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Links 22/6/2018: PulseAudio 12.0, Krita 4.1 Beta, LabPlot 2.5, Git 2.18.0

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Five Common Chromebook Myths Debunked
      When Chromebooks first came out in 2011, they were basically just low-spec laptops that could access web apps – fine for students maybe, but not to be regarded as serious computers. While they’ve become more popular (the low cost, simplicity, and dependability appeal to businesses and education systems), as of 2018 Chromebooks still haven’t managed to become widely accepted as a Windows/Apple/Linux alternative.

      That may be about to change. The humble Chromebook has gotten a lot of upgrades, so let’s get ourselves up to speed on some things that just aren’t true anymore.


      The 2011 Chrome OS was pretty bare-bones, but it’s gone to the opposite extreme since then. Not only is it steadily blurring the line between Chrome and Android, it can now install and run some Windows programs as well, at the same time as a Chrome and an Android app, if you like. And hey, while you’re at it, why not open a Linux app as well? You can already install Linux on a Chromebook if you want, but one of the next versions of Chrome OS is going to include a Linux virtual machine accessible right from your desktop (which is already possible, just not built-in and user-friendly). In sum, Chrome OS has gone from barely being an operating system to one that can run apps from four other OSes at the same time.

    • Like “IBM’s Work During the Holocaust”: Inside Microsoft, Growing Outrage Over a Contract with ICE

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • XArray and the mainline
      The XArray data structure was the topic of the final filesystem track session at the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM). XArray is a new API for the kernel's radix-tree data structure; the session was led by Matthew Wilcox, who created XArray. When asked by Dave Chinner if the session was intended to be a live review of the patches, Wilcox admitted with a grin that it might be "the only way to get a review on this damn patch set".

      In fact, the session was about the status of the patch set and its progress toward the mainline. Andrew Morton has taken the first eight cleanup patches, Wilcox said, which is great because there was a lot of churn there. The next set has a lot of churn as well, mostly due to renaming. The 15 patches after that actually implement XArray and apply it to the page cache. Those could be buggy, but they pass the radix-tree tests so, if they are, more tests are needed, he said.

    • Filesystem test suites
      While the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM) filesystem track session was advertised as being a filesystem test suite "bakeoff", it actually focused on how to make the existing test suites more accessible. Kent Overstreet said that he has learned over the years that various filesystem developers have their own scripts for testing using QEMU and other tools. He and Ted Ts'o put the session together to try to share some of that information (and code) more widely.

      Most of the scripts and other code has not been polished or turned into a project, Overstreet continued. Bringing new people up to speed on the tests and how they are run takes time, but developers want to know how to run the tests before they send code to the maintainer.

    • Messiness in removing directories
      In the filesystem track at the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM), Al Viro discussed some problems he has recently spotted in the implementation of rmdir(). He covered some of the history of that implementation and how things got to where they are now. He also described areas that needed to be checked because the problem may be present in different places in multiple filesystems.

      The fundamental problem is a race condition where operations can end up being performed on directories that have already been removed, which can lead to some rather "unpleasant" outcomes, Viro said. One warning, however: it was a difficult session to follow, with lots of gory details from deep inside the VFS, so it is quite possible that I have some (many?) of the details wrong here. Since LSFMM there has been no real discussion of the problem and its solution on the mailing lists that I have found.

    • Handling I/O errors in the kernel
      The kernel's handling of I/O errors was the topic of a discussion led by Matthew Wilcox at the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM) in a combined storage and filesystem track session. At the start, he asked: "how is our error handling and what do we plan to do about it?" That led to a discussion between the developers present on the kinds of errors that can occur and on ways to handle them.

      Jeff Layton said that one basic problem occurs when there is an error during writeback; an application can read the block where the error occurred and get the old data without any kind of error. If the error was transient, data is lost. And if it is a permanent error, different filesystems handle it differently, which he thinks is a problem. Dave Chinner said that in order to have consistent behavior across filesystems, there needs to be a definition of what that behavior should be. There is a need to distinguish between transient and permanent failures and to create a taxonomy of how to deal with each type.

    • 4.18 Merge window, part 1
      As of this writing, 7,515 non-merge changesets have been pulled into the mainline repository for the 4.18 merge window. Things are clearly off to a strong start. The changes pulled this time around include more than the usual number of interesting new features; read on for the details.

    • Year-2038 work in 4.18
      We now have less than 20 years to wait until the time_t value used on 32-bit systems will overflow and create time-related mayhem across the planet. The grand plan for solving this problem was posted over three years ago now; progress since then has seemed slow. But quite a bit of work has happened deep inside the kernel and, in 4.18, some of the first work that will be visible to user space has been merged. The year-2038 problem is not yet solved, but things are moving in that direction.

      If 32-bit systems are to be able to handle times after January 2038, they will need to switch to a 64-bit version of the time_t type; the kernel will obviously need to support applications using that new type. Doing so in a way that doesn't break existing applications is going to require some careful work, though. In particular, the kernel must be able to successfully run a system where applications have been rebuilt to use a 64-bit time_t, but ancient binaries stuck on 32-bit time_t still exist; both applications should continue to work (though the old code may fail to handle times correctly).

      The first step is to recognize that most architectures already have support for applications running in both 64-bit and 32-bit modes in the form of the compatibility code used to run 32-bit applications on 64-bit systems. At some point, all systems will be 64-bit systems when it comes to time handling, so it makes sense to use the compatibility calls for older applications even on 32-bit systems. To that end, with 4.18, work has been done to allow both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the time-related system calls to be built on all architectures. The CONFIG_64BIT_TIME configuration symbol controls the building of the 64-bit versions on 32-bit systems, while CONFIG_COMPAT_32BIT_TIME controls the 32-bit versions.

    • LVM2 Begins Work On Major Changes To Logical Volume Management
      LVM2 as the user-space tools for Logical Volume Management (LVM) on Linux is in the process of going through a big re-work.

    • LKML archives on
      We collected LKML archives going as far back as 1998, and they are now all available to anyone via a simple git clone. We would like to extend our thanks to everyone who helped in this effort by donating their personal archives.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Automotive Grade Linux joins the Van Life with Mercedes-Benz Vans deal
        Mercedes-Benz Vans has tapped the Linux-based AGL infotainment stack for next-gen vehicles equipped with cutting-edge connectivity and robotics technology.

        The Linux Foundation’s Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) project announced that Mercedes-Benz Vans is using the open source AGL platform as a foundation for a new onboard OS for its commercial vehicles. The Daimler business unit will debut a new AGL-based OS on various Mercedes-Benz Vans prototype projects later this year, and AGL will play a key role in Mercedes-Benz Vans “adVANce” initiative for providing “holistic transport solutions.”

      • Heather Kirksey on Integrating Networking and Cloud Native
        As highlighted in the recent Open Source Jobs Report, cloud and networking skills are in high demand. And, if you want to hear about the latest networking developments, there is no one better to talk with than Heather Kirksey, VP, Community and Ecosystem Development, Networking at The Linux Foundation. Kirksey was the Director of OPNFV before the recent consolidation of several networking-related projects under the new LF Networking umbrella, and I spoke with her to learn more about LF Networking (LFN) and how the initiative is working closely with cloud native technologies.

        Kirksey explained the reasoning behind the move and expansion of her role. “At OPNFV, we were focused on integration and end-to-end testing across the LFN projects. We had interaction with all of those communities. At the same time, we were separate legal entities, and things like that created more barriers to collaboration. Now, it’s easy to look at them more strategically as a portfolio to facilitate member engagement and deliver solutions to service providers.”

      • Linux Skills Most Wanted: Open Source Jobs Report
        The 2018 Open Source Technology Jobs Report shows rapid growth in the demand for open source technical talent, with Linux skills a must-have requirement for entry-level positions.

        The seventh annual report from The Linux Foundation and Dice, released Wednesday, identifies Linux coding as the most sought-after open source skill. Linux-based container technology is a close second.

