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Links 1/1/2020: KDE Releases, Theo de Raadt Interview and Sunset for Python 2.7

Posted in News Roundup at 4:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • What is GNU/Linux?

      Most consumers can, with a little effort, name two desktop and laptop operating systems: Microsoft Windows and Apple’s macOS. Few have ever considered any of the open-source alternatives found under the umbrella of GNU/Linux, though some may have done so without even knowing it—Google’s Chrome OS uses the Linux kernel. To be honest, aside from the Chromebook platform, GNU/Linux systems are typically not best for people who rely on big-name software or don’t like dabbling with a customizable, hands-on interface. However, if you’re looking for a change of pace, don’t want to pay for your software, and don’t mind rolling up your sleeves, switching to GNU/Linux may not only be worthwhile, but make you a convert for life. This guide for nontechnical users will show you how.

      Before diving headfirst into the wonky world of GNU/Linux systems, it’s important to understand how they came about and some of the terms you may encounter while researching and using them. I’ll start with a brief history of the big three: UNIX, Linux, and GNU.

      UNIX is a proprietary, command-line-based operating system originally developed by Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson (among others) at AT&T’s Bell Labs in the late 1960s and early 1970s. UNIX is coded almost entirely in the C programming language (also invented by Ritchie) and was originally intended to be used as a portable and convenient OS for programmers and researchers. As a result of a long and complicated legal history involving AT&T, Bell Labs, and the federal government, UNIX and UNIX-like operating systems grew in popularity, as did Thompson’s influential philosophy of a modular, minimalist approach to software design.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • My Linux Experience in 2019

        In summary, I can say that my experience with Linux during 2019 has been extremely satisfactory. I mean, my computers have been working great and the distros have been more stable than ever.

      • Why we need a free desktop

        I am frequently asked if there’s any point in the desktop anymore. With the rise of cloud services, it’s easy to wonder whether there is a need. I believe that a free software desktop system is more important than ever.

        GNOME creates an entire desktop environment that is beautifully designed and simple to use. We do this to ensure user freedoms. It is this empowerment of end users – acknowledging their right to control their own computing – that drives me forward.

        The intention behind making free software is important, but irrelevant if the reality is that users cannot make use of those freedoms. When fewer than 0.5% of the world’s population can code, the chance of someone being able to modify their own desktop, or pay someone to do so, is vanishingly small. It is our responsibility, as technologists, a community, and a foundation, to provide to put the user first. Software must be built for everyone, and that’s what we are doing.

    • Server

      • 5 predictions for Kubernetes in 2020

        How do you track a wildly popular project like Kubernetes? How do you figure out where it’s going? If you are contributing to the project or participating in Special Interest Groups (SIGs), you might gain insight by osmosis, but for those of you with day jobs that don’t include contributing to Kubernetes, you might like a little help reading the tea leaves. With a fast-moving project like Kubernetes, the end of the year is an excellent time to take a look at the past year to gain insight into the next one.

      • On-premises server monitoring tools meet business needs, budget

        Although the market has shifted and more vendors are providing cloud-based monitoring, there are still a wide range of feature-rich server monitoring tools for organizations that must keep their workloads on site for security and compliance reasons.

        Here we examine open source and commercial on-premises server monitoring tools from eight vendors. Although these products broadly achieve the same IT goals, they differ in their approach, complexity of setup — including the ongoing aspects of maintenance and licensing — and cost.

      • IBM

        • Top 10 Enable Sysadmin guides from 2019
        • 7 resources to grow your Java skills
        • 12 programming resources for coders of all levels
        • 10 Ansible resources to accelerate your automation skills
        • How to be a better organization: Top 10 reads for leaders
        • What do you resolve to learn in 2020?

          Maybe you’d like to try for a promotion at work. Maybe you’re hoping to acquire a new certification. Or maybe you’re just hoping to learn something new.

          For me, I really look forward to the new year as an opportunity to learn something new. At least on my spot on the globe, the new year comes at a time with little daylight, and a whole lot of cold days still ahead. Not exactly the spot on the calendar to be spending time outdoors. So rather than wasting away my hours after work just watching Netflix or playing video games, I’m looking forward to putting my indoor time to good use.

          In my case, I’m hoping to spend some quality time studying up on Ansible in anticipation of taking the new RHEL 8-based RHCE exam later this year. I’ve also recently acquired some great books on open source desktop design software – GIMP, Inkscape, and Blender – that I’d like to learn in greater depth beyond. And, I’m planning to put some time in with the home lab, learning to run and manage some self-hosted alternatives to SaaS solutions, as well as whatever infrastructure they require underneath.

          What are you hoping to learn in 2020?

        • Going forward, partners like IBM will ‘keep the lights on’: IBM India General Manager

          With the advent of Redhat and Open source and adopting new technologies around platform based applications would help the responses to the market improve significantly, he said.

        • IBM Bet Everything on an Acquisition in 2019. Now It Needs to Grow Again.

          For IBM, 2019 was the year Big Blue doubled-down on the cloud.

          In July, the enterprise technology giant completed its $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat, the dominant provider of open-source operating system software and support. The deal is a bet that IBM (ticker: IBM) can sell more of its own software and services to Red Hat’s customers—and that IBM customers are the perfect target to become Red Hat customers.

          The Red Hat deal is just one in a decadeslong series of IBM moves to keep up with shifting technology trends. Keep in mind that IBM over the years built and later unloaded large businesses in desktop computers, laptops, printers, microprocessors, chip manufacturing, and typewriters. (Didn’t you once own an IBM Selectric?) The latest move will help IBM stay relevant in a world in which cloud-based services have come to dominate the information technology landscape.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Linux Predictions for 2020 – Will Linus retire?
      • Particularly Poor Predictions | LINUX Unplugged 334

        We review our predictions and own up to what we got wrong, and what we got right in 2019.

        Special Guests: Alex Kretzschmar and Brent Gervais.

      • Nathan Wolf: Noodlings | Christmastime, xLights, Exploring Media Servers and Computer History

        Post Christmas Day shopping yielded me a really nice find, specifically something pretty fantastic from Lowe’s that allows me to fix my AC light strands. A Holiday Living Light Tester. The directions could have been a bit more clear… maybe worth a video… but I was able to recover three of my LED bush nets. Since they retail for about $10 each, that has made the purchase worth it already. This device is supposed to work with LED as well as incandescent lights. I’ve only tested it on LED thus far and it works well.

        This is a device that I wish I had discovered long ago.


        As we wrapped up the year in BDLL challenges, our task for this week was to make some predictions about the year 2020. They didn’t have to be Linux related so, exactly but since Linux and tech is the focus of the show, it would only make sense to keep it as such.

        What I am wishing for, in 2020, is commercial grade CAD / CAM, manufacturing technology software to come to Linux, not necessarily for home use but for use in business.

        Specifically, what I would like to see is Fusion 360 by Autodesk supported in some level on Linux. It already runs well in Linux through Lutris but having actual support for it would be fantastic. I would also like to see PTC’s Creo running on Linux. PTC once supported Linux with earlier offerings of their mechanical design package but no longer do so today. It would be great to see.

      • Happy New Year maybe, VR games, Jumanji, RISCV, The Witcher, the Overnet, and the Future!

        TIK TEK TOE, episode 009. In this final episode of the decade, or at least, this year, Marcel and Evan riff on Christmas gifts, VR games, Jumanji, Open Hardware vs closed borders, The Witcher, and several other diversions. Somewhere in there, they reminisce over the last decade of free software, a free and open Internet (the Overnet), and lots of other things you really don’t want to miss. Oh, and Marcel learns about Gwen Stacy, or is it Gaven and Stacey?

        Once you’re done listening, or right now for that matter, please (pretty please, even) make sure you share this podcast with your friends, family, neighbours, enemies . . . just share and recommend. Also, if you can spare a few extra keystrokes, be sure to leave us a comment and tell us how we’re doing.

