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Links 4/7/2018: Red Hat and the NSA, NetBSD 8.0 Release Candidate 2

GNOME bluefish



  • Git Your July 2018 Issue of Linux Journal: Now Available

  • Desktop

    • Botond Ballo: Review of the Purism Librem 13

      The Purism Librem 13 has largely lived up to my goal of having a lightweight productivity laptop with a decent amount of memory (though I’m sad to say that the Firefox build has continued to get larger and slower over time, and linking is sometimes a struggle even with 16 GB of RAM…) while also going the extra mile to protect my privacy and freedoms. The Librem 13 has a few deficiencies in comparison to the ThinkPad line, but they’re mostly in the category of papercuts. At the end of the day it boils down to whether living with a few small annoyances to benefit from the additional privacy features is the right tradeoff for you. For me, so far, it has been, although I certainly hope the Purism folks take feedback like this into account and improve future iterations of the Librem line.

    • Software delays, lack of purpose means Microsoft’s “Andromeda” may never arrive

      It appears I'm not the only one to ask such a question. Mary Jo Foley, as well-connected as anyone writing about Microsoft could hope to be, has some bad news about Andromeda. At the very least, the device is probably delayed: software features that it requires apparently aren't ready for release in the next major Windows 10 update, version 1809, due in about October this year.

  • Server

    • Docker Compose
      I glanced back over my shoulder to see the Director approaching. Zhe stood next to me, watched me intently for a few moments, before turning and looking out at the scape. The water was preturnaturally calm, above it only clear blue. A number of dark, almost formless, shapes were slowly moving back and forth beneath the surface.

      "Is everything in readiness?" zhe queried, sounding both impatient and resigned at the same time. "And will it work?" zhe added. My predecessor, and zir predecessor before zem, had attempted to reach the same goal now set for myself.

      "I believe so" I responded, sounding perhaps slightly more confident than I felt. "All the preparations have been made, everything is in accordance with what has been written". The director nodded, zir face pinched, with worry writ across it.

      I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, opened them, raised my hand and focussed on the scape, until it seemed to me that my hand was almost floating on the water. With all of my strength of will I formed the incantation, repeating it over and over in my mind until I was sure that I was ready. I released it into the scape and dropped my arm.

      The water began to churn, the blue above darkening rapidly, becoming streaked with grey. The shapes beneath the water picked up speed and started to grow, before resolving to what appeared to be stylised Earth whales. Huge arcs of electricity speared the water, a screaming, crashing, wall of sound rolled over us as we watched, a foundation rose up from the depths on the backs of the whale-like shapes wherever the lightning struck.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.17.4
    • Linux 4.14.53
    • Linux 4.9.111
    • Linux 4.4.139
    • Linux 3.18.114

    • Some Early Tests Of Linux 4.18 On AMD EPYC
      With the Linux 4.18 kernel development settling nicely, I've been ramping up tests lately on the Linux Git state. For those curious, here are some fresh benchmarks using the current AMD flagship EPYC processor of Linux 4.16, 4.17, and 4.18 Git.

      Via the Phoronix Test Suite I ran some fresh Linux 4.16 vs. 4.17 vs. 4.18 Git benchmarks on the AMD EPYC 7601 housed within the wonderful Tyan 2U server platform.

    • The Linux Kernel May Soon Default To SCSI MQ Mode
      It looks like the Linux kernel's SCSI code may soon switch away from its legacy code-path to the multi-queue (MQ) code by default.

      The SCSI multi-queue code has been in the works for a few years as enabling the block multi-queue (blk-mq) code for SCSI drivers for better scalability. The SCSI MQ support has been part of the mainline kernel for a few years now but has been disabled by default that requires either changing the kernel configuration or booting with the scsi_mod.use_blk_mq=Y parameter.

    • Linux Foundation

      • AGL Outlines Virtualization Scheme for the Software Defined Vehicle
        Last August when The Linux Foundation’s Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) project released version 4.0 of its Linux-based Unified Code Base (UCB) reference distribution for automotive in-vehicle infotainment, it also launched a Virtualization Expert Group (EG-VIRT). The workgroup has now released a white paper outlining a “virtualized software defined vehicle architecture” for AGL’s UCB codebase.

        The paper explains how virtualization is the key to expanding AGL from IVI into instrument clusters, HUDs, and telematics. Virtualization technology can protect these more safety-critical functions from less secure infotainment applications, as well as reduce costs by replacing electronic hardware components with virtual instances. Virtualization can also enable runtime configurability for sophisticated autonomous and semi-autonomous ADAS applications, as well as ease software updates and streamline compliance with safety critical standards.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Reiser4 File-System Benchmarks With Linux 4.17
        It's been about three years since last carrying out any file-system performance benchmarks of Reiser4, but being curious how it stacks up against the current state of today's mainline Linux file-systems, here are some fresh performance tests of Reiser4 using the Linux 4.17 kernel. The Reiser4 performance was compared to Reiserfs, EXT4, Btrfs, XFS, and F2FS.

      • Intel ANV Vulkan Driver Now Supports Automatic On-Disk Shader Cache
        It's been a busy day for the Intel "ANV" open-source Linux Vulkan driver as besides new (NIR) optimizations, they also enabled support for the on-disk shader cache.

        With the Vulkan graphics API, exposed to the game engine / application is support for pipeline caching. But unfortunately not all Vulkan-enabled software makes use of the caching support. For those that don't, the Intel ANV driver now supports the on-disk shader cache similar to the recent addition to the Intel i965 OpenGL driver.

      • AMDVLK Driver Updated With New Extensions & More, SPVGEN Now Public
        It had been over three weeks since AMD last pushed out the latest open-source code to the AMDVLK Vulkan Linux driver, but that changed today with the latest XGL/LLPC/PAL code updates along with making public their SPVGEN library.

        There was a three week absence of AMD pushing out new AMDVLK component updates to their GitHub repository, presumably due to summer holidays, but today a fresh (and large) batch of changes were committed.

      • Intel NIR Optimizations Land In Mesa 18.2 That Help Skyrim With DXVK
        A few days back I wrote about some Intel open-source Vulkan "ANV" driver optimizations that really help the Skyrim game under DXVK with Wine to allow for a playable experience with Intel onboard graphics. Those patches have now been merged into Mesa 18.2.

      • Mesa 18.0/18.1/18.2 RadeonSI + RADV Benchmark Comparison With Radeon RX 580 / R9 Fury / RX Vega 64
        For those currently making use of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with its default graphics stack (Linux 4.15 + Mesa 18.0) and are wondering if it makes sense upgrading to a newer version of the Linux kernel and/or Mesa, here is an extensive Mesa+AMDGPU comparison testing four graphics driver configurations across three popular AMD Radeon graphics cards.

      • More Intel ARB_gl_spirv Code Lands In Mesa, But Still Not Ready To Finish Up OpenGL 4.6
        The end of July marks one year since the release of OpenGL 4.6 but sadly it doesn't look like the Mesa drivers will meet that anniversary for having working open-source OpenGL 4.6 compliance in the mainline Mesa code-base.

        As has been the case for months, the Intel "i965" OpenGL driver and the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver have been blocked from OpenGL 4.6 due to pending ABR_gl_spirv / ARB_spirv_extensions work. They have long ago completed the other OpenGL 4.6 extensions, but this big addition that allows SPIR-V to be used now within OpenGL has been a big undertaking for the open-source OpenGL drivers.

    • Benchmarks

      • Benchmarks Of The Liquorix Linux 4.17 Kernel
        It's been a while since last benchmarking the Liquorix kernel that is a modified version of the Linux kernel. Liquorix was recently updated against Linux 4.17 and a premium patron requested some fresh benchmark results.

        Liquorix for those out of the loop is a configured and patched kernel intended to deliver an optimal experience for desktop, multimedia, and gaming workloads. Liquorix makes use of Zen interactive tuning, the MuQSS process scheduler (formerly BFS), hard kernel preemption, BFQ, minimal debugging options, and various other changes. Liquorix is designed to be trivially installed on Debian and Ubuntu systems via APT/PPA repositories.
      • Benchmarking The Performance Impact Of Speculative Store Bypass Disable For Spectre V4 On Intel Core i7
        In late May Spectre V4 was made public and coinciding with the public reveal was the Linux kernel patches for the Speculative Store Bypass Disable (SSBD) mode for mitigating this latest side-channel attack. For SSBD on Intel CPUs, updated microcode is required and those patched microcode files are now being delivered down through new BIOS updates from motherboard vendors. In recent days with seeing ASUS motherboards get the updated supported, I decided to run some initial Core i7 Coffeelake benchmarks with/without the SSBD support being enabled in the Linux kernel.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • My month in KWin/Wayland
        June has been a busy month in KWin, with me working on fixing remaining Wayland functionality and upcoming legend Vlad Zagorodniy working on polishing and cleaning up all the effects.

        In this blog I’ll talk about the more interesting bits of kwin work that I did during June.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Going to GUADEC
        Another year, another GUADEC, and here I am crossing oceans to see my fellow GNOMEies. This time, it’s going to be particularly challenging: 32 hours of travel, 4 connections, no vegan meal available. I heard GNOME are resilient folk though, perhaps this is the proving?

  • Distributions

    • A Linux distro for digital artists
      Digital art students, professionals, and educators need Linux too. So, I created a new distro, which is derived from Bodhi Linux, a lightweight, Ubuntu-based distro that includes only a browser, a terminal emulator, and a few other system tools.

      Bodhi Linux is built on the idea that the user should decide what software should be installed and how the desktop interface should look, a job that Bohdi Linux's Moksha desktop (a fork of the Enlightenment 17 desktop) handles very well. For my new distro, called Bodhi Linux Media, I customized the desktop interface, capitalizing on the fact that the operating system is fast and lean (with no random stuff running in the background) and curating the following list of open source software for artists involved in many different digital art practices (e.g., music, video, graphics, interactive art, coding, etc.).

    • Reviews

      • Lengthy Review of Linux Mint 19: A Distro for Everyone
        Linux Mint is one of the most popular Linux distributions of all time. I have been seeing people using Mint everywhere on their desktops, and when I used to ask them about “Why Mint?” they simply say “It just works”. And indeed, it does.

        The distribution’s developers have been on a mission since 2006 to create a user-friendly Linux distribution which would suite almost any user for it. More importantly, everything a new user for the Linux world needs is installed/ready for installation in Mint, which is not the case in other distributions with other purposes.

        Linux Mint 19 “Tara” was released few days ago with huge updates for its Cinnamon, MATE and XFCE spins. You can upgrade to the new release or download the ISOs now. In this post we would like to share our experience so far with Mint 19.

