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Links 19/12/2019: Mesa 19.3.1, WordPress 5.3.2 and Kdenlive 19.12 Released

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Coming Soon.. The Kubuntu Focus Laptop

        The Kubuntu Council are delighted to announce that recently the community was approached by MindShare Management with a proposal to bringing a high-specification laptop to market using the Kubuntu operating system.

        We were both delighted and excited to see such a project undertaken.

      • Kubuntu Focus

        The Kubuntu Council, MindShareManagement Inc, and Tuxedo Computers proudly announce the the officially authorized Kubuntu Focus Laptop.

        The target audience are power users and developers who seek performance and compatibility with Linux deployment environments. It comes pre-loaded and pre-updated with the latest, professionally vetted software for web development, deep learning, Steam games, video editing, image editing, and dozens of additional supported software packages.

      • Kubuntu Focus premium Linux laptop coming in 2020

        There are a growing number of options for folks who want to buy a high-end laptop that comes with a GNU/Linux distribution rather than Windows, Mac, or Chrome OS. And next year it looks like there may be at least one more.

        The upcoming Kubuntu Focus notebook has the kind of specs you’d expect to find from a high-end gaming laptop. But while most gaming PCs ship with Windows, this one will run Kubuntu (Ubuntu Linux with the KDE desktop environment).

        It’s expected to be available in mid-January for $2,399 and up.

      • Win Linux PCs in KDE’s Video & Wallpaper Competitions

        Fancy winning a swanky new Linux laptop? Well if you put your creative skills to work, you might!

        The KDE community is running two new community competitions, both of which tout Tuxedo-branded hardware as main prizes.

        Videographers are encouraged to take part in the KDE Plasma 5.18 Video Competition where two Linux PCs are up for grabs.

        The creator of the best promotional video about KDE Plasma will net themselves a Tuxedo Gaming PC, while the creator of the best promotional video showcasing KDE applications will receive a Tuxedo InfinityBox.

        Just don’t expect an easy battle! There are a tonne of ace Linux YouTubers out there with the editing savvy to score well so be prepared to flex your imagination if you want to win!

      • Deck the Halls With These 12 Christmas Desktop Wallpapers

        Two frosty weeks on from sharing an ice-cool set of winter wallpapers I figured some of you might be in need warming up.

        So I tasked myself with selecting a crop of cosy “Christmas” backgrounds for this fortnight’s cadre of colourful computing centrepieces.

        And I think you’re gonna love them!

      • MintBox 3 fanless desktop PC with Linux Mint now available for $1399 and up

        The MintBox line of mini PCs are small, fanless desktop computers that come pre-loaded with the Linux Mint operating system. And the latest version is the most powerful (and expensive) model to date.

        First announced in July, the MintBox 3 is now available for purchase from the Fit-IoT website for $1399 and up, and the little computer should begin shipping to customers in January.

      • MintBox3 Now Shipping As Fan-Less Small Form Factor Linux Desktop

        Coinciding with the release of Linux Mint 19.3 is the debut of the MintBox3 Linux Mint pre-loaded small form factor desktop computer that is fan-less.

        The MintBox3 comes via the continued partnership between Linux Mint and Israeli PC vendor CompuLab. The MintBox3 in particular is Linux Mint on the powerful Airtop 3.

      • Linux Mint’s New Desktop PC is Available to Buy Priced from $1399

        The MintBox 3, which was announced back in July, has finally gone on sale.

        The fanless desktop PC is made by established PC maker CompuLab and comes pre-loaded with the Linux Mint operating system (which just got a new release, in case you hadn’t heard).

        Just don’t expect something low-power or low-cost, like the earlier MintBox PCs.

      • MintBox3 Linux PC Arrives with Linux Mint 19.3 "Tricia" Cinnamon Pre-Installed

        The Linux Mint project, in collaboration with Compulab, have announced the general availability of MintBox 3, the 5th-generation of the Linux Mint-powered PC.

        Based on the Compulab Airtop3 design, MintBox 3 offers customers a small footprint, an aesthetic all-metal industrial design with silent cooling, accessible I/O ports, and high performance for intensive workloads and graphics tasks. It's the most powerful MintBox computer ever made and ships with the latest Linux Mint 19.3 "Tricia" Cinnamon edition pre-installed.

    • Server

      • Ray Project Facilitates Building of Distributed Apps

        For many developers, distributed deployment of an application is often achieved using a cloud-native approach with the Kubernetes container orchestration platform. Ray is orthogonal to Kubernetes as it runs on top of Kubernetes as well as laptops, and on public clouds, Stoica said.

        In Stoica's view, Kubernetes makes it easy to deploy and manage different applications on the same cluster and is targeted at DevOps. That said, he noted that Kubernetes doesn’t solve the problem of actually making it easy to develop distributed apps. For example, to implement a large-scale reinforcement learning application today, the application needs to handle the logic for scheduling tasks, handling machine failures, efficiently transferring data and so on. Kubernetes simply runs applications once they have been developed, he added.

      • New features for the Kubernetes scheduler

        The Kubernetes scheduler is being overhauled with a series of improvements that will introduce a new framework and enhanced capabilities that could help cluster administrators to optimize performance and utilization. Abdullah Gharaibeh, co-chair of the Kubernetes scheduling special interest group (SIG Scheduling), detailed what has been happening with the scheduler in recent releases and what's on the roadmap in a session at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2019.

        The scheduler component of Kubernetes is a controller that assigns pods to nodes. A Kubernetes pod is a group of containers that is scheduled together, while a node is a worker machine (real or virtual) within the cluster that has all the services needed to run a pod.

        Gharaibeh explained that as pods are created they are added into a scheduling queue that is sorted by priority and then processed through two phases. In the first, the pod is run through a filter that makes a determination of what nodes are feasible for that pod to run on. For example, the filter checks to make sure the node has enough resources (CPU and memory) to run the pod. The pods then go through the scoring phase, where the pods are ranked according to additional criteria such as node affinity. If for some reason a pod ends up with no feasible nodes it will be placed back into the queue so it can be scheduled when that becomes possible.


        The Kubernetes Enhancement Proposal (KEP) for the scheduling framework outlines all of the different extension points for plugins. One of the key extension points is called "queue sort", which he said enables an administrator to define a single plugin that defines how the default scheduling queue will be sorted. That's different than the current default scheduling behavior where pods are sorted by priority.

        Other extension points include "pre-filter", which checks to make sure that certain pod conditions are met, and "filter", which is used to rule out nodes that can't run a given pod. The "reserve" extension point provides an opportunity to help better schedule pods that are running applications or services that need to maintain state, according to the KEP. "Plugins which maintain runtime state (aka 'stateful plugins') should use this extension point to be notified by the scheduler when resources on a node are being reserved for a given Pod."

        The framework also includes what are known as permit plugins, which allow other scheduling plugins to delay binding a pod to a node until a specific condition has been satisfied. Gharaibeh noted that the permit plugins can be useful to enable gang scheduling of a group of pods that need to all be deployed at the same time. "One interesting use case we had was trying to make the scheduler friendlier for batch workloads," he said.

        Overall, Gharaibeh emphasized that the scheduling framework will make it easier for Kubernetes developers to extend and add new features into the scheduler. The scheduling framework is currently targeted for the Kubernetes 1.19 milestone, which will be out in mid-2020.

      • IBM

        • Red Hat crippling CloudForms product and migrating users to IBM

          CloudForms is Red Hat’s supported version of upstream ManageIQ, an infrastructure management platform. It lets you see, manage and deploy to various platforms like OpenStack, VMWare, RHEV, OpenShift and public cloud like AWS and Azure, with single pane of glass view across them all. It has its own orchestration engine but also integrates with Ansible for automated deployments.

          As best I can tell, their CloudForms updated Statement of Direction article (behind paywall, sorry) shows that Red Hat is killing off support for non-Red Hat platforms like VMware, AWS, Azure, etc. The justification is to focus on open platforms, which I think means CloudForms will ultimately disappear entirely with Red Hat focusing on OpenShift instead.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Python Bytes: #161 Sloppy Python can mean fast answers!
      • FLOSS Weekly 560: Rolisteam

        Rolisteam is a free virtual table software. Pen and paper role-playing games are traditionally conducted around a table. Virtual table software seems to be the right solution to overcome real-life difficulties. It provides many features to enjoy a better game experience online (such as maps, images, dice roller, character sheet, background music).

      • 2019-12-18 | Linux Headlines

        Apple, Amazon, and Google are teaming up with the Zigbee Alliance to create a new standard for smart homes, Krita gets $25k, and a new version of Mint ships.

      • mintCast 324 – Attack of the Releases

        First up, in our Wanderings, Leo suffers from new computer ills, Tony Hughes works on his cars, Moss fiddles with more distros, it’s reading and repairs for Joe, Tony Watts is rockin’ it, and Josh goes mad and gets an iPhone.

        Then, in our news, Linux Mint 19.3 is almost here, Canonical has been very busy, New elementaryOS and Firefox, and more

        In security, two Linux vulnerabilities and a takeover of PIA goes weird

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 838

        Resin printing, relational data, starwars good stuff

      • WLED Changes the Game | Self-Hosted 8

        Sometimes one project can lead to a hundred more. We celebrate Home Assistant's new release, the inclusion of the WLED integration and fall down the DIY project rabbit hole.

        Plus some clever power solutions, cheap LED light strips, and a test drive of Project Off-Grid.

        We recorded our first ever live stream to accompany this where we flash an ESP8266 board in seconds using WLED and esptool. This can be found on YouTube.

      • LHS Episode #317: One More Probe

        Welcome to Episode 317 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, the hosts (minus Bill) talk about some of the best Open Source of 2019, Santa on the Air, Ofcom, inter-satellite communication, ksnip, QEMU, open-source oscilloscopes and much more. Thank you for listening and we hope you have a great week and a happy holiday season.

    • Kernel Space

      • The end of the 5.5 merge window

        By the end of the merge window, 12,632 non-merge changesets had been pulled into the mainline repository for the 5.5 release. This is thus a busy development cycle — just like the cycles that preceded it. Just over half of those changesets were pulled after the writing of our first 5.5 merge-window summary. As is often the case later in the merge window, many of those changes were relatively boring fixes. There were still a number of interesting changes, though; read on for a summary of what happened in the second half of this merge window.

      • Developers split over split-lock detection

        A "split lock" is a low-level memory-bus lock taken by the processor for a memory range that crosses a cache line. Most processors disallow split locks, but x86 implements them. Split locking may be convenient for developers, but it comes at a cost: a single split-locked instruction can occupy the memory bus for around 1,000 clock cycles. It is thus understandable that interest in eliminating split-lock operations is high. What is perhaps less understandable is that a patch set intended to detect split locks has been pending since (at least) May 2018, and it still is not poised to enter the mainline.

        Split locks are, in essence, a type of misaligned memory access — something that the x86 architecture has always been relatively willing to forgive. But there is a difference: while a normal unaligned operation will slow down the process performing that operation, split locks will slow down the entire system. The 1,000-cycle delay may be particularly painful on realtime systems, but split locks can be used as an effective denial-of-service attack on any system. There is little disagreement among developers that their use should not be allowed on most systems.

        Recent Intel processors can be configured to execute a trap when a split lock is attempted, allowing the operating system to decide whether to allow the operation to continue. Fenghua Yu first posted a patch set enabling this trap in May 2018; LWN covered this work one year later. While many things have changed in this patch set, the basic idea has remained constant: when this feature is enabled, user-space processes that attempt a split lock will receive a SIGBUS signal. What happens when split locks are created in other contexts has varied over time; in the version-10 patch set posted in late November, split locks in the kernel or system firmware will cause a kernel panic.

