Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 2/7/2018: Linux 4.18 RC3, Bodhi Linux 5.0.0 RC

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • My first sysadmin mistake
      Fortunately, I'd run rm * and not rm -rf * so I'd deleted only files. The subdirectories were still there. But that didn't make me feel any better.

      Immediately, I went to my supervisor and told her what I'd done. She saw that I felt really dumb about my mistake, but I owned it. Despite the urgency, she took a few minutes to do some coaching with me. "You're not the first person to do this," she said. "What would someone else do in your situation?" That helped me calm down and focus. I started to think less about the stupid thing I had just done, and more about what I was going to do next.

      I put together a simple strategy: Don't reboot the server. Use an identical system as a template, and re-create the /etc directory.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.18-rc3
      I'm back at home, over jetlag, and back to the usual "Sunday afternoon" release schedule.

      So there it is, in all the usual places.

      And things look fairly normal - a bit over a third is drivers (various parts: input, usb, sound, gpu, mtd, networking, ...), with the rest being arch updates (arm/arm64 - dts files dominating, microblaze, powerpc, x86), filesystems (xfs, some btrfs, some minor core vfs), networking, documentation updates and tooling.

      The shortlog is appended, nothing really stands out that much. Mostly it really is just one- and few-liners spread out all over.

      Go forth and test.


      PS. And on a personal note - it so happens that today is the 15th anniversary of me working for the Linux Foundation (née OSDL). How time flies.

    • Linux 4.18-rc3 Kernel Released
      Linus Torvalds is back to his regular release timing for new Linux 4.18 kernel release candidates.

      Linux 4.18-rc3 is now available as the latest weekly test release.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Finding IT Professionals With SDN Skills Remains a Struggle
        With any major technology transition there is a gap between the time when the innovation is created and when there is a critical mass of IT professionals available with training and knowledge on how to deploy that state-of-the-art technology.

        Although software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) technology has been around for quite some time, network engineers are still reluctant to adopt the technology.

        Plus, there are many different technologies that make up the SDN/NFV ecosystem, which means there are a number of different technologies that require training, said Eric Hanselman, chief analyst for 451 Research. Without a dominant set of SDN and NFV technologies, network administrators are unsure what combination of technologies they need to master. And this comes at a time when network services are becoming more disaggregated, Hanselman noted.

        Plus, most companies are conservative when making major changes to their networks because if something goes wrong there is the potential for a ‘blast radius,’ which could become a huge problem, Hanselman said. “The entire scope of the endeavor can be huge,” he added.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Vulkan 1.1.79 Released, Provides Definitions For Obsoleted & Deprecated
        Vulkan 1.1.79 is now the latest revision to this graphics/compute API.

        Like the recent Vulkan 1.1.7x revisions, there are no new extensions presented by v1.1.79 but mostly documentation clarifications and updates. Vulkan 1.1.79 includes an expanded glossary with words like obsoleted and deprecated now being covered in the Vulkan context, typo fixes, updated usage statements, and other mostly maintenance work.

      • RadeonSI Compute Shaders Now Supported By The Mesa Shader Cache
        While the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver has supported a shader cache going back to early 2017 for helping out Linux game load times and performance, OpenGL compute shaders up to now were not handled by this shader cache.

        Thanks to prolific AMD Mesa contributor Marek Olšák, his latest round of Mesa 18.2 patches in Git allow for compute shaders to be leveraged by this shader cache.

      • Linux Getting Driver For USB Type-C DisplayPort Alternate Mode
        The latest USB Type-C work for the Linux kernel adds support for alternate modes in order to begin offering USB Type-C DisplayPort alternate mode support.

        The USB Type-C interface offers an "Alternate Mode" extension for non-USB signaling and the biggest user of this alternate mode in the specification is allowing DisplayPort support. Besides DP, another alternate mode is the Thunderbolt 3 support. The DisplayPort Alt Mode supports 4K and even 8Kx4K video output, including multi-channel audio.

      • Screen sharing support in WebRTC for Wayland sessions
        Last time I wrote about possibility to share a screen of Plasma wayland session, using xdg-desktop-portal and our xdg-desktop-portal-kde backend implementation. Problem was that during that time, there was no application which would implement support for this, leaving my previous effort useless so far. Luckily, this should change pretty soon. I, together with my Red Hat collegues Tomáš Popela and Eike Rathke, have been working for past few weeks on bringing support for screen sharing on Wayland to web browsers. All modern browsers use WebRTC for all audio-video communication, including screen sharing, meaning that in a perfect world, just one implementation would be needed, which is not that exactly this case. Let’s go a bit into the details first.

      • Mesa now supports OpenGL 4.4 Compatibility Profile for radeonsi

        Good news for those of you using an AMD GPU, as Mesa with radeonsi now has support for compatibility profiles up to OpenGL 4.4.

