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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 2 hours 19 min ago

Death of the UPC (Unitary Patent) Confirmed by the British Government

Friday 28th of February 2020 06:45:27 AM

UPC strictly requires the UK, hence UPC is dead

Lies as headlines are fashionable in “Fake News” era

Summary: The lies about the UPC are repeatedly being called out as UPC disarray is confirmed by the spokesperson of Prime Minister Boris Johnson

NOBODY should be surprised by this. As comments online (forums, blogs and so on) indicate, everyone except hardcore “Team UPC” is not surprised by this at all. Some time in the coming days we’re going to take stock of some feedback. It’s quite revealing. We’ve been saying this for years, even at risk of being ridiculed as unrealistic.

The short story is, a key pro-UPC outpost, namely IAM, heard right from the horse’s mouth that the UPC isn’t happening. Joff Wild, who gave up about a year ago, tried to save face by writing: “Although the previous government led by Theresa May committed the UK to UPC membership, the new government under Boris Johnson has made clear time and again that it envisages a far looser relationship with the EU post-Brexit. As a consequence, it has taken a much harder line on CJEU jurisdiction. Basically, it does not want any in any form. The CJEU – the Court of Justice of the European Union – has an important role in the UPC agreement as the ultimate arbiter of EU law, while Article 20 of the agreement specifically states that the Unified Patent Court “shall apply Union law in its entirety and shall respect its primacy”. Thus, being part of the system would have meant the UK accepting that EU law takes precedence over UK law in UPC-related matters.”

To put it more succinctly, UPC is dead along with anything that resembles it. London won’t play ball.

“Kluwer Patent blogger” (typically Team UPC pseudonym) has meanwhile taken note of the above, adding:

The UK will not be part of the UPC. The Office of Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed this to IAM-Media.

According to the website, spokesperson Baylee Turner stated: “I can confirm that the UK will not be seeking involvement in the UP/UPC system. Participating in a court that applies EU law and bound by the CJEU is inconsistent with our aims of becoming an independent self-governing nation.”

The possibility for the UK to participate in the UP system post-Brexit has been a topic of lengthy debate. Also, it has long been questioned whether the UK would want to stay in the Unitary Patent project. During the Brexit debate, it has repeatedly been said that Brexit would end the jurisdiction of European Courts in the UK.

At this stage it hardly even matters what happens (or will happen) in Germany. The politicians in Berlin won’t ratify something that’s legally pointless, not just for constitutional reasons but Brexit as well.

IP Kat, which wrote close to one hundred posts promoting the UPC, is changing its tune now that it’s convenient. Alex Woolgar wrote the headline “UK will not participate in UPC system” (which is funny because no participation means that the UPC itself is defunct, so it’s understating what has happened).

Woolgar says that “like that, it’s gone. However one interprets Opinion 1/09 of the CJEU, it is pretty clear that the UPC Agreement requires UPC participating states to respect the primary of EU law (Articles 20/24) and the overarching jurisdiction of the CJEU (Article 33) in relation to the UPC system. And, consequently, the UK Government has briefed that it will not seek to remain a part of the UPC system (although we do not expect a formal announcement). Subject only to a radical policy rethink in the coming months (which seems highly unlikely), sadly, the UK seems to have got off the UPC bus.”

It’s dead, Alex. It’s dead. Let go, Mr. Woolgar. Your IP Kat colleague has even left Bristows (the colleague who is responsible for most of the UPC misinformation in that blog).

Don’t expect this blog to quit boosting the UPC though; as recently as this week IP Kat is still advertising for CEIPI (run by the thug, Battistelli) and the UPC (which Battistelli wanted to run). 2 days ago they wrote:

Paris: What status for the harmonization of patent law in Europe?

On 7 May, 2020, the University of Strasbourg will be holding a conference, “What status for the harmonization of patent law in Europe? Jurisprudences France – EPO: convergences and divergences”. The conference will take place at the Maison du Barreau in Paris. Check here for the conference programme and registration.

They keep pushing dead nonsense and also in the same blog post: “Premier Cercle is holding a course, to take place in Paris on June 11, 20 and 21, on how to draft AI patents. Check here for dates and registration.”

They mean illegal (invalid) European software patents disguised as “HEY HI” (AI) — a subject we’ll cover separately.

A Month After One OSI Co-Founder Resigns in the Mailing Lists Over OSI’s Attacks on Software Freedom the Other OSI Co-Founder Gets Kicked Out for Speaking About It

Friday 28th of February 2020 02:46:04 AM

OSI changed. They also think it’s OK for Microsoft to take over the Linux Foundation (because they do the same at the OSI these days).

Summary: The ‘cancel culture’ seems to be canceling people who speak about software freedom, under the guise of the real motivation being manners (when one lashes out at those who attack Free software and free speech)

IT SEEMS LIKE the trend. It seems like the norm rather than the exception. It’s happening in Debian (latest in [1]) and now in OSI (latest from ESR in [2]).

“The FSF’s mailing lists are meanwhile censoring messages supportive of Stallman, who ‘only’ founded the FSF. What is going on?”We’re told about ‘rude’ Torvalds lashing out at bad code and ‘disgusting’ Stallman, who dares to have an opinion on political issues (in a very political kind of project and organisation). We continue to wonder why Guido van Rossum (Dutch programmer aged around 63 at the time) suddenly left Python’s leadership. It happened around the time a controversy was brewing about the master/slave terminology in the context of programming/message-passing (topology).

The FSF’s mailing lists are meanwhile censoring messages supportive of Stallman, who ‘only’ founded the FSF. What is going on? Alex Oliva knows a thing or two [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

In Microsoft's own words, “[y]ou want to infiltrate those. Again, there’s two categories. There’s those that are controlled by vendors [...] that third parties control, like the WinTech Journal, you want to infiltrate.”

Being super polite and wearing gloves won’t work against coup efforts, which include bribing people in key positions, or paying them large salaries to defect.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. What is a safe space?

    When foreign people come along with a different, but no less valid, Code of Conduct, zealots start screaming out for the comfort of their safe space. That is how we get the hysteria that precipitated the Hanau shooting and the lynching of Polish workers in the UK in the name of Brexit.

    The Third Reich may have been the ultimate example of the search for a safe space: a safe space for the white Aryan race. Nazis really believed they were creating a safe space. Germans allowed the Nazis to rule, in the belief that they were supporting a safe space.

    The golden rule of a safe space is that it is only safe for some. As George Orwell puts it, All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

    Tolerance and safe spaces are mutually exclusive.

  2. The right to be rude

    The historian Robert Conquest once wrote: “The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies.”

    Today I learned that the Open Source Initiative has reached that point of bureaucratization. I was kicked off their lists for being too rhetorically forceful in opposing certain recent attempts to subvert OSD clauses 5 and 6. This despite the fact that I had vocal support from multiple list members who thanked me for being willing to speak out.

    It shouldn’t be news to anyone that there is an effort afoot to change – I would say corrupt – the fundamental premises of the open souce culture. Instead of meritocracy and “show me the code”, we are now urged to behave so that no-one will ever feel uncomfortable.

    The effect – the intended effect, I should say, is to diminish the prestige and autonomy of people who do the work – write the code – in favor of self-appointed tone-policers. In the process, the freedom to speak necessary truths even when the manner in which they are expressed is unpleasant is being gradually strangled.

    And that is bad for us. Very bad. Both directly – it damages our self-correction process – and in its second-order effects. The habit of institutional tone policing, even when well-intentioned, too easily slides into the active censorship of disfavored views.

Links 27/2/2020: LibreOffice 6.4.1, Collabora Office for Phones and Latte Dock 0.9.9

Thursday 27th of February 2020 07:34:44 PM

  • GNU/Linux
    • 50 Simple and Useful dmidecode Commands for Linux

      The dmidecode command in Linux allows users to retrieve sensitive hardware-related information directly from the command line. This way, users can obtain useful information like serial numbers and processor cache values without taking apart their CPUs. In Linux, the dmidecode is known as the DMI table decoder, and it simply decodes hardware information from the SMBIOS (System Management BIOS) of your system. When used carefully, dmidecode can provide an extensive amount of interesting information. That’s why we have curated this guide outlining some of the most amazing things you could do with dmidecode. Continue reading to master these commands thoroughly.

    • The Best Tips for Lazy but Smart Linux Home Users

      You have probably seen the abundance of smart homes and how they make life easier. These smart homes have been made possible by the Internet of Things and can help users turn lights on and off or play music just by the command of your voice.

      To make this possible, you need to have the right hardware and software that can undertake these tasks. Some smart home users have chosen to use Linux to power their homes and have had great success at it.

      You need to know the facts about Linux first before using it and familiarize yourself with working around it. Here are some of the best tips for lazy but smart Linux home users to create the best setup.

    • Desktop/Laptop
      • Linux Laptop Buyer’s Guide 2020

        You can visit any online Linux discussion board, and you’re guaranteed to find the same question posted over and over again: What’s the best Linux laptop that I can buy?
        In 2020, this question is both easy and difficult to answer at the same time. On the one hand, the Linux kernel has made great strides in improving compatibility with hardware components, and it’s now very rare for a laptop to not work with Linux at all. On the other hand, the sheer number of attractive laptops that work with Linux can be overwhelming and make the buying process feel tiring.

        To make it easier for you, we selected the best Linux-friendly laptop brands in 2020 and picked one laptop for each brand. All there’s left for you to do is choose the laptop that best matches your requirements.

      • is Now HTTPS and Got New Design!

        Dear readers! We have two good news for you. Starting from Tuesday, 25 February 2020, website is now more secure with HTTPS and more fresh with new design. Firstly, by HTTPS you would notice a green padlock on your browser address bar. That’s the security sign meaning connection between you and this site is now encrypted. By encrypted means you are safe from tampering in the middle of connection which usually done by crackers or bad internet services. Secondly, after a period of broken design (caused by shutdown as our image assets were hosted there) whole website is now kindly redesigned by the owner of this website, Mr. Mahmudin Ashar. However, there are still undergoing changes being made so you will see more stuffs coming. Personally, as an author here I really feel grateful to him and I love these changes! I hope these changes make you feel more comfortable visiting us. Do you love these new changes? Please give us feedbacks on comment section. We thank you all dear readers for your support!

    • Audiocasts/Shows
      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 846

        nodejs 12, raspberry pi, 3d printing, air frying

      • FLOSS Weekly 567: DeepCode

        DeepCode alerts you about critical vulnerabilities you need to solve in your code. DeepCode finds critical vulnerabilities that other automated code reviews don’t, such as Cross-Site Scripting, Path Traversal or SQL injection. DeepCode finds critical vulnerabilities that other automated code reviews don’t, such as Cross-Site Scripting, Path Traversal or SQL injection with 90% precision.

      • 2020-02-26 | Linux Headlines

        Brave joins forces with the Wayback Machine, the Linux Foundation teams up with IBM to fight climate change, and The Document Foundation puts out a call to the community.

      • Linux Apps I Use At Work

        Linux Apps I Use At Work This video will go over all the applications I use on my Work PC. I go over my email, file browser, and many other features. As a life long Windows user, I was able to optimize my workflow once I moved to Linux and pick up a lot of productivity.

      • Test and Code: 102: Cosmic Python, TDD, testing and external dependencies – Harry Percival

        Harry Percival has completed his second book, “Architecture Patterns with Python”.
        So of course we talk about the book, also known as “Cosmic Python”.
        We also discuss lots of testing topics, especially related to larger systems and systems involving third party interfaces and APIs.

      • IRC is Not Dead | Self-Hosted 13

        Self-Hosted IRC solutions are better than ever. Alan Pope joins us to make a case for the classic way to communicate online and tells us about a modern client for the web, mobile, and desktop you run on your server.

        Plus, follow up on the new Self-Hosted wiki, and more.

      • BSD Fundraising | BSD Now 339

        Meet FuryBSD, NetBSD 9.0 has been released, OpenBSD Foundation 2019 campaign wrapup, a retrospective on OmniOS ZFS-based NFS fileservers, NetBSD Fundraising 2020 goal, OpenSSH 8.2 released, and more.## Headlines

    • Kernel Space
      • Filesystem UID mapping for user namespaces: yet another shiftfs

        The idea of an ID-shifting virtual filesystem that would remap user and group IDs before passing requests through to an underlying real filesystem has been around for a few years but has never made it into the mainline. Implementations have taken the form of shiftfs and shifting bind mounts. Now there is yet another approach to the problem under consideration; this one involves a theoretically simpler approach that makes almost no changes to the kernel’s filesystem layer at all.

        ID-shifting filesystems are meant to be used with user namespaces, which have a number of interesting characteristics; one of those is that there is a mapping between user IDs within the namespace and those outside of it. Normally this mapping is set up so that processes can run as root within the namespace without giving them root access on the system as a whole. A user namespace could be configured so that ID zero inside maps to ID 10000 outside, for example; ranges of IDs can be set up in this way, so that ID 20 inside would be 10020 outside. User namespaces thus perform a type of ID shifting now.

        In systems where user namespaces are in use, it is common to set them up to use non-overlapping ranges of IDs as a way of providing isolation between containers. But often complete isolation is not desired. James Bottomley’s motivation for creating shiftfs was to allow processes within a user namespace to have root access to a specific filesystem. With the current patch set, instead, author Christian Brauner describes a use case where multiple containers have access to a shared filesystem and need to be able to access that filesystem with the same user and group IDs. Either way, the point is to be able to set up a mapping for user and group IDs that differs from the mapping established in the namespace itself.

      • Keeping secrets in memfd areas

        Back in November 2019, Mike Rapoport made the case that there is too much address-space sharing in Linux systems. This sharing can be convenient and good for performance, but in an era of advanced attacks and hardware vulnerabilities it also facilitates security problems. At that time, he proposed a number of possible changes in general terms; he has now come back with a patch implementing a couple of address-space isolation options for the memfd mechanism. This work demonstrates the sort of features we may be seeing, but some of the hard work has been left for the future.
        Sharing of address spaces comes about in a number of ways. Linux has traditionally mapped the kernel’s address space into every user-space process; doing so improves performance in a number of ways. This sharing was thought to be secure for years, since the mapping doesn’t allow user space to actually access that memory. The Meltdown and Spectre hardware bugs, though, rendered this sharing insecure; thus kernel page-table isolation was merged to break that sharing.

        Another form of sharing takes place in the processor’s memory caches; once again, hardware vulnerabilities can expose data cached in this shared area. Then there is the matter of the kernel’s direct map: a large mapping (in kernel space) that contains all of physical memory. This mapping makes life easy for the kernel, but it also means that all user-space memory is shared with the kernel. In other words, an attacker with even a limited ability to run code in the kernel context may have easy access to all memory in the system. Once again, in an era of speculative-execution bugs, that is not necessarily a good thing.

      • Revisiting stable-kernel regressions

        Stable-kernel updates are, unsurprisingly, supposed to be stable; that is why the first of the rules for stable-kernel patches requires them to be “obviously correct and tested”. Even so, for nearly as long as the kernel community has been producing stable update releases, said community has also been complaining about regressions that make their way into those releases. Back in 2016, LWN did some analysis that showed the presence of regressions in stable releases, though at a rate that many saw as being low enough. Since then, the volume of patches showing up in stable releases has grown considerably, so perhaps the time has come to see what the situation with regressions is with current stable kernels.
        As an example of the number of patches going into the stable kernel updates, consider that, as of 4.9.213, 15,648 patches have been added to the original 4.9 release — that is an entire development cycle worth of patches added to a “stable” kernel. Reviewing all of those to see whether each contains a regression is not practical, even for the maintainers of the stable updates. But there is an automated way to get a sense for how many of those stable-update patches bring regressions with them.

        The convention in the kernel community is to add a Fixes tag to any patch fixing a bug introduced by another patch; that tag includes the commit ID for the original, buggy patch. Since stable kernel releases are supposed to be limited to fixes, one would expect that almost every patch would carry such a tag. In the real world, about 40-60% of the commits to a stable series carry Fixes tags; the proportion appears to be increasing over time as the discipline of adding those tags improves.

      • Finer-grained kernel address-space layout randomization

        The idea behind kernel address-space layout randomization (KASLR) is to make it harder for attackers to find code and data of interest to use in their attacks by loading the kernel at a random location. But a single random offset is used for the placement of the kernel text, which presents a weakness: if the offset can be determined for anything within the kernel, the addresses of other parts of the kernel are readily calculable. A new “finer-grained” KASLR patch set seeks to remedy that weakness for the text section of the kernel by randomly reordering the functions within the kernel code at boot time.

      • Debian discusses how to handle 2038

        At this point, most of the kernel work to avoid the year-2038 apocalypse has been completed. Said apocalypse could occur when time counted in seconds since 1970 overflows a 32-bit signed value (i.e. time_t). Work in the GNU C Library (glibc) and other C libraries is well underway as well. But the “fun” is just beginning for distributions, especially those that support 32-bit architectures, as a recent Debian discussion reveals. One of the questions is: how much effort should be made to support 32-bit architectures as they fade from use and 2038 draws nearer?

        Steve McIntyre started the conversation with a post to the debian-devel mailing list. In it, he noted that Arnd Bergmann, who was copied on the email, had been doing a lot of the work on the kernel side of the problem, but that it is mostly a solved problem for the kernel at this point. McIntyre and Bergmann (not to mention Debian as a whole) are now interested in what is needed to update a complete Linux system, such as Debian, to work with a 64-bit time_t.

        McIntyre said that glibc has been working on an approach that splits the problem up based on the architecture targeted. Those that already have a 64-bit time_t will simply have a glibc that works with that ABI. Others that are transitioning from a 32-bit time_t to the new ABI will continue to use the 32-bit version by default in glibc. Applications on the latter architectures can request the 64-bit time_t support from glibc, but then they (and any other libraries they use) will only get the 64-bit versions of the ABI.

        One thing that glibc will not be doing is bumping its SONAME (major version, essentially); doing so would make it easier to distinguish versions with and without the 64-bit support for 32-bit architectures. The glibc developers do not consider the change to be an ABI break, because applications have to opt into the change. It would be difficult and messy for Debian to change the SONAME for glibc on its own.

      • UEFI Boot Support Published For RISC-V On Linux

        As we’ve been expecting to happen with the Linux EFI code being cleaned up before the introduction of a new architecture, the RISC-V patches have been posted for bringing up UEFI boot support.

        Western Digital’s Atish Patra sent out the patch series on Tuesday for adding UEFI support for the RISC-V architecture. This initial UEFI Linux bring-up is for supporting boot time services while the UEFI runtime service support is still being worked on. This RISC-V UEFI support can work in conjunction with the U-Boot bootloader and depends upon other recent Linux kernel work around RISC-V’s Supervisor Binary Interface (SBI).

      • Linux Kernel Seeing Patches For NVIDIA’s Proprietary Tegra Partition Table

        As an obstacle for upstreaming some particularly older NVIDIA Tegra devices (namely those running Android) is that they have GPT entry at the wrong location or lacking at all for boot support. That missing or botched GPT support is because those older devices make use of a NVIDIA proprietary/closed-source table format. As such, support for this proprietary NVIDIA Tegra Partition Table is being worked on for the Linux kernel to provide better upstream kernel support on these consumer devices.

        NVIDIA Tegra devices primarily rely on a special partition table format for their internal storage while some also support traditional GPT partitions. Those devices with non-flakey GPT support can boot fine but TegraPT support is being worked on for handling the upstream Linux kernel with the other devices lacking GPT support or where it’s at the wrong sector. This issue primarily plagues Tegra 2 and Tegra 3 era hardware like some Google Nexus products (e.g. Nexus 7) while fortunately newer Tegra devices properly support GPT.

      • Intel Continues Bring-Up Of New Gateway SoC Architecture On Linux, ComboPHY Driver

        Besides all the usual hardware enablement activities with the usual names by Intel’s massive open-source team working on the Linux kernel, one of the more peculiar bring-ups recently has been around the “Intel Gateway SoC” with more work abound for Linux 5.7.

        The Intel Gateway SoC is a seemingly yet-to-be-released product for high-speed network packet processing. The Gateway SoC supports the Intel Gateway Datapath Architecture (GWDPA) and is designed for very fast and efficient network processing. Outside of Linux kernel patches we haven’t seen many Intel “Gateway” references to date. Gateway appears to be (or based on) the Intel “Lightning Mountain” SoC we were first to notice and bring attention to last summer when patches began appearing for that previously unknown codename.

      • Graphics Stack
        • Panfrost Open-Source Driver Gets Initial OpenGL ES 3.0 Support

          This comes as great news for Linux users, especially gamers. While many 3D apps and games have basic OpenGL ES 2.0 support, for advanced rendering tasks the newer OpenGL ES 3.0 is required, and Panfrost now supports it.

          As expected, OpenGL ES 3.0 is by far more powerful than its predecessor, adding new features like to 3D textures, instanced rendering, multiple render targets on Mali T760 GPUs and higher, primitive restart, as well as uniform buffer objects.

        • Panfrost Gallium3D Driver Adds Experimental OpenGL ES 3.0 For Open-Source Arm Mali
        • Experimental Panfrost GLES 3.0 support has landed in Mesa

          In the early days of Panfrost, the free and open-source graphics driver for Mali GPUs, we focused on OpenGL ES 2.0. Many applications and games work have basic support for ES 2.0 but for advanced rendering require the newer, more featureful OpenGL ES 3.0… for which Panfrost now has initial support!

          ES 3.0 adds dozens of new features to ES 2.0 to enable faster and more realistic rendering. To support it, we’ve added features to Panfrost like instanced rendering, primitive restart, uniform buffer objects, 3D textures, and multiple render targets (on Mali T760 and up). Features like instanced rendering and primitive restart allow developers to write faster graphics applications, to render efficiently scenes more complex than possible in ES 2.0. Features like uniform buffer objects and 3D texture give developers a more natural environment to write efficient graphics shaders, again allowing for more complex fast applications. Finally, features like multiple render target enable a range of modern rendering techniques like deferred shading.

        • Open source ‘Panfrost’ driver for Mali GPUs gets initial GLES 3.0 support

          Do you have a system laying around rocking a Mali GPU (perhaps in a Chromebook)? The good news is Mesa just got experimental support for OpenGL ES (GLES) 3.0 to give them more advanced graphics support.

          Writing on the Collabora blog, graphics hacker Alyssa Rosenzweig noted about the initial GLES 3.0 support landing in upstream Mesa today. They’ve added tons of new features to the Panfrost driver including: instanced rendering, primitive restart, uniform buffer objects, 3D textures and multiple render targets (on Mali T760 and up).

          All of this together means some more modern games can run on these Mali chips, they’ve tested the classic open source racing game SuperTuxKart and mentioned how “SuperTuxKart’s ES 3.0 non-deferred renderer now works with Panfrost”.

    • Applications
      • HPLIP 3.20.2 Released with Linux Mint 19.3 Support

        HPLIP 3.20.2, HP developed open source Linux driver for HP printers and scanners, was released today with many new devices and Linux Mint 19.3 support.

      • MuseScore – Create, play, and print beautiful sheet music

        Do you need a top-notch musical notation editor for your Linux PC? MuseScore should be the software of your choice. A good music notation app requires to provide the user with features like quick corrections, fast editing, reliable sharing, and provision of a uniform layout of sheet music. It should make the whole process of creating, editing, and printing music a lot easier and fast.

        MuseScore is one of the powerful and versatile open-source music score editors in the market. It might not offer all the editing features provided by high-end paid software, but it provides users with the core functionality needed.

      • Best 14 teamviewer alternatives for Linux/Ubuntu

        One of the most popular software enabling computers to be controlled remotely is TeamViewer, but there are many other options that are available as well, which have just as many features (desktop sharing, online conferences, and data transfers). Since TeamViewer dominates the major online users, it has long ranked number one by many users.
        However, for many, TeamViewer isn’t their number one choice and so in the true spirit of ope n source, let’s talk about thousands of similar software. Since I can’t discuss it all, let’s talk about the top 14 alternatives of TeamViewer for Linux in 2020.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
      • How to play The Sims 4 game on Linux

        Sims4 is an online real-life simulation game that creates a virtual environment quite similar to the real world. For gamers, it is relatively similar to Second Life only that some of the features are different.

        With Sims4, players are provided with a platform to create a virtual character (a sim) of themselves. They control the sims to interact with other personalities and change with the game outlook. It’s more like having another life online. You can even create challenges like creating a single sim and ensuring that its family lasts for up to ten generations.

      • How to install League of Legends on Linux Mint 19.3

        In this video, we are looking at how to install League of Legends on Linux Mint 19.3.

      • Clean up a filthy spaceship in ‘Out of Space’, now out in full with Linux support

        Out of Space from developer Behold Studios (Chroma Squad, Galaxy of Pen & Paper) just recently released, and they added Linux support just before leaving Early Access.

        It’s an odd and quite amusing game, where you and friends are basically space janitors cleaning up your spaceship. With support for local and online multiplayer (matchmaking and invites possible), as well as Steam Remote Play, there’s plenty of opportunities to team up with someone to play.

      • Incredibly quirky exploration adventure ‘MoonQuest’ is out now – adds Linux support

        After being in development for 8 years, plus 18 months of that being in Early Access, MoonQuest from developer Ben Porter of Wizard Mode is now officially released.

        With procedural generation, each game you jump into gives you something new and weird to explore including wild forests, giant mountains and ancient ruins. Your quest? Bring light to a darkened world. Harvest resources, find treasure, and forge the weapons that will help you on your journey. A little Terraria-like in its presentation, with a destructible world too but the overall feel is vastly different and unique in its own right.

      • Take your chicken on a wild adventure in ‘Edgar – Bokbok in Boulzac’ – out now

        Take control of the outcast Edgar, a rather quirky individual who wears a tin hat and talks to their Chicken in ‘Edgar – Bokbok in Boulzac’ and it’s out now. Note: Key provided by their PR team.

        Developed by the French team La Poule Noire, it’s not particularly long game with the developer saying it takes 2-5 hours (my run through was about 2 hours) but it positively oozes charm. I actually fell a little bit in love with it when I completed the old demo previously, with this silly protagonist who calls their chicken “Precious” and things just continue getting more weird as the story goes on—what do you expect with a city where an 800 year old fire rages beneath the surface? Cultists, probably.

      • Upcoming strategy game ‘Radio General’ has you yell orders down a microphone

        Sitting in a tent during WW2 and all you have is a map and a radio, it’s time to shout some orders and hopefully win. You quite literally do shout your orders too, you need a microphone for this as it’s using speech recognition.

        While not a unique idea, a few others have done it, for it to be in a strategy game like this definitely is a bit more unusual. It’s real-time too and as you get verbal reports back you then need to act fast and start making some decisions.

      • Golf With Your Friends to leave Early Access in Q2 this year

        Blacklight Interactive and Team17 have announced that their amusing multiplayer golf game, Golf With Your Friends, is leaving Early Access.

        They’ve not actually given an exact date yet but we at least have a release window now, with “Q2 2020″ being mentioned. Blacklight did say we can expect plenty more content to be added in before the full release, and they only recently introduced some big updates too like a whole Worms-themed set and a Museum set too.

      • Stardew Valley turns 4, more free updates on the way

        Gamers can have a little extra farming, as a treat. Stardew Valley is confirmed to be getting another free content update as it just recently hit four years since release.

        After the release it’s had multiple big updates already, with the 1.4 update going out last November so it’s not exactly been long. That update was huge too adding in tons of new customization, a big farm screenshot feature, big multiplayer enhancements, gamepads improvements and much more.

      • Working on games and need some interface sounds? Kenney saves the day again

        Kenney is well-known for creating high-quality reusable art assets, they’ve done a huge amount you can buy and quite a lot are also public domain under the CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication license so you really can do anything.

        They’re also now doing audio assets! Giving developers in need something a little extra, on top of everything they already do. Just recently, they released the Interface Sounds pack which contains 100 public domain sound effects that anyone can download and use free (you can also donate). All high quality too—wonderful!

      • “Doosk” is a crossover mod that brings the weapons and gameplay from “Dusk” to “Doom”

        Considering we already have several mods of this type for Doom, that aim to mix elements from different popular FPS’s (see GOL articles for BlooM, BorderDoom and DaggerHell Overkill as references), it was only a matter of time until someone decided to bring the insanity of Dusk as well…

      • Clean up a filfty spaceship in ‘Out of Space’, now out in full with Linux support

        Out of Space from developer Behold Studios (Chroma Squad, Galaxy of Pen & Paper) just recently released, and they added Linux support just before leaving Early Access.

        It’s an odd and quite amusing game, where you and friends are basically space janitors cleaning up your spaceship. With support for local and online multiplayer (matchmaking and invites possible), as well as Steam Remote Play, there’s plenty of opportunities to team up with someone to play.

      • Dead Cells: The Bad Seed now available for Linux on GOG

        DRM-free your thing? Shop on GOG regularly? Good news, Motion Twin/Evil Empire have now sorted the DLC situation for Linux on GOG with Dead Cells.

        Now even more people can enjoy the awesome looking and brilliant combat in Dead Cells, with the expanded content in the recent Dead Cells: The Bad Seed DLC which is absolutely worth picking up. It’s helped me personally enjoy the game for quite a few more hours as it nicely mixes up with early game and the extras are excellent.

      • Quiet survival adventure ‘Aquamarine’ is fully funded and on the way to Linux

        Some good news to share today, as Aquamarine from Moebial Studios has managed to push through the noise and get fully funded on their Kickstarter campaign.

        This means another sweet looking game is on the way to Linux, plus with their funding level they managed to hit a few of their special stretch-goals to work on more features. With the campaign now over, they ended on $18,763 in funding so the game should be more lively thanks to the $15K goal of more animations and the $17K goal of an expanded soundtrack and audio effects.

      • Children of Morta still heading to Linux, developer Dead Mage confirms

        After a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2015, Dead Mage went onto launch their story-driven action RPG to a lot of positive reviews last year but so far Linux has been missing.

        It was a confirmed platform for release on their Kickstarter but since release, things have been a little quiet. The publisher, 11 bit studios didn’t reply to our messages and the developer has been practically silent about it on their Steam page.

        Thankfully, Dead Mage themselves did email me early this morning to say “We are working on the Linux version and we are doing this because we love what Linux is all about :).”. A short, sweet and to the point message. Not much to go in since the last reply in October 19 but good that it’s happening.

      • Alternate-history WWII Story-driven tactical RPG ‘Broken Lines’ is out

        Set in an alternate version of WWII, Broken Lines from developer PortaPlay and is a story-driven tactical RPG and it’s out with Linux support.

        A squad of soldiers crash land in the middle of enemy territory. With no leaders alive and no available orders, the group must find a way to deal with their situation and internal conflicts, before a mysterious fog engulfs them and enemy forces hunt them down. Broken Lines is a game about a group of soldiers under immense pressure, losing hope and directions, while still trying to put up a fight.

      • GOG update their refund policy giving gamers more time to decide

        Today, the DRM-free store GOG announced a few changes to how they will handle refunds for games purchased through them.

        In short you will now get 30 days to refund a title from GOG, which includes games currently in development which previously only gave you two weeks. Even if you’ve downloaded it and played it, GOG say if it’s within 30 days of asking they will give you a refund.

        A good policy, 30 days is a pretty good amount of time to refund a game. However, it can be open to abuse of course. Sounds like they will keep an eye on people doing it often though, as they said “we reserve the right to refuse refunds in individual cases”.

      • Speculation: porting studio Feral Interactive could be in some trouble (updated: they’re fine)

        Feral Interactive, the porting company that has made many games available on Linux (as well as macOS and mobile) may be in a spot of trouble.

        Reported first on Phoronix, as found out from the UK’s Companies House, they’re being given a “First Gazette notice for compulsory strike-off” which is not exactly a good sign for any company. What this means, is that they have a few months before they might cease to legally exist. There can be a few reasons for this, like not sending in their accounts or an annual confirmation statement. Looking at Feral, it seems theirs are overdue as they should have been done by 31 December 2019.

      • Game Porting Firm Feral Interactive’s Days Could Be Numbered With Compulsory Strike-Off

        Prominent Linux and macOS game porting firm Feral Interactive looks like it may be dissolving, (edit) but fortunately turned out to be an accounting error.

      • Stadia gets GRID, SteamWorld Dig 2 and SteamWorld Quest for March Pro subs – Spitlings is out

        Another round-up is here for the Stadia game streaming service, going over some recent news and new games available.

        Google have announced that for Stadia Pro subscribers in March you’re getting three games which are: GRID, SteamWorld Dig 2, and SteamWorld Quest. We already knew the SteamWorld games would be available for Pro subs, since that was mentioned in the announcement about them coming to Stadia but we didn’t know it was so soon. GRID is quite a nice surprise though, that might even pull a few people back in since the initial Pro time for most people is now up. Farming Simulator 19 Platinum Edition will be leaving Stadia Pro, so if you do want it make sure you claim it before February 29.

      • The T’au invade Warhammer 40,000: Gladius in a new expansion out now

        Proxy Studios and Slitherine yesterday released a big new expansion for Warhammer 40,000: Gladius focusing on the T’au race, as they’ve joined the fight for the domination of Gladius Prime.

      • Valve make some needed improvements to the Steam Search

        After testing out a bunch of changes to the way Steam Search works in a Steam Labs experiment, Valve has now rolled it out for everyone with new features.

        Steam Labs is the area of Steam where they experiment more, let people opt into new features and they also pull in outside developers to do some prototypes. This expanded Steam Search is one of such experiments. Valve said the improvements to it started as “an exploration of new ranking algorithms, but based upon user feedback it expanded to include the many quality of life improvements in today’s release”.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • Latte bug fix release v0.9.9

          Every distro providing Latte v0.9.x it is suggested to update to v0.9.9 because that will improve the Latte new users experience vastly [kde#417886]. Through the mentioned bug report I discovered that initialization of config files during startup it was not valid for all new users. There were cases that configuration files were not consistent with v0.9.x implementation. Old users using Latte since v0.8.x days are not influenced by that.

        • Latte Dock 0.9.9 Will Vastly Improve Launcher’s Experience for New Users

          Latte Dock 0.9.9 dock-like app launcher for GNU/Linux distributions has been released today as a maintenance update that promises to dramatically improve the Latte Dock experience for new users.

          Latte is one of the most used dock-like applications for Linux-based operating systems. It is based on KDE’s Plasma frameworks, but it can be used on virtually any desktop environment.

          The latest release is here to address a critical bug in the initialization of configuration files during startup. While users using the Latte Dock 0.8 series aren’t affected, this will vastly improve the Latte Dock experience for new users and those who are using the 0.9 series.

    • Distributions
      • Distributions Were For Linux, Not For Kubernetes

        I often liken the Kubernetes revolution and the way it’s taking over the cloud to Linux/Unix and the way it took over servers. I think we’re right at the beginning of the same kind of revolution, and I’m not the only one who is seeing this trend, as evidenced by so many companies cropping up to capitalize on its growth.

        Companies looking to make money in the world of Linux went out and took the core, bundled it up with their best practices and their favorite applications, and then sold it as a “distribution.” You see this with Red Hat Linux, Ubuntu, etc. — even the open-source versions took the base system and then built significantly above and beyond that to the point where each had its own default windowing interface, and some were massively different experiences for the user even though what was underneath was basically the same.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts
      • SUSE/OpenSUSE
        • OpenSUSE Leap 15.2 Beta Version Released Today & Available for Download!

          OpenSUSE Leap 15.2 Beta Version Released now: The Novell private software development company funding the OpenSUSE operating system. The team of developers really working very hard to make OpenSUSE more professional and bug free. Few days before, the developers team released the latest beta version “OpenSUSE Leap 15.2” for people usage.

      • Slackware Family
        • MATE 1.24 Binaries Pushed

          I have just build the latest MATE 1.24 on top of latest Slackware-Current (per Feb 26 2020) and pushed the binaries into the usual repository provided by Darren Austin at I took this chance to bump some libraries to the latest version available.

          As mentioned earlier, i can’t provide mate-power-manager 1.24 since it requires new upower 0.99.x which uses a new API, so i will leave it as it is for now. Once new upower gets included, i will have to make some test first before pushing mate-power-manager 1.24 to public.

      • Arch Family
        • Distro news: Arch gets a new leader and Manjaro has a new release

          Today we’re starting off with a little double-dose of distribution news, helping you to keep up with the wider community around Linux and gaming.

          Firstly, Arch Linux now has a new project leader. After heading the project for over 10 years, Aaron Griffin has stepped down. In the brief post they said “Arch Linux needs involved leadership to make hard decisions and direct the project where it needs to go. And I am not in a position to do this.”.

          To get a new leader, in a team effort, the Arch Linux staff came up with a new process to elect a new leader around every two years. The first official vote has already been done, with “Levente Polyak (anthraxx)” taking over as Arch Linux leader. Hopefully they will keep it going strong.

        • Manjaro 19.0 released

          Version 19 of the Arch-based Manjaro distribution is out. “The Xfce edition remains our flagship offering and has received the attention it deserves. Only a few can claim to offer such a polished, integrated and leading-edge Xfce experience. With this release we ship Xfce 4.14 and have mostly focused on polishing the user experience with the desktop and window manager. Also we have switched to a new theme called Matcha. A new feature Display-Profiles allows you to store one or more profiles for your preferred display configuration. We also have implemented auto-application of profiles when new displays are connected.”

        • Manjaro 19.0 is here with Linux 5.4 and improved UI

          Most probably, the most important highlight of this release has to be that Manjaro has upgraded to Linux Kernel 5.4 LTS. However, it seems clear that the system’s user interface has been the focal point of this release.

          With this update, the brains behind the product have made it clear that its flagship edition, Xfce of Manjaro, reigns supreme over all the other versions. Accordingly, Kyria comes with the latest version of the Xfce desktop environment in v4.14. However, this isn’t the only change implemented when it comes to the system’s UI, as users should also notice an improved desktop and window manager.

          Apart from that, you’ll also find a new default theme dubbed Matcha when you update to Manjaro 19.0. Plus, the developers have also worked on a new feature called Display Profiles through which users will be able to save their preferred display settings. Moreover, upon connecting a new display, the profiles will be automatically applied to it.

          However, if you want to go for the KDE edition of Manjaro, you’re going to be finding Plasma 5.17 desktop environment that has been specially modified, keeping in mind this Manjaro update. Yakuake skins, Konsole profiles, animated splash-screen, and light/dark versions will also be a part of the Breath2-themes. Moreover, there’s also going to be KDE Apps 19.12.2 accompanying this edition.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora
        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and CentOS 7 Receive Important Kernel Security Update

          The new kernel security update is marked as “Important” by the Red Hat Product Security team and patches two heap overflows (CVE-2019-14816 and CVE-2019-14901) in the Marvell Wi-Fi chip driver.

          While CVE-2019-14816 could allow an attacker on the same Wi-Fi physical network segment to cause a denial of service (system crash) or even maybe execute arbitrary code, CVE-2019-14901is more dangerous as it lets a remote attacker crash the system or execute arbitrary code.

        • IBM, UN and Linux Foundation tackle climate crisis in 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge

          For its 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge, IBM has partnered with United Nations Human Rights and the Linux Foundation to invite software developers and innovators worldwide to help fight climate change with open source powered technology.

          “IBM has a long history of taking on the world’s biggest challenges and we cannot think of a greater one today than climate change ,” said IBM’s Daniel Krook, chief technology officer for IBM’s Call for Code.

        • Open source marketing: Hacking our technology and process problems

          The teams that make up the Red Hat Open Studio are stewards of the Red Hat brand and identity. We are also makers, because Red Hat is an open source company, and open source is all about creating things.

          Open source is also about hacking together solutions when there isn’t an easy way to solve a problem.

        • Enterprise Kubernetes with OpenShift (Part one)

          The question “What’s the difference between Kubernetes and OpenShift?” comes up every now and then, and it is quite like asking: “What’s the difference between an engine and a car?”

          To answer the latter, a car is a product that immediately makes you productive: it is ready to get you where you want to go. The engine, in return, won’t get you anywhere unless you assemble it with other essential components that will form in the end a … car.

          As for the first question, in essence, you can think of it as Kubernetes being the engine that drives OpenShift, and OpenShift as the complete car (hence platform) that will get you where you want to.

        • Rules for product managers at open source companies

          Product management is an interesting career. It’s immensely rewarding to be the interface between users, business strategy, engineering, and product design. And it’s also a highly lucrative career with increasing demand for ambitious and empathetic practitioners.

          It’s also a role with no single path. You might see various certifications and courses emerging to help address the serious skills shortage. The good news is that these are starting to contribute to the talent pipeline, but they struggle to address the wider demands of the role. This is especially the case where roles require direct experience across the enormous range of what it takes to build and ship successful products.

        • Red Hat simplifies container development and redistribution of RHEL packages

          Now, application developers in the Red Hat Technology Partner program can build their container apps and redeploy from the full set of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) user space packages (non-kernel). This nearly triples the number of packages over UBI only.

          When we introduced Red Hat Universal Base Images (UBI) in May 2019, we provided Red Hat partners the ability to freely use and redistribute a substantial number of RHEL packages that can be deployed on both Red Hat and non-Red Hat platforms. This gave developers the ability to build safe, secure, and portable container-based software that could then be deployed anywhere. The feedback on this has been overwhelmingly positive and we thank you for it, but we learned that you needed more, so we’re sharing this advanced preview with Red Hat Partner Connect members to help you with your planning.

        • F31-20200224 updated isos released (New Fedora Builds)

          The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated F31-2020224 Live ISOs, carrying the 5.5.5-200 kernel.

          This set of updated isos will save considerable amounts of updates after install. ((for new installs.)(New installs of Workstation have about 1GB of updates)).

          A huge thank you goes out to irc nicks dowdle, short-bike, Southern-Gentleman for testing these iso.

      • Debian Family
        • How Kosovo won DebConf21

          On 20 February, the DebConf team announced that Kosovo will host DebConf21 in the summer of 2021. DebConf is an annual, week-long conference of Debian Developers, typically attracting between 300 and 600 people to a different host city each year.

          The DebConf21 win is a strong endorsement of the work done by local groups including FLOSSK, CoderGals Kosovo and Toastmasters.

          FLOSSK operate the amazing Prishtina Hackerspace and they have been running an annual event, Software Freedom Kosovo (SFK) for ten years now. The CFP deadline for SFK 2020 is imminent, please submit your proposal before 1 March.

          CoderGals Kosovo ran their first Hackathon for Girls in Prizren, 2017.

          As a Debian Developer, I’ve visited and helped organize a number of events in the region covering Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo. At the Digital-born Media Carnival in Kotor, 2017, I was fortunate to meet four students from Kosovo, including Albiona and Qendresa Hoti, who told me about their plans to run a hackathon in Prizren. They invited me to attend as an advisor to their event and this was a great opportunity to see the possibilities in Kosovo.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
        • Ubuntu 20.04 Makes Picking a Graphics Driver Easier

          Now that the latest NVIDIA graphics are available in Ubuntu LTS releases directly (without the need for third-party repos or obtuse web downloads) dev are updating the look of the Software & Updates > Additional Drivers to better help users understand what it is they’re looking at.

          Here, for example, is how the graphics driver selection screen looks in Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS…

          Could be a touch clearer, couldn’t it?

          Ubuntu certainly thinks so too. It plans to adjust the order that ‘additional drivers’ are listed, and improve on the wording used to present them.

