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Links 23/12/2019: Linux 5.5 RC3, LibreOffice 6.4 RC1, GNU Parallel 20191222 (‘Impeachment’), LinuxConsole 2019

  • GNU/Linux

    • US military loves Linux

      The US government is increasingly using open-source software as a way to roll out advanced, highly secure technology in an economical manner. So chances are if you get hit by US munitions chances are the software is open source – which should make you feel better.

      On August 8, 2016, the White House CIO released a Federal Source Code Policy that calls for new software to be built, shared, and adapted using open-source methods to capitalize on code that is "secure, reliable, and effective in furthering our national objectives."

      The United States Department of Defense recognises the key benefits associated with open-source development and trusts Linux as its operating system.

      In fact, the US Army is the single largest installed base for Red Hat Linux and the U.S. Navy nuclear submarine fleet runs on Linux, including their sonar systems. Moreover, the Department of Defense just recently enlisted Red Hat the world's largest provider of open-source solutions, to help improve squadron operations and flight training.

    • 10 articles to learn Linux your way

      The year 2019 has been good for Linux with readers. Obviously, the term "Linux" itself is weighted: Does it refer to the kernel or the desktop or the ecosystem? In this look back at the top Linux articles of the year, I've intentionally taken a broad view in defining the top 10 Linux articles (for some definition of "top" and some definition of "Linux"). Here they are, offered in no particular order.

    • Server

      • Best Linux Distributions for Servers

        Linux dominates the server market, offering excellent flexibility, stability, and security without costing any money.From home servers administered by students with a fascination for IT to massive corporate networks serving hundreds of thousands of users every hour, Linux servers can be found everywhere, and it’s only natural that there are many Linux distributions for servers to choose from.

        But how do you know which Linux server distribution is the best? In most situations, the answer will depend largely on your personal preferences, but there are several Linux distributions for servers that stand out from the crowd, including those listed in this article, and that’s where you should start.

      • IBM

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • The Krusader File Manager

        This video teaches you how to use the Krusader file manager to do a whole host of tasks in Linux.

      • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 175 - Defenders will always be one step behind

        Josh and Kurt talk about the opportunistic nature of crime. Defenders have to defend, which means the adversaries are by definition always a step ahead. We use the context of automobile crimes to frame the discussion.

      • Linux Action News 137

        Canonical releases a “mini-clould” on your workstation, the KDE ecosystem has some big news, and the smart home might have just become more open.

        Plus Firefox’s new DoH partner, and signs of life from the Atari VCS.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.4.6

        I'm announcing the release of the 5.4.6 kernel.

        All users of the 5.4 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.4.y git tree can be found at:

        git:// linux-5.4.y

        and can be browsed at the normal git web browser:

      • Linux 4.19.91
      • Linux 4.14.160
      • Linux 4.9.207
      • Linux 4.4.207
      • USB4 Support Being Introduced With Linux 5.6 Kernel

        While the Linux 5.5 kernel with its many new features isn't even launching as stable until around the end of January, the number of reasons to get excited over the next kernel (5.6) continues to grow. Linux 5.6 will be headlining with WireGuard support and other features while the newest big-ticket item is USB4 support.

        Following the USB4 specification being published in September and based on Intel Thunderbolt, the open-source folks at Intel in early October published the initial USB4 Linux kernel support and now that refined code will be included come Linux 5.6.

      • Linux 5.5-rc3
        A normal rc release schedule, delayed perhaps a couple of hours by
        xmas preparations on my side.

        But the Christmas prep doesn't seem to have (yet) impacted the actual development - it's bigger than rc2 was. Of course, "rc3 is bigger than rc2" is almost always true, but this time it's quite a bit bigger, and just looking at commit counts, this is one of the bigger rc3's we've had in quite a while.

        I'm going to assume it's just the usual fluctuation due to timing of pull requests - we certainly have a bit of everything in there in rc3. The diffstat is pretty much all obver the place, with drivers (net, gpu, sound, pinctrl, usb, etc) only just edging out all the tooling changes (selftest additions and perf).

        But there's filesystems (xfs and btrfs and some core fixes too), there's core networking and arch updates, and there's doc updates etc. Just the shortlog is a thousand lines - still barely small enough to be included here, but it's a slog to scroll through if you want to really see an overview of all the details.

        Anyway, I'm hoping rc3 is a one-off. In fact, with the holiday season coming up, I'd be very surprised indeed if it wasn't. So I suspect things will calm down a lot over the next coupld of weeks, but please do use the down-time to do some extra testing instead, ok?

      • Linux 5.5-rc3 Released With A Lot Of Fixes Ahead Of The Holidays

        Linux 5.5-rc3 is out following a week of seeing many bug/regression fixes landing as we approach the half-way point of the Linux 5.5 kernel.

        At least from my monitoring of Linux Git, one new change this week worth noting with Linux 5.5-rc3 is the fix for booting new AMD Threadripper 3960X/3970X systems without needing any workarounds. There are also some scheduler and power management fixes that respectively made it in this week -- it's on my TODO list during the holiday benchmarking for seeing if those (or other) recent changes addressed some of the odd performance encountered with Linux 5.5 earlier on in the cycle (some significant gains but also regressions).

      • F2FS Data Compression Using LZO/LZ4 + Selective File Extension Handling To Land In 2020

        F2FS is the latest Linux file-system gaining transparent data compression support for saving on-disk space. With F2FS there are two compression algorithms supported so far plus the support of making the data compression opt-in per file or applying the compression to select file extensions(s).

        Back in October I wrote about the experimental F2FS LZO/LZ4 compression support. That work has matured from just being patches on their mailing list to now being queued in the F2FS "dev" branch ahead of merging now with the Linux 5.6 kernel in early 2020.

      • More Logitech Device Additions + Refinements Coming With Linux 5.6

        While there still is at least a full month to go before seeing the Linux 5.5 stable release and that marking the opening of the Linux 5.6 merge window, already a fair amount of HID subsystem work is queuing in its "-next" tree ahead of the first full kernel cycle of 2020.

        In recent kernel cycles we've seen a fair amount of work on Logitech input devices from a new keyboard driver in Linux 5.5 to a lot of additions around supporting their newer wireless devices. With Linux 5.6, that Logitech work is continuing. Sadly, however, it's still not from Logitech themselves but the community -- independent contributors and the likes of Red Hat who continue with their great community / reverse-engineered support

      • Graphics Stack

        • AMD Radeon TrueAudio-Next Finally Going Cross-Platform With Linux Support

          TrueAudio-Next is AMD's solution for advanced GPU-accelerated audio effects and other capabilities by leveraging OpenCL compute rather than any dedicated DSP audio hardware. While developed as open-source the past three years, there hasn't been official Linux support but that seems to finally be changing.

          A Phoronix reader pointed out this beta-cross-platform branch of TrueAudio-Next (TAN) that was created a few days ago. While the documentation continues to point to only Windows support, the updated CMake build system confirms not only Windows support but also Linux and even Apple macOS.

    • Benchmarks (Paywall Sadly)

      • Seven Years Of Ubuntu Performance - Benchmarking Ubuntu 13.04 Through Ubuntu 20.04 Development Builds

        The latest in our series of interesting year-end benchmarks -- made more interesting by also looking at the Linux performance over the 2010s -- is looking at the performance of Ubuntu Linux over the past roughly seven years by re-testing all the releases. Ubuntu 19.10 stable and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS development builds were tested along with the Ubuntu releases going back to Ubuntu 13.04, the initial release where the Intel Sandy Bridge support was in good shape for the Core i7 2700K platform being used for this round of benchmarking. It's quite a wild ride looking at the Ubuntu performance over this long span with dozens of different workloads.