      • Episode 91 | This Week in Linux

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, we have a ton of Distro News to cover with new releases from Linux Mint, Peppermin, Endeavour OS, Feren OS, Parted Magic and Alpine Linux. We’ll also cover some interesting hardware news for a new Kubuntu branded laptop and a really cool project someone made with having the business card double as a Linux computer. We’ll also check out a new version of the photography app, DarkTable and later in the show, we’ll look at some unfortunate news items in Hyperbola switching to BSD and apparently the Librem 5 wasn’t expensive enough. Fortunately though, Valve is going to help us round out the show with some great news in the Steam Winter Sale! All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.4.7

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.4.7 kernel.

        All users of the 5.4 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.4.y git tree can be found at:

        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.4.y

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


      • Linux 4.19.92
      • Linux 4.14.161
      • Linux 5.4.7 / 4.19.92 / 4.14.161 Kernels Released To End Out 2019

        Greg Kroah-Hartman took time out of his New Year’s Eve festivities to release Linux 5.4.7, 4.19.92, and 4.14.161 as the newest supported stable releases of the Linux kernel.

        Making these kernels noteworthy is that they contain the necessary MCE fix for booting the new AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3900 series processors. With Linux 5.5 mainline or these back-ported kernels, Linux should be booting now without issue.

        These stable kernel updates also add Intel Comet Lake PCH-V and Elkhart Lake SoC support to the intel_th driver. But the rest of the changes are an assortment of mostly mundane fixes, unless you happened to be affected by one of the particular bugs addressed.

        A list of the fixes can be found via the release announcement.

      • The Linux Kernel Highlights Of The 2010s From Torvalds’ Sabbatical To Dealing With Vulnerabilities

        Going along with our other end of year and decade recaps, here is a look back at the Linux kernel highlights for the 2010s.

        The Linux kernel during the 2010s saw a lot of new features and expanded hardware support, fallout from many security vulnerabilities and having to provide various CPU mitigations as well, Microsoft beginning to contribute to the Linux kernel largely in the context of Hyper-V, various performance improvements, debates over the state of 32-bit’s future, and much more.

      • Power Management Improvements Could Benefit Intel Server Performance In Linux 5.6

        Some Intel server platforms could see better performance with the Linux 5.6 kernel cycle.

        Intel’s Rafael Wysocki who also serves as the Linux kernel’s power management subsystem maintainer has been queuing some patches recently in working on ACPI _CST support around the Intel-Idle driver.

      • The AppArmor Performance Impact In 70+ Benchmarks On Linux 5.5 Git

        With bisecting one of the big regressions in Linux 5.5 and finding the culprit to be an AppArmor change while using Hackbench as one of the most affected tests, I was curious to see what other workloads are impacted big by AppArmor on the current Linux 5.5 Git code. Here are 72 tests with the Threadripper 3970X on Linux 5.5 Git when toggling AppArmor.

        These New Year’s Eve benchmarks are looking at the performance of Linux 5.5 Git as of two days ago when running out-of-the-box on Ubuntu 19.10 and then booting with apparmor=0 to force AppArmor to be disabled. Thus looking at the overall cost of AppArmor on Linux 5.5 right now as opposed to just the change from the recent regression.

      • The Experimental GCN 1.0 GPU Support Might Be Dropped From AMDGPU Linux Driver

        By default the Linux kernel selects the aging Radeon DRM driver for GCN 1.0 “Southern Islands” and GCN 1.1 “Sea Islands” hardware (as well as all older ATI/AMD GPUs) while it’s GCN 1.2 and newer that defaults to the modern AMDGPU kernel driver. But for years there has been experimental GCN 1.0/1.1 support available via kernel module options, but now for the original GCN GPUs that code is at risk of being dropped.

      • Reiser5 File-System In Development – Adds Local Volumes With Parallel Scaling Out

        Well, this is a hell of a way to surprisingly end the 2010s… Reiser5. Reiser5 brings a new format to the Reiser file-system and brings some new innovations to this file-system while keeping to its controversial name.

        Edward Shishkin has continued maintaining the Reiser4 file-system over the decade for new kernel releases even with no aim for mainline inclusion. Reiser4 has continued to be maintained while the likes of Btrfs, F2FS, EXT4, XFS, and ZFS On Linux among others have continued advancing… But Shishkin has quietly been working on advancing the Reiser file-system design and today announced format 5, a.k.a. Reiser5.

      • Graphics Stack

        • DRM Names for EGL Enumerated Devices

          So it turns out that there’s an extension for getting the DRM name for an EGL queried device that seems to work on Ubuntu 19.10. With that it should be relatively easy to target an off-screen render to a particular device. (The extension allows `eglQueryDeviceStringEXT` to respond to `EGL_DRM_DEVICE_FILE_EXT`).

    • Applications

      • Scrapyard is an advanced bookmarks manager for Firefox

        Scrapyard is an open source extension for the Firefox web browser designed to improve bookmarking in Firefox in multiple ways. Firefox users may use it to bookmark pages but also content on pages, and store the data locally.

        Firefox’s default bookmarks functionality is quite basic. Users may bookmark webpages or sites, add tags to bookmarks, use folders to sort bookmarks, and use Firefox’s synchronization feature to sync bookmarks across devices.

        Firefox users who require more functionality need to rely on add-ons for that. Bookmarks Organizer is a handy extension to find dead or redirecting bookmarks.

      • 4 Best Open Source NAS Software for DIY server in 2020

        Before listing Linux or FreeBSD distros for creating network Attached storage OS, I would like to say there is no “best operating system” either for NAS or computer. The choice of an operating system depends heavily on what you are going to do with the NAS server. In this guide, we focus on software that understands a NAS server primarily as a system for the provision of data in your office or home. With the operating systems we mention in this article, you can copy data back and forth, perform backups, along with some advanced tasks (such as establishing a VPN connection or installing a mail server) including plugins to extend OS capabilities.

        Here we are about to list some best NAS solutions to help you if you are planning to data management using open-source software in 2020.

      • GnuCash 3.8

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

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

      • Clementine Music Player 1.3.9 Released for Testing (How to Install)

        Clementine, an open-source audio player inspired by Amarok 1.4, released version 1.3.9 (then 1.3.92) a few days ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu.

        Though the last version 1.3.1 was released more than 3 years ago, Clementine player is still in active development, and version 1.3.9 (as well as 1.3.92) was released in recent days as the test release. However, there’s no announcement, no change-log so far. They seem to be the development releases for the next major release.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Godot Engine – A decade in retrospective and future

        We were strong in technology, but we lacked the rest, so we decided to join the very talented and creative people from Okam to work together. As we wanted to continue using the technology we developed before (and were not interested on selling it, we wanted to make games), we made it open source and put it on GitHub.

        Things did not really go as planned though. Even though the company had a stellar take off, to the point we managed to work for companies like Square Enix, Turner, etc. and even made our own games (Dog Mendonça), the truth is that the country we live in (Argentina) is too unstable politically and economically, which made it very difficult and stressing for the company to continue operating.

      • Godot 4.0 Game Engine Aiming For Release With Vulkan In Mid-2020

        Godot lead developer Juan Linietsky provided a New Year’s Eve look at the origins of this wildly successful open-source game engine from their beginnings, the technical advancements of this open-source game engine, the big step forward with Godot 3.0, and what’s on the horizon with Godot 4.0.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • 2019: the year in review

          2019 was a massive year for KDE. I’d like tho take the opportunity to highlight some of the biggest improvements and new features that arrived in this year:

        • Latte bug fix release v0.9.7

          Latte Dock v0.9.7 has been released containing important fixes and improvements!

        • Kraft Version 0.90

          This blog is to inform that Kraft, the Qt and KDE based desktop software to manage documents like invoices and quotes in your small company was released in version 0.90 recently.

        • 36C3 Impressions

          I was given the opportunity to present our work on KDE Itinerary on the WikipakaWG stage (part of the joint presence of Wikimedia and the Open Knowledge Foundation). A big thanks for that again!

          The slides are here. At this point there is no released video recording yet, until that’s available you should still find the relive stream.

          Besides showing overall what we are doing and have built so far, and why this matters, we managed to have a few sneak preview screenshots of the latest developments that haven’t been shown anywhere before yet. Another such preview could be spotted in a presentation of another project at the event. So stay tuned for announcements in January :)

          Following that I got a large amount of input and positive feedback, people seem to like the idea of a privacy first digital travel assistant. This also lead to a number of interesting contacts for possible collaborations in 2020, let’s see what comes out of this.

