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Links 24/12/2019: Cantor 19.12, antiX 19.1, HyperbolaBSD Roadmap

  • GNU/Linux

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux kernel preemption and the latency-throughput tradeoff

        Preemption, otherwise known as preemptive scheduling, is an operating system concept that allows running tasks to be forcibly interrupted by the kernel so that other tasks can run. Preemption is essential for fairly scheduling tasks and guaranteeing that progress is made because it prevents tasks from hogging the CPU either unwittingly or intentionally. And because it’s handled by the kernel, it means that tasks don’t have to worry about voluntarily giving up the CPU.

        It can be useful to think of preemption as a way to reduce scheduler latency. But reducing latency usually also affects throughput, so there’s a balance that needs to be maintained between getting a lot of work done (high throughput) and scheduling tasks as soon as they’re ready to run (low latency).

        The Linux kernel supports multiple preemption models so that you can tune the preemption behaviour for your workload.

      • USB4 Support Coming to Linux 5.6 Kernel

        Linux 5.6 will receive support for USB4, Phoronix reported on Sunday. The Linux 5.6 Kernel will likely debut by April.

        USB4’s spec published in September and is based on Thunderbolt 3, with which it is backwards compatible. Intel's open-source department added the initial patches for USB4 in October.

        The Linux 5.6 kernel will reportedly have both host and device support, as well as source code and a bunch of other features, thanks to leveraging the existing Thunderbolt code. It has also kept the code compact at just 2,000 lines of code.

      • Cavium Octeon's Ethernet Driver Being Booted From Linux 5.6

        The Ethernet driver for supporting Cavium's Octeon SoCs is slated for removal in the Linux 5.6 cycle.

        The Octeon Ethernet networking driver has been part of the mainline kernel for a decade but within the "staging" area of the kernel where immature / WIP kernel code is nursed along. But with this driver being stagnate now for several years without any real effort to get it cleaned up, Linux kernel staging maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman is dropping it from the kernel.

        Greg already removed it in staging-next ahead of Linux 5.6. Dropping the driver lightens the kernel by almost five thousand lines of code.

      • Why Linus Torvalds Doesn’t Use Ubuntu or Debian?

        Linus Torvalds gives a practical reason why he doesn’t use Ubuntu or Debian.

      • Graphics Stack

        • NVIDIA Releases 340.108 Linux Driver Providing Updated Legacy Support For GeForce 8 / 9

          For those still running a GeForce 8 or 9 series graphics card, you really ought to consider upgrading this holiday season. Even the cheapest of recent generation NVIDIA GPUs should deliver better performance and far better efficiency over those older GPUs, but in any case, NVIDIA released the 340.108 Linux driver as part of their legacy maintenance support.

          The NVIDIA 340.108 Linux legacy driver update has better compatibility with the latest kernels through v5.4, various installer fixes, and a variety of other build-related failures to let this legacy driver continuing to run gracefully on the latest Linux distributions as we enter 2020. There are no new features with this being an old legacy branch simply in maintenance mode.

        • Intel Sends Out A Big Christmas Update Of Graphics Driver Changes Aiming For Linux 5.6

          Intel's open-source graphics driver team responsible for their kernel graphics driver (the i915 Direct Rendering Manager driver) have sent out their first (big) batch of new material to DRM-Next for collection ahead of the Linux 5.6 merge window opening in just over one month's time.

        • Hybrid graphics and DisplayLink docks create laptop Linux pain

          Not that it is ever likely to happen, but if the fabled Year of the Linux desktop were ever to begin to occur, its momentum would more than likely crash against laptops with hybrid graphics.

          These are devices that pack a discrete GPU, usually Nvidia, and couple it with the standard laptop-style integrated graphics. It's a best of both worlds approach that relies on the integrated graphics silicon to save power, and the kicking in of the discrete GPU when workloads demand it.

          That's the theory anyway.

          In recent weeks, a pair of laptops with such display technology landed in ZDNet's South Pacific outpost, the Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2.

          Both laptops have 9th generation Intel CPUs, NVMe-based storage, and 15.6-inch screens. But the Gigabyte has a tasty 4K OLED display along with a beefy Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070, and 8GB of RAM, while the ThinkPad has a HD-capable screen with a GeForce GTX 1650, and 16GB of memory.

          With a flashy rainbow-lit keyboard, the Aero comes across as a gaming machine that could get away with a few productivity and creative applications.

        • AMDVLK 2019.Q4.5 Vulkan Driver Adds A Couple More Extensions

          AMD's official Vulkan driver team has pushed a new code drop of their open-source Linux "AMDVLK" derivative for those wanting to give it a whirl for some holiday gaming.

          The AMDVLK 2019.Q4.5 is the surprise release out this Monday morning, compared to usually doing their code drops later in the week. The AMDVLK 2019.Q4.5 driver now exposes Vulkan 1.1.129 API and adds support for the VK_KHR_shader_float_controls and VK_KHR_separate_depth_stencil_layouts extensions.

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux 5.0 Through Linux 5.4 Benchmarks On AMD EPYC 7642 "Rome" Server

        A month ago I posted benchmarks looking at the performance of Linux 4.16 through Linux 5.4 kernels using an Intel Core i9 workstation. Stemming from that was a request for an AMD EPYC kernel comparison, so I carried out said tests. Due to the Rome support being newer, this round of testing is looking at the EPYC 7642 performance on Linux 5.0 to Linux 5.4.

        The tests were done last month but with the results not being too interesting, publishing them escaped my mind until this week firing up some of the Linux 5.5 kernel benchmarks. Those initial Linux 5.5 numbers for AMD EPYC should be out in the days ahead and should be interesting given some prominent changes with Linux 5.5 and other early performance numbers showing some interesting changes.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The new Shotgun Farmers limited time Hide & Freeze game mode is hilarious

        The incredibly unique shooter Shotgun Farmers has a really amusing limited-time event going on, with a Hide & Freeze game mode now live.

        Hide & Freeze is like a prop hunt mode, one team are dressed up in identical Snowman skins while the other team of Farmers have to find them hidden amongst a crowd of them. If you're a Snowman, you have 5 snowballs to throw and freeze a Farmer to make a quick getaway to hide again and it's hilarious.

    • Linux Mag (Paywall)

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • KDE vs XFCE vs Gnome

        Chris Titus recently vlogged about an article showing that KDE 5.17 is now smaller than XFCE 4.14 in memory usage. The article says that in their tests, XFCE actually uses more RAM than KDE. I was very interested in this, but I couldn’t quite believe it and so I ran my own tests.

        First of all, we need to compare apples to apples. I created an OpenSUSE VM using Vagrant with KVM/libvirt. It had 4 cores and 4192MB of RAM. This VM has no graphical interface at all. As soon as I got it up, I took the first “No X” measurement. After patching using zypper dup, I took the second “No X” reading. Every reading in this blog post was using the free -m command. I then shut down the VM and cloned it 3 times so each copy should be completely the same.

        I installed the desktop environments into their respective VMs using the following commands:

        zypper in -t pattern kde

        zypper in -t pattern xfce

        zypper in -t pattern gnome

        After desktop environment was done, I then installed the lightdm display manager. This wasn’t actually necessary with Gnome because it installs gdm as a dependency.

      • Chill out with the Linux Equinox Desktop Environment

        haven't used the Fast Light Toolkit (FLTK) for anything serious yet, but I'm a fan of the C++ GUI toolkit that's pretty simple to learn and (in my experience) reliable even across updates. When I found out that there was a desktop environment built with FLTK, I was eager to try it—and I was quickly glad I did. The Equinox Desktop Environment (EDE) is a fast and simple desktop written in C++ and FLTK for Unix desktops. It uses common desktop conventions, so it looks and feels familiar right away, and after only a few days of using it, I found its simplicity provides a minimal elegance that I enjoy.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Cantor 19.12

          Recently, the KDE community announced the release 19.12 of KDE applications, inlcuding Cantor. Many highlights of this release are mentioned in the release announcement. Today we’d like to highlight the development done in Cantor for the 19.12 release

          In the previos release 19.08 we mostly concentrated on improving the usability of Cantor and spent quite some effort to stabilize the already available feature set. This release comes with a big new feature, namely the support for Jupyter notebook format.

          Jupyter is a a very popular open-source web-based application that provides an interactive environment for different programming languages. The interactive documents are organized in “notebooks”. This application is widely used in different scientific and educational areas and there is a lot of shared notebooks publically available on the internet. As an example for a collection of such notebooks see this collection.

