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Links 3/9/2019: KDevelop 5.4.2, OpenBSD on Laptops and More

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • Linux on your laptop: Here's what you need to know about UEFI firmware

        This will be my last foray into UEFI firmware for quite a while. For those who are already tired of my writing about it, I apologize in advance; for those who have asked for more, here it is.

        For the rest of you, I hope that you can find a few interesting and helpful tips and tricks in the following information.

        There have been several questions and comments on my previous posts about UEFI boot. Let me start with a description of what I do with the BIOS configuration on all of the laptops I have with UEFI firmware.

      • Take the Power of Linux with You on the Go with This Bite-Sized Computer

        Complete with a display screen and all the external equipment you need, this computer bundle is both an open-source Linux platform and a fully-functional wireless router

        Any true computer or tech aficionado knows that when it comes to power, control, and functionality in an OS, Linux reigns supreme. Used for everything from server control to hardware administration and web integration, Linux is one of the most important tools a techie can have under his or her belt.

        The VoCore2 Mini Linux Computer Bundle is a bite-sized mini-computer that lets you take the power of Linux with you on the go, and the entire interface is available for over 10% off at just $69.

      • PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight: drhadidy

        I got introduced to Linux in the year 2001. I downloaded my first copy of Suse on my IBM Thinkpad. It wasn't easy to install. The CDs and drivers at that time had a lot of issues. So, it was a dual boot install, and mostly I was just updating the install every now and then and was trying to understand more about the system. But I was fascinated by the idea of open source.

        Then I had a very big virus problem at the end of 2006 which destroyed my Windows driven home PC and laptop, my clinic's PC and my Windows mobile phone.

        I decided to shift to Linux and just get rid of Windows forever, especially when I was reading of all the improvements in the development of Linux and how easy it became by then.

        I installed Suse as the only system on my machines. Then I had a problem with the sound card of my LG laptop.

        I started looking around and trying many other distros, until I read about PCLinuxOS. I was amazed by the reviews, and especially how the installation comes out of the box, and how so many people spoke about how their driver problems disappeared when they used PCLinuxOS. I was shocked how Linux people are impressed by its stability.

        I installed PCLinuxOS on my laptop, and my LG laptop started singing. I was really so impressed and happy with the new system, and really didn't need to go back to Windows since that day.

    • Applications

      • Best Compression Software for Linux

        Every administrator or user will use file compression to save disk space and to move data easily. Nowadays, this utility is the bread and butter of system administrators to send data via the Internet, reducing the overall file size, saving time and internet bandwidth.

      • Kubeflow – Data Science on Steroids

        Artificial intelligence, machine and deep learning are probably the most hyped topics in software development these days! New projects, problem solving approaches and corresponding start-ups pop up in the wild on a daily basis. Most of the time, the major target is to get an understandable output from a huge set of unmanageable input data. To achieve this goal, the in fact standard frameworks TensorFlow and PyTorch established a rich set of features over time by being well maintained under the hood, too. But the simple usage of these frameworks does not solve today’s software related challenges like continuous integration (CI) and deployment (CD). The creation of a sustainable workflow, which embeds seamlessly into the existing infrastructure as well as existing CI/CD pipelines, are one of the major obstacles software developers are facing today. Another trend related to this topic is the increasing usage of Kubernetes as build and test infrastructure for on premise and managed cluster architectures. But how to utilize the full power of Kubernetes-based cloud environments, when it comes to training and deploying machine learning models? How to integrate them into existing continuous integration and deployment pipelines? Can we split up machine learning workflows into separate pipeline steps, like we already do within our existing CI/CD setups?

    • Proprietary

      • Multi-Calendar Desktop App MineTime 1.6.0 Adds New Scheduling Assistant

        MineTime, an AI-powered desktop calendar application that works with multiple Calendar services, has been updated to version 1.6.0, which includes some important changes like a new scheduling assistant, a new 10-day view, and more.

      • Short Topix: Dropbox Reinstates Support For ZFS, XFS, Btrfs, eCryptFS

        On July 18, 2019, Google announced in a blog post that it was closing a loophole that allowed sites to know if a user was connecting to a site using "incognito" mode on Google Chrome. Some sites would not allow users to connect to their sites using incognito mode. Granted, some users used incognito mode, where browsing history and cookies are not saved, to circumvent article limits and paywalls. In 2017, The Boston Globe started blocking users of incognito mode from accessing its content. The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Dallas Morning News and others have also employed the method that prevents users of incognito mode from accessing the content on their sites.

      • Microsoft Edge will ditch Flash in 2020

        IN 2017 FLASH, the comically buggy building block of web media, revealed it would be committing a very slow suicide, eventually losing all support in 2020. Given the amount of security holes it had when it was fully supported by Adobe, this could very well be seen as a mercy killing.

        Google Chrome promptly put the boot in, disabling Flash from Chrome 76 by default to try and wean people off it, before the final death in 2020. And now Microsoft has clarified that it'll be putting its own little kick into Adobe as well by following much the same schedule for Edge.

  • Instructionals/Technical

  • Games

    • A big new release of the RTS Warzone 2100 has finally made it out the door

      Warzone 2100, a proper classic real-time strategy game that's open source just had the first update in some years.

      I remember playing Warzone 2100 on the PlayStation 1 a long time ago, I used to spend days engrossed in the campaign so to see it alive and well is fantastic. Originally released in 1999 by Pumpkin Studios, it was later made open sourced in 2004 enabling a community to form around it and continue improving it.

    • Playing DOSBox games on Steam for Linux just got better with another release of Boxtron

      Boxtron is another Steam Play tool we briefly talked about at the beginning of this month, enabling you to play almost any DOSBox game on Steam for Linux.

      Just like Proton GE, this is an unofficial Steam Play tool. It enables you to use a native Linux version of DOSBox to play titles that don't provide a Linux package on Steam—super handy!

