06.27.19

EPO CQI: Raw Leak of the Latest EPO ‘Ingenuity’

Posted in Europe at 8:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Older pilot: Leaked: EPO Prioritises Work for Large Foreign Corporations, Discrimination Not Accidental But Centrally Planned

Summary: The European Patent Office’s (EPO) CQI pilot, which raises serious concerns among staff for reasons to follow (or be mentioned separately)

The EPO Has Successfully Muzzled the Media

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It has also blocked Techrights for nearly half a decade now and only because it’s one avenue for staff’s speech (IP Kat was temporarily blocked until it stopped writing critically about the EPO).

Traffic calming device

Summary: Workers of the European Patent Office (EPO) are not being listened to by the European/mainstream media, which is more interested in covering things that the EPO pays it to cover (managers wasting EPO budget) than in actual news which concerns the lives of thousands of well-meaning people and the European economy

EARLIER this week we complained about lack of media coverage about EPO scandals. We are certain that all EPO staff is aware of that; the media sort of stopped covering the matter as if António Campinos just magically fixed the legacy/policies of Battistelli by virtue of appointment/start of service. Never mind if software patents are still being granted, quality of patents is in general declining and staff comes under constant, never-ending attacks (with a Campinos smile accompanying those attacks). All we find in the media this week is a bunch of puff pieces like “Erema executives win European Inventor Award 2019″ (Plastics News). The EPO wants these puff pieces everywhere/dominant ahead of the meeting of the Administrative Council’s heads. The timings aren’t likely to be a coincidence. It is strategic. Piggybacking the accomplishments of scientists to associate the EPO with progress.

Comments about the EPO are pretty explosive this week, but only the comments. To quote the latest from Kluwer Patent Blog, we presume posted by EPO insiders past and/or present:

Perhaps the answer behind EPO’s chaotic management is to be found here: http://techrights.org/2019/06/05/drunk-on-power/

Apparently, what is reported in this article seems to be confirmed by several internal sources. It would even be a recurrent pattern e.g. dinner with EPI representatives, or dinner with high producers, also in Delft (NL)

The current EPO president is de facto relying on Battistelli’s minions to run the EPO for him who has no time to work since life has so many facets to enjoy.

Then the Administrative Council (AC) is brought up:

It will be interesting to see what decisions are taken at the upcoming meeting of the AC.

If the AC were intent on fulfilling its supervisory role, one might expect it to be alarmed by the truly terrifying results of the staff survey, and to instruct the President to take corrective action.

Also, one might expect the AC to dig into the details of the financial study, to chide the President for making unreasonable assumptions (in an apparent attempt to create the misleading impression that the EPO is in financial crisis), and to consign the study to the waste bin.

These two points are just the tip of the iceberg, and there are many other issues to which a fully functional AC would turn its attention (such as important ILO judgements still not yet implemented, to name just one).

Judging from their recent track record, it seems that the AC is unlikely to be motivated to do much other than take actions that either preserve or increase the flow of funds from the EPO to the national offices. Provided that a proposal from the President satisfies that objective, then it seems that pretty much anything goes for the current AC. Thus, whilst I would very much like to be disproven on this point, I suspect that we will see the AC rubber-stamping yet further proposals that reap financial benefits for those in the club but that do nothing to help make the EPO fit for purpose.

Applicants and the public deserve better. But there is no way that they will ever get what they deserve unless and until the EPC member states remove the conflicts of interest that make AC members so motivated by money. In this regard, it is perhaps no coincidence that the era of serious troubles at the EPO began not so long after the financial crisis of 2007-2008.

And finally (for the time being):

To those who wonder what an “agile culture” is, please have a look at how France Telecom was driven to folly due to a HR management similar to that of the EPO (under Battistelli the EPO had a suicide rate similar to that of France Telecom. None of the cases reported by the central staff committee was investigated since Battistelli refused independent enquiries by competent local authorities).

In concrete terms, an “agile culture” means getting rid of elderly staff under permanent employment (too expensive) at all costs to replace them by far cheaper younger ones (lacking experience and badly trained), who will work under time-limited contracts. New recruits at EPO will not have the luxury to enjoy a pension since the undeclared aim of HR is to getting rid of them at the end of their 2nd and last time-limited contract, precisely before they qualify to pension rights.

But my friends do not worry: of course, HR top management will always make sure that favourites, friends and family members get a permanent position and a decent pension

Almost nobody in the media covers any of these concerns. As we explained earlier this week, those who did cover such matters more or less vanished. We can imagine the publisher/employer did not like that. People whom we contacted about this have not replied.

IPPro Magazine’s Ben Wodecki, who used to write mostly EPO puff pieces, is gradually becoming more like his colleague, Barney, having just mentioned the latest from the Central Staff Committee:

Proposed ‘quick fixes’ at the European Patent Office (EPO) would aid the “alarmingly slow” social dialogue, according to a letter to the office’s Central Staff Committee (CSC).
Changes proposed by the CSC including alterations to the time budget, general provision definitions, and exemptions for staff committee members.

In a letter to EPO president António Campinos, the CSC wrote that while the group were “optimistic” regarding making positive changes, the pace of progress by the office “has been alarmingly slow” in the Working Groups “Resources and Communication” and “Adjustment to the performance management system and procedure for incompetence”.

The CSC urged the office to “pick up the pace” in relation to these Working Groups.

The tenure of former EPO president Benoît Battistelli was dogged with criticism over staff measures. Campinos had pledged to alter the measures, but his administration has been accused of being slow at making the necessary changes.

Slow? They barely make any changes at all, except changes for the worse. In the next post we shall show leaks to that effect.

Links 27/6/2019: Valve-Ubuntu Reconciliation, GNOME Usage Gets More Useful at Reporting Disk Space

Posted in News Roundup at 4:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU/Linux

  • Concurrent Real-Time Introduces RedHawk Linux for NVIDIA’s Jetson AGX Xavier

    In supporting the AGX Xavier, RedHawk Linux is well positioned for embedded applications in aerospace, defense, automotive, industrial and medical markets that require high-performance, low-power consumption and deterministic response. RedHawk provides a guaranteed response time of less than 50 microseconds on the AGX Xavier.

  • IGEL Drives the Rapid Growth of Linux OS-Based Devices at the Edge

    …in 2018 Linux, for the first time, surpassed Windows shipments for thin clients, growing 6% per annum from 2015 to 2018 while Windows OS shrank 5% per annum during the same period.

  • LinuxQuestions.org Turns Nineteen

    I’m proud to announce that LQ turned 19 yesterday! I’d like to once again thank each and every LQ member for their participation and feedback. While there is always room for improvement, that LQ has remained a friendly and welcoming place for new Linux members despite its constantly growing member-base and geographic distribution is a testament to the community.

    To say that feedback has been absolutely critical to our success is an understatement. As has become tradition, I’d like to use this thread to collect as much feedback as possible about LQ. What are we doing well and where can we improve? Where are we failing? What can we do to ensure long time members remain engaged and willing to help? What can we do to ensure new members feel welcome? What should we be doing differently?

    As part of our 19 year anniversary, we’ll be randomly selecting 19 posts from this thread and upgrading that member to “Contributing Member” status for one year. Stay tuned, and thanks again for being a member. Together, I think we can make LQ even better.

  • Desktop

    • Chrome OS 75 rolling out with Linux improvements, playing DRM video on external displays

      After rolling out to Android, Mac, Windows, and Linux, version 75 of Chrome OS is now available. Notable features include Linux improvements and more parental control options with Family Link.

      Linux on Chrome OS pick up support for Android devices over USB and VPN connections. Linux apps can access Android devices connected over USB, with this particularly useful for Android developers debugging and pushing APKs.

      Meanwhile, Linux applications can utilize existing Android or Chrome OS VPNs. All traffic from the Linux VM will automatically be routed through an established connection.

    • New laptop: ThinkPad X390

      The 13” 1920×1080 screen at ~160 dpi is a bit uncomfortable to use with my poor eyesight, so first I tried to use GNOME Tweaks to scale fonts to 120%. This worked okay-ish (a shame that Firefox ignores this and I had to tweak it separately) until I plugged in an external monitor (~80 dpi) where the large fonts were cartoonishly too large. Next, I enabled GNOME’s experimental fractional scaling support (I use a Ubuntu on Wayland session instead of the default one) and (after a reboot) set the zoom level on the internal screen to 125% (after resetting font scaling back to 100%, of course). Wayland apps look nice and crisp, X11 apps (Firefox) look fuzzy, but shrug at least I can read the text without squinting.

  • Server

    • A Native Kubernetes Operator Tailored for Cloud Foundry

      At the recent Cloud Foundry Summit in Philadephia, Troy Topnik of SUSE and Enrique Encalada of IBM discussed the progress being made on cf-operator, a project that’s part of the CF Containerization proposal. They show what the operator can do and how Cloud Foundry deployments can be managed with it. They also delve deeper, and talk about implementation techniques, Kubernetes Controllers and Custom Resources. This is a great opportunity to learn about how Cloud Foundry can work flawlessly on top of Kubernetes.

      Cloud Foundry Foundation has posted all recorded talks form CF Summit on YouTube. Check them out if you want to learn more about what is happening in the Cloud Foundry world! I’ll be posting more SUSE Cloud Application Platform talks here over the coming days. Watch Troy and Enrique’s talk below:

    • Ubuntu Server development summary – 26 June 2019

      The purpose of this communication is to provide a status update and highlights for any interesting subjects from the Ubuntu Server Team. If you would like to reach the server team, you can find us at the #ubuntu-server channel on Freenode. Alternatively, you can sign up and use the Ubuntu Server Team mailing list or visit the Ubuntu Server discourse hub for more discussion.

    • Redefining RHEL: Introduction to Red Hat Insights

      At Red Hat Summit we redefined what is included in a Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) subscription, and part of that is announcing that every RHEL subscription will include Red Hat Insights. The Insights team is very excited about this, and we wanted to take an opportunity to expand on what this means to you, and to share some of the basics of Red Hat Insights.

      We wanted to make RHEL easier than ever to adopt, and give our customers the control, confidence and freedom to help scale their environments through intelligent management. Insights is an important component in giving organizations the ability to predict, prevent, and remediate problems before they occur.

    • Red Hat Shares ― Special edition: Red Hat Summit recap
    • OpenShift Commons Briefing: OKD4 Release and Road Map Update with Clayton Coleman (Red Hat)

      In this briefing, Red Hat’s Clayton Coleman, Lead Architect, Containerized Application Infrastructure (OpenShift, Atomic, and Kubernetes) leads a discussion about the current development efforts for OKD4, Fedora CoreOS and Kubernetes in general as well as the philosophy guiding OKD 4 develpoment efforts. The briefing includes discussion of shared community goals for OKD4 and beyond and Q/A with some of the engineers currently working on OKD.
      The proposed goal/vision for OKD 4 is to be the perfect Kubernetes distribution for those who want to continuously be on the latest Kubernetes and ecosystem components combining an up-to-date OS, the Kubernetes control plane, and a large number of ecosystem operators to provide an easy-to-extend distribution of Kubernetes that is always on the latest released version of ecosystem tools.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • LHS Episode #290: Where the Wild Things Are

      Welcome to Episode 290 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this short format show, the hosts discuss the recent ARRL Field Day, LIDs getting theirs, vandalism in Oregon, a Canonical flip-flop, satellite reception with SDR and much more. Thank you for tuning in and we hope you have a wonderful week.

    • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 815
    • FLOSS Weekly 535: OPSI

      OPSI is an open source client management system to manage heterogeneous environments. It enables the deployment and configuration from OS’s and software on Windows and Linux computers. OPSI is a powerful tool that will allow you to manage from a dozen clients, up to several thousand. Through the integrated inventory, you get an overview of the hardware and software.

    • What’s your NextCloud? | LINUX Unplugged 307

      Go full self-hosted with our team’s tips, and we share our setups from simple to complex.

      Plus what really happens on a 64-bit Linux box when you run 32-bit software, some very handy picks, our reaction to the new Raspberry Pi 4 and more.

  • Kernel Space

    • The TCP SACK panic

      Selective acknowledgment (SACK) is a technique used by TCP to help alleviate congestion that can arise due to the retransmission of dropped packets. It allows the endpoints to describe which pieces of the data they have received, so that only the missing pieces need to be retransmitted. However, a bug was recently found in the Linux implementation of SACK that allows remote attackers to panic the system by sending crafted SACK information.

      Data sent via TCP is broken up into multiple segments based on the maximum segment size (MSS) specified by the other endpoint—or some other network hardware in the path it traversed. Those segments are transmitted to that endpoint, which acknowledges that it has received them. Originally, those acknowledgments (ACKs) could only indicate that it had received segments up to the first gap; so if one early segment was lost (e.g. dropped due to congestion), the endpoint could only ACK those up to the lost one. The originating endpoint would have to retransmit many segments that had actually been received in order to ensure the data gets there; the status of the later segments is unknown, so they have to be resent.

      In simplified form, sender A might send segments 20-50, with segments 23 and 37 getting dropped along the way. Receiver B can only ACK segments 20-22, so A must send 23-50 again. As might be guessed, if the link is congested such that segments are being dropped, sending a bunch of potentially redundant traffic is not going to help things.

    • Short waits with umwait

      If a user-space process needs to wait for some event to happen, there is a whole range of mechanisms provided by the kernel to make that easy. But calling into the kernel tends not to work well for the shortest of waits — those measured in small numbers of microseconds. For delays of this magnitude, developers often resort to busy loops, which have a much smaller potential for turning a small delay into a larger one. Needless to say, busy waiting has its own disadvantages, so Intel has come up with a set of instructions to support short delays. A patch set from Fenghua Yu to support these instructions is currently working its way through the review process.

      The problem with busy waiting, of course, is that it occupies the processor with work that is even more useless than cryptocoin mining. It generates heat and uses power to no useful end. On hyperthreaded CPUs, a busy-waiting process could prevent the sibling thread from running and doing something of actual value. For all of these reasons, it would be a lot nicer to ask the CPU to simply wait for a brief period until something interesting happens.

      To that end, Intel is providing three new instructions. umonitor provides an address and a size to the CPU, informing it that the currently running application is interested in any writes to that range of memory. A umwait instruction tells the processor to stop executing until such a write occurs; the CPU is free to go into a low-power state or switch to a hyperthreaded sibling during that time. This instruction provides a timeout value in a pair of registers; the CPU will only wait until the timestamp counter (TSC) value exceeds the given timeout value. For code that is only interested in the timeout aspect, the tpause instruction will stop execution without monitoring any addresses.

    • Dueling memory-management performance regressions

      The 2019 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit included a detailed discussion about a memory-management fix that addressed one performance regression while causing another. That fix, which was promptly reverted, is still believed by most memory-management developers to implement the correct behavior, so a patch posted by Andrea Arcangeli in early May has relatively broad support. That patch remains unapplied as of this writing, but the discussion surrounding it has continued at a slow pace over the last month. Memory-management subsystem maintainer Andrew Morton is faced with a choice: which performance regression is more important?

      The behavior in question relates to the intersection of transparent huge pages and NUMA policy. Ever since this commit from Aneesh Kumar in 2015, the kernel will, for memory areas where madvise(MADV_HUGEPAGE) has been called, attempt to allocate huge pages exclusively on the current NUMA node. It turns out that the kernel will try so hard that it will go into aggressive reclaim and compaction on that node, forcing out other pages, even if free memory exists on other nodes in the system. In essence, enabling transparent huge pages for a range of memory has become an equivalent to binding that memory to a single NUMA node. The result, as observed by many, can be severe swap storms and a dramatic loss of performance.

      In an attempt to fix this problem, Arcangeli applied a patch in November 2018 that loosened the tight binding to the current node. But, it turned out, some workloads want that binding behavior. Local huge pages will perform better than huge pages on a remote node; even local small pages tend to be better than remote huge pages. For some tasks, the performance penalty for using remote pages is high enough that it is worth going to great lengths — even enduring a swap storm at application startup — to avoid it. No such workload has been publicly posted, but the patch was reverted by David Rientjes in December after a huge discussion.

    • Rebasing and merging in kernel repositories

      What follows is a kernel document I have been working on for the last month in the hope of reducing the number of subsystem maintainers who run into trouble during the merge window. If all goes according to plan, this text will show up in 5.3 as Documentation/maintainer/rebasing-and-merging.txt. On the off chance that some potentially interested readers might not be monitoring additions to the nascent kernel maintainer’s handbook, I’m publishing the text here as well.
      Maintaining a subsystem, as a general rule, requires a familiarity with the Git source-code management system. Git is a powerful tool with a lot of features; as is often the case with such tools, there are right and wrong ways to use those features. This document looks in particular at the use of rebasing and merging. Maintainers often get in trouble when they use those tools incorrectly, but avoiding problems is not actually all that hard.

      One thing to be aware of in general is that, unlike many other projects, the kernel community is not scared by seeing merge commits in its development history. Indeed, given the scale of the project, avoiding merges would be nearly impossible. Some problems encountered by maintainers result from a desire to avoid merges, while others come from merging a little too often.

    • Years Late But Saitek R440 Force Racing Wheel Support Is On The Way For Linux

      If you happen to have a Saitek R440 Force Wheel or looking to purchase a cheap and used racing wheel for enjoying the various Linux racing game ports or even the number of games working under Steam Play like F1 2018 and DiRT Rally 2.0, Linux support is on the way.

      The Saitek R440 Force Wheel can still be found from the likes of eBay for those wanting a cheap/used PC game racing wheel. Now coming soon to the Linux kernel is support for this once popular gaming wheel — which was originally released back in 2004. The Linux kernel patch originally adding the Saitek R440 was sent last year only to be resent out recently in an attempt for mainline acceptance.

    • The TCP SACK panic

      Selective acknowledgment (SACK) is a technique used by TCP to help alleviate congestion that can arise due to the retransmission of dropped packets. It allows the endpoints to describe which pieces of the data they have received, so that only the missing pieces need to be retransmitted. However, a bug was recently found in the Linux implementation of SACK that allows remote attackers to panic the system by sending crafted SACK information.

      Data sent via TCP is broken up into multiple segments based on the maximum segment size (MSS) specified by the other endpoint—or some other network hardware in the path it traversed. Those segments are transmitted to that endpoint, which acknowledges that it has received them. Originally, those acknowledgments (ACKs) could only indicate that it had received segments up to the first gap; so if one early segment was lost (e.g. dropped due to congestion), the endpoint could only ACK those up to the lost one. The originating endpoint would have to retransmit many segments that had actually been received in order to ensure the data gets there; the status of the later segments is unknown, so they have to be resent.

      In simplified form, sender A might send segments 20-50, with segments 23 and 37 getting dropped along the way. Receiver B can only ACK segments 20-22, so A must send 23-50 again. As might be guessed, if the link is congested such that segments are being dropped, sending a bunch of potentially redundant traffic is not going to help things.

    • Short waits with umwait

      If a user-space process needs to wait for some event to happen, there is a whole range of mechanisms provided by the kernel to make that easy. But calling into the kernel tends not to work well for the shortest of waits — those measured in small numbers of microseconds. For delays of this magnitude, developers often resort to busy loops, which have a much smaller potential for turning a small delay into a larger one. Needless to say, busy waiting has its own disadvantages, so Intel has come up with a set of instructions to support short delays. A patch set from Fenghua Yu to support these instructions is currently working its way through the review process.

      The problem with busy waiting, of course, is that it occupies the processor with work that is even more useless than cryptocoin mining. It generates heat and uses power to no useful end. On hyperthreaded CPUs, a busy-waiting process could prevent the sibling thread from running and doing something of actual value. For all of these reasons, it would be a lot nicer to ask the CPU to simply wait for a brief period until something interesting happens.

      To that end, Intel is providing three new instructions. umonitor provides an address and a size to the CPU, informing it that the currently running application is interested in any writes to that range of memory. A umwait instruction tells the processor to stop executing until such a write occurs; the CPU is free to go into a low-power state or switch to a hyperthreaded sibling during that time. This instruction provides a timeout value in a pair of registers; the CPU will only wait until the timestamp counter (TSC) value exceeds the given timeout value. For code that is only interested in the timeout aspect, the tpause instruction will stop execution without monitoring any addresses.

    • Dueling memory-management performance regressions

      The 2019 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit included a detailed discussion about a memory-management fix that addressed one performance regression while causing another. That fix, which was promptly reverted, is still believed by most memory-management developers to implement the correct behavior, so a patch posted by Andrea Arcangeli in early May has relatively broad support. That patch remains unapplied as of this writing, but the discussion surrounding it has continued at a slow pace over the last month. Memory-management subsystem maintainer Andrew Morton is faced with a choice: which performance regression is more important?

      The behavior in question relates to the intersection of transparent huge pages and NUMA policy. Ever since this commit from Aneesh Kumar in 2015, the kernel will, for memory areas where madvise(MADV_HUGEPAGE) has been called, attempt to allocate huge pages exclusively on the current NUMA node. It turns out that the kernel will try so hard that it will go into aggressive reclaim and compaction on that node, forcing out other pages, even if free memory exists on other nodes in the system. In essence, enabling transparent huge pages for a range of memory has become an equivalent to binding that memory to a single NUMA node. The result, as observed by many, can be severe swap storms and a dramatic loss of performance.

      In an attempt to fix this problem, Arcangeli applied a patch in November 2018 that loosened the tight binding to the current node. But, it turned out, some workloads want that binding behavior. Local huge pages will perform better than huge pages on a remote node; even local small pages tend to be better than remote huge pages. For some tasks, the performance penalty for using remote pages is high enough that it is worth going to great lengths — even enduring a swap storm at application startup — to avoid it. No such workload has been publicly posted, but the patch was reverted by David Rientjes in December after a huge discussion.

    • Rebasing and merging in kernel repositories

      What follows is a kernel document I have been working on for the last month in the hope of reducing the number of subsystem maintainers who run into trouble during the merge window. If all goes according to plan, this text will show up in 5.3 as Documentation/maintainer/rebasing-and-merging.txt. On the off chance that some potentially interested readers might not be monitoring additions to the nascent kernel maintainer’s handbook, I’m publishing the text here as well.

      Maintaining a subsystem, as a general rule, requires a familiarity with the Git source-code management system. Git is a powerful tool with a lot of features; as is often the case with such tools, there are right and wrong ways to use those features. This document looks in particular at the use of rebasing and merging. Maintainers often get in trouble when they use those tools incorrectly, but avoiding problems is not actually all that hard.

      One thing to be aware of in general is that, unlike many other projects, the kernel community is not scared by seeing merge commits in its development history. Indeed, given the scale of the project, avoiding merges would be nearly impossible. Some problems encountered by maintainers result from a desire to avoid merges, while others come from merging a little too often.

    • Years Late But Saitek R440 Force Racing Wheel Support Is On The Way For Linux

      If you happen to have a Saitek R440 Force Wheel or looking to purchase a cheap and used racing wheel for enjoying the various Linux racing game ports or even the number of games working under Steam Play like F1 2018 and DiRT Rally 2.0, Linux support is on the way.

      The Saitek R440 Force Wheel can still be found from the likes of eBay for those wanting a cheap/used PC game racing wheel. Now coming soon to the Linux kernel is support for this once popular gaming wheel — which was originally released back in 2004. The Linux kernel patch originally adding the Saitek R440 was sent last year only to be resent out recently in an attempt for mainline acceptance.

    • Linux Foundation

      • CNCF outlines its technical oversight goals

        At KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2019 there was a public meeting of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) Technical Oversight Committee (TOC); its members outlined the current state of the CNCF and where things are headed. What emerged was a picture of how the CNCF’s governance is evolving as it brings in more projects, launches a new special interest group mechanism, and contemplates what to do with projects that go dormant.

        The CNCF has several levels in its organizational structure with the Governing Board handling the overall operation, budget, and finances, while the TOC handles the technical vision and direction, as well as approving new project additions. Though the TOC currently acts as a sort of gatekeeper for admitting projects into the CNCF, there is more that TOC member Joe Beda, the developer who made the first commit to Kubernetes, said can be done. “The TOC helps to decide which projects come in, but I think we could do an expanded role to actually make sure that we’re serving those projects better and that we’re creating a great value proposition for projects, so that it’s a really great two-way street between the CNCF and the projects to really build some sustainability,” he said.

        Jeff Brewer had a different perspective on how the TOC can help projects, based on his role, which is as an end user of CNCF projects. He is excited about the fact that end users of Kubernetes are talking with one another and helping to bring a customer focus to the TOC. By having that focus, the TOC can help to ensure that the projects it takes in aren’t just cool projects that nobody actually uses, but rather are efforts that have practical utility. “We have over 80 end-user organization members and we look for them to really help us lead the way with the technical direction of the CNCF,” he said.

    • Graphics Stack

      • MSM DRM Adding Snapdragon 835 / Adreno 540 Support In Linux 5.3

        Freedreno founder Rob Clark, who is now employed by Google to work on open-source graphics, has sent in the batch of MSM Direct Rendering Manager driver changes to DRM-Next ahead of the Linux 5.3 kernel cycle.

        Notable to this feature update is Adreno 540 / Snapdragon 835 support. The Snapdragon 835 has been out since 2016 and has also been found in some of the Snapdragon laptops. The Adreno 540 supports Vulkan 1.1, OpenGL ES 3.2, and its quad-core GPU runs at 710/670MHz with 512 ALUs, 16 TMUs, and 12 ROPs.

      • Radeon Navi Support Pending For RadeonSI OpenGL Driver With 47k Line Worth Of Changes

        Last week AMD posted more than 400 patches providing the AMD Navi support within their AMDGPU DRM kernel driver while this week has brought dozens of patches amounting to 4,293 lines as a patch for their RadeonSI Gallium3D driver in order to provide OpenGL support on these next-gen GPUs being introduced next month as the Radeon RX 5700 series.

        Well known AMD open-source developer Marek Olšák posted the Mesa patches yesterday for providing this initial Navi (10) support to Mesa. As is the case, AMD’s Navi enablement is focused on the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver and not the unofficial/community driven RADV Radeon Vulkan driver also within Mesa. The RADV Navi support will be left up to those “community” contributors from the likes of Red Hat, Google, and yes the independent community members.

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux 5.2 + Mesa 19.2 Performance With Polaris/Vega/Vega20 vs. NVIDIA On Ubuntu 19.04

        With last week having delivered fresh benchmarks of the mid-range NVIDIA/AMD graphics cards using the very latest drivers, particularly the in-development Linux 5.2 and Mesa 19.2 components with the Radeon graphics cards tested, here is a similar comparison when moving up the spectrum and focusing on the higher-end graphics cards. Here’s a look at how the RX 590, RX Vega 56, RX Vega 64, and Radeon VII are performing with the newest open-source AMD driver code compared to the NVIDIA Turing line-up backed by their latest binary driver.

        While next month will be Radeon RX 5700 series Linux benchmarking using the newest code (DRM-Next / Linux 5.3), this article is offering a fresh look at how the Linux 5.2 kernel performance is shaping up on the higher-end graphics cards as complementary to last week’s numbers. The four Radeon cards tested were using the Linux 5.2 Git kernel and Mesa 19.2-devel using the Oibaf PPA. The NVIDIA Pascal and Turing cards benchmarked were using their latest driver available, version 430.26.

      • Andy Wingo: fibs, lies, and benchmarks

        I collected these numbers on my i7-7500U CPU @ 2.70GHz 2-core laptop, with no particular performance tuning, running each benchmark 10 times, waiting 2 seconds between measurements. The bar value indicates the median elapsed time, and above each bar is an overlayed histogram of all results for that scenario. Note that the y axis is on a log scale. The 2.9.3* version corresponds to unreleased Guile from git.

        Good news: Guile has been getting significantly faster over time! Over decades, true, but I’m pleased.

        where are we? static edition

        How good are Guile’s numbers on an absolute level? It’s hard to say because there’s no absolute performance oracle out there. However there are relative performance oracles, so we can try out perhaps some other language implementations.

        First up would be the industrial C compilers, GCC and LLVM. We can throw in a few more “static” language implementations as well: compilers that completely translate to machine code ahead-of-time, with no type feedback, and a minimal run-time.

  • Applications

    • 5 Open Source 2D Animation Software to Use

      An animation software is a special program that’s used to design a moving animation out of the objects required. Traditional painting/drawing software (Like Inkscape) do not support creating animation, as they are used just to make the objects or paint them, but they do not have some necessary capabilities to create a moving animation out of those objects/images/photos, such as tweeing, rotoscoping, motion capture, VFX & simulation support.

      If you are someone who’s interested in creating 2D animation, whether as a hobby or part of your job, then you would be glad to know that there are many open source 2D animation software to use.

      In this article we’ll see 5 of them.

    • Music and video at the Linux terminal

      As a system administrator, you probably spend a lot of time at your terminal. We all have a tool that we begrudge having to leave the command line to use, whether it’s for a web browser or a desktop GUI application.

      If you poke around GitHub for long enough, you can find a command line utility to replace the graphical front end of just about every service out there, at least those with an accessible API. Some of these tools work better than others, of course, but a lot of them are worth poking around to see if they work for you.

      Today we’re going to look at three tools for enjoying sound and video at your Linux terminal: youtube-dl, mplayer, and cava. I originally profiled these tools as a part of my 24 Days of Linux Toys series on Opensource.com; a user there suggested that you might choose mpv as a suitable mplayer replacement, but I’ll leave that up to the reader to explore and decide.

    • Top 20 Best Computer Algebra Systems for Linux in 2019

      Solving computational problems was the first inspiration behind the invention of computers. Although modern computers have come a long way since its inception, it continues to play the de-facto role in solving complex computations. A Computer Algebra System (CAS) is a software environment that allows tackling modern-day, complex computational problems without having to manipulate complicated equations or computational systems manually. These computer algebra systems can manipulate mathematical formulae in a manner similar to traditional mathematicians and thwarts away potential errors effectively. There are a wide variety of computer algebra systems for Linux, both general-purpose and specialized.

    • 21 Best Free Linux Financial Software (Updated 2019)

      We have all read stories about people who have experimented living without spending any money whatsoever. By growing their own food, washing in the river, using a solar panel to provide electricity, and bartering for certain goods and services, these adventures have met with limited success. However, for us mere mortals the simple fact is that we need money. Money to buy food, to purchase clothes, to pay our bills, as well as indulging in our other infinite wants and desires.

      While it can be a struggle to make ends meet, it is possible to make life easier through better money management. Financial management is about planning income and expenditure and making informed decisions that enable you to survive financially. With austerity still with us, it’s even more important to look after your finances, if only to make sure there are no nasty surprises when you receive your next bank statement.

      Linux offers a number of really good financial applications that are more than capable of handling both personal and small-business accounting operations. We feature the finest personal finance software.

      We also recommend software that helps individuals keep track of stock market movements, analyze the markets, and identify stock worth buying.

      There’s software for organizations with excellent open source business software, a couple of Bitcoin clients, and a calculator.

    • 2 Tools For Monitoring Nvidia GPUs On Linux (GUI And Command Line)

      This article presents 2 tools for monitoring Nvidia graphics cards on Linux: one that comes with a terminal user interface (TUI), so it runs in a console, and another one that uses a graphical user interface.

    • MuseScore 3.2 Released with Dozens of Bug Fixes

      Free scorewriter MuseScore 3.2 was released a day ago with dozens of bug-fixes as well as some improvements to user interface.

    • Cockpit 197

      Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from version 197.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Steam Play updated as Proton 4.2-8 is out, DXVK also sees a new release with 1.2.3

        Steam Play has been updated today reaching 4.2-8 along with DXVK also seeing an update to 1.2.3, let’s take a look.

        As a quick refresher: Steam Play is the system built into the Steam Client on Linux, that allows you to play games meant for Windows. As for DXVK, it translates D3D11 and D3D10 into Vulkan for use with Wine and it’s part of Steam Play (but it can of course be used with Wine directly).

    • Games

      • Flea Madness sound like a ridiculously fun multiplayer game where you eat your enemies

        Flea Madness, currently in development by Priple is a fast-paced multiplayer action game that looks good and the idea sounds pretty amusing too.

        Each player assumes the role of an alien flea, a biological weapon with a singular purpose—eat everything. As you hunt and eat others, you evolve into a more dangerous creature too. Spread across the maps, you will find insects to eat, which will also give you various abilities although not all of them good for you. Some might speed you up, turn you invisible or reverse your controls.

      • Steam’s Summer Sale 2019 Is Live With A New Way To Earn Free Games

        Steam’s annual event, which PC gamers eagerly await each year, has finally started. The Steam Summer Sale 2019 is now live and will run through July 9, offering gamers a seemingly endless list of games to choose from.

        “Start your engines, everybody… the Steam Summer Sale has begun! For the next 14 days, enjoy great savings on a huge selection of games and join in the Steam Grand Prix 2019 event until July 7th 10AM PDT,” Steam says in a blog post.

        Thousands of games across various genres are now available on discount, so if you don’t have a Steam wishlist, it could prove difficult to choose the games you want. However, to help you make a choice, we have listed some of the best deals from the Steam Summer Sale 2019.

      • Valve To Work With More Distros To Improve Linux Gaming

        As a part of the ongoing Ubuntu-Steam spectacle, Valve has published a new update on their website. The Steam-maker company has reaffirmed its plans to continue to support Linux gamers and work with leading Linux distributions that are known to be popular among gamers.

        Starting with Ubuntu, Valve has confirmed that it will continue to support Steam officially on Ubuntu. “It seems likely that we will be able to continue to officially support Steam on Ubuntu,” Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais wrote in the update. This statement comes after Ubuntu decided to ditch its plans to retire the 32-bit packages starting with the upcoming Ubuntu 19.10 release.

      • Update on Steam, Ubuntu, and 32-bit support

        There has been a lot of news and discussion over the weekend on the topic of Steam on Linux and officially supported and recommended distributions. For those not in the loop, last week the Ubuntu project announced their intent to change how they’re approaching 32-bit library support for future Ubuntu versions[discourse.ubuntu.com]. Following that announcement, we made a statement that Ubuntu 19.10 wouldn’t be officially supported or recommended to our users going forward. As the Ubuntu project indicated, they let us know of their intent and walked us through the details earlier this month, which was much appreciated. We don’t think it is unreasonable that they would want to take steps that are in the best interests of the project. That being said, we don’t think it’s an especially positive move for Steam and gaming-oriented customers who rely on this support.

        To provide some background, support for 32-bit libraries is required in order to run not only the Steam client, but also the thousands of games available on Steam that only support 32-bit environments. Enabling the Steam client to run in pure 64-bit environments, while feasible, would leave the vast majority of the current Steam library inaccessible to such users without an additional compatibility layer. Ensuring that all games a user owns remain fully playable wherever possible is a core principle of Steam, and we don’t believe any solution that arbitrarily splits a user’s library would be acceptable.

      • Valve Now Says Steam Will “Likely” Support Ubuntu 19.10

        While Valve isn’t thrilled about Ubuntu’s likely plan to drop compatibility with legacy 32-bit software after Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, there are no immediate changes to announce. Linux gamers can keep using the next few releases of Ubuntu to run Steam’s library of games. The community has been heard.

      • Valve Say Steam WILL Support Ubuntu 19.10

        Ubuntu gamers can breathe a sigh of relief as Valve has confirmed that Steam for Linux WILL support Ubuntu 19.10.

        Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais says Ubuntu’s recent rethink over plans to axe its i386/32-bit archive means it is “…likely that we will be able to continue to officially support Steam on Ubuntu.”

        Hurrah!

        The confirmation follows several days of high drama in the Linux Community, all resulting from Ubuntu’s initials plan to retire its 32-bit archive in the upcoming October release.

        It was that decision — which had been discussed by Ubuntu developers for some time — that stunned many. It resulted in a jaw-dropping tweet from a Valve developer, who announced that “Ubuntu 19.10 and future releases will not be officially supported by Steam or recommended to our users”.

      • Valve Reaffirms Commitment To Linux While Also Releasing Updated Proton

        Following all the drama caused by Canonical announcing last week they’d stop their 32-bit archive with Ubuntu 19.10 and that leading to a mess of concerns including Valve saying they would not be officially supporting Ubuntu 19.10 and later, today they issued a statement reaffirming their commitment to Linux.

        Pierre-Loup Griffais, the longtime Valve Linux developer who last week said they would not be officially supporting Ubuntu 19.10 and later, penned a post on the Steam Community board today providing more insight and praising more distribution choices compared to when Steam on Linux first started.

      • Valve release an official statement about the future of Linux support, they “remain committed” to Linux gaming

        After the recent upset caused by Canonical’s plan to drop 32bit support in Ubuntu, then to turn around and change their plan due to the uproar caused by it, Valve now have a full statement out about their future support of Linux gaming.

        Firstly, to get it out of the way, there’s nothing to worry about here. Valve said they “remain committed to supporting Linux as a gaming platform”, they’re also “continuing to drive numerous driver and feature development efforts that we expect will help improve the gaming and desktop experience across all distributions” which they plan to talk more about later.

        On the subject of Canonical’s newer plan for Ubuntu 19.10 and onwards in regards to 32bit support, Valve said they’re “not particularly excited about the removal of any existing functionality, but such a change to the plan is extremely welcome” and that it “seems likely that we will be able to continue to officially support Steam on Ubuntu”.