          KDE at Congress

          There were only very few KDE people at 36C3, and only very few talks covering KDE projects. I did spot a very well attended talk about Linux-based mobile platforms covering Plasma Mobile by someone I didn’t know yet, so there definitely seems to be interest in KDE’s work there.

          I mainly focused on mobility or open transport data topics for KDE Itinerary, that left little time to cover other things highly relevant for KDE like free mobile platforms, environmental impact of software, Free Software in public administration, or let alone the enormous field of privacy related topics.

          I’d therefore suggest KDE to attend with a larger team next time, not necessarily with a stationary presence, but with more people to present our work and to connect with others with overlapping interests.

        • KDE’s Akademy 2019: Reaching personal and community goals

          Akademy 2019 was in several aspects significant, both for me and the KDE community. This was my second time attending Akademy, and compared to my first Akademy in 2018, I was now participating as a member of the KDE e.V., a candidate for the Board of Directors and a goal keeper for the Streamlined Onboarding goal, presenting a talk on our progress and being part of a panel discussion with the other goal keepers.

        • KDE roadmap for 2020

          Yesterday I summarized some of my favorite new features, both big and small, added to KDE’s software catalog in 2019. Today I’d like to talk about the major features and improvements I expect for 2020. Note that this is not an official planning document, it’s just what I anticipate happening and plan to push for and help implement. Without further ado…

    • Distributions

      • Kali Default Non-Root User

        For years now, Kali has inherited the default root user policy from BackTrack. As part of our evaluation of Kali tools and policies we have decided to change this and move Kali to a “traditional default non-root user” model. This change will be part of the 2020.1 release, currently scheduled for late January. However, you will notice this change in the weekly images starting now.

        The History of Default Root User

        In the beginning, there was BackTrack. In its original form, BackTrack (v1-4) was a Slackware live based distro intended to be ran from a CDROM. Yes, we do go back a ways (2006!).

        In this model, there was no real update mechanism, just a bunch of pentesting tools living in the /pentest/ directory, that you could use as part of assessments. It was the early days, so things were not very sophisticated, we were just all happy things worked. A lot of those tools back then either required root access to run or ran better when ran as root. With this operating system that would be ran from a CD, never be updated, and had a lot of tools that needed root access to run it was a simple decision to have a “everything as root” security model. It made complete sense for the time.

        As time went by however, there were a number of changes. All of us that were around back then sort of remember things a little differently but on the broad strokes we saw people were installing BackTrack on bare metal so we felt like there should be an update mechanism. Especially after walking around Defcon and noticing how many people were using a version of BackTrack that was vulnerable to a certain exploit which came out a few weeks prior. That moved us to basing BackTrack 5 off of Ubuntu instead of Slackware live (February 2011). Then as more time went by we were so busy fighting with Ubuntu that we felt like we needed to move onto something else.

        That brought us to Kali, and being an official Debian derivative.

        Modern Kali

        Our move to be a Debian derivative brought with a whole host of advantages. So many in fact its not worth reviewing them here, just look at the early Kali blog posts shortly after the launch and you will see a ton of examples. But one advantage that we never really talked to much about is the fact that we are based on Debian-Testing.

        Debian has a well earned reputation for being one of the most stable Linux distros out there. Debian-Testing is the development branch of the next version of Debian, and realistically is still more stable than many mainstream Linux distros.

        While we don’t encourage people to run Kali as their day to day operating system over the last few years more and more users have started to do so (even if they are not using it todo penetration testing full time), including some members of the Kali development team. When people do so, they obviously don’t run as default root user. With this usage over time, there is the obvious conclusion that default root user is no longer necessary and Kali will be better off moving to a more traditional security model.

      • Debian Family

        • Refracta beowulf xfce isos



          I know there are a couple of issues with the high contrast theme. (wrong icon set, one wrong launcher.)

          What else? (other than missing documentation. Don’t worry, you’ll figure it out. Release notes will come later, but they won’t be much different from the last notes.)

        • Sparky news 2019/12

          Linux kernel updated up to version 5.4.6 & 5.5-rc4

        • Jonathan McDowell: Free Software Activities for 2019

          As a reader of Planet Debian I see a bunch of updates at the start of each month about what people are up to in terms of their Free Software activities. I’m not generally active enough in the Free Software world to justify a monthly report, and this year in particular I’ve had a bunch of other life stuff going on, but I figured it might be interesting to produce a list of stuff I did over the course of 2019. I’m pleased to note it’s longer than I expected.

        • Paul Wise: FLOSS Activities December 2019
        • Chris Lamb: Free software activities in December 2019

          Software Freedom Conservancy (the fiscal sponsor for the Reproducible Builds project) have announced their fundraising season with a huge pledge to match donations from a number of illustrious individuals. If you have ever considered joining as a supporter, now would be the time to do so.


          Whilst anyone can inspect the source code of free software for malicious flaws almost all software is distributed pre-compiled to end users. The motivation behind the Reproducible Builds effort is to ensure no flaws have been introduced during this compilation process by promising identical results are always generated from a given source, thus allowing multiple third-parties to come to a consensus on whether a build was compromised.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • 10 Chinese (and Taiwanese) products and technologies that failed

          Between 2015 and 2016, there were a handful of phones and tablets running Ubuntu Touch, and the Meizu PRO 5 was one of them. There was the Meizu UX4 Ubuntu Edition before it, making the PRO 5 its second Ubuntu Touch device. The PRO 5 was also the highest-configured Ubuntu phone.

          Sadly, the phone was considered a failure due to its lack of apps and its slow performance caused by the OS even though it packed flagship specs.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • How to get started with open source in 2020

        When Opensource.com launched in 2010, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst said the site “is one of the ways in which Red Hat gives something back to the open source community.” And that community has always included the growing number of people who are new to open source.

        In 2019, we published many articles about the open source way of thinking, choosing hardware, the contribution process, and other topics geared toward newbies. If you’re new to open source, this list of Opensource.com’s top 10 articles from 2019 about getting started with open source should put you on the right path.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla VR Blog: Happy New Year from Hubs!

            As we wrap up 2019, The Hubs team says thank you to the Mozilla Mixed Reality Community for an incredible year! We’ve been looking back and we’re excited about the key milestones that we’ve hit in our mission to make private social VR readily available to the general public. At the core of what we’re doing, our team is exploring the ways that spatial computing and shared environments can improve the ways that we connect and collaborate, and thanks to the feedback and participation of our users and community as a whole, we got to spend a lot of time this year working on new features and experiments.

            Early in the year, we wanted to dive into our hypothesis that social 3D spaces could integrate into our existing platforms and tools that the team was regularly using. We launched the Hubs Discord Bot back in April, which bridged chat between the two platforms and added an optional authentication layer to restrict access to rooms created with the bot to users in a given server. Since launching the Discord bot, we’ve learned more about the behaviors and frameworks that enable healthy community development and management, and we released a series of new features that supported multiple moderators, configurable room permissions, closing rooms, and more.

          • New Year, New Rights: What to know about California’s new privacy law

            The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) expands the rights of Californians over their data. Starting in 2020, Californians have the right to know what personal information is being collected, access it, see with whom their data is being shared, and opt-out of the sale of that data.

            You might have heard of this new law in the news or in emails from companies making changes in order to comply with CCPA. It’s a step towards greater privacy, but the devil is in the details.

            CCPA is no panacea for the colossal problems caused by data collection, and Mozilla will continue to support stronger consumer protections and build products that respect your privacy.

            We are proud to say that Firefox didn’t have to change much to meet CCPA’s protections. We are in the business of staying out of your business. We tell you how with the Firefox Personal Data Promise, which is a guarantee to take less of your data, keep it safe, and have no secrets about what we do with it. It’s your data, after all.

          • Bringing California’s privacy law to all Firefox users in 2020

            2019 saw a spike of activity to protect online privacy as governments around the globe grappled with new revelations of data breaches and privacy violations. While much of the privacy action came from outside the U.S., such as the passage of Kenya’s data protection law and Europe’s enforcement of its GDPR privacy regulation, California represented a bright spot for American privacy.