      A few days ago, the developer released a fresh build with some rather sweet sounding fixes and upgrades to the tool so hopefully even more DOSBox games will work. With the 0.5.1 release Boxtron will now detect broken case-sensitive paths in .cue files, show a UI box (using Zenity) to show errors, adds in several game-specific tweaks for DOS titles distributed without DOSBox, it will filter out escape-carets where not needed, fixes a crash with non-DOS games run through the Sierra Launcher and a few other improvements.

    • Want a more up to date Proton for Steam Play? Proton GE has a big new release out

      There's no need to wait for Valve and CodeWeavers to update Proton for Steam Play, if you're willing to do a little bit of extra work with a custom build like Proton GE.

      Proton GE is one of the unofficial builds of Proton briefly talked about in a previous article, with it just recently getting a rather big update.

      Proton-4.15-GE-1 was released a few hours ago updating it to the recently released Wine 4.15. Additionally, it adds in Wine's Vkd3d for running Direct3D 12 games through Vulkan, which you can turn on using "PROTON_USE_VKD3D=1 %command%" as a launch option. There's also an update to D9VK which is on by default, use "PROTON_NO_D9VK=1 %command%" as a launch option to turn it off. On top of that there's also various gamepad updates, fsync was updated and a bunch of Media Foundation work went into it too.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDevelop 5.4.2 released

        We today provide a stabilization and bugfix release with version 5.4.2. This is a bugfix-only release, which introduces no new features and as such is a safe and recommended update for everyone currently using a previous version of KDevelop 5.4.

        You can find the updated Linux AppImage as well as the source code archives on our download page.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Maps and GNOME 3.34

        Just released Maps 3.33.92, the last beta release before the GNOME 3.34.0 release next week.

      • Geometric Picking Finally Lands In GNOME/Mutter 3.34 For Lowering CPU Usage

        In addition to Mutter seeing today an important last minute performance fix for the NVIDIA proprietary driver, Mutter also saw a long-standing performance optimization finally land for GNOME 3.34 that benefits all hardware/drivers.

        The optimization is another patch series worked on by Canonical's Daniel van Vugt over the past year but finally saw its way into Mutter Git today ahead of next week's GNOME 3.34.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Nathan Wolf: Regolith Linux | Review from an openSUSE User

        Regolith is a very interesting distribution based on Ubuntu that uses the i3 Window manager. In this case, you get all the benefits of the Ubuntu distribution with the unique i3 interface with predefined shortcut keys. The creator of this fine distribution, Ken Gilmer, has put a lot of time, effort into really making this a fine demonstration of i3.

        This is my first i3 experience and overall it has been quite enjoyable. For those that are less familiar with what a Window Manager vs a Desktop…. I really can’t say, to me, it is a desktop environment I’m sure there is some nuance that distinguishes a “desktop environment” to a “window manager” but that debate and discussion is outside of the scope of this blathering. For my purposes, anything that allows me to interact with my computer in a holistic fashion is a Desktop Environment. So what is holistic in this context?

        This is my impression of using Regolith as a deeply entrenched, content openSUSE Tumbleweed User that thinks using anything other than Plasma keeps my fingers hovering just over the bail-out button. Bottom Line Up Front, Regolith was a challenging but educationally enjoyable experience. My trip through Regolith sparked my imagination as to some specific applications and uses for this user environment. As cool as the interface is for Regolith (i3) is, it is not enough to push me off the openSUSE Tumbleweed Plasma mountain. This is my biased impression after running Regolith as a my interface into my computer.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • The September 2019 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the September 2019 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community. The magazine is lead by Paul Arnote, Chief Editor, and Assistant Editor Meemaw. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license, and some rights are reserved. All articles may be freely reproduced via any and all means following first publication by The PCLinuxOS Magazine, provided that attribution to both The PCLinuxOS Magazine and the original author are maintained, and a link is provided to the originally published article.

        In the September 2019 issue:

        * De-Googling Yourself, Part 5 * GIMP Tutorial: Joined Photos * PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight: drhadidy * Mind Your Step: A New Rant Series * Casual Python, Part 8 * ms_meme's Nook: PCLOS Choo Choo * Two “Life Changing” Firefox Add-ons * Short Topix: Dropbox Reinstates Support For ZFS, XFS, Btrfs, eCryptFS * PCLinuxOS Recipe Corner: Mexican Pasta Shells * And much more inside!

        This month’s cover was designed by Meemaw.

        Download the PDF (6.7 MB)

        Download the EPUB Version (7.2 MB)

        Download the MOBI Version (6.3 MB)

        Visit the HTML Version

    • Fedora Family

      • Fedora Update Weeks 33–34

        The past two weeks have been rather simple, just catching up on the remaining updates from release monitoring, and also those that monitoring missed. I’m also working through some build/test failures for various reasons.

        Most failures are around the Python 3.8 rebuild. Generally, upstreams are aware of the problems, or I could have reported a bug about it. So fixing these involve backporting fixes that are to be in the next releases. For xtl, I’ve un-retired the package, and disabled the failing arches. I’ve given up on hoping someone might figure out the gcc issue, so I’m just leaving the arch-specific bugs (RHBZ#1745840, RHBZ#1745841) as they are.

    • Debian Family

      • New SparkyLinux Rolling Release Based on Debian Bullseye Ships with Xfce 4.14

        SparkyLinux 2019.09 is the rolling release for September 2019, fully updated from the Debian Testing repositories, where the development of the upcoming Debian GNU/Linux 11 "Bullseye" operating system takes place. All packages are synced with the Debian Testing repos as of September 1st, 2019.

        But the better news is that SparkyLinux 2019.09 is the first release of the Debian-based distribution to ship with the recently announced Xfce 4.14 desktop environment. So if you want to get a taste of the new Xfce 4.14 release, go ahead and download the SparkyLinux 2019.09 Xfce edition.