      • Move or Die, one of the funniest party games around has added the previously exclusive PS4 content onto PC

        Move or Die, a 4-player local and online multiplayer party game that’s absolutely hilarious just got that little bit better, with new content for the PC version.

        As the name suggests, if you don’t keep moving, you will die. That alone makes it quite interesting, however it’s the varied game modes and mutators that truly make it hilarious. Bomb tag being a favourite of mine, with one player starting off with a bomb that’s about to blow-up and you need to tag a player to swap it, lots of amusing modes like that make it worth playing.

      • ZED from Eagre Games and Cyan Ventures is out for Linux now, it’s quite an experience (plus an interview)

        ZED, a game that might make your own head spin a bit, as you assume the role of an aging artist whose mind isn’t quite all there. Taken over by a haze of dementia, you will be tasked with piecing together his mind.

      • LOST ORBIT: Terminal Velocity looks like an intense fast-paced space action game coming to Linux

        LOST ORBIT: Terminal Velocity from PixelNAUTS Games popped up on Steam recently and after reading up on it and checking out their trailer, I’m sold, it looks awesome.

        In Lost Orbit, you take control of a lone astronaut who sets off on a dangerous journey to rejoin his civilization after getting stranded in deep space. Without a ship, you will be bouncing off the gravity surrounding planet to propel yourself through space.

      • After initially being rejected by Valve, The Expression Amrilato is now live on Steam

        Valve continues to confuse, after initially rejecting the Steam release of The Expression Amrilato it’s now live with nothing about it actually changed.

        Originally release with same-day Linux support on GOG, due to Valve’s rejection, the publisher MangaGamer noted on their official blog that once news spread of the rejection Valve then reached out about it. Thanks to the support it received, it’s now live and they’ve not had to adjust any of the content too.

      • The action-platformer space-shooter hybrid A.N.N.E has now entered Early Access, Six years after Kickstarter

        Better late than never right? The action-platformer and space shooter hybrid A.N.N.E is now available on Steam in Early Access. This is six years after the Kickstarter finished, giving Gamesbymo over $100K.

      • Dota Underlords continues seeing polish as it passes 200K players online

        Seems like Valve really are onto something here, as Dota Underlords recently managed to pass 200K players online at the same time and another update is out now.

        On June 23rd, Underlords hit a new all-time peak of 202,334 players which is pretty great. Although, from what we know this does include mobile players too but it’s still a good sign that Valve are actually making a good game here. It makes sense to include mobile players, since they’re still using Steam services and you’re all matchmaking together. Even during the usual quieter hours, Underlords still constantly remains in the top 10 most played games on Steam.

      • Black Mesa now has a “Technical Beta” for Xen, but Linux support is missing for now

        Black Mesa, the fan created Half-Life recreation finally has some Xen to show off but the downside is it’s not ready for Linux yet.

      • A Story About My Uncle | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 18.04 | Native

        A Story About My Uncle running native on Linux.

      • people.kernel.org Has Launched, GitLab 12.0 Released, TheoTown Now on Steam for Linux, Pulseway Introduces New File Transfer Feature, and SUSE Manager 4 and SUSE Manager for Retail 4 Are Now Available

        TheoTown, the retro-themed city-building game, is now available on Steam for Linux. GamingOnLinux reports that “On Android at least, the game is very highly rated and I imagine a number of readers have played it there so now you can pick it up again on your Linux PC and continue building the city of your dreams. So far, the Steam user reviews are also giving it a good overall picture.” You can find TheoTown on Steam.

      • Steam Summer Sale 2019 is live, here’s what to look out for Linux fans

        Another year, another massive sale is now live on Steam. Let’s take a look at what Valve are doing this year and what you should be looking out for.

        This time around, Valve aren’t doing any special trading cards. They’re trying something a little different! You will be entering the “Steam Grand Prix” by joining a team (go team Hare!), earning points for rewards and having a shot at winning some free games in the process. Sounds like a good bit of fun, the specific-game challenges are a nice touch.

      • Last Moon, a 2D action-RPG with a gorgeous vibrant style will be coming to Linux next year

        Sköll Studio managed to capture my attention recently, with some early footage of their action-RPG ‘Last Moon’ popping up in my feed and it looks gorgeous.

        Taking inspiration from classics like Legend of Zelda: A link to the past, Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger and a ton more you can see it quite clearly. Last Moon takes in place in a once peaceful kingdom, where an ancient and powerful mage put a curse on the moon, as Lunar Knight you need to stop all this insanity and bring back peace.

      • Ubuntu Takes A U-Turn with 32-Bit Support

        Canonical will continue to support legacy applications and libraries.

        Canonical, the maker of the world’s most popular Linux-based distribution Ubuntu, has revived support for 32-bit libraries after feedback from WINE, Ubuntu Studio and Steam communities.

        Last week Canonical announced that its engineering teams decided that Ubuntu should not continue to carry i386 forward as an architecture. “Consequently, i386 will not be included as an architecture for the 19.10 release, and we will shortly begin the process of disabling it for the eoan series across Ubuntu infrastructure,” wrote Will Cooke, Director of Ubuntu Desktop at Canonical.

      • Steam and Ubuntu clash over 32-bit libs

        It has been a tumultuous week for gaming on Linux. Last Tuesday afternoon, Canonical’s Steve Langasek announced that 32-bit libs would be frozen (kept as-is, with no new builds or updates) as of this October’s interim 19.10 release, codenamed “Eoan Ermine.” Langasek was pretty clear that this did not mean abandoning support for running 32-bit applications, however.

      • Linux gamers take note: Steam won’t support the next version of Ubuntu

        Valve has announced that from the next version of Ubuntu (19.10), it will no longer support Steam on Ubuntu, the most popular flavor of Linux, due to the distro dropping support for 32-bit packages,

        This all kicked off when Canonical, developer of Ubuntu, announced that it was seemingly completely dropping support for 32-bit in Ubuntu 19.10.

        However, following a major outcry, a further clarification (or indeed, change of heart) came from the firm stating that there will actually be limited support for 32-bit going forward (although updates for 32-bit libraries will no longer be delivered, effectively leaving them in a frozen state).

      • Valve killing Steam Support for some Ubuntu users

        A few years ago the announcement that Steam would begin supporting Linux was a big deal: it meant that anyone who preferred to rock an open-source operating system over Mac OS or Windows 10 would have instant buy-it-and-play-it access to a large catalog of game titles that would have otherwise taken a whole lot of tweaking to get up and running or wouldn’t have worked for them at all. For some, at least, the party may be coming to an end.

      • Steam is dropping support for Ubuntu, but not Linux entirely

        The availability of Steam on Linux has been a boom for gaming on the platform, especially with the recent addition of the Steam Play compatibility layer for running Windows-only games. Valve has always recommended that gamers run Ubuntu Linux, the most popular desktop Linux distribution, but that’s now changing.

      • Canonical rolls back decision on 32-bit i386 packages for Ubuntu

        Ubuntu 19.04 and 20.04 will continue to have 32-bit i386 packages, contrary to the previous announcement by Canonical.

        The past week, Canonical announced the latest version of Ubuntu, which caused quite some buzz (unfortunately, in a wrong way). According to the statement, the company had plans to discontinue 32-bit support starting from Ubuntu 19.10. This news wasn’t received quite well by Ubuntu-enthusiasts as they showed their disapproval of this decision on various online forums so much that even Canonical couldn’t ignore it.

        However, the company demonstrated its genius and made the right decision by listening to the positive criticism of their community (including gamers, Ubuntu Studio, and WINE users) and announcing that this significant change can wait if the users aren’t fully prepared for it. Accordingly, Ubuntu users will get selected 32-bit i386 packages when they update to Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 LTS.

      • Canonical Gives Ubuntu Users What They Want

        Canonical shows that they’re willing to walk the talk and show their humanity towards others by listening to their user-base. In a move to appease the community, Canonical has chosen to rescind their earlier comments regarding their plans to ditch 32bit support in the upcoming 19.10 release of Ubuntu as well as the 20.04 release.

        In response to Canonical’s announcement to drop 32bit package support, Valve followed with dropping support for Ubuntu’s future releases that do not contain 32bit packages. This might seem like an incendiary retort, but it’s simply due to the lack of necessary dependencies to enable the porting of Steam and Valve’s Proton. The same would apply to any Linux distribution foregoing the mentioned requirements.

      • Canonical (sort of) backtracks: Ubuntu will continue to support (some) 32-bit software

        A few days after announcing it would effectively drop support for 32-bit software in future versions of the Ubuntu operating system, Canonical has decided to “change our plan and build selected 32-bit i386 packages.”

        The company’s original decision sparked some backlash when it became clear that some existing apps and games would no longer run on Ubuntu 19.10 if the change were to proceed as planned.

        Valve, for example, announced it would continue to support older versions of Ubuntu, allowing users to continue running its popular Steam game client. But moving forward, the company said it would be focusing its Steam for Linux efforts on a different GNU/Linux distribution.

      • Just kidding? Ubuntu 32-bit moving forward, no word yet from Valve

        Due in part to the feedback given to the group over the weekend and because of their connections with Valve, Canonical did an about-face today. They’ve suggested that feedback from gamers, Ubuntu Studio, and the WINE community led them to change their plan and will “build selected 32-bit i386 packages for Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 LTS. Whether this will change Valve’s future with Ubuntu Steam, we’ll see.

      • Canonical backtracks on 32-bit Ubuntu cull, but warns that on your head be it

        CANONICAL HAS CONFIRMED a U-Turn on the controversial decision to drop 32-bit support for Ubuntu users later this year.

        The company has faced criticism from users who aren’t happy with the plan to make Ubuntu purely 64-bit, which culminated at the weekend with Steam announcing it would pull support for Ubuntu. Many Steam games were never made in 64-bit and it would, therefore, devalue the offer.

        However, Canonical confirmed on Monday that following feedback from the community, it was clear that there is still a demand, and indeed a need for 32-bit binaries, and as such, it will provide “selected” builds for both Ubuntu 19.10 and the forthcoming Ubuntu 20.04.

        Canonical’s announcement spoke of the highly passionate arguments from those who are in favour of maintaining both versions, thus forcing the team to take notice. However, it has made it clear that it’s doing so under the weight of expectation, not because it agrees.

        “There is a real risk to anybody who is running a body of software that gets little testing. The facts are that most 32-bit x86 packages are hardly used at all,” the firm said.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma 5.16 review – A tidal wave of goodness

        Plasma 5.16 is almost a boring release, in that it is predictable, stable, robust, a continuation of an excellent line of desktops that are fun, elegant and smart to run and use. But this is exactly what you want from a tool you use everyday. Excitement is only good in small doses. You want something solid for real work, and Plasma definitely nails it in general, and with its 5.16 guise in particular.

        The volume of changes and new features isn’t massive, but it is still delivered with flair, plus stability, plus improvements. There were a few small issues here and there, and some things warrant visual polish while others require philosophical introspection vis-a-vis taste and appeal, but these are relatively small, innocent niggles. The Plasma desktop is definitely making great strides, and if you want to explore the latest and greatest, grab yourself KDE neon, and start enjoying.

      • My first month on GSoC

        This first month of GSoC was a great learning experience for me, when speaking to my colleagues of how Summer of Code is being important to my professional life, I always respond that I’m finally learning to code and the basic of C++.

        Yes, maybe this is strange, I’m a second year undergraduate Computer Science student, have two year experience with C++. I should have learn to code by now right? Well, at least on my Campus you don’t learn to code applications or how to build stable, clean code. You learn to solve problems, and that’s something I got pretty good at, but when it came to code, well, I’m learning that now and I’m liking it a lot.

      • Snapshot Docker

        The idea of snapshots is to make copies of the current document and allow users to return to them at a later time. This is a part of my whole Google Summer of Code project, which aims to bring Krita a better undo/redo system. When fully implemented, it will fully replace the current mechanism that stores actions with one that stores different states. That is to say, Krita will create a snapshot of the document for every undoable step.

        [...]

        Another interesting thing is the palettes. Krita 4.2.0 allows documents to store their own, local palettes. The palette list is but a QList, meaning that only creating a new QList of the same pointers will not work. This is because, the palettes are controlled by canvas resource manager, which takes the responsibility to delete them. Therefore, when taking snapshots, we had better take deep copies of the KoColorSets. And then another problem comes: the snapshots own their KoColorSets because they are not controlled by the resource manager in any way; but the KisDocument in the view does not. So we have to set up another flag, ownsPaletteList, to tell the document whether it should delete the palettes in the destructor.

        And now the work has shifted to the refactoring of kritaflake, the library that mainly handles vector layers and shapes. I converted the whole KoShape hierarchy to implicit sharing where possible, but some tests are broken. I am now on Windows, where unit tests do not run. I will continue the development of flake as soon as I get access to my Linux laptop.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Introducing GNOME Usage’s Storage panel

        GNOME Usage is a new GNOME application to visualize system resources such as memory consumption and disk space. It has been developed by Petr Stetka, a high school intern in our Red Hat office in Brno. Petr is an outstanding coder for such a young fellow and has done a great job with Usage!

        Usage is powered by libgtop, the same library used by GNOME System Monitor. One is not a replacement for the other, they complement our user experience by offering two different use cases: Usage is for the everyday user that wants to check which application is eating their resources, and System Monitor is for the expert that knows a bit of operating system internals and wants more technical information being displayed. Besides, Usage has a bit of Baobab too. It contains a Storage panel that allows for a quick analysis of disk space.

      • GNOME meets Panfrost
      • GNOME Meets Panfrost

        Bring-up of GNOME required improving the driver’s robustness and performance, focused on Mali’s tiled architecture. Typically found in mobile devices, tiling GPU architectures divide the screen into many small tiles, like a kitchen floor, rendering each tile separately. This allows for unique optimizations but also poses unique challenges.

        One natural question is: how big should tiles be? If the tiles are too big, there’s no point to tiling, but if the tiles are too small, the GPU will repeat unnecessary work. Mali offers a hybrid answer: allow lots of different sizes! Mali’s technique of “hierarchical tiling” allows the GPU to use tiles as small as 16×16 pixels all the way up to 2048×2048 pixels. This “sliding scale” allows different types of content to be optimized in different ways. The tiling needs of a 3D game like SuperTuxKart are different from those of a user interface like GNOME Shell, so this technique gets us the best of both worlds!

        Although primarily handled in hardware, hierarchical tiling is configured by the driver; I researched this configuration mechanism in order to understand it and improve our configuration with respect to performance and memory usage.

        Tiled architectures additionally present an optimization opportunity: if the driver can figure out a priori which 16×16 tiles will definitely not change, those tiles can be culled from rendering entirely, saving both read and write bandwidth. As a conceptual example, if the GPU composites your entire desktop while you’re writing an email, there’s no need to re-render your web browser in the other window, since that hasn’t changed. I implemented an initial version of this optimization in Panfrost, accumulating the scissor state across draws within a frame, rendering only to the largest bounding box of the scissors. This optimization is particularly helpful for desktop composition, ideally improving performance on workloads like GNOME, Sway, and Weston.

      • GNOME Usage Gets More Useful at Reporting Disk Space

        I was super excited when GNOME Usage debuted in GNOME 3.28 as a ‘preview’ app.

        So I’m also super excited to hear that the user-focused apps is about to get even more useful — all courtesy of a high-school coder interning at Red Hat, no less!

        Usage was, initially, intended to be a revamped version of the standard System Monitor tool that ships as part of the GNOME desktop, albeit with a few extra bells and whistles.

        These days it’s more of its own thing, with its own direction, and is pitched as a user-friendly alternative to System Monitor, not a direct replacement for it.

  • Distributions

    • How a trip to China inspired Endless OS and teaching kids to hack

      Last year, I decided to try out Endless OS, a lightweight, Linux-based operating system developed to power inexpensive computers for developing markets. I wrote about installing and setting it up. Endless OS is unique because it uses a read-only root file system managed by OSTree and Flatpak, but the Endless company is unique for its approach to education.

      Late last year, Endless announced the Hack, a $299 laptop manufactured by Asus that encourages kids to code, and most recently the company revealed The Third Terminal, a group of video games designed to get kids coding while they’re having fun. Since I’m so involved in teaching kids to code, I wanted to learn more about Endless Studios, the company behind Endless OS, The Third Terminal, The Endless Mission, a sandbox-style game created in partnership with E-Line Media, and other ventures targeted at expanding digital literacy and agency among children around the world.

      I reached out to Matt Dalio, Endless’ founder, CEO, and chief of product and founder of the China Care Foundation, to ask about Endless and his charitable work supporting orphaned children with special needs in China.

    • 5 of the Best Linux Distros for Beginners

      If you’re considering giving Linux a try, you might be put off by the risk of a steep learning curve. Not every Linux distro is as hard to get your head around as Arch, however. A number of Linux distros are perfectly well-suited to beginners.

      Let’s take a closer look at five ideal Linux distros for beginners taking their first steps into the Linux world.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE Enterprise Storage: A Best Practice Guide

        First things first. What exactly is SUSE Enterprise Storage? Very simply, it is an intelligent software-defined storage solution, powered by Ceph technology, which enables you to transform your enterprise storage infrastructure.
        You can take any server, install the software and consume the storage behind it. And because it is based on Ceph technology,you get all the functionality Ceph provides, such as unified block, object and file storage, thin provisioning, erasure coding and cache tiering. It is self-healing and self-managing so when a problem occurs, it will take care itself.

      • SUSE Linux bridges the gap between the server and the cloud

        Business IT is heading for the cloud. But, as the saying goes, “The cloud is just other people’s computers.” It’s more complicated than that. SUSE knows that, and with its recent release of its flagship operating system, SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Server (SLES) Service Pack 1, it’s created an operating system that bridges the distance between server and clouds.

        SUSE calls this Multimodal IT. What’s that, you ask? It means SLES 15 SP1 integrates cloud-based platforms with your enterprise systems; it merges containerized development with traditional development, and combining legacy applications with microservices. One operating system, many roles.

        “SUSE Linux Enterprise is a modern and modular OS that helps simplify multimodal IT, making traditional IT infrastructure efficient and providing an engaging platform for developers,” said Thomas Di Giacomo, SUSE president of engineering, product, and innovation, in a statement “As a result, organizations can easily deploy and transition business-critical workloads across their core on-premise and public cloud environments. SUSE’s open, open-source approach means we work with our customers’ preferred partners and vendors, minimizing customer disruption as they innovate and evolve their systems to meet business needs.”

      • SUSE Manager 4: Traditional server management marries DevOps

        Managing Linux servers has never been easy. Programs like Cockpit, cPanel, and Webmin use a GUI to make it simpler to handle common sysadmin tasks. But, with servers moving from the racks in your server room to the cloud and the edge and the Internet of Things (IoT), we need more. That’s where DevOps comes in. And now programs like the new SUSE Manager 4 combine the best of both sysadmin approaches.

        Daniel Nelson, SUSE VP of products and solutions, explained in a statement: “SUSE Manager manages physical, virtual, and containerized systems across edge, core, and cloud environments, all from a single centralized console. It’s part of the IT transformation that lowers costs, reduces complexity, and boosts business agility.”

      • From the store to the core to the cloud: Introducing SUSE Manager for Retail 4

        We are very pleased to announce the availability of SUSE Manager for Retail 4!
        Built on SUSE Manager 4, SUSE Manager for Retail 4 delivers best-in-class open source infrastructure management, optimized and tailored specifically for the Retail industry. This latest release of SUSE Manager for Retail delivers new enhancements focused on improving operational efficiency, increasing scalability, reducing complexity and simplifying management of Retail environments:

      • Much more with 4! Keeping your infrastructure Healthy, Secure and Compliant with SUSE Manager 4

        Simplify management and reduce operational expenditure with enhanced package staging through a new Content Lifecycle Management (CLM) user interface and improved APIs for managing packages, patches and configurations. Moving packages across multiple stages, like development, QA and production is now a simple UI-based task.
        Ease virtual machine management complexity with new Salt based virtual machine management that allows the near real-time management hundreds of servers. This allows managing virtual machines through a UI, with start/stop buttons, and by defining Salt states: For example, you can create a Salt state that always ensures that the same three virtual machines are created and running on all your retail branch servers!

      • SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 latest update brings cloud-native, containerized apps support

        ith the latest Linux Enterprise 15 come support for cloud-native, containerized applications, which will allow companies to head to the next level.

        At this year’s Open Source Summit held in Shanghai, China, SUSE made a huge announcement regarding the release of Linux Enterprise 15 Service Pack 1. They mentioned that their product would support both traditional and trending containerized workloads. Accordingly, the enterprises using this OS will be able to benefit both presently and in the long run.

        For companies having the aim to work with a DevOps approach, it is necessary to design, deploy, and run microservices-based, cloud-native applications. Besides, they would also have to produce the latest containerized applications alongside Kubernetes or other orchestration software. Not only that but the same companies must also maintain traditional systems for several different, essential workloads, such as databases and ERP systems.

    • Fedora

      • Fedora Workstation 31 to come with Wayland support, improved core features of PipeWire, and more

        On Monday, Christian F.K. Schaller, Senior Manager for Desktop at Red Hat, shared a blog post that outlined the various improvements and features coming in Fedora Workstation 31. These include Wayland improvements, more PipeWire functionality, continued improvements around Flatpak, Fleet Commander, and more.

      • Fedora’s AAC Support Finally Seeing Audio Quality Improvements

        Fedora’s version of the FDK-AAC library that they began shipping in 2017 to finally provide AAC audio support strips out what was patented encumbered functionality. But that gutting of the code did cause some problems like audio playback glitches that are now being addressed.

        Fortunately, better AAC support is on the way to Fedora. There is this F30 update pending to provide an updated AAC implementation with quality enhancements.

    • Debian Family

      • Jonathan Carter: PeerTube and LBRY

        I have many problems with YouTube, who doesn’t these days, right? I’m not going to go into all the nitty gritty of it in this post, but here’s a video from a LBRY advocate that does a good job of summarizing some of the issues by using clips from YouTube creators:

        I have a channel on YouTube for which I have lots of plans for. I started making videos last year and created 59 episodes for Debian Package of the Day. I’m proud that I got so far because I tend to lose interest in things after I figure out how it works or how to do it. I suppose some people have assumed that my video channel is dead because I haven’t uploaded recently, but I’ve just been really busy and in recent weeks, also a bit tired as a result. Things should pick up again soon.

      • Debian Installer Buster RC2 Released

        With Debian 10 “Buster” aiming to be released in early July, a second release candidate of the Debian Installer has been made available.

      • Debian Installer Buster RC 2 release

        The Debian Installer team[1] is pleased to announce the second release candidate of the installer for Debian 10 “Buster”.

      • June 2019 Matrix on Debian update

        Unfortunately, the recently published Synapse 1.0 didn’t make it into Debian Buster, which is due to be released next week, so if you install 0.99.2 from Buster, you need to update to a newer version which will be available from backports shortly after the release.

        Originally, 0.99 was meant to be the last version before 1.0, but due to a bunch of issues discovered since then, some of them security-related, new incompatible room format was introduced in 0.99.5. This means 0.99.2 currently in Debian Buster is going to only see limited usefulness, since rooms are being upgraded to the new format as 1.0 is being deployed across the network.

        For those of you running forever unstable Sid, good news: Synapse 1.0 is now available in unstable! ACME support has not yet been enabled, since it requires a few packages not yet in Debian (they’re currently in the NEW queue). We hope it will be available soon after Buster is released.

      • Support your local Hackerspace

        My first Hackerspace was Noisebridge. It was full of smart and interesting people and I never felt like I belonged, but I had just moved to San Francisco and it had interesting events, like 5MoF, and provided access to basic stuff I hadn’t moved with me, like a soldering iron. While I was never a heavy user of the space I very much appreciated its presence, and availability even to non-members. People were generally welcoming, it was a well stocked space and there was always something going on.

        These days my local hackerspace is Farset Labs. I don’t have a need for tooling in the same way, being lucky enough to have space at home and access to all the things I didn’t move to the US, but it’s still a space full of smart and interesting people that has interesting events. And mostly that’s how I make use of the space – I attend events there. It’s one of many venues in Belfast that are part of the regular Meetup scene, and for a while I was just another meetup attendee. A couple of things changed the way I looked at. Firstly, for whatever reason, I have more of a sense of belonging. It could be because the tech scene in Belfast is small enough that you’ll bump into the same people at wildly different events, but I think that’s true of the tech scene in most places. Secondly, I had the realisation (and this is obvious once you say it, but still) that Farset was the only non-commercial venue that was hosting these events. It’s predominantly funded by members fees; it’s not getting Invest NI or government subsidies (though I believe Weavers Court is a pretty supportive landlord).

      • Sam Hartman: AH/DAM/DPL Meet Up

        All the members of the Antiharassment team met with the Debian Account Managers and the DPL in that other Cambridge— the one with proper behaviour, not the one where pounds are weight and not money.

        I was nervous. I was not part of decision making earlier this year around code of conduct issues. I was worried that my concerns would be taken as insensitive judgment applied by someone who wasn’t there.

        I was worried about whether I would find my values aligned with the others. I care about treating people with respect. I also care about freedom of expression. I value a lot of feminist principles and fighting oppression. Yet I’m happy with my masculinity. I acknowledge my privilege and have some understanding of the inequities in the world. Yet I find some arguments based on privilege problematic and find almost all uses of the phrase “check your privilege” to be dismissive and to deny any attempt at building empathy and understanding.

        And Joerg was there. He can be amazingly compassionate and helpful. He can also be gruff at times. He values brevity, which I’m not good at. I was bracing myself for a sharp, brief, gruff rebuke delivered in response to my feedback. I know there would be something compassionate under such a rebuke, but it might take work to find.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • New Oracle Java 11 Installer For Ubuntu Or Linux Mint (Using Local Oracle Java .tar.gz)

            As many of you already know, Oracle Java requires logging in to an Oracle account to download most versions (all except Oracle Java 12). A while back I created Oracle Java 11 and 12 installer packages (based on the package by Web Upd8), and a PPA for Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

            Since Oracle Java 11 can’t be directly downloaded from Oracle any more, the installer no longer works, so I created a new installer that requires the user to create an Oracle account, download the Oracle Java 11 .tar.gz archive (the same version as the installer), and place the archive in /var/cache/oracle-jdk11-installer-local/. After this, you can install the oracle-java11-installer-local package, and it will set up Oracle Java 11 for you.

            Everything else works as before. You can install the oracle-java11-set-default-local package to set Oracle Java 11 as default for example (not only set it as default using a .jinfo file and update-alternatives, but also export the JAVA_HOME environment variable, etc.).

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu Studio: Regarding Ubuntu’s Statement on 32-bit i386 Packages

              One of the biggest features of Carla being in the repositories is that it allows a WINE Bridge for Windows-based VST plugins, the vast majority of which are still compiled in 32-bit. Without 32-bit support, this feature is dead. This makes converting to Ubuntu Studio from Windows especially hard on those who rely on Windows VST plugins, the vast majority for which there is no Linux alternative. If this WINE bridge were to disappear, so would a large part of our user base. This would be a large part of professional recording studios and artists that would rather not be running Windows.

              Additionally, any native Linux audio plugins compiled in 32-bit and brought-in from 3rd party sources would also no longer work (Carla provides a bridge for these, too). Audio plugins included in Ubuntu Studio and the repositories would not be affected.

              However, the eventuality is that 32-bit software will eventually have to disappear. So, we urge you to contact the publisher/developer of whatever 32-bit plugin you rely on and urge the publisher/developer of that plugin to begin to compile their plugins in 64-bit.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • OpenStack Foundation Joins Open Source Initiative as Affiliate Member

    The Open Source Initiative ® (OSI), steward of the Open Source Definition and internationally recognized body for approving Open Source Software licenses, today announces the affiliate membership of The OpenStack Foundation (OSF).

    Since 2012, the OSF has been the home for the OpenStack cloud software project, working to promote the global development, distribution and adoption of open infrastructure. Today, with five active projects and more than 100,000 community members from 187 countries, the OSF is recognized across industries as both a leader in open source development and an exemplar in open source practices.

    The affiliate membership provides both organizations a unique opportunity to work together to identify and share resources that foster community and facilitate collaboration to support the awareness and integration of open source technologies. While Open Source Software is now embraced and often touted by organizations large and small, for many just engaging with the community—and even some longtime participants—challenges remain. Community-based support and resources remain vital, ensuring those new to the ecosystem understand the norms and expectations, while those seeking to differentiate themselves remain authentically engaged. The combined efforts of the OSI and the OSF will compliment one another and contribute to these efforts.

  • Events

    • Dirk Hohndel | VP & Chief Open Source Officer – VMware

      Guest: Dirk Hohndel, VP and Chief Open Source Officer at VMware
      Location: KubeCon+CloudNativeCon, Barcelona
      Travel & Lodging was sponsored by CNCF

    • Databases Microconference Accepted into 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference

      We are pleased to announce that the Databases Microconference has been accepted into the 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference! Linux plumbing is heavily important to those who implement databases and their users who expect fast and durable data handling.

      Durability is a promise never to lose data after advising a user of a successful update, even in the face of power loss. It requires a full-stack solution from the application to the database, then to Linux (filesystem, VFS, block interface, driver), and on to the hardware.

      Fast means getting a database user a response in less that tens of milliseconds, which requires that Linux filesystems, memory and CPU management, and the networking stack do everything with the utmost effectiveness and efficiency.

    • Ten Years of “Linux in the GNU/South”: an Overview of SELF 2019

      The tenth annual SouthEast LinuxFest (SELF) was held on the weekend of June 14–16 at the Sheraton Charlotte Airport Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina. Still running strong, SELF serves partially as a replacement for the Atlanta Linux Showcase, a former conference for all things Linux in the southeastern United States. Since 2009, the conference has provided a venue for those living in the southeastern United States to come and listen to talks by speakers who all share a passion for using Linux-based operating systems and free and open-source software (FOSS). Although some of my praises of the conference are not exclusive to SELF, the presence of such a conference in the “GNU/South” has the long-term potential to have a significant effect on the Linux and FOSS community.

      Despite facing several challenges along the way, SELF’s current success is the result of what is now ten years of hard work by the conference organizers, who currently are led by Jeremy Sands, one of the founding members of the conference. Scanning through the materials for SELF 2019, however, there is no mention that this year’s conference marked a decade of “Linux in the GNU/South”. It actually wasn’t until the conference already was over that I realized this marked SELF’s decennial anniversary. I initially asked myself why this wasn’t front and center on event advertisements, but looking back on SELF, neglecting questions such as “how long have we been going?” and instead focusing on “what is going on now?” and “where do we go from here?” speaks to the admirable spirit and focus of the conference and its attendees. This focus on the content of SELF rather than SELF itself shows the true passion for the Linux community rather than any particular organization or institution that benefits off the community.

      Another element worthy of praise is SELF’s “all are welcome” atmosphere. Whether attendees were met with feelings of excitement to return to an event they waited 362 days for or a sense of apprehension as they stepped down the L-shaped hall of conference rooms for the first time, it took little time for the contagious, positive energy to take its effect. People of all ages and all skill levels could be seen intermingling and enthusiastically inviting anybody who was willing into their conversations and activities. The conference talks, which took all kinds of approaches to thinking about and using Linux, proved that everybody is welcome to attend and participate at the event.

    • Linux Security Summit North America 2019: Schedule Published

      This year, there are some changes to the format of LSS-NA. The summit runs for three days instead of two, which allows us to relax the schedule somewhat while also adding new session types. In addition to refereed talks, short topics, BoF sessions, and subsystem updates, there are now also tutorials (one each day), unconference sessions, and lightning talks.

    • EuroPython 2019: Mobile Conference App available
    • Invitation to the EuroPython Society General Assembly 2019

      We would like to invite all EuroPython attendees and EuroPython Society (EPS) members to attend this year’s EPS General Assembly (GA), which we will run as in-person meeting at the upcoming EuroPython 2019, held in Basel, Switzerland from July 8 – 14.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Hey advertisers, track THIS

        If it feels like the ads chasing you across the internet know you a little too well, it’s because they do (unless you’re an avid user of ad blockers, in which case this is not for you). Earlier this month we announced Enhanced Tracking Protection on by default for new users in our flagship Firefox Quantum browser as a way to stop third-party cookies in their tracks. If you’re still not sure why you’d want to block cookies, today we’re launching a project called Track THIS to help you recognize what they do.

        You’re being followed across the web through cookies—small data files stored by your browser—that remember things like language preferences, sites you’ve visited, or what’s in your shopping cart. That might sound generally fine, but it gets shady when data brokers and advertising networks also use cookies to collect information about your internet habits without your consent. You should still have control over what advertisers know about you—if they know anything about you at all—which can be tough when web trackers operate out of sight.

      • Chris Pearce: Firefox’s Gecko Media Plugin & EME Architecture

        For rendering audio and video Firefox typically uses either the operating system’s audio/video codecs or bundled software codec libraries, but for DRM video playback (like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and the like) and WebRTC video calls using baseline H.264 video, Firefox relies on Gecko Media Plugins, or GMPs for short.

        This blog post describes the architecture of the Gecko Media Plugin system in Firefox, and the major class/objects involved, as it looked in June 2019.

        For DRM video Firefox relies upon Google’s Widevine Content Decryption Module, a dynamic shared library downloaded at runtime. Although this plugin doesn’t conform to the GMP ABI, we provide an adapter to allow it to be run through the GMP system. We use the same Widevine CDM plugin that Chrome uses.

        For decode and encode of H.264 streams for WebRTC, Firefox uses OpenH264, which is provided by Cisco. This plugin implements the GMP ABI.

      • Hacks.Mozilla.Org: How accessibility trees inform assistive tech

        The web is accessible by default. It was designed with features to make accessibility possible, and these have been part of the platform pretty much from the beginning. In recent times, inspectable accessibility trees have made it easier to see how things work in practice. In this post we’ll look at how “good” client-side code (HTML, CSS and JavaScript) improves the experience of users of assistive technologies, and how we can use accessibility trees to help verify our work on the user experience.

      • QMO: Firefox 68 Beta 10 Testday Results

        As you may already know, Friday June 14th – we held a new Testday event, for Firefox 68 Beta 10.

  • LibreOffice

    • Easyhacking: How to create a new “Tip-Of-The-Day” dialog

      LibreOffice is an application with a large number of expert features, and though aimed to be easy to use there are always surprising shortcuts to achieve a goal. We post every day a tip on Twitter, and with the upcoming release 6.3 there will be also a tip-of-the-day messagebox when you start the program. This post aims to show how such a simple messagebox can be implemented (the complete patch is here).

    • bibisect-win64-6.4 is available for cloning!

      The LibreOffice Quality Assurance ( QA ) Team is happy to announce the bisect repository from libreoffice-6-3-branch-point to latest master for Windows is available for cloning at Gerrit. As a novelty, it’s the first time the bisect repository for Windows is built for 64 bits instead of 32 as in previous repositories. Future repositories will be built for 64 bits as well.

    • LibreOffice Appliances project (GSoC 2019)

      So I finally managed to build LibreOffice for armv7 and I have LibreOfficeDev on my TV screen right now. There’s a link to build instructions above and I’ll update it with the autogen flags I used. They’re somewhat arbitrary but yeah.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Richard Stallman: Drop the journalism charges against Julian Assange

      The US government has persecuted Julian Assange for a decade for Wikileaks’ journalism, and now seeks to use his case to label the publishing of leaked secret information as spying.

      The Free Software Foundation stands for freedom of publication and due process, because they are necessary to exercise and uphold the software freedom we campaign for. The attack on journalism threatens freedom of publication; the twisting of laws to achieve an unstated aim threatens due process of law. The FSF therefore calls on the United States to drop all present and future charges against Julian Assange relating to Wikileaks activities.

      Accusations against Assange that are unrelated to journalism should be pursued or not pursued based on their merits, giving him neither better nor worse treatment on account of his journalism.

    • GCC 10 Lands Support For Intel Tiger Lake’s AVX-512 VP2INTERSECT

      Similar to the recent LLVM compiler work, the in-development GCC 10 compiler also now has support for the AVX-512 VP2INTERSECT instructions being introduced on Intel Tiger Lake CPUs.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • GitLab 12.0

      GitLab gives users the ability to automatically create review apps for each merge request. This allows anyone to see how the design or UX has been changed. In GitLab 12.0, we are expanding the ability to discuss those changes by bringing the ability to insert visual review tools directly into the Review App itself. With a small code snippet, users can enable designers, product managers, and other stakeholders to quickly provide feedback on a merge request without leaving the app.

    • 0 bytes left

      Around 2003–2004, a friend and I wrote a softsynth that was used in a 64 kB intro. Now, 14 years later, cTrix and Pselodux picked it up and made a really cool 32 kB tune with it! Who would have thought.

    • A month full of learning with Gnome-GSoC

      In this month I was able to work with Libgit2-glib where Albfan mentored me on how to port functions from Libgit2 to Libgit2-glib.

      Libgit2-glib now has functionality to compare two-buffers.

      This feature I think can now benefit other projects also which requires diff from buffers, for example Builder for it’s diff-view and gedit.

    • Google Developers Are Looking At Creating A New libc For LLVM

      As part of Google’s consolidating their different toolchains around LLVM, they are exploring the possibility of writing a new C library “libc” implementation.

