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12.12.19

At the EPO Money — Not Quality — is King

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO FLIERNo. 50

The EPO-FLIER wants to provide staff with uncensored, independent information at times of social conflict

Part 2: Financiers are ruining quality

 

“’I know this would take a lot of planning, but the alternative of rushing the build is far riskier,’ the manager wrote. […] However, Boeing did not slow its rate of production.”1

About 20 years ago, journalist Jerry Useem wrote that “Boeing has always been less a business than an association of engineers devoted to building amazing flying machines.2 In 2015, Boeing nominated a financier as its CEO. Unfortunately, financiers often focus on short-term profits and tend to loot the corporations they run. The Boeing engineers lost power to the financier, who increased prices, laid off workers, reduced quality and spent cash buying back stock – while the company lost its ability to make safe airplanes.

There are many parallels between Boeing and the EPO. A former colleague observed a few years ago that scientists and engineers are always more efficiently led by scientists and engineers3. But the EPO, a public administration whose priorities were once set by the European Patent Convention and implemented by qualified and motivated engineers and scientists, is now in the thrall of bean counters.

The Battistelli administration introduced an anti-career system which generated enormous regular surpluses by reducing salaries and other staff benefits. But these measures ruined the quality of our services. The surpluses have been transferred to the dubious EPOTIF4 investment fund. President Campinos presented a fudged and heavily biased Financial Study to justify the implementation of further cuts in staff benefits.

Similar to the executive team at Boeing, our top management may be quite skilled at generating cash but they seem to understand little about running a public administration. In the past, our activities were focused on delivering high quality search reports and valid patents, now all that matters is increasing output. Production numbers count, not quality.

“’You have a systemic problem in your company. You’re driving profit. You’re not driving quality [...]’” the California Democrat John Garamendi told the Boeing chief executive1.

The EPO is not a company and its budgetary responsibility is not that of a company. Its mission is not to pile up mountains of cash but to serve the public. But the Administrative Council rewards top managers for EPO productivity increases with higher bonuses. The new career system translates these false incentives for managers into false incentives for staff. It has reduced the share of fair pensionable rewards for good work. Now, only (very) high individual output is rewarded – no matter what the quality is. False incentives reward cheating on quality while demotivating everybody who tries to serve the public. As a result, a public service organisation has been turned into a cash-generating machine.

The new career system is not working. It has increased the gap between rewards given to the top producers and the many others who do a good job. Since there is no positive motivation for the majority of staff, the most powerful means left to motivate them is intimidation. The new career system and management by fear have split the staff and destroyed teamwork. Measure 5, as proposed in the EPO’s recently published Financial Measures, would further reduce the share of staff who receive a pensionable reward from 60% to 40%5. These planned additional cuts in benefits will further deteriorate the attractiveness of the EPO as an employer and the quality we deliver to the users of the patent system.

Boeing obtained permission from its regulators to partially certify the safety of its own airplanes. The drive for efficiency led to less safety, which is the major quality aspect of an airplane. At the EPO, the quality of granted patents is measured by the Department Quality Audit (DQA) which reports directly to the president6. In other words, the quality the president is responsible for is certified by himself. And it is the Office which decides who can carry out surveys on applicant satisfaction. Manipulation of the results is easy under the conditions.

Patent applicants have few real alternatives to filing their patent applications with the EPO. That’s why cash continues flowing in. But there is a problem. We are losing our ability to deliver valid patents. If we were in genuine competition, we would lose market share. And if we were to build airplanes, our planes would fall from the sky.

In 2014, when Mr Battistelli led the Office, a former member of our organisation put it like this:

‘”We used to have the spirit of the M.I.T., now we have that of Lehman Brothers”’3

Unfortunately, under President Campinos, the situation continues to deteriorate.

________

3EPO-FLIER No. 26 Moral compass and management’s loss of it (13.06.2016)

4From patent office to investment bank? (07.12.2017)

SUEPO proposals on the New Career System (SUEPO Munich, 26.11.2019)

Internal Audit: A New Quality” (CSC, 30.08.2019)

The EPO’s Strategic Failure 2023

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

 

EPO FLIER No. 49

The EPO-FLIER wants to provide staff with uncensored, independent information at times of social conflict

Part 1: Potemkin social dialogue

By electing Mr Campinos to become the seventh EPO President, the Council gave him the mandate to renew social dialogue and ease tensions between management and staff1. But Mr Campinos has failed to restore social dialogue2. Even worse, the first reporting exercise3 under the new president marked new lows of fairness and respect for the staff4. And since the president published his Financial Study5 and planned 17 Financial Measures6, the tensions have increased.

Building trust in management decisions?

The 2019 staff survey revealed that only 16% of EPO employees have confidence in senior management decisions (the European benchmark is 66%). The Strategic Plan 2023 (SP2023) wants to build confidence in top management decisions by explaining them through more effective communication (Goal 1, Key Iniative 5).

The president’s frequent announcements have indeed a friendly tone. But explaining bad decisions with nice words and continuously repeating his own point-of-view is not enough. The decisions must become better, they must provide solutions which work, and solve problems which exist.

Bypassing the staff representation

The president had one-to-one meetings with more than 1000 staff members. But despite this effort, the staff survey showed that 63% of the employees still think that too little is done to get the opinion of staff. When decisions are taken, the staff representation is still not involved, and staff opinion and concerns are not duly considered. Pretending to listen is not enough. Staff wants decisions to be prepared through discussions with the elected staff committees. Decisions must be based on facts instead of a “compromise” derived from the administration’s unrealistic assumptions.

Despite the president’s frequent declarations that he wants “mature and constructive social dialogue” and “effective partnership with staff representatives and unions”7, he disregarded the CSC’s input8 to his Strategic Plan. Consultation in the General Consultative Committee (GCC) is fake, since the members of the management have no mandate to negotiate9. The planned 17 Financial Measures were developed in secrecy10. When publishing them, the president surprised the CSC as much as the other staff9. When staff representatives pointed out that the Financial Study contained many contradictions, the president replied “I don’t care, I will go ahead anyway.”11

Mr Campinos has copied the strategy for social dialogue from Mr Battistelli. He avoids considering contributions from staff committees and unions. He instead follows the bad example of his predecessor and prepares decisions by discussions in “focus groups” consisting of volunteers being hand-picked by management. Mr Campinos recently added a new class of ‘social communicators’. The team managers were asked to collect feedback from staff on the planned 17 Financial Measures, filter it, and forward it to the management12. The calculation is to bypass2 the elected staff committees, and to split13 the staff, since the Financial Measures affect different groups of employees in different ways.

Conclusions

After more than 20 months of President Campinos, there is still no genuine social dialogue9,14. Bypassing the staff committees is part of the president’s strategy. He thereby undermines staff’s right of being democratically represented. And by doing this in an environment where 58% of staff feel that it is not safe to speak up, while only 27% do15, he fosters a culture of fear2.

The president has prepared his 17 Financial Measures – “the biggest attacks ever”6 on our careers and pensions – in secrecy, without involving or even informing the staff representation. Although the president has conceded that there is no necessity to act now16, during the discussions in the working group on Financial Measures, his representatives stick to the dogma of a € 5.8 billion coverage gap17.

The president’s bold statement in his Strategic Plan that the EPO will “encourage social dialogue in all of its forms”18 and his regular updates7 on social dialogue are mere Potemkin villages.

________

3 “’Rat race 3.0’ Part I: Staff Reporting in the New Career System (NCS) – Total mayhem” (SUEPO The Hague, 01.03.2019, see R.I.P. Kat…)

4 EPO FLIER No. 47 Reporting below the belt (03.06.2019)

5CA/46/19 “Financial Study” and “The Financial Study: Yet another hoax”, parts 1 to 4 (CSC, May – June 2019)

6 “The President’s ‘Publication of Financial Measures’” (CSC, 07.10.2019)

7 Presidential announcement “Social dialogue – My vision” and updates of 04.06.2019, 19.07.2019 and 18.10.2019

8 Open letter “Strategic plan – Input of the CSC” (CSC, 25.01.2019) with contributions to the Strategic Plan

9 Transcript of the staff General Assembly in Rijswijk on 10.10.2019

10 “Report on the demonstration of 23 October 2019” (SUEPO Munich, 28.10.2019)

11 “ACTIONS RESUME – DEMONSTRATION – Wednesday 23 October” (SUEPO Munich, 17.10.2019, see R.I.P. Kat…)

12 This measure also sidelines the directors, whose number shall be reduced by about 50% in the coming years, as recently announced; see Communiqué 03/19 “Adjustments to our organisational structure” (08.10.2019)

13 “The Financial Survey: A divisive exercise” (SUEPO Munich, 06.11.2019)

14 “The President’s Update on Social Dialogue or The battle of the communiqués” (CSC, 09.10.2019)

15 EPO staff survey: concerns about quality, low confidence in management, lack of respect (Kluwer Patent blogger, 07.04.2019)

16 “Different views on the ‘Interview on Financial Study’” (CSC, 29.10.2019)

17 “Report on the second meeting of the WG Financial Measures” (CSC, 02.12.2019)

18 SP2023, Goal 1, Key Initiative 6

 

IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:59 am by Needs Sunlight

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

EPO Promoting Software Patents in Countries Where These Are Illegal

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ready to protect the law and protest this afternoon

The unitary software patents
Image credit: Benjamin Henrion (FFII)

Summary: The EPO’s vision of ‘unitary’ software patents (patents on algorithms in countries that disallow such patents, as per their national laws) won’t materialise, but in the meantime a lot of Invalid Patents (IPs) are granted in the form of European Patents (EPs) and this is wrong

THE European Patent Office (EPO) does not seem to mind the EPC, which it flagrantly violates routinely. It doesn’t care what courts say, either (or Parliament). António Campinos came from EU positions, so he should know better. Battistelli got his EPO job through connections (arguably the INPI job as well) and his current CEIPI job was set up by Campinos, who vacated this position if not reserved it. It’s all corrupt. We find it ironic that a law school is literally run by a criminal now. Are lecturers and students all aware of it? Surely they all know of the Benalla scandals (if not other scandals as well).

“As judges are under attack, the EPC is misinterpreted and distorted (to justify violating it) and the violators misuse diplomatic immunity we end up with illegal European Patents being granted.”The US patent system was shaken by 35 U.S.C. § 101, which nowadays invalidates just about every software patent that lands on a court’s or a judge’s lap. We cover new examples in Daily Links almost every day (no detailed articles due to lack of time). Nothing has changed.

What about Europe? Totally different story. As judges are under attack, the EPC is misinterpreted and distorted (to justify violating it) and the violators misuse diplomatic immunity we end up with illegal European Patents being granted. Who’s to stop it?

Just promoted in Lexology was this item from Kilburn & Strode LLP’s Matt Aldridge and Kristina Cornish (patent litigation). It’s about San Marino ‘outsourcing’ stuff to the EPO (within about 3 weeks):

It was announced at the end of November that, effective 1 January 2020, San Marino has closed the national route and thus will no longer accept European patent applications, or act as a receiving office under the PCT. This does not mean that patent protection in this mountainous microstate is not available, rather that all applications must now be filed directly with the European Patent Office (EPO).

Closing a national route to filing a European application is not new.

A dozen EPC contracting states have already closed their national route, namely:

Belgium, Cyprus, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands and Slovenia.

Any PCT application must go through the EPO in order to obtain protection in these states.

Whilst this particular change is unlikely to have an impact on most filing strategies (there were only four applications made through the national route in San Marino in 2016), it is worth bearing in mind the potential advantages, and disadvantages, of using a national route when filing in Europe.

Letting a lawless, unaccountable, corrupt entity run or replace one’s national patent system is beyond unreasonable. We saw similar EU ambitions in UPC and those who shape everything were litigation firms, not scientists. There will be a protest against the UPC later today.

We’ve meanwhile noticed this new tweet from the EPO (from half a day ago). The EPO is very blatantly promoting software patents in Europe. It’s doing it again. Illegal patents. To quote: “Patents are granted for new inventions such as products and processes, including inventions carried out using computers. You can read more on #patenting computer-implemented inventions here…” (the cited page talks about “4IR” and “AI” — the usual buzzwords).

Another new tweet from yesterday spoke of “disruptive technologies such as … AI.” (in the cited page).

Yesterday the EPO wrote: “#patentfact: High-quality #patents are assets for inventors because they can help attract investment, secure licensing deals and provide market exclusivity.”

“So why does the EPO attack patent quality,” I replied, citing this EPO leak.

The matter of fact is, the EPO does everything it can to fake ‘production’ — typically by violating the EPC and turning the EPO into a patent ‘printing machine’. This includes patents on mere concepts.

The EPO’s propaganda arm, IAM, is still posting so-called ‘news’ that’s actually lobbying pieces from litigation firms looking to legalise illegal patents such as software patents. “Australian lawyers pushing for software patents,” wrote Benjamin Henrion some hours ago, pointing to this recent article outside the IAM paywall. To quote:

One of the top issues on the agenda for this year’s IPBC Australasia was software patent eligibility – we knew that in the run-up to the event, a Full Bench of the Federal Court of Australia could be issuing a key ruling in the area. As it turned out though, there was no landmark to discuss. To judge from this morning’s panel on the topic, that has created significant frustration among stakeholders.

The closely-watched case was that of Encompass Corporation Pty Ltd v InfoTrack Pty Ltd, in which the claims of two Encompass-owned innovation patents were held invalid (not directed to a “method of manufacture”). The judges dismissed Encompass’ appeal, but passed over the opportunity to set down bright line rules.

Has IAM spoken to actual software developers? No! The usual.

Henrion and fellow technical people will protest in Brussels later today. The yellow shirts are ready (photo copied to the top of this article).

We Support GNU and the FSF But Remain Sceptical and Occasionally Worry About an RMS-less FSF

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux at 2:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

From the FSF’s page. It’s there near the bottom of the page.

Tweets for sale?

Summary: Richard Stallman (RMS) is not in charge of the FSF anymore (it’s Stallman who created the FSF) and there’s risk the decisions will be made by people who don’t share Stallman’s ethics or the FSF’s spirit

THE FOUNDER of the FSF has left. He no longer controls the FSF. He still controls GNU, which given its relationship with/to the FSF makes the situation a little intricate. The relations of power may seem subtle, but they’re still there. We still don’t know who repeatedly defaced Stallman’s Web site, but we heard rumours. The site was edited to fabricate Stallman’s resignation from GNU (or stepping down from GNU leadership), accompanied by very nasty personal attacks in at least one of the links. We can’t just forget about it. That happened. An explanation was never given, at least not a full explanation.

“Someone recently brought up the FSF’s plans to facilitate “mobile” devices (i.e. tracking) in our main IRC channel and I asked about this in the FSF’s IRC channel.”In our IRC channels and also in E-mail/social control media I sometimes get asked about the situation. But I can’t give good answer. I’m just not sure. There’s no doubt things are changing at the FSF. Sometimes it’s big stuff, sometimes rather minor. Someone recently brought up the FSF’s plans to facilitate “mobile” devices (i.e. tracking) in our main IRC channel and I asked about this in the FSF’s IRC channel. The responses were quite reasonable. So no need for grudges over it.

However, one of our readers, a longtime FSF member, highlighted an issue to me earlier this week. I could not believe it at first, so I really had to double-check.

“The FSF is selling tweets and such,” the reader said. “So if I had money to burn I would have given to the FSF at a level where they would have to publish praise of RMS in their social control media channels.”

The reader also explained that “since I use the Internet Archive a lot, and TR (Techrights) depends on it more than a little, they got most of the money this year. It turns out they currently have 2:1 matching going on at this time too. They asked why I donated. So I included mention of the FSF and their mistreatment of RMS, in addition to the several major archival reasons and the excellent work the IA does.”

“…seeing that the FSF makes posts in exchange for payments, I am growingly uncomfortable.”I am personally connected to the FSF in social control media and have occasionally reshared their posts. I didn’t see anything dubious among those. But seeing that the FSF makes posts in exchange for payments, I am growingly uncomfortable. Isn’t there an ethical issue here? Also, is this a relatively new thing? Have we seen it before?

Jono Bacon has just published an interview with the Linux Foundation‘s (LF) events person (the chief). He gets money by posting tweets for LF event sponsors (he would do anything for money… even Microsoft reputation laundering).

As I stated a few hours ago: “If you don’t know that Linux Foundation sells keynotes, thank-yous and tweets, then you don't really know the 'Linux' Foundation…”

“The way I see it (personally, others in Techrights might not agree), the FSF is not the same without RMS.”I hope that the FSF will never go down a similar path.

The way I see it (personally, others in Techrights might not agree), the FSF is not the same without RMS. His supervision or his oversight likely deterred detrimental ‘expansion’. We previously talked or passively remarked on reluctance to criticise anything from Red Hat (such as systemd) with the elephant in the room being payments from Red Hat to the FSF. This can, at the very least, buy silence (self-censorship). That’s not a decent thing to be doing; it’s arguably indecent.

12.11.19

Links 11/12/2019: Huawei Lobbied by Microsoft (Because of GNU/Linux) and Microsoft Still Googlebombs Linux to Promote ‘Teams’

Posted in News Roundup at 2:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • The OS Wars Continue

        Chuckle. While attempting to protect “intellectual property” and enhance security, the Trumpists ban Huawei and slap on tariffs. China is now banning some of that intellectual property including TOOS and hardware from several USAian manufacturers. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

        I have mixed feelings. On the one hand this will reduce the GOP’s hold on USAian politics as manufacturing and the GDP suffer under this crap but on the other Free Software may actually get a boost in China. Go GNU/Linux!

