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Links 21/12/2019: Wine 5.0-RC2, NuTyX 11.3

  • GNU/Linux

    • 2019 Brought Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8, k3s and HPC-in-a-Box
    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Kubuntu Linux Focus Laptop Announced

        The vendor will provide two years of limited warranty and claims of superior cooling experience for users. Users can upgrade and remove SDD, NVMe, and RAM easily. However, no words on firmware/bios, including Intel ME. Is it going to be disabled? Are they going to provide open-source firmware?

        Similarly, specced ThinkPad X1 Exteram or P1 gen two costs around USD $2200. So I guess that will be the price range for this laptop too. However, the price is yet to announce for Kubuntu Linux Focus Laptop.

    • Server

      • IBM

        • Live coding at Codemotion Berlin

          Our Developer Advocacy team was at Codemotion Berlin 2019, 12 – 13 November, at the Kulturbrauerei; Codemotion connects tech professionals, communities, and companies. It was the conference’s sixth year and had more than 1,200 participants. Both an engaging and extremely diverse crowd, the attendees came from all around the world. The broad range of 17 topics included AI, machine learning, software architecture, DevOps, mobile, cybersecurity, diversity in tech, voice and digital assistants, and others. Regardless of language and experience, there was something for everyone.

        • What does it mean to be a great place to work?

          As we head into the end of 2019, I’ve been reflecting on the past year. This has been a time of immense opportunity, successes and growth for Red Hat and our associates.

          One of the things I am most proud of is the recognition we received this year for our culture and the environment we strive to create for our associates. In October Forbes ranked us as No. 3 on its list of the World’s Best Employers (our first time on the list!). In addition, Fortune included us on their list of the 50 Best Workplaces for Parents and the 100 Best Workplaces for Diversity.

          We know that Red Hat’s open culture—the set of values and principles that influence how we work together and how we serve our customers—has always been a key component of our employer value proposition (community, passion, purpose and opportunity). Our culture, which flows from how we operate, is what I think makes Red Hat a great place to work, and it’s been so rewarding to see others notice that as well.

        • The economic impact of Red Hat Enterprise Linux: RHEL for everybody

          We pointed out in our last post that by the end of 2019, it is expected that nearly 900,000 workers will be employed in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux ecosystem, with an additional 236,000 jobs predicted to be added through 2023. These figures include all employees in hardware, software, services and channels companies (not just the software engineers or programmers), and most of the additions are expected to be highly-skilled, high-paying jobs.

          While some of these companies will be multinational, a majority will be locally-based, and as a result will be making investments in the regions in which they serve. These are investments in marketing, local offices, staff and services. All told, these investments should reach nearly $48 billion in 2019 to the benefit of local economies...but this is just the beginning.

        • Accelerate your 5G strategy with virtualized RAN (vRAN)

          There are more than 5.1 billion mobile subscribers worldwide. Plenty of them are streaming and downloading music, video, and other media on a daily basis, constantly exchanging data with their mobile network. And with 9.1 billion connected or IoT devices worldwide, mobile traffic could reach an annual run rate of a zettabyte in just a few years.

          According to the GSMA Intelligence research report, "4G will soon become the dominant mobile technology, surpassing half of global mobile connections in 2019 and reaching 60% in 2023." However, 5G is already making headway globally, and with it could come a plethora of new mobile services. In fact, GSMA anticipates 1.4 billion 5G connections by 2025.

        • Open source and the mainframe: The present and the future

          Say open source and mainframe in the same sentence and people might look at you strangely. But they shouldn’t. In fact, if you want to trace the history of open source, you would need to go all the way back to the 1950s with SHARE — an event designed specifically to enable mainframers to share code with one another (though on microfiche and tape versus how we do it today). Open collaboration is a key part of the heritage of the mainframe ecosystem, and it’s fitting now that over the last 20 years these worlds have been aligning once more.

          How can open source fit in with the mission-critical workloads that only a mainframe can drive? How can organizations trust code developed in the public eye to keep applications crucial to our society going? And is all open source the same?

        • Using Ubuntu on IBM Z and LinuxONE

          At IBM Z Day, we welcomed representatives from SUSE, Red Hat, and Canonical (Ubuntu) to showcase the latest that their respective distributions have to offer for running on IBM Z. In the following guest post, Frank Heimes, Technical Lead Ubuntu Server on Z at Canonical, gives us a rundown of his talk, including some details about Ubuntu itself and why Ubuntu on Z is such a great pairing.

          At the IBM Z Day on November 21, I had the honor to give a technical session about Ubuntu Server on IBM Z and LinuxONE, and explained what it is, where we are, our releases, their contents, their lifetime and support, selected components, and complementing Canonical technology.


          The openness described above is probably also Ubuntu’s biggest strength as it allows you to use Ubuntu however and whenever you like. Ubuntu’s ease of use and its roots in the desktop make it an increasingly popular way to consume new and innovative generations of open source. This leads to significant community participation, new technologies, innovations, and streamlining (like LXD, snaps, and uvt), which has resulted in a huge number of packages (over 25,000) in all the Ubuntu archives (including cloud archive, partner archive, and snap store).

        • Red Hat Wins Ford IT Innovation Award

          Red Hat has been awarded the Ford IT Innovation award. In its fourth year, the award recognizes Ford’s technology partners that have helped company launch new capabilities and services or enhance existing operations.

        • TakingOpenShift’s Security for Containerized Applications to the next level with Aqua

          The Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform has a number of built-in security capabilities. Aqua provides an additional layer of security in development and protects containerized applications in runtime. Aqua recently developed a Kubernetes Operator that was successfully tested and validated by Red Hat OpenShift standards for integration and supportability. Aqua completed technical validations to become a Red Hat OpenShift Certified Operator, allowing our joint customers to deploy Aqua seamlessly on the OpenShift platform.

          One key differentiator of OpenShift Container Platform is that it allows users to leverage image streams when building environments using different registries.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Brunch with Brent: Jason Spisak Part 2 | Jupiter Extras 41

        Brent sits down with Jason Spisak, professional voice actor, actor, producer, and co-founder of multiple Linux-related projects including Lycoris, Symphony OS, and Symple PC. In Part 2 we explore Jason’s various voice acting roles, his approach to embodying roles like The Joker, the setup in his Linux-only audio recording studios, the power in collaborative innovation, examining yourself through meditation, and more.

      • Software Freedom Podcast #3 about Free Software in the mobile phone communication with Harald Welte

        Software Freedom Podcast #3 about Free Software mobile phone communication with Harald Welte

        Once a month, we talk with people who have inspiring ideas about software freedom. In this third episode, our guest is Harald Welte, Free Software programmer and activist. Harald discusses with us his current projects regarding mobile phone communication and the general status of Free Software in this area.

      • 2019-12-20 | Linux Headlines

        CERN eyes Kopano to replace its Exchange infrastructure, Apple open-sources its HomeKit Accessory Development kit with some caveats, and the GNU project releases a testing version of its GNUnet framework.

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Opening up Mali T720

          If you have a device with a Mali T720 or T820 GPU, you’re in luck – your device is now supported in upstream Mesa at feature parity with other GPUs. Get out your Allwinner H6 or Amlogic S912 board, grab the latest Mesa, and enjoy a match of SuperTuxKart with fully free and open source mainline drivers!

          When Panfrost began, we focused on the highest performance Mali GPUs found in Chromebooks. By contrast, Mali GPUs like T720 are designed for simplicity, where minimizing size is more important than maximizing performance.

          Simplicity for the hardware, that is. For us, those changes mean new complexity – but we’re up to the challenge. Over the past month, Collaboran Tomeu Vizoso and I reverse-engineered the Mali T720 and adapted Panfrost for the new devices.