    • Benchmarks

      • mesa 19.3.1
        Hi list,

        I'd like to announce meas 19.3.1. I know it's a week earlier than normal, and it's a pretty small release. But with the upcoming Holidays (at least for me) it would otherwise be 4 weeks before a 19.3.1, so I've decided to make an early release, so that 19.3.2 won't be quite so huge.

        There's not much to look at here, just a few small fixes, mostly to Intel drivers, but with a radv, virgl, and core dri fix too.

        See you in the new year with a 19.3.2, Dylan

        Shortlog ========

        Bas Nieuwenhuizen (2): amd/common: Fix tcCompatible degradation on Stoney. amd/common: Always use addrlib for HTILE tc-compat.

        Dylan Baker (4): docs/19.3.0: Add SHA256 sums cherry-ignore: update for the 19.3.1 cycle docs: remove new_features.txt from stable branch VERSION: bump version for 19.3.1

        Gert Wollny (1): virgl: Increase the shader transfer buffer by doubling the size

        Iván Briano (1): anv: Export filter_minmax support only when it's really supported

        Kenneth Graunke (1): iris: Default to X-tiling for scanout buffers without modifiers

        Lionel Landwerlin (2): anv: fix fence underlying primitive checks mesa: avoid triggering assert in implementation

        Luis Mendes (1): radv: fix radv secure compile feature breaks compilation on armhf EABI and aarch64

        Tapani Pälli (2): dri: add __DRI_IMAGE_FORMAT_SXRGB8 i965: expose MESA_FORMAT_B8G8R8X8_SRGB visual

        git tag: mesa-19.3.1
      • Mesa 19.3.1 Released With A Few Intel + Radeon Graphics Driver Fixes

        While Mesa 19.3 was just released last week, Mesa 19.3.1 is now available rather than on its bi-weekly release cadence in order to avoid the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

        Due to just one week having passed, Mesa 19.3.1 is quite a small release. Found in this release is exposing B8G8R8X8 sRGB visual support for the Intel i965 driver, defaulting to X-tiling for scanout buffers without modifiers on Intel Iris, and the Intel Vulkan driver only now exposing filter_minmax extension support when it's actually supported. On the Radeon side is a Stoney APU fix and a fix for the new RADV secure compile functionality breaking ARM support. The Virgl driver also doubles the size for the shader transfer buffer in this release.

    • Applications

      • Best download managers for Linux Ubuntu/Debian

        In this article we will show some of the best download manager applications for Linux Ubuntu and similar distros. This kind of software is a must for every new and professional Linux user. You will hopefully find some guidance to choose the right download manager that suits your needs.Let’s get started.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Some early thoughts on The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters from Devespresso Games

        Devespresso Games have returned to their roots with The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters, so I took a little look at what to expect from this in-development atmospheric, story-driven horror.

        It's been out in Early Access for little over a month and it already seems like it could be a small hit, they've managed to quickly get a "Very Positive" rating from hundreds players so that's a great start. After trying it out myself, it definitely hits the spot.

      • The complete season of Life is Strange 2 is now available on Linux

        Hella yeah! Originally developed by DONTNOD Entertainment and published by Square Enix on Windows and console, Feral Interactive have now officially released Life is Strange 2 for Linux.

        This means we now have Life is Strange, Life is Strange: Before the Storm and Life is Strange 2 all ported and supported on Linux thanks to the work from Feral which is awesome.

      • Life is Strange 2 Is Out Now for Linux and macOS, Ported by Feral Interactive

        UK-based video games publisher Feral Interactive announced today the availability of the Life is Strange 2 episodic graphic adventure video game for the Linux and macOS platforms.

        Developed by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Square Enix, Life Is Strange 2 is a single-player, episodic graphic adventure video game that continues the award-winning narrative series with a new location and cast of characters. The game is powered by Unreal Engine 4 and it's now playable on Linux and macOS systems.

        Life Is Strange 2 is the second main instalment in the Life Is Strange series, which was released over a year ago on September 2018 only for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One platforms. Feral Interactive has been working since then to port it to Linux and macOS, just like they ported Life Is Strange and Life Is Strange: Before the Storm.

      • Life Is Strange 2 Released For Linux With Vulkan Rendering

        The Linux port of this game does require Vulkan driver support and on the Radeon side they recommend a Radeon R9 380 at least or NVIDIA with at least a GeForce GTX 680. There hasn't been any recent Vulkan driver workarounds/changes required so with AMD the driver support works going back to the Mesa 19.1 series or on the NVIDIA side the 430 series. Feral says Intel graphics are not supported.

      • The Sapling, a plant and animal design and evolution sim is now in Early Access

        While rather rough around the edges, The Sapling has a good idea and the groundwork done to become an interesting evolution sim where you design plants and animals.

      • Rocky Planet looks like an indie survival game to keep an eye on

        Releasing in Early Access sometime next year with Linux support, Jakub Klementewicz has been building the survival game Rocky Planet and it certainly looks like we need to keep an eye on it.

      • Add over 600 items to Dicey Dungeons with the great More Fluff mod

        Dicey Dungeons already has a lot of items, some of them quite amusing but how about 600 more to give your run just that extra bit of variation? Enter the More Fluff mod.

        The More Fluff mod adds in so many items it's just nuts, from "the unassuming Paintbrush, to the mathematical Primal Punch; survival-heavy Regen or the risky Really Spiky Shield; the pun-worthy Pee Shooter or Gooplicate... there'll be an item for you".

      • Wave-based shoot 'em up PuPaiPo Space Deluxe released with Linux support

        BolHut (You Died but a Necromancer revived you) just released their latest game, a wave-based shoot 'em up PuPaiPo Space Deluxe.

        Quite a deceptive looking twin-stick shooter, you start off thinking it's super easy and overly simple and then it starts to really throw everything at you. It gets absolutely crazy! Still simple overall though, a very nice pick up and play shooter, with friendly and inviting colourful visuals.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Go mouseless with the Linux Ratpoison window manager

        Maybe you don't like desktops. Maybe even a lightweight window manager seems excessive to you. Maybe all you really use is a graphical user interface (GUI) application or two, and you're otherwise perfectly happy living in a terminal all day. If one or more of these sentiments sound familiar, then Ratpoison is the solution.

        The Ratpoison window manager models itself after GNU Screen. All window controls are performed with keyboard shortcuts, so you don't have to grab the mouse just to move a window out of your way. The trade-off is that it's impossibly minimalistic, which is, conveniently, also its greatest strength.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Kdenlive 19.12 is out

          After four months of intense work and more than 200 commits, Jean-Baptiste Mardelle and the Kdenlive team are happy to announce the release of Kdenlive 19.12.0. This release comes with many changes under the hood, new features and nifty eye candy additions. The highlights include huge performance improvements resulting in a faster and smoother timeline, a new audio mixer, master effects (audio/video), and better audio waveform display to name a few. Not to mention the usual round of stability and usability fixes.

          Grab the latest version from the download section and give it a spin.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Molly de Blanc: ATK, GTK, and plans for 2020

          The GNOME Project is built by a vibrant community and supported by the GNOME Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity registered in California (USA). The GNOME community has spent more than 20 years creating a desktop environment designed for the user. We‘re asking you to become Friend of GNOME, with a recommended donation of $25/month ($5/month for students). We’re working to have 100 new Friends of GNOME join by January 6, 2020.

          GNOME is about so much more than a desktop environment. In addition to the eponymous GNOME desktop, we work on projects like GStreamer, GTK, and Flatpak. We have a mostly complete list of technologies you can read on our web site. While the Foundation largely works on support, we also do development and outreach for GTK and GNOME core application development platform.

        • GNOME Hopes To Get Most Of GTK4 Squared Away Next Year

          GTK 4.0 isn't expected until autumn 2020 but a lot of work remains for that to happen as the next big update to GNOME's toolkit.

          Among the GTK4 work left includes completing the constraints layout code, advancing their proposed animation framework API for GTK, and working on various bugs and other issues. There is also a desire to have improved continuous integration around GTK (and other projects like Glib).

    • Distributions

      • IPFire: The end of another year...

        We have brought you twelve Core Updates - each packed with lots of new features, improvements and some with just security fixes. A special thank you for Intel again, which kept us especially busy with their hardware bugs, their deceiving marketing campaigns to play down those problems, and of course no support in terms of providing good fixes. We unfortunately had to invest a lot of time in assessing how these vulnerabilities affect IPFire systems and what is best to do about them. All of that held back development and frankly was the most frustrating thing to deal with this year.

        But on the plus side, we found some time to invest into an updated web proxy and our reworked Intrusion Prevention System which probably was the single biggest project this year. Routed IPsec VPNs, DFS for Wireless Access Points in higher 5 GHz channels, a new GUI to configure VLANs and finally a rewritten Quality of Service were more of the bigger things that we released this year.

        We had a number of Core Updates which only shipped a kernel, either with fixes for Intel's problems or the famous SACK vulnerabilities. Although these might not seem very exciting to you users and the change logs are a short and cryptic read, they are the most important updates that we release. They are what makes IPFire IPFire. A secure and rock-solid firewall OS.

        I do not really have to tell you this, because you are all installing your updates swiftly - with only a couple of exceptions. Earlier this year we asked you to migrate from an old 32 bit installation to 64 bits, because we can only provide best security on that platform. And you listened! When we had two thirds of the systems still running on 32 bit, this has now changed to two thirds being on 64 bit.

      • New Releases

        • Peppermint 10 Linux OS Gets Respined, It's Now Based on Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS

          The Peppermint OS team released today the first respin images to their latest Peppermint 10 Linux-based operating system for personal computers.

          The initial Peppermint 10 release arrived earlier this year at the end of May, based on the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system series and featuring a Linux 4.18 kernel, as well as various other improvements, new features, and updated components.

          Based on Canonical's latest Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS (Bionic Beaver) release, the Peppermint 10 Respin images are here with up-to-date components, as well as kernel and graphics stacks as of December 10th, 2019, including the recently released Mozilla Firefox 71 web browser and Linux 5.0 kernel.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian votes on init systems

          In November, the topic of init systems and, in particular, support for systems other than systemd reappeared on the Debian mailing lists. After one month of sometimes fraught discussion, this issue has been brought to the project's developers to decide in the form of a general resolution (GR) — the first such since the project voted on the status of debian-private discussions in 2016. The issues under discussion are complex, so the result is one of the most complex ballots seen for some time in Debian, with seven options to choose from.

          Debian being what it is, the actual voting period for a contentious issue can be rather anticlimactic; the real debate happens during the framing of the ballot to be voted on. This time around was no exception, with extensive discussions on how to best represent various proposed policies, and even a debate over the use of the word "diversity" to describe the issue at hand (it was eventually taken out). Debian practice dictates that ballots work best if each option is written by its proponents, so there are many hands involved in creating the final product.

          That process also takes some time. Debian project leader Sam Hartman has seemed somewhat impatient throughout, trying to keep the discussion period to the minimum required by the Debian constitution. By his count, the minimum period ended on November 30; he issued his call for votes three days later. That, however, was too soon for Ian Jackson, who posted a proposal to override Hartman's call for votes so that further work could be done on the framing of the issues on the ballot. While some participants agreed with this idea, the project as a whole appears to be somewhat tired of this discussion and ready to make a decision.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 19.2 Users Can Now Upgrade to Linux Mint 19.3 "Tricia," Here's How

          The Linux Mint project has opened the upgrade path from the old Linux Mint 19.2 "Tina" release to the newly launched Linux Mint 19.3 "Tricia" release.

