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Links 1/3/2019: Rust 1.33.0 and New Ubuntu LTS

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • System76 Launches Refreshed Oryx Pro Linux Laptop with RTX GPUs, Bigger Displays
      As we reported earlier this week, the Oryx Pro laptop has been refreshed with newer graphics and upgraded components. Following on the footsteps of the recently refreshed "Darter Pro" and "Serval WS" Linux laptops from System76, the Oryx Pro now features Nvidia RTX 20-series GPUs, 8th Gen Intel CPUs, larger screens, better speakers, as well as more memory and storage.

      Best of all, the new Oryx Pro models come with Nvidia Optimus support to make it easier for users to switch between the dedicated Nvidia graphics card and the integrated Intel GPU, thus also optimizing the performance of the laptop and the battery life, and are still available in a super thin aluminum alloy design.

    • Chrome OS 74 adds audio playback support for Linux apps
      Chrome OS has been steadily improving its services support to increase its reach. Roughly four years ago, Chrome OS added the support to run Linux distros in a virtual environment, and subsequently added support for running Android applications in Chrome OS as well. However, despite adding a Linux environment to Chrome OS, it had a lot of limitations in terms of usability and features. Now, the latest update of Chrome OS 74 has brought the much-required addition of audio playback support for Linux apps in Chrome OS.

      Until now, while the Linux setups could be used to run apps beyond the regular web apps for Chrome OS, the overall usage was restricted and tasks such as video editing and playback-related tasks could not be executed. The Chrome OS 74 update is now in the developer circle, for app builders and publishers to incorporate the audio compatibility into their programs. The audio channel support is handled by PulseAudio, a popular Linux audio system that handles audio encoding and transmission over networks.

    • 7 fresh Chromebook features to keep an eye on
      Speaking of apps, Linux apps on Chromebooks still feel like a bit of a tacked-on addition — a useful way to expand what your Chromebook can do, to be sure, but also more of an awkward appendage than a true native part of the operating system. Google's got several fixes in the works that should help with this and make Linux apps seem more at home in the Chrome OS environment.

      First, it'll soon be easier to access files while using a Linux app on your Chromebook. Right now, Linux apps are able to access only a specific area of your device's storage that's designated explicitly for Linux app use. That's part of how Google maintains Chrome OS's unusual security setup and keeps the main operating system isolated from these potentially compromising local programs, but it also makes it pretty tricky to open files or find what you need while using a Linux app — since you basically have to copy or move things around manually ahead of time in order to do that.

      Soon, you'll be able to easily share entire folders with the Linux part of your system — possibly as early as the Chrome OS 73 release, which is slated to arrive in mid-March.

      Beyond that, engineers are working on a way to let Linux apps access your Google Drive storage, your Android-app-related files, and also files from a USB storage device, should you be so inspired. All of that could also show up broadly as soon as the Chrome OS 73 release, in a matter of weeks.

      And finally, in Chrome OS 74, in late April, we could see the long-awaited addition of audio playback support for Linux apps — which would open the door to a level of advanced audio editing work not currently possible on Chromebooks.

  • Server

    • Unix turns 40: The past, present and future of a revolutionary OS
      Forty years ago this summer, a programmer sat down and knocked out in one month what would become one of the most important pieces of software ever created.

      In August 1969, Ken Thompson, a programmer at AT&T subsidiary Bell Laboratories, saw the month-long departure of his wife and young son as an opportunity to put his ideas for a new operating system into practice. He wrote the first version of Unix in assembly language for a wimpy Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC) PDP-7 minicomputer, spending one week each on the operating system, a shell, an editor and an assembler.

    • Introducing The place for finding Kubernetes-native services
      Today Red Hat is launching in collaboration with AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft. is designed to be the public registry for finding Kubernetes Operator backed services.

      Introduced by CoreOS in 2016, and now championed by Red Hat and a large portion of the Kubernetes community, the Operator pattern enables a fundamentally new way to automate infrastructure and application management tasks using Kubernetes as the automation engine. With Operators, developers and Kubernetes administrators can gain the automation advantages of public cloud-like services, including provisioning, scaling, and backup/restore, while enabling the portability of the services across Kubernetes environments regardless of the underlying infrastructure.

      As the Operator concept has experienced growing interest across upstream communities and software providers, the number of Operators available has increased. However, it remains challenging for developers and Kubernetes administrators to find available Operators, including those that meet their quality standards. With the introduction of, we are helping to address this challenge by introducing a common registry to publish and find available Operators. At, developers and Kubernetes administrators can find curated Operator-backed services for a base level of documentation, active communities or vendor-backing to show maintenance commitments, basic testing, and packaging for optimized life-cycle management on Kubernetes.

    • Automate Operations on your Cluster with
      One of the important challenges facing developers and Kubernetes administrators has been a lack of ability to quickly find common services that are operationally ready for Kubernetes. Typically, the presence of an Operator for a specific service - a pattern that was introduced in 2016 and has gained momentum - is a good signal for the operational readiness of the service on Kubernetes. However, there has to date not existed a registry of Operators to simplify the discovery of such services.

      To help address this challenge, today Red Hat is launching in collaboration with AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft. enables developers and Kubernetes administrators to find and install curated Operator-backed services with a base level of documentation, active maintainership by communities or vendors, basic testing, and packaging for optimized life-cycle management on Kubernetes.

      The Operators currently in are just the start. We invite the Kubernetes community to join us in building a vibrant community for Operators by developing, packaging, and publishing Operators on

    • Red Hat Supports Rakuten Mobile Network’s End-to-End Cloud-Native Mobile Network with Open Source Technologies
      Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that its open source technologies will be used by Rakuten Mobile Network, Inc. in launching its new mobile network, which is planned to be launched in October 2019. The fully virtualized, end-to-end cloud-native network will allow Rakuten Mobile Network to more agilely respond to customer needs and provide differentiated offerings from legacy mobile vendors, as well as better prepare the carrier to meet the forthcoming demands of 5G technologies.

    • Node.js for Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes wins a Devie award
      For the past year and a half or so, Red Hat Middleware has provided a supported Node.js runtime on OpenShift as part of Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes (RHOAR). Our goal has been to provide rapid releases within a week or two of the upstream Node.js core project, booster applications to get developers up and running quickly, and, of course, provide world-class service and support for customers.

      This past week at the DeveloperWeek 2019 conference in San Francisco, that focus and dedication paid off as Red Hat was awarded a “Devie” award in the category of “Code Frameworks and Libraries.” I couldn’t have been more thrilled to accept the award on behalf of our team.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • AMD Zen 2 EDAC Support Being Readied, Preps For Up To 8 Memory Controllers Per Die
      AMD developers continue working out the open-source enablement bits for Linux to handle the upcoming Zen 2 processors.

      We've seen more and more Zen 2 related kernel patches come out in recent months and the latest is a revision to their EDAC patches for the kernel's Error Detection And Correction code in reporting ECC errors, etc. The patches extend the existing AMD64 EDAC driver for supporting Family 17h Model 30h and beyond.

    • Status of the Embedded GPU Space @ Embedded World
      Recently I gave a talk at Embedded World about the Status of the Embddded GPU Space.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Cloud Native Computing Foundation Announces containerd Graduation
        The Cloud Native Computing Foundation€® (CNCF€®), which sustains open source technologies like Kubernetes€® and Prometheus, today announced that containerd is the fifth project to graduate, following Kubernetes, Prometheus, Envoy, and CoreDNS. To move from the maturity level of incubation to graduation, projects must demonstrate thriving adoption, diversity, a formal governance process, and a strong commitment to community sustainability and inclusivity.

        “After being accepted into CNCF nearly two years ago, containerd continues to see significant momentum – showcasing the demand for foundational container technologies,” said Chris Aniszczyk, CTO of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. “A lot of work and collaboration from the community went into the development and testing of a stable, core container runtime, the community worked hard to broaden its maintainer and adoption base, on top of going through a external security audit so I’m thrilled to see the project graduate.”

      • OpenChain Project Announces Bosch as Platinum Member
        The OpenChain Project, which builds trust in open source by making open source license compliance simpler and more consistent, announced today that Bosch has joined as a platinum member. Membership momentum continues to grow for the project, as Microsoft joined just a few weeks ago as well as other large companies including Uber, Google and Facebook in December. OpenChain provides a specification as well as overarching processes, policies and training that companies need to be successful in managing open source license compliance so that it becomes more efficient, understandable and predictable for participants of the software supply chain.

        As code flows between companies that consume billions of lines of open source software through their supply chains to build new products and services, a key challenge is ensuring the relevant license requirements are met in a timely and effective manner. The OpenChain Project provides a consistent way to address that and other challenges. Conformance with the OpenChain Specification shows that an organization follows the key requirements of a quality open source compliance program, and builds trust between organizations in the supply chain. It makes procurement easier for purchasers and preferred status easier for suppliers.

      • Leveraging BI and Big Data in Modern Business
        Companies today are collecting data at an unprecedented rate, but how much of the collected data actually makes an impact on their business? According to ODPi, by 2020, the accumulated volume of Big Data will increase from 4.4 zettabytes to roughly 44 zettabytes or 44 trillion GB. It’s a tall order for companies to translate this data into ROI, and many businesses still don’t know how to combine Business Intelligence (BI) with Big Data to get insightful business value.
      • New Elisa Project Focuses on Linux In Safety-Critical Systems
        Last week the Linux Foundation, which maintains the Linux operating system and other enterprise-focused open source projects, announced the launch of a new project to make sure Linux-based systems and applications are up to snuff when running in safety critical systems.

        The project is called Elisa, for "Enabling Linux in Safety Applications," and it's aim is to create a shared set of tools and processes for building Linux-based systems that will operate without surprises in situations where failure could cause injury, loss of life, or result in significant property or environmental damage.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMDGPU Begins Staging 200+ Changes For Linux 5.2 Kernel
        With the feature cut-off past for getting new Direct Rendering Manager driver changes into DRM-Next ahead of the Linux 5.1 merge window expected to open up this weekend, AMD developers have already begun staging their latest feature work for what in turn will target the Linux 5.2 kernel a few months down the line.

        Since yesterday is now the drm-next-5.2-wip branch for staging the work-in-progress AMDGPU driver changes being worked on for the Linux 5.2 cycle. In the initial push are more than 200 changes over the DRM-Next/5.1 material already queued for the forthcoming cycle.

      • VDPAU Library 1.2 Released With HEVC 4:4:4 Support
        While NVIDIA may be divesting from the Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix (VDPAU) in favor of their NVENC/NVDEC APIs that are part of the NVIDIA Video Codec SDK, they do continue maintaining the VDPAU library (libvdpau) at least for the time being.

        Libvdpau 1.2 was released today as the new version of this VDPAU library used by the NVIDIA proprietary driver as well as other VDPAU implementations like that is available via the Mesa Gallium3D state tracker. This VDPAU library 1.2 release adds new chroma types and a new picture parameter structure to support HEVC 4:4:4, which was their most recent addition.

      • RadeonSI Driver Adding Displayable DCC For Raven Ridge
        Delta Color Compression (DCC) support for scan-out surfaces will soon be supported by AMD Raven Ridge hardware in conjunction with the latest AMDGPU Linux kernel code and the RadeonSI OpenGL driver.

        The open-source AMD Linux driver stack hasn't supported Delta Color Compression for scan-out surfaces on Raven Ridge, but this feature is being addressed by AMD's Marek Olšák for this feature to help conserve memory bandwidth and in turn enhance performance. Up to now the DCC support hasn't supported the surfaces being scanned out to the display.

    • Benchmarks

      • ASRock Rack EPYCD8-2T Makes For A Great Linux/BSD EPYC Workstation - 7-Way OS AMD 7351P Benchmarks
        If you are looking to assemble an AMD EPYC workstation, a great ATX motherboard up for the task is the ASRock Rack EPYCD8-2T that accommodates a single EPYC processor, eight SATA 3.0 ports (including SAS HD), dual M.2 PCIe slots, dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports,and four PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots all within ATX's 12 x 9.6-inch footprint. This motherboard has been running well not only with various Linux distributions but also DragonFlyBSD and FreeBSD.

        I picked up the ASRock EPYCD8-2T several weeks back and it's been working out very well as an EPYC 1P board and especially if you are looking more for a desktop/workstation-oriented EPYC build but can work just fine as a server board as well, this board has the common ASpeed AST2500 BMC controller. With the single SP3 socket are eight DDR4 memory slots to keep EPYC happy with its eight DDR4-2666 memory channels compared to four on Threadripper. For plenty of connectivity this motherboard has four PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots as well as three PCI Express 3.0 x8 slots. The PCIe slots and ATX size of the motherboard make this board practical should you be wanting a multi-GPU workstation for some scientific workloads that can also commonly leverage the eight memory channels of EPYC. For storage there are plenty of SATA 3.0 ports as well as two SAS HD headers and also two OCuLink ports for U.2 SSDs.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Chat on Matrix
        KDE and open source in general has used IRC since the 90s but times change and these days people expect more than text with lots of internals exposed to the user. So KDE has set up a Matrix server which talks to other Matrix server and importantly also talks to IRC servers and their channels because some people will never change. The bridging to IRC isn’t perfect but it works much neater than on e.g. Telegram where the IRC user is one bot, here the IRC user is an individual user and you can set it up to use the same nickname you’ve been using since 1995. Unless you use square brackets in your nickname in which case I’ve no sympathy.

        But it still requires a bit of understanding and setup. For one thing you need an app to talk to it, and the more common apps seem to be Riot web and Riot Android. KDE has its own setup of Riot web called and you can get the Android client from F-Droid or Google Play. Once you make an account you also need to tick some boxes (including one saying you are over 16 which vexes somewhat but it doesn’t be beyond the ability of most 15 year old to work out how to work around it).

      • Google Summer of Code with KDE Connect
        KDE is happy to announce that we will be part of Google Summer of Code 2019. GSoC is a program where students recieve stipends to work on free software for 3 months. Getting paid for open source work, that’s the dream, right?

