Links 10/9/2019: Krita 4.2.6, Ubuntu 19.10 to Boot Faster

Posted in News Roundup at 3:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Best Practices for Using Container Technology in Government

        Far from a passing fad, containers are a logical outgrowth of the huge success of virtualization and can help to solve a wide range of operational problems, including deployment, scalability and patching.

        Government IT managers with a broad portfolio of existing applications should explore how to take advantage of the benefits of container technology. When moving from one computing environment to another, applications may not always run as programmed. But containers collect code and all related dependencies into one virtual package so that an application runs smoothly wherever it’s deployed, from one cloud to another.

        Here are some best practices for optimizing container use to achieve quick wins in your environment.

      • IBM

        • Red Hat Quay 3.1 Features Repository Mirroring

          Red Hat has announced the availability of the latest version of Red Hat Quay — a distributed, highly available container registry for enterprises. Red Hat Quay 3.1 builds on the focus to help users store, build and deploy their images in a more secure way across diverse enterprise environments and to leverage several new backend technologies, the open source company said.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • SMLR 314 Let’s Talk About Pie

        Tony Bemus, Tom Lawrence, Phil Porada and Jay LaCroix Sound bites by Mike Tanner

      • LHS Episode #301: Pi-Star Deep Dive Part 1

        Welcome to Episode 301 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, the hosts have an in-depth talk with Andy Taylor, MW0MWZ, the author and maintainer of the Pi-Star project. Pi-Star is a Linux operating system and application suite for single-board computers which creates a hotspot for digital VHF and UHF operation. We quickly discover this topic requires more than one deep dive so this will be the first in a series on Pi-Star and digital operation.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.2.14

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.2.14 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 4.19.72
      • Linux 4.14.143
      • Linux 4.9.192
      • Linux 4.4.192
      • Linux Foundation

        • The Reactive Foundation Launches To Support Next Phase of Software Architecture

          The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced the launch of the Reactive Foundation, a community of leaders established to accelerate technologies for building the next generation of networked applications. The foundation is made up of Alibaba, Lightbend, Netifi and Pivotal as initial members and includes the successful open source RSocket specification, along with programming language implementations.

          The aim of reactive programming is to build applications that maintain a consistent user experience regardless of traffic on the network, infrastructure performance and different end user devices (computers, tablets, smartphones). Reactive programming uses a message-driven approach to achieve the resiliency, scalability and responsiveness that is required for today’s networked cloud-native applications, independent of their underlying infrastructure.


          “With the rise of cloud-native computing and modern application development practices, reactive programming addresses challenges with message streams and will be critical to adoption,” said Michael Dolan, VP of Strategic Programs at the Linux Foundation. “With the Reactive Foundation, the industry now has a neutral home for supporting the open source projects enabling reactive programming.”

      • Graphics Stack

        • Another Navi 14 Workstation GPU Patch Turns Up For “Pro-XLM”

          Yesterday we reported on two Navi 14 device IDs being added for “workstation SKUs” while today a third has appeared.

          Yesterday were 0×7341 and 0×7347 being added for the AMDGPU driver as Navi 14 parts and the patch message acknowledging they are for workstation parts. To date AMD has not announced any Navi-based workstation products. The Navi 14 GPU is widely believed to be a low-end GPU akin to a Polaris successor and competing with NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1600 Turing series. This is while AMD continues to evolve Vega for workstation/compute purposes too.

        • Intel’s Gallium3D Driver Gains Optimization For Helping With Java OpenGL Performance

          In our recent Mesa 19.2 benchmarks of Intel’s old and new (Gallium3D) OpenGL Linux drivers one of the rare areas where the new “Iris” driver performed behind the classic driver was with “j2dbench” that stresses the Java OpenGL pipeline. At the time it was unknown why the new driver was performing subpar for this Java graphics test, but now at least there’s one optimization so far in addressing that shortcoming.

        • AMD Linux Improvements Pending Around FreeSync Low Frame Rate Compensation

          Sadly too late for the upcoming Linux 5.4 merge window, but for Linux 5.5 it looks like there will be a FreeSync improvement around low-frame-rate compensation.

          Sent out this morning were 25 new AMDGPU DC patches. Of these “display core” patches, there are various fixes and continued work on the Adaptive Backlight Management (ABM) but exciting us the most is the FreeSync work.

    • Benchmarks

      • The Intel SVT-VP9 Performance Boost Across 10 Intel/AMD Systems

        As a follow-up from this weekend’s article about Intel’s SVT-VP9 video encoder running much faster on AVX2 CPUs from both Intel and AMD, here are the results now before/after for ten different systems with this open-source CPU-based VP9 video encoder.

    • Applications

      • Top 10+ Best Network Inventory Software for Linux

        Network inventory software refers to the online tools, which deal with the hardware and software resources of a network, including the operational issues. Using this type of software, it becomes easier for administrators to know about the infrastructure components and their configuration systems. Also, it helps to keep the physical record of the network assets or equipment smartly. The components can be Firewalls, Routers and Switches, Storage Area Network, DNS, Servers, Load Balancers, SMTP, VPN, and more.

      • Proprietary

        • SPEC releases new version of CPU benchmark suite

          The Standard Performance Evaluation Corp. (SPEC) today released an updated version of the SPEC CPU 2017 benchmark suite. Version 1.1 provides full support for power measurement, clarifies run rules, and fixes minor software bugs.

          The SPEC CPU 2017 benchmark suite has been accepted worldwide as a new standard for CPU performance measurement since its introduction in June 2017. Nearly 14,000 SPEC CPU 2017 performance results have been accepted and published on the SPEC website since that time, and thousands of results have been reported in the trade press and used in marketing collateral.

        • Here’s How Vivaldi for Android Protects Your Privacy and Keeps Your Data Secure

          After announcing the Vivaldi for Android mobile web browser, Vivaldi Technologies shared with us some details on how they managed to build a secure and privacy-aware browser on Android.
          We all know that Google’s Android mobile operating system ships with a built-in web browser core, which is based on the same code that Google Chrome was built it. This internal browser core lets users view basic web pages when setting up their Android device for the first time.

          Once the device is all set up, most probably the user has installed his favorite web browser app from the Play store. This is where Vivaldi for Android comes to fill the gap, as it’s not using Android’s built-in browser core, which makes it secure and privacy-aware.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Growing Pains, a platformer where you’re constantly growing is now on Linux

        Growing Pains, a platformer where you’re growing constantly as you rush to finish each level before getting stuck is now available on Linux.

        Originally released on Steam by Smudged Cat Games back in 2014, they didn’t actually have any plan to bring it to Linux. However, game porter Ethan Lee recently updated two other Smudged Cat Games titles (Adventures of Shuggy and Gateways) and they announced on Twitter that they ported Growing Pains “just because”—okay then!

      • The non-linear hack-n-slash platformer Blasphemous is still coming to Linux but it’s delayed

        After successfully crowdfunding on Kickstarter back in 2017, Blasphemous is now out but sadly the Linux version is currently delayed.

        There seemed to be no mention of this before, which likely would have been quite frustrating if you were a Kickstarter backer. Speaking about it when queried on Steam, the publisher Team 17 said it is coming but they have no current date for when that will happen. The developer, The Game Kitchen, have also today put out a Kickstarter update post to mention “Due to circumstances out of our control, Mac and Linux are not going to be publicly available at launch, but they will be really soon.”.

      • Another great progress report is up for the PlayStation 3 emulator RPCS3

        Another report to show of the incredible progress on the PlayStation 3 emulator RPCS3 is up. This time covering July, as they continue to catch up on all the work done.

        Compatibility continues slowly improving with 1,347 games now being classed as actually playable. Sounds like quite a busy cycle, with a lot of pull requests being merged from both regular and new contributors.

        There’s been some major improvements to the Gran Turismo series like headlights and taillights being correctly rendered, rainbow texture corruption caused by poor handling of non-linear textures was solved and further improvements to their MSAA implementation. Coverage Sample Anti-aliasing (CSAA) is also now implemented, which fixes foliage in titles like Gran Turismo 6, Gran Turismo Academy and also GTA V.

      • Progress Report: July 2019

        Welcome to July’s Progress Report! Firstly we would like to apologise for the delay in publishing this report. RPCS3’s progress reports are solely written by volunteers and a few of our regular writers could not contribute to this report due to personal commitments. If you hate seeing RPCS3’s reports get delayed and would like to contribute to them, please apply here.

        July was an absolute whirlwind of development that saw 60 pull requests merged from both our regular developers as well new contributors. That’s almost 2 pull requests merged everyday! This month, Nekotekina focused on improving TSX performance while kd-11 implemented a second round of bug-fixes that improved multiple AAA titles. On the other hand, eladash ironed out new features to help games go beyond their existing framerate caps and GalCiv implemented microphone support to finally allow RPCS3 to better emulate SingStar and other similar titles. Ohh and let’s not forget the surprise progress made with Metal Gear Solid 4 as well! There’s a lot to cover, so let’s jump straight into it.

      • Kerbal Space Program will continue to be upgraded with a new version on the way

        While Kerbal Space Program 2 has been announced (sadly not for Linux), developer Squad is not finished with the original and several big improvements are on the way.

        In a recent announcement which talks a little about the KSP 1.8 update, they detailed some fun sounding changes. The Unity game engine is going to be seeing an update which will bring in things like updated graphics APIs, a new PhysX version with performance and precision improvements, GPU instancing to improve rendering performance and incremental garbage collection to reduce frame rate stutters. Basically, it should feel a lot smoother overall.

      • Challenging and stylish platformer Celeste has the Farewell update released

        Bringing in plenty of new free content as a last gift, Celeste Chapter 9: Farewell is now officially out.

        As a reminder, this free content update is the last it will receive and it’s a big one. Bringing in 100+ new levels and 40+ minutes of new music from Lena Raine. Prepare for a tough gaming session though, as the design of these levels might just be the most difficult yet. If you wish to see everything, the full changelog can be found here.

      • Rockfish confirm EVERSPACE 2 will not go exclusive to the Epic Store, Steam is the “best platform” for indies

        In a recent interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Rockfish CEO Michael Schade confirmed that EVERSPACE 2 will not be going the Epic Store exclusive route.

        As a reminder, Rockfish already confirmed Linux support to GamingOnLinux on Twitter. Naturally though, a worry amongst Linux gamers has been if they decided to go with Epic Games on their store which currently doesn’t support Linux. Thankfully, that’s not going to happen.

      • Slay the Spire’s fourth character is available for Beta testing

        Get ready to do some more deck building, as Slay the Spire now has a fourth character available for some testing in a new Beta. Currently, the fourth character can be tried by opting into the standard Beta on Steam, which is different to the other Beta for an upgraded LibGDX.

        To actually access the new character, you need to have first unlocked the third character and beat the standard game. Not exactly an easy task, although on a dry run without a save today it took me about two hours to unlock the second and third character. Going through once more to unlock the fourth is another matter though, you’re probably looking at 4-5 hours to get it from a new save. However if you’ve already beaten it and have the third character this new one should auto unlock.

      • The incredible and chaotic Streets of Rogue is getting a level editor and probably Steam Workshop too

        Streets of Rogue just recently had a post-release update to enhance this chaotic rogue-lite some more. It’s also going to get even more fun with what the developer has planned.

        Perhaps the most exciting thing was buried at the bottom of the update notes, which mentions “Work on level editor”. Curious about that, I spoke to the developer on Twitter where they said they were “hoping” to do Steam Workshop support but they will release a level editor first.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GSConnect Update Lets You Control Android Music Apps from Your Desktop + More

        A new version of the GSConnect extension for GNOME Shell desktops is now available, and it’s packing a couple of nifty changes.

        If you’ve not heard of GSConnect before then it’s best to think of it as a bridge between Android and Ubuntu.

        As when the GSConnect extension is installed locally and paired with an Android phone running the KDE Connect Android app, a bunch of neat integrations are possible e.g., transfer files to and from Android, sync clipboard, send and receive SMS, see Android notifications, and even use a phone touchscreen as a trackpad for the desktop!

      • GSConnect Updated With Command Line Interface, Wayland Clipboard Support (Experimental)

        GSConnect v25 (quickly followed by v26 to fix a single issue) was released a few hours ago, and is already available on the Gnome Extensions website. The new version brings support for controlling remote media players, experimental clipboard support under Wayland and CLI scripting interface, and more.

        So what’s GSConnect? It’s an implementation of KDE Connect (which integrates with the KDE Plasma desktop) for Gnome Shell.

        After pairing your Android device that has the KDE Connect app installed with your desktop via GSConnect, you’ll be able perform various actions between the Android device and your desktop computer: transfer files, mirror the clipboard and notifications, remote control media players, send and receive SMS, use Android as a remote keyboard and mouse input, launch commands on the computer from Android, and more.

        Newer GSConnect versions require Gnome Shell 3.28, 3.30 or 3.32.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Krita 4.2.6 released

          A bit later than expected, because of a regression found during beta testing, we’re releasing Krita 4.2.6. Over 120 people have participated in the beta test survey, so this is something we’ll repeat for the next release.

        • KIOFuse – Final Report

          The GSoC coding period is now over and it is only appropriate that it is discussed what has been achieved and what needs to be done to see KIOFuse officially included in as a KDE project, allowing the 75324 bug report to be finally closed after a whole 15 years! Before I continue, I’d like to thank my mentors, Fabian Vogt (fvogt) and Chinmoy Ranjan Pradhan (chinmoyr) for all their support and advice during the course of GSoC. I’d also like to thank various reviewers of upstream code who quickly reviewed and merged code that I submitted. My previous posts (here and here) have discussed the work accomplished in May/June in detail.

