Links 29/8/2019: GTK 4.0 Plan, Mozilla Corporation’s CEO Chris Beard is Out, GNU Emacs 26.3

Posted in News Roundup at 4:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Linux Magazine

    • Server

      • Cloud providers and telemetry via Qt MQTT

        First, the focus is on getting devices connected to the cloud. Being able to send and receive messages is the prime target. This post will not talk about services, features, or costs by the cloud providers themselves once messages are in the cloud.

        Furthermore, the idea is to only use Qt and/or Qt MQTT to establish a connection. Most, if not all, vendors provide SDKs for either devices or monitoring (web and native) applications. However, using these SDKs extends the amount of additional dependencies, leading to higher requirements for storage and memory.

      • SUSE Enterprise Storage and Veeam go great together

        Whether you’re new to the popular Windows-based backup tool Veeam or an old pro, you know that ever-growing demands on your storage resources are a true challenge. The flexibility of Ceph makes it a good choice for a back-up target, and SUSE Enterprise Storage makes it easy.

      • IBM

        • Why Centos is one of the best OS to set up your local hosting service

          We have been using Centos for years and I must say that we are totally impressed by the outstanding reliability of it.

          Why are we using it? Well, it’s simple. HDroid runs on a dedicated webserver and although this might sound to you as granted stuff to talk about, we were literally going nuts before assembling it.

          Our network of websites is not just limited to this site; and this is where Centos shines, with its ease of control for hosting solution environments. And my goal was pretty unclear at the beginning. This is what I wished “to achieve” with a dedicated web hosting service, completely ‘hosted’ at home.

        • KaaS Vs PaaS: Mirantis Kubernetes-As-A-Service Vs OpenShift

          Many companies who use Kubernetes today do it using Red Hat’s OpenShift distribution, so one question we often hear from users asking about the Mirantis Kubernetes as a Service beta is “How is KaaS different from OpenShift?”

          The short answer is that OpenShift is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Mirantis KaaS is…well…a KaaS. These two concepts are different. Let me explain.

          OpenShift is a Platform as a Service, or PaaS, that just happens to use Kubernetes as its underlying substrate. But just because a PaaS uses K8s, that doesn’t automatically make it a KaaS.

        • OpenShift Scale-CI: Part 1 – Evolution

          In order to make efficient use of the lab hardware or the hourly paid compute and storage in public cloud which might get very expensive at large scale, automation does a better job at optimization than humans do at the endless wash. rinse and repeat cycle of CI-based testing. This led us to create automation and tooling which works on any cloud provider and runs performance and scale tests to cover various components of OpenShift; Kubelet, Control plane, SDN, Monitoring with Prometheus, Router, Logging, Cluster Limits and Storage can all be tested with the click of a button.

          We used to spend weeks to running tests and capturing data. Scale-CI speeds up the process, thus saving lots of time and money on compute and storage resources. Most importantly: It gave us the time to work on creative tasks like tooling and designing new scale tests to add to the framework.

          Not every team or user has the luxury of building automation, tooling and access to the hardware to test how well their application or OpenShift component is working at scales above 2000 nodes . Being part of the Performance and Scalability team, we have access to a huge amount of hardware resources and this motivated us to build Scale-CI in such a way that anyone can come use it and participate in the community around it. Users can submit a pull request on Github with a set of templates to get their workload onboarded into the pipeline. The onboarded workloads are automatically tested at scale on an OpenShift cluster built with the latest and greatest builds. It doesn’t hurt that this entire process is managed and maintained by the OpenShift Scalability team.

        • Red Hat Customer Portal named one of the “Ten Best Support Websites” for ninth consecutive year

          We’re excited to announce that for the ninth consecutive year, the Red Hat Customer Portal has been named one of the “Top Ten Best Support Websites” by the Association of Support Professionals (ASP).

          The ASP is a global membership organization for customer support managers and professionals. Its “Ten Best Support Websites” competition, now celebrating its 21st year, showcases excellence in online service and support. Selected by a panel of judges with experience in web support design and implementation, winners are scored in 25 different areas.

          For the last nine years, the awards program has highlighted the continued evolution of Red Hat’s Customer Portal and commitment to improving our customers’ experience.

          This year’s award submission highlighted how the Red Hat Customer Portal is implementing tools that help users self-solve issues, as well as improving user experiences across the site based on customer feedback.

        • Hardening Gluster Installations with TLS

          Data availability, confidentiality, and integrity are important aspects of security. One concern is securing the data and control information used by Gluster nodes which flows over the network. To address this problem network encryption can now be enabled in Gluster using TLS. Encrypting communications between glusterd, Gluster client, and the Gluster server will add significant complexity to any attacker attempting to abuse the Gluster nodes and services.

          Deployment guidelines recommend that Gluster?s internal network should be isolated and not accessible to general users. Even with an isolated network, requiring these connections to use cryptography can prevent access to in-flight network data from attackers with access to these internal networks.

          Enabling encryption requires an attacker to be able to successfully authenticate before being able to interact with Gluster nodes and services.

        • Kogito for Quarkus intelligent applications

          The Quarkus project is becoming quite popular among developers. Quarkus provides a fast-dev environment, and it has already a set of libraries, standards, and frameworks that are made available through extensions like RestEasy, Panache, SmallRye, Keycloak, and Kafka. Additionally, you can start using Kogito today to create intelligent Quarkus applications.

        • How Will Open Source Deal With Success?

          That level of success was perhaps most succinctly explained to me at the event by Chris Aniszczyk, COO at the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). “This is the golden age of open source and we are hitting more industries now,” Aniszczyk told me during an interview at the show. “If you are a developer in open source you can find a good job in so many different areas.”

          Aniszczyk’s optimistic tone followed a brief keynote address by Red Hat CTO Chris Wright, who stated flatly that “open source has won,” citing the dramatic increase in GitHub users and numbers from the Linux Foundation touting the financial benefits of open source software. That statement of open source success wasn’t necessarily the most controversial as it was made at an open source-focused event.

          However, Wright also spent some of his limited time on stage and a considerable part of a follow up interview questioning how the ecosystem was going to deal with its success.

          “Part of winning is that with great power comes great responsibility,” Wright said on stage. He explained that the community had changed from its humble origins based on the benefits of sharing software code to where it’s at today in powering some of the largest corporate entities.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Retro Computing with the Altair-Duino

        Katherine Druckman, Doc Searls and Petros Koutoupis talk to Chris Davis of adwaterandstir.com about his Arduino-based Altair 8800 replica kits.

      • New podcast episode: Reality 2.0 – Retro Computing with the Altair-Duino

        An exciting new podcast episode is out: Reality 2.0 – Retro Computing with the Altair-Duino. This is a follow-up conversation about the Altair-Duino. Katherine Druckman, Doc Searls and myself talk to Chris Davis of www.adwaterandstir.com about his Arduino-based Altair 8800 replica kits. I had a lot of fun with this conversation.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.2.11

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.2.11 kernel.

        All users of the 5.2 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.2.y git tree can be found at:

        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.2.y

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


      • Linux 4.19.69
      • Linux 4.14.141
      • Celebrating Linux’s 28 years

        Today, there are nearly 300 active distributions. Some target specific audiences and come prepackaged with special-purpose tools, such as Kali for penetration testing. Others are very general purpose.

        By some accounts, more than 95% of the top 1 million web servers run Linux, along with over 90% of the public cloud and well over 80% of smartphones. So, even if you’re walking around offices still dominated by Windows desktops, Linux is winning big time in some of the most important markets and remains the beating heart of the open source movement.

        Happy birthday, Linux! Here’s to wishing you many decades of continued success, dedicated contributers, and happy users.

      • Linux Foundation

        • The Linux Foundation’s LF Edge Releases V2.0 of the Open Glossary of Edge Computing
        • The Linux Foundation’s LF Edge Releases V2.0 of the Open Glossary of Edge Computing

          LF Edge, an umbrella organization within the Linux Foundation that aims to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system, today announced Version 2.0 of its Open Glossary of Edge Computing. This latest version of the Open Glossary adds a year of updates from the edge community while further iterating vocabulary across the entirety of LF Edge projects.

          The Open Glossary of Edge Computing was created in 2018 as a vehicle to organize a shared, vendor-neutral vocabulary for edge computing to improve communication and accelerate innovation in the field. Launched as part of the first annual State of the Edge report, the Open Glossary is now an open source project under the LF Edge umbrella. The Open Glossary 2.0 is available in a publicly-accessible GitHub repo, and the new versions will be included in the State of the Edge 2019 report, to be released later this fall.

          “The Open Glossary of Edge Computing exemplifies a community-driven process to document and refine the language around edge computing,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge, and IoT, the Linux Foundation. “As the diversity of LF Edge increases, we want frameworks in place that make it easy to talk about edge computing in consistent and less-biased ways. It’s imperative the community comes together to converge on a shared vocabulary, as it will play a substantial role in how our industry discusses and defines the next-generation internet.”

      • Graphics Stack

        • Intel Gen 12 Graphics Bringing “Display State Buffer” Engine

          Since June there has been the Intel open-source development team volleying Linux patches for bringing up Tiger Lake “Gen 12″ graphics. There have been several rounds of patches working on the new Gen 12 graphics and that experimental open-source support is coming with Linux 5.4. A new patch series sheds more light on one of the new Gen 12 hardware features: the Display State Buffer engine.

          The Display State Buffer (or shortened as the “DSB”) is a new engine to handle batch submit display register programming. The Intel Linux driver at least will be making use of the DSB for LUT programming and yet-to-materialize patches will leverage the DSB for HDR (High Dynamic Range) meta-data programming and page-flipping related operations. The DSB hardware allows for reduced loading time and CPU activity with punting more work to this engine attached to the display controller and is said to improve the context switching performance with Gen 12 graphics.

        • Navi 14 Is Ready To Go On Mesa 19.3 Git & Back-Ported To Mesa 19.2

          As a follow-up to the recent story on AMD looking to land Navi 14 support in the imminent Mesa 19.2, that code for the smaller Navi GPU did successfully land into Mesa 19.3-devel and was back-ported to the 19.2 series for the upcoming 19.2.0 stable release.

          As explained previously, the Navi 14 Linux driver support wasn’t a trivial PCI ID addition but other changes were necessary. Most notably, Navi 14 required disabling of the “Next-Gen Geometry” support and falling back to the legacy pipeline as apparently NGG is buggy on Navi 14.

        • AMDVLK 2019.Q3.5 AMD Vulkan Driver Brings Fixes & Optimizations

          Two weeks have passed since AMDVLK 2019.Q3.4 while out this morning is the next iteration of this open-source AMD Radeon Vulkan driver derived from the company’s official cross-platform driver code-base.

          AMDVLK 2019.Q3.5 is built against the Vulkan 1.1.119 headers and now exposes the second revision to the VK_EXT_subgroup_size_control extension.

        • VDPAU Library 1.3 Switches To Meson Build System, Adds VP9 Video Format Definitions

          While NVIDIA is focused upon their CUDA-based video encode/decode solution moving forward, they do continue supporting and maintaining their existing VDPAU-based video decode stack. Of the driver-neutral VDPAU library (libvdpau) on Wednesday they issued the newest update.

          Libvdpau is the vendor-neutral library for the Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix that was engineered by NVIDIA and also leveraged by Mesa’s Gallium3D VDPAU state tracker. While NVIDIA moving forward has NVENC/NVDEC as their premiere video solution, VDPAU still works out well on their current Linux driver releases.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Core i9 9900K vs. AMD Ryzen 9 3900X Linux Gaming Performance

        Here is our most extensive look yet at the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X Linux gaming performance up against the Intel Core i9 9900K while testing the latest Linux drivers with the Radeon RX 5700 XT as well as the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 and RTX 2080 graphics cards. Beyond testing all the benchmark-friendly Linux-native and Steam Play OpenGL/Vulkan games, the performance-per-Watt and performance-per-dollar of the tested systems are also being covered.

        The Ryzen 9 3900X vs. Core i9 9900K gaming performance on Windows has been a hot race and it’s quite competitive as well on Linux both for native OpenGL/Vulkan ports as well as for Windows games running on Linux via Valve’s Steam Play paired with DXVK for mapping D3D11 to Vulkan.

    • Applications

      • Proprietary

        • BuyDRM launches Linux support for DRM

          BuyDRM has announced Linux support for its MultiKey Server, a multi-DRM software platform specifically designed for deployments in remote or limited connectivity environments.

        • Some airlines are banning Apple’s MacBook Pros even if they weren’t recalled

          In June, Apple recalled the 2015 MacBook Pro with Retina Display, sold between September 2015 and February 2017, because the battery “may pose a fire safety risk,” and the FAA soon reminded airlines not to carry those laptops with defective batteries on board. But some airlines are now banning Apple laptops whether they’ve got a bad battery or not, as reported by Bloomberg.

        • More Airlines Ban MacBook Pros in Checked Luggage

          All 15-inch versions of Apple Inc.’s MacBook Pro must be carried in the cabin and switched off, Qantas said in a statement Wednesday. The rule went into effect Tuesday morning. Rival Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd. went further on Aug. 26, banning all Apple laptops from checked-in luggage.

        • Popular PDF app was quietly plonking malware onto Android phones

          The security smart folks note that the app itself doesn’t appear to be a malicious one, but rather it contains a trojan that gathers spyware and other malware from a malicious server and then runs in on a victim’s phone. This trojan, dubbed Necro.n appears to have been sneaked into the app through the use of a legit-looking advertising library package.

          As such, the developers of the app, which has received some 100 million downloads, might not even realise their software is causing their users a malware headache.

        • [Cracker] Claims He Can ‘Turn Off 25,000 Cars’ At The Push Of A Button

          Your car’s immobilizer is supposed to be used for good. If a crook steals your car, it’s possible for you to connect to the immobilizer, which tracks the vehicle and allows you to stop anyone from turning on the engine. But with one particular immobilizer – the U.K.-made SmarTrack tool from Global Telemetrics – an easy-to-hack vulnerability meant it was simple for researchers at Pen Test Partners to turn on the immobilizer permanently, without the customer knowing a thing.

          To prove it was possible, the researchers from British cybersecurity company Pen Test Partners hacked the vehicle of one of their own employees, disabling his car whilst they were in the U.K. and he was in Greece, not long before he was due to head to a wedding.

        • French cyberpolice, Avast and FBI neutralise global ‘botnet’ [iophk: Windows TCO]

          French police have neutralised a [cracking] operation that had taken control of more than 850,000 computers, mainly in Latin America, while also managing to remove the malware from the infected devices.

          The agents went into action last spring after the Czech antivirus firm Avast alerted them to the software worm, called Retadup, that was being controlled by a server in the Paris region.

        • Putting an end to Retadup: A malicious worm that infected hundreds of thousands [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Retadup is a malicious worm affecting Windows machines throughout Latin America. Its objective is to achieve persistence on its victims’ computers, to spread itself far and wide and to install additional malware payloads on infected machines. In the vast majority of cases, the installed payload is a piece of malware mining cryptocurrency on the malware authors’ behalf. However, in some cases, we have also observed Retadup distributing the Stop ransomware and the Arkei password stealer.

        • Authorities free 850,000 machines from grasp of Retadup worm [iophk: Windows TCO]

          After gaining persistence, Retadup goes on to distribute secondary malware on infected machines. It most commonly delivers a Monero cryptomining program, but also has been observed spreading over malware programs including Stop ransomware and the Arkei password stealer, Avast reports.

          The vast majority of Retadup victims whose infections were neutralized in last month’s crackdown are based in Latin American countries. However, the law enforcement operation itself specifically targeted C2 infrastructure based in France and the U.S.

        • Report finds majority of 2019 ransomware attacks have targeted state and local governments [iophk: Windows TCO]

          The majority of ransomware attacks in the U.S. in 2019 have targeted state and local governments, a report published Wednesday by cybersecurity group Barracuda Networks found.

          The report counted a total of 55 ransomware attacks on U.S. state and local government entities between January and July of 2019. These attacks involve a malicious actor or group encrypting a network and asking for money, often in the form of bitcoin, to allow the user access.

        • Threat Spotlight: Government Ransomware Attacks [iophk: this is disinformation which fails to steer potential victims away from Windows and towards GNU/Linux or one of the BSDs]

          Barracuda researchers have identified more than 50 cities and towns attacked so far this year. The team’s recent analysis of hundreds of attacks across a broad set of targets revealed that government organizations are the intended victims of nearly two-thirds of all ransomware attacks. Local, county, and state governments have all been targets, including schools, libraries, courts, and other entities.

          Here’s a closer look at state and local government ransomware attacks and solutions to help detect, block, and recover from them.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • A Short Hike is a very sweet and serene experience

        Taking a break to go on A Short Hike turned out to be a rather beautiful experience, one that has allowed me to sit back and appreciate the calmer side of life for a moment.

      • Rocket League Season 12 and the Rocket Pass 4 are live, with the new Weekly Challenge system

        Another Competitive Season ends and a fresh one begins, Rocket League Season 12 is now officially live and so is the new Rocket Pass 4 with a tweaked Weekly Challenge system.

        This season comes with some new stats for those who manage to pull of some fun tricks. You can now perform a High-Five by bumping into a team mate above the goal after scoring, a Low-Five by bumping into a team mate on the ground after scoring and a Swish Goal for the Hoops mode where you score by not touching the rim before the goal. Additionally, in the patch notes they did some audio work on the game to include “audio priority rebalancing, HDR audio, and object elevation”.

      • Go on a wild Cornish adventure in Knights And Bikes, out with Linux support

        Knights And Bikes is a tale of two lost souls discovering friendship, going on an adventure inspired by Earthbound, Secret of Mana and The Goonies. Note: Key provided by Double Fine’s PR team.

        Taking place on a fictional island called Penfurzy, off the coast of Cornwall in the UK. It’s a co-op “coming-of-age story” although you don’t have to play it with a partner as you are able to switch between the two, which is pretty handy and didn’t cause any issues for me.

      • Bag a free copy of DiRT Rally during the Humble Store end of Summer sale, some deals on Steam too

        For 72 hours Humble Store are giving away DiRT Rally (has Linux support – ported by Feral Interactive) during their big end of Summer sale.

      • Tame monsters and explore the world in Monster Sanctuary, out in Early Access now

        Moi Rai Games and Team17 Digital Ltd have released Monster Sanctuary in Early Access with Linux support.

        Following a successful Kickstarter, Moi Rai Games have blended a few different experiences together in Monster Sanctuary. It has the exploration and adventuring found in metroidvania-like titles, with creature catching and combat that Pokemon made popular.

      • The Hunter & The Beast expansion announced for Total War: WARHAMMER II

        Arriving on Linux “shortly” after the Windows release, the next expansion for Total War: WARHAMMER II has been announced and it does sound quite enticing.

        We’re not just getting a new DLC though, everyone will also get a free update to the base game which will include the Lizardmen Legendary Lord Gor-Rok, a campaign map region rework for Mortal Empires, Empire Fort Battles, a new starting position for Balthasar Gelt and an Old World update for the Empire with more info to come on other things coming.

      • Twin-stick exploration shooter Smith and Winston is out now, some thoughts

        Execution Unit have now officially released their fantastically styled exploration shooter Smith and Winston, with great Linux support.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma Browser Integration 1.6

          I’m pleased to announce the immediate availability of Plasma Browser Integration version 1.6 on the Chrome Web Store as well as Firefox Add-Ons page.

          Plasma Browser Integration bridges the gap between your browser and the Plasma desktop. It lets you share links, find browser tabs in KRunner, monitor download progress in the notification center, and control music and video playback anytime from within Plasma, or even from your phone using KDE Connect!

        • KDE websites infrastructure update and new websites

          Since my latest post two months ago, a lot of things changed regarding the KDE websites. More and more KDE websites are switching to the Aether theme designed by Ken Vermette. You can follow the progress at the Phabricator task T10827.

          One of the big problems encountered was the multiplication of different versions of the CSS files. There is a CCS file used by konsole.kde.org and choqok.kde.org, one for all the MediaWiki instances, and one for kde.org. This was getting harder and harder to maintain, so I decided to create a single SASS codebase for all the KDE websites.

          The code is located in the KDE Gitlab instance and uses Symfony Encore to generate all the CSS files from the SASS codebase.

          For the moment, the CSS code is only split into multiple SASS modules and the tooling builds multiple versions using some generic components (breeze buttons) and other more specific components (MediaWiki dark theme).

        • Lars Knoll, CTO at Qt and Keynote Speaker at Akademy 2019

          Paul Brown: Hello Lars, how are you this morning? You seem very busy…

          Lars Knoll: Hi Paul, I’m doing good. There’s more than enough to do, but I had a good weekend.

          Paul: Great! So tell me a bit about yourself. Looking over your résumé, you seem to have been in software production forever. Is this something you always wanted to do, since you were young?

          Lars: No, not really. Of course I played around with computers a bit when I was young. I had a Commodore 64 back then, but I mostly used it for games.

          I actually went and studied physics when I went to University, and had quite a few years where I did very little with computers.

          Things started picking up again during my masters and PhD thesis time in Heidelberg. I needed to use computers a lot to analyze the data that we collected during our experiments. We used Linux computers and Unix machines at that time, and I had to do quite a bit of my programming in Fortran. I really didn’t like that language, so I started teaching myself C and some C++ to have a better language to work with. That was around 1996, 1997, if I remember correctly.

          At that time, I also read about KDE for the first time, as a project to create a Desktop for Linux. That was something that also triggered my interest, and I started looking into it a bit and started subsequently to use it, as it was way easier than FVWM which is what I was using before.

        • Mounamnamat Médias Teaches Animation using Krita

          Amine Sossi Alaoui and Sonia Didier write to tell us about their experience teaching children 2D animation using Krita, with some very cool results:

          We’re a Moroccan animation studio, created 6 months ago and based in Rabat, Morocco. Before that we worked in animation studios in France during 10 years. Our goal now is to develop animation industry in Morocco and Africa. It’s a long way to go, and for the moment, we’re just beginning with 2d animation. Krita is a great tool for that, and we’re very happy to use it, and to share the knowledge we have about it.

          So, this summer, we wanted children to learn about 2D animation, so we created an one-week animation course for children from 8 to 14 years old. It was 2 hours per day during 5 days, for a group of 8 to 12 children. The goal was to create an one-minute animated shortfilm in 2D, from the writing of the story, storyboard, background, animation, colorisation and compositing.

          For that we chose to use Krita (and Shotcut for the final compositing and sound). It’s great software, very complete and fun to work with. And as it’s free, we’re sure that the children could use it at home if they like, to make their own projects.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Matthias Clasen: GTK BoF at Guadec

          We also discussed things outside GTK proper that will keep applications from porting to GTK4. This includes commonly used libraries such as GtkSourceView, vte and webkitgtk, which all will need GTK4 ports before applications that depend on them can be ported. Some of this work is already underway; but any help in this area is appreciated!

          Another potential blocker for GTK4 porting is platform support. The GL renderer works well on Linux; the Vulkan renderer needs some fixups. On Windows we currently use cairo fallback, which may be good enough for 4.0. Alternatively, we could merge existing work for using the GL renderer with ANGLE. The situation is less pleasant on OS X, where we don’t have a working backend; if you want to help us here, the first still would be to adapt the GDK backend to changes in GDK.

        • GTK 4.0 Isn’t Expected To Be Released Until Autumn 2020

          GTK 4.0 won’t be out this year, nor is it expected next spring as part of the GNOME 3.36 cycle, but now the developers believe this next major tool-kit update will be ready to ship in just over one year’s time with the autumn release of GNOME 3.38.

          Taking place the past few days was GNOME’s annual GUADEC conference where understandably were a lot of discussions around GTK4.

        • Julian Sparber: Rust Hackfest in Berlin

          It was a lot of fun hanging out with all the GNOME people who were in Berlin for this. I unfortunately had some unexpected deadlines from my University. Therefore I couldn’t hack as much as I wanted but I still got a couple of things done.

          I spent most of the time on an example which shows how to implement drag and drop reordering of rows in a GtkListbox which is bound to a ListModel. Sadly I didn’t have the time to fix the few reaming issues (mostly commenting the code), therefore it’s not yet merged. This is the pull request to gtk-rs.

        • Swayamjeet Swain: GSoC 2019 Final Report

          This year I worked on Pitivi, an Open Source Video Editor. With GSoC coming to an end, this post is a brief summary of the tasks that were done during the period, the things that were implemented, the work that is ongoing and the future plans that are left to do.

          My project involved implementing Nesting Timelines in Pitivi, such that the clips can be easily nested to form one single clip.

    • Distributions

      • MariaDB, VLC, Plopper, Apache Packages Update in Tumbleweed

        There have been three openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots released this week.

        The snapshots brought new versions of VLC, Apache, Plopper and an update of the Linux Kernel.

        Snapshot 20190824 delivered a fix that was made to the swirl option, which produced an unexpected result, with the update of ImageMagick?s version. Improved adaptive streaming and a fix for stuttering for low framerate videos became available in VLC 3.0.8; 13 issues, including 5 buffer overflows we fixed and 11 Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures were assigned and addressed in the media player version. More than a handful of CVEs were addressed with the apache2 2.4.41 update. One of the CVEs addressed was that of a malicious client that could perform a Denial of Services attack by flooding a connection with requests and basically never reading responses on the TCP connection. The new version also improves the balancer-manager protection against XSS/XSRF attacks from trusted users. The x86 emulation library fixed a compiler warning in the 2.4 version and the X11 RandR utility updated the geometry text file configure.ac for gitlab migration with the xrandr 1.5.1 version. The snapshot is trending at a rating of 86, according to the Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer.

