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Links 7/8/2019: Linux 5.2.7, NetworkManager 1.20, FFmpeg 4.2, GNOME 3.33.90

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • System76 Adder WS is a Linux laptop with a 4K OLED display

        Measuring 14.1″ x 10.2″ x 1.8″ and weighing about 5.5 pounds, the Adder WS is a bit larger than the laptops I usually write about. But it will be one of the most powerful laptops to ship with GNU/Linux software rather than Windows or macOS when it goes on sale later this week.

    • Server

      • The Data Center is Changing, so is SUSE Enterprise Storage: Say Hello to Version 6

        Data growth is explosive – a challenge for all regardless of business sector. There’s the vast quantity of data from mobiles – all that data on your phone (and everyone else’s). There’s the data from the IoT – with just about everything having a sensor these days – the much-celebrated fridge that orders groceries or adds to your shopping list has actually become a reality. If you’re in the medical sector, there’s the epic growth in X-Ray, and MRI data – with each new wave of improvements in scans bringing new data, and new processing requirements. Ordinary businesses selling on and offline have every increasing volumes of data of transactional history – things bought, and things nearly bought. Then of course there is video – reams of footage from stores, or the emergency services, or even field engineers – needs a home. And let’s not forget about email… which just so happens to have all those other sources of data in attachments. We’ve got lots of data, we’re going to have loads more, and a lot of it is unstructured.

      • Linux Academy Monthly Update for August

        During July, we started creating transcripts for many of our course videos. During August, we are working on adding even more transcripts to our courses! These transcripts will make it even easier to follow along with the course authors, and allow you to pause and re-read a section instead of having to rewind.

      • OPA Gatekeeper: Policy and Governance for Kubernetes

        The Open Policy Agent Gatekeeper project can be leveraged to help enforce policies and strengthen governance in your Kubernetes environment. In this post, we will walk through the goals, history, and current state of the project.

      • IBM

        • Red Hat Launches Enterprise Linux 7.7

          Red Hat today announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.7, the final Full Support Phase release of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 platform. As hybrid and multicloud computing helps to transform enterprise IT, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.7 delivers enhanced consistency and control across cloud infrastructure for IT operations teams while also providing a suite of modern, supported container creation tools for enterprise application developers.

          Beyond new capabilities, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.7 also marks the transition of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 to Maintenance Phase I within the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 10-year lifecycle. Maintenance Phase I emphasizes maintaining infrastructure stability for production environments and enhancing the reliability of the operating system. Future minor releases of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 will now focus solely on retaining and improving this stability rather than net-new features.

        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.7, it's a bit better than 7.6

          Red Hat… no, wait, stop there — not Red Hat the IBM company, actually just Red Hat — that’s how the company is still putting out news stories.

          We’ll start again, open source enterprise software company Red Hat has announced a point release for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) as it now hits its 7.7 version.

          But what could Red Hat have put into version 7.7 that it failed to markedly address in version 7.6 may we ask?

          The company points to terms like ‘enhanced consistency and control’ across cloud infrastructures (plural) for IT operations teams.

          There’s also ‘modern supported container creation tools’ for enterprise application developers — as opposed to the old fashioned ones, that shipped in 7.6, presumably.

        • Final Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 version released

          With almost a third of all servers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL, the final release of the RHEL 7 platform is a big deal. Of course, as the IBM-Red Hat acquisition shows, Red Hat is not just about Linux anymore, it's all about supporting the cloud. This last RHEL release, RHEL 7.7 underlines this with its built-in hybrid and multicloud support.

          But, first, let's go over RHEL 7.7's Linux foundation. From here on out, RHEL 7.7 moves to Maintenance Phase I within the RHEL 10-year lifecycle. Maintenance Phase I emphasizes maintaining infrastructure stability and reliability for production systems. Future minor releases will be all about security and stability patches. If you want new features, you should look at RHEL 8.

        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.7 Drives Cloud-Native Flexibility & Boosts Security

          “As hybrid and multicloud computing helps to transform enterprise IT, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.7 delivers enhanced consistency and control across cloud infrastructure for IT operations teams while also providing a suite of modern, supported container creation tools for enterprise application developers,” according to a company press release.

        • Red Hat Drives Cloud-Native Flexibility, Enhances Operational Security with Latest Version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7

          Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.7, the final Full Support Phase release of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 platform. As hybrid and multicloud computing helps to transform enterprise IT, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.7 delivers enhanced consistency and control across cloud infrastructure for IT operations teams while also providing a suite of modern, supported container creation tools for enterprise application developers.


          Frequently, modern applications built to run across the hybrid cloud are developed using Linux containers. Building cloud-native apps requires cloud-native development tools, like a container daemon, but these tools can introduce unnecessary risk and complexity into development environments. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.7 now includes full support for Red Hat’s distributed container toolkit - buildah, podman and skopeo - on Red Hat Enterprise Linux workstation deployments with the Red Hat Universal Base Image, enabling developer teams to build, run and manage containerized applications across the hybrid cloud with a smaller, more manageable tool footprint.

        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.7 released
        • OpenStack Stein feature highlights: edge deployments, storage and single node deployments

          Recently, we looked at how OpenStack’s use of vGPUs enables new technology use cases such as time series forecasting and autonomous vehicle image recognition. Now let’s examine the deployment options that can enable those applications.

          Red Hat and the OpenStack community recognize that to serve the needs of today’s providers of telecommunications service, IoT, retail apps and other workloads, centralized infrastructure only may not be a feasible approach. Instead, applications and their underlying infrastructure likely need to move out to the edge to be as close to the client or data source as possible in order to deliver processing and insights in near real time.

          Let’s look at some of the new capabilities that are available in OpenStack's Stein release or may come to future versions of Red Hat OpenStack.

        • Talking High Bandwidth With IBM’s Power10 Architect

          As the lead engineer on the Power10 processor, Bill Starke already knows what most of us have to guess about Big Blue’s next iteration in a processor family that has been in the enterprise market in one form or another for nearly three decades. Starke knows the enterprise grade variants of the Power architecture designed by IBM about as well as anyone on Earth does, and is acutely aware of the broad and deep set of customer needs that IBM always has to address with each successive Power chip generation.

          It seems to be getting more difficult over time, not less so, as the diversifying needs of customers run up against the physical reality of the Moore’s Law process shrink wall and the economics of designing and manufacturing server processors in the second and soon to be the third decade of the 21st century. But all of these challenges are what get hardware and software engineers out of bed in the morning. Starke started out at IBM in 1990 as a mainframe performance analysis engineer in the Poughkeepsie, New York lab and made the jump to the Austin Lab where the development for the AIX variant of Unix and the Power processors that run it is centered, first focusing on the architecture and technology of future systems and then Power chip performance and then shifting to being one of the Power chip architects a decade ago. Now, Starke has steered the development of the Power10 chip after being heavily involved in Power9 and is well on the way to mapping out what Power11 might look like and way off in the distance has some ideas about what Power12 might hold.

        • IBM: Better Cash Flows Together

          On Friday, International Business Machines (IBM) finally provided detailed financial projections on the Red Hat merger. The company had always provided an indication that the deal was immediately cash flow accretive while not EPS accretive until the end of year two. The headlines spooked investors, but the details should bring investors back with a smile.

        • Using Metrics to Guide Container Adoption, Part I

          Earlier this year, I wrote about a new approach my team is pursuing to inform our Container Adoption Program. We are using software delivery metrics to help keep organizations aligned and focused, even when those organizations are engaging in multiple workstreams spanning infrastructure, release management, and application onboarding. I talked about starting with a set of four core metrics identified in Accelerate: Building and Scaling High Performance Technology Organizations (by Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim) that act as drivers of both organizational and noncommercial performance.

