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Links 4/8/2018: Debconf18 Roundups and Google's FOSS Policy

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  • Desktop

    • Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition comes with Ubuntu pre-installed
      Dell’s XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop is now available in the US on their website with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) pre-installed, with European availability expected in early August. The launch signals the first availability of Ubuntu’s latest LTS on a major OEM’s hardware since its release in April. Canonical and Dell have worked together to certify Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on the XPS 13.

  • Server

    • Kontron Acquires Inocybe Technologies to Boost Cloud Native Networking Stack
      Kontron announced on Aug. 1 that it is acquiring privately-held networking vendor Inocybe Technologies. Financial terms of the deal have not been publicly disclosed.

      Inocybe is well known in the open source networking community for its support and contributions, particularly to the OpenDayLight (ODL) Software Defined Networking (SDN) controller. Inocybe has also been a leading contributor to the OpenSwitch project as well.

    • How to Lead a Disaster Recovery Exercise For Your On-Call Team
      On-call teams at startups have three big problems: they’re small, they cover a wide breadth of infrastructure, and the last two points usually imply that they lack the bandwidth to maintain and write documentation for a suite of DevOps tools. At SigOpt, our on-call team tackles these challenges with a biannual “disaster recovery exercise”, or simulated outage.

      In this blog post I will show you what a disaster recovery exercise is, how it can diagnose weak points in your infrastructure, and how it can be a learning experience for your on-call team. I hope that by the end you’ll consider running a disaster recovery exercise for your on-call team!

    • Istio Service Mesh Advances to Production
      Istio, the “service mesh” intended to connect application components and thereby boost the capabilities of the Kubernetes cluster orchestrator, has advanced over the past year as a way of managing increasingly popular micro-services.

      Partners Google Cloud, IBM (NYSE: IBM), ride sharer Lyft and Red Hat’s CoreOS unit along with other open source developers announced the 1.0 release of Istio on Tuesday (July 31). Among the goals is simplifying enterprise deployment of micro-services and allowing developers to add, change and route them within cloud-native applications. This, proponents said, can be done without having to update code or rebuild the underlying application containers.

    • Meet Serverless Inc. - The Startup That Aims To Accelerate Serverless Computing
    • Google advances Istio – this could be bigger than Kubernetes and serverless
      As modern digital computing infrastructure continues to evolve, new layers of automation enable increasingly rapid change and adaptation. Once containerization had made it possible to deploy new capabilities in seconds, then the advent of Kubernetes and similar tools added a layer of orchestration to co-ordinate container deployments at scale. A by-product was the easy abstraction of functions into a ‘serverless’ model, where the service was just there, on demand, in the infrastructure. Now a new layer known as the ‘service mesh’ is coming into being to add governance, management and communication across all of these capabilities. This week saw the release of version 1.0 of a new open source framework for service mesh known as Istio, backed, like Kubernetes before it, by Google, along with IBM.

    • Advanced HPC Announces Its Exclusive Platinum Partnership with BeeGFS
      Christopher M. Sullivan is the Assistant Director for Biocomputing at Oregon State University and directs the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing (CGRB). He says BeeGFS has given CGRB a way to distribute their research across a parallel system while keeping the storage space looking like a single container. “BeeGFS is a robust solution that expands our storage space, gives us higher performance with phenomenal management and all at a cost-effective price.”

  • Kernel Space

    • Linus Torvalds Is Hoping WireGuard Will Be Merged Sooner Rather Than Later
      While the WireGuard secure VPN tunnel was just sent out this week for review as the first formal step towards getting it mainlined in the Linux kernel, Linus Torvalds is already looking forward to it.

      While pulling in some networking fixes for the current Linux 4.18 kernel cycle, he couldn't resist commenting on WireGuard and how he hopes it will soon be coming to the mainline kernel via the networking tree.
    • Linux 4.17.12

    • Linux 4.14.60

    • Linux 4.9.117

    • Extending Landlocked Processes
      Mickaël Salaün posted a patch to improve communication between landlocked processes. Landlock is a security module that creates an isolated "sandbox" where a process is prevented from interacting with the rest of the system, even if that process itself is compromised by a hostile attacker. The ultimate goal is to allow regular user processes to isolate themselves in this way, reducing the likelihood that they could be an entry point for an attack against the system.

      Mickaël's patch, which didn't get very far in the review process, aimed specifically at allowing landlocked processes to use system calls to manipulate other processes. To do that, he wanted to force the landlocked process to obey any constraints that also might apply to the target process. For example, the target process may not allow other processes to trace its execution. In that case, the landlocked process should be prevented from doing so.

      Andy Lutomirski looked at the patch and offered some technical suggestions, but on further reflection, he felt Mickaël's approach was too complicated. He felt it was possible that the patch itself was simply unnecessary, but that if it did have a value, it simply should prevent any landlocked process from tracing another process' execution. Andy pointed to certain kernel features that would make the whole issue a lot more problematic. He said, "If something like Tycho's notifiers goes in, then it's not obvious that, just because you have the same set of filters, you have the same privilege. Similarly, if a feature that lets a filter query its cgroup goes in (and you proposed this once!), then the logic you implemented here is wrong."

    • On requiring English in a free software project
      This week's issue of LWN has a quote by Linus Torvalds on translating kernel messages to something else than English. He's against it...

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA 396.51 Linux Graphics Driver Released
        While the NVIDIA 396 Linux driver series should soon be succeeded by a new driver branch, for now the NVIDIA 396.51 Linux driver was outed today as the latest and greatest driver release.

    • Benchmarks

      • 100+ Benchmarks Of Various High-End Intel / AMD Desktop CPUs On Linux 4.18
        With development wrapping up soon on the Linux 4.18 kernel (although it looks like the official release will likely be delayed one week), I've been carrying out some fresh benchmarks of this near-final kernel in the latest Linux Git state on various Intel and AMD desktop CPUs -- mostly the higher-end desktop systems. Here are those 100+ benchmark results across six different systems.

        Using Ubuntu 18.04 LTS x86_64 with a Git kernel build from earlier this week, for your viewing pleasure today are benchmarks from six different Intel/AMD platforms ranging from the Intel Core i7 5960X Haswell-E up through the newer Core i7 8700K, Core i9 7960X, and Core i9 7980XE CPUs on the blue side. On the AMD side is the Ryzen 7 2700X and Threadripper 1950X.

  • Applications

    • Why I still love Alpine for email at the Linux terminal
      Maybe you can relate to this story: You try out a program and really love it. Over the years, new programs are developed that can do the same things and more, maybe even better. You try them out, and they are great too—but you keep coming back to the first program.

      That is the story of my relationship with Alpine Mail. So I decided to write a little article praising my de facto favorite mail program.
    • Taskbook is a Board-based Task Manager for the Command Line
      If you’re looking to stay productive at the command line you’ll want to check out Taskbook.

      Taskbook is a terrifically well made terminal app that lets you create todo lists, jot down notes, and organise your tasks using boards.

      Hacker News described it as “Like Trello but for the Terminal”, a description that isn’t entirely accurate.

      Taskbook is more akin to a plain text to-do list tool than it is a Trello analog for the terminal.

      For instance, it lacks the spatial flow of Trello, i.e. being able to see all of your columns side by side, and there’s no team collaboration features, tagging, or other advanced features.

    • ngrep – A Network Packet Analyzer for Linux
      Ngrep (network grep) is a simple yet powerful network packet analyzer. It is a grep-like tool applied to the network layer – it matches traffic passing over a network interface. It allows you to specify an extended regular or hexadecimal expression to match against data payloads (the actual information or message in transmitted data, but not auto-generated metadata) of packets.

      This tool works with various types of protocols, including IPv4/6, TCP, UDP, ICMPv4/6, IGMP as well as Raw on a number of interfaces. It operates in the same fashion as tcpdump packet sniffing tool.

    • mdl

      The last month I wrote a blog post about the LMDB Cache database and my wish to use that in Fractal. To summarize, LMDB is a memory-mapped key-value database that persist the data to the filesystem. I want to use this in the Fractal desktop application to replace the current state storage system (we're using simple json files) and as a side effect we can use this storage system to share data between threads because currently we're using a big struct AppOp shared with Arc<Mutex<AppOp>> and this cause some problems because we need to share and lock and update the state there.

      The main goal is to define an app data model with smaller structs and store this using LMDB, then we can access to the same data querying the LMDB and we can update the app state storing to the LMDB.

      With this change we don't need to share these structs, we only need to query to the LMDB to get the data and the work with that, and this should simplify our code. The other main benefit will be that we'll have this state in the filesystem by default so when we open the app after close, we'll stay in the same state.

    • s-tui: CPU Monitoring And Stress Testing Console UI Tool
      Besides monitoring your CPU using colored graphs, the TUI (terminal user interface) application can also stress test your CPU using stress or stress-ng. The stress test is configurable, allowing you to specify parameters like time out, Sqrt() and Sync() worker count, Malloc() / Free() worker count, and more.

      s-tui can also integrate with FIRESTARTER, a process stress test utility, though note that this requires building s-tui from source, and apparently FIRESTARTER doesn't work on all systems.

      The 4 graphs (CPU temperature, utilization, power and frequency) displayed by s-tui can be toggled on / off, and in the s-tui sidebar (you may need to scroll down in its sidebar if the terminal is not full-screen) you'll find the top and current CPU frequency, maximum and current temperature, current fan speed, and maximum and current power:

    • Basic Vim Commands Every Linux User Should Know
      A comprehensive guide explaining basic vim commands that will be useful to any Linux user be it a sysadmin or a developer.

