Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 12/1/2020: End of Windows 7, LibreOffice 6.4 RC2 and Sparky 5.10

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Warning: Windows 7 is losing support, but so is this popular version of Ubuntu Linux!

        Windows 7 is a great operating system -- there is a reason so many computer users have clung to it. Well, we can also thank the terrible Windows 8 for scaring people from upgrading, I suppose. Windows 8.1 was better, and Windows 10 is actually pretty good, but neither are loved like Windows 7 is.

        Sadly, Microsoft is killing Windows 7 for most users -- it reaches end of life status in just two days, on January 14th. After that date, Windows 7 will be unsupported (except for businesses that choose to pay for extended support) -- you'd have to be a fool to continue using that operating system. You should upgrade to Windows 10 ASAP or switch to a Linux-based OS.

      • Windows 7, the "fresh" install

        I have a confession. For a few years I've had a Windows 7 box sitting on the shelf. Literally: sitting on a shelf, unconnected to anything, unused. I had bought it as a refurbished unit from an on-line retailer, to be my wife's PC, but I had to return it so many times for hardware problems that I finally bought her a refurb from a local store. Eventually the on-line retailer managed to send me a functioning -- but now superfluous -- unit, so I put it in storage. Who knows, maybe I'll need a Win 7 PC some day.

        When I learned that Windows 7 support is ending on January 14, 2020, I thought that I'd better activate and update that computer. So off the shelf, onto the desk, connect to the Internet, power up and go. Windows Update reported that my bare Win 7 Pro SP1 needed some 170 updates, which I accepted. About 17 failed, which I attributed to download errors; repeating Windows Update fixed all but 4.

        Ah, those four.

        Windows Update reported error codes 80092004 and 8050800c. The former, it seems, is due to a change in the SHA-2 signing of updates. Update 4490628 fixes this, but for some inscrutable reason Windows Update didn't install this essential update! So I had to go to the Microsoft Update Catalog and download and install it manually. (The Microsoft support page does not describe the procedure for manual installation, but I guessed that once I had downloaded the file, opening the Windows Explorer and double-clicking on the downloaded file would install it...and I was right.)

    • Server

      • Should You Be Using Kubernetes?

        Like most people, I was only vaguely familiar with Kubernetes until my company started working with it. Since then, I’ve gained a deep appreciation for what it brings to cloud application management.

        For those unfamiliar, Kubernetes is a container-orchestration framework developed in 2014, originally as an internal project at Google. The framework automates much of the work involved in software development, including deployment, management and scaling. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation currently manages Kubernetes as an open source project, and Apache 2.0 distributes it.

        When we started our project, I understood only the basics of this framework. But as I dove deeper into the infrastructure and logic of Kubernetes, I discovered its distinct advantages when it came to integrating hardware, vendors and clouds onto a single platform.

      • Kubernetes Gets a Runtime Security Tool
      • 4 Ways Kubernetes Could Be Improved

        Kubernetes is good, but it could be improved. Here are some things that could be better.

        Like almost everyone else these days, I think Kubernetes is the best container orchestration solution. But that doesn’t mean Kubernetes isn’t without its flaws. For my money, there are a number of things that Kubernetes could do better—and needs to if it is going to remain the de facto open source container orchestrator.

        Indeed, some days I think the best thing I can say about Kubernetes is that it has fewer shortcomings than its competitors (I’m looking at you, Docker Swarm) rather than that it truly stands apart for its strengths.

        Here’s a list of areas where Kubernetes can be improved.

      • VMware Eyes Storage Options for Kubernetes
      • What Do Customers Want From The Kubernetes Ecosystem In 2020
      • Why the Air Force put Kubernetes in an F-16
      • IBM

        • IBM Research open-sources SysFlow to tackle cloud threats

          IBM Corp.’s research division today announced the release of SysFlow, an open-source security toolkit for hunting breaches in cloud and container environments.

          SysFlow is designed to tackle a common problem in network protection. Modern security monitoring tools capture system activity with a high degree of granularity, often down to individual events such file changes.

          That’s useful to a point but also creates a large amount of noise that makes spotting threats harder. IBM researchers Frederico Araujo and Teryl Taylor described looking for breaches under such circumstances as “akin to searching for a needle in an extremely large haystack.”

        • Red Hat DevSecOps Strategy Centers on Quay

          Red Hat is moving toward putting the open source Quay container registry at the center of its DevSecOps strategy for securing containers.

          The latest 3.2 version of Quay adds support for Container Security Operator, which integrates Quay’s image vulnerability scanning capabilities with Kubernetes. Dirk Herrmann, senior principal product manager for Red Hat, says that capability will make it possible to leverage the open source Clair vulnerability scanning tool developed by CoreOS. Red Hat acquired CoreOS in 2018.


          The latest release of Quay also makes it easier to extend DevSecOps processes across multiple instances of the container registry. Version 3.2 of Quay includes a mirroring capability that makes it possible to replicate instances of Quay container registries across multiple locations. In fact, Herrmann says one of the things that differentiates Quay most from other container registries is its ability to scale.

          Other capabilities added to Quay include support for OpenShift Container Storage 4, which is enabled via NooBaa Operator for data management, based on the S3 application programming interface (API) for cloud storage developed by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

        • 2020 Red Hat Women in Open Source Award Nominations Now Open

          Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that it is accepting nominations for the 2020 Women in Open Source Award program. Now in its sixth year, the Women in Open Source Award program was created and is sponsored by Red Hat to honor women who make important contributions to open source projects and communities, or those making innovative use of open source methodology.

          Nominations for this year's awards will be accepted for two categories: Academic, open to women who are enrolled full-time, earning 12 or more credit hours, in college or university; and Community, open to all other women contributing to projects related to open source.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux In 2020 Can Finally Provide Sane Monitoring Of SATA Drive Temperatures

        Here is another long overdue kernel change... For more than a decade there have been patches trying to get SATA/SCSI drive temperature monitoring working nicely within the Linux kernel but none of that work ever made it through for mainlining. That has left various user-space tools to provide the functionality, but in doing so that has required root access and not to mention the need to first install said utilities. Well, with Linux 5.6 in 2020, there is finally a proper drive temperature driver for disks and solid-state drives with temperature sensors.

        It took until the current Linux 5.5 cycle to see a kernel driver for NVMe drive temperatures to avoid having to run third-party utilities as root in user-space while now for Linux 5.6 will be the support for even older SATA/SCSI drives with the new "drivetemp" driver.

    • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • VVVVVV goes open source for its 10 year anniversary

        VVVVVV, Terry Cavanagh's gravity-flipping platformer, is a decade old, and to mark the occasion Cavanagh has decided to make it open source. The news was revealed at AGDQ today, and you can get your hands on the source code now via GitHub.

        In case you've somehow avoided it for a decade, VVVVVV's a smart, minimalist platformer with one simple but brilliant twist: instead of jumping, you need to reverse gravity. It's tricky but never cruel—you can turn off death entirely if you want, and there are plenty of checkpoints.

        Both the desktop and mobile source codes are available, and Cavanagh has provided some notes to accompany them.

        "I think even a peek of the source code will quickly reveal that VVVVVV is not a technically sophisticated game! Even by the standards of self taught indie devs, it’s kind of a mess," he warns. Little does he know, it's all equally indecipherable to me.

      • UnCiv is an open source remake of Civilization V for PC and Android

        Back in 2010, when Civilization V was launched, it was considered one of the best 4X strategy games ever released. Of the whole Civilization series, it still holds the top spot as the best selling game with 8M copies sold worldwide. Despite being ten years old now, it still maintains over 20000 Steam users playing it daily.

        Based on the success among its respective community, the developer Yair Morgenstern has decided to remake the game with a new spin.

        UnCiv uses an art style similar to an early 90s retro game, with its characteristic pixelated looks. Although it’s using an old-school style for the graphics, the mechanic and gameplay side of the project will be the same as Civilization V.

      • Steam's December Numbers Point To A Lower Linux Marketshare But With More Oddities

        I refrained from writing about Valve's Steam Survey numbers at the start of January when they were posted for December as the numbers didn't seem up to scratch. But half-way through the month now, the same numbers are up with no edits by Valve, as we've seen in some months when they refine their measurements.

        For December 2019, the Steam Survey shows the Linux gaming marketshare slipping by 0.14% down to 0.67%. That's quite a large slip, but keep in mind this is in percentage terms and not the absolute number of gamers. This slip is quite a surprise since the Steam Linux gaming marketshare has been quite steady for the past many months thanks in large part to Steam Play in allowing many Windows games to run gracefully on Linux.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: more speed, more features, and a bug massacre

          This week should have a little something for everyone. We’ve got bug squashing galore in preparation for Plasma 5.18, substantial speed improvements for wifi connection and Discover launch time, some welcome new features, and the return of an old one–renaming files from the context menu in file dialogs.