          Based on Canonical's long-term supported Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system and shipping with the Linux 5.0 kernel and the latest Cinnamon 4.4, MATE 1.22, and Xfce 4.14 desktop environments, the Linux Mint 19.3 "Tricia" operating system is now available to download.

          However, the live ISO images of Linux Mint 19.3 "Tricia" are here only for new deployments of the operating system or for those who choose to reinstall their computers, as a fresh install is always recommended, but many users would prefer to upgrade from an older version.

        • Linux Mint 19.3 Cinnamon Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Linux Mint 19.3 Cinnamon.

        • Linux Mint 19.3 MATE Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Linux Mint 19.3 MATE.

        • Linux Mint 19.3 XFCE Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Linux Mint 19.3 XFCE.

        • Linux Mint 19.3 has been released

          Linux Mint 19.3 has been released. The update of the popular Linux distribution is available in the flavors Xfce, Mate and Cinnamon as usually. The new version of the Linux distribution is a long term support release that will be supported until 2023.

          New and existing users may download the ISO images from the official project download site. The new version introduces several changes and new features, brings refinements, and bug fixes among other things.

        • Linux Mint 19.3 ‘Tricia' now available in three editions

          The team behind Linux Mint has announced the availability of Linux Mint 19.3, the announcement comes less than a week after we reported that the final disc images were undergoing tests. As is the case with the last few Linux Mint version, Tricia will be available in three editions: Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce.

          This update is quite big, it includes a new boot screen, a new logo, a new drawing app, a new video player, and an improved System Reports app, among other things.

          If you’re running Linux Mint 19, 19.1, or 19.2, it’s possible to upgrade to 19.3. In order to upgrade you should make a Timeshift backup, disable your screensaver and upgrade any installed Cinnamon spices, then select ‘Upgrade to “Linux Mint 19.3 Tricia”’ from the Edit menu in the Update Manager. From there you just need to follow the on-screen instructions. If you want to install the new packages you can run sudo apt install celluloid gnote drawing neofetch. Once you’re done, just reboot the computer.

          Linux Mint 19.3 includes Cinnamon 4.4, Linux kernel 5.0, and is based on Ubuntu 18.04 which means packages designed for that system also run on this version of Linux Mint. This version will continue to get security updates until 2023 but work on Linux Mint 20, which will be supported until 2025, will commence shortly with a release due around May or June.

        • Linux Mint 19.3 released (better HiDPI support + new apps and features)

          There’s also a new System Reports feature that will display a warning icon in the system tray to let you know about problems the operating system encounters. For example, if there’s a missing language pack, hardware driver, media codec, or OS update, the icon will let you open a window to see problems, system info, and crash reports.

          Linux Mint has also changed some default apps. The GIMP image editing app has been replaced by a simpler “Drawing” app. The Xplayer media player has been replaced with Celluloid. And the Tomboy note taking application has been replaced by Gnote.

          If you prefer to use GIMP or any of the other old defaults, you can still install them from the Linux Mint repository.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • CERN Endorsing Microsoft Alternatives Like ownCloud, Kopano, Alt-Office Suite

        CERN, The European Organization for Nuclear Research that is home to the Large Hadron Collider and much more, has been working on alternatives to Microsoft software and recently some of their recommended options for various tasks / application replacements was published.

        Back in June we reported on CERN working to migrate away from Microsoft projects and find other software alternatives that besides Windows, Skype for Business and other Microsoft proprietary software license/fee increases were eating into their budget.

        After evaluating various open-source and freeware replacements to various proprietary software packages they have been relying on, recently they put out a guide detailing some of the replacements and their current status within the organization.

      • MALT: Services Alternatives
      • Rav1e 0.2 Rust AV1 Encoder Released With 40~70% Improvements Over Previous Release

        Compared to the inaugural Rav1e 0.1 release just over one month ago, Rav1e 0.2 was released on Wednesday with 40~70% better performance depending upon the encode settings.

        Since the rav1e 0.1 release in early November there has been various optimizations like more Assembly optimizations and forward-transform SIMD. That has now culminated with the release of rav1e 0.2 as the newest official release and succeeding the recent weekly-ish snapshots.

      • Events

        • FSF LibrePlanet: not just a conference, but a network

          Since 2010, the LibrePlanet wiki has provided a space for connection between free software activists, with the following mission statement: "To empower a global network of both local and project-based teams, all working together to advance free software as a social movement for user freedom."

          This idea of participation and space for connection between free software activists is what motivates both the wiki and the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) yearly conference by the same name. Our LibrePlanet wiki uses the same software as what powers Wikipedia, which makes it the perfect tool for global collaborative work. We use the wiki as a tool to help organize free software supporters all over the world, so everyone can collaborate around their projects and ideas, as well as communicate with each other using our mailing lists for discussion and development, and our #LibrePlanet IRC channel on Freenode.

          LibrePlanet is about spreading the free software ideals, organizing activists and supporters of the free software philosophy, as well as about organizing GNU/Linux, or other technology-specific user groups. The site can be used for a broad range of uses, by expert software developers and budding community activists alike.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox contained in Flatpak vs Snap comparison

            The Linux desktop has seen great advances in desktop app containerization and process-isolating sandbox-technologies. Keeping programs from getting hold of each other’s environments and files can greatly improve security if something where to go wrong with a program. Flatpak and Snap are the two leading implementations on the desktop.

            I’ve previously praised the added security I get when playing Steam games inside a Flatpak container. I’m overdue to extend that protection to the web browser. I believe I’ll sleep better at night knowing there was an additional security layer between my web browser and the rest of my system.

            To this end, I wanted to compare the current versions of Firefox Flatpak and Firefox Snap on Fedora 31. Due to the nature of containerized apps, you can expect my experiences to translate to other Linux distributions.

            I’ll test Firefox 71 from the Fedora Flatpak repository, and Firefox 71 stable from the Canonical Snapcraft Store. I’ll refer to these as “Firefox Flatpak” and “Firefox Snap” throughout this article. Please note that you can use alternative Flatpak repositories such as Flathub. These alternate repositories may come different variants of Firefox with other default limitations and capabilities.

          • Keeping the Internet Open & Accessible To All As It Evolves: Mozilla Research Grants

            We are very happy to announce the results of our Mozilla Research Grants for the second half of 2019. This was an extremely competitive process, and we selected proposals which address seven strategic priorities for the Internet and for Mozilla. This includes studies of privacy in India and Indonesia, proposals to rethink how we might manage personal data, and explorations of the future of voice interfaces. The Mozilla Research Grants program is part of our commitment to being a world-class example of using inclusive innovation to impact culture, and reflects Mozilla’s commitment to open innovation.

          • Think Google Docs, Hangouts and G Suite don’t work with Firefox? Think again

            If you’re waiting to switch to Firefox because you think that Google Docs or Hangouts won’t work as well, we’re happy to debunk this myth. You have nothing to worry about. Firefox works great with Google Docs, Hangouts, G Suite and just about every Google service.

            Not only do we work hard to keep Firefox working great with G Suite, but so does the G Suite team because they want to make sure everything works for you in Firefox and other major browsers. (See these pages here and here, but note that Firefox does in fact support desktop notifications.)

          • Firefox UX: Reflecting on “It’s Our Research” at Mozilla

            I thought we involved stakeholders in research pretty perfectly, here at Mozilla. Stakeholders come to research studies, listen attentively to research report-outs, and generally value the work our team does. Then I read “It’s Our Research”. I still think the Firefox User Research team has great buy-in across the organization, but after reading Tomer Sharon’s book, there are so many more things we could improve on! And what fun is a job, if there’s nothing to improve, right?

            I’d like to call in some stakeholders to help me tell four short stories related to four pieces of advice Tomer Sharon provides in his book. (By the way, there are so many ideas in that book, it was hard to pick just four.)

      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.3.2 Maintenance Release

          WordPress 5.3.2 is now available!

          This maintenance release features 5 fixes and enhancements.

          WordPress 5.3.2 is a short-cycle maintenance release. The next major release will be version 5.4.

          You can download WordPress 5.3.2 by clicking the button at the top of this page, or visit your Dashboard → Updates and click Update Now.

          If you have sites that support automatic background updates, they’ve already started the update process.

      • BSD

        • OpenBSD system-call-origin verification

          A new mechanism to help thwart return-oriented programming (ROP) and similar attacks has recently been added to the OpenBSD kernel. It will block system calls that are not made via the C library (libc) system-call wrappers. Instead of being able to string together some "gadgets" that make a system call directly, an attacker would need to be able to call the wrapper, which is normally at a randomized location.

          Theo de Raadt introduced the feature in a late November posting to the OpenBSD tech mailing list. The idea is to restrict where system calls can come from to the parts of a process's address space where they are expected to come from. OpenBSD already disallows system calls (and any other code) executing from writable pages with its W^X implementation. Since OpenBSD is largely in control of its user-space applications, it can enforce restrictions that would be difficult to enact in a more loosely coupled system like Linux, however. Even so, the restrictions that have been implemented at this point are less strict than what De Raadt would like to see.

          The eventual goal would be to disallow system calls from anywhere but the region mapped for libc, but the Go language port for OpenBSD currently makes system calls directly. That means the main program text segment needs to be in the list of memory regions where system calls are allowed to come from. Static binaries will also need to have their text segment included, since libc will inhabit part of that address space.

      • Programming/Development

        • Packaging and the Security Proposition

          Why does C need “securing”

          C as a language is unsafe in every meaning of the word. The best C programmers on the planet are incapable of writing a secure program. This is because to code in C you have to express a concurrent problem, into a language that is linearised, which is compiled relying on undefined behaviour, to be executed on an asynchronous concurrent out of order CPU. What could possibly go wrong?!

          There is a lot you need to hold in mind to make C work. I can tell you now that I spend a majority of my development time thinking about the code to change rather than writing C because of this!

          This has led to C based applications having just about every security issue known to man.

          How is C “secured”

          So as C is security swiss cheese, this means we have developed processes around the language to soften this issue - for example advice like patch and update continually as new changes are continually released to resolve issues.

          Distribution packages have always been the “source” of updates for these libraries and applications. These packages are maintained by humans who need to update these packages. This means when a C project releases a fix, these maintainers would apply the patch to various versions, and then release the updates. These library updates due to C’s dynamic nature means when the machine is next rebooted (yes rebooted, not application restarted) that these fixes apply to all consumers who have linked to that library - change one, fix everything. Great!

          But there are some (glaring) weaknesses to this model. C historically has little to poor application testing so many of these patches and their effects can’t be reproduced. Which also subsequently means that consuming applications also aren’t re-tested adequately. It can also have impacts where a change to a shared library can impact a consuming application in a way that was unforseen as the library changed.

        • Grantlee version 5.2 (Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei) now available

          The Grantlee community is pleased to announce the release of Grantlee version 5.2.0.

          For the benefit of the uninitiated, Grantlee is a set of Qt based libraries including an advanced string template system in the style of the Django template system.

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Ruby

          Ruby is a general purpose, scripting, structured, flexible, fully object-oriented programming language with a focus on simplicity and productivity. Ruby is a very conservative language. It’s equipped with very carefully chosen features that have been fully tested.