      • Reviews

        • Drauger OS Makes a Capable Linux Game Console Platform

          This distro lacks an OS upgrade mechanism. So upgrading to the next release requires a fresh installation. However, system updates to the existing installation come from Ubuntu and are regularly updated by Drauger OS.

          If you play around with the live session, the default user name is “user” or “default.” The default password is “toor.”

          Complete instructions are found in the Readme.pdf file. Also, check out the Welcome screen. It provides access to help files and shows buttons that open links to the distribution’s website, launch a tool for installing third-party drivers, and link to some online resources.

          There is also a tutorial button on the Welcome screen that opens a series of pop-up messages about the desktop elements. The welcome window is pretty straightforward to use and navigate.

      • New Releases

        • BlackArch Linux 2019.09.01 is Released with Kernel 5.2.9

          The BlackArch Linux Community has released the new version of BlackArch Linux 2019.06.01 ISOs and OVA image on yesterday (28th Aug, 2019).

          This new release brings the 5.2.x Linux kernel.

          Linux Kernel 5.2 includes Sound Open Firmware, Pressure Stall Information resource monitoring, BFQ I/O scheduler has gained some performance improvements, the ARM Mali t4xx and newer 6xx/7xx have been added and lot more.

          Also, they have added more than 150 new tools that allows penetration testers to discover new things.

      • Fedora Family

        • Modularity at Flock 2019

          The Modularity Team was able to hold a session at Flock 2019 to gather feedback and discuss a few issues. The session was well attended and there was a bunch of great discussion.


          We then asked people to vote on what they felt were the most important items that we should focus on. As you can see in the picture, which is a little cryptic, “offline local builds,” “OBS/COPR Compat,” “upgrade path,” and “default streams in BR”. As we elaborate on the outcomes of each topic we will also explain the somewhat cryptic shorthand we used for each topic.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S12E21 – Rebelstar Raiders

          This week we?ve been using Unity and learning about code of conduct incident response. We bring you a bumper crop of news and events from the Ubuntu community plus we round up some of our favourite stories from the tech world.

          It?s Season 12 Episode 21 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

        • Ubuntu 19.10 Daily Builds with Gnome 3.34 Beta Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Ubuntu 19.10 Daily Builds. as of 28 August, with Gnome 3.34 Beta For links and more, look here: https://www.linuxmadesimple.info/2019/08/ubuntu-1910-daily-builds.html Background Music: The Big Beat 80s by Kevin MacLeod, Syrinx Starr

        • A technical comparison between snaps and debs

          Snap installations are also different from debs. Since snaps are fully self-contained applications, during the installation, the snap package (SquashFS filesystem archive) is decompressed and mounted as a read-only loopback device, with a separate writable private area created in the user’s home directory. Because snaps contains all the elements required to run an application, their disk footprint is typically larger than an equivalent Deb package. This is partially mitigated by having snaps compressed, and in some cases they might actually have a smaller size on the disk.

          During the installation, a security profile will be created for the snap, which will determine what the snap can or cannot do once run. By default, snaps cannot access other snaps, or ever the underlying system. Specific overrides are required, which we will touch upon shortly. Furthermore, the isolated manner in which snaps are configured means that once the user removes a snap, all the assets are completely removed from the system.

          Snaps are cryptographically signed. Users can install snaps that originate outside the Snap Store by providing an explicit, manual override flag. This is common during development, allowing developers to test their snaps before uploading them to the store.

        • Compact embedded computer features Ryzen Embedded V1000

          Ibase’s compact, Ubuntu-ready “CMI300-988” embedded computer is based on its MI988 Mini-ITX board equipped with a quad-core AMD Ryzen Embedded V1807B. Highlights include up to 32GB DDR4, HDMI and DP, and 4x USB 3.1 ports.


          The CMI300-988 runs Windows 10 or Ubuntu 18.04 with Linux Kernel 4.14.14 on AMD’s top-of-the-line V1807B model with 4x Zen cores and 8x threads clocked to 3.35/3.8GHz. The 35-54W TDP V1807B features the high-end, 11-compute-unit version of AMD’s impressive Vega GPU.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Alternatives for Adobe Acrobat, Photoshop and more [iophk: could have also mentioned Krita and LibreOffice Draw]

        GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) offers 130-plus amazing filters and special effects. See Alvin Alexander’s blog for all the cool stuff GIMP can do. I especially like the Borders Sparkles, Reflections, and Gradient Flare effects; and the Whirl and Pinch features. I also appreciate that GIMP works on multiple platforms, uses minimal system resources, and is super-easy to use.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • My Next Chapter

            Earlier this morning I shared the news internally that – while I’ve been a Mozillian for 15 years so far, and plan to be for many more years – this will be my last year as CEO.

            When I returned to Mozilla just over five years ago, it was during a particularly tumultuous time in our history. Looking back it’s amazing to reflect on how far we’ve come, and I am so incredibly proud of all that our teams have accomplished over the years.

            Today our products, technology and policy efforts are stronger and more resonant in the market than ever, and we have built significant new organizational capabilities and financial strength to fuel our work. From our new privacy-forward product strategy to initiatives like the State of the Internet we’re ready to seize the tremendous opportunity and challenges ahead to ensure we’re doing even more to put people in control of their connected lives and shape the future of the internet for the public good.

            In short, Mozilla is an exceptionally better place today, and we have all the fundamentals in place for continued positive momentum for years to come.

            It’s with that backdrop that I made the decision that it’s time for me to take a step back and start my own next chapter. This is a good place to recruit our next CEO and for me to take a meaningful break and recharge before considering what’s next for me. It may be a cliché — but I’ll embrace it — as I’m also looking forward to spending more time with my family after a particularly intense but gratifying tour of duty.

          • Thank you, Chris

            Thank you, Chris.

            Chris Beard has been Mozilla Corporation’s CEO for 5 and a half years. Chris has announced 2019 will be his last year in this role. I want to thank Chris from the bottom of my heart for everything he has done for Mozilla. He has brought Mozilla enormous benefits — new ideas, new capabilities, new organizational approaches. As CEO Chris has put us on a new and better path. Chris’ tenure has seen the development of important organization capabilities and given us a much stronger foundation on which to build. This includes reinvigorating our flagship web browser Firefox to be once again a best-in-class product. It includes recharging our focus on meeting the online security and privacy needs facing people today. And it includes expanding our product offerings beyond the browser to include a suite of privacy and security-focused products and services from Facebook Container and Enhanced Tracking Protection to Firefox Monitor.

            Chris will remain an advisor to the board. We recognize some people may think these words are a formula and have no deep meaning. We think differently. Chris is a true “Mozillian.” He has been devoted to Mozilla for the last 15 years, and has brought this dedication to many different roles at Mozilla. When Chris left Mozilla to join Greylock as an “executive-in-residence” in 2013, he remained an advisor to Mozilla Corporation. That was an important relationship, and Chris and I were in contact when it started to become clear that Chris could be the right CEO for MoCo. So over the coming years I expect to work with Chris on mission-related topics. And I’ll consider myself lucky to do so.

          • Thunderbird 68.0 is out: major email client update

            The Thunderbird team has released Thunderbird 68.0, a new major version of the desktop email client that is going to replace the current branch Thunderbird 60.x in the long run.

            Thunderbird 68.0 is a major update that changes quite a few things; that explains why it is not pushed via the email client’s automatic updating system at this point in time. Thunderbird users who are interested in the new version may download it from the project website to install it manually. Organisations may point the browser to the Thunderbird for Organisations page instead to download a MSI package or the 64-bit installer for Windows.

            Check out our guide on upgrading 32-bit Thunderbird to 64-bit if you still run a 32-bit copy.

            The team plans to push Thunderbird 68.1 via the automatic update systems.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice AppImage Version Looks Great on Elementary OS

          LibreOffice is a really great free software project which provides its product in all formats possible, whether it is DEB or RPM, Snap, Flatpak, or even AppImage. If you don’t know, AppImage is just like DMG on MacOS, it’s application in single file format just click to run it. However, if you see closer, LibreOffice AppImage looks good on elementary OS 5.0. That’s why it’s very interesting to use on elementary OS. In this article I just want to report screenshots and my short comments about it. I hope you are interested to run LibreOffice AppImage version on elementary OS too. Enjoy!

          If you do not have office suite on elementary OS yet, I recommend you to use LibreOffice AppImage. It runs instantly, unlike Snap or Flatpak version, without dependencies installation. You can run it by double-click on file manager. It works, and it looks so elementary fashioned.

        • LibreOffice monthly recap: August 2019

          Over in Europe, members of the German LibreOffice community attended FrOSCon, one of the largest FOSS events in the country. We had a stand with flyers, stickers and a computer demonstrating LibreOffice Online and its integration in eGroupWare. It was great to meet so many passionate free software fans, and all being well, we’ll be back there again next year…


          While we’re gearing up for the aforementioned LibreOffice Conference 2019, we’re also looking ahead to proposals for the 2020 event. The Document Foundation received two different proposals for the organisation of LibOCon 2020, from the Turkish and German communities. TDF members are voting to decide on exactly where it will take place, so stay tuned for the announcement…

      • CMS

        • Best WordPress Translation Plugins for a Multilingual Website

          You might be thinking, which is the best WordPress translation plugin for a Multilingual Website. If you research, you’ll find a lot of options, circling on the internet.

          But which is the best plugin, and how to use it? Google suggests many, but how many of them are reliable? How to use a particular plugin and why is it so popular? These are some of the things you might be contemplating as you begin your search for the best WordPress translation plugin for a Multilingual Website.

          WordPress is the world-famous open-source platform giving options to create your website in your language. Millions around the world use WordPress to create their website but, the crux of the problem is WordPress doesn’t have enough linguistic tools.


        • GNU Emacs 26.3 Released, How to Install it in Ubuntu 18.04

          GNU Emacs text editor 26.3 was released last night. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 18.04 and higher.

        • GIMP open source image editor forked to fix ‘problematic’ name

          Glimpse is a fork of the popular open source image editor, GIMP, created primarily to offer the software under an alternative name.

          GIMP is a longstanding project, first announced in November 1995. The name was originally an acronym for General Image Manipulation Program but this was changed to GNU Image Manipulation Program.

          The new fork springs from a discussion on Gitlab, where the source code is hosted. The discussion has been hidden but is available on web archives here.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Hardware/Modding

          • SparkFun continues to innovate thanks to open source hardware

            When SparkFun Electronics founder and CEO Nathan Seidle was an engineering student at the University of Colorado, he was taught, “Real engineers come up with an idea and patent that idea.” However, his experience with SparkFun, which he founded from his college apartment in 2003, is quite the opposite.

            All 600 “SparkFun original” components are for sale on the site in addition to 1000+ resell products. All of the company’s schematics and code are licensed under CC BY-SA, with some firmware CC0, and its design files are available on public GitHub repos. In addition, some of the company’s designs are Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) certified.

      • Programming/Development

        • Is Perl 6 Being Renamed?

          The issue suggested renaming Perl 6. While some may think that the name of the issue is trolling, or offensive, the actual issue was created by Elizabeth (Liz) Mattijsen, one of the core Perl 6 developers, a long-time Perl 5 developer, and with her spouse, Wendy, has long been an enthusiastic support of Perl 5/6. There is no trolling here. There is a lot of deep thought, careful discussion, and a genuine desire to find a way to bypass some deeply divisive issues in the Perl community.


          So yeah, there’s bitterness and the Perl community not only needs to heal, but we need to find a way forward for both languages. The suggestion to change the name of Perl 6 to ‘raku’ is effectively designed to make this happen. Perl 5 can figure out how to get beyond the branding issue that’s been plaguing it and Perl 6 can do the same thing.

        • Don’t omit tests from coverage

          There’s a common idea out there that I want to refute. It’s this: when measuring coverage, you should omit your tests from measurement. Searching GitHub shows that lots of people do this.

          This is a bad idea. Your tests are real code, and the whole point of coverage is to give you information about your code. Why wouldn’t you want that information about your tests?

          You might say, “but all my tests run all their code, so it’s useless information.” Consider this scenario: you have three tests written, and you need a fourth, similar to the third. You copy/paste the third test, tweak the details, and now you have four tests. Except oops, you forgot to change the name of the test.

          Tests are weird: you have to name them, but the names don’t matter. Nothing calls the name directly. It’s really easy to end up with two same-named tests. Which means you only have one test, because the new one overwrites the old. Coverage would alert you to the problem.

        • anytime 0.3.6

          A fresh and very exciting release of the anytime package is arriving on CRAN right now. This is the seventeenth release, and it comes pretty much exactly one month after the preceding 0.3.5 release.

          anytime is a very focused package aiming to do just one thing really well: to convert anything in integer, numeric, character, factor, ordered, … format to either POSIXct or Date objects – and to do so without requiring a format string. See the anytime page, or the GitHub README.md for a few examples.

          This release updates a number of things (see below for details). For users, maybe the most important change is that we now also convert single-digit months, i.e. a not-quite ISO input like “2019-7-5” passes. This required adding %e as a month format; I had overlooked this detail in the (copious) Boost date_time documentation. Another nice change is that we now use standard S3 dispatching rather a manual approach as we probably should have for a long time :-) but better late than never. The code change was actually rather minimal and done in a few minutes. Another change is a further extended use of unit testing via the excellent tinytest package which remains a joy to use. We also expanded the introductory pdf vignette; the benchmark comparisons we included look pretty decent for anytime which still combines ease of use and versability with performance.

        • What is an Object in Java?

          In general, all Cartesian geometric objects, like circles, squares, triangles, lines, and points, have basic properties, like location and extension. Objects with zero extension, like points, usually don’t have anything more than that. Objects like lines have more—e.g., the start and endpoint of a line segment or two points along a line (if it’s a “true line”). Objects like squares or triangles have still more—the corner points, for example—whereas circles may have a center and radius.

          We can see there is a simple hierarchy at work here: The general geometric object can be extended into specific geometric objects, like points, lines, squares, etc. Each specific geometric object inherits the basic geometric properties of location and extension and adds its own properties.

          This is an example of single inheritance. Java’s original object-oriented model allowed only single inheritance, where objects cannot belong to more than one inheritance hierarchy. This design decision comes out of the kinds of ambiguities programmers found themselves facing in complex multiple-inheritance scenarios, typically in cases where “interesting design decisions” led to several possible implementations of the function foo() as defined (and re-defined) in the hierarchy.

        • 20 Excellent Free Books to Learn Perl

          Programming is about solving problems and good communication. But before code is written, you need to know how to solve the problem. Breaking the problem into component parts assists in the process. And being able to model the problem so that it’s easy to implement and test also helps. Combine this with a solid understanding of the programming language itself – a good programming book contributes to all aspects of problem solving. Perl has the virtue it can solve a problems in a few lines of code. Perl programmers solve problems and get things done.

          The popularity of a book is influenced by personal feelings, tastes, and opinions. Programming books accord to this general rule. There is a wide range of Perl books. As Perl is an open source programming language, with an eclectic heritage written by Larry Wall with thousands of contributors, it is welcome some authors have released their Perl books under a freely distributable license.

  • Leftovers

    • Al Jazeera uncovers doping among leading Kenyan athletes

      Al Jazeera has uncovered doping among Kenyan athletes, training alongside some of the world’s top runners.

      The country’s officials say they are doing their best to stop it. But banned drugs – such as the blood-booster EPO – are easily available.

    • Inside the Black Market for Bots That Buy Designer Clothes Before They Sell Out

      A tool for beating others to buying the items you want consists of three main components, finalphoenix explained. A monitoring bot, which scouts the target websites for new items; an account creation part, which will make a load of accounts on the site so you have a higher chance of pushing through the crowd as you control more of it; and a purchase bot, the part that actually orders and pays for your item. Users will also need to get some server space to run their bots.

      Hiding from the clothes websites that you’re using a bot is a bit more complicated; companies will likely ban you if they suspect you’re scraping their website. Here, buyers need to use different accounts, proxies to route their traffic, and other technical means as workarounds.

    • Angry fans keep wrecking podcasts with one-star reviews

      Podcast reviews can be easy to game, and Apple Podcasts has become the main target for angry fans interested in taking down a show. Apple’s service is the biggest name in podcasting, and it’s one of the few major platforms that allows listeners to leave public reviews. While hosts abused that feature in the past to beat the system with fake positive reviews, others have used it to inundate hosts they don’t like with a barrage of one-star marks, making the shows look like a bust.

    • Science

      • Fire and the “Changing Narrative” Thing

        Changing narratives is a new buzz term. I even heard a Distinguished Professor say he can change the narrative about himself. He can’t change it much. Narratives are intellectual, depending on concepts that depend on societies. They are ultimately conservative.

      • Celebrating 50 years of the Unix operating system

        Towards the end of the 1960s, a small group of programmers were embarking upon a project which would transform the face of computing forever.

      • Unix at 50: How the OS that powered smartphones started from failure

        Today, Unix powers iOS and Android—its legend begins with a gator and a trio of researchers.

      • To Be Always Surfing On Tectonic Shifts

        If you think about it for a minute, it is amazing that any of the old-time IT suppliers, like IBM and Hewlett Packard, and to a certain extent now Microsoft and Dell, have persisted in the datacenter for decades or, in the case of Big Blue, for more than a century. It is difficult to be constantly adapting to new conditions, but to their great credit, they still do as they world is changing – sometimes tumultuously – both around them and underneath their feet.

        So it is with HPE, which is going through its umpteenth restructuring and refocusing since we entered IT publishing more than three decades ago, this time under the helm of Antonio Neri, its relatively new president and chief executive officer. The current Hewlett Packard is a very different animal than the one that sold proprietary minicomputers and then Unix systems in the 1980s and 1990s, and it is in many ways more of a successor to the systems businesses of Compaq and Digital Equipment, which the company absorbed two decades ago.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Security updates for Thursday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (apache2 and faad2), openSUSE (schismtracker), Red Hat (ceph and pango), Scientific Linux (pango), SUSE (apache-commons-beanutils, ceph, php7, and qemu), and Ubuntu (ceph, dovecot, and ghostscript).

    • Defence/Aggression

      • How the U.S. Sowed the Seeds of Its Border Crisis

        One of the first casualties of the 2009 Honduras coup was the 19-year-old son of a pastor, who was shot in the back of the head by U.S.-outfitted snipers.

      • The Greek Way to a Green Planet

        The dawn of the twenty-first century is giving us a whiff of another Dark Age. Christianity and Islam have been hovering over each other, fighting small-scale crusades. More than a billion Moslems hate America because America has been an ally of Israel and because America destroyed Iraq, eyeing the oil of the entire Middle East. Even Europeans resent America, its pretense of exceptionalism, superiority and military prowess.

    • Environment

      • Why is the Climate Changing Like This?

        “By 4 p.m. we had to light a fire to stay warm here,” says Augustine Vadakil on his struggling farm in Kerala’s hilly Wayanad district. “But that was 30 years ago. Wayanad is no longer the cold, misty place it once was.” From a maximum of 25 degrees Celsius by early March, temperatures here now easily cross 30 degrees by that time of the year.

      • Greta Thunberg wraps up 15-day carbon-free voyage to New York City

        Thunberg made the trip across the Atlantic to attend a United Nations climate summit taking place in September — and she did it without leaving a carbon footprint. She traveled aboard the Malizia II, which has its own solar panels and hydro-generators to power the yacht. (Her journey did spark some criticism for the emissions associated with it because others will fly to New York to bring the yacht back to Europe, although those flights will reportedly be offset.)

      • G7 Climate Meeting
      • Greta Thunberg, Frances Crowe and a Passing of the Torch

        Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, sailed into New York Harbor Wednesday after an occasionally harrowing, two-week trans-Atlantic voyage. Greta walks the walk, living her life with as small a carbon footprint as she can. She decided to forgo flying as part of that commitment, so, in order to make it from Europe to North America, she sailed on a zero-emissions racing yacht. The day before Greta’s arrival, on Tuesday, another activist ended a remarkable voyage. Frances Crowe, a lifelong peace activist, died at home in Western Massachusetts, surrounded by her family, at the age of 100. Frances was a firebrand, a nonviolent warrior for justice, arrested countless times protesting war, nuclear weapons, nuclear power plants and more. The departure of one elder activist on the eve of the arrival of one so young symbolizes, bittersweetly, the passing of a torch.

      • Gillibrand Says She’s Ending 2020 Presidential Bid

        Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand is dropping out of the presidential race as a campaign that once looked poised to ride strong #MeToo credentials to formidability was instead plagued by low polling and major fundraising struggles.

      • Canada and Bolsonaro

        By now most environmentally conscious people understand that Jair Bolsonaro is a bad guy. Brazil’s president has scandalously blamed environmentalists for starting fires burning in the Amazon region, after having called for more “development” of the huge forests.

      • Bolsonaro Fiddles While the Amazon Burns

        Of course, my title conjures up images of the Emperor Nero (37-68 A.D.) fiddling while ancient Rome burned, and for many reasons, this mythwas a historical falsehood. Fiddles did not exist in 64 A.D. when a great fire ravaged ancient Rome, but stringed instruments did nonetheless, like the citharaand lyre. Moreover, Nero himself was not responsible for the conflagration. He was away at his villa but quickly returned to Rome to deal with the crisis. Even so, the myth supports the notion that Nero was an idle and an incompetent governor. Regardless of whether or not he was responsible for Rome’s burning, to many, Emperor Nero, was incapable of leading the empire. Nero was overly self-indulgent and had more thespian ambitions than political ones.

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • CEOs Say Shareholders Won’t Be No. 1 Anymore. Turns Out They Already Weren’t

        To great fanfare Monday, the chief executives who make up the Business Roundtable declared that companies should pursue a variety of social goals rather than focus solely on shareholders. The CEOs said they should invest in employees, foster diversity and protect the environment. As Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase and head of the Business Roundtable, put it, “If companies and CEOs do not get involved in public policy issues, making progress on all these problems may be more difficult.”

      • The Key to a Sustainable Economy Is 5,000 Years Old

        We are again reaching the point in the business cycle known as “peak debt,” when debts have compounded to the point that their cumulative total cannot be paid. Student debt, credit card debt, auto loans, business debt and sovereign debt are all higher than they have ever been. As economist Michael Hudson writes in his provocative 2018 book, “And Forgive Them Their Debts,” debts that can’t be paid won’t be paid. The question, he says, is how they won’t be paid.

      • What’s Behind America’s Racial Wealth Gap?

        What follows is a conversation between author Mehrsa Baradaran and Jacqueline Luqman of The Real News Network. Read a transcript of their conversation below or watch the video at the bottom of the post.

      • Trump’s Trade War and the Emerging Corporatist-Fascist State

        President Donald Trump’s fit over China speaks to the rise of neofascism in American politics, at a time when neither Congress nor the courts are showing any interest in rolling back presidential power. Trump’s unique brand of neofascism first emerged in the form of his attempt to crack down on journalistic critics for “treason,” and via the onset of his white ethno-nationalist, which he declared via a “state of emergency” that allowed him to criminalize immigrants in “concentration camp”-style detainment settings, and to confiscate taxpayer funds to build a wall with Mexico that was never authorized by Congress. This nascent fascism is quickly morphing into full-blown fascism, via Trump’s efforts to dictate the rules of investment to U.S. corporations, and in relation to his emerging trade war with China.

      • Corporate Media Take the Trump Line on Trade

        While this headline may be especially egregious, it is characteristic of trade coverage that takes an almost entirely Trumpian view of the topic. Trump portrays the issue as one of some countries, most obviously China, benefiting at the expense of the United States. The media take a somewhat different tack on this country versus country story, but they nonetheless embrace the nonsense Trumpian logic.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Democracy Watchdog Warns FEC Is Courting ‘Disaster’

        The Federal Elections Commission was left without a quorum Monday when vice chairman Matthew Petersen, the fourth member of the already depleted agency, resigned, just months before the 2020 election cycle kicks into gear with the primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire.

      • Would-be opposition candidate for Moscow City Duma re-arrested immediately after completing fourth straight jail sentence

        Ilya Yashin, who attempted to run for the Moscow City Duma as an opposition candidate, was arrested today as he left the holding cell where he was serving his fourth jail term this month, MBK Media reported. The exclusion of independent candidates like Yashin from the Moscow City Duma elections has sparked ongoing protests in Moscow since mid-July.

      • 9 Ways to Stay Sane During the Primaries

        9. Lastly, don’t lose faith in America. We’ve been through dark times before, but we have come out stronger on the other side. We will do so again.

      • Revisiting the First Time President Trump Blabbed Out Classified Information for Political Gain

        It was clear even at the time that it was a reference to the Vault 7 files, now alleged to have been leaked to WikiLeaks by Joshua Schulte; the first installment of files were released eight days earlier.

        The next day, Adam Schiff, who as the then-Ranking HPSCI member, likely had been briefed on the leak, responded to Trump’s comments and suggested that, while Trump couldn’t have broken the law for revealing classified information, he should nevertheless try to avoid releasing it like this, without any kind of consideration of the impact of it.

      • Is the Threat of ‘Fake Science’ Real?