      • Librem 13: Review
        I'm been using the new laptop for a few hours now, and I'm happy so far. This is a great system.

        I did end up re-installing the operating system. When I first booted the Librem, it was using the pre-installed PureOS Linux distribution. I played with it for a while, and actually did some work online with it, then decided I'd rather run the Fedora Linux distribution that I'm used to. I'll post an article later with impressions about PureOS.

    • New Releases

      • Developer Preview: Juno Beta 1 Is Here
        efore we dive in to the post, I want to make it very clear why we do beta releases. Beta is a special release intended for our 3rd party developers and highly technical users. Developers need a pre-release in order to test and take advantage of new platform features and to publish their apps so that we don’t release with an empty store. We also invite highly technical users to test Beta in non-production environments to find major regressions and show-stopping issues.

      • Elementary OS Juno Beta 1 Released
        or fans of the desktop-focused, easy-to-use, and elegantly designed Elementary OS Linux distribution, their beta of the upcoming 5.0 "Juno" is now available for public testing.

        Elementary OS mostly focuses upon desktop/UI/UX-level improvements, with the Juno Beta 1 release including better HiDPI support, an improved installation process, new sound effects, a night light feature, App Center advancements, and other work to its Pantheon desktop and associated components.

      • Elementary OS “Juno” Beta is Now Available to Download
        But you don’t have to wait until the stable release date (which is as yet unknown) to try it out. Anyone with a virtual machine or spare partition can install the elementary OS Juno beta for themselves, right now.

        However, just because you can download the preview, doesn’t mean you should download it, as elementary themselves warn…

      • Bodhi Linux 5.0.0 Release Candidate
        Today I am very pleased to share the hard work of the Bodhi Team with our latest 5.0.0 pre-release disc which we are tagging as a “Release Candidate”. These disc images have no major issues that our team has been made aware of and will likely be fairly close to the images we will tag as a stable release later this Summer. Past providing our rock solid Moksha Desktop on an Ubuntu 18.04 base, these disc images are the first to feature our fresh new look which is a modified version of the popular “Arc Dark” theme colorized in Bodhi Green. Also included are a fresh default wall paper, login screen, and splash scenes as your system starts up.

    • Arch Family

      • Why is Arch Linux So Challenging and What are Its Pros & Cons?

        Arch Linux is among the most popular Linux distributions and it was first released in 2002, being spear-headed by Aaron Grifin. Yes, it aims to provide simplicity, minimalism, and elegance to the OS user but its target audience is not the faint of hearts. Arch encourages community involvement and a user is expected to put in some effort to better comprehend how the system operates.

        Many old-time Linux users know a good amount about Arch Linux but you probably don’t if you are new to it considering using it for your everyday computing tasks. I’m no authority on the distro myself but from my experience with it, here are the pros and cons you will experience while using it.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE to be acquired by EQT Partners {Ed: Well, one might argue that SUSE got bought 4 times, e.g. if counting Microsoft taking Novell by the crotch, directing SUSE to serve Microsoft, then taking the patents through CPTN]
        This morning we all learned the news that the openSUSE projects main sponsor, SUSE, currently owned by MicroFocus, intends to be acquired by EQT Partners in Sweden.

        Nils Brauckmann (CEO of SUSE) personally called me this morning to assure me this news will have no negative impacts on openSUSE.

        This will be the third acquisition of SUSE since the creation of openSUSE, the second under the leadership of Nils and his team. Just as happened in that case, SUSE will be making no changes in its relationship between the company and the openSUSE Project.

        SUSE remains committed to supporting the openSUSE community, who play a key role in helping SUSEs success, which is expected to continue under their new partnership with EQT.

        If anyone has any questions, concerns, or feedback, please feel free to discuss them on this list or email me directly.

        Many thanks, and have a lot of fun!

      • ​SUSE acquired from Micro Focus by EQT

      • SUSE Linux Sold in $2.5 Billion Deal
        SUSE from current owners Micro Focus in a deal worth $2.5 billion USD and is expected to close in early 2019.

        EQT is described as “a development-focused investor with extensive experience in the software industry”.

      • SUSE Linux sold for $2.535 billion
        British firm Micro Focus International is selling its open source SUSE software to the Swedish group EQT Partners. The $2.535 billion deal boosted shares by 6 percent.

        SUSE Linux has been in the hands of Micro Focus International since 2014 and it has been running it as a largely independent division, competing directly with the likes of Ubuntu and Red Hat. The acquisition by EQT Partners means that more developers and engineers will be hired to work on the product.
      • Micro Focus Will Sell Off Linux Developer SUSE For $2.5B
      • Swedish Private Equity Fund Acquires SUSE for $2.5B
      • Micro Focus sells Suse for $2.5B
        Suse, one of the longest-running commercial Linux distributors and, these days, a major player in the open-source infrastructure and management space, has been through a few ownership changes in recent years. Micro Focus acquired Suse from The Attachmate Group back in 2014, which itself had acquired Novell, the then-owner of Suse, in 2010. Today, Micro Focus announced that Suse is changing owners yet again, as private equity firm and venture capital fund EQT is acquiring Suse.

      • Micro Focus Selling Subsidiary for $2.54 Billion to Raise Funds for Troubled Hewlett Packard Deal

      • Micro Focus flogs SUSE Linux biz to private equity firm for $2.5bn

      • Micro Focus shrinks with sale of €£2bn software business to EQT

      • Micro Focus sells SUSE software business for $2.5bn

      • FTSE 100 softech Micro Focus' share price rises on sale of Suse for $2.5bn

      • Micro Focus Sells SUSE Linux Business Unit to EQT for $2.5B

      • Linux giant SUSE set to change hands in $2.5B private equity deal
        Linux giant SUSE is changing ownership.

        Parent company Micro Focus International PLC today announced plans to sell the group to private equity firm EQT Partners AB for $2.535 billion.

        The deal comes four years after Micro Focus took control of SUSE through its $1.2 billion acquisition of software maker Attachmate Group Inc., which also included other assets. The sale is expected to be completed in early 2019.

      • Micro Focus sells off chunk of business to EQT for $2.5bn
      • Micro Focus Agrees to Sell off SUSE Enterprise Software Division
        Micro Focus announced that they had plans to sell the SUSE open-source brand to a Swedish group called EQT Partners. Preliminary reports insinuate that the price tag would be somewhere over $2.5 billion US. The British-based company agreed to sell it to EQT in part because they need fresh funds to reduce their debt and return money to shareholders.

      • Open source vendor SUSE pledges autonomy in SA
        Enterprise open source software company SUSE is looking to become fully independent in SA after British-based Micro Focus yesterday agreed to sell the software company to Swedish-based EQT Partners for $2.535 billion.

        The completion of EQT's acquisition of SUSE from Micro Focus is subject to Micro Focus shareholder and customary regulatory approvals and is expected to occur in early 2019.

        Responding to ITWeb via e-mail, Thomas Di Giacomo, CTO at SUSE, said: "By partnering with EQT, we will become a fully-independent business."

      • SUSE Linux Is Selling Itself (Again) For $2.5 Billion
        The ownership SUSE is getting transferred from UK-based Micro Focus International to Sweden’s investment firm EQT VIII. The deal, which is yet to be completed, has been finalized for $2.535 billion.

        Many of us know SUSE as the power behind the open source Linux distribution openSUSE. But the 25-year-old company’s operations are largely inclined towards the enterprise sector from where it can make money. Apart from the operating systems, the company has also spread its legs into the cloud sector.

      • SUSE Linux to Be Acquired by Swedish Company EQT Partners for $2.5 Billion
        SUSE, theLinux business once own by Novell and currently owned by MicroFocus, is going to be acquired by a Swedish firm called EQT Partners for the sum of $2.5 billion US dollars.

        After Novell and MicroFocus, this is SUSE’s third acquisition and it looks to have a good impact on the Linux company, which will become an independent business once it’s acquired by EQT Partners, a development-focused investor that appears to have a vast experience in the software industry.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Making Progress On KDE/GNOME Wayland Screen-Sharing With WebRTC
        Jan Grulich and other developers at Red Hat have been making progress on screen-sharing support using WebRTC as found within web-browsers like Firefox and Chrome. With their experimental work, Wayland screen-sharing is working both for GNOME Shell and KDE Plasma.

        Grulich provided an update on this recent Red Hat project for WebRTC screen-sharing that works on Wayland. This support relies upon their existing Wayland-based screen-sharing/remote-desktop work via PipeWire and the XDG Desktop Portal.

      • Red Hat’s “open-source way”
        Since its founding in 1993, open source has been in Red Hat’s DNA. From offering one of the earliest Linux operating system distributions to creating the Fedora project for the development of free and open source software, to managing the website, Red Hat has been synonymous with an open and collaborative culture. According to Red Hat, “open collaboration actually removes challenges that many other enterprises face by eliminating bottlenecks and ensuring a free flow of information.”

        Red Hat’s origins date to 1994, when Marc Ewing released his own distribution of Linux called Red Hat Linux. Gaining the interest of businessman Bob Young, the two teamed up to create Red Hat Software. Legend has it that Ewing chose the name Red Hat because of a Cornell University lacrosse hat he was given. Cornell’s sports teams are known as ‘Big Red.’

      • Red Hat employees must ask firm to cancel NSA contracts
        Open source company Red Hat crossed the US$2 billion mark in annual revenue some time ago and indications are that the 24-year-old firm will soon cross the next revenue milestone – US$3 billion. There is, thus, no reason for the company to continue to do deals with the NSA, given that the philosophy it advocates in public stands in marked contrast to what the NSA does.

      • Next DevNation Live: Feature toggles and hypothesis-driven development, July 5th, 12pm EDT
        Can you “foresee the feature?” Do you know if proposed changes to your application will have the desired impact to your business? Let’s drop the crystal ball approach and start practicing some hypothesis-driven development so you can test your assumptions. Not every new feature is guaranteed to be a success. Some might just waste time and increase your technical debt. Join us for the next online DevNation Live on July 5th at 12pm EDT for Feature Toggles and Hypothesis-driven Development, presented by Red Hat director of Developer Experience, Edson Yanaga.

      • An open wave of continuous change across the Midwest
        You hear it everywhere today, “every company is a technology company.” And it’s true. Technology is changing at a pace like never before, and the companies that learn to continually adapt to a changing technology landscape are the competitive enterprises of the future. Those that don’t are likely to lose out. We want to make sure you don’t lose out, and we’re taking our show on the road.

