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12.17.17

Links 17/12/2017: KStars 2.8.9, GNOME 3.27.3, Parrot Security 3.10

Posted in News Roundup at 12:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Hands on With elementary OS Powered Centurion Nano Laptop by Alpha Store

      If you want to buy a new laptop, no doubt you should consider the Centurion line. It will be a good choice for you, Linux aficionado. As well as for your Windows-addicted husband/wife/employees. The Centurion Nano is certainly not a “gamer” laptop. However, besides that particular use case, and for an interesting price, you will get a very competent computer, 100% compatible with Linux and usable for a broad range of tasks.

    • FLOSSophobia

      I have seen it many times. “Linux is a cancer”. “Open sauce”. “Linuxtard”. I even remember the teacher who did not bring a laptop for her presentation and, when I offered her my Linux netbook, she rejected it as if I had presented her something illegal. She tried to use an old Windows computer instead but, when the computer failed, she ended up displaying her presentation with my Linux netbook.
      Clearly, this teacher’s position was not based on ignorance or lack of expertise because she knew Linux existed and all she had to do was to display slides. Her refusal was due to indoctrination: she had learned that Linux and non-Microsoft office suites had to be rejected.

  • Kernel Space

    • A thorough introduction to eBPF

      In his linux.conf.au 2017 talk [YouTube] on the eBPF in-kernel virtual machine, Brendan Gregg proclaimed that “super powers have finally come to Linux”. Getting eBPF to that point has been a long road of evolution and design. While eBPF was originally used for network packet filtering, it turns out that running user-space code inside a sanity-checking virtual machine is a powerful tool for kernel developers and production engineers. Over time, new eBPF users have appeared to take advantage of its performance and convenience. This article explains how eBPF evolved how it works, and how it is used in the kernel.

    • Restricting automatic kernel-module loading

      The kernel’s module mechanism allows the building of a kernel with a wide range of hardware and software support without requiring that all of that code actually be loaded into any given running system. The availability of all of those modules in a typical distributor kernel means that a lot of features are available — but also, potentially, a lot of exploitable bugs. There have been numerous cases where the kernel’s automatic module loader has been used to bring buggy code into a running system. An attempt to reduce the kernel’s exposure to buggy modules shows how difficult some kinds of hardening work can be.

    • Container IDs for the audit subsystem

      Linux containers are something of an amorphous beast, at least with respect to the kernel. There are lots of facilities that the kernel provides (namespaces, control groups, seccomp, and so on) that can be composed by user-space tools into containers of various shapes and colors; the kernel is blissfully unaware of how user space views that composition. But there is interest in having the kernel be more aware of containers and for it to be able to distinguish what user space considers to be a single container. One particular use case for the kernel managing container identifiers is the audit subsystem, which needs unforgeable IDs for containers that can be associated with audit trails.

      Back in early October, Richard Guy Briggs posted the second version of his RFC for kernel container IDs that can be used by the audit subsystem. The first version was posted in mid-September, but is not the only proposal out there. David Howells proposed turning containers into full-fledged kernel objects back in May, but seemingly ran aground on objections that the proposal “muddies the waters and makes things more brittle”, in the words of namespaces maintainer Eric W. Biederman.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Unity Continues Crunching More Out Of Crunch Texture Compression

        Unity is one of the big public users of the open-source Crunch DXT texture compression library. While it’s no longer maintained by Rich Geldreich / Binomial, Unity has continued advancing this open-source code to further improve the compression ratio and speed.

        For months Unity has been talking about their promising findings with Crunch. But this is the project that Rich Geldreich, the former Valve developer, previously expressed regret having open-sourced all of it. While he is on to working on better and more advanced technologies at his Binomial startup, Unity is working to squeeze more out of this open-source library.

      • Improving EFL Graphics With Wayland Application Redraws

        Under X, application redraws are tricky to do without tearing because content can be updated at any chosen time with no clear feedback as to when the compositor will read it. EFL uses some clever tricks to this end (check out the state of the art X redraw timing for yourself), but it’s difficult to get right in all cases. For a lot of people this just works, or they’re not sensitive to the issue when it doesn’t.

      • Improved Wayland Application Redraws Coming To Enlightenment’s EFL

        Samsung’s Open-Source Group has been working on making their Wayland support in the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL) even better.

        The latest Wayland work on the Enlightenment/EFL front has been improving the application redraw process. The EFL toolkit with the upcoming v1.21 release will now be hooking into Wayland’s frame callbacks to better dealing with drawing, only drawing when necessary, and doing so without the possibility of tearing.

      • AMD FreeSync For Tear-Free Linux Gaming – Current State In 2017

        If you are thinking of gifting yourself (or someone else) a FreeSync-compatible monitor this holiday season, here’s a look at how the AMD FreeSync support is working right now, the driver bits you need to be aware of, and how it’s all playing out for those wanting to use this tear-free capability for Linux gaming.

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KStars 2.8.9 is released!

        Here comes the last KStars release for 2017! KStars v2.8.9 is available now for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.

        Robert Lancaster worked on improving PHD2 support with Ekos. This includes retrieving the guide star image, drift errors and RMS values, among other minor improvements and refactoring of the Ekos PHD2 codebase to support future extensions.

      • KDE Partition Manager 3.3 Arrives With Initial LUKS2 Support
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.27.3 released

        GNOME 3.27.3, the third development snapshot in the 3.28 development cycle, is now available.

        A few more modules have been ported to meson, and lots of development is happening across all modules. To point out a few highlights, dconf-editor is seeing significant work, and evolution has had many bug fixes.

      • GNOME 3.27.3 Brings More Meson Ports, Redesign To DConf Editor

        Matthias Clasen of Red Hat announced the release of GNOME 3.27.3 this weekend.

        GNOME 3.27.3 is the latest in a string of development releases leading up to the stable GNOME 3.28 debut in March.

      • GNOME 3.28 Desktop Environment Gets Third Development Snapshot, More Meson Ports

        GNOME leader Matthias Clasen announced a few moments ago the availability of the third development snapshot towards the GNOME 3.28 desktop environment for GNU/Linux distributions.

        The development cycle of the upcoming GNOME 3.28 desktop environment continues today with the GNOME 3.27.3 milestone, which ports more components to the Meson build system and adds various improvements to various apps and tools, including the Evolution email and calendar client, NetworkManager network connection manager, and dconf-editor.

      • More Bluetooth (and gaming) features

        Finally, this is the boring part. Benjamin and I reworked code that’s internal to gnome-bluetooth, as used in the Settings panel as well as the Shell, to make it use modern facilities like GDBusObjectManager. The overall effect of this is, less code, less brittle and more reactive when Bluetooth adapters come and go, such as when using airplane mode.

      • Librsvg 2.40.20 is released

        Today I released librsvg 2.40.20. This will be the last release in the 2.40.x series, which is deprecated effectively immediately.

        People and distros are strongly encouraged to switch to librsvg 2.41.x as soon as possible. This is the version that is implemented in a mixture of C and Rust. It is 100% API and ABI compatible with 2.40.x, so it is a drop-in replacement for it. If you or your distro can compile Firefox 57, you can probably build librsvg-2.41.x without problems.

      • NetworkManager 1.10.2 Released with Support for “onlink” IPv4 Routes Attribute

        GNOME developer Beniamino Galvani announced the availability of the first point release of the NetworkManager 1.10 open-source network connection manager software.

        NetworkManager is the most popular network connection manager tool these days, coming pre-installed with numerous GNU/Linux distributions. The latest stable release, NetworkManager 1.10.2, is here about five weeks after the launch of NetworkManager 1.10.0 to add a handful of new features and improvements.

      • Some predictions for 2018

        Ever since Steve Jobs died it has become quite clear in my opinion that the emphasis
        on the traditional desktop is fading from Apple. The pace of hardware refreshes seems
        to be slowing and MacOS X seems to be going more and more stale. Some pundits have already
        started pointing this out and I predict that in 2018 Apple will be no longer consider the
        cool kid on the block for people looking for laptops, especially among the tech savvy crowd.
        Hopefully a good opportunity for Linux on the desktop to assert itself more.

      • Schaller On Linux In 2018: Rust Rules, Apple Declines, Linux Graphics Compete

        Christian Schaller who has long been involved in GNOME/Fedora development while serving as a senior software engineering manager at Red Hat and formerly with Collabora has some bold predictions about 2018 for open-source software.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

    • New Releases

      • NuTyX 9.93 available with cards 2.3.105

        The NuTyX team is please to annonce the 9.93 release of NuTyX.

        NuTyX 9.92 comes with kernel LTS 4.14.6, glibc 2.26, gcc 7.2.0, binutils 2.29.1, python 3.6.0, xorg-server 1.19.5, qt 5.10.0, KDE plasma 5.11.3, KDE Framework 5.41.0, KDE Applications 17.12.0, mate 1.18.2, xfce4 4.12.4, firefox 57.0.2 Quantum, etc…

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Cura, the nice 3D print slicer, is now in Debian Unstable

        After several months of working and waiting, I am happy to report that the nice and user friendly 3D printer slicer software Cura just entered Debian Unstable. It consist of five packages, cura, cura-engine, libarcus, fdm-materials, libsavitar and uranium. The last two, uranium and cura, entered Unstable yesterday. This should make it easier for Debian users to print on at least the Ultimaker class of 3D printers. My nearest 3D printer is an Ultimaker 2+, so it will make life easier for at least me. :)

      • Derivatives

        • Debian-Based Slax 9.3 Linux OS Enters Beta with Improved EXT4 and NTFS Booting

          Slax 9.3.0 beta is now ready for public testing with persistent support when using Slax from a USB flash drive, allowing you to preserve settings and downloaded files or packages across reboots. It also improves booting from EXT4 and NTFS filesystems.

          Moreover, the default file manager, PCManFM, has been updated to display external drives in the left sidebar, newly installed applications are now automatically added to the xLunch screen, and Wicd is now the default network manager.

        • antiX MX-17 Linux OS Brings Latest Debian GNU/Linux 9.3 “Stretch” Updates

          Powered by Linux kernel 4.13 and using Xfce 4.12.3 as default desktop environment, antiX MX-17 comes six months after the antiX MX-16 release and promises to bring all the latest security patches and software update from the software repositories of the recently released Debian GNU/Linux 9.3 “Stretch” operating system.

          The MX variant ships with all the antiX live features, including persistence up to 20GB, and automatic selection of appropriate drivers for most Broadcom wireless chipsets with minimal user intervention. Being targeted at low-end computers, antiX MX-17 offers a 32-bit PAE kernel for machines with less than 4GB RAM.

        • Parrot Security 3.10 Ethical Hacking OS Adds Full Firejail/AppArmor Sandboxing

          ParrotSec devs released today a new stable version of their Debian-based Parrot Security OS ethical hacking and penetration testing GNU/Linux distribution.

          There are many enhancements implemented in the Parrot Security OS 3.10 release, but the biggest new feature is the introduction of a full Firejail and AppArmor sandboxing system that should proactively protect the operating system from attacks by isolating its components with the combination of various security techniques.

          “The first experiments were already introduced in Parrot 3.9 with the inclusion of Firejail, but we took almost a month of hard work to make it even better with the improvement of many profiles, the introduction of the AppArmor support and enough time to make all the tests,” reads today’s announcement.

        • Parrot 3.10 is out
        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Releases Small Kernel Patch for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS to Fix a Regression

            Last week, Canonical released a kernel update for the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system patching a total of four security issues, including a use-after-free vulnerability in the Netlink subsystem (XFRM), an out-of-bounds read in the GTCO digitizer USB driver, a bug in the associative array implementation, and improper copy-on-write (COW) handling of transparent huge pages.

            However, it would appear that the respective kernel update also introduced a regression, which apparently prevented the use of the Ceph network file system on machines that upgraded to the new kernel versions. Canonical patched the issue and released a new Linux kernel update that addresses the problem on all Ubuntu 16.04 LTS systems, as well as Ubuntu 14.04.5 LTS machines.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 18.3 ‘Sylvia’ Xfce and KDE editions are available for download

              Linux Mint is killing the KDE version of its operaring system — a move some people applaud. That’s what makes the new 18.3 version — named “Sylvia” — so frustrating. It’s bizarre to release a new version of an operating system that essentially has no future. But oh well, here we are. After a short beta period, the KDE distro is now available for download — if you still care. I recommend that KDE loyalists just switch to Kubuntu or Netrunner, but I digress.

              Despite being the final version of Linux Mint KDE, it is still a great alternative to the consistently disappointing Windows 10. After all, it has been discovered that Microsoft is bundling a bug-ridden password-manager with its operating system without user consent! How can you trust such an OS?! Sigh.

            • Linux Mint 18.3 “Sylvia” KDE and Xfce Editions Officially Released, Download Now

              The Linux Mint team released the final Linux Mint 18.3 “Sylvia” Xfce and Linux Mint 18.3 “Sylvia” KDE editions to download, as well as an upgrade for existing Linux Mint 18.2 “Sonya” users.

              Previously in beta, the Linux Mint 18.3 “Sylvia” KDE and Xfce editions are now officially released and ready for production use. Just like the Cinnamon and MATE flavors, they are based on Canonical’s long-term supported Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system and use the Linux 4.10 kernel by default for new installations.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • #PeruRumboGSoC2018 – Session 5

      Today we have celebrated another session for the #PeruRumboGSoC2018 program at CCPP UNI. It was one of the longest sessions we have experienced.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla releases tools and data for speech recognition

        Voice computing has long been a staple of science fiction, but it has only relatively recently made its way into fairly common mainstream use. Gadgets like mobile phones and “smart” home assistant devices (e.g. Amazon Echo, Google Home) have brought voice-based user interfaces to the masses. The voice processing for those gadgets relies on various proprietary services “in the cloud”, which generally leaves the free-software world out in the cold. There have been FOSS speech-recognition efforts over the years, but Mozilla’s recent announcement of the release of its voice-recognition code and voice data set should help further the goal of FOSS voice interfaces.

        There are two parts to the release, DeepSpeech, which is a speech-to-text (STT) engine and model, and Common Voice, which is a set of voice data that can be used to train voice-recognition systems. While DeepSpeech is available for those who simply want to do some kind of STT task, Common Voice is meant for those who want to create their own voice-recognition system—potentially one that does even better (or better for certain types of applications) than DeepSpeech.

  • BSD

    • FreeNAS, World’s Most Popular Storage OS, Gets AMD Ryzen Support, Cloud Sync

      Coming six months after the release of the FreeNAS 11 stable series, the FreeNAS 11.1 update is based on FreeBSD 11.1 and introduces cloud integration, support for AMD Ryzen and Intel Xeon Scalable family of processors, OpenZFS performance improvements, as well as preliminary support for Docker application container engine through a virtual machine built from RancherOS.

      “FreeNAS 11.1 adds a cloud sync (data import/export to the cloud) feature,” reads the announcement. “This new feature lets you sync (similar to backup), move (erase from source), or copy (only changed data) data to and from public cloud providers that include Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Services), Backblaze B2 Cloud, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.”

    • FreeBSD-Based TrueOS 17.12 Focuses on Faster Boot, Bhyve and LibreSSL Support

      en Moore, the creator of the FreeBSD-based TrueOS computer operating system and Lumina desktop environment, released the TrueOS 17.12 update, which introduces multiple enhancements.

      Synced with the FreeBSD 12.0-CURRENT and FreeBSD ports tree software repositories as of December 4 and November 30, 2017, respectively, TrueOS 17.12 is an incremental update to the operating system adding improvements to the OpenRC-based boot process, removable-device management, LibreSSL and SysAdm API integrations, as well as Bhyve support for TrueOS Server Install.

      “We have also been working quite a bit on the server offering of TrueOS, and are pleased to provide new text-based server images with support for Virtualization systems such as bhyve,” said Ken Moore in the release announcement. “This allows for simple server deployments which also take advantage of the TrueOS improvements to FreeBSD.”

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Glibc 2.27 Lands Yet More Performance Optimizations

      Earlier this month I wrote how Intel engineers have been busy with continuing to tune glibc’s performance with FMA and AVX optimizations. That work has continued but also other architectures continue tuning their GNU C Library performance ahead of the expected v2.27 update.

      There has been a ton of optimization work this cycle, particularly on the Intel/x86_64 front. For those with newer Intel 64-bit processors, this next glibc release is shaping up to be a speedy update.

    • GIMP PIcks Up Support For The New Flatpak/FreeDesktop.org Screenshot API

      Hot off the release of the new GIMP 2.9.8 and ahead of the expected GIMP 2.10 release candidates that are expected to begin, a new addition to GIMP is a plug-in supporting the new FreeDesktop.org/Flatpak screenshot API.

      The org.freedesktop.portal.Screenshot specification aims to be a screenshot API that will work not only cross-desktop (e.g. KDE, GNOME, etc) but also work for sandboxed applications (i.e. Flatpak) and also work regardless of whether you are using Wayland or X11.

    • GCC Prepares For Fortran 2018 Support

      The Fortran committee decided last month to rename the upcoming Fortran 2015 programming language update to Fortran 2018. GCC support is being prepped.

      With this updated programming language technical specification not expected to be published until mid-2018, the committee behind this long-standing programming language decided to rename Fortran 2015 to Fortran 2018. Fortran 2018 should further improve interoperability with C code, improve its parallel programming capabilities, support hexadecimal inputs/outputs, and other improvements over Fortran 2008.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Programming/Development

    • Trying Tryton

      The quest to find a free-software replacement for the QuickBooks accounting tool continues. In this episode, your editor does his best to put Tryton through its paces. Running Tryton proved to be a trying experience, though; this would not appear to be the accounting tool we are searching for.
      Tryton is a Python 3 application distributed under the GPLv3 license. Its home page mentions that it is based on PostgreSQL, but there is support for MySQL and SQLite as well. Tryton, it is said, is “a three-tier high-level general purpose application platform” that is “the core base of a complete business solution providing modularity, scalability and security”. The “core base” part of that claim is relevant: Tryton may well be a solid base for the creation of a small-business accounting system, but it is not, out of the box, such a system itself.

    • Who should see Python deprecation warnings?

      As all Python developers discover sooner or later, Python is a rapidly evolving language whose community occasionally makes changes that can break existing programs. The switch to Python 3 is the most prominent example, but minor releases can include significant changes as well. The CPython interpreter can emit warnings for upcoming incompatible changes, giving developers time to prepare their code, but those warnings are suppressed and invisible by default. Work is afoot to make them visible, but doing so is not as straightforward as it might seem.
      In early November, one sub-thread of a big discussion on preparing for the Python 3.7 release focused on the await and async identifiers. They will become keywords in 3.7, meaning that any code using those names for any other purpose will break. Nick Coghlan observed that Python 3.6 does not warn about the use of those names, calling it “a fairly major oversight/bug”. In truth, though, Python 3.6 does emit warnings in that case — but users rarely see them.

Leftovers

  • How a Dorm Room Minecraft Scam Brought Down the Internet

    Originally, prosecutors say, the defendants hadn’t intended to bring down the internet—they had been trying to gain an advantage in the computer game Minecraft.

  • Microsoft’s Edge browser is in serious trouble

    Analytics firm Net Applications revised its methodology to cull bots from its browser share numbers and found that as much as half of the traffic to Edge on Windows 10 was artificially inflated.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Under Threat of Regulation, Profiteers Blame Each Other for High Drug Prices

      Insurance companies receive steep rebates from pharmaceutical companies that are pushing up the price of prescription drugs. However, insurers are not passing the savings down to their customers in the form of lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

      At least, that’s what the drug manufacturing industry claims. If you ask the insurance industry, it’s drug manufacturers that are to blame for the sky-high drug prices that have enraged the public — and forced insurers to raise premiums and deductibles in recent years.

  • Security

    • Mirai IoT Botnet Co-Authors Plead Guilty

      The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday unsealed the guilty pleas of two men first identified in January 2017 by KrebsOnSecurity as the likely co-authors of Mirai, a malware strain that remotely enslaves so-called “Internet of Things” devices such as security cameras, routers, and digital video recorders for use in large scale attacks designed to knock Web sites and entire networks offline (including multiple major attacks against this site).

    • Starbucks Wi-Fi Turned People’s Laptops into Cryptocurrency Miners

      The free Wi-Fi that the Buenos Aires Starbucks offers to its customers was being used to mine for cryptocurrency, and what’s worse, it used people’s laptops to do it.

      The whole thing was discovered by Stensul CEO Noah Dinkin who actually paid a visit to the store and wanted to browse the web using the free Wi-Fi, only to discover that his laptop was unknowingly converted into a cryptocurrency miner.

      He then turned to Twitter to ask Starbucks if they know about the what he described as bitcoin mining taking place without customers knowing about it.

      “Hi Starbucks, did you know that your in-store wifi provider in Buenos Aires forces a 10 second delay when you first connect to the wifi so it can mine bitcoin using a customer’s laptop? Feels a little off-brand,” he said in his tweet.

    • Italian Prosecutor Makes Request to Close Hacking Team Investigation

      The damaging data breach that exposed the secrets of an infamous surveillance tech company might go unsolved forever. After more than two years, the Italian prosecutor who was investigating the attack on the Milan-based Hacking Team has asked the case to be dismissed, according to multiple sources.

      On Monday, the Milan prosecutor Alessandro Gobbis sent a notice to the people under investigation informing them that he had sent the judge a request to shut down the investigation, according to a copy of the document obtained by Motherboard.

    • Google Researcher Finds Flaw in Pre-Installed Windows 10 Password Manager

      Google security researcher Tavis Ormandy, who has previously discovered, reported, and disclosed several major bugs in Windows and its features, came across a new security vulnerability affecting Microsoft users.

      This time, the flaw exists in the Keeper password manager that comes pre-installed in some Windows 10 versions, with Ormandy explaining that it’s similar to a vulnerability that he discovered in August 2016.

      “I remember filing a bug a while ago about how they were injecting privileged UI into pages,” Ormandy explained on December 14. “I checked and, they’re doing the same thing again with this version,” he continues.

    • Face Palm: Windows 10 Bundled A Password Manager That Exposed Your Saved Passwords

      bout 16 months ago, a Google Project Zero researcher found a critical bug in a password manager named Keeper. The bug allowed Keeper to inject its trusted UI into untrusted web pages with a content script. This allowed websites to steal user passwords using techniques like clickjacking.

      In a surprising development, Tavis Ormandy, the same researcher, has found that Microsoft bundled the same password manager with Windows 10. “I recently created a fresh Windows 10 VM with a pristine image from MSDN, and found that a password manager called “Keeper” is now installed by default,” he said. Moreover, a similar flaw was again found in this pre-installed password manager, which remained present for eight days.

    • British companies ‘stockpile’ Bitcoin to use as ransomware hush money
    • “Zealot” Campaign Uses NSA Exploits to Mine Monero on Windows and Linux Servers

      An aggressive and sophisticated malware campaign is currently underway, targeting Linux and Windows servers with an assortment of exploits with the goal of installing malware that mines the Monero cryptocurrency.

      The campaign was detected by security researchers from F5 Networks, who named it Zealot, after zealot.zip, one of the files dropped on targeted servers.

    • Why Hackers Are in Such High Demand, and How They’re Affecting Business Culture

      News headlines often focus on the hackers who launch cyber attacks and leak confidential data such as National Security Agency exploits, sensitive political emails, and unreleased HBO programming, but hackers can also affect organizations in positive ways. White hat hackers (as opposed to black hats) increasingly are finding employment in companies as security researchers.

      From conducting penetration tests and identifying vulnerabilities in software to providing companies with guidance about emerging threats, white hat hackers bring considerable value to organizations and play an instrumental role in helping them defend against today’s advanced threats. White hats are highly coveted not only for their knowledge but also for their unique mindsets and ability to change corporate culture.

    • We need to talk about mathematical backdoors in encryption algorithms

      Security researchers regularly set out to find implementation problems in cryptographic algorithms, but not enough effort is going towards the search for mathematical backdoors, two cryptography professors have argued.

      Governments and intelligence agencies strive to control and bypass or circumvent cryptographic protection of data and communications. Backdooring encryption algorithms is considered as the best way to enforce cryptographic control.

      In defence of cryptography, researchers have set out to validate technology that underpins the secure exchange of information and e-commerce. Eric Filiol, head of research at ESIEA, the operational cryptology and virology lab, argued that only implementation backdoors (at the protocol/implementation/management level) are generally considered. Not enough effort is being put into looking for mathematical backdoors or by-design backdoors, he maintains.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • NSA Head Accuses Turkey of Pushing Extreme Islamist Ideology

      The United State national security adviser, national security adviser, General H.R. McMaster, said Tuesday that Turkey was a prime source of funding that contributes to the spread of extremist ideology, reported Voice of America.

      “A lot of Islamist groups have learned from” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP), said McMaster.

      It is he said a “model of really operating through civil society,” McMaster said, “then the education sector, then the police and judiciary, and then the military to consolidate power in the hands of a particular party, which is something we’d prefer not to see and is sadly contributing to the drift of Turkey away from the West.”

    • Stopping Armageddon

      American arrogance and President Donald Trump’s delusional worldview have brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. Before it is too late, American citizens must make overwhelmingly clear that we do not want millions of Americans or others to perish in a reckless attempt by the Trump administration to overthrow the North Korean regime or denuclearize it by force.

      We would rather accept a nuclear-armed North Korea that is deterred by America’s overwhelming threat of force than risk a US-led war of choice, one that would almost surely involve nuclear weapons. Yet National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster has explicitly said that Trump rejects “accept and deter.” The danger from Trump could not be greater.

    • Trump, Pence, Jerusalem: the Christian Zionism connection

      Donald Trump announced on 6 December that the United States was recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Most notable about his speech was not what he said, or how he said it, but the presence and demeanour of vice-president Mike Pence. Though an element almost entirely missing from the reams of analysis following Trump’s statement, Pence’s beliefs do much to explain Trump’s motivation.

      Washington’s declaration of Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital has provoked sharp criticism across the world, most strongly in the Middle East where 57 members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called for East Jerusalem to be accepted as the capital of a Palestinian state. This may count for little in Trump’s White House, though there might be slightly more concern over the attitudes of the European Union in general and France in particular. Even Britain under Theresa May added its pennyworth.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Two Reuters journalists arrested in Myanmar, face official secrets charges

      Myanmar’s government said on Wednesday that police had arrested two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. The reporters had been working on stories about a military crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority in Rahkine State that has caused almost 650,000 people to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.

      The Ministry of Information said in a statement on its Facebook page that the journalists and two policemen face charges under the British colonial-era Official Secrets Act. The 1923 law carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

    • Julian Assange welcomes UK ruling that WikiLeaks is a media organisation
    • Whistleblower Guardian for Spies Escorted Out of Intelligence Agency Building

      The chairman of the the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is demanding to know why an employee in charge of whistleblower outreach was removed from his workplace “pending a tribunal.”

      “I just learned that Dan Meyer, the Executive Director of Intelligence Community Whistleblowing and Source Protection, was placed on administrative leave and escorted out of his offices pending a tribunal before senior executives to consider his proposed termination,” wrote Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, in a letter sent November 29 to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Wayne Stone, the acting director of Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community.

      The intelligence community inspector general is tasked with conducting audits across the intelligence agencies and independently responding to whistleblower retaliation complaints.

      The watchdog office has been involved in independent reviews of the Boston Marathon bombing, as well as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

      It has also recently been embroiled in a turf war fraught with competing personalities and visions on how to provide resources for potential whistleblowers, as reported in an investigation by Foreign Policy. Dan Meyer, the man in charge of outreach to whistleblowers, had his duties and privileges revoked, and now he has been kicked out of his office pending an investigation.

      Officials are still deciding whether or not to fire him, though have not provided public reason for their actions. Some inside the intelligence community remain concerned that sidelining Meyer, who helps employees field complaints legally, could inadvertently lead to the next major leaker, like former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

      In the meantime, there is no confirmed intelligence community inspector general. Wayne Stone, the acting inspector general, has been studying at Harvard most weeks since Chuck McCullough, who previously held the position, retired in early March.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Wildlife Wiseacres, Still Here (For Now)

      Taking a break from a world of woe, we present the winners of this year’s Comedy Wildlife Photo Competition. The contest, featuring winning images culled from entries from 86 countries, was founded by two wildlife photographers working in conjunction with the Born Free Foundation, an international wildlife charity working to save animal lives, protect rare species, end captive animal exploitation and help communities and wildlife live together without conflict. This year’s images, like last year’s, serve to raise awareness of conservation issues and remind us of all of nature’s grit and grace and exuberance – which, despite our daily calamities, still abounds. Just lookit these guys. There must be hope.

  • Finance

    • A Guide to Why the Trump-Republican Tax Plan is a Disgrace (for When you Confront Your Republican Uncle Bob During the Holidays)

      Here are the 3 main Republican arguments in favor of the Republican tax plan, followed by the truth.

      1. It will make American corporations competitive with foreign corporations, which are taxed at a lower rate.

      Rubbish.

      (1) American corporations now pay an effective rate (after taking deductions and tax credits) that’s just about the same as most foreign based corporations pay.

      (2) Most of these other countries also impose a “Value Added Tax” on top of the corporate tax.

      (3) When we cut our corporate rate from 35% to 20%, other nations will cut their corporate rates in order to be competitive with us – so we gain nothing anyway.

      (4) Most big American corporations who benefit most from the Republican tax plan aren’t even “American.” Over 35 percent of their shareholders are foreign (which means that by cutting corporate taxes we’re giving a big tax cut to those foreign shareholders). 20 percent of their employees are foreign, while many Americans work for foreign-based corporations.

      (5) The “competitiveness” of America depends on American workers, not on “American” corporations. But this tax plan will make it harder to finance public investments in education, health, and infrastructure, on which the future competitiveness of American workers depends.

      (6) American corporations already have more money than they know what to do with. Their profits are at record levels. They’re using them to buy back their shares of stock, and raise executive pay. That’s what they’ll do with the additional $1 trillion they’ll receive in this tax cut.

    • The Other Tech Bubble

      The issue is bigger than any single scandal, I told him. As headlines have exposed the troubling inner workings of company after company, startup culture no longer feels like fodder for gentle parodies about ping pong and hoodies. It feels ugly and rotten. Facebook, the greatest startup success story of this era, isn’t a merry band of hackers building cutesy tools that allow you to digitally Poke your friends. It’s a powerful and potentially sinister collector of personal data, a propaganda partner to government censors, and an enabler of discriminatory advertising.

    • The Winners and Losers in the Tax Bill
    • Trump Is Playing a Fascinating Game With NAFTA Negotiations
    • Final GOP Tax Bill Won’t Ding Graduate Students
    • Tentative Tax Deal Scraps Hit on Tuition for Graduate Students

      A provision to treat graduate school tuition waivers as taxable income won’t be in the final House-Senate tax package, according to Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana and one other person briefed on a tentative deal reached Wednesday.

    • Patreon scraps new service fee and apologizes to users

      Conte published a blog post laying out the core problems, alongside an apology. “Many of you lost patrons, and you lost income. No apology will make up for that, but nevertheless, I’m sorry,” it reads. “We recognize that we need to be better at involving you more deeply and earlier in these kinds of decisions and product changes. Additionally, we need to give you a more flexible product and platform to allow you to own the way you run your memberships. I know it will take a long time for us to earn back your trust. But we are utterly devoted to your success and to getting you sustainable, reliable income for being a creator.”

    • Children are becoming problem gamblers due to a legal loophole

      Huge numbers of children are gambling online, the UK Gambling Commission reports. Around 25,000 children aged between 11 and 16 meet the definition of a problem gambler, according to a psychological questionnaire. And around 370,000 children in England, Scotland and Wales – 12 per cent of the total – have gambled in the past week.

    • An Anonymous Early Adopter Is Donating 5,057 BTC ($86M) to Charity

      For people who don’t believe the Pineapple Fund is real, the owner has provided an address and digital proof of ownership utilizing the bitcoin blockchain. The Pineapple Fund has already given money to six charities including Watsi ($1Mn), The Water Project ($1Mn), the Electronic Frontier Foundation ($1Mn), the Bitgive Foundation ($500K), MAPS psychedelic studies ($1Mn), and the Open BSD Foundation ($500K).

    • Risks abound with Ethereum and its Application Developers

      Ethereum is a public, peer-to-peer network with its own unique digital currency called Ether. It was created by Vitalik Buterin in 2014 and it aimed to be a platform on which smart contracts can be built and executed. The Ethereum blockchain is modeled in a way that would enable it to store different categories of data. The computer programs operating on the Ethereum blockchain accesses and uses this data. These computer programs are called decentralized apps, or “Dapps”.

    • Senator Bob Corker Said He Hasn’t Read The Tax Bill, Denies Changing His Vote In Exchange For Personal Tax Breaks

      In an exclusive interview with International Business Times, U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn, denied knowing about a controversial last-minute provision slipped into the Republican tax bill that could personally enrich him. Corker, the lone Republican to vote against the original Senate bill, which didn’t include the provision, also admitted he has not read the final tax bill he announced he will support.

      A trio of Democratic Senators, meanwhile, slammed the provision, which was first reported on by IBT.

      Corker’s vote is considered pivotal in the closely divided Senate and he could be in a position to make or break the landmark legislation. He declared his support for the final reconciled version of the bill on Friday after GOP lawmakers added a provision that could benefit his vast real estate holdings — a provision that Corker denied having any knowledge of.

    • Rebuking Trump, Millionaire’s Viral Video Shows How GOP Plan Is ‘Just Big Tax Cut for People Like Me’

      Hours before Republicans are expected to release the final version of their tax bill, a new video illustrates how the plan “is a perfect demonstration of how the wealthy use their power to bend the rules in their favor.”

      The video, released by NowThis, features Eric Schoenberg, a millionaire who—unlike President Donald Trump—has released his tax returns, and uses them to give a crystal-clear look at how the proposal will benefit the super rich like himself and the president.

    • Patriotic Millionaire Shows His Taxes
    • Latest Student Loan Debacle Is Ultimate Example of Trump’s Campaign Con

      In Columbus, with Hillary Clinton running away with the election, Trump unveiled what even The Washington Post described as a “pretty radical student debt plan.” The basic idea was income-based repayment capped at 12.5 percent, then total loan forgiveness after 15 years of payments.

    • Meet the Woman Who’s Boosting Arizona’s Mom-and-Pop Business Culture

      Kimber Lanning stands at just 5 feet 1 inch. But in the Arizona economic landscape where she acts as a fierce advocate for local economies, she is a giant.

      In 2003, Lanning started Local First Arizona. She was the only employee, and didn’t take any salary. Now, with 3,200 members, it is the largest coalition of local businesses in the country. The coalition’s staff of 24 manages programs ranging from an annual local business fall festival to the state’s first directory of locally grown food to a program in Spanish for micro-entrepreneurs.

    • The GOP’s False Promises Emerge as Tax Bill Enters Reconciliation

      In a political nail-biter, the GOP finally passed their tax reform bill in the Senate — thanks in large part to a number of late-entrance amendments and lofty promises. But once Vice President Mike Pence provided the tie-breaking vote, the Republican party moved quickly to the next stage: reconciliation.

      And that’s when a number of wavering senators learned that the last-minute offers they received in exchange for their votes were about as long-lasting as President Donald Trump’s breaks from Twitter.

      It took a variety of sweeteners to finally get skeptical GOP senators on board with the tax reform bill. But the reconciliation process is stripping a number of those amendments out of the final bill, leaving legislators wondering if there was any good faith in the negotiations at all.

    • Former diplomat to lead remainers’ bid to shift public opinion on Brexit

      One of Britain’s most senior former diplomats, Lord Malloch-Brown, is to take a lead role in coordinating the pro-remain groups towards a more coherent campaign focused on shifting public opinion before MPs hold a “meaningful vote” next autumn on Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

      Behind the scenes discussions between the disparate anti-hard Brexit groups have led to an agreement that their messages need to be far better coordinated if public opinion is to be shifted decisively in the next nine months.

      Malloch-Brown, a former UN deputy secretary general, political communications consultant and Foreign Office minister under Gordon Brown, said: “We don’t necessarily need a single organisation, but we do want everyone on the same page.

    • The Grenfell Fire UK Establishment Circus

      The Grenfell Tower fire establishment circus is well and truly underway, placed in motion by a ruling class never more efficient than when managing and palliating the anger of the poor after presiding over their deaths in acts of social murder, euphemistically referred to as ‘tragedies’, whenever they occur.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • President Niinistö calls for criminal investigation of intelligence leak to paper

      He also points out that as intelligence agencies in Finland are now being granted larger operational scopes, it falls to the media to keep even closer track of their activities.

    • Disney buying Fox in US$52.4 billion-plus deal

      Fox shareholders, who include the Murdochs, will get a 25% stake in the larger Disney.

    • Disney Makes Deal for 21st Century Fox, Reshaping Entertainment Landscape

      Mr. Iger is buying 21st Century Fox’s minority stake in Hulu, resulting in majority control of the streaming service by Disney, which previously owned 30 percent. Comcast and Time Warner also have stakes in Hulu.

    • Vox Sentences: Disney wants to own all of the media
    • NYT Failed to Note Op-Ed Authors’ Funder Has $2 Billion Motive for Attacking Argentina

      Mark Dubowitz and Toby Dershowitz, two executives at the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), took to the op-ed pages of the New York Times (12/11/17) to celebrate last week’s announcement that Argentina’s former president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, would face treason charges for her alleged role in covering up Iran’s alleged involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aries that killed 85 people.

      But their op-ed fails to disclose a serious financial conflict of interest underpinning their attacks on Kirchner: One of FDD’s biggest donors financed a multi-year public diplomacy campaign against Kirchner, all while attempting to collect $2 billion in debt from Argentina.

      Indeed, legitimate questions exist about the bombing and suspicious 2015 death of Argentine special investigator Alberto Nisman, who claimed in 2006 that Iran ordered the bombing. But Kirchner’s supporters fear that Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri is using judicial reforms and charges against Kirchner to remove his political opposition.

    • We shouldn’t live in a country that so narrowly defeats Roy Moore. But we do. So let’s celebrate

      Commiserating and kvetching with a fellow writer Tuesday night, I confessed that it had been six weeks since my last opinion piece. I hadn’t been sure what to write, but mainly there was the issue of hope. News says, “This is the way things are,” and opinion writing often replies, “This is the way they could and should be.” Hope bridges the chasm between the present and an imagined future. Others had managed that leap; I hadn’t.

      Talking about the way we should be had felt as pointless and miserable to me as repeatedly stepping on a rake with a pie attached to its handle. “Roy Moore will win, then net neutrality will get repealed,” I mumbled, then unfurled a long line of expletives. (Yes, I’ve called the hotlines; I’ve written the emails.) She shook her head in solemn agreement while I excused myself to the restroom.

    • Billionaire, former journalist face off for Chile presidency

      Chileans vote in an uncertain runoff presidential election on Sunday that will determine if the world’s top copper producer stays on its center-left course or joins a tide of Latin American nations turning to the right in recent years.

      Billionaire former President Sebastian Pinera, 68, a conservative who was considered the front-runner but earned fewer votes than expected in last month’s first round, faces center-left journalist and senator Alejandro Guillier, 64.

    • Fascism’s return and Trump’s war on youth

      Fascism is all too often relegated to the history books.

      The word conjures up a period in which civilized societies treated democracy with contempt, engaged in acts of systemic violence, practised extermination and elimination, supported an “apocalyptic populism,” suppressed dissent, promoted a hyper-nationalism, displayed contempt for women, embraced militarism as an absolute ideal and insisted on obedience to a self-proclaimed prophet.

      But the seeds that produced such fascist horrors have once again sprung to life, returning in new social and political forms.

    • Rebranding Hate: What Poland’s Independence Day Protests Tell Us About Europe’s Rightward Shift

      Last month, Poland once again made international headlines when its Independence Day demonstrations — normally a moment dedicated to celebrating the return of the country’s sovereignty — were overwhelmed by 60,000 far-right protestors. Holding up placards with signs like “Europe will be white or uninhabited” and screaming “Pure Poland, white Poland!” as they proudly waved White Power flags, the Polish far-right were also joined by foreign representatives of other extremist groups.

    • The Growing Case for Impeaching Donald Trump, From Lawlessness and Corruption to Abuse of Power

      On Thursday, another Democrat endorsed articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, a resolution presented in November by a half-dozen Democrats accusing Trump of obstruction of justice and other offenses. Democrat Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire is the latest official to join the effort and is one of 12 House Democrats who represent a district won by Trump in 2016. This comes as a petition for impeachment launched in October by Democratic donor Tom Steyer has garnered more than 3.5 million supporters. At least 17 communities around the country are now on record calling for impeachment proceedings against Trump. “It is not acceptable to say that we will simply kick the can down the road and wait until after an election cycle to lay the groundwork for the impeachment proceedings,” says constitutional attorney John Bonifaz, co-founder and director of Free Speech for People. “We need to be laying that groundwork and making this call now.”

    • Medics, Observers & a Journalist Face 50 Years in Prison in First Trial of J20 Inauguration Protests

      Final arguments are underway today in Washington, D.C., in a case that could shape the future of free speech and the right to protest in the United States: the first trial of the nearly 200 people arrested during President Donald Trump’s inauguration. As demonstrators, journalists and observers gathered in Northwest D.C. after the inauguration on January 20, some separated from the group and vandalized nearby businesses and vehicles. Police officers then swept hundreds of people in the vicinity into a blockaded corner in a process known as “kettling,” where they carried out mass arrests of everyone in the area. The first so-called J20 trial could go to a jury as early as today, and involves six people, including one journalist, Alexei Wood, a freelance photojournalist. The defendants face multiple felony and misdemeanor charges, including multiple counts of destruction of property. Evidence against the defendants has been scant. We get an update from Jude Ortiz, a member of the organizing crew of Defend J20 and the Mass Defense Committee chair for the National Lawyers Guild. He’s been in court throughout the first J20 trial.

    • Honduras, the country where even the police are fed up with electoral fraud and violence

      After the elections of November 26, when the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TES) – with an unprecedented 10-hour delay and under pressure from international observers – announced that the Alianza de Oposición’s candidate Salvador Nasralla had an advantage of 5% over the current president, Juan Orlando Hernández, citizens celebrated the triumph on social media, even though many citizens still suspected that fraud and institutional complicity before the final count count change the scenario. It also should be noted that the incumbent should not have been a candidate for the presidency to begin with because the Constitution prohibits reelection through an unmodifiable article.

      Despite the seemingly irreversible advantage in favor of the opposition, the president of the TSE refused to officially recognize Nasralla’s victory and advised that an announcement should not be made before the final count. In subsequent statements to the Salvadoran digital newspaper El Faro, Ramiro Lobo, substitute magistrate of the TSE, said that the president “did not want to disclose the results because his party, the National Party, was losing”. According to him, the counting system machines, although slow, worked as expected in the first hours and days after, in which “Nasralla had an advantage that already set a trend. But when the system was back up after collapsing for a short time, the trend had already reversed and remained that way”. After the apparent technical collapse and subsequent recovery of the system, the results disclosed by the TSE showed a clear advantage of the pro-government candidate over the opposition candidate. Thanks to the magic of the voting system’s collapse, a trend that seemed irreversible was reversed.

      Protests and road blockades were immediate, as were police and military repression. Like a déjà vu, the events invoked the ghosts of the crisis that preceded the 2009 coup. However, determined Honduran citizens remained in the streets. In light of looting of the private sector and under political accusations of being the cause of the chaos, on December 1 the government decreed a State of Emergency for 10 days, in order to keep the population silenced in house arrest. But as in previous times in Argentina, an unprecedented “cacerolazo” – a common form of protest in Latin America consisting of banging pots and pans – came to life in different Honduran cities, breaking the curfew and challenging political power.

    • Alabama’s Lessons for the Democratic Party

      The unexpected victory of Democrat Doug Jones in the special U.S. Senate election in Alabama has been described as a political earthquake. The seismic rumblings began decades ago, though, during the civil-rights struggle of the 1950s and ’60s, with echoes that reach as far back as the U.S. Civil War and the long, violent era of slavery. Jones’ road to the Senate might have started on the early evening of Dec. 1, 1955, at a bus stop in Montgomery, Alabama, when an African-American woman named Rosa Parks sat down in one of the 10 front rows reserved for white passengers. The driver ordered her to the back of the bus. When she refused, the police were summoned, she was arrested, and the modern civil-rights era was launched.

    • Democrats Have Much to Learn and the Odious Have Much to Teach Them

      It was clear from the moment Donald Trump was elected president that 2017 would go down in history as one of the worst years ever in American politics.

      It is now ending on an even worse note: with the president wandering off into dangerous non compos mentis territory as the consequences of his incompetence become increasingly manifest, and as the law closes in on him, his family, and the scoundrels who run the government for him.

      Then there are the House and Senate Republicans outdoing even themselves in depraved indifference to the public good.

      And there are their Democratic rivals, pusillanimous as ever, self-righteously rebranding themselves as defenders of sexual propriety and virtue.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Make Facebook liable for content, says report on UK election intimidation

      Theresa May should consider the introduction of two new laws to deter the intimidation of MPs during elections and force social media firms to monitor illegal content, an influential committee has said.

    • Microsoft Updates Bing Search to Highlight Reputable Results
    • Farnworth and Kearsley First in ‘censorship’ row with town hall over gazebo decision

      THE CHIEF of the borough’s newest political party believes the group is being unfairly censored in its bid to get its message across.

      Peter Flitcroft, leader of Farnworth and Kearsley First, has accused Bolton Council of ‘double standards’ after it refused the party permission to erect a gazebo for campaigning purposes.

      He says the proposed spot, in Brackley Street, Farnworth, near Asda, has previously been used by other political parties.

    • SESTA/FOSTA: The real internet censorship threat

      In a particularly Orwellian example of the arguments for “Net Neutrality,” the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times preemptively complained that the Federal Communications Commission’s Dec. 14 repeal of the two-year-old rule “sacrifices the free and open internet on the altar of deregulation.”

      In fact, the “free and open internet” did just fine — more than fine, even — for decades before being brought under a “Title II” regulatory scheme intended for 1930s-era telephones. And, unfortunately, there’s no deregulation involved. Instead of just getting its grubby mitts off the internet as it should, FCC is handing regulation off to another intrusive bureaucracy, the Federal Trade Commission.

    • Virginia’s Censorship Laws May Be More Dangerous Than We Think

      In the state of Virginia, the code of law suggests that citizens use no profanity in public. Many places have anti-profanity signs and the like. Letting out an f-bomb in Virginia is a misdemeanor! Although it is a very old law, many people are still charged and can be charged a $250 dollar fine at the minimum.