          For graphics drivers specifically this means overly technical terms like “ X server” and “metapackage” are being ditched, and more intelligible and concise labels introduced…

        • Ubuntu 20.04 Includes New Light and Dark Theme Variant — Check Now

          As we reported last month that Canonical will introduce a new theme variant in the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, subsequently, the Ubuntu team has now added the new desktop theme to their daily builds updates.

          The 19th week of the Ubuntu development cycle is about to end with a feature freeze. But before the end of new features and packages addition, Ubuntu 20.04 has included various new features.

        • What Is the Difference Between Ubuntu Desktop and Ubuntu Server?

          Apart from the many Ubuntu Flavours, Ubuntu has different versions namely Ubuntu Cloud, Ubuntu Core, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu Cloud, Ubuntu Server, and Ubuntu desktop. The Ubuntu Server is the operating system version of Ubuntu built specifically to the server specifications while Ubuntu Desktop is the version built to run on desktops and laptops.

          In case you missed it, here are 10 Reasons Why Your Business Is Better Off With A Linux Server. And if you’re just joining us then read on to know which type of the Ubuntu ISO image you’re better off using.

          A server is a computer designed to provide data and other functionality to other computers over the internet. They may run common servers like the Apache TTP server and the computers typically run on a LAN or WAN e.g. desktops, laptops, smartphones, IoT devices. A desktop computer is any personal computer designed to be used regularly at a single location due to its size.

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • 7 open source Q&A platforms

        Where do you go when you have a question? Since humans began walking the earth, we’ve asked the people around us—our family, friends, neighbors, classmates, co-workers, or other people we know well. Much later came libraries and bookstores offering knowledge and resources, as well as access for anyone to come in and search for the answers. When the home computer became common, these knowledge bases extended to electronic encyclopedias shipped on floppy disks or CD-ROMs. Then, when the internet age arrived, these knowledge bases migrated online to the likes of Wikipedia, and search engines like Google were born with the purpose of making it easy for people to search for answers to their questions. Now, sites like StackOverflow are there to answer our software questions and Quora for our general queries.

        The lesson is clear, though. We all have questions, and we all want answers for them. And some of us want to help others find answers to their questions, and this is where self-hosted Q&A sites come in.

      • Events
        • DevCon 2020 is just about a month away

          The annual Developers Conference of Mauritius is happening on 2 – 4 April. That leaves us like about a month of final preparations.

        • (pre-)FOSDEM +++ ILoveFS +++ Community

          Every year, at the beginning of February, FOSDEM brings together thousands of Free Software enthusiasts for one weekend in Brussels to discuss current topics and developments in the Free Software world. The FSFE used this occasion to invite key Free Software groups of Europe one day before the FOSDEM festivities to participate in our “pre-FOSDEM meeting”. This was an event for everyone to network and get an overview of the activities of different Free Software groups from all over Europe.

          The event was kicked off by a presentation from Marcel Kolaja, Vice President of the European Parliament, which was then followed by insights and presentations from diverse Free Software organisations from all over Europe, from Portugal to Greece. After the presentations, we concluded with a dinner and a social meeting.

        • Linux Plumbers Conference: Videos for microconferences

          The videos for all the talks in microconferences at the 2019 edition of Linux Plumbers are now linked to the schedule. Clicking on the link titled “video” will take you to the right spot in the microconference video. Hopefully, watching all of these talks will get you excited for the 2020 edition which we are busy preparing! Watch out for our call for microconferences and for our refereed track both of which are to be released soon. So now’s the time to start thinking about all the exciting problems you want to discuss and solve.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases
        • Lessons learned from Credit Karma GraphQL architecture

          Credit Karma and similar companies have transformed the personal finance market during the past two decades. Credit Karma has undergone multiple transformations since launching in 2007, culminating in reports this week from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal that it will be acquired by Intuit in a deal valued at $7 billion. Credit Karma did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation of the acquisition.

          While multiple technologies have helped spur Credit Karma’s growth, in recent years the company has increasingly embraced GraphQL architecture as a way to improve its services with faster response times for its 100 million members. According to the company, approximately 50% of Credit Karma’s data traffic flows through GraphQL.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra
        • The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 6.4.1

          The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 6.4.1, the 1st minor release of the LibreOffice 6.4 family, targeted at technology enthusiasts and power users. LibreOffice 6.4.1 includes over 120 bug fixes and improvements to document compatibility.

          LibreOffice 6.4.1 represents the bleeding edge in term of features for open source office suites, and as such is not optimized for enterprise class deployments, where features are less important than robustness. Users wanting a more mature version can download LibreOffice 6.3.5, which includes some months of back-ported fixes.

          LibreOffice 6.4.1’s change log pages are available on TDF’s wiki: (changed in RC1) and (changed in RC2).

        • LibreOffice 6.4 Office Suite Gets First Point Release, over 120 Bugs Fixed

          Coming a month after the release of LibreOffice 6.4, a major update introducing multiple performance improvements, better compatibility with Microsoft Office documents, and several new features, LibreOffice 6.4.1 is here to address numerous bugs and regression to improve the stability, as well as document compatibility.

          According to The Document Foundation, more than 120 bug fixes are included in this first point release, which is highly recommended to everyone who already updated their PCs to the LibreOffice 6.4 series. Details about the bugs fixes are available here and here.

        • LibreOffice 6.4.1 Released with 120+ Bug Fixes

          The first point update to the sizeable LibreOffice 6.4 release from last month is out, and it features more than 120 bug fixes.

          While none of the fixes are particularly exciting in isolation — there are a tonne of fixes for .docx opening, saving, and formatting — together, they result in a more finessed end product.

          And that’s the important bit.

          Do check out our earlier article for everything new in the LibreOffice 6.4 release specifically (there is a lot, so grab a coffee).

          For a complete overview on the batch of bug fixes bundled up in this point release there’s a change-log on the TDF wiki with lots more info.

        • Collabora Office for Phones

          SUSE was a foundational supporter of LibreOffice, and it was clear that smartphones were becoming a thing, and something needed to be done here. Also Apache OpenOffice was being used (without anything being contributed back) by AdrOpen Office – which looked like ‘X on Android’, so we needed a gap plugging solution, and fast.

          Luckily a chunk of the necessary work: cross-compiling was dual-purpose. Getting to work was part of our plan inside SUSE to build our Windows LibreOffice with MINGW under SLES. That would give us a saner & more reliable, and repeatable build-system for our problem OS: Windows.

          Of course we used that to target Android as well, you can see Tor’s first commit. We had a very steep learning curve; imagine having to patch the ARM assembler of your system libraries to make STL work for example.

          FOSDEM as always provided a huge impetus (checkout my slides) to deliver on the ambitious “On-line and in your pocket” thing. I have hazy visions of debugging late at night in a hotel room with Kendy to get our first working screenshot there:

        • Collabora Office Brings Power of LibreOffice to Android & iOS

          Dream of using LibreOffice on Android or iOS? if so, the release of Collabora Office will be of particular interest.

          Collabora Office is a free and open source office suite for Android and iOS. It is powered by LibreOffice and developed (in part) by open-source consultancy firm Collabora.

          But unlike previous ‘LibreOffice for Android’ style apps you may have seen this is a fully featured editing tool, not merely a document viewer.

          It also features a bespoke UI crafted specifically for editing documents on mobile devices, via fingers. The UI borrows from the Collabora Online interface.

          These features, along with other mobile-minded enhancements and power ups, make Collabora Office super useable on small screen sizes, and easy to use singlehandedly.

          The app also works entirely offline. With no cloud or online service features come enabled by default or are required to use any of the included features (though naturally there’s support for integrations with cloud storage services, including NextCloud, should you want it).

      • FSF
        • FSF details progress on ‘ethical’ code hosting platform…look away Git**b

          The Free Software Foundation has issued an update on its efforts to launch a public code hosting and collaboration platform, and after a review of ethical web-based software can confirm that…it probably won’t be based on GitLab.

          The FSF first aired its plans for a new “forge” last year, and this week confirmed “members of the FSF tech team are currently reviewing ethical Web-based software that helps teams work on their projects, with features like merge requests, bug tracking, and other common tools.” Which sounds like some other platforms you may be aware of.

          The new site would “complement the current GNU and non-GNU Savannah servers, which we will continue to support and improve, in collaboration with their awesome volunteer team”, it added.

          The statement went on to say, “it’s unfortunate that so much free software development currently relies on sites that don’t publish their source code, and require or encourage the use of proprietary software. Our GNU ethical repository criteria aim to set a high standard for free software code hosting, and we hope to meet that with our new forge.”

        • FSF Code Hosting/Collaboration Platform In Prospect

          So will the joined forces of FSF and Fedora Pagure make it a rival to GitHub. I hardly think so. Currently Pagure hosts 1965 projects and has 7905 users. In 2018, shortly after its acquisition by Microsoft was confirmed GitHub reached the milestone of 100 million repositories and a community of 31 million developers. Of course, acquisition by Microsoft would hardly appeal to the FSF and GitHub had already been rated an F (Unacceptable) on the GNU ethical repository criteria. SourceForge, also rated an F on the grounds that it rejects users in certain countries and that important site functionality doesn’t work without JavaScript, or with LibreJS enabled, might feel the impact but as it claims 35 million users worldwide, perhaps not. It is GitLab with an active community of more trhan 2,200 contributors of that might feel the impact.

          The FSF’s current grouse with GitLab is is use of Google ReCAPTCHA code, but more long-standing complaints are that it “Encourages bad licensing practice, including no license ” and that it “does not work with LibreJS enabled”. FSF’s commitment to non-proprietary JavaScript appears to be the prime motivator for this new forge as for so much else.

        • When is GOTS not in the national interest?

          The modern open-source software (OSS) movement can be traced back to the early 1980s with the birth of Richard Stallman’s GNU Project and the Free Software Foundation.


          However, cost is a red herring for the real challenge presented by GOTS software solutions. On the surface, GOTS seems very similar to OSS which implies that it has the larger structural advantages of OSS. If handled cautiously, it can have those advantages, but care needs to be taken about what sort of existing software is being commoditized. The U.S. has a national interest in maintaining a strong software development capability. We are fortunate to be the dominant software-building country in the world. According to the Forbes 2000 list, the total market capitalization of U.S. internet, software, and computer services companies is close to $4.7 trillion — more than twice the rest of the world combined. Software tech is an enormous comparative advantage for the U.S. As a result, it is clearly in the national interest to have the government avoid directly competing against and potentially weakening the U.S. private sector.

        • GNU Projects
          • GDB Debugger Adds Support For Debuginfod Web Server

            Debuginfod is the Red Hat led debug information HTTP web server distributed as part of elfutils and able to supply on-demand source code and ELF/DWARF debug files to debuggers / IDEs / other compiler tooling. The GDB debugger can now tap debuginfod for on-demand source files and debug information that isn’t present on the local system.

            The motivation with debuginfod is to carry less developer “baggage” on local systems when it comes to debug files and potentially even source files. Particularly for organizations or cases like Linux distributions, a centralized debuginfod server could in turn supply the needed files to clients based upon the requested build ID. Red Hat has been working to expand the debuginfod support both for the GNU toolchain and also LLVM, among other possible users.

      • Public Services/Government
        • The City of Dortmund continues its transition to open source software

          Five years after the creation of its Open Source Working Group, the City of Dortmund published several reports on the “Investigation of the potential of Free Software and Open Standards”. The reports share the city of Dortmund’s open source policy goals as well as its ambition to create an alliance of municipalities in favour of open source software.

        • CERN adopts Mattermost, an open source messaging app

          The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has decided to discontinue the use of the Facebook collaboration app Workplace, instead opting to replace it with Mattermost, an open source messaging app. CERN switched to open source software after changes to Facebook’s solution subscription prices and possible changes in the data security settings.

        • No More WhatsApp! The EU Commission Switches To ‘Signal’ For Internal Communication

          In a move to improve the cyber-security, EU has recommended its staff to use open source secure messaging app Signal instead of the popular apps like WhatsApp.

          Signal is an open source secure messaging application with end to end encryption. It is praised by the likes of Edward Snowden and other privacy activists, journalists and researchers. We’ve recently covered it in our ‘open source app of the week‘ series.

          Signal is in news for good reasons. The European Union Commissions have instructed its staff to use Signal for public instant messaging.

          This is part of EU”s new cybersecurity strategy. There has been cases of data leaks and hacking against EU diplomats and thus policy is being put in place to encourage better security practices.

      • Programming/Development
        • The Apache Software Foundation Announces 20th Anniversary of Apache® Subversion®

          The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 350 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today the 20th Anniversary of Apache® Subversion®, the popular centralized software version control system.

          Apache Subversion (“SVN”) allows users to commit code, manage changes, and recover previous versions of all sorts of data across files and directories. Subversion is ideal for distributed teams who need to easily audit and act on modification logs and versioning history across projects. Subversion originated at CollabNet in 2000 as an effort to create an Open Source version-control system similar to the then-standard CVS (Concurrent Versions System) but with additional features and functionality. Subversion was submitted to the Apache Incubator In November 2009, and became an Apache Top-Level Project in February 2010.

          “We are very proud of Subversion’s long history, and remain committed to our mission statement,” said Stefan Sperling, Vice President of Apache Subversion. “Subversion has moved well beyond its initial goal of creating a compelling replacement for CVS. In 2010 our mission statement was updated to ‘Enterprise-class centralized version control for the masses’.”

        • Apache Celebrates Subversion’s 20th Anniversary

          While Git has become the most popular VCS in recent times thanks to its wonderful feature-set with better performance, reliability, distributed model, and branch handling, among other benefits, Subversion remains quite popular in some spaces. Especially for handling of large assets and other mostly static files, Subversion still has its users as well as for legacy projects.

        • Go 1.14 Released – Performance Improvements, Go’s Module Support Production-Ready

          Go 1.14 highlights include the go command’s module support now being deemed production-ready for dependent management, there is improved defer performance, go routines are asynchronously preemptible, the page allocator is more efficient, and internal timers are also more efficient.

        • Go 1.14 is released

          Today the Go team is very happy to announce the release of Go 1.14. You can get it from the download page.

        • Go 1.14: Module support in the go command is production-ready

          Every six months, a new Golang release arrives. Go 1.14 is here and it includes some changes to the language, as well as improved defer performance and a more efficient page allocator. With 1.14, module support in the Go command is now officially ready for use in production. Users are now strongly encouraged to migrate to go modules.
          On February 25, 2020 the Go team released the latest version of the language with Golang 1.14. This release arrives right on time, six months after 1.13 and continues to maintain Go version 1 compatibility.

          It includes changes in the implementation of the toolchain, runtime, and libraries as well as some changes to the language and performance upgrades.

        • New compiler added to popular studio for ARM and Cortex-M IDE

          The studio for ARM/Cortex-M is now supplied with three different compilers: GCC, Clang and the company’s own compiler. The new compiler outperforms GCC and regular Clang on most benchmarks, decreasing both size of generated code as well as its execution speed.

        • Looking At The PHP 8.0 Performance So Far In Early 2020

          With it being a while now since the PHP 7.4 release and the PHP developers continuing to be busy at work on PHP 8.0 as the next major installment of the popular web programming language, here is a fresh look at the performance of PHP 8.0 in its current state — including when its JIT compiler is enabled — compared to releases going back to PHP 5.6.

          Most exciting with PHP 8.0 is the JIT compiler that has the ability to provide better performance on top of all the gains already scored during PHP 7.x releases. PHP 8.0 is also bringing support for static return types, weak maps, union types, improved errors and warnings, and more is surely to come — stay tuned to the PHP RFC page. The latest indications are PHP 8.0 isn’t expected for release until the very end of 2020 or early 2021.

        • WASMtime 0.12 Released For The JIT-Style WebAssembly Runtime

          Announced last November was the Bytecode Alliance with a goal of running WebAssembly everywhere. This effort by Intel, Red Hat, Mozilla, and others has resulted in a new release today of wasmtime, their JIT-style runtime for WebAssembly on the desktop.

          The Bytecode Alliance developers from the different organizations continue working heavily on their Wasmtime JIT runtime, Cranelift low-level code generator, the WAMR micro-runtime, and Lucet sandboxing WebAssembly compiler. Wasmtime v0.12 is the new release out today for their optimizing run-time offering for WebAssembly and WASI (WebAssembly System Interface) on desktops and other non-browser use-cases.

        • Perl / Raku
          • The Weekly Challenge #049

            This is my second blog for The Weekly Challenge. I am only able to participate, thanks to Ryan Thompson for helping me with the Perl and Raku reviews. I am going for Perl solutions first then will try to translate it into Raku next. I believe in coding to learn the language. With so many Raku experts around, I am not shy throwing questions up. I am now going to share my experience doing “The Weekly Challenge – 049”.

        • Python
          • Webinar Recording: “Security Checks for Python Code” with Anthony Shaw

            Last week we had a webinar on Python security with Anthony Shaw. He covered a number of places where Python code, including popular frameworks, run into security vulnerabilities. He also showed his PyCharm plugin for showing and fixing known vulnerabilities. The webinar recording is now available.

            So much covered in this webinar! Anthony discussed common Python security vulnerabilities, how his plugin helps, how to run it in continuous integration, and more.

          • How to Write a Guest Article for PyBites

            Hello Everybody! In this article I’ll run through the procedure of using git and github to submit a guest article to PyBites.

          • The Beginner’s Guide to Python Turtle

            When I was a kid, I used to learn Logo, a programming language that involved a turtle that you could move around the screen with just a few commands. I remember feeling like a computer genius as I controlled this little object on my screen, and this was what got me interested in programming in the first place. The Python turtle library comes with a similar interactive feature that gives new programmers a taste of what it’s like to work with Python.

          • Use logzero for simple logging in Python

            The logzero library makes logging as easy as a print statement, which is quite a feat of simplicity. I’m not sure whether logzero took its name to fit in with the series of “zero boilerplate” libraries like pygame-zero, GPIO Zero, and guizero, but it’s certainly in that category. It’s a Python library that makes logging straightforward.

            You can just use its basic logging to stdout the same way you might use print for information and debugging purposes, and it has a smooth learning curve towards more advanced logging, like logging to a file.

          • Create Boing!, our Python tribute to Pong

            Following on from yesterday’s introduction to Pong, we’re sharing Boing!, the Python-based tribute to Pong created by Eben Upton exclusively for Code the Classics. Read on to get a detailed look at the code for Boing!

          • EuroPython 2020: Call for Proposals opens on March 9th

            We’re looking for proposals on every aspect of Python: all levels of programming from novice to advanced, applications, frameworks, data science, Python projects, internals or topics which you’re excited about, your experiences with Python and its ecosystem, creative or artistic things you’ve done with Python, to name a few.
            EuroPython is a community conference and we are eager to hear about your use of Python.
            Since feedback shows that our audience is very interested in advanced topics, we’d appreciate more entries in this category for EuroPython 2020.
            Please help spread word about Call for Proposals to anyone who might be interested. Thanks.

          • Using Anaconda Environments with Wing Python IDE

            Wing version 7.2 has been released, and we’ve been looking at the new features in this version. So far we’ve covered reformatting with Black and YAPF, Wing 7.2′s expanded support for virtualenv, and using python -m with Wing.

            This time we’ll take a look at what Wing 7.2 provides for people that are using Anaconda environments created with conda create as an alternative to virtualenv.

          • Easy Provisioning Of Cloud Instances On Oracle Cloud Infrastructure With The OCI CLI

            The OCI CLI requires python version 3.5 or later, running on Mac, Windows, or Linux.
            Installation instructions are provided on the OCI CLI Quickstart page.

          • Python Range

            The Python range type generates a sequence of integers by defining a start and the end point of the range. It is generally used with the for loop to iterate over a sequence of numbers. range() works differently in Python 2 and 3. In Python 2, there are two functions that allow you to generate a sequence of integers, range and xrange. These functions are very similar, with the main difference being that range returns a list, and xrange returns an xrange object.

        • Java
          • Code Borrowing and Licence Violations [Ed: This study may be deeply flawed because they bothered assessing no projects other than those that Microsoft controls (what about projects that don't use Git and Microsoft's proprietary trap?)]

            The researchers used the Public Git Archive (PGA), a large dataset that was composed in the early 2018. It consists of all GitHub projects with 50 or more stars which can be filtered by language. They extract all projects with at least one line written in Java which resulted in 24,810 projects overall and a final dataset of 23,378 Java repositories.

          • Painless Java with BlueJ

            Whenever you’re learning a new programming language, it’s easy to criticize all the boilerplate text you need to memorize. Before you can get comfortable starting a project, you have to remember the preambles that, in theory, ought to be easy to remember since they’re usually relatively short and repetitive. In practice, though, boilerplate text is too obscure in meaning to become an easy habit, but it’s essential for a program to run.

    • Standards/Consortia
      • How to de-Google-ify your site to make it faster and visitor friendly

        Did you know that 94% of sites include at least one third-party resource while the median page requests content from 9 different domains? These third-party resources represent 35% of the total network activity and 7 of the 10 most used resources are owned by Google.

        Third-party resources slow down the web and are a concern for the privacy of people who visit these sites. Google themselves will point the finger at their analytics and ads when you use their speed tests. They provide guides on making third-party resources less slow too.

        Here’s how you can de-Google-ify your site, get fully independent and in control while having faster loading time, being more eco-friendly and more compliant with the privacy regulations such as GDPR and CCPA.

      • Open security group unveils common OpenDXL language

        Initially developed by McAfee, the OpenDXL messaging framework is already used by more than 4,000 suppliers and enterprises to develop and share integrations between various tools.

        Now, with the release of OpenDXL Ontology, OCA said it could offer a single, common language for notifications, information and actions across security products, providing users with a set of tooling that can be applied once and automatically reused everywhere, while eliminating the need to update integrations for new product versions and functionalities.

      • Open Cybersecurity Alliance announces new language for connecting cybersecurity tools

        OpenDXL Ontology is based on the Open Data Exchange Layer (OpenDXL), an open messaging framework to develop and share integrations with other tools. With the release of the language, the alliance can provide a single, common solution for notifications, information, actions and communicating with other tools. In addition, it provides companies with a set of tooling that can be applied once and automatically reused everywhere across all product categories, while also eliminating the need to update integrations as product versions and functionalities change

      • Open Cybersecurity Alliance Unveils First Open Source Language

        The newly formed Open Cybersecurity Alliance connects the fragmented cyber-security landscape with common, open source code and practices that allow companies to “integrate once, reuse everywhere.” Governed under the auspices of OASIS, the OCA now includes more than 25 member organizations and has brought two major intero-perability projects into the open-source realm, with OpenDXL Ontology (contributed by McAfee) and STIX Shifter (contributed by IBM Security) now available for cross-industry collaboration and development on GitHub.

        In addition to the availability of OpenDXL Ontology, the OCA is also announcing the formation of its Technical Steering Committee, including leaders from AT&T, IBM Security, McAfee, Packet Clearinghouse, and Tripwire, who will drive the technical direction and development of the organization.

  • Leftovers
    • Education
      • Bloomberg’s Public Education Legacy Is a Case Study in Disastrous Privatization

        As of mid-February, Michael Bloomberg has spent over $400 million on his presidential campaign, including blanketing the air waves with ads and is on track to spend more than a billion dollars. As a result, he has risen sharply in the polls, and in turn, begun to receive critical attention regarding his record on certain issues, such as racial profiling and his stop-and-frisk policies.

      • In it for the long haul? Reflections on international relocation

        Appropriately, I conclude with a story of travel. I moved from a British professorship and head of department job in a gritty post-industrial city to a professorship and head of school role in a sleepy regional town in Australia. The previous head had found strife – or strife had found her – and when I arrived, it was clear that the staff were wary. But by remembering everything I had learned, heard and seen, I helped us to create a culture of decency, integrity and hope. My then office manager a few weeks later told me: “We were so nervous when you arrived, you know. By lunchtime, none of us could remember any other head of school but you.”

        That is the gift of academic mobility. Like cats, we can land on our feet, assess the scene and create movement in the weirdest of locations. There have been tears. There have been shocks, and occasional moments of horror. I don’t expect a happy ending; I don’t expect kindness, honesty, respect or integrity. Agendas are summoned and meetings are run while our intellectual culture is burning.

    • Health/Nutrition
    • Integrity/Availability
      • Proprietary
        • Opera 67 Released with ‘Workspaces’ for Tab Organization

          Opera web browser 67 was released a few days ago with tab organization redefined via a new tool called ‘Workspaces’.

          Often have your browser with too many tabs open? With Opera 67, opened tabs can be grouped into different workspaces. And you can easily switch workspaces via the icons in the left sidebar.

          You can add up to 5 workspaces, name them, and designate their icons. Tabs can be moved to the workspace of your choice via their context (right-click) menu.

        • Ars takes the new Opera R2020 browser for a spin

          Opera R2020 is available on Windows, MacOS, and Linux—meanwhile, Opera Touch, for mobile devices, is available on Android and iOS. We tested Opera on both Linux and Windows, and we also tested Opera Touch on Android. MacOS and iOS ports were not tested.

        • Tax Software Companies Mislead Citizens about Free Tax Filing Options – Validated Independent News

          The average household income in the United States is just under $62,000, meaning most US citizens are entitled to file their taxes for free since they fall below the $64,000/year income line set by the IRS. But, as Justin Elliott and colleagues at ProPublica reported in a series of articles, internal documents and current or former company employees show how TurboTax and H&R Block “steered customers away from the government-sponsored free option and made them pay.”

        • Admins beware! Microsoft gives heads-up for ‘disruptive’ changes to authentication in Office 365 email service

          Microsoft has doled out more details on forthcoming changes to the way mail clients authenticate to Exchange Online, the email service used by Office 365.

          In March 2018, Microsoft said that it would require Modern Authentication for Office 365 services including Exchange Online, and that this would be enforced from 13 October 2020. Microsoft referenced a 2017 statement that from this date, “Office 365 ProPlus or Office perpetual in mainstream support will be required to connect to Office 365 services.”

          Modern Authentication means OAuth 2.0, where applications request access tokens from Azure Active Directory rather than using username and password to connect. This enables multi-factor authentication, conditional access policies and other security features.

        • Microsoft’s Edge roadmap reveals history sync coming this summer, Linux support coming

          Recently, Microsoft updated its public roadmap for its still-new Edge browser, which is based on Chromium. There’s quite a bit on there, from minor fixes to major things like support for Linux.

          Two specific things are new. The ability to navigate a PDF via a table of contents is now under review, and the tab preview feature from Edge Legacy is now in discussion. As ‘in review’ and ‘in discussion’ suggest, neither is a commitment to actually building out the features.

        • Microsoft Defender ATP now in public preview for Linux
        • Microsoft Goes Live with Azure Sphere, Its Linux-Powered IoT Security Platform
        • Pseudo-Open Source
          • Privatisation/Privateering
            • Linux Foundation
              • Adafruit Industries Joins Zephyr Project

                The Zephyr Project, an open source project at the Linux Foundation, has added Adafruit Industries to its growing ecosystem.

                Adafruit makes open source hardware, tutorials and code for makers to create DIY electronic products. With this development, Adafruit now joins member companies including Antmicro, Eclipse Foundation,, Intel, Linaro, Nordic Semiconductor, NXP, Oticon, SiFive, Synopsys, Texas Instruments and more to create an open hardware and software ecosystem using the Zephyr OS.

        • Security
          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (python-pysaml2), Mageia (clamav, graphicsmagick, opencontainers-runc, squid, and xmlsec1), Oracle (kernel, ksh, python-pillow, systemd, and thunderbird), Red Hat (rh-nodejs12-nodejs), Scientific Linux (ksh, python-pillow, and thunderbird), and SUSE (nodejs6, openssl, ppp, and squid).

          • What you can do with the new DNS features in IPFire

            Every time you try to access a website – for example – you will ask a DNS server for the IP address to connect to. They won’t see anything past “the slash” in the URL, but that is not necessary to know what you probably have in mind to do. That DNS server now knows which bank you are with, where you work, where you do your online shopping, who is hosting your emails and many things more…

            Although this data is not too interesting about one individual, it becomes very relevant when you are looking at many profiles. People who shop at a certain place or are with a certain bank might be high earners. People who shop at another place might have trouble to stay afloat financially. Now I know what advertisements I need to show to which group so that they will become my customers.

            In short, your whole browser history tells a lot about you and you might be giving it away for free to the advertising industry or other parties who will use your data against you.

          • How Shodan Has Been Improved to Help Protect Energy Utilities

            Shodan is a well-known security hacking tool that has even been showcased on the popular Mr. Robot TV show. While Shodan can potentially be used by hackers, it can also be used for good to help protect critical infrastructure, including energy utilities.

            At the RSA Conference in San Francisco, Michael Mylrea, Director of Cybersecurity R&D (ICS, IoT, IIoT) at GE Global Research, led a session titled “Shodan 2.0: The World’s Most Dangerous Search Engine Goes on the Defensive,” where he outlined how Shodan has been enabled to help utilities identify risks in critical energy infrastructure. Shodan, to the uninitiated, is a publicly available search engine tool that crawls the internet looking for publicly exposed devices.

            Mylrea explained that utilities are often resource constrained when it comes to cybersecurity and are typically unaware of their risk. In recent years, there have been a number of publicly disclosed incidents involving utilities. To help solve that challenge, Mylrea proposed a project to the US Department of Energy (DoE) to enhance Shodan for utilities so they could use the tool to find risks quickly.

          • Canonical takes leadership role in security for ROS

            Canonical is committed to the future of robotics, as proven a short time ago when we joined the Technical Steering Committee of the second version of the Robot Operating System (ROS 2). We’re also dedicated to building a foundation of enterprise-grade, industry leading security practices within Ubuntu, so we’re excited to join both of these strengths with our own Joe McManus taking the helm of the ROS 2 Security Working Group.

            We believe robots based on Linux are cheaper to develop, more flexible, faster to market, easier to manage, and more secure. While ROS began as an academic project over a decade ago, it has grown to become the most popular middleware for creating Linux-powered robots. It has harnessed the power of open source, allowing for many of the complex problems faced by robotics to be solved through collaboration. The ROS developer community has continued to grow, and ROS now enjoys an increasing amount of commercial use and supported robots. In response, the ROS community has completely overhauled the ROS codebase and started distributing ROS 2.

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (kernel, ksh, python-pillow, and thunderbird), Debian (opensmtpd, proftpd-dfsg, and rake), Fedora (NetworkManager-ssh), openSUSE (chromium), and SUSE (libexif, mariadb, ovmf, python3, and squid).

          • IPFire on AWS: Update to IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 141

            Today, we have updated IPFire on AWS to IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 141 – the latest official release of IPFire.

            Since IPFire is available on AWS, we are gaining more and more users who are securing their cloud infrastructure behind an easy to configure, yet fast and secure firewall.

            This update adds the rewritten DNS stack and brings many bug fixes to the cloud.

          • Whonix VirtualBox – Point Release! – vanguards; TCP ISN Leak Protection; Extensive Hardening!

            This is a point release.

            Download Whonix for VirtualBox:

          • Build your career in Computer Forensics: List of Digital Forensic Tools – Part I

            Digital devices are present everywhere and considered to be the primary source of evidence in the case of cybercrime. Out of all the devices, phones and laptops are the top weapons used in cybercrimes. Regardless of who the device belonged to, either the victim or suspect, it offers an abundance of data to investigate the crime. But retrieving evidence from these devices in a secure environment can be very challenging. To overcome the time constraint and other complications, cyber forensic professionals use digital forensic tools.

          • What are Open Source Security Approaches? With Examples

            Open source security approaches enable organizations to secure their applications and networks while avoiding expensive proprietary security offerings.

            An open source approach allows organizations to secure their applications across cloud providers and other platforms using platform-agnostic APIs. These APIs are written by contributors to the open source software code while cloud providers may use open source code that allows the open APIs to connect to the cloud.

            Open source approaches, for security or not, also bring in collaboration across an industry. It isn’t just one organization that benefits from a program or technology, but everyone who contributes to and uses it.

            The open source projects and programs used as examples in this article come from two major open source entities: The Linux Foundation and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). The two also work closely together to further the projects under their purview.

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation
            • Cloud Snooper: Hackers Using Linux Kernel Driver To Attack Cloud Server [Ed: So, if you install malicious software in Linux, due to recklessness or sabotage, it'll do malicious things. How is that a Linux weakness?]

              Whether you’re a Linux user or not, you must have heard the buzzword about the Linux — “Best OS for security.” Well, it is true, but being a computer program, Linux also has some downside that challenges its security.

              Talking about the security risks, recently, SophosLab published a report about a new malware dubbed Cloud Snooper, that can compromise the security of any Linux or other OS based servers by deploying a kernel driver.

          • Privacy/Surveillance
            • Law Enforcement Official Claims Citizens Use Better Encryption Than Cops Do

              Arguing against encryption is a popular law enforcement pastime. The problem is there really aren’t many good arguments to be made against the use of encryption, so people like Attorney General Bill Barr and FBI Director Chris Wray have to summon up apocalyptic scenarios or beat down straw men of their own creation to score points for their side.

            • The enemy within: welcome to the Internet of gaslighting

              Two and a half years ago, this blog warned about the Internet of “listening, eavesdropping, spying things” that were starting to become more popular. Today, smart speakers are found in many homes, and people seem largely oblivious of the privacy issues. Beyond these obvious spies that many invite into their homes, there are the more subtle ones: the Internet of Things (IoT). The worst are broadcasting details about people’s lives in the clear; but even the best, which encrypt the streams sent out of a house, can reveal surprising details about the activities of those who live there. More recently, Privacy News Online looked at another problem of IoT devices: the fact that they are vulnerable to being hacked. And the more people have of them, the greater chance of one or more devices being turned against users.

            • Presidential Candidates Should Declare Their Stance on “Costly Failure of the NSA’s Unconstitutional Mass Surveillance Program,” Says Snowden

              The whistleblower’s call follows reporting by the New York Times showing the agency’s sprawling photo data collection effort came with a $100 million pricetag and nearly no success.

            • NSA Blew $100 Million On Phone Records Over Five Years, Generated Exactly One Usable Lead

              The telephone metadata program the NSA finally put out to pasture in 2019 was apparently well past its expiration date. Since the initial Snowden leak in 2013, critics have argued the program needed to die since it was obviously the sort of general warrant rummaging (only without the warrant!) the founding fathers headed off with the Fourth Amendment.

            • How Ring Could Really Protect Its Users: Encrypt Footage End-To-End

              Last week, we responded to recent changes Amazon’s surveillance doorbell company Ring made to the security and privacy of their devices. In our response, we made a number of suggestions for what Ring could do to be responsive to the privacy and security concerns of its customers and the larger community. One of our suggestions was for Ring to implement measures that require warrants to be issued directly to device owners in order for law enforcement to gain access to footage. This post will elaborate on this suggestion by introducing a technical scheme that would serve to protect both Ring’s customers and the wider community by employing end-to-end encryption between doorbells and user devices.

              In traditional surveillance systems, law enforcement had to approach the owners of footage directly in order to gain access to it. In so doing, law enforcement informed owners of the fact their footage was being requested and the scope of the request. This also served as a de facto rate-limiting of surveillance requests: a certain amount of real-world legwork had to be done to gain access to private footage. Even then, the footage was most likely granted once, and subsequent requests would have to be made for more material.

            • Barr’s Motives, Encryption and Protecting Children; DOJ 230 Workshop Review, Part III

              In Part I of this series on the Department of Justice’s February 19 workshop, “Section 230 — Nurturing Innovation or Fostering Unaccountability?” (archived video and agenda), we covered why Section 230 is important, how it works, and how panelists proposed to amend it. Part II explored Section 230’s intersection with criminal law.

            • Most Americans Plan to Participate in Census, Poll Finds

              Most Americans say they are likely to participate in the 2020 census, but some doubt that the U.S. Census Bureau will keep their personal information confidential, a new poll shows.

            • Senators Pitch Temporary Facial Recognition Ban, Leave Door Wide Open For Abuse By Federal Agencies

              Here’s a promising development on the facial recognition front — one that won’t make facial recognition tech developers very happy. Bans have been popping up around the nation but this legislative pitch would (sort of) prevent the federal government from deploying the tech.

            • Stalkerware Developer Demands TechCrunch Remove Article Detailing Its Leaking Of Sensitive Data

              Last week, stalkerware purveyor ClevGuard was discovered to be hosting tons of sensitive data harvested from victims’ phones in an Alibaba data bucket set to public with no password protection. ClevGuard makes KidsGuard, an app whose name suggests it’s something parents can use to monitor their children’s cell phone use, but the developer has helpfully noted the software’s also great for monitoring spouses and employees.

            • A Key FBI Photo Analysis Method Has Serious Flaws, Study Says

              A study published this week casts doubt on the reliability of a technique the FBI Laboratory has used for decades to identify criminals by purporting to match their bluejeans with those photographed in surveillance images, potentially undermining evidence used to win numerous convictions.

              The FBI’s method, used principally in bank robbery cases, matches denim pants by the light and dark patches along their seams, called wear marks. An FBI examiner’s scientific journal article on bluejeans identification in 1999 argued that wear marks create, effectively, a barcode that is unique on every pair. That article provided a legal foundation for the FBI to use an array of similar techniques to assert matches for clothes, vehicles, human faces and skin features.

            • EFF Files Comments Criticizing Proposed CCPA Regulations

              Today, EFF joined a coalition of privacy advocates in filing comments with the California Attorney General regarding its ongoing rulemaking process for the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The CCPA was passed in 2018, and took effect on January 1, 2020. Later this year, the Attorney General (AG) will finalize regulations that dictate how exactly the law will be enforced.

              Last time we weighed in, we called the AG’s initial proposed regulations a “good step forward” but encouraged them to go further. Now, we are disappointed that the latest proposed regulations are, compared to the AG’s initial proposal, largely a step backwards for privacy.

            • Many WhatsApp private groups are indexed in Google and open to the public

              Many WhatsApp private groups were left exposed on the open web due to a privacy-ignoring configuration error by Facebook’s WhatsApp. The discovery was made by Jordan Wilson, a journalist for He noticed that the “Invite to Group via Link” function for WhatsApp private groups creates a link that, when posted on the public internet, ends up being indexed by search engines such as Google, DuckDuckGo, and Bing.

            • Facebook Partners with Online Casinos to Target Addictive Personalities – Validated Independent News

              Reveal reported that social casino games, including virtual slot machines and poker games on Facebook and mobile devices, “have become a $5 billion-a-year business, with revenues nearly as large as all the Las Vegas Strip casinos combined.” However because these games are classified as “entertainment,” gambling regulations do not apply to them, and “there is nothing stopping tech companies from monitoring, analyzing–and targeting–those with addictive personalities.”

    • Defence/Aggression
      • Multiple People Dead in Milwaukee Shooting at Molson Coors

        Multiple people were killed Wednesday in a shooting on the Molson Coors Brewing Co. campus, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.

      • Nonviolent Action for Peace

        George Lakey’s new book is called How We Win: A Guide to Nonviolent Direct Action Campaigning. On its cover is a drawing of a hand holding up two fingers in what is more often considered a peace sign than a victory sign, but I suppose it is meant as both.

      • ‘Red Alert’: Anti-Muslim Violence in India Reaching Critical Levels as Homes and Businesses Burn and at Least 24 Dead

        “Who will help the Muslims of India?”

      • Death Toll Rises to 24 From Delhi Riots During Trump Trip

        At least 24 people were killed and 189 injured in three days of clashes in New Delhi that coincided with U.S. President Donald Trump’s first state visit to India, with the death toll expected to rise as hospitals continue to take in the wounded, authorities said Wednesday.

      • Heaven Protect Us From Men Who Live the Illusion of Danger: Pete Buttigieg and the US Military

        #CIAPete has been trending on social media this past month as stories and commentaries have emerged telling and re-telling Pete Buttigieg’s role as a naval intelligence officer in Afghanistan, his duties in his assignment in Kabul as a member of the Afghan Threat Finance Cell, and his relationship to CIA colleagues. This would be all rather amusing and just another dust speck of non-sense in the vast universe of inanity that is the US presidential race, if it were not for Buttigieg’s own use of his time in uniform and in Afghanistan as a cudgel to silence others from both an informed and moral perspective on issues of foreign policy and war.

      • ‘In Chile, In Guatemala, In Iran’: Sanders Applauded for Highlighting US Record of Overthrowing Governments Around the World

        “Nobody on the debate stage except Bernie has the guts to say the truth about the legacy of U.S. foreign policy.”

      • Is It as Impossible to Build Jerusalem as It is to Escape Babylon? (Part Two)

        In fact, the State does facilitate peace through its strategy of assuming the monopoly of violence, as Max Weber indicated. It is interesting that most leftists around the world will currently be favourably comparing countries with strict gun laws to the present situation in the USA where, for historical reasons, the US government has never apparently quite understood the benefits for a State in more properly disarming the population.

      • America’s Endless Wars Persist Because They Don’t Exist (For Americans)

        Even though the U.S. now lives in a state of perpetual war, for most Americans it’s a peculiar form of non-war.

      • Twilight of the Boomers

        I was once drinking by myself and watching a hockey game on TV in a little dive bar near my home in Pittsburgh when an older guy in a trucker cap, who had began haranguing the poor bartender with a series of complaints about the nebulous yet omnipresent political powers that be, turned his squint on me and asked, inexplicably and a little aggressively, if I had ever “carried a .50 caliber machine gun.”

      • Cameroon: Civilians Massacred in Separatist Area

        Government forces and armed ethnic Fulani killed at least 21 civilians in Cameroon’s Ngarbuh village, including 13 children and 1 pregnant woman, on February 14, 2020. They also burned five homes, pillaged scores of other properties, and beat residents. Some of the bodies of the victims were found burned inside their homes. The government denies that its troops have deliberately committed crimes.

        “The gruesome killings of civilians, including children, are egregious crimes that should be effectively and independently investigated, and those responsible should be brought to justice,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Denying that these crimes have occurred adds another layer of trauma to survivors and will only embolden government troops to commit more atrocities.”

      • Iran: No Justice for Bloody Crackdown
      • Netanyahu, Trump, and Kushner Named in ‘War Crimes’ Lawsuit Filed by Palestinians in US Court

        The suit claims that the behavior of U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a “violation of the Nuremberg principles.”

    • Environment
    • Finance
      • Why We Shouldn’t Run Government Like a Business

        It’s been popular in recent years for certain wealthy capitalists to claim they will “run government like a business” when they seek political office. While that may sound good to some, neither the state nor national Constitution ever suggests that governance and business are or should be the same — just the opposite, in fact. The Founding Fathers specifically designed our government structure to ensure life and liberty to benefit the well-being of the governed through the checks and balances of three separate but equal branches of government. It is at our peril — and that of our democracy — should we confuse business with governance.

      • Democratic Socialism in the Twenty-First Century

        In the previous century I was a regular columnist for The Humanist magazine, and I was fortunate to work for an editor, Rick Szykowny, who was committed to publishing both class conscious and explicitly socialist writers. On March 1, 1994, The Humanist published my article titled “The Good Fight: The Case for Socialism in the 21st Century.” The article is archived online at The Free Library.