          Ruby possesses a high portability running a large number of platforms including Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, Cygwin, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, BSD/OS, Solaris, Tru64 UNIX, and HP-UX. At the time of publication, the TIOBE Programming Community index ranks Ruby in 11th place.

          Ruby’s popularity was enhanced by the Ruby on Rails framework, a full-stack web framework which has been used to create many popular applications including Basecamp, GitHub, Shopify, Airbnb, Twitch, SoundCloud, Hulu, Zendesk, Square, and Highrise.

        • Python

          • Working toward securing PyPI downloads

            An effort to protect package downloads from the Python Package Index (PyPI) has resulted in a Python Enhancement Proposal (PEP) and, perhaps belatedly, some discussion in the wider community. The basic idea is to use The Update Framework (TUF) to protect PyPI users from some malicious actors who are aiming to interfere with the installation and update of Python modules. But the name of the PEP and its wording, coupled with some recent typosquatting problems on PyPI, caused some confusion along the way. There are some competing interests and different cultures coming together over this PEP; the process has not run as smoothly as anyone might want, though that seems to be resolving itself at this point.

            PEP 458 ("Surviving a Compromise of PyPI") has been around since 2013 or so; LWN looked at the PEP and the related PEP 480 ("Surviving a Compromise of PyPI: The Maximum Security Model") in 2015. PEP 458 proposes a mechanism to provide cryptographic-signature protection for PyPI packages using TUF. No changes would be required for package authors or those downloading the packages, but client-side programs like pip would be able to ensure that they are getting the latest version of the code—and that the code itself is what is stored on PyPI.

            A message was posted to the Python discussion forum in mid-November about the PEP. One of the PEP's authors, Trishank Kuppusamy, wondered about the status of it, but the message mostly seemed to be aimed at Donald Stufft, who is the "BDFL-Delegate" for the PEP. That means that the steering council has deferred the decision on the PEP to Stufft; a week or so later, he had seemingly replied to the request but via some other channel.

            Neither message was a general call for discussion of the PEP, however, which might be expected, so it would seem that many may have skipped over the message entirely. In early December, Guido van Rossum noted in the thread that he had merged a pull request (PR) for a bunch of updates to the PEP, but cautioned that discussion of the PEP should be done on the forum rather than in a PR. That is the normal course of action on a PEP; clearly Van Rossum was a bit surprised that it wasn't being followed in this case.

  • Leftovers

    • Wanted: Super Computer Capable Of Calculating Brand Damage ScoMo Has Caused While In Hawaii

      The technology doesn’t quite exist yet, but it’s not that far away.

    • Elections in Ukraine, the fire at Notre Dame, and protests in Moscow The biggest events of 2019, according to Yandex searches

      The Russian search engine and technology giant Yandex has issued a press release listing the most searched-for events of 2019 among its users. At the top of the list were the national election in Ukraine, the fire at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, and the protests that swept Moscow in advance of the Moscow City Duma elections.

    • A tweet gave a journalist a seizure. His case brings new meaning to the idea of 'online assault.'

      "A brawler who tattoos a message onto his knuckles does not throw every punch with the weight of First Amendment protection behind him," the brief stated. "Conduct like this does not constitute speech, nor should it. A deliberate attempt to cause physical injury to someone does not come close to the expression which the First Amendment is designed to protect."

    • The Possible Removal of a Beauty Mark

      There have been a great deal of emotional energies and complicit psychic delusions recently causing great tumultuousness in the Palaces of the Corporetum Exceptionalis around the world. The causes of this tumult are often unseen and simultaneously assumed to be clearly distinguished by the overwhelming numbers of the courtiers. The single most assumed cause and focus of distress is the degree to which the latest application of a deceitful beauty mark meets with the traditional standards of dissolute predation on the most prominent face in the chambers of glittering toxic debauchery.

    • Education

      • The Free College Battle

        The prospect of free public college is shaping up as one of the major divides between the more progressive candidates (Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren) and the more centrist candidates (Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg). Buttigieg in particular has been especially vocal in his opposition to making college free for everyone.

      • Texas Legislators Pass School Finance Bill—But Lack Means to Fund It

        State Representative Harold Dutton, a Democratic, persuaded Representative Dustin Burrows, a Republican, to implement an amendment to the property tax bill that would require a commission to review every tax exemption and recommend reforms. This would ensure a way for Texan tax-payers to be protected from having their taxes increased due to House Bill 3.

      • Walton Family Foundation Donation to Teach for America Served the Charter School Movement

        The Walton Family Foundation’s original press release about the Teach for America donation made no mention of the grant’s unusual terms.

      • Education Secretary DeVos Admits To Falling NAEP Scores

        As Politico reported, the latest NAEP results showed declines in average scores for fourth- and eighth-graders, compared with the 2017 results.

      • Corporate Commitment or Corruption? Ohio’s Changing Education System

        According to its website, the mission of Ohio Excels is “to provide an informed business perspective to help improve and transform Ohio’s education system so that it better prepares students to meet the demands of our evolving economy.” However, as Bacha reports, business-led education may not be the best way to improve students’ job prospects or the economy.€  Ohio Excels’ plans could produce a “pipeline” from public schools to corporations, and shift education policies away from well-rounded curriculum and towards a greater focus on business. “The programs and policies Ohio Excels is implementing are actually a way for corporations funding the program to ensure they will have a pool of workers fully conditioned to fit the needs of their companies right out of school,” writes Bacha.

      • Brazilian Students Protest “Austerity” Cuts to Education

        Andrade documented that protesters targeted worsening problems, including the nation’s increasing austerity, the “string of political interventions in the elections of new deans across federal institutions,” and the censorship of books, movies and plays.

      • Colleges and Universities Question Usefulness of Standardized Testing in Admissions

        Low-income students and first-generation students often lack equal access to test preparation resources that benefit students of higher socio-economic status. Schools’ decisions to go test-optional may therefore benefit lower-income, first-generation, veteran and rural students.

    • Hardware

      • And now for something completely different: Way more FPS than Counterstrike on PowerPC DOSBox

        If you're unfamiliar with it, DOSBox is an x86 emulator specializing in running PC DOS games (and, presumably, any PC DOS application). For many DOS-based titles, in fact, it may be the only way to run them on modern PCs, let alone Macs. Besides emulating old hardware like video cards and SoundBlasters sufficiently for games to run, one of its key features on supported platforms is dynamically recompiling x86 machine language for enhanced performance. Unfortunately, DOSBox on Power Macs, while it is still supported as of this writing (10.4 and up), runs x86 code strictly in an interpreter and as a result can be quite slow on low-spec systems. For certain games requiring 80486-level performance, only the G5 can realistically emulate those at any reasonable level, and even then uses a lot of CPU doing so or requires skipping some portion of frames to make the game at all playable.

        Over on Vogons earlier this year one of the DOSBox contributors wrote up a PowerPC JIT for the dynrec core under Linux which was then ported to OS X. Like the TenFourFox JIT compiles JavaScript to PowerPC machine code, this patch compiles x86 machine code to PowerPC machine code and runs that instead of requiring labourious interpretation. There was briefly a build available on Dropbox with this JIT, which is currently not part of the DOSBox source tree, but that build can no longer be downloaded. So, I went ahead and reconstructed it against the current trunk (at the time I pulled it, r4301) along with a minor tweak and another of this developer's big-endian fixes, and have tidied it up for download.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft Teams Now Available for Linux

          Starting today, Microsoft Teams is available for Linux users in public preview, enabling collaboration experiences for the open source community at work and in educational institutions. Users can download the native Linux packages in .deb and .rpm formats here.

        • TCO of FOSS vs Closed Source: Mr. Bacil, you are wrong

          Today I received a link to a news article from Brazili where first-term state deputy Emerson Bacil of Jair Bolsonaro's PS party is proposing to change a law that prefers Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) used by government over closed source, proprietary software. Mr. Bacil claims that this is necessary because the software is not “free” has maintenance and updating costs that have to be considered, and that free software vendors would not provide assistance at the level the government required. Mr. Bacil thinks that the software should be chosen on a case-by-case basis depending on what is needed, including security and confidentiality. The law, written in 2003, already allows this type of evaluation and selection to be done. If the entity selecting the software can prove that closed source software is demonstrated to be superior or less expensive, than it can be purchased. But the law requires that this comparison be done.

          The law was first written because large closed-source software companies would visit purchasing agents and argue that “of course” the contract should be given to the company, often due to unproven claims of functionality or support, and often with no investigation of FOSS products or services which did the same thing. Often these large companies would “help” the purchasing agents outline “needs” which only their products could supply. The 2003 law requires that the comparison and selection be done openly and fairly. If there was no comparison and justification than the purchaser broke the law. Not only can the purchasing agent be fired, they could be found guilty of breaking this law. Weakening or eliminating the 2003 law would invite corruption, something that the PS party, and President Bolsonaro, have pledged to fight.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Strategy First, Technology Second Should Be Your Strategy

                Every enterprise has its own set of challenges. You have a large business to run, while also navigating a changing market and evolving customer needs. And while technology can help address some obstacles, it is not a strategy by itself.

                So many executives that I talk to get caught up in which technology to choose that they fail to realize the actual technology is, in many ways, the least important decision. During the next five years, the cloud native boom will entirely transform the foundations on which we build and rely every day — from company culture to developer workflow to product development.

                If you have a well developed and forward-thinking strategy, it will make a tremendous difference in whether your organization rides this wave of success or becomes just another business wondering what could have been.

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Google Nest or Amazon Ring? Just Reject These Corporations' Surveillance and a Dystopic Future

              Purchasing devices that constantly monitor, track and record us for convenience or a sense of safety is laying the foundation for an oppressive future.

            • Surveillance Court to the FBI: You Have Some Explaining to Do

              The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the normally-secretive federal court based in Washington, D.C. that oversees much of the nation’s foreign intelligence surveillance programs, took an unusual step yesterday: it issued a public order chastising the FBI for its handling of the applications submitted to conduct surveillance of Carter Page, a former adviser to the Trump Campaign.€ 

              The FISC gave the FBI less than a month to report “what it has done, and plans to do, to ensure” that future surveillance applications “accurately and completely reflect[]” the facts the FISC needs to evaluate whether surveillance should be authorized. The FISC’s unusual public filing comes on the heels of the Department of Justice’s Inspector General report, released earlier this month, which reported a number of significant problems with the Page surveillance applications. The IG found that there were omissions and misstatements in the FBI's applications to conduct surveillance—inaccuracies that went uncorrected, despite three subsequent renewals of the FBI’s surveillance order. In light of the problems with the Page application, the IG indicated it would conduct a more comprehensive review of FBI applications to the FISC.€ 

            • FISA Court Benchslaps FBI For Its Abuse Of The FISA Warrant Process During The Trump Campaign Investigation

              This didn't take long. The Inspector General's report on the FBI's Trump campaign investigation had nothing positive to say about the FBI other than it sucked at its job. Unbelievably, this was better than the IG saying the FBI performed its job in a biased fashion as part of a concerted Deep State effort to prevent Trump from taking office. (Or from staying in it, I guess, since the prevention plan obviously didn't work.)

