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Links 10/7/2017: Fedora 26 is Coming, Debian 9 ‘Stretch’ Reviewed

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

  • Server

    • How Linux containers have evolved
      In the past few years, containers have become a hot topic among not just developers, but also enterprises. This growing interest has caused an increased need for security improvements and hardening, and preparing for scaleability and interoperability. This has necessitated a lot of engineering, and here's the story of how much of that engineering has happened at an enterprise level at Red Hat.

  • Kernel Space

    • EXT4 On Linux 4.13 Can Now Support Around 2 Billion Directory Entries
      EXT4 on Linux 4.13 is supporting its new "large directory" feature.

      The EXT4 "largedir" feature overcomes the current limit of around ten million entires allowed within a directory on EXT4. Now, EXT4 directories can support around two billion directory entries. However, you are likely to hit performance bottlenecks before hitting this new EXT4 limitation.

    • Many PCI Updates Queued For Linux 4.13
      Bjorn Helgaas has submitted a big batch of PCI updates for the Linux 4.13 kernel merge window.

      New PCI-related hardware support in Linux 4.13 includes support for the i.MX6 regulator, Qualcomm IPQ4019, MediaTek PCIe host controller, Sigma Designs Tango SMP8759 PCIe controller, HiSilicon Kirin SoC PCIe controller, and Faraday clock handling.

    • HID Changes Submitted For Linux 4.13
      The Human Interface Device (HID) subsystem changes for the Linux 4.13 kernel have now been submitted.

    • Graphics Stack

      • X.Org 2017 Summer Projects Continue Making Progress
        The Google Summer of Code (GSoC) student developers working on projects under the X.Org umbrella continue making progress, although one of the efforts has been officially dropped.

      • AMDGPU and Linux growing pains
        Some of you may be aware that FGRLX is dead and AMDGPU-PRO is the new proprietary (hybrid) driver. Some of you may still be using the radeon driver on AMD HD7XXX or R9 2XX (SI/CIK) video cards. This will most likely change in the future. Methods of switching are being discussed for 4.13 kernel

      • The Big DRM Pull Request Submitted For Linux 4.13
        David Airlie has submitted the staged Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) driver updates for the Linux 4.13 kernel merge window.

      • Mesa OpenGL Threading Now Ready For Community Testing, Can Bring Big Wins
        Marek Olšák's work on OpenGL multi-threading is now ready for more wide-scaling testing and will be enabled on a whitelist-basis for games capable of benefiting from this approach.

      • Call for community testing: OpenGL multithreading is ready

      • OpenGL multithreading in Mesa is ready for wider testing
        A Mesa developer wrote into the public Mesa-dev mailing list to ask for testers of OpenGL multithreading in Mesa so that they can grow the whitelist of games that will use it.

      • radv and the vulkan deferred demo - no fps left behind!
        A little while back I took to wondering why one particular demo from the Sascha Willems vulkan demos was a lot slower on radv compared to amdgpu-pro. Like half the speed slow.

      • David Airlie On Tweaking RADV For Better Performance In Deferred Demo
        David Airlie has written a post on his new blog concerning a deferred rendering demo in Vulkan and how he managed to take the RADV driver from about half the speed of the AMDGPU-PRO Vulkan driver up to performance parity.

      • AMD/GPUOpen Vulkan Memory Allocator 1.0 Released
        With the 1.0 marking, AMD believes this Vulkan Memory Allocator is now ready for wide-spread use. The 1.0 release supports easy allocation of buffer and image storage, various code samples, and more. With the Vulkan Memory Allocator 2.0 they hope to make this library more suitable for games with functionality like texture streaming.

      • Vulkan Memory Allocator 1.0
        Full application control over GPU memory is one of the major differentiating features of the newer explicit graphics APIs such as Vulkan€® and Direct3D€® 12. In previous APIs, the GPU driver would have complete control over the surfaces and buffers you create, marshaling the memory to hopefully extract good performance, based on an inferred view of how the application wants to render via the API calls you make, and a need for the GPU to be shared with other system elements like the display compositor.

    • Benchmarks

      • 15-Way OpenCL Comparison With NVIDIA On Linux, ROCm 1.6 For Radeon
        Given the recent release of ROCm 1.6 and this being the OpenCL stack providing the exclusive compute support for Vega GPUs and newer, I ran some benchmarks of ROCm 1.6 on the various supported Radeon GPUs and compared them to different GeForce graphics cards atop NVIDIA's latest Linux driver release.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • [Video] KDE Neon Plasma 5.10 Desktop Customization, Network Settings, And The Dolphin File Manager Review

      • What To Do After Installing KDE Neon GNU/Linux OS
        These are some suggestions you can use whenever finished installing KDE Neon OS. This article is divided to 6 sections including basic settings, suggestion for most users, for programmers, for graphic designers, and for students/teachers. I hope this article helps you to make Neon OS ready for your daily life. Enjoy Neon GNU/Linux!