        The report provides an overview of open source career trends, factors motivating professionals in the industry, and ways employers attract and retain qualified talent. As with the last two open source jobs reports, the focus this year is on all aspects of open source software and is not limited to Linux.

    • Benchmarks

      • Wine 3.10 vs. Ubuntu 18.04 vs. Windows 10 Desktop Performance
        Here are some fresh benchmarks comparing the performance of a variety of cross-platform Windows/Linux desktop applications when benchmarking the native Windows 10 binaries, the Windows binaries under Wine 3.10 on Ubuntu 18.04, and then the native Linux binaries itself on Ubuntu 18.04. All tests were done on the same system and these results do a good job at showing the potential (and shortcomings) of Wine from a performance perspective.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Qt Creator 4.7 Beta2 released
        We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.7 Beta2!

        It is roughly 2 weeks after the Beta1 release, and 2 weeks before our planned release candidate, so we want to give you the opportunity to fetch an updated work-in-progress snapshot in between. If you haven’t yet read about the improvements and new features that are coming with 4.7 (or if you have forgotten), I would like to point you to the blog post for the first beta.

      • CMake 3.12 Update on FreeBSD
        CMake 3.12 has reached rc1. That means we’re testing the update on FreeBSD, and building lots and lots of packages. And, as I’ve written previously, every CMake update triggers a bunch of interesting software findings.

        As a motto, I’ve got “use it, aggressively improve it” on my website (you can hire me for odd CMake and C++ jobs, too). So hitting compile issues makes me turn to fixing software outside of KDE.

      • Krita 4.1 Digital Painting Program Enters Beta With Multi-Monitor Workspace Layouts
        The KDE/Qt-aligned Krita digital painting program has published the first beta of their next feature release, Krita 4.1.

      • The day Kate Gregory enjoyed Qt
        At my company we use C++ for everything, from creating microservices to website backends and as a generator for website frontends, I mean, we do a lot of c++. And because of that we always need more c++ people, but sometimes it’s hard to find developers, but it’s easy to find php / python / javascript ones. Because of that we hired Kate Gregory’s famous c++ course – “Teaching the Teacher” to train current C++ developers to teach C++. (now, that’s a lot of ‘C++’ in a simple sentence, I know. bear with me.)

        For those that doens’t know, Kate Gregory is somebody that uses, advocates our beloved language even before I was born, and talks all over the world about C++ and also do trainings for companies, And so I enlisted to be her student.

        It was a really pleasant course going thru how to proplery explain C++ for people that know how to program but don’t know how to C++, and for that I’m grateful. But then when I commented out about Qt in the middle of the class she rolled her eyes, that made me feel a bit uneasy so I talked to her on why the eye-roll. “Qt is not c++”, and I tougth this was already settled down for years, so I asked her if she would be open to see some simple c++ code written in Qt and tell me what she thinks of it. “Well, Yes. but people already tried and it was not good”.

      • LabPlot 2.5 released

        It took much more time to finalize the release than we planned in the beginning after the 2.4 release was done. But we hope the number of features we implemented for 2.5 and their impact on the workflows supported by LabPlot can justify this delay. The source code and the installers for Windows and for Mac OS X can be found on our download page, as usual.

        In this release we again increased the number of data sources and added the support for the import of data from SQL databases. The user can import either from single tables or import the result of a custom SQL queries.

      • Krita 4.1 Beta Comes with a New Reference Images Tool and Supports Multi-Monitor Workspace Layouts

      • KDE on Android: CI, CD & SDK

        I guess we all agree that one of the biggest stoppers to get a contribution out is the ability to get the system ready to start working on the contribution. Today I want to talk a bit about generating Android binaries from our machine.

        In the KDE Edu sprint we had the blatant realisation that it’s very frustrating to keep pushing the project while not being swift at delivering fresh packages of our applications in different systems. We looked into windows, flatpak, snap and, personally, I looked into Android once again.

        Nowadays, KDE developers develop the applications on their systems and then create the binaries on their systems as well. Usually it’s a team effort where possibly just one person in the team will be familiar with Android and have the development combo in place: Android SDK, Android NDK, Qt binaries and often several KDE Frameworks precompiled. Not fun and a fairly complex premise.

      • Qt Contributor Summit 2018

        One bit especially interesting is the graphics stack. Back in Qt 5.0, Qt took the liberty of limiting the graphics stack to OpenGL, but the world has changed since: On Windows the only proper stack is Direct3D 12, Apple introduced Metal and recently deprecated OpenGL and Vulkan is coming rather strong. It looks like embracing these systems transparently will be one of the most exciting tasks to achieve. From a KDE & Plasma perspective I don’t think this is scary, OpenGL is here to stay on Linux. We will get a Framework based on a more flexible base and we can continue pushing Plasma, Wayland, Plasma Mobile with confidence that the world won’t be crumbling. And with a bit of luck, if we want some parts to use Vulkan, we’ll have it properly abstracted already.

      • Integrating Cloud Solutions with Qt
        These days, using the cloud for predictive maintenance, analytics or feature updates is a de facto standard in the automation space. Basically, any newly designed product has some server communication at its core.

        However, the majority of solutions in the field were designed and productized when communication technology was not at today’s level. Still, attempts are being made to attach connectivity to such solutions. The mission statement is to “cloudify” an existing solution, which uses some internal protocol or infrastructure.

      • KDE on FreeBSD – June 2018
        It’s been a while since I wrote about KDE on FreeBSD, what with Calamares and third-party software happening as well. We’re better at keeping the IRC topic up-to-date than a lot of other sources of information (e.g. the FreeBSD quarterly reports, or the f.k.o website, which I’ll just dash off and update after writing this).

      • Konsole’s search tool
        Following my konsole’s experiments from the past week I came here to show something that I’m working on with the VDG, This is the current Konsole’s Search Bar.


        I started to fix all of those bugs and discovered that most of them happened because we had *one* search bar that was shared between every terminal view, and whenever a terminal was activated we would reposition, reparent, repaint, disconnect, reconnect the search bar. Easiest solution: Each Terminal has it’s own search bar. Setuped only once. The one bug I did not fix was the Opening / Closing one as the searchbar is inside of a layout and layouts would reposition things anyway.

        All of the above bugs got squashed by just moving it to TerminalDisplay, and the code got also much cleaner as there’s no need to manual intervention in many cases. On the review Kurt – the Konsole maintainer – asked me if I could try to make the Search prettier and as an overlay on top of the Terminal so it would not reposition things when being displayed.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.30 Desktop Environment Gets New Milestone, Beta Expected on August 1
        In an email announcement received by Softpedia, developer Michael Catanzaro announces the availability of GNOME 3.29.3, the third of four development milestones before the GNOME 3.30 desktop environment enters beta stages of development.

        Coming almost a month after GNOME 3.29.2, the GNOME 3.29.3 development milestone appears to be the first where all components are buildable. "This is an accomplishment," said Michael Catanzaro, "I hope we can keep this up going forward."

      • Welcome Window Integration in Pitivi – Part 2
        In my last post (link), I gave an overview of Welcome window integration in Pitivi. I started working on this task from the first coding day of Google Summer of Code 2018, i.e. May 14, 2018 and after one amazing month of coding it finally got merged (commit) on June 19, 2018. Apparently it was a large change consisting of 702 additions and 329 deletions (link) involving 75 code-review discussions and 29 versions. A special thanks to my mentor aleb for giving constructive reviews on my code.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 6 Open Source AI Tools to Know
    In open source, no matter how original your own idea seems, it is always wise to see if someone else has already executed the concept. For organizations and individuals interested in leveraging the growing power of artificial intelligence (AI), many of the best tools are not only free and open source, but, in many cases, have already been hardened and tested.

    At leading companies and non-profit organizations, AI is a huge priority, and many of these companies and organizations are open sourcing valuable tools. Here is a sampling of free, open source AI tools available to anyone.

  • Toyota Research Institute supports development of open-source automated driving simulator
    Toyota Research Institute (TRI) is furthering its support of open source platforms by donating $100,000 to the Computer Vision Center (CVC) to accelerate its development of an open source simulator for automated driving, Car Learning to Act (CARLA).