        These constraints do not impose impossible barriers to a fake science operation. Indeed, activists have repeatedly demonstrated that the peer-review process can be deliberately deceived. But these differences limit the ability of such an operation to function as a clear analog to fake news by creating additional difficulties. While an operation could attempt to rely purely on open-access platforms, such as SSRN, to spread fake science, these open-access platforms lack the implicit credibility of a publication with a peer-review system, so the effect of an open-access operation would likely be more limited.

        Of course, popular, nonacademic readers could be deceived by such publications, but then the dynamics of the operation would not be meaningfully different from fake news. The Segals’ report, for instance, convinced large swaths of the general public but had only modest effects in the scientific community. Many scientists from the Soviet bloc disagreed with the Segals conclusions. By 1988, as the Soviet Union began to grapple with HIV/AIDS among its own population, the Soviet academy of scientists disavowed any link between the government and the virus.

      • The Queen’s Active Role in the Right Wing Coup

        Our obsequious media is actively perpetuating the myth than the monarch can do no wrong, and is apolitical. In fact the monarchy has been active and absolutely central to the seizure of power from the Westminster parliament in a right wing coup. Yesterday’s collaboration at Balmoral between the Queen and Jacob Rees Mogg is only the latest phase.

      • U.K. Takes a Giant Step Toward No-Deal Brexit
      • Boris Johnson Crosses the Rubicon: We Must React Now

        Boris Johnson has crossed the Rubicon today by announcing the suspension of Parliament at this crucial time, no matter how many days the suspension lasts. The United Kingdom has found itself with the most right wing government in nearly two hundred years. I still find it hard to believe that Sajid Javid, Dominic Raab and Priti Patel hold great offices. Even that minority of those voting who put this Tory minority government in place did not expect that. Now that right wing coup is being doubled down on by the deliberate suspension of the Westminster parliament just as the most crucial and divisive issue in several generations is being resolved.

      • Will US Congress Admit Delegate From Cherokee Nation?

        Native American representation in Congress made great strides with the 2018 election of two American women to Congress. Now, the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma says it will send its own delegate to Congress, a move that will test both the tribe’s sovereignty and the willingness of the U.S. to meet its treaty promises.

        Newly-elected Cherokee Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr., announced the decision on August 22, naming Cherokee Nation Vice President of Government Relations Kimberly Teehee as his choice to represent the tribe on Capitol Hill.

      • US Cracks Down on Chinese Economic Espionage

        In the last 10 months, the Justice Department has brought charges against Chinese nationals and entities in at least seven separate economic espionage cases, up from three during the prior 10 months. In addition, the department has obtained guilty pleas and convictions in six older espionage cases, while charging four Chinese nationals for evading sanctions against North Korea.

      • Exclusive: U.S. officials fear ransomware attack against 2020 election [iophk: Windows TCO]

        The Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, a division of the Homeland Security Department, fears the databases could be targeted by ransomware, a type of virus that has crippled city computer networks across the United States, including recently in Texas, Baltimore and Atlanta.

      • [Old] Mother of NSA Whistleblower Reality Winner: My Daughter Was “Nailed to the Door” by the Trump Admin

        Reality Winner was arrested by FBI agents at her home in Augusta, Georgia, June 3rd, 2017, two days before The Intercept published an exposé revealing Russian military intelligence conducted a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software company just days before the U.S. presidential election in 2016. The exposé was based on a classified NSA report from May 5th, 2017, that shows the agency is convinced the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, was responsible for interfering in the 2016 presidential election.

      • Rashida Tlaib’s “grandmother” trick – nice try

        It’s always been the classic routine to gain sympathy, and no one does it better than BDS-flavored Palestinian Arabs, or more cynically than Rashida Tlaib, who was elected to represent Michigan’s 13th congressional district, largely Detroit. Imagine the surprise, among voters, to listen to her say, “When I won, it gave the Palestinian people hope…”

        Wasn’t she elected to give the “Michigan people hope?”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Court Rejects Plaintiff’s Attempt To Seal His Entire Lawsuit Against A Website That Publishes Court Documents

        Eugene Volokh has come across another attempt by a litigant to bury his own court proceedings. This isn’t a malicious or underhanded attempt to remove embarrassing info from the court system in order to… say… scrub a client’s reputation. This is simply a pro se litigant perhaps misunderstanding what he was getting into when he decided to start filing lawsuits.

      • Protocols, Not Platforms: A Technological Approach to Free Speech

        For many years now, I’ve talked about why so many of the problems that face the current internet could be understood by looking at how we moved from an internet dominated by open protocols to one dominated by central platforms — and I continue to note that many of those problems could be solved by moving back to open protocols (with some modern additions). I first raised this idea nearly five years ago, when people were first debating how internet platforms should moderate toxic speech. It came up again last summer in the context of the various fights over “deplatforming” certain individuals. I mentioned it, yet again, earlier this year in noting that this would be the most effective way to truly create competition and “break up” the big internet platforms.

      • Guy Sues Facebook For Violating Basically All The Laws, For Shutting Down His Account And For Everything Else Bad Facebook Has Ever Done

        “This case is likely one of the first filed in this Court that addresses the relationship between the First Amendment and the Internet-based [Facebook] communications platform” claims a new lawsuit filed against Facebook by a guy very angry that his account got shut down (case first spotted by John Roddy). Suffice it to say that this is not one of the first such lawsuits. Many have been filed, and literally every single one of them has failed. Facebook is not bound by the First Amendment. Courts are clear on this. Over and over and over again, courts have been clear on this. But this lack of understanding of what’s come before is just the first of many fun things in this 174 page pro se lawsuit. The complaint is so long that only the first 91 pages were filed as the official complaint, and the rest were put in the docket as an “attachment.”

      • Police open investigations into social media posts of al-Taee, Räsänen

        Al-Taee, meanwhile, is being investigated for a series of writings disparaging religious and sexual minorities on Facebook between 2011 and 2012. Helsinki Police Department said the investigation was opened after it was determined that the right to prosecute has not expired because the writings have circulated in public in the past five years.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • EFF and Mozilla Release Public Letter to Venmo

        EFF is teaming up with the Mozilla Foundation to tell Venmo to clean up its privacy act. In a public letter sent to President/CEO Dan Schulman and COO Bill Ready today, we are telling Venmo to make transactions private by default and let users hide their friend lists.

        Both EFF and Mozilla have voiced concern with Venmo’s privacy practices in the past. Venmo is marketed as a way for friends to send and receive money, so people can easily split bills like restaurant checks or concert tickets. However, those transactions are public by default, which can reveal private details about who you spend time with and what you do with them. While users do have an option to hide their transactions if they dig into Venmo’s privacy settings, there is no way for users to hide their friend lists. That means that anyone can uncover who you pay regularly, creating a public record of your personal and professional community.

      • EFF and Mozilla to Venmo: Clean Up Your Privacy Settings

        San Francisco – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Mozilla have teamed up in an open letter to Venmo, telling the popular payment app to clean up its privacy settings, which leaves sensitive financial data exposed to the public.

        Venmo is marketed as a way for friends to send and receive money, so people can easily split bills like restaurant checks or concert tickets. However, those transactions are public by default, which can reveal private details about who you spend time with and what you do with them. While users do have an option to hide their transactions if they dig into Venmo’s privacy settings, there is no way for users to hide their friend lists. That means that anyone can uncover who you pay regularly, creating a public record of your personal and professional community.

      • Uh-oh: Silicon Valley is building a Chinese-style social credit system

        Some Western press reports imply that the Chinese populace is suffocating in a nationwide Skinner box of oppressive behavioral modification. But some Chinese are unaware that it even exists. And many others actually like the idea. One survey found that 80% of Chinese citizens surveyed either somewhat or strongly approve of social credit system.

        It can happen here

        Many Westerners are disturbed by what they read about China’s social credit system. But such systems, it turns out, are not unique to China. A parallel system is developing in the United States, in part as the result of Silicon Valley and technology-industry user policies, and in part by surveillance of social media activity by private companies.

        Here are some of the elements of America’s growing social credit system.

      • Sweden issues first GDPR fine over facial recognition use in classrooms

        The Swedish Data Protection Authority (DPA) said that under its rules, the use of biometric data, including images of faces, were protected under special rules which require separate licensing which those involved had not sought.

        It also added that the three week limit on the trial was the only thing that had kept the fine from being much higher. Only 22 students from one school had been monitored, with the only data recorded being a presence indication as they entered or exited the classroom.

      • Facebook ‘has to do a lot better than this,’ say Senators

        Earlier this year, an implementation error in the Messenger Kids app had allowed children to create group chats with unauthorized users. That violated a core promise of the app, which had pledged to give children a way to talk with friends without potentially exposing them to strangers online.

        In the wake of the news, Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) wrote to Facebook seeking more information on the flaw, specifically raising the question of whether the company had violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (or COPPA). But Facebook’s response, sent August 27th, makes clear that the company does not believe the app ultimately violated that law.

      • Facebook Says It Spoke to FTC About Kids Chat App That Had Flaw

        In the letter, which Markey’s office provided on Wednesday, Martin did not say when any conversations with the FTC occurred or what they were about. The flaw, which Martin called a “technical error,” allowed some children to chat with users their parents had not approved.

      • A major security breach raises a key question: what happens when your biometric data is exfiltrated from a system?

        It’s no secret that password security is often terrible. Good passwords – ones that are long and include a mix of lower case, upper case, numbers, and special characters – are hard to remember unless you use a password manager, which few seem to do. As a result, people tend to choose easy-to-guess passwords like names or dates of birth, or even absurd ones like “password” and “1234”. Attempts to wean people off such passwords continue to fail, and as a result many companies and organizations are trying to avoid the problem by getting rid of passwords completely. The alternative, to use biometrics like fingerprints, iris scans and facial recognition, is well developed, and increasingly widespread.

      • EFF Sues DHS To Uncover Information About Border Agents Using GPS Devices Without a Warrant To Track Vehicles

        The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its component agencies today to obtain information about the agencies’ warrantless use of global positioning system (GPS) devices to track vehicles entering the U.S.

        In 2012, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in a landmark decision in U.S. v. Jones that such warrantless GPS tracking inside the U.S. is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment. When Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) disclosed in court filings in 2018 that they used GPS devices without a warrant at the border, the federal judge overseeing the case extended the Supreme Court’s ban to include such searches at the border. EFF’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeks to uncover information and provide the public with details about the agencies’ policies and procedures for warrantless GPS tracking.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • China Arrests Australian Writer On Espionage Charges

        He is the author of three spy novels set in China, according to Reuters. In the past, he has written voluminously on his blog about the rule of law, democracy and human rights, according to news.com.au. However, according to Reuters, in recent years, he has stayed away from sensitive topics and concentrated instead on running an import-export business.

        Yang was first detained seven months ago in China’s southern province of Guangzhou after arriving there from New York en route to Beijing, according to the news agency. Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne says Yang has been held under “harsh conditions” and that Canberra has “serious concerns” for his welfare.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • New Government Documents Reveal That Backpage Was Actively Helping Law Enforcement Track Down Traffickers

        For many years, we’ve pointed out that for all the salacious stories and claims about how Backpage.com was somehow supporting and facilitating sex trafficking, the site was actually an amazing tool for finding, arresting, and convicting sex traffickers. Earlier this year, we wrote about a very detailed piece in Wired that highlighted just how far Backpage went in helping law enforcement stop sex trafficking:

      • The World is Watching Kashmire

        “The hasty stroke goes oft astray.” This piece of remembered wisdom from The Lord of the Rings seems to be an apt description of the Indian military siege of Kashmir.

      • Captain Pia Klemp Arrives as David Koch Departs the United States of Altamont

        Fifty Years after rhapsodic auguries of the acid-informed era involving the coming “Woodstock Nation,” the US citizenry — convulsed by violence, strung out on all the wrong drugs, and with the Rolling Stones still touring — stumble in mortification through the grim phantasmagoria of the United States Of Altamont. What a long, strange, bad (Nixonian in its dour, paranoid cultural and political aura; Reagan/Clinton/Obama in noxious, neoliberal fantasy; Bush/Trump in cresting tsunamis of raging stupid) trip it has been.

      • On the Persistence of Religion

        Recently I received an angry note about the persistence of religion in the modern world as proof of the world’s ongoing irrationality in response to some of my comments in my lately published article “The Metaphysics of Revolution”.

      • The NRA Used Funds to Settle a Sexual Harassment Claim Against a Top Official — And Then He Was Accused Again

        The National Rifle Association over the past two years has grappled with two separate sexual harassment allegations against Josh Powell, a senior official, including a case involving an employee.

        The employee’s complaint was settled in 2017 using the nonprofit’s funds, according to three sources familiar with the matter. Earlier that year, Wayne LaPierre, the organization’s leader, had promoted Powell to executive director of general operations.

      • California’s ‘Model’ Police Use-Of-Force Law Won’t Change Much About Deadly Force Deployment

        In response to controversial shootings of citizens by police officers, California’s governor has (far too proudly) signed into law a bill that will do almost nothing to prevent more of these kinds of killings…

      • Algerians Patiently Protest

        On February 22, thousands took to the streets in Algeria to protest the ruling regime, triggered by the infirmed President Bouteflika’s candidacy for a fifth mandate. The April resignation of the long-time president did not stop the demonstrations. Au contraire: the demonstrations have continued. August 16, 2019, marked the twenty-six consecutive Friday of protests in Algiers and elsewhere in the country. For the moment, there has been no violence similar to clashes in France between the police and Gilets Jaunes and no obvious external interference. But no resolution of the crisis is in sight.

      • ‘A little human rights buggy’ The rise of ‘OVD-Info,’ Russia’s lifeline for arrested protesters

        On December 5, 2011, Russians demonstrated against vote rigging in the State Duma elections. Throughout the winter, Moscow witnessed the largest protests of the Putin era, as tens of thousands of people turned out to chant slogans and listen to speeches criticizing the political system’s lack of power turnover between the country’s different factions. Before dawn on December 6, activists had formed what would become OVD-Info — an independent human rights media project that helps the victims of political persecution. OVD-Info makes it easy for anyone to find out who’s been arrested at a rally, the police station where they’ve been booked, and whether they need any assistance or legal aid. Detainees can call the project’s hotline and get psychological or legal counseling. OVD-Info has been a vital resource for activists during the summer of 2019, as Moscow’s City Duma elections have sparked another round of major protests. Meduza looks back at the project’s origins, and explains how OVD-Info became full-time work for the activists who run it.

      • Ready to propose? In Russia, you can hire a special ops team to give you a hand and set up a fake drug bust for your beloved.

        Fabricated drug busts are so common in Russia that the law used to prosecute Russians for alleged drug use is known as “the people’s statute.” In June 2019, when police “found” multiple bags of narcotics on Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov, that law united journalists and activists in an unprecedented solidarity campaign. As it turns out, though, that’s far from the only way Article 228 of the Russian Criminal Codex can bring people together.

      • Ukrainian court releases jailed Russian state journalist Kirill Vyshinsky

        A court in Kyiv has released Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky, the editor-in-chief of RIA Novosti — Ukraine, on his own recognizance. Vyshinsky was arrested by Ukraine’s National Security Agency more than a year ago, in May 2018, for allegedly carrying out subversive, treasonous activities on the Kremlin’s behalf.

      • After a dozen homophobes disrupt a documentary stage production in Moscow, the director is brought in for questioning by police

        On August 28, roughly a dozen men disrupted a performance of “Coming Out of the Closet,” a documentary stage production about Russia’s LGBTQ community. The theater’s website says the show is “about life, love, and the search for truth among modern-day Russian gay people.”

      • YouTube Finally Takes a Stand on Racist Creators

        Multiple prominent white nationalist YouTube personalities lost their channels, Right Wing Watch reported Tuesday. As writer Jared Holt explains, “The move came as a shock to the white nationalist community, and now racist content creators are panicking.”

      • Federal Judge Blocks Missouri’s 8-Week Abortion Ban

        A new Missouri ban on abortions at or after eight weeks of pregnancy won’t take effect Wednesday after a federal judge temporarily blocked it from being implemented.

      • Bernie Sanders Makes Media Democracy An Issue For 2020 Primary Voters

        Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign put out a plan for addressing the collapse in journalism in the United States. He became the first presidential candidate to propose solutions to a crisis that has greatly intensified since 2000.

        The plan was introduced through an op-ed that was published by the Columbia Journalism Review.

      • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Special Announcement’ By The Felice Brothers

        The Felice Brothers are a veteran folk-rock band, who throughout their career have sacrificed commercial success by sticking to their principles. They have turned down offers to work with big-name producers and resisted pressure to adopt a more mainstream sound.

      • Protectors of Mauna Kea Are Fighting Colonialism, Not Science

        Thousands of Native Hawaiians and their supporters have been congregating since July 15 at the base of Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano and mountain on the island of Hawaii. Known in Hawaiian as the kia’i, the protectors—a term the group prefers to “protesters”—seek to deter construction of the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), the largest telescope in the Northern Hemisphere. Business owners and state officials promise the telescope will provide jobs, educational opportunities and high-resolution astronomical imagery.

      • New Resource Tool Sheds Light on Government’s Prepublication Review System
      • Stripped of Their Rights

        In March 2011, a tactical team of guards at a state prison in Lincoln, Illinois gathered 200 women and ushered them into a gymnasium, where they were brought in small groups into a separate room nearby. Inside that room, they were told to strip naked in plain view of other guards, cadets, and civilians, without any explanation. Women on their periods were ordered to remove their tampons and sanitary pads. One-by-one, each woman was ordered to lift her breasts, cough and squat, and display her vaginal and anal cavities. Those who refused were threatened with punishment. In total, the ordeal lasted nearly four hours.

      • Incoming Harvard Freshman Ismail B. Ajjawi Says CBP Denied Him Entry to the U.S. Due to His Friends’ Social Media Posts

        “I responded that I have no business with such posts and that I didn’t like, [s]hare or comment on them and told her that I shouldn’t be held responsible for what others post,” he said. “I have no single post on my timeline discussing politics.”

        Ismail said that the officer then canceled his visa and told him he’d be sent home. Ismail is currently working with the nonprofit who granted him a scholarship to study in the U.S., Amideast, to get legal help, the Crimson reported. Harvard is also “working closely with the student’s family and appropriate authorities to resolve this matter,” according to a university spokesperson.

      • First-Hand Report: Why is the World Ignoring This Genocide?

        At least 1,200 people were killed and close to 200,000 were displaced in northeast Nigeria in 2018 alone due to the brutal and genocidal campaign being waged by the Islamist terror group Boko Haram. To date, nearly 30,000 have been killed and two million displaced.

        The group, which literally means “secular education is forbidden,” is indiscriminate in its mission, targeting Christians as well as Muslims they do not agree with.

      • Emine Bulut: Anger in Turkey over mother’s murder

        According to “We Will Stop Femicide”, a women’s rights platform, 245 women have been killed in Turkey in the first seven months of 2019.

      • A Man Spent 82 Days in Jail on Meth Charges. The Meth Was Actually Honey.

        The case highlights a heap of inane government incompetence. Why would an immigration detainer remain in place for a misdemeanor drug offense, even after the government shutdown ended on January 25? Why was Haughton’s honey tested at the first lab if that facility was not prepared to render a result? Why did it need to be tested three times to get an accurate result, and why did that take so many months to complete?

        During the ordeal, Haughton lost both of his jobs, one as a cleaner and the other as a construction worker. He also has six children, and he says that their school performance suffered immensely while he was away.

      • Man Spends Three Months In Jail Because A Drug Dog And A Field Test Said His Honey Was Methamphetamines

        Another field drug test has managed to misidentify a common legal substance. This doesn’t matter to the government, which is only out ~$2. But it does matter to the non-criminals being treated like criminals because the ultra-faulty tests are even worse than K-9s at detecting actual drugs.

        Field drug tests have determined everything from cotton candy to donut crumbs to drywall dust to bird poop (on the hood of a car no less!) to be illegal substances, resulting in a cascade of horrors on the innocent, starting with the arrest and criminal charges, and proceeding directly to indefinite pretrial detention and the loss of income, housing, etc. that comes with it.

        Field drug tests are more “reliable” than drug dogs. I mean, to the extent that they’ll more reliably generate the “probable cause” needed to search a car or arrest a person. If you’re looking to boost your drug war stats, nothing’s more useful than a cheap kit that can’t tell the difference between narcotics and common household items.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Internet shutdowns in West Papua are within Australia’s responsibility

        “There is a serious lack of quality information about the ongoing unrest in West Papua because the Indonesian authorities have blocked internet connectivity to the province,” said Digital Rights Watch Chair Tim Singleton Norton.

      • Introducing Small Technology Foundation, Site.js, and Tincan

        Today, Laura and I want to introduce you to Small Technology Foundation, where we will be continuing the work we started at Ind.ie five years ago.

        In those five years, we’ve developed a strong understanding of the problem (surveillance capitalism) and we’ve been iterating on solutions to it.

        Our work led us to leave the UK, move to Sweden, and finally, last year, to settle in Ireland.

      • NY Times Goes Off On Amazon Because Some People Are Publishing Fake George Orwell Books

        David Streitfeld is a NY Times reporter who, among other things, covers Amazon. As far as I can tell, he has never written about Amazon in an article where he doesn’t present things in the worst, most distorted anti-Amazon light. It’s gotten to the point where I generally just won’t bother with a Times article about Amazon if it’s by Streitfeld, because it’s guaranteed to be misleading. Somehow, however, I made it through most of this recent article about counterfeit George Orwell books on Amazon before realizing it was yet another Streitfeld hit piece. The article itself is kind of interesting: there are a bunch of folks attempting to sell unofficial George Orwell books on Amazon, and sometimes they’re garbage.

        What I find odd, is that while the article admits that many are published in India, where Orwell’s works are in the public domain, the article makes no mention of the odd copyright situation in the US and UK, where Orwell’s books all should be in the public domain based on the copyright deal that was made with Orwell when he wrote the books. Under those terms, all of Orwell’s books — including Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) — should have entered the public domain years ago, meaning that there would be a robust market for legitimate copies of those works.

      • The FCC Doesn’t Actually Know How Many People Have Broadband

        For a country that likes to talk about “being number one” a lot, that’s sure not reflected in the United States’ broadband networks, or the broadband maps we use to determine which areas lack adequate broadband or competition (resulting in high prices and poor service). Our terrible broadband maps are, of course, a feature not a bug. ISPs have routinely lobbied to kill any efforts to improve data collection and analysis, lest somebody actually realize the telecom market is a broken mono/duopoly whose dysfunction reaches into every aspect of tech.

        While these shaky maps have been the norm for several decades, recent bipartisan pressure by states (upset that they’re not getting their share of taxpayer subsidies because we don’t actually know where broadband is) has finally forced even the Ajit Pai FCC and the telecom industry to take some modest action.

    • Monopolies

      • Steve Wozniak says Apple should have broken up years ago

        Here’s the full quote: “I wish Apple on its own has split off a long time ago and spun off independent divisions to far away places and let them work independently, like Hewlett Packard did when I was there.”

      • Why France’s Antitrust Cop Is Wary of Apple Pay and Deadly Deals [iophk: she neglects to mention Microsoft at all]

        In an interview at her Paris office last month, de Silva said she’s set her sights on Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc.’s forays into online payments. She’s also wary of the power Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google could gain via their digital assistants.

      • Trademarks

        • Canadian Brewery Changes Name Of Brew Due To Peanut Butter Company Bully That Doesn’t Ship In Canada

          We’ve been talking about the trademark crisis facing the craft brewing industry for some time. To recap, an industry explosion coupled with the habit of that industry to come up with creative and referential names for its products has collided with trademark attacks coming both from within and outside of the industry. The industry, which once had a quite permissive and fraternal approach to intellectual property, has since become corporatized. New entrants to the market, therefore, face challenges with how to name their craft beers without facing legal threats.

        • The Patent And Trademark Office Is Apparently Branching Out Into The Immigration Enforcement Business

          Here’s another one of those weird signs of the time. Under any normal presidential administration, this move by the US Patent and Trademark Office might look a bit strange. But only a bit. There are some legitimate reasons for doing this, but filtered through the administration’s xenophobia, it seems to be just another way to hassle non-citizens. (h/t Jef Pearlman)

      • Copyrights

        • Top MPAA Lawyer, Mastermind Behind Its Plan To Attack The Internet, Arrested On Blackmail And Sexual Assault Charges

          A while back, an MPAA whistleblower sent me a big file of internal MPAA documents. I spent many months going through them and trying to track down any actual story in them, but there really wasn’t much there. Most of the documents were quite old and not all that revealing beyond what was already known (or widely assumed) about how the MPAA acted. The only thing that struck me as interesting, was a very old memo, written by lawyer Steven Fabrizio, before he became the MPAA’s General Counsel, when he was still at the MPAA’s favorite law firm, Jenner & Block. The memo outlined a very long list of potential anti-piracy strategies, and whether or not they were legal. Some of them were… quite surprising in what they were even considering (it included things like taking over a pirate site and using it as a honeypot). Many were what I would personally classify as somewhere between sleazy, dishonest and unethical. I never wrote up any details, because there was no evidence that the MPAA ever actually did any of the proposed programs, and a few people I ran questions by pointed out that, as as corporate lawyer, reviewing crazy ideas by clients and giving a legal opinion on them is standard practice.