            Amidst gridlock in Congress over federal privacy rules, California marched forward with its landmark privacy law, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which goes into effect on January 1, 2020. Mozilla has long been a supporter of data privacy laws that empower people — including CCPA. In fact, we were one of the few companies to endorse CCPA back in 2018 when it was before the California legislature.

            The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) expands the rights of Californians over their data – and provides avenues for the Attorney General to investigate and enforce those rights, as well as allowing Californians to sue. Californians now have the right to know what personal information is being collected, to access it, to update and correct it, to delete it, to know who their data is being shared with, and to opt-out of the sale of their data.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Happy New Year 2020

          It will be a year long celebration. To start it in the right way, four images which can be reused by LibreOffice community members to share their commitment to FOSS and to the best free office suite ever (background images are from Pixabay, and can be used without attribution). By right clicking on the images, it will be possible to download a larger version (2500 pixel wide).

      • BSD

      • FSF

        • FSF-Approved Trisquel 9.0 Reaches Development Milestone Before Ringing In The New Year

          Nearly two years after the release of Trisquel 8, the release of Trisquel 9 “Etiona” for this Free Software Foundation approved Linux distribution is quickly approaching. An alpha/development release of Trisquel 9 is available for testing.

          Trisquel 9 remains based upon Ubuntu 18.04 LTS while using the GNU Linux-libre kernel and other modifications to ensure the operating system is 100% free software to the ideals of the FSF. Of course, this means limited hardware support in some areas where binary microcode/firmware is otherwise required.

        • Christopher Allan Webber: 201X in review

          Well, this has been a big decade for me. At the close of 200X I was still very young as a programmer, had just gotten married to Morgan, had just started my job at Creative Commons, and was pretty sure everyone would figure out I was a fraud and that it would all come crashing down around me when everyone found out. (Okay, that last part is still true, but now I have more evidence I’ve gotten things done despite apparently pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes.)

          At work my boss left and I temporarily became tech lead, and we did some interesting things like kick off CC BY-SA and GPL compatibility work (which made it into the 4.0 license suite) and ran Liberated Pixel Cup (itself an interesting form of success, but I would like to spend more time talking about what the important lessons of it were… another time).

          In 2011 I started MediaGoblin as a side project, but felt like I didn’t really know what I was doing, yet people kept showing up and we were pushing out releases. Some people were even running the thing, and it felt fairly amazing. I left my job at Creative Commons in late 2012 and decided to try to make working on network freedom issues my main thing. It’s been my main thing since, and I’m glad I’ve stayed focused in that way.

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Chinese Translators Team 2019 summary
            By GNU 
            Dear GNU translators! 
            This year, the number of new translations was similar to 2018, 
            but our active teams generally tracked the changes 
            in the original articles more closely than in 2018, especially 
            in the second half of the year.  Our French, Spanish, 
            Brazilian Portuguese and ("Simplified") Chinese teams were 
            particularly good, I think that the figures for them may be 
            within the precision of my evaluations.  Unfortunately, many our 
            teams are inactive or aren't so active as desirable, and 
            few teams are re-establised. 
                  General Statistics 
            The number of translations per file in important directories 
            continued growing.  Currently it is maximum (8.79 translations 
            per original file and 8.03 translations weighted with size 
            of articles). 
            The table below shows the number and size of newly translated articles 
            and the translations that were converted to the PO format in important 
            directories (as of 2019-12-31). 
            +--team--+------new-------+----converted---+---to convert---+-&-outdated-+ 
            |  ca    |   0 (  0.0Ki)  | ^ 2 ( 91.1Ki)  |   1 (120.5Ki)  |  21 (30%)  | 
            |  de    |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |  76 (35%)  | 
            |  el    | * 1 (  6.9Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |  26 (55%)  | 
            |  es    |  24 (453.8Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  | 3.2 (1.8%) | 
            |  fi    |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |   3 (118.5Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |            | 
            |  fr    |   7 ( 57.0Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  | 0.9 (0.3%) | 
            |  hr    | * 1 (  6.9Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |  38 (55%)  | 
            |  it    |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |  38 (29%)  | 
            |  ja    | * 1 (  6.9Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |  59 (41%)  | 
            |  ko    |   0 (  0.0Ki)  | ^19 (357.1Ki)  |   2 (218.7Ki)  |  23 (53%)  | 
            |  ml    |   3 ( 68.3Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |  13 (48%)  | 
            |  ms    |   1 (  3.0Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |            | 
            |  nl    | * 1 (  6.9Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |  40 (31%)  | 
            |  pl    | % 2 ( 15.7Ki)  | ^ 4 (192.0Ki)  |   1 (181.0Ki)  |  56 (39%)  | 
            |  pt-br |  25 (275.0Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  | 0.4 (0.3%) | 
            |  ru    |  10 ( 71.3Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  | 1.9 (0.6%) | 
            |  sq    |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  | 2.2 (6.7%) | 
            |  tr    |  25 (277.7Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |  18 (66%)  | 
            |  zh-cn |  14 (305.8Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  |   0 (  0.0Ki)  | 0.4 (0.4%) | 
            |  zh-tw |   4 ( 32.0Ki)  |   7 ( 65.6Ki)  |  16 (232.6Ki)  | 4.9 (18%)  | 
            | total  | 118 (1574.5Ki) |  35 ( 824.3Ki) |  68 (1761.4Ki) | 
            & Typical number of outdated GNUNified translations throughout 
              the year. 
            The translations of a new page,
              were picked from translations of an older page by Thérèse Godefroy. 
            ^ The translations were GNUNified by Thérèse Godefroy. 
            % The files were committed back in 2017, but were technically 
              incomplete; Thérèse Godefroy filled the missing strings. 
            For the reference: 7 new articles were added, amounting to 57Ki, 
            and there were about 700 modifications in more than 100 English 
            files in important directories. 
            Most of our active teams have no old translations to GNUNify, 
            and the ("Traditional") Chinese team converted a considerable part 
            of old translations this year. 
                  Orphaned Teams, New and Reformed Teams 
            Catalan, Czech, Greek teams were orphaned due to inactivity 
            (no commits for more than 3 years). 
            Malayalam team was re-established, and now we have one more 
            translation of the Free Software Definition! 
            The situation with the Turkish team is transitional: in June, 
            T. E. Kalaycı was appointed an admin of www-tr, but the team 
            still lacks a co-ordinator, despite being one of our most active 
            teams this year. 
            In August, we installed our first Malay translation, 
            /p/stallmans-law.ms.html; however, the volunteer didn't proceed 
            with further translations. 
            Executives of two free software-related businesses independently 
            offered us help with establishing a team for Swahili translations, 
            but we failed to overcome the organizational issues. 
            A Finnish volunteer updated the few existing old translations 
            in August and September. 
            A Romanian volunteer updated a few important translations in May. 
            People also offered help with Hindi (twice), Arabic and Danish 
            translations, but didn't succeed. 
                  Changes in the Page Regeneration System 
            GNUN had no releases this year, though there are a few minor, 
            but incompatible changes, so GNUN 1.0 release is pending. 
            Happy GNU year, and thank you for your contributions! 
            (I see nothing secret in this message, so if you think it may be 
            interesting to people who are not subscribed to the list, please 
            feel free to forward it).
        • Licensing / Legal

          • REUSE Machine Readable License Information

            Some weeks ago I wrote about SPDX identifiers and how they can be used to annotate source code files with machine readable license information. In this post, now I want to compile the things I learned after looking more deeply into this topic and how it might be applied to KDE.

            SPDX identifiers are an important step in order to allow tools an automatic reading and checking of license information. However, as most norms, the SPDX specification is quite general, for many people cumbersome to read and allows many options on how to use the identifiers; while me as a developer, I just want to have a small howto that explains how I have to state my license inormation. Another point is that in my experience any source code annotation with machine readable information is pointless unless you have a tool that automatically checks the correctness. Otherwise, there is a big burden on code reviews that would have to check tiny syntactical requirements from a specification. — If you look deeply into the used license headers in KDE (I did this), there is a shocking number of different license statements that often state exactly the same. This might be due to different formatting or typos but also due to actual faults when trying to pick the correct license for a use case, which somehow got mixed up.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

      • Programming/Development

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Groovy

          Apache Groovy is a powerful, optionally typed and dynamic language, with static-typing and static compilation capabilities, for the Java platform aimed at improving developer productivity thanks to a concise, familiar and easy to learn syntax.

