05.01.17

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Links 1/5/2017: Krita 3.1.3, feren OS 2017.0, Android Widens Gap Over Windows

Posted in News Roundup at 3:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Get functional! 5 open source frameworks for serverless computing

    Sometimes all you need is a single function. That’s the idea behind serverless computing, where individual functions spin up on demand, perform a minimal piece of work (serve as an API endpoint, return static content, and so on), and shut down. It’s cheap, it uses minimal resources, and it has little management overhead.

    Most of what we currently identify as serverless computing kicked off with AWS Lambda, later joined by similar services on Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and IBM Bluemix. But there’s a healthy complement of open source serverless architectures available—not only facilitators for the serverless frameworks on a particular cloud, but full-blown methods to deploy serverless frameworks on the cloud or hardware of your choosing.

  • The next big challenge for open source: rich collaboration software

    The file sync and share movement started over a decade ago, led by the likes of Dropbox, Google Drive, and others, and became popular very fast. The killer feature was having all your files available on all your devices. No more forgetting to bring that important document to a meeting, emailing files, or handling multiple USB sticks. Files were always there when you needed them! That its growth happened with the start of the smartphone age made file sync and share even more useful.

    But its popularity wasn’t just about having access to your own files on all your devices: it also made sharing easier, enabling a new level of working together. No longer emailing documents, no longer being unsure whether your colleague’s feedback came on the latest version of your draft, no longer fixing errors that were already fixed.

  • Linux foundation specification for open software supply chain compliance

    The Linux Foundation has used its news chain to unveil the OpenChain Specification 1.1 and an accompanying Online Self-Certification service.

    The technology is positioned as a means for organisations to ensure consistent compliance management processes in what is being called the open source software supply chain.

  • Wrapping things up

    At the end of this month, after six-and-a-half years working there, I’ll be leaving the Dutch Association of Audiological Centres (FENAC) where I’ve been working as developer. I’ll be switching to Free Software-related projects, which I’ll write about around june 1st.

  • Women programmers face bias, say N.C. State researchers
  • Study finds gender bias in open-source programming [Ed: Gender bias exists everywhere, including programming, and it's not a FOSS phenomenon]s
  • Study suggests gender bias exists in open-source programming [Ed: not just FOSS]
  • Events

    • Join The Linux Foundation at OSCON for Booth Swag, Project Updates, and More
    • Introducing the Forum at OpenStack Summit Boston

      If you are joining the thousands of OpenStack enthusiasts as we converge on Boston for the OpenStack Summit (May 8-11), don’t be surprised if someone asks you, “Where is the Design Summit?”

      This year, nary a Design Summit sign will be found. That’s because the Design Summit is no more. True to the ever-evolving, continuously improving nature of open source projects, the OpenStack community is trying something new. The Design Summit has been reorganized and split into two separate events: the Forum and the Project Teams Gathering (PTG).

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The May 2017 Month of LibreOffice begins!

      Yes, a new Month of LibreOffice begins today, crediting contributions all across the project. This time we’re giving away real printed stickers for your laptop, desktop PC or other kit! If you help the LibreOffice community in various ways, we’ll add your name to a wiki page and then, at the end of the month, you’ll be able to claim your sticker. It’ll look like this:

  • Programming/Development

    • SPIR-V Support For LLVM Is Moving Forward

      While the original SPIR intermediate representation from the Khronos Group was derived from LLVM IR, SPIR-V that’s used by OpenCL 2.1+ and Vulkan is not. But there is still work underway on being able to translate from LLVM IR into a SPIR-V back-end.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • EPA purges climate change information as part of “Website Updates”

      On Friday, the Trump administration removed all of the EPA’s climate information from the agency’s website. In its place was this announcement: “We are currently updating our website to reflect EPA’s priorities under the leadership of President Trump and Administrator Pruitt.”

      The official EPA announcement of the changes says they’re needed to “reflect the agency’s new direction under President Donald Trump and Administrator Scott Pruitt.” Removing them, according to the EPA spokesman, was needed to “prevent confusion.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • New R&D Funding Model For TB, Antimicrobial Resistance

      The World Health Organization Bulletin this month has an article about the need for new models of research and development for tuberculosis and antimicrobial resistance. The article describes a new funding framework called the 3P Project.

      [...]

      The project’s funding model will ensure that a new regimen is affordable and accessible to all those in need.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Wall Street Firm Paying Obama $400,000 Faced Internal Controversy After Pocketing Huge 9/11 Settlement

      Barack Obama will deliver a speech this September at a swanky healthcare conference for investors run by Cantor Fitzgerald. As Fox Business News first reported on Monday, the firm is paying him $400,000.