          The Fabrizio connection struck me as interesting on a few levels, though. Beyond being the MPAA’s top legal attack dog for nearly a decade, the Sony Pictures email leak showed that Fabrizio was the mastermind behind Hollywood’s Project Goliath to use MPAA/Hollywood Studio funds to pay for having state Attorney’s General and news media owned by those studios, to attack Google to try to pressure it into some sort of “deal” with the studios. Fabrizio was also formerly the top litigator at the RIAA, and led its charge against Napster. Fabrizio was deeply involved in key copyright lawsuits, including the fights against Grokster, Hotfile, and Aereo. Basically, much of the history of “anti-piracy” litigation and “anti-piracy” efforts regarding the internet, was somehow touched by Steve Fabrizio.

        • There Are No Magic Words That You Can Post to Change Instagram’s Terms of Service

          This isn’t how privacy or copyright law works. This isn’t how contract law, which governs your relationship with a company’s terms of service, works. And it does not matter that Judd Apatow, Julia Roberts, Usher, or Secretary of Energy Rick Perry all fell for it.

          While this phenomenon has been called a hoax, a scam, and a new iteration of the chain letter, it’s also something like a superstition. People are legitimately concerned about the power of giant companies like Facebook, and it’s kind of believable that it’d be able to make these kinds of rules and you, the user, would be stuck with them. Thinking there must be some legal way out of this unequal relationship—that the law wouldn’t let one company act with impunity in this way—isn’t so irrational. And so these words keep popping up and, since there was no change in the first place, they seem to “work” and do no harm—like knocking on wood—so everyone forgets for a couple of years.

        • The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has filed criminal charges against a former senior engineer at Google’s owner Alphabet alleging he stole [sic] car technology secrets.

          The claim is that before leaving Waymo, Mr Levandowski downloaded thousands of files in 2015 related to Alphabet’s self-driving car technology, including details related to Lidar, a crucial sensor technology for self-driving cars.


          Mr Levandowski faces up to 10 years in jail and could be fined $250,000 per count, $8.25m in total.

        • RIAA Refuses to Share Results of ‘Six Strikes’ Anti-Piracy Scheme

          The RIAA is refusing to share information about the effectiveness of the “Six Strikes” Copyright Alert System with Cox Communications. The ISP subpoenaed the data as part of an ongoing piracy liability lawsuit. The company wants to show that its own anti-piracy measures worked better than the alternative that was praised by the music industry.

        • It’s Happening—The CC Global Summit Will Be in Lisbon, May 14-16!

          We’re happy to announce that the 2020 CC Global Summit will once again be in Lisbon from May 14-16, 2020! Please save the date!

Updates on Koch v EPO, Anette Koch’s Case Which the EPO Would Rather Nobody Heard About

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Law at 12:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: An interesting appeal at ILO unearthed to expose a profoundly dysfunctional ILO ‘tribunal’ and an unbelievably cruel EPO that ‘burns’ its own staff and then disclaims liability

Dr. Anette Koch, a former staff representative at the European Patent Office (EPO), was mentioned here a few times over the years. She was ruthlessly and mercilessly fired for her disability, which had likely been caused by her job at the EPO. So much for caring about one’s employees, eh? Battistelli and António Campinos probably prefer for her to just disappear because her case opens all sorts of jars full of worms, implicating many top officials of the EPO.

Two days ago her Twitter account became active again. Here’s what she has said since the last time we mentioned her case, in chronological order (oldest first):

We might sooner or later have more to say about the subject, as we study this case closely.

Linux Foundation Swag, Corrected Edition

Posted in Action, GNU/Linux at 12:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As featured this morning

Linux Foundation cases

Summary: Photos from the Linux Foundation event that’s said to have been “crashed” (law-abiding dissent)

CAUGHT UP with these tweets this afternoon. They’re about a week old, but they’re still very much relevant as they explain something we’ve alluded to several times since last week.

Referring to paid tweets from Jono Bacon (whose work is endorsed by Microsoft, the company he endorses for money):

Sooner or later more people will understand what the Linux Foundation really is (it’s not what it claims to be, not anymore).

USPTO and EPO: Call Software Patents ‘Hey Hi’ (‘AI’) and Use Microsoft Software (or Else!)

Posted in America, Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 5:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A dip in patent quality and integrity

A dip

Summary: The mischief of the world’s biggest patent offices (or biggest bar China’s) is costly and very much corrosive to the image of patent systems; if they don’t obey the law, how is the public expected to respect them?

THE LATEST 35 U.S.C. § 101 cases (in our daily links) show that software patents continue to be rejected by courts, never mind what the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) says. As we shall show in other future posts (we’ve just received lots of new documents), the European Patent Office (EPO) is the same; European courts reject such patents and the UPC will never materialise, i.e. those courts will continue to decide on patent scope. While software patents are being granted in Europe there’s no legal certainty; they’re pointless if not worthless. António Campinos and his friend Battistelli were granting loads of fake patents or Invalid Patents (IPs).

“It’s a growing problem because it has become a common dodge (from the law) both the USPTO and EPO now leverage.”We recently wrote a bunch of articles about the “Hey Hi” (AI) hype — more articles than we care to recall or even count. It’s a growing problem because it has become a common dodge (from the law) both the USPTO and EPO now leverage. This dodge lets them fake ‘productivity’ — in effect granting patents which they very well know courts would throw out (if given the chance/challenge).

Law firms don’t really mind all these fake patents; they still get to collect payments from applications, renewals, searches and lawsuits. They’re in it for the money, not for science or innovation (with few rare exceptions, who might end up seeking a career change sooner or later). Consider this latest promotion of software patents in Europe from a firm that brags about a “European Software Patents Knowledge Base” (while in this case acknowledging that the said patents aren’t even valid!); also spot Gene Quinn (Watchtroll) still attacking judges (“Note to the Federal Circuit: Spewing Illogical Nonsense Does Not Make It True” is his latest insult/headline). He’s just angry that the Federal Circuit rejects software patents and affirms inter partes reviews (IPRs). What a villainous site; it’s hardly surprising that EPO management associates with it! The EPO too attacks judges. Today’s EPO is a rogue institution placed above the law so that it can break the law every single day. It’s granting patents on maths, on nature and on life. The USPTO too grants patent monopolies on life itself. Totally insane? Sure. But here, it has just done so again.

“Nowadays the EPO doesn’t even use the same old buzzwords for software patents. It came up with new ones, including “AI”.”The “EPO [is] promoting swpats [software patents] again,” Benjamin Henrion warned earlier this week. “Using patents to protect digital business models,” he quoted from a new event page of theirs.

Nowadays the EPO doesn’t even use the same old buzzwords for software patents. It came up with new ones, including “AI”. The USPTO copies some of these buzzwords.

“USPTO patenting statistics,” Henrion wrote, citing the latest nonsense from the USPTO. They call it “AI” and it’s about software; no matter if actual courts throw our or push all these fake patents away…

Disguising fake patents on software (or algorithms) using buzzwords like “hey hi” might help trick examiners, but not courts.

“USPTO seeks public comment on patent policy and artificial intelligence,” said Susan Decker from Bloomberg, where she often spouts out the lies of the patent microcosm.

Bear in mind all these proponents of “AI” patents never even wrote any computer code. “AI” is, to them, some sort of “geek magic”.

“Bear in mind all these proponents of “AI” patents never even wrote any computer code.”Here’s Dennis Crouch’s take on “Artificial Intelligence (AI) Patents,” where he states that: “The USPTO is seeking information on artificial intelligence (AI) inventions.”

Here’s the “CII” nonsense (the term which the EPO used to name-drop a lot): “written description support for computer-implemented inventions [CII] generally require sufficient disclosure of an algorithm to perform a claimed function, such that a person of ordinary skill in the art can reasonably conclude that the inventor had possession of the claimed invention.”

Crouch wrote another post about price hikes and Microsoft promotion; it’s a subject we wrote about last year. To quote: “New Fee: Non-DOCX Application Filing Surcharge Fee of $400″ (OOXML promotion, discrimination against open standards like ODF). This might merit a separate post/rant because it’s a major scandal and right now it’s just in “proposal” status. There’s an actual, confirmed scandal below [1]. Covered 2 days ago.

If patent offices want patents to be taken seriously, then they should themselves set an example. Obey the law, for starters.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. The Patent And Trademark Office Is Apparently Branching Out Into The Immigration Enforcement Business

    Here’s another one of those weird signs of the time. Under any normal presidential administration, this move by the US Patent and Trademark Office might look a bit strange. But only a bit. There are some legitimate reasons for doing this, but filtered through the administration’s xenophobia, it seems to be just another way to hassle non-citizens. (h/t Jef Pearlman)

Microsoft Wants Linux to Use exFAT for the Same Reasons it Wants Everybody to Use OOXML

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Patents at 4:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Every line of code that is written to our standards is a small victory; every line of code that is written to any other standard, is a small defeat.”

James Plamondon, Microsoft Technical Evangelist. From Exhibit 3096; Comes v Microsoft litigation [PDF]

Summary: Contrary to what Microsoft-dominated media is trying to tell us, Linux does not need exFAT and by adopting exFAT Linux would become more closely connected to and tightly controlled by Microsoft

THE googlebombing appears to be back. This morning people search for Linux news and instead get Microsoft news; right now, for example, 10 out of 10 results for “Linux” (in Google News), i.e. 100%, are actually about Microsoft rather than Linux.

“Technically speaking, Samsung already has the substitute. Maybe this is what Microsoft is scared of? Microsoft always strives to be ‘the’ standard.”What is it all about? We wrote about it approximately a month ago. It’s hardly even news, except for the legal department. “What I read online so far makes it look like being about injecting Microsoft products and software patents into the kernel,” one reader told us this morning, having already surveyed the news. “That increases the likelihood of other patent vectors like Mono being used against FOSS. If Microsoft were serious about supporting FOSS, it would do just that: add support for EXT4 and OpenZFS and promote both over exFAT and NTFS.”

LWN’s kernel expert (whom we respect) said: “Linux support for the exFAT filesystem has had a long and troubled history; Microsoft has long asserted patents in this area that have prevented that code from being merged into the kernel. Microsoft has just changed its tune, announcing that upstreaming exFAT is now OK…”

“It’s quite revealing when one considers who hyped up the whole thing, in effect causing a “googlebomb”.”So what? Linux already has replacements for it that are equally good. Technically speaking, Samsung already has the substitute. Maybe this is what Microsoft is scared of? Microsoft always strives to be ‘the’ standard.

Now let’s look at what the media said. It’s quite revealing when one considers who hyped up the whole thing, in effect causing a “googlebomb”.

Well, the report we initially saw came from SJVN (maybe he got a pointer or inside ‘scoop’, maybe predating this Microsoft post from Microsoft’s mole in the Linux Foundation’s Board). Microsoft is just trying to leverage OIN and its fake software patents (they would not survive a court’s scrutiny or even the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) scrutiny after 35 U.S.C. § 101) to make itself the ‘standard’ in Linux file systems. Seeing that Windows is losing its old dominance, Microsoft looks for new things to ‘infect’ with its so-called ‘IP’ (that it totally controls). To quote SJVN, who has been Microsoft-friendly in recent years:

For years, Microsoft used its patents as a way to profit from open-source products. The poster-child for Microsoft’s intellectual property aggression were the File Allocation Table (FAT) patents. But the Microsoft of then is not the Microsoft of now. First, Microsoft open-sourced its entire patent portfolio and now Microsoft is explicitly making its last remaining FAT intellectual property, the exFAT patents, available to Linux and open source via the Open Invention Network (OIN).

Microsoft announced that it now loves Linux and “we say that a lot, and we mean it! Today we’re pleased to announce that Microsoft is supporting the addition of Microsoft’s exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table) technology to the Linux kernel.”

Will the ongoing lawsuits be dropped?

And what about Foxconn? Microsoft sued Foxconn this year, using its notorious patents; and payments were demanded for Linux-based products.

“Will the ongoing lawsuits be dropped?”Will all the blackmail money be refunded (for these exFAT patents)?


So does Microsoft really change its spots? Maybe it realises that these patents are too weak because of 35 U.S.C. § 101?

SJVN’s article is more of a puff piece; it does not mention any of the above questions. We worry that some people who used to advocate GNU/Linux are nowadays advocating “club Linux Foundation” instead, i.e. proprietary software giants that are Linux Foundation sponsors and often reject Linux, they just exploit the name/brand. That’s where the money is. The sellouts and defectors profit from betrayal.

Soon afterwards Phoronix caught up with the action because it’s typically very fast and it had also caught the prelude to this (in the kernel’s mailing lists). Michael Larabel’s position:

With Microsoft now publicly documenting the exFAT specification and giving its blessing for Linux, it’s possible that out-of-tree exFAT driver could soon be merged into the mainline Linux kernel.

Larabel’s post has a neutral tone; Larabel often covers the replacements for exFAT and the issues associated with exFAT.

“…Larabel often covers the replacements for exFAT and the issues associated with exFAT.”But Microsoft boosters aggressively promote exFAT right now (today and yesterday). Microsoft’s message to Linux? Stop making your own file systems for portable devices. Just use Microsoft’s. Ask politely for our permission, as we have patents and we call all the shots.

We were hardly surprised to see Microsoft's longtime booster Tim Anderson bombarding the media [1, 2] (with changes) and Microsoft propaganda sites (dedicated ones) doing the same, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. Linux Foundation staff promoted this, as expected, even several times [1, 2]. There has never been anything (in recent years) that Microsoft did and the Linux Foundation did not like. Not a single word about what happened in Munich or the bribes. Microsoft pays for Zemlin’s PR services. Why put this client ‘at risk’?

“What next? Will Microsoft also offer its own scheduler and network stack? So that it can better control the whole development and direction of Linux?”There was also non-Microsoft media ‘on the case’, albeit mostly Microsoft apologists (with history) like this one or that one. We don’t want to mention names; readers can click and see who we speak of. Their track record is well documented. Joey Sneddon said: “Microsoft has announced that it’s bringing exFAT support to the Linux kernel, with code contributed licensed under GPLv2. This is huge, unexpected, yet very welcome #opensource news.”

Open Source? Maybe. Free software? No, not quite. GPLv3, for instance, has something to say about patents.

What next? Will Microsoft also offer its own scheduler and network stack? So that it can better control the whole development and direction of Linux? What if Microsoft tried? Would resistance still be possible?

The most ridiculous article we’ve stumbled upon was Microsoft’s “Philanthropic” Services Continue exFAT File System To Make Its Way On Linux Kernel (no kidding! Philanthropic!).

“As if Microsoft now ‘bosses’ Linux developers through the media (which publicly shames them if they stand in the way).”Microsoft blackmails Linux with patents, Appuals calls that “Microsoft’s “Philanthropic” Services”! Wow! That’s almost as bad as calling Bill Gates’ tax-evading scam a “charity”.

Remaining coverage [1, 2] was more moderate but failed to ask any of the Big Questions. The latter of these is about Paragon Software, which just like Tuxera helped Microsoft tax Linux (through exFAT licences).

Blackmail? Extortion? Forget about it! It’s the ‘new’ Microsoft! Now that it’s becoming irrelevant and it’s trying to impose patent traps on Linux we’re supposed to welcome it with open arms? Microsoft Emil, a predecessor of Microsoft Peter at Ars Technica, has just thrown in the “Microsoft loves Linux” lie in image form. Our media survey, which took nearly a day, showed one important facts; those who promote it are almost always Microsoft boosters with record. They don’t care about Linux and most of them actively and openly hate Linux. They spent years attacking and badmouthing GNU/Linux. One of our readers called all of these articles, collectively, “Microsoft spam” and we agree. It’s putting pressure on Linux developers to just do what Microsoft tells them. As if Microsoft now ‘bosses’ Linux developers through the media (which publicly shames them if they stand in the way).

Linux Foundation is Against the Community and People Gradually Come to Grips With It

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 1:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Linux Foundation is like a front group for those who have long attacked and smeared the FOSS community

SAP openwashing

Summary: After a decade of fronting for FOSS-hostile interests the Linux Foundation belatedly sees and feels the dissent

YESTERDAY we wrote about prolific GPL violators (VMware primarily) paying the Linux Foundation (LF) for its openwashing services. Last week we wrote about IBM doing the same. Yesterday someone in Forbes published VMware And IBM Go Full Circle To Dominate The Cloud-Native Ecosystem (CNCF). It’s one among several puff pieces coming from the Foundation and sometimes VMWorld 2019, where Foundation staff produces such puff pieces, sometimes for Microsoft. Companies like Microsoft, VMware And IBM aren’t in it for freedom and this puff piece from Mac Asay, promoted yesterday by Linux Today, is something we’ve grown accustomed to. All the biggest proprietary software companies wish to be seen as “open”. The Foundation profits from that.

“…the Linux Foundation gradually shows its true face. It’s not about Linux. It’s not even about Open Source. It’s about openwashing PR.”The upside is that the Linux Foundation gradually shows its true face. It’s not about Linux. It’s not even about Open Source. It’s about openwashing PR. People do notice and weeks ago someone left this comment:

I’m ready to take a stand. We will be there as guests of the hotel and holding community events (The Sweet Ladies of Free Software lunch in the same restaurant as the “Women in Open Source” lunch) and passing around our sweet sweet swag – during their venue – not as part of the LF event but… as community leaders … with an eye toward community – in your corner.

This LF (who don’t even use GNU Linux internally) has gone too far. We must show up. We’ll be at Embedded in California next week, with our toys – for people in our community to share, code and not as part of this LF event but holding our own event. While LF holds a presentation about “get out there and have an event” – we’ll be holding one. Because in our community, we don’t just speak to listen to ourselves talk… we act.

Also, I cannot say how disgusted I am about the winner of this year’s Free Software Foundation award – giving 2 presentations during open source summit. That makes me SICK. Not a few months ago Deb won this award and is already speaking for the Linux Foundation events. Give… back.. the FSF award!

See you in San Diego!

For those who wonder, this wasn’t composed by some anti-feminism person but a female who recognises corporate hijack of social movements.

“I did crash the LF party,” this person told us afterwards (Embedded Linux, San Diego, an LF event). “Oddly, my reservation for the hotel was cancelled.”

One wonders why…

“I did pass out stickers, did tinkering show and tell, and made some new connects. Had fun. Altogether productive.”

Links 29/8/2019: Thunderbird 68.0 and HPLIP 3.19.8

Posted in News Roundup at 12:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • Linux on Chromebooks getting Ansible integration for enterprise package management

        This seems to be a big week for Chromebooks in the enterprise. First, we heard the joint announcement between Google and Dell for new, high-end Latitude Chromebooks. And now I’ve found some code commits indicating that Project Crostini wasn’t just about adding Linux to address a Chrome OS “app gap” but also to add new services for enterprise users.

        There are at least a dozen recent Chromium code commits that mention both “crostini” and “Ansible”. Not knowing what the latter was, I did some searching and quickly found that Red Hat Ansible is an open-source project to automate IT through these main areas…

      • New App Makes Linux Firmware Management A LOT Simpler

        But there are times when a user either needs to or wants to find out more about the firmware that their devices are running on. They might, for instance, have encountered issues and want to perform more advanced tasks, like downgrading firmware version.

        Today, to do that, to check firmware versions and gauge other details about connected hardware, users get directed to the command line (indeed, this is where I had to go when trying to update the firmware of my 8BitDo controller).

      • GNOME Wants to Make Linux Firmware Updates Easier to Deploy with New Tool

        Long-time GNOME developer Richard Hughes talks in his latest blog post about a new tool that will be integrated in future versions of the GNOME desktop environment to make deployments of firmware updates easier for all users.

        At the moment, the GNOME Software Center only displays devices when firmware updates are pending, but Richard Hughes and Andrew Schwenn, an intern from Dell, have been working lately on a new tool that would be integrated as a panel into GNOME Control Center, which promises to make it easier for users to install new firmware versions for their hardware.

        Meet GNOME Firmware Updater, a new power user tool that would help you keep your hardware secure and up-to-date at all times by allowing you to more easily install new firmware updates that are available from the vendor.

      • Pinebook Pro ($199) Linux Laptop Pre-Orders are Available to Everyone

        Pine64 was launched Pinebook in April 2017. Pinebook is a lightweight and low cost Linux notebook, which is based on the Pine A64 single board computer and it costs 89 or 99 USD for the 11,6″ and 14″ model respectively.

        It is very lightweight and comes equipped with a full-sized keyboard and large multi-touch trackpad. It runs numerous mainline Linux distributions as well as *BSDs and Android.

      • Google and Dell team up to tackle Microsoft with first Chromebook Enterprise laptops

        Chromebooks are mighty popular with cheapskate students and in the education sector, but they haven’t exactly taken the rest of the world by storm; Windows machines dominate in the enterprise world, and MacBook Pros are the go-to for moustachioed matcha latte-chugging creative types.

        While Google isn’t ready to take on the latter, it seems to want to square up to the former. And the Dell Latitude 5300 2-in-1 Chromebook Enterprise and Latitude 5400 Chromebook Enterprise could be the ticket for it to do so. Both machines will go on sale on 27 August, with prices starting at £699 and £449, respectively.

    • Server

      • [Older] Why choose Puppet for DevOps?

        If you’re like most in the DevOps world, you’re always interested in automating tasks and securing your infrastructure. But it’s important to find ways that won’t sacrifice the quality or lose efficiency. Enter Puppet for DevOps. Forty-two percent of all DevOps businesses currently use this handy tool, for good reason.

        Puppet for DevOps is unique because it allows you to enforce automation, enhance organization, boost security measures, and ramp up the overall speed across an entire infrastructure. Puppet’s special abilities are clearly game-changing. And a big part of this sharp setup is due to the initialization of the module authoring process.

      • BT bets big on Canonical for core 5G network

        The foundations for the future of BT’s 5G network will be open source, with practically every virtualised aspect of the future infrastructure to be delivered and managed with Canonical’s Charmed Openstack distro.

      • IBM

        • OpenPOWER opens further

          n what was to prove something of a theme throughout the morning, Hugh Blemings said that he had been feeling a bit like a kid waiting for Christmas recently, but that the day when the presents can be unwrapped had finally arrived. He is the executive director of the OpenPOWER Foundation and was kicking off the keynotes for the second day of the 2019 OpenPOWER Summit North America; the keynotes would reveal the “most significant and impressive announcements” in the history of the project, he said. Multiple presentations outlined a major change in the openness of the OpenPOWER instruction set architecture (ISA), along with various related hardware and software pieces; in short, OpenPOWER can be used by compliant products without paying royalties and with a grant of the patents that IBM holds on it. In addition, the foundation will be moving under the aegis of the Linux Foundation.

          Blemings also wrote about the changes in a blog post at the foundation web site. To set the stage for the announcements to come, he played a promotional video (which can be found in the post) that gave an overview of the foundation and the accomplishments of the OpenPOWER architecture, which includes underlying the two most powerful supercomputers in the world today.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Reconsidering unprivileged BPF

        The BPF virtual machine within the kernel has seen a great deal of work over the last few years; as that has happened, its use has expanded to many different kernel subsystems. One of the objectives of that work in the past has been to make it safe to allow unprivileged users to load at least some types of BPF programs into the kernel. A recent discussion has made it clear, though, that the goal of opening up BPF to unprivileged users has been abandoned as unachievable, and that further work in that direction will not be accepted by the BPF maintainer.
        The BPF verifier goes to great lengths to ensure that any BPF program presented to the kernel is safe to run. Memory accesses are checked, execution is simulated to ensure that the program will terminate in a bounded period of time, and so on. Many of these checks are useful to ensure that all programs are safe and free of certain types of bugs, but others are aimed specifically at containing a potentially hostile program — an obvious necessity if the kernel is to accept BPF programs from unprivileged users.

        Much of this work was done in 2015 for the 4.4 kernel; in particular, a great deal of effort went into preventing BPF programs from leaking kernel pointer values to user space. Those pointers could be highly useful to an attacker who is trying to figure out where specific data structures or code are to be found on a target system, so making them easily available to unprivileged processes is clearly a bad idea. “Constant blinding” was added for 4.7. In essence, this mechanism will exclusive-OR constant values in programs with a random number (repeating the operation at run time when the values are actually used), preventing an attacker from sneaking in unverified BPF code disguised as constants. Other patches have been aimed at preventing speculative-execution attacks by BPF programs.

      • On-disk format robustness requirements for new filesystems

        The “Extendable Read-Only File System” (or “EROFS”) was first posted by Gao Xiang in May 2018; it was merged into the staging tree for the 4.19 release. There has been a steady stream of work on EROFS since then, and its author now thinks that it is ready to move out of staging and join the other official filesystems in the kernel. It would seem, though, that there is one final hurdle that it may have to clear: robustness in the face of a corrupted on-disk filesystem image. That raises an interesting question: to what extent do new filesystems have to exhibit a level of robustness that is not met by the filesystems that are currently in heavy use?
        As suggested by its name (and its acronym), EROFS is a read-only filesystem. It was developed at Huawei, and is intended for use in Android systems. EROFS is meant to differ from existing read-only filesystems in the area of performance; it uses a special compression algorithm that creates fixed-length blocks that, it is claimed, allows random access to compressed data with a minimum of excess I/O and decompression work. Details can be found in this USENIX paper [PDF] published in July.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Virglrenderer and the state of virtualized virtual worlds

          With the release of virglrenderer 0.8.0, getting accelerated OpenGL within a virtual machine (VM) made a big leap forward. Since virglrenderer-0.7.0, the code base has seen ~600 commits, and by providing more than 80% of these contributions, Collabora took the lead in this development cycle.