      • manage Plasma Activities from command line and some automation
        Pytivity by Quentin Dawans: manage Plasma Activities from command line and some automation

        The cool part of sharing your knowledge is that often others pop up and improve what you shared. Time ago Quentin linked me his tool to manage Plasma Activities from command line. It’s a tool written in Python, so it’s named Pytivity and you can get it from GitHub.

        With Pytivity you can create, edit, delete, start, stop and activate Activities. But the true power of this tool relies on a feature of Activities that is still not exposed in the graphical user interface: placing scripts and *.desktop launchers in some particular hidden folders you will be able to define which apps or scripts will be executed when you start, stop, activate or deactivate an Activity.

      • Release of KDE Frameworks 5.36.0

      • KDE Frameworks 5.36 Adds Unicode 10.0 Support, Improves the VLC Tray Icon
        The KDE Project released the monthly update of its KDE Frameworks collection of more than 70 add-on libraries to Qt, which is designed to provide a wide range of commonly needed functionality to KDE application developers.

        KDE Frameworks 5.36.0 is here as the latest build of the application framework, and it looks like it brings lots of changes for most of the supported components, including Plasma Framework, KTextEditor, KAuth, KBookmarks, NetworkManagerQt, Solid, KIconThemes, KI18n, KIO, and KXMLGUI.

        Additionally, the update adds various improvements to the KWidgetsAddons, KPackage Framework, KDeclarative, KCoreAddons, KConfig, KFileMetaData, KNewStuff, Baloo, ThreadWeaver components, as well as to syntax highlighting, KDELibs 4 support, extra CMake modules, and Breeze icons

      • Wayland, and Weston, and FreeBSD – oh my!
        KDE’s CI system for FreeBSD (that is, what upstream runs to continuously test KDE git code on the FreeBSD platform) is missing some bits and failing some tests because of Wayland. Or rather, because FreeBSD now has Wayland, but not Qt5-Wayland, and no Weston either (the reference implementation of a Wayland compositor).

      • KDE Plasma 5 Making Progress On FreeBSD, With Some Wayland/Weston Support
        KDE developer Adriaan de Groot continues making progress on improving the support when running this desktop environment on FreeBSD. Adriaan has even been experimenting with Wayland/Weston on FreeBSD.

        Adriaan has been focusing on improvements for the KDE continuous integration system for FreeBSD and has pushed Weston and the Qt5-Wayland port to the Area51 repository that provides the bleeding-edge KDE packages for FreeBSD users.

      • KDE Kube – A Modern Mail Communication & Collaboration Client
        KDE Kube is a modern mail and collaboration client that provides both online and offline access to contacts, calendars, to-dos, notes, emails, and other personal informational features with a focus on beauty and ease of work.

        Based on QtQuick and AkonadiNext, it uses Sink for both synchronization and data access and leverages the KDE PIM codebase where possible.

  • Distributions

    • An Interview With Linux Lite Project Manager Jerry Bezencon
      ​Linux Lite was started for 3 important reasons. One, I wanted to dispel myths that a Linux based operating system was hard to use. Two, there was a shortage of really simple, intuitive desktop experiences on Linux that offered long term support. Three, I had used Linux for over 10 years prior to starting Linux Lite. I felt I needed to give back to a community that had given so much to me. A community that taught me that by sharing code and knowledge, one could have a dramatically positive impact on people's computing experiences.

    • Reviews

      • Peppermint OS 8
        Peppermint OS is a lightweight Linux distribution built primarily from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS packages. The latest release of Peppermint, version 8, ships with support for booting on UEFI-enabled computers. Peppermint also supports loading on computers protected by Secure Boot. The distribution ships with version 4.8 of the Linux kernel with Ubuntu's Hardware Enablement (HWE) drivers so the distribution should run on most modern computers.

        Perhaps the most interesting item Peppermint ships with, and what sets it apart from other lightweight Ubuntu-based projects such as Lubuntu and Linux Lite, is a feature called Ice. The Ice software helps users set up short-cuts to websites and web-apps. These short-cuts can be added to the Peppermint application menu and launched in a streamlined web browser window, giving the web-resource the appearance of a natively run application.

        Peppermint 8 is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds. I opted to download the 64-bit version which is 1.2GB in size. Booting from the downloaded media brings up a menu giving us the chance to load the distribution's live desktop environment, launch the system installer, begin an OEM install or verify the integrity of the installation media.

        Peppermint's live session boots to a desktop environment which contains a mixture of Xfce and LXDE components. The hybrid desktop uses LXDE's LXSession software while running the Xfwm4 window manager and Xfce's panel. The panel -- with its application menu, task switcher and system tray -- sits at the bottom of the screen. An icon on the desktop can be used to launch the distribution's system installer. The application menu is divided into two panes with the left side displaying categories of software and the right side showing specific application launchers.