      • Huawei New MateBook D Series Laptop Lineup Comes With Multiple Configuration Choices Incl. Windows Or Linux OS, AMD or Intel And Discreet NVIDIA Graphics

        Huawei announced its latest line of MateBook laptops that feature a unique privacy-focused webcam design. The powerful, sleek and versatile portable computing devices come in multiple configurations. Interestingly, Huawei is also offering a choice between Windows and Linux operating systems. A while ago the company had apparently ditched Microsoft Windows 10 for Deepin OS completely, but the relaxation of the US-China trade war appears to have had an impact.

        The latest Huawei MateBook D14 and D15 laptops are quite versatile in terms of hardware as well as software. Huawei is offering multiple configurations that allow buyers to choose either an Intel or AMD processor that can be paired with a discrete NVIDIA GPU. Interestingly, besides the hardware customization, the latest Huawei MateBook laptops could ship with either Windows 10 or a Linux OS installed on certain SKUs.

    • Server

      • IBM

        • MicroProfile 3.2 is now available on Open Liberty in Red Hat Runtimes

          Open Liberty 19.0.0.12 provides support for MicroProfile 3.2, allowing users to provide their own health check procedures and monitor microservice applications easily with metrics. Additionally, updates allow trust to be established using the JDK’s default truststore or a certificate through an environment variable.

          [...]

          Open Liberty has added support for Jaeger in MicroProfile OpenTracing. A sample tracer is available for using Zipkin as a tracing backend. With the addition of Jaeger support, developers can also use Jaeger as a tracing backend.

        • Working with Linux containers on RHEL 8 with Podman, image builder and web console

          Podman was released with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.6 and 8.0 as the next generation of Linux container tools, is designed to allow faster experimentation and development of features.

          Podman features include rootless, kube generate, and kube play (see: “Podman can now ease the transition to Kubernetes and CRI-O”). Podman is also compatible with the Open Containers Initiative (OCI), Runtime, Image, and Distribution specifications, so customers can build container images that run on OpenShift (which uses CRI-O) or other 3rd-party OCI compliant container engines, and vice versa.

          As can be seen in Figure 1, CRI-O, in Red Hat OpenShift, shares many of its underlying components with Podman. This allows Red Hat engineers to leverage knowledge gained in experiments conducted in Podman for new capabilities in OpenShift.

        • Red Hat Software Collections 3.4, Red Hat Developer Toolset 9 now generally available

          Building the next generation of enterprise applications requires the latest and greatest developer tools paired with production-grade stability. To help meet these twin needs, we’re pleased to deliver the latest version of Red Hat’s curated collection of the latest open source runtime languages, databases, compilers and related developer tools: Red Hat Software Collections 3.4.

        • Celebrating 20 years of enterprise Java: Innovation

          Twenty years ago this week, enterprise Java was born. The Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) launched as version 1.2 on Dec. 12, 1999. It built upon many years of work previously in the enterprise distributed systems arena, such as the common object request broker architecture (CORBA) and distributed computing environment (DCE), and its birth marked the beginning of a technology that would become a powerhouse in the world of enterprise application development.

          Building on the “write once, run anywhere” promise of the Java programming language, the enterprise Java platform extends this neutrality and portability with a set of specifications that are well-suited for building large scale applications. As a result, enterprise Java has been able to offer an appealing option for developers that enables them to take advantage of the reliability, speed, efficiency and ease-of-use needed for enterprise-grade development.

        • Keycloak: Core concepts of open source identity and access management

          Keycloak provides the flexibility to export and import configurations easily, using a single view to manage everything. Together, these technologies let you integrate front-end, mobile, and monolithic applications into a microservice architecture. In this article, we discuss the core concepts and features of Keycloak and its application integration mechanisms. You will find links to implementation details near the end.

        • What 5 new innovations will open source yield in the 2020s?

          When I look back to where technology was in 2010, it’s astounding to think about how much has changed — and how so many of those advancements were fueled by open source.

          Ten years ago, AI was not a part of our everyday lives, most developers hadn’t even heard of containers or microservices, blockchain was little more than an idea, and serverless was a far-off dream. Now these technologies, built on open source projects and the communities that surround them, are shaping how developers do their jobs and how people interact with technology on a daily basis.

          In this blog post, I talk about some of the trends that have shaped the past decade as we look forward to what 2020 — and the next decade — has in store for us.

        • Open and Innovative: others don’t have a patch on SUSE

          It’s not just general purpose and large x86_64 systems that feel the benefit of fixing vulnerable systems without waiting for a planned maintenance window. We see so many customers in the SUSE world that run critical applications or large database instances on IBM POWER. In many cases these systems do not have the same levels of flexibility built into general purpose systems, and so every minute of downtime hurts.
          SUSE Linux Enterprise Live Patching has supported live patching on the POWER systems for almost 2 years now. This is just another example of SUSE always listening to the user community and delivering to them what the users really need and when they need. Customers know and depend on SUSE to be the first to deliver the right technology at the right time.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Talk Python to Me: Episode #242: Your education will be live-streamed

        Online education has certainly gone mainstream. Developers and companies have finally gotten comfortable taking online courses. Sometimes these are recorded, self-paced courses like we have at Talk Python Training. Other times, they are more like live events in webcast format.

        In this episode, you’ll meet two guys who are taking the interactivity of online learning up a notch. Brian Clark and Cecil Philip run a weekly event on Twitch where they are live-streaming an interactive Python course. They take questions from 100′s of students and dig into the diversions more mainstream online learning simply cannot.

      • [Krita artist] Production report: episode 31

        Slowly but surely and in the background of the book-publishing project I’ve been working on a future episode of Pepper&Carrot. Here is a report about that with many screenshots:

      • mintCast 323.5 – Traveling Networker Problem

        In our Innards section, we talk more about Linux Mint and Clem’s comments.

    • Kernel Space

      • Improving the security model of the LVFS

        There are lots of layers of security in the LVFS and fwupd design, including restricted account modes, 2FA, and server side AppStream namespaces. The most powerful one is the so-called vendor-id that the vendors cannot assign themselves, and is assigned by me when creating the vendor account on the LVFS. The way this works is that all firmware from the vendor is tagged with a vendor-id string like USB:0x056A which in this case matches the USB consortium vendor assigned ID. Client side, the vendor-id from the signed metadata is checked against the physical device and the firmware is updated only if the ID matches. This ensures that malicious or careless users on the LVFS can never ship firmware updates for other vendors hardware. About 90% of the vendors on the LVFS are locked down with this mechanism.

        Some vendors have to have IDs that they don’t actually own, a good example here is for a DFU device like the 8bitdo controllers. In runtime mode they use the USB-assigned 8bitdo VID, but in bootloader mode they use a generic VID which is assigned to the chip supplier as they are using the reference bootloader. This is obviously fine, and both vendor IDs are assigned to 8bitdo on the LVFS for this reason. Another example is where Lenovo is responsible for updating Lenovo-specific NVMe firmware, but where the NVMe vendor isn’t always Lenovo’s PCI ID.

      • Graphics Stack

        • NVIDIA 440.44 Linux Driver Brings Fixes, __GL_SYNC_DISPLAY_DEVICE Honored With Vulkan

          Out today is NVIDIA 440.44 as the latest stable Linux driver update in their new long-lived driver series.

          Succeeding the 440.36 and 440.31 stable drivers, the 440.44 release isn’t too exciting but at least NVIDIA should be introducing a new beta series shortly.

        • Intel’s OpenSWR OpenGL Software Rasterizer Pulls In Tessellator From Microsoft Direct3D Code

          OpenSWR is Intel’s performance-minded software rasterizer for purposes like workstation visualizations and is where it outperforms the likes of LLVMpipe. This CPU-based OpenGL implementation can make use of not only AVX/AVX2 but also AVX-512 and other optimizations to support speedy CPU-based GL operations from laptops to Xeon Scalable hardware. Like LLVMpipe, OpenSWR does leverage LLVM in part. Those unfamiliar with this long-standing Intel open-source project can learn more at OpenSWR.org.

    • Applications

      • Annotate screenshots on Linux with Ksnip

        I recently switched from MacOS to Elementary OS, a Linux distribution focused on ease of use and privacy. As a user-experience designer and a free software supporter, I take screenshots and annotate them all the time. After trying out several different tools, the one I enjoy the most by far is Ksnip, an open source tool licensed under GPLv2.

      • Daniel Stenberg: BearSSL is curl’s 14th TLS backend

        curl supports more TLS libraries than any other software I know of. The current count stops at 14 different ones that can be used to power curl’s TLS-based protocols (HTTPS primarily, but also FTPS, SMTPS, POP3S, IMAPS and so on).

        The beginning

        The very first curl release didn’t have any TLS support, but already in June 1998 we shipped the first version that supported HTTPS. Back in those days the protocol was still really SSL. The library we used then was called SSLeay. (No, I never understood how that’s supposed to be pronounced)

        The SSLeay library became OpenSSL very soon after but the API was brought along so curl supported it from the start.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Hellpoint, the dark sci-fi action RPG from Cradle Games now launching in 2020 with new details

        Cradle Games recently put out some fresh exciting details for Hellpoint, their upcoming crowdfunded dark sci-fi action RPG.

        Firstly, it seems the release has been pushed back a while. They were aiming for this year but they’re just not going to hit it. They’ve been going through console certification, along with doing regular updates to the PC Beta and they’re now saying it’s going to be sometime in “Q1 2020″ for Hellpoint’s release.

      • Get Wasteland 2 Director’s Cut FREE in the GOG Winter Sale, lots of Linux games going cheaps

        Is there seriously another big sale going on already? Yep! This time it comes with a FREE game too. GOG are offering Wasteland 2 Director’s Cut at no cost.

        Firstly then, the Wasteland 2 Director’s Cut Digital Classic Edition going FREE on GOG which also comes with Wasteland 1: The Original Classic so you’re getting two games for nothing here. That should keep you busy enough through the colder Winter nights.

      • Action-RPG platform shooter Bite the Bullet is going to have some really crazy weapons

        Mega Cat Studios previously showed how eating enemies in Bite the Bullet would power you up, now they’re talking about the varied weapons you get to play with.

        As a huge fan of Broforce and other such crazy action platformers, Bite the Bullet is high up on my list of games coming out next year. We shouldn’t be waiting too long on it, with it due in the first quarter of 2020. To show it off a little more, Mega Cat Studios have a new video talking about all the weapons and some of them are pretty crazy.

      • Another Steam Beta is out, updates the Linux Runtime to help Steam Play Proton

        Quite a small update to the Steam Beta recently, but for some Linux gamers using Steam Play Proton it might be a rather helpful one.

        The new Library got tweaked a little again, now allowing for Family Sharing of tools, Valve also fixed new categories created in small mode or Big Picture mode not being properly saved when switching to normal mode and recently played but disallowed by Family View games not appearing in the Recent Games shelf when Family View is enabled on startup.

      • Enable your Python game player to run forward and backward

        In previous entries in this series about creating video games in Python 3 using the Pygame module, you designed your level-design layout, but some portion of your level probably extended past your viewable screen. The ubiquitous solution to that problem in platformer games is, as the term “side-scroller” suggests, scrolling.

        The key to scrolling is to make the platforms around the player sprite move when the player sprite gets close to the edge of the screen. This provides the illusion that the screen is a “camera” panning across the game world.

        This scrolling trick requires two dead zones at either edge of the screen, at which point your avatar stands still while the world scrolls by.

      • Survival Mode in The Long Dark just got a lot bigger with the ERRANT PILGRIM update

        As promised, Hinterland Studio have released a huge update to the Survival Mode side of The Long Dark named ERRANT PILGRIM.

        It brings in a whole new region to explore, Bleak Inlet. Once a home to a thriving industrial Cannery, seismic activity cut-off Bleak Inlet from the rest of the Great Bear mainland. Exploring is not for the faint of heart, being Timberwolf territory but the treasures contained in the industrial complex may just be enough to warrant the journey.

      • DXVK To Enter Maintenance Mode Because Of Fragility And Unreliability

        It looks like DXVK, the Vulkan-based translation layer for Direct3D 11 and 10, is entering maintenance mode. That’s not because it’s considered feature complete and bug-free, like it’s usually the case when software enters maintenance mode, but because the main developer considers that DXVK has become a “fragile, unreliable and frustrating maintenance nightmare”.

      • DXVK Reportedly Going Into “Maintenance Mode” Due To State Of Code-Base

        While DXVK tends to be much-loved by Linux gamers for allowing more Direct3D 10/11 Windows games to run nicely on Linux with Wine or Proton (Steam Play) thanks to its fairly complete translation of D3D10/D3D11 API calls to Vulkan, it looks like Philip Rebohle is at least contemplating shifting it just into maintenance-mode.

        The DXVK lead developer recently commented that DXVK is “entering maintenance mode” and he doesn’t want to make any significant changes or additions to the code.

      • Shovel Knight: King of Cards and Shovel Knight Showdown are out, completing the series

        Starting off with a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign back in 2013 and growing into a massive multi-part 8-bit inspired world, Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove now finally finished. Note: Keys provided by GOG.com to us.

        Originally having a goal of $75,000 and a Linux/macOS stretch goal at $130,000 it proved to be popular ending on $311,491. It’s taken six years for Yacht Club Games to get here starting with Shovel of Hope, followed by Plague of Shadows in 2015, Specter of Torment in 2017, and now King of Cards and Shovel Knight Showdown in 2019.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Revamp your old Linux desktop with Joe’s Window Manager

        Joe’s Window Manager (JWM for short) is a lightweight window manager for X11. It’s written in C, minimally using Xlib. Because it’s so small and simple, JWM makes a great window manager for slow or old computers. The Raspberry Pi barely registers that JWM is running, leaving precious system resources for more important tasks than the desktop.

        JWM follows in the footsteps of environments like FVWM, Window Maker, and Fluxbox. It provides an application menu, window decoration, and a panel with an application menu, taskbar, and clock.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Fedora 31 Workstation review – The color of winter

          Last week, we talked about MX Linux MX-19. This week, let’s have a look at Fedora 31. Now, some of you may already start grumbling and complaining. Because I will focus a lot of my energy on the Gnome desktop and what it doesn’t do, and all that. But then, Fedora is the pioneer child (not in the communist sense) of the Gnome world, showcasing the latest fixes and features the environment offers. Therein lies my hope and my expected but hopefully proven wrong disappointment.

          Looking back to the past two years or so, I found Fedora to have improved a little in the performance area, has become more consistent, gained stability in major areas side by side with bugs and problems in others, and still isn’t user-friendly enough for immediate consumption. Y’know, proprietary stuff, window buttons, desktop icons, stuff like that. Fedora 30 is a good melting pot of all these observations. I wasn’t happy, but then, it’s time to rewind the clock, reset my emotions, and boldly charge head first into the wall of open-source.

      • New Releases

      • Debian Family

        • How to Install ElkArte Forum with Apache and Let’s Encrypt on Debian 10

          ElkArte is a free, open-source and powerful forum software that allows you to create your own online forum community. In this tutorial, we will explain how to install ElkArte on Debian 10 server.

        • My Free Software Activities in November 2019

          Welcome to gambaru.de. Here is my monthly report that covers what I have been doing for Debian. If you’re interested in Java, Games and LTS topics, this might be interesting for you.

        • Debian GNU/Linux riscv64 port — Sponsors and Build machines

          In previous posts about the riscv64 port there were mentions about history, progress and other details, but in this one I want to address the topic of sponsors and build machines, which even if there are mentions from time to time (e.g. in talks and slides posted here), it has not been covered in a comprehensive manner.

          And it’s only fair that we acknowledge people and orgs sponsoring and contributing resources… and about time too. They will appear roughly in chronological order.

        • Ian Jackson: Debian GR on init systems – Ballot paper format

          You are allowed to reorder the choices on your ballot paper, and this is effective.
          That is, you can take the ballot paper in the CFV and edit the lines in it into your preferred order with cut and paste. You can look at the letters, or the Secretary’s summary lines, when you do that.

          It’s important to use a proper text editor and not linewrap things while you do this.

          After, that you can simply write numbers 1 to 8 into the boxes down the left hand side.

          Rank all the options. That way when you get your vote ack back, any parse failure will show up as a blank space in the ack.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • 10 Reasons to Use Linux Mint in 2019

          In the past, we have published articles listing the reasons to use a handful of Linux distros such as 10 Reasons to Use Arch Linux, 10 Reasons to Use Manjaro Linux, The 10 Best Reasons to Use Fedora Linux and today, we have a shift in our focus as this time around, our subject matter is Linux Mint.

          Linux Mint is a community-driven Linux distribution with a major focus on making open-source goodies freely available and easily accessible in a modern, elegant, powerful, and convenient operating system. It is developed based on Ubuntu, uses dpkg package manager, and is available for x86-64 and arm64 architectures.

          Linux Mint has been hailed by many as the better operating system to use when compared to its parent distro and has also managed to maintain its position on distrowatch as the OS with the 3rd most popular hits in the past 1 year.

