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Links 12/2/2018: Linux 4.16 RC1, ZFS Back in Focus

GNOME bluefish



  • Confessions of a Linux lover
    As a French teacher, my best find was Verbiste, the offline French verb conjugation tool. As a cooking enthusiast, the Gourmet Recipe Manager was an adorable little perk.

    And a must-do: download Wine, which runs Windows stuff on Linux.

    Every piece of Microsoft software has a Linux doppelganger. I opened a text document and started typing, as usual... easy-peasy! The good part? The word count and character count appear automatically on the bottom left in the tiny bar at the base of the page, updating with each word I type. Confession: I’ve never liked Times New Roman, somehow. LibreOffice’s Century Schoolbook is much larger, clearer, and just so much more official-looking.

  • Microsoft loves Linux. NBN Co? Not so much

    In 2018, even a company like Microsoft, which once described Linux as a cancer, has no problem dealing with the open source operating system. But NBN Co, the company rolling out Australia's national broadband network, appears to have issues.

    For Monday's half-yearly results, anyone who attempted to join the webcast using Linux would have found a disconcerting message confronting them.

    The message read: "We have detected that your operating system does not meet the optimal webinar specifications for listening to and/or viewing webinars.

    "We recommend the following operating systems:Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and the latest Mac OS X.

  • Server

    • The full-time job of keeping up with Kubernetes
      TL;DR - Unabated 1.xx major “minor” releases of “vanilla” upstream Kubernetes every three months could continue forever. You have to keep up, while also paying close attention to Kubernetes API object versioning. This relentless pace is the key ingredient in Kubernetes’ domination of the distributed infrastructure world.

    • Correctly integrating containers
      Kubernetes supports different ways of making containers and microservices contact each other, from connections with the hardware in the data center to the configuration of load balancers. To ensure communication, the Kubernetes network model does not use Network Address Translation (NAT). All containers receive an IP address for communication with nodes and with each other, without the use of NAT.

      Therefore, you cannot simply set up two Docker hosts with Kubernetes: The network is a distinct layer that you need to configure for Kubernetes. Several solutions currently undergoing rapid development, like Kubernetes itself, are candidates for this job. In addition to bandwidth and latency, integration with existing solutions and security also play a central role. Kubernetes pulls out all stops with the protocols and solutions implemented in Linux.

    • Heptio's Craig McLuckie On Kubernetes Orchestration's Start at Google
      Heptio's co-founder and CEO sits down with ITPro Today and talks about how the Kubernetes orchestration platform got started at Google.

  • Kernel Space

    • diff -u: Adding Encryption To printk()

      A patch from Dan Aloni recently came in to create the option to encrypt printk() output. This would make all dmesg information completely inaccessible to users, including hostile attackers. His idea was that the less information available to hostile users, the better.

      The problem with this, as Steven Rostedt pointed out, was that it was essentially just a way for device makers and Linux distributions to shut out users from meaningfully understanding what their systems were doing. On the other hand, Steven said, he wouldn't be opposed to including an option like that if a device maker or Linux distribution actually would find it legitimately useful.

    • Linux 4.16-rc1
      Two weeks have passed, -rc1 is out there, and the merge window is thus over.

      I don't want to jinx anything, but things certainly look a lot better than with 4.15. We have no (known) nasty surprises pending, and there were no huge issues during the merge window. Fingers crossed that this stays fairly calm and sane.

      As usual, I'm only appending my mergelog, because while this is not shaping up to be a particularly huge release, none of our recent releases have been small enough to describe with the shortlogs I use for later rc's.

      The actual diff is dominated by drivers, and once again the GPU patches stand out - this time some AMD GPU header files. Happily, this time the bulk of those lines is actually *removal* due to cleanups and getting rid of some unused headers.

      But there really is changes all over. Drivers may be the bulk (GPU, networking, staging, media, sound, infiniband, scsi and misc smaller subsystems), but we have a fair amount of arch updates (spectre and meltdown fixes for non-x86 architectures, but also some further x86 work, and just general arch updates). And there's networking, filesystem updates, documentation, tooling..

      There's a little bit for everybody, in other words.

      Go out and test,


    • Linux 4.16-rc1 Kernel Released With Many Changes
      Just like clockwork, the first release candidate of Linux 4.16 is now available.

      Linux 4.16-rc1 was tagged just minutes ago and remains under the "Fearless Coyote" codename that has been happening for several cycles now. Over the Linux v4.15 stable release, the Linux 4.16 merge window up to RC1 brings 11340 files changed, 491295 insertions(+), 305085 deletions(-). Yes, that's another hearty merge window.

      To learn about all of the changes for this next kernel version, see my thorough Linux 4.16 feature overview that I finished up this morning. Linux 4.16 is bringing a lot more work on Spectre/Meltdown mitigation, AMDGPU DC multi-display synchronization, better Intel Cannonlake support, VirtualBox Guest Driver is now mainline, many CPU/scalability improvements, AMD SEV encrypted virtualization support for KVM, file-system improvements, new ARM board support, and a wide range of other improvements as outlined in the aforelinked article.

    • A Look At The Plethora Of Linux 4.16 Kernel Features & Changes
      After the lengthy Linux 4.15 kernel cycle, the past two weeks have marked the Linux 4.16 merge window. Yet again it's been another heavy feature period for the kernel. There is still a lot of mitigation work going on for most CPU architectures surrounding Spectre and also Meltdown, the open-source graphics drivers have continued getting better, various CPU improvements are present, the VirtualBox Guest driver was mainlined, and dozens of other notable changes for Linux 4.16. Take a look.

      Here's our usual kernel feature overview from our original reporting the past two weeks in closely monitoring the Linux kernel mailing list and Git repository. Linus Torvalds is expected to mark the end of the merge window today by releasing Linux 4.16-rc1.

    • Razer doesn’t care about Linux

      Razer is a vendor that makes high-end gaming hardware, including laptops, keyboards and mice. I opened a ticket with Razor a few days ago asking them if they wanted to support the LVFS project by uploading firmware and sharing the firmware update protocol used. I offered to upstream any example code they could share under a free license, or to write the code from scratch given enough specifications to do so. This is something I’ve done for other vendors, and doesn’t take long as most vendor firmware updaters all do the same kind of thing; there are only so many ways to send a few kb of data to USB devices. The fwupd project provides high-level code for accessing USB devices, so yet-another-update-protocol is no big deal. I explained all about the LVFS, and the benefits it provided to a userbase that is normally happy to vote using their wallet to get hardware that’s supported on the OS of their choice.

    • Project crowdfunds effort to bring Allwinner VPU support to the Linux kernel
      Free Electrons changed its name to Bootlin, and funded a Kickstarter campaign to bring support for the Allwinner VPU to the Linux kernel, building upon earlier work done in collaboration with the Linux Sunxi community called sunxi-cedrus.

      It’s been a long hard slog to improve Linux support on Allwinner’s ARM-based SoCs, and now a French development firm called Bootlin wants to plug in the last piece of the puzzle. Bootlin has successfully crowdfunded a project to upstream support for the Allwinner video processing unit (VPU) into the Linux kernel. Over $30,000 has been raised on Kickstarter — well over the $21,566 goal — and there are 37 days left to expand the project on its way to a completion goal of June.

    • ZFS for Linux
      ZFS remains one of the most technically advanced and feature-complete filesystems since it appeared in October 2005. Code for Sun's original Zettabyte File System was released under the CDDL open-source license, and it has since become a standard component of FreeBSD and slowly migrated to various BSD brethren, while maintaining a strong hold over the descendants of OpenSolaris, including OpenIndiana and SmartOS.

      Oracle is the owner and custodian of ZFS, and it's in a peculiar position with respect to Linux filesystems. Btrfs, the main challenger to ZFS, began development at Oracle, where it is a core component of Oracle Linux, despite stability issues Red Hat's recent decision to deprecate Btrfs likely introduces compatibility and support challenges for Oracle's Linux road map. Oracle obviously has deep familiarity with the Linux filesystem landscape, having recently released "dedup" patches for XFS. ZFS is the only filesystem option that is stable, protects your data, is proven to survive in most hostile environments and has a lengthy usage history with well understood strengths and weaknesses.

    • Oracle Still Working On DTrace For Linux In 2018
      A decade ago Linux users were clamoring for Sun Microsystems to bring Solaris' DTrace and ZFS to Linux. While there are still petitions for Oracle to more liberally license ZFS so it could see mainline Linux support, it's been years since hearing much interest in DTrace for Linux. Over time other dynamic tracing implementations have come about and improved in comparison to DTrace, but for those still wanting this dynamic tracing framework that originated at Sun Microsystems, Oracle remains working on the Linux port.

    • Linus Torvalds Kicks Off Linux 4.16 Development with More Spectre/Meltdown Fixes
      Linux creator Linus Torvalds has kicked off the development of the next major kernel branch, Linux 4.16, with the first release candidate build, giving users a first look at the new changes.

