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Links 14/11/2017: GNU/Linux at Samsung, Firefox 57 Quantum

Posted in News Roundup at 1:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Munich council: To hell with Linux, we’re going full Windows in 2020

      Hübner said “no final decision has yet been made” on whether LibreOffice will be swapped out for Microsoft Office. “That will be decided at the end of next year when the full cost of such a move will be known.”

      Peter Ganten, CEO of Univention in Bremen and a member of the Open Source Business Alliance, told El Reg: “The council of the city of Munich has just executed a decision which they have made long before.”

      Not all agree that it is a good decision.

      Ganten said “of course nobody in the open-source community is happy that this decision has been made” and the city will spend “decades of man power” and “millions of euros” on migration (as it did with the LiMux project) while client OSes “becomes more and more unimportant and other organisations are wisely spending their money for platform neutral applications.”

      Matthias Kirschner, president of Free Software Foundation Europe in Berlin, said “there were never any studies” pinpointing what people were “unhappy” about. It might have been the LiMux client itself, or perhaps the migration process or lack of support.

      He said he was also not aware of a comparison of the unhappiness of staffers in cities using Windows.

    • Samsung Linux on Galaxy might run full, graphical Linux desktops

      Samsung sometimes tries to be too much like Google and engages in moonshot projects that are often abandoned quickly. So when it launched its new DeX “phone as a desktop” platform, it was natural for some people to wonder how long it would last. At least, for now, it seems that Samsung is investing a sizeable amount of resources to expand its coverage, like its upcoming Linux on Galaxy feature. Samsung just posted a concept video hinting that it could be more than what others have been able to do.

    • Watch: Ubuntu Linux Running on Galaxy S8 with Samsung DeX – Concept Demo

      Samsung recently published a new video on its YouTube channel demoing the recently launched “Linux on Galaxy” concept it introduced last month for Galaxy S8, S8+, and Note8 smartphones.

      Promising to bring the full Linux PC experience to your mobile device, the “Linux on Galaxy” concept relies on the Samsung DeX dock station, which transforms a Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+, or Note8 smartphone into a full-fledged desktop or workstation if you attach a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

      Basically, Samsung DeX offers convergence for your Galaxy smartphone, something that Canonical wanted to create with its Ubuntu Linux operating system and the Unity 8 user interface that it’s no longer under development. And now, Samsung wants to give you the full Linux PC experience on your smartphone.

    • Samsung Demos Ubuntu Running on a Galaxy Smartphone

      Samsung has shared a video of its ‘Linux on Galaxy’ app that lets developers run full desktop Linux distributions on select Galaxy smartphones.

    • Samsung cuts Windows from the loop, shows Ubuntu Linux running on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8

      Now Samsung has uploaded a concept video of what they want Linux on Galaxy to be like when it matures, allowing the sophisticated development of Android apps on an Android phone itself (and cutting Windows and MacOS completely out of the loop.)

    • Split Screen is Coming to Google’s Pixelbook Chromebook, Here’s a Sneak Peek

      Good news for PixelBook owners today as Chromium evangelist at Google François Beaufort informs the community via his Google+ page that split screen support is coming to the Chromebook Pixel.

      In an attempt to improve the multitasking capabilities of Chromebooks, Google implemented split screen support in the latest Chrome OS Dev channel via a new flag called “Split view in Tablet mode,” which can be enabled only on the Google Pixelbook.

  • Server

    • Cray Helps Propels ARM processors into HPC

      Today Cray announced that the Company is adding of Cavium ThunderX2 Arm processors to the Cray XC50 line of supercomputers. Cray customers will have a complete Arm-based supercomputer that features a full software environment, including the Cray Linux Environment, the Cray Programming Environment, and Arm-optimized compilers, libraries, and tools for running today’s supercomputing workloads.

    • Cray ARMs Highest End Supercomputer with ThunderX2

      Just this time last year, the projection was that by 2020, ARM processors would be chewing on twenty percent of HPC workloads. In that short span of time, the grain of salt many took with that figure has dropped with the addition of some very attractive options for supercomputing from ARM hardware makers.

    • Cray Catapults Arm-Based Processors Into SupercomputingCray Adds Arm Processors with Complete Software Stack to the Cray XC50 Supercomputer
    • How enterprise IT uses Kubernetes to tame container complexity

      Running a few standalone containers for development purposes won’t rob your IT team of time or patience: A standards-based container runtime by itself will do the job. But once you scale to a production environment and multiple applications spanning many containers, it’s clear that you need a way to coordinate those containers to deliver the individual services. As containers accumulate, complexity grows. Eventually, you need to take a step back and group containers along with the coordinated services they need, such as networking, security, and telemetry.

      That’s why technologies like the open source Kubernetes project are such a big part of the container scene.

    • ARM emulator in a VM? Yup, done. Ready to roll, no config required

      Hacking low-level code on ARM processors just became a little easier after a researcher who operates under the name Azeria Labs put together virtual machines that emulate common hardware.

    • China Pulls Ahead of U.S. in Latest TOP500 List

      The fiftieth TOP500 list of the fastest supercomputers in the world has China overtaking the US in the total number of ranked systems by a margin of 202 to 143. It is the largest number of supercomputers China has ever claimed on the TOP500 ranking, with the US presence shrinking to its lowest level since the list’s inception 25 years ago.

    • AMD Rolls Out ROCm 1.7 Platform For Supercomputing 17

      AMD has unveiled the Radeon Open Compute platform (ROCm) 1.7 release as part of their wares at this week’s Supercomputing 17 (SC17) conference in Denver.

      The ROCm 1.7 update introduces multi-GPU support for “the latest Radeon GPU hardware” (presumably referring to Vega) while also supporting TensorFlow and Caffe via AMD’s MIOpen libraries.

  • Kernel Space

    • EXT4 In Linux 4.15 Gets Online Resizing When Using Bigalloc, Corruption Fixes

      Ted Ts’o was quick to send in the EXT4 file-system and fscrypt file-system encryption framework changes for the just-opened Linux 4.15 merge window.

      On the fscrypt front, it’s mostly just a random assortment of bug fixes.

      With the EXT4 changes, they are a bit more exciting. First up is support for online resizing of EXT4 file-systems when using bigalloc. EXT4 has long supported online resizing but this is for where “EXT4_FEATURE_RO_COMPAT_BIGALLOC” has been enabled while the existing EXT4 resize interfaces remain in shape for 4.15. For those unfamiliar with the bigalloc mode, the EXT4 documentation explains, “The bigalloc feature changes ext4 to use clustered allocation, so that each bit in the ext4 block allocation bitmap addresses a power of two number of blocks. For example, if the file system is mainly going to be storing large files in the 4-32 megabyte range, it might make sense to set a cluster size of 1 megabyte. This means that each bit in the block allocation bitmap now addresses 256 4k blocks.”

    • Linux Kernel 4.14 LTS Released: Check Out The New And Best Features

      Last month, in September, Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman confirmed on his blog Linux kernel 4.14 as the next LTS kernel, which will be supported for at least two years; this number has recently been increased to six years. As a result, the development cycle of Linux 4.14 got a week longer than usual and we witnessed eight Release Candidates.

    • GNU Linux-Libre 4.14 Kernel Officially Released for Those Seeking 100% Freedom

      GNU Linux-libre 4.14 kernel is now available for download borrowing all the features incorporated in the recently released Linux 4.14 kernel, but without incorporating any proprietary drivers. Besides the usual deblobbing, this release also comes without the firmware subtree, which was removed upstream.

      “The biggest change in this release is that the firmware subtree was removed upstream (thus the codename -ENOFIRMWARE), removing from the Linux kernel distribution a few pieces of Free firmware, and a number of non-Free ones. Alas, there are still a few pieces of non Free firmware remaining in Linux 4.14,” said Alexandre Oliva.

    • GNU Linux-libre 4.14-gnu Released, Still A Battle Deblobbing Driver Firmware

      The Free Software Foundation Latin America team are once again punctual in delivering their updated GNU Linux-libre kernel.

      Just hours after Linus Torvalds released Linux 4.14, the libre downstream released GNU Linux-libre 4.14-gnu. This kernel remains focused on removing code dependent upon binary-only/non-free firmware, including drivers needing such support, if they can’t run without any firmware blobs nor any free software alternative, they are stripped from this tree. The libre kernel also prevents loading of non-free drivers.

    • GNU Linux-libre 4.14-gnu: -ENOFIRMWARE is now available
    • LTS Linux Kernel 4.14: No Regressions

      Linus Torvalds released version 4.14 of the Linux kernel on Sunday, Nov. 12 — which was a week later than expected. The delay was due to some reverts that would have made the projected Nov. 5 release too early.

      One of the unsettling reverts was regarding an AppArmor patch that was causing a regression, a big no-no according to Torvalds, who stated the first rule of Linux kernel development: “we don’t cause regressions.” After some back and forth, Linus reverted the offending commit himself and the problem was temporarily solved.

      And now the new kernel is here: Linux 4.14 is the 2017 Long-Term Stable (LTS) release of the kernel and will be supported for about two years. Greg Kroah-Hartman made the announcement in his blog and added that he would be supporting 4.14 with stable kernel patch backports “unless it is a horrid release,” which, despite the delaying issues, doesn’t seem to be the case.

    • The new long-term Linux kernel, Linux 4.14, has arrived

      Linus Torvalds quietly released the latest Linux 4.14 kernel on Nov. 12. It won’t be a quiet release, though. The Linux developers had previously announced that 4.14 would be Linux’s next long-term support (LTS) version of the Linux kernel. That’s important because Linux LTS version now has a six-year life span.

      That changes everything for Linux device developers. As Google senior staff engineer Iliyan Malchev recently said, “All Android devices [...] are based of the LTS kernel. The problem with LTS is it’s only two years. And so, by the time the first devices on a SoC [System on a Chip] hit the market, you have maybe a year, if you’re lucky, of LTS support. And, if you’re not, it’s over.” Now, Internet of Things (IoT), smartphone, and embedded Linux device developers can build gear knowing that it’s operating system will be supported until 2023.

    • Linux Kernel 4.14 Announced, Adds Support for AMD Secure Memory Encryption and More

      Linux, the best-known and most-used open source operating system, got a major upgrade on Sunday. Linus Torvalds announced the latest version of the Linux kernel, version 4.14, and the many new features and tweaks packed inside it.

      One involves reverting code that improved the accuracy of the displayed CPU frequency on modern, dynamically-clocked processors in /proc/cpuinfo. It worked as intended in most cases, but there were lingering issues with overhead on machines with tens or hundreds of CPU cores. There’s a plan to bring the feature back, but not anytime soon.

      Another change is AMD Secure Memory Encryption, an optional feature that can be used to protect the contents of DRAM from physical attacks on the system, and a new “unwinder” which prints the list of functions (i.e.. stack trace, callgraph, call stack) that have been executed before reaching a determinate point of the code. Linux already had an unwinder, but it wasn’t as efficient as ORC unwinder, which doesn’t need to insert code anywhere and so doesn’t affect text size or runtime performance.

    • Nine Collabora Developers Have Contributed 46 Patches to the Linux 4.14 Kernel

      Collabora’s Mark Filion informs Softpedia today on the contributions made by the Collabora developers to the recently released Linux 4.14 kernel series.

      Linux kernel 4.14 is the newest long-term supported (LTS) kernel series, bringing exciting new features like support for AMD Secure Memory Encryption, bigger memory limits, Heterogeneous Memory Management to support upcoming GPUs, faster TBL flushing, asynchronous non-blocking buffered reads, and much more.

    • Collabora & Linux Kernel 4.14

      Linus Torvalds has released Linux 4.14, so it’s time to take a look at the Collaborans’ contributions to this release. On total, we had 9 developers who authored 46 patches all around the kernel. In addition, 7 Collaborans contributed their time to review and test 40 patches. Finally, over a hundred patches found their way to Linus tree via our team, who provided over 108 non-author sign-offs during this development cycle.

      Taking a deeper look at the contributions, Sebastian Reichel continued on his role as the Power Supply maintainer. Aside from several improvements for the da9052 PMIC driver, he added a driver for PWM controllable vibrators, which will be used by the Motorola Droid 4. Romain Perier, who recently left Collabora, touched several users of the PCI DMA Pool wrappers, which is currently deprecated, and updated them to use the DMA Pool API directly, making it one step closer to complete his proposal to remove the pci_poll_*() macros.

    • AMD EPYC SEV, Intel UMIP & More AVX-512 Support Heading To Linux 4.15
    • AFS File-System Driver Overhauled For Linux 4.15
    • USB Type-C Port Manager Promoted Out Of Staging For Linux 4.15
    • Intel SGX Driver Updated But Likely Too Late For Linux 4.15
    • Btrfs For Linux 4.15 Picks Up Compression Improvements, Continued Optimizations
    • Linux 4.14 Release Provides Long Term Support and Larger Memory Limits

      Linus Torvalds officially released the Linux 4.14 kernel on Nov. 12, providing users of the open-source operating system with new features and long term support. Linux 4.14 is a special release in that it has been designated as an LTS (Long Term Support) meaning that it will be maintained for at least the next two years.

      Linux 4.14 is the fifth new major Linux kernel release in 2017, following the Linux 4.13 kernel that debuted on Sept. 3.

      “Go out and test the new 4.14 release, that is slated to be the next LTS kernel – and start sending me pull request for the 4.15 merge window,” Torvalds wrote in his release announcement.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Cloud Native Computing Foundation Launches Certified Kubernetes Program with 32 Conformant Distributions and Platforms
      • Cloud Native launches Certified Kubernetes program

        Open source software organization Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) announced the launch of the Kubernetes Software Conformance Certification program alongside an announcement of the first 36 approved distributions and platforms, including companies like Google and Alibaba Cloud. The foundation aims for the program to ensure portability and consistency across Kubernetes vendors.

      • IBM, Google, Microsoft, and 33 more partner to ensure Kubernetes workload portability
      • 36 companies agree to a Kubernetes certification standard

        The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) announced today that 36 members have agreed to a set of certification standards for Kubernetes, the immensely popular open source container orchestration tool. This should make it easy for users to move from one version to another without worry, while ensuring that containers under Kubernetes management will behave in a predictable way.

        The group of 36 is agreeing to a base set of APIs that have to underly any version of Kubernetes a member creates to guarantee portability. Dan Kohn, executive director at CNCF, says that they took a subset of existing Kubernetes project APIs, which are treated as a conformance test that the members who have signed on, are guaranteeing to support. In practice this means that when you spin up a new container, regardless of who creates the version of Kubernetes, it will behave in a consistent way, he said.

      • OCI Update: v1.0.1 Release and New Maintainer

        The OCI community continues to be hard at work, having just issued the first update to OCI v.1.0, after five months of focusing on stability. OCI 1.0.1 contains updates to both the image format and runtime specifications.

        We’re still growing and expanding, with even more collaboration since the launch of v 1.0. For example, we are now up to over 5,000 commits from 184 authors across 42 different organizations. Organizations like AWS, Docker, Cloud Foundry, CoreOS, Intel, Mesosphere, Oracle, Red Hat and Kubernetes have already taken advantage of the OCI v1.0 specifications, and with v1.0.1 now available, the industry is on the precipice of true portability and standardization. We had a strong showing on site at recent industry events, at both DockerCon Europe in Copenhagen and Open Source Summit Europe in Prague.

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Btrfs Zstd Compression Benchmarks On Linux 4.14

        Of the many new features in Linux 4.14, one of the prominent additions is initial support for Zstd compression that is initially wired in for transparent file-system compression with SquashFS and Btrfs. Here are some benchmarks of Zstd Btrfs compression compared to the existing LZO and Zlib compression mount options.

  • Applications

    • 3 open source alternatives to AutoCAD

      CAD—computer-aided design or computer-aided drafting, depending on who you ask—is technology created to make it easier to create specifications for real-world objects. Whether the object you’re building is a house, car, bridge, or spaceship, chances are it got its start in a CAD program of one type or another.

      Among the best-known CAD programs is AutoDesk’s AutoCAD, but there are many others, proprietary or open source, out there. So how do the open source alternatives to AutoCAD stack up? The answer depends on how you plan to use them.

    • Cryptr – A Simple CLI Utility To Encrypt And Decrypt Files

      Looking for a quick, easy, and secure method to protect your files? Well, there is a simple shell utility called “Cryptr” that helps you to encrypt and decrypt files. All from command line, and you don’t need to be a security ninja or Linux expert to learn how to secure your data. Cryptr uses OpenSSL AES-256 cipher block chaining method to encrypt files. It is free to use and is licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0.

    • Cli.Fyi – Quick And Easy Way To Fetch Information About IPs, Emails, Domains And Lots More

      A while ago, we discussed about Bash-Snippets – a collection of useful BASH scripts for heavy commandline users. Today, we will see a similar utility called “Cli.Fyi”. It is a command line query tool to fetch information about IPs, Emails, Domains, Crypto currencies, media/url, UTC date/time, country and programming language etc. You can fetch all these details either from commandline or browser. Unlike Bash-Snippets, it is not a collection of individual scripts but a single utility. It has some additional features that are not included in Bash-snippets.

    • ProtonMail: An Open Source Privacy-Focused Alternative to Gmail

      Have a look at ProtonMail, a secure, privacy-focused email provider that you can use as an alternative to Gmail.

    • Papis – A Command-line Based Document And Bibliography Manager

      A while ago, we wrote about Mendeley – an academic social network for researchers and educators. Using Mendeley, the researchers, lecturers, educators and librarians can connect with each other, share data, discuss ideas about their research, follow inspirational researchers around the world, collaborate and lots more. Today, we are going to discuss yet another useful tool for research scholars. Meet Papis, a powerful and highly extensible command-line based document and bibliography manager. Unlike Mendeley, Papis is not just for a particular research community but for every one who wants to manage their documents easily and effectively. Also, you can retain the full ownership to your data, because all data will be stored in your local drive.

    • Linux Audiobook Player ‘Cozy’ Adds Sleep Timer, m4a Support

      Cozy, the open-source audiobook player for Linux desktop, has a new version out. The app adds a sleep timer and improves the interface.

    • OpenShot 2.4.1 Released with Various Improvements

      A new version of the OpenShot video editor is available to download.

      OpenShot 2.4.1 follows a stability-focused release of the non-linear editor made back in September.

      Among the big changes OpenShot 2.4.1 features is improved image quality. You should now see sharper images in the preview window when editing thanks to an “improved image processing pipeline”.

      There’s also improved playback smoothness when working with high frame-rate videos at 50fps, 60fps, and 120fps.

    • Proprietary

      • NeuVector 1.3 Boosts Container Security with Improved Threat Detection

        Security startup NeuVector announced version 1.3 of its container security platform on Nov.13, providing advanced capabilities to help organizations detect threats that can be hidden in container workloads.

        NeuVector’s platform provides a container firewall that can filter application layer traffic to help identify anomalous behavior and traffic. Among the new features in the NeuVector 1.3 release, is the ability to get visibility into tunnelled traffic, as well as advanced privilege escalation detection capabilities. NeuVector is also expanding its portfolio with an enhanced enterprise edition that provides additional capabilities.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • VP’s ARMA 3 1.76 beta now out, compatible with Windows for now

        As stated by Bohemia Interactive themselves, this means the game is at least temporarily compatible with the Windows version when it comes to multiplayer. However, there are no guarantees that the Linux port will remain in sync with the Windows version when the game next updates

      • We Are Likely To See More Vulkan Driver Fixes From Feral

        Feral developer Alex Smith is requesting commit rights to the Mesa code-base.

        Alex Smith is the developer at the Linux/macOS game porting company Feral Interactive who previously worked on AMD_shader_info for RADV, various Vulkan driver bug fixes, and other RADV updates as well as some minor work too for the Intel ANV driver.

      • My top Tower Defence games for Linux

        I love tower defence games. My fascination with them started with the Android game Sentinel 3 somewhere around 2010, then consolidated with Robo Defence a year later. Things quickly escalated when I moved to Linux exclusively in 2013. Sure, I also love FPS games, but disappointments in that genre have been more than made up for by the abundance of TD games available with Linux support. So I thought I’d give you all a list of some of the best titles out there, some honourable mentions, and outline a few of the titles I’ve yet to try in the hope that you’ll tell me why I should!

      • Askutron Quiz Show released into Early access, some quick thoughts
      • Space Wars: Interstellar Empires will launch into Early Access next month

        If you’re eager to scratch your space MMO itch, you won’t have to wait much longer. You can expect to play this fusion of real-time travel with tactical battles on December 6th.

      • Some thoughts on Trackless, a different sort of first-person adventure game

        Trackless [Official Site] merges first person exploration and puzzles with a strange futuristic world. I put in the time to explore and take in the sights and have a few thoughts to share.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Latte Dock v0.7.2 arrives in KDE and Kubuntu backports PPA

        Latte Dock, the very popular doc/panel app for Plasma Desktop, has released its new bugfix version 0.7.2. This is also the first stable release since Latte Dock became an official KDE project at the end of August.

      • Latte bug fix release v0.7.2

        Latte Dock v0.7.2 has been released containing many important fixes and improvements!

      • Interview with Lars Pontoppidan

        I’d like to thank everyone involved with Krita for making this great open source and free software available to the world. I hope to soon get enough time on my hands to help the project grow.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Shell 4 Proposal Published To Be More Wayland-Focused

        Jonas Adahl of Red Hat has volleyed his initial proposals for how a “future” GNOME Shell could be architected on a page entitled GNOME Shell 4. This GNOME Shell 4 would potentially break compatibility with GNOME Shell 3 extensions while being more designed around Wayland rather than X11.

        GNOME Shell 3 started out as an X11 compositing manager and has then been fitted for Wayland and other modern input/display features on Linux. With GNOME Shell 4, it would be more of a Wayland-first design and perhaps we could see it do away with X11/X.Org support entirely.

        The new GNOME Shell would be better fitted for low-latency input forwarding, low-latency visual input event feedback (namely pointer cursors), low-latency/zero-copy client forwarding, input methods within the shell UI, and eliminating stalls on the main compositor thread during frame redraws.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events/Eduction

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 57 “Quantum” Web Browser Now Available to Download, Here’s What’s New

        The biggest new feature of the Firefox 57.0 “Quantum” web browser is a major visual redesign that was developed by Mozilla as the Photon project and active on the Nightly channel until now. This makes the web browser two times faster than Firefox 49.0, according to Mozilla’s development team.

        “Firefox Quantum is roughly 2X faster than Firefox 49 on the Speedometer 2.0 benchmark, thanks to its new CSS engine, its “just right” multi-process architecture, the way it prioritizes your active tab, and much more,” reads the preliminary release notes for Firefox 57.0 beta.

      • Quantum-ized Firefox 57 Ready For Download

        Firefox 57.0 is being officially released this week and its stable download is now available.

        Firefox 57 is arguably the biggest update ever with pulling in the Project Quantum work, at least the initial pieces of it. Firefox 57/Quantum is twice as fast as Firefox from 2016 with better multi-threading, the Rust-written CSS engine, and other components pulled in from Servo. Mozilla is referring to Firefox 57 as “Firefox Quantum” for branding.

      • WebAssembly support now shipping in all major browsers

        While Mozilla has been preparing to launch Firefox Quantum, its fastest browser yet, some notable developments have happened with WebAssembly, the binary file format (“wasm”) that works with JavaScript to run web applications at near-native speeds.

      • Firefox 57 Brings Better Sandboxing on Linux

        Firefox 57, set to be released tomorrow, will ship with improvements to the browser’s sandbox security feature for Linux users.

        The Firefox sandboxing feature isolates the browser from the operating system in a way to prevent web attacks from using a vulnerability in the browser engine and its legitimate functions to attack the underlying operating system, place malware on the filesystem, or steal local files.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Orange and Red Hat push open source NFVi development

      At the OpenStack Summit 2017, operator Orange has joined forces with equally colourful open-source software vendor Red Hat to promote NFVi innovation.

      Sadly the two companies have missed a trick by declining to name their mutual endeavour Orange Hat, but we mustn’t let that detract from the underlying cleverness. Orange seems to reckon network functions virtualization infrastructure is best done in the open-source environment and Red Hat unsurprisingly agrees.

  • Education

    • Raspberry Pi and MoodleBox make an accessible e-learning platform pair

      Are you a teacher, librarian, or homeschooler who’s looking for a powerful, secure e-learning solution? MoodleBox may be the answer. Its small footprint on a Raspberry Pi makes it an affordable option with the strength and flexibility of Moodle, the de facto standard in open source learning management systems.

      First released in 2002, the Moodle e-learning platform is under continuous development and currently boasts more than 89,000 registered sites worldwide, including colleges, military installations, high schools, and more. It is robust and secure and is guided by a social constructionist pedagogy, according to its website. Moodle’s functionality is supported by numerous plugins, and because it is open source, Moodle has no licensing fees. Typically, Moodle is housed in an on-campus file server or in a public cloud like Moodle.com. If you are new to Moodle, Learn Moodle is a great resource.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • pfSense: Not Linux, Not Bad

      Through the years, I’ve used all sorts of router and firewall solutions at home and at work. For home networks, I usually recommend something like DD-WRT, OpenWRT or Tomato on an off-the-shelf router. For business, my recommendations typically are something like a Ubiquiti router or a router/firewall solution like Untangled or ClearOS. A few years ago, however, a coworker suggested I try pfSense instead of a Linux-based solution. I was hesitant, but I have to admit, pfSense with its BSD core is a rock-solid performer that I’ve used over and over at multiple sites.


    • Eben Moglen is no longer a friend of the free software community

      Eben Moglen has done an amazing amount of work for the free software community, serving on the board of the Free Software Foundation and acting as its general counsel for many years, leading the drafting of GPLv3 and giving many forceful speeches on the importance of free software. However, his recent behaviour demonstrates that he is no longer willing to work with other members of the community, and we should reciprocate that.

      In early 2016, the FSF board became aware that Eben was briefing clients on an interpretation of the GPL that was incompatible with that held by the FSF. He later released this position publicly with little coordination with the FSF, which was used by Canonical to justify their shipping ZFS in a GPL-violating way. He had provided similar advice to Debian, who were confused about the apparent conflict between the FSF’s position and Eben’s.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • “The Revolution of Open Source Science: Calculating Tree Heath

      If a functional value for trees is achieved, trees as natural assets will far exceed the value of an engineered footpath. Those who demonstrate expertise in tree health can contribute to a global initiative to put a premium on world best practice urban forestry. We are on the cusp of providing following generations with an impressive legacy based on scientific environmental baseline knowledge.

    • Croatian Innovator Creates ‘Linux of Music Industry’

      The global music industry has been on the rise for two consecutive years now. Some of the major innovators in this sector, people who are literally shifting paradigms on which the business is based, attended the latest conference on corporate innovations CORP2IN 2017 that took place in Zagreb last Thursday, November 9, 2017.

      While Sofie Lindblom, the former head of innovations at Spotify, spoke about streaming as the innovation that saved the music industry, another professional provided a glimpse into the future of the business. Michela Magaš, a Croatian entrepreneur who was born in Zagreb and is currently living in Sweden, created and launched a platform named #MTFLabs, securing the title of the EU innovator of 2017.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open-source microscope tracks neurons and behaviour

        The simultaneous observation of neuron activity and animal behaviour has long been a goal of the neuroscience community. By revealing correlations between the two, measurements can enable a better understanding of brain function, allow more effective drug testing and inspire advances in neural networks.

  • Programming/Development

    • PHP 7.2 Benchmarks, Performance Of PHP 5.3 To PHP 7.2 On AMD EPYC

      With PHP 7.2 due for release before month’s end and the final release candidate (RC6) already available that in essence is very close to the final build, here are some fresh benchmarks from PHP 5.3 through PHP 7.2 RC6 while using an AMD EPYC Tyan server.

      Back during PHP 7.2′s beta stage I ran some PHP benchmarks and found the performance of this PHP update improving, albeit not as significant as the change from PHP 5 to PHP 7. Now with having PHP 7.2-RC6 that should be almost identical to v7.2.0, I carried out some more benchmarks over the weekend.


  • Security

    • Hackers Can Use Your Antivirus Software To Spread Malware [Ed: Crackers can use just about any proprietary software to spread other (even more malicious) proprietary software]
    • NYT: NSA Spy Units Forced to ‘Start Over’ After Leaks, Hacks
    • Media: homeland security USA “shocked” by the data theft [Ed: "shocked" by impact of its own collusion with Microsoft]
    • Report: NSA Hunts for Moles Amid Crippling Information Leaks

      The National Security Agency has spent more than a year investigating a series of catastrophic breaches and has yet to determine whether it’s fighting foreign hackers or a mole inside the agency, The New York Times reports. At the center of the saga is a mysterious group called the Shadow Brokers, which has been taunting the agency with periodic dumps of secret code online—leaks that employees say are much more damaging to national security than the information leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Some of the stolen code has been used in global malware attacks such as the WannaCry cyberattack, which crippled hospitals and government institutions across the world. Current and former employees have described a mole hunt inside the agency, with some employees reportedly asked to hand over their passports and undergo questioning. Yet investigators still don’t know who the culprits are, be it an insider who stole an entire thumb drive of sensitive code, or a group of Russian hackers—for some, the prime suspects—who managed to breach NSA defenses. “How much longer are the releases going to come?” one former employee was cited as saying. “The agency doesn’t know how to stop it—or even what ‘it’ is.”

    • The Daily Mail whisks up Kaspersky fears – but where’s the meat?

      Make a note. Whenever you see the Daily Mail publish a headline which asks a question, the correct answer is invariably “no”. If they had any reason to believe it was “yes”, then they wouldn’t have posed it as a question.

      The truth is that newspapers post these “Is the Loch Ness Monster on Tinder?”-style headlines because they know they’ll get more clicks than if they use a headline which reflects the actual conclusion of the article.

    • NSA Cyber Weapons Turned Against Them in Hack

      A hack on the National Security Agency, claimed by a group called the “Shadow Brokers,” has caused a chilling effect on agency staffers, as they wonder whether it was a foreign hacker or someone on the inside.

    • Why the cybersecurity industry should care about Open Source maintenance

      In June of this year, Thales eSecurity joined the Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII), a project both founded and managed by The Linux Foundation, with the aim of collaboratively enhancing and strengthening the security and resilience of critical Open Source projects. Many of the world’s largest technology companies already belong to the CII, with Thales being officially recognised as the first global security firm to join the initiative.

    • You Can Easily Beat iPhone X Face ID Using This 3D-Printed Mask

      When it launched the iPhone X, Apple said that the company has worked with professional mask makers and Hollywood makeup artists. It was to make sure their facial recognition tech doesn’t fail when someone attempts to beat it.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Will Texas Massacre Finally Get Military to Improve its Criminal Reporting System?

      Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had an urgent question Monday about Devin Patrick Kelley, the former U.S. Air Force airman who is accused of killing 26 people worshipping at a church service yesterday: How was it that Kelley, convicted of domestic violence and discharged for bad conduct, was still able to get a gun?”

      By late afternoon, Abbott appeared to have his answer: the Air Force said an initial review indicated it had failed to share Kelley’s criminal record with the civilian authorities, and so his conviction was never entered into the federal database used to screen potentially dangerous gun buyers. Federal laws bar felons and those convicted of domestic violence from obtaining guns.

    • Government censorship of safety report on our nuclear weapons sparks anger

      CAMPAIGNERS against nuclear weapons have slammed a government decision to censor safety reports on the Trident missile system.

      The annual reports — which in the past have listed a catalogue of problems, many attributed to cuts and skilled staff shortages — have been reclassified as “secret” by the Ministry of Defence, according to the Sunday Herald newspaper.

      “National security” was given as the reason.

      The 2014 report said the lack of skilled staff was “the principal threat to the delivery of nuclear safety,” a warning also given in earlier reports.

      Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament chairman Arthur West said: “It suggests that there has been a lack of progress on issues which have been raised in previous reports.”

      Fred Dawson, a Ministry of Defence nuclear expert for 31 years until he retired as head of radiation protection policy in 2009, said: “The obvious conclusion to draw is that there is something to hide.”

    • Guantánamo Is Delaying Justice for 9/11 Families
    • U.S. Drones Strike Somalia Amid Increased Troop Presence

      In news from Africa, the U.S. has carried out at least three drone strikes in Somalia since Saturday, in an intensification of the U.S. campaign against the militant group al-Shabab. Some 400 U.S. troops are also now operating in Somalia, quadruple the number from when Donald Trump took office.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • UPS is hoping to convert most of its New York City fleet from diesel to electric

      The NYSERDA will provide $500,000 to help develop the technology, with the hope that the company will have a production version ready for spring 2018, and that by 2022, they will have switched over up to 1,500 trucks, or 66 percent of the fleet operating in the city.

    • Don’t Worry, Europe, Radioactive Cloud Likely From Russian Nuclear Plant Accident Deemed ‘Harmless’

      The radioactive plume—composed of Ruthenium-106—was detected “in the atmosphere of the majority of European countries” beginning late in September, IRSN observed.

      While the detection of Ruthenium initially sparked concerns of food contamination, officials claimed that public health is not at risk.

      “The concentration levels of Ruthenium-106 in the air that have been recorded in Europe and especially in France are of no consequence for human health and for the environment,” the agency concluded in a press release.

    • Terrified bull’s horns are set alight in barbaric ‘sport’ after Boris Johnson opposes ban

      A terrified blazing bull is tortured for the entertainment of baying spectators.

      Two flaming false horns filled his eyes with sparks, his ears with the roar of fire and his airways with smoke.

      Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson last week said a bullfight ban would be “ political correctness gone mad ”.

      But we travelled to this mountain village, 100 miles north-east of Madrid, for the Toro Jubilo – to watch an animal being abused in a 400-year-old tradition said to show the power of the bull.

    • US switches focus of its Bonn event from clean energy to fossil fuels

      The US has changed the focus of one of its few public events at the Bonn climate talks to emphasise coal and nuclear power, in a sign of the Trump administration’s goals at the talks.

      An event next Monday, opening the second week of the ongoing UN negotiations, was originally billed as promoting clean energy. However, it has since been changed to emphasise coal and nuclear power.

      The event was first billed with the title Action on Spurring Innovation and Deploying Advanced Technologies but was subsequently changed.

  • Finance

    • Bitcoin Gold, the latest Bitcoin fork, explained

      A new cryptocurrency called Bitcoin Gold is now live on the Internet. It aims to correct what its backers see as a serious flaw in the design of the original Bitcoin.

      There are hundreds of cryptocurrencies on the Internet, and many of them are derived from Bitcoin in one way or another. But Bitcoin Gold—like Bitcoin Cash, another Bitcoin spinoff that was created in August—is different in two important ways.

      Bitcoin Gold is branding itself as a version of Bitcoin rather than merely new platforms derived from Bitcoin’s source code. It has also chosen to retain Bitcoin’s transaction history, which means that, if you owned bitcoins before the fork, you now own an equal amount of “gold” bitcoins.

    • While Clinching Deals With Communist China, Trump Cracks Down on Trade and Travel to Cuba

      On Wednesday, November 8, just as President Trump was clinching new business deals with the repressive Communist government of China, the Trump administration announced its new rules rolling back President Obama’s opening with Cuba. The new regulations restricting travel and trade with the Caribbean island will make it once again illegal for Americans to travel to Cuba without a special license from the Treasury Department and will dramatically reduce the number of Americans traveling there.

      The regulations, which include a list of 180 banned entities, are supposed to punish hotels, stores and other businesses tied to the Cuban military and instead direct economic activity toward businesses controlled by regular Cuban citizens. But during our visit to the island on a 40-person delegation organized by the peace group CODEPINK, we found that Cuba’s small private businesses, the very sector that the Trump administration wants to encourage, are already feeling the blow.

    • Food prices would soar after no-deal Brexit, warns major dairy boss

      One of the UK’s largest dairy producers has warned that a badly handled Brexit could lead to price hikes for food, and scarcity in the shops from April 2019, with dairy and meat products particularly hit.

      Gabriel D’Arcy, the chief executive of LacPatrick in Strabane in Northern Ireland, complained that ministers were too focused on financial services and were putting the country’s food security and food standards at risk.

      “The impression in the industry is we are not relevant or sufficiently relevant to get a strong hearing in the negotiations. The risk is we are a chip that will be traded. And that might be fine for England and Wales but not here in Northern Ireland,” he said. “Whitehall is fixated with financial services and they are not that bothered about food.”

    • Labour ‘open’ to European Court of Justice keeping influence over UK in long term post-Brexit

      Labour would be willing to sign off on the European Court of Justice (ECJ) keeping at least some of its influence over the UK in the long term post-Brexit, Sir Keir Starmer has said.

      The shadow Brexit secretary said he was “open” to the court having continued jurisdiction over British matters in the future.

      Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has made ending the jurisdiction of the ECJ in Britain a cornerstone of her Brexit plan.

    • Caroline Lucas has listed all of the worst things that Boris Johnson has done

      The Conservative MP and Foreign Secretary found himself in an international mess after making comments about British mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been jailed in Iran.

      Prime Minister Theresa May is now under increasing pressure to sack Johnson for him comments which may double Nazanin’s jail sentence.

      He was also roundly mocked by many in the UK after he poured a tonne of praise on Donald Trump during an interview with FOX and Friend, which is never a good look.

    • Britain once punched above its weight. Now we are irrelevant

      Britain has lost its way and is having an identity crisis, says the New York Times. Just as Dean Acheson’s barb that Britain had lost an empire and not yet found a role hit home in 1962, so did an article last week by Steven Erlanger, the paper’s diplomatic editor and former London bureau chief, claiming no one knows what Britain is any more.

      The article sparked a storm on the twittersphere and hurt rebuttals in the rightwing British press. But the counterattacks missed the point. It is not a question of whether Britain still has some good universities or the gaming industry is doing well. The question is whether Britain still has real influence in the world: and the answer to that is clearly no.

      As Simon Fraser, the former Foreign Office permanent secretary, said in a speech last week: “It is hard to call to mind a major foreign policy matter on which we have had a decisive influence since the referendum.” To put it even more cruelly: we have rendered ourselves irrelevant.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Publishers are wary of Facebook and Google but must work with them

      To critics of the social-media giants, that might look like wolves offering to help the sheep while still feasting on the herd. The business of both Facebook and Alphabet, parent of Google and YouTube, is to occupy people’s time and attention with their free services and content, and to sell ads against those eyeballs. For them, quality journalism is just another hook.

    • Robert Mueller’s Investigation Into Michael Flynn Focuses on $15M Father-Son Kidnapping Scheme

      Though several articles have appeared saying that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has all the information he needs to level indictments against former national security advisor Michael Flynn, those indictments are yet to appear. At least part of the reason for the delay appears to be that Mueller is still investigating other charges, including Flynn’s scheme to grab a cleric sheltering in the United States and hand him over to one of Flynn’s autocratic clients—to be executed.

    • How to Fix the Democratic Party

      First, it is absurd that the Democratic Party now gives over 700 superdelegates—almost one-third the number a presidential candidate needs to win the nomination—the power to control the nominating process and ignore the will of voters.

    • The Trump White House’s Actions Recall the Most Divisive Eras of the American Past

      But last week’s elections show people are waking up to the administration’s threats to liberty and equality.

      One of the most striking, and dispiriting, aspects of the actions and pronouncements coming from the White House over the last year is the way that they seem to echo the most divisive and damaging eras of the country’s history.

      Chief of Staff John Kelly’s recent description of the Civil War as a disagreement that could have been resolved through more compromise was a revisionist attempt to trivialize the enormous injustice of slavery and white supremacy in much the same way as President Trump’s efforts to find equivalencies between Nazi demonstrators and those opposing white supremacy. Kelley’s statement harks back to efforts in the early 20th century to advance a racist agenda by recasting the Civil War. That effort was embodied in the 1915 film “Birth of a Nation,” which portrayed the Ku Klux Klan as gallant warriors in the battle to save the South, and particularly its white women, from rapacious and violent former slaves.

      Then, as now, the White House played a role in promoting this narrative. President Wilson arranged for a screening of the film in the White House — the first time a movie was ever shown there — and gushed about it as “history written in lightning.” Like lightning, the “history” contained in the film was deeply destructive propaganda, helping to solidify a cruel racial hierarchy. Despite attempts by the NAACP and other groups to counter the movie’s effect by picketing, urging boycotts of the film, and even making two films in response, “The Birth of a Race” and “Within Our Gates, their efforts were no match for the discrimination, lynchings, and racial terror that the movie helped unleash.

    • For nearly a year, WikiLeaks was DMing with Donald Trump Jr.

      On Election Day, November 8, 2016, WikiLeaks wrote: “Hi Don if your father ‘loses’ we think it is much more interesting if he DOES NOT conceed [sic] and spends time CHALLENGING the media and other types of rigging that occurred—as he has implied that he might do.”

      Neither WikiLeaks nor Trump Jr.’s attorney, Alan Futerfas, immediately responded to Ars’ request for comment.

    • Conservatives Learn the Wrong Lesson From GOP Defeat in Virginia
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Artist’s ‘sexual’ robin redbreast Christmas cards banned by Facebook

      Founder Mark Zuckerberg was accused by a Norwegian newspaper of “abusing [his] power” in a move that triggered a larger debate about Facebook’s role in the censorship and distribution of news.

    • Wikipedia warns that SESTA will strip away protections vital to its existence

      Secondly, SESTA allows for states to hold sites liable as well, and that the [I]nternet needs a single, national standards to work with, rather than 50 separate standards. This would essentially create a huge burden for small sites and companies: they would need to continually monitor not only federal law, but a myriad of state laws, to ensure that they’re complying with them.

    • Manchester University accused of unprofessionalism and censorship

      A PhD student has accused the university of “censorship” due to facing disciplinary action after taking to social media to complain about an alleged funding withdrawal.

      On Friday 8th October Majid Ahmed posted on university Chancellor Lemn Sissays’ wall describing financial struggles that he faced after receiving a letter that told him he was not eligible for funding he had previously been awarded.


      Majid’s dispute began in 2014. Majid had been awarded a (basic clinical training) fellowship from the British Heart Foundation of 164,000 pounds in April 2014. In September of the same year, Majid was given an unconditional offer to study for his PhD in Medicine.

    • Twitter Flirts with Censorship to Try and Make Things Better

      “The Tweets must flow,” activists declared back in 2011. Their passion was in response to respective governments’ attempts to thwart the burgeoning uprising dubbed the Arab Spring. And Twitter was complicit.

      Many users accused the company of censorship and threatened a one-day boycott after Twitter revealed that it could remove tweets in certain countries with “different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression.”

    • Internet Censorship in China: How the Middle Kingdom Blocks the Web

      If you’ve been following the news, you probably know that Xi Jinping, China’s strongman, has strengthened his grip on the country during the latest gathering of the communist party. Though most coverage has focused on Xi’s newly exalted status, there has also been some worrying news concerning censorship in China (which in this case includes Hong Kong and Macau).

      Though there are plenty of excellent resources out there right now on the Great Firewall, the Cloudwards.net editorial team has decided to give a condensed overview of the why and what of how all this works. We’ll also give you an idea on how to circumvent the Chinese censor. If you just want to know if your favorite sites are accessible while there, we also have a handy tool that does just that.

    • Publishers pull book on China’s influence

      A NSW Professor has called out a book publisher after they cancelled the publication of his book amid fears of legal action from Beijing.

      Independent book publisher Allen and Unwin cancelled ‘Silent Invasion: How China is turning Australia into a puppet state’, resulting in censorship claims by the author.

      The manuscript was written by Professor Clive Hamilton from Charles Sturt University, in New South Wales, who describes the Chinese Communist party’s influence in Australia.

    • Professor says publisher dumped his book because it was scared of China

      A leading academic has accused his publisher of effectively ditching a book about Chinese government influence inside Australia because of fears of a backlash from Beijing.

      Clive Hamilton, a professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University in Canberra, said his book — “Silent Invasion: How China is turning Australia into a puppet state” — was due to be published early next year. But he told CNN that publisher Allen & Unwin suddenly informed him last week that it would be delaying the book for an unspecified period after being warned it could face legal action by China.

    • Australia’s Allen & Unwin accused of self-censorship for China

      An author has accused Australian publisher Allen & Unwin of dropping his book on China’s influence on Australia in an act of self-censorship for fear of reprisals from Beijing.

      Silent Invasion: How China Is Turning Australia into a Puppet State by Professor Clive Hamilton would have provided commentary discussing Chinese Communist Party influence in Australian politics and academia. But, according to its author, who is an academic at Charles Sturt University, Canberra, the plug was pulled in the likelihood the Chinese government would sue for defamation, thus marking “a watershed in the debate over China’s suppression of free speech”.

    • Australian publisher drops book for fear of China retaliation
    • Video of Amos Yee inviting guests emerges
    • Amos Yee faces another setback, Harvard College cancels his speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Police to use facial-recognition cameras at Cenotaph service

      The Metropolitan Police will deploy real-time biometric tracking at the event, which will be attended by about 10,000 former and current service personnel as well as dignitaries and members of the public. Prince Charles will lay the head of state’s wreath at the commemoration, which marks the 99th anniversary of the end of the first world war. Met sources said the use of the technology at the showpiece central London event is a trial, and not related to terrorism or serious crime.

    • With Congressional Leaders Blocking Serious Reform, Tepid Section 702 Reform Bill Moves Forward

      “Better than nothing” appears to be the motto of the House of Representatives’ attempt to implement Section 702 reforms before the end of the year. The USA Liberty Act was introduced in October, bringing with it a few minor alterations to the NSA’s collection efforts. Perhaps the best thing about the bill was its codification of the NSA’s retirement of its “about” email collection. This would prevent the NSA from restarting a collection responsible for the greatest “incidental” harvesting of domestic communications (that we know of).

      It also would expand reporting requirements for agencies making use of Section 702 collections as well as extend whistleblower protections to government contractors. Unfortunately, the bill does not close the loophole allowing “backdoor” searches of domestic communications collected by the program.


      The administration has made it clear it’s not interested in changing a thing in terms of surveillance, giving Congressional leaders all the reason they need to continue toeing the line.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Surveillance State: An Inexorable March Toward Totalitarianism

      The surveillance state is growing more powerful and thanks to legislation, is becoming more invulnerable to challenges to its supremacy. Soon its inexorable march will be irreversible. Totalitarian control will be in place, and most of the citizens are either unaware of such, or they do not care that it is so.