      • Review: Alpine Linux is small, fast, and different
        Alpine Linux is a minimal Linux distribution, originally built with Gentoo, but now independent and self-hosting. In some respects Alpine is conceptually similar to NanoBSD, in that technical users can start with Alpine to build a Linux system with just what is need to accomplish the mission, and nothing more.

        Typically seen embedded in devices or appliances, Alpine got a big boost when it was selected to replace Ubuntu as the base image for Docker. Security, reliability, and solid development practices were the main reasons.

    • New Releases

      • 4MLinux 23.0 Core BETA released.
        This is a core system (only a few MB in size) for the 4MLinux 23 series. The system includes: the Linux kernel 4.9.33, GNU C Library 2.25, and BusyBox 1.26.2. The 4MLinux 23 series uses GNU Compiler Collection 6.2.0 to compile programs designed for the i686 architecture.

        Despite its extremely small size, 4MLinux Core supports all possible boot options: BIOS with 32-bit CPU, BIOS with 64-bit CPU, UEFI with 32-bit firmware, and UEFI with 64-bit firmware.

      • 4MLinux 23.0 Distro Enters Development, Will Use GCC 6.2 & Linux Kernel 4.9 LTS
        4MLinux developer Zbigniew Konojacki is informing us today about the availability of the Beta release of his upcoming 4MLinux 23.0 GNU/Linux operating system.

        The new stable version, 4MLinux 22.0, just launched last week with LUKS-enabled full disk encryption support, along with numerous other updated components and under-the-hood performance improvements, and it looks like the developer has no time to waste as it started working on the next major release of the project, 4MLinux 23.0.

      • ISO Refresh: antergos 17.7

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • All about Debian 9 'Stretch,' the Linux distro that just works
        Debian 9 "Stretch" just came out, and as far as Linux distros go, Debian stands apart as a distribution meant for stability. Sure, most desktop users might choose Ubuntu or Fedora for their desktop PC, while users who are more willing to get their hands dirty might opt for Arch or Gentoo. Hackers might gravitate to Kali, while the paranoid among us might look for something like TAILS.

        There's a lot to take in with a Debian release, but there are a few key notes for the average desktop user.

      • Derivatives

        • Parrot Security OS 3.7 Released With Linux 4.11, Now Based On Debian 10 Testing
          Earlier this year in May, we told you about the Parrot Security OS 3.6 release which came with updated packages and custom Linux kernel 4.9. It was based on Debian GNU/Linux 9 Stretch, whose stable release arrived a few weeks ago.

          Now, after about 2 months of development work, Frozenbox Network has released Parrot Security OS 3.7. For those who don’t know, Parrot Security OS is often listed as one of the best alternatives to popular ethical hacking operating system Kali Linux.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • You Can Now Have a Single ISO Image with All the Essential Ubuntu 17.04 Flavors
            If you've ever dreamed of having a single ISO image with the essential Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus) officially supported editions, look no further as Linux AIO Ubuntu 17.04 is here.

            The Linux AIO project is known for creating all-in-one, bootable ISO images that contain all or only the most important flavors of a popular GNU/Linux distribution. Until now they have released ISOs for Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, Linux Mint, Linux Mint Debian Edition, Zorin OS, Trisquel, SolydXK, PCLinuxOS, and many others.

            Linux AIO Ubuntu 17.04 is the latest release from Linux AIO, as developer Zeljko Popivoda informs us today via an email, and it looks like it consists of official, untouched versions of Ubuntu 17.04, Kubuntu 17.04, Xubuntu 17.04, Lubuntu 17.04, Ubuntu MATE 17.04, Ubuntu GNOME 17.04, and Ubuntu Budgie 17.04.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Toward a Reasonably Secure Laptop
    It’s no secret that hardware selection is one of the biggest hurdles Qubes users face. Finding a computer that is secure, trustworthy, and compatible is more difficult than it should be. In an effort to address the compatibility aspect of that problem, we introduced the Qubes-certified laptop program back in 2015.

    So far, only one laptop has been Qubes-certified: the Purism Librem 13v1. A number of users purchased this laptop comfortable in the knowledge that it would be compatible with Qubes, and it served them well in that regard. However, the Librem 13v1 is no longer being manufactured, and the Librem 13v2 has not undergone Qubes-certification (nor has any other laptop yet). This means that the need for compatible hardware is more pressing than ever.

  • Don’t be scared to open-source your startup’s technology
    To open source or not to open source? If you’re in the software business, this is a question you’re going to face at one point or another. The sooner you tackle it, the better.