          Let’s start to highlight how those metrics can inform an adoption program at the implementation team level. The four metrics are: Lead Time for Change, Deployment Frequency, Mean Time to Recovery, and Change Failure Rate. Starting with Lead Time and Deployment Frequency, here are some suggestions for activities that each metric can guide in initiatives to adopt containers, with special thanks to Eric Sauer, Prakriti Verma, Simon Bailleux, and the rest of the Metrics-Driven Transformation working group at Red Hat.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Episode 11: A Conversation with Randy Bias of the OpenStack Foundation

        In this episode, David speaks with long time friend and OpenStack Foundation founding member Randy Bias about the future of Cloud Computing and disrupting technology.

      • SMLR 312 Merge branch ‘floppy’
      • I Spy With My Little Pi | LINUX Unplugged 313

        We put the Raspberry Pi 4 to the desktop test, and try it as our daily driver.

        Plus some neat and powerful uses for recent Pis, and our thoughts on Manjaro's change of heart.

        Special Guests: Alan Pope, Alex Kretzschmar, and Brent Gervais.

      • LHS Episode #295: TLF Contest Logger Deep Dive

        Hello and welcome to Episode 295 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, the hosts address two e-mails received which both talk about native contest logging under Linux. A brief compare and contrast of YFKtest and TLF leads into a deep dive into the setup, operation and special features of TLF and why it may be a better choice as a lightweight contest logging option for Linux users. Thank you for listening and have a great week.

      • Myth #1: Can’t Make Money From Open Source

        People often say it’s hard to commercialize open-source. They are wrong. GitLab co-founder and CEO Sid Sijbrandij talks about the first open-source project that he helped commercialize. No, it was not GitLab.

      • Blender 2.80, Linux Mint, VR Desktop, System76, Librem 5, Manjaro, Proton: Episode 77 | This Week in Linux

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, we have a jam pack show for you with a huge release from Blender of .Blender 2.80. Linux Mint has released their latest version of 19.2 and System76 announced a brand new laptop. We’ll also check out some Linux Kernel news because Valve is proposing some new game-friendly changes and there’s some news regarding Floppy Drives of all things. We got some more exciting news from Valve as they teamed up with Collabora to develop a project to bring the Linux Desktop into the Virtual Reality space. Purism announced the final specs for the Librem 5, Manjaro made some waves this week and Latte Dock has released their latest version of 0.9. Later in the show, we’ll check out some more Linux Gaming news regarding the Official Valve Steam Play Whitelist. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.2.7

        I'm announcing the release of the 5.2.7 kernel.

        All users of the 5.2 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.2.y git tree can be found at:

        git:// linux-5.2.y

        and can be browsed at the normal git web browser:

      • Linux 4.19.65
      • Linux 4.14.137
      • Linux 4.9.188
      • Linux 4.4.188
      • Linux Performs Poorly In Low RAM / Memory Pressure Situations On The Desktop

        It's been a gripe for many running Linux on low RAM systems especially is that when the Linux desktop is under memory pressure the performance can be quite brutal with the system barely being responsive. The discussion over that behavior has been reignited this week.

      • Yes, Linux Does Bad In Low RAM / Memory Pressure Situations On The Desktop

        It's been a gripe for many running Linux on low RAM systems especially is that when the Linux desktop is under memory pressure the performance can be quite brutal with the system barely being responsive. The discussion over that behavior has been reignited this week.

        Developer Artem S Tashkinov took to the kernel mailing list over the weekend to express his frustration with the kernel's inability to handle low memory pressure in a graceful manner. If booting a system with just 4GB of RAM available, disabling SWAP to accelerate the impact/behavior, and launching a web browser and opening new web pages / tabs can in a matter of minutes bring the system down to its knees.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Etnaviv Gallium3D Picks Up A NIR Compiler

          Open-source developer Jonathan Marek merged the support yesterday that allows for a NIR-based compiler as an alternative to its own homegrown compiler infrastructure for dealing with OpenGL shaders. NIR is the "new" Mesa common IR used by the likes of Intel's OpenGL/Vulkan drivers, RADV, optionally for RadeonSI, and other drivers like Freedreno and V3D. By leveraging NIR, this should help in their OpenGL (ES) advancement and potential for squeezing more performance optimizations as the Etnaviv reverse-engineered driver continues maturing.

        • ROCK Pi and an easy place: Panfrost & Wayland on a Rockchip board

          With the release of the 5.2 Linux kernel, you might have noticed that Collabora has done a lot of work with Rockchip's RK3399 platform, more specifically with the ROCK Pi 4 single-board computer.

          Our ongoing work on the reverse-engineered Panfrost OpenGL ES driver for Arm Mali GPUs turns the RK3399 SoC into a very attractive platform to try out Wayland on ARM devices, especially since it's such a versatile platform that is both affordable to buy and is available in multiple form factors, including system-on-module (SoM) and single-board computer (SBC).

        • Intel's Iris Gallium3D Driver Gets A 1 Line Patch To Bump The Performance By ~1%

          Intel's Iris Gallium3D driver as their new OpenGL Linux driver aiming to be the default Mesa driver by year's end continues seeing more performance optimizations now that the fundamentals are in place. The latest optimization is a one line tweak yielding around one percent higher performance across the board.

    • Applications

      • Please welcome: NetworkManager 1.20

        The libnm-glib library, deprecated in favor of libnm since NetworkManager 1.0 release almost five years ago, was dropped. At this point it’s almost certain to have no users.

        If you’re developing a program that has anything to do with network configuration, libnm is the way to go. You can also use it from other languages than C via GObject instrospection — just check out our examples.

        Also gone is the settings plugin for use with iBFT. For those who don’t know: iBFT is the way for the boot firmware to pass the network configuration it has used to the operating system. It really was rather unlike what other settings plugins are — its role was to create a single virtual connection profile that would be there so that NetworkManager won’t tear down the network configuration applied by the early boot firmware. This doesn’t mean that we don’t support network booted installations. Quite the opposite. Since the last release we support configuring the network on early boot with NetworkManager and we preserve configuration done outside NetworkManager without the need of a placeholder connection profile.

      • NetworkManager 1.20 Released With WiFi Mesh Network Support, WireGuard Improvements

        NetworkManager 1.20 brings with it a random assortment of new and improved features. Some of the highlights for NetworkManager 1.20 include support for Open vSwitch DPDK interfaces (OVS DPDK), work towards handling policy routing for WireGuard, the DHCP client defaulting to its internal code path, removal of the old libnm-glib library, a reworked implementation of the settings plugins, support for restarting NetworkManager while maintaining in-memory profiles, support for disabling IPv6 on selected devices, and support for Wi-Fi Mesh Networks. More details on the mesh support can be found via its merge request.

      • FFmpeg 4.2 "Ada"

        FFmpeg 4.2 "Ada", a new major release, is now available! Some of the highlights:

        tpad filter AV1 decoding support through libdav1d dedot filter chromashift and rgbashift filters freezedetect filter truehd_core bitstream filter dhav demuxer PCM-DVD encoder GIF parser vividas demuxer hymt decoder anlmdn filter maskfun filter hcom demuxer and decoder ARBC decoder libaribb24 based ARIB STD-B24 caption support (profiles A and C) Support decoding of HEVC 4:4:4 content in nvdec and cuviddec removed libndi-newtek agm decoder KUX demuxer AV1 frame split bitstream filter lscr decoder lagfun filter asoftclip filter Support decoding of HEVC 4:4:4 content in vdpau colorhold filter xmedian filter asr filter showspatial multimedia filter VP4 video decoder IFV demuxer derain filter deesser filter mov muxer writes tracks with unspecified language instead of English by default added support for using clang to compile CUDA kernels

        We strongly recommend users, distributors, and system integrators to upgrade unless they use current git master.