          Much of our work focused on the tiler. As I blogged about over the summer, Mali GPUs are “tiling” architectures, meaning they divide the screen into many small “tiles” or “bins” and operate on those smaller sections of the screen to save memory bandwidth and improve power efficiency. The fastest Mali architectures use “hierarchical tiling”, where many different sizes of tiles are used at once. But this tiler is simplified, with no support for hierarchical tiling. Instead, the driver selects a single tile size used for the entire screen; the new model requires new driver changes. Fortunately after my work on hierarchical tiling over the summer, we were able to figure out the non-hierarchical tiler and then implement our findings in Panfrost with ease.

    • Benchmarks

      • Bare Metal Benchmarking Alpine Linux 3.11 Against Ubuntu 19.10 + Clear Linux

        While Alpine Linux has traditionally been a lightweight Linux distribution focused on use within containerized environments, with yesterday's release of Alpine Linux 3.11 brought GNOME and KDE support for those wanting to use this distribution as a desktop/workstation OS. Curious, I had to give it a try and of course run some general Alpine Linux 3.11 benchmarks up against Clear Linux and Ubuntu 19.10 for seeing how its performance is on bare-metal hardware.

        At this stage, Alpine Linux isn't really a desktop contender. While eager to toy with it, they -- at least not yet -- do not provide any desktop installation images and thus you are left with their basic/extended text-based environments to install Alpine Linux and after which you can install GNOME or KDE (or Xfce) through their APK packaging system.

      • Ubuntu 19.10 Laptop Disk Encryption Benchmarks
    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Announcement
        The Wine development release 5.0-rc2 is now available.

        What's new in this release (see below for details): - Bug fixes only, we are in code freeze.

        The source is available from the following locations:

        Binary packages for various distributions will be available from:

        You will find documentation on

        You can also get the current source directly from the git repository. Check for details.

        Wine is available thanks to the work of many people. See the file AUTHORS in the distribution for the complete list.

      • Wine 5.0-RC2 Released With 36 Bug Fixes For The Week

        Following last week's code freeze and subsequent Wine 5.0-rc1, the second weekly release candidate is now available for testing of the forthcoming Wine 5.0.

        Thirty-six bugs have been fixed over the past week but with no new features given the code freeze. Wine developers currently are anticipating the Wine 5.0 stable release around the second-half of January.

    • Games

      • With destructible terrain and tough enemies, the rogue-lite Gerty is out now

        In Gerty, sometimes the only way to escape is to dig your way to victory, just be careful to watch those corners. They come out of the walls, they will surround you and it's quite challenging.

      • The classic POSTAL is free to grab on Steam (not just GOG now)

        After GOG recently announced the classic isometric shooter POSTAL was permanently free, Steam has now also done the same.

        The Steam version includes all the content like the Special Delivery expansion and 2 previously Japanese-exclusive levels. There's also 22 bonus Challenge stages, across 4 categories and you can also play everything through in The Gauntlet.

      • Paradox show off Characters and Portraits for Crusader Kings III, also Game Designer job opening

        Another recent developer diary for Crusader Kings III went up and it goes over some very interesting points about the new and improved character system coming.

        One big change is how they will be dealing with personality traits, which they said they're going to be putting a lot more emphasis on. They said in CK2, you could end up with a lot of them and it didn't really do a whole lot. With CK3, they will have a "massive effect on the behavior of each individual character, so when a character is Greedy you’ll really feel it" and each character will usually have no more than 3 personality traits. So CK3 should be easier to understand, while also have a little more depth to it as the same time for the characters which does sound better.

      • Faerie Solitaire Remastered arrives on Linux, free on

        Developer Subsoap just recently updated their 2017 title Faerie Solitaire Remastered and they've now given it a Linux version.

        Curiously, like they did with Faerie Solitaire Harvest the Linux version is entirely free to grab from to "support the Linux Gaming community"—nice! You can choose to donate if you wish as well. Otherwise, there's also the Steam version which also now has Linux support.

      • You can now take your collected monsters online for PvP duels in Monster Sanctuary

        Monster Sanctuary is rapidly improving with a big update out now. The headline feature of this update is the ability to take your collection online to battle against others.

        Not played Monster Sanctuary before or only just hearing about it? It's a side-scrolling adventure, with a Metroidvania-styled world. You go around collecting monsters, each with their own special abilities and the powers of your monsters will help you overcome obstacles while exploring, as well as battling.

      • Free and open source arena FPS 'Red Eclipse 2' is now out on Steam

        The fast-paced arena styled first-person shooter Red Eclipse 2 has now officially released on Steam so anyone can jump in, as it's free and open source.

        After no official update since 2017, two years later a huge revamp of this classic shooter is alive. While it is on Steam now, it's not Steam-exclusive as you can still get it from the official site so that's good. This isn't them just sticking a 2 on the end with a few little changes. Red Eclipse 2 is a massive overhaul including a new and updated rendering engine (Tesseract), a new UI, streamlined gameplay and plenty of tweaks.

      • Ore LLC given an Epic MegaGrant to finish their cinematic adventure game 'Ira'

        Announced yesterday, Ore LLC have been awarded an Epic MegaGrant which should allow them to finish work on the first act of their upcoming cinematic adventure game 'Ira'.

        This is another game that was actually crowdfunded, Ira gained little over $13K on a Kickstarter campaign back in 2016. To make a full-length cinematic 3D adventure game, across multiple episodes, can't be cheap and that was quite a low goal. It seems things weren't going well either, as the developer stated "We were mere weeks away from having the entire project go under" but this Epic MegaGrant should save it.

      • Doomsday Engine for classic Doom, Heretic and Hexen has a new release out

        Giving you another great way to play the classics, Doomsday Engine 2.2 has been released marking 20 years since the announcement of its creation. Doomsday is probably one of the easiest ways to play Doom, Heretic and Hexen on Linux with minimal amounts of fussing around and it looks good thanks to the nice UI.

      • Linux is now a viable OS for PC gamers, thanks to Steam's Proton initiative

        Linux is intimidating. I recall the first time I was exposed to the OS on a server farm. It required me to grow accustomed to the differences quickly. Still, once you've played around with the OS — and bricked numerous installs — you overcome those initial fears of not knowing what's going on, and it becomes just as (if not more) user-friendly than other desktop-class operating systems.

        Ubuntu is a distribution of Linux and remains to this day as the most popular destination for not only Linux veterans, but also newcomers to the platform. If you're looking for a single distribution (or 'distro') to try out for the first time, give Ubuntu a go. It has an incredibly active support community that's more than happy to lend a hand to get you settled in. It's also the OS I'm using to test and type up this piece.

        To put Linux to the test in comparison to Windows 10, I'm going to be installing Ubuntu on a speedy Seagate FireCuda M.2 NVMe SSD, which is sat on an X470 ASUS motherboard with a 12-core AMD Ryzen 9 3900X CPU, 32GB of RAM, and a GTX 1070 GPU for good measure. You could build your own gaming PC for less than $800. It's not the most capable machine we could put together, but it's one I feel should lead to some interesting results with more mature driver support from NVIDIA.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma Mobile as Daily Driver on PinePhone

          Last week I was in Bluesystems GmbH meeting in Germany, almost 7000 km away from home. While one would hope that this journey is smooth, of-course this was not case for my journey. I missed my phone in first segment of journey (which now is on route to my home as I write). In 4 hours of layover I tried to retrieve my phone but unfortunately it was already with Lost and Found team and getting that would require me going through immigration etc. Thankfuly I had a LG Nexus 5X which I generally use to test out Plasma Mobile builds, In hurry I flashed LineageOS on it and downloaded some basic applications I needed on it. In second lag of journey I spent time copying some of required documents and files to mobile device.