      • LLVM Clang Achieves ~96% The Performance Of GCC On Intel Ice Lake

        The LLVM Clang compiler continues becoming increasing competitive against the long-standing GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) on Linux x86_64 systems... With tests done on Intel Ice Lake using the Core i7-1065G7, the Clang 9.0 stable performance is delivering over 95% the performance of GCC 9 stable based on over 40 C/C++ benchmarks.

        Recently I wrapped up some LLVM Clang vs. GCC stable Linux x86_64 benchmarks using the Core i7-1065G7 "Ice Lake" processor and was quite impressed with the results for how close Clang was competing with GCC.

      • The Performance Advancements Of The Radeon Open-Source OpenGL/Vulkan Drivers Over 2019

        This comparison featured the same hardware tested under Ubuntu 18.10 for a representative end-of-2018 experience to then the latest driver stack using Ubuntu 19.10 and migrating to the Linux 5.5 Git kernel and Mesa 20.0-devel via the Oibaf PPA. Tests this year were done using a Radeon RX 580 Polaris and RX Vega 64 graphics cards given their support going back to the end of 2018, which obviously ruled out testing the likes of Navi or Vega 20 for this comparison. Additionally, the games/software tested were limited to OpenGL and Vulkan games working nicely going back to the end of 2018, thus ruling out some of the 2019 Linux game ports that required Mesa 19.x.

        The same hardware was used and this basically amounts to a straight-forward look at how the OpenGL and Vulkan AMD Linux drivers within Mesa have evolved over the course of 2019. In the case of the RADV Vulkan driver, the end-of-2019 tests were done both out-of-the-box and then when enabling Valve's ACO compiler back-end alternative to AMDGPU LLVM, which can further help the gaming performance at large but is currently not enabled by default.

        Besides better performance, the RadeonSI OpenGL driver this year recently picked up OpenGL 4.6 support in Mesa 20.0-devel and with that also enabling NIR usage by default. Various new extensions are supported by both the AMD open-source OpenGL and Vulkan drivers.

      • Intel SVT-AV1 0.8 AV1 Video Encoding Benchmarks

        On Friday Intel released SVT-AV1 0.8 with more AVX2/AVX-512 optimizations for this one of the fastest CPU-based AV1 open-source video encoders (and growing decoding support too). Here are some benchmarks of SVT-AV1 0.8 compared to the previous v0.7 release on various Intel and AMD systems.

        Over the weekend I started tossing SVT-AV1 0.8 on various systems via the Phoronix Test Suite / for seeing how the performance compares to the previous Scalable Video Technology AV1 encoder release. The Ubuntu Linux systems picked spanned various generations but mostly a random assortment of hardware based upon convenience for this one-page weekend testing. The systems included the Intel Core i7 1065G7, Core i7 7740X, Core i9 9900KS, Xeon E5-2687W v3, dual Xeon Gold 6138, dual Xeon Platinum 8280 on the Intel side. On the AMD side was the Ryzen 5 3600X, Threadripper 3960X, EPYC 7601, and dual EPYC 7742.

    • Applications

      • HexChat 2.14.3 Released with Fix for Ubuntu’s Yaru Theme

        HexChat IRC client 2.14.3 was released a day ago with important bug-fixes. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu.

        It has been more than one year since the last release. HexChat 2.14.3 was released with following changes:

        fix various incorrect parsing of IRC messages relating to trailing parameters fix SASL negotiation combined with multi-line cap fix input box theming with Ubuntu’s new default Yaru theme python: Work around Python 3.7 regression causing crash on unload sysinfo: Add support for /etc/os-release sysinfo: Ignore irrelevant mounts when calculating storage size

      • Introducing Inkscape

        Inkscape is a professional free software for vector graphic design. If you know your friends use CorelDRAW or Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape is a replacement and alternative to them, but unlike them Inkscape is unlimited and available for all operating systems. Started in 2003 as a modification of Sodipodi software, in 2019 Inkscape grew into a world-wide famous and beloved illustration tool with great community. In this article, you will find its format is SVG, its color is RGB, and its uniqueness is Extensions. You can find here Inkscape artwork inspirations & tutorial, plus plenty of forums for you to join. Its popularity is now on par with Blender 3D with its great people and links. As a person using Inkscape everyday, I hope this article really introduces Inkscape so you can use it too. Enjoy!

      • 4 Time Machine Alternatives for Linux

        There’s no doubt that Apple’s Time Machine made backups mainstream. Before Time Machine, the average user avoided backups like the plague – the procedure seemed too convoluted, and it also wasted precious storage space.

        With Time Machine, Apple changed people’s mindset, mostly thanks to its simplicity: add an external HDD to your computer and your files – and OS – will be forever safe. One click and you’ll be back before catastrophe struck.

        That’s when other backup solutions took notice of this approach and decided they, too, should prioritize simplicity. Today you can find some of the best of them on Linux – they even come as standard in many distributions! Only a select few are as simple to use as Apple’s Time Machine, though.

        What follows is a small selection of some of the most popular ones that, like Time Machine, excel at allowing you to take snapshots of your data where you’ll be able to “return” later and even fully automate the procedure.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Outpost, a new free top-down mix of survival and tower defence is on Steam

        Outpost is one to keep an eye on! Currently free to keep, it's a top-down survival game where you need to defend a blue Shrine.

        It features the typical survival-style start, with you needing to run around and gather resources. What's interesting here though is how it's blended that with a tower defense game. If creatures get to your shrine, it's game over and you need to start again. Each time you start, the map is entirely random too with a different season. It's odd, it's rough but the idea is a sound one that when expanded could be great.

      • Erannorth Reborn, a 'hardcore' deck-builder with tons of customization is coming to Linux

        Spyridon Thalassinos has confirmed that Erannorth Reborn, their positively rated deck-builder is on the way to Linux.

        Released back in October, Erannorth Reborn has gone onto gaining a "Very Positive" user rating so their own take on deck-building and turn-based battles must have something interesting. From the way they describe it, my curiosity has certainly been captured. In their roadmap post on Steam, it was updated to mention GOG and Linux versions will be coming.

      • The latest Black Mesa update makes it much smoother on Linux

        With Crowbar Collective enabling a Beta containing the full Black Mesa experience recently, it came with a major performance problem on Linux which now seems to be solved!

        Previous to the latest update on the Beta branch, the game at many points would suddenly drop to single-digit frames and it wasn't good. Now though? A different world, the performance is like night and day and it remains smooth.

        Here's a few more fresh shots of Xen taken today, it really does look incredible.

      • Seven Kingdoms: Ancient Adversaries, the classic open source RTS has a new release

        After being made open source back in 2009, the absolute classic Seven Kingdoms: Ancient Adversaries lives on and another release is out now.

        7K:AA continues to hold a piece of my heart, being quite possibly my first modern real-time strategy game on PC. I played a fair few strategy games back in the days of the Amiga but this was a whole new beast. The gameplay still holds up reasonably well now too, thanks to the unique ideas it had about resource distribution, spying and more.

      • With a super bizarre story, block-rolling puzzle game A Tofu Tail is out now

        Bizarre story? Yup, you're a big block of Tofu. Seriously, the protagonist in this is a person who was transformed into a rolling block of Tofu.

      • Colourful action RPG shooter 'Space Robinson' released for Linux

        After a very promising demo release back in august, the fast-paced action RPG shooter Space Robinson is now available on Linux.

        Created by Luxorix Games, this is their third game as an indie team after Panda Chunky and Spaceship Looter. For Space Robinson they teamed up with Alawar Premium who've published multiple other Linux games like Beholder and Do Not Feed the Monkeys.

      • Comedy point and click adventure Later Alligator is now available on Linux

        A team-up between Pillow Fight Games and SmallBu Animation, the comedy point and click adventure Later Alligator has now officially arrived on Linux just before the holidays.