      • FFmpeg 4.2 "Ada" Open-Source Multimedia Framework Released, Here's What's New

        Dubbed "Ada," the FFMpeg 4.2 series introduces some exciting new features and improvements, among which we can mention support for decoding AV1 files via the libdav1d library, support for ARIB STD-B24 caption (profiles A and C) based on the libaribb24 library, and support for decoding HEVC 4:4:4 content in nvdec and cuviddec.

        FFmpeg 4.2 also comes with support for decoding HEVC 4:4:4 content in VDPAU (Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix), support for using Clang to compile CUDA kernels, the ability for the mov muxer to write tracks with unspecified language instead of English by default, a GIF parser, as well as the removal of the libndi-newtek component.

      • FFmpeg 4.2 Released With AV1 Decoding Support, GIF Parser

        Given the time since the last FFmpeg release, FFmpeg 4.2 is quite big. FFmpeg 4.2 introduces AV1 video decoding support via the DAV1D library, a variety of new filters and demuxers have been added, a GIF parser has been added, there is now support for HEVC 4:4;4 decoding with NVIDIA's NVDEC and CUDA, support for HEVC 4:4:4 decoding was also added to VDPAU, an AV1 frame split bitstream filter was added, a VP4 video decoder added, and support for Clang to compile CUDA kernels.

      • Daniel Stenberg: more tiny curl

        Without much fanfare or fireworks we put together and shipped a fresh new version of tiny-curl. We call it version 0.10 and it is based on the 7.65.3 curl tree.

        tiny-curl is a patch set to build curl as tiny as possible while still being able to perform HTTPS GET requests and maintaining the libcurl API. Additionally, tiny-curl is ported to FreeRTOS.

      • Proprietary

        • Sysdig Injects More AI into Container Security

          At the Black Hat USA conference, Sysdig today announced it has extended the capabilities of Sysdig Secure to include runtime profiling and anomaly detection enabled by machine learning algorithms with Kubernetes environments.

          At the same time, Sysdig unveiled Falco Rule Builder, a more flexible user interface (UI) for creating runtime security policies, which integrates tightly with Sysdig Secure.

          Knox Anderson, director of product management for Sysdig, says these extensions will make it easier for organizations to embrace best DevSecOps processes by relying on container monitoring and security tools for Kubernetes environments delivered via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application, dubbed Sysdig Cloud Native Visibility and Security Platform (VSP).

          Sysdig Secure is extending its syscall-level integration to gain deep insights into container runtime activity. Within 24 hours of the image being profiled, enterprises can access a profile that provides insights in all process and file system activity, networking behavior and system calls. DevOps and security teams then can use the learned profile snapshot to create a policy that can be applied to container images in the environment automatically.

        • Multi-cloud: 8 tactics for stronger security

          The “multi” in multi-cloud should make clear from the outset that your security plans will need an update for this modern IT paradigm. You’re no longer protecting a single environment or network, but multiple threat surfaces.

          That’s not a cause for panic. Rather, it’s an impetus for incorporating new tools and tactics into your security strategy – and reinforcing some existing processes.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Deadly Days continues to be a really fun strategic zombie survival rogue-lite

        After leaving the strategic zombie survival rogue-lite Deadly Days to cook for a while, it's had a few major updates while in Early Access and it's really coming along nicely.

        In Deadly Days, your task is to manage a group of survivors as they go through looting various locations while you progress towards finding a cure. Every game is different with a new set of survivors with their own abilities, a different set of missions to go through and so on. As you explore various locations, you guide your crew around the map to find loot, while they automatically use their weapons (or with you manually aiming) to deal with all the Zombies around.

        Looking over recent updates they've added in quite a lot to the game since I last checked it out. There's an entirely new intro, a new main menu, an interactive tutorial to help you understand what to do, a Daily Challenge mode, the start of some Twitch integration, animated trees that can be destroyed, more visual feedback, a new sparkle effect to show you what your survivors can interact with when looting (really helpful), new powers available to you, new items to find, optional objectives you can do during looting missions and loads more.

      • Lost Flame is a new roguelike in Early Access with a focus on the combat and different weapons

        Need a new roguelike to sink some time into? Lost Flame recently arrived on Steam in Early Access and it now has Linux support included too.

      • Non-linear RPG "Dark Envoy" from the developer of Tower of Time announced, planned for Linux

        Developer Event Horizon has my attention, with the announcement of their brand new non-linear RPG called Dark Envoy.

      • Psyonix are removing randomized loot boxes from Rocket League

        Rocket League, the awesome sports game about smacking balls into goals using rocket powered cars is going through some changes.

        Psyonix announced today, that "all paid, randomized Crates" will be removed from Rocket League sometime later this year. Instead, they're going with "a system that shows the exact items you’re buying in advance" noting similar changes by the Fortnite Save the World team and since Psyonix is now owned by Epic Games it's no surprise they're doing this.

      • This War of Mine has a third narrative-driven episode now available with Fading Embers

        11 bit studios have today released This War of Mine: Stories - Fading Embers, the third episode in their narrative-driven expansion set to the popular survival game.

        Offering a very different experience to other survival games, This War of Mine takes place in a besieged city with you trying to keep a group alive against all odds. I enjoyed it a lot, although that feels a bit weird to say considering how bleak the game is.

        Lead Artist on Fading Embers, Tomasz Kisilewicz, said this about the new story: "The new This War of Mine: Stories episode touches on the subject of cultural heritage and what it means during the war. Is it worth preserving even at the darkest times? Or maybe when we're pushed to our limits, when death and starvation are omnipresent - we change our perception of art and culture? And despite the artistic value - paintings, sculptures and rare books - become mere tools of survival. Just because by destroying them we can postpone our own demise. Is this cost justifiable? Players will have to face those dilemmas for themselves."

      • Want a copy of Slay the Spire? Enter our competition

        Slay the Spire, the absolutely brilliant fusion of a roguelike and a deck-building card game released with Linux support in January, now is your chance to win a copy.

      • Looks like we might see the end of developers constantly changing their Steam release date

        Steam isn't perfect, that's for sure and one particular issue that constantly comes up is how some developers have been abusing the release date display.

        Previously, it seems developers were able to change their upcoming release date whenever they wanted to. Some took advantage of this, to constantly ensure their game showed up on the first two pages of the Coming Soon section on Steam. The issue is that it constantly pushed games with legitimate release dates back, sometimes multiple pages of searching. I saw it all the time and it was a massive nuisance, when clearly a lot of these games had no intention to release then.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Sean Davis: Xfce Screensaver 0.1.7 Released

        We’ve been hard at work optimizing Xfce’s screensaver to give users the best possible lock and screensaver experience in Xfce. With 0.1.6 and 0.1.7, we’ve dropped even more legacy code, while implementing a long-requested feature, per-screensaver configuration!

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDevelop 5.4 Released With Meson Support, Scratchpad Plug-In

          With KDevelop 5.4 one of the main feature additions is finally offering Meson build system support for projects within this IDE. There is support for managing Meson build system setups within KDevelop, auto-completion support, and initial support for the Meson rewriter.

        • Gnome and KDE Coming Together

          The two major Linux projects will work together to create a compatible ecosystem.

          Linux dominates the world, except for the desktop. One of the problems associated with the Linux desktop is fragmentation. In an exclusive interview, Linus Torvalds told me that,"fragmentation of the different vendors have held the desktop back.”