          Fast-forward 2 days, my Nexus 5X decided that it is time to give up. After turning off screen, it won’t turn back on. I tried charging it for few hours but no luck. I did not need mobile while I was in meeting, since I was having meeting and stay at same place. I was able to communicate with my family and friends over telegram. But when I needed to travel back home, I realized while I can survive without mobile device, it won’t be largely fun.

        • What’s up in Notifications?

          With the end of the year approaching in some parts of the world and already half a year since I announced the notifications rewrite, I thought I’d give you an update on some of the things I’ve worked on since. While Plasma 5.17 only saw minor changes, most notably automatic do not disturb mode when screens are mirrored during presentations, there are some very exciting new features that will arrive in the upcoming Plasma 5.18 LTS to be released early February next year.


          Do not disturb mode can now quickly be enabled or disabled anytime by pressing a configurable global shortcut. Thanks to David Faure, KOrganizer now checks Plasma’s notification inhibition state and delays any reminders until do not disturb is disabled again.

        • Plasma Mobile update: part 11-12

          The Plasma Mobile team is happy to present the blogpost with updates from week 11 and 12.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Firefox GNOME search provider

          Search is a central concept in the GNOME user experience. It provides quick navigation and shortcuts to recently used documents, places and software.

          A search provider is used by an application to expose such data to the users via the GNOME Shell search screen. As for Web browsers currently only Gnome Web (Epiphany) have integrated this feature.

        • The art of using GSettings in a library

          While providing GActions in a library can be done quite naturally, for GSettings it is more complicated.

          To simplify, GSettings is used by GTK applications to store their settings. Libraries usually provide GObject properties, and the application can bind the properties to the corresponding GSettings key with the g_settings_bind() function. So far so good.

          For the libdevhelp I wanted to go one step further, and provide a GSettings schema in the library itself.

        • Testing D-Bus clients with libglib-testing

          I’ve always found it a bit of a pain to write unit tests for D-Bus client libraries, where you’re testing that your code calls methods on a D-Bus service appropriately and, in particular, correctly handles a variety of return values and errors. Writing unit tests like this traditionally involves writing a mock D-Bus service for them to talk to, which validates the input it receives and provides appropriate responses. That often goes most of the way towards reimplementing the entirety of the real D-Bus service.

          Part of the difficulty of testing D-Bus clients like this is synchronising the state of the mock D-Bus service with the test code, and part of the difficulty is the fact that you have to write mock service code for each D-Bus method before you can test it — which is a lot of investment in writing code before you can even start writing your unit tests themselves.

          As an experiment in finding a better way of doing this kind of testing, I’ve written GtDBusQueue in libglib-testing, and I think it might be ready for some wider use. Thanks a lot to Endless for allowing me to work on such projects! I’ve used it in a couple of projects now, particularly in libmalcontent (which handles implementing parental controls policy on the desktop, and needs to talk to the accountsservice D-Bus service).

          GtDBusQueue basically implements a queue for D-Bus messages received from your D-Bus client code. Each D-Bus message is typically a method call: your unit test can inspect the queue, and will typically pop messages off the front of the queue to assert they match a certain method call, and then send a reply to that call.

          A key feature of GtDBusQueue is that it operates as a queue of D-Bus messages, rather than as a collection of D-Bus object proxies (typically GDBusObjectProxy), which means that it can be used to handle method calls to arbitrary D-Bus object paths without having to implement a new proxy class for each of them.

    • Intel

      • SVT-AV1 0.8 Brings More AVX2/AVX-512 Optimizations, Multi-Threaded Decode Support

        Intel's Scalable Video Technology SVT-AV1 video encoder/decoder for AV1 content has already been the speediest of the various solutions we have tried, but now a new release is available and it looks to be even faster for CPU-based AV1 video encode/decode.

        SVT-AV1 has already employed various AVX2 and AVX-512 optimizations while more of these Advanced Vector Extensions optimizations have arrived with this new SVT-AV1 0.8 release. SVT-AV1 0.8 also has new preset optimizations, a single-core execution memory optimization, auto-max partitioning support, multi-pass partitioning depth support, and other encode improvements.

      • Intel Linux Driver Support Revived Again For Interesting Per-Process Usage Reporting

        Back in October 2018 came the initial patches for providing per-process GPU usage reporting to be exposed to user-space for interesting metrics akin to the top command or other system monitoring utilities but for detailed GPU statistics. In October that interesting work finally saw a revision but went dark after that and didn't make it into the recent Linux 5.5 merge window. Now a new spin of that code has been sent out for review.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Alpine Linux Adds ‘Initial Support’ for KDE, GNOME Desktops

          Alpine Linux is a small, streamlined Linux distro based on musl libc and busybox. Although initially aimed at routers Alpine has snowballed to become the leading Linux distro for Docker containers.

          And that’s understandable.

          Alpine is super lightweight, super small (a base image can be a mere 8MB), and it’s super secure too — and this latter claim isn’t merely marketing, either.

          Alpine is built around a battle-hardened Linux kernel and, as the project website notes: “all userland binaries are compiled as Position Independent Executables (PIE) with stack smashing protection.”

          Put simply: this thing is rock solid.

          If you’re interested in the PinePhone and other Linux-based mobile technology you’ll surely have heard of postmarketOS. And what’s postmarketOS based on? Alpine Linux.

        • NuTyX 11.3 Available
          I'm very pleased to announce the new NuTyX 11.3 release.

          The 64-bit version contains about 850 packages upgraded.

          The 32-bit version of NuTyX, still actively supported.

          In the newest release, base NuTyX comes with the Long-Term Support (LTS) kernel 4.19.90 (4.9.206 for the 32-bit version).

          For 64-bit systems,the kernel release 5.4.4 is also available.

          Changelogs for the kernels are available here: kernel 4.19.90 changlog kernel 5.4.4 changelog

          The gnu c library, glibc, is now glibc 2.30

          The graphical server is xorg-server 1.20.6.

          The mesa lib is 19.2.7, gtk3 is 3.24.13, and qt has been updated to 5.13.2.

          Python interpreters 3.7.4 and 2.7.17 have been included in this release.

          The MATE Desktop Environment comes in 1.22.2, the latest version.

          The KDE Plasma Desktop is now 5.17.4, the Framework is now 5.64.0 and applications are now 19.12.0

          Available browsers are: firefox 71.0, falkon 3.1.0, epiphany 3.34.2, etc

          Many desktop applications have been updated as well like thunderbird 68.3.1, Scribus 1.5.5, libreoffice, gimp 2.10.14, etc.

          5 news ISOs are available.
      • Gentoo Family

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Open Build Service: Look Back at 2019

          Despite the changes experienced along the year, we are very proud of our achievements, especially the revamping of our user interface :heart_eyes_cat:. We opted for a new and well-known technology which made frontend code easier to maintain and more attractive for contributors. Now we are delighted with such a success, we received many contributions and feedback, and most of our users appreciate the fresh and modern look and feel of Open Build Service (OBS).

        • Root cause analysis of the OBS downtime 2019-12-14

          Around 16:00 CET at 2019-12-14, one of the Open Build Service (OBS) virtualization servers (which run some of the backend machines) decided to stop operating. Reason: a power failure in one of the UPS systems. Other than normal, this single server had both power supplies on the same UPS - resulting in a complete power loss, while all other servers were still powered via their redundant power supply.

        • IPv6 for machines in Provo

          Sadly neither the forums nor WordPress instances are IPv6 enabled. But we are hoping for the best: this is something we like to work on next year...

