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Links 29/12/2019: MPV 0.31, Calibre 4.7.0, BlackArch Linux 2020, phpMyAdmin 5.0.0 Release

  • GNU/Linux

    • Another Chinese computer operating system: Will the UOS succeed?

      The Chinese just won't stop trying to build their own Windows equivalents and UOS is their new product.

      Short for "Unified Operating System," the UOS is a joint effort by state-owned companies like China Electronics Corporation (CEC), and a former Windows customization group Deepin.

      The OS looks largely like the Deepin OS, a system created in 2004 after the group created a Linux distribution.


      And the software is rich. In addition to the innumerable Linux open-source software, the Deepin team also made their own text editor, video/audio player, terminal, voice recorder and more. Though many features are almost identical to similar apps, Deepin believes their version is more user-friendly and they are willing to customize the software based on users' feedback.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Full Circle Magazine: Full Circle Weekly News #160

        Zorin OS 15.1 is Released Firefox 71 is Now Available for All Supported Ubuntu Releases KDE’s December 2019 Apps Update Oracle Virtualbox 6.1 Now Available Microsoft Teams is Now Available for Linux DXVK to Enter Maintenance Mode Credits: Ubuntu “Complete” sound: Canonical Theme Music: From The Dust – Stardust

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.6 Adds TEE For AMD's Secure Processor To Run "Trusted Applications" On Raven APUs

        The AMD TEE (Trusted Execution Environment) support is for loading sensitive data and secure/trusted applications for running on the Arm-based AMD Secure Processor / PSP that's found embedded into modern AMD CPUs. While found on embedded through server AMD CPUs, with the Linux 5.6 support it appears all focused on Raven Ridge APUs - possibly due to Google Chromebook requirements, just as we've seen HDCP content protection support for Linux with Raven Ridge in recent kernels. The Chromebook angle would also explain why it's taken years for AMD to enable their Secure Processor usage with TEE under Linux until recently, just like their belated HDCP support and other work that has appeared to be pushed along by Google's interests.

      • Linux 5.4.7 / 4.19.92 / 4.14.161 Bringing The AMD MCE Fix For New Threadripper CPUs

        With the recently launched Threadripper 3960X / 3970X processors there was a workaround needed to boot them on Linux until an AMD MCE driver issue was resolved. That patch was upstreamed last week into the Linux 5.5 development kernel while now is getting ready to make its debut into supported Linux stable release branches.

        Getting back onto his stable kernel maintenance duties now that Christmas week has passed, Greg Kroah-Hartman sent out his hundreds of patches back-ported for the Linux 5.4 / 4.19 LTS / 4.14 LTS stable series he oversees. Besides the kernel mailing list, the hundreds of patches queued for the next point releases in those branches can be seen via linux-stable-rc.git. Catching my eye from those patches is that the AMD MCE fix for the newer processors is indeed part of the queues for all three stable series.

      • Graphics Stack

        • X.Org Saw A Lot Of Work In The 2010s Even With Wayland Taking Off

          Here's a look back at the most popular news over the past decade on X.Org out of our one thousand plus articles on the topic during the 2010s. Even with Wayland taking off in recent years and effectively reaching parity to the X.Org Server for common use-cases, the X.Org Server has continued seeing new development especially in the areas of GLAMOR and XWayland. Sadly though we're ending the 2010s without a major stable release of the xorg-server since May 2018.

    • Benchmarks

      • More Benchmarks From Linux 5.5 Looking Like A Scheduler Snafu Even On Smaller CPUs

        For the Linux 5.5 kernel that's about half-way through its development phase we have been pointing out some rather significant performance regressions affecting both AMD EPYC and Intel Xeon servers but there are also regressions to be found with desktop class systems too.

        In still running through more Linux 5.5 performance tests this weekend with still seeing lower performance in a number of workloads, here are some of the latest numbers on additional and distinct platforms.

      • Linux 5.4 EXT4 / XFS / Btrfs RAID Performance On Four HDDs

        Recently a Phoronix reader inquired about seeing some fresh hard drive RAID benchmarks on the current kernel release and using Btrfs / EXT4 / XFS. While we don't often look at HDD RAID performance these days compared to speedier SSD testing, since the reader was a generous Phoronix Premium member I was happy to oblige to his test request. Here is a look at the Linux 5.4 HDD RAID performance per his request with Btrfs, EXT4, and XFS while using consumer HDDs and an AMD Ryzen APU setup that could work out for a NAS type low-power system for anyone else that may be interested.

      • LLVM Clang Performance Matching The GCC Compiler On AMD Threadripper 3960X

        Last week were some benchmarks showing LLVM Clang hitting ~96% the performance of GCC using Intel Ice Lake while now for the recently released Zen2-based AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X we are seeing results where overall LLVM Clang is now at performance parity to GCC.

        This round of compiler testing was done on the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X 24-core processor atop Ubuntu 19.10 with the Linux 5.4 kernel. The tested compilers were GCC 9.2.1, GCC 10.0 development snapshot from this month, LLVM Clang 9.0.0, and LLVM Clang 10.0.0. All four compilers were built in their release mode. The CFLAGS/CXXFLAGS when building the benchmarks under test were set at "-O3 -march=native" throughout testing.

      • Clear Linux Defined Linux Performance These Past Few Years

        With our various ending-2019 and end-of-2010s articles, the standout on the Linux performance front has certainly been Intel's Clear Linux in consistently delivering the leading Linux x86_64 performance throughout all of our testing on many different tests and hardware platforms. Here's a look back at some of the Clear Linux highlights.

    • Applications

      • MPV 0.31 Video Player Adds Pseudo Client Side Decorations, Wayland Improvements

        MPV 0.31 is this last release of 2019 for this popular open-source video player. MPV 0.31 has been laying the groundwork for a Lua-powered console, a Wayland grab zone for being able to resize the window with mouse, pseudo client side decorations, video filter support making use of the GPU video output renderer, support for NVIDIA VDPAU usage under EGL, and a variety of other improvements and changes.

      • MPV media player 0.31 Released (Ubuntu PPA)

        MPV, an open-source MPlayer nd MPlayer2 based media player, released version 0.31 today.

      • Darktable 3.0 is released and is a serious competitor for Lightroom

        Before I made a full switch to Linux a few years ago, I used Adobe Lightroom on the macOS operating system to process my RAW files for both my personal photography and my professional photo work. However, when my interest in Linux was sparked, I started looking for usable open source alternatives to process my RAW photo files. A surprisingly large number of high-quality RAW editors are available for Linux, such as RawTherapee, GTKRawgallery, Lightzone and of course also darktable. I have tried all these applications to determine which software best fits my way of working and my specific requirements. For me personally, darktable surpasses the other software solutions and offers a great photo platform for both serious enthusiasts and professionals who want to switch from Lightroom. And now the team behind darktable has given us a Christmas present in the form of darktable version 3.0 and I am curious if darktable is an even better alternative for former Lightroom users. So let’s have a look at darktable 3.0 for Linux.

      • Calibre 4.7.0

        Calibre is an open source e-book library management application that enables you to manage your e-book collection, convert e-books between different formats, synchronize with popular e-book reader devices, and read your e-books with the included viewer.

        It acts as an e-library and also allows for format conversion, news feeds to e-book conversion, as well as e-book reader sync features and an integrated e-book viewer.

        Calibre's features include: library management; format conversion (all major ebook formats); syncing to e-book reader devices; fetching news from the Web and converting it into ebook form; viewing many different e-book formats, giving you access to your book collection over the internet using just a browser.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine 5.0 has a third Release Candidate with a bunch of bug fixes

        A third tasty Release Candidate is out as the Wine team hack their way towards a huge new stable release with Wine 5.0 due next year.

        Since they're currently in a "code freeze", where they don't push through big changes to focus on stability as they fix up bugs there's no huge new features. There are, however, quite a lot of noted bug fixes this time around.

      • Wine-Staging 5.0-RC3 Fixes Some Active Directory Programs Like Cisco VPN & Honeywell

        Based on Wine 5.0-RC3 released yesterday is now Wine-Staging 5.0-RC3 with its 800+ patches on top and it comes with two new additions this week.

        A notable addition with Wine-Staging 5.0-RC3 is implementing ADsOpenObject within the ActiveDirectory code. This should fix Wine failures in a variety of ActiveDirectory-based software like ADExplorer, Cisco AD VPN client, and Honeywell Experion software. These programs and other software should now be working with this new Wine-Staging release.

    • Games

      • You can now play the machine generated AI Dungeon 2 in your browser easily

        Recently we wrote about AI Dungeon 2, a text adventure game that has endless possibilities thanks to the fancy machine learning AI brain behind it and it's now seriously easy to play.