      A state lawmaker from Richmond Virginia is currently attempting to eliminate this law. The conservative Michael Webert is a farmer that believes in the right to free speech and understands that things happen that can trigger people to let out a dirty word. “When I cursed, my mother told me not to and handed me a bar of soap,” he said, “you shouldn’t be hit with a Class 4 misdemeanor.”

    • JNU: Proctoral Inquiry Against Shehla Rashid Over Tweet on ‘Internet Censorship’ on Campus

      The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration has asked student activist Shehla Rashid to appear for a proctoral inquiry over her claims on Twitter about “Internet censorship” on the campus, a move termed unprecedented by her and other student leaders.

      Rashid, a former JNU students’ union vice president, said on Thursday that she would not appear before the proctor on December 19 as the varsity administration “does not have a jurisdiction over” her tweets.

    • JNU: Inquiry Ordered Against Shehla Rashid Over ‘Misleading’ Tweet On ‘Internet Censorship’ On Campus

      The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration has asked controversial left-wing activist Shehla Rashid to appear for a proctoral inquiry over her claims on Twitter about “internet censorship” on the campus, a move termed unprecedented by her and other student leaders.

    • JNU sends notice to student for tweet on ‘internet curbs’

      The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration has sent a notice to former JNUSU vice-president Shehla Rashid, for writing on social media against the administration’s decision to block content on the university WiFi.

      The notice stated that the proctor’s office has received a complaint against her for posting on social media. In November, students had complained that the administration had blocked access to certain content related to the Una incident, presidential debate and others.

    • Unthinking censorship is not the way forward for gender equality

      The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which polices the rules, also plans to take a “stronger line” on ads that “could be seen to objectify or degrade women”. A perfume ad featuring a naked Cara Delavigne is being used as the example of what might cross the line, which begs the question: should the international supermodel get to determine what demeans or empowers her body, or should the ASA?

      While there is an important role for regulatory bodies to play in protecting vulnerable women from exploitation and coercion, this crackdown reeks of prudish disposition, which may very well do more to harm women’s sexual liberation than protect it.

      Attacks on advertising are often veiled attacks on free speech.

    • Crypto Solutions Tackle Web Censorship Concerns

      As governments across the world continue to make moves to censor and control the flow of digital data across the internet, there a rising tide of concern over net neutrality. Blockchain solutions could be the answer for those seeking more freedom on the internet.

    • Substratum answers censorship call
    • Lena Hendry and DPP withdraw appeals in censorship case
    • End harassment against Lena Hendry, rights group urges
    • Human rights activist Lena Hendry, prosecution withdraw their appeals
    • Prosecution, activist Lena Hendry withdraw appeals in film censorship case
    • China Uses Cash, ‘Sharp Power’ to Export Communist System

      China’s Communist Party is engaged in sophisticated global influence operations using money to buy supporters and deceive foreign audiences about Beijing’s rights abuses, experts told a congressional China commission on Wednesday.

      “Attempts by the Chinese government to guide, buy, or coerce political influence and control discussion of ‘sensitive’ topics are pervasive, and pose serious challenges in the United States and our like-minded allies,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), co-chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

    • Spare us the moral hysteria that threatens a new age of censorship

      To the casual eye, George Devine made for an unlikely-seeming revolutionary. In Howard Coster’s 1934 photograph, in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, he looks like nothing so much as a master at Greyfriars School, his spectacles horn-rimmed, his hair neatly oiled. Only the flamboyant angle of the hand that holds his cigarette suggests the reality: this was the actor who, as the director of the English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre, would produce John Osborne’s 1956 play Look Back in Anger.

      According to Irving Wardle, the nearest thing he has to a biographer, Devine was “personally inconspicuous”. If creating an “open space” for “rebel artists” took courage – it’s difficult to grasp, now, how incendiary Osborne’s words seemed at the time – it also involved a certain quietness. The work would speak for itself.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The scramble for data and the need for network self-determination

      Unless you lived in a cave over the past decade, you should have heard that “data is the new oil” or that data have become “the world’s most valuable resource.” However, rarely in our history has the emergence of new, extremely valuable, resources not resulted in power struggles leading to fundamental changes in political and social structures.

      The Scramble for Data is unleashing a new breed of colonialism, aimed at controlling the networks and platforms that will redefine – and are already shaping – the economies, societies and private lives of all the colonised.

      Worryingly, the yearning for data is turning a quintessentially open internet, able to empower billions of individuals, into a series of closed and easily controllable cyber-spaces, where a few dominant players have access to, and exert, unprecedented influence on every aspect of our lives.

      The Scramble for Data is already unleashing a new breed of colonialism, already shaping the economies, societies and private lives of all the colonised.

    • FBI chief’s claim on surveillance abuse doesn’t fit the evidence

      I caught my breath when I heard FBI Director Christopher Wray testify to Congress that there’s been no abuse of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the law under which our intelligence communities electronically spy on possible terrorists and sometimes capture private communications of innocent U.S. citizens. Section 702 and related components expire Dec. 31, and Congress must decide whether to renew them.

    • Facebook admits it may be damaging our well-being, says more Facebook is the cure

      The latest developments come at the end of a torrid year for the public relations team at the social network. The company has been accused of enabling everything from the spread of fake news to Russian propaganda and hate speech. It has also been criticised for providing a platform for white supremacists, censoring critics of oppressive governments and running offensive adverts.

    • Facebook Agrees It Causes Mental Heath Risk, But Using “More Facebook” Gives Relief

      Is using Facebook good or bad for us? The biggest social media company has tried to provide the much-needed but indecisive answer to this question before it gets too late. A blog post by Facebook researchers highlights the good and bad effects of social media platforms in our lives.

    • Analog Equivalent Privacy Rights (3/21): Posting an Anonymous Public Message

      The Analog Equivalent Privacy Right for an electronic post hosting provider is for an uploader to be responsible for everything they upload for the public to see, with no liability at all for the hosting provider under any circumstance, including no requirement to log upload data to help law enforcement find an uploader. Such monitoring is not a requirement in the analog world of our parents, nor is there an analog liability for anything posted, and there is no reason to have it otherwise in the digital world of our children just because somebody doesn’t know how to run a business otherwise.

    • Uber’s Massive Scraping Program Collected Data About Competitors Around The World

      The Marketplace Analytics team traces its roots to a previous group within Uber that was known as Competitive Intelligence, or COIN. COIN also set up non-attributable servers to store information on competitors, and oversaw Hell, a program Uber used to track the location of Lyft drivers and offer them deals to switch to Uber. By scraping data from Lyft’s app, Uber was able to collect driver ID numbers and therefore track Lyft drivers’ locations. The existence of Hell, and COIN’s role in deploying it, were first reported in April by The Information.

    • Facebook changes policy, to book local ad revenue locally

      Facebook has changed its approach to booking its ad revenue, announcing that it will move to a local selling structure in countries where it has an office to support local advertising sales.

    • Analog Equivalent Privacy Rights (4/21): Our children have lost Privacy of Location

      In the analog world of our parents, as an ordinary citizen and not under surveillance because of being a suspect of a crime, it was taken for granted that you could walk around a city without authorities tracking you at the footstep level. Our children don’t have this right anymore in their digital world.

    • Facebook to put ads before (some) videos

      Starting next year, Facebook will test advertisements at the beginning of some videos. The ads will last six seconds and only show up before videos you seek out in Facebook’s Watch section.

    • Here come the Facebook pre-roll video ads
    • Government files submission in Microsoft warrant case
    • Uber allegedly hacked [sic] rivals, surveilled politicians, and impersonated protestors

      Last month, details emerged about a secretive unit within Uber dedicated to stealing trade secrets, surveilling competitors, using self-destructing messages, and dodging government regulators. The accusations came from a former member of Uber’s security team, Ric Jacobs, whose 37-page letter detailing all of Uber’s shady behavior was sent to Uber’s management earlier this year. Prior to today, only snippets of the letter have been read aloud in court. Now, a redacted copy of the letter is public as part of the ongoing litigation between Uber and Waymo, the self-driving unit of Alphabet. And it’s a doozy.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Microsoft Intern’s Rape Claim Highlights Struggle to Combat Sex Discrimination
    • Judge Tells Jury: Informing Public May Be Criminal Conspiracy

      Reporting the news can be punished as criminal conspiracy, federal Judge Lynn Leibovitz told jurors at the so-called J20 trial in Washington, DC, where journalists and protesters alike are being prosecuted for property damage that they didn’t commit during the Donald Trump inauguration.

    • The Height of Racial Resentment: White Cops

      Researchers will surely continue to plow the 2016 U.S. presidential election looking for answers to Donald Trump’s victory for decades to come. What we know now, though, is that racial resentment played a prominent role in the equation. Michael Tesler has shown, for instance, that white racial resentment “was more tightly linked to [support for Trump] than support for John McCain and Mitt Romney in 2008 and 2012, respectively — even after controlling for party and ideology.” And Sean McElwee and Jason McDaniel have found that “racial attitudes towards blacks and immigration are the key factors associated with support for Trump.” If white voters are racially resentful and if their resentments remain consequential for their selections at the ballot box, we might wish to understand who among the white population in the U.S. evinces the most racially resentful and racially conservative attitudes and why. Some recent sociological work has examined this question and found at least one primary suspect: white police officers.

    • A killer cop gets away with an execution

      MAYBE IT shouldn’t be surprising anymore.

      A cop murders a sobbing, unarmed man as he’s sprawled on the ground, begging not to be shot. This is one of the rare police killings where an officer was actually charged with a crime. But in the end, he was acquitted.

      It shouldn’t be surprising, given the litany of cases–Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and on and on–in which killer cops walked free after murdering someone.

      But anyone who has had the stomach to watch the footage of the last moments of Daniel Shaver’s life–to witness his terror, his frantic pleas, and the unchecked relish that Mesa, Arizona, police took in demanding his humiliating compliance in the moments before officer Philip Brailsford opened fire–should be outraged by both the circumstances of the killing and the fact that Brailsford is a free man today.

    • Record number of journalists jailed as Turkey, China, Egypt pay scant price for repression

      In its annual prison census, CPJ found 262 journalists behind bars around the world in relation to their work, a new record after a historical high of 259 last year. The worst three jailers are responsible for jailing 134–or 51 percent–of the total. CPJ has been conducting an annual survey of journalists in jail since the early 1990s.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Koch Brothers Are Cities’ New Obstacle to Building Broadband

      Bad news for internet access—the Koch brothers are fighting low-cost open fiber nets.

    • The end of net neutrality and the fight to defend the free internet

      The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted Thursday to overturn rules, known as net neutrality, that required internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all data on the internet the same and prohibited them from limiting or blocking users’ access to web sites and services.

      The ruling heralds a new age in internet communications, where giant internet and technology monopolies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast regulate what information people have access to.

    • Remember The Man Who Killed The Internet

      Ajit Pai is an outlier.

      Most of us hack our way through life wondering if our labors and sacrifices will amount to something that we can stand back and remark upon one day — before we croak. In this respect, Ajit Pai is uncommonly fortunate. The FCC chairman and former Verizon lawyer just pulled off his own plan to destroy the net neutrality principle that ensures an open Internet for all. This will allow Internet service providers to charge consumers higher premiums for access to certain kinds of online content, but that’s not what we need to discuss right now.

      What we need to absorb and respect is the incredible reality that Ajit Pai — a single man — is largely responsible for crippling the Internet as we know it. Yes, he was appointed to chairman by Donald Trump. Sure, he was joined in voting to kill net neutrality by fellow FCC commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Brendan Carr. But as top banana at the FCC, Pai spent the past several months publicly leading the charge against net neutrality. And when we look back at the aggressive, condescending, undemocratic, and potentially fraudulent manner in which this charge was carried out, the audacity of Ajit Pai defies both convention and ethics.

    • The FCC just voted to repeal its net neutrality rules, in a sweeping act of deregulation

      The move to deregulate the telecom and cable industry is a major setback for tech companies, consumer groups and Democrats who lobbied heavily against the decision. And it marks a significant victory for Republicans who vowed to roll back the efforts of the prior administration, despite a recent survey showing that 83 percent of Americans — including 3 out of 4 Republicans — opposed the plan.

    • FCC overturns net neutrality rules, but supporters pledge to continue fight

      The new regulations, passed by the Republican-controlled commissions’ 3-2 vote, instead require ISPs to disclose any blocking or prioritization of their own content or from their partners. They officially take effect after publication in the Federal Register.

    • FCC vote won’t end net neutrality fight

      Opponents are already lining up to sue the agency, which voted 3-2 to scrap the rules on Thursday, while Democrats are pushing legislation that would prevent the repeal from going into effect.

      The FCC said that the net neutrality repeal has to be approved by the Office of Management and Budget before it can go into effect — a process that could take months.

    • What’s Going to Save Journalism?

      Killing net neutrality, which the Republican-controlled FCC voted to do yesterday, is only the most recent gut punch to a free press.

    • Explainer: Why Other Countries Care That US Ditched Net Neutrality

      As with many things, the United States is seen as a global leader on the internet. Thus, many critics fear that a loosening of its regulatory system may embolden others to crack down on a completely open [I]nternet.

    • “Net neutrality is the secret sauce that has made the internet awesome”

      To better understand what’s at stake, I spoke to Barbara van Schewick, a net neutrality expert and a professor at Stanford Law School, before the vote. The conversation has been lightly edited and condensed.

    • FCC votes to repeal net neutrality rules

      “As a result of today’s misguided action, our broadband providers will get extraordinary new power from this agency,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat on the commission who voted against the repeal.

      “They will have the power to block websites, throttle services and censor online content. They will have the right to discriminate and favor the internet traffic of those companies with whom they have pay-for-play arrangements and the right to consign all others to a slow and bumpy road,” Rosenworcel said.

    • F.C.C. Repeals Net Neutrality Rules

      The agency scrapped so-called net neutrality regulations that prohibited broadband providers from blocking websites or charging for higher-quality service or certain content. The federal government will also no longer regulate high-speed internet delivery as if it were a utility, like phone services.

    • Smirking FCC chairman posts video mocking net neutrality supporters

      It’s a remarkably unserious display from the guy at the head of an agency charged with overseeing, regulating, and protecting all levels of communications in the US, particularly given the potential long-term impact of his charge to eliminate net neutrality regulations.

    • Ajit Pai just handed Republicans a bag of shit

      Most importantly, Pai also gutted net neutrality without ever trying to make the case for it being a good idea. Pai’s final media appearance was a troll-ish video with alt-right blog The Daily Caller, in which he literally dances with a woman who supported the insane Pizzagate conspiracy that ended with a gunman storming a pizza parlor. His most recent private speech was a smarmy affair delivered to a room full of telecom lobbyists in which he joked about being Verizon’s puppet and taking orders from Sinclair Broadcasting.

    • The FCC just killed net neutrality

      Now that the vote is over, the commission will take a few weeks to make final adjustments to the rules. They’ll then be filed with the Federal Register and appear there in a few months. At that point, net neutrality will officially be off the books, and these new rules (or really, the absence of any) will take effect.

    • ISPs won’t promise to treat all traffic equally after net neutrality

      We reached out to 10 big or notable ISPs to see what their stances are on three core tenets of net neutrality: no blocking, no throttling, and no paid prioritization. Not all of them answered, and the answers we did get are complicated.

    • What if You Couldn’t See This Page?

      To taste a future without net neutrality, try browsing the web in Beijing. China’s internet, provided through telecom giants aligned with the Communist Party, is a digital dystopia, filtered by the vast censorship apparatus known as China’s Great Firewall. Some sites load with soul-withering slowness, or not at all. Others appear instantly. Content vanishes without warning or explanation. The culprit is rarely knowable. A faulty Wi-Fi router? A neighborhood power failure? Commercial sabotage? A clampdown on political dissent? To most Chinese netizens, the reason matters little. They simply gravitate to the few sites that aren’t slowed or blocked entirely: the Chinese counterparts of Facebook, Google, and Twitter. But these Chinese platforms come with heavy government surveillance and censorship by corporate and party apparatchiks. For the Communist Party and its commercial allies, this is win-win, cementing respective monopolies on political markets and consumer power.

    • Popular Destinations rerouted to Russia

      Early this morning (UTC) our systems detected a suspicious event where many prefixes for high profile destinations were being announced by an unused Russian Autonomous System.

    • Nearly 20 State AGs to Sue FCC for Putting ‘Corporate Profits Over Consumers’

      Adding to the growing backlash among the public and members of Congress against the FCC’s party-line vote on Thursday to repeal net neutrality protections, nearly 20 state attorneys general have lined up to sue the FCC, calling the Republican-controlled agency’s move a violation of the law and a serious “threat to the free exchange of ideas.”

    • Net Neutrality Killed as FCC ‘Hands Keys to Internet to Handful of Multi-Billion Dollar Corporations’

      The nonpartisan First Amendment advocacy group Free Press vowed to take the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to court Thursday after the Republican-controlled panel moved to gut net neutrality protections that prohibit internet service providers (ISPs) from charging for and discriminating against content, in a 3-2 vote along party lines.

    • New York Public Libraries: the proposal to kill net neutrality is ‘appalling’

      An open letter from the presidents of the New York, Brooklyn, and Queens public libraries

    • No, Michael Powell, let’s not ‘calm down’ about net neutrality

      It’s disappointing to see such easily refuted arguments being made by current and former FCC chairmen, but I’m always ready to address them. Let’s take a stroll through Powell’s editorial.

    • What’s at stake if we lose net neutrality? A guide for the perplexed

      If you didn’t follow the debate leading up to the implementation of the rules in 2015, you might be more confused about why everyone is freaking out about Thursday’s vote; or, perhaps, what the impact on consumers will be if the overturn is passed, which is likely considering the party split of the commission. Here, we’ve put together a Salon explainer guide.

    • Net Neutrality Protests Move Online, Yet Big Tech Is Quiet

      Protests to preserve net neutrality, or rules that ensure equal access to the [I]nternet, migrated online on Tuesday, with numerous online companies posting calls on their sites for action to stop a vote later this week.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Google Play Store Rejects App For Using the Word “BitTorrent”

        Google Play has rejected a popular BitTorrent client because it uses the word “BitTorrent” in the full description. Apparently, Google now sees references to an open source transfer protocol as a no-go, stating that BitTorrent is another brand. While BitTorrent Inc. had the term trademarked years ago, the company didn’t ask Google to take this action.

      • BitTorrent Inc. Emerges Victorious Following EU Trademark Dispute

        BitTorrent Inc., the company behind the BitTorrent and uTorrent torrent clients, has emerged victorious following a long-running trademark dispute in Europe. The battle involved a German company, previously called Bittorrent Marketing GmbH, the EU Intellectual Property [sic] Office, the company itself, and an argument over a useless fax machine.

    • Copyrights

      • Sci-Hub Battles Pirate Bay-esque Domain Name Whack-a-Mole

        Academic publishers want Sci-Hub wiped from the Internet, but thus far their efforts have failed. While several of the site’s domain names were suspended in recent weeks, it appears as if the controversy is only drawing more traffic. And with plenty of alternatives in hand, it’s turning into a Pirate Bay-esque game of domain name Whack-a-Mole.

      • Canadian Government Triggers Major Copyright Review

        The House of Commons has triggered a parliamentary review of Canada’s Copyright Act, to be conducted by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. The music industry was quick to weigh in, congratulating government ministers and making it known that the so-called Value Gap, which concerns copyright takedown regimes and artist remuneration, will be high on the agenda.

      • Breaking the web and killing innovation: Now even lobbyists admit that’s the plan behind the extra EU copyright for news

        Today, a new lobby joined the fray – but apparently didn’t get the memo about sugar-coating the game plan. In an open letter published in Le Monde – but, fittingly, behind a paywall – large news agencies including Germany’s DPA und France’s AFP call for the extra copyright to also extend to their products. They mince no words describing what they demand politicians crack down on:

12.16.17

Links 16/12/2017: Mesa 17.2.7, Wine 3.0 RC2, Kdenlive 17.12.0, Mir 0.29

Posted in News Roundup at 9:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • CoreOS’s Open Cloud Services Could Bring Cloud Portability to Container-Native Apps

    With the release of Tectonic 1.8, CoreOS provides a way to easily deploy container-native applications as services, even across multiple service providers and in-house resources.

    “We take open source APIs, make them super easy to consume, and create a catalog of these things to run on top of Kubernetes so they are portable no matter where you go,” said Brandon Philips, CoreOS chief technology officer.

  • Kubernetes 1.9 release brings greater stability and storage features

    The Kubernetes developer community is capping off a successful year with the release of Kubernetes 1.9, adding important new features that should help to further encourage enterprise adoption.

    Kubernetes is the most popular container orchestrator management software. It’s used to simplify the deployment and management of software containers, which are a popular tool among developers that allows them to run their applications across multiple computing environments without making any changes to the underlying code.

  • What’s new in Kubernetes containers

    Promoted to beta in Kubernetes 1.8 and now in production release in Kubernetes 1.9, the Apps Workloads API provides ways to define workloads based on their behaviors, such as long-running apps that need persistent state.

  • Linux Vs. Unix

    ​In computer time, a substantial part of the population has a misconception that the Unix and Linux operating systems are one and the same. However, the opposite is true. Let’s look at it from a closer look.

  • Open Source OS Still supporting 32-bit Architecture and Why it’s Important

    One after the other, Linux distributions are dropping 32-bit support. Or, to be accurate, they drop support for the Intel x86 32-bit architecture (IA-32). Indeed, computers based on x86_64 hardware (x86-64) are superior in every way to their 32-bits counterpart: they are more powerful, run faster, are more compact, and more energy efficient. Not mentioning their price has considerably decreased in just a few years.

  • Desktop

    • Chromebooks and Office 365 together will challenge Windows laptops

      It’s no secret that I’m not a Windows fan. I’m beginning to wonder if Microsoft isn’t either.

      Hear me out. On Nov. 27, Chromebook users discovered that Office 365 would run on some of their laptops. To be exact, we now know you can download and run Office 365 on Samsung Chromebook Pro, Pixelbook, Acer Chromebook 15, and the Acer C771.

    • Looking Glass Released For KVM Frame Relay, High Performance Windows VM Gaming

      Geoffrey McRae has published the code to the “Looking Glass” project he’s been working on as a “extremely low-latency” KVM frame relay implementation for guests with VGA PCI pass-through.

      Long story short this allows for a graphics card PCI pass-through setup with a KVM guest whereby no separate monitor is needed but rather Looking Glass is like a virtual display for that GPU dedicated to the VM and displays the VM’s rendered contents on your main monitor/GPU. Up to now those wanting to use a secondary graphics card pass-through setup with a virtual machine had to use a separate monitor, but with Looking Glass you can get by with a single monitor for the system.

  • Server

    • 5 Kubernetes must-reads: Tips and trends

      Kubernetes is having a moment – but don’t look for its popularity to wane anytime soon. As enterprises move beyond experimenting and start working in earnest with containers, the number of containers multiply: So do the manual chores. Orchestration tools like Kubernetes add automated help.

      “Running a few standalone containers for development purposes won’t rob your IT team of time or patience: A standards-based container runtime by itself will do the job,” Red Hat technology evangelist Gordon Haff recently noted. “But once you scale to a production environment and multiple applications spanning many containers, it’s clear that you need a way to coordinate those containers to deliver the individual services. As containers accumulate, complexity grows. Eventually, you need to take a step back and group containers along with the coordinated services they need, such as networking, security, and telemetry.” (See Haff’s full article, How enterprise IT uses Kubernetes to tame container complexity.)

    • Amazon Linux 2

      Amazon Linux 2 is the next generation Amazon Linux operating system. It provides a high performance, stable, and secure execution environment for cloud and enterprise applications. Amazon Linux 2 will offer extended availability of software updates for the core operating system through 5 years of long-term support and provides access to the latest software packages through the Amazon Linux Extras repository.

    • Amazon Linux 2 Rolls Out For EC2, On-Site Virtual Machine Images

      Amazon AWS has announced their “next generation” version of their Amazon Linux operating system intended for running on their EC2 compute cloud as well as on-site via VMware/VirtualBox/Hyper-V images that are free to all.

    • Amazon Linux 2 Benchmarks, 6-Way Linux OS EC2 Compute Cloud Comparison

      With Amazon AWS this week having released Amazon Linux 2 LTS I was excited to put this updated cloud-focused operating system through some performance tests to see how it stacks up with the more well known Linux distributions.

    • AWS Releases Prelim Amazon Linux 2 Server

      Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) this week announced the release of its next Linux server OS, Amazon Linux 2.

      Dubbed build 2017.12, the preliminary version of Amazon Linux 2 is now generally available to all public AWS regions. Described as a “candidate” release in the AWS announcement, the final build is yet to come.

    • Modernizing application delivery with container platforms

      Demands for faster production times, higher quality and more predictable cost management are posing significant challenges for development teams. In-house software development is essential in achieving these and other agency objectives. Exacerbating the demands on development teams is often the need to successfully release new applications, while also updating existing ones.

      From a technical aspect, at the center of the challenges for developers, is the need to reliably get software to run as it moves between computing environments. Containerization represents the best way for developers to accomplish this task, with containers driving operational efficiency and competitive advantages.

    • Building Open Source IoT Ecosystems
    • Invaluable tips and tricks for troubleshooting Linux
  • Kernel Space

    • Stable kernels 4.14.6 and 4.9.69

      Two new stable kernels have been released by Greg Kroah-Hartman: 4.14.6 and 4.9.69. As usual, they contain fixes all over the kernel tree; users of those series should upgrade.

    • Linux 4.14.6
    • Linux 4.9.69
    • Systemd 236 Brings Support For LUKS2 Encrypted Partitions, New Options

      Lennart Poettering has announced the release of systemd 236 as the init system’s final release of 2017.

      Systemd 236 is another significant feature release and includes support for the LUKS2 on-disk format for encrypted partitions, bootctl list can now list all available boot menu options, improved cgroup option, various systemd-networkd networking improvements, support for setting the initial keyboard mapping systemd-firstboot, several new systemd-resolve command line arguments, and other minor improvements throughout the systemd landscape.

    • VirtIO DRM Window Server Support: Letting Guest VMs Interface With Host’s Compositor

      -
      Collabora’s Tomeu Vizoso is working on a interesting VirtIO DRM patch that lets clients running within a virtual machine communicate with a display compositor of the host system.

      Based off work done by Google on their ChromeOS kernel with a “virtio_wl” driver, Tomeu is adding support to the VirtIO DRM driver so that clients running within a virtual machine can communicate with the host system’s compositor. Communication is done over the protocol supported by the compositor, e.g. Wayland. Similarly, the ChromeOS VirtIO Wayland work is about offering a virtual device used by a guest VM use a Wayland server on the host system transparently and just focused on Wayland support given the ChromeOS focus.

    • Linux Should Now Work For Some Knockoff PlayStation 3 Controllers

      While the Linux kernel has supported the official Sony PlayStation 3 controller as an input device, some of the off-brand/knockoff models haven’t quite behaved correctly on Linux but that’s now being rectified.

      Red Hat’s Bastien Nocera has made a necessary change to the Sony HID code in the Linux 4.15 kernel to address these knockoff PlayStation 3 controllers as well as a change in BlueZ Git, for the upcoming BlueZ 5.48 release.

    • ZFS On Linux 0.7.4 Brings Linux 4.14 Support, Fixes

      ZFS On Linux 0.7.4 was released this week as the newest stable release for this ZFS file-system implementation for the Linux kernel.

    • 6WIND Announces TCP Boost to Resolve Linux Bottlenecks in TCP-Based Applications

      6WIND, a high-performance networking software company, today announced TCP Boost, a high performance Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) stack for proxy and server deployments. TCP is a client/server protocol used to communicate between applications over an IP network. However, the performance of TCP-based applications is limited by common bottlenecks in the Linux kernel. To overcome these limitations, 6WIND offers TCP Boost as a solution, based on its 6WINDGate™ packet processing software, which is widely deployed as the industry’s highest performance TCP userland stack since 2010.

    • Linux Kernel Developer: Thomas Gleixner

      The report states that, since the 2.6.11 release, the top 10 developers together have contributed 45,338 changes — almost 7.1 percent of the total. The top 30 developers contributed just under 16 percent of the total, as seen in the table below.

      One of these top 30 developers is Thomas Gleixner, CTO at Linutronix GmbH, who serves in various kernel maintainer roles. In this article, Gleixner answers a few questions about his contributions to the Linux kernel.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Juniper Flips OpenContrail To The Linux Foundation

        It’s a familiar story arc for open source efforts started by vendors or vendor-led industry consortiums. The initiatives are launched and expanded, but eventually they find their way into independent open source organizations such as the Linux Foundation, where vendor control is lessened, communities are able to grow, and similar projects can cross-pollinate in hopes of driving greater standardization in the industry and adoption within enterprises.

      • Juniper Hands OpenContrail SDN to Linux Found. Before It’s Too Late

        After failing to develop a community around the project and receiving pushback from a major backer, Juniper may be saving Contrail from becoming irrelevant

      • CableLabs Announces Two Open Source Projects for NFV

        SNAPS is an overarching program at CableLabs to facilitate the adoption of software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) within the CableLabs’ community. The organization says it spearheaded SNAPS to fill in gaps within open source to ease the adoption of SDN and NFV for its cable members.

      • Bell becomes first operator to launch ONAP in production

        Canadian telecommunications company Bell announced it has become the first company to launch an open source version of the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) in production.

        The announcement was noted by Arpit Joshipura, general manager of networking and orchestration at the Linux Foundation, in a company blog post. According to Joshipura, the news marks a first step toward using ONAP as a common platform across Bell’s network as the company re-aligns itself to follow a multi-partner DevOps model.

    • Graphics Stack

      • DXVK Is Making Some Steadfast Progress In Running Direct3D 11 Over Vulkan

        Last month on Phoronix I featured the DXVK project that’s working to implement Direct3D 11 over Vulkan (not to be confused with VK9 as the separate effort to get D3D9 over Vulkan). This project is making a surprising amount of progress in its early stages.

      • Latest Steam Client Update Rolls Out Shader Pre-Caching For OpenGL/Vulkan

        The latest Steam client release on Wednesday rolls out OpenGL and Vulkan shader pre-caching by default.

      • VKD3D Is Beginning Flight As Wine’s Direct3D 12 To Vulkan Library

        Back at WineConf 2017 VKD3D was announced for bringing Direct3D 12 to Wine by implementing Microsoft’s latest graphics API atop the Vulkan graphics API. The initial code for this new library is beginning to take shape.

        VKD3D is a long-term play for getting viable Direct3D 12 support working within Wine. As noted back at WineConf, this library is being developed independently of the Wine Git repository. This will potentially allow in the future others to make use of this D3D12-to-Vulkan code without pulling in Wine entirely, should porters look to this project for easing their process of getting Windows games running on Linux, etc.

      • Wayland’s Weston Sees Patches For FreeBSD, Fractional HiDPI, Rust Bindings

        A new contributor to the Wayland/Weston camp has been working on several improvements to the Weston reference compositor.

        Improvements made to Weston via unmerged patches include adding FreeBSD support to Weston, static linking for backends and gl-renderer, Rust bindings for libweston, and fractional HiDPI scaling support.

      • LunarG Adds New Size Option To Further Reduce Size Of SPIR-V
      • Disjoint Timer Query Added To Mesa For Reporting Accurate OpenGL Timing Data

        The latest OpenGL extension added to Mesa by Intel developers is the rather new EXT_disjoint_timer_query.

      • mesa 17.2.7

        The current queue consists of a variety of fixes, with a sizeable hunk in the shared GLSL codebase.

        Whereas for individual drivers – i965 has a crash fix for when playing various Valve games, r600 and nouveau have tweaks in their compiler backends. Fast clears on radeonsi and RADV are better now, while the VAAPI encoding is playing nicely with GStreamer.

      • Mesa 17.2.7 Released For Those Not Yet On Mesa 17.3

        Emil Velikov of Collabora has announced the release today of Mesa 17.2.7 as the latest point release for this older stable branch of Mesa.

        If you are a devoted Linux gamer or at all care about the best features and performance, it’s best you migrate to Mesa 17.3 if you are not habitually riding Mesa Git. But for those still using the Mesa 17.2 series from last quarter, the seventh point release is available.

      • AMD to open-source Vulkan Linux driver ahead of Xmas
      • AMD open sources its Vulkan

        AMD’s Vulkan Linux driver which was initially going to be closed-source and open-sourced when it was finished, is now totally open sourced.

        AMD has released the source code to its official Vulkan Linux driver, just in time to make the Christmas best sellers’ list.

      • AMD To Deliver On Its Promise Of An Open Sourced Vulkan Linux Driver Very Soon

        If I had to guess, I’d say AMD really didn’t want to begin yet another year with its open source Vulkan driver still in hiding, so here we are: it’s finally happening. As Phoronix notes, AMD promised the world over two years ago that it would open source its Vulkan driver for Linux, but few probably realized it’d actually take quite this long to see the day. We can be thankful that this driver didn’t just wind up like some Half-Life episode.

    • Benchmarks

      • 13-Way Radeon AMDGPU-PRO 17.50 vs. NVIDIA Linux OpenCL Compute Comparison

        Given this week’s release of the big AMDGPU-PRO 17.50 Linux driver update, here are some fresh OpenCL GPU benchmarks comparing the performance of AMD’s latest Radeon graphics cards on this newest Linux driver to that of the latest NVIDIA GeForce GPUs on their respective newest driver.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Applications 17.12 Lands with Dolphin Enhancements, HiDPI Support for Okular

        KDE Applications 17.12 has been in development for the past several months and it’s now available as a drop-in replacement for the previous series of the software suite, KDE Applications 17.08, which reached end of life in early November. As expected, several of the included apps received various enhancements and new features in this release.

        Among these, we can mention that the Dolphin file manager is now capable of saving searches, can limit the search only to folders, makes renaming of files easier by allowing the user to simply double-click on the file name, displays extra information about files like origin URL of downloaded file or modification date, and introduces new Bitrate, Genre, and Release Year columns.

      • KDE Applications 17.12 Brings HiDPI Improvements, Rest Of KDE Games Ported To KF5
      • KDE Ships KDE Applications 17.12.0
      • Kdenlive 17.12.0 released

        We are happy to announce the latest Kdenlive version, part of the KDE Applications 17.12 release, making it the last major release using the current code base. This is a maintenance release focused on stability, while feature development is going in next year’s 18.04 version. Proxy clips were given some attention and should give you better seeking experience as well as reduced memory usage for images. Other fixes include fixes in timeline preview, a crash when using a Library clip and smoother seeking on rewind playback.

      • KDE Partition Manager 3.3 and future work

        KDE Partition Manager 3.3 is now ready. It includes some improvements for Btrfs, F2FS, NTFS file systems. I even landed the first bits of new LUKS2 on-disk format support, now KDE Partition Manager can display LUKS2 labels. More LUKS2 work will follow in KPM 3.4. There were changes in how LVM devices are detected. So now Calamares installer should be able to see LVM logical volumes. Once my pull request lands, Calamares should also support partitioning operations on LVM logical volumes (although Calamares would need more work before installation and booting from root file system on LVM works). KPMcore library now only depends on Tier 1 Frameworks instead of Tier 3 (although, we will later require Tier 2).

        Most of the work is now done in sfdisk branch. Currently, the only functional KDE Partition Manager backend uses libparted but sfdisk backend is now fully working (I would say RC quality). I would have merged in already but it requires util-linux 2.32 which is not yet released.

      • KDE Ships KDE Applications 17.12.0
      • KDE Applications 17.12 Brings HiDPI Improvements, Rest Of KDE Games Ported To KF5

        KDE Applications 17.12 is now available as the newest six-month update to this collection of KDE programs making use of KDE Frameworks 5.

        KDE Applications 17.12 was the cut-off point by which only KF5-programs are permitted while those still making use of KDE4 libraries were forced to be dropped. That cleansing took place and Juk, KImageMapEditor, KMix, KGet, Kolf, Sweeper, and others were among those that saw KF5 ports while some older programs were dropped from the collection — at least until seeing any KF5 port in the future.

      • Kdenlive Video Editor Issues Final Major Update on Old Codebase

        A new version of open-source video editor Kdenlive is available to download.

        Kdenlive 17.12.0 is something of a bittersweet release as it’s likely to be the final major release using the current Kdenlive codebase.

        Again, like the last few releases, this update is primarily focused on bug fixes and stability. In particular this update solves some niggling issues with proxy clips, with the team highlight ‘smoother seeking‘ and ‘reduced memory usage‘ as a result.

        Those of us you impatient for new features and major improvements will be pleased to hear that work on the next-generation Kdenlive is continuing apace. Kdenlive 18.04 is (as you might guess) tentatively scheduled for formal release in April of 2018.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Librsvg moves to Gitlab

        Librsvg now lives in GNOME’s Gitlab instance. You can access it here.

        Gitlab allows workflows similar to Github: you can create an account there, fork the librsvg repository, file bug reports, create merge requests… Hopefully this will make it nicer for contributors.

  • Distributions

    • The Best Linux Apps & Distros of 2017

      So join us (ideally with from a warm glass of something non-offensive and sweet) as we take a tart look backwards through some key releases from the past 12 months.

      This list is not presented in any sort of order, and all of the entries were sourced from YOUR feedback to the survey we shared earlier in the week. If your favourite release didn’t make the list, it’s because not enough people voted for it!

    • New Releases

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Etisalat Digital to add SUSE open source solutions

        Etisalat Digital is to add Linux and open source solutions to its managed services mix after signing a partnership to on-board SUSE solutions.

      • OrionVM Broadens Cloud Offering with Open Source Enterprise Support Partner SUSE

        OrionVM, an award-winning next-gen Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider, today announced continued growth of the OrionVM Wholesale Cloud Platform with the addition of technology partner SUSE, the world’s first provider of an Enterprise Linux Distribution. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server represents the first open source enterprise supported Linux operating system on the OrionVM platform.

      • SUSE Rolls Out New Version Of Their In-Kernel Boot Splash Screen

        Back in October I wrote about SUSE working on a new, in-kernel bootsplash project. That work has yet to be mainlined but it looks like it’s still on track for going upstream in the future with the latest version now being released that addresses issues uncovered during review.

        SUSE is developing this in-kernel bootsplash program as an alternative to the user-space Plymouth and other programs. SUSE’s implementation runs off the FBCON frame-buffer console rather than DRM/KMS and they hope with it being in the kernel will prove to be more reliable. This in-kernel bootsplash can also allow hiding all kernel output and other differences compared to user-space implementations.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 9 Complete Screenshot Tour

        The world’s most stable upstream Linux distro has just announced a point upgrade on its latest Debian 9 Stretch release. The latest version is 9.3, it comes with many corrections and improvements on the security front as well as some adjustments to cater for some other serious issues. The point release is not a new version of Debian 9 but only updates are added, so users do not need to throw away the old installation media as users can easily upgrade to an up-to-date system using an updated mirror.

      • Debsources now in sources.debian.org

        Debsources is a web application for publishing, browsing and searching an unpacked Debian source mirror on the Web. With Debsources, all the source code of every Debian release is available in https://sources.debian.org, both via an HTML user interface and a JSON API.

        This service was first offered in 2013 with the sources.debian.net instance, which was kindly hosted by IRILL, and is now becoming official under sources.debian.org, hosted on the Debian infrastructure.

      • Derivatives

        • Debian-Based Q4OS Linux Distro to Get a New Look with Debonaire Desktop Theme

          Q4OS is a small GNU/Linux distribution based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux operating system and built around the Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE). It’s explicitly designed to make the Microsoft Windows to Linux transition accessible and more straightforward as possible for anyone.

          Dubbed Debonaire, the new desktop theme uses dark-ish elements for the window titlebar and panel. Somehow it resembles the look and feels of the acclaimed Arc GTK+ theme, and it makes the Q4OS operating system more modern than the standard look offered by the Trinity Desktop Environment.

        • Slax 9.3.0 beta ready for download

          I am almost ready to release the next Slax version. But before I do so, I would like to get some feedback on the current progress.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Mir 0.29.0 release

            We are pleased to announce that Mir 0.29.0 has been released and is available in Mir release PPA. There are builds for the supported Ubuntu releases (16.04 LTS “Xenial”, 17.04 “Zesty” and 17.10 “Artful”) .

            Mir 0.29.0 is in the process of uploading into Ubuntu 18.04 “Bionic” (it should move out of “proposed” and into the main archive in about a week). If you need it sooner then a “Bionic” build is also available in the Mir release PPA.

          • Mir 0.29 Released To Improve Their Wayland Implementation

            The past few days Canonical’s Mir developers have been preparing their next milestone with pushing this display server along with Wayland protocol support and now that new “v0.29″ release is available.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 18.3 “Sylvia” KDE released!

              Linux Mint 18.3 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2021. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use.

            • Linux Mint 18.3 “Sylvia” Xfce released!

              Linux Mint 18.3 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2021. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use.

            • Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon Review: Best ‘Linux’ Distro for Beginners!

              Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon boots fast (even on a slow rotational disk), very stable (I haven’t seen any application crash in the past 3 days that I’ve been using it) and the level of responsiveness it has shown is top-notch, probably matched only by another Linux Mint! As far as the end user-experience is concerned, I’d say it’s the best ‘Linux’ distro for beginners, it certainly knows how to please the end-user… welcome to the HecticGeek‘s review of Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon edition.

              Few years ago Linux Mint changed their release strategy. They now rely on the core of Ubuntu LTS releases as the foundation for their operating system. As far as I can see, this is working great for them. Because Ubuntu LTS (Long Term Support) provides security & maintenance updates up to 5 years & it is already based on a solid foundation set by Ubuntu. This in tern gives Linux Mint developers enough space to ‘breath’ a little and fully concentrate on what they do best: development of their awesome desktop shell & other native Linux Mint user-applications.

            • Linux Mint 18.3 ‘Sylvia’ Boasts Updated Software Manager, Backup Tools
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 6 open source home automation tools

    The Internet of Things isn’t just a buzzword, it’s a reality that’s expanded rapidly since we last published a review article on home automation tools in 2016. In 2017, 26.5% of U.S. households already had some type of smart home technology in use; within five years that percentage is expected to double.

    With an ever-expanding number of devices available to help you automate, protect, and monitor your home, it has never been easier nor more tempting to try your hand at home automation. Whether you’re looking to control your HVAC system remotely, integrate a home theater, protect your home from theft, fire, or other threats, reduce your energy usage, or just control a few lights, there are countless devices available at your disposal.

  • New Open Source Tools Test for VPN Leaks

    ExpressVPN on Tuesday launched a suite of open source tools that let users test for vulnerabilities that can compromise privacy and security in virtual private networks.

    Released under an open source MIT License, they are the first-ever public tools to allow automated testing for leaks on VPNs, the company said. The tools are written primarily in Python, and available for download on Github.

  • Open Source OS Still supporting 32-bit Architecture and Why it’s Important

    One after the other, Linux distributions are dropping 32-bit support. Or, to be accurate, they drop support for the Intel x86 32-bit architecture (IA-32). Indeed, computers based on x86_64 hardware (IA-64) are superior in every way to their 32-bits counterpart: they are more powerful, run faster, are more compact, and more energy efficient. Not mentioning their price has considerably decreased in just a few years.

    If you have the opportunity to switch to 64 bits, do it. But, to quote a mail I received recently from Peter Tribble, author of Tribblix: “[… ] in the developed world we assume that we can replace things; in some parts of the developing world older IA-32 systems are still the norm, with 64-bit being rare.”

  • An introduction to Joplin, an open source Evernote alternative

    Joplin is an open source cross-platform note-taking and to-do application. It can handle a large number of notes, organized into notebooks, and can synchronize them across multiple devices. The notes can be edited in Markdown, either from within the app or with your own text editor, and each application has an option to render Markdown with formatting, images, URLs, and more. Any number of files, such as images and PDFs, can be attached to a note, and notes can also be tagged.

    I started developing Joplin when Evernote changed its pricing model and because I wanted my 4,000+ notes to be stored in a more open format, free of any proprietary solution. To that end, I have developed three Joplin applications, all under the MIT License: for desktop (Windows, MacOS, and Linux), for mobile (Android and iOS), and for the terminal (Windows, MacOS, and Linux). All the applications have similar user interfaces and can synchronize with each other. They are based on open standards and technologies including SQLite and JavaScript for the backend, and Terminal Kit (Node.js), Electron, and React Native for the three front ends.

  • Startup Aims to Build Open-Source Telecom Ecosystem on Blockchain

    There are 2,000+ mobile network operations in charge of providing communication services at global scale. However, the traditional infrastructure is centralized, inflexible and inaccurate. Common services like 3G/4G, Wi-Fi, BOSS mobile communications solutions and companies that use cloud-based communications solutions are often unable to render accurate content billing and distribution.

    Conventional mobile packages overcharge customers, not to mention that they pose concerns around data transmissions. An alternative solution to average mobile network providers could be Blockchain technology.

  • Merry Xmas, fellow code nerds: Avast open-sources decompiler

    Malware hunting biz and nautical jargon Avast has released its machine-code decompiler RetDec as open source, in the hope of arming like-minded haters of bad bytes and other technically inclined sorts with better analytical tools.

    As discussed as the recent Botconf 2017 in France earlier this month, RetDec provides a way to turn machine code – binary executables – back into an approximation of the original source code.

  • 10 open source predictions for 2018

    With 2017 just about done and dusted, dozens of open source experts have polished their crystal balls and made predictions about what can be expected in the open source space in 2018.

    Now it’s our turn. (With fingers firmly crossed) here are 10 open source trends that you may – or may not – see coming to the fore next year. Some are obvious, some are frivolous, and some could just change your life.

  • Stop Calling Everything “Open Source”: What “Open Source” Really Means

    “Open source” is an exciting concept in the world of software and beyond. But it shouldn’t be applied to contexts where it makes no sense.

  • GreenKey to join Symphony; open source voice software

    GreenKey, creator of patented voice software with integrated speech recognition designed for the financial markets, today announced the firm has joined the Symphony Software Foundation, a nonprofit organization fostering innovation in financial services through open source software (OSS).

  • GreenKey Joins the Symphony Software Foundation; Will Open Source Voice Software

    GreenKey, creator of patented voice software with integrated speech recognition designed for the financial markets, today announced the firm has joined the Symphony Software Foundation, a nonprofit organization fostering innovation in financial services through open source software (OSS). GreenKey will release a Community Edition of its voice software development kit (SDK) that will enable banks and other financial market firms to “voice enable” any web application.

  • Events

    • Ubucon Europe 2018 Ubuntu Conference Announced for 27-29 April in Xixón, Spain

      The organizers of the Ubucon Europe conference for Ubuntu Linux users, contributors and developers announced the official dates next year’s Ubucon Europe 2018 event.

