Links 4/11/2019: Azure Fiasco, New Linux RC

Posted in News Roundup at 7:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Linux VS open source UNIX

      The writing of this piece comes from the annoyance I get from reading about the prominence of Linux (the kernel) in almost all the computing spaces. And since electronic devices are gaining relevance in our daily lives and society in general this question of prominence of not just Linux but ‘X’ gains importance too.

      More specifically this writing comes after reading someone who has participated in relevant software which is in a gazillion people’s pocket. In a very unfortunate reply to the question: ‘What are the advantages Linux has over BSD now?’ the individual in question (which I’d like to preserve his identity) replied something close to (I do paraphrase): Linux receives much more investment from companies and therefore more paid developers are in it, plus BSD’s feature parity with that of Linux doesn’t hold.

    • Does Linux Have a Marketing Problem?

      On Hackaday’s hosting site Hackaday.io, an electrical engineer with a background in semiconductor physics argues that Linux’s small market share is due to a lack of marketing…

    • Dell’s New XPS 13 Developer Edition is Powered by the 10th Generation

      In August 2019, Dell announced the first configurations of Dell’s XPS 13 Developer Edition.

      It is based on Intel’s 10th Generation Core U series processors.

      The laptop model is the “Model 7390” powered by the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system.

      Last week they announced a new configuration for XPS 13 in honor of Halloween

      All together (In total), they are offering 18 different configurations of the 9th generation developer edition, 16 of which are available both online and offline.

    • Server

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 168 – The draconian draconians of DRM

        Josh and Kurt talk about the social norms of security. We also discuss security coprocessors and the reasons behind adding them to hardware. Is DRM a draconian security measure or do we need it to secure the future? We also touch on the story of NordVPN getting hacked. The real story isn’t they got hacked, the story is they responded like clowns. The actual problem was one of leadership, there are certain leadership skills you can’t be taught, you can only learn.

      • GNU World Order 13×45

        An exciting Linux origin story (thanks to Grant), and the **reset** (also called **tset**) and **rev** commands from **util-linux**.

      • Linux Action News 130

        Fedora arrives from the future, the big players line up behind KernelCI, and researchers claim significant vulnerabilities in Horde.

        Plus, Google’s new dashboard for WordPress and ProtonMail’s apps go open source.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.4-rc6
        Back from travels, and (knock wood) with not a lot of jetlag. So doing
        the rc release the usual Sunday afternoon in the normal timezone for a
        I wish I could say things were calming down, but they aren't. This
        week, the main culprit is networking - just about exactly half the
        patch (and almost half the commits) is networking-related, either
        drivers, core networking, or documentation.
        That's not because of some sudden influx of networking issues, it's
        just the usual timing thing - rc5 didn't get any networking pull at
        all, so rc6 has two weeks worth of networking fixes in it.
        But it does mean that we're not seeing the slowdown that I tend to
        expect by this time (well, maybe "wish for" is closer than "expect" -
        I guess it's more the norm than the exception that rc6 is larger than
        I would wish for in a perfect world.. ;^)
        There's no particular area or outstanding issue that is worrisome, but
        if things don't calm down this week, I suspect we'll be looking at one
        of those releases when we have an rc8. We'll see how things evolve
        here over the next couple of weeks.
        Anyway, outside of the networking changes, it's all the usual stuff:
        almost two thirds drivers (all over: gpu, hid, usb, rdma, sound,
        dmaengine, acpi..). With the rest being misc arch updates (risc-v,
        arm64, x86) and filesystem and core kernel fixlets.
        Shortlog appended, easy to scroll through.
        Go test, there's nothing scary in here,
      • Linux 5.4-rc6 Released With Network Changes Ticking High

        Linus Torvalds has released Linux 5.4-rc6 back on schedule after his travels this past week around the Linux Foundation events in Lyon, France.

        While we are getting late into the Linux 5.4 cycle, the bug/regression fixing is unfortunately not settling down. There still is a lot of churn with Torvalds calling particular attention to the networking subsystem where about half the changes this past week reside. Though with there not having been any networking fixes for last week’s 5.4-rc5, networking being the outlier this week isn’t too surprising.

        Torvalds commented in the RC6 announcement, “There’s no particular area or outstanding issue that is worrisome, but if things don’t calm down this week, I suspect we’ll be looking at one of those releases when we have an rc8. We’ll see how things evolve here over the next couple of weeks.”

      • Kernel prepatch 5.4-rc6

        The 5.4-rc6 kernel prepatch is out for testing.

      • Outreachy Developers Have Been Making Some Useful Contributions To The Linux Kernel

        This past week at the Open Source Summit Europe in France there were several past Outreachy interns that shared their work on contributing to the Linux kernel and related open-source projects. Several of these projects have resulted in useful additions to the Linux kernel.

        Outreachy is the program offering those from under-represented groups in tech a $5,500 paid internship to work on different open-source projects for a number of months. Those wanting to learn more can on the initiative can do so at Outreachy.org.

      • Linux 5.5 Kernel Livepatching To Allow Tracking System State

        It’s been a while since last having any new features to report on in regards to the Linux kernel’s livepatching infrastructure for applying kernel updates without system reboots. With the Linux 5.5 there is a big addition to livepatching and that is support for tracking the system state changes.

        Linux 5.5 will bring a new system state API to the livepatching infrastructure. Currently Linux livepatching with the atomic replace / cumulative patches functionality can remove previously applied fixes and other quite versatile support, but when the system state is altered is when future live-patches can go awry.

      • Bootlin’s Best Techniques For A Smaller Kernel + Faster Boot Times

        In addition to a talk at the Embedded Linux Conference Europe on trimming the Linux boot time with systemd changes, Michael Opdenacker of embedded Linux engineering firm Bootlin presented on their techniques for not only speeding up the Linux boot time but also reductions in the kernel image size.

        The techniques laid out by Opdenacker included using the U-Boot “Falcon mode” for its boot loader, an uncompressed initramfs, disable tracing, disabling sysfs, silencing the kernel output, disabling SMP during boot, simplifying the rootfs setup, and other steps.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Linux Driver Update Hints At Upcoming AMD Graphics Cards

          With Linux releasing its latest operating system drivers, some users can’t help but delve into them to see if there’s anything interesting lurking within. It might sound a bit weird, but these driver updates have proven (very consistently) to be solid indicators of upcoming tech releases.

          So, with the latest version out, what has been discovered this time? Well, in a report via TechSpot, the new Linux drivers confirm at least 4 new upcoming AMD graphics cards as well as hints towards their reported high-end release/s.

    • Applications

      • NetworkManager 1.21.3 Is Another Step Towards NM 1.22

        NetworkManager 1.21.3 is the network management project’s latest development release in the path towards the upcoming NetworkManager 1.22.

        The 1.21.3 release does have a fix for the newly released Intel IWD 1.0 wireless daemon. Aside from that it’s mostly been ongoing core code improvements and other related work for this widely-used network management component on the Linux desktop.

      • Cloning a MAC address to bypass a captive portal

        Captive portals are web pages offered when a new device is connected to a network. When the user first accesses the Internet, the portal captures all web page requests and redirects them to a single portal page.

        The page then asks the user to take some action, typically agreeing to a usage policy. Once the user agrees, they may authenticate to a RADIUS or other type of authentication system. In simple terms, the captive portal registers and authorizes a device based on the device’s MAC address and end user acceptance of terms. (The MAC address is a hardware-based value attached to any network interface, like a WiFi chip or card.)