          Primarily this fragmentation comes from competing and often conflicting desktop projects. The good news is that two major Linux desktop community are working on joining hands to eliminate this fragmentation. The GNOME Foundation and KDE e.V. have announced Linux App Summit (LAS) 2019, which will be held in Barcelona from November 12th to 15th, 2019.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.34 Desktop Environment Enters Beta, Final Release Lands on September 11

          Released a day earlier than expected, the GNOME 3.34 beta (GNOME 3.33.90) milestone is now available for public testing, also marking the API/ABI, UI and Feature Freeze development stages. The beta release of the GNOME 3.34 desktop environment comes with many updated core components and apps, as detailed here.

          "This is the first beta release for GNOME 3.34. To ensure the quality of the final release, we have entered feature freeze, UI freeze, and API freeze, so now is a good time for distributors planning to ship GNOME 3.34 to start testing the packages," said Michael Catanzaro in an email announcement.

        • GNOME 3.33.90 released
          Hi developers and testers,

          GNOME 3.33.90 is now available, slightly ahead of schedule for a change!

          This is the first beta release for GNOME 3.34. To ensure the quality of the final release, we have entered feature freeze, UI freeze, and API freeze, so now is a good time for distributors planning to ship GNOME 3.34 to start testing the packages.

          If you want to compile GNOME 3.33.90, you can use the official BuildStream project snapshot. Thanks to BuildStream's build sandbox, it should build reliably for you regardless of your host system:

          The list of updated modules and changes is available here:

          The source packages are available here:

          WARNING! -------- This release is a snapshot of development code. Although it is buildable and usable, it is primarily intended for testing and hacking purposes. GNOME uses odd minor version numbers to indicate development status.

          For more information about 3.33, the full schedule, the official module lists and the proposed module lists, please see our 3.33 wiki page:


        • GNOME 3.34 Beta Released - Now Under UI/Feature/API/ABI Freezes

          The GNOME 3.34 beta (v3.33.90) release is now available one day early and also marks the point at which the feature freeze is in effect along with the user-interface changes and no API/ABI breakage.

        • Cinnamon Desktop (Gnome3 fork) vs MATE Desktop (Gnome2) a review

          Cinnamon is the principal desktop environment of the Linux Mint distribution and is available as an optional desktop for other Linux distributions and other Unix-like operating systems as well.

          The development of Cinnamon began as a reaction to the April 2011 release of GNOME 3 in which the conventional desktop metaphor of GNOME 2 was abandoned in favor of GNOME Shell.

          Following several attempts to extend GNOME 3 such that it would suit the Linux Mint design goals, the Mint developers forked several GNOME 3 components to build an independent desktop environment.

          Separation from GNOME was completed in Cinnamon 2.0, which was released in October 2013.

          Applets and desklets are no longer compatible with GNOME 3.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

        • PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight: Aragorn

          In December 1999. I had never been one to accept the hardware manufacturer's choice of operating system, and while my first ever PC came with DOS 5.0 and Windows 3.0 - which I've used for about six months - I wanted to have OS/2 on my computer, and so I've used OS/2 for over five years. Then I needed a new computer, and I really wanted a UNIX system, but that would have been very expensive, and it was hard to come by. My friends were (of course) all using Windows 95, but that was a DOS-based system, and after having used a real 32-bit operating system for over five years, and with the new computer having a Pentium II processor, I wasn't going to settle on anything DOS-based. So I compromised and I got Windows NT 4.0. I used that for two years.

          Then, late in 1999, I read an article in a computer magazine in which they were discussing several GNU/Linux distros - SuSE, Mandrake, RedHat, Slackware, Debian, Caldera and TurboLinux. Two weeks later I was at a software shop to buy a Microsoft Encarta for my brother as a Christmas gift, and there on the shelf were several of those distros that the magazine had touched upon. I hesitated, but eventually I picked up the Mandrake box - it was the 6.0 PowerPack - and I took it with me to the cashier.

          I ran Mandrake in dual-boot with NT 4.0 for about a month, and then, on the 1st of January 2000, NT 4.0 refused to boot, in spite of the service packs and the official Microsoft Y2K pack I had installed. GNU/Linux booted up fine, and so my choice to stick with that was easily made. I was already seriously impressed by GNU/Linux and the whole Free & Open Source Software philosophy anyway. I've never looked back.

          I've used several distros over the years. On my own computers, it has mainly been Mandrake (before it became Mandriva), PCLinuxOS, Mageia and Gentoo. But between 2002 and 2009 or so, I ran an IRC network with a bunch of people, and we ran Mandrake and CentOS on our servers. We also had one machine with Debian, but that one was located in Norway and I wasn't the admin of that box.

      • Arch Family

        • Is Arch Linux Better than Ubuntu?

          Arch Linux and Ubuntu are two major players in the Linux world. Both have a gigantic fan base, with many people taking a hard stance in favor of one and against the other. These distributions have each spawned a whole family of derivative distributions which are large players in their own right. But which is better? Is Ubuntu the undisputed and reigning king? Is Arch really the best distribution, reserved for the Linux elite? The answer is both sort-of-yes and yes.

      • Debian Family

        • SparkyLinux Gets New Development Cycle Based on Debian GNU/Linux 11 "Bullseye"

          Work on the SparkyLinux "Po Tolo" series has started as a semi-rolling release version where users install the operating system once and receive updates forever. The first snapshot, SparkyLinux 2019.08, is now available to download based on the software repositories of Debian GNU/Linux 11 "Bullseye."

          SparkyLinux 2019.08 "Po Tolo" is contains an updated system from the Debian Testing repositories as of August 1st, 2019, and comes with the GCC 9 system-wide compiler, though GCC 8 is still used by default. This release is powered by Linux kernel 4.19.37, though Linux kernel 5.2.5 is available on the SparkyLinux unstable repos.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Launchpad news, March 2019 – July 2019

          Here’s a brief changelog of what we’ve been up to since our last general update.

        • Declarative vs Imperative: DevOps done right

          Deciding whether to automate workloads, while designing your ICT infrastructure, is trivial. It’s 2019 and automation is everywhere around. However, deciding which DevOps paradigm to choose and which tool to use, may not be that obvious. In order to assist you with the ‘declarative vs imperative’ decision-making process, this blog briefly introduces existing DevOps paradigms, presents the main differences between them and outlines the key benefits of using declarative DevOps with charms.


          All right, all of that sounds great, but where is the ‘magic’ coming from? Imagine pieces of code which contain all necessary instructions to deploy and configure applications. This includes a collection of scripts and metadata, such as configuration file templates. Such pieces of software, called charms, provide the ‘magic’ described. The users no longer have to think about low-level instructions. This logic is already implemented in the charms. Instead they can focus on shaping the applications being deployed and modelling the entire deployment by relating one application with others. For example, should the database being deployed listen on a different port than the default one?. Or how many concurrent connections should it allow? All the user has to do is to declare the ultimate state.

        • Ubuntu Server development summary – 06 August 2019

          The purpose of this communication is to provide a status update and highlights for any interesting subjects from the Ubuntu Server Team.

        • Linux Mint 19.1 Users Can Now Upgrade to Linux Mint 19.2 "Tina," Here's How

          Released last week, the Linux Mint 19.2 "Tina" operating system is based on Canonical's long-term supported Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system series and ships with up-to-date components and apps, including the latest Cinnamon 4.2, MATE 1.20, and Xfce 4.2 desktop environments.

          Linux Mint 19.1 "Tessa" has been on the market for the past seven months, so it is time to upgrade it and enjoy all the latest GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source applications. Some will choose to reinstall their computers as a fresh install is always recommended, but many will want to upgrade as it's painless.

        • Linux Mint 19.2 ‘Tina’ Released: A Polished And Free Windows Alternative

          With each passing year, the Linux desktops are becoming more complete than ever. Multiple Linux distros are now known to offer a much better gaming experience and high-definition display performance. Pop!_OS, Manjaro, and Zorin OS are some of the notable examples.