      It's been two weeks since the release of the Linux 4.15 kernel series, the first to come with the complete set of patches against the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities that affect billions of devices, but only for x86 and PowerPC (PPC) architectures, which means that the merge window for Linux kernel 4.16 is now closed.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMDVLK Driver Updated With New Extension, Better Geometry Shader Support
        The AMD developers working on their official, cross-platform Vulkan driver have carried out another weekly update to their AMDVLK public source tree.

        This week the updates to the AMDVLK open-source driver are fairly interesting. First up there is now VK_EXT_external_memory_host support. Coincidentally, this week RADV also wired in this extension. EXT_external_memory_host is used for importing host allocations and host-mapped foreign device memory to become Vulkan memory objects.

      • Selectable Platform Support Proposed Again For Intel's DRM Driver
        It seems like every few years or so comes a patch series proposing to allow the Intel DRM driver to limit its platform support in the name of saving a few bytes from the kernel build. This week the latest "selectable platform support" patches are out there.

      • Google & Collabora Working On OpenGL ES 2.0 Virtualized GPU Access For Containers
        Robert Foss of Collabora has shared some work they are engaged in with Google for virtualizing GPU access and allowing for OpenGL ES 2.0 acceleration for containers.

      • Wayland 1.15 & Weston 4.0 Now Planned For Release In April
        Wayland 1.15 and the Weston 4.0 compositor had been planned for release in February but Wayland developers decided there was still enough material on the verge of landing that they decided to delay the release. A new release schedule has now been put forward for getting these updates out in April.

        Derek Foreman of the Samsung OSG has stepped up to manage this revised Wayland 1.15 / Weston 4.0 release. Now that the "high priority" work has been merged, Derek is ready to move on with wrangling the release.

      • Xorgproto 2018.2 Released To Fix The Fallout Of This New X.Org Package
        Last week marked the inaugural release of Xorgproto, a new package consisting of all the X.Org protocol headers rather than being in standalone packages now that X.Org Server development is slowing down and that many of these protocol headers wind up getting updated at the same time. Today marks the Xorgproto 2018.2 release.

      • 34 More Patches Roll Out For AMDGPU DC With Raven Ridge Fixes Plus Color Management
        Open-source AMD Linux driver developers have started off the week by posting 34 more patches for the "DC" display code stack that was mainlined in Linux 4.15 and further improved with Linux 4.16. With these latest patches that begin the queue for Linux 4.17 there are yet more AMDGPU DC improvements and in particular Raven Ridge fixes.

      • Freedreno Gallium3D Tackling NIR Optimizations & More In 2018
        Freedreno project leader Rob Clark who is employed by Red Hat has provided a status update on his activities around this reverse-engineered, open-source Qualcomm Adreno graphics driver.

      • AMD's first Ryzen Desktop APUs with Vega graphics are now available
        AMD has announced today the worldwide release of their first Ryzen Desktop APUs with Vega graphics, could be an interesting choice for low-cost Linux gaming.

    • Benchmarks

      • Serves Up Its 29 Millionth Test/Suite Benchmark Download

      • Amazon EC2 Cloud Compute Performance: December vs. February
        For those wondering how Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) performance is now after being mitigated for the recent Spectre and Meltdown CPU vulnerabilities, here are benchmarks of five Linux distributions comparing the performance to last December prior to the Linux kernel mitigations coming about to now.

        Back in mid-December I carried out a six-way Amazon EC2 cloud comparison following the recent of Amazon Linux 2. Having those results and the reproducibility and automation of the Phoronix Test Suite, I re-ran those tests on the five Linux distributions for seeing how the performance of these Linux platforms have evolved since December.
      • EPYC vs. Xeon Gold In Nearly 200 Tests With Ubuntu On Linux 4.15
        Coming later today is a large Intel/AMD CPU comparison using the latest Linux 4.15 stable kernel that is mitigated for Spectre and Meltdown and using around two dozen tests. For the high-end Xeon Gold and EPYC servers, I ran close to 200 tests on those platforms.

        A few days back was the Core i9 vs. Threadripper tests with a similar quantity of Linux benchmarks being run while this morning are the numbers for the dual Xeon Gold 6138 CPUs versus the EPYC 7601, AMD's current top-end Zen server processor. These are the two highest-end server configurations I have available for testing at the moment. With the dual Xeon Gold 6138 CPUs it's a 40 core / 80 thread total while the single EPYC 7601 is 32 core / 64 thread, as a reminder.

      • 19-Way CPU Comparison On Ubuntu With Linux 4.15
        Following the release of the Linux 4.15 kernel with KPTI and Retpoline introduction, many Phoronix readers were interested in seeing a fresh Linux CPU performance comparison. For those reasons plus in preparing for the Raven Ridge testing, here are benchmarks of 19 different systems when using Ubuntu x86_64 with the Linux 4.15 stable kernel.

        An assortment of 19 different systems from old to new and from low-end to high-end were tested, ranging from old AMD A10 Kaveri APUs to the high-end AMD EPYC 7601 server processor, with a similar breadth of CPUs tested on the Intel side. Again, these tests are mostly being done for reference purposes. And in the days ahead will be a larger low-end-focused CPU comparison for the upcoming Ryzen 3 2200G / Ryzen 5 2400G Linux benchmarking.

      • Ryzen 3 2200G + Ryzen 5 2400G Linux Benchmarks Coming Tomorrow
        Tomorrow I will be posting our initial benchmarks of the Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G "Raven Ridge" APUs with the Zen CPU cores plus Vega graphics.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • February release of the Plasma5 Desktop for Slackware
        Yesterday, I uploaded my Febrary’18 release of Plasma 5 packages for Slackware-current. The KDE-5_18.02 release contains: KDE Frameworks 5.43.0, Plasma 5.12.0 and Applications 17.12.2. All based on Qt 5.9.4 and exclusive for Slackware–current because as explained in a previous post, I stopped providing regular Plasma 5 version updates for Slackware 14.2 (only security updates).

      • KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS Released : Here’s What’s New
        KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS is the second long-term support release from the Plasma 5 team. We have been working hard, focusing on speed and stability for this release. Boot time to desktop has been improved by reviewing the code for anything which blocks execution. The team has been triaging and fixing bugs in every aspect of the codebase, tidying up artwork, removing corner cases, and ensuring cross-desktop integration. For the first time, we offer our Wayland integration on long-term support, so you can be sure we will continue to provide bug fixes and improvements to the Wayland experience.

      • Rendering issues and the power of open source
        After a long time of constant distraction by my daily work, I finally found again a bit time to take care of KTextEditor/Kate/… issues.

        One thing that really started to be an itch I wanted to scratch is some rendering fault that occur with ‘special’ font sizes.

      • KDE launches updated Slimbook II Linux laptops with faster Intel Core processors
        A little more than a year ago, Linux developers KDE and a Spanish hardware manufacturer joined forces to offer the KDE Slimbook, a 13.3-inch laptop running a Ubuntu-based OS with mid-range specs and a mid-range price. Now KDE is back with the Slimbook II, which, like many notebook sequels, is a little bit faster, a little bit thinner, and a little bit lighter than its predecessor.

      • Last Weeks Activity in Elisa
        Elisa is a music player developed by the KDE community that strives to be simple and nice to use. We also recognize that we need a flexible product to account for the different workflows and use-cases of our users.

        We focus on a very good integration with the Plasma desktop of the KDE community without compromising the support for other platforms (other Linux desktop environments, Windows and Android).

      • Linus Announces Linux 4.16 rc, KDE's New Slimbook II, Damn Cool Editor Project and More
        KDE announced its new Slimbook last week. The new Slimbook II "comes with a choice between an Intel i5: 2.5 GHz Turbo Boost 3.1 GHz - 3M Cache CPU, or an Intel i7: 2.7 GHz Turbo Boost 3.5 GHz with a 4M Cache. This makes the KDE Slimbook II 15% faster on average than its predecessor. The RAM has also been upgraded, and the KDE Slimbook now sports 4, 8, or 16 GBs of DDR4 RAM which is 33% faster than the DDR3 RAM installed on last year's model."

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Tweaks 3.28 Progress Report 2
        GNOME 3.28 has reached its 3.27.90 milestone. This milestone is important because it means that GNOME is now at API Freeze, Feature Freeze, and UI Freeze. From this point on, GNOME shouldn’t change much, but that’s good because it allows for distros, translators, and documentation writers to prepare for the 3.28 release. It also gives time to ensure that new feature are working correctly and as many important bugs as possible are fixed. GNOME 3.28 will be released in approximately one month.

  • Distributions

    • MX Linux 17: An upgraded distro made for beginners
      There are tons of operating systems coming out all the time, from free laptop systems like EasyPeasy to Manjaro, Mandriva, and Kubuntu. But all of them have their share of kinks.

      Naturally, many of us are scared of change, and not everyone is an early adopter when it comes to these kinds of things. While operating systems like MacOS and Chrome OS still claim larger market shares in 2018, it bears mentioning that newer operating systems have a lot to offer.

