Links 4/10/2020: FreeBSD 12.2 RC1, MyKDE Introduced

Posted in News Roundup at 6:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • TUXEDO announce the Ryzen 7 4700U powered Aura 15

        After a new AMD Ryzen powered Linux laptop for work and some gaming too? Germany company TUXEDO are back with another announcement with the Aura 15. Using the latest generation AMD Ryzen 7 4700U you get access to 8 fantastic cores of power.

        TUXEDO have announced quite a lot over the last year, as they continue expanding like the Polaris 15 / 17 and the absolute monster with the TUXEDO Book XUX7. This Aura 15 is however a much cheaper offering than a lot of their other choices this year while still providing a good bit of power for a range of needs.

    • Google

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LBRY Keeps Getting Better As An Alternative To YouTube

        When I joined LBRY at the beginning of 2020, I never could have imagined the kind of growth that the platform would receive. In just a few months, there are so many more creators and viewers on LBRY, the website has undergone some improvements, and the desktop and mobile apps keep better.

      • Tmux Is Still Bloat: Use DVTM For Terminal Multiplexing

        In this 2nd part of tmux is bloat I show you the partner of Abduco called dvtm, unlike Abduco which was a standalone terminal sesion manager, this tool is a standalone terminal multiplexer and combined you can get most of what you’ll want to have from something like Tmux, obviously it’s not perfect but if you don’t need the extra features this might be a good choice.

    • Kernel Space

      • EXT4 Has A Big Optimization For Linux 5.10 For File Overwrites

        The EXT4 file-system with the upcoming Linux 5.10 kernel has an optimization yielding big benefits for file overwrites in some circumstances.

        With the EXT4 iomap code used in direct access (DAX) and direct I/O (DIO) modes there is an optimization for checking whether blocks are already allocated. In these cases of the blocks already having been allocated (hence an overwrite), the mapping information can be returned immediately and for multi-threaded overwrite requests there is an especially big performance benefit — again, assuming you are using DAX/DIO such as on persistent memory with the likes of Intel Optane DCPMM or even simulating persistent memory within virtual machines.

      • XCP-ng 8.2 LTS To Bring Rewritten UEFI, Core Scheduling To Fend Off Side Channel Attacks

        XCP-ng as the open-source hypervisor built atop XenServer is preparing for its 8.2 LTS release while this week marked the availability of the first beta.

        This XenServer-based open-source hypervisor is in the process of picking up many features for the 8.2 LTS release. There is a re-implementation of XCP-ng’s UEFI support, Openflow controller access support with Xen Orchestra, experimental core scheduling, experimental storage driver support for Gluster / ZFS / XFS / CephFS, support for Intel Icelake and Comet Lake processors, and a variety of other improvements.

    • Intel

      • Intel’s Meteor Lake CPUs Spotted In Linux Patches, Aiming A 2022 Launch With Next-Gen Cores & New Process Node

        The Intel Meteor Lake line of CPUs is a far-future family that will appear sometime in 2022. The new line of processors will succeed Intel’s Alder Lake family which will make its debut in the second half of 2021. The CPU family is expected to make use of next-generation core technologies and feature a brand new process node but before that, let’s see what details the Linux patches unveil for Intel’s Meteor Lake.

      • Intel Discloses New CPU Instructions, Enhanced Hardware Feedback Interface (EHFI)

        Intel updated their programming reference manual this week with some interesting new additions, primarily around user interrupts and the enhanced hardware feedback interface.

        While Intel has already disclosed AMX (Advanced Matrix Extensions) as coming with Sapphire Rapids and some other new instructions, they have now disclosed more instructions that are on the way. Some appear to be coming with Sapphire Rapids while others on the client side with Alder Lake. New Intel instructions documented by this latest PRM revision include CLUI, HRESET, SENDUIPI, STUI, TESTUI, UIRET, VPDPBUSD, VPDPBUSDS, VPDPWSSD and VPDPWSSDS.

      • Intel Begins Linux Hardware Enablement Work For Meteor Lake

        Meteor Lake is Intel’s first 7nm microarchitecture not expected until late 2022 or 2023 that will pair “Ocean Cove” with “Gracemont” cores as the successor to Alder Lake. Intel engineers continue doing a lot of bring-up work for Alder Lake in recent months and that work coming together nicely for the Linux kernel and related components like the GNU and LLVM compiler toolchains. With the Alder Lake work beginning to settle down and wanting to ensure great Linux out-of-the-box support in time for launch, attention is turning soon enough to Meteor Lake.

    • Applications

      • 8 Productive Free and Open Source Clipboard Managers

        Technology tools do have their limits. No one will become a master chef simply because they use chef-endorsed saucepans, the finest ingredients, or have access to sought-after recipes. For example, a diary application can make it easier for individuals to keep track of their daily activities and thoughts, but will the application really bring order into a chaotic world? Time tracker apps help users keep track of how much time is spent on various activities during the day, but still the user has to remember to start them.

        Don’t get us wrong. There’s a real burning passion inside us for small productivity tools. Lean tools that focus on a single productivity enhancing activity can make an enormous difference to the way time is spent. Bloated, complex productivity tools tend to only slow you down, and complex solutions require too much maintenance.

      • 9 Best Free and Open Source Command Line Navigation Tools

        The desktop environment with its bundle of programs sharing a common graphical user interface (GUI) remains a firm favorite with users. Not surprising really given that a good desktop environment makes computing fun and simple. The graphical desktop environment has become so ingrained in almost everyone’s computer activities that it might seem the command line will wither away. Yet, there is still an important role to play for the humble command-line interface (CLI).


        The whole is greater than the sum of its parts is a very famous quote from Aristotle, a Greek philosopher and scientist. This quote is particularly pertinent to Linux. In my view, one of Linux’s biggest strengths is its synergy. The usefulness of Linux doesn’t derive only from the huge raft of open source (command line) utilities. Instead, it’s the synergy generated by using them together, sometimes in conjunction with larger applications.

        The cd command is a command-line OS shell command used to change the current working directory. A directory is a logical section of a file system used to hold files. Directories may also contain other directories. The cd command can be used to change into a subdirectory, move back into the parent directory, move all the way back to the root directory or move to any given directory.

        The purpose of this article is to identify some tiny but useful tools that complement the cd command. They help users to navigate faster around the filesystem, and increase productivity when using the shell. We feature 9 tools each with their own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources.

        Here’s our recommendations.

      • Repo Review: XnConvert

        XnConvert is a powerful batch image processor that allows you to easily perform a wide range of adjustments to a batch of images and convert them to many different formats. XnConvert is available as freeware for private non-commercial use, but companies are required to purchase a license. The pricing for an XnConvert commercial license starts at 15.00€ per license.

        The user interface is fairly straightforward and easy to use. From the Input tab, you can load in images by dragging and dropping them into the program, or using the Add files and Add folder buttons. XnConvert can open over 500 different image formats, including many RAW camera formats. Once loaded in, you can begin processing the images.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Action-packed roguelike Burning Knight gains local co-op with a big content update out now

        The first major post-launch update for the action-packed roguelike Burning Knight is out now. On top of new content, there’s also now local co-op support.

        What is Burning Knight? It’s a real-time action roguelike built in the spirit of Nuclear Throne, Enter The Gungeon and others like it. You get a different area to run through each time, facing off against various enemies and traps as you progress through a castle.

      • Wildermyth to get a live-instrument OST recorded thanks to a Kickstarter campaign

        Currently available in Early Access, the game Wildermyth is a very impressive mix of an RPG with turn-based tactical battles with a brilliant papercraft style. It also appears to be getting a slick new soundtrack.

        We all know that a good soundtrack can really get you personally engrossed a game, and it can be the difference between being a good game and an awesome game you tell people about. One of those essential parts of the experience and composer Candy Emberley is very aware of this. Therefore they wish to get funding together to record properly with live instruments, instead of mixing together samples to produce a much richer soundtrack.

      • Minecraft is getting another big upgrade with the Caves & Cliffs Update
      • 11 of the Best Linux Games in 2020

        There have been many false dawns for Linux gaming, but in recent years things have been improving unabated. The launch of the Proton compatibility layer meant that thousands of DirectX-only games can now be translated to Vulkan and therefore work on Linux, while new Linux-compatible games continue to be released as well. If you want to play Windows-only games on Linux, see our guide on how to set up Proton and Steam Play. If, however, you just want to check out all the best Linux games in 2020 you can play, then read on below.


        As an open-source platform itself, it’s only right that Linux is home to plenty of great free open-source games as well. There’s Brutal Doom for example – a beefed-up version of ZDoom, the open-source port of Doom, Doom 2, Final Doom and Master Levels. It features extra animations, gore, and weapons, as well as redesigned maps, modernized controls and UIs.

        OpenRA lets you play Westwood strategy games like Red Alert, Tiberian Dawn and Dune 2000 online in high resolutions. There’s 0 AD – the seemingly endless project to make an Age-of-Empires strategy game, not to mention the brilliant Dark Mod, which is a Thief-style game in the Doom 3 engine with hundreds of brilliant player-created levels.

        Other than these free Linux games, you can also install DosBox to play old DOS games on Linux. Alternatively, you can also play Windows or Android games on Linux.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Announcing MyKDE

          I’m happy to announce the successful deployment of the new identity system in KDE, codename MyKDE. The new identity system is now available in my.kde.org. You should be able to login into the my.kde.org website with your normal KDE credential.

          For the moment, only the wikis are using MyKDE but in the comming months this should change with more and more services switching to MyKDE. I will let you all know of the progress of the migration.

        • August/September in KDE Itinerary

          Time for another update on what has happened around KDE Itinerary recently. Similar as in the last report the reduced global travel activity resulted in a focus on features related to mapping and navigation around large transportation hubs. KDE Akademy also fell into that time, with a number of relevant topics for this being discussed there.


          Something that nicely shows what is possible by putting the building blocks we already have together is the support for rental bikes or scooters. It turned out KPublicTransport, which was originally meant to provide access to real-time data for trains and busses, only needed a few small extensions to access information about shared vehicles from OpenTripPlanner or GBFS services. Similarly, our station map only needed a small adaptor to visualize this in the right spots.


          While field testing and collecting training samples of travel documents is still difficult, there’s plenty of other things that can be done. The KDE Itinerary workboard or the more specialized indoor map workboard show what’s on the todo list, and are a good place for collecting new ideas. For questions and suggestions, please feel free to join us on the KDE PIM mailing list or in the #kontact channel on Matrix or Freenode.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • FreeBSD 12.2-RC1 Now Available
          The first RC build of the 12.2-RELEASE release cycle is now available.
          Installation images are available for:
          o 12.2-RC1 amd64 GENERIC
          o 12.2-RC1 i386 GENERIC
          o 12.2-RC1 powerpc GENERIC
          o 12.2-RC1 powerpc64 GENERIC64
          o 12.2-RC1 powerpcspe MPC85XXSPE
          o 12.2-RC1 sparc64 GENERIC
          o 12.2-RC1 armv6 RPI-B
          o 12.2-RC1 armv7 BANANAPI
          o 12.2-RC1 armv7 BEAGLEBONE
          o 12.2-RC1 armv7 CUBIEBOARD
          o 12.2-RC1 armv7 CUBIEBOARD2
          o 12.2-RC1 armv7 CUBOX-HUMMINGBOARD
          o 12.2-RC1 armv7 RPI2
          o 12.2-RC1 armv7 WANDBOARD
          o 12.2-RC1 armv7 GENERICSD
          o 12.2-RC1 aarch64 GENERIC
          o 12.2-RC1 aarch64 RPI3
          o 12.2-RC1 aarch64 PINE64
          o 12.2-RC1 aarch64 PINE64-LTS
          Note regarding arm SD card images: For convenience for those without
          console access to the system, a freebsd user with a password of
          freebsd is available by default for ssh(1) access.  Additionally,
          the root user password is set to root.  It is strongly recommended
          to change the password for both users after gaining access to the
          Installer images and memory stick images are available here:
          The image checksums follow at the end of this e-mail.
          If you notice problems you can report them through the Bugzilla PR
          system or on the -stable mailing list.
          If you would like to use SVN to do a source based update of an existing
          system, use the "releng/12.2" branch.
          A summary of changes since 12.2-BETA3 includes:
          o OpenSSL 1.1.1h has been merged.
          o A fix for UFS hash checking had been added.
          o A fix for mmap'd writes in fusefs for writes in direct_io mode had
            been addressed.
          o Amazon EC2 AMIs for arm64 have been updated to include ebsvnme-id.
          o A fix to NFSv4.1 addressing a locking issue had been addressed.
          o Other miscellaneous bug fixes.
          A list of changes since 12.1-RELEASE is available in the releng/12.2
          release notes:
          Please note, the release notes page is not yet complete, and will be
          updated on an ongoing basis as the 12.2-RELEASE cycle progresses.
          === Virtual Machine Disk Images ===
          VM disk images are available for the amd64, i386, and aarch64
          architectures.  Disk images may be downloaded from the following URL
          (or any of the FreeBSD download mirrors):
          The partition layout is:
              ~ 16 kB - freebsd-boot GPT partition type (bootfs GPT label)
              ~ 1 GB  - freebsd-swap GPT partition type (swapfs GPT label)
              ~ 20 GB - freebsd-ufs GPT partition type (rootfs GPT label)
          The disk images are available in QCOW2, VHD, VMDK, and raw disk image
          formats.  The image download size is approximately 135 MB and 165 MB
          respectively (amd64/i386), decompressing to a 21 GB sparse image.
          Note regarding arm64/aarch64 virtual machine images: a modified QEMU EFI
          loader file is needed for qemu-system-aarch64 to be able to boot the
          virtual machine images.  See this page for more information:
          To boot the VM image, run:
              % qemu-system-aarch64 -m 4096M -cpu cortex-a57 -M virt  \
          	-bios QEMU_EFI.fd -serial telnet::4444,server -nographic \
          	-drive if=none,file=VMDISK,id=hd0 \
          	-device virtio-blk-device,drive=hd0 \
          	-device virtio-net-device,netdev=net0 \
          	-netdev user,id=net0
          Be sure to replace "VMDISK" with the path to the virtual machine image.
          === Amazon EC2 AMI Images ===
          FreeBSD/amd64 EC2 AMIs are available in the following regions:
            af-south-1 region: ami-0b78d5e770bcdeb5e
            eu-north-1 region: ami-0505a8c0c52cfff31
            ap-south-1 region: ami-0c4c09e714e3a6e9f
            eu-west-3 region: ami-00e0dae18af349d16
            eu-west-2 region: ami-06e6d824cb38c5eef
            eu-south-1 region: ami-077bfe44af5272bfc
            eu-west-1 region: ami-0830c03d9511775c6
            ap-northeast-2 region: ami-00d438c5be9106d1a
            me-south-1 region: ami-01efb2372fa56c3dd
            ap-northeast-1 region: ami-0276c6be8130eac10
            sa-east-1 region: ami-075bc30f68a1ef652
            ca-central-1 region: ami-0e6349ad57b6ec50e
            ap-east-1 region: ami-0934a82e2fe4fc324
            ap-southeast-1 region: ami-082ef5fab8053e525
            ap-southeast-2 region: ami-034eced9d3b0a5fcb
            eu-central-1 region: ami-003b3ecea55e0f34a
            us-east-1 region: ami-046ecf67c8b89748a
            us-east-2 region: ami-02a876a6124ba82ca
            us-west-1 region: ami-076e14c698318f4a1
            us-west-2 region: ami-0397116051898a487
          FreeBSD/aarch64 EC2 AMIs are available in the following regions:
            af-south-1 region: ami-04c4b469b7a750631
            eu-north-1 region: ami-0a5c67bbe7b0e8109
            ap-south-1 region: ami-0b1deff23e65431f0
            eu-west-3 region: ami-06968c110a4e11fd1
            eu-west-2 region: ami-04d9f8ba0273d9c53
            eu-south-1 region: ami-08f7137dc70ba9340
            eu-west-1 region: ami-09bdce51a19f36c5a
            ap-northeast-2 region: ami-0a943f6eb97da5f83
            me-south-1 region: ami-0640892b8fe159522
            ap-northeast-1 region: ami-0785670f49ecef76f
            sa-east-1 region: ami-07edcd782d88c3d98
            ca-central-1 region: ami-0e1a9498537799d77
            ap-east-1 region: ami-0f946da19f79ace77
            ap-southeast-1 region: ami-09080b7b686213e52
            ap-southeast-2 region: ami-0ca96c25f1ab45e19
            eu-central-1 region: ami-04362b308dedebe83
            us-east-1 region: ami-07ce6d0ad55d93d8a
            us-east-2 region: ami-0367f7addcbc6a4f3
            us-west-1 region: ami-0d5a5ef688e8d1dbd
            us-west-2 region: ami-02cfa06ec6b5efd78
          === Vagrant Images ===
          FreeBSD/amd64 images are available on the Hashicorp Atlas site, and can
          be installed by running:
              % vagrant init freebsd/FreeBSD-12.2-RC1
              % vagrant up
          === Upgrading ===
          The freebsd-update(8) utility supports binary upgrades of amd64 and i386
          systems running earlier FreeBSD releases.  Systems running earlier
          FreeBSD releases can upgrade as follows:
          	# freebsd-update upgrade -r 12.2-RC1
          During this process, freebsd-update(8) may ask the user to help by
          merging some configuration files or by confirming that the automatically
          performed merging was done correctly.
          	# freebsd-update install
          The system must be rebooted with the newly installed kernel before
          	# shutdown -r now
          After rebooting, freebsd-update needs to be run again to install the new
          userland components:
          	# freebsd-update install
          It is recommended to rebuild and install all applications if possible,
          especially if upgrading from an earlier FreeBSD release, for example,
          FreeBSD 11.x.  Alternatively, the user can install misc/compat11x and
          other compatibility libraries, afterwards the system must be rebooted
          into the new userland:
          	# shutdown -r now
          Finally, after rebooting, freebsd-update needs to be run again to remove
          stale files:
          	# freebsd-update install
        • FreeBSD 12.2-RC1 Available