      • Kali Linux 2019.3 Release

        We are pleased to announce that our third release of 2019, Kali Linux 2019.3, is available immediately for download. This release brings our kernel up to version 5.2.9, and includes various new features across the board with NetHunter, ARM and packages (plus the normal bugs fixes and updates).​

        As promised in our roadmap blog post, there are both user facing and backend updates.

      • Kali Linux Ethical Hacking OS Switches to Linux 5.2, Now Supports OnePlus 7

        Offensive Security announced today the release and general availability of the Kali Linux 2019.03 operating system, a major update to the Kali Linux 2019 series that adds lots of new features, improvements, and updated hacking tools. Kali Linux 2019.03 kicks off important changes to the default toolset, which will be split in three main categories, kali-linux-default with essential tools for penetration testing, kali-linux-large with a wider collection of penetration testing tools, and kali-linux-everything with all the hacking tools.

        It also brings better support for ARM architectures, a few helper scripts that makes finding information about packages more easily and automatically runs Windows binaries with Wine, or make it easier to discover what resources can be transferred over to a Windows system.

        The Kali Linux NetHunter project for running the OS on Android devices has been updated as well in this release with support for new smartphones, including LG V20 International Edition, Nexus 5X, Nexus 10, and OnePlus 7, the latter being Offensive Security's new flagship device for Kali Linux NetHunter.

      • Debian Policy call for participation -- September 2019

        There hasn’t been much activity lately, but no shortage of interesting and hopefully-accessible Debian Policy work. Do write to if you’d like to participate but are struggling to figure out how.

    • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

  • Devices/Embedded

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • A managed open-source approach can improve the health of your open-source supply chain

      Led by open-source industry veterans, many whom were on the original Red Hat Enterprise Linux team—including Fischer—Tidelift has partnered with a network of developers who typically are the original creators and maintainers of open-source components. Maintainers collaborating with Tidelift, or “lifters,” are compensated to deliver vetted updates as they’re released and then Tidelift delivers them to its subscribers. As part of the service, Tidelift helps organizations select and identify all the components within an environment. The service also draws on knowledge from Tidelift’s database of information on 3.3 million open-source packages.

      “We’re providing as a service, a stream of known, good, open-source packages, where it’s somebody’s job to keep those patches, keep the licenses in compliance and ensure the quality is there around those open-source components,” he says. “Our customers don’t need to do their own due-diligence and research. Certain things break, it’s not their problem to fix it, it’s our problem to fix it, they just consume it, like they would consume any sort of raw open source without all of those issues that would come with raw open source.”

    • Do You Rely on Open-Source Software? Offer Your Support.

      A recent scheme by a programmer to attempt to fund his open-source project through advertising drew heavy backlash among fellow programmers, but his bigger point is one associations can appreciate.

      The “free as in freedom” mindset of open-source software, which is increasingly finding its way into mainstream work environments, is starting to show some cracks.

      The latest crack appeared within the terminal screen—an experiment by a developer who was trying to find some way, any way, to financially support his widely used work.

      Here’s what happened: The open-source programmer Feross Aboukhadijeh, who develops a popular JavaScript programming tool called Standard, decided to create a new JavaScript package called Funding. Funding did something unique for an open-source package: Basically, a developer attached it to another package (which Aboukhadijeh did to Standard), and it showed a “banner” ad in the terminal. It was not a highly graphical ad—just a link and a line of text in a gray box—but it was enough to raise a contentious discussion in the open-source universe.

      Funding went down almost immediately, a victim of a massive backlash. (Someone even developed an ad blocker!) Explaining why he did it, Aboukhadijeh said he was concerned that the funding model for open-source software was “not working” and experimentation was needed.

    • Open source big data processing at massive scale and warp speed

      HPCC Systems (High Performance Computing Cluster), a dba of LexisNexis Risk Solutions, is an open-source big-data computing platform. Flavio Villanustre, vice president technology and CISO at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, explained HPCC Systems’s evolution came as a necessity.

      “In 2000 we were getting into data analytics, using the platforms, databases, and data integration tools that were available at the time. None of these tools would scale to handle the quantity of data and complexity of processes that we were doing.” He added, “That drove us to create our own platform, now known as HPCC Systems, a completely free, end-to-end big data platform.”

      According to Villanustre, Accurint is the first product that utilized the platform. Accurint began as a data lookup service that took large amounts of data from numerous data sets and provided basic search capabilities to other companies and organizations. Today, Accurint has evolved and developed capabilities to help detect fraud and verify identities.

    • Binance launches ‘Binance X’, aims at building open-source crypto software

      Binance X offers a fellowship program that is aimed at research and development of open-source blockchain software. The exchange has not yet disclosed any information on how much funds it will provide for the 40 project leads that have already signed on as Binance X fellows. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

    • FFmpeg Adds ZeroMQ Support To Let Multiple Clients Connect To A Single Instance

      An interesting new addition to FFmpeg's avformat library is ZeroMQ protocol support for enhancing its streaming abilities.

      The newly-added ZeroMQ support to FFMpeg improves the streaming options by allowing multiple clients to connect to a single FFmpeg instance without a separate server or multi-cast destination address setup as previously required.

    • 5 open source speed-reading applications

      English essayist and politician Joseph Addison once said, "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." Today, most (if not all) of us are training our brains by reading text on computer monitors, television screens, mobile devices, street signs, newspapers, magazines, and papers at work or school.

      Given the large amount of written information we take in each day, it seems advantageous to train our brains to read faster by doing specific exercises that challenge our classical reading habits and teach us to absorb more content and data. The goal of learning these skills is not just to skim text, because reading without comprehension is wasted effort. The goal is to increase your reading speed while still achieving high levels of comprehension.