    • EXCLUSIVE: Senior Saudi figures tortured and beaten in purge

      Some senior figures detained in last Saturday’s purge in Saudi Arabia were beaten and tortured so badly during their arrest or subsequent interrogations that they required hospital treatment, Middle East Eye can reveal.

      People inside the royal court also told MEE that the scale of the crackdown, which has brought new arrests each day, is much bigger than Saudi authorities have admitted, with more than 500 people detained and double that number questioned.

      Members of the royal family, government ministers and business tycoons were caught up in the sudden wave of arrests orchestrated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, under the banner of an anti-corruption drive.

      Some, but not all, of the top figures arrested were singled out for the most brutal treatment, suffering wounds to the body sustained by classic torture methods. There are no wounds to their faces, so they will show no physical signs of their ordeal when they next appear in public.

    • Saudi Princess’ tell-all includes Bangladeshi children traded as sex slaves

      Saudi Princess Amira Bint Aidan Bin Nayef went on a rampage against the ruling Saudi regime in her exclusive statements to the French newspaper Le Monde, saying slavery in Saudi Arabia has different forms, but it is done in secrecy and permitted only among the primary beneficiaries of the princes of the House of Saud.
      She mentioned one of the most repulsive things: buying and renting the children, especially the orphans, from countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Djibouti, Somalia, Nigeria, Romania and Bulgaria.

      According to Aidan, the ex-wife of the Saudi Prince Al Waleed bin Talal, who was recently arrested in scope of the anti-corruption purges in the country, those who accuse others of corruption and money laundering, are in fact highly corrupted themselves.
      Russian online newsportal Fort Russ reports quoting Aden’s interview on Le Monde, the princess said they’ve turned the city of Jeddah into a slave market where underage girls are being exploited for noisy sex parties involving drug and alcohol abuse.

      She said that one of the main reasons why this keeps going on is that the members of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Saudi Sharia police) tend to keep away from the matter, fearing they might lose their jobs, should they intervene.

    • Investigation Shows Chicago PD Has Zero Interest In Holding Its Officers Accountable

      That’s just the latest in a long line of travesties committed by the Chicago PD. This follows other such lowlights as the PD operating its own Constitution-free “black site” inside the city, where criminal suspects were taken, detained, and interrogated with zero regard for their civil liberties. When Chicago police officers aren’t shooting people and lying about it, they’re participating in god knows what other sorts of misconduct after tampering with their recording devices.

      The reason it’s taken so long for anything to be done about this is a lack of accountability. Those up top feel no compunction to punish officers for misdeeds, often only following through when forced to by public outcry. When it does finally occur, it’s years after the fact and often reduced to wrist slap.

      The case cited above in the Chicago Tribune report involves Chicago PD officer Brandon Levigne. Levigne pulled a gun on a motorist for supposedly cutting him off in traffic. Levigne was not in uniform. The driver, Brandon Whitehead, called 911, thinking he was being carjacked. Whitehead reported this incident to the Chicago PD. This report was filed in 2006.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Lawmakers demand investigation into FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

      Two Democratic lawmakers today called for an investigation into whether Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai “has taken actions to improperly benefit Sinclair Broadcast Group.”

      The FCC has made several decisions that benefit Sinclair, a broadcast station owner with a right-wing tilt. Among other things, the FCC rolled back broadcast TV station ownership limits, which could help Sinclair complete an acquisition of Tribune Media Company and, in the process, reach 72 percent of TV-owning households in the US.


      Pai said in his response to the August letter that he has “restored” the agency’s independence from the White House and that the commission’s decisions “are being guided by the facts and the law, not by political pressure applied by the White House.” (When Democrat Tom Wheeler was FCC chair, Pai accused him of imposing stricter net neutrality rules because of pressure from President Obama.)

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Next Global Congress On IP And The Public Interest

      American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL) Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property has announced the hosting of Fifth Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest, from 27-29 September 2018. And it is now actively seeking sponsors, partners and expressions of interest.

    • Copyrights

      • With The US Out, Canada Gets Copyright Out Of TPP And Moves Closer To Agreement

        We’ve been talking about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement for many, many years. And one point that we’ve made over and over again about the TPP and other trade agreements, is that there actually is a lot of good and important stuff in those agreements, and we don’t understand why the US (mainly) keeps insisting on two issues that don’t belong in these agreements at all: (1) “intellectual property” chapters, which are almost always the opposite of “free trade” in that they focus on ratcheting up government protectionism and monopolies for a few specific industries and (2) a section on what we refer to as corporate sovereignty, which which the trade world calls “investor state dispute settlement” or “ISDS.” That’s where companies can demand an private tribunal judge if a country unfairly treated that company poorly and order the country to pay the company millions or sometimes billions of dollars.

      • New Draft Action Plans On Copyright Limitations And Exceptions At WIPO

        The World Intellectual Property Organization has grasped the nettle after years of discussion on the issue of limitations and exceptions to copyright, and provided draft action plans, one each for libraries, archives, museums, educational research institutions, and persons with other disabilities than sight impairment. The plans, being discussed in this week’s committee meeting, include brainstorming session, studies, and regional seminars, and conferences to advance understanding and issues related to copyright for those particular actors.

        The WIPO secretariat has circulated a document [pdf] providing draft action plans for different strands of the discussions for the 2018-2019 biennium.

      • MPAA Lobbies US Congress on Streaming Piracy Boxes

        Hollywood is not happy with the increased popularity of pirate streaming boxes. In addition to voicing their concerns in the media, the topic is also part of the MPAA’s lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill. By adding it to the agenda of US lawmakers, the movie industry hopes to curb the trend.

      • Rethinking IP in the TPP: Canadian Government Plays Key Role in Suspending Unbalanced Patent and Copyright Rules

        Years of disappointment in trade negotiations have left many Canadian intellectual property [sic] watchers hoping for the best, but expecting the worst when it comes to the IP [sic] provisions in trade deals. In earlier talks, Canadian negotiators would often advocate balanced positions during the negotiations, but ultimately cave to (primarily) U.S. pressures during the final round of talks. Given that history, this week’s outcome of the TPP11 is reason for celebration as the second largest economy in the TPP finally acted like it. The Liberal government demonstrated genuine leadership in demanding significant changes to the flawed TPP intellectual property [sic] chapter and refusing to back down under intense pressure from some of the negotiating parties. The result isn’t perfect, but the newly named Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which still requires considerable negotiation, features a significantly improved IP [sic] chapter that suspends some of the most problematic provisions.


Links 13/11/2017: Samsung’s DeX Revisited, Linux Kernel 4.14 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 1:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Samsung’s Linux on Galaxy software will bring full-fledged Ubuntu desktop to your phone (with an external display)

      Samsung’s DeX dock lets you connect one of the company’s recent phones to an external display, mouse, and keyboard to use your phone like a desktop PC… assuming you’re comfortable with a desktop PC that runs Android.

      But soon you may also be able to use your Android phone as a Linux PC. Samsung recently unveiled plans for “Linux on Galaxy,” promising that you’d be able to run a full-fledged Linux environment on a phone hooked up to a DeX dock.

    • GNU/Linux Is Still Cooking

      t’s true that smartphones have taken a huge share of personal computing away from desktops and notebooks but there are still huge limitations around screen-size, computing power, storage etc. where smartphones are not enough. I’ve long recommended using smartphones and desktop equipment together. Every time I find my text runs outside a text-box or some page is viewable only in portrait mode in Android/Linux, I long for some way to get to GNU/Linux. Today, I get up off the sofa and walk to my desk. Perhaps some day, I’ll dock the smartphone and carry on. Now, I have to reopen work from the desktop PC I call Beast.

    • Samsung teases Linux desktops on Galaxy S8 and Note 8 smartphones, thanks to DeX
  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.14

      No surprises this week, although it is probably worth pointing out how
      the 0day robot has been getting even better (it was very useful
      before, but Fengguang has been working on making it even better, and
      reporting the problems it has found).

      Sure, some of the new reports turned out to be just 0day doing things
      that just don’t work (ie KASAN with old gcc versions, but also doing
      things like loading old ISA drivers in situations that just don’t make
      sense – remember when you couldn’t even ask if the hardware existed or
      not, and just had to know), but even then it’s been all good.

    • Linux Kernel 4.14 Released, This is What’s New

      Linus Torvalds has announced the release of a Linux 4.14, the latest stable release of the Linux kernel.

      Linux 4.14 features a number of new features and changes, and is set to become the next long term support (LTS) release backed by several years of ongoing maintainence and support.

    • Linux Kernel 4.14 LTS Officially Released, Supports AMD Secure Memory Encryption
    • Linux 4.14 Kernel Officially Released

      The Linux 4.14 kernel is now official!

      Linus Torvalds has just released the stable Linux 4.14 kernel. And for a bit of bar trivia, the codename remains the stale “Fearless Coyote” that has been this way all year, back to Linux 4.10.

    • The 4.14 kernel has been released

      The 4.14 kernel has been released after a ten-week development cycle. Some of the most prominent features in this release include the ORC unwinder for more reliable tracebacks and live patching, the long-awaited thread mode for control groups, support for AMD’s secure memory encryption, five-level page table support, a new zero-copy networking feature, the heterogeneous memory management subsystem, and more.

    • Linux 4.14 arrives and Linus says it should have fewer 0-days

      Linus Torvalds has given the world version 4.14 of the Linux Kernel.

      Torvalds announced the new release with his usual lack of fanfare, but with a couple of interesting nuggets of news.

      He opened by saying “it is probably worth pointing out how the 0day robot has been getting even better (it was very useful before, but Fengguang has been working on making it even better, and reporting the problems it has found).” Said robot is an automated vulnerability-checker that scours kernel code for issues. With version 4.14 slated to be the next kernel version to receive Long Term Support, and that support now running for six years instead of two, a more secure release will be widely welcome.

    • AMD Zen Temperature Monitoring Queued For Linux 4.15

      We’ve been expecting it to happen for weeks while indeed the hwmon pull request was indeed sent in today exposing AMD Ryzen / Threadripper / EPYC temperature reporting on Linux.

      The patch to the existing k10temp Linux hwmon driver has been floating around since September for AMD Zen / Family 17h temperature reporting finally being in place. It was staged in hwmon-next and is now called for pulling into the just-opened Linux 4.15 merge window.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa Linux Graphics Stack Update Fixes AMD GPU Hang with Vulkan Dota 2 in VR

        Mesa, the open-source graphics stack for Linux-based operating systems, has been updated to this week to version 17.2.5, the fifth stability update to the Mesa 17.2 series.

        While Mesa devs are still working hard on the next major release of the graphics stack, Mesa 17.3, which is expected to arrive next week with numerous exciting new features and enhancements for Intel and AMD Radeon GPUs, they pushed another maintenance update to Mesa 17.2 to fix bugs, memory leaks, hangs, and other issues.

    • Benchmarks

      • The Latest In Our Massive Linux Benchmarking Setup – November 2017

        Two and a half years ago was the start of the continually evolving effort around turning a basement into a big Linux server room and last year having shared a one year redux in the effort but having been late in a second year redux into this effort and how the systems are configured for our Linux/BSD/open-source benchmarking at scale, here is an update.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • SparkyLinux 5.1

        SparkyLinux is a Debian-based distribution for 32- and 64-bit computers. According to Sparky’s website, the distro aims to “provide a ready to use, out of the box operating system with a set of slightly customised, lightweight desktop environments.” There are no less than 24 desktops to choose from, as well as various “Special” editions. Like Debian, Sparky has three branches, which Sparky refers to as ‘editions’: Stable, Rolling and Development. For each edition there is a “Home” and “Minimal” version and, to make your choice yet more overwhelming, for each version various ISOs are available. Among others, the Home versions include ISOs for four different desktop environments and the Minimal versions include a “Linux Freedom” ISO. I couldn’t find any information about the Linux Freedom version on the Sparky website but I am assuming that it ships with a libre kernel and no non-free packages.

        If the download options sound complicated then that is because they are complicated. It doesn’t help that the download section on the Sparky website is poorly designed. The pages feature long lists with links to dozens of ISOs and virtually no information to help you pick a suitable image. Worse, what little information is available is ambiguous. Various pages on the Sparky website state that the distro uses Debian’s Testing branch while it is in fact built on all three Debian branches. Also, the download page suggests that the Stable editions are recommended – the link to the Stable ISOs is listed first and features an icon of a computer with a green monitor. The Rolling ISOs use the same icon with a red monitor, while the Development branch uses the colour black.

        While trying to decide which version of Sparky to install I made the following table, which might make the available flavours a little easier to digest.

    • Slackware Family

      • LibreOffice 5.4.3 packages available

        The Document Foundation released the third update for LibreOffice 5.4 last week, as you can read on their blog where they write about the new LibreOffice 5.4.3 . My manic-depressive mood-swings are on the manic side at the moment so next to baking sausage rolls (brabantse worstenbroodjes for which I will publish an updated recipe on this blog soon) and a batch of sourdough bread, I finally had the energy to fix the admin interface for the SlackDocs mailing lists, wrestled myself through 14,000+ emails in my administrative mailboxes, wrote a plan to migrate my LAN services from the ageing server to the new server I bought this summer (which involves conversion of several large databases to InnoDB and loads of custom packages), plus I binge-watched almost 2 full seasons of Stranger Things in 3 days’ time. I know I will crash hard in a couple of days but I hope to have a new Plasma ‘ktown’ update before that happens.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why Australian enterprises are embracing open source

    Cost is another reason. Many organisations are in distress. They’re being digitally disrupted, and can no longer justify spending millions of dollars on software licenses, maintenance fees and infrastructure/support costs. Open source software is a way of reducing their operating costs.

    A recent TechCrunch survey identified the need for speed and control, scalability and developer network power as major drivers of OSS. Companies are also contributing to open source and encouraging their own developers to engage in open source projects. These aren’t just tech firms, but global giants such as Walmart. GE and Goldman Sachs

    The result is that open source can be much safer and more stable, due to being “constantly stretched, pushed, moulded and smoothed by their developer communities”.

  • PayThink Blockchain’s potential rivals that of Linux and the Internet

    Every 10 years or so, a technology comes along that shows so much promise that it creates boundless opportunities for developers. Everything from Linux in 1991 to the Internet boom in the early 2000s to today’s blockchain.

    Developers who understand blockchain and get curious about all of its potential uses can both support their organization’s digital transformation, as well as forge a new, lucrative career path for themselves.

  • 80,000+ Blockchain Projects, 8 Percent Survive
  • Most Open-Source Blockchain Projects Are Abandoned Within Six Months

    The blockchain industry has seen major growth over the past few years. Virtually everyone and their dog has come up with a new use case for blockchain technology, even though most of these ideas are not viable whatsoever. It turns out just 8% of the 26,000 open-source blockchain projects created back in 2016 are still around today. That’s a worrisome statistic, albeit not entirely surprising either.

  • Events

    • Exam Results and Pass List #PeruRumboGSoC2018

      This early morning, students from different universities of Lima, Peru came to UNI to take an exam to prove knowledge of programming and GNU/Linux.


      However, there are interest students that might not have enough skills as intermediate or advance level in programming on Linux. That is why we consider important to have a general view of the new group throughout the exam, so they can compare their academic achievements at the end of the instructional period.

  • Databases

    • MongoDB 3.6 runs at the ‘speed of data’

      MongoDB 3.6 will be generally available in early December.

      The open source (at its core) general purpose database has some noteable changes (its makers would call them enhancements) including a so-called ‘change streams’ feature, which enable developers to build what are being described as more ‘reactive’ web, mobile and IoT applications that can view, filter and act on data changes as they occur in the database.


    • Intel Icelake CPU Target Patch Published For GCC

      While it was just days ago Intel got around to posting the patch for introducing -march=cannonlake support for GCC, this weekend they already posted the patch for its successor with the new Icelake target.

      Icelake is Intel’s successor to Cannonlake that likely won’t be released until 2019. These 10nm+ CPUs are expected to feature a “Gen 11″ graphics processor over Gen 10 coming with Cannonlake. But overall details on Icelake are still scarce given it’s a ways out with Cannonlake even not here yet.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Inside the mechanical brain of the world’s first robot citizen

      Experts who have reviewed the robot’s open-source code, which is posted on GitHub, agree that the most apt description of Sophia is probably a chatbot with a face.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open Source Underwater Glider Wins 2017 Hackaday Prize

        The Open Source Underwater Glider has just been named the Grand Prize winner of the 2017 Hackaday Prize. As the top winner of the Hackaday Prize, the Open Source Underwater Glider will receive $50,000 USD completes the awarding of more than $250,000 in cash prizes during the last eight months of the Hackaday Prize.

        More than one thousand entries answered the call to Build Something That Matters during the 2017 Hackaday Prize. Hardware creators around the globe competed in five challenges during the entry rounds: Build Your Concept, Internet of Useful Things, Wings-Wheels-an-Walkers, Assistive Technologies, and Anything Goes. Below you will find the top five finisher, and the winner of the Best Product award of $30,000.

  • Programming/Development

    • I wrote a Web Component

      I’ve been meaning to play with Web Components for a little while now. After I saw Ben Nadel create a Twitter tweet progress indicator with Angular and Lucas Leandro did the same with Vue.js I thought, here’s a chance to experiment.

      Web Components involve a whole bunch of different dovetailing specs; HTML imports, custom elements, shadow DOM, HTML templates. I didn’t want to have to use the HTML template and import stuff if I could avoid it, and pleasantly you actually don’t need it. Essentially, you can create a custom element named whatever-you-want and then just add whatever-you-want elements to your page, and it all works. This is good.

    • PHP 7.2.0RC6 Released

      The PHP development team announces the immediate availability of PHP 7.2.0 RC6. This release is the sixth Release Candidate for 7.2.0. Barring any surprises, we expect this to be the FINAL release candidate, with Nov 30th’s GA release being not-substantially different. All users of PHP are encouraged to test this version carefully, and report any bugs and incompatibilities in the bug tracking system.

    • PHP 7.2 Is One Step Away From Release

      This week marked the sixth and final planned release candidate for PHP 7.2.

      This release is the final step before the official PHP 7.2 debut that is slated for 30 November unless there are any last minute blockers.


  • It’s time to stop trusting Google search already
  • Health/Nutrition

    • Secrets Are Luxuries We Can’t Afford When Fighting the War on Women

      My body. My blood. My organs. My heart. My birth canal. My earning potential. My ability to provide. My children. My job. My courage. My fear.

      My fear of an angry man who I knew would emotionally and physically abuse his child.

      All the decisions were about me. Except one.

      The one where I knew that the collection of cells inside my body—not viable and non-sentient—might grow and develop into a person that I could not protect.

      Anti-choice activists think that pregnant women who terminate a pregnancy are incapable of hindsight. And here again, on another level, anti-choice activists are wrong.

    • Giving agriculture a global do-over could feed nearly a billion more people

      As the human population grows and the human middle class grows in developing countries, we are going to need more. More food, more meat, more energy. And producing more is going to require more resources. Since we are just about tapped out of the resources required for food production—namely water and land—we are going to have to figure out how to use these limited resources as efficiently as possible.

      A number of suggestions have been made to try to achieve this, from the lower tech—like curbing animal consumption and minimizing food waste—to the higher tech, like planting GMOS that might improve yields, developing better fertilizers, and maximizing irrigation efficiency. A new analysis in Nature Geoscience offers up one more: switching what we grow where.

  • Security

    • New Microsoft Word attacks infect PCs sans macros

      Fancy Bear, the advanced hacking group researchers say is tied to the Russian government, is actively exploiting a newly revived technique that gives attackers a stealthy means of infecting computers using Microsoft Office documents, security researchers said this week.

      Fancy Bear is one of two Russian-sponsored hacking outfits researchers say breached Democratic National Committee networks ahead of last year’s presidential election. The group was recently caught sending a Word document that abuses a feature known as Dynamic Data Exchange. DDE allows a file to execute code stored in another file and allows applications to send updates as new data becomes available.

    • WikiLeaks: CIA impersonated Kaspersky Labs as a cover for its malware operations

      WikiLeaks, under its new Vault 8 series of released documents, has rolled out what it says is the source code to a previously noted CIA tool, called Hive, that is used to help hide espionage actions when the Agency implants malware.
      Hive supposedly allows the CIA to covertly communicate with its software by making it hard or impossible to trace the malware back to the spy organization by utilizing a cover domain. Part of this, WikiLeaks said, is using fake digital certificates that impersonate other legitimate web groups, including Kaspersky Labs.

    • My Younger Brother Can Access My iPhone X: Face ID Is Not Secure

      What this means is family members, who are probably the people you don’t want accessing your device, can now potentially access your iPhone. Especially your younger brother, or Mom… or Grandma.

    • Minix Inside!

      Everything was find but in May a major security flaw was discovered and the fix required an update data to the AMT code. An update that many machines are unlikely to get. Since then various security researchers, mostly Google-based, have been looking into the hardware and the software and have made the discovery that there is an additional layer in the hardware that Intel doesn’t talk about. Ring 3 is user land, Ring 0 is OS land and Ring -1 is for hypervisors. These we know about, but in addition there is Ring -2, used for the secure UEFI kernel and Ring -3, which is where the management OS runs. Guess what the management OS is Minix 3 – or rather a closed commercial version of Minix 3.

    • The Truth About the Intel’s Hidden Minix OS and Security Concerns

      That supplemental unit is part of the chipset and is NOT on the main CPU die. Being independent, that means Intel ME is not affected by the various sleep state of the main CPU and will remain active even when you put your computer in sleep mode or when you shut it down.

    • Security Breach and Spilled Secrets Have Shaken the N.S.A. to Its Core

      Mr. Williams had written on his company blog about the Shadow Brokers, a mysterious group that had somehow obtained many of the hacking tools the United States used to spy on other countries. Now the group had replied in an angry screed on Twitter. It identified him — correctly — as a former member of the National Security Agency’s hacking group, Tailored Access Operations, or T.A.O., a job he had not publicly disclosed. Then the Shadow Brokers astonished him by dropping technical details that made clear they knew about highly classified hacking operations that he had conducted.

    • UK spymasters raise suspicions over Kaspersky software’s Russia links
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Saudi Arabia’s Desperate Gamble

      Furious over defeat in Syria, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince is gambling again, arresting rivals at home and provoking a political crisis in Lebanon, but he may lack the geopolitical chips to pull off his bet, says ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.

    • The Saudi Hand in Lebanon’s Crisis

      Facing defeat in its proxy war for “regime change” in Syria, Saudi Arabia undertook some startling moves, including staging the resignation of Lebanon’s prime minister, reports Dennis J Bernstein.


      What’s going on in Saudi Arabia? Over 200 bigwigs detained and billions of ‘illegal profits’ of some $800 billion confiscated.

      The kingdom is in an uproar. The Saudi regime of King Salman and his ambitious 32-year old son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, claim it was all part of an ‘anti-corruption’ drive that has Washington’s full backing.


      Interestingly, there are no reports of senior Saudi military figures being arrested. The Saudi military has always been kept weak and marginalized for fear it could one day stage a military coup like the one led by Colonel Khadaffi who overthrew Libya’s old British stooge ruler, King Idris. For decades the Saudi army was denied ammunition. Mercenary troops from Pakistan were hired to protect the Saudi royals.

      The Saudis still shudder at the memory of British puppets King Feisal of Iraq and his strongman, Nuri as-Said, who were overthrown and murdered by mobs after an Iraqi army colonel, Abd al-Karim Qasim, staged a coup in 1958. Nuri ended up hanging from a Baghdad lamppost, leading Egypt’s fiery strongmen, Abdel Nasser, to aptly call the new Iraqi military junta, ‘the wild men of Baghdad.’

    • The Danger of the Sacred Soldier

      The formula is as old as “Why do you hate the troops?” Donald Trump, surrounded by a series of ever-escalating scandals, pulled a classic “Look over here!” move and made Kaepernick’s protest his hate cause of the week. His core argument: By taking a knee, Kaepernick was spitting not only on the anthem and the flag, but on US soldiers as well. This type of red-meat mob baiting is nothing new for Trump; during his presidential campaign, he declared that anyone caught burning the American flag should be stripped of their citizenship, despite the fact that such an action is expressly forbidden by the Constitution.

    • Nation That Says It Can’t Afford Medicare for All Has Spent $5.6 Trillion on War Since 9/11

      new analysis offers a damning assessment of the United States’ so-called global war on terror, and it includes a “staggering” estimated price tag for wars waged since 9/11—over $5.6 trillion.

      The Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Center says the figure—which covers the conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan from 2001 through 2018—is the equivalent of more than $23,386 per taxpayer.

      The “new report,” said Paul Kawika Martin, Peace Action’s senior director for policy and political affairs, “once again shows that the true #costofwar represents a colossal burden to taxpayers on top of the tremendous human loss.”

    • Trump: Putin and I had ‘good discussions’ at Apec summit

      US President Donald Trump said he had “good discussions” with Russian leader Vladimir Putin when they met briefly at an Asia-Pacific summit in Vietnam.

    • “Abdication Is Unthinkable”: Saudis Deny King Salman Will Relinquish Throne To His Son

      Three days ago, we reported that based on various unconfirmed media reports, Saudi King Salman – reeling from a just concluded purge that arrested some of the country’s wealthiest and most powerful royals and officials – was set to elevate his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to the throne in as little as 48 hours. Speculation peaked when Al-Arabiya tweeted, then quickly deleted, details of the allegedly imminent ascension ceremony.

    • Behind the Saudi Troublemaking

      Five months after the diplomatic spat between the so-called Anti-Terror Quartet and Qatar kicked off, the ante is being upped. Bahrain — one of the quartet alongside Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt — has called for Qatar to be frozen out of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). As the council starts to unravel, what will this mean for Qatar and the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region?


      The spur to form the GCC was the siege of Mecca by radical Saudi Islamists in November 1979. It shook the kingdom to its core for two weeks and nearly lost the Saudis the much coveted, and much abused, title of the “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.” To deal with the domestic threat, Riyadh encouraged Islamists to go and fight with the Afghan mujahedeen following the Soviet invasion in December 1979. We all know how that ended: Al Qaeda and its offshoots, 9/11, and blowback for the Middle East and much of the world.

    • Remaking Armistice Day into Veterans Day

      The year after the war ended, most of the national leaders that considered themselves victors proclaimed Nov. 11 to be a day of reflection on the horrors of war and for prayers that there never would be another war. All businesses were ordered to stop work for two minutes and stand in silence at exactly 11 a.m., a tradition that continued in the decades that followed. It was called Remembrance Day in the United Kingdom and Armistice Day in the United States.

      Nov. 11 was intended to be a day of mourning and repentance for the satanic carnage that killed about 10 million soldiers, wounded another 20 million and inflicted more than 2 million civilian deaths.

      The senselessness of that war should have resulted in the courts-martial of every gung-ho officer, the demeaning of every war-mongering politician, and the decertifying of every war-profiteering corporation. But it did not. The warmongers and war-profiteers just went into hibernation.

    • Americans Are Stressed About the Future. Here’s Why That’s Promising

      The era of empire, white supremacy, dirty energy, and global capitalism is coming to a close.

    • The Hidden History of How California Was Built on Genocide

      The genocide of California’s Indigenous nations was the foundation upon which settler colonialism built the “Golden State.” In this interview, historian and author Benjamin Madley argues that understanding the 19th century genocide in California will assist scholars in “re-examining the larger, hemispheric Indigenous population catastrophe.”

    • On Armistice Day, Let’s Celebrate Peace

      Now, members of the group Veterans for Peace are working across the U.S. to recover the original purpose of Armistice Day. They are using it to call for adequate psychological and material support for veterans, to help them cope with the terrors they have been forced to endure. Above all, they work to abolish wars.

    • Hand over your weapons

      In the AFTERMATH of the Texas church shooting last week, Democratic lawmakers did what they always do: They skewered their Republican colleagues for offering only “thoughts and prayers,” and demanded swift action on gun control.

      “The time is now,” said Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, “for Congress to shed its cowardly cover and do something.”

      Trouble is, it’s not clear the “something” Democrats typically demand would make a real dent in the nation’s epidemic of gun violence. Congress can ban assault weapons, but they account for just a tiny sliver of the country’s 33,000 annual firearm deaths. And tighter background checks will do nothing to cut down on the 310 million guns already in circulation.

    • After Hearing Accounts of Sexual Violence, UN Official to Bring Rohingya Case to ICC

      After hearing personal accounts of torture and sexual violence from survivors, a senior United Nations official on Sunday vowed to raise the issue of persecution of the Rohingya people in Myanmar with the International Criminal Court (ICC).

      “Sexual violence is being commanded, orchestrated, and perpetrated by the Armed Forces of Myanmar,” said Pramila Patten, special representative of the Secretary-General on sexual violence in conflict. “When I return to New York I will brief and raise the issue with the prosecutor and president of the ICC whether they [Myanmar's military] can be held responsible for these atrocities.”

      Patten, who said about $10 million in immediate aid is needed to provide necessary services for survivors of gender-based violence, spoke to the media in the Bangladeshi capital on Sunday after a three-day trip to camps located near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. During her trip, as Reuters reports, “she met women and girls who are among hundreds of thousands of Rohingya that have sought refuge in Bangladesh following a crackdown by Myanmar’s military on the predominantly Muslim minority.”

    • Troopaganda Eats Its Own Tail

      If you don’t believe me, check out the hash tag #WhatIFoughtFor, pointed out to me by Coleen Rowley and created by a “human rights” organization. One guy declares that he fought for his family. That’s nice. How much more pleasant for him to love his family than for him to be willing to kill and destroy for a larger salary for the CEO of Lockheed Martin, or for the creation of ISIS, or for turning Libya into a hell on earth, or for the advance of climate change, or for any of the other actual results.

      Others declare that they fought so that one particular collaborator or refugee could flee the hell that their fighting created or contributed to. That’s nice too. Surely veterans’ groups promoting kindness to refugees is better than veterans’ groups promoting hatred toward refugees. But what about the idea of ending the wars that create the refugees? What about the millions killed, wounded, traumatized, and left homeless for every one charismatic refugee whom someone claims after the fact that they were somehow fighting for?

    • North Korea: Trump ‘Begged For a Nuclear War’ During Visit to Korean Peninsula

      As protests continue across the continent while U.S. President Donald Trump travels Asia, North Korea on Saturday called Trump a “destroyer of world peace and stability” who “begged for a nuclear war” during his visit to South Korea earlier this week.

      “Trump, during his visit, laid bare his true nature as destroyer of world peace and stability and begged for a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula,” a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement to a state news agency. Reuters reports the spokesman also said that nothing would deter Pyongyang from continuing its nuclear weapons program.

      In Trump’s first major speech in Asia, addressing the South Korean National Assembly in Seoul on Wednesday, he personally attacked North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in an apparent attempt to encourage Kim to discontinue his pursuit of nuclear weapons.

      “The weapons you are acquiring are not making you safer, they are putting your regime in grave danger,” Trump warned. “Every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Adorable disabled lamb can run around again thanks to her new wheelchair after being abandoned by her mum

      Meet the adorable disabled lamb who can now happily run around thanks to her new wheelchair.

      Alistair Jenkin, 73, found little Lamby in a field when she was only two-days-old, and he has been caring for her ever since.

      Eight-month-old Lamby was thought to have been abandoned by her mother, and one of her legs appeared to have been trodden on.

    • Nearly 7 weeks after hurricane, more than 50% of Puerto Rico power generation offline

      Since Puerto Rico was struck by Hurricane Maria in late September, the island has struggled to repair power lines, water pumps, cell phone towers, roads, and bridges. The electrical system has come under the most scrutiny. The commonwealth’s power provider—Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority or PREPA—was bankrupt going into the disaster, and has faced scandal after scandal in recent weeks. After reconnecting more than 40 percent of its generating sources early last week, a major power line failed on Thursday, reducing the grid’s online capacity to 18 percent. Although the line was quickly fixed, currently PREPA’s grid is only working at 47 percent capacity now, according to statistics from the Puerto Rican government.

      With more than 50 percent of the grid offline, previously-connected Puerto Ricans have been living off generators or solar panels for nearly 7 weeks, or they live without power.

      On Thursday, Governor Ricardo Rosselló demanded that his entire cabinet submit undated letters of resignation to his office, according to the New York Times. Rosselló said he hoped to cut cabinet members to form a more nimble government.

    • Wind powered all of Scotland in October & other Renewable Success Stories

      Wind and solar keep falling in price– each fell 6% in 2016. That fall was not as big as the two previous years, but there is every reason to expect price drops much bigger in coming years, as new technology makes the move from basic science to implementation. The Trump strategy of slapping penalties on these technologies and giving fossil fuels subsidies has a very limited shelf life, since there aren’t enough resources in the world to stand against this kind of inexorable progress.

      Wind turbines in Scotland during the month of October , driven by unusually strong gales, generated enough electricity to supply 99% of the country’s power needs, taking into account residential, industrial and business sectors! And if we just looked at the residential market, the wind turbines could have powered 4.5 million homes! One catch: Scotland only has about 2.45 million households!

    • Moyers and McKibben: Time Is Running Out for the Planet

      Bill McKibben’s calling has been a footrace of its own, not to report to Athenians the victory of Greek warriors over the Spartans, but to wake up Americans to the once creeping, now billowing threat of global warming. For 30 years now climate change has been his beat — first as a journalist, then as an environmentalist and now as the leading activist in mobilizing a worldwide movement to win a race against time. In Radio Free Vermont, his latest book, he turns to humor for inspiration as runners go to bottled water for sustenance, and has us laughing all the way to the finish line. Also in the interest of disclosure, you should know Bill McKibben and I are old friends who sometimes conspire in plotting resistance to — well, read on.


      Not that we all should secede from the Union. Instead, let’s resist. I really wrote this as a love note to the resistance — the resistance that’s been happening over the last 10 years. I’ve been a part of it with the organization 350.org, fighting global warming, and now in the resistance that’s sprung up in the last year since Donald Trump took over. That’s been the one heartening thing about this year: the antibodies have assembled themselves to try and fight off the fever that America’s now in. I’m no Pollyanna, so I don’t know if it’s going to work or not. Sometimes the antibodies don’t get there in sufficient quantity or in sufficient time, and you end up amputating.

  • Finance

    • Bitcoin rival doubles in price in four days as Bitcoin price slumps

      One bitcoin is now worth less than $5,900, down 25 percent from Wednesday’s high above $7,800. Meanwhile, the currency of a rival, spinoff network called Bitcoin Cash has doubled to more than $1,500 over the same four-day period.

      This is good news for one side in Bitcoin’s ongoing civil war—the side that sees an urgent need to boost the network’s capacity to deal with growing congestion and rising transaction fees. People in this camp have been flocking to Bitcoin Cash after a plan to expand the capacity of the main Bitcoin network fell apart on Wednesday.

    • Uber loses appeal: Will have to treat drivers in UK as workers with full rights

      This means they are entitled to the same rights as employed staff, holiday pay, rest breaks and being paid minimum wage.

    • Here’s the first evidence Russia used Twitter to influence Brexit

      All the accounts seen by WIRED posted using either the Twitter web client of TweetDeck. The @Jenn_Abrams account had the most followers, 54,467, and the data pulled from the Twitter API shows some of the accounts were created as far back as 2013.

    • The Trans-Pacific Partnership has been resurrected — and it’s happening without the US

      About 20 provisions that were once part of the TPP talks have been “suspended,” according to a joint statement by the agreement’s member countries. And there are still four sticking points — including a commitment on coal that affects Brunei — to solve, but experts say a final deal could be announced as early as next year. Each country would still have to sign and ratify the deal to be a member of the agreement.

    • The Tax Plan’s Mega Gift To Some of Trump’s Richest Appointees

      There are times that you run across something that’s so preposterous that it’s hard to believe it’s true. But in this case, it is.

      I’m talking about the multiple — and permanent — set of tax breaks that some of the Trump administration’s mega-wealthy appointees and their heirs stand to get if the estate tax repeal in the House Republicans’ tax bill becomes law.

      The appointees I’m talking about are those with a net worth above $11 million (which is a lot of them) who sold assets that the Office of Government Ethics said would pose conflict-of-interest problems in their new gigs.

    • Did the DUP’s controversial Brexit donors break the law – by refusing to reveal the secret source of their cash?

      Earlier this year, openDemocracy revealed that a mystery donor had given Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party £435,000 to campaign for Brexit.

      The secret donation – a much larger sum than the DUP has ever spent on an electoral campaign in its history – attracted particular interest because almost none of the cash was spent in Northern Ireland. Yet the donor secrecy laws which apply to Northern Ireland, and not the rest of the UK, have allowed the donors(s) to remain anonymous.

      Since then, May’s Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire has announced an end to donor secrecy in Northern Ireland. But, crucially, he has gone back on a prior commitment to backdate transparency to 2014 so that the source of the vast DUP donation could be revealed – despite calls from all the Northern Irish political parties (apart from the DUP) to do so.

      Government and DUP sources have rejected accusations that Brokenshire’s refusal to make donor identities public is ‘protection’ for the DUP, as part of their £1 billion deal to keep the Conservatives in power.

    • Three Richest Americans Now Own More Wealth Than Bottom Half of US Combined: Report

      Those are just several of the striking findings of Billionaire Bonanza 2017, a new report (pdf) published Wednesday by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) that explores in detail the speed with which the U.S. is becoming “a hereditary aristocracy of wealth and power.”

      “Over recent decades, an incredibly disproportionate share of America’s income and wealth gains has flowed to the top of our economic spectrum. At the tip of that top sit the nation’s richest 400 individuals, a group that Forbes magazine has been tracking annually since 1982,” write IPS’s Chuck Collins and Josh Hoxie, the report’s authors. “Americans at the other end of our economic spectrum, meanwhile, watch their wages stagnate and savings dwindle.”

    • The Proselytizers and the Privatizers

      At the Heritage Academy, a publicly funded charter school network in Arizona, according to a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, high school students are required to learn that the Anglo-Saxon population of the United States is descended from one of the lost tribes of Israel. They are asked to memorize a list of 28 “Principles” of “sound government,” among which are that “to protect man’s rights, God has revealed certain Principles of divine law” (the ninth Principle) and that “the husband and wife each have their specific rights appropriate to their role in life” (the 26th Principle). To complete the course, students are further required to teach these principles to at least five individuals outside of school and family.


      Vouchers first came to prominence as a way to funnel state money to racially segregated religious academies. In the aftermath of the Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954, white Americans in the South organized massive resistance against federal orders to desegregate schools. While some districts shut down public schools altogether, others promoted “segregation academies” for white students, often with religious programming, to be subsidized with tuition grants and voucher schemes. Today, vouchers remain popular with supporters of religious schools, many of whom see public education as inherently secular and corrupt.

      Vouchers are also favored among disciples of the free-market advocate Milton Friedman, who see them as a step on the road to getting government out of the education business altogether. Speaking to an audience at a convention of the American Legislative Exchange Council in 2006, Friedman said, “The ideal would be to have parents control and pay for their school’s education, just as they pay for their food, their clothing, and their housing.” Acknowledging that indigent parents might be unable to afford their children’s education in the same way that they might suffer food or housing insecurity, Friedman added, “Those should be handled as charity problems, not educational problems.”

    • Your $20 Million Loan Went Bust? The Trump Team Has a Job For You

      The tribe was hoping to raise $22.5 million with $20 million of it guaranteed, but Clarkson wasn’t able to gather anything close to that amount. Instead, using a company he helped create for the occasion, he borrowed $3.5 million from private investors and then loaned it to the tribe. But Clarkson still managed to obtain a guarantee for $20 million. (He accomplished this by moving $19 million in debt from the brokerage to his company, according to a report about the episode, and convincing the Interior Department to treat it like a loan.)


      Ultimately, things went badly awry. The brokerage went bankrupt a few years later and the loan guarantees had enough problems to generate a report by the inspector general of the Interior Department, as well as ongoing litigation. The inspector general’s report, released in March, criticized both the entity requesting guarantees in this instance and the Interior Department staffer who approved them. (The report was made public in redacted form, with the names of individuals blacked out.)

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • In China, Trump Talks Trade & North Korea, Ignoring Climate Change & Crackdown on Human Rights

      We go to Beijing for an update on President Trump’s meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping as part of his five-nation trip to Asia. Trump used the talks to call on China to sever ties with North Korea, and address the U.S. trade deficit with the country he once accused of “raping” the United States. Human rights activists have urged him to use his trip to discuss climate change and challenge China over its crackdown on dissidents and call for the release of political prisoners. We speak with Joanna Chiu, China correspondent for Agence France-Presse, and Rajan Menon, professor of political science at the Powell School at the City University of New York and senior research fellow in the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University.

    • Trump Voter Fraud Commission Is Sued — By One of Its Own Commissioners

      A Democratic member of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity filed suit against the commission in federal court in Washington, D.C. on Thursday morning, alleging that its Republican leadership has intentionally excluded him from deliberations and violated federal transparency laws. The commission has been sued more times (eight, including the new filing) than it has officially convened for meetings (two times).

      The suit, filed by Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, accuses the commission of violating the Federal Advisory Commission Act, which, among other things, requires that advisory committees be bipartisan and sets transparency requirements for them. “Everything we are doing is absolutely perpendicular to that,” Dunlap charged in an interview. “We aren’t inviting the public to participate. We aren’t transparent. And we aren’t even working together at all. My real fear is that this commission will offer policy recommendations that have not been properly vetted by all of the commissioners.”

    • The Trump Effect, One Year Later: Thousands of Women Running for Office

      On election night last November, Nadya Okamoto gathered with friends in the dining hall of her dorm at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Okamoto, then 18, wore a Hillary Clinton T-shirt—earlier that day, she’d voted for Clinton—and felt “pumped that the first woman in history would be elected.” Two years before, she had co-founded a nonprofit, PERIOD, that provided tampons to homeless women and girls. She’d helped launch a movement to destigmatize menstruation and, like many women, was troubled by the way Donald Trump talked about women during his campaign.

      As the results came in that night, her exhilaration drained. “I was so sad, angry, I was crying,” she said. But as she looked around at her devastated classmates, her body kicked into fight mode. She wondered what she could do.

      It was the same story across the United States.

      In Piedmont, California, Gina Scialabba, an attorney who volunteered with Clinton’s campaign, started out the evening celebrating. By the end of the night, she was heartbroken and confused. As the weeks went by, she worried about the future of health care and marriage equality under a Trump administration—and whether her own plans to marry her partner would be threatened. She began to express her opinions more openly.

    • Flynn’s lobbying subject of probe

      Michael Flynn’s failure to disclose to the Justice Department his lobbying on behalf of a Turkish businessman may carry legal consequences for the former national security advisor.

      NBC News reported this week that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team is investigating Flynn for failing to register as a foreign agent in connection with a lucrative lobbying contract with Inovo BV, a Netherlands-based consulting firm owned by a Turkish national.

      In August 2016, Flynn’s firm, Flynn Intel Group, entered into a contract with Inovo but did not notify DOJ of the agreement until March 2017. Flynn received $530,000 for the work.

    • Democracy is dead: long live democracy!

      So social media platforms have transformed the costs and benefits of every kind of political participation. But the key difference that social media have brought to the democratic landscape is the raft of new activities which are characterized by being really small, extending below the bottom rung of the ladder of participation, which stretches from small acts such as signing a petition, through voting, to attending a political meeting, and donating money to a political cause, right up to political violence or armed struggle. Following, liking, tweeting, retweeting, sharing text or images relating to a political issue or signing up to a digital campaign are tiny acts of political participation that have no equivalent in the pre-social media age (there is no precedent, for example, for reading President Trump’s tweets).

    • Why Science Says You Should Be Reading Small Independent Media

      The five-year-long study published this week in Science, directed by Harvard professor Gary King and supported in part by Voqal, shows that even small independent news outlets can have a dramatic effect on the content of national conversation. King, along with his now former graduate students Ben Schneer and Ariel White, found that if just three outlets write about a particular major national policy topic—such as jobs, the environment, or immigration—discussion of that topic across social media rose by as much as 62.7 percent of a day’s volume, distributed over the week.

      Over 60 percent of the participating outlets were members of the Media Consortium, the organization I direct. The Media Consortium outlets that had the highest participation rates in the Science study, in order: Truthout, In These Times, Bitch Media, The Progressive, Earth Island Journal, Feministing, Generation Progress, Ms. Magazine, and YES! Magazine. The median outlet size was The Progressive, with about 50,000 subscribers.

      Individually, none of them is a New York Times or CNN. In fact, too often, philanthropic foundations refuse to support these outlets because they are “too small” and “don’t have enough impact.” What this Science study proves is that when independent news outlets work together to co-publish stories on the same topic in the same week, they can have a mighty effect.

    • One Year Later: The Political Cancer Metastasizes

      Exactly one day short of one year after the election of Donald Trump, the fog finally seemed to lift and the skies brightened. On Tuesday, voters rejected Trumpism in New Jersey and in Virginia, where establishment Republican Ed Gillespie embraced Trump’s racism and nativism, indicating how deeply the president’s poison has penetrated even the precincts of the party that should be vigorously in opposition to it.

      In Maine, voters approved an expansion of Medicaid that their right-wing governor had rejected several times. In Washington state, Democrats won the upper house of the legislature. Meanwhile, GOP members of Congress are deserting the ship, one by one. As Steve Bannon marshals his “alt-right” forces to defeat mainstream Republicans, his primary candidates may be so far off the political spectrum next year that they could derail the Republicans’ Senate hopes. Across the board, Democratic prospects in 2018 look promising, if the Democrats don’t manage to screw things up, which is a very big if.

    • One Year Later: 10 Lessons Learned From the Trump Presidency

      Many of his adherent refuse to believe the negative reports on Trump’s behavior; they dismiss it as “fake news.” Others are focussed on a particular issue and, as long as Trump supports that issue, they stand with him. Based upon the results of the recent Pew Research poll of political typology, Trump’s supporters are those who share one or more of these opinions: Washington politics are fatally flawed and need to be “blown up;” Taxes are too high; Immigrants burden the U.S.; and Washington has taken away “religious liberty.”

