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10.25.17

Links 25/10/2017: New Linux Report, Qt 5.10 Beta 2, CAINE 9.0

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • ASUS PRIME Z370-A Running Great On Linux

      For those looking at assembling a new system around Intel’s 8th Gen Core “Coffee Lake” CPUs, the motherboard I’ve been conducting most of my Linux tests from has been the ASUS PRIME Z370-A. A few weeks of use with this motherboard, I’m happy with this Intel Z370 motherboard.

    • Linux Laptops Get a Boost from Hacker Board Projects

      Recently, Linux desktop usage has grown from 2.14 percent to 3.23 percent according to NetMarketShare. Much of this increase appears to have come from Linux-based Chromebooks, which are likely undercounted due in part to their widespread use in schools.

      Yet, there are signs of Linux desktop life beyond Google’s Chrome OS, which exists in a somewhat parallel universe to mainstream Linux. Ubuntu, for example, continues to expand into the mainstream, although at a grindingly slow pace. As with Chrome OS, most of the action is happening in lower end laptops, often emerging from hacker board projects. The newly shipping Olimex Teres-A64 and upcoming Reform laptop, for example, are based on open hardware and software. Two of the most popular new low-end Linux laptops — the newly revised Pi-top and Kano products — are hackable Raspberry Pi based kits aimed primarily at education.

    • Flash Drive-Sized VLC Adapter Plays Nice With Linux Laptops

      VLC pioneer PureLiFi has announced the LiFi XC, a USB stick-sized dongle that lets tablets and laptops connect to the internet via visible light.

      Teased earlier this year at Mobile World Congress, the LiFi XC is about three times smaller than the bulky LiFi X dongle and roughly 14 times smaller than the huge Li-Flame proof of concept product launched in 2014.

  • Server

    • Containers will oust VMs and storage arrays, says Red Hat

      Red Hat launches storage delivered via containers and predicts a future in which costly and inflexible storage hardware and pricey hypervisors will be a thing of the past

    • What’s your DevOps problem?

      Back in August, Jason Hibbets asked whether I had any interest in building a DevOps community on Opensource.com. The obvious answer was an astounding YES! Jason and I have assembled a fantastic consortium of DevOps minds to write on Opensource.com. But, one thing I’ve always wanted was a way to ask smart people hard questions and get an actual answer. Joining this DevOps community and my desire to get help led to the idea for a Dear DevOps community column.

    • Xen 4.10 RC1 Now Available For Testing

      The first release candidate is now available for the upcoming Xen 4.10 hypervisor update.

      Among the changes being worked on the past several months for the Xen 4.10 hypervisor are NVIDIA Tegra SoC support, Xen transport for the 9pfs back-end, various para-virtualized driver updates, memory bandwidth allocation and L2 cache allocation technology support.

    • OPNFV Euphrates Debuts Providing Kubernetes Integration

      The OPNFV Euphrates release is the fifth since the project was initially launchedin September 2014. “Euphrates brings a deeper level of maturity to the platform,” Tapio Tallgren, chair of Technical Steering Committee (TSC), OPNFV, and lead software architect, Nokia’s Mobile Architecture Unit stated.

      When OPNFV first launched containers were in their infancy and so too was the Kubernetes container orchestration project, but that’s no longer the case in October 2017. One of the key new features in OPNFV Euphrates is integration with container technologies, including Kubernetes.

    • OPNFV Euphrates release addresses open-source NFV testing, interoperability

      OPNFV has released OPNFV Euphrates, the project’s fifth platform release, focused on enabling service providers to accelerate network functions virtualization (NFV) transformation via open-source NFV.

    • OPNFV ‘Euphrates’ Initiates the Cloud Native NFV Journey
    • Introduction To Univention Corporate Server

      Today, I want to introduce Univention Corporate Server (UCS), an enterprise Linux distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux and built by Univention. Let me begin with Univention, the organization behind UCS. Univention builds Open Source software for organizations to make the access to applications and devices for their members as easy as possible. Basically, this involves three core topics:

    • Google Partners with Cisco for Hybrid Cloud Powered by Kubernetes

      Cisco and Google announced a new partnership on Oct. 24 in a bid to help enable a hybrid cloud solution that uses Cisco hardware on-premises and Google Cloud Platform.

    • Cisco and Google partner on new hybrid-cloud approach: Goodzilla

      On Oct. 25, Cisco and Google announced a new technology partnership, which went by the internal name Goodzilla. This will enable Cisco customers to run and move their applications between Cisco-powered data centers and the Google Cloud Platform in a new kind of hybrid cloud.

      The glue that will bind them together: Kubernetes and Istio.

      Kubernetes is an open-source container manager. Originally developed by Google as Borg, today, it’s controlled by the The Linux Foundation’s Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). It has quickly become the most popular container orchestration program. Except for Amazon Web Services (AWS), it’s available on all major public clouds and works with all containers.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux PulseAudio Doesn’t Suck | For The Record

      Linux PulseAudio Doesn’t Suck (that much). Despite what you may hear elsewhere, there are aspects of PulseAudio that make it pretty interesting. PulseAudio seen here on Ubuntu MATE 16.04 for example, provides a ton of useful functionality.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linus Torvalds Releases Subsurface 4.7.1 Dive Planner Update with New Map Widget

      Among the changes implemented in the Subsurface 4.7.1 update, we can mention a new map widget that deprecates the rotating globe, the ability for the green gas icon to change when switching to EAN100, as well as better support for importing dive data from Datatrak, Shearwater desktop, DL7, and other third-party formats.

      The data planner component was improved as well in this release with user-friendly cylinder handling, faster planning for long decompression times, compute plan variations, the ability to print delta pressure in results for minimum gas calculations, and support for identifying overlapping dives when calculating dive plans.

    • Announcing Subsurface 4.7.1
    • Who’s building Linux in 2017?

      It’s 2017 and Linux rules the computing world. Don’t believe me? The Linux Foundation reports that Linux runs 90 percent of the public cloud workload, 82 percent of the world’s smartphones, 62 percent of the embedded market, oh and a mere 99 percent of the supercomputer market. All that rests on the Linux kernel. In its 2017 Linux Kernel Development Report, Jonathan Corbet, Linux kernel developer and editor of LWN.net, and Greg Kroah-Hartman, stable Linux kernel maintainer, report on Linux’s recent evolution.

      This report was released at the invitation-only Linux Kernel Summit in Prague, Czech Republic. Since 2005 and adoption of Git version control system, 15,637 developers from over 1,400 companies have contributed to the Linux kernel. Since last year, over 4,300 developers from more than 500 companies have contributed to the kernel. Of these, 1,670 contributed for the first time, or about a third of contributors.

    • The Linux Foundation Releases Annual Kernel Development Report
    • VMwRare Upgrades Linux Foundation Membership to Platinum
    • Linux data-sharing licences: So, will big data hogs take the plunge?

      With its new open data licensing framework, announced on Tuesday, the Linux Foundation has created legal frameworks around sharing raw, unorganised data to tempt generous companies, nonprofits, government agencies and researchers to do so.

    • Please Welcome the Community Data License Agreement

      Those who have followed the spread of open source software (OSS) know that a bewildering thicket of OSS licenses were created in the early days. They also know that although the Open Source Initiative was formed in part to certify which of these documents should be permitted to call itself an “open source software license,” that didn’t mean that each approved license was compatible with the other. Ever since, it’s been a pain in the neck to vet code contributions to ensure that an OSS user knows what she’s getting into when she incorporates a piece of OSS into her own program.

    • Oracle Could Still Make ZFS A First-Class Upstream Linux File-System

      For many years Linux storage enthusiasts have dreamed of having the ZFS file-system part of the mainline Linux kernel. But since Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems that outlook has looked much more bleak that they would re-license the ZFS kernel code under a license compatible with the upstream GPLv2 Linux kernel. But an Oracle engineer presented today that the ZFS Linux dream might still come true.

    • Open ZFS File-System Running On Windows
    • Cloud Native Computing Foundation adds two open-source security projects

      The other project that CNCF has taken under its wing is called The Update Framework. Created by New York University professor Justin Cappos, TUP is the specification on which Notary is based. Developers can use the technology to equip their own software with capabilities for fending off attempts to corrupt code. A group of automakers, for example, has created a version of TUP for securely patching car systems.

    • CNCF Brings Security to the Cloud Native Stack with Notary, TUF Adoption

      The Cloud Native Computing Foundation continues to vigorously build its portfolio of open source cloud-native technologies. CNCF’s Technical Oversight Committee voted to accept both the Docker-developed Notary trusted content framework and the specification Notary was built on, TUF, as the 13th and 14th hosted projects, respectively.

      The organizations announced the new members at the Open Source Summit Europe, being held this week in Prague.

    • CNCF Brings In Notary, The Update Framework to Boost Container Security

      The Cloud Native Computing Foundation on Oct. 24 announced that it is expanding its project roster with the addition of the Notary container trust project and The Update Framework security effort.

      The Notary project was originally developed by Docker and provides a content signing framework to help verify the cryptographic integrity of a container application image. Notary makes use of The Update Framework (TUF), which is a specification for enabling secure software updates.

    • OpenChain Project Welcomes Comcast as a Platinum Member
    • VMware makes cloud commitment to open source Linux

      The company’s open source contributions include support for The Linux Foundation projects like Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP), Cloud Foundry, Open Container Initiative, Open vSwitch, Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), EdgeX Foundry and IO Visor, as well as projects such as OpenStack.

    • 2017 State of Linux Kernel Development
    • Report: Interest in the Linux kernel remains strong

      The Linux Foundation is releasing its 2017 Linux Kernel Development Report to examine progress that has been made to the Linux kernel as well as who is using and contributing to it. This year’s report details Linux kernel 4.13, with a focus on 4.8 to 4.13.

      The Linux kernel forms the core of the Linux operating system. The kernel is used to manage hardware, run user programs and maintain security. “The kernel is a relatively small part of the software on a full Linux system (many other large components come from the GNU project, the GNOME and KDE desktop projects, the X.org project, and many other sources), but it is the core which determines how well the system will work and is the piece which is truly unique to Linux,” the report states.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMDGPU-PRO 17.40 Yields Huge Speed-Up For Radeon Mining Performance
      • Intel Has More DRM Code For Testing: Cannonlake Fixes, GuC/HuC’ing

        Intel has already landed a lot of new Intel DRM code in DRM-Next for the upcoming Linux 4.15 cycle while one final batch is now ready for testing.

        Intel has been planning the past few days to squeeze in one more feature batch into Linux 4.15. Normally David Airlie cuts off the merge window to DRM-Next of new feature material when hitting the -RC6 stage of the current kernel cycle, but Intel is planning on squeezing in this last pull in the next few days. Linux 4.14-rc6 was just released this morning, but then again with 4.14 we will likely see a RC8 release, so the late adds by Intel likely won’t cause much of an issue. Plus Intel’s DRM driver stack goes through pretty good QA.

      • Mesa 17.3 With RADV Vulkan Running Great With Polaris, Starts To Outperform AMDGPU-PRO

        Yesterday I posted some fresh benchmarks of the RX Vega between the AMDGPU+RadeonSI/RADV open-source vs. AMDGPU-PRO drivers, which showed the pure open-source driver stack performing admirably well for the latest-generation AMD graphics architecture and the community-driven RADV Vulkan driver was even performing nicely. Due to how well RADV has matured during the Mesa 17.3 cycle, here are some benchmarks using a Radeon RX 580 “Polaris” graphics card showing off its more mature support for Vulkan.

      • OpenGL 4.6 Didn’t Make It For Mesa 17.3, But It’s Getting Close

        Next month’s Mesa 17.3 release won’t have OpenGL 4.6 that debuted this summer, but they are getting close to supporting this latest version of the OpenGL graphics API.

        OpenGL 4.6 was released back in July with the big addition being the Vulkan/SPIR-V ingestion support and that’s what has held up OpenGL 4.6 from being officially supported by mainline Mesa.

      • Marek Begins Working On Possible OpenGL Compatibility Profile For Mesa

        Well known open-source AMD graphics driver developer Marek Olšák has sent out patches offering ARB_compatibility support with OpenGL 3.1.

      • Feral Adding AMD_shader_info To RADV Vulkan Driver

        As further sign of Feral Interactive continuing to pursue Vulkan for their Linux games, a Feral developer today posted a patch for implementing the brand new AMD_shader_info extension for the RADV Mesa driver.

        Alex Smith of Feral posted the patch today wiring in AMD_shader_info. This AMD-developed shader information extension debuted just days ago with the Vulkan 1.0.64 update. This Vulkan extension provides a means of querying information about a compiled shader from the shader disassembly to statistics, but the extension itself places no mandates about what is exposed.

      • Freedreno Works On Context Priority Support, Plumbs Into Gallium3D

        There’s been a theme recently with the open-source graphics drivers of working on priority scheduling support from AMDGPU priority scheduling for VR use-cases and tied into RADV to Intel also allowing context priority support that in turn is exposed through EGL. The Freedreno driver has also been working on a context priority implementation.

        Rob Clark of the Freedreno project this week posted new patches for implementing context priority support for his Gallium3D driver with supported Qualcomm Adreno hardware and on a supported kernel with the MSM DRM code. The work also includes some generic Gallium3D plumbing for adding a new capability for drivers that want to expose per-context priorities. This Gallium3D driver implementation allows for low, medium, and high context priorities or for all non-Freedreno drivers right now just doesn’t expose the cap.

      • Mesa’s OpenGL KHR_no_error Support Is Now “Done”

        Mesa’s support for the OpenGL KHR_no_error extension is now treated as “done” for all drivers.

    • Benchmarks

      • RadeonSI/RADV Mesa 17.3 + AMDGPU DC vs. NVIDIA 387.12 Linux Gaming Performance

        With Mesa 17.3 now having been branched for its stable release next month and that bringing much improved RADV Radeon Vulkan performance and more mature RX Vega support along with a ton of other improvements, here is a fresh comparison of the newest open-source Radeon Linux graphics driver code compared to the latest NVIDIA Linux driver on a range of graphics cards.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • 10 Best Icon Themes For Linux

      One of the coolest things you can do to your Linux desktop is tweaking it to suit you. One key part of the tweaking process is to change your icon theme and you probably are going to want to do this as some distros ship some displeasing icon themes. Fortunately, the Linux community provides a ton of themes that you can use to turn your Linux desktop around and looking good. Let’ take a look at some ten awesome available for your desktop.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma 5.11.2

        Thursday, 24 October 2017. Today KDE releases a Bugfix update to KDE Plasma 5, versioned 5.11.2. Plasma 5.11 was released in October with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience.

      • Second KDE Plasma 5.11 Point Release Changes DPI Font to 96 on Wayland

        The KDE Project announced today the second point release of the KDE Plasma 5.11 desktop environment, versioned 5.11.2, a minor maintenance update that fixes a total of 15 bugs.

        Coming only one week after the first point release, KDE Plasma 5.11.2 addresses various issues reported by users in the Plasma Discover package manager, as well as the System Settings, Plasma Desktop, Plasma Workspace, Plasma Networkmanager (plasma-nm), Plasma Addons, and KDE GTK Config components.

      • KDE Plasma 5.8.8 LTS Desktop Environment Released with Various Improvements

        The KDE Project is announcing today the release and immediate availability for download of the eighth maintenance update to the long-term supported KDE Plasma 5.8 desktop environment.

      • Qt 5.10 Reaches Its Second Beta Milestone

        Qt 5.10 is up to its second beta milestone ahead of its expected stable debut by the end of November.

        The Qt 5.10 Beta 2 milestone is coming out on time, giving hope that Qt 5.10.0 will be officially released as scheduled on 30 November rather than being delayed as has become common for Qt5 releases.

      • Qt 5.10 Beta2 available

        Qt 5.10 beta2 is now available. Instructions how to get the release are here: https://wiki.qt.io/How_to_get_snapshot_via_online_installer.

        Please take a tour and and test the release. And please make sure all issues which must be fixed before final Qt 5.10.0 release are visible in rc blocker list (https://bugreports.qt.io/issues/?filter=18957#)

        Diff to first beta can be found as an attachment.

      • Falkon – New browser under the KDE Umbrella

        It is worth noting that the package is a “git snapshot” and is mid re-branding (it still refers to QupZilla in many places), there are many bugs/issues and the software is no-where near release quality.

      • KDE Promo Activity Report – September 28, 2017

        This is just a quick round-up to keep you in the loop and point you to KDE Promo activities that you can join.

        If you missed the previous report, or just want to refresh your memory, you can read it here.

      • GCompris Qt for Raspberry Pi

        This version for Raspberry Pi was made possible thanks to the new “light” mode that we’ve been working on (read the previous post to learn more about this new rendering mode).

        It was built and tested on Raspberry Pi 3, where it works good. Since it was not tested a lot yet, this first package is considered beta. Please report any issue you may experience with it. If you can try it on a Pi 2, please let us know the result. It was also not tested on Pi 1, but those probably don’t have enough cpu and/or ram to run it.

      • Many thanks to Linode

        Behind the scenes with Kubuntu, we build packages, then test and finally release to our users. We mostly rely on the building services provided by Canonical on Launchpad, but also are lucky enough to have services donated by some third parties. A lot of our developers are working on quite slow internet connections and when working with large source-code tarballs this takes a very long time, is painful and quite honestly leads to developers burning out.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Empowering individuals of the community – The board takes action

        This blog post is intended for GNOME Foundation members or people interested in part of our budget management. I have good news for you, the board has decided new policies to empower the individuals of our community!

      • Retro-GTK Has An Exciting Future Ahead With Many Improvements For Libretro Gaming

        GNOME developer Adrien Plazas has written a blog post about some of the big work items he’s engaged in for retro-gtk, the GNOME user-interface for running various libretro cores / game emulators.

      • Multi-threaded raw video conversion and scaling in GStreamer

        As a small helper object for this kind of processing model, I wrote GstParallelizedTaskRunner which might also be useful for other pieces of code that want to do the same.

        In the end it was not much work, but the results were satisfying. For example the conversion of 1080p to 4k video in the v210 color format with 4 threads gave a speedup of 3.2x. At that point it looks like the main bottleneck was memory bandwidth, but I didn’t look closer as this is already more than enough for the use cases I was interested in.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Chakra GNU/Linux Users Get KDE Plasma 5.11 Desktop, Latest KDE Apps & Frameworks

        The KDE Plasma 5.11 desktop environment was released only two weeks ago, and it already arrived on a number of GNU/Linux distribution, but now Chakra GNU/Linux users can install it too, the latest version of packages being 5.11.1.

        The KDE Plasma 5.11.2 maintenance update arrive today as well, but it could take a while until it hits the repositories of Chakra GNU/Linux, which now contain the latest KDE Applications 17.08.2 and KDE Frameworks 5.39.0 software stacks.

      • antiX-17 released

        A very quick announcement for now, just to let you all know that antiX-17 “Heather Heyer” is now available.

        Get the various iso files from here for now.

      • CAINE 9.0 “Quantum” is out!

        CAINE (Computer Aided INvestigative Environment) is an Italian GNU/Linux live distribution created as a Digital Forensics project
        Currently the project manager is Nanni Bassetti (Bari – Italy).
        CAINE offers a complete forensic environment that is organized to integrate existing software tools as software modules and to provide a friendly graphical interface.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Rough Edges of the ROSA Desktop Fresh R9 LXQt

        LXQt is a desktop environment that is under heavy development. Unfortunately, there are still some rough edges in it.

        ROSA Desktop Fresh R9 is not the first distribution from that team to feature LXQt. But you still can feel these rough edges here and there.

        It generally feels OK. The only major issue I can name is a problem with video playback on one of the tested sites. But there were many smaller issues. All-in-all, I would say that ROSA R9 LXQt is still a distribution for those who like to get their hands dirty, who like to help developers and who like some challenges. It is not a distribution for newbies, but a a good distribution for real Linux fans to have fun with.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE Has Been Working On An In-Kernel Boot Splash Screen For Linux

        While Plymouth has become widely-used as a bootsplash screen on most Linux systems these days and is much better off than the RHGB days, SUSE has sent out initial patches as part of their proposal for having a new in-kernel bootsplash system.

      • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications Coming to the IBM Cloud

        SUSE® today announced that SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications will be available as an operating system for SAP® solutions on the IBM Cloud. In addition, IBM Cloud is now a SUSE Cloud Service Provider, giving customers a supported open source platform that makes them more agile and reduces operating costs as they only pay for what they use.

    • Slackware Family

      • Netsurf, a lightweight browser, works on the framebuffer too

        Someone asked me to build a package for Netsurf. I had never heard of Netsurf before. It turns out that Netsurf is a cross-platform web browser which also runs on Linux. Its rendering engine is written from scratch, therefore the browser does not share code with any of the big browsers. Netsurf is actively developed and has a healthy community. A new version was released last week – 3.7.
        Functionally speaking, this browser is not as versatile or capable as other modern browsers, but its advantage is that it is small, fast, suited for low-end hardware, and more importantly: it works on the Linux framebuffer. This means that you can have a basic graphical web browser on your server console. It looks better than “links -g”.

      • Plasma5 Wayland works on Slackware

        Last year August 2016 I experimented with Wayland, the alternative to the X Window system. My goal was to see if it is possible to run a Plasma5 desktop session on a Wayland compositor instead of using X.Org.
        There was one big showstopper at the time. Kwin_wayland has a dependency on the ‘logind’ DBus API and at that time last year, this API was only provided by systemd-logind. Luckily, someone treated the logind component of systemd similarly to its udev component. Where Slackware already uses “eudev” which is a standalone udev source extracted from the systemd source, there’s also “elogind” which is the standalone logind sourcecode, extracted from systemd sourcecode. With some difficulty I managed to create a Slackware package for elogind and everything compiled. I just could not get a working Wayland session.
        As it turns out today, that failure to get Wayland working was an omission on my side… more on that later.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Proxmox 5.1 Update Rebases the Virtual Environment to Debian 9.2, Linux 4.13

          Arriving more than three months after Proxmox VE 5.0 release, Proxmox VE 5.1 is a point release adding updated components based on the upstream repositories of the Debian GNU/Linux 9.2 “Stretch” operating system, along with the Linux 4.13 kernel series and the latest Ceph 12.2 “Luminous” and ZFS 0.7.2 releases.

          “Proxmox VE 5.1 comes with production-ready Ceph cluster packages. The virtualization platform integrates Ceph v12.2 Luminous, the long-term stable release of the software-defined storage solution. Users can now implement Ceph clusters as distributed storage solution in production,” reads today’s announcement.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Beavering away at the brilliantly bionic 18.04 LTS

            Congratulations to Team *Buntu on the release of our Artful Aardvark 17.10, featuring all your favourite desktop environments, kubernetes 1.8, the latest OpenStack, and security updates for 9 months, which takes us all the way to our next enterprise release, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

            A brumous development cycle always makes for cool-headed work and brisk progress on the back of breem debate.

            As always, 18.04 LTS will represent the sum of all our interests.

            For those of you with bimodal inclinations, there’s the official upstream Kubernetes-on-Ubuntu spell for ‘conjure-up kubernetes’ with bijou multi-cloud goodness. We also have spells for OpenStack on Ubuntu and Hadoop on Ubuntu, so conjure-up is your one-stop magic shop for at-scale boffo big data, cloud and containers. Working with upstreams to enable fast deployment and operations of their stuff on all the clouds is a beamish way to spend the day.

            If your thing is bling, pick a desktop! We’ve defaulted to GNOME, but we’re the space where KDE and GNOME and MATE and many others come together to give users real and easy choice of desktops. And if you’re feeling boned by the lack of Unity in open source, you might want to hop onto the channel and join those who are updating Unity7 for the newest X and kernel graphics in 18.04.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Dubbed as the “Bionic Beaver,” Launches April 26, 2018
          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Is The “Bionic Beaver”
          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Is Named ‘Bionic Beaver’
          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is Called ‘Bionic Beaver’

            The Ubuntu 18.04 LTS name has been revealed — say hello to ‘Bionic Beaver’!

            Announcing the name with his trademark alliterative flair set firmly to full, Mark Shuttleworth says the 18.04 LTS release will “represent the sum of all our interests.”

          • Mark Shuttleworth reveals Ubuntu 18.04 LTS codename

            In the past couple of days, Canonical released its latest version of Ubuntu 17.10, now it’s time for the company to look ahead to its next release 18.04 LTS (Long Term Support). As will all versions before it, 18.04 will carry a goofy codename with it. The company’s CEO, today, announced that the upcoming release will be dubbed “Bionic Beaver”.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Will Likely Ship With Linux 4.15

            Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, the recently named “Bionic Beaver”, will most likely be shipping with a Linux 4.15-based kernel.

          • Display Network Traffic in the Ubuntu Panel with NetSpeed

            If you’re running Ubuntu 17.10 (or any distro that uses GNOME Shell) you can do so easily by installing a network monitor GNOME extension.

            A wealth of network monitor extensions are available for GNOME Shell (and by extension, excuse the pun, Ubuntu too) including ‘netmonitor‘ and ‘simple net speed‘.

            But one of my favourites (because of its sheer simplicity) is the perfectly titled NetSpeed.

          • Why Did Ubuntu Drop Unity? Mark Shuttleworth Explains

            Ubuntu’s decision to ditch Unity took all of us — even me — by surprise when announced back in April.

            Now Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth shares more details about why Ubuntu chose to drop Unity.

            And the answer might surprise…

            Actually, no; the answer probably won’t surprise you.

          • Canonical founder explains why they abandoned the Unity project for Ubuntu

            Back in April, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth, in a move that shocked everyone, announced that the company was ending support for Unity in Ubuntu. For the uninitiated, Unity was the company’s plan to build a converged Linux desktop that would work on mobile devices, desktops, and even TVs. Its latest release, Ubuntu 17.10, marks the first version of the OS to ship without Unity, employing GNOME instead. After several months of speculation, Shuttleworth has finally outed the rationale behind the decision.

          • Shuttleworth explains killing off Unity

            Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth has been telling the world+dog why he killed off Unity and it is all about getting busy, ready for an IPO.

            The Unity desktop was introduced back in 2011 and while Shuttleworth was rather keen on it, other Ubuntu fans were not.

          • Ubuntu Server Development Summary – 24 Oct 2017
          • Cinergy makes significant digital signage savings using Ubuntu Core

            Based in Dallas, Texas, Cinergy operates a chain of three cinema entertainment centres (CECs) with ambitious expansion plans. CECs are an all in one entertainment venue incorporating cinemas, restaurants, bowling and other activities such as escape rooms. With so many activities to communicate including the latest promotions and film times, Cinergy’s digital signage set up needs to be efficient, secure and effective.

          • What to Expect from the Ubuntu 17.10 Release

            One of the hottest events this month for Linux/Ubuntu users is the release of Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark). For those who are not fans of Ubuntu and Linux in general, this might be just one more release to miss, but this is a release you should take note of. The major news here is that this is the first release since Canonical decided to move away from Unity. But there is more!

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Codename and Release Date are Out Now!

            This is not surprising considering the logic behind the codename and versioning of Ubuntu releases. All Ubuntu releases are codenamed with two words, both starting with the same letter. The first word of the codename is an adjective and the second word is usually an endangered species and sometimes mythical characters. The release codenames are in incremental order as well.

          • What The Press Is Saying About Ubuntu 17.10
          • Rumble in the (open) jungle, Ubuntu 17.10

            Canonical has announced the release of the Ubuntu 17.10 operating system featuring a new GNOME desktop on Wayland and new versions of KDE, MATE and Budgie to suit a range of tastes.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Configure and Secure Linux Mint

              After finishing installing Linux Mint, you might think you’re all set and ready to go. And while Linux Mint does have some great software pre-installed, there is still some some things you need to configure and lock down. In this article, I’ll share my configuration and security setup that I recommend if you’re running Linux Mint.

            • Should You Use Linux Mint’s Debian or Standard Edition?

              At first, users might wonder why Linux Mint offers both its Ubuntu-based Linux Mint Standard Edition and the Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE). Since Debian, Linux Mint, and Ubuntu all derive from the Debian repositories, isn’t the family resemblance too close to bother?

              To the casual user, the choice may appear to be no more than the result of Linux Mint trying to accommodate as many users as possible. However, depending on your needs and preferences, you may find that one edition suits your needs more than the other.

              In general, the two editions have much in common. Both the Debian and the standard editions are available in 32- and 64-bit downloads that default to the Cinnamon or Mate desktops. Both use the same installer, and both open for the first time on desktops with similar wallpapers and tools. Both, too, can add other desktop environments from the Mint repositories that they both share. According to Linux Mint, LMDE is faster than the standard edition, but in practice the difference is slight enough that many users probably never notice.

              However, look closer, and the differences start to appear — although these difference have changed over the years. For example, it is no longer true that the LMDE is a rolling release — one that adds new packages as they become available, rather than waiting for a general release — although LMDE 1 was.

              Also, contrary to a widely circulating story, LMDE 2 is fully capable of using Ubuntu PPA repositories for packages in development. The PPAs simply have to be added as a package source in /etc/apt/. Alternatively, their packages can be downloaded and installed using the dpkg command. Since Debian and Ubuntu have been different distros for well over a decade now, you may find that some packages from PPAs are not compatible with Debian, but these cases are relatively rare, particularly if you stick to productivity applications rather than core system components.

            • Preparing for Xubuntu 18.04

              Xubuntu 17.10 was just released, but planning for Xubuntu 18.04 – the next long-term support (LTS) release – began quite some time ago. For our users, LTS releases mostly mean a system that is going to be more stable and supported for longer. For us contributors, this means a bunch of things.

              As a repercussion of the longer support cycle and the sought out stable nature of the LTS releases, we do not want to introduce (too many) new components, libraries or other technical changes, as each change has regression potential. This is also a delicate balancing act between getting bugs fixed but keeping enough things as they are.

            • Linux Mint Will Discontinue Its KDE Edition

              The Linux Mint crew has confirmed today they will be discontinuing future releases of their KDE spin following next month’s Linux Mint 18.3 release.

              Linux Mint 18.3 will be the last version of this Ubuntu-derived distribution to feature a dedicated KDE Plasma Edition.

              They are dropping their KDE support as the Linux Mint team envisions themselves as a “production distribution…a complete desktop operating system”, and as part of that focus on their own Cinnamon Desktop Environment. But they will continue their support for Cinnamon-like desktops include MATE and Xfce where their custom tools still play nicely.

            • Monthly News – October 2017
            • Linux Mint 18.3 is Adding “Full Support” For Flatpak

              Linux Mint 18.3 will have “full support” for Flatpak, the ‘next-gen’ app distribution format for Linux, the project has announced in its latest monthly newsletter.

            • Buh-bye! Linux Mint finally kills its pointless KDE Edition

              Linux Mint is a fine Ubuntu-based operating system, although I am not sure it needs to exist anymore. After all, its popularity is largely thanks to the historic disdain for Canonical’s Unity desktop environment. With the Unity DE now dead, fewer people will seek out the alternative that is Mint.

              While both the Cinnamon and Mate versions of Linux Mint are decent choices for computer users, there was one version that was always utterly bizarre — the KDE Edition. Don’t get me wrong, KDE is a fine environment, but Kubuntu already exists. Having a version of Mint using KDE was redundant and confusing. Thankfully, today, the Linux Mint team announces it is finally killing the KDE edition.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 7 open source alternatives to Dreamweaver

    Not all that many years ago, pretty much every webpage on the Internet was, at some level, designed painstakingly by hand. It was tough, and before CSS really took hold and became well supported across most common browsers, it often involved hacking a layout together by using HTML tables in a way they were never really envisioned to support.

    While some designers developed workflows completely based around manual editing of raw HTML files, the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor began to emerge as a tool of empowerment to millions of amateur and professional designers who didn’t know, or at least hadn’t mastered, the art of hypertext markup.

  • Open Source Virtual Signaling? Or, Why Do You Really Like Open Source?

    Open source software is everywhere these days — from Microsoft to government agencies to (maybe) your car. In a world where open source is so pervasive, I can’t but wonder: Do the myriad companies that now push open source really believe in it, or is it mere virtue signaling?

    This is a fair question to ask. Many of the companies that are now very publicly promoting open source were once antithetical to open source.

  • 7 years of open source: GitHub, Puppet, DataStax, Severalnines
  • Adjoint joins open source blockchain movement

    Adjoint, developer of smart contracts and distributed ledger technology for the financial industry, announced today the release of their open source platform Uplink.
    Adjoint will use this platform to propel development of domain-specific applications in the financial sector across banking, capital markets, insurance, asset management, and commodities trading.

  • Quit making these 10 common resume mistakes

    You can’t update what you can’t find. Too many people end up rewriting their entire resume from scratch because they lost the file. Do yourself a huge favor: Use a version control system for your resume and all other important files. Version control: It’s not just for code. I use GitLab for this purpose, but GitHub, BitBucket, or any other version control service will also work very well. Not only will your file stay safe and backed up, it’s also stored offsite in case of disaster or hard drive crash. Also recommended: If you use a version control service, have a private repository for your resume. Few people want to receive a pull request on their own resume.

  • Events

    • Automation within the Developer Experience Team

      Many companies that provide an API also include SDKs. At SendGrid, such SDKs send several billions of emails monthly through SendGrid’s Web API. Recently, SendGrid re-built their seven open source SDKs (Python, PHP, C#, Ruby, Node.js, Java, and Go) to support 233 API endpoints, a process which I’ll describe in my upcoming talk at APIStrat in Portland.

      Fortunately, when we started this undertaking, Matt Bernier had just launched our Developer Experience team, covering our open source documentation and libraries. I joined the team as the first Developer Experience Engineer, with a charter to manage the open source libraries in order to ensure a fast and painless integration with every API SendGrid produces.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome 62 for Android Brings Accelerated Downloads, Viewing/Copying of Passwords

        A few moments ago, Google promoted its latest Chrome 62 release to Android devices, giving users a heads up of what to expect the next time they update their favorite web browser.

        Google Chrome 62 was promoted last week to the stable channel for Mac, GNU/Linux, and Windows devices, a rather smaller update that introduces a more aggressive “Not secure” warning for websites that are still using the HTTP protocol instead of the more secure HTTPS one, along with support for OpenType Variable Fonts.

  • Databases

    • SQLite Release 3.21.0 On 2017-10-24
    • SQLite 3.21 Picks Up F2FS Atomic Write Support

      SQLite 3.21 is now out as the newest feature release for this widely-used embedded database library.

      The first feature up for SQLite 3.21 when running atop the Flash-Friendly File-System and with SQLite built with batch atomic write enabled, it now supports the atomic-write capabilities of F2FS. This mode should yield “greatly reduced” transaction overhead. F2FS is the first file-system supporting batch atomic write behavior for SQLite and then doesn’t write to the rollback journal for making transactions up to twice as fast while reducing SSD wear and tear.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Flexibility, Choice, and Open Source Drive Oracle’s Cloud Focus

      Developer ecosystems grow and thrive in a vibrant and supported community – something Oracle believes in, has invested in, and continues to invest in with projects including EE4J, OpenJDK, MySQL, GlassFish, Java, Linux, PHP, Apache, Eclipse, Berkeley DB, NetBeans, VirtualBox, and Xen. This required significant investment in resources for developing, testing, optimizing, and supporting these open source technologies. As a Platinum member of the Linux Foundation and a member since day one, Oracle participates in a number of other Linux Foundation projects, including the Open Container Initiative (OCI), Xen Project, Hyplerledger, Automotive Grade Linux, and the R Consortium.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • pfSense 2.4.1-RELEASE Now Available

      We are excited to announce the release of pfSense® software version 2.4.1, now available for new installations and upgrades!

      pfSense software version 2.4.1 is a maintenance release bringing security patches and stability fixes for issues discovered in pfSense 2.4.0-RELEASE.

      pfSense 2.4.1-RELEASE updates and installation images are available now!

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • FSFE Newsletter – October 2017

      The EU is currently revising its copyright rules in its proposal for the EU Copyright Directive in the Digital Single Market, so that they may be more suitable for the modern digital age. Instead of recognising the realities of how different content is being shared online, the current EU Copyright Directive proposal, and in particular its Article 13 targeted at online hosting providers, threatens our ability to access public code repositories and share code online. The new rules enshrined in Article 13 intend to introduce new obligations for code hosting platforms in order to prevent any possible copyright infringement: if they do not implement these, the platforms will end up being directly liable for their users’ activity. [...]

    • Glibc 2.27 Will Premiere With Many Optimizations

      When glibc 2.26 was released in August it was a noteworthy release with plenty of optimizations and introduced its own per-thread cache. With the next installment of the GNU C Library there will also be many more optimizations.

      A few days back I wrote about more functions receiving FMA optimizations including powerf/logf/exp2f/log2f. That article also mentioned how replacing some old Assembly versions of functions with generic C code has also resulted in significant performance improvements. That’s not all.

    • Intel Pushes More GCC Patches For New Instructions On Icelake Processors

      Intel has published more patches for supporting new instruction set extensions that will debut with “Ice Lake” processors when launched in late 2018 or early 2019.

      Besides Intel recently landing CET support in GCC as the Control-flow Enforcement Technology, their compiler engineers have been working on supporting the other instruction set extensions coming with Icelake processors, which is the successor to the next-gen Cannonlake CPUs.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Public Money, Public Code: Show Your Support For Free Software in Europe

      The global movement for open access to publicly-funded research stems from the sensible proposition that if the government has used taxpayers’ money to fund research, the publication of the results of that research should be freely-licensed. Exactly the same rationale underpins the argument that software code that the government has funded to be written should be made available as Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Public Money, Public Code is a campaign of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) that seeks to transform that ideal into European law.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • PredictionIO, open-source software for building machine learning apps, gets Apache top-level status

      The Apache Software Foundation said today that it’s designating open-source machine learning software first developed by Salesforce.com Inc. as its latest top-level project.

    • Open-Source ML Server Gets Apache Promotion

      The pace of machine learning technology development got another boost this week with the announcement that an open source platform donated last year by Salesforce has been promoted by the Apache Foundation.

      Apache PredictionIO, designated a “top-level” project on Tuesday (Oct. 24), aims to democratize machine learning by giving developers a full stack for creating intelligent applications that could be deployed in production “without having to cobble together underlying technologies,” said Simon Chan, founder of Prediction IO who now services as senior director for Salesforce’s AI initiative called Einstein.

    • Eclipse Foundation Prepares to Open Source Java EE as EE4J

      Milinkovich also noted it will take time to get all this accomplished and interaction with the Java community still needs to be defined. Eclipse has created the ee4j-community mailing list and developers are encouraged to provide feedback and to contribute.

    • Android Studio 3.0 Released With Kotlin Support, Java 8 Features

      Google today has pushed out Android Studio 3.0 as the latest stable release of this integrated development environment for their mobile operating system.

    • Databricks Delta, SciPy 1.0, and Neo4j’s Native Graph Platform
    • 4 steps to solving any software problem

      These are the steps I take to solve problems when coding, and the ones I try to impart to students and junior developers when I’m helping them with an issue. I’d like to see more coding education programs—whether in academic computer science, bootcamps, or self-paced tutorials—provide their own instructions on this process. The exact process will depend on the person, the organization, and the work they’re doing—but knowing how to solve problems is a foundational skill to being a programmer. If you work with students or less experienced developers, see what you can do to help them develop this skill.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Singapore freezes private car ownership to fight congestion

      Singapore is capping the number of private passenger cars allowed on its streets, the city’s transportation regulator announced on Monday.

      Singapore is a city of 5.6 million people packed into an area smaller than New York City. Like any big city it has to worry about traffic congestion, but as a sovereign city-state it is able to take more extreme measures than most cities.

      To own a car in Singapore, you need a certificate of entitlement from the Singapore government. The supply is limited, and certificates are distributed by auction. Each year, the government sets a target for the growth of private vehicles and auctions off a corresponding number of certificates. Next year, the growth target will be zero.

  • Finance

    • Congress Votes to Overturn CFPB Arbitration Rule

      Congress overturned a rule by an Obama-appointed financial regulator that would have made it easier for consumers to sue banks in groups, with Vice President Mike Pence casting a tiebreaking vote in the Senate.

      The 51-50 vote handed the financial industry its most significant legislative victory since President Donald Trump took office and was a rebuke of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, who pressed ahead with his agenda in defiance of Republicans.

    • FAO Calls On WTO Ministerial Conference To Protect Small Farmers

      As the biennial World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference is drawing closer, a number of stakeholders are pushing for their priorities to be heard. For its part, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has called on WTO members to protect smallholder farmers.

      In a 24 October press release, FAO director general José Graziano da Silva said ongoing international trade negotiations should focus on global trade agreements, harmonised food safety standards and measures that benefit rather than harm poor family farmers in the developing world.

    • No Progress On WTO Appellate Body Appointments As Ranks Thinning

      The imbroglio which might cause a major impediment to the World Trade Organization’s functioning is thickening as the United States continues to block the selection process to fill vacancies in the WTO Appellate Body, according to sources.

      The WTO Appellate Body is a standing body of seven members appointed by the WHO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), who hear appeals from reports issued by panels in disputes brought by WTO members, according to the WTO.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Pence breaks tie as Senate votes to repeal banking rule

      Vice President Pence cast the final vote to break a 50-50 tie. The banking industry had been lobbying hard to roll back the regulation from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The bureau had moved to ban most types of mandatory arbitration clauses found in the fine print of agreements consumers often enter into when opening a checking account or getting a credit card.

    • Jeff Flake’s full speech announcing he won’t run for re-election

      None of these appalling features of our current politics should ever be regarded as normal. We must never allow ourselves to lapse into thinking that this is just the way things are now. If we simply become inured to this condition, thinking that this is just politics as usual, then heaven help us. Without fear of the consequences, and without consideration of the rules of what is politically safe or palatable, we must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. They are not normal.

    • Jeff Flake’s Call of Conscience Will Not Be Answered by Soulless Republicans

      If a president is dangerous, he should be checked and balanced by Congress. But this Republican Congress still chooses partisanship over principle.

    • The “Nuclear Option” In The United States Senate

      This is the final proof that USA needs more than a “two-party” system. Clearly there are more than two views on just about everything and the dispossessed politically are not participating in the so-called democracy of USA. The Democrats have an extremely liberal wing pushing for single-payer healthcare. The Democrats have a centrist group who mostly seek individual liberty and support for the disadvantaged. The GOP have a centrist group who mostly seek individual liberty and want to curtail government to a large extent. The GOP also have an extreme group who want to return to the Stone Age of government where it was about armies and holding territory and little else. Why aren’t there four parties or more representing four segments of society? Isn’t that more democratic than having a tyrant in the Oval Office and a bunch of sycophants in the Senate? There isn’t even a hint of “bipartisan” legislative action there, just constipation.

    • Under Trump, U.S. Passport Value for Global Travel Is Plummeting
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Russian Site-Blocking Chiefs Under Investigation For Fraud

      A scandal is emerging in Russia after several officials of Russian site-blocking body Rozcomnadzor were charged with fraud. Those arrested include the watchdog’s spokesman and top lawyer, both of whom have been placed under house arrest. It’s alleged that the telecoms authority ‘employed’ ghost staff whose salaries were actually paid to existing employees, on top of their own money.

    • Facebook ‘pay to play’ test leaves publishers panicking

      In a nutshell, the experiment is a localised test taking place in Bolivia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Serbia, Slovakia and Sri Lanka that splits brand content into its own ‘Explore’ tab, leaving the News Feed for personal (friends and family) and sponsored posts.

    • What’s Worse: Censorship By Government Or Google?

      he First Amendment was crafted in an era when the government was the most powerful entity on Earth. That’s no longer necessarily true.

      Sure, when it comes to physical power, the government reigns supreme. Nobody can compete with an institution legally allowed to possess tanks, hellfire missiles, and nuclear bombs. But in the arena of information, agencies like the CIA and FBI no longer remain unchallenged. Instead, internet companies like Google and activist websites like Wikileaks have become the global gatekeepers of knowledge.

    • ‘Cinema and post-censor censorship’

      With the BJP objecting to “incorrect references” in Vijay’s Mersal, here’s a look at some films that hit a roadblock due to objections raised by political parties and groups, before and after they hit the screens.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ‘The Bureau Is Once Again Profiling Black Activists Because of Their Beliefs and Their Race’

      Demonstrations continue in St. Louis, Missouri, over the acquittal of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley of first degree murder charges in the 2011 killing of Anthony Lamar Smith. Very likely some protesters would tell you they are distraught and angry, not just about this case, but about the undeniable fact that US law enforcement rarely pay any penalty for murdering black people, whatever the circumstance. According to an FBI intelligence assessment recently leaked to Foreign Policy, that may make those people “black identity extremists.”

    • We Sued for Records About Trump’s Muslim Bans. Here’s What We Found Out.

      You may remember that shortly after the first Muslim Ban was announced, public confusion erupted about whether or not it applied to lawful permanent residents (LPRs). But it wasn’t only the public that felt confused — top government officials did, too. These documents reveal deep confusion among DHS agencies on this question.

      Hours after the first Muslim Ban came down on January 27, Acting Commissioner of CBP Kevin McAleenan wrote to officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to ask, “Was it your understanding that the EO was intended to apply to LPRs?” Gene Hamilton, senior counselor to DHS, responded, “They should generally be provided the case-by-case exemption . . . provided that it is in the national interest to do so.” And McAleenan replied, “Understood. We want to faithfully and quickly execute the EO, but want everyone to know that this guidance changes our status.” In other words, Hamilton’s answer is not what McAleenan expected. Indeed, reflecting this, McAleenan’s estimate of affected travelers more than tripled from 175 to 600-800 individuals per day upon hearing that LPRs should be included in the estimate.

    • Robert Scoble: I didn’t sexually harass women as I lacked power over them

      In a Wednesday blog post, Robert Scoble, the Silicon Valley pundit who was recently publicly accused of sexual assault and harassment, now claims that he didn’t sexually harass anyone because they were never his employees.
      “I don’t have employees, I don’t cut checks for investment,” he wrote. “None of the women who came forward were ever in a position where I could make or break their careers. Sexual Harassment requires that I have such power.”

      [...]

      Joanna Grossman, a law professor at Southern Methodist University who has written extensively on this issue, told Ars that Scoble’s understanding of the law is “just wrong.”

      “Power in general isn’t what matters,” she said. “There is no requirement that the harasser have power or any specific relationship with the person.”

      Another law professor, Susan Carle, of American University, told Ars that Scoble’s claims are only correct in a very narrow sense—Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, a federal law that specifically deals with an employee-employer relationship.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Health Group Challenges Gilead Patents In The US On Grounds Of Lack Of Novelty

      A health advocacy group today announced that it has challenged a set of United States patents for a hepatitis C medicine. The group says drug maker Gilead Sciences has obtained unmerited patents for sofosbuvir, blocking millions of US patients from affordable treatment.

      The Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK) filed the first-ever set of US patent challenges against sofosbuvir with the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board. The group challenged six patents, arguing that sofosbuvir’s patents do not meet patentability criteria such as novelty and non-obviousness, according to a press release.

    • Teva v Gilead: Swiss court bashes ECJ on SPC “mess”

      As reported on the SPC Blog, on 3 October 2017, the Swiss Federal Patent Court issued a judgment confirming the validity of Gilead’s Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC) for a composition containing tenofovir disoproxil with emtricitabine (marketed as TRUVADA). The UK arm of the same dispute has led Arnold J to refer a question to the ECJ (“What are the criteria for deciding whether ‘the product is protected by a basic patent in force’ in Article 3(a) of the SPC Regulation?”, [2017] EWHC 13 (Pat)).

      Teva (or rather Mepha, its Swiss subsidiary) sought a declaration of invalidity of Gilead’s Swiss SPC for the combination of tenofovir disoproxil and emtricitabine. It did not attack the validity of the base patent EP 915 894. Neither was it disputed that a generic of TRUVADA would infringe the (expired) base patent and that Gilead’s SPC was therefore valid under the infringement test.

      The base patent explicitly mentions tenofovir disoproxil, but not emtricitabine. Teva argued that Switzerland should abandon the infringement test traditionally employed (BGE 124 III 375 – Fosinopril) in favour of the ECJ’s “core inventive advance” test. Applied to the combination of tenofovir disoproxil and emtricitabine, this would lead to the nullity of the SPC (Arnold J concurs).

    • Qatar WTO Dispute Case: IP Issue Or National Security?

      The United Arab Emirates (UAE) this week blocked the first request by Qatar for a World Trade Organization dispute settlement panel to rule on measures by UAE that Qatar alleges interfere with trade in goods and services and with protection of Qatar’s intellectual property rights. Neighbouring countries say they have taken actions out of concern that Qatar is providing financial support for terrorist groups.

    • Epson delete competing Ebay ink listings citing patent claims

      Epson are alleging that certain compatible ink cartridges infringe their patents B2433473 and amendment GB2465293. The alleged infringement concerns the alignment of chip contacts on their cartridges. So far, we know Epson have issued takedowns against compatible cartridges T16 XL; T18 XL; T24 XL; T26 XL; T27 XL; T29 XL; T33 XL plus T0715 XL; T0797 XL; T0807 XL.

      [...]

      At this stage, we cannot know if there is any merit to the Epson’s claim that these compatible cartridges infringe their patents but using patents in this way would undermine the legal regime that protects production of compatible products, including components, such as ink cartridges. That would be extremely bad for consumers.

    • Copyrights

10.24.17

Links 24/10/2017: GTK+ 3.92, ArchLabs 2017.10

Posted in News Roundup at 11:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • PC-MOS/386 is the latest obsolete operating system to open source on Github

    PC-MOS/386 was first announced by The Software Link in 1986 and was released in early 1987. It was capable of working on any x86 computer (though the Intel 80386 was its target market). However, some later chips became incompatible because they didn’t have the necessary memory management unit.

    It had a dedicated following but also contained a couple of design flaws that made it slow and/or expensive to run. Add to that the fact it had a Y2K bug that manifested on 31 July 2012, after which any files created wouldn’t work, and it’s not surprising that it didn’t become the gold standard. The last copyright date listed is 1992, although some users have claimed to be using it far longer.

  • PC-MOS operating system goes open source (30 years after release)

    These days if you’re using a desktop computer you’re probably running Windows, although there’s also a good chance you’re using OS X or maybe Chrome OS or one of a number of GNU/Linux distributions. But back in the 80s, it’s wasn’t really clear who the dominant players of the future would be.

