases, this is pretty much right smack the median size. It
      even looked smaller than usual right up until the network fixes merge

      Still, considering the issues we’ve had, I likely will do an rc8
      unless this upcoming week ends up being _so_ quiet that there’s no
      point. Which while unlikely would be lovely – if I end up doing an
      rc8, that will also push the latter half of the next merge window into
      the Thanksgiving week, which is going to be inconvenient since I’ll be
      traveling again. So I’d really be very happy if things now suddenly
      calm down to the point where an rc8 wouldn’t make sense.

    • Linux 4.14-rc7 Released: Final Likely In Two Weeks
    • Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator and Engineer: Lars Kronfält

      My first encounter with Linux was back in the late 1990s. I had an Amiga growing up, exchanging floppy disks to share things. Running services on Linux and connecting computers in a network made a deep impression. Realizing that it was free to use and community-driven got me even more interested. The openness and accessibility of information backed by great minds collaborating really had me hooked.

    • New project from The Linux Foundation hopes to make AI tools more accessible

      The Linux Foundation introduced a new project Monday called the Acumos Project, an effort backed by AT&T and India’s Tech Mahindra that will set up a common platform for artificial intelligence and machine learning development.

      “With the Acumos platform, we’re working to create an industry standard for making AI applications and models reusable and easily accessible to any developer,” The Linux Foundation wrote in a blog post announcing the effort. AT&T and Tech Mahindra, a large IT consulting company based in Mumbai, will provide code for the initial phase of the project. It’s expected to launch early next year.

    • AT&T Joins the Open-Source Artificial-Intelligence Arms Race

      These projects simplify the task, but it’s still a challenge to turn these frameworks into something useful. AT&T is hoping to change that with a new AI platform called Acumos, which it plans to reveal at a Dallas event Monday.

    • Linux Foundation to Host Acumos Project, Making it Easier to Build, Share and Deploy AI Apps
    • News of Note—Linux Foundation, Toyota, Ericsson
    • Linux Foundation introduces new artificial intelligence project, Acumos
    • AT&T and Tech Mahindra launch open source AI project
    • AT&T launching new open source AI platform
    • Collaborative Intelligence: AT&T and Others Building Open Source AI Marketplace for Businesses
    • AT&T introduces AI platform, makes it open source
    • Ledger systems today are siloed and disconnected. Hyperledger Quilt wants to solve that

      Hyperledger Quilt offers interoperability between ledger systems by implementing the Interledger Protocol (ILP), which is primarily a payments protocol and is designed to transfer value across systems – both distributed ledgers and non-distributed ledgers. It is a simple protocol that establishes a global namespace for accounts, as well as, a protocol for synchronized atomic swaps between different systems.

      Hyperledger Quilt aims to solve the tough problem of ledger systems today being siloed and disconnected. Sending value to someone on a different network or ledger is complex and often impractical. Where connections between ledgers do exist, they are manual, slow or expensive.

    • Linux Kernel 4.14 LTS Just Around the Corner as Linus Torvalds Outs Seventh RC

      The development of the Linux 4.14 kernel, the next LTS (Long Term Support) kernel series, is almost over now that the seventh, and probably the last Release Candidate (RC) milestone hit the streets.

      Linus Torvalds announced the release of Linux kernel 4.14 RC7 last evening as part of his normal Sunday announcements, giving us a heads up to what’s coming next to the development cycle of the next LTS Linux kernel branch. Long story short, he didn’t yet decide if to push the final Linux 4.14 build next week or an extra RC, which could delay the development of Linux kernel 4.15.

    • Don’t be a turkey: Help Linus Torvalds finish Linux 4.14 before it ruins Thanksgiving

      Linux kernel overlord Linus Torvalds wants to avoid an eighth release candidate for the new version of Linux, to avoid delays to the next version.

      The kernel community is currently hard at work on version 4.14, which got its seventh release candidate on Sunday. That release was only around for six days, after Torvalds struggled to get a decent internet connection the previous Sunday and rather than fighting it issued the release candidate six last Monday.

      Torvalds has now announced rc 7, saying that it is “pretty much right smack the median size”.

    • Linux 4.14-rc7 No Longer Clashes With AppArmor To Break Networking

      Earlier this month I warned about using Linux 4.14 with AppArmor can cause headaches, namely with the stock rules on distributions like Ubuntu and Debian you can find your networking support broken. That work has now been reverted after Linus Torvalds realized this issue as well.

      With this weekend’s Linux 4.14-rc7 kernel release, Linus Torvalds has reverted the AppArmor change that caused all these issues in the first place.

    • OpenRISC SMP Support Is Getting Into Shape

      While the OpenRISC architecture has been supported by the mainline Linux kernel, it hasn’t supported symmetric multi-processing (SMP) for multi-core designs, but that is in the process of being changed.

    • Appeals court keeps alive the never-ending Linux case, SCO v. IBM

      A federal appeals court has now partially ruled in favor of the SCO Group, breathing new life into a lawsuit and a company (now bankrupt and nearly dead) that has been suing IBM for nearly 15 years.

      Last year, US District Judge David Nuffer had ruled against SCO (whose original name was Santa Cruz Operation) in two summary judgment orders, and the court refused to allow SCO to amend its initial complaint against IBM.

      SCO soon appealed. On Monday, the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals found that SCO’s claims of misappropriation could go forward while also upholding Judge Nuffer’s other two orders.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMDGPU vs. Radeon DRM With Linux 4.14 On GCN 1.0/SI GPUs

        It’s been a while since last testing the older GCN 1.0 “Southern Islands” graphics cards with the AMDGPU DRM driver rather than the default Radeon DRM driver. Here are some fresh comparison tests using some original GCN graphics cards with the two DRM drivers while pairing it with Mesa 17.4-dev, including Vulkan tests that are made possible by switching over to the AMDGPU Direct Rendering Manager driver.

        GCN 1.0 Sothern Islands and GCN 1.1 Sea Islands graphics cards continue to default to using the mature Radeon DRM driver rather than AMDGPU DRM, which is treated as experimental for GCN 1.0/1.1 while being the requirement for GCN 1.2 graphics processors and newer. Through Linux 4.15 at least, GCN 1.0/1.1 GPUs will still be using the Radeon DRM by default, but the AMDGPU support for these older generations of Radeon GPUs is becoming more mature with less regressions, no display headaches this time around, some UVD porting for GCN 1.0 on AMDGPU being a work-in-progress, and PowerPlay fixes having recently landed in the kernel.

      • AMD’s Open-Source Strategy Is Now Ten Years Old
      • mesa 17.2.4

        In Mesa Core we have included a change to prevent KOTOR from breaking when in combination with the ATI fragment shader extension. Additionally, NIR has also received a correction.

      • Mesa 17.2.4 Released While Mesa 17.3 Continues To Bake

        Mesa 17.2.4 is now available as the newest stable release of Mesa 3D while Mesa 17.3 is up to its second release candidate.

        Mesa 17.2.4 was released today with several Intel OpenGL/Vulkan fixes, memory leak fixes for the Mesa state tracker, a Vulkan windowing system integration memory leak fix for X11, and some other small fixes.

      • Etnaviv Gallium3D Reaches OpenGL 2.1

        It was just days ago that the Etnaviv Gallium3D driver made it to OpenGL 2.0 while now it’s reached the OpenGL 2.1 threshold.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Interview with Erica Wagner

        I’m Erica Wagner, a STEAM Nerd, Teenpreneur, Author, Instructor, YouTuber and self-taught 2D and 3D artist. I’ve been doing graphic design for two years, 3D sculpting, voxel art, and 3d modeling for one year, and digital drawing for a little over six months. I’m a homeschool student. My mom uses the majority of my projects as a part of school.

      • You Can Now Install KDE Plasma 5.11.2 Desktop and Latte Dock on Kubuntu 17.10

        We’ve just been informed by Kubuntu developer Rik Mills on the availability of the latest KDE Plasma 5.11.2 desktop environment in the Kubuntu Backports PPA for Kubuntu 17.10 users.

        Launched on October 19, 2017, the Kubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) operating system arrived with the KDE Plasma 5.10.5 as default desktop environment, which was accompanied by the older KDE Applications 17.04.3 and KDE Frameworks 5.38.0 software stacks, but not users can update their systems to KDE Plasma 5.11.2 and KDE Frameworks 5.39.0.

      • Plasma 5.11.2 and other goodies now in Artful backports PPA

        The 2nd bugfix update (5.11.2) of the Plasma 5.11 series is now available for users of Kubuntu Artful Aardvark 17.10 to install via our backports PPA.

        Please note that 3 more bugfix releases are scheduled by KDE for Plasma 5.11, so while we feel these backports will be beneficial to enthusiastic adopters, users wanting to use a Plasma release with more stabilisation/bugfixes ‘baked in’ may find it advisable to stay with Plasma 5.10.5 as included in the original 17.10 Artful release.

        See the Plasma 5.11 release announcement and the release video below for more about the new features available.

  • Distributions

    • Linux Lite 3.6 Desktop Installation Guide with Screenshots

      We’ve already reviewed the Linux Lite 3.6 distro some time back and even concluded that it is an excellent distro for any beginner to start with linux and then stay on forever. With a lot of wow factors in that distro, Linux Lite has come up with a more enhanced version in Linux Lite 3.6. And with the 3.6 release, Linux Lite has introduced some major changes since the release of 3.4. Let’s look at all the changes and also a step by step installation guide to install Linux Lite 3.6 in your system.

    • Reviews

      • Review: The best Linux distros for Docker and containers

        Over the past six months I have reviewed five minimal Linux distributions that are optimized for running containers: Alpine Linux, CoreOS Container Linux, RancherOS, Red Hat Atomic Host, and VMware Photon OS. Generically known as “container operating systems,” these stripped down, purpose built Linux distributions are not the only way to run containers in production, but they provide a base that does not waste resources on anything besides container support.

        The state of the industry with container deployment systems is very much like the early days of Linux distributions. You have one key element, in this case the Docker container, that is surrounded by a number of competing ecosystem components. Just as the traditional Linux distros bundled different package managers, desktop environments, system utilities, services, and apps, most container distributions mix and match various components to create what they consider an optimum solution. Take for example distributed configuration and service discovery. There are several solutions for this such as Etcd, Consul, and ZooKeeper.

    • Slackware Family

      • [Slackware] Chromium is now compiled using clang

        In my previous blog post about Chromium 62, I described the issues I had while attempting to compile it on Slackware14.2. The gcc compiler suite on Slackware 14.2 is “too old” for Chromium because it lacks the required C++11 support. More to the point, the Google developers use clang instead of gcc for their own compilations and therefore gcc support is becoming stale. Response by Google developers when they encounter a gcc-related bug report is to ‘please switch to clang’.

    • Red Hat Family

      • HCL announces enterprise platform services powered by Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform

        HCL Technologies announced a collaboration with Red Hat to offer HCL Application Platform-as-a-Service to enterprise customers globally.

        At 12:35 hrs HCL Technologies was quoting at Rs 846.05, down Rs 11.65, or 1.36 percent.
        The share touched its 52-week high Rs 941.00 and 52-week low Rs 786.05 on 23 October, 2017 and 15 November, 2016, respectively.

      • Why I love technical debt
      • CentOS-Based NethServer 7.4 Linux Server Officially Released, Here’s What’s New

        Based on CentOS 7.4 (1708), the latest release of the open-source Linux server system based on Red Hat’s commercial RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) platform, NethServer 7.4 incorporates all the stream packages and technologies, but also introduces several new features and enhancements of its own.

        Designed to make the life of system administrators a lot easier, NethServer 7.4 improves the local Active Directory (AD) account provider to automatically apply updates to the Samba DC instance, which was bumped to version 4.6.8, and to add support for remote AD and LDAP (local too) locations.

      • Interviews: Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst Answers Your Questions

        For Slashdot’s 20th anniversary — and the 23rd anniversary of the first release of Red Hat Linux — here’s a special treat.

        Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst has responded to questions submitted by Slashdot readers.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Flatpak – St. Distro’s Package

          Flatpak works well. I am pleased with my short test, and I am convinced with the benefits and flexibility that this framework offers. It seems to be quite intuitive, and it did not spew errors. That said, the road to being a first-class product is still a long one. People don’t need the dirty detail. They want beautiful application stores and sod the nuts and bolts.

          I hope the distro-agnostic software takes off. It should help bring together the fragmented world of Linux, and make both maintenance and development easier, and give users the transparency that their peers on Windows enjoy. Technically, even if there’s fragmentation in the background, a clever GUI will disguise that, so we might stay with the old system, but the problem with that is, the distros suffers, and as a result, users suffer, too. The way forward is clear. The only question is, will it be one way or many? History has a way of repeating itself. To be continued. Flak away.

        • Fedora Classroom Session: Fedora QA 101
    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 17.10 – on the GNOME again

            Ubuntu is one of the world’s most popular Linux distributions. The distribution is available in several flavours, the two most widely recognized being the Desktop and Server editions. The release of Ubuntu 17.10 introduces a number of important changes, the most visible ones mostly affecting the Desktop edition which I will focus on in this review. As 17.10 is an interim release rather than a long term support release, it will received security updates for just nine months.

            One technical change in version 17.10 is the phasing out of 32-bit builds of the Desktop edition, though the Server edition is still available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds for the x86 architecture. Another significant change is the Ubuntu distribution has swapped out its in-house Unity desktop and replaced it with a customized version of the GNOME Shell desktop. Unity is still available in Ubuntu’s software repositories if we wish to install it later.

            I opted to download the Desktop edition of Ubuntu 17.10. The ISO for this edition is 1.4GB in size and booting from this media brings up a graphical window where we are asked if we would like to try Ubuntu’s live desktop mode or launch the system installer. This screen also lets us select the system’s language with the default being English.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • ReactOS 0.4.7-RC1 Is The Latest As “Open-Source Windows”

    Less than two months after the ReactOS 0.4.6 release, ReactOS 0.4.7-RC1 is available for testing.

    This first release candidate for ReactOS 0.4.7 comes with many bug fixes but also some new features.

    ReactOS 0.4.7 is introducing quick launch support, hotplug / power / sound icons, made progress on their filter dirver, started work on a “storport” driver to enable plug-and-play for many drivers and AHCI driver support, re-enabled support for deleting to Recycle Bin, enabled the application compatibility framework, support for enabling a theme by command, an fsutil command was added, and many other updates — including syncing the user-mode DLLs against Wine Staging 2.16.

  • GMO Blockchain Open Source Software project enters next phase, focusing on payments

    GMO Internet Inc. (TYO:9449) continues to push further with the GMO Blockchain Open Source Software Project (GMO Blockchain OSS). Earlier today, the company announced that the project has entered its sixth phase, with the focus now being on payments.

  • Fon joins prpl Foundation to Accelerate Open-source Innovation for Digital Home and Carrier WiFi

    The prpl Foundation, an open-source, community-driven, not-for-profit consortium with a focus enabling the security and interoperability of embedded devices for the smart society of the future, announced that Fon has joined the Foundation.

    As the world’s leading WiFi software company, Fon joins prpl to accelerate the development of a common, open-source-based software framework which will enable deployment of new carrier services for the digital home and carrier WiFi hotspots.

    “With the formation of our Carrier Interest Group last year, we set out to strengthen the ties between telecommunications carriers, major chipset vendors and the open source community,” said Art Swift, president of the prpl Foundation.

  • Open Source Software Is Philanthropy

    It is increasingly important that any serious enterprise—whether startup, media brand, government agency, foundation, or nonprofit organization—have access to cutting edge, reliable, and useful digital tools that extend their reach and accelerate their success. While commercial software continues to play a role for many organizations, more and more institutions are tapping into the less constrained and often less expensive world of open source software for solutions. Open source is vital for the digital community, providing an accessible, predominantly free forum for building everything from websites to analytic data platforms. Open source also spurs creativity and resource sharing among groups that otherwise would rarely connect. It’s a form of collaboration that is becoming mission-critical for many nonprofits that lack the budgets to build robust digital products on their own. When properly supported, open source software can spark innovation, accelerate social good, and ultimately help change the world.

  • Feeding chickens and cows with free software

    Kazi Farms Group is the largest poultry company in Bangladesh. One of the basic problems that has to be solved by any poultry company is formulating nutritious poultry feed at the lowest possible cost.

    Until now, the global feed milling industry was dependent on expensive feed formulation software sold by multi-national vendors.

    However, thanks to creative use and development of free/open-source software, Kazi Farms Group has been able to make our feed operation independent of foreign software.

  • A Free Guide to Participating in Open Source Communities

    As companies in and out of the technology industry move to advance their open source programs, they are rapidly learning about the value of participating in open source communities. Organizations are using open source code to build their own commercial products and services, which drives home the strategic value of contributing back to projects.

    However, diving in and participating without an understanding of projects and their communities can lead to frustration and other unfortunate outcomes. Approaching open source contributions without a strategy can tarnish a company’s reputation in the open source community and incur legal risks.

    The Linux Foundation’s free online guide Participating in Open Source Communities can help organizations successfully navigate these open source waters. The detailed guide covers what it means to contribute to open source as an organization and what it means to be a good corporate citizen. It explains how open source projects are structured, how to contribute, why it’s important to devote internal developer resources to participation, as well as why it’s important to create a strategy for open source participation and management.

    One of the most important first steps is to rally leadership behind your community participation strategy. “Support from leadership and acknowledgement that open source is a business critical part of your strategy is so important,” said Nithya Ruff, Senior Director, Open Source Practice at Comcast. “You should really understand the company’s objectives and how to enable them in your open source strategy.”

  • TIBCO Project Mashling, ultralight event-driven microgateway

    Software integration, analytics and management company TIBCO is loving, embraces and heart-ing open source this month with its newly available Project Mashling.

  • What are the open source remote display protocol options?

    In fact, there are several open source remote display protocol options out there, including Spice and Chrome Remote Desktop. Each open source remote display protocol works a little differently and is compatible with particular OSes and endpoints. So, it’s important to understand the differences.

  • Events

    • Open Source India 2017 Breaks Past Records
    • Hacktoberfest and JavaScript

      But Lays, how JavaScript connects to Hacktoberfest? Last week, a friend of mine, Andre Garzia, made a HackDay meetup at Amora Labs office, where the event had the goal to develop add-ons for Mozilla Firefox. For me, is on this kind of meetups that I can get my hands dirty on JavaScript. And talking with my friends I discovered about Hacktoberfest.

    • OpenStack Charms in Sydney

      If you’re new to OpenStack deployment using Juju and the OpenStack Charms then the general project update on Tuesday at 3.20 pm would be a good introduction. The session is only 20 minutes long so won’t take up to much of your day – Ryan and I will be doing a short 101 and providing some detail on new features for Pike and plans for Queens!

    • DebConf18 Debian Conference to Take Place July 29 – August 5, 2018, in Taiwan

      The Debian community is already planning for the next year’s DebConf conference for Debian developers, contributors, and users, which will take place in Hsinchu, Taiwan.

      As expected, DebConf17, this year’s annual Debian Developers and Contributors Conference, was another success, so it’s normal for the Debian team responsible for organizing the DebConf event to start preparing for the next one.

      DebConf18 is months away, but you can start preparing today because the official dates have been published in the Debian Wiki, suggesting that the conference will take place from July 29 to August 5, 2018, and it will be preceded by DebCamp between July 21-27.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Pushes Chrome 63 Into Beta with Dynamic Module Imports, Device Memory API

        Google recently pushed the Chrome 63 web browser for beta testing for all supported platforms, giving us a heads up to what we should expect from this release when it hits stable next month.

        Google Chrome 63 now lives in the Beta channel pocket, and it can be installed on Chrome OS, Linux, Android, Mac, and Windows operating systems. It promises big changes for developers, including dynamic module imports, a new Device Memory API, permissions UI changes, as well as async generators and iterators.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Public Services/Government

    • Citizens wrestle source code from public agencies

      This week a US federal judge unsealed the source code for a software application used by New York City’s crime lab to help analyse DNA evidence from crime scenes. The Forensic Statistical Tool (FST) was developed by the office of the city’s Chief Medical Examiner. It is used to substantiate the statistical likelihood that someone’s DNA profile matches DNA from a sample that may be tiny or degraded, or represent more than one person.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open Source University Project to Launch Global Social Innovation Platform & ICO Round

        Last week, academia collaborated project Open Source University announced launched its global social innovation platform, which enables decentralized academic a professional development globally.


        Once the ICO campaign is completed, the immediate next steps are for the team to proceed with on-boarding around 60+ million learners, enrolled in massive open online courses (MOOCs) through the integration of the distributed ledger with platforms such as “Coursera” and “EdX.” The presale starts on November 20th.


  • Why Finland wants the EU to abolish daylight saving time
  • Hardware

    • Meet John Draper, the hacker who inspired Apple’s founders

      Wozniak revisits the question: “Would Apple exist without John Draper?” he asks.

      “It’s hard to guess. Steve Jobs said—and I agree—that without the blue box there might never have been an Apple,” Wozniak says. “A lot of people have success and make money, but fewer achieve notoriety and fame like John has.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Rolling Back the Tide of Pesticide Poison, Corruption and Looming Mass Extinction

      An anthropogenic mass extinction is underway that will affect all life on the planet and humans will struggle to survive the phenomenon. So claims Dr Rosemary Mason in a paper (2015) in the Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry. Loss of biodiversity is the most urgent of the environmental problems because this type of diversity is critical to ecosystem services and human health. Mason argues that the modern chemical-intensive industrialised system of food and agriculture is the main culprit.

  • Security

    • Replace Your Exploit-Ridden Firmware with Linux

      With the WikiLeaks release of the vault7 material, the security of the UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) firmware used in most PCs and laptops is once again a concern. UEFI is a proprietary and closed-source operating system, with a codebase almost as large as the Linux kernel, that runs when the system is powered on and continues to run after it boots the OS (hence its designation as a “Ring -2 hypervisor”). It is a great place to hide exploits since it never stops running, and these exploits are undetectable by kernels and programs.

    • Your Windows Login Details Can Be Stolen By Hackers Without User Interaction

      From time to time, the security researchers continue to make us realize that Windows operating system is full of loopholes that can be exploited by hackers to steal our data. One such vulnerability was patched by Redmond in recent patch Tuesday.

    • NSA hacking tool EternalRomance found in BadRabbit

      Several research firms have named EternalRomance as the tool BadRabbit used to spread through an organisation once the ransomware was installed in a host computer. When the cyber-attack first sprang up on 24 October there were many reports claiming that EternalBlue, the tool made famous with the Petya/NotPetya attacks that took place earlier this year, was the culprit, but this was quickly disproven by researchers. However, EternalRomance does share at least one similarity with the other attack, each exploits the same Microsoft vulnerability.