    • Reviews

      • Review: Linspire 7.0
        Linspire 7 is a solid distribution and one I would recommend to friends and family. Coming from a Windows, openSUSE, ChromeOS and CloudReady background I pretty much knew what to expect. There is nothing that seriously stands out with Linspire to make me say WOW save its stability, easy of use and compatibility. I had several older devices and newer devices that I wasn't expecting to work and they did. Would this bring me around to switching? Absolutely. ChromeOS is a serious mess and CloudReady doesn't support one of my laptops anymore. Its easier to configure than openSUSE with YAST and its a straightforward solution. I would recommend this for old folk like me and for small businesses who need a cheap and neat solution. One of the many things I like in this Linspire vs the old Linspire is that this one is more close knit with the Linux apps and doesn't have many proprietary-to-them applications. I do miss Click and Run. A few criticisms I do have is that some of the documentation is a little techy and novices would get lost easy. I would work with and get a better bug reporting system. Overall I am enjoying the experience and like I said, solid, stable and affordable. I definitely will keep this and Windows 10 around for a long time.

        I want to thank PC/Opensystems for bringing Linspire back to us and I would like to thank for hosting this review.

      • What’s New in Linux Lite 3.8
        Linux Lite 3.8 has been released by Linux Lite developer Jerry Bezencon, It’s the final release of Linux Lite 3.x series. This release brings various package updates and improvements, include implementation of the TLP power management tool for laptops in the Lite Tweaks utility, better support for the LibreOffice office suite, a new font viewer and installer, and regional support for DVDs.

        Linux Lite 3.8 also ships with Xfce 4.12 series as default desktop environment, powered by the Linux 4.4.0-112 kernel from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), features Google-based search page as default homepage in the Mozilla Firefox web browser. Inludes the New Lite Tweaks, New Lite Welcome, New Lite Help Manual, New Lite Upgrade and New Wallpapers.

      • EzeeLinux Show 18.8 | A look at elementary OS and KDE Neon

      • Review: Solus 3 and the Budgie desktop
        Solus is an independent, rolling release distribution. Solus's design is mostly aimed at home users who want a friendly desktop operating system. The distribution is available in three editions (Budgie, GNOME and MATE) and runs on 64-bit x86 computers exclusively. Each edition's installation media is approximately 1.2GB in size.

        The project's latest release is Solus 3 which features support for Snap packages as well as more traditional packages managed by Solus's eopkg package manager, which is a fork of the PiSi package manager. There were many tweaks in this release with a number of improvements made to the application menu and searches. The Budgie edition also includes the ability to place the desktop panel on any of the four sides of the screen. There are more changes and tweaks listed, with accompanying screen shots, in the project's release announcement.

        One of the reasons I wanted to try out Solus 3 and do it now is because I typically test rolling release distributions immediately after a new snapshot has been released. Solus 3 was made available back in August of 2017 and I was curious to see how well the distribution would handle being rolled forward several months and what changes might be visible between the August snapshot and Solus's current packages.

        I decided to try out the Budgie edition of Solus. Booting from the Solus live media brings up the Budgie desktop with a panel placed along the bottom of the screen. The panel houses an application menu, task switcher and system tray. On the desktop we find a single icon for launching the project's system installer. I did not see any welcome screen or encounter any immediate issues so I jumped straight into the installer.

    • New Releases

      • Community Editions 17.1.4 [Cinnamon, Deepin, i3]

        We are happy to announce our new snapshot release 17.1.4. New install media are available of course for the official flavours XFCE, KDE and GNOME but as usual, will also be made available for a number of Community Editions.

        Currently already available are Cinnamon, Deepin and i3:

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • LinuxAndUbuntu Distro Review Of PCLinuxOS
        ​I have reviewed a very good Linux distribution that I first used full-time as opposed to just playing around with it 8 years ago. You could say that I was suckled on it so to speak. What attracted me to PCLinuxOS distribution was mainly how simple to use it was. They released a new ISO to download in November so I decided to give this release a go.

    • Slackware Family

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • pgpcontrol 2.6
        This is the legacy bundle of Usenet control message signing and verification tools, distributed primarily via (which hasn't updated yet as I write this). You can see the files for the current release at

        This release adds support for using gpg for signature verification, provided by Thomas Hochstein, since gpgv may no longer support insecure digest algorithms.

      • Derivatives

        • Seven Days with Elive 2.9.26 (Beta)
          If there is a distro release that I have been waiting for, that is surely Elive 3.0.

          I had Elive 2.9.8 Beta installed, so I used the same partition for this upgrade. After downloading the image of this new beta (2.9.26) and copying it to a USB drive with ROSA image writer, I was ready to test it. I wanted to see if this distro is OK for a rather non-technical Linux user like me, who has not used the Enlightenment DE regularly. I also wanted to see its Japanese IME capabilities.

          When I installed version 2.9.8, I encountered a frustrating problem: There is an issue with my graphic card. The distro booted correctly, but, when I installed it, the DE froze and complained about Enlightenment crashing because of a module problem. However, one can circumvent this by booting the distro using the "graphics problems" option, so, after it is installed, Elive works perfectly. Although the Elive installer bypassed that situation this time because it remembered my settings (awesome!), Megatotoro, who performed a clean install, was not that lucky and stumbled with the issue.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Invites Ubuntu Linux Users to Test Video Playback in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
            While Canonical already implemented hardware-accelerated video playback support for Intel CPUs in the current release of the operating system, Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark), it would appear that plan on extending it to other types of processors, display servers, and video players.

            In a recent call for testing, Canonical urges those who are already running the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system on their personal computers to test the video playback performance with apps like MPV or Totem (GNOME Videos), as well as the Wayland or Xorg display servers, and report any issues.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • GitHub reveals open source project trends for 2018
    GitHub has released a report with statistics on the types of projects the GitHub community collaborated on from September 2016 to September 2017.

    Last year, 24 million people from over 200 different countries worked together on GitHub to code better and build bigger.

    From frameworks to data visualisations across more than 25 million repositories, the activity picked up more this year.

  • Two decades on, open source still brings the world together
    On Feb. 3, 1998, a few weeks after the announcement, a group of leading software developers who included Eric Raymond, Jon Hall and Michael Tiemann, among others, met to strategize how they could continue the momentum of the news. At the meeting’s close, the group agreed upon “open source” as the label for the movement.

  • Nextcloud Talk: video conferencing the open way
    For instant messaging I’ve been primarily using Telegram. I think it’s a good compromise between openness and features and mass adoption. It can also do encrypted audio calls, but it can’t do video calls and audio/video conferences of multiple people.

  • Are you an open-sorcerer or free software warrior? Let us do battle
    The Open Source Initiative, a non-profit that advocates for open-source software and coined the term, celebrates its 20th anniversary this month. It's difficult to conceive of where the internet, indeed the world, would be today were it not for open-source software and, perhaps more importantly, the free software movement that preceded it and continues to promote free software today.

    The difference between free and open-source software is at this point largely moot, save for deep philosophical differences that don't matter much to anyone outside a very small community of thinkers.

    You can read an entertaining history of the Open Source Initiative here at The Reg. Here's my extremely foreshortened version: Open-source software is of course what happened to the free software movement when, to borrow a phrase from 1980s punk rock, the suits showed up.

  • An open source Instagram desktop photo uploader
    One of my tasks at my new communications job is to re-activate and improve our social media channels. I've used Twitter and Facebook for many years, so that was easy. Now, I need to work on Instagram.

    I've never really been into Instagram (or Pinterest), but I needed to learn and start Instagramming. I had a few pictures from a recent event, and I was all set to upload them onto Instagram from my Windows 10 desktop, but Instagram is a mobile-driven application. I couldn't find an upload button on the browser; I tried Chrome, Firefox, and Brave. Hmmm. OK. Let's try the Microsoft Store and install the handy app. Uh-oh, same problem.

  • 8 open source drone projects
    Over the past few years, interest in civilian, military, and commercial drones has grown rapidly, which has also driven the maker community's interest in open source drone projects.

    The list of unmanned aerial devices (UAVs) that fit the moniker of drone seems to be constantly expanding. These days, the term seems to encompass everything from what is essentially a cheap, multi-bladed toy helicopter, all the way up to custom-built soaring machines with incredibly adept artificial intelligence capabilities.

  • Events

    • Visit Combined Booths at SCaLE 16X, Save $ With Promo Code
      People who register between now and the event can get a 50 percent discount on their standard registration price using the promo codes SUSE, GNOME or KDE50.

    • Fosdem 2018 – and a very little roundup

      Since Mageia was born, FOSDEM has been a very important event for us. Six times we had a booth and our General Assembly during the event, we’ve always had a Mageia dinner and there were always more ways to enjoy meeting one another.

      This blog post was almost not written, though, because until less than a week before FOSDEM, it was only sure of one council member, akien, that he’d be there. However, he’d mainly be there for another really nice project, the Godot Engine. Apart from that, our application for a stand was turned down (again).

      Six days before FOSDEM, names started to get added to our FOSDEM 2018 Wiki page. One day later, it became certain that ennael would be at FOSDEM and on Wednesday, the number of council members who’d go increased from 2 to 4. It was only after that, that we tried to find volunteers to help organise various ways to meet one another in Brussels.