  • MS-DOS variant PC-MOS/386 reborn as open source

    Do you still long to run WordPerfect 5.1, Lotus 1-2-3 4, or Doom on DOS? Well, if you do, there’s a new way to revisit the PC world of the 1980s: The newly open-sourced PC-MOS/386 v501.

    PC-MOS, for those who weren’t around in 1987, was a multi-user MS-DOS clone by Norcross, GA’s The Software Link. It ran most standard DOS and 386′s protected mode applications. I reviewed it back in the day — although I can’t find my article from Computer Digest, a Washington DC regional general interest computer newspaper, I recall it worked well.

  • Open Source Initiative, and Open Source Software Movement Celebrate Twenty Years

    The Open Source Initiative® (OSI), the global non-profit dedicated to raising awareness and adoption of open source software, announced today plans for the “Open Source 20th Anniversary World Tour” to run through 2018.

    Open source software is now ubiquitous, recognized across industries as a fundamental component to infrastructure, as well as a critical factor for driving innovation. Over the past twenty years, the OSI has worked to promote and protect open source software, development, and communities, championing software freedom in society through education, collaboration, and infrastructure, stewarding the Open Source Definition (OSD), and preventing abuse of the ideals and ethos inherent to the open source movement.

  • ErosCoin – An open source solution for blockchain payment industries

    Possibly the largest single factor currently holding cryptocurrencies back from mass adoption is their difficulty of use for the average person. While Bitcoin and Ethereum both provide the ability to transfer value quickly and securely without borders, they both suffer from a steep learning curve, which limits interest from merchants, consumers and payment providers, and restricts growth of their platforms. EROSCOIN is setting out to create a new blockchain that is very significantly differentiated from other existing cryptocurrencies, giving the industry a payment solution that can help to expand the ecosystem and expand user adoption.

  • 7 years of open source: Cloud Foundry, DiffBlue & Quest
  • Rackspace kills discount cloud hosting for open source projects

    Rackspace has announced it will no longer be offering discounts on hosting for open source projects, although it will only apply to new customers rather than those with projects already up and running on the platform.

  • Google Debuts Software to Open Up Quantum Computers for Chemists

    The software, which is open-source and free to use, could be used by chemists and material scientists to adapt algorithms and equations to run on quantum computers.

  • How Open Source boosts the Big Data-Driven Business

    Open Source offers fertile ground for digital transformation. Though Open Source revolutionised software, it now has an impact in larger business fields and this phenomenon is way older than the Big Data revolution we are currently living through.

    Open Source refers to software licenses that can be freely redistributed, accessed and utilised to create derivative works. The source code is made available for the public and often results from collaboration between programmers.

  • Polhemspriset 2017

    I accept this prize, not as a single inventor or brilliant mind of anything, but like the captain of a boat with a large and varying crew without whom I would never have reached this far. I’m excited that the nominee board found me and our merry project and that they were open-minded enough to see and realize the value and position of an open source project that is used literally everywhere. I feel deeply honored.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla and Tactical Technology bring The Glass Room to London

        The Glass Room’s sleek, minimalist storefront located in London’s busy West End is no accident. Shoppers may enter with an expectation to browse and buy the latest technology, yet they leave with a greater understanding that for many companies, we have become the product and our personal data has become a commodity.

  • Databases

    • Neo4j Donates Cypher for Apache Spark to openCypher project: Open Source Contribution Makes ‘SQL for Graphs’ Available on Apache Spark

      Neo4j, the market leader in connected data, today announced that it has donated an early version of Cypher for Apache™ Spark® (CAPS) language toolkit to the openCypher project. This contribution will allow big data analysts to incorporate graph querying in their workflows, making it easier to bring graph algorithms to bear, dramatically broadening how they reveal connections in their data. Developers of Spark applications now join the users of Neo4j, SAP HANA, Redis Graph and AgensGraph, among others, in gaining access to Cypher, the leading declarative property graph query language. This also expands the tooling available to any developer, under Apache 2.0 licenses from the openCypher project.

    • VoltDB Extends Open Source Capabilities for Development of Real-Time Applications

      VoltDB, the enterprise-class translytical database that powers business-critical applications, today announced it is expanding its open source licensing to enable developers to rapidly build, test and deploy real-time applications with the VoltDB data platform. Developers can now access the power of the VoltDB platform with no additional fees, reducing the cost of application development and accelerating the testing and deployment of more advanced database capabilities in production environments.

  • Healthcare

    • Open Source Helps Healthcare Orgs Adapt to IT Advancements

      Open source software is gaining popularity in healthcare as organizations use it to quickly adopt new technology that further advances IT solutions. This continued adoption encourages vendors to offer open source software to help meet the IT demand.

      PrismTech recently announced that it’s expanding its Vortex data distribution service (DDS) to include an open source option, Eclipse Cyclone. Users have access to the full source code supported by the Eclipse Foundation.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Richard Stallman – One Of My Favorites (GNU/Linux)

      Renowned programmer and promoter of free software *, Richard Stallman developed many flagship software, notably those underlying the GNU project and the general public license known by the acronym GPL, which he wrote with the lawyer Eben Moglen and the collaboration of Roland McGrath.

      This program was at the origin of the flowering of the Wiki, initiated by Ward Cunningham in 1995, modifiable websites constructed by the community of the Internet users, such as Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Stallman was also the author of the term copyleft in ironical reference to the notion of copyright that he was fighting.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • How open government is helping with hurricane relief

      Just weeks after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, two more “unprecedented” hurricanes made their way to the southeastern United States. Although changes in Hurricane Irma’s path spared Florida from the bulk of the damage, both Irma and Maria directly hit Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Hurricane Maria was particularly devastating for the more than 3.5 million American citizens living in these U.S. Caribbean territories. The CEO of Puerto Rico’s sole electric company indicated that the grid had been “basically destroyed.” Without electricity, communications were severely limited.

      In the aftermath of a natural disaster, embracing open government principles—such as open data, collaboration between citizens and government, and transparency—can save lives.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

  • Programming/Development

    • Center stage: Best practices for staging environments

      We’re talking about staging because no one talks about it. It’s mentioned in passing as the annoying sidekick to production. It’s the expected and completely necessary part of the deployment cycle barely touched by schools or internships. It’s considered such an obvious part of architecture that no one mentions it, no one details it, many people do it wrong—and some don’t do it at all.

    • Testing javascript in a dockerized rails application with rspec-rails
    • Learning Data Science

      In my last few articles, I’ve written about data science and machine learning. In case my enthusiasm wasn’t obvious from my writing, let me say it plainly: it has been a long time since I last encountered a technology that was so poised to revolutionize the world in which we live.

      Think about it: you can download, install and use open-source data science libraries, for free. You can download rich data sets on nearly every possible topic you can imagine, for free. You can analyze that data, publish it on a blog, and get reactions from governments and companies.

      I remember learning in high school that the difference between freedom of speech and freedom of the press is that not everyone has a printing press. Not only has the internet provided everyone with the equivalent of a printing press, but it has given us the power to perform the sort of analysis that until recently was exclusively available to governments and wealthy corporations.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Suicide Attacks in Afghanistan Cap Bloody Week in Which 250 Killed

      In Afghanistan, a suicide bomber ambushed Afghan army cadets as they left their base in Kabul Saturday, killing 15 of them. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing, as well as a rocket attack earlier in the day on a military base used by the U.S.-led coalition. On Friday, a suicide bomber attacked a Shia mosque in Kabul, killing 56 people and wounding 55 others during prayers. ISIS claimed responsibility for that attack. Separately, an attack on a Sunni mosque in central Afghanistan’s Ghor province killed 20 people. The attacks capped a week of violence that saw more than 250 people killed across Afghanistan.

    • Somalia: Roadside Bomb Attack Kills 11 Civilians

      In Somalia, a roadside bomb exploded Sunday south of the capital Mogadishu, tearing through a minibus and killing at least 11 people. A witness said he saw a Somali military vehicle pass near the time of the explosion and that the civilians were probably killed in error. There’s been no claim of responsibility for the attack, which came a week after a bombing in Mogadishu killed at least 358 people and wounded hundreds of others.

    • NYT Laments ‘Forever Wars’ Its Editorials Helped Create

      Corporate media have a long history of lamenting wars they themselves helped sell the American public, but it’s rare so many wars and so much hypocrisy are distilled into one editorial. On Monday, the New York Times (10/22/17) lamented the expansion of America’s “forever wars” overseas, without once noting that every war mentioned is one the editorial board has itself endorsed, while failing to oppose any of the “engagements” touched on in the editorial.

      [...]

      When confronted with this fact on Twitter, New York Times foreign and defense policy editorial writer Carol Giacomo responded, “In last decade, NYT editorial board has raised many questions about US military engagements.” Raised many questions? Well, then, never mind; let’s leave the Times’ role in the creation of said global empire unexamined.

    • Report: Middle East the primary destination for record Finnish arms exports in 2016

      Finnish materiel exports reached a record 133.4 million euros in 2016, according to the SaferGlobe peace and security think tank. The organisation said Monday that the bulk of exports – some 84 million euros — were sold to countries in the Middle East.

      Last year’s record sales includes a major deal including 40 8×8 Armored Modular Vehicles, sold by Finnish defence contractor Patria to the United Arab Emirates.

      “Finland has long had ambitions to stimulate exports to the Middle East. They have been realised,” said SaferGlobe researcher Kari Paasonen.

    • Villagers Suspected of Luring US Soldiers into Niger Ambush

      A local official and an analyst say residents of the Niger village where four U.S. soldiers were killed this month may have delayed the soldiers while an ambush was set up and helped to lead the victims into a deadly trap.

      “The attackers, the bandits, the terrorists have never lacked accomplices among local populations,” said Almou Hassane, mayor of Tongo-Tongo where the attack took place, in what is believed to be his first interview with a Western news organization.

      The village chief in Tongo-Tongo, Mounkaila Alassane, has been arrested since the attack, Hassane said, lending credibility to the suspicion of local involvement. He is in government custody, according to several officials.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Pirate Party Wins Big in Czech Parliament Elections

      The Czech Pirate Party has booked a significant win in local parliamentary elections. With more than ten percent of the total vote, the Pirates became the third largest party in the country, entering parliament with 22 seats. With its newly gained power, the party hopes to overhaul copyright legislation, fight corruption, and abolish Internet censorship, among other things.

    • Democrats Plan to Name Lobbyists, Operatives Superdelegates

      The new members-at-large of the Democratic National Committee will vote on party rules and in 2020 will be convention delegates free to vote for a primary candidate of their choice. They include lobbyists for Venezuela’s national petroleum company and for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., according to a list obtained by Bloomberg News. At least three of the people worked for either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in 2016 while also casting ballots as superdelegates.

    • The DNC picked a bunch of sleazy lobbyists as superdelegates, can’t figure out why no one is donating

      The 2018 “superdelegates” to the Democratic National Convention will include lobbyists for Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp, CITGO petroleum, Citigroup, and other large corporations.

    • DNC enters 2018 in cash panic
    • Now we know: the right is as PC as the left
    • CNN takes aim at President Donald Trump and his TV surrogates’ lies in a stunning ad

      “This is an apple,” the ad begins with a red apple on a white screen. “Some people might try to tell you it’s a banana. They might scream, ‘Banana, banana, banana,’ over and over again. They might put banana in all caps. You might even start to believe this is a banana. But it’s not. This is an apple.”

      The words “facts first,” then flash on the screen before the CNN logo.

    • Congress: Trump Won’t Implement Russia Sanctions—and He Won’t Tell Us Why

      When Congress sent President Donald Trump a bill in July that slapped new sanctions on Russia, the president signed the legislation reluctantly while lambasting it as an example of congressional overreach.

      The administration has since blown past an October 1 deadline to implement the sanctions. Lawmakers are now searching for answers as to whether the president is even planning to follow the law that they passed and he signed.

      “If they don’t cooperate, then further actions need to be taken,” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told The Daily Beast on Monday. The Arizona senator, who chairs the powerful Armed Services Committee and has spoken out against the White House on its attitude toward Moscow, said the administration has left him in the dark.

    • “Useful Idiots”

      Yet another trans-Atlantic think tank has cranked out a report attacking Russia, and yet again the focus of their ire is RT.com.

      Of course, all media outlets get attacked for “propaganda” (you should see the Daily Mail BTL comments about the BBC!), but this particular play book is getting old.

    • Russian Trolling of US Social Media May Have Been Much Greater Than We Thought
    • FCC Likely To Use Thanksgiving Holiday To Hide Its Unpopular Plan To Kill Net Neutrality

      Consumer groups believe that the FCC is planning to formally unveil its unpopular plan to gut net neutrality the day before Thanksgiving, apparently in the hopes of burying media backlash in the hustle and bustle of holiday preparation. At that time, the FCC is expected to not only unveil the core text of their Orwell-inspired “Restore Internet Freedom” proposal, but schedule a formal date for the inevitable, final vote to kill the rules.

      While announcing bad news right before a holiday works in some instances, net neutrality has been such a hot-button topic for so long, the ploy isn’t likely to soften criticism of Trump or the FCC in the slightest. These fairly modest consumer protections have broad, bipartisan support, since our collective disdain for uncompetitive giants like Comcast tends to bridge even the starkest partisan divide. Eliminating these rules is, by any measure, little more than a brazen gift to one of the least competitive and least popular industries in America, and anybody telling you otherwise is either financially conflicted or misinformed.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • FBI director: Unbreakable encryption is a “huge, huge problem”

      FBI Director Christopher Wray told a conference of law enforcement officials on Sunday that he and his colleagues have been unable to open nearly 7,000 digital devices in the first 11 months of the 2017 fiscal year.

      “To put it mildly, this is a huge, huge problem,” Wray said at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Philadelphia, according to the Associated Press. “It impacts investigations across the board—narcotics, human trafficking, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, gangs, organized crime, child exploitation.”

      Wray’s remarks come less than two weeks after another top law enforcement official, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, called for “responsible encryption”—a seemingly magical method by which only law enforcement would be able to defeat the encryption on a digitally locked device.

    • How Silicon Valley’s Dirty Tricks Helped Stall Broadband Privacy in California

      Across the country, state lawmakers are fighting to restore the Internet privacy rights of their constituents that Congress and the President misguidedly repealed earlier this year. The facts and public opinion are on their side, but the recent battle to pass California’s broadband privacy bill, A.B. 375, suggests that they will face a massive misinformation campaign launched by the telecom lobby and, sadly, joined by major tech companies.

      The tech industry lent their support to a host of misleading scare tactics.

    • FBI Director Wray is Wrong About Section 702 Surveillance

      Newly-minted FBI Director Christopher Wray threw out several justifications for the continued, warrantless government search of American communications. He’s wrong on all accounts.

      In a presentation hosted by The Heritage Foundation, Wray warned of a metaphorical policy “wall” that, more than 15 years ago, stood between the U.S. government’s multiple intelligence-gathering agencies. That wall prevented quick data sharing, he said. It prevented quick “dot-connecting” to match threats to actors, he said. And, he said, it partly prevented the U.S. from stopping the September 11 attacks.

      “When people, now, sit back and say, ‘Three thousand people died on 9/11, how could the U.S. government let this happen?’” Wray said. “And one of the answers is, well, they had this wall.”

    • Senators want to reform a surveillance law before Trump renews it
    • Closing Section 702’s Front-Door Search Loophole: A Critical Protection for Americans
    • Latest FISA Amendments Act 702 surveillance legislation: SSCI, HJC

      Lots of legislative action on FISA Amendments Act Section 702 warrantless surveillance is happening with drafts that are not public even though they are not classifed. Here are some.

      The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on October 24, 2017, will mark up – behind closed doors – a bill being pushed by its chairman, Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina. Burr isn’t showing his draft to the public, and not clear what it will look like when the hearing is done, but here is a copy of the draft legislation, with annotations, heading into that hearing.

    • Apple Pay now in 20 markets, nabs 90% of all mobile contactless transactions where active

      Bailey also announced that the service is launching in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the UAE in the next few days, bringing the total number of countries where it is used up to 20. And she said that 4,000 issuers worldwide now work with the wallet (that is, there are now 4,000 credit and debit card issuers whose cards can now be uploaded to and used via Apple Pay).

    • No subsidised food without Aadhaar for Jharkahnd’s poor: Reality check reveals ugly details

      Jharkhand’s poor are being denied subsidised supplies under the public distribution system for not linking Aadhaar to their ration cards.

    • Linking your bank account with Aadhaar is mandatory, here’s what happens if you don’t

      Turns out you have to link your bank account with Aadhaar after all. The Reserve Bank of India on Saturday stepped in to strike down news reports that claimed, quoting an RTI reply, it was not necessary to link the 12-digit biometric identification number with bank accounts, saying the directive remained in force under anti-money laundering rules.

      So, the December 31 deadline stays put for now.

    • U.S. Will Curb ‘Sneak-and-Peek’ Searches Microsoft Sued Over
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Stand Up Against Bullying, or We All Lose

      I have never liked bullies. I still don’t.

      A few weeks ago, while coaching my daughter’s under-10 soccer team, we encountered a referee who was a bully. During the championship game of a tournament, this referee did not exhibit professionalism or mutual respect toward our team and sideline. Over the course of the game, he showed bias against our players and the parents of the players. He made multiple incorrect calls and affected the flow of the game. His actions may have influenced the outcome of the game, which we lost by one goal, 5-4, in overtime.

      Our team—nine girls under the age of 10—was heartbroken. They had played their hearts out to reach the championship game, winning four games over the course of a blazing hot Sunday. Tears started to flow.

      The head coach of our team and I attempted to console the girls. We did not make excuses or blame the referee. We used the loss as a teachable moment. “Sometimes in sports, as in life, we face obstacles outside of our control,” we explained. “We have to overcome these challenges to succeed. We have to find a way to win. We don’t always get the result we want. But in failure, we have to remember that the journey is the reward and learn from the experience to become better.”

    • L.A. Times: 38 Women Accuse Director James Toback of Sexual Misconduct

      Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reports that 38 women are accusing Hollywood screenwriter and director James Toback of sexual assault and harassment. In separate interviews, the women describe how Toback would lure them to a hotel room or movie trailer with the promise of making them a Hollywood star, before masturbating in front of them or making unwanted sexual contact. Toback denied the charges, telling the L.A. Times he had never met any of the 38 women, or if he had, he didn’t remember them.

    • [Older] We Snuck into Seattle’s Super Secret White Nationalist Convention

      Virtually every time I use the word “Nazi” I’m using it as an insult. In the world of millennial white nationalism, there aren’t a ton of people who actually self-identify as Nazis. Despite usually agreeing with everything the Nazis did and believing the Holocaust is just “anti-white propaganda,” they always claim a technical reason for why they aren’t “National Socialists.” None of these reasons would ever make sense to anybody outside the community and “I’m not a Nazi, but” is one of the most common white nationalist recruitment tricks to have people hear them out.

    • Here’s How Prison and Jail Systems Brutalize Women, Especially Mothers

      Nearly 220,000 women are incarcerated in the United States, leaving too many children without their mom.

    • Police body cams had no “statistically significant effect” in DC

      To conduct the study, researchers identified officers across the seven metro police districts that fit a specific criteria: the officer had to have active, full duty administrative status without a scheduled leave of absence during the study; the officer had to hold a rank of sergeant or below; and the officer had to be assigned to patrol duties in a patrol district or to a non-administrative role at a police station. From there, officers were split into control (no body cams) and treatment groups. “Our sample consisted of 2,224 MPD members, with 1,035 members assigned to the control group, and 1,189 members assigned to the treatment group,” the study notes.

      The study (PDF) then measured four outcome factors: reported uses of force, civilian complaints, policing activities (which includes tickets, warnings, arrests, etc.), and judicial outcomes, specifically whether MPD arrest charges led to prosecutions.

      DC Police Chief Peter Newsham told NPR that everybody was expecting a different conclusion about the agency’s $5.1 million program. “I think we’re surprised by the result. I think a lot of people were suggesting that the body-worn cameras would change behavior. There was no indication that the cameras changed behavior at all.”

    • 11 arrested, water cannon deployed as Orthodox Jews protest military draft in Jerusalem (VIDEO)

      The tensions escalated after some 45 students of yeshiva – an institution where Jewish religious texts are taught – were arrested and still remain in military prison for failing to show up for the draft or obtain the military service exemptions.

      The Jerusalem Faction leader, Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, has told the youths to refrain from getting exemptions and cooperating with the military in any other way. The move made hundreds of young men in the area eligible for arrest on charges of dodging conscription.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Cisco Buys Software Maker BroadSoft for About $1.9 Billion
    • An Over-The-Top Approach to Internet Regulation in Developing Countries

      Increased smartphone usage and availability of wireless broadband has propelled the use of Internet based platforms and services that often compete with similar services based on older technologies. For example services like Facebook, Skype and WhatsApp that offer voice or video calls over the Internet compete with traditional SMS and voice calls over telecom networks. Such platforms have gained in popularity particularly in developing countries because calling over the Internet is far cheaper than making calls on telecom networks. Online video streaming and TV services like Netflix and online similarly compete with traditional broadcasters and network providers.

      These online applications and services are transforming traditional sectors and changing the economic landscape of the markets. The increasing popularity of such apps and services, often referred to by telecommunications regulators as “Over-the-top” or OTT services, brings new regulatory challenges for governments. Historically, most of these services have not required a licence or been required to pay any licensing fee. As the use of such services picks up in developing countries, governments are rushing to create rules that would subject OTT providers to local taxation, security, and content regulation obligations—often under pressure from telco incumbents who are seeking protection from change and competition.

    • Govt looks to hike minimum net speed nearly four-fold

      Asked whether 2 mbps – which is also being pushed forward by regulator Trai – will be sufficient for digital transformation, she said, “2 mbps is the basic minimum. We should definitely mandate this. If at all, it should be higher than that. It cannot be lower than that.”

    • Michigan Lawmaker Flees Twitter After Reports Highlight She Helped AT&T Push Anti-Competition Broadband Law

      Last week we noted how Freshman Michigan Representative Michele Hoitenga has been pushing a broadband competition-killing bill she clearly neither wrote nor understands. The industry-backed bill, HB 5009 (pdf), would ban Michigan towns and cities from using taxpayer funds to build or operate community broadband networks, and would hamstring these communities’ abilities to strike public/private partnerships. The bill is just the latest example of broadband industry protectionist laws ISPs ghost write, then shovel unobstructed through the corrupt state legislative process.

      ISPs want their cake and to eat it too; they don’t want to upgrade or deploy broadband into low ROI areas, but they don’t want others to either. And they certainly don’t want outside added pressure disrupting the good thing (read: duopoly regulatory capture resulting in no competition and higher rates) they’ve enjoyed for fifteen years. While companies like AT&T could deter towns and cities from looking for creative alternatives by offering better, cheaper service, it’s much less expensive to throw money at lawmakers who, with the help of groups like ALEC, craft and pass laws protecting the duopoly status quo.

  • DRM

    • Portugal Bans Use of DRM to Limit Access to Public Domain Works

      At EFF, we’ve become all too accustomed to bad news on copyright come out of Europe, so it’s refreshing to hear that Portugal has recently passed a law on copyright that helps to strike a fairer balance between users and copyright holders on DRM. The law doesn’t abolish legal protection for DRM altogether—unfortunately, that wouldn’t be possible for Portugal to do unilaterally, because it would be inconsistent with European Union law and with the WIPO Copyright Treaty to which the EU is a signatory. However, Law No. 36/2017 of June 2, 2017, which entered into force on June 3, 2017, does grant some important new exceptions to the law’s anti-circumvention provisions, which make it easier for users to exercise their rights to access content without being treated as criminals.

      The amendments to Articles 217 and 221 of Portugal’s Code of Copyright and Related Rights do three things. First, they provide that the anti-circumvention ban doesn’t apply to circumvention of DRM in order to enjoy the normal exercise of copyright limitations and exceptions that are provided by Portuguese law. Although Portugal doesn’t have a generalized fair use exception, the more specific copyright exceptions in Articles 75(2), 81, 152(4) and 189(1) of its law do include some key fair uses; including reproduction for private use, for news reporting, by libraries and archives, in teaching and education, in quotation, for persons with disabilities, and for digitizing orphan works. The circumvention of DRM in order to exercise these user rights is now legally protected.

    • Portugal passes the world’s first reasonable DRM law

      Last June, Portugal enacted Law No. 36/2017 which bans putting DRM on public domain media or government works, and allows the public to break DRM that interferes with their rights in copyright, including private copying, accessibility adaptation, archiving, reporting and commentary and more.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Protecting intellectual property is a necessary evil but nations must work together
    • Trademarks

      • Long Trail Brewing Sues East Coast Apparel Company Over ‘Take A Hike’ T-Shirt

        The last time we checked in with Long Trail Brewing, the Vermont brewery was busy fighting a Minnesota brewer that had dared to put a stick figure of a hiker on its beer can. It seems that rather than basing its trademark legal expeditions on any real or potential customer confusion, Long Trail views trademark law as a vehicle for monopoly and lawsuit-driven income. Long Trail is certainly not alone in this view, unfortunately, but it does have a penchant for taking this sort of thing to ridiculous lengths.

        Such as going after an apparel company for a simple t-shirt using an incredibly generic phrase, for instance. Long Trail has initiated a trademark lawsuit with a company called Chowdaheadz because the latter dared to make a shirt with the phrase “Take a hike” on it. As the filing explains, Long Trail has trademarked the phrase for its use and has sold apparel with the phrase on it.

    • Copyrights

      • The Pirate Bay’s Iconic .SE Domain Name Is Back From The Dead

        The Pirate Bay’s iconic .SE domain name is the primary method by which pirates access their favorite torrent website. However, in a surprise development, last week, the domain name was deactivated.

        It seemed as the historic domain name was expired and the people were no longer able to visit the notorious website. However, as per a new report by TorrentFreak, thepiratebay.se is now operating normally and sending the visitors to thepiratebay.org.

      • TV formats potentially eligible for copyright protection as dramatic works under UK law

        This decision sheds light on an area of UK copyright that has remained uncertain for a long time, also due to the rigid and closed system of categories envisaged by the CDPA.

        However, as the outcome of the case confirms, wannabe holders of copyright in TV formats must pay substantial attention when drafting relevant documents, and provide as many details and information as possible. Another crucial aspect when it comes to potentially commercially valuable works like TV formats is to draft and rely on robust non-disclosure agreements, also to offset the fact that relevant documents should be sufficiently detailed.

      • MPAA and RIAA’s Megaupload Lawsuits Remain on Hold

        A federal court in Virginia has granted Megaupload’s request to keep the cases filed by the music and movie companies on hold until April next year. Since all crucial data on Megaupload’s servers was preserved earlier this year, the MPAA and RIAA have no objections against the stay, which was triggered by slow progress in the criminal case.

      • Copyright Trolls Hit Thousands of Swedish ‘Pirates’ With $550 ‘Fines’

        Many thousands of alleged movie pirates in Sweden have been hit with demands for cash settlements in recent weeks. The ‘fines’, which amount to around $550 each, are being sent by Njord Law, a law firm acting on behalf of international copyright trolls active in several different countries, including the United States.

10.23.17

Links 23/10/2017: Wine Staging 2.19, GNOME 3.27.1

Posted in News Roundup at 5:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Containers And Chromebooks: The Future Of Chrome OS

      Last month, I penned my thoughts on what the future of Chrome OS could look like and how devices like the Pixelbook could play a big part in the implementation of containers on Chromebooks. Running non-native apps on top of the Chrome operating system without the need for hacky workarounds would be a monumental watershed for Google who has now tossed a hat in the ring to capture their share of the consumer PC market.

      Virtual Machines, like VMWare, aren’t new and as a third-party solution work very well. However, the development we have been tracking goes well beyond a traditional, web-based solution. The work being done here seems to remove the third-parties and eliminate a browser by creating a built-in container system that can run, in theory, any app the hardware will support.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Users Discuss DRM 1 on 1 – Unleaded Hangout

      Linux Users Discuss DRM. Today my Brandon and I discuss encrypted media extensions, digital rights management and our freedom on the Linux desktop. So join Brandon and I as we as Linux Users Discuss DRM.

  • Kernel Space

    • ZenStates Allows Adjusting Zen P-States, Other Tweaking Under Linux

      ZenStates is an independent effort to offer P-States-based overclocking from the Linux desktop of AMD Ryzen processors and other tuning.

      ZenStates-Linux is an open-source Python script inspired by some available Windows programs for offering Ryzen/Zen CPU overclocking from the desktop by manipulating the performance states of the processor.

    • Civil Infrastructure Platform Announces the Release of CIP Core

      Hosted by The Linux Foundation, CIP addresses the needs of long-term software for the power generation and distribution, water, oil and gas, transportation and building automation industries. CIP members such as Codethink, Hitachi, Plat’Home, Renesas, Siemens and Toshiba are working to create a reliable and secure Linux-based embedded software platform that can be sustained more than 10 years and up to 60 years.

    • Linux Foundation Launches OpenMessaging Project

      ​Through a shared exertion bnb m from endeavors and groups put resources into the cloud, enormous information, and standard APIs, I’m eager to welcome the OpenMessaging project from The Linux Foundation. The OpenMessaging group will likely make a comprehensively embraced, merchant impartial, and open standard for dispersed informing that can be conveyed in the cloud, on-commence, and half and half utilize cases.

    • The Linux Foundation Releases Three New Open Source Guides for the Enterprise

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, has released the next three in a series of Open Source Guides for the Enterprise, created to help executives, open source program managers, developers, attorneys and other decision makers learn how to best leverage open source. These three new guides add to the six released last month at Open Source Summit North America.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMDGPU DC Gets A Final Batch Of Changes Before Linux 4.15

        The AMDGPU DC display code has a final batch of feature updates that were sent in this weekend for DRM-Next staging and is the last set besides fixes for the “DC” code for the 4.15 target.

      • Valve Developer Lands VK_EXT_global_priority For RADV Vulkan Driver
      • Vulkan 1.0.64 Adds In Another AMD-Developed Extension

        Vulkan 1.0.64 is out this weekend as the newest specification refinement to this high-performance graphics/compute API.

        As usual, most of the changes for this minor Vulkan revision are just documentation clarifications and corrections. This week’s update brings just under a dozen fixes.

      • NVIDIA TX2 / Tegra186 Display Support Isn’t Ready For Linux 4.15

        While the Jetson TX2 has been out since this past March and it’s a phenomenal ARM development board, sadly the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) driver support for it still isn’t ready with the mainline Linux kernel.

        Thierry Reding of NVIDIA sent in the Tegra DRM driver changes for DRM-Next that in turn is staged for Linux 4.15. Reding commented that there is prepatory work for the TX2 (Tegra186) but it’s not all ready for upstream yet.

      • i965 Shader Cache Revised As It Still Might Squeeze Into Mesa 17.3

        Intel’s Jordan Justen has sent out his third revision to the recently renewed patches for allowing an OpenGL on-disk shader cache for the “i965″ Mesa driver.

        Just a few days back Jordan sent out a revised Intel shader cache implementation for this code that’s long been baking on the Intel side but yet to be merged for mainline Mesa while the RadeonSI shader cache and co has been present now for many months.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • ArchLabs Linux Mínimo

        ArchLabs is a great combination of lightweight and, thanks to its Arch base, constantly up-to-date software. While probably not for everyone, ArchLabs is a polished distribution that anyone looking for an Arch-based distribution that has a pre-configured desktop and software selection should check out. The only drawback is that, like many lightweight distributions, selecting applications based on what is deemed best for an individual task can result in an odd hodgepodge of applications that all behave differently. Of course, the choice of what to install is up to the user, so that might not be a problem for some, but having applications from Xfce, GNOME, KDE, etc., can lead to a jumbled user experience.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

      • Open source innovation in the public sector

        With digitalization, open source technology is gaining momentum and governments are increasingly embracing open source solutions. In open government initiatives, open source has led to greater citizen participation and contribution. eGov Innovation speaks to Damien Wong, Vice President & General Manager ASEAN, Red Hat, on how government agencies can tap on open source to foster innovation, accelerate digital transformation and benefit citizens.

      • InFluxData Teams With IBM And RedHat To Simplify Analyzing The IOT Data Deluge
      • Finance

        • Career Briefs: Red Hat Inc. Board of Directors Appoints Narendra K. Gupta as Chairman of the Board

          Red Hat Inc. announced that its board of directors has appointed Narendra K. Gupta as chairman of the board. Gupta, who has served on Red Hat’s board of directors since 2005, is a technology industry veteran with more than 40 years’ experience. In 2006, the Indian American entrepreneur co-founded Nexus Venture Partners, a leading venture capital fund, and he currently serves as the firm’s managing director. Gupta co-founded Integrated Systems Inc. in 1980 to develop products for embedded software development. He served as ISI’s president and CEO from its founding until 1994 and as chairman until 2000 when ISI merged with Wind River Systems Inc. He currently serves on the board of trustees of the California Institute of Technology, the advisory board of the Asia Society Northern California, and on the boards of several privately held companies.

    • Debian Family

      • pk4: a new tool to avail the Debian source package producing the specified package

        UNIX distributions used to come with the system source code in /usr/src. This is a concept which fascinates me: if you want to change something in any part of your system, just make your change in the corresponding directory, recomile, reinstall, and you can immediately see your changes in action.

      • Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, September 2017

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

      • Sal Mubarak 2074

        Wishing all Debian people a prosperous and auspicious Gujarati new year (V.S. 2074 called Saumya.)

      • APT 1.6 alpha 1 – seccomp and more

        I just uploaded APT 1.6 alpha 1, introducing a very scary thing: Seccomp sandboxing for methods, the programs downloading files from the internet and decompressing or compressing stuff. With seccomp I reduced the number of system calls these methods can use to 149 from 430. Specifically we excluded most ways of IPC, xattrs, and most importantly, the ability for methods to clone(2), fork(2), or execve(2) (or execveat(2)). Yes, that’s right – methods can no longer execute programs.

      • Debian Policy call for participation — October 2017

        Here’s are some of the bugs against the Debian Policy Manual. In particular, there really are quite a few patches needing seconds from DDs.

      • Free Software Efforts (2017W42)

        Here’s my weekly report for week 42 of 2017. In this week I have replaced my spacebar, failed to replace a HDD and begun the process to replace my YubiKey.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Mir running on Fedora

            Last week we released Mir 0.28 and this week we settled down to tidy up a few bugs fixes and feature requests that didn’t make the release. I’ve started collecting these for a Mir 0.28.1 release to come in the next few weeks.

            The most interesting of these comes from conversations at the Ubuntu Rally: there were several requests from community members around getting Mir working (or even building!) on other distributions.

          • Ubuntu Developer Gets Mir Running On Fedora

            Lead Mir developer Alan Griffiths has spent the time getting the Mir display server running on Fedora. This is part of a broader feature request of getting Mir running on more Linux distributions than just Ubuntu.

            The changes to get Mir running on at least Fedora should be merged for the upcoming Mir 0.28.1 point release. Mir 0.28.1 will also incorporate other bug fixes.

          • A look at Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark

            I’m going to preface this review, and say that I liked Ubuntu 17.10 after using it for a few days. However, there were multiple issues with it, that ultimately ruined my experience; however, your mileage my vary.

            Ubuntu 17.10, code-named Artful Aardvark, is the latest Ubuntu Linux release from Canonical, and was released Oct. 19.

            It’s the first desktop release of the pure Ubuntu flavor, to not feature the Unity desktop, since Ubuntu 11.04. Now, Ubuntu uses the GNOME desktop environment now.

          • Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) Desktop Installation Guide with Screenshots
          • Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark Has Been Released (Download Links)
          • Winners of the Ubuntu 17.10 Free Culture Showcase

            Every new Ubuntu cycle brings many changes, and the arrival of Ubuntu 17.10, the “Artful Aardvark” release, brings more changes than usual. The default desktop has changed to GNOME Shell, with some very thoughtful changes by the desktop team to make it more familiar. And of course, the community wallpapers included with this exciting new release have changed as well!

            Every cycle, talented artists around the world create media and release it under licenses that encourage sharing and adaptation. For Ubuntu 17.10, 50 images were submitted to the Ubuntu 17.10 Free Culture Showcase photo pool on Flickr, where all eligible submissions can be found.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Samsung is adding Linux support for DeX with the new ‘Linux on Galaxy’ app

      Since Samsung debuted the DeX feature earlier this year with the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ smartphones, the company has been making small changes to improve the whole experience of using your smartphone as a PC. In order to further enhance Samsung DeX, the company has announced “Linux on Galaxy”, an app that will let developers run Linux-based distributions on their mobile device, allowing them to code on-the-go. The app is DeX-enabled, which means developers can code on a bigger device, powered by their Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+ or Galaxy Note8.

    • You can run any Linux distro on Samsung smartphones using Linux with Galaxy App

      The convergence of a smartphone with a PC/laptop is not new and has been in making for several years. In fact, the idea of such a convergence started with Nokia’s Communicator phone launched in 1996 when it was the undisputed king of feature phone and mobile phone arena.

      Ubuntu devs tried a similar theme with the now-dead Ubuntu for smartphones and tablets. The Ubuntu os was launched with the idea to run full Linux apps on your smartphone. The smartphone even gave users an option to connect a keyboard, mouse, and display. However, that did not sell.

    • Success! Beelink S1 Running Linux – Courtesy of the Open Source Community

      We recently published a post summarizing why the Beelink S1’s hardware specs look so promising for an inexpensive Linux mini PC. But I hit a brick wall when trying to install any flavour of Linux on the machine. I simply could not get the machine to boot a live Linux distro, either from a USB DVD or USB key.

      I contacted Shenzhen AZW Technology Co. Ltd., the manufacturer of the Beelink S1, twice to see if they could offer any support. They replied recommending I get used to running Windows 10, as they contend Ubuntu is difficult to install on this mini PC. The second email has yet to elicit a response. I must have exhausted my support quota. Undeterred, I made a call for help to Linux enthusiasts. And half a dozen good folk promptly stepped forward to offer a simple solution, which I’ll detail below. This is one reason why I love Linux; the community.

    • Purism Librem 5 Linux Smartphone Campaign Set To End At Around $2 Million

      Tomorrow marks the end of the crowdfunding campaign for Purism’s Librem 5 smartphone campaign.

      The campaign is looking like it will close at around two million dollars with the current tally as of this morning being at $1,962,517 in funds raised for this effort to build an original GNU/Linux smartphone stack with either GNOME Shell or KDE Plasma Mobile comprising the UI/UX elements.

    • Librem 5 Linux Phone to Include Nextcloud’s End-to-End Encrypted File Storage

      Purism and Nextcloud announced partnership to bring Nextcloud’s end-to-end encrypted file sync and sharing services to Purism’s mobile and desktop computing products

    • Librem 5 Privacy-Focused Linux Phone Crowdfunding Campaign Ends with $2 Million
    • Nextcloud to be available on ‘free’ smartphone
    • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Canada’s Spy Agency Releases its Cyber-Defense Tool for Public
  • Canadian govt spooks open source anti-malware analytics tool

    The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) said the AssemblyLine tool is designed to analyse large volumes of files, and can automatically rebalance workloads.

  • Microservices served on blockchain, in open source

    Cloud application marketplace company Wireline is working with open source blockchain project developer Qtum

    The new union is intended to provide a conduit to consuming microservices at [web] scale using blockchain at the core.

    As we know, microservices offer the ability to create Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) without having to manage the underlying hardware and software infrastructure.

    [...]

    The Qtum a blockchain application platform combines the functions of Bitcoin Core, an account abstraction layer allowing for multiple virtual machines and a proof-of-stake consensus protocol aimed at tackling industry-use cases.

    The Qtum Foundation, headquartered in Singapore, is the decision-making body that drives the project’s development.

  • Party Like It’s 1987 – PC-MOS/386 Goes Open Source

    The idea of a multi-user operating system is almost a tautology today but back in the 1980s it wasn’t all that common – at least when it came to personal computing. PC-MOS was a multi-user operating system that, like DR-DOS and others, competed with Microsoft’s MS-DOS before eventually disappearing at the Redmond juggernaut crushed almost all its competition. Now, Roeland Jansen, Gary Robertson and Rod Roark have put the operating system onto GitHub as an open source project so we can all mess with its source code.

  • How to manage casual contributors to open source projects

    Increasingly, people want to contribute to projects casually—when they want to, rather than adhering to a schedule. This is part of a broader trend of “episodic volunteering” noted by a wide range of volunteer organizations and governments. This has been attributed not only to changes in the workforce, which leave fewer people able to volunteer with less spare time to share, but also to changes in how people perceive the act of volunteering. It is no longer seen as a communal obligation, rather as a conditional activity in which the volunteer also receives benefits. Moreover, distributed revision-control systems and the network effects of GitHub, which standardize the process of making a contribution, make it easier for people to contribute casually to free/libre/open source software (FLOSS) projects.

  • Events

    • openSUSE.Asia Summit 2017 in Tokyo
    • GStreamer Conference 2017 Videos

      Taking place this weekend in Prague has been the 8th annual GStreamer Conference, which is preceding next week’s Linux Foundation Embedded Linux Conference Europe.

    • Call for sessions at the FSFE assembly during 34C3

      With the CCC moving from Hamburg to Leipzig, there are not only logistic changes to be done but also some organisational changes. We are still figuring out the details, but in the context of this call, one of the major changes will be the loss of free available rooms to book for self-organised sessions. Instead, assemblies that match with each other are asked to cluster around 1 of several stages and use that as a common stage for self-organized sessions together. To make the most of this situation, the FSFE will for the first time not join the Noisy Square this year but form a new neighbourhood with other freedom fighting NGOs – in particular with our friends from European Digital Rights. However, at this point of time, we do not yet have more information about the concrete or final arrangements.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Rendering HTML5 video in Servo with GStreamer

        At the Web Engines Hackfest in A Coruña at the beginning of October 2017, I was working on adding some proof-of-concept code to Servo to render HTML5 videos with GStreamer. For the impatient, the results can be seen in this video here

  • Education

    • 5 ways to invigorate education with Raspberry Pi

      A couple of years ago, I was talking to PayPal senior director of software development Harper Reed at All Things Open in Raleigh, N.C., when he suggested that the best way to invigorate education would be to purchase Raspberry Pis en masse and put them in public libraries.

      Although many schools have made sizeable investments in classroom technology, those investments have done little to advance students’ understanding of how the technology works. That’s where the Raspberry Pi comes in, as it’s the ideal vehicle to demonstrate the educational efficacy of open source software and open hardware in the classroom.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Ikea’s Open-Source Showrooms

      Ikea Group will also roll out a new digital platform called ‘Co-Create Ikea’ which mimics its IT division’s open-source software development, where customers have the chance help develop and test new products.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Working Intel CET Bits Now Land In GCC8

      A few days back I wrote about Intel’s work on Control-flow Enforcement Technology beginning to land in GCC. This “CET” work for future Intel CPUs has now landed in full for GCC 8.

      The bits wiring up this control-flow instrumentation and enforcement support are now all present in mainline GCC SVN/Git for next year’s GCC 8.1 release.

    • Using Gitea and/or Github to host blog comments

      After having moved from FSFE’s wordpress instance I thought long about whether I still want to have comments on the new blog. And how I would be able to do it with a statically generated site. I think I have found/created a pretty good solution that I document below.

    • Glibc Picks Up Some More FMA Performance Optimizations

      The GNU C Library, glibc, has picked up support for some additional functions as FMA-optimized versions.

      The newest functions now getting the fused multiply-add (FMA) support are powf(), logf(), exp2f(), and log2f(). The FMA instruction set is present since Intel Haswell and AMD Piledriver generations and like past FMA optimizations, the benefits can be quite noticeable.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Linux Foundation Debuts Community Data License Agreement

        he Linux Foundation, the nonprofit advancing professional open source management for mass collaboration, today 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.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Landmark release of Termination of Transfer tool from Creative Commons and Authors Alliance

        For more than a decade, Creative Commons has developed and stewarded legal tools that give creators the opportunity to share their work on open terms. We have focused on tools that empower sharing at the moment of publication, leaving out an important group of creators: what about those who previously signed away their rights to their works long ago, but who now want to share on open terms under a CC license or renegotiate unfavorable publishing terms?

  • Programming/Development

    • linl 0.0.1: linl is not Letter

      Aaron Wolen and I are pleased to announce the availability of the initial 0.0.1 release of our new linl package on the CRAN network. It provides a simple-yet-powerful Markdown—and RMarkdown—wrapper the venerable LaTeX letter class. Aaron had done the legwork in the underlying pandoc-letter repository upon which we build via proper rmarkdown integration.

Leftovers

  • Several women accuse tech pundit Robert Scoble of sexual assault, harassment

    By 2003, Scoble took a job at Microsoft as a tech evangelist, and later worked at other tech and media firms, including Rackspace and Fast Company. In 2014, he publicly wrote about his own experience as a child victim of sexual abuse. More recently, Scoble was the company’s “entrepreneur-in-residence” at a company called Upload VR. Scoble, who in his Twitter profile calls himself an “authority on the future,” also founded a consultancy called “Transformation Group” earlier this year.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Who Profits from the Opioid Crisis? Meet the Secretive Sackler Family Making Billions from OxyContin

      This week, President Donald Trump’s nominee for drug czar, Republican Congressmember Tom Marino, had to withdraw from consideration after a Washington Post/”60 Minutes” investigation found he led a drug industry-backed effort to pass a law that weakened the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s ability to crack down on addictive opioids. Meanwhile, calls are growing to look at the major pharmaceutical companies that have fueled the opioid crisis. A new investigation by Esquire magazine reveals how the secretive Sackler family, owners of the company that invented OxyContin, downplayed the risks of addiction and exploited doctors’ confusion over the drug’s strength. We speak with Christopher Glazek, the Esquire reporter behind the story.

    • THE SECRETIVE FAMILY MAKING BILLIONS FROM THE OPIOID CRISIS

      The descendants of Mortimer and Raymond Sackler, a pair of psychiatrist brothers from Brooklyn, are members of a billionaire clan with homes scattered across Connecticut, London, Utah, Gstaad, the Hamptons, and, especially, New York City. It was not until 2015 that they were noticed by Forbes, which added them to the list of America’s richest families. The magazine pegged their wealth, shared among twenty heirs, at a conservative $14 billion. (Descendants of Arthur Sackler, Mortimer and Raymond’s older brother, split off decades ago and are mere multi-millionaires.) To a remarkable degree, those who share in the billions appear to have abided by an oath of omertà: Never comment publicly on the source of the family’s wealth.

      That may be because the greatest part of that $14 billion fortune tallied by Forbes came from OxyContin, the narcotic painkiller regarded by many public-health experts as among the most dangerous products ever sold on a mass scale. Since 1996, when the drug was brought to market by Purdue Pharma, the American branch of the Sacklers’ pharmaceutical empire, more than two hundred thousand people in the United States have died from overdoses of OxyContin and other prescription painkillers. Thousands more have died after starting on a prescription opioid and then switching to a drug with a cheaper street price, such as heroin. Not all of these deaths are related to OxyContin—dozens of other painkillers, including generics, have flooded the market in the past thirty years. Nevertheless, Purdue Pharma was the first to achieve a dominant share of the market for long-acting opioids, accounting for more than half of prescriptions by 2001.

    • Why Isn’t Pharma Paying for the Opioid Addiction Epidemic It Caused?

      By now, the contours of Pharma’s opioid prescription scam which has driven a heroin epidemic have emerged. Between 1996 and 2002, Purdue Pharma, who makes OxyContin, funded more than 20,000 pain-related “educational” programs reports Vox Media and “launched a multifaceted campaign to encourage long-term use of [opioid painkillers] for chronic non-cancer pain.” It gave money to groups like the American Pain Society, the American Academy of Pain Medicine, the Federation of State Medical Boards and “grassroots” patient groups to advocate “for more aggressive identification and treatment of pain,” says Vox.

    • Thousands of DIY foodies sickened in outbreak from poor agricultural practices

      Since 2015, the number of Salmonella infections from contact with backyard poultry has quadrupled across the nation. This year, nearly every state has been pecked by outbreak strains; only Alaska and Delaware can crow about dodging them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 1,120 cases. Nearly 250 of those involved hospitalization, and one person died.

      But that is likely just scratching the surface of the real numbers, according to CDC veterinarian Megin Nichols. “For one Salmonella case we know of in an outbreak, there are up to 30 others that we don’t know about,” she told the AP.

    • Zimbabwean activists condemn ‘absurd’ World Health Organization honour for Robert Mugabe

      Zimbabwean human rights activists have accused the World Health Organization of hypocrisy after it appointed Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador.

      Mr Mugabe, who regularly flies abroad for his own medical treatment and has been accused of running his country’s health system into the ground, received the honour at a conference on non communicable diseases in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, on Wednesday.

  • Security

    • Where Did That Software Come From?

      The article explores how cryptography, especially hashing and code signing, can be use to establish the source and integrity. It examines how source code control systems and automated build systems are a key part of the software provenance story. (Provenance means “a record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality.” It is increasingly being applied to software.)

    • Judge: MalwareTech is no longer under curfew, GPS monitoring [Updated]

      A judge in Milwaukee has modified the pre-trial release conditions of Marcus Hutchins, also known online as “MalwareTech,” who was indicted two months ago on federal criminal charges.

      Under US Magistrate Judge William Duffin’s Thursday order, Hutchins, who is currently living in Los Angeles, will no longer be subject to a curfew or to GPS monitoring.

    • [Older] Leicester teen tries to hack CIA and FBI chiefs’ computers

      A teenager attempted to hack senior US government officials’ computers from his home.

      Kane Gamble, 18, from Coalville, Leicestershire, pleaded guilty to 10 charges relating to computer hacking.

      His targets included the then CIA director John Brennan and former FBI deputy director Mark Giuliano.

    • The recent catastrophic Wi-Fi vulnerability was in plain sight for 13 years behind a corporate paywall

      The recent Wi-Fi “KRACK” vulnerability, which allowed anyone to get onto a secure network (and which was quickly patched by reputable vendors), had been in plain sight behind a corporate-level paywall for 13 years. This raises a number of relevant, interesting, and uncomfortable questions.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Qatar: Cambridge Analytica And Trump Working In Russia’s Interests

      On the 5th of June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Egypt, and Bahrain suddenly “cut diplomatic and commercial ties with Qatar …accusing it of supporting terrorism, meddling in their internal affairs and advancing the agenda of regional foe Iran.”
      Qatar vehemently denies the allegations and has been working with both US and UK security services in the wake of a Russian hacking and disinformation offensive.
      According to extensive reporting “The following day, Trump stunned lawmakers on both sides of the aisle by unexpectedly joining in on the Qatar-bashing.”