        • Juju 2.7: Enhanced k8s experience, improved networking and more

          Canonical is proud to announce the availability of Juju 2.7. This new release introduces a range of exciting features and several improvements which enhance Juju across various areas.

          To learn more about Juju, visit our page.

          Kubernetes extensions

          Juju is becoming the simplest way to deploy and manage your container-centric workloads. This release was aimed at bringing more Juju features to k8s charms and more k8s features to Juju.

          K8s charms can now define actions, introspect agents, and communicate back to Juju via the addition of juju-run within the pod’s PATH environmental variable. Experienced k8s operators will feel more at home with the ability to set secrets, administer service accounts, and other k8s-native features from their charms directly.

        • How using Charmed OSM helps telcos to accelerate their NFV transformation
    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Frédéric Wang: Review of my year 2019 at Igalia

        In 2016, I was among the new software engineers who joined Igalia. Three years later I applied to become co-owner of the company and the legal paperwork was completed in April. As my colleague Andy explained on his blog, this does not change a lot of things in practice because most of the decisions are taken within the assembly. However, I’m still very happy and proud of having achieved this step

        One of my new duty has been to be the “mentor” of Miyoung Shin since February and to help with her integration at Igalia. Shin has been instrumental in Igalia’s project to improve Chromium’s Code Health with an impressive number of ~500 commits. You can watch the video of her BlinkOn lightning talk on YouTube. In addition to her excellent technical contribution she has also invested her energy in company’s life, helping with the organization of social activities during our summits, something which has really been appreciated by her colleagues. I’m really glad that she has recently entered the assembly and will be able to take a more active role in the company’s decisions!

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Announcing Version 2.7 of the Mozilla Root Store Policy

            After many months of discussion on the mozilla.dev.security.policy mailing list, our Root Store Policy governing Certificate Authorities (CAs) that are trusted in Mozilla products has been updated. Version 2.7 has an effective date of January 1st, 2020.

          • Week notes – 2019 w49 – worklog – The Weak Notes

            A week with a bad cold makes it more difficult to write week notes. So here my weak notes. Everything seems heavier to type, to push.

            This last week-end I was at JSConf JP. I wrote down some notes about it.

            The week starts with two days of fulltime diagnosis (Monday, Tuesday). Let’s get to it: 69 open bugs for Gecko. We try to distribute our work across the team so we are sure that at least someone is on duty for each day of the week. When we have finished our shift, we can add ourselves for more days. That doesn’t prevent us for working on bugs the rest of the week. Some of the bugs take longer.

          • Problematic monetization in security products, Avira edition

            A while back we’ve seen how Avast monetizes their users. Today we have a much smaller fish to fry, largely because the Avira’s extensions in question aren’t installed by default and require explicit user action for the additional “protection.” So these have far fewer users, currently 400 thousands on Firefox and slightly above a million on Chrome according to official add-on store numbers. It doesn’t make their functionality any less problematic however.

            That’s especially the case for Avira Browser Safety extension that Avira offers for Firefox and Opera. While the vendor’s homepage lists “Find the best deals on items you’re shopping for” as last feature in the list, the extension description in the add-on stores “forgets” to mention this monetization strategy. I’m not sure why the identical Chrome extension is called “Avira Safe Shopping” but at least here the users get some transparency.

            [...]

            The Avira Browser Safety extension is identical to Avira Safe Shopping and monetizes by offering “best shopping deals” to the users. This functionality is underdocumented, particularly in Avira’s privacy policy. It is also risky however, as Avira chose to implement it in such a way that it will execute JavaScript code from Avira’s servers on arbitrary websites as well as in the context of the extension itself. In theory, this allows Avira or anybody with control of this particular server to target individual users, spy on them or mess with their browsing experience in almost arbitrary ways.

            In addition to that, the security part of the extension is implemented in a suboptimal way and will upload the entire browsing history of the users to Avira’s servers without even removing potentially sensitive data first. Again, Avira’s privacy policy is severely lacking and won’t make any clear statements as to what happens with this data.

      • BSD

        • NomadBSD 1.3 Released To Offer A Pleasant FreeBSD 12.1 Based Desktop Experience

          Along similar aims to GhostBSD and MidnightBSD, GhostBSD is another one of the BSD distributions focused on providing a nice out-of-the-box experience. NomadBSD 1.3 is now available that is in turn based on the recent FreeBSD 12.1.

          NomadBSD 1.3 is based on FreeBSD 12.1-RELEASE, adds ZFS file-system support to its desktop installer, auto-configuration support for running within Oracle VirtualBox, bundles the NVIDIA 440 proprietary graphics driver, adds nomadbsd-dmconfig and nomadbsd-adduser Qt tools for further configuring the desktop OS, better X.Org driver detection for newer Intel graphics, Audacity and Orage have been added to the default application list, Thunderbird and Palemoon have been bumped from the default application list, and a variety of other desktop application defaults have changed.

      • Programming/Development

        • Qt Shader Tools Looks To Become Official Qt6 Module

          The currently-experimental Qt Shader Tools allows for graphics/compute shader conditioning and used by the in-development Qt graphics abstraction layer for supporting Vulkan / Metal / Direct3D / OpenGL APIs.

          Qt Shader Tools offers various shader features in preparing them for consumption by different graphics APIs. Qt Shader Tools is currently used ahead of time for QtGUI with Qt 5.14+. But for Qt 6.0, Qt Shader Tools is going through the appropriate steps for becoming a formal Qt 6 module for compiling and translating shaders between interfaces.

        • Vim

        • Python

          • Python Positional-only parameters

            I have downloaded Python 3.8 and start to play around with those latest python functions. In this article, we will look at the Positional-only parameter syntax which is a function parameter syntax / to indicate that some function parameters must be specified positionally and cannot be used as keyword arguments which means after the / syntax we may specify a value for each parameter within that function.

          • For Loop in Python Explained With Practical Examples

            If you are just getting started to learn Python, you must be in search of something to explore for loop in Python.

            Of course, our list of free python resources should help you learn about it quickly.

            In either case, we shall help you learn more about the ‘for‘ loop in python using a couple of important examples.

          • Data Engineer Interview Questions With Python

            Going to interviews can be a time-consuming and tiring process, and technical interviews can be even more stressful! This tutorial is aimed to prepare you for some common questions you’ll encounter during your data engineer interview. You’ll learn how to answer questions about databases, Python, and SQL.

          • 8 AI Predictions for 2020: Business Leaders & Researchers Weigh In

            The first industrial revolution was powered by coal, the second by oil and gas, and the third by nuclear power. The fourth — AI — is fueled by an abundance of data and breakthroughs in compute power. While this abundance has allowed us to make significant progress in recent years, there is still much to be done for AI to be the positive life-changing force that many hope it will be. We asked thought leaders at the forefront of AI and machine learning technology to contribute some insight into what they think will transpire in 2020. Their predictions center around hardware, the human impact of AI, the public’s understanding of AI, and its limitations.

          • The easiest way to deploy Django application

            Heroku is a cloud application platform, it facilitate the deployement of a web application.

            They support several programming languages, include Python.

          • Encoding and Decoding Base64 Strings in Python

            Have you ever received a PDF or an image file from someone via email, only to see strange characters when you open it? This can happen if your email server was only designed to handle text data. Files with binary data, bytes that represent non-text information like images, can be easily corrupted when being transferred and processed to text-only systems.

            Base64 encoding allows us to convert bytes containing binary or text data to ASCII characters. By encoding our data, we improve the chances of it being processed correctly by various systems.

            In this tutorial, we would learn how Base64 encoding and decoding works, and how it can be used. We will then use Python to Base64 encode and decode both text and binary data.

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft Teams for Linux available in preview
        • Microsoft announces the release of Teams on Linux
        • Microsoft Teams comes to Linux
        • Microsoft Teams is now available for Linux
        • Microsoft’s Teams goes to bat for the other team with preview on Linux
        • Microsoft Teams Is Now Officially Available For Linux

          Microsoft Teams is a unified communication and collaborative platform that allows you to keep your teams chats, meetings, files and apps together in one place. If your company has a team of developers who uses Linux desktop, they can now use Microsoft Teams natively on their Linux desktops. Microsoft Teams clients are available for Microsoft Windows, Linux, Android and iOS. It also available as web app, so we can use it on any Internet-enabled devices, regardless of the operating system.

        • Windows Subsystem For Linux Performance At The End Of 2019

          Recently I wrapped up some benchmarks looking at the performance of Ubuntu on Microsoft’s Windows Subsystem for Linux comparing WSL on Windows 10 Build 18362 (May 2019 Update) and then both WSL and WSL2 performance using the Windows 10 Build 19008 Insider’s Preview (what will come as Windows 10 20H1 update) for looking at where the WSL performance is heading. Additionally, looking at the bare metal performance of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS for which the WSL instances were based plus Ubuntu 19.10. As well, for the Windows-compatible tests also looking at how the Windows performance itself was outside of WSL/WSL2.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (crypto++ and thunderbird), Debian (cacti, freeimage, git, and jackson-databind), Fedora (nss), openSUSE (clamav, dnsmasq, munge, opencv, permissions, and shadowsocks-libev), Red Hat (nss, nss-softokn, nss-util, rh-maven35-jackson-databind, and thunderbird), Scientific Linux (nss, nss-softokn, nss-util, nss-softokn, and thunderbird), SUSE (caasp-openstack-heat-templates, crowbar-core, crowbar-openstack, crowbar-ui, etcd, flannel, galera-3, mariadb, mariadb-connector-c, openstack-dashboard-theme-SUSE, openstack-heat-templates, openstack-neutron, openstack-nova, openstack-quickstart, patterns-cloud, python-oslo.messaging, python-oslo.utils, python-pysaml2, libssh, and strongswan), and Ubuntu (git, libpcap, libssh, and thunderbird).

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Ad industry groups ask that the CCPA keep its mitts off their cookies

              Five ad industry groups have asked California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to change stipulations about cookie-blocking in the state’s impending, far-reaching, almost-GDPR-but-not-quite privacy law, which goes into effect in the new year.

              It’s for the sake of consumer choice, they said.

              Initially, the language in their letter seemed to be requesting a ban on privacy tools such as extensions that block ads and tracking scripts, but the comments turned out to be asking for something a bit more nuanced than that: MediaPost reporter Wendy Davis later said that the groups clarified, saying that they only want the AG to prohibit browsers from blocking the industry’s opt-out cookies – AdChoices – as opposed to all cookies.

    • Monopolies

      • Trademarks

        • Federal Court in Australia Grants Injunction Restraining Unlawful Use of Scotch Whisky

          On 15 November 2019, a Federal Court in Melbourne, Australia, granted a series of permanent injunctions restraining Rex D’Aquino (principal director, D’Aquino Bros Pty Ltd) and D’Aquino Bros Pty Ltd (Australian based liquor company) from infringing and unlawfully using the Australian certification trade mark for Scotch Whisky. The Scotch Whisky Association(SWA) instituted the Federal Court action following an ABC investigation which revealed D’Aquino Bros Pty Ltd allegedly sold whisky produced in Orange, New South Wales, Australia as Scotch Whisky produced in Scotland, in breach of Australian trade mark law. The brands of contested whisky included “The Black Scot”, “The Clansmen” and “J.B.R Scotch Whisky.” These brands fail to meet the established requirements for Scotch Whisky.

Links 11/12/2019: Edge Native Working Group, CrossOver 19.0 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Linux users identify with their OS more often than Mac, Windows users

        We’ve all heard anecdotes or stereotypes of “die hard Mac users”, or “Linux zealots.” Stories of people who strongly identify with the computers they use (aka “I am a Mac user”).

        But how often do people really identify with the Operating System they use the most on their computer?

        I recently conducted a survey as part of study on how Operating Systems impact our happiness. Responses were submitted from 2,259 computer users — using a broad range of Operating Systems — primarily from “pro user” communities (not a random cross-section of the populace).

        [...]

        The results for Android users were surprisingly similar to iOS users. Android users more often identified with their mobile platform (55.7%) than iOS users with theirs (54%). Based on the sample size, it seems entirely possible that the margin of error here would put the two platforms as nearly identical in these terms.

    • Server

      • Do I need a college degree to be a sysadmin?

        If we could answer that question with a simple “yes” or “no,” this would not be much of a story. Reality is a little more nuanced, though. An accurate answer begins with one of “Yes, but…” or “No, but…”—and the answer depends on who you ask, among other important variables, including industry, company size, and so forth.

        On the “yes” front, IT job descriptions don’t typically buck the “degree required” assumption, sysadmin roles included. This fact is perhaps especially true in the corporate business world across a wide range of sectors, and it isn’t limited to large companies, either. Consider a recent opening posted on the jobs site Indeed.com for an IT system administrator position at Crest Foods, a 650-person food manufacturing company in Ashton, Ill. The description includes plenty of familiar requirements for a sysadmin. The first bullet point under “Desired Education & Experience” reads: “Bachelor’s degree in computer science, networking, IT, or relevant field.”

        “Generally, systems administrators will have [degrees] from four-year universities,” says Jim Johnson, district president at the recruiting firm Robert Half Technology. While some employers don’t specify a particular degree field, Johnson notes the bachelor’s in computer information systems (CIS) as a good fit for the sysadmin field and overlapping IT roles.

        That said, Johnson also points out that there are other options out there for people that don’t pursue a traditional degree path. That’s especially true given the growth of online education and training, as well as in-person opportunities such as technical schools.

        “There are [sysadmins] with computer systems professional or computer operator certificates from technical or online schools,” Johnson says.

        Moreover, a potential employer’s “desired” educational background can be just that: An ideal scenario, but not a dealbreaker. This fact can be true even if a degree is listed as “required,” perhaps especially in markets with a tight supply of qualified candidates. If you’ve got the technical chops, a degree might become much more optional than a job description might lead you to believe.

      • Resource scarcity in Public Clouds

        In addition to this, there are some “special” moments, such as Thanksgiving and the nearby days that, by now, have become a widespread event even beyond the countries where they used to be celebrated. Probably, in the data-centers in areas where those festivities are celebrated (or at least where the capitalistic part of the celebration is celebrated), the load reaches the annual peak, due to the e-commerce websites.

        To make the situation even worst, many Cloud customers are rewriting and improving their applications, making them more cloud-native. Now, you’ll wonder how cloud-native applications can make things worse? The reason is very simple: the cloud-native applications scale. This means that during the off-peak season the applications will drastically reduce their footprint, creating the false feeling of resource abundancy.

        This situation creates some problems, in my opinion.

        First of all, since it’s very hard for the Public Cloud provider to estimate the load – and in the future, it will be even harder – we will have to live with frequent resource exhaustion in public clouds, which will make a single-cloud single-region application fragile. This will be true, not even considering the economic aspect of the problem. There will be situations where it will not be economically convenient for the Cloud Provider to provision enough resources to manage the peaks since the additional provisioning cost would not be repaid during the short periods those resources will be used.

      • Notice: Linode Classic Manager Users

        Our legacy Linode Manager will be decommissioned on January 31, 2020. After that time, you will be automatically redirected to the Cloud Manager when logging in to manage your infrastructure on Linode.

      • IBM

        • Configuration Drift Prevention in OpenShift: Resource Locker Operator

          There are times in which we must be absolutely sure that a set of Red Hat OpenShift configurations “stay in place” lest an application, or potentially the entire cluster, becomes unstable.

        • Kubernetes 1.17: Volume Snapshots Beta and Scheduler changes for stability and extensibility

          It’s almost become boring to say that Kubernetes has become boring. This massive open source project has now been in development for so long that the major changes from revision to revision tend to focus on stability, reliability and performance: the sorts of changes that make life easier every day, but do not look so exciting when listed out in a change log.

          In truth, nothing in Kubernetes 1.17 will drastically change how you use containers, but they will result in more powerful and dependable architectures, capable of scaling to meet enterprise needs without buckling under pressure. Indeed, Kubernetes is now not only a stable platform for constructing cloud-native infrastructure, it is a stable foundation for the entire ecosystem of services and projects which rely upon it: from Prometheus to Istio to Fluentd to data services layers and Operators.

          That’s not to say there aren’t major enhancements in-bound in this release of the platform. One of those new additions, in fact, can directly affect data services – volume snapshots. That new feature is currently in beta with this release, but has been in development for a considerable amount of time.

        • Red Hat Global Customer Tech Outlook 2020: Hybrid cloud leads strategy, AI/ML leaps to the forefront

          For the sixth year running, we have reached out to our customers to hear where they are in their technology journey, and where they wish to go in the next year. For the 2020-focused survey, we received more than 870 qualified responses1 from Red Hat customers from around the world. They’ve weighed in about their challenges, strategies, and technologies they are planning to pursue in the next year and we’re eager to share the results with you in our report.

        • NooBaa Operator for data management, now on OperatorHub.io

          We are excited to announce a new Operator—the NooBaa Operator for data management. The NooBaa Operator is an upstream effort that Red Hat is leading and is included as part of the features of the upcoming Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage 4, currently released for Early Access.

          Operators are design patterns that augment and implement common day one and day two activities with Kubernetes clusters, simplifying application deployments and empowering developers to focus on creation versus remediation.

        • Cloud native and Knative at W-JAX 2019

          The W-JAX conference in November 2019 in Munich, Germany, is a popular conference for Java, architecture, and software innovation with highly renowned speakers and sessions. Hot topics at this year’s conference included cloud-native development and open source technologies. Knative is one of the hottest topics, particularly here in Germany, it even has prime position on this month’s Java Magazin front cover.

