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Links 9/11/2018: Qt 5.12.0 Beta 4, Ubuntu On Samsung Galaxy Devices, Rust 1.30.1

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Choosing a printer for Linux
      We've made significant strides toward the long-rumored paperless society, but we still need to print hard copies of documents from time to time. If you're a Linux user and have a printer without a Linux installation disk or you're in the market for a new device, you're in luck. That's because most Linux distributions (as well as MacOS) use the Common Unix Printing System (CUPS), which contains drivers for most printers available today. This means Linux offers much wider support than Windows for printers.

    • System76 laptops are on sale, plus they will donate to select open source projects from sales until Jan 3rd
      After recently releasing their own in-house designed Thelio desktop system, System76 have announced they're giving away some funding to open source projects from laptop sales.

      The projects include KiCad, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Free Software Foundation (FSF), and the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA). "We picked these four projects to represent a wide array of efforts within open source initiatives." Says Louisa Bisio at System76.

    • A Bug In Windows 10 Pro Is Forcing Users Downgrade To Windows 10 Home
      A bug-free Windows 10 October Update still seems to be far away, and Windows users have already come up with another issue.

      According to a trending Reddit thread, many Microsoft Windows users are complaining that their Windows Pro version is demoted to Windows Home version without any notification or prior warning.

    • Microsoft Confirms It Accidentally Deactivated Some Windows 10 PCs
      Some Windows 10 users are upset today after Microsoft suddenly deactivated their Windows installations, resulting in “Activate Windows” nags. Microsoft has confirmed the error and said a fix is in the way.

      This problem seems to affect Windows 10 Professional users who upgraded from Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8 Professional. Microsoft’s activation servers suddenly decided their digital licenses were no good and deactivated them. After running the activation troubleshooter, Windows 10 said their systems should actually be using Windows 10 Home instead of Windows 10 Professional. That’s what many Windows 10 users on Reddit report happened to them.

    • Microsoft’s October Update Failure is Holding the Whole PC Industry Back
      Microsoft still hasn’t re-released Windows 10’s October 2018 Update. Now, PC manufacturers are shipping PCs with unsupported software, and Battlefield V is coming out next week with real-time ray-tracing technology that won’t work on NVIDIA’s RTX hardware.

    • Got a Screwdriver? GalliumOS Can Turn Chromebooks Into Linux Boxes
      GalliumOS is a Chromebook-specific Linux variant. It lets you put a real Linux distro on a Chromebook.

      My recent review of a new Chromebook feature -- the ability to run Linux apps on some Chromebook models -- sparked my interest in other technologies that run complete Linux distros on some Chromebooks without using ChromeOS.

      GalliumOS is not a perfect solution. It requires making a physical adjustment inside the hardware and flashing new firmware before the GalliumOS installation ISO will boot. However, it can be a handy workaround if your Chromebook does not support Linux apps and/or Android apps.

      If you follow directions explicitly and can wield a screwdriver to remove the bottom panel, GalliumOS is an ingenious Linux distro that can give you the best of two computing worlds. You can install it as a fully functional replacement for the ChromeOS on a compatible Chromebook. You can install it as a dual boot to give you both ChromeOS and a complete Linux distro on one lightweight portable computer.

  • Server

    • The future of Red Hat: How will IBM's acquisition affect the company?
      Only 11 days have passed since the announcement about IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat. Yet industry analysts are busily projecting the effects that this notable acquisition will have on the future of Red Hat.

      Having had a chance to compare notes with Richard Slater, principal consultant and DevOps/SRE Leader at Amido (an independent, vendor-agnostic technical consultancy focused on cloud native technology and located in London), I feel compelled to toss some reflections and a few hopes into the mix.

    • Red Hat Refines Hybrid Cloud Innovation with Latest Version of the World’s Leading Enterprise Linux Platform
      Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world's leading provider of open source solutions today announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.6, a consistent hybrid cloud foundation for enterprise IT built on open source innovation. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.6 is designed to enable organisations to better keep pace with emerging cloud-native technologies while still supporting stable IT operations across enterprise IT’s four footprints.

      According to Gartner, “the landscape of cloud adoption is one of hybrid clouds and multiclouds. By 2020, 75% of organisations will have deployed a multicloud or hybrid cloud model.” Red Hat believes that this indicates that a common foundation, one that can handle workloads in a consistent fashion regardless of whether they are running on bare metal or on a public cloud instance, is a key need for enterprises as they embrace a variety of cloud computing models.

    • Oracle Updates Its Linux Distro with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.6 Compatibility
      Derived from the sources of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.6, the Oracle Enterprise Linux 7 Update 6 release ships with Oracle's Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) Release 5 version 4.14.35-1818.3.3 for both 64-bit (x86_64) and ARM architectures, and the Red Hat Compatible Kernel 3.10.0-957, which is only available for 64-bit systems.

    • Infrastructure Migration Solution, an open source technical tale
      Red Hat announced its infrastructure migration solution in late August, with information about what it is and the value it can offer. What I’d like to talk about is how it came to be, and some of the behind-the-scenes work to make it happen.

    • Docker Enterprise 2.1 Accelerates Application Migration to Containers
      Docker Inc. announced the release of Docker Enterprise 2.1 on Nov. 8, providing new features and services for containers running on both Windows and Linux servers.

      Among the capabilities that Docker is highlighting is the ability to migrate legacy applications, specifically Windows Server 2008, into containers, in an attempt to help with the challenge of end-of-life support issues. The release also provides enterprises with the new Docker Application Convertor, which identifies applications on Windows and Linux systems and then enables organizations to easily convert them into containerized applications. In addition, Docker is boosting security in the new release, with support for FIPS 140-2 (Federal Information Processing Standards) and SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) 2.0 authentication.

      "We've added support for additional versions of Windows Server, and we're the only container platform that actually supports Windows Server today," Banjot Chanana, vice president of product at Docker Inc., told eWEEK. "All in all, this really puts Windows containers at parity with Linux counterparts."

    • Why VMware Is Acquiring Heptio and Going All In for Kubernetes
      VMware is the company that did more than perhaps any other to help usher in the era of enterprise server virtualization that has been the cornerstone of the last decade of computing. Now VMware once again is positioning itself to be a leader, this time in the emerging world of Kubernetes-based, cloud-native application infrastructure.

      On Nov. 6, VMware announced that it is acquiring privately held Kubernetes startup Heptio, in a deal that could help further cement VMware's position as a cloud-native leader. Heptio was launched in 2016 by the co-founders of Kubernetes, Craig McLuckie and Joe Beda, in an effort to make Kubernetes more friendly to use for enterprises. Financial terms of the deal have not been publicly disclosed, though Heptio has raised $33.5 million in venture funding.

      VMware's acquisition of Heptio comes a week after IBM announced its massive $34 billion deal for Red Hat. While Heptio is a small startup, the core of what IBM was after in Red Hat is similar to what VMware is seeking with Heptio, namely a leg up in the Kubernetes space to enable the next generation of the cloud.

    • The Kubernetes World: VMware Acquires Heptio
      One week ago, a one hundred and seven year old technology company bet its future, at least in part, on an open source project that turned four this past June. It shouldn’t come as a total surprise, therefore, that a twenty year old six hundred pound gorilla of virtualization paid a premium for one of the best regarded collections of talent of that same open source project, the fact that containers are disruptive to classic virtualization notwithstanding.

      But just because it shouldn’t come as a surprise in a rapidly consolidating and Kubernetes obsessed market doesn’t mean the rationale or the implications are immediately obvious. To explore the questions of why VMware paid an undisclosed but reportedly substantial sum for Heptio, then, let’s examine what it means for the market, for Heptio and for VMware in order.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E35 – Stranger on Route Thirty-Five
      This week we’ve been using windows Subsystem for Linux and playing with a ThinkPad P1. IBM buys RedHat, System76 announces their Thelio desktop computers, SSD encryption is busted, Fedora turns 15, IRC turns 30 and we round up the community news.

      It’s Season 11 Episode 35 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

    • Episode 6: Conferences and Community
      Katherine Druckman talks to Doc Searls about Freenode Live, conferences, and the Linux community.

    • The One About DevSecOps
      Bad security and reliability practices can lead to outages that affect millions. It's time for security to join the DevOps movement. And in a DevSecOps world, we can get creative about improving security.

      Discovering one vulnerability per month used to be the norm. Now, software development moves quickly thanks to agile processes and DevOps teams. Vincent Danen tells us how that's led to a drastic increase in what's considered a vulnerability. Jesse Robbins, the former master of disaster at Amazon, explains how companies prepare for catastrophic breakdowns and breaches. And Josh Bressers, head of product security at Elastic, looks to the future of security in tech.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux could be banned on Apple’s new Macs

      A report by Phoronix states that the T2 Chip has been blocking Linux from booting and only allows Apple MacOS and Microsoft Windows OS to work well.

      Apple explains that there is currently no trust provided for the Microsoft Corporation UEFI CA 2011, which would allow verification of code signed by Microsoft partners. UEFI CA is commonly used to verify the authenticity of bootloaders for other operating systems such as Linux variants.

    • 4.20/5.0 Merge window part 1
      Linus Torvalds has returned as the keeper of the mainline kernel repository, and the merge window for the next release which, depending on his mood, could be called either 4.20 or 5.0, is well underway. As of this writing, 5,735 non-merge changesets have been pulled for this release; experience suggests that we are thus at roughly the halfway point.

    • Improving the handling of embargoed hardware-security bugs
      Jiri Kosina kicked off a session on hardware vulnerabilities at the 2018 Kernel Maintainers Summit by noting that there are few complaints about how the kernel community deals with security issues in general. That does not hold for Meltdown and Spectre which, he said, had been "completely mishandled". The subsequent handling of the L1TF vulnerability suggests that some lessons have been learned, but there is still plenty of room for improvement in how hardware vulnerabilities are handled in general.

      There are a number of reasons why the handling of Meltdown and Spectre went bad, he said, starting with the fact that the hardware vendors simply did not know how to do it right. They didn't think that the normal security contact ( could be used, since there was no non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in place there. Perhaps what is needed is the creation of such an agreement or, as was discussed in September, a "gentleman's agreement" that would serve the same role.

    • Removing support for old hardware from the kernel
      The kernel supports a wide range of hardware. Or, at least, the kernel contains drivers for a lot of hardware, but the hardware for which many of those drivers was written is old and, perhaps, no longer in actual use. Some of those drivers would certainly no longer work even if the hardware could be found. These drivers provide no value, but they are still an ongoing maintenance burden; it would be better to simply remove them from the kernel. But identifying which drivers can go is not as easy as one might think. Arnd Bergmann led an inconclusive session on this topic at the 2018 Kernel Maintainers Summit.

      Bergmann started by noting (to applause) that he recently removed support for eight processor architectures from the kernel. It was, he said, a lot of work to track down the right people to talk to before removing that code. In almost every case, the outgoing architectures were replaced — by their creators — by Arm-based systems. There probably are not any more architectures that can go anytime soon; Thomas Gleixner's suggestion that x86 should be next failed to win the support of the group.

    • The proper use of EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL()
      The kernel, in theory, puts strict limits on which functions and data structures are available to loadable kernel modules; only those that have been explicitly exported with EXPORT_SYMBOL() or EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL() are accessible. In the case of EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL(), only modules that declare a GPL-compatible license will be able to see the symbol. There have been questions about when EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL() should be used for almost as long as it has existed. The latest attempt to answer those questions was a session run by Greg Kroah-Hartman at the 2018 Kernel Maintainers Summit; that session offered little in the way of general guidance, but it did address one specific case.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Cloud-native app development: buzzword or breakthrough?
        Organizations can struggle with the term, “digital transformation.” Some find it hard to understand and difficult to define. That’s because many conversations about it inevitably focus on the unicorns--those born-of-the-web companies that have completely disrupted their industries.

      • How LF Energy plans to open source energy
        The prospects from the UN's most recent climate report are bleak. There are less than two decades until the point of no return for the planet's climate, and the leaders of major countries seem to be retracting political willingness to fix the existential threat.

        But, the roadblocks might not be as daunting as they first appear. Shuli Goodman, executive director of the newly created LF Energy group, hopes to fundamentally transform the way energy is distributed, reduce waste, and build new models that could be scaled out with an open source framework.


        There are just fifteen transmission system operators in the world carrying 70 percent of the current, Goodman says, so if the group is able to create "resiliency and flexibility" in a "relatively rigid, centralised system" for on-boarding renewables it only needs to go after a small number of organisations.

        And there is some early interest - not least because of security. National critical systems such as electric grids were built quite some time ago - and with a proprietary model. Combine this with recent cyber attacks on national grids, such as in Ukraine, and security is a concern for operators and governments.

      • GraphQL Moving to Neutral, Open-Source Foundation

      • Blockchain as a Catalyst for Good
        Blockchain and its ability to “embed trust” can help elevate trust, which right now, is low, according to Sally Eaves, a chief technology officer and strategic advisor to the Forbes Technology Council, speaking at The Linux Foundation’s Open FinTech Forum in New York City.

        People’s trust in business, media, government and non-government organizations (NGOs) is at a 17-year low, and businesses are suffering as a result, Eaves said.

      • Homeless in Vancouver: B.C. Ministry of Citizens’ Services joins the Linux Foundation
        A funny thing happened on my way to writing about IBM buying the open-source company Red Hat: I noticed that a ministry of the B.C. government is listed as a member of the Linux Foundation.