          For Cantor, which is very similar in spirit to Jupyter, we decided to add the ability to read and save Jupyter’s notebook format in order to benefit from the big amount of available content for Jupyter. The implementation required for this was mainly done by Nikita Sirgienko as part of the Google Summer of Code 2019 project. His series of blog posts contains many examples as well as implementational details that will be omitted here.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Marcus Lundblad: Christmas Maps

          To stick to the tradition I thought that I should write a little post about what's been going on since the stable 3.34 release in September. The main thing that's come since then for the upcoming 3.36 release is support for getting public transit route/itinerary planning using third-party providers. The basic support for public transit routing, based on OpenTripPlanner has been in place since 2017 with the original plan to find funding/hosting to set up a GNOME-specific instance of OTP fed with a curated set of GTFS feed. But since this plan didn't come to fruition, I repurposed the existing support so that it can fetch a list of known providers with defined geographical regions. First by utilising the existing OpenTripPlanner implementation (but rewritten to be instanciated per third-party provider). Later I have added plugins for the Swedish Resrobot and Swiss online API. These have yet not been activated in the service file (it's using the same service file as for tile and search providers). But this will soon be there, so stay tuned.

        • End of the year Update: 2019 edition

          It’s the end of December and it seems that yet another year has gone by, so I figured that I’d write an EOY update to summarize my main work at Igalia as part of our Chromium team, as my humble attempt to make up for the lack of posts in this blog during this year.

          I did quit a few things this year, but for the purpose of this blog post I’ll focus on what I consider the most relevant ones: work on the Servicification and the Blink Onion Soup projects, the migration to the new Mojo APIs and the BrowserInterfaceBroker, as well as a summary of the conferences I attended, both as a regular attendee and a speaker.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • antiX-19.1 bug-fix/upgrade isos available.

          All new isos are bug-fix/upgrades of antiX-19 sysvinit series.

          Only for new users, no need to download if using antiX-19.

          antiX-19.1 is based on Debian Buster and systemd-free.

          As usual we offer the following systemd-free flavours for both 32 and 64 bit architecture.

          antiX-full (c1.1GB) – 4 windows managers – IceWM (default), fluxbox, jwm and herbstluftwm plus full libreoffice suite.

          antiX-base (c700MB so fits on a cd) – 4 windows managers – IceWM (default), fluxbox, jwm and herbstluftwm.

          antiX-core (c350MB) – no X, but should support most wireless.

          antiX-net (c140MB)- no X. Just enough to get you connected (wired) and ready to build.

          The 32 bit version uses a non-pae kernel.

        • EndeavourOS Liftoff for the net-installer!

          We have been able to solve the problems the net-installer was encountering sooner than expected, so without further ado, we are proud to present you the community development release of the combined installer.

          You probably are wondering why we don’t call it a beta release, well with this release we want to engage the entire community to help us improve this combined offline and online-installer on its journey to the stable version. Your feedback plays a vital role in this community development release, so we’re eagerly waiting for your findings to improve it.

          This release has passed several basic tests, so we are convinced the installer works in its most basic function for most hardware out there. We are aware that this version has issues with a particular group of hardware. If you encounter glitches, artefacts or screen tearing, just post the issue on our forum with your hardware specs and some Moderators can guide you through a workaround for most of the plagued hardware.

        • Santa sent us a mirror elf!

          Christmas is just around the corner and yesterday when I opened the emails, a gift in the form of Alpix was waiting for us to be opened.

          Our repo and ISO downloads go through Github and we didn’t have any mirror service to provide these services.

          Alpix is an Open-source enthusiast who also provides his mirror service for Kaos, Manjaro, Deepin, Chakra, CentOS and many more.

          He used to provide his services to Antergos as well.

      • Debian Family

        • Gregor Herrmann: init system GR

          finally – the third call for vote has already gone out – I took the time to cast my vote in the debian init system GR (General Resolution), the vote of debian members about the project's further course with regard to init systems.

        • european train systems

          now what about the trains? bruxelles is the capital of europe, & laveno-mombello is just approx. 400 km from here (i.e. closer than the capital of my country). still, no train company would sell my a ticket to these destinations.

          no train company? well that's slightly exaggerated. for one of the destinations (bruxelles), one company (DB) would sell me a ticket, if I trick the web interface into showing me the connection I want by adding some 'via' entries with appropriate durations. ÖBB fails because it doesn't sell thalys tickets, & also no ICE tickets, for the last leg. – so either DB with some trickery, or ÖBB plus either thalys or DB, & hope that there are no delays. ÖBB is also very proud of their new nightjet connection to bruxelles (from vienna & innsbruck), starting in january 2020. what they don't announce widely is that this train goes only 2 times per week. (of course not the days I need.)

          for the trip to laveno-mombello I could either go via verona/milano & buy a ticket from ÖBB until verona & a ticket (actually three) from trenitalia for the rest; or go via switzerland & buy a ticket from ÖBB until bellinzona, a ticket from SBB for the 10+ minutes to cadenazzo, & a ticket from trenord from cadenazzo until laveno-mombello. (that's already the summary; neither ÖBB nor DB nor SBB nor trenitalia nor trenord would sell me a ticket for the whole journey. trenitalia also doesn't know cadenazzo, btw. ÖBB would also sell me a ticket to cadenazzo, it's just roughly 100 EUR more expensive than the sparschiene-ticket to bellinzona.) two years ago I did the former; & 8 of the 8 trains were delayed on departure or arrival or both. obviously the trip with its three changes per direction took almost twice the time of just taking the car. last year, a friendly soul picked me up with their car after one train trip, & probably we'll do it the same way again this year.

        • Other Vintage Computer Replication Projects

          A few weeks back, I was showing my PDP-8/e project at the Vintage Computer Festival in Zurich. While I was doing my project, I haven’t really checked if there were other projects like this. At least for the PDP-8 I knew there wasn’t, the only FPGA core I could find was a new implementation of the architecture that is binary compatible but doesn’t attempt to replicate the structure and instruction cycles of any specific PDP-8. At this VCFe I found there were two other projects that also aim at recreating computers in FPGAs from original schematics. One is a DEC PDP-6, the other is an IBM System/360 Model 30. The IBM one is also interesting in that it appears to create a live image of the front panel state on its VGA output. At the VCFe however, it was connected to an original front panel, making it much more impressive. From talking to the people involved in these projects I gathered that they have some challenges with the lack of a central clock that drives synchronous logic, a design method that is central to modern logic and the kind of hardware that can most efficiently be implemented in FPGAs. Apparently there are many places where logic delays were integral to both the PDP’s and IBM’s logic, and those are not simple to implement especially when the delay is not well documented in the schematics.

        • Romain Perier: My Raspberry PI 4 4GB

          I have received my Raspberry PI 4 4GB that has been funded by the Debian project. I would like to thank the DPL and Gunnar Wolf for this (who vouched for me).

          So today, I have unpacked the board and tested it with the default flashed noobs/raspbian, so I check that everything is working as expected (from the hw point of view, I already had bad suprises in the past with some evaluation boards).

          Interesting topics will come soon, mostly about booting a debian testing/sid on it , adding support to raspi-firmware and the linux kernel for enabling support for the pi 4 and some variants drivers for the bcm2711.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 610

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 610 for the week of December 15 – 21, 2019. The full version of this issue is available here.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Starting from open (and FOSS)

        As our society becomes increasingly dependent on computing, the importance of security has only risen. From cities hit by ransomware attacks, to companies doing cutting edge research that are the targets of industrial espionage, to individuals attacked because they have a desirable social media handle or are famous – security is vital to all of us.

        When I first got into Linux and FOSS, I have strong memories of the variety of things enabled by the flexibility it enabled. For example, the first year of college in my dorm room with 3 other people, we only had a shared phone line that we could use with a modem (yes, I’m old). A friend of a friend ended up setting up a PC Linux box as a NAT system, and the connection was certainly slow, but it worked. I think it ran Slackware. That left an impression on me. (Though the next year the school deployed Ethernet anyways)

        Fast forward 20+ years, we have the rise of the cloud (and cheap routers and WiFi of course). But something also changed about Linux (and operating systems in general) in that time, and that’s the the topic of this post: “locked down” operating systems, of which the most notable here are iOS, Android and ChromeOS.