    The open-source movement is no underground phenomenon; it’s a fully mature and highly effective method of building software systems. You’re likely running open-source software right now. Every time you use Google you’re using one of the largest and most successful open-source operating systems in the world – Linux. Today’s largest enterprises owe much of their success to the open-source movement — we’re all building on-top of, and borrowing from, each other’s work, and this has powered the era of exponential progress we’re living in.

  • How the Puppet DevOps Tool Is Used to Improve Security, Compliance
    The open-source Puppet configuration management tool is widely used by organizations to enable DevOps processes and workflows. Puppet also plays a strong in enabling security and compliance as well, according to Deepak Giridharagopal, CTO and Chief Architect of Puppet.

  • How Google Turned Open Source Into A Key Differentiator For Its Cloud Platform

  • Haiku fixes year 2038 bug
    As Michel points out in the comments, this means Haiku'll be good until 4 December 292277026596, about in time for the beta release.

  • cron.weekly issue #88: a forum, kernel 4.12, OpenBSD, systemd, elvish, puppet, vtop & more!

  • Mapping paintings, a new medical image repository, and more open source news


    • Roland McGrath steps down as glibc maintainer after 30 years
      Open source luminary Roland McGrath has decided “enough is enough” – after 30 years on the GNU compiler library project.

      As a teenager in 1987 – working back from the age he gives in his mailing list post, as a 15-year-old, in fact – McGrath began writing glibc, and he reckons that devoting “two thirds of my lifespan so far” is “long enough”.

  • Programming/Development

    • A first look at Kotlin’s co-routines on Android
      Co-routines have been the biggest addition in Kotlin 1.1. They are absolutely great because of their power, and the community is still discovering how to make the most of them.

      Simply stated, co-routines are a way of writing asynchronous code sequentially. Instead of filling it all up with callbacks, you can write your lines of code one after the other. Some of them will have the ability to suspend execution and wait until the result is available.


  • It’s the End of Network Automation as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)
    Network automation does not an automated network make. Today’s network engineers are frequently guilty of two indulgences. First, random acts of automation hacking. Second, pursuing aspirational visions of networking grandeur — complete with their literary adornments like “self-driving” and “intent-driven” — without a plan or a healthy automation practice to take them there.

  • Science

    • Here’s why parents should not allow children to click selfies

      According to Dr Godsi one should switch off or leave mobile devices behind when out with family. The method should be applied during meal times as well. Youngsters should have 'real fun' instead of 'pretending' to be enjoying themselves for the camera.

    • The strange and righteous history of the equals sign

      Robert Recorde was one of those people so extraordinarily ahead of his time that he seemed destined to come to a tragic end. In the 16th century, he made advances in economics, medicine, theology, and poetry. But his greatest contribution is taught to every elementary school child, and it arguably laid the groundwork for modern computer science. He invented the equals sign.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Who's got your hack back?
      The topic of hacking back keeps coming up these days. There's an attempt to pass a bill in the US that would legalize hacking back. There are many opinions on this topic, I'm generally not one to take a hard stand against what someone else thinks. In this case though, if you think hacking back is a good idea, you're wrong. Painfully wrong.

      Everything I've seen up to this point tells me the people who think hacking back is a good idea are either mistaken about the issue or they're misleading others on purpose. Hacking back isn't self defense, it's not about being attacked, it's not about protection. It's a terrible idea that has no place in a modern society. Hacking back is some sort of stone age retribution tribal law. It has no place in our world.


      So this has me really thinking. Why would anyone want to hack back? There aren't many reasons that don't revolve around revenge. The way most attacks work you can't reliably know who is doing what with any sort of confidence. Hacking back isn't going to make anything better. It would make things a lot worse. Nobody wants to be stuck in the middle of a senseless feud. Well, nobody sane.

    • CIA has hacking tools, says Wikileaks
      The leaked papers have revealed that the agency turned to software which is named BothanSpy and Gyrfalcon to steal user credentials.
    • Linux Malware and Attacks on the Rise [Ed: This whole thing is based on a Microsoft ally from Seattle. Microsoft FUD by proxy, to distract from WannaCry Armageddon?]

    • Black Hat Survey: Security Pros Expect Major Breaches in Next Two Years
      A major compromise of U.S. critical infrastructure will occur in the next couple of years, according to a majority of IT security professionals -- and most expect breaches of their own enterprise networks to occur even sooner.

      These serious concerns are among those registered by respondents to the 2017 Black Hat Attendee Survey, the results of which are being published Wednesday. The survey offers insights on the plans and attitudes of 580 experienced security professionals, including many cybersecurity leaders who work in critical-infrastructure industries.