    • Web Browsers

      • Mozilla

        • Two "Life-Changing" Firefox Add-ons

          I'm a diehard Firefox fan. Having used it since it came out, it just works the way I want and need it to work. And, just as for any Firefox user, I have a collection of must-have add-ons that I use with it. Yes, the switch to Firefox Quantum was a little painful for me, since I had to give up a few of my absolute favorite must-have add-ons. The developers of those add-ons had chosen to not conform to the new add-on architecture that Firefox Quantum brought with it. But, I found replacements for most of them, and life went on.

        • Mozilla Rust Considered for Linux Drivers

          When Graydon Hoare of Mozilla (and later others) designed Rust, they wanted a fast, concurrent, memory-safe language without garbage collection because web browsers need to be fast and resistant to malware. Their decision was to create Rust, which provides these features by forcing restrictions on the developer. Now that the language has reached a decent level of maturity, third parties are looking into it.

    • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • Mind Your Step: A New Rant Series

        Sadly, another blow to the existence of 32-bit computing came with the Document Foundation making the decision to no longer produce a 32-bit version of LibreOffice.

        As of Version 6.3 (the current version as of this writing), LibreOffice will be available as a 64-bit only product. The 32-bit version of LibreOffice 6.3 is available only for Windows. There is no 32-bit Linux or Mac OS-X binary available for download.

    • BSD

      • My OpenBSD commits

        Today marks my three year anniversary as an OpenBSD developer. I got my commit bit on August 31th 2016 during the g2k16 hackathon in Cambridge, UK.

        A few months ago, I came across a Perl one-liner script to produce commit time distribution ASCII graphs from a Git repository, and I finally have a good pretext to run it :-)

        As of this day, I have done 749 commits to OpenBSD, in the following repositories: src (127), ports(596), www (24), and xenocara (2).

      • OpenBSD on Tuxedo InfinityBook 14" v2

        The InfinityBook 14” v2 is a fanless 14” notebook. It is an excellent choice for running OpenBSD - but order it with the supported wireless card (see below.).

        I’ve set it up in a dual-boot configuration so that I can switch between Linux and OpenBSD - mainly to spot differences in the drivers. TUXEDO allows a variety of configurations through their webshop.

    • Programming/Development

      • RcppArmadillo 0.9.700.2.0

        A new RcppArmadillo release based on a new Armadillo upstream release arrived on CRAN, and will get to Debian shortly. It brings continued improvements for sparse matrices and a few other things; see below for more details. I also appear to have skipped blogging about the preceding 0.9.600.4.0 release (which was actually extra-rigorous with an unprecedented number of reverse-depends runs) so I included its changes (with very nice sparse matrix improvements) as well.

        Armadillo is a powerful and expressive C++ template library for linear algebra aiming towards a good balance between speed and ease of use with a syntax deliberately close to a Matlab. RcppArmadillo integrates this library with the R environment and language–and is widely used by (currently) 656 other packages on CRAN.

      • The deformed yet thoughtful offspring of AppleScript and Greasemonkey

        Ah, AppleScript. I can't be the only person who's thinking Apple plans to replace AppleScript with Swift because it's not new and sexy anymore. And it certainly has its many rough edges and Apple really hasn't done much to improve this, which are clear signs it's headed for a room-temperature feet-first exit. But, hey! If you're using TenFourFox, you're immune to Apple's latest self-stimulatory bright ideas. And while I'm trying to make progress on TenFourFox's various deficiencies, you still have the power to make sites work the way you want thanks to TenFourFox's AppleScript-to-JavaScript "bridge." The bridge lets you run JavaScript within the page and sample or expose data back to AppleScript. With AppleScript's other great powers, like even running arbitrary shell scripts, you can connect TenFourFox to anything else on the other end with AppleScript.

      • How to Cleanup S3 Objects and Unittest it

        In this guest post Giuseppe shares what he learned having to cleanup a large number of objects in an S3 bucket. He introduces us to some boto3 as well as moto and freezegun he used to test his code. Enter Giuseppe ...

      • Quarkus: Supersonic, subatomic Java

        DevNation Live tech talks are hosted by the Red Hat technologists who create our products. These sessions include real solutions and code and sample projects to help you get started. In this talk, you’ll learn about Quarkus from Burr Sutter, Jason Greene, and Edson Yanaga.

        In this session, we’ll demonstrate how you can optimize your enterprise Java apps, your APIs, your microservices, and your “serverless functions” for a Kubernetes/OpenShift environment—vastly smaller, vastly faster, and fundamentally more scalable.

      • Fastmail and Perl: an interview with Ricardo Signes

        Ricardo (Rik) Signes is a member of the Perl community who has helped the programming language move forward as far as features, stability, and popularity. Previously, he was Perl’s Pumpking (manager of the core Perl 5 language), during which time he oversaw 5 major releases. Currently, he is a board member at the Perl Foundation and CTO at Fastmail, leading a development team working in Perl every day.

      • Casual Python, Part 8
      • Interactive Investigations | Coder Radio 373

        We debate the best way to package scripting language apps then explore interactive development and the importance of a good shell.

        Plus npm bans terminal ads, what comes after Rust, and why Mike hates macros.

      • 9 Django Concepts Part 3 - Read Time: 3 Mins

        Welcome to the final part of the 9 Django Concepts for aspiring Django developers.

        For this, I will be covering parts like deployment, testing and supporting front-end framework.

        Which is a project that any Django developer who is building it for a Javascript based front-end framework.

        If you had miss part 1 or part 2, I would suggest you go to those before reading this part 3 to not miss out on it.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • You should not run your mail server because mail is hard.