        • KDE Devs Fix Several Wayland Bugs, Annoying KWin Issues Plus Easier To Toggle Night Color

          KDE developers fixed a number of Wayland and KWin bugs this week along with a number of other annoying bugs as well as making several other noteworthy refinements to the growing KDE ecosystem.

          KDE developer Nate Graham has continued with his weekly summaries that meticulously detail the interesting changes in the KDE space each this week.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Project Trident Reaches Beta For Its ZFS-Based Void Linux Powered OS

          Making rounds in Q4 of last year was the little known Project Trident open-source operating system switching from its TrueOS/FreeBSD base to in turn moving to Void Linux as a base for their platform. Towards the end of the year they offered some initial images of their reborn OS while now Project Trident based on Void Linux has reached beta.

          This Linux distribution in its beta form offers a ZFS-on-root based installation, guided/easy-to-use installation, support for both Glibc and Musl C libraries, and is pushing towards other innovations as it moves along in 2020.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Melissa Di Donato, CEO, SUSE: On cloud journeys, hyperscaler complexity, and daring to be different

          When Melissa Di Donato joined SAP in 2017, having counted Salesforce, IBM and Oracle among her previous employers, she told this publication it was like ‘coming home.’ Now, as chief executive of Linux enterprise software provider SUSE, it is more a step into the unknown.

          Yet it is not a complete step. Working with a proprietary software company means your experience is primarily in selling it, implementing it and aligning it to others’ business needs. With SUSE, Di Donato knows far more acutely what customers want.


          Not unlike other organisations, SUSE’s customer base is split into various buckets. You have traditionalists, which comprise about 80% of customers, hybrid beginners, cloud adopters and cloud-native; the latter three all moving in ever decreasing circles. Regardless of where you are in your cloud journey, SUSE argues, the journey itself is the same. You have to simplify, before you modernise, and then accelerate.

          Di Donato argues that cloud and containers are ‘very, very overused words’, and that getting to grips with the technology which holds the containers is key – but all journey paths are valid. “Whether cloud means modernising, or container means modernising, VMs, open source… [customers’] version of modernising is really important, and they want to simply and modernise to then get to a point where they can accelerate,” she says. “Regardless of what persona you are, what customer type you are, everyone wants to accelerate.”

          These days, pretty much everyone is on one of the hyperscale cloud providers as well. SUSE has healthy relationships with all the major clouds – including AWS, which is a shot in the arm for its occasionally-criticised stance on open source – aiming to offer partnerships and value-adds aplenty.

      • Debian Family

        • Sparky 5.10

          A quarterly update of live/install media of Sparky 5.10 “Nibiru” of the stable line is out. This release is based on Debian 10 “Buster”.

          Changes: – the base system has been upgraded from Debian stable repos as of January 10, 2020 – Linux kernel 4.19.67-2+deb10u1 LTS (PC) – Linux kernel 4.19.75-v7+ (ARMHF) – Chromium web browser changed to Firefox-ESR (ARMHF) – small bug fixes and small improvements

    • Devices/Embedded

      • The Suunto 7 is the first Wear OS smartwatch with the Snapdragon Wear 3100’s Sports mode

        Despite the advancements in wearable technology, smartwatches other than those running Apple’s watchOS and Samsung’s Tizen have failed to make an impact on users. Google’s Wear OS has been a major let down for several users because of the lack of fitness features or a closed platform in contrast to the open-source Android. But more importantly, Qualcomm’s inferior hardware support compared to proprietary chips used by brands like Apple, Huawei, or Samsung on their smartwatches have led to disappointment. Besides a lagging performance, Snapdragon 3100 – the latest chipset for wearables from Qualcomm until the leaked Snapdragon 3300 is formally announced – also suffers from poor battery life, which diminishes with increased physical activity. To abate that to some extent, Qualcomm announced a “Sports mode” in mid-2019 and six months later, the first smartwatch – Suunto 7 – has been launched.

      • Rhasspy Raspberry Pi offline voice assistant is free and open source

        Rhasspy (pronounced RAH-SPEE) is an open source, fully offline voice assistant toolkit for the Raspberry Pi as well as many languages that works well with Home Assistant,, and Node-RED. Simply specify voice commands in a template language and Rhasspy will produce JSON events that can trigger actions in home automation software or Node-RED flows. Michael Hansen explains a little more about Rhasspy.

      • Pollen Robotics is selling a $17,000 robot torso for researchers and startups

        CES has never been a great show for serious robotics. It’s not a phenomenon I expect to change at any point in the near future, though things do seem to get slightly better each year. Pollen Robotics is an interesting addition to the mix that largely revolves around things like companion and smart home robotics.

        Pollen Robotics certainly stands out from that crowd, offering a robotic torso named Reachy. The two arms, chest and a head are an open-source platform designed for prototyping and research purposes. The system just went up for sale this week as either a standalone arm ($9,000) or full half-body ($17,000), but the three-year-old French startup says it already has clients.

      • Reachy open source robot

        “The head is animated by Orbita, a unique technology developed by Pollen Robotics’ R&D team. This ball joint actuator allows unpreceded dynamic and multi-directional movement. With animated antennas, Reachy can convey many emotions to his audience (happy, sad, excited…).”

        If you are interested in purchasing the open source robot a basic single-arm for Reachy is priced at $9,000 while the top-of-the-line double-arm-and-a-head version will cost around $17,000.

      • Reachy Is an Expressive, Open-Source Robot

        SeeSeems like everybody's getting into the AI and robotics game — at least the companies and research institutions that can afford to build their platforms from the ground up are. France's Pollen Robotics, on the other hand, aims to kickstart the robotics revolution with its open-source system, Reachy.

        ms like everybody's getting into the AI and robotics game — at least the companies and research institutions that can afford to build their platforms from the ground up are. France's Pollen Robotics, on the other hand, aims to kickstart the robotics revolution with its open-source system, Reachy.

      • Reachy is an expressive, open-source robot
      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • Arduino launches a new modular platform for IoT development

          Arduino, the open-source hardware platform, today announced the launch of a new low-code platform and modular hardware system for IoT development. The idea here is to give small and medium businesses the tools to develop IoT solutions without having to invest in specialized engineering resources.

          The new hardware, dubbed the Arduino Portenta H7, features everything you’d need to get started with building an IoT hardware platform, including a crypto-authentication chip and communications modules for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy and LTE, as well as Narrowband IoT. Powered by 32-bit Arm microcontrollers, either the Cortex-M7 or M4, these low-power modules are meant for designing industrial applications, as well as edge processing solutions and robotics applications. It’ll run Arm’s Mbed OS and support Arduino code, as well as Python and JavaScript applications.

        • Innovative Open-Source 3D Printable Air-Jet System Creates Alginate Hydrogels

          In 3D printing hydrogel microbeads in a ‘controllable size,’ the researchers were able to create a model to work from, studying the potential for alginate microbeads in a variety of other applications. Microbead generators use polymers and crosslinker solutions in producing microscale hydrogel, and are being studied for biomedical applications, to include drug and cell delivery.

        • Ystruder: New Syringe System Offers Feature Rich, Open-Source Multifunction Extrusion

          Numerous open-source hardware (OSHW) syringe pumps have been created in the past ten years via 3D design and FDM 3D printing.

        • Lumi Industries introduce open-source smartphone-based resin 3D printer

          Nominated as a finalist at the Purmundus Design Challenge 2019, the LumiBee uses the light from a user’s mobile phone screen to cure resin into an object. It is designed so that 95% of its parts can be additively manufactured with an FDM/FFF 3D printer. According to Marin, the LumiBee has been developed with a mechanical, PCB design.

        • Open Source Hardware Risks

          Open-source hardware is gaining attention on a variety of fronts, from chiplets and the underlying infrastructure to the ecosystems required to support open-source and hybrid open-source and proprietary designs.

          Open-source development is hardly a new topic. It has proven to be a successful strategy in the Linux world, but far less so on the hardware side. That is beginning to change, fueled by a slowdown in Moore’s Law, rising design costs, and a growing need for more specialized processing elements in heterogeneous designs. This also has raised a long list of issues, starting with basic definitions, that in the past were largely ignored because it was simpler to use off-the-shelf proprietary solutions than to work with open-source hardware.


          Krste Asanovic, chairman of the RISC-V Foundation and chief architect at SiFive, emphasized during a panel at the RISC-V Summit last month that there are differences between an open standard like RISC-V, and open-source hardware, which is source code for some hardware blocks in RTL.

          “When we started RISC-V, we saw a need for an open standard,” Asanovic said. “At Berkeley we also developed open-source implementations of the standard. But by far the most valuable thing is the open standard. You cannot have open-source hardware without an open standard. But it’s also true in the industry that we have hundreds of open standards. The open standard is where the big value is. Open-source hardware is enabled by it, and at a much earlier stage. Open standards are widely accepted and widely used throughout the industry, whereas open-source hardware implementations of a standard are a relatively new thing. Again, the key thing about RISC-V is that it is an open standard. It’s enabling a lot of things because you need a processor to run software on any kind of hardware platform. That’s why there is an upsurge of interest in open-source hardware, because the ISA open standard enables people to build open-source hardware.”

