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Links 24/10/2019: LabPlot 2.7, ExTiX 19.10, Pop!_OS 19.10

  • GNU/Linux

    • Disney streaming service, Disney+, doesn't work on Linux... yet

      Want to watch a Disney movie via Disney+ on your Linux-based home media server? You might not be able to. A user in the Netherlands and forum user on have found that Disney+ isn’t compatible with Linux, at least in its current state.

      The issue lies with the DRM method used by Disney. DRM is used by every major streaming service in some way, shape, or form. However, Disney’s particular implementation doesn’t play nicely with Linux. Hans de Goede, a Disney+ subscriber, explained that the streaming service simply refused to run in either Firefox or Chrome on his Fedora machine. Every time, the browser would spit out an error (“Error Code 83”).

    • My Linux Story: Why introduce people to the Raspberry Pi

      My first steps into Linux happened around 2003 or 2004 when I was a student. The experiment lasted an hour or two. Being used to Windows, I was confused and quickly frustrated at having to learn the most basic stuff again.

      By 2018, I was curious enough to try Ubuntu before settling on Fedora 29 on an unused laptop, and to get a Pi3B+ and Pi4, both currently running Raspbian. What changed? Well, first of all, Linux has certainly changed. Also, by that time I was not only curious but more patient than my younger self by that time. Reflecting on this experience, I reckon that patience to overcome the perceived usability gap is the key to Linux satisfaction. Just one year later, I can confidently say I am productive in both Windows as well as (my) Linux environments.

      This experience has brought up two questions. First, why are more people not using Linux (or other open source software)? Second, what can the savvier among us could do to improve these numbers? Of course, these questions assume the open source world has advantages over the more common alternatives, and that some of us would go to ends of the Earth to convince the non-believers.

    • With Autonomous Linux, Oracle Keeps Server Apps Running During Patching

      When a microprocessor vulnerability rocked the tech industry last year, companies scrambled to patch nearly every server they had. In Oracle’s case, that meant patching the operating system on about 1.5 million Linux-based servers.

      Oracle finished the job in just 4 hours, without taking down the applications the servers ran, by using Oracle’s own automation technology.

      The technology involved is at the heart of Oracle Autonomous Linux, which the company announced at Oracle OpenWorld 2019 in San Francisco last month. Oracle has been using Autonomous Linux to run its own Generation 2 Cloud infrastructure, and now it is available at no cost to Oracle Cloud customers.

      Besides the speed of patching, the other benefit is that it’s done automatically, without hands-on work by systems administrators, developers, or security operations staff, says Wim Coekaerts, senior vice president for operating systems and virtualization engineering at Oracle.

    • Server

      • IBM

        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and CentOS 7 Get Important Kernel Security Update

          Marked as important by Red Hat Product Security, the new Linux kernel security patch is here to fix a use-after-free flaw (CVE-2018-20856) discovered in the __blk_drain_queue() function in block/blk-core.c, as well as a heap overflow issue (CVE-2019-3846) discovered in the mwifiex_update_bss_desc_with_ie function in marvell/mwifiex/scan.c.

          It also addresses a heap overflow issue (CVE-2019-10126) discovered in the mwifiex_uap_parse_tail_ies function in drivers/net/wireless/marvell/mwifiex/ie.c and a Bluetooth flaw (CVE-2019-9506) that may lead to BR/EDR encryption key negotiation attacks (KNOB).

        • Java License Fallout Continues Impacting IBM i Shops

          Oracle’s decision to restrict the previously free distribution of Java version 8 tools and runtimes is impacting the entire IT industry. In our little neck of the woods, the decision to charge businesses for using Oracle’s Java has forced IBM i shops to take a hard look at the technology platform, and in some cases look for alternative solutions.

          Oracle ruffled feathers in the Java community in 2017, when it made substantial changes to its Java roadmap. The company announced that Java Standard Edition (SE) version 8, which is a legacy version of Java but is still in widespread use, “will not be available for business, commercial or production use without a commercial license” after January 2019. Licenses for Java SE 8 could be purchased for $30 per desktop per year or $300 per processor for server licenses.

          Oracle’s stated plan for the move was to accelerate the development and release cycle for Java in a bid to keep up today’s fast-paced DevOps environments (and perhaps part of its unstated plan, which was to squeeze Java users for revenue). The tech giant and the Java community hammered out Java SE versions 9 and 10 in quick fashion, in late 2017 and early 2018, respectively.

        • All you need to know about KVM userspace

          The KVM hypervisor is a central part of Red Hat products such as Red Hat Virtualization, Red Hat OpenStack Platform and the Container-Native Virtualization add-on to Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. KVM's role is to enable and control the processor's hardware virtualization capabilities; this allows virtual machines to run at close to native speed for a wide variety of workloads.

          KVM itself is "just" a Linux device driver and only one part of our virtualization stack. Userspace components such as QEMU and libvirt, and other kernel subsystems such as SELinux, have a major part in making the stack full-featured and secure. This post will explore the userspace side of the KVM virtualization stack, what alternatives exist to QEMU and libvirt, and how our work on QEMU and libvirt may make them suitable for an ever wider range of use cases.

        • Red Hat Provides New VirtIO Windows Driver Installer

          Red Hat engineers are busy working on oVirt 4.4 as the next feature release for this virtualization management platform that forms the basis of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization. For this next release they are planning to ship a new Windows installer for their drivers to ease the deployment.

          Using the WiX Toolset, they are providing a new installation experience around the VirtIO Windows drivers for these drivers that interface with the various virtual devices. These new drivers are now also to be shipped directly on the VirtIO Windows ISO.

        • Bring joy to development with Quarkus, the cloud-native Java framework

          Our first DevNation Live regional event was held in Bengaluru, India in July. This free technology event focused on open source innovations, with sessions presented by elite Red Hat technologists.

          Quarkus is revolutionizing the way that we develop Java applications for the cloud-native era, and in this presentation, Edson Yanaga explains why it also sparks joy.

          Watch this live coding session to get familiar with Quarkus and learn how your old and new favorite APIs will start in a matter of milliseconds and consume tiny amounts of memory. Hot reload capabilities for development will bring you instant joy.

        • 4 ways developers can have a say in what agile looks like

          Agile has become the default way of developing software; sometimes, it seems like every organization is doing (or wants to do) agile. But, instead of trying to change their culture to become agile, many companies try to impose frameworks like scrum onto developers, looking for a magic recipe to increase productivity. This has unfortunately created some bad experiences and leads developers to feel like agile is something they would rather avoid. This is a shame because, when it's done correctly, developers and their projects benefit from becoming involved in it. Here are four reasons why.


          I'm a believer in continuous improvement, and this sentence resonates with me. It emphasizes the importance of having a growth mindset while being a part of an agile team. In fact, I think this outlook is a solution to most of the problems a team may face when adopting agile.

          Scrum is not working for your team? Right, let's discover a better way of organizing it. You are working in a distributed team across multiple timezones, and having a daily standup is not ideal? No problem, let's find a better way to communicate and share information.

          Agile is all about flexibility and being able to adapt to change, so be open-minded and creative to discover better ways of collaborating and developing software.

        • OpenShift 4.2: Expanded Tools and Services for Developers

          The addition of the new Developer Perspective aims to give developers an optimized experience in the web console with the features and workflows they’re most likely to need to be productive. Developers can focus on higher level abstractions like their application and components, and then drill down deeper to get to the OpenShift and Kubernetes resources that make up their application, if desired.

          An interactive Topology view makes it easier for developers to deploy and visualize their applications, and provides quick access to important features such as pod and build logs.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux driver suggests Intel might be considering multi-GPU support

        Most of the details surrounding Intel's plans in the discrete graphics card space are being kept close to the company's vest, and it will probably stay that way until next year. In the meantime, there are potential clues to be found. One might be contained in a Linux driver update, which hints at multi-GPU support being a possibility.

        This is something both AMD and Nvidia have sort of steered away from, with regards to each company's graphics cards—neither one is heavily promoting CrossFire (AMD) or SLI (Nvidia) like they used to.

        It remains to be seen if Intel will take a different approach. That said, the folks at Phoronix made an interesting discovery. They noticed changes in the Linux 5.5 kernel that point to Intel ombining a discrete GPU with the integrated graphics on its processors.

        This is actually something Phoronix also observed in an earlier driver release. Seeing it again possibly suggests this is something Intel wants to flesh out.

      • Leaked Linux Kernel Patch Confirms Intel’s 10nm Ice Lake Chip Heading For Desktop CPUs?

        Intel confirmed a few days ago that it is not totally abandoning the 10nm desktop processors.

        Now, a screenshot of a kernel patch for Linux was leaked on the LKML website, which mentioned Ice Lake several times. The website is a dedicated repository of designs, innovations, and bugs on the Linux kernel. The name on the image was Kan Liang, an Intel senior graphics software engineer.

      • F2FS File-System Seeing LZO/LZ4 Compression Support

        Similar to the transparent file-system compression that has been available on the likes of Btrfs and ZFS for years, the Flash-Friendly File-System (F2FS) is also in the process of receiving native compression support.

