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Links 6/5/2018: Crostini and Red Hat Summit 2018 Coming

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  • Desktop

    • Linux Containers [Crostini] For Samsung Chromebook Plus In The Works
      Linux container development continues to plow forward with each day that goes by. More feverish than the entire Android app initiative for Chrome OS ever was, the Crostini project seems to introduce new features into the fold on what seems like a daily basis.

      If you haven’t kept up to date with all that is going on with Linux containers on Chromebooks, you can click here to read all we’ve written on the matter and get caught up with the latest info to date.

      Now that we’re on the same page, there’s a wrinkle in this whole development cycle we’ve known was coming. Dating back years, Linux support has always been better and more-supported on Intel-based devices. As we are seeing more ARM devices in the works (especially one being made with the powerful Snapdragon 845), we can’t forget about the existing devices that are currently out in the market.

    • Windows 10 April 2018 Update Hitting BSODs with CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED Error
      We’re seeing an increasing number of reports pointing to BSODs experienced after upgrading Windows 10 devices to April 2018 Update (version 1803), and one of the most common stop codes appears to be CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED. Judging from user reports online, the said BSOD happens on a wide variety of hardware configurations and the error appears to be triggered by different tasks, like launching apps, such as Skype, browsing the web, playing games, or watching videos.

      At this point, there doesn’t seem to be a specific pattern that would help reproduce the bug, but some users on reddit speculate that the BSOD might be caused by the GPU. Some believe it’s a driver compatibility issue, though by the looks of things, reinstalling the drivers doesn’t make any difference.

  • Server

    • Kubernetes stands at an important inflection point
      Last week at KubeCon and CloudNativeCon in Copenhagen, we saw an open source community coming together, full of vim and vigor and radiating positive energy as it recognized its growing clout in the enterprise world. Kubernetes, which came out of Google just a few years ago, has gained acceptance and popularity astonishingly rapidly — and that has raised both a sense of possibility and a boat load of questions.

    • Everything announced at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2018
      More than 4,300 developers gathered in Copenhagen this past week for KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2018, a conference focused on the use of Kubernetes, microservices, containers, and other open sourced tools for building applications for the web. Throughout the week, companies in attendance made a slew of announcements regarding new products and services for cloud native computing.

    • IBM CTO Defines Multi-Cloud Reality at KubeCon Europe
      The term "multi-cloud" is often heard at IT conferences today, but what does it really mean and is it a future state or something that is real today?

      In a video interview with eWEEK at the KubeCon and CloudNativeCon Europe 2018 event here, Jason McGee, vice president and CTO of IBM Cloud Platform, detailed the modern reality of multi-cloud and how Kubernetes fits in.

      "Multi-cloud is real and it's here today, from the standpoint that most large organizations already have multiple cloud destinations that they are using," McGee said.

    • How the Kubernetes Release Team Works
      As a community project, Kubernetes also has a community process for how releases are managed and delivered.

      At the KubeCon and CloudNativeCon Europe 2018 event, Jaice Singer DuMarsOSS Governance Program Manager and Caleb Miles technical program manager at Google outlined the core process and activities of the Kubernetes Release Special Interest Group (SIG).

      "Fundamentally and philosophically a release is representative of a critical bond between a project and its community," DuMars said. "At the heart of that is that is really a covenant of trust and on the release team or anything to do with releasing you are actually holder of that trust."

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation

      • BMW, GM, Ford and Renault launch blockchain research group for automotive industry

        MOBI — the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative — launches today with over 30 founding members that also include Bosch, Blockchain at Berkeley, Hyperledger,, IBM and IOTA. The group has a fairly broad goal of making transportation “safer, more affordable, and more widely accessible using blockchain technology.”

        The blockchain has the undoubted potential to impact a range of industries. The distributed ledger component and smart contracts, in particular, could reshape the way organizations and products use and consume data. Along those lines, MOBI said its scope of focus varies from payments, data tracking, and supply management, to consumer finance and pricing, and more futuristic areas like autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing systems.


        Members of the organization’s board include Joseph Lubin, founder of ConsenSys and a co-founder of Ethereum, and Brian Behlendorf, executive director of Hyperledger .

      • The Maintainer’s Paradox: Balancing Project and Community
        What are some of the challenges open source project maintainers face? One common issue is “The Maintainer’s Paradox,” which refers to the fact that open source maintainers are presented with more ideas along with more challenges as their communities grow. This occurs even when they take very minor patches from contributors. This topic was recently tackled by Tim Bird, Senior Software Engineer at Sony, in a keynote address at the Embedded Linux Conference.

        The Maintainer’s Paradox is referenced in Eric Raymond’s seminal work “The Cathedral and the Bazaar,” and Bird opened his keynote address by citing the reference. “Raymond said that with enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow,” Bird noted, adding that the reference applies to large open source communities.

      • What Every Driver Developer Should Know about RT - Julia Cartwright, National Instruments

      • The Road Ahead on the Kubernetes Journey - Craig McLuckie, CEO, Heptio

      • Microservices, Service Mesh, and CI/CD Pipelines: Making It All Work Together - Brian Redmond [Ed: LF is boosting Microsoft again. Entryism isn't expensive when Zemlin tells us for almost a decade now to "respect Microsoft".]

    • Graphics Stack

      • mesa 18.1.0-rc3

      • Mesa 18.1-RC3 Released, Final Expected In About Two Weeks
        The third weekly release candidate of the forthcoming Mesa 18.1 quarterly driver release update is now available for testing.

        The Mesa 18.1-RC3 release isn't too noteworthy but includes a few fixes for RADV, the Intel shader compiler, Vega/GFX9 on RadeonSI, SPIR-V, and other common areas for fixing. In total there are just over two dozen fixes collected over the past week.

      • Pulling the Plug on GPP, Leaning into GeForce
        A lot has been said recently about our GeForce Partner Program. The rumors, conjecture and mistruths go far beyond its intent. Rather than battling misinformation, we have decided to cancel the program.

        GPP had a simple goal – ensuring that gamers know what they are buying and can make a clear choice.

      • NVIDIA Ends The GeForce Partner Program
        Following controversies the past few weeks about their GeForce Partner Program (GPP), NVIDIA is today ending the initiative.

      • ROCm 1.7.2 Brings Fixes To The Open-Source Radeon Compute Stack
        At the end of April, AMD quietly pushed out a new point release to their Radeon Open Compute "ROCm" stack.

        ROCm 1.7.2 is this newest release. Unfortunately, there isn't an official change-log for the ROCm 1.7.2 release, but some of the changes can be gathered from the recent bug reports. ROCm 1.7.2 appears to fix some issues with Convolv and TensorFlow, a GPUVM fault issue, and other unmentioned bugs are likely corrected too.

      • Intel Icelake Support Added To Mesa's Libdrm
        It looks like Intel's Icelake "Gen 11" graphics driver support for Linux will be squared away well before seeing any hardware in the hands of consumers.

        On the DRM kernel driver side there is initial support with Linux 4.17 albeit is still considered preliminary/alpha hardware support. The Icelake graphics support will continue to be refined and improved upon for kernel releases to come, just as with Linux 4.17 the Cannonlake graphics hardware support is now considered stable.

    • Benchmarks

      • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS vs. Fedora 28 vs. Clear Linux Benchmarks
        Given last week's release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and then Fedora 28 having debuted earlier this week, I decided to see how these popular tier-one Linux distributions now compare to Intel's own Clear Linux platform. This three-way Linux distribution comparison was carried out on six systems comprising both of Intel and AMD CPUs.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • This week in Usability & Productivity: part 17
        Regular readers might have noticed that I’ve stopped the weekly Discover posts. I’ve decided to centralize that information here, and so I’d like to highlight several weeks’ worth of awesome new features and improvements for Discover...

      • KBibTeX 0.7.90 a.k.a. 0.8-beta1: On the Road to KDE Frameworks 5
        Finally, the release of KBibTeX 0.8 is on its track again. I tagged (Phabricator) and tar-balled the code of the current Git branch kbibtex/0.8 (Phabricator) as KBibTeX 0.7.90 (a. k. a. 0.8-beta1) and asked the KDE sysadmins to put it on KDE's content distribution network.

        Only afterwards I noticed that I totally had forgotten to update the ChangeLog which was still stuck on the ancient release of 0.6.1. Properly updating the changelog records will be my next step. In case I did't mention it before, the biggest change from 0.7 to 0.8 is the migration from KDE4 to KDE Frameworks 5. User interface and functionality has stayed surprisingly stable, though.

      • KaOS KDE-focused rolling Linux distro celebrates 5th birthday with updated ISO
        When a person celebrates a birthday, they often receive gifts, eat cake, and spend time with friends and family. After all, it is intended to be a happy occasion as the person marks another year of life.

