Links 12/9/2017: Linux 4.13.1, digiKam 5.7.0

Posted in News Roundup at 11:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Jim Zemlin Declares 2017 the Year of the Linux Desktop

      Open Source Summit, the event formerly known as LinuxCon North America, kicked off today with a series of announcements and a strong message about the power of open source.


      To illustrate his point, Zemlin noted that 2,000 lines of code are changed daily in the Linux kernel as the pace of change accelerates.

      “Every market that Linux has entered, it hasn’t just done well; it has come to completely dominate,” Zemlin said.

      One area where Linux has dominated is in the mobile space with Android. Zemlin noted that in March of this year, Linux-based devices became the majority of clients on the internet, thanks to Android, surpassing Microsoft Windows.

      “Say it with me now,” Zemlin encouraged the audience. “2017 is the Year of the Linux Desktop.”

  • Server

    • Optimizing web servers for high throughput and low latency

      This is an expanded version of my talk at NginxConf 2017 on September 6, 2017. As an SRE on the Dropbox Traffic Team, I’m responsible for our Edge network: its reliability, performance, and efficiency. The Dropbox edge network is an nginx-based proxy tier designed to handle both latency-sensitive metadata transactions and high-throughput data transfers. In a system that is handling tens of gigabits per second while simultaneously processing tens of thousands latency-sensitive transactions, there are efficiency/performance optimizations throughout the proxy stack, from drivers and interrupts, through TCP/IP and kernel, to library, and application level tunings.

  • Kernel Space

    • Twelve Collabora Developers Have Contributed 72 Patches to the Linux 4.13 Kernel

      Now that the Linux 4.13 kernel series is out, and it’s ready for production use, it’s time to look at the contributions made by some of Collabora’s developers, which always bring goodies during each development cycle.

      Linus Torvalds unveiled the Linux 4.13 kernel branch last week, a release that brought support for Intel’s Cannon Lake and Coffee Lake processor family, among lots of other improvements. For the Linux kernel 4.13 cycle, it looks like a total of twelve Collabora developers have contributed no less than 72 patches, reviewed 25 patches, tested 10 patches, and signed-off 83 patches.

    • Development statistics for the 4.13 kernel

      As of this writing, the 4.13 kernel appears headed toward release on September 3, after a nine-week development cycle. It must, therefore, be about time for a look at the statistics for this development cycle. The picture that results shows a fairly typical kernel cycle with, as usual, few surprises.

      Midway between 4.13-rc6 and 4.13-rc7, 12,677 non-merge changesets had found their way into the mainline. That makes 4.13 the smallest cycle since 4.7, which finished with 12,283 changesets. Chances are, though, that this cycle will surpass 4.11 (12,724) by the time it is done. So, while there may be signs of a (northern hemisphere) summer slowdown, 4.13 remains generally comparable with its predecessors with respect to patch volume.

    • Samsung Joins EdgeX Foundry to Accelerate Open Source Development of Industrial IoT Edge Platform

      EdgeX Foundry, an open source project building a common framework for Internet of Things (IoT) edge computing, today announced Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. has joined as a Platinum member. Participating in EdgeX Foundry will support Samsung’s emerging efforts in the industrial sector while expanding the market of EdgeX compatible components and devices.


      EdgeX Foundry is a collaborative project of The Linux Foundation that is building an open interoperability framework hosted within a full hardware- and OS-agnostic reference software platform to enable an ecosystem of plug-and-play components that unifies the marketplace and accelerates the deployment of IoT solutions. Designed to run on any hardware or operating system and with any combination of application environments, EdgeX can quickly and easily deliver interoperability between connected devices, applications, and services, across a wide range of use cases.

    • The Linux Foundation Releases Open Source Guides for the Enterprise

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, has released the first six in a series of Open Source Guides for the Enterprise, created to help executives, open source program managers, developers, attorneys and other decision makers learn how to best leverage open source.

    • printk() and KERN_CONT [Ed: these three LWN articles (more below) no longer behind paywall]
    • Goodbye to GFP_TEMPORARY and dma_alloc_noncoherent()
    • Linux Kernel 4.13 Gets First Point Release, It’s Now Ready for Production Use

      Well, that was fast. Only a week after the launch of the Linux 4.13 kernel series, Greg Kroah-Hartman announced the first point release, which marks the branch as “stable” on the kernel.org website, and ready for production use, of course.

      That’s right, Linux kernel 4.13.1 is out, and it’s the latest stable kernel available for GNU/Linux distributions that want to offer their users the best hardware support on the market. It looks like Arch Linux already has the Linux 4.13.1 kernel in its Testing repos, so you can give it a try, but we strongly recommend that you wait until it lands in the main repositories before upgrading your kernel.

    • Linux 4.13.1

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.13.1 kernel.

      All users of the 4.13 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 4.13.y git tree can be found at:
      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-4.13.y
      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:



      greg k-h

    • Linus Torvalds Wants Attackers to Join Linux Kernel Development

      Twenty-six years ago, Linus Torvalds started the Linux operating system, and at the Open Source Summit here on Sept. 11, Torvalds detailed his views on security, development and collaboration and why he’s still having fun working on Linux.

      Torvalds was asked in a keynote conversation with Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin about the current state of security in Linux, especially given that the open-source Struts project has been alleged to be the root cause of the recent Equifax data breach.

      “The concept of absolute security doesn’t exist,” Torvalds said. “Even if we do a perfect job—and we try to do that—let’s be honest, there will always have bugs.”

    • Linus Torvalds’ lifestyle tips for hackers: be like me, work in a bathrobe, no showers before noon

      Linux Lord Linus Torvalds has offered some lifestyle advice for hackers, suggesting they adopt his admittedly-unglamorous lifestyle but also his ethos of working on things that matter.

      In an on-stage interview with Linux Foundation founder and executive director Jim Zemline at the Open Source summit in Los Angeles on Monday, Torvalds admitted that “I have long since gotten over the fact that the UPS guy brings me a package from Amazon at 3:00PM and I am still in my bathrobe.”

      Zemline joked that the Linux Foundation has a shower before noon policy and Torvalds shot back that it’s the reason he works from home instead of coming into the office.

    • If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Improve It: CHAOSS Project Creates Tools to Analyze Software Development and Measure Open Source Community Health

      Initial members contributing to the project include Bitergia, Eclipse Foundation, Jono Bacon Consulting, Laval University (Canada), Linaro, Mozilla, OpenStack, Polytechnique Montreal (Canada) Red Hat, Sauce Labs, Software Sustainability Institute, Symphony Software Foundation, University of Missouri, University of Mons (Belgium), University of Nebraska at Omaha, and University of Victoria.

    • Vodafone Joins Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) Project

      The Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) Project today announced that Vodafone Group has joined as a Platinum member. The addition of Vodafone, one of the world’s largest service providers with operations in 26 countries, demonstrates the continuing momentum ONAP is achieving and highlights Vodafone’s ongoing commitment to open standards and open source.

    • OpenChain Project Welcomes Hitachi

      The OpenChain Project is proud to welcome Hitachi as a Platinum Member. Hitachi joins eleven other companies to take a leadership role in our industry standard for open source compliance in the supply chain.

    • Become a Certified Kubernetes Admin with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation

      The ever-increasing push to the cloud demands proven skills in areas such as cloud migration, application integration, automation, and more. The recent Open Source Jobs Report from The Linux Foundation, in fact, cited cloud technology as the most sought-after area of expertise among 70 percent of employers. Now you can demonstrate your skills through the new Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) exam, offered by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

    • Linus Torvalds’ lifestyle tips for hackers: be like me, work in a bathrobe, no showers before noon

      Linux Lord Linus Torvalds has offered some lifestyle advice for hackers, suggesting they adopt his admittedly-unglamorous lifestyle but also his ethos of working on things that matter.

      In an on-stage interview with Linux Foundation founder and executive director Jim Zemline at the Open Source summit in Los Angeles on Monday, Torvalds admitted that “I have long since gotten over the fact that the UPS guy brings me a package from Amazon at 3:00PM and I am still in my bathrobe.”

      Zemline joked that the Linux Foundation has a shower before noon policy and Torvalds shot back that it’s the reason he works from home instead of coming into the office.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMDGPU DC Display Code Tacks On Another 28 Patches

        The big undertaking of the rewriting/modernizing of the AMDGPU DRM driver’s display code stack has out now another 28 patches.

        This AMDGPU DC display stack has been well over one thousand lines of code and in development for years in trying to better synchronize the AMDGPU Direct Rendering Manager’s display code with that of their Windows driver. AMDGPU DC is what’s needed for HDMI/DP audio on modern Radeon GPUs, HDMI 2.0 support, atomic mode-setting, FreeSync, and other modern display features. More recently, it’s now needed for driving physical displays/monitors attached to Radeon Vega graphics cards.

      • RadeonSI/AMDGPU Switches Over To New Command Submission API

        Landing today within Mesa Git is a switchover for the AMDGPU winsys layer to using the new command submission (CS) API.

        This change benefits the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver when using the AMDGPU kernel driver. Added to libdrm back in July was a new low overhead command submission API when dealing with the AMDGPU kernel driver. This API sends chunks to the kernel API for a single command stream. This new API is designed to be “more future proof and extensible API.”

      • VK_EXT_debug_report Lands For Intel’s Vulkan Driver
      • Better Hang Detection For The RADV Vulkan Driver

        Samuel Pitoiset of Valve’s latest work on the open-source Radeon driver stack has been figuring out better GPU hang detection for the RADV Vulkan driver.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Intro to Latte Dock, New Decoration for Kubuntu

        Latte is a new MacOS-like dock desktop decoration for KDE Plasma. It’s first released in 14 January 2017 as v0.5.90. It’s now installable for Kubuntu from PPA (and other distros via specific channels). If you’re a Kubuntu user and waiting for a decent dock, or if you missed the legendary AWN dock, then Latte is for you. This article will show you some pictures (and GIF) and features of Latte. Enjoy!

      • Plasma 5 for Slackware – KDE 5_17.09

        For some time now, no news about Plasma 5 for Slackware appeared on this blog. I just have been too occupied with family life and the demands of my day job.

        But the configuration of my new server, the one I bought last month, finally is at a point where I can use it for running virtual machines and compiling packages. And it is fast… compiling LibreOffice in 90 minutes where in the past it would take me 10 times as long. Therefore I was able to create a new release of Plasma 5 packages while at the same time working on new LibreOffice packages.

      • Kubuntu Council Election Results Announced

        The Kubuntu Council is happy to announce the results of the election, and welcome the following members: Rik Mills, Aaron Honeycutt (returning) and Rick Timmis.