        As Forbes contributor Adrian Bridgwater noted recently, Red Hat aims to Fuse businesspeople into 'Citizen Integrators' by enabling “business users and developers alike to more rapidly integrate applications and services using more than 200 predefined connectors and components.” Business people of all disciplines are going to be getting more involved with code and the creation and management of the software systems that we use to run enterprise organizations.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 29 To Change DNF's Repository Metadata Compression To Zchunk
          Fedora 29 continues looking like a rather ambitious release with a growing number of changes, including at some of the lowest levels of the system. The latest feature proposal is on changing the compression scheme used by the DNF package manager's repository metadata.

          Right now Fedora's DNF uses XZ and Gzip formats for the compressing of the repository metadata. With Fedora 29+, Zchunk would instead be used.

        • Frank Ch. Eigler: in praise of qgis
          posts please predict consequences of ontario election →

          Some days, many days, my bosom swells with pride at the accomplishments of the free software community. (Let's not talk today about the other days.) Today's reason: GPS. So many devices can record gps traces, and some of it is interesting to archive long-term. But maybe you're like I am, and are worried about the privacy / big-brother implications of uploading your .kml/.gpx files to random proprietary borg computers (lookin' at you, big G). I don't want to use someone else's computer to draw maps of my private affairs.

          So, what to do? Find free software to do it on your own workstation, of course. But what? The Fedora wiki lists approximately half a gajillion of projects, many of them dead, some of them doing only a part of the basic "superimpose this KML track on a map". After a bit of searching though, I came across the big jack-of-all-trades tool QGIS. The project is alive and well, is packaged for Fedora, and can do the job.

        • PPC64 To Be Discontinued In Fedora 29, Favoring PPC64LE For POWER
          Fedora is planning to discontinue the POWER PPC64 architecture support within their Linux distribution as far as the big endian flavor is concerned. But PPC64LE (little endian) is where they will exclusively focus their POWER architecture attention.

          Fedora's PPC64 (big endian) architecture has already been in a maintenance-only mode for several releases, but now with it becoming harder to maintain, they will be discontinuing it entirely.

        • Fedora 29 Might Make Change To Eliminate Unnecessary Linking
          Yet another notable change proposal for Fedora 29 is to "remove excessive linking", which could help program start-up times, but may be too late for happening with the current Fedora Linux release cycle.

          This change proposal is about always passing the "--as-needed" flag by default to the linker as part of the LDFLAGS. The "--as-needed" flag informs the linker to only link the libraries containing symbols used by the executable/library being linked. If a library trying to be linked against a binary isn't used, it won't end up being linked, which could be helpful particularly for large frameworks.

        • [Week 7] GSoC Status Report for Fedora App: Abhishek Sharma

    • Debian Family

      • Towards Debian Unstable builds on Debian Stable OBS
        Lately, I have been working towards triggering Debian Unstable builds with Debian OBS packages. As reported before, We can already build packages for both Debian 8 and 9 based on the example project configurations shipped with the package in Debian Stable and with the project configuration files publicly available on OBS SUSE instance.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Supporting Wayland extensions on Mir servers

            Within the Mir team we’ve been discussing a number of extensions to support different uses of Mir.

            These are some notes for discussion about the way in which these extensions should be managed. (Not about any specific extensions.)

          • Mir Developers Ponder Their Approach For Supporting More Wayland Extensions
            Fresh from the Mir 0.32 release, Canonical developers working on the Mir display server are settling on their approach to supporting more Wayland extensions.

            Alan Griffiths and the other Mir developers are interested in supporting more Wayland extensions to suit to the different Mir use-cases from desktop shells to IoT. But given the range of Wayland extensions and some of them being catered towards particular use-cases (such as XDG-Shell for desktop systems), they are not planning to enable all new to-be-supported extensions by default.

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 534
            Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 534 for the week of June 24 – 30, 2018. The full version of this issue is available here.

          • Ubuntu Server development summary – 03 July 2018
            The purpose of this communication is to provide a status update and highlights for any interesting subjects from the Ubuntu Server Team. If you would like to reach the server team, you can find us at the #ubuntu-server channel on Freenode. Alternatively, you can sign up and use the Ubuntu Server Team mailing list.
          • Fresh Snaps from June 2018
            LXD is a container manager for lightweight, secure by default system containers. A great alternative to virtual machines. Unleash the latest LXD on your Linux server or development workstation today using the Snap 🐧 🔒 📦. Get LXD from the Snap store or install it on the command-line with: snap install lxd

          • Evaluating the true cost of multi-cloud

            This webinar will take a look at new insights into multi-cloud economics. Recently, analyst firm 451 Research highlighted savings gained from using Canonical’s managed private cloud as part of a diverse multi-cloud strategy.

          • Introducing the Dell Precision 7530 and 7730 with Ubuntu
            We’re excited to see Dell announce the availability of the latest Precision mobile workstations which come preinstalled with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. Canonical have been part of Dell’s Project Sputnik since Day 1, and over 5 years later we are excited to see continuous innovation in open source computing solutions.

            The Dell Precision 7530 and 7730 join the growing family of Dell systems that come preinstalled with Ubuntu including the XPS Developer Editions as well as the Precision line. Canonical’s engineers have collaborated with the team at Dell to guarantee a first class Ubuntu experience out of the box, and we’re excited to tell you about their most powerful laptops yet.

          • Dell Precision 7530/7730 Now Shipping With Ubuntu Linux Option
          • Ubuntu Linux-powered Dell Precision 7530 and 7730 'Developer Edition' laptops finally available

          • Dell Adds Ubuntu as an OS Option on Two Developer’s Laptops
            Dell announced that fans of open-source operating systems can now order two more mobile workstations powered by Ubuntu out of the box. As of May 2018, the only laptop in the Precision Developer Edition series that users could order a GNU/Linux distro on was the 3530. Naturally, some people probably installed their own system software, but Dell has been hinting at increasing support for at least Ubuntu out of the box.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Xubuntu 18.10 Is Landing More Xfce 4.13 Components
              Sean Davis of the Xubuntu project has provided a status update about the ongoing work by this Xfce-focused spin of Ubuntu Linux.

              Now being past the Xubuntu 18.04 LTS release, work is ongoing for Xubuntu 18.10 and with it being a non-LTS cycle they will be a bit more liberal about updates. In particular, some Xfce 4.13 components are being incorporated.

            • ​The Linux Mint desktop continues to lead the rest
              You can't use Timeshift over a network or with an attached drive that uses FAT or NTFS file systems. Since I back up everything and the kitchen sink to generic Network Attached Storage (NAS) drives, which are usually formatted with FAT, that's a problem. Still, Timeshift's a useful trick to have in your Mint bag of toys.

              The Nemo file manager has also been given a kick in the pants when it comes to speed. It's faster at showing directory contents and while moving files to network and USB drives. Searching in Nemo is also much faster. If there are searches you do all the time, you can also save the search, and it will run much faster the next time you run it.

            • Ubuntu Studio Have Released a Free Guide to Audio Production on Linux
              Anyone looking to get started with audio and music production on Ubuntu Studio now have an excellent guide to assist them.

              The Ubuntu Studio Audio Handbook is comprehensive (and totally free) guide to digital recording and audio production on Ubuntu Linux.

              The guide is pitched at amateur and semi-professional audio enthusiasts and covers music making and audio production on Ubuntu Studio using freely available software.

              Don’t let the fact that the guide is aimed at users of Ubuntu Studio put you off, either.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Could more open source in schools help plug the skills gap?
    This week saw the final for an open source coding competition open to Key Stage Three school students, bringing in 10 schools and roughly 100 pupils across the UK to build an open source app for the charity of their choice – and the organisers believe it could provide a small blueprint for open source solving the computing skills gap.

    Now in its second year, the competition originally evolved from a conversation between the heads of computing at two independent schools, Churcher’s and Lord Wandsworth’s College (LWC), where the two agreed that it was a “shame” that they didn’t collaborate more on programming projects. So they tried their hands at organising one.

  • How to make a career move from proprietary to open source technology
    I started my journey as a software engineer at Northern Telecom, where I developed proprietary software for carrier-grade telephone switches. Although I learned Pascal while in college, at Northern Telecom I was trained in a proprietary programming language based on C. I also used a proprietary operating system and a proprietary version-control software.

    I enjoyed working in the proprietary environment and had opportunities to do some interesting work. Then I had a turning point in my career that made me think about things. It happened at a career fair. I was invited to speak at a STEM career panel at a local middle school. I shared with the students my day-to-day responsibilities as a software engineer, and one of the students asked me a question: "Is this really what you always wanted to do in life? Do you enjoy and love what you are doing?"

    Whenever my manager asked me this question, I would safely answer, "Yes, of course, I do!" But I had never been asked this by an innocent 6th grader who is interested in STEM. My response to the student was the same: "Of course I do!"

  • Juniper CTO: Open Source Software Can Be Profitable

    Bikash Koley came to Juniper with a clear understanding of the power of open source software, from his years at Google as a senior network architect who helped drive things such as OpenConfig, getting the industry to rally around key standards for next-gen networks. (See Google to Open Key Network Models for Industry Comment, Standardization, Google, AT&T, BT Unite on Network Data Models and Google: OpenConfig Grows, Goes Commercial.)

    As the CTO of Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR), however, he is seeing the other side of open source and how it is transforming vendor business models. Koley is still a big fan and says Juniper will be able to successfully transition to a profitable provider of software and more, in support of open source deployment and standards development. But that will require some significant changes in how the company operates. (See Juniper Weathers Hypercloud Storm, Says CTO Koley.)

  • Introduction to TensorFlow: Google Brain’s Open-Source Framework for Machine Learning
    Google captivated the world at I/O 2018 when its Google Assistant phoned in an appointment with a hair salon with all the pep and aplomb of a living, breathing human assistant. The tone was conversational, the prose complete with vocal fillers, and the rhythm so natural the recipients on the other end of the phone call were unaware they were speaking with a machine.

  • CryptoKitties Keeps With Ethereum and Goes Open-Source

  • Haiku monthly activity report - 06/2018

    I just wanted to note that the 5 Haiku contributors who joined Liberapay are now part of a "team".

    In case you missed it, Liberapay is a way to donate money to some Haiku contributors directly. They are an open source project, funded themselves by donations from their users, and with an interesting approach to funding free software and other commons creations. Your donations are anonymous if you use this channel, which makes sure it isn't used as a hidden contract work or bounty or any other kind of commercial system. So, have a look at the Haiku team on Liberapay and consider funding the work of either the team as a whole, or one contributor in particular.

  • Haiku Continues Working On EFI Support, 32-Bit Apps With 64-Bit OS
    Haiku OS continues working towards its long-awaited beta and there continues to be other improvements made for this BeOS-inspired platform.