    • FOSDEM 2018
      The GNOME Foundation advisory board meeting was happening on Friday the 2nd so I travelled to Brussels on Thursday. Years ago, there were two train routes from Strasbourg to Brussels: the direct one was using slow trains, through a large part of Belgium and Luxembourg, and took a bit more than 5 hours; the other one meant taking a TGV from Strasbourg to Paris (~2 hours), changing stations (5 minutes walk from Gare de l’Est to Gare du Nord) and taking a Thalys to Brussels (~2 hours). I was pleased to learn that there was now a direct TGV route. Even if the announced time of 3 hours and 50 minutes was only a tiny bit shorter than the indirect one, the confort of a journey with no connection adds real value. Of course I wasn’t expecting a direct route to go through the Charles de Gaulle airport train station, but well… still better than the alternative! This nice journey was made possible thanks to the financial support of the Foundation.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Beware the looming Google Chrome HTTPS certificate apocalypse!

        Thanks to a decision in September by Google to stop trusting Symantec-issued SSL/TLS certs, from mid-April Chrome browser users visiting websites using a certificate from the security biz issued before June 1, 2016 or after December 1, 2017 will be warned that their connection is not private and someone may be trying to steal their information. They will have to click past the warning to get to the website.

        This will also affect certs that use Symantec as their root of trust even if they were issued by an intermediate organization. For example, certificates handed out by Thawte, GeoTrust, and RapidSSL that rely on Symantec will be hit by Google's crackdown. If in doubt, check your cert's root certificate authority to see if it's Symantec or not.

    • Mozilla

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • ZFS vs. OpenZFS

      You’ve probably heard us say a mix of “ZFS” and “OpenZFS” and an explanation is long-overdue. Our Senior Analyst clears up what ZFS and OpenZFS refer to and how they differ.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • GCC Lands s390 Compiler-Side Changes For Spectre V2
      Landing a few days ago for the Linux 4.16 kernel merge window was IBM z / s390 mitigation work for Spectre while now the necessary compiler-side changes are also present for the upcoming GCC 8 stable release.

      Landing this week in the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) code-base was the s390 architecture specific code for disabling prediction of indirect branches as part of its Spectre Variant Two work on IBM Z.

  • Public Services/Government

    • EOH acquires LSD IT to lead open source works in Africa
      JSE-listed information and communication technology (ICT) multinational EOH has acquired Linux-focused enterprise open-source technology company LSD Information Technology (IT) to lead its open-source offerings in Africa.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Bruce Perens wants to anti-SLAPP Grsecurity's Brad Spengler with $670,000 in legal bills
      Having defeated a defamation claim for speculating that using Grsecurity's Linux kernel hardening code may expose you to legal risk under the terms of the GPLv2 license, Bruce Perens is back in court.

      This time, he's demanding Bradley Spengler – who runs Open Source Security Inc and develops Grsecurity – foots his hefty legal bills, after Spengler failed to successfully sue Perens for libel.

      Perens, a noted figure in the open source community, and his legal team from O’Melveny & Myers LLP – as they previously told The Register – want to be awarded attorneys' fees under California's anti-SLAPP statute, a law designed to deter litigation that aims to suppress lawful speech.

      That deterrence takes the form of presenting unsuccessful litigants with the bill for the cost of defending against meritless claims.

    • Bruce Perens Wants to Anti-SLAPP GRSecurity's Brad Spengler With $670,000 in Legal Bills [Ed: Many comments here, some of them good]

    • Open Source Audits in Merger and Acquisition Transactions: Get the Free Ebook
      Haddad also notes that open source audits can expose obligations. “Open source licenses usually impose certain obligations that must be fulfilled when code is distributed,” he notes. “One example is the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL), which requires derivatives or combinations to be made available under the same license as well. Other licenses require certain notices in documentation or have restrictions for how the product is promoted.”

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Remember The EOMA68 Computer Card Project? It Hopes To Ship This Year
        The EOMA68 computer card project is the open-source hardware effort that aims to be Earth-friendly and allow for interchangeable computer cards that can be installed in laptop housings and other devices. The ambitious concept relying upon ARM SoCs raised more than $170k USD via crowdfunding in 2016 but its lineage dates back to the failed Improv dev board as well as the failed KDE Vivaldi tablet years earlier. It turns out in 2018 there is hope of EOMA68 hardware finally shipping.

        Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton, the main person behind the EOMA68 Libre Laptop project and EOMA68-A20 computer card, continues work on this effort. He spoke last weekend at FOSDEM 2018 about these efforts.

  • Programming/Development

    • SFXR Qt
      As I mentioned in my previous article about adding sounds to Pixel Wheels, I started yet-another side project: SFXR Qt. This is a QtQuick port of SFXR, a retro sound-effect generator by DrPetter.

    • A Look Back At Python 3.0 After 10 Years
      This year marks one decade since the release of Python 3. Red Hat's Victor Stinner who is also a CPython core developer provided a retrospective on Python 3 at last week's FOSDEM conference.

      It's been 10 years since Python 3 came about with its language changes and in 2018, there are still programs being made compatible with Python 3. Python 2.7 continues to be maintained until 2020.

    • Due to Oracle being Oracle, Eclipse holds poll to rename Java EE (No, it won't be Java McJava Face)
      Unable to convince Oracle to allow the use of its trademarked term "Java" to refer to the open source version of Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE), the Eclipse Foundation is asking those who care about such things to vote on proposed names for the software project.

      Last summer, Oracle said it had begun working with the Eclipse Foundation and the Java EE community to transfer its Java EE code and governance responsibilities to the foundation.

      But Oracle is not giving up its intellectual property rights in the name "Java." And so for the past few months, the Java EE community has been puzzling over how to refer to the open source version of Java EE.


  • Science

    • Tiny engine powered by demixing fluid
      An international team of researchers has developed a tiny, liquid-based engine powered by a demixing fluid. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the group describes their little engine and possible uses for it.

      The engine is essentially a tiny sphere orbiting a laser beam in a liquid solution. The sphere in the experiments was extremely tiny (2.48 micrometers in diameter) and made of iron oxide and silica. The liquid solution was a mixture of water and lutidine. The two ingredients were important, because together, they formed a critical liquid mixture that would separate at a desired temperature. In this case, separation occurred when its temperature warmed to approximately 34 degrees C.

    • New process allows 3-D printing of nanoscale metal structures
      For the first time, it is possible to create complex nanoscale metal structures using 3-D printing, thanks to a new technique developed at Caltech.

      The process, once scaled up, could be used in a wide variety of applications, from building tiny medical implants to creating 3-D logic circuits on computer chips to engineering ultralightweight aircraft components. It also opens the door to the creation of a new class of materials with unusual properties that are based on their internal structure. The technique is described in a study that will be published in Nature Communications on February 9.

    • Let's Not Forget the 'science' in 'computer Science'

      The reason this trend is harmful to the field is that it turns computing science into computer and systems programming, while the latter are just our tools as computer scientists. While systems and software engineering are noble causes—and very stimulating and challenging at that—the science must also progress and it won’t if we ignore it. Solutions to major problems should not all be approached by finding some ‘approximate’ solution. Computer science has always been partly a science and partly an engineering discipline, so while many can do both, some of us should surely keep working on the science.

    • First fish to have evolved with the ability to walk never left the ocean!
      According to a recent research published in Cell, the ability to walk originated much earlier than thought previously. Some of the very first sea creatures who were able to walk stayed in the oceans, and never came out. They didn't make most of their evolutionary advantage, suggests the study.

      The research is based on a genetic analysis of the brain cells of the little skate fish (Leucoraja erinacea), one of the most primitive animals with a backbone.

    • Predictive algorithms are no better at telling the future than a crystal ball
      An increasing number of businesses invest in advanced technologies that can help them forecast the future of their workforce and gain a competitive advantage.

      Many analysts and professional practitioners believe that, with enough data, algorithms embedded in People Analytics (PA) applications can predict all aspects of employee behavior: from productivity, to engagement, to interactions and emotional states.

  • Hardware

    • Apple is the Richest Tech Company in the World and their fall in Software Quality is Inexcusable
      On January 30th Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple's SVP of Software is applying the Brakes on a String of iOS Features and rescheduling them for 2019." Now a new report elaborates by stating that Apple's software team will have more time to work on new features and focus on under-the-hood refinements without being tied to a list of new features annually simply so the company can tout a massive year-over-year leap, people familiar with the situation say. The renewed focus on quality is designed to make sure the company can fulfill promises made each summer at the annual developers conference and that new features work reliably and as advertised. While that sounds reasonable, You have to wonder why the richest company in the world can't handle the work load anymore for iOS. Is Apple's SVP of software not up to the task?

    • Raven Ridge Desktop APUs Come Out Tomorrow, The Likely Linux Requirements
      In terms of likely Linux requirements, you will need to be using at least the Linux 4.15 kernel that was released in January. Raven Ridge display support like the RX Vega GPUs is implemented only with AMDGPU DC, so it places a requirement at least of Linux 4.15 for having mainline AMDGPU DC support. By using Linux 4.15 you can also have Zen temperature monitoring support (assuming no offsets or other driver adjustments are needed for these new desktop APUs) and all around good support plus Spectre protection.