      • digiKam 5.7.0 is released

        Following the release of 5.6.0 published in June, the digiKam team is proud to announce the new release 5.7.0 of the digiKam Software Collection. In this version a lot of work has happened behind the scenes and in fixing bugs, which does not mean there is no enhancements: A new tool to create print layouts has been introduces, albums can now be exported by mail, support for Hugin 2017 was added and GPS traces are storable as KML.

      • digiKam 5.7 Released With Print Creator & Email Sending Support

        For fans of the Qt-powered Digikam photo management software, the 5.7 release is out today with many bug fixes and underlying improvements along with some new user features.

      • digiKam 5.7 Image Editor Lets You Create Print Layouts, Export Albums by Email

        digiKam 5.7.0 was released today as the latest maintenance update to the open-source and cross-platform image editor, viewer and organizer software that introduces a couple of new features and many improvements.

        Two and a half months in development, digiKam 5.7.0 is here to introduce two new tools, namely “Send by Mail” and “Print Creator.” The first one will allow users to send photos by email directly from the app, supporting popular email clients like Mozilla Thunderbird, Evolution, KMail, Claws Mail, Sylpheed, Balsa, and Netscape.

      • Randa Roundup – Part II

        The last time we wrote about Randa Meetings 2017, preparations for the event were still in progress. The developer sprint is now in full swing. Everyone is settled in and ready to start improving, debugging and adding features to KDE’s apps and frameworks. But what exactly will the developers work on during Randa 2017? Here are some more details.

        As you’re probably already aware, the theme of Randa Meetings 2017 is accessibility. This doesn’t include only desktop software, but also extends to mobile apps. Sanjiban Bairagya is working on the Marble Maps Android app, KDE’s answer to Google Earth. His accessibility-related tasks include making the turn-by-turn navigation experience more visually intuitive in real-time. He will also be switching Marble to the Qt 5.8 Speech module instead of using Java for text-to-speech support in navigation. Another thing Sanjiban wants to do is find a way to let users add notes to any place on the map.

      • Take Randa and Stuff It

        (O yeah, lunch was pretty expansive and tasty, so we’re stuffed. And in Randa.)

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.26: Wayland vs. X.Org Performance – Boot Times, Power Use, Memory Use & Gaming

        While testing out the near-final GNOME 3.26 this weekend I also ran some benchmarks of it comparing the boot time, memory use, power consumption, and gaming performance when comparing GNOME Shell / Mutter running on Wayland and then an X.Org session.

      • Ubuntu GNOME Shell in Artful: Day 11

        Let’s talk today about collaboration (with System76 in this case) and how we give more benefits to both Ubuntu and the upcoming Pop! OS user base. For more background on our current transition to GNOME Shell in artful, you can refer back to our decisions regarding our default session experience as discussed in my blog post.

      • Flickerless Gtk3 OpenGL Transitions

        While I got OpenGL transitions working under Gtk3 at the end of last year basically matching the Gtk2/Generic OpenGL quality the transition into and out of the OpenGL sequence wasn’t very satisfying. And with access to HiDPI it was clearly even worse with an unscaled image momentarily appearing before the correct one.

      • LibreOffice Gets Flicker-Free OpenGL Transitions

        Last year McNamara got GTK3 OpenGL transitions working, but it was less than perfect. But now he’s managed to provide flicker-less GTK3 OpenGL transitions after landing some improvements into LibreOffice Git.

      • WebKitGTK+ 2.18.0 released!
      • WebKitGTK+ 2.18.0 Brings WebDriver Support, Remote Inspector & Kinetic Scrolling

        The WebDriver support is interesting and allows easily automating/scripting interactions with the browser. WebDriver is just geared for WebKit-based browsers. Details on the WebDriver WebKitGTK+ support via this blog post. When time magically allows I would like to investigate the feasibility of using it for some automated browser benchmarks.

        On the developer front the WebCrypto API is now enabled by default. Additionally, there are APIs to allow overriding the popup menu of select elements and to create a WebKitContextMenuItem from a GAction.

      • GTK4′s Vulkan Support Continues Maturing

        One of the questions that came up following our GNOME 3.26 feature overview was how GTK4′s Vulkan renderer is coming along.

        It’s coming along as is GTK4, albeit not ready for production use quite yet.

      • You need an application icon of at least 64×64 in size

        At the moment the appstream-builder in Fedora requires a 48x48px application icon to be included in the AppStream metadata. I’m sure it’s no surprise that 48×48 padded to 64×64 and then interpolated up to 128×128 (for HiDPI screens) looks pretty bad. For Fedora 28 and higher I’m going to raise the minimum icon size to 64×64 which I hope people realize is actually a really low bar.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • BakAndImgCD 23.0 Data Backup & Disk Cloning Live CD Released Based on 4MLinux 23

        4MLinux developer Zbigniew Konojacki‏ has informed us about the release and immediate availability of BakAndImgCD 23.0 data backup and disk cloning/imaging live system based on the latest 4MLinux Backup Scripts.

        Based on 4MLinux Backup Scripts 23.0, the BakAndImgCD 23.0 release is here to add support for the latest GNU/Linux and Open Source technologies that have been implemented so far in the upcoming 4MLinux 23.0 operating system release, which is expected to launch this fall.

        “BakAndImgCD is an official 4MLinux fork, which has been designed to perform the following two tasks: data backup (the supported filesystems are: btrfs, ext2, ext3, ext4, f2fs, fat16, fat32, hfs, hfs+, jfs, nilfs2, ntfs, reiser4, reiserfs, and xfs) and disk imaging (using Partimage, Partclone, and GNU ddrescue),” said Zbigniew Konojacki‏.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Those good surprises…

        PCLinuxOS has always remained a reliable OS to work and, as the update included Lomanager, the distro’s method to update LibreOffice, I couldn’t delay.

        Although the update was fast, LibreOffice was taking a considerable time to finish. Yes, I must thank my ISP for that: my connection has been unstable for over a week, with a speed sometimes down to a crawl.

        Speed was abnormally slow. I became a bit restless.

        That was when I saw the Steam icon on my desktop…the round icon that had not been clicked on since October 2015.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Squeezing More Juice Out Of Gentoo With Graphite, LTO Optimizations

        Developer Shane Peelar has come up with a Gentoo Portage configuration for building out the distribution with aggressive compiler optimizations in the name of performance.

        Peelar’s Gentoo configuration will build with -O3 optimizations, GCC Graphite optimizations, and LTO (Link Time Optimizations).

    • Arch Family

      • Laptop: Spitfire Manjaro Special Edition

        OK, community – we have now worked on this for months, and the results are simply astounding. In association with Station X the Manjaro Team is very proud to announce our first Laptop, together with a hardware manufacturer especially designed for our beloved community.

        If you’re looking for the sleekest Linux laptop in existence, then look no further. The Spitfire is a head turner – with lots and lots of muscle. Powered with 7th Generation Intel Core Processors, up to 32GB RAM and dual drive bays, the Spitfire can take whatever you can throw at it. And keep going.

        With a super-light all-aluminum chassis, and a killer 1080p IPS display, the Spitfire can run Manjaro at blazing speed.

      • Manjaro Spitfire: Manjaro Linux Gets Its Own Laptop With The Help Of Station X
    • Slackware Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Surge in hybrid cloud adoption helps Red Hat expand footprint in Asia

        Red Hat has expanded its cloud and service provider footprint in Asia.

        The company has certified a number of new cloud and managed services providers in India, Indonesia, Japan, and Singapore.

        Some of the newest Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Providers include Diadem Technologies in India, IndonesianCloud in Indonesia, Mitsubishi Research Institute in Japan, India’s Prodevans Technologies and Singapore’s STT Connect.

        Cloud provider models are becoming increasingly complex, expanding beyond multi-tenant public clouds to include private cloud build-outs, Linux container-based infrastructure, and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions.

      • Paul Smith: Red Hat-Kryptowire Project for DHS to Advance Automated Mobile App Security

        Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) and its partner Kryptowire will develop a framework for the automation of mobile application compliance under a contract from the Department of Homeland Security, ExecutiveBiz reported Thursday.

        The team will work to build the framework as part of the Assured Mobile Application Lifecycle using Red Hat Enterprise project to facilitate app compliance with the data privacy and security requirements of government users, Red Hat said Wednesday.

      • 4 tips for leaders helping others evolve their careers
      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora’s Boltron preview

          As the “preview” term would imply, there’s not much more to Boltron at this point. There are some 25 modules that have the same stream as that of the regular packages for Fedora 26. So far, the only module with multiple streams is for Node.js, with version 8 being available in the nodejs-8 stream. The intent is that more modules and streams will be added so that Fedora 27 servers can be composed by picking and choosing modules and streams to fit their intended use cases. Containers would presumably be used to manage multiple conflicting modules. There is, clearly, plenty more to be worked on.

          The Modularity effort is a bold rethinking of how Fedora is built, used, and managed, as we have noted in some previous articles along the way. For a year or more, Modularity has largely just been an idea and a few, somewhat confusing diagrams, at least from the perspective of Fedora users. We are finally starting to see some of the behind-the-scenes efforts bear fruit. It will be interesting to watch and see where it all leads.

        • My experience with Flock 2017

          After attending Flock 2016, I got another chance to be part of Flock conference. This year, it took place in beautiful city Hyannis, Massachusetts, USA from 29th August to 1st September. Schedule of this 4 day conference was designed differently compared to last year. Both workshops and talks were running in parallel for the first three 3 days followed by a wrap-up session on last day.

        • Flock 2017

          wo weeks ago I got to travel to Cape Cod (or as I came to call it, Cape Code), Massachusetts, USA for Flock, the annual Fedora contributor conference. I arrived on Monday, August 28 after flying in from Denver, CO where I had been eclipse-viewing (well that happened in Wyoming) and summitting 6[0-5] fourteeners[6].

          Tuesday began with a keynote from Matthew Miller, where he presented metrics on the various versions of Fedora in the wild, and talked about where Fedora is heading. After that we had a long session where the presenters each got to give a short pitch for their talks. After that was lunch, and one thing I enjoyed about the schedule this year was the choice to make lunch be two hours each day. That gave us plenty of time for “hallway” type discussions throughout the week. After lunch I went to see Mike Bonet present about Factory 2.0 and the various items that team has been working on in Fedora. Several of their objectives have been related to Bodhi so this was a good session for me to attend. After that I held my “Bodhi hack sesh” session which I thought went pretty well. I think we had about 12 people attend, and I was able to help people get started on a variety of patches for Bodhi. Lastly I attended the dinner and game night, which was a lot of fun.

        • Jonathan Dieter: Flock 2017
    • Debian Family

      • Summary of the discussion on off-line keys.
      • Debian-Administration.org is closing down

        The site will go read-only at the end of the month, and will slowly be stripped back from that point towards the end of the year – leaving only a static copy of the articles, and content.