        Sometimes a device doesn’t load the captive portal to authenticate and authorize the device to use the location’s WiFi access. Examples of this situation include mobile devices and gaming consoles (Switch, Playstation, etc.). They usually won’t launch a captive portal page when connecting to the Internet. You may see this situation when connecting to hotel or public WiFi access points.

        You can use NetworkManager on Fedora to resolve these issues, though. Fedora will let you temporarily clone the connecting device’s MAC address and authenticate to the captive portal on the device’s behalf. You’ll need the MAC address of the device you want to connect. Typically this is printed somewhere on the device and labeled. It’s a six-byte hexadecimal value, so it might look like 4A:1A:4C:B0:38:1F. You can also usually find it through the device’s built-in menus.

      • Darktable 3.0 Approaching With Many New Features

        The popular Darktable open-source RAW photography workflow software is closing in on its v3.0 release with the first release candidate having been issued on Sunday.

        While Darktable 2.x is already great and very popular among photographers for this free cross-platform photography workflow software, Darktable 3.0 is another big step-up. Some of the items being worked on for Darktable 3.0 include:

      • RedNotebook 2.12

        RedNotebook is a modern desktop journal. It lets you format, tag and search your entries. You can also add pictures, links and customizable templates, spell check your notes, and export to plain text, HTML, Latex or PDF. RedNotebook is Free Software under the GPL.

      • Proprietary

        • An Unnamed Source Who Shouldn’t Be Anonymous

          “When you find a problem in the source code, it’s very difficult to explain the consequences of that problem to a judge or jury,” he told me. “It’s written in a foreign language, and the effects are hard to trace. We’re rarely able to say, ‘Aha, here’s this person’s breath test and here’s the problem that caused it to be wrong.’”

          Mr. Workman’s mind worked a lot like the computer systems into which he delved: He had a mental index of more than 15 years of legal battles and civic investigations into problems with breath-testing programs, and he knew exactly where to find the incendiary bits. When I dug into flawed test results in Washington, D.C., for example, he sent me a video recording of a police officer turned whistle-blower testifying at an oversight hearing.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The upcoming action RPG Bound By Blades now has a Linux demo

        Developer Zeth recently put up a Linux demo of their in-development action RPG, Bound By Blades, which is in need of some testing and feedback.

        Using a pretty fun sounding four-corner combat system, where you run from corner to corner around the outside of enemies and attack/defend at each point. It’s pretty unusual and good to see something a little different. Sadly, their recent Kickstarter failed to get funding. However, they’ve confirmed development will continue but it’s going to be smaller in scope.

      • Proton GE has a another new release out with patches for GTA V and lots of updates

        Proton GE, the unofficial and updated build of Proton for Steam Play has another big new release out. To help those who can’t wait for Valve/CodeWeavers to update the official Proton or you need some extra fixes.

        With Proton-4.19-GE-1 now available it includes updated builds of DXVK, D9VK, FAudio and Vkd3d. On top of that, it’s also pulled in patches to help with GTA V and the Rockstar Launcher, a patch to help with Origin client downloads, patches to fix Skyrim SkyUI status effect icons, patches to help Mortal Kombat 11 run (although online matches won’t work) and more.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Qt Creator 4.11 Beta2 released

          We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.11 Beta2 !

          We switched to Qt 5.14 and fixed many issues. As always you find more details in our change log.

          The opensource version is available on the Qt download page under “Pre-releases”, and you find commercially licensed packages on the Qt Account Portal. Qt Creator 4.11 Beta2 is also available under Preview > Qt Creator 4.11.0-beta2 in the online installer. Please post issues in our bug tracker. You can also find us on IRC on #qt-creator on chat.freenode.net, and on the Qt Creator mailing list.

        • Disclaimer, Addendum and Celebration

          I am now a “KDE developer”, yay! I’ll be translating much more now that I can push those translations, and hopefully I’ll be able to maintain the KDE announcements in Brazilian Portuguese. Localization for something as big as KDE is a huge task, any help would be appreciated. It’s also fairly easy to work with us, if you’d like.

        • Introducing krita-artists.org

          Freshly returned from the 2019 Blender Conference, Krita project maintainer Boudewijn Rempt was heard to wistfully wish for something like Blender Artists, only for Krita. A central place for artists who use Krita to discuss their work, ask for help, share experiences and reach out to developers. And in the interest of growing the community, not something that needs to be maintained and developed by the current development team, the Krita Foundation or the KDE community.

          Raghavendra Kamath, a professional illustrator who has used Krita for years and years accepted the challenge and has setup over the past week a new website: krita-artists.org. It’s brand new and still slightly experimental, but we’re announcing it today!

        • Windows Store Submission Guide

          To increase the visibility of KDE applications on Windows, the KDE e.V. has a Windows Store account to publish our applications there.

          This is not the only way to get KDE application for the Windows operating system, you can e.g. directly grab installers or portable ZIP files from our Binary Factory.

          There is at the moment no nice documentation how to submit some application to the store.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Pro-Linux IP consortium Open Invention Network will ‘pivot’ to take on patent trolls

          Keith Bergelt, CEO of the Open Invention Network (OIN), says the organisation is “pivoting to focus on” risks from “non-practising entit[ies]” also known as patent trolls.

          The OIN was founded in 2005 by IBM, Suse, Philips, Red Hat and Sony, its purpose being to cross-license patents, royalty-free, subject to a non-aggression agreement, where the licensee agrees not to assert the patents against the Linux community.

    • Distributions

      • Customize Best Zorin OS Themes
      • Best Zorin OS Wallpapers

        Wallpaper is the very first thing that welcomes you when you log in to your computer. We may not feel like it but the sensory response is a strong source of invoking emotion. That’s why you’ll notice advertisements on the subway. They’re silently doing their job of communicating an idea, a concept into our subconscious self. Similar rule applies to the wallpaper of your system.
        It’s truer in the case of Linux distros. When you’re diving into the world of Linux, it’s important to stay in the right mood. Trust me; having the right wallpaper can really change your mood. If you’re using Zorin OS, then you’ve probably shifted to Linux from Windows/macOS. Well, why not cheer up your Linux experience?

        In this article, let’s have a look at some great Zorin OS wallpapers out there. There’s actually no best wallpaper in the world; it’s all subjective. Here are the ones that I love the most. Feel free to explore your way around!

      • Reviews

        • Review: MX Linux 19

          Something interesting about software in general, and Linux distributions in particular, is that projects tend to evolve over time. Some of them break away from their parent projects, some merge with other distributions, and some change their direction. The MX Linux distribution is an unusual mixture of ideas and technologies that has grown out of a collection of projects. MX Linux can trace its digital genealogy back through antiX, MEPIS, and Debian. This gives the current generation of MX a combination of Debian’s large, stable repository of software, the tendency toward low resource usage of antiX, and the convenient tools of MEPIS. MX is also rare in that it allows us to select which init software (SysV init or systemd) we want to use when the computer starts. But how well do all of these pieces fit together in reality?

          MX Linux 19 is based on Debian 10 “Buster” and antiX. The latest release ships with version 4.14 of the Xfce desktop and includes AppArmor support with several profiles enabled by default. The distribution is available in 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x86_64) builds, with the ISO files being about 1.4GB in size. Booting from the distribution’s media brings up the Xfce desktop. The desktop panel is displayed vertically down the left side of the screen with the application menu in the bottom-left corner The system tray and task switcher sit above the menu and the logout button is displayed in the upper-left corner. In the upper-right quadrant of the desktop we find the Conky status panel displaying the current time and some resource statistics.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Fedora Family

      • Debian Family

        • SparkyLinux’s November ISO Brings Latest Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye” Updates

          The SparkyLinux 2019 “Po Tolo” operating system series is a rolling release version of SparkyLinux, based on the Debian Testing software repositories, where the upcoming Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye” operating system is currently being developed.