    • Gloucester man charged with terrorism in connection to Williamsburg IED explosion

      A Gloucester man was arrested and charged late Friday with setting off an improvised explosive device in a parking lot Thursday evening near Colonial Williamsburg.

      Stephen Powers, 30, was arrested at his home in Gloucester and was charged with possessing and using an explosive device and committing an act of terrorism, according to Williamsburg Police.

    • Man Bites Dog: NYT Does Journalism

      But there are occasional moments when some reporter at an MSM outlet behaves responsibly and those instances should be noted at least under the classic definition of “news” – something that is unexpected – or as the old saying goes, “dog bites man is not news; man bites dog is news.”

      One such moment occurred earlier this month when a Times science editor assigned science reporter Carl Zimmer to look into the mysterious illnesses affecting U.S. diplomats in the recently reopened U.S. embassy in Cuba.

      About two dozen U.S. diplomats supposedly were suffering hearing loss and cognitive difficulties due to what has been labeled a “sonic attack.” The Trump administration blamed the Cuban government even though the Cubans claimed to be mystified and would seem to have little motive for disrupting a long-sought détente with Washington along with the expected boon to their tourist industry. President Trump “retaliated” by expelling 15 Cuban diplomats.

    • EXCLUSIVE: US Preparing to Put Nuclear Bombers Back on 24-Hour Alert

      The U.S. Air Force is preparing to put nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour ready alert, a status not seen since the Cold War ended in 1991.

      That means the long-dormant concrete pads at the ends of this base’s 11,000-foot runway — dubbed the “Christmas tree” for their angular markings — could once again find several B-52s parked on them, laden with nuclear weapons and set to take off at a moment’s notice.

      “This is yet one more step in ensuring that we’re prepared,” Gen. David Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff, said in an interview during his six-day tour of Barksdale and other U.S. Air Force bases that support the nuclear mission. “I look at it more as not planning for any specific event, but more for the reality of the global situation we find ourselves in and how we ensure we’re prepared going forward.”

    • Donald Trump Is Rush-Shipping Condolences to Military Families

      The Trump administration is scrambling to defend the president’s characterization of his communications with grieving military families, including rush-delivering letters from the president to the families of servicemembers killed months ago. Donald Trump falsely claimed this week that he had called “virtually” all fallen servicemembers’ families since his time in office.

      Timothy Eckels Sr. hadn’t heard anything from President Trump since his son Timothy Eckels Jr. was killed after a collision involving the USS John S. McCain on August 21. But then, on October 20, two days into the controversy over the president’s handling of a condolence call with an American soldier’s widow, Eckels Sr. received a United Parcel Service package dated October 18 with a letter from the White House.

    • John Brennan’s Police State USA

      Did US agents and diplomats warn their Russian counterparts that Russian troops would “come home in body bags” and that the western media would launch a propaganda campaign against them?

      Yes, again.

      Did US officials say the western media would concoct a phony story about “Russian hacking” that would be used to persuade the American people that Russia was a dangerous enemy that had to be reigned in with harsh economic sanctions, provocative military maneuvers, and threats of violence?

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Seeking To Root Out Leakers, The Intelligence Community Is Destroying Official Routes For Whistleblowers

      The Trump Administration is continuing its war on leakers. It’s probably meant to keep whistleblowers at bay as well. This isn’t necessarily a trait unique to Trump’s White House. There really hasn’t been a whistleblower-friendly administration in pretty much ever, but this particular administration has been awash in leaked documents, each one prompting more severe crackdowns.

      But it’s going to come to a head at the national security level. The “Intelligence Community” — sixteen agencies participating and partaking in intelligence analysis and collection under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence — is basically ousting its internal oversight. Jenna McLaughlin, writing for Foreign Policy, has the details.

    • Malta offers “unprecedented” $1.18M reward for information on journalist’s killer

      The Maltese government offered a reward in a bank heist case a few years ago, but this was believed to be the first time it posted a reward in a murder case. In the last 10 years, there have been 15 Mafia-style bombings or similar attacks in Malta, and many of the crimes have gone unsolved.

    • #GavinRemembered: in memory of our founding director

      This weekend we remember our founding director Gavin MacFadyen, who died of lung cancer a year ago.

      It was impossible not to like Gavin. His enthusiasm, love of life, courage and incredible capacity for friendship won you over immediately.

      An investigative journalist and a filmmaker, he founded the Centre for Investigative Journalism in 2003. Since then the CIJ has gone from strength to strength, establishing itself as the bastion for tough investigative reporting and training.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • What the Koch Brothers do in the shadows — and why

      MacLean is also deeply concerned about how the radical right-wing is much more sophisticated in their strategic thinking than are Democrats, liberals and progressives.

    • Our Summer of Fire and the Fires to Come

      Explosive wildfires have raged in Northern California over the last two weeks. Forty-one people are dead, and at least 6,700 structures have been destroyed, making these the most destructive fires in the state’s history. Parts of the city of Santa Rosa have burned to the ground. Extremely hot and dry conditions, continuing impacts of the state’s drought, and high winds combined to create fires so fast-moving, many residents were forced to flee for their lives with only minutes notice. Tens of thousands have been forced to evacuate. In the last several days, better weather has been helping firefighters fight the blazes, though many are still continuing. Air quality in the region has been called the worst in recorded history due to wildfire smoke.

    • EPA says it won’t cut biofuel quotas after corn states push back

      The agency had been considering some changes to rules set by the Obama administration that ratchet up the amount of renewable biofuel that refineries must blend into the gas and diesel they sell. According to Bloomberg, the EPA had specifically been considering “a possible reduction in biodiesel requirements” as well as “a proposal to allow exported renewable fuel to count toward domestic quotas.” In early October, the EPA asked for public comment on cutting biodiesel quotas.

      The Bloomberg story cited unnamed sources who said President Trump personally directed Pruitt to back off any proposals that would relax biofuel quotas after pressure from lawmakers from corn-producing states like Iowa, Nebraska, and Illinois. Trump, who courted both fossil fuel interests and corn-belt states in his campaign, has had pressure from each side on this debate. Uncertainty surrounding the future of biofuel use during Trump’s administration has caused volatility in biofuels markets for months, Reuters notes.

    • U.N. Officials Urge the World to Ignore Trump on Climate

      The hurricanes and wildfires that have severely damaged large areas of the United States in recent weeks have had no impact on US president Donald Trump’s determination to ignore the perils of climate change and support the coal industry.

      In a deliberate denial of mainstream science, the Trump administration has issued a strategic four-year plan for the US nnvironment Protection Agency that does not once mention “greenhouse gas emissions”, “carbon dioxide” or “climate change” in its 48 pages.

      Rachel Cleetus, lead economist and climate policy manager of the Union of Concerned Scientists, describes this as “stunning” in its ignorance. “This was not an oversight,” she says, “this is a deliberate strategy by this administration.”

    • New Zealand’s New Prime Minister is Promising a Zero-Carbon Nation by 2050

      New Zealand’s new Prime Minister elect, Jacina Ardern, is not wasting time to commit to fighting climate change. With the help of her coalition government, Ardern has set a target for New Zealand to become a zero-carbon nation by the year 2050. This includes promises to reduce overall carbon emissions and to offset what remains with international carbon credits and tree planting.

    • CO₂ benefits of regrowing forests nothing to sniff at

      It’s a common suggestion that we should just plant trees to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere, but this isn’t quite the solution it may seem. Reforestation would roughly make up for the carbon added to the atmosphere by past deforestation, but our burning of fossil fuels is another matter.

      Still, that’s no argument to ignore reforestation. There is no silver bullet solution to climate change, and many things like reforestation add up to make meaningful contributions. And reforestation has a host of other benefits, including improving air quality and providing species with habitats.

      So how much of a difference could efforts to save and regrow forests—together with conservation of other ecosystems—really do? That’s the question asked by a group led by Bronson Griscom, an ecologist at The Nature Conservancy. By including a broad set of possible reforestation actions, Griscom and his colleagues found a larger opportunity than we’d previously estimated.

    • Relocated Puerto Rican Families are Florida’s Latest Class War Targets

      As the Puerto Rico disaster unfolds before our horrified eyes, shortages of water, food, housing, medicine, and healthcare threaten countless lives. As of October 13, 2017, 30,000 Puerto Ricans have arrived at the Orlando International Airport– which has established a disaster relief center to aid incoming islanders who are hungry, thirsty, and need essential living assistance. Florida has taken other steps towards welcoming Puerto Ricans to the state as well. After all, the Sunshine State is already home to over 1 million Puerto Ricans, right? Already embroiled in widespread class bludgeoning and racial engineering tactics, the state is ill-prepared to meet this historic humanitarian challenge as it already faces job, housing, food, healthcare, and quality education shortages. Governor Rick Scott’s publicly funded services–like education, food stamps, and medicaid programs– are like Trump’s Puerto Rico paper towel toss: grandstanding displays, with zero substance, that brazenly and condescendingly reward almost randomly fortunate recipients. Let them eat paper towels!

  • Finance

    • Bitcoin Breaches $6,000 for the First Time

      Bitcoin soared to another milestone Friday, as the digital currency breached $6,000 for the first time to put its gain in 2017 to more than 500 percent.

    • [Older] Why governments should protect us from barely-taxed tech monopolies

      They owe their dominance to innovation, but also to tax avoidance.

    • As tech companies get richer, is it ‘game over’ for startups?

      Startups drive job creation and innovation, but the number of new business launches is at a 30-year low and some economists, investors and entrepreneurs are pointing their fingers at big tech.

    • Senate Republicans Are Trying to Give the 1 Percent a $1.9 Trillion Tax Break

      Senators Bernie Sanders and Tammy Baldwin led the opposition with a pair of amendments that challenged a “horrible bill.”

    • Brexit: UK will struggle to change UK borders in time, says watchdog

      The government will struggle to deliver the “huge changes” required to the UK’s borders in time for Brexit, Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Commons public accounts committee.
      The Labour MP was responding to a report by the National Audit Office, the UK’s spending watchdog.
      The report warned of a significant increase in workload for border forces following Brexit.
      The government said it would ensure border forces had adequate resources.

    • With evidence of a failing Brexit, who needs prophecy?

      Prophets of doom are not much fun to be around. Nobody wants a “Jeremiah next door”, which is how the Daily Mail recently described Philip Hammond’s relationship to Theresa May. The chancellor was accused of spooking the prime minister with Old Testament fire-and-brimstone economic forecasts. His refusal to spread the Good News about Brexit was cited as grounds for dismissal.

    • Creative industries facing ‘catastrophic’ loss of talent after Brexit

      Brexit could cause “catastrophic” damage to the UK’s booming culture industry, according to a survey of over 1,000 creative companies.

      The Creative Industries Federation report into the impact of international talent on Britain’s thriving arts sector, suggests a severe skills shortage is only going to worsen when freedom of movement comes to an end after leaving the European Union.

    • Who actually trades solely under WTO rules?

      The likelihood of the UK crashing out of the EU seems to be increasing with every step of the negotiation.
      For those of us that believe in the merits of the EU, this would be a disaster, but the counter point used by some opponents of the EU[1] is that, even if we leave with no deal, we can fall back onto the tariffs agreed under the World Trade Organisation

    • Brexit dark money revelations trigger MP’s question on ‘foreign interference’

      openDemocracy’s investigations into Leave donor Arron Banks and the DUP make global headlines, prompting calls for transparency.

    • How I stopped worrying and learned to love Brexit

      If you’re one of those sad, unsaved souls still losing sleep about Britain’s messy divorce from Europe then I have some advice: cheer up. Remember being British doesn’t mean you have to be miserable all the time; a little bit of optimism is OK. So, please, I implore you: take a deep breath, ignore all logic and reason, dismiss any inconvenient truths and look on the bright side of Brexit. If you’re having trouble doing that then help is at hand: I’ve compiled a six-point plan on how to stop worrying and learn to love Brexit.

    • Big data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens

      On June 14, 2014, the State Council of China published an ominous-sounding document called “Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System”. In the way of Chinese policy documents, it was a lengthy and rather dry affair, but it contained a radical idea. What if there was a national trust score that rated the kind of citizen you were?

      Imagine a world where many of your daily activities were constantly monitored and evaluated: what you buy at the shops and online; where you are at any given time; who your friends are and how you interact with them; how many hours you spend watching content or playing video games; and what bills and taxes you pay (or not). It’s not hard to picture, because most of that already happens, thanks to all those data-collecting behemoths like Google, Facebook and Instagram or health-tracking apps such as Fitbit. But now imagine a system where all these behaviours are rated as either positive or negative and distilled into a single number, according to rules set by the government. That would create your Citizen Score and it would tell everyone whether or not you were trustworthy. Plus, your rating would be publicly ranked against that of the entire population and used to determine your eligibility for a mortgage or a job, where your children can go to school – or even just your chances of getting a date.

      A futuristic vision of Big Brother out of control? No, it’s already getting underway in China, where the government is developing the Social Credit System (SCS) to rate the trustworthiness of its 1.3 billion citizens. The Chinese government is pitching the system as a desirable way to measure and enhance “trust” nationwide and to build a culture of “sincerity”. As the policy states, “It will forge a public opinion environment where keeping trust is glorious. It will strengthen sincerity in government affairs, commercial sincerity, social sincerity and the construction of judicial credibility.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump Defends Frequent Twitter Bickering with US Officials
    • Amazon spends $3.4M on lobbying in record quarter

      Amazon spent $3.4 million on federal lobbying over the past three months, a new record for the company in a quarter that saw its acquisition of Whole Foods quickly approved by the Federal Trade Commission.

      With a total of $9.5 million spent so far in 2017, Amazon, which declined The Hill’s request for comment, is on track to surpass the $11 million it spent last year.

    • Czech Republic election won by party of populist billionaire who says he can easily fix things

      The Pirate Party won seats for the first time, coming in third with 10.8 percent of the vote, [...]

    • TABLE-Czech billionaire’s ANO party wins big in election

      Pirates 10.79

    • Pirates enter another parliament: Congratulations to the Czech Pirate Party!

      UPDATE 1: The final score appears to be close to 10.79%, which makes the Czech Pirates the third largest party, ahead of such parties as the Social Democrats (7.27%), Christian Democratic Union (5.80%), and Greens (1.46%). It also means the Pirates are getting a full 22 seats, tentatively indicating that all fourteen districts’ list-toppers and some of the list-seconds have a new job. At this time (20:07 on Saturday), the list of new MPs is not yet presented by the Czech Election Authority.

    • Czech Election Won by Anti-Establishment Party Led by Billionaire

      [...] with 10.7 percent, doubled its proportion from the previous election. That was just a fraction of a percentage point behind the youth-oriented Czech Pirate Party, an anti-establishment movement from the opposite end of the political spectrum.

    • Exclusive: Pentagon Document Contradicts Trump’s Gold Star Claims

      In the hours after President Donald Trump said on an Oct. 17 radio broadcast that he had contacted nearly every family that had lost a military servicemember this year, the White House was hustling to learn from the Pentagon the identities and contact information for those families, according to an internal Defense Department email.

      The email exchange, which has not been previously reported, shows that senior White House aides were aware on the day the president made the statement that it was not accurate — but that they should try to make it accurate as soon as possible, given the gathering controversy.

    • O’Reilly Settled New Harassment Claims, Then Fox Renewed His Contract
    • Many unhappy with current political system

      Public attitudes about the political system broadly and the national government specifically vary considerably around the world, though many are critical. Opinions are closely related to the status of the economy and domestic politics. Publics who have experienced high economic growth and are happy with their country’s economy are more confident in their national government. Similarly, people who support the governing party or parties in their country tend to give more positive evaluations of their democracy than those who support either the opposition or no political party at all.

    • Report: Twitter CEO took a Russian impostor’s bait in 2016

      In fact, the example Daily Beast reporter Ben Collins found was a single account, @crystal1johnson, getting two juicy retweets from Twitter’s very own “@jack.” The discovered posts (which are now archive-only, thanks to the account being deleted in August) date back to March 2016. Both revolve around black identity in the United States.

    • Russia’s free pass to undermine British democracy

      You’d never guess it, but Britain is a lucky country. Across the democratic world, Russia pursues its interests by corrupting elections with black propaganda. But in their insouciance, our government and intelligence services show dear old Blighty has no reason to worry. On the rare occasions it bothers to discuss the subject, the British state says “it can’t happen here”, even though “it” is happening everywhere else.

      The FBI is investigating how Russia hacked the Clinton campaign and used Facebook and Twitter to spread fake news. Ukrainians are preparing for the next stage of resistance to Russian forces. European foreign ministries and intelligence services have finally understood that Russia’s imperial strategy is to weaken the EU and Nato in every country except, it seems, this sceptred isle.

      Russia knows its best tactic is to use migrant crises to stoke nativist fears. “German government threw their country under feet of migrants like a rug, now try wipe their crimes under carpet,” tweeted the Russian embassy in London in 2016 as the Kremlin began a successful campaign to promote the interests of the chauvinists in Alternative for Germany. A bank close to Vladimir Putin loaned $10m to Marine le Pen’s anti-EU Front National. He encouraged the anti-immigrant Freedom party in Austria, the Lega Nord in Italy and Jobbik in Hungary.

    • Spanish government announces plan to seize power in Catalonia, remove elected government

      Yesterday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced plans to remove the democratically elected regional government of Catalonia and replace them with direct rule by the national government in Madrid.

    • The national conversation: free, open and broad debate

      Those two interventions were in some ways very different. Snow, who delivered the annual MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh television festival in August, spoke movingly of the Grenfell fire, and not only of the social distance between journalists and the residents of Grenfell, but also the former’s proximity to the rich and powerful.

      He worried that broadcasters were on the ‘wrong side of the terrible divide that exists in present day society’, having lined up ‘comfortably with the élite, with little awareness, contact, or connection with those not of the elite’. Snow also criticised Facebook and Google in his lecture, noting that the multinationals were profiting from journalism, but not contributing, and were thereby undermining the profession. ‘Facebook,’ he said, ‘feasts on our products and pays all but nothing’.

    • The Catalan experience

      The European Union may have decided that Catalans should forget all about independence for the sake of the peace of mind of everyone, but these people honestly don’t seem to give a damn.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Censorship fears as Philippine parliament fails to renew Catholic radio licence

      The Philippine House of Representatives has not renewed the licence of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines to operate dozens of radio stations across the country.

      The bishops lodged an application to renew the licence in January, because their previous one was due to expire on August 7, reported ucanews.com. The application, which sought the extension of the licence, or franchise, for another 25 years, remains stuck at the committee level of the Lower House of Congress.

    • Despite its name, the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act threatens free speech

      But the truth is that SESTA could create calls for even more censorship. The legislation would revise Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects online platforms such as search engines and social media from being charged for the misconduct of their users. That immunity is premised on the idea that online services are simply neutral tools.

    • Biggest drop in Facebook organic reach we have ever seen

      Facebook Explore Feed is rolling out globally this week. Most people around the world can see it in their bookmarks and they can discover new content here. But in Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Bolivia, Guatemala and Cambodia it works differently: all posts by pages are moved from newsfeed to Explore Feed. In main newsfeed are now just friend and sponsored posts.

    • Protest of class amounted to censorship

      A group of concerned community members organized a protest against the series and sent a letter to the society’s board asking that the series be canceled and the course removed from the society’s website.

      Teachers should not fear that their interpretation of class material or historical figures will be censored or the class canceled because it is upsetting to someone else.

    • Florida prison officials step up censorship against ‘Militant’

      The Florida Department of Corrections has stepped up its censorship of the Militant over the last several months. On Sept. 19 the prison system’s Literature Review Committee upheld the impoundment of the July 17 issue. Prison authorities claimed that an article reporting on the fight against censorship of two previous issues — which the committee itself had reversed — was a “threat to the security, good order, or discipline” of the prison.

      That same day the Militant received notice that the Sept. 11 issue had been barred. The reason this time? A front-page article on a San Francisco protest against racism and one explaining why working people should defend the right to free speech. Both articles appeared under a banner headline reading, “Socialist Workers Party: Protest Racist Attacks!”

    • In its new timeline, Twitter will end revenge porn next week, hate speech in two

      In the beginning of 2017, Twitter said it would take on harassment and hate speech. CEO Jack Dorsey said the company would embrace a “completely new approach to abuse on Twitter” with open dialogue along the way.

      For months, though, the company has offered few details about what it would do, or when. That changed late yesterday, when Twitter posted a timeline with specific promises on actions it will take.

    • BJP demands censorship of anti-Modi film in India
    • Kamal Hassan Supports Tamil Movie Against Censorship
    • ‘Don’t demonetise Tamil pride’: Rahul Gandhi tells Modi on ‘Mersal’ censorship
    • Thalapathy Vijay’s Mersal runs into trouble, political parties ask for re-censorship of the film
    • US Senators take Apple to task over China VPN app removal
    • Hypocritical Ted Cruz Attacks Apple’s Hypocritical Concession To Chinese Censors

      US senator Ted Cruz, who just last year expressed his support for a governmental backdoor into the iPhone, is absolutely outraged that Apple would restrict the freedom and privacy of Chinese citizens by removing VPN apps from its App Store in China. And he’s sent a strongly worded letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook demanding answers.

    • When Can Private Entities Censor Speech?

      Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Georgia answered a question that has long tormented American youth—or at least me when I was an American youth: If I flip off the pastor, can the police put me in jail?

      The answer, in Georgia at least, is no: “a raised middle finger, by itself, does not, without more, amount to fighting words or a true threat,” the state court said. For that reason, a disgruntled parishioner could not be convicted of acting “in a violent or tumultuous manner” and placing another person “in reasonable fear of” their safety.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • UK and US Citizens: Please Request Your Personal Data Held By Cambridge Analytica

      By now, many people have probably heard about the company Cambridge Analytica. By its own admission, it played a major role in the success of Donald Trump. There are also numerous indications that it was involved in the Brexit campaign.

      Because Cambridge Analytica is intimately bound up with the London-based company SCL it is possible to make a subject access request in order to find out what information is held about you. This applies to both UK and US citizens.

    • Aadhaar, a problem for women seeking abortions

      The linking of Aadhaar to seek abortion services poses risk of life to the life of a woman, doctors at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) at Chandigarh have stated. According to the latest paper published in British Medical Journal (BMJ), a 28-year-old housemaid was forced to seek services from an unqualified quack after being turned away by the government hospital at Chandigarh, because she did not have an Aadhaar card.

      After having not menstruated for two-and-a-half months, she realised she was pregnant and visited a government dispensary. Weighing 45 kilos, the woman already had three children.

    • GCHQ shares citizens’ ‘exceptionally sensitive’ data with Bristol University researchers daily, tribunal hears

      Privacy International has told a tribunal this week that MI5 and MI6 sidestepped legal safeguards when they shared huge amounts of data with foreign intelligence services and partners.

      The tribunal has also heard that GCHQ shared enormous amounts of data with researchers at Bristol University.

      Documents unearthed by Edward Snowden indicate researchers at the university are given access to GCHQ’s entire raw unselected datasets – including internet usage, telephone call logs, online file transfers and websites visited as well as others.

    • Google’s annual report shows more web traffic is encrypted

      For several years now, Google has been exerting pressure to increase the usage of HTTPS across the internet. By defaulting to secure connections on both ends, users can be protected from anyone who may intercept or even manipulate data as it flows back and forth — quite useful in a world where you can’t even trust WiFi. For its own products, Google says HTTPS use is up to 89 percent overall, up from just 50 percent at the beginning of 2014. The number of top 100 websites defaulting to HTTPS has nearly doubled since last year (way to catch up), growing from 37 to 71.

    • Take Back Our Voter Data
    • The Rhetoric of “Responsible Encryption”

      I want to focus on the rhetorical framing Rosenstein used. Much of it is transparently hyperbolic. Yet its confrontational tone also signals that the Justice Department believes it may yet be able to seize the upper hand in the current round of the crypto wars.

      As in any war, propaganda is an indispensable component here. Branding is key. As cryptography professor Phil Rogaway pointed out in an award-winning paper, even the label “going dark” has a Lakoffian aspect to it, evoking our ancient fear of the dark. When we call this the “going dark” debate (or a “war”), we’re giving more power to that framing. Whoever dictates the labels we use has already begun to channel the discussion in their preferred direction, as Rogaway observed.

    • Rice expert: Be concerned about how apps collect, share health data

      As of 2016 there were more than 165,000 health and wellness apps available though the Apple App Store alone. According to Rice University medical media expert Kirsten Ostherr, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates only a fraction of those. Americans should be concerned about how these apps collect, save and share their personal health data, she said.

      [...]

      And, she said, the likelihood that the data from the unregulated health apps makes its way back into a medical setting where a patient could benefit from a physician’s review of that data is “almost nil.”

    • Silicon Valley Is Not Your Friend
    • 10 reasons why Aadhaar has now become the very basis of your life

      While Aadhaar is compulsory to avail of most government services, now even the private sector has started relying on it.

    • Linking Aadhaar number to bank accounts mandatory, says RBI

      The RBI clarification followed media reports quoting a reply to a Right to Information (RTI) application that suggested the apex bank has not issued any order for mandatory Aadhaar linkage with bank accounts.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Trump Is Wrong: ISIS and Al-Qaeda Would Benefit From Bringing Back Torture

      On September 11, 2001, the purposes and methods of war radically changed. A group of unsophisticated thugs, in service to a charismatic leader, used a few thousand dollars to mount a surprise attack. Armed with box cutters, airline tickets and some rudimentary knowledge of flying, they executed one of the most successful military strikes in the history of the world, obliterating the heart of the international financial industry and nearly scoring a direct hit on the Pentagon, America’s supreme military command.

    • Uber, Intel, and other tech firms will urge Congress to let “Dreamers” stay

      A slew of major companies—including tech giants Uber, Intel, Facebook, and Google—are forming a bloc to seek Congressional immigration reform.

      According to Reuters, which first reported the news late Thursday evening, the companies will band together under the name “Coalition for the American Dream” and seek support to extend Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

      This Obama-era executive action allowed “Dreamers,” undocumented immigrants who arrived as minors, to register with the government and legally study or work without fear of deportation. The newly organized Coalition appears to be unrelated to an Oklahoma-based group founded in 2006 that shares the same name: Coalition for the American Dream. (The Oklahoma group also “advocate[s] for and protect[s] the rights of disenfranchised immigrants and new Americans from all nations.”)

    • NYPD Tells Judge Its $25 Million Forfeiture Database Has No Backup

      The NYPD is actively opposed to transparency. It does all it can to thwart outsiders from accessing any info about the department’s inner workings. This has led to numerous lawsuits from public records requesters. It has also led to a long-running lawsuit featuring the Bronx Defenders, which has been trying to gain access to civil forfeiture documents for years.

      The NYPD has repeatedly claimed it simply cannot provide the records the Bronx Defenders (as well as other records requesters) have requested. Not because it doesn’t want to, even though it surely doesn’t. But because it can’t.

      The department has spent $25 million on a forfeiture tracking system that can’t even do the one thing it’s supposed to do: track forfeitures. The Property and Evidence Tracking System (PETS) is apparently so complex and so badly constructed, the NYPD can’t compile the records being sought.

    • NYPD can’t get story straight on evidence system backups

      In response to an Ars report on a court hearing in New York on October 17, New York City and New York City Police Department officials attempted to clarify the nature of the issues surrounding a lawsuit filed by the nonprofit legal defense organization Bronx Defenders. In response to reporting that the Property and Evidence Tracking System (PETS) did not have database backups, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Stephen Davis said via e-mail, “Contrary to some published reports suggesting that NYPD does not electronically back up the data in its Property and Evidence Tracking System (PETS), all such data is backed up continuously in multiple data centers.”

    • Key e-mail from feds got caught in body-cam maker’s spam filter

      According to Bloomberg, the snafu was due to an e-mail that the SEC sent on August 10 to the company’s new chief financial officer—however those messages were quarantined in a spam filter, and he seemingly did not see them.

    • No, Trump, British Crime Isn’t Going Up Because of Muslims

      That is, there has been a profound reduction in the percentage of Britons affected by violent crime over the past twenty years. At the same time, millions of immigrants have come in, including Muslims (the Muslim population in Britain has doubled over this period). So we can only conclude that high immigration rates, which began after 1995, go along with a reduction in the proportion of the population affected by violent crime.

      Predictably, Trump managed falsely to blame the increases on Britain’s small Muslim population, which is 4.3 percent of the population of 65 million.

      This sort of conspiracy theory is extremely dangerous, and is the sort of thing that led to the Nazi genocide of German Jews. As it is, Trump is feeding into the trend toward increased hate crimes against minorities in the UK with which I began this essay.

      The slight increase in violent crime, after two decades of steep decline, is completely unrelated to British Muslims.

      Violence is connected to poverty, but it is as connected to white Christian poverty as to any other kind.

    • The History of Russian Involvement in America’s Race Wars

      According to a spate of recent reports, accounts tied to the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency—a Russian “troll factory”— used social media and Google during the 2016 electoral campaign to deepen political and racial tensions in the United States. The trolls, according to an interview with the Russian TV network TV Rain, were directed to focus their tweets and comments on socially divisive issues, like guns. But another consistent theme has been Russian trolls focusing on issues of race. Some of the Russian ads placed on Facebook apparently targeted Ferguson and Baltimore, which were rocked by protests after police killings of unarmed black men; another showed a black woman firing a rifle. Other ads played on fears of illegal immigrants and Muslims, and groups like Black Lives Matter.

      Except for the technology used, however, these tactics are not exactly new. They are natural outgrowths of a central component of covert influence campaigns, like the one Russia launched against the United States during the 2016 election: make discord louder; divide and conquer. “Covert influence campaigns don’t create divisions on the ground, they amplify divisions on the ground,” says Michael Hayden, who ran the NSA under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and then became CIA director. During the Cold War, the Kremlin similarly sought to plant fake news and foment discontent, but was limited by the low-tech methods available at the time. “Before, the Soviets would plant information in Indian papers and hope it would get picked up by our papers,” says John Sipher, who ran the CIA’s Russia desk during George W. Bush’s first term. The Soviets planted misinformation about the AIDs epidemic as a Pentagon creation, according to Sipher, as well as the very concept of a nuclear winter. “Now, because of the technology, you can jump right in,” Sipher says.

      [...]

      The Soviets also exploited the oppression of Southern blacks for their own economic benefit. It was the height of the Great Depression, and the Soviet Union was positioning itself not only as a workers’ utopia, but as a racial utopia as well, one where ethnic, national, and religious divisions didn’t exist. In addition to luring thousands of white American workers, it brought over African-American workers and sharecroppers with the promise of the freedom to work and live unburdened by the violent restrictions of Jim Crow. In return, they would help the Soviets build their fledgling cotton industry in Central Asia. Several hundred answered the call, and though many eventually went back—or died in the Gulag—some of their descendants remain in Russia. One of Russia’s best-known television hosts, for instance, is Yelena Khanga, the granddaughter of Oliver Golden, an agronomist from Tuskeegee University who moved with his communist Jewish-American wife to Uzbekistan to develop the cotton industry there.

    • Priscilla Presley quits Scientology after nearly four decades

      Priscilla Presley has reportedly quit Scientology, the infamous religion which counts Tom Cruise among its members.

      Presley joined Scientology after the death of her husband Elvis in 1977, after reaching out to her friend John Travolta, who has also been a long time member of the church.

    • John Kelly’s Lies About Frederica Wilson Are Part of a Pattern of Not Believing Black Women

      A LOT OF GROSSNESS oozes out of Donald Trump’s White House. Yesterday, though, something happened that I’m a bit embarrassed to say left me stunned; I say embarrassed because nothing that the Trump team does should surprise anyone at this point, but they keep finding new ways to lower the bar on integrity and decency. In a snap press conference on Thursday, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly took time out to address the latest controversy that is enveloping his boss — not just the death of four troops in Niger, but Trump’s controversial call to the family of a fallen soldier, Sgt. La David Johnson.

      In that press conference, he took direct aim at Rep. Frederica Wilson, a Florida Democrat, by recounting the dedication of a new FBI building in her district. Kelly, a retired general, recalled being present for that dedication and used his memory of the event to defame her character and integrity. She spoke at the dedication and he was not pleased. I’ll give background on that in a second, but first, read his words on her.

    • Demand for ‘Clean Dream Act’ Grows as Trump Pushes Xenophobic Wish List

      With more than 800,000 young immigrants facing the possibility of deportation following President Donald Trump’s widely denounced decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last month, immigrant rights groups took to social media and the streets Thursday to demand that their representatives work to pass a “clean” DREAM Act and reject the Trump administration’s “xenophobic” policy wish list.

    • Waldemar Haffkine: Pioneer of plague vaccine and the “Little Dreyfus Affair”

      Haffkine was soon thereafter exonerated. Some called this incident the “Little Dreyfus Affair” (here, for Dreyfus Affair), suggesting that Haffkine’s Jewish background played a role in the handling of the accusations against him. While it does not appear that anti-Semitic motivations played an overt role, at least as reflected in the official record, the issue is still debated. In any event, by the time that Haffkine returned to India, the position at the Institute was occupied and so he moved to Calcutta, where he was appointed the director of the Biological Institute there, reportedly warmly welcomed by the local Indian staff, less so by his English colleagues. He retired in 1914 and returned to France.

    • UK plan to register EU citizens would be illegal, say MEPs

      The home secretary, Amber Rudd, has been warned by a cross-party group of MEPs that her plans to force EU nationals to add their names to a register in the transition period immediately after Brexit would be illegal and unacceptable to the European parliament.

      The MEPs from across Europe have written to Rudd following her suggestions to the home affairs committee that she would expect EU nationals to have to register with the authorities in the period immediately after Britain left the EU. Brussels is planning to insist that a transition period after the UK leaves in March 2019 would involve Britain remaining under EU law and all its institutions, without exception.

      The MEPs wrote: “Is the Home Office suggesting that only non-UK EU citizens needs to register? Article 26 of the freedom of movement directive makes it very clear that residency cards are for everyone, or no one.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • After Report Suggests It Ripped Off Taxpayers, Frontier Communications Shrugs When Asked For Subsidies Back

      For years we’ve noted how if you want to really understand the dysfunction at the heart of the U.S. broadband industry, you should take a closer look at West Virginia. Like most states, West Virginia’s state legislature is so awash in ISP campaign contributions it literally lets incumbent ISPs write state law, only amplifying the existing lack of broadband competition in the state. So when the state received $126.3 million in broadband stimulus funds, it’s not particularly surprising that a report by the US Commerce Department’s Office of Inspector General (pdf) found more than a few examples of fraud and waste.

      More specifically, Frontier was accused of buying and storing miles of unused fiber to drive up costs, as well as the use of various “loading” and “invoice processing” fees to milk taxpayers for an additional $5 million. The report’s findings come on the heels of previous reports that found Frontier and the state used taxpayer money on unused, overpowered routers and overpaid, redundant, and seemingly purposeless consultants. As is often the case with regulatory capture, efforts to hold anybody accountable for any of this have so far gone nowhere.

  • DRM

    • Multiple Titles Using Denuvo Cracked On Release Day As Other Titles Planning To Use It Bail On It Completely

      If you’ve followed our series of posts about Denuvo, the DRM once claimed to be the end of video game piracy, you may have thought we had reached the end of its saga a couple of weeks ago when Denuvo-”protected” title Total War: Warhammer 2 was cracked and defeated within a day of its release. After all, once a game has been cracked in a time increment that can be measured in hours, you likely thought that was the finish line of Denuvo’s lifespan.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

10.21.17

Links 21/10/2017: Purism Against ME, Pop!_OS Ready

Posted in News Roundup at 4:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • How Purism avoids Intel’s Active Management Technology
    • Purism disables Intel’s flawed Management Engine on Linux-powered laptops

      LINUX PC MAKER Purism has devised a process to disable the flawed Intel Management Engine.

      The company’s line of Librem laptops, which run flexible open-source firmware Coreboot, are now running with Intel’s management service completely disabled.

      As a core part of Intel Active Management Technology (AMT), the management engine is present in all the company’s CPUs and is capable of powering a computer, even when it is powered off.

    • Purism’s Linux laptops now ship with Intel Management Engine disabled

      Most computers that ship with recent Intel processors include something called Intel Management Engine, which enables hardware-based security, power management, and remote configuration features that are not tied to the operating system running on your PC.

      For free software proponents, this has been a pain in the behind, because it’s a closed-source, proprietary feature designed to provide remote access to a computer even when it’s turned off. While it’s designed to provide security, it also poses a potential security and privacy threat, since it’s a proprietary system that can only be patched by Intel

    • Purism Now Shipping Their Laptops With Intel ME Disabled

      Purism has announced today all laptops to be shipping from their company will now have the Intel Management Engine (ME) disabled.

      Thanks to work done by security researches in recent years for finding ways to disable ME, especially in light of recent security vulnerabilities, Purism’s Coreboot-equipped laptops are now shipping with ME disabled out-of-the-box. Those already with a Librem laptop are able to apply a firmware update to also disable it.

    • POP!_OS is a developer-focused minimalist Linux distro from System 76

      There aren’t that many Linux hardware manufacturers around. Of the few that exist, System 76 is amongst the most well-known. It offers a slew of laptops and desktops, all shipping with the popular Ubuntu distro pre-installed, saving customers hours of wasted time dealing with driver hell.

      But it recently announced it’s changing gears and creating its own Linux distro, which will replace Ubuntu on its systems, called POP!_OS.

    • Pop!_OS Is Finally Here — System76’s Ubuntu-based Operating System For Developers

      The first ever stable release of Pop!_OS is finally here. You can go ahead and download it from this link. Don’t forget to share your feedback. Earlier this year in June, we reported that System76 is creating its own Linux distro called Pop!_OS.

    • Why and how you should switch to Linux

      When you start comparing computers, you probably pit Windows against macOS—but Linux rarely gets a mention. Still, this lesser-known operating system has a strong and loyal following. That’s because it offers a number of advantages over its competitors.

      Whether you’re completely new to Linux or have dabbled with it once or twice already, we want you to consider running it on your next laptop or desktop—or alongside your existing operating system. Read on to decide if it’s time to make the switch.

    • Another Million Learn About GNU/Linux

      Ordinarily, I would not notice or even recommend a brief article in a magazine but this is Popular Science, the Bible of DIY types especially the young and restless who might actually take the plunge into FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software). It’s a general magazine with a million subscribers.

  • Server

    • How to Choose a Linux Container Image

      A comparison of Linux container images talks about the best-practices in choosing an image. Architecture, security and performance are among the factors, while commercial users would also look for support options.

      A Linux container allows separate management of kernel space and user space components by utilizing cgroups and namespaces, which are resource and process isolation mechanisms. Solaris and BSD also have abstractions similar to Linux containers but the article’s focus is on the latter only. The host running the container has the operating system kernel and a set of libraries and tools required to run containers. The container image, on the other hand, has the libraries, interpreters and application code required to run the application that is being distributed in the container. These depend on underlying system libraries. This is true for interpreted languages too as the interpreters themselves are written in low level languages.

    • The Four Pillars of Cloud-Native Operations

      As organizations shift their application strategies to embrace the cloud-native world, the purpose of the cloud transitions from saving money to delivering and managing applications. Platforms such as Cloud Foundry, Kubernetes, and Docker redefine the possibilities for application environments that utilize the cloud. It’s time for us as operations professionals to rethink how we approach our jobs in this new world. We should be asking, how do our organizations take advantage of cloud-native as a new mode of application delivery?

    • How to align your team around microservices

      Microservices have been a focus across the open source world for several years now. Although open source technologies such as Docker, Kubernetes, Prometheus, and Swarm make it easier than ever for organizations to adopt microservice architectures, getting your team on the same page about microservices remains a difficult challenge.

      For a profession that stresses the importance of naming things well, we’ve done ourselves a disservice with microservices. The problem is that that there is nothing inherently “micro” about microservices. Some can be small, but size is relative and there’s no standard measurement unit across organizations. A “small” service at one company might be 1 million lines of code, but far fewer at another organization.

    • DockerCon EU 17 Panel Debates Docker Container Security

      There are many different security capabilities that are part of the Docker container platform, and there are a number of vendors providing container security offerings. At the DockerCon EU 17 conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, eWEEK moderated a panel of leading vendors—Docker, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Aqua Security, Twistlock and StackRox—to discuss the state of the market.

      To date, there have been no publicly disclosed data breaches attributed to container usage or flaws. However, that doesn’t mean that organizations using containers have not been attacked. In fact, Wei Lien Dang, product manager at StackRox, said one of his firm’s financial services customers did have a container-related security incident.

    • DockerCon EU: Tips and Tools for Running Container Workloads on AWS

      Amazon Web Services wants to be a welcome home for developers and organizations looking to deploy containers. At the DockerCon EU conference here, a pair of AWS technical evangelists shared their wisdom on the best ways to benefit from container deployments.

      The terms microservices and containers are often used interchangeably by people. Abby Fuller, technical evangelist at AWS, provided the definition of microservices coined by Adrian Crockford, VP of Cloud Architecture at AWS and formerly the cloud architect at Netflix.

    • Docker CEO: Embracing Kubernetes Removes Conflict

      Steve Singh has ambitious plans for Docker Inc. that are nothing less than transforming the world of legacy applications into a modern cloud-native approach.

      Singh was named CEO of Docker on May 2 and hosted his first DockerCon event here Oct. 16-19. The highlight of DockerCon EU was the surprise announcement that Docker is going to support the rival open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system.

      In a video interview with eWEEK, Singh explained the rationale behind the Kubernetes support and provided insight into his vision for the company he now leads.

  • Kernel Space

    • Hyperledger Stitches in Another Blockchain Project

      The Linux Foundation’s open source Hyperledger Project, which works on blockchain technologies, added a sixth sub project — this one dubbed Quilt.

      Hyperledger Quilt started around 18 months ago and is an implementation of the Interledger Protocol (ILP), which helps facilitate transactions across ledgers.

    • Chinese Search Giant Baidu Joins Hyperledger Blockchain Consortium

      Chinese search engine giant Baidu has become the latest member of the Linux Foundation-led Hyperledger blockchain consortium.

      In joining the group – which focuses on developing blockchain technologies for enterprises – Baidu will assist the project’s efforts alongside other member companies including Accenture, IBM, JP Morgan, R3, Cisco and SAP, among others.

    • Cramming features into LTS kernel releases

      While the 4.14 development cycle has not been the busiest ever (12,500 changesets merged as of this writing, slightly more than 4.13 at this stage of the cycle), it has been seen as a rougher experience than its predecessors. There are all kinds of reasons why one cycle might be smoother than another, but it is not unreasonable to wonder whether the fact that 4.14 is a long-term support (LTS) release has affected how this cycle has gone. Indeed, when he released 4.14-rc3, Linus Torvalds complained that this cycle was more painful than most, and suggested that the long-term support status may be a part of the problem. A couple of recent pulls into the mainline highlight the pressures that, increasingly, apply to LTS releases.

      As was discussed in this article, the 4.14 kernel will include some changes to the kernel timer API aimed at making it more efficient, more like contemporary in-kernel APIs, and easier to harden. While API changes are normally confined to the merge window, this change was pulled into the mainline for the 4.14-rc3 release. The late merge has led to a small amount of grumbling in the community.

    • Improving the kernel timers API

      The kernel’s timer interface has been around for a long time, and its API shows it. Beyond a lack of conformance with current in-kernel interface patterns, the timer API is not as efficient as it could be and stands in the way of ongoing kernel-hardening efforts. A late addition to the 4.14 kernel paves the way toward a wholesale change of this API to address these problems.

    • What’s the best way to prevent kernel pointer leaks?

      An attacker who seeks to compromise a running kernel by overwriting kernel data structures or forcing a jump to specific kernel code must, in either case, have some idea of where the target objects are in memory. Techniques like kernel address-space layout randomization have been created in the hope of denying that knowledge, but that effort is wasted if the kernel leaks information about where it has been placed in memory. Developers have been plugging pointer leaks for years but, as a recent discussion shows, there is still some disagreement over the best way to prevent attackers from learning about the kernel’s address-space layout.

      There are a number of ways for a kernel pointer value to find its way out to user space, but the most common path by far is the printk() function. There are on the order of 50,000 printk() calls in the kernel, any of which might include the value of a kernel pointer. Other places in the kernel use the underlying vsprintf() mechanism to format data for virtual files; they, too, often leak pointer values. A blanket ban on printing pointer values could solve this problem — if it could be properly enforced — but it would also prevent printing such values when they are really needed. Debugging kernel problems is one obvious use case for printing pointers, but there are others.

    • Continuous-integration testing for Intel graphics

      Two separate talks, at two different venues, give us a look into the kinds of testing that the Intel graphics team is doing. Daniel Vetter had a short presentation as part of the Testing and Fuzzing microconference at the Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC). His colleague, Martin Peres, gave a somewhat longer talk, complete with demos, at the X.Org Developers Conference (XDC). The picture they paint is a pleasing one: there is lots of testing going on there. But there are problems as well; that amount of testing runs afoul of bugs elsewhere in the kernel, which makes the job harder.

      Developing for upstream requires good testing, Peres said. If the development team is not doing that, features that land in the upstream kernel will be broken, which is not desirable. Using continuous-integration (CI) along with pre-merge testing allows the person making a change to make sure they did not break anything else in the process of landing their feature. That scales better as the number of developers grows and it allows developers to concentrate on feature development, rather than bug fixing when someone else finds the problem. It also promotes a better understanding of the code base; developers learn more “by breaking stuff”, which lets them see the connections and dependencies between different parts of the code.

    • Graphics Stack

      • “NonDesktop” Proposed For RandR: Useful For VR & Apple Touch Bar Like Devices

        Besides Keith Packard working on the concept of resource leasing for the X.Org Server and resource leasing support for RandR, he’s also now proposing a “NonDesktop” property for the Resize and Rotate protocol.

        The resource leasing has already been worked out as a candidate for the next update, RandR 1.6, while now this veteran X11 developer is proposing a new “NonDesktop” property for identifying outputs that are not conventional displays.

      • More AMDGPU Changes Queue For Linux 4.15

        Adding to the excitement of Linux 4.15, AMD has queued some more changes that were sent in today for DRM-Next.

        Already for Linux 4.15, the AMDGPU Direct Rendering Manager driver should have the long-awaited “DC” display stack that brings Vega/Raven display support, HDMI/DP audio, atomic mode-setting and more. Other pull requests have also brought in a new ioctl, UVD video encode ring support on Polaris, transparent huge-pages DMA support, PowerPlay clean-ups, and many fixes, among other low-level improvements.

      • Running Android on Top of a Linux Graphics Stack

        Traditional Linux graphics systems (like X11) mostly did not use planes. But modern graphics systems like Android and Wayland can take full advantage of it.

        Android has the most mature implementation of plane support in HWComposer, and its graphics stack is a bit different from the usual Linux desktop graphics stack. On desktops, the typical compositor just uses the GPU for all composition, because this is the only thing that exists on the desktop.

        Most embedded and mobile chips have specialized 2D composition hardware that Android is designed around. The way this is done is by dividing the things that are displayed into layers, and then intelligently feeding the layers to hardware that is optimized to handle layers. This frees up the GPU to work on the things you actually care about, while at the same time, it lets hardware that is more efficient do what it does best.

      • Many Vega Improvements & Other Fixes Land In Mesa For RADV Vulkan Driver

        With Mesa 17.3 expected to be branched this weekend and this marking the end of feature development for this last stable Mesa series of 2017, the RADV Radeon Vulkan drivers in particular have been busy landing a lot of last minute code.

      • Occlusion Queries Land In Etnaviv For Mesa 17.3

        Landing in Mesa Git this morning ahead of the imminent 17.3 branching is support for OpenGL occlusion queries.

      • Intel Wires In EGL Context Priority Support For Their Mesa Driver
      • Intel Continues Landing New i915 DRM Features For Linux 4.15

        Jani Nikula has sent in another drm-intel-next update for David Airlie’s DRM-Next tree. They continue prepping more updates to their Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) for targeting the upcoming Linux 4.15 cycle.

        There have already been several Intel “i915″ DRM driver updates queued in DRM-Next for this new kernel version. Past pulls have included marking Coffeelake graphics as stable, continued Cannonlake “Gen 10″ graphics enablement, various display improvements, and quite a lot of other low-level code improvements.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Graphics Performance: Ubuntu 17.04 vs. 17.10

        Given the Ubuntu 17.10 release this week and its massive desktop changes from GNOME Wayland to Mesa/kernel upgrades, we’ve been busy benchmarking this new Ubuntu OS release. Complementing the Radeon Ubuntu 17.04 vs. 17.10 gaming comparison are now some OpenGL/Vulkan benchmarks when using Intel Kabylake graphics hardware on Ubuntu 17.04, 17.10 with X.Org and Wayland, and the performance if upgrading against Linux/Mesa Git.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Hey Mycroft, Drive Me to our Goals!

        Almost three months after Akademy 2017, I finally found the time to write a blog post about how I experienced it.

        Akademy is where I learn again about all the amazing things happening in our community, where I connect the dots and see the big picture of where all the effort in the various projects together can lead. And of course, I meet all the wonderful people, all the individual reasons why being in KDE is so amazing. This year was no different.

        Some people voiced their concern during the event that those who are not at Akademy and see only pictures of it on social media might get the feeling that it is mostly about hanging out on the beach and drinking beer, instead of actually being productive. Everyone who was ever at Akademy of course knows this impression couldn’t be further from the truth, but I’ll still take it as a reason to not talk about any of the things that were “just” fun, and focus instead on those that were both fun and productive.

      • KDE Edu sprint 2017 in Berlin

        I had the privilege to attend the KDE Edu sprint in Berlin that happened from the 6th to the 9th of October.

  • Distributions

    • Arch Family

      • Anarchy Linux Dispels Fear of Arch

        Arch-Anywhere/Anarchy Linux is one of the nicest Arch-based distributions I have encountered. However, Anarchy Linux still requires familiarity with terminology and processes that usually are not needed to install Linux distros from a fully-functioning live session installation disk. Not having a demo mode to preview how the OS runs on your particular hardware can be a time-consuming setback.

        However, once you have Anarchy Linux up and running, it will give you a very pleasing computing experience. Much of what happens after installation depends on the desktop environment you selected.