      • Derivatives

        • Debian-Based Univention Corporate Server 4.2 Linux Gets Second Security Update

          Univention’s Maren Abatielos is pleased to inform us about the availability of the second point release of the Debian-based Univention Corporate Server (UCS) 4.2 operating system for servers and the cloud.

        • A look at TAILS – Privacy oriented GNU/Linux Distribution

          The Amensic Incognito Live System, is a Debian based distribution that routes all internet traffic through the TOR network, and leaves no trace of its existence or anything done on the system when the machine is shut down. The obvious aim in this, is to aid in keeping the user anonymous and private. Tails is not installed to a users computer, but instead is run strictly as a LiveUSB / LiveDVD.

          TAILS does not utilize the host machines Hard Disk at all, and is loaded entirely into RAM. When a machine is shut down, the data that is stored in RAM disappears over the course of a few minutes, essentially leaving no trace of whatever had been done. Granted, there is a method of attack known as a Cold Boot Attack, where data is extracted from RAM before it has had a chance to disappear, but TAILS has you covered on that front too; the TAILS website says,

          “To prevent this attack, the data in RAM is overwritten by random data when shutting down Tails. This erases all traces from your session on that computer.”

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • How companies can make the most from open source

    It’s 2017, and some people still don’t understand why open source is vital for business and how to really make the most of it. The Linux Foundation and its corporate partners are ready to explain it to you.

  • An open source toolkit for measuring project health

    Red Hat’s product offerings are all built upon open source projects—they all are derived from one or more upstream, community-based open source projects. Red Hat’s product managers need to have a good sense of what is going on in their respective upstream open source projects to enable the product’s continued evolution based on the strength of the community and collaboration in the project. In addition to Red Hat’s own needs, the explosion of products and services that use the hundreds of thousands of open source projects to drive the technology revolution calls for a coherent, repeatable and objective tool/method to ascertain how a project is doing.

    Enter Prospector, a tool we built internally at Red Hat to help measure this and that we now have contributed to the Linux Foundation to help form the basis of the new CHAOSS project.

  • Open Source Means Choice Of Insurance

    Some say that companies don’t want open source because they want the security of a relationship with a big business. But this outlook reflects misunderstandings of the real values of open source. It’s yet another consequence of the “price frame”.

    There is an overall price-related message-frame that proprietary software companies like to use around open source. In each instance, an idea completes the phrase “open source may come with free licenses but…” in creatively manipulative ways. In many cases, the resulting statement conceals a weakness of proprietary software by casting it as a weakness of open source.

    In the case of software investment protection, the phrase gets completed “… but you need a proprietary vendor for long-term investment protection”. That’s a deceptive statement that embodies an incorrect view of open source as a “knock-off copy”. The open source model – done well – offers more security than the proprietary model.

    It’s a powerful and persistent myth because it builds on at least two misconceptions:

  • The new order in an open source software world

    It is clear the future is in open source. Slowly taking hold for decades with the release of mainstream software such as Apple’s Swift and Microsoft’s .Net framework, the projected revenue of open source software for 2020 is over €57 million. The reason behind this increasing adoption is the ability for enterprises to not only drive competitive advantage, but to also attract top talent. However, with that comes a new set of challenges to overcome.

    While helping accelerate application development, the use of open source can put an organisation at risk of getting breached and failing compliance audits. In fact, 44 per cent of applications contain critical vulnerabilities in an open source component.

  • Mastodon: The Open Source Alternative To Twitter

    I don’t know about you, but I have long yearned for a social network that I can truly call home. Facebook is no good as it’s full of pictures of people’s cats and their dinner. Twitter is full of trolls and rude people, in my experience at least. When Google+ came along, I had high hopes for it, but alas, it’s pretty much a ghost town these days.

  • ​How companies can make the most from open source

    At The Linux Foundation’s Open Source Summit, Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation, announced new programs to help businesses get the most from open source: Open Source Guides for the Enterprise. Using open-source programs is only the start.

    Zemlin said that for enterprises to make the most from open source they need to participate in creating open source: Unfortunately, “Organization still don’t know how to be a participate.”

    “Today all software development is influenced by open source,” Zemlin said. “Just as projects are looking to create communities to sustain them over the long term, corporations are seeking to better understand how they can work with and contribute to open source. The new guides will help more organizations directly engage for the benefit of the broader community.”

  • ​How to get the Kubernetes help you need

    At The Linux Foundation’s Open Source Summit in Los Angeles, Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Foundation, said, “Kubernetes is the Linux of the cloud.” I wouldn’t go that far, but Kubernetes is the most popular, open-source DevOps container manager. It’s now available on all cloud-platforms including the late-to-the-Kubernetes-party Amazon Web Services (AWS). Now, if only we have enough Kubernetes experts to run it!

    As the GitHub team recently discovered, Kubernetes’ documentation isn’t very good. That makes setting up a Kubernetes cluster difficult.

  • Anchore Releases Open Source Engine End-to-End Container Certification Solution
  • Matryx Deepens Commitment to Open Source with Calcflow

    Matryx, an open source platform for decentralized collaboration, is open sourcing Calcflow, the world’s first virtual reality (VR) graphing tool for mathematical modeling. Calcflow is one of the applications Matryx integrates to help its global users solve complex problems through 3D visualization and natural gesture interactions.

  • New open-source virtual modular synth available for free

    The new software, which was revealed at Illinois’s Knobcon 2017 tech convention over the weekend, brings the sound and workflow of Eurorack format modular synthesis to the computer. Unlike other existing software modular systems, like Softube Modular and Native Instrument’s Reaktor Blocks, VCV Rack’s code is publicly available and free to download for Mac, Windows and Linux. It’s currently in a beta form and features 30 modules, including versions of Mutable Instruments, Befaco and Synthesis Technology modules, some of which are directly ported from the original devices. More modules will be added in the coming weeks.

  • New VCV Software Modular for Mac/PC/Linux Is Free
  • The Most Promising Open Source Projects to Watch for in 2018

    Everyone and their mother is talking about open source projects. As you likely already know, at the core it’s a software which is used freely, shared globally in real-time and can be modified by virtually anyone. While there are a myriad of open source licenses offering users various degrees of freedom and leverage, they all have one thing in common: stimulating and encouraging collaboration.

    Beyond merely publishing code, the whole notion of open source is to generate an immersive dialogue where anyone has the right to propose changes and make an impact. It’s all about collectively collaborating and inspiring community dialogues.

  • Events

    • Open Source Summit Roundup, Day 1

      The Linux Foundation released the first six in a planned series of Open Source Guides for the Enterprise during Open Source Summit North America in Los Angeles today.

      The Linux Foundation developed the guides in conjunction with TODO Group, with contributors representing Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Microsoft, Google, Netflix, Samsung, Red Hat, Comcast, Autodesk, Intel, Oath, Facebook and Heptio.

    • Watch live: Exploring the open-source business model at Open Source Summit 2017

      Is open source a piece of the information technology stack, or is it the whole stack? What’s the business model around open source’s move up the stack?

      Looking to answer these and other questions, SiliconANGLE Media is at Open Source Summit 2017, taking place in Los Angeles, California, with exclusive commentary and interviews from our roving news desk, theCUBE. (* Disclosure below.) The four-day Linux Foundation event is a combination of LinuxCon, ContainerCon, CloudOpen and the Open Community Conference, which in 2017 all now sit under one umbrella.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome 63 will detect and warn users of MitM attacks

        Errors can come from applications such as anti-virus software and firewalls, as well as from malware. But Chrome will filter the warning sign to only show up for software that has failed to rewrite SSL connections properly.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • t2k17 Hackathon report: Ken Westerback on dhclient progress, developer herding
    • A return-oriented programming defense from OpenBSD

      Stack-smashing attacks have a long history; they featured, for example, as a core part of the Morris worm back in 1988. Restrictions on executing code on the stack have, to a great extent, put an end to such simple attacks, but that does not mean that stack-smashing attacks are no longer a threat. Return-oriented programming (ROP) has become a common technique for compromising systems via a stack-smashing vulnerability. There are various schemes out there for defeating ROP attacks, but a mechanism called “RETGUARD” that is being implemented in OpenBSD is notable for its relative simplicity.

      In a classic stack-smashing attack, the attack code would be written directly to the stack and executed there. Most modern systems do not allow execution of on-stack code, though, so this kind of attack will be ineffective. The stack does affect code execution, though, in that the call chain is stored there; when a function executes a “return” instruction, the address to return to is taken from the stack. An attacker who can overwrite the stack can, thus, force a function to “return” to an arbitrary location.

    • HAMMER2 Now Available From DragonFlyBSD Installer

      Matthew Dillon has been very busy the past few weeks getting his HAMMER2 file-system ready for an experimental debut in the next DragonFlyBSD release.

    • Apple Will Talk About Its GPU Compiler & More At LLVM 2017 Meeting

    • Across the Charles Bridge – GNU Tools Cauldron 2017

      Since I joined Linaro back in 2015 around this time, my travel has gone up 3x with 2 Linaro Connects a year added to the one GNU Tools Cauldron. This year I went to FOSSAsia too, so it’s been a busy traveling year. The special thing about Cauldron though is that it is one of those conferences where I ‘work’ as well as have a lot of fun. The fun bit is because I get to meet all of the people that I work with almost every day in person and a lot of them have become great friends over the years.

  • Programming/Development

    • Remote imports for Python?

      Importing a module into a Python program is a pretty invasive operation; it directly runs code in the current process that has access to anything the process can reach. So it is not wildly surprising that a suggestion to add a way to directly import modules from remote sites was met with considerable doubt—if not something approaching hostility. It turns out that the person suggesting the change was not unaware of the security implications of the idea, but thought it had other redeeming qualities; others in the discussion were less sanguine.

    • A tale of three build systems

      As you might have noticed, meson is the new kid on the block. Step by step I am currently converting some projects to it, spearheading Shotwell. Since Shotwell only “recently” became an autotools project, you may ask why. Shotwell had a hand-written makefile system. This made some tasks that would have been incredibly easy with autotools, such as mallard documentation handling, more complicated than it should be. Since autotools provides all the nice features that you want for your GNOME environment, it made sense to leverage that.

    • Meson+Ninja Showing Speedy Build Results For Shotwell
    • Phoronix Test Suite 7.4 M4 Released As “Tynset” Nears Final

      The last planned test/development release of Phoronix Test Suite 7.4-Tynset is now available ahead of the planned stable release in the days to come.

    • 6 lessons on using technical RFCs as a management tool

      As an engineering leader, I value trust and believe that individual contributors should be involved in architectural and high-level technical decision making. I consider every line of code to be a decision made on behalf of someone else (including your future self), and having a fast-growing distributed team makes technical decision making particularly difficult to manage.