      Don’t pack your bags just yet for the next Ubuntu conference, but at least you should mark your calendars for April 27, 28, and 29 of 2018, when the Ubucon Europe 2018 conference will take place. Where? The event will be held in Spain this time, in the city of Xixón, at the municipal facilities of Centro de Cultura Antiguo Instituto.

      “Ubucon Europe 2018 will be held this year in Xixón, Spain on 27, 28 and 29 April 2018 in the Spanish city of Xixón at the municipal facilities of the Antiguo Instituto. For further information please write to ubuconeurope2018 AT gmail.com,” wrote the organizers in a tweet earlier this morning.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Focus Adds Quick Access Without Sacrificing Users’ Privacy

        It’s been a little over a year since we launched Firefox Focus. We’ve had tremendous success since then, we launched in 27+ languages, launched on Android, and hit over 1 million downloads on Android within the first month of launch.

        Today, we’re introducing a new feature: quicker access to your most visited sites, as well as the ability to add any search engine to your Focus app. They were the most requested items from our users and are aligned with our goals on what makes Focus so great.

        We know our users want choice and miss the convenience of having their favorite websites and search engines at their fingertips, but they don’t want to sacrifice their privacy. Since the moment we’ve built Focus, our goal has been to get our users quickly to the information and sites all while keeping their data safe from unwanted targeting.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Elementary LibreOffice

      Two months ago I start to finalize the existing Elementary icon theme for LibreOffice. It’s about 2.000 icons and now they are available in LibreOffice 6.0 beta. In addition all icons are available as svg file so it can be used and edit in an easy way.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • FreeNAS 11.1 Provides Greater Performance and Cloud Integration

      The FreeNAS Development Team is excited and proud to present FreeNAS 11.1! FreeNAS 11.1 adds cloud integration, OpenZFS performance improvements, including the ability to prioritize resilvering operations, and preliminary Docker support to the world’s most popular software-defined storage operating system. This release includes an updated preview of the beta version of the new administrator graphical user interface, including the ability to select display themes. This post provides a brief overview of the new features.

      The base operating system has been updated to the STABLE version of FreeBSD 11.1, which adds new features, updated drivers, and the latest security fixes. Support for Intel® Xeon® Scalable Family processors, AMD Ryzen processors, and HBA 9400-91 has been added.

    • FreeNAS 11.1 Rolls Out With Better OpenZFS Performance, Docker Support
    • FreeBSD-Based TrueOS 17.12 Released

      The FreeBSD-based operating system TrueOS that’s formerly known as PC-BSD has put out their last stable update of 2017.

      TrueOS 17.12 is now available as the latest six-month stable update for this desktop-focused FreeBSD distribution that also offers a server flavor. TrueOS continues using OpenRC as its init system and this cycle they have continued improving their Qt5-based Lumina desktop environment, the Bhyve hypervisor is now supported in the TrueOS server install, improved removable device support, and more.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open source science: Scientists researching rice plant genetics agree to not file for patents

      The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a nonprofit established in the 2014 Farm Bill with bipartisan congressional support, awarded a $1 million Seeding Solutions grant to University of California, Davis (UC Davis) to study the genetics of rice plants. Together with researchers at the University of North Carolina and collaborators, the team will develop and implement a chemistry-driven gene discovery approach to identify genes that modulate root traits.

    • Lytro could open source their light-field photo sharing platform
    • Lytro considering open source light field photo sharing platform

      Lytro is reportedly considering an open source solution after announcing it would no longer support its sharing platform for Lytro cameras’ ‘living images.’

    • Open Data

      • When Waze Won’t Help, Palestinians Make Their Own Maps

        If you want to drive the 15 or so miles from Jerusalem to the city of Jericho, in the Palestinian Territories, Google Maps will tell you: “Can’t find a way there.” Waze will issue a warning: “Caution: This destination is in a high risk area or is prohibited to Israelis by law.” If you press “Confirm Drive” nonetheless, the app will direct you, just not all the way.

        When you pass from Israel into the West Bank, part of the occupied Palestinian Territories, Waze’s directions simply end. To keep going, you need to change your setting to allow access to “high risk” areas. Even then, GPS coverage tends to be limited.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Using Gmail with OAUTH2 in Linux and on an ESP8266

        One of the tasks I dread is configuring a web server to send email correctly via Gmail. The simplest way of sending emails is SMTP, and there are a number of scripts out there that provide a simple method to send mail that way with a minimum of configuration. There’s even PHP mail(), although it’s less than reliable.

  • Programming/Development

    • Diagnose and understand your app’s GPU behavior with GAPID
    • GAPID 1.0 Released As Google’s Cross-Platform Vulkan Debugger

      Back in March we wrote about GAPID as a new Google-developed Vulkan debugger in its early stages. Fast forward to today, GAPID 1.0 has been released for debugging Vulkan apps/games on Linux/Windows/Android as well as OpenGL ES on Android.

      GAPID is short for the Graphics API Debugger and allows for analyzing rendering and performance issues with ease using its GUI interface. GAPID also allows for easily experimenting with code changes to see their rendering impact and allows for offline debugging. GAPID has its own format and capturetrace utility for capturing traces of Vulkan (or GLES on Android too) programs for replaying later on with GAPID.

    • Hackable Text Editor Atom 1.23 Adds Better Compatibility for External Git Tools

      GitHub released Atom 1.23, the monthly update of the open-source and cross-platform hackable text editor application loved by numerous developers all over the world.

      Including a month’s worth of enhancements, Atom 1.23 comes with the ability for packages to register URI handler functions, which can be invoked whenever the user visits a URI that starts with “atom://package-name/,” and a new option to hide certain commands in the command palette when registering them via “atom.commands.add.”

      Atom 1.23 also improves the compatibility with external Git tools, as well as the performance of the editor by modifying the behavior of several APIs to no longer make callbacks more than once in a text buffer transaction. Along with Atom 1.23, GitHub also released Teletype 0.4.0, a tool that allows developers to collaborate simultaneously on multiple files.

    • #13: (Much) Faster Package (Re-)Installation via Binaries
    • RVowpalWabbit 0.0.10
    • Simplicity Before Generality, Use Before Reuse

      A common problem in component frameworks, class libraries, foundation services, and other infrastructure code is that many are designed to be general purpose without reference to concrete applications. This leads to a dizzying array of options and possibilities that are often unused or misused — or just not useful.

      Generally, developers work on specific systems; specifically, the quest for unbounded generality rarely serves them well (if at all). The best route to generality is through understanding known, specific examples, focusing on their essence to find an essential common solution. Simplicity through experience rather than generality through guesswork.

    • What Ruby Needs

      Of all of the questions we receive at RedMonk, one of the most common concerns programming languages. Whether from members of a given community or a commercial entity, the desire is to better understand a given language’s trajectory and the context around it. Is it going up or down, and what are the reasons for that direction? And, of course: can that direction be meaningfully changed?

      Recently, we’ve received several such inquiries around Ruby. For those with an interest in the language, then, the following is a quick public summary of the answers we’ve been providing privately.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • HTML 5.2 is done, HTML 5.3 is coming

      Today W3C releases HTML 5.2. This is the second revision of HTML5, following last year’s HTML 5.1 Recommendation. In 2014 we expressed a goal to produce a revision roughly every year; HTML 5.2 is a continuation of that commitment.

      This Recommendation like its predecessor provides an updated stable guide to what is HTML. In the past year there has been a significant cleanup of the specification. We have introduced some new features, and removed things that are no longer part of the modern Web Platform, or that never achieved broad interoperability. As always we have also fixed bugs in the specification, making sure it adapts to the changing reality of the Web.

      Many of the features added integrate other work done in W3C. The Payment Request API promises to make commerce on the Web far easier, reducing the risks of making a mistake or being caught by an unscrupulous operator. New security features such as Content Security Policy protect users more effectively, while new work incorporated from ARIA helps developers offer people with disabilities a good user experience of their applications.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • European Commission Kicks Off Open-Source Bug Bounty

      The European Commission has announced its first-ever bug bounty program, and is calling on hackers to find vulnerabilities in VLC, a popular open-source multimedia player loaded on every workstation at the Commission.

      The program has kicked off with a three-week, invitation-only session, after which it will be open to the public. Rewards include a minimum of $2,000 for critical severity bugs, especially remote code execution.

      High severity bugs such as code execution without user intervention, will start at $750. Medium severity bugs will start at a minimum of $300; these include code execution with user intervention, high-impact crashes and infinite loops. Low-severity bugs, like information leaks, crashes and the like, will pay out starting at $100.

    • Avast launches open-source decompiler for machine code

      Keeping up with the latest malware and virus threats is a daunting task, even for industry professionals. Any device connected to the Internet is a target for being infected and abused. In order to stop attacks from happening, there needs to be an understanding of how they work so that a prevention method can be developed.

      To help with the reverse engineering of malware, Avast has released an open-source version of its machine-code decompiler, RetDec, that has been under development for over seven years. RetDec supports a variety of architectures aside from those used on traditional desktops including ARM, PIC32, PowerPC and MIPS.

    • Avast makes ‘RetDec’ machine-code decompiler open source on GitHub

      Today, popular anti-virus and security company, Avast, announces that it too is contributing to the open source community. You see, it is releasing the code for its machine-code decompiler on GitHub. Called “RetDec,” the decompiler had been under development since 2011, originally by AVG — a company Avast bought in 2016.

    • The Intel ME vulnerabilities are a big deal for some people, harmless for most

      (Note: all discussion here is based on publicly disclosed information, and I am not speaking on behalf of my employers)

      I wrote about the potential impact of the most recent Intel ME vulnerabilities a couple of weeks ago. The details of the vulnerability were released last week, and it’s not absolutely the worst case scenario but it’s still pretty bad. The short version is that one of the (signed) pieces of early bringup code for the ME reads an unsigned file from flash and parses it. Providing a malformed file could result in a buffer overflow, and a moderately complicated exploit chain could be built that allowed the ME’s exploit mitigation features to be bypassed, resulting in arbitrary code execution on the ME.

      Getting this file into flash in the first place is the difficult bit. The ME region shouldn’t be writable at OS runtime, so the most practical way for an attacker to achieve this is to physically disassemble the machine and directly reprogram it. The AMT management interface may provide a vector for a remote attacker to achieve this – for this to be possible, AMT must be enabled and provisioned and the attacker must have valid credentials[1]. Most systems don’t have provisioned AMT, so most users don’t have to worry about this.

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • NIST Releases New Cybersecurity Framework Draft
    • Researchers Create Chips That Are Unhackable and Virtually Indestructible

      Keeping critical information like your online banking login or credit card number out of the wrong hands is a crucial but difficult part of living in the age of the Internet. Installing antivirus software or using password lockboxes are probably security precautions that you’ve taken to keep yourself from becoming a cybercrime statistic. But organizations like the military have access to such sensitive information that these standard precautions just aren’t enough.

    • Starbucks Free WiFi ‘Caught Sucking Cryptocoins’ Off The Laptops Of Coffee Addicts

      Dunkin noticed a strange 10-second delay his laptop took while connecting to the WiFi. He later found a cryptocurrency mining code on his laptop.

      He was quick to bring the issue to the coffee brand’s attention via Twitter where Dunking also included a screenshot of the code he found.

    • Introducing bolt: Thunderbolt 3 security levels for GNU/Linux

      Today I released the first version 0.1 (aka “Accidentally Working”) of bolt, a system daemon that manages Thunderbolt 3 devices. It provides a D-Bus API to list devices, enroll them (authorize and store them in the local database) and forget them again (remove previously enrolled devices). It also emits signals if new devices are connected (or removed). During enrollment devices can be set to be automatically authorized as soon as they are connected. A command line tool, called boltctl, can be used to control the daemon and perform all the above mentioned tasks (see the man page of boltctl(1) for details).

    • Red Hat’s Latest Project: “Bolt” To Deal With Linux Thunderbolt Security

      “Bolt” is a new project by Red Hat / GNOME developers in dealing with Thunderbolt 3 security levels on Linux.

      With Thunderbolt allowing unfettered access to PCI Express, it’s super fast but opens up the plug-and-play port to DMA attacks and more. Thus with Thunderbolt 3 they introduced the concept of security levels, which Bolt is part of the equation for supporting this security feature on Linux.

    • Bolt Will Tackle Thunderbolt 3 Security on Linux

      Ah, you gotta love Red Hat — they’re never not busy working on something that might make our lives a little easier.

      Latest case in point: Thunderbolt 3.

      This alternative to USB and other peripheral port technologies (including the older Thunderbolt 2) is fast gaining traction in the tech industry (especially since Intel made it royalty free).

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Lavishing Money on the Pentagon

      It seems like it’s always Christmastime at the Pentagon where the stockings are full and budget-cutting is for those domestic social-program guys, as Jonathan Marshall explains.

      [...]

      President Trump this week signed into law a $700 billion blueprint for military spending in the current fiscal year. The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act includes funding for more troops, more weapons, more interventions abroad, and more active wars, with Trump’s enthusiastic blessing. “We need our military,” he declared at a White House signing ceremony.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • WikiLeaks recognised as a ‘media organisation’ by UK tribunal

      A British tribunal has recognised Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks as a “media organisation”, a point of contention with the United States, which is seeking to prosecute him and disputes his journalistic credentials.

      The issue of whether Assange is a journalist and publisher would almost certainly be one of the main battlegrounds in the event of the US seeking his extradition from the UK.

      The definition of WikiLeaks by the information tribunal, which is roughly equivalent to a court, could help Assange’s defence against extradition on press freedom grounds.

  • Finance

    • Theresa May suffers fresh humiliation as she loses key Brexit vote in Commons

      Theresa May was dealt her humiliating first Commons defeat over Brexit tonight.

      MPs whooped and applauded as she lost a crunch vote by 309 to 305, a majority of just four, to give MPs a “meaningful vote” on her final deal with Brussels.

      It is a blow to the Prime Minister as she jets to Brussels tomorrow to meet 27 EU leaders.

      They are set to sign off the first-round deal she struck with the EU Commission on citizens’ rights, Northern Ireland and the divorce bill on Friday.

    • Russia or Corporate Tax Cuts: Which Would Comcast Rather MSNBC Cover?

      At the beginning of December, liberal TV hosts Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow—the anchors of MSNBC‘s primetime schedule—were confronted with ever-escalating breaking news. In the span of a week, from December 1 through December 7, President Donald Trump shrank two national monuments, recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, saw his travel ban upheld by the Supreme Court and possibly began to create his own spy network. Meanwhile, the Senate passed a tax “reform” bill that would radically restructure the US economy at the expense of poor and middle-class Americans, and climate change-fueled wildfires devastated Southern California.

      Yet on the days their shows aired during those seven days—the weekdays, December 1 and 4–7—both Hayes and Maddow bypassed all these stories to lead with minutiae from the ongoing Russia investigation that has consumed MSNBC‘s coverage like no other news event since the beginning of the Trump presidency. Topical news of the day, whether on legislation or natural disasters, took a backseat. The Comcast-owned network’s two most popular personalities used their position to focus endlessly on speculative coverage of Russia’s role in the 2016 election—devoting the bulk of each show’s 15-minutes opening segment to the story, at a minimum.

    • As Brexit dominates, its causes are being forgotten

      The Prime Minister seemed to recognise the need for urgent action last year when she announced from the steps of Downing Street her intention to tackle “burning injustice”. But look a bit closer at her language on that day, and you may spot the seeds of failure. “We will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you,” she said. The emphasis was on “your talents” – implying that those who do not have whatever the passing whims of the modern economy deems ‘talent’ can “go whistle”, to adopt a phrase.

      [...]

      In a country which still has significant wealth, where people’s living standards are declining, and where our record on tackling poverty is at risk of unravelling, not making the most of the resources we already have looks increasingly perverse.

    • A Border Wall’s Uncompensated Victims

      One day several years ago, a crew of federal contractors turned up behind Melissa Solis’ family home, a modest house with white siding surrounded by fruit trees and farmland a few hundred yards from the Rio Grande. The workers cleared brush. They dug a deep trench. A pile driver sank steel deep into the ground.

      The work was disruptive, the noise a constant distraction for Solis and her parents. Snakes and cockroaches streamed inside to flee the construction. The foundation shifted, knocking doors askew. When it was over, the Department of Homeland Security had erected an 18-foot-high metal fence behind the house — a border barrier to stop people from illegally crossing the river from Mexico into the United States.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • NYT Prints Government-Funded Propaganda About Government-Funded Propaganda
    • What’s at Stake in Honduran Election

      For seven months in 1969, I hitch-hiked around the U.S., Mexico and Central America with my best friend from high school. Some class-mates from our school in Vancouver Canada saved their money then travelled to Europe or Australia but Ollie and I headed south. It was an eye-opening experience for two middle-class Canadians.

    • Alabama’s Effort to Suppress Black Vote Couldn’t Prevent Huge Turnout

      Some 1.3 million Alabamians – more than twice as many who voted in the primary – turned out to vote in Tuesday’s special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The turnout was extraordinary because it took place in a state that has a well-documented history of trying to suppress the vote of the very group that helped propel Doug Jones to victory.

      Alabama has a long record of suppressing the African-American vote. In the Jim Crow era, state authorities made it impossible for many Blacks to vote by requiring a literacy test. Courts long ago deemed literacy tests discriminatory and illegal, but today we still see barriers in Alabama that make it harder for people of color to cast a ballot.

    • Lobbying Registration Database Reporting Recipe

      It can seem like lobbyists run Washington from behind the scenes. But their work isn’t completely opaque: They’re required to register with the House and the Senate when they lobby for a new client.

      Our new lobbying database will help you cover Congress and the organizations that may try to influence lawmakers. We hope this new database will be helpful to a wide variety of people, from informed citizens and civic activists to journalists.

    • Lobbying Registration Database
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • LETTER: This definitely was not censorship

      Several news articles, letters, and an editorial in this paper have mischaracterized recent events as “…infringing on freedom of speech….” The focus of the sample letter by Cathy Cloutier was not suppression, as alleged, but a show of strong disapproval of the book’s promotion. This is not a subtle distinction.

      Indigo/Coles is the only game in town for new publications and their promotion of anything implies integrity. A well-researched book would have been a boon not only to the immediate debate about the effluent plant but to the future of all industry in Nova Scotia. I wish there was one.

    • Conviviality vs Censorship: On Media Freedom in Sri Lanka

      Under the Presidency of Mahinda Rajapaksa between 2005 and 2015, government brutality and censorship towards the media in Sri Lanka reached new levels. This was to the extent that in the Reporters Without Borders’ Index of Press Freedom it was ranked 165 out of 170 countries in 2015 (up from 115 in 2005) of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist. Furthermore, in 2014 the island was declared the fourth most dangerous country in the Committee to Protect Journalists’ global index of journalists murdered with impunity.

      However, it would be wrong to see this as an exclusive period of censorship; to a certain extent this breakdown in conviviality began in the 1980s when the government suppressed the JVP insurgency through media censorship, threats of criminal defamation, coupled with disappearances and deaths. It continued with the beginning of the civil war in 1983 and was also brutal under Rajapaksa’s predecessor, President Kumaratunge. Although this authoritarian mode of governance was established earlier, it became increasingly violent during the decade of Rajapaksa’s presidency.

    • Censorship Still Alive and Well in Uzbekistan

      Since Shavkat Mirziyoyev assumed the presidency of Uzbekistan 15 months ago, some important, if modest, signs of hope have emerged following decades of human rights abuses. But it’s a mixed picture.

      Look at freedom of expression and media. On one hand, registered media outlets in Uzbekistan have begun to cover politically sensitive topics: the popular Uzbek-language daily Kun.uz, for example, has written about officials forcing public sector workers and students to pick cotton, despite an official ban on such mobilization. Reporting on this would have been unthinkable under the late president, Islam Karimov.

    • Open Rights Group respond to news BBFC proposed as Age Verification regulator

      Responding to the news that the BBFC are in line to be appointed Age Verification regulator, Jim Killock Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

      “The BBFC will struggle to ensure that Age Verification is safe, secure and anonymous. They are powerless to ensure people’s privacy.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Senator Calls on Courts to Increase Transparency of Surveillance Orders

      Federal courts must end the excessive secrecy surrounding law enforcement surveillance orders, a U.S. Senator urged in a letter on Friday. This secrecy block’s the public’s ability to fully understand how police conduct this surveillance, the lawmaker wrote.

      The letter, sent by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Or), asks federal courts to enact several important reforms, including establishing uniform procedures for publicizing basic information about when and how often law enforcement seeks information about our communications and other data held by services such as cell phone companies, Internet service providers, and online platforms.

    • Don’t Reauthorize NSA Spying in a Must-Pass Funding Bill

      The next two weeks will be a flurry of activity in Congress. Before they can leave for the holidays, our government must—at minimum—pass at least one bill to keep the government running and also decide what to do about a controversial NSA spying authority called Section 702. Some legislators want to reauthorize Section 702, without meaningful reform, by attaching it to must-pass spending legislation. This is a terrible idea. The legislative process surrounding Section 702 already lacks necessary transparency and deliberation.

      The new legislative stratagem gets complicated very quickly. Here’s what you need to know.

    • NSA Agent Used His Government Computer–And Public Funds–On Adult Dating Sites

      Documents from the National Security Agency (“NSA”) show an unnamed NSA employee using his government provided computer–and therefore public funds–for a series of personal issues while on the job.

      Those issues include a love affair apparently carried out over the messaging system of an adult dating website.

    • Facebook admits that spending time on social media can make you feel worse

      They detailed research from University of Michigan, which found that students randomly assigned to read Facebook for 10 minutes were in a worse mood at the end of the day than those who talked to friends or posted on the website.

      They also revealed how a study from UC San Diego and Yale found that people who clicked on about four times as many links as the average person, or who liked twice as many posts, reported worse mental health than average.

    • Facebook admits it poses mental health risk – but says using site more can help

      On Thursday, Chamath Palihapitiya, the former executive who criticized the company, walked back his comments, saying: “I genuinely believe that Facebook is a force for good in the world.”

    • Facebook says ‘passively consuming’ the News Feed will make you feel worse about yourself
    • Apple’s Face ID tech can’t tell two Chinese women apart

      However, a woman in China, known only is Yan, told the Jiangsu Broadcasting Corp this week that her co-worker was able to unlock her iPhone X using the face-scanning tech despite having reconfigured the facial recognition settings multiple times

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Why does the U.S. government have to confiscate prisoner artwork from Guantanamo Bay?

      During the 14 years I spent cut off from the world in the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, I often found myself wondering whether people cared about the conditions under which I was being held. Since my release a little more than one year ago, I’ve been impressed by how many people do care — something that has been driven home to me again by the public reaction to reports of a change in policy toward artwork created by inmates in the prison. For several years, the U.S. government had a screening process that permitted artwork created by prisoners to be shared with family members and others outside the prison, but in November it announced it is no longer allowing prisoner art to be publicly released. As a result, these works can no longer be seen by anyone outside of Guantanamo. What’s more, the government has been saying that it owns the works of art and can destroy them if it wishes. I have been heartened by the individuals and organizations that have protested this cruel policy, as well as by the critical coverage in the U.S. and international press.

      But I can’t say that I was surprised by the news itself.

    • New Mexico Sheriff’s Office Pulls Over the Same Black Federal Agent — Three Times in a Month

      The ACLU of New Mexico sues the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office for the racial profiling of an ICE agent.

      By the third time Sherese Crawford got pulled over, she knew it was no matter of coincidence.

      Crawford is a 38-year-old African-American Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent recently on temporary assignment in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As part of her work, she was regularly required to rent a car and drive a lonely stretch of I-40 to travel between the ICE field office in Albuquerque and Milan, New Mexico. Over the course of less than a month, she was pulled over three times by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office — twice by the same deputy.

      In none of these stops was she given a warning or citation. Her only crime: driving while black.

    • The federal government’s boldest land grab in a generation produced the first border wall — and a trail of abuse, mistakes and unfairness.

      The land agents started working the border between Texas and Mexico in the spring of 2007. Sometimes they were representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers. Other times they were officers from the U.S. Border Patrol, uniformed in green, guns tucked into side holsters. They visited tumbledown mobile homes and suburban houses with golf course views. They surveyed farms fecund with sugar cane, cotton and sorghum growing by the mud-brown Rio Grande. They delivered their blunt news to ranchers and farmers, sheet metal workers and university professors, auto mechanics and wealthy developers.

    • In Florida, the Racist War on Drugs Rages on

      A new report from The Sarasota-Herald Tribune has found that drug enforcement in Florida treats Black people much more severely than white people. This follows a Tribune report in 2015 exposing prejudice in Florida’s sentencing practices, showing that Blacks are punished with significantly longer prison sentences than whites convicted of the same crimes with similar facts.

      Disturbing? Absolutely. Unjust? Completely. Surprising? Not at all.

      The results of the Tribune’s investigation are sadly expected in America because the drug war has been a war against people of color since its inception decades ago. Data, studies, reports, and court decisions on stops, arrests, charges, pleas, and sentencing reach the same shameful conclusion: Blacks are treated far more harshly than whites.

      The report found that in drug cases, Black people spend two-thirds more time behind bars than white people. Blacks were almost three times more likely to be charged with committing crimes in “drug free” zones than whites , which enhances the severity of a sentence. Again unsurprisingly, Black people account for two-thirds of such enhanced convictions statewide. This is partly because in many urban areas, schools, churches, and public housing are closely spaced, such that entire Black communities – and not by coincidence – are deemed “drug free” zones in which drug offenses are subject to more draconian punishments.

    • A Backroom Deal Threatens to Weaken Real Police Reform in New York City

      On Tuesday, the New York City Council will vote on two police accountability bills. One represents real reform that will protect New Yorkers’ privacy rights when police ask to search them without probable cause. The other is faux reform that is the result of a backroom deal between powerful politicians and the New York Police Department.

      For more than five years, the two bills were collectively known as the Right to Know Act. Intro 541-C and Intro 182-D deal with improving communication and transparency during police stops and searches. 541-C, sponsored by Council Member Antonio Reynoso, will require the NYPD to develop a policy that instructs officers to let people know when they have the right to refuse to be searched. And when they conduct a “consensual” search, officers will also have to get video or written proof that an individual consented.

    • Watchdog Agency Issues Report on ICE Abuse as Agency Seeks to Acquire New Detention Centers

      These findings are hardly a surprise. Many of the findings have been documented for years by advocates and those who are forced to endure the abusive conditions inside of ICE’s sprawling detention system. In the last month alone, there have been reports of sexual abuse at the T. Don Hutto detention center in Texas, the death of an Iranian man at the detention facility in Aurora, Colorado, and reports of atrocious conditions, including forcing female detainees to urinate or defecate in plastic bags inside their cells, at an immigration jail in Richmond, California. Sadly, these cases are only a few examples of the dangerous, sometimes deadly conditions that persist in ICE detention facilities.

    • Chicago Police Win Big When Appealing Discipline

      A secretive appeals system has been knocking down the punishments of Chicago police officers no matter how serious their misconduct, undercutting the results of lengthy investigations and layers of review long after the public believes the cases were concluded.

      In the first examination of its kind, the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois found that 85 percent of disciplinary cases handled through the Chicago Police Department’s grievance process since 2010 led to officers receiving shorter suspensions or, in many cases, having their punishments overturned entirely.

      A suspension for punching a handcuffed arrestee, all caught on camera? Negotiable.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Farewell, AIM: AOL Instant Messenger has signed off permanently
    • Net neutrality is now officially on life support. Here’s what happens next.

      The Federal Communications Commission has voted to repeal net neutrality, despite overwhelming public support for the regulation, which requires internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast to distribute internet access fairly and equally to everyone, regardless of how much they pay or where they’re located.

    • Net neutrality result: How did the FCC vote on the freedom of the internet?
    • What the Net Neutrality Repeal Means for Us

      The decision is likely to have major ramifications for consumers, online businesses and Internet service providers (ISPs). The existing regulations, put into place by Pai’s predecessor Tom Wheeler in 2015, codified longstanding Internet practice by explicitly requiring ISPs to treat all Internet traffic equally. In contrast to a cable provider, which can decide exactly what networks or services customers get for their monthly fee, ISPs are forbidden from discriminating among their customers. When you pay your fee to get online, you get everything. But under the new regime, a handful of the most powerful telecommunication companies in the U.S. – Comcast, Verizon, AT&T – will have unlimited freedom to slice and dice the Internet ecology as they please.

    • FCC’s Republican majority kills net neutrality

      Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Independent Sen. Angus King, both of Maine, joined Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., in calling on the federal agency to “hold hearings on the net neutrality issue” that has “significant implications for our entire economy, and therefore merits the most thorough, deliberate, and thoughtful process that can be provided.”

    • Net neutrality rules are dead. Will my Internet bills go up?
    • The end of net neutrality: What it all means

      As part of this shift, oversight of internet protections will shift from the FCC to the Federal Trade Commission.

    • The FCC has created an ‘internet for the elite’

      While some on the FCC argue that the decision will boost economic growth, the only thing we know for certain is that eliminating net neutrality will make internet service look a lot more like cable TV. That’s good for a handful of corporations, but bad for just about everyone else.

    • Private Internet Access Statement On End of Net Neutrality
    • Motherboard & VICE Are Building a Community Internet Network

      To protect net neutrality, we need internet infrastructure that isn’t owned by big telecom.

    • US brings an end to net neutrality regulations

      And, as iTWire reported last month the repeal of the regulations could see ISPs given the power to charge websites large sums in order to be granted fast Internet access, whilst websites that do not pay the fees will have access to users slowed considerably.

    • The FCC Just Killed Net Neutrality. Now What?

      Most immediately, the activity will move to the courts, where the advocacy group Free Press, and probably others, will challenge the FCC’s decision. The most likely argument: that the commission’s decision violates federal laws barring agencies from crafting “arbitrary and capricious” regulations. After all, the FCC’s net neutrality rules were just passed in 2015. Activists and many members of Congress, including at least six Republicans, pushed for a delay in the vote, but apart from a brief delay due to a security issue, the vote occurred as planned.

    • The FCC’s Two Dissenting Voices Defend Net Neutrality To the End

      The agencies’s two Democratic commissioners, Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel, lashed out against the order during the FCC’s open meeting today.

    • FCC votes to kill net neutrality in an unsurprising move. What happens now?

      The impact on you at home: This is big. Net neutrality has prevented ISPs such as Comcast and Verizon from nickel-and-diming customers based on their Internet usage, or gouging Google to make sure YouTube isn’t throttled. But even more important than Netflix and Hulu HD streams is the access to information. Millions of people depend on the internet for basic services, and the repeal of net neutrality protection may threaten their access to it.

    • Ajit Pai is so cocky over net neutrality he’s dressing as Santa to take the p*ss
    • Net neutrality: How will US overhaul of internet laws affect the web?

      Net neutrality is the premise that customers are guaranteed an equal version of the internet. The repeal permits several tiers – allowing ISPs to charge more for quicker speeds and block websites belonging to customers who have not paid a premium.

    • FCC Repeals U.S. Net Neutrality Rules

      The FCC has repealed U.S. net neutrality rules. As a result of today’s vote, Internet providers have the freedom to restrict, or charge for, access to certain sites and services if they please. This also means that BitTorrent throttling and blocking could become commonplace once again, as it was a decade ago.

    • Net neutrality rules weakened by US regulator

      Restrictions on US broadband providers’ ability to prioritise one service’s data over another are to be reduced after a vote by a regulator.

    • FCC Repeals Net Neutrality Rules Amid Protests, Lawsuit Threats

      At the FCC meeting, Clyburn said that “the public can plainly see, that a soon-to-be-toothless FCC, is handing the keys to the Internet. The Internet, one of the most remarkable, empowering, enabling inventions of our lifetime, over to a handful of multi-billion dollar corporations.

    • Gutting Net Neutrality Is the Trump Administration’s Most Brutal Blow to Democracy Yet

      This cannot be the end of a free and open Internet. Activists must fight on in the courts, in Congress, and in the streets.

    • The FCC Voted to Repeal Net Neutrality

      “They’d be given the legal authority and power to be able to block your websites. The’d be able to shuffle your traffic and manipulate it so it could goes toward services with whom they have a commercial relationship and close you off from services from those with whom you do not. It would allow them to set up tolls online for you, the consumer, to reach the content you want,” she told Teen Vogue. They will have the power to do this. Our laws will no longer prevent them from doing this because our laws will no longer require internet openness. They would have the power to carve the internet into fast and slow lanes and charge you to access sites who haven’t engaged in a pay-for-play relationship. [Internet bills] could very well go up.”

    • FCC Scraps Net Neutrality Rules in US

      Individual states will also be barred from enacting their own rules governing the internet.

    • What could happen to net neutrality

      In the immediate future, consumers will start to see more deals on their internet plans, including “zero-rating”

    • Trump’s FCC Nukes Network Neutrality: What Happens Now?

      Network neutrality is the principle that the companies that sell access to the internet (Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, etc.) don’t get the power to influence how people use the internet — for example, by discriminating in favor or against certain data based on who is sending or receiving it, its purpose, or its content. Essentially, that means treating the internet like the utility it is: We don’t allow the phone company to decide whether to connect us to a relative based on their view of that relative’s politics. And our free access to all internet sites should be just the same.

    • Net Neutrality Repeal Is Only Part of Trump’s Surrender to Corporate Media

      The FCC is under attack—and so too is the First Amendment. As the primary regulator of how media and information gets to our nation’s citizens, the Federal Communications Commission has a critical role to play in protecting the open Internet, free speech, and free press in our democracy. Though the agency has always enjoyed a cozy relationship with the industries it regulates, ever since the Trump administration arrived in Washington, the FCC’s mission to preserve the public commons has been threatened, assaulted and torn asunder. And like a bad horror movie cliché, these calls to eviscerate the FCC have been coming from inside the agency.

      Repealing net neutrality has drawn a huge amount of public visibility—and rightly so—but that decision is just the latest in a string of ominous, industry-friendly giveaways by the Trump administration’s FCC. It has also rolled back local TV station ownership limits on media giants like Sinclair Broadcasting Group and rescinded the longtime “main studio” rule that required local stations to maintain community newsrooms and fostered more local journalism. And the agency’s leadership has begun a campaign to actively abdicate its enforcement mission and pass it over to the smaller, less well-funded Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which lacks the FCC’s deep industry knowledge and proactive regulatory power.

    • Comcast has been planning to ditch Net Neutrality principles for months
    • Documenting the laughable lies the FCC told at the hearing where it killed Net Neutrality

      The FCC is only allowed to change existing policies if they can show evidence of some change in facts, so at yesterday’s bomb-threat haunted hearing to destroy Net Neutrality, Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and his Republican colleagues made a pro-forma recitation of the reasons justifying his extreme actions.

      These reasons were lies.

    • Donald Trump Jr. botches a basic net neutrality fact, and the internet lets him have it

      By getting a basic fact wrong while trying to blame Obama, Trump opened up the internet to ridicule him mercilessly — and that’s exactly what happened.

    • FCC faces legal battle after widely-condemned vote to repeal net neutrality
    • Net neutrality is dead — what happens next?

      Pro-neutrality groups are already preparing a legal challenge, arguing the order itself should be invalidated as illegal. With the draft text of Pai’s order already public, pro-neutrality lawyers like Public Knowledge’s Harold Feld have had plenty of time to plan. “The advantage of having seen a draft of the order first,” Feld says, “is that, as someone planning a judicial challenge, I’m pretty confident we will be successful.”

    • FCC chair: Net neutrality supporters ‘proven wrong’ day after repeal

      Pai went on to say that Kimmel and others were “proven wrong” by the fact that internet service providers (ISP) had not rolled out immediate changes Friday morning.

    • On eve of internet censorship vote, powerful AG uncovers explosive corruption scandal

      Raising grave new concerns about the process by which Donald Trump’s FCC is moving ahead to overturn net neutrality rules that protect consumer choice on the internet, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Wednesday that millions of fake comments had been filed with the FCC in an effort to mimic grassroots support for internet censorship.

      The FCC’s vote on net neutrality is scheduled for Thursday, but Schneiderman is calling on the commission to delay it’s final decision until it can be determined who’s responsible for the massive scheme.

    • What is net neutrality? It protects us from corporate power

      This Thursday, Ajit Pai, Donald Trump’s choice to chair the Federal Communications Commission, will force a vote to repeal net neutrality protections for broadband providers. This is an important step backwards for our democracy. It will affect what consumers pay for broadband and what we can buy. More importantly, it will affect what we as citizens can say and to whom we can say it.

      In the age of Trump, a move to concentrate the power of speech in the hands of telecommunications giants whose financial fate depends on Republican political control is terrifying.

    • Majority of Tea Partiers Back Net Neutrality Principles, Polling Shows

      The Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission on Thursday is widely expected to vote for a repeal of Obama-era net neutrality rules. But the long-running drama surrounding the issue has revealed surprising pockets of support for the existing regulations — including majority support from tea party supporters and conservative voters.

    • Net Neutrality Repeal Would Hurt #MeToo Movement And Minority Women

      A federal government plan to roll-back an Obama-era internet rule designed to level the online playing field would result in censorship on the web that would disproportionately affect women and minorities, experts said.

      The Federal Communications Commission will vote Thursday to end so-called net neutrality, which ensures internet service providers give consumers equal access to all content and do not favor or discriminate against certain sources or users.

    • Team Internet Is Far From Done: What’s Next For Net Neutrality and How You Can Help

      Defying the facts, the law, and the will of millions of Americans, the Federal Communications Commission has voted to repeal net neutrality protections. It’s difficult to understate how radical the FCC’s decision was.

      The Internet has operated under formal and informal net neutrality principles for years. For the first time, the FCC has not only abdicated its role in enforcing those principles, it has rejected them altogether.

      Here’s the good news: the fight is far from over, and Team Internet has plenty of paths forward.

    • Today’s net neutrality vote – an unsurprising, unfortunate disappointment

      We are incredibly disappointed that the FCC voted this morning – along partisan lines – to remove protections for the open internet. This is the result of broken processes, broken politics, and broken policies. As we have said over and over, we’ll keep fighting for the open internet, and hope that politicians decide to protect their constituents rather than increase the power of ISPs.

    • ‘Don’t break the 21st century nervous system’

      In the USA, millions of people have risen up against the FCC, making an obscure realm of telecoms regulation into a central question of public debate. We are well past peak indifference, and now people are turning up on our doorsteps of their own accord, convinced that the net is worth fighting for and asking what they can do to help.

      This isn’t a fight you win. The internet is too great a prize to any entity that can seize control over it for it to ever be free from danger. This is a fight you commit yourself to, with eternal vigilance.

    • Can A VPN Bypass Net Neutrality Rollback And Throttling? — Here Are 3 Top Services To Help You
    • RIP Open Web: FCC Officially Votes To Kill Net Neutrality

      The past one year’s effort made by American citizens has been rejected by the Federal Communications Committee, headed by Ajit Pai, which has just voted to repeal the net neutrality rules established under the Obama administration. It looks like Christmas came pretty early for ISP giants.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Korea FTC defends global scope of its Qualcomm penalties as US judge warns of an antitrust “race to the bottom”

      Of the recent competition rulings against Qualcomm, Korea’s seem to have gone the furthest in imposing global remedies on the chipmaker’s licensing practices. At a recent forum on antitrust extraterritoriality, Judge Douglas Ginsburg of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia criticised this approach, saying it sets a precedent that the most restrictive antitrust regime should apply globally. But in a written statement, the Korean Free Trade Commission (KFTC) has defended its Qualcomm decision at length, signaling it will not back down from imposing global correctives.

      The exchange, if it can be called that, took place at a roundtable hosted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The event was off-the-record and closed to the public, but the slides presented by Ginsburg and the written submission prepared by the Korean government can both be accessed online.

    • New ABA Opinion of Particular Interest

      A lawyer may be adverse to a former client, but not in the same matter in which she represented the client, or in one which is “substantially related” to the representation of the former client. Generally, this requires determining whether it is reasonably likely that in the representation, the lawyer likely learned confidential information that likely can be used against the former client now.

    • Intellectual Property Rights In Trade – To Be Rethought?

      After two decades of intellectual property regimes in trade agreements, one could have some second thoughts, according to a number of panellists at the Trade and Sustainable Development Symposium, organised by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and held alongside the 11th World Trade Organization Ministerial in Buenos Aires, Argentina this week.

    • Trademarks

      • We are all FUCT

        The Federal Circuit has ruled that trademark law’s bar against registering immoral or scandalous marks is an unconstitutional restriction of free speech. Thus, on appeal the court has reversed the TTAB’s holding that Bruneti’s mark FUCT is unregistrable.

      • Federal Circuit’s Brunetti ruling: barring immoral or scandalous marks unconstitutional

        The Federal Circuit has overturned the TTAB’s rejection of a trademark application for the “FUCT”, ruling that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act’s bar on registering immoral or scandalous marks is an unconstitutional restriction of free speech.

    • Copyrights

      • Cable Reveals Extent Of Lapdoggery From Swedish Govt On Copyright Monopoly

        Among the treasure troves of recently released WikiLeaks cables, we find one whose significance has bypassed Swedish media. In short: every law proposal, every ordinance, and every governmental report hostile to the net, youth, and civil liberties here in Sweden in recent years have been commissioned by the US government and industry interests.

        I can understand that the significance has been missed, because it takes a whole lot of knowledge in this domain to recognize the topics discussed. When you do, however, you realize that the cable lists orders for the Swedish Government to implement a series of measures that significantly weakens Sweden’s competitive advantage in the IT field against the US. We had concluded this was the case, but had believed things had come from a large number of different sources. That was wrong. It was all coordinated, and the Swedish Government had received a checklist to tick off. The Government is described in the cables as “fully on board”.

      • Kim Dotcom’s Extradition Battle Suffers High Court Setback

        As Kim Dotcom continues his fight to avoid extradition to the United States, the entrepreneur suffered a setback this morning. Siding with the US government in a ruling published this morning, Justice Brewer at the New Zealand High Court rejected seven out of eight arguments put forward by the entrepreneur for judicial review.

12.13.17

Links 13/12/2017: GIMP 2.9.8, Fedora 25 End Of Life, AltOS 1.8.3

Posted in News Roundup at 3:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • What Open Means to OpenStack

    In his keynote at OpenStack Summit in Australia, Jonathan Bryce (Executive Director of the OpenStack Foundation) stressed on the meaning of both “Open” and “Stack” in the name of the project and focused on the importance of collaboration within the OpenStack ecosystem.

    OpenStack has enjoyed unprecedented success since its early days. It has excited the IT industry about applications at scale and created new ways to consume cloud. The adoption rate of OpenStack and the growth of its community exceeded even the biggest open source project on the planet, Linux. In its short life of 6 years, OpenStack has achieved more than Linux did in a similar time span.

    So, why does OpenStack need to redefine the meaning of the project and stress collaboration? Why now?

    “We have reached a point where the technology has proven itself,” said Mark Collier, the CTO of the OpenStack Foundation. “You have seen all the massive use case of OpenStack all around the globe.”

  • Asynchronous decision-making: Helping remote teams succeed

    In contrast, asynchronous decision-making, which is often used in large open source projects—for example, at the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), where I’m most active—provides an efficient way for teams to move forward with minimal meetings. Many open source projects involve only a few meetings each year (and some none at all), yet development teams consistently produce high-quality software.

  • Events

    • Linux Foundation Continues to Emphasize Diversity and Inclusiveness at Events

      This has been a pivotal year for Linux Foundation events. Our largest gatherings, which include Open Source Summit, Embedded Linux Conference, KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, Open Networking Summit, and Cloud Foundry Summit, attracted a combined 25,000 people from 4,500 different organizations globally. Attendance was up 25 percent over 2016.

      Linux Foundation events are often the only time that developers, maintainers, and other pros who contribute to Linux and other critical open source projects — like AGL, Kubernetes and Hyperledger to name a few — get together in person. Face-to-face meetings are crucial because they speed collaboration, engagement and innovation, improving the sustainability of projects over time.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Early Returns on Firefox Quantum Point to Growth

        When we set out to launch Firefox Quantum earlier this year, we knew we had a hugely improved product. It not only felt faster — with a look and feel that tested off the charts — it was measurably faster. Thanks to multiple changes under the hood, we doubled Firefox’s speed while using 30% less memory than Chrome.

        In less than a month, Firefox Quantum has already been installed by over 170M people around the world. We’re just getting started and early returns are super encouraging.

      • Mozilla Joins Net Neutrality Blackout for ‘Break the Internet’ Day

        We’re joining with others across the web — from Github and Reddit to Etsy and Imgur — for a Break the Internet Day of Action. The idea: to show how broadly we all value an open internet. And to ask Americans to call their members of Congress and urge them to stop the FCC’s plan to end net neutrality.

  • Databases

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • I’m Brian Fox, Author of the Bash Shell, and This Is How I Work

      Brian Fox is a titan of open source software. As the first employee of Richard Stallman’s Free Software Foundation, he wrote several core GNU components, including the GNU Bash shell. Now he’s a board member of the National Association of Voting Officials and co-founder of Orchid Labs, which delivers uncensored and private internet access to users like those behind China’s firewall. We talked to him about his career and how he works.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Know Before You Grow: Proprietary Transportation Systems and Open Source Software Risk

      We live in the era of gig economies and e-commerce, where supply chains are evolving before our eyes due in part to the speed of technological innovation. All transportation and logistics services are under pressure to deliver highly analytic data-rich solutions in addition to freight. The challenge to gain advantage through information technology systems, let alone to remain competitive, is often met through “homegrown” proprietary IT solutions in addition to those many options available on the market.

      Developing proprietary IT systems, whether for core operating systems or customer-facing applications, can be a costly endeavor and therefore the speed and cost of development tend to be areas of concern. Most IT systems today contain what is known as open source software because using open source is generally much more cost-effective than developing entirely from scratch. While using open source software is advantageous in some ways, it also carries certain risks that must be navigated in order to achieve and protect the full potential of a homegrown system.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • How a maker with Type I diabetes led an open source project to create a free-as-in-code artificial pancreas

        Dana Lewis kickstarted the Open Artificial Pancreas System (previously) by trying to solve her own problems with monitoring her glucose levels, calculating insulin doses, and administering them around the clock — an onerous task that her life depended on, which disrupted her sleep and challenged her to make reliable calculations regarding dangerous substances while her blood-sugar levels were troughing or spiking.

      • LTE NB Internet Of Things Open Source Arduino Shield

        An open-source LTE shield equipped with SIMCOM’s SIM7000-series modules combined with the latest LTE CAT-M technology has been created by Hackaday member Timothy Woo to enable Arduino users to easily connect low-power Internet of Things devices to next-generation cellular technology!

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • WHO, World Bank Say Half The World Population Cannot Access Essential Health Services

      According to a report released today by the World Health Organization and the World Bank, at least half the world’s population is lacking access to essential health services. Out of pocket expenses related to health care are pushing millions of people into extreme poverty each year, the report says. Both organisations say they are committed to working with countries to increase access to essential health services.