      The ensuing criticism of Obama for cashing in on his presidency has been thunderous – but has overlooked exactly whose money he is taking.

      Cantor Fitzgerald, a major Wall Street brokerage house, lost 658 of its 960 employees when the World Trade Center was destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. But when it settled a long-running lawsuit against American Airlines for $135 million in 2013, the proceeds didn’t go to the families of the dead.

    • Nooooooooooooooo! Iraq Asks U.S. for Marshall Plan Reconstruction Funds

      Iraq’s Foreign Minister this week asked the United States to develop a financial plan for the reconstruction of the country after ISIS, similar to a program developed for Western Europe after the Second World War.

      In discussions with Special Presidential Envoy to the Coalition Brett McGurk, Ibrahim al-Jaafari stressed the need for “collective support from the international community to contribute to the reconstruction of infrastructure after the defeat of terrorism.” Jaafari suggested “the adoption of a project similar to the Marshall Plan which contributed to rebuilding Germany after the Second World War.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • How a Professional Climate Change Denier Discovered the Lies and Decided to Fight for Science

      The hardest part of reversing the warming of the planet may be convincing climate change skeptics of the need to do so. Although scientists who study the issue overwhelming agree that the earth is undergoing rapid and profound climate changes due to the burning of fossil fuels, a minority of the public remains stubbornly resistant to that fact. With temperatures rising and ice caps melting — and that small minority in control of both Congress and the White House — there seems no project more urgent than persuading climate deniers to reconsider their views. So we reached out to Jerry Taylor, whose job as director of the Niskanen Center involves turning climate skeptics into climate activists.

      It might seem like an impossible transition, except that Taylor, who used to be staff director for the energy and environment task force at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and vice president of the Cato Institute, made it himself.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • No, President Trump Isn’t Ditching The First Amendment, But He Is Undermining Free Speech

      Did you hear the story this weekend about how Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus went on TV and said that the administration is “looking at” changing libel laws or amending the 1st Amendment of the Constitution? You probably did. It’s dumb and wrong and it makes no sense, but that doesn’t mean that the President isn’t already doing great harm to free speech. But first, let’s cover Priebus’s nonsensical comments.

    • Social media firms must face heavy fines over extremist content – MPs

      Social media companies are putting profit before safety and should face fines of tens of millions of pounds for failing to remove extremist and hate crime material promptly from their websites, MPs have said.

      The largest and richest technology firms are “shamefully far” from taking action to tackle illegal and dangerous content, according to a report by the Commons home affairs committee.

      The inquiry, launched last year following the murder of the Labour MP Jo Cox by a far-right gunman, concludes that social media multinationals are more concerned with commercial risks than public protection. Swift action is taken to remove content found to infringe copyright rules, the MPs note, but a “laissez-faire” approach is adopted when it involves hateful or illegal content.

    • ORG response to Home Affairs Committee report on hate speech and Internet companies

      Open Rights Group has responded to an inquiry by the Commons Home Affairs committee, which calls for Internet companies to do more to take down hate speech and illegal content.

    • Automated censorship is not the answer to extremism
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Who Has Your Back in Brazil? Second Annual Report Shows Telecom Privacy Slowly Improving

      Today InternetLab, Brazil’s leading digital rights organization, released their 2017 report on local telecommunications companies, and how they treat their customer’s private information. Brazil’s “Quem defende seus dados?” (“Who Defends Your Data?”) seeks to encourage companies to compete for users by showing who will stand up for their customer privacy and data protection. That is why InternetLab, one of the leading independent research centers on Internet policy in Brazil, has evaluated key Brazilian telecommunications companies’ policies to assess their commitment to user privacy when the government comes calling for their users’ personal data.

      This report is part of a continent-wide initiative by South America’s leading digital rights groups to shine a light on Internet privacy practices in the region, based on EFF’s annual Who Has Your Back report. (Last week both Paraguay’s TEDIC and Chile’s Derechos Digitales published reports, and digital rights groups in Colombia, Mexico, and Argentina will be releasing similar studies soon.)

    • No Gathering Social Media Handles from Chinese Visitors

      EFF has joined a coalition effort, led by Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ), to oppose the federal government’s proposal to scrutinize the social media activities of Chinese visitors. Specifically, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seeks to ask certain visa applicants from China to disclose the existence of their social media accounts and the identifiers or handles associated with those accounts.

      Last year, EFF opposed a similar CBP proposal concerning foreign visitors from countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). CBP finalized this proposal in December 2016.