    “Technological advances and growth are made possible through collaboration and community support,” said Vangelis Kokkevis, director of Driving Simulation at TRI. “Fostering the development of a common open simulation platform will allow TRI and its academic and industrial partners to better exchange code, information and data.”

  • Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology will Propel “Open Source” Banking
    The banking system today is a closed-source banking system. It is one that recreates every function, competes with other banks, is accountable to governments, and are driven by quarters. An open-source banking system, on the other hand, shares every function, collaborates on standards, are verifiable by people, and are incentivized by tokens.

    Burton noted one of the most significant problems with the existing banking model is the misalignment of goals. The incentives are unclear because of “back-handers, sweetheart deals, and cheeky kickbacks.”

  • EOS (EOS): Resource Planner is live, know all about the open source tool
    EOS (EOS) announced on Medium that they started working on the EOS Resource Planner three months ago and finally the network is now live. They have finished with the MVP which can be found at

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Open source isn’t just for software: Opensourcery recipe
        Firefox is one of the world’s most successful open source software projects. This means we make the code that runs Firefox available for anyone to modify and use so long as it adheres to our licence policy. Developers and anyone else who understands code can play with Firefox code, for free.

      • Things Gateway - the RESTful API and the Tide Light

      • Add-ons at the San Francisco All Hands Meeting
        Last week, more than 1,200 Mozillians from around the globe converged on San Francisco, California, for Mozilla’s biannual All Hands meeting to celebrate recent successes, learn more about products from around the company, and collaborate on projects currently in flight.

      • Rep of the Month – May 2018
        Please join us in congratulating Prathamesh Chavan, our Rep of the Month for May 2018!

        Prathamesh is from Pune, India and works as a Technical Support Engineer at Red Hat. From his very early days in the Mozilla community, Prathamesh used his excellect people skills to spread the community to different colleges and to evangelise many of the upcoming projects, products and Mozilla initiatives. Prathamesh is also a very resourceful person. Due to this, he did a great job at organizing some great events at Pune and creare many new Mozilla Clubs across the city there.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Announcing the general availability of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 5
      The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 5 (UEK R5) is a heavily tested and optimized operating system kernel for Oracle Linux 7 Update 5 and later on 64-bit Intel (x86_64) and ARM (aarch64) architectures. It is based on the mainline Linux kernel version 4.14 LTS. This release also updates drivers and includes bug and security fixes.
    • Oracle's Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel R5 Now Officially Ready For x86_64 & AArch64
      Oracle has promoted its Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 5 to general availability for x86_64 and ARM64 (AArch64) architectures.

      Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release is their downstream of the Linux kernel that they sprinkle with extra features for security, performance, and extra features. The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel is paired with Oracle Linux, the company's downstream of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

    • LibreOffice 6.0 Is Now Ready for Mainstream Users and Enterprise Deployments
      The Document Foundation informed Softpedia today about the general availability of the fifth point release of the LibreOffice 6.0 open-source and cross-platform office suite for all supported operating systems.

      LibreOffice 6.0.5 is here one and a half months after the LibreOffice 6.0.4 point release to mark the open-source office suite as ready for mainstream users and enterprise deployments. The Document Foundation considers that LibreOffice 6.0 has been tested thoroughly and that it's now ready for use in production, enterprise environments.

    • The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 6.0.5
      The Document Foundation (TDF) announces LibreOffice 6.0.5, which still represents the bleeding edge in terms of features – and as such is targeted at early adopters, tech-savvy and power users – but is also ready for mainstream users and enterprise deployments.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • GitHub Coders to Microsoft: Cut Ties With ICE or We'll 'Take Our Projects Elsewhere'
      More than five dozen Github contributors on Thursday signed a letter threatening to abandon the website unless Microsoft canceled its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contract.

      Microsoft, which acquired GitHub, the internet’s largest source code repository, for $7.5 billion earlier this month, is one of several tech companies facing heat for its work on behalf of ICE as a result of the Trump administration policy of separating families at the U.S. border.


    • GNU Parallel 20180622 ('Kim Trump') released
      GNU Parallel 20180622 ('Kim Trump') has been released.

    • Moving On From Picasa
      The cross-platform, open-source GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) software is another versatile photo-editing program, but might be a little more technical than some entry-level applications. If it piques your interest, GIMP has an online user manual you can browse before downloading.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Heterogeneous memory management meets EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL()
      One of the many longstanding — though unwritten — rules of kernel development is that infrastructure is not merged until at least one user for that infrastructure exists. That helps developers evaluate potential interfaces and be sure that the proposed addition is truly needed. A big exception to this rule was made when the heterogeneous memory management (HMM) code was merged, though. One of the reasons for the lack of users in this case turns out to be that many of the use cases are proprietary; that has led to some disagreements over the GPL-only status of an exported kernel symbol.

      The HMM subsystem exists to support peripherals that have direct access to system memory through their own memory-management units. It allows the ownership of ranges of memory to be passed back and forth and notifies peripherals of changes in memory mappings to keep everything working well together. HMM is not a small or simple subsystem, and bringing it into the kernel has forced a number of low-level memory-management changes. After a multi-year development process, the core HMM code was merged for the 4.14 kernel, despite the lack of any users.

    • The EC’s Expected Decision Against Android Is an Unfortunate Attack on Open Source Software
      The European Commission (“EC”) is preparing to release its decision against Android, and its framing of the issues makes clear that successful open source software will have a hard time in Europe. In its Statement of Objections, the Commission signaled that Apple’s iOS, Android’s fiercest rival, would be excluded from the market definition because it is closed source and not available to other hardware makers. The decision is expected to declare unlawful strategies to monetize a free product, provide a consistent user experience to customers expecting the Google brand, and to maintain code consistency to minimize problems for developers using the platform. The decision is not expected to contain any indication on how open source platform developers can solve these problems that are fundamental to their success.

    • Bradley M. Kuhn: The Everyday Sexism That I See In My Work
      Back in 2014, Karen and I collaboratively talked about what role would make sense for her and me — and we made a choice together. We briefly considered a co-Executive Director situation, but that arrangement has been tried elsewhere and is typically not successful in the long term. Karen is much better than me at the key jobs of a successful Executive Director. Karen and I agreed she was better for the job than me. We took it to Conservancy's Board of Directors, and they moved my leadership role at Conservancy to be honorary, and we named Karen the sole Executive Director. Yes, I'm still nebulously a leader in the Free Software community (which I'm of course glad about). But for Conservancy matters, and specifically donor relations and major decisions about the organization, Karen is in charge.


      Interestingly but disturbingly, these incidents teach how institutional sexism operates in practice. Every time I'm approached (which is often) with some subtle situation where it makes Karen look like she's not really in charge, I'm given the opportunity to pump myself up, make myself look more important, and gain more credibility and power. It is clear to me that this comes at the expense of subtly denigrating Karen and that the enticement is part of an institutionally sexist zero-sum game.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Goodman One is an Open-Source, 3D-Printed Analog Camera

        Dora Goodman, a maker of handcrafted cameras and straps, has released a new open source camera called the Goodman One that anyone can make if they have access to a 3D printer.

        Goodman tells PetaPixel that she has been working on the design of the Goodman One for the past two years, and she’s now working to share the camera with as many photography lovers as possible.

  • Programming/Development

    • Zapcc high-speed C++ compiler now open source
      Zapcc, a caching C++ compiler built for speed, has gone open source.

      Ceemple Software, Zapcc’s builder, claims the compiler offers dramatic improvements in both incremental and full builds compared to building with Clang 4.0 and Clang 5.0. Based on heavily modified code from the Clang compiler project, Zapcc uses an in-memory compilation cache in a client-server architecture. All compilation information is remembered between runs.

    • Some Compiler Performance Benchmarks With The Zapcc Caching Compiler
      Here are some quick benchmarks I ran this week of the newly open-sourced Zapcc C++ caching compiler based upon LLVM/Clang and compared to the upstream Clang performance, GCC, and Ccache with the speed on the original compilation of the benchmark code and then again on a subsequent compilation.