      • A Thank You to the Chef Community

        In October of 2014 Nathen Harvey – someone I knew mainly as a fellow Theatre major working as a software engineer – reached out and invited me to attend the Chef Community Summit. I had no idea what to expect – only that I hoped to learn more about writing Chef and understanding this DevOps thing I was hearing so much about. This sometimes surprises people, but I am very much an introvert. When I come to an event or meet a community for the first time I tend to stick to the edges of the room. The Chef Community summit was the first place where I felt both welcomed and drawn into the center of the community immediately. People I knew only from Twitter like Adam Jacob, Chris Webber, Jennifer Davis, Jessica Devita, and many more not only were kind to me, they sought and very clearly valued what I thought of both the technologies and the community they were building. I knew immediately this was a community I wanted to be a part of – and, moreover, Chef was a place I absolutely wanted to work.

      • The Year in Open Source: IBM-Red Hat, SUSE, Microsoft, More

        It was an intriguing and entertaining year for open-source software in 2019, with news headlines that were all over the map. In the biggest news, IBM completed its acquisition of open source market leader Red Hat, bringing the two powerhouses together on a new shared path of making their now-connected futures successfully work out for both.

      • Hugging Face Raises $15 million to Expand its Open Source Software on Conversational AI

        New York-based Hugging Face, a startup known by an app launched in 2017 that allows you to chat with an artificial digital friend, recently open-sourced its library for natural language processing (NLP) framework, called Transformers. I

      • Pentagon wants open-source 5G plan in campaign against Huawei

        The Pentagon is urging US telecoms equipment makers to join forces on 5G technology in a drive to offer a homegrown alternative to China’s Huawei. Lisa Porter, who oversees research and development at the defence department, has asked US companies to develop open-source 5G software — in effect opening up their technology to potential rivals — warning they risk becoming obsolete if they do not.

        Making 5G tech open-source could threaten American companies such as Cisco or Oracle, the biggest American suppliers of telecoms network equipment.

      • Apache Kafka version 2.4 improves streaming data performance

        Apache Kafka version 2.4 became generally available this week, bringing with it a host of new features and improvements for the widely deployed open source distributed streaming data technology.

        The popularity of Kafka has put it at the center of event processing infrastructure, which is used by organizations of all sizes to stream messages and data. Kafka is often used as a technology that brings data into a database or a data lake, where additional processing and analytics occur. Optimizing performance for globally distributed Kafka deployments has long been a challenge, but the new features in Apache Kafka 2.4 could also help to further its popularity, with improved performance and lower latency.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • What’s the point: New Rust, Terraform tweaks, CFEngine revs

            The Rust team have released v1.40.0 of the programming language. The team have flagged up a number of key improvements, including the addition of an attribute, #[non_exhaustive], which when attached to a struct or the variant of an enum, “will prevent code outside of the crate defining it from constructing said struct or variant”. Macros and attributes have been given a general scrub up, and a series of functions and macros have been stabilised and added to the standard library.

          • Async Interview #3: Carl Lerche

            One of the first things we talked about was a kind of overview of the layers of the “tokio-based async stack”.

            We started with the mio crate. mio is meant to be the “lightest possible” non-blocking I/O layer for Rust. It basically exposes the “epoll” interface that is widely used on linux. Windows uses a fundamentally different model, so in that case there is a kind of compatibility layer, and hence the performance isn’t quite as good, but it’s still pretty decent. mio “does the best it can”, as Carl put it.

            The tokio crate builds on mio. It wraps the epoll interface and exposes it via the Future abstraction from std. It also offers other things that people commonly need, such as timers.

            Finally, bulding atop tokio you find tower, which exposes a “request-response” abstraction called Service. tower is similar to things like finagle or rack. This is then used by libraries like hyper and tonic, which implement protocol servers (http for hyper, gRPC for tonic). These protocol servers internally use the tower abstractions as well, so you can tell hyper to execute any Service.

          • Reducing Treeherder’s time to-deploy

            If a regression was to be found on production we would either `git revert` a change out of all merged changes OR use Heroku’s rollback feature to the last known working state (without using Git).

            Using `git revert` to get us back into a good state would be very slow since it would take 15–20 minutes to run through Travis, a Heroku build and a Heroku release.

            On the other hand, Heroku’s rollback feature would be an immediate step as it would skip steps 1 and 2. Rolling back is possible because a previous build of a commit would still be available and only the release step would be needed .

            The procedural change I proposed was to use Heroku’s promotion feature (similar to Heroku’s rollback feature). This would reuse a build from the staging app with the production app. The promotion process is a one-click button event that only executes the release step since steps 1 & 2 had already run on the staging app. Promotions would take less than a minute to be live.

      • FSF

        • Setting the right example: Say no to the Elf on the Shelf

          Many if not most people have come to the conclusion that the song "Every Breath You Take" is creepy and inappropriate: Every step you take / Every move you make / Every bond you break / Every step you take / I'll be watching you isn't very reassuring, much less romantic. Yet for many years, we've been completely fine with kids learning that Santa Claus sees you when you're sleeping / He knows when you're awake / He knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.

          As noted by writer Matt Beard in The Guardian, the latest iteration of teaching kids to accept constant surveillance via holiday tradition is the Elf on the Shelf, a cheerful little snitch whom parents hide in different spots every day in the house. The idea is, the Elf watches what kids are up to, and if they call their little sister a name or steal a cookie from the cookie jar, the friendly household spy will tattle to Santa, who will add them to the "naughty" list. Beware! We agree with Beard that this cutesy, innocent-seeming "tradition" (which actually only dates back to 2005!) communicates to children that someone is always watching them, and that moreover, this is a perfectly normal thing. This should give us pause, and cause us to think carefully about what kind of messages we are sending in our behavior at home and with friends.

          This resonates with us not just because surveillance and privacy are obviously important free software issues, but because kids are little sponges who soak up our values from day one, and thus it's important to communicate clearly. This is why, although it's extraordinarily difficult to live in complete software freedom, we want to think about every concession to the proprietary world we make, and make sure that kids know that being forced to make those concessions is unfair. When we reject services that try to make us submit to Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) to watch our favorite movies, then we should explain why it's bad; we can also endeavor to use the services in the Guide to DRM-Free Living instead, and explain why they're better. At the center of the free software philosophy is a fundamental respect for human dignity and individual rights, as well as our responsibility to our community, and no matter how much we might want to use a shortcut to get kids to behave well, ultimately it sends the message that stomping on their right to privacy is okay today -- and will be okay tomorrow when they're grown up, too.

        • Presenting: ShoeTool -- Happy Holidays from the FSF

          ShoeTool is an animated fairy tale about an elf shoemaker who thinks he buys a machine to help him make shoes... only to find out that there are there are strings attached to his "purchase." Please show your support for free software and this video by promoting it on your social media using the #shoetool hashtag.

          Here's a short URL you can use:

          Software restrictions, analogous to the kinds of restrictions our main character Wendell runs into as a user of the promising ShoeTool, are detrimental to our freedom, creativity, and jobs. We hope watching Wendell's frustrations will shake things up in many homes and help more people understand.

        • ShoeTool — Happy Holidays from the FSF

          ShoeTool by the Free Software Foundation Copyright ۩ 2019 is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

        • FSFE

          • Don't miss the new software freedom podcast

            Some years ago I myself started to listen to podcasts. Not so much podcasts about technology but rather documentaries, features, and comments about politics. I mainly did that while travelling or if I was not tired but wanted to relax my eyes a bit.

            Earlier this year Katharina Nocun encouraged us to start a podcast for the FSFE ourselves. After some considerations we decided to give it a try and cover topics about software freedom in a monthly podcast.

            In October for the International Day Against digital restriction management (DRM) I was happy that Cory Doctorow, one of my favourite writers agreed to join us as a guest. We talked with him about the difference between books and an e-books with DRM, how authors and artist can make money without DRM, security implications of DRM, regulation of the so called "Internet of Things", and other questions related to this issue.

            In November we talked with Lydia Pintscher, vice president of KDE, about the development of the KDE community, the different KDE projects, the issues they will be tackling over the next two years, how to maintain long term sustainability in such a large project, and how she balances her long time volunteer commitment with her day job.


            If you are new to podcasts I got the feedback from many that they enjoy listing to podcasts on their mobile with Antennapod which you can install through F-Droid.

        • GNU Projects

          • FSF-Approved Hyperbola GNU/Linux Switching Out The Linux Kernel For Hard Fork Of OpenBSD

            In a rather unusual twist, the Hyperbola GNU/Linux distribution that is approved by the Free Software Foundation for being free software and making use of the Linux-libre kernel has now decided they are going to fork OpenBSD and become a BSD.

            The Hyperbola developers allege that "the Linux kernel rapidly proceeding down an unstable path." Most readers probably aren't familiar with Hyperbola but it is GNU-approved for being comprised entirely of free software and using the Linux-libre kernel. It's based on Arch and Debian while using OpenRC as the init system. But they now are unhappy with the path of the Linux kernel and want to pursue being a BSD platform.