        Later Alligator isn't the first project for either team, with SmallBu Animation being known for their Baman Piderman animation on YouTube and they've also worked with Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Disney, Adult Swim. Pillow Fight Games previously developed the visual novels Rose of Winter, Ghosts of Miami, Heaven Will Be Mine. Later Alligator being the latest project from both teams, it was released in September this year with the Linux version coming because "You asked for it, we delivered" according to their announcement.

      • Fast-paced free shooter TO4: Tactical Operations has arrived on Steam

        With an aim to bring back some apparent "nostalgic feelings" from earlier online shooters, TO4: Tactical Operations from TacByte is now in Early Access.

      • SuperTuxKart 1.1 RC Features Improved Online Multiplayer, Beta for iOS

        A new version of SuperTuxKart is available for testing.

        SuperTuxKart 1.1 Release Candidate maintains compatibility with April’s major SuperTuxKart 1.0 release, and does not introduce any new items, karts, characters, or tracks.

        But don’t let that put you off trying it out as, like always, there’s tonne of terrific tweaks on offer — and in this post we take a look at them!

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Get back to basics with the TWM Linux desktop

        The most humble of window managers, TWM, is a little akin to those sample photographs you get when you buy a picture frame. It's basic, almost a bare-minimum proof of concept that Xorg ships with the X11 Windows System to demonstrate that a desktop can indeed be created for a graphical user interface (GUI).

        Some distributions treat it as a fallback window manager that can be launched in a pinch if you break your usual desktop and need a terminal just long enough for repairs. Now that Xorg is basically bulletproof and moving aside for Wayland, sometimes TWM isn't even included at all. And yet, amazingly, TWM, short for either Timeless Window Manager or Tabbed Window Manager, depending on who you ask, has some fun features and configuration options.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • App Highlight: Falkon Open Source Web Browser from KDE

          First thing first, Falkon is not a new web browser. It has been in development since 2010 but it was known as Qupzilla.

          In 2017, QupZilla moved under KDE umbrella and changed its name to Falkon. Being under KDE umbrella means that project is actively maintained following KDE standards.

          It uses the QtWebEngine rendering engine – which is a striped down version of Chromium core.

          In this article, I shall take a closer look at what it offers and how it’s different than other dominant web browsers on Linux out there.

        • Announcing KDE Plasma 5.18 Wallpaper and Video Contests

          The chance of getting your work seen by thousands of people and organizations worldwide, including at NASA and CERN, is within your grasp! You can also win some really astounding prizes courtesy of our friends at TUXEDO Computers.

          The winner of the wallpaper contest will have their work included as the default background on KDE's upcoming Plasma 5.18 desktop. This means you will not only earn the admiration of thousands of Plasma users, but you can also win a very cool TUXEDO InfinityBook Pro 14 computer.

          More details about the InfinityBook Pro are available on the Wallpaper Contest's page.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Best Distribution of 2019 Goes to Ubuntu MATE 19.10

          Each year, the FOSS Post chooses the best desktop Linux distribution released during the year. To do that, we apply a wide-range of reviewing criteria on all of the major Linux distributions released during that year. Some of them have separate complete reviews for them, while others were just tested but not released on the website.

          A lot of Linux distributions were released in 2019, but having put our hands of tens of them, we can comfortably say that Ubuntu MATE was the best Linux distribution of 2019. In today’s post, you’ll read a full review of Ubuntu MATE 19.10, and why we think it was the best this year.

          But what do we mean when we say “Best“? Is it the best for newbie users or advanced? Is it best in terms of being bug-free & stable or best in terms of what? It would be honest to say that there’s no universal definition for such thing. It becomes similar to comparing apples and oranges in order to find the “best” between them, which doesn’t make any sense. Still, we stand behind that word because in general, and talking about desktop Linux here, users usually want a Linux distribution that fulfills the following criteria...

        • Best Xfce distro of 2019

          And now, we've come to the third member of the Tux Triumvirate, the Xfce desktop environment. Previously, we talked about the KDE and Gnome desktops, and their best offerings of the year. Now, we shall embark on the same journey of soulsearching and whatnot with Xfce. Who knows what's gonna happen?

          The thing is, yesteryear was a happy-ish kind of year. I had reasonable fun with Xfce, with MX Linux leading the pack, offering the freshest experience. Overall though, Xfce is usually a hit and miss experience. There was a time when it was kind of drab and apathetic, then things picked up nicely a couple of years ago, and now we're holding our breath for the 2019 showdown. Begin.

      • New Releases

        • LinuxConsole 2019

          LinuxConsole 2019 is available for download, for both 64 and 32 bits.

          Its comes with the latest kernel 5.4.5, that support Extfat natively

          This Linux distribution is designed to be easy to use, and powerful.

          You can try it with a LiveUSB, and then install it on an hard drive.

          It is also possible to use it on old computers, with the lightweight desktop Mate.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

      • Slackware Family

        • X-Mas Plasma5 – December ’19 release of ktown for Slackware

          I uploaded KDE-5_19.12 as an early Christmas present. You can download these fresh packages as usual from my ‘ktown‘ repository. Still targeting a full installation of Slackware-current (with KDE4 removed first) these packages will not work on Slackware 14.2.


          The Releases 19.12.0 is the start of a new quarterly release cycle for the Applications, but it is also a rebranding. The old name “Applications” was no longer considered representative for what it offers and “Release Service” is the new name. I will probably keep calling this “Applications” nevertheless, tired as i usually get from overzealous PR folk. Note that there’s a new application in here, the music player ‘elisa‘. I did not compile elisa against VLC even though that would make it more powerful. If I had installed a vlc package and compiled elisa against it, then the elisa program would fail to run for people that do do not have VLC installed. Feel free to recompile though!

      • Fedora Family

        • Best of 2019: Fedora for system administrators

          The end of the year is a perfect time to look back on some of the Magazine’s most popular articles of 2019. One of the Fedora operating systems’s many strong points is its wide array of tools for system administrators. As your skills progress, you’ll find that the Fedora OS has even more to offer. And because Linux is the sysadmin’s best friend, you’ll always be in good company. In 2019, there were quite a few articles about sysadmin tools our readers enjoyed. Here’s a sampling.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Why you SHOULD use Firefox

            I have been using Firefox for roughly fifteen years, give or take. During that period, I've seen it grow into a beautiful project, become a world of wonderful extensions, and then slowly shrink and fade as it did what the competitors do, losing the core advantages it had in the first place. Despite all that, it remains my primary browser. And if you're asking me - well, you should - it ought to be yours, too.

            In this article, I will tell you why. It goes beyond the everyday stuff like memory consumption, the extra three milliseconds of browser launch, or how pretty the application may look on a phone. It's about choice, the freedom of choice, and the critical importance of competition. As a nerd reading this article, you have a moral obligation to be part of that equation. Follow me.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6.4 RC1 is ready for testing!

          The LibreOffice Quality Assurance ( QA ) Team is happy to announce LibreOffice 6.4 RC1 is ready for testing!

          LibreOffice 6.4 will be released as final at the end of January, 2020, being LibreOffice 6.4 RC1 the third pre-release since the development of version 6.4 started in the beginning of June, 2019 ( See the release plan ). Since LibreOffice 6.4 Beta1 ( the previous pre-release ), 410 commits have been submitted to the code repository and 195 bugs have been fixed. Check the release notes to find the new features included in this version of LibreOffice.

          LibreOffice 6.4 RC1 can be downloaded from here, it's available for Linux, MacOS and Windows. ( Note that it will replace your actual installation )

          In case you find any problem in this pre-release, please report it in Bugzilla ( You just need a legit email address in order to create a new account ) so it can get fixed before LibreOffice 6.4 final is released.