    • Qualcomm warns of customer losses, legal hazards to Broadcom buyout
      Qualcomm Inc warned on Friday it could lose two large clients if it accepted chipmaker Broadcom Ltd’s revised $121 billion buyout offer and said it saw no path to regulatory approval of any deal.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The 11 cities most likely to run out of drinking water - like Cape Town
      Cape Town is in the unenviable situation of being the first major city in the modern era to face the threat of running out of drinking water.

      However, the plight of the drought-hit South African city is just one extreme example of a problem that experts have long been warning about - water scarcity.

      Despite covering about 70% of the Earth's surface, water, especially drinking water, is not as plentiful as one might think. Only 3% of it is fresh.

      Over one billion people lack access to water and another 2.7 billion find it scarce for at least one month of the year. A 2014 survey of the world's 500 largest cities estimates that one in four are in a situation of "water stress"

      According to UN-endorsed projections, global demand for fresh water will exceed supply by 40% in 2030, thanks to a combination of climate change, human action and population growth.

      It shouldn't be a surprise, then, that Cape Town is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are the other 11 cities most likely to run out of water.

    • In India, Stakeholders Drive Down Drug Prices for the Benefit of All
      Clusters of people stand everywhere – on the lawn, at the main gate, crowding the base of the stairways – at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences in Rohtak, a mid-sized city in the northern Indian state of Haryana, about 50 miles northwest of New Delhi. Ailing patients swaddled in wool shawls and patterned blankets linger with their families, some having traveled hundreds of miles from their villages to see a qualified doctor. Many of them are carrying rectangular plastic bags filled with test results and prescriptions in a language they do not speak.

      Parveen Malhotra, a doctor and the officer heading one of the main treatment centers located at the facility, known locally as PGI Rohtak, strides through the crowd and makes his way to his office inside the hospital. He knows that many in the crowd are suffering from Hepatitis C.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • We asked, you voted: 89 percent said no to Trump’s military parade
      As the Pentagon continues to work on parade options to present to President Donald Trump, an overwhelming number of Military Times readers have weighed in: Don’t have one.

      The informal poll was launched Wednesday after news reports that Trump had requested a military parade and that the Pentagon was working on parade options for him.

    • Robert O’Neill, Navy Seal who killed Bin Laden, slams Trump parade

      The retired U.S. Navy Seal credited with shooting al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in a 2011 raid called President Trump’s plan for a military parade “third world bulls***”.

      “We prepare. We deter. We fight. Stop this conversation,” Robert O’Neill said on Twitter this week.

      O’Neill, a Trump supporter, then said in a tweet Friday, “I simply think a parade is a bad idea. And I used locker room talk….”

      O’Neill told The Washington Post in an interview in 2014 that he fired the two shots that killed the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks. One current and one former SEAL confirmed O'Neill's story of the raid to the Associated Press.

    • Vox’s US Government-Linked Experts Present Options for Korea: Sanctions or War
      Vox produced a flashy, extremely hawkish video fearmongering about the likelihood of a second Korean War—and all the experts featured in it just so happen to work for the United States government.

      For the description under the six-minute video, which is dramatically titled “The Horrific Reality of a War With North Korea,” Vox wrote: “Five experts discuss what a war on the Korean peninsula would look like, how close we are to conflict, and the terrifying consequences.”

    • [Older] Another Long War Unfolds in Syria
      The war in Syria should be ending. The Islamic State has lost all the territory it seized in 2014. The Syrian army, backed by Russia and Iran, has confined other anti-government rebels to besieged pockets in the south, on the eastern outskirts of Damascus and in the northwest. Opposition hopes of removing Syrian President Bashar al Assad have vanished. But the war refuses to die. It just takes new forms.

      The latest phase has little to do with Syria, apart from the fact that it’s taking place there. The antagonists are Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the United States, which has declared a post-Islamic State mission that will keep American advisers and their local surrogates in Syria for years to come. The mission calls for the United States to train, arm and advise a 30,000-strong, mostly Kurdish border security force. Following the announcement of the project Jan. 14, Erdogan pledged “to strangle it before it’s even born.” He has moved Turkish military units to the border and launched artillery shells at Kurdish positions in their western enclave of Afrin.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Wikileaks investigation a ‘very, very grave threat’ to press freedom
      Late Thursday, The Washington Post reported that the Department of Justice is reconsidering whether to file charges against Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange, for publishing classified government documents.

      Potential charges against Assange and other members of Wikileaks could include conspiracy, theft of government property, and charges under the Espionage Act, according to the Post.

      Any prosecution of Wikileaks could have broad consequences for more mainstream media outlets, according to experts who spoke with ThinkProgress. And while there are legal precedents to protect journalists, the law is far from settled.

      In an interview with CNN on Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions dodged a question about whether prosecuting Wikileaks would put mainstream media outlets at risk.

    • The UK’s Hidden Role in Assange’s Detention
      It now emerges that the last four years of Julian Assange’s effective imprisonment in the Ecuadorean embassy in London have been entirely unnecessary. In fact, they depended on a legal charade.

      Behind the scenes, Sweden wanted to drop the extradition case against Assange back in 2013. Why was this not made public? Because Britain persuaded Sweden to pretend that they still wished to pursue the case.

    • UK lawyers lobbied Swedes to press on with Assange extradition
      A lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service appeared to lobby Swedish prosecutors to keep extradition proceedings against Julian Assange active, according to an email exchange.

      The chief prosecutor in Stockholm was accused of “cold feet” amid rumours that the sexual assault case against Mr Assange would be dropped more than four years ago, according to the emails released as part of an Information Commission tribunal.

    • UK prosecutors pressed Sweden not to drop Assange extradition in 2013 – report
      Britain's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) dissuaded Sweden from attempting to drop extradition proceedings against Julian Assange as far back as 2013, according to an email exchange seen by the Guardian.

      The newspaper reports Swedish prosecutors were keen to drop the proceedings against the WikiLeaks founder in 2013, four years before they officially did in 2017. During the exchange between the Swedish director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, and an unnamed, since retired, CPS lawyer in charge of the case, Ny said that: “There is a demand in Swedish law for coercive measures to be proportionate.”

      “The time passing, the costs and how severe the crime is to be taken into account together with the intrusion or detriment to the suspect. Against this background, we have found us to be obliged to lift the detention order ... and to withdraw the European arrest warrant. If so this should be done in a couple of weeks. This would affect not only us but you too in a significant way,” Ny added.

    • UK 'Secretly Bullied' Sweden Into Detaining Assange for 'Another 4 Years'
      In 2010, Sweden began an investigation into rape allegedly committed by Assange. Since being granted political asylum by Ecuador in 2012, Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

      Swedish prosecutors tried to drop extradition proceedings against Julian Assange as early as 2013, according to a confidential exchange of emails with British prosecutors, the Guardian has reported.

      As is evident from the newly-released emails, Sweden was prepared to give up the case against Assange, but Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) insisted that the case remain alive.

    • Big tech’s bid to control FOIA
      Negotiations over the tax incentive deal began in Ohio in early spring of last year, and only a cabal of quasi-state officials were in the know. Even after the $37.1 million in incentives were approved by state officials on July 31, 2017, the company was only referred to in a press release as Sidecat, a provider of “information technology services, such as remotely accessed computing power and data storage.”


      But Facebook wouldn’t be coming to a struggling industrial region of Ohio, and it wasn’t guaranteeing many jobs. It was going to build a $750 million data center in one of the state’s wealthiest suburbs—New Albany, where the median household income is nearly $200,000 and unemployment hovers around 4 percent. Fifty new jobs were guaranteed.


      Of course, secrecy around tax incentives is no longer remarkable, especially in the handful of states—including Ohio, Rhode Island, Florida, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Arizona—where economic development has been privatized. But in this case, Facebook’s control over who could know what and when they could know it didn’t end there. In Facebook’s final agreement with New Albany, signed the day before Kasich’s press conference, the tech giant sought to further control the release of information, with a highly unusual demand: Officials must give Facebook at least three days before responding to any public records request. In other words, not until after the press conference would reporters get a chance to analyze the agreement. In the approved deal with Ohio’s Tax Credit Authority, Facebook also requests “prior notice” of any public records request, though it doesn’t dictate that notice in days, only demanding it be sufficient to “seek a protective order or other appropriate remedy.” Though Facebook is never directly identified in the agreement, the address listed, 1601 Willow Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025, is Facebook’s headquarters. (See excerpts below.)

    • Assange mocks Newsweek journalist duped by fake Twitter account
      Julian Assange has issued a savage rebuke to Newsweek journalist Michael Hayden for being duped by a fake Twitter account impersonating the Wikileaks founder.

      Hayden had responded to a tweet supporting US president Donald Trump from Assange impersonator @TheRealJulian. The fake account wrote: “Keep doing what you’re doing Mr. President and know that the entire world is behind you!”

      Despite the nature of the comment being completely out of character, Hayden took it at face value and he accused the Australian of being “one of those MAGA randos that rushes into Trump’s replies to kiss up”.