        - Mail is not hard: people keep repeating that because they read it, not because they tried it

        - Big Mailer Corps are quite happy with that myth, it keeps their userbase growing

        - Big Mailer Corps control a large percentage of the e-mail address space which is good for none of us

        - It's ok that people have their e-mails hosted at Big Mailer Corps as long as there's enough people outside too

  • Leftovers

    • Four dead, 29 missing in California Dive Boat Fire

      A fire raged through a boat carrying recreational scuba divers anchored near an island off the Southern California coast early Monday, leaving at least four people dead and more than two dozen missing after the gutted vessel sank.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • The patent debate surrounding PrEP, the game-changer in HIV prevention

        Last year, Gilead sparked controversy with the airing of a commercial during a live broadcast of Rent, the landmark musical about AIDS, for its HIV prophylactic Truvada. Truvada prophylaxis (PrEP) is a potential game changer in the fight against the global AIDS pandemic. However, Gilead has faced considerable criticism from AIDS activists for the high price of Truvada, particularly in the US. This criticism has been heightened by the significant amount of government funding that contributed to the development of Truvada for HIV prophylaxis. Whilst Gilead owns the basic patents for Truvada, the US Government (USG) owns the patents for use of Truvada in PrEP. In a recent move, that is unlikely to improve its popularity, Gilead announced that it plans to challenge the USG Truvada PrEP patents.


        Furthermore, if Gilead was not permitted to reap some rewards from its investment, would therapies such as PrEP ever be brought to market? Gilead has so far been able to profit from the time-limited market-exclusivity for PrEP awarded by its Truvada patents. As dictated by the patent system, Gilead's exclusivity has (in Europe) or will shortly (in the U.S.) come to an end. The limited patent term thus opens the gates for generic manufactures of Truvada such as Mylan. It will be interesting to see if Gilead's aim of introducing a new and improved PrEP drug, in the form of Descovy, will have any impact on the sales of Truvada generics.

        In the meantime, Gilead's challenge of the USG patents will be watched closely. It is rare for large pharma to challenge government held patents. If Gilead is successful, this may encourage other companies to follow suit.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • The frighteningly simple technique that hijacked Jack Dorsey’s Twitter account [iophk: s/become/always been/]

        Friday afternoon, Jack Dorsey’s 4.2 million Twitter followers got an unpleasant surprise. A group of vandals had gained access to the account, and used that access to blast out a stream of offensive messages and plugs for their group’s discord channel. Within 15 minutes, the account was back under control and the group was banned from Discord, but the incident was a reminder of the serious vulnerabilities in even the highest-profile accounts, and just how insecure phone-based authentication has become.

      • Australia hit by 9.2 million malware attacks in just six months [iophk: Windows TCO]

        Australia continues to be a malware target, with 9.2 million malware detections in the first half of 2019 - with malicious URLs also proving a popular form of attack, as the number of times a malicious URL was accessed reached 8.9 million, according to a new global security report.

      • Significant iOS Vulnerabilities Used Against Uyghur Muslims in China

        On 29 August 2019, Google’s Project Zero security research team released the details of a major series of attacks against iOS using sophisticated, zero-day exploits on a scale unprecedented in the iOS world. (Wired has a less technical summary of the Project Zero report, which is aimed at security professionals.) This is the most significant iOS security incident we are aware of since the launch of the iPhone. And while it’s extremely unlikely that any TidBITS readers had their devices compromised, the news remains a concerning development.


        Google reported the vulnerabilities to Apple in February 2019, and Apple patched them 6 days later with the release of iOS 12.1.4. At the time, iOS 12.1.4 seemed more important for its fix of a FaceTime bug that let a caller listen in on another FaceTime user while the device was ringing (see “Apple Re-Enables Group FaceTime with iOS 12.1.4 and macOS 10.14.3 Supplemental Update,” 7 February 2019). But if you look at the security notes for iOS 12.1.4, you’ll notice fixes for problems in Foundation and IOKit that acknowledge an anonymous researcher, Clement Lecigne of Google Threat Analysis Group, and Ian Beer and Samuel Groß of Google Project Zero. (Beer and Groß wrote the Project Zero report as well.)

      • When governments attack: malware campaigns against activists and journalists

        This year at Nullcon Eva gave her talk on When governments attack: malware campaigns against activists and journalists. After introducing EFF, she explained about Dark Caracal, a possibly state-sponsored malware campaign. If we leave aside all technical aspects, this talk has a few other big points to remember.

      • GnuPG for e-mail encryption and signing

        GnuPG, originally released 20 years ago, offers encryption for everyone. However, like every piece of software, it neither is flawless nor perfect. Recent attacks like ROCA, SigSpoof, Efail, and signature flooding revived the discussions about its security.

      • Building interactive SSH applications

        On the server, there are three steps which you can meddle with using OpenSSH: authentication, the shell session, and the command. The shell is pretty easily manipulated. For example, if you set the user’s login shell to /usr/bin/nethack, then nethack will run when they log in. Editing this is pretty straightforward, just pop open /etc/passwd as root and set their shell to your desired binary. If the user SSHes into your server with a TTY allocated (which is done by default), then you’ll be able to run a curses application or something interactive.

        However, a downside to this is that, if you choose a “shell” which does not behave like a shell, it will break when the user passes additional command line arguments, such as ssh user@host ls -a. To address this, instead of overriding the shell, we can override the command which is run. The best place to do this is in the user’s authorized_keys file. Before each line, you can add options which apply to users who log in with that key. One of these options is the “command” option. If you add this to /home/user/.ssh/authorized_keys instead: [...]

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Large Blast in Afghan Capital Targets International Compound

        A large explosion rocked the Afghan capital Monday night, targeting an area home to several international organizations and guesthouses, officials said. The blast came just hours after a U.S. envoy briefed the Afghan government on plans for the first 5,000 U.S. troops to leave Afghanistan within five months’ time under a deal with the Taliban that’s been reached “in principle” but still needs President Donald Trump’s approval.

      • Brain trauma suffered by U.S. diplomats abroad could be work of hostile foreign government
      • Ayodhya case: inscription on mosque slab spoke of Vishnu temple, Supreme Court told

        Senior advocate C.S. Vaidyanathan for Ram Lalla, Ayodhya’s infant deity, told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that a stone slab, which fell out of the western wall of the disputed Babri Masjid structure, had Sanskrit inscriptions dating back to the 12th century about a Lord Vishnu temple.