    • Democrats, Republicans and Business as Usual

      Hot on the heels of Donna Brazile’s ‘shocking’ new book Hacks, that alleges that the Democratic Party, which is anything but, cooked the books in Hillary Clinton’s favor, come the 2017 elections in various states, including Virginia and New Jersey. Democrats won the State House in both those states, and the wide-eyed pundits who direct what we should think and who we should care about have now proclaimed that the Democrats are on a roll, with control of the House and Senate all but a sure thing in the next elections.

      This writer must pose a question: Who cares? The two parties have been slowly merging for decades, and at this point there are only minor, cosmetic differences between them. Oh, he can concede that there will less bad (‘better’ might be over-stating the case) Supreme Court nominees, and that certainly can’t be discounted. But wars will continue; lobbyists will write legislation that their bought-and-paid-for Congress members will introduce and vote for, the rich will continue to get richer, the poor, poorer, and the middle class will continue to shrink. Please do not think that its numbers are diminishing because some of them are working their way up the ladder of financial success; no they are tumbling into poverty due to high medical bills, college debt, and lack of decent employment.

    • Is Fox News Ditching Roy Moore?

      “You ended his candidacy,” declared Geraldo Rivera, citing Moore’s inability to unequivocally say that he had never dated teenage girls when he was in his 20s and 30s, after he’d left the U.S. Army and turned to law. “I would urge Republicans to postpone the special election,” Rivera said.

      Gregg Jarrett, a Fox News legal analyst, was no more kind. “I found his answers to be unconvincing and implausible, his entire story to be, in a word, unbelievable. Which means he’s lying.” Moore has called the allegations against him “fake news,” suggesting that The Washington Post was motivated by a political agenda.

      Jarrett said Moore “should step aside.” A few congressional Republicans have made similar calls, but Moore has vowed to stay in the race. He will have to continue without funding from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which will no longer support his candidacy.

      The exchange was remarkable because it took place on Fox News, President Trump’s favorite source of insight and information. And no host or anchor on the network is closer to Trump than Hannity. The two men reportedly speak nightly.

    • Bob Davis: In defense of journalism

      We get lots of questions about how The Star operates, particularly when it comes to covering politics.

      The Star is far from perfect, but its writers and editors think long and hard about how we do our jobs. Are we being fair? Is our reporting being put in its proper context? Do the subjects of our stories have an opportunity to give their side of the story? Are there inviting entry points for readers who wish to critique our work?

      Thus, questions about how we do what we do are irresistible.

      We think about these topics a lot, and your faithful correspondent is more than happy to entertain questions.

    • Trump and Tragedy: From Las Vegas to New York City to Sutherland Springs

      The first attack took place in early October in Las Vegas, Nevada. Six hours after the attack, DJT sent his condolences to “the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting” and described the act, committed by an American citizen, as an “act of pure evil.” In describing the shooter, DJT said the shooter was “a sick demented man” whose “wires are screwed up.” Since the attacker used a variety of firearms, DJT was presented with an opportunity to discuss the role firearms play in the United States where more than 30 people a day are killed by guns. When asked about that, he said that the U.S. would “be talking about gun laws as time goes by.” He did, however, somewhat inexplicably, say of the event: “What happened is, in many ways, a miracle. The police department, they’ve done such an incredible job. And we’ll be talking about gun laws as time goes on….” He was less reserved in addressing the attack four weeks later in New York City. Unlike his response to Las Vegas, he saw no reason to wait with taking action with respect to the massacre as “time goes on.” He acted immediately.

    • #BanTrump: On Both Sides of Pacific, Protests Over Trump’s Visit to Philippines

      Accusing President Donald Trump of representing “the worst aspects of U.S. imperialism,” hundreds of Filipinos protested in Manila on Friday ahead of his visit.

      Protesters carried signs emblazoned with #BanTrump and chanting, “Trump, not welcome!” and “Fight U.S. imperialist war!”

      The U.S. currently has 180 military bases in the Philippines, and the coalition of left-wing groups gathered to express concerns that Trump administration could establish more there.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Amos Yee banned from Facebook

      It has been finally revealed that Facebook account of Amos Yee, the controversial 18-year-old Singaporean blogger, has been banned from the social networking site for 30 days. Amos Yee himself revealed this news through a video uploaded on his YouTube channel.

    • Amos Yee is banned from Facebook

      “Lol, I didn’t know saying someone ‘sucked government cock’ was considered ‘harassment’.

      “I highly suspect this is the result of a mass-flagging campaign done by the Singapore Government’s well paid internet brigade.

    • Amos Yee set to give first ever public talk at Harvard

      Singaporean teenager Amos Yee will be giving his first ever public talk at the Harvard University campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts next week.

      Entitled ‘Jailed for Dissent: An Open Conversation with Amos Yee’ the event is to be held on Monday, 13 Nov. It will be free and open to the public.

      The talk is organised by the Harvard College Open Campus Initiative, which seeks to “encourage a diverse discourse on Harvard’s campus, and to push back against ideological forces in academia, and in society more broadly, that hinder open discussion and freedom of speech.”

    • Harvard cancels Amos Yee’s lecture

      An event that was scheduled to take place on Monday 13th of November has been cancelled by the organisers and no reason has been given. The event was entitled “Jailed for Dissent,” and his claim to fame was to upload a rather distasteful video during the mourning period of late Lee Kuan Yew.

      Singapore’s Ambassador-at-large, Mr Bilahari Kausikan once said that “Nobody outside Singapore cares about “obscure” Yee.” Kausikan was proven wrong when Harvard invited Yee. On second thoughts, perhaps not!

    • Letter to the editor: Columnist’s examples of censorship are misplaced

      Irwin Kraus’s recent column (“The age of reason is out to lunch,” The Sun Chronicle, Nov. 2) mistakenly includes the removal of statues and the renaming of buildings as examples of intolerance and censorship. They are not.

      They are laudable reappraisals of what persons, values, ideas and events we wish to honor and affirm publicly and officially.

      The purpose of removing a statue to a museum (or qualifying its presence with additional information) or of renaming a building is not to rewrite or deny history, to change the past, or to prevent people from affirming, discussing, or propagating the ideas and values represented by the memorial.

    • A tale of two publishers: Is censorship the new normal?

      On August 18th of this year, news broke that Cambridge University Press was censoring over 300 articles from China Quarterly on its Chinese website. The deletions were requested by Beijing, based on indiscriminate keyword searches like “Tibet,” “Tiananmen,” and “Taiwan.”

      Media attention rapidly focused in on this censorship, academics penned open letters, and outrage spread quickly, engulfing Facebook, Twitter, and academic mailing lists with calls to boycott Cambridge University Press. Then, on August 21st, as these calls reached a crescendo three very long days later, Cambridge suddenly announced that it was reversing its decision, and would no longer comply with Beijing’s censorship requests.

    • Cambridge University accused of censorship for threatening to cancel BDS event

      The university sought to remove Professor Ruba Salih from her position as chair of the event. Salih, who is a lecturer in the School of African and Oriental Studies, is Palestinian; the university, in calling for her replacement, cited a need for ”open, robust and lawful debate,” suggesting Salih would not be able to facilitate such a dialogue due to her background.

    • New (and Not So New) Trends in China’s Online Censorship

      Scholars who study Internet politics in China have long recognized two important features of the state censorship system. First, it is highly comprehensive and sophisticated. Internet censorship in China builds not only on the state’s tight control over the network infrastructure, the legal and policy systems, as well as institutions and citizens that enable and engage in online expression, but also the state’s administrative and technological capabilities to filter, surveil, and remove online content.

      Second, state censorship in China has evolved over time and is still evolving. Studies show that the Chinese state has gone through a policy learning process. Before 1999, the state focused more on the network security. From 1999 to 2003, the state started to emphasize content control and set up institutional, organizational, technological, and policy foundations for the censorship system that we see today. Since 2004, the state has enriched, refined, and deepened its control over the Internet by fine-tuning control techniques, adjusting policies and regulations to new Internet services, implementing content control more assertively, as well as enhancing division of labor and coordination among state agencies.

    • Access to YouTube channels of news portals blocked on varsity WiFi, say JNU students
    • JNU students protest after administration censors internet
    • JNU Censors WiFi for 24 Hours Barring Access To News Portals
    • JNU students allege censorship by university
  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Mob sets upon Hindu village in Rangpur over rumoured Facebook post

      Before the police intervened, the aggressors had set fire to at least 30 Hindu houses of the village. They also looted and vandalised a good number of houses in that village, according to local sources.

      A rumour shaped and vented the anger of the Muslims in the neighbouring villages against the Hindu community.

    • After fatwa, mob now ransacks house of Muslim yoga teacher from Jharkhand

      She alleged that extremists threatened her on Facebook and later called on her mobile phone. They even pelted stones at her residence. In view of the situation, the police have deployed bodyguards for the yoga teacher.

    • UK woman held in Iran jail ‘angry and in tears’ at Boris Johnson remarks

      Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was brought to tears of shock and anger by Boris Johnson’s inaccurate comments about the reasons for her visit to Tehran and the Iranian authorities’ use of them to justify her imprisonment, her husband said on Sunday.

      In a description of a phone call with his wife, Richard Ratcliffe said that lumps had been found in her breasts that required an ultrasound scan, that her state of mind had deteriorated, and that she was now “on the verge of a nervous breakdown”. He said that she felt violated by the lies the Iranian establishment had told about her activities, but also hit out at Johnson for attempting to avoid addressing the issue. “She expressed anger at the Guards, but also at the foreign secretary, that it had become such a shambles,” Ratcliffe said.

      He added that seeing Johnson’s performance at the foreign affairs select committee, in which he inaccurately said that she was in Tehran to train journalists, had left Zaghari-Ratcliffe “angry at the original comments, angry at the footage of avoiding the question”.

    • ‘Freedom for the Political Prisoners’: Hundreds of Thousands March in Barcelona

      An estimated 750,000 people marched in Barcelona on Saturday to demand that the Spanish government release Catalan separatist leaders who are being held in prison for their roles in the region’s recent independence referendum.

    • So What the Hell Is Doxxing?

      Today, each of the cases could easily be termed a form of doxxing — short for “dropping documents.” In the last few years, doxxing has increasingly been used as an online weapon to attack people. People’s “documents” — records of their addresses, relatives, finances — get posted online with the implicit or explicit invitation for others to shame or hector them.

      But while doxxing may seem both creepy and dangerous, there is no single federal law against the practice. Such behavior has to be part of a wider campaign of harassment or stalking for it to be against the law.

    • Top 5 reasons Roy Moore could still Win, despite Sex Scandals

      Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for senate in Alabama, was rocked by scandal this week, as a woman accused him of initiating sexual contact with her when she was only 14.

      Moore was twice removed as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to follow the constitution, and he has pulled stunts such as showing a six-shooter at one of his rallies.

      The new charges will unseat him, right?

    • Breitbart Goes to Bat for Roy Moore Amid Sex Scandal w/ Teenage Girl

      Minutes before the Washington Post on Thursday published a bombshell report detailing allegations by a woman who claims Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 14, the Steve Bannon-directed outlet Breitbart News ran a story that spotlighted Moore’s denials of the claims against him and attempted to “undermine the Post‘s credibility.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Twitter Sued Over Slow Response to DMCA Takedown Request

        Photographer Kristen Pierson Reilly has filed a lawsuit against Twitter, claiming that the social network failed to promptly remove a copyright-infringing photo. In a complaint filed in a federal court in California, Pierson demands compensation for the damage she suffered, stating that Twitter took 90 days to remove the image.

      • Sci-Hub Won’t Be Blocked by US ISPs Anytime Soon

        A few days ago a US federal court issued a broad injunction against Sci-Hub, ordering the site’s operator to pay millions in damages. On top of that, the court issued a broad injunction granting search engine and ISP blockades under certain conditions. While the order sets a precedent, Google and Comcast won’t be asked to take action anytime soon.


Links 11/11/2017: Mesa 17.2.5 and Wine 2.21 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Chrome OS Getting Accelerated Video Decoding and Encoding Capabilities Info Soon

      François Beaufort is always teasing Chromebook users with the latest features, and today he posted a message on his Google+ page that accelerated video decoding and encoding capabilities are now available in the internal chrome://gpu page in Chrome Canary.

      It appears that the functionally works if you set profiles for various of the supported video codecs by Chrome OS, which can be decoded and encoded through hardware acceleration if your Chromebook is supported, which many of them are.

    • Samsung shows off Linux desktops on Galaxy smartmobes

      Samsung teased the idea of Linux on its flagship phones in October 2017, promising that Linux would run in your hand or, if you use its DeX dock, in full desktop mode on a monitor. Now it’s released the video below to show off its idea.

      Described as a “Concept Demo”, the vid has a couple of interesting moments.

      The first comes at the 12 second mark, after the “Linux on Galaxy” app has been run. At this point we see Ubuntu 16 listed, along with a plus sign to add other OSes to the app. This appears to make good on Samsung’s promise that you’ll be able to have multiple OSes in your Galaxy.

    • Linux is coming to Samsung Galaxy smartphones

      The idea of putting Linux on a smartphone is not new but the fact that Samsung is testing the operating system on its smartphones is.

      Samsung made the announcement that it would be possible to run Linux on a Galaxy smartphone at SDC 2017 earlier this year.

    • Linux Distros On Smartphone: The First “Linux On Galaxy” Demo Is Here

      Technology companies involved in desktop and mobile space have been trying hard to achieve a perfect sense of convergence. Microsoft has been doing it with the help of Continuum; Apple has its own approach to make the iPad workflow more PC-like. Along the same lines, Samsung launched the new DeX dock with its flagship Galaxy S8.

    • Apple’s Late-2016 MacBook Pro Is Still A Wreck With Linux

      At the end of last year we had a brief encounter with the new at the time MacBook Pro with Touchbar to see how well it would run under Linux. It was a mess with SSD difficulties, non-working touchpad/keyboard, WiFi issues, and more. It’s a bit better using the newly-released Ubuntu 17.10, but would still advise against Linux for the Apple MacBook Pro Late-2016 model / Mac-A5C67F76ED83108C / MacBookPro 13,3 model.

  • Server

    • What is OpenHPC?

      High performance computing (HPC)—the aggregation of computers into clusters to increase computing speed and power—relies heavily on the software that connects and manages the various nodes in the cluster. Linux is the dominant HPC operating system, and many HPC sites expand upon the operating system’s capabilities with different scientific applications, libraries, and other tools.

      As HPC began developing, that there was considerable duplication and redundancy among the HPC sites compiling HPC software became apparent, and sometimes dependencies between the different software components made installations cumbersome. The OpenHPC project was created in response to these issues. OpenHPC is a community-based effort to solve common tasks in HPC environments by providing documentation and building blocks that can be combined by HPC sites according to their needs.

    • Containerd Brings More Container Runtime Options for Kubernetes

      A container runtime is software that executes containers and manages container images on a node. Today, the most widely known container runtime is Docker, but there are other container runtimes in the ecosystem, such as rkt, containerd, and lxd. Docker is by far the most common container runtime used in production Kubernetes environments, but Docker’s smaller offspring, containerd, may prove to be a better option. This post describes using containerd with Kubernetes.

    • Prometheus 2.0 Arrives with a Speedy New Local Storage Engine

      Improved local storage is at the heart of the new release of Prometheus 2.0, according to Fabian Reinartz, a CoreOS software engineer and a core developer of the Prometheus monitoring system.

      With distributed system coordination software such as Kubernetes and Mesos, monitored environments have become increasingly more dynamic, Reinartz pointed out in a blog post. The motioning software needed its own dedicated storage to ensure responsiveness in these dynamic environments.

      Though Prometheus 1.6 introduced auto-tuning capabilities, the team has been working on a more performant time-series database. “It’s just way more reliable and faster. Ideally, you don’t want to have to reconfigure all the time, so Prometheus just responds to change in demands, so there are way fewer knobs to turn for the people running it,” Reinartz said in an interview.

    • Mesosphere DC/OS Container Platform Now Available through Azure Marketplace
    • Here’s How Microsoft and Google are Trying to Catch Amazon in the Cloud

      It’s hard to think of a business Amazon.com Inc. dominates as convincingly as the market for cloud computing services. Andy Jassy, chief executive officer of the company’s cloud division, Amazon Web Services Inc., likes to brag that his outfit has several times as much business as the next 14 providers combined. Amazon’s next-largest cloud competitor, Microsoft Corp., is less than one-fifth Amazon’s size in terms of sales of infrastructure services, which store and run data and applications in the cloud, according to research firm Gartner Inc. Google, the No. 3 U.S. cloud services provider and the second-largest company in the world by market value, makes one-fifteenth of Amazon’s cloud revenue.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • SoundWire Subsystem Revised For The Linux Kernel

      SoundWire is being proposed again for being introduced to the Linux kernel as a new soundsystem.

      Back in October 2016 is when Intel developers originally proposed SoundWire support for Linux. SoundWire is a low-power, two-pin bus that’s been around since 2014 for supporting multiple audio streams and embedded control/commands. This specification is developed by MIPI. More details on the SoundWire specification via MIPI.org.

    • Fixes MIA for Many Linux Kernel Flaws [Ed: But these are not very severe bugs as they require physical access to the machine to exploit]

      A Google code security researcher’s recent discovery of 14 flaws in Linux kernel USB drivers led to last-minute fixes in the Linux 4.14 release candidate code set for distribution on Sunday.

      The flaws, which Google researcher Andrey Konovalov disclosed earlier this week, affect the Linux kernel before version 4.13.8.

      All 14 have available fixes. However, they are part of a much larger group of 79 flaws affecting the Linux kernel’s USB drivers, some of which remain unpatched.

      Within this larger group of coding flaws, 22 now have a Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures number, and fixes are available for them.

    • We Could See WireGuard Upstreamed In The Linux Kernel In 2018

      WireGuard is the effort led by Jason Donenfeld to provide a next-gen secure network tunnel for the Linux kernel. Jason has laid out plans and next steps for getting this interesting project merged into the upstream Linux kernel.

    • Linux Foundation/Hyperledger/Blockchain

      • The Linux Foundation Open Source Summit: the importance of a diverse community

        The Linux Foundation Open Source Summit was held recently in Prague. During the Summit the important issue of diversity in the opensource and tech communities was addressed.

        It was inspiring to hear from young expert speakers about the opportunities and challenges they face in these communities. Similarly the topic of gender diversity was also discussed.

      • Hyperledger Goes to School

        Hyperledger , the blockchain reference framework launched by the Linux Foundation , is nearly two years old. It is starting to gain commercial traction, underpinning projects such as Everledger , the blockchain to track the provenance of high-value items like diamonds.

        Now that Hyperledger is getting more popular, developers and businesspeople alike will want to get more acquainted with it. To that end, the Linux Foundation has partnered with edX to launch an online course. Founded by Harvard and MIT, edX is one of the many Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) providers on the web.

      • Most Blockchain Projects Go Bust

        Deloitte analyzed GitHub, the popular open-source code repository and collaboration platform, to examine the state of the blockchain development scene. GitHub boasts 24 million users and over 68 million projects.

      • Report: Only 8% of open-source blockchain projects launched in 2016 are still active

        he majority of blockchain projects launched on the open-source platform GitHub were abandoned within months, according to recent research out of consulting firm Deloitte.

        The Deloitte researchers analyzed metadata from blockchain projects available on GitHub, a global software collaboration platform comprising 68-plus projects from 24 million participants. They determined roughly 8,600 blockchain projects, on average, have launched each year since 2009.

    • Graphics Stack

      • OpenGL Atomic Counters Land For R600 Gallium3D

        Support for atomic counters have landed within the R600 Gallium3D driver that continues to be used by pre-GCN graphics cards from the Radeon HD 2000 series through the Radeon HD 6000 series.

      • Geometry Shader Support For RadeonSI’s NIR Back-End

        AMD this year has been developing a NIR back-end for the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver in part for supporting the ARB_gl_spirv extension in being able to re-use/share some code with the RADV Vulkan driver that obviously already deals with SPIR-V and relies on NIR for its intermediate representation. Now support for geometry shaders is coming to RadeonSI NIR.

      • Mesa 17.2.5 Released

        The fifth point release to Mesa 17.2 is now available with the latest fixes while the Mesa 17.3 official release is imminent.

      • mesa 17.2.5

        Mesa 17.2.5 is now available.

        In this release we have:

        In Mesa Core a GL error related to the ARB_ES3_1_compatibility spec
        noticed with the GFXBench 5 Aztec Ruins has been corrected.

        The GLSL compiler is not giving a linker error for mismatching uniform
        precision with GLSL ES 1.00 any more. This enables, specially, several
        Android applications which violate this rule, like Forge of Empires,
        for example.

      • Intel Posts Patches For SPIR-V Generation From Mesa’s GLSL Compiler

        Longtime Intel open-source graphics driver developer Ian Romanick has posted his initial set of patches for what he calls “the first of the real SPIR-V work.”

      • Intel Begins Testing Early Graphics Driver Changes For Linux 4.16

        Linux 4.14 isn’t even out the door yet but with the DRM-Next feature period over in preparation for the Linux 4.15 merge window, Intel open-source developers are already prepping code improvements that will in turn target Linux 4.16.

        Rodrigo Vivi announced the updated drm-intel-testing code today as the start of new feature material that will eventually find its way into the Linux 4.16 kernel next year.

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Applications 17.08 Reaches End of Life, KDE Apps 17.12 Coming December 14

        KDE Applications 17.08.3 is the last stability update for KDE Applications 17.08, bringing a total of 41 bug fixes for various core components and applications, among which we can mention Ark, Gwenview, Kdenlive, KGpg, Kontact, Kleopatra, KMail, KNotes, KWave, Okular, and Spectacle, along with updated translations.

        Among the improvements included in this release, we can mention a workaround for a Samba 4.7 regression related to password-protected SMB shares, a fix for an Okular crash that occurred after certain rotation jobs, as well as support for the Ark archive manager to preserve file modification dates when extracting ZIP archives.

      • Kubuntu 17.10 Users Can Now Update to KDE Plasma 5.11.3 Desktop Environment

        Kubuntu 17.10 was released on October 19, 2017, with the KDE Plasma 5.10.5 desktop environment by default. If you’re running Kubuntu 17.10 on your personal computer, you can now update it to the KDE Plasma 5.11.3 desktop environment, a bugfix release that addresses multiple issues and annoyances.

        The KDE Plasma 5.11.3 packages landed today in the Kubuntu Backports PPA (Personal Package Archive), not Kubuntu 17.10′s standard software repositories, along with several other recent KDE applications and core component, including the recently released Krita digital painting software.

      • Plasma 5.11.3 bugfix release now in backports PPA for Artful Aardvark 17.10
      • Kdenlive 17.08.3 released

        The last dot release of the 17.08 series is out with minor fixes. We continue focus on the refactoring branch with steady progress towards a stable release.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Code indexing in Builder

        Anoop, one of Builder’s GSoC students this past summer, put together a code-index engine built upon Builder’s fuzzy search algorithm. It shipped with support for C and C++. Shortly after the 3.27 cycle started, Patrick added support for GJS. Today I added support for Vala which was rather easy given the other code we have in Builder.

      • Simplifying contributions

        Every release of both GNOME and Builder, we try to lower the barrier a bit more for new contributions. Bastian mentioned to me at GUADEC that we could make things even simpler from the Builder side of things. After a few mockups, I finally found some time to start implementing it.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia 5 GNU/Linux Operating System to Reach End of Life on New Year’s Eve

        In the blog announcement, the Mageia developer explains that the team decided to postpone the EOL (End-of-Life) for the Mageia 5 release, which was supposed to reach end of life on October 31, until New Year’s Eve, because many Mageia 5 users haven’t upgraded to Mageia 6.

        Announced on July 16, 2017, Mageia 6 is the latest stable release of the GNU/Linux distribution, incorporating some of the latest GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source applications, including the KDE Plasma 5.11 desktop environment, AppStream support, GRUB2 as default bootloader, a new Xfce Live edition, and much more.

    • Arch Family

      • A look at Arch Linux based Antergos

        So, I’ve mentioned a few times for my love of Arch Linux and Manjaro, but there is another player in the mix that deserves due diligence, and has actually won over my personal use vote as well; Antergos.

        The main difference between Antergos and Manjaro is updates and repositories. Manjaro holds updates for further testing, Antergos does not, and Antergos uses the Arch repos directly.

        That said, when you are finished installing Antergos, you are essentially left with an Arch Linux system that has a few extra bells and whistles installed, where as Manjaro is Manjaro, based on Arch. This is over-simplifying, but the essential core difference.

        Antergos can be downloaded from the homepage, and comes in either a minimal ISO or a live ISO. Both are graphically bootable and use graphical installers, it’s just that one will allow you to boot into a live system and try things first, the other will not.

        The installation tool is very simple to use, and anyone with prior installation experience will have absolutely no problems using it.

      • Arch Linux Ends Support for 32-Bit Systems

        Arch Linux has ended support for i686 architecture i.e 32-bit systems. This is not a sudden decision because an announcement was made in January this year. Decreasing popularity was cited as the driving factor behind this decision: “Due to the decreasing popularity of i686 among the developers and the community, we have decided to phase out the support of this architecture.”

    • Red Hat Family

      • What is Red Hat Linux?

        Red Hat provides an ecosystem which supports diverse workloads for physical, cloud and virtual environments. Multiple versions of Red Hat are available for desktops, SAP applications, mainframes, servers, and OpenStack. Red Hat supports a large number of different software packages which helps in easy use for enterprise level applications.

      • Red Hat CTO Details the Next Waves of IT Innovation

        Red Hat is involved in a number of areas of IT that use its Linux operating system as a base. Providing direction on many of those areas of IT is Red Hat Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Chris Wright.

        Wright has been with Red Hat since 2005 and was officially promoted to the role of CTO in October 2017. Wright is only the second CTO in Red Hat’s history, following Brian Stevens, who held the position from 2001 until 2014, when he left to join Google.

        In a video interview with eWEEK, Wright discusses some of the future technology directions for his company, including what’s next for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), where machine learning and artificial intelligence are headed, and what the most exciting areas of innovation are likely to be in the years ahead.

        “At the end of the day, RHEL is about running enterprise workloads on a stable long-term supported platform, and that’s the core focus,” Wright said. “We’re doing some enablement of new hardware and have had a preview release for RHEL on ARM.”

      • Red Hat and Integration Take Center Stage at OpenStack Summit

        Red Hat previews its upcoming release of the cloud platform while the OpenStack Foundation talks product integration.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 27 Is Cleared For Release Next Week

          Following a few days, Fedora 27 is cleared to ship next week.

          Fedora 27 was due to be released at the end of October but delays pushed it back. Fortunately, at today’s Go/No-Go meeting, the blocker bugs were cleared so the team decided that this next Red Hat sponsored Fedora Linux installment is ready to ship.

        • PHP version 7.0.26RC1 and 7.1.12RC1
    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Elive 2.9.14 beta released

          The Elive Team is proud to announce the release of the beta version 2.9.14

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark – Art eater

            Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark is definitely one of the worst releases ever – among the few distros that I actually consider worth actually using to begin with, and probably the most underwhelming Ubuntu ever released. If Canonical really wants to revive the desktop, then it must ditch Gnome and go with Plasma. Otherwise, it’s just going to be one long, neverending disaster of apathy, mediocrity and self-delusion. Fonts are the only thing that works well in this release.

            Everything else is just awful – a sad live session that showcases nothing, Samba regressions, Nouveau color fiasco, application crashes, botched extensions mechanism, a neutered and counter-intuitive desktop, and the list goes on. You’ve read the review, no need for me to repeat itself. And the simple reason for this is Gnome. But then it’s up to Canonical to do things right. Only can you really blame them for not trying? They wanted to make Linux big, but the so-called community took a proverbial dump on them. The only reason why anyone even remotely cares about Linux desktop is Ubuntu, and now it’s not even that. Ubuntu is tired. The old passion is gone.

            The only salvation is to reboot the whole thing. Plasma. Hopefully, come April 2018, there will be one LTS and it will be running KDE, and it will be called Ubuntu. At the moment, we’re back in 2005 or so, when Ubuntu just started. Maybe other DE flavors will be better. 1/10. Hardly worth testing. You might be luckier, but if it comes to luck and not professionalism, you might as well not bother. Dedoimedo regretfully approves this review.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 Daily Builds Available For Download — A New Default Theme Is (Probably) Coming

            The development of next Ubuntu LTS release, i.e., Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver (here’s the story behind codename), has started. It was preceded by Artful Aardvark that marked a shift from Unity to GNOME desktop environment. For LTS users, who are currently running 16.04, Bionic Beaver would be a landmark release.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • First Look: ‘I Lost My Body,’ A Feature Made With Open-Source Blender Software

    The film will mark the feature directorial debut of French filmmaker Jérémy Clapin, known for atmospheric short-form masterpieces like Skhizein and Palmipedarium, which explore uncomfortable inner states and mental processes.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 57: Good news? It’s nippy. Bad news? It’ll also trash your add-ons

        Open Source Insider Mozilla plans on November 14 to start rolling out Firefox 57, a massive update that just might send many of its users scurrying for the LTS release.

        First the good news. Firefox 57 is faster, quite noticeably so, thanks to improvements to what Mozilla calls Project Quantum. Quantum encompasses several smaller projects in order to bring more parallelisation and GPU offloading to Firefox. That’s developer speak for using more of that really fast GPU you’ve got. And again, the results are noticeable (some of them have already rolled out).

  • SaaS/Back End

    • The OpenStack Foundation starts to look at projects beyond OpenStack

      Over the last few years, we’ve seen the launch of a number of open source foundations like the Cloud Native Compute Foundation, the Cloud Foundry Foundation and others. Most of these run under the Linux Foundation, but one of the largest open source foundation outside of that group’s orbit is the OpenStack Foundation, which — at least until now — has solely focused on the development of the OpenStack cloud computing platform.

    • Organizations Favoring Multicloud Deployments, OpenStack Survey Finds
    • OpenStack adoption grows into multi-cloud formations

      While private clouds are seen as something for larger organizations with healthy IT budgets, open source continues to play the role of disruptor, offering small to medium-size businesses (or departments of larger corporations) opportunities to build in this space as well. That’s why its interesting to see OpenStack, the open source platform for cloud computing, continuing to expand its base, and is increasingly part of more multi-cloud initiatives within enterprises.

    • OpenStack Neutron Set to Improve Cloud Networking in Queen’s Release

      There was a time when the Neutron networking project in OpenStack was not the default networking choice. Those times are now past, with Neutron now being used by the vast majority of OpenStack deployments.

      At the OpenStack Summit in Sydney, Australia the past and the future Project Technical Leads (PTLs) for Neutron talked about what landed in Neutron during the recent Pike release and what’s on roadmap for the upcoming Queen’s release cycle.

      “The mission of OpenStack networking is to implement services and associated libraries to provide on-demand, scalable and technology agnostic network abstraction,” Miguel Lavalle, PTL for Neurton for Queens’ told the audience.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • gtk3 + broadway + libreoffice

      Out of the box in Fedora 26 I see that our gtk3 version of LibreOffice mostly works under broadway so here’s libreoffice displaying through firefox. Toolbar is toast, but dialogs and menus work.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Outreachy 2017 Participants Selected For Winter 2017 Open-Source Work

      The Outreachy participants for the Winter 2017 internship program for “underrepresented people in tech” have been named.

      There are 42 interns that were selected for the internship period running from December to March. The selected women and other underrepresented groups in the Linux/open-source world will be working on items including…


  • Licensing/Legal

    • How OpenChain can transform the supply chain

      OpenChain is all about increasing open source compliance in the supply chain. This issue, which many people initially dismiss as a legal concern or a low priority, is actually tied to making sure that open source is as useful and frictionless as possible. In a nutshell, because open source is about the use of third-party code, compliance is the nexus where equality of access, safety of use, and reduction of risk can be found. OpenChain accomplishes this by building trust between organizations.

      Many companies today understand open source and act as major supporters of open source development; however, addressing open source license compliance in a systematic, industry-wide manner has proven to be a somewhat elusive challenge. The global IT market has not seen a significant reduction in the number of open source compliance issues in areas such as consumer electronics over the past decade.


      The OpenChain Project, hosted by The Linux Foundation, is intended to make open source license compliance more predictable, understandable, and efficient for the software supply chain. Formally launched in October 2016, the OpenChain Project started three years earlier with discussions that continued at an increasing pace until a formal project was born. The basic idea was simple: Identify recommended processes for effective open source management. The goal was equally clear: Reduce bottlenecks and risk when using third-party code to make open source license compliance simple and consistent across the supply chain. The key was to pull things together in a manner that balanced comprehensiveness, broad applicability, and real-world usability.

    • Software Freedom Strategy with Community Projects

      All of those led me to understand how software freedom is under attack, in particular how copyleft in under attack. And, as I talked during FISL, though many might say that “Open Source has won”, end users software freedom has not. Lots of companies have co-opted “free software” but give no software freedom to their users. They seem friends with free software, and they are. Because they want software to be free. But freedom should not be a value for software itself, it needs to be a value for people, not only companies or people who are labeled software developers, but all people.

      That’s why I want to stop talking about free software, and talk more about software freedom. Because I believe the latter is more clear about what we are talking about. I don’t mind that we use whatever label, as long as we stablish its meaning during conversations, and set the tone to distinguish them. The thing is: free software does not software freedom make. Not by itself. As Bradley Kuhn puts it: it’s not magic pixie dust.

      Those who have known me for years might remember me as a person who studied free software licenses and how I valued copyleft, the GPL specifically, and how I concerned myself with topics like license compatibility and other licensing matters.

      Others might remember me as a person who valued a lot about upstreaming code. Not carrying changes to software openly developed that you had not made an effort to put upstream.

      I can’t say I was wrong on both accounts. I still believe in those things. I still believe in the importance of copyleft and the GPL. I still value sharing your code in the commons by going upstream. But I was certaily wrong in valuing them too much. Or not giving as much or even more value to distribution efforts of getting software freedom to the users.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • SUVs based on Tesla’s open source patents, fighting cancer with open source, and more
    • Open Data

    • Open Access/Content

      • Grants encourage faculty to use open-source course materials

        Shakespearean resource — Students in the “Acting Shakespeare” class of SUNY Oswego theatre department faculty member Mya Brown (front, with arm raised) work on a passage from “Romeo and Juliet.” With the assistance of a grant for open educational resources, Brown’s class is creating an annotated database of dialogues from Shakespeare’s plays that will be available as a resource for future students. From left are Esther Guidet, Marisa Miner, Wyatt Gilbert, Trey Thomas, Maegan Kenny and Evan Ribaudo.

        Recognizing that textbooks and courseware have become issues of affordability and access for many, faculty members have joined a State University of New York initiative to boost availability of and support for materials that students can freely or less expensively use.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open-source 3D printed kit transforms $500 wheelchair into $2500 electronic wheelchair

        A team of around 30 high school roboticists from Ra’anana in Israel has developed a 3D printed Electric Wheelchair Kit that transforms an ordinary wheelchair into a motorized one. The free-to-download 3D printed tool could save wheelchair users around $2,000.

      • Open Source Motor Controller Makes Smooth Moves with Anti-Cogging

        Almost two years ago, a research team showed that it was possible to get fine motor control from cheap, brushless DC motors. Normally this is not feasible because the motors are built-in such a way that the torque applied is not uniform for every position of the motor, a phenomenon known as “cogging”. This is fine for something that doesn’t need low-speed control like a fan motor, but for robotics it’s a little more important. Since that team published their results, though, we are starting to see others implement their own low-speed brushless motor controllers.

  • Programming/Development

    • Practical Functional Programming

      40 years ago, on October 17th, 1977, the Turing Award was presented to John Backus for his contribution to the design of high-level programming systems, most notably the Fortran programming language. All Turing Award winners are given the opportunity to present a lecture on a topic of their choice during the year in which they receive the award. As the creator of the Fortran programming language, one may have expected Backus to lecture on the benefits of Fortran and future developments in the language. Instead, he gave a lecture entitled Can programming be liberated from the Von Neumann style? in which he criticized some of the mainstream languages of the day, including Fortran, for their shortcomings. He also proposed an alternative: a functional style of programming.

    • The long goodbye to C

      I was thinking a couple of days ago about the new wave of systems languages now challenging C for its place at the top of the systems-programming heap – Go and Rust, in particular. I reached a startling realization – I have 35 years of experience in C. I write C code pretty much every week, but I can no longer remember when I last started a new project in C!

    • Ten interesting features from various modern languages
    • 7 Open-Source Test Automation Frameworks

      As we enter the last quarter of 2017, TestProject’s team decided to round up the best open-source test automation frameworks out there, to help you choose the right one for you!

      Here are the pros and cons of 7 different open-source test automation frameworks.


  • Wife discovers spouse’s affair midair, outburst forces pilot to land

    The woman had unlocked her husband’s phone using his thumb impression when he was sleeping and then blew her top after discovering his infidelity. The crew tried to pacify her but she did not listen.

  • Algorithmic Videos Are Making YouTube Unsuitable For Young Children, And Google’s ‘Revenue Architecture’ Is To Blame

    The piece on Medium explores a particular class of YouTube Kids videos that share certain characteristics. They have bizarre, keyword-strewn titles like “Bad Baby with Tantrum and Crying for Lollipops Little Babies Learn Colors Finger Family Song 2 ” or “Angry Baby vs Spiderman vs Frozen Elsa BABY DROWNING w/ Maleficent Car Pink Spidergirl Superhero IRL”. They have massive numbers of views: 110 million for “Bad Baby” and 75 million for “Angry Baby”. In total, there seem to be thousands of them with similar, strange titles, and similar, disturbing content, which collectively are racking up billions of views.

  • How a smart phone makes time irrelevant

    So the smart phone age of the information era deteriorates time’s hold on capturing your attention. Just like a digital song starts analog, goes digital, and comes out analog again, we down-scale our memories on the conversion scale. It’s a lossy compression. We hold a moment in our hands, measured by pixels, over a connection and passion that comes from remembering the full power of a moment.

    But the solution isn’t to abandon the digital world and cast the device aside. The solution is to promote and encourage better balance between the digital and analog worlds. Compact lenses capture a moment, but the act of capturing doesn’t have to end the moment. If your digital world is ever gnawing at your back, find time to pull out into the analog world a bit.

  • 4 Situational Leadership Styles

    At SEETEST this year I visited only tracks related to management and leadership. The presentation How good leadership makes you a great team player by Jeroen Rosink was of particular interest to me. He talked about situational leadership.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Brexit, weak growth and an ageing population risk sinking the NHS

      In a couple of weeks, Philip Hammond will deliver his second Budget and the first since the snap general election. It’ll be a stressful time for him. Walk past the Treasury building this week and it’s a fair bet the lights will be on late into the night.

      Budgets are economic events but they’re also intensely political. Being able to navigate between the economics and the politics is the mark of a successful chancellor. But this Budget feels rather like Franklin’s famous search for the elusive North West Passage between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans: paved with icebergs and icy winds. Brexit – and the substantial downgrading of the productive potential of the economy that is expected to come with it – will significantly reduce his room for manoeuvre. And the public is clearly fed up with austerity. The risk of being sunk by icebergs is huge.

    • What Corporate Media Failed to Learn About Canadian Single-Payer

      When it was announced that several journalists would travel with Sen. Bernie Sanders in October for a hospital tour of Canada to learn about its single-payer system, one question immediately sprang to mind: What would corporate media do to smear universal healthcare this time?

      It is a sad reflection on the state of healthcare reporting in the United States that one can so easily predict how many media outlets will respond to a news event before it even happens. Yet for many familiar with years of media either ignoring or rejecting the merits of a universal public healthcare system—Canada’s in particular—it was hard not to expect dismissiveness and/or mockery from outlets such as the New York Times and Vox, who sent reporters on the tour.

      The results were unsurprising. Vox (10/31/17) used the occasion to explain why single-payer is likely a pipe dream that doesn’t fit with American values. Much of the Times article (11/2/17) read like satire aimed at mocking Canada and Sanders.

    • First Consultations Held On WHO Pandemic Flu Framework Options
    • WIPO Vaccines Report Contestable, Advocate Says, With UN High-Level Panel Misquoted

      But a column published by InfoJustice.org, written by researcher Yuan Qiong Hu, is contesting the finding of the WIPO report, which according to her “concluded with several contestable remarks and downplayed the role of patent in hindering vaccine competition.”


      Hu, who was attending the WIPO event, remarked at that time that the United Nations High Level Panel on Access to Medicines was mentioned in the WIPO report, but not in a satisfying way.


      “WIPO needs to retreat this report to give a more professional analysis on the concrete patent barriers facing the new vaccine market, and the legal and policy tools that countries could use in tackling evergreening practices,” she added.

    • Is TRIPS preventing vulnerable countries from accessing basic drugs? The case of South Africa

      Against this background, countries such as China, South Africa and Brazil have challenged certain IP laws, especially those that preclude access to essential drugs. For example, the cost of cancer-treating drugs in both South Africa and China are unaffordable for the majority of the population, amounting by one estimate to 286% of the monthly salary of the average Chinese cancer patient. More generally, governments and NGO’s have claimed that IP protection imposed by TRIPS serves to maximise multinational pharmaceutical companies profits rather than foster innovation.

  • Security

    • CIA created code to impersonate Kaspersky Lab: WikiLeaks

      The CIA created code that could be used to impersonate exfiltration attempts from computers infected with its malware implants as being staged by others, according to WikiLeaks. Three examples of impersonating Kaspersky Lab were released by the whistle-blower website on Thursday.

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Ubuntu Insights: Security Team Weekly Summary: November 9, 2017
    • Intel’s super-secret Management Engine firmware now glimpsed, fingered via USB
    • MINIX based Intel Management Engine Firmware & UEFI are Closed Source & Insecure, NERF to the Rescue!

      You may have heard a few things about Intel Management Engine in recent months, especially as security issues have been found, the firmware is not easily upgradeable, and the EFF deemed it a security hazard asking Intel for ways to disable it.

    • Recent Intel Chipsets Have A Built-In Hidden Computer, Running Minix With A Networking Stack And A Web Server

      The “Ring-3″ mentioned there refers to the level of privileges granted to the ME system. As a Google presentation about ME (pdf) explains, operating systems like GNU/Linux run on Intel chips at Ring 0 level; Ring-3 (“minus 3″) trumps everything above — include the operating system — and has total control over the hardware. Throwing a Web server and a networking stack in there too seems like a really bad idea. Suppose there was some bug in the ME system that allowed an attacker to take control? Funny you should ask; here’s what we learned earlier this year…


      Those don’t seem unreasonable requests given how serious the flaws in the ME system have been, and probably will be again in the future. It also seems only fair that people should be able to control fully a computer that they own — and that ought to include the Minix-based computer hidden within.

    • “Game Over!” — Intel’s Hidden, MINIX-powered ME Chip Can Be Hacked Over USB

      Even the creator of MINIX operating system didn’t know that his for-education operating system is on almost every Intel-powered computer.

    • Researchers find almost EVERY computer with an Intel Skylake and above CPU can be owned via USB

      Turns out they were right. Security firm Positive Technologies reports being able to execute unsigned code on computers running the IME through USB. The fully fleshed-out details of the attack are yet to be known, but from what we know, it’s bad.

    • Hacking a Fingerprint Biometric
    • Dashlane Password Manager Now Supports Linux [Ed: But why would anyone with a clue choose to upload his/her passwords?]

      Dashlane, the popular password manager, now supports Linux (and ChromeOS and Microsoft Edge) thanks to new web extension and web app combination.

    • Source Code For CIA’s Spying Tool Hive Released By Wikileaks: Vault 8

      From November 9, Wikileaks has started a new series named Vault 8. As a part of this series, the first leak contains the source code and analysis for Hive software project. Later, the other leaks of this series are expected to contain the source code for other tools as well.

    • Cryptojacking found on 2496 online stores

      Cryptojacking – running crypto mining software in the browser of unsuspecting visitors – is quickly spreading around the web. And the landgrab extends to online stores. The infamous CoinHive software was detected today on 2496 e-commerce sites.

    • 2,500+ Websites Are Now “Cryptojacking” To Use Your CPU Power And Mine Cryptocurrency
    • MongoDB update plugs security hole and sets sights on the enterprise

      Document database-flinger MongoDB has long positioned itself as the dev’s best friend, but after ten years it is now fluffing itself up for the enterprise.

      The firm, which went public just last month and hopes to earn up to $220m, has now launched the latest version of its database, which aims to appeal to these bigger customers.

    • How AV can open you to attacks that otherwise wouldn’t be possible [Ed: Any proprietary software put on top of any other software (FOSS included) is a threat and a possible back door]

      Antivirus programs, in many cases, make us safer on the Internet. Other times, they open us to attacks that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. On Friday, a researcher documented an example of the latter—a vulnerability he found in about a dozen name-brand AV programs that allows attackers who already have a toehold on a targeted computer to gain complete system control.

      AVGater, as the researcher is calling the vulnerability, works by relocating malware already put into an AV quarantine folder to a location of the attacker’s choosing. Attackers can exploit it by first getting a vulnerable AV program to quarantine a piece of malicious code and then moving it into a sensitive directory such as C:\Windows or C:\Program Files, which normally would be off-limits to the attacker. Six of the affected AV programs have patched the vulnerability after it was privately reported. The remaining brands have yet to fix it, said Florian Bogner, a Vienna, Austria-based security researcher who gets paid to hack businesses so he can help them identify weaknesses in their networks.

    • Estonia arrests suspected FSB agent accused of “computer-related crime”

      Estonian authorities announced this week that they had recently arrested a Russian man suspected of being an agent of the Federal Security Service (FSB) who was allegedly planning “computer-related crime.”

      The 20-year-old man, whose identity was not made public, was arrested last weekend in the Estonian border city of Narva as he was trying to return to Russia.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Military-Industrial Complex Is Fundamentally Changing the European Union
    • U.S. announces sanctions against 10 Venezuelan officials
    • US unveils fresh Venezuela sanctions, targets 10 officials

      The United States on Thursday (Nov 9) slapped more sanctions against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government, targeting 10 officials it said engaged in election irregularities to perpetuate what Washington called a dictatorial regime.