          Over the course of last decade, Linux Mint has been able to establish itself as a user-friendly Linux distro that can be used as a replacement for Windows and macOS. Just recently, the Mint development team released Linux Mint 19.2 ‘Tina.’ As it’s a long term release that’ll remain supported until 2023, you don’t have to worry about running an insecure system that doesn’t get updates.

        • Linux Mint 19.2 "Tina" Review (Cinnamon Edition)
        • Why Canonical views the Snap ecosystem as a compelling distribution-agnostic solution

          For roughly two decades, Linux distributions have been the first choice for servers. Hardware support for Linux on the desktop has historically been an encumbrance to widespread adoption, though support for modern hardware on modern distributions has progressed such that most hardware is detected and configured correctly upon installation.

          With these advances in hardware support, the last significant challenge users face when switching from Windows or Mac to a Linux distribution is app distribution and installation. While distribution-provided repositories are useful for most open source software, the release model of distributions such as Ubuntu or Fedora lock in users to a major version for programs for the duration of a particular release.

        • Why Canonical Views the Snap Ecosystem as a Compelling Distribution-Agnostic Solution

          Canonical's Martin Wimpress addresses Snaps, Flatpak, and other competing standards, and community unease around Canonical's control of the Snap store.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • EFF Delegation Returns from Ecuador, says Ola Bini’s Case is Political, Not Criminal

        Globally Recognized Technologist Still Facing Charges in Drawn-Out Prosecution San Francisco – A team from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has returned from a fact-finding mission in Quito for the case of Ola Bini—a globally renowned Swedish programmer who is facing tenuous computer-crime charges in Ecuador.

        Bini was detained in April, as he left his home in Quito to take a vacation to Japan. His detention was full of irregularities: for example, his warrant was for a “Russian hacker,” and Bini is Swedish and not a hacker. Just hours before Bini’s arrest, Ecuador’s Minister of the Interior, Maria Romo, held a press conference to announce that the government had located a “member of Wikileaks” in the country, and claimed there was evidence that person was “collaborating to destabilize the government.” Bini was not read his rights, allowed to contact his lawyer, or offered a translator.

        Bini was released from custody in June, following a successful Habeas Corpus plea by his lawyers. But he is still accused of “assault on the integrity of computer systems”—even though prosecutors have yet to make public any details of his alleged criminal behavior.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Extensions in Firefox 69

            In our last post for Firefox 68, we’ve introduced a great number of new features. In contrast, Firefox 69 only has a few new additions. Still, we are proud to present this round of changes to extensions in Firefox.

          • Revamping Firefox’s Reader Mode this Summer

            For me, getting all set to read a book would mean spending hours hopping between stores to find the right lighting and mood to get started. But with Firefox’s Reader Mode it’s now much more convenient to get reading on the go. And this summer, I have been fortunate to shift roles from a user to a developer for the Reader Mode . As I write this blog, I have completed two months as a Google Summer of Code student developer with Mozilla. It has been a really enriching experience and thus I would like to share some glimpses of the project and my journey so far.

          • The Tall-Tale Clock: The myth of task estimates

            On the MDN team, we have begun over the past year to use a time unit we call the hypothetical ideal day or simply ideal day. This is a theoretical time unit in which you are able to work, uninterrupted, on a project for an entire 8-hour work day. A given task may take any appropriate number of ideal days to complete, depending on its size and complexity. Some tasks may take less than a single ideal day, or may otherwise require a fractional number of ideal days (like 0.5 ideal days, or 1.25 ideal days). We generally round to a quarter of a day.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice QA Report: July 2019

          LibreOffice 6.2.5 was announced on July 4 LibreOffice 6.3 RC1, RC2 and RC3 were released throughout the month A Bug Hunting Session for LibreOffice 6.3 RC1 was help on July 8 The 6 GSOC students passed the second evaluation. Reports with their weekly work are sent to the development mailing list Olivier Hallot has created Redaction and FOURIER function new help pages Ashod Nakashian (Collabora) implemented multiple selections in Slide sorter Tamás Zolnai (Collabora) continues his Interoperable text-based form controls work

      • Education

        • Open Source Success in Schools - Something to make a "FUSS" about

          Since he was a child, Marco Marinello has always found computers and how they operate intriguing. His father introduced him to the world of computer science early, including the basics of Linux system administration. Fortunately his own school — and in fact all of the South Tyrol region where he lives — runs a modified version of Debian (“Free Upgrade in Southtyrol's Schools” or “FUSS") for both administrative computing, and significantly for Marco, on student laptops as well. Free and Open Source Software provides schools and students unique educational opportunities while enhancing the technology services offered to teachers, administrators, families, and ultimately the community they serve.

          Motivated by his own interests and with the support of the Bozen-Bolzano School District and staff, Marco began volunteering with the maintenance of his local school network. The opportunity to work hands-on with the technology, learn from working professionals, and help his community, fostered his curiosity and promoted exploration of computers and computing: he soon found himself programming, teaching himself HTL and Python.

        • Genetic Survival Game 'Niche' Will be Free for Schools, on Sale for Everyone Else

          There is one critical caveat, however. Niche will not run on Chromebooks, smartphones, or tablets, so classrooms are going to need to be equipped with at least a low-end PC running Windows 7, Mac OSX 10.8, or Ubuntu 12.04 or higher.


        • From the Railway to the Ether

          Proprietary software is the foundation of the digital colonialism; and Richard Stallman reasoned a “nonfree program is a yoke, an instrument of unjust power.” The closed-source software has limitations of use and distribution which means users cannot create or modify the software to add capabilities not envisaged by its originators.

          However, open-source software alone is not enough to protect the public interest because surveillance capitalism has given rise to centralised internet services beyond the control of the user. The cloud service provides petabytes of information to corporations, who then use the data to train their artificial intelligence systems. So those with the best artificial intelligence services will be able to attract more users giving them even more data to make their services better, and so forth. The concentration of data becomes the concentration of power; in the sense that “data is the new oil.”

      • Programming/Development

        • What’s the point: TensorFlow, Istio, glibc, Cloudera Altus Director, and all’s well that ends well for Linux floppy driver

          If you find your machine learning models to be a bit too large, TensorFlow’s Model Optimization Toolkit now comes with an implementation for post-training float16 quantisation. The new addition quantises model constants like weights to a reduced precision floating point data type, leading to smaller models with only little accuracy lost, according to the TF team.

          To enable this algorithm, you’ll have to use the default optimisation settings on a trained float32 model with the supported types of the target spec set to float16. When using a GPU, the reduced precision parameter can be run directly, without the conversion step.

        • Python list comprehension with Examples

          Python is an object oriented programming language. Almost everything in them is treated consistently as an object. Python also features functional programming which is very similar to mathematical way of approaching problem where you assign inputs in a function and you get the same output with same input value. Given a function f(x) = x2, f(x) will always return the same result with the same x value. The function has no "side-effect" which means an operation has no effect on a variable/object that is outside the intended usage. "Side-effect" refers to leaks in your code which can modify a mutable data structure or variable.

        • Image Classification with Transfer Learning and PyTorch

          Transfer learning is a powerful technique for training deep neural networks that allows one to take knowledge learned about one deep learning problem and apply it to a different, yet similar learning problem.

          Using transfer learning can dramatically speed up the rate of deployment for an app you are designing, making both the training and implementation of your deep neural network simpler and easier.

          In this article we'll go over the theory behind transfer learning and see how to carry out an example of transfer learning on Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) in PyTorch.