          It was a pleasure to welcome Jason McGee, IBM Fellow, VP and CTO of the IBM Cloud Platform, whose keynote “The 20 Year Platform – bringing together Kubernetes, 12-Factor and Functions” revealed the next twenty years of application development. Jason showed the open source technologies that define how developers can rapidly build and operate high scale applications, discussing the key role Kubernetes plays in cloud platforms. However, in the future, Kubernetes will not be enough. Jason stressed the importance of up-and-coming tools such as Knative, Kabanero, Tekton and Razee, for the cloud-native landscape of the future.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • apt install arch-linux | LINUX Unplugged 331

        We’re myth-busting this week as we take a perfectly functioning production server and switch it to Arch. Is this rolling distro too dangerous to run in production, or can the right approach unlock the perfect server? We try it so you don’t have to.

      • 2019-12-10 | Linux Headlines

        Microsoft releases Teams for Linux, SiFive enters the education market, the Eclipse Foundation champions open source on edge computing, and xs:code wants to help improve open source funding models.

      • Brunch with Brent: Alan Pope | Jupiter Extras 38

        Brent sits down with Alan Pope (popey), who shares his knack for fuzzy-testing, the beginnings of Ubuntu Podcast, insights into Ubuntu Touch and Unity, the joys and perils of being “Internet Famous”, and how to contribute meaningfully to your favorite Linux distributions.

        popey is a Developer Advocate at Canonical working on Snapcraft & Ubuntu, co-host of User Error and Ubuntu Podcast.

    • Kernel Space

      • WireGuard VPN For Linux Is Finally Ready For Launch

        For several years, developers have been working on WireGuard VPN for Linux and now it is finally ready to arrive on the platform.

        Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux himself praised the new in-kernel Linux VPN, calling it a “work of art” in comparison to other VPNs such as OpenVPN and IPSec (referring to them as horrors).

      • The latest Linux kernel is headed to Chromebooks in the very near future and that’s a big deal

        For those of you who may not be familiar with the subject, Google’s Chrome OS that powers millions of Chromebooks is built on the Linux kernel. I’ll save you the long-winded explanation of what the Linux kernel is and how it works for two reasons. One, it would take all day. Two, I’m not a developer and I would likely confuse myself and you in the process. Apart from numerous Linux distributions and Chrome OS, the Linux kernel is at the heart of the Android operating system as well as various embedded devices and products such as smart TVs and webcams.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Google Releases GraphicsFuzz 1.3 For Continuing To Fuzz GPU Drivers

          GraphicsFuzz is the project born out of academia a few years ago for fuzzing GPU drivers to find OpenGL / OpenGL ES (WebGL) driver issues. This work was ultimately acquired by Google and then open-sourced just over one year ago. Today marks the release of GraphicsFuzz 1.3.

          GraphicsFuzz these days is no longer about just OpenGL / GLES and GLSL shaders but also operating on SPIR-V shaders for consumption by Vulkan drivers. There are also GLSL/SPIR-V shader reducers in addition to the fuzzer that relies upon randomized metamorphic testing.

        • RadeonSI Driver Switches To NIR, Thereby Enabling OpenGL 4.6 By Default For AMD GPUs

          Mesa 20.0 due out in Q1’2020 is now the magical release that is set to switch on RadeonSI NIR usage by default in place of the TGSI intermediate representation. What makes this IR switch-over prominent is that OpenGL 4.6 is then enabled by default on this open-source Gallium3D driver supporting Radeon HD 7000 series GPUs and newer.

          Recently in Mesa 20.0-devel, RadeonSI plumbed in OpenGL 4.6 support but it was contingent upon enabling NIR due to sharing some code-paths with the NIR-built RADV Vulkan driver around the SPIR-V code. NIR is the intermediate representation that most Mesa OpenGL/Vulkan drivers are focusing on and is more versatile than the likes of TGSI, the traditional IR of Gallium3D that has been around a decade.

        • Mesa 19.3 Is Introducing A Lot Of Open-Source OpenGL + Vulkan Driver Improvements

          Mesa 19.3 could be released as soon as this week after being challenged by several delays over blocker bugs. This release should be making it out in the days ahead and is a fantastic Christmas gift to Linux desktop users and a big step-up for these OpenGL / Vulkan driver implementations as we end out 2019.
          Among the many changes to find with this quarterly Mesa3D update are finally having OpenGL 4.6 for Intel, initial Intel Gen12/Tigerlake support, Zink was merged for OpenGL on top of Vulkan, Radeon Vulkan ACO back-end added for better Linux gaming performance, many new Vulkan extensions supported on both the Intel and Radeon drivers, the Intel Gallium3D driver is now in excellent shape, there are more Intel performance optimizations, and a lot of other changes throughout.

        • Radeon OpenGL Linux Driver Gets Fix For Corruption Issues

          An issue affecting some Linux users with Radeon graphics for at least the last four months around graphics corruption problems when switching to newer versions of the Linux kernel have been resolved.

          On Linux 5.2+ have been reports of some graphics corruption issues in cases like web browsers. While the issue manifested with a kernel upgrade, the resolution is a change to the RadeonSI OpenGL driver. Besides the aforelinked DRM bug report, there has also been other similar bug reports like garbled graphics.

        • Unisoc Looking To Introduce A New DRM Display Driver For Mainline Linux

          Unisoc, the Chinese SoC provider for smartphones that is part of the Tsinghua Unigroup, has published a new open-source DRM display driver that ultimately they are looking to get into the mainline kernel.

          Out today is just the “request for comments” patches for this Unisoc “SPRD” Direct Rendering Manager display driver. The twelve thousand lines of driver code wire up their display controller, MIPI DSI, MIPI DPHY, and the Unisoc display subsystem. The patches were worked on by Unisoc with cooperation from Linaro. All of this driver work is on the display front as their SoCs for 3D/GPU capabilities rely upon Arm Mali and Imagination PowerVR IP.

    • Applications

      • Clementine | A New Music Player in Debian 10

        Clementine has improved the interface by putting all the main features, from accessing the local library to streaming services, on a sidebar on the left. This sidebar has several options, although the most legible, the plain toolbar, is not the default. Still, no matter what the appearance, Clementine’s sidebar goes one better than Amarok by adding a file manager to the tool collection. However, one change that is not an improvement is the song info tool. To get lyrics and other information, users must click on a link and go to their web browser. There, instead of offering and displaying a best guess, like Amarok does, Clementine offers a range of possibilities, which are often so lengthy a list that, by the time you find the right entry, the track could easily have finished. Admittedly, Amarok’s best guess could occasionally be hilariously wrong, but it was quicker and displayed results in Amarok’s own window.

        Another interface quirk that Clementine does not improve upon is Amarok’s insistence that, unless File | Quit is selected, it minimizes to the notification bar. I have always wondered: Why isn’t shutting down the window (no matter how you close the window) the default behavior and minimizing a deliberate choice? I also don’t see much reason for the mood bar, whose colors supposedly change to reflect the nature of the current song. Fortunately, though, the mood bar can be turned off in Tools | Preferences | Appearance.

        Still, although some of the tools are less than optional, on the whole, Clementine preserves Amarok’s tradition of attempting to digitally reproduce the experience of a physical album — an effort that few other music players do as well, or at all. I especially like Clementine’s tabbed playlists, which mean that selections can be queued up like a stack of LPs or CDs, with only a click required to change them.

      • The best free music production software

        The best DJs hunt out all the best music and then play right tracks at the exact right moment for the crowd to hear them . It sounds like an easy job, but it’s not. On top of that, if you want to become a superstar DJ who tours the world, there is something else you’ll have to master; music production. Unsurprisingly, a LOT of people want to be superstar DJs, which makes it very hard to stand out the crowd. The best way you prove yourself to be special, however, is by making your own songs to play in your own sets and for other DJs to play in theirs. Yep, music production is an integral part of the journey you take towards becoming an international superstar DJ. It’s time to become a music maker.

        [...]

        Audacity works on Windows, MacOS, and GNU/Linux and is a marvel of free music software. Like all the best pro-grade free programs, such as the image editor GIMP, Audacity is open source software, which means users and developers can add features to the main product or iron out any bugs they find.

        Audacity has a lot of features that put it alongside some of the more expensive premium options out there. With Audacity you can easily perform live audio recording, record sounds coming from your PC, convert music, edit, cut, copy, and splice tracks of many different audio formats, and download and install plugins to add new features as and when you realize you need them. Audacity offers advanced audio editing software while, somewhat surprisingly, remaining very simple to use.

      • RipMe – Bulk image downloader for Linux

        There are instances when you need to download quite a bulk of pictures at once. Be it for project work, or photos of something that you love.

        In any case, downloading many photos one by one is great pain, and extremely time-consuming. Another option could be to download an already compiled album, but honestly, there are not a whole lot of albums available to download on every occasion. Any easy solution?

        We have a solution to offer here: a bulk image downloader, RipMe.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • CELEBRATING THE DIFFICULT; THE RELEASE OF CROSSOVER 19

        My family likes to make fun of me because I enjoy hard problems. One of my favorite games of all time is Don’t Starve. The way I played it – with no googling allowed – meant that I died all the time. While each death would make me pull out more and more of my hair, when I was finally able to master winter and find the portal, I felt a genuine sense of accomplishment.

        That’s true for CodeWeavers, as well. My first guiding principle is that I want to do challenging and meaningful work.

        And, it turns out, working on Wine is the most challenging thing I’ve ever been part of. We are re-implementing the Windows operating system; our 43 employees work every day to keep up with the work of the 144,000 people at Microsoft.

      • CrossOver 19.0 Released – Ending Out 2019 With Better Microsoft Office Support On Linux

        CodeWeavers has announced the availability of CrossOver 19 for their Wine-based software for running Windows programs/applications/games on macOS and Linux.

        CrossOver 19.0 entered beta last month with the headlining feature being initial support for macOS Catalina, including going to great lengths for supporting 32-bit Windows programs on Catalina even with Apple phasing out their 32-bit software support.

    • Games

      • Playing Tomb Raider (Definitive Edition) Using Stadia on Linux

        Lara Croft, if you didn’t already know, is an adventurer extraordinaire, and hero of the game, “Tomb Raider”. As part of the Google Stadia Pro edition, I have had the pleasure to follow Lara Croft in some of her adventures in this amazing game.

      • Playing CrossCode within a web browser

        The commercial video game Crosscode is written in HTML5, making it available on every system having chromium or firefox. The limitation is that it may not support gamepad (except if you find a way to make it work).

        A demo is downloadable at this address https://radicalfishgames.itch.io/crosscode and should work using the following instructions.

      • Create a turn-based combat system | Wireframe #28

        Learn how to create the turn-based combat system found in games like Pokémon, Final Fantasy, and Undertale. Raspberry Pi’s Rik Cross shows you how.

      • Kalypso Media form new studio to work on next-gen Commandos games

        Now that Kalypso Media own the rights to the Commandos franchise, along with a remaster of Commandos 2 coming to Linux next year, they’re now planning more.

        Announced today, Kalypso Media have formed their third internal development studio to be based in Germany’s Greater Frankfurt. They have announced that industry veteran Jürgen Reußwig will be the Studio Director, with the new as-yet-unnamed studio’s explicit task being the creation of a next-generation entry in the Commandos strategy series.

      • Physics-based escape room puzzler Area 86 delayed, wins Best Game Design award

        SimDevs have announced their amusing physics-based escape room puzzle game, Area 86, is now going to release in Q1 2020.

        Area 86 is a game I tried out and gave a few early thoughts on back in September, coming away very impressed at the idea. A clumsy physics-based puzzle game, where you need to solve multiple different puzzles to escape each level.

      • Insurgency: Sandstorm no longer getting Linux/Mac support or a campaign mode

        New World Interactive have released a news post going over the state of Insurgency: Sandstorm, along with announcing a bunch of features no longer being made.

      • The Humble Paradox Management Bundle just launched, great deal for Linux gamers

        The Humble Paradox Management Bundle just launched and it’s a really great selection of games that’s available for Linux.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Qt for MCUs 1.0 is now available

          Qt for MCUs enables creation of fluid graphical user interfaces (GUI) with a low memory footprint on displays powered by microcontrollers (MCU). It is a complete graphics toolkit with everything needed to design, develop, and deploy GUIs on MCUs. It enables a unified technology approach for an entire product line to create a consistent and branded end user experience. Watch the Qt for MCUs video showcasing different use cases.

          Qt for MCUs 1.0 has already been adopted by lead customers in Japan, Europe and the US, who have started developing their next generation product. This release has been tested on microcontrollers from NXP, Renesas and STMicroelectronics. The software release contains Platform Adaptations for NXP i.MX RT1050 and STM32F769i as the default Deployment Platforms. Platform Adaptations for several other NXP and STM32 microcontrollers as well as the Renesas RH850 microcontroller are available as separate Deployment Platform Packages. On request, Qt Professional Services can provide new Platform Adaptions for additional microcontrollers.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Vanilla is a complex and delicious flavour

          If we’re looking at the code shipping in Endless OS today, then yes, our desktop is vanilla GNOME Shell with a few hundred patches on top, and yes, as a result, rebasing onto new GNOME releases is a lot of work. But the starting point for Endless OS was not “what’s wrong with GNOME?” but “what would the ideal desktop look like for a new category of users?”.

          When Endless began, the goal was to create a new desktop computing product, targeting new computer users in communities which were under-served by existing platforms and products. The company conducted extensive field research, and designed a desktop user interface for those users. Prototypes were made using various different components, including Openbox, but ultimately the decision was made to base the desktop on GNOME, because GNOME provided a collection of components closest to the desired user experience. The key point here is that basing the Endless desktop on GNOME was an implementation detail, made because the GNOME stack is a robust, feature-rich and flexible base for a desktop.

          Over time, the strategy shifted away from being based solely around first-party hardware, towards distributing our software a broader set of users using standard desktop and laptop hardware. Around the same time, Endless made the switch from first- and third-party apps packaged as a combination of Debian packages and an in-house system towards using Flatpak for apps, and contributed towards the establishment of Flathub. Part of the motivation for this switch was to get Endless out of the business of packaging other people’s applications, and instead to enable app developers to directly target desktop Linux distributions including, but not limited to, Endless OS.

          A side-effect of this change is that our user experience has become somewhat less consistent because we have chosen not to theme apps distributed through Flathub, with the exception of minimize/maximize window controls and a different UI font; and, of course, Flathub offers apps built with many different toolkits. This is still a net positive: our users have access to many more applications than they would have done if we had continued distributing everything ourselves.

    • Distributions

      • Comparing Linux distributions: Red Hat vs. Ubuntu

        Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Ubuntu are easily two of the most popular Linux distributions used in the enterprise. Even so, there are some key differences between these two Linux flavors. Features, user experience, licensing and documentation are the key components to evaluate when comparing Linux distributions.

        Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) can support nearly any application server or infrastructure role. In its latest version, Red Hat seems to focus heavily on security and compliance. The company has introduced systemwide cryptographic policies, advanced auditing capabilities and updated protocols. These include Transport Layer Security, IPsec, Domain Name System Security Extensions and Kerberos.

        Red Hat has also reduced the complexity of RHEL’s latest version. RHEL 8 is designed to provide a consistent user experience by using the same administrative tools, regardless of whether the server is running in the cloud, in a VM or on a bare-metal server

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Wrapping Up a Decade of Synergistic Technology

          What a decade! Thinking back to 2009, it?s obvious that so much has changed ? and so fast! Not surprisingly, technology is at the forefront of everything. But it?s not confined to just one branch or field of advancement. The 2010s can rightly be characterized as a decade of technological synergy. An era of overlapping and interdependent technologies where the combined effect and impact is greater than the sum of the individual elements.

          [...]

          As we finish one decade and start on a new one, it’s natural to speculate about what’s coming next. But as always, the future is difficult to predict. Sometimes, we don’t become aware of paradigm shifts or radical changes until they are in progress, or maybe even for a while after they have happened.

          Even so, one thing is beyond doubt. All the dominant industry trends involve interconnected, converging and synergistic technologies. In such a collaborative environment, the open source model is an indispensable and crucial element. It has become the “secret source” driving so much of the technological advancement and progress around us.

        • openSUSE Heroes: Piwik -> Matomo

          You might know that Piwik was renamed into Matomo more than a year ago. While everything is still compatible and even the scripts and other (internal) data is still named piwik, the rename is affecting more and more areas. Upstream is working hard to finalize their rename – while trying not to break too much on the other side. But even the file names will be renamed in some future version.

          Time – for us – to do some maintenance and start following upstream with the rename. Luckily, our famous distribution already has matomo packages in the main repository (which currently still miss Apparmor profiles, but hey: we can and will help here). So the main thing left (to do) is a database migration and the adjustments of all the small bits and bytes here and there, where we still use the old name.

        • How the Internet of Things (IoT) will drive adoption of Software Defined Storage

          Real world IoT use cases are everywhere. There are those we are familiar with as consumers: the app-controlled central heating system that sends household fuel consumption data to gas and electricity providers; the telemetry devices in the cars of inexperienced drivers, which report speed, location and journey duration data to the insurer; and the smart watch that records our sleep patterns, exercise workouts and our heart rate. Then there are those we are becoming familiar with as employees: the cameras that count us in and out of the workplace, manage security in retail outlets, or examine and optimise our journeys around a warehouse, and check ‘real’ stock levels vs the ERP count.