    The Haiku crew have published their latest monthly report detailing their accomplishments for the month prior (June 2018). There is ongoing driver improvements, continued work on (U)EFI boot support, furthering the 32-bit/64-bit hybrid support to allow 32-bit applications to work with a Haiku 64-bit system, compiler updates, and various application work.

  • Events

    • Building community at Open Source Conference Albania (OSCAL) 2018
      From May 19-20, 2018, the local open source community in Tirana, Albania organized the fifth year of Open Source Conference Albania (OSCAL). For the fifth year, the Fedora Project participated as a sponsor of this regional conference. OSCAL focuses on topics of software freedom, open knowledge, free culture, and decentralization. It attracts a range of international speakers and sponsors to a mostly local Albanian audience.

    • June 2018 ISO C++ Meeting Trip Report (Core Language)
      The Summer 2018 ISO C++ standards committee meeting this year was back in Rapperswil, Switzerland. The new features for C++2a are coming fast now; the Core language working group had very little time for issue processing because of all the proposal papers coming to us from the Evolution working group.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Five years
        On July 2, 2013, I was hired by Mozilla on the Web Compatibility team. It has been 5 years. I didn't count the emails, the commits, the bugs opened and resolved. We do not necessary strive by what we accomplished, specifically when expressed in raw numbers. But there was a couple of transformations and skills that I have acquired during these last five years which are little gems for taking the next step.

      • July’s Featured Extensions

      • Larger image support on
        Last week, we pushed an update that enables add-on developers to use larger image sizes on their add-on listings.

        We hadn’t updated our size limits for many years, so the images on listing pages are fairly small. The image viewer on the new website design scales the screenshots to fit the viewport, which makes these limitations even more obvious.

      • Dark Theme Darkening: Better Theming for Firefox Quantum
        Project Dark Theme Darkening was part of Michigan State University’s Computer Science capstone experience. Twenty-four groups of five students were each assigned an industry sponsor based on preference and skill set. We had the privilege of working with Mozilla on Firefox Quantum’s Theming API. Our project increases a user’s ability to customize the appearance of the Firefox browser.

      • Google Tier 1 Search in Firefox for Android Nightly

        Bug 975444 is one of the most-duped web compat bugs, which documents the fact that the version of Google Search that Firefox for Android users receive is a less rich version than the one served to Chrome Mobile. And people notice (hence all the dupes).

        In order to turn this situation around, we've been working on a number of platform interop bugs (in collaboration with some friendly members of the Blink team) and have hopes in making progress towards receiving Tier 1 search by default.

        Part of the plan is to sniff out bugs we don't know about (or new bugs, as the site changes very quickly) by exposing the Nightly population to the spoofed Tier 1 version for 4 weeks (which should be July 27, 2018). If things get too bad, we can back out the addon earlier.

      • Google to developers: We take down your extension - because we can
        Not sure why Google chose the wrong email address to contact me about this (the account is associated with another email address) but luckily this email found me. I opened the extension listing and the description is there, as is the icon. What’s missing is a screenshot, simply because creating one for an extension without a user interface isn’t trivial. No problem, spent a bit of time making something that will do to illustrate the principle.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • NetBSD 8.0 Release Candidate 2
      The NetBSD Project is pleased to announce NetBSD 8.0 RC 2, the second (and hopefully final) release candidate for the upcoming NetBSD 8.0 release.

      Unfortunately the first release candidate did not hold up in our extensive testing (also know as eating our own dog food): many servers/machines were updated to it and worked fine, but the auto build cluster, where we produce our binaries, did not work well. The issue was tracked down to a driver bug (Intel 10 GBit ethernet), only showing up in certain configurations, and it has been fixed now.

      Other security events, like the new FPU related exploit on some Intel CPUs, caused further kernel changes, so we are not going to release NetBSD 8.0 directly, but instead provide this new release candidate for additional testing.

    • NetBSD 8.0 RC2 Released With Eager FPU Security Fix, Other Fixes


    • Glibc Support For Statx Is Finally Under Review
      Red Hat developer Florian Weimer sent out a patch this week adding the statx function to the GNU C Library (glibc).

      Statx is the new system call introduced several kernel releases ago and while it's been in the kernel for over a year and picked up by the key Linux file-systems, statx() support is finally being added to Glibc.

    • 2018 Isn't The Year Of The GNU Hurd
      We are now half-way through 2018 and the work on GNU Hurd and related components like GNU March have been very light.

      Hurd.git has seen less than 40 commits year to date, Gnumach.git has seen less than two dozen so far this year, etc. It's now been a year and a half since the last GNU Hurd (v0.9) release.

      While the GNU Hurd micro-kernel pre-dates the Linux kernel, it remains far behind. In fact, Hurd still doesn't have USB support, the 64-bit support has only just begun, and there isn't yet other modern hardware support features. Hurd pretty much is only semi-practical when running through QEMU.

    • May 2018: Photos from Brazil and Argentina
      Free Software Foundation president Richard Stallman (RMS) went on a 12-city visit to Brazil and Argentina this past May and June. The trip took him…

  • Licensing/Legal

    • How the Apache License allows open source to thrive
      Open source is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and so is the Apache License. The Apache License is a permissive free software license that is currently in its third iteration. The license allows customers to use intellectual property for any purpose, such as modifying or distributing it.

      According to Roman Shaposhnik, member of the Apache Software Foundation board of directors, the license was created from a combination of business interests and a desire of the Apache Group (which later became the Apache Software Foundation) to ensure that the community around Apache httpd web server grew. That Apache web server was actually the first project to be licensed under the Apache License, Shaposhnik said.

      “These licenses help us achieve our goal of providing reliable and long-lived software products through collaborative open source software development. In all cases, contributors retain full rights to use their original contributions for any other purpose outside of Apache while providing the ASF and its projects the right to distribute and build upon their work within Apache,” the Apache Software Foundation wrote on their website.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • 3Dsimo Kit is an Open Source, Multimaterial 3D Pen Assembly Kit
        3Dsimo Kit is the world’s first multimaterial assembly kit 3D pen. Based on the same idea as RepRap 3D printers, every part of 3Dsimo Kit is open source. All the necessary blueprints are freely available on our website,, or on GitHub at This assembly kit is easy to assemble — the whole build includes only 2 bolts, everything else is snapped or plug-in. Assembly takes 15-20 minutes. Thanks to the OLED display, choosing material profiles is quick and easy. 3Dsimo Kit is set up from the package with profiles for ABS and PLA filament. Adding new material profiles is very easy, all the needed manuals are available at: Every week there will be new upgrades, software or hardware, which will be ready to be 3D printed or uploaded to the device.

  • Programming/Development

    • anytime 0.3.1
      A new minor release of the anytime package is now on CRAN. This is the twelveth release, and the first in a little over a year as the package has stabilized.

      anytime is a very focused package aiming to do just one thing really well: to convert anything in integer, numeric, character, factor, ordered, … format to either POSIXct or Date objects – and to do so without requiring a format string. See the anytime page, or the GitHub for a few examples.

    • [Older] Is php dead? Chill, PHP Is Not Going Anywhere

    • How I stopped merging broken code
      I love pull requests to merge code. I review them, I send them, I merge them. The fact that you can plug them into a continuous integration system is great and makes sure that you don't merge code that will break your software. I usually have Travis-CI setup and running my unit tests and code style check.


  • Fresh Off Its Merger, AT&T Jacks Up Price Of Streaming Video Service
    It didn't take long for AT&T's promises of merger synergies to magically evaporate. During the company's sales pitch for its $86 billion acquisition of Time Warner, AT&T repeatedly stated how the merger would result in all manner of "synergies" and savings that would be passed on to the consumer. In reality, the massive debt load acquired in the wake of the deal has AT&T doing everything in its power to try and trim its M&A-bloated balance sheet... to the immediate detriment of the company's customers.

    Last week we noted how AT&T had begun flexing its muscles in the wake of a Judge's comically-myopic ruling in the Time Warner case. First, AT&T raised the price of some of its "unlimited" data plans, then axed a deal that provided HBO for free to some wireless customers. Then the company set to work raising a misleading, nonsensical and unnecessary "administrative fee" from $0.76 to $1.99, effectively providing AT&T with roughly $800 million in additional revenue every year. Such garbage fees are routinely used to help broadband providers falsely advertise a lower rate.

  • DirecTV Now will raise its prices by $5 later this month

    DirecTV Now is raising its prices, following price hikes from rivals Sling TV and YouTube TV within the last few months, as spotted by Cord Cutters. Later this month, DirecTV Now will raise its prices by $5 on all packages, bringing basic service to $40 a month and the premium package with all the works to $75 a month.

    The price changes go into effect July 26th for new customers and will vary for current customers depending on their next billing date. “This puts us in line with the rest of the market,” AT&T told The Verge, pointing out that there’s still a $15 a month WatchTV option.

  • Systems Status -- Certs, Developers, and Community, Oh My!

    I recall in the early days of this site when things would fall over several times a day. That has largely become a thing of the past... to the point where it is unusual for any issues to appear on the site and the support services we maintain (email, wiki, IRC, etc.) The baseline code on which this site was founded (open-sourced, out-of-date, back-level, and non-functional) was not promising, but the staff managed to bludgeon it into shape and we now have a solid foundation. That it continues to run as smoothly as it has is a testament to our SysOps folk who toil largely in the background and just keep things working... as well as the continued care-and-feeding that TMB so generously provides. To all of you, please accept my heartfelt thanks and appreciation!

    Some numbers: we are approaching the 23,000th story posted; have recently passed 700,000 comments submitted; have had over 3,300 journal articles posted; and are on the cusp of having our 120th Poll!

  • I have written like Bergman!

    For over 60 years Ingmar Bergman wrote small notes by hand in his yellow notepad. Now you can do it too.

  • Science

    • How much does a tech bro cost?

      America’s cities all have the same dream these days: to be the next Silicon Valley. To court Big Tech, they have taken to showering some of the world’s most profitable companies with taxpayers’ cash.

    • Alibaba’s AI-powered Copywriting Tool Passes Turing Test
      Alimama, Alibaba’s digital marketing subsidiary, has launched an artificial intelligence based copywriting tool which uses deep learning and natural language processing technologies to produce copies.

      The tool analyzes sample content from Alibaba’s e-commerce sites Tmall and Taobao to produce 20,000 lines of copy in a second. The tool has successfully passed the Turing Test indicating that it is smarter than the other copywriting tools available in the market.

  • Hardware

    • Dell Is Ready to Go Public Again. But Has it Really Changed?