    • LinuxKit and Docker Security
      Docker got its start not just as a container system, but also as a Linux container system. Since then, Docker has developed versions of its container management systems for other platforms, including widely used cloud service providers, as well as Windows and the Macintosh OS. Many of these platforms, however, either have considerable variation in the Linux features which are available, or do not natively supply a full set of Linux resources.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Lynx could return to Britain this year after absence of 1,300 years
      After an absence of 1,300 years, the lynx could be back in UK forests by the end of 2017. The Lynx UK Trust has announced it will apply for a trial reintroduction for six lynx into the Kielder forest, Northumberland, following a two-year consultation process with local stakeholders.

      The secretive cat can grow to 1.5m in length and feeds almost exclusively by ambushing deer. Attacks on humans are unknown, but it was hunted to extinction for its fur in the UK. The Kielder forest was chosen by the trust from five possible sites, due to its abundance of deer, large forest area and the absence of major roads.

    • Renewable energy is becoming so cheap the US will meet Paris commitments even if Trump withdraws
      Research analysts at Morgan Stanley believe that renewable energy like solar and wind power are hurtling towards a level of ubiquity where not even politics can hinder them. Renewable energy is simply becoming the cheapest option, fast. Basic economics, the analysts say, suggest that the US will exceed its commitments in the Paris agreement regardless of whether or not president Donald Trump withdraws, as he’s stated he will.

      “We project that by 2020, renewables will be the cheapest form of new-power generation across the globe,” with the exception of a few countries in Southeast Asia, the Morgan Stanley analysts said in a report published Thursday.

  • Finance

    • Layoffs in IT sector lead to a dip in popularity of software engineers in marriage market

      ITengineers, once hot property in the marriage market, are no longer such a prize catch, going by matrimonial website trends and even traditional matchmakers.

    • German industry warns UK not to expect help in Brexit negotiations
      German industry has warned Britain not to rely on its help in securing a good Brexit deal, in a stark intervention that strikes a blow at the government’s EU departure plans.

      Senior ministers have repeatedly claimed since the election that Germany’s powerful exporters will exert pressure for a deal handing Britain substantial access to the EU’s markets.

      However, ministers are told that it is up to the British government to limit the economic fallout from its decision to leave the single market. With the government facing new pressure from business to soften its Brexit plans, German industrialists also warn that Britain will struggle to avoid economic damage as a result of exiting the bloc.

      Two of Germany’s biggest industry groups have told the Observer that their main concern during the Brexit process is protecting the single market for the remaining 27 members, even if this harms trade with Britain.

    • UK business group: Government has no ‘clear plan’ for Brexit
      The U.K. government has no “clear plan” for Brexit and needs a “serious fact-based discussion about what the future looks like” outside the EU, Paul Drechsler, president of the Confederation of British Industry lobby group, said Sunday.

      Speaking on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday show, Drechsler said that although the U.K.’s exit date of March 29, 2019 was “firmly in the ground” the government should “continue to operate to the principles and rules that we apply today” until it can figure out how to transition to a new system.

      “We are no wiser today than we were 12 months ago in terms of what conditions business will be able to plan on for the future,” said Drechsler, just days after the CBI’s Director General Carolyn Fairbairn made the argument for staying in the single market in a speech at the London School of Economics.

    • Theresa May asks Jeremy Corbyn to help deliver Brexit and support her policies amid Tory leadership plots
      Theresa May will ask Jeremy Corbyn for his support in delivering Brexit and pushing through legislation as she faces up to the “reality I now face as Prime Minister”.

      Mrs May will on Tuesday make a direct appeal to opposition parties to “contribute, not just criticise” and help “clarify and improve” her policies in the Commons instead of undermining them.

      It comes at a time Mrs May's leadership is at its weakest, amid open calls by Tory MPs for her to stand down following her failure to secure a majority at the election.

    • Improve the Brexit offer to EU citizens, or we’ll veto the deal
      In the European parliament we accept that the Brexit decision was a democratic choice, but we were never convinced Brexit would be a positive development economically: certainly not for the standing of Europe and the UK in the world and, most importantly, not for citizens. The UK proposal only confirms this belief – falling short of its own ambitions to “put citizens first”. If implemented, it would cast a dark cloud of vagueness and uncertainty over the lives of millions of Europeans.

    • Jacob Rees-Mogg denies potential conflict of interest over fund links
      Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Conservative MP vying to lead parliament’s powerful Treasury watchdog, has denied claims that his involvement with an investment fund poses a conflict of interest.

      The prominent Brexiter, a founding partner at Somerset Capital Management, is slugging it out with five other MPs to replace the respected Andrew Tyrie as chair of the Treasury select committee.

      “It’s very hard to see how the select committee could have a specific individual benefit to Somerset Capital,” Rees-Mogg said. “It’s a medium-sized investment firm that would never come into direct contact with the committee.