    • Medicines Patent Pool Expands Its Patent Database To Cancer Treatments

      The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) announced today that MedsPaL, its database of information on the patent and licensing status of selected HIV, hepatitis C, and tuberculosis medicines, now extends to patented treatments on the World Health Organization Model List of Essential Medicines. New patents data include medicines for leukaemia, breast cancer and other cancer indications.

      MedsPaL now covers 6,800 national patent applications in more than 110 countries for more than 70 priority treatments, according to a press release. Patent information has been added for seven medications: bendamustine, bevacizumab, dasatinib, imatinib, nilotinib, rituximab and trastuzumab, “as a first step in incorporating additional data on patented medicines on the WHO’s EML [Essential Medicines List],” according to the release.

  • Security

    • Language bugs infest downstream software, fuzzer finds

      Developers working in secure development guidelines can still be bitten by upstream bugs in the languages they use.

      That’s the conclusion of research presented last week at Black Hat Europe by IOActive’s Fernando Arnaboldi.

      As Arnaboldi wrote in his Black Hat Europe paper [PDF]: “software developers may unknowingly include code in an application that can be used in a way that the designer did not foresee. Some of these behaviors pose a security risk to applications that were securely developed according to guidelines.”

    • Kaspersky Antivirus Engine Causing BSOD on Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

      Despite the criticism it received in the United States and in the United Kingdom, Kaspersky continues to be one of the leading security vendors for Windows users across the world, with its software protecting millions of systems powered by Microsoft’s OS.

      But it turns out that some of those whose computers were running the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and Kaspersky Internet Security 2018 have been hit by a bug causing a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) since earlier this month.

      BornCity reveals that the issue first appeared earlier this month when some users complained of a BSOD on Windows 10 build 16299.98, which indicates that these systems were running the latest version of the OS with cumulative update KB4051963.

    • ROBOT Attack

      ROBOT is the return of a 19-year-old vulnerability that allows performing RSA decryption and signing operations with the private key of a TLS server.

    • ROBOT Attack: 19-Year-Old Bug Returns With More Power To Target Facebook & Paypal

      The attack can compromise a website’s RSA encryption by decrypting the data using the private key of the TLS server. It was possible because of the vulnerability present in the RSA algorithm used in SSL protocol, exploited by Bleichenbacher.

    • Intel Adding ‘Hardware Lock’ To Prevent ME Chip Hacking In Future

      While you might be thinking about the ways to get rid of the secret (flawed) ME chip Intel puts insider its processors, the silicon giant has announced their plans to prevent the ME chip from getting hacked in the future.

    • NIST Releases Second Draft to Cybersecurity Framework, ANSI Encourages Stakeholders to Comment

      The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued the second draft of the proposed update to the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity—also known as the Cybersecurity Framework. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) encourages all relevant stakeholders to submit draft comments to NIST by the deadline on Friday, January 19, 2018.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Trump’s Lethal Decision on Jerusalem

      Protests have broken out across the Middle East against President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — and Western critics complain that the move adds one more brick in the wall against the prospects for peace.

      Professor Francis Boyle, who teaches international law at the University of Illinois College of Law and served as a long-time legal adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), calls Trump’s announcement a “symbolic but still critical step in Israeli designs to control not just Jerusalem, but all of historic Palestine.” I spoke with Boyle on Dec. 6.

    • Trump, N. Korea & the Phony ‘Terror List’

      In an effort to further tighten the screws on North Korea in what is likely to be another failed U.S. attempt to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear program, President Trump put that country back on its list of countries sponsoring terrorism. North Korea will join Iran, Sudan and Syria on the list. In response, North Korea has conducted another ballistic missile test.

    • North Korea’s Understandable Fears

      Like Pavlov’s dog, the mainstream media slobbers predicable reactions every time North Korea launches another test missile. Listening to the blather one would think that once Kim Jong Un has a missile capable of reaching the U.S., he is going to use it in an unprovoked nuclear attack on the U.S. mainland killing millions of Americans.

    • Silencing of Courageous Documentaries

      In the U.S., I first understood the power of the documentary during the editing of my first film, The Quiet Mutiny. In the commentary, I make reference to a chicken, which my crew and I encountered while on patrol with American soldiers in Vietnam.

    • Trump’s Illegal Syrian Mission Creep

      The other day we learned that there are four times more U.S. troops in Syria than any earlier official figure had acknowledged. The discrepancy did not get much public attention, perhaps because the numbers are small compared to some other U.S. military deployments: about 2,000 troops in Syria, with the earlier official figure being 500.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • We Still Don’t Know Why Three Different Outlets “Confirmed” the Same Bogus Russia Story Last Week

      Referring to erroneous reports that the Trump campaign received a file of hacked emails ten days before it was posted on Wikileaks in September 2016, the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald wrote this weekend that last Friday was “one of the most embarrassing days for the U.S. media in quite a long time.” While Greenwald’s rhetoric about the American press is often harsh even by leftist-intellectual standards, it’s hard to say he is wrong about this. Let’s review:

      • CNN reported Friday morning that Donald Trump Jr. and his father received an email on Sept. 4, 2016 which would have allowed them to access hacked Democratic emails that weren’t posted by Wikileaks until Sept. 13. CNN’s report was based on “multiple sources,” and would have been huge news—evidence of the Trumps being given an early look at material that, it’s believed, was originally obtained by Russian intelligence operatives.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Watchdogs Say US Chemical Safety Board Is “Flying Blind”

      In the early hours of August 31, explosions erupted at the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, where floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey had cut off the power supply to refrigerated containers containing organic peroxide. Residences in a 1.5-mile radius had been evacuated, and deputies manning barricades began falling ill in the middle of the road one by one. Medics were called, but no further warning was given as columns of black smoke filled the air.

      Arkema knew the fires were coming — organic peroxides burst into flames unless they are kept cool — but company officials had insisted in a press conference prior to the explosions that the chemicals were not toxic or harmful to people, according to a lawsuit filed in September by emergency workers injured at the scene.

  • Finance

    • Apple Just Bought Shazam. Here’s What We Know
    • Merkel ally says Brexit talks have raised UK support for second referendum

      A key ally of Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has claimed that a growing awareness of the damaging terms of a future Brexit deal has led to a rise in support in the UK for a second referendum on EU membership.

      Manfred Weber, the leader of the largest party in the European parliament, said a row over the ineligibility of Britain’s cities in the European capital of culture competition was just the latest example of the UK’s losses hitting home.

      “An opinion poll showed 50% of the British people are in favour of a new referendum,” Weber, who leads the centre-right European People’s party, told MEPs in Strasbourg. “The British people realise that Brexit means losing many things, but not gaining anything.”

    • What Is Litecoin? How Has It Beaten Bitcoin’s Growth To Reach All-time High?

      Before knowing about Litecoin and its exponential growth, I’d like to tell you about the term “Altcoin.” As its name tries to give away (alt + coin), altcoins are the alternative digital coins that mushroomed on the scene after Bitcoin’s success. This was inevitable. A notable feature of all the altcoins is that they try to pose themselves as a better option with more features.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Women Accusing Donald Trump of Sexual Abuse Call for Congressional Probe

      In New York, three of the 16 women who have publicly accused Donald Trump of sexual abuse called on Congress Monday to investigate the president. In a press conference in Manhattan, the women shared accounts in which they said Trump groped, fondled or otherwise made unwanted sexual advances toward them. This is Rachel Crooks, who says Trump forcibly kissed her against her will in 2005.

    • [Older] Donald Trump’s mother asked: ‘What kind of son have I created?’

      Mary Trump, the Scottish-born mother of the US President who died in 2000, is reported to have been acutely embarrassed by the antics of her fourth child during the 1990s when his failing marriage and business were the subject of intense tabloid scrutiny.

      Born as the 10th child of the MacLeod family on the Outer Hebridean Isle of Lewis in 1912, Ms Trump was raised in a strict Presbyterian, Gaelic speaking household.

      [...]

      Psychologists who are analysing the President behaviour have wondered whether his thin skin, need for praise and poor treatment of women – particularly those who stand up to him – stems from his relationship with his mother.

      Prudence Gourguechon, from the American Psychoanalytic Association, told Politico: “I’m not talking specifically about any individual, including the president, or his mother”.

    • Alabama Supreme Court stays judge’s order to preserve voting records in Senate election

      The Alabama Supreme Court has reportedly stayed a lower court’s order to election officials that would have required the preservation of voting records in Tuesday’s Senate special election.

      A circuit judge on Monday ordered election officials to set voting machines to save all digital ballot images, which would preserve voting records in the event of a recount.

      Alabama’s AL.com said Tuesday morning that the state’s Supreme Court had blocked the order.

      A group of four Alabama voters filed a lawsuit last Thursday arguing that the state is required by law to preserve the images. The voters’ attorney, Priscilla Duncan, said that the circuit judge’s order would protect votes if there were an “election challenge.”
      “People think that when they mark the ballots and they go into the machine that that’s what counted,” Duncan told AL.com. “But it’s not, the paper ballot is not what’s counted. That ballot is scanned and they destroy [the ballots] after the election.”

    • Trump’s Mining Regulator Nominee Was Once Dropped by the Agency for Doing “Junk” Work

      President Donald Trump’s choice to head a federal coal mine regulator, like more than one of his nominees, is a vocal critic of the very agency he’s being asked to lead. Steven Gardner is a longtime coal industry consultant, and he has called the agency’s marquee Obama-era regulation the product of “one of the most disingenuous and dishonest efforts put forward by a government agency.”

      But in Gardner’s case, there is an unusual — and contentious — twist: He runs an engineering firm that produced a report as part of the process of preparing that regulation, and the agency deemed it so shoddy that it cut ties with Gardner’s company. Now he’s the nominee to head that agency, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. (In broad terms, OSMRE — pronounced “oz-muhr” — focuses on mining’s effect on the environment, while the other key regulator, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, focuses on the welfare of miners.)

    • Pedestrian Tickets Lead to Hundreds of Suspended Driver’s Licenses

      More than half the 2,000 people who received pedestrian tickets in Duval County, Florida, from 2012 to 2016 saw their driver’s licenses suspended or their ability to obtain one limited, according to an analysis by the Florida Times-Union and ProPublica.

      The tickets, which carry what can seem like a modest $65 fine, can have more significant consequences for those who get them and refuse to pay or are unable to do so.

      Over five years, a total of 2,004 pedestrian tickets were issued in Duval County, which is comprised almost entirely by the city of Jacksonville. Of those tickets, 982 people who failed or were unable to pay the fine lost their driver’s licenses or their ability to obtain one, according to the analysis.

      The license suspensions help answer a question at the center of a Times-Union/ProPublica investigation of pedestrian tickets in Jacksonville: What are the consequences for individuals swept up in the Jacksonville Sheriff Office’s aggressive enforcement of some two dozen often obscure pedestrian statutes?

      Last month, the Times-Union/ProPublica investigation showed that 55 percent of the tickets given in recent years went to blacks despite the fact that they make up only 29 percent of the city’s population. Blacks were similarly overrepresented in the 932 tickets that led to license suspensions — 54 percent.

      As of Tuesday’s City Council meeting, three elected officials on the body have called on Sheriff Mike Williams to order his officers to stop writing pedestrian tickets. Council member Garrett Dennis asked the Office of General Counsel to review what authority the council had to compel him to do so. In addition to voicing her support for that measure, council member Katrina Brown asked for a noticed meeting focused on pedestrian infrastructure and enforcement.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Censorship as False Morality

      The most recent attempt at censorship came from a petition started by Mia Merrill. Merrill complained about a painting that’s housed at the Metropolitan Art Gallery titled Thérèse Dreaming by a Polish-French painter known as Balthus.

      In the petition, Merrill states that the painting “is an evocative portrait of a prepubescent girl relaxing on a chair with her legs up and underwear exposed.” She goes on to say that the image is “disturbing,” and that Balthus “had a noted infatuation with pubescent girls,” and finally, that “given the current climate around sexual assault and allegations,” the gallery is “perhaps, unintentionally, supporting voyeurism and the objectification of children.” Merrill claims that she’s “not asking for this painting to be censored,” but only for the gallery to consider the “implications” of having such a painting on display.

    • Pittsburgh Councilmember Again Faces Allegations Of Social Media Censorship

      The ACLU of Pennsylvania is again confronting Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Darlene Harris for allegedly censoring a constituent on her new official Facebook page.

      In a letter to the city solicitor Tuesday, the civil liberties organization accused Harris of deleting a post on her official page that included a link to the Facebook group, “Citizens Against Darlene Harris for Pittsburgh City Council.”

    • Meet Canada’s pro-censorship librarians (and their surprising supporters) [Ed: The far right props up the lie that censorship comes only from the "left"]

      Hate is a natural human emotion. It’s not illegal. In fact, it is part of our freedom of thought and belief. Just don’t commit a crime while you’re expressing it.

    • Sudan papers go online for freedom from censors

      Seated in his Khartoum office overlooking the Blue Nile, Sudanese journalist Adil al-Baz no longer fears a crackdown by security agents over his articles since he launched an online newspaper.

      “We are free to publish what we want on our online newspaper,” Baz, a former print newspaper editor, told AFP at the office of Al-Ahdath, the website he launched this year.

      In a country of increasing media censorship, Baz is among several independent journalists who have left newspaper jobs and launched online papers or websites.

    • Theresa May told to make Mark Zuckerburg a national censor

      Reacting to Theresa May’s proposal to make social media companies liable for content, Jim Killock, Executive Director of Open Rights Group said:

      “This is an attempt to make Mark Zuckerberg a national censor.

      “Facebook and Twitter will censor legal material because they are scared of fines. They are the worst people to judge right and wrong. Theresa May is in danger of removing people’s right to a proper legal decision.”

    • Why China’s Internet Censorship Model Will Prevail Over Russia’s

      Over the last few years, China and Russia have been quietly exporting their models of online information controls through the supply of surveillance and censorship equipment, as well as providing training in the latest information control techniques. However, Beijing and Moscow differ considerably in the way they control information online, and these differences will determine which is more popular with authoritarian regimes in the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa.

      Despots, dictators, and autocrats will pick the model they prefer using two criteria: the ambition of the censorship system (e.g. how much information can a system filter) and the technology and services required to maintain the system. China’s model outcompetes Russia’s model in both categories.

    • Balochistan activists accuse London Mayor of censorship

      LONDON mayor Sadiq Khan has been criticised over his office banning an ad campaign relating to a conflict-ridden region in Pakistan.

      The #FreeBalochistan adverts were displayed on London taxis and buses to highlight alleged “war crimes and human rights abuses”, but were later removed by Transport for London (TfL) for allegedly breaching advertising guidelines.

    • Saudi lifts ban on movies but what role will censorship play?
    • Saudis rejoice after decades-long ban on cinemas lifted
    • Saudi Arabia to lift 35-year ban on cinemas
    • The Art of Escaping Censorship

      Three recent documentaries track the ingenious ways that banned literature, films, and music circulated in the Soviet Union.

    • African girls march against Google and Facebook censorship

      About 200 young girls marched through the streets of Johannesburg on Wednesday to demand that Google and Facebook respect African culture.

      Organised by local media company TV Yabantu‚ the march was to pressure social media platforms to stop censoring African cultural content. Lazi Dlamini said the companies are insulting African culture and women as they continue to remove cultural videos and images that feature bare-breasted women on their platforms.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • FISC Assurances on Spying Leave Too Many Questions Unanswered

      Last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray faced questions from the House Judiciary Committee about how his department is implementing one of the government’s most powerful surveillance tools. Despite repeated bipartisan requests, Director Wray refused to tell the Members of the Committee how many Americans have been impacted by Section 702, enacted as part of the FISA Amendments Act. This isn’t the first time the FBI has refused to answer to Congress.

      EFF has long held that Section 702 is being used to violate the privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment. Section 702 authorizes the acquisition of foreign intelligence information; however, because many Americans communicate with foreign persons outside the United States every day, our communications are also being captured and read without a warrant.

    • ACLU Complaint Warns of Privacy Risks From Kobach’s Voter Data Scheme

      The man at the helm of the White House’s voter suppression efforts has a terrible record that just keeps getting worse.

      The ACLU’s Voting Rights Project today amended our complaint in ACLU v. Donald Trump, our lawsuit against the White House’s voter suppression commission, led by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

      In addition to the ACLU’s existing transparency and fair balance claims, the amended complaint charges that the commission has acted arbitrarily and outside the scope of its legal authority. In making its unprecedented decision to aggregate the personal data of every registered voter in the United States, the commission failed to properly consider, for example, the cybersecurity and privacy implications of compiling this sensitive data. In addition, investigating records of individual voters goes well beyond the commission’s mandate to study and make recommendations concerning registration and voting processes.

      Kobach’s record on this matter is extremely troubling. His prized voter monitoring system, Crosscheck, which stores millions of voter files and is ostensibly meant to stop people from voting in more than one state, has serious defects. It not only produces erroneous findings, but it is also open to massive security risks.

      Gizmodo found that “the records passing through the Crosscheck system have been stored on a server in Arkansas operating on a network rife with security flaws” and that “multiple sets of login credentials” have been compromised. ProPublica similarly discovered that security vulnerabilities, like hosting files on an insecure server and sharing login credentials over email, “could imperil the safety of millions of peoples’ records.” And security analysts warned in a recent court brief that Kobach’s plan to collect millions of files containing voters’ personal information “would constitute a treasure trove for malicious actors.”

    • The Internet Went Crazy Over a Sex Toy App “Secretly” Recording Lovemaking

      Hong Kong-based sex toy company Lovense received some bad publicity the past weekend after someone on reddit accused the company of secretly recording users’ lovemaking sessions with the mobile app allowing for remote controlling of its vibrators.

      Basically, reddit user /u/tydoctor claimed he came across a .3gp file stored on his device that was “a full audio recording 6 minutes long of the last time I had used the app to control my SO’s remote control vibrator.” This way, the user claimed, Lovesense secretly created audio recordings of the sex sessions, obviously making people believe that the company was actually spying on people.

      And since spying is quite a hot topic these days, it’s ten times worse when it involves anything related to sex, so the discussion rapidly made the rounds, with more than 200 users chiming in and debating how and why Lovsense creates the audio recording.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • New York City Takes on Algorithmic Discrimination

      The city will create a task force to review its agencies’ use of algorithms and the policy issues they implicate.

      Invisible algorithms increasingly shape the world we live in, and not always for the better. Unfortunately, few mechanisms are in place to ensure they’re not causing more harm than good.

      That might finally be changing: A first-in-the-nation bill, passed yesterday in New York City, offers a way to help ensure the computer codes that governments use to make decisions are serving justice rather than inequality.

      Computer algorithms are a series of steps or instructions designed to perform a specific task or solve a particular problem. Algorithms inform decisions that affect many aspects of society. These days, they can determine which school a child can attend, whether a person will be offered credit from a bank, what products are advertised to consumer, and whether someone will receive an interview for a job. Government officials also use them to predict where crimes will take place, who is likely to commit a crime and whether someone should be allowed out of jail on bail.

    • ‘You’re Fucked’: The Acquittal of Officer Brailsford and the Crisis of Police Impunity

      The execution of Daniel Shaver demonstrates the importance of police training.

      Two words stick in my mind when I think of the video of Daniel Shaver begging for his life before he was shot and killed by Officer Philip Brailsford of the Police Department in Mesa, Arizona. The two words were written on the dust cover of the AR-15 rifle Braisford used to kill Shaver:

      “You’re fucked.”

      We have seen this movie before. Daniel Shaver was not armed or committing any crime when was he shot to death by Brailsford. Like many previous police shooting videos, this one shows police behaving much more aggressively than Mr. Shaver. And like previous videos, a jury acquitted the officer of all criminal charges. But this video showed us two things about policing culture in America that stand out. First, the video shows Shaver begging for his life while he tried to follow contradictory instructions screamed at him by an officer. And Shaver was white.

      Shaver had a job killing pests. Sometimes he used a pellet gun to get the job done, and he was seen holding the gun by people at the hotel. When the police were called, they were told a man had a gun so they had to be careful.

      I get it. But how far does that information take us?

    • Tough-on-Crime Prosecutors Are Out of Step With Public Views

      The ACLU polled likely voters and found strong support for prosecutors committed to criminal justice reform.

      “Mass incarceration is a myth.” Racial bias in the criminal justice system “is the most ludicrous concept ever.” Data on sexual assault prosecutions should be kept secret because it might be “misinterpreted by the public.”

      These are all real quotes from elected prosecutors, the most powerful people in the criminal justice system. There are approximately 2,400 elected prosecutors in America, and these views may well be common among them. But the public appears to be moving away from these misconceptions.

      A first-of-its-kind poll conducted by the ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice shows that voters of every persuasion across the United States — in red states and in blue states alike — strongly prefer elected prosecutors who are committed to reducing incarceration, tackling racial disparities, and being transparent.

      Approximately nine out of 10 likely voters surveyed said that it was important for their prosecutor to prioritize alternatives to incarceration. This includes 83 percent of Republicans polled. Eighty-eight percent of voters also said they were more likely to support a prosecutor who actively works to reduce racial bias in the criminal justice system. And 91 percent want prosecutors to reduce sentences in instances where people were treated unequally because of their race. Respondents also want a prosecutor who makes a commitment to transparency, with 85 percent favoring a prosecutor who shares data and policies with the public.

    • U.N. expert says torture persists at Guantanamo Bay; U.S. denies

      The U.S. Department of Defense denied the allegation, saying there was no credible evidence to support it.

      Nils Melzer, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, said he had information that Ammar al-Baluchi – accused of being a co-conspirator in the 9/11 attacks on the United States – was being subjected to treatment that is banned under international law.

      “His torture and ill-treatment are reported to continue,” a statement from the U.N. human rights office said, without giving details of the source of Melzer’s information.

      “In addition to the long-term effects of past torture, noise and vibrations are reportedly still being used against him, resulting in constant sleep deprivation and related physical and mental disorders, for which he allegedly does not receive adequate medical attention,” it said.

    • Ferguson’s School Board Elections Dilute the African-American Vote

      The Ferguson-Florissant School District was born out of a 1975 federal desegregation order, intended to remedy effects of historical discrimination against African-American students.

      Yet, as recently as 2014, the school board was all white, and its members had not had a racial make-up that reflects the district’s population in the 12 years prior. Slightly less than half of the voting-age residents of the district are African-American, as are roughly 80 percent of the students who attend the public schools. While some African-American candidates have been elected to the school board in the last few years, recent victories do not erase the district’s long history of racial exclusion and inequality.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • 100 million Americans live in areas where every single ISP has admitted to violating net neutrality
    • The FCC’s Democratic commissioners on net neutrality vote: ‘We have a mess on our hands’

      Regardless, the rollback is expected to pass by a 3-2 margin on party lines. In separate phone interviews conducted last week, The Verge spoke with commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel about this week’s vote, and what happens next.

      Interviews were conducted separately. They have been condensed and edited.

    • Requiem for an Internet Dream

      The dream of the Internet is dying. Killed by its children. We have barely noticed its demise and done even less to save it.

      It was a dream of openness, of unprecedented technological and social freedom to connect and innovate. Whilst expressed in technology, it was a dream that was, in essence, political and social. A dream of equality of opportunity, of equality of standing, and of liberty. A world where anyone could connect and almost everyone did.

      No-one controlled or owned the Internet; no one person or group decided who got on it or who didn’t. It was open to all.

    • Net Neutrality: How a Repeal Could Kill the Careers of Indie Musicians

      Repeal will corporatize selection too. A free and open Internet has allowed independent artists like Sturgill Simpson, Drive-By Truckers and Chance the Rapper to grow and cultivate a fan base on their own terms, and for fans to find them. But if Net Neutrality goes away, not only will access to discovery platforms be limited, corporations and providers will have the opportunity to boost artists that have deals with their brands instead. And since the Internet is such an important vehicle behind the genre-less creativity in today’s music – artists grow up with near universal access to music from every corner of the globe through the Web – the end of Net Neutrality could mean more music that is culturally myopic in scope.

    • More than 100 Million Americans Can Only Get Internet Service from Companies That Have Violated Net Neutrality

      This is a problem faced by millions of Americans, according to a new analysis from the Institute for Local Self Reliance, a nonprofit that advocates for equitable development and local government rule. Based on the Federal Communications Commission’s own data, the ILSR found that 129 million Americans only have one option for broadband internet service in their area, which equals about 40 percent of the country.

    • Net neutrality repeal means you’re going to hate your cable company even more

      No one wanted to see big service providers turn the Internet into the cable industry, with its high prices and relatively few choices. But that’s what’s about to happen.

    • Internet Governance Forum Next Week: Cyber Security, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data On Agenda

      The 12th annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum will open in Geneva next week. The United Nations entity, which presents itself as a free electron of internet governance, will host a large number of sessions addressing pressing issues of the digital world, including big data, cyber security, and artificial intelligence. Discussions held at the forum will enhance understanding of the broad issue of internet governance, and help hold actors accountable.

      The 12th annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) will take place from 18-21 December on the theme “Shape Your Digital Future.” This is the first time the IGF is being held in Geneva, which is the home of the IGF secretariat.

  • DRM

    • Why Linux HDCP isn’t the end of the world

      Recently, Sean Paul from Google’s ChromeOS team, submitted a patch series to enable HDCP support for the Intel display driver. HDCP – or High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection to its parents – is used to encrypt content over HDMI and DisplayPort links, which can only be decoded by trusted devices.

      HDCP is typically used to protect high-quality content. A source device will try to negotiate a HDCP link with its downstream receiver such as your TV or a frame-capture device. If a HDCP link can be negotiated, the pixel content will be encrypted over the wire and decrypted by the trusted downstream device. If a HDCP link cannot be successfully negotiated and pixel data remains unencrypted, the typical behaviour is to fall back to a lower resolution, or quality that is in some way less desirable to capture.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Idea for finding all public domain movies in the USA

        While looking at the scanned copies for the copyright renewal entries for movies published in the USA, an idea occurred to me. The number of renewals are so few per year, it should be fairly quick to transcribe them all and add references to the corresponding IMDB title ID. This would give the (presumably) complete list of movies published 28 years earlier that did _not_ enter the public domain for the transcribed year. By fetching the list of USA movies published 28 years earlier and subtract the movies with renewals, we should be left with movies registered in IMDB that are now in the public domain. For the year 1955 (which is the one I have looked at the most), the total number of pages to transcribe is 21. For the 28 years from 1950 to 1978, it should be in the range 500-600 pages. It is just a few days of work, and spread among a small group of people it should be doable in a few weeks of spare time.

      • How The US Pushed Sweden to Take Down The Pirate Bay

        A series of documents released by the US Department of State have revealed how Sweden was pressed to take action against The Pirate Bay. According to US officials, this directly led to law enforcement’s decision to shut down the torrent site more than ten years ago. Sweden, meanwhile, avoided a spot on the feared US Trade Representative’s 301 Watch List.

12.12.17

Links 12/12/2017: New BlackArch ISO and Stable Kernels

Posted in News Roundup at 1:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Dedoimedo interviews: Tuxmachines

    Dedoimedo prowls the many corners of the Web, searching for textogenic faces for a fresh new interview. Truth to be told, finding the candidate for today’s slot wasn’t too difficult. Roy Schestowitz is a familiar name round the Tux block. Nowadays, you will most likely find him on tuxmachines.org, a community-driven news site.

    News aggregation can be tricky; finding the right balance of quality content isn’t easy, but even with the relatively recent change of ownership, tuxmachines marches on with solid consistency, ardently trying to offer its readers the best the open-source world has to report. I have always been a great fan and supporter, and I approached Roy for an interview. He agreed.

  • Desktop

    • System76 Enables HiDPI Support on All of Their Linux Laptops and Desktops

      We reported last week on the upcoming support for HiDPI displays coming to System76′s for its Ubuntu-based Pop!_OS Linux distro, and it didn’t take long for them to release the new daemon that would enable HiDPI support on all of its laptops and desktops where Ubuntu or Pop!_OS Linux is installed.

      HiDPI support was becoming an urgent necessity for System76 as more and more customers started asking for assistance in setting up their displays. And while the Wayland display server isn’t yet mature enough to be adopted by all GPU vendors and completely replace X.Org, there was a need for a compromise.

  • Server

    • With OPNFV, Orange Plans a Full-Scale Rollout of Network Functions Virtualization

      Over the past few years, the entire networking industry has begun to transform as network demands rapidly increase. This is true for both the technology itself and the way in which carriers — like my employer Orange, as well as vendors and other service providers — adapt and evolve their approach to meeting these demands. As a result, we’re becoming more and more agile and adept in how we virtualize our evolving network and a shifting ecosystem.” keep up with growing demands and the need to virtualize.

    • Oracle joins the serverless fray with Fn

      With its open source Fn project, Oracle is looking to make a splash in serverless computing.

      Fn is a container native serverless platform that can be run on-premises or in the cloud. It requires the use of Docker containers. Fn developers will be able to write functions in Java initially, with Go, Ruby, Python, PHP, and Node.js support planned for later. Applications can be built and run without users having to provision, scale, or manage servers, by using the cloud.

    • DevOps, Docker, and Empathy

      Just because we’re using containers doesn’t mean that we “do DevOps.” Docker is not some kind of fairy dust that you can sprinkle around your code and applications to deploy faster. It is only a tool, albeit a very powerful one. And like every tool, it can be misused. Guess what happens when we misuse a power tool? Power fuck-ups. Let’s talk about it.

      I’m writing this because I have seen a few people expressing very deep frustrations about Docker, and I would like to extend a hand to show them that instead of being a giant pain in the neck, Docker can help them to work better, and (if that’s their goal) be an advantage rather than a burden in their journey (or their “digital transformation” if we want to speak fancy.)

    • This open-source, multicloud serverless framework claims faster-than-bare-metal speed

      The move toward fast, serverless computing technology got a boost this month from Iguazio Systems Ltd. The data platform company (named from the Iguazu waterfalls in South America) announced the release of Nuclio, an open-source, multicloud serverless framework that claims faster-than-bare-metal speed.

      “We provide one platform, all the data services that Amazon has, or at least the ones that are interesting, serverless functions, which are 100 times faster, and a few more tricks that they don’t have,” said Yaron Haviv (pictured), founder and chief technology officer of Iguazio Systems. “We do fewer services, but each one kicks ass; each one is much faster and better engineered.”

    • CORD Says It’s the De Facto Choice for Edge Computing

      The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) today released 4.1 of its Central Office Re-architected as a Data Center (CORD) code. CORD has only been around as an independent project within ONF for about a year and a half, but with this release a couple of things have gelled for the project. First, it has merged its residential-CORD, mobile-CORD, and enterprise-CORD into one overarching project. Secondly, the ONF has realized CORD’s relevance in edge computing and edge cloud data centers.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.14.5
    • Linux 4.9.68
    • Linux 4.4.105
    • Linux 3.18.87
    • Four stable kernel updates
    • SysAdmins and Kernel Developers Advance Linux Skills with LiFT

      The annual Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) Scholarships provide advanced open source training to existing and aspiring IT professionals from all over the world. Twenty-seven recipients received scholarships this year – the highest number ever awarded by the Foundation. Scholarship recipients receive a Linux Foundation training course and certification exam at no cost.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD Moving Forward In Their RadeonSI Support For ARB_gl_spirv

        AMD open-source developer Nicolai Hähnle has spent the past few months working on the ARB_gl_spirv extension as mandated by OpenGL 4.6. Some of the prep work for supporting that extension has landed in Mesa 17.4-dev Git.

        ARB_gl_spirv is about bringing SPIR-V support to OpenGL drivers, the IR shared by Vulkan and OpenCL 2.1+. ARB_gl_spirv allows for loading SPIR-V modules into OpenGL programs and allows for GLSL to be a source language in creating SPIR-V modules. This is basically for creating better interoperability between OpenGL and Vulkan/SPIR-V.

      • Mesa Glthread Gets Adds Another Game, AMDGPU Winsys Gets Performance Workaround

        This week has started off to being another busy time in Mesa Git just ahead of the holidays.

        First up, Mount & Blade: Warband is the latest game to be white-listed by the Mesa glthread functionality for enabling OpenGL threading on this Steam Linux game. Mount & Blade: Warband was actually whitelisted back in July but then disabled a few days later as it turned out not to be working.

      • VESA Rolls Out DisplayHDR As Its Latest Standard

        VESA has rolled out DisplayHDR 1.0 as its newest standard. As implied by the name, the standard is in regards to specifying HDR (High Dynamic Range) quality for displays.

      • VC5 OpenGL & Vulkan Driver Advancing

        Broadcom developer Eric Anholt has offered an update on the state of the VC5 Gallium3D driver for OpenGL support as well as the work being done on the “BCMV” Vulkan driver. Additionally, the VC4 Gallium3D driver for existing Raspberry Pi devices continues to get better.

      • Initial Tessellation Shader Support For RadeonSI NIR

        The RadeonSI Gallium3D driver’s NIR back-end is moving one step closer to feature parity with the existing OpenGL capabilities of this AMD GCN graphics driver.

        Timothy Arceri working for Valve has been focusing on the NIR back-end recently for RadeonSI. This NIR intermediate representation handling is being driven in order to add SPIR-V ingestion support to RadeonSI with code sharing for RADV’s existing NIR-based infrastructure.

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux 4.15 I/O Scheduler Tests: BFQ, CFQ, Kyber

        With some BFQ performance fixes included as part of Linux 4.15 along with other I/O scheduler work and block improvements for this latest Linux kernel series, here are some fresh benchmarks of the different I/O scheduler options using the Linux 4.15 Git kernel.

      • Is PowerTop / TLP Still Useful To Save Power On Linux Laptops?

        This system was running Ubuntu 17.10 and the configurations tested included:

        - Ubuntu 17.10 in a “stock” or “out of the box” experience when using its Linux 4.13 kernel, GNOME Shell 3.26.1 with Wayland, and Mesa 17.2.2 atop an EXT4 file-system.

        - Upgrading the Ubuntu 17.10 system to Linux 4.15 Git for showing the power consumption when using the very latest kernel cycle.

        - This Ubuntu 17.10 + Linux 4.15 system then with Intel PowerTop installed and changing all the tunables to their “good” values for maximum power-savings.

        - Installing TLP and using its default power-saving options.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Looking Back at Randa Meetings 2017: Accessibility for Everyone

        Randa Meetings are a yearly collection of KDE Community contributor sprints that take place in Randa, Switzerland. With origins dating back to a Plasma meeting in 2009, Randa is one of the most important developer-related events in the community.

      • KDE Edu Sprint 2017

        Two months ago I attended to KDE Edu Sprint 2017 at Berlin. It was my first KDE sprint (really, I send code to KDE software since 2010 and never went to a sprint!) so I was really excited for the event.

        KDE Edu is the an umbrella for specific educational software of KDE. There are a lot of them and it is the main educational software suite in free software world. Despite it, KDE Edu has received little attention in organization side, for instance the previous KDE Edu sprint occurred several years ago, our website has some problems, and more.

        Therefore, this sprint was an opportunity not only for developers work in software development, but for works in organization side as well.

        In organization work side, we discuss about the rebranding of some software more related to university work than for “education” itself, like Cantor and Labplot. There was a wish to create something like a KDE Research/Science in order to put software like them and others like Kile and KBibTex in a same umbrella. There is a discussion about this theme.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • New Antivirus Live CD Release Is Out Now Based on 4MLinux 24.0 and ClamAV 0.99.2

        Every time a new major 4MLinux release is being prepped, Antivirus Live CD gets updated with the latest GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source components that have been included in the respective 4MLinux release. As such, Antivirus Live CD 24.0-0.99.2 is based on 4MLinux 24.0 and ClamAV 0.99.2 open-source antivirus software toolkit.

        “Antivirus Live CD is an official 4MLinux fork including the ClamAV scanner. It’s designed for users who need a lightweight live CD, which will help them to protect their computers against viruses,” said Zbigniew Konojacki in the release announcement‏. “The latest version 24.0-0.99.2 is based on 4MLinux 24.0 and ClamAV 0.99.2.”

      • BlackArch Linux Ethical Hacking OS Gets Linux Kernel 4.14.4, Updated Installer

        Coming hot on the BlackArch Linux 2017.11.24 ISO snapshot released two weeks ago with more than 50 new hacking tools, the BlackArch Linux 2017.12.11 ISO images are now available to download incorporating the latest version of the BlackArch Installer utility, which fixes a few critical bugs.

        The bugs were related to a login loop and the supported window managers, and they are now fixed in BlackArch Installer 0.6.2, which is included in the BlackArch Linux 2017.11.24 ISO snapshot. Also included is the Linux 4.14.4 kernel and many of the latest system updates and security patches released upstream.

      • BlackArch 2017.12.11

        Today we released new BlackArch Linux ISOs. For details see the ChangeLog below.

        Here’s the ChangeLog:

        update blackarch-installer to version 0.6.2 (most important change)
        included kernel 4.14.4
        updated lot’s of blackarch tools and packages
        updated all blackarch tools and packages
        updated all system packages
        bugfix release! (see blackarch-installer)

      • Latest Linux Distribution Releases (The Always Up-to-date List)
    • Arch Family

      • If You’re Ready for Arch, ArchMerge Eases the Way

        Newcomer ArchMerge Linux offers a big change for the better to those switching from the Debian Linux lineage to the Arch Linux infrastructure.

        ArchMerge Linux is a recent spinoff of ArchLabs Linux. I recently reviewed Archlabs and found it to be a step up from most Arch Linux offerings in terms of installation and usability. Arch Linux distros, in general, are notorious for their challenging installation and software management processes.

        ArchMerge Linux brings a few extra ingredients that make trying it well worth your while if you want to consider migrating to the Arch Linux platform. Still, no Arch Linux distro is a suitable starting point for Linux newcomers. That reality does not change with ArchMerge, although it helps ease the process considerably for those who are ready for it.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Devuan ASCII sprint — 15-16-17 Dec. 2017
      • Systemd, Devuan, and Debian
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Devs Work on Demoting Python 2 to “Universe” Repo for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

            Canonical’s Matthias Klose informed the Ubuntu community in a mailing list announcement last week that getting the Python 2 interpreter demoted from Ubuntu has been an ongoing task for the last few releases, and that Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) is the first to ship with a Desktop ISO image that doesn’t contain Python2.

            However, the next step for them is to prepare to move the Python 2 packages to the “universe” repository in the next few months before the release of the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system in April 2018. While Python 2 will be supported for only two more years, Ubuntu 18.04 is an LTS (Long Term Support) release supported for five years, until 2023.

          • Spaceman Shuttleworth Finds Earthly Riches With Ubuntu Software

            He’s best known for being the world’s first “Afronaut,” but since returning to Earth from his 2002 trip on Russia’s Soyuz TM-34 rocket ship, Cape Town native Mark Shuttleworth set about with the conquest of a much more lucrative universe: the internet-of-things.

            Shuttleworth created Ubuntu, an open-source Linux operating system that helps connect everything from drones to thermostats to the internet. His company, Canonical Group Ltd., makes money from about 800 paying customers, including Netflix Inc., Tesla Inc. and Deutsche Telekom AG, which pay for support services. Its success has helped boost his net worth to $1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

            “It’s destructive to be too focused on that,” Shuttleworth said of his wealth in an interview at Bloomberg’s office in Boston. “It’s just a distraction from whether you have your finger on the pulse of what’s next.”

          • Rocket.chat communication platform enables simplicity through snaps

            Created in Brazil, Rocket.Chat provides an open source chat solution for organisations of all sizes around the world. Built on open source values and a love of efficiency, Rocket.Chat is driven by a community of contributors and has seen adoption in all aspects of business and education. As Rocket.Chat has evolved, it has been keen to get its platform into the hands of as many users as possible without the difficulties of installation often associated with bespoke Linux deployments.

          • The Silph Road embraces cloud and containers with Canonical

            The Silph Road is the premier grassroots network for Pokémon GO players around the world offering research, tools, and resources to the largest Pokémon GO community worldwide, with up to 400,000 visitors per day

            Operating a volunteer-run, community network with up to 400,000 daily visitors is no easy task especially in the face of massive and unpredictable demand spikes, and with developers spread all over the world.With massive user demand and with volunteer developers located all over the world, The Silph Road’s operations must be cost-effective, flexible, and scalable.

            This led the Pokémon GO network first to cloud, and then to containers and in both cases Canonical ’s technology was the answer.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Mint 18.3: The best Linux desktop takes big steps forward

              I run many operating systems every day, from macOS, to Windows 7 and 10, to more Linux desktop distributions than you can shake a stick at. And, once more, as a power-user’s power user, I’ve found the latest version of Linux Mint to be the best of the best.

              Why? Let’s start with the basics. MacOS has been shown to have the worst bug I’ve ever seen in an operating system: The macOS High Sierra security hole that lets anyone get full administrative control. Windows, old and new, continues to have multiple security bugs every lousy month. Linux? Sure, it has security problems. How many of these bugs have had serious desktop impacts? Let me see now. None. Yes, that would be zero.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • What is a blockchain smart contract?

    Now, in a blockchain, the important thing is that once the state has changed, you then ensure it’s recorded on the blockchain so that it’s public and nobody can change or challenge it. But there are other uses for blockchain technology, as I explained in “Is blockchain a security topic?” Permissionless systems, often referred to as distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) are a great fit for non-transactional state models, largely because the sort of people who are interested in them are closed groups of organisations that want to have complex sets of conditions met before they move to the next state. These aren’t, by the tightest definition, blockchains. Banks and other financial institutions may be the most obvious examples where DLTs are gaining traction, but they are very useful in supply chain sectors, for instance, where you may have conditions around changing market rates, availability, and shipping times or costs, which may all play into the final price of the commodity or service being provided.

  • Running a successful open source project

    Running an open source project is easy. All you have to do is make your source code available and you’re open source, right? Well, maybe. Ultimately, whether or not an open source project is successful depends on your definition of success. Regardless of your definition, creating an open source project can be a lot of work. If you have goals regarding adoption, for example, then you need to be prepared to invest. While open source software is “free as in beer”, it’s not really free: time and energy are valuable resources and these valuable resources need to be invested in the project.

    So, how do you invest those resources?

  • New package repositories are now enabled by default

    During this year’s coding sprint in Toulouse (which I was able to attend, thanks to being in Europe on a study-abroad program), I spent a lot of time massaging HaikuPorts to generate a consistent-enough state of packages for us to switch to them by default, and then making the in-tree changes necessary for the switch. Thanks to this and mmlr’s comprehensive overhaul of the HaikuPorter Buildmaster over the past couple months, we have finally switched to the new repositories by default as of hrev51620. If you’ve installed a nightly image from after this, you should be able to just pkgman full-sync and upgrade away.

  • Haiku OS Is Very Close To Their Long Awaited Beta, New Repository Working

    The BeOS-inspired Haiku operating system should be issuing its long-awaited beta release by early 2018.

    For months there has been talk of the long-awaited beta for Haiku OS while it looks like roughly within the next month we should be actually seeing this milestone.

  • DeepVariant: Tool to call out variants in sequencing data goes open source

    Megan Molteni, Wired, decoded, at least, the very nature of the challenge to know more about our human puzzle. “Today, a teaspoon of spit and a hundred bucks is all you need to get a snapshot of your DNA. But getting the full picture—all 3 billion base pairs of your genome—requires a much more laborious process. One that, even with the aid of sophisticated statistics, scientists still struggle over.”

    DeepVariant was developed by researchers from the Google Brain team, focused on AI techniques, and Verily, the Alphabet subsidiary focused on life sciences.

    It is based on the same neural network for image recognition, but DeepVariant, is now making headlines not for cat IDs but as a way to scan a genetic code for mutations. DeepVariant has gone open source. The GitHub definition of DeepVariant: “an analysis pipeline that uses a deep neural network to call genetic variants from next-generation DNA sequencing data.”

  • Open source VPN clients vs VPN provider apps: which is better?

    Power users love open source software for its transparency and flexibility – but what about open source VPN software? Are there any open source VPN clients that can stand up to being compared with the more popular VPN apps from premium providers like ExpressVPN, VyprVPN, IPVanish or NordVPN?

    The short answer is… not really. But the long answer depends a lot on your level of technical know-how, patience, and where you’re willing to place your trust.

  • Events

    • Coreboot Conference 2017 Videos Now Available

      For those interested in the open-source Coreboot project that serves as a replacement to proprietary UEFI/BIOS, the videos from their European Coreboot Conference are now available.

      The European Coreboot Conference 2017 (ECC’17) was held in Bochum, Germany back at the end of October.

    • Election night hackathon supports civic engagement

      On November 7, 2017, members of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) community came together for the annual Election Night Hackathon held in the Simone Center for Student Innovation. This marked the seventh anniversary of a civic tradition for the FOSS @ MAGIC community, in which students and faculty analyze civic problems in the local community, state, or country and propose a project to address them. MAGIC Center faculty and event organizers are on hand to help students choose open source licenses and publish and share their code.

    • Namaste ! (on the road to Swatantra 2017)

      I’ll have the pleasure to give a talk about GCompris, and another one about Synfig studio. It’s been a long time since I didn’t talk about the latter, but since Konstantin Dmitriev and the Morevna team were not available, I’ll do my best to represent Synfig there.

    • #PeruRumboGSoC2018 – Session 4

      We celebrated yesterday another session of the local challenge 2017-2 “PeruRumboGSoC2018”. It was held at the Centro Cultural Pedro Paulet of FIEE UNI. GTK on C was explained during the fisrt two hours of the morning based on the window* exercises from my repo to handle some widgets such as windows, label and buttons.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome 63 revamps Bookmark Manager w/ Material Design on Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS

        Chrome 63 began rolling out to Android and desktop browsers last week with the usual security fixes and new developer features. On the latter platform, this update introduces Material Design to the Bookmark Manager.

        Several versions ago, Google began updating various aspects of the browser with Material Design, including History, Downloads, and Settings.

        Like the Flags page for enabling experiments and in-development features, which Google also revamped in version 63, the Bookmark Manager (Menu > Bookmarks > Bookmark Manager) adopts the standard Materials UI elements. This includes an app bar that houses a large search bar. It adopts the same dark blue theme and includes various Material animations and flourishes.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 6.0 Coming Soon to openSUSE Tumbleweed, Along with KDE Apps 17.12

      A total of six snapshots have been released to the public this month, as OpenSuSE Project’s Dominique Leuenberger announced this past weekend, and they brought lots of goodies, along with some of the latest GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source software components. But first, there’s been a bunch of more python2->python3 conversions lately that you should know about.