      • Arch Family

        • ArcoLinux 19.12.16
        • Xorg cleanup requires manual intervention

          In the process of Xorg cleanup the update requires manual intervention when you hit this message:

          :: installing xorgproto (2019.2-2) breaks dependency 'inputproto' required by lib32-libxi :: installing xorgproto (2019.2-2) breaks dependency 'dmxproto' required by libdmx :: installing xorgproto (2019.2-2) breaks dependency 'xf86dgaproto' required by libxxf86dga

          when updating, use: pacman -Rdd libdmx libxxf86dga && pacman -Syu to perform the upgrade. After the update it will be safe to also remove the "xorgproto" package.

      • Fedora Family

        • Flatpak 1.6 Released With Bits For Supporting Paid App Store, Better Self-Sandboxing

          Flatpak 1.6 was released today as the culmination of the Flatpak 1.5 development series.

          One of the biggest additions for 1.5/1.6 is the introduction of protected/authenticated downloads support with Flatpak as part of their plans to ultimately allow "app purchasing" via Flathub whether it be a donation/pay-what-you-want type scenario or ultimately allowing commercial applications to become available via Flathub. Flatpak 1.6 introduces the preliminary interfaces for this authenticated/protected Flatpak handling for "paid" apps.

        • Infrastructure support over the holidays

          As you may be aware, Red Hat has a mandatory shutdown period beginning 24 December and ending 2 January. This allows most associates to celebrate the holiday season with friends and family and recharge their batteries after a busy year. Multiple Red Hat teams will be observing this period, including the Community Platform Engineering team, which supports Fedora & CentOS infrastructure. We want to raise awareness that availability will be minimal during this time.

          For services that affect end users (e.g. mirrorlists) and services that directly affect the ability to provide critical updates to users, we will attempt to provide coverage, but this is not guaranteed and will be on a best-effort basis. Any coverage offered will ultimately will be at the personal choice of the individual during their time off.

        • Fedora program update: 2019-51

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora this week. This is the last update of 2019. We’ll see you all next year!

        • Fedora 31 : Start with tito tool.

          If you have some Fedora related project and you want to your output an RPM package, then you can use the tito tool.

          This tool comes with the version 0.6.12 and today is finally out!

        • Fedora Looking At Finally Enabling FSTRIM By Default In Fedora 32

          With Fedora 32 the developers are finally looking at enabling the fstrim.timer systemd unit by default that would trigger FSTRIM to run weekly on supported storage devices and file-systems. For file-systems mounted with the likes of EXT4 / XFS / Btrfs / F2FS and on a supported flash-based storage device, each Monday FSTRIM would run for informing the storage devices about unused blocks. This also benefits LVM thin-provisioned environments for returning LV extents to the pool.

        • Fedora 32 Aiming To Enable Link-Time Optimizations By Default For Packages

          In addition to finally enabling FSTRIM for flash-based storage devices, another arguably long overdue change slated for Fedora 32 to benefit performance is compiling packages by default with link-time optimizations (LTO) by the GCC compiler.

          Link-time optimizations can be a big win for performance of common multi source file programs by applying optimizations during the linking phase, after all the object files have been combined. Thanks to this whole-program analysis/optimization there is much greater potential for enhancing the performance.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Pop!_OS vs Ubuntu: Which One is Better?

          Well, you might find it easy to pick one from the list of best Linux distributions. However, it is often confusing to compare two similar Linux distros, just like Pop!_OS vs Ubuntu.

          Interestingly, Pop!_OS is based on Ubuntu. So, what is the difference between Pop!_OS and Ubuntu? Why should you choose one over other?

          In this article, I’m going to compare Pop!_OS and Ubuntu (both of which happen to be my favorites).

        • Remix Could Bring Some Cinnamon Lovers Back to Ubuntu

          Since I am an avid Cinnamon user, I was a bit disappointed in the performance of this initial stable release. The critical stuff worked fine. The Ubuntu base is very forgiving. What did not work was an annoying list of small stuff. I am a lot less forgiving of those glitches.

          I am sympathetic to the challenges a small developer team faces in swapping a heavyweight desktop design the likes of Cinnamon into a powerhouse operating system such as Ubuntu. Given that it has come this far in the last five years or so, I hope it will be a short time before the next stable remix release is ready.

          Planned improvements for the 20.04 release include a new GRUB, a Plymouth theme, an improved layout application, and a Welcome screen. Also planned is a slideshow presentation during installation.

          I want to see a better installed base of applications that rises to the volume of what Ubuntu now offers in its desktop offerings. I am not in favor of application bloat, but I think the current installed software inventory is far too minimal.

          I look forward to seeing the Cinnamon desktop spice up Ubuntu as an official competitive desktop option. Hopefully, this new remix distro will improve and become part of the official Ubuntu Linux lineup. I can not help but wonder why Canonical has not already done this, without waiting for a third-party distro to join the Ubuntu spice rack.

        • ROS-Industrial – Canonical

          ROS-Industrial was way better than I expected it to be. As a first time ROS-Industrial attendee and only a second-time ROS-anything. I’m not sure what my expectations were. But it was really good. A great event, some great speakers, new friends and cool robots. What more could you want? This blog will not cover every talk in any detail. This is a general overview for anyone unlucky enough to miss the conference and a breakdown of some thoughts and observations. If you want more detailed information look here. If you have ROS-Industrial specific questions, head this way. But if you’re interested in just reading about it, look no further.

        • Design and Web team summary – 20 December 2019

          Web is the squad that develop and maintain most of the brochure websites across Canonical and is the team that underpins our toolsets and architecture of our projects. They maintain the CI and deployment of all websites we maintain. The Brand Squad are tasked with updating and managing the overall style of Canonical, Ubuntu and the many fantastic products we create both on and off-line.

        • How to install the Akaunting Accounting Suite on Ubuntu 18.04

          Your small business data center isn't complete without an accounting tool. Although you might be tempted to head directly toward Quickbooks or another, proprietary solution, why not first try out an open source, on-premise solution? One such option is Akaunting.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • List of 4 Open Source Network Asset Management Systems for Data Centers

        A network asset management software is a specialized program for managing network devices and connection endpoints in a data center or a large network. When you have tens of routers, hundreds of PCs and servers and thousands of IP addresses and endpoints, it becomes impossible to monitor everything and understand who is connected to what in such scenarios manually.

        Traditionally, people used to keep such information in an organized spreadsheet in order to be able to share it later with their co-workers. But as the number of entries grows and as the number of administrators who will need to access all of this information grows, using such solutions becomes impractical. That’s why special software exists to solve this problem.

        And as usual in any software field, there are those $$$ proprietary software solutions that you can use, and open source ones. In today’s article, we’ll give you 4 possible open source network assets management solutions for managing a data center or a large network.

      • In the Love of Open Source Communities

        We do, to some limited extent, acknowledge the efforts and contributions of open source software developers. But another aspect of that goes completely unnoticed, which is the community around that software.

        By the word “Community”, I do not mean just the geeky people who are very much obsessed with a specific software, nor the ones who benefit somehow from working on improving the project they are working on… I mostly mean the normal, average users whether newbies or advanced who help others in finding that software, and more importantly, help them in walking through it and using it for their needs. In my opinion, it is a priceless experience to have someone from the other side of the world to help you fix your issues and get what you need to be done, for free.

        It is true that a lot of open source software developers are paid to do their job (acknowledging that most of them aren’t), but in terms of the community, I have found most of those fellow humans – if not all – willing to give you the help you want and need for free. Think about the countless forums and online support channels (Mailing lists, IRCs…) that are always available to help you in case you need help, they are always free. In those channels, people spend countless hours asking those in need for help for extra information and debugging details, only to give them the support they need and teach them how to do X.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla VR Blog: How much is that new VR headset really sharing about you?

            VR was big this holiday season - the Oculus Go sales hit the Amazon #1 electronics device list on Black Friday, and the Oculus Quest continues to sell. But in the spirit of Mozilla's Privacy Not Included guidelines, you might be wondering: what personal information is Oculus collecting while you use your device?