          • Announcing HyperbolaBSD Roadmap

            Due to the Linux kernel rapidly proceeding down an unstable path, we are planning on implementing a completely new OS derived from several BSD implementations.

            This was not an easy decision to make, but we wish to use our time and resources to create a viable alternative to the current operating system trends which are actively seeking to undermine user choice and freedom.

      • Programming/Development

        • Migrating from Enterprise C# to Self Employed Clojure & React

          I'm currently 3 months into an exploratory hiatus from corporate life, and I've been enjoying it massively. About 18 months ago, I was a fresh grad from UT Austin and extremely enthused to start my career in software engineering. I had just gotten a job at PwC, and was somewhat clueless as to what software development was, or could be, as a career. I quickly learned C#, which was my daily language in an enterprise that heavily used the Microsoft stack, and quickly felt stagnation in challenge and learning. It wasn't that things were easy, but for some reason my first year out of the gate was mostly incredibly boring HTML, CSS, and C# copy/paste style coding due to an incredibly mature application (think in the millions of lines of code) that had some hard to grasp domain knowledge caked in.

          Somewhere in that time I organically stumbled upon Paul Graham, then his essays, and eventually, Hacker News. That orange site profoundly changed the way I saw my career trajectory. Likely, I could, like many older developers around me, stay there for 10-20 years and end up making $200,000+ a year in a cheap, major city, or possibly make partner and double or triple that, but life is too short to wait 10-20 years for an abstract possibility, so I began absorbing all content I possibly could from Hacker News.

          Three key elements presented themselves to me while browsing - startups, importance of ownership, and fun programming. In startups, I saw the wonderful ability to not deal with typical corporate BS (I loved PwC, but I really don't care to watch 40 hours of accounting ethics videos, annually). In ownership, I saw that really having equity in anything, software related or not, is the only way to build wealth that grows non-linearly with time input (thanks Naval Ravikant). In fun programming I found Clojure. With it I realized I can increase the joy of programming, and decrease boilerplate code by a magnitude simply by using it, rather than Java or C#. (Not to mention the magic of LISP!)

        • 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.

        • Python

          • Top 10 Python Open Source Projects On GitHub: 2019 [Ed: Analytics India Mag continues to perpetuate Microsoft lies; what Microsoft does not control in FOSS does not exist?]

            Python is one of the most favoured languages by data scientists. In fact, over 75% of respondents claim that Python is one of the most important skillsets for a data science practitioner. For the first time ever, Python passed Java as the second-most popular language on GitHub by repository contributors. Also, this year, the use of Jupyter Notebooks has seen more than 100% growth year-over-year for the last three years. Take a look at the top 10 Python open source projects in GitHub in 2019…

          • Python's Built In IDE Isn't Just Sitting IDLE


            One of the first challenges that new programmers are faced with is figuring out what editing environment to use. For the past 20 years, Python has had an easy answer to that question in the form of IDLE. In this episode Tal Einat helps us explore its history, the ways it is used, how it was built, and what is in store for its future. Even if you have never used the IDLE editor yourself, it is still an important piece of Python’s strength and history, and this conversation helps to highlight why that is.

          • Ace Python Interviews — a new, free course to help you get a better job

            It’s hard to exaggerate just how hot Python is right now. Lots of companies — from small startups to the Fortune 100 — have realized that Python allows them to do more in less time, and with less code. This means, of course, that companies are scrambling to hire Python developers. There’s tons of demand, and not nearly enough supply.

            In other words: Now is a great time to be a Python developer! There are opportunities in just about every field, from Web development to system administration, devops to machine learning, automated testing to financial calculations.

            If you’re going to get a Python job, you’ll first have to pass a Python job interview. And like everyone else, you’ll likely prepare for the interview by searching online for “Python interview questions,” or the like.

            The good news: There are lots of sites offering Python interview questions and answers.

            The bad news: I’ve looked at a lot of them, and they are terrible. The questions are often superficial, and the answers are often wrong or outdated. Plus, a programming interview isn’t a multiple-choice test, in which getting the right answer is the point. Rather, interviewers use the time with you to evaluate your depth of understanding, your coding process, and your ability to adapt as specifications change.

          • Guide to the Latest Trend in Fintech Area - RegTech

            Here comes RegTech — a new technology field that ensures that companies, especially tech firms, act in accordance with implemented government rules and regulations.

            The first time we came across the term RegTech was when our team was delivering Python development services to Clear Minds — an investment platform that acts as a digital adviser for people who want to make profitable investments in the long run. During the final stages of development, in May 2018, the GDPR came out.

            If you’re lucky enough to have never dealt with GDPR, I will briefly summarize what it is. It’s a regulation created by the EU that forces companies that work with customers’ personal data — in our case, tech companies — to protect the information they capture. Namely, they cannot disclose it to third parties, and must even delete it if a customer asks them to. GDPR is the reason why your email boxes were recently bombarded with new Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policies of all the services you were using or subscribed to.

          • NumPy, SciPy, and Pandas: Correlation With Python

            Correlation coefficients quantify the association between variables or features of a dataset. These statistics are of high importance for science and technology, and Python has great tools that you can use to calculate them. SciPy, NumPy, and Pandas correlation methods are fast, comprehensive, and well-documented.

          • Using a custom domain for Django app hosted on AWS EC2

            We already know how to host a Django app for free on Amazon (AWS) EC2 instance with Gunicorn and Nginx. But we were accessing the application using public IP. IP addresses are hard to remember and are not user-friendly.

            Domain names are easy to remember and gives a unique identity to your web application or website. In this article, we will see how to use a custom domain purchased from GoDaddy to access our Django web application.

            The public IP address assigned to our EC2 instance can be changed if we restart the instance. We need to have an IP address that does not change every time our EC2 instance restarts. Elastic IP comes to rescue here.

          • Python 3.7.5 : About Django REST framework.
          • Python 3.7.5 : Django admin shell by Grzegorz Tężycki.

            Today I tested another python package for Django named django-admin-shell.

          • 10 years of Mopidy

            Ten years ago today, on December 23, 2009, Mopidy was born. While chatting with my friend and then-colleague Johannes Knutsen, we came up with the idea of building an MPD server that could play music from Spotify instead of local files.

            This is the story of the first decade of Mopidy.

            After a brief discussion of how it could work and what we could build upon, Johannes came up with the name “Mopidy.” The name is, maybe quite obviously, a combination of the consonants from “MPD” combined with the vowels from “Spotify.” At the same time, the name is different enough from both of its origins not to be mixed up with them. Even during the first few hours we had some thoughts about maybe adding file playback and support for other backends in the future. Thus we quickly appreciated that the “Mopidy” name would still work, even if Spotify wasn’t always the sole focus of the project.

            Within a couple of hours we had a Git repo with some plans written up. We joined the #mopidy IRC channel on Freenode and we had recruited Thomas Adamcik to the project. Over the next few years, he designed many of our most essential components, including the extension system. Today, ten years later, Thomas is still involved with Mopidy and many of its extensions.

            After a couple of days, it worked! We had built a primitive MPD server in Python that at least worked with the Sonata MPD client. On the backend side, we used the reverse-engineered “despotify” library to interface with Spotify as it already had some Python bindings available. For all three of us, coming mostly from web development and Django, I believe we already had a feeling of achievement and expanding horizons. If we could pull this off, we could build anything.

            The story of Mopidy is a story of thousands of small iterative improvements that, over time, add up to something far greater than the sum of its parts. It was a hack, but a hack with good test coverage from the very start, making changes and iteration safe and joyful.

      • Standards/Consortia

        • The future of the web, isn't the web

          Your information has to be where your users want to access it. Not where you want to display it. I remember sitting in a housing benefits office, watching someone playing on their PlayStation Portable - or so I thought. On closer inspection, she was browsing the GOV.UK web pages to see what the process was for claiming benefits. Web browsers are everywhere!

          But the future is not a browser. It is a User-Agent. It could be your search engine, smart watch, voice assistant, or something yet to be invented.

  • Leftovers

    • 'Little Women' for Millennials

      Whether literary adaptation or historical drama, a period film reveals as much about the era in which it is made as it does the era in which it is set. Case in point: Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women,” the fourth screen version made since 1933 of the Louisa May Alcott novel about the four March sisters. One reason it is remade so often is that, more than a century before Alison Bechdel proposed her “Bechdel test” to confront gender inequity in entertainment, “Little Women” had already gotten it right. It’s fun to see how those who adapt Alcott inevitably project their zeitgeist onto hers.