        According to a B.C. government spokesperson, the Ministry of Citizens' Services of British Columbia joined the Linux Foundation as an associate member on September 4, 2018, as part of becoming an associate member of the Foundation’s Hyperledger project.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Anticipated Linux Driver Requirements For The Radeon Instinct MI50 / MI60 (Vega 20)
        With this week's announcement of the Radeon Instinct MI60 and MI50 as what we previously knew as Vega 20, here's a look at what is likely required from the Linux software side for making use of these professional GPUs that will begin shipping in early 2019.

      • AMD Lands Big Batch Of AMDVLK Vulkan Driver Changes To Start November
        As it had been two weeks since AMD developers last pushed out new source updates to their AMDVLK Vulkan Linux driver, rather than their normal weekly release cadence, today's driver updates are a bit on the heavier side than some of their past light updates.

      • NVIDIA 415.13 Beta Linux Graphics Driver Released With Assorted Improvements
        NVIDIA today released their first beta release for Linux/Solaris/BSD users in the 415 release stream.

        NVIDIA 415.13 is now the first post-410 series driver for Linux users. That 410 driver series was big for introducing NVIDIA RTX "Turing" graphics card support and initial Vulkan ray-tracing support. The NVIDIA 415 driver isn't as significant but has various fixes and improvements throughout its large driver stack.

      • More AMD Zen Microarchitecture Tuning For Mesa Is Likely Ahead
        Published back in September was some Mesa RadeonSI tuning for AMD Zen CPUs. That tuning to pin the application thread and driver execution thread to the same L3 cache benefits the Zen micro-architecture with its multiple core complexes (CCX). That code was merged a short time later unconditionally but it looks like that behavior needs to be refined for delivering maximum performance.

    • Benchmarks

      • Raptor Talos II POWER9 Benchmarks Against AMD Threadripper & Intel Core i9
        For those curious about the performance of IBM's POWER9 processors against the likes of today's AMD Threadripper and Intel Core i9 HEDT processors, here are some interesting benchmarks as we begin looking closer at the POWER9 performance on the fully open-source Raptor Talos II Secure Workstation. This open-source, secure system arrived for Linux testing with dual 22-core POWER9 CPUs to yield 176 total threads of power.

        As mentioned a few days ago in the aforelinked article, Raptor Computing Systems recent sent over a Talos II system for benchmarking to deliver more frequent benchmarks from this high-end workstation/server that's fully open-source down to the motherboard firmware and BMC stack. We previously have carried out some remote benchmarks of the Talos II, but now having it in our labs allows us to more frequently conduct tests as well as swapping out the hardware, matching other test systems, and also other tests like performance-per-Watt comparisons that were not possible with the remote testing.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Cinnamon 4.0 Desktop Update Begins Rolling Out As A Tasty Update
      Linux Mint's Cinnamon desktop environment derived from GNOME/GTK components has tagged its v4.0.0 release in source and is already beginning to appear in distribution repositories from the likes of Manjaro.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Plasma 5.14.3 Desktop Further Improves Firmware Updates, Flatpak Support
        Coming about two weeks after the October 23rd release of the KDE Plasma 5.14.2 point release, the KDE Plasma 5.14.3 point release continues to improve the new firmware update functionality implemented in the Plasma Discover graphical package manager, as well as support for the Flatpak and Snap universal binary formats.

      • KDE Applications 18.08 Reaches End of Life, KDE Apps 18.12 Launches December 13
        KDE Applications 18.08.3 is now available as the third and last point release of the open-source and cross-platform KDE Applications 18.08 software suite, brining about 20 20 bugfixes and improvements to applications like Ark, Dolphin, Kate, KDE Games, Kontact, Okular, and Umbrello, as well as translation updates.

        Highlights of this last point release include the ability for the KMail email client to remember the HTML viewing mode, as well as to load external images if allowed, support for the Kate text editor to remember meta information, including bookmarks, between sessions, and updated automatic scrolling in the Telepathy text UI.

      • French Krita book – 2nd edition
        Last month was released the 2nd edition of my book “Dessin et peinture numérique avec Krita”. I just received a few copies, so now is time to write a little about it.

        I wrote the first edition for Krita 2.9.11, almost three years ago. A lot of things have changed, so I updated this second edition for Krita version 4.1.1, and added a few notes about some new features.

      • Qt 5.12.0 Beta4 released
        We have released Qt 5.12.0 Beta4 today. As earlier you can get it via online installer. Delta to beta3 attached.

      • Qt 5.12 Fast Approaching With The Final Beta Now Available
        The Qt Company has announced the release of Qt 5.12 Beta 4 as the final beta release for this upcoming LTS tool-kit update.

        Qt 5.12 Beta 4 is arriving just two days late, which still provides for hope of closely meeting the planned release target of Qt 5.12.0 as 29 November, but long story short this Qt tool-kit update should be shipping at the end of November or early December.

  • Distributions

    • Gentoo Family

      • Compartmentalized computing with CLIP OS
        The design of CLIP OS 5 includes three elements: a bootloader, a core system, and the cages. The system uses secure boot with signed binaries. Only the x86 architecture was supported in the previous versions, and there are no other architectures in the plan for now. The core system is based on Hardened Gentoo. Finally, the cages provide user sessions, with applications and documents.

        Processes running in separate cages cannot communicate directly. Instead, they must pass messages using special services on the core system; these services are unprivileged and confined on the cage system, but privileged on the core. These communication paths are shown in this architecture diagram from the documentation. Cages are also isolated from the core system itself — all interactions (system calls, for example) are checked and go through mediation services. The isolation between applications will be using containers, and the team plans to use the Flatpak format. The details of the CLIP OS 5 implementation are not available yet, as this feature is planned for the stable release.

        A specific Linux security module (LSM) inspired from Linux-VServer will be used to add additional isolation between the cages, and between the cages and the core system. Linux-VServer is a virtual private server implementation designed for web hosting. It implements partitioning of a computer system in terms of CPU time, memory, the filesystem, and network addressing into security contexts. Starting and stopping a new virtual server corresponds to setting up and tearing down a security context.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE Develops Legal Review System
        The open-source community has a new project designed to help Linux/GNU distributions with the legal review process of licenses.

        The new project called Cavil is legal review system that is collectively beneficial not only for the openSUSE Project, but distributions and projects that want to use it.

        The project provides an add-on service for the Open Build Service.

        Every OBS request for openSUSE Factory goes through a legal review process to ensure licenses are compatible. Cavil indexes these and creates a legal report for every single request. Bot comments in OBS are made through the legal-auto python script, but the entire project is much larger than the script and bots.

    • Fedora

      • PHP version 7.1.24 and 7.2.12
        RPM of PHP version 7.2.12 are available in remi repository for Fedora 28-29 and in remi-php72 repository for Fedora 26-27 and Enterprise Linux ≥ 6 (RHEL, CentOS).

        RPM of PHP version 7.1.24 are available in remi repository for Fedora 26-27 and in remi-php71 repository for Enterprise Linux (RHEL, CentOS).

      • Fedora Women’s Day 2018 – Trieste
        On September 29, the hackerspace Mittelab of Trieste had the honor to host the first edition of the Fedora Women’s Day event. Organized by the Fedora Diversity and Inclusion team, the event aims to break down gender walls to allow all women passionate about IT and technology in general to approach the Fedora operating system. During the day there were a series of conferences whose purpose was to show this distribution and define the main features of Linux.

      • FAW 2018 Day 4: “You know you can do it”
      • Fedora 29 Released – Here’s What’s New
        Fedora 29 will hide the GRUB menu when running in a system with single OS. Fedora project feels that when you have only OS, it is not needed to have GRUB menu and it is useless in this use case.

    • Debian Family

      • Neil McGovern: GNOME ED update – October
        As per usual, our main focus has been on the hiring of new staff members for the Foundation. We’ve completed a few second interviews and a couple of first interviews. We’re aiming to start making offers around the end of November. If you have put in an application, and haven’t heard back in a while, please don’t worry! It’s simply due to a large number of people who’ve applied and the very manual way we’ve had to process these. Everyone should hear back.

        We’ve also had some interesting times with our banking. The short version is, we’ve moved banks to another provider. This has taken quite a bit of work, but hopefully, this should be settling down now.

      • New and improved Frikanalen Kodi addon version 0.0.3
        If you read my blog regularly, you probably know I am involved in running and developing the Norwegian TV channel Frikanalen. It is an open channel, allowing everyone in Norway to publish videos on a TV channel with national coverage. You can think of it as Youtube for national television. In addition to distribution on RiksTV and Uninett, Frikanalen is also available as a Kodi addon. The last few days I have updated the code to add more features. A new and improved version 0.0.3 Frikanalen addon was just made available via the Kodi repositories. This new version include a option to browse videos by category, as well as free text search in the video archive. It will now also show the video duration in the video lists, which were missing earlier. A new and experimental link to the HD video stream currently being worked on is provided, for those that want to see what the CasparCG output look like. The alternative is the SD video stream, generated using MLT. CasparCG is controlled by our mltplayout server which instead of talking to mlt is giving PLAY instructions to the CasparCG server when it is time to start a new program.

      • New Debian Developers and Maintainers (September and October 2018)
        The following contributors got their Debian Developer accounts in the last two months:

        Joseph Herlant (aerostitch) Aurélien Couderc (coucouf) Dylan Aïssi (daissi) Kunal Mehta (legoktm) Ming-ting Yao Wei (mwei) Nicolas Braud-Santoni (nicoo) Pierre-Elliott Bécue (peb) Stephen Gelman (ssgelm) Daniel Echeverry (epsilon) Dmitry Bogatov (kaction)

        The following contributors were added as Debian Maintainers in the last two months:

        Sagar Ippalpalli Kurt Kremitzki Michal Arbet Daniel Pocock Peter Wienemann Alexis Bienvenüe Gard Spreemann

      • Init system support in Debian
        The "systemd question" has roiled Debian multiple times over the years, but things had mostly been quiet on that front of late. The Devuan distribution is a Debian derivative that has removed systemd; many of the vocal anti-systemd Debian developers have switched, which helps reduce the friction on the Debian mailing lists. But that seems to have led to support for init system alternatives (and System V init in particular) to bitrot in Debian. There are signs that a bit of reconciliation between Debian and Devuan will help fix that problem.

        The Devuan split was acrimonious, much like the systemd "debate" that preceded it. Many bits were expended in describing the new distribution as a waste of time (or worse), while the loudest Devuan proponents declared that systemd would cause the end of Debian and Linux as a whole. Over time, that acrimony has mostly been reduced to random potshots (on both sides); there is clearly no love lost between the pro and anti sides (whether those apply to systemd, Devuan, or both). Some recent developments have shown that perhaps a bit of thawing in relations is underway—that can only be a good thing for both sides and the community as a whole.

        Holger Levsen alerted the debian-devel mailing list that the Debian "Buster" (i.e. Debian 10) release was in danger of shipping with only partial support for running without systemd. The problem is that two packages needed for running with System V init (sysvinit-core and systemd-shim) are not really being maintained. The shim is completely unmaintained and sysvinit-core has been languishing even though it has two maintainers listed.

      • Record number of uploads of a Debian package in an arbitrary 24-hour window
        Seeing the latest post from Chris Lamb made me wonder: how hard would it be to do better? Splitting by date is rather arbitrary (the split may even depend on the timezone you’re using when you’re doing the query), so let’s try to find out the maximum number of uploads that happened for each package in any 24 hour window.

      • Record number of uploads of a Debian package in a day
        bunk looks at dxvk and wonders whether 9 uploads of a package on 1 day are a record

      • My Free Software Activities in October 2018

      • Jonathan Dowland: duc
        The GUI and CGI resemble the fantastic Filelight KDE tool, which I've always preferred to the similar tools available for GNOME, Windows or macOS. (duc itself works fine on macOS). The CGI could be deployed on my NAS, but I haven't set it up yet.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 19.04 – Release Date, Features & More Recently updated!
            Everything you need to know about the new Ubuntu 19.04 – release date, new features, code name, download links, and more.

            After our posts on Ubuntu 18.04 and 18.10, it’s time to create a new post about 19.04.

            This release is NOT going to be an LTS release.

          • Samsung announce Linux on DeX with Ubuntu: for developers on the move
            The Samsung Developer Conference, held this week in San Francisco, brings creators together to discover and learn about the latest technologies in Samsung’s portfolio and further afield. One of the technologies showcased, following the initial demo in 2017, is Samsung’s Linux on DeX. Samsung DeX, launched last year, lets users of Samsung flagship Galaxy devices enjoy apps on a bigger screen for a better viewing experience, whether watching films, playing games or just browsing the web.

            This year, Samsung is announcing the beta launch of Linux on DeX which extends the value of Samsung DeX to Linux developers. Linux on DeX empowers developers to build apps within a Linux development environment by connecting their Galaxy device to a larger screen for a PC-like experience.

          • Ubuntu Linux On Samsung Galaxy Devices Finally Reaches Beta (Samsung DeX)
            In October of 2017 Samsung announced convergence and traditional Linux distributions for Samsung Galaxy smartphones as the "Samsung DeX." Since then we hadn't heard anything more about this initiative while this week they appear to be ready with a beta.