        But what the heck does a Linux distribution do to celebrate a birthday? In the case of the excellent KaOS operating system, the answer is simple -- release an updated ISO. Yes, as a way to mark the 5th birthday of the KDE-focused distro, version 2018.04 is now available for download. You get Plasma 5.12.4, Linux kernel 4.15.7, Libreoffice 6.0.3, and more.

      • KDE's Discover, Okular, Gwenview & K3B See Improvements
        KDE contributor Nathaniel Graham has published another weekly blog post detailing the latest enhancements that are ongoing in KDE desktop/application development.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Talking on PrivacyScore at DFN Security Conference 2018 in Hamburg, Germany
        I seem to have skipped last year, but otherwise I have been to the DFN Workshop regularly. While I had a publication at this venue before, it’s only this year that I got to have a the conference.
      • Fedora Atomic Workstation → Team Silverblue
        Fedora Atomic Workstation, which I’ve enjoyed it quite a bit. But all good things must come to an end. So, no more Atomic Workstation for me …since we’re renaming it to Team Silverblue.
      • Updating Endless OS to GNOME Shell 3.26 (Video)
        It’s been a pretty hectic time during the past months for me here at Endless, busy with updating our desktop to the latest stable version of GNOME Shell (3.26, at the time the process started), among other things. And in all this excitement, it seems like I forgot to blog so I think this time I’ll keep it short for once, and simply link to a video I made a couple of months ago, right when I was about to finish the first phase of the process (which ended up taking a bit longer than expected).

        Note that the production of this video is far from high quality (unsurprisingly), but the feedback I got so far is that it has been apparently very useful to explain to less technically inclined people what doing a rebase of this characteristics means, and with that in mind I woke up this morning realizing that it might be good to give it its own entry in my personal blog, so here it is.

  • Distributions

    • Crisis at Void Linux as Lead Developer Goes Missing in Action
      It was recently announced that the lead developer of Void Linux had gone silent. This has left the rest of the Void Linux community scrambling.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • A Big Batch Of Mageia 6 Updates Are Coming

      • The Enormous Mageia 6 Update
        Watch this space, we said – well, your patience is soon to be rewarded!

        Releasing the Mageia 6 updates for QT5, KF5, Plasma, KDE and LXQt has just been approved. There will be well over 500 packages in total!

        To help reduce the chance of users trying to install the updates from a mirror that hasn’t been fully updated, the hdlist generation will be held for 24 hours after the updates are pushed from updates testing to the updates repository. This should help ensure that the mirrors are fully synced before the hdlist generation is turned back on, and the updates are actually made available for users to install from the normal updates repository.

      • OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 Being Prepared With zSTD-Enabled Linux 4.16, Clang Pre-7.0, GCC 8
        OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 is being prepped for release soon. As covered previously, they are switching back from RPM5 to RPM4. In addition, they are picking up DNF package manager support over URPMI for package installation.

        Other work going into OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 includes a pre-7.0 snapshot of LLVM Clang, the GCC 8 code compiler that was newly released, and more. OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 is currently tracking the Linux 4.16 kernel and do have zSTD compression support enabled.

        While OpenMandriva talked about dropping 32-bit support, as of now i686 continues to be supported alongside x86_64, ARMv7, and AArch64.

    • Slackware Family

      • Security update for Chromium
        I have uploaded new packages for Chromium. The version 66.0.3359.139 is a security update addressing a critical bug (and some more bugs too) and you are advised to upgrade.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Customer highlights to watch for at Red Hat Summit 2018
        One of the best parts of Red Hat Summit is seeing customers share how they are using open source to innovate faster and create modern and agile technology platforms, and how Red Hat enables them to do it. Next week, we’re excited to feature more than 110 customers, including 14 on the main stage during keynote sessions.

      • New HPE, Red Hat Partnership Looks to Speed up Container Adoption
        Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Red Hat have partnered, in a bid to help those enterprises struggling to bring containers into production.

        The partnership aims to help customers adopt and deploy containers in production much quicker than before; at a much larger scale.

        The partnership was announced by HPE yesterday. The company said it will optimise the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform on HPE Platforms; aiming to accelerate container application delivery for enterprise customers.

      • Getting to know Victor Tsao, Red Hat vice president and general manager for China
        Though I graduated as a chemical engineer, I was always interested in technology and this started with my early years at IBM, working on mainframe systems. My foray in learning technology continued with my career choices – I worked on supply chain software at i2 and later managed the virtualization business at Citrix, and big-data at SAP. All these companies were recognized for their leadership role in their business segments and so it was interesting to be part of their team and help contribute to their business. And when I look at Red Hat, I feel proud to be part of an organization who also has a leadership position and is singularly focused on collaborating with its customers and partners to address the dynamic business environment where we all compete.

      • Tell Us About Your Experience with the OpenShift Web Console

      • Provide Feedback on the OpenShift Console at Red Hat Summit
        The OpenShift User Experience team wants your feedback! We will be at Red Hat Summit in San Francisco, May 8th through May 10th. Visit us and participate in an OpenShift related activity in the Feedback Zone. You have an opportunity to impact the future of the OpenShift Console!

      • Red Hat to Livestream Red Hat Summit Press Conference and General Sessions [Ed: "Vice president of Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Group, Microsoft" -- This is what happens when Red Hat hires so many people from Microsoft to its management]

      • What to expect from Red Hat Summit 2018
        Now we're into May, the tech conference season is officially in full swing, with two major events lined up next week. While we will be covering Cirtix's annual Synergy conference over the next few days, our attention this time turns to open source behemoth Red Hat, set to host press and customers alike at its San Francisco summit - expected to be its biggest yet.

        Red Hat continues to be a leading force within the open source community, in defiance of attempts by the likes of Amazon, Google and Microsoft to gobble up as much of the market as possible. The company remains one of the biggest contributors to GitHub repositories, and despite having a comparatively smaller host of developers to, say, Microsoft, it's a company that's long been considered a champion of open source.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Atomic Workstation: Getting comfortable with GNOME Builder
          I am still going with my attempt to use Fedora Atomic Workstation fulltime as my main development system. As part of that, I am figuring out how to do GTK+ development on an immutable OS, using GNOME Builder.


          One aspect of GTK+ that I have worked on in this new setup is module loading. I’ve switched GTK+s printing support to use a GIO extension point, and of course, I wanted to test this before pushing it.

          So I was a bit surprised at first that the print dialog in gtk4-demo did not trigger my new module loading code and yet seemed to work just fine. But then I remembered that we are working in a flatpak sandbox now, so GTK+s portal support kicked in and helpfully redirected the print operation to an out-of-process print dialog.

        • Fedora 28 now generally available; brings users more choice and control through modular repository
          The Fedora Project, a Red Hat sponsored and community-driven open source collaboration, announced this week general availability of Fedora 28, the latest version of the fully open source Fedora operating system. Fedora 28 delivers three distinct editions each designed with specific use cases in mind – Fedora 28 Server, Fedora 28 Workstation and Fedora 28 Atomic Host.

          All editions of Fedora 28 are built from a common set of base packages and, as with all new Fedora releases, the packages feature numerous bug fixes and performance tweaks as well as new and enhanced additions. The Fedora 28 base package includes updated compilers and languages including the latest version of the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) 8, Golang 1.10 and Ruby 2.5.

        • Fedora 30 Should Be Out In Just Under One Year
          Fedora 28 was released this week and it actually arrived on-time with its great feature-set. In planning ahead, Fedora's FESCo committee has already proposed an initial schedule for Fedora 30 that will arrive at this time next year.

          Fedora 29's schedule has already been set for having a beta release by mid-to-end of September, a final freeze in October, and getting the official release out by the end of October -- assuming no delays.

        • Weekend Reading: Qubes
          Qubes OS is a security-focused operating system that, as tech editor Kyle Rankin puts it, "is fundamentally different from any other Linux desktop I've used". Join us this weekend in reading Kyle's multi-part series on all things Qubes.

    • Debian Family

      • My Debian Activities in April 2018
        This month I accepted 145 packages and rejected 5 uploads. The overall number of packages that got accepted this month was 260.

      • Derivatives

        • Debian/TeX Live 2018.20180505-1
          The first big bunch of updates of TeX Live 2018. During the freeze for DVD production, several bugs have been found and fixed. In particular compatibility of csqoutes with the shiny new LaTeX release, as well as some other related fixes. That hopefully will fix most if not all build failures that were introduced with the TL2018 upload.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • GNU/Linux Review: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver
            Ubuntu 18.04 LTS "Bionic Beaver" has been released at Thursday, 26 April 2018 by announcements in their mailing list and Release Notes. After installing Bionic on my laptop since the Beta 1 and Beta 2, here's my report: it uses around 1.2GiB of RAM at least; it brings LibreOffice 6, Firefox 59, and GNOME 3.28 by default; still using Ubiquity as graphical installer. The biggest difference to previous LTS is it no longer uses Unity 7 desktop, so no HUD, no global menu anymore. It is powerful and still very easy to use like before, but needs more powerful hardware. The rest of this review explains those for you with additional links if you want to learn further. Enjoy!