            • Smile as you buy your holiday goods in a store – you are probably being watched, tracked and analyzed

              Amazon may have started out by selling books, but it is now getting heavily into the surveillance market. There are four main sectors where it is already working on solutions that pose risks to privacy. Three of them have been covered extensively in this blog before. They are: the home, with its Alexa devices; the street, where its Ring doorbell cameras are creating massive community surveillance systems; and police forces, with its cloud-based facial recognition system called “Rekognition”. The fourth sector where Amazon is using surveillance as the basis of its offerings is in retail. Although the idea of what came to be called Amazon Go was first revealed three years ago, the roll-out has been relatively sedate. Today there are a couple of dozen stores, with more planned. Amazon’s explanation of how these stores differ from conventional outlets is as follows:

            • US Government’s Censorship System Claims Victory Against NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden

              A federal judge ruled the United States government may confiscate proceeds NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden earned from the publication of his book, Permanent Record, as well as his speeches. The government accused Snowden of violating secrecy agreements he signed with the NSA and CIA when classified information was published that did not go through prepublication review.Judge Liam O’Grady in the Eastern District of Virginia declared [PDF], “Because there is no genuine dispute of material fact, that Snowden publicly disclosed the type of information and materials described above in Permanent Record and his speeches, the government is entitled to summary judgment.” Snowden exposed mass surveillance programs that violate or undermine the Constitution and brought attention to countless abuses by the NSA, as well as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The case, United States v. Marchetti, established the prepublication review process used currently by U.S. intelligence agencies to enforce secrecy. As described in a pending lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and Knight First Amendment Institute, in the 1970s, former CIA employees increasingly spoke out against the Vietnam War and other “executive branch abuses of power exposed and documented by the Church and Pike Committees.”

              The courts ruled they could enforce a secrecy agreement signed by Victor Marchetti, a former CIA employee.Marchetti’s 1974 book, which was censored, denounced the “cult of intelligence.” He described the CIA as a “secret fraternity of the American political aristocracy.” And added, “The purpose of the cult is to further the foreign policies of the U.S. government by covert and usually illegal means, while at the same time containing the spread of its avowed enemy, communism.” CIA Director George H.W. Bush setup the Publications Review Board (PRB), and his successor, Stansfield Turner, expanded the board’s ability to ensure former employees complied with their secrecy agreements. In 1980, a divided Supreme Court ruled that the government could impose a “constructive trust on proceeds” earned by former CIA officer Frank Snepp, who published Decent Interval on the CIA in Vietnam without submitting it for review.Snowden argued the United States breached the secrecy agreements he signed by “indicating it would refuse to review Snowden’s materials in good faith and within a reasonable time.” Agencies have 30-60 working days by law to review books. Regardless of whether Snowden has a pending leak case against him that accuses him of violating the Espionage Act, they have to review any books, reports, or manuscripts he might submit. Former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who submitted all three of his books to the PRB for approval, said he believes there is merit to Snowden’s argument that they would not review the book in a reasonable amount of time.

            • We Tested Ring’s Security. It’s Awful

              A Ring account is not a normal online account. Rather than a username and password protecting messages or snippets of personal information, such as with, say, a video game account, breaking into a Ring account can grant access to exceptionally intimate and private parts of someone's life and potentially puts their physical security at risk. Some customers install these cameras in their bedrooms or those of their children. Through an issue in the way a Ring-related app functions, Gizmodo found these cameras are installed all across the country. Someone with access can hear conversations and watch people, potentially without alerting the victims that they are being spied on. The app displays a user-selected address for the camera, and the live feed could be used to determine whether the person is home, which could be useful if someone were, for example, planning a robbery. Once [an attacker] has broken into the account, they can watch not only live streams of the camera, but can also silently watch archived video of people—and families—going about their days.

            • The Big Hole in the China Trade Agreement

              These measures prohibit foreign companies from encrypting data so that it cannot be read by the Chinese central government and the Communist Party of China. Businesses will be required to turn over encryption keys. Companies will not be able to employ virtual private networks to keep data secret, and some believe they will no longer be allowed to use private servers.

              Together, these measures allow Beijing to take all the data and communications of foreign companies.

            • What Snowden Wrought

              When Edward Snowden was a tyke in North Carolina in the mid-1980s, his father, an engineer in the Coast Guard, got a Commodore 64. One night little Ed saw him playing a rudimentary game in the den and he was instantly enthralled. After the family moved to the Beltway, his father set up a Compaq Presario 425 in the dining room. “From the moment it appeared, the computer and I were inseparable. If previously I’d been loath to go outside and kick around a ball, now the very idea seemed ludicrous.”

            • Google Bans Avast Extensions for Google Chrome Due to User Data Collection

              Google has removed Avast and AVG extensions for Google Chrome from the Chrome Web Store following the user data concerns that made the headlines several times in the last couple of weeks.

              The issue was brought to light by Wladimir Palant, the developer of Adblock Plus, one of the leading ad-blocking extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

              According to his findings, Avast and AVG extensions published in add-on stores collected information about users’ browsing habits, including data that would allow the security company to reproduce your browsing session.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Very Bad Space Force Deal

        Unless grassroots action somehow stops it, it looks likely that the Trump scheme for a Space Force, a sixth branch of United States armed forces, will happen. The U.S. House of Representatives last week passed the $738 billion military policy bill that gives Trump his sought-for Space Force as he moves for what he terms “American dominance in space.”

      • DR Congo: No Justice for 2018 Yumbi Massacres

        (Kinshasa) – Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo have not brought to justice those responsible for the massacres of ethnic Banunu in Yumbi territory one year ago.

        On December 16 and 17, 2018, hundreds of ethnic Batende assailants killed at least 535 people and wounded 111 more, though the actual death toll is most likely much higher. The assailants also damaged, destroyed, and pillaged more than 1,500 houses as well as health centers, schools, and polling places, according to witnesses, the United Nations, and the Congolese government.

      • Afghanistan
      • Afghan Papers Inadvertently Document WaPo’s Role in Spreading Official Lies

        The Washington Post’s publication of the “Afghanistan Papers” (12/9/19) unveiled over 2,000 pages of unpublished notes of interviews with US officials involved in the Afghanistan War, from a project led by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) to investigate waste and fraud. Hailed by some as the “Pentagon Papers of Our Generation” after the Post won access to those documents under the Freedom of Information Act in a three-year legal battle, the Post’s exposé found that

      • Chemical Weapons Watchdog Is Just an American Lap Dog

        A spate of leaks from within the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the international inspectorate created for the purpose of implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention, has raised serious questions about the institution’s integrity, objectivity and credibility. The leaks address issues pertaining to the OPCW investigation into allegations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons to attack civilians in the Damascus suburb of Douma on April 7, 2018. These allegations, which originated from such anti-Assad organizations as the Syrian Civil Defense (the so-called White Helmets) and the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), were immediately embraced as credible by the OPCW, and were used by the United States, France and the United Kingdom to justify punitive military strikes against facilities inside Syria assessed by these nations as having been involved in chemical weapons-related activities before the OPCW initiated any on-site investigation.

      • Gunmen in Pakistan Kill Two Police Escorting Polio Vaccinators

        Gunmen shot and killed two police officers escorting a polio vaccination team on Wednesday forcing a suspension of the immunization campaign in a district of northwest Pakistan, where the crippling disease is endemic.

        Previous attacks have been inspired by religious hardliners spreading false rumors, and the latest ambush of a vaccination team comes at a time when the polio cases in Pakistan have jumped from 12 to over 100 in the last one year, making it only one of three countries in the world where the disease is endemic.

      • Remembering America’s First (and Longest) Forgotten War on Tribal Islamists

        The Moro War: It was "progress" all the way then, too.

      • Five Russian law enforcement agencies confront large family whose father stored weapons, abused children, and claimed to be a GRU agent

        On December 16, a small arsenal of weapons was confiscated from the home of a large family in the northwestern Russian village of Khimozi. 47News reported that the weapons in the home were two Kalashnikov machine guns, one handheld Kalashnikov machine gun, two Kedr automatic weapons, and Makarov and TT pistols stored alongside bullets and bulletproof vests printed with the letters “FSB,” the acronym for Russia’s Federal Security Service. Anonymous sources told the business newspaper RBC that a grenade launcher was also found in the home. According to both 47News and, police officers, employees of Russia’s Investigative Committee, Russian National Guard troops, Emergencies Ministry officials, and FSB officers were all active on the scene.

      • US Military—A Massive, Hidden Contributor to Climate Crisis

        Noting that studies of greenhouse gas emissions usually focus on how much energy and fuel civilians use, Neimark, Belcher, and Bigger wrote that US military emissions “tend to be overlooked in climate change studies.” Nevertheless, they reported, “Significant reductions to the Pentagon’s budget and shrinking its capacity to wage war would cause a huge drop in demand from the biggest consumer of liquid fuels in the world.”

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Surge in Garment Industry Transparency

        The 15-page report, “Fashion’s Next Trend: Accelerating Supply Chain Transparency in the Apparel and Footwear Industry,” describes how dozens of brands and retailers are publicly disclosing information about their supplier factories. This has become a widely accepted step toward better identifying and addressing labor abuses in garment supply chains.

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • A Mined History: The Bougainville Referendum

        It would be an understatement to claim that Bougainville, that blighted piece of autonomous territory in Papua New Guinea, had been through a lot. Companies have preyed upon its environment with extractive hunger. Wars and civil strife have beset its infrastructure and economy. Some 900 kilometres from the PNG mainland, it has been what might be described as “a reluctant part” of that political compact, indigenously separate and stubborn.

      • A Totalitarian Republic?€ 

        As in the Middle Ages and Renaissance,€ when€ writers would hold up a “mirror” for the instruction of princes; so too this€ essay€ is an€ admittedly€ speculative€ mirror held up to allegedly democratic republics to help them judge whether or not they are truly democratic and€ in€ what ways it could be said that they are truly republics.

      • Where Did Labour Go Wrong?

        The scale of the Tory victory in the UK general election last week is known to all who read a half-decent newspaper or news site—the biggest Tory win since Mrs Thatcher’s success in 1987, and the biggest Labour loss since 1935.

      • As Susan Collins Announces 2020 Run With Familiar Claims of Centrism, Progressives Are 'Ready to Defeat Her'

        "Collins has toyed with Mainers long enough with her political games... We will not stop until she is unseated in November 2020."

      • Bernie Sanders knocks rivals for taking donations from billionaires

        Yet Sanders remains something of an ideological outlier among Democrats despite the fact that some of his signature ideas, such as his "Medicare for All" plan to replace private health insurance, have become much more mainstream than they were just a few years ago. And he continues to swear off the big-money donors who are helping propel some other candidates for the Democratic nomination, such as South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden.


        A recent Forbes list found that Sanders was the only candidate among the fields' top tier, which also includes Biden, Buttigieg, and Senator Elizabeth Warren, to not have a single billionaire donor. According to Sanders and his campaign, this means that the senator is the true champion of the working class, relying almost exclusively on small donors while his opponents show open hands to the open wallets of the ultra-wealthy.

      • In 'Mind-Blowing Omission,' Buttigieg Campaign Failed to Disclose Wall Street Power Brokers in Release of Major Fundraisers

        A "vulture" hedge fund manager, charter school founder, and lawyer who represented Wall Street banks during the financial crisis were among the bundlers who were not previously disclosed.

      • The DHS cyber agency gets massive funding boost

        A new spending bill allotted the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency more than $2 billion for fiscal 2020, a $334 million increase over last year for the year-old agency tasked with protecting federal networks and critical infrastructure from cyberattacks.