        Native compression support for F2FS is being worked on and is more selective rather than the blanket enabling like with Btrfs. In the F2FS case there is a compress_extension mount option for just compressing files with a matching file extension. Besides the compress_extension method, it can manually be enabled for select files/directories with chattr +c for compression.

      • Finding race conditions with KCSAN

        The first step is to compile the kernel with the -fsanitize=thread option, which is supported by both GCC and Clang. This will cause the compiled code to be instrumented to allow the monitoring of its memory accesses. Specifically, each memory access will be augmented by a function call; if the program reads a four-byte quantity at addr, for example, the generated code will first make a call to __tsan_read4(addr). The monitoring code provides these __tsan_readN() and __tsan_writeN() functions, which can then do something useful with the access pattern it sees.

        In the case of KCSAN, these function calls are simply ignored 1,999 out of 2,000 times; to do otherwise would slow the kernel to a point of complete unusability. On the 2,000th time, though, KCSAN keeps an eye on the address for a period of time, looking for other accesses. While running in the context of the thread where the access was performed, KCSAN will set a "watchpoint", which is done by recording the address, the size of the data access, and whether the access was a write in a small table. This thread will then simply delay for (by default) 10€µs.

        The above picture is simplified somewhat; there are a couple of exceptions to keep in mind. The first of those is that, before deciding whether to ignore an access, KCSAN looks to see if there is already a watchpoint established for the address in question. If so, and if either the current access or the access that created the watchpoint is a write, then a race condition has been detected and a report will be sent to the system log.

        In the absence of a watch point, the code will check whether the current access is being performed in an atomic context (using KCSAN's definition, which is a bit different than what the rest of the kernel uses) before deciding whether to ignore the access or not. An atomic access, thus, will not result in the creation of a watch point, but if one already exists then the code is accessing the data location in question in both atomic and non-atomic ways, which rarely leads to good things.

        Meanwhile, the original thread is delaying after having set the watchpoint. At the end of the delay period, the watchpoint will be deleted and monitoring of that address stops. But before execution continues, the value at the accessed address will be checked; if it has changed since the watchpoint was set, a race condition is once again deemed to have occurred.

        Naturally, the above story leaves out some details, but that is the core of the algorithm used. One would expect it to miss a lot of races, since it is only looking at a fraction of the kernel's memory accesses and only watches any given location for a short period of time. But, if run for long enough, KCSAN does indeed appear to be able to find race conditions that have escaped the developers of the code in question.

      • BPF at Facebook (and beyond)

        It is no secret that much of the work on the in-kernel BPF virtual machine and associated user-space support code is being done at Facebook. But less is known about how Facebook is actually using BPF. At Kernel Recipes 2019, BPF developer Alexei Starovoitov described a bit of that work, though even he admitted that he didn't know what most of the BPF programs running there were doing. He also summarized recent developments with BPF and some near-future work.

      • WireGuard and the crypto API

        When last we looked in on the progress of the WireGuard VPN tunnel toward the mainline kernel, it seemed like the main sticking point had been overcome. The Zinc cryptography API used by WireGuard was generally seen as a duplication of effort with the existing kernel cryptographic algorithms, so an effort to rework Zinc to use that existing code seemed destined to route around that problem and bring WireGuard to the mainline. In the six months since then, though, things have gone fairly quiet in WireGuard-land; that all changed based on a conversation at the recent Kernel Recipes conference in Paris.

        WireGuard developer Jason A. Donenfeld posted a message from the conference describing a conversation he had there that included kernel networking maintainer David Miller. In the message, Donenfeld announced that WireGuard would be ported to use the existing crypto API in the interests of getting it upstream—based on Miller's advice. Donenfeld said that he was generally opposed to the idea for a few reasons, but now thinks it would make sense to go that route "and afterwards work evolutionarily to get Zinc into Linux piecemeal".

      • Graphics Stack

        • Khronos Rolls Out OpenVX 1.3 While Updating OpenGL 4.6 + OpenGL ES 3.2

          It's a busy day in the royalty-free API space.

          The Khronos Group has released OpenVX 1.3 as the newest version of their cross-platform standard around vision and machine intelligence acceleration. OpenVX 1.3 introduces the concept of feature sets to the standard with items like graph infrastructure, enhanced vision, neural network inferencing, binary images, and other items for offering greater flexibility to target different accelerator architectures.

        • OpenChrome Still Aspiring For Open-Source VIA Graphics, But Not Going Mainline This Year

          At the X.Org Developers Conference earlier this month Kevin Brace provided an update on the state of the OpenChrome project that he continues to single handedly push forward.

          While it has been over a decade since VIA x86 graphics were remotely common, Brace continues working on the OpenChrome DRM driver as a learning instrument and a passion for old hardware -- he also has contributed maintenance patches to SiS, S3 Graphics, and other DDX drivers left unmaintained.

        • Google Plumbing The Linux Support For Privacy Screens On Intel Laptops

          A number of recent laptops have begun appearing that offer support for built-in privacy screens with the press of a button. These privacy screens reduce much of the visible light when viewed at angles to try to block out the screen contents from anyone that may be sitting besides the user. Linux has finally begun seeing this support prepared.

        • Google's SwiftShader Is Becoming Conformant & Performant For Vulkan On CPUs

          SwiftShader had traditionally been about OpenGL and Direct3D over CPUs as a fallback while in recent years Google has been focused on making it viable for Vulkan. Recently SwiftShader reached Vulkan 1.1 conformance, but besides being conformant to the standard it's also showing it has some CPU performance potential.

          With Kazan (formerly known as Vulkan-CPU) not advancing too quickly, SwiftShader thanks to Google's resources is becoming quite competent for Vulkan atop CPUs. Google developer Nicolas Capens talked about SwiftShader in the context of Vulkan at this month's X.Org Developer's Conference in Montreal.

        • Intel 8K Display Support Should Be Working With Linux 5.4

          On top of the many Linux 5.4 features we have been talking about so far, it turns out with this kernel update due out in November that 8K display support for Intel (Gen11 Icelake and newer) should be in order.

          8K displays are quite rare with the likes of the Dell UltraSharp 32 8K monitor retailing for $3899 USD. These current class of 8K displays require dual DisplayPort connections to drive due to current bandwidth limitations.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Exploring the DDR arcade CDs

        Dance Dance Revolution, commonly known as DDR, is/was a series of music games by Konami, where the player has to hit notes by stepping on four panels in time with music. I say “was” because while there are still new developments, the phenomenon has largely faded, at least in my parts of the world.

        Back in the heyday, the arcade machines (beasts of 220 kg, plus the two pads weighing 100 kg each!) were based off of Konami's System 573 (573 is chosen because with the appropriate amount of creative readings in Japanese, you can make it sound like “go-na-mi”). System 573 (well, 573D, to be exact) is basically a Playstation with a custom controller connector and an I/O board capable of decoding MP3s. The songs are loaded from a regular CD-ROM.

        Recently, MAME developers have cracked the encryption used in S573 so as to be able to emulate the system (a heroic effort!), which allowed me to finally have a look at what's going on in the ISOs. I wasn't involved in this at all, but you can have a look at the source code at GitHub.

      • Embark Studios, AMD and Adidas are all now supporting Blender development

        The team behind the free and open source 3D creation suite, Blender, are once again celebrating as they've managed to secure even more funding from some interesting names.

        First up, Embark Studios announced today they have become a Corporate Gold level patron of Blender meaning they're pledging at least €30K a year which isn't exactly a small amount. Speaking about why they did so, their team wrote a little love letter Medium post. Additionally, Embark announced their plans to open source some of their own Blender tools which you can find listed here. The two current tools listed are on GitHub under the MIT license.

      • Everyone is getting the first three Rocket League DLC free and other news

        Psyonix have updated their roadmap for what's coming up in Rocket League and some of it actually sounds quite nice.

        If you've been rising the ranks during the current Competitive Season 12 in the hopes of earning a shiny reward at the end of the season, prepare for something different. When the season ends, sometime in November or December, Psyonix are giving out Universal Animated Decals.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma 5.17 review - The show must go on (and be good)

          It's happened again. The KDE team has released a new version of their desktop environment. Seemingly a small increment, based on the numbering scheme, it still brings a wealth of changes, improvements and whatnot to the desktop scene. That means there's only one reasonable outcome: some proper testing.

          And so I did. I fired up my neon instance sitting cozily in the eight-boot Windows-and-Linux setup on my G50 laptop, let the system run a whole bunch of updates, and an hour later, I had the Plasma 5.17 desktop up and running. Now, let's see how it fares and what it offers. After me.

        • KDE Plasma 5.17 Desktop Environment Gets First Point Release with 40 Bug Fixes

          Released last week on October 15th, the KDE Plasma 5.17 desktop environment introduces Night Color support on X11, fractional scaling on Wayland, HiDPI and multi-screen improvements, as well as the ability to support for managing and configuring Thunderbolt devices in System Settings.

          It also improves the notification system with a new Do Not Disturb mode that automatically detects presentations, Breeze GTK theme support for the Google Chrome and Chromium web browsers, Nvidia GPU stats in System Settings, and color scheme support for GTK and GNOME apps in the Breeze GTK theme.