          • What Data Does Ubuntu Collect About Your PC?
            Ubuntu includes a new data collection tool in its latest release — but exactly what kind of data does it collect?

            Well, thanks to the doors-wide-open nature of open-source software it’s easy to find out.

            It also helps that Canonical is being (unusually) upfront and open about its Ubuntu data collection policy, which is opt-out for new Ubuntu 18.04 installs, and opt-in on upgrades.

          • The Ubuntu 18.10 Codename Is (Probably) Out of This World
            The Ubuntu 18.10 codename has been revealed — well: half of it has, anyway!

            Canonical’s Adam Conrad has registered the ‘cosmic’ series on Launchpad, the code-hosting site where Ubuntu development takes place.

            Unless this celestial-themed clue is a colossally sized red-herring — spoiler: it isn’t — then ‘cosmic‘ is clearly the first part of the Ubuntu 18.10 code name.

            But where’s the rest?!

          • Flavours and Variants

            • 18.10 and beyond - 64bit images only
              We have had a successful release of Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 LTS and we now are in full planning mode for 18.10.

              Similar to the decision made by Ubuntu themselves at 17.10, we have decided to concentrate all our efforts on producing a really good image based on the hardware almost all of you actually use now.

            • Ubuntu MATE 18.10 - dropping i386 images

              Following the successful release of Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS last week the development cycle for 18.10 has now opened. We have taken the decision to stop making i386 (32-bit Intel) images starting with Ubuntu MATE 18.10

            • Ubuntu MATE And Ubuntu Budgie Dropping 32-bit Hardware Support
              Many leading Linux distros like Ubuntu, Arch Linux, Manjaro, etc., have already ditched the support for 32-bit architecture and decided to focus on 64-bit machines. Now, following their footsteps, Ubuntu Budgie (source) and Ubuntu MATE (source) have also joined the league.

              The main reason behind these moves is the decreasing number of users actually running these operating systems on 32-bit machines. That’s why it doesn’t make a lot of sense to keep allocating resources and time to the hardware that people don’t use anymore.

            • Ubuntu MATE / Studio / Budgie All End Their 32-bit ISOs For New Releases
              Following the recent Ubuntu 18.04 Long Term Support release, more Ubuntu derivatives are taking this opportunity to end the production of their 32-bit software images.

              Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu MATE, and now Ubuntu Studio have all announced they are ending their 32-bit/i386 images as of the next release, Ubuntu 18.10. Ubuntu itself has already been concentrating on x86_64 while now these other derivatives are also deciding to cease their 32-bit images -- of course, still maintaining 32-bit package support, but no longer focusing installer media for hardware more than one decade old. Ubuntu Studio joined the list this morning as the latest doing away with old Intel/AMD 32-bit ISOs.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • XMRWALLET is the Easiest wallet ever for the safest Crypto ever
    One of the things that keep users away from new technologies is the difficulty in adopting the new. The use of cell phones, the migration to smartphones, the interaction with social networks and the substitution of normal television by Internet content providers are clear examples of how technology can determine a distance between generations, given the difficulty of adoption for those who are familiar with a certain type of behavior.

  • XMRWallet : A Client-Side Open Source Monero Wallet

  • Top 5 Open Source Operating Systems for IoT devices
    This is safe to say that Internet of Things(IoT) is the next big thing in the tech industry. Already applications are rolling into various business practices, organizations, social innovations, and personal inventions. By 2017, there are 8.4 billion connected things in the world and it is estimated that by 2020 it will twice increase to reach over 20.4 billion as per the firm Gartner.

    So, to catch up the advanced technology and create innovations, open source is always ready to accustom. A lot of companies in IoT space like Samsung, Google, Huawei, and ARM are welcoming the open source model to create constant innovation and growth in technology. Such companies are leading upfront by exposing their projects to the open source developer community to come up with inventions like smart home, wearables connectivity, driverless cars etc.

  • Google Open Sources Swift for TensorFlow

    Originally created by Google, Swift for TensorFlow gives developers "the power of TensorFlow directly integrated into the Swift programming language."

    According to the project page, which is hosted on Github, "We believe that machine learning tools are so important that they deserve a first-class language and a compiler."

  • Google open sources Seurat, a tool for reducing mobile VR complexity
    This launch arrives alongside the release of the Mirage Solo, the first headset on the Daydream VR platform to make use of Google’s WorldSense positional tracking system. The headset is standalone and runs on a mobile chipset so it’s a lot more resource-constrained than headsets that connect to gaming PCs.


    In the snippet above from a new Blade Runner title, Google says the Seurat program was able to take a scene with 46.6 million triangles and reduce it down to 307,000. This is especially useful for developers with existing renders that they’re porting from more capable hardware to the more strained mobile VR hardware.

  • Google makes VR positional-tracking tool 'Seurat' open source on GitHub
    Technology companies have been telling us virtual reality will change the world for decades now. While VR has become more popular in recent years, it is still a niche market. Virtual reality will probably become mainstream in the future, but until prices come down even further, it will remain a hobby for enthusiasts.

    With that said, Google is still banking on virtual reality, especially with its Daydream initiative. Today, the search giant is making a VR positional-tracking tool called "Seurat" open source. The code is being hosted on GitHub.

  • Google’s Mobile VR Optimization Tool Seurat Goes Open Source
    Google announced at their 2017 I/O conference a powerful tool to help developers and creators bring high-fidelity graphics to standalone virtual reality (VR) headsets. Now, the technology known as Seurat is going open source as Google hopes to empower more content creators.

  • GOOGLE to open source SEURAT today.
    Today Google announced that it will be open sourcing Seurat which is a tool designed to reduce complexity in high-fidelity mobile VR scenes.

  • Haiku monthly activity report - 04/2018

    Let's start with the most exciting developments this month: Korli started work on a 32/64 bit hybrid. The idea is to run a 64bit system, but allow 32bit applications to run on it. While we are just at the very first steps, it is a good thing that this is being worked on, as it will allow us to move more smoothly towards 64bit support.

  • Haiku OS Begins Working On 32/64-bit Hybrid Support
    Haiku OS developers have begun working on the functionality to allow 32-bit applications to run on a 64-bit Haiku OS system.

    As an outsider I was surprised that Haiku OS in 2018 can't yet handle 32-bit applications on a 64-bit installation, but a Haiku OS developer has begun working on this 32/64-bit hybrid support. For now though they are at the very early stages of this hybrid support.

  • Open Source Identity Management
    Are there viable, open source identity management solutions for IT organizations? Many IT admins are familiar with the usual open source IAM solutions such as OpenLDAPâ„¢, Samba, and FreeIPA, to name a few, but are there others that could be helpful? Let’s take a quick look at the identity management space to find out.

  • Coreboot Picks Up Support For Two Open Compute Project Boards
    Mainline Coreboot has merged support for two Facebook Open Compute Project (OCP) boards as the first being added under this umbrella.

    The first two OCP boards now supported by mainline Coreboot thanks to Facebook are Monolake and wedge100s.

    OCP's Monolake platform are up to four single-socket Xeon D-1500 micro-servers in a "Yosemite" v1 chassis.

  • Events

    • The excellent selection of Belfast Tech conferences

      And that got me to thinking “Isn’t it fantastic that we have this range of events and tech groups in Belfast?”. I remember the days when the only game in town was the Belfast LUG (now on something like it’s 5th revival and still going strong), but these days you could spend every night of the month at a different tech event covering anything from IoT to Women Who Code to DevOps to FinTech. There’s a good tech community that’s built up, with plenty of cross over between the different groups.

      An indicator of that is the number of conferences happening in the city, with many of them now regular fixtures in the annual calendar. In addition to BelTech I’ve already attended BelFOSS and Women Techmakers this year. Product Camp Belfast is happening today. NIDevConf is just over a month away (I’ll miss this year due to another commitment, but thoroughly enjoyed last year). WordCamp Belfast isn’t the sort of thing I’d normally notice, but the opportunity to see Heather Burns speak on the GDPR is really tempting. Asking around about what else is happening turned up B-Sides, Big Data Belfast and DigitalDNA.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • TenFourFox FPR7 available
        TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 7 final is now available for testing (downloads, release notes, hashes). There are no other changes in this release from beta 3 other than remaining outstanding security patches. It will go live Monday evening Pacific time as usual assuming no showstoppers over the weekend.

      • Experimenting with Computer Vision in WebXR
        Over the past few months, we’ve been experimenting with what it would take to enable efficient, usable computer vision in WebXR. We’ve implemented a simple set of APIs in our iOS WebXR Viewer and the webxr-polyfill to test these ideas, and created some examples demonstrating how these APIs would work in practice, from simple color detection to tracking black and white markers in 3D using a WebAssembly version of the OpenCV computer vision library.