          It integrates seamlessly with any Java program, and immediately delivers to your application powerful features, including scripting capabilities, Domain-Specific Language authoring, runtime and compile-time meta-programming and functional programming.

          It’s both a static and dynamic language with features similar to those of Python, Ruby, Perl, and Smalltalk. It can be used as both a programming language and a scripting language for the Java Platform.

        • Java retrospective #3 – most important thing for the community in 2019

          As 2019 draws to a close, we got in touch with some prominent members of the Java community to gather their thoughts on the events of the last year. In this five part series, we will look at what they had to say. In this third part, we asked what the most important thing for the Java community was in 2019.

        • Ringing In 2020 By Clang’ing The Linux 5.5 Kernel – Benchmarks Of GCC vs. Clang Built Kernels

          The main issue encountered when Clang’ing Linux 5.3 was the AMDGPU driver running into build problems. Fortunately, that was since resolved and with Linux 5.5 tests I recently did when building the kernel with Clang 9.0, the AMDGPU driver has worked out fine. With that resolved and no new Clang kernel compatibility problems introduced, it was a pleasant experience building Linux 5.5 with Clang simply by adjusting the CC environment variable.

        • Perl / Raku

          • Communication at the 36c3 Perl and Raku Assembly

            The Chaos communication congress is the hugest convention and festival for hackers on the continent. Its part 5-9 track lecture conference, part massive parallel soldering and other workshops, part dance party and part carneval. I liked especially the one guy, just walking around while making music on it’s novation circuit – but there was so much going on – he was hardly noticeable. Because it was gigantismic. When even a small self made booth for baking dough (one of several dozens food stands) sells over a ton (literally > 1000 kg), serving > 13000 people, it earned its name: waffle operation center (WAP). But that’s the spirit and humor around here.

          • [Perl / Raku] Annual Report – 2019

            At the start of the year 2019, I made new year resolution that I will submit at least 50 Pull Request each month in the year 2019. It wasn’t easy but I was able to hold on to my resolution with the help of many CPAN authors. In the year 2020, I am going to take little easy and revert back to one Pull Request a day each month.

        • Python

          • Zephyr RTOS 2.x on Fedora: Configure the build environment

            It’s been a while since I’ve had time to play with the Zephyr RTOS project and the project has evolved greatly since so I thought I’d document the process I went through while playing with Zephyr 2.1 on Fedora using the Fedora native cross toolchains rather than the various ones suggested by the Zephyr Project docs.

            I’m going to do a couple of posts in this series to break it up a little. This first one will be getting a generic build environment setup. I’ll go into more detail on the specific devices I’m playing with but the ones I have handy are ARM Cortex-M based so that’s what I’ll be focusing on even though Zephyr RTOS supports numerous architectures.

            As before it’s worth reading the latest Zephyr Getting Started guide. This time around I’m using a AWS aarch64 a1.medium instance running a Fedora 31 cloud instance but I’ve also tested that a DigitalOcean Droplet with 2Gb RAM works with the later ZephyrRTOS releases too.

          • Making Your First GUI: Python3, Tkinter

            Writing a conversion app is a great start for anyone hoping to jump into GUI development!

            I recently completed this small piece of software for a client on CodeMentor.

            This GUI application allows you to input a number of seconds, and convert it into different units. (Minutes, Hours, & Days) The user can switch the units via a dropdown menu in the app.

          • Christmas Ornament

            One could image having an off-line translator to transform the MML text into a sequence of bytes with note number and duration. This would slightly compress the song, but would speed up processing by eliminating the overhead of parsing.

            Additionally, having 96 wave tables could speed up tone production. The tiny bit of time to recompute the sine wave at a given frequency would be eliminated. But. Memory is limited.

          • Area of sinc and jinc function lobes

            The lobes are the regions between crossings of the x-axis. For the sinc function, the lobe in the middle runs from -π to π, and for n > 0 the nth lobe runs from nπ to (n+1)π. The zeros of Bessel functions are not uniformly spaced like the zeros of the sine function, but they come up in application frequently and so it’s easy to find software to compute their locations.

          • Sorting Data With Python

            All programmers will have to write code to sort items or data at some point. Sorting can be critical to the user experience in your application, whether it’s ordering a user’s most recent activity by timestamp, or putting a list of email recipients in alphabetical order by last name. Python sorting functionality offers robust features to do basic sorting or customize ordering at a granular level.

            In this course, you’ll learn how to sort various types of data in different data structures, customize the order, and work with two different methods of sorting in Python.

          • The Python 2.7 no longer support from Python team.

            The 1st of January 2020 will mark the sunset of Python 2.7.
            It’s clear that Python 3 is more popular these days.

          • Test and Code: 97: 2019 Retrospective, 2020 Plans, and an amazing decade

            This episode is not just a look back on 2019, and a look forward to 2020.
            Also, 2019 is the end of an amazingly transofrmative decade for me, so I’m going to discuss that as well.

          • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #401 (Dec. 31, 2019)
          • Create a simple python project on Google Colaboratory

            Hello and happy 2020 to you all, in this year I will continue to write more python related articles and continue to build up this website which is not only for python programming but also other interesting topics such as game creation with Godot and other game engines, Linux and Windows related topics and online earning opportunity. In the Python part, we will start to build a few online projects using Google Colaboratory and a few offline projects using various IDEs. So let us get started immediately!

            In this article, I will create a simple python program just to familiarize myself with Google Colaboratory which is a free Jupyter notebook environment that requires no setup and runs entirely in the cloud. With Colaboratory we can write and execute code, save and share our analyses, and access powerful computing resources, all for free from our own browser. With Colaboratory, we do not need to download any extra python modules that we need in our python program, for example, numpy which will be needed to perform various mathematics jobs.

            We will create a simple python function with Google Colaboratory that will return true if the string which has been entered as a parameter into that function is a digit from 0-9 or else that function will return false.

          • Tryton News: Newsletter January 2020

            We prevent posting draft moves that were created when a statement was validated. Such moves are posted when the statement is actually posted. This ensures a coherent state between the statement and the moves.

            In every case the production cost is now allocated automatically to the outgoing moves. The allocation is based on the list price of each of the outgoing products. Any products with no list price are considered as waste and do not have a cost allocated.

            We added the list of selection criteria to the carrier. So if you duplicate a carrier, the criteria are also automatically duplicated.

            The company module now has its own menu entry and its own administrator group. This provides finer access control.

  • Leftovers

    • Final Goodbye: Recalling Influential People Who Died in 2019

      A lauded writer who brought to light stories overshadowed by prejudice. An actress and singer who helped embody the manufactured innocence of the 1950s. A self-made billionaire who rose from a childhood of Depression-era poverty and twice ran for president.

    • A Message From the New Year’s Day AKC Dog Show

      More than five thousand dogs from 21 countries are appearing in the American Kennel Club New Year’s Day 2020 dog show. Discovery Channel’s Animal Planet touts it as the largest in the country. But it’s just another trivial show on Animal Planet. Unrelated to the big environmental or economic issues of our time. Not worth a moment of our attention.

    • Evolution Now
    • Yo We Going: This Is About Shining Resiliency
    • William Greider and Secular Stagnation

      My friend, Bill Greider, died on Christmas day. Greider, who was 83, was an old-time journalist who believed that the job meant exposing the corruption of the rich and powerful, rather than becoming their friends in order to get inside stories. This meant that he was never very popular with elite types, as perhaps best evidenced by his minimal obituary at the Washington Post, where he had worked for a decade as a reporter and an editor.