      • Donald Trump has a deranged view of his deranged letter to Nancy Pelosi

        “Most recently he decided … to send a completely unhinged letter to Nancy Pelosi filled with dozens of falsehoods, characteristically deranged capitalization, insults, historic self-pity, and incredible claims like the one about how he’s been treated worse than ‘those accused in the Salem Witch Trials.’ It’s the sort of document that itself makes the case that Trump is unfit for office, but which his staff, in all its infinite wisdom, apparently decided to let him put on White House letterhead and release for the world to see.”

      • A Modest Proposal for Improving Senate Impeachment Trials

        US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) makes no bones about his position on the likely upcoming impeachment trial of US president Donald Trump. “I am trying to give a pretty clear signal I have made up my mind,” he tells CNN International’s Becky Anderson. “I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here.”

      • 'An Idiotic False Equivalency': GOP Rep. Loudermilk Implies Trump Impeachment Worse Than Trial of Jesus Christ

        "If you thought the comparisons to Salem were perhaps misguided, we now have the Crucifixion itself."

      • Stephen King Vows Effort to Defeat Maine Democratic Congressman If He Doesn't Vote for Both Trump Articles of Impeachment

        "If my congressman, Jared Golden, votes for only one article of impeachment, I will work with all my might to see him defeated next year," warned the famed novelist.

      • Impeachment: What Lies Beneath?
      • 'The President Is the Smoking Gun': Pramila Jayapal Makes Case for Trump Impeachment Ahead of House Vote

        "Today, to uphold my oath to Constitution and country, I will vote to impeach Donald J. Trump."

      • Hundreds of Thousands Take to Streets in All 50 States With a Simple Message for Congress: 'Time to Impeach and Remove Trump'

        "This is what democracy looks like."

      • If GOP Senate Saves Trump, He Can Face Impeachment Again, Rep. Al Green Says

        President Donald Trump is on the cusp of being impeached by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, with a historic vote set today on whether to formally accuse him of abusing his power in dealing with Ukraine to help himself politically, and then obstructing Congress by blocking their investigation. Trump lashed out directly at the vote on Tuesday, calling the proceedings to remove him from office an “attempted coup.” Should the House approve either of the articles of impeachment, the Republican-controlled Senate will hold a trial with all 100 senators acting as jurors, with a two-thirds supermajority — 67 votes — required to convict. Meanwhile, thousands of protesters in favor of impeaching Trump took to the streets Tuesday in cities across the country. On what many are calling “Impeachment Day,” we go to Capitol Hill to speak with Rep. Al Green of Texas, who was the first congressmember to call for President Trump’s impeachment from the floor of the House of Representatives in 2017.

      • Do Americans Support Impeaching Trump?

        Now that House Democrats are holding an official inquiry into allegations that President Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, FiveThirtyEight is following how public opinion responds with an impeachment polling tracker.

        And since we first launched our tracker on Oct. 2, we’ve updated it to break out the impeachment polls we’re collecting into three separate views: First, a view of all the polls we’re collecting; second, a view of polls that ask if respondents support Congress beginning an impeachment inquiry; and third, a view of polls that ask whether respondents think Trump should be impeached or impeached and removed from office. (The first would require a simple majority vote in the House while the second would also require two-thirds of the Senate to vote to convict.) Because the impeachment process includes multiple steps, we’ve tried to split up questions about each step to give you a fuller sense of where public opinion stands. We may add additional filters in the future if the questions pollsters ask — or voters’ opinions on them — begin to diverge.

        In addition to tracking the polling averages for and against impeachment among all Americans, we are also keeping tabs on how opinion breaks down by party. As you can see below, Democrats are strongly in favor of impeachment, Republicans are strongly opposed and independents hover somewhere in between.

      • 'No Choice' but to Impeach Trump, Pelosi Says

        A sample of the sights and sounds across Washington on a momentous day in Washington as the House lurches toward a Wednesday evening vote on two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump (all times local):

      • President Trump Is Impeached

        President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday night, becoming only the third American chief executive to be formally charged under the Constitution’s ultimate remedy for high crimes and misdemeanors.

      • Impeaching Trump Is Worth It, Even With the Senate Poised to Acquit

        A watershed moment in history is upon us. Later today – probably after the sun sets and all the House members have spoken their piece – Donald Trump will almost certainly join Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton in the presidential impeachment club. Richard Nixon is an honorary member, though he slithered out of town like a septic snake before his impeachment ticket was officially punched.

      • Oh Yeah
      • As House Nears Impeachment Vote, Trump Declares Disbelief

        President Donald Trump woke up in the White House Wednesday morning and expressed utter disbelief that he will likely become just the third U.S. president to be impeached by the House of Representatives.

      • Charged With Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress, Trump Impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives

        "Every single Republican in the House of Representatives became an accomplice to Trump's subversion of our democracy. By failing to impeach Donald Trump, GOP lawmakers showed their blind loyalty to their party and to a corrupt president—and history will remember them for the cowards they are."

      • A Capital Idea
      • "Let's Nip This Sh*t in the Bud": Cynical Accusations of Anti-Semitism Against Bernie Sanders Draw Fire From Progressives

        "Bernie Sanders'€ willingness to criticize Israel, his support for Palestinian rights—these are not anti-Semitic."

      • Accusations of Anti-Semitism Against Bernie Sanders Draw Fire

        Progressives are taking the initiative to destroy and defeat accusations that Sen. Bernie Sanders, a frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, is running or at the least€ tolerating€ an anti-Semitic primary campaign—accusations that come while the right-wing sharpens its knives for the Vermont senator as he€ rises€ in the polls.

      • The 2020 Elections and the € Coming of the Post Baby Boomer Era of American Politics

        The 2020 elections are significant for many reasons.€  But perhaps most importantly this could be the last hurrah for the Silent Generation, those born between 1924 and 1944, and it is also the beginning of the end of the Baby Boomer era of politics.€  What the passing of these two generations may mean for American politics is potentially dramatic, especially as it bodes in the next decade a possible dramatic shift to the left in America.

      • Media Taking Notice as Sanders Surges in New Polls

        It looks like the media might finally have to take Sanders seriously.

      • Trump Is Leading a Revolution That Is Destroying America

        He has decided the presidency is above the law, as well as beyond the reach of Congress and courts.

      • Citing 'Clear and Present Danger' to US Constitution, 750+ Historians Join Call for House to Impeach Trump

        "It is our considered judgment that if President Trump's misconduct does not rise to the level of impeachment, then virtually nothing does."

      • 'History Is Watching Us': 600+ Rallies Planned Nationwide on Trump Impeachment Eve

        "Those marching in the streets will send a clear message to Congress: Voters are watching, and we will remember who shows more loyalty to Donald Trump and the Republican Party than to the Constitution and their oath of office."

      • Nancy Pelosi: Pull a Mitch McConnell, and President Trump is Toast

        Speaker Pelosi: when the Impeachment Resolution is passed,€ do€ not€ send it immediately to the Senate. Withhold it instead until the court cases are settled, until Don McGahn and others are forced to respond to their subpoenas, until the President is forced to submit his tax returns, until all the evidence has come to the surface and makes an airtight case to remove him from office.

      • William Barr 'Must Be Removed': Letter Urges Congress to Impeach Attorney General for Repeatedly Violating Oath of Office

        "The Attorney General," says president of Common Cause, "has repeatedly proven unwilling to put the interests of the nation before those of the man who appointed him and he must be removed from office before he does more harm to the nation."

      • Europe Is Lost

        Slavoj Zizek has a very specific definition of the Trump fetish. For Freud, the fetish was the last thing the boy sees before he finds out the girl has no penis. For left-liberals, Trump is the last thing they see before they see working-class struggle. How does a fetish function? Rather than deal with what is true and terrifying, we deal with an entity we can grasp, hold and even disavow. Zizek argues that Trump’s election proves there is a class struggle.

      • But Mr. Trump, Is Israel Lovable?

        Speaking before Sheldon Adelson’s Israeli-American Council the other day, Trump took a shot at Jewish Americans who he says don’t “love Israel enough.”

      • Corbyn's Defeat has Slain the Left's Last Illusion

        This was an election of two illusions.

      • Wither Britain?

        Thursday’s UK General election effectively spells the end of British politics as we know it. All that remains is to catalogue events as what is left of the British state and its constituent institutions are rapidly disassembled and the marrow picked clean from their bones. The cackling, mop-topped ghoul that is Boris Johnson is the ideal figure to preside over the death of the Britain. A return of the madness of King George without the humanizing qualities – Johnson is a leader, much like Donald Trump is to America, who embodies all the negative national stereotypes about the English and none of the good ones.

      • Five Years After Obama’s Cuba Opening, Cubans Are Reeling From the "Trump Effect"

        Trump’s policies are making life harder for Cuba’s 10 million people.

      • 'Stop This Illegal Purge': Outrage as Georgia GOP Removes More Than 300,000 Voters From Rolls

        Warning of 2020 impact, one critic said Georgia could remain a red state solely "due to the GOP purposefully denying people the right to vote."

      • Former US Government Officials Recast as Corporate News “Analysts”

        These individuals—including former CIA Director John Brennan, who is now a national security and intelligence analyst for NBC News; Jim Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence, and now a CNN analyst; and Fran Townsend, a former homeland security advisor to George W. Bush who appears as security analyst on CBS News—act as spokespersons for their former employers under the guise of reliability and truthfulness. Their public influence casts is bolstered by their credentials as former intelligence and security officials.

      • Colombia and the Revolutionary Process

        In order to have a revolutionary process, it is necessary to go through revolutionary stages. First, what’s needed is a raised consciousness that may trigger some outrage by a sector of society which may subsequently grow into sustained protests. The protests might gather a critical mass with the support of the general population and turn into general strikes. If the popular movement becomes large enough to impact the economy and the normal functioning of the government, and if the movement is able to seize critical institutions of the government and civil society under a strong and trusted political leadership, then we may have the foundations on which to build a Revolution.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • NC, Or Not NC: Why Suing The Sons Of Confederate Veterans In N.D.Cal For Violating The DMCA Makes Sense

        In Mike's piece about Greg Doucette's lawsuit against the Sons of Confederate Veterans for abusing the DMCA, he suggests that the lawsuit might not belong in the Northern District of California. I thought it worth exploring why it might very much belong here, because those reasons may apply to most other DMCA Section 512(f) jurisprudence as well.

      • No, Filing A Defamation Lawsuit Is Never The Only Way You Can Clear Your Name

        The Washington Post's Erik Wemple (who, for reasons I've never understood, always refers to himself as "The Erik Wemple Blog," which is really annoying for readers), had a truly bizarre article recently about Devin Nunes' defamation lawsuit against CNN, in which Wemple suggests that maybe this Nunes lawsuit is "halfway decent." It is not. As we discussed in our own post about the lawsuit, this one may be his worst one yet and has little chance of surviving.

      • New North American Trade Deal Keeps Useful (But Limited) Liability Protections, Dumps Bad Biologics Data Protection

        When the NAFTA replacement "USMCA" agreement was first announced last year, we noted that it included a mix of good and bad ideas. The key good idea was that the USMCA contained a bit of language establishing a requirement for strong intermediary liability protections, similar to (but not exactly the same as) Section 230's protections in the US. Among the really bad ideas was expanding the data protection term for biologics -- which, we've noted, is really dangerous for basic science and innovation for new drugs -- but was supported by big pharmaceuticals to increase their monopoly power and ability to extract monopoly rents.