        If you have a desktop preference or prefer one of the included window manager environments instead, you can forget about the sullied reputation that comes with Arch Linux distros. For many reasons, Anarchy Linux is a winning choice.

    • Slackware Family

      • Chromium 62 ready for download

        chromium_iconEarlier this week, Google released a security update for its chrome/chromium browser. The new version 62.0.3202.62 plugs the holes of 35 more or less serious issues, several of them have a CVE rating.

        When the topic of Chromium 62 came up in the comments section of a previous post, I mentioned that I was unable to compile it on Slackware 14.2. Errors like “error: static assertion failed: Bound argument |i| of type |Arg| cannot be converted and bound as |Storage|” yield some results when looked up on the Internet, and they indicate that Slackware’s own gcc-5.3.0 package is too old to compile chromium 62.

    • Red Hat Family

      • A Red Hat Satellite tutorial to install an update server

        Is server patch management the best part of your job? Stop reading here. Many IT organizations struggle with OS patching processes. For Red Hat administrators who are willing to invest some initial energy to simplify later tasks, Satellite provides infrastructure lifecycle management, including capabilities for provisioning, reporting and configuration management. To this end, follow this Red Hat Satellite tutorial to set up a simple server for updates. Once we review how to install the basic update server, we’ll create one example client.

      • Red Hat updates Gluster storage for OpenShift container apps

        Red Hat bolstered Gluster storage for its OpenShift Container Platform, adding iSCSI block and S3 object interfaces, as well as greater persistent volume density.

      • Red Hat to Cover Open Source Collaboration at Gov’t Symposium; Paul Smith Comments

        Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) is set to hold its annual symposium on federal information technology on Nov. 9 where the company will host discussions on open source collaboration and its potential benefits for government, GovCon Executive reported Oct. 11.

      • Red Hat’s Container Technologies and Knowledge Were Chosen by SoftBank to Embrace DevOps

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that several of Red Hat’s open source technologies, including Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, as well as the knowledge of Red Hat Consulting, were chosen by SoftBank Corp (“SoftBank”), a subsidiary of SoftBank Group Corp., to implement DevOps methodology for its Service Platform Division, IT Service Development Division, Information Technology Unit, and Technology Unit, the company’s in-house IT organization. This large, varied organization develops, maintains and operates SoftBank’s IT systems for internal work and operations, supporting 600 diverse systems.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Looking back at Fedora Workstation so far

          So I have over the last few years blogged regularly about upcoming features in Fedora Workstation. Well I thought as we putting the finishing touches on Fedora Workstation 27 I should try to look back at everything we have achieved since Fedora Workstation was launched with Fedora 21. The efforts I highlight here are efforts where we have done significant or most development. There are of course a lot of other big changes that has happened over the last few years by the wider community that we leveraged and offer in Fedora Workstation, examples here include things like Meson and Rust. This post is not about those, but that said I do want to write a post just talking about the achievements of the wider community at some point, because they are very important and crucial too. And along the same line this post will not be speaking about the large number of improvements and bugfixes that we contributed to a long list of projects, like to GNOME itself. This blog is about taking stock and taking some pride in what we achieved so far and major hurdles we past on our way to improving the Linux desktop experience.

        • Resigning from Fedora Council for Fedora 27

          Since I became a Fedora contributor in August 2015, I’ve spent a lot of time in the community. One of the great things about a big community like Fedora is that there are several different things to try out. I’ve always tried to do the most help in Fedora with my contributions. I prefer to make long-term, in-depth contributions than short-term, “quick fix”-style work. However, like many others, Fedora is a project I contribute to in my free time. Over the last month, I’ve come to a difficult realization.

        • Fedora meets RHEL
        • Fedora 27 Making It Easy To Deploy Free RHEL7 VMs

          For those wanting to use Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 within a GNOME Boxes driven virtual machine, you can do so for free now with Fedora Workstation 27.

          Red Hat has made it possible to easily deploy RHEL7 from within the GNOME Boxes virtualization software even if you are not a paying Red Hat customer. All that’s required is a free Red Hat developer account.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • How To Install Vanilla GNOME Shell on Ubuntu 17.10

            So you’ve installed Ubuntu 17.10 but you’re not 100% sold on the direction Ubuntu has taken the GNOME desktop in — no shame in that.

            The customized version of GNOME that Ubuntu 17.10 uses is very much in the mould of the (now defunct) Unity desktop, so it won’t be to everyone’s tastes.

            If you’d like to sample GNOME Shell as GNOME developers intend it to be sampled you can do so very easily.

          • Happy 13th Birthday, Ubuntu!

            Believe it or not but today is Ubuntu’s 13th birthday!

            Thirteen terrific, and occasional tumultuous, years to the day since Mark Shuttleworth sat down to tap out the first Ubuntu release announcement.

          • Ubuntu Linux will never be the same after version 17.10

            Ready for a really new Ubuntu desktop? Then start downloading Ubuntu 17.10 today. Canonical has abandoned its Unity interface in favor of the new GNOME 3.26 desktop, and has replaced its homegrown Mir display server with Wayland.

            That may sound like a radical change, but it you look closely at the new Ubuntu 17.10, Artful Aardvark, desktop, it will look familiar. That’s because while the underlying technologies have changed, Ubuntu’s developers have customized its default GNOME desktop to look and feel like Unity.

          • Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark is ready for download
          • Ubuntu 17.10 releases with GNOME, Kubernetes 1.8; delivers minimal base images
          • How to install and use Uncomplicated Firewall in Ubuntu
          • 10 Major Updates In Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark

            So there you have it finally, Ubuntu 17.10. The release which we have been talking about because of its switch to Gnome from Unity. We’ve talked about most its features in a previous article here but let’s again look at the final version of Ubuntu 17.10. At the end of this article, do take a poll and tell us if you’re going to upgrade to Ubuntu 17.10 or not.

          • Ubuntu 17.10: Hands-on with Artful Aardvark

            Ubuntu 17.10, Artful Aardvark, has now been officially released. I have not been much of an Ubuntu fan for a long time now, but this release includes a lot of significant changes, many of which might address some of my most serious objections about Ubuntu. So I think I should take a closer look at it than I normally do.

            The release announcement mentions the major updates and changes – including the biggest of all, the switch from Unity back to Gnome 3 / Gnome Shell for the desktop. As I have not liked Unity from the very first time I saw it (that’s a polite way to phrase it), I am very, very pleased with this change.

            The release notes (for all versions) give a more complete list of packages updated, and a list of known issues. It also includes a statement that I know some users will not be pleased with

          • 15 Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 17.10 “Artful Aardvark”

            ​The New Ubuntu 17.10 “Artful Aardvark” launch with GNOME3 has brought a big change and got a lot of people excited to try it as soon as they can. If you don’t know yet the new stuff in Ubuntu 17.10, read the article we published today.

          • NEC Partners with Canonical and Screenly on Ubuntu Digital Signage Platform
          • How To Download Ubuntu 17.10 via Torrent
          • Ubuntu 17.10 launches welcoming back the laughing GNOME

            Ubuntu 17.10 is the first to return to the GNOME runtime following the decision to abandon Unity 8 and therefore end the company’s official involvement with mobile phone development.

          • Canonical on Path to IPO as Ubuntu Unity Linux Desktop Gets Ditched

            In October 2010, Mark Shuttleworth, founder of the Ubuntu open-source operating system and CEO of Canonical, announced his grand plan to build a converged Linux desktop that would work on mobile devices, desktops and even TVs. He called the effort “Unity” and poured significant financial resources into it.

            Seven years later, the Unity dream is dead.

            On Oct. 19, Ubuntu 17.10 was released as the first Ubuntu Linux version since 2010 that didn’t use Unity as the default Linux desktop. In a video interview with eWEEK, Shuttleworth details the rationale behind his decision to cancel Unity and why he has now put his company on the path toward an initial public offering (IPO).

            Because Ubuntu has moved into the mainstream in a bunch of areas, including the cloud, he said some of the things his company had been doing were never going to be commercially sustainable.

          • Ubuntu 17.10 delivers new desktop and cloud enhancements
          • Ubuntu 17.10: We’re coming GNOME! Plenty that’s Artful in Aardvark, with a few Wayland wails

            Ubuntu has done a good job of integrating a few plugins that improve GNOME’s user experience compared to stock GNOME – most notably a modified version of the Dash-to-Dock and the App Indicator extensions, which go a long way toward making GNOME a bit more like Unity. It’s worth noting that Ubuntu’s fork of Dash-to-Dock lacks some features of the original, but you can uninstall the Ubuntu version in favour of the original if you prefer. In fact you can really revert to a pretty stock GNOME desktop with just a few tweaks. Canonical said it wasn’t going to heavily modify GNOME and indeed it hasn’t.

          • What’s New in Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark
          • Ubuntu Podcast: S10E33 – Aggressive Judicious Frame

            This week we’ve been protecting our privacy with LineageOS and playing Rust. Telegram get fined, your cloud is being used to mine BitCoin, Google announces a new privacy focused product tier, North Korea hacks a UK TV studio, a new fully branded attack vector is unveiled and Purism reach their funding goal for the Librem 5.

          • Newbie’s Guide to Ubuntu 17.10 Part 3

            This is Part 3 of the newbie’s guide to operate Ubuntu 17.10. Here you’ll learn most basic settings in Ubuntu divided in 2 parts (basics & installing applications) plus special part (GNOME Tweaks and Shell Extensions) at end. Basic needs such as changing wallpaper and enabling touchpad are explained with pictures, including repositioning the dock to bottom (many users will like it) and choosing repository mirror source too. I wish this simple tutorial helps you to operate Ubuntu fluently. This is the last part and I will republish them soon as an ebook. Enjoy!

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Tried Elementary OS 0.4.1 Loki again – Negatory

              The Linux desktop needs a reset. We’re now in a post-Ubuntu world, with Unity gone, and we’re back in sad and forlorn 2005. There isn’t a single major project out there where you can look and say, wow, there’s gonna be a fun and exciting year ahead of us. Well, maybe one or two. The rest? Just run-of-the-mill stuff. The forums are quiet, because there isn’t anything to report, and rehashing kernel versions and desktop versions isn’t really worth anyone’s time.

              I think elementary OS represents this crisis quite well. On its own, it’s a badly cobbled release, with too many issues and inconsistencies and a dreadful approach to ergonomics, making it useless to most people, all other things notwithstanding. But it was too buggy for me to even attempt to install it. Not going well. Alas, unless something cardinal changes, I cannot recommend this one at all. The combo of visual glitches, mediocre performance and middling hardware support does not warrant a longer adventure. Perhaps one day this will change, but for now, you’re better off with stock Ubuntu. And by that I mean up to Zesty, ad I haven’t tried Aardvark yet. Take care, and stay golden.

            • Ubuntu MATE 17.10 Welcomes Unity Fans with New Mutiny Layout, Ships with Snaps

              Ubuntu MATE 17.10 was released today as part of today’s Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) operating system, bringing six month’s worth of improvements and new features for fans of the MATE desktop environment.

            • Lubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) released!
            • Xubuntu 17.10 “Artful Aardvark” Released
            • Refreshing the Xubuntu logo

              Earlier this year I worked a bit with our logo to propose a small change to it – first change to the logo in 5 years. The team approved, but for various reasons the new logo did not make it to 17.10. Now we’re ready to push it out to the world.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Flint OS, an operating system for a cloud-first world

    Given the power of today’s browser platform technology and web frontend performance, it’s not surprising that most things we want to do with the internet can be accomplished through a single browser window. We are stepping into an era where installable apps will become history, where all our applications and services will live in the cloud.

    The problem is that most operating systems weren’t designed for an internet-first world. Flint OS (soon to be renamed FydeOS) is a secure, fast, and productive operating system that was built to fill that gap. It’s based on the open source Chromium OS project that also powers Google Chromebooks. Chromium OS is based on the Linux kernel and uses Google’s Chromium browser as its principal user interface, therefore it primarily supports web applications.

  • Room for Improvement: Areas Where Open Source Can Get Even Better

    Open source software delivers a huge amount of value. But it stands to offer even more. Here’s a list of the ways open source can evolve to meet the needs of developers and organizations even better than it does today.

    Opportunities for continued evolution and improvement in open source include

  • 7 years of open source: Twilio, Synopsys & Veracode

    “What was once considered fringe and anti-establishment has now become the norm powering some of the largest technological innovations of our times. In the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning, autonomous driving and block chain, OSS leads the way,” said Mel Llaguno , open source solution manager at Synopsys Software Integrity Group.

  • F-Droid, the open-source app repository, has been updated to v1.0

    If you are a big Android enthusiast, then you’re probably familiar with the name F-Droid. If not, it’s an extensive repository of open source apps, as well as the name of its accompanying client. Today that client has been updated to v1.0.

    If you remember our coverage of v0.103, v1.0 should look pretty familiar. While there have been some significant changes behind the scenes, apart from a general improvement in performance and ease of use, you’re not likely to notice much.

  • Rackspace ends discount hosting for open source projects

    Rackspace has ended a program under which it offered “generous discounts on hosting for more than 150 OSS projects and communities”, but flubbed the announcement.

    The closure of the program came to our attention after Reg operatives noticed the Tweet below from Eric Holscher, who posted an image in which it appears the fanatical services company planned to withdraw the discount entirely.

  • Oracle Joins Serverless Race with Open Source Fn Project

    Oracle has released Fn, a new open-source, cloud-agnostic, serverless platform. While supporting ‘any programming language’, it initially launched with extensive Java capabilities and a JUnit test framework.

    Fn comprises four of main components: Fn Server, Fn FDKs, Fn Flow and Fn Load Balancer. Written in Go, Fn Server is the platform that runs the code.

  • CableLabs Hints That It’s Planning an Open Source Group

    In a meeting at the SCTE-ISBE Cable Tec Expo show yesterday, Randy Levensalor, lead architect at CableLabs involved with the group’s software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) work, mentioned that CableLabs is planning to announce an open source group soon. He didn’t provide any further detail other than to say CableLabs will be making an announcement in about a month.

    We can speculate that it relates to CableLabs’ SNAPS initiative. SNAPS stands for “SDN/NFV Application development Platform and Stack.” The key objectives for SNAPS are to make it easier for NFV vendors to onboard their applications and to reduce the complexity of integration testing. The initiative attempts to accelerate the adoption of network virtualization, wrote Levensalor in a recent blog posting.

  • Effective Strategies for Recruiting Open Source Developers

    Experienced open source developers are in short supply. To attract top talent, companies often have to do more than hire a recruiter or place an ad on a popular job site. However, if you are running an open source program at your organization, the program itself can be leveraged as a very effective recruiting tool. That is precisely where the new, free online guide Recruiting Open Source Developers comes in. It can help any organization in recruiting developers, or building internal talent, through nurturing an open source culture, contributing to open source communities, and showcasing the utility of new open source projects.

    Why does your organization need a recruiting strategy? One reason is that the growing shortage of skilled developers is well documented. According to a recent Cloud Foundry report, there are a quarter-million job openings for software developers in the U.S. alone and half a million unfilled jobs that require tech skills. They’re also forecasting the number of unfillable developer jobs to reach one million within the next decade.

  • Open source software group for modernizing factory robots seeks SA industry partners
  • Room for Improvement: Areas Where Open Source Can Get Even Better

    Open source software delivers a huge amount of value. But it stands to offer even more. Here’s a list of the ways open source can evolve to meet the needs of developers and organizations even better than it does today.

  • What Lightning Will Look Like: Lightning Labs Has Announced Its User Interface Wallet

    As part of the announcement, Lightning Labs also introduced Neutrino, the new open-source Bitcoin light client that powers the Lightning Desktop App. As a main benefit, Neutrino users don’t need to download the entire Bitcoin blockchain, which is currently over 140 gigabytes in size. This makes the desktop app much more accessible to regular users who transact small amounts, for which the lightning network is particularly suited. And because Neutrino uses a new method of transaction filtering (client side instead of bloom filters), it offers more privacy than most light clients, too.

  • Suite of free, open-source tools to help even non-experts monitor large-scale land use change

    Collect Earth is part of Open Foris, a set of free and open-source software tools developed by FAO with Google Earth, Bing Maps and GEE to facilitate flexible and efficient data collection, analysis and reporting. It is hosted on GitHub, a platform for collaborative software development.

  • AdaptiveScale Releases LXDUI as an Open Source Project.

    As part of AdaptiveScale’s newly released Custer Manager 1.3 software, we are proud to announce that we have released LXDUI as an open source project under the Apache 2.0 license.

  • Lamden Announces Open Source Blockchain Development Suite and Token Sale

    Lamden, the Switzerland-based technology company behind a new innovative blockchain development suite for enterprise applications, has just announced the token sale of their Lamden Tau Token.

  • Events

    • Hacktoberfest 2017 @ Tel Aviv

      I gave my “Midburn – creating an open source community” talk in Hacktoberfest 2017 @ Tel Aviv. This is the local version of an initiative by DigitalOcean and GitHub.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Bringing Mixed Reality to the Web

        Today, Mozilla is announcing a new development program for Mixed Reality that will significantly expand its work in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) for the web. Our initial focus will be on how to get devices, headsets, frameworks and toolsets to work together, so web developers can choose from a variety of tools and publishing methods to bring new immersive experiences online – and have them work together in a fully functional way.

      • Firefox 57 coming soon: a Quantum leap

        Over the past year, Mozilla has been working on a series of major changes to the Firefox browser, mainly for performance and security. These changes are referred to as Project Quantum. Some improvements arrived already with no major differences for its users.

        Last month the major changes landed in the developer channel. These changes mark a major deadline for how extensions work. This deadline gave third party developers a chance to look at their extensions and make changes to remain compatible. It was an important milestone date for the various Firefox add-ons. Firefox 57 marks an end to the legacy XUL based extensions. Starting with version 57, Firefox supports only a new type of extension, named WebExtension.

  • Databases

    • MongoDB’s successful IPO reflects its differences with traditional open source

      MongoDB had a good first day of trading with share prices popping roughly 25% over their opening. As the latest big data platform company to IPO, Mongo’s fortunes are being compared and equated to Cloudera and Hortonworks.

      As upstarts, each is in a race to grow business while whittling down the red ink. Cloudera and Hortonworks are a bit further along this path as their operating losses have begun trending downward – but that happened only after those companies went public.

    • MongoDB’s IPO Beats the Market Out of the Gate

      The folks at MongoDB raised a whole lot of money today in their debut on NASDAQ.

      Yesterday the open source company announced it was going to be asking $24 a share for the 8 million Class A shares it was letting loose in its IPO, which had some Wall Street investors scratching their heads and wondering if the brains at Mongo were suffering from some kind of undiagnosed damage. Analysts had been estimating an opening price of between $20-22 per share, and on October 6 the company had estimated an opening price in the range of $18-20.

    • Wall Street likes databases, as MongoDB soars over 30 percent in its IPO

      Shares of fast-growing cloud database provider MongoDB closed well above the initial asking price of $24, finishing the day at $32.07 after the company successfully raised $192 million in an initial public offering Thursday.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Why it’s pointless to criticize Amazon for being ‘bad’ at open source

      Apparently AWS is B-A-D because it’s a net consumer of open source software. You know, like every single company on earth, inside or outside of tech, probably even including Red Hat. The simple truth is that everyone consumes far more open source software than they contribute. It’s just how the world works.

      For those trying to keep score, however, and paint Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a bad open source citizen, the question is “Why?” Accusations of open source parsimony don’t seem to have damaged developers’ love for AWS as a platform, so exactly what are critics hoping to accomplish? Is it simply a matter of “paying a tax,” as some suggest? If we’ve been reduced to inventing taxes to be paid, with no apparent reason for imposing them, we’re doing open source wrong.

    • PrismTech Moves Market-Leading Proven DDS Solution to Open Source as Eclipse Cyclone
  • BSD

    • DragonFly 5.0 released!

      The normal ISO and IMG files are available for download and install, plus an uncompressed ISO image for those installing remotely.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • An update on GnuPG

      The GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG) is one of the fundamental tools that allows a distributed group to have trust in its communications. Werner Koch, lead developer of GnuPG, spoke about it at Kernel Recipes: what’s in the new 2.2 version, when older versions will reach their end of life, and how development will proceed going forward. He also spoke at some length on the issue of best-practice key management and how GnuPG is evolving to assist.

      It is less than three years since attention was focused on the perilous position of GnuPG; because of systematic failure of the community to fund its development, Koch was considering packing it all in. The Snowden revelations persuaded him to keep going a little longer, then in the wake of Heartbleed there was a resurgent interest in funding the things we all rely on. Heartbleed led to the founding of the Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII). A grant from CII joined commitments from several companies and other organizations and an upsurge in community funding has put GnuPG on a more secure footing going forward.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Digital Impact Alliance Announces Formation of New Open Source Center and First Round of Catalytic Funding for ICT4D Projects

      Today, the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) announced the formation of its new Open Source Center (OSC), and two partners – Digital Square and Software Freedom Conservancy – who will support the Center’s work. The Center will act as a resource to open source software projects serving international development and humanitarian response, providing a variety of shared services, insights and mentorship from partners, as well as funding opportunities. The Center is currently offering its first round of catalytic grants to address a range of challenges including effectiveness and momentum. In this first round, four grants will be made, up to $25,000 each, to projects that foster a healthy, sustainable open source community and products. Applications for funding of new participating members is now available, with a November 8 deadline for initial letters of interest.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Nana Oforiatta Ayim’s Open-Source Encyclopedia of African History Starts With Ghana

        It is a rare kind of woman who enjoys a project so vast that it’s practically unfinishable, but Nana Oforiatta Ayim, a Ghanaian gallerist, writer, and historian, never quits what she has started. She’s discussing her work on the “Cultural Encyclopaedia”, an attempt to “facilitate the re/ordering of knowledge, narratives, and representations from and about the African continent” through an online resource that includes an A-to-Z index and vertices of clickable images for entries. Eventually, a 54-volume book series—one for each country on the continent—will be published with selections from the encyclopedia’s long, long list. Oforiatta Ayim is working with a small team of editors, and, starting with her native country, she has taken on the task of documenting all significant cultural touchstones in the thousands of years of African history. Plus, it will be open source to prevent it from having a top-down logic. “I’m a little bit crazy to take it on,” she says. “But if I’m not going to do it, who is going to be as crazy as me?”

  • Programming/Development

    • How Eclipse is advancing IoT development

      Eclipse may not be the first open source organization that pops to mind when thinking about Internet of Things (IoT) projects. After all, the foundation has been around since 2001, long before IoT was a household word, supporting a community for commercially viable open source software development.

      September’s Eclipse IoT Day, held in conjunction with RedMonk’s ThingMonk 2017 event, emphasized the big role Eclipse is taking in IoT development. It currently hosts 28 projects that touch a wide range of IoT needs and projects. While at the conference, I talked with Ian Skerritt, who heads marketing for Eclipse, about Eclipse’s IoT projects and how Eclipse thinks about IoT more broadly.

    • Intel Begins Landing GFNI Support In GCC 8

      Intel compiler engineers have begun landing “GFNI” support within the GNU Compiler Collection as one of the new ISA extensions not expected until the Icelake processor debut.

    • Control-Flow Enforcement Technology Begins To Land In GCC 8

      Intel Control-flow Enforcement Technology (CET) support has begun landing within the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) for this code safety feature.

      Patches have been in the works for several months while now the start of the patches are being merged to mainline. Coincidentally, at the same time Intel is also landing their GFNI instruction patches in GCC as well.

    • Facebook open sources concurrent programming debugger

      Learning how to do sequential computing, where one calculation is made after the other, is easy. Anyone who learns programmings gets that. Parallel programming, which empowers super-computing calculations to be made simultaneously, is much harder, but doable. Concurrent computing, where multiple calculations are made within overlapping time frames, now that’s hard. It’s also extremely useful whether it’s tracking multiple trains on a single train-line or multiple comments on a single Facebook page. That’s why Facebook has worked hard on concurrent programming. Now, Facebook is sharing its newest debugger tool: RacerD, its new open source race detector.

    • Facebook open-sources RacerD tool to prevent pesky programming problems
    • RacerD detects hard-to-find race conditions in Java code
    • Facebook tackles race hate problem head on with programming tool
    • Facebook open sources RacerD: A tool that’s already squashed 1,000 bugs in concurrent code
    • The Only Person I’ll Pair Program with is my Cat

      I could argue (to varying degrees of success) that pair programming isn’t productive. Productivity of a practice is an easy thing to attack because, in our capitalist dystopia, it’s the end-all-be-all metric. But I hate pair programming, and it’s not just because I don’t feel productive. It’s a lot more than that.

Leftovers

  • The Risks of Unsolicited and Automated Engagement

    I believe sunlight is the best disinfectant and I always admire companies who are open about both their successes and failures. It reminds me when GitLab had their downtime incident: instead of battening down the hatches, they spun up a Google Doc, a live YouTube stream and brought their customers in to help rectify the issue. They got a lot of goodwill from their community.

    If you work for an organization where this article smacks a little close to home, I would be open about it, identify where there are failings, and bring your customers in where they can help you to understand the primary value they are seeking and how you can craft that. People respect humility in cases of failure.

    The reason I am writing this is because I suspect the folks at Bark are good people making some mistakes, and I suspect other companies are making similar mistakes, so I figured this might be a useful article to mull on.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Jane Doe Wants an Abortion but the Government Is Hell Bent on Stopping Her

      The federal government is holding a young woman hostage to force her to carry her pregnancy to term against her will.

      After Jane Doe, a 17-year-old immigrant from Central America, found out she was pregnant last month, she decided to have an abortion. But the Office of Refugee Resettlement — the federal government agency charged with caring for unaccompanied immigrant minors once they enter the country — is prohibiting her from getting one.

      The federal government has a new policy that allows it to veto an unaccompanied minors’ abortion decision, and government officials are doing everything imaginable to prevent Ms. Doe from accessing abortion. They have instructed the shelter where Jane Doe is staying not to transport Ms. Doe or allow Ms. Doe’s court-appointed guardian to transport her to the health care center to have an abortion — essentially holding her hostage.

    • New Study Shows Glyphosate Contaminated Soils Put Half of Europe at Risk

      Pesticides, once used, do not dissolve into thin air, but persist in the environment, contaminating soil, air and water. This is the most recent red flag to emerge as a result of a new joint study by the University of Wageningen, the Joint Research Center of the European Commission and RIKILT laboratories – recently published in the scientific journal “Science of the Total Environment” – which shows that almost half of European soils are contaminated. Results of the analysis of 300 soil samples in 10 different European countries reveal that 45% of agricultural land in Europe contains glyphosate and its metabolite AMPA. This is just the latest, and certainly not the last blow to the theories on the presumed, and never proven safety of agrochemicals in agriculture.

  • Security

    • 8 ‘Minecraft’ apps infected with Sockbot malware on Google Play found adding devices to botnet

      Security researchers have discovered that at least eight malware-laced apps on Google Play Store are ensnaring devices to a botnet to potentially carry out distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) and other malicious attacks. These apps claimed to provide skins to tweak the look of characters in the popular Minecraft: Pocket Edition game and have been downloaded as many as 2.6 million times.

    • KRACK Vulnerability: What You Need To Know

      This week security researchers announced a newly discovered vulnerability dubbed KRACK, which affects several common security protocols for Wi-Fi, including WPA (Wireless Protected Access) and WPA2. This is a bad vulnerability in that it likely affects billions of devices, many of which are hard to patch and will remain vulnerable for a long time. Yet in light of the sometimes overblown media coverage, it’s important to keep the impact of KRACK in perspective: KRACK does not affect HTTPS traffic, and KRACK’s discovery does not mean all Wi-Fi networks are under attack. For most people, the sanest thing to do is simply continue using wireless Internet access.

    • FERC sets rules to protect grid from malware spread through laptops

      The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday proposed new mandatory cybersecurity controls to protect the utility system from the threat posed by laptops and other mobile devices that could spread malicious software.

      The standards are meant to “further enhance the reliability and resilience of the nation’s bulk electric system” by preventing malware from infecting utility networks and bringing down the power grid, according to the nation’s grid regulator.

    • Hack These Apps And Earn $1,000 — Bug Bounty Program Launched By Google And HackerOne
    • Security Vulnerability Puts Linux Kernel at Risk
    • Security updates for Friday
    • Security Central: Open Source Risks Examined [Ed: Is Flexera pulling a Black Duck now? Badmouthing FOSS while ignoring worse issues with proprietary software?]
    • Reaper: IoT botnet ‘worse than Mirai’ infects one million organisations worldwide

      Check Point first unearthed the botnet, codenamed ‘IoT_reaper’, at the beginning of September and claims that, since, it’s already enslaved millions of IoT devices including routers and IP cameras from firms including GoAhead, D-Link, TP-Link, Avtech, Netgear, MikroTik, Linksys and Synology.

    • Google will pay out bounties for bad Android app flaws

      “Google Play is working with the independent bug bounty platform, HackerOne, and the developers of popular Android apps to implement the Google Play Security Reward Program. Developers of popular Android apps are invited to opt-in to the program, which will incentivize security research in a bug bounty model,” says HackerOne.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • No, US Didn’t ‘Stand By’ Indonesian Genocide—It Actively Participated

      “Standing by,” however, is not what the United States did during the Indonesian genocide of 1965–66; rather, it actively supported the massacres, which were applauded at the time by the New York Times.

      Indonesia in 1965 was run by President Sukarno, an anti-colonial nationalist who had irritated Washington with friendly ties to the Indonesian Communist Party, known as the PKI. When an abortive coup attempt was dubiously blamed on the PKI, this was seen by both the Indonesian military and the US as an opportunity.

    • Uncle Sam: The Ultimate Gun Nut

      It’s beginning to look like we may never fully understand Stephen Paddock’s “military-grade” assault on the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. Law enforcement keeps looking in vain for some sort of motive in the dark abyss of Paddock’s odd life. Alt-Right conspiracists are churning out click-baited concoctions that often border on the comical. And the rest of us are left to ponder how and why a wealthy cipher amassed a huge arsenal of weapons that allowed him to become a one-man army.

    • Aides ‘hustled’ after Trump interview to secure list of fallen soldiers: report

      White House aides were “hustling” to secure an up-to-date list of soldiers who died this year after President Trump claimed in an interview earlier this week that he had contacted the families of “virtually everybody” in the military who was killed since he took office, Roll Call reported Friday.

      An email exchange between the White House and Defense Secretary James Mattis’ office reportedly shows the White House asking the department for information regarding the families of service members killed after the president’s inauguration in January.

      The White House asked for the information on surviving family members so Trump could make sure to contact all of them, according to Roll Call.

      The report said that the email exchange came hours after the president said in a Fox News Radio interview Tuesday that he had called nearly all of the families of those killed since he took office.

    • Please Stop Using ‘Woman in Chador Walks by Anti-US Mural’ Stock Photo for Every Article About Iran

      The general mindlessness in choosing a stock photo is what makes them so pernicious. Editors reach for an image that captures the overall theme of the article while drawing the eye of distracted media consumers—typically as an afterthought, something that accents a piece rather than defines it. It’s not an easy task, but it’s one that, left unexamined, can become a form of propaganda independent of any written text.

      One of the most overused and toxic stock photos–and one that highlights perfectly this genre of image making—is the “Woman in Chador Walks by Anti-US Mural” image accompanying countless stories about US/Iran relations. In several variants, the photo shows one or two Iranian women clad in black chadors, faces usually barely visible, walking past a mural of the Statute of Liberty with a skull face.

    • Trump and His ‘Beautiful’ Weapons

      Capturing the wisdom and the beauty of Donald J. Trump in just one statement escaping from his charming mouth: “Our military has never been stronger. Each day, new equipment is delivered; new and beautiful equipment, the best in the world – the best anywhere in the world, by far.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Clinton, Assange and the War on Truth

      On 16 October, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation aired an interview with Hillary Clinton: one of many to promote her score-settling book about why she was not elected President of the United States.

      Wading through the Clinton book, What Happened, is an unpleasant experience, like a stomach upset. Smears and tears. Threats and enemies. “They” (voters) were brainwashed and herded against her by the odious Donald Trump in cahoots with sinister Slavs sent from the great darkness known as Russia, assisted by an Australian “nihilist”, Julian Assange.

    • Julian Assange hits back after CIA director likens WikiLeaks to Isis and Hezbollah
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • On NAFTA, America, Canada and Mexico are miles apart

      On October 17th trade representatives of the three countries gathered to mark the end of the fourth round of talks. A collapse does not seem imminent. Robert Lighthizer, the United States Trade Representative (pictured, centre), denied that abandoning the deal was even being discussed, and announced an extension of negotiations into the first quarter of 2018. But he also played down the damage that would be done if no agreement is reached. And Chrystia Freeland, the Canadian foreign-affairs minister, said that in a “no-fuss Canadian way” she was preparing for “the worst possible outcome”.

    • Three-quarters of the UK public say Brexit is going badly, new poll reveals

      The British public have delivered a damning verdict on the Government’s Brexit strategy after a new poll revealed a huge majority think negotiations with Brussels are going badly.

      The exclusive BMG Research survey carried out before and during the European Council summit at which the Prime Minister won a small concession from EU leaders, shows more than three-quarters of people still think her strategy is failing.

      Almost half also think that the no-deal scenario threatened by ministers would be “bad” for Britain, and reject outright the hard Brexit plan to abandon talks at Christmas if the EU does not allow progress, according to the poll.

    • A Suspected Network Of 13,000 Twitter Bots Pumped Out Pro-Brexit Messages In The Run-Up To The EU Vote

      Researchers have uncovered new evidence of networks of thousands of suspect Twitter bots working to influence the Brexit debate in the run-up to the EU referendum.

      The findings, from researchers at City, University of London, include a network of more than 13,000 suspected bots that tweeted predominantly pro-Brexit messages before being deleted or removed from Twitter in the weeks following the vote.

      The research – which is published in the peer-reviewed Social Science Computer Review journal and was shared exclusively with BuzzFeed News – suggests the suspected bot accounts were eight times more likely to tweet pro-leave than pro-remain content.

      “This is research that corroborates what Facebook and others say: that there are bots that serve to falsely amplify certain messages,” co-author Dan Mercea told BuzzFeed News.

      “There is a potential distortion of public communications and we want to get to the bottom of that. This amplification is of concern as it gives us a false sense of momentum behind certain ideas… If there is false amplification, how do we know if someone is genuine?”

    • How every investor lost money on Trump Tower Toronto (but Donald Trump made millions anyway)

      It’s 2002 and you’ve agreed to have your name emblazoned across the top of the tallest residential tower in Canada, a $500-million, five-star condo-hotel in downtown Toronto.

      Here’s the thing: Only months into the project, your lead developer is publicly exposed in the pages of the Toronto Star as a fugitive fraudster on the run from U.S. justice. Your major institutional partner — the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company — bails shortly after.

    • (Why) The English-Speaking World is the New Soviet Union

      The English-speaking world is in an ideological bubble. The fall of the Soviet Union was the failure of pure socialism. Now, ironically, the fall of the Anglo world is it’s perfect, almost precise, mirror image: the failure of pure capitalism. The simple lesson of the last century is this: either system alone cannot last, endure, or work. Now, the rest of the world knows this. Even Rwanda is building public healthcare — Rwanda, which just three decades ago, was the byword for genocide. Even Pakistan is building public transport and hospitals and schools. The entire rest of the world knows that capitalism is just one tool in the box of building genuinely prosperous societies — and quite often it is precisely the wrong tool. Yet on the Anglo world goes, impotent but still monogamously wedded to capitalism, so now you can get same-day drone delivery of anything at all from Amazon, recommended by your Fakebook friends — but you can die for lack of basic medicine, you don’t have savings, and you’ll never retire, while everyone else knows that trying to use capitalism alone to build, say, working healthcare or educational or financial systems is like trying to water a garden with napalm.

      Limited by that childish belief, in America, for example, public investment has become completely verboten, sacrosanct, beyond imagining, to the point that hospitals are closing down. Have you ever heard of a society closing hospitals? Why would a sane society ever do that, if its population is growing (or even if it isn’t, because healthcare is always advancing)? Such insensible, unreasonable, thoughtless, inhumane, grotesquely foolish extremism is the precise mirror image of a few decades ago, when, it was forbidden in the Soviet Union to, say, even set up a little dry cleaning shop. In just this way, the ideological bubble that the Anglo world is in trapped in, like a web holding a fly, condemns it to fall behind the world, and it’s future resembles that of Russia’s. We’ll discuss that more in a moment.

    • EU summit: UK must adjust to a new reality

      ‘The fundamental difference between the UK vision of what this is about and the Franco-German view is that the British still think this is a negotiation,” Pascal Lamy, the former director general of the World Trade Organisation, told the Financial Times this week. Certainly, six months into the Brexit talks, London appears not to have adjusted its expectations to reflect the cold reality it faces. In advance of the European Council summit in Brussels this week, the chief UK negotiator, David Davis, complained, as if some conspiracy were afoot, that the EU was “using time pressure to see if they can get more money out of us” – a reference to the EU’s refusal to move the talks to the next phase before agreement on the UK’s financial liabilities. Of course that’s what the EU is doing – using its vastly stronger negotiating position to make London pay its outstanding bills.

      The EU has no interest in seeing the talks fail, but London’s claim that each side has as much to lose as the other is fantasy. For the EU, the worst case scenario is bad. For the UK, it’s catastrophic. While European leaders could do more to recognise the limited room for manoeuvre that prime minister Theresa May enjoys at home, the truth is that the British Conservative Party created its own problem by failing to level with its own public about the costs and the pain Brexit would entail.

    • Malcolm Tucker: ‘Brexit is like committing suicide by walking into a door over and over again’

      The new edition of The Big Issue is out, which means Malcolm Tucker’s thoughts on Brexit are in.

      Armando Iannucci has guest-edited this week’s magazine, the centrepiece of which is a conversation between his beloved characters Malcolm Tucker and Alan Partridge.

      We still hear from Alan a fair amount through his various TV shows, so it is The Thick of It’s PR man who is the main draw here, and unsurprisingly he has some pretty caustic thoughts on Brexit (via iNews) and the ensuing omnishambles (to use a Thick of It term):

      Tucker: “Brexit’s idiotic. It’ll be like committing suicide by walking into a door over and over again for years, leavers are imbeciles.”

      “[Brexit is] a f****** death cult.”

    • Cocoa Thoughts

      Cocoa has been one of the most successful areas of endeavour for the Fairtrade movement, but all of that has only resulted in that 5.5% figure, which without Fairtrade would be still lower. It is possible to buy Ghanaian made finished chocolate product in British supermarkets now, and excellent it is too, but it has a very small market share. Producing finished chocolate in Africa has its problems; chocolate is a much more delicate cargo than cocoa beans and reacts badly to either heat or refrigeration. Recipes which overcome this problem result in a certain harshness.

    • Egypt’s Rainbow Raids

      Sisi is whipping up homophobia and targeting gay people to distract his base from rising unemployment and inflation.

    • GE’s nightmare just got worse
    • In blow to Britain, Goldman CEO says to spend more time in Frankfurt

      Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein is planning to spend a lot more time in Frankfurt, he said on Thursday, as the Wall Street bank pushes ahead with plans to make the German city a major base after Britain leaves the European Union.

    • A Tale of Two Transparencies: Why The EU And Activists Will Always Disagree Over Trade Deal Negotiations

      Although the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has dropped off the radar completely since Donald Trump’s election, for some years it was a key concern of both the US and European governments, and a major theme of Techdirt’s posts. One of the key issues was transparency — or the lack of it. Eventually, the European Commission realized that its refusal to release information about the negotiations was seriously undermining its ability to sell the deal to the EU public, and it began making some changes on this front, as we discussed back in 2015. Since then, transparency has remained a theme of the European Commission’s initiatives. Last month, in his annual State of the Union address, President Jean-Claude Juncker unveiled his proposals for trade policy. One of them was all about transparency:

    • Blockchains: How They Work and Why They’ll Change the World

      Bitcoin was hatched as an act of defiance. Unleashed in the wake of the Great Recession, the cryptocurrency was touted by its early champions as an antidote to the inequities and corruption of the traditional financial system. They cherished the belief that as this parallel currency took off, it would compete with and ultimately dismantle the institutions that had brought about the crisis. Bitcoin’s unofficial catchphrase, “In cryptography we trust,” left no doubt about who was to blame: It was the middlemen, the bankers, the “trusted” third parties who actually couldn’t be trusted. These humans simply got in the way of other humans, skimming profits and complicating transactions.

    • The Power of Stories: Why We Need More Than Facts to Win

      You cannot take away someone’s story without giving them a new one. It is not enough to challenge an old narrative, however outdated and discredited it may be. Change happens only when you replace it with another. When we develop the right story, and learn how to tell it, it will infect the minds of people across the political spectrum. Those who tell the stories run the world.

      The old world, which once looked stable, even immutable, is collapsing. A new era has begun, loaded with hazard if we fail to respond, charged with promise if we seize the moment. Whether the systems that emerge from this rupture are better or worse than the current dispensation depends on our ability to tell a new story, a story that learns from the past, places us in the present and guides the future.

    • Cities around US offer billions in tax breaks to be Amazon’s HQ2

      Cities around the country are pulling out all the stops to entice Amazon to set up its second headquarters in their area.

      The online retail giant is taking proposals from around North America, and today’s the deadline. Some of the proposals include massive tax breaks, while other cities are trying out humorous gimmicks to get the company’s attention.

      New Jersey has offered the biggest tax incentives, consisting of up to $7 billion in state and local tax rebates if Amazon locates in Newark and hires the 50,000 workers it has said it would. The company has also promised $5 billion in spending on construction of the headquarters. The New Jersey offer, announced Monday, is $2 billion more than what Republican Governor Chris Christie and the Democratic-led New Jersey legislature agreed to last month.

    • Freed Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Oscar López Rivera on U.S. Colonialism After Hurricane Maria

      One month after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, we hear from longtime Puerto Rican independence activist Oscar López Rivera, who was released in May and is now in San Juan to visit with community members affected by Hurricane Maria. Until earlier this year, Rivera had been in federal prison for 35 years—much of the time in solitary confinement—after he was convicted on federal charges of opposing U.S. authority over the island by force. President Obama commuted his sentence in January.

    • I’ve annotated the government’s response to the petition calling for another Brexit referendum

      It’s funny how some numbers that sound big are actually small, isn’t it? If 111,507 people turned up at your door demanding you do something, you’d probably feel under quite some pressure to do it.

      But there are more than 65 million people in the UK: those 111,507 people are less than 0.2 per cent of the population. So it is that Theresa May’s government feels quite happy to ignore them and get on with doing exactly what it wanted to do anyway.

      That, at least, is the subtext of its response to a petition on the official parliamentary website demanding that it “hold a referendum on the final Brexit deal”. At time of writing, it’s been signed by 111,512 people (ooh, that’s five more since I started writing) – and the rules state that any petition which tops 100,000 signatures “will be considered for debate in parliament”.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Spain Moves To Strip Catalonia’s Autonomy After Secession Showdown

      At the Cabinet meeting, the government would invoke Article 155 of Spain’s constitution allowing it to strip Catalonia of its self-governance. That would take effect on Saturday, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s office said in a statement.

      Madrid had given Puigdemont a 10 a.m. (4 a.m. ET) deadline to clarify his government’s stance on a non-binding declaration of independence passed by the regional legislature following a successful referendum on secession.

    • Banning Democracy in Catalonia

      There is a fundamental disconnect between the real Catalonia and the Catalonia the political Establishment and its lackey media want us to believe exists.

      All of the major Western broadcasters, plus newspapers like The Guardian, Washington Post and New York Times, have repeatedly pumped out the mantra that it is only a minority in Catalonia that support Independence. They have never attempted to explain why therefore Carles Puigdemont is President, and why the pro-Independence parties got 48% at the last Catalan elections while the Spanish Nationalist parties got 39%.

    • Republican official ‘would have shot’ Guardian reporter attacked by Gianforte

      A Montana Republican party official “would have shot” Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs if he had approached her as he did Greg Gianforte, who assaulted Jacobs one day before he was elected to Congress.

      Jacobs approached Gianforte in May, in a room where he was about to give a television interview. The Republican slammed Jacobs to the floor, breaking his glasses, and then punched him several times.

    • Lawyers: Trump’s Twitter Account Not Presidential; Also: Trump Is President, Can’t Be Sued

      A lawsuit filed against President Trump alleges a host of First Amendment violations stemming from Trump’s Twitter blocklist. According to the suit filed by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, an official government account shouldn’t be allowed to block users from reading tweets. Sure, there’s an actual official presidential Twitter account, but nothing of interest happens there. Everything from retweets of questionable GIFs to arguable threats of nuclear war happen at Donald Trump’s personal account. But everything’s all mixed together because the president insists on using his personal account (and its blocklist) to communicate a majority of his thoughts and opinions.

    • Bill to halt election meddling on social media introduced

      Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), along with Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), are supporting the bill, which aims to put social media companies on par with radio and TV in their disclosure requirements.

    • What’s Even Scarier Than Donald Trump?

      Donald Trump’s flailings are ever more terrifying. In the course of a few days, he tossed a grenade into the health-care markets that millions rely on, traduced the Iranian nuclear deal, threatened to abandon US citizens ravaged by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, continued to sabotage action on climate change, tweeted about censoring the media, and so undermined his own secretary of state that Republican Senator Bob Corker accused him of castration. For all of that, Trump’s grotesqueries are exceeded by a Republican Congress intent on a course so ruinous as to be, one hopes, impossible to sustain.

      This week, Senate Republicans will seek to push through a budget resolution for the current fiscal year. The resolution provides guidelines for spending and tax cuts, with projections for the next decade. Although its provisions are destructive and absurd, it has the support of virtually all of the Republican caucus.

    • New Whistleblowers Highlight How Russia’s Information War On U.S. Was Larger Than Initially Reported

      A few years ago, Russian whistleblowers like Lyudmila Savchuk began to reveal that Vladimir Putin had built a massive new internet propaganda machine. At the heart of this machine sat the “Internet Research Agency,” a Russian government front company tasked with operating warehouses filled with employees paid 40,000 to 50,000 rubles ($800 to $1,000) a month to create proxied, viable fake personas — specifically tasked with pumping the internet full of toxic disinformation 24 hours a day. Initial reports on these efforts were often playful, suggesting little more than shitposting and memes.

    • Retired ‘Navy SEAL’ praising Trump on Fox News was a fake
    • ‘Worst people in the world’ becoming face of GOP: Conservative commentator

      Author Charlie Sykes was best known as a top Wisconsin conservative talk show host who frequently interviewed fellow cheeseheads and GOP favorites Paul Ryan and Reince Preibus. But when candidate Donald Trump appeared on the political scene, Sykes became a vocal member of #NeverTrump, warning his listeners about this “dangerous” candidate.

    • CIA corrects director’s Russian election meddling claim

      CIA Director Mike Pompeo said Thursday that the US intelligence community determined that Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election did not affect its outcome — a statement that was quickly clarified by his own agency.

      The “intelligence community’s assessment is that the Russian meddling that took place did not affect the outcome of the election,” Pompeo said, speaking at an event hosted by Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

      The CIA issued a clarifying statement after Pompeo’s remarks.

    • Detailed anatomy of Wisconsin’s election-rigging, racist voter suppression

      In 2008 and 2012, Wisconsin ranked second in the USA for voter turnout; in 2016, following the enactment of a series of racist voter-suppression tactics, the voter turnout was the worst it had been since 2000.

      The voter suppression tactics in Wisconsin are a combination of poll-tax; fraudulent promises of easy access to voter ID (whose hollow nature was repeatedly verified by undercover voting rights activists, who recorded officials directly contradicting the policies that supposedly ensured access to voting ID); special measures aimed at reducing student participation in elections; and out-and-out sleaze.

      The Democratic loss in Wisconsin is unquestionably due to voter suppression, and Trump’s fake voting fraud panic is aimed at repeating the feat in other states.

    • Rigged: How Voter Suppression Threw Wisconsin to Trump

      She’d lost her driver’s license a few days earlier, but she came prepared with an expired Wisconsin state ID and proof of residency. A poll worker confirmed she was registered to vote at her current address. But this was Wisconsin’s first major election that required voters—even those who were already registered—to present a current driver’s license, passport, or state or military ID to cast a ballot. Anthony couldn’t, and so she wasn’t able to vote.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Libraries are losing their literary value

      They risk becoming hangouts rather than places of discovery.

    • A Joke Tweet Leads To ‘Child Trafficking’ Investigation, Providing More Evidence Of Why SESTA Would Be Abused

      Think we’re unduly worried about how “trafficking” charges will get used to punish legitimate online speech? We’re not.

      A few weeks ago a Mississippi mom posted an obviously joking tweet offering to sell her three-year old for $12.

      [...]

      This story is bad enough on its own. As it stands now, actions by the Mississippi authorities will chill other Mississippi parents from blowing off steam with facetious remarks on social media. But at least the chilling harm is contained within Mississippi’s borders. If SESTA passes, that chill will spread throughout the country.

      If SESTA were on the books, the Mississippi authorities would not have had to stop with the mom. Its next stop could be Twitter itself. No matter how unreasonable its suspicions, it could threaten criminal investigation on Twitter for having facilitated this allegedly trafficking-related speech.

    • Don’t Mourn the Loss of Free Media Till You Pay for Your News

      Over the last few days, I have seen with a sense of dismay a ‘tu-tu main-main’ over NDTV censoring its journalists. One of NDTV’s senior-most journalist and well-known face, Sreenivasan Jain, on Tuesday, alleged that a report by him on loans given to companies owned by BJP chief Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah was taken down from NDTV’s website. This was done in the name of ‘legal vetting’ he said in a detailed Facebook post.

    • If You’re Boycotting Israel in This Texas Town, Then No Hurricane Relief for You

      If you’re a resident of a small Texas city and in need of hurricane recovery funds, you’ll have to certify that you’re not boycotting Israel.

      Dickinson, Texas, announced earlier this week that it was accepting applications for grants to help residents rebuild homes and businesses damaged by Hurricane Harvey, which took a particularly devastating toll on this Houston-area town of some 20,000 people. The application is mainly comprised of unremarkable legalities, with one notable exception: a clause stating that the applicant will not take part in a boycott of Israel for the duration of the grant.