    • Ex-Sainsbury's CEO: Brexit means 'higher prices, less choice, and poorer quality' at supermarkets
      King, who was in charge of Sainsbury's for a decade until 2014, told BBC's Panorama programme: "One can say very clearly what the direction will be: higher prices, less choice, and poorer quality, because all of those dimensions have been improved by these open trading relationships that we've had over the last 40 years.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • No One Wins the Machiavellian Game of Trump vs. the Press

    • TV networks hide bad ratings with typos, report says

      It's described as a common practice in the world of TV ratings, where programs with higher ratings can charge advertisers more to run commercials. When an episode performs poorly with viewers, the networks often intentionally misspell the show title in their report to Nielsen, according to the Journal. This fools the system into separating that airing out as a different show and keeping it from affecting the correctly-spelled show's average overall rating.

    • Donald Trump 'behaving like a dictator by leaving underqualified socialite daughter to fill in for him at G20'

    • 'Face like thunder': how the mood soured at Donald Trump's first G20
      Friday’s much-anticipated head-to-head with Vladimir Putin went well, in the judgment of the White House, with talks extending amicably well beyond two hours. But Trump, according to one western diplomat, sat with arms folded and a “face like thunder” as he listened to China’s President Xi Jinping speak on trade during a working lunch for leaders. Disagreements between the countries on the question of steel dumping have not been resolved by this latest encounter. There was also some bemusement when Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, stood in for the president when, in the words of a subsequent White House statement, he “had to step out”.

    • One by one, Brexit’s ‘salvations’ are seen to be illusory
      Like Vladimir and Estragon, the British right is waiting for its Godot. For years, Godot manifested himself in the unlikely form of the German car industry. English nationalists invoked its name as if it were a spell that could protect the nation from hard times and harder questions.

      From Boris Johnson and Michael Gove in the Leave campaign, through to Iain Duncan Smith and David Davis today, they convinced 17 million or so voters that BMW would ensure we could have our cake and eat it too. “The first calling point of the UK’s negotiator immediately after #Brexit will not be Brussels, it will be Berlin, to strike a deal,” announced Davis in May 2016. German car manufacturers would want access to the British market. The German government would listen and grant us privileged access to the single market in return.

      As it has turned out, economics has not trumped politics. And although I am instinctively a materialist, I have to admit it rarely does. Try to find an economic explanation for nationalism or religious fanaticism, or for middle-class professionals supporting left-wing parties or working-class voters support for rightwing parties, and your arguments rapidly lose conviction. Economics did not trump politics when Britain voted to leave the EU. It does not trump politics now that 27 countries are determined to preserve the union. And not only as a defence against a return of fascism and communism.

    • May's deal with DUP faces legal challenge from crowdfunding campaign
      A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to raise funds for a potential legal challenge to Theresa May’s parliamentary deal with the Democratic Unionist party, on the grounds that it breaches the Good Friday agreement.

      Ciaran McClean, the son of one of the founders of Northern Ireland’s civil rights movement, Paddy Joe McClean, is spearheading the challenge of the arrangement through which the DUP gained a €£1bn aid package for the region.

      The Green party activist believes the deal, which sees the Conservatives granted an overall majority with the support of the DUP’s 10 MPs, breaches both the landmark 1998 Good Friday agreement and the Bribery Act.

    • Old Man Makes Entire World Watch Vacation Slideshow
      A still photo of the president of the United States angrily explaining something to his wife, who is not paying attention, badly compressed so that it looks pixelated beyond belief, with audio that has been carefully miscued to allow a full second of sheet-music rustle before the brass comes in: David Lynch couldn’t fit that much unease on screen if you gave him two TV shows and a feature film. Our authority figures are crumbling as digital technology scrambles and distorts our feeble attempts to connect with each other, Trump seems to be saying, and for the rest of his film, he pokes and prods at the disconnect between the country’s traditional conceptions of leadership, heroism, and happiness and the all-consuming black hole occupying the White House.

    • US isolated as world leaders unite on Paris climate agreement at G20 summit

      “And the fact that negotiations on trade were extraordinarily difficult is due to specific positions that the United States has taken.”

    • G19 rejects Trump's pro-fossil fuel agenda
      Investors hail "most ambitious G20 climate statement ever produced", as world leaders dismiss attempt by President Trump to secure group's backing for fossil fuels

      The G20 Summit in Hamburg ended in an uneasy compromise between the US and the rest of the group of leading economies, after world leaders refused to bow to pressure from the US to step up support for a new wave of fossil fuel development.

      In a move that was widely interpreted as a victory for the German hosts of the latest G20 Summit in Hamburg, the group's final statement on climate change underlined that all of the group's members bar the US regard the Paris Agreement as "irreversible".

    • 'Atheist Muslim' says bigoted Donald Trump supporters have hijacked debate on Islam
      A self-styled “atheist Muslim” author says liberals have stifled criticism of Islam and allowed Donald Trump supporters to hijack debate about the religion from “a position of xenophobia and bigotry”.

