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Links 4/8/2019: GNU Guile 2.9.3 and Wine Staging 4.13

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • IBM

        • Open source made me a better marketer: says Daniel Ng, ExCo at Smart Cities Network

          Daniel Ng: I joined Red Hat, a purely open source software company in 2007 which were still the early days of open source. Before that I was with Microsoft where I developed a good understanding of proprietary software distribution channels. I struggled for the first three weeks at Red Hat to understand why someone would let go off their software for free when the most precious thing at Microsoft was the software. I have my personal objective to always join a company that creates a market and not just addresses a market. I rehashed the marketing function at Red Hat in my 6 years there and in process have seen how ‘open source’ can change cultural mindsets and bring in change.

          6. What is the outlook for open source in India?

          Daniel Ng: Open source is all about how people work together. More eyes and less bugs make open source good. Open source is all about sharing and sharing is an integral part of India. We in the Asia Pacific region share a common culture of sharing and are taught about it from a young age. That is also what open source software is.

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • AMD Radeon GCN Offloading Support For OpenMP/OpenACC On The Way For GCC 10

          Merged for the GCC 9 compiler release that launched earlier this year was the preliminary AMD Radeon "GCN" GPU compiler back-end. In that initial release it wasn't particularly useful as the GPU offloading bits for the popular programming APIs/models wasn't supported so for now could just run some basic single-threaded programs. But now those interesting GPU offloading bits are pending for GCC 10.

          Julian Brown of CodeSourcery, the company contracted by AMD to work on this GCC compiler offloading, has got around to prepping the patches for the mainline kernel. Up to now these patches were sitting within their internal tree.

        • Intel OpenCL Runtime 19.30.13641 Adds Elkhart Lake Support, Other Changes

          Intel's NEO OpenCL run-time stack has been living by the "release early, release often" mantra with continuing to see frequent new updates for this OpenCL stack.

          Intel OpenCL 19.30.13641 was released on Friday with yet more changes to this increasingly competitive compute stack that provides OpenCL 2.1 support for the vast majority of recent generations of Intel graphics hardware on Linux.

        • Radeon Vulkan Driver Now Supports Wave32 Support For More Shaders

          Earlier this week the Mesa Radeon Vulkan driver "RADV" added support for Wave32 with compute shaders on the new Navi graphics processors. That RADV Wave32 support has now been extended for more shader types.

          Samuel Pitoiset of Valve who added the initial Wave32 support for compute shaders in RADV extended the functionality to cover more shaders. He added Wave32 support for fragment shaders that is disabled by default but can be turned on for Navi hardware with the RADV_PERFTEST=pswave32 environment variable.

        • [PULL] drm-misc-next
          Hi Daniel, Dave,

          Here is the first (and pretty late) drm-misc-next PR.

          It's pretty big due to the lateness, but there's nothing really major showing up. It's pretty much the usual bunch of reworks, fixes, and new helpers being introduced.

          Thanks! Maxime

          drm-misc-next-2019-08-03: drm-misc-next for 5.4:

          UAPI Changes:

          Cross-subsystem Changes:

          Core Changes: - Continue to rework the include dependencies - fb: Remove the unused drm_gem_fbdev_fb_create function - drm-dp-helper: Make the link rate calculation more tolerant to non-explicitly defined, yet supported, rates - fb-helper: Map DRM client buffer only when required, and instanciate a shadow buffer when the device has a dirty function or says so - connector: Add a helper to link the DDC adapter used by that connector to the userspace

          Driver Changes: - Remove drm_gem_prime_import/export from being defined in the drivers - Drop DRM_AUTH usage from drivers - Continue to drop drmP.h - Convert drivers to the connector ddc helper

          - ingenic: Add support for more panel-related cases - komeda: Support for dual-link - lima: Reduce logging - mpag200: Fix the cursor support - panfrost: Export GPU features register to userspace through an ioctl - pl111: Remove the CLD pads wiring support from the DT - rockchip: Rework to use DRM PSR helpers - sun4i: Improve support for color encoding and range - tinydrm: Rework SPI support, improve MIPI-DBI support, move to drm/tiny - vkms: Rework of the CRC tracking

          - bridges: - sii902x: Add support for audio graph card - tc358767: Rework AUX data handling code - ti-sn65dsi86: Add Debugfs and proper DSI mode flags support

          - panels - Support for GiantPlus GPM940B0, Sharp LQ070Y3DG3B, Ortustech COM37H3M, Novatek NT39016, Sharp LS020B1DD01D, Raydium RM67191, Boe Himax8279d, Sharp LD-D5116Z01B - Conversion of the device tree bindings to the YAML description - jh057n00900: Rework the enable / disable path

          - fbdev: - ssd1307fb: Support more devices based on that controller The following changes since commit 5f9e832c137075045d15cd6899ab0505cfb2ca4b:

          Linus 5.3-rc1 (2019-07-21 14:05:38 -0700)

          are available in the Git repository at:

          git:// tags/drm-misc-next-2019-08-03

          for you to fetch changes up to d6781e490179f7ba710dd924187109da70c185b0:

          drm/pl111: Drop special pads config check (2019-08-03 11:59:54 +0200
        • The Smaller DRM Drivers Begin Seeing Their Improvements Queued For Linux 5.4

          In addition to the Intel DRM driver landing lots of feature code into DRM-Next for the Linux 5.4 kernel cycle coming up in September, the DRM-Misc-Next crew for collecting core infrastructure changes and work to the smaller Direct Rendering Manager drivers has also been seeing new 5.4 work.

          The first DRM-Misc-Next pull request to DRM-Next of inaugural material for Linux 5.4 was sent out.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD Ryzen 9 3900X cross-platform benchmarking shows the Windows 10 scheduler finally catching up to that of Linux

        AMD initially denied any issues with the Windows scheduler during launch of the 1st gen Ryzens. However, the company said during the Ryzen 3rd gen launch that Windows 10 version 1903 brings in better topology awareness, improved thread scheduling, and faster clock ramping that should help better utilizing the MCM design of the new chips. Phoronix decided to compare the performance of the 12C/24T Ryzen 9 3900X in Windows 10 1903 and Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS to see if things have really improved.

        Phoronix's test bench comprised of an AMD Ryzen 9 3900X running at stock speeds on an Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Hero Wi-Fi motherboard, 2x 8 GB of DDR4-3600 RAM, a Corsair Force MP600 PCIe Gen4 SSD, and AMD Radeon RX 560 graphics.

    • Applications

      • Blender 2.80 released with new features and improvements

        Blender is a cross-platform community-driven project under the GNU General Public License (GPL) and runs equally well on Linux, Windows and Macintosh computers. Its interface uses OpenGL to provide a consistent experience. It provides a broad spectrum of modeling, texturing, lighting, animation and video post-processing functionality in one package. Through its open architecture, Blender provides cross-platform interoperability, extensibility, an incredibly small footprint, and a tightly integrated workflow. Blender is one of the most popular Open Source 3D graphics applications in the world. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation.

        There is Blender's API available for advanced users who know Python scripting to customize the application and write specialized tools for Blender; more often these contributed tools are included in next releases of Blender. Blender has no price tag, but you can invest, participate, and help to advance a powerful collaborative tool: Blender is your own 3D software. Blender is being actively developed by hundreds of volunteers from all around the world. These volunteers include artists, VFX experts, hobbyists, scientists, and many more. All of them are united by an interest to further a completely free and open source 3D creation pipeline. You can get involved with this awesome project and contribute in anyway you like to do.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Staging 4.13 Brings Fixes For Epic Games Launcher, Cmd.exe File Association

        Hot on the heels of the upstream Wine 4.13 release following a long summer retreat, Wine-Staging 4.13 is now available with the latest testing/experimental patches re-based atop the newest Wine code.

        Some of the highlights for Wine-Staging 4.13 include:

        - Addressing a ten year old bug report around cmd.exe not handling file extension associations.

      • Porting wine to amd64 on NetBSD, second evaluation report

        As getting Wine to work with WoW64 support was of foremost importance, my focus was on compat32 dependency packages without which Wine's functionality would be limited and more importantly untestable. Initially, being unaware of what to expect, I just wanted Wine to run, at the earliest. So, with outmost support from mentors, the consensus was to install libs from 32-bit packages to ${PREFIX}/lib/32 and ignore everything else that came with the respective packages.

        I had most of the compat32 packages ready after a couple of days. And it was time we gave Wine a whirl. Well, the build was successful. However, I had problems with 32-bit Xorg. The applications which came packaged with Wine worked fine, but, other Microsoft Windows applications like notepad++, Mario etc had a hard time running. Additionally, I noticed that fontconfig went wild and crashed spewing errors symptomatic of Wine (32-bit) not playing nice with the fontconfig lib that came with 32-bit Xorg package. On top of this, I found that build failed on certain machines due to unavailability of headers. This made us reconsider our decision to install 32-bit libs to ${PREFIX}/lib/32 and ignore everything else which included headers and binaries.

      • Wine On 64-bit NetBSD Is Now In Much Better Shape Thanks To GSoC

        One of the many interesting Google Summer of Code (GSoC) projects this year has been to improve the Wine support on NetBSD. Thanks to student developer Naveen Narayanan, that is becoming a reality.

    • Games

      • Futuristic lonely single-player survival game "Drift Into Eternity" adds Linux support

        As the only survivor of a distressed long-haul spaceship, you're trapped and faced with a failing ship. It's do or die. Drift Into Eternity originally released in December of 2016, with Linux support arriving at the end of July.