    • 15 GNU/Linux Text Editor and IDE Apps in AppImage
      Following the lists of Graphic Designing and Video Editing, here's a list of text editor and IDE for GNU/Linux in AppImage format. They are Geany, Emacs and GVim, Brackets and BlueGriffon, Qt Creator and KDevelop, and more. Most of them are unofficially built by probono (Simon Peter, the father of AppImage technology). To run any app, just mark as executable and double-click the file, very simple.

    • SDKMAN – A CLI Tool To Easily Manage Multiple Software Development Kits
      Are you a developer who often install and test applications on different SDKs? I’ve got a good news for you! Say hello to SDKMAN, a CLI tool that helps you to easily manage multiple software development kits. It provides a convenient way to install, switch, list and remove candidates. Using SDKMAN, you can now manage parallel versions of multiple SDKs easily on any Unix-like operating system. It allows the developers to install Software Development Kits for the JVM such as Java, Groovy, Scala, Kotlin and Ceylon. Ant, Gradle, Grails, Maven, SBT, Spark, Spring Boot, Vert.x and many others are also supported. SDKMAN is free, light weight, open source and written in Bash.

    • Notepadqq An Alternative To Notepad++ For Linux
      Notepadqq is a programmer's text editor program for Linux. It is an alternative to Notepad++, a very popular Windows text editor among programmer's community. Notepadqq is available as a snap app on Ubuntu platform currently, and so is Notepad++. So what makes them different? The answer is one of them is actually a Windows binary that runs on top of WINE (Notepad++) and the other is a native Linux program implemented using Qt technology (Notepadqq).

    • Proprietary

      • 10 Popular Windows Apps That Are Also Available on Linux
        Looking back, 2018 has been a good year for the Linux community. Many applications that were only available on Windows and/or Mac are available on the Linux platform with little to no hassle. Hats off to Snap and Flatpak technologies which have helped bring many “restricted” apps to Linux users.

      • Opera web browser now available as a snap on Linux
        Opera and Canonical have announced the availability of the Opera web browser as a snap package. The well-known web browser is just the latest application to be packaged as a snap for Linux systems, it follows the likes of Skype, the collaborative platform Slack, and the music streaming app Spotify.

      • Opera arrives as an Ubuntu Snap for most Linux distros
        THE OPERA browser has become the latest Ubuntu Snap, allowing Linux users to run virtualised Windows apps in a completely separate process.

        Although made and operated by Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux, Snaps are available to an increasing range of Linux distros, offering amongst others, Slack and Skype in the exact form that Window users are getting them, with all updates and security glitches handled remotely.

        Compatible distros include Debian, Fedora, Mint, Manjaro, Elementary, and OpenSUSE, as well as Ubuntu.

      • Opera browser now available as a Snap for Linux systems
        Good news for users of Linux systems if they love browsing on Opera— the browser is now available in the Snap Store.

        Snap Store is an online app store for Linux users, just like Google Play Store is for Android users. It provides easy-to-install and up-to-date applications directly from the software vendors.

        Opera browser is now available as a containerized software package called Snap, and will work securely within Linux environments across desktop, cloud, as well as IoT (internet of things) devices.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

    • Games

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Life in Deventer
        Time passes. In Deventer, it is chimed by the church bells every hour, and during the day, a tiny concert every quarter-hour. To celebrate the Market, there was a concert of bells yesterday. The guest carillon-master was quite showy, with flourishes and trills! The church is in the next block, so we hear the bells very clearly. Behind the house a short distance is the Roman Catholic church, where yesterday we heard the joyous tolling of bells to celebrate a wedding.


        In short, life is good! My thanks to the KDE e.V. for supporting the KDE community and Akademy, and sponsoring my accomodation while there. My thanks to the Ubuntu community fund for sponsoring my travel here and back home again. My profound and deep thanks to Boud and Irina Rempt for their generosity, thoughtfulness, hospitality, peaceful house and delicious food, and most of all, for asking me to come and live with them in Deventer this week. This is city living at its finest.

      • I’m going to Akademy 2018 – Vienna, Austria
        Akademy is KDE annual conference and comprises of hundreds of attendees from the global community. The venue is Technische Universität Wien (TU Wien) and I’m glad that I’m being sponsored by the KDE e.V.

      • Going to Akademy
        Like many people around, I plan to attend Akademy this year. I unfortunately was not able to attend it last year, when it was in Spain again and damn, I love Spain, but this time I cannot miss it, especially when it’s so closed to Czech Republic.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Purism Shares Latest Librem 5 Phone Hardware Plans, Software Progress
        Purism has shared another routine status update on their software and hardware efforts around the Librem 5 smartphone efforts.

        As covered recently, they have continued work on their calls and messaging apps improvements to their Phosh Wayland shell, virtual keyboard work, security research, and more.
      • Librem 5 general development report – August 3, 2018
        The Librem 5 team has been a busy group with GUADEC along with lots of exciting development changes. Here’s a summary of what has been going on with the Librem 5 team the last few weeks.
      • Mario Sanchez Prada: On Moving
        A few years ago, back in January 2013, my family and me moved to the UK as the result of my decision to leave Igalia after almost 7 years in the company to embark ourselves in the “adventure” or living abroad. This was an idea we had been thinking about for a while already at that time, and our current situation back then suggested that it could be the right moment to try it out… so we did.


        Besides that, I’ve also recently decided to leave Endless after 4 years in the company and so it looks like, once again, moving back home would fit nicely with that work-related change, for several reasons. Now, I don’t want to enter into much detail on why exactly I decided to leave Endless, so I think I’ll summarize it as me needing a change and a rest after these past years working on Endless OS, which has been an equally awesome and intense experience as you can imagine. If anything, I’d just want to be clear on that contributing to such a meaningful project surrounded by such a team of great human beings, was an experience I couldn’t be happier and prouder about, so you can be certain it was not an easy decision to make.
      • Flatpak portal experiments

        One of the signs that a piece of software is reaching a mature state is its ability to serve use cases that nobody had anticipated when it was started. I’ve recently had this experience with Flatpak.

        We have been discussing some possible new directions for the GTK+ file chooser. And it occurred to me that it might be convenient to use the file chooser portal as a way to experiment with different file choosers without having to change either GTK+ itself or the applications.

        To verify this idea, I wrote a quick portal implementation that uses the venerable GTK+ 2 file chooser.
      • Logging from Rust in librsvg

        And this is a problem for librsvg: we are not the program's initialization! Librsvg is a library; it doesn't have a main() function. And since most of the calling code is not Rust, we can't assume that they can call code that can initialize the logging framework.


        For librsvg, this means that the basic RsvgHandle could create its own logger, based on an environment variable or whatever, and pass it around to all its child functions for when they need to log something.
      • GNOME RC v3.29.90 Begins to Address JavaScript Extension Issues, Amongst Others
        GNOME 3.30 Release Candidate (v3.29.90) was just recently released, which marks the UI, API, and feature freezes for the next desktop environment update which should make its debut in September.

        This RC update hopes to address a lot of current issues in the GNOME core – perhaps most importantly, the various crashes being caused by GNOME extensions written in JavaScript, particularly on Fedora Workstations as we highlighted only a few days ago.

        GNOME developer and Red Hat engineering manager Jiri Eischmann had put out a blog post aware of the problems being caused by JavaScript extensions in GNOME, and so it appears that GNOME is taking pro-active steps in trying to rectify that particular problem, among others addressed in this release candidate update.
      • Pinpoint Flatpak
        A while back I made a Pinpoint COPR repo in order to get access to this marvelous tool in Fedora. Well, now I work for Endless and the only way you can run apps on our system is in a Flatpak container. So I whipped up a quick Pinpoint Flatpak in order to give a talk at GUADEC this year.
      • Walkthrough On How To Use GNOME Boxes
        Developers who use Linux and writes software for Windows has to test his program on an actual Windows environment before deploying it to the end users. Virtualization makes it possible for him to install and set up a Windows guest session on his Linux computer.

        Virtualization is also used by ordinary users who wish to get hands-on with their favorite Linux distro that is still in beta release, without installing it on their physical computer. So in the event the virtual machine crashes, the host is not affected and the important files & documents stored on the physical disk remain intact.

        ​Virtualization allows you to test a software built for another platform/architecture which may include ARM, MIPS, SPARC, etc on your computer equipped with another architecture such as Intel or AMD.
      • Mystery Donation Lets Elementary Hire Full-Time Staff
        The GNOME project recently received a $1 million donation from an anonymous benefactor — now it seems the altruism is spreading to other open source projects.

        The folks behind elementary OS, a popular Ubuntu-based Linux distribution, have revealed they too recently received a “large private contribution” from an otherwise anonymous donor.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • LibreELEC 9.0 Alpha Kodi 18 Leia-focused Linux distro for Raspberry Pi and PC is here

        Kodi is great software for consuming media, but the best way to experience it is with a Linux distribution that focuses on it. If you aren't familiar, LibreELEC is one such distro -- it allows the user to focus exclusively on Kodi without any distractions. Best of all, it doesn't just run on traditional PC hardware, but the Raspberry Pi too. Yes, by leveraging an inexpensive Pi device, you can create a powerful media box for your television.

        Today, the first Alpha of LibreELEC 9.0 becomes available for download. This follows the recent release of Kodi 18 Leia preview, and yes, LibreELEC 9.0 is based on Leia.

      • LibreELEC (Leia) v8.90.003 ALPHA

        The LibreELEC 9.0 Alpha cycle has started! and releases for Generic (x86_64) and Raspberry Pi hardware have been published. At this stage there are still some important technical decisions to make and work to complete before we start Alpha releases for Amlogic, Rockchip and Slice hardware (August is also holiday season). There are no plans to release LibreELEC 9.0 images for NXP/iMX6 hardware as support was removed from Kodi some months ago. Support will be reinstated in a future LibreELEC release and we will update you on progress with the next-generation Kodi video pipeline (which makes that possible) soon. Alpha...