          SparkyLinux 2019.11 is now the most up-to-date snapshot, adding all the latest software updates and security patches from the Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye” repositories as of November 2nd, 2019. Additionally, it upgrades the Linux kernel to version 5.2.17 and the Calamares installer to version 3.2.16.

        • Jonathan Carter: Free Software Activities (2019-10)

          AIMS Desktop talk: On the 1st of October I gave a talk at AIMS titled “Why AIMS Desktop?” where I talked about the Debian-based system we use at AIMS, and went into some detail about what Linux is, what Debian is, and why it’s used within the AIMS network. I really enjoyed the reaction from the students and a bunch of them are interested in getting involved directly with Debian. I intend to figure out a way to guide them into being productive community members without letting it interfere with their academic program.

          Catching up with Martin: On the 12th of October I had lunch with Martin Michelmayr. Earlier this year we were both running for DPL, which was an interesting experience and the last time we met neither of us had any intentions to do so. This was the first time we talked in person since then and it was good reflecting over the last year and we also talked about a bunch of non-Debian stuff.

        • Thorsten Alteholz: My Debian Activities in October 2019

          This month I accepted 257 packages and rejected 17. The overall number of packages that got accepted was 314.

        • Ben Hutchings: Debian LTS work, October 2019

          I was assigned 22.75 hours of work by Freexian’s Debian LTS initiative. I worked almost all those hours this month, but will carry over 0.5 hours to November.

          I prepared and, after review, released Linux 3.16.75, including various important fixes. I then rebased the Debian package onto that, and sent out a request for testing. I prepared and sent out Linux 3.16.76-rc1 for review.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • This Ubuntu 19.10 Bug Shares Your Media Folders With Others, Without Warning

          The problem is caused by Ubuntu’s new media sharing feature (powered the Rygel media server) which is supposed to disabled by default.

          But scores of users running Ubuntu 19.10 in a non-GNOME Shell/Ubuntu session report that rygel autostarts on log in, with no warning or indication provided that it is running in the background.

          As a result, the full contents of ~/Photos, ~/Videos and ~/Music folders are accessible on local area network, (LAN), i.e, available to anyone and anything else connected to the same Wi-Fi point.

        • elementary OS Adds First-Class Support for Flatpak Apps

          As shared in their latest monthly mail shot, the bods behind the pay-what-you-want distro have enabled Flatpak out of the box on elementary OS.

          This means elementary OS users can now search for, browse, and install Flatpak apps direct from the distro’s software store ‘AppCenter’.

        • Ubuntu Touch Installer Now Supports OnePlus 3 and Sony Xperia X Ubuntu Phones

          As many of you may already be aware, the UBports project continues to develop Canonical’s deprecated Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system for Ubuntu Phones, which gets regular OTA (Over-the-Air) updates that bring new features and improvements, and there’s also an official Ubuntu Touch installer.

          There are graphical and command-line Ubuntu Touch installers, but the graphical one makes it a lot easier to install the latest Ubuntu Touch mobile OS on an Android smartphone that’s supported by UBports, and the latest version brings support for two more phones, namely OnePlus 3 and Sony Xperia X.

        • Roadmap for official support for the Raspberry Pi 4

          With 19.10 release of Ubuntu Server, Canonical announced official support for the Raspberry Pi 4. The latest board from the Raspberry Pi Foundation sports a faster system-on-a-chip with a processor that uses the Cortex-A72 architecture (quad-core 64-bit ARMv8 at 1.5GHz). Additionally, it offers up to 4GB of RAM. We are supporting the Raspberry Pi 4 to give developers access to a low-cost board, powerful enough to consolidate compute workloads at the edge.

          The Raspberry Pi has established itself as a most accessible platform for innovators in embedded space. Canonical is dedicated to empowering innovators with open-source software. Consequently, Canonical endeavors to offer full official support for all the boards in the Raspberry Pi family. Canonical will enable both Ubuntu Server and Ubuntu Core for all the Pi boards.

          The Raspberry Pi 4 model B comes with different choices of RAM: 1GB, 2GB and 4GB. However, our official support for this board is currently limited to the 1GB and 2GB versions. Due to a kernel bug, USB ports are not supported out of the box in the official arm64 image on the 4GB RAM version. Kernel fixes have been identified by Canonical engineers. We are currently testing these fixes extensively. We will push updates within weeks, following successful test completion.

        • Canonical Pledges to Fully Support Ubuntu Linux on All Raspberry Pi Boards

          When they released the Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) operating system series last month, Canonical said that Raspberry Pi’s Foundation’s latest Raspberry Pi 4 boards will be official supported. However, Ubuntu 19.10 ships with a Linux kernel bug that blocks the use of USB ports out of the box in the official arm64 image on the Raspberry Pi 4 SBC with 4GB RAM.

          There’s a temporary workaround to enable USB on Raspberry Pi 4 boards with 4GB RAM, which involves editing the /boot/firmware/usercfg.txt file to limit the RAM to 3GB instead of 4GB by adding the “total_mem=3072″ line (without quotes). Canonical is currently working hard to test kernel patches for this bug, which should soon be released for everyone.

        • Fix for Raspberry Pi 4 4GB model’s USB Ports not Working on Ubuntu 19.10

          Ubuntu 19.10 server was recently released with official support for Raspberry Pi 4 SBC. Shortly after I read stories about the USB ports not working on the board, but it took another interesting turn as Canonical now explains the bug only affects RPI 4 with 4GB RAM, and USB works just fine on boards with just 1/2GB RAM.

          The issue has been identified and it’s been found to be a kernel bug with a solution in the works that being tested. In the meantime, you can access to your Raspberry Pi 4 4GB USB ports by limiting the memory to 3GB in /boot/firmware/usercfg.txt as follows…

        • Canonical Working To Ramp Up Ubuntu Support For The Raspberry Pi 4

          Ubuntu 19.10 should work well on the Raspberry Pi 1GB and 2GB models while the 4GB version doesn’t have USB ports working with the current Ubuntu Eoan packages. They have discovered a workaround of using total_mem=3072 for limiting the kernel to just 3GB of RAM in order to get USB functionality. But Canonical is working on proper updates to push out for enabling full USB support on the 4GB Raspberry Pi 4.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • My first contribution to open source: Impostor Syndrome

        The story of my first mistake goes back to the beginning of my learn-to-code journey. I taught myself the basics through online resources. I was working through tutorials and projects, making progress but also looking for the next way to level up. Pretty quickly, I came across a blog post that told me the best way for beginners just like me to take their coding skills to the next level was to contribute to open source.

        My internal impostor (who, for the purpose of this post, is the personification of my imposter syndrome) latched onto this idea. “Look, Galen,” she said. “The only way to be a real developer is to contribute to open source.” “Alrighty,” I replied, and started following the instructions in the blog post to make a GitHub account. It took me under ten minutes to get so thoroughly confused that I gave up on the idea entirely. It wasn’t that I was unwilling to learn, but the resources that I was depending on expected me to have quite a bit of preexisting knowledge about Git, GitHub, and how these tools allowed multiple developers to collaborate on a single project.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

        • Source Code of ProtonMail iOS App Made Public

          By making the ProtonMail iOS app open source, the company hopes to encourage researchers to attempt to find vulnerabilities and increase users’ trust in the security of the platform.