    • Security updates for Monday
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Erdoğan vigorously defends Turkish al-Qaeda group that has cells in Germany

      The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has saved an al-Qaeda-affiliated Turkish jihadist group that has been infiltrating diaspora groups in Germany and France while punishing prosecutors and police investigators who had dealt a heavy blow to degrade this radical organization’s capabilities in the past.

      The group, called Tahşiyeciler in Turkish, is led by 66-year-old radical cleric Mehmet Doğan (aka Mullah Muhammed) who had been on the Turkish government payroll until his retirement from the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) in 1998. This al-Qaeda-affiliated Turkish group has been active in Turkey and among Turkish expat communities in Europe as part of a jihadist campaign to recruit militants, raise funds and plan suicide attacks. The cache of intercepted communications and the physical evidence uncovered during the search and seizure in suspects’ homes and offices clearly paint a picture of a dangerous, albeit small, group that follows slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s lead.

      Mustafa Kaplan, the 77-year-old chief aide to Mullah Muhammed, has been identified as a man who is responsible for the group’s operations in Europe and made trips to cities in France and Germany to organize cells. His speeches that were recorded in the German cities of Bonn, Ahlen, Dortmund and Anderten contain chilling accounts of what they plan to do. In one recording he claims that Turks are hostages and prisoners in Germany and says Germany would soon face the wrath of Muslims. He promises to Turks in Germany that the Germans would soon regret sending troops to Afghanistan since fighters would come to Germany to punish them for Berlin’s contribution to NATO’s campaign in Afghanistan.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Puerto Rico’s governor seeks to end deal with small Montana grid repair company

      Whitefish Energy’s $300 million deal to repair Puerto Rico’s grid was made public in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The deal quickly drew scrutiny after the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) did not seek mutual aid—that is, offers from other US utilities to come help out—shortly after the hurricane struck. The choice also caused concern as Whitefish had only been in operation since 2015 and it employed just two full-time employees at the time the hurricane struck (the company hires contractors to complete projects). Furthermore, Whitefish is based in the same town that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is from, and one of its financial backers, HBC Investments, has contributed thousands of dollars to Republican candidates, including Trump, according to the Associated Press.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • A Chance to Control Domestic Spying
    • Why Rely on the Fourth Amendment To Do the Work of the First?
    • European Parliament Agrees Text For Key ePrivacy Regulation; Online Advertising Industry Hates It

      Techdirt has mentioned a couple of times the EU’s important ePrivacy Regulation that is currently working its way through the legislative process. It’s designed to complement the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force next year, and which is likely to have far-reaching effects. Where the GDPR is concerned with personal data “at rest” — how it is stored and processed — the ePrivacy Regulation can be thought of as dealing with personal data in motion. That is, how it is gathered and flows across networks. Since that goes to the heart of how the Internet works, it will arguably have an even bigger impact than the GDPR on the online world — not just in the EU, but globally too.

    • The Wire

      In the US, there has been recent concern over ISPs turning over logs to the government. During the past few years, the idea of people snooping on our private data (by governments and others) really has made encryption more popular than ever before. One of the problems with encryption, however, is that it’s generally not user-friendly to add its protection to your conversations. Thankfully, messaging services are starting to take notice of the demand. For me, I need a messaging service that works across multiple platforms, encrypts automatically, supports group messaging and ideally can handle audio/video as well. Thankfully, I found an incredible open-source package that ticks all my boxes: Wire.

    • NSA hacking code lifted from a personal computer in U.S.: Kaspersky

      Moscow-based multinational cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab on October 25 said that it obtained suspected National Security Agency (NSA) hacking code from a personal computer in the U.S. During the review of file’s contents, a Kaspersky analyst discovered it contained the source code for a hacking tool later attributed to what it calls the Equation Group.

      Kaspersky said it assumed the 2014 source code episode was connected to the NSA’s loss of files. The antivirus software-maker spokeswoman Sarah Kitsos was quoted saying as “we deleted the archive because we don’t need the source code to improve our protection technologies and because of concerns regarding the handling of classified materials”.

    • Kaspersky Says Its Hand Was in the Cookie Jar, But …

      Kaspersky Lab has been bombarded with an unending stream of claims that its Russian roots equate to being part of the Russian national team when it comes to national security interests. We previously discussed the rationale behind the ban of Kaspersky Lab security products in any U.S. government device, and how the company is believed to be a part of the Russian effort to put a bullseye on the National Security Agency (NSA). The publicly available information asks us to trust the U.S. government’s claim that under all that smoke about Kaspersky, there is actually a fire. It turns out that it’s true—well, at least partially true.

    • The Battle Over The Government’s Massive Surveillance Powers Has Arrived

      A significant provision in a contentious surveillance law is set to expire at the end of the year, and a number of lawmakers are scrambling to either re-enact the legislation permanently or find its statutory replacement.

    • Congress is blowing its shot at real NSA reform

      At the end of 2017, one of the NSA’s most important legal powers is set to expire. Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act gives the director of national intelligence and attorney general the authority to target anyone outside the US for surveillance, but that authority has to be reauthorized by Congress every few years. With old congressional allies like Dianne Feinstein newly skeptical of the NSA — and President Trump openly feuding with the intelligence community — surveillance reformers are seeing their best chance in years to make real changes to the US surveillance apparatus.

    • BlackBerry CEO Promises To Try To Break Customers’ Encryption If The US Gov’t Asks Him To

      The DOJ’s reps — along with the new FBI boss — keep making noises about device encryption. They don’t like it. What they want is some hybrid unicorn called “responsible encryption,” which would keep bad guys out but let law enforcement in. The government has no idea how this is supposed to be accomplished, but it has decided to leave that up to the smart guys at tech companies. After all, tech companies are only in it for the money. The government, however, answers to a higher calling: public safety — a form of safety that apparently has room for an increase in criminal activity and nefarious hacking.

      There’s one cellphone company that’s been conspicuously absent from these discussions. A lot of that conspicuous absence has to do with its conspicuous absence from the cellphone marketplace. Pretty much relegated to governments and enterprise users, Blackberry has been offering encrypted messaging for years. But it’s been offering a different sort of encryption — one it can remove if needed.

    • Heathrow probe after ‘security files found on USB stick’
    • FBI Increases Its Anti-Encryption Rhetoric
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Anarchist Cookbook case: Student Joshua Walker cleared

      A student has been cleared of having a copy of terrorism [sic] manual The Anarchist Cookbook in a drawer under his bed.

    • Researcher Still Being Pursued By Russian Bank Over Last Year’s Mistaken Trump Connection Story

      The war on security researchers continues. But then, it’s never really shown any sign of abating, has it? Report after report comes in of security researchers being threatened with lawsuits or arrest simply for finding and reporting security breaches.

      The war on Jean Camp continues to this day, with the researcher on the receiving end of multiple legal threats from the American law firm representing Kremlin-linked Alfa Bank. Camp came under fire from the bank last year, after a story came and went mistakenly insinuating a Trump server was in engaged in lively conversation with Alfa Bank’s servers during the run-up to the presidential election.

      That was back in March. Law firm Kirkland & Ellis sent legal threats and communication retention demands to Camp. In addition to demanding she retain all communications possibly relevant to Alfa Bank’s vendetta, the firm also threatened to file CFAA charges.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC chair wants to impose a cap on broadband funding for poor families

      Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai wants to impose a budget cap on the Lifeline program that helps poor people buy broadband and phone service.

      Under previous Chairman Tom Wheeler, the 32-year-old Lifeline program was expanded to let poor people use a $9.25 monthly household subsidy to buy Internet service. Previously, the subsidy could only be used for phone service.

      But when Pai took over the chairmanship, he quickly got to work rolling back some of Wheeler’s Lifeline changes. Pai, a Republican, ramped up his attempts to place limits on Lifeline last week with a proposal that will likely be approved by the commission at its meeting on November 16.

    • Retail Giant Amazon Faces Pushback Over .Amazon Geographic Domain At ICANN Annual Meeting

      But the outgoing Chair of the GAC, Thomas Schneider, pointed out that assuming that trademark rights to a name automatically resulted in an exclusive right to a TLD was a fallacy. Amazon Associate Counsel for IP Dana Brown Northcott said after the clash with the governments that the company would continue to seek a compromise solution, but certainly had to consider all options.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Gag order silencing Comic-Con producers declared unconstitutional

        A federal appeals court is declaring a gag order that was imposed on the backers of a Comic-Con convention to be an unconstitutional infringement of speech. A San Diego federal judge had prohibited the organizers of Salt Lake Comic Con from taking to social media like Twitter, Facebook, and even the event’s website to discuss being sued for allegedly infringing the “Comic-Con” trademark.

        “Petitioners assert that the court-ordered prior restraints on their speech violate the First Amendment. We agree,” the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.

    • Copyrights

      • YouTube MP3 Converters Block UK Traffic to Avoid Trouble

        Two of the most used YouTube to MP3 conversion sites have closed their doors to UK traffic. The surprise move follows shortly after another popular stream ripper, YouTube-MP3, closed its site as part of a settlement with major music industry groups. Is this the start of a ripple effect?


Links 29/10/2017: Purism Librem 13 Reviewed, Wine 3.0 and Next Ubuntu Plans

Posted in News Roundup at 4:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Purism Librem 13 v2 privacy-focused Linux laptop — great hardware, frustrating software [Review]

      As a computer user in 2017, privacy is always on my mind — as it should be. I suppose I have always cared about securing my information and data, but in recent years, we have learned so many troubling things about government hackers — including the USA — that it seems more important than ever. Patriot Edward Snowden really shone a light on the unfortunate state of privacy, or lack thereof, in modern days.

      This is why I was very intrigued by the Purism line of laptops. These are computers that are designed with privacy in mind. The Librem 13 v2, which I have been testing, features two hardware kill-switches — one will cut the webcam and microphone, while the other kills the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios. By cutting access on the hardware level, hackers cannot access these things when switched off. Instead of using a traditional bios system for booting, it even leverages Coreboot. It runs a Linux-based operating system called “Pure OS” which aims to be very secure and private. Unfortunately, the OS ends up being a little too secure, and the weak link of the overall package. But does that really matter?

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Freedreno MSM DRM Driver Updates Submitted For Linux 4.15

      New features and improvements in this DRM driver for Qualcomm display hardware includes preemption support for Adreno A5xx hardware, display fixes for the Snapdragon 820, async cursor plane updates, refactoring of some code, improvements to the firmware loading, and a number of GPU debugging enhancements. For the preemption support it is already available in patch form for libdrm and the Freedreno Gallium3D driver for exposing context priority support.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Libdrm & xf86-video-amdgpu Repositories To Follow For FreeSync

        Many Linux gamers are excited by the prospects of soon having FreeSync support working on the purely open-source Radeon Linux graphics driver stack.

        Last week the AMD Linux developers began discussing with other upstream open-source graphics driver developers about plans for FreeSync / AdaptiveSync support in trying to come up with an approach and set of interfaces that could be adopted across drivers.

      • Vulkan Crosses 1,500 Projects On GitHub

        Back in April Vulkan crossed 1,000 project mentions on GitHub while overnight it crossed the threshold of 1,500 references.

      • Vulkan 1.0.65 Rolls Out With Documentation Clarifications & Fixes
      • Mesa 17.2.4 to Bring Several Fixes for Intel and AMD Radeon Drivers on Linux

        The developers of the Mesa 3D Graphics Library are preparing to launch a new maintenance update to the current Mesa 17.2 stable series, which will bring more improvements to supported drivers.

        Mesa 17.2.4 is currently being tested internally as a Release Candidate, which means it won’t be long until the final release hits the streets, so we want to give you a heads up to what you can expect from this version. This is a stability update, so you should expect it to fix annoyances and other reported issues.

        For Intel GPUs, the Mesa 17.2.4 update brings several fixes, including for the compiler and the ANV Vulkan driver, but it looks like there’s also a patch for the Intel i965 OpenGL driver to avoid breaking Beignet and VA-API, as well as other contexts in the system when they’re used in combination with any version of the Mesa 17.2 series.

      • Slang Continues To Advance For Easing Shader Writing, Cross-Compiling Shaders

        NVIDIA and Carnegie Mellon University continue working on the Slang project for providing improved functionality around existing Direct3D HLSL and OpenGL GLSL shaders as well as developing its own shading language.

        Besides working on its own shading language that is inspired by Microsoft’s HLSL, Slang allows cross-compiling shader code written in their language to HLSL, GLSL, DirectX bytecode, or SPIR-V. HLSL and GLSL code can also make easy use of Slang’s libraries. When feeding HLSL or GLSL code into the Slang compiler, it can take care of some tedious steps of the shader writing process, full reflection information about parameters of the shader code, and various other helpers around graphics shader writing.

      • Intel ANV Vulkan Driver Patches For Cross-Stage Link Optimizations
    • Benchmarks

      • Ethereum & OpenCL: ROCm vs. AMDGPU-PRO 17.40

        Following this week’s Ethereum and OpenCL benchmarks with Radeon vs. NVIDIA using the latest Linux drivers, some premium supporters requested a fresh AMDGPU-PRO vs. ROCm comparison. So here are a couple of those OpenCL benchmarks of AMDGPU-PRO vs. ROCm on different Polaris / Fiji and Vega GPUs.

  • Applications

    • GTK+ Twitter App Corebird Has Pushed Out a New Release

      A new version of Linux Twitter app Corebird has been released with improved user autocomplete, image-only tweets, links in profile bios, and more.

    • Introducing Narabu, part 4: Decoding

      So we’re at the stage where the structure is in place. How do we decode? Once we have the structure, it’s actually fairly straightforward:

      First of all, we need to figure out where each slice starts and ends. This is done on the CPU, but it’s mostly just setting up pointers, so it’s super-cheap. It doesn’t see any pixels at all, just lengths and some probability distributions (those are decoded on the CPU, but they’re only a few hundred values and no FP math is involved).

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine 3.0 Still Expected Around EOY With D3D11; Wayland & D3D12 On Roadmap

        WineConf 2017 is taking place today and tomorrow in Wroclaw, Poland. The event began today with a keynote by Wine founder Alexandre Julliard where he talked about Wine 3.0 plans and what’s further out on the roadmap.

        Since the Wine 2.0 release almost one year ago, the Wine project has shifted to annual, time-based releases. We’ve been expecting Wine 3.0 around the end of 2017 or early 2018 and that still looks like it will be the case. Julliared reaffirmed plans for shipping Wine 3.0 around the end of the year.

    • Games

      • SuperTuxKart 0.9.3 Released With New Tracks, Built-In Screen Recorder

        A new release of the open-source SuperTuxKart racing game is out just ahead of Halloween.

        SuperTuxKart 0.9.3 features new Halloween-themed assets, new tracks, and updates to some of the racing karts. SuperTuxKart 0.9.3 also now features a built-in screen recorder, HSV colorization for some scenery, graphics engine improvements, faster loading times, lower RAM/vRAM usage, improvements to their older OpenGL 2 rendering pipeline, and various other fixes and in-game improvements.

      • F1 2017 Racing Game Coming to Linux on November 2, Ported by Feral Interactive

        UK-based Linux and macOS video games publisher Feral Interactive recently announced that they’re porting the F1 2017 racing game to Linux on November 2, 2017.

        Launched on August 25, 2017, on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, macOS, and Microsoft Windows platforms, F1 2017 is currently one of the hottest racing games of the year. The game is developed and published by Codemasters, the makes of the Colin McRae and DiRT Rally titles.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • LibreELEC (Krypton) 8.2.0 RELEASE

        LibreELEC 8.2.0 provides a mid-year bump to improve hardware support on Intel and Raspberry Pi hardware. It also resolves minor support issues on a range of devices and fixes a number of important security issues affecting the core OS reported in recent months. Kodi is bumped to 17.5, and Samba bumps to 4.6 which brings support for SMB2/3 to LibreELEC for the first time. PLEASE READ THE RELEASE NOTES below before posting an issue in the forums as there are disruptive changes to Samba, Lirc and Tvheadend.

      • LibreELEC 8.2 Embedded Linux OS Released with Patches for WPA2 KRACK, Broadpwn

        The developers of the LibreELEC Linux-based operating system for Raspberry Pi and numerous other embedded devices announced today the release of LibreELEC 8.2 stable series.

        LibreELEC 8.2 has been in development for the past several months, during which it received several beta versions that implemented many of the new features and improvements. The OS is now powered by the latest Kodi 17.5.1 open-source media center to allow users to transform their SBCs into HTPCs (home theater PCs).

      • Kodi-Powered LibreELEC 8.2 Released

        There’s a new release of LibreELEC, the Linux distribution focused on delivering a premiere HTPC/multimedia experience by being built around the Kodi HTPC software.

      • LibreELEC 8.2.0 Kodi-focused Linux distro is here, but Raspberry Pi versions are pulled

        While many folks prefer to leverage legal streaming services like Netflix on hardware such as Apple TV and Roku nowadays, other people still prefer accessing locally stored media files. Is that concept dying? Yeah, but it will be a while before it is dead completely. Not to mention, music and movie pirates will keep locally stored downloaded media content alive for quite some time.

        Don’t get me wrong, not everyone that watches locally stored media files are pirates, but some certainly are. Whether you are accessing downloaded media or streaming content using an addon, the Kodi media center is a great way to experience it. Taking it a step further, a Linux-based operating system that exists just to serve Kodi is even better. Today, one of the best such distros, LibreELEC, gets a major update to version 8.2.0.

      • Ultimate Edition 5.7
    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Reaches Beta: Using GNOME & Wayland, Linux 4.12

        The first public beta of SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 is now available for their Enterprise Server, Enterprise Desktop, Enterprise Workstation Extension, and Enterprise High Availability products.

        SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 will be the successor to SUSE Linux Enterprise 12. Development efforts for SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 have been around creating a common code-base for traditional and containerized approaches, allow a single install medium for all SLE 15 products, become more modular, support multiple architectures and deployment scenarios, and be a compliant and secure product.

      • SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Beta 1 is available!
      • SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Desktop to Use Wayland by Default, Firewalld and GCC 7

        SUSE recently kicked off the development of the SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) 15 operating system series and they just opened the closed beta program this week by releasing the first beta milestone.

        SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 will be developed with a few key objectives in mind, including support for installing and using modules and extensions easier than before, use packages across the entire SUSE universe, support multiple scenarios and architectures on 64-bit, IBM System z (s390x), ARM64 (AArch64), and Power LE systems, as well as on cloud, virtual, physical, host and guest environments.

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed to Soon Switch to OpenSSL 1.1 by Default, Samba 4.7 Lands

        Another week has passed, and OpenSuSE Tumbleweed users received no less than seven snapshots, which brought numerous of the latest GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source applications, including the Linux 4.13.9 kernel, KDE Plasma 5.11.1 desktop environment, and KDE Applications 17.08.2 software stack.

        The LibreOffice office suite has been updated to version 5.4.2, the Qt and Samba stacks were bumped to newer releases, namely 5.9.2 and 4.7.0 respectively. On top of that, LLVM4 has been reworked into a single libLLVM library, and Display Manager is no longer resolved through /etc/sysconfig/displaymanager.

      • openSUSE-Based GeckoLinux Distro Getting Smoother and More Reliable Startup

        The developer of GeckoLinux, a GNU/Linux distribution based on both openSUSE Leap and Tumbleweed operating systems, announced the release of a beta preview of the next stable GeckoLinux Static series.

        It’s been quiet lately for GeckoLinux, and it has to do with the merging of SUSE Studio with the Open Build Service (OBS) distribution development platform, which forced the developer to find an alternative build method of his distro. After a long search, it appears that Kiwi on VPS is the best method for GeckoLinux.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Building packages without (fake)root

        Turns out that it is surprisingly easy to build most packages without (fake)root.

      • Derivatives

        • Elive 3.0 Is One Step Closer to Reality as Latest Beta Introduces Many Goodies

          The developers of the Debian-based Elive GNU/Linux distribution leveraging the Enlightenment desktop environment are still trying to finish the major Elive 3.0 release, and they just published a new Beta.

          Elive 2.9.12 Beta is here almost two months after the previous beta (versioned 2.9.8), and it looks like it’s a big one, adding an extra layer of performance improvements to the desktop and window effects with up to 194%, as well as to video playback, which is now smoother than on previous betas.

          Elive’s graphical installer, yes the one you don’t have to pay to use it anymore, has been refactored in this new beta release to include a validator of characters for usernames, passwords, and hostnames, make the entire installation process a lot easier than before, and also fix numerous bugs, especially for the built-in browser.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Latest Exton|OS Light Release Rebases the Linux OS on Ubuntu 17.10, Linux 4.13

            Exton|OS Light Live DVD Build 170918 is, in fact, one of the first GNU/Linux distributions to have been rebased on Ubuntu 17.10, which was officially released on October 19, 2017, as the first Ubuntu release in seven years to replace the Unity user interface with the GNOME 3 desktop environment.

            However, Exton|OS Light doesn’t use GNOME, but, instead, it deploys the ultra lightweight and low on resources Openbox window manager, which the developer customized to look as modern as possible. Not to mention that Exton|OS Light ships with only a minimum of packages pre-installed.

          • And We’re Off: Development Begins on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS ‘Bionic Beaver’

            Canonical’s Matthias Klose shared the news on the Ubuntu development mailing list.

            The first few weeks of every Ubuntu development cycle is spent syncing key packages from upstream sources, plumbing in the base infrastructure on which future changes lay, and so on.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Release Schedule

            For those of you unaware Ubuntu’s April (xx.04) releases follow a 27-week schedule (as opposed to October releases’ 25 week schedule, owing to the little matter of Xmas and New Year).

            During the cycle time 2 alpha milestones, 2 beta milestones and 1 release candidate build are issued for public testing. Ubuntu flavors often take advantage of all of these.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint To Kill KDE Edition, LMDE 3 Codenamed “Cindy”

              ​A few months ago I reviewed Linux Mint KDE edition. At the time I reviewed it, I didn’t thought it could be the second last review of mine of Linux Mint KDE edition. The team has decided to stop the Linux Mint KDE development after the next release Linux Mint 18.3. So the last release of Linux Mint KDE will be 18.3.

            • Kubuntu Devs Need Your Help to Test KDE Plasma 5.8.8 LTS on Kubuntu 16.04 LTS

              They recently put up a testing backports repository for Kubuntu 16.04 LTS and they now need your help to install those packages containing the KDE Plasma 5.8.8 LTS desktop environment and Krita 3.3.1 digital painting app, and report any issues you might encounter.

              At the moment, the Kubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) repositories contain the KDE Plasma 5.8.7 LTS and Krita 3.2.1 packages, so installing the versions prepared in the testing backports PPA will overwrite any previous ones.

            • Help test Plasma 5.8.8 LTS and Krita 3.3.1 for Kubuntu Backports!
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Software Explained

    For those new to Linux, the concept of Open Source software may be foreign. In this short video, I attempt to explain the concept in non-geek speak for the Average Joe to understand.