    • Postal Workers Deliver 20 Million Packages Per Day. What Can We Give Them in Return?

      The White House task force claims that the Postal Service is on an "unstable financial path." The reality is that Congress manufactured our financial problem—and it could fix it.

    • Back To the Far Side, and Not A Moment Too Soon
    • New York State Contributes $3.75M To Build Universal Hip Hop Museum

      The State of New York will contribute $3.75 million to the Universal Hip Hop Museum. The museum will cost $80 million to build and will open in the Bronx in 2023.

    • A Dirty Woke
    • Science

    • Education

      • A Portrait of Public Libraries

        Since Jim Fallows and I began traveling the country for American Futures and Our Towns nearly seven years ago, there has been one beat that began as a surprise to me and grew into the most heartening story I’ve witnessed of American resilience. That is the story of public libraries and how they have responded to the challenges facing American towns.

    • Hardware

      • Sony Can’t Make Image Sensors Fast Enough to Keep Up With Demand

        For the second straight year, the Japanese company will run its chip factories constantly through the holidays to try and keep up with demand for sensors used in mobile phone cameras, according to Terushi Shimizu, the head of Sony’s semiconductor unit. The electronics giant is more than doubling its capital spending on the business to 280 billion yen ($2.6 billion) this fiscal year and is also building a new plant in Nagasaki that will come online in April 2021.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • The Update Framework graduates from the Linux Foundation’s Cloud Native Computing Foundation

                The Update Framework (TUF), an open-source technology that secures software update systems, has become the first specification project to graduate from the Linux Foundation‘s Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

                A specification — common examples of which are HTML and HTTP — allows different implementers to create core functionality in a common, precisely defined way to solve a task.

                Justin Cappos, lead of the TUF project and an associate professor of computer science and engineering at NYU Tandon School of Engineering, is also the first academic researcher to lead a project that has graduated from the CNCF.

        • Security

          • Like Voldemort, Ransomware Is Too Scary to Be Named

            On Aug. 21, Lumber Liquidators’ corporate and store-level computer systems began to shut down. Without them, the flooring company’s retail employees couldn’t check product prices or inventories. They had to send in orders to distribution centers by phone or from their personal email accounts and write down customers’ credit card information on paper. Each transaction took up to half an hour. Amid the chaos, sales took a hit. So did morale, since sales factored into employee bonuses.

            “You couldn’t really sell or haggle anything,” said Trevor Sinner, then a store manager in Los Angeles. “You couldn’t see inventory, you couldn’t see cost, you couldn’t see anything.”

          • Nearly 4,000 Ring Credentials Leaked, Including Users' Time Zones And Device Names

            The eternal flame that is Ring's dumpster fire of an existence continues to burn. In the past few months, the market leader in home surveillance products has partnered with over 600 law enforcement agencies to...

          • Ring Cameras Suffer Hacking Attacks

            A few years ago, Ring entered the market as a way to keep your home secure. They were one of the first to advertise a service where you can check on your home no matter where you are. However, a recent spike of Ring camera hacks has shown the darker side of entrusting home security to IoT. What Happened? Hackers have cracked the security behind the Ring IoT system. They have used this knowledge to gain access to security systems and spy on people.

          • Threat Lab: Year in Review 2019

            EFF’s Threat Lab Team has only just launched and already has reached some fantastic milestones. This team was created to look deeply into how surveillance technologies are used to target vulnerable communities, activists, and individuals. Here are some of the highlights:

            In the world of misuse of technologies and profiteering from this misuse, there’s a particularly egregious category of tools known as spouseware or stalkerware. These tools can gather someone’s location, calls, messages, photos, turn your camera, and control many other aspects of their phone remotely without them knowing. People typically use these tools to stalk their spouses or others, and companies that profit by selling these tools even market them as such. The team has worked hard to make sure this is more difficult by encouraging security companies to protect the victims by flagging these apps as malicious in antivirus software.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • No Surprise: Judge Says US Government Can Take The Proceeds From Snowden's Book

              Back in the fall, we noted that, even if we thought it was silly, under existing law, it seemed highly likely that the DOJ would win its lawsuit against the publisher for Ed Snowden's memoir, Permanent Record. As I noted at the time, the government and the intelligence community in particular take the issue of "pre-publication review" incredibly seriously. Basically, if you take a job in the intel community, you sign a lifelong contract that says if you ever publish a book about anything regarding the intelligence community, you have to submit it for pre-publication review. Officially, this is to avoid classified information showing up in a book. Unofficially, it also gives the US government a sneak peek at all these books, and sometimes (it appears) allows them to hide stuff they'd rather not be public.

            • TikTok Banned From All U.S. Navy Government Devices

              The United States Navy has issued a blanket ban on the Chinese-owned social media app, TikTok. Navy officials say the app may present a ‘cybersecurity threat’ to service members.

            • Why Big Data Has Been (Mostly) Good for Music

              Analysts claim it’s not only possible to see who’s blowing up now, but more importantly, who’s going to be blowing up next. Chartmetric says it can shortlist which of the 1.7 million artists it tracks will have a big career break within the next week. Pandora-owned Next Big Sound reports its patented algorithm can predict which of the nearly 1 million artists it tracks are most likely to hit the Billboard 200 chart for the first time within the next year. (You can see its current picks here.)

            • Companies should take California’s new data-privacy law seriously

              In other respects, though, California goes further than the EU. The CCPA adopts a broader definition of personal information (which extends to such things as internet cookies that identify users on websites) and it explicitly forbids discrimination (by offering discounts to those who grant firms access to their data). Companies must enable Californians to opt out of the sale of personal data with a clear “do not sell” link on their home page, rather than through GDPR’s fiddlier process. Michelle Richardson of the Centre for Democracy and Technology, a privacy-advocacy group which is bankrolled in part by big tech companies, calls the CCPA “ground-breaking”.

            • Encryption law: 40% of firms say they have lost sales after passage

              The survey, carried out by the public policy and business innovation website InnovationAus in collaboration with the telecommunications lobby group Communications Alliance, the IT industry lobby group ITPA and StartupAUS, also found that 61% of the respondents had been advised of concerns around the bill by either domestic or international customers.

              Conducted from 5 December to 12 December, the survey received input from a total of 70 respondents. Among these 42% were either founders, chief executives or managing directors, 10% developers and 5% legal staff. Nearly 70% of the companies covered were technology firms headquartered in Australia, while 10% were multinational technology firms.

            • Toys “R” Us Pivots From Teddy Bears to Surveillance

              Instead, new Toys “R” Us owner TruKids has developed the showrooms with a far less playful purpose: rampant consumer surveillance. Via a partnership with a startup dubbed b8ta and another firm by the name of RetailNext, the new stores have embedded ceiling sensors, cameras, and other tech tasked with monitoring your every playful moment in the store.

              RetailNext, which claims to have some 500 retail and mall partners, is part of a growing effort to bring online surveillance to the brick and mortar world. Often aided by phone location data, such firms track and monetize consumer behavior, monitoring everything from the path you walk through a mall, to the amount of time you spend looking at any one particular product.

            • CMS shuts down access to Blue Button 2.0 temporarily due to security glitch

              Essentially, the problem stems from the fact that the system was truncating 128-bit user IDs to 96 bits, which "were not sufficiently random to uniquely identify a single user."

              CMS contacting affected beneficiaries and third-party applications directly, and have closed access to BB2.0 pending a full review.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • The Most Important Free Press Stories of 2019

        The most important stories of the year for those who care about a free press involve the arrest of Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy at the request of the U.S. government, and the rearrest of the whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

    • Environment

      • Bushfires Release Over Half Australia’s Annual Carbon Emissions

        Fires blighting New South Wales and Queensland have emitted a combined 306 million tons of carbon dioxide since Aug. 1, which is more than half of Australia’s total greenhouse gas footprint last year, according to Niels Andela, an assistant research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and collaborator with the Global Fire Emissions Database. That compares with the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service’s estimate of 270 million tons in just over four months.

      • California’s Fires Prove the American Dream Is Flammable

        But few are discussing one key aspect of California’s crisis: Yes, climate change intensifies the fires—but the ways in which we plan and develop our cities makes them even more destructive. The growth of urban regions in the second half of the 20th century has been dominated by economic development, aspirations of home ownership, and belief in the importance of private property. Cities and towns have expanded in increasingly disperse fashion, fueled by cheap energy. Infrastructure has been built, deregulated, and privatized, extending services in more and more tenuous and fragile ways. Our ideas about what success, comfort, home, and family should look like are so ingrained, it’s hard for us to see how they could be reinforcing the very conditions that put us at such grave risk.

