Understanding Thierry Breton: Thierry & Nicolas – a Bromance That Turned Sour?

Posted in Europe, Finance at 10:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Understanding Thierry Breton

Further parts pending review and research

Sarkozy and Breton
Thierry and Nicolas: despite a promising start, the bromance turned sour in the end.

Summary: “Whatever Sarkozy’s motives may have been, he decided to dispense with the services of his former colleague and so Breton’s ministerial career came to an abrupt end in the summer of 2007.”

Thierry and Nicolas go back a long way to the days when they were ministerial colleagues under the presidency of Jacques Chirac between 2002 and 2007.

“Sarko”, or Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa, to give him his full name, joined the Chirac government in 2002 where he served as Minister for the Interior.

Thierry joined the cabinet as Minister for the Economy a few years later in February 2005. He replaced Hervé Gaymard who was forced to resign after the satirical investigative newspaper Le Canard enchaîné disclosed that he was using public money to fund the cost of an exclusive Parisien apartment for his family.

Sarkozy and Breton with group
President Jacques Chirac with Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and his cabinet, including Sarkozy and Breton in the front row

In 2004, Sarkozy began to position himself as a contender to succeed Chirac and he was successful in securing election as leader of the UMP, the French conservative party.

He moved to the Ministry for the Economy for a short stint between 2004 and 2005 and then returned to his former post at the Ministry for the Interior where he remained until he stepped down in March 2007 to focus on his election campaign to become President of the Republic.

Sarkozy faces
“Sarko”, Minister for Silly Faces who became President in 2007.

It would appear that Thierry and Nicolas enjoyed cordial collegial relations at the cabinet table. Many photos from that time show them having a good laugh in each other’s company.

There were signs that a Gallic bromance was beginning to blossom between the two poster-boys of the UMP’s ultra-liberal wing. But appearances can be deceptive especially in the ultra-Machiavellian world of French politics.

Sarkozy and Breton as pair
Colleagues at the cabinet table (2005): Thierry Breton (Minister for the Economy), Nicolas Sarkozy (Minister for the Interior) and President Jacques Chirac

Sarkozy and Breton with Chirac
Thierry and Nikolas having a cordial collegial tête-à-tête.
Uncle Jacques looks on with a furrowed brow.
“What are those little rascals up to this time?”

Sarkozy and Breton trio
Thierry and Nikolas enjoying a good chortle together with their ministerial colleagues.
Who are they planning to shaft this time?

Sarkozy with Breton behind
Nikolas plays hard-to-get
with Thierry in hot pursuit.

A photo of the duo taken on the margins of the Armistice Day Ceremony against the backdrop of the Arc de Triomphe in 2005 contains a premonition of things to come. Maybe it was just the November weather, but Nicolas has a distinctly frosty countenance and his attitude towards his cabinet colleague seems to be on the chilly side.

Sarkozy, Breton in Paris
Thierry and Nicolas at the Armistice Day Ceremony in Paris (11 November 2005).
Early signs of a chill in the relationship?

Sarkozy’s presidential ambitions had become clear from around 2004 onwards. This led to increasing tensions between the ambitious acolyte and his former mentor, Chirac, the elder statesman of the UMP party. Breton opted to maintain his personal loyalty to Chirac and this seems to have led to a growing alienation from Sarkozy despite their ideological closeness.

“Breton opted to maintain his personal loyalty to Chirac and this seems to have led to a growing alienation from Sarkozy despite their ideological closeness.”However, Breton did not permit the cracks in the personal relationship to become visible to the public eye. In January 2007 when the UMP elected Sarkozy as the party’s candidate for the presidential election later that year, he rose to the occasion and delivered an endorsement speech during the official investiture held in Paris.

UMP Breton
Breton giving an endorsement speech for UMP presidential candidate Sarkozy during the official investiture in Paris (January 2007)

He accompanied Sarkozy on the election campaign trail and appeared as a supportive colleague in the usual photo-ops, for example, at an educational center in the town of Joue-les-Tours in April 2007.

UMP, Sarkozy and Breton
UMP presidential candidate Sarkozy accompanied by Breton during a visit to an educational centre in Joue-les-Tours (April 2007)

Sarkozy’s provocative public utterances as Minister for the Interior, such as his description of urban rioters as “scum”, “riff-raff” and “hoodlums”, led to him being dubbed the “candidate for brutality” by his critics who warned that his election as President would polarise French society. But his tough language and hardline poses made a positive impression among certain sections of the electorate and he soon gained the pole position.

Throughout the later campaign period he remained consistently ahead of his main rival, the Socialist Party candidate Ségolène Royal, and it came as no surprise when he emerged as the winner in the final round of the electoral contest in May 2007.

“Breton’s close personal loyalty to Chirac made him “unreliable” in Sarkozy’s eyes.”Chirac recommended to Sarkozy that he keep Breton in his post as Minister for the Economy. But the President-elect was very much his own man and he decided not to follow the advice of his erstwhile mentor.

Breton’s close personal loyalty to Chirac made him “unreliable” in Sarkozy’s eyes. Another factor which counted against him was the perception that his political credibility was on the line because of the EADS insider trading scandal.

Noël Forgerard’s “golden parachute” had become a prominent topic of public discussion during the 2007 presidential election campaign and Breton’s involvement in this saga raised a number of awkward questions for the UMP.

Whatever Sarkozy’s motives may have been, he decided to dispense with the services of his former colleague and so Breton’s ministerial career came to an abrupt end in the summer of 2007.

“Whatever Sarkozy’s motives may have been, he decided to dispense with the services of his former colleague and so Breton’s ministerial career came to an abrupt end in the summer of 2007.”But even after his official departure from the political parquet, Breton continued to play a significant behind-the-scenes role, for example by advising François Baroin when the latter was Minister of the Budget in 2010-2011.

They say that revenge is a dish best eaten cold and this is a view that Thierry seems to subscribe to. He waited almost a decade before settling accounts with Nicolas for having snubbed him in 2007.

In 2016 when Sarkozy published a book reviewing his term of office as President between 2007 and 2012, Breton went public with an excoriating indictment of Sarkozy’s lack of economic rigour and his incompetent management of the financial crisis which occurred on his watch.

“In the next part we will look at Breton’s close connections with another prominent French political figure, the “killer-shark” Christine Lagarde, former head of the IMF and now Director of the European Central Bank.”In particular, Breton criticised the explosion in the French national debt during Sarkozy’s term of office:

“We had a crisis management between 2007 and 2012 that was one of the worst of all European countries. France’s debt has been increased by €600 billion. We fell way behind Germany.”

In the next part we will look at Breton’s close connections with another prominent French political figure, the “killer-shark” Christine Lagarde, former head of the IMF and now Director of the European Central Bank.

Four More Freedoms? Free Software Force Ponders Those and More

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 9:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

By figosdev


Summary: “I would be willing to contribute to a project that creates a second tier, or “Four More Freedoms” but I have to ask: what freedoms do we need that we don’t have?”

Today’s article is NOT from the Free Software Force, but it is partly about them. Created in September to defend Richard Stallman and advocate Stallman-inspired software freedom, The Free Software Force has an active and growing mailing list. Topics include debate over articles written by Jagadees, Free software education and strategically “bloated” software. (Strategic to those who want to control our projects.)

“…I have spent years trying to think of a way to address modern threats to Free software without amendments to the FSD that would nullify existing freedoms.”Today the topic of the Free Software Definition came up. I think the FSD is extremely important, as much a cornerstone of the Free software movement as its author, Richard Stallman. The FSD is something we want to continue, even when Stallman retires, and I don’t think editing it should be considered lightly.

In fact, I have spent years trying to think of a way to address modern threats to Free software without amendments to the FSD that would nullify existing freedoms. So let’s have a look at the list we are talking about here:

  • The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help others (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

From What is free software?

The freedom to run the program for any purpose; the freedom to study and change the program; the freedom to distribute modified and unmodified copies — these are very broad freedoms. Almost anything we could add to these, might also take away from them.

For this reason, I propose two key ideas — one, that we only consider amending this list with the greatest possible care. Free Software organisations may come and go. The Free Software Definition is our cultural touchstone; it is a guide to both our licences and our organisations. Editing the FSD is not just like editing a license; it is like editing the very reality of the Free software movement. This is as vital to our cause as a constitution is to a nation.

“People often assume that the four freedoms were originally numbered 0 to 3. They originally started with 1, but the freedom to run the program for any purpose was considered so fundamental, that it was added as “Freedom 0″ to underscore its importance.”Second, I have thought about this for years now, and I don’t know if it’s possible to add to this list without taking something away unintentionally. And I propose we create a second(-tier) list, instead of amending the first one.

People often assume that the four freedoms were originally numbered 0 to 3. They originally started with 1, but the freedom to run the program for any purpose was considered so fundamental, that it was added as “Freedom 0″ to underscore its importance. So it is possible to add Freedoms — very carefully.

I’ve long considered a second tier as a way to protect the user, without putting undue limits on the same user. In software freedom, there is no necessary dichotomy between user and developer. All developers are users, while all users have the potential to become developers.

The reality of course, is that most users are not also developers. But by protecting the rights of users, we protect the rights of all developers — we simply don’t create any “special rights” or privileges for those developers — we demand that every user have the same rights whether they are developers or not.

“We want every person who obtains that source code to have all 4 freedoms along with that code. If we enable more users to make useful changes to it, so much the better.”Whether everyone has the opportunity to be a developer is sometimes contested. I’m in favour of creating more opportunities for everyone to not only learn more about software development, but to make it easier for people with a range of skills to collaborate on improving software.

I consider this a positive, even though it is an aside. A great deal of software that we can all benefit from is in fact developed by very few volunteers. One person can create a useful software project without a community sometimes. We want every person who obtains that source code to have all 4 freedoms along with that code. If we enable more users to make useful changes to it, so much the better.

“Having written a substantial amount of the Librethreat database, I feel qualified to make an effort to summarise its most important points.”To figure out what “new freedoms” we want in our second tier, we might consider the modern threats to Free software. I’ve spent a lot of time doing just that.

Having written a substantial amount of the Librethreat database, I feel qualified to make an effort to summarise its most important points. Doing so is a useful if we want to address as many threats as possible in amendments to the Free Software Definition. We can start by grouping together threats with significant overlap.

Tivoisation, Appliance-like Distributions and the Cloud are all ways in which Free software can be abused in freedom-limiting technical applications:

Tivoisation “Exploits DMCA law and vulnerabilities in GPL2 so owners cant change software in their devices”

“This is sometimes called “OSPS” or “Open Source Proprietary Software” which I admit is both catchy and amusing, though personally I hate giving any more credence to the term “Open Source” even as a joke.”Cloud “Violates privacy, freedom… control”

Appliance-like Distributions use Free software to “simulate or act as a non-free platform”

The mitigations for these threats are better licensing (GPL3 over 2) Scepticism of and avoiding “Cloud”-based computing, unless it is “Cloud” that you control yourself, and avoiding platforms that are more locked down than traditional GNU/Linux, including Android.

The next group of threats that go together involve software being co-opted and changed so as to limit the freedom of all or most users:

Punix/Redix are the creeping takeover/disruption of POSIX, projects and organisations. This is sometimes called “OSPS” or “Open Source Proprietary Software” which I admit is both catchy and amusing, though personally I hate giving any more credence to the term “Open Source” even as a joke.

“There is nothing wrong with coming up with ways to enable people to chase fads, provided that the stability and freedom GNU/Linux is known for is a priority.”Gratuitous interdependency attacks modularity, user control, Free software development / packaging / vital software many people rely on.

Framework attack replaces mature and stable frameworks with less stable ones, and can disrupt a project from the inside. For example, if your distro switches from GTK2 to GTK3, guess what just happened to loads of existing packages? Possibly nothing — but that depends on how the distro is maintained.

Framework / dependency hijacking is similar to a framework attack, except this is when upstream decides to ax things that loads of downstream developers rely on (CPython is an example of this, and PyPy is one example of mitigation.)

“As much as Debian is a “Universal” operating system, its quality control policies (welcome in many contexts) tend to be brutally unhelpful to anybody working to maintain compatibility amidst great changes in the distro.”Mitigation for these threats includes PONIX, which is an ideal, perfect distro that makes everyone happy — yes, that one is tongue in cheek, but also a sort of Holy Grail to aim for in design… It includes forking / replacing / documenting examples of Punix in software, assisting anti-Redix distros like Hyperbola and Guix, and avoiding software that is based on Gratuitous interdependency and dragging users through too many unmitigated software fads.

Leaning significantly more towards compatibility on the compatibility/fad scale tends to make the people who complain about these things happier. There is nothing wrong with coming up with ways to enable people to chase fads, provided that the stability and freedom GNU/Linux is known for is a priority.

As much as Debian is a “Universal” operating system, its quality control policies (welcome in many contexts) tend to be brutally unhelpful to anybody working to maintain compatibility amidst great changes in the distro. Creating smarter compatibility policies with their own rules and maintenance, to keep Debian development running smoothly without treading on the toes of projects like Mate, PyPy, Calibre, Devuan and Pale Moon could have prevented half a decade of strife, if they knew how.

“Both the Code of Conduct, as well as Bigotry, can stifle, intimidate and silence contributors.”Instead, when Debian makes a major change, anybody working to maintain compatibility is treated more like a troll than a valuable contributor.

Both the Code of Conduct, as well as Bigotry, can stifle, intimidate and silence contributors. In the past, the Code of Conduct was put forth as a solution and not a problem, though we are seeing it now used as a weapon against participation rather than a solution to encourage it. Some of us knew it could be abused that way before it was use to push Stallman out of his own organisation.

Mitigation of Codes of Conduct, or the Malleus Hackerum (Nerds Hammer) as well as mitigation of Bigotry includes adopting a more reasonable version, avoiding altogether, addressing same problems that CoC aims to, but with more allowance for free speech and diversity of opinion, and working together to help prevent and counteract discrimination.

“Mitigation of Codes of Conduct, or the Malleus Hackerum (Nerds Hammer) as well as mitigation of Bigotry includes adopting a more reasonable version, avoiding altogether, addressing same problems that CoC aims to, but with more allowance for free speech and diversity of opinion, and working together to help prevent and counteract discrimination.”An increasing number of people believe that rather than leaping to exclude people in the name of “inclusion,” as has happened lately in mob form rather than with constructive resolution as a primary goal — we can do far better to resolve issues that were hijacked to kick important people out of Free software. A Free software federation is one effort to make the movement more resilient against such attacks.

“Co-opting charities” is a problem that is likely too broad and political to solve with the Free Software Definition, indeed these may all be. That doesn’t mean we should give up on solving them, rather we should consider what the best solution for these problems would look like.

“Apathy” is indeed a threat of sorts, but also an effect of other threats as much as it is a cause. When people are frustrated, co-opted, infiltrated, taken over, and cut off from reliable solutions, apathy is what things look like after long-term frustrations have given way to cynicism and long-suffering. Perhaps the best way to deal with apathy is to actually work to fix the other problems that are endemic.

“While the FSF remains the original (and very arguably, the most important) authority on Free software, they are not doing much to address or counter many of these threats.”For a long time, Free software has run up against new threats. Many Free software supporters have looked to the FSF for guidance. While the FSF remains the original (and very arguably, the most important) authority on Free software, they are not doing much to address or counter many of these threats.

In fact, it is a common theme in non-profit organisations that they will spend years focused on the same solutions, even as new problems arise. The FSF has indeed expanded its mission and addressed some new threats. But complaints of being dismissive have gone on for years, and instead of Stallman stepping down and someone rolling up their sleeves and getting to work ushering in a new era of fighting for freedom, Zoe Kooyman is writing classic, recycled corporate boilerplate on Join Us for blah blah blah blah…

Sorry Zoe, this isn’t your fault. If you had a far better idea, I bet the FSF would have asked you to go with the boilerplate anyway. I’m only using your name because it’s there at the top of it.

“A lot of us would be just as happy to ignore the FSF and take “orders” directly from Stallman.”The FSF doesn’t have many new ideas, new plans, or have much to say about what has happened in September. It would not be outlandish to assume that we will never hear anything satisfactory to resolve what happened, and I would be alright with that if someone stepped up to renew and reinvigorate the battle that Stallman has led for so long.

But nobody believes that will happen. Nobody I know is excited about the state of the FSF — everyone that has an ounce of hope is clinging to A. an alternative or B. something to tide us over until the FSF stops tiptoeing around. A lot of us would be just as happy to ignore the FSF and take “orders” directly from Stallman.

But you know, no matter how this sounds, there is a lot of love for both Stallman as well as the FSF, and nothing would make us happier to find both back on track. It’s just, all we are being asked for is “Money” and “Support.” Not ideas. Not solutions. And “Support” ought to include Stallman, but the FSF is still censoring the mailing lists — so, whatever.

“Not ideas. Not solutions. And “Support” ought to include Stallman, but the FSF is still censoring the mailing lists — so, whatever.”When the REAL Free Software Foundation starts acting like the real Free Software Foundation again, nobody will be happier than we are. And when Richard Stallman goes back to making a Gnuisance of himself, whether as the head of GNU or whatever he does this year, many of us will be very glad he hasn’t quit.

In the meantime, we still have these threats to deal with. We have software and devices that prevent changes, violate privacy, reduce control by the user, and kind of simulate non-free platforms with Free software.

We have platforms that are increasingly locked-down, development that is increasingly disrupted, stifled and co-opted, not to mention that the less free we get, the more corporate we seem to be… As I routinely tell people, I’m not an anti-capitalist and I certainly don’t have a problem with people making money.

“In the meantime, we still have these threats to deal with. We have software and devices that prevent changes, violate privacy, reduce control by the user, and kind of simulate non-free platforms with Free software.”I have a problem with monopolies. I have a problem with corporate dishonesty and corporate bullies. I have a problem with Free software being increasingly taken over by large companies that don’t care about us and even try to stop us from having our own solutions. First they lend a hand, then they take what’s ours with both hands. Then they say they’re the ones who really made it anyway.

Well, that’s theft. Maybe we should have told them “just get out and stay out,” but “Open Source” kept saying that’s not really Open.

Well honestly, who cares about that? Open isn’t really Free.

What we need are ways to say that you should be free to fork, even while a company tries to glue all your free projects together into a giant corporate-designed mess.

“Open isn’t really Free.”We need ways to make people free to participate, even when people think the best way to be inclusive is to let mobs kick out people that are loved by the community.

We need ways to get the FSF’s attention, even though they speak to us more and more in Public Relationspeak and empty Marketing nonsense.

We need to find a way to make Gnuisances of more of ourselves, and still find a way to work together amidst all this turmoil.

I would be willing to contribute to a project that creates a second tier, or “Four More Freedoms” but I have to ask: what freedoms do we need that we don’t have?

We are trying to protect the first four, but that’s the problem. There are so many attacks on those from so many angles.

“I would be willing to contribute to a project that creates a second tier, or “Four More Freedoms” but I have to ask: what freedoms do we need that we don’t have?”I agree strongly with the Free Software Force that we need to reassess many things. But I sort of think the Free Software Definition is just the tip of the iceberg, and I think we need to be very careful and very thoughtful what we do with that one.

Hopefully this article will inspire several people (just a small handful would do) to think seriously about what key changes will put Free software back on track.

I’ll be honest — YOU are more likely to do that than the FSF, for now at least. I’m not saying they’re useless, I think they’re vital. But don’t put too much stock in the “new” FSF based on the promises they make — they haven’t really even kept the ones we know them for.

“Hopefully this article will inspire several people (just a small handful would do) to think seriously about what key changes will put Free software back on track.”Rather, recognise the value of the FSF based on their history, potential and most importantly — their actions. When the FSF does something right, applaud it. When they screw up, don’t look surprised. Their “Board” of Directors is looking more and more like a Stick. They haven’t even got a President.


But let’s hope they have some VERY good ideas. Not that I expect them to listen to any of ours. Seriously — why would they? Do we look like Platinum Sponsors to you?

Long Live Stallman, and Happy Hacking.

You can visit the Free Software Force website at https://fsforce.noblogs.org

Licence: Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

Purism Librem 5 Orders Take Too Long (No Delivery) as Biggest Fans Grow Impatient

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware at 11:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A freedom-respecting failure is still a failure

Anybody home? Where's my phone?
Anybody home? Where’s my phone? Where’s my money?

Summary: Purism fulfillment is a sad story; it is an untold tale in much of the media and in order for things to change something’s gotta give

THE saga is not new to us. We covered that very recently. Delivery of units isn’t happening — an issue I noticed even nearly half a decade ago. There are also many returns — a subject not so often explored by anyone in the media.

I’ve been a supporter of Purism, Librem, Librem 5 and everything else with these propositions. I probably mentioned these close to a thousand times in social control media over the years. At some stage, however, one must stop and ask, “can it become more of a disservice than a service?”

“I’ve been a supporter of Purism, Librem, Librem 5 and everything else with these propositions. I probably mentioned these close to a thousand times in social control media over the years.”What if I endorse or recommend (or sort of ‘promote’) something that leads people to disappointment? Should I persist or should I politely warn instead?

What Purism has been promoting is great. It’s a breakthrough. But can these people deliver? I still hope so. But things that I hear and read — both privately and online — aren’t too positive anymore. Someone should probably say something and we’ve always loathed self-censorship.

Some sources tell us stories about their undelivered (but still perpetually promised) Librem 5 units. We hear this from multiple sources and have asked for permission to quote (maybe permission will be granted later this week). Purism has some really tough questions to answer as some of the media is catching up. In one example even receiving a refund seems like an impossibility. Maybe it’s the exception, but it doesn’t quite seem so.

The above example isn’t a unique or isolated case. Days ago an article entitled The Librem 5 has been “shipping” for a month—but not to backers was published and it said:

Purism announced that shipping of its Librem 5 open source smartphone began in late September. Two months later, nobody outside the company has a Librem 5, and people are getting restless.

The Librem 5 is a crowdfunded project—and an ambitious one—so it wasn’t much surprise or cause for concern when it missed its original January 2019 delivery target—or the April 2019 target set after January slipped. Both date changes were announced well ahead of time, and the company continued to post progress reports, commit code upstream, and assure backers of its commitment to transparency. (Full disclosure: I am a Librem 5 backer myself and am scheduled to receive a phone in the Evergreen batch.)

The new delays are more troubling. On September 5, CEO Todd Weaver announced that the Librem 5 would ship in six iterative batches, codenamed Aspen, Birch, Chestnut, Dogwood, Evergreen, and Fir. The first three batches would effectively be usable prototypes of decreasing roughness; Evergreen would be the first entirely finished hardware production run, and Fir would be a relatively unspecified next-generation design.

Although Aspen, Birch, and Chestnut were to be somewhat rough, their descriptions did specify working hardware and functional software, with Aspen to begin shipping only three weeks from the announcement. A reasonable viewer would take this as a strong implication that the phone was ready to ship. This was unfortunately not the case; the Aspen batch turned out to have significant power and heat issues.

Our article on the topic has received considerable attention and even scorn from those involved. Not because it was wrong though; it’s just that people feel very passionate about the product, as were we. How many times have we mentioned Librem or Purism here? Probably more than a thousand times. But did we give publicity to something that might lead to disappointment? We hope not.

If we receive permission/go-ahead, then some time soon we’ll present some customer testimonies (and “customer” might not be the right term to describe someone who did not even receive the paid-for product).

Everyday We’re Shuffling

Posted in Site News at 10:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When proprietary software giants call themselves 'open source' you know that the way you tackle their campaign of lies has got to adapt

Summary: To better cope with emergent threats and trends we’re modifying the structure of Daily Links, interrupting a pattern that is over a decade old

Shuffling of the categories in Daily Links isn’t just inevitable. It’s very much necessary. And why? Because the market and the society change over time. Brands change, threats change, and even topics of priority come and go. Over the past week or two many of the search results (for news) about “Linux” were negative articles portraying GNU/Linux as a major security threat. That’s owing to a bunch of trolls and liars, notably those in the CBS tabloids and provocation sites. When it comes to search results (for news) about “open source” it’s mostly openwashing, i.e. proprietary software and proprietary services disguised as “open” for marketing purposes. We’re therefore restructuring or refactoring Daily Links. Category-wise, we considered headings such as:

  • Security
  • Proprietary
  • FUD/Fear-Mongering/Dramatisation
  • Linux Foundation
  • Pseudo-Open Source
  • Openwashing
  • Confidentiality
  • Privacy/Surveillance
  • Integrity/Availability

Many of the above are connected in various ways (one way or another), so we’ve been discussing (details in the IRC channels/logs) how to better organise news to catalogue and occasionally tackle falsehoods.

One hierarchal proposition was as follows:

		Pseudo-Open Source
				Linux Foundation
			Entrapment (Microsoft/GitHub)

	GNU Projects

	Open Hardware/Modding


This is still work in progress and it will likely change/evolve over time.

Links 25/11/2019: GNU Linux-libre 5.4, CDU Wants to Make Free Software Mandatory

Posted in News Roundup at 9:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Moby or not Moby. That is the question: Docker devs debate fate of unloved rebranding

        In 2017, DevOps darling Docker decided to start calling the Docker open-source project by a new name, Moby – a decision the containerization upstart knew would be confusing and in fact baffled many developers at the time.

        The rebranding effort, initiated as a GitHub pull request by company co-founder and then-CTO Solomon Hykes, has now been answered with a GitHub issues post to undo the name change, as if it were a vulnerability.

        For developer Asim Aslam, who proposed the name reversion earlier this week, the switch to Moby harmed the project and its developer community and represents a liability.

        “Moby was a confusing rename that largely did not contribute any value to the ecosystem and I’d argue actually hurt Docker adoption since it moved this project to something that was supposed to be a neutral home but perhaps on reflection was not as effective as assumed,” he said in his post.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Kernel 5.4 Released, This is What’s New

        Linux Founder Linus Torvalds announced the Linux 5.4 release on the Linux Kernel Mailing List (lkml) saying: “Not a lot happened this last week, which is just how I like it.”

        With 5.4 out the merge window for Linux 5.5 is now open. But Linus cautions that the American tradition of Thanksgiving may get in the way.

        But what are the changes in this latest kernel update? Read on for a summary of key Linux 5.4 features and changes.

      • GNU Linux-libre 5.4-gnu Released As The New Deblobbed Kernel

        Just hours after Linus Torvalds released Linux 5.4, the GNU folks maintaining “GNU Linux-libre” released their v5.4 kernel that continues “deblobbing” the kernel for ensuring no proprietary firmware/microcode can be loaded by the drivers nor support for loading closed-source kernel modules.

        Besides the deblobbing activities, there isn’t any other kernel changes but just striving for a 100% free software Linux kernel downstream. Linux 5.4 itself does bring a long list of new features.

      • GNU Linux-libre 5.4-gnu (Fi For GNU)
        GNU Linux-libre 5.4-gnu sources and tarballs are now available at
        It didn't require any deblobbing changes since -rc7-gnu, the first
        published rc-gnu.  Binaries are on the way.
        The bulk of the changes in deblob-check this cycle have to do with an
        attempted broadening of the potential firmware name patterns, that led
        to the addition of matchers for many false positives.  I couldn't
        complete it in this cycle, but I left the new false positives in place,
        and a WIP comment next to the potential firmware name pattern indicating
        what I was getting at.  Contributions are welcome ;-)
        There was only one new driver that required deblobbing, or rather
        disabling of blob loading: an ethernet driver for Intel Ethernet
        Connection E800 Series.  Various other drivers needed adjustments to
        account mostly for updated blob names, but also occasional code
        movement: safexcel, amdgpu, i915, i2400m, i1480u, nitrox, r8169,
        touchscreen_dmi, and skylake sound.  The last remnants of the netx
        driver were removed, and so the corresponding deblobbing could be
        dropped as well.
        I noticed that cleaned-up scripts were losing the executable bit, and
        arranged for it to be retained.
        The one decision I wasn't so sure about in this cycle was in a new
        driver in drivers/net/wireless/ath/ath9k, namely ath9k_pci_owl_loader.c,
        activated by ATH9K_PCI_NO_EEPROM.  IIUC, it's initialization data, such
        as the MAC address, for ath9k cards that have had the EEPROM chip
        holding it removed.  If there's any actual code there, since it's ath9k,
        I assumed it would be Free Software, though I couldn't quite find any
        evidence that there's any code whatsoever in there.  Even if there is,
        the firmware image, with MAC address and all, is specific to an
        individual card, presumably extracted from it or custom-designed for it,
        so I conclude there's no harm done in enabling it to be loaded.
        Please let me know if you find that I've based my reasoning on incorrect
        For up-to-the-minute news, join us on #linux-libre of irc.gnu.org
        (Freenode), or follow me (@lxoliva) on Twister <http://twister.net.co/>,
        Secure Scuttlebutt, GNU social at social.libreplanet.org, Diaspora* at
        pod.libreplanetbr.org or pump.io at identi.ca.  Check my web page (link
        in the signature) for direct links.
        Be Free! with GNU Linux-libre.
        What is GNU Linux-libre?
          GNU Linux-libre is a Free version of the kernel Linux (see below),
          suitable for use with the GNU Operating System in 100% Free
          GNU/Linux-libre System Distributions.
          It removes non-Free components from Linux, that are disguised as
          source code or distributed in separate files.  It also disables
          run-time requests for non-Free components, shipped separately or as
          part of Linux, and documentation pointing to them, so as to avoid
          (Free-)baiting users into the trap of non-Free Software.
          Linux-libre started within the gNewSense GNU/Linux distribution.
          It was later adopted by Jeff Moe, who coined its name, and in 2008
          it became a project maintained by FSF Latin America.  In 2012, it
          became part of the GNU Project.
          The GNU Linux-libre project takes a minimal-changes approach to
          cleaning up Linux, making no effort to substitute components that
          need to be removed with functionally equivalent Free ones.
          Nevertheless, we encourage and support efforts towards doing so.
          Our mascot is Freedo, a light-blue penguin that has just come out
          of the shower.  Although we like penguins, GNU is a much greater
          contribution to the entire system, so its mascot deserves more
          promotion.  See our web page for their images.
        What is Linux?
          Linux is a clone of the Unix kernel [...]
        (snipped from Documentation/admin-guide/README.rst)
        Alexandre Oliva, freedom fighter   he/him   https://FSFLA.org/blogs/lxo
        Free Software Evangelist           Stallman was right, but he's left :(
        GNU Toolchain Engineer    FSMatrix: It was he who freed the first of us
        FSF & FSFLA board member                The Savior shall return (true);
      • GNU Linux-Libre 5.4 Kernel Released for Those Seeking 100% Freedom for Their PCs

        The GNU Linux-libre community announced today the release and general availability of the GNU Linux-libre 5.4 kernel for those seeking 100% freedom for their personal computers.
        Based on the recently released Linux 5.4 kernel series, the GNU Linux-libre 5.4 kernel is here to remove any proprietary drivers and code that’s present in the upstream kernel, those providing a 100% libre, free Linux 5.4 kernel for those who don’t want to run any proprietary software on their PCs.

        Fortunately, for the GNU Linux-libre 5.4 kernel, only one new driver required deblobbing, namely an Ethernet driver for the Intel Ethernet Connection E800 Series networking cards, but several other drivers required updated blob names and there’s also some cleaning as well for the amdgpu, i915, i1480u, i2400m, nitrox, r8169, safexcel, and touchscreen_dmi drivers.

        “The one decision I wasn’t so sure about in this cycle was in a new driver in drivers/net/wireless/ath/ath9k, namely ath9k_pci_owl_loader.c, activated by ATH9K_PCI_NO_EEPROM,” said developer Alexandre Oliva. “If there’s any actual code there, since it’s ath9k, I assumed it would be Free Software, [...] so I conclude there’s no harm done in enabling it to be loaded.”

      • Purism’s contributions to Linux 5.4

        Following up on our report for our contributions to Linux 5.3, here’s a list of Purism’s contributions to the Linux kernel for the 5.4 cycle. We contributed 20 patches including improving the devkit’s IMU and panel drivers, made more preparation for a mailine display stack and the submitted the first fixes for bugs that cropped up during the Librem 5 Aspen board bringup:

      • Linux 5.5 To Perform Late CPU Microcode Updates In Parallel

        Months ago we reported on vendors and cloud providers being interested in restoring parallel CPU microcode updates on Linux for helping large core count servers. With Linux 5.5 that change is coming.

        Oracle and other cloud providers have been wanting late CPU microcode updates to be applied in parallel in order to reduce the downtime of systems on servers with many cores. The parallel microcode updating had been dropped in Linux following the Spectre vulnerabilities with a shift to sequential CPU microcode updating. With this revised implementation, updating microcode on multiple CPU cores is done concurrently so as long as only the first thread of each CPU core is updated while any sibling thread waits for the update to complete.

    • Applications

      • App Highlight: Penguin Subtitle Player for Adding Subtitles to Online Videos

        Penguin is a free and open source subtitle player. It is available for Linux, macOS and Windows.

        If you are using Ubuntu-based distribution, you can use this PPA to easily install Penguin subtitle player.

        There are a few things to keep in mind while using Penguin subtitle player.

        Not all video files and subtitle files are made for each other. Subtitle synchronization is a common problem so you’ll have to make sure that the subtitle you downloaded is best suited for the video you want to play.

        Most video players, even the one embedded on the websites, allow to pause and play the video with the space key. Unfortunately, there is no keyboard shortcut to pause the Penguin subtitle player. In other words, you cannot pause the video and the subtitle player in one keystroke.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Check out some fresh gameplay from the upcoming Transport Fever 2

        Ahead of the release next month, Urban Games have now put out an actual gameplay trailer for Transport Fever 2. Releasing on December 11, Transport Fever 2 is looking like it takes all the good bits from the first game and added a whole lot more.

        It will have over 200 vehicles to manage including trains, buses, streetcars, trucks, aircraft and ships from 1850 to the present day. There’s also three different campaigns with “20 hours” play time, a free play mode to do whatever you want and a map editor with modding and Steam Workshop support.

      • Beautiful looking point & click adventure LUNA The Shadow Dust coming February 2020 to Linux

        Ready for another great point and click adventure game? LUNA The Shadow Dust looks awesome, it has an amazing soundtrack and it’s going to release for Linux in February 2020.

        From the all-Chinese developer Lantern Studio, they’re getting a helping hand from Application Systems to bring it to Western audiences and it sounds like development has been going well. A bit of a delay though, as publishing games in China has become increasingly difficult and the queue to get an official license is long. Their Chinese publisher, Coconut Island, started the procedure a year ago but they finally have what they need.

      • Should You Use Your Own Gaming Server? The Pros And Cons

        If you’re a gamer, you’re probably unsatisfied with the performance of many PC games. Although you might be a fan of them, you could do without a few things. Thankfully, you can achieve this if you decide to use a gaming server. Below, we’ll be discussing how beneficial it can be, along with its disadvantages. If you’re interested, be sure to keep reading.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Sourcetrail

        This week’s open-source project of the week is Sourcetrail, a cross-platform source explorer that helps users get productive on unfamiliar source code.

        It uses static analysis on C, C++, Java and Python source code and lets users navigate the collected information within a user interface that interactively combines graph visualization and code display.

        With the drop of its commercial license, the developers behind Sourcetrail said that they will continue their quarterly release cycle and will provide customer support as long as the user’s “Sourcetrail – Commercial User License” qualifies for it.

      • Open Source Software: A Model For Transparent Organizational Communication

        Open source software — that is, software that is licensed with its source code so anyone can freely modify, share and distribute their enhancements — is nearly as old as the computer industry itself. In 1953, Remington Rand’s UNIVAC division released its A-2 system with source code and invited its customers to send back improvements. That practice of sharing code to make software better has not only survived through to the present day, but it thrives on the modern internet, where a significant portion of the internet’s own infrastructure is built on open source software.

        There’s no shortage of proprietary software in the marketplace, but open source software continues to flourish. The collaborative spirit of open source — the idea that everyone can and should be able to contribute to making a good thing better — is what allows it to endure. WordPress, for example, is one of the biggest success stories in open source, and today powers a whopping 34% of internet websites.

      • Open source software: Redefining the future of mobile connectivity

        Mobile connectivity is at the heart of the digital economy. Its evolution has touched virtually every industry and technologies that lie over the horizon will be driven by it. Consumers have an insatiable appetite for data. They want blazing-fast data in remote areas and a host of functionality. Only more evolved mobile connectivity can meet their demands.

      • Open source, XAG move into common governance and co-create development

        Recently, Xrpgen.com announced that XAG code has been open source. It is reported that XAG project was launched on July 18, 2019. It is a public chain group developed based on the underlying technology of XRP blockchain network, with multiple sub chains. XRP currently ranks the third in the global mainstream digital asset circulation market value. Its network system is mainly used to provide financial institutions with safe and fast cross-border payment tools, so that the asset value can be transmitted and exchanged on the Internet as information.

      • QOwnNotes is an open source note taking tool for Windows, Linux and macOS that supports Markdown

        Ever wanted a note taking tool that supports Markdown? QOwnNotes may be worth a look (or two) if that is the case.

        QOwnNotes is a cross-platform open source note taking program for Windows, Linux and Mac Os X that saves notes locally and optionally in the cloud using ownCloud or NextCloud.

      • To stretch donations, Red Cross adopts open-source and cloud-native technologies

        An organization based on donations will face austerity at times. Wisely allocating volunteers demands a constant reshuffling of the deck of priorities. That takes rapid communication that isn’t always easy within large, monolithic structures — organizational or technological.

        The American Red Cross knows that all too well. It has found that less monolithic open-source models are the answer in both cases. “We try to be good stewards of donor dollars,” said Matthew Cascio (pictured), executive director of enterprise web systems marketing technology at the Red Cross.

      • Roadshow, Netflix seek to block open source Popcorn Time app

        Village Roadshow is spearheading a new effort to obtain Federal Court orders directing major Australian ISPs to block their customers from accessing eighty-seven online services accused of facilitating piracy.
        The effort is backed by Netflix Studios, the production arm of the streaming leviathan, as well as a group of US movie studios, Hong Kong’s Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB), and Australian distributor Madman Anime Group.

        In addition to sites that offer illicit streaming, BitTorrent or direct downloads, and links to sites that provide search or index services for pirate material, the application, which seeks orders under Section 115a of the Copyright Act, also targets services offering unauthorised subtitle downloads and the home page of the Popcorn Time software.

      • The open source project that maps and archives the revolution
      • Nomura, NRI blockchain securities firm BOOSTRY to open source software

        On Thursday, Japan-based BOOSTRY launched the website of its open-source initiative, ibet. Through ibet, the blockchain bonds firm plans to release its token templates, smart contracts, and trading code to the public.

      • Huawei to Open-Source Data Virtualisation Engine

        Huawei has launched a new data platform that aims to handle the explosion of data from video and IoT devices, while removing the technical complexity of data infrastructure. The Chinese firm also teased an open source data virtualisation engine, OpenHetu, that’s due to be released in 2020.

        Data virtualisation is an approach to data management that lets an application retrieve and manipulate data, while abstracting away the technical details of how that data is stored. OpenHetu will come with an open-source kernel, Huawei said, meaning developers can add “data source extensions and SQL execution policies, to allow fast interoperability and development.”

      • How Open Source technologies benefit IIoT design

        For many, open source software has a certain “Wild West” image associated with it. In contrast to proprietary software, which can be viewed as stodgy, expensive, and confining, open source software seems to let you do whatever you want at little or no cost, providing the ultimate in technological freedom. Both of these viewpoints are gross oversimplifications. Nevertheless, the idea of open source as an unconventional solution persists.

        The reality, on the other hand, is that open source is all around us and is currently used in many popular and well-known software applications that are either fully open source or built on open source components.

      • Fusion to open-source new release of cross-chain exchange/custody tech

        The Fusion Foundation, the overseers of the Fusion blockchain, announced that the latest version of its DCRM (Distributed Control Rights Management System) will be released next week as an open-source implementation. DCRM is a cryptographic technology that enables various digital assets to be mapped on and off the Fusion blockchain seamlessly and securely. DCRM is a complete interoperability and bridge solution that is decentralized, efficient and secure.

      • Goldman will make data modeling program free as open-source software
      • Fintech News: Goldman Sachs To Make Modeling Software ‘Alloy’ Open Source

        The Fintech Open Source Foundation (FINOS) announced Wednesday that it’s Platinum member investment bank Goldman Sachs would make its visual modeling software “Alloy” open source. “Alloy” is based on a modeling language known as “PURE,” which will also be open-sourced.

        The announcement was made during the Open Source Strategy Forum in New York City.

        “Open source technology is setting us on a path to greater collaboration and building mutual understanding,” co-chief data officer at Goldman Sachs Neema Raphael said. “PURE and Alloy have grown to become critical tools within our firm across the trade lifecycle that help us price; assess and evaluate risk; clear transactions; and perform regulatory reporting. We’ve only scratched the surface though — we’ll unlock tremendous value for the industry when we co-develop and share models.”

      • Eyes on the prize: Top 7 open-source network monitoring tools

        Monitoring a live network and ensuring that it stays up can be a taxing job, which is why systems administrators need network monitoring tools. These tools can give them a clear idea of how well the systems, applications, and devices on their networks are performing in real-time, and even how they perform across time. Instead of waiting for an error to occur or for the network to experience downtime, systems administrators can employ network monitoring tools to ensure that they spot issues and address them before they cascade across the entire network. By automatically assessing traffic and response times, these tools help administrators work more efficiently.

        The key reason to look for an open-source option for network monitoring is that the world is now moving toward open source. The large communities, active development, lack of vendor lock-in, and more control over costs are factors that drive organizations to look to open source tools for network monitoring. Commercially available tools offer the benefits of reliability and round-the-clock support for technical issues, and they also employ teams to constantly upgrade the tools’ security and functioning. However, they don’t offer as much flexibility and freedom as an open-source solution would. If you’re looking for cost-effective alternatives, open-source networking monitoring tools are a great option as they are not only constantly updated by developers who often provide support through online forums, but they are also easily customizable to the needs of users. They offer a degree of flexibility and adaptability that many closed-source tools lack. Here are some of the best open-source network monitoring tools you can download today.

      • Enterprises finally ready for open source

        Globally, Linux-based expenditure is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 12.9 per cent over the next five years. This is concurrent to enterprises’ needs for cost-effectiveness, flexibility, reliability, agility, and security. Surprisingly, only 37 per cent of companies globally have open source programmes to establish organisational processes, best practices, and toolsets for how open source is adopted.

      • Red Hat fosters open source careers for female students to pursue IT
      • Red Hat Presents Women in Tech Tour to Promote Open Source Careers to the Middle East’s Future Female It Talent

        Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, has successfully completed Women in Tech tour of universities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

        Driven by a four-strong team of female Red Hatters, the tour was predominately tailored towards female university students. It presented discussions focused on open source, and what skills, both technical and non-technical, are required for successful careers in the world of IT and open source. The Red Hat team also engaged with faculty members to understand procurement pathways in the region as well as how universities are driving student progression and development for the future job landscape.

      • Events

        • Cephalocon Gangnam Style

          The most eagerly awaited event in the open source software-defined storage calendar is without a doubt Cephalocon. In 2019, the Ceph community came to Barcelona, but it was recently announced that in March 2020, Cephalocon is coming to Seoul, South Korea!

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • How I made the Firefox Protection report screen reader accessible

            Firefox 70, released in October, contains a new feature called the Protection Report. It contains a graph of all the things Firefox protected you from in the last seven days. Here’s how I made that screen reader accessible.

            Originally, the data shown in the protection report was only presented visually. Well, for sighted people, that is still the case. However, if you’re a screen reader user, you get a nice tabular representation of the data, so you also get the full picture.

          • Mozilla and BMZ Announce Cooperation to Open Up Voice Technology for African Languages

            Today, Mozilla and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) have announced to join forces in the collection of open speech data in local languages, as well as the development of local innovation ecosystems for voice-enabled products and technologies. The initiative builds on the pilot project, which our Open Innovation team and the Machine Learning Group started together with the organization “Digital Umuganda” earlier this year. The Rwandan start-up collects language data in Kinyarwanda, an African language spoken by over 12 million people. Further languages in Africa and Asia are going to be added.

          • Firefox 71 Beta 12 Testday Results

            As you may already know, last Friday November 22nd – we held a new Testday event, for Firefox 71 Beta 12.

            Thank you all for helping us make Mozilla a better place: gaby2300 and Joanna Drożdż.

          • Disconnecting the Connected: How Regulatory and Tax Treatment of Over-the-Top-Services in Africa Creates Barriers for Internet Access.

            Mozilla and the African Union Commission (AUC) released a new study examining the misconceptions, challenges and real-life impact of additional taxes on Over the Top Services (OTTs) imposed by governments across the African continent. The Regulatory Treatment of OTTs in Africa study found that these taxation regimes – often imposed without public consultation and impact assessments – have increased barriers to access, pushed people offline, and limited access to information, and access to services. The study conducted the analysis based on the available evidence and a select number of case studies.

            These regressive regulatory measures are taking place as governments rush to introduce digital transformation initiatives, and instead of focusing on how to connect more people to the internet, the region is building barriers that keep them off it.

      • Linux Foundation

        • Open-source technology may spark grid modernization

          LF Energy, a project housed at the Linux Foundation, aims to use open-source technology in much the same way it was used to build the modern-day internet.

          “The value of open source is to create a shared, commodity layer of software that can accelerate innovation while dramatically shifting the economics of energy,” said Shuli Goodman, executive director of LF Energy. “This is similar to what has happened in other industries, it’s time for no more black boxes (proprietary technology). That’s over.”

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


        • FSFE welcomes CDU decision to make Free Software mandatory

          The CDU’s party convention resolution states:

          “The open and jointly developed standards of the Internet and open interfaces are the principles from which we advance the digitisation of Germany. It is only through openness that competition can be created; only through openness can new players in competition challenge the top dogs. This is why the following will apply to all (public) digitisation projects in Germany in the future: the awarding of contracts and funding will be subject to compliance with the principles of open source and open standards. Software financed by public funds should serve all citizens. In addition, free and open APIs should facilitate access for independent developments.” (Translation provided by FSFE)

          Further background information can be found on the campaign website. The video and other content found there are available for free distribution under a CC BY SA 4.0 license.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Hardware/Modding

          • And now for something completely different: An Outbound Notebook resurrected

            At 33MHz System 7.1 flies, and it has Connectix Compact Virtual (the direct ancestor of RAM Doubler), which at the cost of disabling the Silicon Disk gives me a 16MB addressing space. At some point I’ll get around to configuring it for SCSI Ethernet, another fun thing you can do over SCSI that people have forgotten about.

            Besides the case, floppy drive and trackbar, the keyboard was also in excellent condition. Let’s compare it with what I think is the best keyboard on any Apple laptop past or present, the PowerBook 1400:

          • Open Source Kitchen Helps You Watch What You Eat

            Every appliance business wants to be the one that invents the patented, license-able, and profitable standard that all the other companies have to use. Open Source Kitchen wants to beat them to it.

            Every beginning standard needs a test case, and OSK’s is a simple one. A bowl that tracks what you eat. While a simple concept, the way in which the data is shared, tracked, logged, and communicated is the real goal.

          • US-based chip-tech group moving to Switzerland over trade curb fears

            A U.S.-based foundation overseeing promising semiconductor technology developed with Pentagon support will soon move to Switzerland after several of the group’s foreign members raised concerns about potential U.S. trade curbs.

            The nonprofit RISC-V Foundation (pronounced risk-five) wants to ensure that universities, governments and companies outside the United States can help develop its open-source technology, its Chief Executive Calista Redmond said in an interview with Reuters.

      • Programming/Development

        • Updating PyOpenGL Sample Code References

          Continuing to prepare for a PyOpenGL 3.1.4 release.
          I’ve worked through getting the auto-generated reference documentation updated. We now use the upstream git repository for the docbook base files (gl, glu and glx) while still using the legacy files for glut and gle.
          I’ve had to disable the sample-source projects still using SourceForge CVS, as SourceForge doesn’t provide web-based viewing of the CVS repositories any more. If you know of projects that should be added to the set of sample-code projects, let me know.

        • PyDev of the Week: Miguel Grinberg

          This week we welcome Miguel Grinberg (@miguelgrinberg) as our PyDev of the Week! Miguel is the author of Flask Web Development and the very popular Flask Mega-Tutorial. You can find out more about Miguel by checking out his blog or his Github profile. Let’s spend some time getting to know Miguel better!


          The open source project that takes most of my time these days is my Socket.IO client and server, which is split in two repositories, python-socketio and python-engineio. Socket.IO is a standard communication protocol built on top of HTTP and WebSocket that allows clients and servers to establish long lived bi-directional connections, avoiding some of the limitations of HTTP, and also with very low latency. My project allows Python to act as a client or as a server and connect to Socket.IO applications built in other languages, or of course, you can also use Python on both ends if that’s what you like. My Socket.IO server is commonly paired with the JavaScript client running on web browsers to build highly dynamic applications that are an alternative to the more traditional option of building the server as a REST or HTTP API.

        • “Microservices require a high-level vision to shape the direction of the system in the long term,” says Jaime Buelta

          Looking back 4-5 years ago, the sentiment around microservices architecture has changed quite a bit. First, it was in the hype phase when after seeing the success stories of companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Gilt.com developers thought that microservices are the de facto of application development. Cut to now, we have realized that microservices is yet another architectural style which when applied to the right problem in the right way works amazingly well but comes with its own pros and cons.

          To get an understanding of what exactly microservices are, when we should use them, when not to use them, we sat with Jaime Buelta, the author of Hands-On Docker for Microservices with Python. Along with explaining microservices and their benefits, Buelta shared some best practices developers should keep in mind if they decide to migrate their monoliths to microservices.

        • Perl Weekly Challenge – 036

          With great pleasure, we announce Steven Wilson as the winner of “Perl Weekly Challenge – 035”. Congratulations Steven, you should soon hear from Perl Careers about your reward. For rest of the participants, I would say Good Luck for next time. Keep sending in your solutions and share your knowledge with each other.

        • Laurent Rosenfeld Weekly Review: Challenge – 034

          This is derived in part from my blog post made in answer to the Week 34 of the Perl Weekly Challenge organized by Mohammad S. Anwar as well as answers made by others to the same challenge.

        • Kian-Meng Ang Weekly Review: Challenge – 034

          Continues from previous week.

        • RECAP – Perl Weekly Challenge – 035

          Today, Monday 25th Nov, 2019, we have completed 8 months of successfull run of The Weekly Challenge. Over the period, I came across many smart hackers. I have lots of personal favourites that I always look forward to their solutions. It always brings a big smile on my face every time I look at their solutions. Sometimes, I find it difficult to grasp in first reading. But then once it settles down, the feeling is out of this world.

      • Cloudflare

        • Open Source Flan Scan Combines Nmap with Vulnerability Scanning

          Cloudflare has open sourced a “lightweight” network vulnerability scanner that it uses in-house to help identify vulnerable services running in its vast network. Early reactions suggest that it shouldn’t be the sole vulnerability management tool being used in the network.

          Actually a “thin wrapper” around Nmap, Flan Scan combines network mapping with vulnerability scanning, Cloudflare said. The company developed Flan Scan after “unsuccessful attempts” to use existing scanners, wrote Nadin El-Yabroudi, a security engineer at Cloudflare. One of the scanners Cloudflare was using was extremely expensive—”one of our highest security costs”—and it wasn’t using many of the features to justify the price tag. Another was an open source one which was difficult to deploy throughout Cloudflare’s infrastructure, which extends to more than 190 data centers.

          The clock was ticking, because the company had to finish an internal scan to meet a compliance deadline.

        • CloudFlare Releases Open Source Implementation of Network Time Security Protocol

          CloudFlare announced the first major release of their implementation of the Network Time Security (NTS) protocol. This builds on their previous release of time.cloudflare.com, their free time service that supports both Network Time Protocol (NTP) and NTS.

          CloudFlare’s free time service, time.cloudflare.com, supports both NTP and the emerging NTS protocols. However, at the time of its release there were not many NTS clients available. With the release of their new CFNTS project, CloudFlare is hoping to encourage adoption of the NTS protocol. NTPSec has also recently released support for NTS.

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • How to Win the Holiday Healthcare Debate With Your Conservative Relatives

        We all know the scenario. The one relative we never see except for holiday family gatherings is holding forth, blasting on high volume political opinions delivered straight from Fox News. Let’s say it’s Uncle Joe at Thanksgiving dinner. He turns to you and says, “Please tell me you are not supporting that socialist Medicare for All garbage that is going to bankrupt us all, and

      • Australia: Prevent Restraint in Aged Care

        Australia’s health and aged care ministers should immediately revise an aged care regulation to prohibit chemical restraint. 

      • California to Sue Over Trump Water Plan

        The Gavin Newsom Administration today announced two separate but related actions that will have a big impact on protections for Delta smelt, Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon and other endangered fish species.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Dozens of Severe Flaws Found in 4 Popular Open Source VNC Software

        Four popular open-source VNC remote desktop applications have been found vulnerable to a total of 37 security vulnerabilities, many of which went unnoticed for the last 20 years and most severe could allow remote attackers to compromise a targeted system.

        VNC (virtual network computing) is an open source graphical desktop sharing protocol based on RFB (Remote FrameBuffer) that allows users to remotely control another computer, similar to Microsoft’s RDP service.

      • Kaspersky: The art of keeping your keys under the door mat

        Kaspersky’s web protection feature will block ads and trackers, warn you about malicious search results and much more. The complication here: this functionality runs in the browser and needs to communicate with the main application. For this communication to be secure, an important question had to be answered: under which doormat does one put the keys to the kingdom?


        In December 2018 I could prove that websites can hijack the communication between Kaspersky browser scripts and their main application in all possible configurations. This allowed websites to manipulate the application in a number of ways, including disabling ad blocking and tracking protection functionality.

        Kaspersky reported these issues to be resolved as of July 2019. Yet further investigation revealed that merely the more powerful API calls have been restricted, the bulk of them still being accessible to any website. Worse yet, the new version leaked a considerable amount of data about user’s system, including a unique identifier of the Kaspersky installation. It also introduced an issue which allowed any website to trigger a crash in the application, leaving the user without antivirus protection.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Australia’s China Wars

        This year, China as Intimidating Monster has become the popular motif in Canberra circles. Australian government members Andrew Hastie and Senator James Paterson have become vigorous moral, if hollow enthusiasts. Their criticism of China has led to the revocation of visas to the country, something that has given reason to flash their plumage for the Australian electorate. How dare China do what Australia has done a countless number of times to those they do not regard as passing a character test?

      • The Many Ways Americans Are Paying for Forever War

        There is some incongruity between my role as an editor of a book about the costs of America’s wars and my identity as a military spouse. I’m deeply disturbed at the scale of human suffering caused by those conflicts and yet I’ve unintentionally contributed to the war effort through the life I’ve chosen.

      • The Crown
      • Sanctimonious US Senators Condemn Hong Kong Police Ignoring Far More Brutal US Cops

        The Senate, by a voice vote with no opposition yesterday passed a bill condemning the Hong Kong government and Hong Kong police for their brutal treatment of students in the supposedly autonomous Chinese city protesting threats to Hong Kong’s freedoms and it’s promise from China of self rule until 2047. The bill, if signed into law, would assess trade and other penalties on Hong Kong for its treatment of Hong Kong protesters.

      • As Internet Restored, Online Iran Protest Videos Show Chaos

        Machine gun fire answers rock-throwing protesters. Motorcycle-riding Revolutionary Guard volunteers chase after demonstrators. Plainclothes security forces grab, beat and drag a man off the street to an uncertain fate.

      • Repeal the Nearly Two-Decade-Old War Authorizations

        In 2001 and in 2002 Congress passed authorizations for war. While not declarations of war, these mandates, each titled an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) provided the legal framework for attacks against al-Qaeda in 2001 and in 2002 for the Iraq War. Both AUMFs are still in effect today. As Congress considers its annual authorization to fund the Pentagon our current members of Congress, both in the House and the Senate, are in positions of responsibility and ability to repeal these AUMFs.

      • What Trump Stands to Gain From His New Policy on Israeli Settlements
      • It Is Time to Stop Lecturing Palestinians and to Start Listening

        On Tuesday, the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, announced a reversal in decades of US policy towards Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank, stating that: “the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not, per se, inconsistent with international law.”

      • It’s Time. End the Draft, Once and For All

        We may be months away from ending the US military draft, once and for all. After a court ruled that the male-only draft was unconstitutional, a Congress-appointed Commission has been studying whether or not to draft women into the US military. They make their report in March, and will likely either advocate for expanding draft registration to women or abolishing the draft, once and for all.

      • Toward a Landmine-Free World

        Today the Fourth Review Conference of the international Mine Ban Treaty opens in Oslo, Norway. A total of 164 states have joined the treaty, committing to cease production, use, and transfer of antipersonnel mines, to destroy their stockpiles, clear mine-affected areas, and assist mine survivors.  

      • Nuclear Lies and Broken Promises

        When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told an economic meeting in the city of Sivas this September that Turkey was considering building nuclear weapons, he was responding to a broken promise.

      • An Open Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Bolivia From Canadian Writers and Scholars

        The democratically elected president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, the very first indigenous president of the Americas, has been forced, at gunpoint, to flee the country.  There have been on a 5-day stretch since October 20th, 23 deaths, 715 injured, total arrests of 1112 and the number of wounded are unknown (data from the Defensoría del Pueblo de La Paz). The victims are overwhelmingly indigenous people.

      • More Than 800 Scholars and Activists Sign Open Letter Demanding US End Support for Bolivia’s Right-Wing Coup Regime

        “What is happening in Bolivia is highly undemocratic and we are witnessing some of the worst human rights violations at the hands of the military and the police since the transition to civilian government in the early 1980s.”

    • Environment

      • Trump’s EPA Is Promoting a Conspiracy Theory Created by Big Tobacco

        The goal, Horner continued, was “to construct explicit procedural hurdles the agency must follow in issuing scientific reports,” and to avoid any case-by-case consideration of public health threats by “focusing on the process by which EPA arrived at its scientific conclusions, avoiding to the extent possible specific scientific issues, contaminants, or industries.” He proposed several criteria the EPA should be forced to add to its scientific processes, including “transparency.” This approach, Horner suggested, could help the industry weaken regulations on mercury, hazardous waste, and air pollution.

        Two years later, a lobbying firm working for R.J. Reynolds created a “Secret Science” working group. The group’s goal, according to a memo obtained by the Union of Concerned Scientists, was to “focus public attention on the importance of requiring the disclosure of taxpayer-funded analytical data upon which federal and state rules and regulations are based.”

      • Colgate to open source recyclable toothpaste tube tech

        Colgate-Palmolive has begun the switch to a first-of-its-kind recyclable toothpaste tube and will share the technology.

        THE DETAILS The company’s Tom’s of Maine has unveiled the first tube recognized by the Association of Plastic Recyclers. The brand will debut the tube for its Antiplaque & Whitening toothpaste and complete the switch across all of its toothpastes in 2020, when the Colgate brand will initiate the transition in Europe and North America.

        The company will complete modifications to tube-making equipment at more than a dozen of its facilities worldwide by 2025 and will share the innovative technology freely with its competitors in a bid to up recycling rates for ‘one of the most widely used forms of plastic packaging’.

        “Colgate wants to make tubes a part of the circular economy by keeping this plastic productive and eliminating waste,” said Noel Wallace, Chief Executive Officer and President of Colgate-Palmolive. “This advancement can make a significant difference in the marketplace today as we test new packaging materials, product formats and refillable models to reduce our use of plastic.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • The Battle for Seattle: A City Council Member Recalls the Protest That Rocked the World

        The freedom to dissent was tested as the US closed out the twentieth century with a demonstration that grabbed the world’s attention. Forty thousand citizens marched through Seattle’s downtown on November 30, 1999, to protest a meeting of the World Trade Organization Ministerial (WTO.)

      • Most People Pay a Higher Wealth Tax Than the Wealthy

        A long overdue tax on the wealth of the wealthy is finally being put forward as a means to fund government services and reduce economic inequality.[1] At this point, among Democrats, the Sander’s proposal goes the furthest and is estimated to raise $4.35 trillion over the next 10 years.

      • How Trump’s Poverty Subsidy Enriches the Rich

        Years ago, a Texas legislator who was occasionally known to take lobbyists’ cash in exchange for a vote, explained his ethical framework as opportunistic: “I seen my chances, and I took ‘em.”

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • New Trove of Ukraine Documents Exposes ‘Clear Paper Trail From Rudy Giuliani to the Oval Office to Secretary Pompeo’

        “We can see why Mike Pompeo has refused to release this information to Congress. The evidence is only going to get worse.”

      • The Surprising Parallels Between Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump
      • Donald Trump and His Insane Clown Posse

        Chaos is a pit, the all-knowing eunuch Lord Varys warns in Game of Thrones, “a gaping pit waiting to swallow us all.”The conniving Peter Baelish, known as Littlefinger, disagrees: “Chaos isn’t a pit,” he replies. Too few realize, he says, that, “Chaos is a ladder… Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.”

      • The End of the Rule of Law

        Bruce Fein, a former senior official in the Department of Justice and a constitutional scholar, has identified 12 impeachable offenses committed by Donald Trump. But, as he notes, many of these constitutional violations are not unique to the Trump administration. They have been normalized by Democratic and Republican administrations. These long-standing violations are, for this reason, ignored by Democratic Party leaders seeking to impeach the president. They have chosen to focus exclusively on Trump’s attempt to get the Ukrainian president to open an investigation of Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in exchange for $400 million in U.S. military aid and a visit by the Ukrainian leader to the White House. Ignoring these institutionalized violations during the impeachment inquiry, Fein fears, would legitimate them and lead to the death of democracy.

      • An Impeachment Hearings Libretto
      • Michael Bloomberg Launches Democratic Presidential Bid

        Billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the world’s richest men, has formally launched a Democratic bid for president.

      • Billionaire Businessman Michael Bloomberg Enters 2020 Democratic Presidential Race

        The former New York City mayor launched a $30 million ad campaign presenting himself as a “middle class kid who made good.”

      • Billionaire Businessman Michael Bloomberg Enters 2020 Democratic Race

        Billionaire businessman and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Sunday officially announced he is entering the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, launching a $30 million ad blitz in which he presents himself as “jobs creator” and a “middle class kid who made good.”

      • Statement By Chelsea Manning for Aaron Swartz Day 2019

        I wish I could be there in person, but I appreciate this opportunity to summarize for you my letter to the court that ordered me to be confined, explaining why grand juries are so dangerous. I am not alone in objecting to the grand jury as a dangerous relic that has evolved in ways that increase its power without increasing its protections. I refuse to participate in a process that has clearly transformed into something that violates the spirit, if not the letter of the law.

      • Why Fox News Slimed a Purple Heart Recipient

        I can explain the art and purpose behind throwing a Purple Heart veteran under the Fox News bus. First, we must talk about narratives. In my time at Fox News, narratives were weapons of mass emotional manipulation, what the Nobel laureate Robert J. Shiller defines in “Narrative Economics” as “contagious stories” — as he put it in a paper of the same name, “a simple story or easily expressed explanation of events that many people want to bring up in conversation or on news or social media because it can be used to stimulate the concerns or emotions of others, and/or because it appears to advance self-interest.” One recent report said that we find information or misinformation “22 times more memorable in narrative form.”

        There’s little in this world that has the emotional manipulative power of a good tribalized — us versus them — narrative. It’s a contagion, and thanks to social media, or “participatory propaganda,” highly viral.

      • A Trump White House Proposal Could Boost Corporate Dark Money in Elections

        The Trump administration is pushing a proposal that could change how much untraceable “dark money” corporations pour into future elections.

        The draft rule change was unveiled by the Securities and Exchange Commission this month. It would limit shareholder proposals, which are one of the ways that the stockowners of publicly traded companies get them to change their behavior.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Nintendo Wipes ‘Piracy Enabling’ URLs from Google with Anti-Circumvention Notices

        Nintendo is structurally wiping piracy-enabling sites from search results. Instead of regular DMCA notices, the gaming company is using anti-circumvention complaints to have Google remove links to console jailbreaking software and flash card adapters from its search engine. The infamous Team-Xecuter is a prime target, but the company also targets legitimate stores such as Newegg.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Private Internet Access to Be Acquired by Kape

        Popular VPN provider Private Internet Access (PIA) is set to be acquired by Kape Technologies. This will transform the company into a major player in the VPN industry. The deal has sparked a lively debate about Kape’s intentions and PIA’s future, but the company stresses that it remains committed to protecting the privacy of its users.

      • Twitter finally lets users enable 2FA without a phone number

        Until now, if users wanted to enable 2FA for their Twitter account, they had to register a phone number and enable SMS-based 2FA, which is known to be inherently insecure; back in October, for example, Twitter admitted that “unintentionally” fed advertisers users’ 2FA phone numbers for targeted ad purposes.

        The company is finally giving users the option to bypass SMS-based 2FA, and even disable it completely. Instead, users can now enable 2FA on Twitter using a mobile security app, such as Authy or Google Authenticator, without supplying Twitter with a phone number. Previous to this you still had to add a phone number if you chose to use a security app with your account.

      • Report: Uber has been recording passenger video for safety reasons

        The report explains that the test allows drivers to request cameras for a fee of $5 per month through a partnership with Nauto – a company that uses AI to analyse video from vehicles. Amongst the software’s party tricks is the ability to spot when drivers are distracted, at which point it tells them to watch the road.

        For Uber drivers, though, the idea is to look into disputes inside the car. The footage is stored by Nauto, but becomes available to Uber if the camera detects a crash, a safety incident is reported or – alarmingly – if the driver requests footage. Apparently faces are blurred if sent to the driver, but fully visible to Uber employees analysing safety footage externally.

        That’s not all, either. The Washington Post reports that Uber is planning on recording audio of journeys soon, too. [...]

      • From 2020, all devices sold in Russia will come with local apps pre-installed

        The rules state that there must be Russian alternatives to the stock software – but it remains up to the individual as to which ones they use.

        However, that has raised the eternal question of back doors and other rogue payloads being included, effectively leaving the Western software as sitting ducks for nation-state hacking attempts.

        The new rules won’t just affect phones and laptops, but all smart devices including Smart TVs and audio streaming devices.

      • 1.2 Billion Records Found Exposed Online in a Single Server

        For well over a decade, identity thieves, phishers, and other online scammers have created a black market of stolen and aggregated consumer data that they used to break into people’s accounts, steal their money, or impersonate them. In October, dark web researcher Vinny Troia found one such trove sitting exposed and easily accessible on an unsecured server, comprising 4 terabytes of personal information—about 1.2 billion records in all.

        While the collection is impressive for its sheer volume, the data doesn’t include sensitive information like passwords, credit card numbers, or Social Security numbers. It does, though, contain profiles of hundreds of millions of people that include home and cell phone numbers, associated social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Github, work histories seemingly scraped from LinkedIn, almost 50 million unique phone numbers, and 622 million unique email addresses.

      • A single, mysterious server exposed 1.2 billion user records

        They’re totally right about one thing: once you gather and sell this data, you can’t control it — it’s pluripotent, omnitoxic, and immortal. It’s nuclear waste.

        The thing they’re wrong about is the wisdom of selling that pluripotent, omnitoxic, immortal toxic waste, given that they can’t control it. The fact that they cheerfully admit that there’s no way for them to ensure that the nonconsensual dossiers they’ve assembled won’t be weaponized against their subjects (and the commonsense conclusion that these dossiers will be weaponized against their subjects) means that it is incredibly reckless, even sociopathic for these privacy profiteers to be in the business that they’re in.

      • Australia Probes Allegations China Tried to Plant Spy in Parliament

        Australia is investigating allegations that China tried to install an agent in a parliamentary seat in Canberra, the Australian Security Intelligence Organization said in a rare statement, adding it was taking the matter seriously.

        The spy agency issued the statement late on Sunday after allegations were aired on Australian television that a suspected Chinese espionage ring offered A$1 million ($679,000) to pay for a Melbourne luxury car dealer, Bo “Nick” Zhao, to run for a seat in Australia’s federal parliament.

        “The reporting on Nine’s Sixty Minutes contains allegations that ASIO takes seriously,” ASIO Director-General of Security Mike Burgess said in the statement.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • The Lies About Assange Must Stop Now

        Newspapers and other media in the United States, Britain and Australia have recently declared a passion for freedom of speech, especially their right to publish freely. They are worried by the “Assange effect”.  

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Secret Documents Reveal How China Mass Detention Camps Work

        The watch towers, double-locked doors and video surveillance in the Chinese camps are there “to prevent escapes.” Uighurs and other minorities held inside are scored on how well they speak the dominant Mandarin language and follow strict rules on everything down to bathing and using the toilet, scores that determine if they can leave.

      • No Billionaires, No Fascists, No Warmongers To the Socialist Future

        There’s probably no bigger sin in American politics than to imagine a world without war, inequality, and capitalism. Actually, imagining just a kinder, more equitable version of capitalism, one in which the existence of elite wealth is tempered by the peoples’ right to health care, a college education, affordable housing, strong workplace unions, full reproductive rights for women, and an end to racial discrimination is enough to be dismissed as a utopian ideologue by the high priests of the corporate media and political establishment.

      • Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Forces Score Landslide Win

        Opposition candidates won nearly 90 percent of contested seats, according to public broadcaster RTHK. The democrats will now control 17 of 18 district councils, after having previously controlled zero.

        The vote was a major symbolic blow to pro-China forces that dominate Hong Kong politics, and the latest evidence of continued public support for a five-month-old pro-democracy movement that has become increasingly aggressive.

      • Mexico’s President Pledged to Defend Indigenous Rights, But He’s Attacking Them

        In the early hours of February 20, 2019, Náhuatl activist Samir Flores was gunned down in front of his house in the Mexican state of Morelos.

        Since 2011, Flores had been a vocal opponent of the Morelos Integral Project — a government-backed development plan to construct new energy infrastructure, including two thermoelectric plants and a massive gas pipeline running directly through his hometown of Amilcingo.

        The day before he was killed, Flores attended a public forum organized by Hugo Eric Flores Cervantes (no relation), a hyper-conservative federal representative for Morelos. Poised before the podium where Flores Cervantes stood, Samir Flores confronted him about the social impact of the megaprojects. In a video circulated widely on social media, Samir Flores is heard exclaiming, “The [multinational] companies first usually think about their capital, their money, and then later about the communities [their projects affect]. I don’t know if this is a project in which they are thinking about us, our children, our grandchildren.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Opera Unite tried decentralizing the web ten years ago

        Ten years ago this week, Opera 10.10 shipped with a web server built-in into the web browser. The Unite server came with webapps like Web Server, Photo and File Sharing, and a Fridge. Yes, I will get back to that last one later.

        Contrary to what the name might suggest, Opera Unite was intended to decentralize the web rather than unite it. It was intended to “reinvent the web” by making everyone host their own internet content and communications. Two and a half years later, Opera discontinued it entirely.

    • Monopolies

      • Amazon Doesn’t Favor Its Own Brands—Except When It Does

        To understand the importance of gating, you have to remember that Amazon.com is both a store that sells you stuff and a marketplace where other businesses sell you stuff. When you click on a given product listing, there will likely be several merchants competing to make the sale. Overwhelmingly, the one who wins that competition is the one who wins the “Buy Box”—meaning the one who gets chosen by an algorithm to sell the item when you click “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now.” The other sellers are still there, but you’d have to scroll down to affirmatively choose one. Winning the Buy Box, which usually means offering the best price, is life or death for businesses that sell on Amazon. “If you can’t earn the Buy Box, for all intents and purposes, you’re not going to earn the sale,” said James Thomson, a former Amazon employee and a partner at Buy Box Experts, a brand consultancy for Amazon sellers.

Links 25/11/2019: Linux 5.4, Lots of Openwashing This Past Week

Posted in News Roundup at 5:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Habana Labs Begins Preparing For Future ASIC Support In Their Linux Driver

        With the Linux 5.5 kernel now in development the Habana Labs AI startup is preparing for supporting future chips with their open-source Linux kernel driver.

        Habana is the company that has been building special-purpose chips for AI training and inference. Their “Goya” AI inference chip is supported by their initial Linux driver code and offers compelling performance over CPUs/GPUs for inference. Habana Labs mainlined their AI accelerator driver for the Goya chip earlier this year in Linux 5.1.

      • KUnit Slated To Land With The Linux 5.5 Kernel For Expanding Kernel Unit Testing

        As part of the KSelfTest updates sent in early for the Linux 5.5 merge window opening tonight/tomorrow, Google’s KUnit is included in this pull request as the basic kernel unit testing framework.

        Shuah Khan summed up KUnit in the pull request as “a lightweight unit testing and mocking framework for the Linux kernel from Brendan Higgins. KUnit is not an end-to-end testing framework. It is currently supported on UML and sub-systems can write unit tests and run them in UML env. KUnit documentation is included in this update.”

        With this debut of KUnit there is a test for the proc sysctl, for the ‘list’ doubly linked list, and for decoding extended timestamps in EXT4. KUnit is still a work-in-progress and expect more tests to land in coming cycles.

      • Linux 5.4
        Not a lot happened this last week, which is just how I like it. And as
        expected, most of the pull requests I got were for the 5.5 merge
        window, which I'll obviously start working through tomorrow.
        What little there is here is mostly some networking updates (mix of
        network drivers and core networking), and some minor GPU driver
        updates. Other than that it's a small collection of random other
        things all over. The appended shortlog is small enough that you might
        as well just scroll through it.
        Anyway, this obviously opens the merge window for 5.5. It's not ideal
        timing with Thanksgiving week coming up, but it hopefully shouldn't be
        too much of an issue. If I fall behind (not because I'm all that big
        of a fan of the indiscriminate and relentless turkey-killing holiday)
        it's because we've got all three kids back for the holiday, and I
        might push some ot the merging to the second week as a result. We'll
        see what happens.
        Go do the testing thing.
      • Linux 5.4 Release – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS & RISC-V Architectures

        Linux 5.3 added support for AMD Navi GPUs & Zhaoxin x86 CPUs, implemented Intel Speed Select power management technology, enabled 16 million new IPv4 addresses, and added IoT ACRN supervisor optimized for resource-constrained embedded systems, among many other improvements and new features.

      • Linux Kernel 5.4 Released With Kernel Lockdown, exFAT Support & More

        Linus Torvalds has announced Linux kernel 5.4 dubbed “Kleptomaniac Octopus” as the last stable kernel release of 2019. The new Linux kernel accompanies a host of features such as support for the exFAT file system by Microsoft, kernel lockdown feature and support for AMD Radeon Navi 12 and 14 GPUs, AMD Radeon Arcturus GPUs, and AMD Dali APU.

        In the announcement post, Linus Torvalds describes Linux Kernel 5.4 update as “mostly some networking updates (mix of network drivers and core networking), and some minor GPU driver updates. Other than that it’s a small collection of random other things all over.”

      • Linux Kernel 5.4 Officially Released with exFAT Support, Kernel Lockdown Feature
      • Linux 5.4 Kernel Released With exFAT Support, Faster Radeon Graphics, New Hardware
      • The 5.4 kernel has been released

        Significant features in this release include the haltpoll CPU governor, the iocost (formerly io.weight) I/O controller, the EROFS filesystem, an implementation of the exFAT filesystem that may yet be superseded by a better version, the fs-verity file integrity mechanism, support for the BPF compile once, run everywhere mechanism, the dm-clone device mapper target, the virtiofs filesystem, kernel lockdown support (at last), kernel symbol namespaces, and a new random-number generator meant to solve the early-boot entropy problem.

      • Google to Add Mainline Linux Kernel Support to Android

        Before it reaches you, the Linux kernel on your cellphone goes through three major steps.

        First, Google takes the LTS (Long Term Support) version of the Linux kernel and adds all of the Android-specific code. This becomes the “Android Common kernel”.

        Google then sends this code to the company that creates the System on a Chip (SoC) that runs your phone. This is usually Qualcomm.

        Once the SoC maker finishes add code to support the CPU and other chips, the kernel is then passed on to the actual device maker, such as Samsung or Motorola. The device maker then adds code to support the rest of the phone, such as the display and camera.

        Each of these steps takes a while to complete and results in a kernel that won’t work with any other device. It also means that the kernel is very old, usually about two years old. For example, the Google Pixel 4, which shipped last month, has a kernel from November 2017, which will never get updated.

        Google has pledged to create security patches for older devices, which means they’re stuck keeping an eye on a huge hodge-podge of old code.

      • Graphics Stack

        • The Open-Source NVIDIA Driver Will End Out 2019 In Poor Shape Still For Newer GPUs

          For the imminent Linux 5.5 kernel cycle we have talked about exciting AMD Radeon and Intel graphics driver changes on deck from Navi OverDrive overclocking to more Intel Tiger Lake and Jasper Lake bits, AMDGPU HDCP support, and other features queued. But what about the open-source NVIDIA “Nouveau” Linux driver?

          Sadly, it’s been several kernel cycles since there has been anything major to report. In fact, as it stands right now, there haven’t been any changes queues from Nouveau into DRM-Next. Earlier this week Red Hat’s Ben Skeggs did push a few bits of new code to the skeggsb/nouveau repository but that work hasn’t appeared in DRM-Next as of writing nor any indication on the mailing list.

        • AMDKFD/ROCm GPU Compute Can Work On POWER Systems Like Raptor’s Talos II

          While NVIDIA graphics in IBM POWER systems have been known to make a powerful combination for supercomputer deployments, for those wanting a libre GPU compute experience can also use POWER with AMD Radeon’s open-source driver with a pending patch to the kernel driver.

          With various Radeon driver bugs in the open-source stack having been worked out over time that affect the POWER architecture, it turns out the driver stack is good enough on POWER to even enable the AMDKFD (Kernel Fusion Driver) compute support — which is the kernel component to the Radeon Open Compute (ROCm) stack that runs in user-space.

    • Benchmarks

      • The Combined Impact Of Mitigations On Cascade Lake Following Recent JCC Erratum + TAA

        Following the initial tests earlier this month from the disclosures of the JCC Erratum (Jump Conditional Code) that required updated Intel CPU microcode to address and on the same day the TSX Async Abort (TAA) vulnerability that required kernel mitigations to address, which I have run benchmarks of those CPU performance impacts individually, readers have requested tests looking at the current overall impact to the mitigations to date.

        In this article are benchmarks for Intel Cascade Lake using dual Xeon Platinum 8280 processors. Keep in mind Cascade Lake has hardware mitigations in place for L1TF, Meltdown, and some Spectre protections. The different configurations tested for this article included…

      • Intel Core i9 10980XE Linux Performance Benchmarks

        Intel today is rolling out the Core i9 10980XE as their new Cascade Lake X-Series processor that features 18 cores / 36 threads with a maximum turbo frequency of 4.6GHz and TBM 3.0 frequency of 4.8GHz. Following a last minute change, Intel moved up the embargo lift time of the Core i9 1980XE so here are the results we can share with you right now.

        The Intel Core i9 10980XE Cascade Lake processor features the same core / thread count as the previous Core i9 9980XE and i9 7980XE but now with a 3.0GHz base frequency, 4.6GHz peak turbo frequency, 4.8GHz Turbo Boost Max 3.0 frequency, DDR4-2933 quad channel memory support rather than DDR4-2666, and the L1TF/Meltdown hardware mitigations in place. The cache size remains the same at 24.75MB and the processor having a 165 Watt TDP.

    • Applications

      • VirtualBox 6.1.0 RC1

        VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use. Targeted at server, desktop and embedded use, it is now the only professional-quality virtualization solution that is also Open Source Software.

      • Audacity 2.3.3 Released With Major Bug Fixes, Removes Obsolete Features

        Audacity 2.3.3 serves as the latest stable release of the famous open source audio editor. But the team behind the tool say that this update offers “no new and almost no changed features” when compared to previous builds.

        However, many long standing bug fixes are included thanks to code ‘restructuring’ work. Among the 75+ bugs fixed are…

      • 18 Years Ago, Linux’s Legendary Package Manager Synaptic was Released

        What is the first thing you do after you install Ubuntu or Debian? For me, and literally for almost everybody I met in the Linux world, the first thing is to install Synaptic. In November 13, Synaptic became 18 years old, and we are here to honor this good piece of software that served us for a long time.

        For those who don’t know, Synaptic is a graphical package manager for the Debian-based Linux distributions. It allows you to install, remove and delete packages. Synaptic is quite unique in that its user interface is very functional and straightforward; You don’t need to learn it or spend time reading any document in order to use it. And on daily basis, despite its source code being unmaintained for around 2 years, its bugs and issues are very limited. It is indeed one of the best software ever made in the Linux world.

      • Glimpse Image Editor (GIMP Fork) 0.1 Available to Install in Ubuntu

        Glimpse, a downstream fork of the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP in short), released version 0.1 a few days ago. It can be installed in Ubuntu 18.04 and higher via either Snap or Flatpak.

        Due to the problematic word “gimp”, Glimpse forked the well known image editor so there are no potential barriers to using the software in businesses and educational institutions.

        “If English is not your first language, then you may not have realised that the word “gimp” is problematic. In some countries it is considered a slur against disabled people and a playground insult directed at unpopular children. It can also be linked to certain “after dark” activities performed by consenting adults.

      • The trials and tribulations of video decoding on Linux

        I like using Linux. I use it on my desktop – especially now that League of Legends runs incredibly well on Linux thanks to the Lutris and League of Linux reddit community. I’d also like to use Linux on my laptop (an XPS 13 9370), but here I run into a major hurdle that despite a lot of trials and tribulations, I have been unable to overcome: playing video.

        Of course, Linux – in my case, Linux Mint – can play any format under the sun just fine, either locally, on-demand, or streaming, and in my case, it’s YouTube video that matters (720p-1080p). The problem lies not in what desktop Linux can play, but in how it does so. Decoding video on my laptop running Linux is apparently remarkably inefficient, to the point where the processor reaches temperatures of 60-70°C, and since the fan kicks in at around 60°C, watching video on Linux means constant fan noise. When playing the same videos on Windows on the exact same laptop, temperatures stay comfortably below 40°C, without ever even coming close to spinning up a fan.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Improve your typing to fight hordes of monsters in retro arcade game Type Knight

        In Type Knight, you fight skeletons, bats, wraiths and more via the awesome power of your rapid (and hopefully accurate) typing.

        Note: Key provided by the developer.

        Released last month, Type Knight appears to be the first game by this developer and took around 18 months to deliver the final version on Steam after several demos on Itch.

        As the titular “Type Knight”, you automatically walk through the graveyard while enemies approach from the right of the screen with words above their heads – type that word and your character delivers an oddly satisfying swipe of his sword to decimate them.

      • The Sunday odds and ends Linux and gaming section

        Blimey, where did Saturday go? It’s Sunday already? Yes it is. A time for rest, relaxation and plenty of gaming. Time to go over a few random bits of news!

        Starting off with a little update on a crowdfunding project, the retro adventure game Alwa’s Legacy has 10 days left. So far, they’re doing okay. Against their SEK 250k (about £20,195) goal, they’re well on their way to get funding.

        The sandbox survival game Vintage Story recently had a massive update with The Game Challenge Update v1.11. It now allows you to properly customize your game, there’s some great looking visual updates, much smarter AI mobs, updated world generation to include beaches and loads more. A fascinating sounding game, which looks a lot like Minecraft in style but it has vastly different gameplay experience. You can find out more in the release announcement here, which has links to the major changes.

      • Improve your typing to fight hordes of monsters in retro arade game Type Knight

        In Type Knight, you fight skeletons, bats, wraiths and more via the awesome power of your rapid (and hopefully accurate) typing.

        Note: Key provided by the developer.

        Released last month, Type Knight appears to be the first game by this developer and took around 18 months to deliver the final version on Steam after several demos on Itch.

      • Mesa ACO Linux | The Future is Now!

        Let’s do some gameplay with the new ACO mesa compiler. This will blow your mind how good it performs on Linux.

      • How to Install Games on Lutris Manually

        In this video, I walk through how to install games manually on Lutris and go over a variety of ways to accomplish this.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Got More Polishing Ahead Of The Holidays While First KDE Frameworks 6 Sprint Started

          It was a busy week in the KDE space.

          This past week KDE saw a lot of polishing work and other refinements take place across its massive package set:

          - Fixing of Picture of the Day Wallpaper from the KDE lock screen.

          - KFind or other external search providers can be easily launched from the Tools menu in Dolphin.

        • KF6 Kickoff Sprint Wrap-Up

          So, I spent the week-end in Berlin where we held the KDE Frameworks 6 Kickoff Sprint to start properly planning the work needed to prepare our transition from Qt5 to Qt6.

          It officially started on Friday and ended on Sunday (today, as I’m typing this). To be there almost on time, I had to take an awfully early flight from Toulouse… needless to say Friday was particularly tough for me.

          After settling in, hugging each other and putting the “Virtual David Faure”™ setup in place, we could start the work.

        • Sketchnotes at Capitole du Libre 2019

          English content after the next paragraph.

          Ce week-end, j’ai assisté au Capitole du Libre à Toulouse. Pour une fois, je n’ai pas suivi beaucoup de présentations afin de discuter dans les couloirs. Toutefois, j’ai fait quelques sketchnotes des présentations auxquelles j’ai assisté.

          And now for English readers. ;-)

          During this week-end, I attended the Capitole du Libre in Toulouse. I didn’t attend many talk for once since I wanted to benefit a lot from the “hallway track”. Still, I did a few sketchnotes of the talks I attended.

          For once it’s all in french though, since it was the language of the conference. ;-)

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.35.2 released

          GNOME 3.35.2 is now available. This is the second unstable release

          leading to the 3.36 stable series, and it’s a pretty quiet one since our most prominent modules were not updated. A couple modules were temporarily back (gnome-boxes, vala, and totem-pl-parser) due to the various incompatibilities, but this is typical for our unstable releases and nothing that looks difficult to resolve.

          This is also our last development release of the year, as the next unstable release, 3.35.3, will be delivered during the week of January 6. Our schedule for 3.36 includes one fewer unstable release than usual, which means more time between releases. Let us know on desktop-devel-list@ whether or not you feel the extra time between releases is working well for you.

        • GNOME 3.35.2 Released As Another Step Towards The GNOME 3.36 Desktop
    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • SolydXK 10

          SolydXK is a Debian-based desktop distribution. Originally, SolydXK grew out of Linux Mint Debian Edition, providing desktop editions that Mint did not support. However, SolydXK soon grew into its own identity and became independent from Mint, though it does still use the same system installer.

          SolydXK is available in two editions: Xfce and KDE Plasma. Since we reviewed the Xfce edition of SolydXK 9 earlier this year, I decided to try out the KDE branch of version 10.

          SolydXK 10 is based on Debian 10 “Buster” and provides builds for 64-bit (x86_64) machines. In the past there were builds provided for Raspberry Pi computers, but these have been dropped with version 10. The Xfce edition of SolydXK is a 1.6GB download and the KDE edition I decided to try is a 2.2GB download.

          Booting from the distribution’s live media brings up the KDE Plasma desktop with a soft, blue theme. There is a panel at the bottom of the screen which holds the application menu, task switcher, and system tray. A single icon for launching the system installer sits in the upper-left corner of the desktop.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Fedora Family

        • Welcoming our new Fedora Community Action and Impact Coordinator

          Good news, everybody! I’m pleased to announce that we have completed our search for a new Fedora Community Action and Impact Coordinator, and she’ll be joining the Open Source Program Office (OSPO) team to work with Fedora as of today. Please give a warm welcome to Marie Nordin.

          If you’ve been involved in Fedora, you may have already been working with Marie. She’s a member of the Fedora Design and Badges teams. Her latest contribution to the Design Team is the wallpaper for F31, a collaboration with Máirín Duffy. Marie has made considerable contributions to the Badges project. She has designed over 150 badge designs, created documentation and a style guide, and mentored new design contributors for years. Most recently she has been spear-heading a bunch of work related to bringing badges up to date on both the development and UI/UX of the web app.

      • Debian Family

        • Cross Distribution Developer Camp 2019 Fall

          I had attend to Cross Distribution Developer Camp 2019 Fall at Manazuru-machi, Kanagawa at 16th Nov. 2019.
          There was 8 developers from openSUSE, Ubuntu, LibreOffice and Debian. We had talked about some problem between such distributions, upstream software, especially Japanese (or CJK) specific things.

        • Videomass

          There is a new tool available for Sparkers: Videomass

          What is Videomass?

          Videomass provides a graphical interface for audio and video conversions through FFmpeg.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical Aims for a Bigger Bite of the Telco Pie, with New Charmed OSM Distribution

          Canonical has rolled out a new upstream software distribution dubbed Charmed OSM – a set of open source tools pitched squarely at telcos aiming to shift from legacy networking services to cloud-native network functions.

          OSM (“open source MANO”) is – with our apologies for the alphabet soup – an implementation of standards organisation ETSI‘s network functions virtualisation (NFV) management and orchestration (MANO) stack.

          Charmed OSM is Canonical’s distribution of the open source software stack OSM, which is increasingly becoming an industry standard. The company will also be offering a managed service, to help support deployment.

        • Ubuntu Linux strangely promotes Brony culture on Twitter

          I am not one to judge people. However, the whole “Brony” thing does bewilder me. If you aren’t familiar, “Bronies,” as they are called, are adult males that enjoy watching the TV show My Little Pony — a cartoon designed for children. They even play with pony action figures and attend conventions where they dress up like ponies. Sadly, some of these Brony people even sexualize the cartoon ponies. It’s a really disturbing community.