  • Events

    • Open Source Summit – Day 3

      Open source summit Wednesday started with a keynote by members of the Banks family telling a packed room on how they approached raising a tech family. The first hurdle that Keila (the teenage daughter of the family) talked about was something I personally had never actually thought about: Communication tools like Slack that are in widespread use come with an age restriction excluding minors. So by trying to communicate with open source projects means entering illegality.

    • Embedded Linux Conference Europe & Open-Source Summit Wrap Up In Prague

      The 2017 Embedded Linux Conference Europe and Open-Source Summit Europe events hosted by the Linux Foundation this year in Prague wrapped up earlier this week.

      For those that missed the event in person, didn’t tune into the available livestreams, and want to catch up on the material presented, most of the sessions do have their PDF slide decks available for download this weekend.

    • OpenStack Sydney: Turning one into two

    • uClibc Is Still Around As A Lightweight C Standard Library

      The uClibc project is still advancing as a lightweight, performant C standard library even while glibc has been making performance advancements and other improvements as well.

      Alexey Brodkin of Synopsys spoke at this week’s Embedded Linux Conference Europe about how uClibc is still relevant today and “makes sense” for organizations like Synopsys.

    • GCC Prepares For C17 Language Support

      Not to be confused with C++17 that brings many notable additions and improvements, C17 is also coming soon as an update to the C programming language.

      The C17 programming language update is just a “bug fix version” to the C11 standard. C17 will soon go to ballot for voting and still might end up being known as C18, but for now the GNU Compiler Collection is getting prepped with patches as C17.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Dutch coalition agreement: where’s the trust in Free Software?

      The new Dutch government, consisting of liberal-conservatives (VVD), christian democrats (CDA), democrats (D66) and orthodox protestants (CU), published the new coalition agreement: Vertrouwen in de toekomst (“Trust in the future”). I scanned through all sections of this document, searching for the word software.

      According to the new government, software is a matter for the justice department. Software is not mentioned in any other section, including the economic, education, labor policy, innovation policy and living environment sections.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • It’s Time for Congress to Pass an Open Access Law

        The public should be able to read and use the scientific research we paid for. That’s the simple premise of the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act, or FASTR (S. 1701, H.R. 3427). Despite broad bipartisan support on both sides of the aisle, FASTR has been stuck in Congressional gridlock for four years. As we celebrate Open Access week, please take a moment to urge your members of Congress to pass this common-sense law.

      • 200 universities just launched 560 free online courses. Here’s the full list.

        In the past six years or so, close to 800 universities have created more than 8,000 of these MOOCs. And I’ve been keeping track of these MOOCs the entire time over at Class Central, ever since they rose to prominence.

  • Programming/Development

    • News: The new released Fresh IDE .

      The reputable IDE for FASM named Fresh comes on 29.10.2017 06:47:22 with new news.

    • uClibc Is Still Around As A Lightweight C Standard Library

      The uClibc project is still advancing as a lightweight, performant C standard library even while glibc has been making performance advancements and other improvements as well.

      Alexey Brodkin of Synopsys spoke at this week’s Embedded Linux Conference Europe about how uClibc is still relevant today and “makes sense” for organizations like Synopsys.

    • GCC Prepares For C17 Language Support

      Not to be confused with C++17 that brings many notable additions and improvements, C17 is also coming soon as an update to the C programming language.

      The C17 programming language update is just a “bug fix version” to the C11 standard. C17 will soon go to ballot for voting and still might end up being known as C18, but for now the GNU Compiler Collection is getting prepped with patches as C17.


  • Steve Jobs, the Xerox Alto, and computer typography

    While Steve Job’s commencement speech is inspiring, it is also an example of the “reality distortion field” at work. While he claimed that a calligraphy course at Reed inspired him to provide typography support in the Macintosh, the Xerox Alto and Jobs’ visit to Xerox PARC in 1979 are surely more important. The Macintosh owes everything from the WYSIWYG editor and spline-based fonts to the bitmapped display and laser printer to the Xerox Alto. Of course, Steve Jobs deserves great credit for making desktop publishing common and affordable with the Macintosh and the LaserWriter, something Xerox failed to do with the Xerox Star, an expensive ($75,000) system that commercialized the Alto’s technology.

  • Burning Memories

    [...] also because the copies are unreliable, too. File and media formats are in constant flux;

  • Science

    • The Rise and Fall of the Viking “Allah” Textile

      There is something very troubling about what the Viking “Allah” story — both its rise and its equally rapid fall — reveals about the relationship between news media and experts, who, in the absence of a peer-reviewed paper by Larsson, should have initially been consulted for verification of Larsson’s findings.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Texas Reserve Staff Keep Rescued Wildlife Out of Harm’s Way

      After Hurricane Harvey had passed, Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve staff loaded up a pickup truck full of 30 safe-and-sound sea turtles and released them back to where they had come from, rehabilitated and unharmed. The remaining 30 were sent to the Texas Sealife Center in Corpus Christi for further rehabilitation and will be released over time.

      In the days leading up to Hurricane Harvey, staff at Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve in Corpus Christi, Texas, had countless critical preparations to make—solidifying structures, protecting valuable equipment, and ensuring people and property were safe. All this, of course, was in addition to planning for the safety and evacuation of their own families.

    • Virtual reality headsets could put children’s health at risk

      Researchers have warned that virtual reality headsets could pose risks to users, particularly children. The scientists, based at Leeds University, believe continued use of VR sets could trigger eyesight and balance problems in young people unless changes are made to devices.

    • In Organic Farming, Rules are Not Made to be Broken

      We also learned there was a lot to be said for growing your own feed as opposed to purchasing it, again there was that learning curve, but using pasture as part of a crop rotation of hay, grain and cover crops— at least once you figured it out, made you wonder why you ever needed pesticides at all.

    • Neuroscientist Dr. Carl Hart: People Are Dying in Opioid Crisis Because of Politicians’ Ignorance

      President Trump announced Thursday that he is directing the Department of Health and Human Services to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency—walking back his plans, announced in August, to declare it a more serious “national emergency.” The shift means the federal government will not, as of now, direct any new federal funds to address the opioid crisis, which killed 64,000 Americans last year. We speak with Columbia University psychology and psychiatry professor Carl Hart, who argues people are dying because of ignorance, not because of opioids.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Khizr Khan and the Wisdom of Gold Star Families

      On the morning of Tuesday, June 8, 2004, a taxi navigated the serpentine barriers toward the gate of Forward Operating Base Warhorse in Baquba, Iraq. A U.S. Army officer who was on watch saw it and ran forward toward the vehicle. That is when it exploded, killing the soldier, Capt. Humayun Saqib Muazzam Khan, and two Iraqis who stood nearby. Khan was a Muslim-American, killed by a suicide bomber who was likely of the same faith. He was laid to rest in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, along with thousands of others killed in the so-called Global War on Terror. His family privately mourned their loss daily, frequently visiting his gravesite. Then the openly racist presidential campaign of Donald Trump swept them into the center of a political storm.

      Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and pledges to ban all Muslims from entering the country incensed Humayun Khan’s parents, Khizr and Ghazala Khan. Natives of Pakistan, they are extremely proud of their U.S. citizenship. Khizr Khan was invited to address the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in late July 2016.

      “If it was up to Donald Trump, [my son] never would have been in America. Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities, women, judges, even his own party leadership. He vows to build walls and ban us from this country,” Khizr Khan said, with his wife at his side. “Donald Trump, you’re asking Americans to trust you with their future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy.” The thousands of delegates rose in thunderous applause at his remarks, as he held his pocket-sized copy of the U.S. Constitution aloft.

    • The One Paragraph You Need To Read From The JFK Assassination Files That May Change Everything

      Not exactly the narrative that was sold to the world – and certainly not the narrative that J. Edgar Hoover proclaimed must be defended to the world.

      Here is Douglas P. Horne, via LewRockwell.com, detailing the photographic evidence of a bullet hole in JFK’s limousine’s windshield “hiding in plain sight.”

      In 2009, I believed I had discovered new evidence in the JFK assassination never reported by anyone else: convincing photography of the through-and-through bullet hole in the windshield of the JFK limousine that had been reported by six credible witnesses. I revisited that evidence today, and am more convinced than ever that the bullet hole in the limousine windshield is what I am looking at in those images. But the readers of this piece don’t have to take my word for it — you can examine the images yourself, and make up your own minds. The evidence is contained in one of the banned, suppressed episodes of Nigel Turner’s The Men Who Killed Kennedy — episode 7 in the series, called “The Smoking Guns,” which was aired in 2003, and then removed from circulation by The History Channel in response to intense political pressure by former LBJ aides Jack Valenti and Bill Moyers.

    • ‘Twas on the Good Ship Venus

      Submarines don’t have much rigging, which somewhat spoils the chorus, but I am delighted to hear that sailors on board Britain’s nuclear deterrent are heavily into sex and drugs. As the North Korean diplomatic standoff shows, nuclear weapons are utterly useless even within the context of the one situation in which they are supposed to be of use. Nobody has yet argued that the solution to nuclear proliferation is to start an atomic war, so what are the things for? The notion that Putin has a secret desire to send tanks rolling up the streets of Dumfries is obvious nonsense.

    • Nuclear Midnight in Korea

      Are the Air Force preparations a bluff? Donald Trump would not be the first president to engage in a nuclear bluff. In October 1969, President Richard Nixon approved Operation Giant Lance. US B-52 bombers loaded with nuclear bombs circled in the Arctic above the Soviet Union. Nixon thought this would persuade the Kremlin to pressure Hanoi to end the war in Vietnam. It was the birth of Nixon’s “Madman Theory,” the idea that the Soviets could be forced to come to terms by convincing them that Nixon was crazy enough to do anything.

      President Harry Truman played high-stakes nuclear poker on two occasions. The first was during the Soviet blockade of Berlin in 1948-49. President Truman sent two squadrons of B-29 bombers to Western Europe. This was a double bluff. The planes were similar to the B-29s which had dropped the atomic bombs on Japan, but had no atomic bombs on board.[1]

    • Britain’s foreign policy: it’s time for reform

      With its prominent position in the arms trade, and the impunity it grants countries like Saudi Arabia, Britain is playing with fire.

    • 2 Navy SEALs Under Suspicion in Strangling of Green Beret in Mali
    • The US, Africa and a New Century of War

      Most Americans’ broad ignorance regarding Africa is a long-standing phenomenon, one perpetuated from the top down. In 2008, the campaign staffers tasked to wrangle Sarah Palin were terrified people would discover she thought Africa was one big country. In 2001, President George W. Bush told a gathering in Sweden, “Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease.” Vice President Joe Biden, speaking to none other than the US-Africa Leaders Summit in 2014, said, “There’s no reason the nation of Africa should not join the ranks of the world’s most prosperous nations.” That’s twice in one sentence, Joe.


      In fact, the US has some 6,000 troops spread throughout virtually every country in Africa, with heavy concentrations in the middle third of the continent where groups like ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab are most active. US Special Forces are, at any given time, carrying out approximately 100 missions in Africa, ostensibly in the name of the nation they are operating from. “In 2006, just 1 percent of all US commandos deployed overseas were in Africa,” writes journalist Nick Turse. “In 2010, it was 3 percent. By 2016, that number had jumped to more than 17 percent. In fact, according to data supplied by US Special Operations Command, there are now more special operations personnel devoted to Africa than anywhere except the Middle East.”

    • A Voiceless Left Faces History’s Monster

      Despite all its armed might and long history of conquests, America remains a perpetually frightened country without a strong movement to protest this imperialism and warmongering, notes poet Phil Rockstroh.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Here are humanity’s best ideas on how to store energy

      Historically, the vast majority of the world’s power has been consumed as quickly as it is made, or it’s wasted. But climate change has made governments interested in renewable energy, and renewable energy is variable—it can’t be dispatched on demand. Or can it? As research into utility-sized batteries receives more attention, the economics of adding storage to a grid or wind farm are starting to make more sense.

      But grid-tied energy storage is not new; it has just always been limited to whatever resources a local power producer had at the time. Much like electricity production itself, storage schemes differ regionally. Power companies will invest in batteries that make sense on a local level, whether it is pumped storage, compressed air, or lithium-ion cells.

      Looking at the kinds of storage that already exist is instructive in helping us see where storage is going to go, too. Lots of the latest battery projects merely build on engineering that has been in service for decades. To better see our way forward, we collected a number of images and diagrams of the world’s biggest energy storage schemes.

    • Capitalism Exacerbates the Vulnerability of “Extreme Cities” to Climate Change

      In Extreme Cities, I place Hurricane Sandy in a broader context, weaving together stories of cities around the world that are threatened by climate chaos. Extreme Cities draws on interviews with researchers at the cutting edge of climate science, landscape architects whose work uses natural processes to build our capacity to endure extreme weather, and activists fighting to diminish the inequalities that render cities vulnerable to climate chaos. Cities, I contend, are at the forefront of the coming climate chaos, their natural vulnerabilities heightened by social injustice. Cities are the defining social and ecological phenomena of the twenty-first century: they house the majority of humanity, they contribute the lion’s share of carbon to the atmosphere, and they are peculiarly vulnerable to climate chaos.

    • FEMA Had a Plan for Responding to a Hurricane in Puerto Rico — But It Doesn’t Want You to See It

      The Federal Emergency Management Agency, citing unspecified “potentially sensitive information,” is declining to release a document it drafted several years ago that details how it would respond to a major hurricane in Puerto Rico.

      The plan, known as a hurricane annex, runs more than 100 pages and explains exactly what FEMA and other agencies would do in the event that a large storm struck the island. The document could help experts assess both how well the federal government had prepared for a storm the size of Hurricane Maria and whether FEMA’s response matches what was planned. The agency began drafting such advance plans after it was excoriated for poor performance and lack of preparation in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

    • Puerto Rico’s utility cancels controversial contract with Montana firm to repair electric grid
  • Finance

    • Fear, Not Debt, Limits Our Spending on Education and Infrastructure

      Arithmetic fans would evaluate this assertion by looking for evidence that the debt is causing problems such as high interest rates and inflation, and creating a large debt-service burden.

      The opposite is the case, with long-term interest rates still under 2.5 percent, compared to more than 5.0 percent in the surplus years of the late 1990s. Inflation remains under the Fed’s 2.0 percent target, and has actually been trending downward this year. And debt service is less than 1.0 percent of GDP (net of interest rebated by the Fed), compared to over 3.0 percent in the 1990s.

      In short, there is no evidence that debt is limiting our ability to spend more in these and other areas. There is a strong case that fears over the debt, raised by folks like Zakaria, are limiting our ability to invest for the future.

    • Cook County Assessor: Office Cuts Make It Tough to Get Tax Bills Out On Time

      With cuts to his office looming after the demise of Cook County’s controversial soda tax, Assessor Joseph Berrios testified Friday about his efforts to shed positions in an office that is already down more than 30 percent.

      The budget pressure comes as the office was sharply criticized following a Chicago Tribune investigation earlier this year that found widespread inequities in residential property tax assessments.

    • Workers Wary of GOP Flimflam Tax Scam

      A single statistic explains it all: 1 percent of Americans – that is the tiny, exclusive club of billionaires and millionaires – get 80 percent of the gain from this tax con. Eighty percent!

      But that’s not all! To pay for that unneeded and unwarranted red-ribbon wrapped gift to the uber wealthy, Republicans are slashing and burning $5 trillion in programs cherished by workers, including Medicare and Medicaid.

    • Low-cost airlines surpassed the 1 billion passengers mark
    • The EU’s definitive defeat: digital tax plans and a declaration of surrender to Silicon Valley

      The largest companies in the digital economy are U.S. and Chinese companies, plus South Korea’s Samsung. As a Wikipedia page shows, no EU company has been among the world’s largest 10 companies (from all industries, but with digital businesses now leading) by market capitalization since Royal Dutch Shell in the second quarter of 2014. That’s a huge failEUre, and a strategic issue because it means that to the extent Europe has any innovative businesses at all (such as SAP), they’re not at the top of the M&A food chain.

      While that tax plan Q&A still claims the EU wants its digital startups to succeed, the EU’s digital industry commissioner has just given an interview to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, in which she says Europe doesn’t need a company like Google. How little weight the digital economy has in the EU is reflected by the commissioners assigned to that area of responsibility. Presently, the EU’s digital commissioner is Mariya Gabriel, a young Bulgarian politician with an even less impressive track record than her technology-illiterate predecessor, Germany’s Guenther Oettinger, who became the laughing stock of many people in the EU tech industry. Mrs. Gabriel said in the aforementioned interview that the EU should focus on fields such as nanorobotics, security chips, and “automotive digitization”, where she says EU companies are leading the way. I checked on who the current leaders in nanorobotics are and found more U.S. than EU companies among the top 10, with all of those EU companies being small enough to be acquired sooner or later, and I’ve previously outlined my thinking on the automotive future.

    • Brexit, food and land ownership – it’s time for a new direction

      So what will happen? It’s widely anticipated that British people won’t want to pick food – and the main growing areas of the country coincide with areas of low unemployment. So do – as Harris’s article implies – inevitably face a future where Britain relinquishes even more of its food sovereignty, with domestic production decreasing and food miles and prices rocketing?

      While the above bleak scenario has a ring of truth, it misses some key factors that have led to Britain’s dependency on foreign agricultural labour. Any discussion about the future of British agriculture must take into account issues of access to land, price rigging and working conditions. If we ignore them, the future may indeed be bleak.

      The crisis of British agriculture is closely related to other crises in British society, and linked to the global crisis of the late 20th century capitalist model of industrialised agriculture. It’s as hooked on cheap labour and poor working conditions as it is on fertilisers and pesticides. They are all symptoms of a fundamentally flawed and bankrupt way of producing food. One way or another it will have to change. Without addressing the questions of access to land and food monopolies we have no chance of getting out of this mess. Brexit hasn’t created the crisis, it is only bringing it to a head.

    • GOP Tax Plan Declares War On Everyone Who Isn’t a Millionaire

      After repeated claims by Republicans suggesting their tax reform plan would offer the middle class a much needed break, we now know that is a trick. Independent analyses have shown that rather than helping the middle class, the GOP would bilk working families to pay for a multi-trillion dollar treat to the wealthiest few.

      The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center found that under the Ryan-McConnell plan, 30 percent of taxpayers with incomes between $50,000 and $150,000 would see a tax increase, along with a majority of households making between $150,000 and $300,000. The TPC also concluded that 80 percent of the tax relief would be enjoyed by the top-earners comprising just 1 percent of the country’s population.

    • Bill Gates & Betsy DeVos: Mr. and Mrs. Public School Sabotage

      Because people make money when America’s public schools are in crisis.

      And who sits atop this mountain of bribery and malfeasance?

      Who gives the money that buys the politicians who make the laws that hurt the kids and profits the donors?

      It’s none other than Mr. and Mrs. Public School Sabotage!

      Systemic underfunding, laissez-faire segregation and privileging privatization – this is what our children face every day.

      It’s time we as a nation stop, take a moment – and offer our hearty congratulations to this years most pernicious saboteurs.

    • Pro-Remain media and Brexit: unwise response to populism?

      Clueless, arrogant, outgunned. The attitude displayed towards the UK’s Brexit negotiators in much of the media is derisive. Witness the treatment of July’s notorious negotiating table photo opportunity: on one side, the European Commission behind piles of neatly stacked papers and, facing them, David Davis’s team, empty table gleaming. Without pausing to consider possible explanations, reporters gleefully proclaimed that this demonstrated UK unpreparedness and the naive expectation that it could fly by the seat of its pants.

    • An interesting Brexit experiment worthy of analysis
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • For Trump, Words Are Stupid Things

      Words. “I have the best words,” Trump famously proclaimed during the campaign, and just the other day he told Maria Bartiromo of Fox News how “well-crafted” his goofy tweets are. The same man announced from the White House lawn on Wednesday that “I’m a very intelligent person” — words that sounded more self-deceptive than presidential.

      Trump does have a way with words. Unfortunately, it’s a gruesome way. His way is to use them as a blunt instrument to bully and belittle opponents. The rest of the time — when he’s not reading prepared remarks from a teleprompter — his way with English is fumbling, incoherent, reckless and untruthful. Look no further than the contretemps that began with his false claim that unlike him, “most other presidents” didn’t make phone calls to the families of military killed in action, which then rapidly nosedived even further, using the dead as a political football, then insulting the widow of a dead Green Beret hero and a Florida congresswoman.

    • Hillary Clinton Keeps Pointing Fingers

      Hillary Clinton blames others for last year’s electoral defeat, never recognizing that many Americans — both Democrats and Republicans — found her public record appalling…

    • A year full of fake news: 22 new fake news sites emerged every month in the US

      According to a study conducted by Storyzy on 1,800 fake news sites representing 1,7 billion visits per month, 22 new fake news sites on average were created every month in the US since the beginning of 2017, a strong trend that began in 2016 during the US presidential campaign. Robots are the only way to detect these new sites and eventually stop the increase and spreading of fake news.

    • Cambridge Analytica used data from Facebook and Politico to help Trump

      Speech by company executive contradicts denial by Trump campaign that claimed the company used its own data and Facebook data to help the campaign

    • For NYT, Making the Democrats Safe for the Oligarchy Is Literally Job One

      Last week, the paper published an op-ed by Douglas Schoen, “Why Democrats Need Wall Street” (10/18/17). Who is Douglas Schoen, you might ask? He’s billed by the Times as having been “a pollster and senior political adviser to President Bill Clinton from 1994 to 2000.” More relevantly to the current century, he’s a corporate PR consultant who works for the likes of Walmart, AT&T, Time Warner, Procter & Gamble and GlaxoSmithKline.

      He has a side career as a commentator for mostly right-wing outlets like Fox News, Forbes and Newsmax, where his nominal relationship to the Democrats mostly serves to bolster his credibility when he attacks them—as in a series of columns he co-wrote in 2010–11 urging Barack Obama to step aside in favor of Hillary Clinton, only to declare in 2016 (The Hill, 10/31/16) that “I am not able, under the circumstances we are now facing, to vote for Secretary Clinton” (the circumstances being that “emails potentially pertinent to the Clinton probe had been found on Anthony Weiner’s computer”).

    • Misdirection and Catalonia

      The Spanish Government’s refusal yesterday of the offer of a 20 December election in Catalonia vividly highlights that the thing they are most scared of is any kind of free and fair vote. They wish to take over all the Catalan institutions and media, and institute a judicial ban on pro-Independence campaigning, before they allow any election – that is why they prefer a six month delay. All of which yet again highlights the outrageous lie the western corporate and state media have been repeating and repeating for weeks, that only a minority in Catalonia support independence. At the last Catalan parliamentary election the explicitly pro-Independence parties gained 48% and explicitly anti-independence parties gained 39%, while the most recent recent poll, by GESOP, indicates that would not change in a new election.