      • Moonlighter - Between Dimensions DLC, some thoughts

        Moonlighter - Between Dimensions DLC, the expansion to the hit mix of dungeon crawling action and shopkeeping released recently and now I've blasted through here's a few thoughts.

        I actually really quite enjoyed Moonlighter. It's a bit of a weird mix but it does work and when we have so many similar games coming out, I've really appreciate a game that at least tries to be a little more unique. It's not just yet another 2D RPG with some dungeon crawling.

        The new content is fantastic, with a good price point for what's there. Featuring 10 new original enemies and 5 mini-bosses, the variation in the types of enemies you can now encounter is great and with the different abilities they have the combat certainly can be compelling. That's not all though, the expanded story and lore is also pretty interesting with some fun writing too giving you a nice break between dungeon crawling and shopkeeping when chatting to other characters.

      • MiniGolf Maker lets you build a course and play with friends, now available on Linux

        A bit of MiniGolf anyone? Road Turtle Games released MiniGolf Maker into Steam's Early Access program back in March, with Linux support landing yesterday.

        As the name suggests, this is a game for those who love to create as much as play. It includes a Course Creator, allowing anyone to set everything to their own liking with multiple themes including Desert, Medieval, Winter, Pirate, Dreamscape, and Polyworld. Interestingly, you're not limited by the pre-made pieces as it allows you to adjust the shape and size of them all, along with a dynamic behaviour and event system which certainly piqued my interest.

      • Godot Making Progress On Vulkan Support, Threaded Shader Compilation

        Shared one month ago was the initial work done on implementing a Vulkan renderer for Godot, the increasingly-used open-source cross-platform game engine. That Godot Vulkan support continues maturing along with other features that will form the basis of Godot 4.0.

        Godot developers have been realistic and not expecting to reach OpenGL parity on their Vulkan renderer until the end of October or so, but over the past month they've made noticeable progress. For Godot's 2D support a lot of code is in place and over the next month lead developer Juan Linietsky is going to be working on the 3D side.


        2D Lighting was introduced in Godot 2.0, with support for 2D shadow mapping and basic normalmapping. While it looks pretty nice, users quickly found its limitations.

        The main problem with this system is that performance was never very good. The reason is that lighting was done in a additive way, requiring an extra pass (drawing all 2D content again) for every light in the scene. This ensured maximum compatibility with all hardware, but quickly restricted the amount of lights.

        For Godot 4.0, the algorithm changed. All 2D lighting is now done in a single pass, ensuring much better performance. The only downside is that there is now a limit of 256 lights visible on-screen (your level can have as many as you want), and 16 lights per 2D node (as in, a single 2D node can be affected by a maximum of 16 lights). Considering today's standards for 2D games, this is a very high limit anyway, and the performance improvement makes it worth it.

        Added to this, many users requested specularity in 2D lights, so the effect of lights moving around stage is more visible and more types of materials can be created. Because of this, It will be possible in Godot 4.0 to use specular and shininess both as parameter and as textures supplied to Sprite, AnimatedSprite, Polygon2D and other nodes.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • GNOME and KDE Join Forces To Co-Host Linux App Summit

          ZDNet called the collaboration "a major step forward," giving their story the headline "GNOME and KDE work together on the Linux desktop." But the Twitter feed for the KDE community quickly clarified that KDE "is working with GNOME to create a common, fair, sustainable and open app ecosystem, not a desktop."

          "The GNOME and KDE communities want to provide users with free and open applications that will respect their privacy and rights. That is what Linux App Summit is about."

        • Update

          Like my personal homepage, I ported the website to the Hugo framework.

          The new website uses zero cookies (yes, no stupid cookie question) and no kind of analytic software. It should be self-contained, too. No external resources that will leak your data to e.g. Google are requested.

          But more important: unlike before, the website content will be fully hosted in a git repository on KDE infrastructure.

          The current intermediate location is on

          Before, the KDE sysadmin team just got access to a backup of the WordPress instance.

          The new website contains an import of all old pages & posts. I hopefully preserved the old URLs, but there might be some minor glitches for some older posts that still need fixing.

          Some pages still have broken markup, that needs some fixes, too.

          But all-in-all the import of the WordPress content did work really well.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • Peppermint OS 10 – Based on Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS and Available in 32bit and 64bit

          Peppermint OS 10 is the latest release of peppermint OS, this release based on ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS which ships with updated kernel and graphics stacks from the Ubuntu 18.10. As such, Peppermint 10 is powered by Linux kernel 4.18.0-18, available in both 64bit and 32bit flavors so older hardware is still supported.