        KDE Connect is participating with 3 interesting projects that also involve other areas of KDE

      • Google Summer of Code 2019: Call for Coders!
        Every summer Google puts on a program that helps university developers get involved with the open source community. This is known as Google Summer of Code (GSoC). Krita has always participated in GSoC through the KDE community, and plans to do it again in 2019!

        If you, or someone you know, is in university and wants to work on Krita, you have come to the right place.

      • KaOS 2019.02
        The policy is, once a first pacman -Syu becomes a major update, it is time for a new ISO so new users are not faced with a difficult first update. Major updates included a move to Python 3.7 (3.7.2), Readline 8.0.0, Glib2 2.58.3, Qt 5.12.1, PHP 7.2 besides the usual full Frameworks, Plasma & KDE Applications replacements, so most systems will see 70-80% of their install replaced by new packages so a new ISO is more than due.

        Plasma 5.15 is included in this ISO. Highlights of this version include changes to the configuration interfaces, including more options for complex network configurations, integration with third-party technologies like GTK, Wayland now supports virtual desktops, and Firefox 64 can now optionally use native KDE open/save dialogs.

  • Distributions

    • MiyoLinux: A Lightweight Distro with an Old-School Approach
      If you’re itching to throw it back to a time when Linux offered you a bit of challenge to your daily grind, MiyoLinux might be just the operating system for you. It’s a lightweight operating system that makes good use of a minimal set of tools. Anyone who likes their distributions to be less modern and more streamlined will love this take on the Linux desktop. However, if you prefer your desktop with the standard bells and whistles, found on modern distributions, you’ll probably find MiyoLinux nothing more than a fun distraction from the standard fare.

    • New Releases

      • Mozilla Releases Common Voices, KStars v3.1.0 Is Out, LibreELEC 9.0.1 (Leia) Now Available, System76's New Oryx Pro Laptops Slated to Arrive and Security Flaw in Google Chrome
        LibreELEC 9.0.1 (Leia) is now available. This release of the Linux-based open-source operating system for embedded devices "contains many changes and refinements to user experience and a complete overhaul of the underlying OS core to improve stability and extend hardware support. Kodi v18 also brings new features like Kodi Retroplayer and DRM support that (equipped with an appropriate add-on) allows Kodi to unofficially stream content from services like Netflix and Amazon." In addition, "Changeable SSH passwords and a default firewall configuration have been added to combat the increasing number of HTPC installs that can be found on the public internet." Go here to download.

      • Kali Linux 2019.1 security OS released
        This month Kali Linux 2019.1 security OS has been released, bringing with it an updated version of the Metasploit. Together with wider support for ARM devices and update the kernel up to version 4.19.13 and includes many updated packages, bug fixes and improvements. The major feature of the latest Kali Linux 2019.1 release is the inclusion of a new Metasploit 5.0 version which is the software’s first major update since the launch of version 4.0 way back in 2011.

        “Welcome to our first release of 2019, Kali Linux 2019.1, which is available for immediate download. This release brings our kernel up to version 4.19.13, fixes numerous bugs, and includes many updated packages. Metasploit 5.0 is a massive update that includes database and automation APIs, new evasion capabilities, and usability improvements throughout. Check out their in-progress release notes to learn about all the new goodness. Kali Linux 2019.1 also includes updated packages for theHarvester, DBeaver, and more. For the complete list of updates, fixes, and additions, please refer to the Kali Bug Tracker Changelog.”

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • ARM and TaiShan and YES Certified, Oh My!
        As the earliest Linux OS company to support ARM, SUSE has been working actively with many providers in the ARM ecosystem for years. This new collaboration between SUSE and Huawei is significant because it’s a major milestone that shows our 2 companies are extending the strategic relationship from the x86 field to the ARM space. This makes both companies better positioned to help customers meet future challenges and the diversified computing requirements of this new digital era! Let’s queue the champagne, congratz team and here’s to more successful collaboration I the exciting world of ARM!

    • Fedora

      • Testing Flicker Free Boot on Fedora 29
        For those of you who want to give the new Flicker Free Boot enhancements for Fedora 30 a try on Fedora 29, this is possible now since the latest F29 bugfix update for plymouth also includes the new theme used in Fedora 30.

      • Bodhi 3.13.3 released
      • Fedora 30 supplemental wallpapers
        Each release, the Fedora Design team works with the community on a set of 16 additional wallpapers. Users can install and use these to supplement the standard wallpaper. The Fedora Design team encourages submissions from the whole community. Contributors then use the Nuancier app to vote on the top 16 to include.

      • Updated packages of varnish-4.1.11 with matching vmods, for el6 and el7
        Recently, the Varnish Cache project released an updated upstream version 4.1.11 of Varnish Cache. This is a maintenance and stability release of varnish 4.1, which you may consider as the former “LTS” branch of varnish. I have updated my varnish 4.1 copr repo with packages for el6 and el7. A selection of matching vmods is also included in the copr repo.

    • Debian Family

      • Chris Lamb: Free software activities in February 2019

      • Jonathan Carter: Free Software Activities (2019-02)

      • Tim Retout: My Free Software Activities for Jan/Feb 2019
        I have done a small amount of free software work! However, I’m going to cheat and list it since the start of the year. Social groups First, the fun stuff: I organised the first two meetings of the Bedford Linux User Group. Fire engines were observed on both occasions, but this was pure coincidence.

      • Paul Wise: FLOSS Activities February 2019
        The purple-discord upload and the apt-listchanges bug were sponsored by my employer. All other work was done on a volunteer basis.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 16.04.6 LTS released
            The Ubuntu team is happy to announce the release of Ubuntu 16.04.6 LTS (Long-Term Support) for its Desktop and Server products, as well as other flavours of Ubuntu with long-term support.

            Unlike previous point releases, 16.04.6 is a security-targeted release for the purpose of providing updated installation media which protects new installations from the recently discovered APT vulnerability (USN-3863-1). Many other security updates for additional high-impact bugs are also included, with a focus on maintaining stability and compatibility with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

            Kubuntu 16.04.6 LTS, Xubuntu 16.04.6 LTS, Mythbuntu 16.04.6 LTS, Lubuntu 16.04.6 LTS, Ubuntu Kylin 16.04.6 LTS and Ubuntu MATE 16.04.6 LTS are also now available.

          • Ubuntu 16.04.6 LTS Released With APT Vulnerability Fix, Other Security Updates Included
            Ubuntu 16.04.5 was scheduled to be the last point release of the Xenial Xerus, but the recent Debian APT security vulnerability led to Canonical coming up with Ubuntu 16.04.6 in order to ship this package management vulnerability with the Ubuntu 16.04 Long Term Support install media. That point release is now available.

            For those still relying upon Ubuntu 16.04.6, this release just offers up updated install media for the APT security vulnerability as well as other security updates to different packages, but doesn't yield anything compared to what users can already enjoy if updating their Ubuntu Xenial installation post-install -- in other words, no new hardware enablement stack, etc, like some scheduled LTS releases enjoy.

          • Canonical Releases Ubuntu 16.04.6 LTS with Patched APT and Security Updates
            Canonical released today the Ubuntu 16.04.6 LTS point release to its long-term supported Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system series to address a recently discovered APT vulnerability.

            As reported earlier this week, Canonical started working on emergency point releases for its Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) operating system series to offer users who want to install these releases a more secure live/installation media that patches a security vulnerability affecting the APT package manager.

            The APT security vulnerability affects all Debian and Ubuntu-based operating systems and could allow a remote attacker to install malicious packages in machines that didn't patched the flaw to execute code as root and possibly crash the host. The vulnerability made APT to recognize the malicious packages as valid ones.

          • Ubuntu 16.04.6 LTS Released, Fixes Major APT Security Issue
            Ubuntu 16.04.6 LTS is now available to download.

            No, I haven’t made a typo (for once): this is an unscheduled point release in the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS series.

            New ISOs have been spun up to fix a major vulnerability in the APT package manager (a handful of other security updates are also included for good measure).

          • The Fridge: Ubuntu 16.04.6 LTS released
            The Ubuntu team is happy to announce the release of Ubuntu 16.04.6 LTS (Long-Term Support) for its Desktop and Server products, as well as other flavours of Ubuntu with long-term support.

            Unlike previous point releases, 16.04.6 is a security-targeted release for the purpose of providing updated installation media which protects new installations from the recently discovered APT vulnerability (USN-3863-1). Many other security updates for additional high-impact bugs are also included, with a focus on maintaining stability and compatibility with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

            Kubuntu 16.04.6 LTS, Xubuntu 16.04.6 LTS, Mythbuntu 16.04.6 LTS, Lubuntu 16.04.6 LTS, Ubuntu Kylin 16.04.6 LTS and Ubuntu MATE 16.04.6 LTS are also now available. More details can be found in their individual release notes:

   Users of Ubuntu on clouds are recommended to launch new instances using the latest images from the 16.04 release stream, which include the fix in APT for USN-3863-1. Maintenance updates are provided for 5 years for Ubuntu Desktop, Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu Cloud, Ubuntu Base, and Ubuntu Kylin. All the remaining flavours are supported for 3 years.

          • Canonical adds containerd to Ubuntu Kubernetes
            Canonical today announced support for containerd in its 1.14 releases of Charmed Kubernetes and Microk8s, improving security and robustness.

            “Containerd has become the industry-standard container runtime focused on simplicity, robustness and portability.” said Carmine Rimi, product manager for Kubernetes at Canonical. “Enabling Kubernetes to drive containerd directly reduces the number of moving parts, reduces latency in pod startup times, and improves CPU and memory usage on every node in the cluster.”

          • Canonical Improves Security and Robustness of Ubuntu Kubernetes with Containerd

          • Containerd Moving Forward as Cloud-Native Landscape Matures
            The open-source containerd project is a foundational element for the modern cloud-native landscape, providing the container runtime used by millions of applications every day.

            On Feb. 28, the containerd project hit a major milestone, officially graduating from the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), highlighting the project's overall maturity and stability. Graduation is the highest level of a project within the CNCF, which is host to more than 40 cloud-native projects, including the Kubernetes container orchestration system.

            "For a lot of external users, especially at the enterprise level, graduation shows a form of maturity for the project," Michael Crosby, containerd maintainer and Docker engineer, told eWEEK. "We have all the criteria from the foundation checked off, in terms of governance and fairness with how code is contributed and is managed for the project."

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Release notes for the Genode OS Framework 19.02
    In our road map for 2019, we stated our goal to make Genode more relevant and appealing for a broader community. The current release takes a big leap towards that goal: It opens up Sculpt OS for 3rd-party software providers, introduces a federated blogging platform about Genode-related topics, and makes the world's most popular programming language (Java) available to Genode users.

    With the 4th stage of the evolution of Sculpt OS - themed as "community experience" (CE) - Genode's custom general-purpose OS introduces a novel and simple way for users to discover software, and for software providers to announce software. There is no middle man like an app store or a distribution! We hope that this federated model of software provisioning and deployment will have a vitalizing effect on the community around Genode. On a practical level, the interactivity of the new version is a playful and fun experience. Section Sculpt OS as a community experience (CE) gives a rough overview about Sculpt CE. A ready-to-use disk image will be released mid of March.

  • Genode OS 19.02 Released With Sculpt OS Improvements, Java Availability
    The Genode operating system framework continues marching along with SculptOS that they are sculpting into a general purpose operating system. The project's first release of 2019 is now available.

    The Genode OS Framework 19.02 and their adjacent Sculpt OS update brings a federated software provisioning model, finally makes available Java with its OpenJDK support being stable on x86-64 and 32-bit ARM, improved run-time support for Ada and OCaml programming languages, better support for the i.MX6 Quad Sabrelite, and other improvements.

  • Roundcube fr_FEM locale 1.4-rc1
    Roundcube 1.4-rc1 was released today and with it, I've released version 1.4-rc1 of my fr_FEM (French gender-neutral) locale.

  • What's happening in the OpenStack community?
    Since 2010, the OpenStack community has been building open source software to run cloud computing infrastructure. Initially, the focus was public and private clouds, but open infrastructure has been pulled into many new important use cases like telecoms, 5G, and manufacturing IoT.

    As OpenStack software matured and grew in scope to support new technologies like bare metal provisioning and container infrastructure, the community widened its thinking to embrace users who deploy and run the software in addition to the developers who build the software. Questions like, "What problems are users trying to solve?" "Which technologies are users trying to integrate?" and "What are the gaps?" began to drive the community's thinking and decision making.

    In response to those questions, the OSF reorganized its approach and created a new "open infrastructure" framework focused on use cases, including edge, container infrastructure, CI/CD, and private and hybrid cloud. And, for the first time, the OSF is hosting open source projects outside of the OpenStack project.

  • Social Network for Journalists Launches on Open-Source Platform
    Masthead is powered by Mastodon, a free, open-source, decentralized and federated social media platform created by German college student Eugen Rochko in 2016. Funded by grants and donations, Mastodon now powers dozens of online communities with more than two million total users around the globe.

  • Apache Arrow: The little data accelerator that could
    A few years back, we noted the emergence of Apache Arrow; what piqued our attention was that the backers consisted of "a who's who list" of over 20 committers from the likes of Cloudera, MapR, Hortonworks,, DataStax, Twitter, AWS, and Dremio.

    As we characterized it then, Arrow was about big data, almost literally, lining its duck up in a… column. Arrow is a standard columnar format for persisting data efficiently in memory. You'd think that in-memory compute would simply brute force performance, which was one of the original draws of Spark. But memory isn't just a fast black box. There's a trick to loading data so it can be read efficiently; that's why developers often ran out of memory.