        • A $1 Billion Open Source Company With No Headquarters: Sid Sijbrandij Of GitLab

          GitLab is one of the most promising open source companies that is valued at $1 billion. What sets GitLab parts from other tech companies is its unique culture. First and foremost, it’s an all remote company that doesn’t have any headquarter. Its work culture focusses more on results than on how many hours you worked. One of the byproduct of this culture is tackling Climate Change in a way most of us didn’t even think of. We sat down with the founder of GitLab to better understand his ideas behind GitLab.

        • Python to Find Difference Between Two Lists

          In this tutorial, we’ll discover two Pythonic ways to find the Difference Between Two Lists. One of the methods is using the Python Set. It first converts the lists into sets and then gets the unique part out of that. Other non-set methods compare two lists element by element and collect the unique ones. We can implement these by using nested for loops and with the list comprehension. By the way, if you are not aware of the sets in Python, then follow the below tutorial. It would quickly introduce you to how Python implements the mathematical form of Set.

        • 11 Beginner Tips for Learning Python

          We are so excited that you have decided to embark on the journey of learning Python! One of the most common questions we receive from our readers is “What’s the best way to learn Python?”

          The first step in learning any programming language is making sure that you understand how to learn. Learning how to learn is arguably the most critical skill involved in computer programming.

        • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #380 (Aug. 6, 2019)
  • Leftovers

    • Hardware

      • Intel Xeon Cooper Lake To Offer Up To 56 Cores Per Socket Next Year

        Intel decided today to reveal a few new details about their Xeon "Cooper Lake" processors due out in H1'2020.

        Intel formally confirmed that their next-generation Xeon Scalable CPUs will offer up to 56 cores per socket, feature BFloat16 / DL-BOOST, higher memory bandwidth, and a lower power envelope than today's Platinum 9200 AP processors.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • The Price to Consumers of Generic Pharmaceuticals: Beyond the Headlines

        Generic drug prices have been the focus of much attention in recent years, with Congressional committees, executive agencies and private organizations all conducting investigations into the pricing patterns for generic drugs. Price spikes for selected old, off-patent drugs have also been widely reported in the media. To place these generic price increases into context, we construct two chained Laspeyres consumer price indexes (CPIs), using the 2007-2016 IBM MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters Research Database. The first ("direct out-of-pocket CPI") measures consumers' direct out-of-pocket payments to the dispensing pharmacy, while the second ("total CPI") represents the total revenues received by the dispensing pharmacy – the consumers' direct out-of-pocket payments plus the amount paid to the pharmacy by the insurer on behalf of the consumer. We find the chained direct-out-of-pocket CPI for generic prescription drugs declines by about 50% between 2007 and 2016, while the total CPI falls by nearly 80% over the same time period. The smaller decline in the direct out-of-pocket CPI than in the total CPI is due in part to consumers' increasingly moving away from fixed copayment benefit plans to pure coinsurance or a mixed package of coinsurance and copayments. While consumers are experiencing more cost sharing that in fact shifts more of the drug cost burden on to them, on balance in the US consumers have experienced substantial price declines for generic drugs.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Security updates for Tuesday

        Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (chromium), Debian (glib2.0 and python-django), Fedora (gvfs, kernel, kernel-headers, kernel-tools, and subversion), Oracle (icedtea-web, nss and nspr, and ruby:2.5), Red Hat (advancecomp, bind, binutils, blktrace, compat-libtiff3, curl, dhcp, elfutils, exempi, exiv2, fence-agents, freerdp and vinagre, ghostscript, glibc, gvfs, http-parser, httpd, kde-workspace, keepalived, kernel, kernel-rt, keycloak-httpd-client-install, libarchive, libcgroup, libguestfs-winsupport, libjpeg-turbo, libmspack, libreoffice, libsolv, libssh2, libtiff, libvirt, libwpd, linux-firmware, mariadb, mercurial, mod_auth_openidc, nss, nss-softokn, nss-util, and nspr, ntp, opensc, openssh, openssl, ovmf, patch, perl-Archive-Tar, polkit, poppler, procps-ng, python, python-requests, python-urllib3, qemu-kvm, qemu-kvm-ma, qt5, rsyslog, ruby, samba, sox, spice-gtk, sssd, systemd, tomcat, udisks2, unixODBC, unzip, uriparser, Xorg, zsh, and zziplib), SUSE (ardana packages, ceph, mariadb, postgresql10, python-requests, and python3), and Ubuntu (bash and glib2.0).

      • CVE-2019-1125 "SWAPGS" Is The Newest Spectre Vulnerability

        CVE-2019-1125 was made public today or also referred to as the "SWAPGS" vulnerability as a new variant of Spectre V1 affecting Windows and Linux with Intel (and according to mixed information, AMD - though the current Linux kernel patches at least seem to only apply to Intel) x86_64 processors.

      • SWAPGS Vulnerability in Modern CPUs Fixed in Windows, Linux, ChromeOS

        Andrei Vlad Lutas of Bitdefender discovered this vulnerability while performing research on CPU internals and reported it to Intel in August 2018.

      • Silent Windows update patched side channel that leaked data from Intel CPUs
      • Zero-Day Bug in KDE 4/5 Executes Commands by Opening a Folder [Ed: This FUD was spread by a former Bleeping Computer writer whom CBS hired to attack Linux; this supposed threat requires one to download and open malicious files. Now his ex-colleagues follow. What Bleeping Computer calls "zero day" is you crafting a malicious file (or download, then execute one). But back doors don't bother these charlatans. They have been doing this for years and CBS rewarded one of them with a job.]

        An unpatched zero-day vulnerability exists in KDE 4 & 5 that could allow attackers to execute code simply by tricking a user into downloading an archive, extracting it, and then opening the folder.

      • Windows Quietly Patches Bug That Could Reverse Meltdown, Spectre Fixes for Intel CPUs

        Spectre and Meltdown was a massive flaw in the way Intel processors handled speculative execution, a technique used in modern processors to enhance performance, that was first revealed in 2018. Speculative execution relies on predicting which calculations a processor will need to perform in advance, allowing it to work on tasks in advance and in parallel fashion rather than strictly sequentially. Unfortunately, it turned out an unfixable hardware flaw in virtually every one of Intel’s CPUs meant that they didn’t check permissions correctly and leaked information about speculative commands that were never run, possibly allowing an attacker glimpses at ultra-sensitive kernel memory.

      • SWAPGS Attack — New Speculative Execution Flaw Affects All Modern Intel CPUs

        A new variant of the Spectre (Variant 1) side-channel vulnerability has been discovered that affects all modern Intel CPUs, and probably some AMD processors as well, which leverage speculative execution for high performance, Microsoft and Red Hat warned.

        Identified as CVE-2019-1125, the vulnerability could allow unprivileged local attackers to access sensitive information stored in the operating system privileged kernel memory, including passwords, tokens, and encryption keys, that would otherwise be inaccessible.

      • SWAPGS Vulnerability in Modern CPUs Fixed in Windows, Linux, ChromeOS

        At BlackHat today, Bitdefender disclosed a new variant of the Spectre 1 speculative execution side channel vulnerabilities that could allow a malicious program to access and read the contents of privileged memory in an operating system.

        This SWAPGS vulnerability allows local programs, like malware, to read data from memory that is should normally not have access to, such as the Windows or Linux kernel memory.

        Andrei Vlad Lutas of Bitdefender discovered this vulnerability while performing research on CPU internals and reported it to Intel in August 2018.

        In a statement from Intel, BleepingComputer was told that after the vulnerability was disclosed to them, they descided to address this on a software level and Microsoft took over coordination of the vulnerability.

    • Environment

      • Energy

        • Explosions in Three States Highlight Dangers of Aging Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

          On August 1, for the third time in as many years, Enbridge's Texas Eastern Transmission gas pipeline exploded. This tragic incident in central Kentucky killed a 58-year-old woman, Lisa Denise Derringer, and injured at least five others. Flames towered 300 feet high when the 30-inch diameter pipe ruptured at 1 a.m. and forced at least 75 people to evacuate.