          Currently the way KIOFuse works is that I/O is implemented on top of a file-based cache, in particular, on temporary files. Reading and writing occurs on the temp file. Flushing works by calling KIO::put, which sends the data in our cache to the remote side via a TransferJob. However, whilst this is happening, there’s nothing stopping write requests coming in for that same node, which marks the cache as dirty. Once the job is done, we check if the node is dirty. If it is, we start another TransferJob, as it would be incorrect to say that the node is flushed. If this scenario keeps occurring, we’d never reply with a successful flush. A simple solution, which doesn’t guarantee that this scenario doesn’t occur but can decrease its likelihood, is as follows: every time a chunk of data is requested by the TransferJob we check if the node is dirty. If so, if it is less than 85% complete, restart the job, otherwise let it finish. The patch for this can be found here.

          Another task was to refresh the attributes of nodes after a while. Currently, the existence of nodes is only checked lazily, i.e. if lookup or readdir are called. For each new node found (or created) the stat struct (the node’s attributes) is filled with the values from KIO::UDSEntry. However, this is only done once and any changes on the remote side are not noticed. One could always refresh the attributes on every lookup but that may be overzealous, and so the solution chosen was to do a KIO::listDirin readdir if it hasn’t been called on that node in the last 30 seconds. The patch for this can be found here.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Allan Day: Towards a UX Strategy for GNOME (Part 2)

          This post is a part of a short series, in which I’m setting out what I think could be the beginnings of a UX strategy for GNOME. In this, the second post, I’m going to describe a potential GNOME UX strategy in high-level terms. These goals are a response to the research and analysis that was described in the previous post and, it is hoped, point the way forward for how GNOME can achieve new success in the desktop market.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Archman Xfce 2019-09 is Released with Some Improvements and a Number of Bug Fixes

          Talliana has announced the new release of Archman XFS 2019-09 on September 05, 2019 and named it “Lake with Fish”.

          In this release you will see a 70% centered panel at the bottom of the screen. With this panel’s smart hiding feature, the entire screen will be in your use.

          Also, window tasks are grouped as icon in the panel.

          To make the distro more elegant, they used the Surf Arch icon by default instead of the Papyrus icon set.

        • Linux From Scratch (LFS) Stable Version 9.0 Released

          Linux From Scratch (LFS) is a project that provides you with step-by-step instructions for building your own custom Linux system, entirely from source code.

          The Linux From Scratch community announces the release of LFS Version 9.0 on Sep 01, 2019.

          Toolchain updates to glibc-2.30, and gcc-9.2.0 is a major changes in this release.

          In total, 33 packages were updated since the last release.

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora Community Blog: Flock to Fedora ’19

          Attending a tech conference is not what I’ve experienced before, but I’m sure I’ll keep doing so forever. Flock ‘19 was an amazing one to start with, meeting a flock with same interest always gets you an amazing time. I’ll be sharing down some of the things that I took away from Flock to Fedora ‘19

          The community planned a tonne of talks for everyone to attend, unfortunately, it was impossible to attend all of them. These are the talks that I decided to attend.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 19.10 Switching to a Full Light Theme, Ditching Dark Headerbars

          The de-facto Ubuntu artwork team, made up of community enthusiasts hacking on the Yaru GTK theme, have been given the nod to invert the light Yaru theme’s header bar colour.

          It means that windows which which currently looks like this:

          Think it looks a lot like Adwaita, the upstream GNOME GTK theme? That’s because in a roundabout way the Yaru theme is the Adwaita theme, just with a batch of medications.

          Dark header bars and positive accent colours were used to give the Adwaita base an Ubuntu flavoured topping.

          But no more.

        • Ubuntu 19.10 To Boot Faster Thanks To LZ4 Compression

          Ubuntu’s kernel team has decided to switch to LZ4 kernel image compression beginning with Ubuntu 19.10 in order to speed-up the boot times.

          After evaluating the different compression options for the kernel image, the Ubuntu developers decided to make use of LZ4 on supported architectures for the kernel image and initramfs. Even with slower rotational storage, the much faster decompression times of LZ4 should yield benefit.

        • Ubuntu 19.10 Will Boot Faster Thanks to LZ4 Compression

          Ubuntu 19.10 boot times from installation media will be faster thanks to the use of LZ4 decompression for kernel and initramfs.

        • Colin King: Boot speed improvements for Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine

          The early boot requires loading and decompressing the kernel and initramfs from the boot storage device. This speed is dependent on several factors, speed of loading an image from the boot device, the CPU and memory/cache speed for decompression and the compression type.

          Generally speaking, the smallest (best) compression takes longer to decompress due to the extra complexity in the compression algorithm. Thus we have a trade-off between load time vs decompression time.

          For slow rotational media (such as a 5400 RPM HDD) with a slow CPU the loading time can be the dominant factor. For faster devices (such as a SSD) with a slow CPU, decompression time may be the dominate factor. For devices with fast 7200-10000 RPM HDDs with fast CPUs, the time to seek to the data starts to dominate the load time, so load times for different compressed kernel sizes is only slightly different in load time.

          The Ubuntu kernel team ran several experiments benchmarking several x86 configurations using the x86 TSC (Time Stamp Counter) to measure kernel load and decompression time for 6 different compression types: BZIP2, GZIP, LZ4, LZMA, LZMO and XZ. BZIP2, LZMA and XZ are slow to decompress so they got ruled out very quickly from further tests.

        • Machine Learning Operations (MLOps): Deploy at Scale

          Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning adoption in the enterprise is exploding from Silicon Valley to Wall Street with diverse use cases ranging from the analysis of customer behaviour and purchase cycles to diagnosing medical conditions.

          Following on from our webinar ‘Getting started with AI’, this webinar will dive into what success looks like when deploying machine learning models, including training, at scale.

        • Ubuntu’s Snapcraft Snap Creator Tool Will Soon Get a Windows Installer
    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Józef Kucia, Wine developer and founder of Vkd3d has passed away

        This morning we have some sad news to share that CodeWeavers announced last night, as Wine developer Józef Kucia has sadly passed away.

        Kucia was the founder of Vkd3d, a Direct3D 12 to Vulkan layer used with Wine as well as being a direct contributor to Wine, Mesa and Debian.

      • A Tragic Loss

        This past month, we here at CodeWeavers and the wider Wine community suffered a devastating loss. Our friend and colleague, Józef Kucia, died at the age of 28.

        Józef first contributed to Wine in March of 2012, showing remarkable skill with Wine’s D3D technology. He became a key contributor to Wine, submitting over 2,500 patches. He also contributed to other open source projects including Mesa and Debian. Józef founded and led the vkd3d project and provided insight and guidance to the Vulkan working group.

        Józef joined CodeWeavers in 2015, and quickly became one of our most valued employees.

      • Get your business up and running with these open source tools

        After serving as a CIO in higher education and government for nearly nine years and in senior IT leadership positions for most of my 20-year career, I decided to change gears. I had always found the most joy in coaching, advising, and mentoring IT leaders. At various CIO roundtable events and CIO forums, I often helped new CIOs and IT directors “get their feet under them,” and I decided I wanted to do more of that.

        So I created my own company! At IT Mentor Group LLC, I partner with CIOs and IT leaders to advise on strategic planning and organizational development. To help build up organizations, I also offer an IT Leadership Development training program to provide skills and tools for current and emerging IT leaders.

        Since I have always been an open source software advocate, I decided to run my business using open source where possible. And yes, you really can operate a business using open source software.

      • Forking the syllabus (and three other ways to hack education this year)

        Students everywhere are returning to school this season. But what kinds of schools are they returning to?

        Are their classrooms organized like industrial-era factory floors, built around ideals like mass standardization and tailored for maximum efficiency? Or do they look more like agile, networked learning communities?

        Are they acting like passive receptacles for data? Or are they collaboratively shaping what and how they learn—and connecting their lessons to projects and contexts outside the classroom?

        In other words: Do their classrooms function the same way they have for roughly 100 years? Or are they becoming more open, preparing students for the more participatory and dynamic world they’re about to enter?

      • OSI Seeks Faculty (YOU!) to Teach New Open Source Courses

        The OSI is fortunate to include in our membership, board alumni, and business partners some of the world’s most renowned innovators and recognized leaders in Open Source Software. Together the OSI community represents every facet of open source, including technical development, business practices, community management, as well as licensing and related legal issues. As more organizations leverage Open Source Software, employers are seeking talent well-versed in open source methods, culture, and management practices to ensure that their investments in open source projects provide the desired benefits for the company, while aligning with the values of, and contributing to, open source communities.

      • Lesson plans for an open education

        Are they listening passively from the back of the room? Or are they collaboratively shaping what and how they learn as their teachers connect their lessons to projects and contexts outside the classroom?

        Are they submitting large projects in high-stakes gambits for definitive grades? Or are they releasing their materials for assessment early and often, airing their mistakes, gathering useful feedback, and iterating their way to success?

        In other words: Do their classrooms function the same way they have for roughly 100 years? Or are they becoming more open? Do their teachers have the freedom to prepare them for the more participatory and dynamic world they’re about to enter?

      • Kubernetes literally everywhere, smoking hot Java, and more industry trends

        As part of my role as a senior product marketing manager at an enterprise software company with an open source development model, I publish a regular update about open source community, market, and industry trends for product marketers, managers, and other influencers. Here are five of my and their favorite articles from that update.

      • ONF Open Sources Stratum, Basis for Its Next-Gen SDN Stack
      • Events

        • Purism at GUADEC 2019

          GUADEC 2019 took place in Thessaloniki, Greece, and some of Purism’s team members were there. This year’s program was excellent, with plenty of interesting presentations; among them, Tobias Bernard’s talk about adaptive patterns and GNOME apps that work well across different form factors, from phones to desktops. Below is a video of his talk, which we think you should really watch when you have a chance–and here are the slides.

        • SUSECON 2020 Registration is Now Open!

          At SUSECON ’20 you will access a vast amount of technical knowledge and training as you participate in activities that enhance your skills, introduce you to new technologies, and pave the way for you to interact with peers and experts from around the world.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Open Policy & Advocacy Blog: CASE Act Threatens User Rights in the United States

            This week, the House Judiciary Committee is expected to mark up the Copyright Alternative in Small Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act of 2019 (H.R. 2426). While the bill is designed to streamline the litigation process, it will impose severe costs upon users and the broader internet ecosystem. More specifically, the legislation would create a new administrative tribunal for claims with limited legal recourse for users, incentivizing copyright trolling and violating constitutional principles. Mozilla has always worked for copyright reform that supports businesses and internet users, and we believe that the CASE Act will stunt innovation and chill free expression online. With this in mind, we urge members to oppose passage of H.R. 2426.

            First, the tribunal created by the legislation conflicts with well-established separation of powers principles and limits due process for potential defendants. Under the CASE Act, a new administrative board would be created within the Copyright Office to review claims of infringement. However, as Professor Pamela Samuelson and Kathryn Hashimoto of Berkeley Law point out, it is not clear that Congress has the authority under Article I of the Constitution to create this tribunal. Although Congress can create tribunals that adjudicate “public rights” matters between the government and others, the creation of a board to decide infringement disputes between two private parties would represent an overextension of its authority into an area traditionally governed by independent Article III courts.

          • Mozilla VR Blog: WebXR emulator extension

            We are happy to announce the release of our WebXR emulator browser extension which helps WebXR content creation.

          • Firefox security tips: Understand how hackers work

            Forget about those hackers in movies trying to crack the code on someone’s computer to get their top secret files. The hackers responsible for data breaches usually start by targeting companies, rather than specific individuals. They want to get data from as many people as possible so they can use, resell or leverage it to make money.

          • Firefox’s Test Pilot Program Returns with Firefox Private Network Beta

            Like a cat, the Test Pilot program has had many lives. It originally started as an Add-on before we relaunched it three years ago. Then in January, we announced that we were evolving our culture of experimentation, and as a result we closed the Test Pilot program to give us time to further explore what was next.

            We learned a lot from the Test Pilot program. First, we had a loyal group of users who provided us feedback on projects that weren’t polished or ready for general consumption. Based on that input we refined and revamped various features and services, and in some cases shelved projects altogether because they didn’t meet the needs of our users. The feedback we received helped us evaluate a variety of potential Firefox features, some of which are in the Firefox browser today.

            If you haven’t heard, third time’s the charm. We’re turning to our loyal and faithful users, specifically the ones who signed up for a Firefox account and opted-in to be in the know about new products testing, and are giving them a first crack to test-drive new, privacy-centric products as part of the relaunched Test Pilot program. The difference with the newly relaunched Test Pilot program is that these products and services may be outside the Firefox browser, and we will be far more polished, and just one step shy of general public release.

          • In the US? You Can Try Firefox’s New VPN Feature

            Not only has Mozilla suddenly revived its (much missed) Test Pilot program, but it’s using it to check the tyres on a really interesting new feature: a VPN.

            The new Test Pilot site is currently home to ‘Firefox Private Network’, a beta product that, the company says, is near release.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


      • Public Services/Government

        • FLOSS Penetrating Department of Defense? It’s Classified

          FLOSS is penetrating the government sector of countries throughout the world. That holds true right here in the good ole U.S.A. A world that was intent on utilizing proprietary software is slowly changing its tune. The United States has not been as progressive in this area as some other countries, but over the course of the last few years, it has finally decided to jump on the train. The benefits are just too hard to ignore. While this topic is wide ranging, the focus of this piece will be on the Department of Defense (DoD) in particular.