    • NSA ends collection of digital communications about foreign targets
    • Privacy issues help end NSA spying programme

      This let it grab the phone calls and messages of US citizens which mentioned or otherwise involved people outside the US it was keeping an eye on.

    • The NSA’s 702 Shutdown Is Good News, But There Are A Whole Lot Of Caveats

      The surprising shutdown of the NSA’s email harvesting program — one that operated “upstream” and grabbed not just communications to and from surveillance targets, but also those “about” surveillance targets — is good news. Considering the NSA had done nothing but abuse this specific privilege, the shutdown is a welcome surprise. But it’s not great news, for a variety of reasons.

      First, the shutdown arrives on the heels of a yearlong denial of surveillance requests by the FISA court. This indicates the NSA was either still abusing its collection or the court no longer felt the program was Constitutional, at least not the way the NSA was running it. The shutdown seems to reflect the NSA’s inability or unwillingness to shift towards more targeted surveillance methods — ones that won’t sweep up lots of US persons’ communications inadvertently.

    • Facebook helped advertisers target teens who feel “worthless”

      Facebook’s secretive advertising practices became a little more public on Monday thanks to a leak out of the company’s Australian office. This 23-page document, discovered by The Australian, details in particular how Facebook executives promote advertising campaigns that exploit Facebook users’ emotional states—and how these are aimed at users as young as 14 years old.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Trump Targets Undocumented Families, Not Felons, in First 100 Days

      Jeff Sessions’s first visit to the U.S.-Mexico border as attorney general kicked off with a ride in a Black Hawk helicopter. It began just after sunrise at the Davis-Monthan airbase outside Tucson, Arizona, and ended in Nogales, where he delivered a blistering address in which he vowed to take the “fight” to the criminal elements that have turned border communities into “war zones.” The performance was repeated a week later in El Paso, Texas. This time around, Sessions was accompanied by John Kelly, the retired Marine general turned Department of Homeland Security secretary overseeing the nation’s top immigration enforcement agencies. “This is ground zero,” Sessions said. “This is the front lines and this is where we’re making our stand.”

      The display was typical of the Trump camp. From the moment he launched his campaign, Trump put a radically reimagined vision of immigration enforcement at the center of his agenda — one that emphasized a wall across the southern border and, at times, the removal of every undocumented immigrant in the country. The justification always had something to do with the tremendous, unprecedented threat emanating from the border and from immigrants. Now that Trump’s 100th day in office is nearly here, the nation has had a glimpse of the president’s response.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Verizon’s bizarre claim that the FCC isn’t killing net neutrality rules

      No major Internet service provider has done more to prevent implementation of net neutrality rules in the US than Verizon. After years of fighting the rules in courts of law and public opinion, Verizon is about to get what it wants as the Federal Communications Commission—now led by a former Verizon lawyer—prepares to eliminate the rules and the legal authority that allows them to be enforced.

    • Comcast Under Fire For Using Bullshit Fees To Covertly Raise Rates

      For several years now cable and broadband providers have been using hidden fees to covertly jack up their advertised rates. These fees, which utilize a rotating crop of bullshit names, help these companies falsely advertise one rate, then sock the consumer with a significantly higher-rate post sale (often when locked into a long-term contract). The practice also allows the company to falsely claim they’re not raising rates on consumers. They omit that they’re talking about the above the line rate being charged, implying that anything below the line (where real fees like taxes are levied) is outside of their control.

      For example, for several years now, CenturyLink has been charging its broadband customers an “internet cost recovery fee,” which the company’s website insists “helps defray costs associated with building and maintaining CenturyLink’s High-Speed Internet broadband network” (that’s what the full bill is supposed to be for). Comcast and other cable companies have similarly begun charging users a “broadcast TV fee,” which simply takes a portion of the costs of programming, and hides it below the line. The names differ but the goal’s the same: falsely advertise one rate, then charge consumers with a higher price.

  • DRM

    • Cory Doctorow dreams of a DRM-free utopia – so he’s suing the US government to get it

      Cory Doctorow fears for the future. Rising inequality, political instability and technological surveillance are merging to create a world, he says, in which “there are disasters – and those disasters are human-made”.

      Most sci-fi writers might use this insight to create a dystopia, but Doctorow, 45, has been creating something more optimistic. His new novel Walkaway shows how catastrophes can create “the first days of a better nation”.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Register of Copyrights Bill Passes the House, We’re Gearing Up to Fight it in the Senate

        The U.S. House of Representatives today voted 378 to 48 to pass a controversial bill that would make the Register of Copyrights a presidential appointee. H.R. 1695, the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017, will effectively strip the Librarian of Congress of oversight over the Register, and is likely to increase industry influence over an already highly politicized office. The bill does nothing to improve the functioning of the Copyright Office, nor to fix any of the serious problems with copyright law, including its excessive and unpredictable penalties.