      “For the ones that don’t know yet, the python2 -> python3 switches are especially of interest to SLE/Leap 15,” said Dominique Leuenberger. “Minimizing the support surface for Python 2 in favor of Python 3 will lead to a much stronger, supportable product for the future. As Tumbleweed is the leading and trendsetting product, it is but natural that we get those changes as well.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNUstep Takes Another Step Forward For Implementing Apple’s Cocoa Frameworks

      GNUstep is the long-standing free software project working to implement Apple’s Cocoa Objective-C frameworks used by macOS. The GNU project has made new releases of their GUI and Back libraries.

      GNUstep GUI 0.26 is out this morning as the latest update to their graphical user-interface library. GNUstep GUI 0.26 has a number of compatibility improvements, translation updates, mouse tracking logic improvements, bug fixes, and other work.

    • New format in GIMP: HGT

      Lately a recurrent contributor to the GIMP project (Massimo Valentini) contributed a patch to support HGT files. From this initial commit, since I found this data quite cool, I improved the support a bit (auto-detection of the variants and special-casing in particular, as well as making an API for scripts).

      So what is HGT? That’s topography data basically just containing elevation in meters of various landscape (HGT stands for “height“), gathered by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) run by various space agencies (NASA, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, German and Italian space agencies…).

  • Programming/Development

    • CSR devices now supported in fwupd

      The BlueCore CSR chips are used everywhere. If you have a “wireless” speaker or headphones that uses Bluetooth there is a high probability that it’s using a CSR chip inside. This makes the addition of CSR support into fwupd a big deal to access a lot of vendors. It’s a lot easier to say “just upload firmware” rather than “you have to write code” so I think it’s useful to have done this work.

    • Skylake Server Scheduler Model Updated In LLVM 6.0 Along With Other Intel CPU Updates
    • Most Software Code Will Be Written By Machines By 2040, Researchers Predict

      Imagine a scenario where a programmer needs to follow a couple of tried and tested procedures to write code that becomes a part of a bigger program that needs some insightful contribution from another programmer. So, is the first programmer really needed? Can’t we find a robotic replacement for the same?

      In the past, GitHub CEO had already made a prediction which says that future of coding is no coding at all. A similar speculation has been made by the researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, who have said that machines will write most of their own code by 2040.

    • Hazelcast joins Eclipse, JCache is key focal point

      Open source In-Memory Data Grid (IMDG) company Hazelcast has joined the Eclipse Foundation – and it has done so for a reason.

      Hazelcast’s primary focus will be on JCache the Eclipse MicroProfile and EE4J.

      In particular, Hazelcast will be collaborating with members to popularize JCache, a Java Specification Request (JSR-107).

      So what place does JCache fill in the universe then?

    • Fruit of an acquisition: Apple AI software goes open

      Apple’s joined other juggernauts of the tech sector by releasing an open source AI framework.

      Turi Create 4.0, which landed at GitHub recently, is a fruit of its 2016 US$200 million acquisition of Turi.

      As the GitHub description explains, it targets app developers that want custom machine learning models but don’t have the expertise to “add recommendations, object detection, image classification, image similarity or activity classification” to their apps.

    • Apple Releases Turi ML Software as Open Source

      Apple last week released Turi Create, an open source package that it says will make it easy for mobile app developers to infuse machine learning into their products with just a few lines of code.

      “You don’t have to be a machine learning expert to add recommendations, object detection, image classification, image similarity, or activity classification to your app,” the company says in the GitHub description for Turi Create. “Focus on tasks instead of algorithms.”

Leftovers

  • Amendment​ ​to​ ​Clause ​173​ ​:​ ​Supporting​ ​Consumer ​Rights ​for ​All

    Open Rights Group campaign for a world where we each control the data our digital lives create, deciding who can use it and how, and where the public’s rights are acknowledged and upheld. With these principles in mind, Open Rights Group calls for amendments to Clause 173 to strengthen enforcement of data subjects rights in the Data Protection Bill.

  • Collective Redress: Cheatsheet
  • Helping kids play with danger: crowdfunding a log-splitter, designed for children

    Risky play is good for kids: it lets them test their boundaries in an exhilarating, vivid way — and it’s been all but entirely engineered out of contemporary child-rearing.

    That’s where Monte Sheppard’s University of Technology Sydney Integrated Product Design honors research comes in: it’s a log-splitter designed for small children to use.

  • Security

    • Script Recovers Event Logs Doctored by NSA Hacking Tool

      Security researchers have found a way to reverse the effects of an NSA hacking utility that deletes event logs from compromised machines.

      Last week, Fox-IT published a Python script that recovers event log entries deleted using the “eventlogedit” utility that’s part of DanderSpritz, a supposed NSA cyber-weapon that was leaked online by a hacking group known as the Shadow Brokers.

      According to Fox-IT, they found a flaw in the DanderSpritz log cleaner when they realized the utility does not actually delete event log entries, but only unreferences them, merging entries together.

    • Pre-Installed Keylogger Discovered on Hundreds of HP Laptop Models

      A keylogger that can help record pretty much every keystroke on the computer has been discovered on HP’s devices, with a security researcher revealing that hundreds of laptop models come with this hidden software pre-installed.

      Michael Myng says in an analysis of the keylogger that the malicious code is hiding in the Synaptics Touchpad software and he actually discovered it when looking into ways to control the keyboard backlight on his laptop.

      According to his findings, the keylogger isn’t activated by default, but it can be turned on by any cybercriminals that get access to the system. The list of affected models includes hundreds of laptops like EliteBook, ProBook, Spectre, Zbook, Envy, and Pavilion.

    • Laptop touchpad driver included extra feature: a keylogger [Ed: This is the second time in recent times HP gets caught with keyloggers; This is no accident, it's intentional.]

      Flaws in software often offer a potential path for attackers to install malicious software, but you wouldn’t necessarily expect a hardware vendor to include potentially malicious software built right into its device drivers. But that’s exactly what a security researcher found while poking around the internals of a driver for a touchpad commonly used on HP notebook computers—a keystroke logger that could be turned on with a simple change to its configuration in the Windows registry.

    • Microsoft Needed 110 Days to Fix Critical Security Bug After First Ignoring It

      Microsoft needed more than 100 days to fix a critical credential leak in Dynamics 365 after the company originally ignored the bug report and only reacted after being warned that details could go public.

      Software engineer Matthias Gliwka explains in a long blog post that he discovered and reported a security flaw in Microsoft’s Customer Relationship Manager and Enterprise Resource Planning software in August, but the software giant refused to fix it on claims that administrator credentials would be required.

      Gliwka says he came across a wildcard transport layer security (TLS) certificate that also included the private key, which would in turn expose communications by anyone who could decrypt traffic. The developer says that extracting the certificate grants access to any sandbox environment, with absolutely no warning or message displayed to clients.

    • UK Spy Agency Finds Severe Flaw in Microsoft Antivirus in Kaspersky Bye-Bye Push
    • Security updates for Monday
    • Open Source Patch Management: Options for DIYers [Ed: "Linux comes with patch management," it says, which defeats much of the point of this article...]

      CVE-2017-5638 is the code vulnerability that will long live in the corporate memory of Equifax, the credit ratings agency. A simple patch management system might have kept that vulnerability from turning into one of the most high-profile data breaches in recent memory.

      CVE-2017-5638 is a remote code execution bug that affects the Jakarta Multipart parser in Apache Struts, an open source application framework for developing Java EE web applications. Remote code execution bugs are generally extremely serious, and for that reason, when the vulnerability was discovered, the Apache Foundation recommended that any developers or users of affected versions of Struts upgrade to later versions that had been patched to close the vulnerability.

    • HP laptops found to have hidden keylogger

      HP said more than 460 models of laptop were affected by the “potential [sic] security vulnerability”.

      [...]

      In May, a similar keylogger was discovered in the audio drivers pre-installed on several HP laptop models.

    • Fingerprinting MySQL with scannerl

      The goal here is to identify the version of MySQL running on a remote host.

    • What You Need To Know About The Intel Management Engine

      Over the last decade, Intel has been including a tiny little microcontroller inside their CPUs. This microcontroller is connected to everything, and can shuttle data between your hard drive and your network adapter. It’s always on, even when the rest of your computer is off, and with the right software, you can wake it up over a network connection. Parts of this spy chip were included in the silicon at the behest of the NSA. In short, if you were designing a piece of hardware to spy on everyone using an Intel-branded computer, you would come up with something like the Intel Managment Engine.

      Last week, researchers [Mark Ermolov] and [Maxim Goryachy] presented an exploit at BlackHat Europe allowing for arbitrary code execution on the Intel ME platform. This is only a local attack, one that requires physical access to a machine. The cat is out of the bag, though, and this is the exploit we’ve all been expecting. This is the exploit that forces Intel and OEMs to consider the security implications of the Intel Management Engine. What does this actually mean?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Hurricane Maria Exposed the U.S.’s Long Neglect of Puerto Rico

      The United Nations’ poverty expert will visit Puerto Rico today to survey the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and the structural issues it unveiled. The storm exposed the brutal and historic neglect of the island and its 3.5 million U.S. citizens.

      The ACLU and other organizations advocated for the U.N. to visit the island and submitted a letter urging them to do so back in early October. The U.N. poverty expert will meet with communities, local groups, and government officials on the ground in Puerto Rico. He will report back his findings to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

  • Finance

    • Fed set to raise rates as Yellen gives final news conference

      Investors seem certain about this: The Federal Reserve is going to raise interest rates this week for the third time this year.

      They’re less sure about what the central bank might have in store for 2018, and they will look to Janet Yellen’s final news conference as Fed chair Wednesday for any clues.

      Will the Fed’s policymaking change once Yellen steps down in February and is succeeded by Jerome Powell? Powell was a Yellen ally who backed her cautious stance toward rate hikes in his five years on the Fed’s board. Yet no one can know how his leadership or rate policy might depart from hers.

      What’s more, Powell will be joined by several new Fed board members who, like him, are being chosen by President Donald Trump. Some analysts say they think that while Powell might not deviate much from Yellen’s rate policy, he and the new board members will adopt a looser approach to the regulation of the banking system.

    • Bitcoin fees are skyrocketing

      The cost to complete a Bitcoin transaction has skyrocketed in recent days. A week ago, it cost around $6 on average to get a transaction accepted by the Bitcoin network. The average fee soared to $26 on Friday and was still almost $20 on Sunday.

      The reason is simple: until recently, the Bitcoin network had a hard-coded 1 megabyte limit on the size of blocks on the blockchain, Bitcoin’s shared transaction ledger. With a typical transaction size of around 500 bytes, the average block had fewer than 2,000 transactions. And with a block being generated once every 10 minutes, that works out to around 3.3 transactions per second.

    • ZeMarmot project got a Liberapay account!

      We were asked a few times about trying out Liberapay. It is different from other recurring funding platforms (such as Patreon and Tipeee) that it is managed by a non-profit and have lesser fees (from what I understand, there are payment processing fees, but they don’t add their own fees) since they fund themselves on their own platform (also the website itself is Free Software).

    • WaPo Nostalgic for Good Old Days of Trump Campaign Tax Lies

      A Washington Post article (12/9/17) on the Republican tax proposals being considered by Congress implies that they are a sharp departure from the plans Donald Trump put forward in the campaign in the benefits they provides to the rich. The headline is “As Tax Plan Gained Steam, GOP Lost Focus on the Middle Class.”

      This description is pretty much 180 degrees at odds with reality. While Donald Trump always promised to help the middle class, the proposals he put forward during his campaign were hugely tilted toward the rich. The Tax Policy Center’s analysis of the last tax cut plan he proposed before the election showed 50 percent of the benefits going to the richest 1 percent of the population.

    • Fears grow across the Atlantic over Brexit fallout

      Its report argues that Brexit was likely to have a “mostly negative effect” on American interests in Europe, given the UK is a firm ally of the US in security matters and a supporter of free markets.

      “An EU without the UK may be more willing to create barriers for non-EU companies, to the detriment of US companies and the American economy,” the report says.

      “In the development of EU defence policy, for example, the UK aim was often to ensure that EU measures did not undermine NATO and the strong transatlantic partnership.”

      That approach could change once Britain has left the EU.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • National Democrats Resist Reforms

      Still refusing to face why Donald Trump and the Republicans won in 2016, the national Democratic Party rebuffs proposals from progressives to make the party more democratic and less corporate-dominated, writes Norman Solomon.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Facebook, Google, Twitter’s ‘Censorship of Christian, Conservative Speech’ Tackled in NRB Initiative

      National Religious Broadcasters has launched an online effort seeking to highlight what it says is censorship of Christian and conservative speech by online media giants such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and Apple.

      “It is unacceptable for these titans to discriminate against users just because their viewpoints are not congruent with ideas popular in Silicon Valley,” said Jerry A. Johnson, NRB’s president & CEO, on Thursday when announcing the Internet Freedom Watch initiative.

      The website for the initiative, which documents cases of alleged censorship, states that “chillingly, a growing censorship of Christian and politically conservative viewpoints on the internet is happening in America and across the globe.”

    • Letter: The First Amendment applies to government censorship

      Forum opinion columnist Rob Port wrote a blog post Dec. 8 about the decision by Concordia College to rescind funding for an appearance by conservative provocateur Ben Shapiro. Port stated his opinion that this amounts to censorship and seemingly some sort of First Amendment issue since the First Amendment protects controversial forms of speech.

      The problem with this viewpoint is that while Port is correct in that the First Amendment does protect the most controversial forms of speech, but it has no bearing on private entities such as a private university. The First Amendment only serves to protect us from government censorship. If this situation would have occurred at one of our local public institutions, there would possibly be First Amendment implications. But definitely not when it comes to a private institution.

      Port would do well to learn exactly what the First Amendment does and does not do. Especially since his very livelihood as a political commentator is provided by the protections established in that amendment.

    • Video: How the Court System Is Abused to Chill Activist Speech

      One of the most pernicious forms of censorship in modern America is the abuse of the court system by corporations and wealthy individuals to harass, intimidate, and silence their critics.

      We use the term “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation,” more commonly known as a “SLAPP,” to describe this phenomenon. With a SLAPP, a malicious party will file a lawsuit against a person whose speech is clearly protected by the First Amendment. The strategy isn’t to win on the legal merits, but to censor their victims through burdensome, distracting, and costly litigation. SLAPP suits often make spurious defamation claims and demand outrageous monetary penalties to bully their enemies.

    • Criticizing Balthus Isn’t Censorship

      Imagine that a painting—say, a 1938 painting by Balthus hanging in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York—was revealed as a forgery. Nothing has changed about the painting except that it isn’t authentic. The curators decide to remove it from the museum’s wall. Is this censorship?

      Just about everyone would answer this question negatively. Curators are expected to evaluate the historical and aesthetic quality of the work they put on their walls. Museum space is limited; you can’t show everything, or even everything in the collection, all at once. Deciding to take down a painting if new information becomes available about its provenance is a non-controversial decision.

      The Balthus painting in question, Therese Dreaming, is not a forgery. But many people have argued that it should be taken off the Met’s wall. Mia Merrill is a New Yorker who started a petition asking the Met to consider removing the painting—or provide additional context in the wall text. The petition has garnered some 9000 signatures.

    • Censorship using defamation law escalates under NLD: report

      Myanmar’s notorious online defamation law remains the tool of choice for powerful people in Myanmar who seek to punish those who are trying to hold them accountable, and the amendment of the law in August has had “no discernible impact” on this, says a new report by the rights groups Free Expression Myanmar (FEM).

    • Apple, Google attend China internet conference that promotes control and censorship

      CEOs from Google and Apple participated last week in China’s World Internet Conference, bringing what critics called “credibility” to an annual event used by the country’s Communist government to promote a more controlled and censored internet globally.

      Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook went as far as praising the Communist country during his keynote speech at the conference, saying that China’s vision of cyberspace as promoted by the conference “is a vision we at Apple share.”

    • Interview: Rise Against Talk Politics And Censorship

      Yeah, let me try to sum it up as short as possible. We had a video shoot that we had decided to film on location in Virginia, where a presidential theme park had existed, but after it went out of business the huge statues of the president’s heads, just the busts, just their faces, were moved out to a field somewhere, but they were all falling apart. They were all just haphazardly strewn around this field. So we thought this would be a great place to make the video for ‘The Violence’, and we’d have these symbols of power and also show you all these different things our country had survived, all these people in power that had just come and gone. And everything was going fine, but as we approached video day we were told a board of directors, who owned the field collectively I guess, and somebody decided to look up our band and see what we’re all about and they decided that we were not the right fit for their field of weathered heads. I think the words “anti-government” were thrown around. I wish I had a better explanation as to why they shut us down, but I don’t know what “anti-government” means. I don’t know if they thought we were some of of Lord Of The Flies anarchists. I feel like anybody who’s trying to hold the government accountable for what they do could come down on either side of the argument. But regardless, the thing happened, and it kind of illustrated how polarised America is right now too, where were being shut down because of our message and who we are as a band, it brings up questions around freedom of speech, somewhat at least. But it also made me proud of Rise Against as well. That 18 years later, what we do is still something that the other side considers dangerous.

    • Politicising film censorship

      The Punjab Censor Board’s decision to ban Verna last month made little sense. Most of all because it lasted a day, and all it could achieve was spoil the film’s premiere on Thursday.

      It has since been revealed that the issues the Censor Board officials had was not that it narrated the story of a rape survivor – as had been earlier reported – but the fact that politicians and officials were being targeted. For instance, the Governor, Interior Minister, IG Police were mentioned.

    • Australian charities ‘self-censoring’ political advocacy out of fear of retribution

      Australian charities are avoiding political advocacy and “self-silencing” out of a fear that dissent will attract political retribution, a new report has found.

      Published by Pro Bono Australia and the Human Rights Law Centre, the Civil Voices report found that charities and non-government organisations operate in an “insidious” environment where “self-censorship” is rife because of funding agreements, management pressure and the “implied repercussions” of political speech.

      One of the report’s co-authors, University of Melbourne associate professor Sarah Maddison, said the findings were “fairly insidious”.

    • Amended Version of FOSTA Would Still Silence Legitimate Speech Online
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The throwaway Netflix tweet that reveals a chilling secret

      The streaming service, which has 109 million subscribers, might regret making their anonymising data collection habits public knowledge.

      The fact is Netflix watches you watching it. It’s the trade-off for having a massive online library of film and TV at your fingertips, presented to you as per your viewing habits and preferences.

      The uncomfortable truth remains that if Netflix wants to snoop into your viewing habits, or make a personal point about them, it can.

    • Inside the secret world of the corporate spies who infiltrate protests

      It was perhaps not the most glamorous assignment for a spy. Toby Kendall’s mission was to dress up as a pirate, complete with eye-patch, bandana and cutlass, and infiltrate a group of protesters.

      The campaigners had organised a walking tour of London to protest outside the premises of multinational firms, objecting to what they believed was the corporate plunder of Iraq.

    • Surveillance firms spied on campaign groups for big companies, leak shows

      British Airways, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Porsche are among five large companies that have been identified as having paid corporate intelligence firms to monitor political groups that challenged their businesses, leaked documents reveal.

      The surveillance included the use of infiltrators to spy on campaigners.

      The targets included the grieving family of Rachel Corrie, a student protester crushed to death by a bulldozer, as well as a range of environmental campaigns, and local campaigners protesting about phone masts.

      The leaked documents suggest the use of secretive corporate security firms to gather intelligence about political campaigners has been widespread. However, police chiefs have in the past raised a “massive concern” that the activities of the corporate firms are barely regulated and completely uncontrolled.

    • Battle lines have been drawn over the Data Protection bill.

      The Government have introduced an exemption into the Data Protection Bill that would remove the rights of individuals subject to an immigration procedure to discover what personal data companies and public authorities hold on them.

      The exemption if allowed to pass would set aside fundamental rights such as individuals access to personal data about them, the right to erasure, and the right to rectification, among others. With mistakes commonplace in immigration procedures, it is vital the law retains the power for individuals to hold to account those who collect and process personal data in immigration procedures.

    • FBI Director Complains About Encryption, Offers To Sacrifice Public Safety In The Interest Of Public Safety

      FBI Director Christopher Wray offered testimony to the House Judiciary Committee at a hearing entitled “Oversight of Federal Bureau of Investigation.” Not much in terms of oversight was discussed. Instead, Wray took time to ask for a reauthorization of Section 702 before using several paragraphs of his prepared comments to discuss the “going dark” problem.

      It picks up where Wray left off in October: offering up meaningless statistics about device encryption. Through the first eleven months of the fiscal year, the FBI apparently had 6,900 locked phones in its possession. Wray claims this number represents “roughly half” of the devices in the FBI’s possession. The number is meaningless, but it serves a purpose: to make it appear device encryption is resulting in thousands of unsolved crimes.

    • How Email Open Tracking Quietly Took Over the Web

      According to OMC’s data, a full 19 percent of all “conversational” email is now tracked. That’s one in five of the emails you get from your friends. And you probably never noticed.

    • The Grand Tor: How to Go Anonymous Online

      Tor protects your identity online—namely your IP address—by encrypting your traffic in at least three layers and bouncing it through a chain of three volunteer computers chosen among thousands around the world, each of which strips off just one layer of encryption before bouncing your data to the next computer. All of that makes it very difficult for anyone to trace your connection from origin to destination—not the volunteer computers relaying your information, not your [I]nternet service provider, and not the websites or online services you visit.

    • Facebook Messenger for six-year-olds: need I say why that’s a bad idea?

      Facebook promises that the collection children’s data on Messenger Kids will be limited. But limited to what, and to what end? The company owes parents a much more detailed explanation of what type of data it will be collecting on this app, and how it will be used. Not to generate ads, the company promises (at least for now). OK, but then what kind of data, exactly, will a six-year-old be providing Facebook that it needs to gather?

    • Former Facebook exec says social media is ripping apart society

      Palihapitiya’s criticisms were aimed not only at Facebook, but the wider online ecosystem. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” he said, referring to online interactions driven by “hearts, likes, thumbs-up.” “No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem — this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.”

    • Facebook is ‘destroying how society works’, former executive says
    • The Hellish Reality Of Working At An Overseas ‘Click Farm’

      They Make Thousands Of Fake Facebook Accounts

      To generate thousands upon thousands of unique clicks/views/likes a day, you’re going to need a lot of accounts. This requires new names, new emails, new passwords, etc. That’s a significant effort, and it’s a big part of what Albert and his colleagues were paid to do. “Before we had technicians [farmers] here, who all they did was create accounts, we would need to create them on the spot.

    • Analog Equivalent Privacy Rights (2/21): The analog, anonymous letter

      There is no reason for the offline liberties of our parents to not be carried over into the same online liberties for our children, regardless of whether that means somebody doesn’t know how to run a business anymore.

    • France to ban mobile phones in schools from Sept

      The French Government has announced that it will ban the use of mobile phones in primary, junior and middle schools from September next year.

    • France to ban mobile phones in schools from September

      Children will be allowed to bring their phones to school, but not allowed to get them out at any time until they leave, even during breaks.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Court Holds NYPD In Contempt For Refusing To Hand Over Documents Related To Black Live Matter Surveillance

      The NYPD continues to extend a middle finger to every entity that isn’t the NYPD. The department’s long history of doing everything it can to thwart public records requesters has been discussed here several times. It’s not on much better terms with its oversight, which it routinely ignores when directed to do something about its officers’ routine rights violations and deployment of excessive force.

      If it’s not going to be accountable to the public — either via FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) compliance or respecting the decisions of its oversight — it’s certainly not going to let the judicial branch push it around.

    • Suspect Evidence Informed a Momentous Supreme Court Decision on Criminal Sentencing

      More than 30 years ago, Congress identified what it said was a grave threat to the American promise of equal justice for all: Federal judges were giving wildly different punishments to defendants who had committed the same crimes.

      The worries were many. Some lawmakers feared lenient judges were giving criminals too little time in prison. Others suspected African-American defendants were being unfairly sentenced to steeper prison terms than white defendants.

      In 1984, Congress created the U.S. Sentencing Commission with remarkable bipartisan support. The commission would set firm punishment rules, called “guidelines,” for every offense. The measure, signed by President Ronald Reagan, largely stripped federal judges of their sentencing powers; they were now to use a chart to decide penalties for each conviction, with few exceptions.

    • We Can’t End Mass Incarceration Without Ending Money Bail

      Whether or not you are in jail should not depend on your ability to pay for your freedom. Yet that’s the way our current money bail system works. It is one of the most corrupt and broken parts of our justice system.

      Close to half a million people are in jail today awaiting trial, many of them incarcerated because they are too poor to afford cash bail. The time has come to abolish this system. The ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice is launching a nationwide campaign today to end this injustice of wealth-based incarceration, deploying all of our tools from our nationwide state affiliate structure to our strategic litigation, communication, and legislative advocacy to support bail reform movements and our partners in states across the country.

      The original purpose of bail was to serve as an incentive to return to court when a person is arrested, released, and their case proceeds. However, the current money bail system has little to do with this original intent. Rather it has mutated into a way to separate people who have money from those who don’t. People with money can almost always buy their way to freedom, regardless of the charges against them. Yet people without access to cash too often end up in jail simply because they cannot afford bail, or alternatively they must take out loans from bail companies that charge exorbitant fees.

    • EFF to Court: Accessing Publicly Available Information on the Internet Is Not a Crime

      EFF is fighting another attempt by a giant corporation to take advantage of our poorly drafted federal computer crime statute for commercial advantage—without any regard for the impact on the rest of us. This time the culprit is LinkedIn. The social networking giant wants violations of its corporate policy against using automated scripts to access public information on its website to count as felony “hacking” under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a 1986 federal law meant to criminalize breaking into private computer systems to access non-public information.

      EFF, together with our friends DuckDuckGo and the Internet Archive, have urged the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reject LinkedIn’s request to transform the CFAA from a law meant to target “hacking” into a tool for enforcing its computer use policies. Using automated scripts to access publicly available data is not “hacking,” and neither is violating a website’s terms of use. LinkedIn would have the court believe that all “bots” are bad, but they’re actually a common and necessary part of the Internet. “Good bots” were responsible for 23 percent of Web traffic in 2016. Using them to access publicly available information on the open Internet should not be punishable by years in federal prison.

    • Tory MP’s aide ‘raped woman in boss’s office’ after night drinking in parliamentary bar, court hears

      A Tory MP’s aide raped a woman in his boss’s office after a night of drinking in a parliamentary bar, a court heard.

      Samuel Armstrong, 24, the chief of staff to South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay, is accused of carrying out the attack on October 14 last year.

      The distressed woman later found and told parliamentary cleaners after wandering the corridors of Westminster, it was alleged.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC chair still refuses to help investigate net neutrality comment fraud

      The Federal Communications Commission has again refused to help New York’s attorney general investigate impersonation and other fraud in public comments on the FCC’s net neutrality repeal.

      For the past six months, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been “investigating who perpetrated a massive scheme to corrupt the FCC’s notice and comment process” by filing fraudulent comments under real people’s names. But FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s office has “refused multiple requests for crucial evidence in its sole possession,” Schneiderman wrote in an open letter to Pai last month.

    • The Free Market Argument For Net Neutrality

      On Thursday of this week, the FCC will vote to undo the 2015 Open Internet Order. While the FCC insists that this will just be bringing back the internet to the regulatory framework it had prior to 2015, that is not true. It will be changing the very basis for how the internet works and doing so in a dangerous way. Starting on Tuesday, a bunch of organizations are teaming up for a massive #BreakTheInternet protest. Please check it out. The post below is designed to answer many of the questions we’ve received about “free markets” v. “regulations” on net neutrality, and why we believe that the 2015 rules are consistent with the beliefs of those who support free market solutions.

      I’ve already written about some of the reasons why I changed my mind about net neutrality rules, in which I mentioned that my standard position is to be pretty skeptical of government intervention in innovative markets. But many of the people I know who are opposing net neutrality — including FCC Chair Ajit Pai — like to couch their opposition in “free market” terms. They talk about the “heavy hand of regulation” and “getting government out” of the internet and stuff like that. But as far as I can tell, this is a twisted, distorted understanding of both the telco world and how free markets operate. So, for those folks, let’s dig in a bit and explore the free market argument for net neutrality. And, I should note, this is clearly not the argument that many people supporting net neutrality are making, but this is why I think that even those of us who still believe in free markets helping innovation should still support rules for net neutrality.

    • Congress Took $101 Million in Donations from the ISP Industry — Here’s How Much Your Lawmaker Got

      It’s impossible to quantify the overall influence of this powerful industry, but we can chart some of it. Below you will find contributions to individual members of Congress, and those members’ leadership PACs, from 1989 to the present day. This money came from the telecommunication industry’s own PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals’ immediate families. This data was prepared for The Verge by The Center for Responsive Politics: an independent, non-partisan nonprofit research group that tracks money in US politics and its effect on elections and public policy.

    • Web pioneers plead to cancel US net vote

      “It is important to understand that the FCC’s proposed Order is based on a flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of internet technology,” the open letter read.

    • How You Can Help Save Net Neutrality

      Battle For The Net notes that writing to Congress will hopefully recruit “more members of Congress onto ‘Team Internet,’” particularly Republicans, who currently hold the majority. Since net neutrality has always been a key operating principle of the web, Battle For The Net says it shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Showing widespread public support, the organization says, will hopefully inspire legislators to push back against powerful lobbyists.

    • Vint Cerf, Steve Wozniak, and other tech luminaries call net neutrality vote an ‘imminent threat’

      The list includes some of the people responsible for creating the internet as we know it. That includes Steven Bellovin, a former FTC chief technologist who helped develop Usenet; Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web; Vinton Cerf, who co-created the internet’s underlying TCP/IP protocol; Steve Crocker, who helped develop the protocols for internet predecessor ARPANET; and Stephen Wolff, who helped transform the military ARPANET into a civilian research and communications network.

      Other signatories include Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Mozilla Foundation executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker, Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle, and Betaworks CEO John Borthwick.

    • Net neutrality: ‘father of internet’ joins tech leaders in condemning repeal plan

      “The FCC’s rushed and technically incorrect proposed order to repeal net neutrality protections without any replacement is an imminent threat to the internet we worked so hard to create. It should be stopped,” said the technology luminaries in an open letter to lawmakers with oversight of the Federal Communications Commission on Monday.

    • GitHub’s Santa wishlist: secure infrastructure workflows & net neutrality

      It’s that ‘wonderful’ time of year, when people all across the land exchange presents, meal invitations and predictions for what the open source landscape might look like in the months ahead according to our current understanding of time in relation to space and the wider universe.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA Wins: Australia To Carve Google And Facebook Out Of Its Expanded Safe Harbor Provisions

        Back in November, we discussed some reforms Australia was looking to make to its copyright laws. Chiefly at issue was how safe harbors were incorporated into the law, with those provisions applying only to primary service providers like ISPs due entirely to what appears to be a simple poor choice of words in the law. Under strict reading of the law as written, websites, libraries, and schools that allow internet users to create their own content and engage online would not be subject to safe harbor provisions, unlike the country’s American counterpart. The government initially signaled that it wanted to harmonize its law with EU and American law, before the lobbying dollars of the entertainment industry sprung into action, causing the government to walk this back a bit.

12.11.17

Links 11/12/2017: Linux 4.15 RC3, Debian 8.10 and Debian 9.3

Posted in News Roundup at 7:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • The Best Linux Laptop: A Buyer’s Guide with Picks from an RHCE

      If you don’t posses the right knowledge & the experience, then finding the best Linux laptop can be a daunting task. And thus you can easily end-up with something that looks great, features great performance, but struggles to cope with ‘Linux’, shame! So, as a RedHat Certified Engineer, the author & the webmaster of this blog, and as a ‘Linux’ user with 14+ years of experience, I used all my knowledge to recommend to you a couple of laptops that I personally guarantee will let you run ‘Linux’ with ease. After 20+ hours of research (carefully looking through the hardware details & reading user feedback) I chose Dell XP S9360-3591-SLV, at the top of the line. If you want a laptop that’s equipped with modern features & excellent performance that ‘just works’ with Linux, then this is your best pick.

      It’s well built (aluminium chassis), lightweight (2.7 lb), features powerful hardware, long battery life, includes an excellent 13.3 inch Gorilla Glass touchscreen with 3200×1800 QHD resolution which should give you excellently sharp images without making anything too small & difficult to read, a good & roomy track-pad (earlier versions had a few issues with it, but now they seem to be gone) with rubber-like palm rest area and a good keyboard (the key travel is not deep, but it’s a very think laptop so…) with Backlit, two USB 3.0 ports. Most importantly, two of the most common elements of a laptop that can give ‘Linux’ user a headache, the wireless adapter & the GPU (yes the Intel HD Graphics 620 can play 4K videos at 60fps), they are both super compatible with ‘Linux’ on this Dell.

    • HiDPI is Released! Work on Initial Setup continues and the TryPopOS contest

      You can now plug in a LoDPI external display to your Galago Pro or you HiDPI Oryx, Serval, or Bonobo and expect it to just work. The same is true when plugging a HiDPI display into any other System76 laptop. No more complicated tricks every time you plug a second monitor in.

    • System76 Rolls Out Its New HiDPI Daemon

      Linux system vendor System76 has released their new HiDPI daemon for their laptops and desktops to improving the display experience on multi-monitor configurations.

      This HiDPI daemon is geared for offering a better display experience when using both HiDPI and lower DPI displays, e.g. a HiDPI laptop display paired with a lower resolution external monitor, a desktop with multiple monitors of varying resolutions, etc.

      Their HiDPI experience is built around X.Org for now until Wayland is mature and is tested for Intel/NVIDIA graphics given those are the GPUs they are mostly shipping at this point. This daemon will listen for monitor plug/unplug events and then configure the HiDPI/LoDPI experience accordingly, allow you to switch displays between different modes if the application in use doesn’t support HiDPI properly, etc.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.15-rc3

      Another week, another rc.

      I’m not thrilled about how big the early 4.15 rc’s are, but rc3 is
      often the biggest rc because it’s still fairly early in the
      calming-down period, and yet people have had some time to start
      finding problems. That said, this rc3 is big even by rc3 standards.
      Not good.

      Most of the changes by far are drivers (with a big chunk of it being
      just syntactic changes for some doc warnings) with some perf tooling
      updates also being noticeable. But there are changes all over: core
      kernel and networking, kvm, arch updates and Documentation.

      Anyway, I sincerely hope that things are really starting to calm down now.

      Also, there’s a known issue with x86 32-bit suspend/resume that I just
      didn’t get a good patch for in time for this rc. Soon.

      Shortlog appended.

      Linus

    • Linux Kernel 4.15 Gets Another Big RC, Linus Torvalds Says It’s Not Good at All

      Linux Torvalds announced a few moments ago the release and immediate availability for download of the third Release Candidate (RC) milestone of the upcoming Linux 4.15 kernel series for Linux-based operating systems.

      If last week’s RC2 was a “bigger than expected” one, than this week the Linux 4.15 kernel saw even more patches and it just got a quite bit RC3 milestone, which Linus Torvalds says it’s big even by RC3 standards and it isn’t a good sign for the development cycle, which could be pushed to the end of January 2018.

      “I’m not thrilled about how big the early 4.15 RCs are, but RC3 is often the biggest RC because it’s still fairly early in the calming-down period, and yet people have had some time to start finding problems. That said, this RC3 is big even by RC3 standards. Not good,” said Linus Torvalds in the mailing list announcement.

    • Linux 4.15-rc3 Kernel Released

      Linus Torvalds has announced the third weekly test release of the upcoming Linux 4.15 kernel.

      It’s been a rather busy week in the Linux kernel space considering the RC3 space. The level of activity has frighten Linus, but there are still 5~6 weeks left before declaring the Linux 4.15.0 kernel as stable.

    • Linux Kernel 5.0 Will be Coming in the Summer of 2018

      In the recently concluded Open Source Summit in Prague, Linux creator Linus Torvalds discusses sits down with VP of VMware and discussed the issues surrounding the Linux Kernel. I attended the event in person and even covered it in a live video on It’s FOSS Facebook page but since not everyone is going to watch the video for over 30 minutes, I am going to list some of the key takeaways from his talk.

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • NVIDIA 387.34 vs. Linux 4.15 + Mesa 17.4-dev Radeon OpenGL/Vulkan Performance

        Tested on the Radeon side was the very latest Linux 4.15 Git code as of 6 December, including recent AMDGPU fixes that landed mainline after the 4.15 merge window. The user-space graphics stack was Mesa 17.4-dev built against LLVM 6.0 SVN provided by the Padoka PPA. Fresh AMDGPU-PRO benchmarks will be coming upon the next driver update. The AMD graphics cards tested were the Radeon RX 580, R9 Fury, RX Vega 56, and RX Vega 64.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Elisa 0.0.80 Released

        Elisa is a music player designed to be simple and nice to use.

        Elisa allows to browse music by album, artist or all tracks. The music is indexed using either a private indexer or an indexer using Baloo. The private one can be configured to scan music on chosen paths. The Baloo one is much faster because Baloo is providing all needed data from its own database. You can build and play your own playlist.

      • You Can Now Easily Send/Receive SMS Messages From The KDE Desktop

        A long-standing KDE initiative that hasn’t received as much attention as it deserves is KDE Connect for allowing KDE to interface with other devices — namely smartphones — for being able to display phone notifications on your desktop and more. A new KDE Plasmoid makes it easy now to send/receive SMS text messages.

      • Send SMS messages from your Plasma Desktop

        Once you have it configured to use the correct device, you type in the phone number of the person you wish to send the message to in the first box (as below). Please note this needs to be the international dialling code (ie +44 for the UK, +353 for Ireland). Then type your message and click the Send button, it’s that simple!

      • KDE’s Elisa Music Player Prepares Its First Alpha Release

        The developers working on the KDE Elisa music player, which was announced earlier this year among several ongoing KDE multimedia player projects is out with its first alpha release ahead of Elisa v0.1.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.41.0 Released with More Than 120 Improvements and Bugfixes

        The KDE Project released today a new version of its open-source KDE Frameworks software stack, a collection of over 70 add-on libraries to the Qt application framework, for GNU/Linux distributions.

        Each month, KDE releases a new KDE Frameworks build, and version 5.41.0 is now available for December 2017, bringing a month’s worth of improvements, bug and security fixes, as well as updated translations.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.41 Released Ahead Of KDE Applications 17.12

        KDE Frameworks 5.41 is now available as the latest monthly update to this collection of add-on libraries complementing Qt5.

        KDE Frameworks 5.41 has a number of fixes including some crash fixes, updated translations, improvements to Kirigami, support for the idle inhibit manager protocol in KWayland, many Plasma Framework changes, and other updates.

      • Release of KDE Frameworks 5.41.0

        December 10, 2017. KDE today announces the release of KDE Frameworks 5.41.0.

        KDE Frameworks are 70 addon libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms. For an introduction see the Frameworks 5.0 release announcement.

      • [Kubuntu] Testing a switch to default Breeze-Dark Plasma theme in Bionic daily isos and default settings

        Today’s daily ISO for Bionic Beaver 18.04 sees an experimental switch to the Breeze-Dark Plasma theme by default.

        Users running 18.04 development version who have not deliberately opted to use Breeze/Breeze-Light in their systemsettings will also see the change after upgrading packages.

        Users can easily revert back to the Breeze/Breeze-Light Plasma themes by changing this in systemsettings.

      • Kubuntu 18.04 LTS Could Switch to Breeze-Dark Plasma Theme by Default, Test Now

        The latest daily build live ISO images that landed earlier today for Kubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) apparently uses the Breeze-Dark Plasma theme for the KDE Plasma 5.11 desktop environment by default. However, we’ve been told that it’s currently an experiment to get the pulse of the community.

        “Users running [Kubuntu] 18.04 development version who have not deliberately opted to use Breeze/Breeze-Light in their System Settings will also see the change after upgrading packages,” said the devs. “Users can easily revert back to the Breeze/Breeze-Light Plasma themes by changing this in System Settings.”

      • Interview with Rytelier

        The amount of convenience is very high compared to other programs. The amount of “this one should be designed in a better way, it annoys me” things is the smallest of all the programs I use, and if something is broken, then most of these functions are announced to improve in 4.0.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Grow your skills with GNOME

        For the past 3 years I’ve been working very hard because I fulfill a number of these roles for Builder. It’s exhausting and unsustainable. It contributes to burnout and hostile communication by putting too much responsibility on too few people’s shoulders.

      • GTK4, GNOME’s Wayland Support & Vulkan Renderer Topped GNOME In 2017
      • A Lot Of Improvements Are Building Up For GIMP 2.9.8, Including Better Wayland Support

        It’s been four months since the release of GIMP 2.9.6 and while GIMP 2.9 developments are sadly not too frequent, the next GIMP 2.9.8 release is preparing a host of changes.

        Of excitement to those trying to use GIMP in a Wayland-based Linux desktop environment, GIMP’s color picker has just picked up support for working on KDE/Wayland as well as some other Color Picker improvements to help GNOME/Wayland too. GIMP’s Screenshot plugin also now has support for taking screenshots on KDE/Wayland either as a full-screen or individual windows. Granted, GIMP won’t be all nice and dandy on Wayland itself until seeing the long-awaited GTK3 (or straight to GTK4) port.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Manjaro Linux – One Of The Finest Linux Distros

        I must say I am quite impressed with the latest iteration of Manjaro. The experience is fluid and smooth, fast and clean and it is very organized. I even found the experience on the Deepin edition better than on the Deepin distro. Manjaro clearly signifies why Arch-based distros that take them away out of the installation are becoming so popular.

        A simple installation process, access to Arch based features such as AUR and added to the fact that it is a rolling-based distro makes it a winner for me. I also love that all the major desktop environments are available on Manjaro allowing users to choose what they want. If you were on the fence about Manjaro, I believe it’s viable as your working desktop and it is definitely worth checking out. Thanks for reading and share your thoughts and comments with us.

      • Review: heads 0.3.1

        heads is a live Linux distribution which can be run from a DVD or USB thumb drive. The distribution connects to the Internet through the Tor network. This helps protect the identity and location of the person using heads. The heads distribution is very similar to its popular sibling, Tails, in its mission, but heads has some special characteristics which set it apart. The heads distribution is based on Devuan while Tails is based on Debian, which means heads uses the SysV init software rather than systemd. The heads project is also dedicated to shipping a distribution which features free software only, as the heads website explains:

        Non-free software can not be audited and as such cannot guarantee you security or anonymity. On the other hand, with heads you only use free software, meaning you can gain access to any source code that is included in heads, at any time. Using free software it is far easier to avoid hidden backdoors and malware that might be in non-free software.

        heads is available in a single edition which is 831MB in size. When booting from the project’s ISO, we are given the option of booting heads normally from the disc or loading the distribution into RAM. The latter option frees up our removable drive and can make applications load faster after the initial boot process has completed.

        The distribution boots to a command line interface and automatically logs us in as a user called luther. On the screen we are shown the root account’s password along with commands we can run to launch a graphical interface. The default shell for the luther account is zsh, a less common shell than bash, but often loved for its additional features. heads ships with the Awesome and Openbox window managers and we can choose which one we wish to launch from the command line. I focused on using Openbox during my trial.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • ROSA Desktop Fresh R10 Still Lets You Pick Between KDE 4 & Plasma 5

        For our Russian readers who are fans of the KDE desktop, ROSA Desktop Fresh R10 was released this week as one of the notable Russian Linux distributions that is aligned with a KDE desktop. ROSA Desktop Fresh continues offering both KDE 4 and KDE Plasma 5 desktop options.

        While the distribution is called ROSA Desktop Fresh, not everything is fresh about its packages besides still having around KDE4. ROSA Desktop Fresh R10 is still sadly using the Mesa 17.1 release series. On the kernel front they are shipping Linux 4.9.60 which is an LTS release albeit still rather dated for desktop hardware support.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 9.3 Released With Bug Fixes, Security Updates

        Debian 9.3 is the latest update to “Stretch” to provide various bug fixes and security updates while Debian 8.10 was also released today as the newest version of their older “Jessie” release.

      • Updated version of Debian Linux 8/9 has been released
      • Debian GNU/Linux 9.3 “Stretch” Live, Installable ISOs Now Available to Download

        The Debian CD team was pretty quick to bake all those ISO images in less than 24 hours, and users can now download Debian GNU/Linux 9.3 “Stretch” as live and installable ISOs for a wide range of architectures if they were planning on reinstalling their Debian PCs or deploy the OS on new computers.

        Debian GNU/Linux 9.3 “Stretch” is currently supported on no less than 10 hardware architectures, including 32-bit (i386), 64-bit (amd64), ARM64 (AArch64), Armel, ARMhf, MIPS, Mipsel, MIPS64el (MIPS 64-bit Little Endian), PPC64el (PowerPC 64-bit Little Endian), and s390x (IBM System z).

      • Debian 8.10 and Debian 9.3 released – CDs and DVDs published
      • “Rock Solid” Debian 9.3 And “Lightweight” Bodhi Linux 4.4.0 Available — Download Here

        In early 2017, the Debian Release team pushed Debian 9.0 “stretch” release, which would remain supported for the next 5 years. Named after Toy Story’s rubber toy octopus, this release has just witnessed its third update in the form of Debian 9.3 (release notes).

        As expected, Debian “stretch” 9.3 ships with tons of security patches and fixes for some serious issues. Prior to this release, on various instances, security advisories for different issues have already been released.

      • Derivatives

        • The importance of Devuan

          Yes, you read right: too expensive. While I am writing here in flowery words, the reason to use Devuan is hard calculated costs. We are a small team at ungleich and we simply don’t have the time to fix problems caused by systemd on a daily basis. This is even without calculating the security risks that come with systemd. Our objective is to create a great, easy-to-use platform for VM hosting, not to walk a tightrope.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • 3rd Ubucon Europe 2018

            Yes! A new edition for ubunteros around the world!

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu-Based ExTiX “The Ultimate Linux System” Now Includes Calamares Installer

              ExTiX 18.0 Deepin 171208 is the latest build of the distro, and it includes the recently released Deepin 15.5 Desktop, the Calamares 3.1.9 universal installer framework, which replaces the old Refracta Installer, as well as Refracta Tools, which lets users create their own live ISO images based on ExTiX or Ubuntu.

              “I’ve released a new version of ExTIX 18.0 Deepin today with Calamares 3.1.9 installed from source,” said Arne Exton in the release announcement. “While running ExTiX Deepin 18.0 live or from hard drive you can use Refracta Tools (pre-installed) to create your own live installable Ubuntu system. A ten-year child can do it!”

            • New Linux Mint installation guide makes switching from Windows 10 even easier

              There is a notion that installing a Linux-based operating system can be hard. In 2017, this is absolutely false (with the exception of Arch, that is). Many years ago, installing a distribution could be difficult, but nowadays, it can be downright easy. Quite frankly, installing Linux can sometimes be easier than Windows these days, since you don’t have to go hunting for drivers and software all over the web. If you have been fearful of replacing Windows 10 with an operating system like Linux Mint — don’t be.