          On the technical side the work has been focusing on more conformance, and performance. One specific aim was to support hosts that support only OpenGL ES to a point that within the VM guest also OpenGL 4.3 applications can be run, an aim that was fully acheived as we can now run games like Alien Isolation ™ within qemu on certain devices that support only OpenGL ES 3.2 and a number of extension. On the performance side, thanks to the excellent work by done by Alexandros (Collabora), and Gurchetan and Chau-i Wu (Google ChromeOS team) on buffer transfers we can now run many games at a decent speed.

        • Accelerated OpenGL in a virtual machine is advancing with virglrenderer

          Collabora put out a fresh technical blog post today to talk a little about virglrenderer, with the latest version 0.8.0 (released recently) enabling a big leap for accelerated OpenGL within a virtual machine.

          The work they talk about, which Collabora took the lead on this dev cycle with help from Google Chrome OS team, is aimed at essentially creating a virtual 3D GPU for use in QEMU virtual machines (more on that here). Quite a different approach to GPU Passthrough!

        • Virglrenderer 0.8 Offers Better Open-Source OpenGL Support To KVM/QEMU Guests

          Virglrenderer 0.8 was released last week as one of the components to the “Virgl” graphics stack for getting OpenGL acceleration working within KVM+QEMU guests that is in good enough shape for handling relatively recent GL/GLES Linux games and other workloads.

          The Virgl stack continues maturing and getting better with its OpenGL support for its Mesa/Gallium3D driver as well as faster performance thanks to varying optimizations throughout. Collabora, Google, Red Hat, and others continue working on this leading open-source means of 3D graphics support for VMs as alternatives to VirtualBox or VMware 3D solutions.

        • AMD Renoir APUs Bringing “DCN 2.1″ Display Engine

          Raven Ridge APUs brought the DCN 1.0 “Display Core Next” engine, Navi GPUs upped that to a DCN 2.0 implementation for the display engine, and now the Renoir APUs are ushering in DCN 2.1. This is a bit interesting particularly with Renoir being a Vega-based GPU and not Navi as one would have hoped prior to the Vega confirmation in the earlier patches.

        • AMD Navi 14 Support To Be Backwards Compatible With Mesa 19.2 And Arrive In Lower-End Affordable Graphics Cards?

          AMD is yet to officially confirm its Navi 14 GPU. However, the AMD’s Navi 10 GPU which uses the RDNA 1.0 architecture and is made using a 7 nm production process at TSMC, could debut soon, indicated multiple entries. The Navi 10 GPU succeeds the ‘Polaris’ GPU, indicated a Linux driver and even the CompuBench database that appeared last month. It is interesting to note that AMD is expected to backport the Navi 14 support to the Mesa 3D Graphics Library. The Mesa3D’s Mesa 19.2 version, which could be released within the next 30 or so days, should include the support for the latest Navi 14 GPU.

    • Applications

      • Nikola – Static Site Generator for your webz

        The modern web is all about dynamic content. But in most cases, this is a technological illusion. A large number of website uses dynamically generated pages, i.e. stuff gets read from a database and rendered on the screen when requested, even for things that don’t necessarily require any interaction. This takes resources, and might even be considered less secure, because bad or malformed instructions could theoretically generate something undesired.

        The old Web was all about static content – HTML pages with links and images and not much else. Not bad, very light on the resources, and as secure as the Web server what does it. But then, not much interaction happens, and updating content can be tedious. What if there was something midway between the two worlds? That would be Nikola, a static site generator.

      • HP Linux Imaging & Printing Drivers Now Support Linux Mint 19.2 and Debian 10

        The HP Linux Imaging and Printing 3.19.8 software is now available with support for several new HP printers and scanners, among which we can mention HP DesignJet T1530 Postscript, HP DesignJet T2530 Postscript, HP DesignJet T930 Postscript, HP DesignJet T1600 Postscript Printer, and HP DesignJet T1600dr Postscript Printer.

        Additionally, the HP DesignJet T2600 Postscript MFP, HP LaserJet Pro MFP M329dn, HP LaserJet Pro MFP M329dw, HP LaserJet Pro M305d, HP LaserJet Pro M304a, HP LaserJet Pro M305dn, and HP LaserJet Pro M305dw printers are supported as well in the HP Linux Imaging and Printing 3.19.8 release, which also adds support for new GNU/Linux distributions.

      • HPLIP 3.19.8 Released with Linux Mint 19.2, Debian 10 Support

        HPLIP 3.19.8, HP developed printer and scanner drivers for Linux, was released today with new devices and new Linux Distro’s support.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Rogue Rocks, a new take on classic Asteroids gameplay with upgrades and more

        Rogue Rocks from AUX-IN Games is a recent release, one that aims to bring the classic gameplay of Asteroids “into the modern era”.

      • Soldak Entertainment have officially released Din’s Legacy, their latest action RPG

        Something I am always in the mood for are more action-RPGs and Din’s Legacy is certainly an interesting and unique game overall. Note: Key from the developer.

      • Spiritfarer continues to look like it will be an incredible experience

        Spiritfarer, a game that’s described as “a cozy management game about dying” was a big surprise a few months ago when it was announced. Turns out we missed their newer trailer this month!

        It looks absolutely gorgeous and seems like it will be a pretty wholesome experience. You travel around, looking after spirits until they’re ready to be released into the afterlife. Check out the newer trailer below:

      • Yacht Club Games have shown off quite a lot of upcoming Shovel Knight content

        The retro-inspired platformer continues to get love from its developers five years on from launch. Expect more content in December and as well as a new spinoff game sometime in the future.

        If you’re not familiar with Shovel Knight, it’s 2D side-scrolling platformer that is heavily inspired by the 8-bit era of video games. I’m a big fan of what the developer has accomplished. The original campaign has players assume control of the titular Shovel Knight and wield his sharp shovel on an adventure to rid the land of evil and rescue his beloved. The game world is large and colorful, the music memorable and its gameplay is both fun and challenging.

        Shovel Knight has gotten a steady drip of new content from its developers over the years in the form of spinoff campaigns and other goodies. Owners of the original game (renamed Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove) have gotten all of them for free and the two upcoming addons will be no exception. In a presentation earlier today, the developer has shown off more of what’s in store for Shovel Knight.

      • The Humble Spooky Horror Bundle 2019 is out with a few quality Linux games inside

        While not all of the games in this latest bundle support Linux, those that do are some great picks to have a go.

        The Humble Spooky Horror Bundle 2019 went live today, with a total of seven games.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Sam Thursfield: Blog about what you do!

          Am I the first to blog from GUADEC 2019? It has been a great conference: huge respect to the organization team for volunteering significant time and energy to make it all run smoothly.

          The most interesting thing at GUADEC is talking to community members old and new. I discovered is that I don’t know much about what people are doing in GNOME. I discovered Antonio is doing user support / bug triage and more in Nautilus. I discovered that Bastian is posting GNOME-related questions and answers on StackOverflow. I discovered Britt is promoting us on Twitter and moderating discussions on Reddit. I discovered Felipe is starting to do direct user support for Boxes. I wouldn’t know any of this if I hadn’t been to GUADEC.

          So here’s my plea — if you contribute to GNOME, please blog about it! If everyone reading this wrote just one blog post a year… I’d have a much better idea of what you’re all doing!

          Don’t forget: Planet GNOME is not only for announcing cool new projects and features – it’s “a window into the world, work and lives of GNOME hackers and contributors.” Blog about anything GNOME related, and be yourself — we’re not a corporation, we’re an underground network with a global, diverse, free thinking membership and that’s our strength.

    • Distributions

      • Arch Family

        • BlackArch Linux Ethical Hacking OS Adds over 150 New Tools in Latest Release

          Powered by the Linux 5.2.9 kernel, the BlackArch 2019.09.01 ISO snapshot for September 2019 is now available featuring more than 150 new tools for ethical hacking and penetration testing tasks, the Terminus font for all supported window managers, and an updated installer (blackarch-installer) to version 1.1.19.

          New ~/.vim and ~/.vimrc configuration files for the Vim text editor have been added as well in BlackArch 2019.09.01, along with an updated look and feel consisting of a brand-new BlackArch theme that’s available for all supported window managers, as well as for the bootloaders (GRUB and Syslinux).

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 19.10 OS for Raspberry Pi

          Based on the upcoming Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine” operating system, due for release on October 17th, the new RaspEX release includes packages from the GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series and the open-source Linaro software for ARM SoCs, and it’s powered by the Linux 4.19.63 kernel.

          “I have upgraded the whole system and replaced the old kernel 4.19.50-exton-v7+ with kernel 4.19.63-raspex-v7l+. RaspEX Build 190807 is a Linux ARM system for Raspberry Pi 4, 3 Model B, 3 Model B+ and Raspberry Pi 2. It is based on Debian 10 Buster, Ubuntu 19.10 and Linaro (Open Source software for ARM SoCs),” says Exton.

        • Canonical joins the ROS 2 Technical Steering Committee

          We at Canonical care deeply about robotics. We firmly believe that robots based on Linux are cheaper to develop, more flexible, more secure, and faster to market. One of the contributing factors to this being the case is the Robot Operating System (ROS). ROS is by far the most popular middleware for creating Linux-powered robots. It provides all sorts of open source tools and libraries and pre-made components that solve common problems encountered during robot development. This allows roboticists to avoid needing to reinvent the wheel and instead focus on what really makes their robot unique. Of course, another reason we care about ROS is that most of the ROS community use Ubuntu. We love our users, and we want to make sure the experience they have on Ubuntu is consistently stellar!

          We also care deeply about security, and that permeates everything we do. We’ve all seen how the IoT wave has been going in this regard: badly. IoT devices are low-margin, and no one has any incentive to keep them up to date or ensure that they’re secure in the first place. Manufacturers want to drive costs down, and users don’t consider the devices computers and don’t give a second thought to connecting them to the internet. It’s an unfortunate set of circumstances.

          We think that the best way out of this situation is to make security and maintenance so easy that it becomes the obvious choice. If it was suddenly easier and cheaper for device manufacturers to create secure devices that can be automatically updated, why wouldn’t they do it? That’s the premise behind snaps and Ubuntu Core: by making complex topics like security and updates transparent and straightforward, we can make the entire ecosystem better for everyone.

        • Rough, tough Coffee Lake industrial PC offers Ubuntu BSP

          Logic Supply’s rugged “Karbon 700” industrial PC runs Ubuntu or Windows on Intel Coffee Lake chips with 3x DP, 6x USB 3.0, 2x mini-PCIe, 3x M.2, 3x GbE, and optional 2x SATA and dual PCIe.

          We typically associate Logic Supply with mini-PCs, but the company also offers more feature-rich industrial computers such as its Intel Kaby Lake based MC850-50. Now the company has launched a more advanced system with its ruggedized, Coffee Lake based Karbon 700. The system supports challenging environments for data loggers NVRs, or edge devices “in heavy industrial, in-vehicle or remote installations in the manufacturing, physical security and energy management industries,” says Logic Supply. The rugged system offers a number of automotive-focused features.

        • Multi-tenancy in MAAS

          In this blog post, we are going to introduce the concept of multi-tenancy in MAAS. This allows operators to have different groups of users own a group of resources (machines) without ever even knowing about other groups of users enabling enhanced machine utilisation.

          A common use case for medium and large-scale environments is to provide a different set of machines for different users or groups of users. MAAS has historically approached this by allowing users to pre-reserve machines (allocate) for later use. However, as of MAAS 2.4 we introduced the concept of resource pools.

        • Ubucon Europe 2019: Our first gold sponsor – ANSOL!

          Our first gold sponsor of this event is ANSOL (Associação Nacional para o Software Livre), the Portuguese national association for free and open source software.


          Thanks to them, we have received significant support to sustain our event and our journey to give you one of the best open source experiences in Sintra.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • DeepMind introduces OpenSpiel, a reinforcement learning-based framework for video games

        A few days ago, researchers at DeepMind introduced OpenSpiel, a framework for writing games and algorithms for research in general reinforcement learning and search/planning in games. The core API and games are implemented in C++ and exposed to Python. Algorithms and tools are written both in C++ and Python. It also includes a branch of pure Swift in the swift subdirectory.

      • Release notes for the Genode OS Framework 19.08

        The stated theme of this year’s road map is “bridging worlds”, which expresses our ambition to smoothen the practical use of Genode-based systems such as Sculpt OS. The current release pays tribute to this ambition by addressing a great number of practical concerns: How to accommodate the staggering variety of keyboard layouts out there? (Section Flexible keyboard layouts) How can the system gracefully respond when confronted with exotic USB devices? (Section Storage-stack improvements) How to set the system time from within the system? How does SNTP fit in here? (Section General system time concept) How to approach the remote administration of the system? (Section Enhanced SSH terminal) How to copy and paste text securely between mutually distrusting subsystems? (Section Clipboard) Or how to overcome the captive portal of a Hotel WiFi with Sculpt OS? (Section Disposable VM for handling captive portals) By providing answers to those questions, we believe to make Genode – and Sculpt OS in particular – generally more useful.

        As another take on “bridging worlds”, we continue our effort to bring the rich Sculpt OS software stack to the 64-bit ARM world, in particular to our most loved SoC family, namely NXP i.MX. Section 64-bit ARM and NXP i.MX8 reports on our progress in this direction.

      • Genode OS 19.08 Released With Better POSIX Compatibility, Qt 5.13 Support

        Genode OS Framework 19.08 ships with better keyboard layout support, extended 64-bit ARM support and i.MX8 SoC support, various POSIX compatibility improvements, a new SMBIOS decoder, a better SSH terminal, Qt 5.13 is now included, and many other updates.

      • curl exercises

        Recently I’ve been interested in how people learn things. I was reading Kathy Sierra’s great book Badass: Making Users Awesome. It talks about the idea of deliberate practice.

        The idea is that you find a small micro-skill that can be learned in maybe 3 sessions of 45 minutes, and focus on learning that micro-skill. So, as an exercise, I was trying to think of a computer skill that I thought could be learned in 3 45-minute sessions.

        I thought that making HTTP requests with curl might be a skill like that, so here are some curl exercises as an experiment!

      • Altruism Still Fuels the Web. Businesses Love to Exploit It

        In practice, if not in theory, you’re no doubt familiar with the free rider problem: the roommate who doesn’t help with the dishes but happily eats from clean plates; the student assigned to a group project who lets everyone else do the work, knowing they all get the same grade. It’s a basic tenet of analysis in social science, especially in economics and political science. And yet Linux exists. Wikipedia exists.

        Here’s how I’d explain these apparent grand exceptions to our visitor. Under the right conditions, there are clearly some people who will put in a lot of work simply because it’s rewarding to contribute to something larger than themselves. And when the number of people who can theoretically collaborate on a project scales up into the billions, your chance of yoking together a critical mass of volunteers goes up exponentially. Then, suddenly, things that look impossible, like Wikipedia or Linux, can happen.

        But there’s a rub. The free rider problem does emerge in the realm of open source software, and with a vengeance. Because even though humans aren’t incorrigibly or universally selfish, we’ve built plenty of institutions that do act that way.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Thunderbird 68.0 Released with Many New Features and Improvements

            Many months in the works, the Mozilla Thunderbird 68.0 release if finally here, bringing lots of new features and improvements. Highlights include the ability to mark all folders of an email account as read, improved filter logging and support for running filter periodically, TCP keepalive support for the IMAP protocol, as well as OAuth2 authentication support for Yandex.

            Also new is the ability to link to attachments in an email instead of uploading them, support for selecting language packs in Advanced Options, a policy engine that allows for customized enterprise deployments of Thunderbird using a cross-platform JSON file or Windows Group Policy, and complete Unicode support for MAPI interfaces, including MAPISendMailW.

          • Thunderbird 68.0 Released As A Big Update For The Mozilla Mail Client
          • Mozilla Thunderbird: What’s New in Thunderbird 68

            Our newest release, Thunderbird version 68 is now available! Users on version 60, the last major release, will not be immediately updated – but will receive the update in the coming weeks. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the features that are most noteworthy in the newest version. If you’d like to see all the changes in version 68, you can check out the release notes.

            Thunderbird 68 focuses on polish and setting the stage for future releases. There was a lot of work that we had to do below the surface that has made Thunderbird more future-proof and has made it a solid base to continue to build upon. But we also managed to create some great features you can touch today.

          • Thunderbird 68 Released with New App Menu, Other UI Changes

            Yes, a brand new version of the Thunderbird e-mail client is now available to download for Windows, macOS and, er, that “not big or professional” project a Finnish student started back in 1991. Freax?

            Thunderbird 68 features a revamped app menu, an improved dark theme, and ‘full colour support’ throughout the app.

            Yes folks: with this release you can finally make all of the text of every email you read pink — if you want to, that is!

      • BSD

        • In-Kernel TLS | BSD Now 313

          OpenBSD on 7th gen Thinkpad X1 Carbon, how to install FreeBSD on a MacBook, Kernel portion of in-kernel TLS (KTLS), Boot Environments on DragonflyBSD, Project Trident Updates, vBSDcon schedule, and more.


        • FSF News: Alexandre Oliva joins Free Software Foundation board of directors

          A longtime free software activist and founder of FSF Latin America, Oliva brings decades of experience in the free software movement to the FSF board. In the community, he is held in especially high regard for being the chief developer of the GNU Linux-libre project, a version of the kernel Linux that removes all nonfree bits from the kernel’s source code, enabling users around the world to run fully free versions of the GNU/Linux operating system, and is a program of vital importance in the cause for software freedom. For his deep commitment and tireless work in free software, Oliva was the recipient of the 2016 Advancement of Free Software award given annually by the FSF.

          Aside from being a contributor to the GNU Project since 1993, Oliva is an accomplished public speaker and author on the importance of software freedom. He worked as a computer engineer at Red Hat from 2000 to 2019, making large contributions to crucial components of the GNU toolchain like GCC and the GNU C library. Most recently he has announced the founding of the 0G project, a vision for mobile phones that free users from the constant danger posed by bulk surveillance.

        • Developer forks GIMP image editor over naughty name

          One of the world’s biggest photo editors, GIMP, suffers from an image problem (pun absolutely intended).

          It’s an undeniably sophisticated piece of software, and since 1995 has served millions as a free alternative to Adobe’s photoshop. But many also wince at its unfortunate name.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Hardware/Modding

          • $5 Longan Nano GD32V RISC-V Development Board Comes with LCD Display and Enclosure

            There’s been some exciting news about RISC-V microcontrollers recently with Gigadevice announcing GD32V, one of the first RISC-V general-purpose microcontrollers, which outperforms its Arm Cortex-M3 equivalent in terms of performance and power consumption.

            The company also announced some development boards, but they are not quite that easy to purchase being listed on Tmall website in China. The good news is that Sipeed has introduced Longan Nano development board powered by GD32VF103CBT6 microcontroller, and it’s up for sale on Seeed Studio for $4.9.

      • Programming/Development

        • FLOSS Weekly 544: Perl

          Perl 5 is a highly capable, feature-rich programming language with over 30 years of development. Perl 5 runs on over 100 platforms from portables to mainframes and is suitable for both rapid prototyping and large scale development projects.

        • This Week in Rust 301
        • Python, the perpetual time suck

          The thing that should have been apparent to me long ago is that the Python folks don’t appear to care about end users. They seem to have lost touch with the fact that Python is very popular! Each and every time they make core language behavior changes, API changes, and deprecate things, a lot of code has to accommodate. It’s a non-trivial amount of work to keep Python code working. Especially so if you’re trying to support code that has to run across multiple versions spanning many years. The test matrix just keeps on getting bigger. The code hacks to accommodate versions becoming more and more intrusive.

          The python 2 to python 3 debacle should have convinced everyone that the Python project cares more about the language and how they can make it better than the effect it has on the existing code written in it. One would have assumed that once the whole 2 -> 3 conversion was over, that things would have settled down. That the things that needed to be fixed would be done, but the incompatible changes just keep coming. It’s like the Python developers got a taste for change, perfection, they just can’t help themselves regardless of cost to the development community. I understand, it’s virtually impossible to get things exactly right the first time, but you have to let go and leave it alone. Once it’s out there, it needs to stay as is unless it’s a security hole. It’s totally fine to add features, improve performance etc., but horrible and inexcusable to break existing code.

        • A Review of ReportLab: PDF Processing with Python

          These days it’s easy to get swept up into the buzz around Python’s strengths as a data science package, but Python is also great for the more mundane, business process side of computing. One of the most important business processes is generating reports, and the most used and venerable form of report is the PDF. Python has a great library for generating and manipulating PDFs: ReportLab. I recently read more about this extremely useful library in ReportLab: PDF Processing with Python, by Michael Driscoll. With a few caveats, it’s an excellent resource.

          Python remains a great choice for the stuff that no one ever got rich on Patreon writing or talking about. Things like processing spreadsheets (which pandas is great at, by the way), mail-merge and of course, arguably one of the most important business activities, generating PDF reports. For this, Mike Driscoll’s book is a great introduction, tutorial, and resource for any Python programmer looking to get into the exciting world of programmatically generated Quarterly TPS reports!

        • PyPI Security Q4 2019 Request for Information period opens.

          The Python Software Foundation Packaging Working Group has received funding from Facebook research to develop and deploy of enhanced security features to PyPI.
          PyPI is a foundational component of the Python ecosystem and broader computer software and technology landscape. This project aims to improve the security and accessibility of PyPI for all users worldwide, whether they are direct users like project maintainers and pip installers or indirect users. The impact of this work will be highly visible and improve crucial features of the service.

          Specifically, this project aims to implement verifiable cryptographic signing of artifacts and infrastructure to support automated detection of malicious uploads to the index.
          We plan to begin the project in December 2019. Because of the size of the project, funding has been allocated to secure one or more contractors to complete the development, testing, verification, and assist in the rollout of necessary features.

        • Introduction to the Python Pyramid Framework

          In this tutorial, we’re going to learn how to use the Pyramid framework in Python. It is an open source web development framework which uses the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture pattern and is based on Web Server Gateway Interface (WSGI). The Pyramid framework has a lot of useful add-on packages that make web development a lot more convenient. Some other popular alternatives for web development in Python include Django and Flask.

        • Ruslan Spivak: Let’s Build A Simple Interpreter. Part 17: Call Stack and Activation Records

          To put it simply, it is a system for storing and accessing data in memory. At the hardware level, it is the physical memory (RAM) where values are stored at particular physical addresses. At the interpreter level, because our interpreter stores values according to their variable names and not physical addresses, we represent memory with a dictionary that maps names to values. Here is a simple demonstration where we store the value of 7 by the variable name y, and then immediately access the value associated with the name y:

        • PyCharm for Productive Python Development (Guide)

          As a programmer, you should be focused on the business logic and creating useful applications for your users. In doing that, PyCharm by JetBrains saves you a lot of time by taking care of the routine and by making a number of other tasks such as debugging and visualization easy.

        • Publishing my first Game

          My father and I, we built our first computer (a Pentium 286) and the first thing that I remember to do was to play some DOS games like Prince of Persia and Lunar Lander. I learned a bunch of CLI commands just to play my favorite games.

          The passion for playing and making games followed me as a hobby. I have a pygame series of posts on this blog, where I go through basic concepts of game development trying to explain them to someone who is starting to learn about it.

        • PHP and P++

          PHP is the Fortran of the world-wide web: it demonstrated the power of code embedded in web pages, but has since been superseded in many developers’ minds by more contemporary technologies. Even so, as with Fortran, there is far more PHP code out there than one might think, and PHP is still chosen for new projects. There is a certain amount of tension in the PHP development community between the need to maintain compatibility for large amounts of ancient code and the need to evolve the language to keep it relevant for current developers. That tension has now come into the open with a proposal to split PHP into two languages.
          PHP has been around for a long time; a previous version of the LWN site was implemented in PHP/FI in 1998. For most of its 25 years of existence, PHP has been criticized from multiple directions. Its development community has done a lot of work to address many of those criticisms while resisting others that, it was felt, went against the values of the language. Often these changes have forced code written in PHP to change as well; such changes tend to be the most controversial.

        • Find the maximum value within a string with Python

          In this chapter we are going to solve the above problem with a Python method. Given a string which consists of words and numbers, we are going to extract out the numbers that are within those words from that string, then compare and return the largest number within the given string.

        • Episode #227: Maintainable data science: Tips for non-developers

          Did you come to software development outside of traditional computer science? This is common, and even how I got into programming myself. I think it’s especially true for data science and scientific computing. That’s why I’m thrilled to bring you an episode with Daniel Chen about maintainable data science tips and techniques.

  • Leftovers

    • Jeffrey Epstein and the Power of Networks

      Epstein was, in the parlance of the sciences, a marker. Like the radioactive tracer you get injected with before an fMRI, his villainy illuminates how the connections among a relatively small clique of American intellectuals allowed them, privately, to define the last three decades of science, technology, and culture. It was a Big-Ideas Industrial Complex of conferences, research institutions, virtual salons, and even magazines, and Jeffrey Epstein bought his way in.

      How did these geniuses find themselves cozying up to a child rapist? In putting his apologies on the record with Stat reporter Sharon Begley, Church chalked it up to “nerd tunnel vision.” Ito, who also let Epstein contribute to his personal technology investment funds, called it “an error in judgment.” (Two people affiliated with the Media Lab have announced their departures as a result.)