        No more messing around with the unwieldy and confusing Google research page, you can just hop on over to the brand new and very streamlined website to play.

      • A peek at how many of the most popular games on Steam support Linux, December 2019 edition

        As the 2010s come to a close, let's look over a few different ways of looking at how many popular games are available on Linux as of December 2019.

        Inspired by an article I did in January this year, back then when looking at the Steam 250 website we had 132 out of 250 of the best reviewed games available on Linux. Right now though? How much has changed in the space of almost one year?

        Not a whole lot actually! 125 in the top 250 are available on Linux. That's still a really great amount of games, especially since these are all games that have a seriously great user rating. This includes some awesome titles like: Portal 2, Terraria, Factorio, Stardew Valley, Euro Truck Simulator 2, Left 4 Dead 2 and The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth.

      • Useful Tools for Linux Gamers

        If you like to play games on Linux, chances are that you may have used apps and utilities like Wine, Lutris and OBS Studio to improve the gaming experience. Apart from these projects, there are some other handy tools that provide useful features mostly to complement and enhance Linux gaming on your system. This article will list some of these apps.


        GNOME Shell comes with a built-in screen capturing utility that can be used to make small screencasts having a maximum limit of 30 seconds by default. This tool doesn’t capture sound and FPS is capped at 30, so it is not ideal for users who want to record high quality streams. However for casual use or for making GIFs, this is an excellent tool that just works and doesn’t require you to install any third party apps.

      • Another progress report is up for RPCS3, the PlayStation 3 Emulator

        Multiple rendering optimisations were also added in too resulting in a reduction in the load on the GPU and CPU and also reducing the memory footprint of smaller textures. Their MSAA implementation was also improved even further, to prevent transparency issues in titles like Metal Gear Solid 2 & 3.

        The same contributor who worked on getting many PlayStation 3 accessories supported came back, to work on extended USB support for games that used "cellUsbd", which (going by what they said) basically let games bypass PS3 libraries used to directly communicate with USB devices plugged in. This work has now been merged, further expanding what's possible with RPCS3 and while it's not entirely finished it does mean it's now possible to use things like the Skylanders Portal along with its figures.

        As for other game improvements: Thor: God of Thunder can get in-game now, Top Spin 3 is playable at full speed plus NCAA Football 2011 and NCAA Football 2012 can be played nicely now without audio issues. No doubt there's others now playable that haven't yet been tested with all the improvements.

      • Fedora 31 : Run Minecraft game on Fedora distro.
      • Jonathan Dowland: 8-bit

        One of the format/quality options was "8-bit Lossless WAV", which I thought was a joke, a poke in the eye of audiophiles. I was aware that he likely used some 8-bit instruments/equipment to write the tracks, but surely it was mixed in a more modern environment, and resampling down to 8-bit would result in something that sounded like mush.

      • Co-op first-person RPG 'Barony' has a big update plus Legends & Pariahs DLC release

        Up for some co-op first-person exploration? Barony is a good choice and just recently a big update and DLC went live.

        Barony is really good fun, although quite difficult and you will die a lot especially early on as you try and figure it out all but that's the fun of it. Each round you explore more, discover more, learn the tricks of taking down the various enemies and so on. It's a little gem.

      • GB Studio, a free and open source retro adventure game creator

        Want to create your own seriously retro games? The free and open source GB Studio can certainly help you to do that.

        A fun recent discovery, GB Studio is a cross-platform visual creation tool that lets you use drag and drop style functions (rather than line by line programming) to create games. Unlike other game engines, GB Studio is firmly aimed at retro enthusiasts so you can export games made as a ROM for the Game Boy and also to be played on the web. So games can be played on an actual Game Boy with a flash cart.

      • Classic free and open source platform battler 'Teeworlds' has a major new release

        How about a little classic platform battling this holiday season? Teeworlds has a brand new release available.

        Teeworlds 0.7.4 was released a few days ago and it does bring with it some major changes and improvements it's not just a small bugfix update.

        For starters, the chat system got a few handy upgrades. It no longer clears the whole chat when a server moves between maps, so you don't suddenly lose what everyone has been saying. Additionally, you can easily scroll through chat history now using Page Up/Page Down. The muting system was also improved so the game will remember who you mute.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: holiday presents for you!

          Though KDE contributors are mostly enjoying a well-deserved rest during the holiday season (hence the late post today, sorry about that), the community’s tireless souls have been laboring anyway to bring you new features and bugfixes anyway!

        • KDE Picked Up A Few Improvements During Christmas Week

          While open-source software development activity was light this week due to the Christmas holiday, some new features still landed this week for KDE.

          KDE developer Nate Graham still had enough new material to provide his weekly summary of KDE happenings.

        • Linux doesn't have Photoshop

          One common rant I get to hear when I try to help someone to switch to Linux. It is almost 2020 and say what? people still agree with this statement. Of course, they are right, cause Adobe didn't port Photoshop to Linux. But are we as open-source software developers so incompetent that we can't even put together an image editing solution that people can look up to? Let's try to dig that a little bit.

          A little bit of disclaimer first, I have been associated with Krita Development for the last year or so, nothing much just a volunteer developer who drops a random patch every now and then. So the post is obviously all about Krita and how it differs from the so-called “industry standard”.

        • Plasma hidden gems: removable media

          There we go. Another gem unhidden. If you don't care about this kind of thing, no harm done, ignore the options, and they won't bother you. However, if you do like the ability to control and tweak the behavior of your system, you will be pleasantly surprised by all the layers of excellence lurking in the dark and not-so-dark corners of the Plasma desktop.

          Whether it's security, productivity or noise management you're after, the Removable Storage component of the Plasma Settings lets you govern these with fun and efficacy. I am amazed, given the fact I'm using this desktop daily, how many cool and useful things I'm still able to discover and like. Well, that brings us to the end of this article. I'm gonna go do some more hunting, who knows what other nice software I might find. In this modern age of cheap gimmicks, every little gem is precious.

        • KF6 Progress Report: December Solstice Edition

          In my previous post on how we organize the KF6 work, I mentioned there would be blog posts announcing the work done by the team to get us closer to KF6. It is time for the first post on that topic!

          What better time than the December Solstice for it? Yes… I know… I missed the actual solstice by a few days, but I started the draft around that time and it’s not that far in the past either!

          An actual Qt 6 is not published yet and we didn’t branch for KF6 yet either. Still as can be seen on the KF6 Workboard there are plenty of tasks in our backlog which can be acted upon now. No need to wait to participate, all the work done now will make the transition to KF6 easier later on anyway.

        • Linux App Summit | Digital Personality

          Now that I’m on the back of some fairly intense travelling during the last 6 weeks, I finally get a chance to write something up.

          Back in November, I was fortunate to be involved in the Linux App Summit conference in Barcelona. Linux App Summit was a joint venture between multiple communities, including KDE and Gnome.

          LAS was a great opportunity to use the event infrastructure components that we’ve been building for KDE over the past few years. Now that we’ve been able to test both Frab and our Event Registration tooling with more communities, we’ve been able to mature our requirements some more for further development in the coming months.

        • KDE Frameworks 6 Progresses By Porting Code Away From Deprecated Functions

          Back in November was the first of several KDE Frameworks 6 developer sprints as plans begin to formulate for this evolutionary frameworks upgrade due out not until well after the Qt 6.0 tool-kit release. While Qt6 itself is still in flux, KDE Frameworks 6 efforts continue moving along by focusing on porting code away from deprecated KF5 functionality.

          Over the course of December some of the KDE Frameworks happening to help align with KF6 plans include porting code off Kdelibs4, moving KTorrent away from WebKit, moving more code off KHTML, and porting other code off the likes of KtcpSocket and QSslError, among other deprecated bits.

        • Atelier Plasmoid

          2019 is almost over, and this year Atelier didn’t have the amount of love and care that I wish I had given. Among finishing college(Yay!), changing jobs(Awesome!) and traveling for events(Akademy <3), I didn’t have enough time for it.

          However, a while ago, I had started to build a plasmoid, i.e., a widget for your awesome Plasma Desktop for you to quickly select a 3dprinter and a gcode file and 3d print it. But I didn’t reach a useful state of the widget.

          But yesterday I was kinda bored with my work, since I am doing home office for a couple weeks because I have twisted my ankle (I am better now, but holidays). So I went to remove the durty of my plasmoid code and see if I was able to make it finally work.

        • Ksnip – Qt based Screenshot Tool with Annotation Feature

          Ksnip is a Qt based cross-platform screenshot tool with many annotation features. It works on Linux, Windows, and Mac OS.