        Why is it important to have this? To put it simply, there's a few games out there that required it and wouldn't run without it. It's another tick in the box for getting the best experience possible for those with an AMD GPU using open source graphics drivers on Linux.
      • Modern OpenGL
        New project, new version of OpenGL—4.5 will be my hard minimum this time. Sorry, macOS, you brought this on yourself.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Atelier hits Flatpak

        I know that I’ve been quiet here for a few months now, but you know that from time to time life get’s crazy and you can’t do much about and just go with the flow.

        A while ago, our developer Chris Rizzitello made a script to build AtCore and its Test Client for Flatpak inside KDE Apps structure, you can find it using Discover:

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • fwupdate is {nearly} dead; long live fwupd
        If the title confuses you, you’re not the only one that’s been confused with the fwupdate and fwupd project names. The latter used the shared library of the former to schedule UEFI updates, with the former also providing the fwup.efi secure-boot signed binary that actually runs the capsule update for the latter.
      • Affiliated Vendors on the LVFS

        We’ve just about to deploy another feature to the LVFS that might be interesting to some of you.


        The LVFS administrator can now mark other vendors as “affiliates” of other vendors. This gives the ODM permission to upload firmware that is “owned” by the OEM on the LVFS, and that appears in the OEM embargo metadata. The OEM QA team is also able to edit the update description, move the firmware to testing and stable (or delete it entirely) as required. The ODM vendor account also doesn’t have to appear in the search results or the vendor table, making it hidden to all users except OEMs.
      • Felipe Borges: Attending GUADEC!
      • Flatpak in detail, part 3
        The previous in this series looked at runtimes and filesystem organization. Here, we’ll take a look at the flatpak sandbox and explore how the world looks to a running flatpak app.


        But how does GTK+ find out that is being used inside a sandbox?

        It looks for a file called .flatpak-info which flatpak places in the filesystem root of every sandbox. This file is not just a marker, it contains some useful information about the details of the sandbox setup, and is worth looking at. Some apps show information from here in their about dialog.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Review: Linux Mint 19
        I was very happy this week running Linux Mint 19. The distribution gave me better than average performance, a relatively low memory footprint and a friendly interface. All my hardware was supported, I liked the default collection of applications and the distribution was very easy to set up. The new welcome window is a good addition. I think it'll make things easier for first-time users looking for tips on getting up and running.

        I also must tip my hat to Mint's software centre, it is perhaps the first software manager I have encountered that makes working with traditional Deb packages and portable Flatpak packages seamless while clearly flagging Flatpaks as being different.

        At first I was sceptical about the update manager's new approach to applying all updates. The ranked updates approach Mint used in the past made it easy to set up the distribution to be more stable for family and friends. Having all available security updates is nice, but when providing tech support for new Linux users I am more concerned with a kernel update breaking the system than I am the possibility that a remote kernel exploit will get through their firewall. (The former happens semi-regularly with other distributions, the latter has never happened to my knowledge.) It is too soon to tell if the overall effect of this change will be good or bad for the people I support. However, I will say that I like the way Timeshift integrates with Btrfs. With most update problems I will be able to boot an old kernel and rollback to an earlier Timeshift snapshot and that may prove to be a suitable trade-off; balancing improved security with a fairly straight forward recovery process.

        Speaking of Timeshift, while it does have a few limitations with regards to transferring snapshots to another computer and it is awkward working with encrypted home directories, otherwise Timeshift is a wonderfully friendly way to safeguard the operating system. I'm happy to see Mint support Timeshift and Btrfs snapshots, more distributions should make these technologies a priority in my opinion.

        Mint's default selection of software is nice. I like that the team picks the more capable and user-friendly applications over programs that use a specific toolkit or design. The default look is fairly attractive without being distracting too. Personally, I would like a darker theme, but that is easy enough to change.

        Early on there were a few minor things which annoyed me (trigger happy screen saver, window visual effects), but these were easily fixed and a matter of personal preference rather than bugs. I don't think I encountered any serious issues during my trial. There were no performance issues and no hurdles to getting work done. Using Mint was a pleasantly smooth and trouble-free experience for me.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Github code repository for Gentoo Linux hacked [Ed: Lots of inaccuracies here]
        The Gentoo Linux distribution's Github repository was hacked last June 28, with the attackers modifying the code there.

        Github is a repository for all sorts of source code projects in a variety of programming languages. Gentoo Linux is one such project, stored in Github.

        Gentoo Linux administrators updated users as soon as the issue was found out.

      • Gentoo warning after GitHub hack [Ed: Crack, not "hack"]
        A key Gentoo Linux source code repository should be considered compromised after “unknown individuals” gained access to Gentoo’s Github organisation.

        In an email to the Gentoo announcement list, developer Alec Warner said that the individuals had seized control of the GitHub Gentoo organisation “and modified the content of repositories as well as pages there”.

    • Arch Family

      • First Arch Linux ISO Snapshot Powered by the Linux 4.17 Kernel Is Here
        If you’re looking to install the lightweight Arch Linux operating system on your personal computer bundled with the Linux 4.17 kernel, you now can with July 2018’s ISO snapshot.