      • Even Wall Street Plutocrats Can’t Burn Bernie

        America’s plutocrats and their media allies are certain that US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is unelectable, or that, if somehow elected, he would bring about the collapse of the republic. This disdain is both telling and absurd.

      • Neoliberalism Has Radicalized a Whole Generation

        When the conversation veered toward “capitalism” and “socialism” at last week’s Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas, the preeminent capitalist on the stage, Michael Bloomberg, could hardly believe what he was hearing. “I can’t think of a way that would make it easier for Donald Trump to get reelected than listening to this conversation,” lamented billionaire Bloomberg, who pronounced the discussion ridiculous. “We’re not going to throw out capitalism,” he said. “We tried that. Other countries tried that. It was called communism, and it just didn’t work.”

      • Chris Matthews and the Twilight of the Boomer’s Pro-Corporate Establishment

        This ineffectual effort to red-bait Sanders and smear his supporters as wannabe Stalinists or violent revolutionaries, are absurd on their face.

      • How Bernie Sanders Is Reviving the Promise of FDR’s Economic Bill of Rights

        There are deep parallels between what Bernie Sanders is proposing and what Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised.

      • The U.S. Would Be Better Off With Fewer Billionaires

        Living under an oligarchic system, we should develop a healthy skepticism of the actions of billionaires, whether they are running for office, bankrolling other candidates or giving billions to charity.

      • NYT’s Look at Democratic Tax Plans Is an Orgy of Really Big Numbers
      • Naked Fearmongering at the New York Times

        I have often gone after the media on printing large numbers that are meaningless to almost all their readers. The point is that when you throw out numbers in the millions, billions and trillions, very few readers have any idea what these numbers mean. It is possible to make them meaningful by simply adding some context, such as expressing them relative to the size of the economy or as a per-person amount.

      • Trump Budget Would Cut Temporary Assistance for Needy Families by $21 Billion

        In his new budget, President Trump proposes to cut Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) by $21 billion over ten years, which would leave many families with less assistance when they fall on hard times. The cuts include a 10 percent reduction in the annual block grant funding for states and an end to the $608 million TANF Contingency Fund, which gives states additional funds at times of economic distress.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • Public Citizen Weighs In On Why Court Should Protect @DevinCow’s Information Under The 1st Amendment

        As lawyer Steven Biss continues to use one lawsuit to seek to identify the person or people behind a satirical internet cow that he’s trying to unmask in another case, Public Citizen’s Paul Levy has now filed an amicus brief arguing that identifying who is behind the @DevinCow account (along with two other pseudonymous accounts) would violate the 1st Amendment. While the brief makes a nod towards the point that the @DevinCow account seems entirely unrelated to the case at hand — between PR guy Trevor FitzGibbon and lawyer Jesselyn Radack — its arguments focus on the fact that, even if @DevinCow had communicated with Radack, the subpoena that Biss sent to Twitter on behalf of FitzGibbon would violate 1st Amendment protections for anonymity.

      • Rep. Cicilline Wants To Remove Section 230 Protections For Platforms That Host ‘Demonstrably False’ Political Ads

        What is it with politicians (and other commentators) who keep confusing the 1st Amendment with Section 230? The latest is Rep. David Cicilline, who wants to remove Section 230 protections from internet platforms that host “demonstrably false” political ads:

      • ‘Taking a Page From His Dictator Friends Around the World’: Sanders Hits Trump Over NYT Libel Lawsuit

        The 2020 Democratic frontrunner said the president is “trying to dismantle the right to a free press in the First Amendment by suing the New York Times for publishing an opinion column about his dangerous relationship with Russia.”

      • Michael Bloomberg Wants to Silence Those Who Discuss Their Past — Including Me

        And yet that’s exactly what happened: A reporter from the New York Post connected my byline to another story I’d published some months earlier, in which I disclosed my new occupation. In response to the Post‘s salacious cover story: “Bronx Teacher Admits: I’m an Ex-Hooker,” Bloomberg yanked me from the classroom and called for the city to take legal action against me, as if my very existence was a crime.

      • NPR Pulls Out The Big Guns: Asks For Sanctions Against Lawyer Steven Biss For Lying

        Earlier this month, we wrote about an absolutely awful ruling in a bizarre lawsuit brought by Fox news commentator Ed Butowsky, represented by lawyer Steven Biss (a name you might recognize). Butowsky sued NPR and reporter David Folkenflik for accurately reporting on a failed lawsuit by another Fox News commentator, Rod Wheeler, accusing Fox News and Butowsky of defaming him in regards to a story about Seth Rich — about whom conspiracy theorists seem to regularly fantasize.

      • China Sentences Hong Kong Bookseller Gui Minhai to 10 Years in Prison

        What freedom he enjoyed was short-lived. While taking a train to Beijing with two Swedish diplomats in early 2018, he was grabbed by plainclothes police officers. Mr. Gui had been traveling to the Swedish Embassy in Beijing for a medical examination when about 10 men grabbed him off the train.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press
      • I worked with Assange to release US Iraq secrets – extraditing him is bullying masquerading as justice

        Come back to the detonation point of the explosive saga of Julian Assange, in the spring of 2010, and look at what Chelsea Manning, who was working as an intelligence analyst at a US base, said about the vast collection of material which she had just leaked to him.

        “Everywhere there is a US post, there is a diplomatic scandal revealed,” she wrote. “How the first world exploits the third, in detail… Almost criminal political back dealings… Incredible, awful things that belong in the public domain, not on some server in a dark room in Washington DC…”

        Shortly after she wrote that in an online chat, Chelsea Manning was arrested. On behalf of The Guardian, I contacted Assange and together we created an alliance of news organisations which published a stream of stories based on the material she had leaked. I never had a moment’s doubt that we were right to do that.

      • Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day 2

        This afternoon Julian’s Spanish lawyer, Baltasar Garzon, left court to return to Madrid. On the way out he naturally stopped to shake hands with his client, proffering his fingers through the narrow slit in the bulletproof glass cage. Assange half stood to take his lawyer’s hand. The two security guards in the cage with Assange immediately sprang up, putting hands on Julian and forcing him to sit down, preventing the handshake.

      • Julian Assange and the Imperium’s Face: Day One of the Extradition Hearings

        If we are to believe it, Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, the man behind showing the ugliness of power, is the one responsible for having abused it. It is a running theme in the US case against this Australian publisher, who has been given the coating of common criminality hiding the obvious point: that the mission is to make journalism on official secrets, notably those covering atrocity and abuse, a crime.

      • Assange’s Extradition Hearing Reveals Trump’s War on Free Press Is Targeting WikiLeaks Publisher

        On Monday, WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange’s one-week extradition hearing began at Woolwich Crown Court in SouthEast London. The judge heard the opening arguments for the prosecution and defense. The prosecution began, accusing the journalist who exposed the US government’s war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan of espionage charges that would carry 175 years in jail.

      • Prosecution: US-UK Treaty Does Not Apply To Assange Extradition

        The prosecution in Julian Assange’s extradition hearing in London Wednesday maintained a magistrate court has the authority to flout an international norm enshrined in treaties and approve the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder to the United States.

        Arguments on the third day of the hearing focused on the issue of “political offenses” and whether an extradition treaty between the U.S. and the U.K. applies to the case. If it does, the defense believes extradition should be denied because the allegations against Assange involve the publication of state secrets and are “purely political offenses.”

      • With Wikileaks, Julian Assange Did What All Journalists Should Do

        I was in Kabul in 2010 when Julian Assange and WikiLeaks first released a vast archive of classified US government documents, revealing what Washington really knew about what was happening in the world. I was particularly interested in one of these disclosures which came in the shape of a video that the Pentagon had refused to release despite a Freedom of Information Act request.

      • Free Julian Assange!

        The criminals who perpetrated war crimes revealed in their own communications documented and made public by WikiLeaks did not want you to know about them. Nor do they want you to know about those they commit in the future. To conceal the truth, they will put the truth-teller in an oubliette where he will never again discover and reveal anything. By depriving Julian Assange of his freedom and thus intimidating his journalistic colleagues, US and UK prosecutors are abetting criminality by spies, secret policemen, torturers, and kleptocrats everywhere. If they succeed in putting Julian Assange in a concrete cell for the rest of his life, it will give them a long breathing space to commit more crimes and amass illegal wealth in secret.

      • Assange stands up to the courts — but what of the press?

        That Julian Assange has asked the judge in his extradition trial to allow him to sit with his lawyers at the defence table, rather than behind the glass screen of the dock, is typical of the man.
        Challenging power at any point that it manifests itself, even in the physical arrangements of a courtroom. The dock used to be open and in the centre of British courtrooms. Now the defendant sits behind a sheet of perspex glass with a few vents in it, at the back or the side of the courtroom.
        There is at least honesty in the arrangement in this case. The procedure is a dealing between states, with a piece of courtroom theatre in the middle.
        It is obviously worth it for Assange to participate, rather than standing mute, since there is a chance that the judiciary may find unacceptable the request to render a journalist to a potential 175 year jail term.
        It’s unlikely. Unlikely too is that British PM Boris Johnson will recover a dash of his purported libertarian flair and refuse the request, but that’s worth a go too.
        But the process is so draconian, and world opposition growing so strongly that there is a greater chance now than there might have been six months ago. So it’s worth trying anything.
        What’s missing at the moment is any concerted and coordinated campaign by the major press of the world to stand up, not only for a journalist, but one with whom some of them worked closely and extensively for years.
        The Guardian, The New York Times and others should be leading a global campaign, with coordinated front pages protesting the US charges and the hearing.

      • Lawyer complains of prison treatment of WikiLeaks’ Assange

        Attorney Edward Fitzgerald told a judge that the treatment of Assange at London’s Belmarsh Prison “could be a contempt of this court.” The extradition hearing opened on Monday at Woolwich Crown Court, which is located next to the prison.

        District Judge Vanessa Baraitser, who is hearing the case, said she had no power to act unless Assange became unable to participate in the proceedings, which are expected to last several months.

      • ASSANGE EXTRADITION: Interview With Jérémie Zimmermann, Assange Collaborator and Friend, on the Travesty at Woolwich Crown Court

        Leaving the inhospitable grounds of Belmarsh Prison’s Woolwich Crown Court, one couldn’t fail to notice the protestor who was madly blowing a whistle. It was Jérémie Zimmermann, computer science engineer, friend of Julian Assange and Cypherpunk guest on the 2012 Assange TV series: “The World Tomorrow.” Zimmermann was a contributor to Assange’s book Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet (OR Books). He spoke of how the internet had changed for the worse over the last decade, and how the people holding Assange were “using the Magna Carta as toilet paper.”

    • New Matilda Statement On Bettina Arndt’s Defamation Of Nina Funnell

      A statement from New Matilda editor Chris Graham regarding defamatory comments and articles about journalist Nina Funnell by Bettina Arndt AM.

    • ‘We should talk war crimes & killing civilians, not US espionage claims in this court’ – WikiLeaks head Kristinn Hrafnsson
    • Watch Yanis Varoufakis’ powerful speech at #FreeAssange event in London

      Because first they came for Julian. Then they will come for our comrades. Then our friends. Then our children. Then the good people working for the Guardian, the BBC – anyone who does not submit to the right of the powerful to carry out crimes against humanity in our name and without our knowledge.

    • In support of Julian Assange and in defence of journalism

      Journalism itself that is on trial in the proceedings against Julian Assange that opened in London on Monday February 24th 2020 and in which the United States is seeking to extradite him from Great Britain over charges that include espionage. The founder of WikiLeaks is not a spy but an activist working on behalf of a fundamental right: the right to know everything that is in the public interest. That is why we are supporting him, writes Mediapart’s publishing editor Edwy Plenel in this opinion article.

    • Assange’s Extradition Hearing Reveals Trump’s War on Free Press Is Targeting WikiLeaks Publisher

      Major human rights organizations and press freedom groups, including Amnesty International and The Committee to Protect Journalists, have now come out strongly against Assange’s extradition to the United States. 

    • Assange Extradition Hearing: Chelsea Manning’s Grand Jury Resistance A Major Hurdle For Prosecutors

      Months before trial in 2013, United States Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning read a statement in military court, where she outlined her role in disclosing over a half million documents to WikiLeaks. She described her motivations for releasing each set of information and meticulously informed the court about how she downloaded, prepared, and electronically made the disclosures.

      The defense for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange heavily relied on this statement during the second day of a week-long extradition hearing in London. What unfolded showed how crucial her grand jury resistance is to the ability of Assange to defend himself in court.

    • USA v Julian Assange: Extradition Day 3

      In day three of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing in London, the defense argued that the WikiLeaks publisher must not be sent to the United States because the US-UK Extradition Treaty precludes extradition for a “political offense.”

      Article 4 of the 2003 treaty, which was ratified in 2007, says, “Extradition shall not be granted if the offense for which extradition is requested is a political offense.”

      But the US government claimed that the judge must rely on domestic UK law, rather than the international Treaty. Even if the offenses Assange is accused of in the extradition request are political, the prosecution said, “he is not entitled to derive any rights from the [US-UK Extradition] Treaty” because it has not been incorporated into domestic law.

      The same year the Extradition Treaty was written, the UK Parliament passed the Extradition Act 2003, a UK domestic law that does not feature a bar to extradition for political offenses. But in 2007, the US-UK Extradition treaty was ratified in the United States, without removing the political offense exemption. “Both governments must therefore have regarded Article 4 as a protection for the liberty of the individual,” the defense argues, “whose necessity continues (at least in relations as between the USA and the UK).”


      At the outset of today’s proceedings, the defense noted to the court that Assange’s medication and other factors make it difficult for him to concentrate, and Judge Vanessa Baraitser said she would check in with him if thinks he’s struggling.

      This afternoon, noticing that Assange, who views the proceedings from the back of the courtroom in the defendant dock behind slotted glass, appeared tired or otherwise struggling to participate, the judge asked him if he could hear the proceedings.

      “I am as much a participant in these proceedings as I am watching Wimbledon,” Assange said, standing to speak from the dock. He continued,

      “I cannot meaningfully communicate with my lawyers. There are unnamed embassy officials in this court room. I can not communicate with my lawyers or ask them for clarifications without the other side seeing. There has been enough spying on my lawyers already. The other side has about 100 times more contact with their lawyers per day. What is the point of asking if I can concentrate if I cannot participate?”

      Unhappy with Assange speaking to the court, the judge said it was unusual for defendants to have a voice if they’re not going to testify. The court then briefly recessed as she allowed Assange to leave the dock into a back room to meet with his lawyers privately, but it appeared they were accompanied by security officers.


      The judge asked if this constituted a bail application, and then discussed the matter with the prosecution, who said it would oppose a bail application but thought it reasonable to allow Assange to sit with the defense. The judge asked if doing so would mean Assange would technically be out of the court’s custody; the prosecution said it didn’t believe so, as having security officials on either side of him could ensure he remained in custody. The judge didn’t agree, and the defense will have to make a submission tomorrow morning regarding Assange’s ability to participate in the proceedings.

    • USA v Julian Assange: Extradition Day 4

      The first week of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing at Woolwich Crown Court has ended a day earlier than expected, with District Judge Vanessa Baraitser denying Julian Assange’s request to leave the glassed box known as a secure dock in the back of the courtroom.

      Assange had asked to leave the dock to sit with his legal team so that he can have legally privileged conversations with his lawyers throughout the proceedings. “I cannot meaningfully communicate with my lawyers,” he said. “What is the point of asking if I can concentrate if I cannot participate?”

      But the judge rejected the request, arguing that Assange has ample access to his lawyers to whom he can pass notes through the slotted glass barrier. She said she’s willing to start proceedings later so that Assange can meet with his lawyers in the morning and to adjourn court when the defense would like to meet with their client in a holding cell.

      The defense explained this would unduly extend the proceedings and render them incoherent, as the court may have to break every three minutes for a twenty-minute break. When the judge said that was an exaggeration of what would be required, the defense reminded the court how lengthy and complicated is the process to take Assange to and from his holding cell. Nevertheless, Assange’s request was denied.

    • How Assange case highlights crime of psychological torture

      The extradition case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has cast the spotlight not only on his future treatment should he be extradited to the United States, but on the treatment he has received during the close to 10 years since he was first arrested in 2010, say legal experts.

      The prospect of psychological torture, should Assange be extradited to the US and tried for treason, could render the extradition illegal under international law.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Approximately 120 Years Too Late, US House Passes Law to Make Lynching a Federal Crime

      “Today, we send a strong message that violence—and race-based violence, in particular—has no place in America.”

    • Congress Makes Lynching a Federal Crime, 65 Years After Till

      Sixty-five years after 14-year-old Emmett Till was lynched in Mississippi, Congress has approved legislation designating lynching as a hate crime under federal law.

    • Ninth Circuit Court Greenlights Trump’s Gag Rule

      The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday overturned a block on the Trump administration’s domestic “gag rule,” which has cut off people with low incomes from affordable family planning services.

    • Judge Tears Into Cops For Beating A Man Who Dared To Question Their Words And Actions

      It doesn’t happen often enough, but it is so very refreshing to watch a bunch of assholes get torn new assholes.

    • Bettina Arndt, Men’s Rights Activists Are Given Too Much Power In Australia And It Is Dangerous

      Calls to strip Bettina Arndt of her AM, while appropriate, are the band-aid to a much bigger problem, writes Dr Kate Johnson from Doctors Against Violence Towards Women.

    • Elected Leaders Of 750,000 University Students Demand Bettina Arndt Be Stripped Of Australia Day Honours

      Student presidents representing at least three quarters of a million students enrolled at 18 different universities across Australia have joined together to sign an open letter demanding Bettina Arndt AM be stripped of her Australia Day honours.

    • Reform or Expire

      Earlier today, the House Committee on the Judiciary was scheduled to mark up the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020, a bill meant to reform and reauthorize Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, as well as some other provisions of FISA, before they are due to expire on March 15, 2010. At the last minute, this markup was postponed without warning and without a new date, throwing the process into chaos.

      It is time to enact real reforms to the government’s use of national security authorities, beginning with the obvious, overdue step of prohibiting the intelligence community from using Section 215 to collect the call records of innocent Americans on an ongoing basis. Just yesterday, the New York Times reported that the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board (PCLOB) found that between 2015 and 2019, the CDR program cost $100 million taxpayer dollars, but yielded only one significant investigation. 

    • 6-year-old arrested by Florida cop tearfully asks for second chance in body cam footage

      A short time later, Turner returns to the office to talk to Lucious & Emma Nixon Academy administrators, who appear dismayed by what they have witnessed in the school office.

    • Harvey Weinstein’s conviction is less significant than it seems

      The appeals process could easily take a year, which Mr Weinstein is unlikely to spend at liberty. In the meantime, he faces criminal charges in Los Angeles and a stream of civil suits by women who claim he abused them. The difference is that he now faces them as a convicted rapist.

      It therefore seems unlikely that he will sit out his retirement comfortably. But perhaps the more salient question is how much this matters. Bennett Capers, a Brooklyn law professor, doubts there is a much wider significance. “Many will undoubtedly see this as possibly signalling a new era where prosecutors believe victims and pursue sexual assault cases, even against the powerful,” he says. But “will the verdict help everyday victims” like hotel workers, or where there is a single accuser?

    • Women Confront Ugly Harassment at Beauty Products Plant

      At a lotion factory outside Chicago, workers endured years of sexual harassment, coercion, gender and racial discrimination, and unsafe working conditions.

    • The Harvey Weinsteins of the World Can’t Exist Without Systems of Power

      Disgraced former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was convicted of first-degree commission of a criminal sexual act and third-degree rape, but acquitted of two more serious charges. Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, says that if we overlook the larger systems in which sexual assault occurs, “then we’ll just have another Harvey Weinstein. … That’s why we have to upend the systems.” We also speak with award-winning actress Rosanna Arquette, who was one of the first women to share details of Weinstein’s sexual misconduct.

    • Greyhound Finally Bans CBP, Border Patrol From Suspicionless Searches Of Its Buses And Passengers

      Greyhound has finally, definitively decided to stop serving up its customers to US border agencies.

    • Gun-Toting Cops Endanger Students and Turn Schools into Prisons

      Just when you thought the government couldn’t get any more tone-deaf about civil liberties and the growing need to protect “we the people” against an overreaching, overbearing police state, the Trump Administration ushers in even more strident zero tolerance policies that treat children like suspects and criminals, greater numbers of school cops, and all the trappings of a prison complex (unsurmountable fences, entrapment areas, no windows or trees, etc.).

    • ICE Is Torturing LGBTQ Immigrants by Putting Them in Solitary

      Francisco Morales Torres, 26, is currently locked up in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention in Juneau, Wisconsin. Torres, who identifies as queer, has been placed in solitary confinement at least twice, according to his lawyer — not an uncommon situation for many LGBTQ people detained by ICE. Community organizers, who point out that solitary confinement is torture, worry about the impact it might have on a young man with a history of mental illness.

    • ‘This Is Outrageous’: Legal Experts Condemn Trump for Demanding Sotomayor and Ginsburg Recusals

      “Justice Sotomayor’s dissent is a call to action, and now Trump is attacking her for speaking the truth.”

    • Border Patrol Agents Circulating Racist “Challenge Coin” – Validated Independent News

      One side of the coin shows a group of migrants carrying the Honduran flag, a reference to the Honduran migrant caravan that President Trump and other portrayed as a national crisis in 2018; the coin’s other side shows Border Patrol Agents caring for migrant children. The coin, ProPublica described, “appears to poke fun at the fact that many border agents are no longer out patrolling and instead are now caring for and processing migrants — including families and children.”

    • UCSC Grad Students Are on Strike for a Living Wage

      Their biggest issue? The rent is too damn high, and their wages are far too low to be able to afford to live in the pricey Santa Cruz area. According to one of the strike’s organizers, Jane Komori, the vast majority of graduate student workers at UCSC spend more than 50% — and often 60 or 70% — of their wages on rent. As a result, the UCSC Graduate Student Association has been lobbying the university administration for a cost of living adjustment (COLA) of $1,412 per month since November. Those demands were unmet, so they decided to escalate: December was the beginning of a grading strike in which grad students withheld 12,000 grades at the end of the fall quarter; after they say the administration refused to meet with them, the workers decided to continue withholding grades through the entire winter semester. The Pay Us More UCSC movement was heating up.

    • Jussie Smollett tries to kill six criminal charges against him for alleged hate crime hoax

      Earlier this month Webb convinced a Chicago grand jury to return a six-count indictment against Smollett for allegedly making four separate false reports about hate crimes to Chicago Police Department officers. He is accused of paying two Nigerian brothers $3,500 last January to stage a hate crime against him. The supposed attack involved Smollett being victimized by racist and homophobic slurs (Smollett is both African American and gay), beaten up, having bleach poured on him, and having a noose tied around his neck.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • AT&T Loses California Case After Lying To Consumers About ‘Unlimited’ Data Throttling

      Back in 2014 the FTC sued AT&T for selling “unlimited” wireless data plans with very real and annoying limits. The lawsuit noted that, starting in 2011, AT&T began selling “unlimited” plans that actually throttled upwards of 90 percent of your downstream speeds after using just two or three gigabytes of data. AT&T spent years trying to wiggle out of the lawsuit via a variety of legal gymnastics, including at one point trying to claim that the very same net neutrality and FCC Title II rules AT&T was trying to kill prevented the FTC from holding it accountable.

    • The FCC To Field More Comments On Net Neutrality. Maybe They’ll Stop Identity Theft And Fraud This Time?

      Last October the DC US Court of Appeals upheld a large chunk of the FCC’s controversial net neutrality repeal with a 2-1 vote. But the ruling wasn’t a total win for Ajit Pai’s FCC. The ruling blocked the FCC and broadband industry’s attempt to include a provision in the repeal that would have banned US states from being able to protect consumers, noting that when the Trump FCC abdicated its consumer protection authority, it also gave up its right to say what state regulators and lawmakers could or couldn’t do.

    • Empty Promises Won’t Save the .ORG Takeover

      The Internet Society’s (ISOC) November announcement that it intended to sell the Public Interest Registry (PIR, the organization that oversees the .ORG domain name registry) to a private equity firm sent shockwaves through the global NGO sector. The announcement came just after a change to the .ORG registry agreement—the agreement that outlines how the registry operator must run the domain—that gives PIR significantly more power to raise registration fees and implement new measures to censor organizations’ speech.

      It didn’t take long for the global NGO sector to put two and two together: take a new agreement that gives the registry owner power to hurt NGOs; combine it with a new owner whose primary obligation is to its investors, not its users; and you have a recipe for danger for nonprofits and NGOs all over the world that rely on .ORG. Since November, over 800 organizations and 24,000 individuals from all over the world have signed an open letter urging ISOC to stop the sale of PIR. Members of Congress, UN Special Rapporteurs, and US state charity regulators [pdf] have raised warning flags about the sale.

  • Monopolies
    • Turns out Uber and Lyft rides are not eco-friendly at all: study

      Rather, researchers at the U.S.-based nonprofit science advocacy organization found that a “ride-hailing trips today result in an estimated 69 percent more climate pollution on average than the trips they displace.”

    • Copyrights
      • [Guest post] Functionality, cumulation and lessons from trade mark law: the Advocate General’s Opinion in Brompton Bicycle

        Much has been written about the Advocate General (AG)’s recent Opinion in Brompton Bicycle (see e.g. here and here), where the AG had to consider whether there is an exclusion from copyright where a shape is functional. Here are some thoughts from the perspective of someone who has been thinking a lot about functionality in trade mark law.

        First, after Cofemel [Katpost here], there can be no stricter test for originality for works which are also designs than for other copyright works, nor can there be a test of aesthetic merit. This means that cumulative protection will be common. The AG saw this as a serious problem. Copyright lasts for a long time and so there will little incentive for designers to use the design system. This though fails to take into account that design protection, while shorter is in some ways more expansive. The AG was also worried about the effect on legal certainty, because there is no registration to look back to in copyright. While this may be true, many other IPRs manage to exist without a formal registration (including unregistered designs).

      • False copyright claims took down debate commentary channels on Twitch

        On February 25th, CBS News hosted the last Democratic presidential debate ahead of the vastly important Super Tuesday primaries. The debate was officially licensed to broadcast on Twitter and CBS News’ website, but there was an even broader reach of live commentary channels as Twitch streamers reacted to the arguments in real time.

        But if you were tuned in to one of those channels, you may have gotten an unpleasant surprise halfway through the broadcast.

        As the debates progressed, popular channels like Chapo Trap House and Mychal “Trihex” Jefferson were hit with the suspensions after their streams received copyright strikes for hosting their own debate coverage. As far as Twitch was concerned, those live commentary tracks were pirating copyright-protected content. But after investigations by Twitch, channels that received takedowns by a group called Praxis Political were false.

      • Pornhub’s Owner Goes After Thousands of BitTorrent Pirates

        MG Premium is a sister company of Pornhub. Both are active in the same industry under the wings of adult entertainment giant Mindgeek. However, instead of serving free video content, MG Premium is going after thousands of suspected pirates in Sweden, urging them to pay hefty financial settlements.

      • DMCA Notices Took Down 14,320 Github Projects in 2019

        Github has revealed that throughout 2019, the coding hosting platform took down more than 14,300 projects following DMCA complaints. Of the total notices received, only a tiny proportion was contested via counter-notice. Interestingly, the Microsoft-owned platform also reveals that one copyright complaint cannot be detailed as it’s the subject of a gagging order.

      • Reddit’s Copyright Infringement Removals Increased by 500% Last Year

        Reddit has published new data which shows that 124,247 pieces of content were removed following copyright takedown notices last year. This is a fivefold increase compared to the year before. For the first time, the site also reported details on its repeat infringer policy which resulted in 283 users and 137 subreddits being banned.

      • As UK Pirates Swarm to Live Sports & Movies, Hardcore Pirates Diminish

        The UK’s Intellectual Property Office has published the latest edition of its Online Copyright Infringement Tracker report. Illicit consumption of movies increased considerably over the previous period, with a new category of live sports leaping almost to the top of the infringement tables. Interestingly, the report also highlights a significant decrease in hardcore pirates.

      • RapidVideo Agrees to Pay Settlement to ACE, Hands Over Domains

        Popular file-hosting service RapidVideo shut down late last year following legal pressure from Netflix and Warner Bros. This case is now closed and the site’s operator has agreed to pay a substantial settlement to the rightsholders. In addition to the settlement, the site’s domain names have been handed over to the Motion Picture Association.

      • Smithsonian Releases 2.8 Million Images Into Public Domain

        For the first time in its 174-year history, the Smithsonian has released 2.8 million high-resolution two- and three-dimensional images from across its collections onto an open access online platform for patrons to peruse and download free of charge. Featuring data and material from all 19 Smithsonian museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives and the National Zoo, the new digital depot encourages the public to not just view its contents, but use, reuse and transform them into just about anything they choose—be it a postcard, a beer koozie or a pair of bootie shorts.

        And this gargantuan data dump is just the beginning. Throughout the rest of 2020, the Smithsonian will be rolling out another 200,000 or so images, with more to come as the Institution continues to digitize its collection of 155 million items and counting.

      • Smithsonian Releases 2.8 Million Images And 3D Models Into The Public Domain

        Here’s some good news for a change. The Smithsonian has just announced Smithsonian Open Access, in which it has released 2.8 million high quality digital images and 3D models into the public domain under a CC0 public domain dedication.

      • Disney CEO Bob Iger Steps Down in Surprise Announcement
      • Copyright In The Modern Era: Fortnite Lets Players Mute Emote To Avoid Auto-Copyright Claims Against YouTubers

        If you had told me a few years ago that we would have multiple stories at Techdirt over copyright issues surrounding video game emotes, I would have said you were a crazy person. Unfortunately, it seems that it’s the world that is crazy instead.  Fortnite in particular has been a focus of many of these stories, as a popular feature in the game is the ability to perform emotes, some of which are or are accused of being based on pop culture occurrences from other media. It is all, I can assure you, very stupid.

The Linux Foundation is Deeply Committed to Diversity and Inclusiveness (as Long as You Have Perfect Vision and Use ‘Big Browsers’ That Spy)

Thursday 27th of February 2020 03:04:57 PM

Summary: The Linux Foundation’s message of inclusiveness refers only to a particular kind of inclusiveness

“The Linux Foundation is Deeply Committed to Diversity and Inclusiveness,” say several pages, including this one in the title.

“It is only getting worse over time; months ago I was no longer able to access the site at all using my GNU/Linux (KDE) browser.”We’ve already mentioned that this site has spyware in all the Web pages and other usability (“UX”) type issues, not to mention severe accessibility issues (see above).

It is only getting worse over time; months ago I was no longer able to access the site at all using my GNU/Linux (KDE) browser. I cannot press the X, as it has no effect.

I cannot move anywhere. Same here:

I cannot click on anything or highlight anything. Scrolling up and down is all I can do. Even with JavaScript fully enabled!

“Scrolling up and down is all I can do. Even with JavaScript fully enabled!”It’s clear that whoever develops the site only bothers checking if it works in GAFAM+Firefox browsers, nothing else. They’re all proprietary with DRM.

It’s pretty damning that every single page is like this. So to access the site of something called Linux Foundation I cannot use my Linux Web browser.

“It’s clear that whoever develops the site only bothers checking if it works in GAFAM+Firefox browsers, nothing else.”Then you have to wonder if they’re inclusive of blind people or other people who have special needs when navigating the site. The Linux Foundation made even me feel disabled; for failing to use the site with an actual Linux Web browser.

GitHub is moving in a similar direction and is now Director at Large in the Foundation.

The Foundation says it helps setting/crafting standards, but that too isn’t a consistent message (actions not matching one’s words or perceived values). 81 validation errors/warnings in the front page alone.

Inside the Free Software Foundation (FSF) – Part I: Year Zero

Thursday 27th of February 2020 01:49:25 PM

Helping the FSF succeed or just another Year Zero?

The image at the top is this (in)famous one from the Library of Congress

Summary: People behind the ousting of Richard Stallman (or ‘leaders of the coup’ as some call them) want a fresh start; but they aren’t starting what most FSF supporters have been led to believe

THE other day we began preparing a carefully fact-checked analysis of FSF affairs. We had been hearing all sorts of stories, similar to the ones nowadays told by Alex [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

“Remember what happens to technical people just because they wear a red hat with the wrong slogan instead of a company’s logo.”I myself experienced similar things and heard similar things for months. For months. Maybe I did not mention them, partly for diplomatic reason.

I’ve had feminists shun me (refuse to even reply to my mail after they had contacted me) because, according to them, my articles defended Richard Stallman. Everything was fine and they offered us help… until they found out about our stance on Stallman. Maybe one day I will publish some carefully redacted E-mails (for privacy purposes alone) just to show how they treat people who merely support Stallman on issues pertaining to software…

Yes, software.

Remember what happens to technical people just because they wear a red hat with the wrong slogan instead of a company's logo.

“Maybe one day I will publish some carefully redacted E-mails (for privacy purposes alone) just to show how they treat people who merely support Stallman on issues pertaining to software…”Some of these activists, who may be perfectly well-meaning at heart, respect not diversity of views and they are tolerant as long as you’re not blind or obese or have some physical defect that’s not actually your fault. So perhaps ethics isn’t their true motivation (only subconsciously). They purge. They eliminate. They cancel. Year Zero. Look up the political reference. And there’s little room for negotiation with them (I’ve tried, but they’re so stubborn that if you defended Stallman at some point in the past, then you’re a non-person to them).

Now let’s talk about the FSF. The FSF never called me names, at least not in public. But we recently learned that the ‘leaders of the coup’ (FSF coup) “perceive you [...] and shared friends as attackers whose opinions are of little relevance and had better be dismissed, and also as unfriendly journalists [FSF] shouldn’t be talking to.”

How nice of them.

“Are those people even there to promote the mission statement of the FSF, as per the original objectives?”So after 13+ years defending and promoting the FSF’s true cause in this site this is what we get? At least from people who want to purge Stallman and his legacy at the FSF?

Are those people even there to promote the mission statement of the FSF, as per the original objectives? I doubt it.

I wasn’t born yesterday. I already saw the OSDL collapsing (in conjunction with its Microsoft flirtations) and it is happening again in the Linux Foundation. Let’s not allow the same to happen to the FSF.

Alexandre Oliva on Diversity Hypocrites

Thursday 27th of February 2020 09:52:50 AM

Original blog post by the FSF's interim co-president


I‘ve just come across this online gang.

Some of them purport to be for inclusion and diversity, but won’t hesitate to make fun of someone’s poorly-disguised handicap.

Not cool. Also, no credibility or moral authority is left for them to stand for inclusion or diversity.

I should have guessed, after they ganged up on someone else because of his own poorly-disguised handicap.

What makes people so heartless?

Do they leave their hearts at the corporate frontdesks?

Or could this be their own handicap, and I should be ashamed myself?

So blong…

Copyright 2007-2020 Alexandre Oliva

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this entire document worldwide without royalty, provided the copyright notice, the document’s official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.

The following licensing terms also apply to all documents and postings in this blog that don’t contain a copyright notice of their own, or that contain a notice equivalent to the one above, and whose copyright can be reasonably assumed to be held by Alexandre Oliva.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons License BY-SA (Attribution ShareAlike) 3.0 Unported. To see a copy of this license, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.

Alexandre Oliva: Courage is Contagious

Wednesday 26th of February 2020 08:39:42 PM

Original blog post by the FSF's interim co-president


Those who have been reading the daily inStallmants of the FSF Odyssey may be wondering why I’m doing all this.

Having a proposal rejected at a conference is nothing unusual, but the surrounding circumstances and the conflicting versions are. Overcoming the ongoing communication difficulties is far more important than a conference speech.

As for any imaginary concerns about secrets I might (but had no plans to) expose at LibrePlanet, given an opportunity to address the public or not, I figured that by publishing facts that I experienced not under the board’s confidentiality policy, I could alleviate any such concerns, while complying with my obligations and duties.

Now, if I write “I’m told X”, the fact is that I was told so; it might turn out that X is false, another symptom of our communication difficulties. I acknowledge some of the facts seem quite damning. I believe that makes it more, not less important to bring them to light: actual science is built through public debate, not obscurity. Free Software supporters understand that.

I’ve also been moved by loyalty to my friend. He had to leave one of his children under someone else’s care. He entrusted me with that responsibility, and I don’t intend to fail him. Besides, the FSF needs his support: many have joined or renewed FSF membership because he asked them, despite their suspicions on the FSF. That’s how much he’s trusted and supported. If he withdraws his support, it won’t take long for the FSF to find itself in dire straits. Betraying RMS is a losing strategy for the FSF.

Caring deeply about Free Software and software freedom for all, I wish the FSF to remain loyal also to these goals, and I think it has largely done so, despite the slips on the free speech building block. Should the organization ever find itself in dire straits due to lack of community support, it would likely turn to corporate donors, or others who do not share its values. An FSF hostage of this kind of investment would not be one that could bring about the very social changes it was built for.

The FSF must therefore remain both loyal to and trusted by RMS and by the community that has always supported him and the values we share. Even if “it’s not a coup”, the FSF’s cautious silence and decisions influenced by fear are undermining that trust and limiting our potential to advance our mission.

I have long believed and insisted that the fear was exaggerated, that we had to conquer it because ceding the ground for fear has been self-defeating. RMS and the FSF are not expendable, though, so we couldn’t risk testing my theory with them; I, on the other hand, am expendable, despite being told I’m perceived as a voice of the FSF.

I could thus confirm, to myself and to the FSF, that my speaking in favor of Richard would not bring about any reaction much different from anything we’ve faced and overcome before, and that is to be expected of our long-time opponents. My duties to Richard, to the movement and to the organization compelled me to take that chance.

For days, I have been very outspoken in favor of Richard, and there has not been any of the feared instant nightmarish reaction. Given internal reactions, it’s not believable that outsiders wouldn’t have known about it. The silence was predictable: who’d promote the exposure of their own secret plot?

Then I showed an earlier draft of this post, to reassure concerned insiders (Honest! I’m not that smart and cunning; I rather tend to trust too much!). In it, I explained how the lack of response thus far “proved” the fears were unfounded, and how this very post (as in that draft) would trigger a certain reaction. Boom! It didn’t take long for my internal sharing to precipitate the predicted public reaction, from within the very cluster that jointly moved most quickly to oust Richard, with the same tired tactics of twisting facts into outrageous lies known to spread like fire without any checking. Predictable much?

Since I’m expendable, if my plan fails, the FSF can just get rid of me and move on without consequence; even if it works, we might choose to do so, though probably not so soon as to, erhm, dispell the notion that it’s not a coup.

Meanwhile, voice of the FSF or not, if I can stand for Richard as I have, especially over the past few days, with reactions that match my predictions, the FSF might as well learn to take my advice, and break free along with everyone else who was previously scared into silence. Courage is contagious, I’m (not) afraid.

So blong…

Copyright 2007-2020 Alexandre Oliva

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this entire document worldwide without royalty, provided the copyright notice, the document’s official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.

The following licensing terms also apply to all documents and postings in this blog that don’t contain a copyright notice of their own, or that contain a notice equivalent to the one above, and whose copyright can be reasonably assumed to be held by Alexandre Oliva.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons License BY-SA (Attribution ShareAlike) 3.0 Unported. To see a copy of this license, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.

Links 26/2/2020: Cosmo Communicator 2-in-1, FSF Outlines Plans for Code Hosting

Wednesday 26th of February 2020 11:31:12 AM

  • GNU/Linux
    • Linux now joins Android on Planet’s little Cosmo Communicator computer-phone

      The Cosmo Communicator was promoted as being able to run Linux and Android but until now it didn’t have dual-OS functionality, leaving Android as the default OS and no option to switch to Linux.

      The company has now announced that the Cosmo Communicator can run Debian Linux with KDE, which offers a full graphical interface.


      The addition of Linux and KDE allows users to run more applications. Planet Computers highlights that devices that have been partitioned for dual-OS support can still receive over-the-air Android firmware updates. uage scorecard: How C, C++, Dart, Rust, Go rate for Fuchsia

      Planet Computers has provided instructions and links for downloading the firmware on its support pages.

      “Offering a viable alternative operating system on the Cosmo Communicator has been a cornerstone of all Planet devices. The Linux community has been instrumental in the firmware development and together we will continue to refine and enhance the Linux user experience,” said Dr Janko Mrsic-Flogel, CEO of Planet Computers.

    • Cosmo Communicator Android PDA can now run Linux side-by-side

      There has been a recent uptick in interest in Linux-based smartphones but the newest breed of such devices is targeted at early testers and developers. For those who simply want a usable and polished Linux mobile device, the choices are extremely slim. A few years ago, Planet Computers launched two communicator-style Android PDAs that promised to support other operating systems, including Linux. Now the UK-based company is making good on that and is releasing multi-boot support for Linux as well as a rooted Android image.

      The Cosmo Communicator and its Gemini PDA predecessor are on a league of their own when it comes to mobile devices. Inspired by the old Psion handheld computers, these smartphones resembled miniature laptops like the “communicators” of yesteryears. More than just a nostalgia trip, however, Planet Computers promised a more open mobile experience as far as operating systems go and it has finally gotten the ball rolling for the 2019 Cosmo Communicator.

      The company just announced that they now support booting multiple operating systems in part thanks to the new TWRP support. It provides instructions on how to install Debian GNU/Linux running the popular KDE Plasma Desktop onto a separate partition. There are also instructions on doing the same for a rooted version of Android so that the main Android version remains untouched.

    • Cosmo Communicator 2-in-1 Phone/Mini Laptop can now Dual Boot Debian Linux and Android

      The Cosmo Communicator was released as a crowdfunded handheld device mixing smartphone and a small laptop features such as keyboard and display. It was launched in late 2019 and ran Google Android.

      The original units were shipped and fulfilled the requirements of the crowdfunding campaign, but still were missing something the company had wanted to provide: support for Linux.

      This is now fixed as Planet Computers, the company that makes Cosmo Communicator, just released a version of Debian Linux, that can be installed on the system, with the tools that the company has provided for free on its website.

    • Server
      • Hands-On Lab: Oracle Linux Disk Encryption Using Network Based Key Services

        Many Linux environments require data to be encrypted at rest but that can add administrative overhead to the boot process. Oracle Linux has supported disk encryption since version 5 but a feature was added in 7 update 4 to allow the automatic unlocking of devices based on external network services. Network Bound Disk Encryption (NBDE) uses a network based key service to validate a system is on a trusted network and unlock encrypted disks upon boot. By combining NBDE and a keyboard entered passphrase the system will unlock a disk automatically during boot but allow administrators to use a passphrase during maintenance operations.

        A new hands-on lab Oracle Linux Disk Encryption Using Network Based Key Services is now available for anyone to learn the concepts of Linux disk encryption. The lab begins with the creation of a encrypted block device dependent on a passphrase and continues to an example of network based keys to unlock the device. Oracle Linux 8 is used but the same tools are available on Oracle Linux 7. The base components involved include dm-crypt which allows arbitrary block devices to be encrypted, Linux Unified Key Setup (LUKS) a disk encryption standard and cryptsetup which is used to configure our disks. We continue to include Tang, a network service that provides cryptographic services over HTTP and Clevis, an encryption framework. Clevis can use keys provided by Tang as a passphrase to unlock LUKS volumes.