        Appearing before a Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Mr. Vaidyanathan said the slab and the inscriptions give credence to the version that the Babri mosque was built on the disputed land where a massive structure supported by several pillars once stood. He said it is believed by devotees that Lord Vishnu took human form as Rama.

      • See inside Diego Garcia, a secretive US Navy base on British land at the center of a bitter tug-of-war in the Indian Ocean

        The base has served as a launchpad for US military operations in the Middle East and as a refueling point for Air Force patrols headed to the South China Sea, and it was even designated an emergency landing spot for space missions by NASA.

        But this distant outpost of American power isn't located on US territory. Instead it occupies what used to be part of the British Empire — and its former owners want it back.

        But a recent ruling from the UN's highest court said Diego Garcia and the islands around it were illegally taken by Britain and should be returned. Though the ruling is not binding, it has put the future of the base in doubt.

    • Environment

      • How global warming makes hurricanes more severe

        Climate experts, however, are increasingly persuaded that global warming is making them more severe. Rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are driving up sea-surface temperatures. In turn, warmer oceans mean more intense and longer-lasting storms.

      • Pope Urges Politicians To Take Drastic Action On Climate Change

        Pope Francis has urged governments to show the "political will" to take drastic steps to deal with climate change, saying it's time to abandon dependence on fossil fuels.

        Francis issued the appeal in a message on September 1 to mark the start of several weeks of prayer by Christians to raise political awareness about pollution and exploitation of natural resources.

        The pope said he wants people to reflect on "thoughtful and harmful" daily decisions about consumption.

      • Norway Sami community fights for survival as temperatures rise

        The fight for this land may be a hint of future tussles between preservation and development in the Arctic as melting ice allows the region to open up to shipping and industry.

      • Videos From Bahamas Show Devastation Left by Hurricane Dorian

        Videos posted online late Sunday and early Monday provided the first glimpse of the scale of destruction Hurricane Dorian—a historic Category 5 storm—left in its wake in the Bahamas as it slowly moves toward the southeastern coast of the United States,€ forcing nearly a million€ residents of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas to evacuate.

      • The U.N. Could Save the Amazon With One Simple Move
      • Hurricane Dorian Triggers Massive Flooding Across Bahamas

        Hurricane Dorian unleashed massive flooding across the Bahamas on Monday, pummeling the islands with so much wind and water that authorities urged people to find floatation devices and grab hammers to break out of their attics if necessary.

      • Hailstorms at 109€°F Wreck Farming in Latur, India

        His roof didn’t quite come down on him, but it did chase Gunwant around his farm. That image remains vividly etched in his mind. “The tin-roof of the shed on the edge of our land was torn off and came flying towards me,” he recalls. “I hid under a pile of hay and managed to come out injury-free.”

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • No Recession for 2020

        These days the business press is full of predictions of recessions. This could get people worried, except that the track record of economists in predicting recessions is basically awful. As much fun as a bunch of scary warnings from economists is, it is best to look at the data.

      • Yet Another Trump Tax Scam Has Been Exposed

        Urban policy experts along with progressive groups and politicians responded with outrage to a€ New York Times report published Saturday that detailed how the Trump administration’s “signature plan” to help low-income communities across the United States with a multibillion-dollar tax break has “fueled a wave of developments financed by and built for the wealthiest Americans.”

      • Replacing Ideology With Class

        There is something very peculiar about how politics is talked about. The things that are true and proven to work are called “left” while the things that are false and are proven to fail are called “right”. This is why upon education most everyone becomes left, barring a greater force than truth itself in one’s interest in education. This is an unprecedented dynamic. Take any other field. In mathematics, in science, in language, truth is proven and then more or less accepted. In politics this isn’t the case. Despite things such as socialism, peace, education, regulation, housing and equality always working, there remains a debate about whether or not these things work.

      • Do You Rely on Open-Source Software? Offer Your Support.

        Maybe advertising isn’t the best way support the open-source economy, so how can users, including associations, help? Support can come in many forms, such as tax-deductible donations, promotion of the tool to members, or possibly (depending on your staffing) even contributing code. As I wrote last year, hiring someone who develops an open-source tool can be a great way to get a highly technical employee who knows a thing or two about mission.

        Your organization surely can’t support every open-source project under the sun, but the tools that are fundamentally useful to your technology stack or broader sector might benefit from affiliation with you. There is a recent trend of associations supporting startup accelerators. This plays into the same mindset, and there might even be a more direct kinship.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Unhinged Before the Fall: Boris Johnson, Parliament and Brexit

        The Brexit no deal prospect is engendering an element of lunacy fast seeping into every pore of the British political establishment. As with all steeped in such thinking, some of it made sense. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been inspired by a mild dictatorial urge, seeking to suspend the UK parliament five weeks out from October 31. This has been described as nothing short of a coup, or, if you are the speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, a “constitutional outrage”.

      • Boris Johnson’s Slo-Motion Coup Eerily Recalls the Rise of Erdogan

        Britain is experiencing a slow-moving coup d’etat in which a right-wing government progressively closes down or marginalises effective opposition to its rule. It concentrates power in its own hands by stifling parliament, denouncing its opponents as traitors to the nation, displacing critics in its own ranks, and purging non-partisan civil servants.

      • Revolution or Death
      • Man arrested in Singapore Changi Airport for buying ticket just to wave his wife off at the gate [iophk: saying goodbye at the gate was normal prior to Bush II]

        If the idea that anyone would actively want to spend time in an airport sounds odd, you haven't flown through Singapore.