    • U.S. Hits Venezuela Electoral, Media Heads in New Sanctions

      The Trump administration slapped sanctions on 10 Venezuelan officials Thursday on allegations of corruption and rights violations after President Nicolas Maduro’s candidates swept nationwide state governor elections last month.

      The individuals are associated with undermining electoral processes, media censorship, or corruption in Maduro’s administered food programs in Venezuela, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said in a statement. As a result of the Treasury’s action, all of the sanctioned individuals’ assets under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen and all U.S. citizens are prohibited from dealing with them.

    • How Saudi Arabia Sows Instability

      U.S. propaganda claims Iran causes Mideast instability, but the truth is that Saudi Arabia – from backing Islamic extremists to blockading and bombing Yemen – is the real culprit, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

    • The CIA’s House of Horrors: Frank Olson’s Fatal Trip

      By the early 1950s the CIA’s relationship with drugs stretched from alliances with criminal smugglers of heroin to research in, and application of, lethal or mind-altering chemical agents. On November 18, 1953, a group of seven men gathered for a meeting at the Deer Creek Lodge, in the mountains of western Maryland. Three were from the US Army’s biological weapons center at Fort Detrick; the other four were CIA officers from the Agency’s Technical Services Division. This encounter was one in a regular series of working sessions on Project MK-NAOMI, with MK being the prefix for work by Technical Services and NAOMI referring to a project to develop poisons for operational use by the CIA and its clients. The men at Fort Detrick had, at the CIA’s request, already stockpiled a lethal arsenal of shellfish toxins, botulinum, anthrax and equine encephalitis.

    • Gangsters of the Mediterranean

      It wasn’t long before police began to wonder about Gennady Petrov. He and his family were clearly Russian, but their passports were Greek. They seemed to have a lot of money, and to spend it in unusual ways. A real estate agent reported that Petrov had paid a contractor to build a tunnel down to the sea from another home he had owned in the area. Then there was an incident involving two Russians who were arrested as they prowled outside an upscale shopping center. The suspects wouldn’t talk, even after the police found a bomb in their car. But detectives eventually determined that the men were hoodlums who had flown in from Frankfurt to track another Russian—a businessman who was apparently involved in a dispute with Petrov.

      The authorities soon discovered that Petrov was indeed a former boxer—and reputedly a high-ranking figure in one of Russia’s most powerful criminal organizations, the Tambovskaya. In Spain alone, he had amassed at least $50 million in properties and businesses. Beyond his island refuge, he was said to control a global network of legitimate and illicit activities, ranging from jewelry stores and extortion rings to the gray-market sale of Soviet MiG-29 fighter jets. But even the scope of Petrov’s enterprises did not prepare Spanish investigators for what they heard when they began to listen in on his telephone calls.

    • Giving the Game Away

      Take these words that became ubiquitous among U.S. media and political elites referring to the United States of America in the wake of 9/11: “the homeland,” “defense of the homeland,” “homeland defense,” “homeland security.”

      This omnipresent “homeland” rhetoric is profoundly nationalistic, authoritarian, and imperial. There’s a Germanic, blood and soil feel about it: a sense that U.S.-Americans connection to North America below the Canadian line (plus Alaska and Hawaii) is rooted in race, ethnicity, and ancestry. At the same time, it carries an implicitly imperial vision of the United States’ global place and role. There’s normal “defense” – “defense” of areas beyond our borders in alien regions we control and dominate – and then there’s defense of us proper: the home-/father-land.

    • Pope Denounces ‘Mentality of Fear’ Caused by Nuclear Regimes, Urges Disarmament

      At a Vatican seminar attended by Nobel Peace Prize winners, United Nations officials, and representatives from countries with nuclear capabilities, Pope Francis urged leaders to move towards nuclear disarmament on Friday.

      The pontiff’s speech came a week after he made a plea for an end to “useless massacres” in an anti-war speech at a military cemetery in Italy, in which he alluded to the rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, exacerbated in recent months by President Donald Trump’s bellicose threats in response to Kim Jong-un’s nuclear tests.

      Pope Francis argued that the insistence on maintaining nuclear arsenals by nations including the United States, North Korea, and France “creates nothing but a false sense of security,” and therefore total disarmament is the only acceptable solution.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • UK prosecutors admit destroying key emails in Julian Assange case

      The Crown Prosecution Service is facing embarrassment after admitting it destroyed key emails relating to the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy fighting extradition.

      Email exchanges between the CPS and its Swedish counterparts over the high-profile case were deleted after the lawyer at the UK end retired in 2014.

      The destruction of potentially sensitive and revealing information comes ahead of a tribunal hearing in London next week.

      Adding to the intrigue, it emerged the CPS lawyer involved had, unaccountably, advised the Swedes in 2010 or 2011 not to visit London to interview Assange. An interview at that time could have prevented the long-running embassy standoff.

      The CPS, responding to questions from the Guardian, denied there were any legal implications of the data loss for an Assange case if it were to come to court in the future. Asked if the CPS had any idea what was destroyed, a spokesperson said: “We have no way of knowing the content of email accounts once they have been deleted.”

    • Seven Years Confined: How A Foia Litigation Is Shedding Light On The Case Of Julian Assange

      The siege by Scotland Yard agents around the red brick building in Knightsbridge has been gone for two years now. And with Sweden dropping the rape investigation last May, even the European arrest warrant hanging over Julian Assange’s head like the sword of Damocles has gone. Many expected the founder of WikiLeaks to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been confined for over five years, after spending one and a half years under house arrest. But Assange hasn’t dared leave the Embassy due to concern he would be arrested, extradited to the US and charged for publishing WikiLeaks’ secret documents.

      Julian Assange’s situation is unique. Like him and his work or not, he is the only western publisher confined to a tiny embassy, without access to even the one hour a day outdoors maximum security prisoners usually receive. He is being arbitrarily detained, according to a decision by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions in February 2016, a decision which has completely faded into oblivion. December 7th will mark seven years since he lost his freedom, yet as far as we know, in the course of these last 7 years no media has tried to access the full file on Julian Assange.

    • British prosecutors ‘deleted key emails’ linked to Julian Assange investigation

      Emails sent between officials from the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Swedish lawyers, discussing the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, were reportedly deleted back in 2014, data obtained from Freedom of Information (FoI) has suggested.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • French institute suspects nuclear accident in Russia or Kazakhstan in September

      IRSN estimates that the quantity of ruthenium 106 released was major, between 100 and 300 teraBecquerels, and that if an accident of this magnitude had happened in France it would have required the evacuation or sheltering of people in a radius of a few kilometers around the accident site.

    • US House Science Committee just had a rational hearing about climate

      House Science Committee hearings on climate change are many things to many people. For members of the committee, they are typically soapbox pageants, with long, blustery declarations punctuated by leading questions to witnesses who have been invited because they will give a desired answer. For well-known contrarians who reject most of the conclusions of climate science, they are a platform to wax martyrish about why the entire field doesn’t believe them. And for scientists (and humble journalists) who know the topic, they are primarily generators of head-to-desk contact and almost hazardously vigorous eye-rolling.

      On Wednesday, the committee held a hearing that was none of these things.

      To be fair, it was a subcommittee hearing that didn’t feature the full roster of members, but there is reason to believe that made no difference. So why the departure? The topic of the hearing was not the human actions responsible for global warming or the emissions cuts necessary to halt it. Instead, the committee discussed the science of geoengineering: the techniques that could potentially be employed to intentionally manipulate the climate in ways that would limit climate change.

    • Delhi becomes “gas chamber” as air pollution reaches ludicrous levels

      With calm winds, seasonal crop burns, and the usual vehicle and industrial emissions, an extremely thick, toxic fog of pollution has settled on Delhi, choking and sickening residents.

      Pollution measurements and indexes have exceeded charted ranges, blowing past the highest categorized levels dubbed “severe” and hazardous to health. In some areas of the gigantic metropolitan area, measurements of certain pollutants were around 30 times the levels considered safe by the World Health Organization. Local journalists reported that the smog is causing throat irritation, wheezing, nausea, vomiting, and extreme fatigue.

    • The Breakthrough: How Journalists in the Virgin Islands Covered the Disaster Happening to Them

      The rest of the world watched as Hurricanes Irma and Maria — both category 5 storms — slammed into the Virgin Islands, leaving devastation in their wake. Most of the news coverage came from journalists who flew in, and had the luxury of returning home. Reporters and editors with The Virgin Islands Daily News covered a disaster happening to them.

      One editor lost his house. Another lost his car. A circulation employee died from injuries he sustained during Hurricane Maria. Still, The Virgin Islands Daily News pressed on. Reporters and editors slept in the St. Thomas newsroom, taking turns cleaning their clothes in a washer/dryer the owner brought in after the storm. They produced a paper almost every day, and broke a government curfew to venture outdoors and deliver the news by hand.

  • Finance

    • Mother of Four Found Dead in Freezing Home After Her Welfare Was Cut Off

      In the UK, reports have emerged that a mother of four died alone in a freezing home after her social security was stopped unfairly due to sickness.

      38-year-old Elaine Morrall, from Runcorn in northwest England, was found wearing a coat and scarf after allegedly losing her social security despite suffering periods of ill health. Her cause of death is not currently known, although police have confirmed they’re investigating her death.

      A local newspaper reports that Morrall’s case came to light after her mother Linda Morrall posted a letter that subsequently went viral on social media. In the letter, Morrall’s mother alleges that she died on November 2 after her social security payments were stopped.

      “[She died] in the cold with her coat and scarf on because she wouldn’t put her heating on until her kids came home from school. [She] was in and out of hospital in recent months in intensive care but was not deemed ill enough for employment and support allowance,” Linda wrote, according to reports.

    • ‘Brexit is reversible,’ says man who wrote article 50 – video

      The former diplomat who drafted article 50 says the UK could opt to reverse Brexit up to the moment Britain leaves the European Union, even if a date for the country’s departure were added to the withdrawal bill. Lord Kerr, a former UK ambassador to the EU, said Brexiters in Theresa May’s cabinet were suggesting Brexit was irreversible and thereby misleading the public. Speaking before a speech to an Open Britain event on Friday, he added: ‘One should bear in mind that it is always possible at a later stage to decide that we want to do something different.’

    • Article 50 architect says Brexit can be reversed

      The British people are in danger of being “misled” by Government claims that Brexit cannot be reversed, the architect of Article 50 will warn.

      Lord Kerr, the former UK ambassador to the European Union, will say during a speech in London later: “We can change our minds at any stage of the process.”

      Lord Kerr played a key role in drafting Article 50, the legal mechanism for a country to withdraw from the EU.

      He will contradict the Government’s view that the process is irreversible now that it has begun.

    • In Search of Los Angeles’ Lost Socialist Colony, Llano del Rio

      It’s a typical summer day in the desert of Southern California. Very little breeze and blazing, unforgiving heat. We’re in the Mojave on an excursion to find the ruins of Llano del Rio, a socialist colony that sprouted up here in 1914. The temperature is well over 100 and it feels even hotter. As we drive past barren fields, a few groves of Joshua Trees and miles upon miles of scrub brush along Pearblossom Highway — that is, California State Route 138 — it’s hard to imagine an off-the-grid band of leftists calling this sunbaked land home over a century ago.

      Job Harriman, the founder of this utopian community, ran as Eugene Debs’ Veep in 1900 and later for California governor and twice for mayor of Los Angeles, almost winning the thing in 1911 with 44% of the vote. He likely would have won had he not lent his legal services to the infamous McNamara brothers, who blew up the Los Angeles Times building a year earlier. His association with the McNamaras was the death knell of his political aspirations.

      The bombing, which killed 21 Times’ employees and injured another 100, was carried out by J.B. McNamara and organized by his older brother J.J., both Irish American Trade Unionists, who opted for violent coercion as efforts to organize unions in Los Angeles were proving futile. After carrying out numerous bombings of ironworks in the city, at least 110 from 1906-1911, J.J. decided it was time to go after the Times, whose editorial board was vehemently anti-union.

    • The Republican Tax Plan Is Doomed, But It’s Still Worth Gawking at in Amazement
    • James Henry on Paradise Papers, Soraya Chemaly on Domestic Violence and Mass Killings

      The millions of leaked documents dubbed the Paradise Papers bring some sunlight to an arena where secrecy is the point: the world of “offshore financial centers,” where a melange of the world’s wealthiest stash money, bilk governments and generally betray any notion of a social compact. It’s great reporting; it involves trillions of dollars. Now what? We speak with investigative economist and author James Henry.

    • ‘There You Have It’: McConnell Says He ‘Misspoke’ When He Promised No Tax Hike on Middle Class

      McConnell’s reversal on a talking point that has become a mainstay for Republicans over the last several months as they attempt to sell their tax proposals to a skeptical public comes just 24 hours after the Senate unveiled its own tax plan. Like the House version, the Senate bill calls for massive tax cuts for wealthy Americans and large corporations.

      A Times analysis published Friday found that while middle class Americans would fare better under the Senate’s plan than the House’s, “both bills would disproportionately benefit high earners and corporations and raise taxes on millions of middle class families.”

    • The Public Bank Option – Safer, Local and Half the Cost

      A UK study published on October 27, 2017 reported that the majority of politicians do not know where money comes from

    • CEO who presided over Mt. Gox’s collapse could end up with massive profits

      Despite the fact that he oversaw the period when Mt. Gox went from the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange to a bankrupt and damaged company, CEO Mark Karpelès could stand to profit hundreds of millions of dollars.

      According to The Wall Street Journal, because the value of claims by people who had bitcoins stored at the Tokyo-based site are calculated in the April 2014 exchange rate between bitcoins and Japanese yen, those creditors may miss out on Bitcoin’s meteoric rise over the last year.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Year One: It’s Up to Us

      One year after his highly improbable election, President Donald Trump woke up this morning to news that in elections across the country, candidates standing for liberty, equality, and dignity defeated Republican opponents, as American voters sent a clear message that they are not buying what the president is selling. Trump has shown disregard or outright disdain for constitutional constraints, from the First Amendment to the Emoluments Clause. But Tuesday’s election underscored that in a constitutional democracy, Trump’s ability to do damage can be—and has been—substantially checked, even when his party controls Congress and two-thirds of the state legislatures, and, with his Supreme Court appointment, has a majority on the Court. In ordinary times, Congress and the president check each other, as do the Senate and the House, the Supreme Court and the other branches, and the state and federal governments. One-party control, however, requires that we find checks and balances elsewhere—in civil society. Authoritarians know this, which is why, when they come to power, among their first targets are the press, the academy, and nonprofit advocacy groups and watchdogs.

    • Veteran’s Day Reflections From a Civil Libertarian Former Soldier

      If you want to honor a veteran or service member, work to defend the rights of everyone in this nation.

      In the past few weeks, I’ve spent considerable time, far more than usual in fact, reflecting on what Veteran’s Day means to me both now and at different times in the past decade. Before joining the military, Veteran’s Day for me was what I imagine it to be for most Americans: a day to recognize the service that a portion of our population volunteered for and to thank the veterans and active duty service members I knew for serving and risking their lives for our country.

      While I was on active duty, Veteran’s Day was mostly a time to tune out the noise and check in on fellow soldiers at home and abroad. During this time, I developed a tradition of calling at least three soldiers I had served with each Veteran’s Day to say hello and see how they were doing.

      I have now been out of the Army for nearly four and a half years and, in many ways, the day has taken on increasing significance with each passing year. This year in particular, the day has taken on increased meaning in light of the initiatives coming out of the White House and the broader political climate.

    • NBC News’ Breezy Whitewash of White Supremacist Group

      A good way to gauge whether white supremacists think they’ve succeeded in spinning a news outlet into giving them a platform to “gain sympathy for pro-white advocacy” is to see whether the supremacists use their own media to promote the outlet’s coverage.

    • How Putin’s Using Hungary to Destroy Europe

      Russian President Vladimir Putin has some key allies in the European Union. In some countries, they are outliers, even fringe elements. In some, like France and the Netherlands, they made impressive bids for power before, finally, they failed. But in Hungary, a nation of about 10 million people east of Austria, west of Ukraine, and north of the Balkans, Putin’s soulmate is the prime minister, Viktor Orban.

      As with so many Putin allies and apologists (including in the United States) Orban made the fight against immigration a centerpiece of his agenda. And he then went one better by identifying another Hungarian as the personification of evil “liberalism.”

      Last month Hungary hosted a unique conference for persecuted Christians. Orban opened the conference by scolding Europe for, “denying its Christian roots” and for allowing in “dangerous extremists.”

    • Snag in Media Merger Stirs Tensions Over Trump-CNN Feud

      Early this year, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and aide, Jared Kushner, met a top executive at CNN parent Time Warner Inc. TWX 4.08% and raised concerns about the network’s coverage of the presidential election.

      Mr. Kushner told the executive, Gary Ginsberg, that CNN should fire 20% of its staff because they were so wrong in their analysis of the election and how it would turn out, people familiar with the matter say.

    • Kushner told Time Warner exec CNN should fire a fifth of its staff: report

      President Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner told an executive from CNN’s parent company earlier this year that the news organization should fire 20 percent of its staff over their coverage of the 2016 election, according to a new report.

    • France’s Le Pen stripped of immunity over gruesome IS pictures

      France’s National Assembly on Wednesday lifted the immunity from prosecution of far-right leader Marine Le Pen for tweeting pictures of Islamic State group atrocities, parliamentary sources said.

      The decision was taken by a cross-party committee in charge of the internal functioning of the assembly, after a request from the authorities to lift Le Pen’s parliamentary immunity over a crime that carries up to three years in prison.

      The leader of the National Front, who ran a failed campaign for president this year, in 2015 tweeted three pictures of IS atrocities, including one of James Foley, an American journalist beheaded by the extremists.


      In September, tensions between rival party factions — one led by anti-immigration hardliners, the other by anti-EU nationalists — burst into the open with the resignation of Le Pen’s right-hand man Florian Philippot.

      Philippot devised Le Pen’s strategy of detoxifying the FN brand and her unpopular promise to pull France out of the eurozone if elected president.

    • Bill Binney: CIA Admits It Has No Evidence of Russian Hacking

      For the past several days, the corporate-owned media has been engaged in a smear campaign against Binney, the former NSA technical director and legendary whistleblower, labelling him a conspiracy theorist. This was prompted by reports that he met with CIA director Mike Pompeo to discuss his finding that the alleged hack of the DNC server during the 2016 election campaign was in fact a leak.

      The high-stakes intrigue in Saudi Arabia continues as Saudi citizens are instructed to leave Lebanon immediately, and the Lebanese Prime Minister continues to be held in what appears to be house arrest. Is another war around the corner? Radwan Chehab, political analyst, joins the show.

      A new study from Brown University has found that the total cost of the so-called War on Terror amounts to an eye-popping $5.6 trillion. That’s $23,386 per US taxpayer! Ted Rall, editorial cartoonist and columnist, joins Brian and Walter.

    • TRUMP: ‘I really believe’ Putin ‘means it’ when he says Russia didn’t interfere in the election

    • Trump chooses Putin’s word over the US intelligence community — again
    • Donald Trump Says He Believes Putin’s Election Meddling Denials
    • Fear of Corbyn: How Theresa May Clings to Power

      British Prime Minister Theresa May is well on course – if indeed she is not already there – to go down down as the most weak and ineffectual Tory prime minister since John Major presided over his cabinet of ‘bastards’ in the early nineties.

      The escalating crises that are now a near daily occurrence within May’s government and cabinet are symptomatic of a Tory party which is irretrievably split on Brexit between no-deal fundamentalists, of whom Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is most prominent, and soft Brexit single market adherents, led by Chancellor Phillip Hammond.

      It is in the context of this split, which has grown evermore deep and antagonistic over the months of deadlock and lack of progress in the government’s Brexit negotiations with Brussels, that Theresa May has been drained of personal authority to the point where the likes of Johnson and her former International Development Secretary, Priti Patel, have felt emboldened to go rogue and plough their own furrows. Add to the mix the recent resignation of Defence Secretary Michael Fallon over sexual harassment revelations, and at this writing the mounting pressure on her Secretary of State Damien Green to resign over similar allegations of sexual impropriety, and Theresa May has been reduced to a political mannequin.

    • 2017 Elections Mark the Dawn of Change

      What a difference a year makes! Waking up after Election Day in 2017 is incredibly different from last November, when we faced the prospect of a misogynist-in-chief in the White House, starring in a four-year reality show of his own creation at our expense.

      Trump and his cronies have worked hard to undermine every fundamental of our society: trust, solidarity, and equal opportunities for all. From the environment to health care, voting rights to immigration and education, they’ve relentlessly chipped away the bonds that hold us together.

    • Unusual experiment reveals the power of non-mainstream media

      Pundits and activists have long blamed the “mainstream media” for having an outsized effect on public perceptions. Whatever side of the political spectrum you’re on, some people say, it seems as if large media outlets like the New York Times or FOX News exert too much power over the national conversation. Ideas from non-mainstream media, according to this logic, get drowned out. But a new long-term study reveals that small media outlets have a far greater effect on public discussions than anyone realized.

      To be more precise, it only takes three or more stories from small news outlets covering the same topic to make discussions of that topic go up by 62.7 percent on Twitter.

      It took a group of Harvard researchers five years to reach this conclusion. They did it by tracking the effects of stories covered by 48 small media outlets, measuring how they affected conversations on Twitter. Harvard political scientist Gary King and his colleagues explain in the journal Science that they honed in on 11 broad topics in public policy, ranging from refugees and race to food policy and domestic energy production.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Venezuela’s New Anti-hate Law Derided as Censorship

      Venezuela’s passage of a new law threatening up to 20 years in prison for “inciting hatred” is generating concerns about a growing crackdown on dissent.

      The powerful, pro-government Constituent Assembly approved the measure Wednesday.

    • “No Question” Presser and Weibo Censorship Mark Trump’s “State Visit Plus”

      On Donald Trump’s first presidential tour of Asia, he enjoyed red-carpet treatment in China during what Chinese state media billed as a “state visit-plus.” After a military parade welcome that he deemed “magnificent,” Trump was treated to a personal tour of the Forbidden City, complete with dinner (a first for a U.S. president since the founding of the PRC) and a traditional opera and acrobatics performance. President Trump appears to be getting along with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping wonderfully—a far cry from his staunchly critical China-focused campaign rhetoric, Trump lavished praise on the country and its leader, blaming his predecessors for the trade deficit that he compared to rape during a May 2016 rally.

    • Iranian regime’s censorship of films is easing, says director Hamid Nematollah

      He sat down for an interview with Fairfax Media while in Melbourne for the seventh annual Iranian Film Festival Australia (IFFA). (It’s his first time in Australia – he likens Melbourne to Prague and says it’s “one of the best cities” he’s ever travelled to.)

      His latest feature Subdued (Rag-e Khab) was among a shortlist of four for the Academy Awards best foreign language film category. But it was drama Nafas (Breath), directed by filmmaker Narges Abyar, that was selected as the final nomination. Both films are showing at the festival here.

    • Creator Of Arguably The World’s Worst Film Loses Injunction Against Unflattering Documentary

      Actor/director Tommy Wiseau has, for some reason, been trying since June of this year to block the release of an unflattering documentary about his infamous 14-year-old film, The Room. Why Wiseau would be concerned about a documentary detailing the making of one of the worst films ever is beyond me, considering Wiseau’s post-The Room career has generally been held together by the film’s cult status as the worst film of all time, which has led to additional revenue and a number of personal appearances at screenings.

    • Cambridge slammed for ‘censoring’ Palestine BDS event

      The University of Cambridge is facing accusations of censorship after it allegedly threatened to ban a meeting about the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement unless the Palestinian academic chairing it was removed and replaced with its own choice.

    • Wikipedia Warns That SESTA Could Destroy Wikipedia

      So much of the debate about SESTA has focused on three companies: Backpage, Facebook and Google. The focus on Backpage was because it’s the go to example for why some claim this bill is needed (even though Congress passed another law two years ago to target Backpage, and that law has never been used, and even though there’s already a federal grand jury investigating Backpage and there’s nothing that stops the DOJ from going after Backpage under federal law). The focus on Facebook and Google is a bit more nebulous, but could be summed up as: “those companies are too big and should do more to stop bad stuff happening online.” There’s a pretty easy path from “Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act says internet platforms aren’t responsible for what their users do” to “we need them to be more responsible” to “let’s amend CDA 230.” This line of thinking is problematic for any number of reasons that we’ve already discussed, so I won’t go over them again now.

    • Celebrate The 20th Anniversary Of A Seminal Section 230 Case Upholding It With This Series Of Essays

      We have been talking a lot lately about how important Section 230 is for enabling innovation and fostering online speech, and, especially as Congress now flirts with erasing its benefits, how fortuitous it was that Congress ever put it on the books in the first place.

      But passing the law was only the first step: for it to have meaningful benefit, courts needed to interpret it in a way that allowed for it to have its protective effect on Internet platforms. Zeran v. America Online was one of the first cases to test the bounds of Section 230′s protection, and the first to find that protection robust. Had the court decided otherwise, we likely would not have seen the benefits the statute has since then afforded.

    • Lawsuit Brought By Cosby Show Production Company Against Documentary Is The Reason We Have Fair Use

      Looking through the history of our posts on the topics of fair use and fair dealing, you find plenty of examples for why these exceptions to copyright law are so important. These exceptions are, at their heart, designed to be boons to the public in the form of an increased output in creative expression, educational material, and public commentary on matters of public interest by untethering the more restrictive aspects of copyright law from those efforts. Without fair use and fair dealing, copyright laws are open for use as weapons of censorship against unwanted content, rather than being used for their original purpose of increasing expression and content. Still, in the history of those posts, you might struggle to find what you would consider the perfect example of why fair use laws are necessary.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Sex toy company admits to recording users’ remote sex sessions, calls it a ‘minor bug’
    • [Old] Reverse Engineering Social Media
    • New Italian data retention laws forces ISPs to store phone usage and internet history for six years

      The Italian Senate has recently passed the final approval for new data retention laws included in their 2017 laws. There are two main changes to the data retention laws that recently came into action. The first being the egregious extension of the amount of time that your online data needs to be maintained; the second being the introduction of web monitoring for copyright compliance… without prior judicial review. The Italian Authority for Communications Guarantees (AGCOM) has been granted the mandate to demand the takedown or blocking of websites without judicial oversight. Under this new law, actions like the Sci-Hub block – which caused a lot of controversy in the states – could happen at the drop of a hat and without judicial. Additionally, AGCOM has been granted the power to use deep packet inspection on all internet traffic.

    • How To Safeguard Your Phone Against Spyware [Ed: Phones themselves are spyware (27/4 tracking). There’s no escaping it except avoiding them altogether.]

      Safeguarding Your Phone Against Spying Apps That prevention is better than cure is a maxim that holds true in everything. If you want to protect your phone against spy apps, you have to engage your protective gear and do what you should to keep off the spying.

    • Declassified Document Shows Reagan Had the NSA Monitor Vietnam for Details on POW/MIAs

      In a simple coincidence, U.S. President Donald Trump will spend Veterans Day 2017 in Vietnam, underscoring just how much the relationship between the two countries has changed in more than four decades. If anything, he is likely to laud the Vietnamese for their help in resolving the long-standing and controversial issue of American prisoners of war and those still listed as missing in action during the fighting in Southeast Asia. But while there is absolutely no evidence to support the idea that there are still any U.S. POWs alive in the region, declassified documents show that the United States put the full power of the intelligence community to work for years so as to be absolutely sure this was the case.

    • House Judiciary Committee Forced Into Difficult Compromise On Surveillance Reform

      The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved the USA Liberty Act, a surveillance reform package introduced last month by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI). The bill is seen by many as the best option for reauthorizing and reforming Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which is set to expire in less than two months.

      Some committee members described feeling forced to choose between supporting stronger surveillance reforms or advancing the Liberty Act, and voiced their frustration about provisions that only partly block the warrantless search of Americans’ communications when an amendment with broader surveillance reforms was introduced by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Ted Poe (R-TX). Complicating their deliberations was the fact that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has already reported out a bill with far fewer surveillance protections.

    • Exclusive: Patent shows Facebook’s ideas for payments using facial recognition
    • DOJ: Strong encryption that we don’t have access to is “unreasonable”

      Just two days after the FBI said it could not get into the Sutherland Springs shooter’s seized iPhone, Politico Pro published a lengthy interview with a top Department of Justice official who has become the “government’s unexpected encryption warrior.”

      According to the interview, which was summarized and published in transcript form on Thursday for subscribers of the website, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein indicated that the showdown between the DOJ and Silicon Valley is quietly intensifying.

      “We have an ongoing dialogue with a lot of tech companies in a variety of different areas,” he told Politico Pro. “There’s some areas where they are cooperative with us. But on this particular issue of encryption, the tech companies are moving in the opposite direction. They’re moving in favor of more and more warrant-proof encryption.”

    • Did the NSA spy on El Chapo? His lawyer sure thinks so

      Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s lawyer claims spending nearly a year in solitary confinement has made the Sinaloa cartel boss paranoid that authorities are “recording” his every move. But he also suspects Chapo’s fears might be justified.

      Last month, Chapo’s attorney Eduardo Balarezo filed a pretrial motion (viewable in full below) asking the Justice Department to hand over any evidence against his client that “was derived from eavesdropping through warrantless wireless surveillance.” Balarezo specifically asked for “all evidence obtained pursuant to the National Security Agency’s ‘PRISM’ program,” a secret spy operation revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in 2013.

    • Facebook Was Built To Exploit Bugs In Human Brain, Says Facebook ex-President

      At an Axios event in Philadelphia, Parker gave some tidbits on how companies like Facebook are ballooning so much. That’s because people like him, Mark Zuckerberg, and Kevin Systrom (co-founder of Instagram) found the bugs in the human brain. All people crave is appreciation and fame, and that’s what social networks have given to the netizens.

    • TSA Plans to Use Face Recognition to Track Americans Through Airports

      The “PreCheck” program is billed as a convenient service to allow U.S. travelers to “speed through security” at airports. However, the latest proposal released by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reveals the Department of Homeland Security’s greater underlying plan to collect face images and iris scans on a nationwide scale. DHS’s programs will become a massive violation of privacy that could serve as a gateway to the collection of biometric data to identify and track every traveler at every airport and border crossing in the country.

      Currently TSA collects fingerprints as part of its application process for people who want to apply for PreCheck. So far, TSA hasn’t used those prints for anything besides the mandatory background check that’s part of the process. But this summer, TSA ran a pilot program at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and at Denver International Airport that used those prints and a contactless fingerprint reader to verify the identity of PreCheck-approved travelers at security checkpoints at both airports. Now TSA wants to roll out this program to airports across the country and expand it to encompass face recognition, iris scans, and other biometrics as well.

    • Facebook’s Not Listening Through Your Phone. It Doesn’t Have To

      Not exactly. The Facebook targeting system had something like a million targetable keywords when I left, and it’s likely held steady or increased slightly. But unlike the Amazon Echo, which listens for just one of four trigger words, millions or perhaps billions of words and phrases could land you in a Facebook targeting segment.

    • Paywalls drive mass surveillance and give the NSA the advantage

      Putting network specifications behind subscription paywalls gives the NSA and other surveillance agencies a decisive advantage against the freedom of the Internet. That is the unescapable conclusion of the recent KRACK vulnerability.

    • Ex-Facebook president Sean Parker: site made to exploit human ‘vulnerability’

      Site’s founding president, who became a billionaire thanks to the company, says: ‘God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains’

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Freedom of speech or censorship?

      Our constitutional right of freedom of speech is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. It is among our most cherished rights. Certainly our Founding Fathers held it sufficiently dear to have enshrined it in the First Amendment.


      I’m not saying I agree with the players’ protests. I do, absolutely, agree with their right to stage their protests without fear of arrest or interference by any government or police action.

    • Returning to the Scene of a Trauma

      At 16, Brandon Whitehead and his father were held at gunpoint by an off-duty Chicago police officer. The cop got suspended for five days, which he served 11 years later. Brandon, now 27, goes back to the scene.

    • And Another Thing: Those Dumb Social Media Guidelines For Journalists Are Going To Paint A Target On Their Backs

      Just last week we discussed the alarming trend in media companies for putting in place restrictive social media policies for their employees, including their opinion commentators. In that post, we focused on how this move is both dumb and bad for two reasons. First, restricting the opinions of those followed by the public for their opinions is flatly nonsensical. Second, the goal of these policies — to have the public view companies as non-partisan — is simply a fantasy in these hyper-partisan times. Nobody is going to decide that the New York Times or Wall Street Journal are suddenly bastions of non-partisanship simply because either muzzled its staff.

      But there is another negative consequence of these policies that the original post didn’t touch: it paints a target on the backs of the employees it governs. Because of, again, hyper-partisanship that has reached true trolling levels, these social media policies will be wielded like a cudgel by every trollish dissenter that doesn’t like a particular media outlet. The New York Times, for example, is already having to endure this.

    • DOJ: Man fired laser at police helicopter, tried to drive away then crashed

      A man in Fresno, California was indicted this week on federal criminal charges—prosecutors say that Michael Vincent Alvarez fired a laser pointer repeatedly at a local police helicopter.

      According to the criminal complaint filed on October 30, 2017, Alvarez fired a green laser at a police helicopter shortly after midnight on October 22.

      The Fresno Police helicopter, Air-1, was responding to reports of a domestic disturbance before it was struck three times. The pilot, who was not named, was hit in the eyes directly each time.

    • Hundreds of thousands pack Barcelona streets to demand Catalan separatist leaders’ release

      Hundreds of thousands of people backing Catalonia’s bid to secede from Spain have packed the streets in of central Barcelona to demand the release of jailed separatist leaders.
      The rally’s grassroots organisers called for 10 prominent members of the secessionist movement in the north-eastern Spanish region to be freed from prison.
      Eight former members of Catalonia’s dissolved Cabinet and two activists are in jail while Spanish authorities investigate their alleged roles in promoting an illegal declaration of independence last month in violation of Spain’s Constitution.
      A separate court in Madrid granted bail on Thursday to another six Catalan MPs who are the subject of another investigation into the secession push.
      Barcelona police said that 750,000 people attended the rally.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality rules should apply to ISPs and websites, senator says

      Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) wants the US to impose net neutrality rules on Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, and other Web companies.

      Net neutrality rules today apply only to Internet service providers, such as cable companies and mobile carriers. ISPs are not allowed to block, throttle, or demand payments to prioritize delivery of lawful Internet traffic. The rules are meant to give all websites—both the established players and startups—a fair shot at reaching Internet users.

      But Franken argues that similar non-discrimination rules should apply to the most dominant websites.

    • Dear Al Franken: Net Neutrality Is Not A Magic Wand You Can Wave At Any Company

      By now, most Techdirt readers are well aware that net neutrality violations are just a symptom of the lack of competition specifically in the broadband industry. If we had lawmakers that were genuinely interested in policies that improve competition, we wouldn’t need net neutrality rules protecting consumers from often-unchecked duopoly power. In the absence of said competition — or lawmakers willing to stand up to AT&T, Verizon and Comcast — the FCC’s current net neutrality rules, however imperfect, are the next best thing.

    • Don’t Let AT&T Exploit Your Distrust of Trump

      Later reports showed this to be untrue. The Justice Department offered AT&T two choices: Sell Turner Broadcasting, a collection of over a dozen stations of which CNN is only a part, or sell off DirecTV, AT&T’s satellite-television distributor. If one of the options for AT&T involves keeping CNN, I don’t know how “it’s all about CNN” could be true. AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson further muddied the waters by saying today, “I have never been told that the price of getting deal done was selling CNN.”

    • AT&T says it’s “prepared to litigate” if US tries to block Time Warner deal

      AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson today said his company is ready to fight the Trump administration in court in order to complete its $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner Inc.

      The Department of Justice is reviewing AT&T’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner and could file an antitrust lawsuit to block the deal or force AT&T to make concessions. Reports yesterday indicated that the DOJ is asking AT&T and Time Warner to sell off either CNN or DirecTV in order to win government approval of their merger (Time Warner owns CNN and AT&T owns DirecTV).

  • Logitech

    • After online outrage, Logitech will now replace Harmony Link devices for free

      Customers were rightfully outraged when Logitech announced it would end service and support for its Harmony Link devices next year. Now, Logitech is attempting to right some of the wrongs of this situation, even though its plans to end the life of all Link devices hasn’t changed. According to a Logitech blog post, the company will now provide all Harmony Link users with a free replacement Harmony Hub before service and support to Link devices ends in March 2018.

    • Logitech Once Again Shows That In The Modern Era, You Don’t Really Own What You Buy

      Time and time again we’ve highlighted how in the modern era you don’t really own the hardware you buy. In the broadband-connected era, firmware updates can often eliminate functionality promised to you at launch, as we saw with the Sony Playstation 3. And with everything now relying on internet-connectivity, companies can often give up on supporting devices entirely, often leaving users with very expensive paperweights as we saw after Google acquired Revolv.

      The latest example of this phenomenon is courtesy of Logitech, which annoyed consumers this week by announcing that it would be shutting down all support for the company’s Harmony Link hub. Released in 2011, the Link hub provided smartphone and tablet owners the ability to use these devices as universal remotes for thousands of devices.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Samsung Patent Details User Interface of a Potential Foldable Phone

      For some years now, we have been hearing that foldable phones will be launched in the future. In 2009, Samsung demoed a flexible AMOLED display, but it was extremely bulky and the resolution was low. Since then, the company has confirmed that it is interested in the foldable phone space, but until this year, we have not see any phone foldable phone launch in the market as the technical difficulties to make a foldable phone are immense. In October, we finally saw a foldable phone launch in the form of the ZTE Axon M, a dual-screen device which is now available from AT&T in the US.

    • Copyrights

      • Despite A Victory on IP, the TPP’s Resurgence Hasn’t Cured Its Ills

        Ever since the United States withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) back in January, the remaining eleven countries have been quietly attempting to bring a version of the agreement into force. Following some initial confusion, it was finally announced today that they have reached an “agreement in principle” on “core elements” of a deal.

        Even so Canada’s trade minister, Francois-Philippe Champagne has confirmed that the agreement is far from being finalized, recognizing that more work was needed on some key issues. Meanwhile the TPP has been renamed as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and an official statement is due to be released on Saturday November 11.

      • Wikimedia France and La Quadrature du Net defend the public domain before the Constitutional Council

        This new version of image rights stems from a so-called “Chambord amendment” tabled by legislators during the debates on the “Creation, Architecture and Patrimony” law (or Création law). It echoes a conflict dating back several years opposing the castle of Chambord and the Kronenbourg company regarding the use of the monument’s image in an advertising campaign. As the courts hadn’t yet resolved the matter, the Members of Parliament wanted to use this law to enshrine the possibility for estate administrators to control the use of the images of the historical monuments they are in charge of.

      • Playboy Sues BoingBoing For Linking To Collection Of Centerfold Pictures

        Playboy apparently has lawyers with itchy trigger fingers. As first spotted by Law360, Playboy Entertainment Group has sued the BoingBoing, the popular and awesome blog that covers a variety of issues around culture and technology. The case is technically against the company that owns BoingBoing, called Happy Mutants LLC. Law360 claims the lawsuit claims that BoingBoing “stole every centerfold ever.” But… that’s not at all what the lawsuit says.

      • Another Court Overreaches With Site-Blocking Order Targeting Sci-Hub

        Nearly six years ago, Internet user communities rose up and said no to the disastrous SOPA copyright bill. This bill proposed creating a new, quick court order process to compel various Internet services—free speech’s weak links—to help make websites disappear. Today, despite the failure of SOPA, a federal court in Virginia issued just such an order, potentially reaching many different kinds of Internet services.

        The website in the crosshairs this time was Sci-Hub, a site that provides free access to research papers that are otherwise locked behind paywalls. Sci-Hub and sites like it are a symptom of a serious problem: people who can’t afford expensive journal subscriptions, and who don’t have institutional access to academic databases, are unable to use cutting-edge scientific research. Sci-Hub’s continued popularity both in the U.S. and in economically disadvantaged countries demonstrates the unfair imbalance in access to knowledge that prompted the site’s creation. Sci-Hub is also less revolutionary than its critics often imagine: it continued a longstanding tradition of informal sharing among researchers.

      • What the Sci-Hub saga and DNA testing services can teach us about privacy


Links 9/11/2017: NetworkManager 1.9.90, Ubuntu Wants a New Theme

Posted in News Roundup at 6:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • Cloud Foundry: Focusing on Flexibility and Choice for a Cloud-Native World

      For some organizations working outside of technology hubs such as Silicon Valley, there is a vast shortage of developer talent to choose from. As a result, many have taken a proactive learning approach to help bring their developers up-to-speed with the demands of today’s cloud-native software platforms.

      Cloud Foundry is evolving its technology to benefit these users’ goals, explained Cloud Foundry Executive Director Abby Kearns, in this live-streamed episode of The New Stack Makers podcast recorded at Cloud Foundry Summit Europe last month.

    • Kubernetes by the numbers: 10 compelling stats

      How quickly has Kubernetes’ popularity soared? By most accounts, very quickly. Earlier this year, Cloud Native Computing Foundation executive director Dan Kohn penned a blog post that dug into that claim. People regularly tout Kubernetes as one of the highest velocity projects ever in open source history: Does the data back it up?

      As Kohn found, there may not be a single definitive metric, but they all point in the same conclusion: “You can pick your preferred statistic, such as that Kubernetes is in the top 0.00006% of the projects on GitHub,” Kohn wrote. “I prefer to just think of it as one of the fastest moving projects in the history of open source.”

  • Kernel Space

    • The state of the realtime union

      The 2017 Realtime Summit was held October 21 at Czech Technical University in Prague to discuss all manner of topics related to realtime Linux. Nearly two years ago, a collaborative project was formed with the goal of mainlining the realtime patch set. At the summit, project lead Thomas Gleixner reported on the progress that has been made and the plans for the future.

    • The 2017 Kernel and Maintainers Summits

      The 2017 Kernel and Maintainers Summits were held in Prague, Czechia, in late October, co-located with the Open-Source Summit Europe. As usual, LWN was there, and has put together coverage of the topics that were discussed at these meetings.

      The format of the Kernel Summit was changed significantly for this year. The bulk of the schedule has been moved into an completely open set of talks that ran alongside the rest of the OSS tracks; as a result, the attendance at these discussions was larger than in past years and included more people outside of the core kernel community. The invitation-only discussion has been made much smaller (about 30 core maintainers) and turned into a half-day event.

    • Another attempt to address the tracepoint ABI problem

      Tracepoints provide a great deal of visibility into the inner workings of the kernel, which is both a blessing and a curse. The advantages of knowing what the kernel is doing are obvious; the disadvantage is that tracepoints risk becoming a part of the kernel’s ABI if applications start to depend on them. The need to maintain tracepoints could impede the ongoing development of the kernel. Ways of avoiding this problem have been discussed for years; at the 2017 Kernel Summit, Steve Rostedt talked about yet another scheme.

      The risk of creating a new ABI has made some maintainers reluctant to add instrumentation to their parts of the kernel, he said. They might be willing to add new interfaces to provide access to specific information but, in the absence of tools that use this information, it is hard to figure out which information is needed or what a proper interface would be. The solution might be to adopt an approach that is similar to the staging tree, where not-ready-for-prime-time drivers can go until they are brought up to the necessary level of quality.

    • Restartable sequences and ops vectors

      Some technologies find their way into the kernel almost immediately; others need to go through multiple iterations over a number of years first. Restartable sequences, a mechanism for lockless concurrency control in user space, fall into the latter category. At the 2017 Kernel Summit, Mathieu Desnoyers discussed yet another implementation of this concept — but this one may not be the last word either.

      The core idea behind restartable sequences has not changed. An application defines a special region of code that, it is hoped, will run without interruption. This code performs some operation of interest on a per-CPU data structure that can be committed with a single instruction at the end. For example, it may prepare to remove an item from a list, with the final instruction setting a pointer that actually effects this change and makes it visible to other threads running on the same CPU. If the thread is preempted in the middle of this work, it may contend with another thread working on the same data structure. In this case, the kernel will cause the thread to jump to an abort sequence once it runs again; the thread can then clean up and try again (the “restart” part of the name). Most of the time, though, preemption does not happen, and the restartable sequence will implement a per-CPU, atomic operation at high speed.

    • Kernel regression tracking, part 1

      The kernel development community has run for some years without anybody tracking regressions; that changed one year ago when Thorsten Leemhuis stepped up to the task. Two conversations were held on the topic at the 2017 Kernel and Maintainers summits in Prague; this article covers the first of those, held during the open Kernel-Summit track.

      Leemhuis begin by pointing out that he started doing this work even though he does not work for a Linux company; he is, instead, a journalist for the largest computer magazine in Germany. He saw a mention of the gap that was left after Rafael Wysocki stopped tracking regressions, and thought that he might be a good fit for the job. This work is being done in his spare time. When he started, he had thought that the job would be difficult and frustrating; in reality, it turned out to be even worse than he expected.

    • Improving printk()

      When a kernel developer wants to communicate a message to user space, be it for debugging or to report a serious problem with the system, the venerable printk() function is usually the tool of choice. But, as Steve Rostedt (accompanied by Petr Mladek and Sergey Senozhatsky) noted during a brief session at the 2017 Kernel Summit, printk() has not aged well. In particular, it can affect the performance of the system as a whole; the roots of that problem and a possible solution were discussed, but a real solution will have to wait for the appearance of the code.

    • GStreamer: state of the union

      The annual GStreamer conference took place October 21-22 in Prague, (unofficially) co-located with the Embedded Linux Conference Europe. The GStreamer project is a library for connecting media elements such as sources, encoders and decoders, filters, streaming endpoints, and output sinks of all sorts into a fully customizable pipeline. It offers cross-platform support, a large set of plugins, modern streaming and codec formats, and hardware acceleration as some of its features. Kicking off this year’s conference was Tim-Philipp Müller with his report on the last 12 months of development and what we can look forward to next.