          • The Talospace Project: Firefox 71 on POWER

            This is the last of the 6-week sprints, moving to a 4-week cadence for Firefox 72. As a result I will be doing smoke test builds about every 10-14 days to ensure early regressions on Power are intercepted. Unfortunately I have not had time to do much more work on the JIT because of the holidays, family responsibilities and $DAYJOB. I won't be offended at all if someone beats me to the punch especially as I'm starting to see WebAssembly becoming a hard dependency even for some add-ons (without the JIT there is no support for wasm).

          • Daniel Stenberg: Summing up My 2019

            I quit Mozilla last year and in the beginning of the year I could announce that I joined wolfSSL. For the first time in my life I could actually work with curl on my day job. As the project turned 21 I had spent somewhere in the neighborhood of 15,000 unpaid spare time hours on it and now I could finally do it “for real”. It’s huge.

          • Daniel Stenberg: My 28 talks of 2019

            In 2019 I did more public speaking than I’ve ever than before in a single year: 28 public appearances. More than 4,500 persons have seen my presentations live at both huge events (like 1,200 in the audience at FOSDEM 2019) but also some very small and up-close occasions. Many thousands more have also seen video recordings of some of the talks – my most viewed youtube talk of 2019 has been seen over 58,000 times. Do I need to say that it was about HTTP/3, a topic that was my most common one to talk about through-out the year? I suspect the desire to listen and learn more about that protocol version is far from saturated out there…

          • Firefox UX: Listening: It’s not just for audio

            When we first set out to study listening behaviors, we focused on audio content. After all, audio is what people listen to, right? It quickly became apparent, however, that people also often listen to videos and multimedia content. Listening isn’t just for audio — it’s for any situation where we don’t (or can’t) use our eyes and thus our ears dominate.

            Why do we care that people are listening to videos as a primary mode of accessing content? Because in the past, technologists and content creators have often treated video, audio and text as distinct content types — after all, they are different types of file formats. But the people consuming content care less about the media or file type and more about the experience of accessing content. With advances in web, mobile, and ubiquitous technology, we’re seeing a convergence in media experience. We anticipate this convergence will continue with the emergence of voice-based platforms.

          • Firefox UX: People who listen to a lot of podcasts really are different

            Podcasts are quickly becoming a cultural staple. Between 2013 and 2018, the percent of Americans over age 12 who had ever listened to a podcast jumped from 27% to 44%, according to the Pew Research Center. Yet just 17% of Americans have listened to a podcast in the past week. So we wanted to know: What distinguishes people who listen to podcasts weekly, or even daily, from people who only listen occasionally? Do frequent and infrequent podcast listeners have different values, needs and preferences? To put it another way, are there different kinds of podcast listeners?

            To explore this question, Mozilla did a series of surveys and interviews to understand how people listen to podcasts — how often they listen, how many shows they listen to, what devices they use, how they discover content, and what features of the listening experience matter most to them. Here’s what we found.

          • Implementing WebGPU in Gecko

            As WebGPU specification is approaching a usable shape, we are working on prototype implementations in both Gecko and Servo. If you ever wondered about what it’s like to implement a complex Web API in Gecko, this article is for you. It’s focused on the plumbing: what the parts of implementation are, and how they fit together. We are going to start with the user-facing API (JS on the Web) and go down the shaft till we reach the GPU.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • Outreach

        • Raleigh, North Carolina: good BBQ and great outreach for free software knowledge.

          We recently posted a lengthy write-up of the licensing team’s activities in 2019. Although we have been really busy, we didn’t want to miss the chance to share some specifics about our activities in October. That month, members of our licensing and campaigns teams headed down to North Carolina to spread the message of software freedom. First, on the 14th & 15th, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) staffed a booth at the ATO conference where we reminded hundreds of people that freedom is better than just being open. Next, on October 16th, our licensing and compliance team held another Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminar.

          We had a great time representing software freedom at the ATO conference. ATO was a huge conference with almost 5,000 people from all over the world in attendance. We were fortunate to have prime real estate for our booth location, which was at a bottleneck right outside the keynote auditoriums, and it provided us with a constant stream of visitors. We gave away 200 Bash stickers, and we happily said goodbye to four adorable baby gnu plushies, along with many T-shirts and books. Unfortunately, we forgot to bring our new DRM dust jackets, and we only discovered this because someone asked for one. It was a very busy and full day of introducing people to the FSF and meeting our fervent supporters. As usual, we also hosted a meetup after the conference. Well over twenty people joined us, and we feasted on fried Brussels sprouts and boiled peanuts, among other tasty appetizers. Meetups are always a great time to socialize with free software supporters, and this was no exception, as we had staff from the GNOME Foundation, the Open Source Initiative, and the Software Freedom Conservancy in attendance. While chatting among peers, one of the attendees informed us about a barcade right around the corner requiring a picture of your face to enter the establishment, and that those images are allegedly shared with the police. Yikes! The idea of giving up your whereabouts so wantonly seems like a horrible activity to normalize.

          Following the two days of the ATO conference, we hosted our CLE seminar. Attendees of the full day seminar got a comprehensive overview of copyleft and other practical concepts in the GNU family of licenses. They also learned about ethical considerations important to lawyers working with clients involved in free software, and other current topics in free software licensing.

        • Outreachy post 2

          The third week of the Outreachy is continuing successfully, everyone seems to be in the Outreachy vibe of working and learning a lot. The last weeks have been quite intense and interesting for me as well. While I spent the first few days gaining access to most of the repos and accounts that I will need to complete my internship or doing research and studying the next phases for the continuity of the project, my second and third week have been more “hands on” since I had set up everything and was ready to complete further tasks.

          As you may know from my last blog post, I am working with DebConf sponsorships and fundraising, so, these two weeks I have been mostly working on the fundraising of the next DebConf, which will be held in Haifa, Israel. Preparations for the event have already started, and I have participated in all the organizing team calls so far, trying to learn more about organizing DebConfs, and also give possible updates about my work, which I am really happy to say has been received positively by the community. I have received very nice feedback from team members and sponsors.

        • 4 ways to volunteer this holiday season

          Social impact happens when leaders deploy individuals and resources to make positive change, but many social efforts are lacking technology resources that are up to the task of serving these change-makers. However, there are organizations helping to accelerate tech for good by connecting developers who want to make a change with communities and nonprofits who desperately need better technology. These organizations often serve specific audiences and recruit specific kinds of technologists, but they all share a common thread: open source.

          As developers, we all seek to participate in the open source community for a variety of reasons. Some participate for professional development, some participate so that they may collaborate with a vast, impressive network of technologists, and others participate because they know their contributions are necessary for the success of a project. Why not also volunteer your talents as a developer to an effort that needs them, and contribute to open source all at the same time? The organizations below are prime examples of how you can do that.

      • Programming/Development

        • Welcome the Qt Champions of 2019!

          After having processed the nominations with the current lifetime champions we have now come to a consensus on the Qt Champions of 2019! A special thank you to @SGaist and @mrjj for your help in this regard!

          This year's Maverick is Denis Shienkov who was one of those who stepped in to help the qbs project when it was handed to the community. Not only that he has continued to maintain Qt SerialPort and has also provided a lot of fixes to Qt Creator too and yet still finds time to handle reviews across a number of projects and modules too. For that Denis is deservedly our Maverick this year.

          We ended up with two winners in the Fixer category this year, it was too close to call between the two so we felt that it was best to have two winners as a result. This year the honors fall to @christian-ehrlicher and Orgad Shaneh.

          Christian became our rookie of the year last year and has continued to contribute a lot to Qt both in the form of patches and reviews while also being one of our moderators on the Qt Forum. He has been getting involved in some of the lesser maintained modules and is not afraid to ensure that things are done correctly when reviewing patches thus making sure the quality of Qt stands.