    Given the wide support, the Apache project page listing a sampling of products and projects using Arrow is a bit underwhelming, as few of them are household names. Examples include Fletcher, a framework for converting an Arrow schema to work with FPGAs; Graphistry, a visual investigation platform used for security, anti-fraud, and related investigations; and Ray, a high-performance distributed execution framework designed for machine learning and AI applications. But where there's smoke, there's fire; download rates from the project portal are averaging about 1 million monthly. The community remains active; over the past year nearly 300 individuals have submitted more than 3000 contributions.

    So where is Arrow pointing from here? The most exciting project involves its role as the foundation for cuDF, the DataFrame foundation library for RAPIDS that is built around Arrow. There is Gandiva, the emerging SQL execution kernel for Arrow developed by Dremio that is based on the LLVM open source compiler. Another initiative is around transport so data marshaled on one Arrow node can be efficiently replicated or moved to another.

  • Want to Start a Collaborative Journalism Project? We’re Building Tools to Help.
    We’ll be sharing some of the software we built, and the lessons we learned, while creating our Documenting Hate project, which tracks hate crimes and bias-motivated harassment in the U.S.

    The idea to launch Documenting Hate came shortly after Election Day 2016, in response to a widely reported uptick in hate incidents. Because data collection on hate crimes and incidents is so inadequate, we decided to ask people across the country to tell us their stories about experiencing or witnessing them. Thousands of people responded. To cover as many of their stories as we could, we organized a collaborative effort with local and national newsrooms, which eventually included more than 160 of them.

    We’ll be building out and open-sourcing the tools we created to do Documenting Hate, as well as our Electionland project, and writing a detailed how-to guide that will let any newsroom do crowd-powered data investigations on any topic.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Firefox 65.0.2 Released for Linux, Windows, and macOS
        Mozilla Firefox has recently received a new update on all supported desktop platforms, as the parent company makes another step towards the next major browser release. Firefox 65.0.2 is thus available for download on Windows, Linux, and macOS, but the ones getting more love this time are those running Microsoft’s operating system.

        While users on all these platforms should install the new Firefox build as soon as possible, version 65.0.2 resolves a geolocation issue on Windows, as per the official changelog.

      • Implications of Rewriting a Browser Component in Rust
        The style component is the part of a browser that applies CSS rules to a page. This is a top-down process on the DOM tree: given the parent style, the styles of children can be calculated independently—a perfect use-case for parallel computation. By 2017, Mozilla had made two previous attempts to parallelize the style system using C++. Both had failed.

        Quantum CSS resulted from a need to improve page performance. Improving security is a happy byproduct.

  • Networking

  • LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 6.2 – de oppresso liber officium
      If we look at LibreOffice in isolation, and ignore the Microsoft side of the story, it’s a pretty solid suite, with lots of great things. It’s also free, and that’s not a negligible element. But then, there are also things that need to be improved and fixed – and fast. I believe that momentum is slowly ebbing across the entire open-source space, especially products that have a strong Linux presence. It could be the usual wear-‘n’-tear, it could be some sort of inspirational crisis, or just the harsh reality of things in early 2019. While LibreOffice is making progress, it’s not doing that fast enough. Now, cue competition, and things are ever worse.

      LibreOffice needs a more consistent UI, with fewer but better designed layouts that will always render nicely, without having to worry about fonts or DPI or anything of that sort. The editing of images and charts is slow and inefficient. The styles can be streamlined a whole order of magnitude. Finally, we do have to contend with Microsoft Office and the file format compatibility. This remains a big issue. Unless LibreOffice users can create files and send them knowing those files will open correctly on other people’s machines, it will always remains an underdog. And at some point, the hope will fade. Let’s all hope that LibreOffice can sustain its energy to become more than a pro-am experiment. In a way, your freedom depends on it.

      After all, if you ain’t first, you’re last.

    • LibreOffice monthly recap: February 2019
      Check out our regular summary of events and updates in the last month!

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Programming/Development

    • Pete Zaitcev: Mu accounts

    • Pete Zaitcev: Multi-petabyte Swift cluster

    • 5 Python Bug Fixing Tools Essential For Developers

    • Announcing Rust 1.33.0
      The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.33.0. Rust is a programming language that is empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.

    • Rust 1.33 Released With Pinning, Library Stabilizations
      Golang 1.12 was released earlier this week while in the modern programming language spotlight today is the release of Rust 1.33.

    • Python Plotly Tutorial
      Plotly is an analytics company known for developing real-time analytics, statistics and graphing tools for web-based application and standalone Python scripts. In this lesson, we will look at basic examples with Plotly and build up simple and intuitive time-series data graphs which will be 100% interactive in nature and yet easy to design. These graphs can be used in presentations as they are fully interactive and ready to play with.

    • Teaching Python in Middle School

    • Doubly Linked List with Python Examples

    • self.liberate() – Writing a game in Python for Android was a liberating experience
      This is what happened to me and I guess you could call it “Programmer Burnout”. Although I prefer different kinds of burnouts.

      The feeling really sucks, because you like your job and enjoy making stuff. In the end, that is why you are doing it in the first place.

      Now to draw a nice parallel, I like cars almost as much I love computers. And car people always talk about tinkering and modifying and testing and doing all sorts of weird stuff to their cars during the weekends. I couldn’t remember when was the last time I just tinkered with anything software related on a weekend or whenever.

    • GitLab v11.8 extends security testing, Pages and time itself…
      GitLab v11.8 rolled out over the weekend, giving users a long list of changes and improvements to pore over.

      The latest version has a host of changes, but the vendor chose to lead with the extension of Static Application Security Testing to JavaScript, bringing the total number of languages and frameworks supported to 11.

      The latest version also aims to improve error spotting, with integration with open source error tracker Sentry, and the most recent errors now being flagged up in projects. Last month Sentry tightened its integration with GitLab, adding release and commit tracking as well as suspect commits.

    • Eclipse Foundation reveals significant strides with IoT
      The Eclipse Foundation is working to accelerate the commercial adoption and development of the Internet of Things. Through the Eclipse IoT initiative and Eclipse IoT Working Group, the foundation has been working with industry leaders to provide open-source, modular IoT architecture components.

      Since the working group was launched in IoT, the foundation has revealed it has reached milestones of three million lines of code, 41 member companies, 37 IoT projects and 350 contributors.

      “It is time to take a look at what Eclipse IoT has to offer as organizations that choose vendor-specific (proprietary) alternatives to get started begin to run into challenges regarding scale, complexity or cost that has them interested in open source alternatives,” 451 Research stated in a recent report. “While it is not necessarily easier to get an IoT project up and running using open source software, the long-term advantages once an IoT system reaches critical scale are clear–more predictable costs and avoidance of vendor lock-in–and they are driving enterprises to investigate open source options.”

    • Eclipse IoT Reaches New Milestones in Open Source IoT Leadership

    • Eclipse IoT has over 350 contributors working on 37 projects
      Google’s Cloud IoT Edge. Amazon’s AWS IoT. Microsoft’s Azure Sphere. Baidu’s OpenEdge. There’s no shortage of platforms and initiatives promising to simplify the management of internet of things (IoT) devices, of which Gartner expects there will be 5 billion by 2020. However, one at the forefront is Eclipse IoT Working Group, a collaboration of vendors working to define a modular IoT deployment architecture. In the roughly eight years since its launch, Bosch, Red Hat, Cloudera, Eurotech, and 41 other companies and 350 contributors have worked diligently to expand its components’ codebase, which in turn has fueled adoption. The Eclipse Foundation — the not-for-profit corporation that acts as a steward of the Eclipse development community — today said that Eclipse IoT has 37 projects. That’s up from three projects in 2011.

    • How To Train Open Source Artificial Neural Network GPT-2 To Do Your Language Homework For You
      Clever boy Donny Ferguson took advantage of the GPT-2 artificial neural network model to do the homework for him. Tasked with describing the reasons for the Civil War in the US, all he had to do was give “Geeppy” the prompt and let it give it a few tries.

    • Managing vim8 plugins
    • Tryton News: Newsletter March 2019


  • The FTC Probably Doesn't Need A New 'Big Tech' Task Force. It Just Needs To Do Its Job
    While I'm not sold on the need to break up Facebook, it's a solid point that the FTC should maybe focus on doing the job it already has, and layering additional bureaucracy on a broken apparatus may not be the best path forward. The FTC routinely does nothing to address problematic sectors like telecom, where anti-competitive megamergers and ripping off customers is an almost daily occurrence. For example, the FTC could easily crack down on the bogus fees companies like Comcast use to jack up your advertised rate using its power under the FTC Act, yet I've never seen the agency so much as fart in the direction of the problem when bigger companies are involved.

    While there's certainly a lot of solid complaints to be made about "big tech" giants like Facebook and Google (especially on the privacy front), it's also pretty obvious that a lot of the recent criticisms of "big tech" aren't being made in good faith. Claims of "censorship" of conservatives, for example, usually don't hold up under scrutiny, and are often driven by folks who wouldn't be facing these problems if they didn't behave like legendary assholes on the internet in the first place.

    Similarly a lot of the recent criticism of big tech is coming from telecom giants eager to saddle Silicon Valley giants with unnecessary regulation in a bid to hoover up a bigger slice of the online advertising pie. On the one hand, telecom giants like AT&T and Verizon just got done convincing the FCC to effectively neuter itself, leaving any remaining oversight in the lap of an FTC they know won't (and often can't) hold them accountable.

  • Hardware

    • Arm Sharpens Its Edge With The “Helios” Neoverse E1
      For the past decade, we have documented the attempted rise of ARM processors in the datacenter, specifically in general purpose servers.


      We can imagine all kinds of uses and all manner of configurations that the E1 and N1 chips might be put to use in. The question now, as always with the Arm collective, is this: What partners of Arm are going to do what to actually get chips based on this innovative technology to market? Moreover, how much will they be tempted to fuss with it? Hopefully there will be many partners, and less fussing. Time is of the essence.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • In the Battle Against Opioids, Saving Lives Should Come First
      As a New York State Trooper was handcuffing me at our State Capitol, I told him, “I lost my son. This is for him.”

      Jeff was an amazing kid, a chef, who was 28 when he died of a heroin overdose. I was willing to face arrest at an Albany protest because our elected officials know what they can do to save lives like Jeff’s — including providing resources for longer rehabilitation and after-care, freeing doctors to prescribe addiction treatment medications, and setting up safe injection sites in the event of relapse.

      But they don’t. Instead, they stick to old-fashioned rehabilitation models that aren’t working.

      When Jeff was alive, no one told us how hard it is to beat an opioid addiction. No one offered us Suboxone or other proven treatments. No one told us about Naloxone, which can reverse an overdose. Give him “tough love,” treatment providers told us, so we did.

      Doctors are able to prescribe unlimited amounts of opioid pills for pain, but few of them understand the addiction this creates, nor offer help for it. And none are allowed to prescribe Suboxone or Methadone, which help overcome opioid dependence, without a specialized waiver.

    • Glyphosate Found in 19 of 20 Beers and Wines Tested
      Glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller that some studies have linked to cancer—is also a secret ingredient in nearly 20 popular beers and wines.

      That's the finding of a new study from the education group U.S. PIRG, which found glyphosate in 19 of 20 wine and beer brands tested, including organic labels and brews.

      The release of the study coincides with the beginning of the first federal trial against Monsanto and its new parent company Bayer over whether Roundup use caused a plaintiff's cancer, USA Today reported Monday.

      "With a federal court looking at the connection between Roundup and cancer today, we believe this is the perfect time to shine a spotlight on glyphosate," study author and U.S. PIRG Toxic's Director Kara Cook-Schultz told USA Today. "This chemical could prove a true risk to so many Americans' health, and they should know that it is everywhere – including in many of their favorite drinks."

      The drink with the highest glyphosate concentration was Sutter Home Merlot, at 51.4 parts per billion (ppb). Popular beer brands like Coors Light, Miller Lite and Budweiser all had concentrations above 25 ppb. The full results of the study, from highest to lowest glyphosate concentration in ppb, are listed below.

    • Five 2020 Democrats Back Sweeping Bill to Legalize Marijuana Nationwide and Aid Impacted Communities
      The Marijuana Justice Act, initially put forth two years ago, was reintroduced on Thursday by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). It is consponsored by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who are all seeking the Democratic nomination for president.

      Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden (Ore.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), and Jeff Merkley (Ore.)—who is weighing a 2020 bid—are also backing the bill. Spearheading the companion legislation in the House are two Democrats from California: Ro Khanna and Barbara Lee, co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

      Booker's bill would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances and legalize it across the United States. However, several other provisions have generated excitement among drug policy experts and advocates for criminal justice reform.

      The legislation would also expunge the criminal records of people with use and possession convictions, allow those who are currently incarcerated for marijuana-related crimes to petition for resentencing, and invest in community re-entry and job training programs.

    • FDA Bans Cancer-Causing Food Additives, But Won’t Enforce Until 2020
      In ancient times, additives may have been used not only to make food more flavorful but to keep it safe for consumption, too. Bruce Eaton, a retired professor of biochemistry at the University of Colorado, Boulder, points out that “the proliferation of the spice trade, which began as early as 3000 B.C., led to increasing demand for additives to enhance the taste of food,” adding that, “historical records … include the use of spices to preserve meat and inhibit the growth of bacteria.”

      Fast forward to the 20th century. As the U.S. diet became more synthetic, processed and commercialized, food additives became more common. In 1958, Congress passed the Food Additives Amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, requiring the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve all additives used in food production. To date, there are hundreds of FDA-approved food additives, ranging from vitamin D3 (a nutritional supplement found in beverages like orange juice) to sulfaquinoxaline (an antibiotic used for livestock and poultry), and another list of approved color additives.

      Though these additives exist in trace or larger quantities in nearly every packaged food we consume, after they are approved, there isn’t enough research to understand their long-term health effects. Now, however, regulators are moving in.

