09.05.20

The Fellowship’s Future Relationship With FSFE

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software at 7:09 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from the Free Software Fellowship

Below is an email that has been distributed to the FSFE community today. FSFE aims to be an open organization and people are welcome to discuss it through the main discussion group (thread) whether you are a member or not.

fsfellowship image


Dear FSFE Community,

I’m writing to you today as one of your elected fellowship representatives rather than to convey my own views, which you may have already encountered in my blog or mailing list discussions.

The recent meeting of the General Assembly (GA) decided that the annual elections will be abolished but this change has not yet been ratified in the constitution.

Personally, I support an overhaul of FSFE’s democratic processes and the bulk of the reasons for this change are quite valid. One of the reasons proposed for the change, the suggestion that the election was a popularity contest, is an argument I don’t agree with: the same argument could be used to abolish elections anywhere.

One point that came up in discussions about the elections is that people don’t need to wait for the elections to be considered for GA membership. Matthias Kirschner, our president, has emphasized this to me personally as well, he looks at each new request with an open mind and forwards it to all of the GA for discussion. According to our constitution, anybody can write to the president at any time and request to join the GA. In practice, the president and the existing GA members will probably need to have seen some of your activities in one of the FSFE teams or local groups before accepting you as a member. I want to encourage people to become familiar with the GA membership process and discuss it within their teams and local groups and think about whether you or anybody you know may be a good candidate.

According to the minutes of the last GA meeting, several new members were already accepted this way in the last year. It is particularly important for the organization to increase diversity in the GA at this time.

The response rate for the last fellowship election was lower than in previous years and there is also concern that emails don’t reach everybody thanks to spam filters or the Google Promotions tab (if you use gmail). If you had problems receiving emails about the last election, please consider sharing that feedback on the discussion list.

Understanding where the organization will go beyond the extinction of the fellowship representative is critical. The Identity review process, is actively looking at these questions. Please contact FSFE if you wish to participate and look out for updates about this process in emails and Planet FSFE. FSFE will be at FOSDEM this weekend if you want to speak to them personally.

I’ll be at FOSDEM this weekend and would welcome the opportunity to meet with you personally. I will be visiting many different parts of FOSDEM at different times, including the FSFE booth, the Debian booth, the real-time lounge (K-building) and the Real-Time Communications (RTC) dev-room on Sunday, where I’m giving a talk. Many other members of the FSFE community will also be present, if you don’t know where to start, simply come to the FSFE booth. The next European event I visit after FOSDEM will potentially be OSCAL in Tirana, it is in May and I would highly recommend this event for anybody who doesn’t regularly travel to events outside their own region.

Changing the world begins with the change we make ourselves. If you only do one thing for free software this year and you are not sure what it is going to be, then I would recommend this: visit an event that you never visited before, in a city or country you never visited before. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a free software or IT event. In 2017 I attended OSCAL in Tirana and the Digital-Born Media Carnival in Kotor for the first time. You can ask FSFE to send you some free stickers and posters to give to the new friends you meet on your travels. Change starts with each of us doing something new or different and I hope our paths may cross in one of these places.

Stop Calling the FSFE “Free Software Foundation” (There’s No Direct Connection)

Posted in Deception, Europe, FSF at 7:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Link to full video (8:55 until 10:34)

Summary: This new video worryingly enough confuses/mistakes FSF for FSFE; in reality, they’re in dispute with one another because the FSFE just exploits the name

THE above video was recommended to us by figosdev, who watched it the other day (and we agree the video has lots of good stuff in it). The above segment worried me somewhat and it also reminded me why the FSF was sort of feuding over trademarks, seeing that the FSFE merely exploits the good work of the FSF (the GNU Project, GPL etc.) to raise over a million euros from Europeans who think their money would be well spent supporting Free software.

“The matter of fact is, FSFE and FSF are totally separate entities and only the FSFE benefits from the perceived association.”The FSFE is very good… at taking credit for other people’s accomplishments. And at raising money from Microsoft. Werner Koch (PGP) wrote back in March regarding Daniel Pocock: “Back then Daniel was an elected representative for the FSFE Fellows as per its constitution. Thus it can be expected that he has a right to contact those fellows and report to them. The FSFE didn’t want any information to go out to their fellows without first being filtered. Thus Daniel was in the conflict that he could not achieve his duties. I supported and defended his right to contact those who he represented. I am not aware what happened later because shortly after that turmoil I unsubscribed from all FSFE MLs and later even terminated my membership despite being one of its founders. Anyway it should be clear that I did not and do not support any kind of rogue behaviour at FSFE or any other places.”

Sadly, however, Koch also participated in the anti-RMS coup; but that’s another story. The matter of fact is, FSFE and FSF are totally separate entities and only the FSFE benefits from the perceived association. More worryingly, it seems like the FSF has much to lose from any association, as FSFE nowadays takes a lot of money not only from Google but also Microsoft. And it also demotes actual people, not corporations, who contribute money to its budget. Daniel Pocock knows this very well as an FSFE insider.

Why Delete GitHub and Visual Studio ‘Code’ (Openwashing of Microsoft Malware)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Videos at 6:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Link to full video (the more relevant segment below spanning from 4:35 (ish) until 6:55 (ish))

Joseph Ducreux Drake substitute: delete-github

Summary: A new video with a sort of #deletegithub segment in it (thanks to figosdev for pointing that out)

Diversity at the Australian Open Tennis, Margaret Court and the FSF’s Richard Stallman

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 6:03 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock

In 2020, Tennis Australia presented a special trophy to Margaret Court, one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Court claimed all four major titles in the year 1970 and won a total of 24 grand slams: Serena Williams has only won 23 so far and Roger Federer only has 20.

While there is no doubt as to Court’s greatness as an athlete, her views on LGBT people and their rights are controversial and not consistent with the majority of people in the sport today.


margaret court trophy

Despite these sensitive issues and the offense they cause to LGBT players in particular, Tennis Australia has still gone ahead with a ceremony to recognize Court’s achievements as an athlete, right in the middle of the 2020 Australian Open tournament, on center court, the trophy presented to her by another legend of Australian Tennis, Rod Laver.

While doing so, Tennis Australia has made it clear that they are distinguishing her personal views from her sporting achievements, explicitly acknowledging the pain caused by the former. Fellow athletes went further, Martina Navratilova climbing the umpire’s chair and using the microphone to denounce Court.

What does diversity mean to you? Is Tennis Australia being true to diversity, by recognising Court’s sporting achievements for their athletic merit alone? Or does diversity mean we have to erase those people who don’t agree with our own definition of diversity?

Compare this to the recent lynchings in Free Software communities around the world.

In 2014, Brendan Eich, one of the co-founders of Mozilla, was promoted to the position of CEO. A lynching-by-Twitter quickly began, hounding him to resign barely 10 days later because of his concerns about gay marriage.

In 2019, similar tactics were used to attack Richard Stallman (RMS), founder of the Free Software Foundation. RMS has no homophobic or sexist agenda. He is a computer scientist, not a diplomat and some of his communications could have been worded more carefully. Nonetheless, the dogs were let off their leash, things he had written were used out of context to create a false depiction of him as a villain and within a few days, RMS had resigned.

In contrast to Tennis Australia’s memorialisation of Margaret Court’s achievements, the FSF has set about deleting RMS’s legacy, deleting his name from their history. Newspaper headlines have appeared associating RMS with Jeffrey Epstein, yet there is no evidence that they ever had any contact during Epstein’s visits to RMS’s former workplace, MIT. This type of press coverage is no accident: it is not only intended to hurt RMS personally, it is also intended to undermine his message of freedom. It is an attack that hurts anybody with a personality that prioritizes principles over popularity.

In the short term, some of those behind these attacks may be giving themselves high-fives and pats on the back but in the long term, these lynchings send out a subconscious message to volunteers that we are all disposable. If the founder of the movement can be backstabbed on the cusp of his retirement, anybody can. Tennis Australia’s celebration of Margaret Court, however, sends out a message that achievement will always have merit and nobody’s achievements will be erased for political expedience. Which type of organization would you rather associate with in the long term?

If you have to force people to fit your definition of diversity, you are not promoting diversity at all.

Genuine diversity has its roots in the principles of equality and human rights. Mob justice, censorship and exclusion on political grounds violate human rights and therefore sabotage the foundation upon which diversity is built.

Links 5/9/2020: Wayland’s Weston 9.0, FreeIPMI 1.6.6 and Nitrux 1.3.2

Posted in News Roundup at 12:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • A Guide Through The History of Unix & Linux: Everything You Need To Know

      Wall became interested by the free software movement that was picking up steam, in part due to Richard Stallman and the GNU Project, and saw what the power of releasing source code into the wild for free could provide to a project. Therefore, Wall released Perl into the Unix world, where it quickly blew up and soon became an essential tool in every Unix administrator, developer, or user’s toolbox.

      As Perl was developed out in the open with hundreds of developers from all around the world, it grew from a domain specific language into a general purpose programming language. Even today, Perl is one of the first software packages installed in nearly every Unix-like system in existence due to the powerful flexibility and ease of use it provides in bootstrapping large software projects (like the Unix kernel itself).

      In the shadows of the Unix Wars, along with the rise of the Free Software Movement (spearheaded by Richard Stallman with the GNU Project and Larry Wall with Perl), a young computer science graduate student from the University of Helinski would forever alter the course of history after releasing the source code for a free Unix-like kernel — partially inspired by the MINIX system he had learned and used in school — into the free software world in September 1991. His name was Linus Torvalds, and his kernel — Linux.

    • Next Platform TV for September 3, 2020

      We start off the program by talking to Peder Ulander, who is head of enterprise and developer marketing at Amazon Web Services, about the new Linux distribution optimized for containers that AWS has released into the wild called Bottlerocket. This is the Linux distro that Amazon and AWS use themselves, and it differs from other Linux-Kubernetes mashups in that it is tuned to hook very tightly into AWS services.

    • Five Things To Know About Bottlerocket, AWS’ New Container-Optimized Linux
    • Istio 1.7: Development Stays on Track Despite Controversies

      The August release of Istio 1.7 indicates that the continuing controversy around the open source service mesh project’s governance hasn’t affected ongoing development.

    • Introducing Structured Logs

      Logs are an essential aspect of observability and a critical tool for debugging. But Kubernetes logs have traditionally been unstructured strings, making any automated parsing difficult and any downstream processing, analysis, or querying challenging to do reliably.

      In Kubernetes 1.19, we are adding support for structured logs, which natively support (key, value) pairs and object references. We have also updated many logging calls such that over 99% of logging volume in a typical deployment are now migrated to the structured format.

    • Warning: Helpful Warnings Ahead

      As Kubernetes maintainers, we’re always looking for ways to improve usability while preserving compatibility. As we develop features, triage bugs, and answer support questions, we accumulate information that would be helpful for Kubernetes users to know. In the past, sharing that information was limited to out-of-band methods like release notes, announcement emails, documentation, and blog posts. Unless someone knew to seek out that information and managed to find it, they would not benefit from it.

      In Kubernetes v1.19, we added a feature that allows the Kubernetes API server to send warnings to API clients. The warning is sent using a standard Warning response header, so it does not change the status code or response body in any way. This allows the server to send warnings easily readable by any API client, while remaining compatible with previous client versions.

    • Kubernetes Networking With EndpointSlices

      EndpointSlices are an exciting new API that provides a scalable and extensible alternative to the Endpoints API. EndpointSlices track IP addresses, ports, readiness, and topology information for Pods backing a Service.

      In Kubernetes 1.19 this feature is enabled by default with kube-proxy reading from EndpointSlices instead of Endpoints. Although this will mostly be an invisible change, it should result in noticeable scalability improvements in large clusters. It also enables significant new features in future Kubernetes releases like Topology Aware Routing.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Chrome OS 86 to make port forwarding for Linux on Chromebooks generally available [Ed: Google reinvents the wheel with GNU/Linux having locked it down and stripped off very key and rather basic features]

        As I keep running the Dev Channel of Chrome OS 86, I’m seeing more features of the software moving forward. For example, port forwarding, which was enabled with an experimental flag in Chrome OS 84 and 85, is a native, generally available feature in the next Stable Channel release. Chrome OS 86 removes the port forwarding flag.

    • Linux Magazine

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Full Circle Magazine: Full Circle Weekly News #181

        Ubuntu LTS Point Releases Are Here

        http://fridge.ubuntu.com/2020/08/06/ubuntu-20-04-1-lts-released/

        http://fridge.ubuntu.com/2020/08/14/ubuntu-18-04-5-lts-released/

        http://fridge.ubuntu.com/2020/08/14/ubuntu-16-04-7-lts-released/

        Rolling Rhino Turns Ubuntu 20.04 into a Rolling Release

        https://github.com/wimpysworld/rolling-rhino

        Boothole, A Linux Security Vulnerability

        https://eclypsium.com/2020/07/29/theres-a-hole-in-the-boot/

        Red Hat’s Boothole Fix Causes Issues

        https://www.zdnet.com/article/red-hat-enterprise-linux-runs-into-boothole-patch-trouble/

        Firefox Cuts Jobs Again

        https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/08/firefox-maker-mozilla-lays-off-250-workers-says-covid-19-lowered-revenue/

        Debian 10.5 Out

        https://www.debian.org/News/2020/20200801

        MX Linux 19.2 KDE Out

        https://mxlinux.org/blog/mx-19-2-kde-now-available/

        Kali Linux 2020.3 Out

        https://www.kali.org/news/kali-2020-3-release/

        KDE Neon, Based on Ubuntu 20.04, Out

        https://blog.neon.kde.org/index.php/2020/08/10/kde-neon-rebased-on-20-04/

        Kernel 5.8 Out

        https://itsfoss.com/kernel-5-8-release/

        Kernel 5.9 rc1 Out

        http://lkml.iu.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel/2008.2/00223.html

        Gnome 3.36.5 Out

        https://9to5linux.com/gnome-3-36-5-desktop-update-released-with-various-improvements-and-bug-fixes

        LibreOffice 7.0 Out

        https://itsfoss.com/libreoffice-7-release/

        Firefox 79 Out

        https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/79.0/releasenotes/

        KDE 20.08 Apps Out

        https://dot.kde.org/2020/08/13/kdes-2008-apps-updates

        Radeon Software for Linux 20.30 Out

        https://www.amd.com/en/support/kb/release-notes/rn-amdgpu-unified-linux-20-30

        Credits:
        Ubuntu “Complete” sound: Canonical

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Support for USB- and Ethernet-based DAQ Devices

        Measurement Computing (MCC) has extended Linux support for its measurement devices. The latest release of the Universal Library (UL) for Linux now adds support to the most popular DAQ devices with Ethernet interface along with the broad range of USB-based DAQ devices.