          Orgad has contributed a lot to Qt Creator this year as well as being very helpful when it comes to reviewing patches as well and is additionally has been a long serving member of the community. So it is only fitting that he is also the winner in the Fixer category this year and as a result becomes our third lifetime champion.

        • UiWatchDog: a keepalive monitor for the GUI thread

          A fundamental rule when writing applications in event-driven UI frameworks such as Qt is: do not ever block the GUI thread!

          The GUI thread is also usually called the main thread of the application — that is, the thread that runs main(). In Qt the GUI thread is somehow special, because it’s the only thread from which we can perform operations in our UI; these include creating, showing, modifying our controls; updating their contents on the screen; playing visual animations; handling keyboard and mouse events; and so on.

          Doing any blocking I/O (such as disk access, networking, IPC), as well as running any computationally intensive operation from within the GUI thread is going to block it for a certain period of time.

          If this period is too long, our GUI will become non-responsive, and there’s nothing more frustrating for the user to have an application that feels sluggish or worse doesn’t respond at all.

          The definition of “too long” depends on the requirements we have. Of course, a few seconds is completely unacceptable — most operating systems will show that our application has frozen, and potentially will ask the user to terminate it. Below that limit, it really depends: while we could have some leeway for applications using Qt Widgets, a Qt Quick application that has animations all over the place would look terrible if those animations stutter. In other words, “too long” can be as small as a few milliseconds!

        • GCC 5 Through GCC 10 Compiler Benchmarks - Five Years Worth Of C/C++ Compiler Performance

          As part of our end-of-year benchmark comparisons, the latest results are looking at how the GNU Compiler Collection has evolved with the past five years of performance in testing GCC 5 through GCC 9 stable and the latest GCC 10 development compiler from the same system.

        • Write your First Apple Swift Program in Debian

          Swift is a programming language developed by Apple Inc. It is a general-purpose, multi-paradigm, compiled programming language developed for iOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, Linux, and z/OS. According to the developers, Swift is a fantastic way to write software, whether it’s for phones, desktops, servers, or anything else that runs code. It’s a safe, fast, and interactive programming language that combines the best in modern language thinking with wisdom from the wider Apple engineering culture and the diverse contributions from its open-source community. The compiler is optimized for performance and the language is optimized for development, without compromising on either.

          In this article, we will explain how you can install the latest version of Swift on your Debian. More importantly, we will tell you how to get started with swift by explaining how to write your first Swift program and also a Hello World project in Swift.

        • Python

          • Working with Redis in Python with Django

            Data is increasingly becoming a valuable commodity in the current era of technology and this necessitates the optimization of storage and access to this data.

            There are quite a few notable solutions for the storage of data, including Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) such as MySQL and PostgreSQL, which store data in a structured format using rows and columns and the relationships within the data.

            Apart from RDBMS, there are key-value stores that store data based on unique keys and values like a dictionary. Key-value databases fall under the NoSQL family of databases that do not conform to the relational nature of RDBMS.

            In this post, we will explore Redis as a key-value store and use it in a project to explore its functionality.

          • Python Software Foundation: Python 2 series to be retired by April 2020

            The CPython core development community is urging users to migrate to Python 3 as it will be the only version that will be updated for bugs and security vulnerabilities.

            After nearly 20 years of development on the Python 2 series, the last major version 2.7 will be released in April 2020, and then all development will cease for Python 2. Users are urged to migrate to Python 3 to benefit from its many improvements, as well as to avoid potential security vulnerabilities in Python 2.x after April 2020. This move will free limited resources for the CPthyon core developer community for other important work.

            The final Python 2.7 maintenance release was originally planned for 2015. However, it was delayed 5 years to give people adequate time to migrate and to work closely with vendors and redistributors to ensure that supported Python 3 migration options were available. Part of the reason for this delay was because the stricter text model in Python 3 was forcing the resolution of non-trivial Unicode handling issues in the reference interpreter and standard library, and in migrated libraries and applications

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Portion of Affordable Care Act

        A federal appeals court panel in New Orleans dealt another blow to the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday, agreeing with a lower-court judge that the portion of the health law requiring most people to have coverage is unconstitutional now that Congress has eliminated the tax penalty that was intended to enforce it.

      • The Looming U.S. Water Crisis

        America is going through a water crisis, and we’re going to face even more dire times if it doesn’t begin to change soon.

      • Trump EPA Sued for Putting Millions of Lives at Risk With Rollback of Chemical Safety Rules

        "We are fighting for the lives and safety of our families and workers. Our lives are more valuable than the bottom line of a few chemical barons."

      • How an Environmental Regulator Became Known for Protecting Industry

        The notion that the natural environment should be regulated and protected by the government is a relatively modern one, often ascribed to the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson’s seminal book “Silent Spring.”

        In 1970, President Richard Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency, marking the beginning of the modern environmental apparatus. State environmental agencies began to pop up, and they were typically given the authority to enforce key federal laws, such as the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act.

      • In “Cancer Alley,” Toxic Polluters Face Little Oversight From Environmental Regulators

        Five years ago, the owners of the Noranda Alumina plant on the border of St. John and St. James parishes in Louisiana discovered a big problem: They were emitting more than half a ton of mercury, a heavy metal that is toxic to humans and animals even in trace amounts, into the air each year. And the plant had likely been doing it for decades, in violation of its permit.

        Plant officials, as required, alerted the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. Then they asked for permission to keep doing what they had been doing.

      • What Happens When a Health Plan Has No Limits? An Acupuncturist Earns $677 a Session.

        Judging by the marketing, it would seem that the teachers of New Jersey have collectively thrown out their backs, pulled a muscle or pinched a nerve while engaged in rigorous educating.

        Last fall, when teachers at about a dozen New Jersey schools returned from break, employees from Thompson Healthcare & Sports Medicine welcomed them with bagels and orange juice. The clinic’s owner also created an empathetic YouTube video titled “We Understand Painful Conditions Suffered By Teachers.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • TurboTax Tricked Customers Into Paying to File Taxes. Now Several States Are Investigating It.

          Multiple state attorneys general, including Josh Stein of North Carolina, have opened investigations of TurboTax maker Intuit, following ProPublica’s reporting that the company charged millions of Americans for tax filing services they were eligible to receive for free, according to people with knowledge of the investigations.

          As part of the investigations, Intuit has been subpoenaed for records. At least four states besides North Carolina are investigating, but the exact number is not clear.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (cyrus-imapd and gdk-pixbuf), Fedora (cacti, cacti-spine, and fribidi), Red Hat (fribidi, git, and openstack-keystone), Scientific Linux (fribidi), Slackware (wavpack), and SUSE (firefox, kernel, mariadb, spectre-meltdown-checker, and trousers).

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • This Story on Cellphone Tracking 'Is the Most Important Article You Should Read Today. Period.'

              The New York Times published the first piece in its "One Nation, Tracked" investigation based on a data set with over 50 billion location pings.

            • FBI Surveillance of Trump Aide Reflects Flaws in Secretive FISA System

              Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said Wednesday the FBI should have considered halting its surveillance of Trump’s campaign aide Carter Page months before it did, after it was revealed that accusations against him may not be credible. Horowitz made the comments while testifying to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, saying the FBI used false information to obtain approval to wiretap Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and raising wider concerns about the agency’s use of surveillance. He testified a day after the highly secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — known as the FISA Court — issued a public order accusing the FBI of misleading the court to gain approval to wiretap Page, and ordering the FBI to propose changes in how its investigators seek permission for domestic surveillance of U.S. citizens by January. Last week, Horowitz issued a first report finding a series of inaccuracies and omissions in the FBI’s surveillance application process. We speak with Ashley Gorski, staff attorney with the National Security Project at the American Civil Liberties Union.