      • Even Moscow City Hall told rapper Timati to delete his awful pro-mayor music video

        Three sources told the BBC Russian Service that Moscow City Hall demanded that the rappers€ “Timati” (Timur Yunusov) and “Guf” (Alexey Dolmatov) delete a music video they published this September, on the eve of hotly contested local elections.

      • Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina arrested for taking part in ‘Stop (!) Gulag’ protest in November

        Moscow police officers have arrested Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina, the activist and musician told MBK Media.

      • AG William Barr Attacks Section 230... Even Though It Doesn't Hinder The DOJ At All

        I know that it's become hip and cool for folks in Washington DC to attack Section 230 lately. This is true on both sides of the traditional political aisle, as hating on 230 is a sort of wink-and-a-nod gesture that means "I, too, hate big tech." This is the case, even though the reasons given for ripping apart 230 are often self-contradictory or simply wrong. None of that matters. All that matters is showing the world that you are part of the "anti-big tech tribe." The latest to join? Attorney General William Barr. In a speech to the National Association of Attorneys General, Barr devoted some time to hating on 230.

      • On International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, We Must Look Closely at the Results of FOSTA

        Today is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, an annual observation supported by and dedicated to those that participate in the sex trade. It’s also nearly the end of 2019—the first full calendar year since Congress passed the Internet censorship law SESTA/FOSTA. EFF fought the bill in Congress, concerned that its vague, ambiguous language and stiff criminal and civil penalties would drive constitutionally protected content off the Internet. And we represent organizations and individuals that are challenging the law in federal court. Activists and organizers from within the sex working community made it clear from the beginning as well: though this bill was intended to curb violence that occurs in the sex trade, its result would be just the opposite because it deprived a community of many of the online tools they used to stay safe and to organize. 2019 has brought us the unfortunate statistics to prove that they were right.

      • Democrats Take a Small Step Toward Decriminalizing Sex Work

        Democratic presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren appear to be reconsidering their votes for a 2018 package of laws known as SESTA-FOSTA that is widely criticized by activists and the media for shutting down websites that sex workers use to screen clients and make their lives much safer.

      • Iran Accelerates Longstanding Quest To Cut Itself Off From The Internet

        For much of the last decade, oppressive regimes like Iran have made ample noise about wanting to cut themselves off from the internet. Much like Russia, Iran isn't keen on this whole factual reality and free speech thing, so they've repeatedly floated the idea of severing Iranian internet access and replacing it with a local intranet -- one that's far easier to filter, censor, and otherwise disable during times of pesky democratic protest. You know, like last month, when at least 180 Iranian citizens protesting oil price hikes in Tehran were brutally murdered.

      • Why Intermediary Liability Protections Matter: Our 'Copying Is Not Theft' T-Shirt May Be Collateral Damage To A Bad Court Ruling

        Last week, as you may recall, we wrote about a bizarre situation in which print-on-demand t-shirt maker, Teespring (who we had happily used for most of our t-shirts for years), had taken down our "Copying Is Not Theft" t-shirt, first claiming that it was infringing on someone else's work (it was not). When we escalated the issue (as per their instructions), we were suddenly told it had nothing to do with infringement (despite the initial email) but because it violated their Acceptable Use Policies -- which, again, I assure you, we did not.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Self-Harm, Fear, Neglect: New Reports Show Horror Faced by Lone Children at Greek Migrant Camp

        "Everything is dangerous here—the cold, the place I sleep, the fights. I don't feel safe."

      • 'Huge Step Toward a More Inclusive, Representative Democracy': NJ Restores Voting Rights of People on Parole and Probation

        "On this historic day, New Jersey has lifted... 83,000 ghosts of democracy out of the shadows."

      • Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants Approved in New York, New Jersey

        People in New York and New Jersey are celebrating two victories for immigrants’ rights. In New York, thousands of undocumented people waited in line for hours at Departments of Motor Vehicles on Monday to apply for a driver’s license, as the “Green Light Law” went into effect six months after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed it. The law allows undocumented people to apply for a driver’s license using alternative forms of identification instead of providing a Social Security Number. Meanwhile, in the neighboring state of New Jersey, state lawmakers also passed a bill Monday to allow undocumented people to apply for driver’s licenses. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has already said he’ll quickly sign the bill, benefiting nearly 500,000 undocumented people in the state who are eligible to drive. Fourteen other states, including Delaware and California, also allow undocumented people to apply for a driver’s license. We speak with Yaritza Mendez, associate director of organizing at Make the Road New York, who helped push the state’s new Green Light Law. We’re also joined by Haydi Torres, an organizer with Movimiento Cosecha, which led the push to pass a New Jersey bill granting driver’s licenses to undocumented people, and David Cuautle, a 9-year-old who testified in front of the New Jersey state Assembly Judiciary Committee.

      • Police reportedly raid the home and offices of Russia's richest family (though they deny it)

        Russian police have reportedly raided the home and several businesses of Ingush billionaire Mikhail Gutseriyev. The Telegram channel Mash was the first news outlet to report the searches, though Gutseriyev later denied the information in an interview with the television station REN-TV, calling the news a defamation attempt.€ 

      • India is Gradually Leaning Toward a Dangerous Unitarianism

        One of the unfortunate calamities of India’s historical past is that today religio-cultural tensions continue to sharpen divisions along communal lines in the country.

      • India’s Protesters Should be Heard, Not Assaulted

        Tens of thousands in India are protesting a discriminatory citizenship law embraced by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government on December 12.

        At the forefront of these protests are students from across India’s universities who have gathered to sing songs, wave placards, and shout slogans. While some may have taken part in violence – burning buses and damaging public property – many peaceful protesters have been met with police using brutal and excessive force.

      • Egypt: Jailed Activist’s Life May Be at Risk

        Aisha al-Shater, 39, has been detained for over a year in solitary confinement. Authorities have failed to provide her with sufficient medical care. € 

      • Tekashi 6ix9ine Heading to Prison for Racketeering, Narcotics Charges

        Despite heavy cooperation with federal authorities, Tekashi 6ix9ine is still going to prison on a raft of criminal charges.

      • Speaking Freely: Ásta Guðrún Helgadóttir

        Ásta Guðrún Helgadóttir is a former Pirate Party member of the Icelandic parliament who currently serves as a digital policy advisor to a member of the European parliament. She’s known online for her passion for the Internet and digital policy, as well as her love of golden retrievers.

        I first met Ásta at conference in Croatia in 2013, where we bonded over our shared interests in dogs, and in the censorship of sexual content on the Internet. In a recent video chat (with a dog in the background, naturally), we discussed a topic near and dear to my—and Asta's—heart: The hypocrisy that progressive governments display when they proclaim a belief in free expression while simultaneously enacting regulations that have undermined the expression of their citizens.

      • Trump’s Judaism Order Has Nothing to Do With Fighting Anti-Semitism

        The man who called neo-Nazis "very fine people" has no business defining anti-Semitism for the rest of us.

      • California DOJ Cuts Off ICE Deportation Officers from State Law Enforcement Database

        The Trump administration relentlessly targets immigrant communities and ICE continues to exploit state and local resources, including databases, to act as force multipliers for immigration enforcement.

      • California DOJ Cuts Off ICE Deportation Officers from State Law Enforcement Database

        Marking a big win for privacy and immigrant rights, the California Department of Justice (CADOJ) has cut off deportation agents from access to the state’s law enforcement network.

        Earlier this year, the Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was required to sign an agreement that its officers wouldn’t use certain sensitive California databases for immigration enforcement operations. In an email, a CADOJ representative confirmed that ICE ERO refused to sign the new agreement and lost access to the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS) on October 15, 2019.

      • Loves Puppies, Hates Blacks: The Pet Rescue Listing ‘Rob And Karen’ Would Approve

        As debate – and memes – continue to rage about Mildura’s most famous couple, ‘Racist Rob’ and ‘KKK-Karen’, attention has begun to swing further north… much further north, where the sun is brighter and the necks, they say, are quite a bit redder.

      • The Real Shadow Policy of the Trump Administration Is Racist Extremism

        The Democrats are pursuing two charges in their impeachment of Donald Trump: First, that the president tried to enlist Ukraine’s help for his own political gain. And second, that he’s continued to obstruct Congress in its investigation into this abuse of power.

      • Google Fires Another Worker for Exercising her Rights and Protecting Coworkers from Illegal Company Retaliation

        Part of what makes me a great fit for Google is that the company is always telling us to take initiative to deliver high impact work. Recently Google was forced to post a list of rights that we have in the workplace. So when I heard that Google had hired a union busting firm and started illegally retaliating against my coworkers, I decided to make sure that my coworkers knew about the posting.

        I created a little notification, only a few lines of code, that pops up in the corner of the browser whenever my coworkers visited the union busters’ website or the community guidelines policy. The notification said: “Googlers have the right to participate in protected concerted activities.”

      • Outraged Response Forces US Border Patrol to Allow 19-Year-Old Mother to Stay With Sick Newborn

        "If this is what happens when a group of attorneys and reporters are looking, imagine what happens when they are not."

      • Forget About Human Rights

        The Donald J. Trump’s indifference to human rights, law, and basic morality was on display again in December 2019.

      • Lessons from Colorado’s Voting System

        The report by Democracy Now! featured Colorado’s secretary of state, Jena Griswold. € Griswold told Democracy Now! that Colorado offers same-day voter registration. “So an eligible person can literally go to the polls today, register to vote and cast their ballot.”

      • How International Law Could Hold US Officials Accountable for Violating Detained Immigrant Children’s Rights

        By law that children should not be held in custody by Border Patrol for more than 72 hours. Beyond that time, detained children are supposed to be transferred to custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, and either reunified with family in the US or another caregiver.

      • Israeli Blockade of Gaza Causing Contaminated Water, 25% of Illnesses and 12% of Infant Deaths

        Under the 1949 Geneva Convention on the treatment of Occupied populations, it is a war crime for Israel to impose collective punishment on all Palestinians in Gaza to get at Hamas.

      • EFF Bolsters European Policy Work with Important New Staffers

        San Francisco – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has bolstered its European policy work with the hiring of two important new staffers: Icelandic poet, artist, and free expression activist Birgitta Jónsdóttir, and European Internet policy expert Christoph Schmon.Birgitta Jonsdottir, EFF’s first Internet Archive Fellow, will be working across Europe as an advocate for the public interest Internet, focusing on protecting and balancing online speech, privacy, and innovation. In her years of activism in Iceland’s Parliament for the parties she co-founded, the Civic Movement and Pirate Party in Iceland, she championed for democracy in the digital era, with special focus on making Iceland into a digital safe haven for freedom of expression, freedom of information and speech and the right to privacy both online and off. Birgitta’s role is financially supported by one of the strongest examples of the public interest Internet: the Internet Archive, the non-profit digital library that aims to provide “universal access to all knowledge.”

        “Digital rights are human rights. People around the world must work together to protect privacy, transparency, and free expression,” said Birgitta.

      • Mississippi Children Charged as Adults, Perpetuating Jim Crow-Era Discrimination

        As Bragg reported, the state of Mississippi has a terrible history of racial discrimination—including its legacy as the state with the most known lynchings—that has been compounded by laws dating back to 1946, during the Jim Crow era, that permit children as young as 13 to be prosecuted as adults.

      • Limited Accountability for Racial Bias in San Francisco’s Community Policing Programs

        However, SFPD’s data show that more than ten times as many black people as white people per capita were targets of use of force and arrests.