            While the Samsung Open-Source Group is going through a restructuring, fortunately, Samsung DeX appears unaffected as it didn't appear to be part of that group. After a year of forgetting about this effort, Samsung DeX is going into beta and has been on display at the company's Samsung Developer Conference.

          • Samsung ‘Linux on DeX’ Enters Beta, Here’s How to Take Part
            Do you dream of being able to use an Android phone as a Linux PC when connected to a big screen and full-size keyboard? If so, you’re gonna love Samsung.

            The South Korean tech giant has launched its “Linux on DeX” app in beta, and is inviting early adopters to register to help test it out.

            Previously known by the ‘Linux on Galaxy‘ title, the Samsung Linux on DeX app lets owners of specific Samsung devices “run” a full Ubuntu desktop on their device alongside Android.

            The feature, being shown off at the Samsung Developer Conference 2018 (SDC18), is compatible with two devices: the Samsung Note 9 and the Samsung Tab S4.

          • Samsung’s Linux on DeX beta program starts November 12
            Developers attending SDC 2018 can try Linux on DeX at its dedicated booth, and they will be able to access the beta from November 12. The option to register for the program will be available until December 14th. Linux on DeX supports Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, with a customized version for DeX made in partnership with Canonical (the maker of the Ubuntu Linux distribution). Other Linux distributions may work, although Samsung isn’t offering official support for those. Linux on DeX will also require either a Galaxy Note 9 or Galaxy Tab S4. There’s no word on whether last year’s flagships will be supported at some point.

            Linux on DeX will work through an app installed on the Note 9/Tab S4, but it remains to be seen if it will be the full Ubuntu experience or a limited one just for coding. Samsung’s intro video suggests it may lean towards the former, and if you’re interested in trying it out, you might want to register for the beta. Once you have registered, you will be sent a link for the app once it goes live next week.

          • Samsung launches Linux on DeX beta (run Linux on an Android phone or tablet)
            Almost a year after promising to release software that would let you turn select Android phones into full-fledged Linux PCs, Samsung is now allowing users to sign up for its Linux on DeX beta program and the company says the private beta will officially launch November 12th.

            In a nutshell, the software works by allowing you to download a desktop Linux distribution, set it up on a container, and launch it as if it were an Android app.

            The cool thing is that by supporting Samsung’s DeX platform, you can connect a monitor, mouse, and keyboard to your phone and use it like a desktop computer — while running desktop Linux apps.

          • Samsung to take Linux on DeX into private beta
            Samsung will start a private beta of its Linux on DeX product on November 12 that will allow users to open an Ubuntu desktop from a Note 9.

            Linux on DeX will only support one Ubuntu version, namely 16.04 LTS, and only works on Note 9 and Tab S4 devices with at least 8GB of storage and more than 4GB of memory, Samsung said. All packages must be compiled for Arm 64.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 6 reasons for making the open source argument
    Making the open source argument is worth the effort. Community-based software development has proven its value in some of the most challenging spaces. Marketplace competitive forces suggest that any business turning a blind eye to the open source movement is ceding a significant advantage to competitors. Just as low-cost, shared resources on the internet have dramatically reduced the barrier to entry when it comes to infrastructure, the rapidly evolving breadth and quality of open source components will quickly alter the competitive landscape across many vertical marketplaces.

  • FFmpeg 4.1 "al-Khwarizmi" Open-Source Multimedia Framework Officially Released
    Dubbed "al-Khwarizmi", the FFMpeg 4.1 release comes six months after the April 2018 debut of the FFmpeg 4.0 "Wu" series. It's a major update that adds lots of new filters, decoders and encoders of all kinds, as well as some exciting new features and enhancements to make FFmpeg the best free multimedia backend on the market.

    Highlights of the FFmpeg 4.1 "al-Khwarizmi" release include support for the highly efficient AV1 codec in the MP4 container, an AV1 parser for parsing AV1 encoded streams, Transport Layer Security (TLS)-based mbedTLS support, a SER demuxer, as well as a libtensorflow backend for DNN-based filters like srcnn.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Splash 2018 Mid-Week Report
        I really enjoyed this talk by Felienne Hermans entitled “Explicit Direct Instruction in Programming Education”. The basic gist of the talk was that, when we teach programming, we often phrase it in terms of “exploration” and “self-expression”, but that this winds up leaving a lot of folks in the cold and may be at least partly responsible for the lack of diversity in computer science today. She argued that this is like telling kids that they should just be able to play a guitar and create awesome songs without first practicing their chords1 – it kind of sets them up to fail.

        The thing that really got me excited about this was that it seemed very connected to mentoring and open source. If you watched the Rust Conf keynote this year, you’ll remember Aaron talking about “OSS by Serendipity” – this idea that we should just expect people to come and produce PRs. This is in contrast to the “OSS by Design” that we’ve been trying to practice and preach, where there are explicit in-roads for people to get involved in the project through mentoring, as well as explicit priorities and goals (created, of course, through open processes like the roadmap and so forth). It seems to me that the things like working groups, intro bugs, quest issues, etc, are all ways for people to “practice the basics” of a project before they dive into creating major new features.

      • WebRender newsletter #29
        To introduce this week’s newsletter I’ll write about culling. Culling refers to discarding invisible content and is performed at several stages of the rendering pipeline. During frame building on the CPU we go through all primitives and discard the ones that are off-screen by computing simple rectangle intersections. As a result we avoid transferring a lot of data to the GPU and we can skip processing them as well.

        Unfortunately this isn’t enough. Web page are typically built upon layers and layers of elements stacked on top of one another. The traditional way to render web pages is to draw each element in back-to-front order, which means that for a given pixel on the screen we may have rendered many primitives. This is frustrating because there are a lot of opaque primitives that completely cover the work we did on that pixel for element beneath it, so there is a lot of shading work and memory bandwidth that goes to waste, and memory bandwidth is a very common bottleneck, even on high end hardware.

        Drawing on the same pixels multiple times is called overdraw, and overdraw is not our friend, so a lot effort goes into reducing it. In its early days, to mitigate overdraw WebRender divided the screen in tiles and all primitives were assigned to the tiles they covered (primitives that overlap several tiles would be split into a primitive for each tile), and when an opaque primitive covered an entire tile we could simply discard everything that was below it. This tiling approach was good at reducing overdraw with large occluders and also made the batching blended primitives easier (I’ll talk about batching in another episode). It worked quite well for axis-aligned rectangles which is the vast majority of what web pages are made of, but it was hard to split transformed primitives.

      • Into the Depths: The Technical Details Behind AV1
        Since AOMedia officially cemented the AV1 v1.0.0 specification earlier this year, we’ve seen increasing interest from the broadcasting industry. Starting with the NAB Show (National Association of Broadcasters) in Las Vegas earlier this year, and gaining momentum through IBC (International Broadcasting Convention) in Amsterdam, and more recently the NAB East Show in New York, AV1 keeps picking up steam. Each of these industry events attract over 100,000 media professionals. Mozilla attended these shows to demonstrate AV1 playback in Firefox, and showed that AV1 is well on its way to being broadly adopted in web browsers.

      • Cameron Kaiser: Happy 8th birthday to us
        TenFourFox is eight years old! And nearly as mature!

      • Extensions in Firefox 64
        Following the explosion of extension features in Firefox 63, Firefox 64 moved into Beta with a quieter set of capabilities spread across many different areas.

      • Happy BMO Push Day!

  • Databases

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 12.0 Faces A Minor Setback But Still Should Be Out Ahead Of Christmas
      The big FreeBSD 12.0 release still is expected to happen in December but will be a bit later than originally planned.

      The FreeBSD release engineering team has decided that a fourth beta is warranted before branching the FreeBSD 12 code and moving onto the release candidate phase. There already has been a number of alpha releases and three betas, but due to a boot time issue and allowing more time for ARM/ARM64 builds to complete, a fourth beta has been penciled into the schedule.

    • malloc.conf replaced with a sysctl


    • GPL Initiative Expands with 16 Additional Companies Joining Campaign for Greater Predictability in Open Source Licensing
      Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Adobe, Alibaba, Amadeus, Ant Financial, Atlassian, Atos, AT&T, Bandwidth, Etsy, GitHub, Hitachi, NVIDIA, Oath, Renesas, Tencent, and Twitter have joined an ongoing industry effort to combat harsh tactics in open source license enforcement by adopting the GPL Cooperation Commitment. By making this commitment, these 16 corporate leaders are strengthening long-standing community norms of fairness, pragmatism, and predictability in open source license compliance.

    • The completion of David's internship work on the Free Software Directory
      One of the main projects of my internship has been importing information about free software extensions for Mozilla-based browsers on the Free Software Directory based on data from I call this project FreeAMO (AMO stands for and it exists as part of the directory package on Savannah. After many weeks of work, it generates usable directory entries. In the same project is a script to import entries from the Debian package repository. I also fixed bugs in that script, and got it to a usable state. However, before importing entries to the Directory, we want to solve one remaining issue: making it so we can import the data automatically on a regular basis, but also allow users to edit parts of the imported entry. I hope to complete this work sometime after my internship is done.


      There are still packages with nonstandard license names that need to be evaluated one by one. One common issue is explained in the article For Clarity's Sake, Please Don't Say “Licensed under GNU GPL 2”! When people tell you a program is released “under GNU GPL version 2,” they are leaving the licensing of the program unclear. Is it released under GPL-2.0-only, or GPL-2.0-or-later? Can you merge the code with packages released under GPL-3.0-or-later?

      Unfortunately, Mozilla is contributing to this problem because when someone uploads an addon package to, they are asked to specify which license the package is under by selecting from a drop-down list of licenses. Then that name is displayed on However, the GPL license options are ambiguous and don't specify "only" and "or-later." To accurately specify the license, uploaders should choose "Custom License" and then mention the correct license in the description field. We hope Mozilla will change this, but since the Directory only lists free addons, and anyone can improve the Directory, we encourage people to use it instead of

    • Recent licensing updates
      We added the Commons Clause to our list of nonfree licenses. Not a stand-alone license in and of itself, it is meant to be added to an existing free license to prevent using the work commercially, rendering the work nonfree. It's particularly nasty given that the name, and the fact that it is attached to pre-existing free licenses, may make it seem as if the work is still free software.

      If a previously existing project that was under a free license adds the Commons Clause, users should work to fork that program and continue using it under the free license. If it isn't worth forking, users should simply avoid the package. We are glad to see that in the case of Redis modules using the Commons Clause, people are stepping up to maintain free versions.

  • Public Services/Government

    • FDA Targets Patient Data With Open-Source MyStudies mHealth App
      The federal agency in charge of regulating new mHealth technology is looking to include digital health data from consumers into the mix.

      The US Food and Drug Administration has unveiled an open-source mHealth app called MyStudies “to foster the collection of real world evidence via patients’ mobile devices.” Officials say the connected health platform will improve the development of new mobile health technologies by giving developers and researchers a direct link to the patients who would be using the technology.

      “There are a lot of new ways that we can use real world evidence to help inform regulatory decisions around medical products as the collection of this data gets more widespread and reliable,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, said in a press release. “Better capture of real world data, collected from a variety of sources, has the potential to make our new drug development process more efficient, improve safety and help lower the cost of product development.”

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Leading Open Access Supporters Ask EU To Investigate Elsevier's Alleged 'Anti-Competitive Practices'
        Most of the complaint is a detailed analysis of why academic publishing has become so dysfunctional, and is well-worth reading by anyone interested in understanding the background to open access and its struggles.

        As to what the complaint might realistically achieve, Tennant told Techdirt that there are three main possibilities. The European Commission can simply ignore it. It can respond and say that it doesn't think there is a case to answer, in which case Tennant says he will push the Commission to explain why. Finally, in the most optimistic outcome, the EU could initiate a formal investigation of Elsevier and the wider academic publishing market. Although that might seem too much to hope for, it's worth noting that the EU Competition Authority is ultimately under the Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager. She has been very energetic in her pursuit of Internet giants like Google. It could certainly be a hugely significant moment for open access if she started to take an interest in Elsevier in the same way.

  • Programming/FOSS Adoption

    • Culture is holding back operator adoption of open source
      At a panel session featuring STC and Vodafone at Light Reading’s Software Defined Operations and the Autonomous Network event, the operational culture was suggested a significant roadblock, as well as the threat of ROI due to shortened lifecycles and disappearing support.

      Starting with the culture side, this is a simple one to explain. The current workforce has not been configured to work with an open source mentality. This is a different way of working, a notable shift away from the status quo of proprietary technologies. Sometimes the process of incorporating open source is an arduous task, where it can be difficult to see the benefits.

    • Open Source Report Highlights Tension Between Devs & Employers
      Of the respondents to Digital Ocean’s survey, most individual contributors (80 percent) say they’ve been involved with open source for less than five years, and 66 percent interact with it weekly (with 19 percent saying they are “involved with open source projects” daily). Those figures alone may lead you to think open source is healthy and growing, and it is, but it also has a huge issue getting people and companies involved.

      Some 45 percent of respondents say they don’t know how to get started in open source, while 44 percent report they don’t feel their skillset is up to par. Around 30 percent report their company doesn’t allow them time to work in open source, and 28 percent are just plain intimidated.

    • Announcing Rust 1.30.1
      The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.30.1. Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety, speed, and concurrency.

    • What is developer efficiency and velocity?
      As I previously mentioned I am currently in the information gathering phase for improvements to desktop Firefox developer efficiency and velocity. While many view developer efficiency and velocity as the same thing–and indeed they are often correlated–it is useful to discuss how they are different.