          If there is any area of government where one would assume FLOSS would have a hard time penetrating, it would appear the DoD would be at the top of the list. After all, security is the foremost thought in any of those individuals minds. The software that the DoD uses is scrutinized to the nth degree. Thus, one might think they would favor proprietary solutions. Luckily, the DoD has seen the light and realized that one not need to only look at closed systems. This was all assisted by the Federal Source Code Policy in 2016. The policy pushed government entities to review open source alternatives. As a result, the DoD launched the Code.mil project in 2017 on GitHub. According to the code.mil site, the goal is to foster open collaboration with the developer community around the world on DoD open source projects. While this continues to be a work in progress, it showcases the interest of the DoD to participate in the FLOSS world.

      • Programming/Development

        • Java finally goes all in on open source with the Jakarta EE 8 release

          Java being fully open-sourced has been a long, long time coming. While Sun open-sourced some of Java as long ago as November 2006, actually using Java in an open-source way was… troublesome. Just ask Google about Android and Java. But for Java in the enterprise things have changed.

          On September 10, The Eclipse Foundation announced the full open-source release of the Jakarta EE 8 Full Platform and Web Profile specifications and related Technology Compatibility Kits (TCKs).

          This comes after Oracle let go of most of Java Enterprise Edition’s (JEE) intellectual property. Oracle retains Java’s trademarks though — thus Java EE naming convention has been changed to Jakarta EE. But for practical programming and production purposes Jakarta EE 8 is the next generation of enterprise Java.

        • The Eclipse Foundation Releases Jakarta EE 8 Specifications; Completes Transition to Eclipse Foundation as the New Home for Open Source Cloud Native Java

          The Eclipse Foundation today announced during the JakartaOne Livestream virtual conference the release of the Jakarta EE 8 Full Platform and Web Profile specifications and related Technology Compatibility Kits (TCKs). This release provides a new baseline for the evolution and innovation of enterprise Java technologies under an open, vendor-neutral, community-driven process. As a result, Java vendors, developers, and customers alike now have a foundation for migrating mission-critical Java EE applications and workloads to a standard enterprise Java stack for a cloud native world. This release represents a major milestone for the world’s leading innovators in cloud native Java, including Fujitsu, IBM, Oracle, Payara, Red Hat, Tomitribe, and dedicated independent community members who are collaborating at the Eclipse Foundation to advance Jakarta EE, the successor to Java EE.

        • The New Features Of LLVM 9.0 & Clang 9.0 – Includes Building The Linux x86_64 Kernel

          The LLVM 9.0 release is running a few weeks behind schedule but should be out in the days ahead along with other LLVM sub-project releases like Clang 9.0. Here’s a look at what’s on tap for this half-year update to the LLVM compiler infrastructure.

        • A bug found in Glibc limits modern SIMD instructions to only Intel, inhibiting performance of AMD and other CPUs

          Yesterday, Mingye Wang reported a bug in the Glibc, GNU C Library. According to him, the dl_platform detection performs “cripple AMD” in the sysdeps in Glibc. The dl_platform check is used for dispatching SIMD (Single instruction, multiple data) libraries.

          Explaining the bug in detail, Wang writes, that in 2017, Glibc got the capability to transparently load libraries for specific CPU families with some SIMD extensions combinations to benefit the x86 users. However, this implementation limits two “good” sets of modern SIMD instructions to only Intel processors that prevent competitor CPUs with equivalent capabilities to fully perform, something that should not work in any free software package.

        • Find the maximum gap between the successive numbers in its sorted form from a Python list

          Given a Python list consists of plus or minus numbers, we need to sort that list then find the maximum gap between the successive numbers in that list regarding of its sign.

        • LEGB? Meet ICPO, Python’s search strategy for attributes

          When it comes to variables, Python has a well-known search strategy, known by the acronym “LEGB.” Whenever you mention a variable — and by “variable,” I mean a name that could be referencing data, a function, or a class — Python tries to find it in four different places: The local (function) scope, the enclosing function’s scope, the global scope, and finally in the “builtins” namespace.

          Variable scoping seems both boring and annoying, but it actually explains a lot about Python’s design. It’s really worth learning about, and won’t take much of your time. Indeed, I have a free e-mail course on the subject; you’re welcome to subscribe.

          But what about attributes? How does Python search for those?

        • Layering security throughout DevOps

          The DevOps movement has changed how we integrate and publish our work. It has taken us from slow, sometimes yearly, release cycles to daily (or even hourly, in some cases) releases. We are capable of writing code and seeing our changes in production almost instantly. While that can give our customers and us a warm and fuzzy feeling, it can also provide an opening for malicious attackers.

          DevOps was an amazing first step to break down walls and support fast responses to market changes and customer demands, but there is still an important wall we need to break, one important group we need to bring into the fold: security operations (SecOps).

        • Excellent Free Books to Learn Fortran

          Fortran (Formula translation) is a multi-paradigm programming language invented by John Backus of IBM in the 1950s. It is particularly notable for innovation; it was the first high-level language, using the first compiler.

          The language is designed to be simple to understand, yet retains the efficiency in execution as assembly language – about 80% as efficient as assembly/machine code. Fortran is machine independent, and a problem oriented language. It is often used in the scientific community, particularly among physicists, and is designed for scientific numerical computing. Fortran allows for high parallelization, it’s easy to optimize, and lends itself particularly well to computationally intensive fields such as finite element analysis, numerical weather prediction, computational physics, computational chemistry, and computational fluid dynamics.

          Fortran has evolved over time, with various standards including Fortran IV, Fortran 77, Fortran 90 and Fortran 95. More recent revisions are Fortran 2003, and Fortran 2008. Since Fortran 9x, it has many structured programming features, dynamic memory, operator overloading, and primitive objects. It is both the language of the past, the current, and the future (high-performance computing is unlikely to cast aside Fortran). Despite its age, Fortran is still very much alive and kicking. Fortran has a vast number of libraries of code.

  • Leftovers

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Power Outage For Federal Court Computer System Screws Up Three Months Worth Of Job Applications?!?

        For years, we’ve talked about what a total joke the federal courts’ PACER system is. That’s the computer system the federal courts use for accessing court documents. It acts like it was designed in about 1998 and hasn’t been touched since (and even when it was designed, it wasn’t designed well). But that’s not the only fucked up computer system that the federal courts use. A few years back when I was an expert witness in a federal case, I had to make use of a different US court website just to get paid by the government — and while it’s been a few years, I still remember that it required you to use Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer! It had lots of other issues as well.

      • How The Cyber Insurance Industry’s Bottom Line Is Fueling Ransomware

        The past decade or so has seen an explosive upward trend for the cyber insurance industry. Given the rise of malware, particularly of ransomware, it’s perhaps not surprising that an insurance market sprouted up around that reality. It’s gotten to the point that those of us who’s day to day business is managing client networks in the SMB space are now regularly fielding requests for how to obtain cyber insurance.

      • Potential ‘Mirai-style botnet’ could be created via Telestar Digital Radio vulnerabilities

        Two security holes in popular IoT products, relating to telnet, open ports and weak hardcoded passwords reminiscent of the methods used by the Mirai botnet, reveal just how vulnerable IoT devices remain

      • Security updates for Tuesday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (docker.io, icedtea-web, and trafficserver), openSUSE (opera), Red Hat (bind, firefox, go-toolset:rhel8, kernel, nghttp2, and polkit), SUSE (buildah, curl, java-1_7_1-ibm, and skopeo), and Ubuntu (freetype, memcached, python2.7, python3.4, and python2.7, python3.5, python3.6, python3.7).

      • IPFire 2.23 – Core Update 135 Released

        Michael Tremer has announced the new release of IPFire 2.23 – Core Update 135 on Sep 04, 2019.

      • Exim patches a major security bug found in all versions that left millions of Exim servers vulnerable to security attacks [Ed: If only we saw similar headlines about Microsoft Windows each time a hole was found in Photoshop...]

        A vulnerability was found in all the versions of Exim, a mail transfer agent (MTA), that when exploited can let attackers run malicious code with root privileges.

      • KeePass Password Safe 2.43

        KeePass is a free open source password manager, which helps you to manage your passwords in a secure way. You can put all your passwords in one database, which is locked with one master key or a key file. So you only have to remember one single master password or select the key file to unlock the whole database. The databases are encrypted using the best and most secure encryption algorithms currently known (AES and Twofish).

        KeePass is really free, and more than that: it is open source (OSI certified). You can have a look at its full source and check whether the encryption algorithms are implemented correctly.

      • Live Patching Case Study of GESIS

        You can save time and resources by using Live Patching. GESIS is one of the many organizations who achieved excellent results using SUSE Linux Enterprise Live Patching. Here we outline some of those results so you can make an assessment about how these can apply to your environment.

      • Linux Kernel flexcop_usb_probe Function NULL Pointer Dereference Vulnerability [CVE-2019-15291]

        A vulnerability in the Linux Kernel could allow a local attacker to cause a denial of service (DoS) condition on a targeted system.

        The vulnerability is due to a NULL pointer dereference condition that exists in the flexcop_usb_probe function, as defined in the drivers/media/usb/b2c2/flexcop-usb.c source code file of the affected software.

        An attacker with physical access to a targeted system could exploit this vulnerability by inserting a USB device that submits malicious input to the targeted system. A successful exploit could cause a DoS condition on the system.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • The Secret to Living Longer Is Being Rich, Study Reveals

        The top 400 richest Americans have more wealth than the 150 million Americans in the bottom 60% of the country’s wealth distribution, according to a January working paper from University of California at Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman.

      • What’s the True Unemployment Rate in the US?

        The real unemployment rate is probably somewhere between 10%-12%. Here’s why: the 3.7% is the U-3 rate, per the labor dept. But that’s the rate only for full time employed. What the labor dept. calls the U-6 includes what it calls discouraged workers (those who haven’t looked for work in the past 4 weeks). Then there’s what’s called the ‘missing labor force’–i.e. those who haven’t looked in the past year. They’re not calculated in the 3.7% U-3 unemployment rate number either. Why? Because you have to be ‘out of work and actively looking for work’ to be counted as unemployed and therefore part of the 3.7% rate.

      • Is Labor Coming Back to Life?

        This past Saturday was the annual Labor Day Parade in New York City. They don’t have it on the actual holiday anymore – too many people are more interested in a long, late summer weekend in the mountains or at the beach.

      • Poverty in America a Literal ‘Death Sentence,’ Says Sanders, Following Devastating GAO Report

        “If we do not urgently act to solve the economic distress of millions of Americans, a whole generation will be condemned to early death.”

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Troll factories? So 2016. How the Moscow government diversified its online election interference strategies this summer

      Shortly before Sunday’s elections to the Moscow City Duma, a mass of Russian-language news sites and social media accounts began posting about what they called “Lanovoy’s list.” The outlets all claimed that Vasily Lanovoy, a popular award-winning actor, had compiled a list of the candidates he believed should be elected to the City Duma in every precinct. The idea of such a list was not new: After opposition candidates were blocked en masse from running for the Moscow City Duma, liberal activists led by Alexey Navalny began promoting a “Smart Vote” campaign, which recommended candidates in Moscow’s precincts who were allowed to run but who are not favored by the city’s current regime. Lanovoy’s list was clearly a pro-regime alternative to the Smart Vote strategy, but there was a catch: Vasily Lanovoy soon announced that he hadn’t created the list at all. Meduza discovered that the websites and social media pages that had posted the fake list were all controlled by companies with close ties to Moscow City Hall. Our investigative division followed those ties into a rabbit hole of online state propaganda that makes troll factories look like old news.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • YouTube Lets Indonesian Government Block Satirical Video That Criticizes The Indonesian Government

      Recent protests in West Papua have made things uncomfortable for the Indonesian government. The protests were triggered by recordings of Indonesian military personnel taunting Papuans and calling them racial slurs. The Indonesian government responded to the protests by shutting down internet access and seeking to arrest a prominent West Papua civil rights lawyer for allegedly spreading “fake news.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Appeals Court Says An IP Address Is ‘Tantamount To A Computer’s Name’ While Handing The FBI Another NIT Win

      Fortunately, this profoundly-wrong conclusion is buried inside a decision that’s merely off-base. If it was the crux of the case, we might have witnessed a rush of copyright trolls to the Eleventh Circuit to take advantage of the panel’s wrongness.

    • Watering Holes and Million Dollar Dissidents: the Changing Economics of Digital Surveillance

      Recently, Google’s Project Zero published a report describing a newly-discovered campaign of surveillance using chains of zero day iOS exploits to spy on iPhones. This campaign employed multiple compromised websites in what is known as a “watering hole” attack. The compromised websites would automatically run the chain of exploits on anyone who visited, with the aim of installing a surveillance implant on the device. Google didn’t reveal the names of the websites or indeed who was being targeted but it soon became clear through other reporting that the likely target of this campaign was the Uyghur community, a Turkic Muslim minority in China facing mass detention and other harsh crackdowns perpetrated by the Chinese government with the most repressive policies coming into place in recent years.

      Security company Volexity followed up the week after with detailed reports of similar website exploit chains targeting Android and Windows devices, again hosted on websites with a primarily Uyghur readership. This week, another publication confirmed that the Chinese government had compromised several international telcos in order to perform yet more invasive surveillance on expatriated Uyghurs.

    • Targeting PATRIOT Act Provision, Rights Groups Urge House Dems to Block NSA From Collecting Americans’ Phone Records

      “Mass surveillance is wrong and dangerous to our democracy.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • New Abortion Laws Contribute to Sexist Environments That Harm Everyone’s Health

      Nine states have passed laws in 2019 alone that restrict abortion at the earliest stages of pregnancy. Those of us who study public health are becoming increasingly concerned about the potential for negative health consequences of these kinds of policies on women.