    • Europe Fails a Fundamental Democratic Test

      A snap analysis of social media across Europe in the major languages, excluding Spaniards and Catalans, shows about 75% of posts are broadly sympathetic to Catalan Independence – or at least sympathetic to the Catalan right to self-determination – and about 25% support the Rajoy position. It is not possible directly to extrapolate from social media users to the entire population, but at the very least we can say that the unanimous attack on the Catalans from European governments and the unequivocal support for Rajoy plainly does not reflect the views of their people.

    • When Project Fear Shoots its Bolt

      Zero companies have left Catalonia. The BBC, Sky News, France24 and Deutsche Welt have all told me repeatedly today that 1500 companies have left Catalonia. Goodness knows what the Spanish media is like – El Pais, soon to be renamed The Ecstatic Francoist, has put me off looking any further. But despite the media bombardment of fake news, actually no companies have left Catalonia at all. What have left Catalonia are not 1500 companies, but 1500 emails and forms giving a change of Head Office address. The companies and the jobs are still exactly where they were. In Catalonia.

    • Trump’s Approval Rating Falls to Lowest Level Since Taking Office

      President Donald Trump’s approval rating has fallen to its lowest level since he took office, with Americans disapproving of his performance as commander in chief and handling of some policy issues while largely favoring his work on the economy, a new Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll finds.

      Mr. Trump’s job approval rating stood at 38%, a five point drop from September, the poll showed. Over all, 58% said they disapproved of the job Mr. Trump has done.

    • Trump and Netanyahu share a kiss on West Bank wall mural

      Another Donald Trump mural believed to be the work of Australian graffiti artist Lushsux has popped up on Israel’s barrier in the occupied West Bank, this time depicting the U.S. president sharing a kiss with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    • FBI Probe Of Paul Manafort Focuses On 13 “Suspicious” Wire Transfers

      The FBI’s investigation of Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, includes a keen focus on a series of suspicious wire transfers in which offshore companies linked to Manafort moved more than $3 million all over the globe between 2012 and 2013.

      Much of the money came into the United States.

      These transactions — which have not been previously reported — drew the attention of federal law enforcement officials as far back as 2012, when they began to examine wire transfers to determine if Manafort hid money from tax authorities or helped the Ukrainian regime close to Russian President Vladimir Putin launder some of the millions it plundered through corrupt dealings.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Poland to ‘save from censorship’ French monument of JPII

      Poland will try to “save from censorship” a sculpture of Pope John Paul II, which might be removed in northwestern France, by moving it to Poland, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło has said.

    • Twitter Says It Overstated Monthly-User Figures for 3 Years

      Twitter said on Thursday that it had overstated its monthly-user figures since 2014 after mistakenly including data from third-party applications in its counting.


      Twitter reported a net loss of $21.1 million for the quarter, compared with a $102.9 million loss for the same period last year. The company’s revenue declined 4 percent, to $590 million.

    • Marion Smith on 100 years of communism: Red censorship, from telegram to Instagram

      One hundred years ago, Vladimir Lenin’s Bolshevik Party seized control of Russia in the October Revolution and founded the Soviet Union. As with all good revolutionaries, one of the first things that Lenin’s gun-toting Red Guards did was seize the post offices and telegraph stations throughout the capital of Petrograd.

    • Twitter’s Ban on Russia Today Ads is Dangerous to Free Expression

      On October 26, Twitter decided to ban “advertising from all accounts owned by Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik,” two Russian state-owned media outlets. Twitter was reacting to an assessment by the United States intelligence community that RT and Sputnik interfered with the U.S. election on behalf of the Russian government, as well as Twitter’s (non-public) internal research. Many may be tempted to celebrate Twitter’s decision as a move to protect democracy from an authoritarian state. We fear it’s just the opposite.

      There seems to be little question that the Russian government uses Russia Today and Sputnik to stir up division and influence foreign politics, including the last U.S. presidential election. But it would be ironic if our response to that effort was to step back from defending freedom of expression.

    • Pre-censorship of films be done away with, Centre uses it to enforce its ideology: Palekar to SC

      NEW DELHI: Amidst controversy over Tamil superhit film Mersal, veteran film actor Amol Palekar has told the Supreme Court that pre-censorship of films by Central Board of Film Certification must be done away with as it is used by the Centre to “enforce and propagate its ideology” through the medium and suppress independent views of filmmakers.

    • Trouble for Weibo as China Tightens Censorship Rules

      hares of Weibo (NASDAQ:WB) rallied nearly 140% this year, but the company now faces major headwinds as Chinese regulators tighten their control over the country’s top social networking platforms. The latest crackdowns started in June, with regulators ordering Weibo and two other platforms to halt their live video and audio broadcasts until they obtained new government-backed licenses.

      It accelerated in September as regulators fined Weibo’s parent company SINA (NASDAQ:SINA), Baidu, and Tencent (NASDAQOTH:TCEHY) for allegedly allowing its users to “spread information of violence and terror, false rumors, pornography, and other information that jeopardizes national security, public safety, and social order.”

    • Prager Sues Google, YouTube Over Censorship
    • YouTube Sued For Censoring Free Speech
    • Facebook censored me. Criticize your government and it might censor you too.
    • Twitter Versus RT: Which One is State Media Again?

      America’s New Red Scare escalated in mid-October as the US Department of Justice demanded that the US division of television network RT (formerly known as Russia Today) register as a “foreign agent” under the aptly named Foreign Agents Registration Act.

    • Did The EPA Censor Its Scientists?

      Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency abruptly pulled a group of its scientists from speaking at a scientific meeting set to take place Monday.

      The conference was focused on exploring ways to protect the Narragansett Bay Estuary in Rhode Island. Climate change happens to be one of the threats to the estuary and the EPA’s researchers were set to talk on this issue.

      Given the administration’s hostility to climate science, the new leaders of the EPA were quickly accused of censoring their own scientists.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • History Shows Activists Should Fear the Surveillance State

      An invasive spying law is set to expire at the end of this year, and Congress is gearing up for a fight over what will replace it. As lawmakers weigh various proposals to reform that law, they would do well to consider the sordid history of warrantless surveillance in this country, and the people who have most suffered from it.

    • Unlike the USA Liberty Act, the USA RIGHTS Act could actually end warrantless surveillance on Americans by the NSA

      Unlike the ironically named USA Liberty Act, the USA RIGHTS Act actually ends the legal backdoor that allows the NSA to collect domestic communications and it also forcess the government to give notice when FISA Section 702 surveillance data is used against Americans and to give the more powers to address that in court. Specifically, unlike the so called USA Liberty Act, the USA RIGHTS Act would end “about” data collection. Additionally, the bill sets a 4-year sunset on Section 702 so complete elimination can again be on the table after a potential changeup in political roster.

    • India overtakes the US to become the world’s second largest smartphone market

      That’s according to a new report from Canalys which claims smartphone shipments in India crossed the 40 million mark for the first time in Q3 2017 courtesy of 23 percent annual growth. That means that India has overtaken the U.S. on sales with only China ahead of it.

    • Online Privacy Doesn’t Exist

      We live in a weird dystopian Orwellian world, where most don’t care what’s going on and the few that do – don’t have the courage to rattle the cage.

      “Oh Look, a like button.”

    • Great, now there’s ‘responsible encryption’

      Still, the problem with backdooring encrypted platforms is that they are no longer secure or private. And as we see every week in the news about everything cyber, if there’s a backdoor, the “bad guys” will find it and use it long before the so-called good guys know what’s happened. It also really, really doesn’t help that, right now, Trump’s “cyber czar” can’t even be bothered to show up to work.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • 200 Trump inauguration protesters face 70 years in prison each over 6 broken windows

      Donald Trump is the least popular president to serve in US history, so it’s no surprise that the call for mass, “J20 demonstrations” at his inauguration would be answered by massive crowds.

      As with many protests, there was a small number of black bloc participants who engaged in minor acts of vandalism, smashing six windows. The DC police kettled hundreds of protesters in response, and after more than 100 escaped, they slapped the remaining 200 protesters with felony conspiracy charges, so that each protester now faces up to 70 years in prison for being in the same place as a black bloc action.


      ON THE FIRST DAY of the trial, Josh Walker wore a long navy jacket, a white shirt, beige pants, and black shoes. He stood outside the courthouse clutching a cigarette and shivering slightly in the cold morning air. “I’m beginning to feel nervous now,” he said, glancing toward the entrance of the court building.

    • Met police refuse to reveal extremism statistics

      The Met reiterated their previous information that: “Since 2010, 270,000 pieces of illegal terrorist material have been removed by social media providers, following referrals from the Counter-Terrorism Internet Referral Unit.”

      However, they declined to list any other statistics, stating that “disclosure of the requested information would be likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime”.

    • University of Chicago Graduate Students Vote to Unionize

      Davis explains that university administrations are rarely in favor of collective bargaining. “Those students at University of Chicago fought against long odds,” he says. The university “threw everything possible at them to stop this from happening, and the students did an amazing thing. It should be a message to graduate students everywhere that it is possible.”

    • Mom who beat girl for incorrect Bible verses gets prison

      A Pennsylvania woman who beat and tried to strangle her daughter for incorrectly reciting Bible verses has been sentenced to prison.

      Forty-one-year-old Rhonda Shoffner was sentenced Wednesday to 2½ to five years in prison after pleading guilty to charges including aggravated assault of her daughter, who was younger than 13.

    • Alex Vitale on The End of Policing

      This week on CounterSpin: Thanks mainly to independent and social media, and of course activism like Black Lives Matter, Americans have been forced to confront, and to know more about, police brutality and racism in the criminal justice system than just a few years ago. But corporate media conversation about what to do with that knowledge is constrained. We may hear editorial calls for better training, or more data, or sometimes even convictions of individual officers. But somehow we never see the problem of policing whole, so the deeper reckoning necessary for real change is forestalled.

    • We Cannot Remain Silent as the Trump Administration Shuts the Door on Refugees

      These words from a stranger comforted my grandmother, Chawa Guterman, when her boat first reached the United States in 1950. A 17-year-old Jew in Poland when World War II began, she had lost everything but her life at the hands of the Nazis. They sent her to a work camp away from the rest of her family, where she was worked to the bone, barely fed.

      After liberation, she was alone — her parents and her six siblings had all perished in the Holocaust. She lived in a displaced persons camp in Landsberg, Germany, where she met and married my grandfather. Together they immigrated to the United States with the support of a U.S. based resettlement organization. When their boat first reached the U.S. shore, my grandmother took in the scene around her. People filed off the boat, charging into the extended arms of loved ones, waving hellos, and exchanging hugs and kisses.

    • Want to Throw a Wrench in Trump’s Mass Deportation Machine? Act Locally.

      In September, the board of supervisors in Dane County, Wisconsin, passed a resolution to protect immigrants from the Trump administration’s mass deportation agenda.

      The board, which represents the half a million people who live in Dane County, endorsed the ACLU’s Freedom Cities campaign and its nine model policies, which shield immigrants from discrimination, unjust government targeting, and attacks on their privacy.

    • Lawsuit accuses Facebook of scheming to weasel out of paying overtime

      The suit notes a “systematic, companywide wrongful classification” system for Client Solutions Managers, Customer Solutions Managers, Customer Account Managers, “or other similarly titled positions.”

      According to the lawsuit, the primary duties of these various classifications is nearly identical. Their duties “involve communicating with existing Facebook advertising customers, implementing their marketing plans, and selling Facebook marketing products and services to existing customers.” The suit says a “large percentage” of their compensation comes from “commissions from the sale of Facebook’s marketing products.”

    • Time Spent in Solitary Confinement Drops Dramatically in Illinois Youth Facilities

      After years of sending youths to solitary confinement for days, weeks and even months at a time, the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice has taken drastic steps to reduce the time young offenders spend in isolation.

      The decision to move away from solitary confinement, or segregation, came as part of a consent decree in federal court between the department and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Wants to Ease Rules to Benefit Broadcast Giant Sinclair

      Thursday night, the FCC unveiled a proposal to relax its media-ownership rules. The plan would lift a ban preventing companies from owning both a broadcast station and a newspaper in the same market, and ease restrictions on the number of television and radio stations a single owner can control in a market. The FCC is expected to vote on the proposal during its open meeting next month, and with Republicans in the majority at the agency, it will likely pass.

    • RIPE 75 took place in the Conrad hotel in Dubai, UAE, 22-26 October, 2017
    • Three is adding ‘free’ Apple Music data to Go Binge plans

      Zero-rated services are controversial. Critics argue that the concept fundamentally undermines the principles of net neutrality; that all data should be treated equally. If a service is “free” to access, customers are more likely to use it, regardless of whether the competition is better. That poses a problem for startups who could have great features or ideas, but don’t have the cash to “buy-in” to zero-rated services like their established competition. In short, the fear is that juggernaut media companies will stifle any rival before it has a chance to innovate or attract customers.

    • The Shadow Internet
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • A Win for Music Listeners in Florida: No Performance Right in Pre-1972 Recordings

        Another court has ruled that the public still has the ability to play old music that almost everyone believed they lawfully had the ability to play. The Florida Supreme Court, following in the footsteps of New York State’s high court, ruled yesterday that its state law, which governs sound recordings made before 1972, doesn’t include a right to control public performances of sound recordings, including radio play. Both this decision and the reasoning behind it are good news for digital music companies and radio listeners.

        This case stems from a broader debate about copyright in sound recordings. Although federal copyrights in sound recordings cover reproduction and distribution, they don’t include a general right to control public performances, except for “digital audio transmissions” like Internet and satellite radio. That’s why AM and FM radio stations, and businesses like restaurants that play music, have never had to pay record labels or recording artists, nor ask their permission. (Songwriters and music publishers do get paid for public performances, typically through collecting societies ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC). But recordings made before February 15, 1972 aren’t covered by federal law at all. Instead, they fall under a patchwork of state laws and court decisions, most of them pre-Internet. The labels have tried for many decades to win a performance right, but so far neither Congress nor state legislatures have created one.

      • Status: EU copyright reform/expansion

        The Committee will vote on the result in January, which then needs to be confirmed by the entire Parliament in a plenary vote. Meanwhile, the EU member state governments are working on their own common position in the Council.


Links 28/10/2017: Elive 2.9.12 Beta, Chrome 63 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 6:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • System76 and ZaReason both sell Linux laptops with Kaby Lake Refresh chips

      A few months after Intel launched its 8th-gen Core processors for laptops, there are still only a handful of Windows PCs shipping with the new quad-core processors.

      But what about non-Windows PCs? It turns out Linux laptop makers are already starting offer Kaby Lake Refresh CPU options.

      Both System76 and ZaReason are now selling some notebooks with the new chips.

    • Linux Will Soon Have Native Notifications On Chrome

      Notifications, whether on desktop or mobile, may seem like the minutiae of an application but that’s because most of us are accustomed to our platform choice have a uniform look and feel that seemlessly pulls everything together.

  • Server

    • OPNFV Supports Containerized OpenStack and Kubernetes

      The OPNFV Project today announced availability of its fifth platform release — Euphrates. It’s the first release that delivers container integration and Kubernetes support. It gives the ability to deploy containerized OpenStack via Kolla, which provides production-ready containers and deployment tools for operating OpenStack clouds.

      SDxCentral caught up with Heather Kirksey, director of the Linux Foundation’s OPNFV, to talk about Euphrates and the open source project’s latest activity. The group is demonstrating an alternative CORD-type project. And OPNFV executives have been traveling around the world meeting in key locations with OPNFV community members and operators. The below Q&A is lightly edited for clarity.

    • Why Docker Swarm Remains, Even as Kubernetes Adoption Grows

      The big news at the DockerCon EU 17 conference that ran from Oct. 16-19 was the surprise announcement that Docker Inc would be supporting the Kubernetes container orchestration platform in a future release.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.13.10

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.13.10 kernel.

      All users of the 4.13 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 4.13.y git tree can be found at:
      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-4.13.y
      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:


    • Linux 4.9.59
    • Linux 4.4.95
    • Linux 3.18.78
    • Linux Foundation Reports Quickening Pace For Linux Development
    • unsafe_put_user() turns out to be unsafe
    • Graphics Stack

      • New AMDGPU DC Patches Published, More Work Towards FreeSync
      • AMD/Ryzen NPT Fix Discovered For Better Pass-Through Graphics Performance

        One area where AMD Ryzen users have encountered Linux issues with virtualization is when trying to setup pass-through support for a graphics card to allow the virtual machine direct access to the GPU. When NPT (Nested Page Tables) are enabled, performance can become severely degraded.

        GPU/PCI pass-through problems have affected the small number of Ryzen Linux users trying to setup such a configuration, mostly for gaming, when NPT is enabled. Some have thought it was a hardware bug, etc, but the good news is a fix is in the works.

      • Intel Sends In Their Final Batch Of DRM Updates For Linux 4.15

        Intel’s open-source developers working on their i915 Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) driver have had a very busy cycle preparing a lot of new code for the upcoming Linux 4.15.

      • Achieving DisplayPort compliance

        At the X.Org Developers Conference, hosted by Google in Mountain View, CA September 20-22, Manasi Navare gave a talk about her journey learning about kernel graphics on the way to achieving DisplayPort (DP) compliance for Intel graphics devices. Making that work involved learning about DP, the kernel graphics subsystem, and how to do kernel development, as well. There were plenty of details to absorb, including the relatively new atomic mode setting support, the design of which was described in a two-part LWN article.

    • Benchmarks

      • Ethereum + OpenCL Benchmarks With The Latest AMDGPU-PRO Mining & NVIDIA Linux Drivers

        Last week AMD released a new AMDGPU-PRO driver aimed for cryptocurrency mining that is their first release in the new v17.40 series. This new driver also allows adjusting the fragment size for increased performance and at least for mining yields a big performance boost. Here are some fresh benchmarks on multiple Radeon graphics cards using 17.40 with the amdgpu vm_fragment_size set for 2MB compared to the latest NVIDIA 387 Linux graphics driver on various GeForce GPUs.

      • CompuLab IPC3, Testing 10 Mini PCs / Small Form Factor Linux PCs

        The IPC3 is CompuLab’s latest-generation Intense-PC. It may look similar to past IPC models, but is now equipped with the latest generation Intel Core CPUs while remaining fan-less and within an all-metal housing that’s extremely durable.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • 10 Best Lightweight Linux Distributions For Older Computers In 2017

      What do you do with your old computers? The one which once had good hardware configuration but now those are considered outdated. Why not revive your old computer with Linux? I am going to list best lightweight Linux distributions that you can use on your older PC.

      While our focus is on older computers, you can also use most of these lightweight Linux on relatively new hardware. This will give you a better performance if you use your computer for resource-heavy usage such as video editing on Linux.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Server Decoration Protocol Proposed For Wayland-Protocols

        Yesterday the GTK tool-kit added support for KDE’s server-side decorations on Wayland to be used when client-side decorations are not active. Now it’s been proposed adding the KDE Server Decoration Protocol to the upstream Wayland-Protocols repository.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GitLab initiative – Short summary

        Georges told me some people outside of our community asked about our GitLab initiative and that there is some confusion what the status is and that contrary to my belief, there is actual interest outside of GNOME. Since I guess people outside of our community didn’t follow our regular conversations, discussions and update reports in our GNOME mailing list for general desktop discussion, I’ll do a short summarize.

        Almost a year ago we started looking into alternatives to Bugzilla and cgit, and it became a long research, discussion and meeting with several parties and a few of us, Alberto, Allan and me, which then expanded to more people in order to give a different point of vision, like Emmanuele, Daniel, etc. All the research, work and reasoning we did and our eventual decision for a recommendation is written in our wiki page.

  • Distributions

    • Void Linux: A Salute to Old-School Linux

      I’ve been using Linux for a very long time. Most days I’m incredibly pleased with where Linux is now, but every so often I wish to step into a time machine and remind myself where the open source platform came from. Of late, I’ve experimented with a few such distributions, but none have come as close as to what Linux once was than Void Linux.

      Void Linux (created in 2008) is a rolling release, general purpose Linux distribution, available for Intel, ARM, and MIPS architectures. Void offers a few perks that will appeal to Linux purists…

    • New Releases

      • antiX 17 “Heather Heyer” Offers a Systemd-Free OS Based on Debian GNU/Linux 9.2

        antiX 17 follows the trend of previous versions to offer users an operating system that does not include the widely used systemd init system. With this release, Gentoo’s eudev device file manager for the Linux kernel is used by default instead of udev.

        Designed to be fast, flexible, and light on resources, antiX 17 features a new option that lets users run a bleeding-edge Debian Testing (Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster”) or Debian Sid platform. Also, it’s now possible to set up and run a live encrypted system with persistence.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Beta 1 open source operating system available for download

        Linux powers the most popular mobile operating system, Android. It is also what many of the world’s servers run. Despite this, people still think Linux is merely a hobby or niche project — sorry, folks, it isn’t. Even Microsoft has seen the light regarding Linux — Bill Gates runs Android and the Windows Store hosts popular Linux distributions.

        True, Linux does not have significant market share on consumer desktops, but it is extremely important to the enterprise — arguably more important. This is why Red Hat Inc is so successful with its Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system. RHEL isn’t the only game in town, however; SUSE Linux Enterprise is a viable alternative for servers, workstations, and more. Today, version 15 of the operating system gets its first beta, and you can begin testing it immediately.

      • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP applications comes to IBM Cloud [Ed: Once again an article that's actually the press release 'dressed' up as original]
    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • How Can Debian Turn Disagreement into Something that Makes us Stronger

        Recently, when asked to engage with the Debian Technical Committee, a maintainer chose to orphan their package rather than discuss the issue brought before the committee. In another decision earlier this year, a maintainer orphaned their package indicating a lack of respect for the approach being taken and the process. Unfortunately, this joins an ever longer set of issues where people walk away from the TC process disheartened and upset.

        For me personally the situations where maintainers walked away from the process were hard. People I respect and admire were telling me that they were unwilling to participate in our dispute resolution process. In one case the maintainer explicitly did not respect a process I had been heavily involved in. As someone who values understanding and build a team, I feel disappointed and hurt thinking about this.

      • Derivatives

        • DebEX KDE Plasma Is a Pure Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” Distro with Linux 4.13

          GNU/Linux developer Arne Exton recently released a new build of his Debian-based DebEX KDE Plasma distribution, which is the first release based on the upcoming Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” OS.

          DebEX KDE Plasma Build 171023 is here to replace last year’s Build 161001, bringing components from both the Debian Sid and Debian Testing repositories, which means that it doesn’t contain any packages from Ubuntu, nor Kubuntu operating systems, thus making it a bleeding-edge GNU/Linux distribution.

        • There’s a DebEX Version with GNOME 3.26, Based on Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster”

          DebEX GNOME is a variant of the Debian-based DebEX operating system built around the GNOME desktop environment. The new release, DebEX GNOME Build 171026 is shipping with the latest GNOME 3.26 desktop environment by default, which is accompanied by the lightweight, GNOME 2-based, MATE 1.18 desktop environment.