      Google is looking to develop a new C standard library within LLVM that will better suit their use-cases and likely others within the community too.

    • How We Made Conda Faster in 4.7

      We’ve witnessed a lot of community grumbling about Conda’s speed, and we’ve experienced it ourselves. Thanks to a contract from NASA via the SBIR program, we’ve been able to dedicate a lot of time recently to optimizing Conda. We’d like to take this opportunity to discuss what we did, and what we think is left to do.

    • TensorFlow CPU optimizations in Anaconda

      By Stan Seibert, Anaconda, Inc. & Nathan Greeneltch, Intel Corporation TensorFlow is one of the most commonly used frameworks for large-scale machine learning, especially deep learning (we’ll call it “DL” for short). This popular framework has been increasingly used to solve a variety of complex research, business and social problems. Since 2016, Intel and Google have worked together to optimize TensorFlow for DL training and inference speed performance on CPUs. The Anaconda Distribution has included this CPU-optimized TensorFlow as the default for the past several TensorFlow releases. Performance optimizations for CPUs are provided by both software-layer graph optimizations and hardware-specific code paths. In particular, the software-layer graph optimizations use the Intel Math Kernel Library for Deep Neural Networks (Intel MKL-DNN), an open source performance library for DL applications on Intel architecture. Hardware specific code paths are further accelerated with advanced x86 processor instruction set, specifically, Intel Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (Intel AVX-512) and new instructions found in the Intel Deep Learning Boost (Intel DL Boost) feature on 2nd generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors. Let’s take a closer look at both optimization approaches and how to get these accelerations from Anaconda.

    • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #374 (June 25, 2019)
    • PHP 7.4.0 alpha 2 Released

      PHP team is glad to announce the release of the second PHP 7.4.0 version, PHP 7.4.0 Alpha 2. This continues the PHP 7.4 release cycle, the rough outline of which is specified in the PHP Wiki.

    • PHP 7.4 Alpha 2 Adds Support For Reading TGA Files, SQLite3 Online Backup API Support

      The second alpha release for this year’s PHP 7.4 release is now available for testing.

      On top of the many features and additions already present in PHP 7.4 Alpha, the second alpha release brings two additional changes worth noting in particular. One of them is support for reading TGA (Truevision TGA) image files within the GD extension. Another notable one is making the SQLite3 Online Backup API available from PHP.

    • The Effort To Parallelize GCC With Threads Is Starting To Take Shape

      Back in April we wrote about a proposal for providing better parallelization within GCC itself to address use-cases such as very large source files. That effort was accepted as part of this year’s Google Summer of Code and the student developer pursing this parallelization with threads has issued his first progress report.

      Giuliano Belinassi is the student developer working on parallelizing GCC with threads for GSoC 2019. He has been refactoring code needed to make this effort work out and so far is on track with his planned objectives for the period.

    • This Week In Rust: This Week in Rust 292

      Hello and welcome to another issue of This Week in Rust! Rust is a systems language pursuing the trifecta: safety, concurrency, and speed. This is a weekly summary of its progress and community. Want something mentioned? Tweet us at @ThisWeekInRust or send us a pull request. Want to get involved? We love contributions.

    • Developer-led Sales for Startups

      This blog post contains the slides along with a loose transcript from my talk on the promises and perils of developer-led sales as an early-stage company strategy for acquiring customers.

      I gave this talk remotely to Ubiquity.VC portfolio company founders and the Extended Team on June 26, 2019.

    • Logistic Regression In Python | Python For Data Science

      Logistic regression in Python is a predictive analysis technique. It is also used in Machine Learning for binary classification problems. In this blog we will go through the following topics to understand logistic regression in Python…

    • Programming language Python’s ‘existential threat’ is app distribution: Is this the answer?

      Python might soon be the most popular programming language in the world, but it does have a weakness: there’s no easy way to distribute Python apps as a simple executable or a program that people can run on their computers without knowing anything about Python.

      Szorc, who’s been improving Firefox and Mozilla tools for the past decade, may have solved this distribution problem, which Australian programmer Russell Keith-Magee recently described as Python’s potential “black swan” – a theory built around the idea that the realization of completely unexpected and extreme events can have an outsized impact on the future, yet seem obvious in hindsight.

      Besides the actual black swan discovered in Western Australia in the 17th century, the PC’s popularity supposedly was not predicted by IBM’s CEO in the 1940s, making it one too.

    • Episode #136: A Python kernel rather than cleaning the batteries?
    • Python is still not there yet

      I have been blogging about Python programming language for a while since 2017, the reason which I continue to write about this programing language is due to the popularity of this language in the programming languages world! At the moment Python is ranked mostly in the top three positions beginning at 2019 at both TIOBE Index and The PYPL PopularitY of Programming Language Index. Those impressive statistic figures from the above sites certainly suggest that Python is already the world number 1, and indeed there are a few reasons that will further solidify that claim. 1) The uncertainty of Java, which now requires the Java developer to pay for using the Java programming language. My Java knowledge has been stopped at Java 7 and goes no further than that because I simply can?t afford to pay such an expensive amount of fees just to use Java to create a free application or game for the computer users. Recently I have started to pick up Kotlin which is based on Java just in case I can?t use Java to develop Android application anymore without paying a fee in the future, but will Java ask for the fee from the Kotlin developer in the future as well? I have a feeling that the Android OS will see more issues in the near future. 2) The future of the C series languages depends on the windows application developer as well as the game developer. Just like Java, C type of programming language can run in all OS, ranging from Linux to Mac to Windows. But I have spotted 2 problems for series C, 1) for a game developer who uses the famous game engines such as Unity or Unreal, it will usually take a very long time to compile his c# or c++ programming code even with just a small changes, for those of you who have used C# to develop your Unity game before, how long will it takes for the Unity engine to recompile the C# code even just for a very small changes in your game code before you can see your game in action? After a few times using Unity to develop the game, I have now switched to Godot where the compile time is indeed very fast as compared to Unity. 2) pointer is not a good idea in c++, even the experienced programmer will make a silly mistake by pointing a variable to one of the rubbish address, c++ is the world most difficult to debug programming language, it is really hard for me to spot the bug within the c++ program because sometime the bug will not appear during the compilation time. So there you have it, with Java and the series C out of the path, Python is now ready to become the world number 1. All the Python supporters certainly will be very happy about that after they have spent thousands of hour learning and creating an application for Python and now it is time to harvest their Soya Bean! But not too fast, because I think there are a few areas Python still needs to improve before Python can rule the world! Here are those parts that I think Python.org needs to work on if it really has the ambition to become world number 1!

    • Real Python: Python Community Interview With Katrina Durance

      With PyCon US 2019 over, I decided to catch up with a PyCon first-timer, Katrina Durance. I was curious to see how she found the experience and what her highlights were. I also wanted to understand how attending a conference like PyCon influenced her programming chops.

    • Book review – Python for Programmers, by Paul Deitel and Harvey Deitel
    • PyCon: PyCon 2019 Code of Conduct Transparency Report [Ed: “Transparency Report” that does not mention PyCon was 'sold' to Microsoft? What have these events become? The Code of Conduct places emphasis on social justice, but not justice itself (or corruption), for example bribery and crimes of corporations, which is perhaps why they like it so much.]

      The PyCon Code of Conduct sets standards for how our community interacts with others during the conference. A Code of Conduct without appropriate reporting and response procedures is difficult to enforce transparently, and furthermore a lack of transparency in the outcomes of Code of Conduct incidents leaves the community without knowledge of how or if the organizers worked to resolve incidents.

      In our efforts to continue to improve how PyCon handles CoC incidents, staff, volunteers and community members participated in a CoC training prior to PyCon 2019. In having more people trained we provided a more thorough process for reporting and responses.
      With that in mind, we have prepared the following to help the community understand what kind of incidents we received reports about and how the PyCon staff responded.

    • More frequent Python releases?

      Python has followed an 18-month release cycle for many years now; each new 3.x release comes at that frequency. It has worked well, overall, but there is interest in having a shorter cycle, which would mean that new features get into users’ hands more quickly. But changing that longstanding cycle has implications in many different places, some of which have come up as part of a discussion on switching to a cycle of a different length.

      Łukasz Langa, who is the release manager for the upcoming 3.8 release, as well as the manager for the date-to-be-determined release of 3.9, has proposed PEP 596 (“Python 3.9 Release Schedule (doubling the release cadence)”). As its name would imply, the PEP proposes halving the current release cycle to nine months, which would make the 3.9 release happen in June 2020. As described in PEP 569 (“Python 3.8 Release Schedule”), the Python 3.8 release is slated for October of this year; it is in beta at this point, so no new features can be added. The beta release also marks the start of development for the next release, so work on 3.9 has already begun. With that overlap, a nine-month cycle would actually allow seven or eight months for feature development and four or five months for shaking out the bugs from the first beta release on.

    • 7 Python Function Examples with Parameters, Return and Data Types
  • Standards/Consortia

    • DisplayPort 2.0 Published For 3x Increase In Data Bandwidth Performance

      VESA announced their first major update to the DisplayPort interface in three years.

      DisplayPort 2.0 provides for a three fold increase in data bandwidth performance compared to DP 1.4a, support beyond 8K resolutions, higher refresh rates and HDR at higher resolutions, and other enhancements. DisplayPort 2.0 will work both on DisplayPort connectors and USB Type-C with backwards compatibility.

Leftovers

  • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Angola Anthem’ By Dr. John

    Malcolm John Rebennack Jr., known in the world of music as Dr. John, died on June 6. His hometown of New Orleans bid farewell to the musician last Saturday and paraded through the streets with brass bands playing in his honor as his casket was taken by a horse carriage to a cemetery.

    Dr. John launched his career in the late 1960s with the moniker of “The Night Tripper.” His personality fused blues, psychedelia, rock and roll, funk, jazz, and the sounds of Mardi Gras. He brought a mystique to the stage that was defined by New Orleans.

    He did not produce a lot of protest music, however, in the 2000s, when President George W. Bush was in office, he recorded the Grammy Award-winning album “City That Care Forgot” with the band, the Lower 911. It was in response to the government’s total neglect of people impacted by Hurricane Katrina.

    When the Deepwater Horizon disaster occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, he spoke out along with residents against BP and demanded accountability.

    Dr. John went on to find an audience with a new generation of music fans when he recorded the acclaimed album “Locked Down” with the help of the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach in 2012.

    Various songs dealt with his outrage over the impacts of the hurricane and BP oil disaster still being felt throughout local communities. He also spoke in general against war and poverty, as well as the propaganda leading folks into confusion and delusion. “KKK, CIA, all playing in the same cage,” he mused.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • WaPo Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Medicare for All Will Cut Their Health Costs

      Healthcare consistently ranks as one of the top issues for Democratic voters, so helping those voters understand Democratic presidential candidates’ positions on healthcare ought to be a key job for journalists. Right? A recent survey of those voters shows that they are woefully confused and misinformed, and a recent Washington Post story on the issue perfectly illustrated why that’s the case.

      The Kaiser Family Foundation, a health policy think tank, polled people on their knowledge and opinions about Medicare for All and other healthcare reform ideas, and found all sorts of mistaken beliefs—most notably, that under Medicare for All, people would still pay deductibles, co-pays and premiums, and that they would be able to keep private insurance plans they currently have.

      On the other hand, Democratic voters are clear in the Kaiser survey that they want to hear from the candidates about decreasing healthcare costs, increasing access, protecting the ACA and implementing Medicare for All.

  • Security

    • AMD Releases Firmware Update To Address SEV Vulnerability

      A new security vulnerability has been made public over AMD’s Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV) having insecure cryptographic implementations. Fortunately, this AMD SEV issue is addressed by a firmware update.

      CVE-2019-9836 has been made pulic as the AMD Secure Processor / Secure Encrypted Virtualization having an insecure cryptographic implementation.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Regulatory Compliance and Red Hat Security

      In today’s interconnected world, data security has never been more important. Virtually every industry, from healthcare to banking and everything in between, has rules for how businesses handle data. Failure to meet regulatory compliance spells serious trouble for your business. Depending on the severity of the infraction, you could end up with fines, loss of reputation/revenue, or jail time.

      Fortunately, these consequences are avoidable with a few proactive steps. By training your IT staff to keep your systems secure, you can prevent harmful or costly data breaches.

    • Using Quay.io to find vulnerabilities in your container images

      You’ve created a container image that has all the packages that you and your team need to do something useful, or maybe you’ve built a public image that anybody can use. But, what if that image contains packages with known security vulnerabilities? Regardless of the severity of those vulnerabilities, you’ll want to learn more and take steps to mitigate them as soon as possible.

      Fortunately, your team uses Quay.io* as your registry. When you push an image to Quay.io, it automatically runs a security scan against that image.

    • This Malware Created By A 14-Yr-Old Is Bricking Thousands Of Devices [Ed: "It's targeting any Unix-like system with default login credentials," the original source says.]

      A new malware called Silex is on its way to brick thousands of IoT devices. The malware has been developed by a 14-year old teenager known by the pseudonym Light Leafon. The malware strain is inspired by the infamous malware called BrickerBot, which is notorious for bricking millions of IoT devices way back in 2017.

    • New Silex malware is bricking IoT devices, has scary plans
    • xxxxxxxxxx

    • New Linux Worm Attacks IoT Devices [Ed: How to blame "Linux" for default passwords in devices (and some now also blame "Iran", citing a CIA 'proxy' Recorded Future in relation to this because they want war)]

      Silex has ‘bricked’ more than 2000 Linux-based IoT devices so far.

    • Your server remote login isn’t root:password, right? Cool. You can keep your data. Oh sh… your IoT gear, though? [Ed: All this "Silex" 'news' tries to blame Iran for cracking by guessing default passwords; but this is attempted every day by dozens of nations, every minute in a lot of cases. Any political motivation behind this Iran angle?]

      Earlier this week, infosec outfit Recorded Future claimed a Tehran-backed group known as Elfin, or APT33, has been increasingly active in recent months, largely targeting industrial facilities and companies within Saudi Arabia that do business with the US and other Western countries.

    • ‘Silex’ Malware Renders Internet-of-Things Devices Useless. Here’s How to Prevent It [Ed: War lovers’ media, e.g. Fortune (see parent) and CBS (through ZDNet) push this whole “Iran” angle, manufactured in part by Recorded Future, which works with the CIA. This is the source of all these “Iran is cracking your gear” stories (every large nation does it all the time, so why the focus on Iran all of a sudden?)]
    • Silex malware targeting IoT devices spotted by security researchers
    • Daily News Roundup: Hackers Broke into Ten Telecom Networks [Ed: Definitely sounds like they used Windows, which executes malware without obstructing the users (who might just open an E-mail or click on a link)]

      Security researchers have revealed hackers spent years burrowing into ten different telecoms. Using a common method of an email with a link leading to malware, the hackers then used sophisticated techniques to target specific individuals.

      Security researchers at Cybereason revealed details of years-long attempts to break into telecom services (cell phone carriers). Starting in 2017, and possibly before, hackers sent emails to unsuspecting telecom employees with malicious links. The initial payload gave the hackers access to the telecom networks.

      Once in, the hackers ultimately compromised the network, gaining administrative privileges, and even creating a VPN on the system that let hackers access large amounts of data and empowered them even to shut down the telecom network entirely. The hackers had so much power that Amit Serper, Principal Security Researcher at Cybereason, described them as essentially a “de facto shadow IT department of the company.”

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Russia’s latest military drone is disguised as an owl choking on a light bulb

      Move over Hedwig, because Russian military developers have designed a new aerial reconnaissance drone that’s disguised as a snowy owl. The bird of prey turned heads at Russia’s “Army-2019” forum this week, when the “Era” military technology center set up video screens to show footage demonstrating the drone’s capability of guiding aviation and artillery.

    • Iranian President Says White House ‘Afflicted by Mental Retardation’

      Iran warned Tuesday that new U.S. sanctions targeting its supreme leader and other top officials meant “closing the doors of diplomacy” between Tehran and Washington amid heightened tensions, even as the country’s president derided the White House as being “afflicted by mental retardation.”

      President Hassan Rouhani went on to call the sanctions against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “outrageous and idiotic,” especially since the 80-year-old Shiite cleric has no plans to travel to the United States.

      Yet the sharp response from Tehran shows the pressure that the nation’s Shiite theocracy and its 80 million people feel over the maximalist campaign of sanctions by the Trump administration. From Israel, President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton said Iran could walk through an “open door” to talks with America, though he also warned that “all options remain on the table” if Tehran makes good on its promise to begin breaking one limit from its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

    • The Hybrid War Against Iran

      U.S. President Donald Trump sat in the White House and contemplated a war against Iran. His army had been sending surveillance aircraft along the Iranian coastline, teasing Iranian radar, which tracked these manned and unmanned planes as they skirted the 12 nautical mile limit of Iranian sovereignty. Last week, the United States had two planes alongside Iran’s coast—an unmanned Global Hawk drone and a manned P-8 spy plane.

      Iranian air command radioed the U.S. forces to say that both the drone and the spy plane had come inside Iranian territory. The P-8 shifted course to leave Iranian airspace, while the Global Hawk continued. Iranian officials say that it was because the Global Hawk remained in Iranian airspace that it was shot down last Thursday morning at 4 a.m.

      Trump and his team threatened to retaliate. They wanted to shoot at Iranian radar and anti-aircraft facilities. At the 11th hour, Trump said, he decided not to fire at Iranian targets. The Pentagon had warned him that this would threaten U.S. troops in the area. It was to protect these troops that Trump did not launch a strike.

    • Polish citizen accused of trying to smuggle missile components out of Russia sentenced to 14 years for espionage

      On June 25, the Moscow City Court convicted Polish citizen Marian Radzaevski of espionage and sentenced him to 14 years in a high-security prison colony. The trial was closed to the public because it involved confidential case materials.

      According to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Radzaevski attempted to organize an arms export shipment to Poland that included state secrets related to the S-300 guided missile system. The suspect was caught red-handed during an attempt to negotiate a deal for the equipment, the FSB asserted. While the agency did not publicly reveal any details of the planned exchange, its representatives argued that Radzaevski “acted in the interests of a Polish organization that is a leading supplier for that country’s military and intelligence services.” The agency did not specify the name of the organization in question.

    • When NPR Is More Dangerous Than Fox News

      When military conflict between the United States and Iran seems to be approaching, and you’re trying to get a clear picture of the situation, I’m only half-kidding when I say there’s a case to be made for staying glued to Fox News. Sure, you’ll hear a lot of pro-war propaganda. But at least you’ll know that’s what it is. If you instead tune in to “mainstream” media, you may think you’re getting an objective account when in fact you’re getting an account that’s biased in favor of war—just biased in subtler, harder-to-detect ways than the accounts on Fox News.

      Disclaimer: I’m not saying that mainstream journalists and commentators who evince these biases are consciously anti-Iran or pro-war. Usually the problem is just that they’re Americans, viewing the world through American lenses, relying on America’s ecosystem of expertise. And, of course, they’re human—which means they have cognitive biases that distort reality in accordance with their group affiliations (such as, say, being American).

      Consider a report that ran on NPR Thursday, hours after Iran downed a U.S. surveillance drone that, according to Iran, had violated Iranian airspace and, according to the United States, hadn’t. Rachel Martin, host of Morning Edition, began the segment by providing some context: “Since the Trump administration announced a maximum-pressure campaign against Iran, Iran has responded by attacking oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.”

    • The Ongoing Restructuring of the Greater Middle East

      So, according to the corporate media, and to President Literally Hitler, himself, while America was sleeping last Friday morning, the U.S. Air Force was just minutes away from bombing the bejesus out of some desolate outposts somewhere in the Iranian desert and launching another catastrophic military blunder in the Middle East.

      At approximately 0400 Zulu time, President Hitler and his top advisors (among them, John “the Walrus of Death” Bolton) were gathered in the Pentagon’s War Room, flight paths arcing across the big board. The hotline to Vladimir Putin’s office in St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow had been activated. The full force of the U.S. military was about to be brought to bear upon a package of top-level Iranian targets with no strategic value whatsoever.

      [...]

      Also, they don’t like homosexuals (i.e., the Iranians, not NATO, of course), and they burn big American flags on television, and are generally Hitlerian in every other way. On top of which, they’re allies of Russia, the fount of all democracy-hating, fascist evil in the world today.

      Which, I don’t know, makes it kind of weird that President Hitler would want to attack them, and destroy their economy with those crippling sanctions.

      I mean, why would Putin allow him to do that? What was the point of brainwashing all those African Americans with those Facebook ads if his Manchurian President Hitler Puppet was just going to let The Walrus of Death and his deep state cronies bomb his allies?

      [...]

      For example, that destabilization and restructuring of the Greater Middle East I just mentioned above, which has been in progress since the early 1990s, regardless of who was sleeping in the White House.

    • An interview with the Russian video game developer who bought F-16 manuals on eBay and went to jail in Utah for it

      On June 19, 42-year-old flight simulation developer Oleg Tishchenko was sentenced in the United States. In 2011, he had purchased instruction manuals for the American F-16 fighter jet model on eBay. Five years later, the U.S. government brought criminal charges, and in early 2019, Tishchenko was extradited after he flew to Georgia for a dance festival. The game developer, who was tried in Utah, could have faced more than 10 years in prison for conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, violating the Arms Export Control Act, and smuggling. However, some of the charges against him were dropped, and the court counted the year he had spent in jail since his capture in Georgia toward his one-year sentence. Following Tishchenko’s immediate release, he was deported to Russia, where we asked him about the charges he faced and his life behind bars in the U.S. and Georgia.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • To Prevent ‘Climate Apartheid Scenario’ Where Rich Escape and Poor Suffer, UN Report Issues Urgent Call for Global Economic Justice

      “Perversely, while people in poverty are responsible for just a fraction of global emissions, they will bear the brunt of climate change, and have the least capacity to protect themselves,” U.N. special rapporteur Philip Alston, author of the new report, said in a statement.

      Even if warming is held to 1.5°C by the end of the century, Alston said, “tens of millions will be impoverished, leading to widespread displacement and hunger.”

      Alston’s 21-page report (pdf), which will be presented to the U.N. human rights council on Friday, predicts that millions of people across the planet could “face malnutrition due to devastating drought” over the next few decades due to the climate crisis, “and many more will have to choose between starvation and migration.”

      To prevent this nightmare scenario, the report calls for “a fundamental shift in the global economy” aimed at protecting vulnerable populations from climate impacts while dramatically slashing carbon emissions.

      “Maintaining the current course is a recipe for economic catastrophe,” Alston said in a statement. “Economic prosperity and environmental sustainability are fully compatible but require decoupling economic well-being and poverty reduction from fossil fuel emissions.”

    • Oregon Republicans Backed by Right-Wing Militias Flee State to Stall Vote on Historic Climate Bill

      The Oregon state Legislature has been in a standoff for nearly one week, after 11 Republican lawmakers fled the Capitol Thursday to avoid voting on a landmark climate change bill. Some are believed to be hiding out in Idaho. Right-wing militias supporting the rogue GOP legislators have threatened violence, which led the remaining lawmakers to shut down the state Capitol in Salem. The climate crisis bill aims to decrease emissions by implementing a statewide cap-and-trade model. Without at least two of the rogue Republican senators present, Oregon Democrats, who control the state Senate and House of Representatives, don’t have the necessary quorum to vote on the legislation. We speak with Oregon Democratic state Representative Karin Power. She is co-chair of the state’s Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction and co-sponsor of the cap-and-trade bill.

    • Amid Demand for Climate Focus, Burning Everglades Offer Fiery Backdrop to First Democratic Primary Debate

      The Sunrise Movement, meanwhile, which has been leading the charge for the Democrats to host a climate debate, announced Tuesday that while the push has already increased pressure on candidates to address the crisis, so much more is needed.

      As part of its ongoing strategy to force the issue, the group will hold debate watching parties nationwide on Thursday alongside plans to flood social media with climate questions for the candidates.

      “We will come together in living rooms, classrooms and halls around the country by the thousands to unleash a social media storm and relentlessly demand the solutions we need,” the group said.

      Find a watch party near you here, or register to create your own here.

      In a strategy message to Sunrise members sent on Monday, executive director Varshini Prakash said that the scale of the climate crisis demands an unprecedented response.

      “We need massive mobilization,” Prakash wrote, “and disruption in every corner of the country unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes: millions of people walking out of school, shutting down government offices, and taking to the streets to tell our leaders: this is a crisis, our lives are on the line, it’s time you start acting like it.”

    • Emulating the CIA, New Rule Would Let Trump’s EPA Disregard FOIA Requests With Near Impunity

      The Trump administration is set to introduce a new rule, without giving the public a chance to weigh in, which will allow officials at the Environmental Protection Agency to deny information requests—similar to how the CIA does so—by falsely claiming requested records are unavailable.

      A rule, signed by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, will expand agency officials’ authority to reject a FOIA request by labeling it as “non-responsive,” meaning the agency has decided to withhold the requested records or has claimed certain exemptions from FOIA.

      President Donald Trump’s Interior Department has previously expanded officials’ authority over FOIA requests, setting up an “awareness review” under which they have 72 hours to review any request which pertains to them.

      The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2016 that agencies have “no authority in the statute for the government” to redact certain information from a FOIA response “on the basis that the information is nonresponsive.”

    • ‘We’re Not Settling for Soundbites’: Citing Democrats’ Own Platform, Open Letter Demands DNC Host at Least One 2020 Debate on Climate Emergency

      Arguing that DNC chair Tom Perez’s refusal to allow a presidential debate focused solely on the climate crisis runs counter to the Democratic Party’s own 2016 policy platform, a coalition of progressive advocacy groups and leading environmentalists on Tuesday published an open letter urging Perez to reverse his decision and devote at least one night to the planetary emergency.

      “The last Democratic platform made clear that we desperately needed emergency action on climate—and since it was adopted we’ve had the hottest year in human history,” Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org and signatory of the open letter, said in a statement. “So it doesn’t seem too much to ask that the candidates, who have months and months of campaigning, devote a single evening to coming to grips with this crisis.”

    • ‘Business as Usual Is a Death Sentence’: Hundreds of Youth Activists Sit In at DNC Headquarters to Demand 2020 Debate on Climate Crisis

      Hundreds of youth activists held a sit-in at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee on Tuesday to demand a climate-specific presidential debate that treats the planetary crisis with the urgency and seriousness it deserves.

      “People everywhere are hurting from pollution and climate disasters, yet our political and media establishment routinely ignores these crises,” Destiney Lee, a 22-year-old Sunrise Movement activist who took part in the protest, said in a statement.

      Agreeing to host a debate centered around the climate emergency, Lee said, is “the absolute least” DNC chair Tom Perez can do.

      “At a climate debate,” Lee added, “we can press candidates on their plan to prevent the collapse of civilization as we know it and ensure my generation has a stable climate, clean air and water, and good jobs.”

    • Florida Is Burning. The Midwest Is Flooding. Why Aren’t Democrats Debating Climate?

      Which is why you’d think it’s a no-brainer for Democrats to spend one of their presidential primary debates having a national conversation about the climate crisis. After all, every major Democrat vying for the presidential nomination — including frontrunner Joe Biden — thinks we should have a debate focused on climate change. So do an overwhelming majority of Democratic primary voters, according to new data, as do the country’s leading environmental and activist groups, like the Sunrise Movement, Greenpeace USA, Credo Action, Friends of the Earth, and 350.org.

      Miami, the host city for the first debate, is staring down the barrel of 3 feet of sea level rise resulting from global warming. Yet our political and media establishment has failed spectacularly to give the climate crisis its due airtime: Only 1.5% of questions asked during the 2016 presidential primary debates were about climate change. The United Nations has told us, in no uncertain terms, that we have 10 years left to act to prevent worldwide ecological collapse, so a televised conversation among those vying to lead our country on the topic seems worthy of at least as much airtime as the birth of the royal baby.

      It’s a conversation worth having, because there are real differences among Democrats on how to approach the issue. Sure, nearly every candidate says they support the Green New Deal, but what that support actually means differs wildly from one candidate to the next. And big questions remain, like how quickly each wants to move the economy off fossil fuels, what role each envisions for nuclear energy in the decades to come, and how heavily we should lean on mythical tech magic like ‘carbon capture’ to pull emissions out of the air.

      My favorite unanswered question comes courtesy of my brilliant friend Kate Aronoff: Would you, as president, consider nationalizing and taking over the fossil fuel industry, given the unprecedented harm their business model is inflicting on the world?

    • Giant Floating Solar Farms Could Make Fuel and Help Solve the Climate Crisis, Says Study

      Millions of solar panels clustered together to form an island could convert carbon dioxide in seawater into methanol, which can fuel airplanes and trucks, according to new research from Norway and Switzerland and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, PNAS, as NBC News reported. The floating islands could drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.

      The paper argues that the technology exists to build the floating methanol islands on a large scale in areas of the ocean free from large waves and extreme weather. Areas of the ocean off the coasts of South America, North Australia, the Arabian Gulf and Southeast Asia are particularly suitable for mooring these islands.

    • How floating solar farms could make fuel and help solve the climate crisis

      Huge solar farms floating in the ocean could be used to convert carbon dioxide in seawater into methanol, a fuel that can power airplanes, trucks and other long-haul vehicles. That’s the takeaway from provocative new research suggesting that such “solar methanol islands” could curb our reliance on fossil fuels that belch harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

      “This is just one of the many things we should be doing to control climate change, along with having better insulation in our homes, having higher efficiency in car engines and driving electric vehicles,” said Bruce Patterson, a physicist at the University of Zurich and co-author of a paper about the research published June 3 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “This is just one piece of a mosaic.”

    • Trump EPA OKs ‘Emergency’ Use of Bee-Killing Pesticide on 13.9 Million Acres

      More than 40 percent of insects could go extinct globally in the next few decades. So why did the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week ok the ‘emergency’ use of the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor on 13.9 million acres?

      EcoWatch teamed up with Center for Biological Diversity via EcoWatch Live on Facebook to find out why. Environmental Health Director and Senior Attorney Lori Ann Burd explained how there is a loophole in the The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act under section 18, “that allows for entities and states to request emergency exemptions to spraying pesticides where they otherwise wouldn’t be allowed to spray.”

    • UCSF Adds Fossil Fuels To Industry Documents Library

      Today, UCSF Library launched a new Fossil Fuel Industry Documents Archive featuring over 1,000 internal documents from the fossil fuel industry illustrating strategies to cast doubt on climate science and delay policy action. The documents were collected over two decades by the Climate Investigations Center.

      UC San Francisco’s Industry Documents Library (IDL) is a unique resource. It gathers and organizes internal documents from companies that privatize profits and socialize costs, risks or damage to health or environment.

      Real science is often inconvenient for profits, so such companies spend money on politics, disinformation, doubt-creation and attacks on science and scientists, sometimes via “independent” think tanks or front groups often covered here on DeSmog.

      UCSF has gotten tobacco documents for decades, but over the last few years has added Drug, Chemical and Food sections to the archive as well. Internal documents from lawsuits, whistleblowers and other sources can be quite valuable for exposing malfeasance, helping community action, backing legislation and supporting lawsuits. It is incredibly helpful to have one database of well-curated documents from multiple industries, as they use similar tactics often employed by some of the same people and organizations, as illustrated by personal experience below.

    • Democrats Set to Square off in a City Under Siege by the Climate Crisis

      The Democratic candidates for president descended upon Miami for a two-night debate on Wednesday and Thursday. Any candidate hoping to carry the state will have to make the climate crisis central to their campaign, as The New York Times reported.

      The evidence of the climate crisis is everywhere around the candidates. It’s a daily reality for the city’s rich and poor residents alike. Not far from Miami, a wildfire consumed 17,000 acres of the Everglades in less than 24 hours and was zero-percent contained by Monday afternoon, according to Vice News.

    • Miami, Drowning and Scorching, Awaits Democrats for Debate

      New water pumps and tidal valves worth millions of dollars are needed to keep the streets from flooding even on sunny days. Septic tanks compromised by rising groundwater leak unfiltered waste that threatens the water supply. Developers are often buying out residents of established communities, hoping to acquire buildable property on higher ground.

      Climate change became a daily reality long ago in Miami, where both rich and poor have been forced to grapple with the compounding effects of warmer temperatures and higher sea levels. The evidence is everywhere of a city under siege by the rising sea.

      “Climate change is really the issue that sits on all other issues,” said Rachel Silverstein, executive director of Miami Waterkeeper, an environmental research and activist group. “It affects security. It affects drinking water. It affects tourism. It affects public health. Property values. It’s a part of the discussion of almost any topic that might come up.”

    • The Everglades Is on Fire

      A massive wildfire has consumed more than 17,000 acres of the Everglades in less than 24 hours.

  • Finance

    • CEOs Got an $800k Raise Last Year. Did You?

      Congratulations on that nice pay raise you got last year. A 7 percent hike — wow!

      After 40 years of stagnant wages, that uptick should help you pay off some of old credit card bills or get an upgrade on your 10-year-old pickup.

      Oh, wait… you say you didn’t get such a raise?

      Oops, my mistake. It was the CEOs of corporate giants who reported to the Associated Press that they enjoyed a median jump of 7 percent last year. And, since their paychecks were already king-size, that amounted to an extra $800,000 in their take-home, jacking up their total yearly income to $12 million each.

    • The Government Is Working — for Corporations

      In light of a violent past, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has withdrawn himself from consideration as President Trump’s official pick to lead the Pentagon, leaving Mark Esper, a former vice president of government relations at Raytheon, to succeed him.

      At first glance, Trump’s half-empty administration might appear understaffed and ineffectual, and in terms of the public interest, that’s probably true. But the Trump administration is very openly working for private interests, not public interests, and in that regard, either Shanahan or Esper will work just fine.

      If you can imagine an obviously inappropriate appointment for any given regulatory body, Trump has probably already filled it. The Daily Beast found that more than half of his 2017 nominations had conflicts of interest, ProPublica confirmed the trend in 2018, and tracking by the Sunlight Foundation suggests little has changed in 2019.

      After all, it wasn’t Shanahan’s history with Boeing, where he oversaw the development of both missiles and 787s, that disqualified him, but rather allegations of domestic abuse. It’s the latest in a series of high-profile turnovers, each one introducing a new industry player just as unfit for government as the last one.

      Interior Secretary David Bernhardt was just confirmed in April after Ryan Zinke resigned amid a staggering 17 ethics investigations. Bernhardt — an anti-science oil lobbyist with so many conflicts of interest that he carries a card around to keep track of them — has a clear record of pursuing regulatory rollbacks at the expense of the environment.

    • The Corporatization of Public Education and The Rise of Fascism

      Suzanne talks with internationally reknowned writer and cultural critic Henry A. Giroux about how corporate values have changed the nature of higher education and the connections between the dismantling of public education and the rise of facism in the U.S. Henry A Giroux is well known for his groundbreaking work in critical pedgagogy and has just published The Terror of The Unforseen, a searing takedown of the populist authoritarian vision of America. The book examines the resurgence of fascism in the age of Donald Trump’s presidency. the language of hatred, state-sanctioned racism, casino capitalism, and fear-mongering at federal and local levels. For more about his work, visit HenryAGiroux.com

    • Russian government to compensate airlines for losses due to Georgia passenger flight ban

      Russian Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov announced that the government would develop a mechanism to compensate Russian airlines for losses sustained during a ban on commercial flights from Russia to Georgia. President Vladimir Putin ordered the ban in response to anti-Russian unrest and clashes with police in Tbilisi.

    • NYT Presents Social Security Cuts as ‘Solution’ to Problem of Social Security Cuts

      It’s hard to improve on economist and FAIR contributor Dean Baker’s observation that corporate media’s calls for cuts to programs for the elderly under the neutral-sounding guise of “reform” are about as predictable as the sunrise. As illustrated by the New York Times’ alarmist 1,581 word report (6/12/19) by Jeff Sommer, headlined “Social Security Is Facing Its First Real Shortfall in Decades,” another favorite media euphemism for cuts to Social Security is “solution.”

      And not just any “solution”; it has to be “bipartisan,” too, in order to beat back the caricature of crazy leftists intent on bankrupting the country with their fiscal irresponsibility, even though there is no evidence that bipartisanship in itself produces better legislation (FAIR.org, 2/3/09).

      Sounding the alarm of a “slow-moving crisis,” the Times warned readers that the most successful anti-poverty program in the United States is going to start drawing on its $2.9 trillion trust fund next year—for the first time since 1982—in order to keep paying out full benefits until 2034 or 2035. If nothing is done, the Times projects that benefits after that point would be cut by an average of 20 percent, and up to 25 percent in later years, because of the “long-known basic math problem” of insufficient numbers of younger people to replace the thousands of Baby Boomers retiring each day. (Actually, Social Security’s long-term problems have relatively little to do with the Baby Boom, most of whom will be dead by 2040.)

      The Times declared the need for a “political solution,” and suggested that the “bipartisan effort” by Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill in the 1980s—which it framed it as something that was “needed” to overcome a similar “crisis” in their time, after Reagan’s budget director’s proposal for immediate cuts to retiree benefits backfired—“gives some clues for a possible solution today.”