          3 October: The first RC build for the FreeBSD 12.2 release cycle is now available. ISO images for the amd64, armv6, armv7, arm64, i386, powerpc, powerpc64, powerpcspe, and sparc64 architectures are available on most of our FreeBSD mirror sites.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight: Gerrit Draisma

          What would you like to see happen within PCLOS that would make it a better place? What are your feelings?

          A better place? I do not know, but this is what I like about PCLOS: It gives us access to state of the art software like the Gimp for photo editing, R for computations, Texlive for writing reports, Firefox and Thunderbird for staying connected, LibreOffice for occasional writing and drawing, Shotwell for organizing our photos, Skype for seeing the family and lots more. It has a forum that is nice to visit with helpful people from all over the world.

          And when doubting whether mankind is able to solve its problems in a peaceful way, I can always think of all the people that built this environment and keep it up! Thanks to all!

        • [PCLinuxOS] Screenshot Showcase
        • PCLinuxOS Mag: Welcome From The Chief Editor

          Here’s something that I bet many people don’t know about me. I love doing woodworking. Oh, trust me. I’m no “master carpenter” like our forum buddy sam2fish. But, I still love working with wood. But between working my regular job, the magazine, wrangling two young children and taking care of other things that come up, I haven’t had a lot of time to scratch my woodworking itch in quite some time.

          No, don’t get me wrong. That itch is still present. I’ve not really had any extra time to work on scratching that itch. But that itch is becoming more prominent.

          When I first moved into my house, I built my own mailbox. I wanted it big enough so that any magazines I receive in the mail didn’t have to be “rolled up” just to fit in the mailbox. It opens up sort of like a night deposit box, a box within a boxed frame that opens by tilting out the inner box at the top, where the top of the inner box is open for the placement of mail. I even built the handle for the mailbox, routing it out of a piece of wood with places for your finger tips. It’s stained and finished, and looks as good today as the day I made it.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • IBM Emeritus IWB: The Real Business of Blockchain

          “Companies in industries as diverse as finance, sports, health care, retail, oil and gas, and pharma are engaging in a wave of blockchain experiments,” write Gartner analysts David Furlonger and Christophe Uzureau in their recently published book The Real Business of Blockchain. “Many see it as the solution for bringing trust and transparency to digital environments.” Blockchain has indeed been capturing the imagination of business. According to a Gartner Research Forecast, the business value-add of blockchain is expected to exceed $3 trillion by 2030, over half that amount by 2025. But, in plain English, what does this all mean?

          “It means you can theoretically do business with an unknown partner located anywhere on the planet and trade any asset at any transaction size and not need a lawyer, a bank, an insurance company, or any other intermediary making sure both of you follow through on what you’ve promised to do,” write the book’s authors. “Such a solution vastly expands the range of assets that a business could trade. The arrangement also greatly increases who or what a business could directly trade with, without needing a third party (which would take a piece of the value).”


          Sometime after 2025, blockchain networks will start embracing a number of advanced, complementary technologies, especially AI, IoT, and identity solutions. Blockchains will then be able to handle a much greater number of small transactions and microtransactions supported by smart contracts with no need for human intervention. Such blockchains will help create new markets by expanding the types of assets that can monetized and exchanged as digital tokens. In addition, decentralized identity solutions will allow participants in an enhanced blockchain network to secure their personal data in a digital wallet and share it according to pre-established rules.

          “As new forms of value come online with enhanced blockchain solutions, businesses will likewise innovate new business models using decentralized operational structures. Organizations will be technically able to delegate economic decision making to ‘things,’ which would act autonomously and according to the terms defined in a smart contract that runs on the blockchain. These enhanced things could remove humans from the transaction and eventually move blockchain networks toward completely autonomous transactions and ultimately the establishment of decentralized autonomous organizations.”

        • September 2020 rewind

          This past month was a great one for all of us here at Enable Sysadmin. We blasted past our viewership record and our unique visitors record while receiving over 370k views from 40 published articles. We covered a huge number of topics from a diverse cast of sysadmin professionals, and we’re certain that there’s something here for every tech enthusiast.

        • Red Hat Code Sleuths Uncover Mysterious Bug in Registry Service [Ed: Notice that this site now takes money to write puff pieces about products; this is a betrayal of the very core principles of journalism]

          You’ve heard stories, but if you’re lucky, you’ve never experienced it. The bug is below you. It’s above you. It’s in the walls. It’s listening to us right now.

          Troubleshooting and debugging are time-honored traditions of the methodical and systematic elimination of possibilities. But what happens if you cannot rule out a portion of the stack because your team does not have deep knowledge of it? Or worse yet, what if one of the layers of your stack is closed source software?

          What if, horror of horrors, your stack is entirely open source and the bug is down in one of those layers? In Kubernetes? In Linux? Can your teams even begin to comprehend tracking down that type of bug? Can they even eliminate it as a possibility without reading hundreds of pages of code and documentation?

      • Debian Family

        • Ben Hutchings: Debian LTS work, September 2020

          I was assigned 16 hours of work by Freexian’s Debian LTS initiative and carried over 9.75 hours from August. I only worked 8.25 hours this month, and will return the remaining hours to the pool.

          I attended and participated in the LTS team meeting on the 24th.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 12 Open-source Chat and Messaging Development SDK and Frameworks

        While deciding to build chat or a messenger application the developer often look for different options, at the end it’s all about the requirements.

        There are many commercial services and development tools to build chat/ messaging applications with different features set. However, it’s difficult to find open-source and free options.

        In this article we will explore open-source options that aid developers to build real-time chat apps.

        Why would you choose an open-source tool for building a messaging app?

      • CMS

        • Meet the Baconator

          As a member of the team responsible for keeping ProPublica’s website online, there were times when I wished our site were static. Static sites have a simpler configuration with fewer moving parts between the requester and the requested webpage. All else being equal, a static site can handle more traffic than a dynamic one, and it is more stable and performant. However, there is a reason most sites today, including ProPublica’s, are dynamically generated.

          In dynamic sites, the structure of a webpage — which includes items such as titles, bylines, article bodies, etc. — is abstracted into a template, and the specific data for each page is stored in a database. When requested by a web browser or other end client, a server-side language can then dynamically generate many different webpages with the same structure but different content. This is how frameworks like Ruby on Rails and Django, as well as content management systems like WordPress, work.

      • Programming/Development

        • String Length in C Language

          A string in C language is an array of characters that is terminated with a null character (\0). The string length is the number of characters in a string. In the string length ‘\0,’ a character is not counted.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: pinp 0.0.10: More Tweaks

          A new version of our pinp package arrived on CRAN two days ago, roughly one year after the previous release. The pinp package allows for snazzier one or two column Markdown-based pdf vignettes, and is now used by a few packages. A screenshot of the package vignette can be seen below. Additional screenshots are at the pinp page.

        • Apache’s TVM Deep Learning Compiler Picks Up WebAssembly, Better Rust Support

          The first release candidate of TVM 0.7, the Apache incubator project providing a deep learning compiler stack, is now available.

          Apache TVM is a compiler stack for deep learning systems in providing end-to-end compilation support for a variety of back-ends from all of the models from key deep learning frameworks. TVM supports a variety of targets including the leveraging of LLVM for supporting code generation on the major CPU architectures as well as the likes of NVIDIA CUDA. With the Apache 0.7 release candidate there is even WebGPU and WebAssembly support for outputting to those browser-focused standards.

        • Steve Kemp: Writing an assembler.

          Recently I’ve been writing a couple of simple compilers, which take input in a particular format and generate assembly language output. This output can then be piped through gcc to generate a native executable.

          Public examples include this trivial math compiler and my brainfuck compiler.

          Of course there’s always the nagging thought that relying upon gcc (or nasm) is a bit of a cheat. So I wondered how hard is it to write an assembler? Something that would take assembly-language program and generate a native (ELF) binary?

          And the answer is “It isn’t hard, it is just tedious”.

        • Perl/Raku

          • The Tau Station Kickstarter has gone live! (Oops)

            Tau Station is the world’s first Biblio-RPG. It’s a massive, immersive, narrative sci-fi MMO. Missions in most games are things like “kill five rabid dogs and get a dagger.” BORING. Our missions are rich, immersive, short stories where you control the outcome.

            It’s 400,000 plus lines of Perl, with a PostgreSQL backend.

        • Python

          • Python Numbers and Arithmetic Operations

            Python is a powerful, efficient, and modern high-level programming language. When developing software systems, it is necessary to use numerical and arithmetic operations for performing calculations. Python provides a variety of numbers and arithmetic operations for this purpose. In this article, we will teach you about Python numbers, conversion of one data type into another data type, and arithmetic operations. The Spyder3 editor is used to create and run the Python script.

          • Unravelling rich comparison operators

            For the next part of my blog series on pulling apart Python’s syntactic sugar, I’m going to be tackling rich comparison operators: ==, !=, >, <, >=, <=.

          • Adding some reporting functionality

            I just added some code to the surveil app, the beginnings of what will be a reporting feature.


            I found that the surveil app uses quite a bit of bandwidth when sending video, on the mobile network anyway, so I added an option to just store the videos locally a while ago.

            That works, but then the surveillance app can stop making videos for whatever reason and nobody’s the wiser.

            So I figured it would be nice with a daily report of the videos created, so that it is possible to keep an eye on things, even if videos aren’t mailed.

          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccxliv) stackoverflow python report
        • Java

          • Sealed Java State Machines

            A few years back I posted about how to implement state machines that only permit valid transitions at compile time in Java.

            This used interfaces instead of enums, which had a big drawback—you couldn’t guarantee that you know all the states involved. Someone could add another state elsewhere in your codebase by implementing the interface.

            Java 15 brings a preview feature of sealed classes. Sealed classes enable us to solve this downside. Now our interface based state machines can not only prevent invalid transitions but also be enumerable like enums.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • New Object Storage Protocol Could Mean the End for POSIX

        POSIX has been the standard file system interface for Unix-based systems (which includes Linux) since its launch more than 30 years ago. Its usefulness in processing data in the user address space, or memory, has given POSIX-compliant file systems and storage a commanding presence in applications like deep learning that require significant data processing. The POSIX-compliant Lustre file system, for example, powers most supercomputers, and POSIX’s dominance continues down market too.

        POSIX has its limits, though and features like statefulness, prescriptive metadata, and strong consistency become a performance bottleneck as I/O requests multiply and data scales, limiting the scalability of POSIX-compliant systems. That’s often an issue in deep learning, AI and other data-intensive uses now, but as data and the need to analyze it grow exponentially, the problem has, over time, moved down market.

        Enter object storage. Unlike a file system, object storage requires no hierarchical data structure. It’s a flat pool of data, with each piece of data defined by its meta data. It has no scalability limits, making it ideal for high-end storage and applications, but it has one performance limitation that POSIX doesn’t have: data requests have to go through the POSIX file system stack. POSIX gets around that problem with the mmap() function, which makes the user space an intermediary between the operating system and storage.

      • Will New Object Storage Protocol Mean the End For POSIX?

        “POSIX has been the standard file system interface for Unix-based systems (which includes Linux) since its launch more than 30 years ago,” writes Enterprise Storage Forum, noting the POSIX-compliant Lustre file system “powers most supercomputers.”

      • Will New Object Storage Protocol Imply the Finish For POSIX?
  • Leftovers

    • Midas’ Lost Brother

      One of life’s mysteries is how two brothers, from the same mother and father, can be so different. One of the most notorious examples is that of King Midas. He is remembered in Greek mythology for turning everything he touched into gold. It is known as the Midas touch. His brother, whom we’ll call Donsonius, given the scant references about him, was totally different. Everything he touched was turned into filth.