          Just like DebEX KDE Plasma, the DebEX GNOME Edition is based on the Debian Testing and Sid repositories, while the DebEX Barebone Edition remains based on Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” and Debian Unstable/Sid. The system is powered by Arne Exton’s special kernel based on the Linux 4.13.4 kernel.

        • Elive 2.9.12 beta released

          The Elive Team is proud to announce the release of the beta version 2.9.12

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 18.04 Codename Announced | Bionic Beaver

            After Aardvark, one of the most favorite releases of Ubuntu, the new version Ubuntu 18.04 has started taking shape under its new name “Bionic Beaver”. Mark Shuttleworth announced the codename on 24th October on his blog. Let’s see what it means and how it defines the new LTS.

          • GNU/Linux Review: Ubuntu 17.10 “Artful Aardvark”

            This is a review for Ubuntu 17.10 “Artful Aardvark” that was released at 19 October 2017 which features the new GNOME Desktop, new user interface, with GNOME 3.26 applications, and new wallpapers. The freshly installed system runs at ±1GiB of RAM and is slower on old machine. This review contains links for more information such as Artful download links, installation guide, and also newbie’s guide. I hope you find this review helpful!

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver — Release Date And Expected Features

            Following the release of Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark, Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth announced that Ubuntu 18.04, which would be an LTS release, is going to be called “Bionic Beaver.” While Beaver refers to a large, amphibious rodent with smooth fur and sharp teeth, Bionic is an ode to the robotics and artificial body parts.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) Is Now Officially Open for Development

            In a mailing list announcement published on Friday, Canonical’s Matthias Klose announced that the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system is now officially open for development.

            Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is the next long-term supported release of Ubuntu, which Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth dubbed as the “Bionic Beaver.” According to the release schedule, the toolchain was uploaded on October 26, 2017, and development kicks off today, October 27, with APT, DPKG, and Debhelper merges.

          • Bionic Beaver now open for development
          • Longtime friends

            You may not know him, but he’s amongst other things the creator of something that could be seen as a precursor to a GNOME OS. Foresight was a distribution based on conary and aimed at providing an easy to use desktop with the latest technologies. It had rolling releases and always shipped the newest upstream bits, without any downstream patches whatsoever. It was also the first distribution to use PackageKit as the official user facing application installation interface. Back then, we used it as the base for an official live image of GNOME available on the GNOME website which was actually just Foresight without the wallpaper or any mention of the distribution.

          • Mir To Next Focus On Improving Wayland Testing

            With Mir now having basic Wayland support, next on their agenda is to improve the acceptance/conformance tests around Wayland in general that will help in vetting Mir’s Wayland support code.

          • Canonical to Focus Mostly on Stability and Reliability for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

            Ubuntu Desktop Director Will Cooke shares some information about what Canonical’s plans are for the next LTS (Long Term Support) release of Ubuntu, which is scheduled for release on April 26, 2018. As expected, they’ll focus mostly on stability and reliability, but it looks like there will be some new features added as well during the development cycle of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

            “At this early stage in the development cycle we’re spending a week or so tidying up the loose ends from 17.10, SRUing the important fixes that we’ve found, getting ready to sync new packages from Debian,” said Will Cooke in his latest weekly report. “As you know, 18.04 will be an LTS release and so we will be focusing on stability and reliability this cycle, as well as a few new features.”

          • Full Circle Magazine #126
          • Ubuntu Desktop Weekly Update: GNOME Fixes & New Snaps

            I’ll be starting the weekly round-up posts again now that the release is out and 18.04 is getting under way. At this early stage in the development cycle we’re spending a week or so tidying up the loose ends from 17.10, SRUing the important fixes that we’ve found, getting ready to sync new packages from Debian, and generally doing the groundwork to give us a clear run at 18.04. As you know, 18.04 will be an LTS release and so we will be focusing on stability and reliability this cycle, as well as a few new features. I’ll give a more detailed view into 18.04 in the coming weeks.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu-Based CAINE 9.0 “Quantum” GNU/Linux Operating System Lands with New Tools

              The developers of the Ubuntu-based CAINE (Computer Aided INvestigative Environment) GNU/Linux distribution announced the availability of a new major release, CAINE 9.0 “Quantum.”

              Coming almost a year after the CAINE 8.0 “Blazar” release, CAINE 9.0 “Quantum” introduces numerous new programs, scripts, and tools, among which we can mention VolDiff, The Harvester, NBTempoX, SafeCopy, RegRipper, PFF tools, pListUtil, Mouseemu, Tinfoleak, regfmount, Infoga, OSINT, WinAudit, and MWSnap.

            • What’s New in Ubuntu MATE 17.10

              Ubuntu MATE 17.10 the official flavor of Ubuntu 17.10 with MATE desktop has been released and announced by the Ubuntu MATE Developer. This release ships with the latest MATE Desktop 1.18 as default desktop environment include the MATE apps 1.18 and powered the latest Linux kernel 4.13 series.

              The most important features that added in Ubuntu MATE 17.10, support for global menus and the Heads-Up Display (HUD) feature that was available in the mutiny, cupertino and Contemporary layouts user interface. The login screen has been changed to Slick Greeter, powered by LightDM, and you can now use the Super key to active menu launchers.

            • Ubuntu Mate 17.10 Review

              Looking for a Linux distribution that is both easy to use and extremely customizable? Look no further than Ubuntu Mate! Ubuntu Mate has proven to be a very popular distribution ever since its release. The latest release, 17.10, should prove just as popular, as there are a whole host of improvements.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • My first open source experience: 4 takeaways

    A month ago, the term open source meant little to me. Then I enrolled in a class called “Foundations of an Open Source World,” and now open source principles are integral to my way of thinking, and the community constantly amazes me.

    As a complete open source rookie, I often wished for an instruction manual to help ease my transition into the community. Following are four takeaways from my journey, in hopes that they will help other newcomers.

  • US Logistics Agency Launches Blockchain Sector Mapping Tool

    The U.S. government agency in charge of logistics is taking the next step in its effort to better understand blockchain.

    Through its Emerging Citizen Technology (ECT) program, a blockchain analysis effort first announced in September, the General Services Administration (GSA) this week opened to contributions from industry members, according to a post on its website.

    These contributions will now be compiled into an open-source tool called Atlas, which will include “programs, use cases and resources” created by the private sector and researchers working within government agencies.

  • Baidu Aims For ‘Android’ Of Robocar Tech With Open-Source Apollo Platform
  • Open source Apollo speeds up Baidu’s self-driving software development

    In July, Chinese technology company Baidu made its Apollo 1.0 self-driving car software available as open source on Github, using the Apache/BSD license. By Day 4 of the release, it was the most downloaded C++ software on the site.

    At an Apollo meetup hosted by Baidu at its Sunnyvale, California, offices, company president Ya-Qin Zhang announced Apollo 1.5, a major iteration of the software, just three months after the initial release.

  • This Engineering student is studying how open-source software projects can increase diversity within computer science

    Engineering senior Judy Weng has been working alongside Penn professor Chris Murphy to better understand the lack of diversity in the field of computer science despite its rapidly increasing popularity across majors.

    Weng became interested in the subject when she took CIS 399, an open software development class Murphy taught earlier this year. Upon realizing that open source coding can serve as a resource to underrepresented minorities because of its collaborative structure, she began to work with Murphy to look deeper into the issue.

  • AT&T creates Open Source Lab at T-REX

    AT&T is reaching out to St. Louis’ tech startup community with a new Open Source Lab.

  • ZGC large-heap Java garbage collector may go open source

    An Oracle-developed, low-latency Java garbage collector geared to large heaps could move to the open source community, if a proposal to do so gets community approval. Votes are due by November 8.

    Called the Z Garbage Collector (ZGC), the project is designed to support multiterabyte heaps, have pause times not exceeding 10 milliseconds, and offer no more than a 15 percent application reduction throughput compared to the G1 garbage collector.

  • Mapbox weighs in on location platforms, augmented reality, and the open source enterprise

    With all the happy talk about AI and blockchain we’ve been hearing lately, we can lose track of where the traction really is. The open sourcing of the enterprise immediately comes to mind.

    At Constellation Research‘s Connected Enterprise 2017, I tracked down Alex Barth of Mapbox to talk about their location-platform and the how open source has driven their growth.

  • Catalonia Rejoices As Another Advocate Of Open Source Becomes Moodle Partner

    Founded in 2004, 3ipunt (read “tresipunt”) provides Moodle and open source solutions from an explicit place of support for open source technologies, communities, and thinking. As a member of CatPL, the largest network of Catalan language organizations supporting open source, 3ipunt commits to advocating for open source opportunities through a program that seeks higher recognition, from government to enterprise, and funding for open source initiatives. This is why the Moodle Partner status, through which 3ipunt now commits 10% of its revenue to Moodle HQ, enjoys complete philosophical alignment.

  • Kodi: set-top streaming boxes that take the complexity out of building your own media server

    Kodi boxes are commercial video-streaming gadgets that implement XBMC, a longstanding media-server free/open source project, in pre-packaged form, ready to accept third party plugins, including ones that access infringing streaming services, giving users access to practically every video, commercial and noncommercial, for free, with an easy search-interface.

    Though XBMC has been around for a long time, it is a real chore to set up your own standalone XBMC server, requiring that you buy a mini-ATX all-in-one PC, install a GNU/Linux OS on it, set up and configure XBMC, and so on. The Kodi boxes take all that complexity out of the picture, prepackaging the system in boxes purpose-built to sit unobtrusively on your media totem. They’re a really interesting contrast to the set-top boxes the average American family is forced to spend $200/year renting from their cable-operators, whose power-hungry, trailing-edge architecture have been the subject of a Congressional “Unlock-the-Box” rule for decades, with no motion in sight.

  • The Little Black Box That Took Over Piracy [Ed: Conde Nast (Wall Street) is attacking Kodi. Dubbing it "Piracy" and "Black Box" even though it's FOSS]
  • Hitachi Vantara launches Pentaho 8.0 into global datasphere

    The Pentaho brand is now a fully signed up card-carrying element of Hitachi Vantara.

    But making good on its promise to invest in what was a company and is now a brand/product, the PentahoWorld 2017 user conference saw Hitachi Vantara launch the the Pentaho 8.0 version release.

  • Web Browsers

  • BSD

    • World’s Most Trusted Open-Source Firewall, pfSense, Patched Against WPA2 KRACK

      Released two weeks ago, pfSense 2.4 is a major update to the BSD-based firewall software that introduces an all-new installer based on bsdinstall with built-in ZFS support, revamped Captive Portal to work without multiple instances of the IPFW stateful firewall, support for UEFI machines, as well as support for multiple types of partition layouts like GPT and BIOS.

      pfSense 2.4 also introduces support for Netgate ARM devices, such as SG-1000, support for OpenVPN 2.4, Negotiable Crypto Parameters (NCP), dual stack/multihome, and numerous other improvements. Now, the first point release, pfSense 2.4.1, is already out to patch the system against the infamous WPA2 KRACK (Key Reinstallation Attack) security vulnerability.


    • Point releases for the GNU C Library

      The GNU C Library (glibc) project produces regular releases on an approximately six-month cadence. The current release is 2.26 from early August; the 2.27 release is expected at the beginning of February 2018. Unlike many other projects, though, glibc does not normally create point releases for important fixes between the major releases. The last point release from glibc was 2.14.1, which came out in 2011. A discussion on the need for a 2.26 point release led to questions about whether such releases have a useful place in the current software-development environment.

      The glibc 2.26 release is generally only found in relatively fast-moving distributions at this point. For most users, 2.26 has been without problems, but that is not true for everybody. There have been a few significant regressions in this release that have required fixes; one of those was seen as important enough that the question of creating a 2.26.1 point release was raised. Romain Naour subsequently brought that discussion to the libc-alpha mailing list. Having a point release containing important fixes would be helpful to downstream distributors that want to incorporate those fixes, he said.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Source Music Festival to Launch Next Month at Abrons Arts Center

      “Open Source is based on the simple idea that we share our creative work, and allow others to build upon it freely. We’ve built our whole music festival around this powerful concept.” says Joel Fan explaining his inspiration for the Festival, “The open source movement is changing the world, and affects every part of our lives. As a pianist, I’ve always been fascinated by the way music is created – how musical ideas are remixed and new musical trends emerge. The Internet and the open source movement have radically changed the way we communicate, collaborate, and powers much of our creativity today. New innovations such as the blockchain will alter how we power our creativity in the near future. The artists and composers featured at the Festival have won “Genius” Grants, Grammys, Pulitzers, and have earned recognition throughout the world.”

    • Rousing Masses to Fight Cancer with Open Source Machine Learning

      Here’s an open invitation to steal. It goes out to cancer fighters and tempts them with a new program that predicts cancer drug effectiveness via machine learning and raw genetic data.

      The researchers who built the program at the Georgia Institute of Technology would like cancer fighters to take it for free, or even just swipe parts of their programming code, so they’ve made it open source. They hope to attract a crowd of researchers who will also share their own cancer and computer expertise and data to improve upon the program and save more lives together.

    • Samsung’s new Linux smartphones, Raspberry Pi laptops, and more open source news
    • Open Access/Content

      • A Look Back: Challenges Of Open Access In 2017 (An Industry Perspective)

        Over the course of the year, three issues repeatedly reared their heads as barriers to the successful implementation of Open Access: the burden of expected author OA expertise; the underutilization of metadata in the publication lifecycle, and the challenges posed to authors and institutions by one-off solutions. As the tenth Open Access Week draws to a close, with its focus on the concrete benefits of making scholarly research openly available, where have we gotten to in solving these problems and realizing the potential of OA?

  • Programming/Development

    • Mauritian code-cutters to help deliver TLS 1.3

      When IETF 100′s hackathon kicks off in Singapore, one of the groups hoping to make waves will come from Mauritius.

      Their aim, Logan Velvindron of hackers.mu told Vulture South, is twofold: to make serious contributions to the development of the as-yet-immature TLS 1.3, and along the way, break Mauritius out of its public image as a tourist destination with nothing to contribute to today’s IT.

    • Scout out code problems with SonarQube

      More and more organizations are implementing DevOps to make it faster to get quality code into the production environment after passing through the intermediate development and testing environments. Although things such as version control, continuous integration and deployment, and automated testing all fall under the scope of DevOps, one critical question remains: How can an organization quantify code quality, not just deployment speed?

    • Systers: Helping women find their potential in code

      Systers is the world’s largest email community of women in technical computing roles, with more than 7,500 members from more than 65 countries. Systers was founded in 1987 by Anita Borg as the first online community for women in computing, and it hosts 23 different affinity groups where women technologists can connect with and offer support to members of their self-identified cultures.

    • RockScript: An Open Source Scripting Language and Engine for Microservice Orchestration

      Tom Baeyens has released a preview of RockScript, an open source scripting language and engine for integrating and orchestrating microservices in the style of Event-Driven Architecture (EDA). RockScript uses a language that looks much like JavaScript, which when executed by the accompanying engine allows the coordination of transactional activities within microservice systems in a similar fashion to Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) and Business Process Modelling (BPM).

    • London Perl Workshop

      WHEN: 25th November 2017 at 9:00AM
      WHERE: 115 New Cavendish Street London W1W 6UW (map)

    • How to rethink project management for DevOps
    • Android 8.1 Developer Preview hands-on: Everything new in Google’s latest update

      Google gave us 64 days to get used to Android 8.0 Oreo being the latest version of Android. While only one third-party phone has upgraded to the latest version, Google is already dropping a developer preview for the next version of Android on the world. Two days ago it released the Android 8.1 Developer Preview, and after a solid day of trying to flash it, totally bricking a Pixel 2, and later having Google pull the update files because they didn’t work, we’re here to report what Android 8.1 is actually like.

      Like most of the .1 releases these days, it’s full of some minor, but important, updates that probably just weren’t ready in time for Android 8.0.


  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • DOJ: Billionaire pharma owner fueled the opioid epidemic with bribery scheme

      The billionaire founder and majority owner of Insys Therapeutics was arrested Thursday on racketeering and fraud charges for an alleged nationwide scheme to push an extremely potent opioid drug containing fentanyl onto patients.

      According to the Department of Justice, John Kapoor, 74, of Phoenix, Arizona, used bribes, kickbacks, and other fraudulent practices to get doctors to overprescribe the fentanyl drug, called Subsys. Fentanyl is a highly addictive synthetic opioid that can be up to 100 times more potent than morphine. As such, Subsys is only intended to treat severe pain in cancer patients. But according to the DOJ, many patients receiving Subsys didn’t have cancer.

      The DOJ alleges that Kapoor, along with six former executives at Insys, paid doctors and pain clinics in various states to write “large numbers of prescriptions.” The department also alleges that Insys used fraudulent means to get health insurance providers to cover the harmful prescriptions.

  • Security

    • Google Even Fear Intel ME, Reduce Their Attack Vector With NERF

      Even Google is concerned about attack vectors with UEFI and Intel’s Management Engine that their NERF project seeks to alleviate some of these concerns and is used by their servers.

      NERF is short for the Non-Extensible Reduced Firmware and is their effort to replace most of the UEFI firmware with a small Linux kernel and initramfs while their custom portions of the code are written in the Go programming language.

    • Bad Rabbit ransomware spread using leaked NSA EternalRomance exploit, researchers confirm

      When the ransomware first infected organisations in Russia and Ukraine on Tuesday, it was initially suggested that it was using EternalBlue — the leaked exploit which helped the spread of WannaCry — but this was quickly found to be not the case.

      However, researchers at Cisco Talos have now identified that Bad Rabbit did indeed use an SMB vulnerability to propagate through networks — known as EternalRomance. Researchers at other security firms including Symantec and Kaspersky Lab have also confirmed the use of EternalRomance.

    • Threat Spotlight: Follow the Bad Rabbit
    • Bad Rabbit malware used leaked alleged NSA tool
    • Don’t Forget to Thank NSA for Powering Yet Another Ransomware Outbreak
    • Bad Rabbit Ransomware Outbreak Also Used NSA Exploit

      Two days after the Bad Rabbit ransomware outbreak has wreaked havoc in Russia and Ukraine, security researchers are still unearthing details regarding the malware’s modus operandi.

      While initially it was believed that the ransomware spread from the initial victim to nearby computers using a custom scanning mechanism that relied on the SMB protocol, new research published today by Cisco Talos and F-Secure reveals the Bad Rabbit ransomware also used a modified version of an NSA exploit to bolster the spreading process.

    • Was Russia behind BadRabbit? Mystery surrounds cyberattack powered by NSA tool
    • Security updates for Friday
    • Assessing the threat the Reaper botnet poses to the Internet—what we know now
    • KRACK, ROCA, and device insecurity

      It is a fairly bleak picture from a number of different viewpoints. One almost amusing outcome of this mess is contained near the end of Vanhoef’s KRACK web page. He notified OpenBSD of the flaw in mid-July with an embargo (at the time) until the end of August. OpenBSD leader Theo de Raadt complained about the length of the embargo, so Vanhoef allowed OpenBSD to silently patch the flaw. “In hindsight this was a bad decision, since others might rediscover the vulnerability by inspecting their silent patch. To avoid this problem in the future, OpenBSD will now receive vulnerability notifications closer to the end of an embargo.” That might not quite be the outcome De Raadt was hoping for with his (quite reasonable) complaint, especially given that Vanhoef strongly hints that there are other WiFi vulnerabilities in the pipeline.

    • A comparison of cryptographic keycards

      An earlier LWN article showed that private key storage is an important problem to solve in any cryptographic system and established keycards as a good way to store private key material offline. But which keycard should we use? This article examines the form factor, openness, and performance of four keycards to try to help readers choose the one that will fit their needs.

      I have personally been using a YubiKey NEO, since a 2015 announcement on GitHub promoting two-factor authentication. I was also able to hook up my SSH authentication key into the YubiKey’s 2048 bit RSA slot. It seemed natural to move the other subkeys onto the keycard, provided that performance was sufficient. The mail client that I use, (Notmuch), blocks when decrypting messages, which could be a serious problems on large email threads from encrypted mailing lists.

      So I built a test harness and got access to some more keycards: I bought a FST-01 from its creator, Yutaka Niibe, at the last DebConf and Nitrokey donated a Nitrokey Pro. I also bought a YubiKey 4 when I got the NEO. There are of course other keycards out there, but those are the ones I could get my hands on. You’ll notice none of those keycards have a physical keypad to enter passwords, so they are all vulnerable to keyloggers that could extract the key’s PIN. Keep in mind, however, that even with the PIN, an attacker could only ask the keycard to decrypt or sign material but not extract the key that is protected by the card’s firmware.

    • Study Examines Open Source Risks in Enterprise Software [Ed: Microsoft network promotes anti FOSS 'study' (marketing by Flexera)]
    • Google Play Protect is ‘dead last’ at fingering malware on Android

      Last month, German software testing laboratory AV-Test threw malware at 20 Android antivirus systems – and now the results aren’t particularly great for Google.

      Its Play Protect system, which is supposed block malicious apps from running on your handheld, was beaten by every other anti-malware vendor.

    • NSA hacking tool EternalRomance found in BadRabbit
  • Defence/Aggression

    • CIA Considered Bombing Miami and Killing Refugees to Blame Castro

      Still, the 2,800 papers included in the new document dump confirm some salacious details of America’s decades-long quest to kill or depose Fidel Castro — including a fairly shocking plan by the CIA to sow terror in Miami.

      After Castro’s revolution succeeded and thousands of Cubans fled to South Florida, the agency actually considered murdering a boatload of refugees, assassinating exile leaders, and planting bombs in Miami — all so Castro could be blamed for the chaos.

      The basic idea was to turn world opinion against Castro and possibly justify a U.S. military invasion by pinning the atrocities on him. The details of the sinister plot are included in a summary about Operation Mongoose, a 1960 covert op hatched by the CIA under President Dwight Eisenhower with the aim of toppling Communist Cuba.

    • The Intercept Withheld NSA Doc That May Have Altered Course Of Syrian War

      On Tuesday, the Intercept published a hitherto unknown document from the trove of National Security Administration (NSA) documents leaked by Edward Snowden over three years ago. The document was notable as it shed light on the early days of the Syrian conflict and the fact that, for the past six years, so-called “revolutionary” groups aimed at toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have largely acted as proxies for foreign governments pushing regime change.

      The document explicitly reveals that an attack led by the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which was intended to mark the anniversary of the 2011 “uprising” that sparked the Syrian conflict, was directed by a Saudi prince. The document proves, in essence, that the armed opposition in Syria – from the earlier years of the conflict – was under the direct command of foreign governments pushing for regime change.