        • RISC-V LAGARTO

          The Barcelona Supercomputing Center has composed the production of the primary open-source chip created in Spain. Worked with TSMC's 65-nanometer transistors, their RISC-V based Lagarto chip a key advance in the inside's methodology to turn into a benchmark in the open-source equipment innovations' field created in Europe. Lagarto is a significant advance in the pursuit of the BSC, drove by the middle's chief, Mateo Valero, to create European registering innovation. This venture depends on the reason that the guidance set of things to come processors must be open source to guarantee straightforwardness and limit reliance. ISAs establish the fundamental arrangement of machine language directions that a processor can comprehend and execute and is, in this manner, the gathering point among programming and equipment. The way that they are open is proposed to go around the plausibility of chips fusing secondary passages or directions that might be adverse to the security or protection of clients.

        • Accessible Source Hardware Chances

          Open-source equipment is picking up consideration on an assortment of fronts, from chiplets and the hidden framework to the environments required to help open-source and half breed open-source and exclusive structures. Open-source improvement is not another theme. It has demonstrated to be an effective procedure in the Linux world, however far less so on the equipment side. That is starting to change, powered by a log jam in Moore's Law, rising plan costs, and a developing requirement for progressively specific preparing components in heterogeneous structures. This additionally has raised a not insignificant rundown of issues, beginning with fundamental definitions, that in the past were to a great extent disregarded because it was easier to use off-the-rack exclusive arrangements than to work with open-source equipment.

          "Open-source equipment is open-source silicon, yet open-source equipment additionally could mean open schematic or PCB plans of the sort we see in OCP (Open Core Protocol)," said Dominic Rizzo, OpenTitan Lead for Google Cloud. "There are likewise open-source equipment details, however, those are to a lesser extent an ocean change than the ascent of open-source equipment structure guarantee. In one sense, the RISC-V ISA is novel in that it's a transparently created ISA particular, where the most well known ISAs are ordinarily shut. There are a bunch of other open ISAs, for example, OpenPOWER or MIPS, however, the executions of these will, in general, be secret elements." Rizzo noticed that what is strange with RISC-V is how the open-source network has united behind it. "We are seeing an expanding number of tenable open-source, white-box silicon plans like Ariane, Ibex and the OpenTitan SoC based over the RISC-V open ISA."

        • BSC Coordinates Development of RISC-V 'Lagarto' Processor
      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The IT Pro Podcast: Does open source have a place in public sector IT?

        While there are some unique problems facing public sector IT, many of them are universal. From mitigating the tech skills gap and dealing with legacy kit and contracts, to allocating budget effectively and choosing a cloud strategy, the sheer vastness of government means there are many lessons to learn – including whether moving to open source can be the answer to many of the headaches facing IT leaders today.

        In the latest episode of the IT Pro Podcast, Jane and Adam are joined by Adrian Keward, chief technologist, public sector at Red Hat to discuss the challenges facing public sector today, and some of the solutions that are being found.

      • Boost Note: Open-Source Note Taking App's New Version Is Out Now

        Programmers are known for taking lots of notes, which come from all sorts of ideas. To ensure that they are able to save the notes in an organized and structured manner, a solution specifically designed for the developers is available with Boost Note, an intuitive and stylish markdown editor for the developers. Developed by a company called 'BoostIO', Boost Note is available as a fully open-source desktop app for Mac, Windows and Linux.

      • 10 Best Open Source Accounting software in 2020

        Open Source Accounting software that available online are only a handful with good capabilities, however, enough to start and perform day to day accounting stuff. You can use them to manage invoices, billing, transaction records, a note of incoming and outgoing funds to manage your personal or enterprise finances. Well, also take one thing into cognizance that few opensource accounting solutions are only available of Linux users.

        Thus, if you are planning to download and start using one then no need to surf dozens of online pages, here is the list of best open source accounting software to manage your financials.

      • How the open-source movement in India has progressed | The Hindu Parley podcast

        Open Source has been part and parcel of software programming in India for a while now. Free sharing has been an ideal for long. But have Big Tech proprietary firms co-opted the open-source platforms along the way?

      • What is the state of ‘open source’ in India today?

        Venkatesh Hariharan: When we started the campaign for more OS in 2000, we had political, cultural and economic reasons to believe it was important. Politically, we wanted to ensure more diversity in the kind of players that existed in the market with twin objectives: that we were independent from a technology standpoint and that software was localised to Indian languages. From a cost perspective, if we were dependent on multinational companies for core technology like operating systems, that would have been a drain on the exchequer. So that was the logic. Today, some of the largest e-governance projects and start-ups in India are running on OS. The early days when we had to campaign for people to use OS is over; now we are in a new era where OS is the new normal.


        VH: We’re living in an era where data is abundant and I look at the commonality between code and data. The ideals of the OS movement were about collaboration and the shared ownership of knowledge. And within that context, the proliferation of data and the fact that it’s only a few players who are able to monetise that data means that we now need to move to an era where it’s not just a few platforms that benefit from our data, but that individuals are able to leverage and are empowered with their own data. So, in a sense, I see a commonality with the OS movement in that even a college student sitting in Sweden or any other part of the world should be able to write an operating system that can be used in any part of the world. Now, we should be able to build systems where individuals can take control of their data and be in control of how other people monetise it and leverage it for loans, etc.

      • commercetools: how GraphQL works for front-end developers

        GraphQL is a layer that sits on top of REST APIs, any application or data store — and it makes the process of data retrieval and extraction across multiple APIs easy.

        Say you’re a developer for a retailer tasked with rendering a page for a product. You’ve already built a catalogue of 300 REST APIs and now need your product detail page to access data including product description, price and similar item information.

      • Open source community lagging in diversity

        Tech companies that build diverse and inclusive workforces are more successful than companies that don’t, according to a recently released report from the United Nations Technology Innovation Labs (UNTIL) in Finland.

        The report, “Inclusion and Diversity: Tech It or Leave IT”, found that companies which invest in and recruit women and minority staff at every level of their organisation function better, produce products that are appealing to more people and earn higher revenues.

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

        Google is open-sourcing a “lite” version of their BERT natural language processing (NLP) pre-training technique. ALBERT is an updated version of BERT that improves 12 NLP tasks, including the Stanford Question Answering Dataset (SQuAD v2.0) and the SAT reading comprehension RACE benchmark.

        BERT was first open sourced by Google at the end of 2018, and since then, natural language research has reached a new paradigm of leveraging large volumes of existing text to pretrain model parameters, the company explained.

      • Google Open-Sources ALBERT Natural Language Model

        Google AI has open-sourced A Lite Bert (ALBERT), a deep-learning natural language processing (NLP) model, which uses 89% fewer parameters than the state-of-the-art BERT model, with little loss of accuracy. The model can also be scaled-up to achieve new state-of-the-art performance on NLP benchmarks.

      • [Older] Is the open-source technology Zeek, one of the most trusted but underappreciated tools in security?

        Think back to the mid-1990s. If you’re old enough, you remember the emergence of Mosaic, the first web browser, which was released in 1993 and precipitated the explosion that came to be known as the “dot com” boom. Internet traffic grew exponentially as it was transformed from a DARPA-funded defence and academic network used by few businesses into the platform that drove e-commerce, global communication and the disruption of many industries.

      • Networking

        • T-Mobile Poland Deploys Mobile Core Based on ONF Plat

          The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) today announced that T-Mobile (Poland) has achieved production roll-out of the ONF’s Open Mobile Evolved Core (OMEC) open source platform. It is the industry’s first deployment of a production-grade open source Evolved Packet Core (EPC).

        • T-Mobile Poland First to Deploy ONF Open Source EPC News
        • T-Mobile Poland Rolls Out ONF’s Open Source Mobile EPC Platform

          The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) announced that T-Mobile (Poland) has achieved production roll-out of the ONF’s Open Mobile Evolved Core (OMEC) open source platform. It is the industry’s first deployment of a production-grade open source Evolved Packet Core (EPC). The ONF launched OMEC in 2019, making available the first production grade, disaggregated, control-user plane separated (CUPS), 3GPP-compliant open source mobile core solution that can run on containers, virtual machines or bare metal. It provides a cornerstone for the ONF‘s COMAC (Converged Multi-Access and Core) project, developed to bring convergence to operators’ mobile and broadband access and core networks. It is based on and paired with COMAC Reference Design, which is now available for ONF Member review and feedback.

        • T-Mobile Poland achieves production roll-out of open-source EPC

          Mobile operator T-Mobile Poland has achieved production roll-out of the Open Networking Foundation's Open Mobile Evolved Core (OMEC) open source platform. It is the industry's first deployment of a production-grade open source Evolved Packet Core (EPC).