      I like to think of developer velocity as the rate at which a unit of work is completed. Developer efficiency is the amount of effort required to complete a unit of work.

      If one were to think of the total development output as revenue, improvements to velocity would improve the top-line and improvements to efficiency would improve the bottom-line.

    • Solid: a new way to handle data on the web
      The development of the web was a huge "sea change" in the history of the internet. The web is what brought the masses to this huge worldwide network—for good or ill. It is unlikely that Tim Berners-Lee foresaw all of that when he came up with HTTP and HTML as part of his work at CERN, but he has been in a prime spot to watch the web unfold since 1989. His latest project, Solid, is meant to allow users to claim authority over the personal data that they provide to various internet giants.

      Berners-Lee announced Solid in a post on Medium in late September. In it, he noted that despite "all the good we've achieved, the web has evolved into an engine of inequity and division; swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas". Part of what he is decrying is enabled by the position of power held by companies that essentially use the data they gather in ways that run directly counter to the interests of those they gather it from. "Solid is how we evolve the web in order to restore balance — by giving every one of us complete control over data, personal or not, in a revolutionary way."

      Users' data will be stored in a Solid "pod" (sometimes "personal online data store" or POD) that can reside anywhere on the internet. Since Solid deliberately sets out to build on the existing web, it should not be a surprise that URLs, along with Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs), are used to identify pods and specific objects within them. Pods also provide one place for businesses, including Inrupt, which was co-founded by Berners-Lee, to provide services for Solid. As he noted in his post, people are willing to pay companies like Dropbox for storage; hosting Solid pods would be a similar opportunity for Inrupt and others.
    • Should a programming course be mandatory for high school students?
      But further, understanding at least the basics of programming is important to being able to fully reap the benefits of open source. Having the code available to review, edit, and share under an open license is important, but can you really make use of the full power of an open license if you're locked in by your own inability to make the changes you wish to make?

    • A Summer Of Code Question
      This is a lightly edited response to a question we got on IRC about how to best apply to participate in Google’s “Summer Of Code” program. this isn’t company policy, but I’ve been the one turning the crank on our GSOC application process for the last while, so maybe it counts as helpful guidance.

      We’re going to apply as an organization to participate in GSOC 2019, but that process hasn’t started yet. This year it kicked off in the first week of January, and I expect about the same in 2019.

      You’re welcome to apply to multiple positions, but I strongly recommend that each application be a focused effort; if you send the same generic application to all of them it’s likely they’ll all be disregarded. I recognize that this seems unfair, but we get a tidal wave of redundant applications for any position we open, so we have to filter them aggressively.

      Successful GSOC applicants generally come in two varieties – people who put forward a strong application to work on projects that we’ve proposed, and people that have put together their own GSOC proposal in collaboration with one or more of our engineers.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • OpenMP 5.0 Specification Released, GCC 9.0 Lands Initial Support
      The OpenMP ARB has announced the release today of the major OpenMP 5.0 specification. OpenMP 5.0 has been three years in the making and is a big update to this parallel programming specification relative to past updates.

      OpenMP 5.0 is intended for use from embedded and accelerators to multi-core NUMA systems. OpenMP 5.0 offers portability improvements, full support for accelerators, better NUMA handling on HPC systems, improved device constructors, and various other benefits for parallel programming on C / C++ / Fortran systems.

    • Introducing ODPi Egeria – The Industry’s First Open Metadata Standard
      Egeria is built on open standards and delivered via Apache 2.0 open source license. The Egeria project creates a set of open APIs, types and interchange protocols to allow all metadata repositories to share and exchange metadata. From this common base, it adds governance, discovery and access frameworks for automating the collection, management and use of metadata across an enterprise. The result is an enterprise catalog of data resources that are transparently assessed, governed and used in order to deliver maximum value to the enterprise.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • A Glimmer of an Idea on an Experimental Use Exemption [Ed: Kevin E. Noonan continues to defend and advocate patents on life and nature itself, as he profits from evil litigation in this domain (privatising life)]
      One of the most powerful, visceral arguments made by the American Civil Liberties Union in Assoc. Molecular Pathol. v. Myriad Genetics, 689 F. 3d 1303 (2013), was that permitting Myriad and the University of Utah to have patent rights to isolated human DNA inhibited basic research. Indeed, the meme that patents can interfere with free access to the "building blocks" of science and technology can be found in Supreme Court dicta from Funk Brothers Seed Co. v. Kalo Inoculant Co., 333 U.S. 127 (1948), to Myriad and Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Labs., Inc., 132 S.Ct. 1289 (2012). Similarly, opponents of the Bayh-Dole Act (codified at 35 U.S.C. ۤۤ 200-212), which permits universities to patent inventions made using Federal funding, base some of their arguments on the inequity visited on the public in allowing these inventions to be protected by patent and thus (at least technically) making scientific and research use an act of infringement.

      These concerns were exacerbated by the Federal Circuit decision in Madey v. Duke Univ., 307 F.3d 1351 (Fed. Cir. 2002), where the Court agreed that the practice of a patented invention by Duke University researchers was not protected by an "experimental use" exemption.

    • The Trump Administration Thinks Your Employer Should Make Your Birth Control Decisions
      The administration finalized rules allowing employers to deny health insurance for contraception if they object for religious or moral reasons.

      The Trump administration moved forward on Wednesday in its quest to give businesses and other institutions a license to discriminate by issuing a regulation allowing employers and universities to deny health insurance coverage for contraception — currently required by law — if they object because of religious or moral views. The move could leave thousands of people across the country without contraceptive coverage.

      The Affordable Care Act requires that insurance plans cover birth control and other critical women’s preventive services without a co-pay or other cost-sharing. This provision, which took effect in 2012, expanded access to health care and was an important step toward gender equality. As the Supreme Court said in 1992, the “ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.”

      Thanks to the ACA’s birth control benefit, an estimated 62 million people now have co-pay free insurance coverage for birth control. After it took effect, women saved $1.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs on birth control in one year alone. It’s an incredibly popular provision of the ACA, so it’s no surprise that the Trump administration waited until the day after Americans cast their ballots in the midterm elections to partially undo it.

    • Ukraine: interim injunctions in pharma cases
      The Ukrainian Supreme Court in Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp v Aurobindo Pharma Limited has recently introduce a bold approach to applying interim injunctions in disputes between originators and generics over the registration of patented pharmaceuticals.

      MSD learned that Aurobindo had filed an application for registration of an allegedly infringing pharmaceutical with the State Expert Centre of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine (the “Centre”). MSD argued that a compound protected under its patent was used in Aurobindo’s pharmaceutical.

  • Security

    • Secure Shell: What is SSH?

      So, here is my ode to Secure Shell for those that are unaware of SSH (It will not be any kind of artistic prose.) Many outside of the technology world may not realize how oft-utilized and important SSH and, indeed, shelling is in our everyday technological lives. This article will examine SSH and shelling, in general, and go over some of the technical aspects that encompass SSH and secure shell.

    • A Columbia cyber firm’s open source project is looking to improve IoT security
      Columbia-based MasterPeace Solutions is working on an open source project to address security vulnerabilities in Internet of Things devices.

      osMUD is aimed at protecting internet-connected devices used at homes and small businesses. The project was shared with the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, which is based in Rockville, according to MasterPeace.

      Now, the cybersecurity firm will participate in a consortium that was formed around the effort that looks to bring together bring together device manufacturers, network security companies, and network administrators. Participating organizations include Cable Labs, Cisco, CTIA, Digicert, ForeScout, Global Cyber Alliance, Patton, and Symantec. Each organization will provide code and expertise to the effort. MasterPeace is providing network security engineering and defense operations expertise. The longtime government contractor has previously shown willingness to gather the community in recent years with efforts like an in-house accelerator.

    • What is a “Dark Web Scan” and Should You Use One?
      The “dark web” consists of hidden websites that you can’t access without special software. These websites won’t appear when you use Google or another search engine, and you can’t even access them unless you go out of your way to use the appropriate tools.

      For example, the Tor software can be used for anonymous browsing of the normal web, but it also hides special sites known as “.onion sites” or “Tor hidden services.” These websites use Tor to cloak their location, and you only access them through the Tor network.

    • Reproducible Builds Joins Conservancy
      We are very excited to announce the Reproducible Builds project as our newest member project. Reproducible builds is a set of software development practices that create an independently-verifiable path from the source code to the binary code used by computers. This ensures that the builds you are installing are exactly the ones you were expecting, which is critical for freedom, security and compatibility and exposes injections of backdoors introduced by compromising build servers or coercing developers to do so via political or violent means.

      The Reproducible Builds project, which began as a project within the Debian community, joins our other adjacent work around this distribution, such as the Debian Copyright Aggregation Project. Reproducible Builds is also critical to Conservancy's own compliance work: a build that cannot be verified may contain code that triggers different license compliance responsibilities than those which the recipient is expecting. Unaccounted-for code makes it hard for anyone who distributes software to guarantee that they are doing so responsibly and with care for those who receive the software.
    • Security updates for Thursday

    • VirtualBox Zero-Day Vulnerability Goes Public, No Security Patch Yet Available
      A zero-day vulnerability in VirtualBox was publicly disclosed by an independent vulnerability researcher and exploit developer Sergey Zelenyuk. VirtualBox is a famous open sourced virtualization software which has been developed by Oracle. This recently discovered vulnerability can allow a malicious program to escape virtual machine and then execute code on OS of the host machine.

    • Red Hat Continues Drive for More Secure Enterprise IT, Re-Certifies Red Hat Enterprise Linux for FIPS 140-2

    • Red Hat re-certifies Red Hat Enterprise Linux for FIPS 140-2
      Red Hat Inc. announced that Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5 has renewed the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS 140-2) security certifications from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

    • Keep legacy applications secure with Extended Security Maintenance
      Application updates come and go, often they provide your business with added value, but sometimes an update isn’t what is needed or wanted for a legacy application.

      Choosing not to update an application can cause issues. Often, that application becomes unsupported, and with security patches no longer available, it can see your business falling foul of regulatory demands, such as GDPR or security threats.

      Ubuntu LTS users have a five-year window for support, for ITstrategen, when that window came to an end on 12.04, some of ITstrategen’s customers still depended on servers running the now out of support operating system and without support, the security of those servers was at risk.

      The German hosting provider, which was founded in 2011 and supports some of Germany’s most successful businesses, uses Ubuntu as its server operating system.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Saudi journalist tortured to death in prison

      Saudi journalist and writer Turki Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Jasser has died after being tortured while in detention, the New Khaleej reported yesterday.

    • Saudi journalist 'traced by Twitter spies' forcibly disappeared

      A Saudi journalist is thought to have been forcibly detained for the past eight months after Saudi spies allegedly infiltrated Twitter's Dubai headquarters and connected him to an account that recorded abuses committed by the royal family.

    • GUNTER: Canada's confused approach to the Saudis continues

      We should be standing up for Badawi, who is as much a Saudi-Canadian as Khashoggi was Saudi-American.

    • How Saudi "Donations" to American Universities Whitewash Its Religion

      Saudi funding of an American academic "doesn't mean that he's bought and paid for." Rather, "there is a kind of silencing effect. It's more about what doesn't get written about... there may be some self-censoring on certain topics you don't raise unnecessarily, topics that are sensitive to the Saudis." — from a Washington, DC "insider," quoted in Vox.

    • 1918-2018: France and Germany Mourn
      On November 11, 2018, France commemorates the one hundredth anniversary of the Armistice, the victory of the French troops and their allies (including soldiers from its African and Asian colonies) in the First World War.

    • Masquerading Reforms: The Tricks of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
      The surgical dismembering of Jamal Khashoggi has sent the military establishments of several countries into a tizz. Arms manufacturers are wondering whether this is an inconvenient blip, a ruffling moral reminder about what they are dealing with. Autocratic regimes indifferent to the lives of journalists are wondering whether the fuss taken about all this is merely the fuss endured, till the next bloody suppression. But importantly, those states notionally constituting the West may have to reconsider the duping strategy that the House of Saud has executed with the deft efficiency of the dedicated axeman.

      The ranks are closing in around the Saudi royals, notably the purportedly suspicious son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose status has been given an undue measure of inflation from various powers happy to see reform in the air. The measures taken by MBS have been modest and hardly worth a sigh: the cutting of subsidies, permitting women to drive, and restructuring the economy. But like a fake article of purchase at an inordinately expensive auction, the prince’s counterfeit credentials are starting to peer through the canvas.

      The Crown Prince has been happy to provide a train of examples to suggest to his Western audience that the roots of a liberal Saudi Arabian past are very much in evidence. To Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, the beguiling royal explained that, “Before 1979 there were societal guardianship customs, but no guardianship laws in Saudi Arabia.”

      The tactic is clear: speak of a yesteryear that was jolly and a touch tender, and promise that a current era seemingly harder can emulate it. Goldberg was good enough to make the observation that the Crown Prince had gotten one thing right from the perspective of his sponsors in Europe, the Middle East and the United States: “He has made all the right enemies.”

    • Editorial: U.S. must push Saudi leaders to end atrocious war in Yemen
      The United States has aided Saudi Arabia and its allies in their often indiscriminate campaign against Iranian-supported insurgents in Yemen, making this country complicit in a humanitarian disaster of horrific proportions. In addition to the more than 17,000 civilians killed and injured by the United Nations' conservative count, millions have been left homeless and beset by disease and starvation. Now the Trump administration is finally moving to try to end the conflict.