      • This week in Mixed Reality: Issue 5
        As we continue to add the building blocks, we’re really seeing Firefox Reality, Hubs and the content related projects coming together.

      • The Famous Firefox Memory Leak
        I suppose I have led a charmed life. I have known for many years about the notorious Firefox "memory leak." This is when the browser allocates RAM from the operating system to display some page, and then neglects to release that RAM when done. This causes the RAM usage to steadily increase, until Firefox is using all available RAM. And yet I had never witnessed this myself, even on my wife's computer, where she would leave Firefox running for days with a dozen or more tabs open.


        Well, there's one other solution. I've read that Pale Moon browser does not exhibit this problem. And since this is a 64-bit Linux machine, Opera is once more an option. (I refuse to use Google's Chrome snoopware.) My wife really likes Firefox, but the annoyance level is pushing her to consider a different browser.

      • Please Stop Using Adblock (But Not Why You Think)

        It seems like they're actually trying here with the inclusion of some user advocates, but the imbalance is obvious. Let's count those up:

        23 advertisers 11 somewhat neutral entities 7 user advocates

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Thank you from the Glow Developers
      Hello LLVM community,

      We have been working hard on a new domain specific optimizing compiler, and we are pleased to announce that we have recently open sourced the project! We would like to introduce you to Glow, an optimizing compiler for neural networks!

    • Glow: An LLVM Optimizing Compiler For Neural Networks
      The latest interesting use of the LLVM compiler infrastructure stack is for Glow, a machine learning / neural network optimizing compiler.

      Glow is intended to be used by high-level machine learning frameworks and it in turn -- via leveraging LLVM -- will generate optimized code for different hardware targets.


    • GCC 9.0 Sees A Number Of BRIG Improvements For HSA
      Being very early in the GCC 9.0 development cycle following the GCC 8 stable release earlier this week, a number of BRIG front-end improvements have landed. BRIG as a reminder is the binary form for HSA IL.

      In January of 2017 is when the GCC BRIG support landed in time for GCC 7. With the GCC 8 release there are some BRIG improvements for this compiler's HSA support, but nothing really too notable. Sadly, since this code has been merged, I haven't heard of any major users of this code intended for supporting HSA accelerators with AMD seemingly divesting in HSA.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Low-Cost Eye Tracking with Webcams and Open-Source Software
        “What are you looking at?” Said the wrong way, those can be fighting words. But in fields as diverse as psychological research and user experience testing, knowing what people are looking at in real-time can be invaluable. Eye-tracking software does this, but generally at a cost that keeps it out of the hands of the home gamer.

        Or it used to. With hacked $20 webcams, this open source eye tracker will let you watch how someone is processing what they see. But [John Evans]’ Hackaday Prize entry is more than that. Most of the detail is in the video below, a good chunk of which [John] uses to extol the virtues of the camera he uses for his eye tracker, a Logitech C270. And rightly so — the cheap and easily sourced camera has remarkable macro capabilities right out of the box, a key feature for a camera that’s going to be trained on an eyeball a few millimeters away. Still, [John] provides STL files for mounts that snap to the torn-down camera PCB, in case other focal lengths are needed.

  • Programming/Development

    • Programmers are having a huge debate over whether they should be required to behave respectfully to each other
      Earlier this week, a software engineer publicly quit a very popular open-source project and set off a firestorm of debate within the programming world.

      They are arguing about whether they should have to agree to a community code of conduct that requires them to behave respectfully.

      And they are also arguing whether programs that aim to increase participation from underrepresented groups is "racism."

      The debate began on Wednesday when a developer named Rafael Avila de Espindola publicly quit a project called The LLVM Compiler Infrastructure Project. He had been a major contributor to the project for over a decade.

      Avila named a number of his frustrations with the group but he said he quit because the community was now requiring him to agree to its community code of conduct in order to attend its conference.


  • Lucknow Man Saw Puppy Trapped In Drain, Says He Used Drone To Save It

    Milind Raj says it took him six hours to assemble the improvised aerial vehicle. He says he attached an Artificial Intelligence-controlled [sic] robotic arm and giant drone together in his Lucknow lab

  • Science

  • Security

    • Twitter Suggests All of Its 336 Million Users Change Their Passwords After Leaving Them Unprotected

      Normally, Twitter protects passwords through a process called hashing, in which it replaces the actual characters of a password with random letters and numbers. The bug allowed passwords to be kept in an “internal log” without hashing so they were stored in their readable text format.

    • When Your Employees Post Passwords Online

      Storing passwords in plaintext online is never a good idea, but it’s remarkable how many companies have employees who are doing just that using online collaboration tools like Last week, KrebsOnSecurity notified a host of companies that employees were using Trello to share passwords for sensitive internal resources. Among those put at risk by such activity included an insurance firm, a state government agency and ride-hailing service Uber.

    • Sci-Hub ‘Pirate Bay For Science’ Security Certs Revoked by Comodo

      Sci-Hub, often known as 'The Pirate Bay for Science', has lost control of several security certificates after they were revoked by Comodo CA, the world's largest certification authority. Comodo CA informs TorrentFreak that the company responded to a court order which compelled it to revoke four certificates previously issued to the site.

    • DDoS attacks in Europe 'down 60 per cent' following WebStresser takedown

      According to Europol, who headed up the international operation to take down WebStresser, the site had over 136,000 registered users at the time it was shut down and had been responsible for more than four million DDoS attacks in recent years - including one aimed at seven of the UK's biggest banks in November last year.

    • Nigerian Email Scammers Are More Effective Than Ever

      On Thursday, the security firm Crowdstrike published detailed findings on Nigerian confraternities, cultish gangs that engage in various criminal activities and have steadily evolved email fraud into a reliable cash cow. The groups, like the notorious Black Axe syndicate, have mastered the creation of compelling and credible-looking fraud emails. Crowdstrike notes that the groups aren’t very regimented or technically sophisticated, but flexibility and camaraderie still allow them to develop powerful scams.

    • Linux Kernel Hardens Sound Drivers Against Spectre V1 Vulnerability
      As part of fixes landing for the Linux kernel sound drivers, several sound drivers were hardened against Spectre Variant One.

      HDA, Control, OSS, OPL3, and HDSPM were among the ALSA code in the kernel now hardened against potential Spectre Variant One exploitation. Spectre V1 as a reminder is the bounds check bypass vulnerability.

    • Spectre-NG: Security bods uncover eight new 'Spectre-class' flaws in Intel CPUs

      According to the website, Google's Project Zero uncovered one of the flaws, which have been collectively named 'Spectre Next Generation' or 'Spectre-NG', and will publicly reveal it on 7 May, a day ahead of Microsoft's Patch Tuesday.

    • PDF Files Can Silently Leak NTLM Credentials

      Attackers looking to steal the credentials for the NT LAN Manager (NTLM) authentication protocol (which consist of a domain name, a user name, and a one-way hash of the user's password) can do so by abusing a feature where remote documents and files can be embedded inside PDF files.

    • Report: Chinese government is behind a decade of hacks on software companies

      Researchers said Chinese intelligence officers are behind almost a decade's worth of network intrusions that use advanced malware to penetrate software and gaming companies in the US, Europe, Russia, and elsewhere. The hackers have struck as recently as March in a campaign that used phishing emails in an attempt to access corporate-sensitive Office 365 and Gmail accounts. In the process, they made serious operational security errors that revealed key information about their targets and possible location.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Turkey: ErdoÄŸan's World Of Terrorists Includes Everyone But Terrorists
    • Trotskyist Delusions: Obsessed with Stalin, They See Betrayed Revolutions Everywhere
      I first encountered Trotskyists in Minnesota half a century ago during the movement against the Vietnam War. I appreciated their skill in organizing anti-war demonstrations and their courage in daring to call themselves “communists” in the United States of America – a profession of faith that did not groom them for the successful careers enjoyed by their intellectual counterparts in France. So I started my political activism with sympathy toward the movement. In those days it was in clear opposition to U.S. imperialism, but that has changed.

      The first thing one learns about Trotskyism is that it is split into rival tendencies. Some remain consistent critics of imperialist war, notably those who write for the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS).

      Others, however, have translated the Trotskyist slogan of “permanent revolution” (turning a bourgeois revolution in a working class one) into the hope that every minority uprising in the world must be a sign of the long awaited world revolution – especially those that catch the approving eye of mainstream media. More often than deploring U.S. intervention, they join in reproaching Washington for not intervening sooner on behalf of the alleged revolution.

      A recent article in the International Socialist Review (issue #108, March 1, 2018) entitled “Revolution and counterrevolution in Syria” indicates so thoroughly how Trotskyism can go wrong that it is worthy of a critique. Since the author, Tony McKenna, writes well and with evident conviction, this is a strong not a weak example of the Trotskyist mindset.