        • New KMyMoney features ahead

          You might be wondering what is going on in the KMyMoney development department. Here are some insights of what has happened in the background at least on my end.

        • LabPlot 2.7 released

          We are happy to announce the release of LabPlot 2.7. The biggest effort in this version went into improving the user experience to make working with LabPlot easier and fun.

          The Spreadsheet is where plots get data from. It consists usually of columns containing the imported data or the data entered manually by the user. Besides this, the content of a calculated column in the spreadsheet is computed using a mathematical expression applied to the content of other columns in the same spreadsheet.

          Such calculated columns are now more flexible and react to data changes in the parameter columns when they get deleted or re-added. When such changes occur the content of the calculated column is properly updated or invalidated.

          The Functions Values dialog is where calculated columns are defined. A red-highlight in this dialog indicates that one of the parameter columns in a calculation was deleted from the project. This dialog also prevents selecting the calculated column as a parameter column and thus avoids circular dependencies.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Dash To Panel v24 Released With Vertical Panel Orientation, Update From GitHub Feature

          Dash to Panel, an icon taskbar for Gnome Shell, was updated to version 24, bringing support for vertical panel orientation (left or right of monitor), the ability to update the extension directly from the GitHub releases, and more.

          The Gnome Shell Dash to Panel extension combines the Dash with the top panel into a single dock. This way you have running applications (and favorite/pinned applications), the tray, the system menu, and date / time indicator on a single panel.

          Don't confuse Dash to Panel with the somewhat similar Dash to Dock extension (from which the Ubuntu Dock was forked from).

        • GNOME Calculator and GTK’s Entry

          Recently GNOME Calculator has gained a library for math expression parsing and calculation, as a parallel effort to the one used internally for the application, called GCalc.

          While GCalc allows to take a string to create an object oriented representation of it and can perform multi-precision calculations, this feature was unable to be used outside, just VDA is using it for math expression parsing, but no-more, yet.

          In order to expose GCalc features to user oriented applications, now a new library called GCi was added. GCi provides, for now, a controller for GTK Entries.

        • VCR to WebM with GStreamer and hardware encoding

          My family had bought many years ago a Panasonic VHS video camera and we had recorded quite a lot of things, holidays, some local shows, etc. I even got paid 5000 pesetas (30€ more than 20 years ago) a couple of times to record weddings in a amateur way. Since my father passed less than a year ago I have wanted to convert those VHS tapes into something that can survive better technologically speaking.

          For the job I bought a USB 2.0 dongle and connected it to a VHS VCR through a SCART to RCA cable.

    • Distributions

      • Increase Your Linux Experience 10 Folds with These Distros Sample

        The moment an individual hears the word 'Linux', his mind starts thinking about the codes and complexities. Are you also one of these? If yes, then the time has come to bust the myth. Gone are the days when Linux was traditionally used just by the coders and programmers. With the passage of time, it has transformed immensely. Several distributions (distros) available in the market solve the problem of security issues related to the Windows and Mac OS. Furthermore, the developers have left no stone unturned in making it more interactive and user-friendly.

        Undoubtedly, more and more people are shifting their interest in Linux. That isn't a problem as many distros are available in the market. The real problem begins when techno-geek sets on a hunt to find the best distros as per his requirements. And, let us not forget that there are thousands of distros available in the technical market. To ease the problem of the techno-buffs, this article has been drafted. It lists down 2019's best distros as per the different categories of the users. Keep scrolling the page to know more.

      • New Releases

        • ExTiX 19.10, Build 191023, with LXQt 0.14.1, Refracta Snapshot, Nvidia 430.50 and kernel 5.3.7-extix

          I have made a new version of ExTiX – The Ultimate Linux System. I call it ExTiX 19.10 LXQt Live DVD. (The previous LXQt version was 19.5 from 190598). The best thing with ExTiX 19.10 is that while running the system live (from DVD/USB) or from hard drive you can use Refracta Snapshot (pre-installed) to create your own live installable Ubuntu system. So easy that a ten year child can do it! One other very good thing with this version of ExTiX is that it is quite light. The ISO file is of only 1200 MB, which means that you can run the system super fast from RAM. When the boot process is ready you can eject the DVD or USB stick. Use Boot alternative 2 or Advanced options… >> load to RAM. Nvidia’s proprietary Graphics driver 430.50 is pre-installed in ExTiX 19.10. It will automatically be used if your computer has support for it

        • ExTiX 19.10 "The Ultimate Linux System" Is Now Based on Ubuntu 19.10, Runs LXQt

          Dubbed by the developer as "The Ultimate Linux System," ExTiX 19.10 is based on Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine), but ships with the lightweight LXQt desktop environment instead of GNOME to allow users to use it on their UEFI-enabled computers. ExTiX 19.10 is using the latest LXQt 0.14.1 desktop environment by default.

          "ExTiX 19.10 LXQt DVD 64 bit is based on Debian and Ubuntu 19.10. The original system includes the desktop environment GNOME. After removing GNOME I have installed LXQt 0.14.1," said Arne Exton. "This ExTiX LXQt Build is for installation to UEFI-enabled computers."

        • MX Linux 19 Released With Debian 10.1 ‘Buster’ & Other Improvements

          MX Linux 18 has been one of my top recommendations for the best Linux distributions, specially when considering distros other than Ubuntu.

          It is based on Debian 9.6 ‘Stretch’ – which was incredibly a fast and smooth experience.

          Now, as a major upgrade to that, MX Linux 19 brings a lot of major improvements and changes. Here, we shall take a look at the key highlights.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • GNOME, LLVM, Samba, Ruby Packages Update in Tumbleweed

          Snapshot 20191018 provided minor updates for both Mozilla Firefox 69.0.3 and Thunderbird 68.1.2. The update to Firefox fixed a bug that prompted Yahoo mail users to download files when clicking on emails and the Thunderbird update fixed some glitches and fixed the address book import from a CSV. GNOME software updated to version 3.34,which could be the version that will come in openSUSE Leap 15.2. GNOME’s Thessaloniki release includes visual refreshes for a number of applications and the background selection settings also received a redesign, making it easier to select custom backgrounds. Developers using GNOME 3.34 will notices more data sources in Sysprof that make performance profiling of applications easier. Improvements to Builder include an integrated D-Bus inspector. Javascript bindings for GNOME were also updated with the gjs 1.58.1 version and gtk3 3.24.12 fixed a pointer offsets under X11 and Wayland. Python2 runtime support was removed with the updated of the samba 4.11.0 package; python 3.4 or later is required.

          Also in the 20191018 snapshot was an update for the new programing language vala 0.46.3 that focuses on GNOME developers had multiple additions to the package. Programing language ruby 2.6.5 fixed a code injection vulnerability along with three other Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures. openSUSE’s snapper 0.8.5 package updated to allow trailing comments in configuration files. The Linux Kernel updated to 5.3.6. NetworkManager 1.18.4 improved the handling of externally added policy routing rules and for rules that are taken over after a restart of a NetworkManager service. The NetworkManager-applet 1.8.24 package added support for SAE authentication (WPA3 Personal). Fix regression fixes were made in both the 2.62.1 versions of glib2 and glib-networking; the latter also made two memory leak fixes. Other noteworthy packages that were updated in the snapshot were webkit2gtk3 2.26.1, libsoup 2.68.2, grilo 0.3.10, and dconf 0.34.0. The snapshot is trending at a stable rating of 92, according to the Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer.

        • openSUSE community votes on name change – but not to what….

          The openSUSE project is in the midst of asking stakeholders to vote on a name change – though what the new name might be is not clear.

          The openSUSE community has recently been pondering whether to reconstitute itself as a new legal entity such as a foundation. This has prompted discussion over the status of the openSUSE name and trademarks – unsurprisingly given that SUSE and the SUSE logo are trademarks of SUSE LLC, the commercial company that champions the project and its open source operating system.

          The page detailing the vote gives a comprehensive list of reasons to keep the current name. These include the potential loss of brand recognition earned over years, and contributors’ attachment to the current name – and branding.

      • Fedora Family

        • Capslock and keyboard layout indicator for plymouths diskcrypt password screen

          As some of you running Fedora 31 may already have noticed, I have some good news to share. As part of my recent work on plymouth I've implemented a feature request which was first requested in 2012: support for an indicator that capslock is active while entering the disk unlock password for machines using full diskencryption. Besides the capslock indicator I've also added support for an indicator of the configured keyboard layout, since this sometimes also causes confusion:

        • FFI extension usage with PHP 7.4

          The FFI extension (Foreign Function Interface) give access to features from system libraries directly from PHP without any need to additional extension.

          Here is some examples, results of my tests of this extension.

      • Debian Family

        • Deepin 20 Will Include a Revamped App Launcher (Video)

          Now, aesthetically speaking, the Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE) used by default in the Deepin distro sits somewhere between “iPadOS 13” and “Windows 10”, albeit through the prism of KDE Plasma 5.

          Which is to say, more bluntly, that it’s very easy on the eyes (though apparently not so easy on system resources, but that’s a different article).

          And yet Deepin’s desktop designers aren’t content and they’re upping the eye candy ante!

          A dramatically retooled app launcher experience is set to ship in Deepin 20, the next major stable release, a change ably demoed in this super slick video from the Chinese development team...