    • Using eBPF and XDP in Suricata

      Much software that uses the Linux kernel does so at comparative arms-length: when it needs the kernel, perhaps for a read or write, it performs a system call, then (at least from its point of view) continues operation later, with whatever the kernel chooses to give it in reply. Some software, however, gets pretty intimately involved with the kernel as part of its normal operation, for example by using eBPF for low-level packet processing. Suricata is such a program; Eric Leblond spoke about it at Kernel Recipes 2017 in a talk entitled “eBPF and XDP seen from the eyes of a meerkat”.

    • Mellanox Announces First Major Production Deployment of Linux Kernel-Based Open Ethernet Switch
    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Some Basic macOS 10.13 vs. Ubuntu 17.10 OpenGL Gaming Tests

        Following last week’s F1 2017 launch for Linux which is making use of the Vulkan graphics API on Linux and Metal API on macOS, originally I set out to compare the macOS vs. Linux performance, but that didn’t go quite as planned due to MacBook Pro woes. But here are some other OpenGL game tests between macOS and Ubuntu 17.10 Linux.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • Arch Family

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • GeckoLinux Beta Does openSuse Better

        GeckoLinux is an ideal option for switching to a new distro experience. I particularly like how the Cinnamon desktop works. Since I favor the Cinnamon environment in Linux Mint, changing over to GeckoLinux came with no difficulties. All the settings and features played out as expected.

        Kudos to the developer for making GeckoLinux such a solid alternative computing platform. I did not expect a developing early beta to be so glitch-free.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 18.04 Daily Builds Now Available to Download

            Ubuntu 18.04 daily builds are now available to download. Their availability comes as the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS ‘Bionic Beaver’ development cycle gets in to gear.

          • Canonical Wants You to Contribute to the Default Theme for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

            As you probably know, Didier Roche was the one to lead the huge migration task from the Unity 7 user interface to the GNOME Shell one during the development cycle of Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark), the current stable release of Ubuntu.

            During Artful cycle, the team lead by Didier Roche only managed to create a fork of the popular Dash-to-Dock extension for the GNOME Shell user interface that they call Ubuntu Dock, as well as some minor modifications to adapt their old Ambiance theme to the GNOME desktop environment.

          • Does Ubuntu Need a New Theme? [Poll]

            Does Ubuntu need a new theme? Ubuntu developers certainly think so. They’ve started a new initiative to try and find a new GTK theme (as well as new GNOME Shell theme and icon set). But is Ambiance really outdated and unfit for purpose?

          • Ubuntu Is Looking for a New Theme

            Ubuntu 18.04 LTS will be the next gold-standard Ubuntu release when it arrives in April 2018 — and it seems it could have a shiny new theme to boot.

            Ubuntu developers are hoping to run an Ubuntu theme contest (or more accurately let the community run one with some oversight and guidance).

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Might End Up Redoing The System Sounds

            The latest in the development of the “Bionic Beaver” is that new system sounds might come to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

            Following a discussion, there appears to be interest in redoing the system sounds for the Beaver release. Though at the moment there is no new sounds already being suggested as the replacement and a shortage of resources by the Ubuntu desktop team itself. The sounds of Ubuntu Touch were also brought up into the discussion.

          • Call for participation: an ubuntu default theme lead by the community?

            As part of our Unity 7 to GNOME Shell transition in 17.10, we had last August a Fit and Finish Sprint at the London office to get the Shell feeling more like Ubuntu and we added some tweaks to our default GTK theme.

          • Mesa 17.2.4 for Ubuntu 16.04 & 17.10

            Hi, the X-SWAT updates PPA has actually shipped Mesa 17.2 for 16.04 for a few weeks now, but it got bumped to the latest stable release yesterday. It’s available for the latest Ubuntu LTS (16.04) plus most recent interim release (17.10) as usual.

          • How to Install Firefox Quantum in Ubuntu Right Now

            Mozilla has an official PPA to test the beta version. You can use the same PPA to install Firefox Quantum.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • What is the TensorFlow machine intelligence platform?

    TensorFlow is an open source software library for numerical computation using data-flow graphs. It was originally developed by the Google Brain Team within Google’s Machine Intelligence research organization for machine learning and deep neural networks research, but the system is general enough to be applicable in a wide variety of other domains as well. It reached version 1.0 in February 2017, and has continued rapid development, with 21,000+ commits thus far, many from outside contributors. This article introduces TensorFlow, its open source community and ecosystem, and highlights some interesting TensorFlow open sourced models.

    TensorFlow is cross-platform. It runs on nearly everything: GPUs and CPUs—including mobile and embedded platforms—and even tensor processing units (TPUs), which are specialized hardware to do tensor math on. They aren’t widely available yet, but we have recently launched an alpha program.

  • Twitter Introduces Serial: an Open Source Library for Serialization

    UI smoothness in Android is something that gets brought up from time to time as it can be really easy for the average user to notice what is commonly referred to as jank. This is quite often noticed when scrolling through a list of items and Twitter noticed that serializing and deserializing data both to and from the database using the standard Android Externalizable classes took up about 15% of the UI thread time. The team took some time to optimize this issue and today they’ve announced Serial — a new, open source library for serialization.

  • Deloitte Report: Over 26,000 Blockchain Projects Began in 2016

    More than 26,000 new projects related to blockchain were created on code repository GitHub last year, according to data collected by Deloitte.

    For its new report – titled “Evolution of Blockchain Technology: Insights from the GitHub Platform” and published today – the professional services firm drew information from the development platform, which plays home to the code for over 86,000 blockchain initiatives, including major projects like bitcoin.

  • Open-source search provider Elastic acquires Swiftype to grow its reach
  • Elastic acquires search startup Swiftype
  • Elastic Acquires SaaS Site Search Leader Swiftype
  • Deloitte: 26,000 Open-Source Blockchain Projects Introduced in 2016
  • Deloitte Reports More Than 26,000 Blockchain Projects Launched in 2016
  • There were more than 26,000 new blockchain projects last year – only 8% are still active

    It is one of the fastest growing technologies around, but the majority of blockchain projects are abandoned within months, according to researchers.

    More than 26,000 open-source blockchain projects were created on the software collaboration platform GitHub in 2016, research by auditing giant Deloitte has revealed.

  • Barclays Embraces Open Source

    The industry is seeing a convergence of single-dealer platforms into multi-dealer platforms in the open source space, which is just a logical progression, said John Stecher, group managing director at Barclays Investment Bank, during his keynote at the Open Source Strategy Forum in Lower Manhattan.

  • Events

    • Learn Digital Painting with Krita in Bogota, Colombia

      Lina Porras and David Saenz from the Ubuntu Colombia user group wrote to tell us that they will give an introduction to digital painting with Krita starting this Saturday. David will be teaching Krita four Saturday sessions.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • The Definitive OpenStack Map

      When OpenStack launched in 2010, there were only two projects at the time: Nova compute and Swift storage. Over the last seven years, OpenStack has gotten significantly larger and more complicated, with many different projects that are all part of the open-source cloud platform effort.

      In a session at the OpenStack Summit in Sydney, Australia on Nov. 8, Thierry Carrez, VP of Engineering at the OpenStack Foundation, detailed a new effort to help map the OpenStack landscape.

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL 10.1 Released

      PostgreSQL 10.1 is now available as the first update over the recently released PostgreSQL 10.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.4.3 Office Suite Released with over 50 Bug and Regression Fixes

      LibreOffice 5.4.3 comes about five weeks after the 5.4.2 maintenance update and it’s a minor point release that attempts to fix even more bugs and regressions that have been discovered in the previous version.

      According to the changelogs for the RC1 and RC2 development milestone, a total of 52 issues were addressed in the LibreOffice 5.4.3 release across various of the components of the office suite. Check out each changelog if you’re curious to know what exactly was fixed.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • MINIX’s creator would have liked to know Intel was using it

      When Andrew S. Tanenbaum created the educational, open-source operating system MINIX, he did it to teach operating system principles to his students at Amsterdam’s Vrije Universiteit and to readers of his classic textbook, Operating Systems Design and Implementation. MINIX would become Linux’s forefather. Tanenbaum knew that. What Tanenbaum didn’t know was Intel would take MINIX and embed it within its CPUs for almost a decade.

      As Tanenbaum wrote in an open letter: “Thanks for putting a version of MINIX inside the ME-11 management engine chip used on almost all recent desktop and laptop computers in the world. I guess that makes MINIX the most widely used computer operating system in the world, even more than Windows, Linux, or MacOS. And I didn’t even know until I read a press report about it.”

  • Public Services/Government

    • 32 European ministers call for more Free Software in governmental infrastructure

      On 6 October, 32 European Ministers in charge of eGovernment policy signed the Tallinn Declaration on eGovernment that calls for more collaboration, interoperable solutions, and sharing of good practices throughout public administrations and across borders. Amongst other things, the EU ministers recognised the need to make more use of Free Software solutions and Open Standards when (re)building governmental digital systems with EU funds.

      The Tallinn Declaration, lead by the Estonian EU presidency, has been adopted on 6 October 2017. It is a ministerial declaration that marks a new political commitment at European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Area (EFTA) level on priorities to ensure user-centric digital public services for both citizens and businesses cross-border. While having no legislative power, the ministerial declaration marks a political commitment to ensure the digital transformation of public administrations through a set of commonly agreed principles and actions.

      The FSFE has previously submitted its input for the aforementioned declaration during the public consultation round, asking for greater inclusion of Free Software in delivering truly inclusive, trustworthy and interoperable digital services to all citizens and businesses across the EU.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • CUPS relicensed to Apache v2

      Apple has let it be known that the CUPS printing system will, as of version 2.3, switch from GPLv2 to the Apache License. This change is possible because Apple requires that contributors sign a contributor agreement [PDF] giving joint ownership of any copyrights to Apple.

  • Programming/Development

    • Why Senior Devs Write Dumb Code and How to Spot a Junior From A Mile Away

      One of my all time favorite quotes is from Brian Goetz, a smart dude in the Java world who is one of the authors of Java Concurrency in Practice, among other things. The quote appears in an interview that Oracle published under the title, “Write Dumb Code”. Goetz was asked how to write code that performs well. Here is what he had to say…


  • Baby monkey passes out for 10 hours from caffeine overdose after stealing tourist’s strong coffee

    The baby long-tailed macaque passed out with a caffeine overdose after slurping down a cup of joe nicked from a tourist.

    The thirsty monkey (Macaca fascicularis) jumped on to the tourist’s motorbike in Thai capital Bangkok’s Bang Khun Thien district and quickly downed the brew.

  • 3 free online resources for music research

    In September I wrote about how much fun I was having perusing the archives of the Great 78 Project. Learning about this great resource inspired me to look for other online music resources, and here are three more that I’d like to share.

  • Science

    • A Dying Boy Gets a New, Gene-Corrected Skin

      At the age of 7, Hassan had already seen more than his fair share of hardship. A week after he was born in Syria, a blister appeared on his back. The doctors there diagnosed him with a genetic disorder called epidermolysis bullosa, or EB, which leaves one’s skin extremely fragile and prone to tearing. There was no cure, they said. When Hassan’s family fled Bashar al-Assad’s regime and moved to Germany as refugees, the doctors there said the same thing. Meanwhile, the blisters were getting bigger.

      In June 2015, Hassan was admitted to the burn unit of a children’s hospital in Bochum, Germany. By that time, around 60 percent of his epidermis—the top layer of his skin—was gone. His back, flanks, and limbs had become a continuous landscape of open wounds, red and raw. Much of it was badly infected. The pain was excruciating. “Why do I have to live this life?” he asked his father.

    • When will the Earth try to kill us again?

      Our planet Earth has extinguished large portions of its inhabitants several times since the dawn of animals. And if science tells us anything, it will surely try to kill us all again. Working in the 19th century, paleontology pioneer Georges Cuvier saw dramatic turnovers of life in the fossil record and likened them to the French Revolution, then still fresh in his memory.

      Today, we refer to such events as “mass extinctions,” incidents in which many species of animals and plants died out in a geological instant. They are so profound and have such global reach that geological time itself is sliced up into periods—Permian, Triassic, Cretaceous—that are often defined by these mass extinctions.

  • Hardware

    • Five big patent talking points raised by Broadcom’s proposed buy-out of Qualcomm

      Broadcom electrified the tech world earlier this week when it made a $130 billion offer for Qualcomm. The advance looks set to be rebuffed by the Qualcomm board, but it seems likely that this is a story that will run for a while yet.

      Given the sectors in which the two companies operate, patents are a crucial part of the asset base of both businesses. Were a merger to occur, the combined portfolio would be vast and immensely powerful – something that regulators across the world would be bound to pay very special attention to.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • WIPO Hosts Notably Wide-Ranging Discussion On Vaccine Innovation And Access

      A well-represented set of experts this week held discussions on the current situation of access to vaccines, the market, the role of pharmaceutical companies, and partnerships. Vaccines were not a field much affected by patents in the past, but the situation has changed and new vaccines are now covered by intellectual property, which might constitute a barrier to access, according to speakers.

    • South Centre: Clear Rules Needed On Biosimilars Equivalence To Help Market Entry, Lower Prices

      As soon as 2022, biological drugs made from active protein substances are expected to make up 50 percent of the pharmaceutical market, as they are increasingly used to treat a number of illnesses such as diabetes, cancer and hepatitis. But with the high price of therapeutics and difficulty in producing biologically similar products, and with the originator products now coming off patent, regulation is of high importance, says a new report from the intergovernmental South Centre.

  • Security

    • Vault 8

      Source code and analysis for CIA software projects including those described in the Vault7 series.

      This publication will enable investigative journalists, forensic experts and the general public to better identify and understand covert CIA infrastructure components.

      Source code published in this series contains software designed to run on servers controlled by the CIA. Like WikiLeaks’ earlier Vault7 series, the material published by WikiLeaks does not contain 0-days or similar security vulnerabilities which could be repurposed by others.

    • Marissa Mayer sounds distraught over Yahoo’s massive data breach

      Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer appeared distraught at a US Senate hearing Wednesday (Nov. 8) on the unprecedented data breaches at the company during her tenure.

      “As you know, Yahoo was the victim of criminal, state-sponsored attacks on its systems, resulting in the theft of certain user information,” Mayer said in her opening remarks, rarely looking up from her notes. “As CEO, these thefts occurred during my tenure, and I want to sincerely apologize to each and every one of our users.”

    • What Is ARP Spoofing? — Attacks, Detection, And Prevention

      Spoofing is often defined as imitating (something) while exaggerating its characteristic features for comic effect. Not in the real world but also in the computer networking world, spoofing is a common practice among notorious users to intercept data and traffic meant for a particular user.

    • New Hope for Digital Identity

      For your inconvenience, every organization’s identity system is also a separate and proprietary silo, even if it is built with open-source software and methods. Worse, an organization might have many different silo’d identity systems that know little or nothing about each other. Even an organization as unitary as a university might have completely different identity systems operating within HR, health care, parking, laundry, sports and IT—as well as within its scholastic realm, which also might have any number of different departmental administrative systems, each with its own record of students past and present.

    • Linux has a whole crock of USB vulnerabilities
    • Google Patches KRACK Vulnerability in Android
  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Politics of Sexual Harassment and War

      Yet, while the political careers of Donald Trump and Bill Clinton survived disclosures of their predatory behavior, Weinstein’s movie empire quickly crumbled after a number of women came forward with accounts of how he used his power to gain sexual favors. Several prominent news personalities, from Bill O’Reilly at Fox to Michael Oreskes at NPR, have lost their jobs, too, amid other sexual harassment complaints.

    • America Breaks Down: The Anatomy of a National Psychosis

      With alarming regularity, the nation is being subjected to a spate of violence that terrorizes the public, destabilizes the country’s fragile ecosystem, and gives the government greater justifications to crack down, lock down, and institute even more authoritarian policies for the so-called sake of national security without many objections from the citizenry.

      Take this latest mass shooting that took place at a small church in a small Texas town.

      The lone gunman—a former member of the Air Force—was dressed all in black, wearing body armor, a tactical vest and a mask, and firing an assault rifle. (Note the similarity in uniform and tactics to the nation’s police forces, SWAT teams and military.)

    • This Florida school is selling bulletproof panels for students’ backpacks

      A Miami private school is offering parents an unusual item for sale: bulletproof panels for their kids’ backpacks.

      The Florida Christian School website has a list of items available for purchase. These include winter wear, red school logo T-shirts and ballistic panels.

  • Finance

    • The GOP tax bill could be a disaster for PhD students

      The bill, in its current form, eliminates or consolidates tax credits used by both graduate and undergraduate students — but those pursuing master’s degrees and PhDs will get hit the hardest by the proposed changes.

    • Grad Students Are Freaking Out About the GOP Tax Plan. They Should Be

      For years, PhD candidates have “paid” for their educations almost exclusively through research and teaching—working in labs, TAing courses, hosting office hours. It works like an apprenticeship: Trade five years of your life learning and working in a field that interests you in exchange for a meager, but livable, salary.

    • What Is Chia? — BitTorrent Inventor Announces His “Green” Bitcoin Competitor

      While cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin might be all the rage today, they’re criticised for their heavy consumption of energy. The more energy you use with the help of a powerful hardware, the more cryptocurrency you can mine. Recently, a new hard fork named Bitcoin Gold was facilitated to address similar issues.

      Earlier this year in April, we reported that BitTorrent inventor Bram Cohen might launch his own cryptocurrency and Bitcoin-alternative. Just recently, acting well on his promise, Cohen has started a new company called Chia Network.

    • Bitcoin compromise collapses, leaving future growth in doubt

      A group of prominent developers and executives backing a plan to expand the capacity of the Bitcoin network threw in the towel on Wednesday. “It is clear that we have not built sufficient consensus for a clean blocksize upgrade at this time,” wrote developer Mike Belshe in a Wednesday afternoon e-mail.

    • Why I Think IT Certifications are Overrated

      When it comes out to actual job relevance I found certifications to be largely useless. Experience, on the other hand, can be tremendously valuable. I will take someone who knows the ins and outs of a Networking OS (ie, Cisco IOS) and Linux – over someone who has certification any day of the week.

    • The Wilbur Ross Scandal Isn’t About Russia, It’s About Corruption

      COMMERCE SECRETARY WILBUR Ross recently promoted his own agency ethics official, whose job it is to monitor department-wide conduct for ethical lapses. The promotion came just before Ross received scrutiny about his investment in the shipping company Navigator Holdings, which has business ties to Russian oligarchs and members of the Putin family.

      The story played in the mainstream press as evidence of further Trump administration ties to Russia, but any billionaire with vast holdings and an interest in the energy industry is likely to have rubbed up against a few oligarchs and Putin cronies. More to the point, Ross’s story is one of an unchecked conflict of interest.

    • The Brexiters who put their money offshore

      Many of the most powerful supporters of the Brexit campaign appear in the Paradise Papers because of their offshore interests. There is nothing illegal about their arrangements.

      But many of these same voices have urged a “hard Brexit” – which could see the UK ripping up its economic model and in effect becoming a tax haven on the borders of Europe.

      That might suit Brexiters, many of whom have either made their money, or keep their money, or live, offshore.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Monopoly critics decry ‘Amazon amendment’

      The amendment, Section 801 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), would help Amazon establish a tight grip on the lucrative, $53 billion government acquisitions market, experts say.

    • Trump Skirts ‘Great Firewall’ to Tweet About Beijing Trip

      Many Western social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are banned in China. A sophisticated system has been built to deny online users within China access to blocked content.

      That was not an issue for Trump, known for tweeting to his 42.3 million followers at any hour of the day, Wednesday, the day he arrived in Beijing.

    • How Activism Can Lead the Way in the Trump Era

      Our constitutional system depends as much on the work of activists as it does on lawyers. The courts can’t do it alone.

      In his first year in office, Donald Trump has proved to be simultaneously the most dangerous and the most frustrated president in living memory. The danger is clear: He seems unable to control his most basic impulses, and those impulses are shaped more by concern about his image than about the Constitution or the people’s best interests. He has sought to ban Muslims, increase deportations, intimidate the media, repeal Obamacare, bar transgender people from serving the military, and threaten football players taking a knee to oppose racial injustice.

      The threat he poses continues.

      But he has also proved to be one of the nation’s least effectual presidents — even though he enjoys Republican majorities in both houses of Congress. That’s because Americans who care about civil rights, civil liberties, the rule of law, and basic human dignity have stood up to him. And if Americans continue to mobilize in defense of these values, Trump will continue to be stymied. That is our job as citizens — to ensure that a president who tends toward authoritarianism is checked at every juncture. And that is also our job at the ACLU.

    • Trump’s DOJ wants AT&T/Time Warner to sell CNN or DirecTV before merger

      The Trump administration is asking AT&T and Time Warner Inc. to sell off either CNN or DirecTV in order to win government approval of their merger, multiple news outlets reported today.

      AT&T has owned DirecTV since 2015 and is now seeking federal approval to purchase Time Warner Inc., the owner of programming such as HBO, CNN, and Warner Bros.

    • Trump and Democrats Misread Mandates

      The Democrats might have taken away from their defeat the warning that they had forgotten how to speak to the white working class, which had suffered from job losses via “free trade” and felt willfully neglected as Democrats looked toward the “browning of America.”

      The choice of Clinton had compounded this problem because she came across as elitist and uncaring toward this still important voting bloc with her memorable description of half of Trump’s voters as “deplorables,” an insult that stung many lower-income whites and helped deliver Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to Trump.

      For more than a decade, some Democratic strategists had promoted the notion that “demography is destiny,” i.e., that the relative growth of Latino, Asian and African-American populations in comparison to whites would ensure a future Democratic majority. That prediction seemed to have been validated by Barack Obama’s winning coalition in 2008 and 2012, but it also had the predictable effect of alienating many whites who felt disrespected and resentful.

      So, while the Democrats and Clinton looked to a multicultural future, Trump used his experience in reality TV to communicate with this overlooked demographic group. Trump sold himself as a populist and treated the white working class with respect. He spoke to their fears about economic decline and gave voice to their grievances. He vowed to put “America First” and pull back from foreign military adventures that often used working-class kids as cannon fodder.


      It was the sinister genius of Donald Trump to turn the hallowed ritual of the daily briefing into his very own reality show. The press, he learned during his tabloid years in New York, is essentially a sensationalistic enterprise. On the campaign trail, he took advantage of the industry’s most self-serving impulses to inject himself hourly into the national consciousness; later, as his coverage became more negative, Trump turned the media’s outrage into ammunition for his assault on establishment pieties. His shock election seemed to confirm that the nation’s educated reportorial class, cloistered in New York and Washington, D.C., had missed one of the biggest stories of the century. With the briefing room under his control, Trump and his ill-fated stand-in, Sean Spicer, effectively hijacked the network-news cameras, turning them back on the White House press corps, making the once staid question-and-answer sessions into a daily referendum on media bias.

    • More Than A Quarter Of Trump’s Overseas Partners Have Tangled With The Law

      More than a quarter of Donald Trump’s international business deals involve a partner who has been investigated, charged, or convicted of a serious crime, a new analysis by BuzzFeed News shows.

      During the campaign, Trump promised to hire the “best people,” but his international deals show his partners often had tangles with the law. In Dubai, the Trump Organization is building two golf courses and luxury villas with a partner who was convicted and sentenced to prison for collaborating on a deal that would rip off the Egyptian people. In Indonesia, Trump’s company is at work on two resorts with a partner who has been accused of money laundering and threatening the Indonesian attorney general.

    • Exclusive: Lebanon believes Saudi holds Hariri, demands return

      Lebanon believes Saad al-Hariri is held in Saudi Arabia, from where he resigned as prime minister, two top Lebanese government officials said, amid a deepening crisis pushing Lebanon onto the frontlines of a power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Conejo Valley Unified School District Back in Censorship News

      The proposed changes include flagging any text deemed to have any potentially objectionable content with a “mature content” warning. Such preemptive warnings too often tar valuable, complex books with a scarlet “objectionable” label and reduce them to only the words or passages that have caught the attention of the would-be censor. In addition, the proposal requires that parents sign off on syllabi that specifically identify all titles with potentially objectionable content. Going forward, the policy would also require a community review committee made up of non-teachers to review titles suggested for the curriculum. The amendments facing the CVSUD board boil down to two main issues:

    • The ‘Russia’ Excuse for Facebook & Twitter Censorship

      Last week saw a dramatic new phase of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into “Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election” and “possible collusion by members of the Trump team.” Two senior members of the Trump campaign team including former campaign chair Paul Manafort surrendered themselves to federal authorities.

      Some would say that this is it, that Trump is definitely finished. US media reported that the indictments against Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his assistant Rick Gates undoubtedly proved that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election, thus installing Trump as president. But if you tried listening to the supposed evidence, you could hear the special prosecutor claiming that these individuals “did work for Ukraine and were paid by the Ukrainian government.”

    • Conservatives must fight media’s censorship of pro-life content

      Twitter had previously halted advertisements from Rep. Marsha Blackburn, because she spoke about her desire “to stop the sale of body parts” by Planned Parenthood. Twitter later allowed the advertisements, but only after they were criticized for it, proving that if people speak out, change is possible.

    • Senate Committee Approves Sex Trafficking Bill Despite Objections From Tech Advocates

      The United States Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday approved a bill designed to combat sex trafficking online despite numerous objections from technology firms and privacy advocates.

      The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) has enjoyed bipartisan support since its inception and was passed through committee unanimously but will face significant push back over its concerns the legislation, despite its good intentions, will result in internet censorship.

    • Sex trafficking act would lead to censorship online, not safety

      Changes unveiled last week to the controversial Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) have won the support of the Internet Association, which includes tech giants like Facebook and Twitter. While these minor revisions may have eased the bill’s passage out of committee Wednesday, lawmakers haven’t yet come within hailing distance of addressing SESTA’s underlying problems.

      Shaped by good intentions, SESTA would reduce today’s internet to something more like traditional newspapers or broadcasters, rather than a democratic environment in which everyone’s voice may be heard. It would entrench the internet’s dominant voices as trusted sources, essentially because they’re easier to sue in court.

    • SESTA Approved by Senate Commerce Committee—Still an Awful Bill

      The Senate Commerce Committee just approved a slightly modified version of SESTA, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (S. 1693).

      SESTA was and continues to be a deeply flawed bill. It would weaken 47 U.S.C. § 230, (commonly known as “CDA 230” or simply “Section 230”), one of the most important laws protecting free expression online. Section 230 says that for purposes of enforcing certain laws affecting speech online, an intermediary cannot be held legally responsible for any content created by others.

      It’s not surprising when a trade association endorses a bill that would give its own members a massive competitive advantage.

      SESTA would create an exception to Section 230 for laws related to sex trafficking, thus exposing online platforms to an immense risk of civil and criminal litigation. What that really means is that online platforms would be forced to take drastic measures to censor their users.

    • Will Sheryl Sandberg And Facebook Help Small Websites Threatened By SESTA?

      Sandberg’s support, then, is doubly troubling. SESTA will cause more harm to victims of sex trafficking, while at the same time cementing Facebook’s dominant position, by putting smaller companies at significant risk. The cynical among you may suggest this latter part explains Facebook’s decision here, though I’d argue that’s almost certainly not true. It’s much more likely that with all the criticism Facebook has been receiving lately over supposed Russian interference, it had to “give up” something, and it’s easy to toe the misleading line that all of the politicians are following by saying this bill is about sex trafficking and it will magically help end sex trafficking. The fact that it may harm smaller sites and Facebook’s own users? That’s just gravy.

      Yesterday I asked if the authors of SESTA, Senators Blumenthal and Portman, could explain to smaller sites like ours how to stay on the right side of the law. Now I’d like to make a similar ask of Facebook: considering its support of SESTA is what allowed it to sail through the markup this morning, will Facebook commit to funding the defense of small sites that face legal jeopardy because of SESTA? Will Facebook commit to creating a fund to pay for lawyers to help smaller sites comply with SESTA? Will Facebook commit to funding defense of bogus grandstanding attacks by state AGs using SESTA?

    • Ron Wyden Puts A Hold On SESTA And Warns About Its Dangers

      Those are fighting words — and it’s good to see him come out and directly say that just because big tech companies are for SESTA it doesn’t mean it’s a good thing (now will some people finally stop falsely claiming that Wyden just represents the big tech companies?). Last week’s decision by the Internet Association (which represents the largest internet companies) along with Facebook’s direct support for SESTA remain very troubling. These organizations have experience with intermediary liability laws and know how important they are, and how weakening them gets abused. Wyden knows that too.

      In some ways, this reminds me of a similar situation, almost exactly seven years ago, when Wyden blocked COICA, an alarmist censorship bill pushed by Hollywood, which eventually morphed into SOPA and PIPA. As with SESTA, COICA was seen as an “easy” win for Congress and passed out of Committee with a unanimous vote. Wyden put a public hold on it and forced Senators to go back to the drawing board — and eventually the entire bill was killed.

    • David Boies Accused Of Running Horrifying Spy Operation Against Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers

      David Boies is one of the highest profile lawyers in the country. I first became aware of him when he (as outside counsel) represented the Justice Department in the overreaching antitrust case against Microsoft in the 1990s. However, I think most people became aware of him when he represented Al Gore in Bush v. Gore. Since then, nearly every time he’s popped up in Techdirt, it’s been doing really, really sketchy things. He was the lawyer for SCO in that company’s insane “set open source on fire” lawsuit against IBM over Linux. He represented Oracle in its ridiculous lawsuit against Google over whether APIs are covered by copyright*. He represented Sony Pictures after its email was hacked and threatened lots of journalists — including us! — for publishing stories based on those leaked emails (we told him “go pound sand.”) And, honestly, until earlier this week, I thought the most egregious efforts by Boies had been his connection to Theranos, the disgraced medical devices company, where Boies wasn’t just a lawyer for the company, but on the board, and participated in terrible and far-reaching attempts to punish whistleblowers at the company.

    • The Woman Battling Hate Speech, Censorship, and Extremism Online (and Off)

      Jigsaw is working on projects like letting people in Internet-censored countries access the open Internet via other people’s connections, and using machine learning to ferret out online abuse.

    • Open Hillel Rejects Censorship and Stands with Princeton Students Calling for Open Discourse

      CJL derived these standards from Hillel International’s Standards of Partnership for Israel Activities, which has been applied by Hillel donors and board members countless times to censor students, speakers and events on college campuses across the country. Just as Open Hillel opposes the Standards of Partnership and its censorship of student voices, so do we oppose the censorship of MK Tzipi Hotovely.

    • Hillel president apologizes to Hotovely for Princeton slight

      The head of Hillel International on Tuesday apologized to Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, three days after the Princeton University branch of his Jewish campus organization canceled her speech there on short notice following pressure from a progressive Jewish group.

    • Miami City Attorney Tries To Erase Photos Of Fired Firefighters From The Internet

      The images are already out there. Telling the media to unpublish the photos is a ridiculous move. The union plans to sue the city for releasing the photos, but that’s not going to do anything to return the internet to the state it was in prior to the accidental photo dump.

      As for the firefighters inadvertently left unprotected by this “violation” of Florida’s open records law, it would seem the best way to keep your photo from being displayed in stories about racist acts by public servants is refraining from engaging in bigoted acts while employed as public servants. Trying to turn online media sources into self-serving time machines only ensures maximum visibility.

    • Arts: University chooses dialogue, not censorship, for controversial mural

      In May 1917, just a few weeks after the United States entered World War I, a motion picture called “The Spirit of ’76” debuted in Chicago. It was advertised as “a historical romance dealing with the American Revolution and its causes,” and its depiction of the British was particularly negative.

      Because the U.S. was now fighting alongside Great Britain in the war, authorities confiscated the film. Later that year Robert Goldstein, its writer and producer, was fined $5,000 and sentenced to 10 years in prison for violating the Espionage Act by disparaging an ally and giving aid and comfort to the enemy: in this case, the Germans. Because in 1915 the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that movies did not have First Amendment protection, a federal appeals court upheld the decision.


      This fall, more than 1,600 students at the University of Indiana demanded the administration remove from view a portion of a 1930s-era mural by famed Midwestern regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton entitled “A Social History of Indiana.”

    • Faculty Meeting Briefing: Faculty discusses censorship and diversity

      At their November meeting, the faculty spent a large portion of time in confidential deliberations as a committee of the whole before discussing academic censorship.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • US House panel passes legislation aimed at overhauling certain aspects of NSA’s internet surveillance programme

      A US House panel on Wednesday passed legislation seeking to overhaul some aspects of the National Security Agency’s warrantless internet surveillance programme, overcoming criticism from civil liberties advocates that it did not include enough safeguards to protect Americans’ privacy.

    • Sean Parker: We Built Facebook to Exploit You

      Facebook’s founding president Sean Parker — Justin Timberlake in The Social Network, if that’s how you keep track of the platform’s key players — sat down with Axios’s Mike Allen at an event in Philadelphia this week. Parker, who now chairs the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, was there to discuss advances in cancer research — but nevertheless managed to squeeze in a few comments about building Facebook. What he had to say is not going to make Zuck happy.

      Confirming what you basically know, but probably don’t want to think about too closely, Parker explained just how he and the other early Facebookers built the platform to “consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible.” He described the system of users posting content and receiving likes as “a social-validation feedback loop … exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.” “We need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever,” Parker said. “And that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you … more likes and comments.” He also noted that he and Zuckerberg, and later Instagram’s Kevin Systrom, were very much aware of this and “did it anyway.”

    • Can you have secrets online? This unusual pop-up shop will make you think again

      Few are aware of their digital footprint and the extent to which their data is harvested, traded, and sold on a daily basis.

      Most people enjoy apps and social media services without thinking about the control over their own personal data they are handing over to giant corporations. For example, if you don’t alter the right settings, Facebook has the ability to track you across the web — and many of its billion users are none the wiser of any of this.

      And Facebook is just one example: companies are collecting and using more data than ever, while some governments are increasingly pushing to gain more powers over online services in order to access user’s private data.

    • CIA director met with NSA whistleblower at President Trump’s urging to discuss his conspiracy theory that DNC leak was an inside job
    • ‘Zero evidence’ that Russia hacked DNC, says NSA whistleblower (VIDEO)

      NSA whistleblower William Binney spoke to RT about his recent meeting with CIA director Mike Pompeo, where they discussed accusations that Russia meddled in 2016 US presidential election by hacking the Democrats.

      In an interview with RT America host Ed Schultz on Wednesday, Binney said tests have “clearly showed” the DNC was not hacked by Russia before the 2016 presidential election, but that the data was downloaded locally.

    • To prevent revenge porn, Facebook will look at user-submitted nude photos

      Facebook is experimenting with a new way to prevent the posting of so-called revenge porn that involves a highly questionable requirement. Potential victims must send nude pictures of themselves though the social network’s official messenger so the images can be viewed, in full, unedited form, by an employee of the social network.

      A Facebook spokeswoman said the employee would be a member of the company’s community operations team who has been trained to review such photos. If the employee determines the image violates site policies, it will be digitally fingerprinted to prevent it from being published on Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram. An article posted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported said the service is still being tested with help from Australian government officials. To use it, potential victims will first complete this online form, and then send the images to themselves over Facebook Messenger.

    • Fappening 3.0 Continues? — Explicit Pictures Of WWE Divas JoJo, Paige, and Maria Kanellis Leaked
    • NSA’s Spying Obsession – How Lawmakers Could Use Mega Security Breaches to Get the Agency More Powers

      Earlier this morning, the US lawmakers sat together to grill current and former executives from Equifax, Yahoo, and Verizon. Today’s hearing, titled Protecting Consumers in the Era of Major Data Breaches, was focused on massive security breaches that the companies faced under these executives. While Yahoo lost data of over 3 billion of its users, Equifax managed to have personal data, including social security numbers of 145 million Americans exposed. Verizon was in the panel because of its recent acquisition of Yahoo.

      Included in the panel were, Paulino do Rego Barros, Interim CEO, Equifax; Richard Smith, the CEO when Equifax suffered the intrusion; Marissa Mayer, the former CEO of Yahoo (she only appeared before the committee after lawmakers subpoenaed her); Karen Zacharia, the deputy general counsel and chief privacy officer at Verizon; and Todd Wilkinson, President and CEO Entrust Datacard Corp.

    • U.S. House panel advances bill aimed at limiting NSA spying program

      A U.S. House panel on Wednesday passed legislation seeking to overhaul some aspects of the National Security Agency’s warrantless internet surveillance program, overcoming criticism from civil liberties advocates that it did not have enough safeguards to protect Americans’ privacy.

    • U.S. House panel advances bill aimed at limiting NSA spying program

      The House bill, known as the USA Liberty Act, partially restricts the FBI’s ability to review American data collected under Section 702 by requiring the agency to obtain a warrant when seeking evidence of crime.

    • Facebook’s “shadow profiles”: the involuntary dossiers of information you never provided, and can’t opt out of

      Facebook is well understood as being a major customer of third-party data-brokers, who compile huge dossiers on people based on their spending, internet and phone usage, employment history and so on. In addition, Facebook encourages users to upload their entire address books to the system to “find your friends,” and users generally don’t appreciate that they may be leaking sensitive information, including nicknames, private numbers, and connections to the system.

    • Facebook asks for users’ nude photos so it can block revenge porn
    • Apple says it immediately contacted FBI about unlocking Texas shooter’s iPhone

      Apple is refuting the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s account of the aftermath of the Texas gunman’s attack this past Sunday, saying it reached out to the bureau “immediately” to offer assistance in getting into the gunman’s iPhone and expedite its response to any legal process. The attack, which left 26 dead and many more injured, was committed by now-deceased Devin P. Kelley, who is confirmed to have been carrying an iPhone that may have crucial information about his activities in the lead up to the shooting.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • TSA fails most tests in latest undercover operation at US airports

      When ABC News asked the source familiar with the report if the failure rate was 80 percent, the response was, “You are in the ballpark.”

    • The ACLU Has Challenged the Trump Administration Since the 2016 Election

      Dresslar tells Teen Vogue that the ACLU plans to hire 100 new employees, mostly litigators, and mostly at state affiliates. So while many feel frustrated at the injustices caused by Trump and his cabinet, we have the ACLU as our defenders.

    • Ashamed to work in Silicon Valley: how techies became the new bankers
    • U.S. Gave Its Torturers a Pass, So International Court Steps In

      For the first time, U.S. officials could face the specter of indictment by the international court.

      After a decade of collecting evidence, the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court announced last week that she will take steps toward a full investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed over the course of the armed conflict in Afghanistan since May 2003. While the process could take years, this development means that, for the first time, U.S. officials could face the specter of indictment by the international court.

      The prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has requested to launch a full investigation into whether a number of actors committed gross violations of international law, including “war crimes of torture and related ill-treatment.” That implicates U.S. military and CIA personnel, as well as private contractors. In a 2016 report, the prosecutor’s office revealed that it had reason to believe that members of the U.S. military “subjected at least 61 detained persons to torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity” and members of the CIA “subjected at least 27 detained persons to torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity and/or rape.”

    • Ramsey Orta Can’t Breathe

      When we went to a New York state prison to visit Ramsey Orta, the young man who filmed a police officer choking Eric Garner to death on a Staten Island sidewalk in 2014, we didn’t even make it past the metal detectors.


      For months, Ramsey had been telling friends that the Fishkill prison guards were targeting him, much like the local Rikers Island guards—who he says tried to kill him with verifiably rat-poisoned food—had back home. He didn’t feel safe at Fishkill, either, he said. In fact, since he’d filmed his friend’s death at the hands of an NYPD detective, he hadn’t felt safe even out in public.


      Ramsey’s treatment, along with that of other activists and copwatchers, may be intended as a cautionary tale for anyone who would film police. But for those devoted to the idea that journalism is a sacred institution that protects and strengthens democracy, his case points to the need to challenge the imaginary line separating journalists and the rest of us, which limits those protections.

      This distinction between bona fide journalists and amateurs is one that members of the press themselves reinforce, when their outrage meter bursts at the thought of a credentialed reporter being manhandled or arrested—but not the average person.

    • The 2017 Elections Show Criminal Justice Reform Can Be a Winning Issue

      Smearing candidates as “soft on crime” didn’t work this election cycle.

      On Election Day 2017, candidates in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Virginia, and New York won on platforms that proactively embraced criminal justice reform or rejected fear-mongering attempts by opponents to label them as soft-on-crime.

      Their victories send a strong signal to politicians running in 2018 elections that they do not need to hide from supporting issues like bail and sentencing reform, ending the death penalty, and restoring the rights of people living with a criminal record. They also represent the continuation of a shifting narrative that rejects the old tough-on-crime politics for a new approach that is rooted in civil rights and redefining community safety.

    • Deputy Shoots Family’s Terrier; Complains About Cost Of The Bullet

      In disturbing, but sadly unsurprising news, a law enforcement officer is being accused of killing a family pet — one that very likely did not need to be killed. Kelli Sullivan’s dog was shot by a sheriff’s deputy when the deputy responded to Sullivan’s call about being harassed by a neighbor. Sullivan soon learned why you’re taking the lives of everyone and everything into your own hands by asking for law enforcement assistance.


      But that’s not the end of it, although that would probably be more than enough. A deputy unable to handle the “aggressive manner” of a 12-lb. dog is going to have severe difficulties handling aggressive behavior by full-grown humans.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Colorado Voters Shoot Down Comcast’s Shitty, Protectionist State Broadband Law

      For years we’ve noted how large ISPs like Comcast quite literally write and buy protectionist state laws preventing towns and cities from building their own broadband networks (or striking public/private partnerships). These ISPs don’t want to spend money to improve or expand service into lower ROI areas, but they don’t want towns and cities to either — since many of these networks operate on an open access model encouraging a little something known as competition. As such it’s much cheaper to buy a state law and a lawmaker who’ll support it — than to actually try and give a damn.

      And while roughly twenty three states have passed such laws, Colorado’s SB 152, co-crafted by Comcast and Centurylink in 2005, was notably unique in that it let local towns and cities hold local referendums on whether they’d like to ignore it. And over the last few years, an overwhelming number of Colorado towns and cities have voted to do so, preferring to decide local infrastructure issues for themselves instead of having lobbyists for Comcast dictate what they can or can’t do in their own communities, with their own tax dollars.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Taylor Swift Using Dubious Trademark Registrations To Shut Down Sales Of Fan-Made Goods

        Oh, to be a lawyer retained by Taylor Swift™ — free of concerns about your client’s financial health or the nuances of intellectual property law. When not pursuing bogus defamation claims or targeting clear fair use cases, you can always bring the power of Swift® to bear on the unofficial adoration of the probably-not-a-white-supremacist singer’s fanbase.

        Legal threat after legal threat sent following trademark filing after trademark filing in hopes of capturing 100% of all available SwiftDollars™. Why only collect royalties when you can submit individual lyrics from songs to the US Patent and Trademark Office to lock everyone else out of the Swift Merch Machine®?

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA Sticks Its Nose Into Australia’s Copyright Business: Warns Against Fair Use And Geo-Blocking Relief

        It’s been no secret that the MPAA has been sticking its nose in the copyright laws and enforcement of Australia for some time now. From pressuring government officials in the country to force ISPs to act as copyright police, to trying to keep Australian law as stuck in antiquity as it possibly could be, to trying to force the country to enforce American intellectual property law except the parts it doesn’t like, the MPAA nearly seems to think of itself as an official branch of the Australian government. Given the group’s nakedly hostile stance towards fair use, it should be no surprise that it doesn’t want to see that sort of law exported to other countries and has worked to actively prevent its installation Down Under.

      • Russia Plans Instant Movie Pirate Site Blockades, Without Court Order

        The Russian Ministry of Culture has tabled a new proposal that will allow filmmakers to have pirate sites blocked within 24 hours, without a court order. Officials say that new measures are needed to better protect the revenues of the local movie industry. Interestingly, the plan applies only to local content so major Hollywood productions are not covered.


Links 8/11/2017: Atom 1.22, Bodhi 3, Arch Linux Officially Ends 32-Bit Support

Posted in News Roundup at 5:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Tech Corner: Open Source breaking business-as-usual

    Back in 1983, Richard Stallman already begun his GNU project and two years later he started the Free Software Foundation. In 1989 he then wrote the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL). After Torvalds published version 0.99 using the GNU GPL, GNU components were integrated with Linux and it became a fully functional and free operating system. Torvalds later admitted, “Making Linux GPL’d was definitely the best thing I ever did.”

    Many of today’s most promising new enterprise technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (Google’s Tensorflow), Containers (Docker Swarm and Kubernetes), Big Data (Apache Spark, Akka and Apache Kafka) are based on free, open-source technology. Open-source software licenses give developers and users freedoms they would not otherwise have. Its source code is freely available to anyone. Therefore, it can be modified and distributed without requiring attribution, payment or anything owed to the original creator.

    Commenting on open source’s wide acceptance within today’s computer industry, Dr. Ronald D. Eaglin Chair of Daytona State’s School of Engineering Technology, says, “It’s all open source now. I build all my classes on open source software.”

  • Uber Made Its Homegrown AI Language Open Source, but Not Entirely out of Altruism

    Uber’s artificial-intelligence lab is less than a year old, but researchers there have already built their own programming language for AI applications—and now they’re releasing it for anyone to use. Quite a generous move for a company known more for its hard-nosed business tactics than for handing out in-house innovations to potential competitors.

  • Kubernetes by the numbers: 10 compelling stats

    How quickly has Kubernetes’ popularity soared? By most accounts, very quickly. Earlier this year, Cloud Native Computing Foundation executive director Dan Kohn penned a blog post that dug into that claim. People regularly tout Kubernetes as one of the highest velocity projects ever in open source history: Does the data back it up?

    As Kohn found, there may not be a single definitive metric, but they all point in the same conclusion: “You can pick your preferred statistic, such as that Kubernetes is in the top 0.00006% of the projects on GitHub,” Kohn wrote. “I prefer to just think of it as one of the fastest moving projects in the history of open source.”

  • HyperLedger – The Linux Foundation’s Blockchain Framework for Business

    Blockchain development is a novelty in the tech world, but has been around long enough to see platforms such as Ethereum give birth to a myriad of decentralized applications. These dApps aim to solve some of the world’s problems, challenges, or to create new marketplaces.