          This release using the LXDE desktop environment, but not in its traditional form. Instead of Openbox, it’s paired with Xfwm4 window manager and instead of LXDE panel it’s the XFCE panel with the (terrific) Whisker menu plugin.

          Proprietary nvidia graphics drivers in Peppermint 10 now installed automatically if “Install third party drivers/software” is selected as part of the installation routine, this includes automatic configuration of nvidia optimus setups up to the nvidia-390 drivers. If you intend to install the later 396/410/415/418/430 drivers from the ‘Proprietary GPU Drivers’ PPA it would

      • Debian Family

        • New Debian Developers and Maintainers (May and June 2019)

          The following contributors got their Debian Developer accounts in the last two months:

          Jean-Philippe Mengual (jpmengual) Taowa Munene-Tardif (taowa) Georg Faerber (georg) Kyle Robbertze (paddatrapper) Andy Li (andyli) Michal Arbet (kevko) Sruthi Chandran (srud) Alban Vidal (zordhak) Denis Briand (denis) Jakob Haufe (sur5r) The following contributors were added as Debian Maintainers in the last two months:

          Bobby de Vos Jongmin Kim Bastian Germann Francesco Poli Congratulations!

        • Jonas Meurer: debian lts report 2019.07

          This month I was allocated 17 hours. I also had 2 hours left over from Juney, which makes a total of 19 hours. I spent all of them on the following tasks/ issues.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 19.2 released to the general public

          Following a two-week beta phase, the team behind Linux Mint has announced the final release of Linux Mint 19.2. Three editions of the release are available and include the Cinnamon desktop, MATE desktop, and the Xfce desktop. Cinnamon is the main edition while Xfce is oriented toward less powerful computers. MATE is good for those people who prefer the more traditional GNOME 2 experience.

          The Cinnamon edition ships with Cinnamon 4.2 which comes with better performance, improved handling of Flatpaks in menus, updated scroll bar settings, better Samba support, and file pinning. The MATE edition comes with MATE 1.22 which brings improved stability and bug fixes, support for metacity-3 themes, better systemd support, desktop notifications for long-running file operations, and a handful of other small tweaks that add a bit of polish to the desktop experience. The Xfce edition ships with Xfce 4.12 which is the same as what shipped in Linux Mint 19.1 so you shouldn’t see much difference with this edition.

        • Linux Mint 19.2 “Tina” Has been Released, Check What’s New Feature

          The Linux Mint team is announced the second major release of Linux Mint 19.2 “Tina” in the Linux Mint 19 series on 2nd Aug, 2019.

          Linux Mint 19.2 is a long term support release which is based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver).

          It will be supported until 2023. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Mattermost makes case for open source as team messaging market booms

        The team collaboration market may be dominated by Slack, Microsoft and other large cloud vendors, but some believe that open-source messaging tools will also find a place among large organizations.

        Mattermost is one of a handful of vendors — along with Zulip, Rocket.Chat and others — taking an open-source approach to team chat. The company has been attracting attention from investors following deployments at organizations as diverse as Uber, Airbus and the Department of Defense. “People want an open-source alternative because they need the trust, the flexibility and the innovation that only open source is able to deliver,” said Ian Tien, co-founder and CEO of Mattermost, an open-source team messaging tool that launched in 2015.

      • Events

        • Andy Simpkins: Debconf19: Curitiba, Brazil – AV Setup

          I write this on Monday whilst sat in the airport in São Paulo awaiting my onward flight back to the UK and the fun of the change of personnel in Downing street that has been something I have fortunately been able to ignore whilst at DebConf. [Edit: and finishing writing the Saturday after getting home after much sleep]

          Arriving on the first Sunday of DebCamp meant that I was one of the first people to arrive; however most of the video team were either arriving about the same time or had landed before me. We spent most of our daytime time during DebCamp setting up for the following weeks conference.

          Step one was getting a network operational. We had been offered space for our servers in a university machine room, but chose instead to occupy the two ‘green’ rooms below the main auditorium stage, using one as a makeshift V/NOC and the other as our machine room as this enabled us continuous and easy access [0] to our servers whilst separating us from the fan noise. I ran additional network cable between the back of the stage and our makeshift machine room, routing the cable around the back of the stage and into the ceiling void to just outside the V/NOC was relatively simple. Routing into the V/NOC needed a bit of help to get the cable through a small gap we found where some other cables ran through the ‘fire break’. Getting a cable between the two ‘green rooms’ however was a PITA. Many people, including myself, eventually giving up before I finally returned to the problem and with the aid of a fully extended server rail gaffer taped to a clothing rail to make a 4m long pole I was eventually able to deliver a cable through the 3 floor supports / fire breaks that separated the two rooms (and before someone suggests I should have used a ‘fish’ wire that was what we tried first). The university were providing us with backbone network but it did take a couple of meetings to get our video network in it’s own separate VLAN and get it to pass traffic unmolested between nodes.