    • Trump Instructed DOJ to Lift Gag Order on FBI Source in Russian Uranium Sale

      President Trump reportedly intervened to instruct the Justice Department to lift a gag order on an undercover FBI informant who investigated the sale of a uranium mining company to Russia’s atomic energy agency, Rosatom, when Obama was president. This sale is now facing increasing scrutiny, after it surfaced recently that the FBI was investigating a U.S. subsidiary of Rosatom for racketeering and extortion at the time the Obama administration approved the sale.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Puerto Rico Is Burning Its Dead, And We May Never Know How Many People The Hurricane Really Killed

      Funeral directors and crematoriums are being permitted by the Puerto Rican government to burn the bodies of people who died as a result of Hurricane Maria — without those people being counted in the official death toll.

      The result is a massive loophole likely suppressing the official death count, which has become a major indicator of how the federal government’s relief efforts are going because President Trump himself made it one.

      During Trump’s photo-op visit to the US territory — whose residents are US citizens — three weeks ago, he boasted that the death toll was just 16. It doubled by the time he returned to Washington that same day. The death toll is now at 51, a figure widely contradicted by what funeral homes, crematoriums, and hospitals on the ground tell BuzzFeed News.

  • Finance

    • In “Wet Kiss” for Wall Street, Congress Overturns Rules Allowing People to Sue Banks for Misconduct

      After nine months of struggling to deliver on their legislative priorities, Senate Republicans found unity Tuesday when they overturned a rule that makes it easier for Americans to sue banks and credit card companies. The rule was developed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and would have allowed people to file class action lawsuits that could have cost the banks billions of dollars. We get an update from Public Citizen’s Amanda Werner, who recently dressed as Rich Uncle Pennybags, with a top hat and monocle, and sat directly behind former Equifax CEO Richard Smith when he testified about a security breach that left sensitive personal information for 143 million Americans exposed to hackers.

    • World’s witnessing a new Gilded Age as billionaires’ wealth swells to $6tn

      The world’s super-rich hold the greatest concentration of wealth since the US Gilded Age at the turn of the 20th century, when families like the Carnegies, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts controlled vast fortunes.

      Billionaires increased their combined global wealth by almost a fifth last year to a record $6tn (£4.5tn) – more than twice the GDP of the UK. There are now 1,542 dollar billionaires across the world, after 145 multi-millionaires saw their wealth tick over into nine-zero fortunes last year, according to the UBS / PwC Billionaires report.

      Josef Stadler, the lead author of the report and UBS’s head of global ultra high net worth, said his billionaire clients were concerned that growing inequality between rich and poor could lead to a “strike back”.

      “We’re at an inflection point,” Stadler said. “Wealth concentration is as high as in 1905, this is something billionaires are concerned about. The problem is the power of interest on interest – that makes big money bigger and, the question is to what extent is that sustainable and at what point will society intervene and strike back?”

      Stadler added: “We are now two years into the peak of the second Gilded Age.”

      He said the “$1bn question” was how society would react to the concentration of so much money in the hands of so few.

      Anger at so-called robber barron families who built up vast fortunes from monopolies in US rail, oil, steel and banking in the late 19th century, an era of rapid industrialisation and growing inequality in America that became known as the Gilded Age, led to President Roosevelt breaking up companies and trusts and increasing taxes on the wealthy in the early 1900s.

    • Catalonia looks to Estonia’s e-residency and considers cryptocurrency option

      Technology experts from the Generalitat de Catalunya have visited Estonia several times to gather tips on how to implement an e-residency programme.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Someone wiped a key server in Georgia right after voters filed a lawsuit over insecure voting-machines

      Right after the suit was filed, parties unknown ordered technicians at the Center for Elections Systems at Kennesaw State University (who provides oversight for state elections) to securely wipe all the data from a statewide server used to stage election-related data, believed to contain evidence that would be cited in the suit.

    • APNewsBreak: Georgia election server wiped after suit filed

      The server’s data was destroyed July 7 by technicians at the Center for Elections Systems at Kennesaw State University, which runs the state’s election system. The data wipe was revealed in an email sent last week from an assistant state attorney general to plaintiffs in the case that was later obtained by the AP. More emails obtained in a public records request confirmed the wipe.


      It’s not clear who ordered the server’s data irretrievably erased.

    • Trump Campaign Tries To Defend Itself With Section 230, Manages To Potentially Make Things Worse For Itself

      This is the case brought against the campaign for allegedly colluding with Wikileaks and the Russians to disclose the plaintiffs’ private information as part of the DNC email trove that ended up on Wikileaks. Like Eric Goldman, who has an excellent post on the subject, I’m not going to go into the relative merits of the lawsuit itself, but I would note that it is worth consideration. Even if it’s true that the Trump campaign and Wikileaks were somehow in cahoots to hack the DNC and publish the data taken from it, whether and how the consequences of that disclosure can be recognized by law is a serious issue, as is whether this particular lawsuit by these particular plaintiffs with these particular claims is one that the law can permit to go forward without causing collateral effects to other expressive endeavors, including whistleblower journalism generally. On these points there may or may not be issues with the campaign’s motion to dismiss overall. But the shoehorning of a Section 230 argument into its defensive strategy seems sufficiently weird and counterproductive to be worth commenting on in and of itself.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Australian Lawmakers Propose Outlawing Parody, Having A Sense Of Humor

      There is nothing more dangerous than a government without a sense of humor. This is true for a myriad of reasons, but chief among them must be that a government unable to incorporate humor into its ethos is all the more likely to attempt to outlaw forms of humor held dear by the general public. To see an example of this in action, we can look to Australia and its strange battle against Juice Media, makers of the series Honest Government Adverts, such as the one they did on Australia.

    • NY Times Uncritically Says Fake News Debate Supports Chinese Style Censorship

      It used to be a laughable claim: that the US should emulate the Great Firewall of China and support much greater internet censorship. Sure, you’d have people like the MPAA’s Chris Dodd or U2 frontman Bono cheer on Chinese censorship as a good example of how to censor the internet (in their cases, to block infringing content), but most people still remained rightly horrified by the idea that the answer to “bad” content online is a massive censorship regime. But, apparently, that may be changing.

    • Who Are the Real Censors? Republicans Lean Toward Banning LGBTQ Characters in Books

      | When it comes to the books found in elementary school libraries, 55 percent of Republicans believe books with LGBTQ characters don’t belong there, YouGov reported on Monday.

      The American Library Association’s list of the Top Ten Most Challenged Books has not yet been released for 2017, but last year’s list included five books that were contested for including LGBTQ characters. These books included David Levithan’s Two Boys Kissing, whose cover art and contents matched its title, and I Am Jazz, a book by transgender teen and LGBTQ advocate Jazz Jennings who currently has a show on TLC. Both books also made it onto the list in 2015.

    • Chronicle of an Act of Censorship Not Foretold

      Earlier this month, The Wire reported the resignation of the editors of scholarly journal Samajik Vimarsh in the face of attempts by the administration of the Council for Social Development (CSD) to interfere in the working of the editorial team and usurp its powers.

      In separate letters to Muchkund Dubey, the president of the CSD, academics Apoorvanand and Dhruva Narayan detailed several attempts by Dubey as well as CSD director Ashok Pankaj to stall the launch of the journal – which was due to be launched this January – and to deliberately undermine their authority as editors.

    • Elizabeth Warren Says Campus Free Speech Means No Censorship or Violence

      The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions convened the hearing amid a national debate on how to protect free speech on campuses, including by protecting the rights of those who may harbor hateful views. Chaos ensued at the University of Florida last week when white nationalist Richard Spencer spoke on campus, and protests against former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopolous at the University of California, Berkeley earlier this year turned violent. In August, activist Heather Heyer was killed at a march protesting a white supremacist rally at the University of Virginia.

    • Medieval Censorship, Nudity And The Revealing History Of The Fig Leaf

      On her academic blog, Alberti’s Window, art historian Monica Bowen has recounted the history of using fig leaves to censor genitals in the early modern period.

    • UZBEKISTAN: Book banning, censorship, illegal fines, reprisals

      Muslim Hairdresser Abduboki Yunusov and regular customer Gayrat Ziyakhojayev is being investigated by Uzbekistan’s Anti-Terrorism Police for sharing a Muslim book electronically. The two Muslims and their families have been illegally searched and intensively questions since April to this month (October) (see below).

      Liliya Sitdikova and her son Vildan Sitdikov, both members of Tashkent’s officially registered Seventh-day Adventist Church, have been fined for keeping their own Christian material in their own home (see below).

    • Abki baar, censorship sarkar: Surjewala’s dig at Modi government
    • By Censoring Shyam Rangeela’s Parody Of Modi, Star Has Dented The Media’s Confidence
    • Dennis Prager Sues YouTube For Filtering His Videos In A Way He Doesn’t Like
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Loss of NSA software a cybersecurity disaster

      The loss of NSA software downloaded by a Moscow cybersecurity organization is a national-security disaster for the United States, and the response to the theft has been far from satisfactory. Here’s the background.

      Kaspersky Lab is a security company that develops and sells anti-virus software. It is based in Moscow; it has offices in the United States and elsewhere. The US government was, until very recently, a big customer for Kaspersky software and installed it on computers even in such sensitive places as the Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency.

    • The trouble with text-only email

      The problem, of course, is that this tracking requires the “feedback loops” mentioned in Warther’s message. These loops tend to take the form of tracking images that are fetched from a server belonging to the sender. The privacy implications of this kind of tracking are obvious: not everybody wants email senders to know when their mail was read and where the reader was at the time. Requiring this sort of disclosure would seem to run afoul of Mozilla Manifesto #4: “Individuals’ security and privacy on the Internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional.” But the alternative, Warther said, is an ongoing series of delivery problems for Mozilla’s email in general.

      There are other problems with tracking images and related mechanisms, starting with the fact that people who are paying attention tend to disable the loading of such images. Your editor recently received a complaint from a financial company that its emails were not being read; those emails were indeed read, they just weren’t allowed to phone home and report that fact. Chances are good that this kind of blocking will increase in the future; not everybody wants to be a part of an unrequested “feedback loop”.

    • Ex-NSA Official: Nobody Knows What’s Going On at US Intelligence Agencies

      When it comes to the US intelligence community’s ability to collect, store and analyze data on any person at any time, there’s virtually nothing that can stop them. Keeping track of who’s doing what within that community, however, is a different animal.

      Congressional intelligence committees, FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) courts, “and even the administration have no real control of what happens inside these intelligence agencies. They don’t have any way of verifying what they’re doing, that’s the real problem — even the managers of those agencies don’t necessarily know what’s going on in their agency,” former NSA officer Bill Binney told Loud & Clear on Radio Sputnik Thursday.

    • As Congress mulls surveillance reforms, here are the good, bad, and ugly options

      With three surveillance bills and just two months to pass one of them, Congress is scrambling to try to keep the bulk of the US government’s foreign surveillance powers alive past the new year.

      It’s the first opportunity for lawmakers to reform some of the government’s foreign surveillance laws since the Edward Snowden revelations more than five years ago. These are the same laws that authorize the controversial PRISM program, which collects data from servers of internet giants, the massive bulk collection of internet traffic, and the government’s computer and network hacking powers.

    • The New York Times is Now Available as a Tor Onion Service

      Today we are announcing an experiment in secure communication, and launching an alternative way for people to access our site: we are making the nytimes.com website available as a Tor Onion Service.
      The New York Times reports on stories all over the world, and our reporting is read by people around the world. Some readers choose to use Tor to access our journalism because they’re technically blocked from accessing our website; or because they worry about local network monitoring; or because they care about online privacy; or simply because that is the method that they prefer.

    • New York Times launches Tor Onion Service to overcome censorship and ensure privacy

      The New York Times has announced that it is launching a Tor Onion Service version of its website. The new, more secure way to access the site will open it up to people around the world whose internet connections are blocked or monitored.

      It also caters to a growing breed of people who are concerned about what their web browsing habit might reveal and who have turned to Tor to protect their privacy.

    • The New York Times is now a Tor onion service

      The New York Times is now available as an “Onion Service” on the Tor network, at the address https://www.nytimes3xbfgragh.onion/ — meaning that anyone with Tor access can securely and privately access the Times without giving away any information about what they’re looking at, even to state-level actors who control the ISPs.

      Runa Sandvik, formerly of the Tor project and now serving as Director of Information Security for the Times, made the announcement today, and said that this was experimental, and committed the Times to sharing “the lessons that we have learned — and will learn — about scaling and running an Onion Service.”

    • Amazon Key is Silicon Valley at its most out-of-touch

      Amazon wants to let strangers into your house and train a surveillance camera on your front door. Oh, and they’d like you to pay them $250 for the privilege.

    • China: Voice Biometric Collection Threatens Privacy

      The collection of voice biometrics is part of the Chinese government’s drive to form a “multi-modal” biometric portrait of individuals and to gather ever more data about citizens. This voice biometric data is linked in police databases to the person’s identification number, which in turn can then be linked to a person’s other biometric and personal information on file, including their ethnicity, home address, and even their hotel records.

    • China is quietly building a national voiceprint database to allow automated speaker recognition

      The Chinese voiceprint project has been underway for some years, and the HRW post pulls together the scant evidence of what has been happening. For example, in 2012, China’s Ministry of Public Security announced that the construction of national voice pattern database had begun, and designated Anhui province, located in the eastern region of the country, as one of the areas where pilot schemes would be run. Anhui’s leading role in the project is confirmed by subsequent orders issued by the provincial police bureau to accelerate the database construction, and tender documents from other police stations across the region seeking bids to install voice pattern collection systems locally.

    • Back Down The Rabbit Hole About Encryption On Smartphones

      Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote the disapproving memo that President Trump used as a pretext to fire FBI Director James Comey in May. But on at least one area of law-enforcement policy, Rosenstein and Comey remain on the same page—the Deputy AG set out earlier this month to revive the outgoing FBI director’s efforts to limit encryption and other digital security technologies. In doing so, Rosenstein has drawn upon nearly a quarter century of the FBI’s anti-encryption tradition. But it’s a bad tradition.

      Like many career prosecutors, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is pretty sure he’s more committed to upholding the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law than most of the rest of us are. This was the thrust of Rosenstein’s recent October 10 remarks on encryption, delivered to an audience of midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Charter CEO Tries To Blame Netflix Password ‘Piracy’ For Company’s Failure To Adapt To Cord Cutting

      Like most pay TV providers, Charter Communications (Spectrum) continues to bleed pay TV subscribers tired of paying an arm and a leg for giant, bloated channel bundles. Also like most pay TV providers, the company isn’t willing to really own the fact that their only real “solution” to this problem has been to double down on the same, bad ideas. Charter just got done gobbling up Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks subscribers in a $79 billion deal that resulted in rate hikes as high as 40% and somehow even worse customer service than the historically-awful customer service the sector is known for.

    • Trump’s FCC Chair Moves to Undermine Journalism and Democracy
    • Divided FCC Eliminates Main Studio Rule

      A politically divided FCC has voted to eliminate the main studio rule. The vote was 3-2 with the two Democrats strongly dissenting.

      That was the almost eight-decade old requirement that broadcasters, radio and TV, maintain a main studio in or near their community of license.

    • Verizon Will Graciously Now Let You Avoid Video Throttling For An Additional $10 Per Month

      Back in February you might recall that a little something called competition forced Verizon Wireless to bring back unlimited data plans it had spent the last few years insisting nobody really wanted. But the plans nobody wanted or needed wound up being so immensely popular, they caused some very modest slowdowns on the Verizon network. As a result, Verizon announced last August that it was getting rid of its truly unlimited plan, and replacing it with a series of even worse “unlimited” plans that throttled every video touching the Verizon network. For good measure, Verizon proceeded to ban 4K video streaming entirely.

  • DRM

    • How Microsoft Delayed A Wildly Popular Xbox Feature To Clean Up Its Wildly Unpopular Always Online Plans

      The Xbox One has been back in the news recently as Microsoft has rolled out an update that makes the system backwards compatible with some original Xbox games. Much as with the backwards compatibility roll out for Xbox 360 games that Microsoft performed in 2015, fans of the system have been cheering this on. It’s something a no-brainer, with this functionality making the system all the more appealing and increasing brand loyalty for the console as gamers will be conditioned to expect that the investments they’ve made in gaming titles won’t go to waste once the shelf-life of a particular generation of systems runs its course.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • New Zealand political party infringed Eminem copyright, must pay $412k

        A company that owns some of rapper Eminem’s early work has won a copyright case against an unusual defendant: a New Zealand political party.

        New Zealand’s National Party has been ordered to pay NZ$600,000, plus interest, for using music from Eminem’s song “Lose Yourself” in a 2014 election ad. That’s around US$412,000 that must be paid to the plaintiff in the case, Eight Mile Style, a music publisher that owns some of Eminem’s early catalog.

      • The DMCA as Ransomware

        I’ll betcha never figured that one of the things you could do with a DMCA take down notice was use it as ransomware. In a case that proves that if you write bad law it’ll be exploited in more ways than you can imagine, that’s now been done. Forget the record and movie industries moves to take down innocent YouTube posts by misidentifying content as infringing — or misunderstanding fair use.

        Here’s a case that proves that a script kiddie doesn’t need to go traveling the dark web to spend tiny pieces of a bitcoin for ransomware software. He or she can launch a ransomware attack with no software at all.

      • Leaked: These 3 EU governments want to give record labels control over what we can and can’t post online

        Documents leaked today by Statewatch expose: The governments of France, Spain and Portugal are pushing to redesign the web away from openness and towards the tight control of cable TV, where a few big companies get to say what goes on the air.


Links 27/10/2017: Kinect is Dead, SciPy Reaches 1.0

Posted in News Roundup at 2:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Fon joins prpl Foundation to accelerate open-source innovation for the Digital Home and Carrier WiFi

    The prpl Foundation, an open-source, community-driven, not-for-profit consortium with a focus enabling the security and interoperability of embedded devices for the smart society of the future, has today announced that Fon has joined the Foundation. As the world’s leading WiFi software company, Fon joins prpl to accelerate the development of a common, open-source-based software framework which will enable deployment of new carrier services for the digital home and carrier WiFi hotspots.

  • Vendors, Get Used to Life Under Open Source

    Next Generation Optical Networking (NGON) — The future for service providers seems to be a mixture of open source software and good old standardization, which means vendors are going to have to get used to the open source way of life, one AT&T executive believes.

    AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) does still need vendors to play the role of technology innovators. But “the way that vendors provide that in the future will be different from how they provide that today,” said Amy Wheelus, AT&T’s vice president of cloud and D2 platform integration.

  • Should You Open Source Your Product? That’s the Wrong Question

    I often get called in to help companies make decisions about their open source strategy. They want to release key parts of their software as open source, but they need some help figuring out the best way to make it happen. I always ask them the same question:

    Why? Why are you planning to open any of your code?

    They rarely have a good answer. They’ve already decided that this is the right decision, because a board member, founder, or customer has said it’s necessary, and they are just trying to figure out how to do it. But it’s impossible to build a strategy to accomplish your goals if you’re unsure what they are.

    Are you trying to build a community? To get public review of core functionality? To grow adoption? Something else entirely? By now most people have realized that open sourcing software isn’t a route to magically get free contributions so you don’t have to write your own software, but there are plenty of other myths around it.

  • Top 3 open source Cryptocurrencies (that aren’t bitcoin)

    The term open source gets thrown around a lot, and most of the time, the people saying it don’t even know what it means. The best way to think of it like a book everyone can edit and make their own version of it. The source code is available to all, which creates the option for developers to look at the code and come up with their own modifications. These modifications won’t necessarily be adopted, but they are at least out there for the community to consider and vote upon.

  • What is Ethereum? The open-source crypto platform explained

    Most of us get the principle of cryptocurrency, but even the most tech-savvy may struggle with the specifics. One name that is often used when discussing this increasingly popular trend is Ethereum.

    Ethereum is an open-source platform that lets you build your own decentralised applications, and earn a tradeable cryptocurrency called Ether. These apps are all built using blockchain technology, and Ether can be used to pay for services on the network.

  • JAX Magazine: All eyes on Open Source
  • Events

    • Latinoware 2017 Event Report

      Of more than 200 subjects discussed by more than 4,500 nerds, teachers, students and interested in new technologies, coming from various parts of Brazil, neighboring countries Argentina and Paraguay and outside countries, during three days of the 14th Latin American Congress of Free Software and Technologies (Latinoware), held last week at the Itaipu Power Plant in Foz do Iguaçu, one of the themes that most attracted public attention was how free robotics can improve education, especially in children.

    • FOSDEM 2018 Retrocomputing DevRoom Call for Participation

      FOSDEM is a free software event that offers open source communities a place to meet, share ideas and collaborate. It is renown for being highly developer-oriented and brings together 8000+ participants from all over the world. It is held in the city of Brussels (Belgium).

    • Open source summit – Day 2

      Day two of Open Source summit for me started a bit slow for lack of sleep. The first talk I went to was on “Developer tools for Kubernetes” by Michelle Noorali and Matt Butcher. Essentially the two of them showed two projects (Draft and Brigade to help ease development apps for Kubernetes clusters. Draft here is the tool to use for developing long running, daemon like apps. Brigade has the goal of making event driven app development easier – almost like providing shell script like composability to Kubernetes deployed pipelines.

    • The 2017 GSoC Mentor Summit

      I am wrapping up the ideas after the Google mentor summit 2017. In spite of having mentored my first GSoC student in 2008, this is the first time I ever attended this summit. There were ~300 mentors representative of many different open source communities. A triple-concentrate of all the main open projects in a not-too-noisy environment (unlike e.g. FOSDEM) – all in all, it has been a very pleasant experience!

    • Google Code-in 2017 open source mentor organizations revealed, including Ubuntu!

      Google does a great job supporting the open source community, which is appropriate, as the company leverages the code too. The search giant gives back to the community through programs such as “Google Code-in.” If you aren’t familiar, it is an educational contest which teaches children about open source by having them working on an actual established project. Today, the Android-maker reveals the mentors that will be participating in Google Code-in 2017.

    • Samsung Electronics Kicks Off ‘2017 Open Source Conference’

      Samsung Electronics will hold ‘Samsung OpenSource Conference’ at Samsung Electronics Seoul R & D campus in Ueon-dong, Seoul from October 25 to 26.

      The Samsung Open Source Conference, which has been held every year since 2014, is the largest open source conference in Korea with over 1,000 developers participating in the program every year.

    • Is Raleigh the East Coast’s Silicon Valley?

      They are also awed by the conference itself. This year well over 3,000 people shelled out somewhere around a couple of hundred bucks each to attend the two-day event, which took place earlier this week and utilized more than 20 meeting rooms at the Raleigh Convention Center to house over 200 sessions.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome Dev Summit 2017

        I attended the 5th Chrome Dev Summit this week. The talks were all recorded and are available via the schedule (the keynote and leadership panel on day 1 are perhaps of broadest interest and highest bang-for-buck viewing value). It was a high quality, well-produced event with an intimate feel – I was very surprised when Robert Nyman told me it was over 700 people! I appreciated the good vegetarian food options and noticed and was very impressed by the much-better-than-typical-tech-conferences gender representation and code of conduct visibility.