    • A lucky few dozen Here are the prisoners Moscow and Kyiv traded over the weekend

      On September 7, Russia and Ukraine each traded 35 prisoners. Two planes simultaneously landed in Moscow and Kyiv, freeing dozens of criminal suspects and convicts, among whom were Crimea filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and Russian state journalist Kirill Vyshinsky. Meduza runs down the list of exchanged prisoners.

    • Kremlin refuses to release list of freed prisoners despite explicit promise to do so

      Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov has refused to respond to questions about exactly which individuals the Ukrainian government released to Russia as part of a September 7 prisoner exchange.

    • Judge Reinstates Nationwide Halt on Trump Asylum Policy Plan

      A U.S. judge in California on Monday reinstated a nationwide halt on the Trump administration’s plan to prevent most migrants from seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.

    • ‘Victory’: Federal Judge Reinstates Nationwide Injunction on Trump Effort to Block Asylum Seekers at Southern Border

      “Before today’s decision, entire parts of this country had essentially become asylum-free zones, where people in search of safety would be arbitrarily barred from asylum based on where they happened to cross the border.”

    • Boris Johnson,Voice of the People? Give Me a Break.

      …famous cultural theorist Stuart Hall was on to something when he remarked that “the disorderly thrust of political events disturbs the symmetry of political analysis.”

    • Investigation Uncovers Mass Purging Of Phoenix Police Department Misconduct Records

      There’s nothing about American policing that police unions can’t make worse. A powerful obstacle standing in the way of accountability and transparency, police unions ensure Americans remain underserved by their public servants.

    • There is But One Race: Human

      Want to blame something for differences in skin color, blame the sun. It’s all in the melanin.

    • Mamphela Ramphele: Do we have a permissive atmosphere for lawlessness in South Africa?

      Last week former president Thabo Mbeki, an elder in our midst, commented that: “There is trouble, trouble, trouble everywhere. Lawlessness suggests that South African society had a permissive atmosphere that allows for this kind of crime.”

      So where does this permissive atmosphere for lawlessness originate from? How does a society which has human rights embedded in its Constitution, and one that prides itself in Ubuntu, find itself in an atmosphere that permits lawlessness?

      We neglected a number of rituals at the beginning of our transition to democracy. First, coming out of a human rights abusive apartheid system we should have deliberately undertaken cleansing ceremonies beyond the Truth and Reconciliation Commission process, to acknowledge that we have been polluted by our ugly past, and to then commit to invest in promoting healing of the wounds of divisions and humiliation of the majority by a minority.

    • Madonsela: ‘Calls for death penalty won’t solve femicide’

      Professor Thuli Madonsela says there needs to be more investment in the prevention of gender based violence.

      The country is still reeling from a spate of murders and attacks on women and children with many calling for drastic action.

      Madonsela warns that steps like reinstating the death penalty will not address the problem.

    • How have we unlearnt our liberty in just 25 years?

      Milan Kundera, a French author and thought leader born in then Czechoslovakia, penned these words in the darkest period before the fall of the oppressive Soviet regime.

      We might benefit from reflecting on his wisdom at this time in the life of our nation.

      As we reel from the combined onslaught of brutal violence against women and children, and widespread public violence and contempt in our cities that is destroying livelihoods, properties and human lives, we need to ponder how we got to this place.

      How have we unlearnt our liberty in just 25 years?

      How did a people that mobilised effectively and successfully against a brutal apartheid regime erase their memories of that victory?

      How did a people that built a vibrant social movement based on reawakening their consciousness of who they are as men, women and young people with a rich heritage lose their sense of identity as Africans?

      How did a people that invested in the solidarity of all freedom-loving citizens across the divide-and-rule tactics of the enemies of freedom allow themselves to erase the memories of this heroism?

      How did a people that organised poor communities across the country into powerful street committees, ward councils, village councils, women’s movements, youth groups, civic organisations, faith-based communities and workers’ unions – against all odds – become passive spectators of the looting of state resources and become complicit in xenophobic and femicidal acts?

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Charter Spectrum Once Again ‘Competes’ By… Raising Prices

      When Charter Communications (Spectrum) proposed merging with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks in 2016, the company repeatedly promised that the amazing “synergies” would lower rates, increase competition, boost employment, and improve the company’s services. Of course like countless telecom megamergers before it, that never actually happened. Instead, the company quickly set about raising rates to manage the huge debt load. And its service has been so aggressively terrible, the company almost got kicked out of New York State, something I’ve never seen in 20 years of covering telecom.

  • Monopolies

    • Patents and Software Patents

      • Patent Trolls Are Not Useful

        That opinion came in a case brought by the notoriously litigious firm ATL, which claimed (incredibly) that labeling them a patent troll was legal defamation, rather than a statement of opinion. Their argument effectively boiled down to the idea that an opinion was only an opinion when it was labeled as such: in other words, unless a writer said “I think” or “it is my opinion that” before making a statement, it could be construed as a statement of fact, and therefore was defamatory.

        It doesn’t take a genius to spot the logical hole in this absurd misreading of libel law, and the New Hampshire Supreme Court was quick to spot it, and point it out. They noted, for instance, that the term “patent troll” was not a term with clearly defined parameters, but was rather a subjective assessment of a firm’s legal practice, and therefore clearly opinion, rather than a maliciously false statement of fact. There was no way, in other words, to “objectively verify” whether someone was a patent troll. Moreover, it was obvious that simply saying “I think” before a statement didn’t mean it couldn’t be defamatory. “It is my opinion that ATL’s founder flew on Jeffrey Epstein’s Lolita Express more often than Bill Clinton” would, for instance, obviously be a defamatory statement. Though, as the kids say, “big if true.”


        At the risk of avoiding defamation lawsuits by ATL, let me put this in terms even they will recognize as opinion – albeit well-founded opinion. It is my very, very well-considered opinion that this effort is one of the most transparent attempts to legally enshrine intellectual property oligarchy in recent memory. I think that the firms who support this effort – ATL no doubt among them – are maliciously twisting the meaning of words in order to not have to earn their bread. I feel that rent-seeking garbage institutions and their rent-seeking cronies in Congress should learn that words mean things – you know, words like “defamation,” “opinion,” and “useful.” And if they don’t like what those words mean, I feel they should consider that it’s not defamatory to hold the same opinion as the American people: that folks who try to change the rules when they lose are most certainly not useful.

      • UKIPO releases application figures

        The number of patent applications filed at the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) in 2018 saw a year-on-year decrease of 5 percent, while trademark and design applications saw 12 and 26 percent increases, respectively.
        According to the 2018 report from the UKIPO, the office received 20,931 patent applications in 2018, of which 12,061 (57 percent) were registered.

        The largest majority of patent applicants were based in the UK, followed by China, Japan, Germany and the US.

        Furthermore, according to the International Patent Classification (IPC), the most prolific industries filing patent applications last year were transport, mining and electricity. This is supported by the UKIPO identifying the most frequent applicants to be Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Ford, Halliburton Energy Services and Dyson.

      • STRONGER Patents Act of 2019

        Upcoming Hearing: September 11, 2019 held by the Intellectual Property Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee with testimony from: Bradley Ditty (InterDigital); Prof. Mossoff (Scalia Law); Prof. Cotter (Minnesota); Dan Lang (Cisco); Josh Landau (CCIA); and Eb Bright (ExploaMed). [Written testimony will be available on the Hearing website sometime on the 11th.]


        A group of law professors have submitted a letter to Congress arguing against the STRONGER Patent Act. The core argument of the letter is that the inter partes review (IPR) system “has proven to be a robust and efficient check on patent validity, and has had a positive impact across industries, including high-tech, Main Street, and pharmaceuticals, where invalid patents can keep drug prices high.”

      • Senate to Hold STRONGER Act Hearing

        The Subcommittee is holding hearings at 2:30 pm (ET) on Wednesday, September 11th in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, with a panel of witnesses comprising legal academics and patent counsel from (predominantly) high-tech industry representatives. The hearings will be available for later viewing on the Subcommittee’s website.

        It is impossible (not to say foolhardy) to try to predict the fate of this or any of the patent-related bills percolating in the House of Representatives as well as the Senate. While conventional wisdom counsels that Congressional consideration of patenting matters is both consistent with its proper role (after all, the Patent Clause is in Article I of the Constitution) and a welcome relief from judicial fiat regarding patents, the STRONGER Act (and the perceived need for it) just as strongly suggests that the patent community sometimes needs to be careful about what it collectively wishes for; after all, the AIA was the culmination of more than a decade of Congressional efforts to reform U.S. patent law and these efforts have had not entirely welcome consequences. As always, the best advice for patent-savvy citizens is to contact your Congressional representatives, in each House. At least you will know you did your part to change U.S. patent law for the better.

What the Linux Foundation’s Jim Zemlin Really Thinks of Desktop/Laptop GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft at 10:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Linux Foundation never cared about GNU/Linux; even a year after its formation it expressed disdain for the desktop/laptop as target platform (or form factor)

Winux Foundation logo

Summary: Interesting words from Ken Starks resonate well with what we nowadays see in the so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation, whose dedication to Linux is like that of a circus to a monkeys’ sideshow

“We are dreck in the eyes of the Linux Foundation…”

Sums it up really well. Or as Christine Hall put it, “I get the impression Zemlin enjoys hobnobbing with the rich and powerful.”

“…the pay grade is high when you fight against Software Freedom.”We wrote about it last month.

Readers may wish to recall the good work of Ken Starks, whom I befriended over a decade ago when he poured out all of his energy into advocacy of GNU/Linux (despite lingering health issues). Here is what he wrote two years ago:

In 2008, I was asked to attend the (by invitation only), Linux Collaboration Summit in Austin Texas. Since I am local to Austin and my head swelled X 10 by receiving this invite, I rounded up one of our non profit Directors and we pushed our way through the front door, into Mecca, as far as I was concerned.

I was still a bit naive and star-struck when I attended that summit. Between presentations, Tom King and I collared Jim Zemlin and I made mention to him that there was little to catch the Desktop user’s attention or interest within the gathering’s program and scheduling for the duration of the summit. Zemlin stood in front of Tom and I and looked down his nose while explaining that there was no real market for the Desktop application For linux and The Linux Foundation had no real use for the desktop or its users.

Tom and I stood, completely gobsmacked; for the next minute, both of us trying to process what we had just heard and from whom we had heard it. That was an eye-opening experience, and I could not have cared less if I was ever invited again, which I have not. We are dreck in the eyes of the Linux Foundation, us Desktop folks…and it’s a shame that the LF profits from the hard work from those that contribute reams of code for the Linux Desktop.

It’s a wonder that Desktop linux has made as much progress as it had, given that “The linux Foundation” would just as soon see the whole “desktop thing” sucked into a black hole.

All the remaining comments (bar few) are also worth reading, including those which point out Mac Asay shooting the messenger, as one can expect. Asay is no friend of Software Freedom; he’s a sworn enemy of it; been the case for about a decade now (he had promoted the GPL until he suddenly started slamming it, whereupon he also promoted proprietary software companies under the guise of “Open Source”). These are the people with the biggest paychecks; the pay grade is high when you fight against Software Freedom. Ask multi-millionaires such as Miguel de Icaza, unlike Federico Mena (GNOME co-founder). One works for Microsoft, having defected more than a decade ago, whereas the latter is still hacking for freedom, mostly with Rust nowadays.

The article to which all the comments are strung or clustered around speaks of the Linux Foundation’s despicable attitude towards the GPL — the subject of this morning's post.

Jim Zimlin, the foundation’s head honcho since before the beginning (he was also top dog at FSG), decided to go for the big bucks the corporate world was offering and pretty much sold the folks who’d been using Linux since before there was a Red Hat down the river. As far as I can tell, Zimlin & Company hasn’t spent more than 50 cents and ten minutes of effort on desktop Linux in the 10 years the foundation has been around. No money in a co-op advertising kitty to incentivise OEMs to push desktops with Linux preinstalled. No money to help distro developers create a better product. As far as the Linux Foundation is concerned, desktop Linux users and developers are on their own.


The organization has also shown a preference for “permissive” licenses, such as Apache, over “copyleft” licenses like the GPL, under which both GNU and Linux — the two major components of a Linux desktop distro — are licensed. This is understandable, as most corporate users and developers of open source prefer licenses that keep the door open for them to employ the code into proprietary projects.

What isn’t understandable, or acceptable, is referring to the GPL in terms reminicent of those used by Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer in the first decade of the 21st century.

On March 23, the Linux Foundation posted an article on its website, Linux.com, by Greg Olson, the foundation’s senior director open source consulting services. In the article, “Five Legal Risks For Companies Involved in Open Source Software Development,” he wrote that “permissive licenses present little risk,” while referring to the GPL and other copyleft licenses as “Restrictive Licenses” and “viral.”


FOSS Advocate and writer Simon Phipps also took exception to the article, posting an annotated version by way of the Genius website, and tweeting for people to add their own annotations. In a reply to a retweet of Brian Proffitt he said, “Seems Black Duck FUD against copyleft has found a new home at @linuxfoundation.”

The Linux Foundation’s handling of the situation after-the-fact was perhaps more telling than the article itself. Instead of admitting something like “an unfortunate choice of words” and opening up a dialog around the article — which would have been “the open source way” — the foundation took an action that seems akin to something the Ballmer era Microsoft would’ve done. They quietly and without comment removed public access to the article.

Nothing to see here. Move on.

So much for transparency.

We already mentioned this at the time (two years ago), but now is a good time for recollection and reconsideration. The attitude towards the GPL has since then worsened and pretty much all the code is being outsourced by Microsoft (especially newer stuff, which means that the Microsoft takeover wasn’t a deterrent). The site in question (Linux.com, which published the above) has since then seen all of its staff fired — both writers and editors — and to maintain impression of ‘life’ it’s being stuffed with links that promote GPL infringers.