        • T-Mobile Poland boots up fixed mobile service using ONF's open source evolved packet core

          The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) announced its Open Mobile Evolved Core (OMEC) platform early last year, making available the first production grade, disaggregated, control-user plane separated (CUPS), 3GPP-compliant open source mobile core solution that can run on containers, virtual machines (VMs) or bare metal. OMEC is one element of the Open Networking Foundation's Converged Multi-Access and Core (COMAC) reference design that was also announced last year.

        • FlexiWAN makes its move to put SD-WAN in open source

          FlexiWAN CEO and co-founder Amir Zmora has lived up to his promise to put an SD-WAN solution into open source by moving his company's code into GitLab.

          Last spring, Zmora announced that flexiWAN would put its SD-WAN software into open source as a means to break up vendor lock-in from the current roster of SD-WAN vendors. Putting its software into open source provides transparency for flexiWAN, and gives service providers and system integrators (SI) a choice on what they want to use when it comes to specific features and hardware vendors.

        • FlexiWAN launches open-source SD-WAN software with partners

          FlexiWAN announced that its open-source SD-WAN software is now generally available for download and production deployments. FlexiWAN is available as a software-only offering or as an appliance on dedicated hardware purchased directly from hardware partners including Advantech, Lanner and Silicom.

        • flexiWAN Claims First with Open Source SD-WAN Now Generally Available for Production
        • flexiWAN Ships Modular Open Source SD-WAN

          The flexiWAN modular, open architecture and open source SD-WAN software is now generally available for download and production deployments. In partnership with leading hardware vendors, flexiWAN is available as a software-only offering or as an appliance on dedicated hardware purchased directly from hardware partners including Advantech, Lanner and Silicom.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • The Talospace Project: Firefox 72 on POWER

            Firefox 72 builds out of the box and uneventfully on OpenPOWER. The marquee feature this time around is picture-in-picture, which is now supported in Linux and works just fine for playing Trooper Clerks ("salsa shark! we're gonna need a bigger boat!"). The blocking of fingerprinting scripts should also be very helpful since it will reduce the amount of useless snitchy JavaScript that gets executed. The irony of that statement on a Blogger site is not lost on me, by the way.

            The bug that mashed Firefox 71 (ultimately fallout from bug 1601707 and its many dupes) did not get fixed in time for Firefox 72 and turned out to be a compiler issue. The lifetime change that the code in question relies upon is in Clang 7 and up, but unless you are using a pre-release build this fix is not (yet) in any official release of gcc 9 or 10. As Clang is currently unable to completely build the browser on ppc64le, if your extensions are affected (mine aren't) you may want to add this patch which was also landed on the beta release channel for Firefox 73.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • US Census Embraces the Digital Age With Enterprise Data Lake

          The Census Bureau chose Cloudera as the data platform for the 2020 census to help mine, process and extract insights that can be used to inform important decisions at all levels of government. The platform leverages the entire technology stack and professional service offerings. Cloudera DataFlow (CDF€®) is used to ingest data and provide real-time analytics. Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP€®) serves as the data lake and repository for the massive amount of data collected. Hadoop Distributed File System, Apache Ranger, Apache Atlas and encryption of data at rest and data in motion are used to enable data sharing, as well as security and data governance policies.

        • Database migration – getting the move right

          For many companies, the ability to use data in real time is now an essential part of how they are competitive. The sheer volume of data available to companies can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how well they are able to handle that data as it is created. At the same time, the adoption of 5G should lead to more data being created.

          To cope with the deluge of data that these applications both create and demand, companies are turning to new databases, and the majority of these are based on open source. According to Gartner, more than 70 per cent of applications developed will run on open source databases by 2022, while 50 per cent of existing applications will switch from traditional proprietary databases to open source equivalents.

        • Updated Open Source Database Offers Cluster Restriction, Performance Improvements

          Database maker ArangoDB has released the latest version of its namesake open source database with a feature that allows users to restrict individual databases to one node in a cluster.

          The feature, called OneShard, is being introduced in the Enterprise Edition of ArangoDB 3.6, which is available now.

          ArangoDB is a native multi-model database with flexible data models for documents, graphs, and key-values. A database created with OneShard enabled is bound to a single database server node, the company explained in a statement, but still replicated synchronously to additional nodes. This binding ensures the high-availability and fault tolerance of a cluster setup, but with performance similar to a single instance. It also makes it possible to run transactions with ACID (atomicity, consistency, isolation, durability) guarantees.

        • What makes Apache Spark a paramount open-source performer?

          Apache Spark is an extremely modern big data processing solution that developed to help the data scientists study big data. It is a lightning-fast data computing tool. The solution has benefitted the big data industry in multiple ways as it has successfully extended the already existing Hadoop MapReduce model. As a result, now, the solution allows more types of computation. And, one of the most useful types is stream processing. Spark has an inbuilt in-memory cluster computing. The main purpose of the tool is to amplify the speed of processing of the app. Apache Spark is becoming more and more popular day by day because of a host of interesting features like real-time processing of the data, fault-tolerance, etc. In this article, we will talk about a few of the top reasons that have made Spark a top choice of the data scientists and the businesses across the globe.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6.4 RC2 is available

          LibreOffice 6.4 RC2 is available for downloading now. There are builds for all main OS for 64 bit. There is a 32 bit build for Windows also. These builds are only for testing.

      • Funding

        • Curl Boosted By Donation

          Curl, an open source project that is widely used to transfer data, has been given a donation of $10K by, the self-proclaimed #1 job site. The donation was made through Open Collective and is the largest single donation the project has ever received.


          Open Collective brings transparency to giving and receiving funds for Open Source and enable us to see that this is the fourth donation of 10K USD made by - the others being to webpack, pytest and ESLint.

          Stenberg's blog post acknowledges curl's other sponsors. They fall into two categories - financial backers and those who provide time and effort - notable here is wolfSSL which employs Daniel and allows him to spend paid work hours on curl.


          So the good news is that curl has not only gained valuable funding but may also in future benefit from membership of the Linux Foundation.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • It's 2020 And GCC Has Finally Converted From SVN To Git

            I reported a few days ago GCC was hoping to transition to Git this weekend from their large SVN repository. Going into this weekend I wasn't going to be the least bit surprised if this transition got delayed again given all of the months of delays already, but actually, they went ahead and migrated to Git!

            On Saturday, the transition of GCC's repository to Git was completed using Eric S Raymond's Reposurgeon utility.

          • Marvell Is Plumbing Octeon TX2 Support Into The GCC Compiler

            Marvell has been preparing the Octeon TX2 processor support for the GCC compiler, their next-generation version of the (originally Cavium) infrastructure/network processors now based on their ThunderX2 line.

            On Saturday a Marvell engineer sent out the initial Octeon TX2 support for the GCC compiler. This Octeon TX2 enablement is based upon the Arm Cortex-A57 models while the company plans to submit their changes in the days ahead. Submitting the "octeontx2" support now at least gets the naming/CPU detection in place with the generic models while moving forward they can submit their changes that optimize the compiler for their processor design's scheduling and cost models.

        • Licensing / Legal

          • OSI co-founder leaves initiative over new license

            “Legally, our license can only protect the code that WE wrote. Our software is being licensed by a DEVELOPER to run their app (the currency, chat, or social network they just built) on top of Holochain. We are trying to say: The only valid way to use our code is if that developer’s END-USERS are the sole authors and controllers of their own private crypto keys,” Brock wrote.

            Perens has expressed concerns on how the license will actually be used and how it will impact users and software freedoms in practice. Now that it looks like the OSI might approve the practice, he is looking to make an exit.

            In an email thread about the Cryptographic Autonomy License, he wrote:

            “Well, it seems to me that the organization is rather enthusiastically headed toward accepting a license that isn’t freedom respecting. Fine, do it without me, please. I asked Patrick to cancel my membership, and I would have unsubscribed from OSI lists, including this one, if your server was working. I own an interest in 10 Open Source companies and manage a 50 Million dollar portfolio investing in them. That will keep me involved enough.”

            In an interview with The Register, Perens expressed more concerns with how the license is used and written. He believes the license requires users to have access to a lawyer in order to understand it, which is not the way he believes licenses should be developed for open source.

            “Most people who develop open source don’t have access to lawyers,” he told the Register. “One of the goals for open source was you could use it without having to hire a lawyer. You could put [open source software] on your computer and run it and if you don’t redistribute or modify it, you don’t really have to read the license.”