    • PHP 7.3.0 alpha 1 Released
      PHP team is glad to announce the release of the first PHP 7.3.0 version, PHP 7.3.0 Alpha 1. This starts the PHP 7.3 release cycle, the rough outline of which is specified in the PHP Wiki.

    • PHP 7.3 Alpha 2 Released With Many Bug Fixes
      Just shy of two weeks since PHP 7.3 went into alpha, the second alpha release of this upcoming annual feature release to the PHP programming language is now available.

      PHP 7.3 has been working on several new functions, WebP support within the image create from string function, improved PHP garbage collection, and a variety of other features and improvements. While PHP 7.3 is still open for new features, PHP 7.3 Alpha 2 comes with just bug fixes. Bug fixes for alpha two range from core fixes to various bugs in its ZIP, EXIF, Date, and CLI code, among other areas. The fixes are outlined here.
    • Python virtual environments
      In a short session at the 2018 Python Language Summit, Steve Dower brought up the shortcomings of Python virtual environments, which are meant to create isolated installations of the language and its modules. He said his presentation was "co-written with Twitter" and, indeed, most of his slides were of tweets. At the end, he also slipped in an announcement of his plans for hosting a core development sprint in September.

    • A Python static typing update
      One of the larger features added to Python over the last few releases is support for static typing in the language. Static type-checking and tools to support it show up frequently as topics at the Python Language Summit (PLS) and this year was no exception. Mypy developers Jukka Lehtosalo and Ivan Levkivskyi gave an update on static typing at PLS 2018.

      Lehtosalo started things off by talking about stub files, which contain type information for libraries and other modules. If you are going to type-check code that uses outside modules, from the standard library or a third-party library, the tool needs to understand the types used in the public interfaces of the library. The type-checking that can be done is limited if there are no stubs for the libraries used.

    • Linux distributions and Python 2
      Python 2.7 will reach its end of life in less than two years—at least for the core development team. Linux distributions need to figure out how to handle the transition given that many of their users are still using that version of the language—and may still be well beyond the end-of-life date. Petr Viktorin and Matthias Klose led a session at the 2018 Python Language Summit to discuss distributions' approaches to deprecating Python 2.

      Viktorin works for Red Hat and focused on the Fedora distribution. He wants to help figure out how to help the Python downstreams so that Python 2 can be fully discontinued. There are two different ways to do that; either make sure that everyone switches to Python 3 or simply deprecate Python 2 and "wash our hands" of the problem. He would prefer the first alternative. He will be working on this transition for Red Hat as part of his day job and would like to do it in the community as well; that will minimize the need to maintain Python 2 going forward.

    • 5 Pillars of Learning Programming
      Learning how to program is hard. I often find that university courses and boot camps miss important aspects of programming and take poor approaches to teaching rookies.

      I want to share the 5 basic pillars I believe a successful programming course should build upon. As always, I am addressing the context of mainstream web applications.

      A rookie’s goal is to master the fundamentals of programming and to understand the importance of libraries and frameworks.

      Advanced topics such as the cloud, operations in general, or build tools should not be part of the curriculum. I am also skeptical when it comes to Design Patterns. They presume experience that beginners never have.

    • The Rust Programming Language Blog: Announcing Rust 1.27
      The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.27.0. Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety, speed, and concurrency.

    • Rust 1.27 Released With SIMD Improvements
      Most notable to Rust 1.27 is SIMD support via the std::arch module to make use of SIMD (Single Instruction, Multiple Data) instructions directly. Up to now Rust could already make use of LLVM's auto-vectorization support, but this lets Rust developers write SIMD instructions on their own and to allow for the proper Rust code to be executed based upon the CPU at run-time.

    • Git 2.18 Released With Initial Version Of Its New Wire Protocol
      Version 2.18 of the Git distributed revision control system is now available.

      Arguably most notable about Git 2.18 is the introduction of its new wire protocol "protocol_v2" that is designed to offer much greater performance. This new protocol is designed to be much faster and is already being used at Google and elsewhere due to the significant performance benefits.

    • Git v2.18.0
      The latest feature release Git v2.18.0 is now available at the usual places. It is comprised of 903 non-merge commits since v2.17.0, contributed by 80 people, 24 of which are new faces.


  • Broadcasters Hope To Counter Ad Skipping By Replacing Ads With Short 'Inspirational Videos'
    The cable & broadcast industry has gone to some pretty absurd lengths to avoid having to adapt to the cord cutting era. As ad-skipping DVRs started to become popular, the industry's response wasn't to embrace natural evolution, it was to file a bunch of lawsuits and creatively harass companies that were trying to give consumers what they wanted. Similarly, as cord cutting has grown thanks to sky-high prices and ad break fatigue, the industry's overall response was to first raise prices like it was going out of fashion, then try to speed up or edit down programs in the hopes of shoving more ads into each viewing hour.

    None of these "solutions," you'll be shocked to learn, actually slowed down the sector's evolution or the exodus of cable TV consumers to more flexible, less costly streaming alternatives. Alternatives that are, you'll note, actually listening to users and giving them what they're asking for (usually).

    More recently, we've seen broadcast and cable executives begrudgingly admit that they can't just keep doubling down on the same dumb ideas and expect a better outcome. As a result, we've seen some broadcasters experiment with lower advertising loads during prime time. And we're also seeing to see the industry get a little more creative as to what modern advertising actually means, even if many of these offerings aren't likely to solve the problem either.

  • Don’t trust in YouTube’s break-reminders
    The YouTube app on Android and iOS has an option that will pause video playback and remind you to take periodical breaks from staring at videos from hours on end. These reminders aren’t very reliable, however, and you shouldn’t rely on them for your health.

    The web’s economy and the major platforms all run on one scares commodity: people’s attention. Who’d willingly remind people to stop giving their service people’s full and undivided attention? YouTube claims that is exactly what they’re doing with their new break-reminders.

  • Hardware

    • Intel CEO Brian Krzanich quits biz after fling with coworker rumbled
      Intel chief exec Brian Krzanich has quit after his “past consensual relationship” with an employee came to light.

      Staff flings are frowned upon in US corporate tech world, and against Intel company policy, which bans bosses from having relationships with people who report to them, directly or indirectly.

    • Intel CEO Brian Krzanich Resigns
      While Intel's second quarter revenue and non-GAAP EPS is exceeding their prior guidance, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has resigned effective immediately.

    • Foxconn doubles down on investment in California’s Vizio as it straddles US-China tech spat
      Taiwanese LCD panel maker Innolux has announced a strategic investment along with its parent company Foxconn in US television maker Vizio. With a total investment of 2 billion New Taiwan dollars ($66 million), Innolux and Foxconn will hold shares of 4.14% and 3.1% respectively. Another Foxconn subsidiary, Q-Run, already owns 8% of Vizio. Competition is heating up in display industry with the rise of Chinese players like BOE and TCL affiliate CSOT. Taiwanese display makers were once dominant forces together with Japanese and South Korean peers.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • HUD Is Failing to Protect Children From Lead Paint Poisoning, Audits Find

      The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development failed to protect hundreds of thousands of children living in subsidized housing from potential exposure to lead paint and lead poisoning, according to a pair of recent federal reports.

      The reports describe a hodgepodge reporting system within HUD, as well as disjointed communication between the federal agency and the local housing authorities it oversees. Cases of children poisoned by lead are not always identified and followed up on in a timely manner. And documentation of lead-based paint inspections and efforts to remove hazards are often missing, incomplete or not routed to the right place, according to the reports by the HUD Office of Inspector General and U.S. Government Accountability Office.

      Experts say these shortcomings in HUD’s oversight systems have existed for years with little to no consequence to government officials — but potentially devastating ones for vulnerable children.

      The audits come as housing authorities in Southern Illinois and New York City face federal accusations of failing to inspect for lead-based paint and to remove it or clean it up where it’s found, while falsely telling HUD they had done so.