“A great deal of dishonesty and revisionism is only to be expected from those who delete GNU from history and pretend everything began in 1991 in Finland.”It’s worth noting that the Linux Foundation’s Web site no longer mentions "community"*, its VP of “Communications” was removed and was seemingly replaced by a “CMO” (as if it’s a private for-profit company with a marketing department). It also explains very clearly, in the Web site itself, that it’s not about Linux anymore. The name was just used for promotion; they rode the hype wave, which over time they killed. The site is terrible in a lot of other ways. It also says that the Foundation was founded in 2000 (this lie keeps spreading), but actually it came into being in 2007 with a similar management to a group that had existed since Zemlin pretty much ‘discovered’ Linux in 2000, not as a user but as a nontechnical person aided by the likes of Ian Murdock. A great deal of dishonesty and revisionism is only to be expected from those who delete GNU from history and pretend everything began in 1991 in Finland. It’s worth noting that Torvalds is presented as a pretty ‘low level’ employee in the Web site; and yes, he can be fired (from something called after himself; just like Gaël Duval, Steve Jobs and Solomon Hykes). Long live the ‘king’…

Jim Zemlin in tuxedo
Photo credit: The Linux Foundation

* As our own MinceR put it this afternoon (in IRC), “it would be strange to mention community since they kicked out all the non-corporate members; it’s a pretty good warning example, though [as] if you want some technology to survive and remain usable, don’t let the suits touch it, ever…”

Links 10/9/2019: Kate Planning and GnuCash 3.7

Posted in News Roundup at 3:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • IBM

        • Red Hat Quay 3.1, a highly available Kubernetes container registry, arrives

          Kubernetes lets us orchestrate containers, but how do you track your container images? That’s where Quay comes in. It enables you to keep a handle on not just your images but the configuration details you need to get a complete application up and running. Now, Red Hat is releasing Quay 3.1 to enable developers to mirror, store, build, and deploy their images securely across diverse enterprise environments and to leverage several new backend technologies.

          This follows up on May’s Quay 3.0 release. That version brought support for multiple architectures, Windows containers, and a Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)-based image to this container image registry.

        • Red Hat Quay 3.1: Now even better across distributed environments

          Red Hat Quay is a distributed, highly available container registry for enterprises. This release builds on the focus to help Quay users store, build and deploy their images in a more secure way across diverse enterprise environments and to leverage several new backend technologies. With the availability of repository mirroring, a new Kubernetes Operator for a more streamlined setup, a new repository mode to support archived or (temporarily) frozen repositories and enhancements for storage and database support, this release hardens the product’s manageability across hybrid environments.

        • Powering your SAP HANA workloads with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 for SAP Solutions

          While Linux containers and Kubernetes are often discussed as transformative technologies, nearly every IT deployment, new and existing, has one common denominator: data. In-memory database technologies like SAP HANA® can help enterprises accelerate intelligent decision-making but also require a powerful, highly available, and more secure underlying operating system to match the associated data-processing demands. Red Hat’s strategic alliance and long-standing collaboration with SAP makes it possible to pair the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform with mission-critical SAP workloads, delivering a more stable, flexible, and highly available production platform for business transactions.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Linux Headlines – 09/09/2019

        Manjaro begins a new era, KDE sets goals for future usability, and Mozilla rolls out a controversial feature to Firefox.

        Plus after nearly 10 years, one of our favorite open source projects gets a major feature update.

      • Powered Journalistic Freedom With SecureDrop

        The internet has made it easier than ever to share information, but at the same time it has increased our ability to track that information. In order to ensure that news agencies are able to accept truly anonymous material submissions from whistelblowers, the Freedom of the Press foundation has supported the ongoing development and maintenance of the SecureDrop platform. In this episode core developers of the project explain what it is, how it protects the privacy and identity of journalistic sources, and some of the challenges associated with ensuring its security. This was an interesting look at the amount of effort that is required to avoid tracking in the modern era.

      • Python’s Long Tail | Coder Radio 374

        As Python 2′s demise draws near we reflect on Python’s popularity, the growing adoption of static typing, and why the Python 3 transition took so long.

        Plus Apple’s audacious app store tactics, Google’s troubles with Typescript, and more!

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Foundation

        • Twelve Community-Driven Demos Highlight Innovation and Integration Across the Networking Stack

          The ONS Europe CFP collected a record number of submissions this year for speaking as well as for community-driven demos. Accordingly, we’ve expanded the number of demo stations from 10 to 12 and highlight innovations from 7 of the 8 LFN projects from within the LF Networking umbrella (FD.io, ONAP, OPNFV, OpenDaylight, OpenSwitch, PNDA, and Tungsten Fabric), as well as projects from adjacent technology stacks, including Collectd, DPDK, HAPROXY, Helm, Kafka, Kubernetes, Openstack, OpenWRT, and Prometheus. We welcome you to spend some time talking to and learning from these experts in the technical community during the Technical Showcase in the Atrium Monday – Wednesday.

      • Graphics Stack

        • AMD Begins Posting “Dali” APU Linux Graphics Driver Patches

          In addition to AMD’s open-source Linux driver developers being busy in recent weeks bringing up the Renoir APU support, today we’ve seen the first baby steps towards bringing up “Dali” as another upcoming AMD APU.

          The Dali codename has been known for a few months now and has been expected to be a value/mobile APU to launch in 2020. Dali is expected in more budget devices while Renoir should carry better performance up the stack.

        • Vega-Based Renoir APU Has The Same VCN Video Encode/Decode Block As Navi

          The next-generation AMD “Renoir” APU is turning into being an interesting successor over the existing Picasso APUs. While at first it was a letdown finding out that the APU is based on Vega and not their newer Navi architecture, follow-on open-source Linux patches have continued to show that it’s more than a facsimile and in some areas like display and multimedia has blocks in common with Navi.

          It’s been interesting to watch the Renoir APU Linux driver support form since the initial patches last month and more code continues to come out almost weekly for getting this initial support into shape for the Linux 5.4 kernel.

        • Vulkan 1.1.122 Brings Extension Documenting Proprietary Imagination Tech Bits

          The VK_IMG_format_pvrtc Vulkan extension has been around but not publicly document. This extension exposes additional texture compression features specific to Imagination PowerVR texture compression formats (PVRTC). There had been this two year old issue report over the VK_IMG_format_pvrtc extension not being public and they had been unable to provide the documentation over legal grounds. Earlier this year Imagination did provide a PVRTC texture compression user guide and now with Vulkan 1.1.122 they have finally documented this extension. The extension documentation is basically pointing out a number of different enums.

    • Applications

      • Mumble Chat App Get First Major Update in 10 Years

        Mumble is free, open source software available for Windows, macOS and Linux without any licensing, costs or other faff required. It’s available as host and as client software.

        While Mumble is not an app I’m hugely familiar with — I have a vague recollection of using it when I was a guest on the Ubuntu Podcast, but that’s all — it’s a tool I know a lot of folks are enthusiastic about using and promoting.

        So if you’re looking for a decent audio chat app built on top of free standards, do check the latest release out using the downloads available on the Mumble website. There you’ll find Windows, macOS and Linux installer packages.

      • Mumble 1.3.0 Released! How to Install in Ubuntu 18.04

        Mumble, open source low latency and high quality voice chat utility, released new major 1.3.0 released a day ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 16.04, and even Ubuntu 14.04.

        Mumble 1.3.0 is the new major release that features over 3000 changes.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The short and sweet sci-fi story CAT Interstellar is now permanently free to grab

        CAT Interstellar, a rather short sci-fi “walking sim” that I quite enjoyed after playing it back in 2017 has now gone 100% free to grab.

        Speaking about it going free on Steam, the developer noted that they never actually expected it to make any profit. However, they did manage to ship around 100k units across Steam, Humble Bundle and the Playstation Store although most were from sales and bundles.

        What they did with that money is quite sweet though. Grossing around $8k a year across four years, the majority of it went to fostering animals and donating to their “local humane society”. They never really promoted that until now when it’s free, as they thought it would have been a “sleazy sales tactic”.

      • Need a new stresstest for your Linux PC? Geekbench 5 is out adding Vulkan support

        You all love benchmarks right? Hearing the fans on your PC spin up to keep everything inside nice and cool while you start to sweat. Geekbench 5 has been officially released this month.

        One of the big additions is Vulkan support in the GPU Compute Benchmark, along with some new tests included there to run too including “computer vision tasks such as Stereo Matching, and augmented reality tasks such as Feature Matching”.

        They also added some additional CPU benchmark tests too including “machine learning, augmented reality, and computational photography”. Primate Labs also said they increased the “memory footprint of existing workloads” to account for the effect of that on CPU performance. Also added is a bunch of new multi-threaded benchmark modes and so on.

      • Sin Slayers, the dark fantasy roguelike RPG has released with Linux support

        Lead a team of heroes through a dark fantasy world in Sin Slayers, out officially now with Linux support. Note: Key from their PR team.

        Borrowing some ideas from the seven deadly sins, in Sin Slayers you’re tasked with taking down the seven in a place known as the Valley of Fallen Sinners. It’s a mix of turn-based RPG styled combat with elements of roguelikes and dungeon crawlers to create a curious mix.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE’s Kate Text Editor Plans Improvements To Better Compete With Atom

          During this week’s KDE Akademy 2019 conference there was some planning discussions around improving the Kate text editor.

        • Kate Planning

          KDevelop vs. Kate?

          Given already today we enter the area of KDevelop by providing the LSP client, we need to think about what happens in the future with overlapping features.

          It is no goal to evolve Kate into an IDE.

          We think Kate shall be a competitor for editors like Atom, not for full-fledged IDEs like KDevelop or Visual Studio.

          Still, e.g. in the area of project management/code navigation/version control support there will be some overlap.

          The question is: can we share stuff there? What shall be the focus of Kate and KDevelop in e.g. language support?

          I think here it will be interesting which future direction the KDevelop project will take.

        • Akademy 2019 Monday BoF Wrapup

          Monday was the first day of Akademy BoFs, group sessions and hacking. There is a wrapup session at the end of the day so that what happened in the different rooms can be shared with everyone including those not present.

        • More control over warnings for and visibility of deprecated library API via generated export macro header

          KDE Frameworks, the continuation of the “kdelibs” bundle of libraries, but with emphasis on modularization, is now at API-compatible major version 5. Yet one can find legacy API already deprecated in version 3 times, but done so only as comment in the API dox, without support by the compiler. And while lots of API is also properly marked as deprecated to the compiler, the consumer has no KDE Frameworks specific option to control the warnings and visibility. While some “*_NO_DEPRECATED” macros are used, they are not consistently used and usually only for deprecations done at version 5.0.

          As you surely are aware, currently the foundations of the next generation of Qt, version 6, are sketched, and with the end of 2020 there even exists a rough date planned for its initial release. Given the API breakage then happening the same can also be expected for the libraries part of KDE Frameworks. And which would be a good time to also get rid of any legacy cruft.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Vertical Option in Development for Dash to Panel

          If you long for a Dash to Panel vertical option I’ve some seriously good news: one is in development!

          The Dash to Dock Vertical implementation is being developed in a separate branch on the desktop dock’s Github, but its developer has already made quick progress.

          In Dash to Dock vs Dash to Panel face-off the latter would score higher with me simply because it combines the Top Bar and the “Dash” (what GNOME Shell calls the ‘dock’) into a single panel.

          Dash to Panel is neat. It’s tidy. And when paired with a traditional app menu (like the Arc Menu extension) it’s very Cinnamon-esque.

          But Dash to Dock can do something that its width-long rival can’t: be placed on any side of the screen.

    • Distributions

      • Best Linux server distro of 2019

        While Windows may be the world’s most popular Operating System (OS) for desktop PCs, the world’s most popular OS for the internet’s web servers is Linux.

        Usually bundled along with Apache, MySQL, and PHP – and frequently referred to as a LAMP configuration – a wide variety of different Linux distros are used.

        Sometimes it’s down to personal preference, sometimes market forces, and sometimes due to small advantages a particularly distro will have in regards to the core applications to be used, security concerns, or stability issues.

        Ultimately, most web users will never notice any difference because the OS works very much in the background, and it will only be the system administrators and IT managers who take notice of which distro of Linux is used.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Fedora Family

      • Debian Family

        • Purism’s Debian-Based PureOS Linux Goes Stable for Rock Solid Releases

          PureOS is Purism’s in-house developed operating system based on the well-known Debian GNU/Linux OS, which the company is currently deploying on all of their Librem laptops, as well as the Librem 5 smartphone. Until now, PureOS was delivered only as a rolling release where you install once and receive updates forever.

          However, due to the privacy and security-focused Librem 5 Linux phone, which will start shipping to customers on September 24th, the company decided to create a stable version of PureOS that contains well-tested components for a rock solid release, without any bleeding-edge software, which may not always work as intended.

        • Purism starts shipping its Librem 5 open/free phone

          Purism (previously) is a company that crowdfunds free/open laptops and phones whose design goal is to have no proprietary software, even at the lowest levels. The company is best known for its Purism laptops, and I’m very fond of mine (it didn’t end up replacing my Thinkpad, only because I’m addicted to the trackpoint for mousing, and trackpads give me raging RSI) (that said, getting any GNU/Linux to run on a current-model Thinkpad is so hard and results in such a rotten experience that I’m reconsidering whether to switch back).