              But OK, understandably, some people have anxiety about changing their computer’s operating system. If that is you, I am happy to say Linux Mint has a brand new installation guide that should quell any fears. Not only does it help with technical aspects, but it can guide you to the best edition for your needs. Mint in particular is a great alternative to Windows 10.

            • What’s New in Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon Edition

              Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon edition is the latest release of Linux Mint 18 series features Cinnamon Desktop 3.6 as default desktop environment. Cinnamon 3.6 is the largest and most important part of the Linux Mint 18.3 release. It includes loads of improvements, new features and bug fixes.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Databases

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD Now Officially Supports 64-bit ARM

      OpenBSD has graduated its 64-bit ARM (ARM64) architecture to being officially supported.

      As outlined in the OpenBSD Journal with a change made this week by lead OpenBSD developer Theo de Raadt, OpenBSD’s ARM64 support is now considered officially supported.

  • Programming/Development

    • LLVM Clang 6.0 Now Defaults To C++14

      Up to now LLVM’s Clang C/C++ compiler has defaulted to using C++98/GNU++98 as its default C++ standard, but fortunately that’s no more.

      Clang’s default C++ dialect is now GNU++14 version of C++14 rather than GNU++98 (C++98).

      The older versions of the C++ standard remain available and can be set via the -std= argument, just as those previously could have specified C++11 / C++14 / C++17, but now in cases where not specified, GNU++14/C++14 is the default.

Leftovers

  • The art of the usability interview

    During a usability test, it’s important to understand what the tester is thinking. What were they looking for when they couldn’t find a button or menu item? During the usability test, I recommend that you try to observe, take notes, capture as much data as you can about what the tester is doing. Only after the tester is finished with a scenario or set of scenarios should you ask questions.

  • The Corruption of College Athletics

    Freshman athletes need 90 percent to be eligible to play their sport, sophomores need 95 percent, and then it is 100 percent for juniors and seniors. OK, that is a bit of a break already, at least for the freshmen and sophomores. And maintaining a minimum GPA should not be that hard. However, with all the money at stake for the institution, most of these schools do not want to take any chances about high-performing athletes staying eligible.

    The result of this pressure was laid bare by a New York Times article of Oct. 14. It appeared in the Sports Saturday section and was entitled “N.C.A.A. Declines to Punish North Carolina for Academic Fraud.” It seems that for nearly the last 20 years the administrators of the highly regarded University of North Carolina were “running one of the worst academic fraud schemes in college sports history, involving [200] fake classes that enabled dozens of athletes to gain and maintain their eligibility.”

    However, the university was not penalized by the N.C.A.A. because the organization has no rules against fraudulent classes as long as they are not open only to athletes. In this case, although really designed with student athletes in mind, the “paper” classes were technically open to everyone. “Similar misconduct has been alleged at Auburn [in Georgia] and Michigan.”

  • Science

    • Voucher Schools Championed By Betsy DeVos Can Teach Whatever They Want. Turns Out They Teach Lies.

      It was late morning in an artsy cafe, the smell of coffee and baked goods sweetening the air, and Ashley Bishop sat at a table, recalling a time when she was taught that most of secular American society was worthy of contempt.

      Growing up in private evangelical Christian schools, Bishop saw the world in extremes, good and evil, heaven and hell. She was taught that to dance was to sin, that gay people were child molesters and that mental illness was a function of satanic influence. Teachers at her schools talked about slavery as black immigration, and instructors called environmentalists “hippie witches.”

      Bishop’s family moved around a lot when she was a child, but her family always enrolled her in evangelical schools.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • NHS trust boss resigns in protest over underfunding of health services

      Bob Kerslake, who was the head of the civil service until 2015, is quitting as the chairman of the board at King’s College hospital in London, after a long-running dispute with the NHS watchdog over its finances. Ministers are in denial about the reality of how much extra money the NHS requires, he says.

      In an article for the Guardian, Lord Kerslake, a highly respected crossbench peer and former permanent secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government, explains that he is stepping down because hospitals are being asked to agree to meet unrealistically demanding savings targets.

    • How to Save Money on Your Prescription Drugs

      If you’re willing to do a little extra work, it is possible to lower your prescription bills.

      A reporter for The New York Times and a reporter for ProPublica both found instances this year in which drugs prescribed for family members could be purchased for less money without using their insurance coverage.

    • When Buying Prescription Drugs, Some Pay More With Insurance Than Without It

      Having health insurance is supposed to save you money on your prescriptions. But increasingly, consumers are finding that isn’t the case.

      Patrik Swanljung found this out when he went to fill a prescription for a generic cholesterol drug. In May, Swanljung handed his Medicare prescription card to the pharmacist at his local Walgreens and was told that he owed $83.94 for a three-month supply.

      Alarmed at that price, Swanljung went online and found Blink Health, a start-up, offering the same drug — generic Crestor — for $45.89.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • 44,000 US Troops on ‘Unknown’ Deployments Worldwide

      When the Pentagon wants to mislead the public about where US troops are, generally speaking, they just lie. Yet sometimes the number of troops is just too big to claim as a rounding error, and questions start happening.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Australia Seeks New Gag Laws That Could See Journalists And Whistleblowers Jailed for 20 Years

      Australian government and intelligence whistleblowers — and potentially even journalists — may face up to 20 years in jail for disclosing classified information under the most sweeping changes to the country’s secrecy laws since they were introduced.

      The Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced a broad package of reforms aimed at curbing foreign interference from countries including China and Russia.

      The legislation was introduced by Turnbull in the House of Representatives immediately after marriage equality passed on Thursday evening, and the otherwise full House of Representatives was emptied as celebrations were underway.

      While the reforms have been flagged for many months, they were only introduced on the last sitting day of parliament this year, and go much further than previously believed.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • New Conservative Argument: Climate Change Is So Awesome, You Guys

      In my worst post-apocalyptic imaginings, there is a place in my mind where a ravenous sea has encroached over every surface, ankle to knee to thigh to belly to throat. On a lone and desolate promontory clings one last living human who shrieks into the maelstrom a final defiance even as the pitiless rain clogs his throat: “In the church of climate alarmism, there may be no heresy more dangerous than the idea that the world will benefit from warming.”

      His name is Jeff.

      Not “may benefit,” mind you. “Will benefit.” The power of positive thinking meets the end of everything. And in conservative circles, many of the denials that climate disruption is really happening are now being seamlessly replaced with guarantees of coming greatness.

    • Energy Secretary Perry agrees to extension on pro-coal, nuclear rulemaking

      Perry proposed a rule in late September that would require grid operators to change how they value “reliability and resilience attributes” in energy generation. Specifically, generation plants with such attributes were defined by the Energy Secretary as plants that could keep a 90-day supply of fuel onsite. Although the proposed rule was written to appear energy-agnostic, it clearly favors coal and nuclear plants. Natural gas tends to be delivered by pipeline and is rarely stored onsite in large quantities, and wind and solar energy have free but variable fuel sources, though pioneers in the field are trying to mitigate this with the help of stationary storage.

      Without government intervention, coal has become more expensive to burn compared to natural gas in many areas. It’s also a major contributor to climate change, something the president has falsely called a hoax.

    • Scientists use artificial intelligence to eavesdrop on dolphins

      Scientists have developed an algorithm to monitor the underwater chatter of dolphins with the help of machine learning.

      Using autonomous underwater sensors, researchers working in the Gulf of Mexico spent two years making recordings of dolphin echolocation clicks.

      The result was a data set of 52 million click noises.

      To sort through this vast amount of information, the scientists employed an “unsupervised” algorithm that automatically classified the noises into categories.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Facebook allowed political ads that were scams and malware
    • With 2020 Census Looming, Worries About Fairness and Accuracy

      Neither Mr. Brunell nor the Trump administration has addressed that interest, first reported in Politico. Former officials of the bureau said in interviews that Mr. Brunell lacked managerial experience for a position long held by experienced executives. Civil rights advocates said they worried that his appointment would signal partisan meddling in a census whose usefulness in drawing legislative districts depends entirely on its credibility.

    • Alibaba’s Ma Says China Benefits From Stability of One Party

      It is Ma’s second explicitly political declaration this week. At China’s World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Alibaba’s chairman spoke out in support of the government’s tight control online and lectured foreign competitors on their strategies in the country. He said companies like Facebook Inc. and Google that want to operate in China need to “follow the rules,” implying they need to adhere to censorship controls to gain access to its citizens.

    • A Bit about Dossiers: You’ve Been Eating this FUD for Years

      Is there media complicity here? Sure, to some degree; the point of origin may be lost and the first news outlets may not perceive the importance of information’s provenance because to them the origin is still visible; witness this week’s reporting by U.S. news outlets all ultimately relying on a single German business paper’s report. But the news media doesn’t bear all the culpability here. News consumers in the U.S. have been notoriously lax in validating content for decades.

      It’s unsurprising given the antiquity of the admonishment, Caveat emptor. It has long been a problem that consumers of goods whether information or products and services must be more skeptical before committing their wallets and health, let alone their votes.

      Social media has only made the job of laundering information even easier, between the number of washings platforms can offer and the automation of repetition, scale, and dispersion, all for a pittance. Over the last ten years the work I did as a researcher has become incredibly difficult; tracing the origin of a single piece of highly controversial or relatively arcane news originating overseas is like swimming against a mighty current.

    • The Year of the Headless Liberal Chicken

      First came the overwhelming shock of Hillary Clinton’s loss to Trump, a repulsive, word salad-babbling buffoon with absolutely no political experience who the media had been portraying to liberals as the Second Coming of Adolf Hitler. This was a candidate, let’s recall, who jabbered about building a “beautiful wall” to protect us from the hordes of “Mexican rapists” and other “bad hombres” who were invading America, and who had boasted about grabbing women “by the pussy” like a prepubescent 6th grade boy. While he had served as a perfect foil for Clinton, and had provided hours of entertainment in a comic book villain kind of way, the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency was inconceivable in the minds of liberals. So, when it happened, it was like the Martians had invaded.

      Mass hysteria gripped the nation. There was beaucoup wailing and gnashing of teeth. Liberals began exhibiting irrational and, in some cases, rather disturbing behaviors. Many degenerated into dissociative states and just sat there with their phones for hours obsessively reloading the popular vote count, which Clinton had won, on FiveThirtyEight. Others festooned themselves with safety pins and went out looking for defenseless minorities who they could “demonstrate solidarity” with. Owen Jones flew in from London to join his colleague Steven Thrasher, who was organizing a guerilla force to resist “the normalization of Trump” and the global race war he was about to launch, which “not all of us were going to get out of alive.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Lawmaker Wants Porn Blockers On All Computers Sold In Kentucky
    • Saif Ali Khan is not a victim of censorship

      Saif Ali Khan’s black comedy Kaalakandi was in the news for getting close to 70 cuts by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). Eventually, the makers had to take their movie to the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) for a rewatch. However, Saif is unperturbed about it. “As far as Kaalakandi goes, I think the FCAT was great. They passed he movie with one cut, which was good,” he says.

    • Google hiring 10,000 reviewers to censor YouTube content

      The requirements to file an appeal against demonetization are extremely demanding, leaving most small producers with zero recourse. To file an appeal, the channel must either have more than 10,000 subscribers, or the video in question must have at least 1,000 views within the past seven days. Producers are also not informed of when or what in their video the system finds inappropriate. Both small and large producers have complained on Twitter of double-digit percentage drops in new views after their videos have been demonetized, making it even more difficult to meet appeal requirements.
      Google is not alone in its expansion of automated censorship. Last week, Facebook announced its newly implemented system to scan users’ posts and contact police and other first-responders, ostensibly to prevent suicide.
      Last month, Google admitted to “demoting” content from RT and Sputnik news in its search engine and news service, confirming allegations by the World Socialist Web Site that the company engages in mass political censorship in the name of fighting “fake news.”

    • Government attempts at censorship futile, says Indonesian poet

      ATTEMPTS by the government to censor the media will end in failure, says Indonesian poet Goenawan Mohamad.

      The veteran author of Tempo Tempo magazine said based on his experience, such attempts often fail.

      “From my past experience with censorship, I find that it never lasts and always ends in failure.

    • Attempts to censor the media will fail, veteran editor tells Umno

      Any attempts by Umno or the government to crack down on the media would eventually fail, an Indonesian veteran editor cautioned today.

      Goenawan Mohamad, one of the founding editor of Indonesia’s Tempo magazine, noted that it would be impossible to sustain such attempts and as such, it would be a waste of time to even try to do so.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Analog Equivalent Privacy Rights: Our children should have the same rights as our parents

      In a series of 21 posts on this blog, we’ll examine how privacy rights — essential civil liberties — have been completely lost in the transition to digital. The erosion is nothing short of catastrophic.

    • Uber has settled with a woman whose medical files an executive accessed after she was raped

      The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

    • Uber settles second US lawsuit filed by India rape victim

      According to Friday court filings, Uber has settled a lawsuit filed by an unnamed woman who said her medical records were improperly accessed by an Uber executive after she was raped by her driver in India in 2014.

      That driver, Shiv Kumar Yadav, was sentenced to life in prison in 2015. That same year, the victim sued Uber in federal court in San Francisco and reached a confidential settlement with the company.

    • Champing at the Cyberbit

      This report describes a campaign of targeted malware attacks apparently carried out by Ethiopia from 2016 until the present. I

    • What Happens When the Government Uses Facebook as a Weapon?

      Until it became crushing. Since being elected in May 2016, Duterte has turned Facebook into a weapon. The same Facebook personalities who fought dirty to see Duterte win were brought inside the Malacañang Palace. From there they are methodically taking down opponents, including a prominent senator and human-rights activist who became the target of vicious online attacks and was ultimately jailed on a drug charge.
      And then, as Ressa began probing the government’s use of social media and writing stories critical of the new president, the force of Facebook was turned against her.

      [...]

      Rappler demonstrated its seriousness, however, by dominating the 2012 coverage of the impeachment trial of the chief justice of the supreme court. The next year the company put together a public debate forum for Senate candidates that was livestreamed on Facebook. As each candidate answered questions, audience members clicked on what Rappler called a mood meter, and a line gauging their reactions popped up on a screen next to the candidate. It was a breakout moment for Rappler, even if the candidates vowed never to participate in that setting again—they described the experience as nerve-wracking. (Ressa says that reaction partly explains why Duterte was the only candidate to accept her invitation for her presidential forum.)
      Rappler was given another boost in March 2015 when it entered into a partnership with Internet.org, a free service established by Facebook Inc. aimed at giving the world’s then nearly 5 billion unconnected people access to the internet—and, of course, to Facebook. The program was meant to highlight the company’s expansive vision of itself. Facebook wasn’t just about connecting friends anymore. It was becoming a basic necessity, a powerful tool for poor and sometimes isolated people in Colombia, India, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia—and now the Philippines.

    • German intelligence warns of increased Chinese cyberspying

      Maassen warned that Chinese cybergroups are also using so-called “supply-chain attacks” to get around companies’ online defenses. Such attacks target IT workers and others who work for a trusted service providers in order to send malicious software into the networks of organizations the attackers are interested in.

    • Think twice before buying a connected toy

      Beyond security vulnerabilities, the way these companies treat data is worth considering.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Police Murder of Daniel Shaver

      The background is simple. Shaver was a traveling pest control worker. He was in his hotel room (a La Quinta Inn) showing off to guests a pellet gun he used for work. Police responded to a 911 call claiming that a man was pointing a rifle out a window. When police arrived, Shaver was alone with a woman. They had been drinking. The police ordered them out of the room, and they came out, raised their hands, and got on their knees. So far, thing seem routine. Police responded to a call from a concerned bystander, they were concerned that the suspect may have a gun, so they demanded to clearly see Shaver’s hands. That’s entirely fair and appropriate. Then, however, things got strange — very strange — rather than asking Shaver and his friend to keep their hands visible while police (who, at this point, had guns pointing straight at both of them) approached and applied handcuffs, they ask them to crawl towards police in a highly-specific way.

      [...]

      Essentially, what the police told an innocent, law-abiding, intoxicated American was this: Follow my highly-specific, very strange instructions or die. There was no need to make him crawl. The police were in command of the situation. At no point is there a visible weapon. I have seen soldiers deal with al Qaeda terrorists with more professionalism and poise. When a man is prone, his hands are visible, and your gun is trained upon him, he is in your power.

      [...]

      Arizona law defines second-degree murder as killing a person without premeditation “under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, the person recklessly engages in conduct that creates a grave risk of death and thereby causes the death of another person.” In this instance, the charge fit the crime. The jury’s verdict was a gross miscarriage of justice. My heart breaks for Daniel Shaver’s family.

    • After Deadly Vice Sting, Advocates Say End to Prostitution Arrests Is Long Overdue

      Song’s death comes seven months after the NYPD pledged to arrest fewer people on prostitution charges — part of a larger initiative to build trust, particularly in immigrant communities, even as President Trump’s immigration policy stokes fear of deportation. Song had been previously arrested in Queens on September 27, 2017. Her case was referred to the Queens human trafficking court, which handles prostitution-related cases. Her next court date was scheduled for December 1.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Ajit Pai jokes with Verizon exec about him being a “puppet” FCC chair

      On Thursday night in Washington, DC, net neutrality advocates gathered outside the annual Federal Communications Commission Chairman’s Dinner to protest Chairman Ajit Pai’s impending rollback of net neutrality rules.

      Inside the dinner (also known as the “telecom prom”) at the Washington Hilton, Pai entertained the audience with jokes about him being a puppet installed by Verizon to lead the FCC.

    • Net Neutrality isn’t the only thing the current FCC is screwing up

      Lost amid the furor over the Federal Communications Commission’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad decision to reverse net neutrality requirements is another, equally awful decision that has slipped through the cracks.

      In mid-November, the Commission decided to “re-think” it’s Lifeline program, which provides subsidies for broadband internet subscriptions to low-income Americans in cities and tribal regions around the country.

    • This is the future if net neutrality is repealed; the creeping, costly death of media freedom

      There will be a legal argument back and forth, there will be petitions, but if this is how the FCC wishes for things to be, it will stay. So I want to walk you through what potentially could happen to America.

    • FCC Chairman Ajit Pai ‘jokes’ about being a Verizon shill

      Aside from the jokes falling flat, there are all kinds of problems with the routine. To start, FCC officials shouldn’t be joking about being shills. Whether or not they have industry backgrounds (like former Chairman Tom Wheeler), they’re supposed to take corruption allegations seriously instead of turning them into comedy sketches. The humor fails in part because there’s a painful degree of truth to it — it wouldn’t have come up if Pai weren’t pursuing the exact deregulation policies that major telecoms want. And crucially, telecom executives shouldn’t ever be involved. If anything, Grillo’s inclusion in the skit supports accusations that Pai is on the take, since he’s clearly cozy enough with Verizon to recruit one of its VPs for a gag.

    • The Neutrality Network
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Hitchcock cameo steals opening of Oracle v Google Java spat

        Oracle’s long-running legal battle to get what it believes is it’s fair share from Google’s Android reopened this week – the second time an Appeals Court on Federal Circuit has examined the issue. The first hour overran with a bumpy ride for Google.

        In under an hour we got an idea of the battle lines, and the judge’s scepticism about both sides.

        While Google quietly writes Android’s replacement in full public view – yes, you can examine progress every night – this case hinges around whether Google should be permitted to copy Java without a licence. The copying is not in question: some 11,000 lines of Sun’s Java code ended up in Android. The absence of a licence is not in question either. And emails show Android developers admitting that it’s so close to Java they needed a licence.

      • Hollywood and Netflix Ask Court to Seize Tickbox Streaming Devices

        A group of major Hollywood studios plus Amazon and Netflix have asked a California court to halt the infringing activities of TickBox TV, a Kodi-powered streaming device. As part of their ongoing lawsuit, the companies request an injunction requiring Tickbox to remove infringing add-ons and for existing devices to be seized.

      • Dutch Film Distributor Wins Right To Chase Pirates, Store Data For 5 Years

        Film distribution Dutch FilmWorks has been successful following its application earlier this year to track BitTorrent pirates and store their data. In a decision handed down Wednesday, the Dutch Data Protection Authority said that permission had been granted for IP address and other information to be stored for up to five years.

12.09.17

Links 9/12/2017: Mesa 17.3, Wine 3.0 RC1, New Debian Builds

Posted in News Roundup at 12:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • PR: Bergmannos – New Linux-Based Os for Mining

    Bergmann Team has developed a new Linux-based OS for mining BergmannOS, that enables full control over the rigs and automatization of the cryptocurrency mining. Since December 11, 2017 during the entire period of ICO BergmannOS the participants will have access to a shippable beta version of the software complex for miners.

    Already in the beta version of BergmannOS miners will be able to estimate the benefits of the main functions of the system. Users are guaranteed 24/7 real time control of the devices, auto and manual tuning of the units, autotuning of video cards (after first update), warning messages in the event of failures, reports on unites’ work, marketing quotation of crypto currencies and news from crypto world. User-friendly interface makes the usage of the system easier.

  • Publisher of Linux Journal says November was its last issue

    The magazine has also completed its 2017 archive which it would normally sell but will now be sent to subscribers for free.

    “It has been a great run, folks,” concluded Fairchild. “A big hats-off to everyone who contributed to our birth, our success and our persistence over these many years. We’d run the credits now, but the list would be too long, and the risk of leaving worthy people out would be too high. You know who you are. Our thanks again.”

  • Server

    • Kubernetes Ecosystem Grows as Cloud Native Computing Foundation Expands

      The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) was first launched by the Linux Foundation in July 2015, with a single project at the time: Kubernetes. At the CloudNativeCon/Kubecon North America Event in Austin, Texas, there are now 14 projects and an expanding membership base.

      The pace of growth for the CNCF has not been uniform, though, with much of the growth happening over the course of 2017, as Kubernetes and demand for cloud-native technologies has grown.

    • Kata Containers Project launches to secure container infrastructure

      At KubeCon in Austin, Texas, the OpenStack Foundation announced a new-open source project, Kata Containers. This new container project unites Intel Clear Containers with Hyper’s runV. The aim? To unite the security advantages of virtual machines (VMs) with the speed and manageability of container technologies.

      It does this by provides container isolation and security without the overhead of running them in a Virtual Machine (VM). Usually. Containers are run in VMs for security, but that removes some of the advantages of using containers with their small resources footprint. The purpose of runV was to make VMs run like containers. In Kata, this approach is combined with Intel’s Clear Containers, which uses Intel built-in chip Virtual Technology (VT), to launch containers in lightweight virtual machines (VMs). With Kata, those containers are launched in runV.

    • Deletion and Garbage Collection of Kubernetes Objects

      With the Kubernetes container orchestration engine, concepts and objects build on top of each other. An example we described previously is how deployments build on top of replica sets to ensure availability, and replica sets build on top of Pods to get scheduling for free.

      What exactly happens when we delete a deployment? We would not only expect the deployment itself to be deleted, but also the replica sets and pods that are managed by the deployment.

    • Kubernetes Preview: ‘Apps Workloads’ Enabled by Default, Windows Capabilities Move Forward

      Kubernetes 1.9 will feature a ready-for-prime-time Apps Workloads, Windows functionality moving into beta and forward moves in storage.

    • Salesforce is latest big tech vendor to join the Cloud Native Computing Foundation

      Salesforce announced today that it was joining the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), the open-source organization that manages Kubernetes, the popular open-source container orchestration tool.

      It is the latest in a long line of big name companies, joining the likes of AWS, Oracle, Microsoft, VMware and Pivotal, all of whom joined in a flurry of activity earlier this year. Most of these other companies have more of a cloud infrastructure angle. Salesforce is a SaaS vendor, but it too is seeing what so many others are seeing: containerization provides a way to more tightly control the development process. Kubernetes and cloud native computing in general are a big part of that, and Salesforce wants a piece of the action.

    • How the Cloud Native Computing Foundation Is Advancing Cloud Projects

      The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) kicked off its Kubecon CloudNativeCon North America conference on Dec. 6 with a host of announcements about its’ expanding open-source cloud efforts. The CNCF is home to the Kubernetes container orchestration system as well as 13 additional cloud project that enable organizations to build cloud native architectures.

      Among the announcements at the event, which has over 4,000 attendees, are new members as well as multiple project updates, including 1.0 releases from the containerd, Jaeger, CoreDNS and Fluentd projects.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Control Your Cursor With Your Webcam – For The Record

      Control Your cursor With Your Webcam using eViacam. It’s easy and in this episode I’ll show how I can control my mouse cursor with the power of my mind; er, I meant head. Using an application called eViacam, you can make the Linux desktop accessible even if you’re unable to use your arms or hands.

  • Kernel Space

    • Why the Zephyr Project Uses Vendor HALs

      The use of vendor-supplied HALs (Hardware Abstraction Layers) in open source projects has been a source of ongoing discussion. At the October ELC Europe conference in Prague, we took up the topic again.

      In “Using SoC Vendor HALs in the Zephyr Project,” Zephyr Project contributor Maureen Helm, an MCU Software Architect at NXP, discussed the pros and cons of using vendor HALs. Ultimately, she argued that that the benefits far outweigh the tradeoffs. This viewpoint was expanded upon in a recent Zephyr Project blog post by Helm and Frank Ohlhorst.

      The main reason for using vendor-supplied HALs is to reduce coding and testing time. The Zephyr Project maintains and develops the lightweight Zephyr OS for microcontroller units (MCUs), the number and variety of which have soared in recent years.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Running OpenCL On The CPU With POCL 1.0, Xeon & EPYC Testing

        This week marked the release of the long-awaited POCL 1.0 release candidate. For the uninformed POCL, or the Portable Computing Language, is a portable implementation of OpenCL 1.2~2.0 that can run on CPUs with its LLVM code generation and has also seen back-ends for its OpenCL implementation atop AMD HSA and even NVIDIA CUDA. I’ve been trying out POCL 1.0-RC1 on various Intel and AMD CPUs.

      • Intel Stages More Graphics DRM Changes For Linux 4.16

        Last week Intel submitted their first batch of i915 DRM driver changes to DRM-Next that in turn is slated for Linux 4.16. Today they sent in their second round of feature updates.

        This latest batch of material for DRM-Next / Linux 4.16 includes continued work on execlist improvements, better GPU cache invalidation, various code clean-ups, continued stabilization of Cannonlake “Gen 10″ graphics support, display plane improvements, continued GuC and HuC updates, a hardware workaround for Geminilake performance, more robust GPU reset handling, and a variety of other fixes and code clean-ups/improvements.

      • mesa 17.3.0

        The release consists of approximately 2700 commits from over 120 developers.

      • Mesa 17.3 Brings Intel i965, RadeonSI, and Nouveau Drivers Closer to OpenGL 4.6

        Collabora’s Emil Velikov is pleased to announce today the general availability of the final Mesa 17.3 graphics stack release for GNU/Linux distributions.

        Mesa or Mesa 3D Graphics Library is an open-source graphics stack, a collection of open-source graphics drivers to bring support for the latest OpenGL and Vulkan technologies to Intel, AMD Radeon, and Nvidia graphics cards on Linux-based operating systems.

      • Mesa 17.3 Officially Released: Nearly OpenGL 4.6, Better Vulkan Support

        Delays pushed back the Mesa 17.3 release from November, but this quarterly update to the Mesa 3D graphics stack is now available for users.

        Mesa 17.3 is another significant update this year for the open-source graphics drivers. Mesa 17.3 offers nearly complete OpenGL 4.6 support for RadeonSI / Intel / Nouveau NVC0 drivers with the notable exception of the SPIR-V ingestion support yet not being complete. Mesa 17.3 also contains significant improvements to the Radeon RADV and Intel ANV Vulkan drivers with new extension support, performance optimizations, and all important fixes.

      • Mesa 17.3.0 release to further advance open source graphics drivers

        Mesa 17.3.0 is the latest version of the open source graphics drivers and it has officially released today.

        While this is a major new version, as always, new versions can cause a bit of breakage due to so much changing. The Mesa developers recommend waiting for the first point release 17.3.1 if you’re after a stable and reliable experience.

      • X.Org Server Patches Updated For Non-Desktop & Leases To Better VR HMD Support

        Keith Packard has sent out his latest X.Org Server side patches for the improvements he’s been working on the past year for improving the SteamVR / VR HMD support on the Linux desktop.

        Keith sent out the latest patches for adding RandR 1.6 leases support. These have been re-based against the latest X.Org Server Git code and while there was initial DRM leasing in Linux 4.15, Keith says these patches only work against drm-next, which would mean Linux 4.16. These patches do go through and wire up the leasing support with the xf86-video-modesetting DDX driver.

      • ARB_get_program_binary Implementation Lands In Core Mesa, Intel Driver

        The past few weeks Intel developers working on their Mesa open-source graphics driver have been working on the ARB_get_program_binary OpenGL extension so it actually works for applications wanting to use this extension to retrieve a compiled shader/program by the driver.

        ARB_get_program_binary makes it possible to easily get a binary representation of an OpenGL program object. That binary can then be supplied later on back to the OpenGL driver for execution, if the application wants to function as an offline compiler or handle its own caching to avoid recompilation of GLSL source shaders on future runs, etc. ARB_get_program_binary is required by OpenGL 4.1 and Mesa’s support for it up until now was just saying it didn’t support any formats for the binary programs.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Qt 5.10 Released with Qt 3D Studio Graphical Editor, Numerous Improvements

        Coming six months after the long-term supported Qt 5.9 series, Qt 5.10 is a short-lived branch that introduces new stuff and a bunch of improvements. The biggest new feature of the Qt 5.10 release being the introduction of Qt 3D Studio, a graphical editor that lets you create 3D graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

        “Qt 3D Studio consists of both a runtime component that is run in your application and a graphical design tool to design and create the UI. While the tool is a standalone application, the runtime can easily be integrated with the rest of Qt,” said Lars Knoll. “Qt 3D Studio will work with both Qt 5.9 and 5.10.”

      • Qt Creator 4.5 Open-Source IDE Improves Android and CMake Support

        Available for GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows platforms, the Qt Creator 4.5 release comes three months after the previous version to add a new UI tool that lets you manage Android SDK packages, as well as to offer better information about various issues with the installed Android SDK, including warnings about missing components or the minimum version of requirements.

        “Since Android SDK tools version 25.3.0, there is no UI tool available to manage the Android SDK packages. Because of that, we have added such UI to Qt Creator,” Eike Ziller wrote in the release announcement. “Unfortunately, the command line tool for managing SDKs that is provided with the SDK cannot update packages on Windows, and fails with JDK 9, so this applies to Qt Creator as well.”

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Best Gnome distro of 2017

        And the winner is …

        Well, I’ve never ever believed I’d say this, but being objective and all, it’s an Arch-based distribution that gets the highest accolade in this test – Antergos 17.9! Do mind, it’s not perfect, but it does offer a reasonably rounded experience with some really interesting (and unique) features. Like most small projects, it does suffer from obvious lack of manpower needed to tackle the usability papercuts, but on the other hand, it brings in innovation that is not apparent in other distributions, and it also provides a solid baseline for day-to-day use, without compromising on stability, and without ever disclosing its geeky DNA.

        My experience with Antergos 17.9 shows a distribution that is relatively sprightly, focuses on usability, offers excellent driver support, and tries to balance beauty with functionality. It still struggles gluing all these together, but there do not seem to be any fundamental flaws. It also manages to showcase Gnome in a very positive light, which cannot be said of pretty much any other candidate that I’ve had a chance to test this year. If anything, the outcome of 2017 is satisfying in its own right, even though I did struggle and suffer a lot while playing and testing these different distributions. But in one sentence, if you do need a Gnome distro, this is the best that I can offer and recommend. And it wouldn’t be a bad recommendation either. All right, that was two sentences.

        Conclusion

        Back in December 2016, I said Gnome is slowly recovering. Scratch that. It was a brief flicker of hope, and it’s gone. It would seem the direction has reversed, and the Gnome desktop is becoming less usable. Its overall design remains stubbornly unchanged while the quality and stability are constantly deteriorating.

        Still, an odd distro or two manage to rise above the mediocrity and provide a relatively reasonable desktop session, Gnome notwithstanding. For 2017, Antergos is Dedoimedo’s Gnome choice. You get an okay mix of everything, solid performance, a stable behavior, and a few glitches just to keep you on your toes. Most impressive is the graphics stack support, very elegant looks, and tons of great software. If you’ve never considered Arch in its many guises and sacrificial forms, then Antergos seems like a good starting point.

        But wait, what if I don’t like Gnome, you asketh? Despair not! In the coming days, we will also look at what Xfce and Plasma have to offer. It shall be most interesting. Stay tuned.

      • OSK update

        There’s been a rumor that I was working on improving gnome-shell on-screen keyboard, what’s been up here? Let me show you!

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Peppermint 8 Respin Released

        Team Peppermint are pleased to announce the latest iteration of our operating system Peppermint 8 Respin which still comes in 32bit and 64bit versions with the 64bit version having full UEFI and Secureboot support. Whilst a respin is generally a minor release intended as an ISO update, the Peppermint 8 Respin does contain some significant changes.

      • “Fast And Light” Peppermint 8 Respin Released — Download This Linux Distro Here
      • Ubuntu-Based Peppermint OS 8 Respin Brings Back Advert Blocker, Adds New Theme

        The developers of the Ubuntu-based Peppermint OS distribution have released today the first respin of the Peppermint OS 8 series.

        Launched earlier this year on May 28, Peppermint OS 8 is based on the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system and brought major new features. Now, the Peppermint 8 Respin is here with a bunch of improvements and the latest software releases, including the Nemo 3.4.7 file manager, OpenVPN 2.4.4 VPN implementation, and Linux kernel 4.10.0-40.

    • Arch Family

      • Manjaro Linux – One Of The Finest Linux Distros

        ​Manjaro is suitable for new users as well as experienced. The fact that Manjaro is based on Arch, being a rolling distro that is quite stable, ships with awesome tools and packs a good selection of software out of the box makes Manjaro a fantastic distro. Let us take a look at this excellent Linux distro.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • GeckoLinux Brings Flexibility and Choice to openSUSE

        If you’re looking for an excuse to venture back into the realm of openSUSE, GeckoLinux might be a good reason. It’s slightly better looking, lighter weight, and with similar performance. It’s not perfect and, chances are, it won’t steal you away from your distribution of choice, but GeckoLinux is a solid entry in the realm of Linux desktops.

    • Slackware Family

      • Rebuilt packages for Plasma5 (ktown)

        The updates in Slackware-current this week (icu4c, poppler, libical) broke many programs in my Plasma5 ‘ktown’ repository, to the extent that the complete Plasma 5 desktop would no longer start.

        That is the fun of using the bleeding edge – if something disruptive happens in slackware-current you’ll have to wait for the 3rd party repositories to catch up. And I am one of those 3rd party packagers.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 10 “Buster” Will Ensure Automatic Installation of Security Upgrades

        The Debian Installer Buster Alpha 2 release comes with a few important changes, such as the addition of the unattended-upgrades package by default through the pkgsel component to ensure the automatic installation of security upgrades, as well as the addition of the installation images for the mips64el architecture.

        Another important change in this second alpha release of the Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” Installer is that the Linux 4.13 kernel series is now supported for new installations, though you should know it reached end of life last month, so we believe the third alpha of Debian Installer will support Linux kernel 4.14 LTS.

      • Debian 10-Based Distro DebEX KDE Plasma Now Uses Latest Calamares Installer

        GNU/Linux developer Arne Exton released a new build of his Debian-based DebEX KDE Plasma distribution that updates the graphical installer to latest Calamares universal installer framework release.

        Coming one and a half months after the previous build, DebEX KDE Build 171203 incorporates all the latest package updates from the upstream Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” (Debian Testing) and Debian Sid (Debian Unstable) repositories, and updates the KDE components to KDE Development Platform 4.16.0 LTS and KDE Plasma 5:37 as default desktop environment.

        It also ships with the Linux 4.13.4 kernel compiled by the developer with extra hardware support, but the biggest change, however, is the replacement of the Refracta Installer with the recently released Calamares 3.1.9 universal installer framework for GNU/Linux distributions, which lets users choose their preferred language when the installation starts.

      • Updated Debian 9: 9.3 released

        The Debian project is pleased to announce the third update of its stable distribution Debian 9 (codename “stretch”). This point release mainly adds corrections for security issues, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories have already been published separately and are referenced where available.

        Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 9 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old “stretch” media. After installation, packages can be upgraded to the current versions using an up-to-date Debian mirror.

      • Updated Debian 8: 8.10 released

        The Debian project is pleased to announce the tenth update of its oldstable distribution Debian 8 (codename “jessie”). This point release mainly adds corrections for security issues, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories have already been published separately and are referenced where available.

        Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 8 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old “jessie” media. After installation, packages can be upgraded to the current versions using an up-to-date Debian mirror.

      • Debian GNU/Linux 9.3 “Stretch” and 8.10 “Jessie” Have Been Officially Announced

        The Debian Project announced this morning the general availability of the Debian GNU/Linux 9.3 and Debian GNU/Linux 8.10 point releases of the Stretch and Jessie series.

        While Debian GNU/Linux 9.3 is the third maintenance update to the Stretch series, the latest stable release of the operating system, Debian GNU/Linux 8.10 represents the tenth point release of the Jessie branch, which is the oldstable distribution of Debian since the release of Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch.” Both include the latest security updates published through the official repositories.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Adapting to tech’s cloud-native shift with Kubernetes, Ubuntu

            The growing trend toward cloud-native programming is fundamentally changing the way applications are developed, integrating and automating pieces previously separated and delayed by disjointed manual processes. Adopting strategies to take advantage of more efficient development opportunities has become mission-critical for competitive businesses, but making the transition rapidly can open organizations to risk — or at the very least disorganized operations and cultural inconsistencies.

          • Canonical Outs New Kernel Security Updates for All Supported Ubuntu Releases

            Canonical released new Linux kernel security updates for all supported Ubuntu operating systems addressing a total of nine vulnerabilities discovered by various researchers.

            The newly patched Linux kernel vulnerabilities affect Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark), Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr), and Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin) ESM (Extended Security Maintenance), as well as all of their official derivatives, including Kubuntu, Lubuntu, etc.

          • Security Team Weekly Summary: December 7, 2017
          • Ubuntu Is Getting Ready To Further Demote Python 2

            There’s a little more than two years left until Python 2 will be officially discontinued by upstream and Ubuntu is preparing accordingly for this end of life.

            With the recent Ubuntu 17.10 release was the first time they were able to ship Ubuntu Linux without Python 2 pre-installed. The next step in Ubuntu phasing out Python 2 support is by demoting it from the “main” archive to the broader “universe” archive. Then a few years out, Python 2 will be dropped completely.

          • This Week in Mir (8th Dec, 2017) – Mir 0.29.0 release candidate

            Last week, to celebrate getting mirscreencast working, I posted a video of Mir running on Fedora and promised a release once the fixes had landed. The fixes have landed and we have started the 0.29.0 release process (more details below).

          • Mir 0.29 Being Prepped For Release As Canonical Pushes On With Mir-Wayland

            While a few months ago we could have written off Mir as a dead project following the Unity 8 abandonment, Canonical is continuing to push it along in its new route of Wayland support.

            Since one week ago when landing Mir in Fedora, Canonical developers have remained busy in advancing Mir. One of their latest achievements is getting MirScreencast support working. With this screen-casting functionality in place, they are preparing to tag their next release: v0.29.

          • Ubuntu Podcast S10E40 – Clammy Eminent Spot
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 18.3 Sylvia Download Links, Mirrors, and Torrents

              Linux Mint 18.3 has been released at Wednesday, 27 November 2017 with codename “Sylvia”. Version 18.3 is an LTS release based on Ubuntu 16.04, and, a continuation towards the versions 18, 18.1, and 18.2. This article mentions the download links, mirrors, and torrents for Mint 18.3 Cinnamon and MATE editions, for both 32bit and 64bit types.

            • Bodhi Linux 4.4 Released with Linux Kernel 4.13, Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

              Bodhi Linux 4.4 comes three months after the Bodhi Linux 4.3 release to add all the latest software updates and security patches from the repositories of the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system. It’s an incremental update that doesn’t require you to reinstall your system.

              “This is a normal update release and it comes three months after the release of Bodhi 4.3.1. Existing Bodhi 4.x.y users do not need to reinstall as the primary goal of this update release is to simply keep the current ISO image up to date,” writes Jeff Hoogland in today’s announcement.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • ReactOS Now Natively Supports More Filesystems Than all Windows OSes Combined

    First introduced in the ReactOS 0.4.5 release, the support for styles created for Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system received further enhancements in ReactOS 0.4.7 to reduce visual glitches for several apps, as well as to better handle transparency and messaging.

    ReactOS 0.4.7 also implements support for Shell extension and allows users to enable the Quick Launch shell extension manually if they want an early taste of this feature. Furthermore, the devs managed to bring the ReactOS painting process closer to the one of the Microsoft Windows OS.

  • Ionic, one of Madison’s top startups, prepares to launch its first commercial product

    They decided early on to open up their code to other developers, in the spirit of the open-source model. Lynch said they looked to other startups, like the document-storage tool MongoDB, as models for creating open-source software as a startup. The idea was that by making it free and open, Ionic Framework would be able to grow its user base more quickly. Lynch added that most other companies making developer toolkits at the time were offering commercial products, so it made sense to offer something free.

  • Practical Ways to Improve Your Open Source Development Impact

    Open source programs are sparking innovation at organizations of all types, and if your program is up and running, you may have arrived at the point where maximizing the impact of your development is essential to continued success. Many open source program managers are now required to demonstrate the ROI of their technology development, and example open source report cards from Facebook and Google track development milestones.

  • Intel Supports open source software for HPC

    OpenHPC is a collaborative, community effort that initiated from a desire to aggregate a number of common ingredients required to deploy and manage High Performance Computing Linux clusters including provisioning tools, resource management, I/O clients, development tools, and a variety of scientific libraries. Packages provided by OpenHPC have been pre-built with HPC integration in mind with a goal to provide re-usable building blocks for the HPC community. Over time, the community also plans to identify and develop abstraction interfaces between key components to further enhance modularity and interchangeability. The community includes representation from a variety of sources including software vendors, equipment manufacturers, research institutions, supercomputing sites, and others. This community works to integrate a multitude of components that are commonly used in HPC systems, and are freely available for open source distribution. We are grateful for the efforts undertaken by the developers and maintainers of these upstream communities that provide key components used in HPC around the world today, and for which this OpenHPC community works to integrate and validate as a cohesive software stack.

  • Overcoming challenges when building great global communities

    Today’s open source communities include people from all around the world. What challenges can you expect when establishing an online community, and how can you help overcome them?

    People contributing to an open source community share a commitment to the software they’re helping to develop. In the past, people communicated by meeting in person at a set place and time, or through letters or phone calls. Today, technology has fostered growth of online communities—people can simply pop into a chat room or messaging channel and start working together. You might work with someone in Morocco in the morning, for example, and with someone in Hawaii that evening.

  • Google’s DeepVariant Deep-Learning Technology Goes Open-Source
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Awards Research Grants to Fund Top Research Projects

        We are happy to announce the results of the Mozilla Research Grant program for the second half of 2017. This was a competitive process, with over 70 applicants. After three rounds of judging, we selected a total of fourteen proposals, ranging from building tools to support open web platform projects like Rust and WebAssembly to designing digital assistants for low- and middle- income families and exploring decentralized web projects in the Orkney Islands. All these projects support Mozilla’s mission to make the Internet safer, more empowering, and more accessible.

  • Databases

  • CMS

    • WordPress hit with keylogger, 5,400 sites infected
    • WORDPRESS 4.9.1

      After a much longer than expected break due to moving and the resulting lack of Internet, plus WordPress releasing a package with a non-free file, the Debian package for WordPress 4.9.1 has been uploaded!

      WordPress 4.9 has a number of improvements, especially around the customiser components so that looked pretty slick. The editor for the customiser now has a series of linters what will warn if you write something bad, which is a very good thing! Unfortunately the Javascript linter is jshint which uses a non-free license which that team is attempting to fix. I have also reported the problem to WordPress upstream to have a look at.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Initial C17 Language Support Lands In LLVM Clang 6.0 SVN

      Back in October is when GCC began prepping C17 support patches for their compiler as a minor update to the C programming language. LLVM’s Clang compiler has now landed its initial support for C17.

      C17 is a minor “bug fix version” over the C11 standard. The C17 specification is still being firmed up and following the initial support appearing in GCC, it’s now in Clang.

    • LLVM 6.0 Release Planning, Stable Debut Slated For March

      Hans Wennborg as the continuing LLVM release manager has begun drafting plans for the LLVM 6.0 release process.

      Continuing with their usual half-year release cadence, their goal is to ship LLVM 6.0.0 by early March.

    • Your Impact on FreeBSD
    • pledge() work in progress

      I wanted to give an update that a two pledge-related changes are being worked on. The semantics and integration are complicated so it is taking some time.

    • arm64 platform now officially supported [and has syspatch(8)]
    • LLVM 5.0.1 Expected For Release Next Week

      While the LLVM 5.0.1 bug-fix release was originally expected last month, after going through three release candidates the stable version is now expected to arrive next week.

      Tom Stellard of Red Hat announced on Thursday that 5.0.1-rc3 has been tagged. He expects this to be the final release candidate and to then officially declare v5.0.1 next week.

    • DTrace & ZFS Being Updated On NetBSD, Moving Away From Old OpenSolaris Code

      The NetBSD operating system has been working on updating their DTrace and ZFS implementations.

      Chuck Silvers with the NetBSD project has been working on updating their DTrace and ZFS code. Up to now NetBSD has been relying upon outdated ZFS/DTrace code that originated from the OpenSolaris code-base. As many of you know, OpenSolaris hasn’t been a thing now for many years since Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Free Software Foundation Fun For Xmas

      If you’re looking for festive presents for programmers, the Free Software Foundation has some options that combine open software street cred with supporting open source and the GNU philosophy.

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a not for profit organization founded in the mid 80s to support the free software movement. Its founder was Richard Stallman, who also launched the GNU Project in the 80s to create an operating system like UNIX but entirely free. The FSF initially used its funds to pay developers to write free software for the GNU project, and once that was achieved, funds have been used to support the free software movement legally and structurally.

      Most of the choices in the FSF shop do come down to items with the word GNU on them – I was hoping for some furry GNU hats or slippers, but sadly (or perhaps fortunately) this wasn’t a choice.

    • Intel Continues Tuning Glibc’s Performance: More FMA’ing

      Intel continues contributing performance optimizations to the GNU C Library (glibc) for allowing various functions to make use of modern processor instruction set extensions.