    • Expert Group Meeting To Precede Next Week’s WIPO Genetic Resources Discussions
      An expert group is meeting Sunday at the World Intellectual Property Organization, on the eve of a weeklong session of the WIPO committee on genetic resources and traditional knowledge. The expert group will address the most divisive issues in the discussions of the committee in charge of finding solutions to protect genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore against misuse and misappropriation.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday

    • Hortonworks’ Shaun Bierweiler on Enterprise Open Source’s Security Edge Over Proprietary Software
      Shaun Bierweiler, vice president of U.S. public sector at Hortonworks, told Datanami in an interview published Tuesday about the advantage of adopting an open approach to technology development in the big data space.

      “When you think about integration points, and the various technologies and players coming to market, if you don’t have an open approach and open model and open interfaces, it’s really difficult costly and time-consuming to bring those pieces together,” he said.

    • Best free Linux firewalls of 2018
      A firewall is an important aspect of computer security these days, and most modern routers have one built in, which while helpful, can be difficult to configure. Fortunately there are also distributions (distros) of the free operating system Linux which have been specifically designed to function as firewalls.

      These will generally have much more advanced features than those found on a router, and allow you to have far greater control over keeping your personal or business network safe.

    • The LJ Password Generator Tool
    • Containers and Cloud Security
      The idea behind this blog post is to take a new look at how cloud security is measured and what its impact is on the various actors in the cloud ecosystem. From the measurement point of view, we look at the vertical stack: all code that is traversed to provide a service all the way from input web request to database update to output response potentially contains bugs; the bug density is variable for the different components but the more code you traverse the higher your chance of exposure to exploitable vulnerabilities. We’ll call this the Vertical Attack Profile (VAP) of the stack. However, even this axis is too narrow because the primary actors are the cloud tenant and the cloud service provider (CSP). In an IaaS cloud, part of the vertical profile belongs to the tenant (The guest kernel, guest OS and application) and part (the hypervisor and host OS) belong to the CSP. However, the CSP vertical has the additional problem that any exploit in this piece of the stack can be used to jump into either the host itself or any of the other tenant virtual machines running on the host. We’ll call this exploit causing a failure of containment the Horizontal Attack Profile (HAP). We should also note that any Horizontal Security failure is a potentially business destroying event for the CSP, so they care deeply about preventing them. Conversely any exploit occurring in the VAP owned by the Tenant can be seen by the CSP as a tenant only problem and one which the Tenant is responsible for locating and fixing. We correlate size of profile with attack risk, so the large the profile the greater the probability of being exploited.

    • Canonical Releases AMD Microcode Updates for All Ubuntu Users to Fix Spectre V2
      Canonical released a microcode update for all Ubuntu users with AMD processors to address the well-known Spectre security vulnerability.

      The Spectre microprocessor side-channel vulnerabilities were publicly disclosed earlier this year and discovered to affect billions of devices made in the past two decades. Unearthed by Jann Horn of Google Project Zero, the second variant (CVE-2017-5715) of the Spectre vulnerability is described as a branch target injection attack.

    • Security updates for Friday

  • Defence/Aggression

    • An Elite Coalition Emerges Against a Trump-Kim Agreement
      An implicit coalition of corporate media, Democratic partisans and others loyal to the national security state are actively hostile to any agreement that would endanger the continuation of the 70-year-old Cold War between the United States and North Korea.

      The hostility toward Donald Trump on the part of both corporate media (except for Fox News) and the Democratic Party establishment is obviously a factor in the negative response to the summit. Trump’s dysfunctional persona, extremist domestic strategy and attacks on the press had already created a hyper-adversarial political atmosphere that surrounds everything Trump says or does.

      But media coverage of the Singapore summit shows that something much bigger and more sinister is now in play: a consensus among foreign policy and national security elites and their media allies that Trump’s pursuit of an agreement with Kim on denuclearization threatens to undo seventy years of U.S. military dominance in Northeast Asia.

    • Korean Voices Missing From Major Papers’ Opinions on Singapore Summit
      In major-paper opinion coverage of the Singapore summit, the people with the most to lose and gain from the summit, the people whose nation was actually being discussed—Koreans—were almost uniformly ignored.

      Three major US papers—the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal—had only one Korean-authored op-ed out of 41 opinion pieces on the subject of the Korean peace talks.

      The Post had 23 total opinion pieces, the Times had 16 and the Journal four. The only op-ed by a Korean was a pro-summit piece on June 12 by Moon Chung-in, an aide to South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Of the 41 editorials or op-eds only four (9 percent), were broadly positive about the Trump/Kim summit, 29 (70 percent) were negative and eight (21 percent) were mixed or ambiguous. The full list, current as of June 19, is here.

      As FAIR noted in May (5/7/18), there’s a huge chasm between how recent peace efforts are being received in ostensible US ally South Korea and how they’re being covered in US media. As we noted at the time, polling shows 88 percent of South Koreans in favor of these efforts, while the person spearheading them, President Moon, holds an 86 percent approval rating. But the bulk of US coverage ranged from snide dismissal to outright opposition (, 6/14/18).

    • How US Policy in Honduras Set the Stage for Today’s Mass Migration
      Central American migrants – particularly unaccompanied minors – are again crossing the U.S.-Mexico boundary in large numbers.

      Under the Obama administration In 2014, more than 68,000 unaccompanied Central American children were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico boundary. There were more than 60,000 in 2016.

      The mainstream narrative often reduces the causes of migration to factors unfolding in migrants’ home countries. In reality, migration is often a manifestation of a profoundly unequal and exploitative relationship between migrant-sending countries and countries of destination. Understanding this is vital to making immigration policy more effective and ethical.

      Through my research on immigration and border policing, I have learned a lot about these dynamics. One example involves relations between Honduras and the United States.

    • For a 6-Year-Old Snared in the Immigration Maze, a Memorized Phone Number Proves a Lifeline
      On a hot and steamy Sunday morning, the man smuggling six-year-old Alison Jimena Valencia Madrid and her mother, Cindy, across the border into the United States told them to be ready to depart soon. Cindy Madrid, exhausted and excited, called her sisters in Houston — the final leg of their month-long journey from El Salvador was about to begin. The sisters whispered a prayer into the phone, asking God to go with them. Then one sister grew serious: Make sure Jimena memorizes my phone number in case you are separated from one another along the way.

      “How do you expect me to do that?” Madrid asked in a panic. “There’s not enough time.”

      The sisters were firm. “We don’t know how. But do it.”

      One whirlwind week later, that number, drilled into Jimena’s head by rote as she and her mother rafted across the Rio Grande, has become little girl’s lifeline. Shortly after setting foot in Texas on June 13, they were detained and Border Patrol officials separated mother from daughter as part of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance enforcement policy. But Jimena’s ability to recall her aunt’s phone number through the trauma of that separation has, so far, kept her from becoming lost in a system that has taken more than 2,300 immigrant children from their parents.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Alleged Vault 7 Leaker Charged With Stealing Gov't Secrets, Child Porn Possession, And Copyright Infringement?
      Then the charges get interesting. Schulte is charged with "causing transmission of a harmful computer program" for allegedly altering an intelligence agency "computer system" to give himself access to restricted areas of the system and cover up any evidence he had accessed these files. Apparently, this alteration resulted in other users being denied access.

      There's the expected "lying to the feds" charges (making false statements, obstruction of justice) which show Schulte was very cooperative when being questioned about the child porn but apparently not so much when asked about purloined CIA data.


      As Parker Higgins points out on Twitter, this supremely weird addition should be viewed with apprehension. Copyright infringement happens all the time. Much of it has zero profit motive, but the government is apparently more than willing to selectively enforce this law if it seems it might push someone towards a plea deal and save it the trouble of having to prove its case.

    • Activism & Doxing: Stephen Miller, ICE And How Internet Platforms Have No Good Options
      Last month, at the COMO Content Moderation Summit in Washington DC, I co-ran a "You Make the Call" session with Emma Llanso from CDT. The idea was to turn the audience into a content moderation/trust & safety team of a fictionalized social media platform. We showed numerous examples of content or accounts that were "flagged" and then showed the associated terms of service, and had the entire audience vote on what to do. One of the fictional examples involved someone posting a link to a third-party website "" claiming to have the personal phone and email contact info of Harvey Weinstein and urging people "you know what to do!" with a hashtag. The relevant terms of service included this: "You may not post personal information about others without their consent."