    • US military aircraft have been hit many times by lasers, possibly by China

      New NOTAM cites "multiple lazing events involving a high-power laser" in Djibouti.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn charged in diesel emissions scandal

      In the aftermath of revelations about Volkswagen’s emissions test cheating, Volkswagen publicly stated that the illegal software had been placed on the cars by “rogue engineers” and that company executives were not involved or culpable. Documents later surfaced tying several executives to statements imploring colleagues to “come up with the story please!” when regulators started asking questions. A civil case lodged in 2016 by several states alleged that Winterkorn had been made aware of the illegal software (called a “defeat device” in Environmental Protection Agency parlance) early on at Volkswagen, although at the time he was not personally charged with any wrongdoing.

    • Saudi Arabia Needs $88 Oil

      Oil price volatility, trade tensions, geopolitical risk and a “sharp tightening of global financial conditions” are just a few of the potential pitfalls that lie ahead...

  • Finance

    • Rulers of the world: read Karl Marx!

      The chief reason for the continuing interest in Marx, however, is that his ideas are more relevant than they have been for decades. The post-war consensus that shifted power from capital to labour and produced a “great compression” in living standards is fading. Globalisation and the rise of a virtual economy are producing a version of capitalism that once more seems to be out of control. The backwards flow of power from labour to capital is finally beginning to produce a popular—and often populist—reaction. No wonder the most successful economics book of recent years, Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, echoes the title of Marx’s most important work and his preoccupation with inequality.

    • BT set to announce 6,000 job cuts in bid to save €£500m

      The redundancies will affect almost six per cent of BT's 98,000-strong workforce, as the company sets out to rebuild investor confidence following a shaky 2017, marred by the Italian accounting scandal which spurred a 42 per cent fall in profits.

    • Facebook Co-Founder Wants To Slap $3 Trillion Tax On Rich To Pay For Universal Basic Income

      The plan would essentially be an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for low-to-moderate income individuals and families.


      While Hughes notes that the annual $290 billion annual price tag is half the U.S. defense budget, he contends that income inequality is destabilizing the nation - and that there is a "very practical concern that, given that consumer spending is the biggest driver of economic growth in the United States and that median household incomes haven't meaningfully budged in 40 years," a Universal Basic Income is vital to maintaining economic national security.

    • Ratifying CETA after 'Achmea scandal' is anti-European
      Keeping the European project alive requires EU members to abide by the principle of loyalty to European institutions.

      With the Achmea decision, any EU country that ratifies the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) before the decision of the European Court of Justice on CETA's investment provisions compliance with the European treaties, will be breaking the principle of loyalty to European Union institutions.

      Although few people in Europe have heard about the ECJ's 'Achmea ruling', the case will have far-reaching consequences and it is important for member states to understand the implications of the case quickly, especially those states that are considering ratifying CETA.
    • [Older] Same old, same old: the EU pushes ISDS 2.0
      On 20 March, the European Council provided the European Commission with the requested mandate to start negotiations for a Multilateral Investment Court (MIC) to settle disputes between investors and states. The European Commission is of the opinion that this initiative responds to the call for reform of the controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism (ISDS). But in fact, the MIC is no more than ISDS 2.0.
    • Report: Qatar Just Bought $6.5M Apartment in Trump Property

      Weeks after judge ruled president wasn’t violating Emoluments Clause when accepting foreign rent.
    • Swedish university hiring 'rigged': university union
      Swedish universities are rigging their recruitment to make sure favoured internal candidates get jobs, according to Sweden's leading university union.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Political Corruption Is Ruining Everything, but We Can Fix It

      A bold new idea from Washington that might truly beat back routinized scandal.
    • Meet "Sailor Socialism," the Infowars Interview Subject Who Went Viral

      "Poor people shouldn't get sick and die because they can't afford to see a doctor, obviously."
    • Ellen Schrecker on the New McCarthyism
      This week on CounterSpin: In January of 2017, the country was still reeling—as indeed we continue to reel—from the election of Donald Trump. Corporate news media were full of allegations of Russian hacking—of the election and, at one point we were told, the electrical grid in Vermont. Barack Obama signed off on something called the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act, the point of which was to aim communications at people overseas to “countermessage” the ideas of “terrorists”—as defined, of course, by the state. And a website launched, purporting to serve as a “watchlist” on professors deemed guilty of advancing leftist propaganda in the classroom. The feeling in the air led CounterSpin to speak with Ellen Schrecker, retired professor of American history at Yeshiva University and the author of a number of books, including Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America and No Ivory Tower: McCarthyism in the Universities.
    • Trump’s Shifting Accounts on Stormy Daniels Payment Sparks Backlash
      Giuliani’s admission that Trump repaid Michael Cohen caught many White House officials and Trump’s allies off guard. On Fox News, host Neil Cavuto—a longtime advocate for the Trump administration—appeared to turn on Trump and Giuliani on Thursday.

    • The Troubling Part of Rudy Giuliani’s Interview that Nobody Is Talking About
      Giuliani seems to think that President Trump is above the law.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Against hate-speech laws

      Strossen gives a brief overview of various research that shows both that hate-speech laws do little to limit the hateful views they seek to suppress, and that by limiting the exposure individuals have to hateful views, the less resilient they become to a whole raft of potentially distasteful and intolerant viewpoints.

    • PMC director condemns ‘targeting’ of journalists and silence on West Papua

      An alarming number of “targeted” journalists being killed and West Papua media for independence were just some of the topics covered in a wide-ranging seminar by the director of the Pacific Media Centre last night.

    • Facebook Bans German Historian for Saying 'Islam Is Not Part of German History'

    • Russia Blocks 50 VPNs & Anonymizers in Telegram Crackdown, Viber Next

      Russian telecoms watchdog Roscomnadzor says it's blocked at least 50 VPN and anonymization services as part of its Telegram crackdown. Alongside a suggestion that more blockades are in the pipeline, it's feared that Viber could be next. Meanwhile, rumors are circulating that Roscomnadzor's chief has stepped down following the carpet-bombing of millions of IP addresses last month.

    • Over a 5th of the world’s population is logging in to YouTube—despite scandals

      Wojcicki announced that YouTube aims to have more than 10,000 human moderators looking at "violative" content on the platform. In recent months, YouTube has added more humans to its moderation team, hoping to supplement the machine learning technology it uses to moderate the content on its site. These changes came as YouTube placed new restrictions on creators that are allowed to monetize content through YouTube's Partner Program, and as the company added new details to its content policies in order to flesh out the definitions of what it considers offensive and inappropriate content.

    • The new old censorship: when power trumps truth

      Last month, several regular English-language columnists were informed by editors that their columns would not be published.

    • African govts mark Press Freedom Day with crackdown on online journalism

      The regulator said only 14 online publishers had met the requirements to remain online, including a $20 fee and an Interpol clearance certificate. If the directive is implemented in full, millions of websites would become inaccessible and Ugandans would be thrown into a virtual information blackout. Uganda is not alone in its ambition to control online journalism. Across sub-Saharan Africa, governments are taking aggressive steps to control what their citizens do and say online, justifying their suppression as necessary for public order and morality or security. [...]

    • War Of Words Between Anti-Vaxxers Results In An Unconstitutional Gag Order

      Eugene Volokh, the EFF, and several members of First Amendment Clinic students and professors have filed a brief in a case involving an unconstitutional and apparently permanent injunction against an anti-vaxxer. Oddly enough, this injunction is the result of a civil action brought by another anti-vaccination activist. The details leading up to this "shut up" order are a bit convoluted (and explained in full at the Volokh Conspiracy) but the short version is this:

      Anti-vaccination activist Kimberly McCauley blogs about her efforts and experiences. This includes frequent mentions of her daughter, who is now apparently being harmed by the state's vaccination requirements for students.

      McCauley sued Matthew Phillips, a lawyer and another anti-vaccination activist. Apparently, Phillips believes McCauley isn't as anti-vaccination as she could be and has criticized her on Facebook. Phillips has also mentioned McCauley's daughter in his posts, but McCauley has put her daughter front-and-center in her anti-vaccination crusade.

      While there is little doubt Phillips posts are antagonistic and filled with ridiculous conspiracy theories (the words "crisis actor" have been thrown around, along with accusations of shilling for pharmaceutical companies), it would appear the bulk of what he's posted is still protected speech. McCauley's full complaint can be read here and it details some disturbing trolling efforts by Phillips. This forms the basis of her request for a civil restraining order [PDF], which was granted, but demands nothing more than Phillips' silence on the subject of McCauley in perpetuity.
    • EU Commission Asks Public To Weigh In On Survey About Just How Much They Want The Internet To Be Censored

      A few years ago, when the EU Commission was first considering some really bad copyright policies designed to attack fundamental principles of how the internet worked, we pointed out the many, many problems with the EU Commission's online survey (including the fact that their survey tool was literally broken, which eventually resulted in them expanding the time that the survey could be answered). It appears that one thing the EU Commission is good at doing is pushing silly one-sided online surveys that seem uniquely designed to get people to answer in a manner that blesses whatever awful policy the EU Commission has already decided to adopt.