      Assange responded with a filleting analysis of Hayden’s journalistic professionalism and accused him of amplifying a “black PR operation” against him.

    • Sweden tried to drop Assange extradition in 2013, CPS emails show
      Swedish prosecutors attempted to drop extradition proceedings against Julian Assange as early as 2013, according to a confidential exchange of emails with the Crown Prosecution Service seen by the Guardian.

      The sequence of messages also appears to challenge statements by the CPS that the case was not live at the time emails were deleted by prosecutors, according to supporters of the WikiLeaks founder.

      Assange was first questioned over allegations of sexual assault and rape in Sweden, which he denies, in 2010. He travelled to the UK later that year and Swedish authorities began extradition proceedings against him.

    • The UK’s hidden role in Assange’s detention
      It now emerges that the last four years of Julian Assange’s effective imprisonment in the Ecuadorean embassy in London have been entirely unnecessary. In fact, they depended on a legal charade.

      Behind the scenes, Sweden wanted to drop the extradition case against Assange back in 2013. Why was this not made public? Because Britain persuaded Sweden to pretend that they still wished to pursue the case.

      In other words, for more than four years Assange has been holed up in a tiny room, policed at great cost to British taxpayers, not because of any allegations in Sweden but because the British authorities wanted him to remain there. On what possible grounds could that be, one has to wonder? Might it have something to do with his work as the head of Wikileaks, publishing information from whistleblowers that has severely embarrassed the United States and the UK.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Climate Change and Privileged Despair
      "People can and do cooperate in times of environmental disaster and stress—why isn't that part of the dominant narrative?"

    • Living With Truth Decay
      Truth is a relatively scarce commodity. Science progresses by disproving theories, not proving them (that only happens in mathematics). In the real world, everything you know to be true just hasn’t been disproved yet, so it’s a good idea to stay tuned.


      Fishing for evidence floating in the Net is far from compiling facts in a controlled empirical study and—contrary to the scientific method—is likely done to support a hypothesis, not to disprove one. In any event, facts are not truths. Truth rests on facts, vetted as dispassionately as possible. For instance, it’s a fact that mean global CO2 in the atmosphere officially was 404.55 PPM at the end of 2016 and 406.75 one year later, or one-half a percent more.


      You can fit an exponential curve to the facts in this graph. Exponential growth never ends well. That’s not a fact; it’s a truth based on the fact that growth rates can’t become infinite.

      There are people who deny these are facts. There are other people who say they’re no big deal. Still others take them seriously while not admitting any specific import. And then there are those, probably most of humanity, who believe and may fear them but absolve themselves of any responsibility or them. They are all truth-impaired.

  • Finance

    • WhatsApp Payments feature now live on iOS and Android in India: Here’s how to get

      WhatsApp Payments feature based on India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is now live on iOS and Android. The long-awaited feature will let users send and receive money directly via WhatsApp. However, it does not look like the service will support merchant payments for now. The peer-to-peer UPI payments feature has been rolled for Android and iOS versions of the app. The Facebook-owned company has not yet put a FAQ page on payments, but the terms and service page as well as privacy policy page are live. Users can check these out before turning on Payments service on WhatsApp.

    • WhatsApp Payments UPI-Based Feature Arrives in India on Android Phones, iPhone

      WhatsApp has reportedly started testing out its UPI-based payments feature in India. The new feature, available for select WhatsApp beta users on iOS and Android, enables users to send and receive money using the Indian government's Unified Payments Interface (UPI) standard. This feature is said to be available on WhatsApp version 2.18.21 for iOS, and version 2.18.41 for Android. Considering the large user base of the messaging app in India, the payments platform's integration may give another boost to digital payments.

    • Facebook announces huge investment to empower community leaders

      "Up to five leaders will be selected to be community leaders in residence and awarded up to $1,000,000 each to fund their proposals," it said.

      "Up to 100 leaders will be selected for our fellowship program and will receive up to $50,000 each to be used for a specific community initiative," the company said.

    • Jim Carrey urges users to delete Facebook accounts and dump stock

      Facebook has not responded to a request for comment however founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said stemming the flow of misinformation is among the company's foremost goals.

    • Japan tells UK on Brexit - If there is no profit, we cannot continue
      Japan’s ambassador said on Thursday that no firm would be able to continue to operate in Britain if they are not profitable due to Brexit-related trade barriers.

      Speaking outside Number 10 Downing Street after meeting Prime Minister Theresa May along with 19 Japanese business leaders, the ambassador had a clear message for Britain.

      “If there is no profitability of continuing operations in the UK - not Japanese only - then no private company can continue operations. So it is as simple as that,” Koji Tsuruoka said when asked how real the threat was to Japanese companies of Britain not securing frictionless trade.

    • British economy will suffer €£252bn hit if Theresa May crashes UK out of the EU with no deal, analysis shows
      The British economy will suffer a €£252bn hit if Theresa May carries out her threat to leave the European Union with no deal, a new analysis of official forecasts shows.

      A no-deal Brexit would see GDP plunge by more than a quarter of a trillion pounds over 15 years, according to the study shared with The Independent.

      Less damaging exit terms, under which Britain would secure a free trade agreement with the rest of the EU, would still result in national output being €£131bn lower over the same period.
    • Cashing in on the donated dead
      On July 20, a Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship departed Charleston, South Carolina, carrying thousands of containers. One of them held a lucrative commodity: body parts from dozens of dead Americans.

      According to the manifest, the shipment bound for Europe included about 6,000 pounds of human remains valued at $67,204. To keep the merchandise from spoiling, the container’s temperature was set to 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

      The body parts came from a Portland business called MedCure Inc. A so-called body broker, MedCure profits by dissecting the bodies of altruistic donors and sending the parts to medical training and research companies.

      MedCure sells or leases about 10,000 body parts from U.S. donors annually, shipping about 20 percent of them overseas, internal corporate and manifest records show. In addition to bulk cargo shipments to the Netherlands, where MedCure operates a distribution hub, the Oregon company has exported body parts to at least 22 other countries by plane or truck, the records show.
    • Ending the Amazon Hunger Games
      mazon is seeking a location for its second corporate campus — already known as “HQ2” — and the company has turned its search into a surreal spectacle by inviting local governments to publicly court the multi-billion-dollar company with tax incentives and subsidy packages. Public officials are eagerly playing along — in one case even offering to change their town’s name to “Amazon” if selected — and hurling billions of dollars worth of tax cuts Amazon’s way.

      That’s public money, of course, that might otherwise go to vital public services like schools and sanitation.

      With so much publicity around the Amazon sweepstakes, commentators are more attuned than usual to the grotesquerie of the spectacle of ultra-rich corporations soliciting public money, and politicians’ willingness to hand it over. Ask an average progressive what they think of wooing the private sector on the public dime, and they’ll probably tell you it should be illegal.

    • General Dynamics Buying CSRA for $6.8 Billion
      General Dynamics Corp. said it had agreed to buy CSRA Inc. for $6.8 billion as part of the defense contractor’s push into government information-technology services.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why ‘Russian Meddling’ is a Trojan Horse
      Prior to the 2016 presidential election, if one were to ask what single act could seal a new Cold War with Russia, align liberals and progressives with the operational core of the American military-industrial-surveillance complex, expose the preponderance of left-activism as an offshoot of Democratic Party operations and consign most of what remained to personal invective against an empirically dangerous leader, consensus would likely have it that doing so wouldn’t be easy.

      The decision to blame Russian meddling for Hillary Clinton’s electoral loss was made in the immediate aftermath of the election by her senior campaign staff. Within days the received wisdom amongst Clinton supporters was that the election had been stolen and that Donald Trump was set to enter the White House as a pawn of the Russian political leadership. Left out was the history of U.S. – Russian relations; that the largest voting bloc in the 2016 election was eligible voters who didn’t vote and that domestic business interests substantially control the American electoral process.
    • Fine, there's tribalism on both sides — but the right is far more damaging than the left
    • Breaking with tradition, Trump skips president’s written intelligence report and relies on oral briefings
      For much of the past year, President Trump has declined to participate in a practice followed by the past seven of his predecessors: He rarely if ever reads the President’s Daily Brief, a document that lays out the most pressing information collected by U.S. intelligence agencies from hot spots around the world.

      Trump has opted to rely on an oral briefing of select intelligence issues in the Oval Office rather than getting the full written document delivered to review separately each day, according to three people familiar with his briefings.

      Reading the traditionally dense intelligence book is not Trump’s preferred “style of learning,” according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
    • Did Russian trolls infect the left? And how much did it matter?
      Back in late 2016, I remember joking to friends that I was disappointed Salon hadn’t wound up on the list of purported pro-Russian propaganda outlets published by a shadowy online outfit called PropOrNot, subject of an overly credulous (and later redacted) story in the Washington Post. Whoever or whatever PropOrNot may be — and there are some intriguing theories! — it seemed to be trying to blacklist media outlets on both the left and right that took positions too far outside the foreign-policy mainstream, or that questioned the dogmas of “American exceptionalism.” What had we done wrong?