      • Debian Family

        • Meet Sparky Bonsai, SparkyLinux Portable Edition Featuring Joe’s Window Manager

          The Debian-based SparkyLinux operating system recently received a new community edition that you can run and use directly from a USB stick without installing anything on your personal computer.
          While many of today’s GNU/Linux distributions come as a live medium that lets users test drive it without installing the actual OS on their computers, it would appear that some users are still interested in the type of systems that lives in a USB flash drive, running completely from there with persistence.

          So today’s we’d like to introduce you Sparky Bonsai, a portable edition of the Debian-based SparkyLinux operating system that works in the same way famous portable distros like Slax, Puppy Linux, Porteus, and DebianDog work. It features the JWM (Joe’s Window Manager) stacking window manager for X11.

        • DebEX Linux Distro Released for Older PCs with LXQt Desktop and Linux Kernel 5.4

          GNU/Linux developer Arne Exton has released today a new version of his Debian-based DebEX Linux distribution, which promises to bring back to life older 32-bit computers.
          Based on the Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series, DebEX Linux uses LXQt as default desktop environment, which is known to be very resource-friendly and efficient on older computers from 15 or 20 years ago.

          The new DebEX Linux version comes with only a minimum set of packages installed in the live and installable ISO image, which makes it just under 1GB in size. Under the hood, DebEX Linux uses the latest and greatest Linux kernel, Linux 5.4.2, for out-of-the-box hardware support.

          “I’ve made a new DebEX system for older computers. It uses LXQt as desktop environment. I could run and install DebEX LXQt without problems on my oldest computer, an Acer Aspire 5102WLMi from the year 2006,” said Arne Exton.

        • Ian Jackson: Debian GR – vote without thinking?

          Since you can change your vote up to the deadline of 23:59:59 UTC on Friday 2019-12-27, you could run a rune like that now and then change your vote later if you get time to think about it properly.

          Obviously it would be best for you to read something like my voting guide and make up your own mind. But maybe it would be better to run my rune than not vote at all? Up to you I guess.

        • Ian Jackson: Debian GR on init systems – Ballot paper format

          This can get a bit confusing. The ballot options have letters (eg, “E”). They also have numbers, which show up on the vote page as “Choice 6″ or whatever. Separately, there are the ranks you have to assign when voting, where 1 is your first preference, etc.
          On the ballot paper, the choices are numbered from 1 to 8. The letters appear too along with the Secretary’s summaries. Your preferences also have to be numbered. It is important not to get confused.

          Reorder the ballot paper!

          You are allowed to reorder the choices on your ballot paper, and this is effective.
          That is, you can take the ballot paper in the CFV and edit the lines in it into your preferred order with cut and paste. You can look at the letters, or the Secretary’s summary lines, when you do that.

          It’s important to use a proper text editor and not linewrap things while you do this.

          After, that you can simply write numbers 1 to 8 into the boxes down the left hand side.

          Rank all the options. That way when you get your vote ack back, any parse failure will show up as a blank space in the ack.

        • Jonathan Dowland: Debian’s init system GR

          Debian is currently conducting a vote on a General Resolution entitled Init systems and systemd. I had a few brief thoughts about the circumstances around this that I wanted to share.

          I like systemd and I use it on all of my systems. That said, I have some concerns about it, in particular the way it’s gradually eating up so much other systems software. The opportunity for alternatives to exist and get feedback from interested users seems important to me as a check and balance and to avoid a monoculture. Such an environment should even help to ensure systemd remains a compelling piece of software. The question that this GR poses is really whether Debian should be a place where alternatives can exist. In answering that question I am reminded of the mantra of Extinction Rebellion. I appreciate that is about a far more impotant topic, but it still seems pertinent: If not us, who? If not now, when?

          What is Debian for, anyway? Once upon a time, from a certain perspective, it was all counter-cultural software. Should that change? Perhaps it already has. When I was more actively involved in the project, I watched some factions strive to compete with alternative distributions like Fedora. Fedora achieves a great deal, partly by having a narrow and well-defined focus. With the best will in the world, Debian can’t compete at that game. And why should it? If Fedora is what you want, then Fedora is right there, go use it!

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • MicroK8s updated to Kubernetes 1.17. What’s new?

          We’re excited to announce the release of MicroK8s with Kubernetes 1.17! MicroK8s is a Kubernetes cluster delivered as a single snap package – it can be installed on any Linux distribution which supports snaps. MicroK8s is small and simple to install and is a great way to stand up a cluster quickly for development and testing. Try it on your laptop!

        • Canonical Announces Support for Kubernetes 1.17

          Canonical announces full enterprise support for Kubernetes 1.17, with support covering Charmed Kubernetes, MicroK8s and Kubeadm.

          MicroK8s will be updated with Kubernetes 1.17 enabling users access to the latest upstream release with a single-line command in under 60 seconds. MicroK8s now brings Machine Learning deployments in seconds with the Kubeflow add-on. MetalLB load balancer add-on is now part of MicroK8s as well as enhancements, upgrades and bug fixes. With MicroK8s 1.17, users can develop and deploy enterprise-grade Kubernetes on any Linux desktop, server or VM across 42 Linux distros. It’s a full Kubernetes in a small package, perfect for IoT, Edge and your laptop!

          Canonical’s Charmed Kubernetes 1.17 will come with exciting changes like CIS benchmarking ability, Snap coherence and Nagios checks.

        • Meet The New Way To Experience Ubuntu Linux 19.10

          Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix is an interesting project with a promising future, and for existing fans of the Cinnamon Desktop who love Ubuntu, this is probably a no-brainer. The developers are already working on multiple improvements for version 20.04 early next year, including a Welcome screen, GRUB and Plymouth themes, a slideshow presentation during installation, a tweaked application layout and more.

          For now, you can check it out for yourself by downloading it here; it does support a Live Session so you can burn the 1.6GB ISO to a USB Stick and test drive it without having to install it directly.

        • Ubuntu 19.10.1 Released For Raspberry Pi

          Ubuntu 19.10.1 has been released as an unscheduled re-spin of Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine for Raspberry Pi 2 / 3 / 4 ARM single-board computers.

          As reported a month ago, Canonical has been working to improve the Raspberry Pi 4 support and that in turn led to these Ubuntu 19.10 re-spins catered towards the popular ARM SBCs.

        • Ubuntu Server 20.04 LTS To Retire Their Old Debian Installer To Focus On Subiquity

          Introduced back in Ubuntu Server 17.10 and improved upon since has been “Subiquity” as a new Ubuntu Server install option rather than their classic installer derived from Debian. But with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, they will be dropping that Debian Installer based option and focusing solely on their modern “Subiquity” server installer option.

          Canonical’s Michael Hudson Doyle has laid out their plans for the server installer for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS that involve just supporting their new/current installer and dropping the old Debian Installer option.

          As part of the new disclosure this week, for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS the server installer is expected to add auto-install support for automated/unattended installations, a resilient installation option, support for SSH’ing into an installer session, and VTOC partition table support for IBM s390x.

        • Server installer plans for 20.04 LTS
        • ObjectBox, database for IoT devices, adopts snaps for simplicity and ease of installation

          When designers put their heart and soul into making super-fast, easy-to-use software to help take Internet of Things (IoT) apps to the next level, installation of that software needs to meet the same high standards.

          ObjectBox is a database and synchronisation solution for rapid, efficient edge computing for mobile and IoT devices. Rather than each device sending all its data back to a cloud/server, ObjectBox enables data storage and processing within the device. Developers get simplicity and ease of implementation with native language APIs instead of SQL. Users can use data on edge devices faster with fewer resources.

          Markus Junginger, CTO and co-founder of ObjectBox explains, “Moving decision making to the edge means faster response rates, less traffic to the cloud, and lower costs. We built an edge database with a minimal device footprint of just 1 MB for high on-device performance.” ObjectBox also synchronises data between devices and servers/the cloud for an ‘always-on’ feeling and improved data reliability. With ObjectBox, an application always works – whether the device is online or offline.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Devs: Open Source Is Growing Despite Challenges

        Optimism about the future of open source is high among software developers worldwide. However, a growing number of devs worry that a lack of funding and corporate support threatens its sustainability.

        That is one of the key takeaways from DigitalOcean’s second annual open source survey, published in its “Currents, Open Source 2019,” seasonal report last week.

        The online survey provides a snapshot of the state of open source, as well as a gauge of the inclusivity and friendliness of contributors. More than 5,800 developers from around the world participated.

        Because developers may work as individuals or in small teams, the survey was not sent to specific companies. Respondents self-identified and shared the size of the company/team they worked with, said Eddie Zaneski, manager of developer relations at DigitalOcean. The company reached out to the developer community primarily through social media and email campaigns from late August to early October.

      • Interview candidates with an Open Source background

        I often say that there are two actions that defines the line management role: one-on-ones and hiring people. This is specially true in growing organizations. If you nail these actions, you have a great chance to influence your colleagues and organization, the ultimate goal, in my view, for a line manager.

        One of the common strategies to speed up the journey from being an Open Source contributor to become a Good Open Source citizen is to hire talent with a solid Open Source background. The process of hiring such talent is different from what most organizations and recruiters are used to. That is so true that we have now companies specialized in hiring these profiles.

        One key part of the hiring process is the interview.

        The article is another one of those I am writing the last couple of years about management topics, based on my experience working in Open Source as manager and consultant. More specifically, it is an attempt to describe some of the key points that hiring managers with little or no experience in hiring Open Source talent need to consider to increase their hit rate.

        As usual, I would appreciate if you add in the comments section or to me directly your experience, criticisms or missing points. I would add them to this article as update.

      • Marco Zehe: mailbox.org is giving new customers €6 until Jan 10, 2020

        The Open-Xchange web front-end is very accessible in many parts, and more stuff is added frequently with each release. I use it for my personal e-mail, and am really liking it. You can also use any compatible IMAP/SMTP mail client, the open standards integrate extremely well with iOS and MacOS.

      • How open source can live up to its name in a post-Brexit world

        “Brexit”, the popular term coined to represent Britain’s exit from membership of the European Union, has caused political and social turmoil in the UK for the past three years. And while the exit date may have shifted three times and prompted two general elections, clarity around whether the UK’s population and economy will be open or closed to the EU, after 46 years of membership, has yet to be realised. It is a situation which has left many people and businesses in the UK exhausted and uncertain of their future.

        Perhaps those handling the Brexit crisis could benefit from taking a closer look at the open source community, whose philosophy is based on working collaboratively toward common goals with the accent on quality and transparency. With this approach in mind, could Brexit present an opportunity, whatever the outcome of the UK’s voting practices?

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Chrome 79 Released With WebXR Improvements, Other Developer Additions

            Chrome 79 is out as Google’s last feature update to their web browser for 2019.

            The changes with Chrome 79 are mostly developer facing but there are some improvements around safe browsing and a built-in password checking tool. Some of the highlights for Chrome 79 include:

            - Built-in password checking tool to try to alert the user about passwords that have been harvested from past data breaches.

          • Stable Channel Update for Desktop
          • Google Releases Chrome 79 for Linux, Windows, and Mac with 51 Security Fixes

            Chrome 79 has been in development since earlier this fall and entered beta testing at the end of October, when Google gave us a glimpse of the new features and improvements to come. And now, users can now enjoy all of them if they update their Chrome web browser to version 79.0.3945.79, which is rolling out now to Linux, Windows, and Mac desktop platforms.

            With Chrome 79, Google brings VR (Virtual Reality) support to the Web with a new API called WebXR Device API, which allows developers to create immersive experiences for smartphones, as well as head-mounted displays. This also paves the way for the development of many other similar emerging technologies, among which we can mention AR (Augmented Reality).

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Firefox 71 Is Now Available for All Supported Ubuntu Linux Releases

            Mozilla’s latest Firefox 71 web browser is now finally available for installation from the software repositories of all supported Ubuntu Linux releases.
            Officially announced by Mozilla last week, the Firefox 71 web browser introduces native MP3 decoding, a much-improved built-in password manager that can now recognize subdomains and automatically fill domain logins or warn users with screen readers about breaches from Firefox Monitor, and a new kiosk mode that allows the use of Firefox in kiosk terminals by running it exclusively in full-screen.

            Firefox 71 also comes with a redesigned internal configuration page (about:config) rewritten in HTML, an improved Enhanced Tracking Protection feature to offer users more information about the actions it takes by displaying notifications when Firefox blocks cryptominers, and new locales for Catalan (Valencian) (ca-valencia), Tagalog (tl), and Triqui (trs).

          • Getting WebXR to 1.0

            As the WebXR standard goes through the final stretch to hit 1.0, we have updated our tools to the final API. WebXR is the new standard for virtual and augmented reality on the web. It lets web developers create immersive experiences without native code or installing an app. People can browse VR catalogs, play VR games, and view 360 videos. On the AR side, you can build a web app that places objects in real 3D space inside of a viewer’s living room, while still protecting user privacy and security. It is still in the draft state, but we don’t expect any more API changes before it hits Candidate Release (CR) in early 2020.

          • ECSY Developer tools extension

            Two months ago we released ECSY, a framework-agnostic Entity Component System library you could use to build real time applications with the engine of your choice.

            Today we are happy to announce a developer tools extension for ECSY, aiming to help you better understand what it is going on in your application when using ECSY.

            A common requirement when building applications that require high performance- such as real time 3D graphics, AR and VR experiences- is the need to understand which part of our application is consuming more resources. We could always use the browsers’ profilers to try to understand our bottlenecks but they can be a bit unintuitive to use, and it is hard to get an overview of what is going on in the entire application, rather than focusing on a specific piece of your code.

          • How to speed up the Rust compiler one last time in 2019

            I last wrote in October about my work on speeding up the Rust compiler. With the year’s end approaching, it’s time for an update.

          • Async Interview #2: cramertj, part 2

            In the first post, I covered what we said about Fuchsia, interoperability, and the organization of the futures crate. This post covers cramertj’s take on the Stream trait as well as the AsyncRead and AsyncWrite traits.

          • India’s new data protection bill: Strong on companies, step backward on government surveillance

            Yesterday, the Government of India shared a near final draft of its data protection law with Members of Parliament, after more than a decade of engagement from industry and civil society. This is a significant milestone for a country with the second largest population on the internet and where privacy was declared a fundamental right by its Supreme Court back in 2017.

            Like the previous version of the bill from July 2018 developed by the Justice Srikrishna Committee, this bill offers strong protections in regards to data processing by companies. Critically, this latest bill is a dramatic step backward in terms of the exceptions it grants for government processing and surveillance.

            The original draft, which we called groundbreaking in many respects, contained some concerning issues: glaring exceptions for the government use of data, data localisation, an insufficiently independent data protection authority, and the absence of a right to deletion and objection to processing. While this new bill makes progress on some issues like data localisation, it also introduces new threats to privacy such as user verification for social media companies and forced transfers of non-personal data.

          • Debugging Variables With Watchpoints in Firefox 72

            Have you ever wanted to know where properties on objects are read or set in your code, without having to manually add breakpoints or log statements? Watchpoints are a type of breakpoint that provide an answer to that question.

            If you add a watchpoint to a property on an object, every time the property is used, the debugger will pause at that location. There are two types of watchpoints: get and set. The get watchpoint pauses whenever a property is read, and the set watchpoint pauses whenever a property value changes.

            The watchpoint feature is particularly useful when you are debugging large, complex codebases. In this type of environment, it may not be straightforward to predict where a property is being set/read.

            Watchpoints are also available in Firefox’s Visual Studio Code Extension where they’re referred to as “data breakpoints.” You can download the Debugger for Firefox extension from the VSCode Marketplace. Then, read more about how to use VSCode’s data breakpoints in VSCode’s debugging documentation.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Making LibreOffice a Friendly Platform for Indigenous People in Taiwan

          Like many indigenous or native people around the world, the indigenous Taiwanese people have been excluded from contemporary technology for decades. During the rapid development of personal computers between the 1960s and 1980s, the indigenous people were suffering from the “national language” policy, which banned all indigenous languages and discourse promoting Chinese identity in school. That is the reason that the earliest Chinese input method for computers was invented before 1976, but there were no equivalents for indigenous languages until the late 2000s.

          As smartphones boomed in this decade internationally, more and more indigenous people gained access to the internet mobile apps as, like other people do Taiwan. But the majority of the digital resources are still in Chinese: online news articles, educational materials, translation systems, digital government services, medical information, chat forums, and many more. Almost all of them are not available in the indigenous languages.

          Maybe Taiwan has done a lot for indigenous rights, but as members of the indigenous community and students of anthropology here, we think there is still huge room for improvement. The input system is the first step. Typing has been difficult for indigenous people as sentences are treated as English – hence tons of red underlines indicating spelling or grammatical “mistakes” identified by various office software brands in the market. Therefore, making indigenous dictionaries for the apps to remove the underlines has become the top priority of our work.

      • Programming/Development

        • Eclipse Foundation launches Edge Native Working Group

          The Eclipse Foundation announced an “Edge Native Working Group” to develop open source software for edge computing, starting with its Eclipse ioFog and Eclipse fog05 projects. Members include Adlink, Bosch, Edgeworx, Eurotech, Huawei, Intel, Kynetics, and Siemens.