    • A Lesser Man: the Fight to Save Breitenbush

      Should you ever find yourself surrounded by flames a hundred feet high, surely you will find yourself. I was brewing an untenable third cup of coffee when two firefighters clad in Nomex brush-gear pulled up outside the kitchen window in a golf cart. I went out and wished them a good morning. According to them it was not a good morning. A fire was on its way: evacuation level two, poised to go to three.

    • Full Disclosure

      At last!  Good news!


      The good news is not in what they did or what they are: the good news is that by their clownish, degraded Lucha Libre hog-rassle they have exposed openly, indisputably, the obscene charade our political system has evolved into: a stark horror that craftier, more elegant behavior and smoother, more amiable burlesques, have kept hidden from the American people for generations. Forever!

      We are a blinded, despised, bamboozled people. To keep us so is the purpose and intent of the system that rules us. From its beginnings, America was a Capitalist racket run on manipulation and exploitation of its people. From Shea’s Rebellion to Citizens United it has jammed one vicious, rank perversion of justice after another down our throats. Lincoln knew better—as his letters reveal—than to laud a government of, by, and for the people.

      The job of Presidents, Congress, and the nomenklatura of the Deep State has been to keep the great mass of Americans completely oblivious to the Capitalist Tyranny that owns them. Our “leaders” are trained to present a wholesome, ideal image of the nation, using the deep hunger of the ignorant and powerless to identify with a heroic, victorious force to bind their loyalty in the brazen face of their endless betrayal, feeding them poison exceptionalism instead of the nurture proper to a civilized state.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • The ‘Introduction to Linux’ Course on edX.org Surpasses One Million Enrollments

                The Introduction to Linux training course on edX.org, currently in its sixth edition, has surpassed a milestone of one million enrollments, according to The Linux Foundation.

                This 14-week, introductory course helps students develop a working knowledge of Linux using both the graphical interface and command line across the major Linux distribution families.

        • Security

          • How Secure Are YOUR Passwords?

            It seems like this whole issue revolving around secure passwords just keeps coming up over and over and over, year after year after year. And, it’s probably for a good reason: people just aren’t getting the message. If they are, they aren’t changing their habits and behaviors.

            I get it, and I bet a lot of you “get it,” too. It’s difficult to remember a unique, complex password for each site. This leads to password reuse between sites, even though everyone knows such behavior is bad and a poor security practice.

            So, just how difficult is it for a hacker to break your password using brute force? Well, that was exactly the topic of a Reddit thread recently. The graphic posted in the thread pretty much speaks for itself.

          • Short Topix: Linux Servers, Workstations Hackers’ Next Target

            It’s true that Windows machines are a preferred target for mass malware attacks, but advanced persistent threats (APTs) are more of a threat to Linux, since the threat actor is usually either a nation state or state-sponsored group who establishes a long term presence on a network to wreak havoc. According to Kaspersky, there are over a dozen APT actors who have been seen using Linux malware or some Linux based modules.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Police Violence: Institutionalized Terrorism

        The list of Americans killed by the police this year continues to increase with no end in sight. Many are familiar with the sad stories involving Breonna Taylor, Tyree Davis, Daniel Prude, Rayshard Brooks, Sean Monterrosa and Michael Forest Reinoehl. As of Sept 6, 2020, the police had killed 781 people; Wikipedia offers detailed profiles of many of these killings.

      • Why is the World Going to Hell?

        If you’re wondering what the hell is going on right now – the “Why is the world turning to shit?” thought – you may find Netflix’s new documentary The Social Dilemma a good starting point for clarifying your thinking. I say “starting point” because, as we shall see, the film suffers from two major limitations: one in its analysis and the other in its conclusion. Nonetheless, the film is good at exploring the contours of the major social crises we currently face – epitomised both by our addiction to the mobile phone and by its ability to rewire our consciousness and our personalities.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Amid Growing Economic Misery, Not One House Republican Voted for Bill to Boost Unemployment Benefits, Send Another Round of Checks

        Following passage of the House bill, one advocate said “it is past time for Senate Republicans to move to help the American people instead of focusing on trying to ram through the confirmation of another Supreme Court Justice.”

      • Nikola Is Having A Bad Month: GM Contract Now Potentially In Jeopardy

        Nikola Motor Company, to put it mildly, is having itself a bad month. First came the bombshell reports from a hedge fund that founder Trevor Milton lied in 2016 when he told the world that the company had a fully functional Nikola 1 electric semi truck. Worse than that, it was revealed that a promotional video in 2018 showing the truck rolling down a lonely highway, was actually showing a Nikola 1 rolling down a hill, since the truck couldn’t actually move under its own power. Milton resigned after those reports, but the hits kept coming. Two women have come forward claiming that Milton inappropriately groped them when each was fifteen, with one of those women being his cousin. For the record, Milton has denied both allegations.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Whatever Removes Donald Trump—a Miserable Bastard—From Public Life Is Good

        Donald Trump has been laying waste to our Constitution, our democracy, and our very society.

      • No Sympathy For the Devil
      • So-Called ‘Election Integrity’ Panel in Pennsylvania Seen as GOP Trojan Horse to Help Trump Steal Election

        State Democratic lawmakers called the situation “a national emergency” and said Republican efforts are a “dangerous threat to democracy.”

      • Don and Joe Play Talk Radio

        This essay is part of a periodic series on the 2020 presidential election. Some earlier pieces can be found here.

      • Election to Nowhere

        As a metaphor for American electoral politics, the taste test used by marketers of food products is a master stroke of misdirection. In a taste test, ‘food’ is reduced to a matter of taste— versus digestion, metabolism, nutritional content, conditions of production and aesthetic appeal, for purposes of comparison. The products being compared are chosen to affect a predetermined outcome— they aren’t the result of honest inquiry. Finally, majority opinion— a social artifact, is used to place dissenters in a minority position. Choosing a losing product calls one’s judgment into question.

      • Trump Can’t Do That, Can He?

        Notwithstanding his gift for self-deception, even Donald Trump knows that he would now lose anything like a free and fair election. He would lose the popular vote more soundly than four years ago, and he would lose in the Electoral College as well.

      • The Supreme Male Head Unmasked

        Fascism is unique among political systems in that it treats society as a diseased body that needs to be purified. Certainly, the political left thinks that society is in need of reform, often to the point of advocating revolution, but the distinguishing feature of fascism, especially of the Nazi variety, is its organic imagery—the idea that the body politic is not just flawed but diseased. Where the left proposes political and economic solutions to social problems, Nazis propose a cure of the diseased body politic. Unlike a disease of the physical body, which can be treated with biomedical procedures, fascism’s remedy is the removal of foreign bodies and the collective spilling of blood. Sociologist Klaus Theleweit has explored this body imagery in narratives produced by members of the Freikorps (paramilitaries who inspired the Nazis), while a key premise of Nazi ideology was the organic metaphor of Blud und Boden (Blood and Soil), both of which needed to be purified before Germany could become great again.

      • Electionland 2020: PA Voting, NYC Absentee Ballots, Legal Battles and More
      • Something Far Out of the Norm is Liable to Happen

        A great deal far out of the norm has already happened in Donald J. Trump’s presidency. Norms seem to be in his view, weak spots, vulnerable points of attack, often surprise attacks because some norms have been taken as staunch realities for so long. That’s a serviceable definition of a norm: a way of behaving and thinking that long has had residency in the order of things.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • When the Government Stops Counting

        By ignoring demands to release incarcerated people during the pandemic, prison administrators and elected officials relegate them to mass death under the fatal logic of public safety.

        In this watercolor by James Hough—who was imprisoned for twenty-seven years—the lifeless body of a black man fuels the prison economy in which incarcerated people are paid a pittance to produce boxers that are then sold back to them. The Big House Products label is attached to all the commodities they produce. Hough created the work while incarcerated in Pennsylvania to critique the extractive practices of prisons: the removal of people from their communities, the warehousing and exploitation of their labor, and the diminishing of their lives.

        Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Hough and others are advocating for people to be released from facilities without social distancing, protective equipment, routine handwashing, and adequate healthcare. By ignoring these demands, prison administrators and elected officials relegate people to mass death under the fatal logic of public safety.

        In Ohio, one of the first states where cases were reported, Governor Mike DeWine ordered that the entire state prison population be tested. After over 80 percent tested positive in two prisons, Ohio abruptly stopped mass testing—because accounting for the number of cases would force officials to acknowledge the system’s investment in the disposability of human life, laying bare larger truths about America’s economy. Those most susceptible to the violence of carceral capitalism—frontline workers, undocumented laborers, people held in prison cells—get sick and receive little or no care. Like the body in Hough’s painting, their labor produces goods and fuels economies, while their lives and deaths are unaccounted for.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Congressional Republicans With No Strategy On Pandemic, Healthcare, Societal Problems… Have Decided That The Internet Is The Real Problem

        We’ve pointed out just how ridiculous it is that Congress seems wholly focused on destroying the open internet by gutting the Section 230 protections that enable the open internet to exist in its present form. We’re in the midst of a variety of pretty major issues, and yet Congress is introducing new anti-internet and anti-tech bills like it’s last call before the bar shuts down.

      • Report Says 20 Million U.S. Broadband Complaints Went Unresolved Last Year

        42 million Americans lack access to any broadband whatsoever. Another 83 million American consumers can only get access to broadband from one ISP, usually Comcast. Tens of millions more are stuck under a broadband duopoly, usually comprising of Comcast/Spectrum and some apathetic telco that refuses to upgrade or repair its aging DSL lines. Data makes it extremely clear the end result of this lack of competition is some of the highest prices for broadband in the developed world, and some of the worst customer service of any industry in America.

    • Monopolies

      • Epic Games acknowledges liability toward Apple for breach of contract with recent Fortnite version if Epic loses its antitrust case

        Epic Games wants this dispute to be only about what percentage of Fortnite in-app purchasing (IAP) revenues the app developer–Epic–and what complementary (100% minus the former) percentage the platform maker and operator–Apple–will get. Now, they’re not actually asking the court to lower Apple’s 30% cut, but they say they want to be permitted to offer alternative in-app payment methods and they want alternative iOS app stores to be allowed to compete with Apple’s App Store, with the ultimative objective of bringing down that percentage. They furthermore claim that customers will get better service, but that’s just because they want to show that consumers are harmed (a key issue in antitrust cases) in the sense of being deprived of certain benefits they could have if only Apple was less heavy-handed.

        If, say, Epic served 50% of its customers directly, Apple would get its 30% only on the remaining 50%, resulting in an effective rate of 15%, which would already be pretty close to the 12% Epic is charging developers who offer their products via Epic’s PC and Mac app store. In reality, Epic would presumably hope for Apple to simply reduce its 30% under such competitive pressure, thereby reducing or entirely eliminating any incentives for developers like Epic to deal with payment processing themselves.

        The risk-opportunity picture would be quite appealing to Epic if the best case was a (potentially drastic) reduction of Apple’s 30%, and the worst case would just be for Epic having to pay Apple what it owes under the current Apple developer contracts anyway, plus legal fees on top, which will quickly be in the tens of millions in this case, but that’s just a rounding error on the balance sheet of the multi-billion-dollar business that is Epic.

Eric S. Raymond (ESR): From Exposing Microsoft’s War on Free Software to Assisting Microsoft’s Takeover of Its Competition (Linux)

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OSI at 6:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Top Gear Screaming, Laughter: ESR on militia

Summary: The symbiotic relationship between supremacist fascism and corporate takeover/domination is showing; notice how the so-called ‘news’ sites frame Linux as a sort of ‘asset’ of the ‘new Microsoft’

OVER the past week the media was flooded with ESR-fuelled conspiracy nonsense about Linux and Windows. All the articles we’ve found about it (so far) are catalogued here (there are at least 10 of them by now). We published this rebuttal a few hours after he had published his nonsense, but pingbacks and comments aren’t showing up at all (it was published on 2020-09-25, now it’s 2020-10-04). Is he trying to prevent/prohibit responses and refutations from becoming visible? Seems likely; he’s not in hospital again, is he? It only looks as though the post is open to comments/feedback; but none is ever showing up. It has been almost 10 days!

“The OSI, which he co-founded 22 years ago, is already an instrument of Microsoft monopoly.”To me, personally, ESR is no ally; he’s a supporter of despotic and fascistic regimes, but that’s just politics, right? Well, software freedom is a political matter as well and ESR’s attempts to ‘cancel’ both Richard Stallman and Free software (in the late 90s) aren’t to be forgotten.

Clarkson meme on wheel: Free software is 'radical'; Open source is... Microsoft GitHubContrary to what headlines say about ESR’s ravings and ramblings, he’s not suggesting that Windows will lose; instead he’s sort of egging on Microsoft, encouraging a sort of takeover. The OSI, which he co-founded 22 years ago, is already an instrument of Microsoft monopoly. The OSI is basically rogue and it’s a subject I’ve actively been discussing with Stallman lately.

The hallmark or the blueprint we find in the Linux Foundation is gradually being reapplied at more levels, as more institutions are being infiltrated by Microsoft. The same year that SFC, for example, pushed for the expulsion of Stallman (from his very own institution, which he founded and led for almost three and a half decades!) isn’t entirely random. It’s the same year it started taking money from Microsoft. Earlier this year it did the same thing again (took Microsoft money; sold keynotes to Microsoft) and the person who set it up became the General Manager of the OSI a couple of months back. Yes, the Microsoft-serving OSI. Which ESR co-founded. We’ll say more about these affairs some time tomorrow. These issues have become pressing, urgent, a high-priority risk.

‘Telemetry’ (Surveillance) Ought Not be Tolerated in the Free Software Community

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, KDE, Ubuntu at 6:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Security cams

Summary: If software users learn to tolerate the inclusion of spying code — however that’s being justified — then those users certainly fail to grasp the proposition of software freedom (which is first and foremost about users’ full autonomy)

‘Telemetry’ is a marketing term (euphemism), mostly for marketing types who want to show off the number of users and occasionally what those users are up to. Many are up in arms about Mozilla putting more of this ‘telemetry’ nonsense inside Firefox — a subject we covered here before (Mozilla also puts this code in Microsoft’s proprietary prison, GitHub). They say they want to improve users’ experience, based on their understanding of what users do (remote observation with supposedly ‘anonymous’ statistics, though it’s clear some server gets IP addresses stored).

“If Canonical debunks the argument (or “selling point”) that GNU/Linux won’t betray your very discreet elements of life (like searching locally your photo albums), what will people think and what will freedom-respecting software advocacy look like?”Many years ago Richard Stallman publicly condemned Canonical (or Ubuntu) for allowing Amazon to spy on what GNU/Linux (Unity) users were searching for locally. He issued this condemnation after he and I had debated the subject over E-mail. Many years down the line the problem isn’t resolved. My beloved text editor (yes, plain text) has ‘telemetry’ in it (albeit after controversy we’re reassured that it’s off by default; KDE’s Kate didn’t always have those anti-features and I’ve used it since 2004) though many people still use Visual Studio (‘Code’; openwashing basically), which is proprietary software with ‘telemetry’ in it. Those who use text editors to manage confidential material don’t want some cryptic process to send away data about usage (which can in turn reveal something about the work being done).