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Touch OTA-11 for Ubuntu Phones Brings Smarter Keyboard, Better Browsing

          Available for testing since earlier this month, the Ubuntu Touch OTA-11 software update introduces a much-improved and smarter on-screen keyboard keyboard that implements a Dvorak keyboard layout option, improves the Japanese and Polish layouts, and adds a new way to edit text.

          "Using this feature, you can move around your typed text, undo and redo actions, move around a text selection rectangle, and use the cut/copy/paste commands, all from the same overlay. To get started, press and hold the space bar," explains UBports in the release announcement.

        • System76 Releases Pop!_OS 19.10 with Many Improvements, Based on Ubuntu 19.10

          Based on Canonical's recently released Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) operating system, Pop!_OS Linux 19.10 ships with the latest GNOME 3.34 desktop environment and introduces a new upgrade process that supports offline upgrades, which will be used from now on to upgrade between Pop!_OS releases.

          "When an upgrade becomes available, it is downloaded to your computer. Then, when you decide to upgrade to the newest version of your OS, the upgrade will overwrite the current version of your software. However, this is not to be confused with an automatic update," writes Systems76 on their blog.

        • Theme Updates, Offline Upgrades Headline New Additions to Pop!_OS 19.10
        • Pop!_OS Is Even Better With 19.10 (Full Review)

          Pop!_OS is even better with 19.10, the new release of the Pop OS distro comes with an updated GNOME desktop, performance and theme tweaks, and the latest Ubuntu software stack underneath. In this review, I show off the new release on real hardware.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

        • RISC-V Challenges And Opportunities

          Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss open instruction set hardware and the future of RISC-V with Ben Levine, senior director of product management in Rambus’ Security Division; Jerry Ardizzone, vice president of worldwide sales at Codasip; Megan Wachs, vice president of engineering at SiFive; and Rishiyur Nikhil, CTO of Bluespec. What follows are excerpts of that conversation.


          Wachs: I think the biggest competition is actually people wanting to do it themselves. They read the RISC-V spec, they say, ‘This is awesome and fun. I am going to do it myself.’ And then you know, they get about two thirds the way through and start realizing, ‘Oh, this is a little bit complicated.’ The biggest competition is actually internal teams.

          Ardizzone: From my point of view the biggest competition for us is clearly Arm. They own about 80% of the market. So if we want to be successful and grow, we need to take some of that market share, and that’s our mission. But we also some very strong competitors out there, and as they grow, they will become our main competition.

          Levine: In regard to the point about internal teams, we did develop our own RISC-V CPU and it was not easy and we only did it because we had a very compelling reason to do so, because we had security features that we needed to add at the microarchitecture level. If not for that, we would be better off just buying IP from someone else who specializes in that and already has the IP developed. So I think there is competition from internal teams but it is much more challenging than people realize when they start down that road.

        • FPGAs and free software

          The problems with field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) is not exactly an obvious talk topic for a graphics-related conference like the 2019 X.Org Developers Conference (XDC). Ben Widawsky acknowledged that, but said that he sees parallels in the situation with FPGA support in the free-software world and the situation with graphics hardware support in the past. It is his hope that the tools for developing with FPGAs can make the same journey that graphics drivers have made over the last two decades or so.

          Widawsky began by saying that attendees must think he knows some pretty important people to be able to present on a non-graphics topic; "I guess you'd be right", he said with a grin—to laughter. By way of an introduction, he said that he worked on the graphics stack at Intel from 2010 until 2018 when he moved into other work at the company. He is now using some of his free time "looking at FPGAs and trying to make a more open stack for FPGAs".

        • Podman 101 at the Middlesex University Mauritius

          Chittesh, also our local Mozillian, spoke about the Internet Health Report and raised privacy concerns surrounding major online platforms. He mentioned the Cambridge Analytica scandal in particular, especially how that raised public awareness about digital privacy. He added that following the enforcement of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulations (EU GDPR), tens of thousands of violation complaints have been filed. Google was fined €50 million for GDPR violations in France.

          His talk was more a message to the young students for them to review their online habits and take a moment to think about digital privacy.

          On the other hand I had a semi-technical talk about Pods & Containers. Although we had a lecture theatre fully packed with Computer Science students, I was told they were mostly in second year, I realise that not everyone would be acquainted to Linux containers, or yet Linux itself.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox Preview/GeckoView Add-ons Support

            Back in June, Mozilla announced Firefox Preview, an early version of the new browser for Android that is built on top of Firefox’s own mobile browser engine, GeckoView. We’ve gotten great feedback about the superior performance of GeckoView so far. Not only is it faster than ever, it also opens up many opportunities for building deeper privacy features that we have already started exploring, and a lot of users were wondering what this step means for add-ons.

            We’re happy to confirm that GeckoView is currently building support for extensions through the WebExtensions API. This feature will be available in Firefox Preview, and we are looking forward to offering a great experience for both mobile users and developers.

          • Mozilla Firefox 70 Is Now Available for All Supported Ubuntu Linux Releases

            Lunched by Mozilla earlier this week, the Firefox 70 web browser introduces more privacy protections from Enhanced Tracking Protection, such as social tracking protection, as well as more security protections from Firefox Lockwise with integrated breach alerts from Firefox Monitor and complex password generation.

            It also extends the dark mode to all built-in pages, improves readability for under- or overlined texts, including links, improves privacy and security indicators, adds a standalone Firefox account menu for easy access to various Firefox services, and adds a new indicator in the address bar when a website uses your geolocation.

          • Mozilla's Firefox 70 is out: Privacy reports reveal whose cookies are tracking you

            If Firefox users want to see which specific advertising firms are tracking them across sites, they can click on the shield icon and scroll down to "Blocked" and check which social media and third-party ad cookies are currently being blocked on a site.

            Firefox users can view how many social-media trackers, cross-site tracking cookies, fingerprinting scripts, and cryptominers the browser has blocked each day during the past week.

            Firefox doesn't play the competitive role it once served against Microsoft's Internet Explorer. However, Mozilla believes its anti-tracking technology and individual privacy reports can counter the ad industry's misleading and confusing tracking consent forms, ostensibly adopted as part of a push for greater transparency.

            "The solutions put forth by other tech companies and the ad industry provide the illusion of choice," argues Mozilla.

          • Firefox 70 Released. Here’s What’s New.

            The latest edition of Firefox 70 brings more privacy focused changes and it is here to help you and be safe while surfing the web.

          • The State Of Mozilla, 2019

            As I’ve done in previous years, here’s The State Of Mozilla, as observed by me and presented by me to our local Linux user group.

      • Linux Foundation

        • AT&T sets a date to put DANOS into the Linux Foundation, names IP Infusion as the reseller

          AT&T has long promised to release its DANOS network operating system into the Linux Foundation. On Tuesday, the telco said it would do just that on Nov. 15 and it also named IP Infusion as the exclusive integrator and reseller of DANOS.

          For over a year now, AT&T has said it would put its disaggregated network operating system (dNOS), which AT&T calls Vyatta, into the Linux Foundation Networking Disaggregated Network Operating System (DANOS) project. In March of last year, the Linux Foundation announced the DANOS project to enable community collaboration across network hardware, forwarding and operating system layers.

          “We’ve been awaiting this moment for some time now and there will be many equipment providers and integrators (and perhaps service providers) who will want to dig into the code," said Roy Chua, founder and principal at AvidThink, in an email to FierceTelecom. "The announcement of IP Infusion as an exclusive partner is an interesting twist. It means that some elements of VyattaOS (the 'production-grade' elements) will not be released into Linux Foundation.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

      • Programming/Development

        • Qt 3D apparently is here to stay (and improve)

          Users of Qt 3D might fear their favourite tool is set to disappear, now that Qt Quick 3D is on its way. KDAB senior software engineer Sean Harmer took to the Qt blog to dispel those doubts and give a detailed overview of what’s to come for the library.

          Qt 3D is a library for near real-time simulations, which was introduced to the public in June 2016. It was developed to allow users to integrate 3D content into their applications and create mixed dimensional user interfaces for domains such as automotive and medical visualisation.

          Since using it can get quite tricky quite fast, Qt Quick 3D was presented in August 2019 as a way to facilitate adding simple 3D elements to a project. This left some wondering about the future of Qt 3D, but Harmer is certain there will always be a place for the library – and not just because his company used it as a foundation for another tool and various projects.

        • Coding: Python is the Preferred Data Language

          Linda Burtch, managing director at Burtch Works, said that “Python is a general-purpose programming language and therefore offers the ability to more easily put quantitative models into production, giving it an advantage over both SAS and R. In addition, Python is more widely taught in quantitative academic programs, so entry-level talent is entering the workforce with some knowledge of Python already.”

          Reasons that Python ranks on top include:

          Ecosystem. Availability of ML and AI libraries like Scikit, Pandas and TensorFlow make it a top choice.

        • Node.js 12 to LTS and Node.js 13 is here!

          We are excited to announce that Node.js 12 was promoted to Long Term Support(LTS) yesterday and that Node.js 13 was released today.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: linl 0.0.4: Now with footer

          A new release of our linl package for writing LaTeX letters with (R)markdown just arrived on CRAN. linl makes it easy to write letters in markdown, with some extra bells and whistles thanks to some cleverness chiefly by Aaron.