        The Arch Linux 2018.07.01 ISO snapshot is now available for download, and it’s the first to ship with the latest Linux 4.17 kernel series. In fact, the ISO image is bundled with the most recent point release, Linux kernel 4.17.3, which was released on Monday.

        Being a rolling release operating system, Arch Linux received the Linux 4.17 kernel treatment a while ago, which means that all existing users were able to upgrade to it without having to download a new ISO snapshot and reinstall the operating system.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat looks to arm APAC SI’s with new OpenShift ‘builder’ program
        Global open source solutions provider Red Hat has announced the launch of the Red Hat OpenShift practice builder program in the Asia Pacific region, describing it as a new initiative designed specifically for system integrators (SIs).

        The program aims to help SIs build and monetise a modern cloud-native application development and delivery practice using Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat JBoss Middleware.

        The company says the program will enable SIs to deliver new services at lower cost and accelerate development for faster return on investment.

        Red Hat vice president of Asia-Pacific Partners and Alliances Josep Garcia says, “System integrators are key to helping Asia Pacific companies innovate through the development of new cloud and container-enabled applications, as well as modernising existing applications.

      • Red Hat OpenStack Platform: Two life-cycle choices to fit your organization
        OpenStack€®Ã¯Â¸Â is a powerful platform for building private cloud environments that support modern, digital business operations. However, the OpenStack community’s six-month release cadence can pose challenges for enterprise organizations that want to deploy OpenStack in production. Red Hat can help.

      • Red Hat Shares ― Red Hat Summit 2018 recap special edition

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Declaring the Commencement of the Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase for 18.10

            Another LTS is here and the upgrade prompts are coming to a desktop near you in just a couple of weeks. But Ubuntu development never stops, and creative persons come together to collaborate concurrently with cautious users scrutinizing new releases.

            Every Ubuntu release contemplates a question. A carefully chosen codename piques the curiousity of keen, eager fans. Ubuntu 18.10 isn’t excluded from this cunning course of continuing curios.

            Ubuntu 18.10 is codenamed Cosmic Cuttlefish. Christened after a cute mollusc of the class Cephalopoda, these clever creatures have made the cut since the early Cretaceous. Careful consideration will expose an extraordinary quirk: chromatic changes facilitate a unique mechanism for communication. They change the color of their skin to send communiqués. This codename should encourage wacky and eccentric, but unique and colorful images we can ship in October!

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Xubuntu Development Update July 2018
              Xfce has a fairly standard versioning scheme. Even version numbers (4.10, 4.12, 4.14) represent stable, supported releases. Odd version numbers (4.11, 4.13) represent development versions. Xfce 4.14 (the GTK 3 release) has been in development for a few years now, and several components have had 4.13 releases as their ports are completed and bugs are fixed.

              At this point, with the Xubuntu LTS release behind us and Xfce 4.14 likely releasing sometime in the next year, we’re ready to start rolling out more of these development releases for our users. There are not a lot of new features, but with the upgraded toolkit, there’s better support for newer technologies, theming capabilities, and … an increased likelihood of bugs (we’ll fix them, we promise).

            • Ubuntu-based Bodhi Linux 5.0.0 release candidate now available
              One of the best things about the Linux kernel, is that it can be used by lightweight operating systems to breathe new life into older hardware. Not all Linux-based operating systems focus on computers with aging and meager hardware, however. Instead, there are specialized distributions that focus on being light on resources.

              One such excellent option for those with old hardware is Bodhi Linux. This is a lightweight operating system that is based on the wildly popular Ubuntu. It uses the Moksha desktop environment, which is a fork of Enlightenment 17. Today, Bodhi Linux 5.0.0 reaches release candidate status.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Is open source open for business?
    The free software movement, which was founded in 1983 with the establishment of the GNU Project and later The Free Software Foundation (FSF) began the open source environment that we know today.

  • Open source at 20: The ubiquity of shared code

    The start of “open source” began around 1998, when OSI’s Phipps says the company Netscape came along with plans to release its browser code under a free software license. Instead of going for the GPL, the company created a new license, which became known as the Mozilla project license. “It became obvious that there was a big slice of this software freedom movement that was unrepresented. Tied up with that was a difficulty in talking about it because the words the movement used to talk about it up to that point were confusing. When you hear the world free, you assume it doesn’t cost anything,” he said.

    So, in 1998, a group of people got together and decided to reframe the software freedom movement in a way that would allow people to quickly understand what it was about, and would allow businesses to embrace it without needing to engage in a complicated debate about ethics, Phipps explained. Out of that, came the decision to use the term open source.

    “The introduction of the term ‘open-source software’ was a deliberate effort to make this field of endeavor more understandable to newcomers and to business, which was viewed as necessary to its spread to a broader community of users,” Christine Peterson, who is known for coining the term open source, wrote in a February blog post retelling the story. According to OSI’s Phipps, the term open source had already been commonly used in the industry at that point, but really took off when Peterson and Todd Anderson began using the term at a meeting at VA Research. Weeks later, the term was picked up by Tim O’Reilly, who renamed his Freeware Summit to Open Source Summit, and was also started to be used by Netscape.