        • Community Member Monday: Saikeo Kavhanxay

          For our final Community Member Monday of 2019, we talk to Saikeo Kavhanxay, who is helping with the Lao language localisation of LibreOffice…

      • BSD

        • NomadBSD 1.3

          was pleasantly taken with how well NomadBSD performs and how easy it is to use. There are not a lot of "plug it in and go" solutions in the BSD communities and NomadBSD is providing a great live environment, with lots of useful desktop software, and polished configuration tools. The operating system runs quickly, it has enough included software to be useful in several scenarios without cluttering the application menu, and it supports a wide range of languages.

          The best feature though is easily the persistence built into Nomad's live mode, which allows us to install new software, create files, and change settings which will survive across reboots.

          Also, I don't get to say this enough, but it is very nice to see an operating system ship with both on-line and off-line copies of its documentation. The Nomad handbook covers some basic tips on getting on-line, installing the operating system, and performing a few other common tasks.

          I encountered only two serious issues while using NomadBSD. The first was the operating system could not use my laptop's wireless card. Everything else worked beautifully, but FreeBSD's support for wireless networking is not up to par yet with Linux. I also found some settings, like my username and which filesystem to use, did not take effect when I installed the operating system locally. When run from the thumb drive everything went smoothly, but a few things went wrong when getting the operating system on my hard drive.

          In general, I liked NomadBSD a lot. The project makes it very easy to test drive FreeBSD with new hardware. It has defaults I like and some good documentation. I'm hoping future releases will polish the installer a little more and maybe include more wireless drivers and firmware. Otherwise I have no complaints. This is a great tool for testing a computer for FreeBSD compatibility and browsing or rescuing data.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Parallel 20191222 ('Impeachment') released [stable]

            GNU Parallel 20191222 ('Impeachment') [stable] has been released. It is available for download at: No new functionality was introduced so this is a good candidate for a stable release. GNU Parallel is 10 years old next year on 2020-04-22. You are here by invited to a reception on Friday 2020-04-17.

      • Programming/Development

        • Celebrating 20 years of enterprise Java: reflections

          "The world doesn't need another object-oriented language." At the time Java got its start, it was easy to dismiss the language as unnecessary, just like industry analyst John R. Rymer did when he was first introduced to Java while working at Giga Information Group, at a time when SmallTalk and C++ were "really big deals." And yet, the Java language—and the enterprise platform built on it—would go on to become important parts of the enterprise technology stack for many years.

          This month marks the 20th anniversary of the enterprise Java platform and we are celebrating the occasion by looking back at its impact on the world, from J2EE under Sun Microsystems and its years as Java EE under Oracle, through today as Jakarta EE under the stewardship of the Eclipse Foundation. We have highlighted innovations, milestones and thoughts on where the platform is heading in the future, and today want to share personal reflections from colleagues and members of the broader community who have not only been impacted by it, but have helped to shape it along the way. For some, such as Rymer, who today serves as vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, Inc., the enterprise Java story is full of twists and turns, and begins even before the platform came into existence.

        • Python

          • Supporting Multiple Languages In Django — Part 1

            And if you’ve got this humongous code-base not written with all the ugettext and ugettext_lazy stuff in mind, then “Boy! You’re in danger! You should better start praying to almighty to give you strength and endurance on your path to become a Multilingual Super Hero”

            In this post, we’ll see how you can support multiple languages in your Django based projects and be a Multilingual Super Hero!

            The journey to be any hero isn’t easy and same is the case with this. So, we’ll also see certain gotchas that would be your shield in supporting internationalization and localization in your projects. Of course, there is the Django documentation, but one might feel lost in all the details that make it quite overwhelming. So, this post would be a primer to get you started with supporting localization in your projects.

            NOTE: This is by no means a comprehensive tutorial. Although we’ll have a primer for you to explaining most of the things that are needed for supporting internationalization and translation in your projects, there are various other things that are provided with Django for more complex cases. For more information, please refer to the Django Translation Docs.

          • Why you should contribute to Open Source

            My first step with FOSS was during the summer of 2014, where I got introduced to DGPLUG (Durgapur Linux Users Group). Every year, they conduct a training over IRC covering a wide range of topics. Since then, I've been contributing to different projects, primarily to Mozilla's Gecko Engine. Recently I also started contributing to CPython.

            Over this journey as CuriousLearner over the past few years, I've been fortunate enough to collaborate with some of the best engineers, learnt a lot of skills & gained some nice perspective on different technologies by just contributing to Open Source. I owe my learning to them.

            I've been always asked this question by my friends, colleagues, and strangers whom I often run into in local meet-ups and conferences.

          • Solving Van der Pol equation with ivp_solve

            The equation describes a system with nonlinear damping, the degree of damping given by μ. If μ = 0 the system is linear and undamped, but for positive μ the system is nonlinear and damped. We will plot the phase portrait for the solution to Van der Pol’s equation in Python using SciPy’s new ODE solver ivp_solve.

            The function ivp_solve does not solve second-order systems of equations directly. It solves systems of first-order equations, but a second-order differential equation can be recast as a pair of first-order equations by introducing the first derivative as a new variable.

          • Creating Interactive Dashboards from Jupyter Notebooks

            I am pleased to have another guest post from Duarte O.Carmo. He wrote series of posts in July on report generation with Papermill that were very well received. In this article, he will explore how to use Voilà and Plotly Express to convert a Jupyter notebook into a standalone interactive web site. In addition, this article will show examples of collecting data through an API endpoint, performing sentiment analysis on that data and show multiple approaches to deploying the dashboard.

          • Create a python function which will merge, sort and remove duplicate values from lists

            In this example, we will create a single python function that will accept unlimited lists of numbers and merges them into a single list that contains sorted values as well as no duplicated values. This question is from Codewars which I have further modified it to accept unlimited lists instead of two.

          • Prioritizing simplicity in your Python code

            When it is possible to choose at all, choose the simple solution. Python is rarely in the business of disallowing things. This means it is possible, and even straightforward, to design baroque programs to solve straightforward problems.

            It is worthwhile to remember at each point that simplicity is one of the easiest things to lose and the hardest to regain when writing code.

            This can mean choosing to write something as a function, rather than introducing an extraneous class. This can mean avoiding a robust third-party library in favor of writing a two-line function that is perfect for the immediate use-case. Most often, it means avoiding predicting the future in favor of solving the problem at hand.

          • Mike Driscoll: PyDev of the Week: Kelly Schuster-Paredes

            This week we welcome Kelly (@KellyPared) Schuster-Paredes. Kelly is the co-host of the popular Python podcast, Teaching Python. Kelly specializes in curriculum design and development. She blogs a bit over on her website which you should check out if you have the time.

            For now though, let’s take a few moments to get to know Kelly better!

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • 10 resources to become a better Bash user

            As another great year wraps up at, my fascination with all things Bash has me looking back at the top 10 Bash articles we published in 2019. These articles include basic how-to articles, tools, shortcuts, and even a way to build your own command-line game with Bash.

            I didn't select these articles based solely on the number of hits they had but rather on a number of criteria. In the true spirit of top 10 countdowns, the top Bash article from 2019 is at the end for the final reveal.

  • Leftovers

    • Celebrating Two Overlooked Irish Writers

      When an authoritative book on post-World War II Irish fiction is written, it will be fascinating to see how William Trevor and Iris Murdoch are considered. Not so much their literary qualities, which are undeniable, but whether or not they are embraced as Irish.