          Ksnip works on X11 and Gnome on Wayland. Like other screenshot tools, it can take screenshot of selected rectangular area, full screen, active window with time delay support.

    • Distributions

      • Gentoo Family

        • Gentoo-based Calculate Linux 20 released with major improvements

          With New Year being around the corner, the minds behind Calculate Linux deemed this the perfect time to drop a significant release that comes with tons of new software, enhancements, and fixes.

          Before we get to the new Calculate Linux 20, let’s discuss a bit about this OS to see what makes Calculate different from the other operating systems out there. Based on Gentoo, this operating system is famous for its user-friendliness and speed. Not only that, but if you want an operating system for your outdated, slow hardware, Calculate Linux should be a perfect choice.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Board election 2019-2020

          This year's openSUSE Election Committee is composed of Ariez Vachha, Edwin Zakaria and myself. Ariez joined the committee for the first time, while Edwin and I have worked together on the previous openSUSE Board election. Weeks ago, after consulting the election rules and brainstorming a bit, we came up with an election schedule that spans over several weeks, starting in December 2019 until January 2020.

        • Suse Marks Nine Years Of Continuous Growth With Successful FY2019

          Suse heralded its ninth consecutive year of revenue growth, announcing financial results and highlights from its fiscal year 2019 ended Oct. 31. Having become the world’s largest independent open source company earlier this year, Suse saw its application delivery subscription revenue jump 299 percent year over year. In addition, cloud revenue increased 64 percent, driven by cloud providers like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure, as Suse’s Cloud Service Provider ecosystem grew exponentially.

          Customer deals valued at $1 million or more increased 13 percent, contributing to a double-digit jump in revenue. As growth accelerated, Suse’s employee base grew 11 percent.

      • Arch Family

        • BlackArch Linux Ethical Hacking OS Gets First 2020 Release with 120 New Tools

          Packed with more than 120 new penetration testing and ethical hacking tools, the BlackArch Linux 2020.01.01 release is powered by Linux kernel 5.4.6 and features an updated installer that incorporates numerous improvements and bug fixes for better hardware detection and support.

          BlackArch Linux 2020.01.01 also adds Terminus font support to the LXDM display manager, updates the configuration file of the urxvt terminal emulator to add the ability to change the size on the fly, and replaces pathogen with Vundle.vim, and also adds a new Vim plugin called clang_complete.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian Project Votes 'Systemd But We Support Exploring Alternatives'

          The Debian Project has announced the results of its vote on how much to support non-systemd init systems. The eight options voted on included "Focus on systemd" and "Support for multiple init systems is required" (as well as milder choices like "Support for multiple init systems is Important" and "Support non-systemd systems, without blocking progress.") The winning option?

          "Systemd but we support exploring alternatives."

          Here's the position for the Debian project described by that option:

          The Debian project recognizes that systemd service units are the preferred configuration for describing how to start a daemon/s

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Revealed: The BEST Ubuntu Release of the Past 10 Years

          When Ubuntu swapped Unity for GNOME Shell back in 2017 there was no guarantee that the implementation and integration of the GNOME desktop stack would be anywhere near as finessed and fine-tuned as it was.

          In fact, many had been expecting the worst.

          GNOME Shell has issues (performance related mostly) but once Canonical set its software engineers to work, things improved improved greatly — and not just for Ubuntu users, either.

          And nowhere are those performance improvements more keenly felt than in October’s Ubuntu 19.10 release. It was a terrific one, arguably the best in many, many years.

        • Linux Mint 19.3 Tricia bugs identified; package updates to follow

          In the most recently released, they removed keyboard shortcuts in Cinnamons grouped window. However, because of popular demand, that feature is coming back. Read on for more details.

          It might be the Holiday Season, but the Linux Mint Team is still hard at work. The team recently released its December 2019 newsletter, fresh on the heels of the recent release of Linux Mint 19.3 Tricia.

        • Ubuntu 13.04 vs. Ubuntu 20.04 Development Performance Comparison Without Mitigations

          Last week I posted benchmarks looking at seven years of Ubuntu Linux performance in re-testing the releases of Ubuntu 13.04 through Ubuntu 19.10 stable and even the latest Ubuntu 20.04 LTS daily development image. A question that came up was how much better that performance would have been without any CPU vulnerability mitigations in place for Ubuntu 20.04... Well, here's that answer.

          In this article are the Ubuntu 13.04, Ubuntu 19.10, and Ubuntu 20.04 daily benchmark results from that earlier article plus an additional run now after re-testing Ubuntu 20.04 when the kernel was booted with "mitigations=off" for getting an idea of the performance lost due to the various in-kernel mitigations over the past nearly three years.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • A Brief History of Open Source Software

        While terms like “free software” and “open source software” may sound innocuous, when properly understood they imply elements of political philosophy, revolutionary zeal, technical development methodologies, traditional as well as radical legal theories, and cold, hard business pragmatism. Needless to say, such a rich stew of attributes is likely to present something of a challenge to anyone interested in gaining a quick understanding of exactly what this phenomenon is all about.

        The reasons for investing the time to gain a better understanding of free and open source software (FOSS) are several. From a socio-political point of view, the FOSS movement is part of a broader, socio-political initiative, energized in part by the ability of the Internet to enable the sharing of information and the active collaboration of people on a global basis. In the case of the free software movement, that movement questions the utility and fairness of many traditional copyright and patent-based legal restrictions, and seeks to liberate software for the benefit of all. Unlike proponents of OSS, who primarily wish to permit open source software to be freely available without traditional proprietary constraints, free software advocates support a set of ethical rules intended not only to foster free access, but also to inspire — and in some cases require — those that benefit from such access to contribute their own modifications and additions back to the community of developers as well.

        From an economic point of view, the OSS development model has reordered the business realities of software development in multiple ways. For a software vendor or user, the per-business costs of development of a given piece of software can be radically reduced by participating in a development project in which many others contribute their efforts as well. For an end user, access to the source code of an OSS product grants independence from a proprietary vendor, since the end user can adapt the code, or put development work out for competitive bidding. For commercial intermediaries, efforts can be directed towards developing value added services on top of core code that is available for free and maintained by a community of developers. For policy makers, OSS offers opportunities to level the playing field for domestic vendors while lowering costs of procuring public IT systems. From a marketplace perspective, the OSS model presents a disruptive force that offers opportunities for both existing as well as new businesses to attack the dominance of entrenched market participants whose advantages rest on proprietary development and sales models.

        Today, FOSS has become so pervasive that effective IT procurement and management requires a working knowledge of what FOSS is all about. Active participants in the development and use of FOSS products additionally need to know how FOSS can be expected to evolve in the future, and how the legalities of FOSS apply to anyone that participates in the development of FOSS, uses a FOSS product, or embeds a FOSS code in their own products for resale.

      • Modernization of OSS/BSS with Open Source, Part 3: Integration

        To realize the agility and velocity that have become imperatives in the market environment today, communications service providers (CSPs) must transform their service delivery and management infrastructure. This means that the systems that underpin their network and service operations must evolve. These are the operations support systems (OSS) that enable the operator to manage the network and the business support systems (BSS) that facilitate the management of the customer and overall business operations.


        CSPs’ need for agility and velocity to compete creates requirements for constant integration as the overall OSS/BSS environment evolves piece by piece, leading vendors, systems integrators, and CSPs themselves to adopt new open-source solutions for agile integration. Adopting API led design with new software development methodologies benefits developers with shorter development times and less testing, users with faster implementation of new features and functionality, and business owners with increased business agility. Adopting standard open-source platforms across the business provides a homogeneous technology base, allowing for faster, more reliable feature development at scale. Red Hat Integration and Red Hat OpenShift solutions are ideally suited to the iterative modernization journey for OSS and BSS.

      • Narrative to open source its codebase, seeks to sell business

        Narrative has announced that it will open-source its codebase and explore the sale of its platform following the early December announcement of its closure. Narrative cited market events, regulatory uncertainty, and limited resources as the leading factors in the project shutdown.

        Effective immediately upon the closure announcement, no new content, posts, comments, or quality ratings were accepted on the Narrative platform.


        Narrative is opting open source its codebase using the GPL v3.0 license, which is a free, copyleft license for software and other kinds of works that aims to ensure the software is free for all its users.

      • Twizzle is an Open-Source Desktop App for Twitter DMs

        Twizzle aims to be a standalone messenger for Twitter that packs in all the possible features the social media platform offers. To be more specific, you get GIFs, images, and emojis support in the app.

        The user interface of the app is simple and minimalistic. You get all your messages on the home screen right after you log in to the app with your Twitter account.