        E-1608 provides 8 analog voltage input channels at 16-bit resolution and sampling rates up to 250 kS/s, E-TC and TC-32 are temperature measurement device, which enable direct connection of 8 or 32 thermocouple sensors respectively. E-DIO24 finally adds 24 digital I/O control lines to test and measurement applications.

        The open-source library UL for Linux allows C/C++ and Python programmers to use MCC DAQ devices with Linux. Extensive documentation and example programs are also provided, in addition to free technical support. UL for Linux is developed and maintained by MCC and available for free download at GitHub.

      • Bootlin at the Embedded Linux Conference Europe 2020

        The schedule for the next Embedded Linux Conference Europe has been recently published, and Bootlin will once again be strongly present at this (virtual) event by giving a number of presentations. The registration for ELC-E is open, and due to the virtual nature of the event, the registration cost is only $50, which makes is accessible to pretty much everybody.

      • Creative SoundBlaster AE-7 Sound Card To Be Supported By Linux 5.10

        Creative Labs last year released the high-end SoundBlaster AE-7 sound card. Sadly the company is back in their state where they do not provide official Linux support, but coming up for Linux 5.10 is the support for this sound card thanks to Connor McAdams who has worked on supporting prior SoundBlaster hardware under Linux.

        The SoundBlaster AE-7 was released last year as a “hi-res PCI-e DAC and Amp sound card” with “audiophile-grade components” with Sound Core3D audio processor, but up to now hasn’t worked at all under Linux.

      • Clang LTO Patches Updated For The Linux Kernel

        Google engineers have posted a new revision of their work from earlier this summer for allowing the Linux kernel to be LTO-optimized using Clang.

        Sami Tolvanen of Google sent out the second version of their patches for Clang LTO support with the Linux kernel. These patches allow making use of Clang’s link-time optimizations for building Linux x86_64 and AArch64 (ARM64) Linux kernels.

      • Paul E. Mc Kenney: Stupid RCU Tricks: Enlisting the Aid of a Debugger

        So rcutorture found a bug, you have figured out how to reproduce it, git bisect was unhelpful (perhaps because the bug has been around forever), and the bug happens to be one of those rare RCU bugs for which a debugger might be helpful. What can you do?

        What I have traditionally done is to get partway through figuring out how to make gdb work with rcutorture, then suddenly realize what the bug’s root cause must be. At this point, I of course abandon gdb in favor of fixing the bug. As a result, although I have tried to apply gdb to the Linux kernel many times over the past 20 years, I never have actually succeeded in doing so. Now, this is not to say that gdb is useless to Linux-kernel hackers. Far from it! For one thing, the act of trying to use gdb has inspired me to perceive the root cause of a great many bugs, which means that it has served as a great productivity aid. For another thing, I frequently extract Linux-kernel code into a usermode scaffolding and use gdb in that context. And finally, there really are a number of Linux-kernel hackers who make regular use of gdb.

        One of these hackers is Omar Sandoval, who happened to mention that he had used gdb to track down a Linux-kernel bug. And without first extracting the code to userspace. I figured that it was time for this old dog to learn a new trick, so I asked Omar how he made this happen.

        Omar pointed out that because rcutorture runs in guest OSes, gdb can take advantage of the debugging support provided by qemu. To make this work, you build a kernel with CONFIG_DEBUG_INFO=y (which supplies gdb with additional symbols), provide the nokaslr kernel boot parameter (which prevents kernel address-space randomization from invalidating these symbols), and supply qemu with the -s -S command-line arguments (which causes it to wait for gdb to connect instead of immediately booting the kernel). You then specify the vmlinux file’s pathname as the sole command-line argument to gdb. Once you see the (gdb) prompt, the target remote :1234 command will connect to qemu and then the continue command will boot the kernel.

      • Linux cgroups v2 Brings Rootless Containers, Superior Memory Management

        Containers and container management tools have a lot of moving parts. Although you could very quickly deploy a single Docker container without much thought, the larger you scale up that container and the more services you add to it, the more complicated it becomes. In fact, Kubernetes deployments can very quickly become incredibly complex. They can also become very demanding on resources.

        One part of the moving picture of containers is cgroups. Originally created by Google, and incorporated into the Linux kernel 2.6.24, cgroup stands for “control group” and is a means to manage how much computational resources used by a set of processes (i.e. a container). With cgroups you can do things like isolate core workloads from background tasks, prevent one workload from overpowering other workloads, and much more.

        Up until recently, container developers have been using cgroups v1. However, cgroups v2, available as of the 4.5 version of the kernel, is now available and supported by most container deployment systems. This new version includes a number of important changes that container developers will want to know about.

      • Graphics Stack

        • RADV Lands “Big Page” Optimization For Navi 2

          It’s not clear if AMD has provided the independent RADV Vulkan driver developers at the likes of Valve, Red Hat, and Google with any Navi 2 hardware yet, but they do seem to be making progress on this open-source Radeon Vulkan driver separate from their official AMDVLK open-source driver.

          Over the course of summer there was initial RADV support for Sienna Cichlid followed by Navy Flounder. Both these parts are unreleased GFX10.3 Radeon GPUs that appear to most definitely be Navi 2 at this point. That has been followed by work on bringing up ACO back-end support for GFX10.3 and other GFX10.3-specific work.

        • AMD Sends In More Radeon “Navi 2″ Updates For Linux 5.10 Kernel

          AMD’s open-source Radeon Linux graphics driver developers have sent in their first round of updates to DRM-Next ahead of the Linux 5.10 kernel merge window kicking off in October.

          This is the first of several pull requests expected of new feature material slated for Linux 5.10. Following all of the Navy Flounder and Sienna Cichlid enablement that hit Linux 5.9, there continues to be a lot of patches still coming in for these “Navi 2″ GPUs expected to launch soon. As it stands now Linux 5.9 + Mesa 20.2 (and LLVM 11.0) is the base requirement it seems for Navi 2 but given the continued patch churn we’ll see how well Navi 2 works on Linux 5.9 or if 5.10 ends up being a better baseline.

        • AMD ACO Back-End Sees Thorough Documentation Added, Explanation Of Architecture

          With the soon to be released Mesa 20.2, the RADV Vulkan driver is using the ACO back-end by default that’s been developed with funding by Valve as an alternative to AMD’s official “AMDGPU” LLVM back-end. For those wondering how this shader compiler back-end compares and more intricate details of its design, some extensive documentation has finally been added to the Mesa tree.

          Merged today to Mesa Git is some detailed documentation concerning the design of the ACO compiler back-end currently used by RADV and still being worked on as a possible alternative for the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver for compiling GLSL shaders.

        • mesa 20.2.0-rc4
          Hi list,
          
          I'd like to announce mesa 20.2.0-rc4, which is now available for general
          consumption. This is a pretty tame rc, and I think we're on track for the final
          release next week. The biggest changes this week are a host of OpenBSD fixes,
          and ACO and radv fixes. There's also one egl extension that's been backported
          for Firefox.
          
          
        • Mesa 20.2 Aiming For Release Next Week As Big Advancement For Open-Source GPU Drivers

          The fourth and likely last release candidate of Mesa 20.2 is now available for testing while the formal release should happen next week.

          Mesa 20.2-RC4 has been described as a “pretty tame” release candidate by release manager Dylan Baker of Intel. At this stage he feels Mesa 20.2.0 should be out next week barring any major issues coming up in the days ahead.

        • weston 9.0.0
          Weston 9.0.0 is released! This release cycle has been pretty quiet,
          with just a few new features:
          
          - A new kiosk shell allows to display regular desktop apps in an
            always-fullscreen mode
          - Improved testing infrastructure: the test harness has been
            redesigned, DRM tests are now supported, DRM and OpenGL tests are now
            enabled in our CI
          - DRM panel orientation property support
          
          As always, a number of bug fixes are included as well.
          
          Thanks to all contributors!
          
          Commit history since RC1 below (no changes apart from the version
          bump).
          
          Simon Ser (1):
                build: bump to version 9.0.0 for the official release
          
          git tag: 9.0.0
          
        • Wayland’s Weston 9.0 Released With Kiosk Shell For Always-Fullscreen Apps

          Weston 9.0 is out as the latest feature update to this Wayland reference compositor.

          Most notable to Weston 9.0 is the introduction of a kiosk/full-screen shell. This Weston kiosk shell runs applications always full-screen via XDG-Shell. This is intended for embedded use-cases and other scenarios where always running one application/surface at a time. This implementation can also help developers in creating their own kiosk-like shells in serving as example code.

        • NVIDIA Sends Out 1GB THP Support For Linux x86_64

          NVIDIA software engineer Zi Yan who specializes in the Linux kernel memory management subsystem today sent out a set of patches proposing the addition of 1GB THP support for the Linux kernel.

          The NVIDIA engineer is proposing 1GB transparent hugepages support for Linux on x86_64 hardware for being more flexible in reducing translation overhead and increasing the performance of applications that have a large memory footprint. Unlike Linux’s huge page-tables (HugeTLB) code for supporting large memory footprints, the 1GB THP approach doesn’t require application changes.

        • NVIDIA Engineer Sends Out Patches For Supporting Sync FDs + Sync Objects With Nouveau

          Longtime NVIDIA engineer Thierry Reding who has been involved with the open-source Nouveau driver efforts largely from an embedded/mobile Tegra angle last week sent out the newest patch series.

          The latest work by Reding is focused on supporting synchronization file descriptors (sync FDs) and synchronization objects (syncobj) with the Nouveau DRM kernel driver.

          A new kernel interface is proposed for submitting push buffers that can optionally return a sync FD or sync object to user-space. These synchronization FDs/objects are practical for synchronization operations between the GPU and other drivers like KMS display code.

        • Updated NVIDIA CUDA For WSL Brings Better Performance, PTX JIT [Ed: This bolsters a Microsoft attack on GNU/Linux (the EEE way). WSL was a failure; no reason to waste effort on it]

          Earlier this summer building off the latest Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 advancements by Microsoft, NVIDIA released early support for CUDA / GPU compute on WSL2. This week NVIDIA offered up a new version of their CUDA WSL support.

    • Intel

      • Intel Sapphire Rapids Target Added To LLVM/Clang 12.0

        Intel developers engaging with upstream LLVM have been adding AMX support and other new features for next year’s Xeon “Sapphire Rapids” while as of a few days ago in LLVM 12 Git is the actual enabling of -march=sapphirerapids support.

        Back in July for GCC 11 the GNU compiler added -march=sapphirerapids and now similarly for LLVM 12 due out in early 2021 is also the same -march=sapphirerapids target.

      • LLVM Developers Looking At Phasing Out Intel MMX Support

        Upstream developers are looking at phasing out Intel MMX that was popular in the late 90′s but has since long been succeeded by SSE and AVX instruction set extensions.

        [...]

        The initial proposal was to re-implement all the MMX intrinsics in Clang’s headers by using SSE/SSE2 compiler built-ins for x86 32-bit and 64-bit code generation. In turn the MMX implementations of those intrinsics could be removed. Reimplementing the MMX intrinsics using SSE2 would in turn raise the compiler requirements for Clang, but even still SSE2 has been present for CPUs the past decade and a half. The proposal also laid out the idea in time to remove the MMX intrinsics entirely from the LLVM IR. Another possibility is defaulting to -mno-mmx when compiling for x86_64 to ensure MMX support isn’t enabled. Developers still could make use of MMX instructions directly using inline Assembly code.

      • Intel’s Linux Support Coming Together For The Dynamic Load Balancer 2.0

        Intel’s open-source engineers today sent out their latest patches bringing up the Dynamic Load Balancer 2.0 for the next-gen PCIe device that offers load-balanced, prioritized scheduling of core-to-core communication.

        DLB 2.0 is the next-generation version of the Intel Dynamic Load Balancer. This is a PCIe device part of the CPU package for providing load balancing features and can take responsibility for distributing system workloads for maximizing the performance — “significantly greater performance” than software load-balancing solutions.

      • You Probably Won’t See Intel Evo “Project Athena” Linux Laptops In The Near Term

        In addition to Intel talking a lot today in virtual briefings about the new 11th Gen “Tiger Lake” mobile processors, they were also talking at a higher level extensively on their second-generation “Project Athena” laptop innovation program and their new Intel Evo branding for premium laptops.

        [...]

        Given Lenovo offering more Linux options moving forward, HP also increasing their Linux pre-load options, and Dell’s XPS Developer Edition laptops continuing to be quite popular, among various other OEMs at least evaluating more Linux options, I was curious if any Linux-based Project Athena / Intel Evo laptops were being worked on…

    • Applications

      • The 5 Best Free and Open-Source PDF Editors

        It is often the case that professionals prefer using the Portable Document Format (PDF) for all their official documents, whether it be school certificates, job letters, or important announcements. The reason why this file format is loved so much could be attributed to the fact that its formatting doesn’t get altered on any device and not to mention, it leaves a digital footprint on being edited, which isn’t the case with other file formats such as .docx, .txt, or .rtf.

        Although PDFs can be easily created with software with a bunch of apps, you’d need separate tools if you want to edit them. Adobe Acrobat is one such option, but we have to tell you that it’s neither free nor open-source. So, if you’re not interested in purchasing a PDF editing software, you’ve headed to the right article. Today, we are going to be having a look at some of the best free and open-source PDF editors that you can find in 2020.

      • Changelog for VirtualBox 6.1

        VirtualBox 6.1.14 (released September 04 2020)

      • VirtualBox 6.1.14 Adds Linux 5.8 Kernel Support

        Oracle VM VirtualBox 6.1.14 brings host/guest support for the Linux 5.8 stable kernel, which is important that besides being the latest upstream is also what is to be found in the likes of Ubuntu 20.10 this autumn. VirtualBox 6.1.14 also has GUI fixes, an HDA emulation regression fix, fixes in serial port emulation for VirtualBox on a Windows host, and EFI fixes.