      • Homeowner’s House Burns Down, He Tries To Rebuild… But Facing Copyright Threats From Original Builder

        It seems that this spring really is the time for obscure copyright disputes with odd connections to the US’s weak-kneed compliance with the Berne Convention on copyright. We’ve already written a few times about the moral rights claim by the guy who created the giant “Wall St. Bull” statue, as well as a lawsuit against a Wall St. church for moving a 9/11 memorial — both of which reference VARA, the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990. VARA was passed as part of the US’s slapdash attempt to pretend it complied with the Berne Convention, a document that was created in 1886, and which the US took over 100 years to even pretend to comply with. VARA wasn’t the only such move in 1990. That very same year, Congress also passed the Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act of 1990, or AWCPA.

      • Australian ISPs to block KickassTorrents

        TPG, Telstra, Optus and Foxtel as well as the companies’ subsidiaries, such as iiNet and Internode, will be obliged to block their customers from accessing BitTorrent site Kickass Torrents under a Federal Court injunction handed down today.

        The site-blocking injunction is the third successful application lodged by copyright holders under anti-piracy legislation passed in 2015.

        ARIA members Universal Music Australia, Warner Music Australia, Sony Music Entertainment Australia and J Albert & Son, along with APRA AMCOS, last year brought the application for injunction. The application has been coordinated with the aid of Music Rights Australia.

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DecorWhat Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 01, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 01, 2021



  2. EPO Staff Committee Compares the Tactics of António Campinos to Benoît Battistelli's

    The Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO talks about EPO President António Campinos, arguing that “he seems to subscribe to the Manichean view, introduced by Mr Battistelli…”



  3. Prof. Thomas Jaeger in GRUR: Unified Patent Court (UPC) “Incompatible With EU Law“

    The truth remains unquestionable and the law remains unchanged; Team UPC is living in another universe, unable to accept that what it is scheming will inevitably face high-level legal challenges (shall that become necessary) and it will lose because the facts are all stlll the same



  4. Links 1/12/2021: LibrePlanet CFS Extended to December 15th and DB Comparer for PostgreSQL Reaches 5.0

    Links for the day



  5. EPO Cannot and Will Not Self-Regulate

    The term financialisation helps describe some of the activities of the EPO in recent years; see Wikipedia on financialisation below



  6. [Meme] Germany's Licence to Break the Law

    Remember that the young Campinos asked dad for his immunity after he had gotten drunk and crashed the car; maybe the EPO should stop giving diplomatic immunity to people, seeing what criminals (e.g. Benoît Battistelli) this attracts; the German government is destroying its image (and the EU’s) by fostering such corruption, wrongly believing that it’s worth it because of Eurozone domination for patents/litigation



  7. EPO Dislikes Science and Scientists

    The EPO's management has become like a corrupt political party with blind faith in money and monopolies (or monopoly money); it has lost sight of its original goals and at this moment it serves to exacerbate an awful pandemic, as the video above explains



  8. Links 1/12/2021: LibreOffice 7.3 Beta, Krita 5.0, Julia 1.7

    Links for the day



  9. Links 1/12/2021: NixOS 21.11 Released

    Links for the day



  10. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 30, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 30, 2021



  11. Links 1/12/2021: Tux Paint 0.9.27 and WordPress 5.9 Beta

    Links for the day



  12. [Meme] EPO Administrative Council Believing EPO-Bribed 'Media' (IAM Still Shilling and Lying for Cash)

    IAM continues to do what brings money from EPO management and Team UPC, never mind if it is being disputed by the patent examiners themselves



  13. The EPO's Mythical “Gap” Has Been Found and It's Bonuses for People Who Use Pure Fiction to Steal From Patent Examiners

    The phony president who has the audacity to claim there's a budget gap is issuing millions of euros for his enablers to enjoy; weeks ahead of the next meeting of national delegates the Central Staff Committee (CSC) tells them: "Events show that the delegations’ concerns about functional allowances have materialised. The lack of transparency and inflation of the budget envelope gives rise to the suspicion that high management is pursuing a policy of self-service at the expense of EPO staff, which is difficult to reconcile with the Office’s claimed cost-saving policy, and to the detriment of the whole Organisation."