    Hyperledger is a blockchain project started by the Linux Foundation in January of 2016 as an enterprise-level development framework. This open-source collaboration has attracted the support of many leaders across various industries that want to utilize blockchain technology to facilitate interconnectivity between businesses.

  • The Open-Source Model And Wall Street
  • Open Source Machine Learning: Open Source Dominates Preferred ML and AI Tools and Frameworks

    Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies are being developed and adopted at a rapid pace. This area has become a hot topic in 2017. Interestingly, many of the more prominent tools are Open Source. The technologies are being used with a wide variety of applications, like search, data mining, spam detection, character recognition, autonomous vehicles, online recommendations

    Many of those Open Source tools offer a Python interface to allow developers to jump in quickly. For example, there are core libraries like NumPy, SciPy and SciKit. Keras is a Deep Learning library and TensorFlow is Google’s Open Source Machine Learning tool.

  • Global Application Modernization Services Market 2017-2022 – Open-Source Technology Paving the Way for Untapped Possibilities
  • Service providers use NFV open source to innovate the network

    With NFV open source, service providers can push network innovation and reduce network costs. But service providers will need to adjust to a new open source culture.

  • Open Source Initiative Announces DigitalOcean Corporate Sponsorship

    The Open Source Initiative® (OSI), dedicated to increasing the awareness and adoption of open source software, is delighted to welcome DigitalOcean as a Premium Sponsor. DigitalOcean, a cloud services platform designed for developers, will provide both financial support and hosting for several OSI community-driven services.

    A Forbes’ Cloud 100 company, DigitalOcean’s active engagement and investment in open source software highlights how today’s most innovative and successful companies have recognized the value of, and opportunities within, open communities of collaboration. The company regularly sponsors open source related MeetUps and Hackathons—including their popular “Hacktoberfest”, develops tutorials on open source technologies and techniques, maintains and contributes to a number of open source projects, and of course offers hosting to open source projects and foundations.

  • Events

    • Highlights from the fifth annual SeaGL conference

      The fifth annual Seattle GNU/Linux Conference (better known as SeaGL), held Oct. 6–7 at Seattle Central College, was again a great event. Seattle even rolled out the welcome committee for us with penguins on the train and geek-oriented tagging posted around town.

    • R / Finance 2018 Call for Papers

      The tenth (!!) annual annual R/Finance conference will take in Chicago on the UIC campus on June 1 and 2, 2018. Please see the call for papers below (or at the website) and consider submitting a paper.

      We are once again very excited about our conference, thrilled about who we hope may agree to be our anniversary keynotes, and hope that many R / Finance users will not only join us in Chicago in June — and also submit an exciting proposal.

      So read on below, and see you in Chicago in June!

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD


    • GNU Pioneer Stallman to Speak to CWDS Lunch

      Richard Stallman founded the free software movement 34 years ago and announced the GNU Project, the thrust of which wasn’t software’s cost but its ability to be shared, changed and shared again. One offshoot of the project was GNU/Linux, software created and inspired by the movement’s open-source principles.

      CWDS is hosting Stallman because it, too, is trying to foster innovation in state IT while freely sharing the products of its best efforts with the city, county and other state agencies it supports through tech.

    • GCC 8 & LLVM Clang 6.0 Compiler Performance On AMD EPYC – November 2017

      Given the continuously evolving state of open-source code compilers, especially for the newer AMD Zen “znver1″ architecture, here is the latest installment of our compiler benchmarks. Tested for this article from and AMD EPYC 7601 processor were GCC 7.2, GCC 8.0.0, LLVM Clang 5.0, and LLVM Clang 6.0 SVN.

    • Cannonlake Onboarding Posted For GCC Compiler

      An Intel developer is looking to merge the -march=cannonlake support for the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC).

  • Licensing/Legal

    • FSFE makes copyrights computer readable

      The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is proud to release its next version of our REUSE practices designed to make computers understand software copyrights and licenses.

      The REUSE practices help software developers make simple additions to license headers which make it easier for a computer to determine what license applies to the various parts of a programs source code. By following the REUSE practices, software developers can ensure their intent to license software under a particular license is understood and more readily adhered to.

      Together with the updated practices, which mostly clarify and make explicit some points, the FSFE is also releasing a set of developer tools and examples which show the REUSE practices in action. Three example repositories, together with an example walkthrough of the process used to make the cURL project REUSE compliant, are complemented with a simple tool to validate whether a program is REUSE compliant.

    • Apple Will No Longer Be Developing CUPS Under The GPL

      One decade after Apple bought out CUPS as the de facto printing system for Unix-like operating systems, they are changing the code license.

      The CUPS Common UNIX Printing System up to now had been developed under the GPLv2 license while now Apple will be switching it to the Apache 2.0 software license.

    • Software Freedom Law Center and Conservancy

      There’s been quite a bit of interest recently about the petition by Software Freedom Law Center to cancel the Software Freedom Conservancy’s trademark. A number of people have asked my views on it, so I thought I’d write up a quick blog on my experience with SFLC and Conservancy both during my time as Debian Project Leader, and since.

      It’s clear to me that for some time, there’s been quite a bit of animosity between SFLC and Conservancy, which for me started to become apparent around the time of the large debate over ZFS on Linux. I talked about this in my DebConf 16 talk, which fortunately was recorded (ZFS bit from 8:05 to 17:30).

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Exploring AMD’s Ambitious ROCm Initiative

      The ROCm developers wanted a platform that supports a number of different programming languages and is flexible enough to interface with different GPU-based hardware environments (Figure 1). As you will learn later in this article, ROCm provides direct support for OpenCL, Python, and several common C++ variants. One of the most innovative features of the platform is the Heterogeneous-Compute Interface for Portability (HIP) tool, which offers a vendor-neutral dialect of C++ that is ready to compile for either the AMD or CUDA/NVIDIA GPU environment.

    • RQuantLib 0.4.4: Several smaller updates


  • Twitter officially doubles character count, says most 280 testers didn’t use it

    If you logged into Twitter on Tuesday to rant about the news of the day, from various elections across the United States to the launch of the Xbox One X, you may have noticed some more breathing room in your rants. That’s because the social networking service’s character limit has now officially doubled for all of its Roman-alphabet users.

    A weeks-long test began in late September, allowing select, random users to post 280 characters per tweet instead of the default 140-character limit. (Both classes of users could still save on characters by way of shortened URLs and attached images.) In extending that change to almost all users, Twitter Product Manager Aliza Rosen published a statement that claims, among other things, that the test didn’t result in an endless wave of fully packed 280-character posts.

  • Science

    • Software Archaeology

      Just over 21 years ago I took a summer job between university courses. Looking back at it now I find it surprising that I was doing contract work. These days I tend to think that I’m not really cut out for that kind of thing but, when you’re young, you tend to think you can do anything. Maybe it’s just a case of having enough confidence, even if that can get you into trouble sometimes.

      The software itself was called Zig Zag – Ancient Greeks and was written for the Acorn RISC OS platform that, in 1996, was still widely used in schools. Acorn had dominated the education market since the introduction of the BBC Micro in the early 1980s but the perception of the PC, particularly in its Windows incarnation, as an “industry standard” continuously undermined Acorn’s position with decision-makers in education. Although Acorn released the RiscPC in 1994 with better-than-ever PC compatibility, it wasn’t enough to halt the decline of the platform and, despite a boost from the launch of a StrongARM CPU upgrade in 1996, the original lifespan of the platform ended in 1998.

      The history of the platform isn’t really very relevant, except that Acorn’s relentless focus on the education market, while potentially lucrative for the company, made RISC OS software seem a bit uncool to aspiring students and graduates. Perhaps that might explain why I didn’t seem to face much competition when I applied for a summer job writing an educational game.


      I’ve put the source code for the Sprite Viewer application up in a Mercurial repository. Maybe I’ll create a binary package for it at some point. Maybe someone else will find it useful, or perhaps it will bring back fond memories of 1990s educational computing.

  • Hardware

  • Security

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Sub-editor found dead in Kozhikode

      A sub-editor was found dead at a lodge at Velliparamba here on Sunday night. The deceased was identified as Nithin Das (26), sub editor with Media One news channel.

      Nithin, who hailed from Thoppumpadi in Ernakulam district, was living in a rented room near his office at Velliparamba. He was found hanging at around 8.30 pm on Sunday. The police suspect it to be a case of suicide.
      The incident came to light when his colleagues checked his room as Nithin did not turn up for evening shift and did not respond to the calls and messages of his friends.

    • The Dangerous Business of Journalism

      As information warfare becomes a hotter topic, journalists have become bigger targets for repression and even assassination, a troubling trend that is spreading across the globe, reports veteran war correspondent Don North.

  • Finance

    • ‘Japan is not against CPEC’

      Japan is not against the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and may also help in the project, said Japanese Ambassador Takashi Kurai on Tuesday at a public talk titled ‘Japan-Pakistan Relationship: 65 Years and Beyond’.

    • Björkcoin: what’s behind Björk’s cryptocurrency album project

      The weekend’s big splash in musical blockchains was the news that indie pop star Björk is selling her forthcoming album, Utopia, for bitcoins. And there’s something called Audiocoins. Let’s see what doing the obvious basic tyre-kicking reveals …

    • Trump and the NAFTA Effect

      President Trump has blamed NAFTA for eliminating manufacturing jobs for U.S. workers but it also caused economic dislocation in Mexico, driving some desperate Mexicans northward to the U.S…

    • IBM’s plan to regulate pot with blockchains isn’t as crazy as it sounds

      Canada is legalizing marijuana and leaving it up to provincial governments to regulate its sale and distribution. The government of British Columbia asked for comments on the best way to manage the province’s marijuana market. In a regulatory filing, IBM argued that the province should use a blockchain to manage its legal marijuana market.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Democrats’ chances of taking the House suddenly look a lot better

      The blue wave that crashed Virginia’s suburbs on Tuesday could also — if it extends into the 2018 midterm elections — carry Democrats into control of the House.

      Ralph Northam’s victory in the Virginia governor’s race highlighted a night of Democratic wins in mayoral and legislative races fueled by higher turnout than most non-presidential elections and much stronger performance by the party’s candidates in suburban areas.

    • GOP – Impeach Trump Or Die

      Otherwise, Ds will gain in a big way in 2018 and may well gain control of the whole government. The only thing Trump can do to stop this wave would be to restart war with North Korea. The GOP needs to impeach Trump ASAP, before that can happen. How about next Tuesday? That should give every member of the GOP ample time to reflect. Oh, and about Pence? Let him know he’s supposed to carry out the will of Congress, not impose despotic rule.

    • DOJ Finally Drops Case Against Protester Who Laughed During Jeff Sessions’ Confirmation Hearing

      A small bit of good news from our lol-worthy Justice Department: federal prosecutors have decided they’re no longer interested in jailing someone for laughing at the Attorney General. That isn’t the entirety of the story (or the dropped charges, for that matter), so here’s a little background.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Manager’s Amendment for SESTA Slightly Improves a Still-Terrible Bill

      SESTA amends Section 230 in three ways:

      1) It would enable sex trafficking victims to bring civil lawsuits against online services for publishing sex trafficking promotions from third parties.

      2) It would enable state attorneys’ general to bring enforcement actions against online services for publishing sex trafficking promotions from third parties.

      3) It would expand the scope of the federal sex trafficking crime, exposing online services to greater risk of prosecution for publishing sex trafficking promotions from third parties.

      Other SESTA provisions include a policy statement that courts should interpret Section 230 to enable vigorous enforcement of anti-sex trafficking laws and a retroactivity provision extending post-SESTA rules to pre-SESTA activity.

    • Why Does SESTA Allow State Attorneys General To File Civil Claims?

      So we’ve already talked a lot about the problems of the “knowledge” standard in the amended version of SESTA, in that it’s way too broad, and leaves smaller sites completely adrift in figuring out if they’re on the right side of the law. But there were other changes in the amended version of SESTA as well — some good, and some bad. Law professor Eric Goldman has an excellent post detailing the changes, but I want to focus on one really perplexing one.

    • Dialogue on censorship must continue: Theo Stojanov

      Theo Stojanov is a doctoral candidate in Film and Moving Image Studies at Concordia University, where his work focuses on the sociology of cultural production. His research involves a critical examination of the socio-technical aspects of the creative industries and their production practices, policies, and people. He worked closely with Paul Grant of New York University in setting up the debate on film censorship in Myanmar and rest of south-east Asia. Mizzima’s Subir Bhaumik caught up with Mr Stojanov on the side-lines of the Memory 2017 film festival.

    • Four things Trump will not tweet about when in China

      President Trump is due to visit China tomorrow as part of his Asia tour. On Oct 25, he congratulated President Xi on his “extraordinary elevation” after China’s 19th Party Congress consecrated Xi Jinping as the most powerful leader since Mao.

    • ‘He’ll tweet whatever he wants’: Trump tour hits China

      Donald Trump has thumbed his nose at China’s draconian censorship regime as he touched down in Beijing on the latest leg of a 12-day east Asian tour undertaken against a backdrop of rumbling tensions on the Korean peninsula.

    • Journalists can bypass censorship with social media and ‘soft’ journalism

      Vietnamese and Singaporean journalists do not enjoy the same freedoms as their Western colleagues, but that does not mean that they cannot practice critical journalism: By reporting on stories that the general public express concern about on social media as well as ‘soft’ human-interest stories, journalists can indirectly address problems in society and put pressure on the authorities, new research from the University of Copenhagen shows.

      Freedom of speech and press freedom are cornerstones of open societies in which journalists and citizens are allowed to scrutinise those in power. In the West, these freedoms are the norm, and this often prompts Western politicians and journalists to demand that journalists who are subjected to censorship be granted the same rights as their Western colleagues. And the sooner the better.

    • SLAPP Alert: Professor Sues Another For Defamation Over Competing Academic Papers

      One of the important elements of the First Amendment, and its protections of opinion, is that it opens up all kinds of debates — from the political to the scientific. Indeed, the very nature of scientific research in academia is one of constant debate between researchers with different viewpoints. This has gone on for centuries. And, yet, it appears that at least one scientist has apparently decided that the standard nature of scientific debate is now defamatory. He’s almost certainly wrong, but the details of this case are disturbing. Stanford professor Mark Jacobson apparently was less than happy to see criticism from another scientist, Christopher Clack. Rather than just respond with another paper, Jacobson has sued Clack and the National Academy of Sciences for defamation in the Superior Court in Washington DC (more on that in a moment).

      The complaint is worth reading as it lays out the path to this dispute in a pretty straightforward way. Jacobson and some other authors published an article in PNAS, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in late 2015. Early in 2016, Clack communicated with Jacobson via phone and email to better understand some of the assumptions in the original paper. Clack (and others) then published a “rebuttal” article (also in PNAS) to Jacobson’s original article. Jacobson, from the complaint, appears to be upset that Clack never requested “a time series of model output from the Jacobson Article” or any information other than what was discussed via phone and email in early 2016.

    • Facebook’s fake news experiment backfires

      It meant feeds from the BBC, the Economist, the New York Times and the Guardian all began with a comment mentioning the word fake.

    • The End of the Affair

      I did not realise how this has been weighing me down, until the threat has been lifted today. I have never claimed to be entirely without fault, and I would ask you to refrain from any comment here which detracts from the amicable spirit of the joint statement. It is a time for celebration not recrimination, and please confine any rudeness to remarks about me.

    • Keep Twitter Accountable Without Censorship

      In an effort to “take a more aggressive stance,” Twitter announced on Nov. 3 that it will enact new and revised rules later this month to address graphic content, unwanted sexual advances, violent organizations, spam and “hateful” symbols and imagery on the social network.

    • Katy Perry, Academic Publishers, and Self-censorship in China

      On Monday, CDT Chinese reposted a letter circulating on Weibo which purportedly shows singer Katy Perry’s pledge to behave harmoniously during a prospective Chinese tour. “Fruit Sister” has performed in China in the past, but occasionally stumbled on moral or political sensitivities there. The letter includes promises to “observe the laws and regulations in China, comply with the management of the regulators,” and not to “add or change any content without authorization,” “do or say anything religious or political,” or “participate in any activities that jeopardize China’s unity and integrity.”

    • Bitcoin and Weak Frequency Signals: Bypassing Network Censorship With Radio

      This past weekend at the Scaling Bitcoin 2017 conference at Stanford University, two individuals discussed a new method of providing the Bitcoin network with more censorship resistance by utilizing weak signal radio communications. Stanford University’s Elaine Ou, and the computer scientist, Nick Szabo, introduced a project they are testing which secures consensus proofs with weak signal radio propagation.

    • Twitter offers incoherent explanation for anti-LGBTQ censorship
    • Twitter Inadvertently Censors Gay, Bisexual Hashtags
  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Private Prison Giant CoreCivic’s Wants to Corner the Mass Incarceration ‘Market’ in the States

      The private prison company has a strategy for embedding itself more deeply into state criminal justice systems.

      CoreCivic, Inc., the private prison company, will release its quarterly earnings report tomorrow, Nov. 8, to investors, which will mark an extraordinary one-year turnaround for an industry that depends on keeping people trapped in the criminal justice system.

      Just over a year ago, the company — then named Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA — was in dire straits. The Justice Department had announced a plan to phase out its private prison contracts, and as its stocks cratered, CCA rebranded itself with the airily vague “CoreCivic” moniker. However, under President Trump, CCA/CoreCivic’s fortunes have reversed. Its stock has climbed in response to the Trump administration soliciting new private prison contracts and adopting policies that promise to throw many more people behind bars.

      But CCA/CoreCivic is not betting entirely on federal contracts from its friends in the Trump administration. Two announcements last week highlight the company’s strategy for embedding itself more deeply into state criminal justice systems.

    • Harvey Weinstein’s Army of Spies

      The film executive hired private investigators, including ex-Mossad agents, to track actresses and journalists.

    • Harvey Weinstein hired a team of ex-Mossad spies to discredit actresses and journalists
    • Doctor with no computer skills vows to battle medical board in court

      Dr. Anna Konopka, the 84-year-old New Hampshire physician who recently lost her medical license in part due to a lack of computer skills, has an uphill battle ahead of her.

      In two lengthy phone interviews with Ars on Tuesday, Konopka said if she is reinstated by the state’s medical board—at this point, a big if—she would be willing to learn how to use the Internet to comply with the state’s new law for an online opioid monitoring program.

    • After admitting to new crime, ex-Secret Service agent sentenced to 2 years

      Former United States Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges was sentenced to an additional two years of prison on Tuesday.

      US District Judge Richard Seeborg said that Bridges’ totality of crimes and continued dishonesty to the government was a “betrayal of trust” and was “among the worst of crimes.”

      In August 2017, Bridges pleaded guilty to new counts of money laundering and related forfeiture. In May 2015, Bridges was separately sentenced to 71 months in prison after he stole money from online dealers while investigating Silk Road, a now-defunct Tor-hidden underground website.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Sorry, Comcast: Voters say “yes” to city-run broadband in Colorado

      Fort Collins voters said “yes” to a ballot question that gives the city council permission “to establish a telecommunications utility to provide broadband services,” The Coloradoan wrote. “Unofficial, partial returns as of 12:42 a.m. showed the measure passing with 57.15 percent of the vote.”

      The vote doesn’t require the city to build a broadband network, but it gives the city council the permission it needs to move forward on the plan if it chooses to do so.

    • Telecom companies’ fight now spills over to the broadband space
    • Trai plans to remove 50% limit on telecom spectrum holdings

      Government rules bar any company from holding more than 25% spectrum allocated in a service area or circle, and above 50% in a spectrum band. Carriers in India use airwaves in the 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands.


      Airtel had, however, asked that the upper limit of 25% of total spectrum held in a service area or circle, be relaxed to 33%. RCom has asked for removal of this limit while Vodafone has sought a relaxation. If the 25% limit is maintained, Vodafone-Idea will breach the cap in the four circles of Gujarat, Haryana, Maharashtra and Kerala, an expert said.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Beware the special requirements of software protection in Brazil

      Maintenance of secrecy is solely the responsibility of the applicant. Previously, such secrecy needed to be updated every 10 years. Currently, when the registration is made on a confidential basis, it remains valid for the total 50- year term, without the need for renewal.Against this backdrop, the BPTO issued on September 1, 2017, Normative Instruction Nº 074, which came into force on September 12, 2017. The Instruction establishes new procedures regarding the registration of software and use of the electronic form called e-RPC.

      Concerning the changes in the registration system, the following can be highlighted: a completely electronic process, implementation of a hash digital summary as a safer way to protect the software, electronic signature of documents and changes in the Official Taxes Schedule for software services.The cryptographic function hash is an algorithm normally used to guarantee the fully integrity of an electronic document. Therefore, a technical expert can prove there was no modification in the document, since it was turned from source code into hash. Previously, the applicant had to send the entire source code of the software; now, the BPTO requires only a hash digital summary of its most relevant and important parts in order to identify the computer program.

    • Next Step: Pushing for Global Increases and Uniformity in Trade Secret Protections [Ed: US "campaign to raise the levels of intellectual property protections" is a misleading protectionist's fantasy]
    • Trademarks

      • Moosehead Still At It: Sues Hop ‘N Moose Brewing For Trademark Infringement

        Despite all of the coverage we provide on alcohol-related trademark disputes, Moosehead Breweries has still managed to separate itself from the pack with its aggressive trademark enforcement behavior. You should recall that this is the brewery that sued a root beer company called Moose Whiz and a brewery making a beer called Müs Knuckle under the theory that because it somehow got a trademark on the term “moose” it therefore means that any beverage company using that word is infringing its trademark. That’s not correct on multiple fronts, including the question of whether any customers are actually or potentially being confused by the so-called infringing uses. Add to that the somewhat strange circumstance of Canada’s CIPO approving a heritage word like “moose” in the Canadian market.

    • Copyrights

      • Disney forced to backpedal after banning LA Times from Thor screening

        When the Los Angeles Times wrote a two-part exposé about the tax breaks Disneyland gets from the city of Anaheim, California, Disney retaliated by banning Times reporters from screenings of Disney movies like Thor: Ragnarok. But after an outcry by the nation’s film critics, Disney is backing down.

        “We’ve had productive discussions with the newly installed leadership at The Los Angeles Times regarding our specific concerns, and as a result, we’ve agreed to restore access to advance screenings for their film critics,” Disney said in a statement—conveniently not mentioning that its films were facing a widespread boycott from film critics.

      • Disney Bans LA Times Writers From Advance Screenings In Response To Negative Articles

        Once again, Disney has decided to sacrifice goodwill for brand perception. Not content to limit itself to sending C&Ds to kids’ birthday party performers, Disney’s latest act of self-savagery has resulted in backlash from several top journalistic entities.

        Back in September, the LA Times dug into Disney’s supremely cosy relationship with Anaheim’s government — one that has produced years of subsidies, incentives, and tax shelters for the entertainment giant. Disney wasn’t happy with the report, so it responded the way any rational company would: it issued a statement stating the articles were full of errors and claimed the LA Times “showed a complete disregard for basic journalistic standards.” (Despite these claims, Disney has yet to ask for corrections to the LA Times’ investigative articles.)

      • MPAA unhappy with Australia over proposed copyright changes

        It also frowned on the availability of blank media boxes. “In addition, blank media boxes, which permit the installation of third-party, post-purchase applications, are especially problematic for the authorities’ enforcement efforts. MPAA urges the (New Zealand) Government to enact legislation to deal with this increasingly threatening form of piracy,” the organisation advised.

      • MPAA Warns Australia Not to ‘Mess’ With Fair Use and Geo-Blocking

        The MPAA has submitted its 2018 list of foreign trade barriers to the U.S. Government. The document reveals that Hollywood is concerned that Australia is considering implementing fair use exceptions, allowing circumvention of geo-blocking, and expanding safe harbor provisions for online services. In addition, the MPAA notes that stiffer penalties are required to deter piracy.


Links 7/11/2017: Krita 4.0 Development Update, Apache Kafka Reaches 1.0, Apache OpenOffice Revisited

Posted in News Roundup at 4:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • What’s the difference between open source software and free software?

    Do you use “open source software” or “free software”? Although there are different rules for free software licenses (four freedoms) and open source licenses (Open Source Definition), what is not apparent from those two sets of rules…

  • Open-Source Acumos Project Aims to Make AI Apps More Accessible

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the hottest areas in technology today, with enterprise application developers often struggling to figure out how to integrate the technology. A new open-source effort that is set to debut in early 2018 could change that situation, making AI easier to use and integrate.

    The Acumos Project will be an open-source effort hosted by the Linux Foundation, as an initiative that aims to make AI easier to integrate and consume. The initial founding members of the nascent effort include AT&T and Tech Mahindra.

  • Events

    • Open Source Summit Europe 2017 & Dedoimedo

      I am happy with the OSS Europe 2017. It was a solid success. Smart planning, great organization, great atmosphere, friendly attitude, and a colorful mix of mingling, food and technology. My own session was received well, I met old friends, made some new ones, and that’s what it’s all about.

      While it’s unlikely that my call to action will result in any major revolution on the desktop side, and we still haven’t figured out who the emperor – or empress – ought to be, having fun is all that matters. I intend to continue participating, well, provided my future talks get accepted, and I am definitely looking forward to the 2018 event. Anyway, thank you for the fish and see you next year.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Apache Kafka Reaches 1.0 Milestone for Open-Source Distributed Streaming Platform

      Widely deployed open-source technology already used by major enterprises including Goldman Sachs, ING and Capital One reaches a critical milestone.

      In the modern enterprise apps world, distributed streaming data is a core component and perhaps no other technology is as widely used for that purpose as is Apache Kafka. On Nov.1 the Apache Kafka 1.0.0 release officially debuted, marking an important new stage in the evolution of the widely used open-source project.

    • Red Hat OpenStack Platform 12 Puts the Cloud in a Container

      Red Hat OpenStack Platform 12 (OSP) was officially announced on November 6th, the first day of the OpenStack Summit in Sydney, Australia. The Red Hat OpenStack Platform 12 release is based on the OpenStack Pike milestone that first debuted from the upstream open-source project on Aug. 30.

  • Databases

    • MongoDB’s Mat Keep: Open-Source Database Can Help Agencies ‘Glean Insights’ From Large Data Volumes

      Mat Keep, director of product and market analysis at MongoDB (Nasdaq: MDB), has said government agencies should modernize their data infrastructures to manage and analyze large volumes of collected data through the adoption of non-relational databases.

      Keep wrote such databases work to help organizations automatically spread data across public cloud platforms and data centers as well as “maintain service continuity in the event of a failure.”

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Linux Security Developer To AMD: “Smatch” Your Driver

      Dan Carpenter of Oracle who is responsible for security audits of the Linux kernel is not happy with the current state of the AMDGPU DRM code-base.

      Carpenter fired off an email today on the public kernel mailing list with the title: AMD, please run Smatch on your driver. The Smatch he is referring to is a static analysis tool he designed for working on the Linux kernel.

    • Longtime GNOME Contributor & Oracle Principal UX Designer Leaves The Company

      The latest talent to have departed Oracle is a longtime GNOME contributor who has at Oracle/Sun Microsystems for nearly the past two decades.

      Calum Benson who had been involved with GNOME since 2000 and was particularly active during the Sun Microsystems days with GNOME 1.x and GNOME 2.x, involved in improving the usability of GNOME, has announced his sunset at Oracle.

    • Apache OpenOffice: We’re OK with not being super cool… PS: Watch out for that Mac bug

      Apache OpenOffice 4.1.4 finally shipped on October 19, five months later than intended, but the software is still a bit buggy.

      The resource-starved open-source project had been looking to release the update around Apache Con in mid-May, but missed the target, not altogether surprising given persistent concerns about a lack of community enthusiasm and resources for the productivity suite.

  • Healthcare

    • NIH Awards $9M for Open Source, Cloud-Based Big Data Commons

      The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has selected twelve recipients of $9 million in grant funding to support the development of an open source, cloud-based data common for biomedical big data.

      The pilot phase of the NIH Data Commons will create a shared, secure space to share data sets and analytics tools that support a wide variety of research topics, especially those related to precision medicine and genomics.

      “The NIH Data Commons Pilot Phase will create new opportunities for research not feasible before,” said NIH Data Commons Pilot Phase Program Manager, Vivien Bonazzi, PhD.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • BSD


    • Background for future changes to membership in FSFE e.V.

      At the general assembly in October the Executive Council sought the members’ consent to simplify and streamline the route to membership in FSFE e.V. The members gave it, and as a consequence, the Executive Council will prepare a constitutional amendment to remove the institution of Fellowship Representatives at the next general assembly. If this constitutional amendment is accepted, active volunteers meeting a yet-to-be-decided threshold will be expected to directly apply for membership in the FSFE e.V. The Executive’s reasoning for moving in this direction can be found below.

      For the reasons listed below, the Council believes that the institution of Fellowship Representatives has ceased to serve its original purpose (and may indeed have never served its intended purpose). In addition, it has become a tool for arbitrarily excluding active contributors from membership, and has thus become harmful to the future development of the organization. Wherefore, the Council believes that the institution of Fellowship Representatives should be removed and asks for the members’ consent in preparing a constitutional amendment to eliminate the institution and resolve the future status of Fellowship Representatives in office at the time of removal. The proposal would be presented to the General Assembly for adoption at the next ordinary meeting.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Concerning a Statement by the Conservancy

      On Friday, while we were putting on our annual conference at Columbia Law School, a puff of near-apocalyptic rhetoric about us was published by SFLC’s former employees, Karen Sandler and Bradley Kuhn, who now manage the Conservancy, which was originally established and wholly funded by SFLC, and still bears our name. We were busy with our conference when this happened, which seems to have been the point. We are glad to have the chance now, after a little much-needed rest, to help everyone avoid unnecessary hyperventilation.

    • Concerning a Statement by the Conservancy (Software Freedom Law Center Blog)

      The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) has responded to a recent blog post from the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) regarding the SFC’s trademark. SFLC has asked the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to cancel the SFC trademark due to a likelihood of confusion between the two marks; SFC posted about the action on its blog.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development


  • Science

    • [Old] Experiences with an Icon-like Expression Evaluation System

      Icon’s expression evaluation system utilises what it calls goal-directed evaluation and was, until recently, the only imperative programming language capable of backtracking. While Icon’s goal-directed evaluation strategy is not as powerful or extensive as the backtracking used in some declarative languages (e.g. Prolog), it can express surprisingly complex relationships. In order to allow backtracking, the design of Icon’s expression evaluation system is fundamentally different than other imperative languages, yet it manages to ensure that ‘vanilla’ expression evaluation has the same observable effect as in most other languages (though the means used to achieve this effect are rarely the same). The underpinnings of Icon’s expression evaluation system challenge a number of standard assumptions.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • WHO Issues Guidelines Against Antibiotic Overuse In Farms And Food Industry

      Against the growing threat of a world where bacteria can kill again because they have developed resistance to available antibiotics, and the lack of new promising options in the research pipeline, several international agencies are seeking solutions. The World Health Organization today published a set of recommendations to help stop the routine use of antibiotics to promote growth and prevent disease in healthy animals.

  • Security

    • IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 116 released

      Just days after releasing Core Update 115 with our brand new Captive Portal, we are releasing the next update for IPFire which is necessary because some security vulneratbilities have been found in some packages that IPFire uses. Those are openssl and wget, but this update also brings some smaller bug fixes.

    • MINIX: ​Intel’s hidden in-chip operating system

      Why? Let’s start with what. Matthew Garrett, the well-known Linux and security developer who works for Google, explained recently that, “Intel chipsets for some years have included a Management Engine [ME], a small microprocessor that runs independently of the main CPU and operating system. Various pieces of software run on the ME, ranging from code to handle media DRM to an implementation of a TPM. AMT [Active Management Technology] is another piece of software running on the ME.”

      In May, we found out that AMT had a major security flaw, which had been in there for nine — count ‘em — nine years.

      “Fixing this requires a system firmware update in order to provide new ME firmware (including an updated copy of the AMT code),” Garrett wrote. “Many of the affected machines are no longer receiving firmware updates from their manufacturers, and so will probably never get a fix,” he said. “Anyone who ever enables AMT on one of these devices will be vulnerable.”


      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has called for Intel to provide a way for users to disable ME. Russian researchers have found a way to disable ME after the hardware has initialized, and the main processor has started. That doesn’t really help much. ME is already running by then.

      But Minnich found that what’s going on within the chip is even more troubling. At a presentation at Embedded Linux Conference Europe, he reported that systems using Intel chips that have AMT, are running MINIX.

      If you learned about operating systems in the late ’80s and early ’90s, you knew MINIX as Andrew S Tanenbaum’s educational Unix-like operating system. It was used to teach operating system principles. Today, it’s best known as the OS that inspired Linus Torvalds to create Linux.

      So, what’s it doing in Intel chips? A lot. These processors are running a closed-source variation of the open-source MINIX 3. We don’t know exactly what version or how it’s been modified since we don’t have the source code.

    • MINIX — The most popular OS in the world, thanks to Intel

      If you have a modern Intel CPU (released in the last few years) with Intel’s Management Engine built in, you’ve got another complete operating system running that you might not have had any clue was in there: MINIX.

    • What Is MINIX? Is The World’s Most Used OS A Threat?
    • DDoS Attacks Become More Frequent in Q3, with Linux Dominating [Ed: Kaspersky should note that there are FAR more Linux devices than any other OS, even combined (lots of embedded)]

      Kaspersky Lab experts also saw a growing number of DDoS attacks on gaming services, including Final Fantasy, Blizzard Entertainment, American Cardroom and the UK National Lottery. Additionally, the report shows an increase in the number of DDoS attacks targeting platforms conducting next-generation financial services, such as initial coin offerings (ICOs) – an initial deployment of tokens using blockchain technology. Such DDoS attacks are aimed at either discrediting these services, or worse, serving as a distracting maneuver during ordinary theft.

    • Linux Botnets Responsible for Nearly 70% of DDoS Attacks in Q3
    • Flaw crippling millions of crypto keys is worse than first disclosed

      A crippling flaw affecting millions—and possibly hundreds of millions—of encryption keys used in some of the highest-stakes security settings is considerably easier to exploit than originally reported, cryptographers declared over the weekend. The assessment came as Estonia abruptly suspended 760,000 national ID cards used for voting, filing taxes, and encrypting sensitive documents.

    • Google Fixes The KRACK WiFi Exploit For Android, Download OTA Now
    • New ‘Marcher’ malware attacks Android users’ banking accounts
    • Marcher Malware Poses Triple Threat to Android Users
    • Android security update fixes KRACK, slaps Band-Aid on Pixel 2 XL screen
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Reproducible builds folks: Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #132
    • Hacking the vote: Threats keep changing, but election IT sadly stays the same

      The outcome of the 2016 presidential election is history. But allegations of voter fraud, election interference by foreign governments, and intrusions into state electoral agencies’ systems have since cast a pall over the system that determines who makes the laws and enforces them in the United States. Such problems will not disappear no matter what comes out of a presidential commission or a Congressional hearing.

      “Amazon will not go out of business because one percent of its transactions are fraudulent,” said David Jefferson, a visiting computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and chairman of the Verified Voting Foundation, a non-governmental organization working toward accuracy, integrity, and verifiability of elections. “That’s not the case for elections.”

    • Here’s How Congress Should Respond to the Equifax Breach

      There is very little doubt that Equifax’s negligent security practices were a major contributing factor in the massive breach of 145.5-million Americans’ most sensitive information. In the wake of the breach, EFF has spent a lot of time thinking through how to ensure that such a catastrophic breach doesn’t happen again and, just as importantly, what Congress can do to ensure that victims of massive data breaches are compensated fairly when a company is negligent with their sensitive data. In this post, we offer up some suggestions that will go a long way in accomplishing those goals.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Saudi Arabia says Lebanon declares war against it

      Saudi Arabia said on Monday that Lebanon had declared war against it because of what it described as aggression against the Kingdom by the Iran-backed Lebanese Shi‘ite group Hezbollah.

    • Trump dismisses question on extreme vetting for gun ownership

      President Donald Trump said Tuesday “there would have been no difference three days ago” in the deadly Texas shooting if an extreme vetting policy for gun ownership had been in place.
      “If you did what you’re suggesting there would have been no difference three days ago, and you might not have had that very brave person who happened to have a gun in his truck and shoot him, and hit him and neutralize him,” Trump said responding to a question during a joint news conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The Ecosystem is Breaking Down

      The ecosystem is the quintessential essence of life on our planet, and this crucial life system is showing signs of breaking down. It is likely a more pressing problem than climate change. Time will tell but time is short.

      The ecosystem consists of all living organisms that interact with nonliving components like air, water, and soil contained within the biosphere, which extends from the bottom of the oceans to the top of the mountains. Although unannounced by authorities or professional orgs, it is already becoming evident that the ecosystem is breaking down. Alas, it’s our only ecosystem.


      All of which begs the question: What does it take to determine when the ecosystem is losing it? After all, it surely looks like it is doing exactly that. For example, the loss of 75% of insect abundance in a landmark study in Germany (referenced in prior articles) released only last month is enough, all by itself, to indicate an extinction event is in the works. That is a monstrous wake up call.

    • Cost of wind keeps dropping, and there’s little coal, nuclear can do to stop it

      Though a lot has changed since 2016, not much has changed for energy economics in the US. The cost of wind generation continues to fall, solar costs are falling, too, and the cost of coal-power energy has seen no movement, while the cost of building and maintaining nuclear plants has gone up. And none of those conclusions reflect subsidies and tax credits applied by the federal government.

  • Finance

    • Paradise Papers: Apple secretly moved to tax haven Jersey after Ireland crackdown

      However, despite Apple CEO Tim Cook’s vehement proclamation of Apple not stashing cash “on some Caribbean island,” the Paradise Papers leaked documents apparently reveal how the tech giant responded to the international tax pressure by shopping for a new island haven.

    • Report: Apple shifted assets to island to evade tax scrutiny
    • After a Tax Crackdown, Apple Found a New Shelter for Its Profits

      Apple, for example, pays taxes at a small fraction of that rate on its offshore profits, according to calculations by The Times based on the company’s securities filings. Apple reports that nearly 70 percent of its worldwide profits are earned offshore.

    • Apple says no operations were moved from Ireland

      Tax reduction strategies have been employed for decades by companies including Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com Inc.

    • When Apple soured on Irish tax laws, it turned to a tiny English Channel island

      According to newly-leaked documents, in recent years, Apple used a Bermuda-based law firm to take advantage of highly-advantageous (though legal) tax arrangements in Jersey to mitigate its tax burden as much as possible.

    • The Queen of the Cayman Islands

      “The Falklands”, they said, “are British”. They are so British that we went to war for them. We also went to war for Akrotiri and Dhekelia, the British Overseas Territories on Cyprus. That’s where Saddam Hussein was supposedly able to get his weapons of mass destruction to within 45 minutes. And, less than a year ago, we were measuring ourselves up against Spain when they were threatening Gibraltar.

      The Cayman islands are British, too. And Bermuda. And the British Virgin Islands – they even put it in the name.

      Specifically, they are British Overseas Territories, the last vestiges of empire. Their citizens are entitled to British passports. They are, as much as English or Scottish or Welsh or Northern Irish people, subjects of Queen Elizabeth II.


      It’s the part which led the Tax Justice Network to rank the UK as the world’s most important player in tax havens. It’s the part which famously led the top mafia expert, Roberto Saviano, to call the UK “the most corrupt country on earth”. It’s the bit which ensured that more than half of the companies in the infamous Panama Papers were registered in Britain or its Overseas Territories. It’s the section which helped ensure a trillion dollars have been stolen from African countries since the UK and other European countries ended formal colonisation in the 1960s and ‘70s.

    • How the DPRK Riddle is Freaking out the US Establishment

      The 19th Party Congress has made it very clear that “socialism with Chinese characteristics” – as codified by President Xi Jinping – is China’s roadmap ahead. Not only the strategy graphically eschews those much-lauded “Western values”; it will, in Xi’s own words, offer “a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence.”

      Xinhua even dared to venture, “the 21st century is likely to see capitalism lose its appeal while the socialist movement, led by China, rapidly catches up”.

      To say this won’t go down very well in the West, especially in the US, may be the understatement of the century – even considering that the Chinese system is more like “neoliberalism with Chinese characteristics.”

    • With deletion of one wallet, $280 M in Ethereum wallets gets frozen

      Digital currencies and the wallets that hold them have become an increasingly attractive target for digital pickpockets,resulting in millions of real dollars worth of lost currency. A $50 million heist of Ethereum currency last year exploiting weaknesses in the crypto-currency’s underlying software threatened to break the Bitcoin competitor. But a new security bug in a popular Ethereum wallet platform has caused what amounts to a bank freeze on scores of high-value wallets. Today, Parity Technologies Ltd., the developer of cryptographic “wallets” for the digital currencies Bitcoin and Ethereum, announced that an “accidental” triggering of a bug affecting certain Parity wallets had broken them, making it impossible to transfer Ethereum funds out of them.

    • [Older] Why Are Betsy DeVos and Bill Gates Afraid of This Grandmother?

      The war on public education, like the war in Vietnam, is being prosecuted on the basis of propaganda. In the 1960’s it was the myth of the threat of communism toppling one nation after another like dominos. It wasn’t true and it certainly wasn’t implicit or explicit in the conflict between South and North Vietnam.

      Now, in the 21st century, the war on education is being prosecuted in the name of another set of myths: that public schools are failing – they are not; that school choice gives families more opportunity – it does not; that teachers unions serve only to protect incompetence – a vile, unsupportable lie; and that competition and free markets can deliver everything, including education, with greater quality and efficiency – a heroically grandiose and inaccurate assertion.

      The other striking facet of the wars that bookend my adult life is the way in which the least advantaged among us are used as fodder for the ambitions of those most privileged.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • A Billionaire Destroyed His Newsrooms Out of Spite

      The DNAinfo-Gothamist announcement sparked a zealous anti-union campaign: Management threatened employees by saying that Joe Ricketts might shut the whole place down if it unionized. Nevertheless, employees last week voted 25-2 in favor of unionization. And on Thursday, Mr. Ricketts abruptly shut the whole place down.

    • Trump’s secret weapon for 2020 is quietly gathering steam

      Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) quietly voted along party lines to eliminate its “main studio rule,” which mandated that local news stations maintain offices within the communities they serve. Without the main studio rule, Sinclair is free to consolidate and centralize local news resources in its roughly 190 stations across the country, eliminating the “local” element of local news as much as possible.

    • [Old] A Trump Surrogate Drops the Mic: ‘There’s No Such Thing as Facts’ [iophk: "modern 'business' is a LARP using real money as counters"]

      Is there such a thing as truth? The past 18 months posed this seemingly absurd question. It’s not whether something Donald Trump says is true, but about whether anyone even cares. Trump’s campaign made a bet that enough voters didn’t (or couldn’t) tell the difference in a deluge of information, and that bet paid off. Trump won the most important election in decades. His surrogate Scott Nell Hughes explicitly confirmed that whole strategy yesterday.

    • Trump’s Blocking People From His Twitter Account Violates the First Amendment, EFF Tells Court

      Agencies’ and Officials’ Social Media Posts Are Vital Communications That Can’t Be Denied to People Whose Views Officials Don’t Like

      New York, New York—President Donald Trump’s blocking of people on Twitter who criticize him violates their constitutional right to receive government messages transmitted through social media and participate in the forums created by them, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) told a court today.

      Public agencies and officials, from city mayors and county sheriff offices, to U.S. Secretaries of State and members of Congress, routinely use social media to communicate opinions, official positions, services, and important public safety and policy messages. Twitter has become a vital communications tool for government, allowing local and federal officials to transmit important information when natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires strike, hold online town halls, and answer citizens’ questions about programs.

      President Trump’s frequent use of Twitter to communicate policy decisions, air opinions on local and global events and leaders, and broadcast calls for congressional action has become a hallmark of his administration. In July, the Knight First Amendment Institute filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York alleging the president and his communications team violated the First Amendment by blocking seven people from the @realDonaldTrump Twitter account because they criticized the president or his policies. The seven individuals include a university professor, a surgeon, a comedy writer, a community organizer, an author, a legal analyst, and a police officer.

    • Political Cartoonists Talk Twitter, Censorship, MAD Magazine, and How to Draw Trump

      I would say that the most cheerful people in America right now are the political cartoonists, who met last week at Hofstra University for the annual gathering of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC), except that these are people who as a matter of personal inclination and professional pride are not cheerful. They spend much of their time on that very fine line between skepticism and cynicism as they perform artistic alchemy, turning the baser materials of the news into insightful and often comic gold, and working in four professions at once: journalist, columnist, satirist, and artist.


      The sessions began with discussions of the Supreme Court decisions that give cartoonists the right to engage fearlessly with the people they cover. Roslyn Mazer, the lawyer who represented the AAEC as “a friend of the Court” (amicus) in the defamation suit over an unabashedly offensive satirical piece about Jerry Falwell in Hustler magazine. Mazer told the group that many of the more established media companies did not want the suit to go to the Supreme Court, urging that they “fight another day with a more attractive litigant.”

    • Woman Fired For Flipping Off Donald Trump’s Motorcade

      The picture, snapped by a White House photographer traveling with the president as he left his golf course in Sterling, Va., went viral almost immediately. News outlets picked up the story when it appeared in a White House pool report. Late-night talk show hosts told jokes about the encounter and people on social media began hailing the unidentified woman as a “she-ro,” using the hashtag #Her2020.

      The woman’s name is Juli Briskman. Her employer, government contractor Akima LLC, wasn’t so happy about the photo. They fired her over it.

      In a Saturday interview with HuffPost, Briskman, a 50-year-old mother of two, said she was stunned that someone had taken a picture of her giving Trump the middle finger.

    • Trump’s Misplaced Love for Gitmo Trials

      Donald Trump’s tweets in response to the terrorist attack along a bike path in Manhattan demonstrated some of what we already knew all too well about Trump, but they also reflected more widely shared and counterproductive American ways of thinking about counterterrorism. Among the Trumpian habits exhibited is the inclination to use any occasion, no matter how solemn or tragic, to excoriate or smear political opponents.