      • VirtualBox 6.1.14 Released with Full Support for Linux Kernel 5.8

        Oracle released today the VirtualBox 6.1.14 update to its open-source and multi-platform virtualization software with full support for the latest and greatest Linux 5.8 kernel series.

        Coming almost two months after the previous update, VirtualBox 6.1.14 is here as the first in the series to add full support for Linux kernel 5.8. Support has been added for both host and guest machines.

        What this means is that you’ll now be able to install and run GNU/Linux distributions powered by Linux kernel 5.8 in VirtualBox, as well as to use other supported operating systems (e.g. BSD, Windows) on virtual machines running on top of a Linux OS that uses Linux kernel 5.8.

      • Best PDF Editors for Linux Mint 20

        PDF stands for Portable Document Format, and it is indeed the most widely used document format because of its ease of access and display. It is highly advisable to convert your documents to PDF format these days before uploading them somewhere or even before printing them. This is because oftentimes, the formatting of the documents get messed up when you try to process the file in one way or another. The PDF file format gives you the ability to share your documents, either in hard copies or softcopies, without messing up the formatting. This article reviews the three best PDF editors for Linux Mint 20.
        The features of these three PDF editors for Linux Mint 20 are discussed in the sections below.

      • 6 Best Linux Diff Tools

        File comparison compares the contents of computer files, finding their common contents and their differences. The result of the comparison is often known as a diff.

        diff is also the name of a famous console based file comparison utility that outputs the differences between two files. The diff utility was developed in the early 1970s on the Unix operating system. Typically, diff is used to show the changes between two versions of the same file. Modern implementations also support binary files.

        Linux has many good GUI tools that enable you to clearly see the difference between two files or two versions of the same file. This roundup selects 6 of our favourite GUI diff tools. All of them are open source goodness.

      • Making apps for Linux, a proposal

        In the spring of 2020, the GNOME project ran their Community Engagement Challenge in which teams proposed ideas that would “engage beginning coders with the free and open-source software community [and] connect the next generation of coders to the FOSS community and keep them involved for years to come.” I have a few thoughts on this topic, and so does Alan Pope, and so we got chatting and put together a proposal for a programming environment for making simple apps in a way that new developers could easily grasp. We were quite pleased with it as a concept, but: it didn’t get selected for further development. Oh well, never mind. But the ideas still seem good to us, so I think it’s worth publishing the proposal anyway so that someone else has the chance to be inspired by it, or decide they want it to happen. Here:

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Humble Monthly’s latest has Golf With Your Friends, Evoland, Lethal League Blaze plus more

        Humble’s curated monthly selection of games for subscribers is up now with the September 2020 Humble Choice and there’s a number of nice games inside.

        Humble Choice (prev Humble Monthly) is a curated bundle that changes each month. You pick a tier with different prices to get access to the huge Humble Trove (a collection of DRM-free games) plus a Humble Store discount and then you pick between 3-9 games to keep. Until October 2, Premium / Classic level subscribers get to keep all of them.

      • The Powder Toy – the grown boy’s sandbox of fun

        One thing that defines (and unifies) the typical male between the age of 5 and 85 is the desire to blow things up. Which is why, if you have the ability to exercise explosive desires in a safe way, you should. Commence computer simulations. Commence The Powder Toy. To wit.

        After I wrote my article on a similarly but less violently themed Biogenesis, a few readers mentioned The Powder Toy, a physics sandbox game that lets you realistically simulate interaction between gravity, air, pressure, heat, and various substances. Sounds like a recipe for awesome. Naturally, I set about testing.

      • Free local multiplayer battler ‘Hammer Dongers’ gets more frantic in the latest update

        Stop. It’s hammer time. Hammer Dongers time to be exact, as the currently free local multiplayer arena battler has a new update out and it’s as frantic as ever. I will also never not chuckle at the name.

        For those that missed our previous articles on it, the game is quite simple. It’s a local multiplayer brawler that pits 2-4 players in small arenas with big hammers. There’s also a number of special weapons to take each other down with. The key part of the fun here is the map can be blown up and it’s part of what makes it so fun. Run after each other, smack the hammer down and hopefully send your opponent into the dark abyss.

        In the latest update released a few days ago, there’s now a shadowy figure that appears when a timer runs out in each match who makes the entire map fall apart. This makes it even more of an absolute riot to play.

      • Humble Choice’s latest has Golf With Your Friends, Evoland, Lethal League Blaze plus more

        Humble’s curated monthly selection of games for subscribers is up now with the September 2020 Humble Choice and there’s a number of nice games inside.

        Humble Choice (prev Humble Monthly) is a curated bundle that changes each month. You pick a tier with different prices to get access to the huge Humble Trove (a collection of DRM-free games) plus a Humble Store discount and then you pick between 3-9 games to keep. Until October 2, Premium / Classic level subscribers get to keep all of them.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: Annotations in Spectacle

          This week we landed a feature you’ve been waiting a long time for: Annotations in Spectacle! Nicolas Fella implemented it and it will be available in Spectacle 20.12. There are a few bugs and rough edgs remaining, but we should have them smoothed out in time for the release in a few months. Thanks Nicolas!

        • Akademy & Hardware Acceleration

          So today Akademy 2020 started. This year it is an online event, meaning that stuff happens on your browser with BigBlueButton.

          This gave me the motivation to fix hardware acceleration with Chromium on my system. You need a browser able to do hardware-accelereted video decoding if you don’t want to hear the noise of a CPU fan alongside the voice of our fellow KDE people, or if you just don’t want to waste power. Unfortunately hardware-accelereted video decoding on Linux browsers is still a mess in 2020, to the best of my knowledge.

        • Akademy 2020 Day 1 – Training Sessions

          Akademy kicked off today with training sessions on several KDE-related topics.

          In the morning, Nuno Pinheiro from KDAB conducted a class on UI/UX Design in QML for Desktop. This online workshop contained practical exercises on dos, don’ts, and integration; and tips on outside of the box UI design. The session started out with attendees relaying to Nuno the projects they were working on and how they hoped the lesson would help them.

        • July/August in KDE PIM

          Despite the summer break work in the KDE PIM land continued with more than 1100 changes made by more than 30 contributors since the last report. We saw the 20.08 feature and the conclusion of this year’s Google Summer of Code (GSoC), as well as the preparation for our yearly conference KDE Akademy.

        • News Hotfix: Nitrux 1.3.2

          week after the release of Nitrux 1.3.2 (see Changelog), we’re making a new ISO available to the public. This new ISO addresses two problems; the first was the incorrect version number, a minor, aesthetic issue. The second is a rebuilt root filesystem that significantly improves the compatibility of packages now that we have moved from systemd to OpenRC.
          This new ISO is not a new version of the distribution; it’s an updated installation media. The new ISO file is nitrux-release-amd64_2020.09.05.iso, therefore we’re removing the previous ISO file from our server, our Sourceforge storage, and our OSDN storage.

          Our ISO files include a file called .INFO. We utilize this file to add the path to the MD5 checksum and the commit in our CI that generates that specific ISO file, which is very useful to determine what may have gone wrong during the build of a specific image.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • What’s new with Glade

          It’s been a long time since my last post. After doing the last major UI rework which included a new workflow and the use of a headerbar instead of a menu bar I had little free time to work on the project.

          Early this year while on quarantine and in between jobs I started working on things I been wanting to but did not had the time

          Fix Glade Survey

          On January the GNOME infrastructure was migrated to a new server which broke a small web service running at https://people.gnome.org/~jpu/ used to collect Glade’s survey data.

          They also added surveys.gnome.org to conduct any GNOME related surveys making my custom service redundant.

          So in order to properly fix the survey I made Glade act like a browser and post the data directly to surveys.gnome.org, no need to open a browser!

        • A primer on GtkListView

          Some of the early adopters of GTK4 have pointed out that the new list widgets are not the easiest to learn. In particular, GtkExpression and GtkBuilderListItemFactory are hard to wrap your head around. That is not too surprising – a full list widget, with columns, and selections and sorting, and tree structure, etc is a complicated beast.

          But lets see if we can unpack things one-by-one, and make it all more understandable.

        • GNOME 3.38′s Mutter Gets More Optimizations – ~10% Lower Render Time In Some Scenarios

          Even more optimizations have now been queued up for GNOME 3.38 launching this month.

          On top of a number of performance optimizations that landed over the past half-year, hitting Mutter’s code-base this weekend for the imminent 3.37.92 milestone is another tweak. Canonical’s Daniel van Vugt provided an improvement to cull actors that don’t intersect the redraw clip.

          This optimization is quite beneficial as he explained in the merge request, “This was inspired by the activities overview where idle windows and workspace previews were being needlessly repainted. In that particular case this yields more than 10% reduction in render time. But it probably helps in other situations too.”

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Linux from Scratch version 10.0 released

          On September 1, the Linux From Scratch (LFS) project announced the release of version 10.0 of LFS along with Beyond Linux From Scratch (BLFS). LFS is “a project that provides you with step-by-step instructions for building your own customized Linux system entirely from source”; BLFS picks up where LFS leaves off. Both books are available online either with or without systemd: LFS System V, LFS systemd, BLFS System V, and BLFS systemd. “The LFS release includes updates to glibc-2.31, and binutils-2.34. A total of 35 packages have been updated. A new package, zstd-1.4.4, has also been added. Changes to text have been made throughout the book. The Linux kernel has also been updated to version 5.5.3. The BLFS version includes approximately 1000 packages beyond the base Linux From Scratch Version 9.1 book. This release has over 840 updates from the previous version in addition to numerous text and formatting changes.”

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • PCLinuxOS Review: This Classic Independent Linux Distribution is Definitely Worth a Look

          Most of the Linux distributions are based on Debian/Ubuntu/Arch. PCLinuxOS is not one of them. Take a look at the classic independent PCLinuxOS distribution.

        • Opera Browser updated to 70.0.3728.154

          Opera is a freeware web browser for Linux operating systems developed by Opera Software. Opera is a Chromium-based browser using the Blink layout engine. It differentiates itself because of a distinct user interface and other features.

        • Signal-desktop updated to 1.35.1

          Signal-desktop is a cross-platform encrypted messaging service developed by the Signal Foundation and Signal Messenger LLC. It uses the Internet to send one-to-one and group messages, which can include files, voice notes, images and videos.

        • Filezilla updated to 3.50.0

          FileZilla is a fast and reliable FTP, FTPS and SFTP client with lots of useful features and an intuitive graphical user interface.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Tumbleweed Rises from Rebuilt Packages

          With “literally all 15,000” packages being rebuilt in snapshot 20200826, openSUSE Tumbleweed roared back from a stability rating of 36 in the rebuild snapshot to a 95 rating in snapshot 20200901, according to the snapshot reviewer.

          Each snapshot progressively increased in stability this week.

          Snapshot 20200901 brought ImageMagick 7.0.10.28, which provided a patch for correct colospace and fixed paths for conversion of Photoshop EPS files. VirtualBox 6.1.13 arrived in the snapshot and updated the sources to run with versions above the 5.8 Linux Kernel with no modifications needed to the kernel. The library for rendering Postscript documents, libspectre 0.2.9, now requires Ghostscript 9.24 and fixed memory leaks and crashes to the program caused by malformed documents. One major version update to the game freecell-solver was made in the snapshot; version 6.0.1 had some code cleanup, minor bug fixes and the addition of a compile time option. openSUSE’s snapper package updated to 0.8.13 and fixed the Logical Volume Manager setup for volume groups and logical volumes with one character-long names. Other notable packages updated in the snapshot were xapian-core 1.4.17, openldap2 2.4.52 and qalculate 3.12.1.

          Trending at a 87 rating, snapshot 20200831, brought less than a handful of updates. The packages updated in the snapshot were bind 9.16.6, libverto 0.3.1, permissions 1550_20200826, and suse-module-tools 15.3.4. The bind package, which implements the Domain Name System (DNS) protocols for the Internet, fixed several Common Vulnerabilities and Exposure including one that made it possible to trigger an assertion failure by sending a specially crafted large TCP DNS message.

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/36

          During the last week, we have shipped a massive snapshot, due to a full rebuild (RPM libexecdir change, rpm payload compression change, and symlink changes to /etc/alternatives). The libexecdir was not exactly as smooth as we wish it to be, on the other hand, it was also not disastrous. The biggest issue seen by users was likely the no-longer working ‘man’ program. This was a trap by update-alternatives, that does not like changing target paths, paired with a packaging bug. In total, we have shipped 5 snapshots (0826, 0829, 0831, 0901 and 0902).

      • Arch Family

        • Arch Linux-based EndeavourOS Will Soon Release Distro For ARM CPUs

          The discontinuation of Arch-based Antergos last year led to the arrival of its brand new successor, EndeavourOS. It was started by former Antergos moderator Bryan Poerwoatmodjo, who is now Project Leader and Community Manager of Endeavour OS.

          Since the first stable release of EndeavourOS on July 15th, 2019, it has kept progressing to deliver the easiest and friendliest Arch Linux-based distro with a graphical offline and online installer.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • A new direction — rejoining Red Hat

          Today is my last day at NUVIA. It’s been a great experience working with Gerard, Manu, John, and the whole team of Nuvians who are well on the way toward disrupting the datacenter. I am particularly grateful to Gerard for giving me the opportunity to build and lead the NUVIA software organization in its early days. Although I won’t be there, we have built an incredible team of talented people who are going to continue to do amazing things long after I am gone. I am proud of the work that we did together and will look back on this time with great fondness.

          In a week or so from now, I will be rejoining Red Hat. A company that had been my home for almost 14 years, since even before moved to the US. When I left last year, I told my colleagues at the time that deciding to leave in order to pursue a passion in learning about silicon design was one of the toughest decisions I have ever made. And I really meant that. Red Hat isn’t just a company, it’s a family, and the love that I still have for that place permeates my soul. I know I am not alone in being someone who has left Red Hat and felt a profound sense of loss. The feeling quite literally filled my dreams.