          “We opened the backdoor and it was like a tornado of fire going around and around and he said we were trapped,” survivor Jodie Coulter, 53, told CBS News, describing her efforts to flee on foot. Coulter, whose house was within 600 feet of the pipeline, suffered third-degree burns on her arms. “It felt like we were standing next to a blow torch.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Opening the Door for Censorship: New Trademark Enforcement Mechanisms Added for Top-Level Domains

        With so much dissatisfaction over how companies like Facebook and YouTube moderate user speech, you might think that the groups that run the Internet’s infrastructure would want to stay far away from the speech-policing business. Sadly, two groups that control an important piece of the Internet’s infrastructure have decided to jump right in.

        The organization that governs the .org top-level domain, known as Public Interest Registry (PIR), and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) are expanding their role as speech regulators through a new agreement, negotiated behind closed doors. And they’re doing it despite the nearly unanimous opposition of nonprofit and civil society groups—the people who use .org domains. EFF is asking ICANN’s board to reconsider.

        ICANN makes policies for resolving disputes over domain names, which are enforced through a web of contracts. Best-known is the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), which allows trademark holders to challenge bad-faith use of their trademarks in a domain name (specifically, cybersquatting or trademark infringement). UDRP offers a cheaper, faster alternative to domain name disputes than court. When ICANN began to add many new top-level domains beyond the traditional ones (.com, .net, .org, and a few others), major commercial brands and their trademark attorneys predicted a plague of bad-faith registrations and threatened to hold up creation of these new top-level domains, including much-needed domains in non-Latin scripts such as Chinese, Arabic, and Cyrillic.

      • Have You Heard? If You Spread 'Hurtful' Rumors In China, You'll Be Thrown Off The Internet For Years

        The Chinese authorities really don't like rumors being spread. Back in 2012, Techdirt reported on a "five strikes and you're out" plan for throwing rumormongers off social media for 48 hours. That obviously didn't work too well, since in 2013 a tougher line was introduced: three years in prison if you get 500 retweets of a "hurtful" rumor.

      • Gizmodo: Why Can't YouTube Do 'Good' Content Moderation? Answer: Because It's Fucking Impossible

        We've had something of a long-running series of posts on the topic of content moderation, with our stance generally being that any attempt to do this at scale is laughably difficult. Like, to the point of being functionally impossible. This becomes all the more difficult when the content in question is not universally considered objectionable.

        Tech firms tend to find themselves in the most trouble when they try to bow to this demand for content moderation, rather than simply declaring it to be impossible and moving on. The largest platforms have found themselves in this mess, namely Facebook and YouTube. YouTube, for instance, has released new moderation policies over the past two months or so that seek to give it broad powers to eliminate content that it deems to be hate speech, or speech centered on demographic supremacy. Wanting to eliminate that sort of thing is understandable, even if you still think it's problematic. Actually eliminating it at scale, and in a way that doesn't sweep up collateral damage and garners wide support, is impossible.

        Which makes it frustrating to read headlines such as Gizmodo's recent piece on how YouTube is doing with all of this.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Oversight Report Shows The NSA Did Not Delete All The Inadvertently-Collected Phone Records It Claimed It Had Deleted

        Ever since Ed Snowden doxed the NSA's phone records collection, the agency has been coughing up documents showing its multiple collection programs have never not been abused since its was granted more power shortly after the 9/11 attacks.

        The putative sacrificial lamb offered up to angry Congressional reps and dismayed citizens was the Section 215 program. Well, only a small part of it, actually. The NSA would continue to hoover up business records without a warrant, but it was having trouble working within the confines of modifications forced upon it by the USA Freedom Act.

        Rather than use its considerable expertise to tackle the problem of over-collection, the NSA has apparently decided to abandon this collection altogether. It only took six years since the first Snowden leak, but it's something. But the NSA's uninterrupted string of abuses continued right up to its offer to shutter the program -- something that won't actually be official until Congress codifies the abandonment.

      • Trump Calls On Social Media Companies To Become Pre-Crime Agents

        Every time there are mass shootings in America, the public discourse disolves into a muck of tribal finger-pointing. We blame guns, video games, past Presidents, Congress, homosexuality, the decline of the nuclear family, mental illness, the internet, and on and on. Nothing gets done, no proposed solutions are adopted, and those proposed solutions gradually become all the more insane. The truth is more nuanced than can fit into a soundbite on some cable news program, but somehow the debates soaked in blood and grief never acknowledge this. If there is to be a sea change in the rate of incidents of mass violence in this country, this will have to change.


        In the case of social media companies partnering with law enforcement to do this sort of behavioral pre-crime, the problems will be all the worse. Algorithms aren't great at nuance, nor are they good at such subtleties as humor, embellishment, vernacular, and different cultural norms. People talk to each other, and post on social media, in different ways. The number of folks that will be caught up for otherwise innocent behavior, garnering visits from law enforcement worried that they will be shooting up their local big box store, is going to be enormous.

        And that would be the case even if Trump had an actual plan rather than these vague proclamations, which he very much does not.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Bol’ By Sarathy Korwar

        The London-based percussionist and producer Sarathy Korwar crafted a protest album centered on the backlash against refugees and immigrants. “There are more arriving, and you’re gonna have to deal with it,” his latest album declares.

        “More Arriving” features a song called “Bol,” where he cycles through a series of stereotypes used to define him as a brown man, who grew up in India (even though he was born in the United States.)

        The nine-minute track builds like a free jazz composition. Its multiple instruments capture the defiance of the lyrics.

        “I’m Shiva. I’m al Qaeda. I am auditioning for the role of Terrorist #1,” Korwar raps. “Yeah, I can do that in an Arabic accent.”

      • Corporal punishment address by KZN MEC shocking – IFP

        The IFP is shocked at the address by MEC for Arts and Culture, Sport and Recreation, Hon Hlengiwe Mavimbela over the past weekend at Umkhosi Wesivivane in Nongoma.

        The MEC is reported to have encouraged parents to implement corporal punishment. To our knowledge, this is against the law. It is shocking that a provincial member of government can take the podium at a government function and encourage law abiding citizens of the country to break the law. If the MEC has issues with the policy of government, which is ANC policy anyway, a political party that has put her in government, she should rather take this up with her political party through the correct channels of engagement within her party.

        As we speak, our department of education in the country and in our province has a major challenge of violence and assault in schools to both learners and educators. There are pending court cases relating to these incidents of violence in our schools. Hence, for an MEC to launch attacks to children by their parents and guardians with these kinds of unbecoming behaviors hanging over the communities is uncalled for.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • The FCC Finally Starts Taking America's Shitty Broadband Maps More Seriously

        For a country that likes to talk about "being number one" a lot, that's sure not reflected in the United States' broadband networks, or the broadband maps we use to determine which areas lack adequate broadband or competition (resulting in high prices and poor service). Our terrible broadband maps are, of course, a feature not a bug. ISPs have routinely lobbied to kill any efforts to improve data collection and analysis, lest somebody actually realize the telecom market is a broken mono/duopoly whose dysfunction reaches into every aspect of tech.

        While these shaky maps have been the norm for several decades, recent, bipartisan pressure by states (upset that they're not getting their share of taxpayer subsidies because we don't actually know where broadband is) has finally forced even the Ajit Pai FCC to take some modest action.


        While the political pressure has finally forced industry-friendly Pai to act, there's still plenty of issues remaining. For example the FCC still refuses to publicize the pricing data ISPs provide the FCC, because the industry claims that data will only benefit competitors. Of course the real reason they don't want that data publicized is it would only further emphasize that Americans pay some of the highest prices for data in the developed world thanks to cable broadband monopolies across huge swaths of the US.

