Links 5/1/2020: SuperTuxKart 1.1 and New Stuff in KDE

Posted in News Roundup at 2:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • 15 Reasons why you should switch to Linux in 2020

        You are considering buying a new desktop or laptop computer because the performance of your current system is not up to standards anymore. But you doubt about what to buy and how much money you want to spend. And you have some additional doubts because in the past you upgraded every 3 years and you ask yourself if these kind of investments are actually really necessary, while your current equipment is not broken. Did you know that Linux can bring back your old device back to life and will give you at least some years extra with your trusted companion. In this blog post I will give you 15 reasons why should consider a switch to Linux and Open Source software in 2020.

        Why you should consider Linux

        One of the reasons for the existence of this website is to give Linux and Open Source a more human face, so potential users see that the Linux platform can be greatly used for other use cases than coding and server management only. In this blog post I will therefore focus on some solid reasons why you should at least have a look at Linux in the first place and maybe consider a switch to this operating system. One important thing to keep in mind before going into those reasons is the diversity of available distributions of Linux. In essence Linux is only the raw core of the system, but the graphical desktop environments and the availability of software give in my opinion the real face to what Linux is and can offer. There are lots of Linux distributions that are very complex. Beginners and people who just want to be creative or productive and do real things with their computer, should stay away from these distros. But for example Linux Mint, Zorin OS, Ubuntu and Elementary OS, are perfect distributions for both beginners and advanced users with a focus on productivity and stability. You can’t go wrong with these Linux variants.

      • 5 Best Linux Distro for Windows users as alternatives- 2020

        As we know in the year of 2020 Microsoft most probably going to end the Windows 7 support, thus it is a time to move on, right? So, there are two options either you upgrade to Windows 10 or prepare your self to experience something new in the form of Linux Distros.

        Although you can use any Linux desktop environment which gives a familiar interface. However, it also important to see what kind of package management it uses and how many software are available for it, for example, Debian or Ubuntu with a wide range of packages.

      • The Linux Laptop King Gets Even Better: XPS 13 Developer 2020 Edition

        If we leave aside the niche hardware manufacturers like System76 and Purism, Dell is one of the few mainstream PC manufacturers that have shown some real commitment to the Linux-using crowd. With its dedicated lineup of laptops that run Ubuntu Linux out-of-the-box, it has provided a convenience of support that no other vendor has been able to offer.

        For a long time, Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition with Ubuntu has been the favorite of the open-source professionals. Its Windows counterpart, the regular XPS 13, has also been regarded as one of the best Windows laptops your money can buy. At CES 2020, the company is updating this machine with tempting upgrades that are worth checking out.

      • Dell’s Latest XPS 13 Developer Edition Runs On Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
      • Dell slathers on factor XPS 13 to reveal new shiny with… ooh… a 0.1 inch bigger screen

        Dell is kicking off 2020 with a significant refresh of its XPS 13 laptops, including the Ubuntu-powered XPS 13 Developer Edition.

      • Dell XPS 13, XPS 13 Developer Edition Laptops Launched Ahead Of CES 2020

        The updated version of Dell’s popular XPS 13 laptop has been launched just ahead of CES 2013. Dell XPS 13 happens to be one of the company’s most popular laptops of all time. The updated version of Dell XPS 13 bears the model number 9300 and features a bigger display with a 16:10 aspect ratio this time around. Now, it flaunts even slimmer bezels than its predecessor, among other things. We take a look at what the refreshed Dell XPS 13 line-up is all about.

        In terms of the design, the XPS 13 still retains some of the key elements. For example, the design and build are made up of metal and glass. However, the trackpad and of course, keyboard have become slightly bigger. Powering the Dell XPS 13 is Intel’s 10th generation processor under the hood. It’s the same CPU that also powers Samsung’s Galaxy Book Flex Alpha 2-in-1 convertible PC, which will be available to purchase in the first half of 2020. In addition to the XPS 13, Dell also launched the XPS 13 Developer Edition, which runs the latest build of Ubuntu.

      • Dell launches XPS 13 Developer Edition with Ice Lake, Fingerprint Reader

        The newly overhauled Dell XPS 13 uses the same core materials, carbon fiber, CNC-machined aluminum, and woven glass fiber, as does its predecessors, however, it is lighter and thinner now. Unlike current-generation XPS 13s that use Intel’s 10th-generation ‘Comet Lake’ CPUs, Dell’s latest offering uses the “Ice Lake” CPU, a 10nm chip that includes Iris Plus Graphics.


        Along with the updated “Ice Lake” CPU, the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition comes with Ubuntu 18.04 preloaded and is available with up to 32GB of RAM and fingerprint-reader support. However, the fingerprint-reader support will post-launch via an update.

      • CES 2020: Dell Announces 2020 XPS 13 Developer Edition With Upto 32GB RAM

        Dell mentions that the new XPS 13 Developer Edition will be first made available in the US, Canada and Europe at a starting price of US $1,199.99 (Rs. 86,000 approx). The particular variant will offer i5-based processor with 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, an FHD display and with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS preloaded.

        Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition (2020) Features

        Dell has designed a new display for the latest XPS 13. The ultra sleek notebook boasts the first-ever 4-sided InfinityEdge display, which is touted to be virtually borderless. The new screen features a 16:10 aspect ratio (up from 16:9 on the prior gen) for a better real-estate for multimedia streaming and productivity tasks. The new XPS 13 also offers larger keycaps, and trackpad within a form factor which is claimed to be smaller and thinner than the previous generation XPS 13 models.

        Dell also mentioned that the much-awaited fingerprint-reader support will not be available at launch. The security feature will first offered as an OTA (over-the-air) update and then as part of the preloaded image.

      • Gadgets Weekly: Vivo S1 Pro, Mi Watch Color and more

        It is coming with 4K Ultra HD+ (3840 x 2400) display and also, XPS 13 DE, for the first time, sports a 4-sided InfinityEdge display. Additionally, the new display features a 16:10 aspect ratio, up from 16:9 seen in the previous generation model.

        Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition will be powered by 10th Gen Intel Core 10nm mobile processors, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS OS, and supports up to 3x faster wireless with Killer AX1650 built on Intel WiFi 6 Chipset.

        As far as the storage and RAM is concerned, consumers can beef up the configuration up to 2TB PCIe SSD and for the very first time, Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition series will support up to 32GB and also boast fingerprint reader support (driver initially available via OTA update).

        Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition will be available in February (initial Windows configs will be available on January 7). It will be released initially in the US, Canada and Europe and start at US $1,199.99 (this represents an i5-based Developer Edition with 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, an FHD display and with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS preloaded).

      • Dell’s Upcoming XPS 13 Linux Laptop Includes a Fingerprint Reader

        Dell’s lead on Project Sputnik developer systems, Barton George, also blogged about Dell’s new 86-inch 4K interactive touch monitor, as well as their upcoming Latitude 9510 notebook and 2-in-1 laptops, promising “a new ultra-premium class of products” offering 5G mobile broadband capabilities, AI-based productivity capabilities, and 30-plus hours of battery life.

    • Server

      • A Hyperconvergence Progress Report: Has Kubernetes Stolen the Show?
      • VMware Widens Its Kubernetes Embrace
      • IBM

        • Interview with Red Hat, five-times winner at the Technology Product Awards 2019

          Red Hat was something of a serial winner at the Technology Product Awards 2019, taking home five of the coveted gongs: Best Business Storage Product, Best Digital Transformation Product or Service, Infrastructure Product of the Year, Best Cloud Computing Provider and Technology Innovator of the Year. We talked about the company’s success with SVP and general manager, EMEA, Werner Knoblich.

          “Winning awards is always great but getting five in one night, in one country, is a big endorsement that we must be doing something right,” said Knoblich. “It’s a great motivational push to the teams, and the company as a whole.”

          The Technology Product Awards featured hundreds of strong entries from companies of all sizes – so what made Red Hat’s different? For Knoblich, it’s all about open source.

          “What made the award entries stand out is the depth and breadth of Red Hat’s product portfolio – it’s interconnected, fully integrated and works together consistently.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • GNU World Order 334

        The **ap** software series, starting with the **a2ps** package, containing some useful and some obscure PostScript utils.