  • Databases

    • AWS Offers Aurora Cloud DB Service Compatible With PostgreSQL

      AWS on Tuesday announced the general availability of Amazon Aurora with PostgreSQL compatibility. The service is now fully compatible with both MySQL and PostgreSQL, the company said. AWS also announced that customers migrating to Amazon Aurora from another database can use the AWS Database Migration Service free of charge for the next six months. Amazon Aurora is a cloud-optimized relational database that combines the speed and availability of high-end commercial databases with the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of open source databases.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding


  • Licensing/Legal

    • Community Data License Agreement announced by Linux Foundation

      The Linux Foundation has announced the Community Data License Agreement (CDLA) family of open data agreements. In an era of expansive and often underused data, the CDLA licenses are an effort to define a licensing framework to support collaborative communities built around curating and sharing “open” data.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • INL adds MASTODON to growing open-source modeling and simulation library

      Idaho National Laboratory recently expanded its library of MOOSE-based, open-source modeling and simulation software with the MASTODON code. This code helps scientists and engineers design buildings and other structures to better withstand seismic events.

      MASTODON is the short name for the Multi-hazard Analysis for STOchastic time-DOmaiN phenomena. It is a finite element application that calculates the realistic response of soil and structures to earthquakes in three dimensions. With capabilities to simulate “source-to-site” earthquake energy release, the software tool enables detailed analyses of earthquake fault rupture, nonlinear seismic wave propagation, and nonlinear soil-structure interactions.

  • Programming/Development

    • How much do you comment your source code?

      While it may be true that the best code is self-documenting, even the clearest written source code requires adequate documentation in order to be quickly parsed and understood by human readers.

    • SciPy 1.0 released

      The SciPy project has announced the release of SciPy 1.0. The “Python-based ecosystem of open-source software for mathematics, science, and engineering” has been around for 16 years since version 0.1 and, in reality, the 1.0 designation is overdue. “Some key project goals, both technical (e.g. Windows wheels and continuous integration) and organisational (a governance structure, code of conduct and a roadmap), have been achieved recently. Many of us are a bit perfectionist, and therefore are reluctant to call something ’1.0′ because it may imply that it’s ‘finished’ or ‘we are 100% happy with it’. This is normal for many open source projects, however that doesn’t make it right. We acknowledge to ourselves that it’s not perfect, and there are some dusty corners left (that will probably always be the case). Despite that, SciPy is extremely useful to its users, on average has high quality code and documentation, and gives the stability and backwards compatibility guarantees that a 1.0 label imply.” Beyond the Windows wheels (a binary distribution format) mentioned above, there are some other new features in the release: continuous-integration coverage for macOS and Windows, a set of new ordinary differential equation solvers and a unified interface to them, two new trust region optimizers and a new linear programming method, many new BLAS and LAPACK functions were wrapped, and more.

    • Google launches the Android 8.1 Developer Preview
    • Android 8.1 O Developer Preview And Android Studio 3 With Kotlin Support Released: Download Here


  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Human water use is draining the world’s saline lakes

      Saline lakes, like the Caspian Sea, the Dead Sea, the Salton Sea, and of course the Great Salt Lake, have served as recreational playgrounds and tourist attractions, supported thriving fishing and shipping industries, and yielded minerals to be extracted for commercial and industrial applications. A slightly less quantifiable benefit they used to grant was providing habitats for waterbirds.

    • US states, cities moving to restrict vaping

      Citing public health risks, New York is banning vaping in public indoor places—which is already the case for traditional cigarettes. The new law, following a host of similar regulations tied to e-cigarettes across the nation, kicks in next month after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Monday.

      “These products are marketed as a healthier alternative to cigarettes but the reality is they also carry long-term risks to the health of users and those around them,” Cuomo said in a signing statement. “This measure closes another dangerous loophole in the law, creating a stronger, healthier New York for all.”

      Vaping is now prohibited in New York restaurants, bars, and other indoor public places like workspaces. The measure does not apply to people who want to use e-cigarettes in private homes, hotel rooms, or retail tobacco stores that permit smoking.

    • Judge overturns $417M verdict over Johnson & Johnson baby powder

      A judge has thrown out a $417 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson, which came about when a jury sided with a terminally ill plaintiff who said that Johnson’s baby powder caused her ovarian cancer.

      On Friday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Maren Nelson granted (PDF) J&J’s motion for a new trial (PDF). The plaintiff, Eva Echeverria, won $70 million in compensatory damages and $347 million in punitive damages following a trial. Echeverria’s trial date was accelerated because of her poor medical condition, and she has since died.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • New ransomware strain spreads in some European countries [iophk: "Microsoft Windows TCO"]

      A new strain of Windows ransomware, dubbed Bad Rabbit, is spreading in eastern Europe through drive-by attacks, the security firm Kaspersky Lab reported overnight.

    • Bad Rabbit Ransomware Attack Is On The Rise — Here’s What You Need To Know
    • New wave of data-encrypting malware hits Russia and Ukraine

      Beaumont went on to say that Bad Rabbit relies on hard-coded credentials that are commonly used in enterprise networks for file sharing and takes aim at a particularly vulnerable portion of infected computers’ hard drives known as the master boot record. A malicious file called infpub.dat appears to be able to use the credentials to allow the Bad Rabbit to spread to other Windows computers on the same local network, Kaspersky Labs’ blog post added. In a second blog post, Eset said the malware also uses the Mimikatz network administrative tool to harvest credentials from the affected systems.

    • What is Bad Rabbit ransomware?
    • The DOJ’s Bizarre Subpoena Over An Emoji Highlights Its Ridiculous Vendetta Against A Security Researcher

      Yesterday we broke the crazy story of how the DOJ issued a subpoena to Twitter attempting to identify five Twitter users, not because of anything they had done, but because someone else the DOJ disliked — a security researcher named Justin Shafer — had tweeted an emoji at them in response to a discussion about a different case. You can read all the details in that original post, in case you missed it yesterday. There was so much craziness in that story that I didn’t even get to cover all of it. Some of those named in the subpoena have posted their thoughts — including Ken “Popehat” White and Keith Lee. I suggest reading both, as the subpoena directed at each of them was particularly silly, given that both freely make their identities public. The DOJ didn’t seem to do even the slightest research into the accounts it was demanding info on, or it would have known just how easy it was to “unmask” White and Lee.

    • Modern Cybersecurity Totally Futile in Quantum Computing Era

      Quantum computing uses the power of atoms to perform memory and processing tasks and remains a theoretical concept. However, it is widely believed that its creation is possible. Most experts now agree that the creation of a quantum computer is simply a matter of engineering, and that the theoretical application will happen. Optimistic estimates for commercialization by the private sector vary between 5 and 15 years, while more conservative estimates by academics put it at 15-25 years.

    • 4 extra-strength container security tools for Docker and Kubernetes

      Docker-style containers aren’t just a way to deploy software more quickly or flexibly. They can also be a way to make software more secure. Automatic analysis of the software components that go into containers, behavioral policies that span container clusters and multiple application versions, and innovative new developments in tracking and managing vulnerability data are just some of the ways containers are bolstering security for the entire application lifecycle.

      How much of this comes out of the box, though, is another story. Container products provide the basics, but not always more than that, leaving more advanced monitoring or management solely in the hands of the admin. Here are four recently revamped products and services that bring additional kinds of security to containers, both in the cloud and in your own datacenter.

    • Worker who snuck NSA malware home had his PC backdoored, Kaspersky says

      The NSA worker’s computer ran a home version of Kaspersky AV that had enabled a voluntary service known as Kaspersky Security Network. When turned on, KSN automatically uploads new and previously unknown malware to company Kaspersky Lab servers. The setting eventually caused the previously undetected NSA malware to be uploaded to Kaspersky Lab servers, where it was then reviewed by a company analyst.

    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 67 – Cyber won
    • Increase your network security: Deploy a honeypot
    • Security by Obscurity

      Today this blog post turned up on Hacker News, titled “Obscurity is a Valid Security Layer”. It makes some excellent points on the distinction between good and bad obscurity and it gives an example of good obscurity with SSH.

    • My password keeps me safe. (Not necessarily!)
    • Reaper: Calm Before the IoT Security Storm?

      It’s been just over a year since the world witnessed some of the world’s top online Web sites being taken down for much of the day by “Mirai,” a zombie malware strain that enslaved “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices such as wireless routers, security cameras and digital video recorders for use in large-scale online attacks.

      Now, experts are sounding the alarm about the emergence of what appears to be a far more powerful strain of IoT attack malware — variously named “Reaper” and “IoTroop” — that spreads via security holes in IoT software and hardware. And there are indications that over a million organizations may be affected already.

      Reaper isn’t attacking anyone yet. For the moment it is apparently content to gather gloom to itself from the darkest reaches of the Internet. But if history is any teacher, we are likely enjoying a period of false calm before another humbling IoT attack wave breaks.

    • IoTroop/Reaper: A Massive Botnet Cyberstorm Is Coming To Take Down The Internet
    • Bad Rabbit used NSA “EternalRomance” exploit to spread, researchers say

      Despite early reports that there was no use of National Security Agency-developed exploits in this week’s crypto-ransomware outbreak, research released by Cisco Talos suggests that the ransomware worm known as “Bad Rabbit” did in fact use a stolen Equation Group exploit revealed by Shadowbrokers to spread across victims’ networks. The attackers used EternalRomance, an exploit that bypasses security over Server Message Block (SMB) file-sharing connections, enabling remote execution of instructions on Windows clients and servers. The code closely follows an open source Python implementation of a Windows exploit that used EternalRomance (and another Equation Group tool, EternalSynergy), leveraging the same methods revealed in the Shadowbrokers code release. NotPetya also leveraged this exploit.

    • Bad Rabbit Ransomware Uses NSA’s “EternalRomance” Exploit, Petya Connection Also Found
    • A new, virulent ransomware epidemic is fuelled by yet another leaked NSA cyberweapon

      Eternalromance/Eternalsynergy exploit a bug in Microsoft’s SMB protocol. This bug was discovered or purchased by the NSA, who chose to withhold its existence from Microsoft, deliberately ensuring that the bug would remain intact on computers worldwide, so the NSA could attack them at will. This doctrine is called “NOBUS” — “No One But Us” — and it only works if no one ever independently rediscovers the NSA’s bugs, and if the NSA never loses control of its exploits. Both have been known to happen.

    • NSA bloke used backdoored MS Office key-gen, exposed secret exploits – Kaspersky [Ed: So NSA relies on incompetent workers that put Microsoft back doors on their machines, to guard Windows cracking tools]
    • NSA contractor leaked US hacking tools by mistake, Kaspersky says
    • Kaspersky says it obtained suspected NSA hacking code from U.S. computer
    • GCHQ warns about ‘Bad Rabbit’ cyber attack sweeping through Europe as it emerges the malware’s code is filled with Game of Thrones references
    • Ransomware Ripping Through Russia and Ukraine Uses Stolen NSA Code

      This week a new breed of ransomware, which locks down computers until a victim pays a fee, ripped throughout Russia, Ukraine, and a selection of other countries. The ransomware, known as Bad Rabbit, had a trick up its sleeve: it utilized a previously leaked exploit from the U.S. National Security Agency, giving the malware more power to spread throughout networks.

    • Inspired by brain’s visual cortex, new AI utterly wrecks CAPTCHA security

      Computer algorithms have gotten much better at recognizing patterns, like specific animals or people’s faces, allowing software to automatically categorize large image collections. But we’ve come to rely on some things that computers can’t do well. Algorithms can’t match their image recognition to semantic meaning, so today you can ensure a human’s present by asking them to pick out images of street signs. And algorithms don’t do especially well at recognizing when familiar images are distorted or buried in noise, either, which has kept us relying on text-based CAPTCHAs, the distorted text used to verify a human is interacting with Web services.

    • Kaspersky identifies other malware on NSA hacker’s home computer

      A US government hacker who lost National Security Agency malware after stashing it on his home computer had himself been hacked when he downloaded pirate software, Kaspersky Lab has suggested.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • NSA report says Saudi king Prince Salman bin Sultan ordered attacks by Syrian rebels in 2013

      According to a National Security Agency (NSA) report released by The Intercept, the rocket attacks in March 2013 in the Syrian capital Damascus were ordered by a member of the Saudi royal family, Prince Salman bin Sultan, to help mark the second anniversary of the Syrian revolution. The report said Salman had provided explosives and other weaponry to Opposition forces and instructed them to “light up Damascus” and “flatten” the airport.

    • NSA Document Says Saudi Prince Directly Ordered Coordinated Attack By Syrian Rebels On Damascus
    • US/Saudi Collusion Against Syria, Top Secret NSA Document
    • The Ploy to Shift 9/11 Blame to Iran

      First, we fought for the 9/11 Commission so that we might have an independent investigation into the attacks, learn lessons, fix problems, and hold those in government accountable for their failures that contributed to the vast devastation of that horrific day. Next, as an expressly granted right given to us by Congress in the creation of the 2001 Airline Stabilization Act (more commonly known as the 9/11 Victims’ Compensation Fund), we attempted to hold all the co-conspirators of the 9/11 attacks accountable in a federal court of law. Notably, to the 9/11 Families, the definition of “co-conspirators” was always a “both-and” situation, not the more exclusionary “either-or” scenario. In other words, we wanted any and all of those who played a hand (however large or small) in the murder of our loved ones held accountable.


      Fifteen years later, the 9/11 families are still trying to hold the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia accountable in a federal court of law for the mass murder of our loved ones. And, unfortunately for us, the Kingdom seems to still remain “in favor” with the U.S. government — which is probably why our path to justice has taken so long and why our court case against the Saudis is constantly getting delayed and dismissed by the Judge.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Julian Assange: Trump campaign’s data firm sought WikiLeaks’ help for Hillary Clinton’s emails

      Nix reportedly told a third party that he had reached out to Assange about working together to release Clinton’s emails, the Daily Beast reported, citing two sources familiar with a congressional investigation into ties between Trump’s team and the Kremlin. Assange, however, rejected the request.

    • NSA wanted to use the Espionage Act to prosecute a journalist for using FOIA

      Declassified documents in the Central Intelligence Agency’s archives show that while the CIA was looking to include the Freedom Of Information Act in its war on leaks, the National Security Agency was seriously considering using the Espionage Act to target target Puzzle Palace author James Bamford for using FOIA.

      While Bamford has briefly discussed this on a handful of occasions, the declassified memos and briefings from NSA confirm that this was more than just an intimidation tactic or a passing thought – the NSA had truly wanted to jail a journalist for his use of public records. When the Agency determined that this was unlikely to happen, they moved on to exploring other legal avenues which could be used to punish Bamford for his FOIA work.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Yet another destination for coal exports to dry up with Italy’s 2025 phase-out

      On Tuesday, Italy’s economic development minister said the country will commit to phasing out coal in its energy mix, ending all use by 2025 according to Argus Media.

      The country follows the UK, Canada, and France in its pledge to end coal use in the coming years. For some countries, the pledge is more meaningful than for others.

      In the UK, coal provided around 30 percent of the country’s electricity in 2014, the year before the government pledged to end coal power generation by 2025. Early this year, the UK had its first 24 hours with no coal-fired generation since 1882. The news came along with data from 2016 that reported coal-generated electricity made up just nine percent of the country’s energy mix.

    • Puerto Rico power woes continue, a month after Hurricane Maria

      Two weeks ago, battery makers Tesla and Sonnen pledged to build microgrids and deliver batteries to hospitals and other critical infrastructure in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which wiped out power to nearly all of the island’s electricity customers. Today, Tesla tweeted that Hospital del Niño, a children’s hospital in Puerto Rico, was the “first of many solar+storage projects going live.” The company didn’t immediately respond to requests for comments on the size of the installation or how much it cost.)

      But Tesla’s not the only company working on putting renewable energy in Puerto Rico. In an e-mail to Ars, a Sonnen spokesperson Hilary Donnell said that the company’s first microgrid in Puerto Rico would go live sometime next week, with 3 to 5 Sonnen microgrids serving communities on the island by mid-November.

    • US Government Accountability Office argues for acting on climate change

      The US Government Accountability Office is a nonpartisan organization that performs analysis and investigations for the Senate and House. Recently, two senators—Maine Republican Susan Collins and Washington Democrat Maria Cantwell—asked it to look into what has become a contentious political issue: the government’s response to climate change. The report that resulted suggests that the US is already spending money to respond to climate change, and it will likely spend more as the Earth continues to warm. But it suggests that the US has no plans for figuring out how best to minimize these costs.

      It’s a message that’s unlikely to go over well with either the current administration or the Republican majority in either house of Congress.

    • New York City’s future storm risk dominated by sea level rise

      Over the last few decades, a warming Atlantic Ocean has produced a number of very powerful hurricanes, some of which retained strength much further north than usual. Fortunately for the US, however, few of them made landfall on the continental US, leading to talk of a “hurricane hiatus” that came to a decisive close this year.

      A new analysis of New York City’s hurricane risk suggests that a similar fate might be in store for the city. While warming waters will produce more powerful storms in the future, climate models suggest that they’ll generally track further offshore of the city, a combination that ends up cancelling itself out. Unfortunately, due to rising oceans, the risk of flooding will keep going up, with what was once a 500-year flood occurring every 25 years by mid-century.

    • Professor quits over denied Dakota Access pipeline seminars

      A University of North Dakota journalism professor said Thursday he’s quitting because the school would not let him conduct seminars on the Dakota Access oil pipeline protest.

      Mark Trahant said he was put in charge of a journalism lecture series and proposed two pipeline protest topics that were rejected. Last year he wanted to hear from reporters who covered the protests, and this year he suggested talking about how the protest played out on social media.

    • Power for Puerto Ricans, Not Private Investors

      “The whole of Puerto Rico is like this. I don’t think we are the only ones like this… We will survive,” Jose Torres, a resident of Puerto Rico, told an NPR reporter in late September. As a diabetic without access to medicine, he’s been working hard to keep up his blood sugar levels. Not an easy task when his fridge and stove don’t have power.

      It has been almost a month since Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Since then, most of the island’s 3.4 million residents have been without electricity or running water. The power grid was effectively destroyed, with only 7 percent back online to date. This means that the entire system, from generation to distribution, will need to be rebuilt. The question now is: how?

  • Finance

    • UK ‘screwed’ in Brexit negotiations, says ex-ambassador

      The U.K. has been “screwed” in Brexit negotiations because it triggered Article 50 too soon, the country’s former EU ambassador said.

      Ivan Rogers, who resigned as the U.K.’s permanent representative to the EU in January, also warned that a “bloody” no-deal scenario could be set in motion as early as December, and could end up with the two sides in a “trade war” and wanting to “knock chunks out of each other.”

    • Koch Demands Corporate Welfare From One of America’s Poorest Cities

      The Koch Brothers talk a good game against “special-interest handouts” and “corporate welfare”—and support eliminating popular tax deductions that benefit the middle class—but they are happy to squeeze out every tax break they can get for their corporate operations.

      When their Koch Industries Georgia-Pacific unit decided to build a new lumber plant in Talladega, Alabama, the company asked for and received a generous handout from taxpayers.

      On October 9, the Talladega City Council approved a $5.2 million tax abatement for the facility, which is slated to open in 2018.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • NSA Concealed Records on JFK Assassination for Decades

      There is something perverse about the fact that President Donald Trump, the exuberant and all-too-successful spinner of conspiracy theories, and deeply ignorant of American history besides, will oversee the release of the remaining classified files related to the assassination of his presidential predecessor, John F. Kennedy.

      In 1992, Congress approved, and former President George H.W. Bush signed, the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act. They were prodded by an Oliver Stone film on the killing released the year prior and the resulting flurry of public interest. The act mandated the disclosure of all assassination-related records no later than 25 years after its signing, by October 26, 2017 — this Thursday.

    • The Woman Taking On Russia’s Trolling [sic] Machine
    • ‘Downright Orwellian’: journalists decry Facebook experiment’s impact on democracy
    • Who can you trust? How tech is reshaping what we believe
    • How Malcolm Turnbull, GetUp and Adani are using Facebook ads to push their agenda

      This video and text post was “sponsored” – that is, someone from the prime minister’s office paid to promote the post as an advertisement.

    • Political ads on Twitter will now be labeled with lots of spending data

      In light of recent Russia-related disclosures, American politicians have begun weighing in on the lack of transparency in the world of politically motivated online ads. On Tuesday, Twitter chose to get ahead of potential political and legal action by announcing plans to open its advertising disclosure process in a big way.

      A blog post titled “New Transparency for Ads on Twitter” detailed coming changes to “political” and “issue-based” advertising on the site. Political ads received a specific focus, and new rules will apply to any ads that fall under the FEC’s definition of political or “electioneering” ads. The interesting stuff here is how much data Twitter will force any political advertisers to disclose, including the following: exactly how much money a single advertiser has spent, other ad campaigns run by the same organization, and all targeting demographics (gender, age, geography).

    • Donald Trump is ‘deeply damaged human being’, says Ronald Reagan’s son

      Late President Ronald Reagan’s son has called President Donald Trump “a deeply damaged human being.”

      Ron Reagan Jr, a radio host and political commentator, was speaking on MSNBC’s “Hardball” programme when he called Mr Trump a “sociopathic, malignant narcissist.”

      He went as far as comparing the President to a stain on a carpet that the Electoral College has “vomited” up.

    • Congress opens probe into FBI’s handling of Clinton e-mail investigation

      House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said in a joint statement that they are unsatisfied with how the probe into Clinton’s private e-mail server concluded. Among other things, the chairmen want to know why the bureau publicly said it was investigating Clinton while keeping silent that it was looking into President Donald Trump’s campaign associates and their connections to Russia.

    • Proposed law would regulate online ads to hinder Russian election influence
    • Reposting Amazon Press Releases at Bezos-Owned Washington Post

      A matter of huge political import is taking place in scores of cities throughout the country. From Chicago to Charlottesville, San Diego to St. Louis, metropolitan areas big and small are making their best pitches to Amazon to move its second headquarters to their towns. These pitches typically involve some combination of groveling by city officials (New York City lit the city up orange) and massive tax breaks (New Jersey is offering $7 billion), all in hopes of reaping a massive economic bonanza from the relocation.

    • ‘The Winner of the Amazon Headquarters Might End Up Being the Biggest Loser’
    • Unsealed Documents Show That Kris Kobach Is Dead Set on Suppressing the Right to Vote

      For almost a year, Kris Kobach, the secretary of state of Kansas, has struggled to hide the truth about his efforts to lobby the Trump administration to make it much harder for Americans to vote. Part of that struggle ended today when a federal court ordered excerpts of Kris Kobach’s testimony disclosed along with other documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union in our challenge to his restrictive voter registration regime.