            • Austria's Top Court Says Police May Not Install Surveillance Malware On Computers And Phones, Nor Collect Vehicle And Driver Information Covertly

              One of the features of surveillance in Germany is the routine use of malware to spy on its citizens. The big advantage for the authorities is that this allows them to circumvent end-to-end encryption. By placing spy software on the user's equipment, the police are able to see messages in an unencrypted form. Austrian police were due to start deploying malware in this way next year. But in a welcome win for digital rights, Austria's top court has just ruled its use unconstitutional (in German). The Austrian Constitutional Court based its judgment on the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR -- pdf). The Web site of the Austrian national public service broadcaster ORF reported the court as ruling:

            • Ring Throws Customers Under the Bus After Data Breach

              Just a week after hackers broke into a Ring camera in a child’s bedroom, taunting the child and sparking serious concerns about the company’s security practices, Buzzfeed News is reporting that over 3,600 Ring owners’ email addresses, passwords, camera locations, and camera names were dumped online. This includes cameras recording private spaces inside homes.

              This stunning new leak could potentially provide criminals and stalkers with access to view live video feeds from inside and around thousands of Ring customers’ homes, see archived videos, and get the precise location of all Ring devices attached to the compromised account by studying the orientation of the footage and location information attached to each camera.€ 

            • Leaked Data Set Reveals Individual Tracking of 12 Million Phones

              The New York Times has obtained a massive data set of over 50 billion location pings linked to more than 12 million phones which illustrates the ease with which tech companies can track and identify individuals.

              The data, which was leaked to the Times, allowed reporters to easily identify individuals by tracking their movements, despite claims by companies like Foursquare, which says it anonymizes personal data when sharing with third parties.

              Location data — which is often embedded in apps — is pseudonymized by a 30-digit-long mobile advertising ID which works cross-platform for advertisers and other businesses. The ID can also stitch geolocation together with other information like name, home address, email, phone number or even an identifier tied to your Wi-Fi network.

            • Millions of Children-Tracking Smartwatches Are At Risk Of Being Hacked

              New findings by security firm Pen Test Partners reveal that 47 million devices worldwide could be exposed and tracked thanks to a strikingly insecure cloud platform.

            • Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP) Working Group is Backed by Google, Apple, Amazon, and the Zigbee Alliance
    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Unmasking the Secret Landlords Buying Up US Properties

        America’s cities are being bought up, bit by bit, by anonymous shell companies using piles of cash. Modest single-family homes, owned for generations by families, now are held by corporate vehicles with names that appear to be little more than jumbles of letters and punctuation — such as SC-TUSCA LLC, CNS1975 LLC — registered to law offices and post office boxes miles away. New glittering towers filled with owned but empty condos look down over our cities, as residents below struggle to find any available housing.

      • Boston One Step Closer to a Luxury Real Estate Transfer Tax

        Last week, the Boston City Council voted 10-3 in favor of a home rule petition to the Massachusetts legislature to levy a real estate transfer tax on high-end sales.

      • Accountability Is Nowhere To Be Found For Foxconn's Wisconsin Head Fake

        If you recall, the state of Wisconsin had originally promised Taiwan-based Foxconn a $3 billion subsidy if the company invested $10 billion in a Wisconsin LCD panel plant that created 13,000 jobs. But as the subsidy grew to $4.5 billion, the promised factory began to shrink further and further to the point where nobody is certain that anything meaningful is going to get built at all.

      • Trade Deals Are About Increasing Protectionist Barriers

        The NYT had a piece describing the departure of the UK from the EU as the end of an era:

      • Romania agrees to pay large compensations to Romanian-Swedish investors

        Romania’s Government will pay nearly EUR 200 million worth of compensations to Romanian-Swedish investors Ioan and Viorel Micula, based on a decision of the International Arbitration Court in Washington - ICSID.

        The Government took this decision to unlock the accounts of Romania’s air control company Romatsa, frozen by the Miculas, as the company risks having its activity blocked, prime minister Ludovic Orban explained, quoted by

        The two investors have also put distraints on the Romanian state’s stake in energy companies Nuclearelectrica and Conpet.

        In its meeting on Friday, December 13, the Romanian Government supplemented the budget of the Finance Ministry with the amount of RON 912.5 million (nearly EUR 200 mln) from the executive’s reserves fund so that the Finance Ministry can pay the compensations owed to the Micula brothers.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • 'Trump Is Bad for the Jews': Full-Page Ad From Progressive Jewish Group Condemns President

        "During this moment of very real, terrifying anti-Semitism coming from white nationalists and the White House, we need Congress to catch up and finally speak out."

      • Hezbollah-Backed Professor to Form New Government in Lebanon

        A former education minister backed by the militant Hezbollah group and its allies was selected Thursday as Lebanon’s new prime minister to break a political impasse amid mass protests, although he almost immediately ran into opposition from demonstrators on the streets.

      • A New Brexit Settlement?

        Boris Johnson has Trumped Britain. Widely reviled as an untrustworthy bumbler, he has won the biggest Tory majority in decades with a three-word campaign: ‘Get Brexit Done!’ There is much to be said. The first-past-the-post electoral system rewarded Johnson with 47 more seats for little over 1 percent more in the popular vote. The media campaigned mercilessly against Labour, particularly its leader, Jeremy Corbyn. The Liberal Democrats’ centrism faces near extinction. Scottish independence has become more likely. Nigel Farage’s Brexit party sacrificed itself for the Conservatives by not running seats they held, only in Labour ones to draw away its working class voters. Transatlantic links surfaced with talk that Nigel Farage would soon to work on the Trump Campaign. However, we must leave all these for another day. Dispatching two emerging myths is more urgent.

      • Sanders and Warren Demand McConnell Hold Full and Fair Impeachment Trial for 'Most Corrupt President in Our History'

        "U.S. senators take an oath to support and defend the Constitution, not the president of the United States," said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 Democratic presidential contender.

      • Trump Is Third Impeached President, But Tulsi Gabbard Now First Lawmaker in US History to Vote 'Present' on Key Question

        "I really think it was not a smart choice for her politically," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a fellow Democrat. "I thought that was very disappointing and, frankly, a cop out."

      • McConnell Openly Signals GOP's Future Willingness for 'Endless Parade' of Meaningless Impeachment Efforts

        Did the Senate Majority Leader just issue a warning, or was it a threat?

      • Just Because Republicans Are Spewing Nonsense on Impeachment Doesn't Mean the "Big Lie" Won't Work

        The real jury in an impeachment trial is the people, no the U.S. Senate. But is enough of the nation truly ready to call out the president and is party for what they truly are?€ 

      • Media's Anti-Sanders Bias on Full Display in L.A. Debate

        Tonight’s Democratic presidential debate will be sponsored by€ Politico€ and€ PBS, simulcast by€ CNN, and moderated by€ Politico€ chief political correspondent Tim Alberta, along with€ PBS NewsHour’s anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff, senior national correspondent Amna Nawaz and White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor.

      • For 'Making Movement Politics Mainstream,' National Grassroots Group People's Action Endorses Bernie Sanders

        "Bernie Sanders cuts through the haze of corporate propaganda that clouds politics across the spectrum."

      • Key Takeaways From Democratic Presidential Debate in L.A.

        Democratic presidential candidates offered two very different debates during their final forum of 2019. In the first half, they spent much of their time making the case for their electability in a contest with President Donald Trump. The second half was filled with friction over money in politics, Afghanistan and experience.

      • Impeachment and the Democrat/Progressive United Front

        Let’s do all in our power to turn the Republican Party’s unanimous kissing of Mafioso Don’s ring in the House yesterday into a massive wave of popular revulsion and a progressive political landslide next November.