      In case readers don’t get the hint that bipartisan cuts to Social Security are necessary, the report ended with quotes from John Cogan—described as “a professor of public policy at Stanford,” not as a senior fellow at the right-wing Hoover Institute—talking about how impending benefit cuts will make a bipartisan compromise “possible,” and a former Social Security trustee claiming that we “undoubtedly” need a “combination of increased taxes and reduced benefits,” because otherwise the “eventual solution will be much more painful.”

    • Banning Private Prisons—and Prisoner Exploitation

      Last Friday, Senator Elizabeth Warren vowed as president to terminate all federal private prison contracts, and to pressure local and state governments to do the same. “The government has a basic responsibility to keep the people in its care safe—not to use their punishment as an opportunity for profit,” she wrote in a Medium post.

      Warren’s plan also promises to regulate private companies’ services in prisons and eliminate service fees for prisoners using basic services like phone calls, bank transfers, and health care. This goes beyond what has become an increasingly common call for abolishing private prison management, and attacks the routine exploitation of disproportionately poor inmates and their families.

      Senator Bernie Sanders introduced the Justice Is Not for Sale Act back in 2015. In a plan not too divergent from Warren’s, the Sanders bill would have banned private prisons and increased oversight of private services operating in prisons. Other Democratic candidates, including Beto O’Rourke and Kamala Harris, have also previously called for an end to private prisons. One day after the release of Warren’s plan, even the moderate Joe Biden punctuated a speech at the South Carolina Democratic Convention with this line: “No more mandatory minimums, period. End private prisons.”

    • Grenfell – Two Years On

      The tragedy of the Grenfell Tower blaze affects every person in the country, not just those living in tower blocks. Many of the safety issues potentially reach into every home, not just high-rise dwellers.

      This is not just about fire-safety. The Grenfell tragedy revealed defects at every level of government, from top to bottom. When action was needed urgently, instead we have witnessed astonishing paralysis. Government has been unable to acknowledge let alone remedy the problems it created. It became obvious the entire system of government is dysfuntional.

      No lessons have been learned, nothing has changed. New buildings are still being covered with plastic cladding and flammable Celotex insulation – “solid petrol” that burns to produce cyanide.

      Even the scale of the potential problem has yet to be properly assessed. The government has set arbitrary limits about the type of buildings and cladding that could be considered – limits that fire would not respect. A dramatic recent blaze at Barking illustrated that the same problems also affect low-rise buildings and types of flammable non-plastic cladding that the government claimed were not at risk.

    • Facebook May Pose a Greater Danger Than Wall Street

      Payments can happen cheaply and easily without banks or credit card companies, as has already been demonstrated—not in the United States but in China. Unlike in the U.S., where numerous firms feast on fees from handling and processing payments, in China most money flows through mobile phones nearly for free. In 2018 these cashless payments totaled a whopping $41.5 trillion; and 90% were through Alipay and WeChat Pay, a pair of digital ecosystems that blend social media, commerce and banking. According to a 2018 article in Bloomberg titled “Why China’s Payment Apps Give U.S. Bankers Nightmares”:

      The nightmare for the U.S. financial industry is that a technology company—whether from China or a homegrown juggernaut such as Amazon.com Inc. or Facebook Inc.—replicates the success of Alipay and WeChat in America. The stakes are enormous, potentially carving away billions of dollars in annual revenue from major banks and other firms.

      That threat may now be materializing. On June 18, Facebook unveiled a white paper outlining ambitious plans to create a new global cryptocurrency called Libra, to be launched in 2020. Facebook reportedly has high hopes that Libra will become the foundation for a new financial system free of control by Wall Street power brokers and central banks.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Sanders’s Speech Presents a Conundrum for New Left’s Socialist Strategy

      In the U.S., the failures of capitalism are being refracted in the race for the White House, just as they were in 2016. On one side, President Trump is rallying his predominantly middle-class voters to re-elect him based on his program of economic nationalism and bigotry that has wreaked havoc at home and abroad.

      On the other side, Democrats are in a battle for their party’s presidential nomination to challenge the bigot billionaire in 2020. Predictably, the party has banded together, at least for now, around the establishment’s favored candidate, Joe Biden, who defends the existing capitalist order, albeit with minor reforms.

      His challengers, however, have moved to the left, adopting (however honestly or dishonestly) much of the program Sen. Bernie Sanders put forward in 2016, while at the same time, rejecting Sanders’s self-proclaimed democratic socialism. They all know, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, that to win the party’s support if Biden stumbles, they must toe its pro-capitalist line.

    • Big bucks ready to flow into Maine as Susan Collins aims to keep her seat

      The Democratic nominee to challenge Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) in 2020 will start with millions of dollars in the bank. And the picture of who that candidate might be is getting a little clearer.
      Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon announced her entry to the Democratic primary Monday, joining progressive lobbyist Betsy Sweet and lawyer Bre Kidman as candidates hoping to challenge Collins in the general election. Of the three, Gideon is the only contender who has previously held public office, and is widely considered to be the frontrunner.
      Maine’s 2020 Senate race is already shaping up to be an expensive one as Democrats hope to flip a key seat in a swing state and Republicans seek to hang on to their narrow Senate majority. Adding to the spending spree is the fundraising that both sides racked up related to Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court last fall.
      Collins, who was first elected to the Senate in 1996, has long been considered one of its most moderate Republicans. Her record on abortion rights got her $10,000 from NARAL and $5,000 from Planned Parenthood during the 2002 election cycle, though neither group has given to her since. She was one of the first members of her party to support outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation, and she was one of three Republicans who sunk the so-called “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act in 2017.

    • Nancy Pelosi’s Anti-Impeachment Stance Makes Increasingly Less Sense With Each Passing Day

      Speaker Pelosi’s continued refusal to allow the House to open impeachment proceedings against President Trump is becoming increasingly incoherent. And her continued assertion that her decision is not about politics is becoming downright unbelievable.

      How is it credible to claim, as Pelosi has, that Trump has committed crimes serious enough to put him in jail, but not serious enough to commence the Constitution’s main remedy for addressing Presidential wrongdoing: impeachment?

      Pelosi’s stance is transparently political. The only coherent reason for this is that she fears the politics of impeachment, not the process – and therein lies the rub.

    • Kellyanne Conway will not appear before Congress to discuss alleged violations of the Hatch Act

      White House counselor Kellyanne Conway will not appear before the House Oversight Committee to discuss her alleged multiple violations of the Hatch Act.

      According to CNN, White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., that “the precedent for members of the White House staff to decline invitations to testify before congressional committees has been consistently adhered to by administrations of both political parties and is based on clearly established constitutional doctrines.”

      Cummings did not respond positively to Cipollone’s letter.

      “We cannot have people disobeying the law. The president is not above the law, and neither is Ms. Conway above the law,” Cummings said in response to Cipollone’s letter.

      Asked if Conway would be held in contempt for not appearing before Congress, Cummings replied, “Of course.”

      This is not the first time that a high-ranking member of the Trump administration has flat-out refused to appear before Congress. Attorney General William Barr incurred controversy for his own decision to disregard a congressional subpoena.

    • 15 House Democrats Who Can’t Be Primaried Soon Enough

      The following report is by no means exhaustive — only illustrative. There may well be a Democratic member of Congress near you not included here who serves corporate interests more than majority interests, or has simply grown tired or complacent in the never-ending struggles for social, racial and economic justice as well as environmental sanity and peace. Perhaps you live in a district where voters are ready to be inspired by a progressive primary candidate because the Democrat in Congress is not up to the job.

      It isn’t easy to defeat a Democratic incumbent in a primary. Typically, the worse the Congress member, the more (corporate) funding they get. While most insurgent primary campaigns will not win, they’re often very worthwhile — helping progressive constituencies to get better organized and to win elections later. And a grassroots primary campaign can put a scare into the Democratic incumbent to pay more attention to voters and less to big donors.

    • Jockpocalypse

      A half-century ago, the sporting Cassandras predicted that the worst values and sensibilities of our increasingly corrupted civic society would eventually affect our sacred games: football would become a gladiatorial meat market, basketball a model of racism, college sports a paradigm of commercialization, and Olympic sports like swimming and gymnastics a hotbed of sexual predators.

      Mission accomplished!

      The Cassandras then forecast an even more perverse reversal: our games, now profaned, would further corrupt our civic life; winning would not be enough without domination; cheating would be justified as gamesmanship; extreme fandom would become violent tribalism; team loyalty would displace moral courage; and obedience to the coach would supplant democracy.

      Okay, I think it’s time for a round of applause for those seers. Let’s hear it for Team Trump!

      Even as those predictions were coming true over the past two years, as a longtime sports reporter, columnist, TV commentator, and jock culture correspondent for TomDispatch, I waited with a certain dread and expectation for the arrival of the true Jockpocalypse, the prophetic revelation that Jock Culture had indeed become The Culture. There would be three clear signs, I thought, of this American sports version of a biblical Armageddon.

      The first arrived last February, when a leading NFL owner was arrested, allegedly in flagrante delicto, in a Florida massage parlor before an important game. The second hit the news in March, when several dozen parents were caught spending millions of dollars to get their distinctly unathletic children admitted to elite colleges by masquerading as promising varsity sports prospects.

      The third and most convincing sign came in April when the world’s greatest golfer tacitly endorsed the world’s greatest golf cheater. Admittedly, none of those signs was as blatant as ongoing outrages like the growing roster of young women athletes who had been sexually abused by their team coaches and doctors; the continuing corruption at the highest levels of European soccer (where anything goes financially speaking and, as the New Yorker’s Sam Knight put it, “The best leagues are awash in Russian oligarchs, Middle Eastern sovereign-wealth funds, and Chinese conglomerates”); or the sexism of the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport in refusing to allow Caster Semenya, a South African runner with naturally elevated testosterone, to compete against other women unless she doped down her hormone levels.

      [...]

      And since integrity is marketed as the soul of golf, how can that sport — and its greatest player — ignore the barefaced dishonesty of the world’s most famous golf club owner on the course? As sportswriter Rick Reilly, who has golfed with Trump, describes the president in a hilariously depressing new book, Commander in Cheat, he routinely lies about how many tournaments he’s won, whom he’s beaten, and what his score was. He regularly sneaks his own balls off the rough and kicks his opponent’s onto it. “Somebody should point out,” writes Reilly, “that the way Trump does golf is sort of the way he does a presidency, which is to operate as though the rules are for other people.”

    • Jonathan Kozol: Joe Biden Didn’t Just Praise Segregationists. He Also Spent Years Fighting Busing

      Former Vice President Joe Biden made headlines last week when he fondly reminisced about his “civil” relationship in the 1970s and 1980s with segregationist senators James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia. While Biden’s recent comments made the news, far less attention has been paid to the former vice president’s actual record. In the 1970s, then-Senator Biden was a fierce critic of Delaware’s attempts to bus students in an effort to integrate its schools. We speak with National Book Award-winning author Jonathan Kozol about Biden’s track record.

    • Land title for Moscow FSB head’s mansion shifts from his name to ‘Russian Federation’ after investigations by Ivan Golunov and other journalists

      The Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography (Rosreestr) unexpectedly altered its listing for a mansion known to belong to Alexey Dorofeyev, the head of the FSB’s division for Moscow and the Moscow region. The change followed a report from three investigative outlets and anti-corruption nonprofits that used the federal registry to track high-ranking FSB officials’ real estate ownership.

    • Federal Judges Send 2020 Census Lawsuit Back to Lower Court

      A lawsuit that alleges a 2020 census question pushed by the Trump administration violates minorities’ rights will be sent back to a federal court in Maryland so new evidence can be considered, U.S. appeals judges ruled Tuesday.

      The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision comes a day after U.S. District Judge George Hazel of Maryland suggested in an opinion that racial discrimination and partisan power plays could be the underlying motives in asking everyone in the country about citizenship status. The 4th Circuit’s order sending the case back to Hazel could be pivotal.

      “The decision today opens up a potentially new legal front in the fight against the citizenship question,” said Thomas Wolf, counsel for the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice and an expert on census matters.

    • Warren Tops MoveOn Straw Poll for First Time With Double-Digit Lead Over Both Sanders and Biden

      Results from a straw poll by progressive group MoveOn of its members released Tuesday show Sen. Elizabeth Warren trouncing the rest of the Democratic field in the presidential primary, 21 points ahead of her closest rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders.

      Warren, of Massachusetts, claims 37.8 percent of the poll’s voters, while Sanders, of Vermont, came in second with 16.5 percent. Former vice president Joe Biden, who is seen as a more conservative candidate, came in third at 14.9 percent with MoveOn’s progressive supporters; Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg rounded out the top four with 11.9 percent. The rest of the field were in the single digits. Warren, California’s Sen. Kamala Harris, Buttigieg, and Sanders were the top four candidates for the poll’s “second choice” option.

      The MoveOn poll targets the left-leaning progressives that make up its supporters. Nonetheless, the group’s federal endorsement manager Allison Pulliam said in a statement, the poll’s findings indicate the Democratic Party faithful are beginning to coalesce around a small number of top-tier candidates.

    • So Much for Middle-Class Joe: Biden Raked in Millions After Leaving the White House

      As a senator, former Vice President Joe Biden earned the nickname Amtrak Joe, for the frequent train trips he took between Washington, D.C., and his home state of Delaware. According to CNN, by 2008 he had logged 8,200 miles, and the ritual added to the everyman aura of the man who called himself Middle-Class Joe. Today, however, that nickname may more of a memory than an accurate reflection of Biden’s current wealth.

      He now commands up to $200,000 for a single speech and pays an estimated $20,000 per month in rent on his Washington, D.C., home. There’s also a primary residence in Wilmington, Del., and a $2.7 million vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Del., according to The Washington Post.

      Biden, as Post reporter Matt Viser explains, may recall being “the poorest member of the U.S. Senate” on the campaign trail, “But since leaving office he has enjoyed an explosion of wealth, making millions of dollars largely from book deals and speaking fees that ranged to as much as $200,000 per speech, public documents show.”

      The Post also found, via additional public documents requests, that “As Biden traveled the country before announcing his presidential campaign this spring, his sponsors provided VIP hotel suites, town cars and professional drivers, chartered flights and travel expense reimbursements that for some of his appearances reached at least $10,000 per event.”

      There were also at least 10 events for which Biden was not paid (although in some situations he was reimbursed for expenses). His campaign told the Post that he’s given fewer than 50 paid speeches—but did not provide more specifics and declined to speak on the record for the Post story.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Self-Made Millionaire Loses Lawsuit Over Facebook’s Removal Of Videos Of People Urinating

      Facebook promised to clean up its platform to make it more family-friendly. And it has done so, with varying degrees of success. If anything, it’s tried too hard and caused a lot of collateral damage to content that should never have been found objectionable in the first place.

      For that effort, it has been vilified by everyone from the President of the United States to angry individuals who can’t seem to find a better outlet for their ignorance. Like other social media companies attempting to do the impossible, it’s getting sued for running its business the way it wants to.

      Jason Fyk is one of several plaintiffs who have sued social media companies for removing their posts or banning their accounts. Fyk is a little different than the others we’ve covered recently. Fyk is a self-made millionaire whose business model relies almost entirely on Facebook.

      [...]

      But switch out “Google” for “Facebook” and the lawsuit could have been written by any SEO huckster in response to the company’s numerous algorithm changes. Or leave the wording the same and any major publication that bought into Facebook’s promise to deliver monetized news from behind the walls of its garden could raise the same complaints. Platforms operating in opaque and inconsistent ways sucks for everyone, not just those who’ve hitched their financial wagon to someone else’s platform. But while it sucks the most for a self-made millionaire who rode Facebook as far as it was willing to carry him, it doesn’t mean the solution is litigating yourself back to financial health.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Once Again: It’s Not Clear The Internet Needs Creepy Targeted Ads

      There seems to be a general argument, perhaps believed by folks at Google and Facebook in particular, that they need to suck up all this data about us to provide more and more targeted advertising. I’m still not at all convinced that’s true. Earlier this year, I suggested that Google and Facebook might be better off if they just admitted that targeted advertising didn’t work as well as people like to pretend it works. The fact is that it doesn’t work all that well, and comes with massive costs in terms of everyone thinking that all these companies want to do is suck up more and more data. And the “advantage” over other forms of advertising (contextual, brand, etc.) are really not that great. Earlier this month we highlighted a study that showed that, for publishers, targeted advertising didn’t show any real benefit, and that it was mainly being used to prop up the fees middlemen got, in being able to claim some magic sauce to better target ads.

      [...]

      I’d argue that Weinberg leaves out general brand advertising as well, which can work well. Part of the problem, though, is that behavioral and programmatic advertising gives the illusion of being “scientific” because you can show data (even if that data is meaningless or misleading). As soon as you can insist that you’ll be able to show data, then people get wowed by it, and think that they’ve magically solved the “I know that half of my ad spending is wasted, I just don’t know which half” problem. But the real problem is that even with all this behavioral targeting, most advertisers are still wasting way more than half their ad spend. It’s just that they can show pretty charts and spreadsheets to pretend they have data to back up that they’re doing the right thing.

      This is a point we’ve raised before. We’ve been talking to companies for a few years now, trying to convince them to advertise on Techdirt in a non-creepy way with no tracking. And what has happened, multiple times, is that a marketing person gets excited and talks about how “this is great” and how they know that they can get a lot of people interested in what they’re offering if they were to support Techdirt just knowing that our audience would appreciate them being cool enough not to track them. And then it gets handed off to an ad team or a digital agency or an ad firm that they outsource this stuff to, and eventually someone has a spreadsheet. And doing a branding campaign without creepy tracking doesn’t fit into a spreadsheet. So they pass. And waste a bunch of money on someone who will give them data, no matter how meaningless.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Disinformation Campaigns Against London, Part I: 11 Identified Lines of Attack

      Those of us who live and work in London like the place, or at least tolerate it. Many of us love it. Certainly, like with any large city, there are people who dislike it. Over the last few years, however, there have been a number of fake, misleading, and/or downright hateful things spread on Twitter about London. Is this just random nonsense on the internet, or is it part of some overall campaign to accomplish some nefarious objective?

    • Man accused of poisoning and robbing pedestrians in central Moscow arrested

      A man suspected in a series of Moscow poisonings has been brought into police custody, the news agency Moskva reported.

      The Russian outlet The Village had previously discovered that at least 24 people fell victim to the man’s actions in May and June. He would introduce himself to passersby in the center of Russia’s capital, treat them to a fizzy drink that was poisoned, and then beat and rob them. Some victims fell into a coma. The attacks took place near Chistye Prudy as well as on Khokhlovskaya Square, Gorka (not Gorky) Park, and the Zinziver bar.

    • Critics Not Buying Trump’s “She’s Not My Type” Dismissal of Latest Sexual Assault Accuser

      Trump, asked about the assault on Monday by The Hill, denied the allegations.

      “I’ll say it with great respect,” said Trump. “Number one, she’s not my type. Number two, it never happened. It never happened, okay?”

      Carroll’s accusations, while serious, did not merit much coverage on the nation’s weekend political shows or even The New York Times.

      As HuffPost reporter Hayley Miller wrote Sunday night, “the allegation went largely undiscussed by major TV networks on Sunday morning, clearing the path for yet another sexual assault allegation against the president to slip into the void.”

    • Actors at major Moscow theater record plea to Putin asking for their old artistic director back

      Cast members at the Maxim Gorky Moscow Art Academic Theater recorded a video message to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking him to “bring back” Tatiana Doronina, who served as the theater’s artistic director from 1987 to December 2018. Doronina then became the theater’s president as Edward Boyakov took over her role.

    • Trump Thinks Migrants Should Have No Rights

      A legal battle for the basic human rights of migrants has been unfolding in a courtroom in San Francisco. Last week, a deeply incredulous panel of federal appeals court judges heard argument from a Trump administration attorney regarding the treatment of migrants currently in detention.

      During the hearing, the administration claimed that as long as the facilities were “safe and sanitary,” the U.S. government “is not legally required to provide all of them with such items as soap, toothbrushes and sleeping accommodations,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

      On Monday, NBC News reported that some 300 children have been removed from a concentration camp in Clint, Texas after advocates and media reports raised alarms about the wretched conditions these children were housed in. “Some were wearing dirty clothes covered in mucus or even urine,” reported NBC. “Teenage mothers wore clothing stained with breast milk. None of the children had access to soap or toothpaste.”

      “Virtually no one is taking care of these children directly, that they are locked up in these cells 24 hours a day,” reports Democracy NOW! on the Clint facility. “There are open toilets in many of these cells. There’s no soap, no way to wash their hands. And many of them are being forced to sleep on concrete because of a shortage of beds and mats and sleeping space. Children described sleeping on concrete floors.”

      Clearly, the Trump administration was unwilling to wait for a judicial ruling on whether migrant children detained in concentration camps deserve soap, toothpaste and cots. The facility in Clint is but one of many currently housing migrants and asylum seekers.

    • Melania’s Be Best Campaign Is Delightedly Expanding To Help Kids Everywhere Except, You Know, the Ones In the Concentration Camps

      Jesus. The First Escort, mistress of cognitive dissonance, has announced she’s expanding her elusive, grammatically challenged Be Best campaign to “better the lives of children everywhere,” though evidently exceptions may apply. A White House statement issued from some other planet trumpeted the campaign “reaches new heights” with the appointment of “21 BE BEST Ambassadors,” noting without irony that Trump has “collaborated” with many agencies to help children and parents face “today’s challenges.” Among those challenges, you’d think, would be the current concentration camp system set up by her loathsome partner in crime that is detaining thousands of poor, brown, terrified, traumatized, snot-and-lice-covered children in dirty, freezing, crowded, windowless, illegal warehouses you wouldn’t keep your dog in – including the Texas facility found to have conditions so abominable, also in violation of Geneva Conventions, that administration racists and incompetents were compelled by public outrage to remove 300 kids from them. Because evil never sleeps, over 100 were just inexplicably returned to them less than 24 hours later, definitely not long enough to make any of these places less concentration campy. And yes, that’s what they are.

    • Immigrant Kids Keep Dying in CBP Detention Centers, DHS Won’t Take Accountability

      The death toll continues to climb as the government argues against following legal guidelines.
      In recent months, at least seven children have either died in custody or after being detained by federal immigration agencies at the border. These children came to the United States desperate for shelter and safety, but found inhumanity and suffering, under our government’s care, instead.

      Their deaths reveal just how dire the conditions are under which U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are holding hundreds of children. Detention facilities are dangerously overcrowded, where migrants are forced to wear soiled clothes for days at a time. To make matters worse, CBP also appears to be holding children for extended periods of time in direct conflict with the Flores agreement, a set of legal guidelines that provide humane conditions for immigrant children in detention — guidelines the Trump administration is now attempting to dismantle, arguing in court that it doesn’t require CBP to provide basic toiletries to keep children clean.

      The government may argue that their hands are tied by a lack of resources, but the truth is that these horrors are simply the latest attempt to dehumanize asylum-seekers and migrants, including children, and deny them basic care and dignity.

      U.S. Border Patrol, the law enforcement arm of CBP, has more than doubled in staff and funding since 2003. CBP has dealt with even higher levels of border crossers in the past and has 17 times the budget it did in 1990.

      And yet, the department continues to have a heinous track record of rampant reported abuses in detention facilities, with adults dying on their watch as well as children, all with almost no accountability standards. There have been 97 fatalities at the hands of CBP agents since 2004, including the murder of Claudia Gómez González, an unarmed, indigenous 20-year-old woman who was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent in May 2018.

      The department has had ample time and resources to figure out their processes and be more forthcoming with a plan to address influxes of asylum seekers, particularly families, at the U.S.-Mexico border. Yet, they continue to be opaque in their answers to members of Congress and push misleading data about border crossings.

    • ‘This Is What Solidarity Looks Like,’ Says Ocasio-Cortez, as Wayfair Workers Vow Walkout to Protest Company for Working With Child Detention Centers

      The action, which will take place at the company’s Boston Back Bay offices, is scheduled for 1:30pm ET Wednesday.

      Wayfair employees found out last week that the company was providing bedroom furniture to government contractor BCFS for its new facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas. Common Dreams reported on the facility’s construction on June 20, citing WFAA reporter Jason Whitley, who said on Twitter that the camp would “house more than 1,000 captured children.”

      Once the employees discovered their complicity in the border detention of children, 547 of them wrote a letter to the company’s executives on June 21 demanding that the company cease cooperating with the federal government.

      “We believe that the current actions of the United States and their contractors at the southern border do not represent an ethical partnership Wayfair should choose to be a part of,” the employees wrote.

    • U.S. Border Chief Abruptly Resigns Amid Public Outrage

      The acting head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection resigned Tuesday amid an uproar over the discovery of migrant children being held in filthy conditions at one of the agency’s stations in Texas.

      Commissioner John Sanders’ departure deepened the sense of crisis and added to the rapid turnover inside the agencies responsible for enforcing President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration priorities.

      The Trump administration is dealing with unprecedented numbers of migrant families coming across the border, a surge that has left detention centers severely overcrowded and taxed the government’s ability to provide medical care and other attention.

    • As Border Chief John Sanders Resigns, Demands for Trump Officials to Be Held to Account for ‘Government-Sanctioned Child Abuse’

      A top immigration official in the Trump administration announced his resignation Tuesday amid public outcry over the treatment of migrant children in U.S. custody, prompting accusations that he and others are attempting to avoid responsibility for what critics call “government-sanctioned child abuse.”

      Shortly after as it was reported that more than 100 children were transferred back to a detention facility in Texas where rampant abuse was found, news broke that Acting Commissioner for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) John Sanders is stepping down on July 5.

      Sanders did not make a public statement about his resignation or the hundreds of children in U.S. custody who have been living in unsanitary, unsafe conditions for weeks at government-run facilities around the country, instead sending a letter to his colleagues in which he praised the agency’s “determination and can-do attitude” and its ability to “accomplish what others thought wasn’t possible” under the Trump administration.

      Critics, however, were unequivocal in their view that Sanders and the rest of the administration should be held accountable for the treatment of the thousands of children in the detention centers.

      “They will spin the horrendous treatment of children as a ‘mismanagement’ problem,” tweeted the legal aid organization Raices. “That’s a complete dodge. This is an intentionally racist and violent regime who’ve targeted immigrants since they took office. They need to be held accountable.”

    • House Looks Set to Pass Emergency Funding Bill for Migrants

      Democratic leaders in the House proposed tighter requirements for the care of unaccompanied refugee children as they sought to pass a $4.5 billion emergency funding bill to address the humanitarian crisis involving the thousands of migrant families detained after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

      Lawmakers and aides said they expected the changes, which were concessions to Hispanic and liberal Democrats, to produce a winning tally when the measure comes to a vote later Tuesday. A full court press by leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was also helping nail down support, though some Democrats had lingering reservations.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Supreme Court Now Says That The Trademark Office Can’t Reject ‘Immoral Or Scandalous’ Trademarks

        This should have been pretty much a foregone conclusion after the Supreme Court’s ruling two years ago in Simon Tam’s case about The Slants trademark. In that case, the Supreme court ruled that part of the Lanham Act that said the government could deny trademarks on “disparaging” marks was an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment. However, that ruling was a bit messy. The court agreed that the law was unconstitutional under the 1st Amendment, but had two different theories as to why, neither of which got a majority. So the specific law that said the PTO could reject “disparaging” marks was tossed, but technically other content-based restrictions, such as those for “immoral and scandalous” remarks remained on the books. So, pretty quickly that got challenged as well, and now the Supreme Court instead has said that’s unconstitutional too.

        The basic reasoning should be obvious: under the First Amendment, the government cannot be in the business of judging the appropriateness of content (for what it’s worth, this is also why Senator Josh Hawley’s silly bill is unconstitutional). Here, the majority decision, written by Justice Kagan, made pretty quick work of the ruling, basically just saying that the same thing that they said in the Tam case applies here as well.

06.25.19

Links 25/6/2019: Mesa Releases, Less Microsoft in Apache

Posted in News Roundup at 3:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Five Linux Server Administration Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

      In 2017, an employee at GitLab, the version control hosting platform, was asked to replicate a database of production data. Because of a configuration error, the replication did not work as expected, so the employee decided to remove the data that had been transferred and try again. He ran a command to delete the unwanted data, only to realize with mounting horror that he had entered the command into an SSH session connected to a production server, deleting hundreds of gigabytes of user data. Every seasoned system administrator can tell you a similar story.

      The Linux command line gives server admins control of their servers and the data stored on them, but it does little to stop them running destructive commands with consequences that can’t be undone. Accidental data deletion is just one type of mistake that new server administrators make.

    • Skytap Announces General Availability of IBM i in the Public Cloud, Leads Ecosystem to New Opportunities

      Skytap, a global, purpose-built cloud service, announces that its support for the IBM i operating system is now available in US-West, US-Central and EMEA-UK. Available for purchase in hourly, monthly and annual consumption models, this release broadens Skytap’s support for IBM Power Systems-based applications that can be developed, tested and run in production.

      In the 2017/2018 Logicalis Global CIO Survey, most CIOs indicated they are focused on digital transformation, with 44 percent citing complex legacy infrastructure as a main barrier in this transformation.

    • Instaclustr Releases Service Broker to Seamlessly Integrate Customers’ Kubernetes Applications within the Instaclustr Open-Source-as-a-Service Platform
    • MariaDB 10.3 now available on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7

      Red Hat Software Collections supplies the latest, stable versions of development tools and components for Red Hat Enterprise Linux via two release trains per year. As part of the Red Hat Software Collections 3.3 release, we are pleased to announce that MariaDB 10.3 is now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.

    • Quarkus 0.17.0 now available

      Quarkus continues its cadence of delivering a release every 2-3 weeks. This latest release (0.17.0) contains 125+ changes that include new features, bug fixes, and documentation updates.

    • Recap of Kubernetes Contributor Summit Barcelona 2019

      First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who made the Kubernetes Contributor Summit in Barcelona possible. We had an amazing team of volunteers tasked with planning and executing the event, and it was so much fun meeting and talking to all new and current contributors during the main event and the pre-event celebration.

      Contributor Summit in Barcelona kicked off KubeCon + CloudNativeCon in a big way as it was the largest contributor summit to date with 331 people signed up, and only 9 didn’t pick up their badges!

    • The innovation delusion

      If traditional planning is dead, then why do so many organizations still invest in planning techniques optimized for the Industrial Revolution?

      One reason might be that we trick ourselves into thinking innovation is the kind of thing we can accomplish with a structured, linear process. When we do this, I think we’re confusing our stories about innovation with the process of innovation itself—and the two are very different.

    • Top Web Based Docker Monitoring Tools

      It is an open source platform and enables administrations to manage and run Docker in creation. It offers the whole program stack that is desired to achieve containers in production and it can be simply installed on any engine that can run Docker. After installation, all nodes can be easily configured and organized through the UI Web. You can get complex functions such as load and manage balancing out of the box after a few clicks.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 5.1.15

      I’m announcing the release of the 5.1.15 kernel.

      All users of the 5.1 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 5.1.y git tree can be found at:

      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.1.y

      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

      https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s…

    • Linux 4.19.56
    • Linux 4.14.130
    • Introducing people.kernel.org

      Ever since the demise of Google+, many developers have expressed a desire to have a service that would provide a way to create and manage content in a format that would be more rich and easier to access than email messages sent to LKML.

      Today, we would like to introduce people.kernel.org, which is an ActivityPub-enabled federated platform powered by WriteFreely and hosted by very nice and accommodating folks at write.as.

    • Deprecating a.out Binaries

      Remember a.out binaries? They were the file format of the Linux kernel till around 1995 when ELF took over. ELF is better. It allows you to load shared libraries anywhere in memory, while a.out binaries need you to register shared library locations. That’s fine at small scales, but it gets to be more and more of a headache as you have more and more shared libraries to deal with. But a.out is still supported in the Linux source tree, 25 years after ELF became the standard default format.

      Recently, Borislav Petkov recommended deprecating it in the source tree, with the idea of removing it if it turned out there were no remaining users. He posted a patch to implement the deprecation. Alan Cox also remarked that “in the unlikely event that someone actually has an a.out binary they can’t live with, they can also just write an a.out loader as an ELF program entirely in userspace.”

    • Intel UMWAIT Support Queued For Linux 5.3 – New Feature For Tremont Cores

      Adding to the growing list of features for the upcoming Linux 5.3 kernel is now Intel UMWAIT support for better power-savings.

      UMWAIT is a new feature for Intel Tremont CPUs cores. UMWAIT can help enhance power savings during idle periods with “user mode wait” functionality. UMWAIT allows for monitoring a range of addresses in a lightweight power/performance state or an enhanced mode that can still help with conserving power but less so in order to offer lower latencies. UMWAIT is intended to be used as an alternative to kernel spinloops when needing to wait/sleep for short periods of time when the system is idle.

    • Linux 5.3 Kernel To Bring Ingenic KMS Driver, Rockchip RK3328 Support

      A final set of drm-misc-next Direct Rendering Manager driver changes were sent out at the end of last week as the remaining feature work now queued up for the upcoming Linux 5.3 kernel merge window.

      A new DRM/KMS driver coming with Linux 5.3 is the Ingenic KMS/DRM driver for supporting the Ingenic JZ47xx SoC hardware. This is intended to replace the existing Linux frame-buffer driver for the same hardware.

      For Linux 5.3 the driver is quite basic but there are plans by its developer to support multiple planes, IPU integration for colorspace conversion, up/down scaling, support for DSI displays, and TV-out / HDMI outputs.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Linus Torvalds Sees Lots of Hardware Headaches Ahead

        Linux founder Linus Torvalds, today at the KubeCon + CloudNative + Open Source Summit China conference, warned attendees that managing software is about to become a lot more challenging, largely because of two hardware issues that are beyond the control of DevOps teams.

        [...]

        In the meantime, Torvalds noted updates to the Linux kernel are still coming at a rate of every three months, and the Linux team is basically working on a six-month planning cycle—there is no master five-year plan the Linux team is working from. Roughly 1,500 developers work on contributions to the Linux kernel, with 100 maintainers overseeing the implementation of those contributions.

        Naturally, cybersecurity patches at the kernel level have significant implications for all of DevOps. Changes to the kernel need to be absorbed by all the various distributions of Linux, which in turn impacts all the stacks of software that depend on Linux. Jim Zemlin, executive director for The Linux Foundation, said that in the wake of the rise of these hardware issues and previous cybersecurity issues involving open source software such as the Heartbleed vulnerability, cybersecurity is the top priority for The Linux Foundation. As part of that effort, The Linux Foundation is researching various DevSecOps approaches to better securing the global open source supply chain, he said.

      • Linux Foundation to become home of WeBank’s FATE

        The Linux Foundation announced the inclusion of federated learning framework FATE into the organisation.

        The project has been contributed by Chinese digital bank WeBank, with organisations such as AI computing platform provider Clustar, e-commerce company JD.com’s subsidiary JD Intelligent Cities Research, and WeBank initiator Tencent already committed to the cause.

        Linux Foundation’s executive director Jim Zemlin explained the move in a canned statement, saying “A secure computing framework is critical for developers who are using data and models to build the latest applications across financial services, manufacturing, healthcare and more.”

      • MATRIXX Software Joins Linux Foundation Networking to Advance Next Generation of Telco Services

        MATRIXX Software, an innovation powerhouse committed to transforming global commerce, today announced it has joined Linux Foundation Networking (LFN) as a silver member. MATRIXX is participating in the foundation’s programs to provide guidance related to advancing a new generation of services inspired by web-scale best practices.

    • Graphics Stack

      • mesa 19.0.7
        Hi List,
        
        I'd like to announce the availability of mesa 19.0.7. This is the last release
        of the mesa 19.0 series, and all users are encouraged to migrate 19.1.x instead.
        
        I'd like to apologize for the lateness of this release, in my defence I was on
        vacation most of the 19.0.7 cycle and there were several patches that needed
        backport.
        
        There's nothing too crazy here for the final release of the series. It's pretty
        spread across the system except for radv which had a number of small bug fixes.
        
        Thanks again for the smooth sailing 19.0.x series, I'll see y'all again as
        release manager in October for the 19.3 cycle.
        
        Dylan
        
        Bas Nieuwenhuizen (5):
              radv: Prevent out of bound shift on 32-bit builds.
              radv: Decompress DCC when the image format is not allowed for buffers.
              radv: Fix vulkan build in meson.
              anv: Fix vulkan build in meson.
              meson: Allow building radeonsi with just the android platform.
        
        Charmaine Lee (1):
              svga: Remove unnecessary check for the pre flush bit for setting vertex buffers
        
        Deepak Rawat (1):
              winsys/svga/drm: Fix 32-bit RPCI send message
        
        Dylan Baker (4):
              docs: Add SHA256 sums for 19.0.6
              cherry-ignore: add additional 19.1 only patches
              Bump version for 19.0.7 release
              Docs add 19.0.7 release notes
        
        Emil Velikov (1):
              mapi: correctly handle the full offset table
        
        Gert Wollny (2):
              virgl: Add a caps feature check version
              virgl: Assume sRGB write control for older guest kernels or virglrenderer hosts
        
        Haihao Xiang (1):
              i965: support UYVY for external import only
        
        Jason Ekstrand (2):
              nir/propagate_invariant: Don't add NULL vars to the hash table
              anv: Set STATE_BASE_ADDRESS upper bounds on gen7
        
        Kenneth Graunke (1):
              glsl: Fix out of bounds read in shader_cache_read_program_metadata
        
        Kevin Strasser (2):
              gallium/winsys/kms: Fix dumb buffer bpp
              st/mesa: Add rgbx handling for fp formats
        
        Lionel Landwerlin (2):
              intel/perf: fix EuThreadsCount value in performance equations
              intel/perf: improve dynamic loading config detection
        
        Mathias Fröhlich (1):
              egl: Don't add hardware device if there is no render node v2.
        