    • Woman who flipped off Trump got fired from government contracting firm

      Last month, Juli Briskman, 50, flipped off the presidential motorcade passing her as she bicycled in Northern Virginia. A photo of Briskman’s gesture went viral and last week she was fired from her job at Akima LLC, a government contracting firm. Even though she wasn’t at work or wearing clothing that linked her to the company, her bosses claimed that she violated their social media policy…

    • NSA Critic Bill Binney Says Trump Pushed Meeting With CIA’s Pompeo
    • Trump sent CIA chief to meet ex-NSA official who claims DNC hack was inside job: report
    • CIA Director Met Advocate of Disputed DNC Hack Theory — at Trump’s Request
    • Report: Trump Urged CIA Director To Meet With Fringe Russia Hack Skeptic
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Taylor Swift threatens to sue blogger who connected her to white supremacists

      Lawyers representing pop star Taylor Swift sent a cease-and-desist letter to a politics and culture blog, demanding the retraction of an article tying Swift to white supremacist culture. But instead of removing the article, PopFront editor Meghan Herning called the ACLU, which wrote back to Swift’s lawyers defending Herning’s right to free speech.

      The back-and-forth was revealed yesterday by the ACLU’s Northern California branch, which published the retraction demand letter (PDF). The ACLU did so despite the demand by Swift’s lawyers that their threats be kept secret because publishing the letter without permission would be “a violation of the Copyright Act.”

      “Intimidation tactics like these are unacceptable,” said ACLU attorney Matt Cagle in a statement. “Not in her wildest dreams can Ms. Swift use copyright law to suppress this exposure of a threat to constitutionally protected speech.”

    • Taylor Swift’s Legal Rep Tries To Kill Critical Blog Post With Bogus Defamation, Copyright Claims

      Taylor Swift’s legal representation is busy again. Really, her reps are never not busy, thanks to her desire to capture the entirety of the Taylor Swift market, but this particular legal threat — aimed at a blogger — oversteps its bounds egregiously.

      PopFront editor Meghan Herning wrote a post detailing Swift’s unofficial position as a white supremacist hero. While there’s nothing in the post claiming Swift has directly encouraged this subset of her following, it did point out that she’s remained curiously silent on race issues, as well as made use of Nazi-esque imagery in her videos.

    • Indonesia threatens WhatsApp blockage as Afghanistan backs down from its threat

      The reasons for these shutdown attempts are varied, though they all point to the same basic issue: the supposed negative effect of unfettered communication on social order. So let’s examine these recent incidents more closely, starting with the latest threat.

    • LA Times barred from press-screenings of Disney movies after reporting on corporate welfare in Anaheim

      Disney CEO Bob Iger is said to have ordered the retaliatory measure against the LA Times, and is also thought to be considering a 2020 presidential bid, which augurs poorly for his approach to the free press.

    • How one election changed Disneyland’s relationship with its hometown

      Last year, Disney contributed $1.22 million to 10 PACs that were involved in the November election, more than any other company or single individual, according to an analysis of campaign finance disclosures by The Times. Those PACs received funds from multiple sources and most also spent money on elections outside of Anaheim.

    • When has censorship ever worked?

      Where are the good examples from history to show that this works well?

    • This lawsuit against a Cosby rape documentary is why fair use exists

      The production company that made The Cosby Show has sued the BBC (.pdf) over a documentary the British network aired about the rape allegations against Bill Cosby. Carsey-Werner, the production company that is the plaintiff in the case, says that the documentary is infringing its copyright because it uses eight audiovisual clips and two musical cues from The Cosby Show.

      The documentary, titled Bill Cosby—Fall of an American Icon, was broadcast on a BBC channel in the United Kingdom on June 5 of this year. That was the same day that Cosby’s prosecution for one assault began in Pennsylvania. (The trial ended in a hung jury.) The UK production company that made the documentary, Sugar Films, is also named as a defendant in the case.

    • Cynical Politicians Turn #FakeNews Into a Rallying Cry for Censorship

      Who knew the republic was so vulnerable that our elections could be monkeywrenched by Russian dirty-tricksters spending their office coffee budget on a motley collection of social media ads that would make the authors of Nigerian prince scam emails wince at their clumsiness?

      Or, more likely, cynical politicians are making much ado about Putin and company’s low-rent effort to make themselves look relevant in order to justify government interference in political speech. Just consider Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) threat to Facebook, Google, and Twitter during Senate hearings over the clumsy Russky meddling: “You created these platforms, and now they’re being misused. And you have to be the ones who do something about it—or we will.”

    • Universities are part of the solution to dysfunctional Brexit debates

      We live in febrile times. Two weeks ago government whip Chris Heaton-Harris unleashed a wave of academic consternation when it was discovered that he had written to every university in the UK to ask what they were teaching about Brexit and which of their professors were involved.

      Heaton-Harris gave no reason for the request, but the nationwide reach of his probe and its targeting of individual teachers was chilling. The MP beat a hasty retreat in the face of the outraged reaction, taking to Twitter to declare his belief in free speech in universities. Jo Johnson, the minister responsible for universities, had to go on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme to publicly reaffirm the government’s commitment to the autonomy of universities, lately enshrined in the 2017 Higher Education and Research Act.

      The fuss may be a fading memory but the episode epitomises the uncertainty of the times in which Brexit Britain finds itself. The ground has shifted in all sorts of strange directions.

      In the run-up to the 2016 referendum, while I hoped we would decide to remain in the EU, I thought that even in the event of a vote to leave, the country would play true to type and engineer a great British fudge that would seek to protect the advantages accrued over the decades-long development of our relationship with our European neighbours.

    • ESPN Joins List Of Companies Enforcing Stringent Social Media Policies, Which Is Both Bad And Stupid

      In these times in which I have spent many words and more calories lamenting the hyper-partisan uber-politicization of, well, pretty much everything, I have tended to focus on the primary effects of that silliness. It makes for bad elections, and therefore bad democracy. It grinds any kind of progress in government to a halt. It results in too many people making too little time to actualy listen to those that might not think as they do, instead devolving entirely too many conversations into soundbite name-calling, as though we were all participating on some national cable news roundtable.

      But the secondary effects of all of this are both important and terrible as well. An example of this can be found in major media companies responding to this partisanship, and particularly the silly amount of noise being made about how media itself is partisan, by instituting social media policies that are both draconian and stupid on the business side. And, if this sort of thing makes you feel any better, it happens on both sides of the political aisle. In recent weeks, for instance, both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have rolled out social media policies disallowing their respective journalists from publishing anything partisan.

    • The Case Of Glassdoor And The Grand Jury Subpoena, And How Courts Are Messing With Online Speech In Secret

      In my last post, I discussed why it is so important for platforms to be able to speak about the discovery demands they receive, seeking to unmask their anonymous users. That candor is crucially important in ensuring that unmasking demands can’t damage the key constitutional right to speak anonymously, without some sort of check against their abuse.

    • US judge says “global de-indexing order” against Google threatens free speech

      A US federal judge has stopped a ruling from the Canadian Supreme Court from going into effect in the US. The Canadian order would have ordered Google to de-index all pages belonging to a company called Datalink, which was allegedly selling products that violated the IP of Vancouver-based Equustek.

    • Opinion: Fight scientific censorship
    • Google unblocks Russian news agency
    • Russian Media Outlet Accuses Google News of Political Censorship
    • How The Internet Association’s Support For SESTA Just Hurt Facebook And Its Users
    • IPA protests ‘ham-fisted censorship’ of Zuma book
    • SAWOC slams bid to muzzle author of #PresidentsKeepers
    • SSA DG’s family out to sue Jacques Pauw over new book
    • South African security services move to ban exposé of Jacob Zuma government
    • Dear Senators Portman & Blumenthal: What Should Blogs Do If SESTA Passes?

      So we’ve spent some time talking about why SESTA is such a bad bill even in its updated form (which fixes just a tiny sliver of the overall problems). And we may have some more soon about other problems with the language in the bill, but for now I want to make this even more real and ask Congress — and SESTA authors Senators Rob Portman and Richard Blumenthal, specifically, what they think bloggers, independent journalists, citizen journalists and anyone who hosts comments on their site should do if SESTA passes. Because all these sites are platforms protected by Section 230 of the CEA and, as SESTA is written, parts of it are so unclear that it could introduce significant legal liability, or at least uncertainty over whether or not they’re liable for the comments readers post on their sites and articles.

      One thing we’ve heard over and over again from SESTA supporters is that the bill won’t have any impact on most sites because (they claim) “no one accidentally facilitates sex trafficking.” We wonder how they can be so certain. Ignoring, for the moment, that all sorts of important speech can be branded as speech related to trafficking, even for speech we all agree is problematic, it is not clear what the Congressional authors of the bill, and SESTA’s staunchest advocates, think smaller sites, like ours, should do to ensure that none of that content ever sneaks through and ends up in our comment sections. To use us as an example: we’re a small site, with a small team and limited resources. But we do allow comments on our posts, because we think community is an important aspect of a modern media site — and we get a lot of comments, to the point that it is literally impossible for us to review every single comment on the site. We also, obviously, get a fair number of spam comments, and have put in place spam filters. The spam filters are pretty good, but they will make a few Type I and Type II errors at times (i.e., accidentally holding a legit comment and accidentally letting through a spam comment).

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Don’t Buy Gifts That Snoop: Introducing Mozilla’s Holiday Buyers’ Guide

      Is your smart toaster spying on you? Does your toddler’s new toy have an easily-hackable microphone or camera?

      This holiday season, don’t buy your loved ones an Internet-connected gadget that compromises their privacy or security — no matter how nifty or cute that gadget may be.

      Today, Mozilla is publishing *Privacy Not Included — a shopping companion to help consumers identify Internet-connected products that meet their privacy and security needs.

    • Referendum likely on Dutch ‘tapping’ law

      Digital privacy advocates who hope to force the repeal of a law giving Dutch intelligence agencies new surveillance powers said on Monday they have gathered enough signatures to demand a referendum.

      A range of activists, politicians and media groups oppose the law, which passed by a healthy margin in July and gives agencies the power to gather data covertly from large groups of people at once.

      The petition for a referendum must now be submitted to the Voting Commission to vet whether it has met the 300,000 signature threshold.

      If it has, the government is obliged to hold a non-binding referendum on whether the law should be upheld, likely together with municipal elections on March 21.

    • UK: Landmark surveillance case to be heard in Strasbourg tomorrow

      The European Court of Human Rights will hear a landmark case on surveillance tomorrow (7 November) as part of a challenge to the lawfulness of the UK’s surveillance laws and its intelligence agencies’ mass surveillance practices.

      The case, described by campaigners as a “watershed moment for people’s privacy and freedom of expression across the world”, is being brought by Amnesty International, Liberty, Privacy International, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and ten other human rights groups – as well as two individuals – based in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.

    • Why we’re part of a coalition of human rights organisations taking on the UK Government’s mass surveillance regime

      Next week brings a watershed moment in the battle to protect our privacy rights and the rule of law against mass government surveillance.

      Liberty – along with Amnesty International, Privacy International, the American Civil Liberties Union and groups from Pakistan, South Africa and Egypt – will be in the European Court of Human Rights challenging the lawfulness of the UK Government’s surveillance regime.

    • UK Intelligence Agencies Face Mass Action in European Court of Human Rights

      A dectet of civil rights groups has brought the first major legal challenge since Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing revelations against the UK’s assorted intelligence agencies, in the European Court of Human Rights.

      The first major challenge to the legality of UK intelligence agencies intercepting private communications in bulk is due to be heard by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), in three separate cases brought by civil rights groups, including Liberty, Amnesty International, Privacy International and the American Civil Liberties Union.

    • US Senate hearing confirms Facebook is the perfect surveillance machine: what can we do about it?

      That is, the advertising industry in Europe is saying it has a fundamental right to spy on the people who view its ads, and that it is inconceivable to show ads without tracking. It is this mindset that drives Facebook to gather as much information about its users as it can. The more detailed and intimate the data, the better the targeting, and the more it can charge for those who wish to advertise. When it unveiled its record third-quarter profits recently, Facebook boasted that the average price paid per ad had risen by 35% year-on-year, a huge jump.

    • GCHQ bulk surveillance challenged in European Court of Human Rights
    • UK spies face landmark challenge over mass surveillance in human rights court
    • UK surveillance laws to be challenged in European Court of Human Rights
    • ECHR to weigh up lawfulness of UK’s ‘wide-ranging’ surveillance powers
    • London’s top barristers descend on Strasbourg as government surveillance case reaches European court
    • Facebook offers mobile payments in UK
    • UK intelligence agencies face surveillance claims in European court

      The first major challenge to the legality of UK intelligence agencies intercepting private communications in bulk, following Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing revelations, is due to be heard by the European court of human rights (ECHR).

      Three separate British cases brought by civil rights groups will be considered together by seven judges in Strasbourg on Tuesday, raising questions about the way GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 share surveillance material with the United States and other foreign governments.

      One of the claims, brought by an alliance of 10 human rights organisations, has been considered by the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT) in London, which takes some of its evidence in secret.


      The European Court of Human Rights will hear a landmark case on surveillance tomorrow (7 November) as part of a challenge to the lawfulness of the UK’s surveillance laws and its intelligence agencies’ mass surveillance practices.

    • An AT&T drone is now providing cellular service to people in Puerto Rico

      AT&T is using an LTE-equipped drone to reconnect some Puerto Ricans who lost wireless service after Hurricane Maria.

      This obviously isn’t a permanent fix for Puerto Rico, where 48 percent of cell sites are still out of service more than a month after the hurricane wrecked telecom infrastructure on the island. But the drone—AT&T calls it a Flying COW (Cell on Wings)—is providing wireless connectivity in an area of up to 40 square miles.

      “As we work to permanently restore our network, this experimental technology is providing data, voice, and text services to customers,” AT&T said in an announcement today. “This is the first time an LTE cell site on a drone has been successfully deployed to connect residents after a disaster.”

    • Ex-spies ran black ops on Rose McGowan for Harvey Weinstein

      In the massive national conversation about sex crimes that has ensued as a result of the remarkable investigative reporting on Harvey Weinstein’s decades of misconduct, one question recurs: Why do women so often keep silent about having been the target of a sexual offense?

      Even if they haven’t personally suffered an attack, many women can supply an answer. Because you don’t know whom to trust. Because you fear that anything you reveal about your attack or yourself may be used against you.

      In the latest in his deep-dive reporting on the disgraced former Hollywood studio head, Ronan Farrow, writing in the New Yorker, has provided a mind-boggling account of just how well-founded those fears are.

    • Comcast Urges FCC To Ban States From Protecting Broadband Privacy, Net Neutrality

      If you’re playing along at home, you might have noticed that the Trump administration has so far been little more than a glorified rubber stamp for the whims of major broadband mono/duopolies like Comcast. But while ISPs have had great luck convincing the federal government to weaken broadband deployment standards, protect uncompetitive business broadband monopolies, kill broadband privacy protections, defend price-gouging prison phone monopolies and axe net neutrality — a growing number of states have proven less susceptible to Comcast lobbying charms.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • EXCL Emily Thornberry says Boris Johnson must quit if Nazanin Ratcliffe is jailed for five years

      The Shadow Foreign Secretary said Mr Johnson should “take full responsibility in both a moral and political sense” for his remarks to MPs last week.

      Mr Johnson is under intense pressure after he mistakenly told the Foreign Affairs Select Committee that Ms Ratcliffe was “simply teaching people journalism” when she was detained by the Iranian authorities 18 months ago.

    • Fears for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe after Boris Johnson remark

      A charity fears a British-Iranian woman held in Iran could have her prison sentence doubled following remarks made by the foreign secretary.

      Boris Johnson told a Commons committee that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was arrested at Tehran Airport in 2016, was “teaching people journalism”.

      The Thomson Reuters Foundation said she was seeing family and urged Mr Johnson to correct his “serious mistake”.


      Four days later, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was summoned to court where the foreign secretary’s comments were cited as evidence against her.

      At this hearing she was accused of engaging in “propaganda against the regime”.

    • Cop Loses Immunity After Shooting, Headstomping Gravely-Injured Suspect

      Court decisions stripping officers of immunity for civil liberties violations are still mostly an anomaly. But we’ll take what we can get. This immunity-stripping decision by the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court appears to have been aided by the police department’s own dashcam video, which helped dispel some of the “our word against yours” haze that clouds excessive force cases.

    • NYPD Cop Acquitted on Charges of Murdering Delrawn Small in 2016

      Meanwhile, New York police officer Wayne Isaacs has been found not guilty on charges of murdering Delrawn Small in 2016.

      Small, who is African-American, was driving with his girlfriend and two children on the 4th of July when the off-duty officer reportedly cut him off. Grainy, black-and-white surveillance video shows Small, who was unarmed, approaching Officer Isaacs’s car. Officer Isaacs then opens fire with his police gun within one second. As Small stumbles away and collapses on the street between two parked cars, Officer Isaacs then gets out of his car, appears to tuck his gun into his waistband and then walks away.

    • New Jersey and Virginia Can Show What Resistance In the States Looks Like

      If all eyes aren’t on New Jersey and Virginia today, they should be. As the one-year anniversary of the election of President Donald J. Trump approaches, our states become the first in the Trump era to elect new governors.

      As the federal government abandons its traditional role of protecting civil rights and enforcing anti-discrimination laws, state and local policymakers are more important than ever in defending and expanding constitutional rights. The next governors of the Garden State and the Old Dominion must take that burden to heart.

      With no incumbents in either state, the next governors will start fresh. That comes with an obligation to show what America looks like at its best — a hopeful counterpoint at a moment dominated by the legacy of America’s impulses at our worst.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Competition Dodges A Bullet As T-Mobile, Sprint Merger Dies
    • All of this just to play with toy cars…

      La Quadrature du Net republishes below an op-ed by Oriane, President of the French Federation of associated providers of internet access, regarding the European Electronic Communications Code and its political implications. This op-ed was originally on her blog (in French).

      First reading notes on the Telecoms Package.
      As you may know, I have made a cursory reading of the European Telecommunications Code (Telecoms Package). Here are my first impressions, taken from my reading notes. They’re a little late, they’re mostly about the text’s introduction, but it’s better than nothing.


      The introduction goes wrong at the very start, when it largely focuses on technology to set the context of this regulation. Naturally, the Commission then doesn’t aim any further than facilitating the use of technical elements across the European territory. What a waste, a text pretending to be this great Code of Telecommunications, only to actually seriously lack ambition. These observations focus on means instead of ends, and that is why they lack vision.

      Yet, with an opening sentence on how much the world has changed “since 2009″, we could have expected a more general picture of what Europe has become, thanks to digital technology. A picture of what has been made possible thanks to the democratisation of access and of technical equipment. Which is not exactly what we find here. Moreover, we are promised “more innovation” in the future. But innovation isn’t a value in itself or a plan for society. Improving mobility between Member States and communications between citizens to strengthen their ties, that’s a project, that’s an end. The means would for instance be abolishing roaming. In that case, you can see what the means and what the end is.

    • Comcast Tries To Stop Colorado City From Even Talking About Building Its Own Broadband Network

      We’ve noted for years how giant ISPs have literally written and purchased protectionist laws in more than twenty states restricting towns and cities from building their own broadband networks. Many of these laws even go so far as to restrict these towns from striking public/private partnerships with companies like Google Fiber, often one of the only options for areas incumbent ISPs have declared not-profitable enough to serve. In this way giant ISPs get their cake and eat it too: they don’t have to expand service, but make sure nobody else can either.

      Colorado’s SB 152 is one such law. SB 152 was a 2005 product of lobbying from Comcast and CenturyLink, and required communities jump through numerous hoops should they want to simply make decisions regarding their own, local infrastructure. Like all such laws the ISP pretense was that they were simply looking to protect taxpayers from financial irresponsibility (an idea often lacking in ISPs’ daily business efforts), though it’s abundantly clear the real goal was to prop up and protect the dysfunctional broadband duopoly status quo from anything vaguely resembling change or competition.

    • FCC tries to help cable companies avoid state consumer protection rules

      The Federal Communications Commission is intervening in a court case in order to help Charter Communications avoid utility-style consumer protections related to its phone service in Minnesota. The FCC and Charter both want to avoid a precedent that could lead other states to impose stricter consumer protection rules on VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone service offered by cable companies.

      The FCC has never definitively settled the regulatory status of VoIP. By contrast, traditional landline phone service and mobile phone service are both classified as “telecommunications services” by the FCC, a distinction that places them under the same Title II common carrier regulatory framework that applies to broadband Internet access. But the FCC has never decided whether VoIP services offered by cable companies are telecommunications or “information services,” which aren’t as heavily regulated.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Village Hotels Bullies Small Pub Into Changing Its Name By Brandishing Its ‘Village’ Trademark

        Seeing trademark bullies in operation, particularly when a large entity bullies a small business, will never cease being a source of frustration for me. That said, my frustration gets supercharged when the trademark being wielded as a bullying weapon is laughably generic and clearly should never have been granted in the first place. And when the bully is attacking a company that it doesn’t even compete with, that’s the anger-cherry on top of the hate-sundae.

    • Copyrights

      • Judge Ignores Congress, Pretends SOPA Exists, Orders Site Blocking Of Sci-Hub

        Last month, we wrote about the strange and unfortunate decision by a magistrate judge in the copycat lawsuit by the American Chemical Society against Sci-Hub, the “renegade” online repository of academic knowledge. As we’ve discussed for years, the copyright attacks on Sci-Hub are silly, given the entire stated purpose of copyright is supposed to be to increase “learning” (and there’s rarely a monetary incentive to the scholars writing academic articles). Copyright in academic papers is silly for a whole host of reasons, and then using copyright law to take down what is effectively an incredibly useful library of academic knowledge seems to run entirely counter to the basis of copyright law.

      • Piracy site for science research dinged again in court—this time for $4.8M

        First came the $15 million fine a New York federal judge imposed on Sci-Hub, a scientific research piracy site that has freed tens of thousands of research papers from behind paywalls. That was in June, and the site’s overseas operator, Alexandra Elbakyan, said she’d never pay plaintiff Elsevier or stop the infringing behavior.


        The order came three weeks after the tech sector, represented by the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), told the court that it would be illegal to issue this type of wide-ranging order that the American Chemical Society wanted.


        In an Ars profile of the Sci-Hub dispute, we likened Elbakyan’s mission to liberate research to the ideals of Aaron Swartz, who believed that knowledge shouldn’t be behind paywalls. Elbakyan has liberated hundreds of thousands of academic papers that have been downloaded for free from the Sci-Hub site. Swartz was notoriously charged as a hacker for trying to free millions of articles from popular academic hub JSTOR. At age 26, he committed suicide just ahead of his federal trial in 2013.

      • US Judge grants “unprecedented” injunction which forces search engines and ISPs to block site over copyright case

        A US Judge has granted an injunction that forces search engines and internet service providers (ISPs), not just domain registrars, to block Sci-Hub. Sci-Hub is a free, online archive that shares research articles; it was founded by Alexandra Elbakyan. The site, which hosts many academic papers which are otherwise behind paywall, has faced fire from the publishers of said papers. Though some claim that such research papers should be out in the open because it was paid for by tax payer dollars.

      • US Court Grants ISPs and Search Engine Blockade of Sci-Hub

        Sci-Hub, often referred to as the “Pirate Bay of Science,” has suffered another blow in a US federal court. The American Chemical Society has won a default judgment of $4.8 million for alleged copyright infringement against the site. In addition, the publisher was granted an unprecedented injunction which requires search engines and ISPs to block the platform.


Links 6/11/2017: Mesa 17.3 Features, DragonFlyBSD 5.0.1 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Giving Open-Source Projects Life After a Developer’s Death

    You’ve probably never heard of the late Jim Weirich or his software. But you’ve almost certainly used apps built on his work.

    Weirich helped create several key tools for Ruby, the popular programming language used to write the code for sites like Hulu, Kickstarter, Twitter, and countless others. His code was open source, meaning that anyone could use it and modify it. “He was a seminal member of the western world’s Ruby community,” says Justin Searls, a Ruby developer and co-founder of the software company Test Double.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • TorMoil: Tor flaw exposed IP addresses of Linux and Mac users [Ed: To be clear, this Tor bug the media crows about (with buzzword) only an issue if booby-trapped page with specially crafted links is accessed]

        Every time a user clicked onto links starting with file://, as opposed to https:// and http://, the vulnerability would kick into action. It’s been named TorMoil by its finder.

      • Tor patches flaw that could expose MacOS and Linux IP addresses
      • TorMoil flaw leaks IP addresses of Mac and Linux Tor users
      • Tor Browser Users Urged to Patch Critical ‘TorMoil’ Vulnerability
      • Paul’s activities and perspectives around Free Software

        A recent LWN.net article, “The trouble with text-only email“, gives us an insight through an initially-narrow perspective into a broader problem: how the use of e-mail by organisations and its handling as it traverses the Internet can undermine the viability of the medium. And how organisations supposedly defending the Internet as a platform can easily find themselves abandoning technologies that do not sit well with their “core mission”, not to mention betraying that mission by employing dubious technological workarounds.

        To summarise, the Mozilla organisation wants its community to correspond via mailing lists but, being the origin of the mails propagated to list recipients when someone communicates with one of their mailing lists, it finds itself under the threat of being blacklisted as a spammer. This might sound counterintuitive: surely everyone on such lists signed up for mails originating from Mozilla in order to be on the list.

        Unfortunately, the elevation of Mozilla to being a potential spammer says more about the stack of workaround upon workaround, second- and third-guessing, and the “secret handshakes” that define the handling of e-mail today than it does about anything else. Not that factions in the Mozilla organisation have necessarily covered themselves in glory in exploring ways of dealing with their current problem.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Cumulus Networks Accelerates Web-Scale Adoption for OpenStack Environments
    • 451 Research: OpenStack Private Cloud Revenue To Overtake Its Public Cloud Revenue In 2018
    • OpenStack Aims to Improve Integration with Cloud Native Technologies

      The OpenStack Foundation is hosting its semi-annual Summit event in Sydney, Australia from Nov. 6 to Nov 8 highlighting use-cases and progress in the multi-stakeholder, open-source cloud infrastructure effort.

      At the first day of the event, several initiatives designed to help improve and promote integration between OpenStack and other open-source cloud efforts were announced. Among the announcements was the Open Infrastructure Integration effort, the launch of the OpenLab testing tools program, the debut of the public cloud passport program and the formation of a financial services team.

      “We’re really put some focus into the strategy for the OpenStack Foundation for next five years,” Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation told eWEEK. “We spent the last five years developing code and building a large user base, looking forward we’re listening to the challenges that users are facing to help us determine what we should be doing.”

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Lands An Initial Qt5 Interface Plugin

      A new VCL plug-in that is in development will allow LibreOffice to blend nicely with the KDE Plasma / Qt5 desktop.

      The Visual Components Library (VCL) that allows LibreOffice to make use of functionality across different graphical tool-kits and operating systems now has a Qt5 plug-in.

  • BSD

    • GhostBSD 11.1 RC1 is ready!

      This last development release of GhostBSD 11.1 release is ready for testing. All MATE and XFCE images are available only has 64 -bit architectures. For some of you, it might be chock that we are dropping i386 it is a decision that was hard to make. We hope for those that need i386 will find refuge to another BSD project.

    • [OpenBSD] Our 2017 Fundraising Campaign

      If a penny was donated for every pf or OpenSSH installed with a mainstream operating system or phone in the last year we would be at our goal.

    • DragonFlyBSD 5.0.1 Released

    • Video of VK2FUNK SDR talk at DEF CON 25

      Three interesting applications will be demonstrated, and their underlying theory and design explained. The audience will be exposed to some novel GNU Radio tips and DSP tricks. INMARSAT Aero will be revisited to show (in Google Earth) spatial information, such as waypoints and flight plans, that are transmitted from airline ground operations to airborne flights. A good chunk of the VHF band is used for airline communications; plane spotters enjoy listening to tower and cockpit communications.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Shedding light on foggy GPL licenses

      The terms in GPL v3 clause 14 are very similar to those in the GPL v2.

      Over the years, I’ve seen many open source projects that say they are GPL licensed without explicitly indicating a version number, while also including the text of an entire GPL license (e.g., v2 or v3). The ambiguity this potentially creates may be beneficial or detrimental to you, depending on factors such as whether you are the licensor or the licensee.

    • GPL bodies in bizarre trademark fight

      Senior Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman has claimed he asked the Linux Foundation to withdraw funding from the Software Freedom Conservancy back in 2016, because he was unhappy with the way in which the SFC went about enforcing compliance with the GPL, the licence under which the Linux kernel is published.

      Kroah-Hartman’s claim was made as part of a long discussion about a spat between the SFC and the Software Freedom Law Centre, a body provides pro-bono legal services to developers of free, libre, and open source software, in which the SFLC has asked a court to cancel the trademark of the SFC due to what it claims is “priority and likelihood of confusion” to its own trademark.

      The bizarre aspect of the legal fight between the two bodies, both of which are involved in activities around the GPL, is that the SFLC launched the SFC in 2006 to carry out GPL enforcement.


  • Hardware

  • Security

  • Finance

    • The “Amazon Amendment” Would Effectively Hand Government Purchasing Power Over to Amazon

      THIS WEEK, REPRESENTATIVES of three major internet platforms — Google, Facebook, and Twitter — are testifying before Congress about their role in facilitating Russian meddling in the 2016 election. But a fourth giant sat comfortably removed: Amazon.

      Instead of getting yelled at by lawmakers, Amazon is on the verge of winning a multibillion-dollar advantage over retail rivals by taking over large swaths of federal procurement.

      Language buried in Section 801 of the House-passed version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which is being hashed out in a conference committee with the Senate, would move Defense Department purchases of commercial off-the-shelf products to “online marketplaces.” Theoretically, that means any website that offers an array of options for paper clips or office furniture; in reality that signals likely dominance for Amazon Business, the company’s commercial sales platform.

      Section 801 stipulates that the program should be designed “to enable Government-wide use of such marketplaces.” Scale, then, is key. Over time, this change would give platforms like Amazon access to all $53 billion in federal government commercial item purchases.

    • Offshore Gurus Help Rich Avoid Taxes on Jets and Yachts

      Buying a $27-million private jet or plush mega-yacht means millions in sales taxes — unless you know the right pro.

      Formula One auto racing star Lewis Hamilton got a new luxury jet, a $27 million candy-apple-red Bombardier Challenger 605 with Armani curtains. He also got a refund on the value-added tax.

      And the lawyers at Appleby, an elite law firm headquartered in Bermuda, were there to help.

      They teamed with the London-based accounting giant Ernst & Young to craft an arcane plan to sidestep the VAT, a consumption tax charged in Europe on everything from socks to cars. One of the conditions: Hamilton’s inaugural flight would have to touch down on the Isle of Man, the British crown dependency in the Irish Sea known for its lenient tax treatment of the world’s super-rich.

    • Liberal fundraisers held family millions in offshore trust, leaked documents reveal

      Canada’s future prime minister, Justin Trudeau, was vacationing with his family in the picturesque mountain village of Mont-Tremblant, Que., with a lot on his mind.

      After years of speculation, he had decided he was going to make a play for the country’s top political office.

      With him that weekend was longtime family friend Stephen Bronfman, 53, a third-generation descendant of one of Canada’s wealthiest families that had founded such iconic brands as Seagram, the Montreal Expos and the Eaton Centre.

      “(Trudeau) came to me and said, ‘You know, I’ve made a decision. I’m going to run for the leadership,’ ” Bronfman recalled in a 2013 interview. “I’d always told him, especially since he’d gotten in politics and was first elected, ‘Justin, anything I can do to help, just let me know.’ ”

      The well-connected Bronfman, a known philanthropist and environmentalist, took the reins of the party fundraising machine in late 2013, significantly boosting annual donations.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Russian Media Outlet Accuses Google of Political Censorship

      As the controversy over Russia-linked content on U.S. websites continues, Russian online news outlet Federal News Agency accused Google of political censorship as its stories no longer show in Google News’ search results.

      “FNA staff believe that that blocking of Google News users’ access to content from Federal News Agency is an act of political censorship in the interest of the US government, aimed at restricting information on fighting international terrorism,” the news outlet said in a statement.

      “To force Google to observe Russian and international law, the staff of Federal News Agency is preparing addresses to the [Russian] Anti-Monopoly Service and other government agencies, as well as a lawsuit,” it went on to say.

    • Don’t let censorship be the answer to our highjacked social networks.

      Eight people were murdered by a terrorist in New York City, who in a choreographed attack copied from online forums, used a truck to mow down pedestrians at a time and place chosen to maximize destruction.

      At the same time, in Washington, DC, the so-called Tech Giants were testifying before a committee of the United States Senate about Russian interference in the last US presidential election…specifically, Russian usage of social media through paid ads to sow hate and dissent in America.

    • China warns on overseas content after Springer Nature pulls some articles

      Chinese distributors of overseas publications must verify that the content is legal in China, Beijing said late on Sunday, after a major western publisher blocked access to some content in the country citing local regulations.

      Springer Nature, which publishes science magazines Nature and Scientific American, said last week that it had pulled access to less than 1 percent of its articles in China, which it said was regrettable but necessary to avoid all content being blocked.

    • Top Academic Publisher Kowtows To China: Censors Thousands Of Papers, Denies It Is Censorship

      According to Springer, it is not really censoring articles in China, because people outside can still read them. That insults both Chinese researchers, whom Springer clearly thinks don’t count, and our intelligence.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Sen. Feinstein Supports “Backdoor” Warrants, So Why Don’t Reps. Nunes and Schiff?

      As the deadline for renewing and reforming key portions of the NSA’s spying apparatus looms less than two months away, two of the most important members of the House Intelligence Committee have stayed remarkably quiet in the conversation.

      Congress just introduced multiple bills to extend Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a law that authorizes controversial NSA surveillance programs and is set to expire at the end of this year. Some of the bills include various ways to fix what is called the “backdoor search” loophole. Currently, the NSA “incidentally” collects the communications of countless Americans and stores those communications in vast databases. The FBI routinely searches through these databases for information about U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. The FBI does not obtain any probable cause warrants for these searches, skirting Fourth Amendment protections and earning these searches the title of “backdoor searches.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • UK Terrorism Law Used To Prosecute Actual Terrorist Fighter For Possessing A Copy Of ‘The Anarchist Cookbook’

      We’ve reached the point in terrorism hysteria where someone can be prosecuted simply for having a copy of book already owned by millions. Ryan Gallagher details the trial of Josh Walker — a man who actually left the UK to fight against terrorists, only to be charged under the nation’s terrorism laws when he returned.


      Not wishing to alarm outsiders, the group routinely destroyed its notes and other documents post-game. This was the direct result of being previously reported to the police by a janitor who came across notes the group left behind after role-playing a terrorist attack. Apparently, Walker forgot to toss his printed Anarchist Cookbook PDF into the fire with the rest of the prep materials.

      The prosecution claimed Walker retained his copy of the book — again, a book anyone can download from the local library — because he was “curious” about the contents. More ridiculously, the prosecution suggested the printed PDF Walker had in his bedroom “endangered public safety.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Links 6/11/2017: OpenStack ‘Down Under’, New Financial Leaks

Posted in News Roundup at 5:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Future Of Linux Operating Systems On Desktop Computers

      Linux operating systems have dominated all aspects of the computing operating systems but one. From servers to supercomputers and even on mobile and embedded devices with Android, Linux is either the only choice or the most popular amongst them. But when it comes to the desktop, Linux has not been able to dominate although it has become quite an important player in this space. Linux on the desktop continues to gain popularity but how far can it go? Join me as I look at the future of Linux on the desktop.

    • CompuLab Announces The Tiny Fitlet2 Linux PC, Powered By Intel Apollo Lake

      The Linux-friendly folks at CompuLab have just announced their newest industrial-grade, fanless PC: the fitlet2.

      The original Fitlet that we reviewed back in 2015 proved to be a tiny, passively-cooled, fanless Linux PC. That original Fitlet was making use of an AMD SoC while now with the Fitlet2 they opted for Intel’s latest Apollo Lake hardware.

  • Kernel Space

    • The Most Interesting Features Of The Linux 4.14 Kernel

      f Linux 4.14 weren’t an LTS release with so many changes, it would likely be released today with -rc7 having come last week, but due to the size of this new kernel, 4.14-rc8 will most likely be christened today followed by Linux 4.14 next weekend. Here’s a reminder about some of the most technically interesting work in this new kernel update.

    • AT&T, Tech Mahindra to build open source AI platform
    • Linux 4.14-rc8

      So it’s actually been a pretty good week, and I’m not really unhappy
      with any of the patches that came in.

      But to actually have decided that we don’t need an rc8 this release,
      it would have had to be really totally quiet, and it wasn’t. Nothing
      looks scary, but we did have a few reverts in here still, and I’ll
      just feel happier giving 4.14 another final week.

      .. and I really hope that _will_ be the final week, and we don’t find
      anything new scary.

    • Linux Kernel 4.14 LTS Delayed for November 12 as Linus Torvalds Announces 8th RC
    • Linux 4.14-rc8 Released: Final Next Week Followed By Linux 4.15
    • Look back to an end-of-life LTS kernel : 3.10

      The end of the 3.10 branch is a good opportunity to have a look back at how that worked, and to remind some important rules regarding how to choose a kernel for your products, or the risks associated with buying products running unmaintained kernels.

    • The Linux Foundation Releases 2017 Linux Kernel Development Report

      The 2017 Linux Kernel Development Report has now been released by the nonprofit Linux Foundation, with updated statistics on Linux kernel development. The report has analyzed the work done by 15,600 developers over more than ten years, as well as more recent trends in kernel development.

    • Graphics Stack

      • “Chai” As An Effort For Reverse-Engineered ARM Mali T-Series Graphics

        This project called “Chai” is focusing on the Mali T760 graphics as found bundled in the Rockchip RK3288 SoC. But before getting too excited, the Chai code-base hasn’t seen any new commits in three months already. Chai itself is derived from the reverse-engineering work, tooling, and other fundamentals done years ago by the Lima driver project that was all about Mali reverse engineering albeit with older generations of ARM’s Mali graphics hardware.

      • Lugdunum Is Another Interesting Open-Source Vulkan 3D Engine, With glTF 2.0 Too

        A few days back I wrote about the Banshee engine picking up Linux support and its maturing Vulkan renderer. A Phoronix reader pointed out another project worthy of a shout-out.

        Lugdunum is a cross-platform 3D engine built around Khronos APIs, not only with Vulkan support but also glTF 2.0 for assets. Lungdunum is coded in C++14.

    • Benchmarks

      • Nouveau Linux 4.14 + Mesa 17.4-dev vs. NVIDIA

        It’s been a while since last posting any open-source NVIDIA (Nouveau) benchmarks compared to the official NVIDIA proprietary Linux graphics driver simply as there hasn’t been too much progress to report on recently. There still isn’t re-clocking for Maxwell 2 and Kepler GPUs, dynamic re-clocking remains unimplemented for earlier generations of GPUs, there is not a Nouveau Vulkan driver yet, and they remain tackling OpenGL 4.4~4.5 compliance. But for those wondering how the performance of Nouveau is with re-clocked Kepler / Maxwell 1 graphics cards, here are some fresh benchmarks of the very latest NVIDIA Linux drivers.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • New Features in Enlightenment 22

      The E22 development cycle has been underway for over a year, and it has included over 1,500 patches to address nearly 200 tickets on our issue tracker. With this has come a number of new features and improvements.

    • Enlightenment 22 Is Packing Much Better Wayland Support, Meson Build System

      With Enlightenment E22 having been in development for one year and queued over 1,500 patches so far, the next release could be near with a great number of new features and improvements.

      With Enlightenment E22 the developers have been working on “greatly improved” Wayland support, continued improvements to their gadget infrastructure, a sudo/ssh password GUI, Meson build system support, tiling window policy improvements, per-window PulseAudio volume controls, and various other additions and bug fixes.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • BeeFree OS 18.1.2

        While the look of the distribution did not appeal to me, the CenterFree application bundles do hold promise. There are many popular applications featured, including the WPS productivity suite, and the idea of having off-line bundles I could port across distributions certainly appealed. I think the on-line app store still needs a little work to make it more user friendly though. The website should probably be secured by HTTPS and, ideally, the BeeFree distribution should recognize CenterFree bundles and be able to install them without a trip to the command line. In short, I like the concept, I just think the approach needs some final touches to make the on-line store easier for newcomers to use.

        In the end, I came away from using BeeFree OS thinking that the project may hold some promise, but I think more time is needed for the distribution to go from a mash-up of other projects to having its own, polished identity and style.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • What’s New in Q4OS 2.4 Scorpion

        Q4OS 2.4 codenamed “scorpion” is the latest release of Q4OS 2 series. This is a long-term support LTS release, to be supported for at least five years with security patches and software updates. Based on Debian Stretch 9.2 and using Trinity 14.0.5 desktop environment as default desktop environment and it is available for 64bit and 32bit/i686pae computers, as well as i386 systems without PAE extension.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS 2017.07 KDE – Majestic and horrible

        It is amazing how similar and yet how vastly different two distributions can be, even though they share so much same DNA. Mageia delivered very good results throughout. PCLinuxOS, apart from small glitches early on, was splendid. But then, as if it had developed a second personality, it went ballistic with those desktop crashes, and finally, a completely borked setup due to issues with the package manager. That’s the one thing that is different between Mageia and PCLinuxOS, but then, I’ve never really had any issues with apt-get and/or Synaptic.

        All I can say is that my PCLinuxOS 2017.07 testing delivers a bi-polar message. One, you get some really super-user-friendly stuff that surpasses anything else in the Linux world, with tons of goodies and focus on everyday stuff. You also get some idiosyncrasies, but that’s Mandriva legacy, and it definitely can benefit from some modern-era refresh. Two, the series of Plasma crashes and the package management fiasco that totally ruined the good impressions. Well, I may give this another shot some day, as the early work was ultra promising. I recommend you proceed with caution, as the package management side of things looks quite dangerous. No scoring, as I have no idea why it went so badly wrong, but that’s a warning of its own. Majestic and lethal. Take care.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed Users Get Latest KDE Plasma 5.11.2 Desktop and Mesa 17.2.3

        Back to publishing weekly reports about the latest updates landing in the openSUSE Tumbleweed operating system, Dominique Leuenberger is reporting on the contents of the newest snapshots.

        No less than seven snapshots have been released to the OpenSuSE Tumbleweed repositories during this week, which means it’s at its highest capacity, bringing users some of the recent software updates and technologies. First off, users can now update to the latest KDE Plasma 5.11.2 desktop environment and KDE Frameworks 5.39.0 stack.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Releases Red Hat OpenStack 12

        Today at the OpenStack Summit Sydney 2017, Red Hat Inc. announced the latest version of its massively-scalable and agile cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Red Hat OpenStack 12. This new IaaS is based off of OpenStack’s Pike release, and introduces containerized services, improving flexibility while decreasing complexity for faster application development. Red Hat OpenStack 12 also comes with a slew of new enhancements such as an upgraded DCI (distributed continuous integration) and improved security to help maintain data compliance and manage risk.

      • Red Hat Powers a Fully Open, Massively-Scalable Private Cloud for Insurance Australia Group with Red Hat OpenStack Platform

        OpenStack Summit Sydney 2017 – Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Insurance Australia Group Limited (IAG) is using Red Hat OpenStack Platform to help consolidate and simplify its legacy infrastructure. A trusted partner of IAG for seven years, Red Hat is now helping IAG use the power of open source technology to bring together disparate data sources into a single, scalable private cloud solution to improve customer experience.

      • Red Hat Improves IT Flexibility and Reduces Complexity with Linux Containers in Latest Version of Production-Ready OpenStack Platform

        OpenStack Summit Sydney 2017 – Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open-source solutions, today announced Red Hat OpenStack Platform 12, the latest version of Red Hat’s massively scalable and agile cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). Based on the OpenStack “Pike” release, Red Hat OpenStack Platform 12 introduces containerized services, improving flexibility while decreasing complexity for faster application development. Red Hat OpenStack Platform 12 delivers many new enhancements, including upgraded DCI (distributed continuous integration) and improved security to help maintain data compliance and manage risk.

      • Red Hat starts moving its OpenStack platform to containers

        Red Hat is still best known for its Linux distribution, but the company has also long offered its own OpenStack distribution and additional services as well. Today, the company launched version 12 of the Red Hat OpenStack Platform.

        This update includes all of the usual stability improvements and bug fixes, but what’s probably most important for the distribution in the long run is that Red Hat is now starting to move all of its OpenStack platform to containers.

        Version 12 of the platform is based on the OpenStack Pike release, the 16th release of OpenStack, which launched just over two months ago. Current Red Hat OpenStack Platform customers include the likes of BBVA, FICO, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and TechCrunch’s corporate overlords at Verizon.

      • Finance

    • Debian Family

      • Reviving GHDL in Debian

        It has been a few years since Debian last had a working VHDL simulator in the archive. Its competitor Verilog has been covered by the iverilog and verilator simulator packages, but GHDL was the only option for VHDL in Debian and that has become broken, orphaned and was eventually removed. I have just submitted an ITP to make my work on it official.

        A lot has changed since the last Debian upload of GHDL. Upstream development is quite active and it has gained free reimplementations of the standard library definitions (the lack of which frustrated at least two attempts at adoption of the Debian package). It has gained additional backends, in addition to GCC it can now also use LLVM and its own custom mcode (x86 only) code generator. The mcode backend should provide faster compilation at the expense of lacking sophisticated optimization, hence it might be preferable over the other two for small projects.

      • Thorsten Alteholz: My Debian Activities in October 2017
      • debconf mailinglists moved to lists.debian.org

        Today I had the pleasure to move the debconf mailinglists to lists.debian.org.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Podcast: S10E35 – Berserk Miniature Need
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Black Lab Enterprise Linux 11.5 Beta 3 Released

              Today we are pleased to announce the first public beta release of Black Lab Enterprise Linux 11.5. With this release we have made several enhancements to the Black Lab Enterprise Linux system. We have increased driver capabilities with the inclusion of a new kernel and we now have better performance. We have also worked on web app capability and with the Chromium Web Browser you now have the same functionality as Chrome OS as well as the ability to use standard Linux applications.