    • Arch Family

      • Arch User Magazine
        It's almost 10 years ago that Ghost1227 created the Arch User Magazine and this week I got reminded about it's existence. I found that the original domain where the magazine was hosted was no longer owned by Ghost1227, but by using the way back machine I was able to retrieve two of the three editions of the magazine.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • [Older] Tumbleweed Gets Python Setuptools 40.0, New Versions of Frameworks, Applications
        Several packages were updated in openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots this week and developers will notice the snapshots are reported to be extremely stable.

        Wireshark, sysdig, GNOME’s evolution, KDE’s Frameworks and Applications, Ceph, vim and python-setuptools were just a few of the many packages that arrived in Tumbleweed this week.

      • [Older] GSoC Half Way Through
        As you may already know, openSUSE participates again in GSoC, an international program that awards stipends to university students who contribute to real-world open source projects during three months in summer. Our students started working already two months ago. Ankush, Liana and Matheus have passed the two evaluations successfully and they are busy hacking to finish their projects. Go on reading to find out what they have to say about their experience, their projects and the missing work for the few more weeks.

      • [Older] openSUSE.Asia Summit 2019: Call for Host

        The openSUSE.Asia Summit is the largest annual openSUSE conference in Asia, attended by contributors and enthusiasts from all over Asia. The event focuses primarily on the openSUSE distribution, its applications for personal and enterprise use, and open source culture. It brings together the openSUSE community in Asia, providing a forum for users, developers, foundation leaders, governments and businesses to discuss the present technology and future developments.

        The Summit’s preference is to find new locations each year as we spread openSUSE throughout Asia, and we are looking for local organizers to rise to the challenge of organizing an excellent openSUSE event. We need individuals and communities to get together and organize a successful openSUSE.Asia Summit. The openSUSE.Asia organization committee assists throughout the process.

    • Slackware Family

      • [Slackware] Chromium 68 with updated Widevine plugin
        chromium_iconLast week, Chromium 68 was introduced to the “Stable Channel” with lots of bugs fixed, many of those being security fixes (42 in total). And a few days ago an update was released, so I decided to build Chromium 68 for Slackware.

        NOTE: starting with Chromium 68, the browser will show a “Not secure” warning on all HTTP pages. Google announced this in a blog post published on February 8th on Google’s Chromium and Online Security blogs.


        Also note (to the purists among you): even though support for Widevine CDM plugin has been built into my chromium package, that package is still built from Open Source software only. As long as you do not install the chromium-widevine-plugin package, your system will not be tainted by closed-source code.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Multiple people

        Starting from Debian, I have been for a long time part of various groups where diversity is accepted and valued, and it has been an invaluable supply of inspiration, allowing my identity to grow with unexpected freedom.

        During the last year, I have been thinking passionately about things such as diversity, gender identity, sexual orientation, neurodiversity, and preserving identity in a group.

        I would like to share some of those thoughts, and some of that passion.

      • Jose M. Calhariz: A Selection of talks from DebConf 2018
        This is my selection of talks from DebConf18.

      • Debconf18 group photo

        Enjoy the Debconf18 group photo and also the rest of my photos from Debconf18.

      • intrigeri: Report from the AppArmor BoF at DebConf18
        After a discussion started on debian-devel a year ago, AppArmor has been enabled by default in testing/sid since November 2017 as an experiment. We'll soon need to decide whether Buster ships with AppArmor by default or not. Clément Hermann and yours truly have hosted a BoF at DebConf18 in order to gather both subjective and factual data that can later be used to:

        draw conclusions from this experiment; identify problems we need to fix.

        About 40 people attended this BoF; about half of them to participated actively, which is better than I expected even though I think we can do better.

      • AutoDeb Still Being Worked On For Automatically Generating Debian Packages
        AutoDeb is a long-standing effort to try to automate the creation of Debian packages as much as possible for trying to determine necessary dependencies of a program, will configure/build the program for Autotools-based projects, and end up generating a Debian binary package. AutoDeb was worked on as part of this year's Google Summer of Code for automatic Debian packaging.

        AutoDeb saw some renewed attention this year as part of Google Summer of Code 2018. The purpose of AutoDeb isn't to obsolete Debian package maintainers, but rather to expedite the process for creating Debian backports, upgrading packages against their latest upstream sources, and provide for Debian packaging of "simple" Ruby/Python/Perl programs. More details on the GSoC 2018 work is outlined via the Debian Wiki.

      • It's Looking Like UEFI SecureBoot Will Be Ready In Time For Debian 10.0 Buster
        It looks like that by the time Debian 10.0 "Buster" rolls about in roughly one year, the UEFI SecureBoot support should be in good shape.

        While most operating systems -- including other major Linux distributions -- have been offering good UEFI SecureBoot for a while now, it's taken a while for the free software minded Debian to get their ducks in a row. SecureBoot didn't make it in time for Stretch but the support is now coming together, especially following Debian's SecureBoot sprint earlier this year.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu Studio 18.10 Wallpaper Contest
              As we begin getting closer to the next release date of Ubuntu Studio 18.10, now is a great time to show what the best of the Ubuntu Studio Community has to offer! We know that many of our users are graphic artists and photographers and we would like to see their/your talent also reflected more directly in the upcoming version of the distro.

              For this purpose, we are going to be holding a wallpaper contest this summer. Submission will be open to works of photography, codeart, abstract paintings, illustrations and other art genres, that highlight the capabilities of the software available in the distro and the open sourced software in general.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Squashing inclusivity bugs in open source software
    When people talk about diversity and inclusion in open source, the discussion is usually about how to improve a project culture's inclusivity. But can the software itself be gender biased? Our research says it can. So, how do you know if your software is biased? And, if it is, how can you make it more inclusive?

    The GenderMag method is a way to identify gender-inclusiveness problems in your software. It is available in a "kit" freely available for download at

    The method was developed by Oregon State University distinguished professor Margaret Burnett, whose internationally recognized work with students and collaborators has shown gender differences in how people problem-solve with software—from people who are working with Excel formulas to professional programmers.

  • How Google decides to open source its technology
    Google has a solid reputation as an engineering organisation with an open source culture, with Googlers contributing a huge amount of code back to the community and projects like TensorFlow and Kubernetes making a mainstream impact.

    Speaking to the press during the Google Cloud Next event in San Francisco last week, Sarah Novotny, head of open source strategy at Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Melody Meckfessel, VP of engineering for GCP, spoke candidly about how the company decides to open source its technology and building an open culture.

    "Google has a long history of engaging in open source communities," Novotny started out by saying. "We've had an open source programs office for more than 12 years and have worked with several other large companies to come into this space in a way that protects both the company and the projects and the culture of the projects."

  • [Older] Bringing intelligence to the edge with Cloud IoT

  • 5 Best Game Engines For Developing Multi-Platform Video Games
    Game development is a strenuous task. There are a lot of things involved, included but not limited to design, coding, animation, and sound. Indie game developers especially need help to handle all these components and combine them into full-fledged games. That’s where a game engine comes in. These are tools available to aid game developers to code and plan out a game quickly and easily without building one from scratch. Some interesting game engines include:

  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Faust
    The financial services company Robinhood has announced it is open-sourcing the distributed stream processing library Faust. According to the company, it’s scalable and reliable distributed systems led to the creation of Faust. Faust is designed to process large amounts of data in real-time and simplify the design and deployment of complex streaming architectures.

    Developers Ask Solem and Vineet Goel explained that the Python 3 library was inspired by Kafka Streams and leverages recent updates to the language along with the new AsyncIO module to provide high performance asynchronous I/O.

  • Initial Intel Coffeelake CPU Support Added To Coreboot
    Intel has landed initial support for Coreboot on their current-generation Coffeelake processors.

  • Can open source software ever compete with commercial alternatives? [opinion] [Ed: FOSS applications are "commercial", too. They are misusing words to make proprietary software sound inherently superior (which often isn't the case)]

    The concept of open source software promises a utopia of free software that rivals the best commercially made products. But has it ever fulfilled this aim, and what is its future?

    It's one of the truths of technology journalism that as soon as operating systems are mentioned in an article, someone will pipe up in the comments with a reference to Linux.

    Yes, Linux is a big deal and it's widely used, especially in a couple of extremely specific niches. Linux-based operating systems, however, and the wider world of open source software in general, can also be a source of potent frustration. What I'm about to discuss is inevitably heavily opinion-based. If any of these opinions seem outdated or misinformed, feel free to make corrections in the comments, but these are certainly widely held opinions, and so they affect the success of Linux and open source software, regardless of their accuracy. And, sadly, there's plenty of reason to believe there really are problems which affect all free and open-source software (FOSS), including Linux and its various desktop distributions.

    Let's be clear, the idea of free and open-source software, FOSS for short, is in principle an exceptionally good one. It comes from agreeably egalitarian ideas about cooperation and teamwork. The availability of the computer code used to create a program means that it can be checked for problems, which has recently become important as regards to security problems. New features can be added or the behaviour of existing features modified by anyone with appropriate software engineering capability. This could solve the perpetual yearning for the one feature that a particularly useful application lacks. And of course, it's hard to object to the price of FOSS, which is difficult to charge for, because the source code is always available. FOSS principles should create brilliant software.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • How to add the share menu to the Firefox address bar
        While working on my previous blog post, I came across another great feature you may not know about. Let’s say you use the Share menu, but opening the Page Actions menu requires too much navigation. You need quicker access!