SecuriCamIf we keep silent, we may accidentally get across this false impression of indifference or even tolerance of spying. It can embolden companies like Canonical and even some KDE developers to do more of the same. We need more disputes and controversies over the matter; at the very least it serves as a cautionary tale, meaning that developers will think twice or thrice before implementing such malicious ‘features’ which nobody asked for. A few years ago Mozilla used its spying on Firefox users to justify removing RSS support from Firefox (Live Bookmarks), in effect participating in the “War on RSS” or the assault on an open, distributed, decentralised Web. Like Firefox’s abandonment of XUL, there seemed to be no benefit to it… to the users. These increasingly “data-driven” companies hire from Microsoft and from Facebook while posing publicly as champions of privacy. “Free/libre” software and “privacy-respecting” software aren’t the same thing, even if in practice any freedom-respecting software also tends to respect the privacy (an extension of freedom) of users. This was in fact one of the grounds of Stallman’s condemnation. If Canonical debunks the argument (or “selling point”) that GNU/Linux won’t betray your very discreet elements of life (like searching locally your photo albums), what will people think and what will freedom-respecting software advocacy look like?

One core (and seminal) argument for “Free/libre” software was, we ought to put power at the hands of the users. Because if the user does not control the software, it may in fact be the developer (or developer’s employer, government etc.) controlling the user. This argument has been valid since the 1980s. ‘Telemetry’ is an injustice in the sense that it embeds inside the code elements that give the developers unjust spying powers over users. It’s a stepping stone towards non-free and user-disrespecting software.

The EPO is Far Too Rogue to Reform Itself

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yesterday: Watchtroll Demonises People Wrongly Accused of Patent Infringement (or Sued Using Fake Patents), Suggests or Insinuates EPO is More Lenient Than Today’s USPTO

Top Gear: I’ll Call Him, Retard: They say patent quality is decreasing
The management refuses to listen to examiners, their representatives, and their union

Summary: The chances of the EPO recovering on its own are slim to none; the way things are going, EPO management is planting the seeds of its own destruction and EPO staff ought to actively prevent that

THE Battistelli/Campinos EPO coup has resulted in a broken institution whose sole goal is to grant as many patents (monopolies) as possible, even illegal ones.

“If anyone out there reading this works for the EPO and has material/information of interest to us, please get in touch.”SUEPO has said nothing (or barely anything in public) for a very long time; the staff committee, which is connected to the union (SUEPO overlaps in the personnel sense), is also mostly quiet. This is why we haven’t been able to say much about the EPO lately.

If anyone out there reading this works for the EPO and has material/information of interest to us, please get in touch. We can be contacted anonymously. We want to report on the situation at the EPO. We rely on sources as well as expertise among our community and at present there’s an information vacuum. Secrecy benefits only wrongdoers.

The Fata Morgana of ‘Winning’ the GNU/Linux or Software Freedom Battle

Posted in DRM, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 4:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We may be further away than we realise, depending on what our true goal is (and all along has been)

Fata Morgana of a boat

Summary: Many concessions are being made and compromises accepted/celebrated in the name of “market share”; “World domination” without freedom, however, sort of defeats the very purpose of the GNU Project, which became GNU/Linux in the 1990s

THE SUBJECT of DRM inside (GNU/)Linux is a difficult one. We’ll separate GNU from Linux for discussion’s sake, as DRM mostly or only impacts the latter. We see it in Steam, we see it in EME (even Mozilla Firefox has that now!), and it’s often disguised using all sorts of cryptic — at least to most people — acronyms. Last year when we studied the extent of DRM inside Linux we needed to search not for “DRM” but for other terms. We found that companies like Google, AMD and Intel played a considerable role in this agenda. That is, at the kernel level (not DRM at the application level, e.g. Steam and Chrome/Firefox). Google does this at all levels, as does Netflix (especially Web-related things), whereas Microsoft is still treated with greater suspicion (Linux folks watch closely as it puts proprietary software extensions inside Linux).

“Linux itself is everywhere, but those latest platforms, managed if not monopolised by Google, are DRM prisons.”A lot of people ‘joined the club’ or hopped on the GNU/Linux bandwagon back in the 1980s (before Linux) and most of them were geeky developers with a passion for programming and UNIX/POSIX. Later on came the ‘lesser geeks’, who could set up a system like Slackware and later on Mandriva, Ubuntu and so on. Nowadays many “Linux” users are just Android or Chrome (OS/Book/Cast) users. Linux itself is everywhere, but those latest platforms, managed if not monopolised by Google, are DRM prisons. Down to the hardware level.

The evolution of Free software seems to be something along the lines of, first it’s about liberating people from proprietary UNIX (or older systems, legacy systems, expensive and restrictive systems), then it’s about replacing Windows (which peaked around the “XP” days), and now it’s about a zero-cost drop-in replacement at the server- and client-side node. That’s why Google loves GNU and Linux so much (albeit not the GPL; Google just barely tolerates it and occasionally tries to find substitutes for it).

“Does the world suit or gradually adapt to copyleft? Or are we seeing an inverted (reverse) trend with the tentacles of Microsoft’s GitHub holding onto key projects? GitHub is supported by Google, IBM, Facebook and so many other technology giants. Why are they helping a Microsoft monopoly?”In the coming years those of us who value software freedom will need to discuss those otherwise-ignored issues. “World domination” for the sake of “market share” alone can overlook what we’re trying to actually accomplish and whether we’re being assimilated instead of actually changing the world. Who suits who? Does the world suit or gradually adapt to copyleft? Or are we seeing an inverted (reverse) trend with the tentacles of Microsoft’s GitHub holding onto key projects? GitHub is supported by Google, IBM, Facebook and so many other technology giants. Why are they helping a Microsoft-led monopoly with direct NSA access?

Fata Morgana Manhattan BeachThose aren’t easy issues to tackle because too many people are blinded by the fata morgana of “market share”; so we get things like telemetry, stores and “apps” with DRM. This isn’t freedom; it’s surrender or assimilation to the very things we’re meant to replace.

The fight or the cause of Free software won’t end with the collapse of Microsoft (or both Microsoft and Apple); the attack surface is changing and we now have a multi-faceted threat, ranging from licensing to DRM and even surveillance aspects (e.g. “LINUX” devices that are in fact bugs or listening devices — the trends whose nature we must ferociously combat).

“In the United States, a government-subsidised (CIA seed funding, Pentagon budget and so on) technology nexus is both repressive and dishonest.”Software freedom is strongly disliked and endlessly opposed by those striving to put back doors in everything; tyrants and autocratic regimes won’t allow software which empowers ‘their’ people; such software is designed to shift the power dynamics, so it’s inherently an ‘underground’ endeavour in oppressive nations. In the United States, a government-subsidised (CIA seed funding, Pentagon budget and so on) technology nexus is both repressive and dishonest. They all claim to be trying to make the world a better place (less sexist, less racist), but in practice they’re imperialistic, deeply intolerant, and strongly connected to the state. They won’t ever surrender to Free software; not without a fight.

Attribution for photos: Brocken Inaglory and Modiddy (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)

Links 3/10/2020: Mabox Linux 20.10 Eithné, Qt Creator 4.13.2

Posted in News Roundup at 9:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • Leftovers

    • Bach’s Final Audit

      Last month the Congressional Budget Office reported that the federal debt will overtake GDP by next year and will double to more than thirty-three trillion dollars by 2030.

    • Education

      • Survey: 50% say working from home increases job satisfaction

        More than half of respondents said their job satisfaction has increased while teleworking, according to a survey by the Federation of Finnish Enterprises (Suomen Yrittäjät).

        Carried out in September 2020, the poll on remote working was commissioned by the business federation and carried out by data and insights firm Kantar TNS.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Mask-Mocking Donald Trump Tests Positive for Covid-19

        When Joe Biden said during Tuesday night’s debate that the CDC said mask-wearing between now and January could save an estimated 100,000 lives, the president falsely interjected, “but they’ve also said the opposite.”

      • ‘The morgue is full’: Medical workers offer an inside look at how the second coronavirus wave is impacting Russia’s hospitals

        In Russia, the second wave of the coronavirus epidemic has already begun. Every day, the country is registering approximately 500 more cases than the day before. The majority of Russia’s regions are experiencing similar increases, including in Moscow — on October 2, the capital recorded 2,704 new cases of COVID-19. Many doctors have returned to working in “red zones” in hospitals — including those who went back to providing routine medical care after the end of the first wave. In their own words, healthcare workers treating coronavirus patients tell “Meduza” what’s happening inside Russia’s hospitals amid the pandemic’s second wave.

      • We Are the Children of Gaza: The Poet, the Fashionista and the Footballer

        The inevitable has finally happened, and the coronavirus pandemic is now ravaging the besieged Gaza Strip. On August 24, a total lockdown was imposed by the Gaza authorities following the discovery of several COVID-19 cases outside designated quarantine areas. Since then, over 1,000 cases have been identified and ten people have died. Experts estimate the number to be significantly higher.

      • How Patent Monopolies in Prescription Drugs Cause Corruption

        Economists and economic reporters all know that tariffs can lead to corruption. The idea is that if a government-imposed tariff raises the price of a product by 10-25 percent above the free market price, companies have a large incentive to find ways to avoid the tariff. This can mean reclassifying imports to get around the tariff or trying to curry favor with politicians to get exemptions. The New York Times and ProPublica have run several excellent pieces providing examples of such behavior (e.g. here, here, and here).

      • ‘Hope Is Contagious’: Fears of Covid-19 Outbreak Upend Capitol Hill

        Trump “will be pulled off the campaign trail for at least the better part of two weeks as he recovers.”

      • ‘Willing to Put Lives at Risk to Fill RBG’s Seat’: Despite Covid-19 Outbreak, McConnell Says ‘Full Steam Ahead’ for Confirmation

        “Scheduling a hearing for 10 days from now is reckless and stupid,” said one critic.

      • With Trump’s Diagnosis of COVID-19, Fox News Struggles to Realize This Is Actually Serious

        And hydroxychloroquine is back.

      • Covid Epiphanies

        The coronavirus affects people differently, even when they have no direct contact with it.  Some people come up with new insights, others see historic parallels, and yet others hallucinate. It is, of course, impossible to comment on all the responses  that have been evoked by the entry of the coronavirus into our lives. The reactions of three politicians, however, were striking not only for their substance, but for their sources.  The first came from the Lt. Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick.

      • Biden Needs to Stop Talking Down Bernie Sanders and Medicare for All

        Joe Biden won the first presidential debate by default. Against the meltdown of a desperate incumbent who is staking his claim to a second term on racist dog-whistling to hate groups and open disdain for democracy, the challenger barely had to open his mouth in order to appear more presidential than the charlatan who currently occupies the Oval Office.

      • Trump Taken to Walter Reed Amid Calls for Independent Medical Evaluation After Covid-19 Diagnosis

        “The American public must have truthful and timely information about how sick Donald Trump truly may be,” said Public Citizen’s president.

      • New warning labels now required on packaged foods

        Mexico’s new food warning label law, which requires black informational octagons to be placed on packaged foods that are high in saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, sodium or calories, went into effect on Thursday.

        Businesses have until December 1 to phase in the new warning labels to avoid fines.

        In addition, the law states that products containing caffeine and sweeteners must bear warning labels indicating that they should not be consumed by children, and products with warning labels cannot include children’s characters, animations, cartoons, or images of celebrities, athletes or pets on their packaging.

      • Fed Up Chris Wallace: ‘Wear a Damn Mask! Follow the Science’

        On Friday morning, Wallace told the Trump propaganda-spewing panelists on Fox and Friends about how, during this week’s debate that he moderated, the first family and other Trump surrogates entered the debate hall wearing masks but then removed after they were seated.

        Wallace said that his own family, as well as Joe Biden’s family and campaign staff, wore masks throughout, but the first family and other Trump surrogates “waved away” on scene health officials offering masks — an obvious nudge to get them to adhere to the rules set forth by the Cleveland Clinic requiring attendees wear a mask.

      • Why is Trump not facing impeachment over COVID-19?

        Just for starters, Trump lied to the American people about the coronavirus. As commander in chief, he would have known that a pandemic was a serious possibility because the U.S. military knew, and officials briefed him specifically about COVID-19 twice in January. A month later, Trump admitted in a taped conversation with journalist Bob Woodward that he was aware of how contagious and deadly it was while at the same time telling the public, “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.” He downplayed the disease dozens of times and continues to do so. That is all the evidence investigators need to establish that Trump deliberately lied to the American public about a deadly threat to the nation and he is therefore himself a threat to the people.

        Trump didn’t just fail to protect the American people—he has not even tried. Throughout his presidency, he has used scare tactics to warn against imaginary invasions of immigrants, anarchists, criminals, rapists and more. His government has countered these claims with specific policies such as harsh anti-immigrant policies separating children from parents, a violent federal crackdown on cities like Portland, Oregon, and more. But when it came to a slow-moving, deadly and very real threat such as the coronavirus, he did not take serious action beyond self-aggrandizing press briefings. Even those were stopped when reporters rightly questioned him about his lack of action. There has been no plan now for many months to prevent infections and save lives. Plenty of other nations managed to come up with ways to tackle the disease and succeeded to varying degrees.

      • How are COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers aiming to encourage trust in the FDA’s approval process?

        In recent weeks, a number of articles have reported great concern around the politicization of the approval process for future COVID-19 vaccines. Public trust in public health agencies is arguably at an all-time low. After several missteps, the FDA has been working publicly to shore up public confidence in an approved vaccine once it comes out. But pharmaceutical companies themselves are now also engaging the public themselves in an attempt to build trust in their products. This is an unusual step for, of course, unusual times. What are vaccine developers doing, how should policymakers think about these efforts, and how can we encourage these lines of communication in the future?


        Nothing has been usual about the COVID-19 vaccine development process so far, including the unprecedented steps taken by vaccine developers to communicate with the public. We think at least three facets of this strategy are worth noting.

        First, vaccine developers have taken unprecedented public positions on the FDA approval process. On September 8, the CEOs of nine leading firms in the COVID-19 vaccine race—AstraZeneca, BioNTech, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Moderna, Novavax, Pfizer, and Sanofi—signed a pledge to “stand with science” in developing their vaccines. The stated goal is to “help ensure public confidence” in the approval process. The statement praises the FDA’s guidance for COVID-19 vaccines as based on “scientific and medical principles,” including the requirement for large, randomized, double-blind clinical trials across diverse populations. (The pledge came before the FDA announced that it planned to issue even tougher standards, although it now appears as if the White House has blocked the public release of those standards.) The most concrete pledge is to “[o]nly submit for approval or emergency use authorization after demonstrating safety and efficacy through a Phase 3 clinical study that is designed and conducted to meet requirements of expert regulatory authorities such as FDA” (emphasis added). This might do something to quell the alarm that followed FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn’s statement that the agency might authorize a vaccine before Phase 3 trials are complete. The firms have not, however, necessarily bound themselves to the specific 50% efficacy requirement from the June 30 guidance.