      The audience voting was pretty mixed on this. 47% of the audience punted on the question, choosing to escalate it to a supervisor as they felt they couldn't decide whether to leave the content up or take it down. 32% felt it should just be taken down. 10% said to just leave it up and another 10% said to put a content warning flag on the content. We joked a bit during the session that some of these examples were "ripped from the headlines" but apparently we predicted the headlines in this case, because there are two stories this week that touch on exactly this kind of thing.

    • Sean Love: Access to medical care, a human right, must also be guaranteed to Julian Assange
      This week marks six years since Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorean embassy in London and nearly three years since the UN declared that his situation amounts to an “arbitrary deprivation of liberty.” Over this time, Assange’s health has deteriorated markedly, as colleagues and I reported last January after examining him.

      In March, the terms of his confinement became more severe, increasing the risks of what was already a dangerous health situation. Ecuador, which in 2012 granted political asylum to Assange, restricted his visitation and communications and announced an indefinite policy to prevent him from “speaking about politics.” In response, the general counsel of Human Rights Watch, Dinah PoKempner, stated, “his refuge in the embassy looks more and more like solitary confinement.”

      Under these circumstances, it would appear that efforts at international diplomacy to preserve his health and protect his human rights have failed. Yet earlier this month, two senior officials of the Australian High Commission visited Assange at the embassy for the first time, representing a turning point that may lead to greater efforts to relieve or at least ameliorate the negative effects that his stay within the embassy has had on his health.

    • WikiLeaks and media freedom
      Six years on from the ‘detention’ of Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and the governments that rule the world are still peddling their lies. These include contrived notions of how western liberal democracies are of the people, by the people, for the people.

      In reality, this is little more than a false narrative employed against those states which dare to supplicate before their own conflicting interpretations of global capitalism. Particularly when it comes to Putin’s Russia or, indeed, much of the Muslim world. Yet the key to maintaining such populism is the charade of a free media as the natural counter to totalitarianism.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Koko the gorilla dead at 46 after life in California learning 1,000 words of sign language
      Koko the gorilla, known around the world for her skill with sign language, has died.

      The Gorilla Foundation says the 46-year-old passed away in her sleep at their preserve in California's Santa Cruz mountains on Tuesday.

      The western lowland gorilla was born at the San Francisco Zoo, where Dr Francine Patterson began teaching her sign language that became part of a Stanford University project in 1974.

    • Report: World trending to hit 50% renewables, 11% coal by 2050
      Bloomberg New Energy Finance released a new report this week that estimates how electricity generation will change out to 2050. The clean energy analysis firm estimates that in a mere 33 years, the world will generate almost 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy, and coal will make up just 11 percent of the total electricity mix.

      Add in hydroelectric power and nuclear energy, and greenhouse-gas-free electricity sources climb to 71 percent of the world's total electricity generation. The report doesn't offer a terribly bright future for nuclear, however, and after a period of contraction, the nuclear industry's contribution to electricity generation is expected to level off.

      Instead, falling photovoltaic (PV), wind, and battery costs will cause the dramatic shift in investment, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) notes. "PV and wind are already cheaper than building new large-scale coal or gas plants," the 2018 report says. In addition, BNEF expects that more than $500 billion will be invested in batteries by 2050, with two-thirds of that investment going to installations on the grid and one-third of that investment happening at a residential level.

  • Finance

    • Open Source Hardware Cryptocurrency Wallet Unveiled By McAfee And Bitfi
      Global payments tech firm Bitfi has launched the Bitfi Wallet. According to the payments company the hardware wallet is unhackable. Some of the digital currencies that the wallet supports include privacy-oriented virtual currency Monero (XMR) which has not previously had a hardware wallet. The wallet comes with a dashboard consisting of a wireless setup as well as support.
    • Supreme Court Opens Door for Taxation of Interstate Commerce

      Holding: The “physical presence” rule of Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, 504 U. S. 298 is overruled. While states may not impose undue burdens on interstate commerce, the constitution does not prohibit taxation of activities having “substantial nexus with the taxing State” that are non-discriminatory, fairly apportioned, and related to services provided by the state.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Court Recognizes Threat Kobach Poses to Election Integrity
      The ruling striking down the Kansas voting law is not only a rebuke of Kobach's law, but of Kobach himself.

      A federal judge this week struck down Kansas’ severely restrictive voter registration regime, ruling that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s pet law violates the Constitution and the National Voter Registration Act.

      Chief Judge Julie Robinson’s judgement is not simply a verdict on the Kansas law. It is a verdict on Mr. Kobach himself and his record of distortions and fabrications about the myth of noncitizens registering, voting, and swinging the results of elections.

      The decision comes after a three-week trial where the American Civil Liberties Union faced off against Kobach over a 2013 Kansas law that required Kansans to produce a document proving citizenship, such as a passport, before registering to vote.

      The court found that the law imposed serious burdens on “tens of thousands of eligible citizens [who] were blocked from registration.”
    • Elon Musk’s Latest Brainstorm Takes Aim at Meddlesome Media
      Elon Musk, the eccentric South African billionaire head of electric vehicle/battery maker Tesla and rocket company SpaceX, is anything but subtle when it comes to marketing his own personal brand of nerd-cool CEO.


      While his announcement was possibly in jest, based on the website’s being named for the former Soviet newspaper—and the variant he chose to purchase as domain name,—one of Musk’s employees indeed registered Pravda Corp in Delaware last year. Sharing similarities with Snopes and other factcheckers, Pravda looks to be, among other things, another instance of the time-honored Silicon Valley trope of inventing something that is already invented.

      The advent of Musk’s upcoming journalism-rating website comes on the heels of big trouble at Tesla, which is currently the most-shorted stock on the market. The company is bleeding cash and is struggling to meet production quotas to satisfy the 450,000-plus consumer reservations for its latest low-priced electric vehicle, the Model 3.
    • What You Need to Know About Wilbur Ross’ Many Conflicts — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast
      There’s a chance you missed it amid the other news, but Forbes had a blockbuster story about Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. It turns out, Ross bet against the stock of a company after journalists had contacted him with questions about his connections to the firm. Using inside information in stock trades is illegal. Ross has denied he profited from the bet against the stock.

      And that’s only one of the revelations from Forbes’ story. “Trump, Inc.” spoke to reporter Dan Alexander about what else he found. Ross transferred many of his assets to a family trust last fall. Among those assets: an auto parts firm owned jointly with a Chinese-government-owned entity, and a stake in a shipping company also owned in part by Russian oligarchs.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Lawsuit Argues Honking Your Car Horn Is Protected By The First Amendment
      The First Amendment covers a whole lot of area. Since it covers "expression," it doesn't necessarily have to be anything commonly thought of as "speech." It doesn't have to be printed. It doesn't have to be said. Lighting a flag on fire requires no statement of intent. The act itself is expressive enough. Passively gathering information (like recordings or public records) is protected by the First Amendment. Taking photos is a protected act, even if the photos are never used to express anything more than a memory of an event or place.

      It has been argued nudity or partially-exposed bodies are expressions deserving of protection by the First Amendment. Exotic dancers and "bikini barristas" have engaged in multiple free speech lawsuits targeting allegedly unconstitutional restrictions on their expressive conduct.

      A plaintiff currently suing a sheriff and the head of the California Highway Patrol is arguing that honking a car horn is protected speech and that the citation she received after engaging in this expression is unconstitutional. (via Courthouse News)

      Susan Porter was driving by a protest held outside of Rep. Darrell Issa's office. These frequent demonstrations gathered both protesters and counter-protesters, all of who made plenty of noise. Passing traffic would express their support/displeasure for Issa by honking their horns. (Which would make not honking your horn similarly protected expression, although it's unlikely anyone would be cited for not honking their horn while driving by a protest.)