      Since going private, Dell has invested heavily in expanding its business selling hardware, software, and services for data centers. In 2016, it paid a record breaking $67 billion for the storage hardware giant EMC, including EMC’s stakes in business software companies VMware and Pivotal, which will remain independent. In filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Dell now describes itself as “a strategically aligned family of businesses.” One thing hasn't changed: Founder and CEO Michael Dell owns a controlling stake in the company.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • WTO ruling likely to encourage more countries to pass plain packaging laws

      INTA is "extremely disappointed" with WTO ruling that plain packaging measures in Australia promote the improvement of public health and do not infringe companies’ intellectual property rights

      The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has released a report stating that Australia’s plain packaging laws for tobacco products do not infringe intellectual property rights and aim to improve public health.

    • WIPO IP And Genetic Resources Committee Makes Progress Despite Block At End
      It seemed last week that after years of mainly fruitless discussions at the World Intellectual Property Organization committee seeking ways to protect genetic resources, progress was achieved and some agreement was within reach. However, on the last day, the United States, supported by Japan, rose against the consensus on a draft text, provoking the ire of developing countries, and general disappointment.


      A number of countries taking the floor complimented the methodology of the week, which relied on several modes of discussions to bridge gaps. Prior to the session, and Ad Hoc Expert Group was convened, then at the beginning of the week, core issues were discussed in closed contact groups, which fed the work of the drafting group, and closed informal discussion completed the negotiation process.

      This methodology, according to most, allowed the emergence of a “package approach.” The approach was seeking to satisfy both those who think that the instrument and mandatory disclosure of source should only relate to patents, and those who think that other IP rights should also be included, such as trademarks and geographical indications. The package approach takes a patent-only focus, and to balance this, included a commitment to review a potential treaty within four years of its entry into force to introduce other IP rights, such as trademarks or geographical indications. This package approach was considered as a breakthrough by many countries, and the IGC chair.

    • Documents Raise New Concerns About Lithium Study on Children
      Newly obtained records raise additional concerns about the research and oversight of Dr. Mani Pavuluri, a star pediatric psychiatrist at the University of Illinois at Chicago whose clinical trial studying the effects of the powerful drug lithium on children was shuttered for misconduct.


      NIMH demanded the refund, a rare rebuke, after determining there had been “serious and continuing noncompliance” by Pavuluri as well as failures by the university’s institutional review board, or IRB, a faculty panel responsible for reviewing research involving human subjects.

      Among other findings, NIMH concluded Pavuluri tested lithium on children younger than 13 though she was told not to and failed to properly alert parents of the study’s risks. A university investigation concluded she falsified data to cover up the misconduct, according to documents.

  • Security

    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #166
    • A Malware is Allegedly Creeping in on Linux Systems and it’s Aggressive
      Linux systems have been under attack by different kinds of malware and worms in the past including the famous one Mirai which literally means Japanese future. Mirai was developed by three American students and was considered deadly for Linux. Only recently, a new kind of a worm is roaming around and gradually creeping in on the systems of Linux and is being considered quite aggressive by malware experts. Although, the information and facts surrounding this new addition to Linux’s worm family is still vague, some authentic news from a twitter user has arrived.

    • Linux targeted by illicit cryptocurrency miners
      Illicit cryptocurrency mining, also known as cryptojacking, continues to gain momentum, with 98.8% of common Linux/Downloader malware variants in the first quarter of 2018 designed to deliver a Linux-based cryptocurrency miner.

    • Cryptocurrency mining malware is on the rise – and its finding its way into corporate networks
      Malicious software that engages in cryptocurrency mining on unsuspecting users’ computers is on the rise. Furthermore, such cryptocurrency mining malware is increasingly finding its way into corporate networks, according to WatchGuard Technologies.

    • Over Two Million Cryptocurrency Addresses Tracked by Clipboard Hijacking Malware
      Since it relies on manipulation of a specific DLL, it’s doubtful that this would cause issues for GNU/Linux installations either. No one has yet commented on whether the use of Wine would at all influence the security profile for Unix users.
    • Security updates for Tuesday

    • New RAMpage exploit revives Rowhammer attack to root Android devices

      Both Drammer and the newly disclosed RAMpage attacks exploit Rowhammer, a class of exploit that alters data stored in memory chips by repeatedly accessing the internal rows where individual bits are stored. By “hammering” the rows thousands of times a second, the technique causes the bits to flip, meaning 0s are changed to 1s and vice versa.

      The original Rowhammer attack against PCs made it possible for an untrusted computer application to gain nearly unfettered system privileges or to bypass security sandboxes designed to keep malicious code from accessing sensitive operating system resources. A later variation allowed JavaScript hosted on websites to effect the same security-sensitive bitflips.

    • Decreasing Vulnerabilities Seen in Red Hat Linux

    • Over 20,000 Container Management Dashboards Are Exposed on the Internet
      Even though it’s highly discouraged to expose any kind of management dashboard directly to the internet, there are many users who continue to ignore this recommendation, and it seems that infrastructure admins are no exception.

      A recent study by cloud security firm Lacework found over 22,000 publicly exposed container orchestration and API management systems, about 300 of which could be accessed without any credentials and gave attackers full control or remote code execution capability on containers.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why We Are Leaving the G.O.P.
      The Republican Party once opposed government intervention in the bedroom and the doctor’s office. No longer.
    • Donald Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Can Be Blocked
      It is possible that just one Republican vote could be enough (in combination with Democrats) to prevent a lurch to the right.
    • Brain injury, sound-attack fears spread in China as more Americans evacuated

      Officials are still baffled amid new cases and reports of abnormal sounds, sensations.
    • Former US Envoy to Moscow Calls Intelligence Report on Alleged Russian Interference ‘Politically Motivated’
      Did the U.S. “intelligence community” judge that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election?

      Most commentators seem to think so. Every news report I have read of the planned meeting of Presidents Trump and Putin in July refers to “Russian interference” as a fact and asks whether the matter will be discussed. Reports that President Putin denied involvement in the election are scoffed at, usually with a claim that the U.S. “intelligence community” proved Russian interference. In fact, the U.S. “intelligence community” has not done so. The intelligence community as a whole has not been tasked to make a judgment and some key members of that community did not participate in the report that is routinely cited as “proof” of “Russian interference.”

      I spent the 35 years of my government service with a “top secret” clearance. When I reached the rank of ambassador and also worked as Special Assistant to the President for National Security, I also had clearances for “codeword” material. At that time, intelligence reports to the president relating to Soviet and European affairs were routed through me for comment. I developed at that time a “feel” for the strengths and weaknesses of the various American intelligence agencies. It is with that background that I read the January 6, 2017 report of three intelligence agencies: the CIA, FBI, and NSA.

    • Facebook promises to better explain who is paying for ads

      The social network has added a new feature which enables users to see the adverts any firm with a Facebook page is running on the site at that time and to report any adverts they believe are suspicious.

    • Josh Marshall on Facebook

      Now in How Facebook Punked and then Gut Punched the News Biz Marshall is still not happy with Google, although the relationship is one he can live with. But he's really thankful he never had much of a relationship with Facebook:

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Uganda to Block VPNs After People Begin Avoiding New Social Media Tax

      As of yesterday, social media use in Uganda became a taxable activity, with users of Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, Tinder and dozens of other services all hit by new legislation. With users flooding to VPNs to avoid this new assault on their pockets, VPN use has gone through the roof. In response, the government says it has ordered local ISPs to begin blocking VPNs.

    • Facebook’s Political Rule Blocks Ads for Bush’s Beans, Singers Named Clinton

      But there are other entities caught up in the mess that had no reason to pay attention to Facebook’s new rules for advertisers, until their content was blocked.

    • California Supreme Court: Yelp can't be ordered to take down negative posts

      The ruling was handed down as a growing number of liberals [sic] and conservatives turn to Yelp as a way to seize on cultural controversies. The site was flooded with comments after the Red Hen restaurant in Virginia refused to serve White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders last month.

    • Yelp can't be forced to remove negative posts, California Supreme Court rules

      Online review site cannot be ordered to remove posts against a San Francisco law firm that a judge determined were defamatory, a divided California Supreme Court ruled Monday in a closely watched case that internet companies had warned could be used to silence online speech.

      Justices agreed in a 4-3 opinion, saying removal orders such as the one attorney Dawn Hassell obtained against Yelp "could interfere with and undermine the viability of an online platform."

    • Turkish underworld joins war on journalists

      Government pressure on Turkish journalists is nothing new. But now the country’s beleaguered press corps is faced with an altogether new threat: the Turkish mafia. Six journalists and the owner of Karar, a mildly oppositionist newspaper, were placed under police protection after a notorious organized crime boss, Alaattin Cakici, called on his men to “punish them,” which in mafia speak is code for murder.

    • Why We’ve Filed a Lawsuit Against a US Federal Law Targeting Sex Workers

      That’s why we at Human Rights Watch filed the first lawsuit against FOSTA this week, along with the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, the Internet Archive, an activist for sex workers’ rights, and a licensed massage therapist. We are proud to be represented in this effort by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.

    • Tripura journalists’ killings: CBI books three IPFT leaders, 300-500 activists

      The state police’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) had probed the killing and filed a chargesheet. It had also investigated the killing of Santanu Bhowmik, but is yet to file a chargesheet.

    • NY Times, Winner Of A Key 1st Amendment Case, Suddenly Seems Upset That 1st Amendment Protects Conservatives Too
      That's about right. I'd also argue that it's a masterclass in confirmation bias and cherry-picking. It starts with the thesis of conservatives weaponizing free speech, and then tries to build a structure around that, ignoring any and all evidence to the contrary. I should also note that just about any argument that tries to lump a giant group of the population together as "conservatives" or "liberals" or "right wing" or "left wing" is generally going to be nonsense and cherry picking, rather than anything useful. And this article is no exception.

      The key -- incredibly stupid -- underlying argument is that everything went downhill for "liberal" free speech when corporations started winning First Amendment cases. This is a really bad take -- and just to point out why, I'll point you to the New York Times v. Sullivan, one of the most important defamation cases ever decided by the courts, which used the First Amendment to make sure that the press had very strong protections in printing what they wanted without allowing angry litigants to take them down with defamation lawsuits. That case is only won by the NY Times -- the same publication that published this latest silly article -- because a corporation (the NY Times Company) is able to have First Amendment rights. Without corporations getting First Amendment rights, defamation cases would sink any publication doing serious reporting.

      That this same NY Times is now publishing this tripe is a travesty and spits on that legacy.