        • Jon Masters Leaving NUVIA, Returning To Red Hat

          Less than one year after joining NUVIA as VP of Software, longtime Linux proponent Jon Masters is leaving the company and returning to his previous position at Red Hat.

          Jon Masters leaving Red Hat to take the prominent role at ARM server vendor NUVIA made waves last November that also happened when the company announced their series A funding round. Prior to joining NUVIA, Masters had been the Chief Arm Architect and Distinguished Engineer at Red Hat. He has been a longtime ARM Linux advocate for years.

        • PipeWire Late Summer Update 2020

          Wim Taymans did an internal demonstration yesterday for the desktop team at Red Hat of the current state of PipeWire. For those still unaware PipeWire is our effort to bring together audio, video and pro-audio under Linux, creating a smooth and modern experience. Before PipeWire there was PulseAudio for consumer audio, Jack for Pro-audio and just unending pain and frustration for video. PipeWire is being done with the aim of being ABI compatible with ALSA, PulseAudio and JACK, meaning that PulseAudio and Jack apps should just keep working on top of Pipewire without the need for rewrites (and with the same low latency for JACK apps).

          As Wim reported yesterday things are coming together with both the PulseAudio, Jack and ALSA backends being usable if not 100% feature complete yet. Wim has been running his system with Pipewire as the only sound server for a while now and things are now in a state where we feel ready to ask the wider community to test and help provide feedback and test cases.

        • PipeWire Is In Increasingly Great Shape – Ready For More User Testing

          PipeWire as the Red Hat led project for better audio/video stream management server on the Linux desktop is getting into increasingly great shape. This forward-looking solution that handles PulseAudio/JACK use-cases as well as pleasant integration with the likes of Wayland and Flatpak is ready to take on more user testing.

          PipeWire lead developer Wim Taymans feels that the code is at a state where “PulseAudio, JACK and ALSA backends being usable if not 100% feature complete yet.” It’s in good enough shape that he and others on the Red Hat desktop team are hoping to see more user testing happen with the latest PipeWire code.

        • Culture of innovation and collaboration: Hybrid cloud, AIOps and machine learning

          Red Hat is continually innovating and part of that innovation includes researching continually striving to solve the problems our customers face. That innovation is driven through the Office of the CTO and includes OpenShift, OpenShift Container Storage and use cases such as the Hybrid Cloud, Privacy concerns in AI and Data Caching. We recently interviewed Marcel Hild, Software Engineering Manager in the AI Center of Excellence for the office of the CTO here at Red Hat, about these very topics.

        • Migrate your Java VMs to containers with Red Hat Migration Toolkit for Applications 5.0

          As a developer, you have probably experimented with Kubernetes. It’s also possible that you are already running several Java applications on a Kubernetes platform, maybe Red Hat OpenShift. These initial containerized applications were greenfield projects, where you enjoyed the benefits of a platform providing templated deployments, easy rollbacks, resource availability, security by default, and a manageable way to publish your services.

          Now, you might be thinking, “How can I enjoy all of these benefits in my existing Java applications?” Most Java applications in production today are running on virtual machines (VMs), likely on an application platform that is not container friendly. So, how can you migrate them from the current platform to containers on Kubernetes?

          It isn’t an easy task, but this is a problem that we have been working hard on for years. Red Hat Migration Toolkit for Applications (MTA) 5.0 is the latest resulting iteration: An assembly of tools that you can use to analyze existing applications and discover what is required to modernize them. Read on to learn MTA 5.0’s features and migration paths.

        • Can one day launch a thousand careers? Let’s find out at IBM Z Day 2020!

          IBM Z Day on September 14 – 15 will launch an amazing journey into enterprise computing for thousands of students with a 24-hour code-a-thon.

          That’s a bold statement, I know. But I have 16 years of history to back me up. That’s how long the Master the Mainframe contest has existed, exposing students to the little-seen yet absolutely essential technology that runs much of this world.

          Every year, thousands of students learn that mainframes are everywhere, reliably running applications that are critical to our modern lives. And every year, the best of those students finish all three levels of this contest, earning the coveted Level 3 Badge. Employers know that Level 3 finishers are highly sought after in the marketplace and have done more than learn about the technologies running their businesses; these students have what it takes to persevere and solve complex problems independently. Levels 1 and 2 of the contest include clear step-by-step instructions, whereas Level 3’s challenges require students to figure out how to solve the problem using public documentation. Yes, this is a contest challenge based on the real world … requiring problem solving and critical thinking skills!

        • Call for Code Daily: OpenEEW, Kode With Klossy, & taking action for Beirut

          The power of Call for Code® is in the global community that we have built around this major #TechforGood initiative. Whether it is the deployments that are underway across pivotal projects, developers leveraging the starter kits in the cloud, or ecosystem partners joining the fight, everyone has a story to tell. Call for Code Daily highlights all the amazing #TechforGood stories taking place around the world. Every day, you can count on us to share these stories with you. Check out the stories from the week of August 31st:

      • Debian Family

        • The Problems Debian Is Facing In 2020

          The virtual DebConf20 concluded last week as the annual main conference for the Debian GNU/Linux distribution. Recently elected Debian Project Leader Jonathan Carter gave his talk at the event as an overview of where the project is at today as well as some of the problems they are facing today.

          Debian’s finances are sitting at around a healthy $896,065 USD. COVID-19 has helped their finances a bit in regards to less travel/conference expenses. Carter also noted as part of their fund, Debian is in the process of acquiring two new Lenovo servers they were able to obtain discounted to help in their efforts.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Warpinator – Linux Mint Developed File Transfer App for Linux

          Warpinator is a local network file transfer application developed by Linux Mint. It is written with Python 3 and works on most Linux desktops via Flatpak package.

          The software offers a simple clean interface that lists all available network machines with Warpinator running.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) Is Now Powered by Linux Kernel 5.8

          It finally happened! The Linux 5.8 kernel packages have landed today in the main archives of Ubuntu 20.10, due for release next month on October 22nd. Until today, they were kept in the proposed repositories for a few weeks now, most probably to ensure proper testing.

          I have already foreseen that Ubuntu 20.10 will be shipping with Linux kernel 5.8 by default as there’s no other kernel Canonical’s Ubuntu development team could have used for the final release.

          Development kicked off, as usual, based on the previous Ubuntu release. In this case, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) and Linux kernel 5.4 LTS, which is supported until year 2025. But, Ubuntu 20.10 being a testbed for Canonical to experiment with new features for the next LTS release, it will be using a newer kernel.

        • The Man Behind Linux Mint: An Interview With Clem Lefebvre

          On the University campus our terminals were connected to a central Unix (IBM AIX) server. This was in the late 90s, we had Windows at home, which looked more modern and had more applications but which lacked many of the cool things we were learning at school (remote terminals, concurrent users, file permissions, proper shell, processes, semaphores, etc).

          When we first heard about Linux we saw it as a way to run Unix at home. We didn’t have to be on campus to enjoy it anymore and we could develop, compile and run our projects at home in an environment that was very similar to Unix.

          It was also our first encounter with Free Software principles and the pioneer community that formed around Linux and that blew our minds, that was something we wanted to be a part of. Linux has been a hobby of mine since then, it’s always something I’ve been using, reading about, tinkering with, and which I wanted to work with.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Best Free and Open Source Software

        This is the largest collection of recommended software. The collection includes hundreds of articles, with comprehensive sections on internet, graphics, games, programming, science, office, utilities, and more. Almost all of the software is free and open source.

        The original objective in starting the compilation was to dispel the FUD that Linux does not have the necessary software to compete with Windows. Over time, the aim of the compilation was to enable Linux users, whatever their level of computing experience, to identify software of all types that is worth exploring. With the huge range of open source software available, there is simply not enough time for users to evaluate every application even within a single category of software.

      • Why Choose Odoo ERP for Your Business

        Today, we are talking about Why choose Odoo ERP for your business? Enterprise Resource Planning, prominently called ERP is considered as the backbone of any business organization for successful business management. Regardless of how complicated your business is, a suitable ERP solution will bring you hassle-free business management and helps to improve productivity.

        [...]

        For every organization, they need to manage different aspects of the business such as Human Resource Management, CRM, Accounting, Productivity. In order to run different aspects of the organization, they need to use multiple softwares for different processes. In the case of Odoo, it comes with the functionalities required to run any business organization smoothly and can integrate different modules into a single system for effective business management.

        The main advantage of Odoo ERP software is that the collected information can be transferred into any modules when it is necessary. For example, the accountant can control and manage the employee’s salary by incorporating the employee management system with the ERP and at the same time, he/she can access the productivity status from the production line. Both of these data can be integrated into a single system for easy access.

      • All about Asterisk

        The Asterisk call control software is a robust, mature, and stable alternative to proprietary traditional and IP PBX systems. However, it should never be “downloaded and installed” onto a telephony network unless the appropriate precautions as far as system support, troubleshooting, and interoperability with other systems have been sufficiently dealt with. Alternatively, for those without the appropriate technical resources, Asterisk-based appliances are a viable option for enjoying a level of security provided by the vendor’s technical support and expertise. In either case, Asterisk is a nimble and versatile system that is here to stay, and is expected to continue to develop in the years to come.

      • Web Browsers

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Investing in bug reports pays off

          Document compatibility between office suites is a common concern for LibreOffice users. People take sample documents, expecting a pixel-perfect similarity with other office applications and rightly so. While we cover most aspects of formats outside the OpenDocument Format specification, LibreOffice’s native format, there are pieces that have not been implemented yet (for example smooth shadows, which have been implemented recently and will be available in LibreOffice 7.1).

          [...]

          The people doing quality assurance for LibreOffice is an ever-changing group of around 30 contributors. They analyse user reports tirelessly and always appreciate problem descriptions delivered in a clear and understandable way. In a recent article about LibreOffice appearing on dedoimedo.com, several bugs were reported, but in a rather incomplete way. It is understandable, if a journalist does not want to create proper reports in our bug tracker on top of writing an article. Maybe there is a middle-ground, though.

          Simply linking to the problematic Microsoft Office templates would have made the work of the quality assurance team much easier. Now the templates shown in the screenshots had to be discovered through detective work on the MSO template site. Particularly unfortunate was the case of a template, which refused to open properly. There is no way of figuring out the identity of the document and the author never replied to an email requesting for more information. On the other hand, it might be time for the QA team to again methodically go through every single template on the MSO site – such work has been done before, resulting in many solved incompatibilities.

      • FSF

        • FSF: Free Software Award nominations sought

          The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has announced that nominations are open, until October 28, for the Free Software Awards. Winners will be announced at the annual LibrePlanet conference. “You might know of a contributor or organization who has done significant and user-empowering work on free software. We invite you to take a moment to show them (and tell us) that you care, by nominating them for an award in one of three categories: the Award for the Advancement of Free Software, the Award for Projects of Social Benefit, or the Award for Outstanding New Free Software Contributor. Don’t assume that someone else will nominate them — too often, everyone assuming someone else will express the appreciation means that it never happens. As taking initiative and speaking up for the community are important parts of free software, why not take the time yourself to make sure your voice is heard?”

        • GNU Projects

          • Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility Fosters GCC Compiler Development with Mentor Contract

            The computational scientists who run codes on the massively powerful supercomputers at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) are working on solving some of the world’s most challenging problems. The OLCF supports research in areas ranging from biology to engineering to energy—and it is now supporting work related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Crucial to running the computational codes that enable this research are compilers, tools that convert a user’s programming instructions into code that the computers can actually execute.

            One of the most widely used compilers at the OLCF, the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), is favored not only for its high quality but also for its availability across platforms. Because it’s open-source, it often comes as a default on computers running the Linux operating system and is easily installed on Windows and Mac systems. Now, the OLCF has contracted with Mentor, a Siemens business, who will contribute to the compiler’s development to better meet the needs of OLCF users.

          • FreeIPMI 1.6.6 Released

            In libfreeipmi, fix segfault in SPMI parsing leading to immediate failures on some hardware across all tools.

      • Programming/Development

        • Dbus-Broker 24 Brings Improved Log Messages

          Dbus-Broker as the high performance, D-Bus compatible implementation with BUS1 not panning out yet for high-performance, in-kernel IPC has seen a new release.

          Dbus-Broker 24 is the newest version of this D-Bus compatible message broker with a focus on speed and reliability. Version 24 isn’t too exciting but brings improved log messages around invalid configuration files and early start-up errors. Dbus-Broker 24 also makes audit events properly typed and prevents non-auditable events from being forwarded to the Linux audit system.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: nanotime 0.3.2: Tweaks

          Another (minor) nanotime release, now at version 0.3.2. This release brings an endianness correction which was kindly contributed in a PR, switches to using the API header exported by RcppCCTZ, and tweaks test coverage a little with respect to r-devel.

          nanotime relies on the RcppCCTZ package for (efficient) high(er) resolution time parsing and formatting up to nanosecond resolution, and the bit64 package for the actual integer64 arithmetic. Initially implemented using the S3 system, it has benefitted greatly from work by co-author Leonardo who not only rejigged nanotime internals in S4 but also added new S4 types for periods, intervals and durations.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RcppArmadillo 0.9.900.3.0

          Armadillo is a powerful and expressive C++ template library for linear algebra aiming towards a good balance between speed and ease of use with a syntax deliberately close to a Matlab. RcppArmadillo integrates this library with the R environment and language–and is widely used by (currently) 769 other packages on CRAN.

          A few days ago, Conrad released a new minor version 9.900.3 of Armadillo which we packaged and tested as usual. Given the incremental release character, we only tested the release and not candidate release. No regressions were found, and, as usual, logs from reverse-depends runs are in the rcpp-logs repo.

        • 8 Time Consuming IT Tasks You Need to Automate Now

          There are so many processes in the IT sector that can be automated. Automating these kinds of tasks will help you to focus on important things instead of doing mundane fixes and updates all the time. Today in this blog let’s discuss some common tasks that you can automate to save your time and efforts…

        • How to use enum in C Language

          The enum program in the C programming language is used to define integral constant values, which is very helpful in writing clean and readable programs. Programmers normally use enumeration to define named integral constants in their programs to provide better readability and maintainability of the software. This article will discuss enum in detail.