    • Audiocasts/Shows
      • 2020-02-25 | Linux Headlines

        Manjaro hits version 19, Firefox starts rolling out DNS over HTTPS by default in the US, Puppet releases version 2 of Bolt, and Mirantis commits to the future of Docker Swarm.

      • This Week in Linux 94: Mesa 20, PipeWire, Linux Be Scary, MyPaint, GTK, Microsoft Defender

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, we got some new releases from core projects like Mesa & PipeWire and we also got some App News from MyPaint, GTK and a new convergent apps project called Maui. Then we’ll check out some distro news regarding the Untangle Firewall and some Red Hat news about CoreOS Container Linux. Later in the show, we’ll cover some really interesting news from Nvidia about Ray Tracing to Vulkan. Someone in the UK Police thought it was a good idea to warn parents their kids may become hackers and Microsoft announced their Microsoft Defender is coming to Linux. Then we’ll round out the show with some great deals for Games, Books and Comics from Humble Bundle. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

      • Data School: How to merge DataFrames in pandas (video)

        In my new pandas video, you’re going to learn how to use the “merge” function so that you can combine multiple datasets into a single DataFrame.

        Merging (also known as “joining”) can be tricky to do correctly, which is why I’ll walk you through the process in great detail. By the end of the video, you’ll be fully prepared to merge your own DataFrames!

      • Going Linux #386 · Switching from OSX or macOS to Linux

        Episode 386 Time Stamps
        00:00 Going Linux #386 · Switching from OSX or macOS to Linux
        03:54 Where to look as a Mac user
        05:06 Ubuntu MATE
        06:16 Brave browser
        07:02 Elementary OS
        10:19 Zorin
        14:27 What is a PPA?
        15:38 Deepin
        19:40 Moving from Mac is easier than moving from Windows
        23:21 Let us know what you’ve tried
        25:03 Application pick: Brave browser
        27:18,, +1-904-468-7889, @goinglinux, feedback, listen, subscribe
        28:21 End

      • Shrimps have SSHells | LINUX Unplugged 342

        A radical new way to do SSH authentication, special guest Jeremy Stott joins us to discuss Zero Trust SSH.

        Plus community news, a concerning issue for makers, an Arch server follow up, and more.

        Special Guests: Alex Kretzschmar, Brent Gervais, Martin Wimpress, and Neal Gompa.

      • Python Bytes: #170 Visualize this: Visualizing Python’s visualization ecosystem
      • Talk Python to Me: #253 Moon base geekout

        This episode is a unique one. On this episode, I’ve invited Richard Campbell and developer and podcaster who also dives deep into science and tech topics. We are going to dig into his geekout series and spend some time talking realistically about moonbases and space travel.

        I think you’re really going to enjoy the conversation. But I would love to hear, either way, if you like this minor diversion from pure Python topics (although we do talk some Python and programming). We can do more like this in the future if you all enjoy listening to these as much as I enjoyed making them.

      • mintCast 329 – fish Pi and Wine

        First up, in our Wanderings, I go fishing, Bo has some Wine, and Joe bakes some Pi.

        Then in our news, Python 2 is dying, a new kernel is in the works, ElementaryOS is getting devs paid, and more.

        In security, we talk more Firefox woes.

    • Kernel Space
      • One Of Clear Linux’s Kernel Patches To Help With Boot Time Proposed For Upstreaming

        Besides Clear Linux delivering often leading x86_64 Linux performance at run-time, when it comes to boot performance it has also been at the forefront — in some configurations, can boot in 300 ms. Intel has invested significantly in ensuring Clear Linux boots as fast as possible for when running in the cloud or on containers in order to respond to increased demand as quickly as possible as well as for use-cases like Clear Linux within automobiles where they need to get automobile cameras active within two seconds of power on. One of their many kernel patches could be on its way to the mainline kernel.

      • Running The Linux 5.6 Kernel With AMD Radeon Graphics

        Now hitting about mid-way through the Linux 5.6 kernel with early fallout having been addressed, we’ve been ramping up our testing/benchmarking of this next major kernel release. Here is our initial experience with the AMDGPU driver on Linux 5.6.

        Linux 5.6 brings many new features As it concerns the AMDGPU kernel driver, there is reset support for Renoir and Navi, initial bring-up for AMD Pollock, HDCP 2.x support, the kernel bits for Vulkan timeline semaphore support, DP MST DSC compression, and other fixes and code improvements.

      • VC4 DRM Driver Gets Patched For BCM2711 / Raspberry Pi 4 Support

        While the Linux 5.5 kernel landed Broadcom BCM2711 SoC and Raspberry Pi 4 enablement, one of the loose ends has been getting the open-source “VC4″ DRM driver wired up for the display hardware on this latest Raspberry Pi. Patches are now pending for VC4 DRM to provide that display support and could potentially see it mainlined for Linux 5.7.

      • Intel
        • Intel Adds VA-API Acceleration For HEVC REXT To FFmpeg

          Intel open-source developers have contributed support for VA-API acceleration of HEVC REXT “Range Extensions” content with the widely-used FFmpeg library.

          HEVC Range Extensions are extensions to H.265 geared for areas of content distribution, medical imaging, still imaging, and more. Among the changes with HEVC REXT are supporting 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 chroma sampling formats. HEVC Range Extensions are laid out in much more detail in this paper.

        • Intel Boosts Gen7 GPU Vulkan Compute Performance By ~330% For Geekbench

          Intel’s open-source “ANV” Vulkan driver for Linux doesn’t see much attention for pre-Broadwell hardware but today it saw a big improvement for Vulkan compute on aging Gen7 Ivybridge/Haswell era hardware.

          Jason Ekstrand, the lead developer of the Intel ANV Vulkan driver, discovered that in their driver’s pipeline code the data cache functionality would end up being disabled when a shader was pulled out of the pipeline cache. For Broadwell/Gen8+ the data cache bit was being ignored but this oversight ended up having huge implications for Gen7 Intel graphics hardware (Ivybridge/Haswell) as the oldest supported by Intel’s Vulkan driver.

        • Intel Has Accumulated 400+ Graphics Driver Patches So Far For Linux 5.7

          Intel just sent out their initial pull request of new feature changes/improvements to DRM-Next that in turn is for landing in about one month’s time when the Linux 5.7 merge window kicks off. With taking longer than usual to send in their first round of feature updates, this first of several pull requests already amounts to over 400 patches.

          While it is a big pull request given the extra time for patches to accumulate, there aren’t too many user-facing changes. Though there is a lot of enablement work for Tiger Lake as well as continuing Gen11 Ice Lake and Elkhart Lake work. For Ice Lake / Elkhart Lake there are a number of driver workarounds added. For Gen12 / Tiger Lake there are workarounds, display fixes, RPS is re-enabled, and other work.

        • Intel KVM Virtualization Hit By Vulnerability Over Unfinished Code

          At least not another hardware vulnerability, but CVE-2020-2732 appears to stem from unfinished code within the Intel VMX code for the Linux kernel’s Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) support.

          CVE-2020-2732 as of writing isn’t yet public but we’ve been closely monitoring it since seeing a peculiar patch series earlier today and not finding much information on it.

      • Graphics Stack
        • Mir 1.7.1 Released With X11 Support Promoted Out Of “Experimental” Phase

          Most significant with Mir 1.7.1 is the X11 support being improved to the point that it’s no longer considered experimental for running traditional X11 software atop Wayland. Passing –enable-x11 now can be used for enabling the X11 support rather than the prior “x11-display-experimental” option. Mir 1.7.1 saw a lot of work to the XWayland and X11 window manage code, including a new display FD option.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
      • Hilarious party-platformer ‘Ultimate Chicken Horse’ free update due next month

        Ultimate Chicken Horse, a party-platform where you build the platforms as you go is getting a sweet free update with some new toys to play with next month.

        A game you absolutely need to play too! After only just getting into it myself thanks to the Humble Sweet Farm Bundle last month, it was pretty hilarious to try. Clever Endeavour Games have now announced the “A·cobra·tic Update” which is due out on March 12, for all platforms and it’s free.

        It’s going to include a new Snake character (who rides a Skateboard), two new levels and four new blocks. Along with “a handful of improvements, minor additions to the game, and plenty of bug fixes”. The new blocks flamethrower, one-way gate, cannon and beehive sound like they will be fun to screw with others.

      • Dota Underlords from Valve is out with the City Crawl campaign mode

        Valve’s latest game, Dota Underlords, has today left Early Access and with it comes a huge patch full of new content and features.

        The biggest addition to the Underlords strategy game is the City Crawl campaign. A single-player mode, that explains a bit about what’s going on. It seems “Mama Eeb” passed away, leaving a power vacuum in White Spire, with the four Underlords attempting to take control. City Crawl is where you do that, as you go through various different types of challenges and while doing so earn new outfits for the Underlords.

      • Linux Gaming: Overclock your Nvidia GPU on Linux with GreenWithEnvy

        Overclocking your Nvidia card on Linux used to be a nightmare. There was lots of different commands you had to type into the terminal, and there was no easy way to monitor your temperature and fan speeds. Thanks to Roberto Leinardi’s program GreenWithEnvy, you can now overclock with a simple, clean GUI.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • KDE Plasma 5.18.2 LTS Released with Flatpak Improvements, over 45 Fixes

          KDE Plasma 5.18.2 is here just one week after the first point release, and promises to improve support for Flatpak apps in the Discover package manager by fixing several bugs, improve support for the Plastik theme by patching two crashes in the KWin window and composit manager, as well as to make the KRunner Activities runner usable again.

          Furthermore, this second point release updates the new Emoji panel to make it snappier, support all locales and languages, and allow filter by annotation. It also improves the shadows of files and folders shown on the desktop to display correctly when using a HiDPI scale factor.

        • KDE Video Competition Winners

          On the 20th of February, our first video contest finished and winners were decided by a panel of judges.

          This was the first time we run a video contest and we were really excited to see how much the community got involved, the quality of the videos and the onboarding effect that this contest would have.

          All the submitted videos show great effort on behalf of the creators and it was extremely difficult to select the winner — at one point there was even a tie! But, at last, we were able to select a winner and finalists for each category.

          Without further ado, let’s dive into the results:

        • Atelier Plasmoid – Update

          Yeah, I’m back! =D

          Now I have updated the Atelier plasmoid to use our beloved profiles setup. Profiles on Atelier are shared by any interface that uses AtCore Machine Info to lookup for each profile that you have saved of your machines.

          The quick print is now really quick: Select profile -> Connect -> Select File -> Print.

        • Last months in Kube

          The todo view’s goal is to have a small personal list of todos, acknowledging that you can only accomplish so much during a day, and there is no intention of turning this into a project management suite down the road.

          The idea is that you have a couple of lists as backlogs, and that you then pick a reasonable amount of items (<10 probably?) from those lists as currently in progress (that’s also how it’s stored in iCal). This then gives you a nice little list of things during the day/week/whatever suits you, that you can tick off.

          New items can quickly be entered using keyboard shortcuts (press “?”) and that’s about it for the time being.

          I think sub-todos might find their way eventually in there, but the rest should rather be quality of life improvements and eventually taking other sources of “things you need to act on” into account, such as emails that you should probably be answering or events that need to be prepared.

          The todo view was the last officially missing piece, so with that we are view-complete (feature complete may be a bit a stretch still).

        • Search in encrypted content and support for encrypted headers

          To fix this we’re going to start decrypting encrypted emails when syncing and indexing the encrypted content. That way we can make sure encrypted emails are just as usable as non-encrypted emails, at least as long as you’re using Kube.

          This means that in the future you will not only be able to search through all your email, it also means you get a more useful subject displayed than “…” or some other nonsense.

    • Distributions
      • Zorin OS For Windows Users

        Dear former Microsoft users, after Windows 7 (W7) officially discontinued early this year, how about looking at alternative operating system called Zorin OS? Zorin is computer operating system for everybody that is user-friendly and familiar. You can get Zorin gratis and free, you and your family can use without learning much, prepare to live peacefully without virus & antivirus, and you will be happy you can revive old computers with it. This article gives you sights on Zorin from perspective of a W7 user and see if you find it interesting. Enjoy Zorin!

      • New Releases
        • Ubuntu-Based MakuluLinux 2020 Wants to Convince Windows 7 Users to Switch to Linux

          Dubbed “LinDoz,” the MakuluLinux 2020 series is based on the latest Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS (Bionic Beaver) release and users Linux Mint’s beautiful and modern Cinnamon desktop environment by default to provide ex-Windows 7 users with a comfortable place if they decide to migrate from Windows to a Linux-based OS.

          The developers note the fact that LinDoz is not designed to be a Windows clone, but a familiar place for Windows and Linux users alike. To achieve this goal, the devs refreshed the entire artwork, including themes, icons, and wallpapers, to make MakuluLinux look like Windows 7.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts
      • SUSE/OpenSUSE
      • Arch Family
        • Arch-based Manjaro 19.0 ‘Kyria’ Linux distro is here with GNOME, KDE, and Xfce

          If you are a Linux user, you are undoubtedly in heaven right now. Recently, there have been updates to some truly excellent distributions, such as MX Linux 19.1, Netrunner 20.01, elementary OS 5.1.2, and OpenMandriva Lx 4.1. While I suppose having to choose from so many distros can be seen as a negative for some, I say it’s a damn good problem to have!

          Guess what? Things are getting a bit more crowded! Today, one of the most popular Linux distributions gets a new version. Yes, Manjaro Linux 19.0 is finally here! Named “Kyria,” it can be had with your choice of three desktop environments — Xfce 4.14, KDE Plasma 5.17, and GNOME 3.34. While Xfce is highlighted by the developers, the others two DEs are arguably superior.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora
        • How we decide when to release Fedora

          Open source projects can use a variety of different models for deciding when to put out a release. Some projects release on a set schedule. Others decide on what the next release should contain and release whenever that is ready. Some just wake up one day and decide it’s time to release. And other projects go for a rolling release model, avoiding the question entirely.

          For Fedora, we go with a schedule-based approach. Releasing twice a year means we can give our contributors time to implement large changes while still keeping on the leading edge. Targeting releases for the end of April and the end of October gives everyone predictability: contributors, users, upstreams, and downstreams.

          But it’s not enough to release whatever’s ready on the scheduled date. We want to make sure that we’re releasing quality software. Over the years, the Fedora community has developed a set of processes to help ensure we can meet both our time and and quality targets.

        • Changing the Release Readiness Meeting process

          If you’ve attended a Release Readiness Meeting in the last few years, you’ve noticed that there’s a lot of me asking for an update from a team and getting no response. This makes the meeting a lot less valuable for the project and for the people who attend. And because the Release Readiness Meeting is held after the first Go/No-Go meeting, there’s not much chance to fix unready issues. Let’s make this better.

          For Fedora 32, I’m changing the process a bit. Instead of waiting until an IRC meeting days before the release target, let’s start giving readiness updates sooner. I created a Release Readiness wiki page where teams can self-update asynchronously. If you’re representing a team in Fedora, you can start updating this now.

        • Fedora 31 : Install Unity 3D on Fedora Linux.

          If you want to install the Unity 3D software on Fedora 31 Linux distro then you can read my tutorial from this webpage.

        • Is an in-place RHEL upgrade the right choice for my business?

          Being on the latest version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) can have several advantages- like better performance, improved security, support for new hardware devices or even access to the latest version of applications.

          If you are a Linux system administrator looking to migrate your RHEL 7 systems to RHEL 8, you have two choices—an in-place upgrade to RHEL 8 or a clean installation of the operating system and re-deployment of your environment onto RHEL 8.

        • [S4:E3] Command Line Heroes: Personal Computers
        • What’s new in the Red Hat Satellite upgrade process

          In this post we’ll review a number of improvements that have been made to the Satellite upgrade process in the areas of technology, performance, and backend testing improvements and automation.

          Over the last several releases the Satellite engineering and QE teams have been focused on making the Red Hat Satellite upgrade process much faster and more predictable.

          The way the Satellite upgrades work has not changed—you will need to upgrade to each individual version of Satellite and you cannot skip versions. If you are running Satellite 6.4 and you want to go to Satellite 6.6, you will need to upgrade from Satellite 6.4 to Satellite 6.5, then to Satellite 6.6. These upgrades can be done back-to-back in the same outage window.

        • OpenShift Commons Briefing: Data Protection and Disaster Recovery Solutions with Venkat Kolli (Red Hat)

          As more and more business critical applications move to OpenShift platform, it is important to start thinking about how to protect these applications and application data.

          In this briefing, Red Hat’s Venkat Kolli walks through the different failure scenarios that will be impacting application availability in OpenShift and the different Backup & Disaster Recovery (DR) solutions that are designed to protect your OpenShift applications against these failures. While the traditional Backup & DR solutions have existed a while in Enterprise DataCenters, these solutions need to evolve to address the needs of the new container infrastructure. We will explore the differences between traditional approaches to backup & DR and the changes in approach required for OpenShift infrastructure.

        • Tech Preview: Get visibility into your OpenShift costs across your hybrid infrastructure

          Do you know if your OpenShift project is currently on budget? If you deploy more containers right now or if OpenShift dynamically increases capacity, would that put your project in the red?

          Red Hat is introducing a new cost management SaaS offering that is included at no additional charge with your Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform subscription. Cost management is an OpenShift Container Platform service that is currently available in Technology Preview. The service, which customers access from, gives you visibility into your costs across on-premises and cloud environments.

          With cost management for OpenShift, you can easily aggregate costs across hybrid cloud infrastructure (on-premises, Amazon Web Services, Azure, with more cloud platforms on the roadmap) and track budget requirements.

        • Open Mainframe Project Launches Ambitus, Virtual Zowe Hackathon

          The Open Mainframe Project (OMP) has launched a new community of developers called Ambitus to better understand how their existing open source environment can be implemented and operated on a mainframe. Ambitus joins 8 other OMP projects including Zowe, which will launch its first virtual hackathon on February 23.

        • Liquid Prep, a solution that helps farmers optimize water usage during droughts, is now open source

          When a prolonged absence of water in a region leads to drought conditions, the entire ecosystem suffers. Among those hardest hit are farmers, and the impact on their land can have ripple effects on the larger population. These larger problems can range from health issues or food security, while also creating conditions that increase the risk of wildfires and dust storms.

          Created by five technologists from the IBM offices in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Liquid Prep is a solution designed for low-literate farmers in developing countries whose success hinges on access to advanced agricultural advice. By leveraging the use of an intuitive mobile Android app, local soil sensors, and weather forecast information as well as an advanced agricultural decision platform hosted on IBM Cloud, farmers are better informed on how to use limited water supplies and increase their chances of growing healthy crops for their small plots of land.

      • Debian Family
        • Netrunner 20.01 out now with new theme and UI changes

          It has been ten years since the first version of Netrunner was made available to the general public, and what better way to celebrate this special day than releasing the 20th release of Netrunner Desktop for Ubuntu/Debian.

          Netrunner is an operating system that works on Debian Stable and works on PCs and ARM devices like Odroid C1, Pine 64, etc. It uses KDE Plasma as its desktop environment and features plenty of other useful applications. It looks gorgeous and can run on very minimal spec computers.


          There have also been plenty of package updates as well in this version of Netrunner. First of all, users are going to find the latest LTS versions of Thunderbird and Firebox-ESR when they update to Netrunner Twenty.

          A great thing about Netrunner is that you’ll find a bunch of handy software accompanying this OS. So, when you install or update to Netrunner 20.1, you’ll get your hands on an office suite (LibreOffice), image editors (Gimp and Inkscape), painting software (Krita), and video editor (Kdenlive). If you weren’t sold on its applications already, the Debian-based OS would also offer music management software (Yarock and GMusicbrowser), video player (SMPlayer), collaboration app (Pidgin or Skype), and terminal (Yakuake).

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
        • New Dark Mode Setting Lands in Ubuntu 20.04 ‘Focal Fossa’ Dailies

          It seems my recent op-ed on why Ubuntu needs a dark mode toggle was perfectly timed as, alongside some wider Yaru theme changes, developers go to work on adding a simple, user-facing setting for one!

          Currently sat in proposed queue for Ubuntu 20.04 dailies (expect it in the regular updates pile soon) is a change that adds a theme switcher to the System Settings > Appearance panel…

        • Bosch Rexroth adopts Ubuntu Core and snaps for app-based ctrlX Automation platform

          ctrlX Automation leverages Ubuntu Core, designed for embedded devices, and snaps, the universal Linux application containers, to deliver an open source platform to remove the barriers between machine control, operation technology and information technology, or OT-IT.

          Industrial manufacturing solutions built on ctrlX Automation with Ubuntu Core and snaps will benefit from an open ecosystem, faster time to production and stronger security across devices’ lifecycle.

          Through the use of an open architecture, industrial machine manufacturers selecting ctrlX Automation are freed from being tied to PLC specialists and proprietary systems with the software being decoupled from the hardware.

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Rules for product managers at open source companies

        Product management is an interesting career. It’s immensely rewarding to be the interface between users, business strategy, engineering, and product design. And it’s also a highly lucrative career with increasing demand for ambitious and empathetic practitioners.

        It’s also a role with no single path. You might see various certifications and courses emerging to help address the serious skills shortage. The good news is that these are starting to contribute to the talent pipeline, but they struggle to address the wider demands of the role. This is especially the case where roles require direct experience across the enormous range of what it takes to build and ship successful products.

      • Events
        • LibreOffice Conference 2021 Call for Locations

          Once a year, the LibreOffice Community gathers for a global community event: the LibreOffice Conference, or LibOCon. After a series of successful events – Paris, October 2011; Berlin, October 2012; Milan, September 2013; Bern, September 2014; Aarhus, September 2015; Brno, September 2016; Rome, October 2017; Tirana, September 2018 and Almeria, September 2019 – the venue for 2020 is Nuremberg, Germany.

          To ease the organization, TDF Board of Directors has decided to open the call for location for 2021 earlier this year, to give the 2021 event organizers the opportunity of attending the conference in Nurembers in October 2020. The LibreOffice Conference takes place between September and November, with a preference for September.

          The deadline for sending in proposals is June 30, 2019.

          After receiving the applications, we will evaluate if all pre-conditions have been met and the overall content of the proposal, and give all applicants a chance to answer questions and clarify details if needed.

        • CHAOSScon EU 2020: play by play

          This is my second time attending CHAOSScon. I attended on behalf of RIT LibreCorps to represent our engagement with the UNICEF Office of Innovation and the Innovation Fund. For CHAOSScon EU 2020, I arrived hoping to learn more about effective metric collection strategies for open source communities and also get a deeper understanding of the technology behind GrimoireLab.

        • When in Paris, learn how SUSE empowers DevOps teams with HPE

          We will be there (Booth #21) to meet with Presales Consultants and Solution Architects from both HPE and Partners and chat about how we are working with HPE to deliver software-defined infrastructure with an open approach.

        • Keynote Speakers Announced For Open Networking & Edge Summit North America 2020

          The open networking event has now been expanded to cover Edge Computing, Edge Cloud and IoT. The event focuses on collaborative development and innovation across enterprises, service providers/telcos and cloud providers to shape the future of networking and edge computing with a deep focus on technical, architectural and business discussions in the areas of Open Networking & AI/ML-enabled use cases.

      • Web Browsers
        • Mozilla
          • Firefox Browser On Linux And Mac Gets New Security Technology

            Along with rolling out the latest security update to the Firefox browser, Mozilla has now introduced a new approach to secure the Firefox web browser on Linux and Mac operating systems.

            Firefox uses various external libraries to render the audio, videos, and images that can be exploited by the attackers to introduce malicious code. Hence, Firefox includes a new lightweight sandboxing architecture, RLBox, that uses a WebAssembly sandbox to tackle the vulnerabilities posed by the third-party libraries.

          • The Facebook Container for Firefox

            Even with the ongoing #deletefacebook movement, not everyone is willing to completely walk away from the connections they’ve made on the social platform. After all, Facebook — and its subsidiary Instagram — is where the mountain biking club organizes rides, people post pet pics, dance moves catch on and life’s moments get shared with friends and family, near and far. Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, Facebook has been greeted with more skepticism as it’s been under a hot spotlight on how it gathers, uses and gives access to our personal data for targeted advertising and manipulation, both on and off Facebook platforms. With recent news about their policy not to block false political ads, this targeting gets ever malicious.

          • Jira, Bugzilla, and Tales of Issue Trackers Past

            It seems as though Mozilla is never not in a period of transition. The distributed nature of the organization and community means that teams and offices and any informal or formal group is its own tiny experimental plot tended by gardeners with radically different tastes.

            And if there’s one thing that unites gardeners and tech workers is that both have Feelings about their tools.

            Tools are personal things: they’re the only thing that allows us to express ourselves in our craft. I can’t code without an editor. I can’t prune without shears. They’re the part of our work that we actually touch. The code lives Out There, the garden is Outside… but the tools are in our hands.

            But tools can also be group things. A shed is a tool for everyone’s tools. A workshop is a tool that others share. An Issue Tracker is a tool that helps us all coordinate work.

            And group things require cooperation, agreement, and compromise.

            While I was on the Browser team at BlackBerry I used a variety of different Issue Trackers. We started with an outdated version of FogBugz, then we had a Bugzilla fork for the WebKit porting work and MKS Integrity for everything else across the entire company, and then we all standardized on Jira.

          • Securing Firefox with WebAssembly

            Protecting the security and privacy of individuals is a central tenet of Mozilla’s mission, and so we constantly endeavor to make our users safer online. With a complex and highly-optimized system like Firefox, memory safety is one of the biggest security challenges. Firefox is mostly written in C and C++. These languages are notoriously difficult to use safely, since any mistake can lead to complete compromise of the program. We work hard to find and eliminate memory hazards, but we’re also evolving the Firefox codebase to address these attack vectors at a deeper level. Thus far, we’ve focused primarily on two techniques…


            So today, we’re adding a third approach to our arsenal. RLBox, a new sandboxing technology developed by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, the University of Texas, Austin, and Stanford University, allows us to quickly and efficiently convert existing Firefox components to run inside a WebAssembly sandbox. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Shravan Narayan, Deian Stefan, Tal Garfinkel, and Hovav Shacham, we’ve successfully integrated this technology into our codebase and used it to sandbox Graphite.

            This isolation will ship to Linux users in Firefox 74 and to Mac users in Firefox 75, with Windows support following soon after. You can read more about this work in the press releases from UCSD and UT Austin along with the joint research paper. Read on for a technical overview of how we integrated it into Firefox.

          • Nicholas Nethercote: Ad Hoc Profiling

            I have used a variety of profiling tools over the years, including several I wrote myself.

            But there is one profiling tool I have used more than any other. It is capable of providing invaluable, domain-specific profiling data of a kind not obtainable by any general-purpose profiler.

            It’s a simple text processor implemented in a few dozen lines of code. I use it in combination with logging print statements in the programs I am profiling. No joke.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases
        • Mirantis co-founder launches FreedomFi to bring private LTE networks to enterprises

          Boris Renski, the co-founder of Mirantis, one of the earliest and best-funded players in the OpenStack space a few years ago (which then mostly pivoted to Kubernetes and DevOps), has left his role as CMO to focus his efforts on a new startup: FreedomFi. The new company brings together open-source hardware and software to give enterprises a new way to leverage the newly opened 3.5 GHz band for private LTE and — later — 5G IoT deployments.

      • CMS
        • WordPress 5.4 Beta 3

          WordPress 5.4 Beta 3 is now available!

          This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend you run it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with the new version.


          WordPress 5.4 is slated for release on March 31st, 2020, and we need your help to get there.

          Thanks to the testing and feedback from everyone who tested beta 2 (and beta 1) over 24 tickets have been closed in the past week.

      • Education
        • Math is your insurance policy

          It’s gradually becoming clear that programming jobs are diverging. This is not yet reflected in salaries, but as the job market matures, some programming jobs will be eliminated, others will increase in demand. The one area where humans are still indispensable is in specifying what has to be done. The AI will eventually be able to implement any reasonable program, as long as it gets a precise enough specification. So the programmers of the future will stop telling the computer how to perform a given task; rather they will specify what to do. In other words, declarative programming will overtake imperative programming. But I don’t think that explaining to the AI what it’s supposed to do will be easy. The AI will continue to be rather dumb, at least in the foreseeable future. It’s been noted that software that can beat the best go players in the world would be at a complete loss trying to prepare a dinner or clean the dishes. It’s able to play go because it’s reasonably easy to codify the task of playing go– the legal moves and the goal of the game. Humans are extremely bad at expressing their wishes, as illustrated by the following story: [...]

      • FSF
        • Coming soon: A new site for fully free collaboration

          As we said in an end-of-year post highlighting our work supporting free software development and infrastructure, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) is planning to launch a public code hosting and collaboration platform (“forge”), to launch in 2020. Members of the FSF tech team are currently reviewing ethical Web-based software that helps teams work on their projects, with features like merge requests, bug tracking, and other common tools.

          The new site will complement the current GNU and non-GNU Savannah servers, which we will continue to support and improve, in collaboration with their awesome volunteer team. (By the way, if you want to volunteer, please email with a note about your interest!)

        • Free Software Foundation Aims To Launch Code Hosting / Collaboration Platform This Year

          The Free Software Foundation is planning to launch their own public code hosting and collaboration platform in 2020.

          The Free Software Foundation “Forge” will complement their existing and aging Savannah servers used for code hosting. The Free Software Foundation isn’t looking to develop their own hosting/collaboration platform as an original GNU project but looking at an existing free software solution they can adapt for their purposes.

          The Free Software Foundation team is currently evaluating options based on practical and ethical criteria such as whether the JavaScript is deemed free software with LibreJS, wanting a solution not backed by a company, and other stringent free software requirements.

        • FSF to launch code hosting

          The Free Software Foundation has announced that it is planning to launch a public code hosting and collaboration platform later this year.

        • GNU Projects
          • GIMP Image Editor 2.10.18 Released with 3D Transform tool

            GIMP image editor 2.10.18 was released a day ago with new features and usability improvements. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu.

          • Structure and Administration of the GNU Project People know that each GNU package has one or more maintainers appointed by the GNU Project. People mostly don't know about the committees that carry out most of the administration of the project. We have now published a complete description of the administrative structure of the GNU Project:
      • Programming/Development
        • Monado OpenXR Runtime v0.1 Released For Open-Source XR Stack

          Announced last March was Monado as an open-source implementation of OpenXR, the Khronos standard for AR/VR. Today marks the first release of Monado as version 0.1 so while it’s still early on it is showing much progress.

          This open-source XR stack has added support for the Project North Star as an open-source optical see-through headset, an Intel RealSense T265 driver is also available, scripts for trying various demos, and packaging support for various Linux distributions.

        • Open source XR runtime (VR/AR) ‘Monado’ sees a first release

          With the Khronos Group launching the OpenXR specification last year, their aim was to unify Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) development while Collabora worked on their open source implementation of Monado.

          Collabora have been hard at work on Monado, a currently Linux-focused open source XR runtime that will eventually also support other platforms. Today, they tagged the very first release. With this release they’ve worked in new drivers, there’s now a set of scripts ready for people to try Monado rather than needing to setup a full development environment, udev rules sorted for USB permissions for XR hardware, distribution packaging and more.

          You can see the release announcement on the Collabora blog, where they note they also have some internships going. As for the code, it’s all up on GitLab if you’re interested in checking out in this early form. The future of XR on Linux sounds quite exciting, especially with efforts like this and Collabora do some great open source work.

        • Monado OpenXR runtime developer update

          We are very happy to tag version 0.1 of the Monado OpenXR runtime for Linux!

          Ever since announcing the project at GDC 2019, we have been working on improving the full open source XR stack to a usable state. Do keep in mind, this is a first tag, not a final release so it will contain some tinkering and is not feature complete! To echo the common phrase ‘Be warned, here be dragons!’.

          Feel free to play around with Monado, and hit us up on our Discord to get help, report bugs or ask about contributing!

        • Google programming language scorecard: How C, C++, Dart, Rust, Go rate for Fuchsia

          Google has released a new programming language policy for Fuchsia, its under-development OS that some speculate could be its non-Linux successor to Android.

          Instead of a Linux kernel, the core of Google’s Fuchsia OS is a Zircon microkernel to communicate with hardware and boot a system that runs Fuchsia. Google describes Fuchsia as specifically “not Linux” and a “modular, capability-based operating system”.

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Prolog

          Prolog is a general purpose, declarative, logic programming language, often associated with artificial intelligence, computational linguistics, intelligent database retrieval, and problem solving. It’s widely used in research and education for natural language processing.

          Automatic backtracking is one of the most characteristic features of Prolog. It’s a form of searching, fundamental to all artificial intelligence techniques. Prolog also supports multi-directional reasoning; arguments to a procedure can freely be designated inputs and outputs in different ways in different procedure calls. This is a powerful theorem-proving technique. Another key feature of Prolog is that its syntax and semantics are closer to formal logic than say Lisp.

          Prolog is generally regarded as a difficult language to get to grips with. But learning the fundamentals of Prolog is definitely worthwhile.

        • State of DevOps Report Finds Maturity Varies Widely by Industry

          The scorecard gave the technology industry an “A” for DevOps adoption and an “A-” for security integration as part of the DevOps development pipeline. Brown noted that it was expected that companies in the technology industry would be leading the pack in terms of security integration because DevOps tends to be part of the DNA of those organizations.

        • C Programming Examples on Linux for Beginners

          C programming language is one of the good choices for learning computer programming for the beginners. The basic programming logic can be learned easily by using C language as a first language. Java is considered as first programming language by some people, but I think, it is better to learn structured or procedural programming using C language before learning any object-oriented programming. The basic C programming on Linux is shown in this article by using different examples for the beginners.

        • Perl / Raku
          • Monitorix 3.12.0 released

            Another great Perl software that I find very useful is Monitorix.

            Monitorix is FOSS lightweight system monitoring designed to monitor as many services and system resources as possible.

            The tl;dr is that it works really well for monitoring stand alone machines- which is what I used it for. It’s tracks all sorts of metrics with minimal configuration by me, and with packages for most distros its trivial to install and update.

        • Python
          • Easily Clip/Split Large Videos With this Python Script

            Sometimes you have may have a large video file, and you want to split that video into many smaller videos with start and end times that you specify yourself. And of course, you don’t want to do it manually with a video editor because it’s gonna take forever.

            What we are talking about for example, is when you have a video of 10 minutes, and you want to create 3 smaller clips out of it such that the first one is between 1:20 and 2:20 for example, and the second one is between 3:00 and 4:00 and the last one is between 7:10 and 8:15. Such things is theoretically hard, but not with Python and its amazing tools!

          • Real Python: How to Work With a PDF in Python

            The Portable Document Format or PDF is a file format that can be used to present and exchange documents reliably across operating systems. While the PDF was originally invented by Adobe, it is now an open standard that is maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). You can work with a preexisting PDF in Python by using the PyPDF2 package.

          • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #409 (Feb. 25, 2020)
          • Book review – Machine Learning with Python for Everyone, By Mark E. Fenner

            Machine learning, one of the hottest tech topics of today, is being used more and more. Sometimes as the best tool for the job, other times perhaps as a buzzword that is mainly used as a way to make a product look cooler. However, without knowing what ML is and how it works behind the scenes, it’s very easy to get lost. But this book does a great job in guiding you all the way up from very simple math concepts to some sophisticated machine learning techniques.

          • Python 3.8.2 and 3.9.0a4 are now available

            On behalf of the entire Python development community, and the currently serving Python release team in particular, I’m pleased to announce the release of two of the latest Python editions.

            Python 3.8.2

            Python 3.8.2 is the second maintenance release of Python 3.8 and contains two months worth of bug fixes. Detailed information about all changes made in 3.8.2 can be found in its change log. Note that compared to 3.8.1, version 3.8.2 also contains the changes introduced in 3.8.2rc1 and 3.8.2rc2.

          • Build Systems with Speed and Confidence by Closing the Loop First!

            A completely finished “loop” is when you can provide the required input to your system, and it produces the desired output (or side effects, if that’s how you like it). The “Close the loop first” technique is about closing this loop as fast as possible by creating a barebones version of it first, providing all or some required inputs, and generating a partial form of the desired output.

            Once we have closed this barebones loop, we can then begin implementing behaviours from the inside out, so that with each new change our loop starts looking more like the actual system we want.

            Sure, this is nothing new, right? We have all heard of this advice in various forms: build a proof of concept as quickly as possible; validate the unknowns first; if you want to deliver a car, deploy a skateboard first, etc. This is similar, but I am talking today purely from a “programming” point of view. In addition to helping you fail fast, “closing the loop” first also lets you build systems with more speed.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh
          • The easy-going syntax of AWK commands

            An endearing feature of AWK is the flexibility of its syntax. Some other languages have very strict rules about how to write commands, and if you disobey the rules, you get error messages.

  • Leftovers
    • Luis Villa: Surviving 2020 on Twitter

      At some point in the past few years, I accepted that I’m going to have a baseline level of anger about the state of the world, and that I have to focus on what I can change and let go of what I can’t. (Twitter anger is the latter.) So what can I change? Where is my anger productive?

      I’ve found that doing things offline—for me, mostly giving money—really helps. In particular, giving to causes that seek systemic (usually, that means political/government) change like and local activist groups, and giving a lot, and regularly. This, frankly, makes it a lot easier for me to ignore anger online — each new tweet is not likely to make me be more angry, or give more, because I’m already basically giving what I can. Being confident about that really reduced my FOMO when I started filtering aggressively.

      I hear from non-parents/non-startup-founders that physical-world activism (door-knocking, phone banking, local gov meeting-attending, etc.) can be great in this way too but sadly I can’t confirm

      (I also want to acknowledge that, in the current state of the world, ‘letting go’ gets harder the less privilege you have. I have no great response to that, except to say that I empathize and am trying to fight for you where and how I can.)

    • Science
      • Russel Doty: Unknowable Markets

        In the early stages of a disruptive technology you don’t know what it is, how it works, what is required to develop it, who will use it, what they will use it for, or how they will use it. Based on this you have to build a business plan, establish a return on investment that meets corporate thresholds, prepare a development plan and budget, get approval, obtain and assign resources, deliver on schedule, and meet sales forecasts. And, of course, the new technology is inferior to existing more mature technologies for most use cases.

        Right. Easy. No problem!

        The only things you know at the early stages are that the initial markets will be small and that your early beliefs and assumptions are almost certainly wrong. Just to make things even better, there is an excellent chance that any truly new technology won’t work out. When it does work it is likely to take significant time to mature – more time than most companies are willing to accept for their investments. Until the new technology matures it will be inferior to existing technologies for most applications. Welcome to the wonderful world of pioneering new product development!

        Based on this, no reasonable person would want to be involved in developing a disruptive technology.

        Fortunately we have unreasonable people! People with vision, passion, and the skills needed to go after things that haven’t been done before. People with the determination to continue even after setbacks and failure. People that believe “impossible” is just a word in the dictionary between “imposition” and “impost”.


        Some industries experience disruptive changes every few years. Other industries go decades without disruptive changes. The risk is that disruptive changes build up slowly and then hit with such speed and impact that it is too late to respond when they do happen.

        Fortunately this is a false dichotomy – there are choices between “everything” and “nothing”. The next article will begin to explore these alternatives.

      • Conflict solving has many layers

        Conflicts in the workplace are most of the time structural and systemic. However, they generally burst out on the individual, personal level, and ultimately on the relational level – making it look like they were individual problems. Often times, when we see a conflict, we only see the tip of the iceberg.


        People generally approach conflict like they would approach a problem with their car: they want to solve it via expert advice. Something is wrong, please repair the problem. “Kim is not happy that we put them on another task with less pay. Let’s hire an HR person who can “convince” Kim of the advantages of the new job.”

        Other times people think that the conflict can only be the fault of one of the people involved in it, and ascribe the person all sorts of bad character traits which could only get softened through relaxation techniques, or fixed through therapy (1). “Toni is so frustrated all the time, they should really learn some positive thinking and do more yoga so they don’t bother everyone with their bad mood at work.” OR “Jawad has a depression, let’s ignore his negativity.”


        When a conflict in your workplace arises, make sure to ask and research if there could be one or more underlying structural issues that may have led to this conflict.

        (1) It is very important to distinguish an actual mental health issue such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, as merely two examples, from behaviours that we dislike in other people. Mental health issues might be at the core of a conflict, or a dysfunctional relation at work. However, diagnosing a person with some kind of mental health issue is most often used as a way to dismiss their criticism, their way of voicing an opinion, or as a way to silence them. Rule of thumb: If you’re not their doctor, but have to work with them, please seek external medical — or even legal — advice.

      • Spilling over: How working openly with anxiety affects my team

        “I knew you were disappointed,” my staff member said, recalling the meeting, “like you wanted us to be doing something that we weren’t doing, or that what we were doing wasn’t good enough.”

        They paused for a moment and then said, “Sam, I get this feeling from you all the time.”

        That comment struck me pretty profoundly. To my team member, perhaps the scenario above is a reflection of my exacting standards, my high expectations, or my desire to see continual improvement with the team. Those are all reasonable explanations for my behavior.

        But there’s another ingredient my team may not be aware of: my anxiety.

      • Review: Digital Minimalism

        Cal Newport is a computer science professor at Georgetown with a long-standing side interest in personal productivity and career development. I first ran across his work with Deep Work, the thesis of which is that the most valuable resource for knowledge workers is concentration and the ability to think deeply about a topic, but our work environments and tools are structured to undermine that concentration. I found, and still find, Deep Work persuasive, even if that hasn’t fully translated into following its recommendations.

        This book is only glancingly about concentration, however. Newport has gotten interested in what he calls “digital minimalism,” joining the chorus of people who say that smart phones and social media are bad for your brain. If you’re already starting to roll your eyes, you’re not alone. I think Newport has a few interesting things to say and successfully avoids most of the moral panic that infests news media coverage of this topic, but I’d rather read more in the vein of Deep Work.

        Newport’s basic thesis is sound: Social networks, and to a lesser extent smart phones and mobile apps in general, are designed to make money for their authors by monetizing your attention. The companies behind them aren’t opposed to making your life better if that helps hold your attention, but it’s not their primary goal, nor is it clear if they know how to improve your life in any meaningful way. They do know, extremely well, how to exploit human psychology to keep you returning to their product.

    • Health/Nutrition
    • Integrity/Availability
      • Proprietary
        • Microsoft uses its expertise in malware to help with fileless attack detection on Linux [Ed: Truly laughable stuff as Microsoft specialises in adding back doors, then abusing those who speak about it]
        • Azure Sphere, Microsoft’s Linux-Powered IoT Security Service, Launches [Ed: Microsoft is Googlebombing "Linux" again; you search for Linux news, you get Microsoft Azure (surveillance) and proprietary malware, instead.]
        • Linux-Powered Azure IoT Security Platform Arrives [Ed: Microsoft news disguised as "Linux" -- a new PR theme?]
        • Microsoft previews Microsoft Defender ATP for Linux

          Believe it or not, Microsoft is readying its Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection for Linux servers. Yes, you read that right: Linux servers.

        • Google and Microsoft are scaring consumers over Edge extensions, and for what?

          Simply trying to install a Chrome extension via the Chrome Web Store actually requires navigating through several warnings, from both Google and Microsoft, about where to go to install an extension. The confusion and frustration this no doubt creates with users reflects poorly on both sides.