    • ACLU Slams Houston Suburb for Withholding Hurricane Relief to Anyone Boycotting Israel

      “The First Amendment protects Americans’ right to boycott, and the government cannot condition hurricane relief or any other public benefit on a commitment to refrain from protected political expression,” said ACLU of Texas Legal Director Andre Segura.
      “Dickinson’s requirement is an egregious violation of the First Amendment, reminiscent of McCarthy-era loyalty oaths requiring Americans to disavow membership in the Communist party and other forms of ‘subversive’ activity,” Segura added.

    • Beyond ICE In Oakland: How SESTA Threatens To Chill Any Online Discussion About Immigration

      First, if you are someone who likes stepped-up ICE immigration enforcement and does not like “sanctuary cities,” you might cheer the implications of this post, but it isn’t otherwise directed at you. It is directed at the center of the political ven diagram of people who both feel the opposite about these immigration policies, and yet who are also championing SESTA. Because this news from Oakland raises the specter of a horrific implication for online speech championing immigrant rights if SESTA passes: the criminal prosecution of the platforms which host that discussion.

      Much of the discussion surrounding SESTA is based on some truly horrific tales of sex abuse, crimes that more obviously fall under what the human trafficking statutes are clearly intended to address. But with news that ICE is engaging in a very broad reading of the type of behavior the human trafficking laws might cover and prosecuting anyone that happens to help an immigrant, it’s clear that the type of speech that SESTA will carve out from Section 230′s protection will go far beyond the situations the bill originally contemplated.

    • US Senators Ask Apple Why VPN Apps Were Removed in China

      Two US senators have written to Apple CEO Tim Cook asking why the company reportedly removed VPN apps from the company’s store in China. “If these reports are true,” the senators wrote, “we are concerned that Apple may be enabling the Chinese government’s censorship and surveillance of the Internet.”

    • Senators press Apple to explain removal of apps in China

      In a letter that was released by the senators on Thursday, Cruz and Leahy criticized Apple for going along with China’s internet regulations.

    • Apple Cook roasted for Chinese app takeaway

      A pair of senior US Senators are calling out Apple CEO Tim Cook for what they call “enabling the Chinese government’s censorship and surveillance of the internet.”

      Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Ted Cruz (R-Zodiac) said this week they are concerned with how quickly Apple caved to demands from the Chinese government to remove VPN apps from its China App Store.

    • Australian Government Wants to Give Satire The Boot

      The National Symbols Officer of Australia recently wrote to Juice Media, producers of Rap News and Honest Government Adverts, suggesting that its “use” of Australia’s coat of arms violated various Australian laws. This threat came despite the fact that Juice Media’s videos are clearly satire and no reasonable viewer could mistake them for official publications. Indeed, the coat of arms that appeared in the Honest Government Adverts series does not even spell “Australian” correctly.

      It is unfortunate that the Australian government cannot distinguish between impersonation and satire. But it is especially worrying because the government has proposed legislation that would impose jail terms for impersonation of a government agency. Some laws against impersonating government officials can be appropriate (Australia, like the U.S., is seeing telephone scams from fraudsters claiming to be tax officials). But the proposed legislation in Australia lacks sufficient safeguards. Moreover, the recent letter to Juice Media shows that the government may lack the judgment needed to apply the law fairly.

    • The spector of censorship

      I’ve audited a few courses in nearby colleges and was deeply disappointed to discover that a large number of students are not familiar with Jack London’s books and short stories. I was told that London’s writings have “racists language”-translation-not politically correct. I also discovered that our children do not know how to write or read cursive penmanship. These are just two examples, but what else is being abolished by education administrators to keep our children from achieving their full decision-making potential.

    • 8 Strangest Examples Of Censorship In Video Games
    • ‘Don’t demonetise Tamil pride’: Rahul Gandhi tells Modi on ‘Mersal’ censorship
    • Germany: Full Censorship Now Official
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • [Old] Uber Tracks Devices Even After Owners Uninstall App, Report Claims
    • How Russian Firm Might Have Siphoned Tools From the NSA

      Kaspersky Lab has come under intense scrutiny after its antivirus software was linked to the breach of an NSA employee’s home computer in 2015 by Russian government hackers; U.S. government sources, quoted in news reports, suggested the Moscow-based company colluded with the hackers to steal classified documents or tools from the worker’s machine, or at least turned a blind eye to this activity. The Department of Homeland Security banned Kaspersky products from civilian government systems, and Best Buy has removed the software from computers it sells based on concerns that the software can be used to spy on customers.

      But a closer look at the allegations and technical details of how Kaspersky’s products operate raises questions about the accuracy of the narrative being woven in news reports and suggests that U.S. officials could be technically correct in their statements about what occurred, while also being incorrect about collusion on the part of Kaspersky.

    • Is the FBI Setting the Stage for Increased Surveillance of Black Activists?

      The ACLU and CMJ are demanding more information on why the FBI recently named “Black Identity Extremists” a threat.

      A recently leaked FBI “Intelligence Assessment” contains troubling signs that the FBI is scrutinizing and possibly surveilling Black activists in its search for potential “extremists.”

      The report, which the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division prepared, identifies what it calls “Black Identity Extremists” as security threats. Their “perceptions of police brutality against African Americans … will very likely serve as justification” for violence against law enforcement officers, the report claims. Today, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Center for Media Justice seeking other records regarding the FBI’s surveillance of Black people on the basis of a supposed shared ideology, including records using the term “Black Identity Extremists.”

    • Expanding E-Verify is a Privacy Disaster in the Making

      E-Verify is a massive federal data system used to verify the eligibility of job applicants to work in the United States. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) administer E-Verify. Until now, the federal government has not required private employers to use E-Verify, and only a few states have required it. However, a proposed bill in Congress, the Legal Workforce Act (HR 3711), aims to make E-Verify use mandatory nationwide despite all the very real privacy and accuracy issues associated with the data system.

      EFF recently joined human rights and workers rights organizations from across the United States and sent a letter to Congress pointing out the flaws of E-Verify.

    • Government Drops Its Demand For Data On 6,000 Facebook Users

      It’s amazing what effect a little public scrutiny has on government overreach. In the wake of inauguration day protests, the DOJ started fishing for information from internet service providers. First, it wanted info on all 1.2 million visitors of a protest website hosted by DreamHost. After a few months of bad publicity and legal wrangling, the DOJ was finally forced to severely restrict its demands for site visitor data.

      Things went no better with the warrants served to Facebook. These demanded a long list of personal information and communications from three targeted accounts, along with the names of 6,000 Facebook users who had interacted with the protest site’s Facebook page. Shortly before oral arguments were to be heard in the Washington DC court, the DOJ dropped its gag order.

    • Facebook is struggling to meet the burden of securing itself, security chief says

      Facebook is Struggling to live up to the responsibility it faces for adequately securing the vast amount of personal information it amasses, the social network’s top security executive said in a leaked phone call with company employees.

      “The threats that we are facing have increased significantly and the quality of the adversaries that we are facing,” Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos said during a taped call, which was reported Thursday by ZDNet. “Both technically and from a cultural perspective, I don’t feel like we have caught up with our responsibility.”

    • European Parliament failed to protect our Privacy

      The European Parliament has just adopted its position on ePrivacy. It is bad. Major threats pushed by Internet giants were rejected, but the so-called “pro-privacy” groups failed to reject them all. Liberals, left-wing and ecologist groups lost sight of our fundamental rights in an absurd attempt to reach compromises at any cost.

      The so-called “pro-privacy” groups (the liberals of ALDE, left-wing S&D and Greens) have lost months in negotiating with regressive right-wing groups (EPP and ECR), pursuing unreachable compromises. At the last minute, right-wing groups left the negotiation table, creating an opportunity for a reasonable text to be adopted. But this opportunity was not seized at all: the groups pretending to defend our privacy did not even try to improve the draft ePrivacy Regulation but only focused on winning today’s vote. Shame on them.

    • Good news on the privacy front: no more EU demands for crypto backdoors

      Governments all around the world hate encryption. Unless they are being incredibly cunning by pretending they can’t break strong encryption when they can, this seems to be because crypto really does keep messages and data safe from prying governmental eyes. Banning strong encryption is clearly a non-starter – even the most clueless politician knows by now that e-commerce would collapse without it. As a result, the favorite approach has been the backdoor – that magical weakness that somehow is only available to those operating lawfully, and not criminals or hostile governments. That’s despite the fact that every top security expert has explained that it is simply not possible to add backdoors to encryption while retaining the protection it is meant to offer.

    • Thrive: the new showing off online is showing off that you’re not online
    • Lyft taxi app boosted by $1bn investment from Google-led consortium

      The funding round was led by CapitalG (formerly known as Google Capital), the strategic investment arm of Google’s corporate parent Alphabet, and takes the valuation of Lyft up to $11bn.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Questions and Answers on Proposed US Ban on Laptops in Luggage

      The Federal Aviation Administration recently recommended that the U.N. agency that sets global aviation standards prohibit passengers from putting laptops and other large personal electronic devices in their checked bags.

    • Police body cams were meant to keep us safer. Are they working?
    • Axon wants you (yes, you!) to submit photos, videos to police
    • Women’s eNews Founder Rita Henley Jensen Dies

      And award-winning journalist Rita Henley Jensen has died at the age of 70. Jensen was a domestic violence survivor who in 2000 founded Women’s eNews, then the only independent daily news service focusing on women. She also founded the Jane Crow Project, an investigative news outlet focused on how racial and gender bias affects women’s health and reproductive rights. She died Wednesday morning after a long battle with cancer.

    • John Thompson Received 18 Wrongful Years On Death Row, Yet Never Received Justice

      John Thompson was many things: death row exoneree, abolitionist, advocate for prosecutorial accountability, spokesperson, founder of an exoneree-run re-entry program, and mentor. Before the news cycle moves on from John, we are compelled to acknowledge the way he most profoundly affected the world.

      After his untimely death on October 3rd, the media described him as a man who saw the world as it should be, as angry, and as a warrior. To those of us who enjoyed the enormous privilege of knowing and loving John, he was so much more.

      John survives as a symbol of the impunity with which prosecutors may disregard the life and rights of a young black man. Yet he was a wonderfully regular man with a sharp wit and irreverent humor. He loved his wife, family—especially his grandchildren—and friends. He liked a strong coffee in the morning and a beer in the evening. He went to church, and then cursed at the football game. John didn’t sugarcoat anything. He had 100 big ideas a week. He issued straight line challenges—to his colleagues and to the world. Consequently, those who truly knew and loved him maintained a more real, raw and rewarding relationship with John Thompson, compared to others in their lives. He was our friend, and a brilliant, honest, funny, smart, present, and—at times—difficult colleague.

    • Spain is Operating Way Beyond Democratic Legitimacy

      In imprisoning Catalan leaders for peaceful campaigning for Independence, and in choosing both in rhetoric and in court to treat support for Independence as “sedition”, the Spanish government is acting way beyond the limits of a democratic society. It is ignoring the basic human rights of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. It is also undertaking massive blocking of communication and censorship of the internet in a manner never seen before in a “Western” state.

      To move now to suspend the democratically elected Catalan administration, which is explicitly offering dialogue as an alternative to UDI, is to escalate the crisis in an unreasonable fashion, in the true meaning of the word unreasonable. All of this is truly dreadful, without even mentioning the violence inflicted on voters taking part in the peaceful Independence referendum.

      As regular readers know, the EU reaction to the peaceful movement for Catalan independence has caused me to rethink my entire position on that institution. The failure to condemn the violence and human rights abuse has been bad enough, but the EU has gone still further and offered unqualified support to Spain, with the Commission specifically declaring Spain has a right to use violence, and Juncker saying straight out that the EU opposes Catalan Independence.

    • White Nationalist Richard Spencer’s Supporters Charged in Post-Speech Shooting

      Three men who traveled from Texas for white nationalist Richard Spencer’s Thursday speech at the University of Florida were charged with attempted homicide for allegedly opening fire on protesters, authorities said.

      No one was injured in the shooting after the Gainesville speech, which drew hundreds of protesters and a smaller group of Spencer fans, along with a massive deployment of police trying to prevent a repeat of the street violence that marked a Spencer-related rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, police said.

    • Federal Judge Unseals New York Crime Lab’s Software for Analyzing DNA Evidence

      A federal judge this week unsealed the source code for a software program developed by New York City’s crime lab, exposing to public scrutiny a disputed technique for analyzing complex DNA evidence.

      Judge Valerie Caproni of the Southern District of New York lifted a protective order in response to a motion by ProPublica, which argued that there was a public interest in disclosing the code. ProPublica has obtained the source code, known as the Forensic Statistical Tool, or FST, and published it on GitHub; two newly unredacted defense expert affidavits are also available.

      “Everybody who has been the subject of an FST report now gets to find out to what extent that was inaccurate,” said Christopher Flood, a defense lawyer who has sought access to the code for several years. “And I mean everybody — whether they pleaded guilty before trial, or whether it was presented to a jury, or whether their case was dismissed. Everybody has a right to know, and the public has a right to know.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • $100 Internet bill became $340 for no reason, Frontier customer says

      Frontier Communications’ purchase of FiOS and DSL networks from Verizon last year led to immediate problems for customers that took weeks to resolve.

      More than a year later, some ex-Verizon customers in Florida say they are still having major problems with their new provider.

    • Trump’s “free market” FCC loves monopolies, especially when they rip off prisoners’ families

      The American prison system is home to one of the greatest market-failures in the history of telephony (which is saying something): a monopolistic system in which sole-supplier, hedge-fund owned telcoms operators charge as much as $14/minute for prisoners to talk with their lawyers, families and loved ones.

    • FCC Shouldn’t Give Up on Reforming Inmate Phone Services

      These services are provided by companies—the two largest are owned by private equity firms—that are willing to skirt rules to turn a profit. For instance, when the FCC banned the practice of charging exorbitant fees to connect calls, the companies simply renamed the fees, calling them “first minute” charges. On top of that, these companies charge to put money into inmates’ accounts. They charge to take money out of their accounts. They even limit the amount inmates and their families can put into that account at one time, thereby enabling them to charge the same fees over and over again. They also charge to refund any money left over in the accounts once prisoners are released.

    • Michigan Lawmaker Doesn’t Understand Her Own Bill Hamstringing Broadband Competition

      For the better part of a decade we’ve noted how if America really wanted to improve its horrible broadband problem it would stop letting industry giants like Comcast write shitty protectionist state telecom law. Over the last fifteen years, more than twenty states have passed laws preventing towns and cities from building their own broadband networks even when no incumbent broadband provider will. In many instances these bills also hamstring public/private partnerships, which are often the only way to creatively bring better broadband to under-served or unserved areas of the country.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Author Who Lost Copyright Case Over The Da Vinci Code In The US In 2007 Looks To Revive It In The UK In 2017

        Author Dan Brown is certainly not a stranger to copyright claims and lawsuits over his bestseller The Da Vinci Code. Not long after publishing the book in 2003 to wide acclaim, several legal actions took place against Brown and his publisher, as well as some action initiated by the publisher to stave off claims of copyright infringement and plagiarism. One such case that we did not cover here was brought by Jack Dunn of Massachusetts, who authored a book called The Vatican Boys, and sued Brown in Massachusetts for copyright infringement over the usual claims: there were claimed similarities in characters, plots, and factual assertions (including some that are erroneous in both). In 2007, Judge Michael Ponsor threw out the case, claiming that all the evidence Dunn’s legal team provided amounted to thematic and structural similarities, which are not copyrightable.

      • What “Future Made in the EU” After the © Reform?

        Science fiction usually mirrors contemporary challenges and anxieties better than the future it tries to predict. Nevertheless, that does not stop creators from imagining that future. Rightfully so, even if as nowadays the technology advances so fast that some concepts age before they have a chance to be applied.

        Centrum Cyfrowe, a Polish COMMUNIA member, does not usually deal with science fiction, but the ongoing yearlong debate on the copyright reform has unexpectedly directed them towards speculative design in modeling the future. A Future not Made in the EU campaign presents future objects and services that may enhance cultural and educational experience, but their future is uncertain – their utility does depend on whether the copyright reform addresses future challenges properly.

      • The Recommendation on Measures to Safeguard Fundamental Rights and the Open Internet in the Framework of the EU Copyright Reform

        Article 13 of the Proposed EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market and the accompanying Recital 38 are amongst the most controversial parts of the European Commission’s copyright reform package. Several Members States (Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany) have submitted questions seeking clarification on aspects that are essential to the guarantee of fundamental rights in the EU and to the future of the Internet as an open communication medium. The following analysis discusses these questions in the light of the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union. It offers guidelines and background information for the improvement of the proposed new legislation.

      • UK ‘Pirate’ Kodi Box Seller Handed a Suspended Prison Sentence

        A man who sold devices loaded with Kodi and ‘pirate’ third-party addons has been handed a suspended sentence. After protesting his innocence and insisting he wanted to test the limits of the law, last month Brian Thompson pleaded guilty, ending the possibility of a landmark case testing unchartered areas of copyright law.

      • Cloudflare Counters MPAA and RIAA’s ‘Rehashed’ Piracy Complaints

        Cloudflare has responded to the repeated criticism of entertainment industry groups, which accuse the company of helping pirate sites. The CDN provider informs the U.S. Government that it operates in accordance with the law and that the complaints bring nothing new to the table.

10.19.17

Links 19/10/2017: Mesa 17.2.3, New Ubuntu Release, Samsung Flirts With GNU/Linux Desktops

Posted in News Roundup at 6:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • NVIDIA ups Competition Using Open Source Collaboration

    Let’s imagine that you are a company with a very successful if nuanced product. Graphics accelerator chips, for example.

    Hypothetically speaking, imagine that you find an interesting use for your chip in a rising market defined by a burgeoning technology. If you need an example, just use deep learning AI software.

    Now, let’s say this proves to be a massive windfall for your company, raising its stock prices tenfold in just three short years.

    What do you do with this fortunate turn of events?

    Do you start designing your own AI chips based on your original design and remain one of the top competitors in this new market, or do you go open source and give your chip architecture designs to the public?

  • Open Source Initiative Welcomes Cumulus Networks As Premium Sponsor

    The Open Source Initiative® (OSI), the internationally recognized home of the open source software movement working to raise awareness and adoption of open source software, announced today the generous sponsorship of Cumulus Networks. Cumulus joins OSI’s growing community of corporations that recognize the importance of not only investing in open source software projects and development, but also building a diverse ecosystem that promotes collaboration, enables innovation, and ensures quality.

    Cumulus Networks has a strong tradition of internally-driven development of original open source software, including most notably, contributions to the Linux kernel that complete the data center feature set for Linux such as Virtual Routing and Forwarding (VRF), MPLS, MLAG infrastructure, multicast routing features, etc. Cumulus’ most recent open source effort is FRRouting, co-developed by a group of contributing companies in the open networking space, to enhance routing protocols. Cumulus Networks has also been a key driving member of the Open Network Install Environment (ONIE) with contributions to the Open Compute Project, Prescriptive Topology Manager–which simplifies the deployment of large L3 networks–and ifupdown2, a rewrite of Debian’s tool for configuring networks that greatly simplifies large, complicated networking configurations.

  • Let’s dig into how open source could KO the Silicon Valley chat silos

    There’s never been a better opportunity for the world to start untangling itself from the giant Silicon Valley data harvesters than now. Last week, we revealed a plan to embed open-source chat into three quarters of the world’s IMAP servers.

    And this may be an important development. Maybe.

    Google, Yahoo!, Apple and Microsoft handle around half the world’s email, some 2.5 billion users, while open-source IMAP servers handle the rest, around 2.5-3 billion. Of these the Dovecot open-source server, part of the German business Open Xchange, is installed on 75 per cent of boxes. Quietly drop IM into the mix, and you’ve given the world a reason to leave WhatsApp.

  • Open source, agility powering enterprise IT

    Looking back over the past decade, history has certainly demonstrated that trying to predict the pace and nature of technology development is a near impossible task, writes Quentin Barnard, lead architect at redPanda Software.
    While analysts, business leaders and policymakers have certainly made wise predictions, businesses and individuals have to remain agile, responsive and open-minded to a wide possibility of outcomes and developments. It is also helpful, however, to reflect on key trends that have emerged in recent times — and to use this information to prepare for the years ahead.
    For software developers and development houses, several prominent themes emerged in 2017.

  • Events

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Copyleft is Dead. Long live Copyleft!

      As you may have noticed, we recently re-licensed mgmt from the AGPL (Affero General Public License) to the regular GPL. This is a post explaining the decision and which hopefully includes some insights at the intersection of technology and legal issues.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Crowdsourcing the way to a more flexible strategic plan

      Trust the community. Opening a feedback platform to anyone on campus seems risky, but in hindsight I’d do it again in a heartbeat. The responses we received were very constructive; in fact, I rarely received negative and unproductive remarks. When people learned about our honest efforts at improving the community, they responded with kindness and support. By giving the community a voice—by really democratizing the effort—we achieved a surprising amount of campus-wide buy-in in a short period of time.

      Transparency is best. By keeping as many of our efforts as public as possible, we demonstrated that we were truly listening to our customers and understanding the effects of the outdated technology policies and decisions that were keeping them from doing their best work. I’ve always been a proponent of the idea that everyone is an agent of innovation; we just needed a tool that allowed everyone to make suggestions.

      Iterate, iterate, iterate. Crowdsourcing our first-year IT initiatives helped us create the most flexible and customer-centric plan we possibly could. The pressure to move quickly and lay down a comprehensive strategic plan is very real; however, by delaying that work and focusing on the evolving set of data flowing from our community, we were actually able to better demonstrate our commitment to our customers. That helped us build critical reputational capital, which paid off when we did eventually present a long-term strategic plan—because people already knew we could achieve results. It also helped us recruit strong allies and learn who we could trust to advance more complicated initiatives.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • MakerBot Labs: new experimental 3D printing platform is MakerBot’s olive branch to open source community

        New York 3D printing company MakerBot has launched MakerBot Labs, an experimental platform with open APIs, custom print modes, and an online resource-sharing site. The platform purportedly allows users to “push the limits” of 3D printing.

      • MakerBot attempts to embrace the open-source community with its new Labs platform

        The topic of open source has been a touchy one for MakerBot over the past decade. The one-time 3D-printing darling was the subject of some serious smack talk among the maker community when it stopped disclosing machine design in 2012 — a departure from the company’s roots as in the open-source Rep-Rap community.

        Announced this week, MakerBot Labs doesn’t mark a full return to those roots, but it does find the company carving out a niche for the DIY community that was once a driving force in its rapid growth.

        “I understand the history,” CEO Nadav Goshen told TechCrunch during a phone call this week, “This is one step in the direction. It’s a step to understand that there are limitations to openness. Openness for us doesn’t mean we have to compromise on quality or ease of use. We’re trying to take responsibility for both.”

      • Reform is a DIY, modular, portable computer (work in progress)

        Want a fully functional laptop that works out of the box? There are plenty to choose from. Want a model that you can upgrade? That’s a bit tougher to find: some modern laptops don’t even let you replace the RAM.

        Then there’s the Reform. It’s a new DIY, modular laptop that’s designed to be easy to upgrade and modify. The CAD designs will even be available if you want to 3D print your own parts rather than buying a kit.

        You can’t buy a Reform computer yet. But developer Lukas Hartmann and designer Ana Dantes have developed a prototype and are soliciting feedback on the concept.

  • Programming/Development

    • New neural network teaches itself Go, spanks the pros

      While artificial intelligence software has made huge strides recently, in many cases, it has only been automating things that humans already do well. If you want an AI to identify the Higgs boson in a spray of particles, for example, you have to train it on collisions that humans have already identified as containing a Higgs. If you want it to identify pictures of cats, you have to train it on a database of photos in which the cats have already been identified.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • C-sections might be relaxing the evolutionary pressure against big babies

      Theoretical biologist Philipp Mitteröcker is intrigued by the puzzle of dangerous human childbirth. Unlike other species, human babies are often too big for the birth canal, leading to dangerous—and possibly fatal—obstructed labor. Last year, Mitteröcker and his colleagues published a mathematical model that showed how the mixture of evolutionary pressures acting on humans would inevitably lead to an ongoing risk of obstructed labor in our species.

      The model also suggested that C-sections are changing the rules of the game by increasing the likelihood that large babies and their mothers survive childbirth and pass on genes that promote this head/pelvis mismatch. The model predicted that we’d see an increasing risk of obstructed labor (and need for C-sections) over generations—but there was no real-world evidence of that happening.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • President Trump admits he’s trying to kill Obamacare. That’s illegal.

      Modern American history has never seen as full-scale an effort to sabotage a valid law as we have with President Trump and the Affordable Care Act — a law whose legality has been upheld twice by the US Supreme Court.

      The president has a legal obligation, under Article II of the US Constitution, to “take Care that the laws be faithfully executed.” That means he must make sure that our laws are implemented in good faith and that he uses his executive discretion reasonably toward that end.

    • Insects Are In Serious Trouble

      The bottles were getting emptier: That was the first sign that something awful was happening.

      Since 1989, scientists from the Entomological Society Krefeld had been collecting insects in the nature reserves and protected areas of western Germany. They set up malaise traps—large tents that funnel any incoming insect upward through a cone of fabric and into a bottle of alcohol. These traps are used by entomologists to collect specimens of local insects, for research or education. “But over the years, [the Krefeld team] realized that the bottles were getting emptier and emptier,” says Caspar Hallmann, from Radboud University.

      By analyzing the Krefeld data—1,503 traps, and 27 years of work—Hallmann and his colleagues have shown that most of the flying insects in this part of Germany are flying no more. Between 1989 and 2016, the average weight of insects that were caught between May and October fell by an astonishing 77 percent. Over the same period, the weight of insects caught in the height of summer, when these creatures should be at their buzziest, fell by 82 percent.

    • Herbal remedies embraced by naturopaths, alt med widely linked to liver cancers

      Naturopaths and other gurus of “alternative medicine” love to tout the benefits of traditional herbal medicines. For instance, Aviva Romm—a Yale-educated doctor who publicly defended Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle site Goop then later called it a “caricature of everything alternative health for women”—sells her own line of unproven herbal remedies. Billionaire Susan Samueli—who donated $200 million dollars alongside her husband so the University of California, Irvine, could open an “integrative” medicine program—promotes homeopathy, naturopathy, and runs an active consulting practice versed in Chinese herbs.

      Herbal remedies are often seen as harmless, soothing treatments that tap into the ancient wisdom of traditional healing. While that may be the case for some, there are also those that cause cancer—and sometimes it’s nearly impossible to tell one from the other.

  • Security

    • Google and Apple yet to fix Wi-Fi hole in a billion devices

      The WPA2 security protocol has been a mandatory requirement for all devices using the Wi-Fi protocol since 2006, which translates into billions of laptops, mobiles and routers. The weakness identified by Mathy Vanhoef, a digital security researcher at the Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) in Belgium, lies in the way devices running WPA2 encrypt information.

    • The Flawed System Behind the Krack Wi-Fi Meltdown

      No software is perfect. Bugs are inevitable now and then. But experts say that software standards that impact millions of devices are too often developed behind closed doors, making it difficult for the broader security community to assess potential flaws and vulnerabilities early on. They can lack full documentation even months or years after their release.

    • Factorization Flaw in TPM Chips Makes Attacks on RSA Private Keys Feasible

      Security experts say the bug has been present since 2012 and found specifically in the Infineon’s Trusted Platform Module used on a large number of business-class HP, Lenovo and Fijitsu computers, Google Chromebooks as well as routers and IoT devices.

    • ROCA: RSA encryption key flaw puts ‘millions’ of devices at risk

      This results in cyber criminals computing the private part of an RSA key and affects chips manufactured from 2012 onwards, which are now commonplace in the industry.

    • Infineon RSA Key Generation Issue

      Yubico estimates that approximately 2% of YubiKey customers utilize the functionality affected by this issue. We have addressed this issue in all shipments of YubiKey 4, YubiKey 4 Nano, and YubiKey 4C, since June 6, 2017.

    • Microsoft remains tight-lipped about 2013 internal database hack [sic]

      A secretive internal database used by Microsoft to track bugs in its software was compromised by hackers [sic] in 2013.

    • Exclusive: Microsoft responded quietly after detecting secret database hack in 2013

      Microsoft Corp’s secret internal database for tracking bugs in its own software was broken into by a highly sophisticated hacking [sic] group more than four years ago, according to five former employees, in only the second known breach of such a corporate database.

    • WPA2 flaw’s worst impact on Android, Linux devices

      The flaw in the WPA2 wireless protocol revealed recently has a critical impact on Android phones running version 6.0 of the mobile operating system and Linux devices, a security researcher says.

    • Why the Krack Wi-Fi Mess Will Take Decades to Clean Up

      But given the millions of routers and other IoT devices that will likely never see a fix, the true cost of Krack could play out for years.

    • ‘All wifi networks’ are vulnerable to hacking, security expert discovers

      WPA2 protocol used by vast majority of wifi connections has been broken by Belgian researchers, highlighting potential for internet traffic to be exposed

    • Kids’ smartwatches can be ‘easily’ hacked, says watchdog

      Smartwatches bought for children who do not necessarily need them can be hacked [sic], according to a warning out of Norway and its local Consumer Council (NCC).

    • John Lewis pulls children’s smartwatch from sale over spying fears

      The Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) revealed that several brands of children’s smartwatch, have such poor security controls that hackers [sic] could easily follow their movements and eavesdrop on conversations.

    • Google’s ‘Advanced Protection’ Locks Down Accounts Like Never Before

      Google hasn’t shared the details of what that process entails. But the CDT’s Hall, whom Google briefed on the details, says it will include a “cooling-off” period that will lock the account for a period of time while the user proves his or her identity via several other factors. That slowed-down, intensive check is designed to make the account-recovery process a far less appealing backdoor into victims’ data.

    • NSA won’t say if it knew about KRACK, but don’t look to this leaked doc for answers

      Given how involved the NSA has been with remote and local exploitation of networks, systems, devices, and even individuals, many put two and two together and assumed the worst.

      What compounded the matter was that some were pointing to a 2010-dated top secret NSA document leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, which detailed a hacking tool called BADDECISION, an “802.11 CNE tool” — essentially an exploit designed to target wireless networks by using a man-in-the-middle attack within range of the network. It then uses a frame injection technique to redirect targets to one of the NSA’s own servers, which acts as a “matchmaker” to supply the best malware for the target device to ensure it’s compromised for the long-term. The slide said the hacking tool “works for WPA/WPA2,” suggesting that BADDECISION could bypass the encryption.

      Cue the conspiracy theories. No wonder some thought the hacking tool was an early NSA-only version of KRACK.

    • You’re doing open source wrong, Microsoft tsk-tsk-tsks at Google: Chrome security fixes made public too early [Ed: Says the company that gives back doors to the NSA and attacks FOSS with patents, lobbying etc.]
    • Why Open Source Security Matters for Healthcare Orgs [Ed: marketing slant for firms that spread FUD]

      Open source software can help healthcare organizations remain flexible as they adopt new IT solutions, but if entities lack open source security measures it can lead to larger cybersecurity issues. A recent survey found that organizations in numerous industries might not be paying enough attention to potential open source risk factors.

      Half of all code used in commercial and Internet of Things (IoT) software products is open source, but only 37 percent of organizations have an open source acquisition or usage policy, according to a recent Flexera report.

      More than 400 commercial software suppliers and in-house software development teams were interviewed, with respondent roles including software developers, DevOps, IT, engineering, legal, and security.

    • Focusing on Healthcare Open Source Security Awareness [Ed: More Flexera marketing in the form of scare-mongering]
    • Adobe patches zero-day vulnerability used to plant gov’t spying software

      Adobe has patched a zero-day vulnerability used by the BlackOasis APT to plant surveillance software developed by Gamma International.

      On Monday, researchers from Kaspersky Lab revealed the new, previously unknown vulnerability, which has been actively used in the wild by advanced persistent threat (APT) group BlackOasis.

    • IoT Cybersecurity: What’s Plan B?

      In August, four US Senators introduced a bill designed to improve Internet of Things (IoT) security. The IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2017 is a modest piece of legislation. It doesn’t regulate the IoT market. It doesn’t single out any industries for particular attention, or force any companies to do anything. It doesn’t even modify the liability laws for embedded software. Companies can continue to sell IoT devices with whatever lousy security they want.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Abuse of RESTEasy Default Providers in JBoss EAP

      Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP) is a commonly used host for Restful webservices. A powerful but potentially dangerous feature of Restful webservices on JBoss EAP is the ability to accept any media type. If not configured to accept only a specific media type, JBoss EAP will dynamically process the request with the default provider matching the Content-Type HTTP Header which the client specifies. Some of the default providers where found to have vulnerabilities which have now been removed from JBoss EAP and it’s upstream Restful webservice project, RESTEasy.

    • “Security concerns” lead to LTE service shutdown on Chinese Apple Watches
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Saudi Airstrike Kills Entire Family In Yemen, Including Children

      The latest in a long line of disastrous airstrikes by Saudi warplanes across Yemen, officials reported an airstrike on Tuesday night in the northern Jawf Province, destroying a single civilian home, killing six civilians and critically wounded another.

      The civilians killed were an entire family. The slain included the parents and four of their daughters. The lone survivor, who was injured, was their only son. Saudi officials gave no indication why the house was destroyed.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Chinese Army Documents Leak Set To Embarrass Beijing

      For centuries, sinologists have struggled with the question of authentification of documents.

    • The death of a crusading journalist rocks Malta
    • Insider Threat Program Training and Trump’s War on Leaks: A Chilling Combination for Whistleblowers

      The Trump administration has declared a war on media leaks and called for the U.S. federal workforce and contractors to receive “anti-leak” training. The centerpiece of Trump’s anti-leak campaign, aside from early morning tweet-storms railing against leakers and media, is the National Insider Threat Taskforce.

      The Insider Threat Program is not Trump-era creation. In then-secret testimony to Congress in 2012, Directorate of National Intelligence official Robert Litt touted the original Insider Threat Program as a highlight in administrative efforts to “sanction and deter” leaks. In the past, Insider Threat Program training has improperly included “WANTED”-style images of whistleblowers pictured alongside actual spies and mass murderers.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Funding for War vs. Natural Disasters

      I have an aunt who lives in paradise – Paradise, California, that is. But in 2017 it has been anything but, as the communities surrounding Paradise have been evacuated on two separate occasions due to natural disasters and crumbling infrastructure. In February, torrential downpours caused the Oroville Dam to fail, washing out homes, businesses, memories and lives. And now they are dealing with devastating wildfires that have killed dozens, displaced thousands, and are being fought by firefighters, some of whom are only making minimum wage and working 70 straight hours.

      The fires in California are just the latest natural disaster to inflict suffering on Americans, as the people in Puerto Rico, Florida and Texas can attest, following massive hurricanes over the summer.

    • Nearly 400,000 Gallons of Oil Spew Into Gulf of Mexico, Could Be Largest Spill Since Deepwater Horizon

      Last week, a pipe owned by offshore oil and gas operator LLOG Exploration Company, LLC spilled up to 393,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, reminding many observers of the Deepwater Horizon explosion seven years ago that spewed approximately 210 million gallons of crude into familiar territory.

      Now, a report from Bloomberg suggests that the LLOG spill could be the largest in the U.S. since the 2010 BP blowout, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

      While at a much smaller scale than the nation’s worst accidental oil spill, the Delta House floating production facility, located about 40 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana, released between 7,950 to 9,350 barrels starting from Wednesday to Thursday due to a fractured pipeline.

    • First floating wind farm, built by offshore oil company, delivers electricity

      The 30MW installation, situated 25km (15.5mi) from Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, will demonstrate that offshore wind energy can be harvested in deep waters, miles away from land, where installing giant turbines was once impractical or impossible. At peak capacity, the wind farm will produce enough electricity to power 20,000 Scottish homes.

      The installation, called Hywind Scotland, is also interesting because it was built by Statoil, a Norwegian mega-corporation known for offshore oil drilling. Statoil has pursued offshore wind projects in recent years, using the company’s experience building and managing infrastructure in difficult open sea conditions to its advantage.

      Hywind Scotland began producing power in September, and today it starts delivering electricity to the Scottish grid. Now, all that’s left is for Statoil and its partner company Masdar to install a 1MWh lithium-ion battery, charmingly called “Batwind,” on shore. Batwind will help the offshore system regulate power delivery and optimize output.

  • Finance

    • Brexit might not happen and would leave us poorer and weaker, says ex-MI6 chief

      Brexit might not happen, Britain’s former spymaster has claimed.

      Ex-MI6 chief Sir John Sawers made the bombshell casual remark at a public meeting in Parliament.

      Brexit, he warned, could leave Britain “poorer and weaker” and cost us influence over sanctions on states like North Korea – “assuming it goes ahead”.

      Sir John, who as ‘C’ was the public face of MI6 from 2009 to 2014, told a House of Lords EU Committee: “The vehicle through which we have conducted sanctions regimes for the last 20 or so years has been the EU.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Ditch neoliberalism to win again, Jeremy Corbyn tells Europe’s centre-left parties

      Jeremy Corbyn has warned centre-left parties across Europe that they must follow his lead and abandon the neoliberal economics of the imagined “centre ground” if they want to start winning elections again.

      The Labour leader was given a hero’s welcome at the Europe Together conference of centre-left parties in Brussels, where he was introduced as “the new Prime Minister of Britain” and received two standing ovations from a packed auditorium.

      Continental centre-left leaders are looking to Mr Corbyn’s Labour as a model to reinvigorate their movement. Across Europe from France to Germany, Austria to Netherlands, and Spain to Greece, once powerful social-democratic parties have been reduced to a shadow of their former selves – with Labour a notable exception.

    • ‘Where hatred of the media can lead’ — Jonathan Freedland warns that Corbynistas could murder journalists

      Of course, when it comes to Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters, we’ve come to expect nothing but stupid smears from Freedland. This is the man who has played a leading role in whipping up hysteria over the wave of antisemitism that has supposedly swept over the Labour Party since Corbyn’s election as leader. Freedland’s Guardian comment piece on last month’s party conference (“Labour’s denial of antisemitism in its ranks leaves the party in a dark place”) was a typical exercise in political dishonesty which has been thoroughly demolished by Jamie Stern-Weiner (“Labour Conference or Nuremberg Rally?). Now, not content with slandering the left as Jew-haters, he wants to portray us as potential murderers too.

    • LEAKED MEMO REVEALS WHITE HOUSE WISH LIST

      Since federal courts first enjoined President Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban, lawyers for his administration have been at pains to insist that anti-Muslim animus is not a driving force of policymaking in his government.

      But an internal White House document, obtained exclusively by Crooked Media, suggests that the reach of Islamophobia among Trump administration aides and advisers stretches far beyond the four corners of the travel ban, into the budget-writing process, where the White House’s full agenda comes together. The document also reflects the extent to which White House policymaking process, conducted in the shadow of the media circus around Trump himself—from family planning to federal hiring to nutritional assistance—is defined by ideological extremism, and tempered by incompetence.

      Policymakers in Trump’s White House argue that the U.S. should refrain from influencing curricula and “other touchier-feelier programs” at foreign institutions that receive federal funds to educate young girls—except in “muslim countries, where we need to do a check of the curricula at the schools we’re supporting to weed out jihadism.”

    • Republican fight against municipal broadband heats up in Michigan

      A state lawmaker in Michigan wants to prevent cities and towns from using any government funding to provide Internet service. Michigan Rep. Michele Hoitenga, a Republican from Manton, last week submitted a bill that says cities and towns “shall not use any federal, state, or local funds or loans to pay for the cost of providing qualified Internet service.”

    • Trump Just Graded His Response To Puerto Rico Disaster

      President Trump is on track to repeat some of the greatest scandals of his predecessors, but with far less tact and competence. The investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia is looking more and more like a possible Watergate, the deaths of four American soldiers in Niger is increasingly being referred to as Trump’s Benghazi, and the damage inflicted on Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria and the president’s subsequent botched response is clearly his Hurricane Katrina.

      Trump failed to properly stock the island territory with adequate supplies and personnel and then dragged his feet sending more after the hurricane struck. He failed to immediately waive the Jones Act, causing a bottleneck that choked off relief to the island, because he was more worried about the business interests of shipping conglomerates than suffering Americans.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Incentivizing Better Speech, Rather Than Censoring ‘Bad’ Speech

      This has gone on for a while, but in the last year especially, the complaints about “bad” speech online have gotten louder and louder. While we have serious concerns with the idea so-called “hate speech” should be illegal — in large part because any such laws are almost inevitably used against those the government wishes to silence — that doesn’t mean that we condone and support speech designed to intimidate, harass or abuse people. We recognize that some speech can, indeed, create negative outcomes, and even chill the speech of others. However, we’re increasingly concerned that people think the only possible way to respond to such speech is through outright censorship (often to the point of requiring online services, like Facebook and Twitter to silence any speech that is deemed “bad”).

      As we’ve discussed before, we believe that there are alternatives. Sometimes that involves counterspeech — including a wide spectrum of ideas from making jokes, to community shaming, to simple point-for-point factual refutation. But that’s on the community side. On the platform side — for some reason — many people seem to think there are only two options: censorship or free for all. That’s simply not true, and focusing on just those two solutions (neither of which tend to be that effective) shows a real failure of imagination, and often leads to unproductive conversations.

    • UK Gov’t Considering Redefining Social Media Services As Publishers To Make It Easier To Control Them

      Like seemingly every other government on the planet, the UK government wants internet companies like Google and Facebook to do more. Everyone has an axe to grind, whether it’s not enough censorship, or the wrong kind of censorship, or the innate desire to hold companies accountable for the actions of their users. The voluntary moderation efforts made by these platforms always fall short of politicians’ ideals. These legislators believe — without evidence — that perfectly moderated services are just a couple of button pushes away.

      Because the things governments complain about are actually the words and deeds of users — rather than the companies themselves — pushes for “more” have limited effect. This doesn’t make governments happy. This is a “problem” that needs “solving,” apparently. And officials in the UK think they have an answer. They’ll just arbitrarily redefine services until they’re more easily pushed around.

    • Twitter further tightens abuse rules in attempt to prove it cares

      Company updates rules on hate speech, revenge porn and violent groups to counter perceptions social network is not doing enough to protect users

    • Engineer/hero/entrepreneur Limor “ladyada” Fried was kicked off Facebook and no one will tell her why

      Fried, who was the first woman engineer to appear on the cover of Wired Magazine, discovered that her account had been terminated when she tried to login and got a cryptic error message. After contacting the company and privately messaging Facebook’s CTO, Fried still has not been told why she was banned.

    • Facebook bans @adafruit ‘s Ladyada… @facebook @finkd

      Facebook banned our founder Ladyada. Nothing public, just trying to log in and manage our company page. We reached out to the people including the CTO, no reply, so that’s that.

    • Civility or censorship? Candidates bash Dayton schools’ request

      Eight candidates are running for four seats on Dayton’s seven-member school board.

      Dayton Public Schools is facing criticism for trying to steer tonight’s school board candidate forum away from “bashing” of Superintendent Rhonda Corr, current school board members or fellow candidates.

      DPS spokeswoman Marsha Bonhart sent an email Sunday night to the eight candidates running for four seats on the school board. It was a follow-up on earlier communications about the Dayton Education Council candidate forum scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. today at DPS’ Ponitz Career Technology Center.

    • Watercooler Wednesday: #MeToo, censorship in the classroom

      Plus, a Mississippi school will not longer require students to read the classic novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The book was recently pulled after complaints about the language, which includes racial slurs, but should it have been?

    • Millennials don’t fear censorship because they plan on doing all the censoring

      Matt Ridley’s fine recent Times column was hardly the first to raise the alarm about the pseudo-Soviet intolerance of the left emerging from university campuses. Yet he began with arresting statistics: ‘38 per cent of Britons and 70 per cent of Germans think the government should be able to prevent speech that is offensive to minorities.’ Given that any populace can be subdivided into a veritably infinite number of minorities, with equally infinite sensitivities, the perceived bruising of which we only encourage, pretty soon none of us may be allowed to say an ever-loving thing.

      We won’t rehash the whole trigger warning/safe spaces nonsense. But I am baffled by what seems a broad millennial distrust in, if not militant opposition to, freedom of speech — now disastrously disparaged as a dastardly ploy of the far right, which has happily co-opted the battle cry. Let’s not let Milo Yiannopoulos own it.

    • Privatix: Fighting Internet Censorship with a Fully Autonomous Network.

      Governments today are targeting our basic freedom of expression on the internet. It seems like the only way to squash civil unrest is by cutting off the country from internet access. Government censorship in China has prompted a sizeable number of the Chinese population to switch to Virtual Private Networks. It is unclear for how long this cat and mouse game will go on. The same can be said for cryptocurrencies. The Chinese government is tightening the screw on cryptocurrencies. The only way they will be allowed to operate in the Chinese mainland is through government regulations and licensing. Given the nature of a majority of cryptocurrencies today, it is no secret that a number will fail to meet the requirements to be licensed.

      It’s only a matter of time before other countries follow this Chinese trend, if they are not doing it already. Such a situation will influence people to migrate to VPN services and overcome government-imposed discipline and rein over the internet. Since the general public can’t tell whether a VPN service is made up of sub-standard encryption codes at face value, they are compelled to abide by government restrictions.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Wireless Carriers Again Busted Collecting, Selling User Data Without Consent Or Opt Out Tools

      A few years ago, Verizon and AT&T were busted for covertly modifying wireless user data packets in order to track users around the internet. Verizon used the technology to track browsing behavior for two years before the practice was even discovered by security researchers. It took another six months of public shaming before Verizon was even willing to offer opt out tools. And while the FCC ultimately gave Verizon a $1.3 million wrist slap, it highlighted how we don’t really understand the privacy implications of what mobile carriers are up to, much less have real standards in place to protect us from abuse in the modern mobile era.

      While notably different in scope and application, these same companies were again caught this week collecting and selling user information without user consent or working opt out tools.

    • Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Case Involving US Demands For Emails Stored Overseas

      The Supreme Court has granted the government’s request for review of Second Circuit Appeals Court’s decision finding Microsoft did not have to turn over communications stored overseas in response to US-issued warrants.

    • Canada’s ‘super secret spy agency’ is releasing a malware-fighting tool to the public [Ed: let's pretend that crackers are actually defenders -- a classic reversal of narratives]

      The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) rarely goes into detail about its activities — both offensive and defensive — and much of what is known about the agency’s activities have come from leaked documents obtained by U.S. National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden and published in recent years.

    • The government is snooping into our lives more than we thought, making privacy hard to come by
    • UK spy agencies share social media data with foreign governments, say critics
    • Safeguards permit GCHQ to share huge databases on public, court hears
    • On Butter and Triangulation

      At the end of May 2018, the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect in Europe. It creates a whole set of new responsibilities that are causing concern for businesses across the EU. It has effects outside Europe as well, because it will control the way businesses located in Europe can share data across borders, both within their company and with other companies.

      While businesses are complaining about the new bureaucratic burden the Regulation creates, some privacy activists think it offers an absolute minimum level of protection in the emerging meshed society. This is not necessarily because of the way obviously confidential information is stored and used.

      It seems obvious why we should be concerned about big chunks of personal data, but why should we care about protecting small details such as our date of birth, parents’ names, postal code and so on? Why does it matter when we’re asked for them by someone with no need to know them?

    • Are you sharing the same IP address as a criminal? Law enforcement call for the end of Carrier Grade NAT (CGN) to increase accountability online

      On 13 October 2017, the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU and Europol held a workshop attended by 35 EU policy-makers and law enforcement officials, to address the increasing problem of non-crime attribution associated with the widespread use of Carrier Grade Network Address Translation (CGN) technologies by companies that provide access to the internet. The workshop was supported by experts from Europol’s partners: Proximus, CISCO, ISOC, the IPv6 Company, and the European Commission.

    • Powerful and pervasive artificial intelligence is coming: now is the time to talk about its impact on privacy

      An exception is work from Privacy International (PI), in the form of a response to an inquiry about AI carried out by a specialist group within the UK’s Parliament. Although the word “privacy” occurs nine times in the 77-page document published by the committee, the references are depressingly superficial, and there is no attempt to explore the complex privacy issues that AI raises. Privacy International’s submission is more concrete. It singles out four specific problems for privacy that the widespread use of AI will bring: [...]

    • It Takes Just $1,000 to Track Someone’s Location With Mobile Ads

      A team of security-focused researchers from the University of Washington has demonstrated just how deeply even someone with modest resources can exploit mobile advertising networks. An advertising-savvy spy, they’ve shown, can spend just a grand to track a target’s location with disturbing precision, learn details [...]

    • How to stop your mobile phone number and location from being sold

      Smartphone users are becoming aware that their phone number and location isn’t private when they use the internet on their data plans thanks to the selling of your mobile advertising id (MAID). According to Wired’s Andy Greenberg, it only costs $1,000 to track someone online. When you visit a website on your smartphone, both the site itself and advertisers on the site can view your mobile IP address which they can then tie to your mobike advertising id. Since the IP address is given by your telecom from the cell tower, your IP address when you’re using 4G or 3G will always be tied back to your billing information. [...]

    • In Facebook We Antitrust
    • WhatsApp now lets you stalk your friends in real-time
    • Opinion : In Quest of Privacy in the Digital Age
    • EU-U.S. Privacy Shield: First review shows it works but implementation can be improved

      The report will be sent to the European Parliament, the Council, the Article 29 Working Party of Data Protection Authorities and to the U.S. authorities. The Commission will work with the U.S. authorities on the follow-up of its recommendations in the coming months. The Commission will continue to closely monitor the functioning of Privacy Shield framework, including the U.S. authorities’ compliance with their commitments.

    • First Annual Review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield

      Officials from across the United States Government, the European Commission, and EU data protection authorities gathered in Washington D.C. to conduct the first annual review on 18 and 19 September 2017.

      The report reflects the Commission’s findings on the implementation and enforcement of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework in its first year of operation.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • USCIRF delegation pays visit to American pastor imprisoned in Turkey

      Two delegates from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) paid a visit to American Pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey last week, almost a year to the day when he was detained by the authorities over allegations of terrorism and espionage.

      USCIRF Vice Chairwomen Sandra Jolley and Kristina Arriaga went to Kiriklar Prison in Izmir, Turkey last week to visit Brunson, who has been imprisoned since Oct. 7, 2016 over his alleged links to the U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, who is being blamed for organizing a 2016 attempt to overthrow the Turkish government.