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Data

        • Open Access/Content

          • Why new strategies for developing the future's knowledge infrastructures are needed (opinion)

            The movement to online and digital media has allowed the deconstruction of the previous academic publication process into its component parts: peer review, copyediting and design. The open-access movement, which aims to make scholarly literature freely available online, began as a response to that potential. Initially focused on self-archiving, or Green OA, researchers began making their results easily and freely accessible by uploading prepublication manuscripts to university-based institutional repositories and services. The repository movement began gaining steam in earnest when Harvard University established America’s first self-archiving policy in 2008. Other research universities around the world quickly followed.

          • Open source program to save U of R students $1.5M

            As university students head back to class, they’ll be shelling out big bucks for textbooks — sometimes costing hundreds of dollars each — but a program funded by the provincial government is aiming to get that number lower.

            For the past five years, the Government of Saskatchewan has given grants to the universities of Regina and Saskatchewan as well as Sask Polytechnic to develop open education resources.

            Those are textbooks and support materials like workbooks and labs that are created by professors and researchers at the schools for use in classes by their students, for free.

            Each school has received about $83,000 a year since 2015.

      • Programming/Development

        • Public, Private, Protected Access Modifiers and No Modifiers in Java

          After discussing Interfaces in our last article, today we will discuss the access modifiers in detail. This article is going to be very long because I will be explaining everything in depth. When I was studying, I found it very challenging to get one article that could explain all the access modifiers and all the scenarios in a single article. I had to go through the books plus a lot of internet articles on public, private and protected modifiers independently. The people who write the articles maybe they have less time or they care about the number of articles in their blog. Whatever the reason is, I felt the need to write an article that explains all the access modifiers in depth.

        • MIT Develops Machine-Learning Tool to Make Code Run Faster

          Tool predicts how fast code will run on a chip: Machine-learning system should enable developers to improve computing efficiency in a range of applications.

          MIT researchers have invented a machine-learning tool that predicts how fast computer chips will execute code from various applications.

          To get code to run as fast as possible, developers and compilers — programs that translate programming language into machine-readable code — typically use performance models that run the code through a simulation of given chip architectures.

        • Making open source JavaScript pay

          Looking at the 2019 State of JavaScript report, something stands out: Money apparently can’t buy everything. Or, at least, not every major front-end and back-end programming framework is sponsored by a big company. Sure, we have Google to thank for Angular, and Facebook gets credit for React, but what about Vue.js? Or Gatsby? Or Next.js?

          While these (and other) open source projects do seem to suggest a future without Big Corps shoveling Big Money into open source, the reality is a bit more nuanced. For the developers looking to pay their way through open source, however, reality isn’t nuanced at all. For every Vue.js founder Evan You making $16,000 per month with Patreon contributions, there are thousands of developers struggling to scrape together $16 for the important open source work they’re doing.

        • Programming language of 2019? Python beaten by trusty old C

          That's according to Tiobe's January 2020 language popularity index. Tiobe, which bases its rankings on queries on major search engines, awarded C the programming language of 2019 title because it saw an increase of 2.4% in queries over the past year, which was greater than C#'s 2.1% and Python's 1.4%.

          While machine learning and data science have propelled Python to new heights in 2019, Tiobe attributes C's continued popularity to the Internet of Things and the ton of smart devices being released these days.

        • Python

          • What I learned going from prison to Python

            Less than a year ago, I was in San Quentin State Prison serving a life sentence.

            In my junior year in high school, I shot a man while robbing him. Now, it took a while for me to see or even admit that what I did was wrong, but after going through a jury trial and seeing the devastating consequences of my actions, I knew that I needed to make a change, and I did. And although it was a great thing that I had changed, I had still shot a man and nearly killed him. And there are consequences to doing something like that, and rightfully so. So at the age of 18, I was sentenced to life in prison.

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Boeing Emails Reveal Employees Talking Shit About The 737 Max Before Deadly Crashes [Ed: Proprietary software]

          New emails and direct messages released by Boeing to congressional investigators reveal some shocking messages from Boeing employees about both their own planes and the regulators overseeing the safety on their aircraft. In one of the most startling messages from April of 2017, a Boeing employee wrote, “this airplane is designed by clowns, who in turn are supervised by monkeys.”

          The new documents, which were first obtained by the Washington Post and New York Times late last night, were delivered to Congress, which is exploring what led to the two crashes of Boeing 737 Max planes—Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed in Ethiopia on March 10, 2019, killing all 157 people on board, and Lion Air Flight 610 crashed near Indonesia on October 29, 2018, killing all 189 people on board.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Facebook Open-Sources PySlowFast Codebase for Video Understanding

              PySlowFast will enable researchers to easily reproduce video classification and action detection algorithms, whether they are basic or cutting-edge. FAIR has also open-sourced a number of pretrained models to save researchers the trouble of repeatedly training sessions.

            • Deep Dive: How Open Source ID Solutions Can Accelerate Digital ID Implementation

              Digital identity solutions are becoming increasingly necessary as the world’s population grows. An estimated 1.1 billion people worldwide lack basic ID credentials, according to the World Bank, and that number rises even higher when it includes individuals with poor-quality IDs that cannot be easily verified. Those without access to verifiable credentials are often restricted from obtaining vital services like education and healthcare.

            • Clever LVL Panel Connection Method Wins Open Source Wood Challenge
            • A-COLD-WALL* Launches "Open-Source" Hardware Package

              The idea behind this release is similar to the concept of the exhibition, with open-source design a new focus for Samuel Ross and his label. A-COLD-WALL*’s statement continues, “Open-source as a philosophy brings forth conscious brand values that have the capacity to directly enhance interaction between individual and brand.”


              The capsule features a range of buckles, branded badges, zip pullers, elastic drawcords and silicone cord stoppers, with silicone, nylon and metal used on different pieces. The full hardware package is available now from the A-COLD-WALL* web store, with prices ranging from €£20 GBP ($26 USD) for some zip pullers to €£30 GBP ($40 USD) for laser-engraved matt buckles.

            • Lyft Open Sources It's Cloud-Native Machine Learning Model 'Flyte'
            • Lyft open sources data orchestration platform Flyte

              Uber recently open-sourced its Manifold deep learning debugging tool and has a history of pushing its technology out into the public domain from platforms for training conversational AI and machine learning to autonomous vehicle visualization systems.

            • Meet Manifold: Uber's machine learning model debugging tool goes open source

              Manifold, Uber’s model-agnostic visual debugging tool for machine learning, is now open source and available as a demo version and a GitHub repository. Manifold is built with TensorFlow.js, React, and Redux and is part of the Michelangelo machine learning platform. The open source version includes a few new features that will make for an easier user experience.

            • What Can Happen When Your Company's Employees Embrace the Open Source Way?

              A recent Forbes article indicates that corporate engagement with open source communities has grown to become a strategic imperative over the past couple of decades. An increasing number of companies are paying their employees to contribute to such communities. This is one manifestation of a broader growing trend toward closer collaboration between companies and open source communities. Well-recognised companies such as Google, Uber, Facebook, and Twitter have open sourced their projects and encouraged their employees to contribute to open source communities. Among software developers who contribute to such communities, estimates suggest that up to 40% of them are paid by their company to do so. Some companies see this as an opportunity to enhance their employees’ skills while others aim to influence open source product development to support their own complementary products and services. Regardless of the motives, managers should consider the impact of such arrangements on the employees involved.

            • Tier IV and DeepMap Establish Technology Alliance

              Tier IV, a deep-tech startup based in Japan, is leading the development of the world's first open-source software for autonomous driving, known as Autoware.

              Autoware is an all-in-one self-driving car solution that integrates open source and BSD licenses. The solution supports tasks such as 3D localization and mapping, 3D road planning, subject and traffic signal detection, lane recognition, sensor calibration, and software simulation.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Falco is the First Runtime Security Project to Join the CNCF Incubator

                Sysdig, Inc., the secure DevOps leader, today announced that Falco, the open source cloud-native runtime security project originally created by Sysdig, has been accepted as a Cloud Native Computing Foundation€® (CNCF€®) incubation-level hosted project. Falco entered the CNCF as a Sandbox Project in October 2018, the first and still the only runtime security technology to join. In the event of unexpected behavior at runtime, Falco detects and alerts, reducing the risk of a security incident.

              • CNCF upgrades Falco runtime security tool to incubator status

                Container security startup Sysdig Inc. said today its open-source, cloud-native runtime security tool Falco has been accepted as an incubation-level project by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

                The CNCF is an organization that’s responsible for overseeing the development of numerous popular open-source, cloud-native software projects. The most famous open source project it houses is Kubernetes, which is used to manage and orchestrate software containers that host modern applications.

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • The Continuous Delivery Foundation advances CI/CD

              More organizations have matured from CI to CI/CD, but their paths differ as do their pipelines and results. Most enterprises are implementing a mix of open source, commercial and even home-grown tools, and they’re looking for answers.

              One place to look is the Continuous Delivery Foundation (CDF) which is home to many of the fastest-growing CI/CD open-source projects. The CDF fosters vendor-neutral collaboration among developers, end users and vendors to further best practices and industry specifications. DeployHub CEO and co-founder Tracy Ragan, who serves as the CDF general membership board representative, provides additional insight in this Q&A.