        Nanley Chery (1):
              anv/cmd_buffer: Initalize the clear color struct for CNL+
        
        Nataraj Deshpande (1):
              anv: Fix check for isl_fmt in assert
        
        Samuel Pitoiset (5):
              radv: fix alpha-to-coverage when there is unused color attachments
              radv: fix setting CB_SHADER_MASK for dual source blending
              radv: fix occlusion queries on VegaM
              radv: fix VK_EXT_memory_budget if one heap isn't available
              radv: fix FMASK expand with SRGB formats
        
        
        
        git tag: mesa-19.0.7
        
      • Mesa 19.0.7 Now Available As The Last Of The Series

        Mesa 19.0.7 was released on Monday as the last Mesa 19.0 stable release, ending this quarterly update series from Q1.

        Mesa 19.0.7 is the end of the line and users are encouraged to move to Mesa 19.1 stable, which has been out since earlier this month. Mesa 19.2 is where all feature development is happening and it should be released around the end of August or more likely will end up being September due to blocker bugs often ending up delaying the releases.

      • Mesa 19.1.1
        Mesa 19.1.1 is now available.
        
        In this release we have:
        
        Mostly in fixes for different drivers (RADV, ANV,
        Nouveau, Virgl, V3D, R300g, ...)
        
        Also different fixes for different parts (Meson build, GLX,
        etc).
        
        
        Alejandro Piñeiro (1):
              v3d: fix checking twice auf flag
        
        Bas Nieuwenhuizen (5):
              radv: Skip transitions coming from external queue.
              radv: Decompress DCC when the image format is not allowed for buffers.
              radv: Fix vulkan build in meson.
              anv: Fix vulkan build in meson.
              meson: Allow building radeonsi with just the android platform.
        
        Dave Airlie (1):
              nouveau: fix frees in unsupported IR error paths.
        
        Eduardo Lima Mitev (1):
              freedreno/a5xx: Fix indirect draw max_indices calculation
        
        Eric Engestrom (3):
              util/futex: fix dangling pointer use
              glx: fix glvnd pointer types
              util/os_file: resize buffer to what was actually needed
        
        Gert Wollny (1):
              virgl: Assume sRGB write control for older guest kernels or virglrenderer hosts
        
        Haihao Xiang (1):
              i965: support UYVY for external import only
        
        Jason Ekstrand (1):
              anv: Set STATE_BASE_ADDRESS upper bounds on gen7
        
        Juan A. Suarez Romero (3):
              docs: Add SHA256 sums for 19.1.0
              Update version to 19.1.1
              docs: add release notes for 19.1.1
        
        Kenneth Graunke (2):
              glsl: Fix out of bounds read in shader_cache_read_program_metadata
              iris: Fix iris_flush_and_dirty_history to actually dirty history.
        
        Kevin Strasser (2):
              gallium/winsys/kms: Fix dumb buffer bpp
              st/mesa: Add rgbx handling for fp formats
        
        Lionel Landwerlin (2):
              anv: do not parse genxml data without INTEL_DEBUG=bat
              intel/dump: fix segfault when the app hasn't accessed the device
        
        Mathias Fröhlich (1):
              egl: Don't add hardware device if there is no render node v2.
        
        Richard Thier (1):
              r300g: restore performance after RADEON_FLAG_NO_INTERPROCESS_SHARING was added
        
        Rob Clark (1):
              freedreno/a6xx: un-swap X24S8_UINT
        
        Samuel Pitoiset (4):
              radv: fix occlusion queries on VegaM
              radv: fix VK_EXT_memory_budget if one heap isn't available
              radv: fix FMASK expand with SRGB formats
              radv: disable viewport clamping even if FS doesn't write Z
        
        git tag: mesa-19.1.1
        
      • Mesa 19.1.1 Released – Led By RADV & Intel Driver Fixes

        Mesa 19.1.1 is out as the first point release to this quarter’s Mesa 19.1 series that was christened earlier this month.

    • Benchmarks

      • Benchmarking The Experimental Bcachefs File-System Against Btrfs, EXT4, F2FS, XFS & ZFS

        Bcachefs is the file-system born out of the Linux kernel’s block cache code and has been worked on the past several years by developer Kent Overstreet. Our most recent benchmarking of Bcachefs was last year, so with the prospects of Bcachefs potentially being staged soon in the mainline Linux kernel, I ran some benchmarks using the latest kernel code for this next-generation file-system.
        Those unfamiliar with this copy-on-write file-system can learn more at Bcachefs.org. The design features of this file-system are similar to ZFS/Btrfs and include native encryption, snapshots, compression, caching, multi-device/RAID support, and more. But even with all of its features, it aims to offer XFS/EXT4-like performance, which is something that can’t generally be said for Btrfs.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Plasma 5.16.2 Desktop Environment Released with More Than 30 Bug Fixes

        Coming just one week after the first point release, the KDE Plasma 5.16.2 maintenance update is here to add yet another layer of bug fixes with the ultimate goal to make the KDE Plasma 5.16 desktop environment more stable and reliable for users. In particular, this second point release introduces a total of 34 changes across various core components and apps.

        “Today KDE releases a bugfix update to KDE Plasma 5, versioned 5.16.2. Plasma 5.16 was released in June with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience. This release adds a week’s worth of new translations and fixes from KDE’s contributors. The bugfixes are typically small but important,” reads today’s announcement.

      • Plasma 5.16.2
      • An easier way to test Plasma

        Having the Plasma and Usability & Productivity sprints held at the same time and place had an unexpected benefit: we were able to come up with a way to make it easier to test a custom-compiled version of Plasma!

        Previously, we had some documentation that asked people to create a shell script on their computers, copy files to various locations, and perform a few other steps. Unfortunately, many of the details were out of date, and the whole process was quite error-prone. It turned out that almost none of the Plasma developers at the sprint were actually using this method, and each had cobbled together something for themselves. Some (including myself) had given up on it and were doing Plasma development in a virtual machine.

        So we put some time into easing this pain by making Plasma itself produce all the right pieces automatically when compiled from source. Then, we created a simple script to install everything properly.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Shell 3.33.3

        GNOME Shell provides core user interface functions for the GNOME 3 desktop, like switching to windows and launching applications. GNOME Shell takes advantage of the capabilities of modern graphics hardware and introduces innovative user interface concepts to provide a visually attractive and easy to use experience.

      • GNOME Shell & Mutter See Their 3.33.3 Releases With Notable X11/Wayland Changes

        Arriving late, a few days after the GNOME 3.33.3 development snapshot, the Mutter and GNOME Shell updates are now available.

        The Mutter 3.33.3 window manager / compositor update is notable with preparations for running XWayland on-demand — a.k.a. just when needed for X11 client usage and not constantly. The Mutter update also now honors the startup sequence workspace on Wayland, fixes around fractional scaling, adds the new Sysprof-based profiling support, adds mouse and locate-pointer accessibility, consolidates the frame throttling code, improves screencasting support on multi-monitor systems, fixes running X11 applications with sudo under Wayland, adds initial KMS transactional support, and there are many bug fixes.

      • GStreamer Rust bindings 0.14.0 release

        Apart from updating to GStreamer 1.16, this release is mostly focussed on adding more bindings for various APIs and general API cleanup and bugfixes.

        The most notable API additions in this release are bindings for gst::Memory and gst::Allocator as well as bindings for gst_base::BaseParse and gst_video::VideoDecoder and VideoEncoder. The latter also come with support for implementing subclasses and the gst-plugins-rs module contains an video decoder and parser (for CDG), and a video encoder (for AV1) based on this.

      • Sysprof design work

        Since my last post, I’ve been working on a redesign of Sysprof (among other things) to make it a bit more useful and friendly to newcomers.

        Many years ago, I worked on a small profiler project called “Perfkit” that never really went anywhere. I had already done most of my UI research for this years ago, so it was pretty much just a matter of applying that design to the Sysprof code-base.

  • Distributions

    • 5 tiny Linux distros to try before you die

      There are plenty of Linux distributions out there to choose from when you’re deciding what to run on a daily basis, yet some are so small that they get little notice. But tiny Linux distributions are powerful innovations: having an entire operating system drive a computer with less than 1GB of storage and half as much RAM is the ultimate software hack.

      Tiny distros have many uses, such as…

    • Reviews

      • Zorin OS 15 Released – Based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and Introduce Zorin Connect

        Zorin OS 15 is the latest release of Zorin OS, based on Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS with the HWE (Hardware Enablement) kernel and graphics stack from Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish). using GNOME 3.30 as default desktop environment with refreshed and refined the look and feel of the Zorin OS desktop with a new, more welcoming desktop theme.

        A new and refreshed look was given to Zorin OS 15 with a beautiful and welcoming desktop theme that adapts throughout the day, switching automatically between the Light and Dark modes, while also offering users no less than six color variants. The new desktop theme also comes with new animations for a complete experience.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Service Pack 1 Officially Released, Here’s What’s New

        SUSE has announced the general availability of the first Service Pack (SP1) release for their latest and most advanced SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 operating system series.
        Released a year ago, the SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 operating system brought numerous new features and enhancements, along with an updated application delivery solution and software-defined infrastructure to help enterprises better adapt and transform their IT departments for their business models. Now, the first Service Pack release is here to further refine the world’s first multimodal operating system.

        “SUSE Linux Enterprise is a modern and modular OS that helps simplify multimodal IT, making traditional IT infrastructure efficient and providing an engaging platform for developers,” said Thomas Di Giacomo, SUSE president of Engineering, Product and Innovation. “As a result, organizations can easily deploy and transition business-critical workloads across their core on-premise and public cloud environments.”

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed vs leap: What is the Difference?

        Before talking about the differences between these versions of openSUSE, let’s have a brief look at its background and features. Earlier it was known as SUSE Linux but after a software company Novell acquired SUSE Linux in February 2004, Novell decided to release SUSE Linux Professional with 100% open source products, and as an open source project, this Linux got its prefix i.e Open. Later it split from Novell and became a separate brand.

        openSUSE inherits its properties from SUSE Linux Professional and the successor of the same. SUSE also offers open source-based enterprise-class OS known as SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

        openSUSE Linux community is backed by the SUSE for further research and developments. It uses the easy-to-use YaST package management system and has great advantages for a small and medium-sized enterprise server. Using YaST2 can make the configuration of the server simpler and faster. SuSE Enterprise Linux can be used for large server systems too. When it comes to Linux, everyone knows that Linux is a very secure OS, and openSUSE is not an exception. Apart from the YaST Package manager, it also supports self-developed Zypper (ZYpp) and RPM. It uses KDE5 as the default desktop environment and also provides the GNOME, MATE, LXQt, Xfce…

        Now come to the main agenda of the article which is the difference between openSUSE Tumbleweed and Leap?

      • SUSE provides platform for cloud-native
      • SUSE Refines its Platform for Cloud-Native, Containerized Applications as Enterprises Move to Hybrid and Multi-Cloud
    • Fedora

      • Fedora 31 Looking At No Longer Building i686 Linux Kernel Packages

        Not to be confused with Ubuntu’s varying stance on dropping 32-bit packages beginning with their next release later this year, Fedora 31 now has a proposal pending to discontinue their i686 kernel builds but they will still be keeping with their 32-bit packaging.

        This Fedora 31 change proposal by Justin Forbes, one of Fedora’s kernel hackers, is just about ending i686 kernel builds beginning with this Fedora release due out in October. The i686 kernel-headers package would still be offered in order to satisfy necessary dependencies for 32-bit programs needing those headers. Of course, users will have to be running off a 64-bit kernel. All 32-bit programs should continue to work on Fedora 31.

      • Fedora Workstation 31 Is Looking Great With Many Original Features Being Worked On

        Fedora Workstation 31 is shaping up to be another exciting release for this Red Hat sponsored Linux distribution. As usual, a ton of original upstream features are being worked on for this innovative desktop/workstation Linux spin.

        Christian Schaller of Red Hat has once again written an in-depth blog post outlining the different improvements being pursued this cycle by various Red Hat developers.

      • Fedora booth at Red Hat Summit

        Red Hat Summit — the annual conference for Red Hat customers, partners, and open source contributors — took place last month in Boston, Massachusetts. Fedora had space in the Community Central booth on the expo floor and we had a lot of great conversations with our community.

        As you might expect, the attendees were familiar with open source and Fedora specifically. We got a lot of questions about Fedora Silverblue. Some people were enthusiastic users who have adopted it as their main desktop. Others had heard of it, but didn’t know the details. Fortunately, we were happy to share with them.

      • GNOME Classic Mode is Getting Some Overdue Improvements in Fedora 31

        Red Hat’s Christian F.K. Schaller shares word of several changes to the session in a summary of work that’s underway ahead of the next major release of Fedora.

        Now, at this point you might be trying to remember what the GNOME Classic session is. When I first read about these improvements I thought “Oh neat, he means GNOME Flashback!”.

        Nope.

        GNOME Classic is its own thing. While similarly minded it’s technically different to the GNOME Flashback session that’s readily available in most distros’ repos (including Ubuntu’s).

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Give Ubuntu an Electric-Blue Look with StarLabs’ Theme

            Fancy giving your Ubuntu desktop a dark, electric-blue makeover? If so, then Linux laptop seller StarLabs has you covered.

            The company (who I’l admit I hadn’t heard of until recently) joins a surfeit of British-based Linux laptop vendors, with StationX and the (fabulous) Entroware being the best known.

            But we’re not here to talk about systems, we’re here to talk themes!

            See, aside from selling a small range of (seemingly decent) laptops preloaded with a selection of Ubuntu-based Linux distributions, StarLabs also maintain their own theme.

            And i’m going to show you how to install it Ubuntu.

          • Ubuntu Has Started Work On A New Desktop Snap Store

            Ubuntu’s software stores / software centers have gone through several revisions over the years and now a new Snap Store is in development.

            Developers at Canonical have begun committing to a new Snap Desktop Store. The first code commits were only last week, so it’s not yet something for end-users to get all excited about but presumably they’ll be aiming for it to be in good shape by next year’s Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

          • Ubuntu 19.10 drops 32-bit images, pledges to maintain some packages after user outcry

            Ubuntu 19.10 is scheduled for release in October, though controversy is already brewing following Canonical’s abjectly poorly-communicated plans to stop providing new 32-bit x86 (i386) packages in new Ubuntu releases. This move will prevent users from installing Ubuntu on older computers, and using certain applications only provided in 32-bit versions.

            In fairness to Canonical, the first x86-64 processors will be 16 years old when Ubuntu 19.10 is released, and this is a reckoning that other Linux distributions—as well as Windows and Mac OS—will eventually face, as the amount of engineering time needed to protract legacy platform support is approaching the negative end of a cost-benefit analysis.

          • Ubuntu Will Provide Select 32-bit Packages For Ubuntu 19.10 And 20.04 LTS

            As a result of constant feedback from the open source community — specifically gamers, WINE users, and Ubuntu Studio users — Canonical has decided to change its plans regarding ditching the 32-bit i386 packages for Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 LTS.

            For those who don’t know, last week, Canonical announced that it’s going to completely abandon the support for i386 architectures in the Ubuntu 19.10 release. Due to the same reason, Canonical restricted the users from upgrading their 18.04 LTS installations to 18.10, so that they don’t end up running 32-bit applications on an interim release with just nine months of support.

          • The future of mobile connectivity

            Mobile operators face a range of challenges today from saturation, competition and regulation – all of which are having a negative impact on revenues. The introduction of 5G offers new customer segments and services to offset this decline. However, unlike the introduction of 4G which was dominated by consumer benefits, 5G is expected to be driven by enterprise use. According to IDC, enterprises will generate 60 percent of the world’s data by 2025.

            Rather than rely on costly proprietary hardware and operating models, the use of open source technologies offers the ability to commoditise and democratise the wireless network infrastructure. Major operators such as Vodafone, Telefonica and China Mobile have already adopted such practices.

            Shifting to open source technology and taking a software defined approach enables mobile operators to differentiate based on the services they offer, rather than network coverage or subscription costs.

          • Design and Web team summary – 25 June 2019

            This was a fairly busy two weeks for the Web & design team at Canonical. Here are some of the highlights of our completed work.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Statement by The Apache Software Foundation Board of Directors

    It is with a mix of sadness and appreciation that the ASF Board accepted the resignations of Board Member Jim Jagielski, Chairman Phil Steitz, and Executive Vice President Ross Gardler last month.

    As an ASF co-founder, Jim has held every officer position since the Foundation’s incorporation, with the exception of a one-year break in 2018. He has played a substantial role in the development and success of the organization and is a recognized advocate of Open Source at the developer and corporate levels.

    An ASF Member since 2005, Phil was instrumental in the adoption, growth, and ubiquity of Apache Java projects across many industries, most visibly financial services. He served as Vice President Apache Commons for four years, and as ASF Chairman August 2017 – May 2019.

    Ross has been championing The Apache Way to governments, corporations, and educational institutions for nearly two decades. Since becoming an ASF Member in 2005, he served as Vice President of Community Development (2009-2012), ASF Director and President (2015-2016), and ASF Executive Vice President October 2016 – May 2019.

    We laud their contributions to many of the ASF’s achievements over the past two decades [1]. Their motivation, vision, and passion is truly inspiring. Whilst we will greatly miss their day-to-day leadership at the executive level, we are heartened that the Foundation will continue to benefit through their participation as ASF Members.

  • Don’t make a FOSS: Apache Software Foundation Board bids farewell to co-founder and two big hitters [Ed: Richard Speed misses the point that those leaving were Microsoft employees and boosters inside Apache]

    To lose one board member may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose two looks like carelessness, but to lose three?

    The nature of the Board of Directors of open source foundations means churn is a normal part of life, indeed many open source board members can be swapped out at the whim of a community vote, as they should.

    However, the Apache Software Foundation saw three members of its board hand in their resignations last month: chairman Phil Steitz, executive vice president Ross Gardler and, perhaps most significantly, co-founder of the whole show Jim Jagielski.

    Jagielski had been approaching his quarter century of service and had enjoyed roles on the board including chairman and president over the years. He also laid claim to being the first new member after the original eight-member Apache Group.

    Gardler, who signed up to Apache way back in 2000, spent just over two-and-a-half years as executive vice president, is currently toiling away at Microsoft on the Azure Container Service, while Steitz, a veteran of American Express in the early part of the century, is vacating the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) Chairman’s chair after less than two years in the post.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Hitting the Reset Button on Hadoop

      Hadoop has seen better days. The recent struggles of Cloudera and MapR – the two remaining independent distributors of Hadoop software — are proof of.

  • LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 6.3 Beta2 ready for testing

      The LibreOffice Quality Assurance ( QA ) Team is happy to announce LibreOffice 6.3 Beta2 is ready for testing!

      LibreOffice 6.3 will be released as final in mid August, 2019, being LibreOffice 6.3 Beta2 the third pre-release since the development of version 6.3 started in mid November, 2018 ( See the release plan ). Since LibreOffice 6.3 Beta1, 226 commits have been submitted to the code repository and 106 bugs have been set to FIXED in Bugzilla. Check the release notes to find the new features included in this version of LibreOffice.

      LibreOffice 6.3 Beta2 can be downloaded from here, it’s available for Linux, MacOS and Windows. Besides, and it can be installed along with your actual installation.

  • Programming/Development

    • Fedora Update Week 23–24

      It’s been another two weeks, so time for another update. Package updates have been rather calm since the last post. I continue to work on adding R packages, and some new things, like glava, the OpenGL audio spectrum analyzer, which can produce cool things like…

    • util-linux v2.34 — what’s new?

      The code of the popular command lsblk(8) has been completely rewritten. The result is more extendible and readable code. Now lsblk(8) keeps all block devices tree in memory before it’s printed. It allows to modify and reorder the tree independently on the way how kernel (/sys filesystem) exports the tree to userspace.

    • libredwg-0.8 released

      This is a major release, adding the new dynamic API, read and write all header and object fields by name. Many of the old dwg_api.h field accessors are deprecated.

    • Reuven Lerner: Announcing: Python standard library, video explainer

      A month or two ago, I saw an online quiz that caught my eye: How much of the Python standard library do you know?

      Now, the “standard library” is the collection of modules and packages that come with Python. It constitutes the “batteries” that “batteries included” refers to in the Python world. And the standard library is big, with about 300 modules, each of which contains functions, classes, and values. Knowing the standard library, and how to use it, is essential to productive use of Python.

      And yet, a large number of the people responding indicated that they knew very little of the standard library. Which makes sense, given that each of us tends to focus on what’s important to our jobs.

    • Generating Random Data in Python

      In this course, you’ll cover several options for generating random data in Python, and then build up to a comparison of each in terms of its level of security, versatility, purpose, and speed.

    • New “-O1g” Optimization Level Proposed For The GCC Compiler

      A new “-O1g” optimization level has been proposed for the GNU Compiler Collection that would allow better performance but still relative ease for debugging the generated binaries.

    • Python: Vectors, Matrices and Arrays with NumPy

      In this lesson, we will look at some neat tips and tricks to play with vectors, matrices and arrays using NumPy library in Python. This lesson is a very good starting point if you are getting started into Data Science and need some introductory mathematical overview of these components and how we can play with them using NumPy in code.
      NumPy library allows us to perform various operations which needs to be done on data structures often used in Machine Learning and Data Science like vectors, matrices and arrays. We will only show most common operations with NumPy which are used in a lot of Machine Learning pipelines. Finally, please note that NumPy is just a way to perform the operations, so, the mathematical operations we show are the main focus of this lesson and not the NumPy package itself. Let’s get started.

    • KDAB at SIGGRAPH – 2019

      KDAB is sharing the Qt booth at SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles. We’ll be showing some of our profiling and debugging tools as well as our latest QiTissue demo, a desktop Application developed for Quantitative Imaging Systems (Qi) to help cancer researchers efficiently handle gigabytes of data (see more about that here),

    • Jinja 2 Templates

      JInja2 is a widely-used and fully featured template engine for Python. Being modern it is hence also design-friendly language for Python, modelled after Django’s templates. Ansible uses Jinja2 templating to enable dynamic expressions and access to variables. Ansible controller, where JInja2 comes in picture, is where all the templating takes place before the command is sent and implemented on the target machine. Now, let us look at some syntax that will be helpful with Ansible.

    • Christopher Allan Webber: Let’s Just Be Weird Together

      Approximately a month ago was Morgan and I’s 10 year wedding anniversary. To commemorate that, and as a surprise gift, I made the above ascii art and animation.

      Actually, it’s not just an animation, it’s a program, and one you can run. As a side note, I originally thought I’d write up how I made it, but I kept procrastinating on that and it lead me to putting off writing this post for about a month. Oh well, all I’ll say for now is that it lead to a major rewrite of one of the main components of Spritely. But that’s something to speak of for another time, I suppose.

      Back to the imagery! Morgan was surprised to see the animation, and yet the image itself wasn’t a surprise. That’s because the design is actually built off of one we collaborated on together:

    • RcppTOML 0.1.6: Tinytest support and more robustification

      A new RcppTOML release is now on CRAN. RcppTOML brings TOML to R.

      TOML is a file format that is most suitable for configurations, as it is meant to be edited by humans but read by computers. It emphasizes strong readability for humans while at the same time supporting strong typing as well as immediate and clear error reports. On small typos you get parse errors, rather than silently corrupted garbage. Much preferable to any and all of XML, JSON or YAML – though sadly these may be too ubiquitous now. TOML has been making inroads with projects such as the Hugo static blog compiler, or the Cargo system of Crates (aka “packages”) for the Rust language.

      Václav Hausenblas sent a number of excellent and very focused PRs helping with some input format corner cases, as well as with one test. We added support for the wonderful new tinytest package. The detailed list of changes in this incremental version is below.

    • Things we learned about programming languages working on season three of Command Line Heroes

      One of the best things about working on a project like Command Line Heroes is that you get to learn a lot in the process. For example, while working on season three of Command Line Heroes (launching today!) we discovered a number of fun facts about programming languages that even we didn’t know before.

    • Explore the past, present, and future of Python on Command-Line Heroes

      A new season of the podcast Command Line Heroes launched today. I’ve grown to enjoy this series for both its deep storytelling and its excellent host, Saron Yitbarek. They also dive into fantastic themes, and this year is all about programming languages.

      The first episode of the new season explores Python, the language I’ve been spending more time on for data sciencey reasons. As a newer convert, I’ve wondered where the language, which is approaching its 30th anniversary, is headed.

    • Find Your Off-Ramp | Coder Radio 363

      We take on the issues of burnout, work communication culture, and keeping everything in balance.

      Plus Wes asks ‘Why Not Kotlin’ and breaks down where it fits in his toolbox.

    • Collections In Python | Introduction To Python Collections

      Python programming language has four collection data types- list, tuple, sets and dictionary. But python also comes with a built-in module known as collections which has specialized data structures which basically covers for the shortcomings of the four data types. In this blog, we will go through each of those specialized data structures in detail.

    • Swiss Perl Workshop 2019

      We are looking for speakers, if you have an idea for a talk or presentation then please submit a talk proposal. Because the venue has a few rooms we are also very open to any workshop-like ideas. This could be anything that 2-10 people can attend.

    • PerlCon 2019: Rīga, Latvia, 7–9 August

      PerlCon 2019 is the 20th edition of the annual European Perl Conference also known as YAPC::Europe and TPCiR.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Russian political scientist Valery Solovey says he lost his prestigious job in Moscow academia ‘for political reasons’

      Political scientist and historian Valery Solovey has left his position as the chair of the Public Relations Department at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). Solovey says he stepped down “for political reasons.” Though the decision was reached unofficially in late May, Solovey only announced it on June 19 in a Facebook post. Spokespeople for MGIMO have been guarded about the scholar’s departure. In his many lectures and public appearances, Valery Solovey has repeatedly predicted radical changes coming to Russia, such as Vladimir Putin leaving the presidency early, nationwide mass protests, and restrictions on Russians traveling abroad. Meduza’s Vladislav Gorin spoke to Solovey about being forced from MGIMO and his various prognostications, including his latest about a revolution coming next year to Russia.

      [...]

      Who was behind this meddling into academia? Solovey says he doesn’t know. It may have been the Foreign Ministry or it may have been the Kremlin, but he says he didn’t dig into the matter, in order to avoid “a messy trench war.” Solovey ties his ouster to the recent news that Moscow’s Higher School of Economics is disbanding its Political Science Department, which employs Alexander Kynev. Whoever has been orchestrating this academic purge, Solovey says, the “pressure” is never a direct order, but “happens in the form of persistent advice, opinions, and wishes.”

    • Universal solution will help grow tomatoes in the north and Arctic

      Staff of the TSU Biological Institute have developed a new solution concentrate for growing tomatoes without soil. This is optimal for critical farming areas—the northern regions and the Arctic. The biologists’ development differs from the many other compounds used for growing crops with the hydroponics method in that tap water rather than distilled water can be used in the preparation of the solution and aeration is not required, which simplifies cultivation and reduces the cost.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Insulin Racket

      In June 22, 2017, Alec Raeshawn Smith, a recently promoted restaurant manager with Type 1 diabetes, left his local pharmacy empty-handed. He’d gone in to pick up a month’s worth of insulin supplies, which he assumed would set him back around $1000—the amount he and his mother Nicole Smith-Holt had budgeted the month before when he turned 26 and, under Obamacare rules, had to drop off her insurance coverage.

      For Alec, that price was already steep: Even with his promotion, he was making $35,000 a year with no benefits. He and Smith-Holt had combed through Minnesota’s Obamacare marketplace for months in search of a decent plan, but the affordable ones all had sky-high deductibles. That meant that he’d be paying full price for his insulin for months before his junk insurance kicked in, on top of hundreds of dollars in monthly premiums—sucking up some 80 percent of his take-home pay once he paid the rent. So he made a rational decision: He’d go uninsured, save the cost of the premium, and just pay for his meds out of pocket, while racking up work experience that could serve as a springboard to a better position with health insurance.

      As it turned out, it wouldn’t have made a difference if Alec had been insured or not: The price of his insulin had apparently gone up again to $1300, which was more than he had in his bank account. Perhaps he felt embarrassed, too proud to borrow money so soon after finally moving out of his parents’ place. Perhaps he didn’t want anyone to worry about him, and figured he could keep his blood sugar down until payday.

      So he left. He never told his mother and he never told his girlfriend. Five days later, he was dead.

    • ‘Modified’: A Film About GMOs and the Corruption of the Food Supply for Profit

      Parts of the documentary Modified are spent at the kitchen table. But it’s not really a tale about wonderful recipes or the preparation of food. Ultimately, it’s a story of capitalism, money and power and how our most basic rights are being eroded by unscrupulous commercial interests.

      The film centres on its maker, Aube Giroux, who resides in Nova Scotia, Canada. Her interest in food and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) was inspired by her mother, Jali, who also appears throughout. Aube says that when her parents bought their first house her mother immediately got rid of the lawn and planted a huge garden where she grew all kinds of heirloom vegetables, berries, flowers, legumes and garlic.

      “She wanted me and my sister to grow up knowing the story behind the food that we ate, so our backyard was basically our grocery store,” says Aube.

      During the film, we are treated not only to various outdoor scenes of the Giroux’s food garden (their ‘grocery store’) but also to Aube and her mother’s passion for preparing homemade culinary delights. The ‘backyard’ is the grocery store and much of Giroux family life revolves around the kitchen and the joy of healthy, nutritious food.

      When GMOs first began appearing in food, Aube says that what bothered her mother was that some of the world’s largest chemical companies were patenting these new genetically engineered seeds and controlling the seed market.

      In the film, Aube explains, “Farmers who grow GMOs have to sign technology license agreements promising never to save or replant the patented seeds. My mom didn’t think it was a good idea to allow corporations to engineer and then patent the seeds that we rely on for food. She believed that seeds belong in the hands of people.”

    • Russian regulator finds drop in quality of Georgian wines days after anti-Russian demonstrations begin in Tbilisi

      Russia’s Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor) issued an announcement saying that the quality of Georgian alcohol products has been in decline for several years.

      According to the agency, the quantity of substandard Georgian alcohol nearly tripled to 203,000 liters between 2014 and 2018, necessitating new quality controls for Georgian imports to Russia. Data from Georgia’s federal wine agency indicates that almost half of Georgian wine exports go to Russia, and Russian federal data indicates that Georgia is consistently the third- or fourth-largest exporter of wine to Russia in the world.

    • UN Expert Warns Inequality and Austerity Are Intensifying Global Mental Health Crisis

      The United Nations’ top health envoy warned Monday that inequality and austerity are fueling a global mental health crisis that can only be solved by government interventions to reduce economic insecurity and increase funding for crucial public services.

      Dr. Dainius Pūrasa, a Lithuanian psychiatrist and the U.N.’s special rapporteur on health, said in an interview with The Guardian that purely “biomedical” approaches to treating mental illness are not sufficient because they ignore the social and economic conditions that exacerbate depression, anxiety, and other conditions.

    • ‘A True Public Health Emergency’: 70+ Medical Groups Sound Alarm on Climate Crisis

      “Climate change is one of the greatest threats to health America has ever faced—it is a true public health emergency,” the groups state. “The health, safety, and well-being of millions of people in the U.S. have already been harmed by human-caused climate change, and health risks in the future are dire without urgent action to fight climate change.”

      Referencing the impacts of climate-related events and air pollution that have already claimed lives, the groups “call on government, business and civil society leaders, elected officials, and candidates for office to recognize climate change as a health emergency and to work across government agencies and with communities and businesses to prioritize action on this Climate, Health, and Equity Policy Action Agenda.”

      In addition to averting thousands of deaths annually in the U.S., they note, a far-ranging approach to tackling the climate crisis will improve communities’ well-being as well as that of the planet.

      But, they warn, “Without transformational action, climate change will be increasingly severe, leading to more illness, injury, and death; mass migration and violent conflict; and worsening health inequities. By mobilizing climate action for health and health action for climate, the U.S. can reduce climate pollution and build healthy communities that are resilient in the face of climate risks.”

    • Americans Continue to Eat Processed Meat Despite Serious Health Warnings

      But new research shows that despite increasing evidence on just how unhealthy processed foods are, Americans have continued to eat the products at the same rate.

      A study published in the July edition of Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics looked at trends between 1999 and 2016.

      Data on nearly 44,000 people shows that over this timespan the amount of processed meat consumed by adults in the United States has remained unchanged.

      Consumption of healthier meat options such as fish and shellfish also stayed the same.

      If there’s a silver lining, it’s news that Americans are eating more chicken and less red meat than they used to.

      Given the acknowledged health risks of consuming processed meats, the data would seem to suggest that Americans are unaware of these dangers.

      [...]

      To understand what makes these meats so unhealthy, it helps to look at what’s in it.

      “A lot of it has to do with the actual components associated with the processing of red meat,” explained Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RDN, a licensed, registered dietitian who manages wellness nutrition services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.

      One primary component of processed meat are nitrites and nitrates, components that prevent the growth of bacteria and add a salty flavor.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Sting Catches Another Ransomware Firm — Red Mosquito — Negotiating With “Hackers”

      ProPublica recently reported that two U.S. firms, which professed to use their own data recovery methods to help ransomware victims regain access to infected files, instead paid the hackers.

      Now there’s new evidence that a U.K. firm takes a similar approach. Fabian Wosar, a cyber security researcher, told ProPublica this month that, in a sting operation he conducted in April, Scotland-based Red Mosquito Data Recovery said it was “running tests” to unlock files while actually negotiating a ransom payment. Wosar, the head of research at anti-virus provider Emsisoft, said he posed as both hacker and victim so he could review the company’s communications to both sides.

      Red Mosquito Data Recovery “made no effort to not pay the ransom” and instead went “straight to the ransomware author literally within minutes,” Wosar said. “Behavior like this is what keeps ransomware running.”

    • Carbon Black adds Linux support and more to its endpoint protection solution

      Endpoint protection company Carbon Black is adding a number of features to its platform, including Linux support and Amazon Web Services and container protection.

      The cloud-native platform gives security and IT teams remote access to cloud workloads and containers running in their environment, making it easier to resolve configuration drift, address vulnerabilities in real time, confidently respond to incidents and demonstrate compliance with business policies and industry regulations.

      The cloud workload and container protection capabilities are available from the same universal agent and cloud-native platform protecting Microsoft Windows, macOS and Linux endpoints.

      “The industry is quickly moving into the cloud era for endpoint protection and IT operations,” says Ryan Polk, Carbon Black’s chief product officer. “Carbon Black is proud to be at the front edge for cloud innovation and, with this latest release, our cloud-native EPP is now protecting some of the most important and emerging cloud real estate.”

      As well as supporting AWS workloads and nearly every Linux distribution released since 2011, Carbon Black’s platform extends direct access to more than 1,000 individual system artifacts across all major operating systems, including the ability to check the status of disk encryption, installed applications, kernel integrity, listening network ports, logged in users, OS versions, USB devices and more.

    • Top 10 Ethical Hacking Books

      Hacking is an ongoing process of information gathering and exploitation of any target. The hackers are consistent, practical and stay updated with daily appearing vulnerabilities. The first step to exploitation is always reconnaissance. The more information you gather, the better there are chances that you will make your way through the victim boundary. The attack should be very structured and verified in a local environment before being implemented on live target. The pre requisites are Networking skills, programming languages, Linux, Bash scripting and a reasonable workstation.Ethical hacking is the application of hacking knowledge for the benefit of society through good morals, and is usually defensive in nature, based on good knowledge of the core principles.
      Many books are available on hacking, but we will discuss today the top 10 which are appreciated and recommended by the hacking community. Note: The books are in no particular order.

    • Raspberry Pi used to steal data from Nasa lab [Ed: RasPi has a major new release (4), so MSBBC needs to spread some negative things/stories about it (googlebombing?). Microsoft failed to take over Raspberry Pi Foundation like it did OLPC. BBC (run by ex-Microsoft UK people) spreads anti-RasPi news belatedly (blaming it for something unrelated) only hours after a major product release.]

      A tiny Raspberry Pi computer has been used to steal data from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the space agency has revealed.

      An audit report reveals the gadget was used to take about 500MB of data.

    • VMware’s Dirk Hohndel On Container Security, Mental Health And Open Source
    • Trump Ponders Banning All Chinese-Made Gear From US 5G Networks [Ed: Mandating NSA back doors everywhere]

      We’ve already noted extensively how the “race to fifth generation wireless (5G)” is kind of a dumb thing. While 5G is important in the way that faster, better networks are always important, the purported Earth-rattling benefits of the technology have been painfully over-hyped. And they’ve been painfully over-hyped largely for two reasons: one, mobile carriers want to give a kick to stalling cellphone sales numbers, and network hardware vendors like Cisco want to drive the adoption of new, more expensive, telecom hardware.