      “The government of Turkey has fabricated charges against Pastor Brunson, largely based on purported ‘secret testimony.’ He should be released immediately.” Arriaga contended.

    • Overnight Tech: Senate bill expands disclosure rules for online political ads | Sex trafficking bill faces resistance from Silicon Valley | Twitter to crack down on harassment, abuse | Privacy shield passes annual review
    • Gabriel Fernandez: Mother’s boyfriend beat eight-year-old to death because he thought he was gay, court told

      An eight-year-old boy endured unimaginable abuse before his death including being forced to eat cat litter and being bound and gagged, a court heard.

      Gabriel Fernandez’s mother Pearl and her boyfriend Isauro Aguirre allegedly tortured the child in the months leading up to his death in 2013.

      Gabriel was sprayed with pepper spray, forced to eat cat faeces and regularly gagged, bound and beaten, according to testimony from Gabriel’s older brother Ezequiel, who was 12 when his brother was killed.

    • These wealthy institutions are quietly financing white nationalism

      The connection between Breitbart, a far-right website, and the white nationalist movement was hardly a secret. Steve Bannon, who served as Executive Chairman of the publication before and after serving as Trump’s chief strategist, called Breitbart “the platform for the alt-right,” a euphemism for white nationalists and their sympathizers. These extreme, bigoted viewpoints are frequently reflected in the site’s writing, which has included anti-immigrant screeds, sensationalized reporting of “black crime,” and other fringe viewpoints and conspiracy theories.

      But a recent exposé published by BuzzFeed News revealed in stunning detail Breitbart’s deep connection and collaboration with white nationalists.

    • Use A Landline To Talk About Criminal Activity? The Government Can Seize The House Around It

      The Intercept has obtained a leaked asset forfeiture guide for seizures performed by ICE. (It has, unfortunately, chosen not to share the original document. Then again, the last non-Snowden leak it published appears to have helped out the document’s source.)

      For those familiar with the process of civil asset forfeiture, the contents of the guide are mostly unsurprising. Despite the document dating back to 2010, ICE did confirm the version seen by The Intercept is its most recent guidance. ICE is allowed to seize property without bringing charges or securing convictions — something still permitted by federal law (your state laws may vary) and greatly encouraged by the new head of the DOJ, Jeff Sessions.

    • Viral video of man being dragged from United flight gets officers fired

      Two aviation security officers involved in the April incident in which a 69-year-old doctor was violently removed from a United Airlines flight have been fired. The doctor, David Dao, suffered a broken nose, the loss of two teeth, and a concussion in an event that went viral on the Internet after it was captured by passengers’ mobile phones.

    • Judge shocked to learn NYPD’s cash forfeiture database has no backup

      As part of an ongoing legal battle to get the New York City Police Department to track money police have grabbed in cash forfeitures, an attorney for the city told a Manhattan judge on October 17 that part of the reason the NYPD can’t comply with such requests is that the department’s evidence database has no backup. If the database servers that power NYPD’s Property and Evidence Tracking System (PETS)—designed and installed by Capgemini under a $25.5 million contract between 2009 and 2012—were to fail, all data on stored evidence would simply cease to exist.

    • Ex-workers: Supervisors at Tesla factory routinely called us the n-word

      In a new lawsuit, three former Tesla workers claim that they were routinely harassed and subjected to racial epithets during their time at the Fremont, California, factory.

      The men, who are all African-American, allege that shortly after they began work in 2015, their co-workers and superiors began taunting them and called them “n****r” on a regular basis.

    • The Muslim Ban Loses in Court Again

      Another day, another pair of court losses for President Trump’s outrageous and illegal Muslim Ban.

      Yesterday, federal courts in Maryland and Hawaii rejected the latest iteration of the ban the president promised as a candidate and has been trying to put in place ever since. Just like its predecessors, Muslim Ban 3.0 violates the Constitution, federal statutes, and our bedrock values of religious neutrality and tolerance.

    • Home Office issues visa to stranded Royal Navy pilot’s wife

      The Home Office has issued a visa and apologised to the wife of a Royal Navy pilot left stranded in the US while her husband serves in the UK.

      Marianne Rawlins, 34, has been granted a UK visa to join her husband, Lt Simon Rawlins, after the UK Visa and Immigration department initially ruled her application was not straightforward and required extra information.

      The American said she had been sleeping on friends’ couches and spent thousands of dollars on rental accommodation and business costs in the US after she packed up her life and belongings in the expectation of joining him.

      The Home Office announced on Thursday evening that it had approved her visa application and apologised for the disruption. Mrs Rawlins said: “I am pleased that our ordeal has come to an end and am hopeful this process will help other families in the future.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Big ISPs Lobby To Kill Attempts At More Accurate Broadband Mapping

      For years, the FCC’s “Form 477″ data collection program has required that ISPs provide data on where they provide broadband service. Said data then helps determine the pace of broadband deployment and level of competition in key markets, informing FCC policy and broadband subsidy application. Unfortunately, this data collection process relies heavily on census block data, which doesn’t always clarify which specific addresses in these large segments can actually get service. This has proven handy for ISPs looking to obfuscate their refusal to upgrade broadband networks in many areas.

    • FCC delays Sinclair-Tribune review to allow for more public input

      The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is allowing more time for the public to weigh in on the Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposed takeover of Tribune Media.

    • The Cable Industry’s Ingenious ‘Solution’ To TV Cord Cutting? Raise Broadband Rates

      In a healthy, competitive market, cable providers would respond to the growing threat of streaming video competition by lowering prices, improving their historically awful customer service, and giving consumers more flexible cable bundles.

      But because these same cable operators enjoy a growing monopoly over the uncompetitive broadband market — they don’t have to do that. Instead, they’ve found that the easiest response to added competition on the TV front is to impose a relentless array of rate hikes on captive broadband customers. There’s a myriad of ways they accomplish this, ranging from misleading hidden fees that jack up the advertised price (something they’re being sued for), to usage caps and overage fees (which let them not only charge more money for the same service, but hamstring streaming competitors via tricks like zero rating).

    • Charter accuses its employees of cutting cables 125 times during strike

      Charter Communications last week sued a workers’ union, alleging that its members have repeatedly sabotaged Charter’s network in New York City during a strike that began in March.

      “On over 125 occasions, Charter cables, including both coaxial and fiber optic cables in both secured and unsecured locations at sites throughout New York City, have been deliberately cut or damaged, thereby denying thousands of subscribers access to cable, Internet, and voice service and interfering with their ability to contact emergency services, and forcing Charter to devote hundreds of thousands of dollars and hundreds of man-hours to investigating and repairing its property,” Charter alleged in its complaint filed in the New York State Supreme Court.

  • DRM

    • Denuvo’s DRM now being cracked within hours of release

      When we last checked in on the state of Denuvo copy protection in PC games, the latest version of the best-in-class DRM provider had provided about a month’s worth of usable piracy prevention for survival-horror title 2Dark. Fast forward to the current holiday season, and major Denuvo releases are being publicly cracked within a day of their launch. We’re certainly a long way away from the days when major cracking groups were publicly musing that Denuvo-style DRM might soon become unbeatable.

      This week’s release of South Park: The Fractured but Whole is the latest to see its protections broken less than 24 hours after its release, but it’s not alone. Middle Earth: Shadow of War was broken within a day last week, and last month saw cracks for Total War: Warhammer 2 and FIFA 18 the very same day as their public release. Then there’s The Evil Within 2, which reportedly used Denuvo in prerelease review copies but then launched without that protection last week, effectively ceding the game to immediate potential piracy.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Adidas Opposes Turner Broadcasting’s ELEAGUE Logo Trademark Because Of Lines

        eSports, the once fledgling video game competition industry, has undergone several milestones in rapid succession as it grows into a true entertainment player. Once relegated to online streaming broadcasts, mostly run out of a few Asian and Pacific Island countries, eSports is now regularly broadcast on American television, including by ESPN. From there, it was a fairly natural progression for universities to take notice and begin organizing school eSports teams, as well as offering scholarships for eAthletes.

    • Copyrights

      • New Copyright Trolling Operation Lowers The Settlement Demands And Calls Them Fines To Improve Conversion Rate

        As much more attention has been brought to copyright trolls and the unethical manner in which they operate, it was inevitable that the tactics of the trolls would begin to shift. For some of us, it was immediately obvious what a PR problem these trolling operations faced. It all comes down to the “settlements” offered in a copyright troll’s letters. The amounts, while designed to look small compared with the threat of a lawsuit, still tend to be quite high. Certainly the amounts make no sense when compared with the costs of simply viewing a movie or television show, which is the natural standard that lay person is likely to set. For that reason, some trolls, such as RightsCorp, have already started down the path of lowering settlement offers to levels that are more likely to cause the accused to simply pay up. Also, the fact that these letters, with all of their threatening language, even refer to the offers as “settlements” rings much closer to extra-judicial extortion than anything resembling justice.

        Well, it seems that one copyright troll is attempting to correct against both of these concerns. Rights Enforcement, contracted by the studio behind the movie The Hitman’s Bodyguard, is sending out letters to those it claims pirated the film with a much-reduced amount of money requested. And these requests are being called “fines” as opposed to “settlements.”

      • THE JUDGE’S CODE

        On May 18th, 2012, attorneys for Oracle and Google were battling over nine lines of code in a hearing before Judge William H. Alsup of the northern district of California. The first jury trial in Oracle v. Google, the fight over whether Google had hijacked code from Oracle for its Android system, was wrapping up.

      • Recommendation on measures to safeguard fundamental rights and the open internet in the framework of the EU copyright reform

        Together with a group of scholars active in copyright issues, Professor Martin Senftleben (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) has published a Recommendation on measures to safeguard fundamental rights and the open internet in the framework of the EU copyright reform.

      • Google Asked to Remove 3 Billion “Pirate” Search Results

        Copyright holders have now asked Google to remove more than 3,000,000,000 allegedly infringing links from its search engine results since it began publishing records. A new milestone for sure, but not one celebrated anywhere. While Google sees it as confirmation that the DMCA process is working, copyright holders still have plenty of work to do.

      • Movie industry orders Google to ‘delist’ piracy websites in France

        Google has been ordered to delist all of them them, while four ISPs have been told to block user access, like ISPs do in this country. Those ISPs are Free, Numericable, Bouygues Telecom, and Orange. While the Google name is thrown around casually, also-rans like Bing don’t get a look in.

      • Google Asked to Delist Pirate Movie Sites, ISPs Asked to Block Them

        Google and several French ISPs are being asked by the movie industry to take action against four ‘pirate’ sites. Among them is a massively successful clone of Zone-Telechargement, France’s largest pirate site before it was shut down in 2016. While the ISPs are being asked to block access to the platforms, Google is required to delist them from search results.

10.18.17

Links 18/10/2017: GTK+ 3.92, Microsoft Bug Doors Leaked

Posted in News Roundup at 6:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Blockchain and the Web Are Coming Together, Says Berners-Lee

    Sir Tim Berners-Lee is a famous computer scientist and academic who invented the World Wide Web in 1989—so when he talks about new technologies it’s worth paying attention.

    Today, one of the topics on his mind is blockchain, a revolutionary way of creating permanent, tamper-proof records across a disparate network of computers.

    Blockchain is most famously associated with the digital currency bitcoin but the technology is increasingly being used for record keeping by banks and retailers. It will also come to be used by more ordinary citizens in the near future, says Berners-Lee.

  • GMO Internet introduces open source KYC as blockchain project enters fifth phase
  • Eclipse Science Advances Open Source Technology for Scientific Research

    The Eclipse Science Working Group, a working group of the Eclipse Foundation, today announced the new releases of five open source projects used by the scientific research community to advance and simplify the software used by science projects, like genomic, astrophysics, nuclear simulations, etc. The new project releases are part of an annual release train that is managed by the Science WG.

  • Dmark East Africa to develop open source IT applications

    We have an operation around the region; in South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Kenya and Rwanda. And this has exposed us to different levels of talent across the region. As a result, we have come to a conclusion that Uganda has special talents in the area of information technology, specifically, product development or software engineering.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla brings Microsoft, Google, the W3C, Samsung together to create cross-browser documentation on MDN

        Community contributions are at the core of MDN’s success. Thousands of volunteers have helped build and refine MDN over the past 12 years. In this year alone, 8,021 users made 76,203 edits, greatly increasing the scope and quality of the content. Cross-browser documentation contributions include input from writers at Google and Microsoft; Microsoft writers have made more than 5,000 edits so far in 2017. This cross-browser collaboration adds valuable content on browser compatibility and new features of the web platform. Going forward, Microsoft writers will focus their Web API documentation efforts on MDN and will redirect relevant pages from Microsoft Developer Network to MDN.

      • A Week-Long Festival for Internet Health

        Says Mark Surman, Mozilla’s Executive Director: “The Internet is layered into our lives like we never could have imagined. Access is no longer a luxury — it’s a fundamental part of 21st century life. A virus is no longer a nuisance consigned to a single terminal — it’s an existential threat that can disrupt hospitals, governments and entire cities.”

        But much of the Internet’s best nature is flourishing, too. Each day, new communities form despite members being separated by whole continents. Start-ups and artists have access to a global stage. And open-source projects put innovation and inclusion ahead of profit.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 6.0 Arrives Late January 2018, First Bug Hunting Session Starts Soon

      Now that the LibreOffice Conference 2017 event is over, it’s time for The Document Foundation to start the bug hunting sessions, and the first one was set for the end of the week, October 20, 2017, for the first Alpha release of the LibreOffice 6.0 office suite.

      Work on LibreOffice 6.0, the next big release of the popular open-source and cross-platform office suite for GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows operating system, begun this week with a focus on revamping the user interface as well as various of its core components, including Writer, Calc, Draw, Impress, Base, and Math.

    • Coming up on Friday: first Bug Hunting Session for LibreOffice 6.0 Alpha 1

      The LibreOffice community has returned from a great conference in Rome (more on that later this week), and we’re now working eagerly on LibreOffice 6.0, which is due to be released at the end of January 2018. This version will include a large number of new features – and those already implemented are summarised on the release notes page.

    • LibreOffice Is Getting New Look for KDE’s Plasma Desktop Thanks to LiMux Project

      During the LibreOffice Conference 2017 event that took place in Rome, Italy, from October 10 to October 13, there were talks about the status the Qt 5 port of LibreOffice’s VCL plugin for KDE Plasma.

      Every year, The Document Foundation plans and organizes a LibreOffice Conference event where developers, contributors, sponsors, users, and other members of the LibreOffice community can gather to talk about the future of the Open Souce office suite.

      And this year they planned the new features of the next major release of the cross-platform office suite, LibreOffice 6.0, which will arrive in late January 2018 with a new look for the KDE Plasma desktop environment, work that will be sponsored by the LiMux project.

  • CMS

  • Healthcare

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Eclipse Public License version 2.0 added to license list

      We recently updated our list of various licenses and comments about them to include the Eclipse Public License version 2.0 (EPL).

      In terms of GPL compatibility, the Eclipse Public License version 2.0 is essentially equivalent to version 1.0. The only change is that it explicitly offers the option of designating the GNU GPL version 2 or later as a “secondary license” for a certain piece of code.

    • Linux kernel community tries to castrate GPL copyright troll

      Linux kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman and several other senior Linux figures have published a “Linux Kernel Community Enforcement Statement” to be included in future Linux documentation, in order to ensure contributions to the kernel don’t fall foul of copyright claims that have already seen a single developer win “at least a few million Euros.”

      In a post released on Monday, October 16th, Kroah-Hartman explained the Statement’s needed because not everyone who contributes to the kernel understands the obligations the GNU Public Licence 2.0 (GPL 2.0), and the licence has “ambiguities … that no one in our community has ever considered part of compliance.”

    • Fiduciary License Agreement 2.0

      After many years of working on it, it is with immense pleasure to see the FLA-2.0 – the full rewrite of the Fiduciary License Agreement – officially launch.

    • Control Or Consensus?

      In a recent conversation on the Apache Legal mailing list, a participant opined that “any license can be Open Source. OSI doesn’t ‘own’ the term.” He went on to explain “I could clone the Apache License and call it ‘Greg’s License’ and it would be an open source license.”

      As long as the only people involved in the conversation are the speaker and people who defer to his authority, this might be OK. But as soon as there are others involved, it’s not. For the vast majority of people, the term “open source license” is not a personal conclusion resulting from considered evaluation, but rather a term of art applied to the consensus of the community. Individuals are obviously free to use words however they wish, just like Humpty Dumpty. But the power of the open source movement over two decades has arisen from a different approach.

      The world before open source left every developer to make their own decision about whether software was under a license that delivers the liberty to use, improve and share code without seeking the permission of a rights holder. Inevitably that meant either uncertainty or seeking advice from a lawyer about the presence of software freedom. The introduction of the open source concept around the turn of the millennium solved that using the crystalisation of consensus to empower developers.

      By holding a public discussion of each license around the Open Source Definition, a consensus emerged that could then by crystalised by the OSI Board. Once crystalised into “OSI Approval”, the community then has no need to revisit the discussion and the individual developer has no need to guess (or to buy advice) on the compatibility of a given license with software freedom. That in turn means proceeding with innovation or deployment without delay.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • UK Startup Lifebit Builds on Popular Nextflow Open-Source Genomics Platform
    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Makerbot Labs Is One Step Toward Open Source 3D Printing

        3D printing feels a bit stuck. At the dawn of the 2010s, the device seemed destined to reimagine the creative process, putting the power of additive manufacturing within anyone’s grasp. But trend has gone cold since reaching its popular zenith in 2013. While people continue to create amazing things with 3D printing, the “one in every household” promise has been put on temporary—or possibly permanent—hold.

        But the leader of the once great 3D printing revolution hasn’t gone away quietly. In fact, it’s done the opposite. Makerbot, the Brooklyn-based startup that sold its first printers back in 2009, is launching a brand new platform, Makerbot Labs, to help turn its 3D printing community into super-users, able to access parts of the printer that were otherwise inaccessible. Makerbot describes this new platform as a place, built for creators, who want to experiment with 3D printing but still have the bedrock of the platform to fall back on if need be.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • IEEE to develop standard for automotive Ethernet of over 1 Gbps

      Industry body IEEE and the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) announced the formation of a task force to develop IEEE P802.3ch—Standard for Ethernet physical layer specifications and management parameters for greater than 1 Gbps automotive Ethernet. The new standards development project aims to meet the demand for higher speed Ethernet in the automotive environment to support ongoing technological developments, such as connected cars, advanced driver assisted systems and infotainment systems.

Leftovers

  • Smartphones Are Killing Americans, But Nobody’s Counting
  • Meet Bill Pollock, founder of No Starch Press

    If you’re a geek, a do-it-yourselfer, a maker, or just plain curious, you need to get your hands on some reading material from No Starch Press, which bills itself as “The Finest in Geek Entertainment.” I have used its books as reference materials when teaching students about the Linux operating system and helping them learn to code.

    I recently chatted over email with Bill Pollock, owner of No Starch Press, which he founded in 1994. Bill didn’t set out to be a book publisher; he enrolled at Amherst College to study biology, with the goal of becoming a medical doctor, but became fascinated by his political science coursework and, in 1983, earned his bachelor’s degree in that discipline. Even so, he put his interest in medical science to use in his first editorial job, with Springer-Verlag Publishing, where he edited medical books for fun. While there, he tried (and sometimes failed) to teach others how to use the new personal computer in the office.

  • Science

    • The Supreme Court Is Allergic To Math

      For decades, the court has struggled with quantitative evidence of all kinds in a wide variety of cases. Sometimes justices ignore this evidence. Sometimes they misinterpret it. And sometimes they cast it aside in order to hold on to more traditional legal arguments. (And, yes, sometimes they also listen to the numbers.) Yet the world itself is becoming more computationally driven, and some of those computations will need to be adjudicated before long. Some major artificial intelligence case will likely come across the court’s desk in the next decade, for example. By voicing an unwillingness to engage with data-driven empiricism, justices — and thus the court — are at risk of making decisions without fully grappling with the evidence.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Trumpcare for Veterans? VA Outsourcing Will Create Healthcare Industry Bonanza

      In January President Trump delivered on his promise to shrink the federal government: he announced a hiring freeze, despite thousands of federal job vacancies.

      As a candidate, Trump campaigned as a great friend of veterans. He pledged to make big improvements in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) the arm of the Veterans Administration (VA) which operates the largest healthcare system in the country.

      Yet Trump’s hiring freeze deepened an already existing staffing crisis at VHA hospitals and clinics throughout the U.S where there are 49,000 vacant positions.

      Union activists believe that the resulting understaffing is designed to generate patient complaints and negative publicity that will cause veterans and their families to lose faith in VA-provided care.

    • A nurse’s aide plays video games while a Vietnam veteran dies at Bedford VA Medical Center
    • Honey tests reveal global contamination by bee-harming pesticides

      Honey from across the world is contaminated with potent pesticides known to harm bees, new research shows, clearly revealing the global exposure of vital pollinators for the first time.

      Almost 200 samples of honey were analysed for neonicotinoid insecticides and 75% contained the chemicals, with most contaminated with multiple types. Bees range over many kilometres to collect nectar and pollen, making the honey they produce an excellent indicator of the pesticide pollution across their local landscape.

      Bees and other pollinators are vital to three-quarters of the world’s food crops but have been in serious decline in recent decades. The destruction of wild habitats, disease and widespread pesticide use are all important factors. Scientists responding to the new work say a crackdown on the industrial-scale use of the nerve agents is urgently needed.

  • Security

    • Microsoft never disclosed 2013 hack of secret vulnerability database

      Hackers broke into Microsoft’s secret, internal bug-tracking database and stole information related to vulnerabilities that were exploited in later attacks. But the software developer never disclosed the breach, Reuters reported, citing former company employees.

      In an article published Tuesday, Reuters said Microsoft’s decision not to disclose details came after an internal review concluded the exploits used in later attacks could have been discovered elsewhere. That investigation relied, in part, on automated reports Microsoft receives when its software crashes. The problem with that approach, Reuters pointed out, is that advanced computer attacks are written so carefully they rarely cause crashes.

      Reuters said Microsoft discovered the database breach in early 2013, after a still-unknown hacking group broke into computers belonging to a raft of companies. Besides Microsoft, the affected companies included Apple, Facebook, and Twitter. As reported at the time, the hackers infected a website frequented by software developers with attack code that exploited a zero-day vulnerability in Oracle’s Java software framework. When employees of the targeted companies visited the site, they became infected, too.

    • Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora and elementary OS All Patched Against WPA2 KRACK Bug

      As you are aware, there’s a major WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access II) security vulnerability in the wild, affecting virtually any device or operating system that uses the security protocol, including all GNU/Linux distributions.

    • Fedora Dev Teaches Users How to Protect Their Wi-Fi Against WPA2 KRACK Bug

      Former Fedora Project leader Paul W. Frields talks today about how to protect your Fedora computers from the dangerous WPA2 KRACK security vulnerability that affects virtually any device using the security protocol to connect to the Internet.

    • WPA2 was kracked because it was based on a closed standard that you needed to pay to read

      How did a bug like krack fester in WPA2, the 13-year-old wifi standard whose flaws have rendered hundreds of millions of devices insecure, some of them permanently so?

      Thank the IEEE’s business model. The IEEE is the standards body that developed WPA2, and they fund their operations by charging hundreds of dollars to review the WPA2 standard, and hundreds more for each of the standards it builds upon, so that would-be auditors of the protocol have to shell out thousands just to start looking.

      It’s an issue that Carl Mamamud, Public Resource and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have been fighting hard on for years, ensuring that the standards that undergird public safety and vital infrastructure are available for anyone to review, audit and criticize.

    • Patch Available for Linux Kernel Privilege Escalation

      The issue — tracked as CVE-2017-15265 — is a use-after-free memory corruption issue that affects ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture), a software framework included in the Linux kernel that provides an API for sound card drivers.

    • ​Linus Torvalds says targeted fuzzing is improving Linux security

      Announcing the fifth release candidate for the Linux kernel version 4.14, Linus Torvalds has revealed that fuzzing is producing a steady stream of security fixes.

      Fuzzing involves stress testing a system by generating random code to induce errors, which in turn may help identify potential security flaws. Fuzzing is helping software developers catch bugs before shipping software to users.

    • Devsecops: Add security to complete your devops process [Ed: more silly buzzwords]
    • Companies overlook risks in open source software [Ed: marketing disguised as "news" (and which is actually FUD)]
    • Q&A: Does blockchain alleviate security concerns or create new challenges?

      According to some, blockchain is one of the hottest and most intriguing technologies currently in the market. Similar to the rising of the internet, blockchain could potentially disrupt multiple industries, including financial services. This Thursday, October 19 at Sibos in Toronto, Hyperledger’s Security Maven Dave Huseby will be moderating a panel “Does Blockchain technology alleviate security concerns or create new challenges?” During this session, experts will explore whether the shared nature of blockchain helps or hinders security.

    • ACME Support in Apache HTTP Server Project

      We’re excited that support for getting and managing TLS certificates via the ACME protocol is coming to the Apache HTTP Server Project (httpd). ACME is the protocol used by Let’s Encrypt, and hopefully other Certificate Authorities in the future. We anticipate this feature will significantly aid the adoption of HTTPS for new and existing websites.

      We created Let’s Encrypt in order to make getting and managing TLS certificates as simple as possible. For Let’s Encrypt subscribers, this usually means obtaining an ACME client and executing some simple commands. Ultimately though, we’d like for most Let’s Encrypt subscribers to have ACME clients built in to their server software so that obtaining an additional piece of software is not necessary. The less work people have to do to deploy HTTPS the better!

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Google now offers special security program for high-risk users
    • Chrome 62 rolling out to Mac, Windows, and Linux w/ increased ‘Not secure’ HTTP warnings

      Chrome 62 is now rolling out to desktops in the stable channel with a number of new features for developers, as well as some changed security behaviors as Google continues to encourage HTTPS adoption.

    • DHS orders federal agencies to bolster cybersecurity with HTTPS, email authentication

      The US Department of Homeland Security will require federal agencies to use web and email encryption practices to enhance their security posture.

    • Adobe warns that hackers are exploiting its Flash software

      Adobe Systems Inc (ADBE.O) warned on Monday that hackers are exploiting vulnerabilities in its Flash multimedia software platform in web browsers, and the company urged users to quickly patch their systems to prevent such attacks.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Deadly Overconfidence: Trump Thinks Missile Defenses Work Against North Korea, and That Should Scare You

      Could a president’s overconfidence in U.S. defensive systems lead to deadly miscalculation and nuclear armageddon? Yes. Yes, it could. Last Wednesday, referring to potential American responses to North Korea’s missile and nuclear program, President Donald Trump told Sean Hannity “We have missiles that can knock out a missile in the air 97 percent of the time, and if you send two of them it’s gonna get knocked out.” If Trump believes — or is being told — that American missile defenses are that accurate, not only is he factually wrong, he is also very dangerously wrong. This misperception could be enough to lead the United States into a costly war with devastating consequences.

      Here’s why: If Trump believes U.S. missile defenses work this effectively, he might actually think a first strike attempt to disarm North Korea of its missile and nuclear forces would successfully spare U.S. cities from North Korean nuclear retaliation. They probably wouldn’t. Believing that each ground-based midcourse missile defense (GMD) interceptor can provide anything close to a 97 percent interception rate against retaliation raises the temptation to attempt a so-called “splendid first strike” based on the assumption that missile defenses can successfully intercept any leftover missiles North Korea could then fire at the United States.

    • Mogadishu Massacre: Hospitals Run Out of Blood, Antibiotics for Victims in Mass Bombing Killing 300+

      Rescue operations continue in Mogadishu, Somalia, after two massive truck bombs exploded Saturday, killing at least 300 in the country’s deadliest attack since the rise of the al-Shabab militant group a decade ago. The disaster is being referred to as the “Mogadishu massacre,” and some are calling it “the 9/11 of the Somali people.” The explosions came after the Trump administration stepped up a U.S. campaign against al-Shabab in Somalia. We speak with Somali scholar Abdi Samatar and journalist Amanda Sperber, who splits her time between Nairobi, Kenya, and Mogadishu, Somalia.

    • “Tell Me How This Ends?”

      It was March 2003, the invasion of Iraq was underway, and Major General David Petraeus was in command of the 101st Airborne Division heading for the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. Rick Atkinson, Washington Post journalist and military historian, was accompanying him. Six days into a lightning campaign, his division suddenly found itself stopped 30 miles southwest of the city of Najaf by terrible weather, including a blinding dust storm, and the unexpectedly “fanatical” attacks of Iraqi irregulars. At that moment, Atkinson reported,

      [...]

      So as American air power in places like Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan is ramped up yet again, as the latest mini-surge of troops arrives in Afghanistan, as Niger enters the war, it’s time to put generals David Petraeus, James Mattis, H.R. McMaster, and John Kelly in context. It’s time to call them what they truly are: Nixon’s children.

    • The CIA Is Playing Coy About Trump’s First Raid In Yemen

      The CIA’s attempt to use Glomar to keep the public in the dark about its role in the Yemen raid is absurd.

      Just days after Donald Trump assumed the powers of the presidency, he convened a group of top intelligence and military officials for dinner at the White House. The group included Secretary of Defense James Mattis and CIA Director Michael Pompeo. Presumably they were not there for the steak.

      Instead, they were there to discuss and sign off on an intelligence-gathering raid in al Ghayil, Yemen — the first of its kind under the Trump presidency, though planning for it had commenced under his predecessor. Days later, Navy SEAL Team 6 carried out the raid, but early reports were that the raid went awry. One service member and multiple Yemeni civilians — the exact number remains disputed — were killed.

      Still, the White House defended the raid as a success. From the White House podium, then–Press Secretary Sean Spicer explained that “the goal of the raid was intelligence-gathering. And that’s what we received, and that’s what we got. That’s why we can deem it a success.”

      But criticism continued, and reports surfaced that prior to the raid, President Trump had exempted the area of Yemen in which the raid took place from rules governing the United States’ use of lethal force outside of war zones. Those rules were put in place by President Obama and were intended — however flawed they were — to limit civilian casualties.

    • Iran Doesn’t Have a Nuclear Weapons Program. Why Do Media Keep Saying It Does?

      The problem with all of these excerpts: Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program. It has a civilian nuclear energy program, but not one designed to build weapons. Over 30 countries have civilian nuclear programs; only a handful—including, of course, the US and Israel—have nuclear weapons programs. One is used to power cities, one is used to level them.

      If you are skeptical, just refer to a 2007 assessment by all 16 US intelligences agencies (yes, those 16 US intelligence agencies), which found Iran had “halted” its nuclear weapons program. Or look at the same National Intelligence Estimate in 2012, which concluded again that there “is no hard evidence that Iran has decided to build a nuclear bomb.” Or we can listen to the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, which concurred with the US intelligence assessment (Haaretz, 3/18/12).

      The “Iran Deal,” formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is built on curbing Iran’s civilian nuclear program, out of fear—fair or not—that it could one day morph into a nuclear weapons program. But at present, there is no evidence, much less a consensus, that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program. JCPOA cannot be used as per se evidence such a program exists today; indeed, it is specifically designed to prevent such a program from developing down the road.

    • In 3-1 vote, LA Police Commission approves drones for LAPD

      The Los Angeles Police Department, one of the nation’s largest municipal police forces, approved a one-year pilot program for drones—making it the largest city in the nation to undertake such an evaluation.

      According to the Los Angeles Times, the LA Police Commission approved a set of policies that limits “their use to a handful of tactical situations, searches or natural disasters.” Each drone flight must also be signed off by a “high-ranking officer on a case-by-case basis.” The drones are also not to be weaponized. The decision, which was announced Tuesday, was made despite vociferous protest.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Police sergeant suspended after Facebook comments celebrating Caruana Galizia murder

      A police sergeant who yesterday celebrated the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia has been suspended, with the Office of the Prime Minister describing his remarks on Facebook as ‘reprehensible’.
      He will be investigated by the Public Service Commission.
      The shadow minister for justice, Jason Azzopardi, the Malta Police Association and the Police Officers’ Union all condemned the comments.
      The post, by Ramon Mifsud, was uploaded yesterday.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Pentagon accidentally included reporter in Puerto Rico spin talks

      Officials at the Department of Defense and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) accidentally included a Bloomberg climate reporter on an internal email distribution list that included discussions on how to present Puerto Rico recovery efforts to the media.

      Bloomberg’s Christopher Flavelle said he repeatedly alerted officials at the Pentagon to the error but kept receiving emails for five days.

      “Those messages, each of which was marked ‘unclassified,’ offer a glimpse into the federal government’s struggle to convince the public that the response effort was going well. That struggle was compounded by the commander-in-chief, and eased only when public attention was pulled to a very different disaster,” writes Flavelle in a Bloomberg story published Friday.

    • NOAA Marks 45th Anniversary of the Coastal Zone Management Act

      The hurricanes of 2017 affected many coastal areas. Guided by the CZMA over the past 45 years, the coastal programs have gained the experience, scientific information, and policies needed to address reconstruction and recovery needs. As a result, coastal communities stand a better chance of weathering future storms and day-by-day challenges. Two examples illustrate this approach.

  • Finance

    • What is technical debt? And why does almost every startup have it?

      Technical debt is no different. It allows companies to create software faster, with the understanding that they will slow down software development in the future. Companies will eventually be forced to spend more time fixing the debt than the amount of time it took them to produce the best solution at the beginning.

    • Austerity, Macron-Style

      When French President Emmanuel Macron’s secured his sweeping majority of the Elysee Palace and parliament in May and June, it was said that only the unions had a chance of checking his power. So this week’s show of unity and strength by public sector unions – after months of squabbling – will have him worried.

      For the first time a decade all nine unions representing 5.4 million public workers protested in the streets of France on Tuesday. At issue are Macron’s plans to axe 120,000 public sector jobs, to reduce sick leave compensation and freeze public sector pay. Workers in health, education, local government, air traffic controllers and train drivers are among those who went on strike.

    • No-deal Brexit requires a general election, Carwyn Jones says

      Carwyn Jones has argued there would have to be a general election in 2019 if Theresa May failed to secure a Brexit deal by that deadline.
      Talks at securing a deal with the other 27 EU states on trade and on any remaining budget payments have stalled.
      Some MPs have backed a “no deal” Brexit while others warn of economic chaos.
      The first minister told S4C’s O’r Senedd programme the UK government had an unrealistic view of Britain’s influence in the world.

    • After five rounds of Brexit talks, David Davis runs out of bluster

      Same time, same place, same speech. The humiliation is now almost complete. Five times David Davis has come back to the Commons to report on the progress of his talks with Michel Barnier, and on each occasion the Brexit secretary has had little to say. In the early days, he used to claim that the lack of progress was a sign of how much progress had been made, but now he has lost the will to even bluster. The former SAS man has barely got the strength to fight his way out of a paper bag.

      Throughout his five-minute statement, Davis could barely bring himself to raise his eyes towards the opposition benches. The contempt he could have taken. But it was the pity that got him every time. Some important steps had been made, he said in a barely audible mumble. He couldn’t say exactly what they were but they had been made. The negotiations were being conducted in a good spirit. As in, no one had actually walked out yet. But he was reaching the limits of what was possible.

    • Verhofstadt condemns ‘witch hunt’ by David Davis against British MEPs

      The European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, criticized David Davis for conducting a “witch hunt” against British MEPs who voted to delay trade talks.

      Davis has called for 18 Labour MEPs and one from the Liberal Democrats to be sacked “in the national interest” for supporting a European Parliament resolution critical of the British government’s approach to the negotiations.

    • Government rejects calls from OECD to reverse Brexit for the sake of the economy

      The Government has rejected calls to reverse Brexit after economic experts said a second referendum would have a significant, positive effect on the economy.

      The decision to leave the EU has “raised uncertainty and dented business investment” in the UK, a new report warned.

      Real wages are being stripped back amid soaring inflation despite low unemployment, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

      Its 140-page annual report outlines the state of Britain’s economy 16 months after last year’s EU Leave vote.

    • Reverse Brexit with second referendum to save your economy, OECD tells UK

      Economic experts have made an explosive suggestion of a further referendum to reverse Brexit, to avoid the crippling of the British economy.

      The influential Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said the deadlock in the exit talks now threatened a “disorderly Brexit”, with severe consequences.

      Its report controversially puts the case for a dramatic rethink on the agenda – suggesting halting EU withdrawal is a route to avoiding that fate.

    • Brexit poses an ‘extreme risk’ to Britain’s food security. Don’t ignore the warnings

      Global food security — its availability, affordability, quality and safety — is beginning to slip for the first time in half a decade. Britain, being far from self sufficient in its food production, is taking a massive risk in quitting the safety of the single market.

      In response to concerns about the impact of a no-deal Brexit on food prices and the UK’s food security, Brexiteer Chris Grayling suggested recently that British farmers will just have to grow more food.

      Alongside this ‘Dig For Victory’ bravado was the suggestion that we should also increase imports from across the world: two diametrically opposed food and farming policies in one breath.

      Such ‘solutions’ come easily if you’ve never had to think deeply about where food comes from; if all it has ever meant is a stroll to the nearest supermarket.

    • Trapped in an immigration nightmare: How a single Home Office error threw a couple’s life into chaos

      Somewhere out there is the immigration officer who made the decision. As a result of what they did, my husband and I were locked in a legal ordeal for seven months, separated for four, lived in rural Sweden for three, and spent over £10,000. What we went through provides an instructive lesson in the failures and mean-spiritedness of the Home Office.

    • Who’s to blame for Brexit’s fantasy politics? The experts, of course

      Politics, runs the cliche, is the art of the possible. The compromise. The curbed expectation.

      Not any more. Not in the age of Brexit and Trump. In 2017, politics is the art of the impossible. Of writing blank cheques and scattering them to the wind. Of peddling fantasies and promising the voters they will be made flesh by tomorrow.

    • Report Reveals ‘Staggering’ Scale Of Foodbank Demand In Britain

      Growing numbers of foodbanks are distributing emergency parcels amid problems with the roll out of universal credit, a new report reveals.

      More than 2,000 foodbanks are now recorded as operating in Britain, with around 700 independent and 1,235 Trussell Trust centres, figures up slightly on earlier this year.

      The report highlights problems with the roll out of the welfare reform as a reason for recent “dramatic increases” in demand, the Press Association reported.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump gives his own performance a Trump-sized endorsement

      Friends say President Donald Trump has grown frustrated that his greatness is not widely understood, that his critics are fierce and on TV every morning, that his poll numbers are both low and “fake,” and that his White House is caricatured as adrift.

      So on Monday, the consummate salesman — who has spent his life selling his business acumen, golf courses, sexual prowess, luxury properties and, above all, his last name — gave the Trump White House a Trump-sized dose of brand enhancement.

      With both the Roosevelt Room and the Rose Garden as backdrops, he mixed facts and mirage, praise and perfidy in two head-spinning, sometimes contradictory performances designed to convince supporters and detractors alike that everything’s terrific, moving ahead of schedule and getting even better. His opponents were cast as misguided, deluded or even unpatriotic.

    • Trump’s alternative reality

      President Trump “goes there, on just about every topic imaginable,” as NBC’s Brian Williams put it, during a pair of Q&As, two hours apart yesterday — one in the Cabinet Room and one with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Rose Garden.

      Why it matters: It’s almost impossible for the media to cover these press conferences — or for Republicans to discern what he wants and how he plans to get it — because Trump spreads fake news while calling real news fake. This isn’t new. And, yes, 35% of voters don’t seem to care. But that doesn’t make it any less dangerous.

    • Trump Falsely Claims Obama Didn’t Contact Gold Star Families

      President Donald Trump broke his silence Monday over the deaths of four U.S. Army Green Berets who died in an ambush in Niger two weeks ago, saying he would contact the families of the soldiers—while falsely claiming that President Barack Obama did not reach out after U.S. troops were killed in combat. Trump’s comments came only after he was questioned over his silence by reporters during a press conference at the White House with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

    • Is the BBC hideously middle class?

      A panel at the Royal Television Society Convention in Cambridge this year revealed a broad range of concerns regarding class in television. Ofcom released a report coincident with the Convention reporting on diversity and equal opportunities in television. While Ofcom focused on race, gender and disability, it also reported on broadcasters’ initiatives to promote social mobility. Ofcom added that it will explore what new information can be provided on social background.

      Broadcasters, including the BBC, have recently begun to address social class in terms of diversity. Undoubtedly, this has been aided by existing initiatives on diversity with reference principally to gender, race, disability, age and sexual orientation. Much of this engagement with class seems tentative and in development. Some commentators are concerned variously with ‘class’, ‘socioeconomic background’, or ‘social mobility’. Different variables are proposed to measure class. Proponents tend to rely exclusively on a metrics-based approach.

      At this stage, key issues must be addressed: what is the problem against which these initiatives are directed? Is ‘class’ a valid category for analysis and, if so, how might class be monitored? If class is insufficient as a category to address the diagnosed problem, what other categories and interventions might be warranted? I will explore these questions with particular reference to the BBC. I do so in part because the BBC is a public service broadcaster whose duties raise distinctive issues regarding class.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Q&A with Professor Xaioxing Xi, Victim of Unjust Surveillance
    • California Governor Signs Bill to Defend Against Religious Registries

      On the last day to act on legislation in 2017, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill creating a firewall between the state’s data and any attempt by the federal government to create lists, registries, or databases based on a person’s religion, nationality, or ethnicity.

      S.B. 31 was one of the earliest bills introduced by the legislature to oppose discriminatory policies floated by Pres. Donald Trump and his surrogates during the 2016 campaign. S.B. 31, authored by Sen. Ricardo Lara, was a direct response to Trump’s and his surrogates’ support of a so-called “Muslim Registry.” Although the bill places California at odds with the White House, both parties in the California Senate unanimously approved the bill, as did an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the Assembly.

    • Risk & Repeat: Kaspersky antivirus scans implicated in NSA breach

      Kaspersky antivirus scans were further implicated in the NSA breach by reports last week from The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal; anonymous sources claimed Israeli intelligence officers hacked into Kaspersky’s network in 2015 and observed Russian hackers using the company’s antivirus software to search millions of computers around the world for classified government documents. The reports also claimed the U.S. government determined that Kaspersky antivirus scans were specifically designed to search for classified U.S. data.

    • Regressive group finally out of debate on our ePrivacy!
    • UK spies using social media data for mass surveillance
    • UK intelligence agencies ‘unlawfully’ sharing sensitive personal data, court hears
    • British spies are collecting and sharing datasets of people’s social media activities

      Well. The latest revelations from the UK’s crusading Privacy International show not only that the GCHQ spy agency has been assembling databases of people’s social media data by gaining access to private companies’ own troves of data, but also that the agencies shared their databases with foreign governments and their law enforcement agencies – without the knowledge of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner, the supposed provider of oversight.

    • British intelligence agencies may have been collecting and sharing your social media data
    • UK spy agency GCHQ is monitoring social media accounts of millions of people
    • British intelligence allegedly using social media for mass surveillance
    • UK spy agencies are unlawfully collecting social media data on ‘millions’ of people
    • British government accused of spying on millions of social media accounts
    • UK spy agencies may be circumventing data-sharing law, tribunal told

      MI5 and MI6 may be circumventing legal safeguards when they share bulk datasets with foreign intelligence services and commercial partners, a court has been told.

      Most of the bulk personal datasets relate to UK citizens who are not of “legitimate intelligence interest”, the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT) heard.

    • Internet giants contest proposed privacy laws

      Internet giants Comcast and Verizon have brought along some friends to their fight against three local towns considering adopting online privacy ordinances.

      Representatives of the two companies have partnered with four national lobbying groups to convince officials in Falls, Lower Makefield and Middletown not to pass laws that would prohibit internet service providers from sharing customers’ “personally identifiable information” with advertisers without the customers’ permission.

      The information could include web search activities, medical and financial information, and video viewing habits

    • Garmin teamed up with Amazon to make a tiny Echo Dot for your car [Ed: The scariest thing is, there are enough gullible people who will think it's "cool" to have listening device in car]
    • The Cyber World Is Falling Apart And The DOJ Is Calling For Weakened Encryption

      It seemed like the (mostly) one-man War on Encryption had reached a ceasefire agreement when “Going Dark” theorist James Comey was unceremoniously ejected from office for failing to pledge allegiance to the new king president. But it had barely had time to be relegated to the “Tired” heap before Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein resurrected it.

      Rosenstein has been going from cybersecurity conference to cybersecurity conference raising arguments for encryption before dismissing them entirely. His remarks have opened with the generally awful state of cybersecurity at both the public and private levels. He says encryption is important, especially when there are so many active security threats. Then he undermines his own arguments by calling for “responsible encryption” — a euphemism for weakened encryption that provides law enforcement access to locked devices and communications on secured platforms.

      Considering recent events, this isn’t the direction the DOJ should be pushing. Russian hackers used a popular antivirus software to liberate NSA exploits from a contractor’s computer. Equifax exposed the data of millions of US citizens who never asked to be tracked by the service in the first place. Yahoo just admitted everyone who ever signed up for its email service was affected by a years-old security breach. Ransomware based on NSA malware wreaked havoc all over the world. These are all issues Rosenstein has touched on during his remarks. But they’re swiftly forgotten by the Deputy Attorney General when his focus shifts to what he personally — representing US law enforcement — can’t access because of encryption.

    • Article 13 Open letter – Monitoring and Filtering of Internet Content is Unacceptable
    • How these librarians are changing how we think about digital privacy

      In August, New York University and the Library Freedom Project – an organization that trains librarians on using privacy tools to protect intellectual freedom – received a $250,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency. Its purpose: to train librarians to implement secure protocols on their own web services, and to teach members of the community to evade the prying eyes of governments, corporations, and criminal hackers. According to the Library Freedom Project’s website, the group aims to create what it calls “a privacy-centric paradigm shift in libraries and the communities they serve.”

    • ShadowBrokers’ Kiss of Death

      Forgive me for being an ingrate, but I’m trying to engage seriously on Section 702 reform. Surveillance boosters are already fighting this fight primarily by waging ad hominem attacks. Having TSB call me out really makes it easy for surveillance boosters to suggest I’m not operating in the good faith I’ve spent 10 years doing.

    • Details Emerge Of World’s Biggest Facial Recognition Surveillance System, Aiming To Identify Any Chinese Citizen In Three Seconds

      The article says that the system will use cloud computing facilities to process images from the millions of CCTV cameras located across the country. The company involved is Isvision, which has been using facial recognition with CCTV cameras since 2003. The earliest deployments were in the highly-sensitive Tiananmen Square area. Other hotspots where its technology has been installed are Tibet and Xinjiang, where surveillance has been at a high level for many years.

      However, the report also cautions that the project is encountering “many difficulties” due to the technical limits of facial recognition and the sheer size of the database involved. A Chinese researcher is quoted as saying that some totally unrelated people in China have faces so alike that even their parents cannot tell them apart. Another issue is managing the biometric data, which is around 13 terabytes for the facial information, and 90 terabytes for the full dataset, which includes additional personal details on everyone in China.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ICE Now Calling Aiding Unaccompanied Minors ‘Human Trafficking’ To Bypass Sanctuary City Laws

      In the name of fighting sex trafficking, legislators are willing to make the internet mostly worthless. Punching a hole in Section 230 protections will encourage incumbents to limit user participation and prevent startups from ever making it off the ground. Proponents claim it’s narrowly-targeted and abuse-proof, but the language would allow any service provider to be held accountable for the criminal actions of users. If traffickers can’t use Facebook or Google thanks to heavier moderation, they’ll move onto other websites and services until those too are rendered useless by government action.

      Part of the problem with legislation like this is mission creep. It may start with sex trafficking, but it will inevitably be expanded to cover other illicit content. And sex trafficking itself is its own dodge. All the government has to do is claim something is trafficking and the hammer begins to fall.

      This is because the term leaves no room for intelligent conversations. Proponents know people aren’t likely to speak up against efforts to fight sex trafficking, especially when they point out this sometimes includes children. It becomes a governmental blank check for enforcement action — something that deters questioning of the government’s activities, much in the way the term “national security” has limited legislative and judicial discussion about surveillance overreach.

    • Wife of stroke victim who needs 24hr care must leave UK while he cares for children

      A British stroke victim who uses a wheelchair, requires 24-hour supervision to keep him alive and cannot speak, write or reliably understand what is said to him, has been told by the Home Office that he must become the sole carer for his two young British children while his wife travels to the Philippines to apply for a visa to care for the family.

      Simon Waterman was living with his Filipino wife, Leah, and their children Kimi and Bryce, aged 10 and seven, in the Philippines when he had a severe stroke in September 2015. The family moved back to Abergavenny in South Wales in December so Simon could be near his family. When they applied for a visa for Leah to remain in the country, however, they were told there were “no exceptional circumstances” preventing her following the conventional route of applying for her visa from outside the UK.

    • Whistleblower Protections in USA Liberty Act Not Enough

      The USA Liberty Act fails to safeguard whistleblowers—both as federal employees and contractors—because of a total lack of protection from criminal prosecution. These shortcomings—which exist in other whistleblower protection laws—shine a light on much-needed Espionage Act reform, a law that has been used to stifle anti-war speech and punish political dissent.

      Inside the recent House bill, which seeks reauthorization for a massive government surveillance tool, authors have extended whistleblower protections to contract employees, a group that, today, has no such protection.

      The Liberty Act attempts to bring parity between intelligence community employees and contract employees by amending Section 1104 of the National Security Act of 1947.

      According to the act, employees for the CIA, NSA, Defense Intelligence Agency, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and National Reconnaissance Office are protected from certain types of employer retaliation when reporting evidence of “a violation of any federal law, rule, or regulation,” or “mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.” Employees working at agencies the President deems have a “primary function” of conducting foreign intelligence or counterintelligence are also covered by these protections.

    • New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro Breaks the Law to Enforce It. We’re Holding Him Accountable.

      Cannizzaro and elected district attorneys like him must answer to the communities that elect them.

      Renata Singleton was the victim in a criminal case and served five days in jail. That’s right, the victim. And Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro is to blame.

      In the fall of 2014, Renata Singleton and her boyfriend got into an argument at her apartment. He took her phone and slammed it on her porch. She wanted him out of the house, so she called the police, and they took him away. A criminal case was brought against her boyfriend. After Singleton told the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office that she had resolved things with him and wanted to move on, Cannizzaro’s office didn’t listen. Instead, agents left two “subpoenas” at her door demanding she appear at its office for a private interview.