      Ali Rizvi claimed those on the left and right of the political spectrum are unable to distinguish between “Islamic ideology and Muslim identity”, preventing honest conversations about the link between religion and terrorism.

      And he accused liberals of maintaining a “devastating double standard” by attacking the illiberal beliefs of Christian fundamentalists while branding people “Islamophobic” for condemning similar views held by Muslims.

    • Court ruling over UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia a ‘deadly blow’ to Yemeni civilians
      A UK court ruling that the government is entitled to continue authorizing arms supplies to Saudi Arabia is a potentially deadly setback to Yemeni civilians, Amnesty International said today.

      The High Court in London dismissed a legal challenge from the NGO Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), which claimed that such arms transfers should not take place because of the clear risk that the weapons supplied would be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen’s armed conflict.

      “This is a deeply disappointing outcome which gives a green light to the UK authorities – and potentially Saudi Arabia’s other arms suppliers – to continue authorizing arms transfers to the Kingdom despite the clear risk they will be used to commit violations,” said James Lynch, Head of Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • How CNN Identified HanAssholeSolo

      Nevertheless, it was not necessary to figure out who @HanAssholeSolo was. All CNN had to do was contact him on Reddit if they wanted a comment.

    • Reviewing film censorship in Malaysia
      A painting, a song, a dance and a novel – these are all forms of expression. So too, is a film as art and literature are all forms of expressions.

      When a person expresses himself or herself, he or she is exercising his or her freedom of speech and expression. But these are not absolute. Under international human rights law, freedom of speech and expression may be restricted, but must be through law and only if necessary.

    • Could Philippine senator's bill criminalising fake news lead to censorship?
      Philippine Senator Joel Villanueva filed a bill in late June that would criminalize the “malicious distribution of false news.” Media groups are warning it could lead to censorship.

      Villanueva’s Senate Bill No. 1492 or “An Act Penalizing the Malicious Distribution of False News and Other Related Violations” defines fake news as “those which either intend to cause panic, division, chaos, violence, and hate, or those which exhibit a propaganda to blacken or discredit one's reputation.”

      The bill assigns penalties to those who publish “fake news” and even to those who share it, potentially criminalizing social media users who may not fully understand the implications of simply sharing an article with friends.

    • Samizdat: How did people in the Soviet Union circumvent state censorship
      The USSR always had severe censorship, and the rare period of relaxations, for example, during the Second World War, did not change the overall situation. But while in Stalin's time no one even thought of illegally distributing books and magazines, with the coming of Nikita Khrushchev's 'thaw' and the emergence of the dissident movement the demand for a truthful interpretation of current events and interest in uncensored literature only increased.

    • For China's censors, livestreaming is a huge headache

      In a show of strength, in anticipation of a huge political event, China is cracking down hard on the one thing it hasn't been able to control — livestreaming.

      With 731 million internet users in China — of which 300 million have used livestreaming apps — its no surprise that the country's livestreaming industry is worth an estimated $9 billion.

    • How a proxy is bringing banned Wikipedia to Turkey

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • How I learned to stop worrying (mostly) and love my threat model
      I have a healthy level of paranoia given the territory I inhabit. When you write things about hackers and government agencies and all that, you simply have a higher level of skepticism and caution about what lands in your e-mail inbox or pops up in your Twitter direct messages. But my paranoia is also based on a rational evaluation of what I might encounter in my day-to-day: it's based on my threat model.

    • Brexit: May offering EU workers in UK 'second-class citizenship' – MEPs
      Theresa May has been accused of offering EU workers in the UK “second-class citizenship” in a stark warning from the European parliament that it would reject her “damp squib” opening offer on the Brexit negotiations.

      The prime minister, who will on Monday attempt to relaunch her struggling tenure in Downing Street, was told that the EU legislature would “reserve its right to reject any agreement that treats EU citizens less favourably than they are at present”.

    • Rodrigo Duterte’s first year: a human rights disaster the world prefers to ignore
      Rodrigo Duterte’s first year as president of the Philippines should never be forgotten – for all the wrong reasons. For those directly affected by his brutal and lawless “war on drugs”, which has claimed the lives of thousands of people, the only hope is for an end to the suffering. But in the absence of a clear international declaration against Duterte’s disastrous regime, that hope is in vain.

      The sad fact is that much of the suffering Duterte is inflicting was entirely predictable. The Philippines’ human rights institutions are fragile, and Duterte came to office with a well-known record as a mayor who sanctioned death squads to dole out vigilante justice in his city. But the international community failed to respond to his election with due alarm, and it is still failing to realise the sheer destruction the Duterte administration is causing. How bad will it need to get before other nations back away from him?

      Nominally aimed at tackling a much-hyped but poorly understood methamphetamine “crisis”, the scores of extra-judicial killings have resulted in little capture of the networked organised crime Duterte says is behind the “drug menace”. Instead people are gunned down in the middle of the street by vigilantes or by an increasingly brazen police force, whether during arrest or in custody. Their corpses are left in the street, sometimes with a cardboard sign saying “drug user” or “pusher”.