      The latest is, once again, an attempt to massively censor the internet. As we've discussed over the past few months, after burying the evidence that said piracy is a much smaller issue than people claim, and ignoring multiple people explaining the fundamental issues of mandatory content filters (i.e., automated censorship machines), the EU Commission appears to be hellbent on putting in place such filters. And it's now pushing a survey to get you to support their plan.
    • China Outlaws Telling The Truth About Communist Party 'Heroes And Martyrs'

      China's participation in the world market tends to portray the country as far more open than it actually is. China's does have some love for capitalism. Democracy, not so much. There's not much participation in the marketplace of ideas, thanks to continuous, ever-increasing censorship measures.

      Nothing's going to change in the near future. The sitting president was just rewarded with the title appendage "for life," thanks to a bought-in (and possibly bought) parliament stripping away term limits earlier this year. Chinese citizens have been rewarded for their enforced loyalty with a government-controlled internet experience and a scoring system that grants/strips perks based on a perverse "morality" algorithm.

      Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it, as the adage goes. The Chinese government is ensuring Cultural Revolution reruns by forcing the nation to forget inconvenient facts. A new law now makes it illegal to speak ill of the long-dead.

    • As Iran Joins Russia's Block On Telegram, The Echoes Of The Arab Spring Begin To Sound
      As we have been discussing, Russia has engaged in something of an insane attempt to obliterate the application Telegram from its lands, following the company's refusal to hand over its encryption keys to Russia's FSB. Where this got really insane was Russia deciding to block hundreds of thousands of IP addresses, many of which are those of Amazon as Telegram had moved to the company's cloud service to get around the initial Russia blockade. As a huge swath of the internet in Russia subsequently broke, along with all sorts of Russian services that rely on the internet to function, many began to wonder what could be so severe in Telegram to warrant such a cluster bomb approach. Russia's answer was, of course, terrorism. The truth came in the form of a wave of protests in Russia, signaling that disallowing anti-government coordination via an encrypted messaging service is and always was the goal.

    • Airbnb, Homeaway, And The Importance Of Holding The Line On Section 230

      SESTA has done enormous damage to the critical protection Section 230 affords platforms – and by extension all the Internet speech and online services they facilitate. But it's not the only threat: courts can also often mess things up for platforms by failing to recognize situations where Section 230 should apply and instead allowing platforms to be held liable for how their users have used their services.

      Which leads to the situation Airbnb, Homeaway, and other such platforms find themselves in. Jurisdictions unhappy with some of the effects short-term rentals have had on their communities have taken to passing regulations designed to curb the practice. Whether or not it is good policy to do so is beyond the scope of this post. If some local jurisdictions want to impose liability on their residents for renting out their homes – and not all of them do – it's between them and their voters.

      The problem arises when the regulations they come up with don't just target people renting their homes, but also target the online platforms that facilitate these transactions. These ordinances effectively create liability for platforms arising from content generated by others, which is a regulatory practice that Section 230 prohibits.

    • Swedish court holds that Google can be only ordered to undertake limited delisting in right to be forgotten cases [Ed: In Europe -- and already in Canada too -- censorship is now being disguised/spun as a "right", as in "human rights". Yes, violations of human rights as a "right" ("to be forgotten" e.g. for one's crimes).]
      A while ago the Swedish Data Protection Authorityrequested Google to delist a search query relating to an individual’s name and also that relevant search results would be delisted globally (ie for all country versions of its search engine) in respect to that individual.

      The name of the individual had appeared in the context of a newspaper article where it was revealed that he had been reported to the police by several other individuals for committing fraud in relation to a property investment.

    • Indiana students launch coalition to counter "rampant" press censorship at Christian universities
      After returning to her school in Upland, Indiana in January, Grom and six other Taylor University students conducted a survey to measure censorship at Christian universities. The results were so stunning, the group launched the Student Press Coalition, a group that "promotes a free press in higher education through research and advocacy on issues related to media censorship in Christian colleges and universities." The coalition has been featured in daily roundups from Poynter and the Columbia Journalism Review.


      Grom's team created the Student Press Coalition after seeing the dramatic results of the survey.

      Frank LoMonte, senior legal fellow for the Student Press Law Center and director of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida, says the coalition's findings "completely align" with his experiences as a lawyer advocating for student press rights and as a journalism educator.

    • Latin American journalists push for professionalization and fight against censorship on the 25th World Press Freedom Day
      As they have every year since 1993, when UNESCO proclaimed May 3 as World Press Freedom Day, journalists and freedom of expression advocates in Latin America and around the world gathered at conferences and rallied online to discuss the importance of press freedom and ways to the threats it faces.

    • Calling Out ‘Hate Speech’ Too Often Invites Censorship
      Throughout U.S. history, crusaders for racial and social justice have opposed empowering government to suppress ideas that are hateful or hated, in part because their own ideas have been targeted as such. Indeed, current critics of “Black Lives Matter” have attacked its advocacy as “hate speech.”

      The term “hate speech” is not a legal term of art, with a specific definition. Its most generally understood meaning is expression that conveys hateful or discriminatory views against specific individuals or groups, particularly those who have historically faced discrimination. Many people also have hurled the term against a diverse range of messages that they reject, including messages about important public policy issues. Moreover, too much rhetoric equates “hate speech” with violent criminal conduct. For example, college students complain that they have been “assaulted” when they are exposed to ideas that offend them. This false equation between controversial ideas and physical violence fuels unwarranted calls for outlawing and punishing ideas, along with violence.

    • Mridula Garg Opens up About Writing, Censorship, and Her Latest Novel
      I was arrested by the police in 1982 for my novel Chittacobra, which was published in 1979. I The censorship of my novel was an impingement on my rights not only as a writer but also as a citizen. I was deprived of not just the freedom of expression but my liberty to live as a citizen. Of course, even in cases where the authors are not arrested but hounded in other ways by the society – having their effigy burnt; publicly abused; tormented at work; having their books banned – the authors are deprived of their liberty as a citizen. They are deprived of the freedom of expression, which is a fundamental right guaranteed by our Constitution.

    • Chinese censors push for Internet control

    • Censorship in China: Then they came for Peppa Pig

    • Commentary: Then they came for Peppa Pig

    • Here's what's gone wrong with the cutesy cartoon character Peppa Pig

    • Political correctness is supposed to protect me, but I reject its censorship


    • Kenya’s censorship chief claims Western charities pay kids €£22,000 each to become gay
      The head of Kenya’s censorship bureau has claimed that charities are paying young people €£22,000 per head to become homosexuals.

    • White House Blasts China for Its ‘Censorship’ of U.S. Airlines
      The White House released a blistering statement attacking China’s government for a recent demand that U.S. and other airlines change the way they refer to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau in promotional materials.

      “This is Orwellian nonsense and part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies,’’ White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Saturday in a statement.

      U.S. airlines were among several that received letters from China’s Civil Aviation Administration calling for strict guidelines for any references to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, according to the White House. The Chinese government considers those entities as part of China and objects to references that indicate they are independent.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Four features that would tame Facebook

      It doesn’t have to be this way. Facebook’s dominance is the result of specific product choices, and there are other products that would undo those choices. We’re so used to platforms acting to entrench their own power that it’s become unthinkable that they’d act any other way. But from a product perspective, the features are simple, drawn from open protocols like email, RSS, and the web itself. If Facebook followed their lead, it would become less powerful, sure, but also less invasive and foreboding, a friendlier presence in the online space.

    • NSA collected 530 million+ calls, texts in 2017 [Ed: Widely spread false news in networks like Fox, courtesy of tje NSA. The real numbers are vastly higher, many billions.]
      The National Security Agency pulled 534 million records of phone calls and text messages from American telecommunications companies last year.

      That's three times what it looked at in 2016, according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which compiled the report.

      An official there says it's not clear why the number rose so sharply. It could be because of increases to the number of phone accounts people of interest are using or changes to how the industry creates records.
    • How police are using corpses to unlock phones

      It's widely accepted nowadays, then, when a person dies, they may specify to be (or not to be) an organ donor, to be cremated or buried, or even to be wrapped in bedsheets and unexamined. Perhaps now is an era calling for the need of overly specific privacy and security instructions, including no posthumous fingerprinting, no unlocking of private folders, or even "bury me with my phone."

    • Paranoid thriller Wild, at Southbank Theatre, tackles social media, surveillance
      "We don't need you to type at all," said former Google CEO Eric Schmidt. "We know where you are. We know where you've been. We can more or less know what you're thinking about." That was in 2010, long before the Facebook data scandals and the Russian hacking allegations and the Snowden revelations.