          For years, the holy grail of free/open hardware has been a competitive mobile phone, with software that respects your privacy and hardware that respects your autonomy (user-replaceable batteries ahoy!). The Librem 5 may be that phone: it runs a free/open OS called Pureos that’s not based on Android or Ios, offers far greater user control without surveillance from the manufacturer, OS isolation from the notoriously insecure baseband module, hardware disconnections for networking/cam/mic, a replaceable battery, a mic jack, and a promise to release “lifetime” updates that improve performance and features of old hardware over time.

        • Shipping schedule released for Linux-driven Librem 5 phone

          Purism has revealed its shipping schedule for its privacy-oriented Librem 5 smartphone. Comprised of six iterations, the shipping schedule spans from this month into Q4 2020, with each iteration including updates to the phone’s hardware, mechanical design and software.

          Purism has announced its shipping schedule for its Librem 5 phone running PureOS. We covered the details of the Librem 5 in our story last month when the phone went on pre-order sale. The company bills it as the world’s first IP-native mobile handset. The unlocked Librem 5 provides end-to-end encrypted decentralized communication, including encrypted calls, texts, and emails. The device provides open source code and support for VPN services. Its design isolates the CPU from the baseband for greater security, and there are hardware kill switches for the camera, microphone, WiFi/Bluetooth radio and baseband.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Google Moves Ahead With Contributing The MLIR Machine Learning IR To LLVM

        Back in April we wrote about MLIR as Google’s new IR designed for machine learning. This intermediate representation was designed for use by any machine learning framework and now this common format is being contributed to LLVM.

        As noted back then, LLVM founder Chris Latner was among those at Google involved in the development of MLIR. As such, it was just a matter of time before this common IR for machine learning was ready to become part of LLVM.

      • Events

        • Hacker Summer Camp 2019: The DEF CON Data Duplication Village

          One last post from Summer Camp this year (it’s been a busy month!) – this one about the “Data Duplication Village” at DEF CON. In addition to talks, the Data Duplication Village offers an opportunity to get your hands on the highest quality hacker bits – that is, copies of somewhere between 15 and 18TB of data spread across 3 6TB hard drives.

        • Distribution kernels at Linux Plumbers Conference 2019

          I’m attending the Linux Plumbers Conference in Lisbon from Monday to Wednesday this week. This morning I followed the “Distribution kernels” track, organised by Laura Abbott.

          I took notes, included below, mostly with a view to what could be relevant to Debian. I think there will be another public set of notes, which I’ll link from here when they appear. There should also be video recordings available at some point.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox will soon 401 your URL with DNS

            There are no specific rollout details for this feature, though Mozilla says it’ll be live for US users by the end of this month. When we’ll see it in Blighty? We’ll let you know when we do. Mozilla is staging the rollout to bug bash any problems it comes across.

          • State of the art protection in Chrome Web Store

            All of you certainly know already that Google is guarding its Chrome Web Store vigilantly and making sure that no bad apples get in. So when you hit “Report abuse” your report will certainly be read carefully by another human being and acted upon ASAP. Well, eventually… maybe… when it hits the news. If it doesn’t, then it probably wasn’t important anyway and these extensions might stay up despite being taken down by Mozilla three months ago.

            As to your legitimate extensions, these will be occasionally taken down as collateral damage in this fierce fight. Like my extension which was taken down due to missing a screenshot because of not having any user interface whatsoever. It’s not possible to give an advance warning either, like asking the developer to upload a screenshot within a week. This kind of lax policies would only encourage the bad guys to upload more malicious extensions without screenshots of course.

            And the short downtime of a few weeks and a few hours of developer time spent trying to find anybody capable of fixing the problem are surely a small price to pay for a legitimate extension in order to defend the privilege of staying in the exclusive club of Chrome extension developers. So I am actually proud that this time my other browser extension, PfP: Pain-free Passwords, was taken down by Google in its relentless fight against the bad actors.

          • Caniuse and MDN compatibility data collaboration

            Web developers spend a good amount of time making web compatibility decisions. Deciding whether or not to use a web platform feature often depends on its availability in web browsers.


            We’ve been asked why the datasets are treated differently. Why didn’t we merge them in the first place? We discussed and considered this option. However, due to the intrinsic differences between our two projects, we decided not to. Here’s why:

            MDN’s support data is very broad and covers feature support at a very granular level. This allows MDN to provide as much detailed information as possible across all web technologies, supplementing the reference information provided by MDN Web Docs.

            Caniuse, on the other hand, often looks at larger features as a whole (e.g. CSS Grid, WebGL, specific file format support). The caniuse approach provides developers with higher level at-a-glance information on whether the feature’s supported. Sometimes detail is missing. Each individual feature is added manually to caniuse, with a primary focus on browser support coverage rather than on feature coverage overall.

            Because of these and other differences in implementation, we don’t plan on merging the source data repositories or matching the data schema at this time. Instead, the integration works by matching the search query to the feature’s description on caniuse.com. Then, caniuse generates an appropriate feature table, and converts MDN support data to the caniuse format on the fly.

      • Healthcare

        • FHA, ONC transition CONNECT interoperability project to the private sector

          While the agencies will no longer maintain or update the CONNECT wiki, it will continue to exist as an open source project whose code and community resources can be “used, adopted and implemented by any interested organization.”


          CONNECT is an open source software and community project, jointly developed 10 years ago by FHA and ONC as another way to harness the expertise of software developers and promote interoperability across the U.S. healthcare system.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

        • Building team of engineers dedicated to open source broadband solutions; and embedding this team in ONF’s Lab to promote open source adoption by operators

          Building team of engineers dedicated to open source broadband solutions; and embedding this team in ONF’s Lab to promote open source adoption by operators

        • Analyst Watch: Is open source the great equalizer?

          Success in commercial open source requires a careful balance of contribution and evangelism to the ecosystem — which may contain direct competitors who leverage the code themselves — combined with the ability to upsell related tools and services.

          What matters is the open source ecosystem. Almost nothing is proprietary anymore, so value comes from net adoption. So whether you are SmartBear contributing to Swagger for APIs, or MongoDB, or Chef opening up its stack and making IaC recipes available to all on GitHub, there’s a reinvention afoot for many established vendors.

          Big companies have an increased appetite for compliance — and they are willing to pay vendors handsomely for enterprise-level support, certified builds and regular updates. They can realize the benefits of open-source software with far less risk.


        • GnuCash 3.7 released

          The GnuCash development team announces GnuCash 3.7, the eighth release of the 3.x stable release series.

        • GnuCash 3.7

          GnuCash is a personal and small business finance application, freely licensed under the GNU GPL and available for GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. It’s designed to be easy to use, yet powerful and flexible. GnuCash allows you to track your income and expenses, reconcile bank accounts, monitor stock portfolios and manage your small business finances. It is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports.

          GnuCash can keep track of your personal finances in as much detail as you prefer. If you are just starting out, use GnuCash to keep track of your checkbook. You may then decide to track cash as well as credit card purchases to better determine where your money is being spent. When you start investing, you can use GnuCash to help monitor your portfolio. Buying a vehicle or a home? GnuCash will help you plan the investment and track loan payments. If your financial records span the globe, GnuCash provides all the multiple-currency support you need.

      • Programming/Development

        • Python 3.5.8rc1

          Python 3.5.8rc1 was released on September 9th, 2019.

          Python 3.5 has now entered “security fixes only” mode, and as such the only changes since Python 3.5.4 are security fixes. Also, Python 3.5.8rc1 has only been released in source code form; no more official binary installers will be produced.

        • 6 Python Projects For Beginners

          So, you’ve just finished learning the basics of Python. The question now is, what do you do now? How can you continue to keep developing your coding skills using Python? Do you carry on watching tutorials, or is there something better you can do? The answer is yes there is something better, and that something is working on your own python project. So, here are 6 small Python projects you can do as a beginner.

        • Python 3.5.8rc1 is now available

          Python 3.5.8rc1 is now available.

        • MATLAB vs Python: Why and How to Make the Switch

          MATLAB® is widely known as a high-quality environment for any work that involves arrays, matrices, or linear algebra. Python is newer to this arena but is becoming increasingly popular for similar tasks. As you’ll see in this article, Python has all of the computational power of MATLAB for science tasks and makes it fast and easy to develop robust applications. However, there are some important differences when comparing MATLAB vs Python that you’ll need to learn about to effectively switch over.


          Python is a high-level, general-purpose programming language designed for ease of use by human beings accomplishing all sorts of tasks. Python was created by Guido van Rossum and first released in the early 1990s. Python is a mature language developed by hundreds of collaborators around the world.

          Python is used by developers working on small, personal projects all the way up to some of the largest internet companies in the world. Not only does Python run Reddit and Dropbox, but the original Google algorithm was written in Python. Also, the Python-based Django Framework runs Instagram and many other websites. On the science and engineering side, the data to create the 2019 photo of a black hole was processed in Python, and major companies like Netflix use Python in their data analytics work.

          There is also an important philosophical difference in the MATLAB vs Python comparison. MATLAB is proprietary, closed-source software. For most people, a license to use MATLAB is quite expensive, which means that if you have code in MATLAB, then only people who can afford a license will be able to run it. Plus, users are charged for each additional toolbox they want to install to extend the basic functionality of MATLAB. Aside from the cost, the MATLAB language is developed exclusively by Mathworks. If Mathworks were ever to go out of business, then MATLAB would no longer be able to be developed and might eventually stop functioning.

        • Turn string into the score

          You are working at a lower league football stadium and you’ve been asked to automate the scoreboard.

          The referee will shout out the score, you have already set up the voice recognition module which turns the ref’s voice into a string, but the spoken score needs to be converted into a pair for the scoreboard!

        • Reuven Lerner: Learn and understand Python objects — with Weekly Python Exercise, starting September 17
        • For real this time, get your butt off Python 2: No updates, no nothing after 1 January 2020 [Ed: When Microsoft Tim says "according to Redmonk" he means mostly according to Microsoft (because Redmonk relies on proprietary GitHub for data)]

          Python 2 will sunset on January 1st 2020 – however, many applications have not yet upgraded to version 3, causing the coding lingo’s team to mount a communications campaign to persuade devs to port their code.

          Python is the third most popular programming language after JavaScript and Java, according to Redmonk. Its use has been boosted by the strong interest in machine learning, for which Python is well suited, thanks in part to its various AI-related libraries and frameworks.

          Python 2.0 was released in 2000, and Python 3.0, which is not fully backwards compatible, in 2008. The last version of Python 2.x, 2.7, was released in July 2014.

        • Python API Tutorial: Getting Started with APIs

          In this tutorial on working with APIs using Python, we’ll learn how to retrieve data for data science projects. There are millions of APIs online which provide access to data. Websites like Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook all offer certain data through their APIs.

          To use an API, you make a request to a remote web server, and retrieve the data you need.

        • Performance of numpy and pandas – comparison

          There seems to be no data science in Python without numpy and pandas. (This is also one of the reason why Python has become so popular in Data Science). However, dumping the libraries on the data is rarely going to guarantee the peformance. So what’s wrong?

        • Conveying Build and Test Information with Repository Badges

          When you check out a repository on github, sometimes theres a little bit of flare at the top of the project that catches your eye.

          This bit of flare is called a badge and can be used to indicate build status, test coverage, documentation generation status, version support, software compatibilty statements or even community links to gitter or discord where you can find more help with the project.

          I used to think that badges were fancy fluff people added to their projects to make them seem more professional. But after working with them in my own projects and experiencing their usefulness, my opinion has changed slightly. I now think of them as fancy fluff that adds useful info and functionality. They can work with any software project, be it a small webapp, to even a collection of multi-stage microservices.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • Whistleblowers out Falwell’s Liberty University as a grifty, multibillion-dollar personality cult

        I’m a volunteer on several nonprofit boards, and we all take this stuff really seriously: even if your ethical sense doesn’t kick in when this kind of thing is going on, there’s the personal legal and financial liability for board members who let this stuff happen on their watch. Judging from this report, there’s enough shenanigans going on at Liberty U to tie up a whole division of IRS investigators, and based on the university’s massive balance sheet, there’s enough money to be recouped to pay for all of them.

      • The Many Ways Planned Obsolescence Is Sabotaging How We Preserve Internet History

        Now apply that thought process to every device you currently own—or owned just a few years ago—and you can see where this is going.

        We’re allowing the present to conspire against the past in the name of the future.

        We’re endangering nostalgia, something important to the way we see the world even as it’s frequently imperfect, due to technology that at one point was seen as a boon for progress.

        We’re making it much harder to objectively document the information in its original context. And the same companies that are forcing us into this brave new world where we’re deleting history as fast as we’re creating it should help us fix it.

        Because it will be way too late to do so later.

    • Hardware

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Data Touted by OxyContin Maker to Fight Lawsuits Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story

        Purdue Pharma has tried to refute accusations that it fueled the opioid crisis by arguing it was a small player in the U.S. market for prescription pain relievers. But a new ProPublica analysis of government data shows that the company, the maker of OxyContin, had a far bigger impact than it portrays.

        Purdue’s position rests on a Drug Enforcement Administration database, made public by a court order in July, which shows Purdue sold 3.3% of the prescription opioid pain pills in the U.S. from 2006 to 2012.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Critical Exim Flaw Opens Millions of Servers to Takeover [Ed: This repeats the FUD headline from ZDNet's Bleeping Computer hire; no server is known to have been compromised by this yet. They dramatise this.]

        A critical vulnerability found in Exim servers could enable a remote, unauthenticated attacker to execute arbitrary code with root privileges.

      • Google Fortifies Kubernetes Nodes Against Boot Attacks

        Google released a beta version of its Shielded GKE Nodes that prevents an attacker from exploiting vulnerable Kubernetes nodes.