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Studios Remove 'Spyware' From Several Games As Gaming Public Revolts
      If this is becoming a trend, it's a really, really stupid one on the part of the video game industry. You may recall several recent posts about software, mobile apps, and video games that have sneakily installed what many call spyware onto users' machines, or otherwise inject software without the knowledge of the user. From soccer apps to flight simulator mods, users and gamers sure as hell don't like it when they have to find out from internet sleuths that the software they're using is spying or using them behind the scenes without their knowledge.

      And now we learn about Red Shell, a software company that has contracted with multiple game publishers. Red Shell's software is installed alongside games to track all kinds of information about the machines on which those games are played. It gathers information about a gamer's operating system, browser version, IP address and more, all with the goal of feeding information to game publishers to evaluate how effective their advertising models are. We should note here that Red Shell specifically claims that personal information is not collected.


      Instead, everyone acted sneaky and is now claiming frustration at the lack of trust the public didn't afford them all retroactively.
    • Your Favorite PC Games Might Be Watching You Play (Just Like Mobile Games Always Have)
      Game studios are using analytics software to monitor in-game activity and if determine if ads are effective. Some gamers are creeped out by that, which is prompting publishers to stand down.

    • In A Surprising Decision, European Court Of Human Rights Says Sweden's Mass Surveillance Is Fine
      In the wake of Snowden's revelations of the scale of mass surveillance around the world, various cases have been brought before the courts in an attempt to stop or at least limit this activity. One involved Sweden's use of bulk interception for gathering foreign intelligence. A public interest law firm filed a complaint at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). It alleged that governmental spying breached its privacy rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (pdf). The complaint said that the system of secret surveillance potentially affected all users of the Internet and mobile phones in Sweden, and pointed out that there was no system for citizens to use if they suspected their communications had been intercepted.


      Something of a setback in terms of limiting mass surveillance, the latest judgment goes against the general trend of decisions by the arguably more important CJEU court. In 2014 the latter effectively ruled that its own decisions should take precedence over those of the ECtHR if they came into conflict. That is now more likely, given the CJEU's hardening position against mass surveillance, and the diverging judgment from the ECtHR, which shows some softening.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Has Your School Been Investigated for Civil Rights Violations?
      Every year, the U.S. Department of Education investigates thousands of school districts and colleges around the country for civil rights violations ranging from racial discrimination in school discipline to sexual violence. Related: DeVos Has Scuttled More Than 1,200 Civil Rights Probes Inherited from Obama →

      For the first time ever, ProPublica is making available the status of all of the civil rights cases that have been resolved during the past three years, as well as pending investigations. See if your school district or college is being investigated for civil rights violations and why.

    • DeVos Has Scuttled More Than 1,200 Civil Rights Probes Inherited From Obama
      Whether schoolchildren in DeSoto County, Mississippi, are paddled varies by their race. Black students are almost two and a half times more likely than whites to endure the corporal punishment permitted under school district policy for skipping class, insubordination, repeated tardiness, flagrant dress code violations, or other misbehavior: up to three “licks per incident on the buttocks with an appropriate instrument approved by the principal.”

      Black students in DeSoto — a suburban area just south of Memphis, Tennessee — are also more prone to face other forms of school discipline. While comprising 35 percent of district enrollment, they account for 55 percent of suspensions and expulsions, and more than 60 percent of referrals to law enforcement, federal education data shows.

    • Despite Trump’s Order, for Many Families the Nightmare Is Just Beginning
      When President Trump signed his executive order on family separation on Wednesday, he proclaimed, “We are keeping families together and this will solve that problem.” But while the order may stop the prolonged, forcible separation of children from their families going forward, it by no means solves the problem.

      More than 2,300 children have been taken away from their parents and sent to shelters, facilities and foster families all across the country, with seemingly no clear tracking mechanism. The executive order does not say anything about the plan to reunite these families, and the administration confirmed that it will not be not be making any special efforts to do so. We will be monitoring the administration’s actions to see if family separations really stop.

      Some of the parents of these children have already been deported. Some of these children are too young to talk, and may not even know what countries they are from or what their parents’ names are. Most don’t speak English and some don’t speak any languages that are widely used in this country.

      The trauma that has been inflicted on these families is irreparable, and it is going to be a logistical nightmare to undo it. And the saddest part is that it didn’t need to happen.

      This was a crisis the Trump administration chose to create, and it was supported by many of his political allies as a means of pushing through his cruel, anti-immigrant agenda.

      Fact-Checking Family Separation

      Wednesday’s executive order, while purporting to stop future family separation, calls for families to be detained together, which was this administration’s goal from the get-go. The Trump administration would have liked to simply detain everyone who crosses the border, children or otherwise, but was unable to because the United States has protections in place that prevent the prolonged detention of children.

      In April, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced his “zero tolerance policy,” calling for every adult who crosses the border anywhere other than a port of entry to be prosecuted, the administration said it was forced to separate children from their families.

      As the crisis mounted, President Trump falsely blamed the Democrats for creating it, and falsely claimed he had no choice but to separate families.

    • Substandard Medical Care Is Killing People in U.S. Immigration Prisons
      Systemic failures demand urgent intervention.

      The avoidable tragedy of people dying in immigration prisons across the country is bad and getting worse. More people died in fiscal year 2017 than in any year since 2009.

      There have been 75 deaths since 2010, including one at the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona just last week. It’s the latest death in a detention system that is notorious for its inadequate medical care, repeated failures in accountability, and delays in the investigations into deaths.

      On Wednesday, the ACLU and our partners released “Code Red: The Fatal Consequences of Dangerously Substandard Medical Care in Immigration Detention,” a report reviewing 15 deaths that occurred in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention between December 2015 and April 2017. With the help of medical experts, the report concludes that in more than half of those cases, substandard medical care — including unreasonable delays, botched emergency responses, and poor practitioner care — contributed to the deaths.

    • When the Robot Doesn’t See Dark Skin
      When I was a college student using A.I.-powered facial detection software for a coding project, the robot I programmed couldn’t detect my dark-skinned face. I had to borrow my white roommate’s face to finish the assignment. Later, working on another project as a graduate student at the M.I.T. Media Lab, I resorted to wearing a white mask to have my presence recognized.

      My experience is a reminder that artificial intelligence, often heralded for its potential to change the world, can actually reinforce bias and exclusion, even when it’s used in the most well-intended ways.

    • Video: Separated From Her Mother at the Border, a 6-Year-Old Has to Find Her Own Way
      Earlier this week, millions of people were captivated by audiotape of an insistent six-year-old girl from El Salvador demanding that workers at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Facility call her aunt. While other children wept inconsolably, Alison Jimena Valencia Madrid recited the phone number her mother made her memorize on the raft ride across the Rio Grande.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Ajit Pai Rushes To Weaken Media Ownership Cap To Aid Sinclair... While Under Investigation For Being Too Cozy With Sinclair
      We've discussed for a while now how FCC boss Ajit Pai is busy gutting decades old media consolidation rules simply to help Sinclair Broadcast Group complete its $4 billion acquisition of Tribune. Many of these rules traditionally enjoy bipartisan support, since they protect local news organizations and free speech from being crushed by any one, major broadcaster. And Sinclair's merger, which would allow it to reach nearly 72% of the country with its facts-optional and monolithic programming (as that recent viral Deadspin video attests), has been routinely under fire by groups on both sides of the partisan aisle.

      As Sinclair moved to acquire Tribune, it kept running into FCC rules. Rules Ajit Pai was more than happy to systematically remove at every step in perfect synchronicity with Sinclair's ambition. And while Pai's allies on the commission claim this timing is all just quirky happenstance, the allegations have resulted in the FCC's nonpartisan inspector general launching an investigation into possible corruption and coordination between the FCC and the broadcaster.