      Following pressure from several environmental and consumer safety groups, the FDA in October 2018 opted to ban seven synthetic food additives known to cause harm — synthetically derived benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, methyl eugenol, myrcene, pulegone, pyridine and styrene — ingredients you typically don’t see on food labels since they’re grouped together under the term “artificial flavors.” Food companies have 16 months to remove the additives from their products. While that’s welcome news for food safety advocates, it means that the newly banned ingredients, which have been proven to cause cancer in lab animals, will still be ingestible in the United States for all of 2019.

    • Insurance Stocks Plunge as Medicare for All Bill Unveiled With Major Democratic Support
      Support for Medicare for All is rapidly gaining momentum in Congress—and insurance investors are starting to get nervous.

      Health insurance stocks tanked on Wednesday as Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) introduced comprehensive Medicare for All legislation with the backing of more than 100 House Democrats and major progressive organizations, including America's largest nurses' union and national consumer advocacy groups.

      "The S&P 500 Managed Health Care Index plunged as much as 4.9 percent, the most since Dec. 6, led by UnitedHealth Group Inc., Humana Inc., and WellCare Health Plans Inc.," Bloomberg reported after Jayapal unveiled her bill during an event on Capitol Hill. "Insurers UnitedHealth and Cigna Corp, which also own the country's largest pharmacy benefit managers, were both down about four percent."

    • Racism in Medicine: As Doctors, We Must Do Better
      It’s not an uncommon conversation I have had or overheard during medical school and residency—the barely concealed judgment of patients deciding how they wish to manage their health. These judgments, often of Black patients, were ensconced within conversations expressing disbelief at how these patients could wait so long to present for care, reject suggestions made by their doctor, or worry about being experimented on. Sometimes, this incredulity by my colleagues or superiors would turn into disdain and ridicule, questioning the patient’s intelligence or ability to make decisions for themselves.

      My colleagues lacked the historical context of what centuries of structurally racist ideas and practices were present within the medical community, leading to such distrust of the system. As a Black female physician, I had difficulty articulating why such statements felt so wrong until I took it upon myself to learn about the many ways people of color, and specifically Black people, have been controlled, exploited, and legislated by our government and the medical community since the founding of this nation.

    • Lawmakers Introduce Sweeping Legislation to Fix Nation's Crumbling Water Infrastructure
      Progressive lawmakers introduced sweeping legislation to deliver water justice to people across the country amid skyrocketing water bills for families across the U.S., recent drinking water crises in states including Michigan, Ohio, and regulatory inaction to eliminate toxic chemicals in water sources used by millions of Americans.

      The Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability (WATER) Act of 2019 would create a $35 billion trust fund to invest in water infrastructure improvements across the United States. The legislation will be a step toward making sure public water services are functional and guaranteeing safe, clean, and affordable for American households, its sponsors say.

      Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) were among the members who introduced the bill in the House Thursday, while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) proposed companion legislation in the Senate.

  • Security

    • Thunderclap flaw could let hackers to crack into PCs with infected peripherals
      SECURITY BOFFINS have uncovered a flaw in the Thunderbolt specification that could leave PCs and Macs open to attack through USB-C and DisplayPort peripherals.

      Dubbed 'Thunderclap' by cybersecurity researcher Theo Markettos and fellow boffins, the vulnerability allows hackers to exploit the privileged direct-memory access (DMA) provided through the speedy Thunderbolt connection to get access to the workings of a targeted gadget.

      That access could allow hackers to carry out the usual pilfering of passwords and encryption keys, the executing of malicious code and user tracking.

    • WireGuard VPN Tunnel Software Publishes New Snapshot But It Won't Be In Linux 5.1
      Jason Donenfeld, the lead developer of WireGuard, has released a new snapshot version of this secure VPN tunnel cross-platform software.

      WireGuard 0.0.20190227 is the new testing version of this very useful and practical alternative to the likes of OpenVPN. This pre-release version has changes for FreeBSD, various low-level code improvements, mitigating potential side-channel attacks, fixing allocation stalls, fixes for compatibility with older kernel versions, and other changes.

      There is also optimizations to help WireGuard to be "much much faster" for operations involving thousands of peers. Jason particularly noted, "Batch peer/allowedip addition and clearing is several orders of magnitude faster now."
    • Disbanding of this committee has left Guyana vulnerable to cyber attacks
      ‘The perpetrators of this act requested a ransom of bitcoins (digital money) to remove all encryptions from within the network. GPL has not heeded to, and will not heed to, any such ransom.’

    • Power company still recovering from system hack
      “We were hacked recently and some of our systems are still down and we are working on it,” Sears-Murray told Stabroek News yesterday.

    • Public Utilities Commission prepared to intervene on behalf of this GPL customer
      I write with reference to a letter in the Stabroek News edition of Tuesday, 5th February 2019 captioned, `Power bill skyrocketed with new meter, GPL not providing any answers’, which stated that GPL’s newly installed meter is not producing accurate readings of electricity consumption.

    • A year in review: 2018 Product Security Risk Report
      Each year, Red Hat Product Security reflects back and reviews the vulnerabilities that impacted our products. We’ve shared the results of this analysis in our annual Red Hat Product Security Risk report.

      Looking back, 2018 was a busy year in the field of incident response and vulnerability management. Many high-profile issues were discovered that had broad-reaching impacts to operations in all sectors, from traditional data-centers all the way out to the edges of the cloud. Customers potentially affected by issues with kernels, Kubernetes and others looked to Red Hat to help understand the potential to impact their operations.

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Latest container exploit (runc) can be blocked by SELinux
      A flaw in runc (CVE-2019-5736), announced last week, allows container processes to "escape" their containment and execute programs on the host operating system. The good news is that well-configured SELinux can stop it.

    • Mozilla Says Australia's Compelled Access Law Could Turn Staff There Into 'Insider Threats'
      What's true for Mozilla, is true for every foreign software company: in order to protect the integrity of their code, they would be forced to regard every Australian coder as a security risk, and downgrade their access to the code accordingly. The difficulties of managing that kind of situation will probably force software companies to pull out of Australia completely. It will also have a big impact on the trustworthiness of any code produced in the country. In fact, that's already a problem, as another submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee makes clear. It comes from one of the leading Australian software companies, FastMail, which provides hosted email services to 40,000 companies around the world. It says that "we have seen existing customers leave, and potential customers go elsewhere, citing this bill as the reason for their choice." Like Mozilla, FastMail is worried about the impossible position of employees (pdf), who may be coerced by the Australian authorities into weakening the company's code:

    • Binary Linux Trojan [Ed: The tricky part is tricking users to actually install this malicious binary blob on their system/s]
      In order to demonstrate that client side attacks and trojans are not exclusive to the Windows world, we will package a Metasploit payload in with an Ubuntu deb package to give us a shell on Linux.

    • Addressing Security Issues on Linux Home Computers
      Linux is known for being a safe and secure operating system, but it's not impervious to attacks. As Linux gains more market share and becomes an option that large companies choose for their systems, malware creators turn their attention to creating code that can compromise this operating system. People relying on Linux for their home computers should be aware of the best practices that can protect them from malicious applications and other security issues.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Trump-Kim Summit Collapses Over Sanctions Impasse
      Talks between President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un collapsed Thursday after the two sides failed to bridge a standoff over U.S. sanctions, a dispiriting end to high-stakes meetings meant to disarm a global nuclear threat.

      Trump blamed the breakdown on North Korea’s insistence that all the punishing sanctions the U.S. has imposed on Pyongyang be lifted without the North committing to eliminate its nuclear arsenal.

      “Sometimes you have to walk,” Trump explained at a closing news conference after the summit was abruptly cut short. He said there had been a proposed agreement that was “ready to be signed.”

      “I’d much rather do it right than do it fast,” Trump said. “We’re in position to do something very special.”

      Mere hours after both nations had seemed hopeful of a deal, the two leaders’ motorcades roared away from the downtown Hanoi summit site within minutes of each other, their lunch canceled and a signing ceremony scuttled. The president’s closing news conference was hurriedly moved up, and he departed for Washington more than two hours ahead of schedule.

    • 'A Major Failure': North Korea Summit Cut Short as Trump Refuses to Lift Sanctions
      Peace leaders and international observers expressed disappointment on Thursday that President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un cut short their second summit after they reached an impasse over the easing of economic sanctions.

      The talks concluded abruptly without Trump and Kim formally ending the decades-long war or finalizing a nuclear deal.

      "This is a huge missed opportunity and a disappointment to Koreans waiting 67 years to see a decisive end to the Korean War," said Christine Ahn, executive director of Women Cross DMZ, who traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam for the meeting. "Declaring an end to the Korean War will be an important step to demonstrate their commitment to transforming the relationship from one of war to peace."

    • “The Korean People Want Peace”: Christine Ahn on Trump Walking Away from N. Korea Nuclear Talks
      A historic summit to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula ended without an agreement Thursday, after talks between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un fell apart. Their second summit meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, failed after Kim Jong-un demanded that the U.S. lift all sanctions on North Korea in exchange for dismantling the Yongbyon enrichment facility—an important North Korean nuclear site. We speak with Christine Ahn, founder and executive director of Women Cross DMZ, a global movement of women mobilizing to end the Korean War.

    • Nuclear Crisis Group Reacts to Aborted Trump-Kim Summit
      In June 2017, Global Zero’s international Nuclear Crisis Group released a set of urgent recommendations to avoid the use of nuclear weapons and called on national leaders to act to reduce the unacceptably high risk of nuclear conflict. The report called for the United States and North Korea to begin immediate discussions, without any preconditions, to reduce the risk of conflict and advocated for these immediate steps, which could serve as a roadmap for follow-on negotiations...

    • Pakistan Pledges to Release Captive Indian Fighter Pilot
      Pakistan’s prime minister pledged on Thursday his country would release a captured Indian fighter pilot, a move that could help defuse the most serious confrontation in two decades between the nuclear-armed neighbors over the disputed region of Kashmir.

      Prime Minister Imran Khan made the announcement in an address to both houses of Parliament, saying he tried to reach his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Wednesday with a message that he wants to de-escalate tensions.

      “We are releasing the Indian pilot as a goodwill gesture tomorrow,” Khan told lawmakers. He did not say whether the release was conditional.

    • Climate Change as the End Game for U.S. Global Power
      Once upon a time in America, we could all argue about whether or not U.S. global power was declining. Now, most observers have little doubt that the end is just a matter of timing and circumstance. Ten years ago, I predicted that, by 2025, it would be all over for American power, a then-controversial comment that’s commonplace today. Under President Donald Trump, the once “indispensable nation” that won World War II and built a new world order has become dispensable indeed.

      The decline and fall of American global power is, of course, nothing special in the great sweep of history. After all, in the 4,000 years since humanity’s first empire formed in the Fertile Crescent, at least 200 empires have risen, collided with other imperial powers, and in time collapsed. In the past century alone, two dozen modern imperial states have fallen and the world has managed just fine in the wake of their demise.

      The global order didn’t blink when the sprawling Soviet empire imploded in 1991, freeing its 15 “republics” and seven “satellites” to become 22 newly capitalist nations. Washington took that epochal event largely in stride. There were no triumphal demonstrations, in the tradition of ancient Rome, with manacled Russian captives and their plundered treasures paraded down Pennsylvania Avenue. Instead, a Manhattan real-estate developer bought a 20-foot chunk of the Berlin Wall for display near Madison Avenue, a sight barely noticed by busy shoppers.

      For those trying to track global trends for the next decade or two, the real question is not the fate of American global hegemony, but the future of the world order it began building at the peak of its power, not in 1991, but right after World War II. For the past 75 years, Washington’s global dominion has rested on a “delicate duality.” The raw realpolitik of U.S. military bases, multinational corporations, CIA coups, and foreign military interventions has been balanced, even softened, by a surprisingly liberal world order -- with sovereign states meeting as equals at the United Nations, an international rule of law that muted armed conflict, a World Health Organization that actually eradicated epidemic diseases which had plagued humanity for generations, and a developmental effort led by the World Bank that lifted 40% of humanity out of poverty.

      Some observers remain supremely confident that Washington’s world order can survive the inexorable erosion of its global power. Princeton political scientist G. John Ikenberry, for example, has essentially staked his reputation on that debatable proposition. As U.S. decline first became apparent in 2011, he argued that Washington’s ability to shape world politics would diminish, but “the liberal international order will survive and thrive,” preserving its core elements of multilateral governance, free trade, and human rights. Seven years later, amid a rise of anti-global nationalists across significant parts of the planet, he remains optimistic that the American-made world order will endure because international issues such as climate change make its “protean vision of interdependence and cooperation... more important as the century unfolds.”

      This sense of guarded optimism is widely shared among foreign-policy elites in the New York-Washington corridor of power. The president of the influential Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, has typically argued that the “post-Cold War order cannot be restored, but the world is not yet on the edge of a systemic crisis.” Through deft diplomacy, Washington could still save the planet from “deeper disarray” or even “trends that spell catastrophe.”

      But is it true that the decline of the planet’s “sole superpower” (as it was once known) will no more shake the present world order than the Soviet collapse once did? To explore what it takes to produce just such an implosion of a world order, it’s necessary to turn to history -- to the history, in fact, of collapsing imperial orders and a changing planet.

    • WATCH: Democrat Ilhan Omar Questions Madeline Albright on Use of Sanctions and Failures of US Military Intervention
      While much of the country was watching the testimony of Michael Cohen on Wednesday, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) was questioning former Secretary of State Madeline Albright in a separate, largely vacant hearing room about sanctions and the pitfalls of past U.S. military interventions.

      "Some scholars and practitioners of foreign policy have questioned whether sanctions are effective in changing the behavior of certain governments," Omar said, pointing out that economic sanctions can have dire effects on the innocent populations of targeted countries.

      Albright, who once infamously told 60 Minutes reporter Lesley Stahl that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children due to sanctions were "worth it" to get rid of then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, said sanctions still have a role to play in American foreign policy.