            • Continuous Delivery Foundation looks to build in Microsoft, further projects

              The Continuous Delivery Foundation is looking to draw in more members and projects as it heads towards its first birthday, with Microsoft top of the organisation’s hit list.

              The CDF formed back in March 2019, aiming to evangelize CI/CD as methodologies, and define/document best practices in and out of the cloud. Founder members included CloudBees and Google – it is home to the original Jenkins project, and Jenkins X, the Kubernetes-focused CI/CD platform, as well as the Google spawned Tekton.

        • Security

          • KeePassXC 2.5.2

            KeePassXC is a community fork of KeePassX, a native cross-platform port of KeePass Password Safe, with the goal to extend and improve it with new features and bugfixes to provide a feature-rich, fully cross-platform and modern open-source password manager.

            KeePassXC currently uses the KeePass 2.x (.kdbx) password database format as its native file format in versions 3.1 and 4. Database files in version 2 can be opened, but will be upgraded to a newer format. KeePass 1.x (.kdb) databases can be imported into a .kdbx file, but this process is one-way.

          • Can We Build Trustable Hardware? Andrew Huang at 36C3

            Andrew "bunnie" Huang recently presented at the 36th Chaos Communication Congress (36C3) on 'Open Source is Insufficient to Solve Trust Problems in Hardware' with an accompanying blog post 'Can We Build Trustable Hardware?' His central point is that Time-of-Check to Time-of-Use (TOCTOU) is very different for hardware versus software, and so open source is less helpful in mitigating the array of potential attacks in the threat model. Huang closes by presenting Betrusted, a secure hardware platform for private key storage that he’s been working on, and examining the user verification mechanisms that have been used in its design.


            The Betrusted project provides an illustration of the three principles in action. It’s simple, providing a limited range of functions for secure text and voice chat, second-factor authentication and storage of digital currency. The entire system is verifiable, including keyboard and screen (rather than just the hardware secure enclave). Users can check the components for themselves without needing specialist equipment. Betrusted also illustrates that there are limitations with presently available hardware that lead to a number of compromises.

          • Connected cars: How to improve connection to cybersecurity
          • Three Ways To Bridge The Cybersecurity Talent Gap

            One study estimated that 3.5 million open cybersecurity jobs will exist globally by 2021 — a significant increase from the one million open positions in 2014. And, considering data breaches can cost companies $1.25 million to over $8 million on average, this shortage has serious implications for any company struggling through it.

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Amazon Employees Leak Customer Data to Third-Party Agent (Again)

              Online retail giant Amazon fired several employees this week after they leaked private customer data to an undisclosed third-party. If reading that gives you some serious déjà vu, it’s probably because the same damn thing happened less than six months ago.

              An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the news with multiple outlets after several customers received notifications from the company warning that their e-mail addresses and phone numbers had been leaked “to a third-party in violation of our policies,” per a screenshot shared by TechCrunch. The email goes on to say that the Amazon employee—singular—responsible has since been identified and fired. However, a later company statement appears to imply there were multiple Amazon defectors behind the leak: [...]

            • Confidentiality

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Iranian Americans Have Rights, Too—No Matter What's Happening Abroad

        Military action abroad does not justify discrimination at home.

      • All the Times the US Allied With Soleimani Against Common Enemies, Giving Him Air Support at Tikrit

        Soleimani played a key role in helping defeat ISIL in Iraq, where he was a de facto and even tactical U.S. ally.

      • For Western Press, the Only Coup in Venezuela Is Against Guaidó

        For the corporate press, it would appear that the only "coup" is that perpetrated by Maduro in insisting on serving out his elected mandate.

      • Iran Says Military Shot Down Ukraine Airliner in 'Disastrous Mistake' Amid Heightened Tensions With US

        The admission, which confirmed conclusions from intelligence agencies, came as people worldwide continued to call for de-escalating the crisis.

      • Under Pressure, Iran Admits It Shot Down Jetliner by Mistake

        Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on Saturday acknowledged that it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian jetliner that crashed earlier this week, killing all 176 people aboard, after the government had repeatedly denied Western accusations and mounting evidence that it was responsible.

      • How the US Runs Iraq

        The murder of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani shone a strobe light on 'independent' Iraq, and what we saw was not pretty.

      • Congo ethnic killings may amount to crimes against humanity, UN says

        Killings, rapes and other barbaric violence committed by an ethnic armed group in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo against a rival group may amount to crimes against humanity and possibly even genocide, the United Nations said on Friday.

      • [Old] Background to the Hema-Lendu Conflict in Uganda-Controlled Congo

        During this period leaders of the RCD-ML, locked in a struggle for power, have been in Kampala at the request of Ugandan authorities, trying to settle their differences. The Congolese politicians failed to come to an agreement until last week when the RCD-ML factions supposedly reconciled and agreed also to combine with the Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) into a new front against the Congolese government. Jean-Pierre Bemba of the MLC was supposedly to head the new group, the Congo Liberation Front (FLC). But Professor Wamba dia Wamba, head of the RCD-ML, balked at this agreement which he said was "imposed" by Uganda. In Bunia, Wamba and his group are seen as more allied to Lendu and other groups opposed to the Hema. The other RCD-ML faction reportedly celebrated the merger, seeing it as confirming the status of their leaders, one of whom is a prominent Hema. In a January 19 statement, Bemba blamed "undisciplined" rebels supporting the Lendu for the violence. He asserted that his troops, presumably meaning the RCD-ML forces supposedly now under his authority, would soon restore order.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • 5 'Ugh' Trump Stories The News Totally Forgot About

        We're so inundated with Trump news that we shrug off stories and scandals that would've tanked literally any other president. It seems that every day, there's a new horror demanding our attention, whether it's children locked in cages or Trump asking a foreign government to blackmail his rivals. This is why we've decided to bring you some equally awful stories related to the man and his administration that may have escaped your notice. Like how ...

    • Environment

      • Salty water in Bangkok is new 'reality' as sea pushes farther inland

        Making matters worse, Thailand's dry season began in November and usually lasts through April, but this year, the authorities said it could last until June and drought has been declared in 14 provinces.

        The drought conditions have worsened saltwater intrusion, which can have major impacts on farming and on health as drinking water is contaminated, said Mr Suppakorn Chinvanno, a climate expert at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.

        "It is becoming a more serious issue, with the intrusion coming farther inland this year and earlier in the season," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

        "It will have a serious impact on agriculture in the region, as rice is a very water-intensive crop," he said.

      • At Least 7 Dead as Severe Storm Plows Through Southern U.S.

        Authorities say at least seven people have died as severe storms sweep across parts of the U.S. South, bringing high winds and unrelenting rain.

      • We’ve Never Seen Conditions As Bad As This

        The first question is how we resource firefighting. In New South Wales (NSW), the state where I work, there are two fire services on the ground. The first is Fire Rescue NSW (FRNSW), which has a paid workforce, responsible for the majority of NSW’s population, including the big cities, regional centers and larger towns. The second is the Rural Fire Service (RFS), which has a largely volunteer workforce and bears primary responsibility for bushfires. In addition to this, units specialising in bush management and firefighting are attached to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

        FRNSW recently had its budget cut in the order of $20 million, limiting expansion where it was most needed. The NPWS and RFS have also endured cuts over the past few years, leading to hundreds of lost jobs and a diminished ability to invest in firefighting equipment and logistics.

      • Mayor Fiddles On Climate Change As Kangaroo Island Burns. Residents Get Busy Raising Funds To Save Wildlife.

        Wise men say only fools rush in… so sung the good residents of Kangaroo Island this afternoon at an impromptu community concert to raise funds for the KI Wildlife Network, a local charity that needs your help now more than ever.

      • Climate Activists Can't Afford to Ignore Labor. A Shuttered Refinery in Philly Shows Why

        The people most affected by climate change will be in the working class.

      • Australia is burning. The Arctic is melting. Yet Trump keeps gutting climate change regulations.

        "He is locking in permanent, irreversible damage to our environment through his irresponsible environmental policies, including his efforts to block progress on climate change," said Dr. Michael E. Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University and the director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center, said of Trump policies. "Once we go beyond key tipping points -- the melting of the major ice sheets -- there is no going back."

      • Energy

        • [Old] Wind energy in Zambia, 200 MW wind power project launched in Katete

          Zambian renewable energy developer Mphepo Power Ltd has erected a 120m Metrological Mast for its 200 MW wind project in the Eastern Province.

          This is the first major milestone in the development of the UNIKA 1 wind project, which will have an investment value of over USD 350 million and will be one of the largest private sector investments ever in Eastern Province.

        • [Old] Power Cuts Are Plaguing Southern Africa. The Region Needs Renewable Energy.