    “For the name to succeed, it was necessary, or at least highly desirable, that Tim O’Reilly agree and actively use it in his many projects on behalf of the community. Also helpful would be use of the term in the upcoming official release of the Netscape Navigator code. By late February, both O’Reilly & Associates and Netscape had started to use the term,” Peterson wrote.

  • Web Browsers

    • Brave should have its own User-Agent, but here is how you detect it anyway
      The User-Agent string is the name that web browsers and other web clients send to web servers to identify their make and model to the server. This data is primarily used for statistical and troubleshooting purposes. The Brave web browser isn’t brave enough to have their own User-Agent and instead tries to camouflage as Google Chrome.

      Brave is a very opinionated web browser. This makes it easy to reliably detect it even without a unique User-Agent, and I’ll spend most of the article advocating for why Brave should have their own User-Agent. You can skip to the last two sections if you’re only interested in the detection code.

      Brave actually had a User-Agent of its own in the first few months of its existence, but removed it in April 2016. The history books (git commit logs) show that Brave removed the “Brave/Version” component from their User-Agent string to make it more difficult to fingerprint the browser.

    • Chrome

      • How Larry Page Inspired Young Sundar Pichai Into Making Chrome A Success Story
        When Google Chrome was first launched in 2008, Firefox and Internet Explorer users had a good laugh looking at the new browser since it had no extensions, no theme support, nothing that competitors provided to users. But, slowly, people started turning to Google Chrome, and they liked it instantly. It was the fastest of all, pages loaded immediately, and people believed it could evolve into something big (the minimalist design helped there).

        Presently, Google Chrome stands at the top in browsers market with 60.98% market share against IE and Firefox who hold 12% and 11% share, respectively.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD


    • GNU Guile 2.2.4 released
      We are delighted to announce GNU Guile 2.2.4, the fourth bug-fix release in the new 2.2 stable release series. It fixes many bugs that had accumulated over the last few months, in particular bugs that could lead to crashes of multi-threaded Scheme programs. This release also brings documentation improvements, the addition of SRFI-71, and better GDB support.

    • coreutils-8.30 released [stable]

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • The Legislative Disconnect Of The Meshed Society
      What is the “meshed society”? It is people, joined together by the Internet, able to interact — to collaborate, to create, to transact and to relate directly with each other — without the need for another person to mediate or authorise. As we discover more and more ways to disintermediate our interactions, society is transformed: from a series of hubs with privileged interconnecting spokes intermediating supply to consumers at their tips, into a constantly shifting meshed “adhocracy” of temporary connections, transactions and relationships of varying length. In the adhocracy, individuals play the roles of user, repurposer, maker, buyer, investor and collaborator in a constantly changing spectrum of combinations.


      Over the last decade various legislative assemblies have built regulations in response to the Internet. I have been struck by the absence of any voice within the legislative process itself that speaks for my needs as an individual citizen in the meshed society of the 21st century. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), the Digital Economy Act (DEA), the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade agreement (ACTA), the Communications Data Bill (CDB), the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), the 2018 Copyright Directive — all appeared apparently from nowhere replete with terms that poison the Internet collaboration of creator-consumer citizens who are unable to fully participate in the lawmaking process.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • SiFive To Release Code As Open-Source For Fully Initializing The RISC-V Board
        Last week we noted how some of the code to boot the RISC-V SiFive HiFive Unleashed development board was closed-source. That upset some in the Coreboot community with hoping for a more open development board built around the RISC-V open-source processor ISA. The good news is that SiFive will soon be releasing the necessary code for initialization as open-source.

        The code for initializing the DDR controller was not open-source and SiFive believed they could not open-source it. The good news is that SiFive has discovered they will be able to open-source it.

  • Programming/Development

    • Another golang port, this time a toy virtual machine.
      I don't understand why my toy virtual machine has as much interest as it does. It is a simple project that compiles "assembly language" into a series of bytecodes, and then allows them to be executed.

      Since I recently started messing around with interpreters more generally I figured I should revisit it. Initially I rewrote the part that interprets the bytecodes in golang, which was simple, but now I've rewritten the compiler too.

      Much like the previous work with interpreters this uses a lexer and an evaluator to handle things properly - in the original implementation the compiler used a series of regular expressions to parse the input files. Oops.

    • nanotime 0.2.1

      A new minor version of the nanotime package for working with nanosecond timestamps just arrived on CRAN.

    • PHP extensions status with upcoming PHP 7.3


  • Reps. Khanna and Ratcliffe: It’s Time to Modernize Government Websites

    The low scores resulted from a range of user issues, including the inability to get information, complete transactions, or schedule appointments with ease.