      • These 7 programming skills can increase your salary by thousands, according to the mega-popular developer hub Stack Overflow

        ElaElasticsearch is a search and analytics engine for large amounts of data. It's an open source project, meaning it's free for anyone to use, download, or modify. Today, the company Elastic maintains the project and builds commercial features to support it.

        sticsearch is a search and analytics engine for large amounts of data. It's an open source project, meaning it's free for anyone to use, download, or modify. Today, the company Elastic maintains the project and builds commercial features to support it.

      • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Falcon

        This week’s highlighted project is Falcon, which is an open-source Python framework for building large-scale app backends and microservices.

        According to the Falcon maintainers, the framework encourages the REST architectural style. It also attempts to do as little as possible, while also remaining highly efficient.

        “When it comes to building HTTP APIs, other frameworks weigh you down with tons of dependencies and unnecessary abstractions. Falcon cuts to the chase with a clean design that embraces HTTP and the REST architectural style,” the Falcon documentation states.

      • 'Thousands Of Tools Have Come & Gone, But Ansible & Bash Have Stood The Test Of Time'
      • Events

        • 5 Pivotal Events in IoT and Embedded

          Key themes in the embedded systems and Internet of things (IoT) world this year range from edge intelligence to security and the progress of open source. Below, we share what we see as the top five pivotal events from 2019 that are likely to have significant ramifications on 2020.


          While governments around the world are increasingly considering security guidelines for connected devices, January 2020 will see California’s Senate Bill, SB 327, come into enforcement. This requires manufacturers of connected devices for sale in California to equip the devices with ‘reasonable’ security features.

          Hence the announcement of OpenTitan, an open source silicon root of trust, is viewed as critical. The move will make it easier for developers to design trusted security into their systems at the metal level. We see this likely to be a pivotal moment for embedded security and IoT.

        • Scylla Summit 2019

          I’ve had the pleasure to attend again and present at the Scylla Summit in San Francisco and the honor to be awarded the Most innovative use case of Scylla.

          It was a great event, full of friendly people and passionate conversations. Peter did a great full write-up of it already so I wanted to share some of my notes instead…

          This a curated set of topics that I happened to question or discuss in depth so this post is not meant to be taken as a full coverage of the conference.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • phpMyAdmin 5.0.0 is released

          Welcome to the release of phpMyAdmin version 5.0.0. This release is occurring simultaneously with version 4.9.3; except for users with old PHP installations, version 5.0.0 is the recommended version.

          This release includes many new features and improvements from the 4.9 series. We expect to maintain version 4 in a security capacity to support users with older PHP installations. For full details about supported versions and end of life dates, see the "Supported versions" grid at

          With this release, we are removing support of old PHP versions (5.5, 5.6, 7.0, and HHVM). These versions are outdated and are no longer supported by the PHP team.

        • phpMyAdmin 5.0 Released To Drop Old PHP/HHVM Support, Modernized UI

          For server administrators with extra downtime around the holidays, phpMyAdmin 5.0.0 is now available for this widely-used web interface for administering MySQL/MariaDB databases.

          The phpMyAdmin 5.0 release notably drops PHP 5.5/5.6/7.0 support to focus on only supported versions of PHP. Facebook HHVM support was also dropped with that project now just focusing on their own Hack language rather than PHP7 compatibility.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice Writer: Working with Text

          This tutorial explains the basic text works in LibreOffice Writer. You will learn basically how to type, select, delete, copy & paste, undo & redo, bold-italic-underline, color & highlight, bullets & numberings, use of headings, align left-center-right, and finally making columns. Happy learning!

      • Funding

        • NSF Awards Grant to Research Team to Develop Next-Generation Cloud Computing Testbed
        • Anyscale, from the creators of the Ray distributed computing project, launches with $20.6M led by a16z

          Open source has become a critical building block of modern software, and today a new startup is coming out of stealth to capitalise on one of the newer frontiers in open source: using it to build and manage distributed application environments, an approach being used increasingly to handle large computing projects, such as those involving artificial intelligence or scientific or other complex calculations.

          Anyscale, a startup founded by the same team that built the Project Ray open-source distributed programming framework out of UC Berkeley — Robert Nishihara, Philipp Moritz and Ion Stoica, and Berkeley professor Michael I. Jordan — has raised $20.6 million in a Series A round of funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation also from NEA, Intel Capital, Ant Financial, Amplify Partners, 11.2 Capital and The House Fund.

        • Belgium-based Odoo raises $90 million to provide all-in-one, open source business software for small and medium sized businesses worldwide

          Odoo, an open source startup and a provider of all-in-one, open source business software for small and medium sized businesses worldwide, has closed a $90 million minority investment for rapid product development pace and continued global expansion. The round was led by global growth equity investor Summit Partners, with participation from Odoo’s executive management team and existing investor SRIW and its affiliate Noshaq.

        • Belgian business software giant Odoo raises $90 million to continue global expansion

          Odoo, the Belgian provider of open source all-in-one business software, has raised a $90 million round, led by Summit Partners, to fund its fast-paced product development and continued global expansion. Existing investor SRIW, its affiliate Noshaq, and Odoo’s own executive management team also participated in the round.

          The software is designed to help companies of all sizes run nearly any aspect of the business. In addition to the 30 applications offered in Odoo Enterprise, Odoo’s community of 20,000 active members has added over 16,000 apps that cover nearly every aspect of running a business.

          “In our experience, traditional ERP is expensive and frequently fails to adapt to the unique needs of dynamic businesses. With its flexible suite of applications and a relentless focus on product, we believe Odoo is ideally positioned to capture this large and compelling market opportunity,” said Antony Clavel, a Principal with Summit Partners who has joined the Odoo board.

      • BSD

        • FSF-Approved Hyperbola GNU/Linux Forking OpenBSD, Citing 'User Freedom' Concerns

          This will not be a "distro", but a hard fork of the OpenBSD kernel and userspace including new code written under GPLv3 and LGPLv3 to replace GPL-incompatible parts and non-free ones.

          Reasons for this include:

          - Linux kernel forcing adaption of DRM, including HDCP.

          - Linux kernel proposed usage of Rust (which contains freedom flaws and a centralized code repository that is more prone to cyber attack and generally requires internet access to use.)

          - Linux kernel being written without security and in mind. (KSPP is basically a dead project and Grsec is no longer free software)

          - Many GNU userspace and core utils are all forcing adaption of features without build time options to disable them. E.g. (PulseAudio / SystemD / Rust / Java as forced dependencies....)

          HyperbolaBSD is intended to be modular and minimalist so other projects will be able to re-use the code under free license.

        • QNAP’s Four-Bay NAS has returned to the all-time low at $280 (Save $110)

          As part of its Mega Deal Zone, B&H is currently offering the QNAP TS-451+ Four-Bay NAS for $279.99 shipped. Usually selling for $390, today’s offer saves you 29%, beats the previous discount by $20, and matches the all-time low. Featuring four hard drive slots, this NAS can support up to 72TB of total storage and rocks dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, an HDMI out, and three USB inputs. It’s also a more than capable option for running Plex, thanks to hardware transcoding capabilities. You’ll also find support for AirPlay, Chromecast, and more. Rated 4.3/5 stars from 375 customers. More details below.

      • Programming/Development

        • Open Source Migrates With Emotional Distress

          Many open source communities behave exactly the same way: they are replacing something with something else without a clear migration path. However some communities manage to survive some transitions like this.

          This largely works because the way open source communities are managing migrations is by cheating and the currency of payment is emotional distress. Since typically money is not involved (at least not in the sense that a user would pay for the product directly) there is no obvious monetary impact of people not migrating. So if you cause friction in the migration process it won't hurt you as a library maintainer. If anything the churn of some users might actually be better in the long run because the ones that don't migrate are likely also some of the ones that are the most annoying in the issue tracker. In fact Open Source ecosystems manage these migrations largely by trading their general clout for support of a large part of their user base to become proponents for a migration to the updated ecosystems. Open Source projects nowadays often measure their popularity through some package download counts, Github stars or other indicators. All of these are trending upwards generally and it takes a really long time for projects to lose traction because all the users count against it, even the ones that are migrating off frustratedly.

          The cheat is to convince the community as a whole that the migration is very much worth it. However the under-delivery to what is promised then sets up the community for another one of these experiences later. I have seen how GTK migrated from 1, to 2 and then later to 3. At any point it was painful and when most apps finally were on the same version, the next big breaking change was coming up.

          Since the migration causes a lot of emotional distress, the cheat is carried happily by the entire community. The big Python 3 migration is a good example of this: A lot of users of the language started a community effort to force participants in the ecosystem to migrate. Suffering together does not feel as bad, and putting yourself on the moral right side (the one that migrates vs the ones that are holding off) helps even more. That Python 3 effort was less based on reasonable arguments but on emotions. While the core of the argument was correct and a lot of stuff was better on Python 3, it took many iterations not to regress in many other aspects. Yet websites were started like a big "wall of shame" for libraries that did not undergo the migration yet. The community is very good at pushing through even the most controversial of changes. This tour de force then became something of a defining characteristic of the community.

        • Jussi Pakkanen: What can clang-format teach us about the human condition?

          Most people who do programming have taken part in at least one code formatting war. Usually these come about when companies want to standardise their code bases and thus want everything formatted according to a single style. Style wars, much like real wars, are not pleasant places to be in. They cause havoc and destruction, make reasonable people into life-long sworn enemies and halt work on anything useful.

        • Java Keywords – Java Is A Language of 50 Keywords

          Freshly we have studied about Object Oriented Programming Concept and this time we will be discussing the necessary keywords in Java programming. In any programming language, the number of keywords is huge but some keywords come in use very frequently. Today, we will be talking about those keywords. Please have patience and wait for all the parts of this article because it is very difficult to talk about all 50 keywords in one piece.

        • Perl / Raku

          • 22nd German Perl Workshop 2020 in Erlangen from 4th to 6th March 2020

            The German Perl Workshop is an Open Source conference for everyone, organized by community of the Perl Programming Language and its sister language Raku yearly in Germany. The 2020 edition will be from Wednesday, March 4th, 09:00 to Friday, March 6th, 16:00 in Erlangen.

            Most of the talks will be held in German, German talks will have English slides at least. English talks are welcome as well.

            The website already is open for talk submissions, so if you want to present something in addition to attending, please submit a proposal!

          • Perl Weekly Challenge 039: Guest Book and Reverse Polish Notation
          • Perl Weekly Challenge 040: Multiple Arrays & Sort SubList

            You are given two or more arrays. Write a script to display values of each list at a given index.

          • Pull Request Club 2019 Report

            CPAN Pull Request Challenge used to match CPAN maintainers to contributors. Contributors would sign up to receive monthly assignments. The goal was to submit at least one pull request. It was fun, but it came to an end at the end of 2018.

            I wanted this challenge to go on, so I created Pull Request Club. It has been a whole year since it started, so here’s the annual report with some insights.

        • Python

        • Rust

          • There Are Renewed Discussions About Having Rust Language Support Within GCC

            Going back a number of years has been various out-of-tree front-ends for GCC toying with the ability to compile Rust code with GCC while a new discussion has started up about the prospects of theoretically mainlining one of those efforts or otherwise developing a new GCC Rust front-end.

            Redbrain's GCCRS continues to be developed as one of those independent Rust front-ends to GCC. We've covered that front-end going back to 2013 and it's seen commits as recently as earlier this month.

      • Standards/Consortia

        • Cloudera Issues Call to Define Open Standards for Machine Learning

          Enterprise cloud data firm Cloudera has issued a call for industry participation to help define universal open standards for machine learning operations (MLOps) and machine learning model governance.


          Wang said: “Open source and open APIs have powered the growth of data science in business. But deploying and managing models in production is often difficult because of technology sprawl and [the creation of silos].”

          “Machine learning models are already part of almost every aspect of our lives from automating internal processes to optimizing the design, creation, and marketing behind virtually every product consumed,” said Nick Patience, the founder and research vice president for software at 451 Research.

  • Leftovers

    • Negative Capability

      In a letter to his brothers in 1817, John Keats shared his admiration for Shakespeare’s “negative capability,” his capacity for “being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” Where lesser artists backed away from phenomena that upset their reductive understanding of the world, Shakespeare wandered into the mystery and came away with complex psychological portraits that expanded our understanding of what it means to be human.

    • Happy Holidays v. Merry Christmas: A Politically Incorrect, Inclusive Perspective
    • Across the Balkans: Srebrenica

      An account of a journey from Croatia to Kosovo, by way of Bosnia-Hercegovina and Serbia, and with a detour into Montenegro. This is part VI of a series.

    • Get Zapped: Paul Krassner Electrocutes America

      How well does Paul Krassner’s brand of humor holdup? Is there still bite in his barbs and do his words still generate laughter? Fans of€ The Realist, which he founded in 1958 and edited for many years—and readers of his provocative books, including€ Who’s to Say What’s Obscene?—can begin to answer those questions thanks to a new, handsomely produced book,€ Zapped by the God of Absurdity: The Best of Paul Krassner€ ($26.99) from Fantagraphics. Whether this collection of essays is the “best” of Krassner isn’t clear. He wrote and published so much. Still, it’s pretty fucking good.

    • Education

      • Is California Saving Higher Education?

        Jaelyn Deas and her four best friends shared everything, including late-night study sessions in the library at San Jose State University and a never-ending preoccupation with how they’d pay for their tuition there.

      • One of the world's largest private equity firms just bought one of the world's largest library ebook companies

        Now, KKR owns Overdrive, having purchased it for an undisclosed sum. Private equity firms' business model is to buy profitable, productive companies, load them up with debt (paying themselves out of the money that was borrowed), cut costs by slashing wages and degrading the quality of their products and services, then allowing the company to go bust, stiffing the creditors, workers, and suppliers (that is, libraries, publishers and writers).

    • Health/Nutrition

      • The Looming U.S. Water Crisis

        According to the World Economic Forum, the global water crisis is the fourth major threat of our civilization. In fact, studies warn that two-thirds of the global population could be living in water-stressed countries by 2025 — just a few short years away.

      • The High Price of Abortion Restrictions

        States with more restrictions on reproductive health care have higher maternal and infant mortality rates.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Move over Edge: Safari looks to be jumping on the Chromium bandwagon, too [Ed: Any monoculture around proprietary software is a bad thing]

              UPDATE: According to some traffic over on Twitter, it looks like this whole thing is vaporware. It has been uncovered that the bug in question in the article below has nothing to do with Safari at all. The bug is still private and cannot be viewed by non-Google employees, but it appears that this bug is assigned to “Move sync tests to staging” from 2015. We’re sorry for the incorrect reporting and have left the original story below. Additionally, here is a tweet from someone more informed than me on the subject:

            • Rumor: Apple could transition Safari to Google’s open-source Chromium platform

              Update: The following rumor has since been debunked by the original reporter, Chrome Unboxed. That has also been backed up by an email exchange from Apple.

              It appears that Apple’s flagship web browser may join its competitors on the Chromium-based browser trend. At least, if recent screenshots are to be believed.

              According to a recently published (and Google translated) bug report from, there may be reason to believe that Apple is moving towards developing a version of Safari that is based on the open-source Chromium platform. The report, which includes screenshots from reader Artyom Pozharov, details a discovery made by Pozharov while browsing Chromium Monorail, Google’s bug tracking site.

            • Future of Siri, Alexa and Google Home with open-source smart home standards [Ed: The grotesque openwashing of mass surveillance inside people's homes]

              Building a smart home isn't as difficult anymore. However, making devices from different brands talk to each other can get difficult at times. With the new Project CHIP - Amazon, Apple, Google, and Zigbee Alliance aim to build an open-source smart home standard that can finally help consumers set up their preferred control system without being ruled over by brands.

            • Apple and Google collaborate to develop open-source smart home standard [Ed: The openwashing of surveillance has become a big thing]

              Apple, Google, and Amazon are set to form a partnership to develop an open-source smart home standard that will make sure devices work together, simplify the development of new devices, and keep everything safe in the process.

            • Why Is This Hyderabad-Based Startup Providing Open Source BI Framework To Its Customers?
            • Open Source Medicine And Cannabinoids: A Promising Future

              Entire industries are now being built around tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), the most well-known examples of cannabinoids—a group of compounds produced by the cannabis plant. But it is also interesting to note the amount of other cannabinoids that have not been detected in any other plant. By some estimates, there are more than 100 cannabinoids found exclusively in the cannabis plant.

        • Security

          • Riccardo Padovani: My year on HackerOne

            Last year, totally by chance, I found a security issue over Facebook - I reported it, and it was fixed quite fast. In 2018, I also found a security issue over Gitlab, so I signed up to HackerOne, and reported it as well. That first experience with Gitlab was far from ideal, but after that first report I’ve started reporting more, and Gitlab has improved its program a lot.

          • Top 5 Cybersecurity Predictions for 2020
          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Jewel v. NSA: On to the Ninth Circuit: 2019 Year in Review

              Jewel v. NSA, EFF’s landmark case challenging NSA’s mass spying moved forward in 2019, setting up a crucial decision for the Ninth Circuit in 2020.€  We’ve pursued this case for over a decade because we believe that mass surveillance, like all general search and seizure schemes, is both illegal and unconstitutional.€  The case arises from general seizures and searches conducted through three NSA surveillance programs: the NSA’s current Upstream tapping of the Internet backbone, its past actions collecting Internet metadata and its discontinued mass telephone records collection, purportedly authorized by section 215 of the Patriot Act. Congress just shamefully kicked debate on reauthorization of section 215 until March, 2020, even though it was stopped in 2018 after concerns of massive overcollection by the secret FISA Court and has never helped catch a terrorist.

              In 2019, we had bad news and good news on the litigation front.

            • What’s Next For YouTubers Impacted By Crypto-Related Content Ban?

              On Dec. 23, thousands of YouTubers received emails from the video giant notifying them that their crypto-related videos had suddenly been deleted from the platform. The ban, which lasted about four days before YouTube began reinstating videos, impacted YouTubers whose channels reached thousands of subscribers, as well as those with smaller audiences. Unsurprisingly, many of the YouTubers impacted have now turned to decentralized video platforms to share their content. Creating engaging and informative blockchain and cryptocurrency videos has become a source of income for many of these individuals, which is why it’s important for them to have a reliable outlet to utilize. CEO and Founder of LBRY, Jeremy Kauffman, told Cointelegraph, “Following the YouTube ban, access over the last 24 hours to LBRY has increased nearly 100% day-over-day.”

            • Youtube Calls Mass Deletion of Cryptocurrency Videos a Mistake

              Earlier this week, YouTube deleted hundreds of videos from several dozen cryptocurrency-focused channels.

              YouTube has since restored the videos, with a spokesperson telling Gizmodo that the deletion was a mistake — but the entire situation raises questions about how YouTube moderates its platform and decides what’s allowed on it.

            • What’s the Worst That Could Happen With My Phone Data? Our Journalists Answer Your Questions

              We invited our readers to ask the writers behind the investigation, Stuart A. Thompson and Charlie Warzel, questions about smartphone tracking. We heard from more than 1,100; here is a selection, lightly edited.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

      • There's a Texas-size area of hot sea water off the coast of New Zealand

        The water in the area is about 5 degrees Celsius (about 9 degrees Fahrenheit) "warmer than average for the latitude and time of year," said James Renwick, a professor and head of the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand.

        The hot blob on the Pacific surface is detectable from space and is the largest area of above-average water temperature on Earth right now.

      • Extinction Rebellion: A Flock of Starlings and a Plane Tree

        The collective impact of human activity is already, and at an ever increasing pace, destroying life on earth.€ 

      • A Year Of Resistance: How Youth Protests Shaped The Discussion On Climate Change

        Greta Thunberg made history again this month when she was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. The 16-year-old has become the face of youth climate action, going from a lone child sitting outside the Swedish parliament building in mid-2018 to a symbol for climate strikers — young and old — around the€ world.

      • Energy

        • More Climate Lawsuits Could Spur Federal Legislation and a Just Transition

          The Honolulu City Council chamber was rife with indignation and grief at a November 12, 2019, hearing, as residents urged the city council to vote to move ahead with suing oil companies to seek compensation for the growing cost of mitigating climate crisis conditions on the island. The list of defendants includes ExxonMobil, Shell and Chevron. Teenage activists, labor union reps, religious leaders, retirees, mothers-to-be, and others lined the walls of the room, ready to approach the podium for a minute each of testimony.

        • Stop the Spread of Liquefied Natural Gas — Before It's Too Late

          Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a potential disaster in the making. That’s the conclusion of a new report by Physicians for Social Responsibility, which surveyed an abundance of research on LNG’s threats to public health.

        • Court Upholds Ruling Protecting Marine Area Against Oil and Fishing Interests

          Defenders of ocean habitats celebrated Friday after a federal court upheld a lower court ruling defending the right of the U.S. executive branch to set aside marine areas as national monuments.

        • President Trump’s Baseless Attacks on Wind Power

          President Donald Trump always needs an enemy, and no enemy is too small for him. His latest? Wind power. In a speech to the conservative student group Turning Point USA, Trump told the students that he “never understood” the allure of wind power plants. By many accounts, President Trump doesn’t understand the allure of many things.

        • Sanctions, Security and the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline

          The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, construction of which is intended to transport 55 billion cubic metres of Russian gas to Germany per year under the Baltic Sea, is a ragbag of options and promises. The fruit of a deal between Berlin and Moscow, it has troubled those within Russia, Germany, Europe and the United States, though for different reasons.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Thousands of Koalas Feared Dead in Australia Wildfires

          Record wildfires continue: "I think this is the single loudest alarm bell I've ever heard on global heating."

        • Thousands of Koalas Feared Dead in Australia Wildfires

          Thousands of koalas are feared to have died in a wildfire-ravaged area north of Sydney, further diminishing Australia’s iconic marsupial, while the fire danger increased in the country’s east on Saturday as temperatures soared.

        • Saving the Wild Gallatins

          The Gallatin Range runs south from Bozeman to Yellowstone National Park. The range is the largest unprotected roadless area in the northern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

        • A Stressed Out Planet

          There is no more relevant time in the yearly cycle of life for humans than Xmas to talk about stress, € what it is and what it means for not only people, but all the animals that most people value so highly!


          Think of the consequences of human induced stress on wildlife populations confined to very limited landscapes in winter not only by snow, weather, and lack of forage, but by dramatic loss of space to human encroachment!

          Todays wildlife populations survive in contracted landscapes surrounded by humans and their industrial and recreational extravagances (like snowmobiles), a mere remnant of what they were in pre-modern human society. Even these places are routinely invaded by humans in a world where extreme and selfish behavior is not only tolerated but often encouraged.

          Why does the stress syndrome even exist? It evolved as a feedback system that allowed wild animals and early humans to sense (determine) that something wasn’t “right” about what they were doing, who they were with or where they were. It provides a valuable early warning signal; get out, change your circumstances! Those who reacted by leaving, or modified their behavior, survived and reproduced; the others, not so. That’s how natural selection works.

          Exposure to behavior or situations that cause stress elevate the release of the stress hormone cortisol, the “flight or fight” hormone, with its myriad of physical, physiological and neural adjustments in the body.

      • Overpopulation

        • It’s Not Capitalism that’s Driving Ecocide; it’s Civilization

          The fact that human beings are causing great damage to life on the planet is not up for debate. Even if one doesn’t buy anthropogenic climate change, it’s all too clear that we’re making a big mess with pesticides, air pollution, plastic in the oceans, nuclear waste, genetic modification, top soil loss, aquifer depletion, urban sprawl, wildlife extinctions, and more.

    • Finance

      • How $15 Billion in Bonuses Leaves Canada's Bankers Gloomy
      • Trumpian Attacks on Homelessness and California Are Utter and Total Poppycock

        The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a system for counting the homeless that is worthless: utterly worthless. And the media's failure to report this story accurately is dangerous.

      • 'A Stark Loss for American Journalism': Reporter and Author William Greider Dies at Age 83

        "He was an old school journalist from the pre-internet era when journalists actually sat down and took time to talk to regular people."

      • William Greider’s Blistering Critiques of Capitalism Will Be Sorely Missed

        In 1981, William Greider, who died this week, wrote “The Education of David Stockman,” an essay for The Atlantic that, as Katherine Q. Seeley wrote in her New York Times obituary, “caused a national uproar.” Greider, through his own analysis, and careful, direct questioning over a series of interviews, got Reagan’s budget director, David Stockton, to admit that the president’s vision of low taxes for corporations and the rich had caused immense confusion, even within Reagan’s own administration. “None of us really understands what’s going on with all these numbers,” Stockton admitted to Greider.

      • Trump, Jesus and the IRS

        Tutors in the ways of the Internal Revenue Code can come from unexpected places as this week’s news shows. One tutor is the trump, and the other, the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints.€  Each€  provides us with new insight into the working of Section 501 (c) 3 of the Code.€  It deals with tax exempt charitable organizations.

      • What's Wrong With Malthus

        In the recently published “Limits: Why Malthus Was Wrong and Why Environmentalists Should Care,” Giorgos Kallis tackles weighty and expansive topics in merely 156 pages. One cannot help but wonder if his brevity (the soul of wit, after all) was in keeping with the book’s theme—how humanity can live an abundant life within material limits.

      • We Need a New Deal for Housing

        I’ve worked hard my whole life and will probably never own a home. This is a policy shame, not a personal one.

      • Donald Trump Will Easily Be Reelected: There Has Been No Repudiation of What He Represents and There Won’t Be

        I predicted well before the last election that Donald Trump would be elected, having felt that way once he rode down that golden escalator with his rapist invective. Ever since he was elected, I’ve also believed he’ll be reelected, more easily this time.

      • Review: Super Pumped

        If you're not familiar with the Bay Area tech culture or with startup finance, you may not know about the huge fight over control of startups. Historically, it was common for startup founders to give up majority control of their companies to early venture capital funders, and for those funders to then replace the management (and, some would argue, meddle with the company mission) once the company became more mature and was heading for an "exit" (a stock market IPO or acquisition, so-called because those events let early investors sell off their stake and "exit" the company with a profit). Google and Facebook are among the wildly successful companies that broke this mold and retained founder control. Those examples, plus the flood of additional money into tech startups, let more founders or early owners like Kalanick follow suit and refuse to give up a majority stake in the company.

        This is an interesting debate because there are good arguments to be made for both models. On one hand, no one likes bankers, who are widely (and not entirely inaccurately) viewed as reluctantly necessary parasites. The process of bringing in professional management at the behest of the VC owners was often very disruptive, came with aggressive layoffs and reorganizations, and in some cases involved dismantling the business for parts or selling it to a competitor rather than continuing to develop a product. The founders usually had a vision for how the company could change the world, or at least its market, and while those visions were often dubious, that sort of mission and focus was often more appealing to the general employees of the company than the VC focus on a lucrative exit.

        On the other hand... there's Travis Kalanick.

        As Isaac explains, and which I didn't know before reading this book, Kalanick was not the founder of Uber. That's Garrett Camp, who had the initial idea and brought Kalanick on as an advisor. He was happy to mostly step aside early on, however, leaving Kalanick with uncontested control of the company. It's Kalanick who decided on the strategy of aggressive expansion, openly illegal flouting of taxi laws, political hardball, and massive runaway spending to try to break into Asian transportation markets. It's under Kalanick's watch that Uber built systems to hide their activity from police and government regulators. And Kalanick oversaw the culture of pervasive sexual harassment that led to a massive internal investigation and his eventual ouster.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Voter Suppression Exposes the Paradox of Black Citizenship in a Racist Society

        Black citizenship has always been up for debate in the United States. The conditions in which Black people live — or survive — are a testament to this. Whether rich or poor, Black people live under the constant threat of state violence. There is no escape from it, and any Black person can fall victim to it. For many, citizenship can feel like a saving grace, despite continually being subject to constant threats. But the category of citizenship itself is a contradiction when we take Black people’s past and present circumstances into consideration. The state invalidates Black citizenship through violence in many ways. One specific way the state reveals this paradox is through voter suppression.

      • Trump and Mormon Tutors
      • Netanyahu Vows to Annex All Israeli Settlements in West Bank if Re-elected

        Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated a campaign pledge Thursday to annex all Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Jordan Valley if he is re-elected in March, noting that the Trump administration supports the move.

      • In 2020, Live Your Prayer
      • Ralph Nader on Impeachment: Democrats Should Go After Trump’s Full Corruption, Not Just Ukraine
      • “Then, I Have an Article II, Where I Have the Right to do Whatever I Want as President.” – “King” Donald Trump
      • Spotify suspends political adverts to fight fake news

        The world's most popular music streaming service, Spotify, will suspend political advertising in 2020, becoming the latest digital giant to join the fight against online disinformation.

        The company said on Friday that it made the decision because it currently lacks the ability to identify and filter false information. The suspension will come into effect in early 2020, said a spokesperson for the company.

        Spotify uses a two-tier platform model with some of its 130 million users subscribing to a free version of the site, where advert breaks interrupt music streaming while paid subscribers are not exposed to adverts.

        The suspension will apply to both political advertisements as well as Spotify exclusive and original podcasts.

      • Norwegian Spy Jailed by Russia Is Free. He’s Angry, Too, but Not at Moscow.

        To NATO, Kirkenes is on the vanguard of East-West confrontation because it is just across the border from the Kola Peninsula, home to Russia’s powerful Northern Fleet and much of the country’s nuclear arsenal.

        But to many who live in this isolated region, Russia is primarily a partner, driving their economy thanks to fishermen docking at their port and Russians making day trips to buy diapers and other Western goods.

        “We want to promote this region as a region of cooperation, bringing down walls and building bridges,” said Marit Jacobsen, deputy head of the Norwegian Barents Secretariat, which funds cooperation projects with Russia. “We can handle one Frode Berg, but we cannot handle that many.”

      • [Older] How Race Hampered the Investigation Into Dag Hammarskjold’s Death

        Dag Hammarskjold, the late United Nations secretary-general killed in a 1961 plane crash, may have been murdered, his aircraft shot out of the sky by a hostile fighter jet as it prepared to land, according to a U.N. report published Tuesday by a Tanzanian judge.

      • UN extends probe into mysterious 1961 death of secretary-general Hammarskjold

        Only the second secretary-general in the history of the UN, Hammarskjold was killed along with 15 other people on September 18, 1961 when their plane crashed near the city of Ndola in what was then known as Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia.

      • General Assembly asks for continued probe into death of former UN chief

        The resolution requests the current UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, to re-appoint the Eminent Person to continue to review the information received and possible new information made available by member states, including by individuals and private entities, to assess its probative value and to draw conclusions from the investigations already conducted.

        It urges all member states to release any relevant records in their possession and to provide relevant information to the Eminent Person and the secretary-general, and to ensure that they have conducted a full review of their archives and records.

      • Now Is Not the Time for Women to Stop Marching

        The 2020 march will be the strongest demonstration of our power yet, as we lift up every member of our community in our calls for justice.

      • Trump's 'Moral Character' Is Severely Lacking

        Trump's broadside against the late congressman from Michigan, John Dingell, was disgusting and deplorable.

      • Mike Bloomberg’s Campaign Staff Doesn’t Work Like Slaves, They ARE Slaves

        Michael Bloomberg, America’s 8th richest billionaire according to the latest annual survey by Forbes Magazine, owns one of this country’s biggest media empires, and is personally currently worth $56.1 billion. That makes him an oligarch, exactly like those oligarchs that the US media and US politicians love to accuse of polluting Russia’s political system.

      • The Stupidest Op-Ed of 2019 Argues Trump Will Inspire a Religious Revival

        Newsweek just published a piece that set a record for preposterous ideas, confidently but incoherently argued.

      • The MEK in Albania

        The following is an interview I conducted via email with Osli Jazexhi, an Albanian-based, Canadian-Albanian historian who specializes in the history of Islam, nationalism and religious reformation in Southeastern Europe. His interest covers nationalism, radicalism, religious and ethnic identities in the Balkans. The interview was conducted between December 17 and 19.

      • Amid Whispers of Presidential Potential, AOC—Not Buttigieg—Called 'Future of the Democratic Party'

        Politico reports that the New York Democrat and high-profile 2020 surrogate for Bernie Sanders is generating buzz as a future White House contender.

      • Washington Legislature Report a Strong First Step in Ending Domestic Terrorism

        Last week, the Republican Party of Washington unveiled a detailed investigation finding that state legislator Matt Shea (R-Spokane) “participated in an act of domestic terrorism against the United States” in aiding and abetting the Bundy militants in their takeover of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016. In response, Republican House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox called for Shea’s resignation, and Rep. Shea was expelled from the Republican caucus.

      • Citing Joe Biden's Troubling Voting Record, Bernie Sanders Warns 'My God... Trump Will Eat His Lunch'

        The Vermont senator said defeating Trump in 2020 will require "ideas that are going to excite and energize millions of people who right now are not particularly active in politics, and who may not vote at all."

      • Avoiding the Collapse of Democracy Is Our Responsibility

        Democracy needs to keep moving forward. If we elude our responsibility when it comes to breathing new life into the values that sustain it, our liberal societies will eventually collapse.

      • Here It Comes: Get Ready for a Stop-Bernie Onslaught Like You've Never Seen

        Beware. Because disparaging and minimizing Bernie in 2019 didn't work, the next step in 2020 will be to trash him with a vast array of full-bore attacks.

      • The Abundance of Faithful Cynicism

        I have written the following in the full knowledge that there is no person I personally, physically know who wants to read or hear the following.

        I prefer to avoid television. The abundance of misguiding assumptions, especially in what are presented as “news” programs, has, much too frequently in the past, been a source of irritation, feelings of hopelessness, and ejaculations of profanity on my part. The overall effect for me has been to end up in a seemingly cynically dismissive laugh. Big brother’s reinforced bipartisan fakery is especially an obscenity I want to eliminate from my consciousness.