    • Keep Your Head Down; Keep Your Passport Current

      Maybe it’s the frontier ethos or lots of consumer goods to buoy our psyches for those who remain on the US left with still-functioning minds and who have learned to produce ever-new scenarios in which the systems we now live under will somehow be reformed and work for the betterment of the [all] species.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Linux Security: Using Open-Source Tools to Protect Your System

            Linux systems have security advantages over other operating systems, such as more secure file handling. However, these systems are not bulletproof. Properly securing Linux systems requires careful configuration and proactive implementation of security policies and tools.

            Hopefully, this article helped you understand some of the configurations and tools you can use to secure your system. Once you’ve implemented a security solution that meets your needs, be sure to keep your systems updated. Out of date tools and systems can enable attackers to easily enter, undermining all your efforts.

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (cups, cyrus-sasl2, tightvnc, and x2goclient), Fedora (cacti and cacti-spine), openSUSE (mariadb and samba), Oracle (fribidi, git, and python), Red Hat (fribidi, libyang, and qemu-kvm-rhev), Slackware (openssl and tigervnc), and SUSE (firefox, nspr, nss and kernel).

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Facebook investigates data exposure of 267 million users

              The database was made available for download last week on an online hacker forum that apparently belonged to a crime group, according to a blog post on the website Comparitech.

            • Wikileaks founder Julian 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.

              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.

              “The case being investigated in Spain states that Mr Assange has been subjected to widespread interference on a massive scale by the American authorities, violating his confidential communications with his lawyers, among other rights,” his legal team said.

              Last month, an independent UN rights expert Nils Melzer warned that the conditions WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was being held in are putting his life “at-risk”.

            • Assange questioned about spying at embassy

              Jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has appeared in a Madrid court via videolink from Britain as part of an investigation into his allegations that a Spanish firm spied on him while he lived inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • The world is watching, thanks to Hong Kong’s dedicated photojournalists

        It is the work of photographers like Lam Yik Fei for the New York Times, Vincent Yu for the AP and May James for the Hong Kong Free Press, along with countless other photographers and journalists working on the frontlines who bring the photographs and stories of the protests to viewers around the world. Without their work, the full story of what is going on would never be seen.

        But what disturbs me the most are the constant reports of assaults on the press coming out of Hong Kong. Under Hong Kong law, journalists should be able to cover events without fear of harm or suppression. In reality, this freedom is being attacked both physically and through attempts at suppression.

    • Environment

      • 6 Brilliant 'Solutions' That Only Made Things Worse

        Since the holes are too small for insects, they are also pretty good at not letting a single fish through. This not only contributes to the dwindling number of fish in parts of Africa, but also gives the fishermen no incentive to go back to the shitty, more expensive nets they were using before. They know what they're doing is wrong, but some of them insist that if it wasn't for these nets, they'd starve to death, and then there'd be no one for the mosquitoes to bother anyway.

      • On Hanukkah, Let's Rededicate Our Commitment to Environmental Justice

        The central story commemorated on Hanukkah comes from books 1 and 2 Maccabees, which tells of a small group of Jews in the land of Israel that fought to liberate their community from the increasingly oppressive reign of the Seleucid empire. Under Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the empire had imposed their Hellenistic culture upon the Jewish community; in 167 BCE, Antiochus intensified his campaign by defiling the temple in Jerusalem and banning Jewish practice. The Jewish band known as the Maccabees subsequently waged a three-year campaign that culminated in the cleaning and rededication of the temple and ultimately, the establishment of the second Jewish commonwealth.

      • Nationwide Bushfires Block Access to Nearly Every Major City Across Australia

        Australia is on fire.

      • Wake Up Now! Rise Up Together!

        We must take a stand now for ending the structural violence associated with our climate catastrophe.

      • CO2 and Climate Change, Old and New

        How long has science known about CO2-induced climate change, and are we clever enough today to geo-engineer our way out of cooking ourselves to extinction?

      • Energy

        • #WouldYouShootMeToo Hashtag Trends After Reports Canadian Mounted Police Asked Snipers to Target Indigenous Protesters

          "How far is Canada willing to go to protect the billionaires who run the oil and gas industry?"€ 

        • At last minute, Russia and Ukraine agree to new five-year gas deal. Here’s who won.

          Moscow and Kyiv have reached a new agreement on Russian gas transit through Ukrainian territory. If the two countries had failed to replace the current transit deal, which expires at the end of the year, the Russian energy giant Gazprom threatened to cease all shipments through Ukraine to European consumers. The new agreement was reported just as the United States imposed sanctions against contractors building Nord Stream 2, a system of offshore natural gas pipelines from Russia to Germany across the Baltic Sea. The U.S. sanctions have already disrupted the project, which is reportedly 92-percent finished. Experts believe that American intervention will slow the pipeline's completion by a few months, as Russian and Chinese companies replace the Western businesses that bow out. It’s possible that the U.S. sanctions were a decisive factor in driving Russia to strike a deal with Ukraine. The agreement’s text is still unpublished, but negotiators have already explained the terms. Meduza’s Dmitry Kartsev looks at who came out on top.

        • The Fracking Industry's Methane Problem Is a Climate Problem

          Atmospheric levels of methane stopped increasing around the year 2000€ and at the time were€ expected to decrease in the future. However, they began€ increasing again in the last 10 years, spurring researchers to explore why. Robert Howarth, a biogeochemist€ at Cornell University, recently presented his latest research linking the increase in methane to fossil fuel production,€ with fracking for natural gas, which is mostly methane,€ likely a major€ source.€ 

    • Finance

      • IMF Backs Tax Reform Bill in Ecuador That Would Further Austerity

        Over the past year, a rebranded IMF returned to Latin America with promises of loan agreements that would be different than the dreaded “structural adjustment programmes” of the past. Behind statements about inclusive growth and protecting the most vulnerable, are policies similar to the structural adjustments of the Washington consensus era. While the Argentina programme has already imploded, leaving behind soaring poverty and a collapsed economy, the IMF seems determined to push forward its agreement with Ecuador.

      • In Praise of Home Delivery Culture

        Writing at Reason magazine, Liz Wolfe lauds home delivery culture — the increasing tendency of Americans to Netflix and chill while relying on Amazon Prime, Instacart, Grubhub, and other services to drop the goods we consume off on our front porches.

      • 2019 Showed That Workers Win Big If They Bargain Big

        This year proved a consequential one for labor struggles, with major new contracts in place not only for public-sector workers, including major teachers’ unions across the country, but also for private-sector unions including the United Auto Workers and the United Food and Commercial Workers.

      • PayPal’s exiting COO Bill Ready to join Google as its new president of Commerce

        In June, PayPal announced its Chief Operating Officer Bill Ready would be departing the company at the end of this year. Now we know where he’s ending up: Google. Ready will join Google in January as the company’s new commerce chief, reporting directly to Prabhakar Raghavan, SVP, Ads, Commerce and Payments.

        Ready’s role at Google will not involve payments, which means he won’t be directly involved with PayPal’s competitor, Google Pay. Instead, as Google’s new president of Commerce, Ready will focus on leading Google’s vision, strategy and delivery of its commerce products. However, the role will see Ready working in close partnership with both the advertising and payments operations.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Postcard From Paris

        “For over two years we’ve been hearing about this pension reform! Two years of ‘consultations,’ which, cross our hearts, were to be full to the brim with transparency, intelligibility and instruction. Two years enshrouded in a haze – not to say a dense fog – of a strategy which, playing for time with contradictions, altered estimates and impossible-to- reconcile positions, end up with a strike that looks set to last. Two years supposed to reassure us but which, au contraire, have only caused anguish and sent diverse age groups and trades not among the first concerned with the reform down to the street.” That’s Erik Emptaz in Le Canard Enchaîné on December 11.

        But that week was mere prelude. This week is when things exploded.