      Glibc this year has seen FMA optimizations, its per-thread cache enabled, AVX optimizations, and other performance work contributed in large part by Intel engineers. Glibc isn’t gaining weight this holiday season but is continuing to be optimized for speed.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Army Tapping Open-Source, Cloud as Big Data Platform

      The Army is forging ahead with deployment of its Big Data Platform (BDP), a move that underscores the Department of Defense’s (DoD) plans for using open-source software, commercial technologies, and cloud services to get a grip on the data it collects from a wide range of sources.

      The Army recently announced its intention to award Enlighten IT Consulting a sole-source contract to implement the BDP, which officially became a program of record a year ago. Enlighten, which already had worked on the platform, is also working on the Defense Information System Agency’s (DISA) overarching Big Data Platform, most recently under a $40 million contract to continue development.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Facebook, Google, Red Hat, IBM revisit open source licencing

      Four of the largest players in the open source arena – Facebook, Google, Red Hat and IBM – have joined forces to promote predictability in open source licensing, by committing to extend additional rights to rectify open source licence compliance errors.

      Michael Cunningham, Red Hat’s executive vice president and general counsel, said this was in line with the four organisations’ belief in promoting greater fairness and predictability in licence enforcement and the growth of participation in the open source community.

      According to Cunningham, Red Hat believes that enforcement of open source software licences should be judged by whether the activity fosters or discourages adoption of the software and collaboration and participation in open source development.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open-source design can democratise healthcare, says Sabine Wildevuur

      “Normally, you make something, you close it down, and you sell it. Open design, on the other hand, is all about sharing your knowledge of design with others,” she says.

    • Mozilla’s new voice recognition model, fixing the GPL, and more news

      In this week’s edition of our open source news roundup, we look at Mozilla’s new speech recognition model, how big players in open source are moving to help the GPL, and more.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open Source Biolab Uses 3D Bioprinting Platform to Fabricate Complex Earlobe Vasculature

        3D printing technology has made a big impact in the medical field, in more ways than one, including bioprinting and biofabrication. The Institute for Development of Advanced Applied Systems, or Institute IRNAS, located in Slovenia, operates Symbiolab, an open source-based biolab that focuses on the development of future-proof 3D biofabrication. The lab works on innovative biomaterials research, and also develops biomedical research applications and hardware solutions, including its Vitaprint 3D bioprinting platform. The open source Vitaprint was developed in-house at Symbiolab, and the platform includes demo files, protocols, and hardware.

      • Open source suicide: This 3D-printable ‘death pod’ provides painless euthanasia

        Dr. Philip Nitschke is concerned about a different aspect, though. He is one of the most outspoken proponents of euthanasia, referring to deliberate intervention taken by a person to end his or her life to relieve suffering. And as the founder and director of the pro-euthanasia group Exit International, he is using tech to help his cause. Working alongside Netherlands engineer Alexander Bannick, Nitschke developed a 3D-printed euthanasia machine called Sarco which, he claims, could serve a valuable social purpose.

        [...]

        There will no doubt be plenty of controversy about the creation of Sarco, just as there is around the wider topic of euthanasia. But it’s definitely an example of open-source 3D-printing models we’ve not considered before.

  • Programming/Development

    • PHP version 7.0.27RC1 and 7.1.13RC1
    • The junior programmer’s guide to asking for help

      Asking for help is a skill, and a skill you can learn. Once you’ve mastered this skill you will be able ask questions at the right time, and in the right way.

    • Cliff Lynch’s Stewardship in the “Age of Algorithms”

      I agree that society is facing a crisis in its ability to remember the past. Cliff has provided a must-read overview of the context in which the crisis has developed, and some pointers to pragmatic if unsatisfactory ways to address it. What I would like to see is a even broader view, describing this crisis as one among many caused by the way increasing returns to scale are squeezing out the redundancy essential to a resilient civilization.

    • Stewardship in the “Age of Algorithms”

      This paper explores pragmatic approaches that might be employed to document the behavior of large, complex socio-technical systems (often today shorthanded as “algorithms”) that centrally involve some mixture of personalization, opaque rules, and machine learning components. Thinking rooted in traditional archival methodology — focusing on the preservation of physical and digital objects, and perhaps the accompanying preservation of their environments to permit subsequent interpretation or performance of the objects — has been a total failure for many reasons, and we must address this problem. The approaches presented here are clearly imperfect, unproven, labor-intensive, and sensitive to the often hidden factors that the target systems use for decision-making (including personalization of results, where relevant); but they are a place to begin, and their limitations are at least outlined. Numerous research questions must be explored before we can fully understand the strengths and limitations of what is proposed here. But it represents a way forward. This is essentially the first paper I am aware of which tries to effectively make progress on the stewardship challenges facing our society in the so-called “Age of Algorithms;” the paper concludes with some discussion of the failure to address these challenges to date, and the implications for the roles of archivists as opposed to other players in the broader enterprise of stewardship — that is, the capture of a record of the present and the transmission of this record, and the records bequeathed by the past, into the future. It may well be that we see the emergence of a new group of creators of documentation, perhaps predominantly social scientists and humanists, taking the front lines in dealing with the “Age of Algorithms,” with their materials then destined for our memory organizations to be cared for into the future.

    • Testing OpenStack using tempest: all is packaged, try it yourself

      tl;dr: this post explains how the new openstack-tempest-ci-live-booter package configures a machine to PXE boot a Debian Live system running on KVM in order to run functional testing of OpenStack. It may be of interest to you if you want to learn how to PXE boot a KVM virtual machine running Debian Live, even if you aren’t interested in OpenStack.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • New Antitrust Division Chief Prioritizes Regulation of Standard Setting Organizations

      As we discussed in our May 2017 article, the current head of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, Makan Delrahim, brings considerable intellectual property experience to the division. Delrahim started his legal career at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative as deputy director for intellectual property rights. He later served on the Intellectual Property Task Force while serving a stint at the DOJ in the early 2000s. Then-acting Antitrust Division Chief R. Hewitt Pate referred to Delrahim as a “patent lawyer.” Therefore, it is not surprising that, in a Nov. 10 maiden speech at the University of California’s Transactional Law and Business Conference, Delrahim chose to discuss antitrust violations in IP licensing, specifically urging federal and state antitrust enforcement agencies to prioritize review of standard setting organizations (SSOs).

Leftovers

  • Silicon Valley Is Sneaking Models Into This Year’s Holiday Parties

    The company, which she wouldn’t name, has handpicked the models based on photos, made them sign nondisclosure agreements, and given them names of employees to pretend they’re friends with, in case anyone asks why he’s never seen them around the foosball table.

  • Dear Tech Guys: HBO’s Silicon Valley Is NOT An Instruction Manual

    I’ve been living in Silicon Valley for just about twenty years at this point, and lived through the original dot com bubble (got the t-shirt, etc.). And there are a few small signs that remind me quite a bit of the “bad stuff” that started to show up in the 1999/2000 time frame, just before everything collapsed. One of the biggest issues: the carpetbaggers. Basically, as things get frothier and frothier, a “different” kind of entrepreneur starts to show up. In the original dot com bubble, these were frequently described as “MBA’s” — but as someone with an MBA degree, I find that to be a bit misleading too. There were plenty of good, smart, tech-savvy MBAs who added value to the innovation community. The real problem was the people who came to (a) get rich and (b) party (not always in that order). Getting rich and having a good time aren’t necessarily bad things, but if they’re what you’re focused on, then bad things tend to result.

    [...]

    People out here, for the most part, still love the show, because they recognize elements of reality within those characters and events — but it misses out on the nitty-gritty of how stuff gets done and the fact that some people are legitimately doing good stuff without being horrible people. But if everyone now coming into Silicon Valley is coming in with HBO’s Silicon Valley as their model — too many are looking at the show as an instruction manual, rather than a giant warning sign of what not to do. In some ways, it reminds me of the classic 90′s indie film Swingers with Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn. When it came out, I remember lots of guys trying to “take lessons” from the movie in how to pick up women, even though the entire point of the movie was to make fun of those people with their tricks and rules and games.

    Assuming that story of hiring models for parties really is true, it feels like yet another brick in this problematic wall of “techbro” culture taking over from what has always been the true core of Silicon Valley, involving non-assholes who really are changing the world. It would be great if we could get more of that, and less of the HBO version, no matter how entertaining it might be.

  • Did A Non-Existent Eatery In A Shed Become TripAdvisor’s Top-Rated Restaurant In London?

    A key feature of e-commerce sites is the reviews from people who have used them previously. Such recommendations or warnings are even more important online than in the physical world, because it is much easier to set up a virtual shop than a real one, which makes scams a far greater risk online. However, the enhanced importance of site reviews also increases the incentive to create false ones. A cautionary tale about just how misleading reviews can be is provided by an entertaining post on Vice. In it, the journalist Oobah Butler describes how he turned a non-existent eatery into TripAdvisor’s top-rated London restaurant. Or at least that’s what he claimed. We should admit, up front, that since this story is about faking stuff on the internet, we should at least be open to the idea that the story of this faked restaurant review might also be… fake.

  • New York City Hotels Say Obnoxious $25 ‘Destination Fee’ ‘Improves The Customer Experience’

    Taking a page from the telecom and banking sector playbooks, New York City hotels have decided to add a $25 “destination fee” just for the honor of being able to sleep somewhere near the audio visual cacophony that is Times Square. Major hotel chains like Hilton, Marriott and Starwood are all adding the new destination fees, which aren’t part of the advertised rate — and are only added to the final tally at checkout. Said fees mirror other “resort fees” used to jack up advertised rates in other destination locations like Hawaii, the Florida coast, or Las Vegas.

  • Science

    • Mastering Chess and Shogi by Self-Play with a General Reinforcement Learning Algorithm

      The game of chess is the most widely-studied domain in the history of artificial intelligence. The strongest programs are based on a combination of sophisticated search techniques, domain-specific adaptations, and handcrafted evaluation functions that have been refined by human experts over several decades. In contrast, the AlphaGo Zero program recently achieved superhuman performance in the game of Go, by tabula rasa reinforcement learning from games of self-play. In this paper, we generalise this approach into a single AlphaZero algorithm that can achieve, tabula rasa, superhuman performance in many challenging domains. Starting from random play, and given no domain knowledge except the game rules, AlphaZero achieved within 24 hours a superhuman level of play in the games of chess and shogi (Japanese chess) as well as Go, and convincingly defeated a world-champion program in each case.

    • Thoughts on AlphaZero

      The chess world woke up to something of an earthquake two days ago, when DeepMind (a Google subsidiary) announced that they had adapted their AlphaGo engine to play chess with only minimal domain knowledge—and it was already beating Stockfish. (It also plays shogi, but who cares about shogi. :-) ) Granted, the shock wasn’t as huge as what the Go community must have felt when the original AlphaGo came in from nowhere and swept with it the undisputed Go throne and a lot of egos in the Go community over the course of a few short months—computers have been better at chess than humans for a long time—but it’s still a huge event.

      I see people are trying to make sense of what this means for the chess world. I’m not a strong chess player, an AI expert or a top chess programmer, but I do play chess, I’ve worked in AI (in Google, briefly in the same division as the DeepMind team) and I run what’s the strongest chess analysis website online whenever Magnus Carlsen is playing (next game 17:00 UTC tomorrow!), so I thought I should share some musings.

    • DeepMind AI needs mere 4 hours of self-training to become a chess overlord

      We last heard from DeepMind’s dominant gaming AI in October. As opposed to earlier sessions of AlphaGo besting the world’s best Go players after the DeepMind team trained it on observations of said humans, the company’s Go-playing AI (version AlphaGo Zero) started beating pros after three days of playing against itself with no prior knowledge of the game.

    • Meet the man behind the most important tool in data science

      Wes McKinney hates the idea of researchers wasting their time. “Scientists unnecessarily dealing with the drudgery of simple data manipulation tasks makes me feel terrible,” he says.

      Perhaps more than any other person, McKinney has helped fix that problem. McKinney is the developer of “Pandas”, one of the main tools used by data analysts working in the popular programming language Python.

      Millions of people around the world use Pandas. In October 2017 alone, Stack Overflow, a website for programmers, recorded 5 million visits to questions about Pandas from more than 1 million unique visitors. Data scientists at Google, Facebook, JP Morgan, and virtually other major company that analyze data uses Pandas. Most people haven’t heard of it, but for many people who do heavy data analysis—a rapidly growing group these days—life wouldn’t be the same without it. (Pandas is open source, so it’s free to use.)

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Trump Administration Is Scuttling a Rule That Would Save People From Dying of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

      After Hurricane Irma hit three months ago in Orlando, Florida, the local police got a desperate 911 call from a 12-year-old boy reporting that his mother and siblings were unconscious. Fumes overcame the first deputy who rushed to the scene. After the police arrived at the property, they found Jan Lebron Diaz, age 13, Jan’s older sister Kiara, 16, and their mother Desiree, 34, lying dead, poisoned from carbon monoxide emitted by their portable generator. Four others in the house went to the hospital. If 12-year-old Louis hadn’t made that call, they might have died, too.

      Portable generators release more carbon monoxide — which is particularly dangerous because it is odorless and invisible — than most cars. As a result, the devices can kill efficiently and quickly, though accidentally. The Diaz family usually placed the generator properly, outside the house, a neighbor told local reporters. But for some reason, they had brought it into their garage. From there, the generator’s murderous byproduct spread silently through the house.

    • Black Women Disproportionately Suffer Complications of Pregnancy and Childbirth. Let’s Talk About It.

      About 700 to 900 women die each year from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. And for every death, dozens of women suffer life-threatening complications. But there is a stark racial disparity in these numbers. Black mothers are three to four times more likely to die than white mothers. Nevertheless, black women’s voices are often missing from public discussions about what’s behind the maternal health crisis and how to address the problems.

      It is estimated that up to 60 percent of maternal complications are preventable. One way to prevent them is to talk to and learn from women who have nearly died from these complications. So, we reached out to nearly 200 black mothers or families that shared stories of severe complications as part of our maternal health investigation Lost Mothers.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • War in 140 characters: how social media is reshaping conflict in the 21st century
    • Chronicler of Islamic State ‘killing machine’ goes public

      On Nov. 15, 2017, Mosul Eye made his decision.

      “I can’t be anonymous anymore. This is to say that I defeated ISIS. You can see me now, and you can know me now.”

    • What Kind of Nuclear Attack Would be Legal?

      Four days earlier, retired Gen. Robert Kehler, who previously held Gen. Hyten’s top job at Strategic Command, testified likewise to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, saying that nuclear war commanders could “ignore any unlawful order by the president to launch a nuclear strike.”

      Generals Hyten and Kehler both said in their unprecedented public comments that the legal principles of “military necessity,” “discriminate destruction,” and “proportionality” all apply to decisions about nuclear attacks. Senator Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, asked Gen. Kehler if he meant that Strategic Command could disobey a president’s ordering a nuclear attack. “Yes,” Kehler said.

    • Private War: Erik Prince Has His Eye On Afghanistan’s Rare Metals

      Controversial private security tycoon Erik Prince has famously pitched an audacious plan to the Trump administration: Hire him to privatize the war in Afghanistan using squads of “security contractors.” Now, for the first time, Buzzfeed News is publishing that pitch, a presentation that lays out how Prince wanted to take over the war from the US military — and how he envisioned mining some of the most war-torn provinces in Afghanistan to help fund security operations and obtain strategic mineral resources for the US.

      Prince, who founded the Blackwater security firm and testified last week to the House Intelligence Committee for its Russia investigation, has deep connections into the current White House: He’s friends with former presidential adviser Stephen Bannon, and he’s the brother of Betsy DeVos, the education secretary.

    • Dubious claim of week: Air Force’s “EMP missile” could disable N. Korean ICBMs

      On Monday, NBC Nightly News broadcast a report claiming that White House officials had discussed using an experimental weapon to disrupt or disable a North Korean missile launch. The weapon in question, the product of the US Air Force’s Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP), uses bursts of microwave energy to disable electronic devices such as computers, communications and air defense radar systems.

      Officials from Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) suggested CHAMP could be fully weaponized in a matter of weeks. But almost as a footnote, the NBC report noted that the weapon would have to pass very close to an ICBM before launch to affect it—which, despite CHAMP’s classification as a non-lethal weapon, might be considered an act of war.

    • After Trump’s Jerusalem Move, Media Worry About ‘Violence’–Not Violation of International Law

      President Donald Trump declared that the US saw Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced the US would move its Israeli embassy there—reversing decades of policy and removing any pretense of US neutrality in negotiating “peace” between Palestinians and Israelis.

      Though both Congress and past presidents of both parties have supported the move in principle for decades, much of the US media establishment is now fretting about the Jerusalem announcement, continuing to push the illusion that a nebulous “peace deal” is still right around the next watchtower.

      The American “recognition” of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital further entrenches and condones Israel’s occupation, ethnic cleansing and colonization of Palestinian land. But outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post and CBS, in editorials and straight reporting, downplayed and skirted matters of substance, reserving critical attention for questions of optics or process.

    • When Washington Cheered the Jihadists

      Official Washington helped unleash hell on Syria and across the Mideast behind the naïve belief that jihadist proxies could be used to transform the region for the better, explains Daniel Lazare.

    • The Churchillian Myths of 1940

      As for Joe Wright, he told the Guardian that his portrait of Churchill is a rebuke to Donald Trump. Why? Because “He kicked and he screamed and got a lot of things wrong in his career, and in his personal life, but one thing he got right was he resisted the tide of fascism, bigotry and hate. And that seems to speaking to America now, and Britain, too.” Naturally, Wright made a film that emphasized Churchill’s ostensibly heroic and lonely battle to take the war to Hitler, resisting the cowardice of his fellow Tories Nevil Chamberlain and Lord Halifax who serve as his foils in the same way that Francis Preston Blair served as Lincoln’s foil in Spielberg’s biopic. Like Chamberlain and Lord Halifax, Blair was soft on the enemy, hoping to engage the Confederate government in peace negotiations just as the other two sought a peace treaty with Hitler that would allow him to control Europe as long as Britain remained independent. It is apparent that Wright had little insights into the overarching motivation of all three Tory politicians: to destroy Bolshevism and preserve the British Empire.

    • 120 Jewish Studies Scholars Condemn Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration

      As protests and violence intensified in the Middle East on Friday in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to flout international law and recognize Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel earlier this week, more than 120 Jewish studies scholars from universities across the United States condemned the move and urged the Trump administration to take responsibility for the fallout.

      “A declaration from the United States government that appears to endorse sole Jewish proprietorship over Jerusalem adds insult to ongoing injury and is practically guaranteed to fan the flames of violence,” wrote the scholars in their petition.

      At least one Palestinian protester has been killed in the demonstrations that followed Wednesday’s announcement. The Israeli military launched air strikes on Gaza as Palestinians took part in a “day of rage,” called for by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. At least 25 people were injured in the air strikes, including six children.

      The Jewish studies scholars called on the U.S. government “to take immediate steps to deescalate the tensions resulting from the President’s declaration and to clarify Palestinians’ legitimate stake in the future of Jerusalem.”

    • “Settlers in the White House”: Palestinians Denounce Trump Jerusalem Order & Protest in Day of Rage

      As Palestinians protest President Trump’s announcement that he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and begin moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, we go to East Jerusalem to speak with Budour Hassan, a Palestinian writer and project coordinator for the Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights, and speak with Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace. We are also joined in Ramallah by Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian politician and scholar.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Julian Assange bets $100K that CBS report on Donald Trump Jr., Wikileaks is false

      Julian Assange is challenging a report by CBS News that details an email reportedly received by Donald Trump Jr. that offered access to hacked information provided through Wikileaks during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

      According to CBS and CNN, the email was received by Trump Jr. along with others in the Trump campaign (including a rarely used email for Donald Trump himself) and contained a website url and a decryption key on Sept. 14, 2016. (The email was first reported to have been sent on Sept. 4 but both news organizations corrected the date.)

    • CNN corrects report about Trump campaign and Wikileaks tip

      CNN had to correct a story on Friday that suggested the Trump campaign had been tipped off early about Wikileaks documents damaging to Hillary Clinton when it later learned the alert was about material already publicly available.

      The new information, CNN noted, “indicates that the communication is less significant than CNN initially reported.”

      It’s the second mistake in a week by a major news organization on a story that initially had been damaging to the president but didn’t live up to scrutiny, sure to give Trump ammunition for his campaign against “fake news.” This time it was by one of Trump’s favorite targets.

    • The U.S. Media Yesterday Suffered its Most Humiliating Debacle in Ages: Now Refuses All Transparency Over What Happened

      FRIDAY WAS ONE of the most embarrassing days for the U.S. media in quite a long time. The humiliation orgy was kicked off by CNN, with MSNBC and CBS close behind, with countless pundits, commentators and operatives joining the party throughout the day. By the end of the day, it was clear that several of the nation’s largest and most influential news outlets had spread an explosive but completely false news story to millions of people, while refusing to provide any explanation of how it happened.

      The spectacle began on Friday morning at 11:00 am EST, when the Most Trusted Name in News™ spent 12 straight minutes on air flamboyantly hyping an exclusive bombshell report that seemed to prove that WikiLeaks, last September, had secretly offered the Trump campaign, even Donald Trump himself, special access to the DNC emails before they were published on the internet. As CNN sees the world, this would prove collusion between the Trump family and WikiLeaks and, more importantly, between Trump and Russia, since the U.S. intelligence community regards WikiLeaks as an “arm of Russian intelligence,” and therefore, so does the U.S. media.

      This entire revelation was based on an email which CNN strongly implied it had exclusively obtained and had in its possession. The email was sent by someone named “Michael J. Erickson” – someone nobody had heard of previously and whom CNN could not identify – to Donald Trump, Jr., offering a decryption key and access to DNC emails that WikiLeaks had “uploaded.” The email was a smoking gun, in CNN’s extremely excited mind, because it was dated September 4 – ten days before WikiLeaks began publishing those emails online – and thus proved that the Trump family was being offered special, unique access to the DNC archive: likely by WikiLeaks and the Kremlin.

      It’s impossible to convey with words what a spectacularly devastating scoop CNN believed it had, so it’s necessary to watch it for yourself to see the tone of excitement, breathlessness and gravity the network conveyed as they clearly believed they were delivering a near-fatal blow to the Trump/Russia collusion story:

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Volkswagen Official Gets 7-Year Term in Diesel-Emissions Cheating
    • Most Dire Climate Change Predictions, Warns New Study, Are Also the Most Accurate
    • Trump Orders Largest National Monument Reduction In U.S. History

      On a visit to Utah on Monday, President Trump announced his proclamations dramatically shrinking the size of the state’s two massive national monuments, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. Taken together, Trump’s orders mark the largest reversal of national monument protections in U.S. history.

      The change has already been challenged in court by conservation groups.

      The Bears Ears National Monument will go from roughly 1.3 million acres to roughly 228,000 — only about 15 percent of its original size. And Grand Staircase will be diminished by roughly half, from its nearly 1.9 million acres to about 1 million. The specific numbers were provided to reporters by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke prior to Trump’s announcement in Salt Lake City.

      “No one values the splendor of Utah more than you do,” Trump told an enthusiastic crowd Monday, “and no one knows better how to use it.”

    • The Burning Earth Bears Witness in California

      Watching the first ten minutes of the “Public” (Petroleum and/or Pentagon?) Broadcasting System (“P”BS)’s NewsHour two nights ago, I was overcome by a sense of the surreal. The first news item was the Insane Clown President’s (ICP) idiotic (if base-pleasing) announcement that the U.S. embassy in Israel will at some point be moved from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem. NewsHour host and Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) member Judy Woodruff announced a special segment on this story later in the broadcast.

      The next story was the coming likely resignation of the centrist corporate-Democratic Party pain-in-the-ass Al Franken from the U.S. Senate in response to cascading allegations of sexual harassment and weirdness. That too was to receive a special segment, the CFR’s Woodruff assured viewers.

      Then came a brief yet hair-raising report showing homes burning and enflamed mountains looming over motorists in southern California, just outside Los Angeles. The wildfire footage was breathtakingly dystopian.

    • Bad news: Warmest climate models might also be most accurate

      Some people who reject the conclusions of climate science claim that the existence of any remaining uncertainty means few or no actions need be taken to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. In reality, though, uncertainty is ever-present in science, and it’s not necessarily our friend. A new study from Patrick Brown and Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science highlights the fact that uncertainty means climate change could just as easily be worse than our best current estimates predict.

      The study sought to narrow the range of projected global warming presented in places like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. For each of several scenarios of future greenhouse gas emissions, these reports have simply taken simulations from every climate model available and combined the results—showing the average temperature trajectory and the range they span. For the highest-emissions scenario, for example, the last IPCC report projected about 4.3 degrees Celsius (7.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warming by the late 21st century. But the range of model results stretched from about 3.2 degrees Celsius to 5.4 degrees Celsius.

    • Standing Rock Protest Groups Sued by Dakota Access Pipeline Company

      f you want to experience 2017 in a nutshell, check out the billion-dollar lawsuit filed by an oil and gas company against Greenpeace and other environmental groups for their roles in the Standing Rock protests.

      In a 231-page complaint filed by Donald Trump’s old law firm, Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, claims that Greenpeace and its partners are engaged in a criminal network of fraud and misinformation. The paranoiac complaint, which includes references to “wolfpacks of corrupt” environmental nongovernmental organizations and describes Greenpeace as a “putative Dutch not-for-profit foundation,” would be amusing if it weren’t so dangerous.

  • Finance

    • Jack Ma Says China Open to Western Companies That Follow Rules
    • Russophobia Goes Comic

      The current government of Ghana took over in January and inherited a huge fiscal deficit due to – and there is no other way of saying it – wholesale looting by the last government on a scale which Ghana had never witnessed before. To give an example from our own sector, we install power plant using Siemens equipment at about 1.2 million dollars per MW for a turnkey plant including fuel supply and power evacuation infrastructure. The last government of Ghana were contracting large projects at three times the unit cost or more, using inferior equipment. For $150 million per project to be added corruptly was not unusual.

      On top of this, despite having imposed some of the world’s highest electricity tariffs – higher than British tariffs, for example – the revenue collected was mysteriously vanishing. As a result, our $52 million owed was part of a US$2.5 billion energy sector debt the current government inherited.

    • Japan, EU finalize trade deal, aim at implementation in early 2019

      Japan and the European Union finalized negotiations on a free trade deal on Friday, Japanese government and ruling government sources said, with the two sides aiming to implement it in early 2019.

      Later in the day, the Japanese and EU leaders are set to confirm the final accord, which was reached during their respective chief negotiators’ meeting in Brussels, by telephone, the sources said.

    • Congress Is Pushing Vouchers in the Tax Bill. That Won’t Help Students With Disabilities

      As the Senate worked through the night last Friday on massive legislation that would overhaul the U.S. tax code, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas added an amendment that would effectively transform a college savings account into a school voucher for K-12 education. If the amendment survives, it would advance a type of policy that hurtsthe public school system and, as new evidence illustrates, hurts students with disabilities.

    • Suyapa Portillo on Honduras Electoral Chaos, Rebecca Cokley on GOP ‘Tax on Disability’

      This week on CounterSpin: US media reporting on the electoral chaos in Honduras—where a president has not been declared nearly two weeks after voting—can choose to tell an “exotic” story about failings of democracy in Central American countries. Or they could more usefully connect the dots between a bipartisan US foreign policy that supports leaders deemed friendly to US “interests,” and the hardship and violence and voicelessness that pushes many to flee the countries run by those “friends.” We’ll talk about Honduras with Suyapa Portillo, assistant professor of Chicana/o-Latina/o Transnational Studies at Pitzer College, recently returned from the country, where she was an election observer.

    • Capitalism’s Failure of the Flesh

      A bitter irony of modernity is that the age-old dream of freeing people from work’s tedium has been answered by the rise of robots, but capitalism has turned that “freedom” into a barren life with little left to lose, writes poet Phil Rockstroh.

      [...]

      Capitalism is, by its very nature, dehumanizing. From the advent of the industrial/capitalist epoch, the system has inflicted mass alienation, societal atomization, and anomie. Moreover, the vast wealth inequity inherent to the system allows the capitalist elite to own the political class — a mindless clutch of flunkies who might as well be robots programmed by the capitalist order to serve their agendas.

    • I Spent Years Reporting on Chicago’s Property Tax System. Here’s What Got Me Out of the Weeds.

      For about 2 1/2 years now, I’ve been reporting on the Cook County property tax assessment system, uncovering inequities and explaining them to readers. At times, the work has been mind-numbing, with long stretches when I was lost in the weeds. But one thing was certain: Behind all the technical terms and the statistics was a story about the simple concept of fairness.

    • The Reagan ‘Boom’ Echoed Glory Days of Ford/Carter

      A Morning Edition segment on the Republican tax cut plan made comparisons to the Reagan tax cuts, referring to the “boom” that occurred following those cuts. While the economy did grow rapidly in the years from 1983 to 1986, the main reason was the severity of the 1981–82 recession. Economies tend to bounce back quickly following a severe recession.

      We saw the same story in the 1970s. The economy grew at a 5.7 percent annual rate in the 13 quarters from the fourth quarter of 1982 to first quarter of 1986. This is not hugely different than the 5.3 percent annual growth rate from the first quarter of 1975 to the third quarter of 1977. The key to the more rapid growth in the Reagan recovery was the somewhat greater severity of the 1981–82 recession, which pushed unemployment to almost 11 percent.

    • Is Bitcoin a bubble? Here’s what two bubble experts told us
    • Bitcoin is The New Brexit

      Restoring trust in financial infrastructure requires a new recipe, one not fueled by secrecy, centralization and externality. Bitcoin from day one has been ruthlessly designed to eliminate the need for a trusted third party.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • I study liars. I’ve never seen one like President Trump.
    • Covering the Midterms With Election DataBot

      The midterm elections are less than a year away, and with the balance of power of both houses of Congress at stake, they seem likely to be closely fought. To help local journalists use election data to keep a close eye on candidates and races, we’re today announcing an update to our Election DataBot app.

      A partnership with the Google News Lab, Election DataBot helps reporters, researchers and citizens keep track of campaign activity. The update adds a host of new information from ProPublica’s political data collection that will help users understand races in even more detail, and provide an even broader picture to their readers. DataBot users can sign up for email alerts for a particular candidate, committee or race, using a Google account.

    • The Left is dead, carpe DiEM!

      In the aftermath of another round of elections across Europe, we are left to wonder whether reports of the death of the Left might have been not at all exaggerated. As professor Sheri Berman observes in an op-ed contribution for The New York Times, the historic defeat of the German Social-democratic Party (SPD) in the last federal elections could have marked the end of the political framework that has shaped European societies since the end of World War II.

      Such a framework has rested on two pillars, i.e. a social-democratic and a conservative pole, which have been able to compete for government, by articulating clearly distinct sets of policies, while agreeing on the basic tenets of liberal, capitalist democracy. However, the first pillar is now crumbling, which is paving the way for the rise of national-populist parties. Those parties have indeed succeeded in appealing to social and demographic groups that had historically supported not only the Social Democrats, but the Left in general, such as “blue collar” workers, students, public employees and young voters.

    • Report: Flynn Told Associate Sanctions on Russia Would Be “Ripped Off” After Trump’s Election

      President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., testified to the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday, where he refused to answer lawmakers’ questions about his conversation with his father about released emails detailing Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer and other Trump associates in June 2016. Instead of answering, Trump Jr. invoked attorney-client privilege, even though neither he nor his father are lawyers. Meanwhile, a whistleblower has told congressional investigators that Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, texted a former business partner in the middle of Trump’s inauguration, saying that U.S. sanctions on Russia would soon be “ripped off,” allowing them to move forward with a private project to build dozens of nuclear reactors across the Middle East.

    • Roy Moore’s Story Is Unraveling

      A month ago, when Roy Moore was accused of having pursued teenage girls while in his 30s, he equivocated. “Do you remember dating girls that young?” Sean Hannity asked him. Moore hedged: “Not generally, no. If I did, you know, I’m not going to dispute anything, but I don’t remember anything like that.” Hannity asked Moore about Debbie Gibson, who said she had dated Moore when she was 17 and he was 34. “I don’t remember going out on dates,” said Moore. “I knew her as a friend. If we did go out on dates, then we did.”

    • What Happens When the Government Uses Facebook as a Weapon?

      Until it became crushing. Since being elected in May 2016, Duterte has turned Facebook into a weapon. The same Facebook personalities who fought dirty to see Duterte win were brought inside the Malacañang Palace. From there they are methodically taking down opponents, including a prominent senator and human-rights activist who became the target of vicious online attacks and was ultimately jailed on a drug charge.

      And then, as Ressa began probing the government’s use of social media and writing stories critical of the new president, the force of Facebook was turned against her.

    • Moore Is Less: Alabama, the Senate and the Nation Will Suffer

      Amid all the news surrounding Roy Moore’s race for the US Senate and the seeming willingness of Alabama’s likely voters to send a man of such dubious merit and morality to Capitol Hill (where, admittedly, the bar already is pretty damned low), I keep thinking of a line from the Randy Newman song “Rednecks.”

      It’s the lead piece on his classic ’70s album Good Old Boys, and begins with a Southern man lamenting how the north-of-the-Mason-Dixon-line media types make fun of former Georgia Gov. Lester Maddox, the arch-segregationist notorious for using an ax handle to threaten those who tried to integrate his fried chicken restaurant.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Here’s How to Find Out If Your Elected Officials Are Blocking Constituents on Facebook and Twitter

      Facebook and Twitter have become central parts of our political and civic lives. It’s not just President Donald Trump on Twitter and political ads on Facebook. Politicians and agencies across the country use social media to communicate policy, share information and hear from constituents. Those politicians and agencies also have the ability to block those who comment on their posts.

      We were curious about that. So, in August, we filed public-records request with every governor and 22 federal agencies for lists of people blocked on their official Facebook and Twitter accounts. We found that nearly 1,300 accounts were blocked — more than half by Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin. Bevin’s a Republican, but both Democrat and Republican governors block people.

    • Governors and Federal Agencies Are Blocking Nearly 1,300 Accounts on Facebook and Twitter

      Amanda Farber still doesn’t know why Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan blocked her from his Facebook group. A resident of Bethesda and full-time parent and volunteer, Farber identifies as a Democrat but voted for the Republican Hogan in 2014. Farber says she doesn’t post on her representatives’ pages often. But earlier this year, she said she wrote on the governor’s Facebook page, asking him to oppose the Trump administration’s travel ban and health care proposal.

      She never received a response. When she later returned to the page, she noticed her comment had been deleted. She also noticed she had been blocked from commenting. (She is still allowed to share the governor’s posts and messages.)

    • Adult Content Policies: A Textbook Case of Private Censorship

      Of the many reasons why social media platforms should resist pressure to “voluntarily” censor their users, one stands out: history shows that they will do it badly, taking down valuable and lawful content in the name of enforcing community standards. The result: practical speech discrimination.

      Facebook’s adult content policy is a textbook example. Since its early days, the platform has banned nearly all forms of nudity. But from day one, it has created reporting processes that conflate mere nudity with sexuality, and sexuality with pornography, and has applied different standards to feminine bodies than to masculine ones.

      And the same double standards seem to apply to advertisements. First, the conflation: Facebook’s advertising policy explicitly bans “nudity, depictions of people in explicit or suggestive positions, or activities that are overly suggestive or sexually provocative.” Thanks to this policy, an ad from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unwanted Pregnancy promoting regular health checkups, was rejected for violating Facebook’s advertising guidelines “for language that is profane, vulgar, threatening or generates high negative feedback”—the language in question? “You’re so sexy when you’re well.” Now, the double standard: all of the images used as examples of “inappropriate ads” are of women.

    • European lawmakers concerned about Hong Kong Basic Law interpretations and media self-censorship

      A delegation from the European Parliament has said it is concerned about Beijing’s interpretations of Hong Kong’s de facto constitution and media self-censorship.

      MEPs Jo Leinen of Germany and Frank Engel of Luxembourg were in Hong Kong this week and met political figures including the president of the Legislative Council and lawmakers from both the pro-Beijing camp and pro-democracy camp.

      Leinen, chair of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with China, said they want to see Hong Kong thrive and flourish: “We are concerned to hear about media self-censorship and about interpretations of the Basic Law prior to court rulings,” he said.

    • European Parliament delegation raises concerns over Basic Law interpretation, media censorship

      A delegation from the European Parliament concluded its three-day visit to Hong Kong on Thursday on a jarring note, saying it was concerned about Beijing’s interpretations of the city’s mini-constitution and self-censorship.

      “We are concerned to hear about media self-censorship and about interpretations of the Basic Law prior to court rulings,” said Jo Leinen, chairman of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with China. “The rule of law is a keystone of Hong Kong’s unique way of life. It is vital for the city’s international reputation, and integral to the success of ‘one country, two systems’, which we strongly support.”

    • Censorship: an unruly zone emerges in ancient trade route revival

      In the city of Dunhuang in western China, the Mingsha Shan Mountain is picturesque, with golden sand dunes, camels and a clear blue sky. At first glance, it’s the biggest tourist attraction. But the quiet, unassuming city’s history began as one of the most important transit points along the ancient Silk Road.

      The Belt and Road is the modern day reincarnation of the Silk Road. That road was a trade route that linked the cultures and economies of the countries it connected, from east China to Kathmandu in Nepal, Aleppo in Syria and Venice in Italy.

    • Reddit’s /r/btc Reaches 100,000+ Subscribers in a Victory for Censorship Resistance

      Decentralization is a tool to attain censorship resistance. The more avenues for debate, the better. Bitcoiners around the world depend on forums such as the popular Reddit.com bulletin board for candid, behind the headlines examination. In a year of striking all-time-highs, the subreddit /r/btc reached 100,000 subscribers this week. The ecosystem should celebrate the scrappy communication channel’s achievement, especially in the wake of campaigns to effectively shut it down.

    • Commentary: There is no other word for this than censorship

      Student leaders at Concordia College in Moorhead has censored prominent conservative speaker Ben Shapiro.

      Specifically, they have voted to rescind funding for Shapiro’s speech which had previously been approved back in November as my colleagues Kim Hyatt and Patrick Springer report in the Fargo Forum.

      To put that decision in context, the College paid left wing activist Shaun King to speak on campus in January.

      It is absolutely true to say that Shapiro is a provocative and even polarizing speaker. But then, so is King.

    • NRB Internet Freedom Watch shines light on censorship

      National Religious Broadcasters is drawing attention to online censorship of Christian and conservative speech by tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and Apple by launching a new initiative — Internet Freedom Watch.

    • ACLU Files Second Lawsuit Challenging Laws Suppressing Boycotts of Israel

      An Arizona lawyer is challenging a law requiring him to promise not to boycott Israel if he wants to keep his state contract.

      The ACLU on Thursday filed a challenge to an Arizona law that requires contractors doing business with the state to promise they won’t boycott Israel. This is the second such lawsuit the ACLU has filed in response to a wave of laws across the country designed to suppress constitutionally protected boycotts of Israel.

    • Internet Censorship Bills Won’t Help Catch Sex Traffickers

      In the most illuminating part of last week’s House subcommittee hearing on the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA, H.R. 1865), Tennessee Bureau of Investigation special agent Russ Winkler explained how he uses online platforms—particularly Backpage—to fight online sex trafficking. Winkler painted a fascinating picture of agents on his team posing as johns, gaining trust with traffickers, and apprehending them. His testimony demonstrated how, with proper training and resources, law enforcement officers can navigate the online platforms where sex work takes place to find and stop traffickers, especially those trafficking children.

      It was a rare moment of clarity in the debate over FOSTA and its sibling bill, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA, S. 1693). Since these bills were introduced, there’s been little discussion of how law enforcement officers use the online platforms that the bills would threaten and how SESTA and FOSTA would make it more difficult for law enforcement to do its work. Winkler made it crystal clear how heavily his work relies on online platforms: “We’ve conducted operations and investigations involving numerous perpetrators and victims. The one constant we encounter in our investigations is use of online platforms like Backpage.com by buyers and sellers of underage sex.”

    • Online sex-trafficking bill prompts Craigslist to hire its first lobbyists

      Recently filed disclosure forms show that Craigslist has tapped five lobbyists from the law firm Sidley Austin LLP, including former Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.).

    • Public outcry causes Google to rethink banning powerful “accessibility” apps
    • Russia Says Disconnecting From The Rest Of The Net ‘Out Of The Question’, But Wants Alternative DNS Servers For BRICS Nations

      That offers a pragmatic recognition that disconnection from the global Internet is no longer an option for a modern state, even if Iran begs to differ. It’s true that local DNS servers provide resilience, but they also make it much easier for a government to limit access to foreign sites by ordering their IP addresses to be blocked — surely another reason for the move.

      This latest proposal is part of a long-running campaign by Russia to wrest control of key aspects of the Internet — such as the DNS system — from international bodies, for example during the ITU’s World Conference on International Communications (WCIT) in 2012. Russia already had the support of other BRICS governments back then, which suggests they will back the new approach.

    • Tech Companies’ Transparency Efforts May Be Inadvertently Causing More Censorship

      In 2002, two Chinese men were detained for their dissident activities online. The first, Wang Xiaoning, had used email and Yahoo forums to spread pro-democracy messages, a crime for which he served ten years. The second, a journalist called Shi Tao, was convicted of providing state secrets to overseas entities and served eight years. The two men are connected by an invisible thread: In both cases, the convictions couldn’t have happened without the complicity of an American company.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Top EU Data Protection Body Asks US To Fix Problems Of ‘Privacy Shield’ Or Expect A Referral To Region’s Highest Court

      As regards the Executive Order 12333, WP29 wants the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) “to finish and issue its awaited report on EO 12333 to provide information on the concrete operation of this Executive Order and on its necessity and proportionality with regard to interferences brought to data protection in this context.” That’s likely to be a bit tricky, because the PCLOB is understaffed due to unfilled vacancies, and possibly moribund. In conclusion, the WP29 “acknowledges the progress of the Privacy Shield in comparison with the invalidated Safe Harbor Decision”, but underlines that the EU group has “identified a number of significant concerns that need to be addressed by both the [European] Commission and the U.S. authorities.” I

    • Trump Officials Say Warrantless Surveillance Program Will Continue Whether Congress Approves It This Year or Not

      Having come to the realization there may be little hope for renewing the warrantless surveillance program known as Section 702 by the end of the month, Trump administration attorneys now contend there’s a legal basis for continuing the program through next April, despite the widely held assumption it would expire come New Year’s Day.

      Debate over potential reforms to the program, enacted under the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, continue in Congress, but have been largely overshadowed by Republican efforts to overhaul the tax code.

    • White House Allows Warrantless Surveillance of NSA Continue Until April

      Section 702 of The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which authorizes the warrantless data gathering of the NSA, is scheduled to expire on New Year’s Eve. Lawyers for the executive branch have concluded that FISA Section 702 surveillance can continue legally until the 26th of April 2018. The rationale boils down to a technicality. As the FISA Amendments Act states that orders issued under 702 can last for a year, and NSA’s last year-long certification was issued on the 26 of April 2017.

      If the argument persists, it will please officials that are concerned that surveillance will either have to be dismissed or continue on questionable legal grounds. That is entirely possible when Congress is presently focused on pushing through its tax plan, and it might not significantly proceed with the House or Senate bills renewing Section 702 until the new year. An extension could provide them months to prepare for the probabiliy that the program might wind down, which would force them to conduct more targeted espionage.

    • Google’s true origin partly lies in CIA and NSA research grants for mass surveillance

      Two decades ago, the US intelligence community worked closely with Silicon Valley in an effort to track citizens in cyberspace. And Google is at the heart of that origin story. Some of the research that led to Google’s ambitious creation was funded and coordinated by a research group established by the intelligence community to find ways to track individuals and groups online.

      The intelligence community hoped that the nation’s leading computer scientists could take non-classified information and user data, combine it with what would become known as the internet, and begin to create for-profit, commercial enterprises to suit the needs of both the intelligence community and the public. They hoped to direct the supercomputing revolution from the start in order to make sense of what millions of human beings did inside this digital information network. That collaboration has made a comprehensive public-private mass surveillance state possible today.

    • UK Court Says Company Is Innocent In Massive Data Breach Caused By Vindictive Employee, But Must Nonetheless Pay Compensation

      It’s well known that the EU has laws offering relatively strong protection for personal data — some companies say too strong. Possible support for that viewpoint comes from a new data protection case in the UK, which follows EU law, where the judge has come to a rather surprising conclusion. Details of the case can be found in a short post on the Panopticon blog, or in the court’s 59-page judgment (pdf), but the basic facts are as follows.

      In 2014, a file containing personal details of 99,998 employees of the UK supermarket chain Morrisons was posted on a file-sharing Web site. The file included names, addresses, gender, dates of birth, phone numbers (home or mobile), bank account numbers and salary information. Public links to the file were placed elsewhere, and copies of the data sent on a CD to three local newspapers, supposedly by someone who had found it on the Internet. In fact, all the copies originated from Andrew Skelton, a Senior IT Auditor in Morrisons, as later investigations discovered. According to the court, Skelton had a grudge against the company because of a disciplinary process that took place in 2013. As a result of the massive data breach in 2014, Skelton was sentenced to eight years in prison.

    • Open Rights Group and the3million tell Government immigration exemption must be removed

      The Government’s proposals found in the Data Protection Bill would remove the right of individuals subject to an immigration procedure to discover what personal data companies and public authorities hold on them. The House of Lords will vote on the Bill next week on 11 or 13 December to decide whether to remove the proposed exemption.

      The sweeping exemption would prevent people from being able to challenge Home Office errors, which are common in immigration cases – the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration reports mistakes in 1 in 10 cases.

      The exemption is much broader than just data held by the Home Office, covering any organisation processing information that is used in relation to immigration controls. The current immigration regime extends the responsibility to control immigration to schools, GPs, hospitals, landlords, employers, and even the DVLA. The exemption would create a two-tier system in how these institutions handle people’s data based on their immigration status.

    • Immigration Exemptions: Government Position – Open Rights Group Response

      This briefing is a breakdown of the Government’s response in Committee to the debate on Schedule 2 Paragraph 4 which would create an exemption from GDPR provisions to personal data processed for the purposes of “the maintenance of effective immigration control”, or “the investigation or detection of activities that would undermine the maintenance of effective immigration control”.

    • Joint Briefing: Immigration Exemptions in the Data Protection Bill Need To Be Removed

      Open Rights Group are a digital rights campaigning organisation. Campaigning for a world where we each control the data our digital lives create, deciding who can use it and how, and where the public’s rights are acknowledged and upheld.

      the3million is the largest grassroots organisation of EU citizens in the UK, and campaigns for all EU citizens living here to be able to continue life as usual after Brexit.