        • Pseudo-Open Source
          • Openwashing
          • Privatisation/Privateering
            • Linux Foundation
              • Why Source Code Scanning Tools are Essential to Open Source Compliance [Ed: This promotes proprietary software of Microsoft 'proxies', along with FUD, to make proprietary software sales]

                There are many scanning tools and vendors to choose from. For example, Black Duck, WhiteSource, and FOSSA are well-known vendors that offer scanning tools on a subscription basis. FOSSology is an open source scanning tool maintained by the Linux Foundation, but it doesn’t come with a pre-populated library of open source code or software repository, which you would need to build on your own.

        • Security
          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (curl and otrs2), Fedora (NetworkManager-ssh and python-psutil), Mageia (ipmitool, libgd, libxml2_2, nextcloud, radare2, and upx), openSUSE (inn and sudo), Oracle (kernel, ksh, python-pillow, and thunderbird), Red Hat (curl, kernel, nodejs:10, nodejs:12, procps-ng, rh-nodejs10-nodejs, ruby, and systemd), SUSE (dpdk, firefox, java-1_7_1-ibm, java-1_8_0-ibm, libexif, libvpx, nodejs10, nodejs8, openssl1, pdsh, slurm_18_08, python-azure-agent, python3, and webkit2gtk3), and Ubuntu (libapache2-mod-auth-mellon, libpam-radius-auth, and rsync).

          • New Critical RCE Bug in OpenBSD SMTP Server Threatens Linux Distros [Ed: Typical FUD associating "Linux" with a package that GNU/Linux distros do not come with]

            Security researchers have discovered a new critical vulnerability in the OpenSMTPD email server. An attacker could exploit it remotely to run shell commands as root on the underlying operating system.

          • New OpenSMTPD RCE Flaw Affects Linux and OpenBSD Email Servers [Ed: Again attributing to operating systems bugs in pertinent packages they may not even have]

            OpenSMTPD has been found vulnerable to yet another critical vulnerability that could allow remote attackers to take complete control over email servers running BSD or Linux operating systems.
            OpenSMTPD, also known as OpenBSD SMTP Server, is an open-source implementation of the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) to deliver messages on a local machine or to relay them to other SMTP servers.
            It was initially developed as part of the OpenBSD project but now comes pre-installed on many UNIX-based systems.

          • Y2K bug has a 2020 echo

            The New Scientist reports on problems with software caused by an echo of the Y2K bug that had every excited in the late 1990s.

            It turns out one of the fixes then was to kick various software cans down the road to 2020. In theory that gave people 20 years to find long term answers to the problems. In some cases they might have expected software refreshes to have solved the issue.


            This happens because Unix time started on January 1 1970. Time since then is stored as a 32-bit integer. On January 19 2038, that integer will overflow.

            Most modern applications and operating systems have been patched to fix this although there are some compatibility problems. The real issue comes with embedded hardware, think of things like medical devices, which will need replacing some time in the next 18 years.

          • The “Cloud Snooper” malware that sneaks into your Linux servers [Ed: They don't want to mention that people actually need to install this malware on GNU/Linux for dangers to become viable. Typical Sophos FUD/sales.]
          • Privacy/Surveillance
            • Facebook Is Buying Another Virtual Reality Game Studio

              The “vast majority” of Sanzaru’s nearly 100 employees will join Oculus, including the company’s founders, and Sanzaru will operate independently out of their existing offices, Facebook said Tuesday. Terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed. The deal comes three months after Facebook acquired Beat Games, the maker of another popular VR game called Beat Saber.

            • Peter Thiel’s Palantir Wins Role in $823 Million Government Contract

              The four-year deal represents more than a decade of work by the Palo Alto, California-based data mining startup to break into the club of existing defense contractors, and bolsters the company’s prospects as it prepares it to go public.

              The contract is the second half of a larger project. Palantir and Raytheon Co. won the first half of the deal in 2018, worth $876 million. This second part involves Palantir working with BAE Systems to replace the U.S. Army’s Distributed Common Ground System, used for aggregating and analyzing data, which has faced technical challenges. Palantir sued the Army in 2016 to win the right to compete for the new contract after the U.S. Government Accountability Office determined the old system was underperforming and over budget.

            • How to deactivate your Twitter account

              But being an active Twitter user requires sifting through a daily deluge of toxic characters, including white supremacists, bots, deepfakes, the president of the United States, and more. Plus, there’s no denying the stress and anxiety that the fast pace of Twitter’s news cycle, and the strain of constantly debating reply guys, can bring.

            • Firefox turns controversial new encryption on by default in the US

              Starting today, Mozilla will turn on by default DNS over HTTPS (DoH) for Firefox users in the US, the company has announced. DoH is a new standard that encrypts a part of your internet traffic that’s typically sent over an unencrypted plain text connection, and which could allow others to see what websites you’re visiting, even when your communication with the website itself is encrypted using HTTPS. Mozilla says it is the first browser to support the new standard by default, and will be rolling it out gradually over the coming weeks in order to address any unforeseen issues.

            • Firefox flips on default DNS over HTTPS to encrypt Internet traffic at the source

              For its part, Mozilla downplays any potential risk and vows to work with companies, schools, and other organizations, as well as ISPs to mitigate concerns over DoH. In a statement to ZDNet, the company said it was “We’re surprised and disappointed that an industry association for ISPs decided to misrepresent an improvement to decades-old internet infrastructure.”

              To use default DoH, you need to update or download the latest version of the Firefox browser (73.0.1). Users can disable default DoH on the Firefox browser—or enable it if you’re outside the U.S.—by visiting the Network tab under General settings and unchecking the Enable DNS over HTTPS box.

            • State supreme court rules for man charged with theft for removing GPS planted on his car by cops

              The Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday for an Indiana man who was charged with theft for allegedly removing a GPS tracking device from his vehicle that had been planted there by officers.

              The state supreme court ruled that warrants obtained to search for the device in Derek Heuring’s home and barn were invalid because there was no probable cause that the device was stolen. As a result, evidence obtained in the search cannot be used, the court said.

            • Justices: Seized evidence must be suppressed in GPS tracker case

              Specifically, Rush said the affidavits were based on noncriminal behavior, a hunch and a conclusory statement. “Thus, a reasonably well-trained officer, in reviewing these affidavits, would have known that they failed to establish probable cause and, without more, would not have applied for the warrants.”

              “In reaching this conclusion, we do not question Officer (Jarret) Busing’s subjective good faith. But that is not the test,” Rush concluded. “… We are also aware that exclusion of the evidence here may result in criminal behavior going unpunished. Yet, ‘there is nothing new in the realization that the Constitution sometimes insulates the criminality of a few in order to protect the privacy of us all.’ Arizona v. Hicks, 480 U.S. 321, 329 (1987).”

            • Indiana Supreme Court Tosses Warrants In Drug Case Over Privacy Issue

              The Indiana Supreme Court says that was wrong. In the unanimous decision, Chief Justice Loretta Rush writes, “we find it reckless for an [officer] to search a suspect’s home and his father’s barn based on nothing more than a hunch that a crime has been committed.”

              The Court invalidated those search warrants and any evidence found as a result, saying there was no probable cause to get the warrants in the first place.

              Heuring’s case now goes back to the trial court.

    • Defence/Aggression
      • Top Pentagon Policy Official Pushed Out

        The U.S. Department of Defense’s top policy official, John Rood, is stepping down from his post following pressure from the White House, leaving another gaping hole in the Pentagon’s senior leadership as the department comes under increased scrutiny over its handling of the president’s hold on military aid to Ukraine.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
      • Fate of Julian Assange to be sealed this week

        A fearless campaigner for democratic openness, or a criminal trying to avoid justice: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a highly polarising figure who finds himself once again at the centre of global attention.

        The 48-year-old Australian is the figurehead of the whistleblowing website that exposed government secrets worldwide, notably the explosive leak of US military and diplomatic files.

        But he has spent most of the past decade either in custody or holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy as he has tried to avoid extradition – first to Sweden and then to the United States.

      • Whatever you think of Assange, his case has broad implications

        There are two images of Julian Assange that display the deeply contradictory views of his supporters and his critics.

        The first is of Assange at the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, microphone in hand, addressing the media gathered in the street below. That low-angle image captures the hero of transparency, accountability, the scourge of the powerful, who has dug around electronic rubbish bins for secrets that governments would rather keep hidden. It shows a man defiantly standing up to the might of the United States by exposing corruption and human rights abuses and defending press freedom.

    • Environment
    • Finance
      • Sweden to test e-krona central bank digital currency on Corda blockchain

        How an e-krona might impact the Swedish economy depends in part on the design of the currency. Hence the need for the pilot project. Test users will store e-krona in a digital wallet, enabling them to make and receive payments. Additionally, there will be solutions for smartwatches and cards. The possibility of using the currency offline may be explored.

        Before a wallet can be used, it has to be activated by a participant connected to the distributed ledger technology (DLT) network, mainly banks. Once activated the e-kronor can be used for retail payments, person to person payments, or transfers to and from bank accounts.

      • Sweden’s Central Bank Finally Embraces DLT, But Only in Simulation Mode

        For now at least, the e-krona pilot is set to move forward on a limited basis. Built by Accenture and based on R3 Corda, Riksbank’s digital currency trials will run as a simulation through February 2021, at which point Riksbank could extend the project for another six years.

        The pilot will not involve any banks or end-users; everything will be simulated within the central bank’s closed network. Accenture is still preparing the final system for testing, according to Riksbank’s press office.

      • Swedish central bank begins CBDC pilot with Accenture

        The central bank said that it is conducting a pilot project aimed at developing a proposal for a technical solution for e-krona. The pilot is being carried out in collaboration with Accenture.

        As per the details, the project aims to show in a test environment how an e-krona could be used by the general public. This technical solution will be based on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).

      • Technical solution for the e-krona pilot

        The technical platform that forms the foundation of the e-krona solution is based on the company R3’s Corda DLT platform. Corda differs on a number of crucial points from cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. For example, the e-krona’s DLT network will be private and only accessible for participants approved by the Riksbank. Corda’s solution for verifying transactions is not as energy-consuming as Bitcoin either, but is instead more comparable with existing payment systems. Corda also provides a high degree of robustness and scalability as only a few nodes, and the notary node that is a supporting component to prevent double spending of tokens, are involved in each transaction.

    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • 5 Ways William Barr is Turning America into a Dictatorship

        But unlike Nixon, Trump won’t resign. He has too many enablers – not just a shameful Attorney General but also shameless congressional Republicans – who place a lower priority on justice than on satisfying the most vindictive and paranoid occupant of the White House in modern American history.One ABC News interview, conducted only to give the appearance of impartiality, doesn’t make up for the myriad ways Attorney General Bill Barr has corrupted the Justice Department and willfully abetted Trump’s lawlessness. For the sake of our democracy, he must resign immediately.

    • Monopolies
      • Patents
        • Numbering System in Drawings Used to Interpret Claims

          After a narrowing claim construction, the patentee stipulated to a non-infringement and invalidity judgment. On appeal, the Federal Circuit has vacated and remanded — holding that the underlying claim construction was partially erroneous.

          The two patents at issue – U.S. Patents 6,427,078 & 5,915,239 – originated with Nokia in the mid-1990’s and are directed to aspects of hand-held personal communication devices.


          On appeal, the Federal Circuit refused to limit “camera unit” to the design found in the figure. In particular, the Federal Circuit explained that the camera unit is consistently numbered in the fourteens (14, 14a, 14b, 14o, 14c). The battery and interface have separate numbers — indicating that they are not actually part of the camera unit.


          Because this subidentifier limitation was in all of the asserted claims in the ‘239 patent — the non-infringement finding will stick. On remand though, the patentee will further pursue its infringement claim under US6,427,078.

        • Software Patents
          • Obtaining patent protection for software in Europe

            Under the European Patent Convention, a computer program per se is not considered a patentable invention; rather, program listings per se are protected by copyright.

            However, in many cases, a computer program can be considered a technical solution to a technical problem and is thus patentable. For a European patent to be granted, applicants must show that this solution is novel and involves an inventive step with respect to prior art.

            In a well-known opinion,(1) the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) confirmed that it is possible to avoid any objections to a program per se by adding one or more technical features in the claims (eg, by introducing programmable apparatus). In particular, claiming a ‘computer-implemented method’ with different steps is considered a technical solution to a technical problem because of the presence of a computer. This criteria is assessed without regard to prior art. The EPO Guidelines for Examination are in line with this approach.


            A recent EPO report comparing European and Chinese practices for software-related inventions revealed that the Chinese approach for determining if a claimed object is a patentable invention differs slightly from the European approach.(2) In China, computer programs per se are considered mental activities and cannot be patented. Applicants must show that the claimed invention adopts technical means to solve a technical problem and thereby achieves a technical effect. In other words, this first hurdle is similar to the examination of inventiveness step in Europe.

      • Copyrights

Reminder: At Linux Foundation in 2020 Three Board Members, Including the Vice Chair and Director at Large, Are Current or Past Microsoft Employees

Wednesday 26th of February 2020 08:42:01 AM

It is only getting worse over time

Credit: Will Hill

Summary: Sometimes the facts speak for themselves (or pictures speak louder than words)

“You want to infiltrate those. Again, there’s two categories. There’s those that are controlled by vendors; like MSJ; we control that. And there’s those that are independent. [...] So that’s how you use journals that we control. The ones that third parties control, like the WinTech Journal, you want to infiltrate.”

Microsoft's chief evangelist

Links 25/2/2020: MakuluLinux LinDoz and Manjaro 19.0 Released

Tuesday 25th of February 2020 06:14:27 PM

  • GNU/Linux
    • Update on Linux support: creation of a CERN Linux community forum

      For those, a CERN Linux community forum has been created. Users will be able to post issues that they encounter when using non-CERN-supported Linux distributions and to post solutions. Users are also encouraged to post articles with comments and ideas that could help make this forum more dynamic and useful to them.

      Various methods for printing and using AFS, SSH, ROOT and other tools at CERN can be found on the internet. The CERN Linux community forum aims to collect these methods, as well as new ones that may be created directly in it.

    • Audiocasts/Shows
      • PinePhone | Using Linux Phone instead of Android or Apple

        PinePhone | Using Linux Phone instead of Android or Apple I am going over the Pinephone, the next generation of open-source phones that have no spyware and tracking like the traditional iPhones and Android Phones of today. It is still in development, but I got my hands on one and I have to say I am impressed.

      • 2020-02-24 | Linux Headlines

        Richard Stallman has won the battle for the GNU project, another critical vulnerability in OpenSMTPD, and Arch Linux makes leadership changes.

      • Ask Lunduke – Feb 24, 2020 – Bloated Software and Licensing

        Ask Lunduke is a weekly podcast where the community can ask any question they like… and I (attempt to) answer them. This episode is available to all Patreon supporters. Topics on Ask Lunduke this week: If you had a magic button that would swap all Free Software for Proprietary… and all Proprietary for Free Software… would you? Why is modern software so bloated? Would you rather live in a home with no power, or a home where everything imaginable is an Internet of Things device, and you can’t deactivate them or block their signal?

      • Mastering Cyber Security Basics: James Smith | Jupiter Extras 58

        Wes and Ell sit down with James Smith to have an honest conversation about what skills are needed to start a career and be successful in Tech and Information Security.

    • Kernel Space
      • Linux Kernel 5.6-rc3 Releases Officially by Linus Torvalds!!

        Kernel 5.6-re3 releases:“ Linux Torvalds said, ‘Linux Kernel 5.6-rc3 will be released soon.’” Linux Kernel is an open-source UNIX based operating system for all the computers. Each and every part of Linux distributions is made up of Linux Kernel. Every major open-source system such as Servers, Desktops, TV, smartphones, Watch, Distro is using the Linux Kernel as the base. The Linux Kernel is basically developed by Linus Torvalds in the year of 1991 for his personal computer. But later now, it has been developed into an operating system that attracted many developers all around the world.

      • Kernel prepatch 5.6-rc3

        The 5.6-rc3 kernel prepatch is out for testing. Linus says: “Fairly normal rc3 as far as I can tell. We’ve seen bigger, but we’ve seen smaller ones too. Maybe this is slightly on the low side of average at this time, which would make sense since this was a smaller merge window. Anyway, too much noise in the signal to be sure either way.”

      • Linux 5.5.6

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.5.6 kernel.

        All users of the 5.5 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.5.y git tree can be found at:
        git:// linux-5.5.y
        and can be browsed at the normal git web browser:…

      • Linux 5.4.22
      • Linux 4.19.106
    • Benchmarks
      • The Current RADV+ACO Mesa Driver Performance For February 2020

        As it’s been a few weeks since last running a Mesa open-source driver comparison on AMD Radeon graphics hardware, here are some fresh Mesa 20.1-devel benchmarks just a few weeks so far after the Mesa 20.0 branching. These latest Mesa 20.1-devel benchmarks were also run a second time when enabling the RADV ACO shader compiler back-end that’s been a focus by Valve developers in enhancing the Linux gaming experience. These results are compared to Mesa 19.2.8 as a baseline for the open-source driver support offered out-of-the-box by Ubuntu 19.10.

      • AMD officially recommends Windows 10 Pro, Linux for Threadripper 3990X

        AMD launched its insane Ryzen Threadripper 3990X processor recently, rocking 64 cores and 128 threads but what operating system do you need to squeeze everything out of the 128-threaded CPU? AMD has the answer.

    • Applications
      • Claws Mail 3.17.5 Open-Source Email Client Released with New Features

        Coming seven months after the previous release, Claws Mail 3.17.5 is here to implement colour syntax highlighting support for inline Git patch attachments, which can be configured via the “Other” tab in the Display/Colors page under General Preferences.

        It also adds the ability to scroll with the keyboard in the LiteHtml viewer plugin and the “Re-edit” message context menu option was reimplemented and will be visible in the Drafts folder.

        Furthermore, Claws Mail 3.17.5 adds support for two extra date header formats, namely weekday, month, day, hh, mm, ss, year, zone and weekday, month, day, hh, mm, ss, year, and lets users configure the “summary_from_show” hidden preference from the user interface via the “Message List” tab in the Display/Summaries under General Preferences.

      • 3 eBook readers for the Linux desktop

        I usually read eBooks on my phone or with my Kobo eReader. I’ve never been comfortable reading books on larger screens. However, many people regularly read books on their laptops or desktops. If you are one of them (or think you might be), I’d like to introduce you to three eBook readers for the Linux desktop.

        Bookworm is billed as a “simple, focused eBook reader.” And it is. Bookworm has a basic set of features, which some people will complain about being too basic or lacking functionality (whatever that word means). Bookworm does one thing and does it well without unnecessary frills.

        The application’s interface is very clean and uncluttered.

      • Open-Source AI Projects For Linux

        For years, programmers, researchers and web hosting gurus have used Linux for building and hosting their creations. One of the biggest benefits of using Linux for these AI open-source projects is that it is a stable program made to be used in just about any IT architecture and infrastructure. Some developers have the misconception that Linux is full of unwanted surprises like OSX and Windows, but this is not true because these programs are open source. This means that anyone can tinker with the open-source code online, which is why Windows and OSX are not widely used for AI programs.

        Linux has both the versatility and security needed to run open-source AI projects. Powerful tech companies like Google even use a variant of the Linux distribution Ubuntu to power their machine learning programs. Using tools like Loggly allows you to find errors in your Linux-powered creations and fix them quickly. Utilizing the power of the Linux/AI technology on the market will require lots of time and research. The more you know about the tools available to you, the easier it will be to choose the right ones.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
      • With clever cloth simulation the cyberpunk platformer ‘Lazr’ is funded

        With a campaign that had quite a dicey ending, Lazr, an action platformer with some really fun use of cloth physics/simulation has now been funded on Kickstarter.

        Against the goal of $10,000 they ended with $10,432. Sadly, right before it ended they had a sudden drop in funding from other $12,300 which means two stretch-goals didn’t make it and the campaign as a whole almost didn’t make it.

      • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive adds the first Agent customization with Patches

        Valve are pushing out more customization options to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, with the ability to add Patches sewn into Agent’s outfits.

        Customization is big of course, it’s part of the reason other games (Fortnite) are so popular. Looks like Valve want to get a bigger piece of the pie too. With the new Battle Pass system introduced with the Shattered Web Operation, it brought with it new Agents so you don’t have to just have the standard look.

      • Hearts of Iron IV’s espionage-themed expansion, La Résistance, is a fun addition to a hard-fought war

        You could be excused for thinking that the latest expansion for Hearts of Iron IV is all about the plucky resistance fighters and partisans that fought various occupying forces and oppressive governments during the Second World War. While they certainly feature in new mechanics, there they’re not the main attraction of this sizeable expansion. Instead, La Résistance’s major features can be split into two broad camps: the introduction of espionage and skullduggery and unique focus trees and content for Iberian nations and France.

        The new espionage system adds a new layer of strategy to the game. Its fundamentals are simple: spend resources to establish an agency, recruit agents and then send them off in missions to further your aims. It’s a system that’s rather intuitive and offers a degree of flexibility in how you choose to grow your spy agency. In the various games that I played I found that it didn’t require much micromanagement and that I was able to approach warfare in slightly different ways each time around thanks to the help of my agents.

        The types of missions available are plentiful and, honestly, slightly overwhelming when it comes to actually deciding what I wanted to go for. This is in part because of the very long time it takes to infiltrate other countries, crack their codes or plan some of the more useful operations like winning over potential quislings so that future occupations are smoother. For typical aggressor nations, like Germany, it’s simply not worth the bother to send your two or so agents to France in the early years to destabilize them. By the time that you’re able to do anything useful in these infiltrated countries, you’re likely already on the verge of overwhelming them militarily anyways. The spy game plays best for long-term calculations, against foes who you have the luxury of time to undermine thoroughly.

      • First gameplay teaser for Spiritfarer, a ‘cozy management game about dying’ is out

        Spiritfarer has me so extremely curious, coming from Thunder Lotus Games (Sundered, Jotun) it’s a ‘cozy management game about dying’ and a short gameplay teaser is out.

        This is one I actually missed, when it and others had a short demo up for The Game Awards recently (I was too busy enjoying CARRION) so this is the first proper footage I’ve seen of it. In Spiritfarer, you play as Stella, a ferrymaster to the deceased. It’s your job to care for their spirits before they get released into the afterlife. A highly unusual setting for such a sim although it has the usual mechanics like mining, farming and so on but the setting definitely hits a new spot.

      • Half-Life remake ‘Black Mesa’ will finally hit 1.0 on March 5

        After a very long 14 year development cycle (yes really) and almost 5 years in Early Acces, the Half-Life remake Black Mesa is finally going properly release on March 5.

        In an announcement on Steam, they mentioned how hard it has been and how they nearly quit multiple times but they’re just about at the finishing line now. They even mentioned how their first game industry job came as a result of their free work on Black Mesa, which did eventually turn into their actual job and they feel Black Mesa is “the best, most polished, and most fun version of the game yet” and that the “anticipation and excitement around our project is beyond flattering.”.

      • The new ‘ΔV: Rings of Saturn’ hard sci-fi space sim trailer has me itching to play

        ΔV: Rings of Saturn, a top-down hard sci-fi space simulation game backed up by real physics and science has a rather explosive new trailer out.

        Currently in Early Access, and something our contributor Scaine talks about highly, ΔV: Rings of Saturn from Kodera Software definitely seems like something a bit special. It’s been through some huge updates in the last few months too from a major Godot Engine upgrade with improved performance to a bunch of new visual effects.

      • Norbert Preining: Gaming: The Turing Test

        In a world without Portal and The Talos Principle, The Turing Test would have been a great game. Fortunately there is Portal and The Talos Principle, which leaves The Turing Test as an interesting clone with a lot of (sometimes) challenging levels, but no real innovation.

      • Humble Store has a ‘Tabletop Sale’ going, some good Linux games on offer

        It’s the start of another glorious week for Linux gaming and another big sale is going on again. Over on the Humble Store, they have a Tabletop Sale now live.

      • How to play Bully: Scholarship Edition on Linux

        Bully: Scholarship Edition is a remaster of Rockstar Game’s “Bully,” a game about a young kid working his way through the social hierarchy of high school, meeting girls, making friends, and causing mischief. The game is an open world, which is typical of Rockstar. Here’s how to get it working on your Linux PC.

      • DOSBox – Run classic DOS games on your Linux PC

        DOSBox is an open-source software that creates a virtual MS-DOS compatible environment, including sound, graphics, and basic networking. It enables you to run DOS applications without any modifications.

        Using this wonderful app, you can run your classic DOS games and compilers like Wolfenstein 3D, Prince of Persia, Turbo C++, and MASM on your Linux PC.

        DOSBox makes use of Simple DirectMedia Layer (SDL), a library designed to allow low-level access to hardware components like a mouse, keyboards, sound system, and graphics. It has made the whole process of porting easier to various platforms. Currently, DOSBox runs on several platforms like different Linux, Windows, and macOS.

      • Space Grunts 2 shows how versatile a deck-builder can be and it’s good

        With how popular deck-builders have become, it’s no surprise to see many developers have a go at it. Orangepixel have with Space Grunts 2 and after playing it, I’m really enjoying it. Note: Key provided by the developer.

        Currently in Early Access, released there back in September 2019 the developer seems to just keep adding more to it nearly every week. Given how many updates it’s had, I took it for a spin to get some early thoughts on it. Space Grunts 2 has been, at least so far, one of the most unique feeling roguelikes thanks to their deck-building mechanic. Like other great roguelikes it’s turn-based so nothing happens until you move, you take turns on the combat, and if you die and you need to start again. However, as you travel you collect cards which are you abilities.

      • The afterlife is an office job of choosing who lives and dies in Death and Taxes

        Placeholder Gameworks (great name!) have just recently released Death and Taxes, a game set in the afterlife where you take on the role of the Grim Reaper only it’s not quite what you expect. Note: Key sent by the developer to our Steam Curator.

        Rather than go out dressed in a hooded-robe with a great big scythe, it’s an office job. You get to give the stamp of approval on who lives and dies to keep chaos in check, based on people in life-threatening situations with your actions having certain consequences based on who sticks around. Inspired by the likes of “Papers, Please”, “Reigns” and “Beholder”.

      • Oxygen Not Included still ‘fully in development’ with first DLC hopefully this Autumn

        Klei Entertainment have given an update on their plans for continued support of the colony survival/building game Oxygen Not Included and they confirmed it’s still ‘fully in development’.

        Although it left Early Access back in July last year, since then they’ve been somewhat quiet on their wider plans. Not entirely silent though as they did release the “Meep’s Manadatory Recreation Content Pack” free update, along with a big update to the Unity version used. Thanks to a recent roadmap post, we now know what their further plans are.

        For the first major DLC, they said it’s going to be “quite sizable” with new game systems included. However, they’re not giving a definite timeline on it as they’re still testing and iterating on their ideas. They did at least give something of a release window, with something to show in the Summer to possibly release in the Autumn.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • GNOME Desktop/GTK
        • GNOME Clocks App Redesigned, Now Looks Great on Linux Phones

          In all, looking pretty good I think! Although Clocks isn’t the kind of app I use that often on the desktop (save for setting up world clocks so they are shown in the messaging tray/calendar applet) it’s an integral tool.

          You can read more about the effort behind this update on Bilal’s blog. You’ll find code for the refreshed GNOME Clocks on Gitlab.

          Are you running a modern Linux distribution? If so, you can install the current version of Clocks using a package manager of your choice.

          Finally, to see more of this revamp in action check out this video that anime addict BabyWogue has just published — such great timing!

        • GNOME On Wayland Screencasting Is About To Be A Heck Of A Lot More Efficient

          Pending GNOME Mutter changes in conjunction with the new PipeWire 0.3 will offer a big improvement in making use of GNOME’s screencasting support from Wayland sessions.

          GNOME’s screencasting / monitor sharing support under Wayland has already been in quite good shape compared to other desktops/compositors on Wayland, but with PipeWire 0.3 and pending Mutter changes is a big step forward. With PipeWire 0.3 is support for importing DMA-BUF file descriptors and sharing it with clients, which can avoid excess image copies between CPU and GPU memory. As we see time and time again, using DMA-BUF can provide big wins for performance thanks to properly designed zero-copy buffer sharing between drivers and hardware blocks.

        • Even better screencast with GNOME on Wayland

          With last week’s release of PipeWire 3, and Mutter’s subsequent adaptation to depend on it, I decided to revive something I have started to work on a few months ago. The results can be found in this merge request.

          PipeWire 0.3 brings one very interesting and important feature to the game: it can import DMA-Buf file descriptors, and share it with clients. On the client side, one easy way to make use of this feature is simply by using the pipewiresrc source in GStreamer.

          The key aspect of DMA-Buf sharing is that we avoid copying images between GPU and CPU memory. On a 4K monitor, which is what I’m using these days, that means it avoids needlessly copying almost 2GB of pixels every second.

    • Distributions
      • Haiku Alpha 1: Rebirth of legend (Part 1 of 5: Startup and first look)

        As a quick recap or the ‘too long, didn’t read’ (tdlr) version of the intro to the Haiku Alpha series, Be had started life making its own software (BeOS) and hardware (BeBox) — but in the end, three things had hurt Be: struggling to compete in a Windows dominion, the lost candidacy at becoming the next generation Mac OS (and the end of Mac clones), and finally, their push into the Internet Appliance market (which failed as the technologies needed to make it attractive to consumers were ahead of Be’s time). By 2002, Be was gone (1).

        Thus, in the ashes of Be’s collapse, there were aficionados of the BeOS who tried to keep the legacy going through various distributions and forks (such as Max and Zeta) — but there really wasn’t one successor to lead the way. That is… until the appearance of the OpenBeOS (renamed Haiku later in its development), which finally reached Alpha status in the autumn of 2009 on September 14 (2).

        And so — without further prologue, that brings us to today’s topic: Haiku Alpha 1.

      • New Releases
        • IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 141 released

          The first exciting big update of the year is ready: IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 141! It comes with a totally reworked DNS system which adds many new features like DNS-over-TLS.

          On top of that, this update fixes many bugs.

        • IPFire Open-Source Linux Firewall Gets a Revamped DNS System
        • MakuluLinux LinDoz Edition is now available for Download

          MakuluLinux LinDoz Is not designed to be a Clone of Windows, it is merely familiar territory for both Windows and Linux users, the themes aren’t replicas of windows, but mere “similar” designs. It doesn’t matter which environment you come from, when you log into LinDoz you get a familiar sense of belonging. We added just enough to make windows users feel comfortable, yet pushing them to explore the Linux world, Linux users will feel instantly at home, feeling comfortable with the terminal and rest of the tools and software, yet maybe enjoy the windows like themes and icon sets. Lindoz is also extremely beautiful, from the first logon you will simply fall in love with how pleasing it is on the eyes. LinDoz not only offers pretty themes and beautiful wallpapers, it also features a really cool and unique menu options and some other cool hidden goodies, Watch the included Video for more details…

          Makulu LinDoz 2020 is a complete redesign of the Original Debian based LinDoz flavor. It is now built on top of the new MakuluLinux Constructor 2020 Base, Codenamed : “2020-U Base”, A Base that we spent a lot of time making and perfecting, possibly one of the fastest, most flexible and most stable bases floating around the net at the moment, not to mention it is near bug free. Unlike the its predecessor which used the Debian repositories, This base gets its core updates from Ubuntu Bionic with additional updates being supplied by Makulu Directly, unlike many other big developers that borrow their base from Debian or Ubuntu, we chose to instead build our own, this way we don’t inherit any known bugs that plague Ubuntu builds and since we built the base we know whats going on inside it, it also allowed us to optimize for speed and stability of our Builds, and it shows, it really shows, anyone who has run any of our builds have noticed how well they run… The Reason I mention the base at all will be relevant in Due time. Just know, this new 2020 Base is really Awesome, and that LinDoz is built on this new Base.

      • Gentoo Family
        • Searx and Gentoo wiki search

          Two years ago I started to get interested in selfhosting services. I started to go away from private services and implementing selfhosting, manly because private services was disabling most of the features that I liked and I had no way to contribute or see how they was working.
          That is what made look into and That is when I disovered searx, as the github page say searx is a “Privacy-respecting metasearch engine”.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE
        • Leap 15.2 Enters Beta Builds Phase

          openSUSE Leap 15.2 entered the Beta phase last week and has already released two snapshots with the release of build 581.2 and build 588.2. Leap has a rolling development model until it’s final build, so multiple builds will be released according to the road map until the gold master is released, which is scheduled for May 7.

          There are no concrete milestones in the rolling development model. As bugs are fixed and new packages introduced or excluded, snapshots of the latest beta phase builds will be released once they pass openQA testing.

        • OpenSUSE Leap 15.2 Begins Seeing Beta Builds, Official Release Due In May

          OpenSUSE Leap 15.2 has rolled past its alpha phase and is now producing rolling-release beta builds for this version of openSUSE built off the SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 sources.

          These beta releases are coming after several months of alpha milestones. SUSE developers are anticipating the transition to the release candidate phase around mid-April and to officially ship openSUSE Leap 15.2 on 7 May.

          Among the items on the 15.2 road-map for openSUSE has included updating AppStream, changing more “openSUSE” references to “Leap”, and other items. Leap 15.2 will have an updated Linux kernel, KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS with Qt 5.12, Xfce 4.14, and other package updates.

      • Arch Family
        • Linux Gamers And Creators Should Pay Attention To Arch-Based Salient OS

          Sometimes our field of vision or limited experience restricts us from seeing worthy alternatives. That’s especially true when it comes to desktop Linux; there is no shortage of quality Linux operating systems to test out. So when I argued here that System76’s Pop!_OS is perfect for gamers and produced this video demonstrating it, there were two passionate camps in the comments section. One side voiced cheerful agreement, but the other side basically said “Clearly you haven’t tried Salient OS.”

        • The Future of the Arch Linux Project Leader

          Some of you may know me from the days when I was much more involved in Arch, but most of you probably just know me as a name on the website. I’ve been with Arch for some time, taking the leadership of this beast over from Judd back in 2007. But, as these things often go, my involvement has slid down to minimal levels over time. It’s high time that changes.

          Arch Linux needs involved leadership to make hard decisions and direct the project where it needs to go. And I am not in a position to do this.

        • Arch Linux Announces New Project Leader

          Aaron Griffin is stepping down as the Arch Linux Project Leader, who has led the distribution since 2007 where under his tenure Arch Linux boomed in popularity. With him stepping away due to minimal time to invest in the project, a process for selecting a new leader has formed.

          The Arch Linux staff has formed a new process for determining future leaders by the staff voting for new leaders. The Arch Linux Project leader will hold two year terms moving forward.

        • Manjaro 19.0 released (Gnome, KDE, XFCE, Architect)

          We are happy to publish another stable release of Manjaro Linux, named Kyria.

          The Xfce edition remains our flagship offering and has received the attention it deserves. Only a few can claim to offer such a polished, integrated and leading-edge Xfce experience. With this release we ship Xfce 4.14 and have mostly focused on polishing the user experience with the desktop and window manager. Also we have switched to a new theme called Matcha. A new feature Display-Profiles allows you to store one or more profiles for your preferred display configuration. We also have implemented auto-application of profiles when new displays are connected.

          Our KDE edition provides the powerful, mature and feature-rich Plasma 5.17 desktop environment with a unique look-and-feel, which we completely re-designed for this release. The full set of Breath2-themes includes light and dark versions, animated splash-screen, Konsole profiles, Yakuake skins and many more little details. We have rounded off text editor Kate with some additional color schemes and offer Plasma-Simplemenu as an alternative to the traditional Kickoff-Launcher. With a wide selection of latest KDE-Apps 19.12.2 and other applications Manjaro-KDE aims to be a versatile and elegant environment ready for all your everyday needs.

        • Manjaro 19 Is Now Available With Updated GNOME, KDE Plasma And Xfce Features

          After several months of testing and copious amounts of teasing, the next major update to Arch-based Manjaro is now available. The final version of Manjaro 19 has been released with a host of updates, and special attention paid to the distro’s flagship Xfce desktop version. Manjaro 19 brings Xfce 4.14 to the table, with special attention paid to the overall polish of the user experience and window manager. The team has also switched the theme to Matcha, and added a feature called Display-Profiles to store one (or several) profiles for your current display configuration, which is nothing short of fantastic.

        • Manjaro Linux 19.0 “Kyria” Released: A Beginner-Friendly Arch Experience

          After the two release candidates, Manjaro Linux has announced the release of a new stable version v19.0 with bug fixes and more polished multiple Desktop Environments such as Xfce, KDE, and GNOME.

          Weeks before the release of Manjaro 18.1, Manjaro Linux became a professional project and hence it focuses more on building a professional Linux based operating system.

        • Arch-Based Manjaro 19.0 Released With Flagship Edition Using Xfce 4.14

          Manjaro 19.0 is out today as this popular desktop-focused Arch Linux based distribution that is focused on its Xfce desktop spin but also offers other desktop options.

          Manjaro 19.0 makes use of Xfce 4.14 paired with a new theme while KDE Plasma 5.17 and GNOME 3.34 are offered as other desktop options for this Arch-based platform. Manjaro 19.0 is shipping with the Linux 5.4 LTS kernel, Pamac 9.3 for package management, and a plethora of other package updates. Manjaro 19.0 also features improvements around Oracle VM VirtualBox support, NVIDIA PRIME with the proprietary graphics driver, and other updates pulled in from upstream.

        • Manjaro Linux 19.0 “Kyria” Officially Released, This Is What’s New
      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
        • LMDE 4 “Debbie” – BETA Release

          LMDE is a Linux Mint project which stands for “Linux Mint Debian Edition”. Its goal is to ensure Linux Mint would be able to continue to deliver the same user experience, and how much work would be involved, if Ubuntu was ever to disappear. LMDE is also one of our development targets, to guarantee the software we develop is compatible outside of Ubuntu.

          LMDE aims to be as similar as possible to Linux Mint, but without using Ubuntu. The package base is provided by Debian instead.

        • Linux Mint Debian Edition 4 Reaches Beta – Debian 10 Paired With Cinnamon

          The Linux Mint crew continues maintaining Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) as a fall-back should anything ever happen to Ubuntu or their ability to deliver an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution. Available now in beta is Linux Mint Debian Edition 4.

          The Linux Mint Debian Edition 4 is re-based against Debian 10 “Buster” with a variety of other improvements like the ability to easily boot with the NVIDIA proprietary driver. Linux Mint Debian 4 does offer its latest Cinnamon desktop environment, XApps, and other refinements compared to running upstream Debian GNU/Linux.

        • Canonical’s Daniel Van Vugt Continues Squeezing More Performance Out Of GNOME 3.36

          Canonical’s Daniel Van Vugt continues focusing on GNOME performance optimizations and this past week still managed to squeeze another optimization out of the near-final GNOME 3.36.

          Van Vugt has managed some nice performance optimizations out of the GNOME stack over the past 2+ years in particular with Ubuntu using it as the default desktop environment. While GNOME 3.36 is gearing up for release in mid-March, Van Vugt is still working to get some lingering work completed and also seeing that in turn included for the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS release due out in April.

        • The Fridge: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 619

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 619 for the week of February 16 – 22, 2020. The full version of this issue is available here.

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Best Open Source Slack Alternatives for Team Communication

        You are here: Home / List / Best Open Source Slack Alternatives for Team Communication
        Best Open Source Slack Alternatives for Team Communication
        Last updated February 25, 2020 By Ankush Das Leave a Comment

        Brief: Here, we shall take a look at the best open source slack alternatives that you can choose to communicate with your team at work.

        Slack is one of the most popular team communication services for work. Some may call it a glorified IRC but that doesn’t impact its popularity.

        It is available for free with additional features offered in its paid plans. Though Slack can be installed on Linux thanks to an Electron app but it is not open source, neither the client nor the server.

        In this article, I’ll list a few open source Slack alternatives that you can try.

      • How to use HomeBank for your open source alternative to Quicken

        A while ago, I used Quicken to manage my finances. It’s proprietary software, and year after year, it cost me more and more money for upgrades. Eventually, I realized it isn’t prudent to take away from my budget to help me control my budget.

        Fortunately, I learned about HomeBank while reading an article about open source money management tools. HomeBank is free personal banking software. It runs on Linux, Windows, and macOS, and it’s offered in 56 different languages. These advantages ensure it’s available to you no matter your choice of operating system and the language you speak.

      • Web Browsers
        • Mozilla
          • Google helps devs speed up Firefox with open source Lighthouse extension

            Google has released a Firefox version of its Lighthouse browser extension, giving developers an easy way to test the performance of websites and web apps.

            The open source extension makes use of the PageSpeed Insights API, and the new release brings Firefox in line with Chrome which has had a version of the extension for a few years now. The ultimate aim is to make it easier for developers to improve app and page performance by encouraging better practices.

          • Firefox continues push to bring DNS over HTTPS by default for US users

            Today, Firefox began the rollout of encrypted DNS over HTTPS (DoH) by default for US-based users. The rollout will continue over the next few weeks to confirm no major issues are discovered as this new protocol is enabled for Firefox’s US-based users.

            A little over two years ago, we began work to help update and secure one of the oldest parts of the internet, the Domain Name System (DNS). To put this change into context, we need to briefly describe how the system worked before DoH. DNS is a database that links a human-friendly name, such as, to a computer-friendly series of numbers, called an IP address (e.g.

          • The Facts: Mozilla’s DNS over HTTPs (DoH)

            The current insecure DNS system leaves billions of people around the world vulnerable because the data about where they go on the internet is unencrypted. We’ve set out to change that. In 2017, Mozilla began working on the DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) protocol to close this privacy gap within the web’s infrastructure. Today, Firefox is enabling encrypted DNS over HTTPS by default in the US giving our users more privacy protection wherever and whenever they’re online.

          • Goals for USA FREEDOM reauthorization: reforms, access, and transparency

            At Mozilla, we believe that privacy is a fundamental digital right. We’ve built these values into the Firefox browser itself, and we’ve pushed Congress to pass strong legal protections for consumer privacy in the US. This week, Congress will have another opportunity to consider meaningful reforms to protect user privacy when it debates the reauthorization of the USA FREEDOM Act. We believe that Congress should amend this surveillance law to remove ineffective programs, bolster resources for civil liberties advocates, and provide more transparency for the public. More specifically, Mozilla supports the following reforms…


            Second, the program may not provide sufficiently valuable insights in the current threat environment. In a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the government acknowledged that the intelligence value of the program was outweighed by the costs and technical challenges associated with its continued operation. This conclusion was supported by an independent analysis from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), which hopes to publicly release an unclassified version of its report in the near future. Additionally, the shift to other forms of communications may make it even less likely that law enforcement will obtain useful information through this specific authority in the future.

            And finally, some technological shifts may have made the CDR program too complex to implement today. Citing to “technical irregularities” in some of the data obtained from telecom providers under the program, the NSA deleted three years’ worth of CDRs that it was not authorized to receive last June. While the agency has not released a specific explanation, Susan Landau and Asaf Lubin of Tufts University have posited that the problem stems from challenges associated with measures in place to facilitate interoperability between landlines and mobile phone networks.

          • Critiquing Design

            This is me about 25 years ago, dancing with a yoga ball. I was part of a theater company where I first learned Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process. We used this extensively—it was an integral part of our company dynamic. We used it to develop company work, we used it in our education programs and we even used it to redesign our company structure. It was a formative part of my development as an artist, a teacher, and later, as a user-centered designer.