          In addition to the source code, Proton Technologies has made available some documentation, including its iOS security and trust models, that should make it easier for interested parties to review the code.

      • Programming/Development

        • PyDev of the Week: Joannah Nanjekye

          This week we welcome Joannah Nanjekye (@Captain_Joannah) as our PyDev of the Week! Joannah is a core developer of the Python programming language. She is also the author of Python 2 and 3 Compatibility. You can find out more about Joannah on here website. Let’s take a few moments to get to know her better!

        • Three Easy Methods to Upgrade Pip to the Latest Version

          In this tutorial, we will learn how to upgrade pip. This may be handy, if we, for instance, are working with old Python environments, This, in turn, may leed to that we need to upgrade pip to the latest version.

        • 25 Python Logging examples

          Log information is very important for debugging and developing any application. When the application runs then each event can be tracked by using logging features. The programmer can get a clear understanding of the flow of the program by using log data. When any program crashes then the cause of the crash can be detected easily by log records that save development times. The performance of the application can also be measured by logging.

          Python has a built-in module named logging to get the log information for any python application. It is a very useful module for the novice or experienced python programmer to print the status message to the output stream or into a file. Most of the third-party python libraries use this module to generate log information for the python application. How you can use this module is shown in this article by using 25 simple python logging examples.

        • Sending emails with Python

          Sending, checking and replying to emails is a time consuming task, especially when you are doing it for a large number of people or customers where you just have to change the recipient’s name, address, age and other small things. It would be a very difficult task for you to write a program that could handle all types of your personal/business emails but still you can automate a lot of stuff in this regard which will eventually save you a lot of time.

          For example, you want to send a reminder to your customers for their remaining bills and you have all customer related data like their phone numbers, address, age etc in an excel sheet or a database then instead of doing it manually, you can write a simple program in Python to automatically do that for you. In this tutorial, we’ll learn how email protocol works and how you can automate the process to save your precious time.

        • Get hands-on experience with Kubernetes and Quarkus at DevNation Live in Austin

          The cloud is dramatically changing established development practices, and developers need expert training and hands-on experience to stay up to date.

          Join Red Hat’s developer advocates (including Burr Sutter, Edson Yanaga, and Kamesth Sampath) in Austin, Texas for a day of technical sessions, conversation, and hands-on workshops focused on Kubernetes development and Java microservices.

        • Finding definitions from a source file and a line number in Python

          My job at Datadog keeps me busy with new and questioning challenges. I recently stumbled upon a problem that sounded easy but was more difficult than I imagined.

          Here’s the thing: considering a filename and a line number, can you tell which function, method or class this line of code belongs to?

          I started to dig into the standard library, but I did not find anything solving this problem. It sounded like I write to do this myself.

          The first steps sound easy. Open a file, read it, find the line number. Right.

        • Django bugfix releases issued: 2.2.7, 2.1.14, and 1.11.26

          Today we’ve issued 2.2.7, 2.1.14, and 1.11.26 bugfix releases.

        • Frank Wierzbicki: Jython 2.7.2b2 released!

          On behalf of the Jython development team, I’m pleased to announce that the second beta release of Jython 2.7.2 is available! This is a bugfix release.

          Please see the NEWS file for detailed release notes. This release of Jython requires JDK 8 or above.

        • Quick Python tip: “int” strips strings of whitespace
        • Fields, records, and variables in awk

          Awk comes in several varieties: There is the original awk, written in 1977 at AT&T Bell Laboratories, and several reimplementations, such as mawk, nawk, and the one that ships with most Linux distributions, GNU awk, or gawk. On most Linux distributions, awk and gawk are synonyms referring to GNU awk, and typing either invokes the same awk command. See the GNU awk user’s guide for the full history of awk and gawk.

  • Leftovers

    • Rustam Aliev

      Nadira’s father, the Uzbek playwright and theatre director Rustam Aliev, suffered a massive stroke yesterday and passed away in the early hours of this morning, age 60. Nadira is very sad at not having had the chance to see him before he died, and while awake all last night she set down her thoughts in this piece, which I find extremely powerful.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Proposed Withdrawal of US Troops in Syria

        President Trump has stated his intent to withdraw US troops from Syria on several occasions since March 2018. Each time politicians from both the Democratic and Republican parties, supported by the corporate-controlled media, have, based on US imperial interests, vehemently challenged the withdrawal proposal.

      • Ilhan Omar Attacks Prominent Female Journalist and Defends Kashmiri Jihadists

        Singh states that: According to former Pakistani Ambassador Mr. Husain Haqqani, the Pakistan-sponsored insurgency sought to cleanse Kashmir of non-Muslims to make the state entirely free of minorities. Many terror groups active in Kashmir today, such as Lashkar-eTaiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), and Hizbu-ul-Mujahideen (HM) have rightfully been labelled Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the European Union, United States, and other countries. Yet these terrorists continue to receive safe harbor, medical care, and financial support in Pakistan–exactly like Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin-Laden who was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan by US Special Forces in 2011. These groups have launched terror attacks throughout India, including the November 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed over 165 people, and the September 2016 attack on an Indian army base, which lead to an escalation in tensions between India and Pakistan.

        Yet, instead of Ilhan Omar addressing the subject of the hearing or expressing disgust at the crimes of these terrorist organizations, she decided to justify the agenda of Kashmir’s Islamist rebels by attacking the credentials of Aarti Singh.

    • Environment

      • Controversial Pesticides Are Suspected Of Starving Fish

        “So we concluded [that] something killed the food of the eels and the smelt,” Yamamuro says.

        She and her colleagues now believe that they’ve identified the culprit: pesticides called neonicotinoids.

        The evidence is circumstantial. Right around the time the fish started having problems, early in the 1990s, farmers near the lake started using these pesticides on their rice paddies to control insect pests. Yamamuro also found traces of these chemicals in some parts of the lake. Those levels, she thinks, are high enough to cause problems for tiny aquatic animals. Also, neonicotinoids kill insects, but not the algae that the thriving fish were eating.

        She and her colleagues just published their findings in the journal Science.

      • ‘My husband squeezed my hand to say he wanted to live, then I found a way to save him’

        [...] The doctors came back and said, ‘This is the worst infection on the planet. This is an infection that’s closed down hospitals in Germany. It’s called Acinetobacter baumannii.’”

        Tom was put into isolation, and his children flew over because of concern that he wouldn’t make it. When doctors visited him, they wore special gowns.

      • Energy

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Lawyer: Trump Whistleblower Willing to Take Written GOP Questions

        A lawyer for the whistleblower who raised alarms about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine said Sunday his client is willing to answer written questions submitted by House Republicans.

      • Everybody Hates You

        For solace to start the weekly madness, this happened: Several judges blocked Trump’s new rule change barring immigrants who can’t afford health care, an 8-year-old girl easily climbed over his “impenetrable” wall, drug smugglers easily cut through it with a $100 saw, and the Mob-Boss-In-Chief was again thunderously booed in public, this time at a UFC fight…

      • Politics as a Food Fight: The Media Is Feeding the Political Divide

        The other day, while listening to that liberal bastion, NPR, the newscaster mentioned that another witness had given testimony that would be damaging to Trump in the House’s impeachment inquiry.  In a transition so seamless it was an integral part of the story, the anchor immediately went on to say that Republicans claim the process is flawed, illegitimate, and partisan.