        In short order, talks between the government and the transport unions broke down, the Prime Minister managed to turn everyone against him, government messaging went haywire in a welter of contradictory announcements about ‘progress’, the intensity of Tuesday’s countrywide demos caused the government to recoil and the president to flee to Africa. Last but not least over this tumultuous week, the High Commissioner of Retirement, the man at the table every morning, Jean-Paul Delevoye, was forced into early retirement because of disagreeable little omissions on his financial declarations. Also known as the Haute Autorité pour la transparence de la vie publique, Delevoye lasted a mere three months before his ritualized public seppeku and must pay back 140,000 €, making him one of the first victims of pension reform.

        The disappeared President, who many French regard as a King-in-waiting, is maybe not enamoured of the criticism he’s getting for his strategic blunder. Even the insiders are taking swipes: Julien Dray, an intimate from the Hollande days, writes that Macron “finds himself naked in the face of a social protest which he, if you ask me, imagined he could stifle without understanding either its scope or its depth.” With friends like that.

        Discussion of the government’s latest version of its Point-Based System is enough to make anyone’s eyes roll. Better if we stay on safe ground, as the American and English press do with their copy and paste articles about French labor law and the famous 42. “ The government argues that unifying the French pensions system – and getting rid of the 42 ‘special’ regimes for sectors ranging from rail and energy workers to lawyers and Paris Opera staff – is crucial to keep the system financially viable as the French population ages.” I’m sure I read that paragraph at least three times in the last ten days in the Guardian. Never a thought that a complex, technological society demands detailed consideration for different professions in its pension arrangements. Better a points-based system in which we’re all in competition and everyone is in the dark.

        Poor Edouard Philippe, abandoned by his boss – off to greener fields in Africa – the Prime Minister is left to wander the halls of the Palais Elysée and Matignon and dig himself in a little deeper every day. His chic beard is rapidly turning white in odd patches while his hair retreats faster than a government negotiator. The latest gag making the rounds about the technocrats is the Simulator, the on-line machine that will calculate any French person’s pension, a delicate question given that predicting the total is subject to fluctuation in parameters such as the person’s metier, economic forecasts, health or hardship. Apparently Philippe really did demand to have the machine up and running by the 18th.

      • Trump, Brexit: Where’s the Backlash?

        I dutifully got a shot this winter to inoculate myself against four different flu viruses. By exposing myself to weakened strains of these diseases, and preemptively suffering some mild flu symptoms, I can ward off the more serious consequences of a full-on infection and do my part to help stop the further spread of these pathogens.

      • Neo-Confederate Group Is Funding Candidates in North Carolina

        In July 2015, one month after the massacre of nine Black parishioners inside Charleston’s Mother Emmanuel Church by a Confederate flag-waving white supremacist sparked a new national debate over Confederate iconography in public spaces, the Republican-controlled state legislature in neighboring North Carolina passed the Cultural History Artifact Management and Patriotism Act.

      • I Know Windmills Very Much
      • OK Boomers, Wake Up!

        Sanders is the person you used to be but forgot about.

      • Bitter Days for Donald Trump

        This is the third time in the history of the United States that a president is subjected to political trial.

      • Trump is 'Afraid of Strong Women': Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

        The New York Democrat made the comments in a Spanish-only interview with€ Noticias Telemundo.

      • White House Strategy on Impeachment: It Didn't Happen

        The administration is reportedly basing its argument on an opinion piece in€ Bloomberg that one former federal prosecutor called "ridiculous."

      • Let the Senate Impeachment Trial be Swift

        The Constitution says that the Senate, “shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.” The immediate question before us is when? Speaker Nancy Pelosi initially said that she will hold up delivering their two articles of impeachment to the Senate until the democrats know what the rules will be. Reality is that the rules will be what the Republicans want, no matter how long Pelosi hangs back.

      • The Trump Presidency is Reversing History

        If Trump is not convicted in the Senate of abusing his power and obstructing Congress, he will be emboldened.

      • The Politics of Trump’s Impeachment

        Several features stand out in the impeachment quest against President Donald J. Trump. There is constitutional discourse as mythology and fetish. There is outrage that the executive office could have been used to actually investigate political opponents through foreign agents. There is cattiness over whether the conduct of the president veered into the territory of criminality, or fell somewhat short in his incessant obstruction.

      • The Impeachment's Moral Hypocrisy

        The impeachment process was a nauseating display of mortal hypocrisy. The sound bites by Republicans and Democrats swiftly became predictable. The Democrats, despite applauding the announcement of the voting results before being quickly silenced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, sought to cloak themselves in gravitas and solemnity. Pelosi’s calculated decision to open the impeachment proceedings with the 1954 “under God” version of the Pledge of Allegiance was an appropriate signal given the party’s New McCarthyism. The Democrats posited themselves as saviors, the last line of defense between a constitutional democracy and tyranny. The Republicans, as cloyingly sanctimonious as the Democrats, offered up ludicrous analogies to attack what they condemned as a show trial, including Rep. Barry Loudermilk’s statement that “Pontius Pilate afforded more rights to Jesus than the Democrats have afforded to this president.” The Republicans shamelessly prostrated themselves throughout the 10-hour process at the feet of their cult leader Donald Trump, offering abject and eternal fealty. They angrily accused the Democrats of seeking to overturn the 2016 election in a legislative coup.

      • The Democrats’ Scarlet Letter Strategy

        House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has evidently decided not to turn over the articles of impeachment to the Senate until Congress resumes its work January 7. Some observers think that’s a mistake that will cost Democrats on Election Day. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell seems to think so too, believing the longer the Democrats hold out, the more vindictive, uncooperative, even “unconstitutional” they will appear to voters. McConnell says he’s “fine” about Pelosi’s strategy, since it gives him a pass on having to make difficult decisions on the rules of trial procedure and which, if any, witnesses may appear at trial.

      • Why Did Labour Win in My Hometown, But Lose Across the Rest of the UK?

        I live in Canterbury, where the Labour MP Rosie Duffield increased her slim majority tenfold in the general election. Given Labour’s defeat in almost all of the rest of the UK, it’s worth considering why this happened,.

      • There’s No Place Like the ‘Center’ for the Holidays

        As the holidays approach, corporate media issue a spirited message to readers: Pipe down about politics. Major outlets repeatedly warn that family gatherings are potential hotbeds of political contention, and readers must be strategic with discordant relatives in order to prevent heated debate.

      • Why the Editor of Christianity Today Decided to Rebuke Trump

        The editorial has been widely reported, but it is unclear how much influence it will have with evangelical voters. In response, Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son and the heir to his ministry, and a steadfast Trump supporter, told Fox News that his father, who died in 2018, “dissociated himself from the magazine years ago” and would have been “disappointed” by the editorial. “My father knew Donald Trump, believed in Donald Trump, and in this last election, he voted for Donald Trump,” Graham said. “And if he were here today, I’m sure he would tell you that himself.” The Trump campaign quickly announced that it will hold an Evangelicals for Trump event in Miami on January 3rd.

        To discuss the editorial, the nature of moral judgment, and evangelical support for Trump, I recently spoke by phone with Galli. Our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, is below.

      • Bing’s Top Search Results Contain an Alarming Amount of Disinformation

        It is something of a problem, then, that Bing appears to be returning an alarming amount of disinformation and misinformation in response to user queries — far more than Google does, for instance. Bing’s somewhat irregular results and hands-off approach to topics like suicide have attracted users’ attention before, even earning the distinction of becoming a meme. And while researchers have written about Bing’s troubled record on abusive content, specifically with regard to how it has handled autocomplete suggestions, there have been no broader studies of the prevalence of disinformation and misinformation in Bing’s top search results. (Google, for what it’s worth, has also struggled to rein in autocomplete’s tendency to turn up objectionable speech).