    • New Year’s Message: Opportunities Come From Unexpected Places

      It’s that time again. Ever since 2008, my final post of the year has been a reflection of some sort — not necessarily on stories from the past year, but usually somewhat of an echo of what inspired me to write the original post in 2008. People had highlighted two seemingly contradictory things about me: that I was perpetually optimistic and happy about the state of innovation and future possibilities, but also that I seemed to focus so much attention and energy (some misleadingly have called it “anger”) at efforts to impede, hold back, or simply block important and useful innovations. As I’ve said repeatedly, these two things are not in conflict. It is entirely possible to be optimistic about innovation, while frustrated at those who seek to prevent it, for whatever reasons. If you’d like to look over the stories from the past, they’re all listed here: 2008: On Staying Happy2009: Creativity, Innovation And Happiness2010: From Pessimism To Optimism… And The Power Of Innovation2011: From Optimism And Innovation… To The Power To Make A Difference2012: Innovation, Optimism And Opportunity: All Coming Together To Make Real Change2013: Optimism On The Cusp Of Big Changes 2014: Change, Innovation And Optimism, Despite Challenges2015: Keep Moving Forward2016: No One Said It Would Be Easy…2017: Keep On Believing2018: Do Something Different In this past year, as the so-called “techlash” narrative has gotten even stronger, and the first major efforts to chip away at intermediary liability (FOSTA in the US and the EU Copyright Directive in the EU) have been successful, even more of the people whose views I appreciate and respect have turned from being optimistic about technology towards being pessimistic and have made some arguments about how innovation has maybe gone too far and needs to be reined in somehow. I believe that, with the benefit of hindsight, we will eventually recognize that this techlash narrative was overblown (and often pushed by those with other agendas) and we will once again recognize that innovation has the power to make everyone better off.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Dirty Air and Water Is Killing Us

        New study affirms that pollution is the world’s leading cause of death, ahead of tobacco use, drug and alcohol use, and even war.

      • Sanders Vows to Create National Clean Drinking Water Standards to End Corporate Contamination

        “Corporate greed is threatening one of the most basic necessities of life: clean water.”

      • What Happens When Sheriffs Release Violent Offenders to Avoid Paying Their Medical Bills

        Joel Tucker was booked into Alabama’s Fayette County Jail in December 2014 after being charged with the violent assault of his sister. According to court records, he punched her in the face, leaving her with a brain hemorrhage, a broken shoulder and other injuries.

        “My brother almost killed me,” said Tucker’s sister, Joycelyn Gugaria, now 53.

      • When Auto Plants Close, Opioid-Related Deaths Rise

        A study published on Monday found a shockingly strong link between declining participation in the labor force and opioid use.

      • The Family Wanted a Do Not Resuscitate Order. The Doctors Didn’t.

        Three weeks after his heart transplant, Andrey Jurtschenko still had not woken up.

        A towering figure at 6 feet, 3 inches, with salt-and-pepper hair and matching mustache, Jurtschenko — known to one and all as Andy — delighted friends and family with his seemingly endless supply of wisecracks and goofball humor. On April 5, 2018, he went into surgery at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey, for a new heart and what he hoped would be renewed energy. He dreamed of returning to his carpet business and to enjoying New York Mets games on the weekends after years of exhaustion and strain caused by congestive heart failure.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • IRS Reforms Free File Program, Drops Agreement Not to Compete With TurboTax

          Finding free online tax filing should be easier this year for millions of Americans.

          The IRS announced significant changes Monday to its deal with the tax prep software industry. Now companies are barred from hiding their free products from search engines such as Google, and a years-old prohibition on the IRS creating its own online filing system has been scrapped.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Scottish tech firm SalesAgility aims to be ‘Scottish success story’

              DALE Murray joined SalesAgility, a tech firm specialising in open source Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, in 2011 as an unpaid intern. He took over as CEO in 2017 and has expanded the firm’s flagship product, SuiteCRM, as well as its international presence.


              I AM the second CEO. I took over from the original founder in 2017. I have a passion for open source software and helping businesses. The original CEO thought he could make a difference and improve CRM software.

              When I started there were only four of us so it was a real startup feel. Ten years later the aim remains the same – to transform the CRM market.

              I started as an unpaid intern. I did a software engineering degree. I initially ran a sports club. I wanted to grow my career and I didn’t have being a CEO in my sights but I wanted to work in consultancy which led me to gain experience in a short space of time. We haven’t received any funding and the growth is all self-made.

            • Nvidia debuts Drive AGX Orin and open-sources autonomous car AI models

              Today marked the kickoff of Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference in Suzhou, China, where CEO Jensen Huang debuted a host of products and services during his keynote address. In addition to Drive AGX Orin, the latest version of the Santa Clara-based company’s software-defined solution for self-driving vehicles and robots, Nvidia announced the open-sourcing of a suite of AI models for autonomous decision-making and visual perception. Even more, it revealed a hardware collaboration with Didi Chuxing, one of the world’s largest transportation technology companies with over 550 million users and tens of millions of drivers.

            • VMware Wraps Up 2019 With Pivotal Acquisition
        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (intel-microcode and libbsd), openSUSE (chromium, LibreOffice, and spectre-meltdown-checker), and SUSE (mozilla-nspr, mozilla-nss and python-azure-agent).

          • How AI and Cybersecurity Will Intersect in 2020

            So much of the discussion about cybersecurity’s relationship with artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) revolves around how AI and ML can improve security product functionality. However, that is actually only one dimension of a much broader collision between cybersecurity and AI.

          • Best of TechBeacon 2019: Security is in the hot seat with privacy laws

            New laws such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the European Union’s General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) have put substantial pressure on organizations to bolster their security practices this year. Adding to the urgency were the near-constant reports of data breaches, an ever-evolving threat landscape, and a growing volume of attacks.

          • Google’s Kernel Runtime Security Instrumentation (KRSI) Is Something To Look Forward To In 2020

            Back in September was an initial “request for comments” by Google on some kernel work they are doing with Kernel Runtime Security Instrumentation (KRSI) for providing eBPF-powered security helpers, ultimately for creating dynamic MAC and audit policies. Just before Christmas the first official version of this new eBPF-based instrumentation was sent out and is being prepared for deployment within Google.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • ‘An Act of Mass Surveillance’: India Use of Facial Recognition Tech Against Protesters Angers Privacy Advocates
            • Tracking College Students Everywhere They Go On Campus Is The New Normal

              The latest benefit of an education at an institute of higher learning? Becoming inured to round-the-clock surveillance.

            • Consumer Data Privacy in California: 2019 Year in Review

              The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) was enacted in 2018 and goes into effect in 2020. Throughout 2019, EFF and our privacy coalition allies beat back numerous attempts by big business to block this important law before it goes into effect. We did so in the California Legislature, in Congress, and in the administrative rule-making process. We will keep doing so in 2020. In fact, we will work to make CCPA even stronger.

              CCPA gives consumers three legal rights against businesses. First, consumers have a right to know, that is, to learn what personal information a business has collected about them. This includes access to specific pieces of data. It often includes “portability,” meaning the ability to obtain the data in a usable format. It also includes disclosure of the categories of data sources, the categories of data destinations, and the purpose of collection.

            • The Fight Against Government Face Surveillance: 2019 Year in Review

              Vendors woo law enforcement with a seemingly inexhaustible flow of new spy tech. This places concerned community members, civil society, and lawmakers in a seemingly Sisyphean struggle of trying to keep up with new technological threats to privacy, and to shepard the adoption of enforceable policy to protect essential civil liberties. If 2018 was the year of communities standing together in the fight for democratic control over whether or not police may acquire surveillance technology, 2019 was the year that many of these same communities led the charge to ban government face surveillance. 

            • In 2019, We Saw Pushback Against Face Surveillance in the Skies

              While cities and municipalities made clear strides to limit the use of face surveillance technology throughout 2019, airlines and government agencies tasked with identifying travelers have spent much of the year trying to expand its use. But while the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), along with several different airlines, did launch or conclude pilot programs that tested the waters of face recognition technology on travelers this year, they also saw significant push back — and in some cases, retreated.

            • U.S. Army Follows Navy’s TikTok Ban on Government Devices

              The United States Army has followed the Navy in banning TikTok. The Army says the app represents a security threat, and the TikTok ban applies to all government-owned phones.