      Those were innocent times, before we realized we were all living inside an idiotic and increasingly unconvincing simulated reality, whose source code keeps glitching out. My joke isn’t funny anymore, but only partly because it now appears that agents or surrogates of the Russian government did indeed carry out wide-ranging propaganda attacks during and after the 2016 presidential campaign, using an array of bots, trolls and fake online personas. It’s by no means clear that the reported hack of Democratic National Committee emails was the most important part of that campaign, or the most effective.
    • U.S. Intelligence Crisis Poses a Threat to the World
      Privatized and politicized intelligence is undermining the mission of providing unbiased information to both high-level decision makers and the American public, explains George Eliason in this first of a three-part series.
    • How Establishment Propaganda Gaslights Us Into Submission
      The dynamics of the establishment Syria narrative are hilarious if you take a step back and think about them. I mean, the Western empire is now openly admitting to having funded actual, literal terrorist groups in that country, and yet they’re still cranking out propaganda pieces about what is happening there and sincerely expecting us to believe them. It’s adorable, really; like a little kid covered in chocolate telling his mom he doesn’t know what happened to all the cake frosting.

      Or least it would be adorable if it weren’t directly facilitating the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people.

      I recently had a pleasant and professional exchange with the Atlantic Council’s neoconservative propagandist Eliot Higgins, in which he referred to independent investigative journalist Vanessa Beeley as “bonkers” and myself as “crazy,” and I called him a despicable bloodsucking ghoul. I am not especially fond of Mr. Higgins.
    • West Virginia Woman Dragged Out of Capitol for Reading State Reps Political Donations
    • Donald Trump Jr.'s wife hospitalized after opening envelope with white powder
      Donald Trump Jr.’s wife, Vanessa Trump, was hospitalized Monday after receiving a letter containing white powder that was later deemed to be non-hazardous, New York City police told Fox News.

      President Trump‘s daughter-in-law opened the letter addressed to Donald Trump Jr. just after 10 a.m. at the couple's Manhattan apartment. It's unclear what the "white powder" was, but authorities tested the substance and found it to be "non-hazardous."

      Vanessa Trump was taken to the hospital as a precaution, police said. Two other people who were also exposed to the powder were taken to the hospital.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • YouTube will remove ads and downgrade discoverability of channels posting offensive videos

      As in the case of Paul, YouTube stresses that the majority of creators on its platform will not be impacted by today’s announcement because their content is not on the wrong side of acceptable.

    • One family’s story shows Poland’s ambiguous wartime past

      The death of Reich (we don’t know his first name) and his 10-year-old son Abraham — and my grandfather’s failed attempt to protect them — bears on what’s happening in Warsaw this week, as the Polish parliament finishes work on a new law that makes it a criminal offense to tie the “Polish nation” or “the Polish state” to the wartime crimes of Nazi Germany.

    • Love is NOT in the air: Pakistan bans Valentine's Day and its media coverage

      The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) issued an advisory on Wednesday warning television and radio stations against any Valentine’s Day celebrations.

    • Senseless censorship

      There is rarely a shortage of depressing events in Pakistan ranging from the surreal to downright nauseating.


      Last year IHC judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui imposed a ban on celebrating and airing any content related to the international holiday on television. It was based on a petition stating that the holiday spreads “immorality, nudity and indecency” in the country. No final verdict has been issued in this regard.
    • Calls for censorship are wrong
      First, on the merits, we must defend the Voltairean principle that “I despise what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” That was what Thomas Jefferson thought, too. Obviously there is a line out there somewhere. However, the letter about marriage was essentially proffering a Biblical point of view. That cannot reasonably be said to be on the wrong side of the line. We must refute the arguments of the right.
    • Scared of my Own Thoughts
      In Doha last week I watched on TV an utterly contemptible speech by Theresa May in which she grasped for ideas to shore up the increasingly eroded Establishment control of the political zeitgeist. Yet more pressure would be put on the social media companies to curtail the circulation of unauthorised truths as “fake news”. Disrespectful questioning of the political class will be a new crime of “intimidation of candidates”. The government would look for new ways to boost the unwanted and failing purveyors of the official line by some potential aid to newspapers and their paid liars.

      In short I did not merely disagree with what she was saying, I found it an extraordinary example of Orwellian doublespeak in which she even referenced John Stuart Mill and her commitment to freedom of speech as she outlined plans to restrict it further. I found myself viewing this dull, plodding agent of repression as representing a political philosophy which is completely alien to me.
    • Censorship, witch hunts and dirty money at the New York Times

      On Wednesday, the New York Times announced that its revenues grew substantially last quarter, driven by a 46 percent increase in digital subscriptions over the previous year.

      Notably, the 166-year-old “newspaper of record” had its paid user base grow at a rate usually seen only at start-ups, adding 105,000 digital-only subscriptions in December and January, and hitting a new record.

      The newspaper’s stock price has shot up 40 percent since October.

      Reporting matter-of-factly on the Times’ earnings statement, Reuters attributed the newspaper’s high earnings and favorable stock performance to two factors:

      “Chief Executive Mark Thompson told Reuters that the newspaper will … benefit from Facebook Inc’s initiative to prioritize high-quality news outlets in its social media posts to counter fake news and sensationalism.”

    • WA Anglican school backs off book ban

      A West Australian high school has backed down from plans to censor its booklist for so-called "inappropriate" material following intense community backlash, including from the author of the highly acclaimed novel Jasper Jones.

      The reading list at the regional Georgiana Molloy Anglican School in Busselton was under review, including the works of William Shakespeare, after parents complained about sexual and offensive content.

    • Georgiana Molloy Anglican School drops booklist censorship plans
      A WEST Australian high school has backed down from plans to censor its booklist for so-called “inappropriate” material following intense community backlash, including from the author of the highly acclaimed novel Jasper Jones.

      The reading list at the regional Georgiana Molloy Anglican School in Busselton was under review, including the works of William Shakespeare, after parents complained about sexual and offensive content.

      Author Craig Silvey said he appreciated the school wished to protect children from harmful material but argued literature helped students create empathy by showing the world from another perspective.

    • Fake news - A river of tears and golden opportunities

      Of course, you must have heard. The Cyrillic Hax0rz have infiltrated the social media ads (gasp). Apparently, go figure, "the Russians" made use of the ad marketing platform available (on Facebook), which is indeed global, effective, and does not discriminate between dollar and ruble (and why should it, business is business). This caused quite a bit of furor in the (mostly) Western media, because the notion of having a non-Western entity using the same platform to advance its needs seems shocking.

      It also sets a precedent - apart from tasting one's own medicine kind of thing - it allows ANY WHICH unsanctioned group of people with sufficient financial capital (i.e. not the owners of said social media) to influence the feeble minds of the masses using the aforementioned social media, which at the moment is the most prolific and pervasive form of communication in the world, especially among people with IQ < 100.

    • Censorship risks turning artistic expression into moralistic kitsch

    • 'It's a non-cense' Censorship of Publications Board blasted ‘one quango that should be whacked’ as it emerges just one book banned in ten years
      IRISH censors have not banned a single magazine and have blocked just one book in the last ten years.

    • Hughes Hall May Ball threatened with cancellation over ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ trailer

    • Cambridge University students forced to take down raunchy promo video for posh ball

    • Cambridge college bans students' 'overly sexualised' 50 Shades of Grey-themed May Ball video

    • Cambridge University cops heat over resident hall’s censorship of ‘over-sexualised’ event promo video

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Will Cy Vance's Anti-Encryption Pitch Change Now That The NYPD's Using iPhones?
      For years, Manhattan DA Cy Vance has been warning us about the coming criminal apocalypse spurred on by cellphone encryption. "Evil geniuses" Apple introduced default encryption in a move likely meant to satiate lawmakers hollering about phone theft and do-nothing tech companies. In return, DA Cy Vance (and consecutive FBI directors) turned on Apple, calling device encryption a criminal's best friend.

      Vance still makes annual pitches for law enforcement-friendly encryption -- something that means either backdoors or encryption so weak it can be cracked immediately. Both ideas would also be criminal-friendly, but Vance is fine with sacrificing personal security for law enforcement access. Frequently, these pitches are accompanied with piles of uncracked cellphones -- a gesture meant to wow journalists but ultimately indicative of nothing more than how much the NYPD can store in its evidence room. (How many are linked to active investigations? How many investigations continued to convictions without cellphone evidence? Were contempt charges ever considered to motivate cellphone owners into unlocking phones? So many questions. Absolutely zero answers.)

    • Bonus Intercepted Podcast: Jim Risen Goes Inside the NSA’s Secret Channel to Russia
      There is also a truly wild aspect to this story about how the NSA used its official, public Twitter account to send secret messages to Russian operatives. In this special bonus episode of Intercepted, James Risen lays out the whole story.
    • CIA Denies Report Over Mystery Russian Who Promised Trump Info

      The CIA on Saturday categorically denied reports that it was fleeced by a mystery Russian who promised compromising information on U.S. President Donald Trump.

      The secretive agency rarely issues any kind of comment, but came out to deny the report in The New York Times and a similar one in The Intercept, an online journal focusing on national security issues.