        • Cameron Kaiser: Vintage Computer Festival West 2019 opens in one hour

          The machines are getting up and running. If you're a nerd, or you aspire to be one, and you're in the Bay Area for the next day or two come by the Vintage Computer Festival West at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA (across from the Google Panopticon and that weird sail structure they're building). Not a great deal of Mac stuff this year, but there is some Power and PowerPC, including a Daystar Millennium (in a nice black case) accompanied by a couple bits of POWER hardware, including my very favourite 43P, and of course my exhibit, which in addition to a NeXTSTEP SAIC Galaxy 1100 and a couple SPARCs features a PowerPC ThinkPad 860 with its multimedia software operational. Plus come by and see a full exhibit of Apple Newtons, a couple Pippins (finally cracked!), lots of homebrew systems and even a fully functional Xerox Star! There's also lots of cool gear to buy in the consignment area if you don't have enough crap in the house. We're here today and tomorrow. See you then!

        • Ubucon Europe 2019: Ubucon EU registrations are open!

          This registration is completely free, and it is not mandatory if you want to attend the event, although if you register, you will receive some free swag.


        • GNU Guile 2.9.3 (beta) released

          We are delighted to announce GNU Guile 2.9.3, the third beta release in preparation for the upcoming 3.0 stable series. See the release announcement for full details and a download link.

          This release improves the quality of the just-in-time (JIT) native code generation, resulting in up to 50% performance improvements on some workloads. See the article "Fibs, lies, and benchmarks" for an in-depth discussion of some of the specific improvements.

          GNU Guile 2.9.3 is a beta release, and as such offers no API or ABI stability guarantees. Users needing a stable Guile are advised to stay on the stable 2.2 series.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • The fastest open source CPU ever, Facebook shares AI algorithms fighting harmful content, and more news

          Pingtouge Semiconductor - an Alibaba subsidiary - announced its Xuantie 91 processor last month. It's equipped to manage infrastructure for AI, the IoT, 5G, and autonomous vehicles, among other projects. It boasts a a 7.1 Coremark/MHz, making it the fastest open source CPU on the market.

          Pintogue announced plans to make its polished code available on GitHub this September. Analysts view this release as a power move to help China hit its goal of using local suppliers to meet 40 percent of processor demand by 2021. Recent tariffs on behalf of the U.S. threaten to derail this goal, creating the need for open source computer components.

      • Programming/Development

        • Python Float()

          This tutorial explains Python float() method that takes a number or string and returns a floating-point value. If it is not able to convert string to float, then it raises the ValueError. Let’s try to understand how to use it with the help of simple examples.

        • RcppCCTZ 0.2.6

          RcppCCTZ uses Rcpp to bring CCTZ to R. CCTZ is a C++ library for translating between absolute and civil times using the rules of a time zone. In fact, it is two libraries. One for dealing with civil time: human-readable dates and times, and one for converting between between absolute and civil times via time zones. And while CCTZ is made by Google(rs), it is not an official Google product. The RcppCCTZ page has a few usage examples and details. This package was the first CRAN package to use CCTZ; by now at least three others do—using copies in their packages which remains less than ideal.

        • Qt Creator 4.10 RC Available With Support For Pinning Files, UI Improvements

          This Qt/C++ focused IDE (though with growing support for other languages via LSP) adds support for pinning files so they remain open even if closing all files, various user-interface refinements, support for Android targets to CMake and Qbs projects, remote Linux target handling improvements, basic support for Boost tests, Language Server Protocol handling enhancements, and various other changes. The Qt Creator 4.10 binaries are being built against a Qt 5.13.1 snapshot that also addresses various other bugs.

        • Excellent Free Books to Learn JavaScript

          JavaScript is possibly one of the easiest language to get up and running with. But to truly master the language requires a firm foundation of its intricacies. This compilation of free books ticks all the boxes.

          JavaScript is an interpreted, prototype-based, scripting computer programming language. It came to popular attention as a simple client-side scripting tool, interacting with the user using forms and controlling the web browser, and remains a front-end language for web applications.

          JavaScript features dynamic types, it is weakly typed, supports the structured programming syntax from C, uses prototypes instead of classes for inheritance, and copies many names and naming conventions from Java. It also borrows design principles from Scheme and Self, as well as concepts and syntax idioms such as C-style procedural roots.

        • sphinxcontrib.datatemplates 0.5.0
        • Search the currency pair on the tkinter display panel
        • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (clxxxix) stackoverflow python report
  • Leftovers

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • GitHub "actively encourages" hacking, suit filed against company after Capital One hack says [Mitchel Lewis: "For what it’s worth, Microsoft has the technology to prevent PHI breaches; at least within the Data Loss Prevention component of Exchange."]