      Last week, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo called on both the Saudi-led coalition and Houthi rebels who control much of the country to move to a cease-fire so that U.N.-sponsored negotiations on a political settlement can proceed. He added that a "cessation of hostilities and vigorous resumption of a political track will help ease the humanitarian crisis as well."

      But Pompeo suggested that the Houthis had to make the first move, specifically by ending missile and drone strikes on targets in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. "Subsequently," Pompeo said, "coalition airstrikes must cease in all populated areas in Yemen." That "subsequently" provided an opening for the coalition to continue its air campaign. On Friday, it conducted airstrikes on Sana, the Houthi-occupied capital.

    • Misremembering Vietnam
      “I'm going to Saigon,” said Secretary of Defense James Mattis last month before correcting himself. “Ho Chi Minh City -- former Saigon.”

      It was the fifth time that Mattis would meet with his Vietnamese counterpart, Minister of National Defense Ngo Xuan Lich, and it marked the defense secretary’s first visit to a former U.S. military base outside of Ho Chi Minh City. In 1969, at the height of the Vietnam War, Bien Hoa Air Base was home to 550 aircraft. Today, it is one of many sites heavily contaminated by America’s toxic defoliant of choice, Agent Orange.

      During that conflict, the United States deliberately sprayed more than 70 million liters of herbicidal agents across the Vietnamese countryside to wipe out forests providing cover for the guerrillas -- known as the Viet Cong, or “VC” -- and across rice paddies to drive civilians from their villages. A 1967 analysis by the RAND Corporation concluded that “the civilian population seems to carry very nearly the full burden of the results of the crop destruction program; it is estimated that over 500 civilians experience crop loss for every ton of rice denied the VC.” Of course, toxic defoliants didn’t just fall on foliage. According to hamlet census data, herbicides were sprayed on as many as 4.8 million Vietnamese. Immediate reactions to such exposure included nausea, cramps, and diarrhea. In the longer term, the defoliants have been associated with a higher incidence of stillbirths as well as cancers and birth defects like anencephaly and spina bifida that affect Vietnamese children to this day.

      “USAID is about to start a major remediation project there at Bien Hoa Air Base from the old days,” said Mattis, using the acronym for the United States Agency for International Development. That soil restoration project at the former base, agreed upon in 2014, will take at least several years to complete and cost U.S. taxpayers $390 million. “So, this is America keeping her promise to remediate some of the past,” Mattis explained. Some indeed. So many decades later, there are countless other contaminated hotspots, as well as at least 350,000 tons of live bombs, artillery shells, rockets, and mines that could take hundreds of years to clear. There are also the surviving wounded of the conflict and those who continue to be injured by all that leftover ordnance. And then, of course, there are the still-mourning relatives of those slain then and of the victims of its lethal remains. The past, in such cases, has yet to be remediated.

    • The Great War, and how it ended
      Despite its extensive Remembrance coverage, the BBC hasn't actually tried to explain to its audience how and why Germany lost the war in 1918.


      Four years ago, programmes marking the outbreak of the war had a simpler task. There were, of course, no “ordinary people” to personalise the sweep of events. And the fact that the entire stampede into war after the assassination at Sarajevo took just 37 days made it easier to tell the full story. I had my criticisms of BBC TV’s 3-hour drama “37 Days” but at least it tried to cover the ground. Likewise, many other programmes on radio and television dealt with the lead-up to the war. Particular credit was due to Radio 4 for its deployment of leading historians Margaret MacMillan and Christopher Clark, one telling the story of that lead-up day by day, the other offering five 15-minute essays on the broader picture. (Sadly, Radio 4 had no room for my 2-hour audio drama, entitled “July 1914: Countdown to War”, which told the full story. I do not believe any of the many executives I sent the CD to even listened to it.)


      Perhaps the closest to overview – at least, in its title, “100 Days To Victory” – has been an Australian-Canadian co-production, with a credit for BBC Scotland, telling the story of how Australian and Canadian soldiers (and some Scottish regiments) made a distinctive, even decisive, impact on the fighting on the Western Front in the last months of the war. This was a mixture of archive, specially shot drama footage (of battle, and of the leading generals interacting), dynamic graphics and expert interviews. It was certainly refreshing to have a wide range of rarely seen Canadian, Australian and Scottish academics offering pithy opinions. That Field Marshal Haig was a Scot meant that the story could focus on him alongside the Monash and Currie, the talented and unusual Australian and Canadian commanders (neither came from a military background). The trio were joined by Ferdinand Foch, the French general appointed to co-ordinate the Allied war effort, with the four of them repeatedly marching abreast towards camera, in true “Law and Order” style.

    • The Awful Reason Police Don’t Go After Right-Wing Extremists
      Not for the first time nor the last, the U.S. has recently been hit by a wave of political violence by right-wing political extremists. People are stunned; aren’t far-right groups like the KKK and Nazi Party relics of history?

      Clearly not. Package bombs mailed to Democratic politicians and celebrities, the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, another mass killing at a Florida yoga studio and the double murder of African-Americans in a Kentucky grocery store have Americans asking two questions: who’s to blame, and why didn’t the people we pay to keep us safe see this coming?

      The answer to the first question can be answered in part by digging into the second: law enforcement and intelligence agencies have long had a dismal record of tracking the activities of right-wing extremist groups, much less disrupting violent plots before they can be carried out.

      Considering that the right is responsible for three out of four political terrorism-related deaths, the police are failing to do their job of protecting the public from the biggest threat. (The other fourth are almost all attributable to radical Islamists. In the U.S. the political left hardly ever kills anyone.)

      Turning a blind eye to right-wing violence isn’t new. “Law enforcement’s inability to reckon with the far right is a problem that goes back generations in this country,” Janet Reitman wrote in The New York Times, referencing the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people.

    • Worthy and Unworthy Victims: Jamal Khashoggi and US Imperial Management
      Daniel Falcone: Americans are calling the journalist Jamal Khashoggi a courageous politico who “spoke truth to power,” but as Noam Chomsky has stated power already knows the truth.” Is U.S. response to these types of events reliant upon lazy narratives?

      Anthony DiMaggio: It depends on who we are referencing when we talk about elite responses. The U.S. political elite are quite fragmented at the moment between 1) a creeping fascist-wing, as personified by Trump and reinforced by his followers/lackeys in the Republican Party and far-right corporate media; and 2) a liberal wing that favors corporate power and empire, but has never felt comfortable embracing a full-throated authoritarian, fascistic politics when it comes to domestic affairs.

      On the one hand, the authoritarian/creeping fascist wing of the U.S. political-economic elite, as led by Trump, has little concern with a journalist for a major American newspaper (the Washington Post) who was murdered and dismembered by an allied Saudi terror state that practices medieval torture. It seems silly to try and deny this point in light of the available evidenceof Saudi Arabia’s responsibility for the murder, despite the Trump administration’s efforts to play stupid on the matter. Now the Saudi monarchy is backpedaling from their initial denials, claiming Khashoggi’s death was a “rogue operation” from elements internal to the Saudi security apparatus. But there’s little reason for any critically minded independent thinker to take them seriously considering that they’ve already been exposed as liars on this issue, and considering Khashoggi’s history of being critical of the Saudi regime, rather than simply being critical of individual, allegedly “rogue” operators within that repressive regime.

    • EXCLUSIVE: UK spy agencies knew source of false Iraq war intelligence was tortured
      British intelligence agencies fed questions to the interrogators of a captured terrorism suspect whom they knew was being seriously mistreated in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, and ministers then relied upon his answers to help justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

      Through a close analysis of redacted official documents, Middle East Eye has established that an MI6 officer was aware that CIA officers had placed Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi inside a sealed coffin at a US-run prison in Afghanistan. The officer had then watched as the coffin was loaded onto a truck and driven to an aircraft that was waiting to fly to Egypt.

      In an incident report sent to MI6 headquarters in London, the officer and his colleagues reported that “we were tempted to speak out” at the treatment of Libi, but did not. “The event reinforced the uneasy feeling of operating in a legal wilderness,” they said.

      Despite being aware that Libi had been flown to Egypt inside a coffin, and despite that country’s well-documented record of human rights abuses, both MI6 and MI5 decided to pass questions to be put to him, and continued to receive reports about what he was saying.


      Blair added that the case for war against Iraq was not based upon the links with al-Qaeda, but Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction programme: "I believe that our case on weapons of mass destruction is very clear indeed. It is perfectly obvious that Saddam has them."

    • How the End of World War I Brought the Beginning of Drone Warfare

    • MBS Usurps King Salman’s Authority
      A Reuters news agency report October 19, 2018, said that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has intervened to contain the growing scandal surrounding the death of Jamal Khashoggi. The five sources cited in the report have connection to the Saudi ruling family. One of the sources mentioned that the King has been “asserting himself” to handle the current situation. Two other sources indicated that the King was ignorant of the severity of the “crisis” because the aides to MbS had been guiding the King to only TV channels that showed Saudi Arabia in good light.


      Unsurprisingly, the question gnawing many minds is: why one reporter’s murder caused such a huge outcry in the Western world whereas the horrific war against Yemen carried out by Saudi Arabia with US-supplied weapons has elicited little reaction?

      Yemen has witnessed blind bombings of its cities, towns and people causing heavy death, destruction, famine, and misery.

      Every ten minutes a child dies; the insecurity for the next meal is felt by 8.4 million people; statistics of the Yemeni tragedy are indeed heart wrenching.

      The answer for the unbalanced reaction to the two tragedies is simple: Khashoggi wrote for a very powerful US newspaper without deviating from the information permitted the mainstream media in the US.

      The Saudi war against Yemen would have gotten a Khashoggi type coverage if:

      Thomas Friedman of the New York Times would have gotten killed in Yemen by Saudi bombing while he was justifying the Saudi war against that country or Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person and the owner of Washington Post, had become a part of a collateral damage in Yemen looking for warehouse workers who used toilets at the assigned time only or … so on and so forth.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Why Forests are the Best ‘Technology’ to Fight Climate ChangeWhy Forests are the Best ‘Technology’ to Fight Climate Change
      The warning from the world’s top climate scientists that carbon dioxide (CO2) will need to be removed from the atmosphere to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is both a due and dire recognition of the great task in front of us. What must not be forgotten, however, is the hope that our forests provide.

      The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said limiting global warming to 1.5C is not only achievable but also critical, given the previously underestimated accelerating risks for every degree of warming beyond that target.

      It has also suggested that the amount of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) that will be needed can be limited by significant and rapid cuts in emissions, but also reduced energy and land demand to a few hundred gigatonnes without relying on Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS).

      This means forests and land use can and must play a key role in efforts to achieve 1.5 degrees, but governments and industry too often overlook why improved forest protection, as well as forest restoration, are crucial alternative solutions to risky CDR technologies such as BECCS.

    • NOAA 2019 Tide Tables are Available
      NOAA 2019 tide tables are now available. NOAA tide predictions are used by both commercial and recreational mariners for safe navigation. Printed tide tables provide users with tide and tidal current predictions in an easy-to-read format for particular locations. NOAA's Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services produce these tide tables on an annual basis.

      Member nations of the International Hydrographic Organization make their annual tide and tidal current predictions publically available. This allows each member country to produce annual predictions for locations around the world, in their native language, for use by mariners, shipping industry, and recreational sector. NOAA's annual tide and tidal current tables include predictions for more than 10,000 international locations.

      You can get tide predictions and tidal current predictions online for U.S. coastal stations and some islands in the Pacific and Caribbean, for up to two years. NOAA also provides printed copies of the 2018 Tide Tables and Tidal Current Tables, visit the Tides and Currents website.

      Since World War II, U.S. Coast Guard regulation 33 CFR 164.33 requires that all commercial vessels operating in U.S. waters must have copies of the annual tide and tidal current tables for their area.

    • The Grizzlies of Wapusk: an Unfolding Story of Change
      Wapusk’s grizzlies probably dispersed from established populations to the northwest in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, though their historic distribution is not particularly well documented. Their range is also apparently expanding in other areas of the Arctic too. Very little is known about grizzlies in northern Manitoba. How are grizzly bears making a living up there? Where do they den? What has driven their most recent range expansion? Is it likely to continue, and if so, how far? Optimistically, could they ever make it around the Bay and back to the Ungava Peninsula or Labrador? No evidence of breeding has been seen in the park, though given the very large home range of barren-ground grizzlies in the central Canadian Arctic, the bears observed in northern Manitoba are very likely part of a larger, continuous regional population of barren-ground grizzlies. These bears appear to be benefiting from a warming Arctic, at least temporarily, though precisely why isn’t clear. There’s probably not just one cause either since there have been repeated range expansions and contractions by barren-ground grizzlies over time. One possible clue about what could be driving the dispersal was revealed by my kids late last summer when they went berry picking near Churchill. They filled a bucket with blueberries in less than an hour. I was stunned because twenty-five years ago I measured berry production in the same area when I was a graduate student and it would have taken at least a whole day to fill that bucket back then.