      • SMLR 319: Happy GNU Year

        Tony Bemus, Tom Lawrence, Phil Porada and Jay LaCroix

    • Kernel Space

      • AMD’s Trusted Execution Environment Is Coming With Linux 5.6

        Last week I wrote about the AMD Secure Processor support for Linux 5.6 being queued as part of the cryptography subsystyem work with supporting the PSP / Secure Processor of Raven Ridge APUs. That AMD Secure Processor support is now rounded out with the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) driver being queued for wiring into that subsystem.

        Added this Saturday morning to the crypto queue for Linux 5.6 was the AMD-TEE driver, complementing last week’s queuing of the CCP support and PSP related bits for Raven Ridge APUs. The Trusted Execution Environment subsystem has been around in the mainline kernel for several years now for Arm SoCs and this new driver extends the support to the AMD processors with their Secure Processor built off Arm TrustZone.

      • Linux Kernel Developers and Commits Dropped in 2019

        Phoronix reports that on New Year’s Day, the Linux kernel’s Git source tree showed 27,852,148 lines of code, divided among 66,492 files (including docs, Kconfig files, user-space utilities in-tree, etc).

      • Torvalds’ Comments On Linux Scheduler Woes: “Pure Garbage”

        As you may recall a few days ago there was the information on the Linux kernel scheduler causing issues for Google Stadia game developers. The scheduler was to blame and in particular Linux’s spinlocks. Linus Torvalds has now commented on the matter.

        In a mailing list discussion on the reported Linux kernel troubles, Linus Torvalds wrote, “The whole post seems to be just wrong, and is measuring something completely different than what the author thinks and claims it is measuring. First off, spinlocks can only be used if you actually know you’re not being scheduled while using them…It basically reads the time before releasing the lock, and then it reads it after acquiring the lock again, and claims that the time difference is the time when no lock was held. Which is just inane and pointless and completely wrong. That’s pure garbage.”

      • Linux 5.5 Lands Fix For The AppArmor Performance Regression

        Linux 5.5 as of this morning should have one less performance regression in tow if you are running on Debian/Ubuntu or otherwise having AppArmor enabled.

        The Linux 5.5 bisected regression back around Christmas is now resolved as of last night’s Git code for Linux 5.5.

        With this set of AppArmor fixes is a change to only get a label reference if the fast path check fails. That in turn fixes the Linux 5.5 AppArmor performance regression.

    • Applications

      • Best Gamepad Mapping Apps for Linux

        If you like to play games on Linux with a gamepad instead of a typical keyboard and mouse input system, there are some useful apps for you. Many PC games come without controller support out of the box, mainly because of the nature and the genre of the game. For instance, strategy games require you to micro manage resources and often contain a lot of UI elements and tooltips. Controller support in such cases is the last thing developers would like to add. However, even though the game may not support gamepads, it is possible to add controller support unofficially. This article will list some apps that allow you to remap key bindings to a game controller as well as remap existing gamepad mappings.

      • GIMP and GEGL in 2019

        2019 was the second year in a row where we shipped updates with new features in the stable branch. Our assumption was that this could change the public’s perception of the ongoing development efforts and shift the balance towards having more contributors. Here is why.

        Between 2012 and 2018 (v2.8 and v2.10 releases respectively), we worked hard and added a ton of improvements and new features, we demoed them on social networks, mentioned them in annual reports etc., and yet we kept hearing how GIMP was dead because those changes were not in any stable releases. The same thing was happening before in the four years between v2.6 and v2.8.

      • GIMP 2.99.x Development Releases Likely Starting Soon For GIMP 3.0

        It’s 2020 and GIMP remains one of the last holdouts for a major software application still relying upon the GTK2 tool-kit even with GTK4 potentially coming around the end of the calendar year. Fortunately, at least, the GIMP 2.99.x development releases on the path to the GTK3-based GIMP 3.0 should be starting up soon.

        The GIMP project put out their 2019 recap this weekend highlighting some of their advancements for the past year. Among the achievements have been greater usability of this open-source image editor, various tooling improvements, significant performance improvements throughout, a variety of file format handling improvements, new filters, and more.

      • Scrcpy on openSUSE | Display and Control Android devices over USB

        Every once in a while, I am in the position where I am tethering my computer to my phone and lazy me doesn’t like to interface with the phone when my fingers are on a real keyboard. I can’t say exactly why I am so anti-mobile at times but it’s just how it is sometimes.

        I was introduced to this application called Scrcpy which I think look like “screen copy” so that is how I verbally communicate it.


        If nothing else, this is a fun application to play with, even for the novelty of it. The only thing I can say that I wish it would do is be able to view the Android screen without turning on the backlight.

        This is only just a few highlights of this really cool application. What are the use cases for this? I can see many, really. I am not a huge fan of the phone interface. I prefer typing on a real keyboard. I have a tendency to leave my phone in another room on a charger. I am able to check mobile apps only from my computer as opposed to directly handling the phone. Another use case would be to record the screen for the purpose of a demonstration. I suppose the limitations of this is bound by the limitations of your own imagination.

      • Shotcut 19.12.31

        Shotcut is a free, open source, cross-platform video editor for Windows, Mac and Linux. Major features include support for a wide range of formats; no import required meaning native timeline editing; Blackmagic Design support for input and preview monitoring; and resolution support to 4k.

      • HandBrake 1.3.1

        HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows. Handbrake can process most common multimedia files and any DVD or BluRay sources that do not contain any kind of copy protection.

      • Radeon Software for Linux 19.50 Quietly Released For Newest Enterprise-Focused Driver Support

        When navigating the AMD.com driver downloads area the Radeon Software for Linux 19.30 driver is still referred to, which was released back on 5 November. That 19.30 driver series has been around for a while and we’ve been waiting for the 19.50 series driver to match their recent Windows driver update. It turns out there is a Radeon Software for Linux 19.50 driver that is public albeit not widely advertised.

        A Phoronix reader managed to stumble upon the 19.50 driver page for Linux. The 19.50 Linux highlights are simply RHEL 8.1 and RHEL 7.7 support along with support for the CentOS 8.1/7.7 builds too. Plus support for the Radeon RX 5500 XT series. That’s it as far as official changes are mentioned for this Linux driver package consisting of both the “PRO” and “All-Open” driver options.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • SuperTuxKart 1.1 released

        As previously stated, we have started the process to dual license STK to MPLv2 or any later version, and therefore we have started contacting the previous contributors as stated on https://supertuxkart.net/STK_Dual_licensing (see previous blogpost for more details on dual-licensing).

      • SuperTuxKart 1.1 Released With Better Online Play, UI Enhancements, New Arena

        For those looking for some family-friendly, open-source gaming fun this weekend, SuperTuxKart 1.1 has been released as the Mario Kart inspired cross-platform racing game.

        SuperTuxKart brings better online multiplayer handling, user interface improvements, the new “Pumpkin Park” arena, better mobile support, the ability to display emojis, and various other features. On the networking/Internet side is IPv6 support, AI support for local networking servers, various lag issues resolved, and other improvements.

      • SuperTuxKart 1.1 Officially Released (Ubuntu PPA)

        3D kart racing game SuperTuxKart 1.1 was finally released today after one RC release.

        Compared to the previous RC release, SuperTuxKart 1.1 adds ability to change the touchscreen controller type in race paused dialog.

      • Slay the Spire’s fourth character to be released on January 14

        Slay the Spire, a fantastic deck-builder roguelike that’s one of my personal favourites released last year is finally getting the fourth character out.

        The fourth character, The Watcher, has been available to test in the Beta on Steam since September last year as Mega Crit Games wanted to get it right. They announced today on Steam that it will finally be in the stable build on January 14.

        Not exactly easy to unlock as you need to have first unlocked the third character, plus beat an Act III boss which together can take a little while. When you do get The Watcher, prepare to learn a whole new way to play. Just like the other three, they have an very different style and set of cards.


        I’m hoping once this new character Beta is over, they can get the other Beta for an upgraded version of LibGDX out into the stable build as it vastly improves the fullscreen behaviour on Linux.