        To add an item to the address Bar, right-click on it and select Add to Address Bar. To remove it, right-click on the item and select Remove from Address Bar.

      • New backend for storage.local API
        To help improve Firefox performance, the backend for the storage.local API is migrating from JSON to IndexedDB. These changes will soon be enabled on Firefox Nightly and will stabilize when Firefox 63 lands in the Beta channel. If your users switch between Firefox channels using the same profile during this time, they may experience data regression in the extensions they have previously installed.

        We recommend that users do not change Firefox channels between now and September 5, 2018. However, if they do and they contact you with questions about why their extensions are not behaving normally (such as losing saved options or other local data), please point them to this post for instructions on how to retrieve and re-import their extension data.

      • Happy BMO Push Day!

      • This Week in Mixed Reality: Issue 14
        It's been another busy week in MR land for the team. We are getting really close to releasing some fun new features.

  • CMS

    • WordPress 4.9.8 Maintenance Release

      We are pleased to announce the immediate availability of WordPress 4.9.8. This maintenance release fixes 46 bugs, enhancements and blessed tasks, including updating the Twenty Seventeen bundled theme.

      Following are the highlights of what is now available.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Beginning BLE Experiments And Making Everything Better
        Successfully connecting things without physical wires has a profound effect on the maker brain. Machines talking to each other without any cables is as amazing today as it was a decade ago. When Bluetooth came out, it was a breakthrough since it offered a wireless way to connect cellphones to a PC. But Bluetooth is a complicated, high-bandwidth power hog, and it didn’t make sense for battery-powered devices with less demanding throughput requirements to pay the energy price. Enter Bluetooth LE (BLE), with power requirements modest enough to enable a multitude of applications including low power sensor nodes and beacons.

      • Now you can build your own mini Mars rover
        The idea for the Open Source Rover (OSR) was inspired by the extremely positive reception to ROV-E, a smaller, working version of Curiosity that served as an educational tool for high school and college students. After students and teachers repeatedly inquired as to how they could build their own robotic rover, JPL engineers got to work.

      • NASA project lets you build a mini Curiosity rover using a Raspberry Pi
        The company revealed that its Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is hosting the initiative, called the Open Source Rover Project, which will allow students, hobbyists, and enthusiasts being to learn the skills required to build their own rover.

        Using plans and instructions from JPL, the Open Source Rover is a scaled down version of Curiosity, a rover which successfully landed on Mars back in 2012. It even has the same 6-wheel steering and Rocker-Bogie suspension, NASA said.

        JPL has published this design under an open source license on GitHub where anybody can download baseline instructions and test plans for building their own open source rover using a Raspberry Pi.

        "We wanted to give back to the community and lower the barrier of entry by giving hands on experience to the next generation of scientists, engineers, and programmers," said project sponsor for the Open Source Rover, Tom Soderstrom.

      • NASA open sources its Mars rover, Rome adopts LibreOffice, and more news

  • Programming/Development

    • 5 Essential Tools for Linux Development
      Linux has become a mainstay for many sectors of work, play, and personal life. We depend upon it. With Linux, technology is expanding and evolving faster than anyone could have imagined. That means Linux development is also happening at an exponential rate. Because of this, more and more developers will be hopping on board the open source and Linux dev train in the immediate, near, and far-off future. For that, people will need tools. Fortunately, there are a ton of dev tools available for Linux; so many, in fact, that it can be a bit intimidating to figure out precisely what you need (especially if you’re coming from another platform).

      To make that easier, I thought I’d help narrow down the selection a bit for you. But instead of saying you should use Tool X and Tool Y, I’m going to narrow it down to five categories and then offer up an example for each. Just remember, for most categories, there are several available options. And, with that said, let’s get started.

    • The smart button


  • Science

    • Japan still a developing nation in open innovation
      Open innovation is essential for companies. It has been said for quite some time now. However, many of Japanese companies seem to be not yet able to make good use of open innovation, comparing to European and American companies.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • For Most Common Heart Surgery, St. Luke’s Has Been Among the Nation’s Worst
      Even as the federal government prepares to cut off funding to Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center’s poorly performing heart transplant program, the Houston hospital has continued to promote itself as a national leader in cardiac surgery.

      But the declines at St. Luke’s have not been limited to transplants, a continuing investigation by the Houston Chronicle and ProPublica has found.

      In January, a leading group of surgeons rated St. Luke’s as among the worst-performing hospitals in the nation for coronary artery bypass surgery, the most common open-heart operation and a key indicator of a cardiac program’s overall quality.

      Four months later, the hospital’s most-experienced bypass surgeon retired — the latest in a series of major physician departures in recent years.

      Now, following news reports highlighting the plight of St. Luke’s patients who died after heart transplants, family members of those who fared poorly after bypass operations are second-guessing their decision to seek care at a hospital regarded as one of the nation’s best for heart surgery.

    • A Look At Honduras’ Appeal In WTO Ruling On Tobacco Plain Packaging
      In an appeal of a recent World Trade Organization dispute panel ruling, Honduras detailed a list of alternate interpretations of the decision to uphold Australia’s tobacco plain packaging measures. Honduras called on the WTO Appellate Body to “reverse the Panel’s findings and conclusions,” claiming that the ruling was “not the result of an objective assessment of the matter.”

    • Report – Patent Abuse A Leading Cause Of High Drug Prices In US
      Pharmaceutical companies have created an “untenable” situation by engaging in exploitative patenting practices to extend monopolies, increasing drug prices and delaying competition from more affordable generics, according to a new NGO report analysing drug prices.

      The report, “Overpatented, Overpriced: How Excessive Pharmaceutical Patenting is Extending Monopolies and Driving up Drug Prices,” was produced by the New York-based Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK).

      The report shows that since 2012, prices of America’s top-selling drugs have “increased by an average of 68 percent, with only one drug dropping in price,” and that the “average best-selling drug has 125 patent applications filed and 71 granted,” according to an I-MAK press release.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Trita Parsi on Trump’s Iran Threat, Dermot Murphy on Local News Cuts
      It is hard to say precisely how a press corps should report on a president’s all-caps threat to another country’s president about their “DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH”—there are a lot of ways to go. But in addressing Donald Trump’s virulent threats to the president of Iran, media have, minimally, the responsibility to separate accusation from reality, and then, one would hope, to talk openly about how to resist the degeneration of diplomacy, and the rise of almost hysterically bellicose language that seems like greasing the tracks toward war. We’ll talk about the current state of US/Iran relations with Trita Parsi, founder and president of the National Iranian American Council.

    • Hidden in Plain View in Belgrade
      As we were looking around the church, not particularly interested in Wrangel, a couple of Russians asked me to take their picture in front of his tomb. Trying to find a proper angle for the picture, I noticed a small plaque on a wall nearby. It listed the names of Russians who died fighting for Yugoslav Serbs during the conflict with separatist Albanians in Kosovo and the subsequent NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999.

      As we left the church, we took a small path toward the top of the park. There we observed another brutal sign of that war: a destroyed building next to the TV center. It too had a plaque. It screamed, “Zashto” (For What? Why?). Below it were the names of all the TV people NATO killed during that attack. In all, as many as 2,500 civilians may have been killed by NATO, according to the then Yugoslav government, though the real number may never be known.

      On the one hand, the question Zashto is both idle and provocative. It implies a laceration of wounds, a refusal to forget and to start anew. On the other, there is an obvious need to find an answer to this question simply to prevent future destruction and senseless murders.


      It seems these people had to die for all those reasons and to put into practice the doctrines of responsibility to protect (R2P) and full spectrum dominance, doctrines cooked up by liberal interventionists and neocons in Washington. Those who died were essentially guinea pigs of a New World Order experiment to see how far the world could be pushed to implement R2P, a policy that could be used to mask imperial ambitions.

      And it worked. Yugoslavia was unable to stand up to the power of NATO operating outside the mandate of its obsolete charter: namely to defend Western Europe against an alleged Soviet threat. Indeed one could argue that with the Cold War over, another motive for the attack on Yugoslavia was to provide NATO with a justification to exist. (It would later go even further afield outside its legal theater of operation, into Afghanistan and then Libya.)

    • The Mystery Fixer Who is Negotiating an End to the Syrian War
      After seven years of grinding war, the Syrian government has achieved victory. According to current and former international officials and diplomats as well as UN officials, credit or blame for the Syrian government’s recent victories in East Ghouta and then in the south — along with the tacit acceptance these sweeping military successes received — can be placed on one man.

      He is Khaled al Ahmad, a Syrian government emissary and businessman who masterminded the Syrian government’s reconciliation strategy. Al Ahmad is the secret diplomat who has exerted exceptional tolls of energy building bridges with the enemies of Damascus. Despite his central role in bringing one of the worst conflicts since World War Two to an end, he remains almost totally unknown in international media and has scarcely been discussed even among expert Syria observers.

      Bashar al Assad’s victory was made clear by the middle of July of this year, when multiple Israeli outlets confirmed that Israel’s government was cooperating with Russia to facilitate the return of Syrian forces and UN observers to the pre-2011 border with the occupied Golan Heights. Prime Minister Netanyahu himself stated that he had no objection to Assad’s rule while his defense minister even allowed for the possibility of diplomatic relations between the two countries. These statements were met with embarrassed silence by the Syrian government and its allies like the Lebanese political party and militia, Hezbollah, but they marked a striking shift in Israeli policy.