          This version now supports a (pdf, png, …) footer along with the already-supported header, thanks to an intiial PR by Michal Bojanowski to which Aaron added nice customization for scale and placement (as supported by LaTeX package wallpaper). I also added support for continued integration testing at Travis CI via a custom Docker RMarkdown container—which is something I should actually say more about at another point.

        • 7 Excellent Free Books to Learn ECMAScript

          ECMAScript is an object‑oriented programming language for performing computations and manipulating computational objects within a host environment. The language was originally designed as a scripting language, but is now often used as a general purpose programming language.

          ECMAScript is best known as the language embedded in web browsers but has also been widely adopted for server and embedded applications.

          Here’s our recommended texts to learn this language. They are all free to read, and a few are open source licensed.

        • Git workflow for Developers and DevOps Engineers

          Git workflow is the combination of steps that we have to follow before starting development cycle means how developers pull, push, commit, clone and mange their code on git server. Here we will take real time scenario.

          Suppose our company got a project and hire two developer Harry and Joy for coding. Both of developer will work according to below diagram. First Harry will start development cycle. Go throw once from below diagram for better understanding.

        • A Brief Intro to PySimpleGUI

          Creating graphical user interfaces (GUI) can be difficult. There are many different Python GUI toolkits to choose from. The top three that you are likely to see mentioned the most often are Tkinter, wxPython and PyQt (or PySide2). However there is a newer toolkit called PySimpleGUI that aims to make creating GUIs easier.

          The way that PySimpleGUI gets its power is by being an abstraction layer on top of Tkinter, wxPython and PyQt. You can kind of think of PySimpleGUI as a wrapper. The developers behind PySimpleGUI have also recently added a 4th wrapper around Remi, which is a ?GUI library for Python applications which transpiles an application?s interface into HTML to be rendered in a web browser?.

        • State Change and NoSQL Databases

          A document store is pretty nice for this. The rest of this section is an indictment of SQL. Feel free to skip it. It's widely known, and well supported elsewhere.

          We have an Agency as the primary document., Within an Agency, there are a number of individual Agents. Within each agent is a series of Events. Some Agents aren't even interested in the genre F. L. Stevens writes, so they're closed. Some Agents are temporarily closed. The rest are open.

          The author can get a list of open agents, following a number of rules, including waiting after the last contact, and avoiding working with multiple agents within a single agency. After sending query letters, the event history gets an entry, and those agents are in another state, query pending.

          One common complaint I hear about a document store is the "cost" of updating a large-ish document. The implicit assumption seems to be that an update operation can't locate the relevant sub-document, and can't make incremental changes. Having worked with both SQL and NoSQL, this "cost of document update" seems to be unmeasurably small.

          Another cluster command question hovers around locking and concurrency. Most of them nonsensical because they come from the world of fragmented data in a SQL database. When the relevant object (i.e. Agency) is spread over a lot of rows of several tables, locking is essential. When the relevant object is a single document, locks aren't as important. If two people are updating the same document at the same time, that's a document design issue, or a control issue in the application.

          Finally, there are questions about "update anomalies." This is a sensible question. In the relational world, we often have shared "lookup" data. A single change to a lookup row will have a ripple effect to all rows using the lookup row's foreign key.

          Think of changing zip code 12345 from Schenectady, NY to Scotia, NY. Everyone sharing the foreign key reference via the zip code has been moved with a single update. Except, of course, nothing is visible until a query reconstructs the desired document from the fragmented pieces.

          We've traded a rare sweeping updated across many documents for a sweeping, complex join operating to build the relevant document from the normalized pieces. Queries are expensive, complex, and often wrong. They're so painful, we use ORM's to mask the queries and give us the documents we wanted all along.

        • Python if else Tutorial: Control the Flow of Your Code

          When programming, controlling the flow of what code is run under what circumstance is extremely important. The Python if else commands act like a digital traffic cop, letting you define blocks of code that run when certain conditions are met. The if else syntax is one of the most important pieces of Python syntax that you’ll learn.

        • Python and PyQt: Building a GUI Desktop Calculator

          Even as web and mobile applications appear to overtake the software development market, there’s still a demand for traditional Graphical User Interface (GUI) desktop applications. For developers who are interested in building these kinds of applications in Python, there are a wide variety of libraries to choose from, including Tkinter, wxPython, PyQt, PySide2, and others. In this tutorial, you’ll develop GUI desktop applications with Python and PyQt.

        • Episode #153: Auto format my Python please!
        • Episode #235: Python in your Browser with Skulpt

          Do you dream of a day when you can write Python in the browser rather than JavaScript? This is no pipe dream! There are several ways to write Python that runs in the browser already.

          One of the leaders here is Skulpt. It's not just an experiment but real, powerful web applications with rich client-side code, Python code, are out in the wild and built with Skulpt.

        • This Week in Rust 309

          Hello and welcome to another issue of This Week in Rust! Rust is a systems language pursuing the trifecta: safety, concurrency, and speed. This is a weekly summary of its progress and community. Want something mentioned? Tweet us at @ThisWeekInRust or send us a pull request. Want to get involved? We love contributions.

        • Put on your tech specs: Amazon Web Services has joined the Java Community Process

          Amazon has made another effort to be a good Java citizen by joining brewmasters at the Java Community Process (JCP), the group which develops specifications for the Java platform.

          The firm's latest move was mentioned by Amazon's Yishai Galatzer, manager of the AWS Artifacts and Languages group at AWS, on Tuesday. Galatzer's team, of course, builds Amazon Corretto, a distribution of the OpenJDK.

          The OpenJDK is an open source implementation of Java licensed under GPL v2 and presented in collaboration with Oracle, owners of Java, which uses OpenJDK code in its own Oracle JDK. Since April 2019, the Oracle JDK is not free for commercial use, for versions 9 and higher, a change which has increased interest in the OpenJDK.

        • TensorFlowâ„¢ gets native support for PowerVR€® GPUs via optimised open-source SYCLâ„¢ libraries
        • Imagination Getting Behind Open-Source SYCL Libraries For TensorFlow

          The SYCL train continues rolling: besides this single-source high-level C++ target for OpenCL playing a big role at Intel with their forthcoming oneAPI and as part of that also working on SYCL LLVM support for upstream, new SYCL learning courses, and other industry adoption around this Khronos standard, Imagination Technologies is getting behind it in at least one way.

        • Introducing Remote Content Caching with FSSpec

          Fsspec is a library which acts as a common pythonic interface to many file system-like storage backends, such as remote (e.g., SSH, HDFS) and cloud (e.g., GCS, S3) services.

          In this article, we will present its new ability to cache remote content, keeping a local copy for faster lookup after the initial read. Similar text first appeared in the fsspec documentation, but here we provide more details and use cases.

          This work was inspired by the caching mechanism in Intake, which proved useful and popular, but was a) rather difficult to use for all but the simplest cases and b) only available within Intake catalogs, so not of use to any other people. Now we have made a similar concept available at a lower level.

        • Calibrating your fear of big bad optimizing compilers

          This article was contributed by Jade Alglave, Will Deacon, Boqun Feng, David Howells, Daniel Lustig, Luc Maranget, Paul E. McKenney, Andrea Parri, Nicholas Piggin, Alan Stern, Akira Yokosawa, and Peter Zijlstra

          As noted earlier, when compiling Linux-kernel code that does a plain C-language load or store, as in "a=b", the C standard grants the compiler the right to assume that the affected variables are neither accessed nor modified by any other thread at the time of that load or store. The compiler is therefore permitted to carry out a surprisingly large number of optimizations, any number of which might ruin your concurrent code's day. Given that current compilers usually do not emit diagnostics warning of potential ruined days, it would be good to have other tools take on this task. One such tool is the Kernel Thread Sanitizer (KTSAN), but its great strength, the ability to analyze huge bodies of code such as the Linux kernel, is also its great weakness, namely the need to use approximate (though still quite good) analysis techniques.

        • Python function to generate Tor v3 onion service authentication keys

          Here is a small Python function using the amazing Python Cryptography module to generate the Tor v3 Onion service authentication services.

      • Standards/Consortia

        • The Good And The Bad Of The ACCESS Act To Force Open APIs On Big Social Media

          As people here will probably know, I am a huge proponent of a "protocols, not platforms" approach to handling questions around big tech and competition (as well as privacy, content moderation and more). I even wrote a pretty long paper about it for the Knight 1st Amendment Institute at Columbia University entitled Protocols, Not Platforms: A Technological Approach to Free Speech. So, I was definitely curious to see what Senators Warner, Hawley and Blumenthal had cooked up with their new ACCESS Act [Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching Act] since it's being pitched as pressuring big social media companies to open up their platforms to competitors.

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availabilitiy)

    • Defence/Aggression

      • How (Not) To End Endless Wars

        In defending his decision to withdraw troops from Syria, President Trump explained, “I ran on the basis we’re going to bring our great soldiers back home where they belong. We don’t have to fight these endless wars. We’re bringing them back home.”