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Testing an OnlyKey hardware password manager

        So far I’ve experimented with simple passwords only, but it appears to support TOTP via Google Authenticator or Yubikey OTP as well, in addition to being OpenPGP compatible and a “plug and play encryption device”. These features are explained in the documentation. There’s also an OnlyKey SSH/GPG agent which looks as though it could work; unfortunately the documentation suggests using keybase.io to generate keys which is a shame. Basically what one has to do is to copy/paste a private RSA key onto the OnlyKey.

      • Making containers safer

        Administrators of these system containers will often give SSH access to the “host” to their users, who will run whatever they want on them. That is one of the reasons the project cares a lot about security. It uses every trick available, he said, to secure those containers: namespaces, control groups, seccomp filters, Linux security modules (LSMs), and more. The goal is to use these containers just like VMs.

        Since the project targets system containers, it builds images for 18 distributions with 77 different versions every day, Graber said. That includes some less-popular distributions in addition to the bigger names; it also builds Android images. Beyond that, LXD is being used as part of the recent Linux desktop on Chromebooks feature of Chrome OS. There are per-user VMs in Chrome OS, but the Linux desktop distribution runs in a container with some persistent storage, he said. It has GPU passthrough and other features to make the desktop seamlessly integrate with Chrome OS.

        All of the users of those distribution images built by the project can run any code they want inside those containers, which means that the Linux containers project needs to care a lot about security, Graber said.

      • Internet Society weighs up the cost to business of cyber security breaches [iophk: Windows TCO]

        The financial impact of ransomware rose by 60% in 2018, losses from business email compromise (BEC) doubled, cryptojacking incidents – the unauthorised use of others’ computing resources to conduct cryptomining – more than tripled, and there continued to be a steady stream of high-profile data breaches, according to a report from the Internet Society’s Online Trust Alliance.

      • Business losses to cyber crime data breaches to exceed US$5 trillion by 2024 [iophk: Windows TCO]

        Business losses to cybercrime data breaches will rise from US$3 trillion each year to over US$5 trillion in 2024, an average annual growth of 11%, according to a new global cybersecurity report.

      • How insurance companies are fueling a rise in ransomware attacks by paying the ransom [iophk: Windows TCO]

        “More often than not, paying the ransom is a lot cheaper for insurers than the loss of revenue they have to cover otherwise. But, by rewarding [attackers], these companies have created a perverted cycle that encourages more ransomware attacks, which in turn frighten more businesses and government agencies into buying policies. In fact, it seems [attackers] are specifically extorting American companies that they know have cyber insurance. After one small insurer highlighted the names of some of its cyber policyholders on its website, three of them were attacked by ransomware.

      • The Extortion Economy: How Insurance Companies Are Fueling a Rise in Ransomware Attacks [iophk: Windows TCO]

        The FBI and security researchers say paying ransoms contributes to the profitability and spread of cybercrime and in some cases may ultimately be funding terrorist regimes. But for insurers, it makes financial sense, industry insiders said. It holds down claim costs by avoiding expenses such as covering lost revenue from snarled services and ongoing fees for consultants aiding in data recovery. And, by rewarding [attackers], it encourages more ransomware attacks, which in turn frighten more businesses and government agencies into buying policies.

      • Dutch regulator looking into possible Microsoft Windows privacy breach

        The regulator says that Microsoft is remotely collecting data from users of Windows Home and Windows Pro, a discovery made while testing privacy protection changes in Windows made last year.

      • Dutch regulator sees potential privacy breach in Microsoft Windows

        Microsoft is remotely collecting data from users of Windows Home and Windows Pro, in a potential breach of privacy rules, the Dutch Data Protection Agency (DPA) said on Tuesday.

        The DPA said it had found the practices while it was testing privacy protection changes in Windows made last year by Microsoft at the agency’s request.

    • Environment


Links 28/8/2019: A Look at Debian 10 Buster GNOME Edition, Android 10

Posted in News Roundup at 10:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • New LINUX bite-sized computer with a full-feature display just in $69

      favorite among many webmasters and technology enthusiasts around the world, LINUX is known for its incredible power and flexibility as a platform. An operating system that rules the IT industry with just a snap of a finger, LINUX has stood tall since the year it was introduced into the developer community almost three decades ago. The community has recently outdone itself by releasing to the public a bite-sized computer with a full-feature display for a price you would not believe until you’ve since it for yourself. The VoCore2 Mini Linux Computer Bundle lets you take Linux power with you wherever you go, and is currently available at over 10% off for only $69. Read on to find out everything this table-sized computer can do to make your life easier one click at a time.

    • Desktop

      • Linux Laptop Buyer’s Guide: Tips And Resources To Find The Perfect Laptop For Your Favorite Distro

        There is one question that’s dominating my interactions with Linux users on social media lately: “I want to buy a new laptop to run Linux, but do I have to purchase one from a company like Dell, Purism or System76? Aren’t we at a point where Linux ‘just works’ on anything?” The answer isn’t black and white, but I’ll do my best to give you a sensible response and explain the advantages of buying a computer that’s purpose-built for Linux, as well as what you can expect when snatching up any modern laptop from HP, Acer, Asus, Lenovo and other OEMs that ship with Windows by default.

        Linux uses less of your computer’s resources than Windows, so the hardware requirements for running a Linux distro may not be as steep as Windows 10. But the specs you’re looking for will vary depending on your needs. So here are some basic scenarios alongside the minimum CPU, RAM and space requirements you should look for…

    • Server

      • IBM

        • Themes driving digital transformation and leadership in financial services

          Incumbent banks should know they have to modernize their organization to compete in a world where customers want better and more personalized digital experiences. Eager to realize the cost-savings and increased revenue that can result from micro-targeting products and services, they can adopt next-generation technologies to transform their businesses to lead their market.

          Digital leaders are focused on end-to-end customer experiences. Processes, policies, and procedures defined for branch networks are being reimagined to support new digital customer engagement. By modernizing the back office and business processes, banks have an opportunity to streamline, codify, and thereby automate – which, in turn, can reduce friction caused by manual checks and inconsistent policies. This can enable more seamless customer experiences and speedier customer service, with transparency into servicing while reducing operational costs.

        • Introducing Red Hat OpenShift 4.2 in Developer Preview: Releasing Nightly Builds

          You might have read about the architectural changes and enhancements in Red Hat OpenShift 4 that resulted in operational and installation benefits. Or maybe you read about how OpenShift 4 assists with developer innovation and hybrid cloud deployments. I want to draw attention to another part of OpenShift 4 that we haven’t exposed to you yet…until today.

          When Red Hat acquired CoreOS, and had the opportunity to blend Container Linux with RHEL and Tectonic with OpenShift, the innovation did not remain only in the products we brought to market.

          An exciting part about working on new cloud-native technology is the ability to redefine how you work. Redefine how you hammer that nail with your hammer. These Red Hat engineers were building a house, and sometimes the tools they needed simply did not exist.

        • IBM POWER Instruction Set Architecture Now Open Source

          IBM has open sourced the POWER Instruction Set Architecture (ISA), which is used in its Power Series chips and in many embedded devices by other manufacturers. In addition, the OpenPOWER Foundation will become part of The Linux Foundation to further open governance.

          IBM created the OpenPOWER Foundation in 2013 with the aim to make it easier for server vendors to build customized servers based on IBM Power architecture. By joining the OpenPOWER Foundation, vendors had access to processor specifications, firmware, and software and were allowed to manufacture POWER processors or related chips under a liberal license. With IBM latest announcement, vendors can create chips using the POWER ISA without paying any royalties and have full access to the ISA definition. As IBM OpenPOWER general manager Ken King highlights, open sourcing the POWER ISA enables the creation of computers that are completely open source, from the foundation of the hardware, including the processor instruction set, firmware, boot code, and so on up to the software stack.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Self Hosted Secrets | LINUX Unplugged 316

        Safely host your own password database using totally open source software. We cover BitWarden, our top choice to solve this problem.

        Plus we announce a new show we’re super proud of, and chat with Dan Lynch from OggCamp.

        Special Guests: Alan Pope, Alex Kretzschmar, Brent Gervais, Dan Lynch, and Ell Marquez.

      • Episode 80 | This Week in Linux

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, we’ve got a couple birthdays to celebrate with one being the Linux kernel itself and Valve’s Steam Play (Proton) project.

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Intel’s Open-Source Graphics Driver Lands Another Icelake/Gen11 Performance Optimization

          Intel open-source developer Kenneth Graunke who is the lead developer on their “Iris” Gallium3D driver has landed a new performance optimization in Mesa to help their Gen11/Icelake graphics performance.

          Ken managed another 1~3% performance boost for Gen11/Icelake. The optimization is using headerless RT writes for MRT cases and is an optimization made to their common compiler code used by i965/Iris/ANV drivers, but Ken’s testing is focused on their new Iris OpenGL driver.

        • Google’s SwiftShader Now Supports Vulkan 1.1

          SwiftShader. Google’s CPU-based implementation that originally was focused on OpenGL ES and Direct3D 9, now has Vulkan 1.1 support in tow.

          Google engineers have been maintaining SwiftShader as open-source the past few years and is akin to Gallium3D’s LLVMpipe but focused as well on just not OpenGL ES but also Direct3D 9 and Vulkan. SwiftShader is used by Google Chrome and other software for CPU-based 3D graphics when necessary.

        • FFmpeg Adds AMD AMF Vulkan Support For Linux Users

          he FFmpeg library up to this point has supported AMD’s Advanced Media Framework (AMF) library just on Windows for H.264/HEVC encoding on GPUs. The Windows code-path makes use of DirectX while now AMD AMF support for Linux via Vulkan is now exposed by the latest FFmpeg code.

          AMD does offer the Advanced Media Framework for Linux but it’s through their Radeon Software / AMDGPU-PRO packages and thus not seeing as much adoption as the likes of VDPAU/VA-API. And even then when using the packaged AMD Linux driver, the user needs to manually install the amf-amdgpu-pro package as it doesn’t get installed by default.

    • Applications

      • 9 Best Free Linux Geometry Software

        In the field of mathematical software packages, applications such as Wolfram Research’s Mathematica, and Maplesoft’s Maple system instantly spring to mind. These are both highly popular, proprietary, commercial, integrated mathematical software environments. Other types of mathematical software packages generally receive much less publicity.

        One such area is interactive geometry software, which combines three branches of mathematics: geometry, calculus and algebra. This type of software allows users to create and modify constructions, which are generally in plane geometry. Construction involves building mathematical shapes out of points, lines, conic sections, hyperbola, ellipses, and circles. These diagrams can then be altered and the effects of the mathematical properties of the shapes can be observed.

      • 7 Best SNMP Monitoring Tools For Linux

        SNMP monitoring is by far the most common type of network monitoring technology. It allows administrators of networks of any size to be kept informed of the status of the networks they manage as well as their utilization. Likewise, Linus is also a very common platform that many network administrators have turned to. Although it is not yet as common in the desktop world as the commercial offerings from some mega-vendors, it is very common in the server world. Even IBM has made it its OS of choice on many of its higher-range systems.

      • Rclone 1.49 Adds Google Photos Backend, New Web UI

        Rclone, a free and open source command line cloud storage hub, was updated to version 1.49 with major additions like 4 new backends, including for the much requested Google Photos, and a new experimental web UI. There’s also a new logo (picture above).

        Rclone is a command line cloud storage synchronization program. It allows accessing and synchronizing files between your filesystem and cloud storage services, or between multiple cloud storage services. It features one way sync to make a directory identical, it has encryption, cache and union backends, supports FUSE mounts, and can serve local or remote files over HTTP, WebDav, FTP, SFTP or dlna.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Star Traders: Frontiers, the epic space RPG from Trese Brothers had a huge update

        Trese Brothers just recently put out a massive update to their impressive and engrossing space RPG Star Traders: Frontiers, along with a nice sale to go along with it.

        This incredibly deep space sim just got bigger with a lot more story content added, along with a pistol-blade wielding “Bodyguard” Job. The developer said this major expansion to the story of Star Traders: Frontiers “includes a major arc that moves forward the political story of the galaxy, brings new powerful characters to the fore and threatens to upend some of the order you may have helped establish”.

      • Voidpoint have said they will not be “censoring” Ion Fury by removing stupid gay joke

        Voidpoint, what are you doing? I am so confused at this point. After releasing a statement we posted last week in our Ion Fury post, the team at Voidpoint now seem to be doing something of a ridiculous U-turn.

        Their original statement seemed reasonable and a good way to put an end to the situation. It sounded genuine enough anyway.

        A few days later, they posted an announcement on Steam that’s a joint statement from both developer Voidpoint and publisher 3D Realms. In this statement they say they “will absolutely NOT be censoring Ion Fury or any of our other games” and that they will not be “removing gags such as gaming’s most controversial facial wash”. The facial wash in question has the homophobic slur “ogay” on the bottle, to which the statement mentions that they “regret our initial decision to alter a sprite in the game instead of trusting our instincts”.

      • Unity 2019.3 beta released with a revamped Editor UI and lots of rendering improvements

        The team over at Unity continue advancing the game engine with some impressive work going on and the first Unity 2019.3 beta is now available.

        With this beta release it includes some needed enhancements to the Editor UI with uniform icons and high-DPI support along with other changes to improve usability and make the UI more responsive overall.

      • Fun 2D top-down racer Bloody Rally Show to release in February 2020 with Linux support

        Bloody Rally Show, the very promising top-down racer from Game Hero Interactive now actually has a release date set. This game is one we briefly talked about here earlier this month, after being impressed by the early Linux support available in the beta.

        Announcing the set date on Steam, the developer has put it down to February 20th, 2020 to ensure they have enough time to fix bugs and make it a polished release.

      • Cathedral looks like a pretty good retro action adventure, coming to Linux in October

        Prepare yourself for another retro-inspired action adventure with Cathedral, developed by the Swedish team at Decemberborn Interactive.

        Cathedral is leaning heavily into the NES style here with both the colour palette and the audio work, although they do some they’re not fully restricting themselves so it has elements taken from both the 8-bit and 16-bit era.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • GSoC ’19 comes to an end

          The library will be doing the heavy lifting by rendering QML templates to QImage frames using QQuickRenderControl in the new MLT QML producer. Parameters that can be manipulated are:

          Image Format
          The library can be tested using QmlRender (a CLI executable).

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME Firmware Updater

          GNOME Firmware Updater was designed in the style of a GNOME Control Center panel, and all the code is written in a way to make a port very simple indeed if that’s what we actually want. At the moment it’s a seporate project and binary, as we’re still prototyping the UI and working out what kind of UX we want from a power user tool. It’s mostly complete and a few weeks away from it’s first release. When it does get an official release, I’ll be sure to upload it to Flathub to make it easy for the world to install. If this sounds interesting to you the code is here. I don’t have a huge amount of time to dedicate to this power user tool, but please open pull requests or issues if there’s something you’d like to see fixed.

        • GNOME Firmware Updater Is A New UI For Managing Firmware On Linux By Power Users

          After mentoring a Dell student intern over the summer, Red Hat’s Richard Hughes has announced their work today on the GNOME Firmware Updater.

          The GNOME Firmware Updater is a more powerful GTK application for viewing device firmware information on Linux built off the existing Fwupd+LVFS infrastructure.

        • GNOME Foundation launches Coding Education Challenge

          The GNOME Foundation, with support from Endless, has announced the Coding Education Challenge, a competition aimed to attract projects that offer educators and students new and innovative ideas to teach coding with free and open source software. The $500,000 in funding will support the prizes, which will be awarded to the teams who advance through the three stages of the competition.

          Both the GNOME Foundation and Endless share a deep commitment to a vibrant free and open source software ecosystem.

          “We’re very grateful that Endless has come forward to provide more opportunities for individuals to learn about free and open source software,” said Neil McGovern, Executive Director, GNOME Foundation. “We’re excited to see what can be achieved when we empower the creativity and imagination of our global community. We hope to make powerful partnerships between students and educators to explore the possibilities of our rich and diverse software ecosystem. Reaching the next generation of developers is crucial to ensuring that free software continues for many years in the future.”

        • GNOME Launches Coding Education Challenge With $500k In Funding

          The GNOME Foundation has kicked off their Coding Education Challenge for promoting programming around free/open-source software and with Endless Computers providing the $500,000 USD for prize money.

    • Distributions

      • Debian Family

        • RFH: Naming things is hard

          Lars and I have been working on an acceptance testing tool recently. You may have seen the soft launch announcement on Lars’ blog. Sadly since that time we’ve discovered that Fable is an overloaded name in the domain of software quality assurance and we do not want to try and compete with Fable since (a) they were there first, and (b) accessibility is super-important and we don’t want to detract from the work they’re doing.

        • Debian 10 Buster GNOME Edition – Features GNOME 3.30 and Powered by Linux Kernel 4.19

          Debian 10 “Buster” operating system, a major release of debian Linux distribution that brings many new features and enhancements. ships with a variety of desktop environments, running with Gnome Desktop (3.30) with Wayland display server by default (but it also incorporates Cinnamon 3.8, KDE Plasma 5.14, Mate 1.20, Xfce 4.12 and more), including support for the latest LTS (Long Term Support) Linux kernel series, support for new devices, improved support for existing hardware, as well as up-to-date packages and latest security patches.

          The AppArmor open-source access control framework is now installed and enabled by default in Debian 10 “Buster” to add a new layer of security to the operating system. Also, the seccomp-BPF sandboxing method is now being used by APT for better security, along with UEFI Secure Boot support.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • How an NSA researcher plans to allow everyone to guard against firmware attacks

        The project will increase security in machines essentially by placing a machine’s firmware in a container to isolate it from would-be attackers. A layer of protection is being added to the System Management Interrupt (SMI) handler — code that allows a machine to make adjustments on the hardware level — as part of the open source firmware platform Coreboot.

        Eugene Myers, who works in the National Security Agency’s Laboratory for Advanced Cybersecurity, told CyberScoop that the end product — known as an SMI Transfer Monitor with protected execution (STM-PE) — will work with x86 processors that run Coreboot. Attackers are increasingly targeting firmware in order to run malicious attacks. Just last year, the first-ever documented UEFI rootkit was deployed in the wild, according to ESET researchers.

      • Manly McManface: Endgame

        Rather than track sales of this book forever, I’ve rounded up the amount I donated to $250. I expect this will cover the lifetime sales of this particular edition. Tilted Windmill Press is now a proud sponsor of SIGP’s Stop Traffic 5K Walk/Run on 21 September.

      • Seven God-Like Bash History Shortcuts You Will Actually Use

        Here I outline the shortcuts I actually use every day. When people see me use them they often ask me “what the hell did you do there!?”, conferring God-like status on me with minimal effort or intelligence required.

      • Bringing students together with open source technology

        Recently, Tamarind Tree, a collective from India that works towards social justice, open knowledge and open technology, shared a beautiful story of how a class of students in their School is using group messaging within their Moodle site. Because one of their classmates cannot attend school currently due to family circumstances, the students are using group messaging to update their friend about what’s happening in class and encouraging her to come back to school as soon as possible.

      • Boostnote is an easy to use open-source, cross-platform note-taking app in active development

        Unsurprisingly, software developers are very passionate about both and very attached to their choices. One of the features offered by the newly Product Hunt award-winning note-taking app Boostnote – the support for both Vim and Emacs keybindings – shows the degree to which it caters specifically to the niche market made up of programmers, as it facilitates the workflow they are used to in their full-fledged editors.

        Boostnote, which recently rolled out a new version, doesn’t stop there when it comes to being programmer-friendly: it allows users to make both Markdown and code snippets notes in a fairly clean and easy to use interface. Markdown notes are previewed in a split pane in the same window, while code snippets support over 100 programming languages with syntax highlighting.

        Other features include Markdown auto-formatting and drag-and-drop embedding of images.

        These notes are saved automatically and synced between devices. Boostnote is a cross-platform application, written for Linux, Mac, Windows, as well as Android and iOS.

      • Flash Content to be Preserved as Newgrounds Develops Open-Source Emulator

        The iconic website that hosted what many consider to be the birthplace of Internet content creation wants to make sure we don’t lose out on history

        Anyone who was active on the Internet in the early to mid-2000s will no doubt have heard of Newgrounds, a place where anybody with a passion to create animation, games or full-blown films could come together and share their work with others. Many of these products were created with the use of Adobe Flash, a nifty little piece of design that allowed users to create all kinds of unique interactions, visuals and sound effects.

        Hell, before I even knew what “mainstream” gaming I was I would spend hours playing the original browser versions of games that nearly everyone has heard of now like Linerider, Alien Hominid, Super Mario 63 and Realm of the Mad God. Flash games were a quaint little past time for many and a jumping board for creators looking to put their names out there.

      • Newgrounds Working on Open-Source Emulator to Preserve Flash Content

        Newgrounds announced last Friday plans to preserve Flash content on the web. Used for everything from animations to games, Flash had a considerable presence on the site. Creators across the globe uploaded thousands of passion projects. Many of these projects became cornerstones of Internet culture, from the Numa Numa Dance to Metal Gear Awesome. Despite Flash’s deprecation as a program, sites still run it to this day. Their emulator, currently called Ruffle, seeks to preserve the technology and keep it accessible.

      • Events

        • Arturo Borrero González: Wikimania 2019 Stockholm summary

          A couple of weeks ago I attended the Wikimania 2019 conference in Stockholm, Sweden. This is the general and global conference for the Wikimedia movement, in which people interested in free knowledge gather together for a few days. The event happens annually, and this was my first time attending such conference. Wikimania 2019 main program ran for 3 days, but we had 2 pre-conference days in which a hackathon was held.

          The venue was an amazing building in the Stockholm University, Aula Magna.

          The hackathon reunited technical contributors, such as developers, which are interested in a variety of technical challenges in the wiki movement. You can find in the hackathon people interested in wiki edits automation, research, anti harassment tools and also infrastructure engineering and architecture, among other things.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla VR Blog: New Avatar Features in Hubs

            It is now easier than ever to customize avatars for Hubs! Choosing the way that you represent yourself in a 3D space is an important part of interacting in a virtual world, and we want to make it possible for anyone to have creative control over how they choose to show up in their communities. With the new avatar remixing update, members of the Hubs community can publish avatars that they create under a remixable, Creative Commons license, and grant others the ability to derive new works from those avatars. We’ve also added more options for creating custom avatars.

            When you change your avatar in Hubs, you will now have the opportunity to browse through ‘Featured’ avatars and ‘Newest’ avatars. Avatars that are remixable will have an icon on them that allows you to save a version of that avatar to your own ‘My Avatars’ library, where you can customize the textures on the avatar to create your own spin on the original work. The ‘Red Panda’ avatar below is a remix of the original Panda Bot.

          • QMO: Firefox 69 Beta 14

            As you may already know, Friday August 16th – we held a new Testday event, for Firefox 69 Beta 14.

      • Databases

        • Julien Danjou: The Art of PostgreSQL is out!

          f you remember well, a couple of years ago, I wrote about Mastering PostgreSQL, a fantastic book written by my friend Dimitri Fontaine.

          Dimitri is a long-time PostgreSQL core developer — for example, he wrote the extension support in PostgreSQL — no less. He is featured in my book Serious Python, where he advises on using databases and ORM in Python.

          Today, Dimitri comes back with the new version of this book, named The Art of PostgreSQL.

        • Surf’s Up! Riding The Second Wave Of Open Source

          have never surfed before, but I am told it is incredibly exciting and great exercise, which as we all know is very good for you. For some it may sound daunting, because it is so unlike any other sport, but for those prepared to take the challenge it can be hugely rewarding. Stretching yourself – perhaps literally – and taking your body out of its comfort zone is a proven way of staying healthy. I would argue there are similarities for IT departments as they evaluate how to get their database architectures fit to support businesses that want to become more agile and responsive to customers.

          Making sure that IT systems are fit-for-purpose, robust and reliable enables companies to embrace new markets, innovative products and re-engineered processes: all are typical of organisations which are looking to survive and thrive in an increasingly fraught business environment.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

      • Programming/Development

        • Async Stack Traces in Rust

          One neat result of Rust’s futures and async/await design is that all of the async callers are on the stack below the async callees. In most other languages, only the youngest async callee is on the stack, and none of the async callers. Because the youngest frame is most often not where a bug’s root cause lies, this extra context makes debugging async code easier in Rust.

        • Facebook’s HHVM Begins Seeing Rust Rewrite

          Facebook’s HHVM implementation that started off as a high performance PHP5 implementation but is now just focused on powering their own Hack programming language is beginning to see some of its code rewritten in Rust.

          HHVM 4.20 was released on Tuesday and with this release they have been transitioning some of their code from OCaml to Rust.

        • Things I Learnt from a Senior Software Engineer

          year ago, I started working full-time at Bloomberg. That’s when I imagined writing this post. I imagined myself to be full of ideas that I could spit out on paper when the time comes. Just one month in, I realised it won’t be that easy: I was already forgetting things I learnt. They either became so internalized that my mind tricked me into believing I always knew them1, or they slipped my mind.