      • Spoofing commits to repositories on GitHub

        The situation that worries me relates to distribution packaging. Debian has a policy that deltas to packages in the stable repository should be as small as possible, targetting fixes by backporting patches from newer releases.

        If you get a bug report on your Debian package with a link to a commit on GitHub, you had better double check that this commit really did come from the upstream author and hasn’t been spoofed in this way. Even if it shows it was authored by the upstream’s GitHub account or email address, this still isn’t proof because this is easily spoofed in git too.

        The best defence against being caught out by this is probably signed commits, but if the upstream is not doing that, you can clone the repository from GitHub and check to see that the commit is on a branch that exists in the upstream repository. If the commit is in another fork, the upstream repo won’t have a ref for a branch that contains that commit.

      • How Safari and iMessage Have Made iPhones Less Secure

        “If you want to compromise an iPhone, these are the best ways to do it,” says independent security researcher Linus Henze of the two apps. Henze gained notoriety as an Apple [cracker] after revealing a macOS vulnerability known as KeySteal earlier this year. He and other iOS researchers argue that when it comes to the security of both iMessage and WebKit—the browser engine that serves as the foundation not just of Safari but all iOS browsers—iOS suffers from Apple’s preference for its own code above that of other companies. “Apple trusts their own code way more than the code of others,” says Henze. “They just don’t want to accept the fact that they make bugs in their own code, too.”

      • Exciting few weeks in the SecureDrop land

        Last month, during Defcon 27, there was a panel about DEF CON to help hackers anonymously submit bugs to the government, interestingly the major suggestion in that panel is to use SecureDrop (hosted by Defcon) so that the researchers can safely submit vulnerabilities to the US government. Watch the full panel discussion to learn more in details.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Afghanistan Is Both Stalemate and Quagmire
      • Robert Mugabe’s Legacy: Revolution, Amity and Decline

        Robert Mugabe is the sort of figure that always caused discomfort. He was a permanent revolutionary, becoming, in time, the despotic ruler who frittered away revolutionary gain. He played multiple roles in international political consciousness. As Zimbabwe’s strongman, he was demonised and lionised in equal measure for a good deal of his time in power. His role from the 1990s – Mugabe, the West’s all-too-convenient bogeyman and hobgoblin – tended to outweigh other considerations. In the end, even his supporters had to concede that he had outstayed his welcome, another African leader gone to seed.

      • Islam: The West’s “Most Formidable and Persistent Enemy” [Ed: The right wing does not want to talk about class war; it wants to create and inflame religious wars instead.]

        Thus what is now called “the West” is actually the westernmost remnant of what was a much more extensive civilizational block that Islam permanently severed, thereby altering the course of “Western” history. And, once Muslims overran Africa and the Middle East, most of its Christian subjects, to evade fiscal and social oppression and join the winning team, converted to Islam, thereby perpetuating the cycle, as they became the new standard bearers of jihad against their former coreligionists north and west of the Mediterranean.

        Such are the rarely noted ironies of history.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Joe Biden Must Be Stopped

        The man quickly identified himself as a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. He didn’t need to tell me that he was hopping mad.

      • Biden Invokes Dead Family Members Against Medicare for All and Corporate Media Plays Along

        Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden last month released a new Iowa TV ad called “Personal,” which recounts the former vice president’s personal tragedy of losing his wife and daughter to a car crash, and the subsequent loss of his son Beau Biden from brain cancer.

      • As Biden Invokes Dead Family Members Against Medicare for All, Media Play Along

        Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden last month released a new Iowa TV ad called “Personal,” which recounts the former vice president’s personal tragedy of losing his wife and daughter to a car crash, and the subsequent loss of his son Beau Biden from brain cancer.

      • Johnson to Suspend U.K. Parliament After 3 Defeats on Brexit

        The simmering showdown between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Britain’s Parliament over Brexit came to a head as lawmakers delivered three defeats to the government’s plans for leaving the European Union, before being sent home early Tuesday for a contentious five-week suspension of the legislature.

      • Democrats make renewed push for election security

        The House-passed version of the fiscal year 2020 Financial Services and General Government bill includes $600 million for the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to distribute to states to bolster election security.

      • Tech industry pushes Congress to pass Trump’s North American trade pact

        The tech industry, meanwhile, has rallied behind the USMCA by backing the provisions that offer intellectual property [sic] and data protections.

        The signatories of Monday’s letter include the Internet Association, which represents Facebook, Google and Amazon; the Consumer Technology Association; the Computing Technology Industry Association; and the Information Technology Industry Council.

      • Trump Is Not Well

        “I don’t oppose Mr. Trump because I think he’s going to lose to Hillary Clinton,” I told Ben from Purcellville, Virginia. “I think he will, but as I said, he may well win. My opposition to him is based on something completely different, which is, first, I think he is temperamentally unfit to be president. I think he’s erratic, I think he’s unprincipled, I think he’s unstable, and I think that he has a personality disorder; I think he’s obsessive. And at the end of the day, having served in the White House for seven years in three administrations and worked for three presidents, one closely, and read a lot of history, I think the main requirement for president of the United States … is temperament, and disposition … whether you have wisdom and judgment and prudence.”

        That statement has been validated.

      • ‘He’s losing his s—’: Trump’s advisers are increasingly worried about his mental state following days of erratic behavior

        “He’s deteriorating in plain sight,” one Republican strategist who is in frequent contact with the White House told Insider on Friday.

        But a person who was close to Trump’s legal team during the Russia investigation told Insider his public statements were “nothing compared to what he’s like behind closed doors.”

        “He’s like a bull seeing red,” this person added. “There’s just no getting through to him, and you can kiss your plans for the day goodbye because you’re basically stuck looking after a 4-year-old now.”

      • Trump may have broken federal law by altering Hurricane Dorian’s path on a map to validate his false claim that it could hit Alabama

        “Whoever knowingly issues or publishes any counterfeit weather forecast or warning of weather conditions falsely representing such forecast or warning to have been issued or published by the Weather Bureau, United States Signal Service, or other branch of the Government service, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ninety days, or both,” the relevant part of the US Code reads.

      • Furious storm over Trump’s tweets continues to rage at NOAA [iophk: an equally big scandal is use of a private, foreign owned service for these communications in place of official channels]

        Accurate and trustworthy forecasts are important not only because they help prepare for the storm, they also avoid unnecessary panic in places that won’t actually be threatened.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Facebook Sees Libra Tied to Dollar, Euro, Yen But Maybe Not Yuan

        Facebook Inc. told U.S. senators that the initial basket of currencies that will back its Libra cryptocurrency will likely include the U.S. dollar, euro, yen, British pound and Singapore dollar.

      • Google hopes to protect users with open source differential privacy library

        In the end, the goal of differential privacy is to provide anonymity while preserving access to boatloads of useful information. Google said differential privacy, “provides formal guarantees that the output of a database query does not reveal too much information about any individual present in the database.”

      • European regulators to Microsoft: We’re watching you

        The Dutch DPA has taken a long time examining that and other changes Microsoft made, to see whether Windows now complies with the agency’s regulations, as well as with the newer GDPR rules. The DPA concluded that the changes complied with what the DPA originally asked Microsoft to do. But its examination “also brought to light that Microsoft is remotely collecting other data from users. As a result, Microsoft is still potentially in breach of privacy rules,” according to the agency. So the DPA turned over the case to the Irish Data Protection Committee (DPC), because Microsoft’s European operations are headquartered in Ireland. That agency will determine whether Microsoft is violating the GDPR.

      • Verizon 5G is barely coming to ‘parts of the seating areas’ at some NFL stadiums

        Verizon is continuing the rollout of its fast but spotty 5G service by bringing 5G to 13 NFL stadiums for kickoff weekend this Sunday. But the speedier network will only be available in “parts of the seating areas” and “could” be available in other parts of the stadiums. That type of hedging doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that Verizon’s 5G will let you post that touchdown celebration from the stands.

      • Verizon’s bizarre 5G rollout now covers some seats in 13 NFL stadiums

        Let’s consider this for a moment. If you go out and buy a $1,000 Verizon 5G phone today, you might get 5G service if you’re in the right seats at certain football stadiums, some of which are the only places with Verizon 5G in their cities. Who would do that? And isn’t there a better time to experience the ultra-fast download speeds of your brand new phone than in the middle of a live sporting event you paid to watch in person?

      • [Older] Two states admit bulk interception practices: why does it matter?

        These confessions constitute a positive step towards transparency and regulation. Several myths with regard to their operation are exposed. For instance, the persistent argument by governments that such powers collect only foreign intelligence signals is refuted. The South African intelligence agencies admit that the system cannot distinguish between foreign and domestic communication and human intervention is necessary to make this distinction.

        These programmes have run in secret since the early 2000s. However, it took multiple reports by whistleblowers and journalists, the sensation caused by the Snowden disclosures and persistent legal action by civil society actors for these two governments to admit the existence of some of the most pervasive surveillance programmes in human history.

      • DMVs Are Selling Your Data to Private Investigators

        Departments of Motor Vehicles in states around the country are taking drivers’ personal information and selling it to thousands of businesses, including private investigators who spy on people for a profit, Motherboard has learned. DMVs sell the data for an array of approved purposes, such as to insurance or tow companies, but some of them have sold to more nefarious businesses as well. Multiple states have made tens of millions of dollars a year selling data.

        Motherboard has obtained hundreds of pages of documents from DMVs through public records requests that lay out the practice. Members of the public may not be aware that when they provide their name, address, and in some cases other personal information to the DMV for the purposes of getting a driver’s license or registering a vehicle, the DMV often then turns around and offers that information for sale.

      • Press Release: Open Privacy discovers unencrypted patient medical information broadcast across Vancouver

        The Open Privacy Research Society has discovered that the sensitive medical information of patients being admitted to certain hospitals across the Greater Vancouver Area is being broadcast, unencrypted, by hospital paging systems, and that these broadcasts are trivially interceptable by anyone in the Greater Vancouver Area.

        The data being broadcast includes the patients name, age, gender marker, diagnosis, their attending doctor and room number. Other broadcasts regarding medical tests such as x-rays are often associated with a patients last name or medical number, exposing their progression through hospital departments. Some broadcasts appear to contain freeform text, allowing other sensitive information to be entered as well. We have been able to confirm the authenticity of this data by cross-referencing records with public obituaries.

      • What Is MQTT and How Does It Work?

        While the Internet of things is supposed to help make our lives easy, the technology itself is anything but. Efficient communication is key to making the IoT feel seamless and easy to use. Behind the scenes, this can be complicated. Sometimes when it comes to speed, the standard protocols the Internet relies on don’t work. That’s when you turn to alternate protocols like MQTT. What Is MQTT? MQTT stands for Message Queuing Telemetry Transport. That might sound complicated, but it’s simply an alternative to other protocols like HTTP, which stands for HyperText Transport Protocol.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Americans Deserve Their Day in Court About NSA Mass Surveillance Programs

        EFF continues our fight to have the U.S. courts protect you from mass government surveillance. Today in our landmark Jewel v. NSA case, we filed our opening brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, asserting that the courts don’t have to turn a blind eye to the government’s actions. Instead, the court must ensure justice for the millions of innocent Americans who have had their communications subjected to the NSA’s mass spying programs since 2001. Just this spring the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a case called Fazaga v. FBI that the state secrets privilege does not apply to cases challenging domestic electronic surveillance for national security.  Instead such cases must go forward to the merits of whether the spying is illegal. Today we asked the appeals court to apply that same reasoning to Jewel v. NSA and reverse a judge’s order of dismissal so our clients, and the American people, can finally have their day in court.We argue in our brief:

        This appeal challenges two separate orders of the district court dismissing first our Fourth Amendment claims, and later our statutory claims. Both dismissals were based in substantial part on the district court’s belief that the legality of the spying could not be adjudicated, even under protective court procedures, without revealing to the Judge at least, secret information which the government claims would harm national security.The district court dismissed our Fourth Amendment claims in February 2015, finding that Jewel and the other plaintiffs could not prove on the available public evidence that they had been caught up in the spying. And the district court dismissed our remaining statutory claims in April 2019, claiming that it would be impossible to analyze the legality of the mass spying without revealing state secrets, and ruling again that the plaintiffs could not prove they were spied on based on the public evidence.As we argue, the district court’s decisions wrongly deny the American people a ruling on whether the spying programs are legal:

      • Appeals Court Approves Nationwide Injunction Against Trump Asylum Rule, Acknowledges Harm To Legal Groups

        A federal appeals court restored a nationwide injunction against a rule imposed by President Donald Trump’s administration to block asylum seekers.

        On July 16, a rule on asylum eligibility was developed to deny asylum to individuals who enter the United States at the southern border without first applying for asylum in Mexico or a third country. It is commonly referred to as the third-country rule.

      • America’s Lost Liberties, Post-9/11

        Take heed, America.

      • Welcome Back
      • MIT Media Lab offers painful lesson on donations

        There are so many good, honest people generously supporting causes. Accepting their money is easy.

        But sometimes the calls aren’t so simple. Two families — the Saudi royals and the Sacklers of opioid infamy — come immediately to mind. [...]

      • Rare video of underage marriage in Iran: the ‘bride’ is aged 11

        The video shows a wedding that took place on August 26, 2019, in Bahmaei, an impoverished district in southeastern Iran.

        A video showing an 11-year-old girl marrying her 22-year-old cousin in rural Iran has drawn new attention to a practice many Iranians believe to be in decline. But our Observer says child marriage is still common in some rural areas.

      • South Africa is guilty of Afrophobia, not xenophobia

        Xenophobia refers to prejudice against people from other countries. South Africa does not have a xenophobia problem.