          Zimbabwe is enduring an unprecedented electricity crisis which has prompted up to 18 hours a day of so-called load shedding, because the grid can’t generate enough energy to meet national demand or pay for adequate power imports, owing to foreign-currency shortages.

          The country has an installed generation capacity of just over 2,000 megawatts (MW), but at the time of publication Kariba South Power Station, which generates more than 50 percent of the country’s electricity, was producing a mere 238 MW, while Hwange Thermal Station, the second-biggest power generator, was producing 374 MW, leaving the country with a massive power deficit that can only be mitigated by expensive imports from Mozambique and South Africa.

    • Finance

      • School Closures Can Hit Rural Communities Hard

        The school bus begins picking up children before 6 a.m. in Elaine, Arkansas, a small, mostly African American town on the Mississippi River floodplains about 120 miles east of Little Rock. It crawls past long stretches of oxbow lakes, acres of soybean and cotton fields, and two closed schools to arrive – nearly two hours later – in another small Arkansas town called Marvell. At 3:30, the bus begins its winding return trip.

      • Trump Administration Proposes Death-Dealing Rule Change for Disability Benefits

        Janine Jackson: Corporate media’s image of Social Security is, at times quite literally, a gray-haired couple stacking pennies and smiling. Silly in multiple ways, that image, along with much of the accompanying reporting, renders invisible the millions of Social Security recipients who have a disability, not all of whom are seniors.

      • France Enters Second Month of National Strike

        Caught in a faceoff with Macron and the French government, France’s railway and other public sector workers remain on strike for the fifth week in a row. The national strike, which began December 5 of last year, is the longest transportation strike in France’s history and the longest general strike since May 1968, when the entire economy was ground to a halt by students and workers in an all out revolt against the government. As the strike continues, union leaders are attempting to negotiate with the government, but France’s workers are determined to continue the strike until Macron scraps his plans to restructure the pension system.

      • Prof. Scott Sumner: Tax reform is now boosting measured GDP

        It’s an accounting gimmick to avoid taxes, which has no implications for variables such as national income, productivity, exports, etc. But these tax shifting activities do impact measured levels of national income, productivity, exports, etc.


        So far, the effects of the recent tax reform on measured US GDP are relatively small. But if the Google decision is copied by lots of other companies, it has the potential to raise reported GDP, productivity, and exports in the US, without affecting actual GDP, productivity and exports.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Warren Stands to Gain From Castro Donors After Endorsement

        Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) stands to gain from former U.S. housing secretary Julián Castro’s endorsement as Castro had most donors in common with Warren compared to other Democratic candidates.

      • Bernie Sanders Leads in "Gold-Standard" Iowa Poll for First Time

        With just three weeks until Iowa will hold the first nominating contest in the Democratic Party’s presidential primary race, Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading the field, according to results released Friday evening.

      • Episode 62 – Deep State?: The Historic Findings of the Inspector General’s 2016 Report on FBI Investigation in Trump's Campaign - Along The Line Podcast

        Along the Line, is a member of the Demcast network, brought to you by the Media Freedom Foundation. On today’s episode hosts Nicholas Baham III (Dr. Dreadlocks), Janice Domingo,€  and Nolan Higdon discuss the Inspector General’s Report on the FBI Investigation into the Trump Campaign,€ ATL’s€  Creative Director is Dylan Lazaga.€  Mickey Huff is ATL’s producer. ATL’s engineer is Janice Domingo. Adam Armstrong is ATL’s webmaster.

      • Can Ranked-Choice Voting Save American Democracy?

        Drutman believes that some form of proportional representation with ranked-choice voting could lead to an increase in the number of viable parties, which would in turn reduce partisanship, and eventually gridlock and extremism. Ranked-choice voting, of course, means that voters’ second and third choices matter, too, giving candidates incentives to not alienate their opponents’ supporters. (Hendrik Hertzberg has written extensively for The New Yorker on ranked-choice voting and other potential electoral reforms.)

        I recently spoke by phone with Drutman, who is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation. During our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, we discussed whether one party is to blame for the current crisis, why ideologically incoherent voting can benefit democracy, and the place of right-wing conservatism in a multiparty system.

      • Trump says he may invoke executive privilege if John Bolton is subpoenaed by Senate

        House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that the House will send articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate next week, paving the way for a trial in the Senate to begin.

      • Instagram says it's removing posts supporting Soleimani to comply with US sanctions

        Instagram and its parent company Facebook are removing posts that voice support for slain Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani to comply with US sanctions, a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to CNN Business Friday.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Indian court: Kashmir indefinite internet shutdown illegal

        The blackout in Kashmir has been in place for more than 150 days and is the longest in any democracy, according to digital rights group Access Now.

        A report by website Top10VPN revealed that India's recorded internet shutdowns lasted more than 4,000 hours in 2019, costing its economy $1.3 billion (€1.17 billion).

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • He Mocks Saudi Arabia on YouTube. Yes, He Fears for His Safety.

        To Mr. al-Masarir, it’s no mystery. Years ago, he says, he was quietly alerted to an apparent Saudi plan to kidnap him, a heads-up that came from an unlikely source: the Saudi intelligence agent later accused of masterminding the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post op-ed columnist killed in 2018 in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

        And the Saudi regime has spent years trying to intimidate Mr. al-Masarir, he says, through cyberattacks on his social media platforms.

        A few months before the police showed up at his door, Mr. al-Masarir says, the campaign against him escalated.

        His smartphones had turned unaccountably sluggish, and at the behest of a friend — familiar with the side effects of covertly installed spyware — he asked a cybersecurity watchdog group to figure out why.

      • US reporter harassed by police while doing Tlaxcala sex-trafficking story

        Another police truck pulls up to block their path after which Logan says in a voiceover that “the police are guardians of the traffickers and their secrets, moving in to force us out; a veiled threat.”

        Gus then reports that “we’ve been asked to depart the area,” adding that “about a week ago they did lynch a couple of people that were here just asking around about the town.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • White House Considering Dramatic Expansion of Travel Ban

        The White House is considering dramatically expanding its much-litigated travel ban to additional countries amid a renewed election-year focus on immigration by President Donald Trump, according to six people familiar with the deliberations.

      • Most States Saw Prison Reforms in 2019, But Incarceration Rates Remain High

        On December 20, 2019, criminal justice advocates celebrated the news that President Trump signed the Fair Chance Act into law. Tucked into a massive defense spending bill, the law is a federal version of “ban the box,” prohibiting the government and its contractors from asking job applicants about their criminal history before extending a conditional offer of employment. Thirty-five states and over 150 cities already have versions of “ban the box” laws.

      • 18 Years After Its Opening, Justice Remains Elusive for Prisoners of Guantánamo

        Forty men still remain detained at the Guantánamo Bay prison camp 18 years after it opened on January 11, 2002. Only seven of them face charges, including five prisoners accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., in 2001.

      • Canada, the RCMP, and Human Rights Obligations to the Wet'suwet'en Nation

        "International human rights law requires governments to respect, protect, and promote the right of Indigenous peoples to make their own decisions about their lives and futures according to their own customs and traditions."

      • 'Utterly Shameful': Progressives Slam Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott's Decision to Refuse New Refugees

        The move, which critics called "deeply disappointing" but "not surprising," was enabled by an executive order from the president.

      • PFAS has poisoned my town. Government needs to step up and help.

        I don’t remember when we learned that we could no longer eat the fish we caught in the river and lakes. They said that it was the local fish that were the problem, not the fish that migrated or were imported. Who “they” were was never clear to me as a child, just that I could not eat the prized fish I worked hard to catch on weekends with my father. We knew that the water in the river and manmade lakes was bad, but we just dealt with it and continued to live our small town lifestyle. It seemed simple enough to implement a catch and release method for the locals, but since the Air Force’s closing, Oscoda has relied heavily on tourism, like our beautiful beaches and boating opportunities. Explaining to the tourists why they could not eat the fish they caught on their summer weekend excursions, but still insist that they continue to travel here to maintain business in the town, was becoming more difficult.

        Recently, new regulations have emerged. People in a certain area of town should drink only filtered water or buy it bottled because it is unsafe for consumption. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, was in the water supply. PFAS is a manmade chemical that is found in many industrial surfactants in chemical processes and as a material feedstock. In our case, it was used largely through the Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) that the military used to stop petroleum fires during the Air Force’s use of the base. Though knowledge of the groundwater and soil contamination has been known since the late 1970s, little is known about the specific chemicals that currently impact the overall quality of the water today.

      • Alleged Member of Neo-Nazi Swatting Group Charged

        Federal investigators on Friday arrested a Virginia man accused of being part of a neo-Nazi group that targeted hundreds of people in “swatting” attacks, wherein fake bomb threats, hostage situations and other violent scenarios were phoned in to police as part of a scheme to trick them into visiting potentially [sic] deadly force on a target’s address.