    • An Admiral Told a Senator Most Navy Reforms Were “Complete.” Navy’s No. 2 Says Otherwise.
      Sen. Angus King wanted some straight answers. At a Feb. 12 hearing of a panel of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he expressed alarm over recent revelations concerning two deadly collisions of Navy ships in the Pacific in 2017. King, a Maine independent, declared the accidents avoidable and questioned the Navy’s commitment to fixing the problems that had helped cause them. Frustrated, King challenged a top Navy leader to come clean.

      “I want real numbers. I don’t want general ‘We’re working on staffing’ or ‘We’re working on more training,’ because these were avoidable tragedies,” King told Adm. Philip Davidson, the top military commander in the Pacific. “I would like to see specific responses from the Navy. Not promises and not good feelings.”

      Nine days later, Davidson sought to reassure King, who while an independent caucuses with Democrats, that his worry and frustration were unwarranted. In a letter dated Feb. 21, Davidson told King the Navy counted as “complete” 91 of the more than 100 reforms it had promised to make in the months after 17 sailors died in back-to-back crashes with civilian ships in the summer of 2017.

      It is a claim directly contradicted by Adm. Bill Moran, the No. 2 man in charge of the Navy. Moran told ProPublica this week that, in fact, none of the promised reforms had been completed. Moran said work had started on 91 of what he said were 103 pledges to, among other things, provide more sailors to under-manned ships in Japan and stop ships from sailing without complete certifications regarding their navigation and war-fighting abilities — both issues in the two 2017 deadly collisions.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Democrats 'Wasting Time While Our Climate Burns' With Insufficient Resolution
      A climate change resolution from Senate Democrats "fails the laugh test" and is insufficient to meet the challenges posed by environmental catastrophe, according to environmental groups.

      "This resolution sets a low bar at a time when the fundamental transformation of our economy that delivers on the promise of a Green New Deal is the only real climate solution worth discussing," Nicole Ghio, the fossil fuel program manager at Friends of the Earth, said in response to the resolution put forth by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the Environment and Public Works ranking member.

    • Toxic Emissions, Fragmented Oversight Impact Health in Mexicali
      Mexicali, the capital city of Baja California, has some of the highest levels of air pollution measured in all of the Americas, Ian James reported for the Desert Sun. As part of a multi-story investigative series, “Poisoned Cities: Deadly Border,” James reported that air pollution in Mexicali contributes to abnormally high levels of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), respiratory illness, lung cancer, heart disease, and strokes among the city’s 750,000 residents. A January 2019 report by Baja California health authorities estimated that pollution caused 304 premature deaths in 2015.

      Although traffic exhaust and fumes from burning trash contribute to the problem, factories located in the city are responsible for smoke and soot laced with lead, chlorine, and other toxic particles that account for the worst of the city’s air pollution. As James reported, Mexicali is home to over 180 manufacturing centers, the majority of which produce goods— including water heaters, roofing materials, glass bottles, big-rig trucks, plastic items and airplane parts—for export to US markets. Companies base their manufacturing in Mexicali to take advantage of cheaper labor and weaker environmental enforcement.

    • Why the “Anthropocene” Is Not “Climate Change”
      “Anthropocene” is a widely proposed name for the geological epoch that covers human impact on our planet. But it is not synonymous with “climate change,” nor can it covered by “environmental problems.” Bigger and more shocking, the Anthropocene encapsulates the evidence that human pressures became so profound around the middle of the 20th century that we blew a planetary gasket. Hello, new Earth System. Hello, Anthropocene.

      The phrase “Earth System” refers to the entirety of our planet’s interacting physical, chemical, biological, and human processes. Enabled by new data-collecting technologies like satellites and ever more powerful computer modeling, Earth System science reframes how we understand our planet. Climate is just one element of this system; if we focus on that alone, we will misunderstand the complexity of the danger. The term “environment” helps us understand ourselves as part of ecosystems, but fails to capture the newness of our current situation. We have always lived in the environment; only very recently, just as Asia began its skyrocketing development, did we begin living in the altered Earth System of the Anthropocene.

    • “Frostlands” — Our Climate Future Foretold
      John Feffer brings the newest installment of a climate apocalypse in medias res. In this excerpt of Frostlands, 80-year-old Rachel Leopold describes how the world fell into climate chaos to her young students in the year of 2051. The fairytale is uncanny to us readers as we experience the same weakening of global institutions at just the moment when we need them the most. Once upon a time I testified before the great assembly of our land.

      When I describe this event to our children here in Arcadia, it sounds like a fairy tale. Once upon a time this old woman was a young idealist who tried to persuade our mighty Congress that a monster was stalking the land.

      “Did they listen to you, Auntie Rachel?” the children ask.

      “Oh, they listened to me, but they didn’t hear me.” “So what did you do?”

      “I thought and I thought, and I wrote and I wrote, and I put together an even better presentation,” I say patiently. “I had to somehow describe the monster in a way that these mighty people could understand it.”

      “What did the monster look like?”

      “It was invisible, my dear children, but we could feel its hot breath and see the terrible things it did. It could make the oceans rise. It could make the crops wilt in the fields. Still, we kept feeding this terrible beast.”

      “But why?”

    • ‘Nero Drilling While Rome Burns’: U.S. Oil and Gas Production Soars in Trump’s Second Year
      il and gas development continued to expand dramatically during the second year of the Trump presidency. Experts warn that the administration’s “energy dominance” agenda will have terrible consequences for the climate and the planet, and all that drilling will not get the country any closer to energy independence.

      Despite low oil prices, crude oil production in the United States soared from 9,995 barrels a day in January 2018 to 11,900 barrels in November, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Over the same period, natural gas production shot up from 95,426 million cubic feet per day to 107,429 cubic feet per day.

      “Given the sequence of scientific climate reports and climate-linked natural disasters, this is definitely Nero drilling while Rome burns,” says environmental activist Bill McKibben. “History will wonder what we were thinking — or if we were.”

      This expansion in production occurred during a period of relatively low prices for West Texas Intermediate crude, which kept oil operators from establishing as many new rigs as they did in 2017. In a recent press release, S&P Global Platts Analytics senior analyst Trey Cowan projected that the rig count would soon rebound due to rising prices for crude oil. “If WTI crude stays in the mid-$50/b area, we would expect the rig count to follow suit and show improvement in the weeks ahead,” he said. West Texas Intermediate crude, often used as a benchmark for oil pricing, was $57.01 a barrel as of Feb. 28.

    • Fossil Fuel Lobbyist Wheeler Unfit to Serve as EPA Administrator

    • After 40 Years of Government Inaction on Climate, Have We Finally Turned a Corner?
      In 2015, 21 young people sued the U.S. government for promoting the fossil fuel industry even when it was aware of the dangers of climate change. In Juliana v. United States, the youths accused the government of endangering their future well-being thereby violating the government’s public trust responsibility and their constitutional rights.

      The U.S. government has repeatedly tried to stop this case from moving to trial. Courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have denied or refused to rule on government challenges. The case is currently before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on yet another motion to dismiss.

      The suit centers on whether the government actively promoted the use of fossil fuels despite being aware of evidence that such action endangered the future of the planet. The youths, represented by the nonprofit Our Children’s Trust, retained experts to contribute supporting reports for the suit, including from environmental lawyer and climate policy expert James Gustave Speth. He reviewed what each administration from Carter to Trump knew about climate change and alternative energy and what actions were taken. Speth concluded in his report, which was filed in 2018, that every administration “continued full-throttle support for the development and use of fossil fuels.” This pattern is “the greatest dereliction of civic responsibility in the history of the Republic,” he wrote.

    • Is the Tide Turning in Trump's War on Science?
      Douglas Costle, who helped create the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and then ran it during Jimmy Carter’s administration, died recently at the age of 79. If the Trump administration has its way, the agency as we know it will die along with him.

      “Clean air is not an aesthetic luxury,” Costle said when he took the job as EPA administrator. “It is a public health necessity.”

      President Trump said pretty much the same thing in an interview just after winning the election. “Clean air is vitally important. Clean water, crystal clean water is vitally important,” he told The New York Times. He stuck to that mantra during a CNN interview last November. “I want clean air,” he said. “I want clean water. Very important.”

      The difference is, Costle didn’t just talk the talk. At his very first news conference as EPA administrator, he announced the recall of 135,000 Cadillacs because the cars’ emissions violated the Clean Air Act. Under his watch, the agency banned aerosol spray fluorocarbons to protect the Earth’s ozone layer. In the first two months of his tenure, he hired 600 new scientists and analysts to bolster the agency’s staff.

    • GOP Slammed for 'Shameful' Vote as Ex-Coal Lobbyist Andrew Wheeler Confirmed as EPA Chief
      "With Andrew Wheeler-dealer at the helm, it's truly time to rename EPA the 'Environmental Pollution Agency,'" declared Martin Hayden, vice president of policy and legislation Earthjustice.

      Hayden accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Republicans of putting "the wealth of a few over the health of the many by confirming the coal industry's favored Wheeler-dealer to what used to be the leading environmental enforcement post in the federal government."

      Wheeler has served as the agency's acting administrator since his predecessor, Scott Pruitt, stepped down in July while facing several ethics scandals. Since President Donald Trump announced Wheeler's nomination early last month, critics have warned that he "will continue Pruitt's toxic legacy."

    • To 'Secure a Livable Future,' 30,000 Youth Urge Court to Let Landmark Climate Suit Go to Trial
      Calling for an end to years of delays and inaction as global warming continues to accelerate, over 30,000 young people signed on to an amicus brief urging the Ninth Circuit to allow a landmark youth climate lawsuit to proceed to trial.

      "I am so hyped to see how many other young people feel empowered to support us in this amicus brief and push for change for our futures," Miko Vergun, a 17-year-old plaintiff in Juliana v. United States, said in a statement on Thursday. "The amount of young people... who added their names to support this brief is a representation of all the youth who know that their futures and their planet are at stake."

    • Thousands Evacuated in Northern California Ahead of Worst Flooding in More Than 20 Years

  • Finance

    • The Rapid Victory of the West Virginia Teacher Strike Shows What Happens When Progressives Join the Fight Against School Privatization
      West Virginia’s most recent statewide teacher walkout came and went so quickly there was too little time and attention to comprehend and appreciate the impact the teachers’ actions will likely have long-term on changing the narrative of the teacher movement and how politically progressive advocates and candidates relate to it.

      In the very first day of the strike, teachers squelched new state legislation they objected to and then held out an additional day to ensure it would die. The day after schools reopened, the teachers got what they wanted—a “clean” bill increasing teacher pay five percent.

      But, unlike their largely successful labor action from last year, this time the teachers weren’t making pocketbook issues the focal points of their demands. Instead, it was all about stopping school privatization through charter schools and a new voucher program. The point of the strike was to oppose a Senate bill that included bringing charters and a voucher program to the state even though the measure included the pay raise teachers wanted. Teachers accompanied their protests in the capitol building with chants of “Hey-hey, ho-ho, charter schools have got to go.”

      This was a huge gamble for the teachers, not only because they risked a confrontation with the wealthy establishment that backs charters and vouchers but also because they could alienate the coalition of progressive activists who had supported teachers in the past but had never forcefully opposed charter schools.
    • A Russian YouTuber tries his hand at analyzing the country’s pension reforms
      The Russian YouTube personality BadComedian recently reviewed a film starring the rapper Basta. The online critic, who typically confines himself to trashing films on the grounds of their own quality, spent the final third of this particular 45-minute review criticizing Basta for his politics. The rapper has publicly supported the Russian government’s pension reform proposal, which includes an unpopular increase in the country’s retirement age. Like Russia’s political leaders and federal TV anchors, Basta has framed the reforms as a difficult but necessary measure, telling those who disagree to “find themselves an economics textbook and a calculator.” BadComedian took up the challenge and tried to use statistics to prove that pension reform was unnecessary. The next day, Basta gave in to the YouTuber’s position and apologized for his political advocacy. However, there are serious flaws in BadComedian’s economic analysis. Meduza asked Maxim Buyev, an economist and leading administrator at Russia’s New Economic School, to analyze the video blogger’s misconceptions and explain why Russia’s pension system really does face a series of slow-acting but serious problems.
    • Tucker Carlson Blows Up at Rutger Bregman in Unaired Fox News Interview
    • DeVos Proposes Tax Credit to Promote School Privatization
      The Trump administration renewed its push for school choice on Thursday with a proposal to provide $5 billion a year in federal tax credits for donations made to groups offering scholarships for private schools, apprenticeships and other educational programs.

      Education Secretary Betsy DeVos unveiled the plan as a “bold proposal” to give students more choices without diverting money from public schools.

      “What’s missing in education today is at the core of what makes America truly great: freedom,” DeVos said. “Kids should be free to learn where and how it works for them.”

      Legislation for the tax credits is being introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala.

    • Backlash To Rahm Emanuel’s Education Record Impacts Chicago Mayor’s Race
      Chicago voters made history on February 26 by choosing two black women—former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board President—as their top contenders for mayor.

      Both candidates have pledged to reverse course on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s education policy in Chicago, which not only propped up charter schools but also left neighborhood public schools sorely underfunded.

      Lightfoot and Preckwinkle are against closing any more public schools as well as opposed to opening new charter schools.

      That voters will choose between these two candidates signals a major shift in education policy in Chicago that has prioritized charter schools over public schools, which has had a detrimental effect on neighborhoods.

      In Chicago elections, candidates must garner 50 percent plus one of the vote in order to win outright. No candidate was able to do this, however, Lightfoot and Preckwinkle managed to claim the top two positions, beating out 12 other candidates, including Bill Daley, the son and brother of two past Chicago mayors and former chief of staff to President Barack Obama.

      The city will not only have its first black female mayor after Chicagoans head to the polls again in April, but they will also elect a mayor whose education policy starkly contrasts that of the outgoing mayor.

      One of Emanuel’s most contentious relationships during his tenure has been with activists fighting for education justice.