      In the early days of building ride-sharing app Ride, we went from three to more than 25 members, across product, design, and engineering, in the first six months. We were tasked with the challenge of taking an early prototype for a carpooling platform and bringing it to life on the web, iOS, and Android. To make things more fun, we were also distributed across the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, and Ireland.


      We weren’t the first people to encounter this problem, so we looked at how open source software projects dealt with these situations, and came to the conclusion that adopting the Request for Comments (RFC) process would help us make better decisions together.

    • Modern Modules

      Re-thinking the Node.js ecosystem for modern JavaScript.

      A few months back I sat down to write some code.

      Node.js 8 had been out a while and I decided to take advantage of some of the new language features like async/await in my new code.

    • Using Node.js Packages Manager (NPM)


  • Tiny tragedies: an iPhone 7 dongle story
  • Tesla remotely extends the range of some cars to help with Irma

    Tesla sometimes sells cars with more hardware battery capacity than is initially available for use by customers, offering the additional capacity as a subsequent software update. For example, Tesla has sold Model S cars rated 60D—the 60 stands for 60kWh of energy storage—that actually have 75kWh batteries. Owners of these vehicles can pay Tesla $9,000 to unlock the extra 15kWh of storage capacity.

  • Tesla Remotely Extended The Range Of Drivers In Florida For Free… And That’s NOT A Good Thing

    In the lead up to Hurricane Irma hitting Florida over the weekend, Tesla did something kind of interesting: it gave a “free” upgrade to a bunch of Tesla drivers in Florida, extending the range of those vehicles, to make it easier for them to evacuate the state. Now, as an initial response, this may seem praiseworthy. The company did something (at no cost to car-owners) to help them evacuate from a serious danger zone. In a complete vacuum, that sounds like a good idea. But there are a variety of problems with it when put back into context.

    The first thing you need to understand is that while Tesla sells different version of its Model S, with different ranges, the range is actually entirely software-dependent. That is, it uses the same batteries in different cars — it just limits how much they’ll charge via software. Thus, spend more on a “nicer” model and more of the battery is used. So all that happened here was that Tesla “upgraded” these cars with an over the air update. In some ways, this feels kind of neat — it means that a Tesla owner could “purchase” an upgrade to extend the range of the car. But it should also be somewhat terrifying.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Why the next Labour Manifesto must pledge to legislate to reinstate the NHS

      Labour’s 2017 health manifesto was a hodgepodge of offers – but failed to tackle the underlying issues. Bold thinking and a commitment to the NHS Reinstatement Bill – is needed now if Labour is not to leave NHS patients subject to the mercies of the private sector, NHS workers deregulated, NHS buildings facing more PFI and sell-offs, and the frontline under-funded as money continues to be wasted on private-sector friendly bureaucracy.

  • Security

    • The only safe email is text-only email

      The real issue is that today’s web-based email systems are electronic minefields filled with demands and enticements to click and engage in an increasingly responsive and interactive online experience. It’s not just Gmail, Yahoo mail and similar services: Desktop-computer-based email programs like Outlook display messages in the same unsafe way.

    • BlackBerry admits: We could do better at patching

      BlackBerry has confirmed that its first Android device, the Priv, will be stuck on Google’s 2015 operating system forevermore, which Google itself will cease supporting next year.

      Having been promised “the most secure Android”, BlackBerry loyalists have seen the promise of monthly security updates stutter recently, with distribution of the monthlies getting patchy (no pun intended).

    • Researcher publicly discloses 10 zero-day flaws in D-Link 850L routers

      Peeved about previous vulnerability disclosures experiences with D-Link, a security researcher has publicly disclosed 10 zero-day vulnerabilities in D-Link DIR 850L wireless AC1200 dual-band gigabit cloud routers.

      Security researcher Pierre Kim opted to publicly disclose the vulnerabilities this time, citing a “very badly coordinated” disclosure with D-Link in February. That time around he had reported nine vulnerabilities, but he said it took D-Link five months to release new firmware that ended up patching only one of the flaws he found.

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Researchers use Windows 10 Linux subsystem to run malware

      The provision of a Linux subsystem on Windows systems — a new Windows 10 feature known as Subsystem for Linux (WSL) — has made it possible to run known malware on such systems and bypass even the most common security solutions, security researchers at Check Point claim.

      In a detailed blog post, researchers Gal Elbaz and Dvir Atias said they had dubbed this technique of getting malware onto a Windows system as Bashware, with Bash being the default shell on a large number of Linux distributions.

    • Episode 62 – All about the Equifax hack
    • Equifax moves to fix weak PINs for “security freeze” on consumer credit reports

      As Equifax moved to provide consumers the ability to protect their credit reports on the heels of a major data breach, some of the details of the company’s response were found lacking. As consumers registered and moved to lock their credit reports—in order to prevent anyone who had stolen data from opening credit in their name—they found that the security personal identification number (PIN) provided in the locking process was potentially insecure.


      The PIN revelation came on the heels of concerns that Equifax was attempting to block the ability of those checking to see if their data was exposed or enrolling in the TrustedID Premiere service to sue Equifax over the breach. An Equifax spokesperson said that the arbitration clause in the Terms of Service for TrustedID Premier only applied to the service itself, not to the breach.

    • Unpatched Open Source Software Flaw Blamed for Massive Equifax Breach [Ed: But this claim has since then been retracted, so it might be fake news]
    • Equifax Breach Blamed on Open-Source Software Flaw [Ed: This report from a News Corp. tabloid has since been retracted, so why carry on linking to it?]
    • The hidden threat lurking in an otherwise secure software stack [Ed: Yet another attack on FOSS security, courtesy of the Microsoft-connected Black Duck]
    • [ANNOUNCE] Emacs 25.3 released
    • Emacs 25.3 Released To Fix A Security Vulnerability Of Malicious Lisp Scripts

      GNU –
      Emacs 25.3 is now available, but it doesn’t offer major new features, rather it fixes a security vulnerability.

      Emacs’ x-display decoding feature within the Enriched Text mode could lead to executing arbitrary malicious Lisp code within the text.

    • Measuring security: Part 1 – Things that make money

      If you read my previous post on measuring security, you know I broke measuring into three categories. I have no good reason to do this other than it’s something that made sense to me. There are without question better ways to split these apart, I’m sure there is even overlap, but that’s not important. What actually matters is to start a discussion on measuring what we do. The first topic is about measuring security that directly adds to revenue such as a product or service.


      I see a lot of groups that don’t do any of this. They wander in circles sometimes adding security features that don’t matter, often engineering solutions that customers only need or want 10% of. I’ll never forget when I first looked at actual metrics on new features and realized something we wanted to add was going to have a massive cost and generate zero additional revenue (it may have actually detracted in future product sales). On this day I saw the power in metrics. Overnight my group became heroes for saving everyone a lot of work and headaches. Sometimes doing nothing is the most valuable action you can take.

    • What is Bashware? Nearly 400 million PCs at risk from new attack method that could hide any malware[Ed: Disgusting headline where Microsoft's EEE is used to make GNU/Linux look not secure]
    • Bashware: Malware Can Abuse Windows 10′s Linux Shell to Bypass Security Software [Ed: Better headline; Microsoft is a security threat to GNU/Linux rather than the other way around]
    • The Morning Risk Report: Open-Source Software in Spotlight After Equifax Breach [Ed: News Corp. cites itself (NYP same owner as WSJ) in claiming that FOSS is to blame, even though the original claim was retracted]
  • Defence/Aggression

    • 16 Years After 9/11, Muslims Still Central Targets in War With No End

      As the nation on Monday mourned the nearly 3,000 lives lost 16 years ago in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the lifting of restrictions on the Trump administration’s “Muslim ban” by the U.S. Supreme Court served as a timely reminder of how Muslims in the United States and worldwide continue to suffer from the so-called “War on Terror” launched in the wake of the 2001 attacks.

      “The War on Terror was supposed to be about making our country safer. But as a Muslim American, I don’t feel any safer,” writes Maha Hilal, a professor and organizer, for Foreign Policy In Focus. Each year on September 11, in addition to mourning those killed in the 2001 attacks, she writes, “I also mourn the often forgotten victims of the never-ending wars and draconian counter-terrorism policies of the post-9/11 world: the Muslim community.”

    • Siding With Trump, SCOTUS Gives Narrowed Muslim Ban Temporary Stay

      U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Monday put a temporary hold on a lower court’s ruling that had narrowed the scope of the Trump administration’s so-called Muslim ban, thus allowing the government to continue to at least briefly bar entry from some 24,000 refugees.

      “Kennedy ordered those opposing the administration to file court papers by noon Tuesday,” Bloomberg reports.

      His one-page ruling (pdf) follows a bid by the administration to block part of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from last Thursday. The administration argued that blocking entry to refugees who have formal assurances from resettlement agencies would “prevent further uncertainty and disruption.” Amnesty International USA, in contrast, had welcomed that ruling as “temporary relief for thousands of people fleeing horrific violence.”

    • The Pentagon’s New Wonder Weapons for World Dominion

      Now imagine us back in the 21st century. It’s 2030 and an American “triple canopy” of pervasive surveillance systems and armed drones already fills the heavens from the lower stratosphere to the exo-atmosphere. It can deliver its weaponry anywhere on the planet with staggering speed, knock out enemy satellite communications at a moment’s notice, or follow individuals biometrically for great distances. It’s a wonder of the modern age. Along with the country’s advanced cyberwar capacity, it’s also the most sophisticated military information system ever created and an insurance policy for global dominion deep into the twenty-first century.

    • The Rationality of Kim Jong-un (and His Nukes)

      Kim Jong-un is not mad. Quite the contrary. He has pulled off a wholly rational feat. By producing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles capable of delivering them to U.S. territory, Pyongyang has obtained near-assurance that the U.S. will not attack it, in (yet another) attempt at regime change.

      Wait, you’ll say. He already had that insurance. Every talking head on cable news says a U.S. strike would inevitably mean an attack on Seoul, which would kill tens of thousands immediately. South Koreans would blame the invasion on the U.S. So it’s just not tenable. Even if limited to conventional forces, the threat of invasion already constituted adequate deterrence. There’s no way the U.S. would trigger an attack on a city of 10 million people who are supposed to view the U.S. as their benevolent protector. So the North Koreans didn’t need to upset the world by acquiring nukes.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Senate Intelligence Authorization Report Filed

      The central point of contention in the bill is a provision (sec. 623) declaring a sense of Congress “that WikiLeaks and the senior leadership of WikiLeaks resemble a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors and should be treated as such a service by the United States.”

      The provision had originally stated that WikiLeaks and its leadership “constitute” a non-state hostile intelligence service. But this was amended to replace “constitute” with “resemble”. That move might have attenuated the provision’s significance except that it went on to say — whether WikiLeaks constitutes or merely resembles a non-state hostile intelligence service — that the U.S. should treat it as such.