      Besides, if you're actually interested in the same issues about corporations using the First Amendment, a much better take on this topic was done just a couple months ago in an episode called How Corporations Got Rights. It takes a much more reasonable look at this issue and highlights why we shouldn't be so quick to complain about corporations having fundamental rights.
    • California Court Not Yet Ready To Undermine The Entire Internet; Rules Yelp Can't Be Forced To Delete A Review
      In 2016, Techdirt wrote about a troubling case, Hassell v. Bird, in which a court issued an injunction telling Yelp to delete a review after a lawyer won a default judgment in a defamation case. The court ignored that Section 230 of the CDA says that platforms like Yelp cannot be held liable (and thus can't be legally mandated) to remove content of third parties, and didn't seem to care that Yelp wasn't even a party in the case.

      The good news is that Yelp won its appeal of the injunction. The bad news, though, is that it barely won, and the relatively elegant, cogent opinion finding that Section 230 prevented the injunction is tempered in its effect by only being a plurality decision: victorious in its ultimate holding only because of a concurring vote on different grounds that provided a less-than-full-throated endorsement of the plurality's conclusion.

    • How To Access Blocked Websites? — 13 Easy Ways To Bypass Them

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Apps and services should auto-delete personal data after a few months by default

      Do every app and web service we use really need to keep all the data they collect until long after we’re all dead? I believe more services should be designed to auto-delete old junk by default, and only optionally store things for longer. —and since the introduction of the GDPR, the European Parliament agrees with me.

      Last month, I wrote about how Flattr automatically deletes data they’ve collect from your web browser history after three months. You get little to no value from them holding on to it for any longer, and they don’t really get much value from it either.

      Since the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), this should have been the new default. Yet it’s hard to come by examples of any other company that voluntarily deletes the data it has collected about you when its no longer necessary to retain it.

    • Browser Extension Stylish Knows What Porn You Watch (And All of Your Web History)
      Stylish, a browser extension with two million users, has been monitoring your browsing history for over a year.

      Stylish was once a great way to remove annoying features from websites—trending topics on Facebook, say, or that annoying bar that follows you as you scroll on Medium. To do this Stylish, the browser extension, needs access to every website you visit.
    • "Stylish" browser extension steals all your internet history
      Before it became a covert surveillance tool disguised as an outstanding browser extension, Stylish really was an outstanding browser extension. It bestowed upon its users nothing less than the power to change the appearance of the internet. Its extensive bank of user-made skins gave bright websites a dark background, undid disliked UI changes, and added manga pictures to everything that wasn’t a manga picture already. I spent many wonderful hours in its simple CSS editor, hiding the distracting parts of the web whilst unknowingly being spied on. Facebook news feed - gone. Twitter news feed - gone. Personal browsing history - gone. Quality of life and unexplained ennui - up and down respectively.
    • Light is working on a nine-camera smartphone prototype
      Light — the company behind the still incredible-looking L16 camera, which packed 16 lenses into one pocket-sized device — may be setting its sights toward the smartphone game, with The Washington Post reporting that the company is experimenting with prototype phones featuring between five and nine camera lenses on the back.
    • Facebook Bug Gave Blocked Users Access to Your Posts and Photos
      A Facebook bug temporarily unblocked people for 800,000 Facebook users, briefly giving blocked individuals access to posts and photos.

      Blocking isn’t petty. Okay: sometimes it’s petty. But frequently blocking is a vital tool for personal safety, helping to keep stalkers and abusive former partners at bay.
    • Facebook Reveals Its Love For Sharing Your Data: These “Privileged” Firms Had Access To Deep Data
      Every day, Facebook comes up with new revelations denoting how much the company loves sharing our private data wrapping it in two words — “connecting communities.” Apparently, every action they took without the user consent was in the best interest of the whole community.

      In another disclosure, Facebook has handed a 747-page document to the US House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday, admitting that it granted special access to 52 companies with users data.
    • SA company's newly patented tech can tell when you're sharing Wi-Fi with neighbors
    • Facebook holds this patent that can tell when you will die
      It’s often said that when you’re in the eye of the storm, it does pass sooner or later and calmness descends. The maxim doesn’t really hold true for social media giant Facebook. The trickle effect of the personal data of millions of users being leaked continues to bring headlines for Mark Zuckerberg’s company.
    • Facebook filed patent for ambient audio system: Rejoice they said they will not use it
      Now this seems curious. A company files a patent application for a system that it never intends to use. Why bother? Facebook, the company that filed, has its reasons but first let us see what the patent is all about. Facebook filed to patent a system that can remotely activate the mic on your smartphone using inaudible signals broadcast via a television.

    • Ben Goertzel: These 12 Google DeepMind Patent Apps Should Scare Us All
      So recently I noticed that the folks at Google DeepFind have been filing a bunch of patent applications for well-known AI techniques, all or nearly all of which certainly are not their original inventions.

      See for yourself. The dozen patent applications I’m referring are the first AI applications from DeepMind to be made public since Google bought it for $625M back in 2014 . The applications, which were all filed between September and December 2016, are public now because 18 months has passed since their filing.

    • Ahead of Senate vote, Mozilla endorses Brazilian Data Protection Bill (PLC 53/2018)
      As soon as this week, the Brazilian Senate may vote on Brazilian Data Protection Bill (PLC 53/2018), which was approved by the Chamber of Deputies on May 29th following nearly a decade of debate on various draft bills. While aspects of the bill will no doubt need to be refined and evolve with time, overall, Mozilla believes this bill represents a strong baseline data protection framework for Brazil, and we urge Brazilian policymakers to pass it quickly.

    • Reminder: Third Party Gmail Apps Have Full Access to Your Email
      Remember that “cool” free Gmail app you installed years ago and then forgot about? It probably still has access to your email, and actual humans might be sifting through them.
    • Google Slammed For Giving Gmail Access To Third Party Developers (Humans)

    • Gmail Developers Read Your Email, Bodhi Linux Media Is a New Distro for Artists, Mozilla's July Featured Extensions and More
      ers to see users' email and private details, and read entire messages. According to a related story on The Verge, while some email apps "do need to receive user consent, the consent form isn't exactly clear that it would allow humans—and not just computers—to read your emails." In addition, Google told The Verge that it gives data only to "vetted third-party developers and with users' explicit consent" and also that Google employees may read your email, but only in "very specific cases where you ask us to and give consent, or where we need to for security purposes, such as investigating a bug or abuse".

    • Tech’s ‘Dirty Secret’: The App Developers Sifting Through Your Gmail

      Google said a year ago it would stop its computers from scanning the inboxes of Gmail users for information to personalize advertisements, saying it wanted users to “remain confident that Google will keep privacy and security paramount.”

      But the internet giant continues to let hundreds of outside software developers scan the inboxes of millions of Gmail users who signed up for email-based services offering shopping price comparisons, automated travel-itinerary planners or other tools. Google does little to police those developers,..
    • Researchers Reveal Details Of Printer Tracking Dots, Develop Free Software To Defeat It

      Despite the EFF's early work in exposing the practice, there has been limited information available about the various tracking systems. Two German researchers at the Technical University in Dresden, Timo Richter and Stephan Escher, have now greatly extended our knowledge about the yellow dot code (via As the published paper on the work explains, the researchers looked at 1286 printed pages from 141 printers, produced by 18 different manufacturers. They discovered four different encoding systems, including one that was hitherto unknown. The yellow dots formed grids with 48, 64, 69 or 98 points; using the grid to encode binary data, the hidden information was repeated multiple times across the printed page. In all cases the researchers were able to extract the manufacturer's name, the model's serial number, and for some printers the date and time of printing too.

      It's obviously good to have all this new information about tracking dots, but arguably even more important is a software tool that the researchers have written, and made freely available. It can be used to obfuscate tracking information that a printer places in one of the four grid patterns, thus ensuring that the hard copy documents cannot easily be used to trace who printed them. Printer manufacturers will doubtless come up with new ways of tracking documents, and may already be using some we don't know about, but this latest work at least makes it harder with existing models.

    • Summer of Code: Checkstyle to the rescue!
      Today I added some checkstyle rules to PGPainless.Checkstyle is a gradle plugin, which checks the source code for style violations.

      Some say, strict checkstyle rules are unnecessary and that it is annoying to be held back from pushing a commit to the master branch only to fix “style issues” for half an hour. I must say, in the beginning I thought the same way. I was annoyed thinking “why does it matter, if a line comment ends with a period or not?” But after being forced to give it a try when I first became a contributor to the Smack project, I became a fan of it. In the beginning I had to often recommit my changes because they broke the checkstyle rules. For example I often forgot to leave spaces between mathematical operators. I would write “i = 5+5;” instead of “i = 5 + 5;”. But after some amount of time, I got less and less warnings.

    • What is the revenue generation model for DuckDuckGo?

      DuckDuckGo has been a profitable company since 2014 without storing or sharing any personal information on people using our search engine. As we like to say, what you search on DuckDuckGo is private, even from us! We’re proud to have a business model for a web-based business that’s profitable without making your personal information the product. I’m happy to tell you all about how we make it work (and how other companies can, too).

    • Facebook shared private data with 61 companies

    • UK surveillance report recommends central biometrics database for the rozzers

      It would have permission to store anything from fingerprints, eye prints, photos, voice data, and yes, of course, DNA. It would be accessible to the police for criminal investigations and to the Border Force for checking migrants at borders and when applying for Visas.

      Given that so far, facial recognition has been a complete crock, the government has openly said it won't be able to afford to remove innocent people from the crime database and in general, the whole idea is more of a threat to privacy than upskirt x-ray cameras.

    • California just rushed through its own GDPR-style privacy law

      The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is very similar to the EU GDPR act, and way over and above what US consumers are used to. It states that consumers can view data that company's hold, request for it to be deleted, and ensure it never, ever gets sold for penneth.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • CBS News interview with ICE whistleblower interrupted by surprise visit from government agents

      In his first television interview, former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesperson James Schwab has opened up about why he abruptly resigned in March. But his interview with CBS News' Jamie Yuccas on Wednesday was unexpectedly interrupted by agents identifying themselves as agents from the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General's Office.

    • Tales From The 4G Rumour Mill

      [...] In no time, a usually laidback Shillong was in the grip of both fear and rage, courtesy, innumerable WhatsApp forwards, Facebook shares and retweets.

      No one bothered to check the veracity of the ‘news’ as angry local residents descended on the streets, baying for the blood of their ‘enemies’. When police intervened, they were showered with stones and bricks. Such was the anger that mobs even defied curfew and continued their rampage—pelting stones, attacking religious places, damaging vehicles, anything that came their way.