      • The Enemy Within

        Our democracy is not in peril—we do not live in a democracy. The image of our democracy is in peril. The deep state—the generals, bankers, corporatists, lobbyists, intelligence chiefs, government bureaucrats and technocrats—is intent on salvaging the brand. It is hard to trumpet yourself as the world’s guardian of freedom and liberty with Donald Trump blathering on incoherently about himself, inciting racist violence, insulting our traditional allies along with the courts, the press and Congress, tweeting misspelled inanities and impulsively denouncing or sabotaging bipartisan domestic and foreign policy. But Trump’s most unforgivable sin in the eyes of the deep state is his criticism of the empire’s endless wars, even though he lacks the intellectual and organizational skills to oversee a disengagement.

      • WATCH LIVE: Bernie Sanders, Ilhan Omar Set to Rally Forces in Minneapolis

        Sanders’s surging campaign was forced to move today’s rally from the Northrup Arena, which only seats 2,700 to Williams Arena, which can hold more than 14,000

      • ‘It’s like nothing we have come across before’: UK intelligence officials shaken by Trump administration’s requests for help with counter-impeachment inquiry

        Trump and Barr have also been asking other foreign governments for help in investigating the FBI, CIA and Mueller investigators. The US president has called on the Australian prime minister Scott Morrison for assistance, while the attorney general has been on similar missions to the UK and Italy.

        And the information being requested has left allies astonished. One British official with knowledge of Barr’s wish list presented to London commented that “it is like nothing we have come across before, they are basically asking, in quite robust terms, for help in doing a hatchet job on their own intelligence services”.

      • Trump to Arab Protesters: I Stand With Your Rulers, Not You

        “It is better if they don’t say anything,” Marwan Muasher, a former Jordanian foreign minister, told Foreign Policy.

        Yet Trump has gone even further in the opposite direction than mere silence, unambiguously siding with the region’s autocratic rulers and leaving lower-level bureaucrats in his administration to deliver mild encouragement to the protesters. Asked this fall to comment on Egypt’s most violent crackdown on protesters since the Arab Spring, Trump offered unconditional support for the country’s leader, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, whom he once described as “my favorite dictator.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • “Facebook News” – The Project Censored Show

        Facebook recently announced, “Facebook News,” a partnership between the social-media giant and established corporate-media outlets, including the New York Times. Does this arrangement suggest an enhanced effort to keep independent journalism and nonconforming opinions out of social media?

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Saudi Arabia: Change Comes with Punishing Cost

        Important social reforms enacted under Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have been accompanied by deepening repression and abusive practices meant to silence dissidents and critics.

      • Bride Trafficking to China Spreads Across Asia

        What do Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, and Vietnam have in common? The answer is tragic.

      • Mother Teresa Memorial Award: Sold as sex slave by IS, Yazidi woman to receive award for Kurdistan govt

        Currently learning English, the 18-year-old plans to pursue law to provide legal aid to the rescued Yazidis. “When I was 13, I just wanted to become a translator. Now, I want to bring justice,” she says.

        According to Hussein Al-Qaidi, director of the Office of Kidnapped and Rescue, the IS also used an online portal to buy and sell girls. “It is shame that in the 21st century the international community allowed this to happen. There is no support for rehabilitation of those rescued,” he says. Al-Qaidi adds that a greater worry is the rescued young boys who have been trained in militancy. “They remain like a bomb ready to explode.”

      • Japan festival to show ‘comfort women’ film after backlash

        The decision not to screen the film was reversed after “lots of voices offering cooperation to address our safety concerns”, a member of the organising committee told AFP news agency.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Pending Patent Applications

          The chart below shows patent application status for published utility patent applications as of Oct 27, 2019 grouped by patent application filing date.

        • Launch of New Diagnostics and Cancer Advocacy Group Announced [Ed: New Cures for Cancers is a scam; it’s a poorly-named lobby group for patent maximalists, pretending that it cares for cancer patients. Shame on anyone who promotes this. It kills cancer patients.]

          One goal of the organization is to change the law currently applied by the U.S. Supreme Court that has caused the invalidation of every patent on personalized diagnostics since 2012. Without patent protection for their investments, companies will not be interested in the personalized diagnostics field.

      • Copyrights

The European Courts Won’t be Receptive When European Patent (EP) Just Means Invalid Patent (IP)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…Like US courts after 35 U.S.C. § 101 — a fundamental change that US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) leadership too continues to ignore, granting invalid US patents that recipients won’t dare take to courts

I wanted to cure my patients but 'award-winning' patents stood in my way

Summary: The growing risk associated with lawlessness at the second-largest institution in Europe is a load of invalid patents that courts cannot throw out quickly enough (it’s also far too expensive)

THE PERSISTENT fight for patent quality in Europe is mirrored/followed by a similar fight in the US (politicians intervened last week, but we didn’t cover that; it’s in Daily Links instead). Examiners know that the longterm job prospects — theirs as well as others’ — depend on staying true to the original principles of patenting. Patents need to be granted when and where it’s demonstrable that the impact on innovation would be positive. That’s clearly not the case when it comes to software patents because copyright law covers code and patents on algorithms mean patents on algebra or maths. Statistics (stats) are nowadays framed as "hey hi" (AI) to somehow justify patents on them.

“Statistics (stats) are nowadays framed as “hey hi” (AI) to somehow justify patents on them.”Things aren’t any better when it comes to patents on life and nature. Yesterday we saw the loudest proponents of such patents (patent law firms, obviously) heralding the “Launch of New [sic] Diagnostics [sic] and Cancer [sic] Advocacy [sic] Group” and it’s pure evil. They call themselves “New Cures for Cancers” and it is a scam; it’s a poorly-named lobby group for patent maximalists, pretending that it cares for cancer patients. It kills cancer patients for corporate profits. So much for “cures”… maybe fiscal cures for their (billionaires’ and law firms’) financial worries. Remember that patents on cancer treatments may actually harm cancer patients [1, 2, 3]. They very well know this and now they lobby against the highest court, SCOTUS.

“So much for “cures”… maybe fiscal cures for their (billionaires’ and law firms’) financial worries.”Europe has the same problem. Patents on everything under the Sun are being granted by António Campinos. Even Battistelli mentioned the word “quality” more than Campinos has — albeit neither of them actually means quality for they conflate that with speed. The European Patent Office (EPO) strives to be just a rubber-stamping operation (while maintaining the minimal or sufficient perception that it is not).

Early this morning Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review (pushers of patents on life; the site’s name alone contains at least 3 lies) spoke about EP #2771468 — a subject we aren’t new to; we’ve covered it almost a dozen times and mentioned it as recently as last week. The Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) wastes time dealing with patents which very obviously must not be granted, based on the EPC and instructions from Parliament. Here’s what boosters of patents on life are saying today:

The Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) has issued new communication summarising issues that will be discussed at a hearing on whether the EPO erred in its revocation of a patent owned by the Broad Institute.

The patent in dispute (European patent number 2,771,468) covers CRISPR/Cas9 technology for the “engineering of systems, methods and optimised guide compositions for sequence manipulation”.

The Board of Appeal lacks the independence it needs to thwart this patent like it should because the lawlessness of the EPO persists. How many people will need to die before this gross systemic injustice is tackled?