          The Edge Native Working Group is a “vendor-neutral and code-first industry collaboration that will drive the evolution and broad adoption of open source software for edge computing,” says the Eclipse Foundation. The new working group will develop an end-to-end software stack that will support IoT, AI, autonomous vehicles, and more.

        • Sonja Heinze: What this blog is about

          In order to ask for an Outreachy grant for a certain open-source project, applicants first have to contribute to that project for about a month. When choosing a project, I didn’t know any Rust. But the fact that Fractal is written in Rust was an important point in favor due to curiosity. But I also expected to have a hard time at the beginning. Fortunately, that wasn’t really the case. For those who haven’t used Rust, let me give two of the reasons why:

          If you just start coding, the compiler takes you by the hand giving you advice like “You have done X. You can’t do that because of Y. Did you maybe mean to do Z?”. I took those pieces of advice as an opportunity to dig into the rules I had violated. That’s definitely a possible way to get a first grip on Rust.

          Nevertheless, there are pretty good sources to learn the basics, for example, the Rust Book. Well, to be precise, there’s at least one (sorry, I’m a mathematician, can’t help it, I’ve only started reading that one so far). It’s not short, but it’s very fast to read and easy to understand. In my opinion, the only exception being the topics on lifetimes. But lifetimes can still be understood by other means.

        • Joey Hess: announcing the filepath-bytestring haskell library

          filepath-bytestring is a drop-in replacement for the standard haskell filepath library, that operates on RawFilePath rather than FilePath.

        • Parsing XML with Qt: Updates for Qt 6

          This module provides implementations for two different models for reading and writing XML files: Document Object Model (DOM) and Simple API for XML (SAX). With DOM model the full XML file is loaded in memory and represented as a tree, this allows easy access and manipulation of its nodes. DOM is typically used in applications where you don’t care that much about memory. SAX, on the other hand, is an event based XML parser and doesn’t load the whole XML document into memory. Instead it generates events for tokens while parsing, and it’s up to the user to handle those events. The application has to implement the handler interfaces (fully, or partially by using QXmlDefaultHandler). A lot of people find this inconvenient as it forces them to structure their code around this model.

          Another problem is that the current implementation of SAX (and as a consequence DOM, since it’s implemented using SAX) is not fully compliant with the XML standard. Considering these downsides, Qt does not recommend using SAX anymore, and the decision has been made to deprecate those classes starting from Qt 5.15.

        • Python

          • pathlib and paths with arbitrary bytes

            The pathlib module was added to the standard library in Python 3.4, and is one of the many nice improvements that Python 3 has gained over the past decade. In three weeks, Python 3.5 will be the oldest version of Python that still receive security patches. This means that the presence of pathlib can soon be taken for granted on all Python installations, and the quest towards replacing os.path can begin for real.

            In this post I’ll have a look at how pathlib can be used to handle file names with arbitrary bytes, as this is valid on most file systems.

          • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #398 (Dec. 10, 2019)
          • Variables in Python

            If you want to write code that is more complex, then your program will need data that can change as program execution proceeds.

          • Creating an email service for my son’s childhood memories with Python

            This was very flexible as it allowed me to keep anything else I wanted in this document – and it was portable (to anyone who have access to some way of reading Word documents) – and accessible to non-technical people such as my son’s grandparents.

            After a while though, I wondered if I’d made the right decision: shouldn’t I have put it into some other format that could be accessed programmatically? After all, if I kept doing this for his entire childhood then I’d have a lot of interesting data in there…

            Well, it turns out that a Word table isn’t too awful a format to store this sort of data in – and you can access it fairly easily from Python.

            Once I realised this, I worked out what I wanted to create: a service that would email me every morning listing the things I’d put as diary entries for that day in previous years. I was modelling this very much on the Timehop app that does a similar thing with photographs, tweets and so on, so I called it julian_timehop.

          • Executing Shell Commands with Python

            Repetitive tasks are ripe for automation. It is common for developers and system administrators to automate routine tasks like health checks and file backups with shell scripts. However, as those tasks become more complex, shell scripts may become harder to maintain.

            Fortunately, we can use Python instead of shell scripts for automation. Python provides methods to run shell commands, giving us the same functionality of those shells scripts. Learning how to run shell commands in Python opens the door for us to automate computer tasks in a structured and scalable way.

            In this article, we will look at the various ways to execute shell commands in Python, and the ideal situation to use each method.

  • Leftovers

    • In Wisconsin, the Teamsters Faced a Revolt From Below

      Every day, Nikki Sampson drives from her home in Portage to Madison, where she works as a dispatcher for the city’s bus service. To get there, she drives along a 40-mile stretch of highway, which crosses the Wisconsin River twice and then slices south through farms and municipalities. That road lies at the heart of the region represented by Sampson’s 4,256-strong union — Teamsters Local 695.

    • If You’re Having Alphabet Problems, I Feel Bad For You Son, I Got 99 Problems But My ABC’s Aren’t One.

      In the continuation of Marque’s exposé into Jay-Z’s 99 problems, where we seek to ascertain what issues do not form part of those 99 problems, we have discovered that learning the alphabet is not one. Emma Johnsen and Nathan Matlock explain.

    • Kazakhstan: In Memory of Ninel Konstantinovna Fokina

      Human Rights Watch mourns the passing of the dedicated Kazakhstan human rights activist Ninel Konstantinovna Fokina. She passed away recently in Almaty at the age of 85.

      “Fokina was at the heart of the early days of Kazakhstan’s human rights movement and she fiercely defended human rights all her life,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Her dedication and commitment to seek justice on behalf of people whose rights have been suppressed was truly remarkable.”

    • ‘He made mistakes and worked to fix them’ Yury Luzhkov, Moscow’s mayor in the 90s and aughts, has died. Here’s how public figures from Putin to Khodorkovsky remember him.

      On December 10, Yury Luzhkov died in Munich. Luzhkov was the second mayor of Moscow following the collapse of the Soviet Union and by far the longest-serving mayor the capital has seen since the Russian Federation was born. In the 1990s, Luzhkov was one of the most popular politicians in Russia. In the 2000s, he funded projects aimed at preserving Russian influence in Crimea well before the peninsula was annexed. In 2010, then-President Dmitry Medvedev sent the Moscow mayor into retirement, writing in his order that Luzhkov had “lost the trust” required of his office. In a subsequent memoir, Luzhkov himself claimed that he was fired because of increasing calls for regional executives like himself to be elected rather than appointed, as they were between 2004 and 2012. Dmitry Medvedev did not issue an official message of sympathy upon the former mayor’s death, but he reportedly made contact with Luzhkov’s family. Vladislav Gorin has collected other responses to and memories of Luzhkov’s life from public figures who knew him personally.

    • Science

      • The Early History of Usenet, Part V: Authentication and Norms

        The obvious solution was something involving public key cryptography, which we (the original developers of the protocol: Tom Truscott, the late Jim Ellis, and myself) knew about: all good geeks at the time had seen Martin Gardner’s “Mathematical Games” column in the August 1977 issue of Scientific American (paywall), which explained both the concept of public key cryptography and the RSA algorithm. For that matter, Rivest, Shamir, and Adleman’s technical paper had already appeared; we’d seen that, too. In fact, we had code available for trapdoor knapsack encryption: the xsend command for public key encryption and decryption, which we could have built upon, was part of 7th Edition Unix, and that’s what is what Usenet ran on.

      • EU approves 3.2 billion euro state aid for battery research

        The European Commission approved on Monday 3.2 billion euros ($3.53 billion) of state aid from seven European Union countries for research and innovation in battery technology.

        The approval is for projects in Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Sweden to support research and innovation in the common European priority area of batteries.

    • Hardware

      • Patch, Or Your Solid State Drives Roll Over And Die

        Expiration dates for computer drives? That’s what a line of HP solid-state drives are facing as the variable for their uptime counter is running out. When it does, the drive “expires” and, well, no more data storage for you!

        There are a series of stages in the evolution of a software developer as they master their art, and one of those stages comes in understanding that while they may have a handle on the abstracted world presented by their development environment they perhaps haven’t considered the moments in which the real computer that lives behind it intrudes. Think of the first time you saw an SQL injection attack on a website, for example, or the moment you realised that a variable type is linked to the physical constraints of the number of memory locations it has reserved for it. So people who write software surround themselves with an armoury of things they watch out for as they code, and thus endeavour to produce software less likely to break. Firmly in that arena is the size of the variables you use and what will happen when that limit is reached.

      • New Plundervolt attack impacts Intel CPUs
    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft Teams is now available on Linux [Ed: Microsoft is googlebombing “Linux” again to push proprietary software that spies on people]

          Available in public preview, Microsoft just added Linux support for their unified communication and collaboration platform Microsoft Teams.

        • Microsoft Teams for Linux now available in public preview [Ed: The fours stages of Microsoft googlebombing "Linux": 1) Microsoft might bring proprietary software/spyware to Linux. 2) Microsoft will definitely bring it. 3) There's a "public preview"! 4) It's coming, it's coming! Get ready for spying!]
        • Microsoft Teams for Linux Officially Released, Available to Download Now [Ed: The Microsoft Teams thing is sort of ‘fake news’ because when Microsoft bought Skype it already had GNU/Linux support and “Teams” is just a Skype rebrand]
        • Microsoft Teams Is Now Available For Linux In Public Preview Form
        • Microsoft’s first Office app arrives on Linux
        • Microsoft Teams is coming to the Linux operating system
        • Microsoft announces public preview of Microsoft Teams for Linux
        • Microsoft Teams is the first Office app for Linux
        • Microsoft launches Teams for Linux in preview
        • Linux users get an early Christmas gift — Microsoft Teams [Ed: Christmas gift? How many GNU/Linux users even asked for it? Unwanted gift.]
        • Microsoft Teams launches on Linux in public preview
        • Microsoft Just Released Its First Native Office App For The Linux Desktop
        • Microsoft Teams for Linux is Now Available in Preview
        • Microsoft Teams is now available for Linux in preview
        • Microsoft Teams is the First Office App For Linux
        • Microsoft Teams app for Linux debuts in public preview
        • Microsoft launches Teams for Linux
        • Microsoft Teams app finally available on Linux
        • Microsoft Teams Linux client public preview now available
        • Microsoft Teams is now available to Linux users

          In brief: Microsoft Teams is easily one of the most popular communication and collaboration tools out there, and with how many platforms it’s available on — including iOS, Android, macOS, and, of course, Windows — it’s not hard to see why that’s the case. Today, Microsoft expanded Teams’ availability to Linux users as well.

        • Microsoft Teams becomes first Office app available for Linux. What’s next?
        • Do you hear an odd buzzing sound? Minecraft 1.15 is out with a new friend

          Mojang just released the stable Minecraft 1.15 build with a new stripey friend, the Buzzy Bee and a bunch of new blocks.

          Even though it’s not technically a major update and small in comparison to some previous, it’s still quite feature-filled. There’s now bees, bee nests and beehvies, honey blocks, a honey bottle, honeycomb and honeycomb blocks.

        • Join us on our new journey, says Wunderlist – as it vanishes down the Microsoft plughole

          Three months after its former CEO pleaded with Microsoft to sell him back Wunderlist, the software giant has confirmed the worst: it really is killing the popular to-do app.

          On May 6, 2020, Microsoft will pull the plug on the app that it paid somewhere between $100m and $200m for in 2015. In its place, it is encouraging everyone to move to its To Do app, which is tightly integrated into the Microsoft ecosystem and, as a result, probably doesn’t work well with anything that isn’t Microsoft.

          Even after years of neglect, Wunderlist remains a very popular application for to-do tasks, in large part because it does that singular task extremely well, syncing across devices and allowing users to quickly and easily attach dates to tasks, as well as arrange them in different folders.

        • [Old] The economics of streaming is changing pop songs

          It helps to be included on a streaming company’s playlist. These account for roughly a third of all streams. Tracks are selected by opaque algorithms, but by analysing performance data you can work out what the bots like, says Chiara Belolo of Scorpio Music, a boutique label. Composers are adapting to what they think is being looked for. Hit songs are shorter. Intros have become truncated, says Mr Kalifowitz, “to get to the point a bit faster”.

          Choruses are starting sooner (see chart). Take this year’s most-streamed Spotify track. The first notes on “Señorita”, by Shawn Mendes, preview the refrain, which arrives 15 seconds in and is a fixture throughout the playing time of 3:10.

        • Apple, Facebook Clash With Senators Over Encryption, Backdoors

          In a Senate hearing on Tuesday, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle pushed the companies to let the police and other authorities access personal data that lies behind encryption on devices and technology platforms. Senators threatened to legislate if the private sector doesn’t offer solutions on its own.

        • The Senate Judiciary Committee Wants Everyone to Know It’s Concerned About Encryption

          This morning the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on encryption and “lawful access.” That’s the fanciful idea that encryption providers can somehow allow law enforcement access to users’ encrypted data while otherwise preventing the “bad guys” from accessing this very same data.

          But the hearing was not inspired by some new engineering breakthrough that might make it possible for Apple or Facebook to build a secure law enforcement backdoor into their encrypted devices and messaging applications. Instead, it followed speeches, open letters, and other public pressure by law enforcement officials in the U.S. and elsewhere to prevent Facebook from encrypting its messaging applications, and more generally to portray encryption as a tool used in serious crimes, including child exploitation. Facebook has signaled it won’t bow to that pressure. And more than 100 organizations including EFF have called on these law enforcement officials to reverse course and avoid gutting one of the most powerful privacy and security tools available to users in an increasingly insecure world. 

        • WSL/EEE

          • Canonical Sponsoring Microsoft’s 1st Windows Subsystem For Linux Conference!

            Canonical Sponsors WSL Conference: The team Canonical is the founders of Ubuntu Linux Operating System. The team canonical announced that the team Canonical will be a featured as a sponsor on Microsoft’s 1st WSL Conference. This is the 1st conference held by Microsoft team for WSL.
            The official WSL Conference is scheduled for March 10th-11th, 2020 at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington
            We can expect that the conference will bring “Founders, Developers, Programmers, Community Members” from the WSL project.

          • Canonical Sponsors WSLConf, Microsoft?s First Linux Conference

            WSLConf is the first Linux-related conference to be hosted by Microsoft and, if you hadn?t already guessed, is focused around the Windows Subsystem for Linux (aka WSL and WSL 2).

            Developers, enthusiasts, and users WSL will get to enjoy two jam-packaged days dedicated to the tech, with presentations, workshops, and networking around the platform.

          • Canonical co-sponsors Windows Subsystem for Linux conference

            There may never be a “Year of the Linux desktop” per se, but Linux on Windows, via the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), is certainly gaining popularity. Canonical, Ubuntu Linux’s parent company, has just announced it will help sponsor WSLConf, the first WSL-specific conference.

          • Canonical to Sponsor Microsoft’s First Windows Subsystem for Linux Conference

            Canonical, the company behind the popular Ubuntu Linux operating system, announced that they will be an official sponsor of Microsoft’s first-ever Linux Conference for WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux).

            Announced earlier this fall, WSLconf, the first Microsoft Linux Conference for WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux), a Windows 10 feature that allows users to run various GNU/Linux distributions on top of their Windows installations, will take place next spring from March 10th to 11th, and it looks like Canonical will be there to give presentations and also sponsor the event.

          • Openwashing

            • Announcing Google Summer of Code 2020!

              Google Open Source is proud to announce Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2020—the 16th year of the program! We look forward to introducing the 16th batch of student developers to the world of open source and matching them with open source projects, while earning a stipend so they can focus their summer on their project.

              Over the last 15 years GSoC has provided over 15,000 university students, from 109 countries, with an opportunity to hone their skills by contributing to open source projects during their summer break.

        • Security

          • VPN hijack – compromise on Linux, Android and MacOS exposed

            A flaw that affects most Unix-based operating systems, including MacOS, Android and Linux, may allow attackers to defeat VPN security.

          • CVE patching is not making your Linux secure

            Would you like to enhance your Linux security? Do you wonder what factors should be considered when evaluating your open source security from both – the infrastructure and the application perspectives? Are you keen to learn the Ubuntu security team approach? I’ve learned that CVE patching is indeed an important puzzle, but without a structured approach, professional tools and well-defined processes in place, your Linux environment will not be secure.

            What do Linux security experts say?

            I got inspired by all these questions during the Open Source Security Summit, which was followed by the Linux Security Summit. I really enjoyed a week full of keynotes, workshops and meaningful conversations. So much so that, in my notebook, I noted down some really good quotes about the Linux security. For instance, Kelly Hammond from Intel opened her keynote by saying that “security is like doing the laundry or the dishes – it’s never done”.

            Linux security is more complicated than fixing CVEs

            Fixing CVEs is a continuous job that all Linux security teams focus on. In his keynote, Greg Kroah-Hartman from the Linux Foundation looked at this problem from the kernel perspective. In his exact words “CVEs mean nothing for the kernel” because very few CVEs are ever going to be assigned for the kernel. A stable Linux kernel receives 22-25 patches every day without any CVE process involved. So Greg’s position on the Linux security comes down to always using the latest stable kernel and not worrying about CVEs.

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (firefox-esr, jruby, and squid3), Fedora (librabbitmq, libuv, and xpdf), openSUSE (calamares and opera), Oracle (kernel and nss), Red Hat (httpd24-httpd, kernel, kernel-alt, kpatch-patch, nss-softokn, sudo, and thunderbird), SUSE (apache2-mod_perl, java-1_8_0-openjdk, and postgresql), and Ubuntu (eglibc, firefox, and samba).