    • California net neutrality bill ‘eviscerated’ in Assembly committee meeting
      Wiener introduced his bill Jan. 3 in reaction to a Federal Communications Commission vote in December to overturn Obama-era regulations that required internet service companies to treat all web traffic equally. Supporters of Wiener’s bill — who included House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — hoped California would lead the charge for net neutrality standards in the country. But opponents warned that state-by-state legislation could lead to conflicting regulations for internet service providers, and instead preferred federal legislation by Congress.

    • AT&T Successfully Derails California's Tough New Net Neutrality Law

      In the wake of the FCC's ham-fisted net neutrality repeal, more than half the states in the country are now exploring their own, state-level net neutrality protections. California's proposal, Senator Scott Weiner's SB 822, was seen as particularly promising in that it went even farther on some important issues than the 2015 FCC rules it was intended to replace. The EFF went so far as to call California's proposal the "gold standard" for state-level net neutrality laws, noting it did a better job policing many of the problem areas where modern anti-competitive behavior occurs, such as zero rating or interconnection.

      You probably saw that AT&T just got done spending $86 billion to acquire Time Warner. The company harbors dreams of using its combined dominance over broadband and media content to anti-competitive advantage, something that's undeniable if you've watched AT&T do business for any particular length of time.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Are auxiliary requests admitted in Italian patent validity proceedings?
      After post grant limitations in court were introduced in Italy by the 2010 reform of the IP Code (IPC), there is hardly a patent validity case in which the patent holder does not play the card of limitation to counter the objections raised by the other party.

      Even before the reform of 2010, Italian patent litigation could in fact end up with the court limiting the patent, in application of the provision according to which the court may find for partial invalidity. In practice, however, in most cases this was confined to claims combinations. Furthermore, the patent holder did not need to formally submit a set of limited claims to the court and the possible limitation of the patent could come up in an informal manner as a result of the technical discussion taking place during the proceedings.

      Things have radically changed after 2010. First, Article 79 (3) IPC – which was adopted in order to give effect to Article 138 (3) EPC 2000 – expressly allows the patent holder to submit to the court a “rewording of the claims”. In other words, the patent holder is now allowed to submit to the court the same type of amendment that is possible via the administrative route, in the patent office: the limitation may not only consist in a claims combination, but may take the form of a rewording which makes use of elements taken from the description or drawings, provided of course that the scope of protection is limited, and not broadened.

    • Switzerland changes infringement test for combination product SPCs
      In a landmark decision, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court confirmed the validity of Gilead’s Truvada SPC and ruled that future SPCs for combination products must meet CJEU case law requirements

      The Swiss Federal Supreme Court ruled this week that future supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) for combination products will need to meet EU case law requirements.

    • CJEU ruling confirms new scope for specific mechanism
      Patent and SPC holders can stop parallel imports from new EU states to old ones if equivalent protection wasn’t available for patents at the time of filing but was for SPCs, CJEU rules in Pfizer v Orifarm

      The Court of Justice of the EU ruled on Pfizer v Orifarm (C-681-16) today, regarding parallel imports of medicines of new EU countries into old ones.

    • Border seizure measures in the European Union
      Most national IP laws have been harmonised to a large extent, and there are also unitary rights at an EU level that exist in parallel to the respective national instruments (eg, the EU trademark and the registered and unregistered Community design).

    • Non-enabling disclosure as prior art?
      This is a remarkable conclusion which does not appear to be consistent with the EPO’s approach. According to the EPO, subject matter is regarded as having been made available to the public, and therefore part of the prior art pursuant to Article 54(1), only if the information given to the skilled person is sufficiently enabling to practise the technical teaching (Guidelines, G-IV, 2); if it is not, the disclosed subject matter is irrelevant.

      While we await the implications of this decision, it seems clear that questions of enablement (which have often been poorly treated) will be discussed more frequently in future nullity cases. It remains to be seen how the Patent Court will deal with the remitted case.

    • Prick! - Passing off, tattoos, cacti and geographical proximity
      The IP Enterprise Court has undoubtedly been a success. It is a low cost IP court for England and Wales which enables access to justice for SMEs with IP disputes to resolve. However, every now and again a case comes along which might well have benefited from a higher hurdle to issuing proceedings.

      The owner of Amy Winehouse’s favourite tattoo parlour, Henry Martinez, also known as Henry Hate, has a tattoo parlour in Shoreditch which has been called Prick Tattoos since 2001


      In order to succeed in a passing off claim, you need to show that (1) there is goodwill which is more than mere reputation (this can be a sign eg “Prick” and/or “get up” or trade dress) and (2) there is a misrepresentation ie a deception which leads to consumers believing there is a connection between the owner of the goodwill and the person using the sign, get up or similar.

      The court found some goodwill in the Prick name, this was essentially limited to tattoos. However, there was no evidence of a deception - at the best there was one person who had seen the cacti shop with the shutters down and only the word “Prick” visible. He was put straight the next time he went there.

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • This Wednesday, an EU committee voted to break the Internet: this Sunday, Berliners take to the streets to say NO!
        On Wednesday, the Legislative Committee of the European Union narrowly voted to keep the two most controversial internet censorship and surveillance proposals in European history in the upcoming revision to the Copyright Directive -- as soon as July Fourth, the whole European Parliament could vote to make this the law of 28 EU member-states.

        The two proposals were Article 11 (the link tax), which bans linking to news articles without paying for a license from each news-site you want to link to; and Article 13 (the copyright filters), requiring that everything that Europeans post be checked first for potential copyright infringements and censored if an algorithm decides that your expression might breach someone's copyright.

        These proposals were voted through even though experts agree that they will be catastrophic for free speech and competition, raising the table-stakes for new internet companies by hundreds of millions of euros, meaning that the US-based Big Tech giants will enjoy permanent rule over the European internet. Not only did the UN's special rapporteur on freedom of expression publicly condemn the proposal; so did more than 70 of the internet's leading luminaries, including the co-creators of the World Wide Web, Wikipedia, and TCP.

      • EU votes on copyright law that could kill memes and open source software
        The European Union has passed an initial vote in favour of the Copyright Directive, a legislation experts say "threatens the internet".

        As reported by Wired, the mandate is designed to update internet copyright law but contains two controversial clauses. Ultimately, it could force prominent online platforms to censor their users' content before it's posted—which could impact everyone from meme creators to open source software designers and livestreamers.

        Despite passing a vote yesterday—held by the EU's Legal Affairs Committee (JURI)—the directive needs parliamentary approval before becoming law.

      • The EU Parliament Legal Affairs Committee Vote on Directive on Copyright, David Clark Cause and IBM's Call for Code, Equus' New WHITEBOX OPEN Server Platform and More

        Yesterday the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee voted in favor of "the most harmful provisions of the proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market", Creative Commons reports. The provisions include the Article 11 "link tax", which requires "anyone using snippets of journalistic content to first get a license or pay a fee to the publisher for its use online." The committee also voted in favor of Article 13, which "requires online platforms to monitor their users' uploads and try to prevent copyright infringement through automated filtering." There are still several steps to get through before the Directive is completely adopted. See EDRi for more information.

      • GitHub: Changes to EU copyright law could derail open source distribution

      • The E.U. votes to make memes essentially illegal
        On Wednesday, European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs voted to essentially make memes illegal. The decision came as part of the approval process for the innocuously named “Article 13,” which would require larger sites to scan all user uploads using content recognition technology in an attempt to flag any and all remotely copyrighted material in photos, text, music, videos, and more. Meaning memes using stills from copyrighted films could be auto-blocked, along with remixes of viral videos, and basically anything that’s popular on live-streaming sites like Twitch.
      • Europe takes step towards 'censorship machines' for internet uploads
        A key committee at the European Parliament has voted for a new provision in a legislative act that forces tech giants and other online platforms to share revenues with publishers. It is known as Article 13, and is part of an updating of the Copyright Directive.

        Article 13 proposes that large websites use “content recognition technologies” to scan for copyrighted materials, though it doesn’t explain how this works in practice. This means texts, sounds and even code which get uploaded have to go through an automated filtering system, potentially threatening the creation of memes and open-source software developers.

Recent Techrights' Posts

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"Tech" in the Context of Even Bigger Issues
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