Startpage, Dogpile, WebCrawler, MetaCrawler and Maybe Many Others Send Data to a Surveillance Company Subsidised by the Goldman Sachs-Connected Court Square Capital Partners

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Search at 3:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The money System1 raised for spying comes from investment banks; they’re looking for return on that investment (RoI)

The search engine I had
used until Google became ‘too
dominant’ in the early 2000s

Summary: The arm of so-called ‘Surveillance Capitalism’ is reaching a lot further than most people care to realise and grab small search engines; their business model is no different than that of Microsoft, Facebook and Google and their real owners are controversial banks

TECHRIGHTS, both as a site and as a growing community, does not focus on Internet businesses or on search. Privacy is not our top/foremost topic. We did, however, write many articles about why Bing (MSN) is bad and why DuckDuckGo (DDG) is a ‘scam’; there’s no privacy there, so it’s false advertising or dishonest marketing. Let’s just clarify that when speaking about the small (niche) search engines we aren’t promoting or endorsing Microsoft/Yahoo/Google/DDG. They’re all bad and we wrote a great deal about those; sadly a lot of people still believe that DDG offers ‘legit’ privacy and some GNU/Linux distros make it the default search engine. I face-palm any time I see this.

Then there’s the issue with browsers. Over the weekend we wrote about why Mozilla/Mozilla Foundation/Mozilla Corporation remains connected to 'Surveillance Capitalism', so we cannot recommend Firefox. Various changes — especially those made in recent years — also weaken its adherence to Software Freedom. Among the “Big Browsers” (that most Web sites fully support), Firefox is probably the least harmful, but it can still be harmful. Not that Chrome/Chromium is better (it’s a lot worse in that regard). Some so-called ‘Linux’ sites currently promote proprietary software of Microsoft because it’s merely based on (i.e. exploits) Chromium codeabase and there’s a new icon/logo (wow! Icon!!). Half a day ago someone wrote to me to say:

OK, did OMGUbuntu intentionally left out Brave as a Chromium based browser on Linux? Brave is FLOSS, the others (except Chromium, which is the base for these browsers) are proprietary.

“And since almost every other Chromium-based web browser is available on Linux (including Chromium, Google Chrome, Vivaldi and Opera) it’s a fairly logical assumption to think Edge will join their ranks.”


And no we don’t need a Microsoft browser on Linux. Especially not a proprietary one. If Microsoft loves Linux, they would release this browser as Free Software, and not close source junk.

“Would Edge on Linux be a positive move?

I think so; choice is good for users. Not everyone is a dyed-in-the-wool FOSS fan fan sworn off anything with a vague whiff of proprietary licensing.”

OMGUbuntu is shilling for proprietary junk? Why is that? Are they paid by Microsoft?

Oh yeah let our internet habits flow through Microsoft…

I seriously don’t understand this attitude, especially one of the biggest Linux user site!

CNET (CBS) also did a puff piece about it, but we don’t want to link to it (some readers alerted us about this and we found it in “Open Source” news even though it’s proprietary). Stephen Shankland wrote the puff piece. He used to cover Mozilla a lot.

Generally speaking, Microsoft has long (well over a decade) used its browser to spy on Internet users; sometimes it was justified as ‘necessity’ in the name of ‘security’ (e.g. detecting if a visited site was a malicious risk). So to one’s browsing privacy there’s the ISP as a risk, the browser maker as a risk, and then there are trackers and search engines. There are some other factors, which are to some degree explored in PrivacytoolsIO. Privacy is becoming a hard thing to get. Even some VPN providers turn out to be scams. Some are surveillance/DPI ‘as a service’…

The people at PrivacytoolsIO recently delisted Startpage. It was due to Startpage’s connection — however thinly-veiled (with Orwellian language) — to System1.

Someone who supports PrivacytoolsIO told me: “Now we need to ask important questions of ALL privacy services to determine who their masters really are and if they are trustworthy. PrivacytoolsIO stickied my request for users to contribute questions we should ask. You can see that thread here.”

To quote the relevant text: “In light of the recent Startpage acquisition, we want to develop a list of questions we can ask every privacy-centric service we recommend. Help us figure out what we should be looking for! :) There is also an ongoing discussion of this topic on our forum.”

“So this is basically the “Real Owner” of Startpage right now (bankers looking for RoI), not some Dutch person or Dutch operations on Dutch soil.”One person asked: “How do you make a profit?”

To which the OP responded: “That is a good “follow the money” question!”

System1′s business model is spying and “Startpage isn’t System1′s only search engine,” one reader told us, calling it “another concern.”

“It has many,” we were told, “based on my research. See this article for example” [from September 19, 2017]

Venice advertising technology firm System1 announced on Monday that it had completed a $270 million financing round led by New York-based Court Square Capital Partners.

The company, which was founded in 2013, was formerly known as OpenMail. It advertises itself as the world’s largest independent marketplace for keyword pay-per-click advertising. The startup plans to accelerate product development and finance hiring in Southern California with its recent infusion of cash.

System1 uses statistical and machine-learning models to group consumers into thousands of audience profiles, which then are used to match those consumers with relevant advertising, said Chuck Ursini, chief executive of the firm, in an email.


It has about 190 employees, according to its website. System1 purchased search engine InfoSpace for $45 million in cash last year.

The money for Infospace or all the money comes from a few dozen people connected to Citigroup originally, now AlpInvest Partners and Goldman Sachs (sometimes it’s still listed as Citigroup). There are some, but not many, military connections. These people have billions at their disposal. They don’t actually make anything; they just buy companies and then control their direction. They’re like “monetisation” instruments. So this is basically the “Real Owner” of Startpage right now (bankers looking for RoI), not some Dutch person or Dutch operations on Dutch soil. Years ago I criticised them for suspicious expansions in the US (different laws) and what seemed like exploration of Surveillance Capitalism; up to that point I had used them, typically through ixquick, for about half a decade. They had my search query history (I assumed). Can they still be trusted? Do they still keep all this old data? We don’t know, do we? Is it “monetisation” time now?

“Is it “monetisation” time now?”About the firm that was bought in 2016, “InfoSpace’s main metasearch site is Dogpile; its other brands are WebCrawler, and MetaCrawler.” That’s according to Wikipedia. “The company was founded as Infospace in March 1996 by Naveen Jain after he left Microsoft,” says Wikipedia about Blucora in explaining its lineage: “Blucora (formerly Infospace, Inc.) is a provider of Internet-related services, mostly search engines. InfoSpace changed its name to Blucora and NASDAQ symbol from INSP to BCOR on June 7, 2012. This event reflected the company’s change as the owner of two online businesses, after its acquisition of TaxACT in January 2012, and distinguishes the parent company from its search business operating unit, which is called InfoSpace. Blucora’s InfoSpace business provides metasearch and private-label Internet search services for consumers and online search and monetization solutions to a network of more than 100 partners worldwide. InfoSpace’s main metasearch site is Dogpile; its other brands are WebCrawler, and MetaCrawler. Blucora’s TaxACT subsidiary offers online tax preparation services. Founded in 1998 and made by 2nd Story Software, in the 2005 tax season, TaxACT became the first to offer free federal tax software and free e-file to all U.S. taxpayers.”

Notice phrases like “online search and monetization solutions”; a lot of user data goes through these people. They’re bossed by banks.

Lies Are the Favourite Weapon of Bullies

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FSF at 3:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

By figosdev

Woolly bully

Summary: Woolly bullies in the context of the Free software world

Bullies use all kinds of tricks to punish and control other people. One of the favourite weapons, if not the favourite weapon of bullies, is dishonesty.

While this article is aimed at more than one group of people, what makes it most relevant to Techrights is the way lies are historically and presently used in Open Source. As for who taught Open Source how to lie so well, there is every indication that involvement with P.R. firms is what has done the most damage to our communities.