      A hostile state-based intelligence service would presumably be subject to intense surveillance by the US. A competent US counterintelligence agency might also seek to infiltrate the hostile service, to subvert its agenda, and even to take it over or disable it.

      Whether such a response would also be elicited by “a non-state hostile intelligence service” is hard to say since the concept itself is new and undefined.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • I Was an Exxon-Funded Climate Scientist

      ExxonMobil’s deliberate attempts to sow doubt on the reality and urgency of climate change and their donations to front groups to disseminate false information about climate change have been public knowledge for a long time, now.

      Investigative reports in 2015 revealed that Exxon had its own scientists doing its own climate modeling as far back as the 1970s: science and modeling that was not only accurate, but that was being used to plan for the company’s future.

      Now, a peer-reviewed study published August 23 has confirmed that what Exxon was saying internally about climate change was quantitatively very different from their public statements.

      Specifically, researchers Geoffrey Supran and Naomi Oreskes found that at least 80 percent of the internal documents and peer-reviewed publications they studied from between 1977 and 2014 were consistent with the state of the science – acknowledging that climate change is real and caused by humans, and identifying “reasonable uncertainties” that any climate scientist would agree with at the time.

      Yet over 80 percent of Exxon’s editorial-style paid advertisements over the same period specifically focused on uncertainty and doubt, the study found.

    • “The Last Guardians”: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice in Ecuador

      An international movement by Indigenous peoples to protect their lands from despoilment is magnifying a fight for justice that has been under the radar for too long. It exploded onto the US national news when Native Americans said “no” to the planned Dakota Access pipeline, fearing for the safety of their drinking water.

      In a new documentary, The Last Guardians, British filmmakers Joe Tucker and Adam Punzano give viewers an on-the-ground look at the fight for Indigenous land rights and self-determination in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

    • Irma Destroys Haitian Farmland as Recovery Goes On from Recent Natural Disasters & Cholera Outbreak

      The death toll from Hurricane Irma has reached at least 27 in the Caribbean. The numbers are expected to rise as rescuers reach the hardest-hit areas. Irma destroyed major parts of several Caribbean islands, including Barbuda and Saint Martin. Cuba also suffered major flooding in Havana and other cities, but there were no reported deaths. The entrepreneur Richard Branson has called for a “Disaster Recovery Marshall Plan” for the Caribbean. Cuba has already sent more than 750 health workers to Antigua, Barbuda, Saint Kitts, Nevis, Saint Lucia, the Bahamas, Dominica and Haiti. While Haiti avoided a direct hit from Irma, the hurricane still caused substantial damage in a country still recovering from the 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew last year. Hurricane Irma displaced more than 100,000 Haitians and destroyed crops in the north of the country. We are joined here in New York by Kim Ives, an editor at Haïti Liberté.

    • Oaxacan Residents Plead for Water & Food After Mexican Earthquake Kills Over 90 People

      In Mexico, the death toll from Thursday’s devastating 8.2-magnitude earthquake has risen to 90 people as rescue teams continue to search through the rubble in parts of the southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas. Over the weekend, journalist Andalusia Knoll spoke to survivors from the earthquake in Juchitán, Oaxaca, which was the city hardest hit by the earthquake.

    • Hurricane Irma Unleashes the Forces of Privatization in Puerto Rico

      The fragile body responsible for that power is the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, whose executive leadership warned ahead of the storm that parts of the island could be left without electricity for up to six months. Thanks to the change in the storm’s path and a crew of dedicated line workers, Prepa, the island’s sole electricity provider, now expects most towns to have their lights back on within two weeks and full power within a month. As of Monday, more than 70 percent of homes had already gotten electricity back.

    • Climate change has become a “moral crisis,” top scientist says

      Foley also tweeted a link to a New York Times article to discuss how scientists say the time to discuss climate change is “right now.” In the piece, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt said that “to have any kind of focus on the cause and effect of the storm versus helping people, or actually facing the effect of the storm, is misplaced. To use time and effort to address it at this point is very, very insensitive to this people in Florida.”

    • Harvey’s flooding blamed in major gasoline spill in Texas

      Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters triggered a spill of almost a half-million gallons of gasoline from two storage tanks along the Houston Ship Channel, marking the largest spill reported to date from a storm that slammed into the heart of Texas’ huge petrochemical industry.

      The spill measured 10,988 barrels, or more than 461,000 gallons, and occurred at a petroleum tank farm in Galena Park operated by Magellan Midstream Partners, according to the Oklahoma-based company and accident reports submitted to federal officials.

    • Pope Criticizes Climate Change Deniers and Trump on DACA
    • China joins the growing movement to ban gasoline and diesel cars

      China has become the latest country to publicly discuss plans to ban the production and sale of gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles. In July, both France and the UK published plans to phase out sales of conventionally powered vehicles by 2040. China will now add another nail to the coffin of the internal combustion engine. However, unlike the French or British plans, in this case there’s no target date—yet.

      The news comes from an automotive policy forum in Tianjin. China’s vice minister of industry and information technology, Xin Guobin, said that his ministry has begun work on a timetable to phase out fossil fueled vehicles. The Xinhua news agency also reports that Xin told automakers they need to begin to “readjust their strategies” accordingly. For foreign car companies hoping to sell EVs in China, that will mean investing in the country, as imported vehicles come with stiff import duties attached.

    • Congratulations, America. Here were some of your dumbest hurricane ideas

      I’ve spent the better part of the last month forecasting and writing about hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and between my work for Ars and a Houston-based forecasting site, I have probably written about 40,000 words on weather. So I have thought a lot about these storms. I have read a lot about them. And I despair for some of my fellow humans.

      Hurricanes are rightly called natural disasters. Essentially, they are the planet’s way of transferring heat from the tropics toward the polar regions of the planet. Unfortunately, human nature (and the behavior of some humans in particular) makes these disasters worse.

    • Volkswagen Group will electrify all 12 brands by 2030, needs gigafactories

      First Volvo did it. Then Jaguar Land Rover did it. On Monday, Volkswagen Group signed up. On the eve of the Frankfurt Auto Show, VW Group chairman Matthias Müller committed his company to electrifying its entire lineup by 2030. “The transformation in our industry is unstoppable. And we will lead that transformation,” he said.

      Like Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover, VW Group is pledging to have an electric version of each of its new models available; it is not promising that it will build only electric and hybrid vehicles. But the 12 brands under the VW Group umbrella collectively sell many more cars than either Sweden’s Volvo or Britain’s Jag, so we are still talking about an awful lot of EVs.

    • Irma Won’t “Wake Up” Climate Change-Denying Republicans. Their Whole Ideology Is on the Line.

      As one of the most powerful storms ever recorded bore down on the continental United States, with much of Florida under evacuation order, President Donald Trump was focused on a matter of grave urgency.

      He gathered his cabinet at Camp David and said there was no time to waste. With Hurricane Irma set to potentially devastate huge swaths of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, now was the time, he said, to rush through massive … tax cuts.

      Yes, that’s right. He wasn’t focused on getting massive aid to those most affected. He wasn’t focused on massive change to our energy and transit systems to lower greenhouse gas emissions so that Irma-like storms do not become a thrice-annual occurrence. His mind was on massive changes to the tax code — which, despite Trump’s claims that he is driven by a desire to give the middle class relief, would in fact hand corporations the biggest tax cut in decades and the very wealthy a sizable break as well.

    • The Military’s Warning on Global Warming

      It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The really neat American idea was that the military’s zest for battle would be restrained by the measured judgment of a civilian-led government. But the spreading perception internationally is that President Trump’s generals are the last-ditch guarantors of common sense in a deranged White House.

    • I’ve Seen the Reality of What Happens After Disasters Like Irma

      Irma is battering its way towards South Florida, where it will be the most powerful hurricane to strike the state since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

      Aid for victims of Andrew was infamously slow to arrive and chaotically distributed when it finally turned up. Federal and state authorities waiting for Irma say that they learned their lesson from mistakes made then, and that nothing like that could happen again.

      I doubt that: 10 days after Andrew, I was in Homestead, a devastated town 20 miles south of Miami, where I was warmly greeted by local people who initially thought I was an insurance adjuster or a government official come to help them. They were only a little less welcoming when I explained that I was a British journalist, since their expectations of speedy government assistance were realistically low.

  • Finance

    • Norway in Close Vote as PM Hopes Economic Record Will Resonate
    • Break Up the Tech Giants? No, Just Level the Field [iophk: glosses over Microsoft the cult"]

      The fundamental problem with the tech leaders is that they have, for many years, succeeded in presenting themselves as something different than they are. Amazon (minus its commercial cloud business) is a big retailer with a strong distribution network that other retailers also choose to use. Google and Facebook are media corporations because their business model, based on selling ads, puts them squarely in that sector; it doesn’t matter that they don’t themselves create the content they sell to advertisers or that they collect lots of behavioral data about users — the money-for-eyeballs model remains essentially the same as for old-school media companies. Uber is a taxi firm. Airbnb is a hospitality company.

    • When the President is a Ponzi Scheme

      At the end of August, Trump gave a speech in Missouri outlining his economic plan, which boils down to cutting taxes. He pledged to reduce the corporate tax to 15 percent (from the current 35 percent) and cut taxes by a certain amount for everyone else. He has also promised to eliminate the estate tax.

      The trick of the president’s Ponzi scheme is to provide enormous payouts to the wealthy under the auspices of a presumably populist plan to benefit everyone. According to the Tax Policy Center, Trump’s proposed cuts would deliver a tax cut of $214,000 to the top 1 percent and a mere $1,000 to middle-income families. Repealing the estate tax, meanwhile, would only benefit heirs who inherit lump sums of more than $5.49 million.

    • Welfare for Wall Street: Fees on Retirement Accounts

      Most of us are willing to help out those who are less well off. Whether it comes from religious belief or a sense of basic decency we feel are an obligation to provide the basic necessities of life for the poor. But how would we feel about being taxed $1,000 a year to provide six figure salaries to people in the financial sector? Although no candidate to my knowledge has ever run on this platform, this is the nature of the retirement system the federal government has constructed for us.

      Twenty or 30 years ago, most middle-class workers had defined benefit pensions. This meant that they could count on a fixed benefit that was some fraction of their average salary during their working years. For example, a person who spent 30 years at a company may be entitled to a pension that was equal to 60 percent of their average salary over their final five years of work.

    • Amazon’s Whole Foods deal could still be reversed thanks to forgotten antitrust case

      Amazon formally takes ownership of Whole Foods after the Federal Trade Commission signaled on August 23 that it wouldn’t stop the deal.