            • As public fears mount over online surveillance and lack of control, advertising industry gets privacy religion – sort of…

              Among the results of this survey are the following. Some 72% of Americans report feeling that all, almost all or most of what they do online or while using their mobile phone is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms or other companies; 81% think that the potential risks they face because of data collection by companies outweigh the benefits they receive; 79% of adults say they are very or somewhat concerned about how companies are using the data they collect about them. This research makes clear that the current online advertising model is simply not acceptable to the vast majority of US citizens. The same is almost certainly true in other countries. Indeed, concerns in countries like Germany, where privacy has long been of paramount importance for historical reasons, are likely to be even greater. The advertising industry is well aware of this growing discontent, and is urgently trying to head off moves to bring in legislation strengthening privacy protection, particularly in the US, which lags behind the EU in this regard.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Stocks Close Out Best Year Since 2013; S&P 500 Soars 28.9%

        Wall Street closed the books Tuesday on a blockbuster 2019 for stock investors, with the broader market delivering its best returns in six years.

      • ‘Fight Hard and Win’: In New Year’s Eve Speech, Warren Calls on Voters to Imagine a Better World

        “If you were no longer stretched to make ends meet, who would you be?  A coach? A volunteer? A parent?” Warren asked Americans. “And if you could make these changes, what opportunities would it open up, for you?”

      • Challenge for vanilla growers is hiding crops from thieves

        Mexican vanilla is currently selling for about 10,000 pesos (US $530) a kilo due to rising demand and poor weather in other countries – mainly Madagascar – that produce the world’s second most expensive spice after saffron.

        However, for vanilla growers in Papantla – a city that has been known as “the vanilla capital” and which once upon a time was dubbed “the city that perfumes the world” – the potential reward doesn’t come without considerable risk that the lucrative crop will be targeted by thieves.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • A More Perfect Union

        Our institutions are weakened now by Trump and his coterie, but we must stay strong, our democracy depends on us.

      • 10 Good Things About 2019

        Impeachment, Trump, impeachment, Trump. It’s hard to think of this year without obsessing about the occupant of the White House. But yes, there were lots of other events going on in the world this year. Some of them were tragic, like the coup in Bolivia, but some are hopeful and move us in a positive direction. Here are ten. Please add more.

      • In 2020, Ukrainians Gain Whistleblower Rights Trump Has Forsaken Here

        The attacks on Yovanovitch, the Trump/Zelensky call whistleblower, and other career civil servants willing to speak truth to power, despite the risks, represent a frontal assault by the President on norms our American democracy depend upon.

      • “Then, I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as President.” – “King” Donald Trump

        Against Donald J. Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wanted narrow impeachment charges, despite key House Committee Chairs’ arguments for broadening the impeachment charges. These veteran lawmakers, led by House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler, urged Speaker Pelosi to include the ten obstructions of justice documented in the Mueller Report. These House Committee Chairs also wanted to add a count of bribery regarding Ukraine – a stance Pelosi took herself in a November 14, 2019 press conference. She then overruled her chairs and rejected the bribery count.

      • To Distinguish Fact From Fiction in Korea, First Follow the Money

        The “masters” of the Empire of Japan, who invaded and dominated Korea for half a century, followed the “vile maxim” that is typical of the “masters of mankind,” i.e., “all for ourselves, and nothing for other people” (Adam Smith). And while a “budding elite” of talented Koreans in fields such as “commerce, industry, publishing, academia, films, literary pursuits, urban consumption” were there in the “relative openness” of the 1920s, and while they were well-equipped to lead an independent Korea, tragedy occurred, as “global depression, war, and ever-increasing Japanese repression in the 1930s destroyed much of this progress, turned many elite Koreans into collaborators, and left few options for patriots besides armed resistance” (Bruce Cumings, The Korean War: A History, 2010). Many of those who chose violent resistance went to Manchuria to fight against the Japanese colonizers, and later became leaders in the North Korean army.

      • In Trump World, Fiction Is Just as Strange as Truth

        There’s no escape from the vortex of lies and transgressions.

      • How the US Made the So-Called ‘Safe Third Countries’ Unsafe

        Despite Donald Trump’s claims, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are everything but safe.

      • As Honduras Collapses, Its People are Forced to Flee

        Honduras is collapsing. The thousands of migrants who flee every day are direct testimony to a political, economic and social crisis that the world ignores and the U. S. government seems bent on perpetuating. Instead of examining the crisis behind the exodus, the Trump administration has set an intercontinental human trapline that captures thousands of the world’s poorest and most persecuted men, women and children, and then converts their suffering into campaign fodder.

      • The Decade Republicans Hijacked American Democracy
      • 19 Things We Learned About Money in Politics in 2019

        19. The 2020 election will be expensive. By December 1, candidates for president had collectively raised $624 million according to Open Secrets. President Trump is leading with $165 million.

      • Ivanka Trump Confirmed as CES 2020 Keynote Speaker [iophk: CES jumped the shark years ago, this is just piling insult on injury]

        Ivanka Trump will join a keynote discussion on jobs and the future of work with Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Assn., which produces CES (originally known as the Consumer Electronics Show). The talk is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 7, at 2 p.m. PT in the Venetian’s Palazzo Ballroom. Trump and Shapiro will discuss “employer-led strategies to reskill workers, create apprenticeships and develop K-12 STEM education programs,” according to the CTA.

        CTA this week confirmed an earlier report that Ivanka Trump was scheduled to speak at the annual consumer-electronics trade show and conference.

      • My New Year Wishes

        1) Scottish Independence 2) Freedom for Julian Assange 3) A genuine, public inquest into the murder of Dawn Sturgess 4) Recognition of the State of Palestine 5) Genuine moves towards a paradigm shift in wealth distribution here and across the globe 6) Radical action on climate change 7) The decolonisation of the Chagos Islands

      • Palestinians Decry ICC Prosecutor’s Delay of Israeli War Crimes Investigation

        In a significant development for Israeli accountability, Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), seeks to launch an investigation into war crimes committed in Palestine. But she has established an unnecessary and politically suspect condition to slow down the process.

      • UN Researcher Hails ICC’s Pursuit of War Crimes Probe in Palestine as ‘Momentous Step’ for Accountability

        “Accountability has, until now, been largely missing in action” during Israel’s 52-year occupation, said Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk.

      • Vladimir Putin wishes Ukrainian president a happy New Year for the first time in six years

        On December 31, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke over the phone with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, the Kremlin announced.

      • Putin wishes Russians a happy New Year in ‘turbulent’ and ‘dissonant’ times

        Vladimir Putin’s annual New Year’s address to the Russian people noted that the country is “standing on the threshold of the third decade of the 21st century” in an era of contradictions.

      • The Sham of Corporate Social Responsibility

        The first step is to see corporate social responsibility for the con it is.  

      • Why I’m Still Hopeful About America with Robert Reich
      • At the Heart of the Darkness That Is Trumpian Fascism
    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • All DMCA Notices Filed Against TorrentFreak in 2019 Were Bogus

        During 2019, TorrentFreak has regularly reported on the controversial DMCA-related takedown efforts of entertainment companies and their anti-piracy partners. This year several were targeted at our own site, having been filed against us with Google. We can proudly (but sadly) report that every single one of them was completely bogus.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The ‘Me Too’ Movement’s Success Took a Decade of Work, Not Just a Hashtag. And There’s More To Do.

        What makes our work to end sexual violence different is that it speaks to the needs of all survivors and addresses sexual violence as a systemic issue.

      • How Nationalism is Transforming the Politics of the British Isles

        Nationalism in different shapes and forms is powerfully transforming the politics of the British Isles, a development that gathered pace over the last five years and culminated in the general election this month.

      • India’s Democracy is Facing an Existential Threat

        India’s Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu made a curious comment on 28 December. ‘Express dissent in a democratic way,’ he said. Before he became the Vice President – a largely symbolic role – Naidu was the President of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the far-right political organization that now governs India. Naidu made his comment in the context of nation-wide protests against an exclusionary set of laws and policies pushed by his party. These laws and policies include the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the National Population Register (NPR), and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). These laws and policies deeply discriminate against India’s 200 million Muslims.