            • 5 Reasons Why Linux Mint is Better Than Ubuntu

              It is difficult to choose between Ubuntu and Linux Mint. But here are a few things that makes Linux Mint a better choice than Ubuntu.

            • Kubuntu 16.04 LTS Users Can Now Update to KDE Plasma 5.8.8 LTS and Krita 3.3.2

              If you’re using the Kubuntu 16.04 LTS operating system on your personal computer, then you’re stuck with the long-term supported release of the KDE Plasma desktop environment, version 5.8, which was recently updated upstream to version 5.8.8, a maintenance patch adding an extra layer of performance improvements.

              Because Kubuntu 16.04 LTS is also a long-term supported release, the Kubuntu team is always upgrading the operating system’s core components to new software versions, and they’ve just made the KDE Plasma 5.8.8 LTS desktop environment available to users trough the Kubuntu Backports PPA, along with Krita 3.3.2.

            • LXTerminal 0.3.1 released

              This is an security and bugfix update. However, there is also minor feature added to enhance usability. It will be integrated into Lubuntu very soon.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Yellow House Phone Company (Featuring Asterisk and an 11-year-old)

    He was hooked. So I thought that taking it to the next level would be a good thing for a rainy day. I have run Asterisk before, though I had unfortunately gotten rid of most of my equipment some time back. But I found a great deal on a Cisco 186 ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter). It has two FXS lines (FXS ports simulate the phone company, and provide dialtone and ring voltage to a connected phone), and of course hooks up to the LAN.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Tor Browser 7.5a7 is released

        Note: Tor Browser 7.5a7 is a security bugfix release in the alpha channel for macOS and Linux users only. Users of the alpha channel on Windows are not affected and stay on Tor Browser 7.5a6.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • OpenStack to tackle open source integration

      The OpenStack Foundation made its announcement, kicking off the OpenStack Summit currently running in Sydney at the Darling Harbour International Convention Centre.

    • OpenStack Summit Sydney Spotlights Open Infrastructure Integration
    • OpenStack says its work is largely done. Now your hard work can fill in the blanks

      The OpenStack Foundation has kicked off its summit in Sydney, Australia, with a call to current OpenStack users to help it to win more users by sharing code they’ve written to link OpenStack to other tools and infrastructure.

      The Foundation’s decided the time is right to pursue easier integration because it feels the core of OpenStack is in good shape: its myriad modules are felt to be nicely mature and to offer the functionality that users need and want.

    • WeChat parent company Tencent joins the OpenStack Foundation as a Gold Member

      Shenzhen-based Tencent Holdings Limited, the parent company behind extremely popular services like WeChat and QQ, today announced that it is joining the OpenStack Foundation as a Gold Member. OpenStack members at the Gold level pay annual dues of 0.025 percent of their revenue with a minimum of $50,000 per year and a maximum of $200,000 to support the development of the open source cloud platform.

    • OpenStack® Board Elects Tencent as Gold Member of the Foundation
    • Sydney OpenStack Summit – Started
    • OpenStack’s next mission: bridging the gaps between open source projects

      OpenStack, the massive open source project that provides large businesses with the software tools to run their data center infrastructure, is now almost eight years old. While it had its ups and downs, hundreds of enterprises now use it to run their private clouds and there are even over two dozen public clouds that use the project’s tools. Users now include the likes of AT&T, Walmart, eBay, China Railway, GE Healthcare, SAP, Tencent and the Insurance Australia Group, to name just a few.

      “One of the things that’s been happening is that we’re seven years in and the need for turning every type of infrastructure into programmable infrastructure has been proven out. “It’s no longer a debate,” OpenStack COO Mark Collier told me ahead of the projects semi-annual developer conference this week. OpenStack’s own surveys show that the project’s early adopters, who previously only tested it for their clouds, continue to move their production workflows to the platform, too. “We passed the hype phase,” Collier noted.

    • Commonwealth Bank to take OpenStack approach to its public cloud environment

      A survey from the OpenStack Foundation has highlighted the growth of users among mainstream, non-IT industries, with the financial services sector one of the fastest growing.

      To emphasise the importance of open source in the Australian financial services sector, head of systems engineering for analytics and information at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) Quinton Anderson detailed his bank’s journey, starting with OpenStack in some basic container environments before layering additional open-source technologies.

    • Open-source community has an integration problem: OpenStack

      At the OpenStack Sydney Summit, community leaders announced a new plan to overcome challenges in integrating and operating open-source technologies to solve real-world problems.

      Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, said on Monday the open source community hasn’t historically been good at integration, and highlighted that innovation alone isn’t enough to make it work.

    • Edge computing moves the open cloud beyond the data center

      When we think of cloud computing, most of us envision large-scale, centralized data centers running thousands of physical servers. As powerful as that vision sounds, it actually misses the biggest new opportunity: distributed cloud infrastructure.

      Today, almost every company in every industry sector needs near-instant access to data and compute resources to be successful. Edge computing pushes applications, data and computing power services away from centralized data centers to the logical extremes of a network, close to users, devices and sensors. It enables companies to put the right data in the right place at the right time, supporting fast and secure access. The result is an improved user experience and, oftentimes, a valuable strategic advantage. The decision to implement an edge computing architecture is typically driven by the need for location optimization, security, and most of all, speed.

      New applications such as VR and AI, with requirements to collect and process massive amounts of data in near-real-time and extremely low latency, are driving the need for processing at the edge of the network. Very simply, the cost and distance of the hub-and-spoke model will not be practical for many of these emerging use cases.

    • OpenStack claims open source integration problems are holding back enterprise innovation
  • CMS

    • SilverStripe 4 Beta Ends, More Open Source CMS News

      Following years of development, SilverStripe 4.0 is finally out of beta.

      The first release candidate for SilverStripe 4 is now available with 160 updated modules. According to SilverStripe’s Product Marketing Specialist Andrew Underwood, a stable release is “looking likely for mid-November.”

    • Migrating my website to Pelican

      After too much time lying to myself, telling myself things like “I’ll just add this neat feature I want on my blog next week”, I’ve finally made the big jump, ditched django and migrated my website to Pelican.

      I’m going to the Cambridge Mini-Debconf at the end of the month for the Debconf Videoteam Autumn sprint and I’ve taken the task of making daily sprint reports for the team. That in return means I have to publish my blog on Planet Debian. My old website not having feeds made this a little hard and this perfect storm gave me the energy to make the migration happen.

  • Funding

  • Programming/Development

    • New Qualcomm Saphira Server CPU Added To GCC

      Details are very scarce on the new Qualcomm “Saphira” processor, but initial support for it was added this week to the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC).

      Qualcomm Saphira isn’t turning up much in search engines besides some trademark applications and the likes, but this new CPU is seeing quick support in GCC, perhaps due to GCC 8 feature development ending soon.

    • 5.0.1-rc1 has been tagged

      5.0.1-rc1 has been tagged, testers can begin testing and uploading binaries. If you run into any issues, please file bugs at bugs.llvm.org. There are still 2 weeks left until the 5.0.1 merge deadline, so there is still time to get fixes in.

    • LLVM 5.0.1 Is Coming In The Next Few Weeks

      Tom Stellard of Red Hat will once again be taking up duties as point release manager for LLVM.

      Tom has now tagged a 5.0.1-rc1 release for testers to begin trying out this first bug-fix update to LLVM 5.0, which itself was released in early September.

    • tint 0.0.4: Small enhancements

      A maintenance release of the tint package arrived on CRAN earlier today. Its name expands from tint is not tufte as the package offers a fresher take on the Tufte-style for html and pdf presentations.


  • Stop supporting old releases.

    These companies have no problem pitching in when they have no other choice. If Enterprise companies depend on your software, there’s a vendor selling to them that will do whatever it takes to make them happy.

    Saying you won’t do the work to support an old release isn’t saying “I don’t care about you being a user.” Instead, you’re saying that there are two ways they can be a user.

  • Science

    • Most scientists now reject the idea that the first Americans came by land

      It’s been one of the most contentious debates in anthropology, and now scientists are saying it’s pretty much over. A group of prominent anthropologists have done an overview of the scientific literature and declare in Science magazine that the “Clovis first” hypothesis of the peopling of the Americas is dead.

      For decades, students were taught that the first people in the Americas were a group called the Clovis who walked over the Bering land bridge about 13,500 years ago. They arrived (so the narrative goes) via an ice-free corridor between glaciers in North America. But evidence has been piling up since the 1980s of human campsites in North and South America that date back much earlier than 13,500 years. At sites ranging from Oregon in the US to Monte Verde in Chile, evidence of human habitation goes back as far as 18,000 years.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • EPA chief set to meet privately with chemical industry execs

      The Trump administration’s top environmental regulator is set to speak privately to chemical industry executives next week during a conference at a luxury oceanfront golf resort.

      Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is listed as the featured speaker at a board meeting of the American Chemistry Council, a group that has lobbied against stricter regulations for chemical manufacturers. The three-day conference is being held at The Sanctuary resort on Kiawah Island, South Carolina.

      Council spokeswoman Anne Kolton said Pruitt’s speech will not be open to the public or the news media. Admission to the members-only event where Pruitt is speaking ranges between $7,500 and $2,500, depending on sponsorship level. Rooms at the resort are being offered to conference attendees at a discounted rate of $389 a night, not including taxes and fees.

    • The great British drug rip-off

      As he became ‘the most hated man on the Internet’ last year, ‘pharma-bro’ Martin Shkreli repeatedly claimed that by hiking the price of HIV drugs he wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary. Squeezing health services and patients for every last penny is just how the pharmaceutical industry works. And that’s perhaps the only thing he was right about.

      While multinational drug companies have turned themselves into one of the most profitable industries in the world, they have peddled the lie that they’re charging eye-watering prices for their life-saving products because it costs a fortune to research and develop them. What they didn’t tell us is that much of that research is publicly funded in the first place.

      A new report, Pills and Profits, by Global Justice Now and STOPAIDS has revealed that big drug companies are taking over research funded by British taxpayers and selling the resulting drugs back to the NHS to the tune of more than £1 billion a year. So we are effectively paying twice for our medicines – once to research and develop them, and again to buy the finished drugs.

    • Elderly doctor: I lost my license because I don’t know how to use a computer

      An 84-year-old doctor in New London, New Hampshire, appeared in state court Friday in an effort to regain her medical license, less than a week after closing her office on October 28.

      State authorities claim that—because Dr. Anna Konopka doesn’t have a computer, much less know how to use one—her organizational skills are lacking, according to the Associated Press.

  • Security

    • Paranoid Android’s Last Android Nougat-Based Update Patches KRACK Vulnerability

      The team behind the well-known Paranoid Android open-source operating system for Android smartphones and tablets announced the last update based on the Android Nougat series.

      Paranoid Android 7.3.1 was released on the last day of October 2017, and it appears to be the final release for the series, the last to be based on Google’s Android 7 “Nougat” mobile operating system. Therefore, it introduces a bunch of important improvements, especially to the Paranoid Camera, but also patches security issues.

    • Hackers [sic] are using an email scam to intercept payments between galleries, collectors and others [iophk: “probably traceable to use of Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Exchange; see this instead”]

      The fraud is relatively simple. Criminals hack [sic] into an art dealer’s email account and monitor incoming and outgoing correspondence. When the gallery sends a PDF invoice to a client via email following a sale, the conversation is hijacked. Posing as the gallery, hackers [sic] send a duplicate, fraudulent invoice from the same gallery email address, with an accompanying message instructing the client to disregard the first invoice and instead wire payment to the account listed in the fraudulent document.

    • Cybercriminals may turn ATM malware into an open source weapon [Ed: "open source weapon"... Crafting FUD when the issue at hand is PROPRIETARY ATMs]
    • India tops the list in ransomware cyberattack on Android, Linux and MacOS [Ed: Headline does not mention Windows; new kind of slant/spin?]

      India is among the top seven countries for ransomware circulation as cyberattacks on not just Windows but on Android, Linux and MacOS systems have significantly increased this year globally, a new report has warned.

    • A Framework for Protecting Our Critical Infrastructure [Ed: Really? Says Proponent of back doors?!]
  • Defence/Aggression

    • How Afghans View the Endless US War

      To understand why the 16-year-old U.S. war in Afghanistan continues to fail requires a look from the ground where Afghans live and suffer, a plight breeding strong opposition to the U.S. presence, explains Kathy Kelly.

    • White Supremacists Share Bomb-Making Materials in Online Chats

      Right-wing extremists communicating in confidential online chats in recent months have shared scores of documents detailing the manufacture and use of bombs, grenades, mines and other incendiary devices.

      The documents, which range from instructions on detonating dynamite to U.S. military manuals for constructing improvised explosives and booby traps, were passed around during online conversations among members of Anticom, a secretive and militant group that has emerged during the past year.

    • Blaming the Afghan War Failure on — Russia

      Another part of the U.S. mainstream media’s rash of Russia-bashing is to claim that Moscow is arming Afghanistan’s Taliban, but again the evidence doesn’t match the accusations, writes Jonathan Marshall.

    • How America Spreads Global Chaos

      The U.S. government may pretend to respect a “rules-based” global order, but the only rule Washington seems to follow is “might makes right” — and the CIA has long served as a chief instigator and enforcer, writes Nicolas J.S. Davies.

    • Truck Terror Attacks May Be a Sign of ISIS Weakness, But They’re Very Hard to Stop

      In the aftermath of the attack in lower Manhattan yesterday, I was reminded of a conversation I had almost a year ago with a veteran counterterrorism chief in Madrid. He had just written a report to his superiors warning about the urgent threat that terrorists would use trucks or cars to mow people down in public places. It wasn’t a sudden flash of insight. Months earlier, a Tunisian deliveryman with a history of mental illness had driven a large cargo truck into a crowd of Bastille Day celebrants in Nice, France, killing 84 people and injuring 450 more. In its edition last November, the main online propaganda magazine used by the Islamic State, Rumiyah, had put out a call for more such attacks, offering tips on how to carry them out.

    • Hours after horrific mass shooting, Texas attorney general urges more people to bring guns to church

      Just hours after a mass shooting left at least 26 people dead at a small Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, state Attorney General Ken Paxton appeared on Fox News. His message to Texans: Bring a gun to church.

      “As a Texan, as a father, can you wrap your brain around what we’re learning today, that children were killed, children were shot, the 14-year-old daughter of the pastor was killed in this type of attack? As a country, what do we do? How can we get our arms around this and stop this insanity?” Fox News anchor Eric Shawn asked Paxton.

      “All I can say is, you know, in Texas at least we have the opportunity to have concealed-carry, And so if it’s a place where somebody has the ability to carry, there’s always the opportunity that gunman will be taken out before he has the opportunity to kill very many people,” Paxton replied.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Donna Brazile Owes an Apology to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. Assange Warned of Rigged Primary in 2016.

      I thought Russian interference revolved around hackers breaching the Democratic National Committee.

      The alleged hack informed voters of Bernie Sanders being cheated, which is said to have been the goal of Vladimir Putin, in a nefarious attempt at both educating Americans of their dysfunctional political system and simultaneously helping his preferred candidate, Trump.

      The Russians, in their attempt to influence voters towards Trump, allegedly spread emails through WikiLeaks which detailed overt collusion between the DNC, media and the Clinton campaign to cheat Bernie Sanders during the primary.

    • Paradise Papers leak reveals secrets of the world elite’s hidden wealth

      The world’s biggest businesses, heads of state and global figures in politics, entertainment and sport who have sheltered their wealth in secretive tax havens are being revealed this week in a major new investigation into Britain’s offshore empires.

      The details come from a leak of 13.4m files that expose the global environments in which tax abuses can thrive – and the complex and seemingly artificial ways the wealthiest corporations can legally protect their wealth.

      The material, which has come from two offshore service providers and the company registries of 19 tax havens, was obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with partners including the Guardian, the BBC and the New York Times.

    • Paradise Paper Leaks: What Is It? Who Are The Biggest Names On The List?

      If you visit the major news websites or read newspapers, you’d come across articles on a massive document leak that tell about offshore accounts of a large number of powerful people. Named Paradise Papers, about 13.4 million documents were leaked to the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, which shared the same with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and other news organizations around the world. It’s worth noting that Sueddeutsche Zeitung an ICIJ were the major forces behind the Panama Papers leak. They also won a Pulitzer for their work.


      The Paradise Papers leak is the world’s second biggest, only beaten by last year’s Panama Papers. While Panama Papers leak brought 2.6TB data into the limelight, Paradise Papers brings 1.4TB data.

      This leak comprises of the information from 21 different sources. It also includes documents from a smaller fiduciary company Asiaciti Trust, headquartered in Singapore.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Buyouts Won’t Be the Answer for Many Frequent Flooding Victims

      It’s hard to find another county in America that has accomplished more buyouts than Harris County. Since 1985, the Harris County Flood Control District — the main entity managing buyouts in the Houston area — has spent $342 million to purchase about 3,100 properties. But thanks to a decadeslong trend of increased flooding in Houston, caused by a combination of urban sprawl, lax building regulations and intense rainstorms linked to climate change, buyouts haven’t kept up with the destruction.

    • Pruitt Bars Some Scientists From Advising E.P.A.
    • Harrison Ford: ‘We’ve got people in charge of important s— who don’t believe in science’

      Actor Harrison Ford took a swipe at Washington on Thursday night, blasting lawmakers and leaders who deny climate change.

      During a speech to the environmental group Conservation International in Culver City, Calif., where he was receiving an award, Ford said the biggest threat to the United States is leaders that don’t understand or accept evidence that human activity is driving rapid climate change.

      “We face an unprecedented moment in this country. Today’s greatest threat is not climate change, not pollution, not flood or fire,” Ford said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s that we’ve got people in charge of important shit who don’t believe in science.”

    • Anger over Trump support for coal at UN climate talks

      Plans by the Trump administration to promote coal as a solution to climate change at a major UN meeting have angered environmentalists.

      An adviser to the president is expected to take part in a pro-coal presentation in Bonn next week.

      Separately, a group of governors will say that the US is still committed to climate action despite Mr Trump’s rejection of the Paris agreement.

    • Forest Service suggests Trump could reopen uranium mining near Grand Canyon

      The US Forest Service recently submitted a report (PDF) to the Trump Administration, suggesting that an Obama-era order could be revised to allow uranium mining on National Forest land, reopening old tensions in an area that sustains tribal interests, mining operations, and outdoor activities.

      The report was submitted in response to a March presidential order requiring all agencies to review their body of rules, policies, and guidelines pertaining to energy development in the United States. Agencies were directed to provide the White House with a list of items that might weigh down the development of domestic energy resources “with particular attention to oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy resources,” according to the Forest Service, which is an agency within the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

    • Donald Trump accused of obstructing satellite research into climate change

      President Trump has been accused of deliberately obstructing research on global warming after it emerged that a critically important technique for investigating sea-ice cover at the poles faces being blocked.

      The row has erupted after a key polar satellite broke down a few days ago, leaving the US with only three ageing ones, each operating long past their shelf lives, to measure the Arctic’s dwindling ice cap. Scientists say there is no chance a new one can now be launched until 2023 or later. None of the current satellites will still be in operation then.

      The crisis has been worsened because the US Congress this year insisted that a backup sea-ice probe had to be dismantled because it did not want to provide funds to keep it in storage. Congress is currently under the control of Republicans, who are antagonistic to climate science and the study of global warming.

  • Finance

    • Amazon wants goodies and tax breaks to move its HQ to your city. Say no thanks

      Urban leaders must reject the race to the bottom that these scrambles to please corporations generate – as 19th-century mayors did during the rise of capitalism

    • What are the Paradise Papers? Tax secrets of wealthy including the Queen and Trump’s cabinet exposed

      The Paradise Papers, which have been released today, have exposed the tax secrets of the wealthiest people in the world, including the Queen and members of Donald Trump’s cabinet.

      More than 13.4 million leaked files show the offshore activities of the most powerful people and companies on the planet, and how they protect their wealth.

      The files, which came from offshore law firms and company registries have been investigated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists after they were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

    • Bitcoin Now Consumes an Equivalent of 13 Million Barrels of Oil

      It takes 20 barrels of oil to mine one bitcoin according to some number crunching, with the network as a whole consuming an equivalent of 13,239,916 barrels of oil every single year.

    • Trump Tax Plan Would Deal Long-Term Blow to Working- and Middle-Class Americans
    • Republican Tax Plan Goes for Temporary Cuts and Permanent Lies

      The Republicans’ argument was that lower tax rates would increase the incentive for companies to invest. But if companies anticipate that the tax rate will return to its current level after a relatively short period of time, then the tax cut will provide little incentive. This means there is no basis for the assumption of a boom.

      In the case of a temporary tax cut, the claim that average families will see a $4,000 dividend from higher pay makes no sense. And the claim of a $1.5 trillion growth dividend can be seen for what it is: a number snatched out of the air to claim the tax cut won’t increase the deficit.

    • A wealth tax is more necessary and achievable than ever

      “The rich get richer and the poor…” People have long known how that phrase ends, but the astonishing accumulation of wealth in a few hands is now attracting attention from Oxfam through to Davos and the IMF. Eight billionaires are reported to own as much as the bottom 50 per cent of the world’s population. In the UK, just 10 per cent of adults own half of the nation’s wealth.

      But why would this trouble the IMF? The answer is that such concentrations of wealth are dysfunctional for the economic system. They happen because wages are repressed and the richest use their wealth to speculate on assets that are in short supply, such as housing or land, producing sky high prices for property and rents. A single building in Hong Kong has just sold for $5bn. The effect is that small businesses close as rents are high, it is difficult for labour to move and there is a reduction in aggregate demand. Put simply, people can’t buy goods and services if most of their money is going on rents and mortgages. To keep up in this scramble, the population becomes laden with debt and those who sell the loans become even richer.

    • The GOP Tax Bill Is an Attempt to Destroy Government

      The House Republican tax bill has been introduced, packaged beautifully with lies. Now House Republicans will push to pass, in one week, a 500-page bill written in secret that transforms the tax code. Powerful special interests will spend millions for and against. Legions of lobbyists will fill congressional offices. Experts will duel over the effects. Trump is already boasting about “a great Christmas present” of the biggest tax cuts ever.

    • Puerto Rico Suffers While Defending Against ‘Disaster Capitalism’

      President Donald Trump lavished praise on himself when commenting on the federal response to the disaster that has overwhelmed Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. “I would give myself a 10,” he said on Oct. 19. “I think we’ve done a really great job,” he added, as Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello sat silently by his side in the Oval Office. This was just two weeks after Trump’s visit to the island, where he lobbed rolls of paper towels at hurricane survivors. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, appearing on the “Democracy Now!” news hour, responded, “If it’s a 10 out of 100, I agree, because it’s still a failing grade.”

      Like the mayor, few think Trump has responded effectively. “We can’t fail to note the dissimilar urgency and priority given to the emergency response in Puerto Rico, compared to the U.S. states affected by hurricanes in recent months,” Leilani Farha, the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to housing, said, comparing post-hurricane relief efforts in Texas and Florida in a damning report issued on Monday by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

    • Brexit: an economic strategy from the left?

      If we are agreed that the UK economy needs an overhaul from the Left, where does Brexit come in? Interview with Green MEP Molly Scott Cato.

    • The Fantasyland version of Britain is alive and kicking – and driving Brexit

      The last 40 years in the UK has seen more wealth and income transferred to the already uber-rich and privileged. Public assets have been sold off, corrupted and outsourced – a UK ‘economic miracle’ proclaimed as the gospel by Thatcher believers both in the 1980s and again today.

      This transformation has done nothing to address the fundamental weaknesses of the economy pre-Thatcher – the historic devaluing of manufacturing; the anti-business ethos at the heart of the Tory Party and the City of London; their greater interest in pseudo-enterprise and rentier capitalism. Research and development and long-term investment has never been at the core of British capitalism.

      In the pre-EU 1970s the UK was seen as ‘the sick man of Europe’, and our membership of the Common Market was meant to address these woes. Yet, forty years in the EU combined with Thatcherism and Blairism haven’t addressed these problems. Britain’s productivity gap has become news again, but it is deep-seated and structural in its causes. Britain’s research and development rates are abysmal, coming in 159th out of 173 countries as a percentage of GDP, accordin to a 2013 Economist survey. Only fourteen nation-states were worse than Britain, seven of which were in sub-Saharan Africa.

    • Why Brexit? It’s the English, stupid.

      Thanks to the populist forces unleashed by the referendum, however, the rage and frustration at any such outcome will be huge. Hostility will be magnified by the economic downturn already under way thanks to the May government’s incompetence. In these circumstances, to be defeated, Brexit must be counter-attacked.

    • Brexit and a Brave New World

      With the French sharpening their knives, the Tories in disarray, the Irish demanding answers, and a scant 17 months to go before Brexit kicks in, the whole matter is making for some pretty good theater. The difficulty is distinguishing between tragedy and farce.

      The Conservative’s Party’s Oct. 1-4 conference in Manchester was certainly low comedy. The meeting hall was half empty, and May’s signature address was torpedoed by a coughing fit and a prankster who handed her a layoff notice. Then the Tories’ vapid slogan “Building a country that works for everyone” fell on to the stage. And several of May’s cabinet members were openly jockeying to replace her.

      In contrast, the Labour Party’s conference at Brighton a week earlier was jam packed with young activists busily writing position papers, and Corbyn gave a rousing speech that called for rolling back austerity measures, raising taxes on the wealthy and investing in education, health care and technology.

    • In Puerto Rico’s Highlands, Hurricane Maria Has Exploded Fault Lines of Poverty & Austerity

      Six weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, millions of residents are still living without safe drinking water and electricity. Health experts say the storm’s massive damage to Puerto Rico’s water system is threatening to cause a public health crisis, as more and more people are exposed to contaminated water. Over the weekend, Democracy Now! was in Puerto Rico, and we traveled about three hours into Puerto Rico’s mountainous highland region in the interior of the island in order to look at the ways austerity has exacerbated the crisis caused by Hurricane Maria.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Impeachment Exists for Lying Liars Like Jeff Sessions
    • A grilling on Capitol Hill

      Internet companies seem to want to have it both ways. They boast of their platforms’ abilities to reach audiences with precision and cost-efficiency, but they do not want to claim to be so successful that a covert Russian marketing campaign of sorts could have altered the election’s course. Several social media marketers privately say that they think it plausible that Russian interference may have swayed the election’s result, especially on Facebook, where people form opinions based on what they perceive their social circles to be saying. Many of their ads and pages were popular in swing states, which Mr Trump won by the smallest of margins. The full extent of the damage will only become clear when the tech firms continue to audit their own platforms—or when they embrace the greater transparency they have promised and open themselves up to public scrutiny.

    • Rearranging the Watergate Myth

      A Washington axiom holds that that when power and truth clash, power usually wins, but the contest can be complicated by competing personal agendas, as James DiEugenio notes about a new Watergate movie.

    • The Wall Street Journal Is Echoing Trump’s Derangement, and Its Own Reporters Are Appalled

      During the 2016 election, the conservative Wall Street Journal declined to endorse Donald Trump, recognizing the Republican candidate’s manifest personal deficiencies posed a clear and present danger to American democracy. While the newspaper has grown more Trump-curious since he was sworn into office, it has largely resisted the overt #MAGA cheerleading of Rupert Murdoch’s other media organs, Fox News and the New York Post.

    • The Political Organization Men

      What is described here is a ubiquitous system problem. To one extent or another, this problem of centralization of power within organizations, particularly those that demand loyalty from their members, is commonplace – whether they are political organizations or not.

    • The Professor Identified In The Trump-Russia Probe Always Wanted To Be The Center Of Attention. Now He Is.

      The 57-year-old Maltese national has been scrutinized since he was unmasked as the unnamed academic who, according to court filings, told George Papadopoulos, a former campaign adviser to Donald Trump, that Russia had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, in a plea deal unsealed this week.

      Mifsud acknowledged, in an interview with Italian newspaper la Repubblica published Wednesday, that he was the unnamed “overseas professor” cited in the court documents and said he met Papadopoulos “three or four times.” But he told the newspaper that he denies any wrongdoing and says he knows nothing about emails containing “dirt” on Clinton and did not initiate contact with the Trump campaign on behalf of Moscow.

    • ‘There’s a lot more there’: Mueller ups the stakes in Trump-Russia inquiry

      For a moment in court, the mask slipped. Paul Manafort glanced at his lawyer and smirked, like a TV mafia boss with reasons to be confident. It was the look of a man who, after decades of work as a lobbyist for murderous dictators in Africa and Asia, was not about to be rattled by the prospect of house arrest.

      But less than a mile away, another man displayed rather less equanimity. Donald Trump woke before dawn on Monday and, instead of heading to the Oval Office, lingered in the White House residence. “Trump clicked on the television and spent the morning playing fuming media critic, legal analyst and crisis communications strategist, according to several people close to him,” the Washington Post reported.

    • Trump commerce secretary’s business links with Putin family laid out in leaked files

      Donald Trump’s commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, is doing business with Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law through a shipping venture in Russia.

      Leaked documents and public filings show that Ross holds a stake in a shipping company, Navigator, through a chain of offshore investments. Navigator operates a lucrative partnership with Sibur, a Russian gas company part-owned by Kirill Shamalov, the husband of Putin’s daughter Katerina Tikhonova.

      Ross, a billionaire and close friend of Trump, retained holdings in Navigator even after taking office this year. The relationship means that he stands to benefit from the operations of a Russian company run by Putin’s family and close allies, some of whom are under US sanctions.

      Corporate records show Navigator ramped up its relationship with Sibur from 2014, as the US and EU imposed sanctions on Russians. The measures followed Putin’s aggression in eastern Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. Navigator has collected $68m in revenue from its Sibur partnership since 2014.

    • US Special Counsel has enough proof to charge Trump’s former NSA Michael Flynn, says report

      Special Counsel Robert Mueller has collected sufficient evidence to charge Michael Flynn, US President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, and his son, NBC News reported on Sunday, citing multiple sources familiar with the investigation.

      NBC News said Mueller’s team was looking at possible money laundering charges, lying to federal agents, and Flynn’s role in a possible plan to remove an opponent of the Turkish president from the US in exchange for millions of dollars.

      Mueller is increasing pressure on Flynn following the indictment of Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, NBC News said. Flynn served 24 days as Trump’s national security adviser but was fired after it was discovered he had misrepresented his contacts with a Russian diplomat to Vice-President Michael Pence.

    • Four Viral Claims Spread by Journalists on Twitter in the Last Week Alone That are False

      There is ample talk, particularly of late, about the threats posed by social media to democracy and political discourse. Yet one of the primary ways that democracy is degraded by platforms such as Facebook and Twitter is, for obvious reasons, typically ignored in such discussions: the way they are used by American journalists to endorse factually false claims that quickly spread and become viral, entrenched into narratives, and thus can never be adequately corrected.

      The design of Twitter, where many political journalists spend their time, is in large part responsible for this damage. Its space constraints mean that tweeted headlines or tiny summaries of reporting are often assumed to be true with no critical analysis of their accuracy, and are easily spread. Claims from journalists that people want to believe are shared like wildfire, while less popular, subsequent corrections or nuanced debunking are easily ignored. Whatever one’s views are on the actual impact of Twitter Russian bots, surely the propensity of journalistic falsehoods to spread far and wide is at least as significant.

    • Russia funded Facebook and Twitter investments through Kushner associate

      Two Russian state institutions with close ties to Vladimir Putin funded substantial investments in Twitter and Facebook through a business associate of Jared Kushner, leaked documents reveal.

      The investments were made through a Russian technology magnate, Yuri Milner, who also holds a stake in a company co-owned by Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser.

      The discovery is likely to stir concerns over Russian influence in US politics and the role played by social media in last year’s presidential election. It may also raise new questions for the social media companies and for Kushner.

    • Kremlin Cash Behind Billionaire’s Twitter and Facebook Investments
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • TripAdvisor removed warnings about rapes and injuries at Mexico resorts, tourists say

      What about the other 27 posts? Did anyone express worry, describe problems or share experiences that might serve as warnings?

      The public had no way to know.

      The posts had all been removed from the forum.


      An untold number of TripAdvisor users have been granted special privileges, including the ability to delete forum posts. But the company won’t disclose how those users are selected.

    • Pitch for moderate censorship for Myanmar films

      Burmese filmmakers, supported by those from Southeast Asian countries, on Saturday pitched for ‘classification, rather than censorship’ in the days ahead.

      Joining a debate on film censorship in Myanmar and rest of Southeast Asia on the sidelines of the Memory! Festival 2017, they said that when the 1996 Motion Picture Law is replaced by a new law now in the drafting process, it should have ‘very moderate censorship’ to control extreme cases of religious incitement, hate speech and obscenity.

    • Sorry Facebook, Blasphemy Is Not Apolitical

      Blasphemy is apolitical? That’s a stretch — and one that requires a near-willful misunderstanding of the reality of the speech targeted by blasphemy laws and religious speech itself. Stretch’s assertion deserves careful review considering both the power which Facebook wields over internet speech and the prevalence of blasphemy laws.

    • Who’s Afraid of Corporate COINTELPRO?

      On November 30, 2016, presumably right at the stroke of midnight, Google Inc. unpersoned CounterPunch. They didn’t send out a press release or anything. They just quietly removed it from the Google News aggregator. Not very many people noticed. This happened just as the “fake news” hysteria was being unleashed by the corporate media, right around the time The Washington Post ran this neo-McCarthyite smear piece vicariously accusing CounterPunch, and a number of other publications, of being “peddlers of Russian propaganda.” As I’m sure you’ll recall, that astounding piece of “journalism” (which The Post was promptly forced to disavow with an absurd disclaimer but has refused to retract) was based on the claims of an anonymous website apparently staffed by a couple of teenagers and a formerly rabidly anti-Communist, now rabidly anti-Putin think tank. Little did most people know at the time that these were just the opening salvos in what has turned out to be an all-out crackdown on any and all forms of vocal opposition to the global corporate ruling classes and their attempts to quash the ongoing nationalist backlash against their neoliberal agenda.

    • Russia’s federal censor concerned by censorship in Google

      Russian communication watchdog Roskomnadzor published the message stating the department “guards freedom of speech and in every possible way interferes with any manifestations of censorship”.

      As it is explained in the release, the publication is caused by the fact that Google News service removed materials of Federal News Agency (FNA) from search results. Roskomnadzor expresses “its concern” in this relation, it is said in the statement.

      Earlier, on November 2, the FAN reported that their materials were gone from service delivery. The management of the portal in this regard complained to the head of Roskomnadzor Aleksey Zharov.

    • A prestigious research publisher gives in to China’s censorship

      SPRINGER NATURE publishes books and prestigious journals, including Nature and Scientific American, and portrays itself as a champion of open access to reports of scientific research. Its website declares that “research is a global endeavor and the free flow of information and ideas is at the heart of advancing discovery.” Yet in China, the company has compromised this core principle.

      The Financial Times disclosed Wednesday that Springer Nature has blocked access in China to at least 1,000 articles from the websites of the Journal of Chinese Political Science and International Politics, two of its journals, in response to Beijing’s censorship demands. The newspaper said all the articles in question “contained keywords deemed politically sensitive by the Chinese authorities,” including “Taiwan,” “Tibet” and “cultural revolution.” According to the FT, a search for “Tibet” on the Journal of Chinese Political Science website in China returned no results, whereas a search outside China showed 66 articles. No articles mentioning the “cultural revolution” could be found on the website in China, the newspaper said, whereas 110 were visible outside.

    • China censorship drive splits leading academic publishers

      The world’s leading academic publishers are deeply divided over how to respond to China’s intensifying censorship drive at home and abroad…

    • Radio Erena: Eritrea’s free voice and refugee hotline

      For nearly 10 consecutive years, media watchdog group Reporters Without Borders has ranked Eritrea at the bottom of its annual index on press freedom. This year, it rose by one place above North Korea.

      After a 30-year war of independence with Ethiopia, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, who has now been in power for 26 years, chose not to hold elections but keep the country on a war footing. In 2001, he shut down all privately owned news outlets and began expelling foreign correspondents until none were left in the country.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Barrett Brown Is Writing a Book Critical of the Justice Department. They are Making it Hard by Trying to Prevent Him Being Paid His Advance.

      In an email from Brown’s literary agency I’ve seen, publisher Farrar Straus & Giroux is reported to have said that they have been told by the DOJ to disburse no further money from the book to Brown without the government’s permission.

    • American charged with subversion in Zimbabwe goes to court

      “This arrest marks the start of a sinister new chapter in the Zimbabwean government’s clampdown on freedom of speech, and the new battleground is social media,” said Amnesty International’s deputy regional director, Muleya Mwananyanda. The statement said Zimbabwe authorities tracked tweets to O’Donovan’s IP address.

    • Oversight Board Report On DC Police Cameras Contradicts Earlier Report’s Claims

      Less than a month after a first report was delivered on Washington, DC police body camera use, a second one has arrived. And it seems to contradict some assertions made in the first report.

      The first report was put together by an extension of DC’s government called the Lab@DC. It showed body camera use doing almost nothing to curtail use of force by officers. This seemed to undercut the notion body cameras can be a tool of accountability. But they never will be — not if the agencies using them remain uninterested in punishing officers for misconduct.

    • Concern Grows Over Youths at Juvenile Correctional Facility Being Sent to Adult Prison

      State officials, advocates and a federal judge on Thursday proposed remedies to better deal with youths accused of assaulting staff members at a southern Illinois juvenile correctional facility, including finding youths outside lawyers instead of local public defenders and conducting additional training for correctional officers.

      “The children don’t get any justice in that courtroom. That’s the primary concern,” Ben Wolf, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, said following a hearing in U.S. District Court in Chicago. “These cases are not handled the same way when they pop up in other counties. There’s more of a review process. There’s more fairness. These young people just get railroaded for the most part.”

    • Upholding the Rule of Law in the European Union

      An open letter concerning the upholding of the Rule of Law in the European Union, co-signed by 188 scholars, politicians, public intellectuals and members of the European Parliament and sent on November 3, 2017.

    • Donald Trump and the Dangers of Dehumanizing the Enemy

      In courses I taught on the politics of fear, I always showed Sam Keen’s 1987 documentary Faces of the Enemy: Justifying the Inhumanity of War. Of all the shocking examples of war propaganda in the film, the ones that stayed with me and many of my students were the cartoons and films that portrayed the enemy as animals. The1938 Nazi film “The Eternal Jew” flicks between actual footage of rats and Jewish people, arguing that both spread disease and need to be exterminated. U.S. war propaganda depicted the Japanese as monkeys and apes.

      Portraying the enemy as lower creatures, the film argues, encourages society en masse to participate in acts of violence or to accept the “collateral damage” of massive civilian casualties without so much as a moral blink of the eye. One commentator suggests that the demonization of the foe on both sides was part of the reason the U.S. and Japan couldn’t end the war in the Pacific through diplomatic means.

    • Mass Incarceration is a Women’s Issue, Too

      Many folks have heard of Kalief Browder, a New York teenager who took his own life after suffering nearly three years in solitary confinement, all for allegedly stealing a backpack. He was never tried.

      Fewer people know Maria Elena Hernandez, a retired California housecleaner who was jailed after police rejected her (accurate) protests that they’d mistaken her for someone else.

    • America’s Secretive Private Prison Industry Is About to Become Much Less Secret

      Seventy-five miles southwest of San Antonio, Texas, in the expanse of desert between the U.S./Mexico border and nestled between oil boomtowns of yesteryear, is Dilley, the epicenter of a new battle over immigrants’ rights. The remote town of 4,000 people has enjoyed a hot local economy thanks to its most controversial feature: its private prison.

      Dilley houses the nation’s largest family detention center, a 50-acre complex that holds 2,400 detainees every night. The center has become a symbol of the resurgent private prison industry and a reminder of why the Justice Department abandoned these facilities in the first place.

      The private prison industry, which briefly went into free fall after President Obama’s Justice Department announced the government would end its use of private prisons in August 2016, has found new allies in President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions – and is making fast dividends on the new deal. Giants like GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) have received billions in taxpayer dollars for renewed government contracts, and have leveraged their private status to closely guard the details of each deal.

    • Before the NFL took a knee: four lesser-known moments of resistance in sports history

      When NFL players, coaches, and owners took a knee during the national anthem Sept. 24, it ignited a nationwide discussion about the role of athletes in standing up for racial justice. Since then, teams and players have continued taking a knee during the national anthem. And the Seattle Seahawks have taken the symbolic act one step further by launching the Seahawks Players Equality & Justice for All Action Fund.

      But this is hardly the first time the sports and political arenas have become intertwined.

      “Sports has always been an important platform in which America’s ugly racial history has been challenged and where African-Americans have fought for full recognition and respect,” said Dr. Mark Naison, a History and African American Studies professor at Fordham University.

      Most people remember Jackie Robinson shattering major league baseball’s color barrier and John Carlos and Tommie Smith delivering a Black power salute at the 1968 Olympics. These are often heralded as moments in sports when athletes added a prominent voice to the fight for civil rights and racial justice.

    • Here’s how the Saudi power players — and Trump — connect to each other

      It can be hard to keep up with the headlines flying out of Saudi Arabia.

      Several members of the royal family and important Saudi businessmen were suddenly and unexpectedly arrested in a broad roundup over the weekend. And the president of the United States is dashing off late-night tweets, trying to get the Kingdom to bestow a tremendous, highly anticipated stock offering to Wall Street.

    • Saudi princes among dozens detained in anti-corruption purge

      A new Saudi anti-corruption body has detained 11 princes, four sitting ministers and dozens of former ministers, media reports say.

      The detentions came hours after the new committee, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was formed by royal decree.

      Those detained were not named.

      BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says Prince Mohammed is moving to consolidate his growing power while spearheading a reform programme.

      It is not clear what those detained are suspected of. However, Saudi broadcaster Al-Arabiya said fresh investigations had been launched into the 2009 Jeddah floods and the outbreak of the Mers virus which emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

    • Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed detained in corruption inquiry

      Saudi authorities detained a billionaire global investor and the head of the National Guard as part of an anti-corruption purge that consolidates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s hold on power.

    • Administration’s Nominee for CIA Watchdog Allegedly Misled Congress

      Two former CIA employees say the Trump administration’s nominee to be CIA inspector general misled Congress last month when he testified he was unaware of pending complaints they had filed against him.

      The allegations against nominee Christopher Sharpley, the acting inspector general, have prompted concerns among both Democratic and Republican senators and could delay his confirmation. They also expose a rift between the CIA inspector general’s office and the oversight office for all intelligence community programs. More broadly, they raise questions about how well intelligence agencies are implementing policies that were introduced to protect whistleblowers after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden was charged with espionage for leaking classified documents.

      Lawyers for Andrew Bakaj and Jonathan Kaplan, both ex-employees of the CIA inspector general’s office, sent letters to the Senate in the past two weeks, saying that Sharpley is one of the CIA officials named in pending complaints they filed in 2014 and 2015. Sharpley “deliberately misled Congress during his sworn testimony,” Kaplan’s attorneys wrote in their letter.

    • Buried in a government bill, an immigration rule strips millions of their data protection

      The government’s data protection bill was meant to give people control over their information. Instead it will strip millions of their rights.

      The supposed intention of the legislation is to “empower people to take control of their data”. But schedule 2.4 removes data protection rights from individuals when their personal information is processed for “the maintenance of effective immigration control” or “the investigation or detection of activities that would interfere with effective immigration control”.

      In technical terms, that means any government agency processing data for immigration purposes will be free of those pesky data protection obligations we’ve developed through successive Acts of parliament – and signed up to through the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

    • The White House’s Leak Hunt Is Battling the Wrong Enemy With the Wrong Weapons

      The Trump administration has declared all-out war on leakers, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions is focusing on individuals who have given the news media comparatively small amounts of White House information. But the administration is battling the wrong enemy with the wrong weapons.

      Digital secrets stolen from the National Security Agency represent the real — and critical — security problem. More than half a billion pages have been swiped, most of it above top secret, with the most recent theft reported just last October.

    • Donald Trump, Child of Immigrants, Seeks to Destroy Immigration

      We are all fully aware of the appalling terrorist attack that took place in New York City on Tuesday. Eight people were killed, including five classmates from Argentina who were in the city for a 30th anniversary school reunion. Eleven other people were injured, including Martin Marro of Newton, Massachusetts. Marro was also there for the reunion, having been a classmate of the five Argentinians who were lost. Martin Marro, like millions of Americans including the president’s mother, is an immigrant.

      Donald Trump encompassed the horror of the event and nearly broke both legs getting to his phone so he could blame the attack on Chuck Schumer and legal immigration — via Twitter, of course. “The terrorist came into our country through what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’” he wrote, “a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based.” All this while there was still blood on the bike path in Manhattan.

      The function and history of the Diversity Visa Lottery Program is just complicated enough to make it an easy target for shameless grandstanders like the president. No, Chuck Schumer did not invent it. The program is the product of a bipartisan effort in the late 1980s to inspire more immigration from Western Europe, and was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • T-Mobile and Sprint finally, officially, say they definitely won’t merge

      T-Mobile USA and Sprint today finally gave a definitive answer about whether they will merge. The telecomm giants said that they have stopped negotiating and will remain independent entities. The wireless carriers “were unable to find mutually agreeable terms” and want to “put an end to the extensive speculation around a transaction,” they said in a joint announcement.

      Over the past few weeks, numerous merger updates have bubbled up from anonymous sources. Initially, the merger seemed to be a done deal. Merger talks then seemed to break down, only to be revived again a couple days ago.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA: Almost 70% of 38 Million Kodi Users Are Pirates [sic]

        During a panel discussion hosted by the Copyright Alliance this week, the MPAA’s Senior Vice President, Government and Regulatory Affairs had a few choice words about Kodi. Noting that the platform itself is legally used by around 12 million users, a further 26 million configure the media player with piracy addons.

      • Book Author Trolled Pirates With Fake Leak to Make a Point

        Best selling author Maggie Stiefvater, known for The Raven Cycle books, is taking a stand against online piracy. Responding to people who claim that piracy doesn’t hurt sales, the author shared a personal experience showing the opposite. When The Raven King was released last year she flooded the Internet with fake pirated copies, triggering an interesting response.

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