      • Grave Days brings fast-paced survival rogue-lite action to the Zombie Apocalypse

        You can try out the super early demo on itch.io and I definitely like what they’re doing, a more casual survival-action approach could be a pretty good hook for a Zombie setting like this. Streets of Rogue but Zombie Apocalypse? Sure why not, sounds like fun. It already has plenty there that makes it seem like it could be a good game when further developed.

      • Electronic Arts Swings Banhammer At Battlefield V Linux Gamers, Labels Them Cheaters

        Electronic Arts’ Battlefield V has been rife with controversy ever since it launched, but a new uproar is brewing, and it has to do with the Linux community. But you may ask, what the heck does Battlefield V have to do with Linux, as it is a Windows-only game? Well, therein lays the controversy.

        Some Linux gamers are so adamant about playing Battlefield V on their systems that they are using WINE in conjunction with DXVK to run the game in an emulated mode. DXVC in essence enhances WINE to further improve DirectX performance and compatibility. But this same trickery used to run Battlefield V on Linux systems has run afoul with Electronic Arts’ anti-cheat protocols enabled for the game.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: late holiday presents

          Most KDE contributors are still recovering from their holiday vacations, but nevertheless the first of my 2020 predictions has been fulfilled: KIO now makes remote locations available to non-KDE apps using FUSE mounts! This brings us to full feature parity with GNOME’s GVFS system and makes it painless to interact with files in remote locations using apps like LibreOffice, Blender, and VLC. Full support will be shipped to users with the Dolphin 20.04 release.


          If you’ve got artistic talent, rev up your digital paintbrushes and try your hand at getting your work seen by millions of Plasma LTS users for years to come in our wallpaper competition: https://community.kde.org/KDE_Visual_Design_Group/Plasma_5.18_Wallpaper_Competition!

          More generally, have a look at https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved and find out more ways to help be part of a project that really matters. Each contributor makes a huge difference in KDE; you are not a number or a cog in a machine! You don’t have to already be a programmer, either. I wasn’t when I got started. Try it, you’ll like it! We don’t bite!

        • KDE Kicks Off 2020 With Landing New Feature Work

          While New Year’s festivities lightened the development activity this past week, KDE developers still managed to accomplish a fair amount this first week of January.

          KDE developer Nate Graham has continued into 2020 with his excellent weekly summaries on KDE development. This past week some of the items that landed consisted of:

          - KIO now exposes remote locations via FUSE mounts so that non-KDE applications can access the data. This will improve the experience for popular applications like VLC, Blender, and LibreOffice wanting to access remote locations and brings KIO to feature parity with GNOME GVFS.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME Shell 3.35.3 Released With NVIDIA Driver Offloading, Fixes To Shell + Mutter

          GNOME Shell 3.35.3 and Mutter 3.35.3 were released today as part of the next development step on the path towards GNOME 3.36 coming out in March.

          Notable with the GNOME Shell 3.35.3 release is the NVIDIA multi-GPU handling support for its switcheroo control to allow launching applications on the secondary GPU / offloaded. This switcheroo control has worked out elegantly for the open-source GPU drivers and now the proper environment variables are passed for dealing with the NVIDIA proprietary driver.

    • Distributions

      • Big Distro

        I like to read GNU/Linux hobbyist forums from time to time. Partially to keep up with all the changes that are constantly happening within the lovely world of Free Software, but mostly because I’m just very excited about GNU/Linux. It is quite possibly the world’s biggest international collaborative effort, and that’s just mind-bogglingly cool—the idea that people from all over the world come together to make this amazing tool for everyone to freely use. And it works! Most of the time, anyway.

      • 22+ Best Lightweight Linux Operating Systems In 2020

        Let’s have a quick look into the list of some of the best lightweight Linux operating system for your old computers or laptop.

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora program update: 2020-01

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora this week. Welcome to 2020!

          I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

      • Debian Family

        • KubeCon NA 2019 Talk Resources

          At KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2019, I co-presented “Weighing a Cloud: Measuring Your Kubernetes Clusters” with Han Kang. Here’s some links and resources related to my talk, for your reference.

        • Debian support for libxcrypt

          glibc 2.29-7 and libxcrypt 1:4.4.10-10 today entered Debian testing: crypt(3) and the other related library functions in libcrypt from now on will be provided by libxcrypt instead of glibc.

          After 18 months of packaging work, Debian finally supports modern password hashing methods like yescrypt: the details about them are documented in crypt(5).

        • Jonathan Carter: Free Software Activities (2019-12)

          A lot has happened in Debian recently, I wrote separate blog entries about that but haven’t had the focus to finish them up, maybe I’ll do that later this month. In the meantime, here are some uploads I’ve done during the month of December…

        • My Debian Activities in December 2019

          This month I accepted 450 packages and rejected 61. The overall number of packages that got accepted was 481.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Huawei OpenEuler operating system source code is live

        On 19th September 2019, at Shanghai, Huawei announced that it is developing its own OS, EulerOS. Xiaomi further claimed that the server of this operating system will become open source.

        Hou Jinlong, Huawei Cloud & AI products and services president revealed that Huawei is partnering with companies like Red Flag and Wuhan Shenzhidu in order to prepare its open source community.

        Apart from this, Hou Jinlong also announced that Huawei’s database GaussDB will also be open source and it will be online from online before 30th June 2020 onwards. He said right now, GaussDB currently covers 70% of enterprise business data.


        If you are a developer yourself, then we would suggest you check out the below-mentioned repository inks. These links will redirect to obtain relevant code and documents for reference, learn, understand and download Huawei openEuler operating system source code.

      • TT2020: an old-timey typewriter typeface that doesn’t look fake

        The example he shows from The Irishman is similarly egregious. Doesn’t anyone in Hollywood own a real typewriter?

        TT2020 comes in a variety of weights and styles to emulate specific reproduction environments. It’s open-source, too, with technical notes to enjoy.

      • We Need to Talk About Apache Camel

        The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) oversaw 339 projects in 2019 — with a robust community of over 3,000 committers tweaking a huge 59,309,787 lines of code.

        The most active project, by commits, was Apache Camel — a tool designed to allow enterprise developers to integrate a huge range of applications.

        Apache Camel lacks the brand recognition of fellow ASF projects Hadoop, Kafka, or Spark; all widely used by well-known businesses, many of which have build critical components of their architecture on such open source software.

      • Why 2019 was the year of Linux and open-source software
      • GitLab Open Sources Monitoring Tools

        GitLab has decided to make its monitoring and observability tools available as part of its core open source platform to help reduce the total cost of DevOps. Previously, the tools were available as part of the commercial tools in GitLab’s DevOps platform.

      • Pulse SMS application goes fully open source

        After initially being released back in November 2016 the small development team behind the excellent Pulse SMS have this week announced that the Android version of Pulse is now open source. “The Android version joins the ever-expanding list of open-source contributions for the app. Most of the other platforms have already been open source for years, including: the web app, the iOS app, the desktop apps, the Chrome apps, and the Tizen OS app.” Developer Luke Klinker explains more about the move to open source.

        “I have been developing Pulse by my self since its initial release. I am so proud of where the app is at and what I have been able to do with it. My development work and ownership of the project obviously doesn’t stop here! The move to open source is simply the next step in the growth of the project.

      • Events

        • The best software engineering conferences of 2020

          As a developer, you expect to get practical, technical content when you go to a conference, but you also want to network with other engineers in your field—​hopefully people who are dealing with some of the same challenges as you. You want to get up to speed on the latest trends, from quality-driven development to DevOps transformations. And if you’re like most of your peers, expo halls are a lower priority.

          Fortunately, most software engineering conferences focus on the technology more than the vendors. That makes developer conferences a great place not just to broaden your technical horizons, but to expand your other technical roles.

          Here is TechBeacon’s shortlist of the most popular software engineering conferences in 2020. We’ve listed them all, although not all dates, locations, and pricing were available at publication time, especially for those events taking place later in the year.