      • The New Tools Journalists Can Use to Expose Human Rights Violations Around the World

        There are many countries around the world that continue to deny the media open access to sources and locations in order to cover up human rights violations that may be occurring.

        One recent example of this was the Chinese Government’s attempt to hide the plight of the country’s Uyghur Muslims in the autonomous region of Xinjiang. There is evidence to suggest that more than one million Uyghur Muslims have been placed in internment camps whilst facing persecution and being treated like prisoners. But, using open source technology and data collection, investigative reporters and media outlets have been able to monitor satellite footage and images to obtain a better picture of what is happening in the region and expose the lies.

        The Chinese Government has denied that the Uyghurs are being mistreated in prison-like circumstances, yet reporters have found that the buildings housing them have barbed wire and noticeable features resembling those of prisons in China, in comparison to residences or educational institutions.

        In getting to the truth, a significant discovery were the China Cables – a highly classified document, leaked last November, which was taken from the Chinese Government’s website and revealed how Chinese authorities have deliberately been cracking down on Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. For the first time, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ China Cables investigation revealed operational plans for the internment camps and orders that were given by the Chinese Government for carrying out mass detentions, guided by sweeping data collection and artificial intelligence using open source journalism methods such as gaining access to satellite maps.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • New Apple patent imagines virtual speakers that can simulate sound from anywhere in the room

          That can be used to enhance a feeling of presence — say, for example, while listening to a sports broadcast. While the business uses of the patent are fairly evident (think better conference calls), there are entertainment applications to consider: the technology could be applied to games and television shows, for example, to make them feel more immersive. Which means you might be watching even more television on your computer one day.

        • Tesla’s New Lithium-Ion Patent Brings Company Closer to Promised 1 Million-Mile Battery

          Tesla’s best performing models have a maximum single-charge battery range of 370 miles – just short of the distance between Baltimore, MD and Boston, MA. – and a lifespan of 300,000 - 500,000 miles. This is impressive, given that the average lifespan of a car in the US is 150,000 miles, or roughly 11 years using the AAA annual average of 13,500 miles per year.

        • Software Patents

          • Apple Loses Bid To Move Mobile Wallet Patent Suit Out of Texas

            Apple Inc. must defend a patent lawsuit over its Apple Wallet in a West Texas federal court, the Federal Circuit has ruled.

            U.S. District Court Judge Alan Albright did not abuse his discretion when he turned down Apple’s request that the infringement lawsuit be sent closer to the iPhone maker’s headquarters in California, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled Dec. 20.

          • Maximizing Patent Value by Effective Prosecution [Ed: The patent maximalist David Boundy is still promoting low-quality and invalid patents in the name of "well... I can make money from those!"]

            No nation has ever benefited from protracted warfare. Therefore, to gain a hundred victories in a hundred battles is not the highest excellence; to subjugate the enemy's army without doing battle is the highest of excellence.

            To create value for your client you must assume that every application will be litigated. The value of your ex parte prosecution before a non-lawyer examiner will be tested by the standards of an inter partes litigation or negotiation against a lawyer adversary

            The value of a patent is measured solely by these objectives. A good patent is a patent that scares a competitor out of doing something he wants to do. Your patent should be so compelling that a competitor has to run his business on YOUR terms.

      • Copyrights

        • Shoveling a Path After Star Athletica

          Star Athletica purported to tell us the circumstances under which copyright will protect creative features of useful articles, such as items of clothing or cars. While a design carved into the back of a chair would be understood as separable under anyone’s test, disputes arose over things like the overall shape of a belt buckle or the pattern of lines on an outfit that made it clearly a cheerleading uniform. Star Athletica resolved the latter issue while telling us that it answered all questions about separability. This article tries to analyze the decision in a way that helps think about future cases. An object that has a noncommunicative function can be protected by copyright, but copyright should never extend to functional aspects: parts or designs that make the object work. Also, I’ll discuss why design patent law should have been more important to the Court as a way of separating copyrightable and uncopyrightable designs and speculate about art and authorship in the new millennium. One reason that Star Athletica is so confusing is because we lack a coherent account of what kinds of creation copyright should protect, even as the statute tells us that not everything that is creative should be copyrightable “authorship.” Even without a completely coherent theoretical account, however, there are doctrinal tools that courts could employ to make their job easier in deciding individual cases.

        • 'Copyright Troll' Malibu Media Gets Sued By its Former Law Firm

          A law firm hired by notorious 'copyright troll' outfit Malibu Media is suing the company over breach of contract and unpaid bills. According to a lawsuit filed this week by The Lomnitzer Law Firm, Malibu 'circumvented' an agreement between the companies by hiring other attorneys to conduct litigation. The law firm is also demanding that Malibu pay more than $280K to settle its debts with the company.

        • Replica Store Sells 'Cheap' Knock Off of €890 Pirate Bay Hoodie

          Last year the Swiss fashion brand Vetements surprised friend and foe with the introduction of a Pirate Bay clothing line. The company offered a hoodie, featuring the iconic pirate ship, for just under $900. A steep price for most pirates but good business for counterfeiters, who are now selling 'pirated' copies for a fraction of the price. According to some, these knock-offs can be pretty decent.

Recent Techrights' Posts

In the Pacific (Mostly Islands Around Oceania) GNU/Linux Grew a Lot
Microsoft cannot compete fairly
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, May 26, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, May 26, 2024
Links 27/05/2024: Self-Publishing, Patent Monopolies, and Armed Conflicts
Links for the day
Gemini Links 27/05/2024: Tethering Connection and PFAs
Links for the day
Imagine Canada Enabling Rapists to Harass Their (Rape) Victims
This analogy is applicable because abusers are empowered against the abused
A 3-Year Campaign to Coerce/Intimidate Us Into Censorship: Targeting My Old "Tweets"
This was basically an act of vandalism no better and no worse than UEFI restricted boot
Links 26/05/2024: Google 'Search' Morphing Into Disinformation Factory, Discussion of Maze of the Prison Industrial Complex
Links for the day
A Toast to Tux Machines
Food ready for the party, no photos yet...
IBM/Red Hat Failing to Meet Its WARN Obligations in NC (STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA), or Perhaps It's Constantly Delaying the Layoffs
IBM isn't named even once
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, May 25, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, May 25, 2024
GNU/Linux in Greenland
The sharp increases for GNU/Linux started last summer
The Sheer Absurdity of the EPO's Career System Explained by EPO Staff
"Staff representation has previously pointed this out to management, and the career system has been the reason for several industrial actions and litigation cases initiated by SUEPO."
[Meme] Productivity Champ Nellie Simon: It Takes Me 3+ Weeks to Write 6 Paragraphs
Congrats to Nellie Simon!
It Took EPO Management 3+ Weeks to Respond to a Letter About an Urgent Problem (Defunding of EPO Staff)
The funny thing about it is that Nellie Simon expects examiners to work day and night (which is illegal) while she herself takes 3+ weeks to write a 1-page letter
Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) in The Hague Taking Action to Rectify Cuts to Families of Workers
they "are active in challenging this measure via the legal system"
Links 25/05/2024: Microsoft Adds More DRM (Screenshot Blocking), Another Microsoft Outage Takes Down Everything
Links for the day
Gemini Links 25/05/2024: "Bill Smugs" and OpenBSD Mirror Over Tor / I2P
Links for the day
Microsoft #1 in Gaming Layoffs, Laid Off Workers Receive Another Insult From Microsoft
Many of them never chose to work for Microsoft
In New Caledonia Windows is Now Below 30% (It Used to be Over 90%)
Microsoft's Windows absolutely collapsing and the measures are relatively stable
Forget About India's and Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons and Armament Race, They Need to Abscond Windows and Microsoft (Security Swiss Cheese)
Both countries would be wise to remove Windows as soon as possible, irrespective of the local party politics
statCounter: GNU/Linux Rose From 0.2% to Over 3% in Pakistan
GNU/Linux "proper" (i.e. not ChromeOS) has the lion's share
Red tape: farmer concerns eerily similar to Debian suicide cluster deaths
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Galway street artists support social media concerns
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 25/05/2024: Section 230 and Right of Publicity Violations by Microsoft (Which Attacks Performance Artists)
Links for the day
[Meme] No Microsoft
For fun!
Microsoft Windows Falls to New Lows in Poland
It may mean people delete Windows from relatively new PC
A 3-Year Campaign to Coerce/Intimidate Us Into Censorship: An Introduction
The campaign of coercion (or worse) started in 2021
The "D" in Debian Stands for Dictatorship That Extends to Censorship at DNS Level
Of course the registrar, which charged for domains until 2025, just went along with it
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Getting Stacked by Microsoft
it lets Microsoft write policies
The Parasitic Nature of Microsoft Contracts
Stop feeding the beast
Gemini Links 25/05/2024: Emacs Windows 2000 Screenshots and Little Languages
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Friday, May 24, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, May 24, 2024