        • How to use C++ Pointers

          The memory of a computer is a long series of cells. The size of each cell is called a byte. A byte is a space occupied by an English character of the alphabet. An object in the ordinary sense is a consecutive set of bytes in memory. Each cell has an address, which is an integer, usually written in hexadecimal form. There are three ways of accessing an object in memory. An object can be accessed using what is known as a pointer. It can be accessed using what is known as a reference. It can still be accessed using an identifier. The focus of this article is on the use of pointers and references. In C++, there is the pointed object and the pointer object. The pointed object has the object of interest. The pointer object has the address to the pointed object.

        • Managing a non-profit organization’s supply chain with Groovy

          There are many reasons I’m a big fan of Java, but perhaps most of all, because of the particular combo of static typing and object-orientedness that imbues its design. However, when I need a quick solution, especially to a “solve it and forget it” problem dealing with data, I usually reach for Groovy (or sometimes Python) instead, especially if the library that addresses my problem exists and is well-documented. Sometimes even awk will do. But I keep meaning to start using Julia more, and then there’s Go.

          Every so often, I run across a different kind of problem, and when it is sufficiently compact, sometimes I will solve it in a few languages, just to learn more about how each addresses the problem.

        • Qt Online Installer 4.0 alpha released

          Qt Online Installer and Maintenance Tool 4.0 alpha have been released today.

          After the pre-alpha release, where we improved the unattended installation support with the brand new CLI, we have been improving the meta-data download speed in this release.

        • Perl/Raku

          • RxPerl release candidate is out

            I was working on the completely fresh rewrite of perlmodules.net, when I decided I want to use WebSockets with this site.

            So “innovations” started flowing through my mind in order to achieve WebSocketry, and ended-up deciding it would be very helpful if I could use ReactiveX on my Mojolicious site, in terms of size and neatness of the code, buglessness and maintainability.

        • Python

          • Test smarter, not harder

            “Smarter, not harder” is a saying used in many contexts, but rowing is the context I think I first heard it in, and I still associate it with rowing many years later.

            When you look at novice and more experienced rowing crews, it seems particularly appropriate, because the primary difference is not the amount of effort that goes in, nor even the strength of the rowers, but technique. Poor rowers still finish a race absolutely exhausted, but they’ve moved at a fraction of the speed of better crews. Sometimes the effort they put in actually slows the boat down. They tend to make a lot of noise, splash a huge amount of water in every direction, and pull a lot of faces. (I did a lot of all those things when I tried rowing!).

            Expert crews, however, do none of these things, because they don’t make you go faster. These rowers do a huge amount of training, and exercise massive amounts of concentration, to ensure that every bit of the (very large) effort they put in is actually contributing to speed.

            The “smarter not harder” mindset is also essential for writing good automated software tests.

          • The Real Python Podcast Episode 25: Data Version Control in Python and Real Python Video Transcripts

            Wouldn’t it be nice to a use a form of version control for data? Something that would allow you to track and version your datasets and models. Well, that’s what the tool called DVC is designed to do. This week on the show, David Amos is here and he’s brought another batch of PyCoder’s Weekly articles and projects.

            David starts with a Real Python article titled, “Data Version Control With Python and DVC”. We also cover several other articles and projects from the Python community including: where to get exposure to well-written code, delegation – composition and inheritance, good Python project ideas for high school students, never run Python in your downloads folder, and more.

            We also have a special guest this week. I talk to Sadie Parker, who recently joined the Real Python team to help create and edit transcripts for all the Real Python video courses. We talk about how to take advantage of all the features this new resource provides. Sadie also discusses how she uses Python to speed up and simplify the editing process. The transcripts and closed captions are now live on the website for all new courses, and we are working through the back catalog.

          • Build a remote management console using Python and Jupyter Notebooks

            Secure shell (SSH) is a powerful tool for remote administration, but it lacks some niceties. Writing a full-fledged remote administration console sounds like it would be a lot of work. Surely, someone in the open source community has already written something?

            They have, and its name is Jupyter. You might think Jupyter is one of those tools data scientists use to analyze trends in ad clicks over a week or something. This is not wrong—they do, and it is a great tool for that. But that is just scratching its surface.

          • Python 101 – Learning About Loops (Video)

            In this tutorial, you will learn how to use for and while loops in Python.

          • Git Tricks

            You probably already know that Git is an amazing tool with the rich open-source architecture used by many developers these days. But the popularity of this version control system doesn’t keep you from making mistakes and getting stuck. We think that it’s always best to possess a few useful tricks to make your experience and work much smoother. So, we’ve made a list of Git tricks and we really hope you’ll take advantage of them!

          • Removing Comments from JSON with Python

            JSON doesn’t permit comments by design. As explained by its creator Douglas Crockford.

            I removed comments from JSON because I saw people were using them to hold parsing directives, a practice which would have destroyed interoperability.

            But he also stated that you can use external or built-in tools to pre-parse JSON files and remove any comments before the actual parsing takes place.

            In this short article, we’ll see how you can remove comments from JSON files using Python code.

          • 30 python scripts examples

            Python is a very popular and demanding programming language now because it is suitable for developing very simple to complex applications. If you are new in python programming and want to learn the python from the basics in a short time, then this article is for you. 30 python scripts examples are explained in this article by using very simple examples to know the basics of the python.

          • How to Delete Local/Remote Git Branches

            If you have previously worked with Git for versioning your Angular code, there is a good chance that you had some situation where you wanted to delete a remote branch or multiple branches. This happens many times to developers, particularly in large projects.

          • Using Comments in JSON with Node.js and JavaScript Examples

            In this article, we’ll learn how to use comments in JSON files. We’ll see workarounds and methods used by developers to add single-line and multiple-line comments to their JSON files, the external libraries and packages for stripping comments from your files before feeding them to the regular JSON.parse() method in JavaScript and Node.js and we’ll also see simple JavaScript code for removing comments without external libraries. Finally, we’ll see the alternative formats to JSON that support comments such as JSON5 and JSONC.

          • Django Weblog: Technical Board Candidate Registration

            As part of our change in governance with DEP-10 it is now time to collect candidates for the Django Technical Board.

            According to DEP-10, “Any qualified person may register as a candidate; the candidate registration form and roster of candidates SHALL be maintained by the DSF Board, and candidates MUST provide evidence of their qualifications as part of registration. The DSF Board MAY challenge and reject the registration of candidates it believes do not meet the qualifications of members of the Technical Board, or who it believes are registering in bad faith.”

            [...]

            We had a mistake in the process and neglected to announce this phase properly so we have extended the process by a week to make things entirely fair and in the spirit of DEP-10.

        • Rust

  • Leftovers

    • Bird at 100

      It is eerily fitting that last Saturday’s centennial of modern jazz genius Charlie Parker’s birth should have fallen in the midst of a global pandemic. To be recognized as an elite jazz musician in Parker’s day was to be a called a “cat,” yet he acquired the nickname of Bird. His troubled and truncated life lasted only a third of the century now being commemorated, yet the birds are singing as they haven’t done for decades.

    • Science

      • The lesson of the antibiotics race: science must be ethical, not perverse

        Ultimately, the British, with help from the Americans, brought penicillin to practical use in the war by late 1943. The sulphur drug programme in Germany failed and infected Allied troops were able to recover more quickly than their German counterparts. Winning the race to produce antibiotics undoubtedly helped the US and the UK to win. The different ways of running that race serves as a lesson today as the world seeks a Covid-19 vaccine. Science can better our society and our world, but the ends can never justify the means. Science should be ethical, not perverse.

    • Education

      • Students, Parents Figure Out School Is Using AI To Grade Exams And Immediately Game The System

        With the COVID-19 pandemic still working its way through the United States and many other countries, we’ve finally arrived at the episode of this apocalypse drama where school has resumed (or will be shortly) for our kids. It seems that one useful outcome of the pandemic, if we’re looking for some kind of silver lining, is that it has put on full display just how inept we are as a nation in so many ways. Federal responses, personal behavior, our medical system, and our financial system are all basically getting failing grades at every turn.

      • CUNY, Public Colleges Face Mass Budget Cuts Under the Shock of COVID-19

        CUNY is the largest public urban university system in the United States, and one of the most racially diverse among students and managerial staff. COVID-19 hit us hard. After classes finally moved online, CUNY librarians and staff say they had to keep showing up to work until the official statewide “pause,” risking their lives and health. As of late June, CUNY had lost more faculty and staff to the coronavirus than any other university in the country. The number of CUNY students who died is still unknown.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Centrist Opponent of Medicare for All Wins Primary to Replace Kennedy After Progressives Split Vote

        After Jake Auchincloss, a Republican until 2015, won outgoing Rep. Kennedy’s Democratic House seat with only 23% of the vote in a crowded field, many are once again questioning Kennedy’s decision to challenge Sen. Markey. 

      • WHO Official Warns No Widespread Covid-19 Vaccine Expected Until Mid-2021

        The sobering comments from a spokesperson for the global health agency come on the heels of the CDC asking states to prepare for potential distribution of a Covid-19 vaccine by November 1. 

      • Trump Mocks Biden Mask-Wearing Just as New Research Shows Stricter Compliance Could Save 120,000 Lives in US Over Next 4 Months

        “These are not numbers or statistics but family members, friends, and loved ones.”

      • The Latest Covid Testing Sabotage

        On August 20, the Trump regime prohibited the FDA from regulating Covid-19 tests. This could cause bad tests and false results, as was possibly the purpose of the order. What better way to undermine faith in tests or to disappear covid than to have everyone test negative for it? If this sounds too conspiratorial to you, remember we have a president who says if we don’t test for this plague, then the numbers of cases will decline.

      • The Zyprexa Papers: A Legal System for Drug Companies and Lawyers…Not the Public

        On November 28, 2006, attorney Jim Gottstein received a phone call that would change his life. It would propel Gottstein into a legal war against the giant pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, who would retaliate against him for his release of Lilly’s own documents about its drug Zyprexa. A U.S. District Court would rule that Gottstein had conspired to steal these documents, and Lilly would threaten Gottstein with criminal contempt charges. Gottstein’s The Zyprexa Papers (2020) is an account of his odyssey.

      • Ted Cruz Seeks Abortion Pill Ban, Claims Pregnancy Is Not “Life-Threatening”

        Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican who was once a ferocious opponent of Donald Trump, submitted a letter Monday to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) co-signed by 20 of his GOP colleagues, asking the agency to take the abortion pill off the market amid the coronavirus pandemic, calling the lawful medication “deadly” and an “imminent hazard to the public health.”

      • The US Needs a Coherent Strategy for Asymptomatic Testing

        Dr. Sara Cody, health officer of Santa Clara County, California, was tired of seeing the same thing over and over again. Her contact tracers were telling people exposed to COVID-19 that they needed to get tested, but when some went to testing sites, health care providers turned them away because they didn’t have any symptoms.

      • China is forcing people to use traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) quackery to treat COVID-19

        I’ve written a lot about traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for the simple reason that it’s the form of pre-scientific medicine that seems to have garnered the most “respectability” in the world of academic medicine. Examples abound, including the traditional Chinese herbal medicine clinic at the Cleveland Clinic and the widespread adoption of acupuncture by a disturbing percentage of academic medical centers, including UCSF (which spent $37 million to build an “integrative medicine” center featuring TCM), Georgetown (which featured TCM and all manner of quackery in its glossy magazine), Harvard (which has offered a course for providers in acupuncture every year since at least 2008 and regularly defends acupuncture) and UC-Irvine (which received a massive $200 million gift from the Samuelis to promote “integrative medicine,” including homeopathy and TCM) as a treatment for, well, almost everything, including hot flashes to infertility to low back pain to whatever. Indeed, acupuncture and TCM figure prominently in the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s (NCCIH) plan to study “integrative” nonpharmacologic treatments for pain, while the World Health Organization has “integrated” TCM into the ICD-10 disease codes used all over the world to classify diseases and symptoms. Meanwhile, the National Geographic is shamelessly promoting TCM quackery.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • E-Voting App Maker Voatz Asks The Supreme Court To Let It Punish Security Researchers For Exposing Its Flaws

          Voatz has decided to weigh in on a Supreme Court case that could turn a lot of normal internet activity into a federal crime. At the center of this CFAA case is a cop who abused his access privileges to run unauthorized searches of law enforcement databases. The end result — after a visit to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals — was a CFAA conviction for violating the system’s terms of use.

        • Apple publishes human rights policy, commits to freedom of information

          Apple said its policy was based on the United Nations International Bill of Human Rights and the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

          Sondhya Gupta, Campaign Manager at SumOfUs, the consumer advocacy group that drafted the shareholder proposal, said in a statement that they “still have questions about how the policy will be implemented and what oversight there will be.”

        • Security

          • Thoughts on operations security for the masses

            The last post discussed a secure configuration of the IPFire firewall engine, and, like all other previous posts of this series, referred to a certain aspect of or information security in general. Although if this is undoubtedly an important aspect of IT security – perhaps the most important one -, it is worth looking beyond the box.

            Therefore, this post focuses on operations security (commonly abbreviated as “opsec”) and its importance for the masses. We will learn how infosec and opsec affect each other, why opsec should play a role in everybody’s life, and how it can look like in particular. Depending on your adversaries and threat level, this post might be too paranoid or not paranoid enough – the author would like to apologise for both cases. Also, it is not directly related to IPFire, however, the author assumes that IPFire users are more security-conscious than the average internet user.

          • Reproducible Builds (diffoscope): diffoscope 159 released

            The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 159. This version includes the following changes:

            [ Chris Lamb ]
            * Show "ordering differences only" in strings(1) output.
              (Closes: reproducible-builds/diffoscope#216)
            * Don't alias output from "os.path.splitext" to variables that we do not end
              up using.
            * Don't raise exceptions when cleaning up after a guestfs cleanup failure.
            
            [ Jean-Romain Garnier ]
            * Make "Command" subclass a new generic Operation class.
            

            You find out more by visiting the project homepage.

          • David Tomaschik: Lessons Learned from SSH Credential Honeypots

            For the past few months, I’ve been running a handful of SSH Honeypots on some cloud providers, including Google Cloud, DigitalOcean, and NameCheap. As opposed to more complicated honeypots looking at attacker behavior, I decided to do something simple and was only interested in where they were coming from, what tools might be in use, and what credentials they are attempting to use to authenticate. My dataset includes 929,554 attempted logins over a period of a little more than 3 months.