      The “race to 5G” isn’t a race. And even if it were, our broadband maps are so intentionally terrible, we’d have no idea if and when we’d won it. Regardless, 5G has subsequently become a sort of magic pixie dust of tech policy conversations, justifying all manner of sometimes dubious policy. But the underlying desire to simply sell more kit has also infected the Trump administration’s protectionist attacks on companies like Huawei, which is based on about 40% actual cybersecurity concerns, and 60% lobbying efforts by US hardware vendors that don’t want to compete with cheaper Chinese hardware.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • ‘They Despise Diplomacy, and Thirst for War’: Iran Accuses Trump of Closing Path to Peace With New Sanctions

      Iranian officials warned Tuesday that U.S. President Donald Trump’s new economic sanctions targeting Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and top diplomat Javad Zarif could vanquish the possibility of peaceful negotiations and move the two nations closer to an unnecessary military conflict.

      “Imposing useless sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader and the commander of Iran’s diplomacy is the permanent closure of the path of diplomacy,” said Abbas Mousavi, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry. “Trump’s desperate administration is destroying the established international mechanisms for maintaining world peace and security.”

    • Instigators of a Persian Gulf Crisis

      Recent weeks have seen tensions between the United States and Iran soar, initially after a May 2019 incident in which four commercial vessels were struck in the Gulf of Oman (two Saudi oil tankers, one Norwegian and an Emirati ship), ebb thereafter and escalate yet again when a similar attack took place a month later on the Japanese Kokuka Courageous and Norwegian Front Altair tankers, also in the Gulf of Oman. Tellingly, when it appeared the war rhetoric had subsided after the first incident it quickly ratcheted up, and by several degrees, after the second, as if the May episode had failed to achieve its goal. President Trump’s apparent last-minute change of heart in calling off planned airstrikes when Iran downed a U.S. military surveillance drone last Thursday highlights the war footing Washington is on.

      Both tanker assaults were allegedly at the hands of Iran, that is, according to Saudi King Salman, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, albeit by unclear means and for dubious reasons.

      It did not take long for doubts to surface as to why Iran would attack a Japanese tanker in the midst of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Tehran in an attempt to mediate between it and Washington. The suspect authenticity of a grainy video released by U.S. Central Command purportedly showing an Iranian patrol boat removing an unexploded limpet mine from the tanker also raised skepticism (the crew indicated they were hit by a flying object, not a mine).

      Putting sloppy, poorly designed “evidence” aside, recent history makes clear who the vested parties keen to stoke a manufactured hostility between Iran and its neighbors are. Indeed, one such actor has for decades used a comparable strategy of deliberate provocation to justify vicious military campaigns in Gaza and Lebanon, not unlike the agitation Iran is experiencing today.

      The Israeli tactic has always been to make conditions so intolerable and unsustainable that a response of some kind by the affected group becomes inevitable. Whether it had been to starve and strangle Gazans by a stifling land, sea and air blockade and in effect imprisoning its population (who then responded by firing rather symbolic, fertilizer-based rockets) or the nearly two-decade long occupation of southern Lebanon to destroy the Palestine Liberation Organization and then Hezbollah, the approach always fails but not without great civilian casualty.

    • Trump May Already be in Too Deep to Avoid War With Iran

      President Trump’s last-minute change of mind over launching US airstrikes against Iran shows that a military conflict of some description in the Gulf is becoming highly probable. His hesitation was most likely less connected with an Iranian surface-to-air missile shooting down a US surveillance drone than with his instinct that militarising the crisis is not in America’s best interests.

      If Trump had not pulled back and the strikes against Iranian radars and missile batteries had gone ahead, where exactly would that have got him? This sort of limited military operation is usually more effective as a threat than in actuality. The US is not going to launch an all-out war against Iran in pursuit of a decisive victory and anything less creates more problems than it resolves.

      Iran would certainly retain post-strike the ability to launch pin-prick attacks up and down the Gulf and, especially, in and around the 35-mile wide Strait of Hormuz through which passes 30 per cent of the world’s oil trade. Anything affecting this choke point reverberates around the word: news of the shooting down of the drone immediately sent the price of benchmark Brent crude oil rocketing upwards by 4.75 per cent.

    • Trump Keeps Talking About the Last Military Standoff With Iran — Here’s What Really Happened

      Just before sunset on Jan. 12, 2016, 10 American sailors strayed into Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, a navigation error with potentially grave consequences. On their way to a spying mission, the Americans had set sail from Kuwait to Bahrain. It was a long-distance trek that some senior commanders in the Navy’s 5th Fleet had warned they were neither equipped nor trained to execute.

      Surrounded by four boats operated by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the U.S. sailors, in two small gunboats, surrendered rather than opening fire. The officer in charge of the mission later said he understood that had a firefight erupted, it could well have provoked a wider conflict and scuttled the controversial nuclear deal the two countries were poised to implement in mere days.

      The Navy dialed up an elaborate rescue mission to free the sailors from tiny Farsi Island involving fighter jets and a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group. But the return of the sailors was ultimately secured peacefully. The nuclear deal went forward with the U.S. providing sanctions relief and unfreezing billions in Iranian assets in exchange for Tehran’s promise to curb its nuclear ambitions.

      President Donald Trump explicitly invoked the 2016 incident last week as he weighed actions against Iran amid rising tensions. Trump told Time magazine that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had mishandled the high-stakes confrontation, a mistake he would not make. “The only reason the sailors were let go is that we started making massive payments to them the following day,” Trump said. “Otherwise the sailors would still be there.”

      But a ProPublica investigation makes clear that Trump’s repeated claims about the captured sailors – Obama’s weakness; that the money was improper – obscure the more troubling realities exposed by the Navy’s 2016 debacle in the Persian Gulf. The Farsi Island mission was a gross failure, involving issues that have plagued the Navy in recent years: inadequate training, poor leadership, and a disinclination to heed the warnings of its men and women about the true extent of its vulnerabilities.

    • NIAC Statement on Trump’s Imposition of New Iran Sanctions

      Moments ago President Donald Trump signed off on an executive order imposing a new wave of sanctions on Iran following increased tensions between the U.S. and Iran last week. The sanctions target Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamanei and senior commanders from the Revolutionary Guard’s Navy, Aerospace, and Ground Forces, and aim to block Iran top leadership’s from accessing the international financial system.

    • Escalating “Crisis of His Administration’s Making,” Trump Imposes New Sanctions Against Iran

      After President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order imposing new economic sanctions against Iran, critics denounced the punitive measures as a dangerous intensification of the same “maximum pressure” strategy that pushed the U.S. to the brink of war in the first place.

      “Sanctions are what got us into this mess, more sanctions will not get us out of it,” Jamal Abdi, president of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), said in a statement. “Donald Trump needs to put his ego aside and abandon the ‘maximum pressure’ strategy that [national security adviser] John Bolton and [Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo have foisted on the world.”

    • Trump Signs Order Imposing Sanctions on Iran Supreme Leader

      President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Monday targeting Iran’s supreme leader and his associates with financial sanctions, the latest action the U.S. has taken to discourage Tehran from developing nuclear weapons and supporting militant groups.

      The sanctions follow Iran’s downing of a more than $100 million U.S. surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz that has ratcheted up tensions. Trump pulled back from the brink of retaliatory military strikes on Iran last week, but is continuing his pressure campaign.

      The targets of the new sanctions include senior military figures in Iran, blocking their access to any financial assets under U.S. jurisdiction.

      “These measures represent a strong and proportionate response to Iran’s increasingly provocative actions,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

    • Giving Trump Credit (But Not Too Much) on Iran

      The Donald made the right call. Now that’s a rare statement. Calling off – or at least delaying – a military strike on Iran was prudent. Nevertheless, there was something deeply unsettling about the whole thing. The system is broken, perhaps irreparably.

      The president never even considered seeking congressional approval before playing emperor and unleashing death and destruction on a sovereign nation. Why would he? Essentially every president, since Truman, has done the same thing one time or another. Unilateral executive action has been the American norm pretty much since World War II wrapped up. Seen in this context, Trump isn’t so anomalous as many would like to believe. Korea kicked off the trend. But the Vietnam advisory mission, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Bosnia, Libya, and Syria – to name the highlights – were all undertaken without the constitutionally mandated consent of the legislature.

    • Bill Clinton in Kosovo

      The Balkans has often been prone to seizures of mysticism, glum prediction and predation. But one character felt at home as he addressed his audience in Kosovo, himself having been afflicted by a certain evangelical urge. This month, former US President Will Jefferson Clinton, keeping company with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, were rubbing shoulders with officials and stage hands in Pristina to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Kosovo intervention by NATO in March 1999.

      It was a chance Kosovo’s president Hashim Thaçi was not going to let pass. In being awarded the Order of Freedom, Clinton was all praise. “I think the whole world today with all this turmoil, can look to Kosovo as an example of a democracy and a commitment to prove, grow, and live in peace with one’s neighbours.” Being Clinton, his words have a profound lightweight quality, albeit dressed up as grave and morally hefty.

      Nonetheless, they struck the appropriate, ceremonial note. Thaçi glowed with appreciation. “We thank you for the just decision to stop the Serbian genocide during 1999. We are very grateful for the support of the US to Kosovo. The story of Kosovo is a story of joint success. You are our hero.”

      Clinton duly responded, expressing pride at having been the “president of the United States when you needed someone to stand up and say no more ethnic cleansing, no more people running out of their homes, no more killing innocent civilians, there’s got to be another way.”

    • Is Mexico Winding Down or Winding up the Drug War?

      As Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador begins transitioning his country away from its decade-long drug war, which has killed more than 100,000 Mexican citizens since 2006, officials in the Trump administration have remained largely silent about his moves. Washington is continuing its public relations strategy of saying very little about the war while helping Mexican security forces continue to fight it.

      The Trump administration’s silence, which has been enabled by a lack of coverage in the U.S. mass media, has not gone entirely unnoticed. Some members of Congress have begun to question the Trump administration’s strategy, arguing that the administration does not have an effective plan for winning the war.

      “We are whistling by the graveyard if we don’t address and talk about an effective strategy for crushing the drug cartels,” Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) said during a congressional hearing in April.

      To say that the Trump administration has simply been “whistling by the graveyard” as violence increases is not entirely accurate, however. Although the administration has kept mostly quiet about the growing violence, it has been working closely with Mexican military forces to crush the country’s drug cartels, exactly as Senator Johnson demanded.

    • Trump’s Return to Full-Spectrum Dominance

      The United States is formally committed to dominating the world by 2020. President Trump’s Space Directive-4, on the production of laser-armed combat aircraft as possible precursors to space weapons and the possibility of nuclear warheads being placed in orbit, moves the clock forward.

      An interesting and credible paper by T.J. Coles in CounterPunch recently reported that in 1997, the re-established U.S. Space Command announced its commitment to full spectrum dominance by 2020, which means military control over land, sea, air and space to protect U.S. interests and investments.

      Protecting means guaranteeing the operational freedom of U.S. investments, which in turn means “corporate profits.”

      The journalistic work explains that, in the past, the Army was deployed based on the interests of settlers who stole land from Native Americans in the genocidal birth of the United States as a nation.

      A National Defense University report recognizes that, by the 19th century, the Navy had evolved to protect the newly formulated “grand strategy” of the United States. In addition to the supposed protection of citizens and the constitution, the guiding principle was, and continues to be, “the protection of American territory … and our economic well-being.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Interior Department Putting Even More Effort Into Dodging FOIA Request

      The Department of the Interior is still trying to remove the word “freedom” from “Freedom of Information Act.” The first step is removing the word “information.”

      Earlier this year, the DOI tried to sneak past a rewrite of FOIA by hiding a request in the federal register. It would only apply to the DOI, hence the lack of legislative noise or heads up to the public. Under the guise of “ensuring compliance” with the law, the DOI wanted the power to unilaterally reject any request it found “burdensome.”

      Faced with an influx of requests, the DOI decided to double down on non-compliance. Rather than route more staff to the overburdened FOIA response team, the DOI decided it would be better served by tossing as many requests in the trashcan as possible.

    • Justices Side With Business, Government in Information Fight

      The Supreme Court sided with businesses and the U.S. government Monday in a ruling about the public’s access to information, telling a South Dakota newspaper it can’t get the data it was seeking.

      The justices ruled against the Argus Leader, which is owned by USA Today publisher Gannett and is the largest newspaper in South Dakota. The paper was seeking to learn how much money goes annually to every store nationwide that participates in the government’s $65 billion-a-year Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, called SNAP.

      The federal government initially declined the paper’s request for the information. In response, the paper sued, arguing that the data is public and shows citizens how the government is spending their tax money. The government lost in a lower court and decided not to appeal. But a supermarket trade association, the Virginia-based Food Marketing Institute, stepped in to continue the fight with the backing of the Trump administration, arguing that the information is confidential and should not be disclosed.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour Raises $21.5 Million to Fight Climate Crisis in Guitar Auction

      David Gilmour, guitarist, singer and songwriter in the rock band Pink Floyd, set a record last week when he auctioned off 126 guitars and raised $21.5 million for ClientEarth, a non-profit environmental law group dedicated to fighting the global climate crisis, according to CNN.

      The auction lasted more than eight hours and had bids from over 66 countries, according to Christies, the London-based auction house, which hosted the sale in New York City, as CNN reported.

    • David Gilmour puts his guitars up for auction, raises $21.5M for a climate change charity

      An auction of David Gilmour’s guitars has raised a lot of “Money” — to combat climate change.

      Christie’s auction house says it raised $21.5 million Thursday, selling off more than 120 guitars owned by the Pink Floyd guitarist, singer and songwriter. Proceeds went to ClientEarth, a nonprofit fighting climate change.

      The items included guitars by Fender, Rickenbacker, Ovation, Gibson, C.F. Martin and Gretsch, including guitar cases, a banjo and amps.

      A black Stratocaster — dubbed the “Black Strat” — was the top item and was snatched up for $3,975,000, a new world record for a guitar at auction.

    • CEO of Major Shale Oil Company “Has Second Thoughts” on Fracking Rush, Wall Street Journal Reports

      On Monday, the Wall Street Journal featured a profile of Scott Sheffield, CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources, whose company is known among investors for its emphasis on drawing oil and gas from the Permian basin in Texas using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

      Back in 2014, Sheffield told Forbes that he expected Pioneer could produce a million barrels of oil a day from the Permian basin by 2024 – up from 45,000 barrels a day in 2011.

      Now, Sheffield, who left the helm of Pioneer in 2016 and returned this February, says that those million-barrel-a-day plans are looking increasingly doubtful as the industry has struggled to prove to investors that it’s capable not only of producing enormous volumes of oil and gas, but that it can do so while booking profits rather than losses.

      “We lost the growth investors,” Pioneer CEO Scott Sheffield told the Journal. “Now we’ve got to attract a whole other set of investors.”

    • Trump Administration Buries Government-Funded Studies Showing Dangers of Climate Change

      The Trump administration ratcheted up its open hostility to climate science in a move that may hide essential information from the nation’s farmers.

      The administration put the kibosh on publicizing work done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) own scientists that carried warnings about the long-term repercussions of the climate crisis, according to a report by Politico.

    • Ice-free Greenland possible in 1,000 years

      US scientists have just established that the long-term future may bring an ice-free Greenland, if melting continues at the current rate. By the year 3,000 it could simply be green, with rocky outcrops. Greenland’s icy mountains will have vanished.

      By the end of this century, the island – the largest body of ice in the northern hemisphere, and home to 8% of the world’s fresh water in frozen form – will have lost 4.5% of its ice cover, and sea levels will have risen by up to 33cm.

      And if melting continues, and the world goes on burning fossil fuels under climate science’s notorious “business as usual scenario”, then within another thousand years the entire cover will have run into the sea, which by then will have risen – just because of melting in Greenland – by more than seven metres, to wash away cities such as Miami, Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Shanghai and New Orleans.

      “How Greenland will look in the future – in a couple of hundred years or in 1,000 years – whether there will be Greenland, or at least a Greenland similar to today, it’s up to us”, said Andy Aschwanden, of the University of Fairbanks, Alaska geophysical institute.

    • Germany: Climate activists end coal blockade in Garzweiler

      Police have cleared 250 climate activists who stayed overnight at the Garzweiler brown coal mine in western Germany, officials said Sunday.
      However, some protesters were still blocking nearby train tracks that usually serve as a coal transport route from one of Germany’s biggest open-pit mines, near the cities of Düsseldorf and Cologne.
      Spokeswoman Kathrin Henneberger confirmed the protesters had now left the mine.
      “In the morning, there was a brief escalation with the police. Officers encircled a group, although all participants intended to clear the area around 10 a.m. as agreed and announced,” Henneberger told Germany’s dpa news agency.

    • Women are rising in the conservation movement, but still face #MeToo challenges

      The #MeToo movement has caused profound shake-ups at organizations across the U.S. in the last two years. So far, however, it has left many unresolved questions about how workplaces can be more inclusive and equitable for women and other diverse groups.

      In its latest twist, over the last month a series of top executives have exited The Nature Conservancy, the largest conservation organization in North America. They left after an internal investigation, prompted by sexual harassment and workplace misconduct accusations, which found that the organization’s culture “can make it difficult for women to thrive.”

      We have been studying women in conservation leadership for the past several years, and unfortunately this news didn’t shock us. Our research shows that harassment is one of many gender-related challenges that frequently confront women conservation leaders.

    • What’s Next for the Youth Climate Lawsuit

      On June 4, Andrea Rodgers was in the front row of attorneys sitting before a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court. The court session, held in Portland, Oregon, was to determine whether the climate change lawsuit (Juliana v. United States) brought by 21 young plaintiffs should be dismissed, as requested by the U.S. government, or go on to trial.

      It’s the latest of many delays for the lawsuit, which was first filed in 2015 by the then-youth plaintiffs. The judges’ decision on this most recent request to dismiss the case is expected sometime in the next few months.

      Rodgers is a senior attorney for Our Children’s Trust, the nonprofit based in Eugene, Oregon, that is supporting the young plaintiffs—the eldest of whom are now young adults while the youngest is 11—in making their case.

      They’re suing the United States government for endangering their future by supporting a fossil fuel-based energy system, despite knowledge of how that would contribute to the current climate disaster. Rodgers is also the lead attorney for climate-related suits on behalf of children in the states of Washington and Florida.

    • 70 Arrested at Extinction Rebellion Protest Demanding More Urgent Climate Coverage From New York Times

      Protesters briefly blocked traffic on Manhattan’s Eighth Avenue, between the Times building and the busy Port Authority Bus Terminal, The Guardian reported. Demonstrators staged a die-in on the street outside the paper’s headquarters. They also attached banners to the two buildings. The one affixed to Port Authority read “Climate Emergency,” and the banner suspended from the Times building read “climate change = mass murder,” with “change” crossed out and replaced with “emergency,” Reuters reported.

      “The lack of coverage of the climate crisis is completely unacceptable,” member of Extinction Rebellion’s press and fundraising teams Becca Trabin told The Guardian. “It’s a public safety crisis on a global scale.”

    • UPDATE 1-Police arrest 70 climate change protesters outside New York Times

      Police arrested 70 environmental protesters outside the New York Times headquarters who laid down in the street and climbed onto the building to demand the newspaper start referring to climate change as a climate emergency, police and media reports said.

      New York police arrested 67 people and Port Authority police arrested three others, a police spokesman said. Charges were pending.

      Protesters blocked the street by lying down in a “die-in” and affixed a banner to the skyscraper in midtown Manhattan saying “climate change = mass murder,” with the word “change” crossed out and replaced with “emergency,” according to pictures posted by the website of 1010 Wins radio.

    • Massive Fire at South Philadelphia Oil Refinery Injures Five

      A fire broke out at a Philadelphia oil refinery Friday morning, starting with an explosion so massive it was felt as far away as South Jersey and Delaware County, Pennsylvania, CNN reported.

    • Fire that engulfed Philadelphia refinery has been extinguished, officials say

      A fire that engulfed a Philadelphia refinery and sparked air-quality concerns has been extinguished, according to city officials.

      The fire at Philadelphia Energy Solutions was put out on Saturday afternoon, according to a statement on the city’s website.

      The fire began with an explosion on Friday morning from a vat of butane and propane. Residents reportedly felt the explosion in South Jersey and Delaware County, Pennsylvania, according to CNN affiliate WPVI.
      Emergency medical services treated one individual on the scene, according to Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel. Four employees also suffered minor injuries, and all were treated on-site by a company medical team, according to Philadelphia Energy Solutions.

      The fire sent large plumes of smoke into the sky that could be seen for miles. Emergency management officials initially asked people east of the fire to shelter in place, but the order was quickly lifted.

    • We Have Less Than a Millisecond Left

      We have less than a millisecond left.

      You see, the planet we call home has existed for roughly 4.55 billion years. But numbers that large mean almost nothing to me, nor to most people, so I choose to break it down. If we lay the age of the Earth out over a calendar year, that would amount to 518,264 years per hour or 144 years per second. So if we have 10 or 11 years until the point of no return, as climate scientists have repeatedly told us, that means we have a millisecond left before midnight in which to change our society completely to avoid turning the Earth into a piping hot fajita. (If you want to be more generous and instead look at how long modern homosapiens have been walking around, it’s 315,000 years. So if you lay that over a calendar year, we have roughly 15 minutes before the stroke of midnight to combat climate change. Not sure that makes me feel much better.)

      None of us should be thinking about anything other than climate change. We all kind of know it even if we think we don’t know it. Even people who deny climate change exists probably secretly know it. They’re just confusing what they want to be true with what they subconsciously know to be true. I did the same thing when I was a child and tennis legend Jimmy Connors lost in the semifinals of the 1991 U.S. Open after his monumental run at the ancient age of 39. (For an 11-year-old, 39 sounds pretty close to mummified.) I was certain Jimmy would be playing in the finals. I knew deep within my bones that Jimbo would dazzle us with diving volleys and mid-court passing shots in the championship match because how could the powers that be allow the only character America genuinely cared about to bow out before the finals? In my mind it was akin to killing off Iron Man halfway through the movie “Iron Man.”

      Jimmy Connors did not show up to the finals. Climate change is the only thing we should be thinking about.

    • Protecting the Great Burn

      The Great Burn is Missoula’s best kept wilderness secret, a landscape lost for more than 50 years from the devastating effects of the fire that bears its name. Its recovery has been nothing short of remarkable. Yet, the Burn is under fire once again, this time by off-road vehicles, snowmobiles and mountain bikes that threaten to steal the spirit of this fragile and wild landscape.

      With an administration dead set on exploiting our public lands, time is of the essence to ensure protection for perhaps our wildest and least protected stretch of proposed wilderness: the 1.9 million acres that straddles Montana and Idaho, known as the Great Burn and String of Pearls.

      Since 1964, wilderness lands have remained vital for recreation, the protection of species, as pristine waterways or as important connectivity for wildlife to continue to move and migrate without interference. Within the Great Burn there are bears, wolves, native mountain goats, wolverines and so many other special creatures that bring soul to these public lands owned by all Americans. Wildlife biologists have made clear; the Great Burn may well be one of the most important remaining habitats in the lower 48, especially when it comes to grizzly recovery.

      These lands are rich in old growth western-red cedar and Douglas fir; in some parts the cedars have been determined by the Forest Service to be more than 500 years old. These were the lucky strands that avoided fire.

      When President Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot set aside millions of acres for national forests, those who had been exploiting the public lands were enraged and senators in some Western states cut funding to the bone for the new agency and did all they could to ignore the peril they were creating.

      Today history is sadly repeating itself. The Forest Service is woefully underfunded; the current administration has done more to remove lands from protection than any in our history. There continues to be an outcry from a radical fringe to get rid of public lands and turn our wildest lands into a waste pit of extraction, trapping and a machine-driven chaos.

    • In Far-Reaching Plan, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Proposes Radical Changes to Fossil Fuel Industry

      Washington Gov. Jay Inslee isn’t one of the top contenders for his party’s nomination for president in 2020, but his campaign, which focuses on climate change, is pushing to end U.S. fossil fuel dependence by hitting climate crisis-exacerbating companies where it hurts: the wallet.

      In Inslee’s “Freedom from Fossil Fuels” plan, the governor calls for ending subsidies for fossil fuels, ensuring any new energy infrastructure is put through a rigorous permitting process, and introducing fees for greenhouse gas emissions. The plan, which marks the most comprehensive approach to addressing the climate crisis presented by a 2020 Democrat to date, is part of what Inslee described in comments to HuffPost reporter Alexander Kaufman as working “in the only time period that’s consistent with our survival in the world.”

      “This will get us off fossil fuels in the only time period that’s consistent with our survival in the world as we know it,” said Inslee. “Don’t expect these people to go easily.”

      Inslee’s plan shows how the conversation around climate is moving, said Julian Brave NoiseCat, Green New Deal Strategy director for Data for Progress. NoiseCat told environmental news outlet Earther Monday that the plan’s “move toward an investment and accountability framework is a very notable paradigm shift.”

    • Hey, Oregon Senators: You Can’t Run Away From Climate Change

      This week Oregon stands on the cusp of approving historic cap-and-invest legislation, HB 2020, that experts have said will help grow the Oregon economy. After three years of legislative consideration, numerous studies, hearings, public meetings and debate, the Oregon House approved the legislation decisively (36-22) on June 18th, and the bill moved to the Senate Floor, where a vote was expected on June 20th.

    • Jay Inslee’s Latest Climate Plan Targets the Fossil Fuel Industry

      In his latest bid to be the 2020 climate candidate, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee unveiled a plan Monday to target the fossil fuel industry by both phasing out extraction and making it pay for the damage it has already done.

      The plan would end subsidies for oil, natural gas and coal companies, ban drilling on federal lands and waters, phase out fracking and institute a “Climate Pollution Fee,” The Hill reported.

    • Inslee unveils plan to fight fossil fuel pollution, ban fracking

      Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), a 2020 presidential candidate, unveiled on Monday his plan for tackling fossil fuel pollution, including ending subsidies for oil and gas companies and phasing out fracking.

      The proposal, Inslee’s fourth plan for addressing climate change, calls for taking on the oil and gas companies he calls “the greatest and most powerful special interests that are holding back our clean energy future.”

      Even as candidates compete to showcase their environmental credentials, Inslee’s latest plan stands out in its attempt to tackle the source of emissions from what is now the largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions: transportation.

    • Plastics Pact announcement ‘wholly inadequate’, says Green Party deputy leader

      Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, said:

      “Companies produce and sell about 76 kilogrammes of plastic that goes to waste each year in the UK for every women, man and child in the country.

    • Up in Arms: New Book Explores the Bundys, Militias and the Battle Over Public Lands

      When armed militants with a grudge against the federal government seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in rural Oregon back in the winter of 2016, I remember avoiding the news coverage. Part of me wanted to know what was happening, but each report I read — as the occupation stretched from days to weeks and the destruction grew — made me so angry it was hard to keep reading.

    • 77 Health Organizations Call for Climate Action to Fight Public Health Emergency

      More than 70 leading public health groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, agree that the climate crisis is also a health emergency.

    • ‘Historic moment’ for indigenous people at climate talks, new climate leader says

      Pasang Dolma Sherpa: Yes, this is a historic moment. When the UNFCCC was established in 1992, indigenous peoples did not have the same forum to interact.
      Now, the indigenous peoples’ continued hard work, their struggle, their work on the ground has been acknowledged and is reflected at the global level. And finally we have the platform, the facility working group, at the same level as said parties to present the important role of indigenous peoples.
      What is the state of rights for indigenous peoples right now?
      In the Paris Agreement as well as at COP24 [in Katowice], it’s explicitly stated that indigenous peoples’ rights be enshrined by the UNFCCC, particularly rights for protecting, enhancing and continuing with traditional knowledge and cultural practices in their territories.
      But these rights are hardly reflected at a national level. There are so many events in the name of conservation, in the name of protection of biodiversity, cultural practices. The role of indigenous peoples has hardly been acknowledged, when in fact indigenous peoples have been contributing to sustaining and managing and protecting the ecosystem’s biodiversity. This voice needs to be heard.

    • 10 things a committed U.S. President and Congress could do about climate change

      The federal government has available to it, should it choose to use them, a wide range of potential climate change management tools, going well beyond the traditional pollution control regulatory options. And, in some cases (not all), without new legislative authorization.

      There’s a big “if” behind that remark: It will take an exceptionally climate-savvy and climate-concerned Executive Branch to have the political will to initiate some of these steps. And there’s more: It likely will take supportive bipartisan majorities in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. More still: It will also take widespread and strong public support and citizen engagement, and, even then, strong leadership skills on the part of federal leaders.

      It’s not clear when or if that time will come, nor what kind of climate catastrophe could precipitate such a coming-together. It brings to mind a phrase often attributed, but with some uncertainty, to Winston Churchill: “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.”

  • Finance

    • Brief Impressions of the Japanese Conjuncture

      I was last in Japan 12 years ago. Japan is a study in contradictions.

      Economically, it should be regarded as a basket case. Japan’s 2019 debt-to-GDP ratio stands at 235.96% of its GDP.

      Even Greece, after a decade of troika (EU-IMF-ECB) “fiscal waterboarding”, has a ratio of 191.27%. The US’s ratio is at 108.02%, and the UK’s 85.92% (thereby giving lie to the Tory myth, in support of its austerity agenda, that the UK is “living beyond its means”).

      Japan, with greater debt levels than Greece and Venezuela, has however the same credit rating as the other major economic powers because of its large economy and stable political system. It would be an international economic pariah otherwise.

      The other factor causing a drag on Japan’s economy is its elderly population. Japan has over twice the number of centenarians per 1000 people than the US and UK: 48 per 1000 versus 21.5 (UK) and 22 (US).

      A 1998 United Nations demographic survey showed that Japan is expected to have 272,000 centenarians by 2050. Data recently released by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry showed that the 26.18 million people 70 or older accounted for 20.7% of Japan’s population.

    • Hopeful Things

      Abandoning religion wasn’t at all hard. I forgot the feasts, the priests, the dutiful drones, and the money-worshipping hordes of hypocrites that turned up and tuned out every Sunday, just as they had forgotten the Gospels and their communist implications – if ever they had read them. The decision to leave was political, not spiritual: any organised religion that supported capitalism – a system that by its fundamental principles thrives on inequality and exploitation, that reproduces itself through violence, that endlessly refines the means to render the human species extinct – must necessarily compromise its own fundamental principles.

      Right or wrong, that was my point of departure, a long time ago now. But despite my efforts, I found it devilishly difficult to drop the monstrously complex habit of praying. It is at times utterly exhausting: searching for ways to forgive your enemies, dead or alive, to find love in your heart and to send some sprinklings of goodwill in otherwise spiteful situations, to hate a person’s vile behaviour, but not the person. And if none of this is remotely possible, to focus on the context that created them – a very socialist take on the whole affair.

    • Why We Need to Break Up Big Tech

      The combined wealth of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and Google’s Sergey Brin, and Larry Page is larger than the combined wealth of the bottom half of the American population.

      They are the leaders of a second Gilded Age – ushered in by semiconductors, software and the internet – which has spawned a handful of hi-tech behemoths and crushed competition.

      Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple, and Microsoft now have the highest market values for all public corporations in America.

      As of today, only three countries in the world have a GDP higher than these companies’ combined market value of approximately 4 trillion dollars.

      America’s first Gilded Age began in the late nineteenth century with a raft of innovations – railroads, steel production, oil extraction – that culminated in mammoth trusts run by “robber barons” like J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, and William Vanderbilt.

    • With Puerto Rico Still Waiting on Approved Emergency Food Aid, Sanders Condemns Trump for ‘Holding Funds in Red Tape Limbo’

      Amid reports that Puerto Rico has still not received the $600 million in emergency food stamp aid that President Donald Trump reluctantly signed into law more than two weeks ago, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday accused the White House of “holding the funds in red tape limbo” and said the money must be released “immediately.”

      Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, specifically called out U.S. Department of Agriculture chief Sonny Perdue and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney for withholding the funds as the people of Puerto Rico “are going hungry.”

      [...]

      “The situation is dire,” Glorimar Andújar Matos, secretary of Puerto Rico’s families department, told the Post. “Given Puerto Rico’s unfair treatment in federal programs, we are pushing to receive and utilize the funds as soon as possible.”

      The delay comes after Republican lawmakers and the Trump administration worked to block any new emergency funding for Puerto Rico. Trump reportedly told officials earlier this year that he “doesn’t want another single dollar” going to Puerto Rico despite the growing hunger crisis on the island.

      The president ultimately signed into law a $19 billion disaster relief package that included funds for Puerto Rico and U.S. states affected by hurricanes.

    • Ilhan Omar and Bernie Got It Right: Full Student Debt Cancellation Is the Best Approach

      Sen. Bernie Sanders, together with Representatives Ilhan Omar and Pramila Jayapal, has introduced a dramatic reform package on college affordability. It goes far beyond anything proposed so far, both in its scope and in its potential to reshape the way Americans think about their society and government.

      One bill in the package, Rep. Omar’s Student Debt Cancellation Act, would cancel all outstanding student debt. That’s a $1.6 trillion burden affecting more than 45 million people. This bill will benefit people in all demographic groups, communities, and walks of life. That fact is illustrated by the fact that, as Sen. Sanders introduces the bill in the Senate, eight representatives of color (including Rep. Omar) will simultaneously introduce it in the House.

      The reform package also includes Sen. Sanders’ College for All Act, which provides tuition-free higher education to every qualified American without any additional work requirements, restrictions, or tests for family financial eligibility.

    • Sanders and Omar’s Plan Would Wipe Out Every Outstanding Student Loan

      Today, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota released a bill to cancel all student debt in the nation, called the Student Debt Cancellation Act. Sen. Bernie Sanders is also introducing companion legislation for complete student debt cancellation as a part of broader package he is introducing on college affordability. While Representative Omar’s Student Debt Cancellation Act isn’t the first bill ever to propose canceling all student debt, it comes at a time when wide-scale student debt cancellation as a policy proposal is finally being treated with the seriousness it’s always deserved.

      Representative Omar’s legislation would enact universal debt cancellation — which means every single outstanding student loan, federal or private, would be wiped out. The bill comes two months after presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren released a proposal to wipe out all student debt for 75 percent of borrowers. Omar’s bill goes further than Warren’s plan, which caps debt cancellation at $50,000. Over 7.8 million borrowers (17 percent of all student debtors) owe $50,000 or more on their student loans, according to data from the New York Fed Reserve. This includes many borrowers who’ve pursued graduate degrees, and not only lawyers and people with MBAs. The average debt load of those who completed a master’s of education degree from 2015-16 was $55,200; for a master of science, it was $62,300. And of those pursuing any kind of advanced degree, Black and Latinx graduates are the most likely to have borrowed $50,000 or more.

      There are also many parents like Christopher Raymond who’d benefit from universal debt cancellation. Raymond borrowed $136,000 toward his two children’s higher education using Parent PLUS loans. He’s not alone: As of 2014, 13 percent of parents with Parent PLUS loans owe more than $50,000, and 4 percent owe over $100,000. Those with high loan balances are also likely to struggle to repay: almost 30 percent of all dollars in default are held by borrowers who owe over $50,000.

    • Trump Attacks Federal Reserve Again, Wants Interest Rate Cut

      President Donald Trump is continuing efforts to pressure the U.S. central bank system, saying the stock markets and economic growth would be much higher if not for its actions.

      Trump says the Federal Reserve “doesn’t know what it’s doing” and raised interest rates too quickly.

    • Under Trump, Manufacturing Job Growth Slows to a Trickle

      Donald Trump put manufacturing jobs at the center of his economic platform in 2016. He endlessly harped on the loss of relatively good-paying manufacturing jobs.

      He blamed this job loss on “terrible” trade agreements and other countries “manipulating” the value of their currency to get an advantage in trade. He put China at the top of the list of bad actors, promising to declare them a currency manipulator on day one of his administration, which would directly lead to economic sanctions.

      While Trump has engaged in considerable bluster in his trade negotiations, they have not led to much of a payoff for U.S. manufacturing workers to date. At the most basic level, instead of shrinking, the trade deficit has gotten larger under Trump.

      In 2016, the last year of the Obama administration, the trade deficit was $502 billion. Through the first four months of 2019, the trade deficit was running at almost a $620 billion annual rate, more than $100 billion higher than the deficit Trump inherited.

      For all his screaming about currency manipulation, the value of the dollar relative to other currencies has barely changed since Trump took office. Needless to say, Trump did not declare China a currency manipulator on day one of his administration or on any subsequent day.

      While he has in fact started a trade war with China, currency values — which would directly affect our trade balance — are no longer a major issue of contention. Instead, Trump seems more focused on ensuring that China respects the intellectual property claims of Boeing and other multinational companies when they outsource factories to China.

      Although the story of negotiating whiz Trump winning terrific trade deals for U.S. workers has not quite panned out, he actually could point to an increase in manufacturing jobs under his watch. Manufacturing employment increased by 471,000 (3.9 percent) in the 28 months from January 2017 to May 2019.