      • Losing to Putin How Turkish President Erdogan got what he wanted from Washington but settled for far less from Moscow

        President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ceded most of Kurdish autonomy in Syria to Vladimir Putin. The Turkish leader had claimed a region that stretches more than 250 miles along the Turkish-Syrian border and includes dozens of major Kurdish cities, which he planned to capture, in order to resettle more than 2 million Syrian refugees now living in Turkey. On October 22, Erdogan and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence focused on exactly this vast region. After talks with Putin in Sochi on October 22, however, Erdogan’s claims were reduced to a stretch of land just 60 miles wide that contains only the two Kurdish cities Turkish armed forces managed to seize since the start of the operation against the Kurds. The Syrian government and Russian military police will now control nearly all the remaining autonomous Kurdish territory. Meduza explains why Erdogan had to revise his agreement with the United States and abandon his military campaign.

      • Analytical Points: OPCW Panel

        Quotes from José Bustani, First Director General OPCW and former Ambassador to the United Kingdom and France

      • Chad: No Redress for Ex-Dictator’s Victims

        The€ Chadian€ government has yet to provide reparations ordered by a court in 2015 to 7,000 victims€ of€ grave crimes under the rule€ of€ former dictator Hissène Habré.

      • Kurdish Dreams Fade After Russia-Turkey Deal Ends Fighting

        On Tuesday night, a five-day pause in hostilities between Turkey and Kurdish-led forces ended in a deal between Turkey and Russia. The deal requires the main Kurdish fighting force, the YPG, to pull all troops and weapons 30 kilometers back from the border with Turkey.

        Syrian government and Russian troops already are moving throughout the region, which has been a semi-autonomous zone, governed by the Kurds since 2011.

      • Trump’s Endless Wars

        Donald Trump loves to talk about ending the endless U.S. wars that he inherited as president. He tweets about it. He endlessly criticizes his predecessors for their martial mistakes.

      • A Modest Goal: #usoutofafghanistan

        Run for office and you know you're going to have to do some things you'd rather not. High on my list of things I'd rather not has been Twitter, the 280 character pop-off being an art form I'd just as soon leave to Donald Trump. But, as we know, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez does make some pretty good use of it as well.

      • America’s Mission to Remake Afghanistan Has Failed

        The United States is ready to leave Afghanistan despite the latest gambit by President Trump to call off peace negotiations with the Taliban. The US intervention in the country in 2001 has turned into a trillion-dollar disaster. It was ostensibly intended to punish the Taliban for sheltering Al-Qaeda before 9/11 and to prevent€ the use of Afghanistan as a terror base. But between troop surges and peace talks, it has lacked clearly€ defined aims and objectives. As a result, it has morphed into a botched nation-building project in the hands of clueless politicians and military bureaucrats in Washington. And yet another testament to American overreach and folly.

      • Five die in Rostov region shooting during apparent family duel over farmland

        Five people have been killed and two injured in a shooting that took place October 22 in Russia’s Rostov region, police officers told the wire service Interfax.

      • Third suspect in attack on journalist Oleg Kashin sentenced in related kidnapping case

        The St. Petersburg City Court has sentenced Vyacheslav Borisov to eight years in a high-security prison colony for his alleged role in the kidnapping of former CEO Alexander Gorbunov. Borisov has also lost a 300,000-ruble ($4,710) civil lawsuit related to the kidnapping.

      • The Democrats Helped Cultivate the Barbarism of ISIS

        There is something profoundly deceitful in the way the Democratic Party and the corporate media are framing Donald Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria.

      • Military Spending’s Out of Control While Slashing It Could Easily Fund Medicare for All

        Something very unusual happened on Thursday, Oct. 17. The New York Times suddenly ran an article on its opinion page explaining how to cut $300 billion from the $1-trillion military budget — enough, the article explained, to fund Bernie Sanders’ proposed program for an expanded Medicare program to cover all Americans without raising a dime in new taxes.

      • What We Do With Our History: After Vandalism and Shootings, Emmett Till Gets A New Memorial - Bulletproof

        This weekend, survivors of Emmett Till, brutally killed at 14 for allegedly whistling at a white woman, gathered to honor him with a new memorial after earlier ones were repeatedly shot up. This one is bulletproof, which "speaks volumes." Because then as now "evil is learned" - old-timers saying Till "overstepped his bounds," frat boys posing at the site with shotguns...

      • Corrupt former cop and anti-Maidan doctor face off against rehab expert accused of cultism in latest Russian drug controversy

        Former Rostov-on-Don police lieutenant colonel Natalia Razumnaya has accused her ex-colleagues of planting drugs on a doctor, psychiatry expert Nikolai Kaklyugin of Krasnodar. Razumnaya herself is currently facing charges of using her post to fabricate cases and extract bribes. Her involvement in the Kaklyugin case came to light when the doctor’s attorney added an affidavit from Razumnaya to his defendant’s case, Kommersant reported.

      • The Kurds as U.S. Sacrificial Lambs

        In my military-brat childhood I often attended services at chapels on air force bases. The chaplains were of course obliged to reconcile Christianity with the congregants’ vocation. We would sometimes sing the Air Force hymn (“Lord, Guard and Guide the Men Who Fly”); hear how Jesus came not to bring peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:34); and in honoring the war dead, often hear John 15:13 quoted (entirely out of context): “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

      • Trump and the Retreat of the American Empire

        In days gone by, I used to compare the Trump presidency with the Arab dictatorships. He took preposterous pleasure in the company of Egypt’s Sisi (60,000 political prisoners) and his inane ramblings had much in common with those of Muammar Gaddafi, who also “authored” a book he never wrote but whom Trump never met (albeit that Tony Blair and Gaddafi kissed each other on the cheek). But over the past week, I’ve begun to realise that the crackpot in the White House has much more in common with ancient Rome.

      • Moment of Truth on Military Spending in the NY Times

        Something very unusual happened on Thursday, Oct. 17. The New York Times suddenly ran an article on its opinion page explaining how to cut $300 billion from the $1-trillion military budget — enough, the article explained, to fund Bernie Sanders’ proposed program for an expanded Medicare program to cover all Americans without raising a dime in new taxes.

      • Russia, Turkey Seal Power in Northeast Syria With Accord

        Russia and Turkey announced an agreement Tuesday to jointly patrol almost the entire northeastern Syrian border after the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters, cementing the two countries’ power in Syria in the wake of President Donald Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of U.S. forces.

      • Stirrings of Basic Change Accompany Protests in Haiti

        Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Food availability is uncertain for 60 percent of the people. Conditions are bleak, and bleaker still from shortages, rampant political corruption, and not much to show after two years of regular street protests. In the year prior to September, security forces killed 77 people. That month protests accentuated and by October 7 they had killed at least 17 more.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • When High-Road European Corporations Take the Low Road in the U.S. South

        Multinational corporations based in Europe have accelerated their foreign direct investment in the Southern states of the United States in the past quarter-century. Some companies honor workers’ freedom of association, respect workers’ organizing rights and engage in good-faith collective bargaining when workers choose trade union representation.

      • Ecuador’s Austerity Measures, Repression Based on Lies AP Happily Spread

        Bernie Sanders tweeted an Associated Press article in the LA Times (10/14/19) about Ecuador’s recent protests, in which eight protesters were killed in 11 days. “Economic elites keep pushing austerity worldwide, making life unbearable for working people,” Sanders declared. Unfortunately, that AP piece was itself a good example of how elites push for austerity.

      • Whitewashing Neoliberal Repression in Chile and Ecuador

        Throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, people are rising up against right-wing, US-backed governments and their neoliberal austerity policies.

      • Bretton Woods Institutions’ Neoliberal Over-Reach Leaves Global Governance in the Gutter

        Last week’s annual meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund was held in Washington, DC, with back-slapping now that the Bretton Woods twins have reached age 75 (they were founded at a New Hampshire hotel in 1944). But no amount of back-slapping can disguise the way these institutions have led the world into a governance cul de sac.

      • Trump Declares Victory in China Trade War

        Back in the late 1960s, when it was clear that the United States was losing in Vietnam, Vermont Senator George Aiken came up with the plan to declare victory and leave. It seems that Donald Trump has stolen the senator’s playbook.

      • The Chicago Teachers Strike: “Until We Get What Our Students Deserve”

        After Mayor Lori Lightfoot rejected the demands of the Chicago Teachers Union, 25,000 teachers and 7,000 support staff launched a strike on Thursday, October 17, shutting down the schools for some 300,000 students. Also on the picket line were members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73, representing Special Education Classroom Assistants.

      • 'Everyone in America Should Support You,' Says Elizabeth Warren at Rally With Striking Chicago Teachers

        "I'm here to stand with every one of the people who stand for our children every day."

      • More than a third of Russian films fail to recoup state subsidies

        Every year, Russia’s Culture Ministry and Cinema Foundation allocate more than 5 billion rubles ($78.5 million) to the production of Russian motion pictures. This month, for the first time, the government has published data about these subsidies for domestic films. The numbers aren’t great. According to the released data, of the 38 movies that each received at least 100 million rubles ($1.6 million) since 2015, fourteen not only bombed at the box office, but failed to recoup their state investment.