          That’s one of the reasons I started keeping a human log. Every day, whenever I came across an interesting situation, I logged it. All thanks to sitting next to a senior software engineer, I could closely observe what they were doing, and how it was different from what I would do. We pair-programmed a lot, which made doing this easier. Further, in my team culture it’s not frowned upon to “snoop behind” people writing code. Whenever I sensed something interesting going on, I’d roll around and watch what was happening. I always had the context, thanks to regular standups.

          I sat next to a senior software engineer for a year. Here’s what I learnt.

        • Quansight Labs Dask Update

          Finally, there’s been a push for a more coordinated effort towards project maintenance and development by core Dask maintainers at Quansight, Anaconda, and NVIDIA. As part of this effort, we spend a portion of our work week on day-to-day project maintenance tasks (e.g. responding on issues, reviewing pull requests, fixing CI systems, etc.) as well as working on contributions that require significant amounts of time or expertise to implement (e.g. large-scale refactoring, adding new features, writing documentation, etc.). Today, Dask users typically get a quicker response from a core maintainer when opening an issue or pull request, in part, because of these efforts. I, and perhaps other core maintainers, hope to write more about this process in the future.

        • Little Trouble in Big Data – Part 3

          We have shown how a simple “How do I use mmap()?” mentoring project has grown beyond its initial scope and how we have used mmap, Eigen,parallel_for/parallel_reduce, flow graphs [maybe replace these two with Intel Thread Building Blocks] and zlib to nicely make the problem tractable. This has shown a nice set of performance improvements whilst at the same time keeping the disk and RAM usage within feasible limits.

  • Leftovers

    • Socialization Isn’t Responsible for Greater Male Violence

      Shaw says the heavily disproportionate incarceration reflects a lack of faith in men, who are then adversely affected by the experience of prison and the social stigma they are forced to carry upon release. And “what leads us to blindly accept that our prisons are full of men?” she asks.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Groups push lawmakers for hearings on voting machine security [iophk: Windows TCO]

        Voting rights and election security groups on Monday urged two House and Senate committees to hold hearings on the security of voting machines.

        The groups, which include the National Election Defense Coalition, Electronic Privacy Information Center, R Street Institute and Public Citizen, asked the House Administration Committee and the Senate Rules and Administration Committee in a letter to schedule election security hearings that include testimony from voting machine vendors and election security experts.

      • Asruex Malware Exploits Old vulnerabilities to Infect PDF, Word Docs

        A recently observed variant of the Asruex backdoor acts as an infector by targeting old vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office and Adobe Reader and Acrobat 9.x, Trend Micro reports.

        Asruex was initially discovered in 2015 and was previously associated with the spyware DarkHotel. In addition to backdoor capabilities, the malware also appears to be able to inject code into Word and PDF files by targeting two old vulnerabilities tracked as CVE-2012-0158 and CVE-2010-2883.

      • First-ever worm that attacked the internet : Morris Worm

        Colombo (News 1st): Our connected world comes with countless risks. Viruses, worms, spyware, ransomware, backdoors, trojans: The language of cybersecurity is relatively new, but we have quickly become fluent. The misuse of technology has become the darkest danger of the digital age. Bad actors, emboldened by our inability to properly secure crucial systems and networks, are launching increasingly sophisticated attacks. No system is safe.

        But in the beginning, the very, very beginning computers inspired utopian visions of a better future, a world in which we were all digitally connected to one another and living in harmony.

      • Security updates for Wednesday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (dovecot), Fedora (docker and nghttp2), Oracle (pango), SUSE (apache2, fontforge, ghostscript-library, libreoffice, libvirt, podman, slirp4netns and libcontainers-common, postgresql10, and slurm), and Ubuntu (dovecot).

      • Josh Bressers: Backdoors in open source are here to stay

        Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few … forever, you may have noticed that open source is taking took over the world. If software ate the world, open source is the dessert course. As of late there have been an uptick in stories about backdoors in open source software. These backdoors were put there by what is assumed to be “bad people” which is probably accurate since everyone is a villain in some way.

        The reactions I’ve seen to these backdoors range from “who cares I don’t use that” to “we should rewrite everything in house and in assembler and go back to using CVS on a private network”. Of course both of those extremes are silly, it’s far better to land somewhere in the middle. And as much fun as writing assembler can be, the linker is probably an open source project.

        This brings us to the question what do all these backdoors really mean for open source? It isn’t going to mean anything in most instances. There’s a lot happening that’s not well understood yet, and no doubt we’ll see more changes in the future as we understand the problem better. I think there’s a tendency to try to overcorrect when something new happens, in this case I’m not sure we can overcorrect even if we want to.

        The first and most important point is to understand that a huge number of open source projects are a couple of people who are doing this for fun. They’re not security experts, they will never be security experts. They’re also not going to adopt some complex security process. If they get a nice looking pull request they’ll probably merge it. Security isn’t on the top of their list when working on the project. The whole point of their project is to solve some sort of problem. While I’m sure many would love getting a few donations, it’s a steep climb to being able to work on your open source library full time. The reality is these project will always be hobbies.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • High-Stakes Gamble: Iranian Envoy Gets Surprise G-7 Invite

        A top Iranian official paid an unannounced visit Sunday to the G-7 summit and headed straight toward the heart of the city where leaders of the world’s major democracies have been debating how to handle the country’s nuclear ambitions.

      • Economic Sanctions: War by Another Name

        In early 2019, the White House threatened to invade Venezuela, take down the government and replace it with their choice of president and political party.  Though no missiles have been fired and no bombs dropped on the country, our government is waging a war by other means, namely criminal economic sanctions, to achieve the same end.  And they are just as lethal.

      • China’s Playbook in Hong Kong Is Also Working in the Asia-Pacific

        Around the region, it is not difficult to find examples that echo Hong Kong’s experience, with co-opted politicians, shaping of local media narratives, and massive influxes of investment being the primary methods of influence. I spoke with five experts who have been ringing the alarm over CCP influence in their countries. The resulting snapshot highlights the difficulties of existing in China’s orbit without succumbing to its gravitational pull.

      • Police in Nigeria assault, arrest journalists covering #RevolutionNow protests

        On August 5, 2019, Nigerian police arrested and detained at least four journalists covering protests that took place across Nigeria in connection with the hashtag #RevolutionNow, according to journalists who spoke with CPJ and media reports.

      • China will not sit idly by, warns general

        Beijing considered the sale a violation of previous US commitments to China regarding Taiwan, which it considers its own territory to be annexed by force if necessary, said Major-General Chen Rongdi, chief of the Institute of War Studies at the Academy of Military Sciences.

      • Indonesian police kill separatist in Papua

        In Jakarta, rights groups and journalists’ associations urged the Communication Ministry to end an Internet blackout in Papua that started on Wednesday night.

      • Indonesia deploys 1,000 police to West Papua to quell protests

        Papuan activists have long disputed the results of the referendum that led to both provinces becoming part of Indonesia in 1969, during the country’s transition to independence from colonial rule. Only 1,000 people from the local Melanesian population were handpicked to vote in what was called the “Act of Free Choice.”

        Activists also say that Indonesia maintains control of the area by force. “West Papua is a militarized zone. People’s everyday life is colored by harassment and intimidation at the hands of security forces,” said Benny Wenda, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee in the UK who leads a global push for rights in Papua.

        Wenda also criticized the government’s decision to block internet access, and called on the UN to investigate.

      • Riots in West Papua: why Indonesia needs to answer for its broken promises

        Police stormed the students’ dorm and used teargas to force them out, while bystanders and officers called them “monkeys”, a derogatory term for ethnically Melanesian Papuans.

        West Papuans have long been cast by Indonesians as primitive people from the Stone Age, and this racist treatment continues to this day. West Papuan author Filep Karma described the extent of racism against West Papuans in his 2014 book, As If We Are Half-Animal: Indonesia’s Racism in Papua Land, saying he often heard Indonesians call West Papuans monkeys.

        This latest episode of discrimination builds on more than five decades of racism, torture, summary executions, land dispossession and cultural denigration of West Papuans by Indonesian security forces.


        In 1969, seven years after Indonesia invaded West Papua, the United Nations oversaw a referendum in which West Papuans were to decide on independence or official integration with Indonesia. Indonesia handpicked less than 1% of the Papuan population to vote and threatened them with violence should they make the “wrong” decision.

        The result has been a lengthy, often brutal colonial occupation of Papuans and their land.

      • West Papua protests continue despite Indonesian police claiming to have regained control

        Some protesters over the past two days were seen dressed as monkeys in response to allegations that members of the Indonesian military, police and public yelled, “Monkeys, get out” at a group of West Papuan students who were barricaded inside their dormitory.


        Indonesia’s acquisition of West Papua has been the cause of tension and controversy for more than 60 years.

    • Environment

      • Scientists Warn of “Cascading System Collapse” in Amazon Rainforest

        Over the last 50 years, about 20 percent of the rainforest has been burned or cut away, according to The Intercept. As the current fires rage on and the policies that led to them continue to exist, another 20 percent — that’s 300,000 square miles — could soon be gone as well. At that point, scientists warn of a “cascading system collapse,” in which the Amazon begins to completely crumble, and release a planet-devastating amount of stored carbon in the process.

      • Bernie Sanders’s Green New Deal Is a Reminder of What’s Necessary to Take On the Climate Crisis

        Sanders’s Green New Deal, released on August 22, is full of specifics and numbers. According to the proposal, the $16.3 trillion plan would create 20 million jobs and pay for itself after 15 years. The plan also calls for transitioning to 100% sustainable electricity and transportation by 2030 and 100% decarbonizing the economy by 2050. It calls for massive amounts of investment into a wide variety of sectors in order to radically reshape everything from school buses to how the United States handles climate policy on the global stage.

      • International leaders gathering at the G7 summit are reportedly nearing an agreement to help fight fires in the Amazon rainforest.

        Wildfires often occur in the dry season in Brazil, but satellite data published by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) has shown an increase of 85% this year.

        They say more than 75,000 have been recorded in Brazil so far in 2019, most of them in the Amazon region.

        Environmental activists have drawn links between President Bolsonaro’s attitudes towards the environment and the recent surge in the number of fires in the famous rainforest.

      • The Amazon Fires Are More Dangerous Than WMDs

        If a country obtains chemical or biological weapons, the rest of the world tends to react with fury—or at least it did in the not-so-distant past. Sanctions rained down on the proliferators, who were then ostracized from the global community. And in rare ( sometimes disastrously misguided) cases, the world decided that the threat justified a military response. The destruction of the Amazon is arguably far more dangerous than the weapons of mass destruction that have triggered a robust response. The consequences of the unfolding disaster—which will extinguish species and hasten a worst-case climate crisis—extend for eternity. To lose a fifth of the Amazon to deforestation would trigger a process known as “dieback,” releasing what The Intercept calls a “doomsday bomb of stored carbon.”

      • Crisis in Brazil
      • Bolsonaro’s Horrific Plans for the Amazon Revealed in Leaked Presentation

        Fires continue to engulf the Amazon rainforest at record-breaking rates. As Rosana Villar of Greenpeace, who toured the damage with reporters, told CNN, “This is not just a forest that is burning. This is almost a cemetery. Because all you can see is death.” When the Group of Seven countries pledged to send tens of millions of dollars to help fight the fires during their meeting Monday, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro scoffed at the $20 million from G-7, plus $11 million from Canada, and according to the Associated Press, accused the wealthy countries of treating his own like a “colony.”

      • The Amazon Fires Have Upended the Climate Fight as We Know It

        ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up for ProPublica’s Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox as soon as they are published.

      • G-7 Pledges Funds to Fight Amazon Fires; Bolsonaro Questions Motives

        PORTO VELHO, Brazil—The Group of Seven nations on Monday pledged tens of millions of dollars to help Amazon countries fight raging wildfires, even as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro accused rich countries of treating the region like a “colony.”

      • As Global Warming Crisis Worsens, DNC Torpedoes Climate Debate

        The Democratic National Committee voted Saturday to strike down a resolution that would have allowed for a multi-candidate climate forum.

      • Corporate Media Get the Story Wrong on the Amazon Fires

        More and more media are reporting on fires tearing through the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. There has been a marked increase in fires in Brazil concurrent with an increase in illegal—and climate-disrupting—deforestation, concurrent with President Jair Bolsonaro’s efforts to open the Amazon to mining and logging interests. Criticism of media is coming in, too—mostly for being late to cover fires that have been burning for three weeks in a uniquely critical place. But whenever they do it, corporate media addressing modern day crises like the Amazon fires will never do them anything approaching justice.

      • The Rich Will Not Be Exempt From the Worst of Climate Change

        By the close of the century, the United States could be more than 10% poorer, thanks to the economic loss that climate change will impose.

      • The future of food: Why farming is moving indoors

        An artificial intelligence expert, Mr Peggs founded Square Roots with investor Kimball Musk (Elon’s brother) two years ago. They’ve signed a deal with one of America’s big distribution companies, Gordon Food Service, to locate herb-growing containers at some its 200 warehouses.

        He says the deal represents everything about indoor farming’s potential: locally grown, quick-to-market, fresh produce that can be harvested year-round and is free of pesticides and not affected by harsh weather.

      • Protests erupt after DNC committee votes down 2020 climate debate

        The committee’s 8-17 vote on the resolution outraged members of the youth-led Sunrise Movement in attendance, who stood on their seats and sang the union protest song “Which Side Are You On?” before walking out.

      • Democratic National Committee votes against allowing 2020 candidates to participate in climate change debate

        Democratic National Committee members on Saturday voted down a resolution that would have resulted in single-issue debates among candidates — including on the issue of the climate crisis.

        The language that was rejected — inserted at the behest of climate change activists during a contentious Resolutions Committee meeting on Thursday — said the DNC, “will continue to encourage candidates to participate in multi-candidate issue-specific forums with the candidates appearing on the same stage, engaging one another in discussion.”

        Democratic presidential candidates are barred from appearing together on stage outside of DNC-sanctioned debates.

      • Brazil rejects G7 aid for Amazon fires, blasts ‘imperialist’ Macron

        Brazil on Monday rejected aid from G7 countries to fight wildfires in the Amazon, with a top official telling French President Emmanuel Macron to take care of “his home and his colonies.”

      • For Humanity, David Koch Died Decades Too Late

        Koch and his legacy are as anti-life as you can possibly get, something no amount of selfishly motivated cancer research funding can cover up. I say “are” rather than “were” because even though Koch himself is gone, the corporatist bulldozer he set into motion will keep going long after he’s dead.

      • NASA Images Show Just How Much Carbon Monoxide Is Coming Off The Burning Amazon

        NASA collected new data from their Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument, measuring levels of carbon monoxide at an altitude of 18,000 feet (5,500 meters) from August 8 to 22, according to a press release.

        The AIRS, which is aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite, measures “atmospheric temperature and humidity, cloud amounts and heights, greenhouse gas concentrations and many other atmospheric phenomena,” the press release stated.

      • Donald Trump’s story on skipping the G7 climate meeting makes no sense [iophk: fails to even mention the 25th ammendment]

        So, he skipped it. And then the White House, as they are so often forced to do, scrambled to suggest this was all part of some broader plan — when provable facts make clear it, well, wasn’t.

      • Trump Was the Only World Leader to Bail on a G7 Climate Session

        When asked what message he wanted to deliver at the climate session he would not be attending because it already happened, Trump said that he wants “clean air and clean water” and that the United States is “having the cleanest air and cleanest water on the planet.”

      • America’s Water Crisis Goes Way Beyond Flint
      • As New Fires Rage in Amazon, Global Calls for Urgent Action to Avert ‘Astronomical’ Impacts to ‘Life on Earth’

        Pope Francis urges protection of “that lung of forests” and French President Macron says G7 nations pledged help at summit

      • Months after dire warnings, Flint spills 2 million gallons of raw sewage into river

        The city dumped an estimated 2 million gallons of untreated sewage into the Flint River Sunday, Aug. 18, just months after officials warned wastewater infrastructure was fast approaching a “critical point.”

      • Newark water crisis: The latest chapter in the capitalist poisoning of America

        Newark, the largest city in New Jersey, is facing a water crisis of historic proportions, caused by a water delivery system that has been leaching lead into the drinking water of both residences and businesses. Blood tests have confirmed that a significant percentage of children in Newark have been exposed to lead, a strong neurotoxin that can cause lasting damage in even small amounts.

      • Trump only world leader not seen at G-7 meeting on climate

        The rest of the G-7 leaders were present.

      • Muslim pilgrims risk being killed by heat

        Many of the nearly two million Muslim pilgrims who journey to Saudi Arabia annually will soon be in severe danger of death from the extreme heat in years when the Hajj takes place in mid-summer, scientists say.

        For 1.8 billion Muslims, around a quarter of the world’s population, a pilgrimage to Mecca, known as the Hajj, is an obligation to be undertaken once in their lifetime. But the city is in one of the hottest places in the world, where the temperature already tops 45°C (113°F) in summer, enough to damage the heart, brain and kidneys.

        According to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), when climate change drives temperatures even higher it will threaten the lives of thousands of people who typically spend more than a week on the pilgrimage in unrelenting heat.

      • While “The World Is on Fire,’ DNC Kills Resolution for Climate Forum

        Party had been reminded of its platform asserting it will combat the ‘global climate emergency’

      • Endangered Species

        Self -interest speaks all sorts of tongues, and plays all sorts of roles, even that of disinterestedness. — Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, ReflectionsHe hit a double. It all happened the week of August 11, 2019. That was the week the trump took steps to reduce protections for two endangered species.

      • Energy

        • Both Democrats and Republicans Profit From Fueling Climate Change

          Burning fossil fuels boils our planet — that much is generally well known.

        • Tapping Into People Power

          In times like this, many of us feel powerless to do anything about the political, social, and environmental injustices we face. But, power is everywhere. Like sunlight and solar panels, it’s a question of tapping into it. Accustomed to the top-down power of presidents and CEOs, most of us have no idea where to plug in and connect to the phenomenal people power that exists. |

        • Industry guidance touts untested tech as climate fix

          The guidance appears to encourage high-polluting sectors to take the cheapest route towards limiting global warming, potentially decoupling emissions cuts from the temperature goals outlined in the Paris climate agreement.

          The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a global industry-driven non-profit group comprising more than 160 member states, has produced new draft guidance on climate action for businesses.

          Rather than measuring climate action by the yardstick of emissions reduction, the draft, seen by AFP, concentrates on managing “radiative forcing”, which is the amount of excess energy trapped in Earth’s atmosphere.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Heat stress that killed thousands of salmon in Alaska is a sign of things to come, scientist warns

          She said when salmon enter a river to travel to their spawning grounds, they stop feeding. They only have their built-up fat stores as energy.

          When fish are exposed to warmer temperatures, their metabolism increases and they go through their energy stores much faster. The salmon that died didn’t have enough energy to make it to their spawning grounds and their hearts failed, she said.

        • Sharks and rays to be given new international protections

          The proposal, which was tabled by Mexico and requires ratification this week, means that the species can no longer be traded unless it can be proven that their fishing will not impact the possibility of their survival.

        • California Tribe Hopes to Conquer Climate Woes — With Fire

          More and more land in California is going up in flames. The area in the state burned by wildfires has increased by a factor of five since 1972, according to a recent study, which identified human-caused warming the likely culprit.

          So what’s to be done?

          The Karuk Tribe wants to fight fire with fire.

          This summer the tribe, one of the largest in the state, released a climate-adaptation plan that calls for a return to a more natural fire regime. According to the plan, using prescribed burns at appropriate times of the year in place of the current policy of fire suppression would reduce the possibility of high-severity fires, which have proven deadly and costly for California in recent years and are expected to worsen as the climate warms.

          “Climate adaptation is about restoring human responsibilities and appropriate relationships to the natural world,” says Bill Tripp, deputy director of Karuk Natural Resources Department and a co-author of the plan.

        • Parts of Chile ‘turning to desert’ in worst drought in 60 years

          Chile has been hit by its worst drought in six decades, forcing officials to declare an agricultural emergency to prevent the collapse of farming.

          The country’s capital Santiago and its outskirts, as well as Coquimbo, Valparaiso and O’Higgins, are among the worst-hit areas.

        • G7 summit: Boris Johnson accuses Macron of using Brazil’s rainforest fires as ‘excuse’ to interfere with free trade negotiations

          Boris Johnson has issued a slapdown to Emmanuel Macron over the French president’s threat to veto a EU trade deal with South American states including Brazil, claiming that concern over the Amazon fires was being used as an “excuse” to interfere with free trade.

      • Overpopulation

        • Indonesia to Move Capital From Sinking Jakarta to Borneo

          “We couldn’t continue to allow the burden on Jakarta and Java island to increase in terms of population density,” Widodo said at a news conference in the presidential palace. “Economic disparities between Java and elsewhere would also increase.”

    • Finance

      • The Trump Administration’s Assault on Fair Housing

        This week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a proposed rule that would substantially limit enforcement of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, whose purpose is to provide for fair housing throughout the United States.

      • Just Who Got Trump’s Farm Bailouts?

        Donald Trump loves farmers. We know this because he says so. “Farmers, I LOVE YOU!” he declared in December. But he’s been “loving” them to death, with policies that are causing farm prices to tumble, miring our ag economy in the ditch and creating a rising tsunami of farm bankruptcies.

      • Providence Plans to Defund Its Public Schools to Expand “No Excuses” Charter

        The evidence is clear that privately managed charters can get higher test scores by culling, exclusion, and attrition. It’s equally clear that charters drain resources from the public schools that enroll most students. Most public officials seem to understand that it costs more to run parallel systems, one public, one private. But not in Rhode Island, where Governor Gina

      • America’s Anti-Establishment Fury Isn’t Going Away

        If you’re feeling anger the political system being rigged to benefit those at the top, a new poll reveals you’re far from alone.

      • 68 Protesters Detained as Leaders Gather at G-7 Summit
      • Two Arguments for Localism

        Argument 1: Localism is inevitable. Globalization was made possible by long-distance transport, communications, and capital flows. It fits with widespread assumptions about progress and economic growth leading to a better future.

      • New Poll Shows ‘Deep and Boiling Anger’ Towards Political Establishment Still Widespread

        More than half of respondents also said race relations are worsening under Trump and that they feel “anxious and uncertain” because of the economy

      • RIP Decentralization

        With the Hacker Noon publication leaving and crypto content being downgraded on Medium, suffice to say that we won’t be reading much about “decentralization” here anymore.

        That watchword for a generation of young men interested in building the future as developers, programmers and blockchain and crypto enthusiasts, is well, kind of dead.

      • EU officials float €100B boost for European companies

        EU officials want to set up a €100 billion wealth fund to bolster “European champions” against American and Chinese business rivals like Google, Apple and Alibaba.

        The proposal for a so-called European Future Fund appears in an unusually radical raft of plans that European Commission officials want to put onto the agenda of their president-elect, Ursula von der Leyen, whose mandate begins on November 1.

        While the Eurocrats’ 173-page wish list — obtained exclusively by POLITICO — ranges from putting beehives on public buildings to greater restrictions on social media, the dominant theme is building a more defensive Europe that can take hard-hitting trade measures against Washington and Beijing, while putting more public money into home-grown business heavyweights.

      • Apple, EU Set for September Showdown Over Record Tax Bill

        Apple Inc.’s 13 billion-euro ($14.4 billion) battle with the European Union reaches the bloc’s courts next month in a hearing set to throw the spotlight on antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager’s crackdown on tax deals doled out to big companies.

        The EU’s General Court, its second-highest tribunal, will hear arguments in the challenges by the iPhone maker and Ireland over two days set for Sept. 17-18. The U.S. last year lost a bid to intervene in the case in support of Apple.

        Margrethe VestagerPhotographer: Callaghan O’Hare/Bloomberg
        The European Commission in August 2016 ordered Ireland to recoup the record sum plus interest, saying the world’s richest company was handed an unfair advantage. The EU decision reverberated across the Atlantic, triggering criticism from the U.S. Treasury that the EU was making itself a “supra-national tax authority” that could threaten global tax reform efforts.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • News reporting hit by Internet blackout in West Papua

        Internet access in West Papua was initially slowed down and then disconnected altogether on 21 August in what the information ministry called a “temporary” measure designed “to accelerate the process of restoring the security and order situation in Papua and the surrounding areas,” where violent protests have been taking place.

        As a result of the blackout, journalists reporting in the field have been finding it extremely difficult to transmit their stories, photos and video, and to contact their news organizations and sources.

      • Iranian Satirist Sentenced To More Than 23 Years In Prison

        According to the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign, Marzban left Iran in 2009 and returned eight years later to see his ailing grandmother before being arrested in September last year.

      • Islamophobia definition will prevent criticism of the ‘hateful’ ideology of Islam, say leading atheists

        A new definition of Islamophobia will prevent criticism of the “hateful ideology of theocratic Islam,” say two of Britain’s leading atheists in new book of essays.

        Richard Dawkins and Peter Tatchell – and other authors including a former member of extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir – say attempts to define Islamophobia risk curtailing freedom of speech and work to expose extremism.

      • In Kashmir, Government’s Priority Should be to Protect Civil Liberties

        The government deployed 40,000 additional troops to the region and set up expanded checkpoints that have been used to limit movement. In addition to phones, the [Internet] has been shut down, cutting Kashmiris off from the rest of India and the world. “It’s a nightmare,” a Kashmiri woman said. “We are terrified for our families back home.”