        To engage with these challenges, we need to do more than upgrade the powerlines or stage a public takeover of the utility companies. We need to rethink the ideologies that govern how we plan and build our homes.

      • Mysterious greenish-yellow liquid gushing from walls on I-696 identified

        The mysterious, greenish-yellow liquid that ran onto I-696 in Madison Heights on Friday came from a closed electroplating business whose owner is serving a year in federal prison for operating an unlicensed hazardous waste storage facility.

      • A cancer-causing green slime was found oozing onto a highway in a Detroit suburb, officials say

        Hexavalent chromium is usually produced during industrial processes like plating and is known to cause cancer, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The chemical is harmful to the respiratory system, kidneys, liver, skin and eyes.

        The chemical was leaking from the basement of the local business, down into the ground and went into a drain that emptied out onto eastbound I-696, police tweeted. Had the liquid not been discovered, it could have ended up in Lake St. Clair, said Candice Miller, Macomb County public works commissioner.

      • Mysterious green ooze on Michigan highway came from waste site whose owner is in prison

        The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was called to investigate and determined the liquid likely was groundwater contaminated with hexavalent chromium, according to The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).

        EGLE said in a statement that the seepage was directly in line with Electro-Plating Services. Crews spent Friday night vacuuming the sewers and eventually started on the basement at Electro-Plating Services, where green liquid was found in the basement pit.

      • In ‘Strongest’ Climate Ruling Yet, Dutch Court Orders Leaders to Take Action

        The Supreme Court of the Netherlands on Friday ordered the government to cut the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by the end of 2020. It was the first time a nation has been required by its courts to take action against climate change.

      • A Christmas Arrest for Climate Justice on #FireDrillFriday

        We need to go way beyond Gandhi and Dr. King, and build a global grassroots, bottom up, people power movement of active nonviolence on behalf of all creation the likes of which the world has never seen.

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Author Of California's Bill That Effectively Ends Freelancing Finally Open To Making Changes After Freelancers Lose Jobs & Lawsuit Filed

        Back in October, we wrote about the disastrous results (even if there were good intentions behind it) of a California law, AB5, that sought to "protect" so-called "gig" workers by forcing companies to hire them as employees, rather than freelancers/contractors. Supporters of the bill, including its vocal author Lorena Gonazlez, argued that it was necessary to protect these workers from exploitative companies and that it was clarifying what the courts had already decided. However, a big part of the problem was the framing of the bill, which more or less assumed that no one could possibly want to be a freelancer or contractor, that everyone must want to be an employee. That's not true. Nowhere was this more clear than in the world of freelance journalism, where many freelancers like the flexibility that comes with the role, and the ability to write for many different publications. Gonzalez's bill, which goes into effect on January 1st, put a ridiculously low yearly "cap" on articles that a freelancer could contribute to a single news site at 35. Any more than that, and the person would need to be reclassified as an employee. Even Gonzalez flat out admitted that the 35 cap was "a little bit arbitrary." Lots of freelancers contribute way more than 35 articles per year (some do more than that in a month), and they rightly saw that this would likely destroy the ability to be a freelance journalist in California.

      • Latest Bid by France's Macron to Quell Protests Over Neoliberal Pension Scheme Fails as Strikes Continue

        The French president's approach has generated a resistance movement with protesters blockading streets and engaging in a general strike.€ 

      • 'Cutting Social Security Is Murder': Flood of Public Outrage Greets Trump Proposal to Slash Benefits for Hundreds of Thousands

        "We cannot let Trump get away with this cruelty. An attack on any part of Social Security is an attack on the entire system."

      • Our Nightmare Health Care System in One Doctor's Bill

        Strep throat tests are usually quick and painless. Sure, there are a few seconds of discomfort during the throat swab, but after that, and maybe another related test, you’re out the door. Hopefully, the results offer some relief and peace of mind, two qualities none of us should have to put a price on.

      • It's a Wonderful Life... For Bankers

        Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren both understand the key economic lesson at the heart of the classic holiday film.

      • Growing Movement Calls Out Elites at Prestigious Cultural Institutions

        A host of recent campaigns aimed at board members of prestigious cultural institutions have exposed how major arts organizations take money from, and award prominent positions to, wealthy elites profiting from mass incarceration, pushing deadly and addictive drugs, poisoning the environment, and pillaging public resources. The most well known of these fights has been the effort that removed Warren Kanders, owner and CEO of the body armor and chemical weapons manufacturer Safariland, from the board of the Whitney Museum.

      • Fighting Water Privatization With "Blue Communities"

        It was 1985 and privatization, deregulation and free trade were in the air. Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and President Ronald Reagan were negotiating a free trade deal — a precursor to NAFTA. Among the goods it would cover: “Water, including … mineral waters … ice and snow.”

      • How Trump Has Betrayed the Working Class

        This has created a giant political void, and an opportunity. Democrats have an historic chance to do what they should have done years ago: Create a multi-racial coalition of the working class, middle class, and poor, dedicated to reclaiming the economy for the vast majority and making democracy work for all. € 

      • Trump Touts Weak Trade Deals That Likely Won’t Benefit US Workers

        As he faced impeachment, Donald Trump touted his trade deals as evidence of the great success of his presidency. Specifically, he touted his revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which the Democratic leadership agreed to, and a first-round trade agreement with China. In both cases, people are more likely to hear Trump’s boasts than to see any economic benefit from these deals.

      • 'Pretty Brazen Stuff': Email Shows Top Buttigieg Fundraiser Offering Campaign Influence in Exchange for Donations

        "Pete's fat-cat mega-donors are telling each other that if you donate big money to his campaign, it gives you access and influence. And of course it does. That's why they give it. And why it's a problem."

      • It's Corporate Media, 'Moderate' Democrats, and the Oligarchy vs. Bernie Sanders and a Movement

        The greatest trick the American oligarchy ever played was convincing the country they didn't exist.

      • Public Housing Has Been Woefully Underfunded. That Could Change in 2020.

        Public housing has been utterly neglected, underfunded and politically demonized for decades. It’s faced attacks beginning with Richard Nixon and continuing through the Bill Clinton-era, with the creation of the draconian Faircloth Limit.

      • Betsy DeVos’s Vision for an Indebted Future? A Robotic Student Loan Chatbot

        It’s almost 2020, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is still hellbent on keeping student borrowers in debt.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • KSA

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Louisiana Officials Urged to Rescind Permission for Petrochemical Plant Over Cancer Dangers and Discovery of Burial Grounds for Enslaved People

        "We continue to fight for our lives against these toxic industries, and now we are fighting for our ancestors too."

      • Legislative Victories in the States: 2019 Year in Review

        Thanks to your support, this year EFF was able to take a stand in state legislatures across the country to fight well-funded industry efforts to encroach on your data privacy rights, to push back against government use of face surveillance, and to support bills that improve your digital rights. Here are some highlights of our victories in the states—both in California and across the country.

      • This Former Firefighter Has a Criminal Past. Now, He’s on the Board That Advises the State on Its EMS System.

        When Rhode Island lawmakers ousted two state Health Department officials from the board that helps oversee its emergency medical services system, Gov. Gina Raimondo replaced them with a city mayor and this man: Albert F. Peterson III.

        “His decades of experience as a first responder coupled with his recent experience operating a company that trains EMTs made him well qualified to serve on this board,” the governor’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Bogdan, said of Peterson in an email.

      • Qingpu Prison: the ‘cultural exchange’ centre in forced labour scandal

        Shanghai’s Qingpu Prison, the Chinese prison at the centre of a forced labour scandal, describes itself as a “first-class” facility, where inmates can learn about jade sculptures and receive therapy.

        But the jail, which detains both Chinese and foreigners, is now embroiled in a labour outcry after a purported secret message was sent in a Christmas card and discovered by a London schoolgirl.

        The Sunday Times newspaper reported at the weekend that a six-year-old called Florence opened a card from a Tesco’s supermarket in the UK to find a message inside, claiming to be from inmates in China.

      • US Confirms Report Citing Iran Officials as Saying 1,500 Killed in Protests [iophk: tweets (hearsay) in place of official communications :( this is a serious governance problem.]

        In a Monday tweet, the State Department quoted U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook as saying the Reuters report "underscores the urgency for the international community to punish the perpetrators and isolate the regime for the murder of 1,500 Iranian citizens."

      • India: Deadly Force Used Against Protesters

        Indians, in large numbers, have been peacefully protesting € against a new citizenship law that they believe threatens India's secular identity. Bangalore, India, Monday, December€ 23, 2019.