        • Events in 2020 (first half)

          January conf.kde.in where I’ll give a few talks and a workshop, I think. Also, time to hang out with the cool Plasma Mobile developers and some young Plasma developers.
          February FOSDEM. This is on the edge of February, but still counts for that month. There’s a FreeBSD dev-thing going on, and then the main event.
          March .. nothing yet! But I have in my mind I want to visit the Open Source community in Medellin, Colombia.
          April FOSS-North in Gothenburg, for my third time. A great conference with good community vibes.
          May .. nothing yet! Isn’t there a PIM thing around this time? I feel I should go to a PIM thing again.
          June .. nothing yet! Maybe I should organize a Calamares sprint with the folks from Manjaro and Netrunner and Arcolinux, in Aachen or so.
          July non-KDE stuff, I’ll be at the European Championships Rubik’s Cubing in Almere, in some not-actually-cubing-because-I-can’t role.

        • Planning

          For foss-north, my aim is to do at least one themed event, much like the cancelled foss-north Iot and Security Day planned for October last year. This event will be in the Øresund region or in Stockholm. Feel free to reach out to me if you want to help out.

          On a 12 month time frame, I have some professional goals. I’m working with Mbition together with an amazing group of people. We are building a platform for future in-car software. There my goal is to be more focused in what I’m doing – to do more of what I do well better, and less of what I do badly.

          Kuro Studio is also in an interesting phase, having a couple of start-ups underway and a constructive partnership in an interesting phase. Again, my personal goal here is to focus more.


          When looking at a longer time-frame than a year, the goals become fuzzier. This might seem like speculation, but I embrace the fuzziness and use them to prioritize my short-term goal. If I run into something that seems fun, I map it to my long term goals to determine if I should do it or not.

          On this time scale, I’d like for foss-north and foss-gbg, I want them to be more independent of me as an individual. To create more a role based setup and stable economical environment (currently the margins are super slim). If I can enjoy a foss-north conference as a visitor in 2030, I’ve achieved this.

          For my Mbition work, I want us to reach multiple releases. The reason for the automotive industry to take on more responsibility for software is to increase the reusability. That is why it is key for Mbition to do multiple releases. Then we have proven that our existence makes sense.

          For Kuro Studio, we want to continue doing start-ups, more partnerships, building a larger team, meeting more people, and doing more awesome stuff. Getting Kuro properly off the ground is very high on my list of priorities.

          Another professional goal I have is to speak more at conferences and speak more about how open source is the way to do software. Transparency is the only way to ensure proper quality, maintainability, and trust – and what better way than open source is there to be transparent.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Syncthing

            I did a lot of reading and exploring over my holiday break. One of the things I’m most excited about is finding Syncthing. If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look. It’s like and open-source decentralized Dropbox.

            It works everywhere, which for me means Linux and Android. Google Drive famously has no official Linux client which is a big PITA. Even the install on my ARM-based raspberry pi was simple.

          • Syncthing and Open Source Data Collection

            I don’t see many open source packages collecting telemetry, so when Syncthing asked me to opt-in to telemetry I was intrigued.

            I see a lot of similarities between how Syncthing and Firefox collects data. Both collect daily pings and make it easy to view the data you’re submitting (in Firefox, go to about:telemetry to see your pings).

          • TenFourFox FPR18 available (and the classic MacOS hits Y2K20)

            TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 18 final is now available for testing (downloads, hashes, release notes). There are no other changes from the beta other than to update the usual certs and such. As usual, assuming no late-breaking critical bugs, it will become final Monday evening Pacific time.

      • Funding

        • Can Tech Startups Have An Open Source Business Strategy?
        • Together with the community, we’ve given away more than €100,000 for important causes

          We’re happy to announce that the 2019 Lifetime account auction has raised over €30,000. Proton will match these contributions for a total donation of over €60,000 to three organizations working to build a more equitable, free, and sustainable world: NetBlocks, 350.org, and the Web Foundation’s Women’s Rights Online project.

          This is the second year of our charity auction. Between this year’s fundraiser, the 2018 Proton Lifetime auction, and our matching contributions, we have now contributed over €100,000 for important causes that align with our mission. The three causes we are supporting this year will receive €20,000 each in the coming weeks.

      • FSF

        • 7 game-changing moments for open source technologies in 2019

          The founder of “Free Software” stepped away from his role at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and from his Presidency of the Free Software Foundation in September, although not from the GNU software project it would seem. Both GNU and the FSF were founded by him. The exit was the result of an inappropriate contribution to an MIT e-mail thread relating to disgraced Jeffrey Epstein’s funding of MIT and inappropriate sexual relationships with underage girls.

          Stallman stated on his website: “I am resigning effective immediately from my position in CSAIL at MIT. I am doing this due to pressure on MIT and me over a series of misunderstandings and mischaracterizations.”

          The Free Software Foundation website states: “The board will be conducting a search for a new president, beginning immediately. Further details of the search will be published on fsf.org.” But, nothing further has been added to their website since September 2019.

      • Public Services/Government

        • Open-Source Software in Federal Procurements: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Part 1 – The Good

          Open-source code is all the rage. With developers at Fortune 500 companies and hobbyists alike using it to make better products and cut development costs, it is ubiquitous in the commercial market, and government contractors are catching the buzz. Faced with ever-evolving software regulations, though, they need facts before dealing with a federal buyer. In this short blog series, we will walk through the key benefits, drawbacks, and risks associated with use of open-source code in government contracting, especially at the federal level. Indeed, when it comes to the use of open-source software, all contractors should be aware of the “good,” the “bad,” and the “ugly.”


          More recently, however, this has changed as many of the open-source licenses no longer require publication of derivative code. This has helped open-source expand beyond its original reach, since companies and individuals can use open-source code to jumpstart projects while still monetizing that development. The move away from full collaboration on open-source projects means the government’s concerns about publication of its own software are no longer an issue (in most cases) and, thus, the government can begin to take advantage of the lower cost and faster development that open-source allows. While contractors still have to prove that the open-source licenses they use do not run counter to law or policy goals, the latest iteration of open-source development should steer clear of any major hurdles, and both the contractors and the government can take full advantage of open-source’s benefits.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • OSINT journalism goes mainstream

          It used to be the domain of intelligence agencies, but in 2020, more journalists will use the power of digital open sources for journalism. Open source intelligence (OSINT) used for journalism builds on a wide range of digital sources deriving from new camera technology and internet services.

          An OSINT investigation is not one single method to get at truth, but rather a combination of creative and critical thinking to navigate digital sources on the web. Satellite imagery, social media, databases of wind, weather, and vessel movement — you name it. All of these datasets can all be combined to recreate an environment of the past in order to better understand what happened at a specific place and point in time. What started out as a nerdy effort by amateurs such as Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat, is set to upend investigative journalism in the digital age.

        • The science and the art of open-source journalism

          From Xinjiang, China to Douma, Syria – how challenging stories are being reported using tools of open-source journalism.

        • Open Data

          • Piggybacking on open source and open data

            Elections and electoral results occupy a key slot among the events that animate our regular coverage. From ground reportage to data-based analyses, The Hindu strives to bring to its readers all the features of what is probably the most vibrant aspect of India’s electoral democracy.

            Today, thanks to the Election Commission’s website, finding out the rural-urban difference in voter choice and the regional break-up of the mandate and obtaining minute-by-minute coverage of the electoral results is possible due to advanced data visualisation tools. Most TV channels depend on third-party agencies to provide them regular updates from polling booths for their live coverage of election results, but newspaper websites rely extensively on EC data. This method is slower than the updates given by agencies, but it is more thorough and accurate.

            The print edition is the best place to provide context and analyses of electoral results. For example, geographical analyses of the recent Jharkhand results using Census data showed that it was not just traditional weakness in rural areas or lack of adequate tribal support that put paid to the ruling BJP’s hope of retaining power, but an urban backlash too.

            The creation of both live and static electoral maps is not an altogether difficult exercise for a software coder, but it is a steep learning curve for a political journalist, whose job is to interpret the data and present conclusions. When I first wanted to present electoral data in a readable constituency map format nearly eight years ago, there were many technical hurdles. Downloading live electoral data from the EC website required knowledge of web scraping tools. Visualising this information in the form of both static and live electoral maps required a familiarity with web GIS tools. There was also the additional and seemingly insurmountable problem of having no shapefiles (map contours) for newly delimited constituencies. The EC had provided shapefiles for seats before the delimitation exercise in 2009, but there was no non-proprietary shapefile available for the post-2009 constituency boundaries.