  • Science

    • {Older] Big O Notation? More like Big O-M-G

      So, Big O is used to describe the trend of an algorithm, but what does the language surrounding Big O sound like? In conversation, you would talk about Big O like this: “The time complexity of [a certain algorithm] is O(n) — “O of n” (both “O” and “n” are pronounced like the letter). The reason I am using the phrase time complexity is because Big O notations are most commonly referred to as time complexities. “n” is used in Big O to refer to the number of inputs. There is another side to Big O called space complexity but I’ll talk about that later in the blog.

      Now that you know how to talk about Big O and what it’s used for, let’s look at some examples to help you understand how Big O is calculated. The following examples will go over some of the more common Big O notations you will see (in order): O(n), O(log(n)), O(n^2), O(1).

  • Hardware

    • Why I use the IBM Model M keyboard that is older than me?

      Today, I don’t really care about fancy features like great aesthetics, RGB backlights, media keys and extra USB ports. I just need something that gives me great tactile feedback, be durable, enable me to easily swap keys to fit my Programmer Dvorak layout. The Model M fits my needs perfectly.

    • 1990, meet 2018: How far does 20MHz of Macintosh IIsi power go today?

      Cuppertino retro-curiosity ultimately won out: I decided to enroll the Macintosh IIsi as my main computing system for a while. A 1990 bit of gear would now go through the 2018 paces. Just how far can 20MHz of raw processing power take you in the 21st century?


      A modern computer, something a thousand times faster than the IIsi, might imply that I'm completing a thousand tasks at once or one task a thousand times faster. Neither is the case—all those open tabs, unread messages, and pending updates are a drain on resources, both computational and personal.

      In contrast, taking the IIsi through its paces was a joy. The limitations of the machine, with barely enough power to run more than one application at once, demands your attention to be 100 percent devoted to any single task. Paradoxically, it often felt like I was more productive with significantly fewer resources at hand. It captured and holds my attention on a single problem, rather than splitting my attention across dozens of unrelated tasks. Coming in with low expectations and knowing roughly what 20MHz can do for me these days, I came away from my sojourn pleasantly surprised.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Revealed: $39m cost of defending Australia’s tobacco plain packaging laws
      The cost to taxpayers of the Australian government’s six-year legal battle with the tobacco giant Philip Morris over plain packaging laws can finally be revealed, despite the government’s efforts to keep the cost secret.

      The commonwealth government spent nearly $40m defending its world-first plain packaging laws against Philip Morris Asia, a tobacco multinational, according to freedom of information documents.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Obama, Trump, and drone attacks
      President Obama was so closely identified with the drone strikes that he even joked about using drones against suitors of his daughters at the White House Correspondents' Dinner: "The Jonas Brothers are here; they're out there somewhere. Sasha and Malia are huge fans. But boys, don't get any ideas. I have two words for you: 'predator drones.' You will never see it coming. You think I'm joking."

      In fact, Obama came in for criticism for his use of drones but persisted, probably relishing the ability to inflict harm on enemies without danger of U.S. casualties.

    • Peter Byrne on the War on Terror
      Longtime investigative reporter Peter Byrne shares what he learned from numerous interviews with academic and military analysts involved in the “war on terror,” and why they told him that the war must end. Byrne explains what he’s learned about why people become terrorists, and he also shares his research into another topic, the roots of white-nationalist ideology in the U.S.

    • No Need For Nato
      A NATO summit approaches that brings Donald Trump to Europe and then on to these shores, and brings the usual clamour for more of the taxpayers’ money to be given to arms manufacturers.

      Yet NATO is a demonstrably useless institution. It’s largest ever active military deployment, for 12 years in Afghanistan, resulted in military defeat throughout 80% of the country, the installation of a pocket regime whose scrip does not run further than you can throw the scrip, and a vast outflow of heroin to finance the criminal underworld throughout NATO countries.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Sri Lankan artists, translators and workers endorse international campaign to defend Julian Assange
      During the last several decades, imperialist countries, including the United States, have launched wars in different parts of the world that intensified and continue to this day. By exposing these conspiracies, Assange has sacrificed a lot and done a great service.

      His free right to make these political exposures is being greatly violated. Assange is not just a single person, but for me is a symbol of our own struggle. What happens to Assange today will impact on others tomorrow.

      His plight is a great warning and a dangerous situation. It is an attempt to prevent journalists and photographers from doing their rightful duty. What would happen if those journalists with the highest ability to carry out political exposures were strangled?

    • Free Julian Assange! End Internet Censorship!
      The Socialist Equality Group (NZ) is holding a public meeting to discuss the immense danger facing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the global campaign to demand his freedom and security.

      Assange has spent more than six years in the Ecuadorian embassy, where he sought asylum to avoid being extradited and tried in the US. Now the Ecuadorian government, under immense pressure from the Trump administration, has cut off Assange's communications and is indicating that it may hand him over to British authorities.

    • Portland to pay attorney fees after mayor loses transparency lawsuit
      Portland taxpayers will foot a $26,000 bill for a Southeast Portland man's attorney fees after the man took Mayor Ted Wheeler to court over public records and won.

      The Portland City Council approved the payment Wednesday by a vote of 4-0, with Wheeler absent while on vacation.