      “The fictional story that CIA was bilked out of $100,000 is patently false,” the Central Intelligence Agency said in a statement sent to AFP. “The people swindled here were James Risen and Matt Rosenberg,” the CIA said, referring to Times reporter Rosenberg, who wrote the story, and Risen, a former Times reporter who authored The Intercept’s article.

    • It's Time to Stand up to Facebook, Google and the NSA and Take Back Our Data
      Several weeks after the events of 9/11, I was in the West Wing of the White House debating the Patriot Act. I was a technology policy director at the time, and we were discussing the balance between personal liberties—particularly the privacy of our citizenry—against the need to protect America from terrorist threats. The most pressing concern was clear: how much freedom should the National Security Agency (NSA) be granted to spy on US citizens on US soil?

      As it happened, top secret courts, largely comprised of people with no technological backgrounds, were granted an essentially unfettered ability to determine the boundaries of what law enforcement can or cannot do with our personal data. And our personal data includes everything transactional we do as human beings when interacting with technology. Our landline phones, our smart phones, our TVs, our credit cards, the internet.
    • Your Mobile Phone Can Give Away Your Location, Even If You Tell It Not To
      U.S. military officials were recently caught off guard by revelations that servicemembers’ digital fitness trackers were storing the locations of their workouts—including at or near military bases and clandestine sites around the world. But this threat is not limited to Fitbits and similar devices. My group’s recent research has shown how mobile phones can also track their users through stores and cities and around the world—even when users turn off their phones’ location-tracking services.

      The vulnerability comes from the wide range of sensors phones are equipped with—not just GPS and communications interfaces, but gyroscopes and accelerometers that can tell whether a phone is being held upright or on its side and can measure other movements too. Apps on the phone can use those sensors to perform tasks users aren’t expecting—like following a user’s movements turn by turn along city streets.

      Most people expect that turning their phone’s location services off disables this sort of mobile surveillance. But the research I conduct with my colleagues Sashank Narain, Triet Vo-Huu, Ken Block and Amirali Sanatinia at Northeastern University, in a field called “side-channel attacks,” uncovers ways that apps can avoid or escape those restrictions. We have revealed how a phone can listen in on a user’s finger-typing to discover a secret password—and how simply carrying a phone in your pocket can tell data companies where you are and where you’re going.

    • Leveraging Tech: How Facebook, SMS and GPS can determine if you are a reliable loan applicant

      Chawla believes that parameters such as tracking a smartphone user's online activities are definitely an integral part. "It showcases the kind of person the borrower is and the kind of conversations he does with what stature of people," he adds.

    • Aadhaar not required for emergency health services: National Health Mission

      He was speaking a day after Gurgaon’s Civil Hospital allegedly turned away a pregnant woman, insisting that Aadhaar card was required for admission. The woman was then forced to give birth outside the hospital, with bystanders using shawls as makeshift curtains. She was admitted hours after her daughter was born. The woman, Munni, and her daughter are recovering.

    • Seduced by ‘models’ on Facebook, IAF officer shared secret info with Pakistani agents: Delhi Police

      An Indian Air Force Group Captain arrested on Wednesday by Delhi Police on charges of espionage was allegedly seduced on Facebook by two agents of Pakistan’s ISI and used WhatsApp to pass on sensitive information to them.


      Marwaha allegedly used his smartphone to click pictures of the classified documents pertaining to the IAF headquarters and then sent them across via WhatsApp.

    • Why it's not okay for police to quietly roll out on-the-spot fingerprint scanning
      The Home Office has announced that West Yorkshire Police will roll out an expanded scheme of on-the-spot fingerprint scanning – without any public or parliamentary debate. Our Head of Legal Casework Emma Norton explains why our rights could be at risk.

    • NSA used Twitter to send coded message to Russian spy
      US intelligence officials used Twitter to send "nearly a dozen" coded messages to a Russian spy who claimed to have in his possession the National Security Agency (NSA) data stolen by the hacking group called Shadow Brokers, the media reported.

    • US intelligence paid $100K to Russian spy claiming he had stolen NSA cyberweapons and dirt on President Trump, report claims
      US intelligence officials desperate to get back stolen cyberweapons reportedly paid $100,000 to a Russian operative who claimed he was not only in possession of the hacking tools but had compromising information on President Donald Trump.

      According to a report by the New York Times on Friday, the Russian took the money but failed to turn over the stolen material or the dirt on Trump.

    • US spies paid ‘Russians’ $100k for stolen NSA tools, but got dud ‘Trump secrets’ they didn’t want?
      The CIA has firmly denied the reports, telling AFP on Saturday: “The fictional story that CIA was bilked out of $100,000 is patently false. The people swindled here were James Risen and Matt Rosenberg.”

      The CIA and NSA were engaged in secret negotiations with a “Russian intermediary” last year in a desperate effort to retrieve documents and hacking tools stolen by the mysterious Shadow Brokers collective, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter James Risen wrote in an article for the Intercept, citing sources familiar with the matter.

    • NSA sent coded messages through Twitter
    • Here's how NSA used Twitter accounts to send coded message to Russian spy
      US intelligence officials used Twitter to send "nearly a dozen" coded messages to a Russian spy who claimed to have in his possession the National Security Agency (NSA) data stolen by the hacking group called Shadow Brokers, the media reported.

    • NSA used Twitter account to tweet secret messages meant for Russian seller: Reports
    • The NSA sent coded messages to a shadowy Russian on its official Twitter account
    • NSA Sent Coded Messages From Its Official Twitter Account to Communicate With Foreign Spies

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Black Lives Matter Activist Muhiyidin d’Baha, Who Grabbed Confederate Flag, Shot Dead in New Orleans
      In New Orleans, Black Lives Matter activist and Charleston, South Carolina, community organizer Muhiyidin d’Baha died Tuesday, after he was struck in the thigh by a bullet as he rode his bicycle. Police have not named any motive or suspects in the killing. He made national headlines last year after he appeared in a viral video that shows him leaping over a police line in an attempt to grab a Confederate flag from a white supremacist at a rally in Charleston. In 2015, Democracy Now! spoke with Muhiyidin d’Baha outside the Emanuel AME Church amid the funerals of nine African-American worshipers who were gunned down by white supremacist Dylann Roof.

    • Uzbekistan to start visa-free entry for Indonesians this month

      The country is also set to apply new technology for e-visa application starting in July.

    • Internet Pioneer John Perry Barlow Who Influenced Assange & Snowden Dead at 70
      John Perry Barlow is dead. Your unacknowledged soulmate, he was what everyone would call an internet pioneer, understanding early cyberspace’s potential. During his varied and colorful life, he collected many friends, among them Grateful Dead singer and guitarist Bob Weir, John F. Kennedy Jr., Timothy Leary, and Vice President Al Gore. His A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace is at once an angry, defiant, hopeful document, and is mandatory inclusion in anthologies covering what we understand as the net’s birth.

    • U.S. Intelligence Shuts Down Damning Report on Whistleblower Retaliation
      The nation’s top intelligence watchdog put the brakes on a report last year that uncovered whistleblower reprisal issues within America’s spy agencies, The Daily Beast has learned. The move concealed a finding that the agencies—including the CIA and the NSA—were failing to protect intelligence workers who report waste, fraud, abuse, or criminality up the chain of command.

      The investigators looked into 190 cases of alleged reprisal in six agencies, and uncovered a shocking pattern. In only one case out of the 190 did the agencies find in favor of the whistleblower—and that case took 742 days to complete. Other cases remained open longer. One complaint from 2010 was still waiting for a ruling. But the framework was remarkably consistent: Over and over and over again, intelligence inspectors ruled that the agency was in the right, and the whistleblowers were almost always wrong.

  • DRM

    • Watch Netflix in 1080p on Linux and unsupported browsers
      In fact, the only browsers that support 1080p playback on Netflix officially are Safari on Mac OS X, Internet Explorer on Windows, and Google Chrome on Chrome OS. That's bad news if you don't use any of the operating systems or prefer to use a different browser.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • You Can’t Name Your App “Windows”, Microsoft Sends Legal Notices To Developers [Ed: Microsoft is back to claiming that it owns words like "Lindows"]
        Redmond has asked the developers to pull their apps from the Store. Among the affected ones are names such as the Microsoft-focused publication and Dr. Windows. The developers of the affected apps are getting emails from MSFT lawyers informing them that the use of the name ‘Windows’ for their app infringes the copyrights.

    • Copyrights

      • Comcast Explains How It Deals With Persistent Pirates

        Comcast subscribers risk having their Internet, TV and phone access terminated in the event the ISP receives repeat piracy accusations from copyright holders. The Internet provider has recently published a detailed overview of its "repeat infringer" policy, which has become a hot topic after a Fourth Circuit court order last week.

      • Cloudflare Hit With Piracy Lawsuit After Abuse Form ‘Fails’

        Seattle-based photographer Christopher Boffoli has filed a lawsuit against Cloudflare, accusing the CDN provider of contributory copyright infringement. What started out as a straightforward DMCA notice quickly escalated after Boffoli couldn't get the standard abuse form to accept his links.

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