      • Hawkins statement on COVID and Trump

        This morning most of us woke to the news that the president is COVID-19 positive. We wish Mr. Trump and the First Lady the best and hope for a speedy recovery – as we do with the millions of others around the world who have been infected with COVID.

        For Donald Trump this diagnosis means canceling campaign rallies during the crucial leadup to the election, it means leaving the next debate up in the air and it means placing in doubt his abilities to conduct daily duties — Mike Pence is standing by. But mostly, of course, it means being not just politically but personally confronted with the months of vehemently denying the existence and extent of the pandemic while more than 200,000 Americans were struck down by the virus, while he had the power and responsibility to do much more.


        Our campaign and the work of the Green Party has never been to isolate or target one politician. Behind Donald Trump is an army of Republicans who are cheering him on at every turn. Behind the Republicans is an army of Democrats who agree with the same policies and systems that have led to the catastrophic impact our country is facing. Environmental destruction, economic injustice and pervasive racism are often more than acceptable byproducts of the policies of both major parties.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • If iOS 14 is causing battery drain, you might need to wipe your iPhone

          Apple has already issue one bug fix update (14.0.1), but none of these issues were part of that fix. Instead, Apple has suggested that if you’re experiencing “two or more” of the listed issues, you unpair your iPhone and your Apple Watch, back up to iCloud, erase all content from your iPhone, and then restore your iPhone and Apple Watch from the backups. Unfortunately, it looks like there is no way to restore missing workout route maps, environmental sound levels, or any other missing data — Apple suggests affected users follow its instructions “to prevent future data loss.”

        • [Cracked] Hospital Chain Says All 250 US Facilities Affected

          The hospital chain Universal Health Services said Thursday that computer services at all 250 of its U.S. facilities were hobbled in last weekend’s malware attack and efforts to restore hospital networks were continuing.

        • InterPlanetary Storm cross-platform P2P botnet infects computers and IoT devices

          What sets this botnet apart from others is that it’s built on top of the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), a protocol for storing and sharing data in a distributed file system. This means the infected devices become part of a peer-to-peer network and talk directly to each other, giving the botnet more resilience against takedown attempts.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (jruby and ruby2.3), Fedora (crun, pdns, and podman), openSUSE (go1.14 and kernel), Oracle (qemu-kvm and virt:ol), Red Hat (qemu-kvm-ma and thunderbird), SUSE (nodejs10, nodejs12, perl-DBI, permissions, and xen), and Ubuntu (ntp).

          • 305 CVEs and Counting: Bug-Hunting Stories From a Security Engineer

            Larry Cashdollar, senior security response engineer at Akamai, talks about the craziest stories he’s faced, reporting CVEs since 1994.

            Larry Cashdollar, senior security response engineer at Akamai, has been finding CVEs since the 1990s, around when MITRE was first being established. Since then, he’s found 305 CVEs – as well as various security findings, such an IoT bricking malware called Silex, and cybercriminals targeting poorly secured Docker images.

          • QR Codes: A Sneaky Security Threat

            Take a good look first: Make sure the QR code is legit, especially printed codes, which can be pasted over with a different (and potentially malicious) code.

            Only scan codes from trusted entities: Mobile users should stick to scanning codes that only come from trusted senders. Pay attention to red flags like a web address that differs from the company URL — there’s a good chance it links to a malicious site.

            Watch out for bit.ly links: Check the URL of a bit.ly link that appears after scanning a QR code. These links are often used to disguise malicious URLs, but they can be safely previewed by adding a plus symbol (“+”) at the end of the URL.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Judge Upends Vallejo’s Use of a Stingray

              Cops in Vallejo have put their controversial cell-phone surveillance tool back in the box, after a judge released a tentative ruling (which the judge might or might not later finalize or amend) that they’d acquired it in violation of state law. The case was brought by Oakland Privacy,  the EFF Pioneer Award Winning organization and Electronic Frontiers Alliance member. They allege  that the city of Vallejo, California, may not use its cellular surveillance tool (often called a cell site simulator or stingray) because the police failed to get explicit approval from the city council, following input from residents, of an adequate privacy policy governing its use. According to the tentative ruling (again, it is not final), police must acquire from Vallejo City council a “resolution or ordinance authorizing a specific usage and privacy policy regarding that technology and meeting the requirements” of the state statute. 

              The City Council assembled via teleconference in spring 2020, amidst a state-wide pandemic related shelter-in-place order, to vote for the purchase of this controversial piece of surveillance equipment. It did so without adequately obtaining input from the public. 

            • Urgent: EARN IT Act Introduced in House of Representatives

              The dangerous EARN IT Act passed the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, and now it’s been introduced in the House of Representatives.

            • US official alleges big tech has started giving Hong Kong user data to China under new national security law

              A senior US state official has alleged that big tech companies are already handing over Hong Kong user data to Chinese officials, The Guardian reports. Hong Kong has been drastically changed this year by a new national security law which firmly put Hong Kong in China’s vice grip. The official, whose anonymity The Guardian has maintained, explained why we might not have heard anything from tech giants like Facebook and Google:

            • NY Times Editorial Pages Fuck Up Again: Publishes Chinese Official’s Ridiculous Defense Of Stifling Freedom In Hong Kong

              Back in June, there was a well-documented hubbub about the NY Times Opinion editor’s decision to publish a horrific op-ed by US Senator Tom Cotton defending turning the US military on US citizens who were protesting police brutality. Eventually, after widespread protests, including from journalists and staff within the NY Times, the paper admitted that it probably should not have published the piece, and the head of the opinion pages, James Bennet (who admitted he hadn’t even read the piece before approving it) stepped down. Many supporters of President Trump and Senator Cotton argued that this was an example of “cancel culture” or an “attack on free speech.” Or that it was a sign that some were “unwilling to listen to the other side.” However, that was all nonsense. As I explained at the time, the “discretion” part of editorial discretion is important.

            • Right-wing attacks: German Police and Europol cannot decrypt suspects‘ devices

              The Berlin police fail to crack the mobile phone and laptop of a neo-Nazi. This is stated in the final report of the investigation team on arson and spraying in the Neukölln district. Federal authorities and companies have also chipped their teeth at the devices.

            • Why Vietnam Is Asking Other Asian Countries to Help Squelch Fake News

              “In the guise of being authentic news, fake news can directly become accessible to every Filipino by just a click on Facebook and which eventually makes Filipinos believe of its authenticity without looking at whether such news is from credible sources or not,” said Henelito Sevilla, international relations professor at University of the Philippines. “Fake news undermines the efforts of the Philippine government especially in times of the COVID-19 pandemic when It exposes wrong information.”

            • Senate panel moves to compel 3 social media CEOs to testify

              The executives’ testimony is needed “to reveal the extent of influence that their companies have over American speech during a critical time in our democratic process,” said Sen. Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican who heads the committee.

              The committee’s unanimous vote marked the start of a new bipartisan initiative against Big Tech companies, which have been under increasing scrutiny in Washington and from state attorneys general over issues of competition, consumer privacy and hate speech.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Third World War, Illustrated

        George Grosz was an artist in Weimar Germany.  His works lampooned the rich and super rich and condemned war. A Dadaist who was anti-capitalist and antifascist, he exiled himself to the United States in 1933 as the Nazi party began to rise in Germany. Although he changed the nature of his art after he moved to the United States, his most famous works are mostly from his time in Germany. Indeed, one of his best-known antiwar paintings, titled Eclipse of the Sun, was quite familiar to many who opposed the US war on the Vietnamese.

      • ‘Round Midnight

        September 26th was the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. In Chicago, where Voices for Creative Nonviolence is based, activists held the third of three COVID-era “Car Caravans” for nuclear disarmament, travelling through the city from Voices’ own rapidly gentrifying Uptown neighborhood to the statue on Chicago’s South Side which marks the fateful site of Earth’s first sustained nuclear chain reaction. Cars bore banners reading “End U.S. Nukes Before They End Us,” “Still Here? Dumb Luck” “Not China, not Russia, not Iran: the World Fears U.S.” along with more explicitly antinuclear messages.

      • ‘All we need is more weapons’: A Russian TV journalist who came under fire in Nagorno-Karabakh describes the situation on the ground

        The situation in the self-declared Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh is getting worse. On Friday, October 2, the Azerbaijani military started shelling Stepanakert, the breakaway republic’s capital city. As hostilities escalate, foreign journalists, including Russian reporters, are on the ground in the region. On October 1, Dmitry Elovsky, a deputy chief editor at the television network “Dozhd,” came under fire in the Nagorno-Karabakh city of Martuni. He hid in a bomb shelter and avoided any injuries, but four other journalists — a member of the Armenian publication “24news.am” and a cameraman for the TV station “Armenia,” as well as two reporters for Le Monde — were wounded in the violence. “Meduza” special correspondent Anastasia Yakoreva contacted Elovsky to learn more about what happened immediately before and after Martuni was shelled, and about the situation in Yerevan and Stepanakert.

      • Docs Show US Agents, Including Sniper Teams With ‘Shoot to Kill’ Authorization, Deployed to George Floyd Funeral

        The ACLU of Texas, which obtained the documents, said they “paint a chilling picture of federal agents unleashed in our cities.”

      • US military seeks to “create new base in Syria” – Syrian journalist
      • How the U.S. Military Deformed Science

        Any discussion of American science includes, perforce, the military. Physics? Nuclear weapons. Biology? Germ warfare. Chemistry? Poison gas. While the wonders of science extend far beyond these blights, the military and its money have distorted scientific inquiry, to say the least. And where the Pentagon hasn’t co-opted any given discipline, capitalism has swooped in.

      • In response to Navalny’s ‘Der Spiegel’ interview, Chechnya’s Kadyrov wonders why he wasn’t blamed for the poisoning

        The head of Russia’s Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, has published a public statement addressed to opposition figure Alexey Navalny on his Telegram channel, responding to Navalny’s claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin is responsible for his recent poisoning. 

      • More than half of Russians do not believe Alexey Navalny was poisoned, Levada Center poll says

        A third of Russians (33 percent) believe the reports that opposition politician Alexey Navalny was poisoned, while more than half (55 percent) do not, says a new poll from the independent Levada Center.

      • Military Bases on the Moon: U.S. Plans to Weaponize the Earth’s Satellite

        In July, Dmitry Rogozin, Director General of Roscosmos, cited the U.S. “retreat from principles of cooperation and mutual support” to justify Russia’s refusal to join the latest U.S. space initiative: to build lunar bases. Rogozin was likely referring to the U.S. refusal to renew the Intermediate-range Forces Treaty and its intention to back out of the Open Skies Treaty.

      • The Leahy Laws: Why Biden’s Promise to Israel is Illegal

        While co-hosting an interview on the Palestine Chronicle, I asked Dr. Richard Falk, former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, about his thoughts on Kamala Harris’ promise to maintain unconditional aid to Israel.

      • Who Owes Who an Apology and Will “Palestine” Be Allowed on Canadian Airwaves?

        If anything is illegitimate, it is not the word or state of Palestine, and certainly not the Palestinian struggle for liberation. It is Israel’s policies of land theft, violence, illegal settlement construction, and other human rights abuses. 

      • On Grim Anniversary of Khashoggi Murder, Activists Project Slain Saudi’s Image From Coast to Coast

        “We promise you, Jamal, to always tell your story and to fight tirelessly until justice is served.”

      • Two Years After Khashoggi’s Murder, Why is America Still An Accomplice to MBS’s Crimes?

        Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was brutally murdered on October 2, 2018 by agents of Saudi Arabia’s despotic government, and the CIA concluded they killed him on direct orders from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). Eight Saudi men have been convicted of Khashoggi’s murder by a Saudi court in what the Washington Post characterized as sham trials with no transparency. The higher-ups who ordered the murder, including MBS, continue to escape responsibility.

      • Why Far-Right Paramilitaries are Not Just “Vigilantes”

        Trump’s call for the Proud Boys and other armed far-right paramilitaries to “stand by” has finally shed light on the real threat of physical intimidation around the election, to add to the threats of cyberattacks and abuses of the legal system. His call to arms is also a reminder why calling far-right domestic terrorists merely “vigilantes” minimizes and even trivializes the threat, for several reasons.

      • American History Is Getting Whitewashed, Again

        Benjamin Tillman, the scion of a rich, slaveholding South Carolina family, was elected governor of the state in 1890. Driven by his fury over Black emancipation and enfranchisement after the Civil War, he dedicated his political career to spreading what he dubbed “the gospel of white supremacy according to Tillman.” At every opportunity, he stoked anti-Black violence, once stating that “nothing but bloodshed and a good deal of it could answer the purpose of redeeming the state from negro and carpetbag rule” and boasting of having “shot negroes and stuffed ballot boxes” as a leader in the Red Shirts, a white terrorist group that executed six African American freedmen in the 1876 Hamburg Massacre. His appeals to white South Carolinians’ racial resentments got him elected to the US Senate in 1894. Before heading to Congress, where he would serve for 23 years, Tillman essentially rewrote South Carolina’s Constitution, ending Reconstruction-era Black political influence and stripping Black folks of the right to vote.

      • The Pentagon Took PPE Money and Bought Weapons

        As the pandemic continues to claim lives across the country, new information keeps coming out about how the Trump administration has made it harder for Americans to protect themselves.

      • Monitor: Turkey Sending Syrian Fighters to Azerbaijan

        Matthew Bryza, a former U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan and now a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, could not confirm if reports about the presence of Syrian fighters were accurate, but noted that the “mercenary situation” in Syria is a “tragic reflection of economic desperation.”

      • At Trial, Jewish Victims of 2015 Paris Attack Ask: Why the Hatred?

        Tensions have resurfaced lately, with more than a dozen people on trial in the 2015 violence, many facing charges of aiding Mr. Coulibaly, who was killed after security forces stormed the grocery.

      • India lost Kashmir absolutely

        The mainstream Indian media is circulation a statement from a former Chief Minister of Indian Occupied Kashmir “Kashmiris don’t feel they are Indian, would prefer being ruled by China: Farooq Abdullah 24 Sep 2020.”

        Farooq Abdullah is a famous Indian politician and chairman of the Jammu & Kashmir National Conference. He has functioned as the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir on numerous times since 1982, and as the union minister for New & Renewable Energy during period of 2009 and 2014. His statement is considered a significant change in the public mindset in Kashmir.

      • US Navy to get new cyber commander

        The naval command in July released its strategic plan for the next five years. It scopes out a wide-ranging vision, covering responsibilities for the future to include cyberspace operations and signals intelligence, and it states that the command now serves as the Navy’s component to U.S. Space Command.

      • House approves measure condemning QAnon, but 17 Republicans vote against it

        As unhinged as the conspiracy is, it has gained steam in conservative circles and several Republicans running for the House this year have backed the theory, including Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who is expected to win her general election race this November.