      • Fullerton journalists sued for “hacking” city’s open Dropbox folder

        Ferguson routinely requested public records, and the city had provided him with a link to the Dropbox folder in the past, he told CPJ. The city acknowledges sending a link to access the folder in response to records requests, according to court filings reviewed by CPJ. The folder was not password protected, and anyone could access it via the web address in the link. Files that were approved for public release were kept in the same folder as others that had not been, some of which were password protected, according to those documents.

        The complaint said Ferguson and Curlee accessed files in the folder that had not been approved for release, thereby violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), a federal law intended to combat [cracking], and a similar state law, the California Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act. CPJ has reported concerns that the CFAA’s broad wording could be used to punish routine online journalistic activity.

      • Weber: Macron and Orbán caused ‘severe damage to European democracy’

        Former European Commission president nominee Manfred Weber has accused French President Emmanuel Macron of committing an "attack on democratic Europe" together with Hungary's Viktor Orbán.

        Weber, the leader of the dominant center-right European People's Party (EPP) in the European Parliament, unsuccessfully campaigned for the Commission presidency earlier this year as the EPP's Spitzenkandidat, or lead candidate.

        Macron had led the opposition against Weber getting the job and against the Spitzenkandidat system, under which EU leaders are expected to nominate the candidate of the party that wins the most seats in Parliament. Orbán also did not support Weber. The job eventually went to Ursula von der Leyen.

        Weber told the German media group Funke in an interview published Sunday that Macron's pre-election comments — in which he suggested Weber did not have the necessary experience to become Commission president — had been "presumptuous" and constituted "an attack on democratic Europe."

        He added: "Macron formed an axis with the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in the Council. Together, they have caused severe damage to European democracy."

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Chinese government cuts US Democratic debate feed during Xinjiang discussion

        The live feed of the sixth Democratic presidential debate was cut without warning in China Thursday night during a discussion on allegations of human rights abuses in the country's western region of Xinjiang.

        The screen went black just before 9 p.m. ET after PBS moderator Judy Woodruff asked Mayor Pete Buttigieg if the US should boycott the 2022 Beijing Olympics over China's alleged mass detention of its Uyghur citizens.

        The feed from the PBS/Politico debate in Los Angeles remained cut for about nine minutes while candidates were asked about a range of China issues, including the Hong Kong protests and military tensions in the South China Sea.

      • Internet shutdowns used to be rare. They're increasingly becoming the norm in much of the world

        For other countries, particularly in the developing world, simply turning off the [Internet] can be an attractive shortcut to this level of control. Shutdowns give police a freer hand to reign in unrest without the type of hyper-scrutiny on social media that has become common in highly-connected societies, and enable the government to ensure that its message is the only one heard on a particular topic.

      • China cancels business trips to Sweden after detained bookseller awarded prize

        China has called off two business delegation visits to Sweden, China’s ambassador to Stockholm said on Thursday, after Culture Minister Amanda Lind defied a Chinese threat of “counter-measures” by presenting a rights prize to dissident Gui Minhai.

        Tensions between the two countries have been strained since Gui, who is known for publishing gossipy titles about Chinese political leaders out of a Hong Kong book shop, disappeared in 2015 before resurfacing in mainland China.

      • Chinese students defiant as university cuts ‘freedom of thought’ from charter

        A top Chinese university has removed references to “freedom of thought” from its charter, triggering a rare act of student defiance, while two other institutions added language stressing fealty to President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party.

      • Now, a censor for television

        The government issuing an advisory to what can be broadcasted is nothing new. It had happened earlier too on several occasions reminding the channels to adhere to the provisions of Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and rules framed under it. But this time, it caught the attention of many for its wording. It asked channels to be “particularly cautious” about the content that promotes “anti-national attitudes” and those containing “anything affecting the integrity of the nation”. The Programme Code framed one the basis of the Act says no programme should be carried in the cable service which “is likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promote-anti-national attitudes” as well as anything “affecting the integrity of the nation”.

        While no one would object to a reminder about ensuring that the news content does not lead to a law and order issue, the emphasis on asking channels to be “particularly cautious” about promoting “anti-national attitudes” has raised the antenna. Several view it as not just a subtle nudge to remain sober in coverage on the about the coverage on the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 protests but a clear direction to toe the government line. Since Narendra Modi government came into power, there has been a trend where the opponents, protesters and activists were dubbed “anti-nationals”.

        Opposition leaders had accused the government of creating a binary to suit its agenda.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Journalist or serial pest? Julian Assange’s complex case will set major precedents

        At issue, and separate from the extradition proceedings, is whether an agent of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) spied on Assange during his seven years in the Ecuador embassy, after taking refuge there in 2012.

        He sought Ecuadorian diplomatic protection to avoid extradition to Sweden on charges of sexual misconduct. Those charges have been cancelled.

        British authorities arrested Assange in April this year after he was ejected from the embassy. Bail was refused on grounds he had absconded before.

        Spain’s national court will hear evidence on whether Spanish surveillance company UC Global had provided transcripts, videos and other material from surveillance equipment secretly installed to monitor Assange’s private communications. It is alleged these were provided to the CIA.

      • Judge says Assange extradition hearing will take “three to four weeks” as political opposition mounts

        Hearings over a US extradition request for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will likely be held across “three or four weeks,” starting in February, District Court Judge Vanessa Baraitser told Westminster Magistrates Court yesterday. Baraitser departed from her previous insistence that a hearing scheduled to begin on February 24 would run for just five days—a logistical impossibility considering the scale and complexity of the case. Assange appeared at yesterday’s case management hearing via videolink from Belmarsh maximum security prison. He is being held there on remand, based solely on a US extradition request over WikiLeaks publications that exposed US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      • Mounting evidence set to stretch Julian Assange trial

        More than 40,000 pages of evidence and 21 witnesses mean WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's US extradition trial could run to up to four weeks.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Exonerate the Innocent; Incarcerate the Guilty

        Three innocent men — Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewart – were recently fully exonerated and released from a Maryland prison after spending 36 years in jail for a murder they did not commit.

      • Caught Between Worlds: Imprisoned Tech Users In 2019

        Saeed Malekpour crossed the border from Iran to Turkey at night, terrified of capture. He was fleeing from the country that had held him prisoner for a decade, escaping with just a backpack€  into one of the most chaotic regions of the world. Malekpour was a Canadian web developer who had spent over a decade barely surviving in Iranian jail. He had survived an inexplicable arrest on a trip to Tehran, torture at the hands of that country's secret police, forced public confessions, an arbitrary death sentence and a last-minute reprieve, and years serving a subsequent life sentence in Evin prison—including nursing himself from a heart attack with little more than painkillers from his captors.

        The last time Malekpour had crossed a border was when he traveled from Canada to Iran to visit his sick father in 2008—only to be seized off the street by armed agents of the Revolutionary Guard. This year, finally allowed a few days’ furlough out of prison, he set out to escape with the help of human rights groups, supporters outside Iran, and some assistance from the Canadian€  government. Finally, safe at last in his home in Vancouver in August, he told reporters what he had been told then by his captors shortly after his detention:

      • GOP Governors Grapple With Whether to Accept Refugees

        An executive order by President Donald Trump giving states the right to refuse to take refugees is putting Republican governors in an uncomfortable position.

      • Jordan: Insufficient Disability Rights Funding

        A blind girl reads from a Braille book in a classroom at the Royal Academy for the Blind in Amman.

      • Cambodia: Drop Charges Against Journalists
      • Where the Police Wear Masks, and the Bodies Pile Up Fast

        “We believe that homicides are not a problem, they’re a solution,” said Bruno Paes Manso, a researcher at the University of São Paulo, describing the public acceptance of killings by the police. “There is a strong belief that violence promotes order,” he added. “And the militias thrive off this feeling.”