        • Open Access/Content

          • New Open-Source System Developed to Manage and Share Complex Datasets
          • Simplifying how scientists share data

            Data is often at the heart of science – researchers track velocities, measure light coming from stars, analyze heart rates and cholesterol levels and scan the human brain for electrical impulses.

            But often, sharing that data with other scientists – or with peer-reviewed journal editors, or funders – is difficult. The software might be proprietary, and prohibitively expensive to purchase. It might take years of training for a person to be able to manage and understand the software. Or the company that created the software might have gone out of business.

            A research team has developed an open-source data-management system that the scientists hope will solve all of those problems. The researchers outlined their system today in the journal PLOS ONE.


            The Ohio State University team, in collaboration with Professor Thomas Vosegaard at the University of Aarhus in Denmark, and Dr. Dominique Massiot at the University of Orléans in France, built software that can run on a Mac or PC. They uploaded it to the web and made the code open-source (meaning anyone can look at it, use it, and download it for free.) The publication in PLOS ONE is intentional: The journal is also available to anyone, free of charge.

            And, the researchers hope, the system could be a simple, free way to combine multiple types of data into one place.

            “We study multiple datasets as scientists – and as a scientist myself, I’d like to be able to get the data from all those files and put them together in a way that I can work with,” said Deepansh Srivastava, a postdoctoral researcher in Grandinetti’s group.

      • Programming/Development

        • Explore This 3D World Rendered In ASCII Art

          Pixelated RPGs are pretty standard in games like Legend of Zelda and Pokemon, but have you ever seen anything like ASCIICKER? It’s a full-color three-dimensional world rendered with ASCII art and playable in your browser.

          For the time being, the game exists as an experiment. There’s no storyline or goals other than exploring the world, although you can meet up with (or follow) others exploring the game — although all of the sprites look the same, so it may be difficult to have interactions. The game was created by [Gumix] and built entirely in JavaScript without using any other game engines.

        • A-Frame 1.0 Release Adds WebXR and AR Mode

          A-Frame, a web framework for building Virtual and Augmented Reality experiences on the web, recently reached the A-Frame 1.0 release with support for the WebXR specification and an AR mode for browsers which support ARCore and ARKit.

          Under development for the past few years, WebXR is a web specification for both virtual and augmented reality on the web. As is the case with many new web standards, HTTPS is required to leverage WebXR.

        • Android Chrome Browsers Get More WebXR Support via Open Source Platform A-Frame & ARCore

          While Apple and Google have paved the way for developers to create web-based AR experiences through their respective mobile toolkits, an open source option has entered the space.

          On Wednesday, A-Frame gained support for the WebXR standard on version 79 of Chrome browsers for ARCore-compatible Android devices. This enables developers to publish AR content via HTTPS (hypertext transfer protocol secure) websites.

        • 7 Ways NOT to manage your remote team

          Building a remote development team presents unique challenges. Trying to build a cross-functional team, full of various personalities, virtually can lead to communication disasters. Fortunately, through planning, smart hiring, training, and communication, project leaders can build and lead virtual development teams successfully.

          The demand for remote teams continues to grow. The increased demand for software developers and new communication technology has removed the barriers of geography. Even with these advancements, disparate team members from different backgrounds may find it challenging to learn how to interact with one another.

          It’s easy for misunderstandings and miscommunications to occur. It’s becoming more and more critical to rethink collaboration in a work environment growing increasingly more remote. As a result, project leaders must rethink the needs of teams spread out across the globe.

        • DevOps is a solution to burnout worth investing in

          Not a day goes by that I don’t see a tweet or hear somebody talking about burnout. Burnout is becoming a pervasive part of our lives, especially in tech and open source communities. In What you need to know about burnout in open source communities, I defined burnout and explored its causes, symptoms, and potential treatments. But a better question is about prevention: How do we change the underlying processes, cultures, and tools to prevent burnout from occurring in the first place?


          There is no magic bullet to resolve burnout; it requires having the right people, processes, and tools. The people help create an environment of psychological safety where people are free to ask questions, experiment, make mistakes, and be creative. Think about what is most important to your organization, and invest in the right tools to support those goals and the people working towards them.

        • Hello world

          Let’s say you ask your programming language to do the simplest possible task: print out “hello world”. Generally this takes two syscalls: write and exit. The following assembly program is the ideal Linux x86_64 program for this purpose. A perfect compiler would emit this hello world program for any language.

        • They said the war was over…

          The thing is, I don’t use R out of some blind brand loyalty but because I don’t like working hard. Every time I’m faced with a problem, I try to figure out how I can solve that problem in a stable way with the least amount of effort; for most of the problems I face, R is the right tool. This is partially an accident of training – I know R very well at this point, so it’s usually the most efficient way for me to solve a problem – but it’s also because of core language features that don’t really exist in Python.

          Overall I think there are four main features of the core R language that are essential to my work. These are things that are present in R, that I haven’t found to be available or accessible in any other single language, and that make R the best choice for my work:

          1. Native data science structures
          2. Non-standard evaluation
          3. Packaging consensus (The glory of CRAN)
          4. Functional programming

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

          Magit is designed as an interface to the version control system Git, implemented as an Emacs package. According to the team, while it is not a “complete Git porcelain,” it is complete enough to allow Git users to perform daily version control tasks directly from Emacs.

          “A major advantage Magit has over Git on the command line is that nearly everything you see in a Magit buffer can be acted on. Hiding and showing a section is just on example of that,” the developers of Magit wrote in a post that explains the software.

          Magit makes it easy to stage and later commit only some changes, while leaving other changes in the working tree to be committed separately, the team said. After the user presses “s,” the buffer updates automatically and the cursor is moved to the next hunk.

        • Secure Your Network: How to Integrate EDR and DevOps

          EDR solutions are based on machine learning technologies that generate actions based on analytics information provided by sources/endpoints. EDR tools integration with the DevOps toolchain takes automation in process execution at much further level to track security breaches in run time and hunt down vulnerabilities within code before the application goes live. Additionally, it has seen that endpoint devices are more significantly emerged in generating security incidences. It has become imperative for DevOps teams to look after endpoint protection.

        • 6 Advantages of Using Appium Mobile Testing

          It is an open source: This is one of the biggest benefits of this type of testing. It is an open source which allows which supports real devices, hybrid and many web applications etc. it allows the developers to clear their doubts relating to its use whenever they want.

        • Perl / Raku

          • podlators 4.14

            podlators provides the Pod::Man and Pod::Text conversion modules for Perl. This release is a minor bug-fix release, mostly correcting a test suite problem with old versions of Pod::Simple. The user-visible change is to document that parse_lines and parse_string_document expect raw bytes, not decoded characters.

            The other change in this release is internal. I finally finished refactoring the test suite, so now all parts of the test suite use separate snippet files and modern coding style, so it should be more maintainable in the future.

        • Python

          • How to install the IDLE Python IDE on Ubuntu Desktop 19.10

            If you’re a Python programmer, chances are good you do much of your work for the Linux environment. Because of that, you have plenty of tools to make your daily grind less grindy and more productive. One such tool is the IDLE Python IDE.

          • Getting started with Python

            Since it’s the start of the New Year. I thought of writing a tutorial. For anyone interested to learn Python to start their journey to get a job with it or automate your tasks.

          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccix) stackoverflow python report
          • A List of Free Python Books

            So, when I set out to learn the Python programming language in the last days of 2018, I started looking for good books. I googled, browsed Reddit, checked major Python sites, and came out with a list Python books, including several free ebooks. I shared the list of free books to Reddit as I thought it may help others. Not only was the list a huge hit, some users suggested more great books.

          • Python 3.7.5 : Testing cryptography python package – part 001.

            There are many python packets that present themselves as useful encryption and decryption solutions. I recommend before you test them, use them and spend time with them to focus on the correct study of cryptology because many disadvantages and problems can arise in the correct and safe writing of the source code.
            Today I will show you a simple example with cryptography python package.

          • MIScnn: A Python Framework for Medical Image Segmentation with Convolutional Neural Networks and Deep Learning

            The increased need for automatic medical image segmentation has been created due to the enormous usage of modern medical imaging in technology. Despite this large need, the current medical image segmentation platforms do not provide required functionalities for the plain setup of medical image segmentation pipelines. Therefore this paper introduces the open-source Python library MIScnn.

            MIScnn is an opensource framework with intuitive APIs allowing the fast setup of medical image segmentation pipelines with Convolutional Neural Network and DeepLearning models in just a few lines of code. The objective of MIScnn according to paper is to provide a framework API that can be allowing the fast building of medical image segmentation pipelines including data I/O, preprocessing, data augmentation, patch-wise analysis, metrics, a library with state-of-the-art deep learning models and model utilization like training, prediction, as well as fully automatic evaluation (e.g. cross-validation).

          • Programming language Python 2.7 code is now frozen: Last release coming in April
      • PHP

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Lanner Electronics announces participation in Open Compute Project

        Lanner Electronics, a provider of customizable SDN and NFV network appliances and uCPE/vCPE Whitebox Solutions, announced its participation as Community Member of the Open Compute Project (OCP), an open consortium aiming to design and enable the delivery of the most efficient server, storage, and data center hardware for scalable computing. Lanner continues to play a role in industry forums, such as the Telecom Council and OCP, contributing Lanner’s expertise in developing carrier-grade network platforms for 5G Cloud-RAN, Mobile Edge Computing, and Hyper Converged Infrastructure.

      • WiFi 6E Opens Up WiFi To 6GHz Operation

        WiFi 6E has all of the features of last year’s WiFi 6 specification but opens it up for devices operating on a 6GHz band. WiFi at 6GHz should offer better performance and lower latency, pending regulatory approvals for utilizing this additional (currently unlicensed) spectrum.

      • Haivision-led SRT Alliance Adds Alibaba Cloud, Internet Initiative Japan, Kiswe, Red5 Pro as Members

        The SRT Alliance, supporting the SRT Open Source Project, has gained Alibaba Cloud, Internet Initiative Japan, Kiswe, and Red5 Pro as new members, showing their support of the cross-industry adoption of the SRT (Secure Reliable Transport) Open Source protocol and technology. This brings the total number of SRT Alliance members to more than 300 companies.

  • Leftovers

    • A Tale of Two Murals

      No one on Berlin’s main eastbound traffic artery could miss one of the two murals, five stories high, 2745 square feet in area, in shiny bright, red, green, yellow and blue colors up to the gabled rooftop of an older, isolated apartment building. A first glance sees an Indian village in Nicaragua with red-roofed huts, dogs, a spotted hog, chickens amidst beautiful tropical trees, flowers and birds in a jolly rural setting.

    • Eric Davin’s “Strike Pageant” Chronicles the Paterson Silk Strike of 1913

      The saga of the Paterson, New Jersey, silk strike of 1913 was a glittering item of lore in American labor history — even before the actual strike of thousands of hard-pressed textile workers, across five months, ended in defeat.

    • CES chief defends invite for Ivanka Trump

      He declined, however, to say if her appearance had been his organisation’s idea or if the White House had requested the address.

    • Across the Balkans: Serbia and Its Discontents

      An account of a journey from Croatia to Kosovo, by way of Bosnia-Hercegovina and Serbia, and with a detour into Montenegro. This is part VII of a series.

    • Decolonizing the Western Worldview: Interview with Cherokee activist/scholar, Randy Woodley

      Kollbri terre Sonnenblume: The book that I’m working on starts from Jared Diamond’s thesis that agriculture could be called a wrong turn for the human race. But looking at the Americas, you can see that there were cultures that did not get into agriculture, so there’s still examples there, not only of ways of doing things but ways of thinking about the world and ways of relating to the world that have been lost to Western Civilization for many many centuries.

    • Science

      • Ken Thompson: Moscow adventures

        1/4/2020 – In the early 1980s, FREDERIC FRIEDEL spent a week in Moscow with Unix pioneer Ken Thompson, who was supposed to demonstrate his computer chess world champion machine Belle to the Soviet Chess Federation, and to former World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik, who was developing a rival strategy in chess programming. Unfortunately Thompson’s computer did not arrive with him in Moscow. But in spite of this, the trip turned out to be quite an adventure.


        In the early 1980s, Ken, who has given the world the operating system Unix and the computer language C — both still going strong — had revolutionized computer chess by building a hardware-based chess playing program. It was called “Belle” and its development is described in my first article of this series: Ken — an introduction in three syllables. The Soviet Union, at the time still alive and kicking, had for decades dominated chess. They had all the strongest players (except for Bobby Fischer), whom the state maintained using the latest research technology — teams of grandmasters, libraries of books and a huge “kartotek” I actually saw and have described. They had also started dabbling in computer chess, and their brute force program Kaissa had won the first World Computer Chess Championship, in 1974. The title was subsequently taken from them, in 1977, by a giant American mainframe program, Chess 4.6, which in turn was defeated in 1980 by Ken’s Belle. I have traced the ascent of Belle.

        The Soviets were troubled by this development, and were looking for alternatives. The great World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik, an electrical engineer, was trying to find a way of managing the Soviet economy using artificial intelligence. With a team of computer scientists Botvinnik designed a highly selective chess program that used general principles of chess to drastically restrict the search.

      • Bringing artificial intelligence and MIT to middle school classrooms

        In the age of Alexa, YouTube recommendations, and Spotify playlists, artificial intelligence has become a way of life, improving marketing and advertising, e-commerce, and more. But what are the ethical implications of technology that collects and learns personal information? How should society navigate these issues and shape the future?

        A new curriculum designed for middle school students aims to help them understand just that at an early age, as they grow up surrounded by the technology. The open-source educational material, designed by an MIT team and piloted at this year’s Massachusetts STEM Week this past fall, teaches students how AI systems are designed, how they can be used to influence the public — and also how to use them to be successful in jobs of the future.

        During Mass STEM Week in October, middle schools across the commonwealth replaced their regular curriculum with an immersive week of hands-on learning led by a team including Cynthia Breazeal, associate professor of media arts and sciences at MIT; Randi Williams ’18, graduate research assistant in the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab; and the nonprofit organization i2 Learning.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Do you smoke? Then you can’t work for U-Haul in these states

        U-Haul said it will stop hiring people who use nicotine in the 21 states where companies are allowed to consider tobacco use when making hiring decisions.

        The company has 30,000 employees in the United States and Canada. The policy will not apply to current employees who may smoke or use nicotine in some other manner. And the new rule won’t apply to job applicants in most states.

        But 21 states allow an employer to decline to hire someone based on their nicotine use, according to the company, and it will implement the policy in those states as of February 1.

      • Bloody Harvest—How Everyone Ignored the Crime of the Century

        Incredibly, the Final Judgement has received minimal press coverage, despite the magnitude of the crimes described and the prestige of the Tribunal’s panel. The chair was Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, a barrister for forty-eight years and a judge for thirty-four. This was the man who led the prosecution of Serbian president Slobodan Milošević at the United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. The panel also included human rights lawyers from the United States, Iran, and Malaysia, and a thoracic transplant specialist of several decades’ standing.


        One reason could be that the international community has already made up its mind about this issue. The Transplantation Society and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have both stated that criticism of the Chinese human transplant system is unwarranted,22 and as the Tribunal’s Judgement admits, many separate governments and international organisations have also expressed their doubts concerning the allegations.23 There are exceptions—the governments of Israel, Spain, Italy, and Taiwan have now banned citizens from travelling to China for transplant surgery—but it has been far more common to raise a sceptical eyebrow at the reports.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • 5 technology trends for the roaring 20s, part 1: Blockchain, cloud, open source

          In other words, open-source is winning, in databases and beyond. There are some very good reasons why this is happening: low barrier to entry, community, innovation, interoperability. But the fact that open source is becoming the norm in enterprise software has side effects, too. To put it simply: AWS is eating open-source software because it can.

          Following customer demand, AWS has, over the last few years, added every single top open=source database to its arsenal as a managed service. This is a rather complicated issue, which we first touched on in May 2019. We are glad to see it been taken up by the likes of The New York Times, and the debate around the issue is heating up.

        • What the Death of iTunes Says About Our Digital Habits

          One of the great cultural events of the 2010s was the slow abandonment and ultimate death of iTunes. By the time the software was euthanized earlier this year, it had become an embarrassment, a mess of greasy preference panes and grayed-out, unreliable content. We were glad to see it go.