“As for who taught Open Source how to lie so well, there is every indication that involvement with P.R. firms is what has done the most damage to our communities.”I don’t mean to say that all involvement with P.R. firms is bad. First of all, if you’re being attacked unfairly, a P.R. firm can give you advice on how to manage the crisis. I don’t have a problem with that. I would go a step further and say that if you tell a lie to protect yourself from bodily harm, under duress or that sort of thing, or to protect privacy, I don’t have a problem with that either. This article isn’t about right vs. wrong, it’s about the ways that bullies control and exploit people.

In fact I’ve written extensively about that already, under a pen name of a character I invented based on numerous corporate shills, Ted MacReilly. I wanted to be as obvious as possible that Ted wasn’t real, I even wrote the intro that said:

“A reader calling himself Ted MacReilly (we suspect this is a pseudonym) has sent us a preview of his “Handbook” titled, A Handbook for Destroying the Free Software Movement. Citing modern events and the Halloween documents as inspiration, this quick guide explains how you as a proprietary developer or corporation can systematically reduce the growing Free Software movement to a shadow of its former self…”

“The point was to encourage people to consider the present, to make conscious comparisons to current events — to bring the Halloween documents back into public discussion and greater public awareness.”Some clever person responded, either in jest or to allude to its conspiratorial tone: “It’s the Protocols of the Elders of Microsoft!”

Many commenters defended its relevance to the past, (it was inspired by and regularly alluded to 20 year memos leaked from Microsoft after all) if not the present. Other said that it didn’t cite enough examples, but really that wasn’t the point.

The point was to encourage people to consider the present, to make conscious comparisons to current events — to bring the Halloween documents back into public discussion and greater public awareness. I also wanted to move to talking about solutions (the later FSF Titanic series did that) and I don’t actually like to talk about only problems, but without enough people admitting that problems need to be solved the solutions tend to go to waste.

“As the Halloween documents did 20 years ago, I wanted to inform a new generation of the dangers awaiting Free software because I thought they’d gotten too complacent, too sure of success, too dismissive of the threats against them.”This was all before the Stallman debacle, and yet one of the chapters talked about how vital it was to attack Stallman directly and how attacking the Free software community was easy because Free software is a bit of a monoculture (it is becoming less of one, and I think that’s a good thing. Though I also think it’s vital for that non-monoculture to retain the core ideals of Free software and I say this frequently.)

The people doing the attacking already know these vulnerabilities. They already know how to lie, how to manipulate and how to fleece. As the Halloween documents did 20 years ago, I wanted to inform a new generation of the dangers awaiting Free software because I thought they’d gotten too complacent, too sure of success, too dismissive of the threats against them.

I was right.

“If you want a better handbook on how powerful companies (and governments and politicians and lobbyists) lie, read “Propaganda” by Edward Bernays. It’s an older work, but one of the pioneering ones.”But I’d rather be wrong, because I have spent years promoting Free software to non-technical people (it’s harder to make cases to technical people, as many of them act like they know everything already when offered new information) and some technical people, and I don’t want to watch it get more and more difficult.

I wrote the handbook to reveal the old “playbook” that monopolies are still using, so that people could have more warning and more understanding of what was going on in the wings. Now that this is unfolding on the world stage more and more, I don’t think it’s so important to cite examples — but Techrights talks about these things happening all the time. If you want examples, read Techrights. If you don’t like the way Techrights presents things, look into some of the many events that Techrights discusses instead.

I wanted to connect the things happening with the methods used to make them happen. And the handbook talks a lot about how to lie. If you want a better handbook on how powerful companies (and governments and politicians and lobbyists) lie, read “Propaganda” by Edward Bernays. It’s an older work, but one of the pioneering ones.

The motivation for this article is actually about watching people push others around with lies right now. Stallman is the most prominent example in the Free software community, Chapter 6 has come more wildly true than I even anticipated, and is the one that talks about the importance of attacking Stallman directly.

“The motivation for this article is actually about watching people push others around with lies right now.”However, we have moved past attacking just Stallman and now his supporters are being attacked. Someone who is definitely on our side posted about the United Nations’ renewed or new involvement with “Open Source” as if it is something to celebrate. I pointed out that one of the men that are a part of that U.N. project has already attacked Stallman supporters (directly, his supporters) on the Fediverse.

I’m using the term “Open Source” because that’s the term they’re using, and the fact that they’re using that term is too relevant to correct it for them. I always use the term “Open Source” to refer to that group that attacks, exploits and co-opts Free software so that it can be sold off, Nokia-Handset-Division-like to monopolies. This sort of attack, capture and sell off cycle isn’t new, but it is increasingly prominent as even Torvalds’ own first name (most of it) is being sold off and used to sell Microsoft products and surveillance. I talk about this in chapter 9 on branding, in using brand-shifting as a strategy for “owning” (pwning) [ ● ◄ ] or rather stealing our projects and communities:

“The gradual shift in public consciousness from their branding towards our own, is the next best thing to owning them outright.”

About a decade ago, I started talking about how shifting branding from the GNU head to Tux (a symbol associated with apathy towards arguments centred on freedom or ethics) made it easier for non-Free software to take ownership of Free software. Literalists will say that’s impossible, because Free software is Free, but that’s nonetheless what is happening now. Just as houseplants only stay alive if they’re maintained, Free software only stays free if we maintain (guard) the freedom.

The idea that it is simply “defined as such” and therefore freedom is inherent is the most dangerous misunderstanding and oversimplification of software freedom threatening the movement today. Words are not so powerful that you can build an impenetrable fortress around Free software and that fortress will sustain itself. As with software and hardware, they will eventually find a way in through the defenses (they already have.)

“Words are not so powerful that you can build an impenetrable fortress around Free software and that fortress will sustain itself.”So while I have made the case that branding can be used as a weapon to attack, capture and co-opt freedom — to turn GNU head into Tux and Tux into the Ubuntu logo or this bastard green penguin head that IBM owns: ●◄ (I don’t know if it’s supposed to be a penguin head, I’ve already made a parody of it. Maybe it’s the first trump that heralds the burning of a third of all trees on Earth, who knows? It could be a bicycle horn. It deserves to be mocked…) They are trying to drive GNU and support of GNU into the ground, as I talked about in chapters 6, 9 and others.

Brands are a powerful force and can even be used to steal Free software, but they’re not a solid and complete defense on their own. (I was recently in a debate with someone about this who was relying too much on branding/wording alone, hence the stress on this distinction.)

But the motivation for this particular article isn’t the large companies and P.R. firms responsible, it is about the “feet on the ground”, the people we deal with directly, and how they are treating us directly. We are surrounded by willing bullies and liars, and some unwitting shills. Chapter 6 is probably the chapter that says the most about this:

“It should be more than obvious that some of these features– even some of the best features– are going to be proprietary. So it becomes imperative if we are going to compete with and also infiltrate open source that we need to loosen the hold that Free software has on the narrative.”

“A schism can be hashed out and resolved– what we want is to widen it to a chasm and actually hand the reins of Free software over to open source, so that all ‘open source’ is forever a way to steer people towards our features.”

The people that were attacking Stallman are now attacking everyone that supports him:

“Stallman and his followers are tightly-knit in their ideology. Attacking any of them is like attacking all of them– we can play up their hacker style as social ineptitude, their adherence (where it exists) to standards and interoperability as a refusal to evolve, their playful culture as a refusal to grow up and be professional, and their self-reliance and independence as being non-team-players and even toxic masculinity.”

“The people that were attacking Stallman are now attacking everyone that supports him…”“Their hacker philosophy is about putting certain values first– just as we use new features to get people to accept new flaws that we can promise to fix later (and then say that we have a greater commitment to security) and use open source to bring people to our exclusive software lines, we can use their values to steer the next generation of customers (and critics) towards a more corporate culture.”