        When Changi's new Jewel terminal opened in April, it made headlines around the globe for its 40-meter waterfall (the world's largest indoor one), a 14,000-square-meter Canopy Park, complete with a suspension bridge, topiary and mazes, and one of Asia's largest indoor gardens with 3,000 trees and 60,000 shrubs.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • De-Googling Yourself, Part 5

        As I am following the chronology of the emergence of Google services, in this article I will discuss alternatives to Google's second product: Gmail.

        In fact, the year Gmail came out (2004), Google pioneered a social networking site called Orkut. And while I have no evidence that these forays into social networking and messaging (email) represented any malice, I firmly believe they were the first steps in profiling Google's users more accurately, and thus better spying on the lives of (and serving up targeted ads to) its users.

      • Confusion clouds China's social credit system

        The state is also working on plans to roll out a new nationwide social credit system for businesses this year, which - among other requirements - could make both foreign and domestic companies install surveillance cameras in their premises and share the data with the government.

      • Another convincing deepfake app goes viral prompting immediate privacy backlash

        Twitter user Allan Xia posted a neat demonstration of what the app is capable of yesterday with a 30 second clip of their face replacing Leonardo Dicaprio in famous moments from several of his films. According to Xia, the clips were generated in under eight seconds from just a single photograph, however Bloomberg notes that the app can also guide you through the process of taking a series of photographs — where it will ask you to open and close your mouth and eyes — to generate more realistic results.

      • China’s Red-Hot Face-Swapping App Provokes Privacy Concern

        Chinese face-swap app Zao rocketed to the top of app store charts over the weekend, but user delight at the prospect of becoming instant superstars quickly turned sour as privacy implications began to sink in.

        Launched recently, Zao is currently topping the free download chart on China’s iOS store. Its popularity has also pushed another face-swap app, Yanji, to fifth place on the list. Behind Zao is a company fully owned by Chinese hookup and live-streaming service Momo Inc. President Wang Li and co-Founder Lei Xiaoliang, according to public company registration documents.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Democracy Needs Unions

        You deserve to have a say in matters that affect you. Everyone does. That’s democracy.

      • Trump's Labor Day Attacks on Workers

        Labor Day is a holiday designed to honor America’s workers. Instead, Donald Trump continues to attack them. Indeed, his administration is in the midst of a stealth effort that not only attacks workers but also our earned Social Security benefits and our federal government. The long-term goals of Trump and his Congressional allies are to destroy the labor movement, wreck the federal government, and end Social Security.

      • The 5 Biggest Corporate Lies about Unions

        Don’t believe the corporate lies. Today’s unions are growing, expanding, and boosting the wages and economic prospects of those who need them most. They’re good for workers and good for America.

      • Labor Day Celebrations
      • American Workers Have Little to Celebrate This Labor Day
      • Labor Rights Are Human Rights — It’s Time We Guaranteed Them in the Constitution

        The US used to tell the world that strong unions were a bulwark against fascism. We should take our own advice and enshrine the right to organize.

      • This Labor Day, I’m Grateful To Be Part of a Union for the First Time

        Instead of being “at-will” employees who can be fired at anytime, for any reason (except for an illegal one) or no reason at all, most union members — including NPEU members — have “just cause” protections in their contracts. This prevents employees from being dismissed without a fair and justified reason. Having this protection provides union members like myself with a feeling of stability because we know our managers cannot suddenly take our livelihood away.

      • Iranian civil rights activist gets prison for taking off hijab in public

        Iranian civil rights activist Saba Kord Afshari has been sentenced to 24 years behind bars, including a 15-year term for taking off her hijab in public — an act that authorities say promoted “corruption and prostitution.”

      • Saba Kord Afshari Sentenced To 24 Years For Protesting Compulsory Hijab

        The verdict was issued by the branch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court and the lawyer of Ms Kordafshari was informed about it on August 27.

        Her sentences were increased by one-half because of “numerous charges and previous records.”

        The maximum sentenced to be implemented for her is 15 years for “promoting corruption and prostitution by removing her veil and walking in the streets without the veil.”

      • Saba Kord Afshari sentenced to 24 years for refusing video confessions

        Saba Kord Afshari was repeatedly pressured to make video confessions, something that she strongly resisted and refused to do. The Intelligence Ministry even arrested her mother, Raheleh Ahmadi, to bring further pressure and force her to force her make false confessions.

      • Problem Officers Under Scrutiny in Criminal Justice Crusade

        During the 22 years he spent in prison after being convicted of killing a Boston police detective, Sean Ellis believed there was something suspicious about the officers who led the murder investigation. He just couldn’t prove it.

      • Episode 43: What do you mean by Reparations?: A History of Reparations and their Impact - Along The Line Podcast

        On this€ episode€ of Along the Line, Dr. Dreadlocks Nicholas Baham III, Dr. Nolan Higdon, and€ Janice Domingo discuss€ the history reparations as a concept in America.€  ATL’s€  Creative Director is Dylan Lazaga.€  Mickey Huff is ATL’s producer. ATL’s engineer is Janice Domingo. Adam Armstrong is ATL’s webmaster.

      • Texas’ New Firearms Laws Are a Gift to the Gun Industry

        Texas experienced its second mass shooting in a month on Saturday. A gunman, stopped by police for a traffic violation, killed seven people and injured 22 in a drive-by rampage outside Odessa. Less than a day after the murders, new legislation went into effect, not to limit the prevalence of firearms, but, as CNN reported Sunday, to “make it easier to have guns just a month after a shooter stormed a Walmart in El Paso and killed 22 people.”

      • East German Neo-Nazis Celebrate After Big Election Win

        On the day of the 80th anniversary of Germany’s Nazi-Wehrmacht rolling into Poland – 1st of September 1939, starting the antisemitic race war to total annihilation – two local elections were held in the East-German states of Brandenburg (2.4 million people) and Saxony (4 million people). In both states, Germany’s semi-Neo-Nazi party, the AfD made significant gains with about 2/3 of the voting population actually voting. In the East-German state of Brandenburg that surrounds Germany’s capital of Berlin, the AfD almost doubled its results from 12.2% to 23.5%.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • 13 ways to screw over your internet provider

        Internet providers are real bastards: they have captive audiences whom they squeeze for every last penny while they fight against regulation like net neutrality and donate immense amounts of money to keep on lawmakers’ good sides.