      • Armenia-Azerbaijan: Both sides defy Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire calls

        Azerbaijan and Armenia have defied calls for a ceasefire amid the worst fighting in decades between the two over a disputed territory.

        The US, France and Russia jointly condemned the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, in the southern Caucasus.

    • Environment

      • As Trump Scorned Covid-19 Precautions, Climate Deniers Echoed and Expanded that Message

        Just two days earlier, on Tuesday night, Trump had mocked mask wearing during a debate with Democratic candidate Joe Biden, saying “I don’t wear masks like him.” Members of Trump’s delegation at that debate, including his family members, reportedly removed their masks on arrival and were photographed without masks at the debate.

      • California Will Keep Burning. But Housing Policy Is Making It Worse.

        Monday morning, Sept. 28, California woke up sweaty, devastated, even shocked to find the state burning again. But if we’re honest, and to our great shame, no one was surprised. We’d seen this horror movie in this town. Three years ago, wildfire killed 25 people in Sonoma County. Now the Glass Fire was there, again, burning toward Santa Rosa. At 12:30 a.m., a string of seniors stood in line, many in pajamas, waiting to board an evacuation bus from their retirement home. A tiny woman with a roller bag stooped over her walker. A man in a red shirt leaned on his red cane. A woman in a purple robe and magenta slippers sat in her wheelchair, a white teddy bear in her lap. They disembarked at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Auditorium. But then at 2:48 a.m., before the slumped crowd, a young man climbed on a folding chair and announced: The fire was moving too fast toward them. Time to move again.

        Farther east, the Butte County sheriff issued an evacuation warning for the entire town of Paradise. The Camp Fire killed 85 people in Paradise less than two years ago. Many survivors, including the former mayor, spent the night trying and failing to sleep in one of Paradise’s 434 newly rebuilt homes.

      • Antarctica’s ice loss could soon be irreversible

        Global heating means the southern ice will melt. Antarctica’s ice loss could then be permanent, drowning many great cities.

      • Environment Disaster Rings
      • Energy

        • In Solidarity With Frontline Communities, Day of Action Demands End to Funding for Tar Sands

          Protesters targeted BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase, and Liberty Mutual for supporting the Keystone XL, Line 3, and Trans Mountain pipelines.

        • Energy Efficiency Day: Celebrate by Reducing Light Pollution

          Overlighting directly contributes to energy waste. There are two common misconceptions when it comes to outdoor lighting: that more is better and brighter is better. This leads to a tremendous amount of wasted light and energy as people install excessive, obnoxiously bright “glare bombs”. The truth is that better design equals better and safer lighting. To mitigate energy waste, utilize lighting that is designed to reduce light pollution.

        • Fossil fuel gaslighting: accept climate change but undermine action

          Despite the supposed success of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement in uniting disparate parties behind the common objective of tackling climate change, the words “fossil fuels”, “coal”, “oil” or “gas” do not appear in the entire document, even though reduction in their carbon emissions is the agreement’s raison d’etre.

          It is just one example of the influence of fossil fuel lobbyists. From the outset of international climate negotiations under the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, industry representatives played a major role in influencing outcomes in favour of continued fossil fuel use, led in Australia’s case by the Australian Industry Greenhouse Network (AIGN).

          The efforts of industry bodies such as the Business Council of Australia, the Minerals Council of Australia, the Australian Institute of Petroleum, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, the Australian Aluminium Council, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Australian Industry Group to undermine sensible climate and energy policy have been extensively documented. From the late 1990s, their efforts were coordinated under the umbrella of the AIGN, which continues today.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Targeted Livestock Grazing Won’t Preclude Large Wildfires

          Senators Steve Daines of Montana and Diane Feinstein of California have once again introduced legislation, the “Emergency Wildfire and Public Safety Act of 2020” that is based upon misguided assumptions that fuel reductions will preclude the large blazes occurring as the West.

        • Kiss the Amazon Rainforest Goodbye

          As of September 29, Brazil’s Bolsonaro government has fired the civilian-run National Institute for Space Research (INPE), which has monitored the Amazon rainforest for the past three decades. INPE is being replaced (drumroll please) by the Brazilian military as the new watchdog over the world famous rainforest. Voila, worldwide concerns about deforestation are… ah… indeterminate, vague, unspecified.

    • Finance

      • Meet the Customer Service Reps for Disney and Airbnb Who Have to Pay to Talk to You

        Airbnb, battered by the pandemic recession, announced in May that it would be laying off a quarter of its workforce. In a post hailed for its empathy and transparency, CEO Brian Chesky wrote, “We will have to part with teammates that we love and value.” He outlined a generous severance package. Departing employees would receive 14 weeks of pay plus an extra week for each year at the company; help from professional recruiters to land new jobs; and 12 months of continued health insurance.

        Around the time Chesky made this announcement, another group of people working with Airbnb also lost their jobs. But these weren’t called layoffs and weren’t accompanied by a compassionate note from the CEO. And the workers, who handle the day-to-day tasks of bookings, cancellations and keeping the peace between guests and hosts, got no severance. There was no health insurance plan to be extended.

      • The Great Irony Over Trump’s Taxes

        Today I looked at a graph of income inequality over time in America. This was not new information to me, and yet it was still shocking.

      • What Happens After a Debt Collection Machine Grinds to a Halt

        A year after Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare erased the $33,000 Carrie Barrett owed for unpaid hospital bills, the former Kroger grocery store clerk is figuring out how to open the food truck she’s always dreamed of.

        The nonprofit hospital system also erased more than $23,000 in debts owed by one of its own housekeepers who it sued for unpaid bills. And now she’s dreaming of home ownership.

      • You Paid More in Federal Income Taxes Than Trump

        My daughter, a librarian in Tucson, paid more taxes in 2017 than Donald Trump. So did my neighbor Rita, a teacher, and her son Tony, who stocks grocery shelves in Leland, Michigan

      • Economy Adds an Abysmal 661,000 Jobs as Further Layoffs Loom

        The September employment report showed a sharp slowing in the rate of job growth, with the economy adding 661,000 jobs, less than half of its August rate. The unemployment rate fell by 0.5 percentage points to 7.9 percent, but most of this was due to people leaving the labor force. The employment to population ratio (EPOP) only rose by 0.1 percentage point. At 56.6 percent, it is still 4.4 percentage points below its year-ago level.

      • Living in the Neoliberal Apocalypse

        In June, wildfires crossed into the Arctic Circle, making them the first wildfires recorded north of the 66th parallel in human history. Blazes in Siberia have already burned through an area the size of Greece this year. It is the worst wildfire season on record for Russia, surpassing the 2019 wildfires, which surpassed the 2015 wildfires, which surpassed the 2010 wildfires.

      • Steve Wamhoff on Trump’s Taxes

        This week on CounterSpin:  Taxes, particularly income taxes, have a special role in US media parlance: Vitally important but endlessly, and instrumentally, fungible.  “Taxpayer dollars” are sacrosanct; we need to think very hard, every time it comes up, about how best to dedicate them: Do food stamps or public education make the cut?  But then, who contributes to this oh-so-important resource? Because at the same time, corporate media suggest the “Tax Man” is a villain, who pretty much steals your “hard-earned dollars”—so, wink wink, smart people avoid paying taxes as much as possible. 

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • #CountOnUs: Youth Organizers Have a Plan to Mobilize If Trump Tries to Steal the Election

        “Together, we’re going to vote and organize like our communities and planet are at stake, because they are.”

      • Trump is a Hoax, Fake News

        Donald Trump finally collided with something bigger than he thinks he is: the IRS.

      • Trump, the Culture Wars and the Left

        Despite being the most subliterate President in American history, Trump has managed to interject himself into recent culture wars that are the bailiwick of tenured professors and highfalutin media pundits. Since Trump confused the word council for counsel, he needs all the help he can get. While Stephen Miller or some other erudite malefactor wrote the speeches, you can at least give him credit for being able to read them. As for their purpose, they are in keeping with his white supremacist agenda.

      • The Presidential Debate: A Violent Spectacle

        In Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, media theorist and cultural critic Neil Postman compares the dystopian scenarios of two renowned novels, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. “Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression,” he writes, “but in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.”

      • Why Anarchism is Dangerous

        Anarchists frighten privileged elites and their authoritarian followers not simply because the primary goals of the movement have been to abolish the sources of elite power – the state, patriarchy, and capitalism – but because anarchism offers a viable alternative form of social and political organization grounded in workplace collectives, neighborhood assemblies, bottom-up federations, child-centered free schools, and a variety of cultural organizations operating on the basis of cooperation, solidarity, mutual aid, and direct, participatory democracy. Opposed to all forms of hierarchy, domination, and exploitation, anarchists work in creating a culture grounded in equal access to resources making the genuine exercise of freedom possible. Over the past century and a half, and particularly in the last two decades, the self-managing principles of anarchism have proliferated around the world and have also become part of the standard operating procedures of protest. Since elites would be rendered redundant in an anarchist egalitarian society, no wonder rulers tremble at the thought of anarchist jurisdictions.

      • ‘Wear a Mask, Keep Social Distance, and Wash Your Hands,’ Says Joe Biden After Testing Negative for Covid-19

        “I don’t wear masks like him,” Trump mockingly said of Biden during Tuesday night’s debate. “Every time you see him he’s got a mask.” 

      • As Polls Shows Climate Action Winning Issue, Green Campaigners Mobilize for Democrats in Key Senate and House Races

        “The politics of climate change have changed, and voters from coast to coast back bold action on climate.”

      • House Probe Into Trump’s Failed Covid-19 Response Shows “Unprecedented, Coordinated” Political Interference

        “The apparent goal of this unprecedented, coordinated attack on our nation’s public health agencies… was, in the president’s words, to ‘play it down.’”

      • President Karen

        After watching the first round of “debates” between Joe Biden and Donald Trump there are explanations for the behavior presented by Donald Trump. Initially I posited that either he was self-aware that his normal operation of dishonesty would not work because there has been too much time and availability with fact-checkers or that he thought acting like a toddler or petulant child would somehow be endearing to parents. Trump’s 90-minute tantrum of refusal to follow ground rules was more like my little nephew’s bad-behavior than that of a President.

      • A Marxist Joins the Libertarian Party

        So a Marxist walks into the DMV and joins the Libertarian Party… No, that’s not the set up to an impossibly wonky dad joke, that’s the story of my life, or at least it was last summer. It was a simpler time. A time before COVID, when the cops were only brazenly shooting Black children in the back every other week. That sunny day in July, I put on my best crack-whore-red lipstick and my biggest Jackie-O sunglasses and made my way down to the local Department of Motor Vehicles to renew my license with a special side mission motivating me to actually show up before the last possible second this time. After strutting past the usual throngs of sullen teens and sexy foreigners with the riff from “Rebel Rebel” on repeat in my skull, I approached an angry little man in a clip-on tie, took a horrific picture, swallowed a mouth full of stomach acid when the little prick misgendered me, and became the first self-declared Marxist in Pennsylvania history to join the Libertarian Party. I got a bumper sticker and everything, and I have every intention of voting for Jo Jorgensen this November.

      • Trump Ramps Up Immigration Attacks Ahead of Election

        A month before the election, the Trump lockdown against any and all immigrants is intensifying. The Trump administration has unleashed a rush of regulations to restrict student visas, especially for students from non-white, non-Christian majority countries. It is accelerating border wall building. It has proposed an offensively low ceiling of 15,000 refugee admissions in 2021 and has also been flirting with an illegal refusal to provide Congress with numbers for refugee admissions next year, which would effectively lock all refugees out of the United States. And it has indicated that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is about to launch a series of raids in sanctuary cities in coming weeks.

      • Just Three Days After Meeting With Amy Coney Barrett Without Mask, GOP Senator Mike Lee Also Tests Positive for Covid-19

        The announcement by the Republican from Utah came just hours after President Donald Trump revealed he had the virus.

      • Blinded by the Light: at the Portland Trump Rally

        On Saturday September 26, 2020, I attended the Trump Rally miles in Portland, Oregon. The rally was held in Delta Park, which is located off of Interstate 5, about two miles from the bridge that crosses over to Vancouver, Washington. A Far Right group, The Proud Boys, which is a national organization of about 20,000 members, were the organizers of the gathering. The Oregonian Newspaper mentioned in a article that day, that possibly 10,000 people might be in attendance. The attendance was later estimated at about 500 plus people. I think many people did not show up, because the mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, and Governor Kate Brown had put the word out that they would not tolerate any violence from that group, because there was a counter protest being held at Peninsula Park, about three miles away. The Proud Boys had a reputation of being heavily armed with rifles and pistols that fired live ammunition. I had been to a couple of previous demonstrations by this group, and they were certainly armed with  these weapons, to include paintball guns, baseball bats, and bear mace. All of the members had a vigilante swagger. Three weeks prior to this event, one of their members, Jay Danielson, had been shot and killed by a member of Antifa.

      • Russia to follow Belarus’s lead on sanctions against EU officials

        Belarus’s list of sanctioned European Union officials will automatically apply in Russia, stated Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Friday, October 2.

      • Belarus blacklists European officials in response to EU visa sanctions

        Belarus has adopted its own sanctions list in response to visa sanctions from the European Union, reports the Belarusian state news agency BelTA, citing a statement from the country’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.

      • ‘Hard to See That Debate Happening’: With President Infected, Officials Say Biden vs. Trump Unlikely on Oct. 15

        The Biden campaign also called on the Commission on Presidential Debates to strictly enforce Covid-19 precautions for all future debates. 

      • Independent Only in Name

        The clip lasts less than a minute (1). Donald Trump is presiding at a White House signing ceremony on 4 September. He sits behind a huge desk, surrounded by gilt-framed photographs and telephones. Flanking him, behind two small, bare tables, are Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vučić and his Kosovar counterpart Avdullah Hoti. Trump is clearly revelling in playing the peacemaker, having managed to pressure two countries which had been at war to reach an accord in a region where the EU previously called the shots. He is all the more pleased with himself, even thinking he deserves the Nobel peace prize, as it was Democratic president Bill Clinton who around 20 years ago bombed Serbia.

      • With Pendley Toppled, the Alt-Right’s Public Land Agenda Starts to Crumble

        Last Friday, a lawsuit brought by Governor Steve Bullock (D-MT) yielded a ruling that President Trump’s interim appointment of William Perry Pendley’s to head the BLM was illegal, and that the decisions made while Pendley was in charge are illegal too.

      • Pennsylvania’s Played-Out Coal Country and NY’s Rural Catskills Show Why Trump is Likely to Lose

        I’m going to make a bold prediction based (admittedly on a small sampling):  Trump has lost support among his non-college educated white base — or at least enough of it that he’s toast in a blue-collar working-class and rural state like Pennsylvania and probably Michigan and Ohio too.

      • Here Are 6 Ways Trump’s COVID Diagnosis Will Change the Campaign

        President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have both tested positive for coronavirus, and with just 32 days before Election Day 2020, their diagnosis could have huge implications for how the rest of the presidential campaign plays out until November 3.