      • Bozizé Returns to Central African Republic

        Last week, former Central African Republic president Francois Bozizé returned to the country after more than six years in exile. Earlier this month, his party’s spokesman said Bozizé would stand for presidential elections in December 2020.

        Bozizé fled the Central African Republic in March 2013 as the Seleka, a mostly Muslim rebel coalition from the northeast, took control of the country amid widespread abuse. The Seleka gave rise to local militias, called anti-balaka, who in turn targeted Muslim civilians and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

      • US: Mexican Asylum Seekers Ordered to Wait

        (El Paso, Texas) – US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents have denied entry to the United States to Mexican asylum seekers, exposing thousands, including families and children, to danger in Mexican border cities, which is in violation of international refugee law, Human Rights Watch said today.

        Several dozen Mexican asylum seekers in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico told Human Rights Watch in November 2019 that they had been turned back after attempting to seek asylum at a US port of entry. Some had been waiting for months on a self-organized handwritten list defining when it would be their turn to present themselves at the port of entry.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Russian government begins Internet isolation exercises

        Russian government agencies have begun a series of exercises designed under the country’s recent “Internet sovereignty” law, Deputy Communications Minister Alexey Sokolov told RIA Novosti. The exercises, which must take place at least once a year, are intended to enable Russian Internet traffic to be contained within Russian territory in case of a threat to the Russian segment of the World Wide Web.

      • Spectrum Customers Stuck With Thousands In Home Security Gear They Can't Use

        For the better part of the decade, ISPs like Comcast and Spectrum have been desperately trying to carve out a niche in the home security and automation space. But despite their best efforts those projects haven't gone particularly well, to the point where big ISPs try to hide how many subscribers have signed up for such service in earnings reports. Historically, users already feel they pay their cable TV and broadband provider too much money, and only a few folks feel it's worth paying them even more for home security and automation products they can find elsewhere, usually for less.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • No, Spotify, you shouldn't have sent mysterious USB drives to journalists

        Last week, Spotify sent a number of USB drives to reporters with a note: "Play me."

        It's not uncommon for reporters to receive USB drives in the post. Companies distribute USB drives all the time, including at tech conferences, often containing promotional materials or large files, such as videos that would otherwise be difficult to get into as many hands as possible.

        But anyone with basic security training under their hat — which here at TechCrunch we have — will know to never plug in a USB drive without taking some precautions first.

        Concerned but undeterred, we safely examined the contents of the Spotify drive using a disposable version of Ubuntu Linux (using a live CD) on a spare computer. It was benign and contained a single audio file. "This is Alex Goldman, and you've just been hacked," the file played.

    • Monopolies

      • Inside Documents Show How Amazon Chose Speed Over Safety in Building Its Delivery Network

        As they prepared for last year’s holiday rush, managers at Amazon unveiled a plan to make the company’s sprawling delivery network the safest in the world.

        Amazon, which ships millions of packages a day to homes and businesses across America, had seen a string of fatal crashes involving vans making those deliveries over the previous few years. Improving safety, the plan said, was “Amazon’s Greatest Opportunity.”

      • Amazon executive was killed after colliding with a van delivering the company's packages, report reveals
      • Patents

        • USPTO, DoJ, and NIST Issue FRAND/SEP Policy Statement

          Last week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, U.S. Department of Justice, and National Institute of Standards and Technology issued a joint statement on standard-essential patents (SEPs). The statement clarifies the agencies’ position on an earlier 2013 statement made by USPTO and DoJ while completing the process of formally withdrawing from that statement.

          In essence, the clarification states that SEPs are not categorically different from other patents and that they should be judged under the same rules as other patents—for example, injunctions are available for SEPs when the eBay test favors an injunction. Similarly, the damages analysis applies in the same way for an SEP as for any other patent. This isn’t, on its face, a significant departure from the 2013 statement, which similarly acknowledged that injunctions may be permissible in SEP cases, even if they might not be favored. But the devil’s in the details—or in this case, in a couple footnotes.


          That’s the real question. If all of this was just to clarify the 2013 statement and DoJ, the PTO, and NIST see the 2013 statement as fundamentally accurate, why withdraw from it? Why not just issue a clarification?

          It appears to be because, fundamentally, the agencies involved are trying to suggest that the 2013 statement wasn’t right. That patentees should have a right to hold-up innovators and product makers with the threat of an injunction. That holdout is a real problem and hold-up is not.

          While taking a facially neutral position that FRAND patents don’t get special rules, it’s clear that some policymakers in DoJ and PTO think that the concerns of patent owners are more real than the concerns of companies in the business of actually making products and providing services. Perhaps unsurprising, coming from a DoJ Antitrust division that defended Qualcomm’s patent licensing strategies despite a mountain of evidence regarding Qualcomm’s anti-competitive conduct. And perhaps also unsurprising from a PTO director that has called patent trolls a “myth” despite the fact that they constitute a majority of patent litigation.

        • Qualcomm's reply brief in appeal of FTC antitrust win makes misleading citation in attempt to discredit customer testimony

          The United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit recently scheduled oral argument in this appeal for February 13, 2020. In the post I just linked to, you can find links to numerous amicus curiae briefs supporting the FTC, and subsequently I commented on a couple of submissions from the automotive industry.

          The FTC clearly got more (in qualitative and quantitative terms) support from amici than Qualcomm did. And a Korean court affirmed an antitrust ruling by the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC). Qualcomm tries to focus on what has recently gone well for the chipmaker: the FTC didn't even make an attempt to defend Judge Lucy H. Koh's reasoning on chipset licensing, presenting a right-for-the-wrong-reasons theory instead.

          Qualcomm seeks to leverage that fact to discredit Judge Koh's ruling as a whole, and in this context reminds the appeals court of FTC commissioner Wilson's dissent, and support for Qualcomm from the DOJ Antitrust Division (which is run by a lawyer who previously represented Qualcomm). However, all of that is meta-level: it's not about law, facts, or policy in the slightest, just about raising doubts.

          Intel's Frankenstein analogy (the dissected monster is innocuous)--a funny way of encouraging the appeals court to see the forest among the trees--applies not only to Qualcomm's opening brief but also to the reply brief. The outcome of the appeal will hinge on whether the appeals court looks at the aggregate effect of a web of interrelated and mutually-reinforcing practices--or gets bogged down somewhere along the way.

        • Not-So-Safe Harbor for Hospira's Erythropoietin Biosimilar

          This week the Federal Circuit affirmed Amgen's win against Hospira with respect to Hospira's erythropoietin ("EPO") biosimilar—a drug used to increase red blood cell number—in a Delaware trial where Amgen's U.S. Patent No. 5,856,298 was found to be infringed and not invalid and Amgen was found to be entitled to $70 million for damages associated with its EPO drug Epogen€®. Part of the appeal was also dedicated to examining the so-called Safe Harbor provision of 35 U.S.C. €§ 271(e)(1), where the Federal Circuit agreed with Amgen that Hospira manufactured at least 14 batches of the drug that were not protected by this provision. The Court's decision provides lessons in how companies should be careful to avoid stretching the bounds of the Safe Harbor provision.

        • Federal Circuit affirms Safe Harbor ruling and $70 million award in Amgen Inc. v. Hospira, Inc.

          On December 16, 2019, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued an opinion that fully upheld the District of Delaware’s denial of Hospira, Inc.’s motion for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL), or alternative motion for new trial, in Amgen Inc. v. Hospira, Inc., Nos. 2019-1067, 2019-1102. The ruling maintained the jury’s verdict that: (1) Hospira infringed one of Amgen Inc.’s two asserted patents, (2) fourteen batches of drug substance for Hospira’s biosimilar was not covered by the Safe Harbor provision of 35 U.S.C. €§ 271(e)(10), and (3) Amgen was entitled to $70 million in damages.

          In 2014, Hospira submitted a Biologics License Application (BLA) to the FDA, seeking approval for a biosimilar to Amgen’s Epogen product, a recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO). EPO is a glycoprotein that regulates red blood cell maturation and production. Amgen sued Hospira for infringement of two patents related to forms of EPO and aspects of their production, U.S. Patent No. 5,856,298 (the ’298 patent) and U.S. Patent No. 5,756,349 (the ’349 patent). After a trial in 2017, the jury found the asserted claims of the ’298 patent not invalid and infringed, the asserted claims of the ’349 patent not invalid and not infringed, and further concluded that fourteen batches out of twenty-one manufactured by Hospira were not entitled to the Safe Harbor defense. The jury awarded Amgen $70 million in damages. Both Hospira and Amgen moved post-trial to vacate the jury’s verdict. Both motions were denied by the district court.