          • Git v2.24.1 and others

            The Git project has released Git v2.24.1, v2.23.1, v2.22.2, v2.21.1, v2.20.2, v2.19.3, v2.18.2, v2.17.3, v2.16.6, v2.15.4, and v2.14.6. “These releases fix various security flaws, which allowed an attacker to overwrite arbitrary paths, remotely execute code, and/or overwrite files in the .git/ directory etc.” The release notes contained in this announcement have the details.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Cops Offered Deeper Discounts On Ring Cameras Depending On How Much Of The Neighborhood The Cameras Would Surveil

              “You know what would be cool,” said the consumer product that wished it was a cop? “If everything we made catered to law enforcement rather than the end user.” That’s the Ring business model: make inroads with security-conscious homeowners by inserting them into a toxic ecosystem that includes a snitch app that amps up the worst aspects of humanity, and breaks down the walls between “sharing” and “giving law enforcement agencies footage they can keep and distribute forever without limitation.”

            • DHS Sued Over First Amendment-Trampling Social Media Vetting Program

              The DHS continues with its social media vetting program targeting foreign visitors despite questions about its Constitutionality and its effectiveness. Once a government agency decides to do something, it’s difficult to talk it out of it, even if it appears to be throwing money down an unconstitutional hole.

            • FTC Slaps Cambridge Analytica With An Order Barring The Already Defunct Company From Illegally Collecting Data Ever Again

              There still remains little to no evidence that the silly games played by Cambridge Analytica actually did anything at all to influence voting practices in the US. However, Facebook allowing the company to get a bunch of data was a big part of the basis for hitting the company with a $5 billion fine earlier this year. The FTC also went after Cambridge Analytica, targeting the company, its CEO Alexander Nix, and the academic/app developer Aleksandr Kagan, whose app was used to grab all that Facebook data.

            • Genetic Genealogy Company GEDmatch Acquired by Company With Ties to FBI & Law Enforcement—Why You Should Be Worried

              This week, GEDmatch, a genetic genealogy company that gained notoriety for giving law enforcement access to its customers’ DNA data, quietly informed its users it is now operated by Verogen, Inc., a company expressly formed two years ago to market “next-generation [DNA] sequencing” technology to crime labs.  

              What this means for GEDmatch’s 1.3 million users—and for the 60% of white Americans who share DNA with those users—remains to be seen. 

            • What we know about you when you click on this article

              We might be privy to more information, but what we utilize about people is restricted to information that signifies groups of people: say age, income, interests, gender.

              I’m telling you all this because as part of our Open Sourced project, we intend to explore the hidden consequences that various technologies — including ones we employ — have on regular citizens. We’ll be looking at things like Twitter’s privacy and free-speech policies as it begins to impose restrictions on political advertising; we’ll examine how Facebook tracks you around the internet; and we’ll explain how technologies like artificial intelligence are hoovering up vast amounts of data — and what they’re doing with it. Our goal is to explore and demystify the online world we all live in, to explain how algorithms work and what data you’re sharing with companies. And this means not only looking outward, but inward.

            • Lawsuit Challenges Social Media Disclosure Rule for Visas

              Two organizations of documentary filmmakers filed a federal lawsuit Thursday arguing that new rules requiring U.S. visa applicants to register their social media handles are making them fearful of publicly speaking their minds.

              State Department rules took effect in May and apply to more than 14 million applicants each year, requiring them to register all their social media handles from the past five years on about 20 different online platforms. The requirement includes pseudonyms. The department said collecting the additional information from more applicants “will strengthen our process for vetting these applicants and confirming their identity.”

              The information can be retained indefinitely and shared around to U.S. government agencies, and in some cases, to other governments, the suit said.

            • QQ? Weibo? Youku? US visa applicants told to list social media profiles

              Applicants for US visas now have to list all social media platforms and usernames that they used within the last five years.

            • Trump administration sued over new social media disclosure rules

              Applicants must disclose accounts on Facebook Inc and its Instagram site, Flickr, Alphabet Inc’s Google+ and YouTube, LinkedIn, Myspace, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine as well as Chinese sites Douban, QQ, Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo, and Youku; the Russian social network VK; the Belgian site Twoo; and the Latvian site Ask.fm. The groups said the information will be retained indefinitely.

            • New Release: Tor 0.4.2.5 (also 0.4.1.7, 0.4.0.6, and 0.3.5.9)

              This is the first stable release in the 0.4.2.x series. This series improves reliability and stability, and includes several stability and correctness improvements for onion services. It also fixes many smaller bugs present in previous series.

              Per our support policy, we will support the 0.4.2.x series for nine months, or until three months after the release of a stable 0.4.3.x: whichever is longer. If you need longer-term support, please stick with 0.3.5.x, which will we plan to support until Feb 2022.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • US Government Would Like Staunch Opponent Of WikiLeaks To Testify Against Alleged ‘Vault 7’ Leaker

        The United States government would like a staunch opponent of WikiLeaks to testify against former CIA employee Josh Schulte, who is accused of leaking the “Vault 7” files to WikiLeaks. But Schulte’s defense attorney contends such testimony would be “irrelevant, prejudicial, and confusing.” Paul Rosenzweig is the founder of a homeland security consulting company called Red Branch Consulting. He is a senior advisor to the Chertoff Group, founded by former Homeland Security director Michael Chertoff and is a former Homeland Security official. He is a “professional lecturer in law” at George Washington University and a contributor to the popular Beltway blog, Lawfare.In December 2010, after WikiLeaks published U.S. military incident reports, several thousand State Department cables, and the “Collateral Murder” video, he contended WikiLeaks has a “malevolent intent.” He urged Congress to update espionage laws so prosecuting those involved in the media organization would be easier and more efficient. Schulte allegedly released files that brought scrutiny to the CIA’s hacking arsenal, which targeted smartphones and computers. A program called “Weeping Angel,” that allowed the CIA to attack Samsung F8000 TVs and convert them into spying devices was exposed. They also showed how the CIA targeted Microsoft Windows, as well as Signal and WhatsApp users, with malware.

        In June 2018, Schulte was charged with 13 offenses, including four counts of violating the Espionage Act.The government would like a federal court [PDF] to certify Rosenzweig as an “expert” on WikiLeaks. In particular, prosecutors believe Rosenzweig can “explain WikiLeaks’ typical practices with regard to receiving leaked classified information” and “its practices or lack thereof regarding the review and redaction of sensitive information contained in classified leaks and certain well-publicized harms to the United States that have occurred as a result of disclosures by WikiLeaks.” But Schulte’s defense argues [PDF] Rosenzweig’s purpose will be to “suggest to the jury that WikiLeaks is an inherently criminal or evil organization that harms the United States.” His attorneys say prosecutors may want to use the former Homeland Security official’s testimony to convince the jury that Schulte’s decision to pass the information to WikiLeaks is proof that he intended to harm the United States. Several questions about the nature of Rosenzweig’s proposed testimony are raised.“About what prior leaks does he plan to testify? What damage to the United States will he assert occurred as a result of these leaks? Has he done an analysis to determine that the ‘well-publicized harms’ of prior leaks were in fact accurate? Does he have any personal experience with the WikiLeaks organization? Has he done any specialized research about the organization?” they ask.

      • A Sick U.K. Boy’s Story Was True. But False Posts Followed.

        It is not clear how widely the false claims were seen, especially because Facebook does not provide a way to track messages posted inside private accounts and groups. Many people posted the message as a screen shot, which also cannot be discovered through a word search. Among those sharing the message were public figures including Allison Pearson, a columnist for The Telegraph, and Kevin Pietersen, a retired cricket star.

        The origins of the false information about the boy are murky. According to First Draft, a London-based group that tracks disinformation, the first known post was made on Facebook. But when The Guardian newspaper reached the woman thought to have written the post, she said her account had been hacked. “I’ve had to delete everything as I have had death threats to myself and my children,” said the woman, whose name was withheld by The Guardian to protect her privacy.

        Efforts to reach the woman at what is believed to be her office were unsuccessful.

    • Environment

      • ‘This is not normal’: Minister urges action on climate change

        In the state government’s strongest comments yet on the link between climate change and bushfires, Mr Kean said: “This is not normal and doing nothing is not a solution”.

      • A ‘bombogenesis’ cyclone travels across Iceland – a life-threatening situation with a significant amount of snow (100-200 cm) and hurricane-force winds across the northern half of the country, Dec 10-11th

        As we discussed earlier – an active pattern across the North Atlantic – continues this week. A monster cyclone with pressure near or below 940 mbar will develop over Iceland and significantly enhance severe weather threat as an extreme amount of snow, dangerous winds and major snowdrifts develop. The result will be many impassable roads and significantly disturbed travels through Tuesday and Wednesday. Various models are hinting 100-200 cm of fresh snow in only two (2) days, together with hurricane-force winds!

      • Want the Greenest Device? You May Already Own It

        One way to help the planet is not to buy new tech, especially stuff the planet never needed, says Kendra Pierre-Louis, who reports on the environment.

        [...]

        Tech has a tremendous footprint. One estimate by the Lawrence Berkeley Lab said it took 70 billion kilowatt-hours in 2014, or nearly 2 percent of the total electricity generation in the United States that year, just to run the internet.

      • Jet stream changes may hit global breadbaskets

        Food shortages and civil disturbances may result from changes in the jet stream winds which circle the Earth, scientists say.

      • Warren Says Blue New Deal Crucial Because Future of People and Planet ‘Depends on Healthy Oceans’

        “A Blue New Deal must be an essential part of any Green New Deal.”

      • Citing Climate Crisis as Top Concern for Future of Humanity, Young Adults Say They Are Living in ‘Failed System’: Amnesty Poll

        “This is a wake-up call to world leaders that they must take far more decisive action to tackle the climate emergency or risk betraying younger generations further.”

      • New England Fishing Communities Being Destroyed by ‘Climate Shocks’: Study

        “There are communities that are just not going to be fishing communities anymore.”

      • ‘A Matter of Life and Death’: COP 25 Protest Outside US Embassy Demands Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

        Demonstrators urged the global community to “join our demands for the real action it will take to protect and respect Indigenous women.”

      • US Has Almost No Presence at COP25 But Is Still Obstructing Any Progress

        This week, Democracy Now! is broadcasting from inside the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain, where representatives from almost 200 countries have gathered to negotiate solutions to the climate crisis. Known as COP25 for “conference of parties,” the summit offers a rare opportunity for all countries, especially those on the front lines of the climate crisis, to have an equal say in negotiations. It comes four years after the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to “well below 2 degrees Celsius,” or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. But as the summit heads into its final days, representatives from the Global South say that the United States and other rich countries are obstructing the talks and trying to avoid their obligation to assist poorer countries already facing the worst effects of the climate crisis. We speak with Harjeet Singh, climate change specialist at ActionAid, and Asad Rehman, executive director of War on Want. He has worked on climate change issues for over a decade. “The U.S. is in all streams of discussions that are happening, be it finance, be it loss and damage,” he says. “They’re everywhere. And everywhere they are obstructing and not allowing any progress to happen.”

      • Is the Pentagon Prepared for the Hellish Climate Future It Created?

        It was Monday, March 1, 2032, and the top uniformed officers of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps were poised, as they are every year around this time, to deliver their annual “posture statement” on military readiness before the Senate Armed Services Committee. As the officers waited for the committee members to take their seats, journalists covering the event conferred among themselves on the meaning of all the badges and insignia worn by the top brass. Each of the officers testifying that day — Generals Richard Sheldon of the Army, Roberto Gonzalez of the Marine Corps, and Shalaya Wright of the Air Force, along with Admiral Daniel Brixton of the Navy — sported chestfuls of multicolored ribbons and medals. What did all those emblems signify?

      • UN: Climate Change Will Create “New Great Divergence” Between Rich and Poor

        Protests and uprising erupted across the world this year. In Chile, a transportation fare strike boiled over into mass demonstrations against austerity and inequality. In Bolivia, a contested election and military coup led to violent street clashes between the left and the right. In Haiti, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran, governments waged bloody crackdowns as protests against corruption, poor public services and unemployment became riotous demonstrations against the ruling elite. Climate strikes popped off in all corners of the globe.

      • The U.S. Military on a Planet From Hell

        Insignia, badges, and medals for a climate-wracked era.

      • Climate Talks in Madrid: What Will It Take to Prevent Climate Collapse?

        The two-week marathon of the annual UN climate conference is underway in Madrid, and the world’s expectations have perhaps never been lower. The Amazon is burning and unprecedented storms are raging worldwide, but the world’s climate diplomats are still mostly talking business-as-usual. Never mind that this year’s 25th Conference of Parties (COP) to the UN Climate Convention (UNFCCC) almost didn’t happen, after it was disinvited by the fascistic Bolsonaro regime in Brazil and almost derailed again by the recent upheaval in the streets of Santiago, Chile, where it had been rescheduled to occur. And Trump’s effort to withdraw US participation is not the most serious problem.

      • ‘This Isn’t the End,’ Vow Climate Campaigners After New York Court Sides With Exxon in Fraud Trial

        “Despite this ruling, the crucial work to hold the likes of Exxon accountable for climate crimes goes on,” said 350.org. “This is just the tip of the accountability iceberg.”

      • We Can’t Do It Ourselves

        In contrast to policies aimed at individuals, policies that frame sustainability as a systemic, institutional challenge can bring about the many forms of innovation that are needed to address problems like climate change. 

      • Energy

        • Most Americans Support Phasing Out Fossil Fuels. Isn’t That Worth a Headline?

          Last month, The Washington Post reported on the results of a poll it conducted with the Kaiser Family Foundation earlier this year. The poll had remarkable finding: nearly half — 46 percent — of American adults believe the U.S. needs to “drastically reduce” fossil fuel use in the near future to address the climate crisis, while another 41 percent favor a more gradual reduction.

        • Blame Sunspots: Climate Science Denial Continues at Shale Gas Pipeline Industry Conference

          That comes six years after a widely cited 2013 study reported 97 percent agreement among publishing climate scientists that human activity causes climate change — a consensus that has grown stronger in the years since. John Cook, lead author of that study, described this summer a 99 percent scientific consensus that humans cause global warming.

        • Renewables Are Gaining Traction, But We Need to Be Able to Store the Energy

          The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences’ recent decision to award the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to scientists who developed rechargeable lithium-ion batteries reminded the world just how transformative they have been. Without them, we wouldn’t have smartphones or electric cars. But it’s their potential to store electricity generated by the sun and the wind at their peak that promises to be even more revolutionary, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and protecting the planet from the worst consequences of climate change.

        • Indigenous Youth, Elders Protest Canada’s Support of Tar Sands Projects at COP25
        • Since Paris Agreement, Global Financial Firms Have Sunk $745 Billion into New Coal Plant Development

          That research, published by the German NGO Urgewald along with BankTrack and 30 partner organizations, reveals and ranks the financial institutions sinking money into the dirtiest form of fossil fuels in the three years since the Paris Agreement was signed. The research shows hundreds of billions of dollars have flowed to 258 coal plant developers between January 2017 and September 2019 in the form of loans, investments, and underwriting. These groups clarify underwriting as the process of banks raising “investment capital for companies by issuing bonds or shares on their behalf and selling them to investors.”

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Warren vs. Buttigieg Clash Offers Contrast with Bernie’s Consistency

        A fighter for the most vulnerable Americans his whole life, Sanders’ history is undisputed.

      • Barr: FBI’s Russia Investigation Based on ‘Bogus Narrative’

        Attorney General William Barr leveled blistering criticism at how the Russia investigation was conducted, saying Tuesday that it was based on a “bogus narrative” that the Trump campaign might have conspired with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

      • Russian Constitutional Court affirms that children of Soviet repression victims have the right to receive housing in their parents’ cities

        Russia’s Constitutional Court has affirmed that rehabilitated victims of political repressions as well as any children born in the Gulag system or in exile have the right to receive housing in the cities where their families lived at the time of the repression.

      • What’s the Matter With America?

        To impeach or not to impeach.  A lot of decent voters don’t know what to think.  Kansas is no exception, but Kansas has a number of exceptional role models for our troubled times, leaders who demonstrated that it’s okay to change one’s mind in politics.  In fact, it’s a mark of true character.

      • Trump in the Toilet
      • Was Trump Looking for Corruption or a Personal Favor?

        Congress’s first round of impeachment hearings wound up largely focused on whether President Trump had offered a quid pro quo for receiving a favor from Ukraine, i.e. Trump would release held up military aid and other signs of US support only after Ukraine investigated a particular company that employed Joe Biden’s son, and the former Vice President for his actions as well.

      • Where Justice is a Game: Impeachment Hearings Redux

        The Monday, December 9th hearings were another repetition of the facts by Democrats and the ignoring of them by the trumpists. The hearings began with a so-called silent protest by the GOP. Despite this misappropriation of a popular tactic by the right wing, one has to admit it’s nice when they keep their mouths shut. Then an InfoWars hack stood up and called the hearings a sham, repeating the standard trumpist lies and half-truths. I won’t go into the details offered by the witnesses since the information and the arguments have been revealed numerous times in just the past few weeks. The trumpists continue their attacks on the process and attempt to divert the debate to Hunter Biden. Their approach is to ignore the charges and attack those making the charges—just like their media at FoxNews. While there are certainly issues of corruption in both parties, this fact does not mean that Trump did not commit impeachable offenses. In other words, Biden’s potential improprieties do not render Trump’s impeachable offenses irrelevant.