      Commissioners' vote capped a months-long dispute between Wheeler, the city's top official, and Tyler Bechtel, who went to court over his belief that the mayor improperly censored public documents.

    • 'Snowden is the Master of His Own Destiny' Russia Rebuts US Attempts to Have Whistleblower Extradited
      Donald Trump is expected to discuss Snowden's return when he meets with Putin. United States President Donald Trump is expected to pressure Russia to hand over NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in exchange for sanctions relief at the upcoming Trump-Putin summit; however, Russia has emphasized that they “are not in a position” to expel Snowden and will “respect his rights" if any such attempt is made.

  • Finance

    • Burst Dymaxion – The Linux of Blockchain
    • Over 800 cryptocurrencies are now dead as bitcoin is 70 percent off its record high
      Cryptocurrency projects have been popping up left, right and center in the past 18 months, but over 800 of those are now dead, adding to comparisons between the current digital coin market and the dotcom bubble in 2000.

      New digital tokens are created via a process known as an initial coin offering (ICO) where a start-up can issue a new coin which investors can buy. The investor doesn't get an equity stake in the company, but the cryptocurrency that they buy can be used on the company's product. People usually buy into an ICO because the coins are cheap and could offer big returns in the future.
    • Tax avoidance or state aid?
      If the recent upheaval about the dividend tax in the Netherlands has taught us anything, it’s that Royal Dutch Shell and Unilever shareholders are not keen on paying Dutch dividend tax. The Dutch government recently released twelve memos concerning the dividend tax which were authored by civil servants at the Dutch Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Affairs which extensively mention the position of both companies and their interests in the debate over whether to abolish the dividend tax. Much has already been said about Unilever, but until now less attention has been paid to Shell’s interests in this debate. In the text below you can read about how Shell has enabled about half of its shareholders to avoid paying dividend tax for the last 13 years – with approval from the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration – and how much this has cost the Dutch treasury.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Yelp becomes weapon in online political war

      By contrast, Yelp’s use as a tool for political advocacy is an explicit departure from its mission, to allow the public to review businesses based on personal, first-hand experiences.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Threats To Pull Database Access Increasing Misuse Reporting By Cali Law Enforcement Agencies

      Who polices the police? They can't be trusted to do it themselves. This much has been proven time and time again as misconduct and criminal behavior is greeted with minimal discipline or graceful exits that allow bad apples to move from barrel to barrel spreading rot.

      What oversight actually exists tends to be beholden to law enforcement. In a few cases, truly independent oversight boards are in place, but their efforts are blunted by agencies that rarely hand out the punishment boards recommend or otherwise do everything they can to ensure this oversight is starved for information.
    • New Rules to Protect Data Privacy: Where to Focus, What to Avoid
      For many years, EFF has urged technology companies and legislators to do a better job at protecting the privacy of technology users and other members of the public. We hoped the companies, particularly mature players, would realize the importance of implementing meaningful privacy protections. But this year’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, following on the heels of many others, was the last straw. Corporations are willfully failing to respect the privacy of technology users, and we need new approaches to give them real incentives to do better—and that may include updating our privacy laws.

      To be clear, any new regulations must be judicious and narrowly tailored, avoiding tech mandates and expensive burdens that would undermine competition—already a problem in some tech spaces. To accomplish that, policymakers must start by consulting with technologists as well as lawyers. After the passage of SESTA/FOSTA, we know Congress can be insensitive about the potential consequences of the rules it embraces. Looking to experts would help.

    • The Gates Foundation spent $775m on a Big Data education project that was worse than useless
      Kudos to the Gates Foundation, seriously: after spending $775m on the Intensive Partnerships for Effective Teaching, a Big Data initiative to improve education for poor and disadvantaged students, they hired outside auditors to evaluate the program's effectiveness, and published that report, even though it shows that the approach did no good on balance and arguably caused real harms to teachers and students.

      Cathy "Weapons of Math Destruction" O'Neil has given the report a close reading, and she found that the problems with the approach were pretty predictable: asking principals to rate teachers produces pretty uniform and meaningless five-star results, while the "value add" algorithms that are supposed to figure out how much of a student's performance is attributable to a teacher are basically random number generators.
    • N.S.A. Purges Hundreds of Millions of Call and Text Records
      The National Security Agency has purged hundreds of millions of records logging phone calls and texts that it had gathered from American telecommunications companies since 2015, the agency has disclosed. It had realized that its database was contaminated with some files the agency had no authority to receive.

      The agency began destroying the records on May 23, it said in a statement. Officials had discovered “technical irregularities” this year in its collection from phone companies of so-called call record details, or metadata showing who called or texted whom and when, but not what they said.

    • NSA Deletes Hundreds Of Millions Of Call Records It Wasn’t ‘Authorized’ To Access
      On May 23rd, The American intelligence agency NSA started the process of deleting the call records it has obtained from US telecom companies since 2015. The number is in hundreds of millions, according to NYTimes.