      This is a matter of social cleansing, with many of the victims among the poorest people in Filipino society. And yet many nations refuse to sign a UN declaration condemning the policy.


      It doesn’t have to be this way. Duterte is vulnerable and sensitive to foreign criticism, and has little with which to protect himself other than insults. Yet countries such as Australia and the US are providing military assistance to Duterte apparently without applying any serious pressure.

      Their help with airborne intelligence and “special forces liaison” is offered on the pretext of fighting a local militant group supposedly linked to IS, now laying siege to the city of Marawi.

      It’s one thing to overlook Duterte’s war on drugs to help him fight a violent insurgency notionally linked to the so-called Islamic State (IS), but even that flawed alliance has its problems. How can these countries defend their support for a leader who publicly says he is willing to kill civilians – in direct opposition to international humanitarian law?

      Duterte is using IS as a pretext for more abuses, and headlines linking the situation in the southern Philippines to IS with little to no evidence play into his hands. But alas, this tendency has a long history.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • DRM Is Toxic To Culture
      Travelling frequently in Europe, I’ve had the chance to use two approaches to the underground/metro/subway, the Paris Metro and the U-bahn in various German cities. There is a very visible difference between the two, at least in my experience. Here are some sample encounters.

      In Paris, I bought my Metro ticket and then used it in an automated barrier to reach the platform. I noticed lowlife furtively scanning the station and then vaulting the barriers, and I saw armed police at the station to catch the thieves doing this (they didn’t catch any that I saw, and there were several of each at each station).

      By contrast, the U-Bahn in Nürnberg had no barriers. I bought my ticket, boarded the train without fuss, there was no risk of being shot by a policeman targeting a barrier-vaulting cheat, and the system was still clean, efficient and well-used.

    • Day against DRM
      Sunday, July 9, is the Day against DRM. The Document Foundation supports the global campaign led by FSF, to raise the awareness of issues related to the so called Digital Rights Management software. As any other proprietary technology, DRM is killing user freedom of choice, and should always be avoided.

    • How big is the market for DRM-Free?

      They reached a shocking conclusion: DVD players with even minimal circumvention features sell for about 50% more than similarly reviewed DVD players of similar vintage -- that means that in a commodity electronics category where the normal profit would be 2% or less, manufacturers that sell a model with just slightly different software (a choice that adds virtually nothing to the manufacturing costs) pocket 25 times the profits.

    • Encrypted Media Extensions: Copyright, DRM and the end of the open Web
      The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which sets standards for the Web, has released what it calls a “disposition of comments“, designed to address objections to the controversial Encrypted Media Extensions (EME). EME is officially “a common API that may be used to discover, select and interact with content encryption systems”. In practice, for the first time it builds DRM officially into the very fabric of the Web, a move that will destroy an openness that has underpinned it since its public release in 1991.

      The “disposition of comments” is the formal version of an earlier blog spost by the inventor of the Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, which he published back in February. There he explains in more detail why he wants to allow DRM to become part of HTML. It’s clear from both documents that the central argument is that the W3C is simply standardizing an existing situation where many DRM schemes are used, and that by providing a rigorous framework it is making life easier and better for the user. In fact, the W3C even went so far as to insist on Twitter that “There’s no DRM baked in the EME spec.” But as Florian Rivoal pointed out in reply, this is like claiming “Guns are not dangerous if you don’t put bullets in them. We’re just working on guns not bullets, so we’re not doing anything dangerous.”


      It is simply tragic that the man who created the World Wide Web, and then, in an act of great generosity, released it freely to the world, should acquiesce in this terrible mistake that will destroy a key aspect of his gift: its openness.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Handy: Google Highlights ‘Best Torrent Sites’ in Search Results

        Google is an excellent search engine. The company does its best to present users with relevant information wherever it can. With a reel of popular torrent sites, for example, when users search for it. Or a handy overview of streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu, Putlocker and Whether Hollywood will appreciate this service doubtful though.

      • Would you like a copyright law that said “if Hollywood doesn’t like this law, they can use their own”? Well, you see…

        The net effect of this is that the entire code of the copyright monopoly, except for this one line, is completely nullified. Copyright monopoly law now says “whatever the publisher wants, and it’s criminal to attempt otherwise”. The other provisions never come into effect. This is the result of the insane hubris of lawmakers around the turn of the century insisting on creating a thousand-year copyright reign, innovation and creativity be damned.

        This means that when a book is sold to you in digital format, if the publisher decides you’re only allowed to read your own book at night, or in Ankara, or without any friends nearby, or when you’re marked “single” on Facebook, such insane and normally-utterly-illegal requirements are now the law of the land.

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