      Naseeb Border Crossing: Final Target (Syrian Observer)


      In a seven-year war where so many previously unknown figures have gained worldwide notoriety, al Ahmad managed to remain largely anonymous. One of the few observers to pick up on Al Ahmad’s importance was the neoconservative operative Tony Badran, a fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Badran observed that al Ahmad had briefly appeared in the media in 2012 when emails to Assad were leaked showing him to be some kind of advisor to the Syrian president. Badran described Al Ahmad as “a man who would emerge at the center of the White House’s channel to Assad. Remember that name. Ahmad appears in the correspondence as an adviser of sorts to Assad; a troubleshooter active on the ground and offering counsel on issues ranging from security policy to monetary policy.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Is time up for Julian Assange?
      John Sweeney reports on the change of mood in Ecuador and its London embassy and what an eviction could mean for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

    • Judge dismisses lawsuit against Fox News filed by parents of Seth Rich
    • Judge dismisses lawsuit brought by parents of Seth Rich against Fox News
    • Judge rejects suit by parents of slain Democratic staffer

    • No quick solution to Assange case: Ecuador FM
      Given the complexity of the diplomatic deadlock surrounding WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, it is impossible to "set a timeline or determine when a solution" might be found, Ecuadorian Foreign Affairs Minister Jose Valencia said Thursday.

      Assange has been holed up at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012. Ecuador granted the anti-secrecy activist political asylum and citizenship, but Britain has refused to give him safe passage to leave the country, threatening to arrest him should he step foot outside of the building.

      "The United Kingdom has not changed its position ... we are trying to do what we can so the matter moves along and we can reach an understanding," Valencia said in an interview with Radio Publica.


      Assange applied for asylum rather than travel to Sweden to face questioning because he believes the Swedish case was a ploy to have him extradited to the United States, where he stands to be indicted for releasing confidential US government documents.

      "Those who demand Ecuador find a quick solution forget we have been dealing with this problem for six years," Valencia said.

      Speaking about Assange's health condition, Valencia said: "He is in an office that doesn't provide day-to-day living space and six years is a long time, and we are worried about that."

    • When Public Records Aren’t Public
      Last fall, a reporter for the South Bend Tribune asked to see the court files for three criminal cases in Elkhart County, Indiana.

      For reporters, such requests are routine. Unless a court file is sealed — and none of these were — court files are about as easy to access as any public records in any branch of government. Reviewing those files allows the public to assess the performance of police, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges, and to gauge the fairness of a case’s outcome.

      But in Elkhart County, these requests for court files proved to be anything but routine. A judge issued orders that barred access to all police reports that were in the three court files; to all exhibits that were shown to jurors during the trials; and to all briefs filed on appeal. And that’s only a partial list of the records she denied, some in violation of Indiana’s open records law, according to the state’s appointed watchdog on access issues.

      The judge, for instance, maintained that the appellate briefs were attorney-work product, and therefore privileged and private. These were not drafts, however; they were completed briefs submitted to the court and placed in the file.

    • WikiLeaks Cables from 2005-06 reveal Congress’ sinister Assam politics that compromised national security
      We had earlier written how the trouble in the north-east really began with the mismanagement during the partition in 1947. That followed by the organized genocide of the Bengali Hindu population by the Pakistani Army in present-day Bangladesh forced many to migrate to India and live as refugees, most of whom were Bengali Hindus. Since the Indo-Pak war in 1971, however, the religious denomination of those seeking residence in India has changed vastly. The influx of immigrants into Assam from Bangladesh resulted in huge protests, which often turned violent, that culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord between the Government of India and the leaders of the movement in 1985.

      Former Congress President Sonia Gandhi, however, during her campaign in the state in 2006, had allegedly promised to amend the Foreigners Act which would prevent the deportation of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.

      As per a WikiLeaks cable from 2006 allegedly sent by US consulate officer in Kolkata on 16th February 2006, on 11th February 2006, UPA chairman and Congress President Sonia Gandhi had travelled to Assam to launch the 2006 state assembly campaign.

    • If Assange Leaves the Ecuadorian Embassy, What Next?
      Julian Assange meets with Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño in London, 2013 (Source: Wikimedia/Foreign Ministry of Ecuador)

      WikiLeaks founder and CEO Julian Assange might be nearing his final days in Ecuador’s London embassy, where he’s lived and worked since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden for rape charges or, potentially, to the United States. On July 20, RT’s Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan tweeted that the release might occur in the coming weeks, or even days. On July 21, Intercept reported that Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno recently met with British officials to finalize plans to expel Assange from the embassy, located in one of London’s most expensive districts near Harrods, and hand him over to British authorities. (Ecuador revoked Assange’s internet access nearly three months ago, claiming that Assange had violated a 2017 agreement not to interfere in the affairs of other states, by supporting Catalan independence.)

      It’s been 13 days since President Moreno arrived in the UK, without any reports that Assange had been turned over. Whether that means he’s off the hook is unclear, but here’s what we know about the current state of play.


      No charges have yet been brought by the Trump administration, but CNN reported in April 2017 that the Justice Department was “close” to bringing criminal charges against Julian Assange. (No charges have been brought since that report.) Around the same time, then-CIA director Mike Pompeo, attacked WikiLeaks: WikiLeaks is “a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia,” Pompeo said. He thus declared, “We have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions similarly vowed not only to continue and expand the Obama Justice Department’s crackdown on sources, but also to consider the prosecution of media outlets that publish classified information.

    • How Julian Assange Exposed the Fraudulence of Mainstream Media
      As attempts to evict Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London get more and more aggressive, we are seeing a proportionate increase in the establishment smear campaign against him and against WikiLeaks. This is not a coincidence.

      The planned campaign to remove Assange from political asylum and the greatly escalated smear campaign to destroy public support for Assange are both occurring at the same time that Assange has been cut off from the world without internet, phone calls or visitors, completely unable to defend himself from the smear campaign. This, also, is not a coincidence.

      The ability to control the narrative about what is going on in the world is of unparalleled importance to the plutocrats who use governments as tools to advance their agendas. The agenda to make an example of a leak publisher with a massive platform who has repeatedly exposed the corruption of the establishment upon which western plutocrats have built their empires will require continuous narrative spin, since the precedent set by prosecuting a journalist for publishing authentic documents would arguably constitute a greater leap in the direction of Orwellian dystopia than the Patriot Act.

    • The father of Nimbin says it's time to free Julian Assange

    • Julian Assange: What next for the Australian-born hacker, who may soon face eviction from Ecuadorian embassy
      Julian Assange's six-year stay in the Ecuadorian embassy in London is drawing to a close, with Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno signalling progress on a deal with the United Kingdom to evict the Australian-born hacker.

      Mr Assange has been living in the embassy in the Knightsbridge neighbourhood of London since 2012, when he first sought asylum there while on bail awaiting a possible extradition to Sweden to face an investigation into rape claims.

      The Swedish investigation was dropped in May of last year, but Mr Assange has remained in the embassy building, fearing a possible eventual extradition to the US on yet-to-be-laid spying charges.

    • SF Call Out for Emergency Actions If Julian Assange Is Evicted
      Prosecution of WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange endangers viability of The First Amendment. This is a call for We the People in the city of San Francisco to join the global mobilization to defend the right of free speech and journalism.

    • 50 high-profile public supporters of Julian Assange in Vigil
      50 high-profile public supporters of Julian Assange to appear at major international online vigil this coming weekend

      This coming Friday 3rd August sees the launch of the third monthly #Unity4J online vigil in support of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

      To date the groundbreaking, trans-partisan #Unity4J solidarity movement has attracted participation from transparency advocates across the political spectrum including John Kiriakou, Kim Dotcom, Daniel Ellsberg, Lee Camp, Jimmy Dore, George Galloway, Chris Hedges, Ross Cameron and Cynthia McKinney.
    • Assange in 'solitary confinement' at embassy, fears possible extradition to US, lawyer says
      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's health is suffering, one of his lawyers says, in conditions she compared to “solitary confinement” in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

      "I'm very concerned for his well-being and the permanent damage that this is having on his health," Assange lawyer Jennifer Robinson told ABC News on Friday, adding that her client's legal team is trying to get him a medical assessment in the next few days.

      "He's been effectively in solitary confinement for at least the last four months, and something akin to confinement of that nature for almost six years, and it is well-documented the impact it has on detainees’ health care," Robinson added.

      Even though she expressed fears about Assange's living conditions in the embassy, Robinson also said she's concerned about her client losing his protection from Ecuador, and possible extradition to the United States.
    • Assange lawyer: 'Reasons for his protection remain' - BBC Newsnight
    • Julian Assange is in poor health and kept in ‘solitary confinement’ in the Ecuadorian embassy: attorney

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is reportedly being kept in solitary confinement in London’s Ecuadorian embassy, his lawyers said — and his health is declining.

      In an interview with ABC News, Assange’s attorney Jennifer Robinson said she is “very concerned for his well-being and the permanent damage that this is having on his health.”
    • Deshhit: WikiLeaks reveals Sonia Gandhi backed illegal Bangladeshis in Assam

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • Steve Cohen Is Spending Millions to Help Veterans. Why Are People Angry?
      At a House hearing last year on post-traumatic stress disorder, a private organization showed up with an ambitious plan to help suffering veterans. The Cohen Veterans Network was opening a chain of free mental health clinics across the country, backed by $275 million from hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen.

      By contrast to the high-profile scandals at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Cohen Network claimed 96 percent client satisfaction. In a statement for the hearing, the organization said its clinics “provide a desirable alternative” to the VA — a clear echo of President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to let veterans skip the VA for “a private service provider of their own choice.”

      But at that same moment, across the country, the Cohen Network was closing its clinic in Los Angeles less than a year after it opened. The Cohen Network’s leaders had alienated the staff there, former employees said, by telling them to prioritize healthier patients over homeless veterans. The shutdown was so hasty that former therapists said it left some patients in the lurch.