            What I love about this process is that works by embedding all the things we strive for in a critique into a deceptively simple, step-by-step process. You don’t have to try to remember everything the next time you’re knee-deep in a critique session. It’s knowledge in the world for critique sessions.

          • Firefox for Mac and Linux to get a new security sandbox system
      • SaaS/Back End/Databases
        • EnterpriseDB looks to grow market for PostgreSQL

          One of key vendors in the PostgreSQL community is EnterpriseDB, which provides a commercially supported distribution of Postgres. A primary competitor of EnterpriseDB Postgres has long been Oracle’s namesake database, but simply replacing Oracle isn’t the only use case for PostgreSQL, according to Ed Boyajian, president and CEO of EnterpriseDB.

      • FSF
        • Hot off the presses: A sneak peek at the LibrePlanet 2020 schedule

          LibrePlanet 2020 is organized by the FSF. Hundreds of people from across the globe will converge to explore this year’s theme, “Free the Future.” We’ll be delving into the threats to user freedom that we’ve all been reading about every day in the media, as well as the unique role the free software movement plays in solving these problems.

          In addition to the first keynote we announced last month, Brewster Kahle, LibrePlanet 2020 will feature a panoply of presentations. Our lineup includes some talks we absolutely can’t wait to see, and we think you’ll feel the same way! You can now dive in to the speakers already confirmed and start planning your itinerary.


          LibrePlanet 2020 offers lots of opportunities for socializing, too! The annual FSF open house will take place on the evening of Friday, March 13th, at the FSF office. And the LibrePlanet Saturday night party will feature a sparkling new location. As we have in the past, we’ll organize a dinner specifically for women, genderqueer, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming attendees, please mail if you’re interested in joining. If you are looking to organize your own dinner or meetup, you can do so using the LibrePlanet wiki 2020 conference social and dinner pages as a central place for communication about this.

        • GNU Projects
          • GIMP 2.10.18 Officially Released, Here’s What’s New

            GIMP 2.10.18 comes three months after version 2.10.14, which probably most of you out there are running on your GNU/Linux distributions, but the development team released version 2.10.16 a week ago without announcing anything official. Now, GIMP 2.10.18 is here, and we finally have details about the new features that were implemented during this cycle.

            Without any further ado, the highlights of the GIMP 2.10.18 release include a new 3D Transform tool to let users rotate and pan items in 3D space (you can check it out in action below), a new high-contrast symbolic theme, a new “Composited Preview” option for most transformation tools, and the ability to group tools by default in the toolbox, which is enabled by default after you update to this version.

          • Download Now: GIMP 2.10.18 Released, Includes New 3D Transform Tool

            GIMP 2.10.18 builds on the refinements introduced in last year’s GIMP 2.10.14 release in a number of exciting ways.

            First off the bat is a major change to the toolbox, the left-hand panel used for switching between tools. Similar tools are now grouped together by default. This makes the list of available tools much shorter — but don’t worry, nothing has been removed!

            Indeed, while this particular tweak is unlikely to please everyone it does help bring a touch of order to the GIMP workspace…

          • GIMP 2.10.18 Released With Many Improvements Before GIMP 3.0

            While GIMP 3.0 remains elusive as the long overdue GTK3 port of this leading open-source image manipulation program, the GIMP 2.10 stable series continues seeing a lot of decent improvements in their subsequent point releases. GIMP 2.10.18 is out today following a botched GIMP 2.10.16 release.

            GIMP 2.10.18 introduces a new tool for performing transformations in a 3D space rather than just 2D transformations, various user-interface improvements, symmetry painting enhancements, ABR brushes load faster, Adobe PSD files continue to see support improvements, and a variety of bugs have been addressed.

        • Licensing / Legal
          • Open source licenses: What, which, and why

            Most people have at least heard of open source software by now—and even have a fairly good idea of what it is. Its own luminaries argue incessantly about what to call it—with camps arguing for everything from Free to Libre to Open Source and every possible combination of the above—but the one thing every expert agrees on is that it’s not open source (or whatever) if it doesn’t have a clearly attributed license.

            You can’t just publicly dump a bunch of source code without a license and say “whatever—it’s there, anybody can get it.” Due to the way copyright law works in most of the world, freely available code without an explicitly declared license is copyright by the author, all rights reserved. This means it’s just plain unsafe to use unlicensed code, published or not—there’s nothing stopping the author from coming after you and suing for royalties if you start using it.

          • The CLA Denial-Of-Service attack

            Obviously, there’s a flaw in that logic. A CLA is an agreement between a project and a (new) contributor. A project does not absolutely requires the contributor to sign the agreement to accept its contributions, in theory. It’s the reverse: for the contributor to have their patch accepted, they need to accept the CLA. But the project could accept contributions without CLA without violating the law.

            But it seems that projects sometimes end up doing a DOS on themselves by refusing perfectly fine contributions from drive-by contributors who don’t have time to waste filling forms on all projects they stumble upon.

            In the case of this typo, I could have submitted a patch, but because I didn’t sign a CLA, again, the project couldn’t have merged it without breaking their own rules, even if someone else submits the same patch, after agreeing to the CLA. So, in effect, I would have DOS’d the project by providing the patch, so I just opened an issue which strangely — and hopefully — isn’t covered by the CLA.

      • Programming/Development
        • Ethical Code Hosting Services in 2020

          I was really inspired by Free Software Foundation’s list of ethical repositories in which I saw service there among other old longstanding services. The Foundation (often called FSF) is a serious organization with long consideration if they wish to update that list. However, in fact, there are many more services coming by time and now there are several interesting ones worth to try and enjoy. Although I myself am not a programmer, but code hosting is not unfamiliar to me, as a free software community member (just like you all, dear readers) I often get so many useful information and sometimes submit bug report to projects I love. You can, for example, take information here as reference to host a Git server software at your home as you see perhaps many serious projects also using it. As an author and mere free software user, I hope this list could be useful for everybody and particularly for programmers. Happy hacking!

        • KDSoap 1.9.0 released

          KD SOAP is a tool for creating client applications for web services.

          The release of 1.9.0 brings a fair number of improvements and fixes, as the following text describes.

        • The History of Pong | Code the Classics

          One topic explored in Code the Classics from Raspberry Pi Press is the origin story and success of Pong, one of the most prominent games in early video game history.

        • Perl / Raku
          • 2020.08 Altered Noise

            Jonathan Stowe announced a long overdue migration to the Raku era of their NoiseGang portal, a group for the promotion and support of audio and music application development. Definitely a place to check out if you’re into making music using your computer!

        • Python
          • Introduction to Python SQL Libraries

            All software applications interact with data, most commonly through a database management system (DBMS). Some programming languages come with modules that you can use to interact with a DBMS, while others require the use of third-party packages. In this tutorial, you’ll explore the different Python SQL libraries that you can use. You’ll develop a straightforward application to interact with SQLite, MySQL, and PostgreSQL databases.

          • Introduction to Image Processing in Python with OpenCV

            In this tutorial, we are going to learn how we can perform image processing using the Python language. We are not going to restrict ourselves to a single library or framework; however, there is one that we will be using the most frequently, the Open CV library. We will start off by talking a little about image processing and then we will move on to see different applications/scenarios where image processing can come in handy. So, let’s begin!

          • Talking to API’s and goodlooking tools

            One of my go-to locations for security news had a thread recently about a tool called VTScan. I really liked the idea of not having to go through the browser overhead to check files against multiple scan engines.

            Although the tool (which is itself a basic vt-cli spinoff) already existed, I was looking for a new challenge, I decided to roll my own and add a few cool features! I’ll have a thorough look at how python talks to API’s with requests and I look at turning all this API data into a nice GUI application with click. I hope to give you some idea’s for CLI styling in the future so I can see more awesome tools by you all!

          • From a rejected Pycon talk to a new project.

            Like many others, my talk proposal (early draft here) for Pycon US was rejected. So, I decided to spend some time putting everything in a new project instead. (Documentation here.) It is still a rough draft, but usable … and since I’ve mentioned it in a few other places, I thought I should mention it here as well.

          • Learn Python Tuples Data Structure – Part 2

            In this Part 2 of Python Data Structure series, we will be discussing what is a tuple, how it differs from other data structure in python, how to create, delete tuple objects and methods of tuple objects and how tuple differs from the list.

          • Python 3.7.6 : The new concepts of execution in python 3 – part 001.
          • Podcast.__init__: Reducing The Friction Of Embedded Software Development With PlatformIO

            Embedded software development is a challenging endeavor due to a fragmented ecosystem of tools. Ivan Kravets experienced the pain of programming for different hardware platforms when embroiled in a home automation project. As a result he built the PlatformIO ecosystem to reduce the friction encountered by engineers working with multiple microcontroller architectures. In this episode he describes the complexities associated with targeting multiple platforms, the tools that PlatformIO offers to simplify the workflow, and how it fits into the development process. If you are feeling the pain of working with different editing environments and build toolchains for various microcontroller vendors then give this interview a listen and then try it out for yourself.

          • Episode 4 – 7 Practices for High Quality Maintainable Code
          • Welcome IRedis

            IRedis is A Terminal Client for Redis with AutoCompletion and Syntax Highlighting.

            IRedis is written in python using the wonderful prompt-toolkit library. It is cross-platform compatible and it is tested on Linux, MacOS and Windows.

  • Leftovers
    • Is It as Impossible to Build Jerusalem as It is to Escape Babylon?
    • Productivity Mondays – Are You Producing Enough Value? 5 Tips to Boost Your Deep Work

      Here is another edition of Productivity Mondays geared towards getting you closer towards your goals. This weekend I picked up Deep work again. Every time I read it is a revelation. The better you manage your time, the more successful you will become. It all comes down to the amount of value you can produce. And for that deep work is essential.

    • Larry Tesler’s Copy-Paste A Mixed Blessing For The Software World
    • Education
      • John Corbally and Chase Palmieri – The Project Censored Show

        Mickey begins the show with a conversation with academic colleague John Corbally; their topic is “Why History Matters.” Corbally has just completed a new textbook on 20th Century history, one that endeavors to include the perspectives of third-world nations, and of everyday people, rather than only the deeds of leaders and elites. In the second half-hour, Chase Palmieri rejoins the program as a guest, to offer an update on the latest developments at, a web site that offers its users the ability to rate media outlets’ coverage of news stories. Notes:John Corbally teaches history at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California. His new book is “The Twentieth Century World, 1914 to the Present,” from Bloomsbury Press. Chase Palmieri cohosts the Project Censored Show, and is a co-founder of  

    • Health/Nutrition
      • Have You Been Injured Working for the U.S. Postal Service?

        Working for the U.S. Postal Service can take a serious toll on employees’ health. To get thousands of pieces of mail sorted and delivered every day, workers have to lift heavy packages and huge trays of letters, walk miles carrying sacks of mail across their shoulders, drive in the heat without air conditioning or do other tasks that can wear down the body without proper precautions.

        Postal workers make up about one-fifth of the federal workforce, but according to U.S. Labor Department data, they suffered about half of federal work-related injuries and illnesses in 2019, as well as 15 fatalities.

      • The Postal Service Fired Thousands of Workers for Getting Injured While Delivering and Processing Your Mail

        One night in 2009, Madelaine Sattlefield lifted an 80-pound tray of letters carefully sorted by Missouri ZIP code. She had done this task thousands of times in nine years, but on this night, her arm seared with pain and went limp by her side. The tray crashed and sent envelopes cascading around her. She could barely move but immediately worried about what an injury might mean for her job.

        “Anxiety had kicked in. I was like, what are they going to say, what are they going to do?” Sattlefield said.

      • Medicare for All, Union Benefits, and the Promise of #NotMeUs

        The nation’s healthcare crisis is staring us in the face. And so is the solution.

      • Health Experts Warn World Is Approaching ‘Tipping Point’ in Spread of Coronavirus as Outbreaks Erupt in Italy and Iran

        The World Health Organization called on the global community to rely on “science and facts, not stigma and discrimination” in the face of the disease outbreak.

      • Connecting the Coronavirus to Agriculture

        A new deadly coronavirus 2019-nCoV, related to SARS and MERS and apparently originating in live animal markets in Wuhan, China, is starting to spread worldwide.

      • Is Coronavirus Panic Sending Us Back to the Days of Racist Quarantines?

        As global fears around the coronavirus outbreak intensify, the United States and many other countries have opted for wholesale travel bans of Chinese nationals as well as foreign nationals who have recently been to China, and for mass quarantines of U.S. citizens returning from impacted parts of China.

      • Here’s What 22 Separate Studies Found: Medicare for All Would Cost Less Than the For-Profit Status Quo

        No matter how you design a single-payer public health insurance system, it would have lower overall health care costs, so long as for-profit private health insurers no longer exist to drive up health care costs.

      • EPA Enforcement in Distress — and More Trouble Is Brewing
      • Cancer and evolution (2020 edition)

        Why haven’t we cured cancer yet? How many times have I heard that question before, and how many times have I tried to answer it? I don’t know. I do know that I’ve pointed out many times that cancer is not one disease, but hundreds and that the genomes of cancers are messed up, real messed up, and that trying to cure any single cancer is fighting against the power of evolution that makes cancer more resistant to treatment the longer it’s exposed to a given treatment. Still, every so often a study comes out that leads me to revisit the question in light of the new data published. This time around, it’s a study published earlier this month in Nature by the Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes Consortium (PCAWG) of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) examining the evolutionary history of over 2,600 cancers representing 38 different kinds of cancer, each of whose whole genome was sequenced and analyzed. The conclusions of the study, the work of a more than a thousand scientists in 37 countries on four continents taking place over more than a decade, are fascinating and very much consistent with cancer being primarily a disease caused by mutations in a relatively small set of genes. Actually, it’s a series of papers based on the same massive study. Before we dig in, let’s consider just how massive this undertaking was:

      • [Old] Health Security Downgraded at the White House

        On May 9, the day after the Democratic Republic of the Congo confirmed an Ebola outbreak, the Trump administration dismissed Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer and dissolved his post as senior director for global health security and biothreats. Ironically, the creation of that directorate in the fall of 2016 stemmed directly from the costly mishandling of the response to the prior Ebola crisis in West Africa. We are now at risk of repeating the mistakes of 2014.

    • Integrity/Availability
      • Proprietary
        • Secure IoT Linux Platform FoundriesFactory Sees Adoption from Startups to Enterprise
        • Microsoft’s Azure Sphere, its Linux-based microcontroller plus cloud service, hits general availability
        • Hey, remember Microsoft’s IoT Linux gear? After two years, Azure Sphere is finally here
        • Microsoft Wants To Bring Defender For Linux Users

          In an announcement, Microsoft revealed that they wants to bring the Defender antivirus to Linux operating system. Right now, Microsoft Defender for Linux is in public preview.

        • Security
          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (libpam-radius-auth, pillow, ppp, proftpd-dfsg, and python-pysaml2), Fedora (firefox, glib2, hiredis, http-parser, libuv, mingw-openjpeg2, nghttp2, nodejs, openjpeg2, python-pillow, skopeo, and webkit2gtk3), Mageia (patch, postgresql, and systemd), Red Hat (ksh, nodejs:10, openjpeg2, python-pillow, systemd, and thunderbird), and SUSE (java-1_7_1-ibm, libsolv, libzypp, zypper, pdsh, slurm_18_08, and php53).

          • U.S. Government Says Update Chrome 80 As High-Rated Security Flaws Found

            Are you a Google Chrome user? High-rated security vulnerabilities have already been discovered in version 80 of Google Chrome. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is encouraging Google users to update again just weeks after the Chrome 80 release. Here’s what you need to know.

          • OpenBSD Pwned, Patched Again: Bug is Remotely Exploitable [Ed: Misleading. This is about OpenSMTPD.]

            There’s a fresh remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability in OpenSMTPD, and by extension in OpenBSD. Yes, it feels like déjà vu all over again.

            The severity of the vulnerability, CVE-2020-8794, means that anyone running a public-facing OpenSMTPD deployments should update as soon as possible.

            OpenBSD’s developers describe the issue as a “an out of bounds read in smtpd [that] allows an attacker to inject arbitrary commands into the envelope file which are then executed as root. Separately, missing privilege revocation in smtpctl allows arbitrary commands to be run with the _smtpq group.”

          • Kali Linux explained: A pentester’s toolkit

            Kali Linux is the world’s most popular offensive-security-optimized Linux distro. Maintained and managed by the fine folks at Offensive Security, Kali was born in 2006 as BackTrack Linux, but after a major refactoring in 2013 got the name Kali. What does the name mean? Well, we’ll get to that.

          • Police to get right to use spyware in serious crime investigations

            The new bill, that will allow the police to use trojans or virus programmes to tap into the chats, is expected to be voted through parliament on Thursday. Home Affairs Minister Mikael Damberg says he is convinced it will lead to more convictions.

          • McAfee WebAdvisor: From XSS in a sandboxed browser extension to administrator privileges

            A while back I wrote about a bunch of vulnerabilities in McAfee WebAdvisor, a component of McAfee antivirus products which is also available as a stand-alone application. Part of the fix was adding a bunch of pages to the extension which were previously hosted on, generally a good move. However, when I looked closely I noticed a Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) vulnerability in one of these pages (CVE-2019-3670).

            Now an XSS vulnerability in a browser extension is usually very hard to exploit thanks to security mechanisms like Content Security Policy and sandboxing. These mechanisms were intact for McAfee WebAdvisor and I didn’t manage to circumvent them. Yet I still ended up with a proof of concept that demonstrated how attackers could gain local administrator privileges through this vulnerability, something that came as a huge surprise to me as well.

          • Privacy/Surveillance
            • South Carolina’s Top Court Decides Black Men Should Feel Free To Terminate ‘Consensual’ Stops By Law Enforcement Officers

              A stop-and-frisk case that resulted in arrest made it to the top of the South Carolina court system, only to be rejected by three white judges with a dissent written by two black judges.

            • Ring Continues To Pitch Facial Recognition To Law Enforcement While Claiming It Won’t Be Adding Facial Recognition To Its Cameras

              Ring continues to insist it is not adding facial recognition to its sadly super-popular doorbell cameras. Its insistence is suspect for several reasons.

            • Stalkerware Developer Found Leaking Sensitive Data From Thousands Of The Software’s Victims

              Oh, if only this were more of a surprise. Another vendor selling sketchy spyware has been discovered to be careless with its handling of all the sensitive communications and data it pulls from victims’ cell phones. (via

            • Court Report Provides New Details About How Federal Law Enforcement in Seattle Obtain Private Information Without Warrants

              Federal law enforcement in Seattle sought an average of one court order a day to disclose people’s sensitive information such as calling history in the first half of 2019, according to a report released this year.

              The report, the first of its kind by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, shows that officials sought 182 applications and orders for electronic surveillance between January and June 2019. These types of surveillance orders do not require law enforcement to get a warrant and are directed to third parties like phone companies, email providers, and other online services to demand private and revealing information about their users

            • Airbnb Is Pushing Surveillance Devices as ‘Party Prevention’

              One of the devices, Minut, is a home alarm that also monitors temperature and motion. Its “plus” option offers to alert a person’s “trusted network of friends and family” if something happens in their home.

              But privacy experts raised concerns about the use of such devices.

              Daniel Cuthbert, a security researcher, said there are questions surrounding how the data from these devices is stored and handled.

            • Cloudflare silently deleted my DNS records

              I spent some time thinking about if it was fair for me to post this on the same day as I filed a support ticket with Cloudflare. I ultimately decided to because their ticketing system recommended I post on their community forum instead or in addition to submitting a ticket. The page informed me that because I don’t have a business account I would receive much faster support from the “community”. However, I’m unable to log in to their community forum. When I click the login button I’m redirected to my dashboard, and when I then click Support on the dashboard I’m redirected back to the forum without being logged in. I suppose it’s possibly an issue with Firefox blocking cookies (although I disabled tracking prevention) so it’s possible this part is partly a problem on my end.

            • Geofencing: what is it?

              With the imminent rollout of next generation 5G connectivity covering towns, cities, and countryside, geofencing use cases are set to receive a power boost, as the new networking equipment will provide significantly more heft in terms of wireless capability and bandwidth.

    • Defence/Aggression
    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
      • Julian Assange’s lawyer claims US wanted to kill Wikileaks founder and make it look like accident
      • As Hearing Begins, Rights Groups Warn Extraditing Assange to US Would Deal ‘Body Blow to Press Freedom’

        “Using the draconian wartime powers of the Espionage Act against Assange undermines journalists’s rights and sets dangerous precedents that cast journalists and publishers as criminals.”

      • USA v Julian Assange: Extradition Day 1

        Julian Assange’s full extradition hearing began today at Woolwich Crown Court at Belmarsh with the prosecution pleading for the media to stop characterizing the US effort as a politicized war on journalism, and it ended with Assange’s defense providing a comprehensive summary of the many reasons that journalists, human rights activists, and defenders of a free press have been sounding the alarm.

        Assange, appearing thin in a grey suit, sat alone behind glass behind both legal benches, taking notes. Early in the proceedings, he looked up to the public gallery and raised a fist.

        James Lewis QC, arguing for the Crown Prosecutorial Service, which acts on behalf of the United States in its extradition request, explicitly asked journalists covering the case not to report on it as a matter of free speech or the right to publish. Lewis worked continuously to narrow both the defense’s arguments and the judge’s focus, portraying the indictment as solely a matter of exposing informants in the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and the State Department cables.

        In the afternoon, defense lawyer Edward Fitzgerald QC laid out in detail the ways in which the extradition proceedings constitute an abuse of process, because they have been brought for ulterior political purposes, as an attack on freedom of speech, and fundamentally misrepresent the facts in order to extradite Assange to the US, where he faces torture, unusual and degrading treatment.

      • USA v Julian Assange: Extradition Day 2

        Mark Summers QC, arguing for Julian Assange’s legal defense, spent the second day of Assange’s extradition hearing at Woolwich Crown Court thoroughly debunking two key allegations the US government makes against Assange in its extradition request. The US has alleged that Assange attempted to help Manning conceal her identity, and it has alleged that Assange and WikiLeaks released the full unredacted State Department cables in 2011 with a reckless disregard for the harm it could cause.


        Then in February 2011, Harding and Leigh published “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy,” in which they disclosed a password to an encrypted file containing the full unredacted cables. Harding and Leigh did not off-handedly or subtly reveal the password; the password was the title of a chapter in the book.

        If there was any doubt about whether the chapter title was the password, the index at p 322 tells you that that is in fact the password. In court, the defense had to point this out to the prosecution’s James Lewis, who laughed incredulously.

        The password disclosure went unnoticed for several months, until August 2011. On 25 August 2011, the German publication Der Freitag started reporting that the password was public and it had access to the encrypted file because it had been mirrored.

        That day, Assange and WikiLeaks colleague Sarah Harrison telephoned the US State Department, warning them about what was about to happen. There is a transcript of the call, in which Assange and Harrison talk in terms of an emergency about to happen; they have intelligence they are about to be put on the web unredacted, not by WikiLeaks. Though told that they had the “emergency phone line”, the two were told to call back in a few hours.

        Assange and Harrison also tried to get hold of the US ambassador in the UK, trying to explain that the “cables were about to be dumped online by someone else” and asking about the harm minimization process, whether it is complete or whether it can be escalated.

        Assange said told the US, “We don’t understand why you don’t see the urgency of this. Unless we do something about it, people’s lives are being put at risk.”

        Wikileaks sprang into action and released a statement within 20 minutes; however, within an hour, the cables were already on other websites, including Cryptome.

      • Julian Assange lawyer tells court: After pardon fell through, Trump administration resorted to ‘

        An attorney for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange accused the Trump administration of extortion in a London court on Monday.

        The WikiLeaks attorney appeared at Woolwich Crown Court along with U.S. prosecutors, who argued that Assange should be extradited the United States, where he faces 18 charges and up to 175 years in jail.

        Attorneys for Assange previously told the court that former Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) tried to broker a pardon deal between the White House and Assange if he would agree to say that Russia was not the source of hacked Democratic Party emails.

        Defense attorney Edwards Fitzgerald said on Monday that Rohrabacher had called the pardon offer a “win-win.”

      • Wikileaks Editor Calls Assange Extradition Arguments ‘Hollow Words’ As U.S. Claims Its Sources ‘Disappeared’ After Leaks

        The editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks has blasted what he calls “hollow words” pushed by the U.S. during its opening arguments for the extradition hearing of Julian Assange today.

        Speaking to the media at Woolwich Crown Court, at times drowned out by chanting supporters, Kristinn Hrafnsson suggested there was nothing new in the U.S. argument and teased “the real news” would come out later this week when the defense outlines its evidence.


        “Now, in 2020, they are in court not able to present a single [piece of] evidence of that harm. Still they go on…why aren’t we discussing the harm that was revealed by the releases?”

        After the short break, WikiLeaks’ defense argued the extradition request is politically motivated and said claimed U.S. politician Dana Rohrabacher offered Assange a “full pardon in exchange for ‘personal services,’ on behalf of [president] Donald Trump,” according to Doleman.

        WikiLeaks was being represented by Edward Fitzgerald QC.

      • Trump’s Betrayal of Julian Assange

        One thing we’ve learned from the Trump Presidency is that the “deep state” is not just some crazy conspiracy theory. For the past three years we’ve seen that deep state launch plot after plot to overturn the election.

        It all started with former CIA director John Brennan’s phony “Intelligence Assessment” of Russian involvement in the 2016 election. It was claimed that all 17 US intelligence agencies agreed that Putin put Trump in office, but we found out later that the report was cooked up by a handful of Brennan’s hand-picked agents.

        Donald Trump upset the Washington apple cart as presidential candidate and in so doing he set elements of the deep state in motion against him.

        One of the things candidate Donald Trump did to paint a deep state target on his back was his repeated praise of Wikileaks, the pro-transparency media organization headed up by Australian journalist Julian Assange. More than 100 times candidate Trump said “I love Wikileaks” on the campaign trail.

      • DOJ Drooling Over Likely Assange Extradition

        The American brief in a London court today against Julian Assange is that he put informants at risk by publishing hundreds of thousands of pages of U.S. military documents and State Department cables in 2010.

        According to The Guardian’s reporting this morning, Washington’s lawyer, James Lewis, told the court that informants had “disappeared” after the leaks. But no one knows of course whether they just wised up and faded away.

      • ‘No Harm’ Resulted From WikiLeaks Revelations, US Government Admits at Julian Assange Court Hearing

        The bombshell admission was revealed at the initial hearing on a potential extradition of the detained WikiLeaks activist to the United States amid numerous protests outside the courthouse and across the world.
        No physical harm had occurred to any individuals as a result of documents published by Wikileaks, courts heard on Monday.

        The statement was made by US officials during the extradition trial for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at Woolwich Crown Court in London, near HM Belmarsh Prison.

        But there may be a ‘risk’ of harm despite none occurring due to the leaks, James Lewis QC told courts.

      • US extradition bid for Assange to go before a British court

        Jennifer Robinson, Assange’s lawyer, says his case could lead to criminalizing activities crucial to investigative journalists and his work has shed an unprecedented light on how the United States conducted its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      • US to lay out case against Assange at extradition hearing

        Journalism organisations and civil liberties groups including Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders say the charges against Assange set a chilling precedent for freedom of the press.

        What we have is an assault on journalism, left-wing Greek lawmaker Yanis Varoufakis said at an Assange support march in London on Saturday. The only charge against Julian, hiding behind the nonsense of espionage, is a charge of journalism.

      • US/UK: Drop charges and halt extradition of Julian Assange

        “The potential chilling effect on journalists and others who expose official wrongdoing by publishing information disclosed to them by credible sources could have a profound impact on the public’s right to know what their government is up to. All charges against Assange for such activities must be dropped.”

        According to an analysis by the organisation, the charges against Julian Assange stem directly from the publication of disclosed documents as part of his work with Wikileaks. This activity, in and of itself, should not be punishable and mirrors conduct that investigative journalists undertake regularly in their professional capacity.

      • Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day 1

        Woolwich Crown Court is designed to impose the power of the state. Normal courts in this country are public buildings, deliberately placed by our ancestors right in the centre of towns, almost always just up a few steps from a main street. The major purpose of their positioning and of their architecture was to facilitate public access in the belief that it is vital that justice can be seen by the public.

      • Assange’s Defense Details CIA-Backed Espionage Operation, Trump’s Politicization Of Justice Department

        The defense for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange alleged that the director of a Spanish security company known as Undercover Global was contracted by Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire who is one of President Donald Trump’s biggest donors.

        The allegation was made during the first day of a week-long extradition hearing unfolding at Woolwich Court in London. It is adjacent to Her Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh, where Assange is detained.

        What happens this week will be a kind of prequel to a more substantial hearing scheduled to occur in late May and early June.

        As the Spanish newspaper El País previously reported, Undercover Global targeted Assange when he lived in the Ecuador embassy in the United Kingdom on behalf of the CIA.

        Personnel spied on privileged meetings between Assange and his lawyers. He met with his legal team in the women’s bathroom to ensure privacy, but it did not matter. They planted microphones in the women’s bathroom too.

        Edward Fitzgerald, a defense attorney for Assange, alleged Morales returned from Las Vegas in 2017 after attending a security trade fair. The contract was to provide security for Adelson’s private yacht, but while he was in the United States, he inked a “side agreement” to go to the “dark side” and spy on Assange for U.S. intelligence.

        A whistleblower, who worked for Undercover Global and was referred to in court as “Witness #2,” revealed data was collected and uploaded daily to a remote server. That information was accessed by U.S. intelligence. Original recordings, including sound, were collected from several microphones every 14 days.

      • Julian Assange was ‘handcuffed 11 times and stripped naked’

        Julian Assange was handcuffed 11 times, stripped naked twice and had his case files confiscated after the first day of his extradition hearing, according to his lawyers, who complained of interference in his ability to take part.

    • Environment
      • First look under imperilled Antarctic glacier finds ‘warm water coming from all directions’

        Taking advantage of rare ice-free waters in West Antarctica last February, scientists got their first look underneath Thwaites Glacier, a massive and increasingly unstable formation perched at the edge of the continent. What they saw only increased fears of a collapse that could raise global sea levels by more than half a metre. Data gathered by a robotic submarine deployed by scientists with the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration suggest that warm water from the deep ocean is welling up from three directions and mixing underneath the ice.

      • The Next Economic Recession Will Likely Come From Climate Crisis

        American companies are ignoring the risks of climate change at their own peril, according to a researcher warning that extreme weather caused by the climate crisis could result in a devastating economic recession.

      • Old batteries can be source of new energy

        How to dispose of old batteries from redundant electric vehicles? The good news: we can harvest their valuable parts to make new ones.

      • New Deal for Nature: Paying the Emperor to Fence the Wind

        The conservation industry says 2020 is its “super year.”[1] It wants to set aside thirty percent of the globe for wildlife, and divert billions of dollars away from reducing climate change and into “natural climate solutions.”[2] This would be a disaster for people and planet. Conservation was founded in the racist ideology of 1860s USA but it committed thirty years ago to becoming people-friendly. It hasn’t happened. There will be more promises now, if only to placate critics and funders like the U.S. and German governments, and the European Commission, which are paying for conservation’s land theft, murder and torture.[3] More promises will be meaningless. No more public money should go for “Protected Areas” until the conservation bodies recognize their crimes, get rid of those responsible, and hand stolen lands back, with compensation. Conservation NGOs must also stop cozying up to mining, logging, oil, and plantation companies.

      • ‘Amazing News’: Climate Activists Celebrate Victory After Forcing Company to Abandon Proposed Tar Sands Project

        While welcoming this win against the fossil fuel industry, organizers vowed to “continue to fight because our planet and future is at stake.”

      • Global Rescue Plan to Stop Mass Extinction ‘Hopelessly Weak and Inadequate’

        “We need an urgent plan to save humanity and this is not it.”

      • Energy
        • Momentum Builds to Monitor Cancer Alley Air Pollution in Real Time After Exxon Refinery Fire in Louisiana

          A week after the incident, Exxon filed a required “seven-day report” to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) indicating the plant released four toxic chemicals during the incident, including benzene, butadiene, and sulfuric acid in quantities above allowable limits, and sulfur dioxide. Exxon said in its report that thousands of pounds of unspecified flammable vapor released in the incident were burned off by the fire and that little, if any, escaped the refinery in concentrations that could have posed a risk to nearby residents. 

        • Justices grapple with $8 billion pipeline that would cross Appalachian Trail

          The Supreme Court on Monday heard arguments in a high-profile case that could block construction of an $8 billion gas pipeline seeking to cross the Appalachian Trail.

          The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) would carry natural gas 604 miles from West Virginia to North Carolina and would tunnel below the famed trail that runs more than 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine.

          At issue is whether jurisdiction over the affected land belongs to the U.S. Forest Service or the National Park Service (NPS). The case presents the justices with a complex tangle of federal laws that will determine if the land is open to energy development or must be preserved for recreational use under the park service’s mandate.

        • Oil and Gas Firms Reward Politicians When They Vote Against the Environment, Finds New Study

          That study, published Monday and conducted by researchers at Yale University and the University of Cambridge, found that oil and gas companies spend more on congressional candidates who consistently vote against environmental protection and climate action.

        • Burning the Future: the Growing Anger of Young Australians

          Growing up in a small town in Tasmania, Australia, not far from the coast, every summer we would spend seemingly endless carefree days at the beach – swimming, sunbathing and eating freshly-caught fish. I was there again last year with my family, during the Christmas break, but this time rather than enjoying the beach we spent the holiday glued to the television screen, watching as small bushfires across the country rapidly grew into huge uncontrollable conflagrations, burning everything right down to the shoreline.

      • Wildlife/Nature
        • Public Lands “Collaboration” is Lousy Management

          Collaboration is a process of playing two sides off against each other in order to create enough guilt in one or all parties that a compromise is reached. The primary problem is that it is specifically not based on science or best available data, thus eliminating the concept of best management practices and the long-term needs of the resource to maintain the natural values of the landscape. It becomes about me-now.

        • Extinction: Meet the new poster animals of conservation

          Ever heard of the gnu goat, the red-eared guenon or the Gila monster?
          They could be the future icons of conservation, according to a study. Scientists say these little-known animals are key to raising money for protecting vulnerable ecosystems.
          The likes of tigers and elephants, which appeal to the masses, are often selected for fundraising campaigns.
          But this approach has been criticised for neglecting many other species that need our help.
          “It’s time for us to put some science behind the species we use to market and fundraise for conservation – rather than framing our approach around what’s popular or seen as ‘cute’ by the public,” said Dr Hugh Possingham, chief scientist at conservation NGO, The Nature Conservancy.

        • Trojan Horse Timber Sales on the Bitterroot

          The proposed Darby Lumber Timber Sale Phase Two on the Bitterroot National Forest is a Trojan Horse being implemented under the guise of  “forest health” based on numerous false assumptions. The proposal displays the Forest Service’s Industrial Forestry bias and its subterfuge of science.

    • Finance
      • Radical Urban Planning Can Fight Gentrification With Affordable Housing

        We tend to talk about gentrification as if it’s beyond our control, that replacing old urban houses with identical high-end condos is a law of nature. We sigh as historically Black, ethnically diverse, and immigrant communities are displaced, destroying social infrastructure that was built up over generations.

      • What Happened to the Keynesian Dream of a 15-Hour Workweek?

        Now a famous economist, Thomas Piketty (along with co-researcher Emmanuel Saez) wrote Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2013), contending that capitalism has within it the germinating seeds of ever-growing inequality. That is what his longitudinal study of masses of data proved conclusively.

      • Trump Wants to Betray American Workers Yet Again

        Before sharing my opinions about Trump’s recent proposal to cut student loan forgiveness, let me explain my own situation.

      • The Priorities of General Motors: Ditching Holden

        It seemed to be a case of grand misrepresentation. Holden cars, those great Australian acquisitions, along with home, lawnmower and nuclear family, gave the impression of indigenous pride, the home brand. It was also resoundingly masculine. But behind that image was a mighty American thrust, with General Motors holding the reins on investment as benevolent parent happy to rebadge the car brand when needed. Poor returns would invariably mean rough corporate decisions untouched by sentiment.

      • As the Primary Race Heats Up, Candidates Forget Principled Campaign Finance Stands

        At this time last year, newly declared Democratic primary candidates were racing to outdo each other with escalating promises to shun big money support. Contenders vowed not to take corporate PAC money, to reject lobbyists’ dollars, to discourage super PACs, and to tell fossil fuel executives, “no, thank you”. Now, however, many seem to be in a wholly different sort of race: to put the most distance between themselves and their prior principled stands.

      • Bloomberg Has Spent Enough to Give a Nickel to Every Person Whose Life He’s Ever Damaged

        A review of Michael Bloomberg’s political career should not be limited, I think, to the fact that he has the debating skills of a baked potato. Nor does it matter much that he focuses his sales pitch on being a great “manager” but clearly can’t manage to hire anyone to tell him he has to prepare for a debate. His use of non-disclosure agreements to hide undesirable stories deserves the criticism it’s getting, but just begins to scrape the toxic moldy surface.

      • Bloomberg’s 2008 Story About the Great Recession Is Still Racist and Untrue

        It seems that pernicious right-wing nonsense never dies, no matter how many times it is shown to be wrong. The latest resurrection of such nonsense is the story that the Great Recession was caused because lenders were forced to give mortgages to people of color who could not pay them back.

      • Lagarde Wants Your Opinion on ECB’s Monetary Policy for Review

        European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde kicked off a public consultation on her strategy review with the first direct video address by the institution’s chief to euro-area citizens.

        Adopting a communication technique untested by her predecessors, the Frenchwoman spoke to camera to invite views on monetary policy in a broadcast on Twitter released in tandem with a press statement outlining the ECB’s plans.

        “The euro actually belongs to all of us — it belongs to you,” Lagarde said in the video. “So we need to hear from you in this strategy review. Stable prices help you make decisions in many aspects of your life, from saving to borrowing, and from spending to investing. Please share your ideas and concerns with us.”

      • [Old] International investment court plan threatens our democracy

        The European Commission is investigating a permanent international investment court as a replacement for the controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism (ISDS). The plan for a court, and the road map towards it are fundamentally flawed, writes Ante Wessels.

        Ante Wessels is an analyst with the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII).

        Former Vice-President of the European Commission, in charge of justice, and now member of the European Parliament international trade committee, Viviane Reding proposed to replace ISDS with a permanent international investment court. Commissioner for Trade Malmström supports the idea. This plan creates a serious risk on expansionist interpretation and puts the EU at the mercy of other states.

        First among a number of flaws is that specialised courts tend to become biased. An example is the centralisation of appeals in patent cases before the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; this prompted an expansionist interpretation and application of the US Patent Act. The Supreme Court intervened and opposed a series of judgments of the Federal Circuit. Specialised courts need a general supreme court on top to correct expansionist interpretation. Reding’s proposal lacks such a general supreme court.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
      • Going Off-Script in the Age of Trump

        The American susceptibility to contrived and scripted versions of reality reveals an emptiness at the core of our national politics.

      • William Barr Is Donald Trump’s Hatchet Man

        “Where’s my Roy Cohn,” President Trump shouted at his staff at the beginning of 2018. According to The New York Times, he was angry at then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election. Trump wanted his attorney general to be more like Roy Cohn, his infamous former lawyer and fixer, who had been an aide to Sen. Joseph McCarthy during McCarthy’s 1950s investigation into communist activity in America.

      • Amy’s Closet
      • Even Mayoral Races Are Getting Distorted by Big Money in Politics

        Candidates for federal office are raising increasingly large amounts of money — and this trend is not just confined to the national stage. In his race for office in 2014, sitting San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo alone raised $1.9 million — more than the average successful candidate to the U.S. House of Representatives that year. And while the 2018 election did not reach those astronomical heights in San Jose, it did see all three contested city council seats go to candidates who received the most money, incumbent or otherwise. During the 2018 election cycle, candidates for mayor and city council collectively brought in $1.9 million, according to a MapLight analysis of campaign contributions. Less than 40 percent of this total came from San Jose residents. In addition, of the $744,000 received from residents, 70 percent came from donors giving more than $500.

      • Trump’s New Spy Chief Once Got $100,000 from a Group Funded by the Hungarian Government but Never Reported It

        President Donald Trump’s acting director of national intelligence, Richard Grenell, worked as a paid publicist for a foundation funded by Hungary’s increasingly authoritarian government — his second former client to prompt scrutiny because Grenell did not disclose the work.

        In 2016, the Magyar Foundation of North America paid Grenell’s consulting firm, Capitol Media Partners, $103,750 for “public relations” services, according to the foundation’s tax filing. The foundation was funded and supervised by Hungary’s government, according to records obtained by the Hungarian nonprofit news organization Atlatszo. The foundation’s director, Jo Anne Barnhart, had been a registered lobbyist for Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

      • Episode 68 – Swing States: How 2016′s Fared Under Trump and The New Swing States in 2020 – Along The Line Podcast

        Along the Line, is a member of the Demcast network, brought to you by the Media Freedom Foundation. On today’s episode hosts Nicholas Baham III (Dr. Dreadlocks), Janice Domingo,  and Nolan Higdon analyze the 2016 and 2020 swing states. ATL’s  Creative Director is Dylan Lazaga.  Mickey Huff is ATL’s producer. ATL’s engineer is Janice Domingo. Adam Armstrong is ATL’s webmaster.

      • Humongous Costs of Inaction

        Obsessing about the cost of addressing them without acknowledging the cost of failing to address them is dangerously irresponsible

      • Tycoon Battle-Bots Battle Bernie

        We should welcome Bloomberg’s candidacy. It’s proof that the term plutocracy as it applies to the US isn’t just hyperbole but now an uncontested fact. The DNC’s willingness to bend their own rules to allow anyone into the candidate fold who can pay their way in – even an open sewer oligarch whose racism and sexism rivals Trump’s – just confirms our worst fears and vindicates the cynics: Elections are no more than rigged matches between tycoon Battle-Bots both engaged in a struggle to liberate billionaires from taxes, Wall Street from its regulators, and most urgently, the DNC from Bernie Sanders.

      • What Tomorrow May Bring: Politics of the People

        With two narrow popular vote wins behind him and national poll leads in the double-digit leads and growing, Nevada is Bernie Sanders’s first decisive victory. He will now be taking this momentum to South Carolina, where he is just 2 points behind Biden and has a real chance of going into Super Tuesday essentially undefeated. The “electability” myth demolished, each win will only make it easier for people to vote for him. Corporate Media can no longer ignore him, and narratives of “Bernie Bros” and Putin are unlikely to halt the snowball effect. As we saw with the failed “sexism” attack – which actually raised Sanders’s numbers while lowering Elizabeth Warren’s – the more people actually see and hear Sanders, the more his numbers rise.

      • Bernie Sanders Plunges to First Place

        Remember when the big winner of New Hampshire was third-place finisher Amy Klobuchar (, 2/14/20)?