      While food is important, grizzly bear survival usually comes down to human tolerance, so the human dimensions of this situation are probably going to determine how thoroughly grizzlies establish themselves in northern Manitoba. Some communities, such as Baker Lake, Nunavut, initially had a hard time adapting to them when they showed up in the early 2000’s. Inuit there faced increasing conflicts with grizzlies, mainly over caribou meat they’d harvested and often processed at their cabins. Remarkably though, the community showed impressive restraint towards bears considering many of the town’s residents are survivors of the mass starvation that occurred in the 1950s and ‘60s when the caribou they depended on failed to show up. Some in the region have described this expansion as a wave of grizzly bear colonization that moved past Baker Lake almost two decades ago and is now hitting Churchill. I’ve heard the whole gamut of responses to grizzlies there, ranging from fear of the unknown to intense curiosity about something new. Attitudes have shifted since 1998 when a Park Management Board member told me to get out there with a trap and a rifle and get rid of the grizzly we saw. There’s still caution but now there’s also pride as Churchill residents realize that they now live in the only place where all three North American bear species have actually been observed living together.

  • Finance

    • Big Tech Sets Up a ‘Kill Zone’ for Industry Upstarts

      Today’s star companies hire the best engineers and copy the novel ideas of startups, choking off potential competition.

    • Where the streets have no change: how buskers are surviving in cashless times

      Campbell is definitely a busker for the 21st century. She has cards, with information on how to find her on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And as well as the guitar case for coins, she also has something that might make you look twice – a contactless card reader. Because hardly anyone uses cash any more – just like the Queen. (Even two years ago, a survey found that the average Briton carried less than €£5 on them.) No cash? No problem; tap Campbell’s card reader, to give a quid.

    • Spoof London billboards seek to celebrate Putin's 'role' in Brexit
      Britain has said it found no evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 Brexit vote and Moscow has repeatedly denied even trying, though opponents of Brexit have repeatedly questioned whether the Kremlin played a role.

      In the referendum, 17.4 million voters, or 51.9 percent, backed leaving the EU while 16.1 million, or 48.1 percent, backed staying. Britain is due to leave on March 29.

      The posters in London showed a picture of Kremlin chief Putin winking and holding the Russian flag beside the slogan: “Lets celebrate a Red, White and Blue Brexit.” The “r” of Brexit was reversed to give it the look of a Cyrillic letter.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump White House suspends credentials for CNN's Jim Acosta UPDATE: Sanders uses Prison Planet video as "proof"

      After an outcry from several media outlets and the White House Correspondents Association, Sarah Sanders doubled down on the claim that Accosta manhandled the intern who tried to take his mic. You'll notice the timing is a bit off in the video. That's because the video has been sped up to make it look like Acosta "chopped" the intern's arm. The source of the edited video Sarah Sanders used?

    • Stacey Abrams Vows To Fight On: ‘We Still Have A Few More Miles To Go’
      As Election Day gave way to the early morning hours Wednesday, the bruising, often bitter race to become Georgia's next governor continued to defy a ready resolution. With nearly all votes counted, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp enjoyed a slim lead — but his defiant Democratic opponent, former state lawmaker Stacey Abrams, has vowed to push on in hopes of a runoff election.

      The state's electoral rules require a candidate to garner a majority to win the governorship. If neither nominee manages to win more than 50 percent — and with Libertarian Ted Metz also on the ballot, that remains a possibility — Kemp and Abrams would need to square off again in a new round of voting.

      "Tonight we have closed the gap between yesterday and tomorrow. But we still have a few more miles to go," said Abrams, who is vying to become the first female African-American governor in U.S. history.

      She addressed her supporters early Wednesday morning, in a speech far more characteristic of a campaign than a concession.
    • Trump Repeatedly Threatens Retaliation Against Russia Investigators
      The day after Democrats seized control of the House of Representatives, Donald Trump threatened retaliation against lawmakers who “waste Taxpayer Money” by scrutinizing him and his administration, and boasted of his power to end Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. Then, late on Wednesday, he announced the resignation of the man at the helm of the department responsible for the Mueller probe: Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Representative Adam Schiff, one of the top Democrats preparing to investigate the president, had a response at the ready. On Wednesday, he tweeted: “We will protect the rule of law.”
    • Trump Will Only Get More Dangerous

      Jeff Sessions was unfit to serve as attorney general of the United States. He had lied about his civil-rights record, claiming that he’d desegregated schools in Alabama when he hadn’t, as he later admitted under oath. He and his surrogates misled the public by insisting that he had begun his political life campaigning against the segregationist Lurleen Wallace, without mentioning that her GOP opponent was also a segregationist. He exaggerated his role in the prosecution of the Ku Klux Klansmen who lynched Michael Donald. He praised the racist 1924 immigration law that targeted nonwhites, Eastern and Southern Europeans, and Jews. He was rejected for a federal judgeship for allegedly calling a black attorney a “boy” and a civil-rights attorney a “race traitor.” On every crucial question of civil rights in the past 40 years, Sessions has been on the wrong side.

      He also misled the Senate, under oath, about his contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign, then lied about having lied. If his record opposing basic constitutional rights for marginalized groups were not disqualifying, his rank dishonesty should have been.

      As attorney general, Sessions rolled back civil-rights enforcement, failing to file even a single voting-rights case in a country where the Republican Party has settled on disenfranchisement of rival constituencies as a tactic for winning elections. He failed in his duty to prevent the president from attempting to influence the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and then aided the president in presenting a patently false justification for firing former FBI Director James Comey over that investigation. In virtually every consequential way, Sessions should go down in history as one of the worst attorney generals ever to hold the office.
    • Lies, women and migrants turn against Trump
      The balance of powers that defines liberal democracy is most apparent in the US, and could produce three possible scenarios.

      The first is that the same political party dominates the Executive and the Legislature, which was the case before the mid-terms. The second is that parties are split, and one controls the Senate whilst the other controls the House of Representatives which is what has just occurred.

      And finally, the last scenario is that in which the opposing party gains control over the entire Legislature whilst the executive remains in other hands, the most desirable for the Democrats, which they failed to achieve.

      This complex system was designed so that its inefficiency stopped the imposition of one body upon another, allowing for controls of the executive to be put in place.

      Facilitating partisan equlibriums between these two powers creates a dynamic of bi-partisan negotiation and reinforces democratic consensus, whilst limiting presidential power.

      This is of great importance, particularly when the White House is occupied by a figure with authoritarian tendencies.

      In what has been one of the most tense campaigns in electoral history, many issues affecting Latin America have also taken centre stage. That is why we present some of the key factors that influene the election results.
    • Midterm Takeaway: We Need a Lot More Democracy
      I can’t be the only one who spent the night of the midterms tossing and turning. Though I managed to shut off the coverage and try to sleep, spasms of anxiety woke me repeatedly throughout the dreary hours.

      Ultimately, Republicans picked off several red-state Senate seats while Democrats won back the House and at least seven governships.

      A Democratic House will serve as a badly needed check after two years of aggressive Republican monopoly, but I can’t help feeling uneasy. For one thing, I can’t shake the last days of the campaign.

      For a while, Republicans “merely” lied about their policy agenda.

      Rather than campaigning on the $2 trillion tax cut for rich people they actually passed, they promised a middle class tax cut they never even had a bill for. And after spending all last year trying to throw 20 to 30 million Americans off their health care, they (unbelievably!) promised to defend Americans’ pre-existing condition coverage — even as they actively sought to undermine it.

      But the lies took a much darker turn as the White House took hold of the narrative.

      Led by the president, GOP propagandists turned a few thousand refugees — over a thousand miles away in southern Mexico — into an “invading army.” The White House put out an ad about it so shockingly racist and false that even Fox News stopped airing it.

      Unashamed, President Trump kept repeating the obvious lie that the homeless refugees were funded by Jewish philanthropist George Soros — even after a refugee-hating extremist murdered 11 Jews at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
    • After the midterms: Trump learns nothing, and America’s slide into pseudo-democracy continues
      Since Donald Trump's presidential campaign and through his first two years in office, the American news media has been in a state of shock. Their old rulebook has been shredded. Trump has no respect for the truth, democratic norms, the Constitution or the rule of law. As we saw in his press conference immediately following the midterm elections, he views journalists as his enemies.

      Trump wants compliance and obedience; checks and balances are viewed with contempt. Reporters are to be his messengers and mouthpieces, not his critics.

      In the face of such a threat, the American news media first viewed candidate Trump as a spectacle worth billions of dollars in advertising. When Trump became the Republican presidential nominee, many voices in the corporate media desperately tried to normalize him. And then, much too late, these same voices have finally and begrudgingly realized that President Trump is not going to "pivot." He is an authoritarian and autocrat by nature, temperament and style and political goals.
    • The Election Is Over. And Now the Next Elections Begin.
      The official slogan of the state of Illinois remains “Land of Lincoln,” and lots of Republicans still live here. But it’s no longer the land of his political party. The GOP isn’t winning many elections, which is generally considered the purpose of a political party.

      And that brings us to the bluebath that happened this week, when Illinois Democrats seized two congressional seats that for decades had been held by Republicans, ousted one-term Gov. Bruce Rauner, easily held onto every other statewide office, solidified control of the General Assembly and toppled the Cook County commissioner who chairs the state GOP.

      In short, it wasn’t a great night here for the Republicans.
    • So What Trump Investigations Could Be Coming? — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast Extra
      For two years, journalists have operated in an environment in which Congress has declined to inquire into key issues surrounding President Donald Trump’s family business: Is he profiting from his presidency? Are his friends, family and appointees? Is Trump violating the Constitution when members of foreign governments make payments to his company by staying at his properties?

      Now, with Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives after this week’s midterm elections, that could change. Already, several high-ranking members are vowing to look into aspects of the relationship between Trump’s business and his administration.

    • What Will It Take?
      President Trump promotes a precarious situation. One day he says the troops can shoot immigrants who throw rocks. The next day he denies saying it, and stresses rock-throwers will be arrested.
    • A Challenge to the New Blue Congress: Govern as Progressives
      Election results were still pouring in Tuesday night when pundits on cable news channels began to revive a media refrain that conventional wisdom has been aiming at Democratic Party leaders for decades: Stay away from the left and move toward the center.

      We should expect plenty of such advice during the months ahead as Democrats take control of the House for the first time in eight years. It may sound prudent to urge “affordable health care” instead of Medicare for All, or “subsidies for community colleges” instead of tuition-free public college. But such positions easily come across as wonky mush that offers no clear alternative to a status quo that played a role in driving populist anger into the arms of the right wing in the first place.

      Last week, in the closing days of the midterm campaign, Barack Obama campaigned saying that he wanted to appeal to “compassionate conservatives,” a phrase propagated by George W. Bush two decades ago. Few Republicans actually turn out to be persuadable at election time. Efforts to pander to them show contempt for progressive principles. Such pandering can lessen the kind of grassroots enthusiasm that helped to defeat GOP candidates in the latest midterms.

    • These Voters Had to Wait for Hours: “It Felt Like a Type of Disenfranchisement”
      Melanie Taylor arrived at her polling place in a Charleston, South Carolina, church at 7:30 a.m., only to find more than 100 people in line ahead of her. Some of them had already been waiting since 6:15. The voting site was using a computerized login for the first time, and the system was down.

      After 45 minutes, with the line still out the door, Taylor had to give up and leave for work. (She leads a social work program.) She’s planning to try again later and has been monitoring the wait times through a neighborhood Facebook group. The news was not encouraging.

      “It felt like a type of disenfranchisement, even though there wasn’t any violation of voting rights,” Taylor said. “The wait has been all day three hours or more, which is ridiculous.”

    • The Needle and the Damage Done
      Of course, it’s easy to say: Just report the election results, and put it into context. But what happens when corporate media—in their zeal to give the public the big picture (and to draw eyeballs)—get too far ahead of the actual facts?

      Projecting winners in individual races based on official returns, exit polls and precincts left to report is one thing. But extrapolating early results to make broad leaps in logic about what will happen hours later, across dozens of states where polls haven’t even closed yet, is quite another. That can be a reckless gambit, one that doesn’t take much to turn supposedly “objective” data journalism into flawed, rank speculation, as anyone closely following the whipsawing Election Night media narrative on Tuesday can attest.

      If political journalism has become increasingly about polls and the horserace, Election Night coverage has grown to be more and more about flashy gimmicks and real-time scoreboard watching. On TV, this has evolved into things like hologram pundits, as well as the ubiquitous, massive touchscreens that dominate every studio. There’s also been a corresponding push online to create eye-catching dashboards that let you know not just who is ahead right now, but who will likely end up winning at the end of the night. Which brings us to “the needle.”

    • A response to Wolfgang Sperlich on 'The latter day critics of Noam Chomsky'
      Chomsky's claim about his supervisor is extraordinarily difficult to countenance; hence, my remarks about Chomsky's unreliability. It is also, of course, extraordinarily irresponsible – not a "heinous crime," Wolfgang, but certainly disagreeable. It is a charge of gross professional misconduct, something for which there are no other indications at all in Harris's career; quite the contrary. Harris signed all of these theses to indicate his approval, or Chomsky would never have received his degrees, which amounts to public testimony that he did exactly what Chomsky says he did not do.