      Only they were not subpoenas at all.

    • As the Weinstein Scandal Sinks in, Where Do We Go From Here?

      Here’s how to start making workplace sexual misconduct and discrimination a thing of the past.

      In the wake of bombshell reports by the The New York Times and The New Yorker detailing three decades of sexual misconduct by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, the revelations keep coming. So do the questions: How did such flagrant misconduct stay an “open secret” for so long? Just how many women were harmed? And how do we make sure that such an egregious abuse of power never happens again?

      Sexual harassment that is “severe or pervasive” was deemed by the Supreme Court to be illegal sex discrimination more than 30 years ago, when Mechelle Vinson, a bank employee in Washington, D.C., challenged her manager’s three-year campaign of abuse, including rape. And it’s been nearly a quarter-century since the court clarified that conduct becomes illegal harassment at the point that a “reasonable person” would find it abusive, even if it never gets physical.

    • Fired Cop’s Attorney Argues His Client Is Being Punished Unfairly Because The Public Got To See His Misconduct

      A little over a month ago, body cam footage of a police officer trying to bully a nurse into breaking the law went viral. Salt Lake City police detective Jeff Payne wrapped up his failed intimidation attempt by arresting nurse Alex Wubbels for following her hospital’s policy on blood draws. If there are no exigent circumstances and the person not suspected of criminal activity, police need a warrant to draw blood.

      None of those factors were present when Detective Payne demanded the hospital draw blood from an accident victim. The victim was, in fact, a reserve police officer from an Idaho law enforcement agency, who had been hit head-on by a fleeing suspect. This officer later died from his injuries. He was in a coma when Detective Payne began demanding the hospital hand over some blood, obviously in no condition to consent to the search.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • GAO Will Investigate The FCC’s Dubious DDoS Attack Claims

      You might recall that when HBO comedian John Oliver originally tackled net neutrality on his show in 2014, the FCC website crashed under the load of concerned consumers eager to support the creation of net neutrality rules. When Oliver revisited the topic last May to discuss FCC boss Ajit Pai’s myopic plan to kill those same rules, the FCC website crashed under the load a second time. That’s not particularly surprising; the FCC’s website has long been seen as an outdated relic from the wayback times of Netscape hit counters and awful MIDI music.

    • Six days later, FCC chair says Trump can’t order FCC to revoke TV licenses

      Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai initially resisted calls to tell President Trump that the FCC won’t revoke broadcast licenses from stations whose news coverage Trump dislikes.

      But today, six days after Trump first said that NBC and other networks should have their licenses challenged, Pai said the FCC won’t pull licenses based on the content of news reports.

    • FCC Chair Finally Says Agency Won’t Censor Trump’s Enemies

      Last Wednesday President Donald Trump took to Twitter to suggest the government should challenge broadcasting licenses for stations that air “fake news.”

    • AT&T Spent Hundreds Of Billions On Mergers And All It Got Was A Big Pile Of Cord Cutters

      Over the last few years AT&T and Verizon have been desperately trying to pivot from stodgy, protectionist old telcos — to sexy new Millennial media juggernauts. And while this pivot attempt has been notably expensive, the net result has been somewhat underwhelming. Verizon, for example, spent billions to gobble up AOL and Yahoo, but its lack of savvy in the space has so far culminated in a privacy scandal, a major hacking scandal, a quickly shuttered website where reporters couldn’t write about controversial subjects, and a fairly shitty Millennial streaming service even Verizon’s own media partners have called a “dud.”

      AT&T’s efforts have been notably more expensive, but just as underwhelming. The company first decided to shell out $70 billion for a satellite TV provider (DirecTV) on the eve of the cord cutting revolution. And the company’s putting the finishing touches on shelling out another $89 billion for Time Warner in a quest to gain broader media and advertising relevance. That was paired with the launch of a new streaming service, DirecTV Now, which the company hoped would help it beat back the tide of cord cutting.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Disney: The Only Fun Allowed At Children’s Birthday Parties Is Properly Licensed Fun

        For that reason, Characters For Hire is claiming that both the copyright and trademark claims from Disney aren’t valid. The characters are altered and renamed in an effort to gain protection from the idea/expression dichotomy, with those same changes and the disclaimer making it clear to the public that the company has no affiliation with the IP owners of the original characters from which these generics are inspired.
        That said… yeah, but no. The point made in the disclaimer that the likenesses are strictly coincidental is laughable at best. It’s very likely that the copyright portion of Disney’s claims will hold up in court. The trademark claims have less a chance of success, as it’s abundantly clear that these are not licensed characters or associated in any way with companies like Disney. But, still, the so-called generic characters of Characters For Hire appear to be more than merely “inspired” by the originals and are instead near identical characters with alterations made only to get around copyright law.
        But the larger point is: hey, Disney, why? Given that the copyright claims are the most substantive, there was nothing requiring Disney to take this action. Certainly it is laughable for Disney to claim any serious harm from a copyright perspective due to Characters For Hire’s actions. All this is really doing is keeping some fun, if unoriginal, characters from entertaining kids and people at birthdays and related events. Is giving up the stated aim to make children happy really worth smacking around a relatively small company that works these sorts of parties?

      • Digital Rights Groups Demand Deletion of Unlawful Filtering Mandate From Proposed EU Copyright Law

        The upload filtering mandate in Article 13 isn’t the only provision of the proposed Directive that concerns us. Another provision of concern, Article 11, would impose a new “link tax” payable to news publishers on websites that publish small snippets of news articles to contextualize links to those articles. Since we last wrote about this, an interesting new report has come out providing evidence that European publishers—who are the supposed beneficiaries of the link tax—actually oppose it.

      • Abandon Proactive Copyright Filters, Huge Coalition Tells EU Heavyweights

        Dozens of influential civil rights groups have called on EU decision-makers to abandon proposals for compulsory proactive copyright filters. Their open letter, addressed to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and colleagues, warns that monitoring citizens’ Internet traffic would restrict fundamental rights while running counter to the Electronic Commerce Directive.

      • Over 50 Academics Slam Censorship Filter & Join Calls to Stop © Madness

        On 17 October, 56 respected academics co-signed a recommendation on measures to safeguard fundamental rights and the Open Internet in the framework of the EU copyright reform. This effort is a reaction to the multiple questions regarding the legality of the so-called censorship filter (Article 13 and its Recitals) that were raised by seven Member States, including Germany (see here and here).

      • New ‘Coalition Against Piracy’ Will Crack Down on Pirate Streaming Boxes

        A newly announced coalition of major entertainment companies including Disney, Fox, HBO, NBCUniversal and BBC Worldwide has set its eye on pirate streaming boxes. The Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) will coordinate local enforcement efforts in Asia, hoping to disrupt the “criminal syndicates” behind these devices.

10.17.17

Links 17/10/2017: KDE Frameworks 5.39.0, Safe Browsing in Epiphany

Posted in News Roundup at 8:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 20 Most Promising Open Source Solution Providers – 2017

    Open source has become an imperative part of every developer’s arsenal. The potential to gather assistance from the community and the capacity to link into a range of systems and solutions make open source incredibly powerful. As open source software becomes ubiquitous, and used by the vast majority of enterprises throughout the world, 2017 is all set for vendors of application delivery controller (ADC) to start providing improved and tighter integration packages for various open source projects, especially surrounding ADC-generated telemetry. Companies have been extensively using their analytics and machine learning capabilities for quite some time to identify actionable patterns from the collected data. With the rising demand for business intelligence, this year is foreseen to be the year of information superiority with businesses, leveraging data as a key differentiator. In the past couple of years, containers have been emerging as an imminent trend. As the business focus starkly shifts on rightsizing of resources, containers are expected to become a common phenomenon, giving businesses the ability to leverage highly portable assets and make the move into micro services much simpler. Adjacently, automation has become essential now. Mostly intensified by DevOps adoption, the automation of software delivery and infrastructure changes have freed developers to spend more time creating and less time worrying about infrastructure.

  • DevOps pros and open source: Culturally connected

    Like chocolate and peanut butter, DevOps and open source are two great tastes that taste great together. For many DevOps pros, it’s the perfect cultural and technical match.

  • Interoperability: A Case For Open Source – GC@PCI Commentary

    He continues: “An open source model allows companies to see the assumptions behind the calculation and lowers the cost of entry into the cat modeling business. More importantly, the standardized and interoperable hazard, vulnerability and financial modules included in a true open source model facilitate the collaboration of data from insurers, reinsurers, entrepreneurs, scientists, computer programmers and individuals, all of which may result in a new generation of cat models.”

  • DevOps Skills Are Key to Collaboration within Organizations

    DevOps is one of the most highly sought skills employers are seeking to fill among 57 percent of respondents in the 2017 Open Source Jobs Report, from Dice and The Linux Foundation. Specifically, firms are looking for developers (73 percent) and DevOps engineers (60 percent).

  • The origin and evolution of FreeDOS

    Over the years, developers have shared with me how they use FreeDOS to run embedded systems. My all-time favorite example is a developer who used FreeDOS to power a pinball machine. FreeDOS ran an application that controlled the board, tallied the score, and updated the back display. I don’t know exactly how it was built, but one way such a system could work is to have every bumper register a “key” on a keyboard bus and the application simply read from that input. I thought it was cool.

    People sometimes forget about legacy software, but it pops up in unexpected places. I used to be campus CIO of a small university, and once a faculty member brought in some floppy disks with old research data on them. The data wasn’t stored in plaintext files, rather as DOS application data. None of our modern systems would read the old data files, so we booted a spare PC with FreeDOS, downloaded a shareware DOS program that could read the application data, and exported the data to plaintext.

  • Uber Open Sources AthenaX, Its Streaming Analytics Platform
  • Bloomberg’s big move on machine learning and open source

    With its orange text on black interface and colour coded keyboard, the Bloomberg professional services terminal – known simply as ‘The Terminal’ – doesn’t appear to have changed much since it was launched in the early ’80s.

    But behind the retro (Bloomberg prefers ‘modern icon’) stylings, its delivery of financial markets data news, and trading tools has advanced rapidly.

    The terminal’s 315,000 subscribers globally are now able to leverage on machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing techniques developed by the company, as they seek an edge in their investment decisions. Bloomberg is also applying those same techniques to its internal processes.

    Leading the company’s efforts in the area is Bloomberg’s head of data science Gideon Mann, who spoke with CIO Australia earlier this month.

    [...]

    Behind much of Bloomberg’s recent builds has been an open source ethic. Mann says there has been a sea change within the company about open source.

    “When the company started in 1981 and there really wasn’t a whole lot of open source. And so there was a mentality of you know if it’s not invented here we’re not interested,” Mann says.

    [...]

    The organisation took some convincing, but, championed by the CTO, there has been a “huge culture change” towards open source.

    “There are two groups you got to convince: you’ve got to convince management that using open source is going to be safe and lead to better software, and then you also have to convince engineers that using open source is going to increase their skillset, will lead to software that’s easier to maintain and is less buggy and it’s going to be a more beautiful system. Once you can kind of convince those two then you’re set,” Mann says.

    The company is an active contributor to projects including Solr, Hadoop, Apache Spark and Open Stack.

  • OSIsoft to Collaborate with Dianomic as Part of Edge and Open Source Strategy
  • How open source and agility are powering enterprise IT

    Looking back over the past decade, history has certainly demonstrated that trying to predict the pace and nature of technology development is a near impossible task.

  • Events

    • Join The Linux Foundation at Open Source Summit EU for Booth Swag, Project Updates, and More

      Going to Open Source Summit EU in Prague? While you’re there, be sure stop by The Linux Foundation training booth for fun giveaways and a chance to win one of three Raspberry Pi kits.

    • Japanese TeX User Meeting 2017

      Last saturday the Japanese TeX User Meeting took place in Fujisawa, Kanagawa. For those who have been at the TUG 2013 in Tokyo you will remember that the Japanese TeX community is quite big and vibrant. On Saturday about 50 users and developers gathered for a set of talks on a variety of topics.

      The first talk was by Keiichiro Shikano (鹿野 桂一郎) on using Markup text to generate (La)TeX and HTML. He presented a variety of markup formats, including his own tool xml2tex.

    • Who knew we still had low-hanging fruits?

      We had the opportunity of explaining how we at Collabora cooperated with igalians to implemented and optimise a Wayland nested compositor for WebKit2 to share buffers between processes in an efficient way even on broken drivers. Most of the discussions and some of the work that led to this was done in previous hackfests, by the way!

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 57 – Trick or Treat?

        The best way to describe Firefox 57 is too little, too late, but better later than never. In a way, it’s a pointless release, because it brings us back roughly where Firefox was and should have been years ago. Only all this time in between was wasted losing user base.

        WebExtensions will be the thing that makes or breaks the browser, and with insufficient quality in the available replacements for those that don’t make the culling list, there will be no real incentive for people to stay around. Firefox 57 is better than earlier versions in terms of looks and performance, but that’s like saying you get 50% discount on a price that is twice what it should be. Ultimately unnecessary, just like graduating from university by the age of 68. There aren’t any major advantages over Chrome. This is essentially a Firefox that sucks less.

        So yes, on the positive side, if you do want to continue using Firefox, version 57 makes much more sense than the previous 53 releases. It has an almost normal look, some of the sorely needed security & privacy addons are available, and it offers a passable user experience in terms of speed and responsiveness. Bottom line, I will stick with Firefox for now. As long as my extensions keep working. Take care.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Promises To Open Source Oracle JDK And Improve Java EE

      Oracle had already announced it would be moving Java EE to the Eclipse Foundation, and the announcements at JavaOne move the language further to a more vendor-neutral future. It’s worth noting that the keynote was preceded by a Safe Harbor disclaimer in which Oracle said it could not be held to plans made during the speech, so nothing is actually certain.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • U.S. makes renewable energy software open source

      As a longtime proponent of open source solar photovoltaic development, I am happy that the U.S. National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) has shared all the source code for System Advisor Model (SAM), its most powerful renewable energy economic analysis software.

      SAM is now SAM Open Source. It is a performance and financial model designed to help make decisions about renewable energy. This is perfect timing, as the costs of solar have dropped so far that the levelized cost of electricity for solar power is less than what you are probably paying for electricity from your utility.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Conservancy Applauds Linux Community’s Promotion of Principled Copyleft Enforcement

      Software Freedom Conservancy congratulates the Linux community for taking steps today to promote principled, community-minded copyleft enforcement by publishing the Linux Kernel Enforcement Statement. The Statement includes an additional permission under Linux’s license, the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2 (GPLv2). The additional permission, to which copyright holders may voluntarily opt-in, changes the license of their copyrights to allow reliance on the copyright license termination provisions from the GNU General Public License version 3 (GPLv3) for some cases 1.

      Conservancy also commends the Linux community’s Statement for reaffirming that legal action should be last resort for resolving a GPL violation, and for inviting noncompliant companies who work their way back into compliance to become active participants in the community. By bringing clarity to GPLv2 enforcement efforts, companies can adopt software with the assurance that these parties will work in a reasonable, community-centric way to resolve compliance issues.

    • Linux Kernel Community Enforcement Statement FAQ

      Based on the recent Linux Kernel Community Enforcement Statement and the article describing the background and what it means , here are some Questions/Answers to help clear things up. These are based on questions that came up when the statement was discussed among the initial round of over 200 different kernel developers.

    • Linux Kernel Community Enforcement Statement
    • Linux Kernel Gets An “Enforcement Statement” To Deal With Copyright Trolls

      Greg Kroah-Hartman on the behalf of the Linux Foundation Technical Advisory Board has today announced the Linux Kernel Community Enforcement Statement. This statement is designed to better fend off copyright trolls.

      Among the copyright troll concerns is how a Netfilter developer has been trying to enforce his personal copyright claims against companies for “in secret and for large sums of money by threatening or engaging in litigation.”

    • An enforcement clarification from the kernel community

      The Linux Foundation’s Technical Advisory board, in response to concerns about exploitative license enforcement around the kernel, has put together this patch adding a document to the kernel describing its view of license enforcement. This document has been signed or acknowledged by a long list of kernel developers. In particular, it seeks to reduce the effect of the “GPLv2 death penalty” by stating that a violator’s license to the software will be reinstated upon a timely return to compliance.

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Senator Elizabeth Warren: Attacks on Birth Control Access Are Attacks on Women’s Freedom

      If anyone told a young woman today that she was expected to quit school after eighth grade or leave her job once she got married, most Americans would be outraged. Not fair! Women should have the same range of economic choices as men.

      Through the years, one door after another has opened, as women have become astronauts and neurosurgeons, run Fortune 500 companies and nonprofit organizations, and started their own businesses. Sure, there’s still a lot of ground to make up, but the country has headed in the direction of greater equality for decades now.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • “Stop the Unconstitutional War in Yemen”: Rep. Ro Khanna on Growing Opposition to U.S.-Backed War

      The U.S.-backed, Saudi-led war and naval blockade in Yemen has sparked a cholera epidemic that has become the largest and fastest-spreading outbreak of the disease in modern world history. There are expected to be a million cases of cholera in Yemen by the end of the year, with at least 600,000 children likely to be affected. The U.S. has been a major backer of the Saudi-led war. But in Washington, opposition to the U.S. support for the Saudi-led war is growing. Lawmakers recently introduced a constitutional resolution to withdraw all U.S. support for the war. In an op-ed for The New York Times, Congressmembers Ro Khanna, Walter Jones and Mark Pocan wrote that they introduced the resolution “in order to help put an end to the suffering of a country approaching ‘a famine of biblical proportions.’ … We believe that the American people, if presented with the facts of this conflict, will oppose the use of their tax dollars to bomb and starve civilians.” We speak with Ro Khanna, Democratic congressmember from California.

    • Jesus Campos, Vegas security guard shot before rampage, appears to have vanished

      The story seemed straightforward: The unarmed security guard approached Stephen Paddock’s room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, distracting the gunman and potentially saving lives.

      With a gunshot wound to his leg, he helped point officers to the gunman’s location and stayed behind to evacuate hotel guests.

      He was hailed a hero by many, even as the story changed. Twice.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Hillary Clinton Just Told Five Blatant Lies About WikiLeaks

      As part of her ongoing “Thank God You Didn’t Elect Me” tour, Hillary Clinton made her debut on Australian television last night in an interview with the ABC’s Sarah Ferguson. Though she didn’t repeat her infamous “17 intelligence agencies” lie, which she’d continued to regurgitate long after that claim had been conclusively debunked, there were still plenty of whoppers to be heard.
      From her ridiculous claim that the aggressively protested DNC convention was “very positive” to her completely baseless assertion that Bernie Sanders “couldn’t explain his programs” during the primaries, Clinton did a fine job of reminding us all why the average American finds her about as trustworthy as a hungry crocodile. But while she has blamed her loss on James Comey and Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders and self-hating women and the media and uninformed voters and voter suppression and her campaign staff and the DNC and campaign finance laws and Jill Stein and the Electoral College and Anthony Weiner and sexism and Vladimir Putin, Hillary Clinton reserved the lion’s share of her deceit for the organization she hates most of all: WikiLeaks.

    • Leading Maltese political journalist killed by car bomb

      Daphne Caruana Galizia, a leading Maltese journalist who had reported extensively on government corruption, was killed in a car bombing Monday, according to TVM, the country’s public broadcaster.

      The explosion took place near her home in Bidnija at approximately 2:30 p.m., minutes after her last blog post was published.

      Caruana Galizia, 53, had spent the last year publishing stories about allegations of corruption involving Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his closest allies. The story first came to light in the Panama Papers scandal — a leak in April 2016 of more than 11 million documents from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.

    • Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia killed in car blast

      Daphne Caruana Galizia, one of Malta’s best known investigative journalists, was killed after a powerful blast blew up her car, local media reported Monday.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Get Ready For A New Chernobyl In Ukraine

      According to analysts from Energy Research & Social Science (ERSS), there is an 80% probability of a “serious accident” at one of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants before the year 2020. This is due both to the increased burden on the nuclear plants caused by the widespread shutdowns of Ukraine’s thermal power plants (the raw material they consumed – coal from the Donbass – is in critically short supply) and also because of the severe physical deterioration of their Soviet-era nuclear equipment and the catastrophic underfunding of this industry.

    • Ophelia became a major hurricane where no storm had before

      The system formerly known as Hurricane Ophelia is moving into Ireland on Monday, bringing “status red” weather throughout the day to the island. The Irish National Meteorological Service, Met Éireann, has warned that, “Violent and destructive gusts of 120 to 150km/h are forecast countrywide, and in excess of these values in some very exposed and hilly areas. There is a danger to life and property.”

    • London’s sky turns red Monday, but we can’t blame pollution

      Residents of England awoke on Monday morning to a sky that looked very much like a scene from the movie Blade Runner—red and hazy. Fortunately this isn’t science fiction—or even pollution. Rather, it’s a combination of the rare, powerful ex-hurricane Ophelia’s winds and African dust.

      The large, extra-tropical cyclone that brought high winds and damaging seas to Ireland on Monday also produced a huge swath of powerful southerly winds that brought Saharan dust from the West Coast of Africa all the way north across the Atlantic and Western Europe into the United Kingdom.

    • More than 4,000MW of coal power slated for retirement in Texas. But why?

      Late last week, power company Vistra Energy announced that it would close two of its Texas coal plants by early 2018. In a press release, the company blamed “Sustained low wholesale power prices, an oversupplied renewable generation market, and low natural gas prices, along with other factors.”

  • Finance

    • EU commission obscures growing impacts multilateral investment court

      The European Commission published an impact assessment of a multilateral reform of investment dispute resolution. The current supranational system is known as investor-to-state dispute settlement or ISDS. ISDS gives multinationals far reaching supranational privileges to challenge government decisions.

    • You fired your top talent. I hope you’re happy.

      Instead, they played Rick like a fiddle, burned out all of his talent and skill, and once Rick was considered damaged goods, kicked his ass to the curb for the good of the company’s productivity. How brave! How heroic!

    • Russia Plans To Launch Its National Cryptocurrency Called “CryptoRuble”

      Slowly, but yes, governments across the world are giving cryptocurrencies a place in their economy. Earlier, we heard about India in talks to launch their cryptocurrency called LakshmiCoin. Soon, there might be a Russian digital money called CryptoRuble as well.

    • Financial regulator warns of growing debt among young people

      In an interview with the BBC, Andrew Bailey said the young were having to borrow for basic living costs.

      The regulator also said he “did not like” some high-cost lending schemes.

      He said consumers, and institutions that lend to them, should be aware that interest rates may rise in the future and that credit should be “affordable”.

    • Centrist MPs could save us from hard Brexit – but they’ve gone silent

      The lunatics have taken over the asylum. The Labour and Conservative conferences were proof positive that the moderates no longer hold sway. The cheers were for the zealots, whether that was John McDonnell or Jacob Rees-Mogg. And, whether from front or back benches, it is they who rule the roost when it comes to leaving the EU. So where have the centrists (and I acknowledge, as Helen Lewis has underlined, that the term is imprecise and potentially misleading, but I can think of no better one) gone? And how should they react?

    • The Koch brothers (and their friends) want President Trump’s tax cut. Very badly.

      The message from the billionaire-led Koch network of donors to President Trump and the Republican Congress it helped to shape couldn’t be more clear: Pass a tax overhaul, or else.

      As the donors mixed and mingled for a policy summit at the St. Regis hotel in midtown Manhattan last week, just a block south from Trump Tower, it came up again. And again. And again.

      “It’s the most significant federal effort we’ve ever taken on,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, a Koch-aligned group with offices in 36 states. “The stakes for the Republicans, I’ve never seen them this high.”

    • I work for the DWP as a universal credit case manager – and what I’ve seen is shocking

      I work with many compassionate and thoughtful employees, who try their hardest every day to help vulnerable claimants. However, we can only act within the remit of strict guidelines which don’t offer us the flexibility we sometimes need to prevent unnecessary suffering.

      The problem is compounded by employees’ lack of knowledge about the universal credit regulations which can have an especially devastating impact on care leavers, the disabled and those with mental health conditions. It is not uncommon for charities and support workers to inform case managers – the ones whose job it is to assess people for universal credit and other benefits – of the law, rather than the other way round.

    • May’s Brexit gambit leaves Brussels mystified

      At least there was an agreement about no leaks.

      When U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last shared an intimate dinner focused on Brexit, it was a debacle. Leaks from the Brussels side claiming May was “deluded” about Brexit infuriated London, sparking condemnation on the steps of Downing Street by the PM.

    • Mystery deepens over secret source of Brexit ‘dark money’

      A number of major political donors have denied they are the source of a controversial £435,000 donation to the DUP’s Brexit campaign, openDemocracy can reveal today – with only one person refusing to distance themself from the secret donation.

      openDemocracy has investigated a list of key figures in relation to the donation, and all apart from one have either denied involvement or have made public statements indicating opposition to Brexit. The only person we contacted who has told us he will not comment is Henry Angest, a banker and longstanding Conservative party donor, who is known to be a supporter of Brexit.

    • Turns out Britain is £490 billion poorer than everyone thought

      Britain is £490 billion poorer than everyone thought.

      The Office for National Statistics has revised its assessment of the country’s accounts, and decided Britain has overestimated its international assets.

      And we owe far more to foreign investors than previously thought.

      Overall it amounts a quarter of the UK’s Gross Domestic Product.

      It comes just six weeks ahead of Philip Hammond’s first Autumn budget – and Treasury officials are reportedly braced for “gloomy” forecasts.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Fury and Failure of Donald Trump

      Metaphorically anyway, Trump supporters like Goril were right. Not one of these career politicians had the gumption to be frank with this crowd about what had happened to their party. Instead, the strategy seemed to be to pretend none of it had happened, and to hide behind piles of the same worn clichés that had driven these voters to rebel in the first place.

      The party schism burst open in the middle of a speech by Wisconsin’s speaker of the State Assembly, Robin Vos. Vos is the Billy Mays of state budget hawks. He’s a mean-spirited little ball of energy who leaped onto the stage reminding the crowd that he wanted to eliminate the office of the treasurer to SAVE YOU MONEY!

      Paul Ryan speaks at the Wisconsin Fall Fast, avoiding the the topic of Donald Trump.

      Vos went on to brag about having wiped out tenure for University of Wisconsin professors, before dismounting with yet another superawkward Trumpless call for Republicans to turn out to vote.
      “I have no doubt that with all of you standing behind us,” he shouted, “and with the fantastic record of achievement that we have, we’re going to go on to an even bigger and better victory than before!”

      There was scattered applause, then someone from the crowd called out:

      “You uninvited Donald Trump!”

      Boos and catcalls, both for and against Vos and the Republicans. Most in the crowd were Trump supporters, but others were angry with Trump for perhaps saddling them with four years of Hillary Clinton. These camps now battled it out across the field. A competing chant of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” started on the opposite end of the stands, only to be met by chants from the pro-Trumpers.

    • Puerto Rico Is a Symptom of America’s Rotting Democracy

      Ferocious hurricanes and other climate-fueled disasters are nature’s stress tests. They expose faulty infrastructure and systemic inequalities, to say nothing of incompetent leadership. With payments on its massive debt to Wall Street long prioritized over safe electricity, Puerto Rico’s archaic power grid was already prone to blink out in a windstorm. Then Maria hit. Help has been grudging; President Trump took eight days just to waive shipping restrictions.

    • Trump’s dumbfounding, expansive press conference with Mitch McConnell, annotated
  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Australia’s National Rape Hotline Run By Insurance Company, Who Demands All Sorts Of Private Info

      Australia is providing a fairly stunning case study in how not to set up a national hotline for sexual assault, rape, domestic abuse and other such situations. It has a service, called 1800Respect, which lets people call in and be connected to trained counselors from a variety of different call centers around the country. However, as Asher Wolf informs us, a change in how the system will be managed has created quite a shit storm, and leading one of the major providers of counselors to the program to remove itself from the program — meaning that it will likely lose government funding and may go out of business entirely.

      The issues here are a bit convoluted, but since its inception, 1800Respect has actually been run by a private insurance company, Medibank Health Solutions, who partners with organizations who can provide qualified counselors. One of the big ones is Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia (RDSVA). While it already seems somewhat troubling that a private insurance company runs the “national” rape and domestic violence hotline — it’s even more troubling when you find out that the company views the service as a profit center:

    • Big Data is watching you

      This week, MEPs on the Civil Rights Committee will vote on the ePrivacy regulation, which will determine how secure our data is when we are online. For the past 16 months, industry lobbies, including all those who collect or use citizens’ personal online data for advertising purposes, have been vigorously opposing new proposals on ePrivacy. On the other side of the debate, digital rights campaigners demand that citizens should enjoy optimum data privacy when online.

    • USA Liberty Act Won’t Fix What’s Most Broken with NSA Internet Surveillance

      A key legal linchpin for the National Security Agency’s vast Internet surveillance program is scheduled to disappear in under 90 days. Section 702 of FISA—enacted in 2008 with little public awareness about the scope and power of the NSA’s surveillance of the Internet—supposedly directs the NSA’s powerful surveillance apparatus toward legitimate foreign intelligence targets overseas. Instead, the surveillance has been turned back on us. Despite repeated inquiries from Congress, the NSA has yet to publicly disclose how many Americans are impacted by this surveillance.

    • Here’s What Might Come of NSA’s Surveillance Powers

      As the deadline to renew the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance powers looms, proposed bills and speculations of bills drive the conversation on national security versus privacy.

      Senate Republicans led by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., proposed a bill in June to completely renew Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) without any changes or sunset provision. Section 702, which expires at the end of the year, allows the NSA to collect data from foreign nationals without obtaining a warrant.

      Proponents of Section 702 said that it would be impossible for the NSA to protect the country effectively without the law, because of the backlog that would be created by having to go to the FISA court every time the agency wanted to spy on suspicious foreign activity.

      “This program has provided our national security agencies vital intelligence that has saved American lives and provided insights into some of the hardest intelligence targets,” said Cotton. “Section 702 also includes extensive privacy protections for American citizens. We can’t handcuff our national security officials when they’re fighting against such a vicious enemy. We’ve got to reauthorize this program in full and for good, so we can put our enemies back on their heels and keep American lives safe from harm.”

    • Surveillance “Reform”: The Fourth Amendment’s Long, Slow, Goodbye

      Over 16 years after the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent repeated passage or renewal of draconian “temporary” but “emergency” domestic surveillance laws in response, it’s fair to ask: Have we officially abandoned the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights?

      With the expiration of Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) less than three months away, now is a good time to review the effects of these surveillance laws in the seemingly endless “War on Terror.” But first, a quick recap of America’s embrace of mass surveillance in the post-9/11 era.

      Within six weeks of the terrorist attacks in 2001, and with virtually no serious debate, Congress passed the behemoth PATRIOT Act. The law created vast new government surveillance powers that abandoned the Fourth Amendment’s across-the-board probable cause warrant requirement. In an October 11, 2001 speech discussing the Senate version of the legislation, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) assured terrified civil libertarians that the PATRIOT Act’s five-year “sunset” clause governing 15 of the bill’s provisions would serve “as a valuable check on the potential abuse of the new powers granted in the bill.”

    • The search for painless Internet privacy gets another boost with InvizBox 2

      InvizBox, a small Irish company focused on building Wi-Fi routers with built-in Internet privacy, has successfully crowdfunded the next generation of its eponymous privacy platform. The InvizBox 2 and InvizBox 2 Pro are more than an evolution from the team’s original product, which was an open source modification of the OpenWRT router code focused on use of the Tor anonymizing network. These new devices are more powerful and faster, and they focus more on usable networking that avoids ISPs’ prying eyes (and defeating geo-blocking of online content) rather than striving to avoid the long arm of state surveillance.

      The InvizBox team is doing a livestream event today, despite the arrival in Ireland of Hurricane Ophelia—which has caused widespread closures of businesses in the country. But the project is already fully funded, which bodes well for delivery based on the team’s previous track record. Working with an industrial design team in China, InvizBox has created a much more attractive privacy tool, both aesthetically and practically.

      The original InvizBox launched two years ago in response to the somewhat poorly conceived crowdfunding launch of another product aimed at Internet privacy. Ars tested InvizBox (and its competitor, Anonabox) in 2015. An open source Wi-Fi router with built-in support for the Tor anonymizing network, InvizBox was a good implementation of an idea with some major roadblocks to wide adoption—the most obvious one being the limitations of Tor itself. Then InvizBox followed up with the InvizBox Go, which shifted the focus away from Tor and toward a more consumer-friendly and mobile-friendly form of privacy. This was a battery-powered Wi-Fi router that could act as a protected bridge to public Wi-Fi networks.

    • Supreme Court to decide if US has right to data on world’s servers [Ed: Microsoft has given NSA et al access to everything. This is a PR stunt.]

      The US government appealed, contending it has the legal right, with a valid court warrant, to reach into the world’s servers with the assistance of the tech sector, no matter where the data is stored.

    • Microsoft’s fight with the feds over foreign servers is headed to Supreme Court

      The current state of the law doesn’t mean that US law enforcement has no access to data stored on foreign servers. If domestic disclosure warrants cannot be served on the foreign servers of US companies, US law enforcement can lean on treaties with the country that the servers are based in.

    • DOJ Continues Its Push For Encryption Backdoors With Even Worse Arguments

      Early last week, the Deputy Attorney General (Rod Rosenstein) picked up the recently-departed James Comey’s Torch of Encroaching Darkness +1 and delivered one of the worst speeches against encryption ever delivered outside of the UK.

      Rosenstein apparently has decided UK government officials shouldn’t have a monopoly on horrendous anti-encryption arguments. Saddling up his one-trick pony, the DAG dumped out a whole lot of nonsensical words in front of a slightly more receptive audience. Speaking at the Global Cyber Security Summit in London, Rosenstein continued his crusade against encryption using counterintuitive arguments.

      After name-dropping his newly-minted term — responsible encryption™ — Rosenstein stepped back to assess the overall cybersecurity situation. In short, it is awful. Worse, perhaps, than Rosenstein’s own arguments. Between the inadvertently NSA-backed WannaCry ransomware, the Kehlios botnet, dozens of ill-mannered state actors, and everything else happening seemingly all at once, the world’s computer users could obviously use all the security they can get.

    • White House Cyber Security Boss Also Wants Encryption Backdoors He Refuses To Call Backdoors

      Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recently pitched a new form of backdoor for encryption: “responsible encryption.” The DAG said encryption was very, very important to the security of the nation and its citizens, but not so important it should ever prevent warrants from being executed.

      According to Rosenstein, this is the first time in American history law enforcement officers haven’t been able to collect all the evidence they seek with warrants. And that’s all the fault of tech companies and their perverse interest in profits. Rosenstein thinks the smart people building flying cars or whatever should be able to make secure backdoors, but even if they can’t, maybe they could just leave the encryption off their end of the end-to-end so cops can have a look-see.

      This is the furtherance of former FBI director James Comey’s “going dark” dogma. It’s being practiced by more government agencies than just the DOJ. Calls for backdoors echo across Europe, with every government official making them claiming they’re not talking about backdoors. These officials all want the same thing: a hole in encryption. All that’s really happening is the development of new euphemisms.

    • Facebook looks to hire people with national security clearances amid backlash over Russian meddling

      Earlier, security clearances were deactivated once an official or intelligence worker left their government job. Now, they can be carried over to private sector jobs so long as the position still requires access to classified information.

    • Facebook Is Looking for Employees With National Security Clearances

      Workers with such clearance can access information classified by the U.S. government. Facebook plans to use these people — and their ability to receive government information about potential threats — to search more proactively for questionable social media campaigns ahead of elections, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is sensitive. A Facebook spokesman declined to comment.

    • Visiting websites with your smartphone on mobile data can reveal your full name, phone number, address, and even location

      With just your mobile IP address, a website can find out all of your billing information, and even your precise location. This has been going on for years, largely behind the scenes – but recently the issue has been re-highlighted and the benefits of hiding your IP address are super clear.

    • Facebook is testing a CV upload feature as it chases LinkedIn (again)

      Facebook has been trying to push into the enterprise space for some time with Facebook at Work (now known as Workplace), and if confirmed, this would see the social network going head to head with LinkedIn owner Microsoft in the same space.

    • PureVPN Explains How it Helped the FBI Catch a Cyberstalker

      After several days of radio silence, VPN provider PureVPN has responded to criticism that it provided information which helped the FBI catch a cyberstalker. In a fairly lengthy post, the company reiterates that it never logs user activity. What it does do, however, is log the IP addresses of users accessing its service.

    • Bizarre: Swedish Minister of Justice shames ISP in public for NOT doing illegal wiretapping

      Something quite bizarre just happened on Twitter: the Swedish Minister of Justice went out of his way to lash out at the ISP most known for privacy in Sweden, criticizing the ISP for following the direct orders of the European Court of Justice instead of agreeing to covert illegal wiretapping. The Minister of Justice criticized the ISP for “not helping investigations against severe cases of child pornography”. The CEO of the ISP responded in the only way possible: “we cooperate with the police, but we also follow the law and due process”.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • COINTELPRO 2? FBI Targets “Black Identity Extremists” Despite Surge in White Supremacist Violence

      A leaked FBI counterterrorism memo claims that so-called black identity extremists pose a threat to law enforcement. That’s according to Foreign Policy magazine, which obtained the document written by the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit. The memo was dated August 3, 2017—only days before the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white supremacists, Ku Klux Klan members and neo-Nazis killed one anti-racist protester, Heather Heyer, and injured dozens more. But the report is not concerned with the violent threat of white supremacists. Instead, the memo reads: “The FBI assesses it is very likely Black Identity Extremist perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence.” Civil liberties groups have slammed the FBI report, warning the “black identity extremists” designation threatens the rights of protesters with Black Lives Matter and other groups. Many have also compared the memo to the FBI’s covert COINTELPRO program of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, which targeted the civil rights movement. We speak with Malkia Cyril, co-founder and executive director of the Center for Media Justice as well as a Black Lives Matter Bay Area activist.

    • Week 6: Guide To NFL Players Who Protested During National Anthem

      Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who started the movement of taking a knee during the anthem, filed a “grievance” against the National Football League. He alleged owners colluded to prevent him from playing another NFL game because he engaged in protest.

      “If the NFL (as well as all professional sports leagues) is to remain a meritocracy, then principled and peaceful political protest — which the owners themselves made great theater imitating weeks ago — should not be punished,” one of his attorneys, Mark Geragos, said in a posted statement. “And athletes should not be denied employment based on partisan political provocation by the executive branch of our government. Such a precedent threatens all patriotic Americans and harkens back to our darkest days as a nation.”

    • Malta car bomb kills Panama Papers journalist

      The journalist who led the Panama Papers investigation into corruption in Malta was killed on Monday in a car bomb near her home.

      Daphne Caruana Galizia died on Monday afternoon when her car, a Peugeot 108, was destroyed by a powerful explosive device which blew the car into several pieces and threw the debris into a nearby field.

      A blogger whose posts often attracted more readers than the combined circulation of the country’s newspapers, Galizia was recently described by the Politico website as a “one-woman WikiLeaks”. Her blogs were a thorn in the side of both the establishment and underworld figures that hold sway in Europe’s smallest member state.

      Her most recent revelations pointed the finger at Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, and two of his closest aides, connecting offshore companies linked to the three men with the sale of Maltese passports and payments from the government of Azerbaijan.

    • Utah Senator Wants To Revive The State’s ‘Porn Czar’ Office To Combat The Threat Of Women’s Magazines

      Todd Weiler, a state Senator in Utah, has appeared on our pages before. When last we checked in with the good senator, he was quite oddly attempting to purge his notoriously prudish state from the dire threat of pornography. His plan was more than a bit heavy-handed in that it centered on mandating porn-filtering software on all smartphones under his stated theory that “A cell phone is basically a vending machine for pornography.” This tragic misunderstanding by a sitting state senator of what a phone is and exactly what its primary functions are aside, government mandates that infringe on free and legal expression are kind of a no-no in these here secular United States. Even setting constitutional questions aside, attempts like these are immediately confronted by the obstreperous demands from the public for a definition of exactly what constitutes “pornography.”

    • New York Considers Barring Agreements Barring Victims From Speaking

      In the wake of the news about Harvey Weinstein’s apparently serial abuse of women, and the news that several of his victims were unable to tell anyone about it due to a non-disclosure agreement, the New York legislature is considering a bill to prevent such NDAs from being enforceable in New York state. According to the Buzzfeed article the bill as currently proposed still allows a settlement agreement to demand that the recipient of a settlement not disclose how much they settled for, but it can’t put the recipient of a settlement in jeopardy of needing to compensate their abuser if they choose to talk about what happened to them.

      It’s not the first time a state has imposed limits on the things that people can contract for. California, for example, has a law that generally makes non-compete agreements invalid. Even Congress has now passed a law banning contracts that limit consumers’ ability to complain about merchants. Although, as we learn in law school, there are some Constitutional disputes about how unfettered the freedom to contract should be in the United States, there has also always been the notion that some contractual demands are inherently “void as against public policy.” In other words, go ahead and write whatever contractual clause you want, but they aren’t all going to be enforceable against the people you want to force to comply with them.

    • Only Nonviolent Resistance Will Destroy the Corporate State

      The encampments by Native Americans at Standing Rock, N.D., from April 2016 to February 2017 to block construction of the Dakota Access pipeline provided the template for future resistance movements. The action was nonviolent. It was sustained. It was highly organized. It was grounded in spiritual, intellectual and communal traditions. And it lit the conscience of the nation.

      Native American communities—more than 200 were represented at the Standing Rock encampments, which at times contained up to 10,000 people—called themselves “water protectors.” Day after day, week after week, month after month, the demonstrators endured assaults carried out with armored personnel carriers, rubber bullets, stun guns, tear gas, cannons that shot water laced with chemicals, and sound cannons that can cause permanent hearing loss. Drones hovered overhead. Attack dogs were unleashed on the crowds. Hundreds were arrested, roughed up and held in dank, overcrowded cells. Many were charged with felonies. The press, or at least the press that attempted to report honestly, was harassed and censored, and often reporters were detained or arrested. And mixed in with the water protectors was a small army of infiltrators, spies and agents provocateurs, who often initiated vandalism and rock throwing at law enforcement and singled out anti-pipeline leaders for arrest.

    • The refuge system at breaking point

      In a small office in the Midlands the telephone rings every half hour or so. On the line are women desperate for help, trying to flee domestic violence. But there is no space in the refuge, there is almost never any space.

      “Last week”, says a volunteer, “we had a lady call; she had four children, and the closest space we could find for her was the Orkney Islands.” They do not know if the woman took the 600 miles trip to safety; she did not call back.

      An investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has found domestic violence refuges across England struggling under huge budget cuts. More than a thousand vulnerable women and children have been turned away from refuges in just six months.

    • Black members of Congress push for more diversity in Silicon Valley hires

      Days after two leading members of the Congressional Black Caucus got Facebook to commit to hiring a black member to its board of directors, they again pressed major tech firms to diversify the hiring of executives and rank-and-file employees.

      In brief remarks before dozens of assembled employees at the downtown offices of Hustle, a texting startup, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-California) and Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-North Carolina) said Monday morning that they have been meeting with companies including Uber and Salesforce to improve on a longstanding issue of underrepresented minorities in Silicon Valley.

    • Court Tells Sheriff’s Dept. Shackling Kids Above The Elbows Is Excessive Force

      The ruling [PDF] restates common sense, albeit in 33 pages of legalese. It is excessive force to restrain preteens who weigh less than 60 lbs. with handcuffs meant to keep full-grown adults from moving their arms. The procedural history notes school personnel are forbidden from using mechanical restraints on students by state law. This law, however, does not forbid law enforcement officers from using handcuffs on students.

      In both cases, the students cuffed by a sheriff’s deputy had been combative. School personnel turned both students over to the SRO once it became obvious they would not be able to calm the students down. The combativeness didn’t stop once the deputy entered the picture. These would appear to be arguments in the deputy’s favor but only if other factors weren’t considered — like the students’ ages and sizes. Both children also suffered from behavioral disorders.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Google Bombs Are Our New Normal
    • FCC’s DDoS claims will be investigated by government

      The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) will investigate DDoS attacks that allegedly targeted the Federal Communications Commission’s system for accepting public comments on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to roll back net neutrality rules.

      Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) requested the investigation in August, and the GAO recently confirmed that it accepted the Schatz/Pallone request.

      [...]

      The FCC’s public comment website suffered an outage on May 8, just as the commission was receiving an influx of pro-net neutrality comments spurred by comedian John Oliver’s HBO segment on the topic.

      The FCC attributed the downtime solely to “multiple” DDoS attacks and said the attacks were “deliberate attempts by external actors to bombard the FCC’s comment system with a high amount of traffic to our commercial cloud host.”

  • DRM

    • Linux Users Discuss DRM – Unleaded Hangout

      Today my Patreons and I discuss encrypted media extensions, digital rights management and our freedom on the Linux desktop.

    • The European Parliament Should Be Talking About DRM, Right Now!

      [Teresa Nobre, Communia Association, Link (CC-0)] The European Union is currently discussing a reform of its copyright system, including making mandatory certain copyright exceptions, in order to introduce a balance into the system. However, no one, except Julia Reda, is paying any attention to one of the biggest obstacles to the enforcement of copyright exceptions in the digital age: technological protection measures (TPM), including digital rights management (DRM). In this blogpost we will present the reasons why the European Parliament should not lose this opportunity to discuss a reform of the EU anti-circumvention rules.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Supreme Court refuses to hear case questioning Google’s trademark

        The Supreme Court declined Monday to review a petition asserting that the term “google” has become too generic and therefore unqualified for trademark protection.

        Without comment, the justices set aside a legal challenge claiming that Google had fallen victim to “genericide” and should no longer be trademarked. A lawsuit claimed the word “google” had become synonymous with the term “search the Internet” and therefore could no longer sustain a trademark. For the moment, Google will keep its trademark—unlike the manufacturers of the teleprompter, thermos, hoover, aspirin, and videotape. They were once trademarked but lost that status after they were deemed too generic.

      • JPO Issues First Decision To Register Sound Trademark Consisting Solely Of Sound Element

        On 26 September, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) announced, for the first time ever, the grant of protection to three sound trademarks consisting solely of a sound element.

    • Copyrights

      • Neighbor Sues For $2.5 Million After Renovation Looks Too Much Like Their Own House

        Copyright on home design has always been a really sketchy idea. Earlier this year, we wrote about a disturbing trend of housing copyright trolls and have had some other similar stories over time. For reasons that are beyond me, the Berne Convention requires copyright on architecture, and that creates silly situations, such as the one in Australia, where a homeowner was forced to modify their home due to “infringement.”

        And this nonsense has spread to Canada. The Toronto Star has the story of a couple, Jason and Jodi Chapnik, living in Forest Hill, Toronto (one of the “most affluent neighborhoods” in Toronto), who sued their neighbors for $2.5 million for the horrific faux pas of renovating their house to look too much like the Chapniks.

      • Over 50 Human Rights & Media Freedom NGOs ask EU to Delete Censorship Filter & to Stop © Madness

        On 16 October, over 50 NGOs representing human rights and media freedom (see the full list below) sent an open letter to the European Commission President, the European Parliament (EP) and the Council asking them to delete the censorship filter proposal (Article 13), as it would “would violate the freedom of expression set out in (…) the Charter of Fundamental Rights” and “provoke such legal uncertainty that online services will have no other option than to monitor, filter and block EU citizens’ communications“. It is especially striking that organisations such as Reporters without Borders and Human Rights Watch, which are known to intervene for the protection of human rights in less democratic countries, have now been moved to the point where they felt the need to voice their concerns in this matter to ensure that EU citizens are safeguarded from the EU’s copyright agenda crushing their fundamental rights.

      • 56 Groups Call For Deletion Of Internet Filtering Provision In EU Copyright Proposal

        Today a range of civil society organisations sent an open letter to European Union policymakers calling for the removal of a provision they say would violate citizens’ rights by forcing monitoring and filtering of copyrighted materials.

      • 57 rights groups back anti-Article 13 letter to the European Parliament

        “The European Commission tabled a proposal that would force [I]nternet companies that share and store user-generated content, such as video or photo-sharing platforms or even creative writing websites, to filter uploads to their services,” said the group in a note to interested parties.

        “The signatories argue that the proposal would lead to excessive filtering and deletion of content, while at the same time constantly monitoring users’ activity online. These conditions would violate freedom of expression, freedom of information and also privacy. Therefore, the organisations are asking Members of the European Parliament to delete Article 13 from the proposal”.

      • Pirate Bay’s Iconic .SE Domain has Expired (Updated)

        The Pirate Bay’s iconic .SE domain name has expired and will be deactivated soon if no action is taken. This means that thepiratebay.se, which played a central part in the site’s history, is no longer redirecting to the most current Pirate Bay domain.

      • Spinrilla Wants RIAA Case Thrown Out Over ‘Lies’ About ‘Hidden’ Piracy Data

        In its continuing legal battle, popular hip-hop mixtape site and app Spinrilla is striking back against the major record labels. The company accuses the labels of maliciously hiding crucial piracy data, which puts it at a severe disadvantage. Spinrilla now wants to see the entire case dismissed.

10.16.17

Links 16/10/2017: Linux 4.14 RC5, Debian 9.2.1, End of LibreOffice Conference 2017

Posted in News Roundup at 6:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Microsoft faces Dutch crunch over Windows 10 private data slurp

      Yet another European nation is turning up the heat on Microsoft for extracting heaps and heaps of telemetry and other intelligence from Windows 10 PCs.

      This time, it’s privacy authorities in the Netherlands who are calling out Redmond for its hog-wild harvesting of data from machines that run Windows 10 Home and Pro. The Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) said on Friday it will impose sanctions on Microsoft should the American tech giant fail to make changes to its software.

    • Dutch slam Windows 10 for breaking privacy laws

      Dutch authorities claim Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system is violating data protection and privacy laws, and warned they may impose fines on the US technology giant.

      “Microsoft breaches the Dutch data protection law by processing personal data of people that use the Windows 10 operating system on their computers,” the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) said in a statement late Friday.

      The company fails to “clearly inform” users of Windows 10 that it “continuously collects personal data about the usage of apps and web surfing behavior through its web browser Edge, when the default settings are used,” the DPA said.

    • Raspberry Pi 3 based laptop features DIY hacking bay

      Pi-top has revised its RPi based laptop with a 14-inch HD screen and a slide-off keyboard that reveals a cooling unit and DIY space for a breadboard kit.