        "GitHub had an obligation, under California law, to keep off (or to remove from) its site Social Security numbers and other Personal Information," the suit says.

      • LibreOffice handlers defend suite's security after 'unfortunately partial' patch [Ed: Microsoft propagandist Microsoft Tim still at it, attacking LibrOoffice because of malicious macros one could, in principle, run]

        The Document Foundation, custodian of LibreOffice, has defended the suite's security after attempts to patch a code execution flaw turned out to be "partial".

        "So far in the story of LibreOffice we have been able to patch all security issues before they reached the end user," a spokesperson told The Reg. "For this last one we have a patch for version 6.2.5 which is unfortunately partial because there are other ways to trigger the vulnerability. This is going to be patched in version 6.3, which is out next week, and in 6.2.6."

      • [Slackware] Chromium 76 packages available

        The release earlier this week of Chromium 76 came with a total of 43 security fixes but this new major version of course also sports some real usability changes.

        Most notably: Flash is now disabled by default. It’s no longer sufficient to click an “allow Flash on this page” popup but you need to go into the Chromium settings and override the default. And click in on the Flash element to make it start playing. Even then, the changes you make will not survive the restart of the browser. Google is apparently stepping up its efforts in convincing website developers to switch to HTML5 instead. In 2020 Adobe will stop with Flash anyway, so remaining Flash-powered sites will not survive long. Another big behavioral change is that it is no longer possible for web sites to detect that you are browsing in ‘anonymous mode‘. This will make it a lot harder for sites with a ‘pay-wall‘ to block you from accessing their paid content though trial subscriptions. And another positive change is that hitting the ‘Esc‘ key to stop a page from loading, is no longer treated as user activation. Meaning that malicious web sites will have more trouble messing with your browser because your ‘Esc‘ keypress is no longer passed to the remote web site.

    • Environment

      • Don't Ask How to Pay for Climate Change. Ask Who

        This fight has already started to play out. Fossil fuel interests are rich, politically influential, and well organized. They are able not only to pay for lobbyists in Washington, DC, but to organize an entire political movement at the state level. The Koch-funded “grassroots” organization Americans for Prosperity pushes to protect fossil fuel interests in individual states. The group has become intimately intertwined with the Republican party.

      • Energy

        • Finland's green scheme to invest €40m in cycling and walking

          In its government programme released in June, the new administration has pledged 41 million euros to be spent between 2020 and 2022 "for the planning work and project promotion related to walking and cycling." (Pg. 122)

          Of that amount, 10 million euros will be devoted to developing infrastructure to support more walking and cycling.

        • The Site of One of the Largest US Oil Refineries Is on Fire

          The ExxonMobil incident is the latest in a growing list of fossil fuel-related accidents in the U.S. this year. The East Coast notably saw several refinery explosions, including one in June at the “largest refining complex on the Eastern seaboard,” reported Motherboard at the time.

        • 37 people injured from explosion at Exxon Mobil plant in Baytown; shelter-in-place lifted [iophk: tweets in place of official government communications :( ]
        • Standing Rock Sioux tribe at center of Dakota Access pipeline protests launches solar farm

          Located 3 miles from the pipeline, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s solar project is meant as a first step toward clean energy independence and a way to power all 12 of the reservation communities in North Dakota and South Dakota.

        • North Dakota's First Solar Farm Opens on Standing Rock Tribal Land

          The solar farm will save the community $7,000 to $10,000 annually in energy costs. This money will go back into the community with the hopes of creating a scholarship program to help protect their native Lakota language, said Hayes Baynard, the CEO of GivePower, one of the nonprofits that is partnering on the project and invested $370,000 in it. The farm’s total cost was $470,000.

        • Tribe at center of Dakota Access pipeline protests launches solar farm

          Located just 3 miles from the pipeline, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's solar project is meant to be the first step toward clean energy independence and a way to power all 12 of the reservation communities in North Dakota and South Dakota. It also shows that the protests that began in 2016 and ended in 2017 weren't for naught, even though the pipeline began carrying oil more than two years ago, said Cody Two Bears, the project leader and executive director of Indigenized Energy, which promotes energy within the Sioux Nation.

        • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Fights Back With Clean Energy

          Phase two of the Cannon Ball Community Solar Farm will include the installation of an additional 100 kW of solar infrastructure on government-owned homes, placing additional solar infrastructure on schools and other public buildings, and expanding solar training programs.

          “Our mission of indigenizing energy is about merging the cultural values and wisdom passed down to us with new technologies to establish a sustainable platform that not only helps us live better lives today, but also ensures our footprint over the next several centuries is a positive one,” said Cody TwoBears, Standing Rock project leader for GivePower and the founder and executive director of Indigenized Energy. “We are excited to share this fast-growing solar farm with the world, as it pays tribute to everyone who’s come to Standing Rock and all their hard work and tireless dedication towards protecting our people and land.”