      Privatization has become the defining controversy at the VA under the Trump administration. Conservative billionaires such as the Koch brothers and Ken Langone want veterans to increasingly see private doctors, while traditional veterans organizations want to maintain the government-run health system.

      The Cohen Network has become a test case for both sides. It is either proof that the private sector can do the job better than the VA — or a template for diverting taxpayer dollars to unaccountable private groups.
    • Apple Becomes First Public Trillion Dollar Company; Beats Amazon, Microsoft, And Google
      Apple has added another feather in its cap by becoming the first publicly listed US company with the market value of more than $1 trillion. Apple achieved this feat on Thursday, and its shares closed at a record high of $207.39.
    • Read Tim Cook's Email To Employees About Apple's $1 Trillion Milestone
      In 1997, Apple was, according to Steve Jobs, about 90 days from going broke. But today, some 21 years later, the phone and computer company made history as the first corporation to ever be valued at $1 trillion.

      Though largely symbolic, the valuation is a telling reminder of Apple's dominance of the technology industry. And Thursday evening, Apple CEO Tim Cook emailed employees to celebrate hitting the milestone. BuzzFeed News obtained a copy of Cook's email. Y

    • Clash of virtual machines: Cardano (ADA) and Tron to skirmish in Q3 of 2018
      Most of Tron’s followers and community members probably know that Tron (TRX) launched an upgraded version of its Virtual machine this week. A massive milestone for the Tron community, but what exactly is Tron Virtual Machine?

      A Tron Virtual machine is a VM developed by Tron Foundation for the intention of making the Tron network bigger and better. On the other hand, a virtual machine is an application environment or an operating system that imitates a computer system or dedicated hardware.

      For instance, a developer using a Windows personal computer needs a UNIX-based operating system to finish a project but cannot afford to buy a new or used UNIX-based computer. With a virtual machine, the developer will be able to create an environment where they can use other software’s and programs in different environments with their existing PC.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • This time, Viktor Orbán has gone too far
      The time has come for the European People’s Party to finally stand up to Viktor Orbán.

      As Europe’s biggest and most diverse political grouping, we believe in working across political and cultural differences to build a stronger Europe, and are not afraid of having tough debates. Over the past few years, we’ve had constructive dialogue with the Hungarian prime minister’s Fidesz party and repeatedly warned it was in danger of crossing a line.

      That line was crossed last month, when Orbán claimed, at an event commemorating the legacy of the great German statesman Helmut Kohl, that Hungary’s “illiberal” model of democracy would be driving force that revitalizes Europe and the EPP.

      That prospect is deeply disturbing. Where Kohl united Europe by bringing East and West back together, Orbán is polarizing the Continent by attempting to wrench them apart.
    • The Brexiteers only have themselves to blame for the backlash over no deal planning
      Ever since the UK triggered its withdrawal from the EU, the Brexiteers have complained that the government is failing to prepare for “no deal”. This, they say, has irretrievably weakened Britain’s negotiating position. Unless the UK is prepared to crash out with no agreement, the EU has no incentive to offer it a beneficial one.

      In the last week, the government has finally acceded to Brexiteer wishes and begun to reveal its no deal preparations. Theresa May has confirmed that food and medicines are being stockpiled but has insisted that “people should take reassurance and comfort” from this. Other reported plans include transforming the M26 into a 10-mile lorry park, suspending food safety checks and deploying the army for emergency deliveries.

      The result has been a wave of derisive headlines, Tory splits and negative poll ratings: 75 per cent believe the government is negotiating Brexit badly and support for a second referendum has reached a record high.
    • Election Commission Documents Cast Doubt on Trump’s Claims of Voter Fraud

      In May of 2017, President Donald Trump established a presidential commission to explore the threat of voter fraud — staffing it with multiple Republicans who had theorized that fraud was a substantial problem in American democracy. The commission, widely called the voter fraud commission, was immediately criticized as a political creation aimed at a phony problem.

      In January, Trump disbanded the commission, which by then had produced little if any evidence that voter fraud was a significant menace.

      Today, thousands of commission documents were released that show aspects of the body’s inner workings. As critics have suggested, the records — a mix of memos, internal emails and reports — make clear the commission’s work was driven by a small number of members who were convinced voter fraud was widespread, and that other members were often excluded from critical decisions about the commission’s aims and tactics.

      The documents were provided to ProPublica by American Oversight — a group that provided legal representation to Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, who had been a Democratic member of the commission. Dunlap has contended that the commission’s leaders left him out of key deliberations, which he was entitled to participate in by law.
    • 'Zim headed for power-sharing deal'

    • Condé Nast selling off mags after $120,000,000 loss

    • Facing Losses, Condé Nast Plans to Put 3 Magazines Up for Sale

      It does not promise to be a cheerful gathering. According to more than a dozen current and former Condé Nast executives, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss internal matters, the measures instituted at the company over the last decade — closing Details and the print versions of Self and Teen Vogue; laying off some 80 employees last year; combining the photo and research departments of different magazines — have not been enough to stem the bleeding.

      The company lost more than $120 million last year and plans to put three of its 14 magazines — Brides, Golf Digest and W — up for sale, three executives said. The marquee titles, including Vogue, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, are safe.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

      Last week, Alex Jones of Infowars went on Facebook and YouTube and claimed that former Federal Bureau of Investigation director and current special counsel Robert Mueller was a pedophile and fantasized about shooting Mueller at "high noon." Unsurprisingly, neither platform took any steps at first to remove the video. As we've covered at Pacific Standard, our major social media platforms are still failing to address hateful and violent speech. Facebook did eventually give Jones a 30-day ban, but his media company, Infowars, is still streaming as though nothing has changed. Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg also recently gave an interview in which he said he wouldn't consider banning pages that promoted Holocaust denial because, while Facebook does restrict users who make direct calls for violence, it does not restrict users who merely spread falsehoods. On Twitter, I recently encountered two accounts spreading dangerous misinformation. One is a white supremacist account engaged in spreading Holocaust denial and various white supremacist myths about North America, the other an anti-vaccination account promoting using bleach enemas as a cure for autism. Twitter refused to take any action.

      How do we make sense of corporate inaction in the face of the mainstreaming of online hate?

      I spoke over the phone with Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. Vaidhyanathan is the author of the new book Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy, in which he looks at how these platforms are shaping society—often for the worse. He's read every post and statement that Zuckerberg has ever made (compiled at the Zuckerberg Files) and has been writing and reporting about the societal consequences of the Internet for decades. Vaidhyanathan spoke to Pacific Standard about the current challenges we're facing. He's not optimistic.
    • Qatar: Censorship Ignores Rights, FIFA Rules
      The government of Qatar should change its laws to end arbitrary censorship of articles about sexual orientation and gender identity and revoke its Penal Code provision that punishes same-sex relations with imprisonment between one to three years, Human Rights Watch said today. Qatar is host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

      The private publishing partner of The New York Times, Dar Al Sharq, has repeatedly removed articles in the international print edition of The New York Times published in Qatar related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights. The Qatari government tells Human Rights Watch that it was not directly involved in censoring the LGBT articles, indicating that the blank pages are self-censorship based on what a publisher perceives as compliant “with the local cultural standards and expectations.” Censorship of media content because it relates to sexual orientation and gender identity violates freedom of expression when it discriminates against LGBT people.
    • High-Profile Exits, Diktats on Modi at ABP News Revive Fears of Media Censorship
      The resignation of two top television editors at ABP News and the benching of a third is being seen in media and political circles as the latest example of a prominent media house stooping to conquer the affections of the ruling party.

      On Wednesday, the channel’s management announced the resignation of its editor-in-chief, Milind Khandekar. This announcement was followed soon by the departure of Punya Prasoon Bajpai, anchor of the popular nightly show, ‘Master Stroke’.
    • Media Censorship: Govt Responsible For The Resignation Of The Two High Profile Journalist At ABP News?
      The two top television editors' resignation and the benching of a third at ABP News is observed as a latest example of a media house succmbing to the ruling party.

      The resignation, of its editor-in-chief, Milind Khandekar was announced by the channels's management, on wednesday. Soon followed by the departure of anchor of the popular nightly show, ‘Master Stroke’, Punya Prasoon Bajpai.

      However, it is not yet clear whether Mr Bajpai resigned or was asked to leave is not, coincidentally, the decision comes weeks after Mr Bajpai angered the government by saying that Chhattisgarh woman held up by Prime Minister Modi as a success story for his rural schemes had not “doubled her income” as he had claimed. The anchor was told, two days ago, that he would no longer be anchoring ‘Master Stroke’.
    • We Should Forget That Freedom Of Expression Is A Fundamental Right
      In 1975, Emergency was imposed in India by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. All media houses had to work under the fear and vigilance of the government. We are witnessing a similar situation today. The only difference is that in 1975, the President signed the paper to impose section 352, now it is happening without it.

      In 2016, the Indian government had ordered a 24-hour blackout television network NDTV for allegedly revealing “strategically sensitive information” during its coverage of the Pathankot anti-terror military operations. Now, ABP news anchor Punya Prasun Bajpai is said to have resigned from the channel. Bajpai hosted “Masterstroke” and was often critical of the BJP-led government, which is the job of a journalist.

      In recent times, both Punya Prasun Bajpai and Ravish Kumar gheraoed the government on several prime issues like employment, hatred and false propaganda of the government.

    • On ABP Journalists' Exit, Opposition vs Government In Parliament

    • Facebook censorship targets the left

      One year ago, workers and young people throughout the world were horrified by a neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Nazis held torch-lit parades, chanted “Jews will not replace us,” gave the Nazi salute, flew flags with swastikas, and marched in Ku Klux Klan uniforms. One of the fascists rammed a car into a counter-demonstration, murdering one woman and injuring 35 others.