    • Democratic Socialism, Sebastian Gorka Warns CPAC, Wants to "Take Away Your Hamburgers... What Stalin Dreamt About But Never Achieved'
      Sebastian Gorka, former deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, told attendees at the right-wing CPAC convention on Thursday that nobody should be fooled about the term "democratic socialism," because that's just the politically-correct term for "communism" being used by people that "want to take away your hamburgers." Also your house and your pick-up truck.

      "This is what Stalin dreamt about but never achieved," Gorka blustered. "You are on the frontlines on the war against communism."

    • New York City Council Passes Legislation to Help Workers in Private Trash Industry
      The New York City Council adopted legislation Thursday that it says will improve work conditions and bolster labor protections in the private sanitation industry.

      One of the bills authorizes the agency overseeing the private trash industry to directly police the labor unions at companies across the city. Another would require the agency to refer labor and wage violation cases to relevant law enforcement bodies.

      The legislation, which is expected to be signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, mandates that the oversight agency, the Business Integrity Commission, or BIC, take action against union officials who have certain criminal convictions or dealings with members or associates of organized crime or anyone convicted of a racketeering activity. It allows the BIC to bar union officials from representing workers in the industry if they are found to be lacking “good character, honesty and integrity.”

      The other measure requires the BIC to “inform the New York state attorney general, the New York state Department of Labor, the United States Department of Labor or other relevant city, state or federal law enforcement agency” if the agency had “reasonable cause to believe” that a trash company had violated labor law or engaged in “egregious or habitual nonpayment or underpayment of wages.”

      ProPublica in 2018 exposed the backgrounds and business dealings of two unions that together represented workers at many of the industry’s major companies.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • What We’ve Learned From Michael Cohen — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast Extra
      For a year now, “Trump, Inc.” has been digging into the president’s business. We’ve reached out repeatedly to the Trump Organization with questions. Mostly, we haven’t gotten answers.

      Yesterday was different.

      Michael Cohen worked for a decade as the president’s in-house attorney and fixer. In his testimony before the House Oversight Committee, he offered a detailed, insider account of fraud, secrecy and cover-ups.

    • Is Donald Trump Destined to Be a One-Term President?
      Will the 2020 election prove President Trump’s 2016 victory was an anomaly — the nightmare convergence of a polarized electorate, gerrymandered congressional districts and possible Russian collusion to elect an unqualified, political neophyte whose self-proclaimed objective was to “Make America Great Again?”

      The next presidential election may be a defining moment for the U.S. political system. The pushback against globalization, societal tension caused by increasing inequality, and the normalization of racist bigotry provides the socio-cultural context of the upcoming election.

      Recent studies suggest growing dissatisfaction with Trump among three segments of the electorate: young voters, women and suburbanites. Taken together, they demonstrate significant weaknesses in Trump’s ability to form a coalition capable of winning re-election in 2020.
    • 'A Pretty Amazing Line of Questions': Ocasio-Cortez Applauded for Getting Cohen to Dish on Where to Find Trump Dirt
      In under five minutes of pointed questioning late Wednesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) put Congress a significant step closer to getting to the bottom of President Donald Trump's long history of alleged fraud and financial crimes.

      The New York congresswoman elicited some of the most concrete information that was extracted from Michael Cohen during his testimony before the House Oversight Committee Wednesday.

      After Republicans on the committee used the seven-hour hearing to defend Trump—with one attempting to prove that Trump is not racist by presenting a black woman who has been employed by him—Ocasio-Cortez zeroed in on how Democrats could subpoena Trump's tax returns.

    • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Grills Michael Cohen, Laying Out Plan to Probe More Trump Crimes
      Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez questioned Michael Cohen about President Trump’s shady tax dealings at Wednesday’s hearing, presenting a roadmap for investigators to look further into Trump’s crimes. We speak with independent journalist Marcy Wheeler, who says, “In five minutes, this freshman congresswoman just laid out a whole investigative plan for three more topics into Donald Trump’s potentially criminal activities.” Wheeler covers national security and civil liberties on her website

    • 'Message to Rest of the Country': Federal Judge Orders Texas to Stop Voter Purge
      In a statement, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, one of the plaintiffs in the suit, welcomed Biery's ruling—specifically the judge's rejection of the premise of the state's purge list.

      "Today, the court recognized what we have been saying all along," said the ACLU Texas staff attorney Thomas Buser-Clancy. "This voter purge discriminates against naturalized citizens using a process that the court described as 'ham-handed' and 'threatening.'"
    • Specter of Fascism: Cohen Says Trump Won’t Leave Peacefully in 202
      Hearings reveal deepening systemic corruption, further degeneration of GOP, progressive members standout in questioning – Jacqueline Luqman, Henry Giroux and Carmen Russell-Sluchansky join Paul Jay

    • Italy: the far right is in charge – these election results prove it
      February has been an important month in Italian politics. Elections took place in Abruzzo and Sardinia – two regions located in the south of the country. Both are “swing” constituencies, so the way they vote in regional elections provides important clues about changing national trends.

      The elections were also seen as the first electoral test for the new governing coalition, which brings together Matteo Salvini’s League and the Five Star Movement (M5S) but is led by prime minister Giuseppe Conte.

      But while the League performed strongly in both Abruzzo and Sardinia, the M5S suffered bruising defeats.

      In both regions, the League led centre-right coalitions to victory, unseating the incumbent centre-left governments to install their own regional presidents.
    • Insistent not-a-racist GOP Rep. Mark Meadows displays his racism
      North Carolina's Rep. Mark Meadows was aghast that Rep. Rashida Tlaib found his parading HUD official Lynne Patton, a black woman, before congress as prop, to be racist. He insisted he is not a racist.

      There is plenty of video of displaying Meadows smugly spreading racist "birther" theories about President Obama.

    • Videos of Mark Meadows Promoting Birtherism Surface After Cohen Hearing
      President Trump’s former personal lawyer on Wednesday delivered to Congress, as Michael Shear writes in The New York Times, “a searing portrait … of a lying, cheating, racist president who used money and threats to conceal immoral and illegal behavior.” But the most dramatic moment in Michael Cohen’s testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee may have occurred when Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., accused Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., of using Lynne Patton, a black Trump administration official at the Department of Housing and Urban Development—who attended as Meadows’ guest—“as a prop,” and orchestrating a racist stunt.

      As Colby Itkowitz writes in The Washington Post’s The Fix blog, Meadows “exploded” at the accusation, and was “almost near tears,” believing that Tlaib had accused him of not only performing a racist act, but of being racist himself. Reverberations from the conflict continued hours after the Cohen hearings, when Steve Morris, from the left-leaning media watchdog organization Media Matters, posted a video on Twitter of Meadows telling voters that “2012 is the time we are going to send Mr. Obama home to Kenya or wherever it is” in front of a Tea Party Express bus.

    • AOC's Superhero Inside Us
      After her laser-precision questioning of Michael Cohen to lay the groundwork for going after Trump's taxes and other financial misdeeds, what better day to reveal Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Freshman Force: New Party Who Dis?, a commemorative comic celebrating the fierce AOC - a big comics nerd - as standard-bearer for "the most diverse group of freshman congresspersons in history." The project from Devil's Due Comics, "the house that brought you Barack the Barbarian: No F#@*s Left!," features an anthology-style host of creators and a May release date. "Grab a hamberder and cup of covfefe and prepare to enjoy this read!" urges its website, which offers versions in English and "presidential," boasts it's printed on "recycled unpaid medical bills," and promises, for real, to give a portion of proceeds to veterans' non-profits and, which provides free legal services to immigrants and refugees. The comic's cover features a triumphant, phone-wielding, pant-suit-wearing AOC - another version dresses her as Wonder Woman - lording it over a felled elephant and an anxious donkey.

    • Cohen Knows What Trump Is Capable Of. His Testimony Should Terrify Us.
      On February 27, Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, testified before the House Oversight and Reform Committee for six hours. In two months, Cohen will begin serving a three-year prison sentence. He pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations involving illegal hush money and falsely testifying to Congress that Trump Tower Moscow negotiations had ended before the campaign.

      “The last time I appeared before Congress, I came to protect Mr. Trump. Today, I’m here to tell the truth about Mr. Trump,” Cohen testified. “I am not protecting Mr. Trump anymore.”

      Cohen called Trump “a racist,” “a conman” and “a cheat,” who enlisted others to do his dirty work. “Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress. That’s not how he operates.” He “would look me in the eye and tell me there’s no business in Russia and then go out and lie to the American people.”

      “In his way, he was telling me to lie,” Cohen testified. He added that Trump would say, “Michael, it never happened” or “It’s a lie.” Moreover, he said, “Lying for Mr. Trump was normalized and no one around him questioned it. In fairness, no one questions it now.”

      Trump “knew of and directed the Trump Moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it,” according to Cohen. “And so, I lied about it, too — because Mr. Trump had made clear to me … that he wanted me to lie.”
    • Benjamin Netanyahu to Be Indicted on Corruption Charges
      Israel’s attorney general on Thursday recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with bribery and breach of trust in a series of corruption cases, a momentous move that shook up Israel’s election campaign and could spell the end of the prime minister’s illustrious political career.

      Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced his decision after more than two years of intense investigations and deliberations.

      Police had recommended indicting Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three different cases that ranged from accepting expensive gifts from wealthy allies to allegedly trading influence for more favorable press coverage.

      “The attorney general has reached his decision after thoroughly examining the evidence,” his statement said.

      The final decision on indictment will only take place after a hearing, where Netanyahu is given the opportunity to defend himself. That process is expected to take many months and be completed long after the April 9 elections.
    • Damning UN Report Says Israel Killings in Gaza Last Year Amount to Possible 'War Crimes or Crimes Against Humanity'
      Human rights groups demanded accountability and justice for victims on Thursday after United Nations investigators said Israeli troops may have committed war crimes during anti-occupation protests in Gaza last year.

      "The Israeli security forces killed and maimed Palestinian demonstrators who did not pose an imminent threat of death or serious injury to others when they were shot, nor were they directly participating in hostilities," the U.N. officials wrote in a new report (pdf), which relied on interviews, thousands of documents, and video footage showing Israeli soldiers using live ammunition against Palestinians—including children, journalists, and medical workers.

    • Why AOC is Such a Terrific Member of Congress
      Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has taken Washington, D.C by storm.

      She successfully ran an insurgent, grass-roots Congressional campaign. She is exceptionally bright. She is incredibly media savvy. She is hugely charismatic, because she is telegenic and photogenic, but also because she consistently seems to be a sincere, authentic, and truly nice and caring human being. In an age of bullshit, she is “real.” And she has the courage of her convictions.

      She has thus quickly been embraced by the left, reviled by the right, and treated with enormous skepticism by the center.

      AOC is no moderate. She candidly denounces injustice. She celebrates activists who confront fellow members of Congress (like Ana Maria Archila, who confronted Senator Jeff Flake during the Kavanaugh hearings) and even visits protestors conducting a sit-in at the office of her party’s legislative leader, Nancy Pelosi. And she advances bold new visionary policy ideas, like the Green New Deal, which she not only helped to catapult to political center stage, but managed to get senior Democratic leaders, such as Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, to co-sponsor.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • The Impossibility Of Content Moderation Extends To The People Tasked With Doing Content Moderation
      For years, now, we've been writing about the general impossibility of moderating content at scale on the internet. And, yet, lots of people keep demanding that various internet platforms "do more." Often those demands to do more come from politicians and regulators who are threatening much stricter regulations or even fines if companies fail to wave a magic wand and make "bad" content disappear. The big companies have felt compelled to staff up to show the world that they're taking this issue seriously. It's not difficult to find the headlines: Facebook pledges to double its 10,000-person safety and security staff and Google to hire thousands of moderators after outcry over YouTube abuse videos.

      Most of the demands for more content moderation come from people who claim to be well-meaning, hoping to protect innocent viewers (often "think of the children!") from awful, awful content. But, of course, it also means making these thousands of employees continuously look at highly questionable, offensive, horrific or incomprehensible content for hours on end. Over the last few years, there's been quite a reasonable and growing concern about the lives of all of those content moderators. Last fall, I briefly mentioned a wonderful documentary, called The Cleaners,focused on a bunch of Facebook's contract content moderators working out of the Philippines. The film is quite powerful in showing not just how impossible a job content moderation can be, but the human impact on the individuals who do it.

      Of course, there have been lots of other people raising this issue in the past as well, including articles in Inc. and Wired and Gizmodo among other places. And these are not new issues. Those last two articles are from 2014. Academics have been exploring this issue as well, led by Professor Sarah Roberts at UCLA (who even posted a piece on this issue here at Techdirt). Last year, there was another paper at Harvard by Andrew Arsht and Daniel Etcovitch on the Human Cost of Online Content Moderation. In short, none of this is a new issue.
    • With FOSTA Already Leading to Censorship, We Are Seeking Reinstatement Of Our Lawsuit Challenging the Law’s Constitutionality With Help From Rights Groups
    • Deception & Trust: A Deep Look At Deep Fakes
      With recent focus on disinformation and “fake news,” new technologies used to deceive people online have sparked concerns among the public. While in the past, only an expert forger could create realistic fake media, deceptive techniques using the latest research in machine-learning allow anyone with a smartphone to generate high-quality fake videos, or “deep fakes.”

      Like other forms of disinformation, deep fakes can be designed to incite panic, sow distrust in political institutions, or produce myriad other harmful outcomes. Because of these potential harms, lawmakers and others have begun expressing concerns about deep-fake technology.

      Underlying these concerns is the superficially reasonable assumption that deep fakes represent an unprecedented development in the ecosystem of disinformation, largely because deep-fake technology can create such realistic-looking content. Yet this argument assumes that the quality of the content carries the most weight in the trust evaluation. In other words, people making this argument believe that the highly realistic content of a deep fake will induce the viewer to trust it — and share it with other people in a social network — thus hastening the spread of disinformation.