      The online retailer isn’t wasting any time remaking the high-end grocery chain in its low-price image. Its first act involved cutting prices on dozens of items, from avocados to tilapia. But that is not what is sending shivers down the aisles of rival food retailers like Walmart, which now controls 20 percent of the grocery market by pursuing just such a low-price strategy.

      The reason, which the FTC ignored in providing its imprimatur, is that Amazon gives Whole Foods access to an online marketing platform that no other grocery company, even a behemoth like Walmart, can hope to reproduce.

    • An Anti-Poverty Program That Makes It Pay to Work

      Imagine a government-funded anti-poverty tool that encouraged people to work. Now imagine that it’s popular with both Democrats and Republicans, in red states and blue.

      Turns out we’ve had just such a tool since 1975: the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC.

      The EITC is of the most popular and effective anti-poverty tools. It’s a refundable tax credit for workers in eligible low-income families, especially those with children.

    • To Insure More Poor Children, It Helps If Parents Are On Medicaid

      Efforts by Republican lawmakers to scale back Medicaid enrollment could undercut an aspect of the program that has widespread bipartisan appeal — covering more children, research published Tuesday in the journal Health Affairs suggests.

      The study focuses on the impact of Medicaid’s “welcome-mat” effect — a term used to describe the spillover benefits kids get when Medicaid eligibility is extended to their parents.

      Children were more likely to be enrolled in public health insurance programs — specifically Medicaid, which in some states is administered as an expansion of the federal-state Children’s Health Insurance Program — if their parents were also able to enroll, explained Julie Hudson, a senior economist at the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the paper’s lead author.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Steve Bannon’s self-serving political advice to President Trump

      Trump’s path to the presidency went like this, in broad strokes. He announced his campaign and quickly became embroiled in a controversy over his comments about Mexican immigrants. That public fight did a number of things: Positioned him as “anti-P.C.,” endeared him to anti-immigration hard-liners and established him in opposition to the Republican establishment. The result was a strong core of conservative support that, in a splintered field of 17 Republican candidates, helped power him through the primary process.

      Most candidates would then reposition themselves back toward the middle to appeal to the broader general-election voting base. Trump didn’t. But he had two other things working for him: a deeply unpopular opponent and a deeply partisan political moment. The former meant that a lot of people were forced to pick between two candidates they didn’t like, and more picked Trump. The latter meant that Republicans who were skeptical about Trump voted for him anyway.

    • Corporate Media’s Soft Spot for Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner

      In June, the celebrity magazine Us Weekly (6/7/17) ran a cover story on Ivanka Trump not-so-subtly titled, “Why I Disagree With My Dad.” Relying on carefully chosen anonymous “sources” and “Ivanka insiders,” the story cast the First Daughter as a key player inside the White House who has “battled” her more conservative father over “everything from LGBT rights to the North American Free Trade Agreement,” and who was “disappointed” by his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accords just days earlier. It was standard celebrity tabloid fare, which is to say it was a public relations coup for Ivanka Trump and her husband, real-estate developer Jared Kushner, who were given a sympathetic platform to polish their personal brands.

      But most notable about the Us Weekly story was how little it differed from the supposedly serious coverage of Trump and Kushner by news organizations like the New York Times, CNN and Politico. Almost as soon as Donald Trump won the election last November, corporate media began to concoct a collective narrative that the couple would exert a strong moderating influence on the new president, regardless of all Trump’s reactionary, xenophobic and hateful rhetoric during the 2016 campaign.

    • Kris Kobach Pushes Voter Fraud Lies While Meeting With Fellow Suppression Activists

      There are more people on Kobach’s voter fraud commission than people he has convicted of voter fraud.

      Kris Kobach is getting desperate. In a column last week for Breitbart, the Kansas Secretary of State declared that voter fraud tipped the scales in the election last year in New Hampshire.

      The evidence?

      Anyone who registered to vote on Election Day with another state’s drivers’ license and didn’t get a New Hampshire license within 60 days was an illegitimate voter and, according to Kobach’s apparently psychic powers, most likely a Democrat!

    • Make Mark Zuckerberg Testify

      Last week, after what must have been a series of extremely grim meetings in Menlo Park, Facebook admitted publicly that part of its revenue includes what appears to be politically motivated fraud undertaken by a shady Russian company. The social network, perhaps motivated by a Washington Post scoop on the matter, released a statement outlining the issues at hand, but leaving the most important questions unanswered. Only Facebook knows these answers, and we should assume they won’t be eager to volunteer them.

    • Top Republican’s attempt to steer the Trump-Russia probe toward ‘unmasking’ may be about to backfire spectacularly

      President Donald Trump and his supporters have been on a mission to expose why the Obama administration requested the unmasking of his associates who were either mentioned or directly involved in surveilled conversations with Russian officials last year.

      But pursuing that line of inquiry, which Trump has called “the biggest story” about his campaign and Russia, could provide more ammunition to the administration’s critics than its defenders — and a new report suggests it could backfire in spectacular fashion.

    • Brexit: MPs urged not to ‘frustrate’ repeal bill

      Any MPs who oppose the government’s EU repeal bill will be backing a “chaotic” Brexit, ministers have warned ahead of the first key vote on the legislation.
      The EU Withdrawal Bill, which will end the supremacy of EU law in the UK, is being debated in the Commons.
      Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urged MPs not to “frustrate” the process, suggesting the public wanted the government to “get this thing done”.
      Jeremy Corbyn is facing a rebellion over Labour’s opposition to the bill.

    • New analysis suggests Fox News is working, shifting votes to R column

      While it has presented itself as “balanced” over the years, there’s little doubt that Fox News has consistently supported Republican candidates and positions even when that required taking an editorial position against basic facts. On some level, this has worked, as surveys have indicated Fox viewers are more likely to get those same facts wrong. But is it working in terms of the larger goal of supporting Republican causes?

    • Has the NYT Gone Collectively Mad?

      For those of us who have taught journalism or worked as editors, a sign that an article is the product of sloppy or dishonest journalism is that a key point will be declared as flat fact when it is unproven or a point in serious dispute – and it then becomes the foundation for other claims, building a story like a high-rise constructed on sand.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • [Old] Measuring Internet Censorship in Cuba’s ParkNets

      Cuba’s internet landscape is quite unique. It only has one telecom company (ETECSA), which is state-owned and which was only introduced to the public a few years ago.

      But Cubans cannot access the internet from the comfort of their homes. Rather, they must visit public wifi hotspots. Most hotspots are located in parks, which is why we dubbed them “ParkNets”. Cubans therefore have a uniquely different relationship with the internet, in comparison to other countries. They don’t access the internet, they visit it.

    • Google Censorship Catapults Popularity Of Privacy-Oriented Search Engine DuckDuckGo

      A lesser known search engine by the name of DuckDuckGo has enjoyed a surge in popularity as many people continue to lose trust on Google in terms of privacy and censorship. According to recent stats from Alexa Internet, the search engine has doubled in popularity and is now the 400th most popular website.

    • ASIS&T Supports Cambridge University Press’ Decision to Resist Censorship

      The Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T) released a statement endorsing Cambridge University Press’ decision “to resist censorship and reinstate the China Quarterly articles previously censored by the Chinese government. ASIS&T stands behind the many academics and scholars who petitioned Cambridge University Press to take this action.”

      It continues: “ASIS&T condemns censorship and the limitation of access to information in all forms. We value academic freedom and the right of authors to have their work published without restriction. ASIS&T will oppose any efforts by governments or other authorities to restrict the free flow of scholarship and information throughout our global society.”

    • FireWatch dev uses DMCA against PewDiePie after streamed racial slur

      Campo Santo, the developer behind forest exploration game Firewatch, is using DMCA requests to take down videos of its game streamed by popular YouTube personality Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg. The move comes after PewDiePie called another player a “n—–r” (NSFW video) during a live stream of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds yesterday.

      “We’re filing a DMCA takedown of PewDiePie’s Firewatch content and any future Campo Santo games,” Campo Santo cofounder Sean Vanaman said in a Twitter thread yesterday evening. “There is a bit of leeway you have to have with the internet when u [sic] wake up every day and make video games. There’s also a breaking point. I am sick of this child getting more and more chances to make money off of what we make.”

    • YouTube pulls down ‘immigration and Islam’ video featuring Nigel Farage amid growing censorship row
    • Report: YouTube’s Censorship, Appeals Algorithm Is Killing Content Creators
    • Law making it illegal to collect data, photo of open land hangs in balance

      Wyoming lawmakers adopted legislation in 2015 making it illegal to gather data on open lands for the purpose of reporting harmful farming practices, environmental degradation, or other ills. That includes performing water quality tests or taking photographs. Fearing constitutional concerns, the state legislature amended the law last year to say virtually the same thing but with a caveat: it’s illegal to do such gathering if the observer does it from private property or had to cross private property first before entering public lands to do their investigation.

      And a federal judge bought it and said there was nothing unconstitutional about the ag-gag law because, you know, trespassing is an illegal act.

      Conservation and animal rights groups took the decision to a federal appeals court. Days ago, the appeals court put that lower court’s decision on life support. The 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals said the ordinance stifles speech, particularly speech necessary for public discourse about environmental and animal safety regulations.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Court Says ‘Possible’ Just As Good As ‘Probable;’ Lets DEA To Keep Evidence From Warrantless Search

      A few judges have called out the government for this behavior, making claims that would turn a large number of non-criminals into potential suspects. Drug dealers are humans and do human things just like millions of non-drug dealers. They shop at Costco just like innocent people do. But the government would have us believe — “based on training and expertise” — that common activities are suspicious, especially when the government is already engaged in an investigation. Even the most innocuous actions become sinister when the government is seeking to reach a foregone conclusion.

      But there’s more to it than that. Kozinski also points out the DEA’s “training and expertise” statements often paint contradictory situations as equally suspicious. If the government wants to keep making arguments about common activities being the height of criminal suspicion, the least it could do is be consistent.

    • Congress braces for tense debate on surveillance law

      Lawmakers are facing a potentially bruising fight over a surveillance law that expires Dec. 31 and must be extended in time to preserve what U.S. spy agencies consider a vital piece of their arsenal.

      Congress has to extend the 2012 FISA Amendments Act, which will pit the Trump administration and national security hawks in Congress who favor a permanent reauthorization with no changes, against lawmakers of both parties, libertarians, privacy advocates and communications companies seeking to tighten protections for U.S. persons whose communications may get caught up in the wide electronic net cast by spy agencies.

    • Key US surveillance law faces Congress fight

      The US Justice and Intelligence chiefs on Monday formally asked Congress to renew a crucial surveillance law, setting up a battle with civil libertarians over collection of Americans’ personal data.

      Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are seeking a reauthorization of Title VII of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), whose key Section 702 allows the National Security Agency to tap the communications of foreigners located abroad for intelligence purposes.