      Earlier this year, the organizers of the August 12, 2017 Charlottesville rally, known as “Unite the Right,” announced a plan to hold another demonstration on its anniversary, this time in Washington D.C. In response, over a dozen left-wing organizations and dozens of prominent individuals, including whistleblower Chelsea Manning, called a counter-protest on the same day.

      As part of a campaign to block what it called “divisive,” “violent,” and “extremist” activity, Facebook, working in conjunction with US intelligence agencies, announced Tuesday that it had blocked not the Nazi rally, but an event page for the demonstration protesting it.

    • Facebook Deletes Anti-Unite the Right Event, Claiming Russian Involvement
      Facebook stumbled this week—again—in its effort to police "misinformation": it deleted an event page for the anti-fascist protest "No Unite the Right 2 - DC."

      Facebook justified the deletion by claiming that the event was initially created by an "inauthentic" organization with possible Russian connections. In fact, a number of legitimate local organizations and activists had become involved in administering and planning the event. These activists weren't given an opportunity by Facebook to explain or present evidence that they were involved in what had become a very real protest. Nor were they given a chance to dispute claims that the original organizers had Russian connections.

      So what makes a protest “real"? Is it who organizes it, or who attends? And what happens when a bad actor creates an event with the intent to sow discord, but prospective attendees take it seriously and make it their own? These are all questions that Facebook is going to have to grapple with as it cracks down on misinformation ahead of US midterm elections.

      But first, the company should ask itself how it can reform its content removal policies so that users have a chance to challenge removals before they happen. The event page for "No Unite the Right 2 - DC" may have been created by Resisters, a group suspected by Facebook of being tied to Russia’s Internet Research Agency, but to the organizations that were involved in planning the protest, and the more than two thousand users who had registered to attend, the event was very real. Many of those groups and individuals are now, rightfully, angry that Facebook chose to remove their page without giving them an opportunity to provide explanation or evidence of their involvement in the very real protest.

    • Facebook's Censorship Of Legit Activists Shows The Policing Of Propaganda Is Going To Be A Fucking Mess
      Earlier this week, Facebook announced that it had uncovered a new wave of disinformation attacks ahead of the 2018 elections. To hear Facebook tell it, the new attacks pretty closely mirror Russia's Internet Research Agency attacks during the 2016 election. As in, the culprits are trying to sow distrust and amplify partisan divisions on both sides of the aisle by creating fake organizations, fake people, fake news, and rockin' memes. How much that actually accomplishes is the matter of some debate, but it's also pretty clear we don't yet understand how deep this rabbit hole really goes.


      But Facebook and Twitter have both shown they're aggressively incompetent at regulating platforms or being transparent about such behavior. Congress can barely put its pants on in the morning. And despite some healthy debate for the better part of the year by journalists and academics alike, you'd be hard pressed to find anybody that currently has a solution to this particular problem. In part, because none of the solutions are easy, whether it involves shoring up critical thinking training in a country that consistently likes to underfund education, or reconfiguring systems to make spreading bullshit less profitable.

      This new wave of disinformation and conspiracy is much like a bacterial infection, and it's going to take time for the culture and body politic to generate an immune response. In the interim, the learning process is going to be ugly as we feel out the best path forward. Whatever that path winds up looking like, hopefully it comes with notably less censorship and a whole lot more transparency.

    • Top House Republican wants Twitter CEO to testify over censorship allegations: report

    • Exclusive: Kevin McCarthy Calls on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to Testify as Conservatives ‘Slammed by Censorship’

    • US tech titans drawn to China's AI siren song despite censorship

    • Google is courting too much trouble with its plan to return to China

    • Google to launch censored search engine in China

    • If Google bows to China's censorship, it will put tech giant on a slippery slope

    • Google complying with China censorship rules

    • Google May Acquiesce to Chinese Censorship

    • New Madden game scrubs “Colin Kaepernick” from song lyrics

    • Why Did EA Censor A Lyric About Colin Kaepernick In Madden 19? [Update]

    • NFL's blackballing of Kaepernick extends to censorship of his name in Madden NFL 19 soundtrack

    • Big Sean Blasts EA & NFL For "Madden 19" Censorship Of Colin Kaepernick

    • Colin Kaepernick continues to haunt NFL after Madden 19 song censorship gaffe

    • EA issues apology after removing Kaepernick’s name from song in Madden 19 [Updated]

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • CCleaner Facing Backlash For User Data Collection And Active Monitoring

    • What is at stake with the immigration exemption legal challenge?

      The immigration exemption in the Data Protection Act 2018 will remove key data protection rights for everyone in the United Kingdom. Some may think that because we’re talking immigration we’re talking about asylum seekers, refugees, or immigrants. But they’d be wrong. The law is so broad, and touches on so many parts of our deeply interconnected lives, that it is likely to affect everyone’s rights.

      From May to July 2018, Open Rights Group and the3million, the grassroots organisation for EU citizens living in the United Kingdom, successfully crowdfunded for a legal challenge against the immigration exemption in the Data Protection 2018. That is thanks to everyone who donated, shared, tweeted and wrote articles in support of the challenge. Now the groups are moving towards the next stage of challenge, it is important to reiterate what we are challenging and why we are challenging it.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • What does Pope's death penalty shift mean for Catholic politicians?
      Pope Francis earned a standing ovation when he told Congress in 2015 that he supports protecting human life "at every stage of its development." When he added that "this conviction" includes working to end the death penalty, the response was far more subdued.

      "You didn't see people jumping up and clapping," said John Carr, who was in the room, and is director of Georgetown University's Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life.

      For decades, Catholic politicians who support capital punishment, including the senators and representatives in the chamber that day, had an "out" when it comes to church teaching: The Catholic Catechism, the church's book of moral and religious teachings, had allowed the use of capital punishment in certain cases. Any other opinions, even the Pope's, were just that, opinions, and not necessarily binding on Catholic consciences.

    • U2’s Bono and the CIA; The Dangers of Celebrity Activists
      U2’s Bono picked a Capo Grande from the US intelligence community to run his “One” NGO, choosing Gayle Smith, who as Senior Director of the US National Security Council and Special Advisor to President Barack Obama used to tell the CIA what to do, especially when it came to Africa.

      Ms. Smith, also known as “Obama’s Quiet Consigliere”, is infamous for her heart felt eulogy based on over 30 years of friendship at the funeral for Meles Zenawi, today Ethiopia’s “No.1 Most Hated Person”.


      Gayle Smith has put the CIA and a pretty impressive list of NGO’s on the same page and was the person most responsible for founding the Center for American Progress, whose boss, John Podesta chaired the Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign. Then there is the Enough Project as in “Enough of the CIA’s Enough Project in Africa” and it’s mouthpiece, George Clooney, founded by Ms. Smith and infamous for occasionally emitting brays of outrage regarding some crime in Africa, often times over matters long past. Does the name John Prendergast ring a bell?

    • Museveni accuses CIA of toppling foreign governments
      The practice by Western powers to forcibly impose their ideas and choices on developing countries is a threat to world peace, President Museveni said yesterday.

      The President accused the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), America’s foremost intelligence outfit, of masterminding the toppling in 1953 of Iran’s elected nationalist Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh and installing Gen Fazlollah Zahedi as a puppet successor.

      Mr Museveni did not provide information to back up the allegations. The New York Times, in an article titled, ‘Secrets of History: The CIA in Iran’, reported that Britain feared that Prime Minister Mossadegh would nationalise its oil industry and, as such, mooted the coup plot and nudged the United States for a joint operation to return the Shah to power.

      They executed the coup. CIA then funneled $5 million (about Shs18b) to Gen Zahedi’s government, just two days after the overthrow, the newspaper reported, citing a 1954 account by one of the coup chief planners. The story did not name the person.

    • Report: Malaysian ‘spy’ agency discussed in leaked US communiques
      The Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) was mentioned in several reports by the US embassy here that were leaked and published by the WikiLeaks site.

      The Star reported today that nine diplomatic cables from a cache of leaked exchanges made mention of the purported Malaysian “spy” agency.

      One such cable, dated May 8, 2006, was also classified by the embassy.

      The report to the US Defence Secretary ahead of a visit by the US Pacific Fleet Commander mentioned MEIO's role in hosting peace talks between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

    • Experts: Letter to CIA not treason, but still merits probe

    • Race, the Constitution, and Police Use of Force

      Another day, another person of color killed by police officers, and another day and another prosecutor does not indict. Is this merely a problem of blatant racism or is something else going on?

      Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman was correct in not indicting the officers who killed Thurman Blevins. The reason is simple–he could never have secured a conviction because the law is on the side of the police. This point has largely been missed in the debates regarding policy use of force. But having said that, also largely missing from the debate is a discussion on police alternatives to violence, how to de-escalate conflict, and where race fits into how law enforcement officials approach tense situations where personal or public safety issues are present. If Freeman and others want to take a leadership position on this issue, they should explore these questions.

      Let’s start with the law. Police are legally empowered to use force, including deadly force, if they believe their own safety or the public’s safety is immediately and seriously threatened. Historically, police who use excessive force could be charged criminally or sued under state tort law. Neither option works well. Sovereign immunity bars many suits, prosecutors rarely charge officers, and juries are seldom sympathetic to victims, especially if they are criminals.

      The basic legal framework for holding police responsible for excessive use of force was established in 1978 with Monell v. Department of Social Services. In Monell, the Supreme Court ruled that municipalities can be held responsible for police actions when and if plaintiffs (like victims of police brutality, for example) can show that those actions were the product of official police policy or part of a police department’s culture, customs and practices.