      • Global Millionaires—Just 0.9% of Population—Now Own Nearly Half of World's $361 Trillion in Wealth, Study Shows

        The bottom 56 percent of the population owns just 1.8 percent of the world's wealth

      • Extreme poverty on the rise

        THE World Bank Overview report on Zimbabwe released last week on Sunday paints a sombre state of our economy and its attendant socio-economic maladies. The report states that “extreme poverty is estimated to have risen from 29% in 2018 to 34% in 2019, an increase from 4,7 to 5,7 million people”.

        Extreme poverty is defined by the World Bank as living below US$1,90 per day. The World Bank attributes the root cause of this sharp rise in Zimbabwean extreme poverty to being “…driven by economic contraction and the sharp rise in prices of food and basic commodities”.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Burundi: Journalists, Driver Detained on Reporting Trip

        The€ Burundi€ authorities should immediately and unconditionally release four journalists and their driver arrested on October 22, 2019 while they were on a reporting trip to Bubanza Province for€ Iwacu€ newspaper.

      • Society Of Professional Journalists Makes Itself Look Foolish In Strange Attempt To Trademark 'Fake News'

        You may be aware of an organization called The Society of Professional Journalists. The group has found itself in the news most recently as Trump's lawyer and all around great guy Charles Harder has attempted to suggest that this professional group's ethical guidelines for journalism somehow constitute something that legally binds newsmakers. Harder has done this so as to suggest to CNN that Trump can sue the media company for... look, I don't know, not being on the President's side enough or something? The point is that Harder's legal theory is almost certainly nonsense, will likely be laughed out of court, and ought to be embarrassing to Harder himself, should he in fact be capable of the normal human emotion of shame.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Bernie Sanders Issues Unprecedented Pledge to Whistleblowers

        Sen. Bernie Sanders€ vowed, if elected president in 2020, to break with both the Trump and Obama administrations by refusing to use the repressive, century-old Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers, a stance that was applauded by press freedom advocates and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

      • 'Whoa,' Says Edward Snowden as Sanders Vows to End Prosecution of Whistleblowers Under Espionage Act

        "This is the most important stance any candidate has taken affecting press freedom so far. Hopefully this will force others to follow," said Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press foundation...

      • Hearing Thursday: EFF Urges Appeals Court to Curb Police Access to ALPR Databases

        San Francisco – On Thursday, Oct. 23, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will urge the California Court of Appeal to reverse a lower court and hold that law enforcement use of data gathered from automated license plate reader (ALPR) systems is a search that requires a warrant.

        ALPRs are computer-controlled camera systems—generally mounted on vehicles or on fixed objects such as light poles—that automatically capture images of every license plate that comes into view. Used by many police agencies and other organizations across the country, ALPR systems collect and store data on every vehicle they encounter, regardless of whether individual drivers are suspected of criminal activity. This data is stored in massive databases that are accessible to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, even if agencies do not collect their own data or maintain their own databases.

      • San Diego’s Face Recognition Program and Collaboration with ICE Needs to Stop

        Law enforcement officials across San Diego County, California have run more than 65,500 face recognition scans over the last three years, including thousands of queries by federal agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Marshals. According to records obtained by EFF, the Tactical Identification System (TACIDS) has put 1,309 mobile face-recognition cameras—generally smart phones and tablets—in the hands of investigators, with very little oversight over how the technology is used.€ 

      • ID card scandal deepens: Irish government vows to defy Data Protection Commission's ruling against Public Services Card

        Two years ago, Privacy News Online wrote about Ireland’s plans to introduce an identity card by stealth. The Irish government pretended that its Public Services Card (PSC) was not an identity card and that its use would not be mandatory. As this blog noted back then, that clearly wasn’t true, because the PSC was indispensable for many aspects of modern life in Ireland. Moreover, there were grave doubts about the privacy safeguards for the scheme. The Irish government department at the heart of the plans for the PSC and associated database, the Department of Social Protection, suffered hundreds of privacy breaches a few years back; widespread use of the identity card would give tens of thousands of public servants and contractors ready access to highly personal data – a recipe for disaster.

      • 'A Clear-Cut Example of a Potential Conflict of Interest': Four Democrats in Zuckerberg Hearing Own Facebook Stock

        "Just one of those crazy things about the U.S. Congress, that we all know and love: members can hold stock in companies they oversee on their committees!"

      • Zuckerberg Defends Facebook's Currency Plans to Skeptical Lawmakers

        Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg endured hours of prickly questioning from lawmakers Wednesday as he defended the company’s new globally ambitious project to create a digital currency while also dealing with widening scrutiny from U.S. regulators.

      • 'Perhaps You Believe You're Above the Law': Zuckerberg Grilled Over Libra, False Political Ads, and More

        Facebook founder and CEO is warned that lawmakers have "serious concerns" about Facebook's size and reach.

      • Congress isn’t buying Mark Zuckerberg’s pitch for Libra

        Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sat before dozens of members of Congress on Wednesday, charged with the goal of convincing them that the company’s foray into cryptocurrency is a good idea. But nearly every lawmaker who spoke today took Zuckerberg to task over the company’s past failures, calling on him and Facebook to make efforts to regain their trust before moving forward with the Libra project.

      • Zuckerberg claims it’s not about the money, while explaining how Libra will make money

        Zuckerberg hasn’t said anything about whether Libra will have transaction fees — a key part of why people like decentralized cryptocurrencies (which don’t have them) and a key question for his project (which isn’t decentralized, and thus could).

      • Facebook's Failure To Stop TikTok Shows, Once Again, That Big Companies Often Can't Just 'Copy' Disruptive Upstarts

        With all the recent talk of breaking up big tech in the news again lately, one of the most common refrains is that the big internet companies (mainly Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple) are so big and so dominant that no upstart competitor can possibly succeed against them, in part because if they get too big, those giants will just "copy" the competitor and put them out of business. This narrative has gotten a lot of support from the story of Facebook effectively copying SnapChat a few years back. But, it's important to note just how rare this actually is. The history of tech innovation is littered with disrupted giants which often tried, but utterly failed, to "copy" the upstart.

      • Chinese-Owned Teen Sensation TikTok’s Appeal Waning

        TikTok, the viral short video app run by Chinese upstart ByteDance Inc., saw global user-downloads fall for the first time since its inception two years ago, new data from Sensor Tower shows.

        The app amassed an estimated 177 million first-time users across the Apple App Store and Google Play for the third quarter ended September. That represents a 4% decline from a year ago. It’s the first time the hit app saw new installs drop on a quarterly basis, the mobile data provider said. In total, TikTok has been installed by around 564 million users so far this year and has been installed 1.45 billion times since launching.

      • Google Accused of Creating Spy Tool to Squelch Worker Dissent

        The tool would automatically report staffers who create a calendar event with more than 10 rooms or 100 participants, according to the employee memo. The most likely explanation, the memo alleged, “is that this is an attempt of leadership to immediately learn about any workers organization attempts.”

      • Lawmakers hammer Zuckerberg over Facebook controversies

        Libra’s complex structure and massive scale will likely be subject to a vast array of banking, securities, money laundering and illicit finance laws enforced by close to a dozen agencies and departments.

        Even the most industry-friendly lawmakers and regulators have expressed alarm about the potential financial impact of a project already primed with 2 billion potential customers.

      • “So You Won't Take Down Lies?”: AOC Blasts Mark Zuckerberg in Testy House Hearing

        The New York congresswoman then used her remaining time to flag Zuckerberg and Facebook's apparent associations with the far-right. “In your ongoing dinner parties with far-right figures, some of who advance the conspiracy theory that white supremacy is a hoax, did you discuss so-called social media bias against conservatives, and do you believe there is a bias?” Ocasio-Cortez asked Zuckerberg, referencing recent reports that the CEO is holding listening sessions with conservative figures. “Uh congresswoman, um, sorry I don’t remember everything that’s in the sentence,” Zuckerberg, caught off-guard, responded. “That’s alright, I’ll move on,” Ocasio-Cortez said, going on to ask Zuckerberg to explain “why you label the Daily Caller, a publication well-documented with ties to white supremacists, as an official fact checker for Facebook?” When Zuckerberg responded that Facebook's fact checkers are appointed through an independent fact checking network “that has a rigorous standard for who they allow,” Ocasio-Cortez finished her line of questioning with a final, pointed question as she turned off her microphone: “So you would say that white supremacist-tied publications meet a rigorous standard for fact-checking?”

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • UK blocks Spanish judge from questioning Julian Assange over spying allegations

        The British justice system is blocking a Spanish judge’s request to question Julian Assange in London as a witness in a case exploring allegations that the Spanish security firm Undercover Global S.L. spied on the WikiLeaks founder while he was living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

        The British position, unprecedented in these types of requests for judicial collaboration, is being viewed by Spanish judicial bodies as a show of resistance against the consequences that the case could have on the process to extradite the Australian cyberactivist to the United States.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • CBP And Local Law Enforcement Are Mixing And Matching Surveillance Gear To Skirt Already-Minimal Constitutional Protections

        The border is expanding. What normal people would consider a border -- the physical and political barriers between countries, sometimes protected by walls and checkpoints -- isn't what the US government considers a "border." In this country, the "border" covers 100 miles inland from any border crossing. And that's not just border border crossings. That's any international airport as well.