      • Alexander Gabyshev, Yakutian shaman walking across Russia to exorcise Putin, arrested once again

        Alexander Gabyshev, a shaman who has earned nationwide fame in Russia, has been arrested for the second time. The arrest took place on a federal highway in the region of Yakutia, where Gabyshev was walking across Russia with a small group of supporters. They hope to reach Moscow, exorcise Russian President Vladimir Putin, and spur his resignation. An attorney for Open Russia’s Human Rights Project told Novaya Gazeta about the arrest; its cause is unknown.

      • American Culture Loves a Good Killer

        Donald Trump’s narcissistic, authoritarian instincts and the man’s clear admiration of Vladimir Putin’s gangster-capitalist leadership style makes me think of archetypal killers. During his campaign for president he spoke often of killing; he would anonymously refer to some of his business friends as “real killers,” which was meant as a compliment on their skills and effectiveness. There was the remark he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it. Lately, it’s his public intervention in military discipline issues lionizing Seal Team Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, who’s accused of being an overly enthusiastic killer.

      • Robert Reich: A Billionaire-Backed Moderate Will Hand Trump the 2020 Election

        Former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich released a video Tuesday explaining his case for why Sens. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren pose a far better chance of defeating President Donald Trump in 2020 than “some billionaire-backed milquetoast moderate.”

      • The Demonization of Jeremy Corbyn

        For years, under the glitzy brand of ‘New Labour’ and its facile slogans of ‘modernisation’, the British Labour Party had been moving to the right. Encouraging people to get ‘filthy rich’, systematically reducing corporation tax, courting powerful press barons like Rupert Murdoch and committing to the type of bellicose foreign policy which would facilitate the death of hundreds of thousands in the bloody mire of Iraq.  Inevitably, inexorably, Labour ceased to be ‘the party of dissent’ as its policies shaded seamlessly into the politics of the ruling elite more generally.

      • Britain Could Be the First Domino in a Left-Wing Revolution

        Just like that, we’re hours away from the Dec. 12 U.K. general election that will decide the nation’s direction at a crucial time in its history and in the wider global context, what with the rise of the far-right in the West and the worsening climate crisis. Although U.K. political campaigns are happily much shorter than those in America, a lot has transpired over the course of the past month since a snap election was called by Boris Johnson.

      • Democrats Charge Trump with Abuse of Office, Obstruction

        It was only the fourth time in the 243-year history of the United States that impeachment charges have been brought against an American leader, although Trump’s removal from office remains unlikely.

      • He Knew (and Did) Everything
      • House Democrats Unveil Articles of Impeachment Against Trump

        House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump in a historic announcement on Tuesday.

      • ‘Abuse of Power’ and ‘Obstruction of Congress’: Democrats Announce Articles of Impeachment Against Trump

        “We stand here today because the president’s continuing abuse of his power has left us no choice.”

      • Trump vs. Democracy

        The US House of Representatives marked a milestone on November 6, 2019, as it decided to report out articles of impeachment on Trump. But there’s a bigger picture to consider. The impeachment represents a new stage in the political ‘food fight’ between the two wings of the political-economic elite in the USA. It also represents a further escalation in the crisis and decline of American Democracy–a decline that’s been going on since at least the early 1990s, when Newt Gingrich and the radical right took over the House of Representatives and declared publicly that their objective was to create a dysfunctional US government. In retrospect, Gingrich certainly succeeded.

      • The House Leadership Soberly Announces 2 Articles of Impeachment

        The New York Democrat explained the first article by saying, “It is an impeachable offense for the president to exercise the powers of his public office to obtain an improper personal benefit while ignoring or injuring the national interest. That is exactly what President Trump did when he solicited and pressured Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 presidential election.”

        He explained the second by saying, “A president who declares himself above accountability, above the American people and above Congress’s power of impeachment—which is meant to protect against threats to our democratic institutions—is the president who sees himself as above the law.”

      • Here Are the Articles of Impeachment Against Trump—and Why They Matter

        House Democrats have officially accused President Trump of violating the U.S. Constitution by committing high crimes and misdemeanors. On Tuesday, Democratic leaders announced that they were filing two articles of impeachment against Trump: one for abuse of power by putting his political concerns over the national interest, and another for obstructing Congress’ attempts to investigate.

        The articles claim that Trump acted “in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law.”

      • Sanna Marin tapped to be Finland’s next prime minister

        Lawmakers are likely to approve the appointment of Ms. Marin and her government this week so she can represent Finland at the Dec. 12-13 EU leaders’ summit in Brussels. Finland holds the European Union’s rotating presidency until the end of the year.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Four Congressional Reps Ask Bill Barr To Restart His War On Porn

        A handful of Congress members seem to think we need a War on Porn to go with our War on Drugs and our War on Terror. They think they have the right person in the DOJ to get this war machine mobilized.

      • France, As Promised, Is First Out Of The Gate With Its Awful Copyright Directive Law: Ignores Requirements For User Protections

        France was the most vocal supporter of the EU Copyright Directive’s upload filters provisions (originally known as Article 13, but Article 17 in the final version). Despite promises that the law wouldn’t require a filter, right after the Directive passed (which only happened after the French negotiators strong-armed Germany into a questionable deal), French officials promised that it would be be first in line to “transpose” Article 17 into a new law.

      • Iran’s President Wants to Build a State-Controlled Internet

        Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, announced plans to replace the country’s [Internet] with a state-run intranet, granting the government increased control over online activity.

        The announcement comes shortly after the Iranian government quelled mass protests by cutting off [Internet] access across the country, CNET reports. With its own state-controlled network, Iran would be able to nip future protests in the bud by rapidly identifying dissidents and cutting them off from one another — a disturbing blow against online freedom and privacy.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Self-Defense in the Civil Rights Movement: the Lessons of Birmingham, 1963

        Hope is the fuel upon which working-class movements for social change draw their core strength. But hope divorced from solid organizing leads no-where. So, if we are to continue to propel our class forward it is vital that we learn the full lessons of how our sweetest victories are seized from the hands of our oppressors. Birmingham, 1963, represents one such success story, an inspiring tale that pitched Martin Luther King’s determined civil rights activists against the steel town’s white supremacists who, as folk singer Phil Ochs tells it, literally fed their dogs on civil rights. A pivotal struggle against the evils of segregation that achieved its crowning glory shortly after thousands of children peacefully stood-up to the seething racist violence of Bull Connor. But while Connor became world-famous for allowing his police dogs to tear flesh off the bodies of peaceful protestors, what is often overlooked in sanitized narratives of this story of good versus evil is the full context in which King’s nonviolent victory was obtained. Digging beneath this peaceful patina is however critical if we are to comprehend the important role that violent self-defense fulfilled within Birmingham’s black community in opposing the horrors of segregation.

      • Citizens Are Never Trusted

        My personal impression of Canada is that of a tattered nation where social cohesiveness based on equality of all citizens in the eyes of the law and within our political system, and with a common-good agenda, has been in continuous decline since the post war years of the 1950’s.

      • The Trump Administration Continues to Rip Children From Their Families

        Forced separation of undocumented migrants and their children, supposedly over in 2018, is alive and well, The Intercept reported Monday.

      • At Emotional Meeting, North Dakota Residents Talk County Officials Out of Trumpian Plan to Ban Refugees

        “We are not coming to North Dakota to rob anybody,” said one young refugee at the hearing. “Hell, we have been robbed—of our childhood. We have been robbed of a lot of things.”

      • Speaking Freely: Biella Coleman

        Gabriella “Biella” Coleman is an anthropologist whose work focuses on a range of subjects, from the anthropology of medicine to the practice of whistleblowing. To EFF readers, she is probably best known for her work on hacker communities. In 2014, she published the book Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous (Verso). She currently holds the Wolfe Chair in Scientific & Technological Literacy at McGill University in Montréal.

        I first met Biella at Berlin’s re:publica conference in 2011, and got to know her when we both contributed chapters to Beyond Wikileaks: Implications for the Future of Communications, Journalism, and Society. She’s a long-time friend to many EFFers, and contributed to our 2018 collaboration with McSweeney’s, The End of Trust.

      • Who Cares About North Korea’s Human Rights Abuses?

        For the second year in a row, the United States has prevented the United Nations Security Council from scrutinizing North Korea’s abysmal human rights record, sending a clear message to Pyongyang and other abusive governments that the US is prepared to look away regarding rights violations. 

        The special Security Council meeting was set to convene today, to coincide with Human Rights Day. Earlier this month it appeared the Council had the minimum number of member votes – nine, including the US – for the meeting to happen. But on December 6, US Ambassador Kelly Craft told reporters her delegation had not yet decided whether to go ahead with the meeting. 

      • Turkey: Free Osman Kavala
      • India: Citizenship Bill Discriminates Against Muslims

        A protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Gauhati, India on December 10, 2019. 

      • ‘This Is Fascism’: Indian Law Stripping Naturalization Rights From Muslims Sparks Criticism and Protest

        “Dark times in Modi’s far-right India.”

      • What to Know About Your Rights to Unionize

        As more young people find themselves stuck in precarious jobs with variable hours and benefits, some are turning to unions to help secure their rights. Just look at the recent swelling of support for unionization in “new” industries such as digital media, white-collar tech, and nonprofits.

        Most employees in the private sector are protected by the National Labor Relations Act, enacted in 1935 “to protect the rights of employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining, and to curtail certain private sector labor and management practices,” according to the National Labor Relations Board. But the revitalized labor movement has seen some employers being accused of working to dissuade union participation.

      • Church’s Nativity Scene Puts Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Cages [iophk: Facebook instead of a press release :( ]

        The Mylar blanket glitters like tinsel, but wrapped around the figure of the baby Jesus, it looks hostile and stark. His parents, Mary and Joseph, look on from their own chain-link cages. Barbed wire hovers overhead.

        This is no typical Nativity scene.

      • Church unveils nativity scene depicting holy family as caged refugees

        The display shows classic nativity figurines of Joseph and Mary in cages on either side of a cage containing the manger of Jesus. The Rev. Karen Clark Ristine, who says she was “stirred to tears” by the depiction, says the church uses its annual nativity scene to tackle a societal issue, such as the homeless population of Southern California.

      • Futurist Sees ‘The End of the World as We Know It for Average Person’

        This forecast is not good news for most people: The polarization in the job market will only grow and the inequality between those who buy the new smart machines, those who build them, and those who cannot – will only widen.

        In an interview with TheMarker, Tzezana sets aside all the most recent reports, such as that of the World Economic Forum, which shows that in addition to the forecasts of millions of jobs being eliminated, new jobs are created too – because this, he says, is simply the wrong debate.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Verizon Is Undermining Efforts To Archive Yahoo Groups…For No Coherent Reason

        Verizon’s often sad efforts to pivot from curmudgeonly old telco to sexy new Millennial advertising giant have not gone as the company had hoped. From the failure of its Go90 streaming service to its clumsy effort to turn AOL and Yahoo into a Facebook-killing ad empire, Verizon often can’t get out of Verizon’s way. The “consumer comes last” executive mindset of the government-pampered telecom monopoly is frequently reflected by its policies, like Verizon’s decision to acquire Tumblr, ban one of the most compelling aspects of the service (adult content and art), then turn around and sell it at a massive loss.

      • Verizon Is Undermining Efforts To Archive Yahoo Groups…For No Coherent Reason

        Verizon’s often sad efforts to pivot from curmudgeonly old telco to sexy new Millennial advertising giant have not gone as the company had hoped. From the failure of its Go90 streaming service to its clumsy effort to turn AOL and Yahoo into a Facebook-killing ad empire, Verizon often can’t get out of Verizon’s way. The “consumer comes last” executive mindset of the government-pampered telecom monopoly is frequently reflected by its policies, like Verizon’s decision to acquire Tumblr, ban one of the most compelling aspects of the service (adult content and art), then turn around and sell it at a massive loss.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Software Patents

          • Trump and Pelosi Agree to Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico

            U.S. President Donald Trump and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi have agreed to ratify a new trade agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico, which will likely have direct consequences for the music industry.

          • U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement—Weak Tea, at Best

            The USMCA will in no way offset or reverse the massive devastation caused by the original NAFTA agreement. 

          • McCarthy alleges timing of Pelosi’s announcement on USMCA was politically motivated

            During a press conference on Tuesday morning, top Democrats in the House unveiled two charges against the president: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Soon after, Pelosi held a press conference to announce House Democrats and the White House reached an agreement to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

          • USMCA: Agreement reached on [NAFTA] trade deal replacement [iophk: tweets in place of official press conference :( ]

            US President Donald Trump, who had accused the Democrats of holding up the deal, also declared victory.

            The US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will be “the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA. Good for everybody – Farmers, Manufacturers, Energy, Unions – tremendous support,” he tweeted.

          • Tax Investment Scheme Not Patent Eligible

            An obvious “problem” with tax-deferral schemes (such as a retirement plan) is that Government officials would like to spend the money already. Mark Greenstein has the solution – monetizing the taxes-owed. Essentially the government could sell the right to collect the future taxes just like you might sell-off accounts receivables or unpaid invoices. Because the state has powerful collection mechanisms, the particular approach here is that the Gov’t still collects the taxes and then forwards the money to the investors.

            Greenstein’s pending patent application claims this approach. Although the claims are a bit unclear, it looks like he intends to roll-up the future taxes into a couple of different funds with “which provide rates of return based on factors which are different from each other.”

          • The real US patent ‘crisis’ [Ed: “Brian Pomper is executive director of the Innovation Alliance.” Typo. Litigation alliance. “Software patent lobbyists who worked for the Oil industry make their ‘case’ to restore software patents in the US,” Henrion wrote.]

            While the hearing was informative, unfortunately, proponents of weaker patent rights, primarily incumbent corporate interests seeking to lower their patent licensing costs, appear to be trying to distort the issue of patent quality to serve their own ends. The term “bad patent” or “poor quality patent” is now often used as shorthand to denigrate a patent that may in fact be strong on substance, but that stands in the way of someone who wishes to use the invention protected by the patent without taking out a license to do so.

      • Trademarks

        • Trolling The Trademark Troll: Lemonade CEO Releases Chrome Extension To Remove Magenta From Websites

          You will recall that last month we discussed the latest iteration of T-Mobile’s ongoing war to defend its trademark on the color magenta, as well as close variants of that color. While there are instances in which a particularly unique color or shade of color can be trademarked by a company, this case involved T-Mobile’s parent company, Deutsche Telekom, bullying insurance company Lemonade out of using the color magenta in its branding. Given that the insurance and mobile phone industries are quite disparate, this never should have been a dispute, regardless of how ridiculous it is for a company to have exclusive rights to a color like magenta.

      • Copyrights

Instead of Fixing Bug #1 Canonical/Ubuntu Contributes to Making the Bug Even More Severe (WSL/EEE)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Ubuntu at 4:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Capitulation: Reducing Ubuntu to “Windows app” with Windows-only extensions and Microsoft surveillance (the race to appease Microsoft) instead of a standalone operating system

Ubuntu bug #1

Summary: Following one seminal report about Canonical financially contributing to Microsoft's EEE effortscelebrated openly by GNU/Linux opponents — there have been at least four more [1-4], reaffirming many people’s suspicions that by closing bug #1 Ubuntu basically decided not that it was fixed but that it would no longer attempt to fix it (“wontfix”)

References:

  1. Canonical Sponsoring Microsoft’s 1st Windows Subsystem For Linux Conference!

    Canonical Sponsors WSL Conference: The team Canonical is the founders of Ubuntu Linux Operating System. The team canonical announced that the team Canonical will be a featured as a sponsor on Microsoft’s 1st WSL Conference. This is the 1st conference held by Microsoft team for WSL.
    The official WSL Conference is scheduled for March 10th-11th, 2020 at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington
    We can expect that the conference will bring “Founders, Developers, Programmers, Community Members” from the WSL project.

  2. Canonical Sponsors WSLConf, Microsoft?s First Linux Conference

    WSLConf is the first Linux-related conference to be hosted by Microsoft and, if you hadn?t already guessed, is focused around the Windows Subsystem for Linux (aka WSL and WSL 2).

    Developers, enthusiasts, and users WSL will get to enjoy two jam-packaged days dedicated to the tech, with presentations, workshops, and networking around the platform.

  3. Canonical co-sponsors Windows Subsystem for Linux conference

    There may never be a “Year of the Linux desktop” per se, but Linux on Windows, via the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), is certainly gaining popularity. Canonical, Ubuntu Linux’s parent company, has just announced it will help sponsor WSLConf, the first WSL-specific conference.

  4. Canonical to Sponsor Microsoft’s First Windows Subsystem for Linux Conference

    Canonical, the company behind the popular Ubuntu Linux operating system, announced that they will be an official sponsor of Microsoft’s first-ever Linux Conference for WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux).

    Announced earlier this fall, WSLconf, the first Microsoft Linux Conference for WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux), a Windows 10 feature that allows users to run various GNU/Linux distributions on top of their Windows installations, will take place next spring from March 10th to 11th, and it looks like Canonical will be there to give presentations and also sponsor the event.

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