      Fast forward eight years and actor Toby Schmitz's response is the same as most people's: "I'm more in the shrug category. They're going to spy. I haven't done anything too bad. But we vacillate, I think that's what most of us do. We vacillate between that attitude and going 'f---, this is so scary and sickening that they have all this access'."

    • NSA tripled its phone record collection in 2017 [Ed: NSA just tripled the number it reports. As for the real number? It's far higher than this, based on classification.]
    • NSA collected 534 million phone records in 2017
    • Spy agency NSA triples collection of US phone records: official report

    • Senate passes bill renewing internet surveillance program

      Thursday’s 65-34 passage in the Senate was largely a foregone conclusion, after senators earlier this week cleared a 60-vote procedural hurdle, which split party lines and came within one vote of failing.


      The bill reauthorizes what is known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which gathers information from foreigners overseas but incidentally collects an unknown amount of communications belonging to Americans.

    • NSA triples metadata collection numbers, sucking up over 500 million call records in 2017

      A transparency report issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence shows numerous other fluctuations in the volume of surveillance conducted. Foreign surveillance-related, warrantless Section 702 content queries involving U.S. persons jumped from 5,288 to 7,512, for instance, and more citizens were “unmasked,” indicating a general increase in quantity.

    • NSA says searches of Americans' data spiked in 2017
    • N.S.A. Triples Collection of Data From U.S. Phone Companies
    • The NSA Managed to Collect 500 Million US Call Records in 2017 Despite Targeting Just 40 People
    • NSA collected more than 530M US call records in 2017
    • Spy agency NSA triples collection of U.S. phone records: official report
      The U.S. National Security Agency collected 534 million records of phone calls and text messages of Americans last year, more than triple gathered in 2016, a U.S. intelligence agency report released on Friday said.


      “The intelligence community’s transparency has yet to extend to explaining dramatic increases in their collection,” said Robyn Greene, policy counsel at the Washington-based Open Technology Institute that focuses on digital issues.

      The government “has not altered the manner in which it uses its authority to obtain call detail records,” Timothy Barrett, a spokesman at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which released the annual report, said in a statement.

      The NSA has found that a number of factors may influence the amount of records collected, Barrett said. These included the number of court-approved selection terms, which could be a phone number of someone who is potentially the subject of an investigation, or the amount of historical information retained by phone service providers, Barrett said.

    • NSA report discloses that the agency tripled its surveillance of Americans in 2017

      The House passed the legislation last week without much fuss.

    • NSA Collected 534 Million Call Records Metadata In 2017: 3 Times Increase From 2016
      The new Annual Statistical Transparency report published by the Office of The Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) gives the highlights of NSA’s surveillance campaigns.
    • FOIA Heroes At The FBI Protect Superman's Privacy; Refuse To Hand Over Secret Identity To Requester

      Following an FOIA lawsuit against the FBI, Emma Best is raking in agency documents dealing with the Church of Scientology. The FBI doesn't care much for FOIA requesters and the informal policy on handling released documents is to redact as much as possible and hope the redactions aren't challenged.

      Sadly, there's not much subtlety or attention to detail deployed when redacting documents prior to release. It appears that the FBI's FOIA response personnel are trained to redact anything that looks like a person's name, whether or not it actually needs to be redacted. This almost-automatic redaction technique has led to the most ridiculous of results: the FBI has engaged in the proactive protection of Superman's secret identity.

    • Facebook Is Researching Paid Subscriptions Without Ads
      Would you pay for Facebook if it didn’t have ads? What if that subscription offered better privacy?
    • Facebook Weighs Ad-Free Subscription Option
      Facebook Inc. has been conducting market research in recent weeks to determine whether an ad-free version paid by subscriptions would spur more people to join the social network, according to people familiar with the matter.

    • Facebook Is Actively Looking Into Launching A Paid Version: Report
      After Facebook-CA data scandal became public, the company’s CEO and COO took turns to do some damage control . While doing so, they underlined the fact that Facebook’s basic operating model is advertising-based. In other words, to make Facebook accessible to most of the people, it must remain free and supported by ads.

      However, as per a new report from Bloomberg, Facebook has been actively conducting market research to explore the possibilities of a paid version of Facebook. The company is looking into a subscription-based model that could be used by the people who wish to use Facebook but not share their data.

    • Facebook has repeatedly fired stalker employees, then covered it up

      The sources who talked to Motherboard enumerated the weak access controls in place at Facebook; even contractors were able to access sensitive personal information on Facebook's users; they did say that some kinds of access were logged and that employees who were discovered to be exceeding their authorization faced consequences.

    • "Privacy Is No Longer A Social Norm"

      Facebook (now headquartered in Menlo Park) has been getting all the attention recently, but they probably know less about you than Palantir Technologies, still headquartered in Palo Alto.

    • Facebook to rank news sources by 'trustworthiness'

      Social media giant Facebook says it will classify news sources by their "trustworthiness", telling a select group of well-known media outlets that data from users would be used to grade various new brands.

    • Google and Facebook won't rule the world – if we don't buy their fantasies about big data

      Powerful commercial imperatives depend on people mistakenly believing that their data profiles are a true representation of themselves, and that data analytics have the power to determine aspects of social life. Sensationalist narratives of data determinism inadvertently help further this agenda. Data will no doubt come to play an increasingly dominant role in more and more areas of everyday life – not because it is particularly insightful or meaningful, but because we collectively believe this to be so. If this faith in data should flounder, then so too may its hold on the future.

    • You Can’t Opt Out Of Sharing Your Data, Even If You Didn’t Opt In

      “One of the fascinating things we’ve now walked ourselves into is that companies are valued by the market on the basis of how much user data they have,” said Daniel Kahn Gillmor, senior staff technologist with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. A company can run along, not making a cent, but if it has a large user base and reams of private information about those users, then it’s valuable — and can be sold for millions. Companies that collect more data, keep that data, and use it to make connections between users are worth more. Sears, Roebuck and Co. may have been able to infer when you bought a gift from their catalog for a friend who lived in another town, but Amazon has more reason (and more ability) to use that information to build a profile of your friend’s interests.

    • Huawei and ZTE phones banned from military bases in the US

      The pentagon has ordered retail outlets on US military bases to stop selling Huawei and ZTE devices, over fears that the Chinese government could snoop on soldiers' communications.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Sex Trafficking Panic Is Based On Myths

      What the study revealed, after interviewing 949 people across 6 cities — 171 of them in Las Vegas — was that many of the assumptions that inform government policy on sex workers are merely myths. And those myths are easily disproved once you bother to get the data, which we did.

    • Police have used genealogy to make an arrest in a murder case

    • Female Domestic and Agricultural Workers Confront an Epidemic of Sexual Harassment
      At the heart of so many #MeToo disclosures is invisibility. For farmworker women like Teresa Arredondo, it’s about being isolated and silenced. Originally from Mexico, Teresa immigrated to join her family in California in the 1980s. Throughout the years that Teresa worked in the fields, she experienced exploitation and discrimination, including workplace sexual violence.

      But Teresa didn’t stay silent. When she reported the harassment, she was fired. This led her to become outspoken. Now she's a crew leader at a new farm, overseeing 50 other farmworker women while encouraging them to break their silence. She is also an organizer within Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, where she speaks out so that other women can come forward too.

      Now that the #MeToo movement has elevated the experiences and visibility of women like Teresa, it’s our duty to improve the laws that are supposed to protect workers from this exact behavior, like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    • Treated Like Trash

      The body of the young man lay in the middle of Jerome Avenue beneath the elevated train tracks, the scene lit by the neon blue sign above the shuttered El Caribe restaurant. A garbage truck sat mid-turn at the otherwise deserted intersection in the Bronx.

      Emergency medical personnel arrived, records show, and pronounced the young man dead at 5:08 a.m. on Nov. 7, 2017.

      The police came, too. Officers taped off the scene, and interviewed the truck driver and his assistant, according to records and interviews. The driver and helper, according to the police report, said the dead man was a stranger who had inexplicably jumped on the truck’s passenger side running board, lost his grip and was run over. The initial police report left blank the spot for the young man’s name.

      Within hours, a Bronx News12 reporter said neighbors thought the victim was “a homeless man that they’ve seen in the area.” By afternoon, he was “a daredevil homeless man” in the Daily News.

      The garbage truck belonged to Sanitation Salvage, among the largest commercial trash haulers in the city. A company supervisor eventually came to retrieve the truck and take it back to the company yard. Then, according to workers told about the night’s events, it was promptly sent back out without so much as a cleaning.

      Two miles south of the accident, in a Bronx apartment off the Grand Concourse, a mother waited for her son. Hadiatou Barry, a Guinean immigrant, had come to the Bronx for a better life for her family. Her eldest son, Mouctar Diallo, 21, had a bed in the living room of their apartment. The young man often worked nights, and with the sun coming up should have been home asleep. But his bed remained empty.