      • Will COVID Knock Out Trump’s Campaign?

        F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” The entirety of the Trump administration to date has been the unceasing experience of being simultaneously astonished and not at all surprised.

      • Naomi Klein: Trump May Exploit His COVID Diagnosis to Delegitimize Election

        How will President Trump’s revelation that he tested positive for COVID-19 affect the presidential race? Acclaimed journalist, author and activist Naomi Klein warns that the Trump campaign is likely to exploit the news. “We need to be prepared for the president using the fact that he’s having to cancel campaign events for two weeks to try to further delegitimize elections,” she says.

      • Naomi Klein: I Fear Trump Will Exploit His COVID Infection to Further Destabilize the Election

        How will President Trump’s revelation that he tested positive for COVID-19 affect the presidential race? Acclaimed journalist, author and activist Naomi Klein warns that the Trump campaign is likely to exploit the news. “We need to be prepared for the president using the fact that he’s having to cancel campaign events for two weeks to try to further delegitimize elections,” she says.

      • It’s Not ‘Chaos’: Trump Revealed a Clear Blueprint for Crushing American Democracy

        When Trump revealed his scheme under the hot TV lights, the message wasn’t just received by Proud Boys and by Putin’s social-media meddlers in St. Petersburg, but also by the American people who solidly support removing him from the White House.

      • This Election, Young Muslim Voters Aren’t Staying Silent

        Zarifa Ali is voting for the first time in the 2020 election. As a first-time voter, 18-year-old Ali has paid close attention to the race, noticing how the Muslim-American population became a part of the political discussion. But she believes that Muslim voters are often taken for granted.

      • Young Progressives Running for Office Pledge to “Stop Police Killings”

        After months of sustained resistance in the wake of several high-profile police killings of Black and Brown people, a new generation of progressive candidates are running for state and local office across the country on pledges to confront systemic racism in the criminal legal system. While most such pledges remain cautious compared to the liberatory calls for police abolition that have filled the streets, there’s no doubt that the Black Lives Matter movement has profoundly impacted candidates’ platforms in down-ballot races.

      • ‘Has President Trump Written All Over It’: Outrage as Texas Gov Slashes Ballot Drop-Off Sites to Just One Per County

        “Governor Abbott and Texas Republicans are scared,” said the chair of the Texas Democratic Party.

      • Texas Governor Cuts Ballot Drop-Off Sites to Only One Per County

        In a last-minute move that voting rights groups and Democratic officials decried as a desperate and “blatant voter suppression tactic,” the Republican governor of Texas on Thursday issued a proclamation ordering that absentee ballot drop-off locations be limited to one per county in the massive state.

      • Positive! Trump’s Covid Bungling Now Takes a Personal Toll

        With only a little over a month until the election, Donald Trump shocked the world by announcing that he and his wife had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. As The New York Times reports, the announcement threw “the nation’s leadership into uncertainty and escalat[ed] the crisis posed by a pandemic that has already killed more than 207,000 Americans and devastated the economy.”

      • Election Season Upended: Trump’s COVID Diagnosis Could Reshape Race, Debates & SCOTUS Fight

        President Donald Trump has tested positive for COVID-19, throwing the final month of an already unprecedented election season into disarray. What will this latest news mean for the debates and the Supreme Court? And what will happen if President Trump is unable to lead the country? We speak to journalist John Nichols about the line of succession, campaigning in the critical swing state of Wisconsin, and more. We also speak with Naomi Klein, senior correspondent at The Intercept and a professor at Rutgers University.

      • Educators Back Biden Over Trump Nearly 6-1

        When school started a month ago, teachers told their students to bear with them: this school year will be unprecedented. First graders are learning to type and teleconference. Tenth graders are wearing masks during in-person class. College students are staying put in their childhood bedrooms.

      • You Give Me Fever
      • Roaming Charges: Crosstalk Hurricane

        + The Commission on Presidential Debates is not a “commission”. It’s a bipartisan monopoly, just like our political system itself.

      • Trump Tests Positive for COVID-19 After Months of Downplaying Virus & Mocking Biden for Wearing Mask

        Just days after mocking his presidential rival Joe Biden for regularly wearing masks, President Donald Trump has revealed that he and first lady Melania Trump have both tested positive for COVID-19 and are entering 14 days of isolation. For months, Trump has downplayed the severity of the pandemic, which has killed over 200,000 Americans. President Trump is 74, has elevated blood pressure and is over the threshold for obesity — three factors linked to higher morbidity and mortality among COVID-19 patients. For more on the pandemic and Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis, we speak with Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco.

      • Superspreader-in-Chief: For Months Trump Spread COVID Lies, Now He May Have Spread the Virus Itself

        President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19. The announcement came early Friday morning, hours after Bloomberg News reported that Trump adviser Hope Hicks became ill during Trump’s Wednesday night rally in Duluth, Minnesota, and had to be quarantined aboard Air Force One on the return flight to Washington. Hicks went on to test positive for coronavirus early on Thursday, though the White House did not report her illness. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is also getting tested over fears that Trump may have infected him at Tuesday’s debate. We speak with Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, who says Trump and his inner circle regularly flouted safety precautions leading up to his positive COVID-19 test. “The problem with science is that if you try and mess with science, science always wins.” We also speak with infectious disease specialist Dr. Monica Gandhi.

      • Thirty Years of a Unified Germany

        This Saturday many Germans, party leaders and media pundits above all, will recall October 3, 1990, when their dreams of a unified Germany became reality. May they celebrate, with speeches, fireworks, bockwurst and beer and vibrant voices, resounding  tutti with the “Deutschland über alles” anthem, sung since that date thirty years ago from the western Rhine to the eastern Oder!

      • Do Canadians Know?

        Powerful nations consistently build a wall between their domestic policy and their foreign policy, basing them on different principles and often contradictory goals. This is one of the reasons that different forms of oppression towards other countries – such as colonialism and imperialism – have succeeded. By throwing a blanket of ignorance and misinformation over the eyes of their citizens, governments provide few opportunities for them to understand what their foreign ministries and military are really doing in their name. Within the Canadian government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs appears to be one of the most secretive and unresponsive to public participation and consultation, in other words, it lacks transparency.

      • Falwell Falls

        Arch Evangelical Jerry Falwell, Jr. has fallen from grace—and he didn’t fall well.

      • A Bipartisan Coup d’etat Against the People
      • First Debate Calls for More than Cutting Off Mics

        But while many were willing to pin the blame where it belonged—on Trump, who interrupted, name-called, lied, and refused to follow any rules of debate or decorum—some of the nation’s most prominent outlets clung desperately to the same absurd even-handedness that has gotten us into this shitshow in the first place. 

      • Surviving the Trump Autocracy

        Enough books have been published about the D.J. Trump Crime Family to fill a studio apartment. Ace investigative reporters Wayne Barrett and David Cay Johnston have written extensively about The Donald’s formative sleazy/unseemly years in the big money real estate rackets. New Yorker journalist Mark Singer wrote the most entertaining piss-take on the world’s most inarticulate narcissist. Various mainstream journalists have charted the deranged trajectory of Trump’s time in the White House; former associates, Administration officials, and a person who was willing to admit she had sex with Trump have also produced volumes that were deemed publishable.

      • Naomi Klein on How to Rebuild From the Disaster of Neoliberalism

        In recent years, Klein has been more associated with the fight against climate change. Her 2014 book This Changes Everything: Capitalism versus Climate and 2019 On Fire: The Burning Case for the Green New Deal have sought to make the case for the urgency of the crisis facing the planet and the need for radical political solutions to rise to the challenge.

        In this interview, she discusses both of these themes with Tribune’s Grace Blakeley, as well as giving insight into her path into left-wing politics, her views on the 2020 US presidential election — and the case for rebuilding the labor movement in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.

      • What the 25th Amendment Says

        The 25th Amendment is about what takes place should the president or vice president have to be replaced in the case of a death, a resignation, removal, or their inability to perform their duties.

        The amendment establishes that should there be a vacancy in the presidency, the vice president should take over. In sections three and four, the amendment lays out two processes for how the vice president should take over if the president is unable to carry out the responsibilities of the office. The first process, in section three, allows the president to declare him or herself unfit through a written declaration and allows the president to reclaim power when they find they are fit to carry out their duties.

        Section four is the part of the amendment frequently raised in conversation about Trump prior to his illness: According to the Constitution Center, “Section 4 addresses the dramatic case of a President who may be unable to fulfill his constitutional role but who cannot or will not step aside.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Sensitive Mental Health Information Is Also A Content Moderation Challenge (2020)

        Summary: Talkspace is a well known app that connects licensed therapists with clients, usually by text. Like many other services online, it acts as a form of “marketplace” for therapists and those in the market for therapy. While there are ways to connect with those therapists by voice or video, the most common form of interaction is by text messages via the Talkspace app.

      • Twitter, Facebook to Send CEOs to Senate Hearing on Section 230

        A Senate panel voted to subpoena the heads of Twitter, Facebook and Alphabet Inc.’s Google for an Oct. 28 session focusing on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a provision that protects the companies from lawsuits over user-generated content. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have agreed to attend voluntarily, their companies said.

      • Jim Jordan Releases Yet ANOTHER Anti-230 Bill (Yes Another One)

        Okay, this post is going to be quick because, none of us should be wasting our time on this this week. We’ve now got FOUR new bills JUST THIS WEEK seeking to undermine Section 230 (and that’s after one more last week). Obviously, it appears that Congressional Republicans have taken to heart the Trump Administration’s demand to make attacking Section 230 and the internet companies a key focus between now and the election.

      • Google to pay publishers $1 billion over three years for their news

        CEO Sundar Pichai said the new product called Google News Showcase will launch first in Germany, where it has signed up German newspapers including Der Spiegel, Stern, Die Zeit, and in Brazil with Folha de S.Paulo, Band and Infobae.

        It will be rolled out in Belgium, India, the Netherlands and other countries. About 200 publishers in Argentina, Australia, Britain, Brazil, Canada and Germany have signed up to the product.

      • Twitter to Suspend Users Wishing for President Trump’s Death

        Twitter’s policies allow for users engaging in “abusive behavior” to be suspended, including when posting “content that wishes, hopes or expresses a desire for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against an individual.”

      • Twitter Says You Cannot Tweet That You Hope Trump Dies From COVID

        Twitter told Motherboard that users are not allowed to openly hope for Trump’s death on the platform and that tweets that do so “will have to be removed” and that they may have their accounts put into a “read only” mode. Twitter referred to an “abusive behavior” rule that’s been on the books since April.

      • Twitter to remove posts hoping for Trump’s death

        After reports initially surfaced that Twitter would suspend accounts that posted such messages, the company said the tweets would not merit immediate suspension, but would be swiftly removed.

      • Twitter warns it will suspend users who publicly hope for Trump’s death

        Update, 7:21 PM ET: Added additional guidance from Twitter that these tweets will not automatically result in a suspension.

      • Pinterest limiting search results for culturally inappropriate Halloween ideas

        Social media platform Pinterest on Thursday announced that it would be limiting recommendations for Halloween costumes that could be considered culturally insensitive.

        The photo-sharing company issued a statement on its website announcing the move, adding that it would be prohibiting “advertisements with culturally inappropriate costumes, and make it possible for Pinners to report culturally-insensitive content right from Pins.”

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Prosecutor Says It’s OK That Deputies Faked Evidence Reports Because They Didn’t Know It Was A Crime

        Orange County (CA) sheriff’s deputies are the worst at law stuff. If the goal was to hire the stupidest, most plausibly-deniable candidates, the OCSD has hit the mark.

      • Who Will Stand Up for Black Women?

        After learning that errant bullets, the ones that lodged in walls and punctured glass, were a crime, while the rounds that pierced Breonna Taylor’s body and caused her death were not, Black women across the nation went to work.

      • ‘Know Who Didn’t Get a F***ing Break? The Children’: Outrage Over Melania Trump’s Recorded Comments on Imprisoned Kids

        The first lady accused parents and children of lying about the violence they faced in their home countries and claimed children were “taken care of nicely” in ICE detention centers.

      • Defunding the Police Is a Reparations Issue

        After months of organized protests, the verdict is in. No charges will be brought against police officers directly for the killing of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black EMT and aspiring nurse, in Louisville, Ky., who was shot six times in her bed, while sleeping, during a botched drug raid. One former officer, Brett Hankison, was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for shots fired through her neighbor’s walls. This outcome shows, once again, how our system of law and law enforcement devalues and discards Black lives.

      • China’s ‘Anti-Gang’ Campaign Used to Crack Down on Tibetan Community Service Groups

        Ten Tibetan villagers given long prison terms by a Chinese court this year on charges of extortion were targeted in an anti-gang campaign used as a cover for cracking down on grass-roots community organizations deemed threats to Communist Party control, a Tibetan advocacy group said on Thursday.

        Residents of Sangchu (in Chinese, Xiahe) county in Gansu province’s Kanlho (Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, the villagers were tried under a three-year effort aimed at wiping out “gang activity” and organized crime in China, the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet said in a report.

      • Blasphemy convictions spark Nigerian debate over sharia law

        Fuad Adeyemi, an imam in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, respects those who believe that a 22-year-old man accused of sharing a blasphemous message on WhatsApp should be punished. But he thinks the death sentence is too harsh.

        He was referring to a ruling handed to Yahaya Aminu Sharif by a sharia court in the northern state of Kano in August. On the same day, the court sentenced a 13-year-old boy, Omar Farouq, to ten years in prison, also for blasphemy.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Why Are Senate Democrats Helping Move Forward Trump’s Strategy Of Attacking The Internet?

        We’ve detailed for a while now how both Republicans and Democrats are mad online about how the internet works — though often for reasons that directly conflict with each other. We’ve also highlighted how Donald Trump and his administration are actively encouraging Republicans to focus all of their legislative and grandstanding firepower on attacking the internet.

      • The Internet Is Built on ‘Intermediaries’ – They Should Be Protected

        In the last two years, there have been at least 18 attempts – via bills, executive orders and other initiatives – to try blow up the rule that has kept Internet intermediaries from being liable from the actions of their users since 1996. Within each of those efforts, the definition of what will be impacted has varied widely from “platforms” to “interactive computer services” and “Internet intermediaries.”

        Depending on these definitions, and the larger policies they are attached to, the associated impacts of these proposals could be annoying, or they could be devastating, weakening the foundation we rely on to make the Internet work for everyone.

      • A First for the RIPE NCC: Seizure of the “Right to Registration of IPv4 Addresses” for the Recovery of Money

        On 16 December 2019, bailiffs from the Netherlands delivered a court order to the RIPE NCC’s offices for the seizure of the right to registration of IP addresses for the recovery of money. The order was the result of a dispute between two German entities – one a RIPE NCC member and the other a third party in liquidation. It was issued by a German court but was then brought to the Dutch courts through the standard legal procedure in the Netherlands. The RIPE NCC was ordered to issue a statement to the bailiff, prevent any transfer of the IPv4 addresses and, once the addresses had been auctioned, to transfer them to the buyer.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Bowser arrested and charged for selling Nintendo Switch hacks

        Members of piracy group Team Xecuter were charged with 11 felony counts

        Two members of a console hacking and piracy organization known as Team Xecuter have been arrested and charged with fraud, one of whom is named Gary Bowser. French national Max Louarn and Bowser, originally from Canada but arrested in the Dominican Republic, allegedly led the group, which makes a line of tools for cracking locked-down gaming hardware.