    • Over 60 Organizations Want Sanctions For EU Nations' Failure To Repeal 'Invalid' Data Retention Laws

      As the dedicated web site indicates, there are now over 60 organizations backing the move and signatories to the formal letter of complaint sent to the European Commission (pdf). Given the CJEU's clear ruling against the earlier data retention frameworks, it seems likely that it will also strike down the national implementations of them. Whether the European Commission will send these cases to the CJEU, and how long it will take if it decides to do so, is less clear. If nothing else, the latest move underlines just how important it is for digital rights organizations to keep up the pressure -- and how hard it is to kill off bad EU laws once they are passed.

    • China wants eyes and ears on every street

      The authorities’ definition of what is threatening is sweeping. It might include someone engaging in unauthorised religious activity, or involve a person from the countryside who has arrived in the capital to petition the central government about an injustice in their own hometown. Local governments hope that grid staff will get to know their patch well enough to be able to detect problems while they are small and easy to handle, says Samantha Hoffman, a visiting fellow at the Mercator Institute for China Studies. Increasingly sophisticated databases aim to make it easier for higher-ups to tap into information logged by grid staff and search it for patterns.

    • Inside Track: Not so tweet

      Swaraj may not have been involved in this particular case, but it highlights the pitfalls of dispensing instant justice on the basis of tweets.

    • Facebook Australia’s ‘most distrusted’ media brand: survey

      According to the Roy Morgan MEDIA Net Trust Score Survey half of all Australians – or 47% - distrust social media, compared to only 4% who distrust, for example, magazines. And the survey found that the national broadcaster, the ABC, is by far Australia’s most trusted media organisation - with only 9% saying they distrusted the ABC.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Ex-CIA Interrogator Trains ICE Agents in ‘Counterterrorism’ as They Terrorize Immigrants
      US Immigration and Customs Enforcement pays a private security firm run by former top CIA interrogator Barry McManus to train ICE agents in intelligence and “counterterrorism.” TRNN’s Ben Norton speaks with investigative journalist Ken Klippenstein.

    • The Supreme Court Looks Away
      At the close of his opinion upholding President Donald Trump’s ban on immigrants from five predominantly Muslim countries, Chief Justice John Roberts proclaimed on Tuesday that “Korematsu has nothing to do with this case.” He went on to write that Korematsu v. United States, the 1944 decision that backed the internment of Japanese citizens and immigrants based on their race, “was gravely wrong the day it was decided, has been overruled in the court of history and—to be clear—has no place in law under the Constitution.”

      Strong words. But actions speak louder. Even as he acknowledged the court’s error in Korematsu, Roberts repeated it, virtually verbatim, in Trump v. Hawaii. Here, as in Korematsu, the president targeted a vast group of people based on prejudice. Here, as in Korematsu, the president defended his action by citing national security, but offered no evidence to support the assertion. And here, as in Korematsu, the court accepted those unsubstantiated national security concerns without question, applied only the most anemic judicial review, and rubber-stamped the president’s actions. Just as the court would in no other context accept such blatant racial discrimination as that imposed on Japanese Americans during World War II, so the court would in no other setting accept the rampant bias President Trump showed toward the Muslim faith in the travel ban. In both cases, the court deferred to the prejudice of the powerful and abdicated its duty to protect the rights of the vulnerable.

    • “I Just Want to Tell My Son I Love Him”
      Calling from an unreliable phone at the Port Isabel Detention Center, her voice sounds muffled, and far away. To be understood, she needs to keep repeating herself. For her to hear the person calling, they need to yell.

      Blanca wishes more than anything else that it was her two daughters, ages 6 and 14, on the other end of the line. But she hasn’t spoken to them since they were separated at the border, after a long journey from Honduras. It’s been almost three weeks.

      To arrange calls at the facility run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, parents need to fill out a request form. Blanca says she has submitted five.

      “This is maddening,” she said. “The officials, they don’t say anything.”

    • Fifth Circuit Says No, You Fucking May Not Strip Search A Classful Of Female Students To Find $50

      The school admitted it violated the students' rights. It admitted it performed a search without justification or guiding policies. It all but started cutting settlement checks and yet the lower court said no viable claim was made by the plaintiffs.

      The background: in an attempt to locate $50 that went missing during a choir class, the entire class was searched. Given the nature of the search, this quickly changed the definition of "class" from a "a number of students studying the same course" to "a number of students suing the school." This maybe wouldn't have gone as far as it did, but for the invaluable assistance of the school's police officer.

    • Innocent Students Are Getting Criminalizing Probation in One California County
      Children who have not committed a crime should never be treated like criminals. But that’s exactly what’s happening today in the schools in Riverside County, California.

      The county’s Youth Accountability Team (YAT) Program, which is actually an arm of the local probation department, has been targeting youth for “substance abuse, school discipline problems, poor academics, family conflict, mental health issues, believed gang association, truancy, and defiance.” These children have committed no crimes. Yet in the eyes of the probation department, they are “at risk” of becoming delinquent and treated as criminals.