            If you’re looking for a big surprise, I’ll go ahead and let you down easy: my analysis hasn’t located any new botnets or clusters of attackers. But it’s been a fascinating project nonetheless.

            [...]

            In a surprise to absolutely nobody, root is by far the most commonly tried username for login sessions. I suspect there must be many attackers trying lists of passwords with just root as the username, as 78% of attempted logins were with username root. None of the remainder of the top 10 are particularly surprising, although usuario was not one I expected to see. (It is Spanish for user.)

            Blank passwords are the most common attempted passwords, followed by other obvious choices, like 123456 and password. Just off the top 10 list was a surprising choice of password: J5cmmu=Kyf0-br8CsW. Interestingly, a Google search for this password only finds other people with experience running credential honeypots. It doesn’t appear in any of the password wordlists I have, including SecLists and others. If anyone knows what this is a password for, I’d love to know.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Another Florida Appeals Court Says Compelled Passcode Production Violates The Fifth Amendment

              Things are getting pretty unsettled in Florida in terms of compelling the production of phone passcodes. Less than a half-decade ago, refusing to produce passwords netted people contempt charges. As these cases moved forward through the court system, the legal calculus changed. As it stands now, state appeals courts in two Florida districts have found that forcing people to give up passcodes violates the Fifth Amendment. But there’s still some settling left to do and the First District has asked the state’s top court to take a look at the issue.

            • ICAO mandates worldwide government surveillance of air travelers

              Playing out the endgame we predicted last year of a two-decade campaign by the US government to establish a global regime of government surveillance of air travelers, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has adopted an amendment to the Chicago Convention on Civil Aviation that will require each of the 193 state parties to that treaty — essentially every national government in the world — to require all airlines operating international flights to provide a designated government agency with complete mirror copies of all reservation records (“Passenger Name Records“) in a standard PNRGOV transmission format.

              This is an extraordinary and, so far as we can tell, unprecedented globalization and normalization of suspicionless mass surveillance of the innocent exercise of legal rights.

            • EFF Responds to EU Commission on the Digital Services Act: Put Users Back in Control

              The European Union is currently preparing for a  significant overhaul of its core platform regulation, the e-Commerce Directive. Earlier this year the European Commission, the EU’s executive, pledged to reshape Europe’s digital future and to propose an entire package of new rules, the Digital Services Act (DSA). The package is supposed to address the legal responsibilities of platforms regarding user content and include measures to keep users safe online. The Commission also announced a new standard for large platforms that act as gatekeepers in an attempt to create a fairer, and more competitive, market for online platforms in the EU.

              While the European Commission has not yet published its proposal for the DSA, the current preparatory phase is an important opportunity to expose the Commission to diverse insights on the complex issues the DSA will cover. Alongside our European partners, we have therefore contributed to the Commission’s consultation that will feed into the assessment of the different regulatory options available. In our response, we  remind the Commission of some of the aspects of the e-Commerce Directive that have been crucial for the growth of the online economy, and the protection of fundamental rights in the EU: it is essential to retain the Directive’s approach of limiting platforms’ liability over user content and banning Member States from imposing obligations to track and monitor users’ content.

            • Why Facebook’s Blocking of New Political Ads May Fall Short

              That’s because political ads on Facebook are just one piece of content on the social network; political misinformation also flourishes in messages that people post and in discussions in private Facebook Groups. Facebook is not tackling those areas as part of the changes it announced this week.

            • Telling people to delete Facebook won’t fix the [I]nternet

              We’ve seen years of escalating (and reasonable) fears that Facebook, YouTube, and other big social networks are bad for their users. The Social Dilemma, a docu-drama that debuts on Netflix next week, is meant as a vivid cautionary tale. It’s actually something a bit weirder: a primer on manipulative interface design in the form of an earnest after-school special or a feature-length anti-drug PSA. Directed by Jeff Orlowski, The Social Dilemma is an enjoyably lucid explanation of how sites keep users scrolling and clicking. But it’s reiterating a familiar and simplistic assessment of how the internet has changed our lives.

            • NSA Mass Surveillance Program Illegal, U.S. Court Rules

              A U.S. federal appeals court ruled that the controversial National Security Agency (NSA) mass surveillance program exposed in 2013 was illegal – and may have even been unconstitutional.

              The call comes seven years after former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden outed the mass surveillance program, which enabled snooping in on millions of American’s phone calls, in a bombshell leak that drew widespread worries about privacy.

            • Twitter’s Un-Famous Users Can Make Money From Viral Tweets

              These savvy users do this first by finding a tweet that’s garnering a lot of attention. They then use the reply tool to point the Twitterverse toward a brand, which, in turn, pays a small fee in exchange for the mention. None of this happens through Twitter’s established advertising system, meaning the company doesn’t get a cut of the transaction, and it may break Twitter Inc.’s rules requiring disclosure of payment for promotion.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Germany: Syrian greengrocer sets his own store on fire and accuses alleged xenophobes for having done so

        The investigators found out about him because he claimed to have been in Gelsenkirchen at the time of the crime. In fact, however, he was at the scene of the crime before the fire department and carried propane gas bottles from his burning store.In addition, it was striking that a fuse had been turned off, thus switching off the lights and video surveillance. – The man finally got entangled in more and more contradictions. To make matters worse, he had obtained social benefits amounting to several tens of thousands of euros by fraud and threatened and also beat other people.

      • Comedian Sued For Creating Fake ‘Antifa’ Events on Facebook

        The mayor of Lafayette, Louisiana has filed a lawsuit against a 28-year-old comedian who created three fake events on Facebook that claimed “antifa” was coming to the town. Police responded to one of the fake events in late August with at least 30 squad cars and heavily armed officers, shutting down a shopping mall and deeply embarrassing the cops.

      • After fake ‘antifa’ Facebook events in Lafayette, city-parish sues man who posted them

        The Lafayette city-parish government is suing the person behind satirical antifa Facebook events that authorities responded to this summer in River Ranch and at the Acadiana Mall.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Postal Banking: Brought to You By JP Morgan Chase?
      • ‘The Situation Is Dire’: As Trump Takes Victory Lap, New Jobs Report Reveals Alarming Surge in Permanent Unemployment

        “The pain is nowhere near over for millions of workers and their families across the country.”

      • Less Than Half of Jobs Lost at Start of Pandemic Have Been Recovered

        The August employment report showed the economy again adding back jobs at a strong rate. The reported gain of 1,371,000 somewhat overstates underlying strength since it includes the addition of 238,000 temporary Census jobs. However, even without these jobs, the gain would still be over 1.1 million. The unemployment rate dropped 1.8 percentage point to 8.4 percent, while the employment-to-population ratio (EPOP) rose 1.4 percentage point to 56.5 percent. (The Bureau of Labor Statistics warns that due to misclassification, the unemployment rate may actually be 0.7 percentage points higher than reported. The size of this error is considerably lower than in April or May, but comparable to its July level.)

      • Eviction Abolition: the Time is Now

        I have several questions for you. Can you imagine a society where the prospect of a forced eviction is considered completely barbaric, and is virtually or entirely unheard of in practice? Can you imagine the United States becoming one of those societies? And have you joined a local community group that is considering these questions where you live?

      • ‘Trump Is a Fraud, Exhibit One Billion’: Trade Deficit Soars to 12-Year High Despite President’s Promises to Wipe It Out

        “Trump pledged to eliminate the trade deficit and end job outsourcing, but the overall 2020 deficit is on track to be larger than when he took office, and his Labor Department has certified more than 300,000 American jobs were lost to outsourcing and imports during his presidency.”

      • Property Values Matter. Bigly.

        White supremacy isn’t just rooted in white people owning Black people. It’s about white people owning the Native people’s land too.

      • Austerity and Fascism

        After four years on the outs with the establishment press, the national security and surveillance states and the PMC, one might imagine that Donald Trump is unelectable. And given near daily warnings of incipient fascism, one might imagine that the intellectuals and academics of the age are offering developed theories of its origins for all to consider. More specifically still, one might imagine that a competing political party would understand the risks of the historical moment and rise to the occasion by offering the public whatever is needed to defeat the threat. Alas, an object lesson in how so-called civilizations unravel is underway.

      • Court Allows Bankruptcy Discharge Of $200,000 In Student Loans
    • Deplatforming Trump’s Party

      It is impossible to consider the entire document.  It is, after all, 81 pages in length.  But having created such a monumental document only four years ago, it’s easy to see why the Republicans in charge of such things did not want to waste their time and effort creating another one that might, like its predecessor, be in large part ignored.  In addition,  had it been rewritten it would have been necessary to excise certain sections that would, in light of the events of the last four years, have made the Republican party and the trump look foolish had they remained part of the platform.  And preparing a new platform with the embarrassing sections removed, would have drawn attention to the trump’s many failures.  What the platform sets forth as aspirational remains aspirational and, thus, became fodder for the trump’s nomination acceptance speech.

    • Time for the Peoples Party?

      I’m glad that I was able to catch the last half of the Peoples Party Conventions live stream. The first speaker I caught was Tim Black. Dramatically pulling his notes from his pocket, he put it quite succinctly, “Fuck Trump!” he said. It hit home. So frank, so honest, so heart-felt, and then he pulled another note from his pocket. “And fuck Joe Biden!” giving us the counterpunch. In that moment I went from a smirky kind of ha-ha cynicism to a full-on joyful laugh. It was real! The convention and the speakers were raw, natural, fresh and authentic.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Weapons of Mass Consumption
      • Mark Zuckerberg Has Set Our Democracy On Fire

        Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, seemingly stung by criticism that the social media giant he oversees has fueled right-wing extremism, is working hard to burnish his image as a defender of democracy. The New York Times reports that on Thursday “Facebook moved to clamp down on any confusion about the November election on its service, rolling out a sweeping set of changes to try to limit voter misinformation and prevent interference from President Trump and other politicians.”

      • Why Calling It Fascism Matters

        I didn’t find out that my mother and Anne Frank were childhood playmates until I brought the Diary of Anne Frank home in seventh grade. On that day, she showed me a childhood photograph of herself, her cousin Ellen, and Anne and Margot Frank.

      • Intermediary Liability And Responsibilities Post-Brexit

        This is a peculiar time to be an English lawyer. The UK has one foot outside the EU, and (on present intentions) the other foot will join it when the current transitional period expires at the end of 2020.

      • Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya urges UN Security Council to send observation mission to Belarus

        During a remote address to the UN Security Council on Friday, September 4, Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tsikhanovskaya (Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya) asked the United Nations to send an international observation mission to Belarus. 

      • Trump’s “Law and Order” Is Feeding Racist Violence and Chaos

        As President Trump openly embraces the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon and promotes “law and order” while refusing to condemn armed followers of his who target antiracist protesters, we speak with Jason Stanley, Yale philosopher and scholar of propaganda, author of How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them. Stanley says Trump built a cult of personality within the Republican Party, as evident during the Republican National Convention, and has moved the United States steadily into authoritarianism during his term. “Fascism is a cult of the leader who promises national restoration in the face of supposed threats by leftist radicals, minorities and immigrants. He promises only he can save us,” Stanley says. “In the RNC, what we saw is we saw a cult of the leader.”

      • How Fascism Works: Trump’s “Law & Order” Is Lawlessness, Fueling Racist Violence & Chaos

        As President Trump openly embraces the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon and promotes “law and order” while refusing to condemn armed followers of his who target antiracist protesters, we speak with Jason Stanley, Yale philosopher and scholar of propaganda, author of “How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them.” Stanley says Trump built a cult of personality within the Republican Party, as evident during the Republican National Convention, and has moved the United States steadily into authoritarianism during his term. “Fascism is a cult of the leader who promises national restoration in the face of supposed threats by leftist radicals, minorities and immigrants. He promises only he can save us,” Stanley says. “In the RNC, what we saw is we saw a cult of the leader.”

      • The 2020 DNC Was a Convention of Small Ideas—and Voters Deserved More

        It was a politically cautious and ideologically inhibited Democratic National Convention that nominated Joe Biden for the presidency in mid-August. A long and contentious primary campaign that featured the most crowded and diverse field of contenders in the party’s history finished not with a bang but with a virtual meeting.

      • The Last Third Party to Win: the Republicans, the Civil War, the “Slave Power,” and The Current Crisis

        “Third parties can never win” or so you have heard a thousand times. Except — and it’s one huge exception — under historical circumstances much like the conditions we currently face. We are living in a rare historical moment when the deep inner conflicts of the system can no longer be solved, compromised, or even faced by normal political means. The two-party system has only made things worse.

      • Trump’s Internship in Dictatorships

        Over the last four years we’ve seen that Trump has been carrying out what I call his “Internship on Dictatorships”.  When you think about it, that’s the only project he has taken seriously.

      • Armed With AR-15, QAnon-Believing GOP Candidate Threatens ‘Offense’ Against Progressive Squad

        President Donald Trump called Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is expected to win the general election in Georgia’s 14th district, a “future Republican star.”

      • Unity Within the Fasces

        It has been said that the freemasons may have believed that a person’s spiritual wellbeing could be improved through exposure to representations of (what are believed to be) divine geometric proportions in architecture – even if the person thus exposed had no consciousness of the power of the geometry. This leads me to wonder if exposure to other symbols might help explains the disintegration of egalitarian justice which seems to be rampant in the halls of political power in Washington, D.C.

      • This is What Democracy Looks Like

        Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s pasts and campaigns for President and Vice President, respectively, are contradictory. Contradiction is so widespread in today’s politics, that it’s pretty easy to state that contradiction is itself a widespread politics, and seemingly necessary for political survival in American democracy. When mastered by a politician and his, her, or their operatives, contradiction does not threaten the politician in question from remaining in or winning office. Contradiction often implies that a politician has no integrity. Can there be integrity in contradiction, or despite contradiction, progressively?

      • Facebook’s Political Ad Ban Also Threatens Ability to Spread Accurate Information on How to Vote

        Facebook this week said it would bar political ads in the seven days before the presidential election. That could prevent dirty tricks or an “October surprise” and give watchdogs time to fact-check statements. But rather than responding with glee, election officials say the move leaves them worried.