        My belief is limited to the reasonable-ness of the idea of evolution. My own awareness has evolved over the years. This is part of my restraint. I know I cannot force my knowledge on others and I must have patience. Patriotism and religion have become for me two of the most dangerous methods of disconnecting people from themselves. It is more and more clear that the churches and the governments of the world are the dominant purveyors of theological fraudulences which lead people to attach variable value to lives and the environment dependent upon privatizing creeds and that those who are seen as outsiders are dismissed as undeserving of the faithful’s attention – especially as the faithful trumpet their self-serving and separating delusions of grandeur.

        It seems the faithful – whether religious or nationalized or both – so frequently have such a desperate need for their faith that it is impossible for them to avoid cynicism. Henry David Thoreau is famous for saying that the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. For years I thought that this was a very perceptive statement, but in today’s world of broadcasts and invasive capitalist deceptions I cannot help but see Thoreau’s assessment as a gross understatement. The sounds and the glares of our desperate feelings of insecurity have become screams.

        The intoxicated states within which we humans are screaming can only be remedied by a sober restraint. A secularly focussed, global awareness is our only chance to evolve beyond the celebrated dogmas of domination and predatory economics which are now destroying the supposed promise of a future without gross injustice and more toxic deteriorations. The status quo of democratrepublican deviousness must be put aside as the toxic inebriant which it is. The rampant obfuscations, deceits, and hypocrisy of the democratrepublican corporate capitalist churches have clearly failed to rise above crass fraudulence and they are grossly lacking in self-restraint. They are playing deceitful games upon the corpses of the future as well as the corpses of the past. As much as people insist that Trump is an anomaly, there is a growing mountain of perverse bipartisan evidence which proves otherwise.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • The Year in Corporate Speech Controls

        Content moderation and its effects remained at the forefront of the public imagination in 2019, with stories of takedowns from Sweden to Syria and everywhere in between gaining media attention. Inconsistent and unfair moderation from companies—often under great pressure from governments and other external actors—is still a serious problem, but one that EFF and our many allies are actively working to shine a light on, and improve.

        To that end, we were proud to see so many companies respond favorably to our Who Has Your Back? demands to provide more transparency to users. This year, we ranked companies based on six criteria, which only one company—Reddit—met in full. Still, we were particularly pleased that twelve companies chose to endorse the Santa Clara Principles on Transparency and Accountability in Content Moderation, and hope that their support propels them to implementation.

      • France summons Iran envoy over ‘intolerable’ detention of scholars

        The envoy "was reminded of France's demand that Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal are released without delay and that the Iranian authorities show total transparency over their situation," it said in a statement.

        "As the President (Emmanuel Macron) and Foreign Minister (Jean-Yves Le Drian) have said on several occasions, their imprisonment is intolerable," it added.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • The Most Important Free Press Stories of 2019
      • Morocco: Free Outspoken Journalist Jailed Over Tweet

        Moroccan authorities should unconditionally release and drop charges against a journalist jailed for a 9 months-old tweet criticizing a judge, Human Rights Watch said today. Omar Radi, 33, is due to be tried on January 2, 2020 for allegedly insulting a judge who imposed heavy penalties on protesters from the Rif region. He faces up to one year in prison if convicted.

        On December 26, a judge in Casablanca rejected Radi’s request for pre-trial release, notably on medical grounds that he suffers a severe form of asthma and other ailments.

      • Moroccan journalist detained over tweet criticising judge

        A Moroccan journalist and activist was charged and detained over a tweet that criticised a court decision, his lawyer said Thursday, the same day a YouTuber was sentenced to four years in prison for "insulting the king" in a video broadcast on social networks.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Software Patents

          • Amazon wants to patent technology that could identify shoppers by their hands

            The US Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application from Amazon on Thursday for a touchless scanning system that would identify people not by their faces but by characteristics associated with the palms of their hands, including wrinkles and veins.

            The application filing does not mean the company is definitely developing such technology, but the New York Post reported in September that Amazon was testing technology that would allow Whole Foods customers to scan their hand to pay at checkout rather than swiping a card. If the tech does make it to the real world, it seems the company might be considering using it in its Amazon Go stores: Many of the inventors listed on the application are employees working on Amazon Go, including Dilip Kumar, who has been the head of technology for Amazon Go and is vice president for Amazon’s physical retail initiatives.

          • Patent case: TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd. v. Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, USA

            Swedish telecommunications company Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson and its U.S. subsidiary Ericsson Inc. (together, “Ericsson”) should have been given a jury trial instead of a bench trial held to determine a retrospective royalty rate to be applied to a “release payment” for past unlicensed sales of products by mobile device manufacturers TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd., TCT Mobile Ltd., and TCT Mobile (US) Inc. (“TCL”) that employed Ericsson’s standard-essential patents (SEPs), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has held. Ericsson had a Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial on the release payment because the payment was, in substance, compensatory relief for TCL’s past patent infringement. By calculating the rate via a bench trial, the district court deprived Ericsson of that right, the appellate court said. In addition, because the district court’s decisions on equitable matters—including a prospective royalty rate for the SEP portfolio—were based on issues common to the improperly adjudicated release payment, the district court’s decision was overturned in full and remanded for further proceedings, including a jury trial on the release payment rate (TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd. v. Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, December 5, 2019, Chen, R.).

      • Trademarks

        • [Guest post] Everybody was kung fu fighting: trade mark vs image rights - who will be the last one standing?

          The Bruce Lee Enterprises, in the person of Shannon Lee, Bruce Lee’s daughter and CEO of the Bruce Lee Family Companies, has sued the Real Kungfu fast-food chain for using Bruce Lee’s image without permission. The member of the Lee family requested the Zhen Gongfu company, as known in Mandarin, to promptly remove the image and sought millions of US dollars (30) in damages (see full story here).

          This episode raises interesting questions as the defendant has counter-argued that it has registered Bruce Lee’s image as a trade mark, and it has been using it for many years. Therefore, which rights can the Lee family rely on to protect the Bruce Lee universe from unjustified exploitation?

          Despite the fact that Article 101 of the General Rules of the Civil Law of the People's Republic of China (GRCL) grants natural persons the right, amongst others, to their name, portrait and reputation (see here), Real Kungfu was able, in 2007, to register Bruce Lee features as an international trade mark designating China, the European Union and Turkey (see registration here) and use it for many years.


          It appears that the weak trade mark protection that the Bruce Lee Enterprises and Shannon Lee established for the Bruce Lee image has put them in hot water. This episode shows, once again, the importance of building an effective IP strategy that takes into consideration all the possible scenarios of infringement, accompanied with constant monitoring also to avoid disputes like the present one.

        • English High Court dismisses Babybel appeal on the 3D red wax-coating UK trade mark

          'The mark is limited to the colour red. The mark consists of a three dimensional shape and is limited to the dimensions shown above.'

        • It's nearly New Year's Eve: Why "Tipsy" is such an undesirable mark

          Sometimes this Kat feels compelled to discuss trademarks other than in strictly legal terms. Several years ago he did so in explaining why “COFIX” was his trademark of the year. This time, however, he comes from the other direction: what happens when he finds a mark troubling, even if it will pass legal muster. And so it is with the mark “Tipsy White” for… you guessed it, white wine, as produced by a local winery. Forget the word “white; our focus is on “Tipsy”.

          So why does this Kat find the mark troubling? It's all about its connotation in the context of wine products. So let's start with the fact that Tuesday night is New Year’s Eve, or Sylvester, or whatever name is given to that period between December 31st and January 1st. New Year’s Eve is marked by parties, which inevitably involve alcohol.

          This means that New Year’s Eve is one of the most vulnerable times of the year for accidents caused by drivers who should not have behind the steering wheel. If there is any date on the calendar for which collective concern about overconsumption of alcohol is especially acute, it is New Year’s Eve.

      • Copyrights

        • Game of Thrones is the Most Torrented TV-Show of 2019

          For the seventh year Game of Thrones has taken the crown for the most pirated TV-show on the Internet. This will also be the last time, as the series has ended, but there's a newcomer eager to take its place. Disney's Star Wars series Mandalorian is currently in third place, which is in part due to the limited availability of the new streaming service.

        • Take-Two Files Copyright Suit to Kill Red Dead Redemption: Damned Enhancement Project

          The first installment of Red Dead Redemption was never officially launched on PC but a developer known as 'DamnedDev' hoped to change all that with his 'Red Dead Redemption: Damned Enhancement Project'. However, after reportedly ignoring Take Two's warnings to cease-and-desist, he must now deal with a copyright infringement lawsuit.

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