        • How Iran’s [Attackers] Might Strike Back After Soleimani’s Assassination [iophk: Windows TCO]

          The most likely form of cyberattack to expect from Iran will be the one it has launched repeatedly against its neighbors in recent years: so-called wiper malware designed to destroy as many computers as possible inside target networks. Iran has used wipers like Shamoon and Stone Drill to inflict waves of disruption across neighboring countries in the Middle East, starting with an attack in 2012 that destroyed 30,000 Saudi Aramco computers. In 2014, Iranian hackers hit the Las Vegas Sands corporation with a wiper after owner Sheldon Adelson suggested a nuclear strike against the country. More recently, Iran’s hackers have hit private-sector targets in neighboring Gulf states like the UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait, as well as Saipem, an Italian oil firm for whom Saudi Aramco is a major customer.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Mono

              • Introducing geewallet [Ed: Microsoft Mono makes a comeback in Planet GNOME today]

                Version of geewallet has just been published to the snap store! You can install it by looking for its name in the store or by installing it from the command line with `snap install geewallet`. It features a very simplistic and minimalistic UI/UX. Nothing very fancy, especially because it has a single codebase that targets many (potential) platforms, e.g. you can also find it in the Android App Store.

                What was my motivation to create geewallet in the first place, around 2 years ago? Well, I was very excited about the “global computing platform” that Ethereum was promising. At the time, I thought it would be like the best replacement of Namecoin: decentralised naming system, but not just focusing on this aspect, but just bringing Turing-completeness so that you can build whatever you want on top of it, not just a key-value store. So then, I got ahold of some ethers to play with the platform. But by then, I didn’t find any wallet that I liked, especially when considering security. Most people were copy+pasting their private keys into a website (!) called MyEtherWallet. Not only this idea was terrifying (since you had to trust not just the security skills of the sysadmin who was in charge of the domain&server, but also that the developers of the software don’t turn rogue…), it was even worse than that, it was worse than using a normal hot wallet. And what I wanted was actually a cold wallet, a wallet that could run in an offline device, to make sure hacking it would be impossible (not faraday-cage-impossible, but reasonably impossible).

                So there I did it, I created my own wallet.

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

        • Security

          • Hardware: Open-Source Silicon Root of Trust (RoT)

            Secure systems are built on secure infrastructure, and to build a secure infrastructure, it is important that there is trust in the firmware used in the system.

            Root of Trust (RoT) is trust placed in the system boot process that core elements of the system are secure. During the boot process, a system can validate the authenticity and machine state. This approach avoids rootkit and bootkit hacking attacks. Increasingly, to prevent hacking of the core system, system boot up instructions are moved into the firmware of hardware to ensure that it can’t be modified, a technique known as silicon root of trust.

            Silicon RoT can be used in network cards, motherboards, routers, and IoT devices. HPE has developed a proprietary silicon Root of Trust that it is adding to its servers.

            In late 2019, Google introduced OpenTitan, an open-source project that provides the blueprint for a silicon root of trust, a plan designed to avoid vendor lock-in.

          • Election Security At The Chip Level

            Technological advances have changed every facet of our lives, from reading to driving to cooking, but one task remains firmly rooted in 20th-century technology — voting.

            Electronic voting remains doggedly unavailable to most, and almost always unusable to those who have it. For more than a decade, it seems every election is accompanied by numerous reports of voting machine problems. The most common issue involves machines changing votes. It has happened in numerous states, and even to Ellen Swenson, chief analyst for the Election Integrity Project, a non-partisan California group seeking to preserve election integrity. It’s not easy when two separate voting machines in Riverside County, where Swenson resides, recorded incorrect votes.

            At least that machine worked. “So many have said they’ve gone to polls and the machines break down. That’s another thing that hurt the subject. There were so many broken machines across [Los Angeles] County in 2018 and none were fixed, so LA had to use paper ballots,” she said.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Indian Adventures: Policing, Facial Recognition and Targeting Privacy

              The chances for those seeking a world of solitude are rapidly run out. A good case can be made that this has already happened. Aldous Huxley’s Savage, made famous in Brave New World, is out of options, having lost to the Mustapha Monds of the world. State and corporate regulation of life, surveillance and monitoring, are reviled only in the breach. And, like Mond, we are told that it is all for the better.

            • This Conversation Between A Passenger And An Airline Should Absolutely Terrify You

              A conversation between a passenger and an airline has gone viral, largely because people find it intensely creepy.

              MacKenzie Fegan went to the airport last week. As with normal flights, she was expecting at some point to present her boarding card in order to get on her plane. However, she found all she had to do was look at a camera, and at no point was asked for her pass.

              As convenient as that sounds, she had questions, which she put to the airline, JetBlue, in a now-viral thread.

              Fegan had several pressing follow-up questions, such as “how” and “who exactly has my face on record?”.

            • Social media surveillance leads to two Bismarck drug arrests, including man who calls himself ‘Baby Chapo’

              A police affidavit filed in the case states that Tapia-Nelson — who refers to himself as Baby Chapo in reference to a Mexican drug cartel leader — and DeMarrias display drugs, weapons and cash in Snapchat videos. Images in some of the videos indicate that the drugs are for sale, the affidavit says.

            • Becoming Less Reliant on Google: Location, Browser, Search

              One of my new year’s resolutions is to be less reliant on Google by this time next year. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, I’m sure many others do as well once we realize what’s involved and why those services are free. However it requires time, maybe in some cases money, and most of all a loss of functionality because there’s no denying Google builds great stuff.

            • Why Are You Publicly Sharing Your Child’s DNA Information?

              A few years ago, Angela Evans decided she wanted to test the DNA of her 10-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son. She was interested in knowing whether they had a mutation of the MTHFR gene, as she does. The mutation is linked to a number of disorders — women with the mutation may have a higher risk of having babies with defects like spina bifida — and Ms. Evans wanted to make life changes for her children based on the results.

              When doctors told her they didn’t think there was a medical need to test her children, she decided to use 23andMe, the direct-to-customer genetic testing company.

              To use 23andMe’s services, the user simply sends in a saliva sample. Within five weeks the company returns the results, without the mediation of a doctor or genetic counselor.

              Along with finding out that both her children had a mutation of the MTHFR gene, she also received 23andMe’s analysis of her children’s genetic susceptibility to a number of adult-onset diseases, including Parkinson’s. Ms. Evans shared the results with her children, family members and friends.
              Then she uploaded their DNA data to MyHeritage and GEDmatch hoping to learn more about the family’s genealogy. Sites like GEDmatch and others are “open-source databases” on which people freely share their DNA online, usually in the hopes of finding long-lost relatives.

            • Nila Bala: Why are you publicly sharing your child’s DNA information?
            • Indian Army has a warning for its officers on using WhatsApp, Facebook: All you need to know

              In yet another military directive to prevent the “leaking” of classified information, Navy has banned the use of Facebook for all its personnel. The stern directive also asks them not to carry smartphones into bases and dockyards as well as on board warships. The order directed the “ban on use of Facebook by all naval personnel and ban on use of smartphones within naval bases/establishments/dockyards/onboard warships” with immediate effect. “Additional safeguards, including bans on messaging apps, networking, blogging, content-sharing, hosting and e-commerce sites, are under promulgation.” it added.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Spirit of the Emancipation Proclamation is Under Attack Again

        Wednesday, Jan. 1, began the new year. It also marked the anniversary of a new America.

      • He Could Have Been a Contender

        I saw Julián Castro “up close and personal” at a home reception in New Hampshire last July. He had just turned in his first debate performance, at which he upstaged much of the field – especially Beto O’Rourke – with a fine-tuned policy proposal on immigration, as well as an energetic stage presence.

      • “We Won’t Look Back to the 1970s”, or, Why Blairites Must Never be Allowed to Regain Control of Labour

        Copied below is the full text of an article written by Tony Blair on March 31, 1997, “We won’t look- back to the 1970s”. The article was written in the run-up to the 1997 General Election and was intended to counter Tory smears that Labour would return the country to the 1970s – an era of militant trade union struggle.