      • South African archbishop compares nation’s xenophobia to Nazi Germany

        Zambia’s bishops urged South African leaders to do more to stop xenophobic attacks, and a South African archbishop warned of a rising tide of hatred and violence in the country.
        “Xenophobia and its resultant chaos are not just criminal but cruel, barbaric and abominable,” Zambia’s bishops said in a Sept. 7 statement titled, “You were once foreigners in a foreign land.”
        At least 10 people were killed, two of them foreign nationals, in a wave of riots and xenophobic attacks that began in late August in Pretoria and spread to nearby Johannesburg.
        “We are facing a rising tide of hatred and intolerance, no different to the rising tide of hatred in Nazi Germany,” said Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg, noting that, “If we do not take urgent action to stop it, there will be nothing left.”
        Zambia’s bishops said they were “deeply saddened” by the attacks.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • New York City Sues T-Mobile For Ripping Off Its Prepaid Users

        While T-Mobile has built a brand on the claim it’s hugely different from the other big wireless carriers, it routinely likes to illustrate the limits of that claim. Like the time T-Mobile CEO John Legere mocked the EFF after the group noted T-Mobile routinely violated net neutrality (it also supported killing the FCC rules). Or the time the company hired Trump advisor Corey Lewandowski, shortly after he’d mocked a kid with Downe’s Syndrome on live TV, just to get a leg up on its Sprint merger approval process. And that’s before you get to the steady stream of bullshit T-Mobile has been pushing to get that deal approved.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Swedish Patents and Market Court of Appeal requests CJEU to clarify concept of “public” in new CJEU reference

          Readers may know that the InfoSoc Directive does not expressly define the concept of “public”: it may not be clear whether that concept should be given a uniform interpretation within the framework of this piece of legislation. Could that concept of “public” be different when it relates to an act of communication within Article 3 as opposed to an act of distribution within Article 4?

          The Swedish Patents and Market Court of Appeal (PMÖD) has just requested (available only in Swedish) the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to clarify this very question: does the concepts of “public” in Articles 3 and 4 of the InfoSoc Directive have a uniform meaning? if so, is a court a public with the meaning of these two provisions?


          According to the PMÖD, neither the court nor its staff can be considered “individuals in general” nor do they belong to a private circle. In addition, while the number of individuals who can access the work in connection with the handling of the case is limited to the employees of the court, that number may still be large.

          The following questions have therefore been referred to the CJEU (please note that this is my own translation from Swedish; see also here):

          1. Should the concepts of “public” in Articles 3(1) and 4(1) of the InfoSoc Directive be given a uniform meaning?

          2. If yes, does a court constitute a public with the meaning of the two provisions?

        • Vacating the Entire Patent Office Proceedings on Equitable Grounds

          This case involves two inter partes reexaminations filed by PPG back in 2012. U.S. Patents 7,592,047 and 8,092,876. On reexamination, the examiner rejected all the claims; then the Board (PTAB) reversed all of those rejections (favoring the patentee).

          On appeal, the Federal Circuit refused to hear the case on standing grounds — holding that Valspar had granted a covenant-not-to-sue that mooted the appeal. PPG Industries, Inc. v. Valspar Sourcing, Inc., 679 Fed. Appx. 1002 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 9, 2017)(nonprecedential) (Valspar I). Still, although it did not hear the merits of the case, the court still vacated the PTAB Final decisions in the interests of “justice.” In particular, the court appeared to be looking to punish Valspar for filing its covenant-not-to-sue late in the appeal — “tardily and unilaterally.”


          To my knowledge, the Federal Circuit has not begun vacating Inter Partes Review proceedings based upon lack of appellate jurisdiction, but this decision shows how it is within the court’s equitable power.

      • Copyrights

        • New Chair of EFF’s Board of Directors: Renowned Legal Expert Pamela Samuelson

          EFF is proud to announce our newest Chair of our Board of Directors, renowned legal expert Pamela Samuelson. Pam has served on EFF’s board for nearly 20 years, and her deep knowledge of digital copyright law, intellectual property, and information policy has made EFF a stronger organization.

          Pam is a co-director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology—an internationally respected research center at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. Pam is also co-founder and chair of the board of the Authors Alliance, a non-profit group that promotes the public interest in access to knowledge. She has written and spoken extensively about the challenges that new information technologies pose for traditional legal regimes, as well as about privacy, the First Amendment, and other cyberlaw issues.

The Sad Truth That Linux Foundation Staff is Against GPL/Copyleft and Sometimes Against Linux (Unless It’s Run Under Vista 10)

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux, GPL at 12:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Linux Foundation is no friend of GNU/Linux (not in 2019 anyway)

Summary: The Linux Foundation works for whoever pays the Linux Foundation and sadly that usually means companies that aren’t dedicated to Linux, to Software Freedom or even to simple truths and to the Rule of Law

THE integrity of the community (or what used to be community) is under attack by a corporate bunch and their facilitators/enablers, who are PR people paid to write texts for them. Sometimes they even get paid thousands of dollars for a mere "tweet" (fake endorsement).

Yesterday we noticed a Linux Foundation staffer doing openwashing of Facebook‘s surveillance and spying operations with the word “Democratize” (so as to paint an enemy of democracy as the opposite of what it is). This very much resembles their new press release entitled “Mirantis to Democratize Connectivity with Magma, a Converged Access Gateway Developed by Facebook” (notice the resemblance; it’s unlikely to be a coincidence).

“Sometimes they even get paid thousands of dollars for a mere “tweet” (fake endorsement).”The Web site of this sole editor of Linux.com (who days ago said he had installed Windows) has also just promoted the Microsoft PR campaign “Microsoft Loves Linux” (see image). Seems fitting as we've seen similar lies.

“The two-day conference will have hands-on workshops, hackathons, presentations, and networking events for developers on WSL,” it says. Microsoft loves WSL, i.e. Vista 10. Not Linux. Microsoft would love for “Linux” to only ever run as a ‘client’ under Windows.

“Microsoft loves WSL, i.e. Vista 10. Not Linux. Microsoft would love for “Linux” to only ever run as a ‘client’ under Windows.”We’ve meanwhile learned of a plot against the GPL; or “the fight against GPL in IoT market,” as a source of ours calls it, knowing it as a professional in that area. This is the subject of ongoing research. “There are more than one group of people involved in this discussion across Europe,” our source explains. Linux people are well aware because they see that at work. We know some names (people and projects). “There is an attack against copyleft again,” we’re told, “we have to react by explaining to people why adopting permissive open-source licenses is harmful for small businesses, software artisans and the public sector.

“The Linux Foundation comes out with new projects every few months, but chronologically the last GPL’ed projects seems to be Xen. The LF keeps promoting permissive licenses in their projects under the pressure of big corporations.”

“To us, the LF’s attitude towards the GPL seems similar to GitHub’s, i.e to Microsoft’s, and this is a known problem.”The LF is, moreover, becoming an unofficial spokesperson and advocate for GPL infingers, including serial ones. It lies for them. They pay the LF for it. This is how morally corrupt the LF has become. It is actively removing freedom from Linux, stripping copyleft from Free software little by little…

To us, the LF’s attitude towards the GPL seems similar to GitHub’s, i.e to Microsoft’s, and this is a known problem. In fact, they still use Microsoft as a code hosting platform for all the new projects.

“The GPL is a great licence. But if companies with billions of dollars to spend on lobbying (promoting their interests) are eager to crush it, e.g. by means of bribery and misinformation, will they succeed?”There are additional concerns that the FSF may one day follow suit. “I appreciate you understand my doubts about FSF recent involvement with Microsoft, and the reason why I have to ‘tacitly imply’ such allegations,” the person quoted above insists. “First the ‘code of kindness’ out of the blue, then the copyleftConf co-sponsorship, then the talk at Microsoft. We have seen this happening with LF year after year, and FSF seems to be (allegedly) taking little steps in the same direction although it does not publish partnership programs with Microsoft yet.”

The ‘code of kindness’ was (apparently) imposed on the FSF, however, and we wrote about it before, e.g. in [1, 2]. Based on Richard Stallman, there’s an article on its way (he wishes to clarify and remove the above-mentioned doubts). We wrote about it last week [1, 2, 3, 4].

The GPL is a great licence. But if companies with billions of dollars to spend on lobbying (promoting their interests) are eager to crush it, e.g. by means of bribery and misinformation, will they succeed? To put it another way, is there anything in this world that money cannot buy/corrupt?

Microsoft Uses the Word “Linux” to Promote Privacy-Infringing Proprietary Software and Spread FUD

Posted in Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Marketing, Microsoft at 12:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Promises to give malicious software to GNU/Linux are just a PR stunt and opportunism

Linux malware: is it so hard to get it right?
Reference: “Linux malware: is it so hard to get it right?” (article by Sam Varghese about typical and routine misinformation from Catalin Cimpanu, whom ZDNet hired to attack Linux in intellectually-dishonest ways)

Summary: The discussion about “Linux” is being saturated if not replaced by misinformation and marketing of Linux’s competition — owing largely to googlebombing tactics that the Linux Foundation participates in rather than tackle

THE word or the name “Linux” is losing its value; it gets associated with the very competition of Linux (what’s inherently antithetical to it) and with lots of negative things, such as “ransom”. This is all very much deliberate; internal Microsoft documents reveal this to be part of the company’s strategy — a fact that does not seem to bother the Linux Foundation, guardian of the trademark “Linux” (nowadays the brand is already being hijacked by a drag queen singer, but that’s another issue and we don’t want to add links*).

“Their writer whom they hired from Bleeping Computer (which was already a notorious site at the time because of intentional FUD) calls unrelated-to-Linux issues “Linux” and spreads such FUD regularly.”There might be enforcement, but we’re not seeing evidence of it.

Security FUD Every Day

On the issue of security (negative press) we wrote as recently as yesterday. ZDNet plays a considerable role in this; it’s owned by CBS, which is paid by Microsoft. Their writer whom they hired from Bleeping Computer (which was already a notorious site at the time because of intentional FUD) calls unrelated-to-Linux issues “Linux” and spreads such FUD regularly. Unskilled writers copy that troll from ZDNet (last night we saw “New ransomware strain appears to target Linux web servers” — the fourth such article that parrots ZDNet; here’s another with “Linux” in the headline). There was a similar article about Exim a few days ago. This started at the anti-FOSS propaganda site ZDNet and our latest Daily Links include this. It “repeats the FUD headline from ZDNet’s Bleeping Computer hire,” as we noted last night, but “no server is known to have been compromised by this yet. They dramatise this.”

“…ZDNet constantly bombards “Linux” with all this negative publicity and then spreads that elsewhere; even if Linux itself isn’t at fault (sometimes it’s down to weak passwords or some piece of software that can run on top of GNU/Linux, just like Photoshop can run on Windows).”Does the Foundation have no plan to rebut these things? First of all, Exim doesn’t run on GNU/Linux or “Linux” per se; it runs on lots of environments and it is not part of “Linux” (or even GNU). But ZDNet constantly bombards “Linux” with all this negative publicity and then spreads that elsewhere; even if Linux itself isn’t at fault (sometimes it’s down to weak passwords or some piece of software that can run on top of GNU/Linux, just like Photoshop can run on Windows).

Linux is Microsoft

Yesterday afternoon we saw a Microsoft propaganda (PR) site Windows Central publishing this article: “It’s official: Microsoft Teams is coming to Linux”

“Does the Foundation have no plan to rebut these things?”Well, “is coming to Linux” is not even “has come to Linux” (that will be another googlebombing opportunity, some time in the future).

As a side note, we saw almost identical reports back in summer. So it’s not even news!

This is what currently dominates news feeds about “Linux” — starting with a site called Windows Central about NSA surveillance and proprietary software from Microsoft. It’s about mere intent. That’s all. That’s also just what GNU/Linux users get away from. It’s a deterrent; it’s off-putting.

Calling oneself “open” for porting proprietary software with Microsoft surveillance to another platform is laughable.

That’s merely spreading non-open things, which makes them worse.

Phoronix wrote moments later: “Microsoft Teams Is Coming To Linux”

“Calling oneself “open” for porting proprietary software with Microsoft surveillance to another platform is laughable.”As if this is what GNU/Linux users actually wanted or needed…

Then joined Softpedia News (Marius Nestor) and Microsoft (Mary Jo Foley) at ZDNet, Microsoft’s longtime propaganda mill (there are payments involved) along with other Microsoft-connected sites.

Once again you search for “Linux” news and all you get is proprietary software with Microsoft surveillance in the results.

Linux Foundation Part of the Problem

“With Microsoft spamming about “Linux” maybe there is a matter of trademark dilution or similar risks,” one person told us. Other people do notice.

“What is the Linux Foundation good for if it won’t even bother with the most basic trademark protections?”“You’ve pointed out something similar for Open Source,” the person continued, “even though it is not a trademark. IIRC Bruce Perens tried but was denied, which can work to everyone’s advantage when making bids for government contracts.”

In the case of Open Source we call that “openwashing” and at times we’ve also spoken of “Linuxwashing” (falsely associating oneself with Linux).

“Back to Linux,” the person concluded, “could/would/should Linus drop the LF [Linux Foundation] and take his code and his trademarks elsewhere? He wouldn’t do it himself, but if someone at the top did the leg work, I expect he might consider it.”

What is the Linux Foundation good for if it won’t even bother with the most basic trademark protections? Additionally, look what it did to Linux.com (after firing all the staff back in April). It sometimes feels like it’s more about Microsoft and proprietary software than about Linux.
* In recent months and as recently as days ago articles showed up in the news about a singer who goes by the name “Linux” (and promotes self by “Linux”). That has nothing at all to do with Linux, the kernel, and this likely merits trademark enforcement.

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