      But those signatures are only a sliver of the public record on this question. There are many written statements by Harris, and equally by Chomsky, which wholly contradict the charge. I include a few of these in my article, but here's another one, from the preface to Chomsky's PhD dissertation: "This study was carried out in close collaboration with Zellig Harris, to whom I am indebted for many of the fundamental underlying ideas." There is also an eyewitness report (see p. 476). Really, the claim is just so utterly reckless and so flagrantly at odds with the record that it beggars belief. I admit that what it says about Chomsky is not flattering, but I merely document the facts of the case. I draw no other conclusions from those facts other than that what Chomsky says about his own intellectual biography is not reliable. Apparently that's enough to earn me a place in your Knight-inspired, anti-Chomskyan dogpile.

      Some critical thinking advice now, while I have you on the line, Wolfgang. Try reading all of the relevant articles, substituting the name John Smith for the name Noam Chomsky and see if you have the same visceral reaction that everyone is out to get the beleaguered Smith, or if it is just an exchange of facts and opinions about a major contributor to the intellectual life of the last sixty years, an exchange in which only one colloquist is overwrought, you.

    • Gaining perspective on Chomsky’s linguistics
      The pull of this mechanical metalinguistic framework can be felt in Newmeyer’s own defence of Chomsky’s ‘autonomous linguistics’ on the grounds that “the form of language exists independently of its content”. Similarly, Alexander Luria, one of the founders of Vygotskian cultural-historical psychology, no less, paid tribute to the revolutionary impact of Chomsky’s “revolutionary findings” in syntax, comparing Chomsky favourably with Soviet scholars of the 1940, notably Lev Scherba, who “demonstrated the independence of grammatical form from content in Russian.”

      Chomsky himself pushed the distributionalist credo of American descriptivism to unheard of extremes; he purged the methodology of all ‘empirical’ contaminants (i.e. anything to do with linguistic ‘behaviour’) and presented syntax as the domain of an autonomous mental device which he dignified by cloaking it, with confident materialist-mechanist sleight of hand, in the ancient and mystical doctrine of innate ideas.

      Thereby, the asocial, apolitical, and acultural nature of language, and its immunity from human influence, was secured, though the formulation, promulgation and acceptance of the theory itself had far-reaching human consequences from which we still have a long way to recover.

    • Progressives Are Pushing Economic Democracy. Democrats Need to Listen.
      Democrats have the opportunity to advance this vision by bringing attention and resources to powerful local organizing throughout the country and by advancing legislation that can move the party and the political mainstream to the left. The newly-elected progressive House Democrats have a chance to greatly impact national political narratives by creating a left caucus or a Democratic Socialist caucus.

      The progressive agenda must include displacing the corporate economy and creating a democratic political economy in which everyone controls together the systems that provide the things we need to live meaningful and joyous lives — our workplaces, schools at all levels, our systems for health care, housing, energy, food, and so on. As progressives build this vision, we should look to the movements in the US and around the world that are already building economic democracy through solidarity economy institutions. These movements include Cooperation Jackson and the New Economy Coalition in the US, the Zapatistas in Mexico, the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement in Brazil, the Kurds in Rojava in Northern Syria and the municipalist movement in Spain.

    • How to Support the Caravan and Fight Racism
      We have also seen powerful movements to fight racism and inequality around the world, from revolutions in Russia and China, reforms in Cuba, anti-colonial movements in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and the civil rights movement in the US.

    • It’s time to go on the offensive against racism
      When I read this in the morning paper, my heart stopped: Just 40 minutes away from me, the white mother of black children in New Jersey was repeatedly harassed via Facebook by a stranger, who told her that her children should be hung.

      Kentucky police arrested the young white man on Oct. 18, as he was backing out of his driveway with weapons, 200 rounds of ammunition and plans for shooting up a nearby school. The authorities thanked the mom — Koeberle Bull of Lumberton, New Jersey — for alerting them.

      I’m the white grandfather of a family of mostly black children. Someone armed and active is so offended by a mixed-race family that he wants to kill children like mine. Supported by my white daughter Ingrid, I allowed the terror to move through me while I raged and cried.

      After a while, when the intensity of my feelings lessened, Ingrid asked, “Isn’t it time to go on the offensive against racism?”

      I needed to access positive energy. While I was still identifying with the New Jersey mom and immersed in the feelings of fear, the ideas running through my head were all about defense.

      That’s the intention of terror, after all, whether it’s expressed in packages of bombs sent to prominent people or conducting a massacre in a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh. I was gripped by my human programming: When under attack, defend!

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Tanzania detains reporters Angela Quintal and Muthoki Mumo

      The Committee to Protect Journalists says authorities in Tanzania have forcibly detained Angela Quintal, Africa program coordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Muthoki Mumo, CPJ's sub-Saharan Africa representative. Their passports were seized.

    • CPJ calls on Tanzania authorities to release staff Angela Quintal and Muthoki Mumo

      Officers who identified themselves as working with the Tanzanian immigration authority detained Quintal and Mumo in their hotel room in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, this evening, according to Quintal. The officials searched the pair's belongings and would not return their passports when asked. Quintal and Mumo were then escorted from the hotel and have been taken to an unknown location. They were in the country on a reporting mission for CPJ.

    • Iowa State Students Make Demands Over School Trademark Policy Public, Plan Possible First Amendment Lawsuit
      Iowa State University just cannot stop shooting itself in the foot. After attempting to bully a pro-marijuana student organization out of using school iconography, the school both lost the lawsuit that came afterwards and managed to piss away nearly half a million dollars in taxpayer money in having to pay out the would-be victims of its bullying. Instead of learning its lesson after that whole episode, ISU instead decided to alter its trademark usage policy to be way more restrictive, which only pushed student organizations to drop references to the school en masse. At the same time, the student government issued a resolution demanding the school review its policy again and make it less restrictive. Administration officials at that time agreed to meet with the student government to hear their concerns.

      Well, that meeting happened this past week, and everybody is still seriously pissed off.
    • Student organizations voice concerns at meeting on trademark policy
      Student organizations demonstrated their issues with Iowa State’s administration for its implementation of a new trademark policy at a meeting Thursday evening.

      Under guidelines instituted in the summer of 2018, many student groups had to remove the name of the university from their organization name as well as stop using Cy in their logo. Student Government is currently fighting this plan by issuing a resolution and talking with the administration.

      “Moving forward, we don’t know what they are going to do yet,” Speaker Cody Woodruff said. “Right now it’s a waiting game. The ball is in their court.”

      For the immediate future, Student Government wants an apology from the university and an immediate block on the enforcement of the policy. They have alternate plans of action if this deliberation works out poorly.
    • Scruton and Soros
      This is one of those occasions when I know that a significant number of people here will not agree with me. I like George Soros and consider him to be a good man. I should declare an interest; he once bought me a pizza, over 20 years ago. But I considered then, and I consider now, that Soros is a man who has devoted huge amounts of his personal resources, in terms of time and in terms of money, to attempting to make the world a better place, from motives of altruism.

      Furthermore I believe that a lot of the work of the Open Society Institute, which I witnessed first hand, in Poland and Uzbekistan and elsewhere, is good work, particularly in the field of human rights and media freedom.
    • CDA 230 Doesn't Support Habeus Petition by 'Revenge Pornographer'
      As you may recall, Kevin Bollaert ran UGotPosted, which published third-party submitted nonconsensual pornography, and, which offered depicted individuals a "pay-to-remove" option. Bollaert appeared multiple times in my inventory of nonconsensual pornography enforcement actions. Bollaert's conduct was disgusting, and I have zero sympathy for him. Nevertheless, I also didn't love the path prosecutors took to bust him. The lower court convicted him of 24 counts of identity theft and 7 counts of extortion and sentenced him to 8 years in jail and 10 years of supervised release. Pay-to-remove sites are not inherently extortive, and identity theft crimes often overreach to cover distantly related activities.

      Worse, the appeals court affirmed the convictions despite a significant Section 230 defense. The opinion contorted Section 230 law, relying on outmoded legal theories from Fortunately, I haven't seen many citations to the appellate court's misinterpretation of Section 230, so the doctrinal damage to Section 230 hasn't spread too much (yet). However, that still leaves open whether Bollaert's conviction was correct.

      Bollaert raised that issue by filing a habeus corpus petition in federal court. Such petitions are commonly filed and almost never granted, so Bollaert's petition had minimal odds of success as a matter of math. Not surprisingly, his petition fails.

    • Don't Throw Out The First Amendment's Press Protections Just Because You Don't Like President Trump
      Back in April, when the DNC first sued a whole bunch of people and organizations claiming a giant conspiracy between the Russians, Wikileaks and the Trump campaign, we warned that beyond the complaint including a ton of truly nutty claims, it was also an attack on the 1st Amendment. Much of what was described as violating the law by Wikileaks and others was classic journalism activity -- and a ruling in favor of the DNC would do massive harm to the 1st Amendment. Indeed, as the case has continued to move forward, more and more media organizations are warning about the possibility of a catastrophic outcome for news media should the DNC win this case.

      Perhaps ironically, this puts Donald Trump on the same team, legally, as the people he repeatedly insists are "the enemy of the people." His lawyers, of course, don't mind the double standard and have been quick to correctly wrap themselves in the First Amendment to try to get the lawsuit dismissed. This is the proper result.

    • Marsha Blackburn Continues To Be Rewarded For Screwing Up The Internet
      You'd be hard pressed to find a bigger telecom sector crony than Tennessee Representative Marsha Blackburn. Blackburn has long made headlines for her support of SOPA, attacks on consumer protections like net neutrality and the FCC's broadband privacy rules. She's also come out in favor of turning ISPs into censors, and has been first in line to support giant ISP-backed protectionist state laws hampering competition. AT&T is routinely one of Blackburn's top donors, and her home state of Tennessee remains one of the least connected states in the nation as a direct result.

      Even in our current hyper-tribalistic, post-truth reality, you'd have a hard time arguing that Blackburn has been anything but terrible for the health of the internet and consumer rights. Yet somehow, Blackburn just keeps getting rewarded for giving consumers the tech policy equivalent of a giant middle finger.

    • "Tickers of terror" – the crisis of Polish media as told by news crawls
      In the wake of the controversy that surrounded the 2017 Warsaw Independence Day March (which was hailed as "patriotic" by the Polish right wing press but decried as "fascist" and "xenophobic" by the Polish opposition and the international press), Warsaw mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz has just announced that this year she has prohibited the event

      This does not seem to have deterred the right-wing organisers of the march however, who are threatening to demonstrate on November 11 despite the ban, while Poland’s President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki have announced an alternative, government-led independence march. As Poland prepares for another divisive and violent independence day holiday in 2018 (celebrating "100 years of independence"), this may be an opportune moment to reflect on the role of television coverage in the mediation of the unfolding spectacle a year ago.

      Since the Polish government took control of state media in 2016, Polish public television has been heavily criticised for its censorship practices and partisan identity. Against a backdrop of pronounced changes to the structure and audio-visual content of Polish programmes, a particularly salient example of the shift in broadcasting is the changing role of television tickers on public television.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • U.S. official says China violating 3-year-old cybertheft accord
    • China Violated Obama-Era Cybertheft Pact, U.S. Official Says
    • U.S. accuses China of violating bilateral anti-hacking agreement
    • China violated Obama-Xi cyber pact banning cyber-enabled economic espionage: NSA official

    • NSA official: China violating agreement on cyber economic espionage
      Senior National Security Agency official Rob Joyce said Thursday that he believes China is violating a 2015 agreement with the U.S. to end cyber economic espionage.

      Then-President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping reached a deal at the time to stop conducting cyber-enabled intellectual property theft. However, Joyce said at the Aspen Institute's Cyber Summit on Thursday that it "is clear they are well beyond the bounds of the agreement today that was forged between our two countries."
    • Motel 6 to pay $7.6 million for giving guest lists to U.S. immigration
      Motel 6 will pay up to $7.6 million to Hispanic guests to settle a proposed class-action lawsuit claiming that it violated their privacy by regularly providing guest lists to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

    • Motel 6 Agrees To Pay $7.6 Million Settlement For Sending Guest Lists To ICE
      Motel 6 franchise owners suddenly decided it was their job to play part-time cop/immigration officer and use their paying customers as grist for the laughably-named criminal justice system. One branch began faxing guest lists to the local PD without any prompting from the recipient agency. Another decided anyone who didn't look American (guess what that means) should be reported to ICE.

      This drew the attention of the internet. It also drew the attention of the Washington state attorney general. Finally, it drew the attention of the federal court system, but not for the reasons these self-appointed posse members expected. The chain was hit with a class action lawsuit alleging privacy violations related to the unprompted reporting of Hispanic guests to ICE.

      This is going to cost the motel chain some of its light money, as Reuters reports.
    • The Dystopian Future of Facebook
      This year Facebook filed two very interesting patents in the US. One was a patent for emotion recognition technology; which recognises human emotions through facial expressions and so can therefore assess what mood we are in at any given time-happy or anxious for example. This can be done either by a webcam or through a phone cam. The technology is relatively straight forward. Artificially intelligent driven algorithms analyses and then deciphers facial expressions, it then matches the duration and intensity of the expression with a corresponding emotion. Take contempt for example. Measured by a range of values from 0 to 100, an expression of contempt could be measured by a smirking smile, a furrowed brow and a wrinkled nose. An emotion can then be extrapolated from the data linking it to your dominant personality traits: openness, introverted, neurotic, say.

      The accuracy of the match may not be perfect, its always good to be sceptical about what is being claimed, but as AI (Artificial Intelligence) learns exponentially and the technology gets much better; it is already much, much quicker than human intelligence.