      • The Dangers of Privatized Intelligence

        In a scathing piece about Russiagate, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern recently recalled a statement made in 1981 by then-CIA Director William Casey during the first meeting of President Ronald Reagan’s Cabinet. Casey told this gathering, “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” [1]

      • What We Have In Common Now Is the Struggle for Our Humanity

        I don’t know when it happened that I became entirely at odds with “progressive values.” I guess it is my deepening understanding that progressive values are not revolutionary, and in fact are a stall tactic against revolutionary values for people who cannot or will not think so deeply into our social, political, and ecological predicament. At any rate, when I see a yard sign or someone wearing a T-shirt that proclaims: “In our America, All people are equal, Love wins, Black Lives Matter, Immigrants and refugees are welcome, Disabilities are respected, Women are in charge of their bodies, People and the planet are valued over profit, Diversity is celebrated,” my response is visceral. I know I am in the presence of a kind of liberal fundamentalism as ominous as the rightwing kind. As my friend Ed, a Presbyterian minister says about bumper stickers of either persuasion, the “fuck you” is implicit.

      • Media Leave Yang Out of Candidate Conversations

        The Democratic primary field may be narrowing, but Andrew Yang still can’t get the media’s attention. According to the New York Times (12/19/19), which breaks down the debates by speaking minutes, Yang, polling at fifth of the seven participating candidates, with an average of 3.5%, came in last in the December debate at 10 minutes, 56 seconds; that’s nearly a minute less than Tom Steyer (polling at 1.5%), and far below centrism poster child Amy Klobuchar, who is neck-and-neck with Yang in polls but clocked a whopping 19 minutes and 53 seconds.

      • The Deadly Perils of Religious Nationalism

        The deadly nexus of religion and nationalism has left a trail of violence and bloodshed in history. In the 16th and the early 17th centuries, religious nationalism pitted Catholics against Protestants. In recent times it has Jews and Muslims, Sunnis and Shiites, Hindus and Muslims, battling on opposite sides. The conflicts have worsened with struggles for power and claims on natural resources.

      • Twitter won’t delete misleading Biden clip implying white nationalism

        Twitter on Friday confirmed that it will not delete a misleading video clip of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden that appeared to show Biden espousing white nationalist talking points, a post that went viral on the platform this week.

        The selectively edited clip of Biden, which spotlighted the former vice president saying U.S. culture “is not imported from some African nation,” drew tens of thousands of retweets and likes as some Republicans and critics accused Biden of racism or acting like the “alt-right.”

        The clip has reinvigorated conversations around how deceptively edited videos, shared without any disclaimers, could sow discord during this contentious presidential election season.

      • Mike Bloomberg has spent nearly $15 million to be in your Google search results

        The 77-year-old former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is running for president, on a centrist-friendly platform that’s mainly premised on beating incumbent Donald Trump. What makes Bloomberg’s campaign stand out, however, isn’t his positions: it’s how much he’s spending to get his message out. Google “impeachment,” for example, and you’ll probably get an ad at the top of the page that promotes Bloomberg’s campaign. Same goes for “climate change” and “gun safety.” It’s all over the place, but it does guarantee the eyeballs of people who are searching for answers related to ongoing political conversations brought up in the race.

        And those ads aren’t cheap. [...]

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Appeals Court Reopens Michael Jackson Child Sexual Assault Lawsuits

        A California appeals court has reopened a pair of lawsuits filed by the two men who accused Michael Jackson of child sexual abuse in the documentary Leaving Neverland.

      • “Wanton Acts Of Destruction”: India After Vandalism At Gurdwara In Pakistan

        India has strongly condemned the mob violence at Gurdwara Nankana Sahib in Pakistan on Friday evening after reports emerged that hundreds of angry people surrounded the iconic gurdwara and threw stones, with devotees inside. Nankana Sahib is the birth place of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.

      • In Lahore, domestic violence claims life of another teenage maid

        The father of the deceased filed a complaint against the employers Dr Humera and her husband Junaid for allegedly torturing his daughter to death.

      • Man accused of abusing stepdaughter with broomstick over religious beliefs

        Moussaid, who faces the possibility of five years in prison if convicted, is prohibited from having contact with the girl, court documents show. They do not list an attorney for him.

      • Some People Who Actually Didn’t Suck In 2019

        I love holiday traditions, dearest motherfuckers, and every year since I started this blog several years ago, I’ve welcomed in the new year by compiling a short list of the few people on this goddess forsaken rock who actually managed the small miracle of not sucking, or at least not sucking much, this year. Naturally, it’s usually a pretty weird fucking list because, generally speaking, you have to be pretty fucking weird to earn the respect of a pretty fucking weird ass bitch like me. This year is no exception. It’s a regular rogues gallery of contrarian fire-starters and Molotov chucking iconoclasts like myself. You won’t like all of em. Hell, I don’t even like all of em. But if I’ve done my job right, and you’re not a total fucking asshole, you’ll at least respect them begrudgingly. So here’s a dastardly dozen (give or take) dearest motherfuckers who actually don’t suck. With one telltale finger in the air, I solute them.

      • Letting our Values out of Their Cage

        My God, they put Jesus and his parents in cages, as though that’s what U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents would do — you know, keep the spirit of love and compassion from entering the United States of America.

      • Building the revolution’s memory: Coders archive Lebanon’s protests

        Late on a smoggy Friday afternoon Dec. 13, three friends sat huddled around a laptop at Raseef coffeeshop in the Hamra neighborhood of Beirut. On Twitter, many Lebanese users urged people to head down to Martyrs’ Square to protest over the weekend. Thousands did, with state security forces tear gassing and shooting rubber bullets at demonstrators, who posted videos of the confrontations online.

        With each day of the mass anti-government demonstrations that have swept Lebanon for the past 12 weeks, protesters are adding a new page to the country’s history books. To ensure their activism is not lost or distorted by the passage of time, a handful of tech-savvy citizens are working to preserve and archive materials associated with the demonstrations through open-source online projects.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Fireside Chat with USPTO Director Iancu [Ed: Incestuous relationship between Iancu and the litigation giants. Like peace officers having “fireside chat” with Lockheed Martin...]

          The Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago (IPLAC) Corporate Committee will be hosting a fireside chat with U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director Andrei Iancu on January 16, 2020 from 12:00 to 1:00 pm (CT) at Google’s offices Chicago, IL. The fireside chat, which will focus on topics related to fostering innovation, diversity, and entrepreneurship, will be moderated by Sylvia Chen of Google.

        • Software Patents

      • Trademarks

      • Copyrights

        • OMI IN A HELLCAT: Selling Drugs to Making “$200K a Day” From Pirate IPTV

          The unusual case of the founder of ‘pirate’ IPTV service Gears TV/Reloaded has taken yet another bizarre twist with a full-on confession during a new interview. After moving away from selling drugs, OMI IN A HELLCAT says he switched to selling modded Firesticks and his pirate IPTV product, ultimately making up to $200,000 per day.

        • NFL Targets VPN Sites that ‘Promote’ Illegal Streaming

          Several takedown notices, reportedly sent on behalf of the NFL, are asking Google to remove VPN-related URLs. According to a recent request, these sites promote the use of VPN services “to illegally stream NFL games.” While many of the pages show how VPNs can bypass geographical restrictions, Google has left most URLs in its search results.

        • Speaking in my capacity as a professional dystopian cyberpunk writer, I’m here to tell you that that shit is a warning, not a suggestion.

          Glucose monitors and insulin pumps are, effectively, prostheses: artificial organs that are basically parts of your body. Abbott’s position is that they own part of your body and you can only use it in ways that don’t upset their shareholders. This is an outrageous position. I mean, forget all the bullshit about whether your blood is copyrighted and if so, by whom — they’re saying that your organs are copyrighted works whose usage is subject to the whims of a white-shoe law firm that is prepared to delete your code and send you a bowel-looseningly terrifying legal threat any time you dare to assert your bodily autonomy.

        • [Old] Patching LibreLink for Libre2 – clearing the FUD

          Last week, I posted a link to a github page on Facebook and Twitter, providing details of how to patch the LibreLink app on Android to allow it to present the output it produces to other apps for display. That link is: [...]

          Following that announcement. there have been multiple questions about what it does, how it works and whether it is legal. Here I hope to answer many of those questions and reduce the FUD that’s being spread in relation to this product, given how it competes with existing third party add-ons that are already on the market.

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