        But extrajudicial killings are often much more than an extreme step by overzealous officers in cities like Belém and Rio de Janeiro, and some militia members are candid about their criminal motivations.

      • Medical Opinion, Torture And Julian Assange – OpEd

        On November 27 this year, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, delivered an address to the German Bundestag outlining his approach to understanding the mental health of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. These comprised two parts, the initial stage covering his diplomatic asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy, the second dealing with his formal detention in the United Kingdom at the hands of the UK legal and judicial system. The conclusion was a recapitulation of previous findings: that Assange has been subjected to a prolonged, state-sponsored effort in torture, nothing less than a targeting of his being.

        Melzer’s address is an expansive portrait of incremental inter-state torment that led to Assange’s confinement “in a highly controlled environment within the Ecuadorean embassy for more than six years.” There was the eventually justified fear that he would be sought by the United States in extradition proceedings. The Swedish authorities threw in their muddled lot between 2010 and 2019, attempting to nab Assange for rape claims despite “not being able to produce enough evidence for an indictment, and which now, after almost a decade, has been silently closed for the third time based on precisely that recognition.”

        Then came the British contribution, consisting of encouragement to the Swedes by the Crown Prosecution Service that the investigation should not be closed, inspiring them not to get “cold feet”. (The cold feet eventually came.) The Ecuadorean contribution completed the four-piece set, with the coming to power of a pro-Washington Lenín Moreno. Embassy personnel in London were encouraged to make conditions that less pleasant; surveillance operations were conducted on Assange’s guests and meetings.

      • Medical observers blocked from attending Assange hearing

        Psychiatrist Marco Chiesa and psychologist David Morgan attended the hearing on behalf of Doctors4Assange. They hoped to observe Julian’s condition after warnings by UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer that Assange’s health has deteriorated dangerously due to prolonged psychological torture by the US, UK, Ecuadorian and Swedish states for nearly a decade. Dr. Chiesa and Dr. Morgan are among more than 100 doctors from around the world who have issued three open letters to the UK and Australian governments since November 25, protesting Assange’s brutal persecution and garnering worldwide media attention and public support. The doctors have acted on their duty to report torture and have called for Assange’s urgent transfer from Belmarsh Prison to a proper hospital setting. On the eve of yesterday’s hearing, Dr. Stephen Frost, a lead signatory for Doctors4Assange, issued the following statement: “That it is deemed necessary for senior medical experts to attend today’s hearing to observe Julian Assange from the public gallery via video link points to the extreme recklessness of the UK government’s continued arbitrary detention of Julian Assange and the psychological torture which results from that, as stated by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer. We repeat that it is impossible to assess adequately let alone treat Mr Assange in Belmarsh prison and that he must as a matter of urgency be moved to a university teaching hospital. When will the UK government listen to us?”

    • Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • Copyright Troll Back in Federal Court After it Fails to 'Save Judicial Resources'

          After a hiatus of several months, Strike 3 Holdings is back in federal court filing lawsuits against alleged BitTorrent pirates. The company now targets defendants who opposed having their personal details exposed at the state court. While these state court cases are much cheaper for Strike 3, the company says that it took this route to conserve federal judicial resources.

        • American Petroleum Institute Obtains DMCA Subpoena Ordering Cloudflare Action Against Pirate Site

          The American Petroleum Institute has obtained a DMCA subpoena requiring Cloudflare to stop doing business with, and hand over the personal details of, individuals behind several domains offering pirated copies of its standards. The powerful oil and gas association says that its standards are only available in physical formats so the PDF copies currently for sale breach its copyrights.

        • Yet Another Year of Fighting a Bad Copyright Bill: 2019 Year in Review

          There is certainly more than enough room in this world for new copyright laws that would improve the lives of artists and their audiences. And then there’s the Copyright Alternatives in Small-Claims Enforcement Act (CASE Act), a proposal which doesn’t help the artists it claims to be for and would cause a lot of damage to regular Internet users. And yet, in 2019, the CASE Act was not only introduced again, it was continually voted on without a single serious conversation about its flaws.

          In theory, the CASE Act is meant to help small- and medium-sized artists enforce their copyrights without the expense of going to actual court. In practice, the CASE Act won’t really work that way.

Recent Techrights' Posts

Attacks on the EPC: Reality and Fiction
EPO leaks
With Windows This Low (27% of the "OS" Market), Steve Ballmer Would Have Thrown Another Chair
The media produced many puff pieces about Nadella at 10 (as CEO), but what has he done for Windows? Nothing.
[Meme] The Naked President
EPO Suffers From Shrinkage
Understanding Cardinal George Pell prosecution, Institutional abuse & Debian cybertorture
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 01/03/2024: Many More Layoffs, "Funerals" for Software Patents in the US
Links for the day
Gemini Links 01/03/2024: OFFLFIRSOCH 2024 and Dark Streets Tech Demo
Links for the day
Links 01/03/2024: Navalny Funeral and Media Under Attack
Links for the day
Gemini Links 01/03/2024: Making Art and the Concept of Work Management
Links for the day
Schriftleitergesetz: Hiding the Holocaust with censorship
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
[Meme] His Lips Moved
Here is your national "news" for today
statCounter: GNU/Linux Exceeded 6% in Asia Last Month (Compared to 4% Just 12 Months Earlier)
numbers may be biased
What the End of Journalism Looks Like
All on the same day
Links 01/03/2024: Microsoft 'Retiring' More Services and Raspberry Pi Celebrates 3rd Birthday (Launched on February 29th, 2012)
Links for the day
Women's Empowerment
Sponsored by Bill Gates
Gemini Links 01/03/2024: Speed Bumps and Analog Stuff
Links for the day
[Meme] Those Greedy EPO Examiners
Says the litigation industry, charging 300 euros an hour per attorney
EPO Discriminates Against Families of Its Own Workers, the Union Explains Legal Basis Upon Which It's Likely Illegal and Must be Challenged
To the Council, the EPO boasts about its wealth (seeking to impress by how much breaking the law "pays off")
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 29, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, February 29, 2024
Links 01/03/2024: Misuse of Surveillance Against UK-Based Journalism, EPO Conflict Now in the Media
Links for the day
Taking a Break From Paid Promotion of the Illegal, Unconstitutional Kangaroo Court for Patents (UPC)
JUVE returns to its 'roots'?
FSFE admits losing funds from bequest by insulting and ignoring Fellowship representative
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Gemini Links 29/02/2024: Raspberry Pi Incus Cluster and Aya 0.5.0 Coming Soon
Links for the day
Links 29/02/2024: Layoffs at Apple, Expedia, and Electronic Arts
Links for the day
Gemini Links 29/02/2024: Web Enshittification and Firefox user-agents
Links for the day
Spiked Piece/Censoreed Piece: 'Microsoft Copilot is a gimmick', says top CIO
Issues relate to connectivity and cost
Enrico Zini, Mattia Rizzolo, Plagiarism & Debian
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
[Meme] Clergy of GNU/Linux (Corporations Like IBM)
Volunteers as powerless "followers" of companies that "harvest" their labour
There Will Be Lots More Apple Layoffs (Already Years in the Making)
The corporate media still tries to shape the narrative to prevent panic or delay market hysteria
Latest SUEPO (Staff Union of EPO) Report For The Hague Reveals EPO Does Not Obey Court Orders, Refuses to Allow Workers to Freely Talk to One Another
working in a place where communication itself is restricted
[Meme] The Oppression Will Continue Until EPO 'Quality' Improves
wonder why EPO morale is so low?
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 28, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, February 28, 2024
Outreachy, GSoC-mentors & Debian-Private may soon become public records in federal court
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock