Links 17/10/2019: Ubuntu Turns 15, New Codename Revealed, Ubuntu 19.10 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 11:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Grasp Docker networking basics with these commands and tips

        Docker communicates over network addresses and ports. Within Docker hosts, this occurs with host or bridge networking.

        With host networking, the Docker host sends all communications via named pipes. This method, however, can pose a security risk, as all traffic flows across the same set of containers with no segregation.

        The other approach from Docker, bridge networking, provides an internal network that connects to the external one.

        Use the docker network ls command to see a list of available networks. This command should return results that look similar to the output in Figure 1.

      • IBM

        • Red Hat OpenShift 4.2 Delivers New Developer Client Tools

          Red Hat OpenShift 4.2 empowers developers to innovate and enhance business value through cloud-native applications.

        • Confidential computing – The next new norm

          The Linux Foundation recently formed the Confidential Computing Consortium, a community dedicated to defining and accelerating the adoption of confidential computing. Red Hat and other organizations deeply interested in breathing life into confidential computing solutions are coming together to advance the capabilities of secure computing through the use of Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs).

          In a typical computing environment, whether located in our datacenter, the cloud, or a hybrid of the two, our computational workloads are (at a very high level) served by a triad of physical equipment running software to provide compute, networking and storage.

        • Red Hat OpenShift 4.2: Kubernetes for the hybrid-cloud developer

          I’ve said before that Red Hat wants OpenShift to be the hybrid-cloud platform. Now, with its latest release, Red Hat OpenShift 4.2, Red Hat is doubling down on this plan.

          As Ashesh Badani, Red Hat’s senior vice president of Cloud Platforms, said in a statement:

          “We continue to prioritize making the next generation of enterprise open-source technologies like Kubernetes even more accessible to developers while also keeping administrator priorities in balance. With these goals in mind, OpenShift 4.2 delivers on features to help customers accelerate application development and delivery.”

          In OpenShift 4.2, Red Hat makes it easier than ever to set up and manage Kubernetes — the heart of the new hybrid-cloud model. With it, developers can focus on building enterprise applications without deep Kubernetes expertise.

        • OpenShift 4.2: The API Explorer
    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • FLOSS Weekly 551: Kamailio

        Kamailio is an Open Source SIP Server released under GPL, able to handle thousands of call setups per second. Kamailio can be used to build large platforms for VoIP and realtime communications – presence, WebRTC, Instant messaging and other applications.

      • What is a Container? | Jupiter Extras 23

        Containers changed the way the IT world deploys software. We give you our take on technologies such as docker (including docker-compose), Kubernetes and highlight a few of our favorite containers.

      • 2019-10-16 | Linux Headlines

        WireGuard is kicked out of the Play Store, a new Docker worm is discovered, and Mozilla unveils upcoming changes to Firefox.

    • Kernel Space

      • Pack Your Bags – Systemd Is Taking You To A New Home

        Home directories have been a fundamental part on any Unixy system since day one. They’re such a basic element, we usually don’t give them much thought. And why would we? From a low level point of view, whatever location $HOME is pointing to, is a directory just like any other of the countless ones you will find on the system — apart from maybe being located on its own disk partition. Home directories are so unspectacular in their nature, it wouldn’t usually cross anyone’s mind to even consider to change anything about them. And then there’s Lennart Poettering.

        In case you’re not familiar with the name, he is the main developer behind the systemd init system, which has nowadays been adopted by the majority of Linux distributions as replacement for its oldschool, Unix-style init-system predecessors, essentially changing everything we knew about the system boot process. Not only did this change personally insult every single Perl-loving, Ken-Thompson-action-figure-owning grey beard, it engendered contempt towards systemd and Lennart himself that approaches Nickelback level. At this point, it probably doesn’t matter anymore what he does next, haters gonna hate. So who better than him to disrupt everything we know about home directories? Where you _live_?

        Although, home directories are just one part of the equation that his latest creation — the systemd-homed project — is going to make people hate him even more tackle. The big picture is really more about the whole concept of user management as we know it, which sounds bold and scary, but which in its current state is also a lot more flawed than we might realize. So let’s have a look at what it’s all about, the motivation behind homed, the problems it’s going to both solve and raise, and how it’s maybe time to leave some outdated philosophies behind us.

      • Adding the pidfd abstraction to the kernel

        One of the many changes in the 5.4 kernel is the completion (insofar as anything in the kernel is truly complete) of the pidfd API. Getting that work done has been “a wild ride so far”, according to its author Christian Brauner during a session at the 2019 Kernel Recipes conference. He went on to describe the history of this work and some lessons for others interested in adding major new APIs to the Linux kernel.
        A pidfd, he began, is a file descriptor that refers to a process — or, more correctly, to a process’s thread-group leader. There do not appear to be any use cases for pidfds that refer to an individual thread for now; such a feature could be added in the future if the need arises. Pidfds are stable (they always refer to the same process) and private to the owner of the file descriptor. Internally to the kernel, a pidfd refers to the pid structure for the target process. Other options (such as struct task_struct) were available, but that structure is too big to pin down indefinitely (which can be necessary, since a pidfd can be held open indefinitely).

        Why did the kernel need pidfds? The main driving force was the problem of process-ID (PID) recycling. A process ID is an integer, drawn from a (small by default) pool; when a process exits, its ID will eventually be recycled and assigned to an entirely unrelated process. This leads to a number of security issues when process-management applications don’t notice in time that a process ID has been reused; he put up a list of CVE numbers (visible in his slides [SlideShare]) for vulnerabilities resulting from PID reuse. There have been macOS exploits as well. It is, he said, a real issue.

        Beyond that, Unix has long had a problem supporting libraries that need to create invisible helper processes. These processes, being subprocesses of the main application, can end up sending signals to that application or showing up in wait() calls, creating confusion. Pidfds are designed to allow the creation of this kind of hidden process, solving a persistent, difficult problem. They are also useful for process-management applications that want to delegate the handling of specific processes to a non-parent process; the Android low-memory killer daemon (LMKD) and systemd are a couple of examples. Pidfds can be transferred to other processes by the usual means, making this kind of delegation possible.

        Brauner said that a file-descriptor-based abstraction was chosen because it has been done before on other operating systems and shown to work. Dealing with file descriptors is a common pattern in Unix applications.

        There are, he said, quite a few user-space applications and libraries that are interested in using pidfds. They include D-Bus, Qt, systemd, checkpoint-restore in user space (CRIU), LMKD, bpftrace, and the Rust “mio” library.

      • Why printk() is so complicated (and how to fix it)

        The kernel’s printk() function seems like it should be relatively simple; all it does is format a string and output it to the kernel logs. That simplicity hides a lot of underlying complexity, though, and that complexity is why kernel developers are still unhappy with printk() after 28 years. At the 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference, John Ogness explained where the complexity in printk() comes from and what is being done to improve the situation.
        The core problem, Ogness began, comes from the fact that kernel code must be able to call printk() from any context. Calls from atomic context prevent it from blocking; calls from non-maskable interrupts (NMIs) can even rule out the use of spinlocks. At the same time, output from printk() is crucial when the kernel runs into trouble; developers do not want to lose any printed messages even if the kernel is crashing or hanging. Those messages should appear on console devices, which may be attached to serial ports, graphic adapters, or network connections. Meanwhile, printk() cannot interfere with the normal operation of the system.

        In other words, he summarized, printk() is seemingly simple and definitely ubiquitous, but it has to be wired deeply into the system.

      • What to do about CVE numbers

        Common Vulnerability and Exposure (CVE) numbers have been used for many years as a way of uniquely identifying software vulnerabilities. It has become increasingly clear in recent years that there are problems with CVE numbers, though, and increasing numbers of vulnerabilities are not being assigned CVE numbers at all. At the 2019 Kernel Recipes event, Greg Kroah-Hartman delivered a “40-minute rant with an unsatisfactory conclusion” on CVE numbers and how the situation might be improved. The conclusion may be “unsatisfactory”, but it seems destined to stir up some discussion regardless.
        CVE numbers, Kroah-Hartman began, were meant to be a single identifier for vulnerabilities. They are a string that one can “throw into a security bulletin and feel happy”. CVE numbers were an improvement over what came before; it used to be impossible to effectively track bugs. This was especially true for the “embedded library in our product has an issue” situation. In other words, he said, CVE numbers are good for zlib, which is embedded in almost every product and has been a source of security bugs for the last fifteen years.

        Since CVE numbers are unique, somebody has to hand them out; there are now about 110 organizations that can do so. These include both companies and countries, he said, but not the kernel community, which has nobody handling that task. There also needs to be a unifying database behind these numbers; that is the National Vulnerability Database (NVD). The NVD provides a searchable database of vulnerabilities and assigns a score to each; it is updated slowly, when it is updated at all. The word “national” is interesting, he said; it really means “United States”. Naturally, there is now a CNNVD maintained in China as well; it has more stuff and responds more quickly, but once an entry lands there it is never updated.

      • An update on the input stack

        The input stack for Linux is an essential part of interacting with our systems, but it is also an area that is lacking in terms of developers. There has been progress over the last few years, however; Peter Hutterer from Red Hat came to the 2019 X.Org Developers Conference to talk about some of the work that has been done. He gave a status report on the input stack that covered development work that is going on now as well as things that have been completed in the last two years or so. Overall, things are looking pretty good for input on Linux, though the “bus factor” for the stack is alarmingly low.

        High-resolution mouse scrolling

        High-resolution mouse-wheel scrolling should be arriving in the next month or two, he said. It allows for a different event stream that provides more precision on the movement of the mouse wheel on capable devices. Instead of one event per 15-20° of movement, the mouse will send two or four events in that span. Two new event types were added to the 5.0 kernel (REL_WHEEL_HI_RES and REL_HWHEEL_HI_RES) to support the feature. The old and new event streams may not correlate exactly, so they probably should not be used together, he cautioned.

        Likewise, libinput has added a new event type (LIBINPUT_EVENT_POINTER_AXIS_WHEEL) for high-resolution scrolling; it should be handled with its own event stream as with the kernel events. That code is sitting on a branch; it works but it has not been merged into the master yet. For Wayland, a new event type was also added in a now-familiar pattern. He pointed to a mailing list post where all the gory details of high-resolution scrolling for Wayland was explained.

      • A Vast Majority Of Linux’s Input Improvements Are Developed By One Individual

        While there is an ever increasing number of open-source developers focusing on the Linux graphics stack with the GPU drivers and related infrastructure, it’s quite a different story when it comes to the Linux input side. It’s basically one developer that has been working on the Linux input improvements for the past number of years.


        As he has pointed out, should anything ever happen to him the libinput library would be in bad shape. While there have been 76 contributors in total to libinput in the past two years, only 24 of them have had more than one commit while only six contributors have had more than five commits. One would just need around 50 commits to become the second-from-the-top contributor to the project.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Libdrm 2.4.100 Released With Bits For Intel Elkhart Lake, Tiger Lake Graphics

          AMD open-source developer Marek Olšák on Wednesday released libdrm 2.4.100 as the newest feature update to this Mesa DRM library.

          On the AMD front there are a number of RAS tests added, a new amdgpu_cs_query_reset_state2 interface, and other expanded AMDGPU test coverage.

        • AMDGPU GFX9+ Format Modifiers Being Worked On For Better DCC Handling

          RADV Vulkan driver developer Bas Nieuwenhuizen of Google has ventured into kernel space in working on format modifiers support for Vega/GFX9 and newer.

          This DRM format modifiers support for GFX9+ is being worked on for helping to evaluate when delta color compression (DCC) can be used and any other requirements around that DCC handling. Bas explained, “This is particularly useful to determine if we can use DCC, and whether we need an extra display compatible DCC metadata plane.”

        • Free software support for virtual and augmented reality

          A talk at the recent X.Org Developers Conference in Montréal, Canada looked at support for “XR” in free software. XR is an umbrella term that includes both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). In the talk, Joey Ferwerda and Christoph Haag from Collabora gave an overview of XR and the Monado project that provides support for those types of applications.

          Ferwerda started by defining the term “HMD”, which predates VR and AR. It is a head-mounted display, which basically means “taking a screen and some sensors and duct-taping it to your face”. All of the devices that are being used for XR are HMDs. They typically include some kind of tracking system to determine the position and orientation of the HMD itself. Multiple different technologies, including inertial measurement units (IMUs), photodiodes, lasers, and cameras, are used to do the tracking depending on the device and its use case.

          AR is intended to augment the real world with extra information; the user sees the real world around them, but various kinds of status and additional data is tagged to objects or locations in their view of the world. AR is a rather over-hyped technology these days, he said. The general idea is that users would wear glasses that would augment their view in some fashion, but, unfortunately, what most people think of as AR is Pokémon Go.

          VR uses two screens, one for each eye, to create a 3D world that the user inhabits and can interact with in some fashion. Instead of seeing the real world, the user sees a completely separate world. There are two words that are often used to describe the feel of VR, he said: “presence” and “immersion”. That means users are aware of themselves as being part of the VR environment.

          XR encompasses both. Ferwerda said that he is not really sure what the “X” stands for; he has heard “cross reality” and “mixed reality” for XR. Haag said that “extended reality” was another definition that he had heard.

        • Intel Now Aiming For Gallium3D OpenGL Default For Mesa 20.0

          For the better part of two years now Intel has been working on this new “Iris” Gallium3D driver for supporting Broadwell “Gen8″ graphics and newer as the eventual replacement to their long-standing i965 classic driver. With Tiger Lake “Gen12″ Xe graphics, it’s in fact Iris Gallium3D only. In our testing of Broadwell through the *lakes, this Gallium3D driver has been working out terrific on Mesa 19.2 stable and Mesa 19.3 development. But it looks like Intel is going to play it safe and punt the default change-over to next quarter’s Mesa 20.0 cycle.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD EPYC vs. Intel Xeon Cascadelake With Facebook’s RocksDB Database

        Following the benchmarks earlier this month looking at PostgreSQL 12.0 on AMD EPYC Rome versus Intel Xeon Cascade Lake there was interest from Phoronix readers in wondering how well Rome is doing for other modern enterprise database workloads. One of those workloads that was recently added to the Phoronix Test Suite / OpenBenchmarking.org is Facebook’s RocksDB, the company’s embedded database that is forked from Google LevelDB. With RocksDB being designed to exploit many CPU cores and modern SSD storage, here are some benchmarks looking at how the Xeon Platinum 8280 stacks up against various new AMD EPYC 7002 series processors.

        RocksDB is a key-value embedded database solution that Facebook has been working on since 2012 in taking Google’s LevelDB to the next level of performance on modern CPU/SSD servers. RocksDB is in turn also used by companies like LinkedIn, Airbnb, Pinterest, Rakuten, Uber, and others.

        With RocksDB having its own performance-focused built-in benchmarks, it makes for some interesting performance comparisons on these server CPUs given its growing presence in the enterprise. Those unfamiliar with RocksDB can learn more at RocksDB.org.

    • Applications

      • Proprietary

        • cPanel, Plesk or DirectAdmin: Analysis and Comparison

          Every OS differs in user interface, security, functionality, usability and pricing, and the final decision should be based on personal needs and expectations. cPanel, Plesk and DirectAdmin all offer a number of great services, functions and tools for successful and efficient VPS management and because of their differences, individual demands can be met, and situations resolved.

        • Netflix won’t ‘shy away from taking bold swings’ as streaming competition heats up

          This increase in subscriber growth this quarter came from an affluence of original content, including Stranger Things’ third season, which saw 64 million accounts watch the newest season in the first four weeks, according to the company. Netflix recently signed co-creators Matt and Ross Duffer to an overall deal with the streaming service, which will see them produce more TV shows and films for Netflix.

        • House panel pushes forward election security legislation

          The panel marked up and approved the SHIELD Act, which takes aim at foreign election interference by requiring U.S. campaigns to report “illicit offers” of election assistance from foreign governments or individuals to both the FBI and the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

          The legislation also takes steps to ensure that political advertisements on social media are subject to the same stricter rules as ads on television or radio.

        • New Voting Machines Will Be Used For Nov. 5 Municipal Elections

          The new system which cost the state about $52 million replaces the 15-year-old one previously used. Charleston County Board of Elections and Registration Director Joseph Debney said while the new system may not be more efficient, it offers more transparency than the previous one. Replacement provides the state with a dependable system for years to come and will greatly enhance the security of the election process. Having a paper record of each voter’s ballot will add an additional layer of security as it allows for audits of paper ballots to verify vote totals.

          The system works using a Ballot-Marking Device (BMD) that helps voters mark a paper ballot more accurately and efficiently. A voter’s choices are presented on a touch screen similar to the old voting machines. The BMD allows the voter to mark the choices on-screen and when the voter is done, prints the selections on paper ballots which then are either hand counted or counted using an optical scanner/tabulator, the second machine.

        • Chhattisgarh dumps EVMs, back to ballot paper

          Chhattisgarh would perhaps be the first state in the country to do away with EVMs in favour of ballot paper in the local body polls.

        • Andhra Pradesh Elections: Complaints of EVM glitches [sic] in nearly 50 booths

          Talking to reporters, the Chief Minister referred to technical glitches in EVMs and said he was demanding that ballot papers be re-introduced. “No developed country is using EVMs as they are prone to manipulation. We have hence been demanding that we revert to the ballot paper system,” Naidu said.

        • Chhattisgarh may return to paper ballots for local bodies polls

          In a report submitted on Tuesday, cabinet sub-committee constituted by the Baghel government has recommended the use of paper ballots instead of EVMs in the upcoming urban local body elections.

          The recommendations by the cabinet sub-committee would be referred to the state cabinet headed by CM Baghel for approval.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Roguelike dungeon simulator ‘KeeperRL’ expands modding and adds Steam Workshop support

        Sometimes you just want to be an evil wizard, build a dungeon and look after some imps. KeeperRL lets you do just that and it just had a big new update with much better modding support.

        With the introduction of Steam Workshop support, mods and retired dungeons can now be shared to it to allow others to easily download and try them out. As for the rest of the modding support lots more can now be tweaked. Items, building info, Z-level width, creature names and so on can be changed with mods now and creatures can also drop custom items.

      • The comedy adventure game 3 Minutes to Midnight is on Kickstarter with Linux support

        Scarecrow Studio are now crowdfunding to finish up their very colourful comedy adventure game 3 Minutes to Midnight.

        The Kickstarter campaign is now live, with a funding goal of €50,000 they need to reach by November 8. They’ve already amassed support with over €38,000 so it’s likely it will be fully funded.

        Taking inspiration from the classics like The Secret of Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, and Sam & Max Hit the Road (where have I heard this before?), Scarecrow Studio said 3 Minutes to Midnight will take the point and click gameplay, blend in some humour and high-definition art with an intuitive interface and a “compelling mystery” to solve. They also say it has the “largest script in point-and-click history” and “over 1000 interactable objects” so they’re setting the bar for themselves pretty damn high.

      • The Linux port of Shadow of Mordor from Feral Interactive has gained a Vulkan Beta, a massive difference

        This is quite a surprise! Early yesterday we were notified that Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, which Feral Interactive ported to Linux in 2015 has gained a Vulkan Beta.

        Since companies rarely make much money from older ports like this, it’s quite fantastic to see it being given some love. Especially like this, giving it a big boost with a much newer graphics API. This is not long after Feral Interactive confirmed the Linux release date for Shadow of the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition and also announced Total War Saga: TROY for Linux too.

      • The Linux Mint 19.2 Gaming Report: Promising But Room For Improvement

        Sure, we play games on “Linux.” But it’s not that simple. We play games on Fedora, Ubuntu MATE, Pop!_OS, Deepin, Solus. We game on Debian-based or Arch-based distributions (among others). Each with their own philosophies on free (as in open source and freely distributed) versus non-free (like Steam and proprietary Nvidia drivers) software. Each with their own approaches to stability, affecting which versions of drivers and kernels are available out of the box.

        While there are certain procedures and best practices that persist across any distro, these variances can be daunting for new users. And that’s the inspiration for this series.


        When I started outlining the original Linux Gaming Report, I was still a fresh-faced Linux noob. I didn’t understand how fast the ecosystem advanced (particularly graphics drivers and Steam Proton development), and I set some lofty goals that I couldn’t accomplish given my schedule. Before I even got around to testing Ubuntu 18.10, for example, Ubuntu 19.04 was just around the corner! And since all the evaluation and benchmarking takes a considerable amount of time, I ended up well behind the curve. So I’ve streamlined the process a bit, while adding additional checkpoints such as out-of-the-box software availability and ease-of-installation for important gaming apps like Lutris and GameHub.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME Shell + Mutter Begin Landing Graphene Integration

          Graphene is a lightweight library that has been in development by GNOME’s Emmanuele Bassi. Graphene — not to be confused with several other software projects sharing similar names — is intended as a very lightweight library providing graphics types and their relative API while avoiding any windowing system bits and other functionality with this layer just focused on providing speedy vector operations. Graphene has fast paths for SSE2, ARM NEON, GCC Vector extensions, and other optimizations for optimally dealing with graphic data types like matrices, vectors and points.


          With part 1, various geometry/point/rectangle/vector Clutter objects are replaced with Graphene code. Ultimately this should provide for better performance around various graphic data type operations while also cleaning up some of GNOME’s low-level code in the process. This initial integration is now in place for the initial GNOME 3.35/3.36 series though expect more Graphene improvements to come now that the initial support and dependency are in place.

        • Gnome-shell Hackfest 2019 – Day 2

          Well, we are starting the 3rd and last day of this hackfest… I’ll write about yesterday, which probably means tomorrow I’ll blog about today :).

        • Gnome-shell Hackfest 2019 – Day 3

          As promised, some late notes on the 3rd and last day of the gnome-shell hackfest, so yesterday!

    • Distributions

      • Which Raspberry Pi OS should you use?

        There are a wide range of different Raspberry Pi OS packages available and choosing the correct one for your hardware, application or project is not always easy. Here we compliled a list of popular operating systems for the Raspberry Pi range of single board computers, providing a quick insight into what you can expect from each and how you can use it to build a variety of different applications from games emulators. To fully functional desktop replacements using the powerful Raspberry Pi 4 mini PC, as well as as few more specialist Raspberry Pi OSes. Instructional videos are also included detailing how to install and setup the various OSes, allowing you to quickly choose which Raspberry Pi OS is best for your project.

        If you are starting out with the Raspberry Pi and class yourself as a beginner then the NOOBS Raspberry Pi OS is a great place to start. A number of online stores sell affordable SD cards pre-installed with NOOBS, ready to use straight away. Although if you have any spare SD cards lying around you can also download the NOOBS distribution directly from the Raspberry Pi Foundation website.

      • New Releases

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Plasma, Applications, Frameworks arrive in Latest Tumbleweed Snapshot

          The most recent snapshot, 20191014, updated several packages around KDE’s projects. Plasma 5.17.0 arrived in the snapshot and there are some extraordinary changes to the new version. The release announcement says this new version is as lightweight and thrifty with resources as ever before. The start-up scripts were converted from a slower Bash to a faster C++ and now run asynchronously, which means it can run several tasks simultaneously, instead of having to run them one after another. Improvements to the widget editing User Experience were made and the Night Color feature became available, which subtly changes the hue and brightness of the elements on the screen when it gets dark; this diminishes glare and makes it more relaxing to the eyes. The same snapshot brought KDE Applications 19.08.2 and the second version of the 19.08 release improved High-DPI support in Konsole and other applications; there were many bugs fixes as well and KMail can once again save messages directly to remote folders. There was more KDE packages arriving in Tumbleweed with the update of KDE Frameworks 5.63.0; KIO, Kirigami and KTextEditor had the most bug fixes in frameworks latest release. The Tumbleweed snapshot had several other software packages updated like the file system utilities package e2fsprogs 1.45.4, which addressed Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures CVE-2019-5094 where an attacker would have been able to corrupt a ext4 partition. The 3.6.10 version of gnutls added support for deterministic Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) / Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA). Text editor Nano updated to version 4.5 and offers a new ‘tabgives’ command allowing users to specify per syntax whatthe key should produce. The php7 7.3.10 version modified some patches and fixed some bugs. With all these changes, the snapshot is trending at a stable rating of 95, according to the Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer.

        • Multi-cloud Management: Stratos and Kubernetes

          At the recent Cloud Foundry Summit EU in the Netherlands, Neil MacDougall and Troy Topnik of SUSE presented a talk demonstrating and describing the work that SUSE has done to extend the Stratos management interface to include support for Kubernetes and Helm. They talked about how SUSE has used the Stratos extension mechanism to add new endpoint types for Kubernetes and Helm and we showed some of the features that SUSE has been developing. They wrapped things up by talking about where SUSE is headed next in extending Stratos beyond Cloud Foundry into a Multi-cloud Management interface.

      • Arch Family

        • Review: Manjaro 18.1 “Juhraya”
        • Arch Linux Nears Roll-Out Of Zstd Compressed Packages For Faster Pacman Installs

          The upcoming release of Arch’s Pacman 5.2 is bringing support for compressing packages with Zstd which ultimately will provide faster package installs on Arch Linux.

          Similar to other Linux distributions beginning to make use of Facebook’s Zstd (Zstandard) compression algorithm for faster compression/decompression of packages, Arch Linux is doing the same. Their findings mirror that of others in allowing faster compression/decompression performance with a similar compression ratio for binaries to that of XZ.

      • Fedora Family

        • Interview With Fedora Project Leader Matthew Miller On 15 Years of Fedora

          Fedora — as a Linux distribution — will celebrate the 15th anniversary of its first release in November, though its technical lineage is much older, as Fedora Core 1 was created following the discontinuation of Red Hat Linux 9 in favor of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Five years after the start of Fedora.next, the distribution is on the right track — stability has improved, and work on minimizing hard dependencies in packages and containers, including more audio/video codecs by default, flicker-free boot, and lowering power consumption for notebooks, among other changes, have greatly improved the Fedora experience, while improvements in upstream projects such as GNOME and KDE have likewise improved the desktop experience. In a wide-ranging interview with TechRepublic, Fedora project leader Matthew Miller discussed lessons learned from the past, popular adoption and competing standards for software containers, potential changes coming to Fedora, as well as hot-button topics, including systemd.

      • Debian Family

        • Calamares Plans for Debian 11

          Before Debian 9 was released, I was preparing a release for a derivative of Debian that was a bit different than other Debian systems I’ve prepared for redistribution before. This was targeted at end-users, some of whom might have used Ubuntu before, but otherwise had no Debian related experience. I needed to find a way to make Debian really easy for them to install. Several options were explored, and I found that Calamares did a great job of making it easy for typical users to get up and running fast.

          After Debian 9 was released, I learned that other Debian derivatives were also using Calamares or planning to do so. It started to make sense to package Calamares in Debian so that we don’t do duplicate work in all these projects. On its own, Calamares isn’t very useful, if you ran the pure upstream version in Debian it would crash before it starts to install anything. This is because Calamares needs some configuration and helpers depending on the distribution. Most notably in Debian’s case, this means setting the location of the squashfs image we want to copy over, and some scripts to either install grub-pc or grub-efi depending on how we boot. Since I already did most of the work to figure all of this out, I created a package called calamares-settings-debian, which contains enough configuration to install Debian using Calamares so that derivatives can easily copy and adapt it to their own calamares-settings-* packages for use in their systems.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Kubuntu 19.10 Arrives with KDE Plasma 5.16, Embedded Nvidia Drivers, and More

          Featuring the KDE Plasma 5.16.5 desktop environment and KDE Applications 19.04.3 software suite, the Kubuntu 19.10 release is here with up-to-date core components and applications, including Qt 5.12.4 LTS, Latte Dock 0.9.3, Elisa 0.4.2, Krita 4.2.7, Kdevelop 5.4.2, Ktorrent 5.1.2, as well as Kdenlive and Yakuake 19.08.1.

          “Plasma 5, the new generation of KDE’s desktop has been developed to make it smoother to use while retaining the familiar setup,” reads the release notes. “Plasma 5.16 has been developed to make it smoother to use while retaining the familiar setup. Kubuntu ships the 4th scheduled bugfix release of 5.16 (5.16.5).”

        • Ubuntu MATE 19.10 Released with Latest MATE Desktop, New Apps, Many Improvements
        • Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) Is Now Available to Download

          While Canonical hasn’t yet publish an official announcement for Ubuntu 19.10, which has been in development during the past six months, they released the ISO images for all official flavors. These downloads aren’t visible to the untrained eye, but we got you covered, so head to the downloads below if you can’t wait anymore.

          Dubbed Eoan Ermine, Ubuntu 19.10 comes packed with the latest Linux 5.3 kernel series and GNOME 3.34 desktop environment, an up-to-date toolchain, and various new features and enhancements, among which we can mention embedded Nvidia drivers, additional default hardening options enabled in GCC, WPA3 support, ZFS on root in the installer, and new themes.

        • Ubuntu 19.10 is Now Available to Download

          Ubuntu 19.10 is the 31st version of Ubuntu to be released since 2006. It’s backed by 9 months of ongoing updates, and will be followed by Ubuntu 20.04 LTS ‘Focal Fossa’ in April of next year.

          Six months of plucky development, one freshly prepped Linux kernel, and a giant GNOME release later and the ‘Eoan Ermine’ is good to go (i.e. ready to download).

          Read on for a quick overview of what’s new (check out our full guide for more) or skip straight to the download to grab your copy ahead of its formal release.

        • Ubuntu 19.10 Available For Download With Its GNOME 3.34 + Experimental ZFS Experience

          Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine” has hit mirrors today for an on-time release of this six-month non-LTS installment to Ubuntu Linux.

          Ubuntu 19.10 is a bit more lively than some of the recent Ubuntu releases otherwise, thanks to GNOME 3.34 being a big update on the desktop (including many upstream contributions from the likes of Canonical’s Daniel van Vugt), Linux 5.3 being a solid kernel release, and the experimental ZFS root file-system support from Ubiquity coming together at the last moments of the cycle. So, simply put, Ubuntu 19.10 highlights largely come down to:

          - GNOME 3.34 is the default desktop and is quite exciting thanks to its many upstream improvements, including better performance and — assuming you opt for the non-default session on Ubuntu — much better Wayland support.

        • Ubuntu 19.10 delivers goodies for gamers and a slick new Gnome desktop

          Ubuntu 19.10 ‘Eoan Ermine’ has been unleashed on the world, with Nvidia driver support built right in, and a new faster, more responsive Gnome desktop, with lots of major improvements for business users, too.

          The good news for gamers is that Nvidia’s graphics driver is now embedded right in the ISO image, so it’s there from the get-go (as opposed to being offered up as a download during installation).

          That’s nicely convenient, of course, because Nvidia’s official drivers are the only realistic way to go for gamers on Linux – while open source alternatives like Nouveau might be coming on, they still aren’t a patch (no pun intended) on Nvidia’s proprietary driver.

        • What’s New in Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine,” Available Now

          Ubuntu 19.10 is available for download today. Upgrading isn’t mandatory—in fact, most people stick with the long-term service (LTS) releases and upgrade just once every two years when the next one comes out. The last LTS release was Ubuntu 18.04 LTS “Bionic Beaver.”

          For some people, if the latest release isn’t a Long Term Support (LTS) release, the question “should I upgrade?” is a no-brainer. Canonical estimates that 95 percent of Ubuntu installations are running LTS versions. Ubuntu 19.10 isn’t an LTS release; it is an interim release. The next LTS is due out in April 2020, when Ubuntu 20.04 is going to be delivered.

          If 95 percent stick with LTS releases, those who do upgrade to interim releases are very much in the minority. But there’s always going to be users who want the newest shiny things. They’re going to upgrade. Period. The fact that there’s a new version is reason enough.

          So we’ve got the LTS-only users in the “definitely won’t upgrade” camp, and the give-me-the-new-version-now users in the “definitely will upgrade” camp. If neither of those is you, you must be in the “I might upgrade if there’s something compelling about this new release” camp. Here’s our quick run-down so you can make up your mind.

        • Ubuntu 19.10 arrives with edge capabilities for Kubernetes, integrated AI developer experience

          Following 25 weeks of development, Canonical today released Ubuntu 19.10. Highlights include new edge capabilities for Kubernetes, an integrated AI developer experience, and the fastest GNOME desktop performance yet. You can download Ubuntu 19.10 from here.

          Kubernetes (stylized as k8s) was originally designed by Google and is now maintained by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Kubernetes is an open source container-orchestration system. MicroK8s, meanwhile, is a CNCF-certified upstream Kubernetes deployment that runs entirely on your workstation or edge device.

          Ubuntu 19.10 brings strict confinement to MicroK8s, ensuring complete isolation and a tightly secured production-grade Kubernetes environment. MicroK8s add-ons (like Istio, Knative, CoreDNS, Prometheus, and Jaeger) can now be deployed at the edge with a single command. Raspberry Pi 4 supports Ubuntu 19.10, meaning you can orchestrate workloads at the edge with MicroK8s for just $35.

          Additionally, Ubuntu 19.10 ships with the Train release of Charmed OpenStack. The included live migration extensions let users move machines from one hypervisor to another without shutting down.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Codename and Release Date

          As OMG! Ubuntu first noted, Ubuntu 20.04 has been codenamed “Focal Fossa”.

          The codenames of Ubuntu releases are composed of two words starting with the same letter. First world is usually and adjective while the second word is usually an animal species.

          Focal is a common English world meaning “center or most important part”. Fossa is a cat-like animal found in Madagascar.

        • Ubuntu 19.10 Has Two Outstanding New Features For Linux Users

          Ubuntu 19.10 officially launches today, and if this release is any indication, next year’s Ubuntu 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa” is going to be one outstanding desktop Linux distribution. But let’s not dismiss the OS you can actually install today. What makes 19.10 so special to me personally? ZFS and great graphics card support.

          Ubuntu 19.10 delivers a pair of welcome advancements for anyone using an Nvidia GPU, and anyone rocking newer 7nm Navi graphics cards from AMD, such as the Radeon 5700 XT.

          First is something I’ve been calling for due to the more performant nature of the proprietary Nvidia graphics driver: it’s right on the Ubuntu 19.10 ISO now, and you can choose to install it over the open source Nouveau driver, which is particularly useful if you want to play games.

        • Canonical releases Ubuntu Linux 19.10 Eoan Ermine with GNOME 3.34, light theme, and Raspberry Pi 4 support

          Thank God for Linux. No, seriously, regardless of your beliefs, you should be thankful that we have the Linux kernel to provide us with a free alternative to Windows 10. Lately, Microsoft’s operating system has been plagued by buggy updates, causing some Windows users to lose faith in it. Hell, even Dona Sarkar — the now-former leader of the Windows Insider program — has been relieved of her duties and transitioned to a new role within the company (read into that what you will).

          While these are indeed dark times for Windows, Linux remains that shining beacon of light. When Windows becomes unbearable, you can simply use Chrome OS, Android, Fedora, Manjaro, or some other Linux distribution. Today, following the beta period, one of the best and most popular Linux-based desktop operating systems reaches a major milestone — you can now download Ubuntu 19.10! Code-named “Eoan Ermine” (yes, I know, it’s a terrible name), the distro is better and faster then ever.

        • Canonical Outs Linux Kernel Security Update for Ubuntu 19.04 to Patch 9 Flaws

          The new security update for Ubuntu 19.04 is here to patch a total of seven security flaws affecting the Linux 5.0 kernel used by the operating system, including an issue (CVE-2019-15902) discovered by Brad Spengler which could allow a local attacker to expose sensitive information as a Spectre mitigation was improperly implemented in the ptrace susbsystem.

          It also fixes several flaws (CVE-2019-14814, CVE-2019-14815, CVE-2019-14816) discovered by Wen Huang in the Marvell Wi-Fi device driver, which could allow local attacker to cause a denial of service or execute arbitrary code, as well as a flaw (CVE-2019-15504) discovered by Hui Peng and Mathias Payer in the 91x Wi-Fi driver, allowing a physically proximate attacker to crash the system.

        • Ubuntu 19.10: What’s New? [Video]

          Yes, I dusted off my old Canon T2i and pointed it at my trusty (if currently rather dusty) Ubuntu laptop to showcase the core changes and improvements that are on offer in the ‘Eoan Ermine’ (just don’t ask me how to pronounce the name).

          In 3 minutes and 31 seconds (exactly) you’ll learn all that’s new, nascent and notable in this, the latest Ubuntu release. From the experimental ZFS install option to easy app folder creation, and the new ‘lighter’ Ubuntu GNOME Shell theme.

        • How to Upgrade Ubuntu 19.04 to Ubuntu 19.10

          With the release of Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) knocking at the door, it’s time to upgrade your existing Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo) installations.

          Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) is the latest version of the Ubuntu Linux operating system, featuring the newest Linux 5.3 kernel series and the GNOME 3.33 desktop environment, as well as up-to-date core components and apps, including LibreOffice 6.3, Mozilla Firefox 69, Mozilla Thunderbird 68, PulseAudio 13, GCC 9.2.1, and more.

          Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo) was released earlier this year on April 18th, and it will only be supported for nine months, until January 2020. Therefore, if you’re using it on your personal computer, we think it will be a good idea to upgrade to Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) right now by following the next instructions.

        • How To Install Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine to USB Stick with UEFI Guide

          This tutorial explains steps to install Ubuntu 19.10 safely to your computer either with BIOS or UEFI initialization system. This tutorial mainly guides you to install the OS into an external storage and hence USB Flash Drive is used, but you can practice same installation into normal internal storages, namely Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and Solid State Disk (SSD). You will create at least 2 partitions, and particularly add 1 more partition if your computer is UEFI-based system, and perform 8 steps to finish the installation. Happy working with Eoan Ermine!

        • Happy 15th Birthday, Ubuntu!

          Ubuntu has come a long way since its ‘Warty Warthog’ days. The distro is by far the most popular Linux flavor in the market right now. According to W3Techs.com, Ubuntu leads the pack with 37.4% of the market, while Debian is a close second at 21.2%.

          This is a far cry from the 8.9% popularity that Ubuntu garnered when W3Techs.com first began tracking such data in January 2010. Ubuntu was the 5th most popular Linux distro back then, behind Debian, CentOS, Red Hat, and Fedora, respectively.

          Not only is Ubuntu the favorite of many users, but it is also now in the workplace as well, World-wide. Many companies and individuals choose Ubuntu as their distro of choice. The top users of Ubuntu reside in the United States. However, there are also a significant number of Ubuntu users in the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, India, and the Netherlands.

          Since its birth almost 14 years ago, Ubuntu has spawned many successful forks such as Linux Mint, elementary OS, Zorin OS, Pop!_OS, and KDE neon. This list does not even include some of Ubuntu’s derivatives, including Lubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, and Ubuntu Budgie.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS to Be Dubbed “Focal Fossa,” Slated for Release on April 23rd

          According to the official release schedule, the development cycle of the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) operating system will kick off next week on October 24th with the toolchain upload, of course based on the soon-to-be-released Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) operating system.

          Even though it’s a long-term supported (LTS) series, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS will continue the same development cycle as before, which means that only a beta version will be released to the public for testing before the final release. The Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Beta is expected next year on April 2nd.

          The final release of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) will see the light day of April 23rd, 2020. Until then, there’s only a few hours left before the Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) release hits the streets, so stay tuned on our Linux/FOSS news section for the official release announcement with all the juicy details and, of course, the download links.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Codenamed The Focal Fossa, Arriving On 23 April

          With Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine” releasing tomorrow (17 October), development is about to kick-off for the next Ubuntu development cycle under the codename Focal Fossa.

          Ubuntu has already been through “FF” before with the Feisty Fawn (Ubuntu 7.04) while this time around the codename is the Focal Fossa. A fossa is considered a relative of the mongoose and found in areas around Madagascar. The size of a fossa is comparable to a small cougar, according to Wikipedia.

          Making the Focal Fossa particularly exciting is that Ubuntu 20.04 will be a Long-Term Support (LTS) release. With Ubuntu 20.04 LTS expect GNOME 3.36 as the default desktop, the X.Org based session to still remain the default, Linux 5.5 + GCC 9 + Mesa 20.0 powering the stack, and continued work on their newly-enabled ZFS root file-system support on the desktop. With Ubuntu 20.04 being an LTS release popular in the enterprise, also expect to find the very latest enterprise packages and the likes of PHP 7.4.

        • The Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Codename Has Been Revealed…

          Following Ubuntu 19.10 ‘Eoan Ermine’, the next version of Ubuntu will, as expected, be based around the letter “F”.

          But it’s not going to be Feral Ferret, Famous Fox or Finicky Falcon. No, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is codenamed the “Focal Fossa“.

          And I think it’s a fabulously fitting title.

          Most of us have barely had time to explore the exuberant excesses of the Eoan Ermine release and yet, development never stops.

          As convention dictates, each Ubuntu codename combines an adjective and an animal (real or otherwise), alliteratively.

          And for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS that combination is “focal”, and “fossa” — but what do these words mean?

        • Canonical Is At Around 437 Employees, Pulled In $99M While Still Operating At A Loss

          Canonical’s financial numbers for the period through the end of 2018 are now available, which is a shortened nine month period after changing around their fiscal year to coincide with the end of the calendar year rather than 31 March.

        • Something exciting is coming with Ubuntu 19.10

          ZFS is a combined file system and logical volume manager that is scalable, supplying support for high storage capacity and a more efficient data compression, and includes snapshots and rollbacks, copy-on-write clones, continuous integrity checking, automatic repair, and much more.

          So yeah, ZFS is a big deal, which includes some really great features. But out of those supported features, it’s the snapshots and rollbacks that should have every Ubuntu user/admin overcome with a case of the feels.

          Why? Imagine something has gone wrong. You’ve lost data or an installation of a piece of software has messed up the system. What do you do? If you have ZFS and you’ve created a snapshot, you can roll that system back to the snapshot where everything was working fine.

          Although the concept isn’t new to the world of computing, it’s certainly not something Ubuntu has had by default. So this is big news.

        • Ubuntu Server development summary – 16 October 2019

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

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Measuring the business value of open source communities

        It is still the early days of building a platform for bringing together these disparate data sources. The CHAOSS core of Augur and GrimoireLab currently supports over two dozen sources, and I’m excited to see what lies ahead for this project.

        As the CHAOSS frameworks mature, I’m optimistic that teams and projects that implement these types of measurement will be able to make better real-world decisions that result in healthier and more productive software development lifecycles.

      • Google Ejects Open-Source WireGuard From Android Play Store Over Donation Link In App

        Apparently Google doesn’t appreciate donation links/buttons within programs found on the Google Play Store even when it’s one of the main sources of revenue for open-source programs. WireGuard has been reportedly dropped over this according to WireGuard lead developer Jason Donenfeld.

        After waiting days for Google to review the latest version of their secure VPN tunnel application, it was approved and then removed and delisted — including older versions of WireGuard. The reversal comes on the basis of violating their “payments policy”. Of course, Google would much prefer payments be routed through them so they can take their cut…

      • Events

        • Director Digital Business Solutions to kick off ApacheCon Europe in Berlin

          The European Commission, a long-time user of open source software, is strengthening its relationship with the Apache Foundation. At the Hackathon in May, the Commission brought together more than 30 developers involved in six different Apache projects. Attendees came from Croatia, Ireland, Poland and Romania, and even from Russia and the United States. At the meeting, many developers met in person for the first time. The hackathon helped the project members build connections and strengthen bonds.

        • FOSSCOMM 2019 aftermath

          FOSSCOMM (Free and Open Source Software Communities Meeting) is a Greek conference aiming at free-software and open-source enthusiasts, developers, and communities. This year was held at Lamia from October 11 to October 13.

          It is a tradition for me to attend to this conference. Usually I have presentations and of course booths to inform the attendees about the projects I represent.

          This year the structure of the conference was kind of different. Usually the conference starts on Friday with “beer event”. Now it started with registration and a presentation. Personally I made my plan to leave from Thessaloniki by bus. It took me about 4 hours on the road. So when I arrived, I went to my hotel and then waited for Pantelis to go to the University and setup our booths.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Developing cross-browser extensions with web-ext 3.2.0

            The web-ext tool was created at Mozilla to help you build browser extensions faster and more easily. Although our first launch focused on support for desktop Firefox, followed by Firefox for Android, our vision was always to support cross-platform development once we shipped Firefox support.

          • Get recommended reading from Pocket every time you open a new tab in Firefox

            Thousands of articles are published each day, all fighting for our attention. But how many are actually worth reading? The tiniest fraction, and they’re tough to find. That’s where Pocket comes in.

          • This Week in Rust 308

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

      • Linux Foundation

        • Open source Delta Lake project moves to the Linux Foundation

          Databricks Inc.’s Delta Lake today became the latest open-source software project to fall under the banner of the Linux Foundation.

          Delta Lake has rapidly gained momentum since it was open-sourced by Databricks in April, and is already being used by thousands of organizations, including important backers such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Booz Allen Hamilton Corp. and Intel Corp., its founders say. The project was conceived as a way of improving the reliability of so-called “data lakes,” which are systems or repositories of data stored in its natural format, usually in object “blobs” or files.

          Data lakes are popularly used by large enterprises as they provide a reliable way of ensuring that data can be accessed by anyone within an organization. They can be used to store any kind of data, including both structured and unstructured information in its native format, and also support analysis of data that helps provide real-time insights on business matters.

        • Delta Lake finds new home at Linux Foundation

          Databricks used the currently happening Spark + AI Summit Europe to announce a change in the governance of Delta Lake.

          The storage layer was introduced to the public in April 2019 and is now in the process of moving to the Linux Foundation, which also fosters software projects such as the Linux kernel and Kubernetes.

          The new home is meant to drive the adoption of Delta Lake and establish it as a standard for managing big data. Databricks’ cofounder Ali Ghodsi commented the move in a canned statement. “To address organizations’ data challenges we want to ensure this project is open source in the truest form. Through the strength of the Linux Foundation community and contributions, we’re confident that Delta Lake will quickly become the standard for data storage in data lakes.”

        • Confidential Computing Consortium Establishes Formation with Founding Members and Open Governance Structure

          The Confidential Computing Consortium, a Linux Foundation project and community dedicated to defining and accelerating the adoption of confidential computing, today announced the formalization of its organization with founding premiere members Alibaba, Arm, Google Cloud, Huawei, Intel, Microsoft and Red Hat. General members include Baidu, ByteDance, decentriq, Fortanix, Kindite, Oasis Labs, Swisscom, Tencent and VMware.

          The intent to form the Confidential Computing Consortium was announced at Open Source Summit in San Diego earlier this year. The organization aims to address data in use, enabling encrypted data to be processed in memory without exposing it to the rest of the system, reducing exposure to sensitive data and providing greater control and transparency for users. This is among the very first industry-wide initiatives to address data in use, as current security approaches largely focus on data at rest or data in transit. The focus of the Confidential Computing Consortium is especially important as companies move more of their workloads to span multiple environments, from on premises to public cloud and to the edge.

        • Confidential Computing Consortium Establishes Formation with Founding Members and Open Governance Structure – Member Comments
        • Open FinTech Forum Brings Together Technologists and Business Executives to Accelerate Development in Finance Sector

          The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced the speakers and program for Open FinTech Forum taking place December 9, 2019 at the Convene Conference Center in New York. To register, please visit: https://events19.linuxfoundation.org/events/open-fintech-forum-2019/register/

          Open FinTech Forum is where financial services IT decision makers come to learn about the open technologies driving digital transformation – technologies like AI, blockchain and more – and how to best utilize an open source strategy and implementation to enable new products, services and capabilities; increase IT efficiencies; establish and strengthen internal license compliance programs; and attract top-level talent and train existing talent on the latest disruptive technologies.

          “Open FinTech Forum brings the open source communities that support financial services together with CIOs, IT managers and developers working in the heart of finance,” said Angela Brown, General Manager of Events at The Linux Foundation. “We’re looking forward to showcasing the industry’s emerging and established open technologies fueling this space.”

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6.2.8 is available, the last release of the 6.2 family

          The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 6.2.8, the last minor release of the LibreOffice 6.2 family. All users of LibreOffice 6.2.x versions should update immediately for enhanced security, and be prepared to upgrade to LibreOffice 6.3.4 as soon as it becomes available in December.

          For enterprise class deployments, TDF strongly recommends sourcing LibreOffice from one of the ecosystem partners to get long-term supported releases, dedicated assistance, custom new features and bug fixes, and other benefits. Also, the work done by ecosystem partners flows back into the LibreOffice project, benefiting everyone.

          LibreOffice’s individual users are helped by a global community of volunteers: https://www.libreoffice.org/get-help/community-support/. On the website and the wiki there are guides, manuals, tutorials and HowTos. Donations help us to make all of these resources available.

          LibreOffice users are invited to join the community at https://ask.libreoffice.org, where they can get and provide user-to-user support. While TDF can not provide commercial level support, there are guides, manuals, tutorials and HowTos on the website and the wiki. Your donations help us make these available.

        • LibreOffice 6.2.8 Arrives as the Last in the Series, Prepare for LibreOffice 6.3

          The Document Foundation released today the eight and final maintenance update for the LibreOffice 6.2 open-source and cross-platform office suite series.

          LibreOffice 6.2.8 is here one and a half months after the release of LibreOffice 6.2.7, which was announced in early September alongside the first point release of the latest LibreOffice 6.3 series. This maintenance release brings a total of 26 bug fixes and improvements across various components, as detailed here and here.

          While the LibreOffice 6.2 office suite series is still recommended for enterprise deployments, unfortunately it will reach end of life next month on November 30th. As such, the Document Foundation recommends all enterprise users to update to LibreOffice 6.2.8 immediately for enhanced security, and start preparing to upgrade to LibreOffice 6.3.

        • FOSDEM 2020: Open Document Editors DevRoom Call for Papers

          FOSDEM is one of the largest gatherings of Free Software contributors in the world and happens each year in Brussels (Belgium) at the ULB Campus Solbosch. In 2020, it will be held on Saturday, February 1, and Sunday, February 2.

          The Open Document Editors (OFE) DevRoom is scheduled for Saturday, February 1, from 10:30AM to 7PM. Physical room has not yet been assigned by FOSDEM. The shared devroom gives all project in this area a chance to present ODF related developments and innovations.

          We are now inviting proposals for talks about Open Document Editors or the ODF document format, on topics such as code, extensions, localization, QA, UX, tools and adoption related cases. This is a unique opportunity to show new ideas and developments to a wide technical audience.

        • Eight videos from the auditorium at LibreOffice Conference 2019

          In September we had the LibreOffice Conference 2019 in Almeria, Spain. We’re uploading videos from the presentations that took place, so here’s a new batch! First up is “Janitor of Sanity” with Stephan Bergmann…

      • CMS

        • Automattic Announces Mark Davies as Chief Financial Officer

          Automattic Inc., the parent company of WordPress.com, WooCommerce, and Tumblr, among other products, has announced that Mark Davies has joined the company as Chief Financial Officer.

          Davies comes to Automattic from Vivint, a $1B+ annual revenue smart home technology company, where he served as chief financial officer since 2013.

          The news follows Automattic’s recent $300 million Series D investment round from Salesforce Ventures, and its acquisition in September of the social blogging platform Tumblr.

        • Empowering Generations of Digital Natives

          Technology is changing faster each year. Digital literacy can vary between ages but there are lots of ways different generations can work together and empower each as digital citizens.

          No matter whether you’re a parent or caregiver, teacher or mentor, it’s hard to know the best way to teach younger generations the skills needed to be an excellent digital citizen. If you’re not confident about your own tech skills, you may wonder how you can help younger generations become savvy digital citizens. But using technology responsibly is about more than just technical skills. By collaborating across generations, you can also strengthen all your family members’ skills, and offer a shared understanding of what the internet can provide and how to use it to help your neighborhoods and wider society.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

        • Microsoft unveils two open-source projects for building cloud and edge applications [Ed: Microsoft: our 'clown computing' with NSA back doors is all proprietary software but to trap your work and your data we are openwashing the tools to put them there]

          The new projects include the Open Application Model, which is a specification for building cloud-native apps on Kubernetes, and Dapr, a portable event-driven runtime for building microservices-based apps that can run in the cloud and on edge devices.

      • BSD

        • [Older] Sourcehut makes BSD software better

          Every day, Sourcehut runs continuous integration for FreeBSD and OpenBSD for dozens of projects, and believe it or not, some of them don’t even use Sourcehut for distribution! Improving the BSD software ecosystem is important to us, and as such our platform is designed to embrace the environment around it, rather than building a new walled garden. This makes it easy for existing software projects to plug into our CI infastructure, and many BSD projects take advantage of this to improve their software.

          Some of this software is foundational stuff, and their improvements trickle down to the entire BSD ecosystem. Let’s highlight a few great projects that take advantage of our BSD offerings.

      • Licensing/Legal

        • How to Verify Smart Contracts on Etherscan

          You have your smart contract written, tested, and deployed. However, customers aren’t willing to do business with you unless they know the contract’s source code. After all, it could be set up in a way that’s not in their interest.

          Thankfully, Etherscan offers a neat tool that allows you to verify smart contracts so interested parties can see the source code and verify for themselves that everything is as it should be.

          While the process is simple, there are intricacies that might cause problems, especially to people not very familiar with Ethereum and the Solidity programming language.

        • Ethical Open Source: Is the world ready?

          Given its incredible popularity in the marketplace, there is no question that many software developers (and their respective companies) today see great value in using software that is subject to open source licenses. Users focus on the advantages to be had by gaining access, usually at no or minimal charge, to the software’s source code and to the thriving open source community supporting such projects.

          Powered by a worldwide community supporting the code base, open source code is generally perceived to be more reliable, robust and flexible than so-called proprietary software, with increased transparency leading to better code stability, faster bug fixes, and more frequent updates and enhancements.

          Historically the question of ethics and open source software (OSS) has mainly focussed on the goal of obtaining and guaranteeing certain “software freedoms,” namely the freedom to use, study, share and modify the software (as exemplified by the Free Software Definition and copyleft licenses such as the GPL family), and to ensure that derivative works were distributed under the same license terms to end “predatory vendor lock-in.”

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Hardware/Modding

          • Repurposing A Toy Computer From The 1990s

            Our more youthful readers are fairly likely to have owned some incarnation of a VTech educational computer. From the mid-1980s and right up to the present day, VTech has been producing vaguely laptop shaped gadgets aimed at teaching everything from basic reading skills all the way up to world history. Hallmarks of these devices include a miserable monochrome LCD, and unpleasant membrane keyboard, and as [HotKey] found, occasionally a proper Z80 processor.


            After more than a year of tinkering and talking to other hackers in the Z80 scene, [HotKey] has made some impressive headway. He’s not only created a custom cartridge that lets him load new code and connect to external devices, but he’s also added support for a few VTech machines to z88dk so that others can start writing their own C code for these machines. So far he’s created some very promising proof of concept programs such as a MIDI controller and serial terminal, but ultimately he hopes to create a DOS or CP/M like operating system that will elevate these vintage machines from simple toys to legitimate multi-purpose computers.

      • Programming/Development

        • Theory: average bus factor = 1

          Two articles recently made me realize that all my free software projects basically have a bus factor of one. I am the sole maintainer of every piece of software I have ever written that I still maintain. There are projects that I have been the maintainer of which have other maintainers now (most notably AlternC, Aegir and Linkchecker), but I am not the original author of any of those projects.

          Now that I have a full time job, I feel the pain. Projects like Gameclock, Monkeysign, Stressant, and (to a lesser extent) Wallabako all need urgent work: the first three need to be ported to Python 3, the first two to GTK 3, and the latter will probably die because I am getting a new e-reader. (For the record, more recent projects like undertime and feed2exec are doing okay, mostly because they were written in Python 3 from the start, and the latter has extensive unit tests. But they do suffer from the occasional bitrot (the latter in particular) and need constant upkeep.)

          Now that I barely have time to keep up with just the upkeep, I can’t help but think all of my projects will just die if I stop working on them. I have the same feeling about the packages I maintain in Debian.

        • What Can AI Teach Us about Bias and Fairness?

          As researchers, journalists, and many others have discovered, machine learning algorithms can deliver biased results. One notorious example is ProPublica’s discovery of bias in a software called COMPAS used by the U.S. court systems to predict an offender’s likelihood of re-offending. ProPublica’s investigators discovered the software’s algorithm was telling the court system that first-time Black offenders had a higher likelihood of being repeat offenders than white offenders who had committed multiple crimes. They also found only 20% of the individuals predicted to commit a violent crime did so. Discoveries like these are why ethical AI is top-of-mind in Silicon Valley and for companies around the world focused on AI solutions.

        • KDAB at C++ Russia, Saint Petersburg

          C++ Russia is the premier C++ conference in East Europe which alternates between Moscow and Saint Petersburg. The conference lasts for two days starting October 31st. It will be held in the Park Inn by Radisson Pulkovskaya Hotel in the heart of Saint Petersburg.

        • How to Add Time Delays to Your Code

          Have you ever needed to make your Python program wait for something? Most of the time, you’d want your code to execute as quickly as possible. But there are times when letting your code sleep for a while is actually in your best interest.

          For example, you might use a Python sleep() call to simulate a delay in your program. Perhaps you need to wait for a file to upload or download, or for a graphic to load or be drawn to the screen. You might even need to pause between calls to a web API, or between queries to a database. Adding Python sleep() calls to your program can help in each of these cases, and many more!

        • Python 3.7.4 : Test the DHCP handshakes.
        • LLVM Clang RISC-V Now Supports LTO

          With the recent release of LLVM 9.0 the RISC-V back-end was promoted from an experimental CPU back-end to being made “official” for this royalty-free CPU ISA. Work though isn’t over on the LLVM RISC-V support with new features continuing to land, like link-time optimizations (LTO) most recently being enabled within the Clang 10 code.

          Within the latest Clang code this week, LTO (link-time optimizations) are now enabled for Clang targeting RISC-V. LTO, of course, is important for performance with being able to exploit more performance optimizations by the compiler at link-time.

        • PyCon 2019: Open Spaces

          And, yeah, I realize it was nearly six months ago. But there have been some things that have been lingering in my thoughts that I need to share.

        • Sharing Your Labor of Love: PyPI Quick and Dirty

          This is another huge update after its initial release in 2013 and catches up with the latest developments (a lot happened!) since the last big update in 2017. Additionally, I have removed the parts on keyring because I stopped using it myself: it’s sort of nice to double-check before uploading anything. If you want to automate the retrieval of your PyPI credentials, check out glyph’s blog post Careful With That PyPI.

        • Programming error in a particular set of Python scripts may have affected hundreds of studies

          Python scripts used for computational analysis of data may produce different results depending on the operating systems on which they are run.

          That’s according to a team of researchers at the University of Hawaii, who recently observed similar behaviour from “Willoughby-Hoye” scripts, casting doubts on the results of about 150 published chemistry studies.

        • New SystemView Verification Tool from SEGGER is Compatible with Windows, Linux, and macOS
        • 5 steps for an easy JDK 13 install on Ubuntu
        • Basic Data Types in Python 3: Strings
        • Excellent Free Books to Learn VimL

          VimL is a powerful scripting language of the Vim editor. You can use this dynamic, imperative language to design new tools, automate tasks, and redefine existing features of Vim. At an entry level, writing VimL consists of editing the vimrc file. Users can mould Vim to their personal preferences. But the language offers so much more; writing complete plugins that transform the editor. Learning VimL also helps improve your efficiency in every day editing.

          VimL supports many common language features: variables, control structures, built-in functions, user-defined functions, expressions first-class strings, high-level data structures (lists and dictionaries), terminal and file I/O, regex pattern matching, exceptions, as well as an integrated debugger. Vim’s runtime features are written in VimL.

        • Google Releases Bazel 1.0 Build System With Faster Build Performance

          Bazel is Google’s preferred build system used by many of their own software projects. Bazel is focused on providing automated testing and release processes while supporting “language and platform diversity” and other features catered towards their workflow. Bazel 1.0 comes at a time when many open-source projects have recently been switching to Meson+Ninja as the popular build system these days for its fast build times and great multi-platform build support. Bazel also still has to compete with the likes of CMake and many others.

        • Bazel Reaches 1.0 Milestone!

          Bazel was born of Google’s own needs for highly scalable builds. When we open sourced Bazel back in 2015, we hoped that Bazel could fulfill similar needs in the software development industry. A growing list of Bazel users attests to the widespread demand for scalable, reproducible, and multi-lingual builds. Bazel helps Google be more open too: several large Google open source projects, such as Angular and TensorFlow, use Bazel. Users have reported 3x test time reductions and 10x faster build speeds after switching to Bazel.

  • Leftovers

    • Looking Normal in Kew Gardens
    • Science

      • Happy 100th birthday, theremin!

        Russian inventor Léon Theremin, a cellist and physicist, was doing research for the Russian government on something called proximity sensors.

        “He was just experimenting in his lab and somehow found out that you can create a sound by moving your hand in electromagnetic fields,” Eyck said. “So, with the right hand, you can change the pitch the closer you get to an upright antenna, and with the left hand, you can change the volume the further away you go from a loop antenna.”

        That was in 1919. Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin reportedly “adored” the newfangled contraption. Léon Theremin brought his instrument to the New York Philharmonic, and his so-called “ether-wave” concerts were a hit all over Europe.

    • Education

      • UN Body Urges South Korea to Improve Sexuality Education

        The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child is urging South Korea to revamp its sexuality education curriculum to cover age-appropriate topics. It’s a crucial step if South Korea is to address the needs of all youth, curb harmful gender stereotypes, and halt rising HIV rates in the country.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Journalists, We’re Sharing Our Tips From Patients With Medical Debt. Want Them?

        In Memphis, Tennessee, we’ve found evidence that hospitals are aggressively suing patients who can’t afford to pay lofty medical bills. Dozens more people — including patients, their family members and lawyers from at least 25 states — have been writing to tell us about other institutions hounding their communities for money.

        In Coffeyville, Kansas, where the poverty rate is double the national average, we found that at least 11 people were arrested in the past year after unpaid medical bills, and we analyzed more than 30 arrest warrants, some for bills as low as $230.

      • Private Hospitals Use Dark Money to Smear Medicare for All

        Support for expanding access to health care—whether a Medicare for All plan or a public option for health insurance—is growing in public opinion polls, particularly among Democrats. Many of the Democratic candidates for president support it. This trend is bad news for the for-profit health care industry, and according to an investigation by The Intercept and Maplight, these companies are turning to dark money to fight it.

      • Opioid Crisis Cost $631 Billion to U.S. Economy Over 4 Years, Study Says

        The opioid crisis cost the U.S. economy $631 billion from 2015 through last year — and it may keep getting more expensive, according to a study released Tuesday by the Society of Actuaries.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availabilitiy)

      • ‘Serious’ Linux Sudo Bug’s Damage Potential Actually May Be Small

        Developers have patched a vulnerability in Sudo, a core command utility for Linux, that could allow a user to execute commands as a root user even if that root access was specifically disallowed.

        The patch prevents potential serious consequences within Linux systems. However, the Sudo vulnerability posed a threat only to a narrow segment of the Linux user base, according to Todd Miller, software developer and senior engineer at Quest Software and a maintainer of the open source Sudo project.

        “Most Sudo configurations are not affected by the bug. Non-enterprise home users are unlikely to be affected at all,” he told LinuxInsider.

      • Linux Sudo Command Bug Enabled Hackers To Gain Root Access

        One of the most important commands in Linux contained a rather nasty security flaw that could have let malicious types gain root access to the operating system. The bug, which has since been squashed by developers, was found in the sudo command that is used by developers to carry out tasks and run stuff with elevated privileges. Sudo only enables this if users of the command have the right permissions to do so on a Linux machine or know the root user’s password. But the command appears to have been a little too effective. It could have allowed hackers with enough access to run sudo on a Linux machine to gain root access even if the configuration of Linux they were accessing would not have normally allowed it.

      • Linux Sudo Bug Lets Non-Privileged Users To Run Commands As Root

        Sudo, one of the most commonly used utilities in Linux, has been found to have a vulnerability that could allow malicious users or programs to execute arbitrary commands as root on a targeted Linux system without clearance.

      • Top Linux antivirus software

        The last several years have seen a startling increase in malware that targets Linux. Some estimates suggest that Linux malware account for more than a third of the known attacks. In 2019, for example, new Linux-specific attacks included the Silex worm, GoLang malware, the Zombieload side-channel attack, the Hiddenwasp Trojan, the EvilGnome spyware and Lilocked ransomware. The volume and severity of attacks against Linux are clearly on the rise.

        While Linux has some advantages when it comes to security, the Linux kernel is certainly not devoid of security vulnerabilities nor is it immune to attack. The worst thing you can do is to sit back and assume that Linux systems are safe simply because a larger number of desktops are running Windows.

        Tools are available to defend Linux systems from many types of attack, and quite a few of these are free and open source. These are some of the best tools that you can get for free or at modest cost.

      • Security updates for Thursday

        Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (sudo), Debian (libsdl1.2 and libsdl2), Mageia (e2fsprogs, kernel, libpcap and tcpdump, nmap, and sudo), openSUSE (GraphicsMagick and sudo), Oracle (java-1.8.0-openjdk, java-11-openjdk, jss, and kernel), Red Hat (java-1.8.0-openjdk and java-11-openjdk), Scientific Linux (jss), SUSE (gcc7 and libreoffice), and Ubuntu (leading to a double-free, libsdl1.2, and tiff).

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Nearly 70,000 children displaced as violence escalates in northeast Syria

        “Three health facilities and health vehicles and one school came under attack. The A’louk water station supplying water to nearly 400,000 people in Al-Hasakeh is out of service.

      • Turkey’s state-sponsored Islamic terrorism

        As its dream of entering the EU vanished, Turkey tried to dig into its Islamic identity and establish itself as a centre for the Islamic world, drawing on a past that goes back to before WWI when the Ottoman empire had a caliph at its head.

        Ever since the emergence of the so-called Islamic State (Isis), the Turkish government has turned a blind eye to fighters arriving on its soil from all over the world in order to join the terrorist group.

      • The Berlin Wall, Thirty Years Later

        Remembrance Days are rewarding for journalists, especially since Google made research digging so easy. And how the German media love such days! Their favorite dates recall four events: June 17, 1953,  the “Uprising” (or whatever it’s labeled) by East German workers in the birthing period of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the building of the Berlin Wall on August 13, 1961, its opening up on November  9, 1989 and “German unification” on October 3, 1990. The final digits of round-numbered years are 3, 1, 9 and 0. Add on five-year final digits – after all, proper calendars must mark 25 or 35 year anniversaries – and you get 8, 6, 4 and 5, so all but two years every decade offer fine opportunities for journalists, orators and politicians to remind us, for days, even weeks in advance, how awful the GDR was, how doomed to fail and how lucky its demise made all of us poor “Ossies” (East Germans).

      • Russian Justice Ministry asks Supreme Court to liquidate major human rights organization

        Russia’s federal Justice Ministry has submitted a lawsuit demanding that the country’s Supreme Court shut down the nonprofit organization “For Human Rights.” The suit argues that the organization, which is headed by 78-year-old human rights veteran Lev Ponomaryov, repeatedly violated Russian law and the Russian Constitution. The violations cited include numerous charges made under Russia’s law on “foreign agents.” The law places operational restrictions and a social stigma on organizations that operate in Russia but receive foreign funding.

      • Betrayal in the Levant

        Confusion reigns in certain left-leaning and anarchist circles. Pat Robertson tells Trump he will lose his mandate of heaven if he really does pull the US troops occupying northern Syria from their positions. Democrats, Republicans, neocons and neoliberals join the Pentagon and the mainstream US media to decry this possible troop redeployment.  Turkey assembles its military forces and moves into northern Syria.  Some of its politicians tell their supporters that they will bury the Kurds in ditches along the roadside.  US anarchist Noam Chomsky supports the US troops remaining in the area. What the hell is going on?

      • How Turkey’s Invasion of Syria Backfired on Erdogan

        Turkey’s Syrian venture is rapidly turning sour from President Erdogan’s point of view. The Turkish advance into northeast Syria is moving slowly, but Turkey’s military options are becoming increasingly limited as the Syrian Army, backed by Russia, moves into Kurdish-held cities and towns that might have been targeted by Turkish forces.

      • Trump and Erdogan have Much in Common – and the Kurds will be the Tragic Victims of Their Idiocy

        What perfidy. Is there any more solemn a word that can be developed in the English language for such treachery? The west’s Kurdish allies are being betrayed all over again. Like Kissinger, like Trump. And here come the Turks again, once more playing their border games, pretending they are fighting against “terrorism” when they were perfectly prepared to assist al-Nusra in Afrin while oil from Isis flowed into the country. And Trump now suddenly realises that the Turks are not good allies when he was perfectly happy to let them invade northern Syriafour days ago.

      • Kurdish Massacres: One of Britain’s Many Original Sins

        For those who believe in the fairy tale of original sin, Adam and Eve, so goes the narrative, partook of the forbidden fruit, fell from grace, and were forever banished from the garden. The same narrative informs us that the second major sin, an infinitely more hideous one, was the result of a jealous and covetous fratricidal criminal deed. Cain’s murder of his brother Abel is held up as a Mark of Cain, a mortifying act of ignominious behavior that has become an archetypal motif in theological dissertations, social and jurisprudential discourse, and literary lore.

      • Investigative journalists say they started getting threats after reporting on Russian mercenaries

        Journalists from the investigative website Proekt say they began receiving threats after they started looking into the operations of Russian mercenaries and political strategists in Africa and the Middle East. Proekt says it has reason to believe the combatants and consultants in question may be working for Evgeny Prigozhin, the Russian catering magnate who has been linked to businesses that produce “Internet trolls” and online fake news, as well as the “Wagner” private military company.

      • New report points to violent mass purges among Chechnya’s ruling elite

        Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian outlet known for its investigative journalism, has released a report arguing that massive purges have shaken the Chechen ruling elite since August 2019. Local sources told Novaya Gazeta that high-ranking government officials in the Northern Caucasian republic have been arrested extralegally and sent to secret prisons in a wave of repressions. The bodyguards, relatives, and allies of those officials have also been targeted, the sources said. Novaya Gazeta reported that victims have been held for days, weeks, or months while their property is confiscated. Those who have been released from the secret prisons have been forced to donate millions of rubles to the Akhmat Kadyrov foundation, which was founded by Chechen government head Ramzan Kadyrov to commemorate his father.

      • Kazakhstan: Little Help for Domestic Violence Survivors

        Women in Kazakhstan facing domestic violence receive insufficient protection and have little recourse for justice, Human Rights Watch said today.

    • Environment

      • The Quiet, Intentional Fires of Northern California

        Not necessarily. The native communities across California have been practicing traditional, controlled forest burning techniques for 13,000 years. From the great grasslands of central California to the salmon runs of the Klamath River, the Miwok, Yurok, Hupa, Karuk, and other nations have tended and provided for those plant and animal species that were useful to them. To do this, they created a patchwork of different ecological zones using low-intensity fire, creating niches that support California’s unbelievable biodiversity. Some of the California landscapes that look like pristine wilderness to the nonindigenous are actually human-modified ecosystems.

        And many species have come to depend on low-intensity fire at a genetic level. “We have fire-dependent species that coevolved with fire-dependent culture,” says Frank Lake, a US Forest Service research ecologist and Yurok descendant. “When we remove fire, we also take away the ecosystem services they produce.”

      • Ghana’s cocoa farmers are trapped by the chocolate industry

        To sustain their livelihoods, the cocoa farmers of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana need to diversify away from cocoa production. But multinational chocolate companies need farmers to keep producing cocoa.

      • Greta Thunberg accuses rich countries of “creative carbon accounting”

        To cut emissions, it is therefore necessary to look closely at products’ provenance. Sometimes the conclusions are counter-intuitive, as the tomatoes in New Covent Garden Market demonstrate. British tomatoes are grown in heated glasshouses and thus require three times more electricity than sun-blessed Spanish ones. Even accounting for transport, local tomatoes are responsible for more emissions. Mike Berners-Lee of Lancaster University points out that a British apple bought in June has typically been in chilled storage for nine months. Keeping it cool for that long emits about as much carbon as shipping an apple from New Zealand.

        Modes of transport also matter. Around 87% of the world’s freight, measured in tonne-kilometres (a tonne transported one kilometre), goes by sea. Shipping accounts for about 2% of fossil-fuel emissions. But as a means of transport it is carbon-efficient. Producing a tonne of steel in China takes about two tonnes of CO2. Shipping that steel to New York adds only 322kg. Planes account for just 0.1% of the world’s tonne-kilometres of international freight, but an outsize share of all emissions. According to figures from the British government, the carbon emissions caused by transporting a given weight by air are about 70 times greater than if it had been shipped. That means sectors reliant on timely delivery, such as fast fashion, are particularly environmentally unfriendly.

      • Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley arrested at climate protest

        Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley was arrested this afternoon after joining climate activists in Whitehall speaking out against the banning of peaceful protest across London.

        The ban has been enforced by the Met Police this week via a section 14 order.


        Jonathan was arrested alongside environmentalist George Monbiot.

      • Statement from Green Party peer, Jenny Jones about today’s legal challenge

        We believe that the ban is an abuse of the law and in violation of fundamental human rights. Our lawyers are seeking an emergency hearing this afternoon and we expect that the Court will rule the ban null and void.

        Until the Court rules otherwise, the police are still arresting anyone in a group who expresses, in words or otherwise, any concern about the climate and ecological emergency.

      • Ursula von der Leyen’s Green Deal is doomed

        This summer — with record heat waves crashing over Europe — climate activists appeared to find an unlikely champion: the conservative German politician Ursula von der Leyen.

        Shortly before she was confirmed as the next president of the European Commission, the former defense minister pledged to introduce a “European Green Deal” within 100 days of taking office, laying out a holistic vision for a just transition that will aim to cut carbon emissions and reverse the planet’s ecological breakdown, while ensuring social justice.

        Claudia Kemfert, a leading climate researcher in Berlin, called the proposals “groundbreaking.” Forbes declared that those calling for a Green New Deal on the other side of the Atlantic “have all been beat by a conservative German politician.”

        Alas, the European Union — in its institutional structure, as in its political process — does not permit a holistic approach. Von der Leyen’s Green Deal was doomed from the start.

        The European Commission, which originates EU policy, splits and chops proposals and distributes them among siloed teams of experts, who then draft the legislation. Social policy is divorced from trade policy, just like finance is divorced from greenhouse gas reduction targets. In the best case, ambitious proposals end up in the hands of officials who are sympathetic to the cause. In the worst, they reside with commissioners who are determined to see them fail.

      • How Cotton Became a Headache in the Age of Climate Chaos

        “The more we buy, the more we are in debt.” That’s Kunari Sabari, a farmer in her 40s, speaking to us in Khaira, a village mainly of her own Saora Adivasi community.

      • Hotbed of Resistance: A Voice From Inside Trump’s EPA
      • Cocaine traffickers fuel climate change

        An ever-expanding US market for cocaine is leading to drug traffickers destroying swathes of tropical forest to create new transport routes.

      • ‘Upside-down rivers’ speed polar ice loss

        Researchers move closer to understanding the invisible dynamics that drive the loss of polar ice shelves – but what it means for global warming is still uncertain.

      • Extinction Rebellion Sweeps the World

        Extinction Rebellion, XR est. October 31, 2018, has become a powerful force across the globe, almost overnight!!!

      • Energy

    • Finance

      • Trump Administration’s New Rule Will Slam Door to Fair Housing
      • Communist Dictatorship in Our Midst

        A dull and murky silence has fallen over the workplace. We talk very little about the constituent elements of “good work.” In particular, our lips are sealed regarding our moral right to democratic voice in workplaces. It wasn’t always this way. Great revolutionary movements of the past advocated “workers’ control” and “council communism”. More recently—in the 1960s and 1970s—strong labour movements spoke of “co-determination” of all salient matters pertaining to the design and organization of work. Gerry Hunnius and John Case edited an influential collection of readings, Workers’ control: a reader on labor and social change (1973).

      • Never-Before-Seen Trump Tax Documents Show Major Inconsistencies

        Documents obtained by ProPublica show stark differences in how Donald Trump’s businesses reported some expenses, profits and occupancy figures for two Manhattan buildings, giving a lender different figures than they provided to New York City tax authorities. The discrepancies made the buildings appear more profitable to the lender — and less profitable to the officials who set the buildings’ property tax.

        For instance, Trump told the lender that he took in twice as much rent from one building as he reported to tax authorities during the same year, 2017. He also gave conflicting occupancy figures for one of his signature skyscrapers, located at 40 Wall Street.

      • US-China Mini-Trade Deal: Trump Takes the Money and Runs

        After months of escalating tit-for-tat tariff increases, and bringing the global economy to the precipice of a global currency war, the US and China agreed to a partial deal on their trade dispute last week.

      • Russian government proposes creating ‘special legislation’ for entrepreneurs targeted by sanctions

        A new Russian Finance Ministry regulation has separated Russian businesses and entrepreneurs targeted by foreign sanctions into their own legal category. According to a copy of the proposal posted on the Russian government’s regulations website, this would allow “special legislation” in areas like currency control and confidentiality to be created and then applied separately to those companies and individuals.

      • Hearing Thursday: EFF’s Rainey Reitman Will Urge California Lawmakers to Balance Needs of Consumers In Developing Cryptocurrency Regulations

        Whittier, California—On Thursday, Oct. 17, at 10 am, EFF Chief Program Officer Rainey Reitman will urge California lawmakers to prioritize consumer choice and privacy in developing cryptocurrency regulations.Reitman will testify at a hearing convened by the California Assembly Committee on Banking and Finance. The session, Virtual Currency Businesses: The Market and Regulatory Issues, will explore the business, consumer, and regulatory issues in the cryptocurrency market. EFF supports regulators stepping in to hold accountable those engaging in fraud, theft, and other misleading cryptocurrency business practices.

      • Ecuador: Lenin Moreno’s Government Sacrifices the Poor to Satisfy the IMF

        Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno has been cutting government spending since signing an Extended Fund Facility (EFF) agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in February of this year. This policy has benefited multinational corporations, the banks, and in general, powerful economic groups at the expense of the middle and working classes, who are being pushed toward poverty and extreme poverty.

      • The IMF Is Utterly Indifferent to the Pain It’s Causing

        Each year, the board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) gathers at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. This year, the IMF will meet under the leadership of a new chief, Kristalina Georgieva, who crossed the street from the World Bank to take over this post from Christine Lagarde. Lagarde, as it happens, is getting ready to cross the Atlantic Ocean to take over the European Central Bank. There is a game of musical chairs at the top. A handful of bureaucrats seem to waltz in and out of these jobs.

      • Sovereign Debt Restructuring: Not Falling Prey to Vultures

        The IMF program has failed, and the debt is unsustainable. What happens next? The Macri government leaves behind another failed IMF agreement, an economy in shambles, soaring poverty, and a large dollar-denominated debt burden. The move to extend maturities on some domestic debt is not a solution to the problem. It postpones the restructuring of the entire debt to the next government. How that restructuring will proceed is unclear because there is no orderly international process for addressing unsustainable sovereign debt.

      • Interview With Carl Zha On The Neoliberal Economic Decline Fueling Hong Kong Protests

        Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola welcome Carl Zha, the host of “Silk and Steel,” which is a weekly podcast on the history, culture, and current events of China and the Silk Road.

        Zha provides a primer on what has unfolded with the protests in Hong Kong. He describes how they started, the role an extradition bill has played, the poverty and inequality fueling protests, and the protesters’ demands. He also provides a thumbnail history of the colonial history around China and Hong Kong.

      • WeWork is Desperately Squeezing Cash Out of Meetup.com by Taxing 225,000 Communities

        They have bowed to the backlash. Now that their “flash-fry the frog” approach has failed, they are now going to “boil the frog” and roll out these changes over time. Meetup has not tweeted or otherwise alerted organizers of this pull-back.

        This is a victory for event organizers and participants. But it’s a temporary one. Meetup has already shown their true colors. It’s just a matter of time before they start pushing this new RSVP-based pricing on more of their communities.


        Well, Meetup is also adding a new $2 fee every time a person RSVPs for a meetup. Every. Single. Time.

        Let’s do some quick math. Before, it cost a group of people $20 per month to use Meetup.com to organize their events.

        With this new pricing, let’s assume you have a medium-sized meetup group that meets once a week and has 30 RSVPs each time.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Donald Trump as Artist

        To political junkies, Donald Trump’s various (mis)representations of his July 25th phone conversation with President Volodymyr Zalensky are same old, same old stuff. Why? Because for years now assiduous journalists have been busy filing stories about Donald J. Trump’s deceptive ways. To be sure, such a focus is hardly surprising, given the amount of material with which journalists have to work. The fact that the Washington Post’s running tab of President Trump‘s “false or misleading claims” passed the 12,000 mark on August 5, 2019–Trump’s 928th day in office—is suggestive in this regard. And, of course, that number has grown considerably since that time.

      • Pelosi makes Trump photo of ‘meltdown’ her new Twitter cover photo [iophk: Twitter is most definitely not a a public forum and therefore completely inappropriate for political debate]

        Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) changed her Twitter cover photo Wednesday to the now-viral image of her standing at a table across from a seated President Trump that the president himself had tweeted earlier in the evening.

        Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, noted the change in a tweet, thanking Trump for the image.

      • Twitter Explains What It Would Take for Trump’s Account or Tweets to Be Deleted

        Critics including presidential contender Sen. Kamala Harris have blasted Twitter for failing to take enforcement action against Trump, who has a history of making personal attacks on the platform. Twitter has defended its decision to hold Trump and other political figures to a different standard, saying it leaves up posts from prominent individuals that are in the “public interest” even if they violate regular rules. In June, Twitter added a further nuance, announcing that posts from politicians that would ordinarily be deleted for policy violations will be displayed with a warning notice in front of tweets (requiring users to click through to view the post).

      • 2 social media users under probe for insulting PM, Islam

        Huzir said eight police reports were lodged against the user, who was arrested yesterday when he went to the police station to give his statement.

        Both cases are being investigated under Section 500B of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act.

      • Turkey detains nearly 200 for opposing Syria operation: Report

        Of the 186 people held, 24 have been formally arrested, according to Anadolu.

      • Canadian imam: ‘Filthy’ candidates in elections support Zionism, homosexuality

        A Canadian imam called candidates in the country’s upcoming elections “evil and filthy” supporters of Zionism who approve of homosexuality, warning Muslims they would be judged for their votes.

        “This voting is a testimony and will be recorded,” Sheikh Younus Kathrada of Victoria, British Columbia, said in a sermon on October 11.

      • The Legal Biden Family Corruption Democrats Refuse to Acknowledge
      • Hunter Biden: Role at Ukraine Firm Wasn’t ‘Improper’ but a ‘Mistake’

        Hunter Biden, acknowledging that his family name created business opportunities, rejected assertions by President Donald Trump that he did anything wrong by engaging in foreign work in Ukraine and China.

      • The More Joe Biden Stumbles, the More Corporate Democrats Freak Out

        The Democratic Party’s most powerful donors are running out of options in the presidential race. Their warhorse Joe Biden is stumbling, while the other corporate-minded candidates lag far behind. For party elites, with less than four months to go before voting starts in caucuses and primaries, 2020 looks like Biden or bust.

      • Infographic: Russians’ approval of Ukraine shoots up following Zelenskyy’s election
      • The Congress Has to Draw the Line

        “I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as President.” Really!

      • The Don Fought the Law…
      • One Man Against the Monster: John Lennon vs. the Deep State

        John Lennon, born 79 years ago on October 9, 1940, was a musical genius and pop cultural icon.

      • Russian police carry out another round of nationwide raids against oppositionist Alexey Navalny’s offices

        On the morning of October 15, Russian law enforcement launched another series of nationwide raids on Alexey Navalny’s regional headquarters. According to the website OVD-Info, police searched offices in Ufa, Samara, Saratov, Yekaterinburg, Yaroslavl, Chelyabinsk, Krasnodar, Biysk, Novokuznetsk, Novosibirsk, and Vladivostok. Anti-Corruption Foundation director Ivan Zhdanov also reported raids in Belgorod, Voronezh, Izhevsk, Kemerovo, Cheboksary, Stavropol, Rostov-on-Don, and Arkhangelsk. Some activists, for example in Yekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk, were also brought in for questioning by state investigators, after the searches. Police officers also searched the foundation’s national headquarters in Moscow.

      • Debate Rivals Assail Warren as She Joins Democrats’ Top Rank

        Elizabeth Warren repeatedly came under attack during Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate as rivals accused the Massachusetts senator of ducking questions about the cost of Medicare for All and her signature “wealth tax” plan.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • EFF Defends Section 230 in Congress

        All of us have benefited from Section 230, a federal law that has promoted the creation of virtually every open platform or communication tool on the Internet. The law’s premise is simple. If you are not the original creator of speech found on the Internet, you are not held liable if it does harm. But this simple premise is under attack in Congress. If some lawmakers get their way, the Internet could become a more restrictive space very soon.

        EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry will testify in support of Section 230 today in a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing called “Fostering a Healthier Internet to Protect Consumers.” You can watch the hearing live on YouTube and follow along with our commentary @EFFLive.

      • Byzantium Now: Time-Warping From Justinian to Trump

        Sometime in the middle of the sixth century, the Byzantine historian Procopius wrote his “Secret History,” an account of the reign of the Emperor Justinian, whom Procopius had come to regard as a murderous, half-mad, utterly corrupt tyrant. Hidden for a thousand years, and often severely censored during subsequent publications, the full text did not appear in English until 1896, in an edition privately printed by the Athenian Society. That work is now available for free online.

      • Top Myths About Content Moderation

        How Internet companies decide which user-submitted content to keep and which to remove—a process called “content moderation”—is getting lots of attention lately, for good reason. Under-moderation can lead to major social problems, like foreign agents manipulating our elections. Over-moderation can suppress socially beneficial content, like negative but true reviews by consumers.

      • EFF Urges Congress Not to Dismantle Section 230

        The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a legislative hearing today over what to do with one of the most important Internet laws, Section 230. Members of Congress and the testifying panelists discussed many of the critical issues facing online activity like how Internet companies moderate their users’ speech, how Internet companies and law enforcement agencies are addressing online criminal activity, and how the law impacts competition. 

        EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry testified at the hearing, offering a strong defense of the law that’s helped create the Internet we all rely on today. In her opening statement, McSherry urged Congress not to take Section 230’s role in building the modern Internet lightly:

      • How to unblock WhatsApp

        How do you unblock WhatsApp if you are unable to use it on your internet? WhatsApp is blocked by default on many school or office networks, and also by some governments for all of their citizens. In such situations, WhatsApp users need a little help to be able to access the free, most popular chat app.

      • UAE: Free Unjustly Detained Rights Defender Ahmed Mansoor

        The United Arab Emirates should free the unjustly imprisoned prominent human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor ahead of his 50th birthday on October 22, 2019, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights and over 135 other organizations said today in a letter to the UAE president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan.

      • France confirms second academic detained in Iran since June

        A second French academic has been held in Iran since June, when he was arrested with his Franco-Iranian colleague, the French foreign ministry confirmed on Wednesday, describing his continued detention as “unacceptable”.

      • Colleges Are Spreading Trump’s Disingenuous Notion of ‘Free Speech’

        Refuse Fascism members and their supporters, however, point out that UCLA did not simply remove the protesters from the Mnuchin event. It arrested them, cooperated with prosecutors, and granted Mnuchin’s request to suppress video of the event. The university also delayed the release of documents related to the event, and only after a year of cajoling from free speech groups and a lawsuit from the free speech advocacy group FIRE did UCLA acquiesce to the public records request.

      • Terrified of bad press after its China capitulation, Blizzard cancels NYC Overwatch event

        The decision to capitulate to China continues to exact a price from Blizzard: now, the company has canceled a much-ballyhooed Overwatch event scheduled for NYC today, and while the company hasn’t explained the last-minute cancellation, it’s obvious that they fear more bad publicity from players, press and attendees.

      • Blizzard Cancels Overwatch Event as It Tries to Contain Backlash

        Blizzard, which didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, has been struggling to contain a backlash after it punished the gamer Chung Ng Wai, known as Blitzchung. The player wore a gas mask and chanted a pro-Hong Kong slogan in a post-tournament interview, leading Blizzard to ban him from events for a year and strip him of $10,000 in prize money.

        After an uproar from customers and U.S. lawmakers, who said Blizzard was kowtowing to China, the company reduced Blitzchung’s suspension to six months and restored his prize money.

      • Terror Attacks in France: A Culture of Denial

        These are typical examples of what some call “la démission des élites” (the abdication of the elites): refusing to act on a situation of which they are perfectly aware but afraid to mention because of the dominant ideology of political correctness.

      • France: More Death to Free Speech

        Whoever reads the text of Zemmour’s speech on September 28 can see that the speech does not incite discrimination, hatred or violence, and does not make a single racist statement: Islam is not a race, it is a religion.

        Zemmour’s speech describes a situation already discussed by various writers. Zemmour is not the first to say that the no-go zones are dangerous areas the police can no longer enter, or that they are under the control of radical imams and Muslim gangs who assault and drive out non-Muslims. Zemmour is not the only writer to describe the consequences of the mass-immigration of Muslims who do not integrate into French society. The pollster Jerome Fourquet, in his recent book, The French Archipelago, points out that France today is a country where Muslims and non-Muslims live in separate societies “hostile to each other”. Fourquet also emphasizes that a growing number of Muslims living in France say they want to live according sharia law and place sharia law above French law. Fourquet notes that 26% of French Muslims born in France want to obey only Sharia; for French Muslims born abroad, the figure rises to 46%. Zemmour merely added that what was happening is a “colonization”.

      • Congressional Hearing Wednesday: EFF Will Urge Lawmakers to Protect Important Internet Free Speech Law

        On Wednesday, Oct. 16, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Legal Director Corynne McSherry will testify at a congressional hearing in support of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA)—one of the most important laws protecting Internet speech.CDA 230 shields online platforms from liability for content posted by users, meaning websites and online services can’t be punished in court for things that their users say online. McSherry will tell lawmakers that the law protects a broad swath of online speech, from forums for neighborhood groups and local newspapers, to ordinary email practices like forwarding and websites where people discuss their views about politics, religion, and elections.The law has played a vital role in providing a voice to those who previously lacked one, enabling marginalized groups to get their messages out to the whole world. At the same time, CDA 230 allows providers of all sizes to make choices about how to design and moderate their platforms. McSherry will tell lawmakers that weakening CDA 230 will encourage private censorship of valuable content and cement the dominance of those tech giants that can afford to shoulder new regulatory burdens.McSherry is one of six witnesses who will testify at the House Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing on Wednesday, entitled “Fostering a Healthier Internet to Protect Consumers.”  Other witnesses include law professor Danielle Citron, and representatives from YouTube and reddit.

        WHAT:House Committee on Energy and Commerce“Fostering a Healthier Internet to Protect Consumers”

      • Our Online Speech Rights Are Under Threat
      • Zedd Banned from Performing In China After Liking a South Park Tweet

        The high-profile German EDM star has been banned from China over liking a tweet. The liked tweet was from the South Park account advertising its most recent episode.

        German DJ Zedd has been permanently banned from China over the move. Zedd tweeted about his ban on Friday, with his publicist Adam Guest at SATELLITE414 confirming the news.

      • From the NBA to ‘South Park,’ China Refuses to Play Ball With Its Critics

        market they crave but whose government espouses values they don’t. In the past week, U.S. firms from Google to Nike to gaming company Activision Blizzard have been caught up in controversy over their dealings with China. So, too, has Hollywood, with “South Park” putting out an episode deeply critical of the Beijing regime and the U.S. — and getting scrubbed from the [Internet] in China as a result.

        Due to its new status as a global economic and political powerhouse, China is likely to grow even more assertive in its response to anything it deems counter to its interests, some analysts say.

      • Why ‘woke’ NBA is struggling to balance its values with Chinese expansion

        Take the National Basketball Association. It found itself in a tricky situation in its second-largest market after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey on Oct. 4 tweeted his solidarity with pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. This naturally angered China, which led the NBA to label his comment “inappropriate” in the Chinese version of its statement. The Rockets’ owner then made clear that the team is “not a political organization.”

        That was followed by another backlash, this time from fans, celebrities and media in the US. In fact, it produced a rare moment of political consensus, as both Republican and Democratic leaders piled on to shame the NBA for its kowtowing. As a result, the NBA commissioner on Oct. 8 issued a statement reasserting the organization’s intent to stand by its values of diversity and support for free speech.

      • Corporate Subservience to China Exposes the Hypocrisy of Woke Capitalism

        But while the NBA has attracted enormous attention for kowtowing to Beijing, it isn’t alone. Activision Blizzard, the digital studio that has produced such popular videogames as Overwatch, Call of Duty and Starcraft, punished a player who, during a livestream, expressed support for Hong Kong’s anti-Beijing protests. The company brags about its approach to diversity and inclusion—but these values apparently do not extend to the Hong Kong teens being tear-gassed, or to the Uighur Muslims being imprisoned in Xinjiang province.

      • Our Online Speech Rights Are Under Threat

        Congress on Wednesday will examine a little-known law that has made the internet the space for self-expression and connection that it is today. The law, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA 230), is one of the most speech protective laws Congress has ever enacted and it is now under threat.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Victory! Berkeley City Council Unanimously Votes to Ban Face Recognition

        Berkeley has become the third city in California and the fourth city in the United States to ban the use of face recognition technology by the government. After an outpouring of support from the community, the Berkeley City Council voted unanimously to adopt the ordinance introduced by Councilmember Kate Harrison earlier this year.

        Berkeley joins other Bay Area cities, including San Francisco and Oakland, which also banned government use of face recognition. In July 2019, Somerville, Massachusetts became the first city on the East Coast to ban the government’s use of face recognition.

      • Google devices boss says you should warn visitors they could be recorded

        This is just the latest in a long line of examples of where human manners and etiquette are being dragged kicking and screaming on, because of technology. Whether its the question of using your phone at the dinner table or the if a bot should identify itself to a human, we’re constantly looking to create the norms that go with the devices we’ve incorporated into our everyday lives.

        The law in Britain allows for people to be recorded without prior consent, providing it’s for personal use. But you could argue the recordings that your devices make are for Google’s use and therefore you should disclose in order to comply with the law.

      • The UK porn block is finally dead

        The United Kingdom has finally scrapped a plan to require age verification for accessing porn online, following years of tortuous debate and setbacks. Nicky Morgan, the secretary of state for digital, culture, media, and sport, says the government “will not be commencing” Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 — which would have required internet users to prove they were over 18 before viewing pornographic sites. Instead, it will focus on protecting children through “wider online harms proposals.”

      • ‘Without Encryption, We Will Lose All Privacy’: Snowden Condemns US, UK, and Australian Push for ‘Backdoor’ Into Facebook Messaging Apps

        While Barr and his co-signers “invoked the spectre of the web’s darkest forces” to justify their opposition to E2EE, Snowden argued that “the true explanation for why the U.S., U.K., and Australian governments want to do away with end-to-end encryption is less about public safety than it is about power: E2EE gives control to individuals and the devices they use to send, receive, and encrypt communications, not to the companies and carriers that route them. This, then, would require government surveillance to become more targeted and methodical, rather than indiscriminate and universal.”

      • Getting a new mobile number in China will involve a facial-recognition test

        From Dec. 1, people applying for new mobile and data services will have to have their faces scanned by telecom providers, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a Sept. 27 statement (link in Chinese).

      • Dunkin’ Donuts Gets Hit with Lawsuit Over 2015 Attack

        Dunkin’ Donuts is being sued for violating New York state data breach notification laws. The lawsuit alleges that Dunkin’ parent company, Dunkin’ Brands, failed to disclose a breach in 2015 that affected nearly 20,000 customers who were part of the company’s DD Perks loyalty program.

        New York Attorney General Letitia James filed the lawsuit Thursday accusing the donut maker of engaging in “past and ongoing fraudulent, deceptive, and unlawful practices.”

      • ‘Smart’ Cameras Are Now On the Lookout For Distracted Drivers in Australia
      • Tracking Ecosystem of Over-the-Top TV Streaming Devices

        Over-the-Top (“OTT”) streaming devices such as Roku and Amazon Fire TV are cheap alternatives to smart TVs for cord-cutters. Instead of charging more for the hardware or the membership, Roku and Amazon Fire TV monetize their platforms through advertisements, which rely on tracking users’ viewing habits. Although tracking of users on the web and on mobile is well studied, tracking on smart TVs and OTT devices has remained unexplored. To address this gap, we built a tool to automatically interact with OTT devices and conducted the first large scale study of tracking on OTT platforms. In our paper (to appear in ACM CCS 2019 conference), we found that major online trackers such as Google and Facebook are also highly prominent in the OTT ecosystem. However, OTT channels also contain niche and lesser known trackers such as adrise.tv and monarchads.com. We also showed that the information shared with tracker domains includes video titles, channel names, permanent device identifiers and wireless SSIDs and the countermeasures made available to users on these platforms are ineffective at preventing tracking. Finally, we found a vulnerability in Roku that allowed malicious web pages visited by Roku users to geolocate users, read device identifiers and install channels without their consent.

      • You’re in a Police Lineup, Right Now

        Our privacy, our right to anonymity in public and our right to free speech are in danger. Congress must declare a national moratorium on the use of face-recognition technology until legal restrictions limiting its use and scope can be developed. Without restrictions on face recognition, America’s future is closer to a Chinese-style surveillance state than we’d like to think.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • CPJ calls on Hong Kong chief executive to establish body to probe police violence against journalists

        Again, we urge you to take steps to establish an independent body with full investigative authority and to take immediate action to ensure our colleagues can carry out their work safely.

      • Reporting From the Philippines When the President Wants to ‘Kill Journalism’

        Since it went live in January 2012, Rappler has become one of the country’s most popular and influential media platforms, mixing reporting with calls for social activism. Today the site attracts an average of 40 million page views and 12 million unique visitors a month, figures that more than double during the Philippines’ election season. Rappler’s reporters, most of whom are in their 20s, have exposed government corruption and researched the financial holdings and potential conflicts of interest of top political figures.


        The rhetoric aimed at Ressa is eerily familiar to American ears. President Trump castigates the news media as the “enemy of the people” and “fake news” and has encouraged violence against reporters, whom he has called “scum.” Duterte refers to journalists as “spies,” “vultures” and “lowlifes.” His wish, he has said, is to “kill journalism” in the Philippines, and he has asserted that “just because you’re a journalist, you are not exempted from assassination if you’re a son of a bitch.” Duterte threatened to open a tax case against the owners of The Philippine Daily Inquirer, a newspaper in Metro Manila that has questioned his war on drugs, and said he might block the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN, the Philippines’ largest media-and-entertainment conglomerate. Trump accused Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and owner of The Washington Post, a frequently critical news outlet, of shirking taxes and suggested that he might use his presidential powers to check the e-commerce giant. When I asked Panelo whether he thought that his boss, who has used the term “fake news” to describe Rappler, had appropriated Trump’s language and style, he laughed and said, “President Trump is copying us now.”

      • Iran’s Revolutionary Guard confirms arrest of Paris-based exiled journalist

        The Guard and a later announcement on state television did not explain how authorities detained Ruhollah Zam, who ran a website called AmadNews that posted embarrassing videos and information about Iranian officials. He had been living and working in exile in Paris.

        The Guard said Zam was “guided into the country” before the arrest. His channel on the encrypted messaging app Telegram was apparently taken hold of, too, as a message noting his arrest went to its 1 million subscribers.

      • Facebook gets a slap on the wrist for setting fire to the fourth estate

        Facebook has been forced to put out many fires over the last few years, many of which have come with hefty fines — like a $5 billion slap on the wrist by the Federal Trade Commission for privacy mishaps. Yet its latest forfeiture, $40 million in cash due to a lawsuit over its video metrics, is pocket change compared to the $55.3 billion in revenue that the company netted in 2018.

        This most recent legal fine came about as a regulatory punishment for Facebook’s manipulations of the news industry, already vulnerable due to the contraction in ad revenues that is, in large part, Facebook’s fault in the first place.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Amber Guyger’s Sentence Doesn’t Highlight a More Empathetic Criminal Legal System
      • ‘People Taking Action Inspires Other People’
      • Trump Cabinet Officials Double Down on Religious Favoritism
      • Moscow parents who brought child to protest allowed to retain custody on appeal

        The Moscow City Court has affirmed the Nikulinsky District Court’s decision not to deprive Pyotr and Yelena Khomsky of their parental rights, a correspondent for Meduza reported from the courtroom. The couple was sighted with their children at an opposition protest.

      • Cops Arrest 12-Year-Old For Pointing ‘Finger Guns’ At Classmates

        If we keep insisting on putting cops in schools, things like this are never going to stop happening…

      • After jailed Moscow protester raps in court, Oxxxymiron offers to collaborate with him on a new track

        The Moscow City Court has rejected an appeal from Samariddin Radzhabov’s attorneys asking that Radzhabov be permitted to await trial outside jail. Radzhabov stands accused of throwing a plastic water bottle at a Russian National Guard employee; he denies the charges against him.

      • Capital Punishment Awaits People Who Desecrate Qu’ran In Zamfara: Governor

        According to the governor, it saddens him to see some people perpetrate the unholy act of desecration of the Holy Qur’an in the state.

        He said this is why his government would soon enact capital punishment laws in the State, in a bid to curb all of such offences.

      • Nigeria: Police rescue chained students from another Islamic school

        The latest discovery of mass abuse comes less than three weeks after a similar incident in a different part of the country. In late September, police freed over 300 students from an Islamic school in the city of Kaduna, in the northwest. The Kaduna students also reported torture and sexual abuse, and authorities found more than 100 chained on the school premises.

      • Bill against forced conversion

        In 2016, an effort was made to end this practice with a bill being introduced in the Sindh Assembly. To be sure, a law by itself would not be enough to eliminate this practice, however, the bill had many features that would have helped and was a welcome first step. For example, it provided for judges and the police receiving sensitisation training on the issue, and that women be placed in a shelter, or in the custody of their parents during court proceedings in which the conversion and subsequent marriage was under challenge (normally, the woman is asked to remain with her husband during the entire proceedings). Perhaps the most important element of the bill was that it prohibited someone from changing their religion until they were 18 years of age.

      • #MeToo Writings Are About a Lot More Than Stories
      • Should the Supreme Court Be Reformed?

        With neither the sword nor the purse, trust is all it has.

      • The Supreme Court Could Spell the End of American Democracy

        It has almost gone unnoticed, but amid the daily Sturm und Drang of the Trump impeachment inquiry, the Supreme Court has begun another term. In any other year, the reconvening of the court would be headline news. However, like everything else in the Trump era, the court has taken a back seat to the chaos surrounding our 45th commander in chief.

      • University Woes: the Managerial Class Gets Uppity

        The university, in a global sense, is passing into a managerial oblivion. There are a few valiant holdouts, but they have the luxury of history, time, and learning. Cambridge and Oxford, for instance, still boast traditional academics, soaking erudition, and education as something more than a classroom brawl of the mind. They can barricade themselves against the regulatory disease that has made imbeciles of administrators and cretins of the pretend academic class. They can, for instance, rely on their colleges to fight the university, a concept so utterly alien to others. Across Europe, the management structures wear heavily. In the United States, the corporate university took hold decades ago. Academics are retiring, committing suicide, and going on gardening leave.

      • Felicity Huffman Starts Serving Prison Time in College Scam
      • Will the Supreme Court Sanction the Use of a Religious Litmus Test For Foster Parents?
      • City of San Antonio Plans to Pay Settlement to Woman After Detective Searched Her Vagina in Middle of the Street

        “Officer Wilson had violated Natalie vaginally, and now it appeared that she might violate Natalie anally,” the lawsuit alleges. “She was doing so without a warrant, with no medical personnel present, and on a public street in view of several people as well as those passing by.”

        According to the suit, Wilson was never disciplined for the search because internal affairs found that she hadn’t violated any department policies. She retired in 2017.

      • Extinction Rebellion blanket ban chilling and unlawful

        “The majority of those protesting have been doing so peacefully, removing and prosecuting activists for engaging in non-violent direct action to raise their voice is deeply worrying. Overly harsh and disproportionate charges will have a chilling effect on rights.

      • Royal Mail union votes in favour of strike action

        The CWU says an agreement reached with management last year to raise pay and reform pensions is not being honoured.

        About 110,000 members of the union were balloted in the dispute.

      • Iraq’s Secret Sex Trade + Q&A

        This BBC News Arabic investigation filmed undercover in Baghdad and Karbala – some of Iraq’s holiest shrines – exposes a secret world of sexual exploitation of children and young women by a religious elite. Muslim clerics are grooming vulnerable girls and pimping them out, using a controversial religious practice, illegal under Iraq law, called ‘pleasure marriage’. This allows a man to pay for a temporary wife, but is being used by some clerics to exploit women and children for money. A young mother widowed by an ISIS bomb alleges she became the victim of a prostitution ring run by a senior cleric. Some clerics are captured on camera offering girls for sale in pleasure marriages and giving religious advice on sexual acts with children that are supposedly permitted during pleasure marriages.

      • More Incitement to Violence by Trump’s Fellow Travelers

        Adolf Hitler and his Nazi henchmen used a trick in 1930s Germany that is an old and time-tested behavior and quite effective. His Brown Shirts would carry out a horrific and violent act and Hitler would then disclaim that act. There were two “advantages” of that violent behavior and propaganda. First, the violent act would have its intended effect of terrorizing people and send the message that they’d better go along and it distanced Hitler from the actual act through his disclaiming of the violence and the group that carried out the act.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Why Fiber is Vastly Superior to Cable and 5G

        The United States, its states, and its local governments are in dire need of universal fiber plans. Major telecom carriers such as AT&T and Verizon have discontinued their fiber-to-the-home efforts, leaving most people facing expensive cable monopolies for the future. While much of the Internet infrastructure has already transitioned to fiber, a supermajority of households and businesses across the country still have slow and outdated connections. Transitioning the “last mile” into fiber will require a massive effort from industry and government—an effort the rest of the world has already started.

        Unfortunately, arguments by the U.S. telecommunications industry that 5G or currently existing DOCSIS cable infrastructure are more than up to the task of substituting for fiber have confused lawmakers, reporters, and regulators into believing we do not have a problem. In response, EFF has recently completed extensive research into the currently existing options for last mile broadband and lays out what the objective technical facts demonstrate. By every measurement, fiber connections to homes and businesses are, by far, the superior choice for the 21st century. It is not even close.

    • Monopolies

      • Uber, Lyft May Face Greater Federal Oversight, Lawmaker Warns

        DeFazio’s comments signal that U.S. lawmakers may take a more critical look at how Uber and Lyft fit into the nation’s transportation system. Uber in particular has been criticized for avoiding traditional transportation and labor regulations by labeling itself a technology company, drawing scrutiny from federal prosecutors and officials in major cities such as San Francisco and London.

      • Facebook’s rationale for allowing lies in political ads makes no sense

        While prevaricating isn’t exactly a new thing for political campaigns, social media allows false claims to go viral, unimpeded, in a matter of seconds. It also provides the capability for those ads to reach millions of people around the world instantaneously. This puts Facebook in a precarious position, and seems to contradict its previous vows to stop misinformation from spreading on its platform.

      • Uber lays off another ~350 across Eats, self-driving and other departments

        In Q2 2019, Uber lost more than $5 billion — its biggest quarterly revenue loss to date — though a chunk of its losses were a result of stock-based compensation expenses for employees following the company’s IPO in May.

      • Zuckerberg: I Only Wined and Dined Right-Wingers to, Um, Engage in a Meaningful Exchange of Ideas

        But on Monday, Politico reported on an “informal talks and small, off-the-record dinners” Zuckerberg hosted for conservative political figures and pundits, including Senator Lindsey Graham, Fox News white-“nationalist”-in-chief Tucker Carlson, and talk radio goblin Hugh Hewitt. Also at these dinners were a bevy of other C-listers including CNN contributor Mary Katharine Ham, “logic” shitlord Ben Shapiro, Town Hall editor Guy Benson, and Brent Bozell, who once called Barack Obama a “skinny ghetto crackhead” and founded the rabidly propagandistic Media Research Center.

      • UK Supreme Court at 10: greatest IP hits

        As the UK Supreme Court turns 10 years old, Managing IP assesses its impact on IP law and looks ahead at what’s to come

      • Richard Arnold to be sworn in as Lord Justice of Appeal on Thursday

        A few months ago, The IPKat proudly reported that Katfriend Sir Richard Arnold had been elevated to the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, and that he would thus become Lord Justice Arnold.

      • Patent case: Cer-Zirkonium Mischoxid I, Germany

        A range of values limited only in one direction can be sufficiently disclosed if the invention is not limited to a certain range, but includes a generalizable teaching which goes beyond that and enables the person skilled in the art for the first time to search for further possibilities for improvement and to exceed the maximum value concretely indicated in the patent. This prerequisite is not met if the patent merely provides a new process for producing a known substance with improved properties.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • German patent injunction reform process plagued by misconceptions, strawmen, and bogeymen

          Juve Patent wrote last month that the patent reform bill the German government is currently drafting “will likely disappoint many experts and not include the major changes to the automatic injunction that have been called for by the German automotive and telecommunications industries.” I don’t think one can know for sure at this point that the process isn’t going to go in a helpful direction. The proposal might still end up being better than expected, and even if not, the legislative process in the Bundestag (Federal Parliament) could result in major improvements. But given how long major stakeholders such as Germany’s automotive industry and Deutsche Telekom have been lobbying for change, an article like the one I just mentioned is disappointing. What we should see at this stage is articles in which patent monetization-focused organizations like Siemens and its allies would spread FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt), such as warning against a decline in innovation.

          What that Juve Patent article calls “major changes” (to patent injunction rules) would simply put German patent law in compliance with settled EU law. It’s not an overreaching demand; it should be viewed as an inevitable minimum outcome.

          There hasn’t been much press coverage of the German patent reform process, and only last week did two members of the German federal parliament–both from the chancellor’s party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU)–issue a public statement. The headline of the joint press release by Elisabeth Winkelmeier-Becker, the CDU/CSU group’s legal affairs spokeswoman, and Ingmar Jung, the group’s patent reform rapporteur, demands better protection of corporations from patent trolls.

          Placing the emphasis in a patent reform context on trolls is generally beneficial in the public debate as hardly anyone would want to stand up to defend the “trolls’” interests. Anyone who disagrees with measures against “trolls” would firstly have to insist on properly defining what a “troll” is versus a legitimate research-focused licensing business. The term “patent troll” can serve to frame a debate, and that’s what those center-right politicians apparently considered appealing.

        • China dominates global IP filings: WIPO
        • S.D.N.Y.: Money Transfer Patent Directed to Patent-Ineligible Subject Matter

          Western Express Bancshares (WEB) alleged that Green Dot’s sale of debit cards infringed WEB’s patent, which was directed to a method of transferring money through a bank card where (1) the card was linked to a bank account, (2) the card’s purchaser would add money to the bank account, and (3) the card’s purchaser would transfer additional money from the linked bank account to the bank card in an amount greater than the amount that was pre-loaded on the card. So, in short, the bank card was not limited to a certain pre-loaded amount.
          Green Dot moved to dismiss WEB’s complaint on multiple grounds, including that WEB’s patent was directed to patent-ineligible subject matter. The court agreed with Green Dot.
          The court found that the asserted claims were broadly directed to a “method of funds transfer” and that this concept of transferring money through a bank card was similar to other “fundamental economic practices” that the Supreme Court and Federal Circuit have held to be abstract ideas.

        • NeuroGrafix v. Brainlab, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2019)

          The case at bar arose when NeuroGrafix sued Brainlab for infringement of U.S. Patent No. 5,560,360; because NeuroGrafix concomitantly sued several other entities using (or producing) MRI technology, the cases were consolidated in the District of Massachusetts for pretrial activities. The ’360 patent is directed to “methods and systems for creating detailed images of neural tissues by using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)” (a particular application of MRI technology). As explained in the opinion, certain biological tissues behave differentially with regard to water diffusion. Water diffusion in white matter in brain, for example, is anisotropic, meaning that diffusion along one axis (the long axis of an axon) is easier than diffusion along the cross-sectional axis. Gray matter is isotropic; water diffusion rates cannot be distinguished based on direction. These differences provide the basis for the claimed invention, wherein “pulsed magnetic field gradients are applied in two orthogonal (perpendicular) directions in a region containing the nerve tissues for which a precise image is sought.” In some tissues the directions to be interrogated are known from the nature of the tissue, while in others informative perpendicular directional pairs are determined empirically. The differences noted above between isotropic and anisotropic tissues (or portions of tissues) “can be identified and visually differentiated from the surrounding structures by determining the areas of greater relative anisotropy.”


          NeuroGrafix sued based on direct infringement (35 U.S.C. § 271(a)) and inducement of infringement (35 U.S.C. § 271(b)), and Brainlab counterclaimed for a declaratory judgment of invalidity.


          For similar reasons, the opinion disapproved the MDL Court’s “apparent holding that Brainlab’s advertisements and manual do not induce infringement as a matter of law.” Brainlab’s argument, that “Brainlab cannot induce infringement of the asserted claims of the ’360 patent” because “[a]bsent direct infringement, there can be no induced infringement” does not support the MDL Court’s conclusion that “the relevant Brainlab materials merely suggested that an infringing use was possible rather than instructing how to use the software in an infringing manner,” according to the panel, and “[t]o the extent that this conclusion was an independent basis for the MDL court’s grant of summary judgment,” the Federal Circuit reversed the lower court’s summary judgment grant.