      Diversion programs, particularly community-based ones, and probation do often serve as positive alternatives to placing juveniles in detention facilities. However, when these programs take the place of school- and community-based interventions for non-delinquent behavior, they do more harm than good. What’s more, they can violate a child’s constitutional rights along the way. YAT does just that, serving as a feeder system for the school-to-prison pipeline.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The Internet's Oldest .com, .net, and .org Domains
      Software and Network engineer Frederic Cambus has a website almost entirely devoted to his open source projects and has a particular love for OpenBSD. One of his most recent offerings was for those of us who, like him, are interested in DNS and internet history.

    • Verizon's Sad Attempt To Woo Millennials Falls Flat On Its Face
      We've noted repeatedly how Verizon really wants to pivot from stodgy, old protectionist telco to Millennial-focused media and advertising juggernaut as it makes a broader push for a greater slice of online advertising markets. Company executives apparently believe this is accomplished by ceasing network fiber upgrades, attacking popular consumer protections, repeatedly violating consumer privacy, and gobbling up failed 90's internet brands like Yahoo and AOL.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Music Industry's Nonsense 'Myth Busting' About EU's Censorship Machines Is Basically Saying 'Nuh-uh' Repeatedly

        A few weeks back we busted the bogus myth busting by the big EU publishers who were trying to fight back against people explaining why the proposed EU Copyright Directive's Article 11 "link tax" was so damaging. That myth buster was so full of nonsense that it was easy to take apart. However, at least the publishers tried to explain their position, even if they failed miserably. Now, on the other bad part of the Copyright Directive, Article 13 with its mandatory upload filters and censorship machines, the UK's music collection society PRS for Music (an organization which, among other things, used to call up random small businesses and, if they heard music in the background, demand a license or claim that you need a performance license to play music to your horses) has now come out with a an Article 13 myth buster claiming to counteract what it claims are myths about that part of the Copyright Directive.
      • The EU is killing our democratic spaces using copyright as a Trojan horse
        Europe was one of the regions that connected massively to the Internet. Not only that, it was one of the few adopting literacy and inclusion programs early enough on to unleash the power of connected citizens, showing them how to create new business models and improve education but also how to express themselves, create, organize and protest.

        But alarmingly, the European Parliament is on the verge of a dramatic change of direction. 
The EU has recently embarked on a new mission: controlling the Internet through the monopoly of copyright. This attempt to reform and control the Internet has not received half the attention it deserves.

        As Julia Reda, MEP for the Pirate Party, has explained, the current project of EU legislation would impose automatic filters that control ANY content that anyone wants to upload. The reason would be the protection of copyright, a monopoly right that primarily benefits large media behemoths, without any possibility of advance verification. 

        You read that right: the EU wants to put in place a global censorship machine, on the basis of unverifiable monopoly rights, mostly held by large media corporations.

        In DiEM25, we do not see this as just an outdated law, isolated from current politics. Indeed, that is precisely what is most worrying about it. We cannot see it as unconnected to the big push in Europe by authoritarian leaders wanting to restrict, to truly shrink the spaces of civil society. Increasing censorship online will reduce the ability of citizens to say what they think, filtering content before it is published. This will not only harm speech but increase surveillance and the meting out of punishments for things we say online. This is combined with all the existing online state surveillance already endured by EU citizens, which remains as powerful as ever.

      • Google Downranks 65,000 Torrent Sites: Industry’s Fight Against Piracy Continues
        But Google has been very diligent towards curbing piracy to protect the intellectual property of copyright holders. According to an Australian media, Google has downranked 65,000 pirated websites globally and it continues to demote more each week.
      • Please Write a *Short* Email to Your MEPs Today about EU Copyright Directive
        A couple of weeks ago, I urged people to write to their MEPs about an important vote in the Legal Affairs committee of the European Parliament (JURI). Sadly, but not unexpectedly, we lost that vote.

        However, this is not the end of the story. On Thursday, there is a vote by the whole of the European Parliament on whether the copyright directive should be amended, or whether it can enter "trilogue" negotiations, which occur when the text is more or less agreed. It is therefore vital that MEPs vote to give themselves the chance to reconsider key sections of this deeply-flawed text, rather than allowing it to pass on to the trilogues. Here is a fuller explanation of what is going on.

      • Piracy: If the Internet Isn’t Broken, Should We Fix it Until it is?

        There have long been warnings that tough anti-piracy measures will eventually 'break the Internet'. While that catastrophe is yet to happen, meddling in any piece of complex machinery is likely to lead to unexpected consequences. Like the hobbyist tuner trying to squeeze the last bit of performance out of an already perfectly good car, exhilaration - or catching fire - is always around the corner.

      • ‘Well Respected’ People Send DMCA Notices to Hide Their Mishaps

        The DMCA allows copyright holders to protect their work, by sending takedown requests to remove infringing material. However, some people appear to use this tool rather broadly. This includes several high profile people who presumably use the DMCA to hide their inconvenient pasts.

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