      Recently at Columbia University a competition was set up between human lawyers and their AI counterparts. Both read a series of non-disclosure agreements with loopholes in them. AI found 95% compared to 88% by humans. The human lawyers took 90 minutes to read them; AI took 22 seconds. More incredibly still, last year Google’s AlphaZero beat Stockfish 8 in chess. Stockfish 8 is an open-sourced chess engine with access to centuries of human chess experience. Yet AlphaZero taught itself using machine learning principles, free of human instruction, beating Stockfish 8 28 times and drawing 72 out of 100. It took AlphaZero four hours to independently teach itself chess. Four hours from blank slate to genius.

    • China Is Using “Gait Recognition” To Identify People By How They Walk
      We have seen some of the most bizarre usages of AI, by the Chinese surveillance system. Now, it appears like the tracking system is on an altogether new level.
    • Chinese ‘gait recognition’ tech IDs people by how they walk

    • Strange snafu misroutes domestic US Internet traffic through China Telecom

      For almost a week late last year, the improper routing caused some US domestic Internet communications to be diverted to mainland China before reaching their intended destination, Doug Madory, a researcher specializing in the security of the Internet’s global BGP routing system, told Ars. As the following traceroute from December 3, 2017 shows, traffic originating in Los Angeles first passed through a China Telecom facility in Hangzhou, China, before reaching its final stop in Washington, DC. The problematic route, which is visualized in the graphic above, was the result of China Telecom inserting itself into the inbound path of Verizon Asian Pacific.

    • Police decrypt 258,000 messages after breaking pricey IronChat crypto app

      In a statement published Tuesday, Dutch police said officers achieved a “breakthrough in the interception and decryption of encrypted communication” in an investigation into money laundering. The encrypted messages, according to the statement, were sent by IronChat, an app that runs on a device that cost thousands of dollars and could send only text messages.

    • Goodbye, Cortana: Microsoft's Javier Soltero leaves, putting the digital assistant's future in doubt

      Soltero confirmed his decision via Twitter after ZDNet reported the story earlier on Tuesday. Microsoft representatives had not previously responded to requests for comment, but confirmed his departure after Soltero’s Twitter message.

    • Content regulation: what legal obligations for the GAFAM ?
      Last week, we explained that decentralizing the web would bring hope to organize our online exchanges democratically, to counter the hegemony of the online attention economy. Indeed, the GAFAMs are distorting our exchanges for economical reasons while propounding hateful, caricatural, violent or even paid statements... to the detriment of others. This must be fixed. To promote a decentralized alternative, we proposed that libre/open hosting providers (who do not impose a hierarchy of content) should no longer be subject to the same legal obligations as the giant's ones (who do force their hierarchy of content on us). These legal obligations, which require an increasingly rapid censorship of "manifestly illegal" content which are notified to hosting providers, are hampering the development of the decentralized Web. Thus, we proposed that these hosting providers no longer have to bear these heavy obligations: only a judge can require them to censor content.

      Today's question is not about these hosting providers but about the others : what obligations should be applied to the Giants ?

    • Pressure grows on Zuckerberg to attend Facebook committee hearing

      In the six months since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, Zuckerberg has appeared just three times in front of legislatures: twice in the US Congress, and once in the European parliament.

      In a statement, Collins said: “His response is not good enough for my committee nor for the parliamentarians from around the world who also consider that Mark Zuckerberg has questions to answer in person. That’s why we’re inviting him once more […] It’s a call that’s growing, not diminishing.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • NPR Posits Nazis Are Recruiting All Of Our Children In Online Games With Very Little Evidence
      At this point, journalistic handwringing over the assumed dangers of video games has moved beyond annoyance levels and into the trope category. Violence, aggression, becoming sedentary, and the erosion of social skills have all been claimed to be outcomes of video games becoming a dominant choice for entertainment among the population that isn't collecting social security checks, and all typically with little to no evidence backing it up. This has become so routine that one can almost copy and paste past responses into future arguments.

      But NPR really went full moral panic mode with a post that essentially claimed the recruitment of children into rightwing and Nazi extremist groups is a full on thing, while an actual analysis of what it relied on to make that claim reveals, well, very little of substance at all.

    • Under Trump, ICE Is Targeting Political Dissidents Like Me
      After the separation of parents and children at the US-Mexico border this summer renewed uproar over the abuses of the US immigration enforcement agencies, the call to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency charged with detentions and deportations inside the country, began to catch fire.

      People protesting ICE for the first time joined those who have been on the front lines of the fight for immigrant justice for decades. While I have been heartened by all who have joined the movement to end detentions and deportations, my own activism has come at a cost: Some leading activists like myself who have long opposed ICE now face retaliation from the agency itself, with surveillance, arrests and deportations of ICE’s opponents on the rise.

      This kind of targeting did not start with Trump. I know from documentation secured through a Freedom of Information Act request that ICE has been surveilling my actions and those of the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) Resistance, the group I helped co-found to support immigrants detained at the now-infamous Tacoma immigrant detention jail, since the Obama administration.

    • Six Women of Color Who Campaigned for Congress on Inequality and Won
      Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez, after her shocker defeat of a 10-term incumbent in the June primary, strolled to victory as the new member of Congress from New York’s 14th district, earning 78 percent of the vote. At 29, she’s the youngest woman ever to hold a seat in the House.

      In the months leading up to the election, Ocasio-Cortez lent her political star power to support other candidates and to mainstream bold progressive proposals like Medicare for All, debt-free college, and raising taxes on corporations and the ultra-wealthy.

      Ocasio-Cortez also calls for carbon taxes to help speed up the transition from fossil fuels to 100 percent renewables. “Right now, the economy is controlled by big corporations whose profits are dependent on the continuation of climate change,” she said during the campaign. “This arrangement benefits few, but comes at the detriment of our planet and all its inhabitants.”

      In her acceptance speech Tuesday night, Ocasio-Cortez said, “In the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, our greatest scarcity is not a lack of resources but the absence of political courage and moral imagination.”

    • Deb Haaland, One of Nation’s First Native Congresswomen, Calls for Probe of Missing Indigenous Women
      Two Native American women have made history in the midterms, becoming the nation’s first Native congresswomen. Democrat Sharice Davids won the 3rd Congressional District in Kansas, unseating Republican Kevin Yoder. In New Mexico, Democrat Deb Haaland won in the 1st Congressional District, defeating Republican Janice Arnold-Jones. They will join more than 100 women in the U.S. House of Representatives—another historic first. We speak to Deb Haaland about her plans for Congress, the crisis of missing and murdered Native American women around the country, and whether she’ll attempt to impeach Donald Trump.

    • Ex-Congresswoman Who Voted to Impeach Nixon: Trump Firing Sessions Brings Back Troubling Memories
      Democrats have seized control of the House of Representatives, flipping more than two dozen seats in a historic midterm election that gives Democrats subpoena power for the first time since President Donald Trump was elected two years ago. A day after the election, Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Trump’s firing of Sessions has led to many comparisons between Trump and former President Richard Nixon. On Wednesday, CNN’s Jake Tapper called Sessions’s ouster another chapter in “a slow-motion, multi-monthed Saturday Night Massacre.” He was referencing the infamous Saturday Night Massacre in 1973, when then-Attorney General Elliot Richardson and his deputy resigned after President Richard Nixon ordered Richardson to fire the special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal. We speak with Elizabeth Holtzman, former U.S. congressmember from New York who served on the House Judiciary Committee that voted to impeach Richard Nixon. Her new book, “The Case for Impeaching Trump,” is out on Monday. And we speak with David Cole, the national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union and professor of law and public policy at Georgetown University Law Center.

    • Bolsonaro’s Win Brings Big Dangers, but Brazil’s Left ‘More United Than Ever’
      Bolsonaro is not a “Trump of the Tropics” because, although Trump has used racist, homophobic and sexist rhetoric to generate controversy and ratings, he’s essentially a conman. He’s not someone that you get the feeling grew up believing this sort of stuff.

      Bolsonaro, on the other hand, is literally a neo-fascist who comes out of Brazil’s neo-fascist tradition.

      [US academic] Noam Chomsky and others coined the phrase neo-fascist to describe the dictatorships of Latin America, especially in Brazil, in the 1960s and ’70s.

      That’s the time in history Bolsonaro values most highly.

      He has appointed into top cabinet positions three military generals who were active during the dictatorship and his vice president is a military general.
    • New Acting Attorney General Part Of A Patent Scam Company Recently Shut Down By The FTC And Fined Millions
      Fascinating. But, getting even closer to the usual stuff that we cover on Techdirt, it also appears that Whitaker played a key role in a patent promotion scam company that was recently fined millions of dollars by the FTC. And, Whitaker apparently used his former job as an Assistant US Attorney to try to intimidate an unhappy "customer" of this firm away from filing a Better Business Bureau complaint. In other words, not only is Whitaker associated with a scammy patent marketing company, he also abused his former title in an effort to create a chilling effect on someone's speech.

      The Miami New Times had a big article last year about the scam that was World Patent Marketing, which (of course) was based in Florida (why are so many of these scams based in Florida?).


      Anyway, in March of 2017, the FTC filed a complaint concerning Cooper and World Patent Marketing. In May of this year, the case was closed out with the court granting a permanent injunction and monetary judgment against Cooper and World Patent Marketing. The court ordered a $26 million payment from the defendants, but also required Cooper specifically to hand over nearly $1 million from the sale of his $3.5 million home, and the rest of the judgment was suspended. There are a bunch of other stipulations in the order, requiring Cooper to accurately submit details of his business activities for many years into the future, and he is "permanently restrained and enjoined from advertising, marketing, promoting or offering for sale, or assisting in the advertising, marketing, promoting or offering for sale of any Invention Promotion Service."

      Whitaker, it seems, was a bit player in this invention promotion scheme, but clearly was closely enough involved that he acted as a legal threat bully in at least that one case. That should certainly raise significant questions about how just a couple years later that same guy is suddenly the country's acting Attorney General.
    • Whitaker on Patent Marketing
      Following up on the patent experience of US Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. Although not a patent attorney, Whitaker has been a board member of the now defunct invention promotion scam World Patent Marketing. In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed suit against the company, won a preliminary injunction against its ongoing business, and then a consent decree for $27 million in judgments and injunction against ongoing business. (Apparently at least $24 million is gone and not being repaid.)


      Whitaker was not prosecuted by the FTC and was not named in either the preliminary injunction or the consent decree. Unlike other board members, Whitaker has not returned the cash he received in the scheme and has made no public statement regarding his role or the scam. My hope is that the AG will have learned from this experience, however his ongoing silence on the issue is troubling.

    • Jeff Sessions’ Successor Had Advised Company Accused of Scam
      Matthew Whitaker, appointed acting attorney general on Wednesday after Jeff Sessions resigned, was a paid advisory-board member of an invention-promotion company shut down by federal regulators last year as an alleged scam.

    • The Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Agenda for the New Congress
      Oregonians defeated an anti-immigrant ballot measure, reaffirming no one should be targeted based on the color of their skin, their accent, or their perceived immigration status.

    • Fierce Critic of Mueller Probe Now Has Power to Sabotage the Investigation
      The day after the midterm elections, Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and appointed Trump loyalist Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general. Whitaker, who has criticized the Mueller probe in the past, could fire Mueller or defang his investigation.

      Although Sessions was faithfully carrying out Trump’s draconian agenda on civil rights, immigration and policing, the president had Sessions in his sights since the latter recused himself from the Russia investigation in March 2017. Sessions’s recusal resulted from his failure to disclose at his confirmation hearing that he met with Russian officials when he was a Trump campaign advisor in 2016. The recusal paved the way for the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

      Champing at the bit to fire Sessions, Trump was convinced by his advisers to wait until after the midterms to avoid harming GOP candidates.

      Sessions’s recusal infuriated Trump because it resulted in Rosenstein appointing Mueller in May 2017. Mueller has been methodically following his mandate to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump” and “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Nintendo awarded damages and injunction against public road go-karting with Mario costume
      On September 27 2018, Tokyo District Court ruled in favor of the claim by Nintendo against a company which had lent costumes of Nintendo’s game characters such as Mario to make its customers ride a go-kart on public road under the name of “MariCar”. The defendant appealed to IP High Court the next day, September 28.

    • Copyrights

      • An Immodest Proposal for the Music Industry [Ed: Doc Searls means recording industry, not music industry. The recording conglomerates merely exploit musicians; they're merely distribution channels]
        They want to solve this by lobbying: "The value gap is now the industry's single highest legislative priority as it seeks to create a level playing field for the digital market and secure the future of the industry." This has worked before. Revenues from streaming and performance rights owe a lot to royalty and copyright rates and regulations guided by the industry.

      • Romanian ISPs to Block The Pirate Bay Following Hollywood Complaint

        The campaign to have The Pirate Bay blocked worldwide has taken another step forward. Several Hollywood studios including Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, Sony, Paramount, Universal, and Columbia, have obtained a court order in Romania that forces several local ISPs to restrict access to the site. Two other sites, FilmeHD and FilmeOnline, will also be targeted.

      • AT&T disconnects whole families from the internet because someone in their house is accused of copyright infringement

        The [I]nternet is not a video-on-demand service, it's the nervous system of the 21st century. Terminating someone from the internet terminates their access to family, education, employment, civic and political engagement, health care information, and virtually everything else we use to measure whether a society is functioning well for its citizens.

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