    • The A.C.L.U.’s Fight to Reunite Families Separated Under Trump
      On the morning of Friday, June 22, the American Civil Liberties Union won a major Supreme Court decision in Carpenter v. United States, which was possibly, at least in terms of pure jurisprudence, the most important case argued before the court this past session. It was a landmark ruling that changed the future of digital privacy in America, but news of the win was only the second most important thing happening at the A.C.L.U. offices that day. At 3 p.m., a conference call was scheduled to discuss the more than 2,000 children whose fates were tied to another A.C.L.U. suit against the government.

      That case — Ms. L. v. ICE — was filed in late February, long before most of the rest of the world was aware that thousands of children were being separated from their families at the border. (As a point of comparison, a coalition of 18 state attorneys general filed a suit to stop family separation on June 26, four months to the day after the A.C.L.U. filed its suit.) It began with a single client, a 39-year-old Congolese woman, Ms. L., whose daughter was taken from her in November 2017, but it quickly grew into a national class action on behalf of every family whose children had been taken from them.

      On June 6, Judge Dana M. Sabraw, a George W. Bush nominee in the Southern District of California, rejected the government’s motion to dismiss the case and ruled that in detaining the immigrants, it was violating the due-process clause of the Fifth Amendment. The A.C.L.U. asked that Sabraw issue a nationwide injunction, which the judge was still considering when the White House, with no legal room to maneuver and public outcry intensifying by the day, issued an executive order on June 20 saying the practice would be stopped. Now, on that Friday afternoon, Sabraw asked the lawyers to call in to discuss how the executive order affected their cases. Did the White House’s decision — in theory, anyway — negate the need for a nationwide injunction to stop family separation? And how did it affect the children who had already been separated?

    • Obrador Seeks to Restore Mexican Sovereignty
      International media touted the neoliberal reforms of President Enrique Peña Nieto for the past year or two. However, when the “reform” narrative proved hollow, Nieto’s approval rating plunged from almost 50 to barely 10 percent. So the establishment narrative changed: it shifted to a flawed portrayal of Andrés Manuel López Obrador as a Mexican Hugo Chávez who endangers Mexico’s future.

      Perhaps that’s why before his landslide election victory as president on Sunday The Economist called Obrador “Mexico’s answer to Donald Trump” whose “nationalist populism” offers “many reasons to worry about Mexico’s most likely next president.” Similarly, U.S.-based economic hit men and political risk groups, including Ian Bremmer’s Eurasia Group, framed Obrador’s popular front as a “significant market risk.”

      With few variations, the same narrative was replicated in establishment media. The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time, Newsweek and The Financial Times warned of a “firebrand leftist” whose biography is “replete with danger signals.”

      What these ideologically-driven reports didn’t say is that Obrador is neither an overnight phenomenon nor Trump-induced collateral damage. In reality, Obrador’s movement is a belated triumph for Mexico’s popular will after decades of electoral fraud.

    • Judge Says Parents Can Continue With Lawsuit Against Police Officer Who Helped Kill Their Son

      Five years after the Mesquite PD ended 18-year-old Graham Dyer's life, his family is being allowed to move forward with its lawsuit against one of the officers involved. Dyer was picked up for public intoxication after a 911 call. The 5'4" 110-lb. Dyer had been observed by friends acting strangely, stumbling and nearly walking into traffic. What should have been a simple arrest escalated into a horrific series of events that ended with Graham Dyer lying dead in a jail cell.

      Dyer was tased repeatedly by officers while laying unrestrained in the back seat of their cruiser. Very little effort was made to calm Dyer down as he thrashed around the back seat slamming his head repeatedly on the cruiser's door and seat. Officer Gafford -- the only defendant remaining in the Dyers' lawsuit -- tased Dyer directly in the groin twice (Gafford claims he was "aiming" for Dyer's thigh) and also told the teen, "Motherfucker, I'm going to kill you."

    • The Department of Homeland Security’s Own Watchdog Says ICE Detention Inspections Are Meaningless
      Independent government report finds that deficient inspections contribute to systemic failures in the ICE detention system.

      In response to its own nightmarish family separation and zero-tolerance policies, the Trump administration is claiming that in order to keep families together, it must jail them. This isn’t only untrue — it’s expanding a system that puts the health and welfare of immigrants at risk, according to an independent oversight agency.

      A new report by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General confirms that Immigration and Customs Enforcement jails are profoundly dangerous places with few safeguards to protect the rights of those detained, much less children and families. The inspector general’s report details how ICE inspections and monitoring of immigrant detention facilities fail on multiple levels.

      Rather than address these abject failures, the Trump administration is damningly taking the opposite tack. It now wants to detain tens of thousands of immigrant children and families in ad hoc family jails, including on military bases or in newly constructed facilities under Department of Homeland Security control.

      Over the last week alone, DHS asked the Department of Defense to jail 12,000 immigrant children and parents on military bases and issued a request for information to detain an additional 15,000 people in family jails.

      The Trump administration thinks it can get away with swiftly expanding detention by building family jails and contracting with the Bureau of Prisons because the existing patchwork of over 200 immigration detention facilities — including private prisons and county jails — operates with impunity. Oversight and accountability of these failed operations, reports the inspector general, is predictably scant.

    • MS-13 Beat Me Up and Threatened to Kill Me. Then the US Government Took My Kids.

      I crossed the border into the United States on March 13 in search of safety for myself and my sons, ages 4 and 10. We had fled for our lives from El Salvador, where MS-13 gang members had threatened to kill us. We turned ourselves in to the first Border Patrol officers we saw after crossing into Texas. They took us to a Border Patrol station, where I tried to explain that my sons and I needed protection. I could never have imagined immigration authorities would take my children away from me for seeking asylum.

      The immigration officers told me that I was going to be taken to an immigration detention center. They said my sons could not come with me. I was given only five minutes to say goodbye. My babies started crying. It breaks my heart to remember my youngest wail, “Why do I have to leave? Mami, I want to stay with you!” My oldest was confused and did not understand what was happening.

    • DeVos Doesn’t Believe that Promoting Racial Diversity in Schools Is a Worthwhile Cause
      The Trump Administration is revoking Obama-era guidance focused on ending racial isolation and disparities in schools.

      The Trump administration on Tuesday rescinded federal guidance, including guidelines created in 2011 to promote racial diversity in higher education and end the growing racial isolation in K-12 classrooms. The move reflects the administration’s latest attempt to retreat on the important progress made since Brown v. Board of Education prohibited school segregation 64 years ago and despite Supreme Court rulings protecting affirmative action.

      The move is particularly disturbing because the guidelines, put in place by the Obama administration, did not break new ground. Instead, they provided a thoughtful and clear explanation of two Supreme Court cases governing the use of race in K-12 education and higher education. Those two cases, Parents Involved v. Seattle Schools and Grutter v. Bollinger, recognized the importance of promoting diversity in learning environments and established parameters for doing so. While their ruling still stands today, DeVos’ announcement signals a dangerous hostility from the Trump administration towards the idea that promoting racial diversity is in the best interest of America.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • This Shouldn't Need Saying: Threatening To Kill Anyone Over Net Neutrality Is Idiotic
      It's indisputable that Ajit Pai's attack on net neutrality was a facts-optional hatchet job of historical proportions. Pai ignored the public, the experts, ethical boundaries, and FCC guidelines as he rushed to give a sloppy wet kiss to some of the most disliked and anti-competitive companies in any American industry. Making matters worse, Pai repeatedly rubbed salt in the wound by behaving like a tone-deaf ass at numerous points during the bizarre and amateurish gambit.

      That said, however terrible Ajit Pai has been (and he has been historically terrible), it should go without saying that threatening the FCC boss or his family is both idiotic and counterproductive.

      You'll recall that Pai was forced to cancel his appearance at CES back in January due to death threats.

    • How to fix what has gone wrong with the internet

      At the heart of their disenchantment, this special report will argue, is that the [I]nternet has become much more “centralised” (in the tech crowd’s terminology) than it was even ten years ago. Both in the West and in China, the activities this global network of networks makes possible are dominated by a few giants, from Facebook to Tencent. In his latest book, “The Square and the Tower”, Niall Ferguson, a historian, explains that this pattern—a disruptive new network being infiltrated by a new hierarchy—has many historical precedents. Examples range from the invention of the printing press to the Industrial Revolution.

    • End of an era as 16 years old StumbleUpon goes offline

      The news of StumbleUpon going offline on June 30 was first announced by founder Garrett Camp, who also founded Uber, in a post on Medium back on May 24. "Sixteen years ago, we started StumbleUpon to help people discover new webpages. The idea was simple: click a button to find a cool webpage. It was easy and fun," Camp wrote in the post adding that over the years the platform had delivered nearly 60 billion stumbles to 40 million users.

    • Domain Name Registrations Reach 333.8 Million in 1Q18
      There are more choices for organizations than ever before when it comes to choosing an internet domain name. Yet despite the choices, the dot com domain still retains its crown as the largest domain registry.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Actavis UK Limited v Eli Lilly, Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, [2017] UKSC 48, 12 July 2017
      The Supreme Court concluded that it was appropriate for it to reformulate the so-called Improver (or ‘Protocol’) questions, which provide guidance as to whether a variant is immaterial where there is no literal infringement.

    • SPC?change: The European Commission's controversial waiver proposal
      A controversial proposal to introduce an export manufacturing waiver for supplementary protection certificates could cause more problems than it solves, reports Patrick Wingrove

      The European Commission at the end of May proposed introducing an export manufacturing waiver for supplementary protection certificates (SPCs).

    • Copyrights

      • EU Copyright Reform: a letter to my MEP, Siôn Simon, about Article 13
        Thank you for your comments on Twitter welcoming my feedback on the EU’s proposed copyright reform. I’d like to discuss in particular Article 13, “Use of protected content by information society service providers storing and giving access to large amounts of works and other subject-matter uploaded by their users”.

        Firstly I should say that I am in general in favour of the EU’s overall approach to data collection and privacy, and of the goal of copyright reform. I am also in favour of the goals of Article 13: improving the rights of creators over giant American tech companies (and there was a great recent letter in the Guardian on this point). My concerns with Article 13 are not with what it’s trying to do, but in the implementation: it is loosely worded to the point where it will cause serious problems, it materially underweights the costs and hassle of compliance, and it pushes for unreliable technology without requiring any oversight.

      • EU Parliament's Legislative Affairs Committee Is Now Misleading Members Of Parliament In Effort To Fundamentally Alter The Internet
        We've had a bunch of posts today alone (and in the past few weeks) about the absolutely terrible EU Copyright Directive that the wider EU Parliament will vote on this Thursday. The version that will receive a vote on Thursday was only just released and it shows that the legislative affairs committee, JURI, that voted for it a few weeks ago actually took a really bad proposal and made it significantly worse. As more and more people have woken up to this fact and started calling it out, it appears that JURI is going on the offensive. And I mean "offensive" in both definitions of the word.