    • Equifax, yet another catastrophic leak: the old world can’t get away with this stuff anymore

      Did you notice this leak was almost exclusively broken by tech press, and wasn’t in mainstream press until several days after the story had already been discussed everywhere? And that practically none of the mainstream outlets have any educated analysis or commentary that would have been an absolute requirement for, say, a Middle Eastern geopolitical story? This is a telltale sign of unacceptable priorities — Fleet Street is as inexcusably ignorant of the new world as Wall Street.

    • Report: Finnish Parliament purges visitor logs daily after court order to provide data upon request

      Since last spring, Parliamentary officials appear to have taken to purging the guest list on a daily basis, instead of keeping the data intact for years, according to Svenska Yle.

    • Aadhaar Pay weighs on banks as lenders doubt efficacy in big cities

      In an Aadhaar-based payment, the biometric data, the 12-digit Aadhaar number and the transaction amount are transmitted from merchant PoS to multiple entities: the acquiring bank, National Payments Corporation of India (an umbrella organisation for retail payments in India), UIDAI (which issues and stores Aadhaar data), back to NPCI and finally to the customer’s bank where the shopper’s account is debited.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Right to Due Process in Detention: Jennings v. Rodriguez

      It’s a disgrace that immigrants, including green card holders, have been held for months and years without hearings.

      This case began in May 2007 with a basic question: Can the federal government lock someone up, for months or years, without a hearing to determine if his or her imprisonment is justified? Shockingly, at the time, the answer in the most of the country was yes — that is, if the person is an immigrant facing deportation proceeding, even he or she is legally in the United States.

    • Here’s How Communities and City Councils Can Reject Trump’s Militarization of Local Police

      Local police departments do not need to become a combination of the U.S. Army and C.I.A.

      Two weeks ago, President Trump issued an executive order that gave a push to local police militarization. Trump’s action rescinded an Obama-era policy meant to provide greater transparency and oversight around the Department of Defense 1033 program and other federal resources that provide military weapons to local police.

      Contrary to what Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last month before the Fraternal Order of Police, the world’s largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers, the Obama administration did not deny “life-saving gear” like “what they’re using in Texas right now.” The Obama administration prohibited only a few military weapons, like bayonets and grenade launchers.

      The real centerpiece of the Obama reform was not prohibitions but checks on the types of military weapons law enforcement could get, like mine resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles, grenades, and drones. The Obama administration’s reforms required that law enforcement verify with the federal government that training and oversight requirements were in place for the weapons of war it was soliciting from various federal agencies.

    • Relatives of Undocumented Children Caught Up in ICE Dragnet


      This summer, a Kansas City man named Edwin got a call from immigration officials. They had picked up his nephew at the southern border and wanted to release the teen into his care. So Edwin went online and bought a bed.

      Later that week, he was contacted again, this time by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detective who knocked at his door. The agent gave Edwin a letter saying he needed to come to headquarters for an interview about three federal crimes: conspiracy, visa fraud and human smuggling.

      Across the country, people like Edwin who have taken in young undocumented relatives are being swept up in what ICE calls a crackdown on guardians who pay human smugglers. More than 400 people were arrested over the course of two months this summer as part of the new approach. Others are still dodging ICE interviews, have agreed to go through deportation proceedings or have gone on the run. Some of those affected admit that they paid “coyotes” to reunite them with their young children. But many are collateral damage: People who just happened to be in the house when ICE showed up, or relatives who agreed to take in teens after they traveled to the U.S. on their own.

    • EU flags at Last Night of the Proms anger Farage

      Nigel Farage has accused concertgoers who waved European Union flags at the Last Night of the Proms on Saturday of being in denial about Brexit, as remain campaigners claimed a publicity victory when BBC TV pictures showed a sea of blue and gold stars at the traditionally patriotic event.

      Anti-Brexit activists claim they handed out around 7,000 free EU flags to ticket holders and musicians at the Royal Albert Hall in a carefully planned, crowdfunded campaign that angered the former Ukip leader and other leave supporters.

    • A new study shows Trump fans can be easily coaxed into being more racist

      It’s easy to turn Trump supporters against government assistance programs—just show them a picture of a black man.
      That’s the conclusion of a new study, which suggests that white resentment is a key driving force for supporting Donald Trump. The study, soon to be published in Research & Politics, found that white Trump supporters were more likely to back a federal mortgage aid program if they were first exposed to an image of a white man. However, when they were shown an image of a black man, white Trump supporters weren’t only less likely to support the aid program, but were angrier about the policy, and more likely to blame potential beneficiaries of the program for their own predicament.

    • Cop Cleans Out Wallet Of Unlicensed Hot Dog Vendor Just Because He Can

      No job too small. That’s asset forfeiture for you. But small jobs are the safest jobs when it comes to the government keeping someone else’s property. Keeping the seizures small makes it less likely they’ll be challenged by those whose property was taken.

      The year-end totals may look impressive, but behind those totals are lots and lots of tiny cash grabs. In the cases where agencies’ forfeitures have been itemized and examined (which is a rarity — there’s a ton of opacity in forfeiture reporting), the largest number of forfeitures are for the smallest amounts, usually well under $1,000.

      Officers take what they can because they can. A video going viral on Twitter shows a California police officer rummaging through the wallet of an unlicensed street vendor and taking the vendor’s cash and debit card. A citation and a shutdown of the hot dog stand should have been enough. But it wasn’t. Officer Sean Aranas decided — with the only citation handed out during the football game — to take the man’s earnings.

    • Man beaten up for speaking in fluent English in Delhi
    • Berkeley Republicans Hope More Left-Wing Riots Will Create “Pedestal” For Conservative Movement

      The students hosting conservative pundit Ben Shapiro at University of California, Berkeley this week say their fingers are crossed in the hopes for a left-wing protest that could amplify his message.

      “I am expecting a riot,” said Bradley Devlin, the secretary of the Berkeley College Republicans. “We can look at a political pattern. Whenever the right steps up in the Bay Area, the antifa is there to perpetrate violent acts and shut them down.”

    • Native communities in danger in Argentina

      The Indigenous Territorial Emergency Law, which restrains legal evictions and prevents native communities from losing their ancestral lands expires in November. There are about 1500 communities in danger.

    • Ajamu Baraka on Law and Disorder Radio
    • Racism and Authoritarianism Reach Climax Together in the Brexit Bill

      There is in practice a link between racism and authoritarianism. You don’t get many racist anarcho-syndicalists. You don’t get many anti-racist fascists. It doesn’t just work at the extremes – the “Alf Garnett” caricature of a devotion to the monarchy, strong central authority and the military, accompanying racism is a recognisable truth.

      Yesterday, we got the joyous union of both tendencies, as Westminster passed the Brexit Bill which simultaneously promised to keep pesky foreigners out of Britain and remove centuries of equally pesky checks on executive power.

      There is no motivation for Brexit other than racism. I still have never had a conversation with anyone – including here on this blog – in which their motivation for supporting Brexit did not come down to stopping Eastern Europeans from coming here. Those who consider themselves “left wing” like to frame this racism as a desire to protect British workers from wage competition – a peculiarly nationalistic concern for the working class of one nation only, with the chance for working class people from other places to better themselves completely ignored.

      This is an extremely wealthy country. Yet many people are terribly poor. The extremely rich have through mass media promoted right wing populism diverted the blame away from the 1% who suck out all the wealth, and on to poor immigrants. The 1% are chuckling at the gullibility of much of the population they have kept in deprivation and propaganda-fed ignorance. Fortunately new media opens the possibility they may not chuckle long.

    • Radical White Workers During the Last Revolution

      During the 1960s and 1970s, radical activists set out to organize the white working class. They linked the pursuit of working class interest and economic democracy with anti-racist organizing. They discovered, and helped others realize, that white supremacy and racism are not a friend to white people but one of the main obstacles to fulfilling our own destiny as a free people.

    • Years Before Charlottesville, Tribes Urged Yellowstone National Park to Change the Names of a War Criminal and a White Supremacist That Defile Sacred Land. We’re Still Waiting.

      “America’s first national park should no longer have features named after the proponents and exponents of genocide, as is the case with Hayden Valley and Mount Doane,” the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council, which represents every tribe in Montana and Wyoming, declared in a December 2014 resolution that implored federal authorities to change those names. The National Park Service and US Geological Service were and remain unmoved. On Saturday, September 16, leaders from the Blackfoot Confederacy and Great Sioux Nation will be among the tribal leaders gathering at Yellowstone’s gateway in Gardiner, Montana to repeat: Our Land. Their Shame. Change the Names.

    • Why the Greatest Advocates of Nonviolence Didn’t Condemn Anti-Racist, Anti-Fascist Acts of Violence

      This year is not the first time Virginia has been at the heart of this country’s soul-searching debate about the need to fight racist and fascist violence with anti-racist and anti-fascist violence, and whether those who oppose racism are bound to nonviolent means. In 1859, John Brown led a raid on the munitions depot in Harpers Ferry, Virginia, as part of a broader plan to start a slave insurrection in the South. Although they took the arsenal, Brown’s men were defeated by none other than Robert E. Lee, and all died in battle or were hanged. Still, historians generally agree that Brown’s raid helped fuel the demand for an end to slavery by any means.

      Brown’s actions put Northern Abolitionists in an awkward spot, since for many of them, the critique of slavery was part of their broader hatred of all forms of violence. William Lloyd Garrison stated, for example: “I am a non-resistant — a believer in the inviolability of human life, under all circumstances; I, therefore, in the name of God, disarm John Brown, and every slave at the South.” But Garrison understood perfectly well that this position could not be reconciled with the ongoing, horrendous violence that was the slave system. He thus continued: “But I do not stop there; if I did, I should be a monster…. As a peace man, an ‘ultra’ peace man — I am prepared to say: ‘success to every slave insurrection at the South, and in every slave country.’”

    • Labor Movements and Universalizing Resistance

      It is often forgotten that the US labor movement, despite having many elements complicit with white supremacy and interventionist foreign policy, played a critical role in advancing the civil rights movement. The original push for a March on Washington came from A. Philip Randolph, the President of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. The labor movement’s involvement in so many civil rights struggles, including Martin Luther King’s last fight in Memphis for the city’s sanitation workers, has been largely erased from public memory.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Chair’s “chat” with tech execs draws protest

      This Tuesday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will visit the Bay Area, supposedly for a “fireside chat” with tech executives about bridging the digital divide for underserved communities. But Chairman Pai’s brief tenure to this point has been defined by actions that undermine digital rights, such as seeking to rescind the Open Internet Order of 2015 that protects net neutrality via light touch regulations to ensure equal opportunity online.

      In some respects, Chairman Pai’s stance should surprise no one. Before joining the FCC, he long worked as a lawyer advocating for the industry he is now charged with regulating.