      • Blasphemy laws are quietly vanishing in liberal democracies

        More fundamentally, campaigners for free speech are worried by the rise in the seductive but dangerous notion that people have a right not to be offended. Kenan Malik, a British writer, has argued that in the Western world, secular notions of “offence” and the protection of different communities’ feelings are taking the place of blasphemy laws explicitly based on religion.

        In fact, Mr Malik maintains, there is no real contradiction between the formal abolition of blasphemy legislation and the secular world’s ambivalent interpretation of “hate speech” or extremism to encompass meanings that can easily shut down all vigorous religious debate. Blasphemy is not so much being decriminalised as redefined.

        Stephen Evans of the National Secular Society, a lobby group, says the British right to robust philosophical debate survived only by the skin of its teeth in 2006, [...]

      • As Hong Kong Firms Fall in Line Over Protests, Some Workers Push Back

        “They are trying to silence everyone,” said Ada Wong, a 30-year-old accountant at Friday’s march, which was held over the lunch hour. “But if we don’t speak out, I’m afraid that Hong Kong will be no more.”

        She said lashing out at major companies in Hong Kong would ultimately be self-defeating for China. “Our financial and business sector is important to them, so if they hurt us, they will be hurting themselves, too,” Ms. Wong said.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Facial Recognition: Ten Reasons You Should Be Worried About the Technology

        Facial recognition technology is spreading fast. Already widespread in China, software that identifies people by comparing images of their faces against a database of records is now being adopted across much of the rest of the world.

      • Palantir forced out of job fair after outcry over ICE contracts

        Last week, that list included Palantir, too — but in the days since, Palantir has been discreetly removed from that list. The company’s money has been refunded and it no longer has any role in the job fair, which will proceed as if Palantir had never been a sponsor.

        Reached by The Verge, Lesbians Who Tech confirmed the dropped sponsorship, saying it was the result of public objection to Palantir’s recent contract work with the US government.

      • Hong Kong tech firm pulls out of smart lamppost programme after surveillance accusations and staff threats

        Representatives from the Lands Department and the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) said that the TickTack component was a Bluetooth Beacon, which was used to signal the lamppost’s location to smartphones.

        In July, the government said it would not activate certain functions on its new smart lampposts, following public concerns over privacy. Fifty smart lampposts with sensors, data connectivity and cameras were installed in June, with 350 more set to be rolled out. Features that were disabled included a function to detect vehicle speed using bluetooth device recognition, a function to detect car types using licence plate recognition, and a function to video monitor the dumping of industrial waste at blackspots.

      • Why Colleges Look at Students’ Social Media

        According to a 2017 survey administered by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, 11% of respondents said they “denied admission based on social media content” and another 7% rescinded offers for the same reason.

        A 2018 Kaplan Test Prep survey found that about 25% of college admissions officers review applicants’ social media profiles.

      • Future of distracted driving technology makes Edmonton pitch

        The question, Sides says, is whether this indiscriminate and widespread surveillance technology amounts to a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The lawyer says a judge would have to balance the right to be secure against unreasonable search with other considerations, such as public safety and a limited expectation of privacy on public roads.


        The system could potentially learn to identify other cases of distracted driving, such as eating or reading, but Jannink told the conference the company is focused on cellphones. The technology could also measure speeds and identify unregistered vehicles.

      • The EU wants strict controls on facial recognition

        Documents seen by the Financial Times say the new legislation will “set a world-standard for AI regulations” with “clear, predictable and uniform rules… which adequately protect individuals.”

      • Ban on cash payments above $10,000 under proposed law

        An exposure draft of the legislation, called the Currency (Restrictions on the Use of Cash) Bill 2019, was quietly introduced by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg last month.

        Under the proposed law, all cash transactions between businesses and individuals would be limited to $10,000, and any amount over this would be considered criminal.

        The proposed changes were first announced in the 2018-19 budget.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Iran is the world’s biggest jailer of women journalists

        Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is alarmed by a new wave of arrests and interrogations of women journalists since the start of August in Iran. The Islamic Republic is now the world’s biggest jailer of women journalists, with a total of ten currently held.

      • In Locked-Down Kashmir, News Gathering a Herculean Challenge

        Over the last decade, [Internet] access and mobile devices have been cut off several times in Kashmir, a region often wracked by violence since a separatist movement erupted 30 years ago. Landlines were never disconnected, however, making it possible to gather news.

        Authorities said Tuesday that most landlines have been restored, but those in the area that is a hub of Kashmir’s media offices still do not appear to be working.

      • Journalist found dead in Mexico after criticizing local authorities

        A Mexican journalist was found dead with stab wounds on Saturday, authorities said, adding to a growing list of reporter deaths in one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the press.

        The state of Mexico prosecutor said it was investigating the cause of death of Nevith N., 42, whose body was found in the Tejupilco municipality about 75 miles from Mexico City.

      • Trump Allies Target Journalists Over Coverage Deemed Hostile to White House

        A loose network of conservative operatives allied with the White House is pursuing what they say will be an aggressive operation to discredit news organizations deemed hostile to President Trump by publicizing damaging information about journalists.

        It is the latest step in a long-running effort by Mr. Trump and his allies to undercut the influence of legitimate news reporting. Four people familiar with the operation described how it works, asserting that it has compiled dossiers of potentially embarrassing social media posts and other public statements by hundreds of people who work at some of the country’s most prominent news organizations.

        The group has already released information about journalists at CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times — three outlets that have aggressively investigated Mr. Trump — in response to reporting or commentary that the White House’s allies consider unfair to Mr. Trump and his team or harmful to his re-election prospects.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Blaming Schools for Student Absences Is Like Denouncing Doctors for Disease

        If something is wrong with children, it must be the school’s fault.Right?If kids can’t read, write and do ‘rithmetic, the teachers must not have taught ’em right.

      • I Am Very Much Alive: America, Even the Atheists, Offers Prayerful Thanks and Multiple Organs At Latest News of RBG Cancer

        Panic rippled across our battered national landscape Friday when the Supreme Court revealed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 86, has faced down cancer again, completing three weeks of radiation for a tumor on her pancreas. Given that many deem her all that stands between us and end times, Twitter users rushed to offer best wishes, random organs, their first-born, eternal life.

      • What the Right Gets Embarrassingly Wrong About Slavery

        Four hundred years after the event, the New York Times has published a special project focusing on the first Africans arriving in 1619 at Point Comfort, Virginia, and the legacy of slavery in the U.S.

      • Harvey Weinstein Faces New Sex-Assault Charges, Delaying Trial

        Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty to a new indictment Monday that includes revised charges of predatory sexual assault, a development that caused the judge to delay the start of his trial until early next year.

      • Stop Using Mental Illness to Explain White Supremacy

        A few weeks ago, we convened and moderated a “justice and equity” reading group for students, staff, and faculty at a local college. Our inaugural meeting centered on an essay in which the author calls attention to the shortcomings of organizing racial justice interventions in higher education around the sanitized and depoliticized language of “diversity.”

      • ‘It’s an Attempt to Impose a White Nationalist Vision of What America Is’
      • Will North Carolina’s Supreme Court Allow Racism to Remain a Persistent Factor in its Death Penalty?

        In 2009, North Carolina passed the Racial Justice Act (RJA), which allowed defendants to strike the death penalty from their cases if they could show that racial discrimination was a factor in their prosecution. The law came as a response to a series of exonerations of Black people who were falsely convicted of crimes they did not commit by all-white or nearly all-white

      • Dissent Is Being Criminalized Right Under Our Noses

        Many of us are deeply concerned about the recent wave of mass shootings and hate crimes that have taken place across the United States. As the Department of Justice reported, in 2018 alone there were 25 race-based terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, each committed by an alleged white supremacist. Immediate action is needed to address this crisis and tragedies like the Aug. 3 shooting in El Paso, Texas.

      • The Number Of People Incarcerated In United States Is Far Higher Than 2.5 Million

        The most popular statistic regarding the United States’ prison system is that there are 2.5 million people incarcerated. However, this figure significantly under-represents the number of people caged in this country each year.

        According to a new analysis released by the Prison Policy Initiative, at least 4.9 million people are arrested and jailed each year. Those individuals are disproportionately poor, Black, and lack access to education and health care.

      • Video of brutal murder highlights Turkey’s femicide crisis

        Emine Bulut was killed by her ex-husband Fedai Baran in broad daylight in a café in Kırıkkale, a town in Turkey’s Central Anatolia region. People across Turkey have reacted with shock and horror to a video of the fatally injured Bulut that has been circulating online. Now, many are using the hashtag #EmineBulut to call for urgent action to tackle the issue of femicide and violence against women in Turkey, a country where more than 220 women have already been murdered this year.

      • “Poor Whites Have Been Written out of History for a Very Political Reason”

        From the antebellum period to today, Southern white elites are terrified of poor whites and black workers joining hands — because they know it’s an existential threat to their power.

      • Even David Koch’s Philanthropy Was Toxic

        Such encomiums are premised on the idea that Koch’s charitable giving was so commendable that questions about where his money came from or the general impact of the super-rich on society would be impertinent. This willful lack of curiosity was sharply critiqued as long ago as 1909 by then-President Theodore Roosevelt, who wasn’t impressed by John D. Rockefeller’s setting up a foundation to help disperse his mountain of money. “No amount of charities in spending such fortunes can compensate in any way for the misconduct in acquiring them,” Roosevelt curtly but accurately noted. In the case of the Koch family, there’s plenty of misconduct to investigate.

      • Ex-Muslim to ‘Post’: Trying to teach ‘naive West’ about true nature of Islam

        “Western democracies are suffering from a toxic mix of arrogance and naiveté that makes them complacent,” said Mohammed, who highlighted this challenge only days after an eruption between Israel and the American Left over a proposed visit to the Jewish state by pro-BDS representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. “They underestimate the power of Islam, they look at what Islamists have done in other countries and they arrogantly think: ‘That won’t happen to us’ – even though it is happening right under their noses.”

      • GCSE student disqualified after ‘over zealous’ examiner mistook vegetarianism for Islamophobia

        A GCSE student was disqualified for “obscene racial comments” after an examiner mistook her vegetarianism for Islamophobia, it has emerged.

    • Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Update of the Situation of Human Rights in Indian Administered Kashmir and Pakistan from May 2018 to April 2019 [PDF]

      108. Jammu and Kashmir continues to face frequent barriers to [Internet] access as the authorities continue to suspend arbitrarily [Internet] services. According to a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), South Asia reported the highest number of shutdowns in the world between April 2017 and May 2018 with India accounting for the highest level of shutdowns in the world. 160 Half of all [Internet] shutdowns in India were reported from the Kashmir Valley. 161 UNESCO said that [Internet] shutdowns “pose a threat to human rights and block the public’s right to know; and have emerged a significant tool of censorship by governments which are increasingly utilizing shutdowns under the guise of security”. 162 A widely followed Indian civil society group that tracks [Internet] shutdowns reports that 65 of the 134 incidents of [Internet] shutdowns recorded in the country in 2018 were in Jammu and Kashmir. 163 In the first 4 months of 2019, Jammu and Kashmir experienced 25 instances of [Internet] shutdown. 164
      109. In 2018, several journalists and human rights defenders – mostly based in the Kashmir Valley – reported that social media platforms Twitter and Facebook had taken actions against a number of accounts for various Kashmir – related content, including removing such posts or suspending user accounts. 165

    • Hospital Can’t Sanction Patient Over Deleted Facebook Profile [iophk: paywall]

      A Florida federal judge rejected a Cape Coral hospital’s sanctions bid on Monday in a suit by a patient who alleges she was sexually assaulted by a nurse, rejecting the hospital’s claims that the woman acted in bad faith when she deleted her Facebook profile during litigation.

    • App-based courier service challenges Finland’s postal system

      Workers at I Carry It – aged between 16 and 50 – will all be freelancers using their own transport, not salaried employees, so the company will not be offering them insurance.


      The working conditions and workers’ rights at many food delivery companies such as Wolt and Foodora have also caused public outrage. How would I Carry It deal with such scrutiny?

    • Protest fears stalk Hong Kong businesses as China threat looms

      One Hong Kong-based worker of a Chinese state-owned enterprise recently bragged in a WeChat chat group that he had been reporting employees who posted pro-democracy comments regarding the protests to human resources.

      In extreme cases, some people said they had received calls from Chinese authorities after posting pro-protest comments on Facebook.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • US, French officials reach deal on digital tax: report

      A source close to the negotiations told the outlet that the deal made between French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow would have France repay companies the difference between a French tax and a planned mechanism being drawn up by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

    • Macron defuses French digital tax row, Trump coy on wine threat

      France and the United States reached a deal to end a standoff over a French tax on big [Internet] companies, though U.S. President Donald Trump declined to say whether his threat of a retaliatory wine tax was off the table as a result.

      The compromise struck between French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Donald Trump’s White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow foresees France repaying companies the difference between the French tax and a planned mechanism being drawn up by the OECD.

    • FCC Does Something Right: Proposes Making Suicide Prevention Hotline A Three Digit Number

      We give FCC chair Ajit Pai a lot of grief (to be fair: we’ve given basically every FCC chair a lot of grief over the years). However, when he does something right we should give him credit. And he’s now embraced a plan to give the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline its own 3 digit number, likely to be 988. This is one of those simple plans that just makes sense. Thankfully, there’s been a lot greater awareness over the past few years concerning the hotline and suicide prevention in general — but you still need to remember the phone number. Most people don’t (it’s 1-800-273-8255 (TALK), in case you don’t know). Moving it to a simple three digit number is a good idea that should save lives.

  • Monopolies

    • Google Doesn’t Want Staff Debating Politics at Work Anymore

      “I think it’s specifically intended to silence dissent,” Irene Knapp, an engineer at Google, said. “This is the end of the important parts of Google’s open culture.”

    • Uber’s $1-per-ride ‘safe rides fee’ had nothing to do with safety

      Uber imposed a $1-per-ride surcharge it called a “Safe Rides Fee” in 2014, but it was a just a play for profit. The money collected by the company from the fee — estimated at around $500 million — was never earmarked specifically for safety and was “devised primarily to add $1 of pure margin to each trip,” according to an excerpt from New York Times reporter Mike Isaac’s new book Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber.

    • Governments back Netflix Clickbait mini-series production in Melbourne

      Written, co-created and produced in Victoria, Clickbait is an 8-episode character-based thriller which explores the ways in which our most dangerous and uncontrolled impulses are fuelled in the age of social media, and reveals the ever widening fractures we find between our virtual and real life personas.

    • Preview: Judge Brückner-Hofmann interview

      She and her co-panellists hear around 100 design cases and between 120 and 150 unfair competition disputes every year. In her early days as a judge, however, Brückner-Hofmann would hear no more than five design cases per year – 1,900% less than today’s 100.

    • Judge Brückner-Hofmann preview: ‘a few cases are clearly wrong’

      The Düsseldorf District Court judge admits being upset when an appeal judgment is badly argued and discusses the 1,900% increase in design cases at her court

    • Johanna Brückner-Hofmann: life as a German judge
    • Patents and Software Patents

      • PTAB Precedent: Infringement Claim Filed before Patentee Owned the Patent Still Triggers 315(b) Timeline

        In a new precedential decision, the PTAB Percedential Opinion Panel (POP) has reversed a prior institution decision in this case — holding “that service of a pleading asserting a claim alleging infringement triggers the one-year time period for a petitioner to file a petition under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b), even where the serving party lacks standing to sue or whether the pleading is otherwise deficient.”

      • Guest Post: FTC and DOJ Face Off Over Antitrust And FRAND Licensing In FTC v. Qualcomm

        Antitrust law in the United States is regulated by both the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Usually, these two agencies are able to reach a common understanding on antitrust policy and enforcement. Infrequently, they find themselves in disagreement.

        Currently, the proper antitrust treatment of standard-essential patents and patent-holder commitments to make these patents available on “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms” is such an occasion. The disagreement has come to a head in FTC v. Qualcomm, now on appeal before the Ninth Circuit.

        Standard-Essential Patents and “FRAND” First, a brief introduction to standard setting and essential patents.

        A technological standard adopted by a standard setting organization (an “SSO”) may sometimes be written in such a way that it is impossible to build a product or provide a service without infringing on one or more patents. When this happens and the patents are owned by a member of the working group creating the standard, the SSO may fear that once a standard is adopted the patent holder will take advantage of its SSO-granted market power and charge an excessive royalty to license the patents – that the patent owner will “hold up” companies that have made an irreversible investment (in a practical sense) in the standard.

      • Qualcomm argues Quanta changed patent exhaustion law, requiring Qualcomm to adjust terms of dealings with other chipmakers

        This is my first follow-up to yesterday’s post, which just served to make Qualcomm’s Ninth Circuit opening brief in its appeal of the FTC v. Qualcomm ruling public and to discuss the likely effect of the sheer length of that filing on the further schedule.

        While it’s imperative to see the forest among all the trees, it simply is a huge case, so this first commentary on Qualcomm’s opening brief on appeal will focus on the question of chipset-level licensing (Section I of the brief, which ends on page 70 of the PDF).

        In order to analyze what Qualcomm is saying in that incredibly important part, I’ve re-read a couple dozen other documents, most of which are court decisions cited by Qualcomm or others in this context. On this basis I can provide you with a bird’s-eye view on the questions this part of the appeal turns on.

      • Nvidia chipmaker TSMC basically just called GlobalFoundries a patent troll

        Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) took a day to digest a series of lawsuits filed against it by GlobalFoundries, a former spin-off of AMD and one of the world’s largest semiconductor fabrication companies, and then issued a curt statement saying the allegations of IP infringement are without merit. It also insinuated GlobalFoundries is acting like a patent troll.

        “TSMC has established one of the largest semiconductor portfolios with more than 37,000 patents worldwide and a top 10 ranking for US patent grants for 3 consecutive years since 2016. We are disappointed to see a foundry peer resort to meritless lawsuits instead of competing in the marketplace with technology,” TSMC said.

        While TSMC did not use the words “patent troll,” it’s easy to come to that conclusion by reading between the lines. Or just by reading the lines as presented.

      • Nokia’s German anti-antisuit campaign against Continental’s San Jose antisuit motion: court hearing scheduled for Thursday (8/30)

        Continental v. Avanci (Northern Distict of California; Judge Lucy H. Koh; trial date in October 2021) continues to be an extraordinarily interesting FRAND dispute. On Thursday (August 30) I’ll attend a hearing that the 21st Civil Chamber of the Munich I Regional Court will hold as a result of Nokia pursuit of an additional anti-antisuit-injunction injunction (“AAII”) against Continental AG, the German parent company at the top of the automotive industry supplier’s corporate group. The AAII that Nokia obtained last month enjoins Continental Automotive Systems, Inc. (“CAS”; of Auburn Hills, MI), the plaintiff in the U.S. case, once properly served on CAS–which Nokia claims to have occurred already while CAS argues the rigid service requirements of the Hague Convention in conjunction with the rules governing the service of German court injunctions have yet to be fulfilled.

        The press office of the Munich court thankfully confirmed to me today that a hearing would be held, and provided the case number 21 O 9512/19, while the case number of the already-ordered injunction against CAS (of which Nokia informed Judge Koh) is 21 O 9333/19. A translation of Nokia’s original German motion was attached to Continental’s reply (in the form of another letter to Judge Koh).

      • The Chamberlain Group, Inc. v. Techtronic Industries Co. (Fed. Cir. 2019)

        Another week and another technology patent falls to a patentable subject matter challenge under Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l. In this case, the patentee may have effectively shot itself in the foot with its own statements made in the specification. But the Federal Circuit also provides its clearest explanation yet (but one that is still not clear enough) of how it expects the second part of the Alice analysis to be carried out.

        Chamberlain sued Techtronic Industries (TTI) and several other parties in the Northern District of Illinois, contending infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,224,275. TTI moved the District Court for judgment as a matter of law that the ’275 patent was invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The District Court denied the motion and TTI appealed.


        Accordingly, the Federal Circuit reversed the District Court and held the asserted claims invalid under § 101.

        This case is another example of judicial-exception-creep, in line with that of ChargePoint, Inc. v. SemaConnect, Inc. Similar to that decision, an invention that adds particular communication abilities to a physical device is rendered an “abstract idea” because the Court found that the only innovative part of what is claimed was the (allegedly abstract) communication itself. Of course, the specification served to quickly sink the claim by admitting that all claimed elements were known in some fashion or another (even if the combination was not), but under the current patent-eligibility regime even a more carefully-worded application would have likely led to the same outcome.

        The invention here (as in ChargePoint) might have been more rationally invalidated on grounds of obviousness, though its 2003 priority date was well before wireless transceivers were being added to all kinds of conventional devices. Nonetheless, § 101 is once again the wrong tool for applying the prior art motivated invalidation. There are other parts of the statute to serve that function.

      • “Lofty”: not precise, but precise enough for patent work

        On appeal, the Federal Circuit agreed with the defendant that “lofty” batting is a term of degree whose boundary is not fully clear. However, it is clear enough for patent law work. In a particular, the court defined “lofty” batting is batting that “shows the properties of of bulk and some resilience.” The specification further explains that “bulk” refers to air between the fibers, and “sufficient resilience” occurs where the batting can be compressed and then substantially spring back to its original bulk. The court also noted that the specification includes more than 20 different examples (some from the prior art) of “lofty” batting that can be used to understand the scope of the term.

      • Do No-Opinion Judgments by the Federal Circuit Violate Due Process?
      • Sanofi-Aventis U.S., LLC v. Fresenius Kabi USA, LLC (Fed. Cir. 2019)

        The panel rejected Defendants’ allegation that they would lose the possibility of the issue preclusion defense “should Sanofi obtain amended claims and assert them against Defendants.” This is not sufficient to satisfy the case or controversy requirement, according to the opinion, first because the relevance of the disclaimed claims to a future issue preclusion defense was speculative, and second, the Defendants failed to establish that the District Court judgment pertaining to the disclaimed claims “is material to a possible future suit.” And the panel refused Defendants’ invitation to provide an advisory opinion on “the claim preclusion arguments that they intend to make . . . should Sanofi secure amended claims at the Board and then assert them against Defendants.”

        Turning to the District Court’s decision that Defendants had not shown by clear and convincing evidence that claims 1 and 2 of the ’170 patent were invalid for obviousness, the panel relied on the Court’s decision in Takeda Chem. Indus., Ltd. v. Alphapharm Pty., Ltd., that a challenger must “identify some reason that would have led a chemist to modify a known compound in a particular manner to establish prima facie obviousness of a new claimed compound.” 492 F.3d 1350, 1357 (Fed. Cir. 2007). The opinion reviewed the District Court’s “extensive [factual] findings” based on the testimony of “seven witnesses and seventeen prior art references” in arriving at its conclusion that the District Court had not erred. This analysis centered on the question of the motivation and rationale of the skilled worker to modify prior art docetaxel by simultaneously replacing hydroxyl groups with methoxy compounds at positions C7 and C10. Defendants argued that this modification would be motivated to increase the lipophilicity of docetaxel to interfere with its binding by P-glycoprotein (Pgp), a plasma membrane-associated protein pump that rendered cells resistant to cytotoxic drugs (like docetaxel) by extruding these compounds from the cell. The panel credited the District Court’s determination that the prior art cited in support of increased lipophilicity as a way to decrease Pgp extrusion did not disclose taxanes or show any relationship between lipophilicity and Pgp extrusion for taxanes. Concerning Defendants’ assertion of prior art related to possible substitution positions in the canonical taxane structure, the panel agreed with the District Court’s characterization that Defendant had cherry-picked the data in the cited references to reach the pattern of substituents exhibited by cabazitaxel and thus rejected them. Secondary considerations (commercial success, failure of others) also supported the District Court’s decision that Defendants had not established obviousness of claims 1 and 2 of the ’170 patent by clear and convincing evidence.

      • What to do if Someone Offers you an Opponent’s Information.

        The L.A. bar association is the latest to offer an opinion on what to do if someone, say the opposing party’s former employee, offers you information from the opposing party that looks purloined or seems confidential. In Los Angeles City Bar Ass’n Professional Responsibility & Ethics Committee Opinion No. 531 (July 24, 2019) (here), the committee gave some useful guidance.

        First, the committee stated the lawyer had to determine if the person possessed the information unlawfully. If so, the lawyer might need to alert the court or appropriate authorities.

        Second, the lawyer had to determine if the information was privileged or otherwise protected. As stated in a prior post, this can trigger obligations to at least notify the opposing party.

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • IPTV Providers Reject Claims of Links to Drugs, Weapons, People Trafficking

        This week the National Coordinator for the Government Agency Intelligence Network linked ‘pirate’ IPTV resellers with serious crime, claiming that they are often part of larger organizations involved in drugs, weapons, and people trafficking. Several weeks ago, TF had the chance to speak with an IPTV provider in Europe who said that to his knowledge of many providers, none of that is true.

      • Now You Can Watch the Keynotes from CC’s 2019 Global Summit

        We wanted to make sure that the insights shared by the summit’s seven amazing keynote speakers are accessible to people who couldn’t make it to the event, so we’ve uploaded their talks to YouTube and made them available under a CC Attribution license.

      • SELF Magazine and the AAP Promote Vaccine Awareness Through CC-Licensed Images

        After consulting with us here at Creative Commons, SELF and the AAP chose to release these images under our Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license, so that they can be freely used by anyone—including media outlets, hospitals, public health departments, and other organizations creating content about vaccines—as long as credit is given to the photographer.

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