      • Copyright Industries Reveal Their Ultimate Goal: An Internet Where Everything Online Requires A License From Them
        Once again, there is no attempt to demonstrate that Article 13 is not about censorship, merely an assertion that it isn't, together with the usual claim that it's all being orchestrated by big US Internet companies. The fact that over two-thirds of a million people have signed an online petition calling for the "censorship machine" of Article 13 to be stopped rather punctures that tired argument.

        More interesting is the second sentence, which essentially confirms that for the recording industry, the Copyright Directive -- and, indeed, the Internet itself -- is purely about getting as much money as possible. There is no sense that there are other important aspects -- like encouraging ordinary people to express themselves, and to be creative for the sheer joy of creating, or in order to amuse and engage with friends and strangers. The fact that all these non-commercial uses will be adversely affected by Article 13 is irrelevant to the recording industry, which seems to believe that making a profit takes precedence over everything else. However, even if they choose to ignore this side of the Internet, the signatories of the letter are well-aware that there is a huge backlash against the proposed law precisely because it is a threat to this kind of everyday online use.

      • Axel Voss, MEP Behind Awful Internet Destroying EU Copyright Directive, Tries To Defend His Plan
        Axel Voss, the German Member of the EU Parliament in charge of pushing through the absolutely awful EU Copyright Directive is apparently (finally) feeling some of the heat from people speaking up about just how terrible Articles 11 (link tax) and 13 (mandatory upload filters) will be for the internet. He's put out a video attempting to defend the plan. Even if you don't speak German, I'd recommend watching the video to see his smirk throughout the whole thing. He does not seem to care, nor does he seem to understand the actual implications of what he's doing. Considering that many have tried to explain this to him already, I doubt that we will change his mind, but it's worth exploring just how clueless he appears to be on this issue, and how that should worry Europeans about the future of their internet.


        Bandcamp, Patreon, Kickstarter, Vimeo, Medium, Etsy, DeviantArt, Shapeways, Wordpress, Wix, Lulu, PledgeMusic, Artistshare, Blurb, Scribd, Smashwords, Redbubble, CreateSpace. These are all platforms that are helping a variety of creators create, build up an audience and make money. Yet all of them will be hit hard by Article 13's ridiculous mandatory upload filters, which will in turn do tremendous harm to artists, taking away or greatly limiting their ability to use these platforms. The idea that there's some "imbalance" that Voss can magically fix is nonsense. He's been hearing too much from a few old school legacy businesses that failed to adapt to the internet and now blame Google. And his response is to saddle tons of internet platforms with an unworkable system that will harm all sorts of content creators. Meanwhile, his main target, Google, already has in place a system that has paid out billions of dollars to creators. Yet he continues to lie and claim there is no "remuneration"?

      • Latest Text Of EU Copyright Directive Shows It's Even Worse Than Expected: Must Be Stopped

        So now supporters of Article 11 will point to this new line and say "see?!? it's not about a link tax." Which would be great... if the rest of the text actually lived up to that. Unfortunately, basically every bit of the rest of Article 11 undermines that. Because it still creates a license requirement on a snippet of any length, and most URLs these days include a "snippet" of the headline of an article within the URL itself. Unless everyone starts stripping the text that includes such snippets -- making URLs significantly less useful -- those links will still run afoul of this licensing/tax requirement. Thus, them declaring that a hyperlink is not covered is meaningless if the rest of the directive can only be read in a manner that would include nearly all links.

        Once again, it appears this amendment was written by someone who has no functional understanding of how the internet works, and thus does not realize how badly drafted this proposal is. It's the kind of thing a non-technically-inclined lawyer would write in response to people calling this a "link tax." "Oh," they would say, "well, let's just say it doesn't apply to links," even if any reading of the directive would mean it absolutely must apply to most links -- especially any that use any sort of descriptive text. On top of that if you share a link on a platform like Twitter or Facebook that automatically sucks in some snippet text, you're now violating the law as well.

        Another change made by JURI is much, much, much more concerning. This is on Article 13, the part about mandatory upload filters. For unclear and unknown reasons, JURI decided to expand Article 13 to make it even more ridiculous. First, it redefines an "online content sharing services" to completely wipe out any intermediary liability protections for such platforms. The most standard form of protecting platforms from liability is to note (correctly!) that a platform is just a tool and is not the publisher or speaker of works posted/uploaded by third-party users. That's sensible. You can then (as the EU already does) put certain restrictions on those protections, such as requiring a form of a notice-and-takedown regime. But, the fundamental, common sense, idea is that a platform is the tool, and not the actual "speaker" of the third party content.

      • FIFA Is Not Okay With Dancing In Front of the TV
        It’s World Cup time. That means goals. And goals means goal celebrations. Here’s a compilation of U.S. soccer fans celebrating a last-second goal in the 2010 World Cup. Ah, memories. Anyway, FIFA apparently doesn’t like it when fans celebrate near their television sets. It sent a takedown notice aimed at a five-second video of a young boy celebrating in his living room.

        Following a goal in the England-Tunisia match, Kathryn Conn posted a five-second video of her seven-year-old son celebrating. Conn explained that her son “is a massive Spurs fan and he absolutely worships Harry Kane so he started dancing around in the living room.” Unfortunately, the dancing occurred in front of a television still playing the game. And if there’s one thing FIFA is serious about, it’s their copyright.

        Conn says she woke up the next morning to find the video deleted from Twitter and a notice that it was due to a DMCA takedown notice from FIFA, which apparently was worried that a blurry background shot of a soccer game in a five-second video would make people less likely to watch 2018’s most-viewed TV event in England.

      • 10 Best Torrent Sites For 2018 To Download Your Favorite Torrents
        We are in the middle of the calendar year, the time when many people realize they stop using 2017 instead of 2018 when writing dates. The chances are high that the loyal members of the BitTorrent community have already started to look for the best torrent sites for 2018.

      • What’s at stake in the July 5 #SaveYourInternet vote: The text, explained

        What will they vote on exactly? Here’s the complete text of the draft law – below, I’ll decypher the legalese and break down how Articles 11 and 13 will affect you if we don’t stop it from becoming law. (Note: I’ve lightly edited the legal text quoted below for understandability, without changing its meaning.)

      • The value gap proposal in the JURI Committee Report as a consolidation of the existing framework (not the end of the internet)
        Following a number of delays, a few days ago the JURI Committee (Legal Affairs) of the European Parliament finally adopted the text of the Report on the proposed Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market (DSM Directive) as drafted by its Rapporteur, MEP Voss.

        This development, which would allow the European Parliament to begin trilogue negotiations (negotiations between the Council and the European Parliament to reach a compromise between the respective versions of the DSM Directive) follows the earlier vote and, with it, agreed negotiating mandate in the Council of the European Union [here].

        This week (5 July) the plenary of the European Parliament will vote on whether the trilogue negotiations, on the basis of the mandate represented by the JURI Committee Report, may begin [see this helpful Politico infographic].

        The text of the proposed DSM directive has attracted significant attention since its releaseby the EU Commission in September 2016. Among other things, the provision in Article 13 (value gap or transfer of value) has been commented extensively. According to critics, this proposal – if adopted – would affect dramatically the functioning of the internet and introduce brand-new obligations for online actors (online content sharing service providers).
      • What Cartier v BT means for rights holders
        The UK Supreme Court has ruled that brand owners must pay the costs of ISPs blocking sites that sell counterfeit goods. Patrick Wingrove assesses how big these costs could be and whether the ruling will apply to copyright injunctions

        Internet service providers (ISPs) should not pay blocking order costs, the UK Supreme Court ruled in June.
      • How the US Supreme Court is likely to rule in copyright registration case
        Supreme Court in Fourth Estate v will consider whether parties can sue for copyright infringement when they have filed a registration application, or whether they must wait until their application has been evaluated and approved
      • US Senate approves Marrakesh Treaty
        The US moves to join dozen of other countries in allowing visually impaired people to make and distribute copyrighted works in an accessible format without copyright owners’ permission
      • Take a stand before July 5th: Contact your MEP today

        We recently asked you to contact your Members of European Parliment (MEPs) to express your opposition to the Copyright Directive, a proposed policy including a section called Article 13. Article 13 threatens free speech, free culture, and free software. A number of you contacted your MEPs and wrote back to us -- thank you!

        In spite of your efforts, 15 MEPs in the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) voted against Web freedom and passed the Copyright Directive through its first round of approval.

        But there's still hope! The second round is coming up this Thursday, July 5th. We're urging you to contact your MEPs before then.
      • In Contrast To PUBG's Silliness, Bethesda's Copyright Suit Against Warner Bros. Is All About Copyrightable Source Code

        As the silly copyright lawsuit between PUBG and Epic Games has now come to a fortunate end, with the former dropping the lawsuit it filed over similarities in game genre and broad gameplay aspects that are absolutely not afforded copyright protection, it's probably worth highlighting a lawsuit that is the polar opposite in terms of its merits. Now, I want to stress at the outset that I have no idea as of yet whether or not the allegations that spurred this lawsuit are true or not, but it's the actual claims that are important. If adjudicated as true, those claims are absolutely valid from a copyright law standpoint.

        Bethesda, makers of the Fallout franchise in its current iteration, has filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros. and Behavior Interactive, which together have released Westworld, a mobile park management simulation based on the hit HBO series. Bethesda has its own simulation of this kind, called Fallout Shelter. While Bethesda's filing does indeed make much of the clear similarities between the games animations and aesthetics, as well as some of the folks behind the Westworld game clearly saying they drew inspiration from Fallout Shelter, the important difference here is this ultimately comes down to reused specific code.

      • 'We're righting a wrong,' say the artists taking on YouTube

        YouTube makes money from advertising and last year paid $856m (€£650m) in royalties to music companies – an estimated 67 cents from each of its 1.3 billion music lovers annually.

        In the UK, record labels and artists earn more than double the royalties from the sale of 4.1m vinyl records than they did from the 25bn music videos watched on YouTube last year.

        Musician Billy Bragg says the battle against YouTube is less about the potential financial windfall that artists might get, and more about making sure the new digital music power players play fair.

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Links for the day
Gemini Links 18/04/2024: Google Layoffs Again, ByteDance Scandals Return
Links for the day
Gemini Links 18/04/2024: Trying OpenBSD and War on Links Continues
Links for the day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, April 17, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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GNU/Linux news for the past day