      The problem is, this is very hard to do – and therefore it’s tough to hold police accountable for misconduct. To hold police civilly responsible for civil rights abuses three elements must be proved. First, the person filing a complaint must be a person protected under the statute. Second, the defendant (police officer) must be acting under the color of the law. Third, the alleged violation must seriously infringe on a constitutional right. Victims also have to show that police acted with deliberate indifference, which is a higher legal standard of proof than negligence. This is a very high bar.

    • A Life Worth Living
      You can read every article ever written about discrimination and it wouldn’t prepare you for meeting an undocumented student who has crossed the country to stand in the rain and address a rally of young activists. It’s also not easy to hear someone like that and not feel called to action. I have always been passionate about issues close to home, and activism in those areas has come naturally. However, I also fell prey to the idea that there were no real ways as a marginalized person that I could help other marginalized communities without putting myself at risk of being targeted.

      My two trips to the ACLU Summer Institute in 2017 and last week, however, made me realize how wrong I was. Through talks given by ACLU lawyers and activists as well as conversations with my fellow students, I learned how interrelated civil rights are for marginalized groups. More importantly, I learned how my experiences can be used not only to make a difference for my communities — but anyone fighting for their rights.

      Growing up as a Black woman in a time of rising discrimination meant activism was personal for me. I loved my childhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but the city also has some legacies that can’t be ignored. Whether it’s the lingering history of racism because of the 1921 race massacre that inspired the de-facto segregation in my city; the gentrification of my own high school; or a white police officer shooting Terence Crutcher, an unarmed friend of the family; I sometimes felt like my city was meant to be great for only certain demographics, none of which included me.

      I was never comfortable with this feeling, and as I entered high school, I decided to do everything I could to ensure no one else would share it. Through the local Youth Philanthropy Initiative, I was given the opportunity to help cultivate Brink Tulsa, a program with a curriculum designed to help low-income students explore their college options and build their knowledge about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. When I heard about the ACLU Summer Institute from a quick Google search, I saw an opportunity to further my involvement with activism.

    • Elementary School Kids Don’t Belong in Handcuffs
      The ACLU is suing Flint police for putting a 7-year-old with disabilities in handcuffs for kicking a cart in school.

      Chrystal McCadden thought she had done everything necessary to ensure an appropriate, safe educational environment for Cameron, her 7-year-old son who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In addition to obtaining appropriate professional services for her son, she also worked with the school district in Flint, Michigan, to develop an individualized education plan, or IEP. Over the course of 13 months, she also met repeatedly with the administrators of an after-school program run by the local chamber of commerce to discuss Cameron’s condition, needs, and strategies for addressing his disability-related challenges.

      Nevertheless, on Oct. 12, 2015, when Cameron allegedly ran across bleachers and kicked a supply cart — conduct consistent with his disability — the afterschool program declined to follow protocols specified by the child’s IEP. Instead, a police officer was summoned. The officer encountered a little boy who was just shy of four feet tall and who weighed about 55 pounds. Cameron was immediately seized and placed in handcuffs.

      When the afterschool program got around to calling Ms. McCadden, the fact that her son was in cuffs was mentioned almost in passing. She disregarded it, believing that the handcuffs must have been toys, part of Halloween activities or a game. When she arrived and learned to her horror that what was done to her son was no game, she vigorously demanded the removal of the restraints. She was then even more alarmed to learn that Cameron could not be released because the officer did not have the key. Almost a full hour passed before the child was finally released.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Rep. Kevin McCarthy Continues The Parade Of Stupid Anti-Internet Grandstanding
      In the last few months, we've seen a fairly astounding amount of idiotic grandstanding from both parties in Congress, basically trying to out stupid themselves in attacking internet companies. On the Democratic side, they've been peddling incomprehensible nonsense about how internet companies have to stop bad information from spreading (and also some misleading claims about antitrust). On the Republican side, they keep dragging internet companies up to Capitol Hill and making ridiculous and blatantly misleading claims about how they're "censoring" conservatives, which is a bunch of utter nonsense.


      I'm sure we'll get another stupid hearing out of it that demonstrates to anyone just how clueless Congress is, but I guess if it gets a bunch of ignorant people to kick in to his re-election campaign, that's all good, right?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • HealthMyne, Developer of Health Records Analytics Software, Adds $15M
      Ascension Ventures, an investment arm of the St. Louis-based healthcare provider Ascension, led the Series B funding round, HealthMyne says. Other participants included two Madison-based VC Funds (Venture Investors and 4490 Ventures) and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, which manages patents and the licensing of intellectual property for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    • Mumbai engineer pushes students to claim patents for inventions
      A year ago, when Dnyaneshwar Kamble, a city-based engineer working at a software firm, learnt that departments at the University of Mumbai (MU) did not file a single patent in 2015-16, he was flummoxed.

      The number of patents serves as an important indicator of research activity at an institute. When he studied the problem, he realised that most students in the city are unaware of intellectual property rights (IPR) and hence failed to file patents for their research work.

    • Where Donald Trump and the Elites Agree on Protectionism: Patents and Copyrights
      Policy wonks and pundits have been nearly unanimous in their condemnations of Donald Trump’s trade war and his primary weapon of tariffs. Tariffs are a tax increase on US consumers, raising the price of imports and the domestically produced goods with which they compete.

      Retaliation by other countries will reduce US exports, costing jobs in other sectors. This is not likely to lead to good outcomes, especially when the basis for Trump’s complaints is vague, constantly shifting and often at odds with reality.

      The one exception is with patents and copyrights. There is widespread agreement with Trump that China, our largest competitor, is stealing “our” intellectual property. They agree that Trump should be prepared to take steps to stop this theft and crackdown on China’s practices.

      The so-called theft takes two forms. On the one hand, the complaint is that China does not adequately protect patents and copyrights internally. As a result, massive amounts of software, recorded music and video material, and other copyright protected items are sold without authorization.

      The other form of theft is through requirements that companies looking to set up operations in China partner with Chinese firms and thereby share their technology. For example, Boeing is required to partner with Chinese manufacturers in its operations there, which then gives the Chinese manufacturers the ability to be competitors in future years.

    • Counter-Measures – How Startups Can Fight Pirates Without Burning Cash
      It’s never been easier for innovative companies to raise the funding they need to spur growth, invest in research and development, and build a revenue pipeline. Typically, early funding rounds also include the relatively minor costs of protecting the company’s proprietary technology by securing patents.

      But patents alone don’t stop pirates. Bad actors know that patents are worth little unless the patent owner is prepared to enforce them.

      And that’s often a problem for growth companies trying to fund operations with finite cash. Litigation to prosecute patent violations is expensive and time consuming. It can take months or even years – during which sales are likely plummeting and margins compressing as a competitor seizes market share by selling knockoff products at cut-rate prices.

    • #IPSC18 Preview: General IP
      This week I've been previewing all 140+ abstracts for the 18th Annual IP Scholars Conference next week at Berkeley, with patents & innovation on Monday, copyright on Tuesday, trademarks on Wednesday, and design/trade secrets/publicity yesterday. Here are all the remaining panels, in which multiple areas of IP are combined (either in individual papers or across the panel).

    • Understanding Europe’s new trade secret rule
      As part of the modernising of trade secret law, on 9 June 2018 the much heralded UK Trade Secrets Regulations 2018 came into effect. The regulations implement the snappily named EU Directive (2016/43) on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure. The directive is an effort to harmonise trade secret laws throughout the EU. It also aims to provide a comparable level of protection for trade secrets as found in other key jurisdictions, notably the US.

    • Copyrights

      • The War On Fan-Subtitles Comes To Australia in The Form Of Site-Blocking
        One of the more curious fronts in the never ending copyright wars is the one launched against fan-made subtitles. The theory from the entertainment industry goes something like this: these subtitles allow pirates to download movies in foreign countries and then apply the subtitles to view them coherently, therefore it's all copyright infringement. It's a dumb argument on many levels, but chiefly because it's inescapably true that the entertainment industry has done an absolutely terrible job of making sure it releases its own subtitled movies in these same countries and in these same languages. In other words, the entertainment industry isn't going to serve you foreigners, and we're not going to let anyone else serve you either. To date, much of this front of the war has been fought in Europe.
      • Sensing Blood In The Water, All Major Labels Sue Cox For 'Ignoring' Their DMCA Notices
        For years, we've noted that the major record labels have been drooling over the idea that the DMCA might allow them to force ISPs to kick people entirely off the internet based on mere accusations of piracy. This is problematic for all sorts of reasons (as you might imagine). However, the record labels feared testing this idea in court, because it might not turn out the way they wanted it to. However, as we covered on Techdirt, a few years back, music publisher BMG, with the assistance of copyright trolling operation Rights Corp. went after ISP Cox, claiming that it had failed to kick people off under the DMCA.


        The whole case was a complete mess -- and it was made worse by some bad choices by Cox, including not really following its own stated DMCA repeat infringer policy. O'Grady's ruling was bad, and unfortunately the appeals court upheld it. However, at least the Appeals Court made it more or less clear that they weren't saying every ISP had to kick people off the internet -- but rather that Cox lost its DMCA safe harbors by not following its own DMCA policy. While much attention was paid to the claim that Cox's policy amounted to a "13 strike" policy before you might lose access, the appeals court notes it's not the number of strikes that matters, so much as whether or not the company follows its own policy -- and Cox did not.

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Over at Tux Machines...
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IRC logs for Sunday, July 14, 2024
Debian History Harassment & Abuse culture evolution
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
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the rate of change is noteworthy
[Meme] It Is Not About Empowerment, It's About Optics for Bigots and Businessmen
Truth hurts
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Desperate efforts to suppress the truth resulted in even worse chaos and some people are going to pay for it
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accelerated death of journalism
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