      Pi-top’s Raspberry Pi driven laptop has received a major upgrade with a new model with a slightly larger 14-inch, HD screen and a 6 to 8 hour battery. The 2017 edition of the education-focused Pi-top features a modular design with a larger keyboard that slides forward to reveal a Raspberry Pi 3 with a new heatsink. It also includes an empty bay for DIY hacking, which can be filled with components from a free Inventor’s Kit. This DIY kit includes a breadboard, a motion sensor, LEDs, and a microphone, all mounted on a magnetic sliding rail.

    • Pi-Top: This Raspberry Pi And Linux-powered Laptop Is For New

      In late 2014, Pi-Top, U.K.’s education startup raised about $200,000 on Indiegogo to fund its first DIY laptop. It was followed by pi-topCEED, a cheap desktop computer that’s powered by Raspberry Pi.

      Their latest offering, the new Pi-Top, is a new tinkering machine that you can assemble on your own using modular approach. Compared to the past offerings, the number of steps needed to assemble the computer and start working are much less.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.13.7

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.13.7 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:

      http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-st…

    • Linux 4.15 Is Shaping Up To be An Exciting Kernel, Especially For AMD Users

      There still is a few weeks to go until the Linux 4.14 kernel will be released, but following that the Linux 4.15 kernel is shaping up to be a very exciting cycle.

    • F2FS Tools 1.9 Released With Encryption & More

      An updated version of the user-space F2FS (Flash Friendly File-System) utilities was quietly released a few weeks back.

      The f2fs-tools 1.9 update is a fairly big update for adding the bits for recent additions to the F2FS kernel driver. Now handled by f2fs-tools is dealing with encryption support, sparse support, inode checksum support, no-heap allocation is enabled by default, and support for the CP_TRIMMED_FLAG.

    • Improvements in the block layer

      Jens Axboe is the maintainer of the block layer of the kernel. In this capacity, he spoke at Kernel Recipes 2017 on what’s new in the storage world for Linux, with a particular focus on the new block-multiqueue subsystem: the degree to which it’s been adopted, a number of optimizations that have recently been made, and a bit of speculation about how it will further improve in the future.

      Back in 2011, Intel published a Linux driver for NVM Express (or NVMe, where NVM is the Non-Volatile Memory Host Controller Interface), which was its new bus for accessing solid-state storage devices (SSDs). This driver was incorporated into the mainline kernel in 2012, first appearing in 3.3. It allowed new, fast SSD devices to be run at speed, but that gave no improvement if the block subsystem continued to treat them as pedestrian hard drives. So a new, scalable block layer known as blk-mq (for block-multiqueue) was developed to take better advantage of these fast devices; it was merged for 3.13 in 2014. It was introduced with the understanding that all of the old drivers would be ported to blk-mq over time; this continues, even though most of the mainstream block storage devices have by now been successfully ported. Axboe’s first focus was a status update on this process.

    • Kernel prepatch 4.14-rc5
    • Linux 4.14-rc5 Released

      Linus Torvalds has just issued the Linux 4.14-rc5 kernel update.

      With this release out today, we’re three to four weeks out from seeing the official Linux 4.14 kernel release. Linux 4.14 has overall been a big cycle with the possibility of going up to a Linux 4.14-rc8 test release prior to declaring the stable release, but we’ll have to see Torvalds’ reactions in the weeks ahead.

    • Linux 4.14-rc5

      Things seem to be finally starting to calm down for 4.14.

      We’ve certainly had smaller rc5′s, but we’ve had bigger ones too, and
      this week finally felt fairly normal in a release that has up until
      now felt a bit messier than it perhaps should have been.

      So assuming this trend holds, we’re all good. Knock wood.

      So what do we have here? A little bit of everything, but what might be
      most noticeable is some more fixes for the whole new x86 TLB handling
      due to the ASID changes that came in this release. Some of the lazy
      TLB handling changes caused problems on a few AMD chips with
      particular settings, because it was all a little bit *too* lazy in
      flushing the TLB. Even when TLB entries aren’t used (and will be
      flushed before any possible use), the TLB may be speculatively filled,
      and that can cause problems if we’ve already free’d the page tables
      that the speculative fill ends up looking up.

      The other thing perhaps worth mentioning is how much random fuzzing
      people are doing, and it’s finding things. We’ve always done fuzzing
      (who remembers the old “crashme” program that just generated random
      code and jumped to it? We used to do that quite actively very early
      on), but people have been doing some nice targeted fuzzing of driver
      subsystems etc, and there’s been various fixes (not just this last
      week either) coming out of those efforts. Very nice to see.

      Anyway, rc5 is out, and things look normal. We’ve got arch updates
      (mostly x86and poweerpc, but some mips), drivers (gpu, networking,
      usb, sound, misc), some core kernel (lockdep fixes, networking, mm)
      and some tooling (perf, selftests).

      Go out and test,

      Linus

    • Linus Torvalds lauds fuzzing for improving Linux security

      Linus Torvalds release notification for Linux 4.14′s fifth release candidate contains an interesting aside: the Linux Lord says fuzzing is making a big difference to the open source operating system.

      Torvalds’ announcement says Linux kernel 4.14 is coming along nicely, with this week’s release candidate pleasingly small and “fairly normal in a release that has up until now felt a bit messier than it perhaps should have been.”

      This week’s most prominent changes concern “… more fixes for the whole new x86 TLB [translation lookaside buffer – Ed] handling due to the ASID [address space ID - Ed] changes that came in this release.”

  • Applications

    • Catching up with RawTherapee 5.x

      Free-software raw photo editor RawTherapee released a major new revision earlier this year, followed by a string of incremental updates. The 5.x series, released at a rapid pace, marks a significant improvement in the RawTherapee’s development tempo — the project’s preceding update had landed in 2014. Regardless of the speed of the releases themselves, however, the improved RawTherapee offers users a lot of added functionality and may shake up the raw-photo-processing workflow for many photographers.

      It has been quite some time since we last examined the program during the run-up to the 3.0 series in 2010. In the intervening years, the scope of the project has grown considerably: macOS is now supported in addition to Windows and various flavors of Linux, and the application has seen substantial additions to the tool set it provides.

      The competitive landscape that RawTherapee inhabits has also changed; 2010-era competitors Rawstudio and UFRaw are not seeing much active development these days (not to mention the death of proprietary competitors like Apple’s Aperture), while darktable has amassed a significant following — particularly among photographers interested in a rich set of effects and retouching tools. At the other end of the spectrum, raw-file support improved in the “consumer” desktop photo-management tools (such as Shotwell) in the same time period, thus offering casual users some options with a less intimidating learning curve than darktable’s. Where RawTherapee sits amid all of the current offerings can be a bit hard to define.

      The 5.0 release landed on January 22, 5.1 then arrived on May 15, and 5.2 was unleashed (in the words of the announcement) on July 23. The project also migrated its source-code repository and issue tracking to GitHub, launched a new discussion forum, and has assembled a wiki-style documentation site called RawPedia.

    • psdash – System And Process Monitoring Web Dashboard For Linux

      psdash is a system monitoring and information web dashboard for Linux written in python using psutils and flask. The GUI is pretty much straight forward and clean. All the data is updated automatically, no need to refresh.

      psutils (process and system utilities) is a cross-platform library for retrieving information on running processes and system utilization (CPU, memory, disks, network, sensors) in Python.

    • Tiling Terminal Emulator Tilix 1.7.0 Released with Minor Improvements

      Tilix, the modern tiling terminal emulator for Linux desktops, scored an update at the weekend.

      Although a modest release, Tilix 1.7.0 brings some timely bug fixes and feature improvements to the app formerly known as Terminix.

      This includes support for using tabs instead of a sidebar, a feature Tilix dev Gerald Nunn says was a frequent user request.

      There’s also preliminary Flatpak support, though there’s no specific information on how to text or make use of the Tilix Flatpak. It’d be great to see the app added to the (awesome) Flathub Flatpak app store.

    • Oceanaudio An Audio Editor For Linux

      Audios are an integral part of life. Playing our best songs, having a party or a special function, we require audio everywhere. That is why audio editors are there too to help us make the best of an audio file. When I say audio editor, many of you will just think of audacity. Sure that is a pretty cool software but I think it’s a bit complicated for the inexperienced one.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine 2.19 Supports 32-Bit Float Audio on Android, Has iTunes 11.1.x Improvements

        The bi-weekly release of Wine is here today with a new development release, versioned 2.19, which adds a few new features and fixes a total of 16 bugs in multiple Windows apps and games.

        Let’s start with the new features and improvements, as the Wine 2.19 release introduces support for 32-bit float audio on Android, support for a new Microsoft root certificate, the ability for the Wine server to fully handle named pipes, a bunch of optimizations to heap allocation, as well as an extra layer of transform fixes in GdiPlus.

    • Games

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Celebrates 21st Anniversary with New Updates of KDE Applications, Frameworks

        Today, the KDE Project celebrates the 21st anniversary of the well-known and widely used desktop environment for GNU/Linux and UNIX-like operating systems with new releases of its KDE Frameworks and KDE Applications software stacks.

        KDE recently unveiled KDE Plasma 5.11 as the latest and most advanced version of the KDE desktop environment, and today they released KDE Applications 17.08.2 and KDE Frameworks 5.39.0, which are now available to download for users of the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environments, as well as GNU/Linux distros that use the KDE Stack.

      • Replacing Audacity with KWave

        KWave has been developed since 1998, yet few have heard of it. I only recently heard of it myself from writer and podcaster Marcel Gagné while I was setting up to do how-to-videos. Part of the reason for its obscurity might be that, despite its name, it only recently become an official KDE project in the last release. However, the major reason for its obscurity is probably that it has been overshadowed by the better-known Audacity — which is a pity, because in most ways, KWave is every bit as useful as an audio editor.

        Why would anyone want an Audacity substitute? For one thing, while Audacity is cross-platform, it is not well-integrated into Linux. Audacity handles its own resources, as you can tell by its lengthy load time. Often, Audacity frequently gives confusing options for input and playback sources, giving several names to the same device and offering irrelevant front and back options for mono devices, so that users can only find the one they need through trial and error. Sometimes, the necessary option for a particular source can change for no apparent each time Audacity starts.

      • Kubuntu Artful Aardvark (17.10) final RC images now available

        Artful Aardvark (17.10) final Release Candidate (RC) images are now available for testing. Help us make 17.10 the best release yet!

        The Kubuntu team will be releasing 17.10 on October 19, 2017.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • There’s One Week Left To Apply For Outreachy Round 15

        There’s one week left for women and other under-represented groups in the open-source world to apply for Outreachy Round 15 for a winter internship to work on various projects.

        Outreachy applications are due 23 October and accepted participants are announced in early November for this $5500 USD internship period that runs from December to March. This round is open to: “internationally to women (cis and trans), trans men, and genderqueer people. Internships are also open to residents and nationals of the United States of any gender who are Black/African American, Hispanic/Latin@, Native American/American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander.”

      • retro-gtk: Renaissance

        This is the second article in a small series about retro-gtk, I recommend you to read the first one, retro-gtk: Postmortem, before this one.

        In the previous article I listed some problems I encountered while developing and using retro-gtk; in this one I will present some solutions I implemented to fix them! All that is presented in this article is part of the newly-released retro-gtk 0.13.1, which is the first version of the 0.14 development cycle.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • LinuxAndUbuntu Review Of Linux Mint 18.2 “Sonya” Xfce

        The mission for a swap Linux conveyance for Linux Mint 13 LTS “Maya” Xfce proceeds. With this post comes a review of the most recent MATE version of Linux Mint. Particularly for consistent perusers of this blog, I will simply say that with the most recent point discharge, it appears like the designers have put cleaner into the conveyance, including their new arrangement of “X-applications” intended to work crosswise over MATE, Cinnamon, Xfce, and GNOME, keeping away from the entanglements of more DE-particular applications. I need to perceive what has changed since my last review and to see whether this would be reasonable for the establishment and everyday use on my portable workstation. With that in mind, I made a live USB framework (once more, on my new SanDisk Cruzer USB streak drive) utilizing the “dd” order. Take after the bounce to perceive what it resembles. Note that I’ll often refer to past review, noticing just changes and general imperative focuses as required.

      • Star 1.0.1 – lightweight desktops on a Devuan base

        On the whole, I like the ideas presented in Star’s design. The distribution is basically Devuan and pulls packages from Devuan’s software repositories, but the live media and lightweight environments are great for testing the distribution and for breathing life into older computers. While this approach of starting light and adding only what we need is a solid concept, and proved to be very forgiving on resources, there are some rough edges in the implementation. The missing manual pages, for example, and the media player issues I ran into posed problems.

        A few programs I used flashed warning messages letting me know PulseAudio was not available as Star uses the ALSA sound system by default. Strictly speaking, PulseAudio is not required most of the time and, if we do run into a situation where it is needed, we can install PulseAudio easily enough by rerunning Star’s welcome script.

        The default JWM environment is very plain and empty, which suited me. My only complaint was the constantly updating Conky status panel at the bottom of the screen. I was able to disable Conky, but it required digging into JWM’s configuration files. Which brings me to another point: many users will probably prefer to try heavier editions of Star (like Xfce) to gain access to more user friendly configuration tools. The JWM edition is intentionally bare bones and probably best suited to more experienced users.

        One last observation I had while using Star is that it is based on Devuan 1.0.0, which presents us with software that is about three years old (or more) at this point. This means some packages, like LibreOffice, are notably behind upstream versions. Since Star is best suited for older computers, this may not be an issue for most users, but it is worth keeping in mind that Star’s software repository is a few years old at this point.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Sakaki’s EFI Install Guide/Disabling the Intel Management Engine

        The Intel Management Engine (‘IME’ or ‘ME’) is an out-of-band co-processor integrated in all post-2006 Intel-CPU-based PCs. It has full network and memory access and runs proprietary, signed, closed-source software at ring -3,[1][2][3][4] independently of the BIOS, main CPU and platform operating system[5][6] — a fact which many regard as an unacceptable security risk (particularly given that at least one remotely exploitable security hole has already been reported[7][8]).

    • Slackware Family

      • October updates for the Slackware Plasma5 desktop

        There’s been updates to all the major components of the KDE Software Collection (I know they stopped using that name but I think it is still fitting). So I tasked my build box to compile hundreds of new packages and today I have for you the October ’17 set of Plasma 5 packages for Slackware 14.2 and -current. KDE 5_17.10 contains: KDE Frameworks 5.39.0, Plasma 5.11.0 and Applications 17.08.2. All based on Qt 5.9.2 for Slackware-current and Qt 5.7.1 for Slackware 14.2.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat software and services land on Alibaba Cloud

        With that in mind, Alibaba Cloud, which is the cloud computing arm of eCommerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., said today that it’s partnering with the open-source software company Red Hat Inc. The alliance sees Alibaba Cloud join the Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider program, which makes it possible for it to offer a range of popular Red Hat products to its customers. These will include the company’s flagship Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform, which will soon be made available via a pay-as-you-go pricing model in the Alibaba Cloud Marketplace.

      • Fedora

        • Korora 26 Bloat – More is less or less is more?

          Korora 26 Bloat is a noble concept, but it does not solve the fundamental problem it aims to solve: make Fedora usable. It tries to minimize the wreck that is Fedora 26 and fails to do so. Additionally, it introduces problems that the original did not have, making an even bigger mess.
          Korora comes with a slew of ergonomics issues, flaking hardware support, too much actual bloat, tons of niggles and issues that are technically Fedora’s legacy, and then the horrible Nvidia support that is just embarrassing in 2017. To answer my own question, more is less in this case, and there isn’t a justifiable reason why you should prefer Korora over Fedora, nor why you should use it against the likes of Ubuntu, Kubuntu or Mint. Alas, this is not a good release, 2/10. Unusable, which is a shame, because I did like what Korora managed to do in the past. But it just shows how fragile the Linux world is. Proper distro release QA is a joke, regressions are nothing but a silent excuse to move on and churn out more bad code, almost like industrial protein, and this is so depressing I sometimes wonder why I even bother.

          Anyway, to sum it up, Fedora 26 is worse than its predecessors, and Korora 26 is both worse than its own forefathers and the original article it seeks to tame, with appalling support for proprietary graphics drivers and other distros in a multi-boot setup that I really cannot recommend it. The cosmetic issues are also important, but in the end, the real deal breaker is the hardware side. Waiting for Korora 27. Peace.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 9.2.1 is out
      • A New Debian/Ubuntu Kernel Build With The Latest AMDGPU DC Patches

        For those wanting to run the very latest bleeding-edge AMDGPU DC display code on an Ubuntu/Debian-based box, here is a fresh x86_64 kernel build of the latest DC kernel patches as of today.

        It was on Friday that more AMDGPU DC patches were pushed out as AMD works to have this code all tidied up and prepped for the upcoming Linux 4.15 cycle.

      • Debian Installer git repository

        While dealing with d-i’s translation last month in FOSScamp, I was kinda surprised it’s still on SVN. While reviewing PO files from others, I couldn’t select specific parts to commit.

        Debian does have a git server, and many DDs (Debian Developers) use it for their Debian work, but it’s not as public as I wish it to be. Meaning I lack the pull / merge request abilities as well as the review process.

      • Free software log (September 2017)

        I said that I was going to start writing these regularly, so I’m going to stick to it, even when the results are rather underwhelming. One of the goals is to make the time for more free software work, and I do better at doing things that I record.

        The only piece of free software work for September was that I made rra-c-util compile cleanly with the Clang static analyzer. This was fairly tedious work that mostly involved unconfusing the compiler or converting (semi-intentional) crashes into explicit asserts, but it unblocks using the Clang static analyzer as part of the automated test suite of my other projects that are downstream of rra-c-util.

        One of the semantic changes I made was that the vector utilities in rra-c-util (which maintain a resizable array of strings) now always allocate room for at least one string pointer. This wastes a small amount of memory for empty vectors that are never used, but ensures that the strings struct member is always valid. This isn’t, strictly speaking, a correctness fix, since all the checks were correct, but after some thought, I decided that humans might have the same problem that the static analyzer had. It’s a lot easier to reason about a field that’s never NULL. Similarly, the replacement function for a missing reallocarray now does an allocation of size 1 if given a size of 0, just to avoid edge case behavior. (I’m sure the behavior of a realloc with size 0 is defined somewhere in the C standard, but if I have to look it up, I’d rather not make a human reason about it.)

      • Free Software Efforts (2017W41)

        The issue that was preventing the migration of the Tasktools Packaging Team’s mailing list from Alioth to Savannah has now been resolved.

        Ana’s chkservice package that I sponsored last week has been ACCEPTED into unstable and since MIGRATED to testing.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Newbie’s Guide to Ubuntu 17.10 Part 2

            This is Part 2 of the newbie’s guide to operate Ubuntu 17.10. Here you’ll learn how to operate the Nautilus File Manager. You’ll do most of daily activities in Nautilus because it is your file manager, like Finder in Mac OS X or Explorer in Windows. You’ll learn basic skills such as selecting & navigating, creating & deleting, searching & sorting files/folders, and also basic knowledge for keyboard shortcuts and the user interface. I wish this article helps you best to run Ubuntu 17.10 easily and happily.

          • Do You Plan to Upgrade to Ubuntu 17.10? [Poll]

            Ubuntu 17.10 is set to be released on Thursday October 19 — which, if you haven’t been paying attention to the nearest calendar, is less than a week away!

            Having spent the past 6 months in development chances are you’ve some inclination as to whether or not you will upgrade to Ubuntu 17.10.

          • Kubuntu Artful Aardvark (17.10) initial RC images now available

            Artful Aardvark (17.10) initial Release Candidate (RC) images are now available for testing. Help us make 17.10 the best release yet!

          • Please get to testing Artful RCs (20171015)
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • How to define a metrics strategy for your community

    Data sets are everywhere, and because open source communities produce plenty of information in addition to source code, most community infrastructures require tools to support the software development process. Examples include bug-reporting systems such as Jira and Bugzilla, versioning systems such as Git, and code review tools like Gerrit. Although communication also takes place through these tools, most is done through mailing lists, IRC, supporting systems like Discourse, and even Twitter and other social channels (especially for marketing and announcements). In fact, most open source communities utilize at least five or ten tools, if not more.

  • Events

    • LibreOffice Conference 2017

      This week the annual LibreOffice conference was held in Rome and I had the pleasure to attend. The city of Rome is migrating their IT infrastructure to open software and standards and the city council was kind enough to provide the awesome venue for the event, the Campidoglio.

    • More from the testing and fuzzing microconference

      A lot was discussed and presented in the three hours allotted to the Testing and Fuzzing microconference at this year’s Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC), but some spilled out of that slot. We have already looked at some discussions on kernel testing that occurred both before and during the microconference. Much of the rest of the discussion will be summarized below. As it turns out, a discussion on the efforts by Intel to do continuous-integration (CI) testing of graphics hardware and drivers continued several hundred miles north the following week at the X.Org Developers Conference (XDC); that will be covered in a separate article.

    • Opensource.com Lightning Talks at All Things Open 2017

      Join the Opensource.com community for a set of amazing lightning talks you won’t want to miss during the All Things Open conference in Raleigh, NC. Speakers have five minutes to enlighten the audience about an open source topic they are passionate about. We’ve got everything from DevOps and Kubernetes, to wearables, cloud, and more. Grab your lunch, find a seat, warm up your Twitter fingers, and get ready for the fastest hour at All Things Open 2017. Share your favorite thoughts using hashtage #ATO2017.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • 4 website maintenance mistakes to avoid

      Maintenance is a good idea for every website, but it’s a requirement for websites using open source code. The upside of open source is that everyone can participate. The downside is that means keeping up with everyone’s changes. Code gets patched, which causes other code to stop working and need patches in turn. Exploits are found and then blocked. Fancy new features are developed, and your users want them. All of this means you need to keep up! The most important weapon to combat these forces is maintenance. Maintenance is a simple process, but there are basic mistakes that many people make at least once. Avoid these and you’ll be well on your way to a safer, cleaner website that isn’t a huge pain to keep running.

      [...]

      Even if you could do better, are you being paid to rewrite something that’s already mostly working? If you’re frustrated enough to take it on as a hobby project, is that what you want to spend your weekend on? GitHub is chock full of not-all-that-unique content management systems (CMSes) and static site builders. Most of them are abandoned, clones of more popular systems, or both. Don’t be yet another one.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Open-source mapping being used to help first responders in Puerto Rico

        Satellite images of rural towns, sprawling woodlands and grooved mountainsides fill the computer screens as homeowners and students scroll across digital maps.

        This group of a few dozen people gathered on Friday at the Perry Castenada Library on the University of Texas at Austin campus for a four-hour disaster relief mapathon to bolster humanitarian efforts in Puerto Rico, where 91 percent of the island is still without electricity, and Mexico, which was ravaged by a 6.1 earthquake.

  • Programming/Development

    • Kotlin Programming Language Will Surpass Java On Android Next Year

      At Google I/O 2017, Google announced the newly added support for Kotlin programming language in Android, along with the existing languages Java and C++. As per the experts, Kotlin came as a breath of fresh air in Android development ecosystem to make “Android development faster and more fun. But, what about the numbers? How many developers are making a shift to Kotlin? Let’s find out.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Progress Being Made On New “WebGPU” Web Graphics API

      There continues to be progress made on the new Apple/W3C backed web graphics API dubbed “WebGPU” that has the backing of major stakeholders.

      Separate from the work being done by The Khronos Group on “WebGL-Next” there is the “WebGPU” initiative being organized by the W3C.

Leftovers

  • How China Has Built Major Roads In Doklam: Exclusive

    India backs Bhutan’s claim to the Doklam Plateau, which lies North of the “Chicken’s Neck” – a narrow strip that links India to its northeastern states. Any roads in or around this area are a cause of concern for Delhi because they could give Beijing access to this strategically sensitive terrain.

  • Car accidents killed 37,000 people last year — it’s time to act
  • Finnish military grants athlete status to e-sports conscripts

    Young people pursuing a career in the increasingly-lucrative field of e-sports will be able to serve their compulsory service in the Finnish Defence Forces as an athlete in future. The Finnish Defence Forces will allow the e-sports players to serve with the same status as elite sportspeople, giving them special privileges as they undertake their compulsory service.

    Conscripts meeting the requirements will be assessed as part of the special forces selection associated with every round of call-ups. The Finnish E-sports Federation will assist in the assessment of possible candidates.

    “By completing their military service in the Sports School, e-sports professionals will have enough time to practice and compete,” the federation’s director Joonas Kapiainen said in a press release.

  • Outlook, Office 2007 slowly taken behind the shed, shots heard

    A decade after their release, Microsoft Office 2007 and Outlook 2007 today fell out of extended support. Gaze teary-eyed at your installation discs. The software has entered the Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.

    The cutoff has been coming for some time, of course, but if you’re of a nostalgic bent, the Outlook 2007 epitaph is here, and the somewhat longer (with more dates to absorb) Office 2007 farewell is here.

    With extended support ending for both 2007-era families, no new features, bug fixes, security patches, nor support, will be available in future for the programs.

  • Catalonia and the ‘Europe of Regions’

    One of the solutions that emerged was to promote the notion of a “Europe of Regions,” i.e. along with the centralization of power on certain matters at the supranational level, there would also be a devolution of powers towards local authorities in other fields. The idea of emphasizing regional characteristics on an ethnic basis was not new, but it received renewed attention in the 1990s as avenues were sought to advance E.U. integration.

  • Science

    • Humans Made the Banana Perfect—But Soon, It’ll Be Gone
    • Studying human tumors in mice may end up being misleading

      Cancer is, unfortunately, governed by the same evolutionary rules that drive life itself. Cells in tumors are essentially competing to see which can divide the fastest. This competition drives them to pick up new mutations that can help them divide faster, survive immune attack, resist drugs, and expand to new areas of the body.

      We can tell this by looking at the genetic changes that occur as tumors progress. Over time, we can trace the appearance of new mutations that confer abilities that are, from cancer’s perspective, useful for tumor cells.

      Now, a new study suggests that an unfortunate side effect of these evolutionary changes is that human tumors are really difficult to study. Whether the tumor cells are put in a culture dish or grown in mice, they evolve changes that help them grow in this new environment. And some of these changes influence how the tumor cells respond to drugs.

  • Hardware

    • The impossible dream of USB-C

      I love the idea of USB-C: one port and one cable that can replace all other ports and cables. It sounds so simple, straightforward, and unified.

      In practice, it’s not even close.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Labor’s Stake in the Fight for Veterans’ Health Care

      In January President Trump delivered on his promise to shrink the federal government: he announced a hiring freeze, despite thousands of federal job vacancies.

      As a candidate, Trump campaigned as a great friend of veterans. He pledged to make big improvements in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the arm of the Veterans Administration (VA) that operates the largest health care system in the country.

      But Trump’s hiring freeze deepened an already existing staffing crisis at VHA hospitals and clinics throughout the U.S., where there are 49,000 vacant positions.

    • Vulnerable people left to suffer chronic loneliness as services ‘underfunded and overwhelmed’, Labour warns

      Vulnerable people are being left to suffer chronic loneliness as nearly half of all local authorities are spending nothing on specialist social isolation services, new figures suggest.

      A probe by Labour found crucial services had been left “underfunded and overwhelmed” as dedicated spending fell by around £1m in two years amid a squeeze on town hall budgets.

      It comes as the leader of Britain’s GPs warned that being lonely could be as harmful to older people’s health as a chronic long-term condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure, with around 1.1 million elderly people believed to be affected.

    • Finnish police weigh criminal probe into tobacco industry

      Police will decide by the end of October whether to launch a pre-trial investigation into allegations that Finnish tobacco executives should be held personally liable for misleading marketing of “light” cigarettes, with the terminology banned 15 years ago. Experts estimate that the products led to some 60,000 deaths in Finland.

    • Early Medicaid Expansion Associated With Reduced Payday Borrowing In California

      The early Medicaid expansion was associated with an 11 percent reduction in the number of loans taken out each month. It also reduced the number of unique borrowers each month and the amount of payday loan debt.

    • Why Do Republicans (and Some Democrats) Vilify Single Payer?

      Unfortunately, very bad ideas never die in a corrupted political process. It’s all about bottom lines: for billionaire campaign donors and for the powerful recipients of those campaign donations.

    • Your Boss Shouldn’t Get to Have ‘Religious’ Objections to Your Health Care

      When Obamacare — aka, the Affordable Care Act — became law in 2010, it mandated coverage of birth control without co-payments.

      Some employers didn’t like the rule, and Hobby Lobby hated it so much that the company filed a lawsuit to stop it. Company owners said they didn’t believe in contraception and claimed that covering it for female employees violated their religious freedom.

      Understand, the Obama administration went to great lengths to exempt churches and church-related institutions from the rule, while still guaranteeing their female employees the right to birth control if they wanted it.

    • NHS chiefs spend £100,000 on failed bid to stop whistleblowing doctor having his day in court

      NHS chiefs spent more than £100,000 on a failed bid to stop a whistleblowing junior doctor having his day in court.

      Dr Chris Day, 32, said his career was “destroyed” after he raised fears over a short-staffed intensive care unit in Woolwich, London.

      Yet he was blocked from taking his claims to an employment tribunal after Health Education England (HEE) argued it wasn’t his employer.

    • Neonicotinoid pesticides found in honey from every continent

      The evidence has been mounting for years that the world’s most widely used pesticides, neonicotinoids, harm bees and other pollinating insects. Now it seems the problem isn’t limited to Europe and North America, where the alarm was first sounded. It’s everywhere.

    • Bad news for bees: three-quarters of all honey on Earth has pesticides in it

      Scientists analyzed 198 honey samples from all continents, except Antarctica, for five types of pesticides called neonicotinoids, which are known to harm bees. They found at least one of the five compounds in most samples, with the highest contamination in North America, Asia, and Europe. The results are published today in the journal Science.

    • Did Monsanto Ignore Evidence Linking Its Weed Killer to Cancer?

      But the future of the ubiquitous herbicide is in question. Monsanto is currently fighting allegations that glyphosate might not be as safe as advertised, particularly when combined with other chemicals in Roundup. In 2015, an international science committee ruled that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen, countering previous determinations by regulatory agencies in the United States and other countries. Soon after, more than 200 people sued Monsanto in a federal case now centralized in California, claiming that Roundup caused them to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a common blood cancer. Over 1,000 people have filed similar suits against the company in state courts in Arizona, Delaware, Missouri, Nebraska, and elsewhere.

    • Multi-State Suit Targets Trump’s “Reckless Assault” on Healthcare as Anger Flows

      Warning of the decision’s “great human cost,” 19 attorneys general on Friday filed suit in a federal court to stop President Donald Trump’s decision to cut off key Obamacare cost-sharing subsidies, as outrage from advocacy groups continued to pour in.

      “Taking these legally required subsidies away from working families’ health plans and forcing them to choose between paying rent or their medical bills is completely reckless. This is sabotage, plain and simple,” said California Attorney Xavier General Becerra, who’s leading the coalition of states.

      New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who’s also a party to the suit, called it “a reckless assault on the healthcare of thousands of New Yorkers and millions of Americans,” which is part of a “partisan campaign to sabotage our healthcare system.”

  • Security

    • N. Korea stole cyber tools from NSA, carried out WannaCry ransomware attack – Microsoft chief [Ed: Microsoft's Brad Smith is a liar who blackmails with patents. He's now trying to blame the Norks for Microsoft giving back doors to the NSA. No shame!]
    • North Korea behind devastating ‘WannaCry’ cyberattack that hit NHS and systems across US, says Microsoft head [Ed: Microsoft will say anything to distract from and deflect from the fact it gives the NSA back doors. The NHS ‘attacked’ itself by installing on its system an OS which it knew had back doors. Kaspersky showed that Microsoft lied about Wannacry and that Windows XP was hardly targeted. Now watch how US media treats Kaspersky. Microsoft blaming North Korea rather than itself and the NSA (for back doors) is basically high-fiving the Trump administration for agenda.]

      North Korea was behind the devastating WannaCry ransomware attack that temporarily crippled dozens of NHS trusts, the president of Microsoft has said.

    • Kaspersky asks for proof of claims made in American media

      Under pressure after a series of articles in the US press made various claims about its links to Russian state authorities this week, security firm Kaspersky Lab appears to be reluctant to dismiss the allegations out of hand.

    • Google, IBM, and Others Introduce Grafeas Open Source API
    • My Blogging

      Blog regulars will notice that I haven’t been posting as much lately as I have in the past. There are two reasons. One, it feels harder to find things to write about. So often it’s the same stories over and over. I don’t like repeating myself. Two, I am busy writing a book.

    • Sexual assault allegations levied against high profile security researcher and activist
    • Let MalwareTech Surf! Status Report
    • 500 million PCs are being used for stealth cryptocurrency mining online

      A month or so ago, torrent search website The Pirate Bay raised concern among the community as visitors noticed their CPU usage surged whenever a page was opened.

    • Using Elliptic Curve Cryptography with TPM2

      One of the most significant advances going from TPM1.2 to TPM2 was the addition of algorithm agility: The ability of TPM2 to work with arbitrary symmetric and asymmetric encryption schemes. In practice, in spite of this much vaunted agile encryption capability, most actual TPM2 chips I’ve seen only support a small number of asymmetric encryption schemes, usually RSA2048 and a couple of Elliptic Curves. However, the ability to support any Elliptic Curve at all is a step up from TPM1.2. This blog post will detail how elliptic curve schemes can be integrated into existing cryptographic systems using TPM2. However, before we start on the practice, we need at least a tiny swing through the theory of Elliptic Curves.

    • Linux vulnerable to privilege escalation

      An advisory from Cisco issued last Friday, October 13th, gave us the heads-up on a local privilege escalation vulnerability in the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA).

      The bug is designated CVE-2017-15265, but its Mitre entry was still marked “reserved” at the time of writing. Cisco, however, had this to say about it before release:

    • Pizza Hut was hacked, company says

      According to a customer notice emailed from the pizza chain, those who placed an order on its website or mobile app between the morning of Oct. 1 and midday Oct. 2 might have had their information exposed.

      The “temporary security intrusion” lasted for about 28 hours, the notice said, and it’s believed that names, billing ZIP codes, delivery addresses, email addresses and payment card information — meaning account number, expiration date and CVV number — were compromised.

    • Want to see something crazy? Open this link on your phone with WiFi turned off

      These services are using your mobile phone’s IP address to look up your phone number, your billing information and possibly your phone’s current location as provided by cell phone towers (no GPS or phone location services required). These services are doing this with the assistance of the telco providers.

    • Telcos “selling realtime ability to associate web browsing with name & address”
    • Severe flaw in WPA2 protocol leaves Wi-Fi traffic open to eavesdropping

      An air of unease set into the security circles on Sunday as they prepared for the disclosure of high-severity vulnerabilities in the Wi-Fi Protected Access II protocol that make it possible for attackers to eavesdrop Wi-Fi traffic passing between computers and access points.

    • WiFi Security Is Borked – We’re All Screwed… Maybe

      KRACK – or the Key Reinstallation AttaCK – looks like the new infosec word we all need to know. According to the authors of a paper that will be presented at conference in a couple of weeks, Mathy Vanhoef of KU Leuven and Frank Piessens say they have found a way to circumvent WPA2 security – one of the key tools used for protecting wireless networks. If KRACk proves to be true, all bets are off when it comes to stopping eavesdroppers from listening in to your wireless network.

    • Your Wifi router could be hiding a scary vulnerability

      Anybody that has a WiFi router might want to be sure to have their login details close at hand throughout the course of today.

      That’s because later today security researcher Mathy Vanhoef will reveal a potentially disastrous vulnerability in the WPA2 protocol.

      The Wifi Protected Access protocol appears to have been cracked by Vanhoef according to Gizmodo which took a look at the source code of the researcher’s website Krack Attacks and found this throw forward.

    • Wi-Fi WPA2 encryption possibly cracked

      Just to add on to your Monday morning blues, WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access Version 2) which is the de-facto encryption method used by the majority of Wi-Fi routers is rumored to have been cracked.

    • Researchers Reveal Critical KRACK Flaws in WPA WiFi Security

      The WPA2 protocol which is widely used to secure WiFi traffic is at risk from multiple vulnerabilities, collectively referred to as “KRACK Attacks” that were publicly disclosed on Oct. 16

      “Attackers can use this novel attack technique to read information that was previously assumed to be safely encrypted,” the vulnerability disclosure warns.”The attack works against all modern protected Wi-Fi networks.”

      KRACK is an acronym for Key Reinstallation Attacks, which were discovered by security research Mathy Vanhoef and Frank Piessens working at Belgian University KU Leuven. The researchers have disclosed the details of the KRACK attack in a research paper and plan on discussing it further in talks at the Computer and Communications Security (CCS) and Black Hat Europe conferences later this year.

    • The World Once Laughed at North Korean Cyberpower. No More.
  • Defence/Aggression

    • When Cities Fall

      Recovery, as in other parts of formerly IS-held cities, appears a near impossibility. All the military and political plans aimed at driving Islamic State out seem to take little account of the aftermath.

    • Trump’s North Korea Delusions

      A combination of ignorance and rashness is making President Trump a particularly dangerous leader as he crashes ahead with a possible preemptive war on North Korea, writes Jonathan Marshall.

    • How Trump’s Iran Decision Invites War

      By decertifying the Iran-nuke deal, President Trump opts for another Mideast war of choice, but war on Iran is really the choice of Israel and Saudi Arabia wanting the U.S. to do the killing and dying, as Trita Parsi explains.

    • Police investigate blast in Malmö apartment block

      A large explosion caused severe damage to an apartment building in the southern Swedish city of Malmö early on Friday morning, which police believe was caused by dynamite.
      “It’s lucky that no one was in the area because it clearly would have been fatal,” said regional police officer Hans Nilsson.

    • Marseille attack: Two young women stabbed to death
    • West Papua petition: Australia made a human rights promise that’s about to be tested

      Many Australians wouldn’t think twice about putting their name to a petition to support a cause close to their hearts, but in Indonesia’s Papuan provinces, where free speech is routinely and severely curtailed, “acts of treason” such as supporting calls for independence can land you in jail for 15 years.

      So it is truly remarkable that 1.8 million Papuans (about 70 per cent of the population) have signed a petition — specifically banned by the Indonesian Government — calling on the United Nations to conduct a free vote about independence.

    • Rockin’ for West Papua Peace Concerts held around the world!

      Free West Papua music and the West Papuan flag are outlawed by the Indonesian government in occupied West Papua but Rockin’ For West Papua; organised by the Free West Papua Campaign and the music collaborative Rize Of The Morning Star brought people together from across the world to play Free West Papua music and raise the West Papuan flag!

    • ‘Soldier of Allah’ avoids terror charge due to Facebook settings

      However, he could not be charged under the Terrorism Act because his profile was set to private, meaning he was jailed for just 18 weeks.

    • Ex-Taliban hostage says group killed infant daughter, raped wife
    • From estate agent to IS recruiter: How woman became ‘different person’ & kidnapped her son
    • Migrant Crisis: As Rule of Law Crumbles, Denmark Deploys Army, Depleting its Capacity to Fulfill NATO Obligations

      Skyrocketing terror and crime following increased numbers of migrants and refugees from Islamic countries has seriously depleted police resources. Yet another EU country will see a decrease in its ability to fulfill international military obligations as a result of domestic instability.

    • Death toll rises to 276 in Somalia truck bomb attack

      The death toll from the single deadliest attack in Somalia’s history rose to 276 Sunday as emergency workers feverishly dug through the rubble of a Mogadishu bomb blast that collapsed buildings and set nearby cars ablaze.

      About 300 people were injured when the truck explosion rocked a crowded shopping district Saturday. On Sunday, Mayor Tabid Abdi Mohamed issued a plea for residents and businesses that owned earth-moving equipment to bring it to the blast site to help the desperate search for survivors — and bodies.

    • Union rep for hero Las Vegas security guard addresses ‘highly unusual’ disappearance

      The Mandalay Bay security guard shot in the moments leading up to the Las Vegas massacre checked into a “quick clinic” instead of appearing in a series of previously scheduled interviews, but his union representative does not know his exact condition or location.

    • Macron: ‘I told Trump not to tear up Iran deal’

      French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday he told U.S. President Donald Trump not to tear up a nuclear arms deal with Iran, as doing so could lead to a similar standoff as the one with North Korea.

      “What I told him was not to tear up the deal,” Macron told TF1 and LCI in his first live TV interview since taking office. “After that I told him, let’s have a demanding dialogue, let’s continue to conduct checks, but let’s be much more demanding with Iran on its ballistic activity.”

    • Trump Ignores Israeli/Saudi Abuses

      By offering a propagandistic tirade on Iran’s role in the Mideast – a classic neocon screed – President Trump has demonstrated his inability to bring any fresh or honest thinking to the regional crises, as Kathy Kelly explains.

      Mordechai Vanunu was imprisoned in Israel for 18 years because he blew the whistle on Israel’s secret nuclear weapons program. He felt he had “an obligation to tell the people of Israel what was going on behind their backs” at a supposed nuclear research facility which was actually producing plutonium for nuclear weapons. His punishment for breaking the silence about Israel’s capacity to manufacture nuclear weapons included 11 years of solitary confinement.

      [...]

      Vanunu, designated by Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg as the “the pre-eminent hero of the nuclear era,” helped many people envision nations in the region making progress toward a nuclear weapons-free Middle East.

      In fact, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jawad Zarif, spoke eloquently about just that possibility, in 2015, holding that “if the Vienna deal is to mean anything, the whole of the Middle East must rid itself of weapons of mass destruction.”

    • Jeremy Corbyn’s minister for peace calls for arms embargo on Yemen coalition

      A Labour government would ban exports of British-made weapons to all members of the Saudi-led bombing campaign against Yemen, Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow minister for peace has told Middle East Eye.

      “We should not be selling weapons to any state that uses, or could potentially use, weapons we supply for internal repression or for foreign wars,” said Fabian Hamilton MP in his first major interview since he was appointed shadow minister for peace and the Middle East last year.

      Hamilton said that the Labour leader’s recent calls to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia over its bombardment of Yemen would be widened to include all nations involved in the bloody conflict.

    • Why North Korea Wants Nuke Deterrence

      In September 2016, North Korean cyber-defense forces hacked into South Korean military computers and downloaded 235 gigabytes of documents. The BBC has revealed that the documents included detailed U.S. plans to assassinate North Korea’s president, Kim Jong Un, and launch an all-out war on North Korea. The BBC’s main source for this story is Rhee Cheol-Hee, a member of the Defense Committee of the South Korean National Assembly.

      These plans for aggressive war have actually been long in the making. In 2003, the U.S. scrapped an agreement signed in 1994 under which North Korea suspended its nuclear program and the U.S. agreed to build two light water reactors in North Korea. The two countries also agreed to a step-by-step normalization of relations. Even after the U.S. scrapped the 1994 Agreed Framework in 2003, North Korea did not restart work on the two reactors frozen under that agreement, which could by now be producing enough plutonium to make several nuclear weapons every year.

    • History Blinded by Anti Socialism: Ken Burns’ Vietnam

      It’s not surprising that an Americana-obsessed filmmaker botched a history of the Vietnam War. National pride doesn’t mesh with the Empire’s lost war. And though Ken Burns’ Vietnam is worth the watch for its footage alone, Vietnam war experts such as John Pilger and Nick Turse have offered blistering critiques that, when combined, allow for accusations of “whitewash” to be levied against the film.

      Why does Burns make such glaring mistakes of analysis? He did his best to be objective, but ultimately Burns made yet another film “about America” for an American audience, which colors the entire film in red, white and blue. But there’s also a deeper bias that further distorts the history he’s trying to tell.

    • Profiting from America’s Longest War: Trump Seeks to Exploit Mineral Wealth of Afghanistan

      In an effort to justify the continued and expanded presence of US troops in the country, President Trump is seeking a plan to have US companies extract minerals from resource-rich Afghanistan. (Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/cc)

      October 7th marked sixteen years since the start of the US War in Afghanistan – America’s longest war. In an effort to justify the continued and expanded presence of US troops in the country, President Trump is seeking a plan to have US companies extract minerals from resource-rich Afghanistan.

      Afghanistan’s deposits of iron, copper, zinc, gold, silver, lithium and other rare-earth metals are estimated to be worth roughly $1 trillion, a price tag which has intrigued the business mogul-turned-President Trump.

      Afghan President Ashraf Ghani brought up the matter in one of his first conversations with Trump, suggesting it would be a great opportunity for US businesses.

    • EU vows to save Iran deal, fears for North Korea mediation

      The European Union vowed on Monday to defend a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and urged U.S. lawmakers not to reimpose sanctions after President Donald Trump chose not to certify Tehran’s compliance with the accord.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Talvivaara: Finland’s biggest environmental crime case returns to court [iophk: "actually Europe's biggest case. more such cases probably on the way in coming years given the huge burst of mining activity by foreign firms."]

      Under scrutiny in the trial are the construction and use of Talvivaara’s gypsum waste pond, alleged scheduled and uncontrolled dumping of effluents into nature, as well as issues surrounding the handling and placement of the mine’s various waste components.

    • The defenders: recording the deaths of environmental defenders around the world

      This year, in collaboration with Global Witness, the Guardian will attempt to record the deaths of all these people, whether they be wildlife rangers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or indigenous land rights activists in Brazil. At this current rate, chances are that four environmental defenders will be killed this week somewhere on the planet.

    • Catholic church to make record divestment from fossil fuels

      More than 40 Catholic institutions are to announce the largest ever faith-based divestment from fossil fuels, on the anniversary of the death of St Francis of Assisi.

    • A Final Fight for the Keystone Pipeline

      Kleeb is already organizing for an intensified struggle in the event that the Keystone XL survives the PSC’s decision. “We have two years of eminent-domain lawsuits” mixed with direct action and civil disobedience of the type seen at Standing Rock, she says. It is all part of Bold’s larger legacy: a new environmentalism, galvanized by a lack of access to clean water in ever more places, that has taken root in rural America. In 2014, Art got “so pissed off at TransCanada” that he installed an array of solar panels by his barn – “It’s the only crop I made money on last year,” he says – and now rolls to the town coffee shop in a Chevy Volt. “It’s good,” Helen says, “to feel like part of the solution.” If the bulldozers come, they say, TransCanada will meet massive resistance. “Money’s nice, but it’s not important,” Art tells me. “If one of your grandchildren drinks a drop of benzene, that’s important. If our grandchildren decide not to have children because they’re worried about the planet they’ll grow up on, that’s important.”

    • The Sioux Lost a Key Battle in Their Struggle Against the DAPL

      A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) may continue to operate, keeping the oil flowing while the government completes a court-ordered environmental review.

    • MLPs: Careful What You Wish For

      The Dakota Access Pipeline is cannibalizing other pipelines, creating new winners and losers in the Bakken Region, says AB Bernstein.

    • The Grain That Tastes Like Wheat, but Grows Like a Prairie Grass

      For 12,000 years, human agriculture has cultivated grains that are replanted every year, at enormous environmental cost. Kernza represents a new way forward.

    • Why Rick Perry’s proposed subsidies for coal fail Economics 101

      In a controversial proposal, Energy Secretary Rick Perry has asked federal regulators to effectively subsidize coal and nuclear power plants at ratepayers’ expense. Under Perry’s proposal, plants that operate in deregulated electricity markets – where generators normally compete to provide power at the lowest cost – would be guaranteed positive profits so long as they stockpile 90 days’ worth of fuel on site.

      To rationalize this proposal, which a former Republican member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has dubbed “the antithesis of good economics,” Secretary Perry points to uncompensated benefits generated by coal and nuclear plants.

      As energy economists, when we think about coal-fired electricity generation, what usually comes to mind are unaccounted-for costs – not benefits. This emerging pro-coal narrative is worth unpacking.

  • Finance

    • British MPs want to force Theresa May to sign soft Brexit deal

      A cross-party group of British lawmakers is trying to make it impossible for Prime Minister Theresa May to withdraw from the EU without soft transition and trade deals, the Guardian reported.

      The group, which includes several former Tory and Labour ministers and other prominent parliamentarians, wants to write a transition deal — including acceptance of EU rules — into the U.K.’s withdrawal bill. If such a transition does not happen, one tabled amendment to the bill says, Britain should not be allowed to leave the EU.

    • Britain’s missing billions: Revised figures reveal UK is £490bn poorer than previously thought

      Global banks and international bond strategists have been left stunned by revised ONS figures showing that Britain is £490bn poorer than had been ­assumed and no longer has any reserve of net foreign assets, depriving the country of its safety margin as Brexit talks reach a crucial juncture.

      A massive write-down in the UK balance of payments data shows that Britain’s stock of wealth – the net international investment position – has collapsed from a surplus of £469bn to a net deficit of £22bn. This transforms the outlook for sterling and the gilts markets.

    • Beloved local restauranteur can’t sell coffee or tea because Starbucks strongarmed the landlord

      But when they applied for a liquor license, they revealed a curious circumstance: the Arepa Lady wanted a license to sell beer, wine and spirits because their landlords wouldn’t let them sell coffee.

      That’s because their landlord has also rented a storefront to a Starbucks cafe, and Starbucks insisted on a clause in their lease that banned the landlord from renting to anyone who competed with them to sell coffee or tea.

    • Tories to give private firms like G4S and Serco POWERS TO ARREST people in shocking 290m privatisation deal

      That’s right, Serco and G4S – the same two companies who were stripped of contracts for tagging prisoners because a Serious Fraud Office investigation revealed they were charging for tagging people who didn’t exist – are going to be trusted with the handcuffs by the Tory government.

    • China’s 1 percenters are now worth as much as the GDP of the United Kingdom

      China’s latest rich-list of 2,030 people controlling fortunes of $300M or more now totals $2.6 trillion, as much as the UK GDP.

    • I’m a working class woman. The British Dream is unachievable for me

      Let’s assume it means owning your own home, progressing well in your chosen career and feeling financially comfortable – and that all of this is achievable no matter what your background. If that’s the case, as a working class woman, nothing about the ‘British Dream’ feels achievable for me.

    • Detroit evictions: Crackdown could worsen issues

      “It got pretty bad,” Garner said. “The investors would belly up the money to do a rehab on a property. We’d go in and put new cabinets in, carpet, paint and show up the next day to finish up a project, and someone would have broken into the property and steal everything out, including the carpet, toilet and cabinets. We’d be starting all over again.”