      • Paul Krugman and Richard Wolff on Bernie Sanders’s Democratic Socialism
      • The Despicable Red-Baiting of Bernie Sanders

        The red-baiting of Bernie Sanders sank to a new low during the Democratic debate in Las Vegas last week, courtesy of mega-billionaire Mike Bloomberg. Responding to the Vermont senator’s charge that Bloomberg’s employees were at least partly responsible for his business success, the former Republican New York City mayor replied: “We’re not going to throw out capitalism. We tried that. Other countries tried that. It was called communism, and it just didn’t work.”

      • As a Corporate Tool, Buttigieg Is Now a Hammer to Bash Sanders

        The corporate establishment has not yet figured out how to defeat Bernie Sanders in the primary, but the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana appears dead set on damaging the progressive frontrunner as much as possible.

      • Pete Buttigieg’s Vile Turn as the Anti-Sanders Candidate

        Soon after his distant third-place finish in the Nevada caucuses, Pete Buttigieg sent out a mass email saying that “Senator Sanders believes in an inflexible, ideological revolution that leaves out most Democrats, not to mention most Americans.” The blast depicted “the choice before us” in stark terms: “We can prioritize either ideological purity or inclusive victory. We can either call people names online or we can call them into our movement. We can either tighten a narrow and hardcore base or open the tent to a new, broad, big-hearted American coalition.”

      • Amid Right-Wing Effort to Smear Sanders Over Cuba Comments, Campaign Issues Reminder That Obama Said the Same Thing

        “If offering an (accurately) positive assessment of any aspect of an authoritarian communist regime’s record is tantamount to endorsing its form of rule, then Barack Obama is an authoritarian communist.”

      • How Bernie Can Provide a Better Version of the Hope and Change Presidency of Barack Obama

        Is Sanders the Obama 2.0 that Democrats have been looking for? After tearing his way through Nevada, Bernie pivots to Super Tuesday with his eye on the White House. Here are the top five mistakes of his predecessor he must avoid in order to finally win universal health-care and a permanent Democratic majority

      • ‘Political Courage’: Sanders Will Not Attend AIPAC Conference Over Concern for ‘Basic Palestinian Rights’

        “You can support the Palestinian and Israeli people without supporting leaders or organizations that oppose the freedom and liberation of the Palestinian people.”

      • Bernie Sanders Releases Plan for Guaranteed “Child Care and Pre-K for All”

        Now running as the presumptive front-runner in the Democratic presidential primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday morning unveiled a sweeping new proposal that would guarantee high-quality child care and then pre-kindergarten education to every child — regardless of income or status — in the United States.

      • Democratic Frontrunner Bernie Sanders Releases Plan for Guaranteed ‘Child Care and Pre-K for All’

        “We know that the first four years of a child’s life are the most important years of human development, so it is unconscionable that in the wealthiest country in the world, we do not properly invest in early childhood education.”

      • MSNBC’s Chris Matthews Epitomizes Corporate Democrats’ Bernie Derangement Syndrome

        Corporate media will not tell you what America’s real problems are, because they are the class that benefits from all the dysfunctional characteristics of our Late Capitalism.

      • ‘The People Versus the Oligarch’: Bloomberg Planning All-Out Media Assault on Sanders Ahead of Super Tuesday

        “The Bloomberg machine turns its billions onto Sanders in a first test of what the general election will look like.”

      • Bernie Sanders Wins Nevada After Heavy Organizing in Latinx Communities

        Senator Bernie Sanders scored a decisive victory Saturday in the Democratic presidential caucuses in Nevada, riding a wave of support from young voters, union members and Latinx voters, who strengthened his status as front-runner. His win shows the potential for the nation’s largest minority group to reshape the next stage of the Democratic presidential race. In the next four weeks, six more of the 12 states with a large Latinx population will vote in the Democratic primary. On Super Tuesday, Texas, California and Colorado go to the polls. Arizona, Florida and Illinois will vote on March 17. We speak with Erika Andiola, chief advocacy officer for RAICES Action, the advocacy arm for the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, and Cristina Beltrán, associate professor and director of graduate studies at New York University’s Department of Social and Cultural Analysis. Her latest book is The Trouble with Unity: Latino Politics and the Creation of Identity.

      • Who Is Funding the Anti-Bernie Sanders Super PAC?

        Several outside groups are trying to slow the momentum of current Democratic presidential frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) by spending millions on ad buys, as he continues to dominate the polls.

      • Do the Russians want Bernie to win? Not really — they want Democrats to turn on each other

        The answer is simple: Russia is not actually trying to help Bernie Sanders. The Kremlin wants Trump to win. What Vladimir Putin’s spooks are interested in is not even really Sanders himself, but in exploiting his candidacy to sow chaos.

      • [Old] YouTube, the Great Radicalizer

        It seems as if you are never “hard core” enough for YouTube’s recommendation algorithm. It promotes, recommends and disseminates videos in a manner that appears to constantly up the stakes. Given its billion or so users, YouTube may be one of the most powerful radicalizing instruments of the 21st century.

        This is not because a cabal of YouTube engineers is plotting to drive the world off a cliff. A more likely explanation has to do with the nexus of artificial intelligence and Google’s business model. (YouTube is owned by Google.) For all its lofty rhetoric, Google is an advertising broker, selling our attention to companies that will pay for it. The longer people stay on YouTube, the more money Google makes.

        What keeps people glued to YouTube? Its algorithm seems to have concluded that people are drawn to content that is more extreme than what they started with — or to incendiary content in general.

      • Trump set off by intelligence assertion that Russia favors him

        A senior U.S. intelligence official told lawmakers last week that Russia wants to see President Donald Trump reelected, viewing his administration as more favorable to the Kremlin’s interests, according to people who were briefed on the comments.

        After learning of that analysis, which was provided to House lawmakers in a classified hearing, Trump erupted at his acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, in the Oval Office, perceiving him and his staff as disloyal for speaking to Congress about Russia’s perceived preference. The intelligence official’s analysis and Trump’s furious response ruined Maguire’s chances of becoming the permanent intelligence chief, according to people familiar with the matter, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter.


        Trump announced on Wednesday that he was replacing Maguire with a vocal loyalist, Richard Grenell, who is the U.S. ambassador to Germany. The shake-up at the top of the intelligence community is the latest in a post-impeachment purge. Trump has instructed aides to identify and remove officials across the government who aren’t defending his interests, and he wants them replaced with loyalists.

    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • As Court Finally Dumps One Of Devin Nunes’ Ridiculous Lawsuits (With A Warning About Sanctions), Nunes Promises To File Another

        Back in September, we wrote about Devin Nunes dropping the only lawsuit he’d filed in California against some of his critics, only to immediately file an absolute laugher of a lawsuit against Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson, alleging racketeering (RICO) claims. Nunes claimed — ridiculously — that he’d obtained the info he needed from the California lawsuit (where he might have faced anti-SLAPP claims) in order to file this new lawsuit. As we noted at the time, Ken “Popehat” White’s usual warning of IT’S NOT RICO, DAMMIT totally applied to this new case. And, contrary to one of our more amusing commenters who insisted that this case was solid, Judge Liam O’Grady appears to have made quick work of it, dismissing it as nonsense with an incredibly short and to the point ruling (Politico first broke the news):

      • Apple, Tell Us More About Your App Store Takedowns

        EFF and 10 human rights organizations called out Apple for enabling China’s censorship and surveillance regime through overly broad content restrictions on the App Store in China, and for its decision to move iCloud backups and encryption keys to within China. In a letter to Philip Schiller, Apple senior vice president and App Store lead, the groups asked for more transparency about App Store takedowns and to meet with Apple executives to discuss the company’s decisions and ways Apple can rectify harms against Apple users most affected by the removals.

        Apple removed thousands of applications in China, including news apps by Quartz and the New York Times, foreign software services like Google Earth, and network applications like Tor and other VPN apps. Last year, Apple capitulated to state pressure to remove, a crowdsourced map application being used by Hong Kong protestors. 

    • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
      • FCC Does Bupkis As US Telco Networks Fall Apart, Putting Lives At Risk

        For years we’ve explored how the nation’s phone companies no longer really want to be in the residential broadband business. They routinely refuse to upgrade their networks, yet often lobby to ensure nobody else can deliver broadband in these neglected footprints either. Telcos, in particular, have a bizarre disdain for their paying customers, delivering the bare minimum (slow DSL) at the highest rates they can possibly charge without a full-scale consumer revolt. It’s not surprising, then, that many telco DSL customers are fleeing to cable, assuming they even have a second option for broadband.

    • Monopolies
      • Uber will start putting ads on top of some of its vehicles

        Uber inked a deal to place ads on the roof of some of its vehicles, in a move that will likely generate some new revenue for the notorious cash-burning company and comparisons to Uber’s original adversary, the old-school taxi industry.

      • Uber Inks Deal With Adomni to Put Ad Displays Atop Vehicles

        Uber has signed a deal with the out-of-home ad-tech company Adomni to introduce ad displays on top of a thousand vehicles in three cities by April 1.

        While individual Uber drivers—working as independent contractors for the ride-share company—could previously install ad displays on top of their vehicles from third-party operators like Firefly, this agreement marks the first time Uber has rolled out a company-sponsored ad platform of its own.

        The partnership with Adomni also opens a new business unit for Uber, called Uber OOH Powered by Adomni, as well as an additional revenue stream for the company, which went public in May 2019. Cargo Systems, which has had an exclusive agreement with Uber since July 2018 to provide in-car commerce offerings like snacks and beauty products, is providing the displays in a separate deal with Uber, outside of the revenue-sharing agreement for advertising between Uber and Adomni.

      • Copyrights
        • Cloudflare Agrees to Stop Caching Pirate Content in Japan, If Court Declares Sites Illegal

          In 2018, four of Japan’s largest manga publishers filed a motion at a Tokyo court demanding that Cloudflare stop providing services to several ‘pirate’ sites, including Mangamura replacement Hoshinoromi. The companies now reveal that a settlement has been reached with Cloudflare to “stop the replication” of the sites on its Japan-based servers, if a court declares them illegal.

        • Rightsholders Want Google and Facebook to Scrub Links to Pirate Sites

          Creative Content Australia is urging the Australian Government to force online platforms to stop linking to pirate sites. According to the group’s Chair, Graham Burke, services such as Google and Facebook facilitate access to illegal sites that harm rightsholders. These pirate sites also scam the public at large by propagating malware and stealing card details, Burke warns.

        • The Public Domain is Alive and Well (for Now)

          To mark the occasion, Creative Commons (CC) collaborated with the Internet Archive, the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, Creative Commons USA, the Institute for Intellectual Property & Social Justice, and SPARC to hold the Public Domain Day (PDD) celebration on January 30 at the American University Washington College of Law. 

        • Can You License A Video You Don’t Hold The Copyright Over?

          A few times in the past we’ve discussed the differences between ownership of an original creative work and ownership of the copyright associated with that work. I’m reminded of this distinction — which confuses the hell out of many people — after lawyer Eric Turkewitz tweeted at me a question about who would own the copyright in this (oldish) viral video of a camera dropping from an airplane while filming, only to be discovered by an interested pig. It’s gone viral a few times, and makes the rounds here and there. It’s mildly entertaining.

FSF’s Interim Co-President Alexandre Oliva on FSF Communication Policies

Tuesday 25th of February 2020 03:56:07 PM

Original blog post by the FSF's interim co-president

In yesterday’s inStallmant of the FSF Odyssey, I mentioned that guidance opposite to that of any board decision somehow got to FSF staff. Surely I, being acting president and then half-acting president, must suck as a manager. I probably do indeed, but it’s not so simple.

FSF operates with a lot of autonomy. Sometimes it felt like the board and the presidence are not even part of the FSF. Just to name two examples, I wasn’t even aware of the campaign to Upcycle Windows 7, or the awesome Shoetool Video, before they went public.

Shortly after I became acting president, I sent a letter to staff making myself available to any concerns they might have. I was then asked by chief of staff to route communications through the org chart rather than directly to staff. That made sense to me: having multiple bosses making conflicting requests to an employee is an unbearable situation. What I did not imagine was that staff would not be told about this arrangement, and might thus conclude that my abiding by the request, even when it came to staff I’d long known and interacted with, amounted to distancing myself, in contradiction with my stated availability.

There’s an internal wiki used to draft up posts, record meeting logs, document internal procedures, and also for plenty of informal internal communication such as personal activity logs, reading recommendations, and random thoughts and ramblings. I had been granted access to it early on, and welcomed to peruse it to keep up with internal ongoings. I did, for some time, and later I even thought I could use it for collaboration with staff and participate in activities!

Alas, that didn’t last long. I can’t tell whether it was because I extracted information from the logs that contradicted other information I was given, because I raised issues about information and plans I read there, or because I started storing in it drafts of plans and messages that affirmed board guidances and questioned deviations from them, but my I access was cut off without warning due to “misuse of the resource”.

Complaining didn’t get me anywhere. Part of the problem was that, by then, in computer networking terminology, we had a single point of failure mediating all public communication and all communication between board and staff, resisting to attempts to introduce alternate routes, at least ones involving myself. Richard predicted that problem the moment he heard about the configuration that enabled it. Stallman was right.

Meanwhile, the media storm that led to his resignation was long gone and I was eager to get back to public conversations on Free Software policies, but there was clear pressure for me not to do so. Don’t engage in conversations about the media storm grew into don’t talk to journalists, nor to anyone who might get published in a blog or social media; objections to talking about Richard’s political positions unrelated to Free Software expanded to talking about Richard, then to any public address; and even to complaining internally about deviations from board guidances and to telling Richard about plans that I knew he’d object to.

I joined the FSF as a voice for Free Software, eager to help it carry out its work for software freedom for all, but ended up grounded in virtual solitary confinement. But it’s not a coup.

(Julian and Chelsea, I apologize to you for the disproportionate comparison. The virtual version is unbearable, but the real thing is unfathomable. May we some day deserve the benefits conquered through the sacrifices you’ve made!)

So blong…

Copyright 2007-2020 Alexandre Oliva

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this entire document worldwide without royalty, provided the copyright notice, the document’s official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.

The following licensing terms also apply to all documents and postings in this blog that don’t contain a copyright notice of their own, or that contain a notice equivalent to the one above, and whose copyright can be reasonably assumed to be held by Alexandre Oliva.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons License BY-SA (Attribution ShareAlike) 3.0 Unported. To see a copy of this license, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.

The EU’s EUIPO Will Later Today Help the EPO (Run by EUIPO’s Former Chief) Promote Illegal Software Patents

Tuesday 25th of February 2020 01:51:11 PM

And guess who runs EUIPO now

Summary: Propaganda terms such as “intellectual property rights” and meaningless concepts like “technical effect” are being used to promote so-called ‘computer-implemented inventions’ (software patents by another name)

THE software patents advocacy by the European Patent Office (EPO) isn’t so closeted anymore. The ‘Orange One’ (Battistelli replica) openly insinuates that the EPO would help the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) overcome 35 U.S.C. § 101 as if breaking the law and crushing the courts is the actual goal.

Speaking of the ‘Orange One’ (derogatory name for Donald Trump), he loves buzzwords even more than Battistelli. “HEY HI” (AI) is the leading buzzword at the moment…

Remember the even the software patents that the EPO does grant are thrown out by judges. These judges don’t care for “HEY HI” and won’t bother looking into shallow ‘reporting’ about how “HEY HI” will replace judges…

We’ve meanwhile noticed how the EPO uses meaningless nonsense like “intellectual property rights” and “technical effect” to justify granting illegal patents such as monopolies on algorithms in this . To quote yesterday’s tweet: “Innovative & aesthetic designs can be protected by a variety of intellectual property rights. However, only structures that elicit a technical effect fulfil the requirements for #patentability. More on #3Dprinting and IP here…” (links to a page about software patents)

The EPO, as we noted earlier this year in relation to the above page, has become totally shameless about granting invalid patents such as co-called ‘computer-implemented inventions’. Also from yesterday’s EPO tweets: “At this year’s #SearchMatters event for patent search professionals, we’ve planned an interactive workshop on computer-implemented inventions for #3Dprinting-related technologies.”

Yes, they’ve said it. They admit that they offer patents on algorithms. Also retweeted by the EPO yesterday because of this tweet that said “Tomorrow [today] the @EU_IPO & @EPOorg join forces to explore how IP rights relate to video game design, development and commercialisation.”

Mixing together totally separate things again? Things such as trademark law, copyright law and patent law are inherently different. Patents on games themselves aren’t permitted (algorithms are excluded from patentability). Will an EU agency (EUIPO) help disguise that?

EPO insiders surely know about serious corruption associated with EUIPO and EPO cross-pollination (giving jobs to friends). The EUIPO was retweeted by the EPO yesterday was this tweet which said: “Tuesday 25 February at 10.00. The EUIPO and the @EPOorg come together to explore the what and the how of protecting the IP of the gaming world.”

The gaming world is code; what does the EPO have to do in such an event (if not promotion of software patents)?

Growing Acceptance That There’s No Future to the UPC System and the Unitary Patent

Tuesday 25th of February 2020 12:49:52 PM

Even those who are paid by the EPO to promote the UPC are giving up

Summary: There are growing pains and more signs that even key elements of Team UPC move on, accepting the demise of the UPC

THE European Patent Office (EPO) of António Campinos is the same institution run by his appointer (who gave him this job and swapped chairs at CEIPI). They both promote software patents, which they hope the UPC would accept (as existing courts do not). These Frenchmen have a track record of law-breaking; they both lower patent quality (granting illegal/invalid patents) and they never value their staff or actual skills (they have none themselves; they have connections).

“These Frenchmen have a track record of law-breaking; they both lower patent quality (granting illegal/invalid patents) and they never value their staff or actual skills (they have none themselves; they have connections).”Just like 35 U.S.C. § 101 discussions in the US (very hot topic a couple of years back), discussions regarding EPO abuses have sort of faded away. It’s like nobody is left to cover this subject but us. It’s not like SUEPO says much (sometimes it shares some links), but we’re aware that it does a great deal. There’s definitely a desire to correct things at the EPO. The goal is to fix the EPO, not to make it go away.

Regarding the UPC, it definitely needs to vanish. For good. The very premise of it was all along flawed, not only the proposed legal implementation (as per UPCA).

While it’s possible that UPC will resurface under yet another name (with entirely different nature, excepting some clauses, excluding the UK and perhaps much more), this can take several more years to happen. And even then, ratification would still depend on constitutionality, not lobbying, bribery and various other dirty tricks.

Spotted in Lexology yesterday was this piece entitled “IP after Brexit: consequences and checklists” by Robert Guthrie, Richard May and Michelle Radom (Osborne Clarke). In their own words: “The UK will no longer be part of the new Unitary Patent and its involvement in the proposed new Unified Patents Court (a quasi-EU institution) is now open to doubt.”

The loudest pro-UPC voices of Bristows recently left the firm.

This is the kind of admission or acceptance we don’t often see (not from law firms anyway); the UK is ‘out’ and hence there’s no relevance to the UPCA. Without the UK, UPCA is simply invalid. Milan cannot be renamed “London”; Italians would not permit such a rename, either. We’ve meanwhile noticed that Managing IP writers begrudgingly come to the realisation that UPC is no longer possible.

Highlighted by its parent company this week (promotion in Lexology), IAM has just mentioned the UPC (“the future of the UPC system and the unitary patent” is a loaded statement, but IAM is still a paid megaphone of corrupt EPO management).

Authored by Editor-in-chief Joff Wild, feeding off the EPO’s PR firm, it reveals itself as nothing but a campinos puff piece or promotion of a new IAM issue:

EPO president António Campinos has said that the office’s user community can expect to see “significant advances” as his Strategic Plan 2023 rolls-out over the coming years. Speaking exclusively to IAM in his first detailed interview since succeeding Benoît Battistelli in July 2018, the Portuguese national explained how what he termed a “digital transformation” will lead to the patent-granting process becoming more efficient. “Practically, that should result in more online user services that keep users better informed on the progress of patent applications and more timely communications,” he stated.


Since becoming president, Campinos has rarely spoken to the press about his plans and priorities, or his more general views on the IP system. But over the course of a month in a series of email exchanges with IAM, he opened up on a number of topics, including: the office’s commitment to patent quality; the role that AI will play in the patent system of tomorrow and the patentability of AI-created inventions; the future of the UPC system and the unitary patent; his relationship with the examiner corps; competition between the IP5; and the EPO as a lever of European soft power; as well as much more besides.

From what we can gather, IAM may be in a slow-motion state of collapse. Quite a few writers have left, there’s a very stubborn paywall, hardly any interactions in social control media and their sponsors, notably the patent trolls, aren’t doing too well.

Emulating the Linux Foundation’s Business Model (Selling Influence)

Tuesday 25th of February 2020 09:25:32 AM

When (or if) you support freedom-centric conferences because you want something in return, is that genuine?

Summary: LibrePlanet sponsors are presented with benefits of offering money to the event (or to the FSF)

THE new brochure has some shades in it of the Linux Foundation‘s business model. Here are all the pages:

No further remarks.

Guest Article: LibrePlanet Attendees Should Demand a Partial Refund

Tuesday 25th of February 2020 08:26:02 AM

By figosdev

Summary: What we do know is — that the FSF is no longer “Free as in Speech!”

LibrePlanet is NonfreePlanet, though I am a big fan of Brewster Kahle. If I were Kahle, I would pull out of the event in protest of the despicable actions by FSF and/or the people running the event. I do not know exactly who made the decision to censor LibrePlanet.

I also know that the Internet is the greatest library that humanity has ever built, and that librarians are some of the world’s fiercest opponents of censorship. As one internet librarian to another, I urge Mr. Kahle to consider pulling out of the event in protest. But that’s only a side point to this article.

We do know the motivation that’s behind this injustice. We were told Stallman resigned from the FSF to be helpful. That is probably true, but it isn’t the whole story. We know from the Vice President the intentions of the board — vs. the staff:

“…the FSF board never made any decision to distance the FSF from Richard, to criticize him, or to celebrate his departure. Quite the opposite, if you look carefully at statements issued by the board”

That’s the board, but then there’s this:

“Somehow, despite the decision by the board to stay the course after Richard left, the notion that got to FSF staff was that we were to move away from him, silence his supporters and support his silencers.”

We know that for a while, the mailing list was being censored of pro-Stallman messages. These members were paying to be silenced, against the decision of the board. This is an organisation that has long touted the phrase “Free as in Speech!”

But NonfreePlanet is being censored this year:

“I submitted a speech proposal, but I didn’t even get a response. I’m told by people in the know that my speech was selected, but that there was concern I might speak in favor of the canceled person instead of the proposed topic”

That isn’t some random internet troll being cancelled, it’s the FSF’s own Vice President!

He’s not being censored for the contents of the speech he submitted — but out of FEAR that he might say something Respectful about the founder — who still heads the GNU project!

This is the New FSF Regime, and it’s not following the decisions of the board, nor is the FSF standing up for the founder’s freedom, the vice president’s freedom, nor ours.

When they censor the most distinguished guests, they aren’t only shortchanging the guest. They are diminishing their own standing as an organisation, diminishing their own message and their own advocacy, and they are shortchanging YOU, because they are denying you some of what you would have been allowed to be there for.

They are controlling what you witness and censoring your own experience, not just the guest’s opportunity to speak.

Since the full LibrePlanet experience is not available, you should DEMAND A DISCOUNT or for members, a partial refund — of (at least) one U.S. dollar. You will only be getting a fraction of the LibrePlanet experience in 2020. You shouldn’t have to pay full price.

Tell the FSF you want a refund! While they celebrate their 7th year (6.5 with Stallman as President) celebrating the transparency that Charity Navigator measures, they are being very opaque about where the LibrePlanet money goes. Yes, it goes to the event, or it goes to whatever they say it goes to — but they don’t tell you that you’re only getting PART of the event you paid for.

Every guest should pay less money for less of an event. Is this the first NonfreePlanet, or did they censor a perfectly suitable guest before?

What we do know is — that the FSF is no longer “Free as in Speech!”

As to a second protest worth considering, you might decide show up to the event with duct tape on your mouth, or possibly standing outside with Free Root Beers! (Distributing Free Beers might draw legal complications, and besides, it’s important to be able to get Root on your own system.)

After all — if LibrePlanet is no longer Libre as in Speech, it should at least be Gratis as in Beer! Plus you can drink to the guests who can’t be there, or can’t speak because they’re stifled and subjugated and controlled by an illegitimate coup!

Will they have ushers ready to put a bag over their own Vice President’s head and pull him out of thet even if he should say something Evil and Seditious such as “I love Richard?”

Who knows? Maybe in this New FSF Regime, they’ll have Tasers to stop such acts of free speech!

It’s sort of like the Free Software Song goes:

Join us now and, MMfff mmfff MMMmm-ware
You’ll be mmmfFFFFF mmm Mff!!
You’ll be… MMMfffmmmm…

I don’t know, man, it’s just my opinion. I’m not — Oh hi, guys! What? No! Stop! What are you doing?!

I —

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

An FSF That Rejects Its Founder Would Not Remain FSF As We Once Knew It

Monday 24th of February 2020 04:36:08 PM

“You want to infiltrate those. Again, there’s two categories. There’s those that are controlled by vendors; like MSJ; we control that. And there’s those that are independent. [...] So that’s how you use journals that we control. The ones that third parties control, like the WinTech Journal, you want to infiltrate.”

Microsoft's chief evangelist

Summary: It’s important to keep the FSF focused on its goals; that won’t be achieved by expelling those who insist on these goals

Links 24/2/2020: Linux 5.6 RC3, Netrunner 20.01, Google Summer of Code 2020 Mentoring Organisations Announced

Monday 24th of February 2020 03:54:56 PM

  • GNU/Linux
    • Desktop/Laptop
      • Why Huawei Without Google Is Not The End, But The Start Of Something New [Ed: Huawei already puts GNU/Linux on some major products]

        Last year, Huawei strapped in for a rough ride when US President Donald Trump called for a trade ban on the Chinese tech giant.

        Huawei was placed on the US’ Entity List since May 2019, stopping them from doing business with American companies unless granted approval by the US Government.

        The move essentially cut Huawei off from their US supply of parts, such as the latest chips by Intel and Qualcomm — but the greatest impact felt was definitely losing access to Google’s licensed software, apps and services.

        The one question boggling fans and users was what would happen when future Huawei phones come without Google’s Android and Google Mobile Services (GMS) like Gmail, Google Chrome and Google Maps?

    • Audiocasts/Shows
      • Reading logs, Collision, and open source trailers

        In this episode of the Laravel News podcast, Jake and Michael discuss all the latest Laravel releases, tutorials, and happenings in the community.

      • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 184 – It’s DNS. It’s always DNS

        Josh and Kurt talk about the sale of the domain. Is it going to be the end of the world, or a non event? We disagree on what should happen with it. Josh hopes an evildoer buys it, Kurt hopes for Microsoft. We also briefly discuss the CIA owning Crypto AG.

      • GNU World Order 341

        The journey through the Slackware **ap** software set continues. The **amp** mp3-to-wav converter, **ash** shell, and the **at**, **atq**, **atrm**, **batch** commands.

      • Linux Action News 146

        Microsoft Defender for Linux is in preview, Mozilla’s VPN has a secret advantage, and why the community is calling out NPM Inc.

        Plus a new report about open source security, and more.

    • Kernel Space
      • Linux 5.6-rc3 Fairly normal rc3 as far as I can tell. We've seen bigger, but we've seen smaller ones too. Maybe this is slightly on the low side of average at this time, which would make sense since this was a smaller merge window. Anyway, too much noise in the signal to be sure either way. The overall stats look fairly regular too: about 55% drivers (staging, sound, gpu, networking, and usb look noticeable, with some noise elsewhere). The bulk of the staging diff is actually the vsoc removal, so that's nice. Outside of drivers, we have the usual suspects: arch fixes (powerpc, s390, x86, but also a late csky update that I couldn't find it in myself to worry about). Filesystems (ext4 and btrfs) and networking. And misc sprinkles of small fixes elsewhere. See the appended shortlog for details, Linus
      • Linux 5.6-rc3 Released As A “Fairly Normal” Kernel

        Torvalds characterized Linux 5.6-rc3 as a “fairly normal” release for this third release candidate stage. In the past there’s been both bigger and smaller RC3 releases but overall at this stage is looking like a good release. Around 55% of the changes merged over the past week were driver related.

      • Reiser5 Spun Up For The Linux 5.5.5 Kernel

        For those that have been wanting to take the experimental Reiser5 for a test drive since being announced at the end of 2019, new versions of the Reiser4 and Reiser5 file-system kernel patches have been posted.

        Edward Shishkin who continues as the lone driving force behind Reiser4 and the new Reiser5 / Reiser4 v5 file-system has updated the out-of-tree file-system for the latest kernel release. These newest patches re-base Reiser4 and Reiser5 for Linux 5.5.5 as well as Linux 5.4.21. Recent VFS optimizations upstream were causing system lockups and other upstream changes necessitated another spin of these patches for the newest Linux kernel point releases.

      • C-SKY CPU Architecture For Linux 5.6 Picks Up Stack Protector, PCI Support

        While two weeks past the Linux 5.6 merge window some late changes for the C-SKY CPU architecture were accepted today.

        C-SKY’s Guo Ren accidentally missed the recent Linux 5.6 merge window but Linus Torvalds was fine with pulling in these late changes that include both fixes and features.

      • Graphics Stack
    • Applications
      • Notable – Markdown based Note-taking App for Linux

        Notable is an open-source Markdown-based note-taking application that works in Linux, Mac OS, and Windows.

        Notes are written and rendered in GitHub Flavored Markdown, no WYSIWYG, no account required, no proprietary formats, and the app isn’t bloated.

      • VokoscreenNG: Open Source Screencasting Tool

        Vokoscreen was one of the best screen recording software for Linux. Despite its rather ‘outdated looking’ interface, it had a decent userbase.

        For some time, vokoscreen didn’t see updates and eventually it was discontinued.

        The good news is that vokoscreen is not entirely dead. It’s reborn as vokoscreenNG.

        The NG in vokoscreenNG stands for New Generation and rightly so because it’s been created from scratch using Qt and Gstreamer.

      • Excellent System Tools: nnn – portable terminal file manager

        I’m devoting most of my spare time writing about the Raspberry Pi 4 (RPI4). My findings are captured in a weekly blog chronicling my experience of using the tiny machine as a desktop replacement. One of my forthcoming blog posts examines file managers on the RPI4 looking at both graphical and terminal-based file managers.

        As I’ve spent a lot of time using nnn in the past few weeks, it makes sense I look at the latest release on a regular Intel machine, in advance of my RPI4 file manager blog.

        LinuxLinks has previously reviewed imgp and googler. They are open source software coded by Arun Prakash Jana. He’s also the developer of nnn which has seen a new major release in the past fortnight. I’ve never reviewed any of Mr Jana’s software before.

        How does the author describe his software? His man page says “nnn is the missing terminal file manager for X. (Nnn’s Not Noice) is a performance-optimized, feature-packed fork of noice with seamless desktop integration, simplified navigation, navigate-as-you-type mode with auto select, disk usage analyzer mode, bookmarks, contexts, application launcher, familiar navigation shortcuts, subshell spawning and much more. It remains a simple and efficient file manager that stays out of your way.”

        In a single sentence, nnn can be probably best summarized as software seeking to bridge the gap between the terminal and the desktop environment.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
      • Robotality give Pathway a big update with a challenging a Hardcore Mode

        Pathway, the strategy adventure set in the 1930s from Robotality recently had a huge update if you need something to challenge you this is it.

        Now when making a new game in Pathway, it gives you the option to make your profile a Hardcore Profile which can’t be changed after. In this mode, the entire games plays as one long adventure with everything carrying over between sections. So if a character dies, they’re gone. It also gives you all jeep upgrades and characters and higher difficulty.

      • RimWorld 1.1 is out with a first expansion with RimWorld – Royalty

        Ludeon Studios dropped a sneaky one, not only did they release the big RimWorld 1.1 update they also released the first big expansion named RimWorld – Royalty.

        First, a reminder on what the big 1.1 update brings for everyone: UI improvements for high resolutions, a new Quests tab, modding improvements, the Vanilla Animals mod is now part of the game adding in more animal variety, new armour, new weapons, an asexual trait was added and so on.

        As for the expansion, RimWorld – Royalty, Ludeon mentioned that their team has expanded to seven people which has allowed them to work on multiple things. This includes new free content, plus the brand new expansion and it sounds like more to come.

      • Deck-building card battler ‘Dreamgate’ is out in Early Access

        Dreamgate, a turn-based deck-building battler is now out in Early Access with Linux support giving you another game that wants you to have just one more turn.

      • What have you been playing recently and what do you think about it?

        It’s been quite some time since we last had an open discussion about what you’ve all been playing recently. Let’s get things going again.

        We’ve almost finished the second month of 2020, we’ve had tons of Linux games that have released this year already and a huge amount more on the way. Now with the rise of game streaming, Steam Play Proton and more options appearing constantly there’s never a shortage of gaming to be had.

      • Check out ‘Aseprite’ a popular cross-platform pixel-art tool to create 2D animations and sprites

        Although I’m not into game development, after finding about this popular 2D pixel animation program while researching something else, I decided to cover it here on GOL in the hopes that someone finds it useful or time saving. Aseprite is a tool developed by small Argentine developer Igara Studio, that has been around in some form for almost two decades, having its version 1.0 released on Jun 6, 2014. Right now on Steam it has 2897 positive reviews by Steam users, out of 2923 total reviews, reaching as a consequence an ‘Overwhelmingly Positive’ status.

      • Corona Labs announces imminent closure. Corona engine to become open source

        According to Corona Labs’ official website, the company will cease operations on May 1. The decision to close the company was made by its owner, monetization platform Appodeal, as the business’ operating expenses exceeded its revenue.

        Game developers will still have access to the Corona engine, and all projects created on it will continue to work. The project itself will now be distributed under a new, simplified license. It involves the unrestricted distribution of apps and games created on Corona.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • This week in KDE

          At this point we’ve got nearly all of the significant regressions from Plasma 5.18 fixed (so go file bugs if you have any new ones) and we’re starting to re-focus on fixing longstanding issues and land work for Plasma 5.19. Hopefully you’ll find something in this week’s update to feel excited about!

        • KDE Saw Many Bug Fixes This Week From KWin Crashes To Plasma Wayland Improvements

          This week in particular saw a lot of fixes in the KDE space for a wide variety of bugs.

          Some of the fixing that went on over the past week in the KDE desktop space included:

          - Fixes to the System Settings Online Accounts page.

          - Plasma is receiving a fix where a maliciously-crafted network name could cause remote images to be displayed.

          - Fixes for two common crashes in KWin.

        • Contributing to KDE is easier than you think — Localization plain and simple

          Today’s post will essentially describe how quick and easy it is to work with localization for KDE software. My latest post might have sounded intimidating or people might have gotten tired from reading it in the middle, which is a shame; hence the reason for this post.

          Oh, existing translators should also have a reason to read this post, as I’ll be showing brand new functionality in Lokalize too.

          As a brief note, I’m currently using openSUSE Krypton with Plasma from master, meaning it’s as updated as possible. I’m also using the XWayland session, because it’s dope af. It doesn’t affect my workflow at all, either.

          But well, let’s keep it short and begin.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK
        • The Adapta GTK Theme Sorely Needs a New Maintainer…

          Making a GTK theme isn’t easy. Keeping it up to date? Well, that’s even harder. And despite its relative success the Adapta theme is currently without a maintainer.

          Which is why I’m writing this post. I’d hate to see such a widely-used theme fall to the wayside.

          Not that this is new.

          This theme has been on the hunt for a new maintainer since October 2018.

        • Tick Tock Clocks got redesigned!

          Few months back, I convinced Zander Brown to take over GNOME Clocks with me and we have been working hard to refresh the code base and give it a new look for GNOME 3.36.

          So far, we have got all the four panels re-designed based on the mockups made by the GNOME design team.

    • Distributions
      • Reviews
        • Review: Void 20191109

          Void is a rolling release Linux distribution. The project offers a number of features which are uncommon in the Linux community, including a custom package manager (XBPS), two flavours of C library (the GNU C Library, glibc, and musl libc), and a custom init implementation called runit. If this were not enough to make the project interesting, the distribution can run on multiple architectures, including 32-bit (x86), 64-bit (x86_64), and several ARM boards, including the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone.

          Void is also the future base for Project Trident, which is migrating from TrueOS to Void, partially for more up to date hardware support. The Void project is available in a minimal, command line edition and six desktop editions: Enlightenment, Cinnamon, LXDE, LXQt, MATE, and Xfce. This, along with each edition being available in two C library flavours and multiple CPU architectures means the hardest part when getting started with Void is picking which option to download. I went with the 64-bit Xfce edition with the musl library. This edition was 757MB in size.

          Booting from the live media brings up a menu asking if we would like to load the live desktop or transfer the operating system into RAM for improved performance and then load the live desktop. Either way, in short order the Xfce 4.14 desktop appears. The desktop’s panel with an application menu, task switcher, and system tray appears across the top edge of the screen. A quick-launch panel appears centred along the bottom of the screen. Immediately after the desktop loads a pop-up message appears letting us know “Xfce PolicyKit Agent” has encountered an error. No further information is provided and all we can do is close this window. This PolicyKit error appears every time we sign in, both when running the live environment and when the operating system has been installed on the hard drive.

      • New Releases
        • Netrunner 20.01 – “Twenty” released

          The Netrunner Team is happy to announce the immediate availability of Netrunner 20.01 “Twenty” – 64bit ISO.

          This version marks the twentieth release of Netrunner Desktop for Debian/Ubuntu (not counting the incremental updates), and its 10th year since Netrunner started back in 2010.

          It is based upon the current Debian Stable 10.3 (‘buster’), including all updates since the previous release.

        • Netrunner 20.01 Released For Offering Latest Debian 10 + KDE Plasma Experience

          Netrunner 20.01 is out today as the 20th release for this Debian + KDE focused project over its ten year history.

          Netrunner 20.01 is based on Debian 10.3 stable packages along with the latest KDE packages on the desktop, continued theme tweaks, and shipping with a range of GTK and Qt/KDE programs from the likes of GIMP to Krita to Kdenlive to the GMusicbrowser to also offering Skype and other software packages.

        • Netrunner 20.01 “Twenty” Arrives as Project’s 10th Anniversary Release

          Blue Systems released today Netrunner 20.01, a major version of the Debian-based distribution to celebrate the project’s 10th anniversary and also the 10th release of Netrunner Desktop.

          On March 18th, Netrunner will celebrate 10 years since the release of its first ever version, Netrunner 1 “Albedo,” and what better way to celebrate this major milestone than with a new release. Meet Netrunner 20.01 “Twenty.”

          As its codename suggests, Netrunner 20.01 “Twenty” is also the project’s twentieth release. It is based on Debian GNU/Linux 10.3 “Buster” and comes with a refreshed look and feel and updated packages.

        • Debian-based Netrunner 20.01 ‘Twenty’ Linux distribution now available for download

          One of my favorite Linux distributions is Netrunner. If you aren’t familiar, it is a Debian-based operating system that utilizes the KDE Plasma desktop environment. It is very polished and chock-full of excellent pre-installed applications such as LibreOffice, GIMP, Firefox, and Skype. All of this makes Netrunner a great choice for those switching from Windows, but also, it is a wonderful option for Linux experts too. Seriously, folks, you will be blown away by how exceptional it is — one of the best.

          Today, Netrunner 20.01 becomes available, and it is a very important milestone. You see, not only does it represent 10 years of development, but also, it is the twentieth major version of the operating system. And so, the Debian Buster (stable) 10.3-based distro is being dubbed “Twenty.” Netrunner 20.01 is using KDE Plasma 5.14.5 and comes with a very special birthday wallpaper!

      • BSD
        • OpenVPN setup

          For historical reasons, I run a bunch of IT infrastructure at home. Mindful of sayings like the cloud is just other people’s computers I’ve installed jails on my home FreeBSD NAS / server / router to deliver a bunch of services. Mail, for instance, and an LDAP server to experiment with, and something for package building.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE
        • EasyNAS 1.0 Beta 3 is out

          This version is a bug fix version. Shutdown & Restart are working properly, network setting is working fine, Chinese language is now downloadable, Firmware updates is now faster, Addons installation works fine.

          You won’t need to download the ISO of the new version, just use the Update feature in the menu and you’ll get the new full new version including Beta-4 and the final release. You’ll see many updates for all components , update it when it’s available.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora
        • Where I Stand on Systemd

          Once I turn to design considerations and technological benefits, however, I quickly bog down. The Unix philosophy of one utility to do one thing very well sounds admirable in theory, and perhaps on the administrative level it works well. Yet, I have heard few if any complaints that large apps like SE Linux or AppArmor violate the Unix philosophy, and on the desktop, apps like LibreOffice or Krita are clear violators. Could it be that some projects require a different approach to be effective?

          As a user, my initial tendency is to applaude Init Freedom’s rejection of “this one-size-fits-all vision” that led to the general acceptance of systemd in the major distributions. Yet as I think further, I wonder how practical supporting multiple init systems might be.

          In the recent Debian general resolution on systemd, both sides maintained that expecting maintainers to support multiple init systems would seriously add to the task of keeping packages current. The Devuan project itself appears to illustrate the difficulty, since it still uses Debian 9 as its basis and so far has been unable to add multiple init support itself. When finding maintainers is a constant problem for many distros, perhaps a limit on the number of supported init systems is sheer practicality.

        • PulseAudio 14 Is Releasing Soon With Better USB Gaming Headset Support

          In addition to PipeWire 0.3 having shipped last week, also making it out a few days prior was a development snapshot in the road to PulseAudio 14.0.

          PulseAudio 13.99.1 was released as a development snapshot in the road to the imminent PulseAudio 14.0.

          In the 6+ months since PulseAudio 13, developers have been working on various audio sink changes, automatic switching to HDMI audio is now disabled by default, flat volumes are also disabled by default, there is better support for USB gaming headsets, PulseAudio honoring Xauthority arguments for X11 modules, a workaround for GNOME Sound Settings behavior, and various other changes.

        • Enterprise open source software is growing within innovative companies

          Red Hat has been at the forefront of the global open source discussion, fighting for software freedom in the U.S Supreme Court, and offering free tech products for cloud infrastructure, automation, AI, and much more. After conducting research and interviewing IT leaders from around the world, Red Hat released a report examining the state of enterprise open source in 2020.

          950 IT leaders, unaware that Red Hat was the research sponsor, were surveyed about their practices and opinions on enterprise open source software.


          The benefits of using open source software seem obvious, namely that they are, of course, freely available. However, its lack of a price tag isn’t the main thing that IT leaders love.

          According to the survey, respondents believe that higher-quality software is the number one benefit of enterprise open source. FOSS software is often better than proprietary options, with better security, cloud-native technologies, and cutting edge solutions.

        • Red Hat OpenStack Platform 16 Delivers Long-Term Support

          On Feb. 20, Red Hat announced OpenStack Platform 16, a major update providing up to five years of support. The update is the first of 2020 and marks the beginning of a new approach to OpenStack support from Red Hat. Up until the OpenStack 15 release in September 2019, Red Hat released two minor updates every year that had up to one year of support, followed by a major long-term support release. As of the Red Hat OpenStack Platform 16 release, there will now only be long-term support releases.