      But there are several reasons to be suspicious of that assumption. In reality, deep-fake technology operates similarly to other media that people use to spread disinformation. Whether content will be believed and shared may not be derived primarily from the content’s quality, but from psychological factors that any type of deceptive media can exploit. Thus, contrary to the hype, deep fakes may not be the techno-boogeyman some claim them to be.

    • EFF to the inter-American System: If You Want to Tackle “Fake News,” Consider Free Expression First
      Recent elections across the Americas €­from the United States to Brazil have stirred fears about the impact of “fake news”. Earlier this month, EFF made a submission to the Organization of American States (OAS), the pan-American institution currently investigating the extent and impact of false information across the region. While acknowledging the perceived risks, our testimony warned of the dangers of over-reacting to a perceived online threat, at the cost of free expression standards in the region.

      Over-reaction isn’t just a future hypothetical. During 2018, 17 governments approved or proposed laws restricting online media with the justification of combating online manipulation. Citizens were prosecuted and faced criminal charges in at least ten countries for spreading “fake news.” Disinformation flows are not a new issue, neither is the use of "fake news" as a label to attack all criticism as baseless propaganda. The lack of a set definition for this term magnifies the problem, rendering its use susceptible to multiple and inconsistent meanings. Time and again legitimate concerns about misinformation and manipulation were misconstrued or distorted to entrench the power of established voices and stifle dissent. To combat these pitfalls, EFF’s submission presented recommendations —and stressed that the human rights standards on which the Inter-American System builds its work, already provide substantial guidelines and methods to address disinformation without undermining free expression and other fundamental rights.

      The Americas’ human rights standards — which include the American Convention on Human Rights — declare that restrictions to free expression must be (1) clearly and precisely defined by law, (2) serve compelling objectives authorized by the American Convention, and (3) be necessary and appropriate in a democratic society to accomplish the objectives pursued as well as strictly proportionate to the intended objective. New prohibitions on the online dissemination of information based on vague ideas, such as “false news,” for example, fail to comply with this three-part test. Restrictions on free speech that vaguely claim to protect the “public order” also fall short of meeting these requirements.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Chinese police test cutting-edge gait recognition technology that identifies people based on how they walk
      You can tell a lot of things from the way someone walks.
    • EFF Implores Nine Companies to Fix It Already!
      Changes from Facebook, Google, and Others Could Make Everyone’s Lives Safer and Easier San Francisco - Technology is supposed to make our lives better, yet many big companies have products with big security and privacy holes that disrespect user control and put us all at risk. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is launching a new project called “Fix It Already!” demanding repair for nine issues from tech giants like Facebook and Google.

      “We chose these nine problems because they are well-known problems and weaknesses in these services that, if fixed, could make a huge difference in many people’s lives,” said EFF Associate Director of Research Gennie Gebhart. “It’s 2019, and it’s time for big tech companies to bring their products in line with what consumers expect and deserve.”

    • Fix It Already: Nine Steps That Companies Should Take To Protect You
      Today we are announcing Fix It Already, a new way to show companies we're serious about the big security and privacy issues they need to fix. We are demanding fixes for different issues from nine tech companies and platforms, targeting social media companies, operating systems, and enterprise platforms on issues ranging from encryption design to retention policies.

      Some of these issues stem from business decisions. Some are security holes. Some are design choices. The common thread? All of these well-known privacy and security issues have attainable fixes and an outsize impact on people's lives.

      We want to see companies bring their products in line with what consumers expect and deserve. And we need to hear from you to do it. How have these problems affected you, or people you know? What risks do you face as a result? What workarounds have you used to try to make these products and platforms work for your security and privacy concerns? Head to Fix It Already and tell us—and these companies—what these issues mean to you.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Squirming Buddha
      The world hemorrhages. Refugees flow from its wounds.

      Is there a way to be innocent of this?

      People are washed ashore. They die of suffocation in humanity-stuffed trucks. They flee war and politics; they flee starvation. And finally, we don’t even have sufficient air for them to breathe.

      For words to matter about all this, they have to express more than “concern” or even outrage – that is to say, they have to cut internally as well as externally. They have to cut into our own lives and personal comfort. They have to cut as deep as prayer.

      “Wonderful column, Bob. It brings up the post-Katrina images of armed citizens blocking a bridge so that our own refugees could not infest their neighborhoods.”

      These are the words of my sister, Sue, who emailed me last week in response to my column about the refugee crisis and the global shock over the picture of 3-year-old Alan Kurdi’s body, which washed ashore in Turkey after his family’s boat capsized during the short crossing to the Greek island of Kos in their attempt to flee to Germany. As she let her personal feelings wash ashore as well, I thought about where I had not gone with that column: into the realm of personal responsibility for the larger welfare of the human race.

    • In an Era of Religious Refusals, the Do No Harm Act Is an Essential Safeguard
      Earlier this year, the Trump administration granted a request from the state of South Carolina for an exception to a federal rule barring discrimination in federally funded child welfare programs. With its action, the administration allowed government-contracted and taxpayer-funded child welfare agencies in South Carolina to turn away would-be foster and adoptive parents because they do not share the agency’s religious beliefs.

      The justification for this action was the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA. When it was passed by Congress and signed into law in 1993, RFRA was intended to protect religious freedom, especially for religious minorities. RFRA was a response to the 1990 Supreme Court decision in Employment Division v. Smith that many — including the ACLU — saw as a bad ruling that lessened constitutional protection for religious freedom.

      RFRA prohibits the federal government from “substantially burden[ing]” a person’s religious exercise unless doing so is the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling governmental interest. Minor burdens on religious exercise were not supposed to trigger RFRA protection and even substantial burdens were permitted where necessary to achieve a compelling government interest, such as prohibiting discrimination.

    • America Can’t Wipe Itself Clean of Blackface
      On March 14, 1968, The Rev. Martin Luther King gave a speech in South Grosse Pointe, Mich., in which he stated: “We will never solve the problem of racism until there is a recognition of the fact that racism still stands at the center of so much of our nation, and we must see racism for what it is. … It is the notion that one group has all the knowledge, all the insights, all of the purity, all of the work, all of the dignity. And another group is worthless, on a lower level of humanity, inferior.”

      Blackface and the racism that gave birth to it refuse to go away, or stay hidden, even in a decades-old medical school yearbook.

      Have you looked in your school yearbook or photo album from yesteryear lately? Are you wearing blackface? Have you ever worn blackface before? Do you know of anyone, family or not, who has put on blackface to entertain someone, including you? If so, did you laugh out loud when you saw anyone wearing it? How did it make you feel, besides amused?

      I purposely did not write a column for Black History Month this year. That’s because it is, for the most part, for black people to celebrate all of the accomplishments and contributions we have made in this country, even though they were not acknowledged as such by white people. While we must confront, understand and build upon all of the negative treatment that has and is still happening to us as a people, Black History Month is to celebrate the fact that we are still here, despite our tortured past in this country.

      We must tell our stories in our own way and hope that they will not be ignored or left out historically any longer. Yet no matter how much we progress and try to believe that the past is in the past, and that it’s a new day in this country, certain white people seem to always remind us that the past is still present in America.

    • Hate Crimes: One Lie, Many Truths
      Jussie Smollett, a popular actor and singer-songwriter, was recently arrested and charged with filing a false police report.

      Smollett alleged that he was attacked in late January by two white men who spewed racist and homophobic slurs as they assaulted him.

      A standout detail was his claim that the assailants said, “This is MAGA country.” Smollett has been very critical of the Trump administration and said he believed this was some sort of retaliation.

      Originally viewed as the victim, Smollett is now accused of orchestrating his own attack.

      This has created an uproar. Smollett’s attack was a major news story, and a plethora of public figures expressed support for him. The public isn’t only shocked but also outraged by the latest accusations — especially survivors of hate crimes.

      This situation hits close to home. Though I was never physically assaulted, I’ve been targeted for harassment due to my sexuality.

      It’s been a challenging journey navigating between two crucial factors of my identity; I am both Black and gay. In the spring of 2015, a fake advertisement was posted on a college social app. The advertisement listed my college apartment number and was advertising for men to come over.

    • Tlaib and Pressley Put Racism on Trial During Cohen Hearing
      Both women used the remainder of their time to challenge Rep. Mark Meadows, who attempted to refute Cohen’s statement that Trump was a racist by pointing to the presence of Lynne Patton, who is Black, in Trump’s administration. Patton currently serves in the Department of Housing and Urban Development and has a longstanding association with the Trump Organization.

      Listing a number of Trump’s racist statements, Pressley asked Cohen if having a Black friend dispelled the evidence that Trump was a racist. Tlaib spoke more forcefully, stating that, “just because someone has a person of color, a Black person working for them, does not mean they aren’t racist and it is insensitive that some would even say – the fact that someone would actually use a prop, a Black woman in this chamber, in this committee, is alone racist in itself.”

      Her comments rippled uncomfortably throughout the chamber, with immediate protestation from Meadows, who responded with an indignation that evoked Brett Kavanaugh’s performative outrage and became a prime example of white fragility.

    • Female Leaders Warn Against Global Rise of Autocratic 'Strongmen' and Attack on Women's Rights
      Troubled by the rise of a number of autocratic, nationalist male politicians who have convinced voters that they aim to return their nations to a glorified past, more than two dozen female world leaders signed an open letter Thursday, calling for a global fight against what one signer calls "macho-type strongmen" and their so-called "populist" movements.

      The recent successes of politicians like Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Matteo Salvini in Italy, and President Donald Trump and other Republican leaders in the U.S. has led to a dangerous erosion of women's rights, the leaders argue.

      "We have to be prepared to raise our concerns, otherwise we will be like the frog put into cold water which starts to warm up, and all of a sudden you find yourself in boiling water. We need to be very prepared to fight back," said Susana Malcorra, former Argentinian foreign minister and one of the lead signers of the letter.
    • Decade Of Attempts By CACI To Block Abu Ghraib Torture Lawsuit End As Judge Sets Trial Date
      A private contractor has tried to prevent a lawsuit challenging their role in the torture of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib a total of sixteen times.

      Now, the lawsuit against CACI Premier Technology, filed 13 years ago, finally has a date for a trial after a federal judge denied another motion to dismiss.

      The trial is scheduled for April 23, 2019, in Alexandria, Virginia.

      “More than ten years passed for us to reach this point and achieve justice,” plaintiff Salah Al-Ejaili said. “We faced a lot of obstacles along the way that we had to surpass and we stayed patient because we wanted to win our right to equality in the law.”

      Al Ejaili, an Iraqi and former reporter for al Jazeera, was detained at Abu Ghraib for about six weeks. When he arrived, he was allegedly forced to strip naked and put a bag on his head as personnel shouted at him to confess.

      The first night al Ejaili was put in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffed to a pole with a bag over his head. He says he vomited a “black substance,” according to the lawsuit.

      A woman allegedly came in during the night and touched him and pulled at his hair. He was ordered to clean up the vomit with his jumpsuit and then taken to a cell. After he tried to clean it, he complained that he was cold and had nothing to wear. A guard handed him ladies underwear.

      Al Ejaili was allegedly interrogated at least ten times, two or three times a day.
    • Known for her colorful anti-Kremlin activism, Maria Baronova explains why she just took a job with ‘Russia Today’
      Maria Baronova, known for her past activism as an anti-Kremlin oppositionist, has accepted a new job at RT, the state media outlet formerly known as Russia Today. Baronova, who previously served as an aide to State Duma deputy Ilya Ponomarev and supervised former-oil-tycoon-turned-dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s human rights movement “Open Russia,” is now a managing editor at RT’s Russian-language edition, where she will head up a new charity project, the name of which borrows from a famous Soviet rock song that translates roughly to “We’ll Take It From Here.” RT says the initiative will exist on social media and messenger platforms. Meduza special correspondent Ilya Zhegulev spoke to Baronova to learn more about her plans at RT, and to find out how one of the most visible activists of Moscow’s 2011–2012 street protests came to work at a state propaganda outlet. Zhegulev also asked if Baronova has changed her views on Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Vladimir Putin.
    • A Connecticut Bill Would Help Ensure That Re-Entry Doesn’t Last a Lifetime for the Formerly Incarcerated
      Connecticut could be the first to make the formerly incarcerated a protected class under the state’s antidiscrimination law. This year, I moved from one city in Connecticut to a new one. On top of the usual stress of trying to find an affordable, comfortable place to live, I was burdened with extra anxiety.

      Despite my success in the 12 years since being released from prison, I dreaded explaining my criminal record again. Weeks into my search, I revealed that part of my past to a potential landlord. When I did, that home’s door was closed to me.

      My experience is not unique.

      Ninety-five percent of the millions of people who are incarcerated in prisons throughout the country will return home one day. When we do, we face tens of thousands of legal barriers — more than 600 in Connecticut alone — to supporting ourselves, our families, and our communities. Public and private landlords, educational institutions, insurance companies, most state licensure boards, and other gatekeepers to society generally have the right to discriminate against prospective tenants, students, and policyholders because of our criminal record.

      In many states, employers also have this right. Re-entry shouldn’t last a lifetime. But because of the isolation, stigma, and legal discrimination we face, it sometimes feels like we are still serving time, just in a community-based prison.

      Connecticut, however, could be the first state to change that.

    • Two Months Later, News Orgs Are Finally 'Allowed' To Report On Top Vatican Official's Child Molestation Conviction
      Back in December, we wrote about the insane attack on free speech perpetrated by the Australian court system, barring anyone from reporting on the fact that "third most powerful person in the Vatican," its CFO, George Pell, had been convicted of molesting choir boys in Australia in the 1990s. Only a very small number of news sites reported on this at all, out of fear of the Australian government going after them. Even the NY Times (of all sites) only published the story in its physical paper, and not online, to avoid the possibility that readers down under might see the story. We even got some pushback from some people for publishing the story, with them saying it was necessary to make sure Pell's second trial on similar charges was "fair." Of course, we've handled these issues differently in the US for decades, in a way that seems to work just fine: the press is free to report, but jurors are restricted from researching or reading about the case. That system inconveniences the fewest number of people, retains a system of fairness, and does not stifle a free and open press.