        The other problem is one of accountability. Pai has yet to hold giant ISPs accountable on any issue of substance, so whether his FCC would actually punish ISPs that don't comply remains an open question. The entire proposal also shovels off much of the heavy lifting to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), an agency that has never managed an effort of this scale before. So while it's great to see the Pai FCC take steps to improve a longstanding sore spot in American broadband, it might be wise to avoid popping the bubbly until we see if the proposal is correctly applied and enforced.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Patent case: Válvulas Arco v Standard Hidráulica, Spain

          On 12 February 2019, the influential Barcelona Court of Appeal (Section 15) issued an interesting judgment clarifying the role played by a patent’s drawings for the purpose of interpreting the scope of protection of the claims. This judgment has reversed a previous first instance decision which, according to the Court of Appeal, unduly relied on a drawing illustrating a preferred embodiment of the invention to limit the scope of protection of the claims.

        • When will the appeal fee be refunded?: G 1/18, the decision

          The Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) decision G1/18 was recently published in French (IPKat post here). The decision can now also be read in English (with the aid of google translate). This Kat has thus now been able to add the decision to her summer reading! Readers who are not already familiar with this case, may also wish to keep their Visser handy...


          In order to arrive at the correct interpretation of Article 108 EPC, the EBA applied the jurisprudence of the EBA and the provision on the interpretation of treaties provided by Vienna Convention. In particular, the EPC should first be interpreted according to the ordinary meaning of the words. It should then be confirmed as to whether this interpretation is in line with the words in the context of the EPC as a whole and the intention of the legislator.

          The EBA interpreted each sentence of Article 108 EPC in turn. In English, the first sentence of Article 108 EPC refers to "The notice of appeal". In German and French, Article 108 EPC specifies "Die Beschwerde" (roughly, "the appeal") and not the "Die Beschwerdeschrift" (roughly, "the notice of appeal"). The initial versions of the first sentence of Article 108 EPC (EPC 1973) were written only in German and French. The EBA concluded that it was the intention of the legislator that "appeal filed" and "notice of appeal filed" should be understood as equivalent. Similarly, "appeal not filed" and "notice of appeal not filed" should also be understood as equivalent.

          The second sentence of Article 108 EPC specifies that the "the notice of appeal [i.e. appeal] shall not be deemed to have been filed until the fee for appeal has been paid". This sentence produces the legal fiction that the appeal is only deemed to have been filed after payment of the appeal fee.

        • News from Abroad -- Australia Reigns Supreme over U.S. in Patenting Diagnostic Methods [Ed: This is a disaster to patent scope and quality. Who benefits? Predatory lawyers. They can help kill some poor people by inflating treatment prices, via monopoly]

          This decision, and the recent decision in Meat & Livestock Australia Limited v Cargill, Inc [2018] FCA 51, make it clear that claims directed to practical applications of naturally-occurring phenomena, including gene sequences, used in methods of diagnosis and prognosis are patent eligible subject matter in Australia. This will come as a welcome relief to the diagnostics and personal medicine industry and can be considered as "one small step" forward for Australian patent law but also, hopefully, "one giant leap" that influences beneficial change to the patent eligibility laws in the U.S.

        • Can a robot be an inventor? A new patent filing aims to find out

          Years after a photogenic macaque snapped a photo of itself on a wildlife photographer’s unguarded camera, and PETA filed a federal lawsuit to give the monkey the copyright for his viral selfies, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that animals cannot hold a copyright under current law. In fact, since the dispute started, the U.S. Copyright Office went ahead and specifically listed “a photograph taken by a monkey” as an example of an item that cannot be copyrighted.

          So if monkeys and other animals can’t own copyrights, can artificial intelligence create protected intellectual property? A new patent filing in the U.K. aims to find out.

          An international team led by AI activist Ryan Abbott, a law professor at the University of Surrey, has filed the first-ever patent applications for two inventions created autonomously by artificial intelligence without a human inventor.

          The AI inventor, named DABUS by its creator, Stephen Thaler, was previously best known for creating surreal art, but it was designed to come up with new ideas and then assess those ideas for consequences, novelty, and salience. So far the series of neural networks that makes up DABUS has come up with two ideas that may be worth patenting. According to a press release, one patent application is for “a new type of beverage container based on fractal geometry,” which sounds pretty sweet, while the other is for a device that can help attract attention that could be useful in search and rescue operations.

          While patent offices in the United Kingdom and the EU have accepted that the patent applications meet the bar of “new, inventive and industrially applicable,” the question of whether an AI can be legally granted a patent has not been considered yet. “There would be no question the AI was the only inventor if it was a natural person,” said Abbott in a statement. “In these applications, the AI has functionally fulfilled the conceptual act that forms the basis for inventorship.”

        • tZERO Announces Patent for Traditional Exchange Blockchain Integration [Ed: Abstract and just because you say blockchain doesn't make these patents less fake]

          The company announced the development in a press release published on Aug. 6. The patent reportedly describes an integration by the Time Ordered Merkle Epoch (TOME) methodology. The release’s author explains TOME as “a base-layer technology that uses digital signatures to record and verify time-series data such as trades, executions and settlements.”


          The company further declared that, in conjunction with another system patented by the company, TOME enables linkage of the settlement of tokenized blockchain-based securities on a public blockchain with legacy trading systems. Crunchbase estimates tZERO’s annual revenue to be $8.5 million, and according to the press release the firm is a keiretsu company of Medici Ventures, the blockchain subsidiary of U.S. retail giant Overstock.

        • HTC smartphones pulled from sale in UK during patent row [Ed: German patent troll removes good products from the market... in the UK (showing the patent system has done all wrong)]

          HTC has stopped offering its phones for sale in the UK while it is involved in an intellectual property dispute. The Taiwanese company's online store currently lists all of its models as "out of stock" despite the fact they remain available in other nations. HTC has been involved in a long-running dispute with research and development company Ipcom over a wireless technology developed for car phones. To resolve it, HTC agreed to sell only mobiles with a workaround in the UK. However, Munich-based Ipcom has alleged it carried out tests earlier this year that showed no workaround had been implemented.


          An HTC spokeswoman said: "As a leading innovator, HTC takes intellectual property issues very seriously. "We are proactively investigating an infringement claim by a third party with respect to a single handset model." HTC was the first manufacturer to sell an Android handset, in 2008. A decade later, it sold part of its smartphone division to Google.

        • Microsoft Patent Application is a Advanced, Multi-Dimensional Sensor Device for Wearables [Ed: Microsoft is a creepy surveillance company. This is where it goes with patents]
        • Network-1 Receives New Patent from U.S. Patent Office Expanding Its Cox Portfolio To Include 33 Issued Patents [Ed: The patent office keeps feeding patent trolls like this one with notorious patents]

          On April 4, 2014 and December 3, 2014, Network-1 initiated litigation against Google Inc. (“Google”) and YouTube, LLC (“YouTube”) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for infringement of several patents within its Cox Patent Portfolio. The lawsuit alleges that Google and YouTube have infringed and continue to infringe the asserted patents by making, using, selling and offering to sell unlicensed systems and related products and services, which include YouTube’s Content ID system.

      • Copyrights

        • Heather Humphreys reassured Google over EU copyright reform

          Ireland achieved “significant improvements” to European copyright reforms to “allay the concerns” of Google and other major technology firms, a Minister told the online search giant earlier this year. Minister for Business, Employment and Innovation Heather Humphreys made the remarks in a phone call with a senior Google executive about new European laws on copyright.

          While advocates say the laws protect the future of professional journalism and combat misinformation, several major tech companies including Google lobbied against their introduction.

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