      • Overpopulation

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Triple Talaq Bill a shining example of the Indian state standing up to votebank politics

        Evidence suggests that the Indian state has generally always backtracked when faced with Islamist threats. Initially, some of it may have been about a hankering to bend over backwards to minority demands in order to show we are morally superior to Pakistan. But soon the appeasement led to full-scale vote bank politics. As the Congress weakened with each successive decade, it became more and more dependent on vote bank politics for political survival. The regional clones of the Congress operated on a simple formula: [...]

      • Faked Facebook Accounts Linked to Saudi Arabia, Mideast Region

        Gleicher said that 217 Facebook accounts, 144 Facebook pages, five groups, and 31 Instagram accounts were removed due to their involvement in deceptive, coordinated behavior originating from Saudi Arabia and focused primarily on that country and North Africa.


        The campaign spent approximately $108,000 in advertising, paid for in US and Saudi currency, according to Facebook.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • USCIRF Vice Chair Nadine Maenza Calls for Release of Imprisoned Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi

        Nadine Maenza, Vice Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), today called on Saudi authorities to drop all charges against and release religious prisoner of conscience Raif Badawi. Mr. Badawi was first arrested in June 2012. Six years ago this week, in July 2013, a Saudi court sentenced Mr. Badawi to 600 lashes and seven years in prison for insulting Islam and breaking the anti-cybercrime law through his website Free Saudi Liberals. In May 2014, the sentenced was increased to 1,000 lashes, ten years in prison, and a fine of one million riyal.

      • U.S. religious rights officials hit Saudis for detaining blogger

        Raif Badawi has been in Saudi custody since June 2012 on various charges, including insulting Islam through electronic channels and apostasy, which holds an automatic death sentence in Saudi Arabia, according to Mr. Badawi’s official website. USCIRF Vice Chair Nadine Maenza said Mr. Badawi’s detention inconsistent with Saudi Arabia’s goals as a nation.

      • No One Is Safe: How Saudi Arabia Makes Dissidents Disappear

        The assassination of Jamal Khashoggi was no aberration. A Vanity Fair investigation reveals how Saudi Arabia attempts to abduct, repatriate—and sometimes murder—citizens it regards as enemies of the state.

      • Navalny Demands Official Probe Into Possible 'Poisoning' In Russian Custody

        Jailed opposition leader Aleksei Navalny has filed an official complaint with Russia's main investigative authority in connection with an unexplained physical reaction that required his hospitalization, alleging that he was poisoned after being taken into custody following a recent Moscow protest.

        He has requested an investigation that includes a toxicology report and a request to see surveillance video from the Moscow detention center where he is being housed.

      • Filmmaker Speaks Out on His Prison Sentence, Interrogations and Censorship

        Another problem they had was with the movie A Man of Integrity [Lerd]. They insisted that with this film I supported Baha’is. They tried to make me change my mind and not defend the Baha’is, since they said they are blasphemers. I explained that my movie does not directly mention the Baha’is and it’s just about religous discrimination. My point is that any Iranian with any belief should be able to go to school in Iran. I told them my problem is with a regime that weighs people’s rights based on their beliefs. They could not stand any of the themes in the movie that dealt with religous discrimination.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Equifax May Not Pay You That $125 Settlement Because It Screwed Too Many People

        A new FTC statement and blog post proclaim that because of “overwhelming” and “unexpected” public interest in the offer, users may not get the $125 they were originally promised. The agency is now strongly urging users to take the free credit monitoring instead.

      • Amazon Ring: Police tie-up criticised by anti-surveillance campaigners

        Motherboard says officers do not need a warrant to ask for footage or information.

        "Amazon has found the perfect end-run around the democratic process," Fight the Future said.

      • Amazon's home security firm Ring reportedly has partnerships with 200 US police departments and critics say it's dystopian

        Last week, Motherboard reported that under some of these partnerships, police departments were required to promote Ring in their local communities in exchange for earning credit toward free cameras.

      • Protect your privacy on the internet

        The idea that internet privacy is important only if you have something to hide is a misconception, says Nathan Handler. Privacy is something we should all care about to protect ourselves and the people we communicate with, whether or not we're doing anything wrong or embarrassing, he says.

        In his Lightning Talk at the 17th annual Southern California Linux Expo (SCaLE 17x), Nathan, a software engineer and open source evangelist at Orchid, explains how the internet works, why "private browsing" is a misnomer, and what things you can do to keep your data out of the hands of prying governments, businesses, and coffee shop managers.