      • Debian Family
        • DPL Sam Hartman proves blackmail is alive and well in Debian

          Debian has gone as far as humiliating and shaming people on a number of occasions to force them to bend over and submit to the monoculture. That may work with one or two victims at a time, as revealed in the Debian Christmas lynchings but the number of people expressing concerns about Israel appears to be too large for plain vanilla blackmailing.

        • What can you preseed when installing Debian?

          Preseeding is a very useful way of installing and pre-configuring a Debian system in one go. You simply supply lots of the settings that your new system will need up front, in a preseed file. The installer will use those settings instead of asking questions, and it will also pass on any extra settings via the debconf database so that any further package setup will use them.

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Ksnip is a cross-platform, open source screenshot tool with many annotation options

        The program supports five modes for capturing screenshots. Rectangular Area is the default one which was mentioned in the above paragraph. The second option is Last Rectangular Area, selecting this option directly captures the content inside the previous area that you chose. This is a rather unusual option, and quite a useful one as it allows you to retake a screenshot or take another one in case something changed inside the rectangle.

        The Full Screen mode can be used to save a snapshot of the entire screen. What’s special here is that, Ksnip can capture the screen from all connected monitors. So, you can use it to take wide screenshots from videos, games and maybe even set the captured image as your desktop background wallpaper.

      • Dell EMC Streaming Data Platform integrates open source technology

        Dell combines several open source streaming data technologies, including Apache Kafka, Apache Flink and Pravega, to create a new streaming data platform.

      • Instaclustr Achieves PCI-DSS Certification for its Managed Apache Cassandra and Kafka Offerings on AWS
      • Democratizing space exploration with new technologies

        Democratization means nothing without the support of and collaboration with public consumers and talent. Open source software, whose source code anyone can peruse, modify and contribute to, allows NewSpace industries to engage directly with the public through hands-on, widely accessible opportunities that help develop and improve technology.

        The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a big proponent of these open access projects, finding that they build online and in-real-life communities and help shape the future of NewSpace tech.

        These open access resources solicit submissions from all over the world, inviting users to send their personal research concept to space. Participants, for example, can rent time on a cubesat constellation (similar to buying time on a cloud computing system). Here they can interact in open science communities with access to libraries and maker studios where users can utilize MIT’s already vast research portfolio. On top of it all, the initiative offers other integrated support systems like a STEAM outreach program with educational resources, curriculum and DIY hacker guidelines for climate-smart cubesats.

      • Should I Use Open Source Instead Of Demand Planning Software For Forecasting?

        You’re not going to get advanced modeling like machine learning in Excel. Excel can’t handle large data sets either, making it clunky and problematic.

      • Collaboration Over Competition: How Companies Benefit from Open Innovation

        More and more technology companies are adopting open innovation initiatives. This is largely due to the realization of the benefits of working with outside experts to gain external perspectives and insights. This situation wherein an organization thinks beyond its internal resources for innovation and collaborates with external resources is known as open innovation. Open innovation is an opportunity for the company to utilize those external ideas and use them to develop innovative products and services. It may seem simple, but there is more to the collaboration process than just brainstorming.

      • An Open Source Ebike

        In the ebike world, there are two paths. The first is a homemade kit bike with motors and controllers from China. The second is a prebuilt bike from a manufacturer like Giant, with motors and controllers from China, which will be half as fast and cost three times as much. The choice is obvious, and there are other benefits to taking the first path as well, such as using this equipment which now has an open source firmware option.


        This new open source firmware for the TSDZ2 further improves on the ride by improving the motor responsiveness, improving battery efficiency, and opening up the ability to use any of a number of color displays. (More information is available on a separate Wiki.)

      • RedNotebook 2.17

        RedNotebook is a modern desktop journal. It lets you format, tag and search your entries. You can also add pictures, links and customizable templates, spell check your notes, and export to plain text, HTML, Latex or PDF. RedNotebook is Free Software under the GPL.

      • Events
      • Web Browsers
      • DB and NGINX
        • MongoDB: developer distraction dents DevSecOps dreams

          MongoDB’s director of developer relations has just opened a piece of internal research that suggests as few as 29% of Europe’s developers take full responsibility for security.

          Now, 29% is a somewhat arbitrary figure, cleary i.e. it could be 22.45% or it could be 39.93%… the fact that the firm has pointed to an exact sum in this way is merely intended to show that it has undertaken a degree of calculation and statistical analysis

        • NGINX Unit Adds Support for Reverse Proxying and Address-Based Routing

          NGINX announced the release of versions 1.13 and 1.14 of NGINX Unit, its open-source web and application server. These releases include support for reverse proxying and address-based routing based on the connected client’s IP address and the target address of the request.

          NGINX Unit is able to run web applications in multiple language versions simultaneously. Languages supported include Go, Perl, PHP, Python, Node.JS, Java, and Ruby. The server does not rely on a static configuration file, instead allowing for configuration via a REST API using JSON. Configuration is stored in memory allowing for changes to happen without a restart.

      • FSF
        • GNU Projects
          • Who cares about Emacs?

            GNU Emacs isn’t the oldest interactive text editor for Unix—it’s predated (at least) by the Vi editor—nor is it the only Emacs in existence. However, it’s surely the most popular Emacs and one of the best editors available on POSIX. Or it was until fresh new editors, like Atom, VSCode, and Brackets, came to the fresh new open source landscape of today. There are so many options for robust text editors now, many of which have iterated upon Emacs’ ideas and traditions, that you may well wonder whether GNU Emacs is still relevant.

      • Public Services/Government
        • International Centre for Free and Open Source Software wins honour by Malayalam Mission

          The International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) was awarded the first-ever Bhasha Pratibha Puraskaram instituted by the Malayalam Mission. ICFOSS was selected for making Malayalam language technology-friendly and also for promoting open-source software. ICFOSS chief and CEO of Kerala IT Parks Sasi PM received the award from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at the Ayyankali Hall here recently. The award carries a cash prize of Rs 50,000 and a citation.

          This is the first technology award instituted by the Malayalam Mission for the technical help got for “expanding and democratising” Malayalam on the internet and Malayalam computing, said a statement. ICFOSS focuses on a variety of areas including machine translation, free and open-source software (FOSS) training, research and development.

          The jury observed that the ICFOSS made commendable efforts in coordinating the development of free software and thus by defending corporatisation in the language computing arena. It also lauded the efforts of the agency in developing new fonts and for giving free training government staff in language computing.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
        • Open Access/Content
          • Open Source textbooks saving Beaufort County Community College students money
          • Open-source textbooks save Beaufort students over $50,000 per semester

            Open source textbooks are helping students at Beaufort County Community College save money, making the cost of their education less expensive and helping stretch financial aid or scholarship money they may be receiving.

            The average student will spend over $1,200 on textbooks per year. Since initial adoption by Ashleigh Howard, Lead Professor for the Social & Behavioral Sciences Department, the books have been adopted by other professors across campus, cumulatively saving students over $50,000 per semester. Currently, cultural geography, history, criminal justice, sociology and Spanish classes are using the books.

      • Programming/Development
        • Jussi Pakkanen: Open source does not have a reward mechanism for tedious

          Many software developers are creators and builders. They are drawn to problems of the first type. The fact that they are difficult is not a downside, it is a challenge to be overcome. It can even be a badge of merit which you can wave around your fellow developers. These projects include things like writing your own operating system or 3D game engine, writing device drivers that saturate the fastest of transfer links, lock free atomic parallelism, distributed file systems that store exabytes of data as well as embedded firmware that has less than 1 kilobyte of RAM. Working on these kinds of problems is rewarding on its own, even if the actual product never finishes or fails horribly when eventually launched. They are, in a single word, sexy.

          Most problems are not like that, but are instead the programming equivalent of ditch digging. They consist of a lot of hard work, which is not very exciting on its own but it still needs to be done. It is difficult to get volunteers to work on these kinds of problems and this is where the problem gets amplified in open source. Corporations have a very strong way to motivate people to work on tedious problems and it is called a paycheck. Volunteer driven open source development does not have a way to incentivise people in the same way. This is a shame, because the chances of success for any given software project (and startup) is directly proportional to the amount of tedious work people working on it are willing to do.

        • ledger2beancount 2.0 released

          I released version 2.0 of ledger2beancount, a ledger to beancount converter.

        • digest 0.6.25: Spookyhash bugfix

          digest creates hash digests of arbitrary R objects (using the md5, sha-1, sha-256, sha-512, crc32, xxhash32, xxhash64, murmur32, and spookyhash algorithms) permitting easy comparison of R language objects. It is a fairly widely-used package (currently listed at 889k monthly downloads with 255 direct reverse dependencies and 7340 indirect reverse dependencies) as many tasks may involve caching of objects for which it provides convenient general-purpose hash key generation.

          This release is a one issue fix. Aaron Lun noticed some issues when spookyhash is used in streaming mode. Kendon Bell, who also contributed spookyhash quickly found the issue which is a simple oversight. This was worth addressing in new release, so I pushed 0.6.25.

        • Google announces 200 open-source mentors for the 2020 GSoC event

          With this year’s Google Summer of Code event right around the corner, the organizers considered this to be the perfect time to announce the mentoring organizations for the participants. In this year’s edition of GSoC, there will be 200 mentoring organizations, including 30 new teams. Read on to find out more details of this open-source event.

        • Google Summer of Code 2020 Mentoring Organizations Announced

          You can find the full list of organizations/projects on GSoC website. For each company, you can click on “View Idea List” to see more details about the potential projects. Students will be invited to apply and submit proposals between March 16-31. Selected students will be working on the project between May 19, 2020 – August 11, 2020, with regular evaluation and final results on August 26, 2020.

        • What developers need to know about domain-specific languages

          A domain-specific language (DSL) is a language meant for use in the context of a particular domain. A domain could be a business context (e.g., banking, insurance, etc.) or an application context (e.g., a web application, database, etc.) In contrast, a general-purpose language (GPL) can be used for a wide range of business problems and applications.

          A DSL does not attempt to please all. Instead, it is created for a limited sphere of applicability and use, but it’s powerful enough to represent and address the problems and solutions in that sphere. A good example of a DSL is HTML. It is a language for the web application domain. It can’t be used for, say, number crunching, but it is clear how widely used HTML is on the web.

          A GPL creator does not know where the language might be used or the problems the user intends to solve with it. So, a GPL is created with generic constructs that potentially are usable for any problem, solution, business, or need. Java is a GPL, as it’s used on desktops and mobile devices, embedded in the web across banking, finance, insurance, manufacturing, etc., and more.

        • Using C and C++ for data science

          While languages like Python and R are increasingly popular for data science, C and C++ can be a strong choice for efficient and effective data science. In this article, we will use C99 and C++11 to write a program that uses the Anscombe’s quartet dataset, which I’ll explain about next.

          I wrote about my motivation for continually learning languages in an article covering Python and GNU Octave, which is worth reviewing. All of the programs are meant to be run on the command line, not with a graphical user interface (GUI). The full examples are available in the polyglot_fit repository.

        • Python
          • Python 101 2nd Edition Sample Chapters

            I have put together some sample chapters for the 2nd edition of Python 101 which is coming out later this year. You can download the PDF version of these sample chapters here. Note that these chapters may have minor typos in them. Feel free to let me know if you find any bugs or errors.

          • Python 3.7.6 : The SELinux python package.

            The tutorial for today is about the SELinux python package.

          • Release 0.7.0 of GooCalendar
          • Python in Production

            I’m missing a key part from the public Python discourse and I would like to help to change that.

            The other day I was listening to a podcast about running Python services in production. While I disagreed with some of the choices they made, it acutely reminded me about what I’ve been missing in the past years from the public Python discourse.

          • Python Packaging Metadata

            Since this topic keeps coming up, I’d like to briefly share my thoughts on Python package metadata because it’s – as always – more complex than it seems.

            When I say metadata I mean mostly the version so I will talk about it interchangeably. But the description, the license, or the project URL are also part of the game.

          • Better Python tracebacks with Rich

            One of my goals in writing Rich was to render really nice Python tracebacks. And now that feature has landed.

            I’ve never found Python tracebacks to be a great debugging aid beyond telling me what the exception was, and where it occurred. In a recent update to Rich, I’ve tried to refresh the humble traceback to give enough context to diagnose errors before switching back to the editor.

          • PyDev of the Week: Hameer Abbasi

            This week we welcome Hameer Abbasi as our PyDev of the Week! Hameer works on the PyData Sparse project.


            I was doing a Hilfswissenschaftler job (sort of like a Research Assistant in the USA), and there I was presented the problem of scaling a sparse system to a larger space. I discovered the PyData/Sparse project back then (it was in Matthew Rocklin’s personal repository at the time), and was immediately fascinated by the idea of computational gains to be had if one moved to a sparse representation. I’m now the maintainer for that project, and I’m grateful I chose that path, as it landed me a talk at SciPy 2018 and a client in the form of Quansight.

        • Git
          • Reaching Serenity: Porting Git To A Homebrew Operating System

            Life is all about the little joys — such as waking up in the morning and realizing there’s still plenty of time before you have to actually get up. Or getting up anyway to watch a delightful sunrise as the city slowly wakes up, or as [Andreas Kling] chose, porting your favorite development tool to the operating system you wrote.

            With the aesthetics of ’90s UI design and the functionality of a simpler 2000s Unix-style system core in mind, and personal reasons to keep himself busy, [Andreas] started SerenityOS a little while back. Of course, writing your own operating system is always a great educational exercise, but it takes a certain amount of commitment to push it beyond an experimental playground phase. So ideally, you’d eventually want to use it as your actual main system, however, as software developer, [Andreas] was missing one crucial component for that: git. Well, he decided to change that and just port it — and as someone who likes to record his hacking sessions, you can watch him along the way.

  • Leftovers
    • Science
      • Microbiome researcher accused of sexual misconduct

        A researcher famed for his work on the microbiomes of hunter-gatherers has been accused by several American women of sexual assault, according to court documents. Jeff Leach, a resident of Terlingua, Texas, co-founded a major open-source, crowdfunded project on the microbiome and is the co-author of multiple papers on gut microbes, including one published in Science. But in the publicity resulting from the accusations, other questions have emerged—about Leach’s academic qualifications and his behavior in the field. Leach and his lawyer, Rae Leifeste, told Science that all the charges are unfounded and were motivated by personal and professional jealousy and disagreements over money. Leach sued one accuser for defamation, but as part of that case further allegations have emerged, including sexual assault and past legal problems.

    • Health/Nutrition
    • Integrity/Availability
      • Proprietary
        • Pseudo-Open Source
          • Openwashing
            • UBank puts open source accessibility kit on GitHub [Ed: This feeds a proprietary software trap of Microsoft for openwashing purposes and to make matters worse, it is not accessible]
            • Precious Plastic open source recycling project takes a new perspective toward waste

              “Plastic is a precious and valuable material. It’s just been kind of designed, used and marketed in the wrong way, in our view,” explained Precious Plastic business guy (yes, that’s his real title) Joseph Klatt. The company’s business guy is originally from Ohio but moved to the Netherlands where the project is headquartered.

            • The open source platform empowering creatives to turn recycling into craft [Ed: This use of the term "open source" may be misleading]

              In response to this, Hakkens looked to the large-scale recycling plants that operate across the world. Their huge industrial machines then formed the base of the Precious Plastic operation.

              “He began recreating these machines on a small scale, putting the blueprints and assembly instructions online for others to use,” continues Elleke.

              Once built, users can create with the waste plastic however they need, making anything from furniture and household goods, to bricks and other modular structures. The possibilities, she says, are endless: “Anything made with plastic, can be made with recycled plastic.”

              According to Elleke, the whole idea was to “take a global problem, and find a community solution.” In giving a second, third or infinite number of lives to waste plastic, Hakkens and his team provide local designers, craftspeople and creatives with a new material and profit stream.

          • Privatisation/Privateering
            • Linux Foundation
              • Linux and LISH release census for open source security

                The Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH), announced the release of ‘Vulnerabilities in the Core,’ a Preliminary Report and Census II of Open Source Software.

                This Census II analysis and report represent important steps towards understanding and addressing structural and security complexities in the modern-day supply chain where open source is pervasive, but not always understood. Census II identifies the most commonly used free and open-source software (FOSS) components in production applications and begins to examine them for potential vulnerabilities, which can inform actions to sustain the long-term security and health of FOSS. Census I (2015) identified which software packages in the Debian Linux distribution were the most critical to the kernel’s operation and security.

              • Vulnerabilities in the Core: Key Lessons from a Major Open Source Census

                A major new Open Source census has identified the Top 20 most commonly used free and open source software (FOSS) components in production applications.

                The Linux Foundation/ Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH) “Census II” report, published this week, represents what it describes as the “first steps toward addressing the structural issues that threaten the FOSS ecosystem.”

              • Equinix joins open source Edge body LF Edge

                Colocation and interconnection giant Equinix has joined a body aiming to develop open source solutions for the Edge.

                Equinix has become a Premier member of LF Edge, a body set up by the Linux Foundation one year ago to manage a set of open source projects addressing issues with Edge computing.

        • Security
          • All Those Low-Cost Satellites in Orbit Could Be Weaponized by Hackers, Warns Expert

            Last month, SpaceX became the operator of the world’s largest active satellite constellation. As of the end of January, the company had 242 satellites orbiting the planet with plans to launch 42,000 over the next decade.

            This is part of its ambitious project to provide internet access across the globe. The race to put satellites in space is on, with Amazon, UK-based OneWeb and other companies chomping at the bit to place thousands of satellites in orbit in the coming months.

          • NMap – A Basic Security Audit of Exposed Ports and Services

            For a plethora of reasons, auditing the security of our servers and networks is of paramount importance. Whether we are talking about a development server, a workstation, or a major enterprise application, security should be baked into every step of the deployment. While we can easily check our firewall settings from “the inside” of our systems. It is also a good idea to run a security audit from “the outside”. Using a network enumeration tool such as the famous and highly vetted Network Mapper (NMap).

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation
            • Cybersecurity startup Polyverse raises $8M to protect Linux open-source code from hackers [Ed: Right around the corner from Bill Gates, another company like Black Duck and it'll "protect" Linux... just buy its proprietary software]

              Polyverse has been validated by the U.S. Department of Defense for mitigating zero-day attacks, intrusions that occur just as a vulnerability becomes public, such as the infamous WannaCry ransomware and hacks of companies like Equifax. The company says its technology is “running on millions of servers.”

            • Kubernetes Security Plagued by Human Error, Misconfigs

              Following a year of numerous security bugs within the Kubernetes ecosystem and the first security audit of Kubernetes conducted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), which hosts the open source platform, continued wide-spread adoption has seen security become somewhat of an afterthought.

              However, if security concerns continue inhibiting business innovation, does that fall on businesses for neglecting security practices or the market for not providing them with the tools to confidently secure their deployments?

              “People just get security wrong sometimes,” McLean said. “Companies need a combination of increased learning, cross-pollination, new tooling, and updated processes to identify and remediate these security ‘mistakes’ during build and deploy vs. waiting for exposure during runtime.”

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
      • Assange indictment poses serious risk to press freedom

        The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, today expressed deep concern over the U.S. government’s decision to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under the Espionage Act.“The decision to prosecute him under the Espionage Act poses serious implications for press freedom in the U.S. and globally”, IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi said. “Receiving and publishing information that governments would rather keep hidden goes to the core of journalism’s role in democracy. This indictment risks setting a highly dangerous precedent that can be abused to prosecute journalists of any stripe for their role in revealing information in the public interest.”The U.S. Justice Department unveiled the new indictment against Assange on Thursday. Prosecutors had previously charged Assange with conspiracy to commit computer hacking together with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. The charges under the Espionage Act represent a significant escalation of the U.S.’s efforts to punish Assange for his role in publishing a vast trove of American military and diplomatic documents in 2010.

      • Assange’s fate hangs in balance as UK court considers US extradition bid

        A British court begins hearings on Monday, London time, to decide whether Julian Assange should be extradited to the United States almost a decade after his WikiLeaks website enraged Washington by leaking secret US documents.

        A hero to admirers who say he has exposed abuses of power, Assange is cast by critics as a dangerous enemy of the state who has undermined Western security. He says the extradition is politically motivated by those embarrassed by his revelations.

      • Julian Assange ‘put lives at risk’ by sharing unredacted files

        Mr Lewis said that the majority of the charges relate to “straightforward criminal” activity, which he described as a “conspiracy to steal from and hack into” the department of defence computer system along with former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
        “These are ordinary criminal charges and any person, journalist or source who hacks or attempts to gain unauthorised access to a secure system or aids and abets others to do so is guilty of computer misuse,” Mr Lewis said.
        “Reporting or journalism is not an excuse for criminal activities or a licence to break ordinary criminal laws.”
        He said the dissemination of specific classified documents unredacted put dissidents in Afghanistan and Iraq at “risk of serious harm, torture or even death”.

    • Environment
      • Canary Islands sandstorm: Flights disrupted as dust cloud strands tourists

        Spain’s national weather service said winds of up to 120km/h (75mph) could buffet the Canaries until Monday.

        It is strong winds that have blasted the islands with a dense cloud of sand from the Saharan desert, some 500km (300 miles) across the Atlantic Ocean.

      • Facing Undeniable Reality of Climate Change, Deniers Now Argue It’s Not That Bad

        Climate change denialism has a long history. Possibly the earliest clear example dates back to October 1959, when a researcher working for none other than Royal Dutch Shell published an article in The New Scientist. Acknowledging that an “immense” quantity of fossil fuel has been burned since the middle of the 19th century, he nonetheless argued that, “Nature’s carbon cycles are so vast that there seem few grounds for believing Man will upset the balance.” Since then, articles, books, and other materials denying or belittling the existence of anthropogenic climate disruption have only proliferated, particularly as industry-funded groups, such as the Global Climate Coalition and the George C. Marshall Institute, emerged in the 1980s.

      • Energy
    • Finance
      • New Financial Aid Scheme Requires Students to Forfeit Future Income to Investors

        One day in 2017, Lauren Neuwirth sank into a chair in her university’s financial aid office feeling out of options. She was finishing her second year at Purdue University in northwest Indiana, a school she’d chosen for its top-ranked engineering program. Neuwirth, who grew up near Milwaukee, was working two jobs to cover her living expenses and quickly running through the money her mother had set aside for college. Federal student loans only covered some of Purdue’s pricey out-of-state tuition. She worried that to remain in school she’d have to take out expensive private loans or join the Army.

      • ‘Blue-Collar Boom’ Is a Bust

        Trump’s claims of a reinvigorated economy are mostly bogus.

      • The next economic recession will likely come from climate crisis, researcher says

        Griffin said in the article that his years of research concluded that “unpriced risk” was the “main cause” of the 2007-08 Great Recession and companies are once again failing to assess the damage extreme weather events can wreak on their business.

        “Right now, energy companies shoulder much of that risk. The market needs to better assess risk, and factor a risk of extreme weather into securities prices,” he said. “Without better knowledge of this risk, the average energy investor can only hope that the next extreme event will not trigger a sudden correction to the market values of energy firms.”

      • One million developers will work on Ethereum in the long term

        Joseph Lubin, a co-founder of Ethereum and founder of ConsenSys, the largest development studio behind Ethereum, confirmed at ETH Denver 2020 that he remains committed to bringing more than one million developers into the ETH ecosystem. Lubin first announced the initiative at Devcon 5 last October, although it only really got underway in January, as Jim Jagielski, the open source head of ConsenSys, explained.

      • Visa Head of Crypto Sees Bright Future for Bitcoin

        Cuy Sheffield, Head of Crypto at credit card giant Visa, envisions Bitcoin Sats as the internet native unit of account for purchases less than one cent. He sees this as the main use case where the leading asset can supersede fiat.

      • How Bitcoin Optech Is Connecting the Open-Source and Corporate Worlds

        Bitcoin Core and other open-source projects have, over the years, built a range of technologies to improve Bitcoin scaling and the general Bitcoin user experience. With examples including Segregated Witness (SegWit), Replace-By-Fee and the Lightning Network, Bitcoin users have a number of tools at their disposal to utilize the Bitcoin blockchain as best and efficiently as possible.

      • Sectors Realizing the Full Potential of DeFi Protocols In 2020

        As the new decade unreels, a new wave of disruption seems to be coming to the shores of the global financial system. That wave is called decentralized finance protocols.

        Decentralized finance, or DeFi, simply refers to financial software that is built on the blockchain to make it easy for anyone to piece together digital assets and financial smart contracts.

      • Infographic: Who Has Funded Bitcoin Core Development?

        Monetarily, free and open-source software (FOSS) has always been at a disadvantage to proprietary software. It’s easier to solicit funding for a centralized project than for a decentralized one, not least of all because companies necessitate business models.

        Conversely, funding (and the agendas that often come with it) seems almost anathema to FOSS projects. At the very least, it is elusive. And Bitcoin is no exception.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • PM Modi wants definition of ‘hate speech’ expanded

        The officials cited above said the PM was hinting at including incidents such as attacks on north Indians in Maharashtra at the behest of a political party, or anti-national statements made for carving out a separate state like Khalistan, which have the potential to cause inter-regional clashes, and attacks on students from the north-east or Kashmir in other parts of the country in the amended laws pertaining to hate speech.

        Any publication, comments on social media and cartoons, which are potentially incendiary and could cause a regional clash could also be included in the amended definition of hate speech, said one of the officials.

      • Who Should Decide What Books Are Allowed In Prison?

        Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, says Tafolla’s story illustrates an important point: Denying incarcerated people broad access to reading materials doesn’t just interfere with their education.

        “We’re depriving prisoners of materials that they desperately want and need to affirm their humanity, to help them rehabilitate themselves, to occupy their minds and their hearts while they’re in prison,” she says.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press
      • USA v Julian Assange Extradition Hearing
      • Thousands Protest in London Against Assange Extradition Before Start of Hearing

        The extradition hearing to decide whether to send Julian Assange to the United States to be tried for publishing classified military documents on Wikileaks is expected to finally begin on Monday in London.

      • John Kiriakou On Week-Long Assange Hearing: World Will Hear For First Time About Espionage Operation Against Him
      • The DNC May Have Paved The Way For Julian Assange’s Acquittal
      • Interview With James Goodale: Few Grasp Threat Assange’s Case Poses

        James Goodale is one of the more prominent First Amendment lawyers in the United States. He represented the New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case. In 2013, Goodale wrote the book, Fighting For The Press, which outlined the threat to press freedom if President Barack Obama’s administration prosecuted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

        No First Amendment attorney has been as outspoken on what will happen to journalism if the U.S. government successfully extradites Assange and brings him to trial in the U.S. for violating the Espionage Act.

        Ahead of the first part of Assange’s extradition hearing, I spoke with Goodale about the U.S. government’s argument that Assange is not protected by the First Amendment. He also addressed the evidence of an espionage operation against Assange while he was in the Ecuador embassy. The operation was reportedly backed by the CIA.

        Below is an edited transcript of our conversation. In a few areas, the audio cut out, but it is still possible to understand all of Goodale’s key points on what is at stake in this case.

      • We’re Asking One Question In Assange’s Case: Should Journalists Be Punished For Exposing War Crimes?

        Tomorrow in the UK a judge will start the process of answering a very important question. It’s a question that many of us knew was the heart of this debate back in 2010, ten years ago, when this all started. It’s a question that they have been obfuscating, bloviating, huffily denying, smearing, gaslighting, and distracting from — basically doing anything they can to hide it from view.
        It’s a question that they don’t want the public to know that we are answering. A question that goes to the heart of democracy, and to the heart of the role of the fourth estate, journalism. And that question is this:
        Should journalists and publishers be punished for exposing US war crimes?
        And, ancillary to that question: should we allow them to be punished by the very people who committed those war crimes?
        Is that something that we want for our world, ongoing? Because our answer to this question is going to shape our society, our civilization, for generations to come.
        There is no coming back from this for a very long time should the answer be, “Yes! Yes, it’s fine, war criminals should go ahead and punish journalists for publishing true facts about their war crimes.”
        If we allow the answer to be yes, then the endless stupid wars that everyone wants done with, from Melbourne to Kabul, from Sydney to Syria, right across the world people are done with these stupid wars for profit.

    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • Puerto Rico’s Uprisings Have Empowered a New Leadership Among the Oppressed

        The U.S. federal government’s disastrous response to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria illustrates a longstanding history of an exploitative domestic policy on the island. Recent earthquakes have not only rocked Puerto Rico’s infrastructure but have emphasized the United States’s negligence of its own citizens. Journalist and Columbia University professor, Ed Morales, describes Puerto Rico as the “symbol of marginalized communities all over the U.S. and the world.” He joins activist and scholar Rosa Clemente to discuss the personal and political implications of the island’s ongoing debt crisis, recovery efforts, and an intersectional movement that challenges the political establishment.

      • A Guide to Restoring Faith in Democracy

        American democracy is in trouble as never before. In the past, there have been moments when democratic process and democratic guarantees have been suspended — Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus, the internment of the Japanese Americans during World War II, the McCarthy hearings with their extralegal destruction of lives and careers — and we have lived through tragic errors in judgment, as in the Vietnam War — but never has the whole system of America democracy been so fundamentally challenged as simply no longer able to meet the needs of its citizens.

      • Haiti Police in Firefight With Troops Near National Palace

        Off-duty police officers and their supporters exchanged fire for nearly two hours on Sunday with members of the newly reconstituted Haitian army in front of the national palace, in a dangerous escalation of protests over police pay and working conditions.

      • ‘They lied to us’: Mom says police deceived her to get her DNA and charge her son with murder

        Breaking News Emails Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings. SUBSCRIBE Feb. 22, 2020, 9:00 PM UTC By Jon Schuppe VALDOSTA, Ga. — On an October morning in 2018, Eleanor Holmes and her husband left home to run an errand and found two men inside their front gate. They introduced themselves as detectives from Orlando, Florida, and said they needed the couple’s help. Standing in the driveway, the casually dressed detectives said they were trying to identify someone who’d been found dead many years earlier, the Holmeses recalled. They were looking for the person’s relatives, and were using DNA and genealogical records to stitch together a family tree that they hoped would lead them to a name. Friendly and businesslike, they said they’d already got DNA samples from Eleanor Holmes’ sister and an aunt. And now they wanted hers. Holmes already knew about the detectives’ visit to her sister. It worried her that someone in her family had died without anyone knowing about it. She had relatives in Orlando, including a niece whom she hadn’t heard from in more than a decade. So she agreed. “I just did it because that was the only thing on my mind, my niece. That was it, bottom line,” Holmes said in a recent interview. The detectives, still standing in the driveway, swabbed Holmes’ cheek and put the sample in a container. They thanked her, gave her a business card and drove away. She thought nothing of it until a few days later, when she got a frantic phone call from the girlfriend of one of her sons, Benjamin Holmes Jr. Orlando police had just arrested him for allegedly fatally shooting a college student, Christine Franke, in her Florida home in 2001. They’d used DNA and genealogical records to tie him to the crime.

        In that panicked moment, it dawned on Holmes that the detectives hadn’t told her the truth. They’d used her DNA to help build a case against her son.

        “When they arrested him, I knew they were lying,” Holmes said. “They lied to us.”

        Police have said that the arrest of Benjamin Holmes Jr., 39, shows their commitment “to do everything we can to solve crimes.” Franke’s family says the arrest has given them long-needed answers about her death and allowed them to stop wondering if the killer was still out there, free to prey on others.

        Benjamin Holmes Jr. and his parents, though, say he is innocent. He has pleaded not guilty, and his trial, scheduled for June, may be the first to explore how police conduct investigations using genetic genealogy, a largely unregulated technology that has exploded in popularity in recent years.

      • Sri Lanka- Tamil politics after UNHRC ‘exit’

        It would be interesting to know how Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha feels about the UNHRC processes of the past decade. He was there when the nation continued to boycott the resolutions on ‘war-crimes probe’, after Sri Lanka lost the same under his predecessor, and for obvious reasons. That was under the regime of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, now Prime Minister.

    • Monopolies
      • Patents
        • T 1621/16: A handy decision, not only for dishwashing

          Decision T 1621/16 of Technical Board of Appeal 3.3.06 deals with a patent concerning a liquid hand dishwashing detergent composition. In a broader context, T 1621/16 will be of interest for practitioners struggling with the allowability of amendments under Article 123(2) EPC based on multiple selections from lists of converging alternatives. By “list of converging alternatives”, the Board understands lists of options ranked from the least to the most preferred, wherein each of the more preferred alternatives is fully encompassed by all of the less preferred and broader options in the list.

          The current approach of the EPO seems to be to allow such amendment, if at all, only if alternatives having the same degree of preference (e.g. “most preferably”) are combined with each other (see item 1.5.1 of the decision). In T 1621/16, after a thorough case law review (see item 1.6 of the decision), Board 3.3.06 challenges this approach and expands Patentee’s options to make amendments based on combinations of more and less preferred ranges. This decision may have significant practical significance and is likely to be welcomed particularly by patent owners and applicants.

          With reference to G 1/93, the Board first clarifies that the idea underlying Article 123(2) EPC is that the applicant or patent proprietor should not be allowed to improve their position by adding subject-matter not disclosed in the application as filed, as this would give rise to an unwarranted advantage and could be damaging to the legal security of third parties relying on the content of the original application. The Board further agrees with the established case law, according to which multiple arbitrary selections from lists, mainly based on non-converging alternatives, are considered as an extension of the content of the application as filed which contravenes Article 123(2) EPC (e.g. T 727/00).


          The Board considered the single selection from a list of non-converging alternatives (i) to be not arbitrary, since the selected alternative was realized in all examples of the application as filed, thus indicating that this alternative of the respective feature is indeed preferred. The lists of converging alternatives (ii) were at least partly not disclosed in the claims as filed but only in the description of the application.

          Concerning the requirement of a “pointer” to the specific combination of features of the amended claims (see condition b) above), in item 1.8.7 of the decision, the Board considers the specific combination of features defined in amended claim 1 to be a result of a purposeful (i.e. non-arbitrary) restriction of the claimed subject matter, since it converges towards the most preferred forms of the invention as provided in seven out of 21 examples. In the Board’s view, these seven examples thus provide a pointer to the respective combination. However, it is noteworthy that, in the case now decided, it was evidently not derivable from the application as filed whether the seven examples falling within amended claim 1 achieve an improvement of the technical effect (shine) compared to the remaining examples.

          Altogether, T 1621/16 could prove very helpful in everyday practice defending amendments based on multiple selections from converging lists of alternatives. However, it remains to be seen whether, in order to fulfil conditions a) and b) above, it is sufficient that some examples fall under the more restricted version of the claim irrespective of whether they show any improved technical effect over the examples now lying outside the claim.

        • Webinar on EPO Opposition Practice

          J A Kemp will be offering a webinar entitled “Opposition Practice at the EPO” on March 12, 2020 from 15:30 to 16:30 pm GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). Sarah Roques and Ravi Srinivasan of J A Kemp will consider opposition practice, including how to set up an attacking opposition, and also highlight strategies for defence, including setting up the case in prosecution and formulating a strategy for amendment during opposition.

        • The EPO explains why the inventor has to be a human being, not a machine [Ed: The key issue is that the EPO grants fake patents to real people, not that it grants them to de facto pseudonyms]
      • Copyrights
        • Copyright Troll Now Has its Own Piracy Tracking Tool

          Strike 3 Holdings has targeted thousands of alleged BitTorrent pirates in U.S. courts over the past several years. Up until recently, the company relied on evidence gathered by a third-party piracy tracking firm. However, new court filings show that Strike 3 now has its own in-house surveillance tool called VXN Scan.

        • YouTube Fair Use: Documentary Makers Defeat Gaye, Thicke, Bee Gees & Jackson

          In December 2019 a web-series dedicated to debunking copyright and copying myths was hit with four copyright complaints over the alleged illegal use of tracks from Robin Thicke, Marvin Gate, Bee Gees and Michael Jackson. However, the makers of The Creativity Delusion: Geniuses Steal, decided to fight back and have now defeated every single claim against their video. Fair use, they say, is worth fighting for.

More in Tux Machines

Qt 5.15 Beta1 Released

I am happy to announce to you Qt 5.15 is moved to Beta phase and we have released Qt 5.15 Beta1 today. As earlier our plan is to publish new Beta N releases regularly until Qt 5.15 is ready for RC. Current estimate for Qt 5.15 RC is ~ end of April, see details from Qt 5.15 releasing wiki. Please take a tour now & test Beta1 packages. As usual you can get Qt 5.15 Beta1 by using Qt online installer (for new installations) or by using maintenance tool from your existing Qt online installation. Separate Beta1 source packages are also available in qt account and in Read more

Fedora’s gaggle of desktops

There are 38 different desktops or window managers in Fedora 31. You could try a different one every day for a month, and still have some left over. Some have very few features. Some have so many features they are called a desktop environment. This article can’t go into detail on each, but it’s interesting to see the whole list in one place. To be on this list, the desktop must show up on the desktop manager’s selection list. If the desktop has more than one entry in the desktop manager list, they are counted just as that one desktop. An example is “GNOME”, “GNOME Classic” and “GNOME (Wayland).” These all show up on the desktop manager list, but they are still just GNOME. Read more

Programming: 'DevOps', Caddyfile, GCC 8.4 RC and Forth

  • A beginner's guide to everything DevOps

    While there is no single definition, I consider DevOps to be a process framework that ensures collaboration between development and operations teams to deploy code to production environments faster in a repeatable and automated way. We will spend the rest of this article unpacking that statement. The word "DevOps" is an amalgamation of the words "development" and "operations." DevOps helps increase the speed of delivering applications and services. It allows organizations to serve their customers efficiently and become more competitive in the market. In simple terms, DevOps is an alignment between development and IT operations with better communication and collaboration. DevOps assumes a culture where collaboration among the development, operations, and business teams is considered a critical aspect of the journey. It's not solely about the tools, as DevOps in an organization creates continuous value for customers. Tools are one of its pillars, alongside people and processes. DevOps increases organizations' capability to deliver high-quality solutions at a swift pace. It automates all processes, from build to deployment, of an application or a product.

  • How to solve the DevOps vs. ITSM culture clash

    Since its advent, DevOps has been pitted against IT service management (ITSM) and its ITIL framework. Some say "ITIL is under siege," some ask you to choose sides, while others frame them as complementary. What is true is that both DevOps and ITSM have fans and detractors, and each method can influence software delivery and overall corporate culture.

  • JFrog Launches JFrog Multi-Cloud Universal DevOps Platform

    DevOps technology company JFrog has announced its new hybrid, multi-cloud, universal DevOps platform called the JFrog Platform that drives continuous software releases from any source to any destination. By delivering tools in an all-in-one solution, the JFrog Platform aims to empower organizations, developers and DevOps engineers to meet increased delivery requirements. For the uninitiated, JFrog is the creator of Artifactory, the heart of the Universal DevOps platform for automating, managing, securing, distributing, and monitoring all types of technologies.

  • New Caddyfile and more

    The new Caddyfile enables experimental HTTP3 support. Also I’ve added a few redirects to my new domain. All www prefix requests get redirected to their version without www prefix. My old domain redirects now to my new domain Also I had to add connect-src 'self' to my CSP, because Google Lighthouse seems to have problems with defalt-src 'none'. If just default-src 'none' is being set, Google Lighthouse can’t access your robot.txt. This seems to be an issue in the Google Lighthouse implementation, the Google Search Bot is not affected.

  • Content Addressed Vocabulary

    How can systems communicate and share meaning? Communication within systems is preceded by a form of meta-communication; we must have a sense that we mean the same things by the terms we use before we can even use them. This is challenging enough for humans who must share meaning, but we can resolve ambiguities with context clues from a surrounding narrative. Machines, in general, need a context more explicitly laid out for them, with as little ambiguity as possible. Standards authors of open-world systems have long struggled with such systems and have come up with some reasonable systems; unfortunately these also suffer from several pitfalls. With minimal (or sometimes none at all) adjustment to our tooling, I propose a change in how we manage ontologies.

  • GCC 8.4 Release Candidate available from
    The first release candidate for GCC 8.4 is available from

    and shortly its mirrors.  It has been generated from git commit
    I have so far bootstrapped and tested the release candidate on
    x86_64-linux and i686-linux.  Please test it and report any issues to
    If all goes well, I'd like to release 8.4 on Wednesday, March 4th.
  • GCC 8.4 RC Compiler Released For Testing

    GCC 8.4 will hopefully be released next week but for now a release candidate is available for testing the latest bug fixes in the mature GCC8 series. GCC 8.4 is aiming for release next week as potentially the last of the GCC8 series while GCC 9.3 is also coming soon. GCC 8.4 represents all of the relevant bug fixes over the past year for back-porting to users still on GCC 8. GCC 10 (in the form of version GCC 10.1) meanwhile as the next feature release should be out in the next month or two.

  • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Forth

    Forth is an imperative stack-based programming language, and a member of the class of extensible interactive languages. It was created by Charles Moore in 1970 to control telescopes in observatories using small computers. Because of its roots, Forth stresses efficiency, compactness, flexible and efficient hardware/software interaction. Forth has a number of properties that contrast it from many other programming languages. In particular, Forth has no inherent keywords and is extensible. It is both a low level and high level language. It has the interesting property of being able to compile itself into a new compiler, debug itself and to experiment in real time as the system is built. Forth is an extremely flexible language, with high portability, compact source and object code, and a language that is easy to learn, program and debug. It has an incremental compiler, an interpreter and a very fast edit-compile-test cycle. Forth uses a stack to pass data between words, and it uses the raw memory for more permanent storage. It also lets coders write their own control structures. Forth has often being deployed in embedded systems due to the compactness of object code. Forth is also used in boot loaders such as Open Firmware (developed by Sun Microsystems) as well as scientific fields such as astronomy, mathematics, oceanography and electrical engineering.

Python Programming

  • Adding Metadata to PDFs

    For both Django Crash Course and the forthcoming Two Scoops of Django 3.x, we're using a new process to render the PDFs. Unfortunately, until just a few days ago that process didn't include the cover. Instead, covers were inserted manually using Adobe Acrobat. [...] The lesson I learned writing this little utility is that as useful as Google and Stack Overflow might be, sometimes you need to explore reference manuals. Which, if you ask me, is a lot of fun. :-)

  • A Week At A Time - Building SaaS #46

    In this episode, we worked on a weekly view for the Django app. We made navigation that would let users click from one week to the next, then fixed up the view to pull time from that particular week. The first thing that I did was focus on the UI required to navigate to a new weekly view in the app. We mocked out the UI and talked briefly about the flexbox layout that is available to modern browsers. From the UI mock up, I changed the view code to include a previous_week_date and next_week_date in the view context so we could change the links to show real dates. From there, we needed a destination URL. I create a new path in the URLconf that connected the weekly URL to the existing app view that shows the week data. After wiring things together, I was able to extract the week date from the URL and make the view pull from the specified day and show that in the UI. Finally, we chatted about the tricky offset calculation that needs to happen to pull the right course tasks, but I ended the stream at that stage because the logic changes for that problem are tedious and very specific to my particular app.

  • Python 3.6.9 : Google give a new tool for python users.

    Today I discovered a real surprise gift made by the team from Google for the evolution of programmers. I say this because not everyone can afford hardware resources.

  • Learn Python Dictionary Data Structure – Part 3

    In this Part 3 of Python Data Structure series, we will be discussing what is a dictionary, how it differs from other data structure in python, how to create, delete dictionary objects and methods of dictionary objects.