    • Monopolies

      • Cooking Eggs in the Morning and Shucking Oysters at Night, Thanks to an App [iophk: in othe news, restaurants are unwilling to pay wages to attract workers]

        As the apps become more established, some workers are exchanging the stability of traditional hospitality jobs for the flexibility of temporary employment. Others are using the apps to make a quick buck on the side. The development has raised concerns among some labor advocates, who argue that the same pay and equity problems that have emerged in other parts of the gig economy, like ride-hailing and delivery, could come to the restaurant kitchen.

        “The workers don’t have access to a union. They don’t have access to collective bargaining,” said Ifeoma Ajunwa, a labor and employment law expert at Cornell University. “They basically are powerless to whatever the platform decides are the rules.”

      • Uber and Lyft face an existential threat in California — and they’re losing

        State senators in California are poised to vote on Assembly Bill 5, which would make it more difficult for so-called gig economy companies to classify workers as independent contractors. If passed, the bill could force Uber and Lyft to designate drivers as employees, a move both companies admit could throw them in a tailspin into the unknown.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Patent case: MTD Products Inc. v. Iancu, USA

          Board’s obviousness finding was predicated on erroneous finding that claim term “mechanical control assembly” was not a means-plus-function term.


          The Board’s obviousness finding predicated on erroneous claim construction was reversed and the case remanded (MTD Products Inc. v. Iancu, August 12, 2015, Stoll, K.).

        • [Satire] Federal Circuit Invalidates A. G. Bell's Telegraphy Patent [Ed: Satire. The patent extremists and zealots so hopeless they resort to jokes.]

          In a unanimous panel ruling, the Federal Circuit invalidated a patent owned by Salem, Massachusetts inventor A. G. Bell. On February 14, 1876, Mr. Bell was granted Letters Patent No. 174,465 to an "Improvement in Telegraphy." This patent was challenged in various proceedings by Mr. Elisha Gray of Highland Park, Illinois as allegedly entailing subject matter ineligible for patenting. In a long-awaited ruling, the Federal Circuit held that Mr. Bell's claims were directed to an abstract idea without significantly more and therefore invalid.

        • Patent case: TQ Delta LLC v Zyxel Communications UK Ltd & anr, United Kingdom

          The Court rejected a claim that a new action brought by the claimant asserting additional patents from its portfolio was an abuse of process, finding that a radical change in position by the defendant had driven the need for the claimant to bring an action on other patents.

      • Trademarks

        • A slur or point of pride? The Slants’ journey to litigate their band name

          The band has said it wanted to reclaim what is often seen as a slur against Asian Americans. But the US Patent and Trademark Office refused the registration of "The Slants" in 2011 and rejected the band’s appeal, citing the Lanham Act, which prohibits trademarks that could "disparage ... or bring ... into contemp[t] or disrepute" any "persons, living or dead."

          After a federal court sided with Tam and "The Slants," the Patent and Trademark Office sued. The case was taken to the US Supreme Court which, in 2017, ruled unanimously in favor of the band on First Amendment grounds. Tan released a memoir this year titled "Slanted: How an Asian-American troublemaker took on the Supreme Court."

      • Copyrights

        • YouTube takes copyright law into their own hands with new policy on music infringement

          From mid-September YouTube will implement its new policy on how copyright holders can deal with infringements of their music on the platform. The changes effect the way copyright is enforced on YouTube, and it begs the questions; are they making their own copyright rules? And, if they are, and they are, how do we feel about that?

          As readers will know, an infringement of copyright in a song on YouTube would happen if someone uses it in their video without a licence or permission of the rights holder, unless they are benefitting from a copyright exception [although the technology cannot recognise the purpose of the use and so on YouTube copyright exceptions can only realistically be utilised by users who are knowledgeable enough to submit a counter notification or dispute a Content ID claim]. YouTube currently provides rightsholders with tools to help enforce their copyright on the platform which allows the rightsholder to mute, remove, monetise or leave the uploaded video.


          In their statement, YouTube mention several times how they feel and what they feel is fair and unfair. It might seem that YouTube's feelings are representative of the movement towards platform control and enforcement of copyright rules. The risk of this is that these rules don’t necessarily correspond with the law. For example, what does YouTube deem to be “very short” or “unintentional”?

          Under UK law there is a copyright exception for incidental inclusion in any event. But using a very short clip could still constitute an infringement. The difficulty is, it seems, that YouTube can only have an all or nothing monetising rule. This doesn’t reflect what would happen in a legal dispute, where the copyright holder would receive a percentage of the revenue.

          Whilst this Kat doesn't necessarily disagree with the approach taken by YouTube, she does feel slightly uncomfortable about the reality of their ability to create their own copyright rules.

        • Microsoft Puts Blocks On In-Browser Minecraft Clone

          A developer who implemented Minecraft in Javascript to bring the "game onto the web" has been served with a takedown notice by Microsoft. While citing breaches of the DMCA, the notice adds that the variant of the popular world-building game also breaches other rights belonging to the company, including trademarks.

        • Pirate Bay Registrations Remain Closed After Three Months

          The Pirate Bay remains one of the most popular pirate sites on the web. The notorious torrent site has survived plenty of legal and technical challenges during its long history, but a recent issue seems hard to tackle. After more than three months, TPB still hasn't opened user registrations, a measure it took to prevent spammers from exploiting the platform.

Recent Techrights' Posts

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Debian History Harassment & Abuse culture evolution
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accelerated death of journalism
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IRC logs for Saturday, July 13, 2024
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