  14. Video: Making the Internet a Better Place for People, Not Megacorporations

    Following that earlier list of suggested improvements for a freedom-respecting Internet, here's a video and outline



  15. Links 30/11/2021: KDE Plasma 5.23.4, 4MLinux 38.0, Long GitHub Downtime, and Microsoft's CEO Selling Away Shares

    Links for the day



  16. A Concise Manifesto For Freedom-Respecting Internet

    An informal list of considerations to make when reshaping the Internet to better serve people, not a few corporations that are mostly military contractors subsidised by the American taxpayers



  17. Freenode.net Becomes a 'Reddit Clone' and Freenode IRC is Back to Old Configurations After Flushing Down Decades' Worth of User/Channel Data and Locking/Shutting Out Longtime Users

    Freenode is having another go; after “chits” and “jobs” (among many other ideas) have clearly failed, and following the change of daemon (resulting in massive loss of data and even security issues associated with impersonation) as well as pointless rebrand as “Joseon”, the domain Freenode.net becomes something completely different and the IRC network reopens to all



  18. Jack Dorsey's Decision is a Wake-up Call: Social Control Media is Just a Toxic Bubble

    The state of the World Wide Web (reliability, preservation, accessibility, compatibility etc.) was worsened a lot more than a decade ago; with social control media that’s nowadays just a pile of JavaScript programs we’re basically seeing the Web gradually turning into another Adobe Flash (but this time they tell us it’s a “standard”), exacerbating an already-oversized ‘bubble economy’ where companies operate at a loss while claiming to be worth hundreds of billions (USD) and generally serve imperialistic objectives by means of manipulation like surveillance, selective curation, and censorship



  19. IRC Proceedings: Monday, November 29, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, November 29, 2021



  20. Links 29/11/2021: NuTyX 21.10.5 and CrossOver 21.1.0

    Links for the day



  21. This Apt Has Super Dumbass Powers. Linus Sebastian and Pop_OS!

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  22. [Meme] Trying to Appease Provocateurs and Borderline Trolls

    GNU/Linux isn’t just a clone of Microsoft Windows and it oughtn’t be a clone of Microsoft Windows, either; some people set themselves up for failure, maybe by intention



  23. Centralised Git Hosting Has a Business Model Which is Hostile Towards Developers' Interests (in Microsoft's Case, It's an Attack on Reciprocal Licensing and Persistent Manipulation)

    Spying, censoring, and abusing projects/developers/users are among the perks Microsoft found in GitHub; the E.E.E.-styled takeover is being misused for perception manipulation and even racism, so projects really need to take control of their hosting (outsourcing is risky and very expensive in the long run)



  24. Links 29/11/2021: FWUPD's 'Best Known Configuration' and Glimpse at OpenZFS 3.0

    Links for the day



  25. President Biden Wants to Put Microsofter in Charge of the Patent Office, Soon to Penalise Patent Applicants Who Don't Use Microsoft's Proprietary Formats

    The tradition of GAFAM or GIAFAM inside the USPTO carries on (e.g. Kappos and Lee; Kappos lobbies for Microsoft and IBM, whereas Lee now works for Amazon/Bezos after a career at Google); it's hard to believe anymore that the USPTO exists to serve innovators rather than aggressive monopolists, shielding their territory by patent threats (lawsuits or worse aggression) and cross-licensing that's akin to a cartel



  26. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part VIII — Mr. Graveley's Long Career Serving Microsoft's Agenda (Before Hiring by Microsoft to Work on GitHub's GPL Violations Machine)

    Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley was promoting .NET (or Mono) since his young days; his current job at Microsoft is consistent with past harms to GNU/Linux, basically pushing undesirable (except to Microsoft) things to GNU/Linux users; Tomboy used to be the main reason for distro ISOs to include Mono



  27. Dr. Andy Farnell on Teaching Cybersecurity in an Age of 'Fake Security'

    By Dr. Andy Farnell



  28. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 28, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, November 28, 2021



  29. Links 29/11/2021: Linux 5.16 RC3 and Lots of Patent Catch-up

    Links for the day



  30. By 2022 0% of 'News' Coverage About Patents Will Be Actual Journalism (Patent Litigation Sector Has Hijacked the World Wide Web to Disseminate Self-Promotional Misinformation)

    Finding news about the EPO is almost impossible because today’s so-called ‘news’ sites are in the pockets of Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos, and their cohorts who turned the EPO into a hub of litigation, not science; this is part of an international (worldwide) problem because financial resources for journalism have run out, and so the vacuum is filled/replaced almost entirely by Public Relations (PR) and marketing


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