      • Another Law Enforcement Investigation Tool Found To Be A Junk Science Coin Toss

        Ken Armstrong of ProPublica and Christian Sheckler of the South Bend Tribune have uncovered more pseudoscience cops rely on to put people behind bars. It's called SCAN, and it's the creation of Avinoam Sapir.

      • Oregon Cops Complain State Supreme Court's Traffic Stop Decision Is Making Their Job Harder

        Oregon's Supreme Court threw local law enforcement for a loop by removing the pretext from "pretextual stop." The ruling handed down late last month went further than the US Supreme Court's Rodriguez decision. The SCOTUS decision simply said traffic stops can't be extended without reasonable suspicion. When a citation or warning is handed out, the stop ends.

      • Georgia's History of Voter Suppression Shows Other States What Not to Do

        No one who was cognizant during the 2000 election will ever forget it. Hanging chads, pregnant chads, dimpled chads. Butterfly ballots. Men in suits. Nepotism. Voter purges. Bush v Gore.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • 5G Phones Will Be Bigger & More Expensive With Crappy Battery Life. Excited Yet?

        Buried underneath the blistering hype surrounding fifth-generation (5G) wireless is a quiet but growing consensus: the technology is being over-hyped, and early incarnations were rushed to market in a way that prioritized marketing over substance. That's not to say that 5G won't be a good thing when it arrives at scale several years from now, but early offerings have been almost comical in their shortcomings. AT&T has repeatedly lied about 5G availability by pretending its 4G network is 5G. Verizon has repeatedly hyped early non-standard launches that, when reviewers actually got to take a look, were found to be barely available.

      • Kentucky's governor insisted that investment bankers could provide broadband. He was wrong.

        When Steve Beshear was governor of Kentucky, he told experts to go fuck themselves and instead allowed the Australian investment bank Macquarie Capital to manage Kentuckywired, a program to build out broadband to rural Kentuckians.

        Four years later, the project is massively overbudget, massively behind schedule, and state auditor Mike Harmon just released a report blaming the delays and overages on the decision of Beshear and his cronies to sideline experts and go with the bankers. The total bill is expected to be some $1.5b. During the time in which Beshear was ignoring expert advisors, Frank Lassiter, husband of Beshear's cabinet secretary, took a high-paid consulting gig for Macquarie.

      • EFF to ICANN: Stop .ORG Domain Registry Sale To Private Equity Firm

        San Francisco—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today said a private equity firm newly created by domain name industry insiders should be stopped from acquiring the .ORG domain registry, which provides a home on the Internet to thousands of public interest nonprofits organizations.EFF joins groups ranging from the Girl Scouts and the League of Women Voters, to Farm Aid and Meals On Wheels, and other organizations working in the public interest around the world in the arts, culture, the environment, race, and poverty, in opposing the sale.EFF this week called on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to halt a transaction that puts nonprofit organizations at risk of censorship and financial exploitation. EFF also provided to ICANN a petition signed by over 500 nonprofit groups from around the world, plus thousands of Internet users, all voicing opposition to the $1.1 billion sale.In a sneaky attempt to wrest control over the lucrative .ORG registry, Ethos Capital, a new private equity firm that lists two employees on its website and has no track record in public interest work, announced it would acquire Public Interest Registry (PIR). PIR is itself a nonprofit that, as a subsidiary of the nonprofit Internet Society, has for the past 17 years overseen the registry used by millions of organizations large and small.“We are concerned that PIR may wield the threat of domain suspension to influence the political, social, religious, journalistic, or personal expression of .ORG registrants and their users at the request of corporations or governments,” EFF said in the letter.

      • A case for why needs to update their friggin site in the year 2020

        In what will probably be the 3rd best blog post I write this year, I'd like to make a case for why the website needs to update one of their JS dependencies (and I guess anyone else using it).

        Let me set the stage: in Bug 1388931, Rick Byers filed a bug asking Gecko to consider removing the SVGPathSeg interfaces (see (1)(2) if you love reading old specs and (3) if you love seeing things get ripped out of specs), as Chrome successfully removed them in late 2015.

        Some people weren't (aren't?) happy about this, and some sites and apps were broken. e.g., svg-edit. But a polyfill was created and it seems to be pretty actively maintained, and that generally seems OK (though polyfills are rarely perfect).

        OK, now the stage is set for the rest of this amazing blog post.

      • Daniel Stenberg: Internetmuseum

        The Internet Museum translated to Swedish becomes “internetmuseum“. It is a digital, online-only, museum that collects Internet- and Web related historical information, especially focused on the Swedish angle to all of this. It collects stories from people who did the things. The pioneers, the ground breakers, the leaders, the early visionaries. Most of their documentation is done in the form of video interviews.

        I was approached and asked to be part of this – as an Internet Pioneer. Me? Internet Pioneer, really?

    • Monopolies

      • Abbott Laboratories Sends Heavy-Handed Copyright Threat To Shut Down Diabetes Community Tool For Accessing Blood-Sugar Data

        One of the most important recent developments in the world of diabetes has been the arrival of relatively low-cost continuous blood glucose monitors. These allow people with diabetes to take frequent readings of their blood sugar levels without needing to use painful finger sticks every time. That, in turn, allows users to fine-tune their insulin injections, with big health benefits for both the short- and long-term. The new devices can be read by placing a smartphone close to them. People use an app that gathers the data from the unit, which is typically placed on the back of the upper arm with an adhesive.

      • New Petition Calls On 2020 Candidates to Break Up Big Tech to Rein In Threat to Democracy

        "The future of our democracy shouldn't be left to the whims of a few reckless billionaire CEOs and their dangerous corporate empires."

      • Workers and Labor Groups Protest the Opening of Amazon New Distribution Centers

        On Tuesday—in the midst of the most dangerous week of the year for Amazon warehouse workers—former employees, labor activists, and politicians protested high injury and production rates outside the new Queens distribution center, which opened in July, as well as the anticipated opening of two additional distribution centers in Queens and the Bronx.

        “Amazon opened this warehouse in the dark of the night without community input,” Jessica Ramos, a state senator from New York’s 13th district, where the newest distribution center is located, told Motherboard at the protest. “We really want the workers here to understand the red flags about working with Amazon directly from people who’ve worked here.”

        “It’s not that we don’t want jobs,” Ramos continued. “It’s that we want these jobs to be good paying jobs where workers have a voice at the table when it comes to health and safety, and where they’re recognized formally.”

      • Trademarks

        • Beyond The Taco: Someone Is Now Trying To Trademark 'Breakfast Burrito'

          This very morning, I paid $5 for a breakfast burrito at a place near where I work. To be frank, I regret to say that it was ultimately disappointing. How in the world do you construct a steak breakfast burrito that lacks salt? The great news for me is that there are roughly a gazillion places around me that also advertise breakfast burritos, so I currently have other places to get them. The bad news, however, is that someone out there is taking a run at trademarking "breakfast burrito", so that might not be the case in the future.

      • Copyrights

Recent Techrights' Posts

The Persistent Nature of Freedom Isn't About Easy Routes
Resistance to oppression takes effort and sometimes money
"A coming cybersecurity schism" by Dr. Andy Farnell
new from Dr. Andy Farnell
Links 21/06/2024: Overpopulation, Censorship, and Conflicts
Links for the day
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This is already being discussed
UEFI is Against Computer Security, Its True Goal is to Curtail Adoption of GNU/Linux and BSDs on Existing or New PCs
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[Meme] Chat Control (EU) is All About Social Control
It won't even protect children
EFF Not Only Lobbies for TikTok (CPC) But for All Social Control Media, Irrespective of Known Harms as Explained by the US Government
The EFF's own "free speech" people reject free speech
Microsoft's Search (Bing) Fell From 3.3% to 1% in Turkey Just Since the LLM Hype Began
Bing fell sharply in many other countries
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, June 20, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, June 20, 2024
The Real FSF Lost Well Over a Million Dollars Since the Defamation Attacks on Its Founder
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The fall of Debian is its attack on its very own volunteers
IPFS censorship, Edward Brocklesby & Debian hacker expulsion
Reprinted with permission from
Links 20/06/2024: Dumbphone Experience and Bad Encryption
Links for the day
Official Project Gemini news feed — Five years of Gemini!
the official statement
Ultimate Judgment: the Debian Suicide Cluster
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
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Links for the day
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Linux Months-Old News (LWN Uncorrected)
They could at least update the original
Links 20/06/2024: Trying to Maintain Health and the Implosion of LLM Bubble/Hype
Links for the day
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Gemini Links 20/06/2024: Golden Ticket and Looking for Web 1.0 Communities
Links for the day
Not Even TRYING to Compete With Microsoft
CMA (UK) ought to step in and investigate why Canonical (UK) refuses to even compete
Poul-Henning Kamp: Why Freedom in 'FOSS' Matters
Openwashing is more widely recognised as a growing problem
[Meme] EU Chat Control: The Problem is Too Much Privacy???
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consistent abandonment of Microsoft
"Remarkably Little Had Changed."
Black or African American not even mentioned
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"Microsoft Refused to Fix Flaw Years Before SolarWinds Hack" A Step in a Positive Direction
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Links for the day
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Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
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IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, June 19, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Morocco: GNU/Linux Surges From 0.1% to 4.21%
Microsoft has mass layoffs in Africa these days
EU 'Chat Control' Law is Already Discrediting the Stated Goals of GDPR
Equip kids with always-on always-connected microphones and double-sided cameras, just to be safe...
[Meme] EU Chat Control II
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You're Only Proving Our Point, Sir
clearly obsessed with what we write
Just Because It Happened Over 20 Years Ago Doesn't Mean It's "Old News" or Stopped Happening
This strategy merely evolved
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Long live Gemini Protocol and long live Solderpunk!
[Meme] He Who Controls the Boot
And licks the Microsoft boot
[Meme] systemd-recovery
Imagine "Linux" (Poetterix) becoming so unreliable that it needs factory resets
Almost Every Day This Month the GNU/Linux "Market Share" Grows in statCounter
Advocates like to see progress
Dawg, I Herd You Like Freedom
In the context of Software Freedom, little is ever said about free speech
Links 19/06/2024: Microsoft Faces Big Backlash, Bytedance Referred to US Department of Justice
Links for the day
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Geminispace is still very much alive
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The founder of the OSI no longer supports the OSI
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Jean-Pierre Giraud, Possible Forgeries & Debian: elections, judgments, trademark already canceled, archaeologist
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
It Took Microsoft More Than 3 Years to Get a Quarter of Windows Users to 'Upgrade' to Vista 11 (3 Out of 4 Windows Users Still Reject It)
That is exactly what's happening right now
[Meme] The Empire
Don't be like Putin
They Want 'Transparency' Only for the General Public (Every Bit of Communication Available to the Government, Usually Via Corporations)
The EU might decide to effectively ban SSH
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Will he be back home in Australia by year's end?
Free Software Won't Fix Equality, But It Helps
Let's examine Free software in the context of: 1) money. 2) justice.
Treating Them as Teammates, Not as Political Props, Trophies, or Objects
Most of the world's people are women
Links 19/06/2024: SFTP and Gopher Milestone
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, June 18, 2024
IRC logs for Tuesday, June 18, 2024
US Surgeon General's Advice on Social Control Media (and "Smart" Phones) Seems Reasonable
People forget what the real world is about
Quiet at Planet Debian has not had any updates since 5 days ago
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Now enter Belarus
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