          And so, today, I was a bit dismayed by a Tweet from the official Ubuntu Linux Twitter account. You see, on that social network, the operating system seems to be promoting Brony culture by suggesting users install a cartoon pony-related package called “ponysay.”

        • Does Stadia Work on Ubuntu? Well Yeah, Kinda…

          Good news for fans of Google’s game streaming service Stadia: it works on Ubuntu!

          That’s according to Redditors lucky enough to be able to try the recently-launched service on their Ubuntu machines (note: it’s not available in every country yet).

          Admittedly this “news” isn’t unexpected.

          Stadia is a cloud-based gaming service powered by Linux, and is advertised to work on Chromebooks (which are Linux-based machines) as well as via the Google Chromecast Ultra.

          So, in a shock to that one person who was asleep most of the summer, I hear that Stadia DOES work in the Google Chrome web browser on Ubuntu.

          Just, er, not very well, it seems…

        • UBports’ Ubuntu Touch Porting Now Easier To Newer Devices

          Libhybris is the software project that makes it easier for conventional Linux distributions relying upon Glibc or Musl to access drivers/software built for Android (Bionic C library) software. Ubuntu Touch had been using libhybris for years going back to Canonical’s original Ubuntu Touch efforts, but was focused on 32-bit ARM until now and thus not working with 64-bit Android drivers. Landing of the 64-bit ARM version of libhybris should help in being able to run newer 64-bit bits on modern Android devices.

        • Ubuntu Touch Q&A 63

          This week were present Marius, Florian and special guest Jörg Wurzer from Volla Phone.

          At the beginning Marius explained that the ARM64 version of libhybris has now been merged into Edge; this will make porting to newer devices easier.

          It also helps with the Raspberry Pi build. That matters a lot because it will help create a true development platform for UT, for the first time!.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

  • Leftovers

    • US group says 803 unbelted rear-seat passengers died in 2018

      More than 800 rear-seat passengers who weren’t wearing seat belts were killed last year in U.S. traffic crashes, and a highway safety group says states aren’t making enough progress in getting people to buckle up.

      The Governors Highway Safety Association says in a report released Monday that more than 400 of the 803 people who died would have survived if they were belted.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • extCloud Linux Servers Targetted by NextCry Ransomware
      • NextCry Ransomware Targets NextCloud Linux Servers and Remains Undetected Features

        Ransomware hunter and creator of ID Ransomware Michael Gillespie notes that the NextCry ransomware, which is a Python script compiled in a Linux ELF binary using pyInstaller, oddly uses Base64 to encode file names as well as the content of files which have already been encrypted. Gillespie has also confirmed that NextCry encrypts data using the AES algorithm with a 256-bit key.

      • NextCloud Linux Servers Targetted by NextCry Ransomware

        Ransomware hunter and creator of ID Ransomware Michael Gillespie notes that the NextCry ransomware, which is a Python script compiled in a Linux ELF binary utilizing pyInstaller, oddly makes use of Base64 to encode file names in addition to the content material of information which have already been encrypted. Gillespie has additionally confirmed that NextCry encrypts information utilizing the AES algorithm with a 256-bit key.

    • Environment

      • The Open Climate Collabathon: A Global Sprint Kicks Off

        On November 15, the Yale OpenLab launched a first-of-its kind hackathon — termed a collabathon — that’s connecting policy experts, technologists, designers, and others around the globe for a two-week sprint that applies an ethos of “radical collaboration” to the fight against climate change. With over 300 registered participants, the project aims to create an open source platform that will track accountability to carbon budget pledges using integrated insights from blockchain, IoT tools, AI, and big data. The goal is to empower a wide variety of actors — from countries and cities to small businesses — to easily and transparently record their climate actions and measure progress towards the targets set out by the 2015 Paris Agreement.

        Over the course of a weekend, participants in New Haven, Singapore, Berlin, Paris, and at least five other locations kicked off a two-week sprint that will culminate in several presentations and press events at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in early December. Collaborating across timezones, participants spent the weekend in a frenzy of activity: talking to collaborators in person and over Slack or Discord, sketching ideas on whiteboards, huddling in front of laptops to work on code or to research technical intricacies.

    • Finance

      • Why the sluggish response to the homeless problem?

        Homelessness is an emergency in California, but what state and local officials are doing about it amounts to malfeasance bordering on municipal manslaughter.

        An emergency is an urgent situation requiring immediate action. If people were sleeping on the sidewalks after a natural disaster, the governor would probably call out the National Guard.

        If government officials treated homelessness like the emergency it is, they would construct temporary emergency shelters in appropriate locations. They would bring in case workers to evaluate individuals and assist them through a process that gets them off the street immediately. They would make efforts to reunite people with family members where possible. They would prioritize funding for necessary mental health facilities, such as psychiatric hospitals and residential facilities for the treatment of substance abuse. They would build barracks-style and dormitory-style housing, quickly, and they would empower the police to enforce a ban on tent encampments.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Amsterdam district court orders Google to take offline fake reviews

        Last week, the Amsterdam district court issued an interesting decision in which it ordered Google to remove from Google Maps’ review section negative reviews after concluding that they were fake [decision here, in Dutch]. The decision is likely to set an important precedent for future cases involving fake reviews, in part because it was rendered by judge Floris Bakels, a former Supreme Court judge who stepped down two years ago to spend the final years before his retirement in a fact-finding court.

        The issue has come up repeatedly before German courts and the German Bundesgerichtshof has assessed it within the safe harbour framework of the E-commerce directive [e.g. here, at 31]. But to this Kat’s knowledge, this is the first such decision in the Netherlands.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Julian Assange ‘could die in prison without urgent medical care’, doctors warn

        WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could die in prison without urgent medical care, according to an open letter signed by more than 60 doctors.

        The medics, from the UK, Australia, Europe and Sri Lanka express “serious concerns” about 48-year-old Assange’s fitness to stand trial in the letter addressed to Priti Patel, the home secretary.

        He is being held in Belmarsh prison, in south-east London, ahead of a hearing in February to fight extradition to the US, where he faces 18 charges, including conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer.

        Assange is accused of working with former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak hundreds of thousands of classified documents.

        The doctors are calling for Assange to be transferred to a university teaching hospital, where he can be assessed and treated by an expert medical team.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • FTC to Ninth Circuit: Qualcomm “abandoned” national security argument by failing to introduce evidence

          This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post on the Federal Trade Commission’s answering brief to Qualcomm’s opening brief on appeal. Before talking about another aspect–national security–I’d like to share some further thoughts about the FTC’s right-for-the-wrong reasons strategy.

          I believe a private party would have been fairly likely to defend Judge Lucy H. Koh’s ruling on either ground: her Aspen Skiing approach and the FTC’s Third Circuit Broadcom logic. That’s because private parties–and especially their counsel–try to leave no stone unturned. It would have been possible for the FTC to argue that the Aspen Skiing standard is too high, but that it’s met regardless if one makes a certain effort to shoehorn this case into that pattern (by arguing that Qualcomm might not have known what it was doing when it temporarily granted exhaustive licenses to chipset makers, but it didn’t do so involuntarily). But it appears that the FTC’s litigation team felt it was prudent to focus completely on a Third Circuit precedent that the Ninth Circuit doesn’t have to, but may very well adopt. The fact that Qualcomm won a (partial) stay of the injunction likely played a role here. At the stay stage, the FTC didn’t attempt to defend the Aspen Skiing reasoning (as Qualcomm noted in its reply brief), but now it’s clear that the FTC is rather confident that the summary judgment on contract interpretation regarding licenses to rival chipset makers will stand (that’s a precondition now for the chipset licensing-related antitrust theory), and is more optimistic that the Ninth Circuit will agree with the Third Circuit.


          When politics is the name of the game Qualcomm is trying to play, who cares about whether an argument was presented to the district court in time? Who cares about evidence, or abandonment as a result of not introducing evidence? It’s all just about influencing the judges. The FTC makes a compelling argument that there’s no substance to Qualcomm’s national security concern, and that there’s a strong public interest in competition enforcement. As the FTC recalls, competition also works wonders for product quality, so having more than one U.S. baseband chipset maker is ultimately also the best-case outcome for national security. I hope the Ninth Circuit will see through the “national security” smokescreen, and not be swayed by it when adjudicating the antitrust issues before it.

        • IBM sells 500 patents; Big four unite against open source NPE threat; Don’t bet on UPC breakthrough; Apple talks FRAND strategy; Time to rethink EPO oppositions; plus much more

          IBM’s big patent sell off continues with divestment of 500 assets, but its latest deal is not with an operating company. Read more here

        • Software Patents

          • OIN, IBM, Microsoft and the Linux Foundation team up against open-source patent trolls

            The Open Invention Network (OIN) is strengthening its fight against patent trolls. The organization has announced it is partnering up with IBM, Microsoft and the Linux Foundation to protect open-source software from Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs), or patent trolls.

            The OIN was created to provide patent non-aggression cross-license in the “Linux System.”

          • Open Invention Network Teams with IBM, Linux Foundation and Microsoft to Further Protect Open Source from Patent Trolls [Ed: OIN even issued a paid (by OIN members like Microsoft and IBM) press release to portray Microsoft as “fighting trolls” when in fact it’s arming them, as does IBM]

            Open Invention Network (OIN), the largest patent non-aggression community in history, announced today it is partnering with IBM, the Linux Foundation and Microsoft to further protect open source software (OSS) from Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs) leveraging low quality patents, also called patent trolls. The group will support Unified Patents’ Open Source Zone with a substantial annual subscription. This expands OIN’s and its partners’ patent non-aggression activities by deterring PAEs from targeting Linux and adjacent OSS technologies relied on by developers, distributors and users.

          • Big tech firms join the Open Invention Network to fight against patent trolls

            IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp. and the Linux Foundation are teaming up with the Open Invention Network to help protect open-source software projects from so-called patent assertion entities, more colloquially called “patent trolls.”

            The OIN is a “patent non-aggression community” that cross-licenses patents to its members on a royalty-free basis. It also has its own patents, which are licensed royalty-free to any organization, so long as they agree not to assert their own patents against its members.

            “Open-source development continues to expand into new products and markets, delivering unrivaled innovation,” OIN Chief Executive Officer Keith Bergelt said today. “Its use continues to spread, and patent trolls increasingly look to leverage questionable patents against open source.”

      • Trademarks

        • GC excludes likelihood of confusion between marks representing stylized human figure and relating to same goods due to low distinctiveness of shared concept

          In an intriguing judgment delivered earlier this month (T-149/19), contrary to the earlier decision of the EUIPO Second Board of Appeal, the General Court (GC) excluded any likelihood of confusion between the two signs represented below, despite sharing the same public and considering the latter’s average level of attention, and the average degree of conceptual similarity between the signs.


          In 2017, the Opposition Division rejected the opposition, assuming that the goods at issue would be identical (there was also a question regarding the senior trade mark’s use).

          The decision was upheld by the Second Board of Appeal (the Board), which emphasized, among other things, the low distinctiveness of the earlier trade mark and the average degree of visual and conceptual similarity of the signs at issue. In particular, a likelihood of confusion within the meaning of Article 8(1)(b) EUTMR could be established if the goods in question were regarded as identical. The case was therefore sent back to the Opposition Division for a decision on the genuine use of the earlier mark and the actual comparison of the relevant goods.

      • Copyrights

        • Public statement by Rachana Institute of Typography on the copyright/credit issue of SMC and RIT fonts

          We — KH Hussain, CV Radhakrishnan, PK Ashok Kumar and KV Rajeesh — are the copyright holders of TN Joy font. Many of us have worked on free/libre/open source software for years in our spare time and contributed code, design, fonts, documentation, localization and financial support to various free software projects. Our contributions can be found easily on the Web and elsewhere.


          During the first week of Nov-2019 for the summit organized by Kerala Media Academy, all the copyright holders of TN Joy font met and discussed the issue raised by Santhosh.

          As free software developers and users, it was not our intention to violate copyright or appropriate credit of another free software developer’s work at all. Not only in intention, but we strived to achieve that in all our projects by acts. So, this accusation came as a surprise to us and we decided to take a deeper look at how this issue originated and what the root cause is, to address it properly.

        • Oracle vs Google will be decided once and for all in the Supreme Court

          ORACLE AND GOOGLE will decide the future of open-source software in the Supreme Court.

          The long-running feud between the two tech giants has already travelled through every part of the court system in the US with appeals being won and lost on an unerring basis. Now the final act will play out in the highest court of the land.

          Oracle has argued repeatedly that although its Java code was open-source, the APIs were proprietary and therefore subject to copyright and licensing fees.

          Google claims that just isn’t cricket and that if the code is free-to-use then charging from the APIs has repercussions not just for Android which heavily depended on them in its early days, but for the entire open-source community.

          Google has since written its own code and no longer requires the use of the contested APIs, but Oracle argues that it should still receive royalties worth billions, to cover every single Android device ever released.

IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 24, 2019

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:08 am by Needs Sunlight



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