      Soon enough, Hadiatou Barry got the worst sort of news, a double-barreled blow of devastation and insult.

    • Marines Open Investigation into Active-Duty White Supremacist
      Stationed at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune and assigned to the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, Pistolis has associated with an array of neo-Nazi organizations, including the National Socialist Movement, the Traditionalist Worker Party, and Atomwaffen Division, a clandestine group that aims to incite a race war, according to interviews and an analysis of video and online postings. Pistolis is under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, or NCIS, which typically examines felony-level offenses involving Navy or Marine Corps personnel.

      “We’re looking into the allegations and do not comment on open investigations,” said Adam M. Stump, an NCIS spokesperson.

      Through interviews, photos, videos and the Marine’s own online admissions, ProPublica and Frontline documented his involvement with the various fascist groups and his participation in a string of assaults during last summer’s lethal Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Pistolis also made posts in online chats obtained by Unicorn Riot, an independent media organization.

    • Germany says Liu Xiaobo's widow is welcome 'at any time'
      Germany says it would welcome the widow of late Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo after a recording was released of an emotional phone call between his widow and a close friend.

    • From VW to Julian Assange: How does extradition work?
      Martin Winterkorn, the disgraced ex-CEO of world-dominating German carmaker Volkswagen, is unlikely to answer for his responsibility in the Dieselgate affair before a US court — despite being charged with conspiring to mislead US environmental regulators this week.

      This is down to a basic principle of international law about sovereignty over one's own citizens that Germany is not shy about invoking in certain situations — and which the country has seen fit to enshrine in Article 16 of its constitution, or Basic Law, which reads:

      "No German may be extradited to a foreign country. The law may provide otherwise for extraditions to a member state of the European Union or to an international court, provided that the rule of law is observed."

    • Letter from Britain: Increasingly Illiberal Establishment and the Challenge of Jeremy Corbyn
      Britain is often considered an exemplar liberal state, prizing its tradition of tolerance, fairness and willingness to entertain dissent.

      The British in their own self conception are the great pioneers of the rule of law and of human rights.

      Nor has this view of Britain always been wrong. The British were genuinely horrified by the McCarthyite campaigns in the US in the 1950s, and British public opinion supported the civil rights movement in the US in the 1960s. The Britain I first saw in the 1960s was a genuinely tolerant, law abiding and liberal place.

      The events of the last couple of weeks should however dispose of any notion that Britain really is the paradigm liberal state that it claims to be.

      Political news in Britain over the last few weeks has been dominated by three concurrent scandals.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Congress will vote to save net neutrality

    • The Big Lie ISPs Are Spreading in State Legislatures is That They Don’t Make Enough Money
      In their effort to prevent states from protecting a free and open Internet, a small handful of massive and extraordinarily profitably Internet service providers (ISPs) are telling state legislatures that network neutrality would hinder their ability to raise revenues to pay for upgrades and thus force them to charge consumers higher bills for Internet access. This is because state-based network neutrality will prohibit data discrimination schemes known as “paid prioritization” where the ISP charges websites and applications new tolls and relegate those that do not pay to the slow lane.

      In essence, they are saying they have to charge new fees to websites and applications in order to pay for upgrades and maintenance to their networks. In other words, people are using so much of their broadband product that they can’t keep up on our monthly subscriptions.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • When it comes to IP enforcement, Chinese IP maths: 3 + 15 = more than 18?
      Accordingly, it seems to this guest blogger that the common feeling in the industry and legal / IP circles is that China possesses a serious, ongoing commitment to raise the level of expertise and adjudication in the Chinese IP sphere. Furthermore, the impact is increasing beyond simply the jurisprudence, as transparency initiatives allow access to the data behind the judicial curtain. See, for example, Mark Cohen’s excellent China IP blog, reporting inter alia that foreigners: 1) disproportionately win in Chinese IP litigation; 2) enjoy more favourable injunction rates; and 3) receive larger awards of damages than do their Chinese counterparts. See also Mark Cohen’s discussion of the SIPO’s 2017 China Patent Survey Report on point #2.

    • Israel's innovation story is extraordinary, but just assuming it will continue would be a big mistake

      These are all extraordinary numbers; and they will come as no surprise to many of you reading this. After all, Israel has been known as the Start Up nation and a global hub of innovation for many years now. But it is only by visiting the country - as I did last week for the AIPPI Israel’s 3rd International Convention on the Economy of Innovation – that you begin to realise just how ingrained innovation and entrepreneurialism are there, or understand how it happened.

      Put simply, start with a culture that puts a premium on scholarship and debate, and then throw in hundreds’ years of oppression and persecution. Once you have done that add mass migration to a land with few natural resources, surrounded by the sea on one side and enemies who wished for nothing but your destruction on all the others. It’s a recipe that creates very strong incentives to develop solutions and to see the world in ways that others do not – two vital starting points for innovative activity.

    • Google loses another patent heavy hitter to Facebook
      Facebook has hired Google patent data analytics specialist Jeremiah Chan as its new head of patents. The move follows the social media giant’s poaching of the search giant’s patent head Allen Lo last August to be its head of IP.

      At Google Chan was most recently legal director, global patents and was one of Lo’s first hires in 2012, brought into establish a data analytics team within the patent function. That was at a time when Google’s portfolio had grown dramatically following the $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility which added 17,000 grants and 7,500 applications.


      At Facebook Chan will be responsible for a far smaller portfolio or around 3,000 US grants and approximately 1,900 applications. That reflects both Facebook’s relative youth (it went public in 2012) and the fact that it has far less exposure to the consumer electronics market as Google, which has a large Android-supported ecosystem to protect. That said, the social media giant has been ramping up its patenting efforts of late and in 2016 received more than 440 US grants.

    • Negotiating SEP licences in Europe after Huawei v ZTE: guidance from national courts
      Dr Claudia Tapia and Dr Spyros Makris provide an overview of the case law of national courts in Europe exploring the framework for licensing negotiations regarding FRAND-accessible standard essential patents, which was established by the decision of the CJEU in the matter Huawei v ZTE

    • Copyrights

      • A few thoughts on copyright
        Every once in a while, I'll come across a discussion where someone justifies pirating a movie or popular TV show with "nothing of value was lost." Basically, these people claim that it isn't really "stealing" if the content creator (HBO, Disney, etc) keeps the original copy.

        It baffles me why people say this.

        I think I get where they're coming from, just not their conclusions. I think these people don't like the US copyright system. And I certainly agree that there's a lot wrong with the current US copyright laws. The Copyright Term Extension Act, a.k.a. the Sonny Bono Act, or (sometimes) the Mickey Mouse Protection Act has extended copyright terms dramatically. And that's not good.


        But whether you realize it or not, copyright protection works for more than just the Big Media companies (HBO, Disney, etc). Copyright works for Free software and open source software, too. In fact, the copyleft afforded by the GNU General Public License only works because of copyright protections.

        Copyright gives you, the author (or maintainer or contributor) of a software project the right to say how people can copy it. In proprietary software, they are very strict to how you can copy their software (basically, you can't). In Free software licenses, it's very liberal (in most cases, you can give it away, as long as you make the source code available).

      • AT&T explains why it blocked Cloudflare DNS: It was just an accident

        The blocking is affecting AT&T home Internet customers who use an AT&T gateway. Cloudflare unveiled its DNS service on April 1, and users in DSLReports forum threads almost immediately started complaining that they couldn't access it. One thread began on April 1, within hours of Cloudflare's announcement.

      • Cloudflare Fails to Exclude Daily Stormer Evidence From Piracy Trial

        A California federal court has denied Cloudflare's request to exclude evidence related to its termination of neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer from the upcoming piracy liability trial against ALS Scan. The CDN provider fears that mentioning the site at trial could cloud the perception of the jury, but District Court Judge George Wu was not receptive to this argument.

      • If NYT Likes Stronger Copyright, That Doesn’t Make It ‘Free Trade’
        Many folks in the media seem to think it is part of their job to promote trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)—not only in opinion pages, but in the news section, too. The New York Times (5/3/18) gave us yet another example of this effort in a piece on a hotly contested congressional race in Washington.

        At one point, the piece tells readers that the TPP “would have reinforced the nation’s embrace of free trade.” This is not true.

        The TPP had relatively little to do with free trade, in the sense of reducing tariffs and other traditional trade barriers. The United States already had trade agreements with six of the other eleven countries in the pact, and trade barriers were already low with most of the other countries.

      • UK Internet Filters Block Disney Sites, Internet Safety Tips, and More

        In the UK, Internet providers offer site-blocking tools to their subscribers, so they can filter harmful content from the web. While these tools can be helpful to some, there are some rather peculiar blocks which show that they're far from perfect, to say the least.

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