        Included in the ban are ads purchased by election officials — secretaries of state and boards of elections — who use Facebook to inform voters about how voting will work. The move effectively removes a key communication channel just as millions of Americans will begin to navigate a voting process different from any they’ve experienced before.

      • Electionland 2020: Mail Ballot Challenges, Election Security, New Legislation and More

        Reporting Recipe: How to Report on Voting by Mail

        Many states are expanding mail-in voting this year. Here’s how local reporters can cover this issue while educating voters. Read the story.

      • Can U.S. Democracy Be Fixed?

        Even in the unlikely event that the presidential election goes well procedurally, it is no time to gloat about the vindication of the American version of constitutional democracy. 

      • Democrats Much Too Excited About Rick Snyder Endorsing Joe Biden

        Maybe it would be better for the former vice president to focus on actual Democrats—who feel like he is doing little to court them.

      • House Democrats Demand IG Probe of Pompeo’s Widely Denounced RNC Speech From Jerusalem

        The pair of lawmakers pointed out the address appeared directly at odds with policies the secretary recently sent to State Department employees.

      • The End of Duterte? Four Ways the Strongman Could Fall

        The fix that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is in now illustrates the truth in the saying that the best laid plans of mice and men are often unraveled by the least expected event.

      • Trump’s RNC: Insolvent Casino Royale

        A Trump Roll of the Dice

      • ‘That’s Not What Happened at All,’ Say Prosecutors After Barr Falsely Claims Man Cast 1,700 Fake Ballots in Texas

        “Barr is a shameless liar and most importantly has been one for his entire career,” tweeted New York Times columist Jamelle Bouie.

      • Trump Wants to Punish US Cities That Don’t Pledge Allegiance to Him

        This week the Trump administration once again ratcheted up its war against the majority of Americans who didn’t vote for Donald J. Trump in 2016 and who don’t plan to vote for him in 2020: In a truly extraordinary move, Trump ordered the Justice Department and the Office of Management and Budget to work with federal agencies to identify “anarchist jurisdictions” with the intention of blocking them from receiving federal funds.

      • Prigozhin’s patriot: An oligarch-linked political strategist is running in Russia’s regional elections despite being imprisoned in Libya

        Political consultants associated with Evgeny Prigozhin — the catering magnate with alleged ties to mercenaries, troll factories, and Vladimir Putin — are campaigning for the “Rodina” political party’s nominees ahead of regional parliamentary elections in Russia’s Komi Republic. Prigozhin apparently has a vested interest in seeing Rodina’s candidates succeed: first on the party list is another political strategist, Maxim Shugaley, who was working in Libya on Prigozhin’s behalf when Shugaley was imprisoned in July 2019. Meduza’s sources say being elected as a regional deputy could help facilitate his repatriation (though it’s not entirely clear how). Spokespeople for Rodina and Prigozhin deny the oligarch’s direct involvement in the campaign, but his representatives also maintain that he “warmly supports” Maxim Shugaley.

      • What to Expect in Trump’s America

        President Trump is extending his narrative from Make Me Great Again to Law & Order and protecting suburban women from low renters. Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden wants to focus the narrative on the coronavirus pandemic and the economic downturn, both of which he can conquer without turning the country socialist. Black Lives Matter wants to focus the narrative on getting the cops to stop unloading their guns in black bodies. Medical science wants to find a vaccine and convince people who don’t trust science or the government but only Donald Trump to take it. Elsewhere, some Americans are hoping their passports will work to get them to Canada until the election is over, say, two months after the ballot count, or when Trump actually leaves office. Maybe that’s just me.

      • Racism is a Relation Between White People

        In the midst of a pandemic, most people simply wish for a vaccine, a shot in the arm to make the threat of disease go away. These days, people adopt a similar attitude toward that other pandemic of racism and police brutality, the one that doesn’t go away. Many people are wishing there was a vaccine for that as well.

      • Democracy Dies in Obfuscation

        “US Political Divide Becomes Increasingly Violent, Rattling Activists and Police,” a Washington Post headline (8/27/20) declared last week. My high school English teacher would have taken a red pen to that title, pointing out that divides cannot be violent, only people can. People on both sides of a divide are becoming violent, is what the Post meant. And that is the real problem with this headline and the 2,800 words that follow.

      • Pentagon reaffirms decision to award multi-billion JEDI contract to Microsoft[iophk: unwarranted bailout]

        The release added that contract performance will not begin immediately because of a federal court injunction issued in February that is still to be cleared up, but that the Pentagon is “eager to begin delivering this capability to our men and women in uniform.”

      • The Pentagon says Microsoft should still get its $10B JEDI contract following an investigation

        The contract will provide the Pentagon with cloud services that include basic storage and power, artificial intelligence processing, machine learning, and the ability to process mission-critical workloads.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • ‘Cancel Culture’ and the Fate of Community

        The Root of Cancel Culture Is Self-Cancellation

      • Content Moderation Case Studies: Stopping Malware In Search Leads To Unsupported Claims Of Bias (2007)

        Summary: As detailed in a thorough oral history in Wired back in 2017, it’s hard to overstate the importance of Google’s Safe Browsing blocklist effort that began as a project in 2005, but really launched in 2007. The effort was in response to a recognition that there were malicious websites out there that were attempting to trick people into visiting in order to install various forms of malware. Google’s Safe Browsing list, and its corresponding API (used by pretty much every other major browser, including Safari, Firefox and more) has become a crucial part of stopping people from being lured to dangerous websites that may damage or compromise their computers.

      • Anti-censorship team report: August 2020

        Tor’s anti-censorship team writes monthly reports to keep the world updated on its progress. This blog post summarizes the anti-censorship work we got done in August 2020. Let us know if you have any questions or feedback!

      • Clashes break out in Norway at anti-Islam rally

        Clashes then erupted, with counter-protesters throwing eggs at SIAN members and attempting to jump police barricades.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • California Passes Key Criminal Justice Reforms
      • The Power of Revolutionary Love

        As a child, we understand love on a deep level, if not explicitly, then implicitly. A touch, caress, hug, or loving hand transfers a sense of warmth and gratitude from one being to another, mother to child, friend to friend, stranger to stranger.

      • The Weathering of Black America

        After Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968, his autopsy report revealed that at the young age of 39, he had “the heart of a 60-year old.”

      • The Politics of Looting

        On May 29th, in response to growing protests in Minneapolis, MN, following George Floyd’s murder, President Trump tweeted, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

      • Rochester Police Accused of ‘Unnecessarily Aggressive Behavior’ During Protest Over Killing of Daniel Prude

        “This was one of the more violent things I’ve seen in my years in journalism,” said one reporter.

      • Roaming Charges: Sometimes They Choke

        + Does this scene from Rochester remind you of anything? Abu Ghraib was not an aberration and the torturous practices by the military police didn’t begin or stop there.

      • America Under Fire

        The surge into Portland of truckloads of vigilante Trump supporters who fired paint balls and pepper spray into protesters seeking racial justice has the potential of spreading to other cities as anything but a “well regulated militia.”

      • Trump Knows What He’s Doing – He Needs to Go Now

        Black Lives Matter is Not Marxist

      • The Milwaukee Bucks Strike Is Part of a Long Tradition of Athlete Resistance

        “Everybody knows me. I’m the big basketball star, the weekend hero, everybody’s All-American,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (at the time, known as Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor) said at a founding meeting of the Olympic Project for Human Rights in 1967. “Well, last summer I was almost killed by a racist cop shooting at a black [man] in Harlem. He was shooting on the street — where masses of people were standing around or just taking a walk. But he didn’t care. After all we were just [Blacks].”

      • David Graeber is Gone: Revisiting His Wrongful Termination from Yale

        I am so very sad to hear that David Graeber died yesterday in Italy at the age of 59. David was not only brilliant, but he was genuine, accessible, and passionate. What a huge, immeasurable loss, could 2020 be any worse? Here is an interview I did with David in 2005 when he was wrongfully fired from his post at Yale. RIP friend. The world, and our movement, was so much better off with you in it. Your fighting spirit will live on. – JF

      • David Graeber, 1961-2020: History is a Living Weapon

        David looked to the distant past, and to the future, to imagine truly radical changes in the human community.

      • “We Are the 99%”: Occupy Wall Street Activist & Author David Graeber, Dead at 59, in His Own Words

        Upon the death of acclaimed anthropologist and anarchist David Graeber, we feature his 2011 interview on Democracy Now!, two days after the Occupy encampment began. Graeber helped organize the initial Occupy Wall Street protest and was credited with helping to develop the slogan, “We are the 99%.” “The idea is the system is not going to save us; we’re going to have to save ourselves,” says Graeber. “So, we’re going to try to get as many people as possible to camp in some public place and start rebuilding society as we’d like to see it.” He also discusses how his influential book “Debt: The First 5,000 Years” makes the case for sweeping debt cancellation.

      • David Graeber Left Us a Parting Gift — His Thoughts on Kropotkin’s “Mutual Aid”

        David Graeber was my mentor and my closest friend for the last twenty years. We have participated in dozens of political projects and wrote several things together. He was by far the most brilliant person I have ever met. We all have a good idea or two, but David was always able to come up with many, sometimes in the same sentence. I have no doubt that he was the most significant anarchist thinker of my generation.

      • Trying To Kill Me!
      • Is There Life Beyond Plastic?

        “Plastics!”

      • Is There Life Beyond Plastic?

        Our long-term future seems to matter far less than…short-term profit for some.

      • Heidi Beirich on White Supremacist Violence, Howard Bryant on Black Athlete Activism, Sharon Lerner on Plastic Recycling and PR

        This week on CounterSpin, we feature three archived but relevant conversations. In June 2017, we spoke with Heidi Beirich, leader of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, about the resurgence of white supremacist violence in the Trump era. We revisit some of what she had to say.

      • What the arrest of a hero of the genocide says about Paul Kagame’s rule

        Tourists who gawp at gorillas and foreign businessfolk who meet in Kigali’s convention centre sometimes call Rwanda the Switzerland of Africa. It has beautiful mountains, clean streets, a functional bureaucracy and low levels of petty corruption and crime. But it differs from Switzerland in ways that casual visitors often miss. Rwandans are terrified of their government. They are constantly watched for hints of dissent, which is ruthlessly suppressed. History is rewritten to suit the present. Heroes can become “unheroes” overnight.

        One such person is Paul Rusesabagina, who as the manager of the Hotel des Mille Collines saved more than 1,200 people from a genocidal army and machete-waving militias that were hunting down members of Rwanda’s minority Tutsi group in 1994. Although a member of the majority Hutus, Mr Rusesabagina risked his life to keep Tutsis and moderate Hutus safe. He bribed militiamen with booze so they would not attack. When an assault seemed imminent he phoned contacts in the regime, begging them to order the killers back. The genocide ended only after rebels seized the country under the command of Paul Kagame, who is now in his third presidential term.

      • Yaser Said, accused of killing his two daughters in 2008, was nearly caught in 2017, authorities say

        The FBI also arrested Said’s son, 32-year-old Islam Yaser-Abdel Said, and brother, 59-year-old Yassein Abdulfatah Said, on Wednesday in Euless and charged both with concealing a person from arrest. Each faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

        “In concealing Yaser Said from arrest, not only did these men waste countless law enforcement hours in the hunt for a brutal fugitive, they also delayed justice for Sarah and Amina,” U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox said in a written statement. “Thankfully, their day of reckoning has finally arrived.”

      • Maintenance Worker’s Tip Led To Arrest Of Capital Murder Suspect Yaser Said

        Yaser Said, 63, was a fugitive from justice since New Year’s Day 2008, when he allegedly murdered his teenage daughters, Amina and Sarah. According to law enforcement, Yaser drove them to a location in Irving and shot them to death inside his taxicab, abandoning their bodies inside the vehicle. The following day, he was charged by the state with two counts of capital murder. In Dec. 2014, Yaser was placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list, where he remained until his capture this week.

      • FBI’s ‘10 Most Wanted’ fugitive accused in teen daughters’ ‘honor killings’ captured after 12 years

        Patricia Said told police her husband had threatened “bodily harm” against Sarah Said for dating a non-Muslim boy, the AP reported. The terrified mother had fled with the girls in the week before the killings because she was “in great fear for her life,” police said.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • America Needs To Stop Pretending The Broadband ‘Digital Divide’ Isn’t The Direct Result Of Corruption

        Last week, a tweeted photo of two kids huddled on the ground outside of a Taco Bell — just to gain access to a reliable internet connection — made the rounds on social media. The two found themselves on the wrong side of the “digital divide,” forced to sit in the dirt just to get online, just 45 minutes from the immensely wealthy technology capital of the United States:

      • Why having good internet makes all the difference!

        These days having a good internet connection is key to doing anything online. Be it an online business, blog, shopping, or entertainment having a subpar connection is no good.

        However, how do you know which option and provider to go with when there are so many to choose from.

        This is a pretty normal thought to have, after all, you’ve probably been using the same internet service for a long time and it’s worked for what you needed.

        However, just as with the way you upgrade your computer, phone, or website, having a good internet connection is necessary to avoid hiccups and frustrations.

        Now going out There are some facts you should know first.

    • Monopolies

      • Good Riddance: Facebook Threats and News Opportunities

        News and information can only go so far. Despite the utopian fluffiness about having multiple platforms, the consumers of news want only one thing: the reassurance that their prejudice is secure and their world view left unchallenged. The reader of Rupert Murdoch’s Sun would dare not venture into the sinned waters of The Guardian. Those of The Guardian would argue that readership was an oxymoronic term when used for the Sun.

      • Inside Amazon

        Amazon’s Dickensian working conditions, carry out Bezos’ very own version of Blake’s Satanic Mills. The horrifying working conditions at Amazon have been widely discussed. Even today, working in one of Amazon’s warehouses reminds one of Friedrich Engel’s seminal study on the Condition of the Working Class in England (1845), Beyond that, they are also a reminder of George Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty-Four. Jeff Bezos calls his warehouses “fulfilment centres” however working in those storerooms is the opposite of fulfilment.