        • Huawei patents phone with rotating camera module

          Chinese smartphone maker Huawei has reportedly filed a patent for a smartphone with flip camera design. According to a report by LetsGoDigital, the patent was published by the World Intellectual Property Office on December 17, 2019. In the shared images, one can see triple camera aligned horizontally which will work as both rear and front camera when flipped. It must be noted here that once the selfie mode is switched on, The camera setup with Huawei’s upcoming phone is said to feature an ultra-wide angle lens. This means that users will be able to click ultra-wide selfies with the phone. It is yet not clear whether the company will include this camera design with its flagship Huawei P40 or other smartphone.

        • Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC v. Willowood, LLC (Fed. Cir. 2019)

          The Federal Circuit had the opportunity to interpret the extent to which the provisions of 35 U.S.C. ۤ 271(g) require the practice of the patented method that produces a product whose importation imposes infringement liability under the statute to be practiced by a single entity (it does not) in rendering its decision recently in Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC v. Willowood, LLC.

          The case involved accused infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 5,602,076 (expired February 11, 2014); 5,633,256 (expired February 11, 2014); 5,847,138 (expired December 8, 2015); and 8,124,761 (will not expire until April 15, 2029), directed to fungicides, pesticides, plant growth regulators, comprising pyrimidinyloxy-phenyl acrylates and derivatives, and in particular azoxystrobin. The '076 and '256 patents are directed to compounds, while the '138 and '761 patents are directed to methods for producing these compounds.

          Syngenta brought suit for patent infringement and copyright infringement against the Willowood defendants for importation of fungicide formulations comprising azoxystrobin; the copyright infringement assertions were made with regard to Syngenta's label related to "directions for use, storage, and disposal, as well as first-aid instructions and environmental, physical, and chemical hazard warnings." Importantly for the issues in this case, one defendant, Willowood China, produced the accused infringing fungicide in Hong Kong and sold it to Willowood USA, its American affiliate. Willowood USA and another defendant, Willowood LLC then contracted to have third parties formulate the azoxystrobin fungicide and thereafter marketed and sold the product in the U.S. Syngenta alleged infringement of claims 1–4 and 12–14 of the '076 patent, claims 1–3, 5, and 7 of the '256 patent, claims 6 and 12–14 of the '138 patent, and claims 1, 3–5, and 9–10 of the '761 patent. Both parties filed summary judgment motions, upon which the District Court ruled as follows. First, the District Court granted Syngenta's summary judgment motion that Willowood literally infringed claims of the '076 and '256 patents, and that Willowood induced infringement by the LLC affiliate. The District Court denied Syngenta's summary judgment motion that Willowood China literally infringed the '076 and '256 patents, based on the existence of a genuine issues of material fact regarding whether sale occurred in the U.S. or China. The District Court also denied summary judgment of the '138 patent, on the grounds that infringement under 35 U.S.C. €§ 271(g) required that all steps of a claimed process must be performed by a single infringer (facts regarding this were in dispute). Finally, the District Court denied Syngenta's summary judgment motion regarding infringement of the '761 patent, due to disputed facts on the details of the synthetic methods used by Willowood China. But the District Court granted Syngenta's motion shifting the burden of proof on this issue to Willowood under 35 U.S.C. €§ 295.


          The panel also relied for its reasoning that the infringing act implicated in ۤ 271(g) was not practice of the claimed method abroad but importation of the product of the patented process. The opinion also found support for its interpretation in the legislative history. Finally, the opinion cited the increased evidentiary burden Willowood's interpretation of the statute would impose on patentees, where manufacture occurs abroad.

          Accordingly, the Federal Circuit reversed the District Court's judgment that Willowood USA (whose importation of the accused infringing azoxystrobin was undisputed) did not infringe the '138 patent under ۤ 271(g) and vacated (as not being considered by the District Court) Willowood LLC's infringement liability and remanded. Otherwise, the panel affirmed the District Court in all other respects.

        • Special Rights for Inventor Owned Patents

          Rep. Danny Davis (D-Il) and Paul Gosar (R-Az) have introduced the Inventor Rights Act. H.R.5478 that creates a set of rights and privileges associated with inventor-owned patents. These are patents owned by their respective inventors or owned by an entities controlled by the inventors. In addition to ownership, the inventor must hold “all substantial rights.”


          Currently, only a rather small fraction of patents would qualify as “inventor-owned patents” under the statute. However, the Bill would tend to both (1) encourage individual inventorship and (2) encourage patent holding situations that take advantage of the inventor-owner rights. Tech company founders would likely keep ownership of their patents, although I suspect that large companies would remain wary of allowing regular employees to retain “all substantial rights” in the patent.

      • Trademarks

        • EU General Court considers sign referring to cannabis contrary to public policy

          In an interesting decision issued earlier this month, the General Court (GC) confirmed that a sign that comprises of and depicts cannabis and weed leaves is contrary to public policy. The decision is relevant from many perspectives, including that of the growing cannabis industry and CBD-related products. The decision confirms the general principle that signs are not registrable if they might be perceived as encouraging the purchase of illegal goods or trivialising their consumption.

      • Copyrights

        • Paris Court of Appeal confirms that Koons’s 'Naked' sculpture infringes copyright in 'Enfants' photograph, rejecting freedom of the arts and parody defences

          In 1970, Bauret realized a black-and-white photograph titled ‘Enfants’. No print of the photograph was sold, but in 1975 the photographer authorized the making of postcards carrying the image of the work.

          In 2014, the Bauret estate found out that Jeff Koons had realized a porcelain sculpture, ‘Naked’, which was similar to the ‘Enfants’ photograph. Koons’s work had been made in 1988 in 4 copies as part of the Banality series, a readymade collection of artworks that contains a mix of pop art and kitsch.

          The sculpture was never exhibited in France, though in 2015 it should have been on display in an exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

          The Bauret estate sent a warning letter to both Koons and the museum. For reasons linked to damage during transportation, ‘Naked’ was not included in the exhibition in the end. The museum subsequently also removed the image of the sculpture from the exhibition catalogue.

          A lawsuit followed and, in 2017, the TGI Paris partly ruled in favour of the photographer’s estate. Both parties appealed.

          Aside from issues concerning the personal liability of Koons, the judgment is particularly interesting as far as substantive issues of copyright subsistence and infringement are concerned.


          The defendant had also raised an argument that the use at issue could qualify as parody. The court referred to the 2014 CJEU Deckmyn decision [Katposts here] and the requirements that, for a work to be considered a parody, first, it must evoke an existing work while being noticeably different from it and, second, it must constitute an expression of humour or mockery.

          The court considered that neither requirement would be fulfilled in the case at issue.

        • Cox Communications hit with $1 billion verdict over music piracy
        • Indonesian Government Continues Whac-A-Mole Against Local Streaming Piracy Giant

          Indonesia's Information and Communications Ministry continues to crack down on pirate sites. The Government body has blocked more than 1,000 domain names since July with streaming giant 'IndoXX1' as the main target. The authorities hope to decrease local piracy rates but, thus far, the streaming service keeps coming back.

        • Russia Convicts a Pirate Site Operator for the Very First Time

          A court in Russia has convicted the operator of several pirate sites, a first for the country. Three main streaming domains were supported by a dozen mirror platforms, all of which were fed with content by the now-defunct 'pirate' CDN platform known as Moonwalk. The verdict, which is being touted as a judicial precedent in Russia, resulted in a two-year suspended sentence.

        • Jake Paul Faces Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Over Christmas Track

          A group of music producers are suing YouTube star Jake Paul, claiming that Paul’s “Litmas” song infringes on a song that they wrote in 2015 called “Bad Santa.”

        • Welcoming 2020 With Gratitude

          As Chair of the Creative Commons Board of Directors, I am ending 2019 with a special sense of gratitude for the CC community. This has been a year full of challenges and opportunities for CC. Our staff has risen to the occasion with remarkable energy, collegiality, and grace. Interim CEO Cable Green deserves special recognition for taking on new responsibilities with his typical insight, steadiness, and dedication. He is backed by an outstanding team that includes the rest of the CC staff, our Board of Directors, and the Advisory Council. The CC community also includes the CC Global Network and the millions of educators, librarians, technologists, creators, and activists who use our tools to help grow the global commons. And of course, it includes the generous donors—including visionary foundations and individual CC community members—who make our work possible. (Not a donor yet? Please contribute here!)

        • Why Is Juice WRLD Still Being Sued for $15 Million?

          Juice WRLD is dead — so why is he still getting sued for copyright infringement, exactly?

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