      • India Is Teetering on the Brink of Fascism

        India’s Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu made a curious comment on 28 December. ‘Express dissent in a democratic way,’ he said. Before he became the Vice President – a largely symbolic role – Naidu was the President of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the far-right political organization that now governs India. Naidu made his comment in the context of nation-wide protests against an exclusionary set of laws and policies pushed by his party. These laws and policies include the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the National Population Register (NPR), and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). These laws and policies deeply discriminate against India’s 200 million Muslims.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Court Blocks Maine Attempt To Force Cable Providers To Sell Individual TV Channels

        For the better part of two decades, the cable industry has fought tooth and nail to prevent having to sell cable channels individually (a la carte). Historically, the cable industry’s defense of this opposition is that letting consumers buy individual channels would do two things: kill off niche channels, and raise rates on consumers. Granted you’re supposed to ignore that both things have been happening anyway. Despite streaming competition, cable rates continue to skyrocket, and cable operators themselves have been dumping less watched channels from their lineups anyway in a bid to shore up tightened margins.

    • Monopolies

      • Uber-Postmates Lawsuit Targeting New California Labor Law Decried as ‘Greedy Scheme’ Against Workers

        “Gig companies like Uber and Postmates are literally banking on the exploitation of workers who live beneath the poverty line.”

      • Copyrights

        • A Kat’s 2019 Copyright Awards

          As it has become the norm in the field of copyright, not only have courts become pivotal in defining the scope of protection but, in certain topical instances, they have also contributed to shaping materially the very foundations of protection.

          In the case of the EU, the latter has been surely the case of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Besides being my personal favourite court (and that is no secret), over the past few years the CJEU has become a cornerstone of EU copyright harmonization, and has defined such things as the scope of economic rights, exceptions and limitations, the residual freedom of Member States in areas harmonized at the EU level [see here for an article written a few years ago regarding Member States’ own freedom in the field of copyright].

          Recently, the CJEU has been asked by a few national courts questions that are even more basic and – because of this – probably more crucial than the above. They can be summed up as follows: what is needed for copyright protection to arise in the first place?

          Whilst a question like this is one that is posed in the first class of any copyright course, answering it has not proved straightforward at all (take note, students!).

          Ten years ago, the CJEU issued its seminal decision in Infopaq [Kat-anniversary post here], in which it de fact harmonized the standard of originality beyond what EU legislature had done in relation to software, databases and photographs.


          A ‘Hungry Artist’ even ate the original banana, but Cattelan’s representatives at the Galerie Perrotin explained that the artwork had not been destroyed since owners are actually allowed to replace the original banana.

          This put an end to discussions that some copyright lawyers had already started regarding potential violation of Cattelan’s VARA rights, Italian moral rights, etc, but did not conclude those concerning whether his Comedian is expressive enough to be a protectable work (is it just a great idea or is it an actual work?) ….

          Cattelan is a volcanic artist, and his latest creation reminds us once and for all why we love copyright: brilliant material to work with, endless discussions, provocative stunts, and … lots of fun.

        • Vinyl Record Sales Surpass 1.24MM Units During Christmas Week

          Billboard is reporting that vinyl record sales in the United States during Christmas week exceeded 1.24 million units, making it the biggest week for such sales since Nielsen Music began tracking them back in 1991.

        • My Favorite Albums of 2019

          Another year with more unlistenable, corporate crap. Fortunately, there’s still plenty of good music out there. Here are the albums that were on heavy rotation in my home this year.

        • Sound Grammar: the 20 Best Records of 2019

          After 50 years, my musical obsessions are pretty much solidified, some may say calcified, now. Still I try to keep an open mind. But it’s probably evidence of my increasing rigidity of spirit that I found Kim Gordon’s No Home Record an edgier and fresher recording than Lana Del Ray’s nearly universally admired Norman Fucking Rockwell. Both, in their ways, function as feminist explorations of life, such as it is, in Los Angeles during Trump-time. Del Ray’s record can be played daily for weeks at a time before it finally wears out its welcome. Gordon’s maybe twice. But that’s enough. It’s abrasive and grating and about as pissed off as most of us are–or should be at this point. You want to make sure you’ve had your tetanus shot before dropping the needle. But there’s nothing funky about either of those recordings and funk is where the heart is, mine at least. And, all things considered, it was a pretty stellar year for funk and the blues: Brittany Howard, the late Bud Welch, Raphael Saadiq, Liz Brasher, Eric Reed, some unpolished gems (Originals) from Prince’s catacombs, and a welcome blast from my favorite (relatively) new band, The Comet is Coming. I don’t know if you’ll discover anything particularly innovative here. Musically, we seem to have entered the same aesthetic doldrums that’s griping the rest of the culture. But there’s no defeatist navel-gazing or sickly songs of grievance either and some of it, like The Paranoid Style’s latest album, just kicks ass.

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DecorWhat Else is New

  1. [Meme] Divine Protection

    You won’t find Monopoly Tony (António Campinos) wearing a mask at the EPO because the rules of the Office do not apply to him

  2. António Campinos and the Alicante Clique (EPO Management, Appointed Based on Nepotism Despite Lack of Qualifications) Nowadays Exploiting Kids for PR Charades

    The sick old habit of exploiting kids for Public Relations (PR) and marketing purposes is all too common at the EPO (they’re constantly exploiting “the children” to associate criticism of the EPO with demeaning the young and innocent), but the management — which enjoys nepotism and immunity rather than relevant skills — carries on today and it’s being called “inaugural”

  3. [Meme] Snake on a Plane

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  4. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part XX — Entering Phase II

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  5. Links 24/05/2022: Fedora 37 Test Days and Tor Browser 11.0.13

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  6. Microsoft Vidal, as USPTO Director, Already Plays 'Political Cards' to Disguise and Deflect Away From the Corporate Agenda

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  7. Links 24/05/2022: WAL-G 2.0

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  8. IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 23, 2022

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  9. Unethical Advertising, Published as So-called 'Articles', in CNX Software

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  10. Links 23/05/2022: Broadcom to Buy VMware?

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  11. LibreOffice Conference 2022, As Before, Puts the Keynotes on Sale (the Rich Buy Influence, the Price Doubles)

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  12. Links 23/05/2022: Kdenlive 22.04.1 and New Alpine Linux Released

    Links for the day

  13. António Campinos Promotes Software Patents Using Buzzwords and Sketchy Loopholes With Dubious Legal Basis

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  14. [Meme] Jorgotta Be Kidding Us, Campinos!

    Monopoly Tony (António Campinos) runs the EPO by attacking the very legal basis of the EPO’s existence

  15. Unified Patent Court (UPC) Relies Too Much on Lies and Mischief Without Any Basis in Law

    Today’s video runs through the typical (weekly) lies from Team UPC — lies that are very easy to debunk; Team UPC not only drafted the thing but also looks to profit from it while misleading politicians and bribing publishers to spread intentionally misleading statements (lies)

  16. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, May 22, 2022

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  17. Links 23/05/2022: Fedora 36 Reviewed

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  18. [Meme] It's My Working Party... And I'll Cry If I Want to!

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  19. Links 22/05/2022: The 5.18 Kernel is Out

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  20. Gemini is Bigger Than Most People Care to Realise

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  21. Links 22/05/2022: Rock64 and Peppermint OS Release

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  22. [Meme] UPC is Always Next Year (and Next Year It'll Surely be the Year After That)

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  23. UPC: Turning Patent Lawyers Into Liars and the Media Into Their Money-Grabbing Megaphone (Platform for Fake News)

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  24. Number of Working/Online Gemini Capsules, Known to Totally Legit Gemini Search (TLGS) and to Lupa, Exceeds 2,500

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  25. [Meme] Monopoly Tony

    The gentlest, kindest president the EPO ever had

  26. It Took Campinos Three or More Years to Undo Illegal Battistelli Actions on Boards of Appeal and Strike Regulations (Only After Losing at ILO-AT!), But He Does Not Mention That

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  27. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, May 21, 2022

    IRC logs for Saturday, May 21, 2022

  28. Links 22/05/2022: Free Software Developments in Bratislava

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  30. EPO.org Now Openly Brags About Making Illegal Patents a Welcomed Part of the Examination Guidelines

    The EPO persists in illegal, unlawful agenda; it's even finding the audacity to advertise this in the official Web site

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