      • Grim Find: 39 Dead in One of U.K.'s Worst Human Trafficking Cases

        Investigators were trying to piece together the movements of a large cargo truck found Wednesday containing the bodies of 39 people in one of Britain’s worst people smuggling tragedies.

      • 'Beyond Horrific': UK Police Find 39 People Dead in Truck Container, Possible Victims of Human Trafficking Effort

        "People who are forced to take dangerous journeys to reach Europe, in this case the U.K., often do so because current immigration policies deny them safe and legal options."

      • A Key Reparation to Descendants of Slaves Wouldn’t Cost a Dime

        On Oct. 10—World Day Against the Death Penalty—opponents around the globe gathered to call attention to the conditions of men and women living under death sentences and to call for the abolition of capital punishment. I am both an abolitionist and a man living on death row in California’s San Quentin State Prison.

      • New Leadership for African Rights Group Presents Opportunity

        New leadership took the helm of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) this week at a crucial time for human rights across the continent.

      • Libya: Abducted Medical Staff Freed After 12 Days

        Six medical workers abducted by a local armed group in Zintan,€ Libya, were freed on October 23, 2019, after 12 days of captivity, Human Rights Watch said today.

      • The Trump Administration Says It Has Violated Its Own Ethics Pledge

        A governmentwide review has acknowledged for the first time that at least several Trump political appointees violated the administration’s ethics pledge, which was put in place to try to “drain the swamp” by imposing lobbying restrictions and penalties.

        The details are tucked away in the Office of Government Ethics’ latest annual report, which attracted little notice when it was released this summer.

      • Phoenix Cop Sues Department To Block Investigation Of Officers' Questionable Social Media Posts

        Free speech doesn't mean speech free of consequences. A person can be fired for saying things their employer doesn't agree with or feels reflects badly on it Things get a little more complicated when the employer is the government, but the end result of the added complexity is generally that government employees have fewer protections for their speech, rather than more. That's a direct side effect of being employed by the government, which gives employees the power to control private citizens' lives through laws, policies, and regulations.

      • Building a Database From Scratch: Behind the Scenes With Documenting Hate Partners

        For nearly three years, ProPublica’s Documenting Hate project has given newsrooms around the country access to a database of personal reports sent to us by readers about hate crimes and bias incidents. We’ve brought aboard more than 180 newsrooms, and some have followed up on these reports — verifying them, uncovering patterns and telling the stories of victims and witnesses. Some partners have done significant data journalism projects of their own to augment what they found in the shared dataset.

        The latest such project comes from News12 in Westchester County, New York. Reporter Tara Rosenblum joined the Documenting Hate project after a spate of hate incidents in her coverage area. Last month, News12 aired her five-part series about hate crimes in the Hudson Valley and a half-hour special covering hate in the tri-state area. The station also published a public database of hate incidents going back a decade. It was the result of two years of work.

      • Beyond Prisons: Stop Hugging Cops

        In this episode of the Beyond Prisons podcast, hosts Kim Wilson and Brian Sonenstein discuss a video published by Critical Resistance that features Professor Dylan Rodriguez talking about policing and police practice. We encourage you to spend a few minutes watching the video before listening to this episode.

        We chose this video because Professor Rodriguez helps us to interrogate the way that we think about the police. He makes the case for why “policing” is a more accurate term than “police brutality” and urges us to think about why some people need to demonstrate their humanity by hugging cops.

      • Abuses in Nigerian Islamic Schools Spark Regulation Demands

        Nearly 1,000 people have been freed in the past month from Islamic schools in northern Nigeria where they reportedly experienced abuse.

        In one such case, police sources said hundreds of men and boys had been freed from a school in Katsina, many of whom had been chained to walls, beaten and sexually abused.

      • Nusrat Jahan Rafi: Death penalty for 16 who set student on fire

        A Bangladesh court has sentenced 16 people to death for the murder of a student set on fire after accusing her teacher of sexual harassment.

      • Terrorized, Traumatized and Killed: The Police State’s Deadly Toll on America’s Children

        Children learn what they live.

      • Making America Crueler Again: Trump's Ugly New Anti-Immigrant Wave

        On September 26th, President Donald Trump's White House announced that, in 2020, refugee admissions to the United States will be limited to 18,000, drastically lower than any yearly ceiling over the past 40 years.

      • The Decent Protester: a Down Under Creation

        The Decent Protester, appropriately capitalised and revered is, from the outset, one who does not protest. It is an important point: to protest in the visage of such a person is an urge best left to inner fantasy and feeling. You come late to the scene: the best work and revolt has been done; the people who made the change are either dead, in prison, or ostracised. Modest changes might be made to the legal system, if at all.

      • Russian protester requests political asylum in Ukraine

        A 26-year-old Russian citizen has requested asylum in Ukraine. He reportedly suspects Russian government officials of tracking him for his involvement in political protests. Ukraine’s State Border Protection Service publicized the young man’s request but did not reveal his identity or the nature of his political involvement in Russia.

      • William Barr Shows ‘Loyalty’ to Trump, Not U.S., Says NYC Bar Association
    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Ajit Pai Whines About The Numerous State-Level Net Neutrality Laws He Just Helped Create

        A common misconception is that the FCC's net neutrality rule just killed net neutrality. In reality, the "Restoring Internet Freedom" order eliminated most of the FCC's authority over broadband providers, shoveling remaining oversight to an FTC that lacks either the attention span or authority to police giants like AT&T and Comcast. The order also attempted to ban states from protecting consumers in the wake of the FCC's apathy to industry issues. This accountability vacuum was, if you're a slow learner, the entire point of the plan.

      • Study Says Broadband Caps Are A Big Problem For Google's Game Streaming Ambitions

        For years broadband providers have increasingly imposed arbitrary, confusing, and punitive usage caps and overage fees to cash in on the lack of competition in US broadband. Not only have industry executives admitted these limits aren't technically necessary, they've increasingly been abused to hamstring competitors. AT&T, for example, doesn't impose the limits on its broadband customers who use its own creatively-named streaming video service (AT&T TV Now), but will impose the added charges if you use a competitor like Netflix.

      • Happy 50th birthday, [Internet]: How it was born with an error message

        IT BEGAN – some would say, as it meant to go on – with an error message. Late on the evening of 29 October 1969, student programmer Charles Kline attempted to send some text from a computer at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), to another at the Stanford Research Institute, more than 500 kilometres up the Californian coast.

        “LOGIN”, it was supposed to say. Kline got as far as “LO” before the system crashed. The full message was resent an hour later. What would eventually morph into the largest communications network in human history had made its debut: the [Internet].

      • Cloudflare considered harmful

        Websites should avoid using Cloudflare.

        Cloudflare's HTTP fronting service incorporates some seriously questionable practices. As things stand, the extent of the number of websites which have come to use Cloudflare, multiplied by its issues, poses a hazard to the state of the web.

        Cloudflare as advertised to site operators fails to identify these issues, and operators may even be unaware of them.

      • Encrypted DNS outside of the US

        Currently, attempts are being made to encrypt the DNS traffic end users are sending to their resolvers. In most cases, the solution is going to be DNS over HTTPS, or DoH for short. Browser vendors are implementing this by setting their default DNS resolver to Cloudflare. With Mozilla Firefox, this is happening only for US users, not worldwide.

        So, the question arises: how can we improve DNS security and privacy for the rest of the world?

    • Monopolies

      • Trademarks

        • McDonald's Bullies Local Canadian Burger Joint Over 'Filet O' Fish' Trademark

          It is perhaps a bit surprising that we don't have an absolute ton of stories about fast-food giant McDonald's here, given the sheer size and fame of the company. In fact, the last post we did about the company was in the wake of it having just lost its "Big Mac" trademark in the EU, a circumstance the company was obviously displeased with. Still, McDonald's has certainly not been shy about protecting its IP in the past, even occasionally to extreme lengths.

      • Copyrights

        • The House Votes in Favor of Disastrous Copyright Bill

          The House of Representatives has just voted in favor of the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act (CASE Act) by 410-6 (with 16 members not voting), moving forward a bill that Congress has had no hearings and no debates on so far this session. That means that there has been no public consideration of the serious harm the bill could do to regular Internet users and their expression online.

          The CASE Act creates a new body in the Copyright Office which will receive copyright complaints, notify the person being sued, and then decide if money is owed and how much. This new Copyright Claims Board will be able to fine people up to $30,000 per proceeding. Worse, if you get one of these notices (maybe an email, maybe a letter—the law actually does not specify) and accidentally ignore it, you’re on the hook for the money with a very limited ability to appeal. $30,000 could bankrupt or otherwise ruin the lives of many Americans.

        • Early Bird Registration is Open for the CC Global Summit!

          We’ve grown the CC Global Summit every year as hundreds of leading activists, advocates, librarians, educators, lawyers, technologists, and more have joined us for discussion, debate, workshops, planning, talks, and community building.

        • U.S. House Passes Copyright "Small Claims" Bill with Overwhelming Majority

Recent Techrights' Posts

Over at Tux Machines...
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