        Watch Nathan's Lightning Talk, "The internet is not safe," to learn more about how the internet works, what information is accessible, how technologies can be utilized to enhance security, and the tradeoffs of using such technologies.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Russia To Amend Law In Order To Fine British Media

        Russia's media regulator says it will amend existing legislation in order to impose fines on British and other foreign media organizations working in Russia for breaking impartiality standards in retaliation for London fining Russia's RT TV channel.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • China bans Arabic script, Islamic symbols in bid to 'Sinicise' Muslim population

        Since then, Uighurs have carried out crude bomb attacks against Chinese controls, including an attack at a coal mine in 2015 by suspected Uighur militants in Xinjiang. The incident led to the retaliatory killing of 28 people by the Chinese police.

      • Turkey Wipes Out Traces of Greek Civilization in Smyrna

        But this ended when Turkish military forces attempted to take back Smyrna from the Greek administration on September 9, 1922. The military attacks against the Greeks and Armenians of Smyrna began with looting, rapes, and murder. Marketos wrote:

        "They started in the Armenian quarter and then spread through the Greek portion of the city. This drove even more people to the narrow sea-front. Then, on September 13, a fire started in the Armenian part of the city. A strong breeze blew the fire away from the Turkish quarter and quickly spread it to the rest of the city, driving still more horrified thousands of Greeks and Armenians to the harbor where they were now trapped between the raging flames at their backs and the harbor in front. And still, the Allied warships watched as the refugees on the sea-front were subjected to unspeakable atrocities by Turkish soldiers and residents.

        "After four days, the fire burned itself out. Beautiful Smyrna lay in ruins. Thousands of Greeks and Armenians had perished, either in the fire, or through slaughter in one form or another, or through simple exposure. Hundreds of thousands of others were eventually evacuated. But either way, the Twentieth Century's first holocaust effectively ended the Christian presence in Asia Minor."

        Sadly, this dark page of history remains mostly forgotten or ignored. Only a handful of scholars have shed light on and exposed the persecution of Christians in Smyrna in 1922. One is Lou Ureneck, Boston University professor and journalist, who penned The Great Fire: One American's Mission to Rescue Victims of the 20th Century's First Genocide. In it, he described the harrowing story of an American Methodist minister -- Asa Kent Jennings -- and an American naval officer -- Arthur J. Hepburn -- who helped rescue more than 250,000 Christian refugees during the burning of Smyrna by Turkish forces.

      • Lessons For America From India's War Against Muslim Illegal Migrants

        The “detect-delete-deport” program began by digitizing old paper records and then checking them against the documents that were submitted by the population. Tens of thousands of government employees reviewed millions of documents and then began checking and cross-referencing them. The lies weren't hard to spot as when dozens of people claimed to have been born from the same mother.

        The work is far from finished but the number of Muslim illegal aliens could climb as high as 20 million, and so could the deportations, once “detect-delete-deport” is deployed across the entire country.

        India’s National Register of Citizens is being used to clarify who belongs in the country and who doesn’t. Those who are unable to prove their citizenship potentially face the Foreigners’ Tribunals, courts that ask the accused to prove their citizenship. If the illegals fail to do so, they can be sent to prison and then deported. If they try to dodge the courts, the machinery of the system will move forward anyway.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Update on Qualcomm's two Ninth Circuit antitrust appeals: delays in FTC case due to complexity; consumer class responds to certification appeal

          The extension is needed not only by Qualcomm but also by persons and entities who will submit amicus curiae briefs in support of Qualcomm's appeal.

          The Ninth Circuit will schedule a hearing as soon as possible after briefing is complete. For various practical reasons, it appears highly unlikely at this stage that the hearing would still be held this year. The question is probably just exactly when in the first quarter of 2020 it will take place.


          Another key amicus curiae here is the Chamber of Commerce, which (according to the consumers' brief) "argues that applying California law violates the Due Process, Full Faith and Credit, and Dormant Commerce Clauses." Similarly, the DOJ "suggests that 'federalism' prevents California from applying its antitrust laws extraterritorially." Those are constitutional arguments, and the consumers' attorneys say that no new issues can be raised on appeal, so any such constitionality arguments have--they say--been waived by not raising them earlier.

          The consumers' lawyers present different theories based on which Judge Koh's class-certification decision could be upheld, but I'd have to conduct more research to form an opinion on how strong those theories are.

        • Life sciences IP – the major developments in July

          The Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court held that Amgen’s patent for PCSK9 inhibitors is infringed by Regeneron and Sanofi’s rival anti-cholesterol product, and granted an injunction excluding it from Europe’s largest market. But despite other successes at the German Supreme Court, the EPO and a US federal district court, the judgment is not the end of Amgen’s antibody patent war; ongoing proceedings in the US - where the dispute has become a major test case for antibody patenting – may reverse the company’s fortunes.

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