      • Bill Barr’s ‘Antitrust Crackdown’ Of Google Is Going To Be A Weaponized Farce

        Back in May we discussed how strange it was that folks would assume that Bill Barr’s “antitrust inquiry” into Google would be in good faith, given Barr’s history of, well, everything. It’s abundantly clear by now that Barr’s DOJ has been eager to weaponize antitrust to go after companies Trumpland is politically opposed to (like the legal cannabis sector), while turning a blind eye to every monopolistic whim of his BFFs in the telecom sector. The DOJ’s petty lawsuit against California automakers also made it clear there’s no real intellectual consistency being applied at the Trump DOJ when it comes to antitrust.

      • Patents

        • “Reexamining your ISA Selection in view of the 2020 PCT Yearly Review”
        • “Reexaminingyour ISA Selection in view of the 2020 PCT Yearly Review”

          WIPO’s 2020 Review details that the European Patent Office (EPO) issued 32.2% of ISRs worldwide in 2019. Second place went to the National Intellectual Property Administration, China (CNIPA)at 21.0%. The US fell to a distant fifth with only 8.6% of ISRs issued in 2019 and was surpassed this year by Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO). While the EPO remains the worldwide favorite, its relative popularity has been decreasing. The percentage of worldwide applicants selecting the EPO has decreased 15% over the past decade. The EPO’s decline in worldwide share is in lockstep with Chinese applicants’ shifting preference for selecting CNIPA. In 2008, CNIPA issued only 3.2% of ISRs, but by 2019 CNIPA issued 21%, an increase of almost 18%.

        • Richard Meade QC appointed to the High Court

          The IPKat team (including Merpel) is delighted to congratulate Richard Meade QC on his appointment as a Justice of the (English) High Court. The appointment, announced earlier today, will take effect on Monday [no hanging about!].

          There has been much speculation in the UK’s IP community regarding the identity of the next IP specialist High Court judge (a much-needed appointment in light of the richly-deserved recent elevations of Lord Justice Arnold and Lord Justice Birss to the Court of Appeal). The name of the (soon-to-be) Mr Justice Meade came up frequently as one of the front-runners, and no doubt will be a widely popular choice.

        • Unwired Planet Decision May Lead To Crossed Wires On SEP Royalties

          Last week, the UK Supreme Court ruled that it was legally permissible for UK courts to set worldwide license rates for patents that are subject to fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory license (FRAND) obligations. The decision is likely to have worldwide ramifications—and create worldwide chaos in SEP licensing.

          [...]

          This approach creates a host of problems likely to lead to a chaotic licensing environment. First and foremost, the UK has set out a system where different jurisdictions can each independently set global license rates. Patentees will likely seek to file cases in jurisdictions where they can obtain favorable conditions for licensors, while innovative manufacturers will ask for rates to be set in jurisdictions with favorable conditions for licensees. All of the existing problems with global patent litigation—anti-suit injunctions, anti-anti-suit injunctions, and even anti-anti-anti-suit injunctions, not to mention contradictory results and increased cost—will only be magnified.

          Setting aside whether it’s appropriate as a matter of comity and extraterritoriality for a UK court to set a rate for the licensing of an American or Chinese patent, when you have multiple jurisdictions setting rates, you’re going to wind up with different results. Even across U.S. courts applying the exact same legal standards, you can get inconsistent results, much less when you’re talking about different legal systems applying their own legal standards for what is or is not FRAND. And that will lead to increased cost and complexity, the opposite of what the UK Supreme Court was aiming to do.

          Imagine a situation in which a U.S. court instructs a licensor to charge a 0.5% royalty rate for a worldwide license, while a UK court instructs the licensee to pay a 2% royalty rate. As the licensor, you would presumably try to enforce the 2% royalty rate, but the licensee would likely ask the U.S. court to force the licensor to only take the 0.5% rate or be ruled in breach of its FRAND obligation and subject to penalties in the U.S. courts. Rather than avoiding country-by-country litigation, one of the rationales the UK court gave for its decision, a worldwide rate-setting approach will likely fuel additional litigation by both sides to try to find the most favorable jurisdiction and leverage whatever rate they can obtain there on other countries. The whole system will wind up less predictable and more expensive than a system in which courts set rates for their own jurisdictions.

          [...]

          Option 3 is the introduction of a global rate-setting tribunal, either via international agreement a la WIPO/WTO or via a separate, new agreement among members of standard-setting organizations. As proposed in detail by Prof. Jorge Contreras, this approach—modeled after the Copyright Royalty Board in the U.S. and similar agencies—would provide a single, agreed upon point for determination of worldwide royalties. Licensees or licensors could ask the Board to set a worldwide rate. And, over time, the Board would develop a body of law about who can obtain a license, what a FRAND rate is, how to avoid royalty-stacking, and other such areas of discussion in FRAND/SEP patents.

          This isn’t a perfect solution either—there would be concerns about how the rate-setting judges would be selected, what interpretation of FRAND the new tribunal would apply (one big question, for example, would be whether the obligation to license extends to anyone who requests a license or whether licensors can pick and choose), whether there’d be any potential for challenges to the tribunal’s decisions, and whether the relevant stakeholders would be likely to agree to such a tribunal. But it’d be the solution most likely to lead to a system in which litigation doesn’t multiply.

        • Software Patents

          • Revised Opinion in Windy City: Court Still Bars Self-Joinder in IPR Proceedings

            This was an important PTAB JOINDER case when it was decided by the Federal Circuit back in March 2020. (Panel of Chief Judge Prost with Judges Plager and O’Malley). The en banc court has now denied rehearing, but the original panel has also revised its opinion to take into account the the Supreme Court’s intervening decision in Thryv.

            In Civil Procedure, joinder is typically divided into distinct area: joinder of claims and joinder of parties. The AIA statute provides only for joinder of parties, but the PTAB allowed Facebook to join itself to a pending IPR in order to add additional claims. Facebook had wanted to do this type of joinder, because its later-filed IPR petition would have otherwise been time-barred under § 315(b) — and the patent act particularly notes that the 1-year 315(b) time-bar “not apply to a request for joinder”. In its first decision, the appellate panel held that the self-joinder approach was not permitted by the statute.

            Since March, the Supreme Court decided Thryv — and overturned a set of Federal Circuit cases reviewing various petition-stage decisions by the PTAB. In Thryv, the court held that the USPTO’s interpretation of the § 315(b) one-year time-bar was not reviewable on appeal based upon the “no appeal” provision of § 314(d).

            [...]

            Id. I expect that on remand, the PTO will dismiss the late-filed petitions.

            In its revised opinion, the court maintained its unanimous secondary opinion offering “additional views” on deference to Precedential Opinion Panels at the PTO.

          • Sound View patent determined to have substantial questions of patentability, reexamination request granted

            On September 3, 2020, the Central Reexamination Unit of the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted Unified Patents’ request for ex parte reexamination of U.S. Patent 7,426,715, owned and asserted by Sound View Innovations, LLC, finding substantial new questions of patentability for all challenged claims. The request was filed in an effort to protect Open Source technologies from invalid NPE assertions. The ’715 patent generally relates to shutting down a plurality of software components in an ordered sequence. Sound View recently asserted this patent against Walmart, Vudu, and Delta Air Lines.

          • Velos Media ’981 patent held unpatentable

            On September 4, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued a final written decision in Unified Patents, LLC v. Velos Media, LLC holding all challenged claims of US Patent 9,979,981 unpatentable. Velos also moved to amend the claims, but the Board denied the motion to amend. The ’981 patent is generally directed to techniques for image processing, including encoding efficiency for color difference signals and reduction in address calculations for memory access.

      • Copyrights

        • Scene Bust Triggered Historic Drop in ‘Pirate’ Releases

          More than a week has passed since a US Government enforcement action hit the piracy scene hard. The release group SPARKS was the main target but, directly and indirectly, many other pirate groups were affected as well. Now that the dust is settling, we take a look at how the actions impacted the flow of new releases.

        • TVZion Piracy App Ordered to Shut Down By Global Anti-Piracy Group ACE

          Several members of the team behind pirate streaming app TVZion have been reportedly served with cease-and-desist notices by global anti-piracy coalition Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment. A partial copy of a letter seen by TF orders domains to be handed over but according to a source familiar with the situation, the app won’t be shutting down.

        • There Are Many Serious Concerns About Facebook. Why the Australia News Fight Isn’t One of Them

          The government has been looking for a solution to assist a troubled media industry. I’ve argued that if the market alone will not sustain much-needed journalism, then there is an argument that government should support it in the public interest using general tax revenues. Yet Guilbeault has thus far failed to deliver on prior promises of support with programs struggling to get up and running. Rather than looking to the Internet as an ATM for government policy and aligning with Rupert Murdoch in a manner that will ultimately harm Canadians and Canadian media, he would do better to focus on figuring out why support announced months ago is still stuck at the starting gate.

        • The Next Register Of Copyrights Must Realize That Copyright Serves The Public

          Mike has written many times on this website about various shenanigans at the Copyright Office. An obscure government agency to many, the Copyright Office actually has a huge influence over copyright policy and law, from Congress to the courts. With word that the appointment of a new Register of Copyrights is imminent, this is an opportunity to fix many of the challenges with the agency.

[Meme] Open Source is a Lot More Radical and Less Tolerant Than Free Software and Richard Stallman

Posted in Free/Libre Software, OSI at 11:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ESR: You think 'Free software' is radical? Look who founded the 'Open Source Initiative' (OSI)

Summary: ESR’s vigilante culture and defence of gun crime (or domestic terrorism) is an ongoing and recurring theme; and they tell us that “Open Source” is more business-friendly than Free software…

The Relationship Between FSF and FSFE

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux at 10:40 am by Guest Editorial Team

Recent: Leak: FSF/FSFE Trademark Dispute (FSF Demanding That FSFE Should Change the Organisation’s Name)

Reprinted with permission from the Free Software Fellowship

Ever since I started blogging about my role in FSFE as Fellowship representative, I’ve been receiving communications and queries from various people, both in public and in private, about the relationship between FSF and FSFE. I’ve written this post to try and document my own experiences of the issue, maybe some people will find this helpful. These comments have also been shared on the LibrePlanet mailing list for discussion (subscribe here).

Being the elected Fellowship representative means I am both a member of FSFE e.V. and also possess a mandate to look out for the interests of the community of volunteers and donors (they are not members of FSFE e.V). In both capacities, I feel uncomfortable about the current situation due to the confusion it creates in the community and the risk that volunteers or donors may be confused.

The FSF has a well known name associated with a distinctive philosophy. Whether people agree with that philosophy or not, they usually know what FSF believes in. That is the power of a brand.

When people see the name FSFE, they often believe it is a subsidiary or group working within the FSF. The way that brands work, people associate the philosophy with the name, just as somebody buying a Ferrari in Berlin expects it to do the same things that a Ferrari does in Boston.

To give an example, when I refer to “our president” in any conversation, people not knowledgeable about the politics believe I am referring to RMS. More specifically, if I say to somebody “would you like me to see if our president can speak at your event?”, some people think it is a reference to RMS. In fact, FSFE was set up as a completely independent organization with distinct membership and management and therefore a different president. When I try to explain this to people, they sometimes lose interest and the conversation can go cold very quickly.

FSFE leadership have sometimes diverged from FSF philosophy, for example, it is not hard to find some quotes about “open source” and one fellow recently expressed concern that some people behave like “FSF Light”. But given that FSF’s crown jewels are the philosophy, how can an “FSF Light” mean anything? What would “Ferrari Light” look like, a red lawnmower? Would it be a fair use of the name Ferrari?

fsfellowship lawn mower

Some concerned fellows have recently gone as far as accusing the FSFE staff of effectively domain squatting or trolling the FSF (I can’t link to that because of FSFE’s censorship regime). When questions appear about the relationship in public, there is sometimes a violent response with no firm details. (I can’t link to that either because of FSFE’s censorship regime)

The FSFE constitution calls on FSFE to “join forces” with the FSF and sometimes this appears to happen but I feel this could be taken further.

FSF people have also produced vast amounts of code (the GNU Project) and some donors appear to be contributing funds to FSFE in gratitude for that or in the belief they are supporting that. However, it is not clear to me that funds given to FSFE support that work. As Fellowship representative, a big part of my role is to think about the best interests of those donors and so the possibility that they are being confused concerns me.

Given the vast amounts of money and goodwill contributed by the community to FSFE e.V., including a recent bequest of EUR 150,000 and the direct questions about this issue I feel it is becoming more important for both organizations to clarify the issue.

FSFE has a transparency page on the web site and this would be a good place to publish all documents about their relationship with FSF. For example, FSFE could publish the documents explaining their authorization to use a name derived from FSF and the extent to which they are committed to adhere to FSF’s core philosophy and remain true to that in the long term. FSF could also publish some guidelines about the characteristics of a sister organization, especially when that organization is authorized to share the FSF’s name.

In the specific case of sister organizations who benefit from the tremendous privilege of using the FSF’s name, could it also remove ambiguity if FSF mandated the titles used by officers of sister organizations? For example, the “FSFE President” would be referred to as “FSFE European President”, or maybe the word president could be avoided in all sister organizations.

People also raise the question of whether FSFE can speak for all Europeans given that it only has a large presence in Germany and other organizations are bigger in other European countries. Would it be fair for some of those other groups to aspire to sister organization status and name-sharing rights too? Could dozens of smaller FSF sister organizations dilute the impact of one or two who go off-script?

Even if FSFE was to distance itself from FSF or even start using a new name and philosophy, as a member, representative and also volunteer I would feel uncomfortable with that as there is a legacy of donations and volunteering that have brought FSFE to the position the organization is in today.

That said, I would like to emphasize that I regard RMS and the FSF, as the original FSF, as having the final authority over the use of the name and I fully respect FSF’s right to act unilaterally, negotiate with sister organizations or simply leave things as they are.

If you have questions or concerns about this topic, I would invite you to raise them on the LibrePlanet-discuss mailing list or feel free to email me directly.

[Meme] Linux Foundation Board Meeting

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Kernel at 10:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux Foundation board meeting
Linux Foundation board meeting: does anybody here actually use Linux?

Summary: There’s growing recognition that the so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation isn’t working for Linux at all

WSL Foundation

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