    • Capitalist Workplaces Set Bosses Up to Be Authoritarian Tyrants

      Long before the growing interest in economic inequality facing contemporary capitalist societies, radical thinkers and union organizers were concerned about the authoritarian governance in workplaces. Unfortunately, this concern seems to have taken a back seat in political philosophy during the present era. Elizabeth S. Anderson, a professor of philosophy and women’s studies at the University of Michigan, is seeking to remedy this with her trenchant analyses of the coercive and hierarchical nature of capitalist firms and corporations. Her book Private Government offers an important reminder that bosses tend to be dictators and that workers’ lives are essentially at the mercy of private government.

    • UK Government’s Latest Take On Asset Forfeiture Is Pretty Much ‘You Can’t Afford That!’

      The UK government has adopted a spin on asset forfeiture so brazenly abusive of citizens, American cops are probably kicking themselves for not thinking of it first.

      Dutch law enforcement raised the bar for forfeiture-related audacity early last year when they promised to start taking the literal clothes off people’s back if it didn’t seem like they had the (legal) funds to afford high-end designer wear. Dutch officials said a lot of things about gaudy timepieces but made it clear shirts and pants might follow if deemed sufficiently expensive.

      The UK has this beat. As Walter Olson opines for the Washington Examiner, the UK plan does away with all the comparative politeness of American asset forfeiture. There will be no fishing expeditions masquerading as traffic stops. There will be no pre-dawn raids predicated on tips by informants whose trustworthiness is only exceeded by their willingness to commit crimes using taxpayer dollars.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Deep Fakes: Will AI Swing the 2020 Election?

      Imagine, on the day before the 2020 presidential election, that someone posts a video of the Democratic candidate talking before a group of donors. The candidate admits to being ashamed to be an American, confesses that the United States is a malevolent force in the world, and promises to open borders, subordinate the country to the UN, and adopt a socialist economic system.

      The video goes viral. It doesn’t matter that it sounds a bit suspicious, a candidate saying such things just before the election. A very careful observer might note some discrepancies with the shadows in the background of the video or that the candidate makes some oddly uncharacteristic facial expressions.

      For the average credulous viewer, however, the video reinforces some latent prejudices about Democratic Party candidates, that they never thought America was all that great to begin with and are not ultimately interested in making the country great again. And hey, didn’t Mitt Romney make a similar mistake by dissing the 47 percent just before the 2012 elections?

    • How the Media Will Pick the Next Democratic Presidential Candidate

      Democratic primary voters and caucus-attendees are of two minds about the 2020 presidential general election campaign.
      A majority of them want it to be like one of those hockey games where the players drop their gloves and start fighting the moment the puck is dropped. They want a candidate who welcomes a bench-clearing brawl with President Trump. And they want the melee to be about something big: an explicit and unapologetic liberal agenda, devoid of global-oney and neoliberal trims.

      At the same time, a greater majority of Democratic voters simply want to beat Trump and worry about the rest later. Anything that might endanger his defeat is therefore disqualifying. Whatever general-election voters in the key states need to hear to vote against Trump, that’s the Democratic platform.

      Back and forth it goes. The California State Democratic Party delegates boo Democratic presidential candidates who are critical of socialism. Joe Biden is talked up as the party’s surest bet in November 2020. Biden is lambasted for his past support of the Hyde Amendment. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth are described (again and again) as too liberal, a.k.a. “unelectable.”

      Enter the polls. Polls are the MRIs of “electability” and provide pseudo-scientific precision to forecasting future outcomes. They enable TV talking heads to winnow candidates out and, to paraphrase the late Senator Fred Harris, “winnow candidates in.”

    • How Immigration Changed A Small-Town Sweden That Never Existed

      How far can you stretch nostalgia before warm, harmless exaggeration transforms into weaponized dishonesty?

      This question is at the heart of a great deal of discussion on immigration in Europe, where the presence of new residents is often pitched by those opposed to immigration as ultimately undermining (and even eradicating) local history, cultures and traditions. Precisely what those local histories, cultures and traditions looked like before the arrival of immigrants, however, is far from agreed upon, and are very often altered and romanticized in the service of an anti-immigration agenda.

      Nothing better illustrates this dynamic than an opinion piece published a few days ago in the Swedish newspaper Göteborgs-Posten. In the article, the author recounted the tale of searching late one dark winter night (in the relatively small Swedish town of Gävle) for an open food store. She eventually managed to find a shop run by an immigrant, and noted that the store sold meat marked “Halal” in Swedish and Arabic, had “small animals” in the meat freezer and pickled vegetables she considered “inedible”. She ended up buying the only thing she felt comfortable eating: a box of instant macaroni.

      The author’s reaction to this entire incident?

      “I am in Sweden, a Sweden that doesn’t feel Swedish. And I don’t like it.”

      The piece played on the familiar clichés of lost local cultures and feeling like a stranger in your own land. But, it also touched upon nostalgia over the death of small-town community and identity: the “Mom ’n’ Pop” corner store selling local food being replaced by stores selling supposedly “exotic” foreign food; and, small communities, once bustling with people and businesses, now reduced to ghost towns housing immigrants.

    • Every Day Is World Refugee Day

      Last week the U.N. declared World Refugee Day to shine a light on the record, almost 26 million poor, brown, defenseless souls our monsters in power keep using as political pawns in an unconscionable “death by a thousand cuts.” It’s always good to remind us of the human misery at the edges of our privilege, but the crimes, alas, mount. The horrific tales emerging of the conditions of “some suburb of hell” where thousands are now incarcerated – concrete floors, packed bodies, freezing dog-pound-style detention pens, flu, lice, shit, vomit, trauma, hunger, sexual abuse and dear God sobbing children – were best if gruesomely embodied by the spectacle of demon DOJ lawyer Sarah “Eichmann” Fabian struggling to explain to horrified judges why children don’t need soap, beds or toothbrushes to be “safe and sanitary” as required by law. One helpful observer to Fabian, “Your room in hell is ready.” Finally, lest we forget, greedy people are making money from these atrocities, and they are part of a long historical arc – yes we have locked up many innocents before – proving that, “Once there are concentration camps” – yes they are concentration camps – “it is always probable that things will get worse.”

      Still, many are fighting back to assert the fundamental human rights of refugees. They are telling their stories and citing their too-often neglected accomplishments. They are declaring themselves safe spaces and sanctuary states, counties, cities. They are vowing, as Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker just did by signing several new laws, that private entities will not “profit off the intolerance of this president.” And they are finding new, humane ways to confront the crisis. Here in Portland, Maine, hundreds of new asylum seekers from Angola and the Congo just arrived en masse, bundled into buses from Texas after months making their harrowing way through South and Central America, mostly on foot. Portland has already absorbed several thousand African refugees and crafted an extraordinary, grassroots support network for them, but we’ve seen nothing like this – the big numbers at once, the horror stories, the desperation. Still, we have rallied. City and state officials found money, created decent shelter, reached out to other towns. People have raised over $400,000 and donated mountains of clothes, toys, baby food. African leaders organized volunteers, Angolan and Congolese women flocked to cook native meals, truckloads of diapers shipped, lawyers, doctors, translators stepped up. It’s neither easy nor complicated, but it’s doable. In the name of our common humanity, because this.

    • New Report Details the 15 House Democrats That Should Face Progressive Challengers

      As progressive candidates continue to announce their intentions to oust corporate Democrats, a new report names 15 House Democrats to unseat in primary challenges.

      Published Monday by the left-leaning group RootsAction, the new report is entitled Bad Blues: Some of the House Democrats Who Deserve to Be ‘Primaried.’

      The list, the report notes, “is by no means exhaustive—only illustrative.”

      “There may well be a Democratic member of Congress near you not included here who serves corporate interests more than majority interests, or has simply grown tired or complacent in the never-ending struggles for social, racial, and economic justice as well as environmental sanity and peace,” the report notes. “Perhaps you live in a district where voters are ready to be inspired by a progressive primary candidate because the Democrat in Congress is not up to the job.”

      Among the well-known names on the list: Rep. Eliot Engel of New York. He’s already facing two progressive challengers: educators Jamaal Bowman and Andom Ghebreghiorgis.

      Engel, the report says, has long been “affiliated with the corporate wing of the party” and is “notable for repeatedly breaking with his own party to support Republican foreign policy positions.” In Congress since 1989, Engel’s “support for hawkish Republicanism has continued into the Trump era.”

      Another primary-worthy House Democrat on the list: Illinois’s anti-choice Dan Lipinski.

    • Leader of Ingushetia resigns following extraordinary popular resistance to Chechen border deal

      Ingush government head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov announced his decision to resign before the end of his current term during a state-run regional television broadcast.

      “I have made the decision to request that President Vladimir Putin release me in advance from my duties as the head of the republic,” Yevkurov said, adding that he is “not blind” to the current political situaiton in his region. He argued that government, social, and religious organizations are all responsible for a state of division in Ingushetia.

    • Greed and Politics Should Not Drive Forest Policy

      The Custer Gallatin National Forest should withdraw its North Bridger Forest Health Project (2,296 acres of commercial logging, including 667 acres of clear-cutting). Despite the government’s claims, there is nothing particularly unhealthy about the public forest in and around Fairy Lake, Battle Ridge Campground and Brackett Creek.

      Yes, the snow is deep, growing season short and the soil is thin, but trees somehow make a living in challenging conditions. Clear-cutting in these amazing high-elevation, alpine environments demonstrates how far removed the Forest Service-USDA has become from the public values of a typical local resident. Most individuals and families who travel the short distance to the North Bridgers are expecting a quiet weekend of camping close to town, or a peaceful day of hiking, fishing, hunting or sight-seeing. These are the values important to locals. Out-of-town visitors come to enjoy similar experiences on their national forest. These are sacred places.

      It is self-evident that the Forest Service doesn’t value the forest in the same way. Why is this so hard for the Forest Service to understand? National (top-down) timber goals dominate the current system. Same as it ever was. Clear-cutting unroaded alpine forests defies common sense, is contrary to scientific knowledge, and lacks any sense of moral integrity to the public and the forestry profession. What a ridiculous place to manage a tree farm.

    • Elizabeth Warren’s Flawed But Well-Intentioned Proposal For Banning Private Prisons

      Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren published a policy proposal to ban private prison facility management and place stronger controls on the outsourcing of services in the criminal legal system.

      In making her case, Warren attempts to broaden the public’s limited understanding of privatization as a matter of facility management. She raises issues of extortion faced by prisoners and those who support them, and she highlights the growing lobbying influence of private companies searching for avenues to expand their reach into other areas of the system.

      “We need significant reform in both criminal justice and in immigration, to end mass incarceration and all of the unnecessary, cruel, and punitive forms of immigration detention that have taken root in the Trump administration,” Warren argues.

      Unfortunately, it does not seem that Warren’s proposal is adequate enough. Some of these issues relate to limitations any president faces in pursuing a top-down strategy on criminal punishment issues that are largely the purview of state and local governments.

    • New Draft of ‘Crimes Against Humanity’ Treaty Affirms Protection for Women and LGBTIQ Persons. The Fight Wasn’t Easy—and It Isn’t Over Yet

      When it comes to the letter of the law, a few words can mean the difference between having your rights protected – or not.

      Earlier this month, the International Law Commission (ILC) formally recommended a final draft of the new crimes against humanity (CAH) treaty for adoption by states—a treaty that promises to bring justice to victims of atrocities.

    • Most Democratic Candidates Still Afraid To Criticize Israel’s Violations Of Palestinian Rights

      The attitudes of Democratic voters toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have become decidedly more balanced in the past two decades. Favorable attitudes toward Palestinians are up while attitudes toward Israel appear to be in decline. While, overall views of Israel remain positive, substantial numbers of Democrats are opposed to Israeli policies – namely settlement construction and violations of Palestinian rights. Israel’s leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, is also viewed negatively by most Democrats.

      These shifts in opinion have placed many Democratic presidential candidates in a bind – especially those who have served in Congress or as Governors. As conscious as they may be of their base’s changing mood, they have also been schooled not to alienate pro-Israel donors or cross Israel’s lobbyists, who can, if aroused, distract their campaigns with a barrage of protests.

      It was against this backdrop that I watched the results of a months-long New York Times’ project in which they interviewed 21 of the Democrats running for president on a range of foreign and domestic policy issues that will confront the next president. There were questions on Afghanistan, handguns, health care, immigration, and the death penalty.

    • Trump’s swamp people: Shockingly, the administration’s vetting process was a total mess

      think most people believe that one of Donald Trump’s most important pledges during the 2016 campaign was to “Drain the swamp,” a slogan that has become one of his followers’ favorite chants. But unlike “Lock her up” or “Build the wall,” Trump didn’t even launch that phrase until Oct. 18, 2016, just a couple of weeks before the election.

      It was formally introduced with great fanfare in a speech on the eve of the first general-election debate in which he presented his “ethics reform” program.

    • To Create a New Deal That Works for Everyone, We Must Shun Centrism

      History has a way of crashing into itself on occasion. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s unrepentant praise for a white supremacist segregationist last week — which, according to the presidential candidate, was taken out of context and is not actually a reflection of his hidebound mid-20th century worldview so stop saying that — caused a multi-car pileup in history’s HOV lane. Untangling the wreckage informs us on not just where we’ve been, but where we could be headed in 2020.

      Biden’s kind words for Sen. James O. Eastland (D-Mississippi), one of the most ruthless defenders of Jim Crow in the South, ripped the scab off some uncomfortable truths regarding the Democratic Party, the New Deal, and institutional racism. Biden summoned Eastland into his argument as a means of praising a time when lawmakers could “get things done” even with terrible people in a bygone era of “civility.”

      As much as it was just and proper to confront Biden’s serial talent for missing the point, particularly when he summoned the racist slur “boy” with no apparent sense of its vicious context, the fact remains that the Democratic Party mollified its segregationist wing in order to pass the New Deal. By doing so, they deliberately left Black citizens out of the equation, even as they enacted new laws and regulations that remade the U.S. economic and political landscape.

      Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s ambitious program, enacted in pieces over several years to end the long slog of the Great Depression, changed the way the country lived and worked. Minimum wage and child labor laws, protections for bank customers and new muscle for unions, strong stock market regulations, and new infrastructure for plumbing and electricity remade the nation from coast to coast and border to border. The establishment of Social Security meant that for many people, growing old did not have to mean growing destitute, and laid the groundwork for Medicare and Medicaid, two of the most successful government programs ever put forth.

      In passing his slate of reforms, however, Roosevelt placated the segregationist wing of his party, represented toward the end of his long administration by men like James Eastland. Many Black workers were denied the benefits of Social Security and the bargaining power provided by the National Labor Relations Act so Southern oligarchs could maintain their pool of cheap Black laborers. Black people were likewise denied government mortgage subsidies granted by the Federal Housing Act, also at the behest of those same Southern oligarchs.

    • Buttigieg Criticized at Emotional Town Hall After Shooting

      Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg faced criticism Sunday from angry residents of South Bend, Indiana, at an emotional town hall meeting a week after a white police officer fatally shot a black man in the city where he is mayor.

      Buttigieg (BOO’-tuh-juhj) said he would call for an outside investigation of the shooting of 54-year-old Eric Logan by Sgt. Ryan O’Neill.

      The 37-year-old mayor said he would send a letter to the federal Department of Justice’s civil rights division and notify the local prosecutor that he’d like an independent investigator appointed. He conceded that his administration had failed on two key initiatives.

      “The effort to recruit more minority officers to the police department and the effort to introduce body cameras have not succeeded and I accept responsibility for that,” Buttigieg said.

      Prosecutors investigating said that the shooting was not recorded by O’Neill’s body camera.

    • Billionaires to 2020 Presidential Hopefuls: ‘America Has a Moral, Ethical, and Economic Responsibility to Tax Our Wealth More’

      “Those of us who have signed this letter believe it is our duty to step up and support a wealth tax that taxes us,” the letter reads. “It is a key to both addressing our climate crisis, and a more competitive, stronger economy that would better serve millions of Americans. It would make America healthier. It is a fair way of creating opportunity. And it strengthens American freedom and democracy. It is not in our interest to advocate for this tax, if our interests are quite narrowly understood. But the wealth tax is in our interest as Americans.”

      The letter is signed by 18 named individuals from 11 incredibly wealthy families, including Robert S. Bowditch Jr., founder of real estate development firm MB Associates, and his wife, Louise Bowditch; filmmaker Abigail Disney; philanthropist George Soros and his son Alexander Soros; Arnold S. Hiatt, chairman of the Stride Rite Charitable Foundation; Regan Pritzker, president of the Libra Foundation; and Liesel Pritzker Simmons and Ian Simmons, co-founders of the impact investment organization Blue Haven Initiative.

      “We thought it would be a good idea,” Ian Simmons explained to the Times. “Liesel and I decided to reach out to some other folks to see if they thought it was a good idea, too.”

    • An Open Letter To My Fellow American, Civil Servant Jared Kushner

      I do hope it’s okay with you that I dropped the salutation formalities. I just read in Medium an article by Aaron Gell, their contributing editor, titled Jared Kushner Was My Boss, so I really feel I personally know you now, plus, I’ve been writing about you for several months, so let’s be friends.

      I just read your Peace to Prosperity Economic Plan. I must give it to you. You did it. You produced 136 pages of nothing, in full color and with photos too.

      I read this on my veranda, the one facing the illegal Israeli settlement of Psagot across the valley. Every time I looked up to take a sip of water, I looked at the settlement lights glaring down on me and then looked down to your plan to see where it fits; I see it fits perfectly since you don’t even hint that it exists. I know, we Palestinians should not get bogged down with inconvenient facts on the ground.

      I really liked the part of the plan’s vision that notes that it can only be achieved, “following a peace agreement” and that “Only through peace can the Palestinians achieve prosperity.” You are spot on here, Jared, but isn’t that what the Palestinian leadership and people have been saying to you from the outset, show us the political parameters and then we can talk economy? Isn’t that how “business plans” are built; you ask about the applicable laws and regulations, then you build your plan?

    • Advocates Say Illinois Ban on Private Immigrant Detention Centers, a ‘Firewall’ Against Trump’s Attacks on Immigrants, Should Be Model for Country

      In addition to making Illinois the first state to outlaw private immigrant detention facilities, the state’s new legislation also prohibits local law enforcement agencies from engaging in federal immigration enforcement with ICE and allows undocumented and transgender students to receive Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants and other aid at public education institutions.

      “We will not allow private entities to profit off of the intolerance of this president,” said Pritzker. “We will not allow local police departments [to] act as an extension of ICE. And we will ensure that every student in this state who wants to go to college should be able to do so without saddling themselves with debt for the rest of their lives.”

    • EFF to the California DOJ: Enforce the Prohibition on Assisting Immigration Enforcement

      In response to the looming threat of mass deportations, EFF has sent a letter to California’s Department of Justice (DOJ) asking it to enforce the standing prohibition on using the state’s law enforcement network for immigration enforcement.

      In February 2019, the DOJ updated its regulations to prohibit federal agencies from accessing the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS) for the purposes of immigration enforcement. This change was part of the implementation of the California Values Act, a 2017 law that generally prohibits California law enforcement from using its resources to assist in deportation efforts.

      Databases can qualify as such resources. CLETS is a network that allows law enforcement agencies to search through a person’s criminal history, driving and parking violations, and driver license and vehicle registration. While the California Values Act made an exception for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) access to criminal histories to comply with federal law, all other uses should be off limits for immigration enforcement.

    • Hearing Wednesday: California Should Audit Use of License Plate Data

      Sacramento – On Wednesday, June 26, at 10 am, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will urge the Joint Legislative Audit Committee to approve an audit on the use of automated license plate readers (ALPR) by state law enforcement.

      ALPRs are camera systems that scan the license plates of vehicles in order to track people in real time and create search databases of driver’s historical travel patterns. As a mass surveillance technology, ALPR captures information on every driver, regardless of whether their vehicle is under suspicion. Several years ago, California lawmakers passed legislation to regulate ALPR use, including requiring publicly available usage policies and guidelines for how the information is accessed. State Sen. Scott Wiener, who previously supported EFF legislation to protect drivers’ from ALPR surveillance, filed the request for the audit.

      At the hearing Wednesday, EFF Senior Investigative Researcher Dave Maass will explain that many California law enforcement agencies are not complying with this law. Researchers have found that ALPR data is routinely shared with hundreds of other entities without safeguards or proper legal process. A probe by the California State Auditor will help the public and policymakers learn more about how state agencies are protecting their data.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Indian Gov’t Uses National Security Law, Bad Information To Block Twitter Accounts All Over The World

      US social media companies are continuing to act as proxy censors for governments around the world. This is adding some bizarre twists to stories of social media content takedowns as governments target posts by non-citizens located thousands of miles away.

      India may have abandoned a fake news law, but it still acting as though unverified news is a threat to national security. In a case covered by Kevin Poulsen for The Daily Beast, an American college student’s tweets were targeted by the Indian government, which claimed the student was engaging in spreading propaganda.

    • Supposedly Disadvantaged Conservatives Not Exactly Rushing To Support Josh Hawley’s Anti-Section 230 Bill

      Senator Josh Hawley’s ridiculous and unconstitutional bill to remove CDA Section 230 protections from internet giants was clearly designed to appeal to conservative voters who have been fed a nonstop myth that the big internet platforms are “targeting” them for their conservative views, when the reality is that the platforms are mostly targeting trolls, harassers, Nazis, and assholes. If those factors are disproportionately impacting Republicans, then perhaps that’s more an issue for the Republican party than the internet platforms.

      Either way, given that the myth that platforms are “targeting” conservatives has some traction, it seems likely that Hawley thought the conservative movement and conservative organizations would likely rush in to support his nonsense bill. It appears he miscalculated. FreedomWorks, the organization closely associated with the Tea Party movement put out a tweet mocking Hawley for thinking “conservatives are too stupid to realize he’s trying to kill free speech online.”

    • Congress Should Not Rush to Regulate Deepfakes

      The House Intelligence Committee held a hearing earlier this month examining the issue of “deepfakes,” a term coined to describe images or videos created with a machine learning algorithm that allows people to make false footage that appears real. There is real potential for fake or manipulated images or video to be dangerous or harmful. University of Maryland law school professor Danielle Citron pointed during her hearing testimony to the horrifying story of journalist Rana Ayyub. An online mob spread a false pornographic video featuring Ayyub’s image, forcing her to hide for her own safety. As a society, we must acknowledge the harmful uses of deepfakes and hold the people who produce them accountable for their actions. EFF has acknowledged the harms of online harassment—including how people use harassment to chill the speech of marginalized people. Yet Congress must tread carefully if it seeks to address the actual problem without censoring lawful and socially valuable speech—such as parodies and satires.

      Before Congress drafts legislation to regulate deepfakes, lawmakers should carefully consider what types of content new laws should address, what our current laws already do, and how further legislation will affect free speech and free expression.

    • Australia Says Media Companies Can Be Sued Over User Comments On Facebook

      It’s no secret that Australia has taken a very different view towards intermediary liability than the US, saying (for example) that search engines can be responsible for search results it had nothing to do with, and even that they can be held liable if you are offended by the images that show up next to yours in an image search. So perhaps the latest such case in Australia shouldn’t be a surprise. A court has ruled that media companies can be held liable for comments on their news stories. And not just the comments on their own pages… but on Facebook.

    • Don’t Shoot The Message Board: A Data Driven Look At The Impact Of Section 230 On Innovation And The Economy

      We’ve obviously been talking a lot about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act over the past few years — and it is often credited as being the most important law for the internet. Jeff Kosseff’s recent book calls it “the 26 words that created the internet,” while David Post once declared that Section 230 probably “created a trillion dollars or so of value.” We’ve talked a lot about how the real benefits of Section 230 are not to the internet companies themselves, but to the public’s free speech rights, but over the last few years it’s bugged me that there wasn’t a better attempt to measure the actual economic impact of Section 230 and other intermediary liability regimes.

      Today, in partnership with NetChoice, we’re launching our new report: Don’t Shoot the Message Board, that attempts to explore what the data shows concerning the economic benefits of Section 230. We chose the name because it’s perfectly fitting. Section 230 was, literally, written and pushed by (then) Reps. Chris Cox and Ron Wyden in response to the awful ruling in the Stratton Oakmont case, which suggested that any company hosting a message board could be found liable for any of the content on that message board. Similarly, the common phrase is “don’t shoot the messenger,” which is very much about not blaming the party merely delivering the message, as opposed to creating or causing the message. Putting liability on intermediaries is very much about blaming the messenger for actions of someone else.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Opinion: New generation of tech firms urges stronger privacy laws

      Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently wrote about the importance of privacy in the New York Times, joining Facebook and others as purported converts to the cause. But while Big Tech publicly claims a change of heart about consumer privacy, it is at the same time quietly attempting to dismantle California’s new privacy law before it even goes into effect. This kind of duplicity is why the tech industry is increasingly being viewed with suspicion.
      Last year California passed the California Consumer Privacy Act, which requires large companies to respect basic personal information rights.
      These include the rights of individuals to know what types of information about them are collected sold, or shared, and the right to stop businesses from trading their information.
      As an industry that depends on public trust and touts itself as improving our lives, we need to stop sharing intimate information with unscrupulous brokers and building systems that manipulate users’ preferences and actions. These are serious mistakes that may generate short-term profits but hurt consumers, our communities, and the industry as a whole.
      Secretly, our colleagues in Big Tech worry about privacy violations too. That’s why so many of them prohibit their own children from using the products and services they push on an unwitting public.
      We represent a new generation of privacy-focused companies that believe we should not build things we wouldn’t let our own kids use. We support strong privacy protections, not just token “regulation” that doesn’t really protect consumers. That’s why we (and others) have called on the legislature to actually strengthen California’s consumer privacy law.
      Big Tech, though? They’re calling for something else entirely: watering down California’s law as much as possible.
      For example, Big Tech has called for an exception for online advertising tracking and other changes that would narrow the range of information protected by the new law.
      They also successfully killed SB 561, which proposed that Californians should be able to hold tech companies accountable when they commit serious privacy violations, as well as AB 1760, the Privacy for All Act, which would have strengthened the CCPA in numerous ways.

    • The New Generation of Tech and Stronger Privacy Laws

      Read all about how Todd Weaver and Brendan Eich reject Big Tech’s efforts to weaken California’s privacy law.

      In a nutshell, what you can read in The Mercury News is how every Big Tech company seems to care about privacy now—while quietly attempting to dismantle the California Consumer Privacy Act before it even goes into effect. Why? California’s new privacy law requires large companies to respect basic information rights: what is collected, sold, traded or shared.

      Sharing intimate information and manipulating users’ choices and actions are serious mistakes.

      Our colleagues in Big Tech worry about privacy violations too… and that’s why so many of them don’t allow their own children to use the products and services they sell.

      Regulate us. Seriously.

      We don’t believe in building things we wouldn’t let our own kids use, and that’s why we want to strengthen California’s consumer privacy law. Our industry knows how to innovate and adapt, we thrive in the startup mindset of tackling new challenges, we know how to conquer what seems impossible. Regulation that helps civilians is critical; regulation that creates a barrier to entry for competition and protects technology giants is not.

    • “Somebody Is Going to Die”: Lawyer Describes Chaos, Illness & Danger at Migrant Child Jail in Texas

      Outrage is mounting over a shocking Associated Press report published late last week revealing that at least 250 migrant infants, children and teenagers have been locked up for nearly a month without adequate food, water or sanitation at a Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, near the city of El Paso. Lawyers who visited the facility described a scene of chaos and sickness, with children unable to shower or change into clean clothes for weeks on end. The AP report came the same week that the Trump administration argued in federal court that the government is not required to provide toothbrushes, soap or beds to children detained at the border, and as other reports found similarly squalid conditions at a number of immigration jails. We speak with Warren Binford, a lawyer who interviewed children detained at the Clint, Texas, facility.

    • Children Continue to Die in Government Custody, and DHS is Dodging Accountability

      In recent months, at least seven children have either died in custody or died after being detained by federal immigration agencies at the border. These children came to the United States desperate for shelter and safety, but found inhumanity and suffering, under our government’s care, instead.

      Their deaths reveal just how dire the conditions are under which U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are holding hundreds of children. Detention facilities are dangerously overcrowded, where migrants are forced to wear soiled clothes for days at a time. To make matters worse, CBP also appears to be holding children for extended periods of time in direct conflict with the Flores agreement, a set of legal guidelines that provide humane conditions for immigrant children in detention — guidelines the Trump administration is now attempting to dismantle, arguing in court that it doesn’t require CBP to provide basic toiletries to keep children clean.

      The government may argue that their hands are tied by a lack of resources, but the truth is that these horrors are simply the latest attempt to dehumanize asylum-seekers and migrants, including children, and deny them basic care and dignity.

      U.S. Border Patrol, the law enforcement arm of CBP, has more than doubled in staff and funding since 2003. CBP has dealt with even higher levels of border crossers arrivals in the past and has 17 times the budget it did in 1990.

      And yet, the department continues to have a heinous track record of rampant reported abuses in detention facilities, with adults dying on their watch as well as children, all with almost no accountability standards. There have been 97 fatalities at the hands of CBP agents since 2004, including the murder of Claudia Gomez Gonzalez, an unarmed, indigenous 20-year-old woman who was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent in May 2018.

      The department has had ample time and resources to figure out their processes and be more forthcoming with a plan to address influxes of asylum seekers, particularly families, at the U.S.-Mexico border. Yet, they continue to be opaque in their answers to members of Congress and push misleading data about border crossings.

    • If China Is A Glimpse Of Our Future Surveillance Nightmare, Maybe Hong Kong Shows How To Fight It

      Techdirt has been covering the roll-out of the extraordinarily comprehensive digital surveillance systems in China for many years. It’s hardly news that the Chinese authorities continue to deploy the latest technologies in order to bolster their control. Many of the same approaches to surveillance are being tried in the special administrative region of Hong Kong. A British colony for 156 years, it was handed back to China in 1997 on the understanding that there would be “one country, two systems”: Hong Kong would be part of China, but it would retain its very different economic and administrative systems for at least 50 years.

      Well, that was the theory. In practice, Xi Jinping is clearly unwilling to wait that long, and has been asserting more and more control over Hong Kong and its people. In 2014, this provoked the youth-led “Umbrella Movement”, which sought to fight interference by the Chinese authorities in Hong Kong’s political system. More recently, there have been even bigger protests over a planned law that would allow extradition from Hong Kong to China.

    • Why is the US government using social media to monitor the public?

      A series of recent reports—based on documents obtained from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filings and other leaked information—have revealed that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is violating the First Amendment right to free speech and assembly by gathering social media data for surveillance purposes and targeting organizations and individuals for harassment, intimidation, deportation and arrest.

    • Ola Bini, Privacy Activist and Julian Assange Friend, Speaks Out After Release from Ecuadorian Jail

      Last week, an Ecuadorian judge ordered the release of Swedish programmer and data privacy activist Ola Bini, who spent more than two months in jail without charge. Bini is a friend of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange. He was arrested in Quito on the same day that Assange was forcibly taken by British authorities from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. We speak with Ola Bini in Quito, where he remains under investigation for allegedly hacking the Ecuadorian government. He says, “Through the whole process, 70 days in prison, and all of the days since, we’ve been asking the prosecution to tell us what it is I have done. And they still have not actually given us any single answer.”

    • Targeted for Being a Friend of Julian Assange? Ola Bini Released After Two Months in Ecuadorian Jail

      Web-only conversation with Swedish programmer and data privacy activist Ola Bini following his release from over two months in an Ecuadorian jail. Bini was arrested on the same day that Julian Assange was forcibly taken by British authorities from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • How Moscow and St. Petersburg protested against police overreach and political repressions on June 23

      On June 23, demonstrators gathered around Russia to protest political repressions and police fabrication of criminal cases. In central Moscow, a march organized by the Libertarian Party and the Union of Journalists and Media Workers attracted between 1,800 and 3,900 people according to police and organizers, respectively. Six protesters, including artist Artyom Loskutov, were arrested at the end of the event. In St. Petersburg, protesters had not received a permit from local authorities, and three of them were arrested. Sasha Sulim and Pavel Merzlikin observed the day’s goings-on in Moscow and St. Petersburg, respectively.

    • Meet the Moscow teen trying to educate women about their rights when sexually assaulted, as she faces felony charges for protecting herself

      A 19-year-old woman in Moscow named Darya Ageniy has launched a new campaign on social media in support of victims of sexual violence. She says she survived an attack last summer in the city of Tuapse, where an intoxicated local man tried to rape her. In self-defense, Darya stabbed the man with a pencil sharpening knife, leading to an investigation in which she is a suspect. If convicted, she faces time in prison. The man in question denies forcing himself onto Darya, saying that he only wanted to read poetry to her. Meduza special correspondent Pavel Merzlikin spoke to Darya Ageniy about the felony case against her and about how her Internet project might change Russians’ perceptions of sexual violence.

    • Citing CIA’s Dark History, Librarians Protest Agency’s Recruiting at Their Conference

      A group of librarians demanded the American Library Association abide by its values on Friday as they staged a protest of the CIA’s presence and recruitment at the professional organization’s annual conference.

      At the convention, which is taking place June 20-25 in Washington, D.C., the CIA is among the hundreds of exhibitors.

      Being an exhibitor at one of its gatherings, the American Library Association (ALA) says, “provides the best and most comprehensive opportunity to reach decision makers in the library field.”

      The protesters say the CIA’s track record provides ample evidence it should not be provided that opportunity.

      “The CIA is recruiting at #alaac19,” said organizer and Library Freedom Project founder Alison Macrina on Twitter. “Everything they stand for is a violation of the values of librarianship, so we protested.”

    • The Largest Migrant Shelter Is a House of Horrors, Report Finds

      President Trump announced and then quickly called off Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids targeting undocumented immigrants this weekend, but it’s little relief for the migrants already in government custody.

      The Texas Tribune reported Sunday that the McAllen, Texas-area Customs and Border Patrol shelter, the largest of its kind in the U.S., was so overcrowded that immigrants were forced to sleep outside. Toby Gialluca, an immigration lawyer, told the Tribune the water in the facility “tastes like bleach,” adding, “It was so bad that the mothers would save any bottled water they could get and use that to mix the baby formula.”

      Children don’t have clean clothes, advocates say, and are not receiving sufficient medical care. “Unable to clean themselves, young mothers reported wiping their children’s runny noses or vomit with their own clothing,” the Tribune reported.

      The McAllen facility is separate from the Clint, Texas, one that most of the 300 children that were there were moved from, according to reports Monday from the Associated Press, via Texas station KVIA.

      “Basic hygiene just doesn’t exist there,” Gialluca told the Tribune. “It’s a health crisis … a manufactured health crisis.”

    • State Duma proposal would protect entrepreneurs from recent law criminalizing mafia leadership

      State Duma Deputy Rifat Shaikhutdinov has introduced a proposal to block a relatively recent law that penalizes organizing or participating in a “criminal community” from being applied in cases of financial crimes. The law in question, Article 210 of the Russian Criminal Codex, was designed to lock up those who hold a high rank in the Russian organized crime hierarchy even if they cannot be charged under other statutes.

    • Post Office loses bid to have judge in case removed

      A group of 557 former post office staff, including Telford’s Tracy Felstead, are taking legal action against the company in an attempt to clear their names.

      Miss Felstead, 37, from Brookside, was jailed for six months in 2001 after being convicted of stealing £11,500 when she was a 19-year-old counter clerk. She protests her innocence, and says a glitch with the Post Office’s Horizon computer system created the shortfall.

    • Horror At The Border

      While reading it, I realized I was painfully naive about what really goes on via CBP. It’s no man’s land for privacy and other rights — in a way that’s terrifying.

      I’ve said that the TSA (which is not security by any stretch of the imagination…missing 95% of mock weapons in tests) is really about obedience training for the American public, training us to be docile as our rights are yanked from us.

      I don’t know — but I have to wonder — if CBP has long been like this or has grown more and more Soviet Secret Police, etc., since the TSA was installed in airports across the country.

    • New Policy: Do Not Post In Support of Trump or his Administration

      We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. Support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy.

    • New Ban: Do Not Post In Support of Trump or his Administration

      We are banning support of Donald Trump or his administration on the RPGnet forums. This is because his public comments, policies, and the makeup of his administration are so wholly incompatible with our values that formal political neutrality is not tenable. We can be welcoming to (for example) persons of every ethnicity who want to talk about games, or we can allow support for open white supremacy. Not both. Below will be an outline of the policy and a very incomplete set of citations.

    • AOC Is Right — They’re Concentration Camps

      What, then, is the meaning of a phrase like “never again” when the institutions that proselytize it also argue that Holocaust memory cannot be sullied by the present tense? “Never again” is the common refrain that young Jews are taught, particularly by leaders at groups like the JCRC and tour guides at Yad Vashem. But by the time many of these young Jews become adolescent or twenty-something Jews, the mantra becomes a question: “Never again, for whom?”

      Rather than broaden the scope of the lesson to include injustices not committed by Nazis against Jews, Jewish institutions would rather instead police the boundaries of Holocaust memory. Jewish leaders like the JCRC, like Foxman, like Wolpe, and like many others, in giving the Republicans cover for such a putrid policy, have given their answer: Just us.

    • John Kiriakou: CIA Seeking More Impunity

      The CIA doesn’t care about a free press, though. The proposed provision in the authorization bill would save the CIA the trouble of having to explain itself to the likes of the media, to members of the congressional oversight committees, or even to the courts. And it raises far more questions than it answers. Why is such a provision necessary in the first place? What exactly is it supposed to protect? What was the precipitating event?