      The unsealed materials confirm what many have suspected: Kobach has a ready-made plan to gut core voting rights protections enshrined in federal law. And he has been covertly lobbying Trump’s team and other officials from day one to sell them the falsehood that noncitizens are swinging elections.

    • Days after activists sued, Georgia’s election server was wiped clean

      A server and its backups, believed to be key to a pending federal lawsuit filed against Georgia election officials, was thoroughly deleted according to e-mails recently released under a public records request.

      Georgia previously came under heavy scrutiny after a researcher discovered significant problems with his home state’s voting system. A lawsuit soon followed in state court, asking the court to annul the results of the June 20 special election for Congress and to prevent Georgia’s existing computer-based voting system from being used again. The case, Curling v. Kemp, was filed in Fulton County Superior Court on July 3.

    • Georgia Election Server Mysteriously Wiped Clean After Lawsuit Highlights Major Vulnerabilities
    • Revealed: How Twitter pushed RT to spend big on 2016 US election
    • How Facebook, Google and Twitter ‘embeds’ helped Trump in 2016
  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Oakland Privacy and the Fight for Community Control

      Many groups in the Electronic Frontier Alliance work to ensure that their neighbors have the tools they need to maintain control of their information. Others devote their efforts to community organizing or advocacy, assuring that authorities respect the civil and privacy rights of people in their community. For over four years, Oakland Privacy has been a notable example of the latter.

      Initially organizing as the Occupy Oakland Privacy Working Group, Oakland Privacy began meeting in July of 2013, with a mission to stop Oakland’s Domain Awareness Center (DAC). The DAC, first approved by the City of Oakland City Council as a port security monitoring system, was moving toward approval of a second phase by the Summer of 2013. Phase II would have expanded the DAC into a city-wide surveillance apparatus that would have combined feeds from cameras, microphones, and other electronic monitoring assets throughout the city. Local authorities and their partners would have had an unprecedented ability to surveil the people of Oakland.

    • Court Has No Problem With All House Residents Being Forced To Hand Over Fingers To Law Enforcement

      A ruling has been handed down by a federal judge finding the government’s demands for fingerprints from multiple residents of a house does not implicate the Fifth Amendment. [h/t Brad Heath]

      The underlying case — still under seal — bears some resemblance to one we discussed here about a year ago. Law enforcement sought a search warrant for a residence, which would allegedly house devices containing child pornography. The devices were suspected to be Apple products, which can be opened with fingerprints. The warrant asked for permission to compel the residents to supply their fingerprints — both to unlock the devices and to ascribe possession to the person whose fingerprint unlocked them.

    • Nobody else cares about privacy! (Umm, yes they do.)

      In Jan 2017, the IDC found that 84% of consumers expressed concern for their personal information, and 70% reported greater concern than just a few years ago.

    • Proposal to Restrict Technical Assistance Demands Before Secret Surveillance Court Raises More Questions About Section 702

      As we detailed yesterday, a bill introduced this week by Sens. Ron Wyden and Rand Paul would represent the most comprehensive reform so far of Section 702, the law that authorizes the government to engage in mass warrantless surveillance of the Internet. EFF supports the bill, known as the USA Rights Act, because it closes the backdoor search loophole and addresses other glaring problems with Section 702.

      But the bill also makes changes to lesser-known provisions of Section 702. One of these amendments raises it own questions about how the government has been enlisting private companies to provide access to our communications, including whether it has required circumvention of encryption as in the recent fight between Apple and the FBI. It may well also call into question the response EFF received from the government in FOIA litigation seeking records to determine whether such a case exists.

    • How lobbyists convinced lawmakers to kill a broadband privacy bill

      When a California state legislator proposed new broadband privacy rules that would mirror the federal rules previously killed by Congress, broadband industry lobbyists got to work.

      The lobbyists were successful in convincing the state legislature to let the bill die without passage last month, leaving Internet users without stronger rules protecting the privacy of their Web browsing histories.

    • Google, Facebook & Comcast Jointly Lied to California Lawmakers To Scuttle Broadband Privacy Bill

      Earlier this year the GOP and Trump administration rushed to kill consumer broadband privacy rules. While the broadband industry cried like a colicky toddler when the rules were originally proposed, they were relatively modest — simply requiring that ISPs clearly disclose what they’re selling, who they’re selling it to, and provide working opt out tools. The rules were proposed after ISPs repeatedly showed they were incapable of self-regulating on this front (see Verizon’s zombie cookies, AT&T’s attempts to charge you more for privacy, and CableOne’s declaration it wanted to use credit scores to provide even worse customer support).

    • Senator Wyden’s 702 Reform Bill Would Limit Backdoor Searches, Permanently Kill ‘About’ Collection

      As promised, Ron Wyden (along with Rand Paul) has delivered an antidote to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s completely terrible Section 702 “reform” bill. That bill, authored by Sen. Burr, would extend the NSA’s 702 powers until 2025 while allowing US law enforcement to use collected intelligence for normal law enforcement purposes. It also would have turned the NSA’s “about” collection back on, provided no one opposed it with directly-targeted legislation. This program’s ability to “inadvertently” sweep up US persons’ communications was so concerning the NSA voluntarily shut it off. (It asked to have it turned back on less than two months later, however.)

    • A smart city in China tracks every citizen and yours could too

      For the past 12 months, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has been slurping up video feeds, social media data, traffic information and other data from Hangzhou city for its City Brain project. The stated goal was to improve life in Hangzhou by letting artificial intelligence process this data and use it to control aspects of urban life. It seems to have worked. The trial has been so successful that the company is now packaging the system for export to other places in China – and eventually the rest of the world.

    • FBI Says It Can’t Get Into 6,900 Encrypted Phones. So What?

      The new director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, has apparently decided to take up James Comey’s anti-encryption fight. He’s been mostly quiet on the issue since assuming the position, but the DOJ’s recent calls for “responsible encryption” has emboldened the new FBI boss to speak up on the subject.

      And speak up he has. Although the FBI still hasn’t released the text of his remarks to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, more than a few sites are reporting it was the usual “go team law enforcement” boosterism, but with the added zest of phone encryption complaints.

    • New Evidence Shows Defense Dep’t Abusing Surveillance Procedures To Spy On Americans

      I know that the cynical among you already assume — falsely — that the surveillance state ignores all rules and spies willy nilly on everyone. That is not true. However, they do have a long and scary history of “reinterpreting” or stretching the definitions of things to do widespread surveillance in ways that clearly violate the letter and spirit of the law, even as they try to justify it. For many years now, we’ve written about concerns with Executive Order 12333 — a Reagan-signed Executive Order that enabled much greater surveillance oversees. In the summer of 2014, State Department whistleblower Stephen Napier Tye revealed that everyone focusing on other programs — such as Section 215 under the PATRIOT Act or Section 702 under the FISA Amendments Act — were missing the point: nearly everything was being done under EO 12333, and those other programs were just used to fill in the gaps.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Facebook Translate Error Lands Palestinian Man In Israeli Detention

      Like many people today, I have a decent amount of experience using Facebook’s language translations. With Geigners the world over, including an eyebrow-raising number of them in South America, I’ve found the translations to be a useful if imperfect way for me to interact with distant family members that reside in countries and continents far from the States. Imperfect is a key word there, however, as some of the garbled nonsense that results from translations can range from somewhat funny to downright perplexing. It goes without saying that relying on a website’s translation alone to interpret someone writing in a different language is a harrowing experience fraught with error.

    • New DOJ Policy Restricts Use Of Warrant/Subpoena Gag Orders

      It appears public pressure — coming in the form of lawsuits and gag order challenges — has finally had an effect on the DOJ. Ellen Nakashima is reporting the Justice Department will no longer attach indefinite gag orders to routine requests for data and communications.

    • Police Camera Study Shows New Tech Having Little Effect On Misconduct And Excessive Force

      The study’s length suggested positive long-term results but the small sample size may have skewed the results. Another contributing factor could have been the “newness” of the devices themselves — something that may have led officers to act with more restraint than usual.

      But as more and more police departments have deployed body cameras, the results have been less and less positive. A study published last year suggested body worn cameras actually led to an increase in violence — a 3.64% uptick in fatal shootings by officers. Of course, this increase may have been nothing more than a deviation from the mean. But it still pointed towards cameras being anything but a cheap, scalable fix for officer misconduct.

    • Professor Removed From a Southwest Flight Is Symbolic of a Pattern of Airline Islamophobia

      Since the incident, Daulatzai has offered her version of what happened. She said that while she does have an allergy to dogs, it is not one that is life threatening. Southwest allows passengers to choose their seats upon boarding and Daulatzai was happy to find a seat away from the dog. However, according to Daulatzai, Southwest representatives did not believe her statements about her allergy and ordered her off the plane. She attempted to negotiate a reasonable solution, but appears to have come up against a perception that, as a woman of color, she was just meant to follow orders without discussion. Maryland Transportation Authority Police (MTAP) officers then boarded the plane, violently removed her from her seat and dragged her through the aircraft. The MTAP officers ignored her repeated protests that she was pregnant.

    • Jails pocket up to 60 percent of what inmates pay for phone calls

      MuckRock, a nonprofit journalism organization that focuses on public records requests, obtained the contracts between prison phone companies and some parish jails in Louisiana.

      Prison phone company Correct Solutions Group has a contract with the Union Parish Detention Center that requires it to pay the jail a commission of 60 percent of the total gross revenue of phone calls.

    • In some Louisiana parishes, over half of inmate phone fees go back to the prison itself

      Parish jails in Louisiana receive as much as 60 percent of prisoner phone call revenues – though they’ve been offered upwards of 68 percent by other prepaid phone services – according to materials recently released as part of a MuckRock investigation into Bayou State inmate communication commissions.

    • Some dead bodies donated to research in US end up in warehouses of horrors

      Dead human bodies are critical to medical training, physicians and researchers say. And thousands of Americans are happy to donate their meat suits for the greater good after they’re gone. But in the US, a body’s trip from a morgue to a medical school or lab can be gruesome, shady, and expensive. Some don’t make it at all. Instead, bits and pieces of donated loved ones—sometimes disassembled with chainsaws—end up decomposing in parking lots, forgotten in unplugged freezers, and tossed unceremoniously into incinerators.

      And law enforcement can do nothing—there are few to no laws that regulate the grim industry of human body brokering. Grieving families, who are often misled and in the dark about the fate of their loved ones, can be left horrified.

    • Cashing in on the donated dead

      The company stacked brochures in funeral parlors around Sin City. On the cover: a couple clasping hands. Above the image, a promise: “Providing Options in Your Time of Need.”

      The company, Southern Nevada Donor Services, offered grieving families a way to eliminate expensive funeral costs: free cremation in exchange for donating a loved one’s body to “advance medical studies.”

    • DOJ Subpoenas Twitter About Popehat, Dissent Doe And Others Over A Smiley Emoji Tweet

      But, literally days later, the FBI was raiding Justin Shafer’s home and taking all of his computers. This was not specifically about the Harry Schein case, but since Shafer had continued to investigate poor data security practices involving dentists, he’d come across an FTP server operated by another dental software company, Patterson Dental, which makes “Eaglesoft,” a dental practice management software product. Shafer had discovered an openly available anonymous FTP server with patient data. Shafer did the right thing as a security researcher, and alerted Patterson. However, rather than thanking Shafer for discovering the server they had left with patient data exposed, Patterson Dental argued that Shafer had violated the CFAA in accessing the open anonymous FTP server. Hence the FBI raid.

    • Trump’s New Refugee Vetting Rules Will All but Stop the Resettlement Process

      October 24 should have marked the end of President Trump’s 120-day ban on refugees entering the United States, a lesser known but no less damaging part of the Muslim ban executive order from March 6. Instead, it will be remembered as a new low in the Trump administration’s response to the world’s growing refugee crisis.

      Under the guise of furthering national security, the administration announced new restrictions on certain groups of refugees. As a result, citizens of 11 countries — as well as the minor children and spouses of refugees in the United States — will be placed on hold and barred from resettlement, while the government undertakes yet another round of reviews. In a memo from the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department, the government imposed a 90-day review period on countries already requiring additional security checks, during which time refugees from those 11 countries cannot be resettled. Additionally, the “follow-to-join” program for close relatives of refugees already in the U.S. has been paused indefinitely until further review, barring refugees from reuniting with their spouses and minor children.

    • W.E.B. Du Bois’s Historic U.N. Petition Continues to Inspire Human Rights Advocacy

      Seventy years ago this week, the oldest civil rights organization in the world, the NAACP, submitted a petition to the newly established United Nations demanding accountability for human rights violations against African Americans in the United States. The 96-page petition was written over the course of a year under the editorial supervision of W.E.B. Du Bois. Its six chapters, each written by a leading expert, cover topics ranging from slavery and Jim Crow to voting rights, criminal justice, education, employment and access to health care – areas in which discrimination remains deeply rooted to this day.

    • Why Is the Trump Administration Targeting This Outspoken Dreamer?

      In September, the Trump administration brutally up-ended the lives of some 800,000 young people who have lived in America since they were children. After months of telling Dreamers they “should rest easy” about being allowed to stay, President Trump’s promises turned out to mean nothing. The administration announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which for years has permitted young undocumented immigrants who came to this country as children to live and work here without fear.

    • Jane Doe’s Ordeal Illustrates the Trump Administration’s Threat to All Women’s Reproductive Rights

      Last night was the first night in a month that I was able to fall asleep without worrying about whether Jane Doe would get the medical care she needs. Jane, a 17-year-old unaccompanied immigrant minor, received her abortion yesterday after being held hostage by our federal government for over a month. But while the legal drama and Jane’s plight captured the country’s attention, her battle is part an overall war being waged by the Trump Administration against reproductive rights and immigrants’ rights.

    • George H.W. Bush Apologizes for Repeatedly Groping Women

      Former President George H.W. Bush has apologized for repeatedly groping women, after being accused of sexual assault by two actresses. Actress Heather Lind says that when she met the president in 2014, “He touched me from behind from his wheelchair … He told me a dirty joke. And then, all the while being photographed, touched me again.” Actress Jordana Grolnick then also accused the former president of groping her during a photo in 2016, saying, “He reached his right hand around to my behind, and as we smiled for the photo he asked the group, ‘Do you want to know who my favorite magician is?’ As I felt his hand dig into my flesh, he said, ‘David Cop-a-Feel!’”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Local TV and radio stations no longer required to have local studios

      The Federal Communications Commission today eliminated a decades-old rule that required TV and radio stations to maintain studios in the local communities they serve.

      The FCC’s Republican majority claims that the change will produce cost savings that broadcasters can use to improve “programming, equipment upgrades, newsgathering, and other services that benefit consumers.” But Democrats say the change will instead make it easier for stations to abandon the cities and towns they serve.

    • Verizon brings back full-quality video streaming for $10 more [iophk: "somehow neither net neutrality nor zero-rating are mentioned"]
    • A Public Focused Approach To Net Neutrality

      Net neutrality is the idea that Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all data that travels over their networks fairly, without improper discrimination in favor of particular apps, sites or services. It’s a principle that’s faced many threats over the years from ISPs and government agencies seeking to exercise control over the free and open Internet.

      With the roll back of net neutrality protections looming, many people are now asking, “What if there is no net neutrality?”

    • Verizon-Funded Group Claims Killing Net Neutrality Would Really Help Puerto Rico Right Now

      We’ve long noted how one of the sleazier telecom industry lobbying tactics involves paying minority, diversity, or other groups to parrot policies that actually undermine their constituents, but provide the illusion of public support for shitty positions. Like when the cable industry paid Jesse Jackson to claim that trying to bring competition to the cable box was akin to racism in the 1960′s American South. Or when AT&T paid the The Hispanic Institute to support the company’s planned acquisition of T-Mobile, ignoring that the deal would have killed tens of thousands of jobs, while driving up wireless rates for all Americans.

    • WIFI4EU will not be “free”

      Yesterday, the EU officially signed the WIFI4EU Regulation, intended to promote Internet connectivity in local communities. By ignoring the open letter of the European open-Wifi community, this Regulation undermines the telecom ecosystem diversity. It dismisses the promotion of non-profit Internet Service Provider and enforces an authentication mechanism, forbidding what could have been free and open WiFi hotspots.

      The European Commission’s WIFI4EU inital proposal of September 2016 established the goal of developing Internet access in under-served areas by inciting local authorities to provide free WIFi hotspots. The European Parliament made some useful amendments, especially by calling for the promotion of non-profit ISPs. After six months of negotiations, it gave in to almost all of the dangerous propositions pushed by European governments. Thus, operators willing to benefit from the WIFI4EU funds will have to comply with requirements contradictory to the idea of free and open networks.

    • Ajit Pai submits plan to allow more media consolidation

      The Federal Communications Commission will vote next month on ending a rule that prevents joint ownership of newspapers and TV or radio stations in the same geographical market.

      The change is part of a larger overhaul of media ownership rules announced yesterday by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Currently, the FCC says its newspaper/broadcast station cross-ownership rule “prohibit[s] common ownership of a daily newspaper and a full-power broadcast station (AM, FM, or TV) if the station’s service contour encompasses the newspaper’s city of publication.”

      Pai is proposing to eliminate that rule and others. He announced the move during an FCC oversight hearing in Congress yesterday, saying he wants to “pull the government once and for all out of the newsroom.”

    • Verizon creates new $10 monthly charge to remove video throttling

      Verizon Wireless customers will soon regain the ability to stream mobile video at the highest resolution, but it’s going to cost extra. Starting November 3, Verizon Wireless customers will have the option of paying another $10 a month to remove the cap on video resolution.

      This is the latest in a series of changes at Verizon related to unlimited data plans and video quality. In February, Verizon offered unlimited data plans for the first time in years, boasting that it would not impose limits on video quality (unlike some other carriers).

      But that changed in August when Verizon imposed video limits on both unlimited data plans and plans with monthly data caps. This resulted in a somewhat confusing array of options.

    • San Francisco, Seattle Tire of Comcast, Mull Building Citywide Fiber Networks

      It probably goes without saying that while improving in spots, American broadband isn’t much to write home about. Americans pay more money for slower service and worse customer support than a long list of developed countries. Some of that’s thanks to geography, but more of it’s due to a lack of competition. That lack of competition is, by proxy, thanks to our refusal to address the stranglehold these giant companies have over our federal and state regulators and lawmakers. Instead of fixing this problem, current regulators seem more interested in weakening deployment definitions to help industry pretend the problem doesn’t exist.

      In a growing number of towns and cities, residents have increasingly pushed to either build their own broadband networks, or strike public/private partnerships to help improve service quality and availability. Instead of trying to make these efforts irrelevant by offering better service at lower rates, incumbent ISPs have focused on paying often clueless lawmakers to help pass protectionist bills restricting what locals can and can’t do with their own local infrastructure and taxpayer dollars. More than twenty states have now passed laws to this effect quite literally written by ISP lobbyists.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Epson is Using its eBay “Trusted Status” to Make Competing Ink Sellers Vanish

      It’s been just over a year since HP got caught using dirty tricks to force its customers to use its official, high-priced ink, and now it’s Epson’s turn to get in on the act.

      Epson claims that ink-cartridges that are compatible with its printers violate a nonspecific patent or patents in nonspecific ways, and on the strength of those vague assertions, they have convinced eBay to remove many third-party ink sellers’ products, without any scrutiny by eBay.

    • eBay must stop Epson’s patent abuse

      Epson are engaging in a campaign to stop resellers from stocking certain Epson-compatible ink cartridges, alleging patent infringements. No manufacturer has been taken to court, and no court judgment exists to date.

      eBay allow Epson and other trusted manufacturers to remove listings under their VeRO programme, but appear to only allow patent violations as a reason for a trusted takedown in Europe.

    • Trademarks

      • Google May be a Verb, but Verb Use Alone Does Not Constitute Genericness

        Just Google it. Can you Google the score? Have you Googled the restaurant’s reviews? These are all common phrases in today’s internet-reliant society, and it’s entirely due to the creation of Google and its widespread success. By all measures, this should be a good thing for Google. Its company’s primary trademark, Google, has become such an integral part of society that it is now ingrained in our everyday vocabulary as a verb, and even further ingrained in our everyday usage. But for a company with valuable intellectual property rights in its Google trademark, its everyday usage in a general sense, meaning to perform an internet-based search, whether through Google or another search engine, could prove disadvantageous at some point in the future.

    • Copyrights

      • Florida’s top court stops 1960s band from earning pre-1972 copyright royalties

        Members of 1960s rock band The Turtles have lost a major legal battle in their quest to collect copyright royalties from their old hit songs.

        The Florida Supreme Court held today (PDF) that the state doesn’t recognize any copyrights in pre-1972 music recordings, despite the band’s arguments to the contrary. All seven justices concurred in the ruling.

      • What if You Had to Worry About a Lawsuit Every Time You Linked to an Image Online?

        A photographer and a photo agency are teaming up to restart a legal war against online linking in the United States.

        When Internet users browse websites containing images, those images often are retrieved from third-parties, rather than the author of the website. Sometimes, unbeknownst to the website author, the linked image infringes someone else’s copyright.

      • The Good News: You Can Download Hawking’s PhD For Free; The Bad News: It Took 50 Years To Make It Happen

        That’s great, as is the free availability of Hawking’s PhD. But the question for both has to be: why has it taken so long — 50 years in the case of the thesis? Even allowing for the fact that the Internet was not a mass medium for 30 of those 50 years, there was nothing stopping Cambridge University putting PhDs online from the mid-1990s. Similarly, why make depositing theses as open access optional? The University would be quite justified in requiring the thesis of any PhD it grants to be online and freely downloadable immediately under a suitable CC license. The moment to make that happen is now, not in another 10 years’ time.

      • Copyright Office Will Renew Previous DMCA Exemptions Without Much Fuss — But Why Is This Even Necessary?

        For years we’ve written about the idiocy of the DMCA’s 1201 triennial review. If you don’t recall, Section 1201 of the DMCA is the “anti-circumvention” part of the law, saying that anything that gets around DRM is, itself, copyright infringement. This was so obviously stupid and counterproductive when it passed, and Congress knew it was so obviously stupid and counterproductive, that it included an even stupider “safety valve” to deal with the obviously bad results of the law. That safety valve, known as the “triennial review” is that every three years, people need to beg and plead with the Copyright Office and the Librarian of Congress to make explicit exemptions from the law, where circumventing DRM won’t be considered infringing. Over the years, this lengthy and costly process has at least allowed certain key exemptions for security and academic research. Though, of course, even when exemptions are granted, it’s often a hot mess.


        On 26 October, Statewatch leaked 2 new Council documents on the censorship filter in Article 13. Both documents touch upon the notion of a ‘communication to the public’ and the interplay with the e-Commerce Directive.

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