      • US Indicts Members of ‘Piracy’ Group Team-Xecuter, Two Arrested

        The U.S. Government has indicted three members of the infamous group Team-Xecuter, the masterminds behind various Nintendo hacks. Two of the members have been arrested and are in custody., but the group’s website remains online. According to the Department of Justice, Team-Xecuter is a criminal enterprise that profits from pirating video game technology.

      • Three Members of Notorious Video Game Piracy Group Charged With Several Felonies

        The three are allegedly members of “Team Xecuter,” a criminal enterprise that develops and sells illegal devices that hack popular video game consoles in order for users to play unauthorized, or pirated, copies of games.

        The group targets consoles such as the Nintendo Switch, the Nintendo 3DS, the Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition, the Sony PlayStation Classic and the Microsoft Xbox, according to the DOJ.

    • Monopolies

      • Google sounds like Apple in new court filing: “any harm Epic has suffered is not irreparable and is of its own making”

        Shortly after midnight Pacific Time, Epic Games and Google filed with the United States District Court of the Northern District of California their joint case management statement in preparation of next Thursday’s case management conference in San Francisco (this post continues below the document)…

      • Epic Games announces motion for judgment on the pleadings to dispose of some of Apple’s counterclaims, and both parties prefer bench trial

        There have been further filings since the Epic Games v. Apple preliminary injunction on Monday (which didn’t go too well for Epic), and two of them are worth reporting and commenting on.

        Let’s start with the shorter and simpler one. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California had said on Monday (part of the hearing was about case management) that she didn’t like the idea of having to try two cases between these parties only because one requested a jury trial on its claims (which Apple did with respect to its counterclaims) while the other (Epic) did not. The federal judge would actually have preferred a jury trial as I explained in my report on the PI hearing.

      • Patents

        • Federal Circuit PTAB Appeal Statistics Through June 30, 2020

          Through June 30, 2020, the Federal Circuit decided 752 PTAB appeals from IPRs and CBMs. The Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB on every issue in 552 (73.40%) cases and reversed or vacated the PTAB on every issue in 102 (13.56%) cases. A mixed outcome on appeal, where at least one issue was affirmed and at least one issue was vacated or reversed, occurred in 70 (9.31%) cases.

        • Nokia wins Germany-wide H.264 standard-essential patent injunction against Lenovo, enforceable against negligible collateral

          Pardon my French, but the shit is hitting the fan now in Germany with respect to standard-essential patent (SEP) injunctions.

          One week after I predicted that “more unhinged [SEP] injunctions [would] come down in Germany in wake of Sisvel v. Haier,” a recent ruling by the Federal Court of Justice of Germany no one can be proud of but which wouldn’t absolutely have to have disastrous consequences if the lower courts didn’t unreasonably broaden its scope, the Munich I Regional Court enjoined Lenovo over a Nokia patent found to be essential to the (old) H.264 video codec standard.

          Nokia can enforce this injunction–involving a sales ban and a recall of merchandise from the retail channel–during the appellate proceedings (unless the appeals court orders a stay) against security amounting to only €3.25 million (less than $4 million).

        • Siemens tells easily disproven untruth to German government with respect to judicial practice in feedback to draft patent reform bill

          Today’s Nokia v. Lenovo standard-essential patent (SEP) injunction is just the latest–and for sure won’t be the last–in a string of German patent rulings that underscore the need for serious reform. Absent forceful legislative intervention, various German patent judges and their “forum-selling” mentality will turn their jurisdiction into a tool for extortion that will cost the real (product-making) economy dearly and enrich only those whose business model or career is all about patent litigation.

          Stakeholders had until Wednesday of last week (September 23) to provide feedback the latest draft patent reform bill (the second one to be published) by the Federal Ministry of Justice of Germany. Yesterday the ministry published the submissions (almost all of which were written in German) on its website.

        • AT&T, Sprint, Verizon sued in Texas by German patent troll IPCom over wireless patents allegedly infringed by Nokia, Ericsson, Mavenir infrastructure products

          The previous post was about Nokia trolling Lenovo, and now Nokia itself is getting trolled again by a German company it knows all too well: IPCom, which sued Nokia from 2008 until Nokia’s sale of its ruined handset division to Microsoft. At the height of the IPCom v. Nokia dispute, the latter took far more reasonable positions on the FRAND defense to SEP assertions than nowadays.

          IPCom signed its presumably most lucrative license deal with Deutsche Telekom because its outgoing CEO faced a risk of personal liability.

          Today, IPCom brought parallel patent infringement complaints in the Eastern District of Texas (Chief Judge Gilstrap’s Marshall Division) against U.S. wireless carriers AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon, alleging the infringement of six (AT&T) or five (Sprint, Verizon) former Bosch and Hitachi standard-essential patents (SEPs) by infrastructure products from Nokia, Ericsson, and Mavenir. The former Bosch patents have expired, but IPCom can still seek damages for past infringement.

        • Software Patents

          • Karetek Holdings patent challenged as likely invalid

            On October 1, 2020, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 7,373,515, owned by Karetek Holdings LLC, an NPE and an IP Edge entity. The ‘515 patent is generally directed to a method of multi-factor authentication. Karetek has asserted the ‘515 patent against RetailMeNot, Golds Gym, HelloFresh, PetSmart, Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas, and others.

      • Trademarks

        • Hugo Boss Opposes Artist’s ‘Be Boss, Be Kind’ Trademark For Merch

          The last time we discussed Hugo Boss, the famed upscale clothier based out of Germany, it was when the company sent a C&D notice to Boss Brewing, which makes beer. While there can be no doubt that Boss Brewing would have won any dispute on the merits, given that the two entities are simply not playing in the same marketplace and there was zero chance of any kind of public confusion in commerce, Hugo Boss got its pint of blood by getting the brewery to change the name of two of its beers in a barely perceptible way.

      • Copyrights

        • HorribleSubs Pirate Anime Site Throws in the Towel, “Killed By COVID”

          HorribleSubs, one of the most visted pirate anime sites on the Internet, has shut down. According to its operators, difficulties balancing time between working on the project and doing other things were to blame. “After some reflection and evaluation, we realized moving on was the best way forward. You could technically say COVID killed HorribleSubs,” they report.

Meet the People Behind ClearlyDefined (Mostly or Clearly ‘Microsoft Proxy’), Where Most of the OSI’s Budget Nowadays Goes and Flows

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, OSI at 8:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Clearly Microsoft? Hosted by proprietary platform of Microsoft (GitHub) and managed by Microsoft staff.

Clearly Microsoft

Let’s examine each person in turn:

Daniel Butvinik


Ignacio Rodríguez

Jeff Mcaffer

Jeff Mendoza

Jacob Peddicord

Manny Martinez

One can see the pattern… the obfuscation has been too sloppy or shallow.

Summary: Instead of combating Microsoft’s monopoly (proprietary software monopoly), the OSI now helps Microsoft cement its proprietary software monopoly over Free software projects; this is the same thing the Linux Foundation nowadays does and it’s the very definition of “sellout” (selling oneself to one’s enemy)

TWENTY TWO years ago, with the partial goal of ‘cancelling’ the FSF and RMS (Richard Stallman, father of GNU and Free software), the Open Source Initiative (OSI) was founded. At least one of the founders viewed that as an opportunity or ploy to ‘cancel’ Free software; it’s that same person (ESR) who now spreads nonsensical theories about Windows and Linux (which Microsoft-friendly media absolutely adores and still amplifies almost a week later!).

“Twenty two years ago, with the partial goal of ‘cancelling’ the FSF and RMS (Richard Stallman, father of GNU and Free software), the Open Source Initiative (OSI) was founded.”The OSI used to be a force against Microsoft monopoly; it even hosted Microsoft’s leaked documents (Halloween Documents, released by ESR to show Microsoft’s attack plans against Free software). Nowadays OSI seems to be doing the exact opposite; it helps Microsoft build and cement a monopoly over Free software. This is classic entryism.

As a little bit of necessary background, readers may wish to revisit or catch up with our latest posts regarding OSI (see page 1, page 2 and page 3 of our latest articles about the Open Source Initiative). Plenty of recent explanations of OSI going rogue (lots happened to it so far this year) are included there. Assuming that’s more or less clear for everyone to understand, let’s get to the ‘meat’ of the subject.

A couple of years ago the OSI got connected to ClearlyDefined, not too long after it had taken Microsoft bribes. The OSI tried introducing it as a multi-party and vendor-neutral thing in its official press release. One reader asked us a few days ago: “What is ClearlyDefined?”

“The OSI used to be a force against Microsoft monopoly; it even hosted Microsoft’s leaked documents (Halloween Documents, released by ESR to show Microsoft’s attack plans against Free software). Nowadays OSI seems to be doing the exact opposite; it helps Microsoft build and cement a monopoly over Free software. This is classic entryism.”“As we explained some days ago,” I responded, “ClearlyDefined is itself a bit enigmatic and it’s not easy to find the complete chain of ownership using whois. ClearlyDefined helps track licensing information of code and projects.”

Especially those that Microsoft controls inside its proprietary prison (GitHub), as even the press release shows (it’s a dead giveaway).

The reader also asked: “Is it a program, or a service?”

“I believe it is both,” I said, and it’s developed/managed on Microsoft servers. Who does the coding? See above.

The reader asked: “What are the criticisms against it?”

“ClearlyDefined is closely controlled by Microsoft,” I replied, as “it’s biased towards GitHub (obviously), and one might expect it to be copyleft-hostile. Like Black Duck, whose purpose was to discourage businesses from touching copyleft-licensed code…”

And then it got back to the OSI.

“Who is the president of the OSI?”

“Mr. Josh Simmons,” I replied. “Briefly,” I was then asked, “what bad things does he do outside of OSI?”

“A Salesforce employee,” I said. “The OSI does not pay his salary. The OSI only pays the GM’s salary.”

“A couple of years ago the OSI got connected to ClearlyDefined, not too long after it had taken Microsoft bribes.”This reader took note of the part where we said that OSI “staff left a couple of months ago, only months after one OSI co-founder quit in protest and another OSI co-founder was banned from the mailing list (for confronting a threat to the OSI’s mission).”

The reader asked: “Who are these two co-founders?”

I said those are ESR and Bruce Perens. It’s actually well known.

“No wonder the OSI’s blog quickly became a Microsoft marketing tool,” the reader quoted us as saying.

The reader asked: “What are the specific facts that support that claim?”

Techrights wrote a number of articles with examples,” I responded, “ranging from Microsoft job ads to ClearlyDefined promotion. It’s as if Microsoft requested that favourable blog posts are written in exchange for something.”

“So most of the OSI’s budget goes to a programme that’s mostly Microsoft staff and is controlled by Microsoft, hosted on its servers etc.”It was only today (a quiet weekend) that I decided to go through the names of ClearlyDefined people one by one (some don’t name their employer) and show the pattern above. It’s rather revealing, is it not?

So most of the OSI’s budget goes to a programme that’s mostly Microsoft staff and is controlled by Microsoft, hosted on its servers etc.

Take another leap and maybe consider the conclusion that today’s OSI mostly exists to help Microsoft/GitHub, which is neither Free/libre nor Open Source. It’s all rogue. And proprietary software monopolies stand to gain the most.

Twitter Undoubtedly Works for Fascists; We’re Glad Techrights Never Participated in Twitter

Posted in Site News at 5:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Twitler - Trump

Summary: Social control media has always been rejected by Techrights; there’s growing evidence that it’s all about social control… on behalf of those in positions of power, including Donald Trump

SEVERAL readers, including a certain RMS, have lately suggested various improvements to this site’s style in the structural sense (not presentation). We try to focus on the “content” or substance alone rather than side issues such as fonts (some people would complain about anything just to distract from the real issues). This means accuracy comes first, then clarify, later structure, whereas the way it’s visually presented matters a lot less because our primary target audience is people who follow the site over RSS feed (plain HTML), so it’s an ongoing story to these people. It’s principally about building upon existing knowledge, cumulatively, whilst avoiding unnecessary repetition. We don’t do social control media (arbitrary ‘shelf life’ or pure junk) and we like to assume that people who have an interest in the covered topics subscribe to us over RSS feed (or similar), i.e. directly. Wiki pages tie together themes and topics, so catching up is always possible, e.g. EPO scandals all being indexed in one place and updated regularly. We never ever wish to depend on social control media because it is full of misinformation (like totally crazy conspiracy theories, unverified and not fact-checked, scored based on emotion) and highly censorious, especially when power gets challenged. In our next batch of Daily Links we’ll have about half a dozen reports about the latest Twitter scandal. It’s pretty big! Twitter’s boss seems to be Donald Trump. The real boss. Long story short (links to be included separately in Daily Links, but some are added below [1-4]), Mr. Trump has long used his Twitter account to publicly issue death threats to millions of people (Iran, North Korea), but he was never suspended at all! Never! People who merely wish an already-ill Trump (partly his own fault; also indirectly the cause of 213,000+ other American perished lives) will eventually die are being suspended. So Twitter has taken a side. We know whose, right? People wishing for the death of Julian Assange (for exposing war crimes) are perfectly safe in Twitter, but Donald Trump? Heck no! Imagine the public reaction if Twitter Inc. — existing back in January 1945 — also publicly warned it would suspend accounts wishing for the defeat of Germany in the war, including the death of Nazi leadership. Never wish for the death of an already-ill president who supports literal Nazis? It’s increasingly clear that social control media is (and has always been) more a tool of repression than of democracy and/or free expression. For a site like Techrights it’s very important to maintain full independence because we speak truth to power. There are many instruments — both legal and technical — for censorship of sites.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Twitter to Suspend Users Wishing for President Trump’s Death

    Twitter’s policies allow for users engaging in “abusive behavior” to be suspended, including when posting “content that wishes, hopes or expresses a desire for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against an individual.”

  2. Twitter Says You Cannot Tweet That You Hope Trump Dies From COVID

    Twitter told Motherboard that users are not allowed to openly hope for Trump’s death on the platform and that tweets that do so “will have to be removed” and that they may have their accounts put into a “read only” mode. Twitter referred to an “abusive behavior” rule that’s been on the books since April.

  3. Twitter to remove posts hoping for Trump’s death

    After reports initially surfaced that Twitter would suspend accounts that posted such messages, the company said the tweets would not merit immediate suspension, but would be swiftly removed.

  4. Twitter warns it will suspend users who publicly hope for Trump’s death

    Update, 7:21 PM ET: Added additional guidance from Twitter that these tweets will not automatically result in a suspension.

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