When these people have an objective, they do things in stages. Attacking Stallman at LibrePlanet was an earlier stage. Attacking him with the press and at his workplace (something Techrights had previously documented in the past as a deliberate tactic used towards more than one Microsoft critic) was another stage, months later. Then he was attacked via the GNU project website, on terms that arguably violate their own guidelines:

(I think the KIND guidelines are, and intended as, a small first step away from the Malleus Hackerum of a Code of Conduct, but my adage that “codes of conduct are often promoted most heavily by hypocrites” is still relevant to this example.)

“Attacking Stallman at LibrePlanet was an earlier stage. Attacking him with the press and at his workplace (something Techrights had previously documented in the past as a deliberate tactic used towards more than one Microsoft critic) was another stage, months later.”In each stage of such a prolonged attack, there will be people who know this is a common pattern and can (somewhat accurately) predict that other stages are likely in the future. Both Techrights and I accurately predicted that this would have greater consequences for the community in the future. Of course whenever the harmful side-effects (or simply put: effects) of the Malleus Hackerum are predicted, people dismiss it as fantasy or paranoia — as they did before Edward Snowden proved just how many technological intrusions Stallman was right about all along.

“In the short run we can use this against Stallman and his organization, but in the long run we can even use this to shackle Linus and gradually push him out the door. In our culture, it doesn’t pay to be eccentric except when it makes us billions– get with the program or get out. A leader that isn’t making us money is a leader who has let us down, and we need to get rid of them as quickly as possible.”

Part of what makes it so trivial to make some of these predictions (and by no means are we infallible. When I make negative predictions I always hope they will prove to be wrong, and I hope that people will work to reduce the severity of the threats) is that we were really talking about the most direct implications of what was at the time the present scenario. Once again, the famous Gibson quote: “the future is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed” applies.

“Once again, the famous Gibson quote: “the future is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed” applies.”So we have the attack Stallman at LibrePlanet phase, the attack Stallman at the workplace phase, the attack Stallman at GNU phase, and we predicted (and are entering) the attack all of his supporters phase. And while it isn’t unreasonable at all to try to connect those attacks with the sources of the others, the people participating are people we associate with directly:

“This schism is ripe for exploitation. As mentioned in the previous chapter: ‘we can stir contention between [open] and [free] and get open source to defend our model…’ Getting fans and amateurs to first fight our battles for us, and then blame the very people they’re attacking for disagreeing with them– is an important step and makes open source an unlikely if valuable ally.”

By no means is this limited to open source. I am a peace activist, and I have spent many weekends protesting illegal wars. I don’t have a problem with people defending themselves, though I don’t believe most war is about defense. I operate under the assumption that the people holding signs against war are sincere, but I expect that the goal is to actually change something.

One thing I’ve noticed with disgust is that most people who protest illegal wars have no qualms about re-electing a leader (a Commander-in-Chief) who has not only supported but been responsible for illegal invasions. It’s certainly not up to me how people vote, but if you claim to support peace and re-elect someone who illegally invaded other countries, what’s your excuse? I’ve heard too many of them.

“Many of the people spreading lies right now, don’t know they’re mistaken. I don’t think an honest mistake is a lie; some of the people are innocent and being manipulated.”Very few people who held those signs voted any differently after learning (by living during a first term) the military intentions, ambitions and actions of a leader. They were doing nothing but talking, and even the most obvious options presented to them (vote against a war criminal, vote for someone who is actually against illegal wars in deed and not just words) they would not actually do anything but stand with signs. It was all lip-service.

In the end, I spent countless hours helping with their cause just to help them re-elect their own party (most were Democrats.) This is not the strongest possible example of telling a seemingly-noble lie to exploit voters or supporters, but I hope the message here is obvious. You can say anything you want at all, it doesn’t mean you really stand for anything in your actions or choices.

Many of the people spreading lies right now, don’t know they’re mistaken. I don’t think an honest mistake is a lie; some of the people are innocent and being manipulated. That’s a terrible shame but adopting their inquisition methods and trying to find out who the “real supporters” and who the traitors are — I think that’s mostly a waste of time and a bad method.

There are a few traitors worth calling out, for sure. I don’t hesitate to do that. Stallman called de Icaza a traitor, some of the most prominent liars are worth calling out. If you’re being personally pushed around and lied to directly and repeatedly, that’s worth calling out.

But as I said recently:

“they did cheat, but we are the ones who decided that playing with them was a good idea. **they literally used our own friends against us.** if you’ve ever watched a nation fall, that isn’t a new idea. this was conquest.”

“Superficiality is the root of prejudice, and it is a boon to all forms of injustice. It is also on a first-name basis with dishonesty.”When a lot of these people are making arguments about offensive behaviour, they’re being deeply superficial. Superficiality is the root of prejudice, and it is a boon to all forms of injustice. It is also on a first-name basis with dishonesty.

Lies are used to stir lynch mobs, to ruin the lives of good people, to start illegal wars, to enslave and exploit, to defraud, and to steal.

Codes of Conduct don’t cover dishonesty, in fact they often include language about “assuming good faith.” That sounds like a great idea, even to me — rather than a recipe for inviting oppression and exploitation: “assume good faith.”

What about when your good faith is exploited and used to ruin you and everybody that dares to support you — how much “good faith” should we assume then?

When we are ourselves being attacked — not for anything we’ve done other than support someone who dares to support someone who is accused of something which none of us agree with — and then people we know personally dare accuse us of supporting horrible things just because we don’t support lynch mobs?

“Be careful whose lies you decide to swallow. There’s a war on honest people, waged by people who demand that lies and slander in the name of some “higher good” are better.”That’s a horrible lie, and a horribly offensive accusation. But it’s alright for lynch mobs to fight fire with fire, I guess? It’s alright for them to respond disproportionately to THEIR OWN accusations of us with lies, 5-minute-hate sessions, slander and censorship. These are actual, literal cult tactics — they’re tactics cults still use successfully to control tens of thousands of people or more, they were used by church officials in the dark ages, but the world lacks so much introspection and historical perspective that we can use these tactics from the actual dark ages to promote — of all things — “tolerance.”

Be careful whose lies you decide to swallow. There’s a war on honest people, waged by people who demand that lies and slander in the name of some “higher good” are better. It’s one of the best weapons that bullies have, and one of the most damaging weapons leveraged to harm the world both historically and in present times.

“We are supposed to be defenseless, even when people lie in a direct and sustained effort to do us harm.”I have long argued that no amount of vulgarity can compete in offensiveness with these decades-long campaigns of weaponised dishonesty. Who are they kidding? Practically everybody.

Once they’ve accused us of something, no one is supposed to come to our defense (including ourselves!) We are simply supposed to just shut up and listen to these lies, and never ever question them. We are supposed to be defenseless, even when people lie in a direct and sustained effort to do us harm.

“It even hurts the very people they pretend to care about as their shield against criticism, critical thinking and accountability for their most destructive lies.”Hey, we told you so, didn’t we? Enjoy the Inquisition, and have fun storming the castle. These people always destroy themselves in the long run, the point of standing up to them is to minimise the long-term and widespread damage they dedicate themselves to creating; the sort they are creating right now, that hurts everyone from Stallman, to us. It even hurts the very people they pretend to care about as their shield against criticism, critical thinking and accountability for their most destructive lies. But you can’t deny the short-term success of such tactics, even if given time they would destroy everything good in the world.

Long Live Stallman, and Happy Hacking.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 03, 2019

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:25 am by Needs Sunlight



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