      There are, of course, no legitimate answers to those questions. No CIA officers have been exposed. None have been threatened. None have had their lives put in danger by unauthorized disclosures. That’s a red herring. This new provision is a power grab. It is an attempt to get a pass on crimes even before they’re committed. It’s prior restraint. It’s un-American and we have to fight it.

    • Report Says DHS Can’t Manage Internal Misconduct Because The DHS Just Doesn’t Do Anything About Internal Misconduct

      The long history of abuse and misconduct by DHS components stretches back for years. Agencies like ICE, CBP, and the TSA have never not been abusing their power to violate rights, circumvent the protections of the legal system, or just treat everyone like garbage for national security reasons.

      Why has nothing gotten better? Well, if you’re the DHS, you’ve tried nothing and you’re all out of ideas. The latest report [PDF] by the DHS Inspector General understates the issue. The title says the DHS needs to “improve” its oversight of misconduct and discipline. Start with the baseline low enough and any incremental forward motion is an improvement.

      Reading through the report, it’s apparent the DHS simply doesn’t care what abuses happen on its watch. No one in the agency — not even those specifically tasked with following up on allegations of misconduct — seems to think it’s their job to follow up on allegations of misconduct.

    • Aggression Detectors: The Unproven, Invasive Surveillance Technology Schools Are Using to Monitor Students

      Ariella Russcol specializes in drama at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Queens, New York, and the senior’s performance on this April afternoon didn’t disappoint. While the library is normally the quietest room in the school, her ear-piercing screams sounded more like a horror movie than study hall. But they weren’t enough to set off a small microphone in the ceiling that was supposed to detect aggression.

      A few days later, at the Staples Pathways Academy in Westport, Connecticut, junior Sami D’Anna inadvertently triggered the same device with a less spooky sound — a coughing fit from a lingering chest cold. As she hacked and rasped, a message popped up on its web interface: “StressedVoice detected.”

      “There we go,” D’Anna said with amusement, looking at the screen. “There’s my coughs.”

      The students were helping ProPublica test an aggression detector that’s used in hundreds of schools, health care facilities, banks, stores and prisons worldwide, including more than 100 in the U.S. Sound Intelligence, the Dutch company that makes the software for the device, plans to open an office this year in Chicago, where its chief executive will be based.

      California-based Louroe Electronics, which has loaded the software on its microphones since 2015, advertises the devices in school safety magazines and at law enforcement conventions, and it said it has between 100 and 1,000 customers for them. Louroe’s marketing materials say the detection software enables security officers to “engage antagonistic individuals immediately, resolving the conflict before it turns into physical violence.”

    • Methodology: How We Tested an Aggression Detection Algorithm

      This companion article to our main story describes the testing and data analysis ProPublica conducted for the Sound Intelligence aggression detection algorithm on the Louroe Digifact A microphone. Here, we discuss the data and methodology used for our research, as well as the results of our testing and analysis. Those results raise concerns about the device, particularly for the school environments for which it is marketed and sold.

      We first tested the device in simulated situations to measure its performance in real-world scenarios and collected spontaneous and simulated vocalizations from high school students. We then analyzed the types of sounds that the algorithm found to be aggressive and determined, for those sounds, some common audio characteristics. We view this analysis as an initial exploration of the algorithm, using sound it would likely encounter in operation, rather than a definitive evaluation.

    • Japanese-American Internment Survivors Protest Plan to Jail Migrant Kids at WWII Prison Camp

      Democracy Now! was there when five Japanese-American elders, survivors of U.S. internment camps, engaged in civil disobedience Saturday outside the Fort Sill Army post in Oklahoma, where the Trump administration plans to indefinitely detain 1,400 immigrant and refugee children starting next month. Fort Sill was an internment camp for 700 Japanese-American men in 1942. It was one of more than 70 sites where the U.S. government incarcerated about 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, including one of 14 U.S. Army bases. President Obama first used Fort Sill in 2014 to detain migrant children seeking asylum from violence in Central America. Descendants of internment camp survivors were also present at the peaceful protest. We feature a video report from Fort Sill and speak with Mike Ishii, co-chair of Tsuru for Solidarity. Ishii was at Fort Sill Army Base Saturday and helped organize the act.

    • U.S. Moves Migrant Kids After Facility’s Poor Conditions Exposed

      COMMENTS
      The U.S. government has removed most of the children from a remote Border Patrol station in Texas following reports that more than 300 children were detained there, caring for each other with inadequate food, water and sanitation.

      Just 30 children remained at the facility near El Paso on Monday, said Rep. Veronica Escobar after her office was briefed on the situation by an official with Customs and Border Protection.

      Attorneys who visited the Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, last week said older children were trying to take care of infants and toddlers, The Associated Press first reported Thursday. They described a 4-year-old with matted hair who had gone without a shower for days, and hungry, inconsolable children struggling to soothe one another. Some had been locked for three weeks inside the facility, where 15 children were sick with the flu and another 10 were in medical quarantine.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The FCC Is Siding With Landlords and Comcast Over Tenants Who Want Broadband Choices

      In December of 2016, the city of San Francisco boldly enacted the “Occupant’s Right to Choose Communications Services Provider” ordinance (also known as Article 52) that hinders a payola scheme cooked up between big cable companies like Comcast and landlords. In just a few short years since its enactment, a great number of apartments in San Francisco have at least four options for broadband service, including affordable gigabit fiber service. Fearing that other cities would follow suit, a whole range of associations and corporations that represent landlords and the cable industry pushed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) hard to block these local efforts. For a federal agency tasked with promoting competition, it shouldn’t be a close call to simply ignore these groups. But that is not what the FCC plans to do next month.

    • Robocalls Swamp Hospitals As The Trump FCC Pretends To Fix The Problem

      As we just got done explaining, the Pai FCC has been getting a lot of press for what it claims is a bold, new plan to help rein in the robocall menace by “suggesting” that carriers offer free robocalling tools by default, and recommending that they quickly adopt call authentication technology to thwart spoofing (faking the originating call number). But the Pai FCC proposal isn’t actually new, and offers absolutely no penalty for carriers that fail to comply.

      And while Ajit Pai has promised to hold carriers accountable if they don’t, there’s absolutely nothing in Pai’s tenure so far that suggests he’s actually capable of standing up to carriers. The press likes to beat around the bush on this front, but there are two major reasons this FCC hasn’t done more to thwart robocalls. One, carriers don’t want to have to pay for it, and the Pai FCC has proven to be a mindless rubber stamp to carrier interests. Two, a lot of “legitimate” telemarketing and debt collecting agencies utilize these exact same tactics, and the FCC doesn’t want to upset them either.

      What we get as a result is a government that pays a lot of lip service to the problem, but doesn’t actually do much of anything for fear of upsetting campaign contributors in the telecom and marketing industries. They’re quick to go after smaller robocall players that are easy to prosecute, but they’re terrified of holding larger, legitimate companies accountable for their own role in failing to implement technologies that could have put the problem to bed years ago. Again because while a lot of “robocalls” are perpetuated by illegal scam operations, a lot of them are perpetuated by industries using the exact same tactics (this 2018 testimony by Margot Saunders (pdf) explains this in great detail) to harass and spam consumers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Qualcomm Faces Second EU Fine as Vestager’s Last Big-Tech Target

      Qualcomm Inc. faces another European Union antitrust fine a year after being ordered to pay 997 million-euro ($1.13 billion) penalty for thwarting rival suppliers to Apple Inc., according to three people familiar with the latest case.

      The chip giant may be fined as soon as next month, said the people, who asked not to be named because the process isn’t public. That would make it the last U.S. technology firm to get a large antitrust penalty from Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

      Vestager is due to step down later this year after punishing Google with more than $9 billion in fines and ordering Apple to pay more than 14 billion euros in back taxes. She warned in May she was “definitely not done yet” with big tech as she weighs potential new probes into Amazon.com Inc., Google and Apple.

      The EU’s current Qualcomm investigation targets 3G chips for internet mobile dongles sold between 2009 and 2011. Regulators allege these were sold below cost in order to push Icera, now owned by Nvidia Corp., out of the market. The EU took the unusual move of sending an extra antitrust complaint to Qualcomm last year to bolster its arguments of a “price-cost” test it used to show how far below cost the prices were.

    • Trademarks

      • Oops I Did it Again: Time to Register those Scandalous Marks

        In an interesting free speech opinion, the Supreme Court has sided against Congress and the USPTO — finding the statutory prohibitions on registering immoral or scandalous trademarks to be an unconstitutional limit on free speech. The decision here follows Matal v. Tam (2017) where the court similarly held unconstitutional a parallel provision restricting disparaging marks.

        Justice Kagan wrote the 6-person majority opinion that was joined by Justices Thomas, Ginsberg, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh. The remaining justices agreed that the First Amendment requires the government to register immoral marks, but argued that at least some scandalous marks can be properly prohibited. In the minority viewpoint, the court should have narrowly construed that aspect of the statute to a Constitutional scope while retaining some of its effectiveness.

        This case involves the mark “FUCT” that Brunetti has been using for many years in association with his product line for wealthy rebellious skaters. However, when he decided to register the mark, the PTO rejected his application as directed toward immoral or scandalous matter as required by the Lanham Act. Brunetti appealed.

    • Copyrights

      • This is original broadcast, says the Finnish Market Court on IPTV transmissions

        Do collecting societies have standing to sue for copyright infringement and do internet access providers commit acts of communication to the public when they give access to their customers of TV programs that are also broadcasted simultaneously free to air?

        Both these issues were at the centre of a recent judgment issued by the Finnish Market Court.

      • Copyrighting the Official Annotated Statutes: Georgia v. Public.Resource.org

        The Supreme Court has granted certiorari in the important public access case of Georgia v. PublicResource.org Inc. The case focuses on Georgia official statutory code with official annotations (the “Official Code of Georgia Annotated” or “OCGA”). OCGA includes the statutes, section titles, statutory histories, guidance from the Georgia Code Revision Commission, judicial summaries, and opinions by the State AG, for example. PublicResources.org bought a copy of the OCGA, copied it, and uploaded it to the internet so that the public could have free access to the law. Georgia then sued for copyright infringement.

        The district court held OCGA copyrightable and the 11th Circuit reversed that decision — finding that the “government edicts doctrine” prohibits copyright in this case. One difficulty with with that doctrine is that it was last discussed by the U.S. Supreme Court 130 years ago in Callaghan v. Myers, 128 U.S. 617 (1888) and Banks v. Manchester, 128 U.S. 244 (1888).

        [...]

        OCGA is published by LEXIS, but its contents are particularly controlled by the Georgia General Assembly and the Commission (a division of the Assembly). The appellate panel found particularly that “the Commission exercises direct, authoritative control over the creation of the OCGA annotations at every stage of their preparation.”

The European Patent Office Remains a Crooked Patent Office That Harms Staff and Abolishes the Rule of Law

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO Pisa

Temple in Ayuthaya

Summary: The EPO remains a sordid mess, but those who follow mainstream media might not know anything about it because it’s not covered anywhere in 2019

THIS MORNING we ranted about the European media intentionally ignoring the European Patent Office’s (EPO) scandals, of which there are so many. President António Campinos, like his predecessor Battistelli, must really be enjoying his immunity and impunity (even protection from the media). These people can do almost anything they want and Campinos thought about lending immunity to his criminal son (after he had committed a serious crime). Are these people drunk on power or just literally drunk? Perhaps both. The previous post spoke about patents on life and the one beforehand about software patents in Europe. These aren’t legal. European authorities say so, but the EPO chooses to ignore authorities, the law/EPC, even courts.

How much longer will SUEPO hold off another strike? What concrete steps has Campinos taken to deserve its postponement? “Kluwer Patent blogger” wrote about this yesterday, but this anonymous author makes it seem as though things are OK with a headline like “No strike, little progress in restoring social peace at the European Patent Office”. To quote some bits:

In a letter that the SUEPO sent to president Campinos last week, with a copy to all delegations of the Administrative Council, the SUEPO warns social tensions are far from over and expresses concern that Campinos has celebrated “major” achievements, whereas they are, ‘in our opinion, only a few, relatively minor steps towards the necessary re-establishment of the Rule of Law at the EPO. These steps are simply the beginning of a long process, and are far from being sufficient to restore social peace after years of massive staff rights violations under Mr Battistelli.’

In the letter, the SUEPO also criticizes the way in which Campinos expressed himself about pending cases of sanctioned union and staff representatives. Although last year the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO reversed dismissals and downgrading of three SUEPO leaders by former EPO president Battistelli, this has not led to quick actions by Campinos in similarly questionable cases: ‘You wrote: “[T]he office cannot accept any terms of settlement especially where demands involve excessively high financial compensation”. (sic)’ According to the SUEPO, ‘[t]his statement is highly disingenuous. The individuals in question only ask what is owed to them, to restore the status quo ante: nothing more. What is owed may now be substantial, but by no means excessive.’

EPO president António Campinos came in charge in July 2018 and said listening to the staff would be a high priority for him. Disappointingly to many, this has not led to important changes nor a better social climate. A recent internal survey showed EPO staff has a very negative view of management effectiveness, low confidence in senior management decisions and lack of clarity about direction. Alarming and ominous as well: only 39 percent of staff member think they are treated with respect.

The comments from “No Justice at EPO” and “Experienced Examiner” (only two comments posted/approved so far) are better than the article, which SUEPO cited on Monday. To quote the first one:

It is incomprehensible that Mr Campinos act in this way.

Why does he endorse the mad actions of his predecessor? Why does he protect top managers who acted illegally and de facto maintains injustice to those who have suffered from their actions?

Not only the sanctioned staff reps but the entire EPO structure is maintained under far too high production pressure, fear of retaliation and thus chronical stress.

He is a lawyer by training. Why does he do at the EPO what he could never have done in Brussels in the EU institutions?

Can someone explain to me what purpose does this strategy serve? Does he (do they) take pleasure in making people suffer?

And the second:

Neither the new President nor anybody in Senior Management has the intention to change anything – aside from cutting costs, meaning reduced staff benefits, with the support of the bogus financial study.

We have seen one area of major progress: information technology. Here, the Office decided to rely on Google Chrome as third browser, in addition to Internet Explorer and Firefox. This will, without doubt, massively boost quality, quantity, motivation and staff engagement.

The latest talk is about an “agile culture” which allegedly has brought major benefits in various companies. So far, I still miss an explanation of what “agile culture” is and how it shall be compliant with the very rigid guidelines we have on how search and examination are to be carried out. We examiners are not at liberty in performing these tasks. More or less every step is regulated down to the tiny detail. I have the feeling my top management remains blissfully ignorant about the services the Office provides and the work done by substantive examiners.

As to the staff survey with devastating results, the only visible reaction is an assurance that “work is going on”. Hm. I would not know about you, but getting slapped in face for lack of respect and having nothing to offer aside from fuzzy, unsubstantiated assurances falls somewhat short. Months have passed, there is nothing tangible.

The Council, in all likelihood, will not do anything substantial. They have become very good in doing this during the last years.

We examiners are between a rock and a hard place. The only way to remain sane and healthy is to adapt the quality we deliver to the time we are allowed to spend. Professional pride in doing a good job is outdated.

Why does the EPO carry on without very major scrutiny from the media, from the EU and so on? This inaction makes them look very much complicit, at least by passivity.

From the above blog typically come lies of Team UPC and other patent extremists, who lobby for patents on life (or similar). Arnie Clarke and Harriet Crawford have just pushed or publicised the agenda of fast, sloppy, inaccurate patent examination (the way Battistelli and Campinos like it). Good for lawyers? Sure. Harms the innocent? Well, duh! This is where those lawyers extract the money from. It’s a systematic passage of wealth. These authors are highlighting rather extreme and rare cases/examples (almost 2 decades in the queue):

T2377/17 concerns an application for which over 16 years elapsed between regional phase entry (October 1999) and issuance of the first Rule 71(3) communication (August 2016). In T2707/16, the first instance decision to refuse (July 2016) was over 14 years after the filing date (November 2001).

Clearly these are exceptionally long durations for patent examination, considering the 20-year maximum term of a patent. The Board did not provide any hard line as to exactly when accumulated examination delays tip from merely long to excessive, but does provide a thorough assessment of the factors that should be considered in reaching a conclusion either way.

[...]

The decision T2707/16 emphasises that examination should not be rushed, acknowledging the skill and effort required for quality examination of patent applications, which it notes is an “intellectually demanding task of high responsibility” (reasons 18). Here, a distinction should be made between the actual time that an examiner requires to prepare for and write an examination report, which is a necessary expenditure of time, and the time that the patent application spends in a queue for examination, which is an unnecessary delay.

T2707/16 further takes care to avoid criticising individual examiners, instead calling out the system that allows files to languish in cupboards real or electronic for so many years (reasons 33).

G1/05 and T84/82 are also referenced. In particular T84/82 notes the aim of the EPO “to carry out the substantive examination thoroughly, efficiently and expeditiously”. Hence not only should undue delays be avoided, but examination should also be thorough and not rushed.

[...]

In contrast to the focus on EPO stakeholders in the recent EPO survey on postponed examination, the Board 3.5.07 considered in T2707/16 and T2377/17 the needs of the wider public and the position and purpose of the patent system in the economy.

These are of course very exceptional cases (we wrote about some of these before); they’re typically brought up to shield patent maximalists who don’t believe in patent examination and wish to just hop straight onto fast-tracked (e.g. PPH) lawsuits, based on mere claims (never properly assessed by a professional in the said field).

Where does public interest fit into all this? Nowhere.

Yesterday Benjamin Henrion of FFII wrote about the EPO’s absurdity which is rejecting input from Europeans who don’t speak the “right” language: [via]

The European Patent Office (EPO) has censored contributions to its public consultation ‘EPO2023’ from spanish companies and citizens. The EPO wanted input from the public on how they could “improve” themselves, but failed to be inclusive.

Seven contributions were refused on the basis that the EPO only accept contributions from the public only in its official three languages: English, German, French). Apparently, other contributions in Dutch were also censored.

The first form was already biased as the EPO considered all companies to be “patent applicants”, so a normal company interested in to participate had to tick the option “other” instead of “company”.

The above press release from FFII might not reach many eyes because FFII is hardly active anymore.

The corrupt EPO does not care at all what the European public, i.e. Europe, has to say. It’s an apparatus of large non-European corporations and oligarchs. EPO accepts and publishes input from the United States and Canada (not Europe), but not from Dutch people, whose country hosts a branch of the EPO and has a new shiny building from which fake/low-quality patents come out (to harm Dutch businesses).

USPTO and EPO Faking Growth by Granting Patents on Everything in Nature, But Campaigners Strike Back

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A hungry slug

Summary: The patent microcosm is eating the world; everything under the Sun must be patented, they insist, even life itself (so they can ‘pirate’ the Commons and then charge us a tax for ‘access’ or ‘license’ to it)

THE previous post spoke of illegal software patents being granted in Europe because the EPO is run by a former banker, President António Campinos, and his compatriot Battistelli, a dubious politician whose master got arrested for corruption.

“You own life! Yes! That’s what the patent system was conceived for!”“Congratulations,” says the USPTO, having just given you a patent monopoly on something in nature — something you did not even invent, let alone managed to discover. You own life! Yes! That’s what the patent system was conceived for! Here in this week’s news we have “Patent triumph for CRISPR inventors” and to quote: “The US Patent office has recently (May 28) issued a patent to the French biologist Emmanuelle Charpentier and US colleague Jennifer Doudna covering the methods of modulating DNA transcription with the much-vaunted but controversial CRISPR-Cas9 system. The patent (No. 10,301,651)…”

“It is definitely not “fake news” that patents are being granted on life itself.”This isn’t “those crazy Americans” who do this. It’s happening right now in Europe as well. It has happened for quite some time and there were massive protests about it. It is definitely not “fake news” that patents are being granted on life itself. To quote this tweet from “No Patents on Seeds!”: “RESEARCH REVEALS: PATENT ON SALMON AND TROUT IS NOT AN ISOLATED CASE! Several similar patents, which claim food like milk and meat of animals fed with selected plants as “inventions”, have already been submitted. PR https://bit.ly/2WAovoE Patent on salmon https://bit.ly/2IEzaty pic.twitter.com/D8RjnL9qhi”

It links to their article, “Patent applications covering ‘seeds to meat’and from ‘maize to milk’” (from a fortnight ago). To quote:

The patent granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) covering salmon and trout reared on specific plants (EP1965658) could now become a precedent for many other patent applications. Recent research shows several similar European patent applications are already pending, claiming food products, such as meat and milk, derived from animals fed with selected plants.

The patent on salmon and trout was granted in October 2018 and recently brought to public attention by “No Patents on Seeds!”. The patent monopoly covers the rearing and feeding of the fish, along with the fish itself. After learning of this case, No Patents on Seeds! researched similar patent applications. This research came to an alarming conclusion: there are several other European patent applications recently filed at the World Patent Institute (WIPO), all following a similar strategy. Starting with plants and feed, also the food products derived from farm animals are claimed as inventions.

[...]

No Patents on Seeds! is demanding a change in the rules for interpreting patent law in order to close these loopholes, it is also calling for the more effective implementation of current prohibitions. However, if a change in the interpretation of current law does not provide sufficient legal certainty and clarity, the European patent law itself needs to be changed accordingly. No Patents on Seeds! is warning that if patents on plants and animals used in food production are granted, this will allow big companies such as Bayer, DowDupont and Syngenta to increasingly take control of agriculture, breeding and food production.

These patent extremists who run the EPO are handing monopolies over to large corporations. Power or monopoly power over what exactly? Over life, animals, nature. Truly insane; most people would think it’s “fake news”, but it’s not…

“Power or monopoly power over what exactly? Over life, animals, nature. Truly insane; most people would think it’s “fake news”, but it’s not…”Here’s another new tweet, this one in French: “BREVETS: @NoPatentsOnSeed s’inquiète de récentes tentatives pour breveter de la viande et du lait https://agenceurope.eu/fr/bulletin/article/12273/27 … PATENTS: No Patents on Seeds! is concerned about recent attempts to patent meat and milk https://agenceurope.eu/en/bulletin/article/12273/27 …”

Patenting milk! Not even joking! This past weekend we predicted patents on air would be next because there are already patents on (treated) water. Here’s the cited page:

The patent granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) for salmon and trout raised on specific plants could set a precedent for many other patent applications, the association No Patents on Seeds! denounced in a statement published on Wednesday 12 June. However, according to this association, which fights against the patenting of living things, several patent applications claiming food products, such as meat and milk, derived from animals fed with selected…

This is Europe. Not joking. No “fake news” here…

“When she says “damage” she means refusal to grant patents on life and on nature.”Over in the US things have been a little harder since 35 U.S.C. § 101 or Mayo. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is reluctant to go as far as the EPO does. Eileen McDermott et al have just staged a lobbying event of Watchtroll (‘webinar’) and she speaks of “USPTO Commissioner for Patents on Life” (seriously! The headline is “USPTO Commissioner for Patents on Life Five Years After Alice: We’ve Come a Long Way”). They’re not even pretending not to grant patents on life itself. This isn’t legal and even courts in the US point this out. From her summary: “Panelists in this past Thursday’s IPWatchdog webinar, “Dissecting Alice,” gave credit to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the steps it has taken to minimize the damage caused by the courts’ lack of action on patent eligibility, but expressed concern that it simply isn’t enough.”

When she says “damage” she means refusal to grant patents on life and on nature. Damage to who exactly? These people are nuts. Are nuts patented yet?

IBM Happy That Patent Quality at EPO Collapsed and It’s Easy to Get Software Patents

Posted in Deception, Europe, IBM, Patents at 5:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IBM explains that "HEY HI" (AI) helps applicants patent software where such patents are not actually legal

On shortcuts

Summary: The EPO keeps granting illegal European Patents and the media almost never mentions this illegality because it’s in too amicable a relationship (typically financial) with the EPO

THE European Patent Office’s (EPO) President António Campinos, the chosen successor of Battistelli, continues to promote software patents in Europe. This is no laughing matter; what they do is illegal. We’re not exaggerating. It’s not a “crib notes”-type offense because they give actual monopolies (to bully companies with) that are illegal. The damage is potentially enormous. It’s difficult to measure because much of this is happening behind closed doors (e.g. secret settlements, like those IBM has plenty of). I’ve heard lots of stories, but there are NDAs.

“It’s not a “crib notes”-type offense because they give actual monopolies (to bully companies with) that are illegal.”Where’s the media? Where the Hell is the media? Why on Earth is nobody covering these things? Why do real journalists no longer write at sites such as those that specialise in patents? We used to know some. But they’re gone. Did something happen? I’ve asked those whom I know. They don’t want to talk about it, perhaps fearing retribution. We’ve been investigating in recent days why European (or EU-ropean) “news” sites no longer cover EPO corruption. I sent questions to people I knew, questions like “Why do you no longer write at [x]?”

“Did something happen?”

Techrights used to write many articles about why European media won’t cover EPO corruption (not much, barely and rarely).”Several European (or EU-ropean) “news” are bribed by American billionaires (we know that much as they admitted it) and we have legitimate reasons to believe they demote or even fire people for covering crimes. That’s just not good for attracting businesses, advertisers and so on. Techrights used to write many articles about why European media won’t cover EPO corruption (not much, barely and rarely). It hardly covers that at all anymore. Amplifiers of law firms dominate the media; their business model is just that. It’s not really news, it’s just marketing that looks like reporting. Look at last week’s ‘reports’ about the EPO’s ‘festival’ in Australia. Some sites literally copied press releases from the EPO and filed those under “news” or “articles” sections. How about this new one? It’s rather frustrating to see. This morning I saw one company running a paid press release about being granted patents by patent offices not exactly renowned for quality (yes, EPO). I hardly find anything (anymore) about EPO scandals. One might be led to think that everything is suddenly rosy. SUEPO too is afraid to speak directly. IP Kat has become an utter joke (we wrote about it recently). What gives? As we pointed out over the weekend, World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR) had done lots of puff pieces recently about “hey hi” (AI), pushing software patents using these buzzwords. WIPR is like EPO PR. It used to cover EPO scandals, but not anymore. I can guess why, but I’m waiting for replies (if any). Here is the new EPO puff piece from WIPR. It’s about its annual ‘festival’ that cost millions of euros per hour (they even pay for so-called ‘journalists’ to fly over).

“Amplifiers of law firms dominate the media; their business model is just that.”Staying with WIPR for a moment, it has just done another “hey hi” article (“TPN Europe 2019: Keep software patents simple, says IBM lawyer”). Blue Bully IBM, which is buying Red Hat, is a pusher of algorithm monopolies in Europe (yes, Red Hat’s stance on software patents is in trouble because lawyers from IBM will wipe it out). “With the EPO, it’s a lot clearer [and] a lot easier,” IBM lawyers say. Some large European law firms too have publicly said (at events) that it’s easier to get software patents at the EPO (than the USPTO and others). That’s how bad things have become. To quote some portions:

According to Kevin Fournier, IP lawyer at IBM in the UK, when drafting a software patent application, the best means of assessing an idea or an invention was to show it to a software developer.

Speaking at Technology Patent Network Europe 2019, hosted by WIPR in London last Thursday, June 20, Fournier said that “if software developers are impressed by the invention, then you’re really on a winner”.

Outlining his approach to patent claim construction, Fournier said “the worst thing that you can possibly do is have a method claim that requires the action of three or four different entities”.

The IBM lawyer advocated for the single method patent claim as a useful tool for patent attorneys.

The more complex a claim and the more actors are involved, then an applicant has “more to prove; [it’s] another argument that you have to make,” Fournier said.

[...]

Commenting on the UK Intellectual Property Office’s approach, Fournier said that, in his experience, “the technical contribution seems to be interpreted more narrowly”.

“With the EPO, it’s a lot clearer [and] a lot easier, as long as you can show that the features that are critical to the invention are contributing to the technical effect,” he added.

Fournier also questioned Kennedy on his observations on emerging principles in AI patent drafting.

Notice that part about “hey hi” (AI); it’s their favourite term these days. Benjamin Henrion has just found this tweet: “Una vez más, como experto en el Comité de Derecho de Patentes de @wipo #scp30 con interesantes documentos sobre “licencias obligatorias”, “actividad inventiva en química” e “Inteligencia Artificial, IA” los dos últimos elaborados a propuesta de la @OEPM_es (IA con @INPIFrance) pic.twitter.com/LNeMgs7G5W”

“Yes, not only the EPO but also the USPTO uses the same trick; they’re sharing this ‘toolkit’ for software patents.”IA, AI… different languages, same nonsense. On “hey hi” he also noted “Coons and Tillis to restore US swpats: “we will investigate ways to sharpen the “field of technology” requirement to ensure that critical advances like AI and medical diagnostics qualify, but not economic transactions or social interactions” https://is.gd/elsynt” (“Cached here,” he told me because of the paywall)

“Nobody seems to care. Not in the media anyway; too busy liaising with law firms and booking flights to EPO events at the EPO’s expense.”Yes, not only the EPO but also the USPTO uses the same trick; they’re sharing this ‘toolkit’ for software patents. As Henrion noted, linking to this page and new tweets, the EPO also still allows software patents which are disguised as hardware. To quote these vocal proponents of software patents in Europe: “Protecting a cryptographic computation against power attacks is considered a technical problem if, and only if, the computation is actually carried out on hardware and thus open to such attacks.”

“Oh, wait,” I responded, “I thought I was going to execute it with/on pen and paper. Software (patents) are “hardware” (patents) because machines can run programs?”

As we said at the start, nobody covers these very serious issues that will cost Europe billions in damages. Nobody seems to care. Not in the media anyway; too busy liaising with law firms and booking flights to EPO events at the EPO’s expense.

The Linux Foundation’s Staff Uses Windows and Microsoft. Now the Foundation Outsources the Coding and Hosting, Too (to Microsoft of Course).

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 4:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Who needs Git (a Linus Torvalds project) when there’s proprietary Microsoft GitHub?

Jim Zemlin, Microsoft and GitHub

LF, Microsoft and Github
Source: Microsoft, via

Summary: The disturbing turns of the self-described “Linux” Foundation, which seems to be promoting proprietary software and even Microsoft rather than Linux and Free/Open Source software while the role or capacity of Torvalds is being gradually diminished

THE Linux Foundation is sadly becoming a bridge to Microsoft, not to Linux. That’s like the Russian military hosting on AWS or GNU projects using Visual Studio. Projects that have nothing whatsoever to do with Linux, the kernel, are being ‘gifted’ to Microsoft. The following new (hours-old) press releases with our comments added hopefully sum things up (these are consortia that involve surveillance firms, including Palantir with its notorious, racist agenda):

  • The Linux Foundation’s Artificial Intelligence Community Announces New Acumos Release Focused on Creation of AI/ML Models [Ed: The "Linux" Foundation calls itself "collaboration platform" (or similar), but this new one shows that it's just outsourcing all this collaboration to Microsoft in GitHub (no kidding). The "Linux" Foundation pays a lot of money (salaries) to the father of Git, yet it cannot host its own Git instances and instead outsources it to Microsoft proprietary software, a centralised surveillance platform called GitHub?]

    The LF AI Foundation, the organization building an open AI community to drive open source innovation in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL), today announced the new release of Acumos code named Boreas. This latest release of the open source framework and marketplace will enable the creation, training and license verification of AI, ML and DL models and apps, among other benefits to the community of developers and data scientists.

  • The Linux Foundation Will Host the Federated AI Enabler to Responsibly Advance Data Modeling [Ed: Original posted here, in tandem, by Craig Ross, not a familiar name (maybe external PR). This project is on GitHub (advertised in massive fonts on the front page). Yet another new example of the “Linux” Foundation outsourcing everything to Microsoft. Takeover complete? Only days ago the Linux Foundation announced its new Vice Chair, Wim Coekaerts, who had worked for Microsoft.]

    KubeCon + CloudNativeCon – The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced it will host the FATE (Federated AI Technology Enabler). It is a federated learning framework that fosters collaboration across companies and institutes to perform AI model training and inference in accordance with user privacy, data confidentiality and government regulations. 4Paradigm, CETC Big Data Research Institute, Clustar, JD Intelligent Cities Research, Squirrel AI Learning, Tencent and WeBank are among the first organizations committed to the new Foundation.

I’m at a loss for words. It’s all happening so fast. Those who know how E.E.E. works (and have seen many examples of it over the years) cannot simply ignore/dismiss all the evidence. Should we all sit aside until it’s too late? To avoid offending the culprits?

Some of the above sites, we should also note, give the visitors empty pages unless one enables JavaScript (e.g. https://www.fedai.org/) and it’s a sign of unsavory design that encourages surveillance (https://www.fedai.org/ has malware in it, there’s Google Analytics watching your every move).

“If Torvalds was to step down, we know who would take his place (the interim maintainer while he was away). He used to work on Microsoft projects and put Microsoft code inside Linux when Novell was his boss (and in turn bossed by Microsoft).”The staff of the Foundation hardly uses GNU/Linux. Some of them, who contacted me in the past, used Microsoft. Jim Zemlin uses Apple. How many people in the management of the “Linux” Foundation actually use GNU/Linux? Same question for the Board…

I reckon very few of these people care about GNU/Linux and/or have used it, based on what I know about some of them. The Linux Foundation is not about Linux; it is more about keeping GNU/Linux under corporate control than about spreading it. Today, June 25th, marks 2 months since the “Linux” Foundation effectively sacked all Linux.com staff (even the editors). No original work has been published there since (only a few links to the Linux Foundation’s site, e.g. the one about Wim Coekaerts). In our daily links we’ve meanwhile included the following link as well:

What has the Linux Foundation become? It protects Microsoft from its critics (saying that it’s “like kicking a puppy” while Microsoft staff 'greases' things up) and it’s slamming Torvalds — who stepped down temporarily — for exercising free speech and carrying out quality control, which may mean rejecting code that is like cow’s feces (‘bulls**t’) and yet repeatedly being pushed onto Torvalds, whose tone understandably escalates over time, seeing that polite messages aren’t getting across effectively enough. Are they trying to just weaken him as boss of his own project? If Torvalds was to step down, we know who would take his place (the interim maintainer while he was away). He used to work on Microsoft projects and put Microsoft code inside Linux when Novell was his boss (and in turn bossed by Microsoft).

So far everyone we’ve heard from shares our concerns on these matters. Everyone. Few are however willing to speak about it. No news site touched the subject. It’s all PR. And speaking of PR, watch what Slashdot published 3 days ago under the modified headline “How OIN’s Linux-Based Patent Non-Aggression Community Drove Open Source Growth” (it links to ZDNet).

“We expect things to get yet worse over time because the Foundation isn’t communicating any of these issues. It never airs these concerns and it hasn’t even said a thing about Linux.com being effectively disbanded.”This headline is nonsense (yet it was promoted by OIN staff in Twitter); in fact it’s a promotional lie. The growth coming from OIN is a software patents growth, not “Open Source Growth” (more on that in our next article about IBM, which pretends Open Source would not be possible without software patents) and there’s no evidence to support this title. It doesn’t take much research to see that OIN is about making FOSS more like large corporations with their software patents, not making those corporations more like FOSS. The same goes for the Linux Foundation. They both just misuse the “Linux” brand to promote the agenda of companies such as IBM. To say that the Foundation exists merely “to pay Torvalds’ salary” is also quite misleading because nowadays it pays dozens of people ~$300,000/year in salaries. They’re not technical people; few actual coders get paid; they’re the likes of Zemlin, riding the coattails of Linus Torvalds and his project, Linux, to get as much as a million bucks a year. It’s truly discouraging to see that in the same way oil companies thoroughly corrupt politics Microsoft corrupts FOSS groups like the Linux Foundation, OSI and so on. Money buys silence if not complicity. Over at Tux Machines we’ve shown (over the weekend) that Microsoft’s role inside the Foundation keeps growing yet more. They have a lot of power and influence inside this Foundation, so should we be shocked to see Jim Zemlin saying that being against Microsoft like “kicking a puppy” (his words)? Is self-defense like animal abuse? Violence against puppies? We’ve warned about this for well over a decade (e.g. Zemlin urged people to “respect Microsoft” more than a decade ago). Microsoft’s work for ICE doesn’t seem to bother him, but Trump does bother him. Palantir does not seem to bother him either (the Foundation now names it as a member, even in press releases, while acting as a front group to it). This is not good and it’s only a matter of time before the “Linux” Foundation gets associated with things like concentration camps (which Microsoft proudly profits from, it even brags about it in its blog and lies about it to employees).

“…for Azure training they have budget, but not for Linux.com.”Here’s another new ZDNet piece (same author, who is connected to the Foundation) that promotes the Foundation’s work for Facebook, a company that gives all its data to Microsoft and was nearly acquired by Microsoft (instead they became strategic ‘surveillance capitalism’ allies with a shared warehouse of people’s secrets). We expect things to get yet worse over time because the Foundation isn’t communicating any of these issues. It never airs these concerns and it hasn’t even said a thing about Linux.com being effectively disbanded. Yesterday they published a press release about training (Clyde Seepersad), highlighting a program that promotes Microsoft Azure; for Azure training they have budget, but not for Linux.com.

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