          But while the judicial economy sauce may not be proper for the MDL Court goose, it is perfectly appropriate for the Federal Circuit gander with regard to the proper construction of the claim term “selected structure.” The judicial logic to this dichotomy is supported by the logic that, ultimately the question can come before the Court for de novo review so the question might as well be decided now. Based on the evidence before it (and in the absence of any claim construction below), the panel concluded that “to ‘select[] [a] structure’ is simply to choose it as a subject for placement into the claimed process that starts with exposing a region to a magnetic field, proceeds to sensing a resonant response, and continues as claimed.” The Court based this construction on the plain meaning of the claim, the use of the term “select” in the specification, and the Court’s perception of how the MDL Court considered the meaning of this term in rejecting Brainlab’s argument that the selected structure needed to be known beforehand. While laboring on this construction, the opinion also rejects claim construction arguments asserted by both parties. For Brainlab, the panel rejected the argument that “tracks all fibers in an area cannot perform the method, because the tracking is not limited to a particular selected structure” as being inconsistent with the plain meaning of claim 36. For NeuroGrafix, the panel rejected its “always infringes” contention that “selected structure” is equivalent to “region,” which the opinion states “is the polar opposite of Brainlab’s never-infringes contention, and [] is equally wrong” and “contradicts the claim language” because claim 36 uses these terms distinctly differently.

        • Then and Now: 1800’s Supreme Court Patent Cases

          In this new series, I’m looking back to 19th Century Supreme Court patent cases; looking for their wisdom; and considering their ongoing importance.

          Winans v. Denmead, 56 U.S. 330 (1853) is cited as an early doctrine of equivalents (DOE) case, although I see it also as an early claim construction decision. According to Westlaw, is the 10th most cited patent case of the 19th Century. At the time of the case, Winans was on his way to becoming one of the wealthiest Americans by making and selling railroad equipment.

          As shown in the diagram below, the Winans patent covers a railroad car for transporting coal, etc. The car has a cone-shape particularly “the form of a frustum of a cone, substantially as herein described” The shape allowed the car to carry “more coal in proportion to its own weight than any car previously in use.” Further, excess load did not distort the shape because it “presses equally in all directions.” Id.

      • Trademarks

        • ‘Panama Papers’ Attorneys Sue Netflix to Block Release of ‘The Laundromat’

          Jurgen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca, the principals of Mossack Fonseca, allege that the film defames them and uses their firm’s logo without authorization.

          In 2015, some 11.5 million documents from the firm were leaked to an international consortium of journalists, pulling back the veil on a complex web of offshore tax havens. The leak has resulted in criminal investigations around the globe. Mossack Fonseca closed its doors in 2018.

          The lawsuit alleges that the film inaccurately ties the law firm to Russian gangsters and other criminal activity. The attorneys fear the film will inspire Panamanian prosecutors to investigate further, and could taint a potential jury pool if charges are brought in New York.

      • Copyrights

        • Cincinnati Symphony Violinist Stops Her Performance to Ask an Audience Member to Stop Recording

          Reportedly, the audience member was only a few steps from Mutter as she performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto and was literally in her face. This caused Mutter to stop playing — along with the entire Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra — at which time she asked the woman to stop recording her.

          Instead of complying, the audience member stood up and tried to start a conversation with Mutter. Though apparently, Mutter was in no mood to chat. She told the woman, in no uncertain terms, that if she did put away her phone, Mutter would end the performance and leave the stage.

          Fortunately for the rest of the audience, who were watching all this in shock, Jonathan Martin, who is the president of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, was only a couple rows behind the woman with the phone. He at once stood up and rushed up to her, and he quickly escorted her out of the hall.

        • Comcast Becomes First ISP to Join ACE Global Anti-Piracy Coalition
        • YouTube Settles Lawsuit With Alleged DMCA Extortion Scammer for $25,000
        • Today: Tell Congress Not to Pass Another Bad Copyright Law

          Today, Congress is back in session after a two-week break. Now that they’re back, we’re asking you to take a few minutes to call and tell them not to pass the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act. The CASE Act would create an obscure board inside the U.S. Copyright Office which would be empowered to levy huge penalties against people accused of copyright infringement. It could have devastating effects on regular Internet users and little-to-no effect on true infringers. We know the CASE Act won’t work because we’ve seen similar “solutions” fail before.

        • A new copyright bill would be a disaster for how regular people use the [Internet]

          The CASE Act creates a small claims court for copyright claims. Sort of. The maximum amount that can be awarded is $30,000 per proceeding. And the CASE Act allows statutory damages for unregistered works, which is not permitted in courts—so you might actually end up owing more in the “small claims” framework than in a lawsuit. This might be a “small claims” framework in a legal sense, but for the almost 40% of Americans who would have trouble coming up with $400 in an emergency, it won’t feel that way.

          And it’s not a court, either. What the CASE Act actually creates is a Copyright Claims Board staffed by Copyright Claims Officers in the Copyright Office. That means your case won’t be heard by a real judge (much less a jury), and many of the hard-won protections you get in court—like a growing understanding of the importance of fair use—may not apply.

        • After All That, Sony Unceremoniously Rolls Out PS4 Remote Play To All Android Devices

          Remote play capability for the Playstation 4 has been something of a twisted, never ending saga. One of the most useful features of the gaming console, Sony has jealously guarded the ability to play its flagship console remotely on all kinds of devices. Originally, the only way you could connect to your PS4 was if you bought a Playstation Vita, a product all but abandoned at this point, or a Sony Xperia Android phone, a line of products the public almost universally ignored. When tinkerers on the internet went about making their own remote play apps that would work with Android phones and PCs, Sony worked tirelessly to update the console firmware to break those homebrew apps. Then Sony came out with its own PC remote play app. Subsequently, some months ago, Sony released remote play functionality for iOS devices only. The explanation at the time was that Sony was likely still trying to push Xperia phones, despite the complete lack of traction.

Free as in Free Speech (Restrictions May Apply)

Posted in FSF, Humour at 10:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Beware the hyenas

The Free Software Foundation defends your freedom. That's the safe space, LibrePlanet with a CoC.

Summary: When limits of speech are not safety-related rules but political correctness or conformism [1, 2]

There Won’t be Patent Justice Until Patent Trolling Becomes Completely and Totally Extinct

Posted in Courtroom, Patents at 8:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

If the system exists to reward innovation and not punish the falsely-accused

A hanging snake

Summary: SLAPP-like behaviour and extortion/blackmail tactics using patent monopolies are a stain on the patent system; it’s time to adopt measures to stop these things once and for all, bearing in mind they’re inherently antithetical to the goal/s of the patent system and therefore discourage public support for this whole system

THE POSITION that patent trolls ought not exist is not a controversial one. People who never invented or created anything go after those who do; many of the underlying patents are merely purchased — a passage of assignment that probably oughtn’t be permitted. The key concept behind patents and rationale for their existence demand that the end goal should be innovation, progress of science. Sharing of knowledge/methods/understanding can be mutually and collectively beneficial.

The United States has thankfully weakened patent trolls; some went out of ‘business’, some barely survive and others suffered in the ‘sales’ department (selling ‘protection’), quite severely in fact. A lot of trolls we used to cover no longer exist. They don’t formally announce shutdown, but it’s clear that they no longer operate, i.e. no new lawsuits are filed (that’s their sole mode of operation).

As expected, RPX has been waning. We wrote about this several times in recent years. It became less relevant because the US patent system ‘tightened’ and litigation numbers collapsed. It did better when there were lots of patent trolls around. It profits from their existence and patent trolls are like an ally. These trolls, referred to by another name, NPEs, have been mentioned by RPX some ago as follows:

Litigation finance firms have experienced record fundraising in recent years, with private equity firms and hedge funds looking for opportunities to invest in uncorrelated assets that can withstand, or even perform well, in the next economic downturn. With large amounts of capital on hand, and therefore fewer concerns about diversifying their investments, multi-strategy funds are proving to be attractive investment partners for standalone litigation funders. Through such partnerships, a new breed of NPEs has emerged—one backed by more copious and patient capital than those of years past. This article, the first in a series covering the evolving sources of capital for NPEs today, takes a look at two private equity firms and a hedge fund backing notable NPE campaigns.

“12 of the 17 patent suits filed today were filed by #patenttrolls, according to RPX Corp.,” said one Twitter account. “That’s 71%.”

“It’s a very costly thing.”‘Only’ 71%. Sometimes it’s 100%. It used to be even higher about half a decade ago. The back yard of patent trolls is still seeing more software patents granted by the USPTO (patents which courts would likely reject, no doubt even in Texas). It’s a very costly thing. Most of the time wrongly-accused parties aren’t compensated, not even seeing their legal fees covered. Here with the British court system we have this issue as well. Lawyers are very expensive here and earlier this week Anthony Gold’s Robin Stewart wrote “I won in the First-tier Tribunal and the other side was unreasonable: do they have to pay my legal costs?”

Probably not. In his own words:

The Court also commented that their decision did not have the effect that pre-action costs could not be recovered, but rather costs “of and incidental to” the proceedings may include costs incurred before the commencement of the appeal.

As noted in the previous post, the EPO tried to impose severe legal costs upon me for daring to just speak about EPO abuses. EPO management acts a lot like patent trolls, not just working for trolls’ agenda and bottom line. But that’s a subject for another day.

EPO Staff Union and Staff Representatives Ought to Demand EPO Stops Bullying Publishers and Censoring Their Sites

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As it stands at this moment, or for the past half a decade, the EPO is hardly better than the Communist Party of China

Wall in China

Summary: An often neglected if not forgotten aspect of EPO tyranny is the war on information itself; EPO management continues to show hostility towards journalism and disdain for true information

Back in 2015 or thereabouts Battistelli‘s EPO sent several law firms after me for exposing EPO corruption, trying to cause me to run away or spend a lot of money on lawyers. A year earlier they had blocked Techrights. Don’t they realise that when they gag their staff they render whistle-blowers very much necessary and therefore inevitable?

“In my view, in light of what they did to me, Battistelli and Campinos are no better than patent trolls.”It is very much worth noting that the pretender António Campinos has neither reverted/removed the ban of Techrights (information banned from EPO staff) nor has he retracted persistent legal threats towards me. In prior years when I condemned software patents in Europe the EPO did not block my site because it thought it could instead ignore it; clearly the EPO decided that when EPO corruption is exposed they should overzealously silence the messenger. EPO staff has, in effect, lost the right to read at work; the EPO ‘babysits’ staff by blocking (deleting) from that staff accurate and authentic information, as if the EPO is a religion/cult. Is Techrights “blasphemous”?

In my view, in light of what they did to me, Battistelli and Campinos are no better than patent trolls. SUEPO and the CSC ought to bring up (e.g. in their lists) the threats EPO issues to bloggers (not just yours truly) and the Office-wide censorship of ‘inconvenient’ sites. The EPO is a dangerous entity if it polices the media and suppresses the sharing of facts even outside the EPO (while flaunting diplomatic immunity).

Bribes, Lies, Fundamental Violations of the Law and Cover-Up: This is Today’s European Patent Office

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reference: Cover-up

Summary: It has gotten extremely difficult to hold the conspirators accountable for turning Europe’s patent office into a ‘printing machine’ of the litigation industry and amassing vast amounts of money (to be passed to private, for-profit companies)

ANOTHER DAY passes and the European Patent Office (EPO) is, as usual, breaking the law. It’s also intentionally harming Europe while deflecting. There were no less than two “SME”-themed tweets from the EPO yesterday, citing its own ‘sponsored’ (bribed-for) ‘studies’…

Distracting from EPO leaks again? How much damage does the EPO wish to cause Europe?

Not to worry — they’re cooking the books and manufacturing some more false claims by bribing scholars for ‘studies’ on so-called ‘IP’. For over 3 weeks they’re been repeating these lies every single day. They try to make these lies seem “scientific…”

Ménière is a pseudo-scientist of Battistelli (and now António Campinos). He’s nowadays pushing for patent maximalism using the pseudoscience they call “economics” along with buzzwords such as “4IR”. Yesterday the EPO’s Twitter account helped spread this pseudoscience by saying: “Innovation in #AdditiveManufacturing is growing exponentially. Our Chief Economist Yann Ménière presented this data at our recent conference in The Hague, where we also fostered internal knowledge exchange & harmonised best practices.”

They added “#3Dprinting #patenting” as if to say it’s desirable. Ask anyone who’s in 3-D printing just to what extent patents in that domain suspended innovation and how long for (decades!) because it’s a very well known case against patent maximalism/maximalists.

We’ve also just seen in this very dodgy new page and site (Golden Casino News) a statement about “3D-based damage marking technology”:

The European Patent Office, EPO, has taken the decision to allow another European patent for Episurf Medical (NASDAQ: EPIS B). The decision was taken at an oral proceeding at the EPO in Munich , Germany. The patent, entitled “System and method for creating a decision support material indicating damage to an anatomical joint” covers Episurf Medical’s 3D-based damage marking technology which constitutes a central part of the Episealer® implant system as well as the Epioscopy® joint visualisation system.

Certainly sounds like a software patent and an area I worked in (my Ph.D. thesis is about that).

It’s not hard to see that the EPO does exactly the opposite of advancing science in Europe. All it strives to achieve is more litigation in Europe. The EPO’s stance on the EPO-connected UPC is an eternal reminder of that.

The UPC is thankfully dead and ‘unitary’ patents are actually just fiction/fantasy. The EPO had spoken about them for years until a couple of years ago. It stopped mentioning that. Team UPC has been silent for months; it no longer even mentions Milan (as London substitute), which has just been brought up by Hogan Lovells’ Riccardo Fruscalzo in relation to other patent matters in Lexology.

IP Kat hasn’t mentioned the UPC since summer and the only words/allusions there regarding EPO scandals are in comments. Here’s one new comment from MaxDrei, who replies to a comment we quoted here earlier in the week:

As to Alex Frost’s “in no way of their own making” I wonder, whether that reminds anybody else but me of a case before Robin Jacob, in which the dispute with the Patent Office was about whether a document had indeed been filed at the Patent Office. Robin Jacob concluded that the representative was the author of Applicant’s misfortune, pointing out that there was a good reason why the Patent Office issues receipts for docs filed and if the rep cannot be bothered to check them, any resulting misfortune is his own fault.

Can anybody recall the case reference?

A “patent attorney” said, “I think the EPO has lost sight of the fact it needs to be more ‘user-friendly’ and it is becoming a place where mistakes have a disproportionate effect.” To quote the entire comment (with a later one appended):

Now that we have the EPO post grant limitation proceedings, I really don’t know why we cannot have post-grant correction for any error. The EPO has the mechanisms to do this easily, and it should try to be more helpful to applicants/patentees

[...] I think the EPO has lost sight of the fact it needs to be more ‘user-friendly’ and it is becoming a place where mistakes have a disproportionate effect. We patent attorneys should not need to be professors or be capable of seeing a small error in 400 pages of description to do our routine job. Can we really say that third parties have been substantially disadvantaged by a patent proprietor reinserting pages into a specification which were clearly missing? It should be far simpler to correct errors, and should not need references to 3 or 4 TBA decisions. In particular the system should not be punitive in any way, which it seems to be whenever it says it was up to the applicant to get it right. As I say the EPO has forgotten it is providing a public service, and should be more user-friendly to its users

Kant wrote:

Re substance or composition
Since A53(c) refers to “surgery or therapy”, it follows that a substance or composition for use in such a method is not required to have a therapeutic effect if used in a method of surgery. The therapeutic effect case law arose under EPC1977 with regard to Swiss Type claims which related to pharmaceutical preparations. Accordingly, the previous case law should not be used to limit the meaning of the EPC after a change in the law.

Notice how they all keep citing the EPC as if the EPC still matters; the EPO violates the EPC every day and then covers that up. Thankfully the examiners are close to another revolt. They’re well aware of what’s happening and they don’t like it.

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) Lost Almost Half (3 Out of 8) Board Members in Only One Month

Posted in FSF at 12:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Benjamin Mako Hill too appears to have resigned from the FSF Board

Free Software Foundation board
September 14th

Free Software Foundation board one month later

Summary: As the old saying goes, a picture (or screenshot) is worth a thousand words

IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Posted in IRC Logs at 12:05 am by Needs Sunlight



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