    • San Francisco Shocked by Public Defender’s Sudden Death and Police Response
      San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi died suddenly on Friday, February 26, causing shock waves among all those who knew and admired his pioneering work in criminal justice reform. Public defenders offices around the country look to his example and frequently call the San Francisco office for guidance.

      Adachi took his job seriously. He made sure that every defendant represented by his office got the best trial possible—not just a plea deal—and he wasn’t afraid to go up against the police. He once astonished me by answering the phone and talking about a case I was covering for KPFA Radio-Berkeley from 7 to 8 pm on a Saturday night. He was dedicated and generous with his time.

      Adachi was also a founding member of San Francisco’s Reentry Council, which aims to ease former prisoners’ transition back into society with more than a “flying fifty [$].” He created programs to encourage at-risk kids, mostly kids of color in poor neighborhoods, to aspire high and avoid entering the criminal justice system. Among those programs were Back-to-School Celebrations including backpack and school supplies giveaways. He argued a precedent-setting case to eliminate the inequities inherent in California’s monetary bail system.

      He made a film, Ricochet, about the trial of José Inez García Zárate, an undocumented Mexican immigrant accused of shooting and killing a young woman, Kathryn Steinle, on Pier 14 in San Francisco. Before Zárate’s acquittal, President Trump shamelessly jumped on the case to fuel his national anti-immigrant crusade.

      Zárate is a dark-skinned Spanish speaker of visually indeterminate race, but the person who called 911 from the pier identified him as an African American.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Keeping a lid on Pandora’s box: is the US government a person?
      If the US Supreme Court agrees that the government is a person under the law, it could “open Pandora’s box in terms of unintended consequences”, one lawyer says. Others are split on which way SCOTUS will rule

      The Supreme Court heard arguments in Return Mail v USPS on February 19. The transcript is available here. The question the court must consider is whether the government is a “person” who may petition to institute review proceedings under the America Invents Act...

    • Sue First, Negotiate Later
      One of the more curious features of patent law is that patents can be challenged by anyone worried about being sued. This challenge right allows potential defendants to file a declaratory relief lawsuit in their local federal district court, seeking a judgment that a patent is invalid or noninfringed. To avoid this home-court advantage, patent owners may file a patent infringement lawsuit first and, by doing so, retain the case in the patent owner’s venue of choice. But there is an unfortunate side effect to such preemptive lawsuits: they escalate the dispute when the parties may want to instead settle for a license. Thus, policies that allow challenges are favored, but they are tempered by escalation caused by preemptive lawsuits. To the extent a particular challenge rule leads to more preemptive lawsuits, it might be disfavored.

      This article tests one such important challenge rule. In MedImmune v. Genentech, the U.S. Supreme Court made it easier for a potential defendant to sue first. Whereas the prior rule required threat of immediate injury, the Supreme Court made clear that any case or controversy would allow a challenger to file a declaratory relief action. This ruling had a real practical effect, allowing recipients of letters that boiled down to, “Let’s discuss my patent,” to file a lawsuit when they could not before.


      It turns out that the conventional wisdom is wrong. Not only did cases not grow shorter – cases with similar characteristics grew longer after MedImmune. Furthermore, NPEs were not the only ones who sued first and negotiated later. Instead, every type of plaintiff sent fewer demand letters, NPEs and product companies alike. If anything, the MedImmune experience shows that everyone likes to sue in their preferred venue. As a matter of policy, it means that efforts to dissuade filing lawsuits should be broadly targeted, because all may be susceptible.

    • Sue First, Negotiate Later
      Just a brief post this week, as I have a perfect storm of non-work related happenings. So, I'll just say that I'm please to announce that my draft article Sue First, Negotiate Later will be published by the Arizona Law Review.

    • Court: Pepcid Complete Generic Does not Provide “Immediate Relief” and Therefore Does not Infringe
      Johnson & Johnson exclusively licensed the patent and listed it in the Orange Book listing for Pepcid Complete. However, when Perrigo filed its generic ANDA and Paragraph IV certification, J&J chose not to file suit, but rather sued on a different listed patent and lost. At that time, the ‘137 patent was also removed from from the FDA Orange Book listing. (I don’t know why).

      In the present case, the Massachusetts jury sided with the patent holder — finding the patent enforceable and infringed and awarding $10 million in past damages (the patent expired in 2012). However, in a post verdict decision the district court rejected the jury verdict — holding instead that no reasonable jury could have found infringement based upon the evidence presented.

      Looking here at the infringement analysis, the patentee argued that the accused product included the same ingredients as Pepcid Complete, which is covered by the patent claims. In this copy-cat situation, however, the decision maker has to be careful to focus on the patent claims, not simply compare the copied products. Here, the district court considered the clinical evidence presented at trial and found that it “did not demonstrate that Pepcid Complete provided immediate relief from episodic heartburn.” In particular, the evidence showed relief within 15 minutes, but not the 5-10 minutes required by the definition of immediate.

    • Survey Results: Immunity for State Owned Patents
      Bottom line: Patently-O readers overwhelmingly feel that patents owned by state universities should not be immune from validity challenges.

    • Sanofi Mature IP v. Mylan Laboratories Ltd. (Fed. Cir. 2019)
      Similarly, the Court's decision that the preamble in the Jansen claim was limiting supported the decision here that the "method of treating" preamble was limiting because "it articulated the 'purpose for which the method must be performed,'" i.e., "increasing survival."

      Analogizing the preamble in the Sanofi claim in light of this precedent, the Federal Circuit concluded the PTAB had erred in finding Sanofi's preamble not to be limiting. The panel also found support for this construction in the '592 specification, which contained an Example and other disclosure relating to increasing patient survival as an important feature of the claimed invention. In contrast, the Federal Circuit was unpersuaded by Mylan's arguments that Bristol-Myers Squibb (where the preamble was held not to be limiting) was more compelling precedent, because in that case "the claim language 'strongly suggest[ed] the independence of the preamble from the body of the claim'" whereas here the claim language suggested the opposite to the panel. And the Court also rejected Mylan's argument that the prosecution history of the '592 patent supported its position, saying that "Mylan conflates concepts of curing cancer or sending it into remission with longer survival while the cancer remains intact."

      Because the Board erred in its claim construction, and procedurally in imposing the burden of patentability improperly on the patent owner, the Court vacated the PTAB's claim construction and remanded for further consideration based on the Court's claim construction.

    • Copyrights

      • Analysis shows initial headway against Article 13 of EU Copyright Directive, but not enough just yet
        After the legal affairs committee (JURI) of the European Parliament rubberstamped, with a solid but unsurprising 16-9 majority, an interinstitutional agreement on the EU Copyright Directive, it became known that the decisive plenary vote will be held the last week of March. That same day (Tuesday), Germany's Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Ulrich Kelber, issued a statement highlighting the risk of a further concentration of data traffic among a few large Internet companies as a result of a de facto requirement for upload filters.

        Also in recent days, a rap video in which some YouTubers vent their frustration over the bill and "diss" (= insult in rap terms) the Parliament's rapporteur, Axel Voss MEP (from Merkel's party), has been viewed more than 400,000 times, but what's needed to prevent the Article 13 disaster is plenary votes, not YouTube clicks.

        Of course, voters can indirectly influence the Parliament. Demonstrations will take place in many (mostly Central European) cities on March 23 (the Saturday before the vote). However, it would take huge numbers of protesters (and preferably not only in Germany) to influence the outcome. I visited the Facebook event pages where people can declare their intent or interest to participate, and for each of the cities I looked at, the number of people who announced they would come was in the hundreds. However, thousands of mostly young people took to the streets of Cologne last Saturday, and that demonstration had been announced only three days before. So there still is a potential for many people showing up on the 23rd.

        One of the efforts to get MEPs to vote against Article 13 is the website, where MEPs can promise to vote accordingly. As of this morning, 62 MEPs (out of 751) had made the pledge. This, too, is not a bad number after only a few days. But ultimately the question of whether Article 13 will or will not be passed into law is a matter of numbers, so I wanted to analyze the Pledge2019 results and generally take a closer look at the vote the Parliament held in September 2018 on Axel Voss MEP's negotiating mandate.

      • The current state of free music in 2019
        There are a number of reasons why a composer or musician or band might want to release their music in some free form, say under an Attribution-ShareAlike license like CC BY-SA 4.0. (Wikipedia's Creative Commons license article gives a nice rundown on this important kind of licensing that permits free distribution of musical and other works.)

        Famously, Nine Inch Nails released the album The Slip under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US, which encourages non-commercial enjoying, sharing, and adapting, provided that credit is given and any adaptations are licensed under the same terms. Based on the linked article, it appears the band still found ways to benefit financially in releasing the album for free.

      • Strike 3's Lawyer Sanctioned By Court, Excuses His Actions By Claiming He Can't Make Technology Work
        When it comes to the art of copyright trolling, part of that art necessarily pretends that all potential victims of the trolling effort are assumed to be masters of both technology and copyright law, such that they are both responsible for what goes on with their internet connections and that no action they take could possibly be a forgivable accident. These assumptions operate across the victim spectrum without regard to the the victim being of advanced age or incredibly young, or even whether the victim is sick or lacks the mental capacity to carry out the supposed infringement. The assumption in just about every case is that the accused is fully responsible.

        Which is the standard that then should be applied to Strike 3 Holding's lawyer, Lincoln Bandlow, who had to go to court to explain why he and his firm failed to provide a status update on 25 cases, despite the court ordering he do so, and was forced to explain why he thinks the court shouldn't just sanction him. Barlow attempts to explain this all away as a simple matter of he and his firm not being able to make their technology work.


        The sanctions only amount to $750. Still, this is the first time Barlow has ever been sanctioned by a court and it only happened once he decided to get into the trolling bed with a porn company infamous for copyright trolling. Perhaps that will serve as some kind of a warning for other attorneys out there.
      • Will Copyrights Chill Innovation in the Software Industry?
        Edge providers like Google benefit from a “free and open” internet where they don’t have to pay content creators or software developers for using their products, but the outcome of a lawsuit could change that.

      • Open Education Week: 24-Hour Global CC Network Web-a-thon: 5-6 March
        Open Education Week is an annual convening of the global open education movement to share ideas, new open education projects, and to raise awareness about open education and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide. Each year, the Creative Commons global community participates, hosts webinars, gives local talks and shares CC licensed educational resources.

        As part of the event this year, the Creative Commons Open Education Platform and CC Poland are hosting a 24-Hour Web-a-thon: 5-6 March (depending on your time zone).

        We have amazing speakers from around the world presenting in multiple languages. Experts from Algeria, Nigeria, Argentina, South Africa, Italy, Chile, United Kingdom, Afghanistan, United States, Ireland, Sweden, Canada and Poland will present their open education projects.

      • Hollywood Accounting Rears Its Ugly Head Again: Fox's 'False Testimony' And 'Aversion For The Truth' Leads To $179M Fine
        For years, we've talked about bullshit Hollywood Accounting, in which the big studios make boatloads of money on films and TV shows while declaring publicly that those works never made a dime in profit. As we've discussed, in its simplest terms, the studios set up a separate "corporation" for the film or TV project, which then it charges massive fees -- and the sole purpose of those fees seem to be to send all the money to the studio, while claiming that the film or TV project is "losing money" and thus they don't have to pay out any profits to the actual creative people.

        Remember this the next time the MPAA goes around talking about how its mission is to "protect creators."
      • Amicus Briefs Filed in Support of Google's Petition in Oracle Case - Disruptive Competition Project
        Earlier this week, fourteen amicus briefs were filed in support of Google’s petition to the Supreme Court to review the decisions of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) in Oracle’s long-running copyright infringement litigation against Google. See here for a summary of Google’s petition and the litigation until this point. One of the major issues in the case is whether Google’s replication of some elements of the Java application programming interface (“API”) was a fair use.


        The CCIA brief then described how policymakers in the Pacific Rim encouraged the development of domestic software industries by following either the U.S. fair use approach based on Sega v. Accolade or the specific statutory exception approach of the Software Directive. The brief referenced amendments to the copyright laws of Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan to promote competition through interoperability. Nations in other regions followed suit, including India, Kenya, Israel, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. The brief also discussed the inclusion in U.S. free trade agreements of provisions modeled on the interoperability exception to section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA).

        The brief explained that over 40 countries, including many major U.S. trading partners, have recognized that permitting copyright law to obstruct competition would impede the growth of the software industry and the Internet economy. By extending copyright protection to software interfaces, and overturning the jury’s fair use finding, the panel’s decisions thus runs contrary to global competition-enhancing copyright norms that have evolved in part in response to U.S. case law and the DMCA.

      • U.S. Music Industry Posts Third Straight Year of Double-Digit Growth as Streaming Soars 30% [iophk: "too bad companies and not artists get all of that"]

        The U.S. music industry posted its third consecutive year of double-digit growth, according to the RIAA’s year-end revenue report issued today.

        The report notes that in 2018 U.S. recorded-music revenues rose 12% to their highest level in 10 years — $9.8 billion, up from $8.8 billion the previous year but still below 2007’s $10.7 billion. This was largely due to the boost in paid music subscriptions, which rose 42% to 50.2 million from 35.3 million the previous year (and 10.8 million in 2015), while streaming revenues soared 30% to $7.4 billion from $5.7 billion in 2017 (and $2.3 billion in 2015).

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IRC Proceedings: Monday, April 22, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, April 22, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
Don't trust me. Trust the voters.
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Chris Lamb & Debian demanded Ubuntu censor my blog
Reprinted with permission from
Ean Schuessler, Branden Robinson & Debian SPI accounting crisis
Reprinted with permission from
William Lee Irwin III, Michael Schultheiss & Debian, Oracle, Russian kernel scandal
Reprinted with permission from