      • Warning Against Sham 'Cover-Up to Protect Trump,' Progressives Pressure McConnell to Hold Fair Senate Impeachment Trial

        Advocacy groups called for a "fair trial of the impeached and disgraced president in the United States Senate—not a show trial to attempt to excuse the abuses of office which led to President Trump's impeachment."

      • History Will Judge Republicans for Protecting an Impeached President

        Last night, Donald Trump became the third president in U.S. history to be impeached by the House of Representatives. Two hundred and thirty members of Congress voted to impeach on abuse of power; 229 on the obstruction of Congress question.

      • After House Impeachment Vote, Trump’s Case Headed for Possible “Kangaroo Court”

        The trial to impeach President Trump could soon head to the Republican-controlled Senate, which requires a two-thirds supermajority vote to convict. Senate Majority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell has said he is not an “impartial juror” and that he would closely coordinate a Senate impeachment trial with the White House Counsel’s Office, leading Democrats to accuse McConnell of trying to preside over a sham trial. We speak with John Bonifaz, who spearheaded the push for impeachment with his group, Free Speech for People. Bonifaz says that despite the low chance of conviction in the Senate, Wednesday’s impeachment vote was important in holding “this lawless president” accountable. “I do agree that we need to demand a full and fair trial out of the United States Senate and that we cannot allow the kangaroo court that Mitch McConnell appears to be preparing for,” he says.

      • Tipping Point

        The release of the Articles of Impeachment (AOI) in the din of Republicans howls marks a tipping point in public trust and political legitimacy. The problem is not just adversarial political opposition, but rather the bulwark stance against the underlying order that privileged decency, respect, and commitment to our social institutions. Many politicians are motivated by fear of President Trump’s wrath to oppose their next election. Seasoned diplomats and decorated veterans are pilloried and intimidated when they report under oath about White House shenanigans that run counter to established procedures and protocols involving national security and foreign relations. Even the FBI is attacked for investigating well-documented Russian interference in the 2016 election.

      • 'Absolutely Disgusting': Trump Suggests Late Congressman Is in Hell After His Widow Debbie Dingell Votes to Impeach

        "One of the worst things this very horrible man has ever said. And that's not easy."

      • Vladimir Putin suggests a hard two-term limit on presidential service, amending Russia's Constitution to remove the word ‘consecutive’

        At a major press conference in Moscow, Vladimir Putin suggested removing the word “consecutive” from Russia’s constitutional limit on two consecutive presidential terms. Putin is currently serving his second consecutive (fourth non-consecutive) term in office.

      • Vladimir Putin’s four-hour annual press conference in a single paragraph

        In a contemporary democratic society, only one ideology is possible: patriotism, “in the broadest, best sense of the word.” The line in Russia’s constitution that limits presidents to two consecutive terms could be changed to remove the word “consecutive.” “The decrease in [Russian] citizens’ real disposable income is a very bad thing.” An increase must be achieved, but “we’re not about to throw money around left and right.” December 31 can be made a federal holiday, but not this year and “without offending farmers.” “Putting the Soviet Union and fascist Germany on equal footing is unacceptable.” The biggest beef to be had with Lenin is that he hitched the whole country’s fate to that of his party, but there’s no need to remove his body from its mausoleum. Akhmat and Ramzan Kadyrov deserved the Hero of Russia titles they received. “Ramzan Kadyrov also could have been given the Hero of Labor title, but he’s still quite young — he can wait.” There are no occupying regimes in the Donbas, nor are there any foreign troops. Kyiv has to enter into a dialogue, but “the people living there are proud.” The arrest of Meduza special correspondent Ivan Golunov is being investigated: “Five people from the [Internal Affairs Ministry] have been fired, and there are criminal cases against all of them.” “The Russian and Belorusian peoples are almost one and the same.” Banning Russia from the Olympics is an “unjust” decision that “goes against common sense.” There is no need to change Russia’s federal health care model. “We have such bandits running around Berlin.” There will be no second pension reform. “Are we having a dialogue, or am I giving my answer?” “Do we need a law against domestic violence? Let’s discuss this calmly.” We’re not moving toward closing down the Internet. Things were much worse in the 1990s than they are now. When asked about his daughters: “You mentioned one woman, then another.” “Happy New Year!”

      • Putin announces felony charges against ex-cops who arrested ‘Meduza’ reporter Ivan Golunov in June. The case was launched yesterday.

        At an annual press conference in Moscow, Vladimir Putin revealed that five police officers who arrested Meduza journalist Ivan Golunov in June on bogus drug charges are being investigated for felony offenses. The president added that he is unaware of any evidence suggesting that the officers were acting on behalf of some third party.€ 

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Politician Proposes Removing Racist Statue In Favor of Dolly Parton

        Tennessee State Representative Jeremy Faison wants to replace a bust of the KKK’s founder that currently sits in the state’s capitol building. He’s calling for the statue to be removed and replaced with a Dolly Parton statue — an idea that faces stiff resistance from other lawmakers.

      • New Bill Introduced To Study Impact Of SESTA/FOSTA On Sex Workers

        A few months back, we were pleasantly surprised to see Rep. Ro Khanna announce plans to introduce a bill that would study the impact of FOSTA on sex workers. Earlier this week, he came through, introducing the SAFE SEX Workers Study Act, which he's introducing with Rep. Barbara Lee in the House. On the Senate side, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden have introduced the companion bill. You can read the bill here. It would task Health & Human Services with studying the impact of FOSTA on sex workers, in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute of Health.

      • Indian Government Sets New Record For 'Internet Shutdown By A Democracy'

        India's internet blockade targeting the Kashmir state has set a dubious record that really shouldn't be held by a government that considers itself a democracy.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Illegal surveillance of Assange’s conversations with his lawyers must not be used in court

        ARTICLE 19 has said that recordings of conversations between Julian Assange and his lawyers and other visitors, made during his stay in the Ecuadorian embassy, should not be used in his extradition case or any prosecution.

        ARTICLE 19 also reiterated its call on the UK court to reject the extradition of the founder and publisher of Wikileaks to the US, where he faces charges that relate to the publication of Wikileaks material. If found guilty, Assange could face up to 175 years in prison.

        Executive Director Thomas Hughes said:

        “We call on the UK court to reject the extradition order that could lead to Julian Assange being prosecuted and potentially imprisoned for exposing human rights violations.

        “If it is shown that illegal surveillance took place and that recordings were provided to the US authorities, it is further evidence that Assange is unlikely to receive a fair trial. His prosecution under the broadly worded Espionage Act is already problematic.

        “The UK should not allow an extradition that would have severe consequences for investigative journalism and freedom of expression around the world.”

      • WikiLeaks' Assange testifies in embassy spying case

        WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Friday testified in his legal case against a Spanish private security firm that he claims spied on him while he was holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London.

        Assange, who is currently serving time at a high-security prison in Britain, was to answer questions from a judge at Spain's National Court in Madrid, testifying by videoconference from Westminster Magistrates Court in London, his legal team said.

        Spain's top criminal court is investigating whether Undercover Global Ltd, which was responsible for security at the embassy, spied on Assange and passed on information to the United States.

        The case is key to Assange's efforts to fight an extradition request by the US Justice Department which is pushing to have him put on trial for leaking hundreds of thousands of secret US military and diplomatic documents in 2010.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Global NGO Community Demands a Stop to the Sale of .ORG

        Over 500 organizations and 18,000 individuals have signed a letter urging the Internet Society to stop the private equity takeover of the Public Interest Registry (PIR), the organization that manages the .ORG top-level domain. It’s rare that EFF, Greenpeace, Consumer Reports, Oxfam, the YMCA of the USA, and Human Rights Watch all speak out about a single issue, but the sale of .ORG affects every corner of the NGO sector.

        Take Action

    • Monopolies

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