    • Comcast Sues Vermont, Insists Having To Expand Broadband Violates Its First Amendment Rights

      So you may have noticed this already, but giant telecom conglomerates don’t much like having to upgrade their networks, especially in lower ROI areas. And while that’s understandable from a purely-financial perspective, this practice is creating some major, notable broadband deployment holes where poor people tend to live. With telcos specifically refusing to upgrade lagging DSL networks at any real scale, that’s also creating an emboldened cable broadband monopoly in many areas. That by proxy keeps prices high, speeds low, and allows the introduction of things like bullshit usage caps and overage fees.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Google bid to patent tech in public domain: claim

      Entropy coding technology known as ANS devised by a Polish academic is now sought to be patented by Google – even though he released it into the public domain precisely so no company could swoop on it and lock it up.

    • Trademarks

      • Prelude To Disaster: Craft Beer Trademark Applications Have Doubled In Ten Years

        We’ve been sounding the warning bells on this for some time now, but the craft beer industry has a trademark problem. As the industry continues its explosive growth, bringing with that growth all of the benefits to the economy and to the public along with it, so too has grown the industry’s use of trademarks on all of these new brands. What once was a relatively small cottage industry filled with congenial small players has morphed into very big business. Morphing with it has been that congenial attitude in the industry, with craft breweries now far more protective of their brands and far more willing to send out legal threats and engage in court battles over intellectual property than ever before. It’s gotten to the point that even intellectual property attorneys are beginning to warn everyone that the lawsuits and threats are going to inevitably increase. This represents a roadblock to an otherwise thriving industry and it’s only going to get worse.

      • Joint JIPLP-GRUR event: A Distinctive Mess? Current Trade Mark Law and Practice in the EU and UK

        Since January 2013, the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice (JIPLP), which I co-edit with Stefano Barazza, Marius Schneider and Sarah Harris, has partnered with the German Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (GRUR) to exchange content between JIPLP and GRUR Int., as well as organising events aimed at IP enthusiasts – wherever based!

      • Kodi is fighting a secret war with trademark trolls to remain free

        In a blog post, Team Kodi revealed that trademark trolls in some regions have begun charging websites to host the completely free software, while others have targeted the sale of “Kodi Boxes” – media devices pre-loaded with the Kodi app.

    • Copyrights

      • Judge throws out 57-year-old copyright on “We Shall Overcome”

        A federal judge ruled (PDF) on Friday that the most famous verse of the civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome” is not copyrighted.

        The ruling is a decisive, but still incomplete, win for the two plaintiffs. One of those plaintiffs is a charity group called the “We Shall Overcome Foundation” that’s making a movie about the song, and the other is Butler Films LLC, a company that paid $15,000 to license just several seconds of the song for the movie “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.”

        Plaintiff’s attorney Randall Newman hopes the two organizations will represent a class-action case composed of people who were charged royalties for using the song.

      • PETA drops lawsuit demanding animals the right to own property

        We brought word last month that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was in the works of dropping its federal lawsuit that sought to win the right for animals to own property. That case involved the intellectual property rights of an Indonesian macaque monkey named Naruto who took pictures of himself in the wild with a nature photographer’s camera.

        PETA officially dropped the Naruto case on Monday. We can all rest assured that, at least for now, the threat of animals becoming our overlords via their accumulation of new rights has dissipated.

      • This admin helped music pirates pilfer 1 billion copyrighted tracks

        The admin for a prolific file-sharing site that helped pirates score more than 1 billion tracks now faces five years in prison after pleading guilty to a single count of criminal copyright infringement.

        Artur Sargsyan, the 29-year-old owner and operator of ShareBeast, is to be sentenced in Atlanta federal court in December for operating (PDF) what the Recording Industry Association of America said was the most prolific US-based file-sharing site. The defendant also forfeited $185,000 in ill-gotten gains, the government said.

        The authorities in 2015 seized the ShareBeast domain and a few others connected to the site, which regularly allowed users to score pre-release music. Sargsyan was charged last month.

      • It Doesn’t Matter How Much Of An Asshole You Think Someone Is, That’s No Excuse To DMCA

        We’ve pointed out time and time again that one of the problems with setting up any rules that allow for content to be taken down online is just how widely they will be abused. This is one of the reasons why we think that CDA 230′s immunity is much better than the DMCA 512 safe harbors. Under CDA 230, if a platform receives a takedown over content that is, say, defamatory, they get to decide how best to act, without a change in their own legal liability. They can take it down, or they can leave it up, but there’s no greater legal risk in either decision. With the DMCA, it’s different. If you, as a platform, refuse to take down the content, you then risk much greater legal liability. And, because of this, we regularly see the DMCA abused by anyone who wants to make certain content disappear — even if it has nothing to do with copyright.

      • Lawyers Overcome First Challenge In Showing ‘We Shall Overcome’ Is In The Public Domain

        A year and a half ago, we wrote about how the same team of lawyers who successfully got “Happy Birthday” recognized as being in the public domain (despite decades of Warner Chappell claiming otherwise, and making boatloads of money) had set their sites on a similar fight over the copyright status of the song “We Shall Overcome.” There were a lot of details in the original lawsuit that we wrote about — all suggesting very strongly that the song “We Shall Overcome” was way older than the copyright holder claimed, and it was almost certainly in the public domain.

      • PETA, Photographer Reach Settlement In ‘Monkey Selfie’ Case

        As part of the settlement, Slater agreed to donate 25 percent of future revenue from the monkey selfies to charities dedicated to protecting Naruto’s habitat.

      • European Parliament Must Protect Scientific Research

        This week Creative Commons and major organisations from the library, research, education, and digital rights community sent a letter to the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee calling on it to protect open access and open science in the context of the Commission’s draft Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. Additional signatories are encouraged to join the letter.

      • European Copyright Reform: A New Directive Against Fundamental Freedoms

        NGOs are no longer alone to claim that the draft of the new European Copyright Directive, currently discussed by the European Parliament, contains prejudicial provisions regarding fundamentals rights and freedoms. Six member states sent observations to the EU Council to bring its attention to the dangers some measures could entail, in particular an obligation to automatically filter the platforms. As a significant vote on the text draws near in September, it is important that citizens mobilise and that we draw the right conclusions from this latest repressive drift.

        Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands: for these six states, article 13 of the draft directive discloses problems of compatibility regarding respect for fundamental rights and freedoms that are guaranteed within the Union. Those provisions could force websites that “host a large body of creations” to implement automatic measures to identify and filter contents. This obligation to filter should operate pre-emptively, meaning upon loading the users’ contents, and not only after the fact.

        The six states consider such a plan likely to violate freedom of speech and information, protection of personal data, and freedom of enterprise. It also tends to weaken the status of hosts that are protected by the eCommerce directive and imposes an obligation of widespread surveillance on them, which is incompatible with European case law.

Patent Maximalism Duo: Watchtroll and Patently-O Now Conjoined and Mutually Referencing One Another

Posted in America, Patents at 12:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Watchtroll — like patent trolls (e.g. Dominion Harbor Group) — resorts even to sexually-themed insults

PTAB impotence

Summary: Radical sites like Watchtroll are spreading their ideology and harassment tactics to sites such as Patently-O, run by Dennis Crouch from the University of Missouri School of Law

THE ATTACKS on the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) — an issue we covered a little earlier — is unmatched by PTAB-bashing blogs like Watchtroll and Patently-O, which now reference one another in an effort to discredit PTAB. What compels Dennis Crouch to be associated with such radical sites? We can’t tell for sure (we can guess), but IBM did the same thing. Even Michelle Lee was foolish enough to meet Watchtroll before the site endlessly attacked her until she resigned.

“Even Michelle Lee was foolish enough to meet Watchtroll before the site endlessly attacked her until she resigned.”Watchtroll is still wrong, as usual; a few days ago it repeated the myth of “Ownership Rights” (also peddled by Patently-O). It’s false because patents are monopolies; they are neither rights nor ownership.

The day beforehand Watchtroll continued with its nasty attacks. If one opposes software patents and/or patent trolls, then Watchtroll will try to scandalise and come up with conspiracy theories (see what it did to Michelle Lee). It’s disgusting. It’s despicable. And this is what IBM and Patently-O now associate themselves with. It’s like the ‘Brietbart’ of the patent world.

“And this is what IBM and Patently-O now associate themselves with. It’s like the ‘Brietbart’ of the patent world.”After harassment and bullying of Michelle Lee (by the patent microcosm) they finally look certain to have installed the patent microcosm (Andrei Iancu) at the USPTO. In some among other articles of ours we explained that he is certainly in favour of software patents. He’s on the record on that. Patently-O certainly seems to be pleased. Days ago it wrote:

Andrei Iancu’s nomination to be the next Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office has now been delivered to the Senate. The nomination will be considered by the Judiciary Committee with likely confirmation this fall.

What a coup!

“Even Crouch is willing to admit that there is something dodgy about patents granted by the Office.”For patent maximalists like Crouch, who keep attacking PTAB all the time, Iancu will likely be like a ‘mole’ inside the Office.

Even Crouch is willing to admit that there is something dodgy about patents granted by the Office. Days ago he revisited the subject of references ‘spew’. What is that? It’s the strategy of overwhelming patent examiners with references, as we noted to other day (to just make rejection harder to justify). At school we used to call that “smearing” — or trying to hide the low quality of something using quantity that’s beyond scope of assessment (in a project, quiz et cetera). Here is what Crouch said:

Matching my parallel work, the authors write: “By 2014, patents that cite an “extreme” or “impossible” number of citations are responsible for more than 46% of all patent citations, even though they comprise less than 5% of all patents issued in that year.” In my data – looking at patents issued Jan-Aug 2017 – I found that the skew has increased so that the “impossible” patents now cite half of all applicant-submitted patent citations. [Note Here that Kuhn looks at citation of US patent documents only, while my approach considered all citations, but limited them to those designated as applicant cited.]

So Crouch’s analysis of patents reveals decline in quality and just ‘spew’ of references. His latest analysis also showed reduction in the word “said”. “I’m quite happy with the timeline above showing the percentage of US utility patents that include the word “said” within their set of claims,” he wrote.

“The bottom line is, there are worrying signs that the Office (USPTO) under Trump will be a return to the dark ages. Patent quality may no longer matter.”Maybe the patent lawyers just tweaked their templates a little to contain more reference ‘spew’ and less actual substance. Such is the case nowadays at the USPTO. They just give the impression of novelty by overwhelming with jargon and intentionally avoiding certain words to dodge Section 101 disqualification. They advertise this!

The bottom line is, there are worrying signs that the Office (USPTO) under Trump will be a return to the dark ages. Patent quality may no longer matter. All the progress made by Lee imminently undone?

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