    • (Virtually) No one should ever own an Echo or any other “voice assistant” product
    • Don’t Buy Anyone an Echo

      This is all to say that there are risks involved with owning a smart speaker. It’s not as risky as, say, running a meth lab out of your basement. But keeping an internet-connected microphone in your kitchen is certainly more trouble than owning a simple Bluetooth speaker that just plays music. You might be comfortable taking that risk for yourself. Think long and hard about buying an Amazon Echo or a Google Home for your friends and family. They might not like it. In my opinion, they shouldn’t.

    • QBE leverages AI and open source data

      QBE Insurance Group (QBE) has announced that QBE Ventures has closed an investment into Cytora, a three-year-old London-based start-up that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and open source data to help commercial insurers lower loss ratios, grow premiums and improve expense ratios.

    • Jeremy Hunt is right. Please, Facebook, leave our kids alone

      Children will always want to play at being grownups, but the point is surely to encourage them to copy us at our best, not our worst.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Copenhagen Police confirm new extension of stop-and-search zone

      The extension is the ninth of its kind as police have continued efforts to crack down on armed violence in the Nørrebro neighbourhood of Copenhagen. A similar zone was also set up in the Amager district.

    • My Son Dontre’s Killing by Police Was a Human Rights Violation

      Few things define me as completely as being a mother. I gave birth to three sons: Nate, Dameion and Dontre. My world changed forever on April 30, 2014, when my son Dontre was killed by Milwaukee police.

      Today I testified at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to say that Dontre’s death as a Black man in America at the hands of law enforcement should be seen as more than a son’s death, more than a mother’s tragedy. Dontre’s death at the hands of police was a human rights violation.

      My story is his story.

      It was a Wednesday. It was late and I was on my way home to prepare for work the following morning. My phone rang and an unidentified detective said he want to come talk with me. I said, “WNormalizing Ethnic Supremacy in Israel/Palestinehat do you want to talk about at 12:15am?” I told him I would come down after I got off work the next day. He said no, he would come to see me. I felt a mother’s fear. I hung up and tried to reach all three of my sons.

    • Colin Kaepernick Accepts Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship

      And football player Colin Kaepernick accepted the Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship Tuesday night, for having sparked a movement against racism and police brutality across the NFL after refusing to stand for the national anthem before NFL games.

    • Former Officer’s Guilty Verdict for Killing Walter Scott Is the Exception, Not the Rule

      Police officer Michael Slager shot and killed an unarmed Black man, Walter Scott, in 2015, and it was all caught on video. Today he was sentenced by a federal judge to 20 years behind bars for violating Scott’s civil rights. While this instance of accountability in a police killing is heartening, the fact that it is a surprising result tells you what you really need to know about police reform. The accountability of police to the communities they serve is still elusive in many places, and nonexistent in some.

      Officer Slager was shown shooting Scott in the back while Scott ran away. Yet even with that video evidence, his first trial in state court resulted in a hung jury. Slager’s pleading guilty to federal charges and now being sentenced for the murder of a Black man is the exception to the rule. Usually there are no charges. Or there is no conviction. There are myriad cases, from Alton Sterling in Louisiana to Philando Castile in Minnesota, where video evidence was not enough.

    • State Board That Fined Man For Criticizing The Government Without A License Admits It Was Wrong

      Earlier this year, government entities in Beaverton, Oregon got fed up with a resident’s refusal to stop pestering them about problems with their traffic light timing. Mats Jarlstrom, a red light camera ticket recipient and consequential thorn in the side of local pols, tried repeatedly to get state traffic engineers to take a look at his research on yellow light timing. They refused. And they refused in a way only powerful bureaucracies can.

      The Oregon Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying told Jarlstrom to shut up by issuing him a $500 fine for practicing engineering without a license. It was, of course, bullshit. Jarlstrom couldn’t alter traffic light timing and certainly wasn’t sending in bids for government work while presenting himself as an engineer. He just wanted to talk about his research. But the state board wasn’t interested in his work or his refusal to stop talking. Despite holding a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, Jarlstrom was told he wasn’t enough of an engineer to talk about subjects he’d thoroughly researched.

    • ‘Do Everything They Ask So They Don’t Shoot Me’

      One college professor’s run-in with the surveillance state demonstrates its power to destroy innocent people’s lives.

      On a May morning in 2015, Xiaoxing Xi, a physics professor at Temple University, woke up to violent banging on the door of his home in a quiet suburb of Philadelphia.

      He raced downstairs. When he opened the door, he was greeted by a group of armed federal agents. Within minutes, he was handcuffed and under arrest, and his wife and daughters, in their pajamas, were held at gunpoint with their hands up. In the subsequent hours, he was strip-searched, interrogated, and charged before being released on bail. “From the very beginning, I was telling myself,” he said, “do everything they ask me to do so that they don’t shoot me.”

    • Normalizing Ethnic Supremacy in Israel/Palestine

      The Times could easily have written that, but it would have been wrong. It would be wrong as a prediction, of course: Under international pressure, South Africa did accede to one person, one vote, and today is a functioning multiracial democracy. But it also would have been wrong in the ethical sense for the Times to implicitly accept as normal politics a refusal to allow democracy to undermine ethnic supremacy.

      It may be true, as the actual Times article states, that Israel is determined not to allow Palestinians equal rights. It certainly bolsters that determination when the United States’ most powerful paper suggests it’s a normal thing for a “Jewish state” to rule over a population that is roughly 50 percent non-Jewish.

    • Hundreds Rally Outside Brooklyn Courthouse to Demand ICE Stop Arresting People at Court

      In New York City, hundreds of people rallied outside the Brooklyn courthouse Thursday to demand courtrooms prohibit undercover immigration agents from arresting people at or in the vicinity of courthouses.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The FCC Still Doesn’t Know How the Internet Works

      The biggest misunderstanding the FCC still has is the incorrect belief that when your broadband provider sells you Internet access, they’re not selling you a service by which you can transmit data to and from whatever points on the Internet you want. Citing a past order, the FCC demonstrates this misunderstanding by claiming that “[e]nd users do not expect to receive (or pay for) two distinct services—both Internet access service and a distinct transmission service, for example.”

    • Net Neutrality – Unleaded Hangouts

      Net Neutrality is a hot button issue. Today, I thought it might be interesting to explore this issue. Since Net Neutrality never actually had the opportunity to take effect, I also wanted to talk about this and how a lack of Net Neutrality might affect all of us since it may never see the light of day.

    • The man who could doom net neutrality: Ajit Pai ignores outcry from all sides

      “In some rural areas, 40% of people have zero or one choice of ISP. After Chairman Pai’s plan, that’s 40% of people who have no choice the day Comcast starts throttling and they can’t go to another provider. They are stuck. That’s really concerning.”

    • Why I Changed My Mind On Net Neutrality

      So, what changed, leading me to eventually move to supporting the Open Internet Order of 2015? Well, as Felten predicted (he’s good at that sort of thing…), the market continued to develop, legal precedent got set, and we got a lot more information on what was happening. On top of that, we got decent (though not perfect) rules from the Wheeler FCC, which were non-burdensome, and did quite a lot of good.

      I wanted to explore in greater detail what it was that made me change my opinion on this — and I’ll do it while also countering someone else’s arguments. A bunch of people have been pointing me to what Ben Thompson from Stratechery has been saying about net neutrality over the past couple weeks. Ben is very smart and extraordinarily insightful on issues related to innovation and policy, and I probably agree with him about 85% of the time. Thus I do find it interesting to explore where we disagree — and net neutrality is one of those places. But what’s most interesting to me is that after going through Ben’s thoughts on this multiple times, I think that he’s really in the place I found myself a decade ago — supporting net neutrality, but being weary of the FCC’s implementation. So, as part of my reasoning for why I changed my mind, I’ll also try to explain why Ben should change his mind as well. If you haven’t followed Ben’s statements here’s his original blog post, which was initially called “Why Ajit Pai is Right,” but was later changed to “Pro-Neutrality, Anti-Title II.”

    • ISP disclosures about data caps and fees eliminated by net neutrality repeal

      Hidden fees that show up on broadband bills after customers sign up for service have long been a source of frustration for Internet users.

      Because advertised prices often don’t reflect the full cost of service, the Federal Communications Commission in 2015 forced ISPs to be more transparent with customers about hidden fees and the consequences of exceeding data caps. The new requirements were part of the net neutrality rules—and are therefore going to be eliminated when the FCC votes to repeal the rules next week.

      While FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is proposing to keep some of the commission’s existing disclosure rules and to impose some new disclosure requirements, ISPs won’t have to tell consumers exactly what everything will cost when they sign up for service.

    • ‘Parks and Recreation’ actor hits FCC chair over net neutrality repeal
    • FCC rejects NY AG’s probe into net neutrality comments

      Thomas Johnson, the FCC’s general counsel, sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) on Thursday saying that the commission would not be handing over logs Schneiderman requested in order to investigate fake comments.

    • Ajit Pai says an informed public (not Net Neutrality) will discipline ISPs (BTW, he’s also killing the rules forcing ISPs to inform the public)

      However, Chariman Pai, a former Verizon executive, is also getting rid of the Obama-era rules that require ISPs to tell you about all the hidden fees and caps in your service, because they’re “too onerous.”

    • Photos from inside the Protect Net Neutrality protests
    • Shocker: Study Finds Cord Cutting Very Real, TV Execs Still Failing To Adapt

      You’ll perhaps recall that broadcast and cable executives spent years denying that TV cord cutting was even happening. Ultimately that head-in-the-ground thinking “evolved” to the point where sector executives admitted that sure, cord cutters are real, but they’re little more than 40-year-old nobodies living in mom’s basement — and not something to actually take seriously. As the data began to indicate that cord cutting was a very real phenomenon that thinking has finally started to subside, though the industry by and large has responded by doubling down on the bad ideas that brought us to this point in the first place.

      There’s still a sect of broadcast and cable executives and analysts that truly believe this shift from bloated, pricey channel bundles to cheaper, more flexible streaming alternatives is just a fad kooky kids are going through. And there’s more than a few sector executives who believe this will all magically end as younger generations procreate and buy new homes. Of course that’s not really supported by the facts, with most Millennials and younger generations being “cord nevers” — who fail to see the point of subscribing to expensive bloated channel bundles in the era of YouTube and Twitch.

    • “Face reality! We need net neutrality!” Crowds chant across the country

      Protestors across the nation rallied in support for network neutrality on Thursday, a week before the Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to take a historic vote rolling back network neutrality regulations. Protestors say those regulations, which were enacted by the Obama FCC in 2015, are crucial for protecting an open Internet.

      Organizers chose to hold most of the protests outside of Verizon cell phone stores. Ajit Pai, the FCC Chairman who is leading the agency’s charge to repeal network neutrality, is a former Verizon lawyer, and Verizon has been a critic of the Obama network neutrality rules.

      Ars visited protests in Washington DC, New York, and San Francisco.

    • India Embraces Full Net Neutrality As The U.S. Turns Its Back On The Concept

      While the United States is busy giving the world a crash course on what telecom regulatory capture looks like, India is taking a decidedly different tack with net neutrality. Last year, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) began laying the groundwork for some real, tough net neutrality rules aimed at protecting their internet markets and consumers from anti-competitive ISP behavior. Here in the States, our soon-to-be-discarded rules left some fairly gaping loopholes governing “zero rating,” which allows ISPs to impose often arbitrary and unnecessary usage caps, then exempt their own content while hindering competitors.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Protect Your Right to Repair and Control the Devices in Your Life

      Have you encountered difficulties repairing or tinkering with your devices because of technology that stops you from figuring out how it works? EFF wants your stories so that we can defend your right to get around those roadblocks.

      We want to hear about your experiences with anything that has a software component, from the Internet of Things, to vehicles, to Smart TVs, to appliances… anything you can think of. We think you should have the right to repair, inspect, and reprogram the devices you rely on. We’re taking an especially close look at new devices that can listen to what goes on in your home, like the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and the Apple HomePod.

    • Trademarks

      • SLCC Rankles Judge With Social Media Posts As A Jury Prepares To Rule

        We’ve been following the trademark dispute between the Salt Lake Comic Con and the San Diego Comic-Con for some time now, including all of its strange ups and downs. Despite this whole dispute starting something like three years ago, the trial itself has kept a brisk pace, with SLCC already resting its defense and jury deliberations beginning this week as well. While we’ll have to wait for the jury’s decision, the trial has gone pretty much as we expected. SDCC rolled out its trademark registration that it appears to have forgotten it ever had until recently from an enforcement perspective, along with some commissioned surveys suggesting that the public views the word “comic-con” as a brand and not a generic term. SLCC has pointed out that there are a ton of other comic cons out there, few of which have any licensing agreement with SDCC, and SLCC had expert witnesses poke some glaring holes in the SDCC’s survey.

      • Opening Statements in Salt Lake Comic Con vs San Diego Comic-Con, as Rose City Comic-Con Does a Deal

        Callie Bjurstrom, attorney for San Diego Comic-Con told jurors that Salt Lake Comic Con hijacked the Comic-Con trademark. That it “remained a small, intimate comic convention for decades” and that it wasn’t until the early 2000s that “the secret was out: Comics were cool and Comic-Con was the place to be to catch what was hot and what was next”. And as hundreds of similar conventions sprang up in cities across the country, Salt Lake Comic Con tried to “hijack” the trademark, to “steal the Comic-Con brand” saying “You don’t need to use ‘Comic-Con’ in your name to identify your comic and popular-arts convention… Convention is a generic term. Comic-Con is a brand” and that Salt Lake Comic Con is duping consumers into believing their events are associated, especially when they parked an Audi convertible near the San Diego Convention Center during the 2014 show, wrapped with promotions for the Salt Lake event.

      • Opening Statements In The Trademark Battle Of The Comic Cons, While Other Regional Cons Go Full Judas

        Our regular readers will know that we’ve been covering the years-long trademark lawsuit between the famous San Diego Comic-Con and the Salt Lake ComicCon since the very beginning. The whole thing has been something of a saga, with the SDCC issuing various threats and filing a lawsuit, while the SLCC has managed to fumble its way through court, getting slapped around for attempting various counter-logical defenses and even getting a gag order on it temporarily, unconstitutionally barring it from talking about the case publicly.

    • Copyrights

      • Tell the Copyright Office: Keep Safe Harbors Safe

        The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) safe harbors are a vital protection for websites and Internet services of all sizes. But thanks to a new Copyright Office rule, website owners could lose safe harbor protections if they don’t register online by December 31. And that’s not all: Hollywood lobbyists are pushing the Copyright Office to create even more hoops for website owners to jump through in order to keep their safe harbor.

        Under current law, the owners of websites and online services are protected from monetary liability when their users are accused of infringing copyright. Owners must meet many requirements in order to be eligible for that protection, including participating in the notorious notice-and-takedown procedure for allegedly infringing content. They also must register an agent with the Copyright Office, someone who can respond to takedown requests.

      • Canadian ISPs And Hollywood Agree On Plan To Make Themselves Judge, Jury and Website Executioner

        If you take a quick look through the long history of posts we’ve done on the subject of site-blocking as a method for combating piracy, you’ll notice that we’ve been fairly critical of the courts in various countries, which are issuing the blocking orders commonly. Here in America, the story is essentially the same, with only minor differences in the laws or lack of laws between each country causing barely different legal justifications for the censorship of sites that one entertainment group or another says is infringing. Too often, the courts appear to take plaintiff claims of infringement as gospel, where in some countries there is even a governmental framework that seems perfectly designed to abuse this process and have compliant courts exert as much collateral damage as possible. Our point all along is that there needs to be a refining of this process to keep the censorship out of the results and ensure that no speech that ought to be protected is caught up in the mix.

      • Copyright Skirmishes From The European Snippet War

        A new European Union ancillary copyright provision for news publishers will help them against news aggregators and platform providers, promised proponents and two panellists favouring the addition of the EU Copyright Reform at a workshop of the Justice Committee (JURI) of the European Parliament in Brussels today (7 December). But it’s a promise that cannot be kept according to a study commissioned by the Parliament and also presented during a feisty discussion at the workshop.

      • How some are spreading confusion about scientific evidence to push through an extra copyright for news sites in the EU

        Scientific facts are not enough to break through. Only one thing can now stop these plans: Public pressure applied by the people of Europe on their politicians.

12.07.17

Links 7/12/2017: Qt 5.10, ReactOS 0.4.7, Guix and GuixSD 0.14.0

Posted in News Roundup at 3:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux then, and why you should learn it now

    It started back in 1983 with another operating system known as UNIX, first released in 1971. In 1983, the GNU Project was started to create a complete UNIX-compatible operating system, but the project was stalled and had a missing kernel. Around 1987, a UNIX-like operating system for students was released called MINIX, but its licensing prevented it from being distributed freely. Irritated by the licensing of MINIX, Linus Torvalds at the University of Helsinki began working on his own operating system kernel. His kernel was released in 1991, and when combined with the GNU components and open source licensing, it became the Linux operating system we know today.

  • 2018: The year of the open source desktop, browser, and office suite

    It was last year, around this same time, that I predicted a monumental year for open source in 2017. I even went so far as to say open source would finally pass the 5% market share on the desktop. There was a moment when it looked like that was actually going to happen, only to find out it was a bit of false reporting. Even without hitting that magic number, Linux and open source had a stellar year.

    Will that success hold over to the upcoming year? I believe it will, and then some. Let’s gaze into that always questionable crystal ball and see what kind of predictions we can come up with for Linux and open source.

  • Desktop

    • Everything In Its Right Place

      Back in July, I wrote about trying to get Endless OS working on DVDs. To recap: we have published live ISO images of Endless OS for a while, but until recently if you burned one to a DVD and tried to boot it, you’d get the Endless boot-splash, a lot of noise from the DVD drive, and not much else. Definitely no functioning desktop or installer!

      I’m happy to say that Endless OS 3.3 boots from a DVD. The problems basically boiled down to long seek times, which are made worse by data not being arranged in any particular order on the disk. Fixing this had the somewhat unexpected benefit of improving boot performance on fixed disks, too. For the gory details, read on!

  • Server

    • Running storage services on Kubernetes

      If you are looking to adopt the benefits of containers, introduce and support a DevOps culture in your organization, run micro-services or in general try to get corporate IT to provide more immediate value to the business by shortening the time to market, you will at least evaluate Kubernetes. When you adopt it, it won’t be long until stateful applications find their way into the cluster—and with that the need for robust, persistent storage. Will databases be among those applications? Very likely. Or workloads, that share large content repositories or such that consume object storage? In either of those cases, you should definitely take a look at gluster-kubernetes.

    • Bitnami Introduces Kubeapps for Click and Deploy Kubernetes Containers

      At KubeCon, Bitnami demonstrated a tool for deploying pre-packaged Kubernetes containers with the click of a mouse.

    • CoreOS Tectonic 1.8 unites container management across clouds

      Kubernetes is now — no question about it — the dominant cloud orchestration program. With Amazon Web Services (AWS) giving Kubernetes native support, all major clouds now support Kubernetes. This means more than just you can use the same program to manage your containers on different clouds. It also means you can use Kubernetes to manage all your containers on all your clouds in a single, cohesive fashion. This is what CoreOS brings to the table, with its latest release of Tectonic.

    • New Open Platform Helps Enterprises Manage Their Own Cloud Services

      CoreOS on Tuesday announced the release of Tectonic 1.8, a Kubernetes container management platform. Tectonic enables enterprises to deploy key automation infrastructure components that function like managed cloud services without cloud vendor lock-in.

      The CoreOS Open Cloud Services Catalog offers an alternative to cloud vendors’ proprietary services and APIs — the equivalent of cloud-based offerings developed on open source technologies that enable customers to build their infrastructures within the hybrid environments of their choice.

    • What Tech Skills are Hot (React, Cloud) or Not (Linux, Tableau)

      It’s a good time to have experience in React, the JavaScript library used to create user interfaces, according to a study released this week by job search firm Indeed.com. Meanwhile, a growing number of job seekers are touting their Linux skills, but employers are less interested. And Python’s status is, well, complicated, the Indeed study showed.

      Indeed looked at the changes in search terms used by tech workers and by recruiters over the past two years, considering the October 2015 through September 2016 and October 2016 through September 2017 time periods. According to that analysis, React is up 313 percent year over year as a job seeker interest, and 229 percent as an employer interest. Cloud computing skills also appear to be blazingly hot, with interest in Amazon Web Services up 98 percent for job seekers and 40 percent for employers. Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform saw a 31-percent boost in searches by job seekers and a 62-percent jump for employers.

    • Open-Source Cloudify Delivers Multi-Stack Interoperability for Kubernetes & Robust Security, Bridging the Gap Between Application & Network Virtualization
    • Linux on Supercomputers

      Today, I did a presentation about Linux on Supercomputers at the Faculty of Industrial of UNMSM for its annivrsary. It was published the event in the Intranet of the School.

    • 7 Habits of Highly Successful Site Reliability Engineers

      In a recent post, we examined the rise of the Site Reliability Engineer in modern software organizations. But it’s one thing just to be called a SRE; we also wanted to know what it takes to become a great one.

      So we decided to look at some of the characteristics and habits common to highly successful SREs. As in most development and operations roles, first-class technical chops are obviously critical. For SREs, those specific skills might depend on how a particular organization defines or approaches the role: the Google approach to Site Reliability Engineering might require more software engineering and coding experience, whereas another organization might place a higher value on ops or QA skills. But as we found when we looked at what makes dev and ops practitioners successful, what sets the “great” apart from the “good enough” is often a combination of habits and traits that complement technical expertise.

    • Preparing your organization for a future built on blockchain

      In the first part of this review of Blockchain Revolution by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott, I presented some of the ways the authors suggest blockchain technology will impact organizations. In particular, I examined the open organization principles (transparency, inclusivity, adaptability, collaboration, community) and the reasons we practice them (building a network of people dedicated to a purpose and sharing the same ethical standards, for example).

      [...]

      Open Networked Enterprises would best suit tasks that are high in complexity but low in repetition. At very low cost, smart contracts enable companies to craft clever, self-enforcing agreements with suppliers and partners. Collections of these agreements will start to resemble working networks, trusted company affiliations, or open organizations. In Blockchain Revolution, the authors mention the work of famous Harvard Professor Michael Porter with regard to this phenomenon. Porter considers these Open Networked Enterprises to have competitive advantages that are difficult to duplicate.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel Developer: Kees Cook

      Security is paramount these days for any computer system, including those running on Linux. Thus, part of the ongoing Linux development work involves hardening the kernel against attack, according to the recent Linux Kernel Development Report.

      This work, according to report authors Jonathan Corbet and Greg Kroah-Hartman, involves the addition of several new technologies, many of which have their origin in the grsecurity and PaX patch sets. “New hardening features include virtually mapped kernel stacks, the use of the GCC plugin mechanism for structure-layout randomization, the hardened usercopy mechanism, and a new reference-count mechanism that detects and defuses reference-count overflows. Each of these features makes the kernel more resistant to attack,” the report states.

    • Unikraft: Unleashing the Power of Unikernels

      The team at NEC Laboratories Europe spent quite a bit of time over the last few years developing unikernels – specialized virtual machine images targeting specific applications. This technology is fascinating to us because of its fantastic performance benefits: tiny memory footprints (hundreds of KBs or a few MBs), boot times compared to those of processes or throughput in the range of 10-40 Gb/s, among many other attributes. Specific metrics can be found in these articles: “My VM is Lighter (and Safer) than your Container,” “Unikernels Everywhere: The Case for Elastic CDNs,” and “ClickOS and the Art of Network Function Virtualization.”

      The potential of unikernels is great (as you can see from the work above), but there hasn’t been a massive adoption of unikernels. Why? Development time. For example, developing Minipython, a MicroPython unikernel, took the better part of three months to put together and test. ClickOS, a unikernel for NFV, was the result of a couple of years of work.

    • SPDX identifiers in the kernel

      Observers of the kernel’s commit stream or mailing lists will have seen a certain amount of traffic referring to the addition of SPDX license identifiers to kernel source files. For many, this may be their first encounter with SPDX. But the SPDX effort has been going on for some years; this article describes SPDX, along with why and how the kernel community intends to use it.

      On its face, compliance with licenses like the GPL seems like a straightforward task. But it quickly becomes complicated for a company that is shipping a wide range of software, in various versions, in a whole set of different products. Compliance problems often come about not because a given company wants to flout a license, but instead because that company has lost track of which licenses it needs to comply with and for which versions of which software. SPDX has its roots in an effort that began in 2009 to help companies get a handle on what their compliance obligations actually are.

      It can be surprisingly hard to determine which licenses apply to a given repository full of software. The kernel’s COPYING file states that it can be distributed under the terms of version 2 of the GNU General Public License. But many of the source files within the kernel tell a different story; some are BSD licensed, and many are dual-licensed. Some carry an exception to make it clear that user-space programs are not a derived product of the kernel. Occasionally, files with GPL-incompatible licenses have been found (and fixed).

    • 4.15 Merge window part 1

      When he released 4.14, Linus Torvalds warned that the 4.15 merge window might be shorter than usual due to the US Thanksgiving holiday. Subsystem maintainers would appear to have heard him; as of this writing, over 8,800 non-merge changesets have been pulled into the mainline since the opening of the 4.15 merge window. Read on for a summary of the most interesting changes found in that first set of patches.

    • 4.15 Merge window part 2

      Despite the warnings that the 4.15 merge window could be either longer or shorter than usual, the 4.15-rc1 prepatch came out right on schedule on November 26. Anybody who was expecting a quiet development cycle this time around is in for a surprise, though; 12,599 non-merge changesets were pulled into the mainline during the 4.15 merge window, 1,000 more than were seen in the 4.14 merge window. The first 8,800 of those changes were covered in this summary; what follows is a look at what came after.

    • BPF-based error injection for the kernel

      Diligent developers do their best to anticipate things that can go wrong and write appropriate error-handling code. Unfortunately, error-handling code is especially hard to test and, as a result, often goes untested; the code meant to deal with errors, in other words, is likely to contain errors itself. One way of finding those bugs is to inject errors into a running system and watching how it responds; the kernel may soon have a new mechanism for doing this sort of injection.

      As an example of error handling in the kernel, consider memory allocations. There are few tasks that can be performed in kernel space without allocating memory to work with. Memory allocation operations can fail (in theory, at least), so any code that contains a call to a function like kmalloc() must check the returned pointer and do the right thing if the requested memory was not actually allocated. But kmalloc() almost never fails in a running kernel, so testing the failure-handling paths is hard. It is probably fair to say that a large percentage of allocation-failure paths in the kernel have never been executed; some of those are certainly wrong.

    • Tools for porting drivers

      Out-of-tree drivers are a maintenance headache, since customers may want to use them in newer kernels. But even those drivers that get merged into the mainline may need to be backported at times. Coccinelle developer Julia Lawall introduced the audience at Open Source Summit Europe to some new tools that can help make both forward-porting and backporting drivers easier.

      She opened her talk by noting that she was presenting step one in her plans, she hoped to be able to report on step two next year some time. The problem she is trying to address is that the Linux kernel keeps moving on. A vendor might create a driver for the 4.4 kernel but, over the next six months, the kernel will have moved ahead by another two versions. There are lots of changes with each new kernel, including API changes that require driver changes to keep up.

      That means that vendors need to continually do maintenance on their drivers unless they get them upstream, where they will get forward-ported by the community. But the reverse problem is there as well: once a device becomes popular, customers may start asking for it to run with older kernels too. That means backporting.

    • Linux Foundation

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel Wants You To Help Test The i965 Mesa Shader Cache, Not Yet Enabled By Default

        Back in early November Intel finally landed its shader cache support for allowing GLSL shaders to be cached on-disk similar to the RadeonSI shader caching that has been present since earlier in the year. But this functionality isn’t yet enabled by default as it still needs more testing.

        Last month I covered some early test results of this Intel i965 Mesa shader on-disk cache within Intel’s Mesa GLSL Shader Cache Is Speeding Up Game Load Times. In my experiences thus far it’s been working out well but currently isn’t used by the Intel driver unless the MESA_GLSL_CACHE_DISABLE=0 environment variable is set.

      • 16-Bit Storage, variablePointers Land For ANV Vulkan Driver

        It’s always great waking up to new features landing in Mesa Git.

        For the past several months Igalia developers have been working on SPV_KHR_16bit_storage and VK_KHR_16bit_storage support for the Intel ANV Vulkan driver. As implied by the name, this is about supporting 16-bit data types in shader input/output interfaces and push constant blocks. This Vulkan “half float” support has now landed in Mesa Git across a number of patches affecting NIR, ANV, and the Intel shader compiler.

      • POCL 1.0 RC1 Adds Experimental CUDA Backend, Full OpenCL 1.2 Support

        One of the most exciting open-source OpenCL projects we have been following in recent years is POCL as “Portable C” for having an LLVM-based portable OpenCL implementation to run on CPUs as well as GPUs now via AMD HSA back-end and a new experimental NVIDIA CUDA back-end. The POCL 1.0 release is finally near.

      • First Batch Of AMDGPU Changes For Linux 4.16: DC Multi-Display Sync, Vega Tuning

        Alex Deucher of AMD sent in today their first batch of feature updates for Radeon/AMDGPU/TTM feature code for DRM-Next, which has already been queued, and will in turn land next year with the Linux 4.16 kernel.

      • Samsung Improving Cairo’s OpenGL ES 3.x Support, May Eye Vulkan In Future

        Back in September there were developers from Samsung’s Open-Source Group adding initial OpenGL ES 3.0 support to Cairo. The GLESv3 upbringing in Cairo is still ongoing and not yet fully vetted, but Bryce Harrington of Samsung OSG has now blogged about this effort.

        While there is the initial support for creating an OpenGL ES 3.0 context with Cairo, as Bryce explains in his new blog post, the work on GLES 3.0 for Cairo isn’t complete. Additional code is still to be written to leverage new GLES3 functionality and they originally started writing this code for their Tizen platform.

      • David Airlie Continues With Holiday Improvements For R600g

        Last month Red Hat developer David Airlie landed shader image support and other GL4 extension work for the R600 Gallium3D driver that is used for older, pre-GCN AMD graphics processors. For those still relying upon these aging GPUs, David Airlie is continuing with improvements on R600g this month.

        In between hacking on the RADV Vulkan driver, David has continued pushing more improvements to this Gallium3D driver that otherwise doesn’t see too much activity these days. In the past few days has been a number of R600 commits to Mesa 17.4-dev Git.

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Qt 5.10 Released Along With Qt Creator 4.5

        Qt 5.10 is now officially out as the half-year update to the Qt5 tool-kit.

        Qt 5.10 is arriving just a few days late and is a big feature update. Qt 5.10 features many improvements to Qt Quick and QML, initial Vulkan support, support for streaming Qt UIs to WebGL-enabled browsers, OpenGL ES improvements, new functionality in Qt 3D, a new QRandomGenerator as a “high quality” RNG, OpenSSL 1.1 support in Qt Network, embedded improvements, updated Qt WebEngine, and Qt Network Authentication for OAuth/OAuth2 support and Qt Speech for text-to-speech capabilities. There’s a whole lot more as well.

      • Qt Creator 4.5.0 released

        We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.5.0!

      • Qt 5.10 released

        I’m happy to let you all know that Qt 5.10 has just been released. Qt 5.10 comes with a ton of new functionalities that I’m thrilled to talk to you about.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Outreachy’s finally here !

        It’s been a month since the Outreachy Round 15 results were announced . Yay! my proposal for adding a network panel to GNOME Usage was selected. I am glad to be working on something I personally have been longing for. Moreover, I finally have something to cut down on my Xbox addiction and channelize it into bringing the network panel to life.

      • UTC and Anywhere on Earth support

        A quick post to tell you that we finally added UTC support to Clocks’ and the Shell’s World Clocks section. And if you’re into it, there’s also Anywhere on Earth support.

        You will need to have git master versions of libgweather (our cities and timezones database), and gnome-clocks. This feature will land in GNOME 3.28.

      • UX Hackfest London

        Last week I took part in the GNOME Shell UX Hackfest in London, along with other designers and developers from GNOME and adjacent communities such as Endless, Pop!, and elementary. We talked about big, fundamental things, like app launching and the lock/login screen, as well as some smaller items, like the first-run experience and legacy window decorations.

      • OARS Gets a New Home

        In the last few months it’s gone from being hardly used to being used multiple times an hour, probably due to the requirement that applications on Flathub need it as part of the review process. After some complaints, I’ve added a ton more explanation to each question and made it easier to use. In particular if you specify that you’re creating metadata for a “non-game” then 80% of the questions get hidden from view.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • POP!_OS – Ubuntu, bang, curtain

        POP!_OS is a rather average Gnome spin of a Gnome-based Ubuntu, which itself is a pale shadow of its former self. System76 did create their own operating system, but it is not drastic enough to warrant a special place in the charts as an independent entry – this is true for 94% of all distros – and not good enough in the first place. It does somewhat improve Aardvark, but it’s still a weak offering.

        We had hardware issues before we ever got into the live session, all sorts of hardware problems in the installed system, the ergonomics are awful, Samba performance is flaky, overall system responsiveness is average. Package management and updates are rather robust and good and so is smartphone support, but then you need Gnome extensions and codecs to really experience the desktop as it’s meant to be. All in all, you can accomplish all of this on your own in any which Gnome, or use something that actually has a sane layout and offers genuine productivity, like Plasma or Windows.

        This is an interesting experiment, but ultimately, I can’t see a reason why anyone would prefer this over stock Ubuntu (with Unity, a good ole 14.04 LTS), Plasma or even any other tailored Debian-based Gnome system. The differences aren’t large or important enough, and there are way too many bugs and issues, making it an even more difficult choice. Overall, POP!_OS deserves something like its 4/10 for its debut. There’s only so much you can do with a broken foundation. Well, let’s see how this one evolves. For now, skip.

      • Kali Linux Review: Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea

        In this review of Kali Linux, we try to answer regular questions like what is Kali Linux, what is the use of Kali Linux and whether beginners should use Kali Linux or not?

    • New Releases

      • Lightweight Distro Puppy Linux 7.5 “Xenialpup” Released — Download Now

        If you take a look at our popular list of lightweight Linux distros, you’ll realize that Puppy Linux has found a place near the top. Packaged in small size, this Linux distro is known for its ability to be built using the packages from other distros like Ubuntu and Slackware. To help you revive your outdated machine, the developers of Puppy Linux have shipped the latest release.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Slackware Family

      • Security update for OpenJDK7

        IcedTea release manager Andrew Hughes (aka GNU/Andrew) announced the announced a new release for IcedTea. The version 2.6.12 builds OpenJDK 7u161_b01. This release includes the October 2017 security fixes for Java 7. The announcement page contains a list of the security issues that have been fixed with this release. It is recommended that you upgrade your OpenJDK 7 to the latest version. If you have already moved to Java 8 then this article is obviously not relevant for you.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Installer Buster Alpha 2 release

        The Debian Installer team[1] is pleased to announce the second alpha release of the installer for Debian 10 “Buster”.

      • Debian Installer Buster Alpha 2 Released

        The Debian project has issued the second alpha release of the Debian Installer that eventually will be used by Debian 10.0 “Buster”.

        Debian Installer Buster Alpha 2 was released today, three months after the initial installer alpha.

        The unattended-upgrades package is now installed by default for trying to ensure the automatic installation of security upgrades. The installer image now also makes use of the Linux 4.13 kernel, support for EXT4′s 64-bit feature in syslinux, new machine DB entries for some ARM boards, and various other updates.

      • My Free Software Activities in November 2017

        Welcome to gambaru.de. Here is my monthly report that covers what I have been doing for Debian. If you’re interested in Java, Games and LTS topics, this might be interesting for you.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu History: Linux Evolves

            For many Linux users, it’s easy to forget what the Linux landscape looked like before Ubuntu. Back then, newbie centric distros didn’t have Ubuntu as their core. Instead, they relied exclusively on, with the exception of Mandriva (Mandrake). In this spirit of remembrance, I want to take a look back at Ubuntu through the years. With Ubuntu’s shift from the desktop into more of an enterprise future, the timing is fitting to see that at one time Ubuntu was very much a desktop focused experience. In the interest of keeping this article focused, I will be touching on Ubuntu releases that offered something unique and interesting to Ubuntu’s features.

          • Centralize Ubuntu server management on Landscape

            The Canonical Landscape tool brings together multiple servers under a centralized management system. It provides Ubuntu server, package and update management and control at scale. With options such as tags, Ubuntu administrators can group servers for updates and other changes.

            The Landscape system seems fit for Ubuntu administrators who need a simple way to manage infrastructure updates. While some more advanced features are not available, it has a smaller learning curve than other products that provide centralized server management, such as Red Hat Satellite. The price is also a low barrier to entry.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 – New Features, Release Date & More
          • Commercetools uses Ubuntu on its next-generation ecommerce platform

            Today’s shoppers are looking for a consistent experience, no matter which channels they use, whether smartphone, tablet, wearable, digital point of sale, (POS), or other. Commercetools helps enterprises to digitally transform their entire sales operations across all channels. The Software-as-a-Service approach, open source philosophy, and strong support of an API and microservices architecture of Commercetools enable the company’s customers to rapidly build highly individual shopping experiences for their own markets, without having to change their whole IT ecosystem in the process.

          • Kernel Team Summary – December 6, 2017

            Every 6 months the Ubuntu Kernel Team is tasked to pick the kernel to be used in the next release. This is a difficult thing to do because we don’t definitively know what will be going into the upstream kernel over the next 6 months nor the quality of that kernel. We look at the Ubuntu release schedule and how that will line up with the upstream kernel releases. We talk to hardware vendors about when they will be landing their changes upstream and what they would prefer as the Ubuntu kernel version. We talk to major cloud vendors and ask them what they would like. We speak to large consumers of Ubuntu to solicit their opinion. We look at what will be the next upstream stable kernel. We get input from members of the Canonical product strategy team. Taking all of that into account we are tentatively planning to converge on 4.15 for the Bionic Beaver 18.04 LTS release.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Getting started with Turtl, an open source alternative to Evernote

    Just about everyone I know takes notes, and many people use an online note-taking application like Evernote, Simplenote, or Google Keep. Those are all good tools, but you have to wonder about the security and privacy of your information—especially in light of Evernote’s privacy flip-flop of 2016. If you want more control over your notes and your data, you really need to turn to an open source tool.

    Whatever your reasons for moving away from Evernote, there are open source alternatives out there. Let’s look at one of those alternatives: Turtl.

  • ReactOS 0.4.7 released!

    The ReactOS Project is pleased to announce the release of version 0.4.7 as we continue to work on releasing every three months.

    We’re especially pleased to present this release as the very first one that’s been developed in our new Git/GitHub repository. Moving from Subversion to GitHub has proven to be an invaluable way to reach new testers, users and improve the overall awareness of the ReactOS project.

  • ReactOS 0.4.7 Released As The Latest For “Open-Source Windows”

    At the end of October ReactOS 0.4.7-RC1 was released as the newest test release for this open-source operating system project continuing to work on re-implementing the Windows APIs. That official v0.4.7 release is now available.

  • Iguazio releases high-speed serverless platform to open source

    Iguazio Systems Ltd. has raised $48 million and a lot of interest for its platform-independent approach to data analytics. Now the company is releasing some of the underlying serverless computing technology under an open-source license.

    Called nuclio, the platform is claimed to operate at faster-than-bare-metal speed, processing up to 400,000 events per second compared with 2,000 on Amazon Web Services Inc.’s Lambda platform, according to Yaron Haviv (pictured), founder and chief technology officer of iguazio. The application program interfaces that expose the serverless processes run between 30 and 100 times faster than on AWS, Haviv claimed.

  • Genomics AI tool: Google’s DeepVariant released as open source

    A novel artificial intelligence tool that can accurately call out variants in sequencing data was released as open source on the Google Cloud Platform yesterday. The tool, called DeepVariant, was developed during a collaboration between the Google Brain team and researchers from fellow-Alphabet subsidiary, Verily Life Sciences. The release was announced in a press release cross-posted to the Google Research blog and the Google Open Source blog.

  • Friday Hack Chat: Contributing To Open Source Development

    Open Source is how the world runs. Somewhere, deep inside the box of thinking sand you’re sitting at right now, there’s code you can look at, modify, compile, and run for yourself. At every point along the path between your router and the horrific WordPress server that’s sending you this webpage, there are open source bits transmitting bytes. The world as we know it wouldn’t exist without Open Source software.

  • What is really driving open source adoption?

    Open source has come of age. It now represents the fastest growing segment of enterprise IT initiative and it has become the lingua franca for developers.

    This growth and acceptance has occurred despite one of the initial rationales for businesses going the open source route – cost – barely playing a role in these decisions any more.

    As Mike Matchett, senior analyst and consultant at the US-based Taneja Group pointed out, when it comes to cost, open source doesn’t mean “free” in a real economic sense.

  • Oracle open sources Kubernetes deployment, multi-cluster management tools

    Oracle announced at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon it is open sourcing Fn project Kubernetes Installer and Global Multi-Cluster Management, two projects made to aid the development of the next generation of container native applications using Kubernetes.

    Kubernetes is a platform that allows developers to launch container clusters using advanced cloud native capabilities. Oracle originally released Fn, an open-source, cloud agnostic, serverless platform, in October. It comprises four main components, including Fn Server, Fn FDKs, Fn Flow and Fn Load Balancer. The Fn project Installer follows the foot trails of the Fn project, enabling developers to run serverless deployments on any Kubernetes environment.

  • 6 Best Open Source Reddit Alternatives You Must Visit

    A couple of months ago, Reddit announced its plans to stop sharing its main website’s open source code base. The website gave a number of reasons, which weren’t welcomed by the open source community. So, we’ve decided to prepare a list of some free and open source Reddit alternatives that you can give a try. Some of these aren’t much popular, but we thought it’s a good time to spread the world and tell you about these options.

  • Cumulus Networks brings its open source software stack to Voyager

    Telcos have witnessed many years of legacy, closed systems that have stunted development and made it costly to interconnect data centres and networks.The industry is now seeing the commoditisation of hardware and software and the use of open transparanet technologies to drive down costs and provide access to more people.

  • Events

    • KubeCon: CoreOS Tectonic, open source Kubernetes Tools from Oracle, Kasten, and more

      The Cloud Native Computing Foundation kicked off their KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America conference, dedicated to Kubernetes and cloud native technologies, in Austin, Texas today with the announcement of 31 new members, including AppsCode, CA, Datadog, Grafana Labs, InfluxData, HPE and Kasten.

    • FAD I18N 2017

      FAD I18N 2017 was held in Pune India last month. Fedora I18N members met together and there was very exciting and constructive event.

      I talked about IBus 1.6 plans there. I’ve been thinking to implement a new ProcessKeyEvent method to support Korean preedit with X11 applications. Peng Wu now provided a patch of ForwardKeyEvent method instead of the new ProcessKeyEvent method. We will ask the maintainer of ibus-hangul to release the new version to use ForwardKeyEvent.

  • Web Browsers

  • Office Suites

    • OffiDocs, the online Linux environment is a free cloud service to use desktop apps like LibreOffice and GIMP with a web browser

      OffiDocs offers you a complete service so you can work in the cloud with your Linux desktop apps. Thanks to this online platform, you can develop your projects from anywhere and at any time just using your Internet browser.

    • SoftMaker Office 2018 for Linux reaches beta stage

      The German software developer, SoftMaker, has announced the public beta release of its SoftMaker Office 2018 for Linux package. The Linux release comes hot on the heels of the Windows version of the suite which launch just a few weeks ago. Users can expect a re-designed interface which allows users to work with classic menus or ribbons. The company also touts seamless compatibility with Microsoft Office.

    • LibreOffice vs. WPS Office: Which Office Suite Should You Use on Linux

      LibreOffice and WPS Office are two common Microsoft Office alternatives for the Linux platform. There has been several debates as to which of these is the better alternative to Microsoft Office. The debates, surely, are not going to end anytime soon.

      There is no definitive answer here! The choice between the two is completely dependent on the user and the job at hand. LibreOffice and WPS Office both have their pros and cons. After sharing some pros and cons of each office suite, you will be better informed to make your choice should you get caught up in such a dilemma.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Running FreeBSD 12, TrueOS On AMD EPYC

      Back in October I did some basic tests of the BSDs on AMD EPYC while now with having more of our extensive Linux testing of AMD EPYC complete, I went back and did a few fresh tests of the BSDs with an AMD EPYC 7601 processor housed within the Tyan Transport SX TN70A-B8026.

    • SSH Mastery” 2nd ed tech reviewers wanted

      I’d need any comments back by 2 January 2018.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Guix and GuixSD 0.14.0 released

      We are pleased to announce the new release of GNU Guix and GuixSD, version 0.14.0!

      The release comes with GuixSD ISO-9660 installation images, a virtual machine image of GuixSD, and with tarballs to install the package manager on top of your GNU/Linux distro, either from source or from binaries.

    • GNU Guix / Guix SD 0.14 Released: ARM Port Coming, New Services

      Today marks the release of GNU Guix 0.14 as well as the GNU Guix SD (System Distribution) that is the Linux-based operating system built around this package manager.

      The Guix SD operating system using the GNU Linux-libre kernel with GNU Shepherd init system has seen a lot of work this cycle. In fact, Guix SD 0.14 is the first release where the OS is produced as a ISO-9660 image that works both for a DVD or USB stick. Guix SD also has a new bootloader API to allow it for supporting more than just GRUB, including U-Boot and Extlinux. With these new bootloader options, Guix SD is currently being ported to ARM-based devices.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Coders Beware: Licensing Issues Abound for Ether Apps [Ed: "When 'free' isn’t free," say lawyers, in what might be little less than FUD about digital currency]

      The Ethereum Foundation promises that ethereum “is both open-source software and Free software after the definition of the Free Software Foundation (so-called FLOSS).” In other words, licensees will generally receive broad rights to run, copy, distribute and improve the software.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • An Open-Source Smartphone Microscope

        A research team led by Wei-Chuan Shih from the University of Houston, USA, reports creating a multicolor fluorescence microscope from a smartphone and a 3-D printer—and they’ve made the computer-aided designs available online for free (Biomed. Opt. Express, doi: 10.1364/BOE.8.005075). The scientists say the smartphone microscope, outfitted with a 3-D inkjet-printed elastomer lens and a polylactic-acid (PLA) housing, could help equip researchers and healthcare providers in developing and rural areas, as well as hobbyists and backpackers, with imaging techniques for diagnostic functions, including detecting waterborne pathogens.

      • Western Digital Gives A Billion Unit Boost To Open Source RISC-V CPU
  • Programming/Development

    • Hazelcast joins Eclipse Foundation to collaborate on open source enterprise Java

      Hazelcast, the open source In-Memory Data Grid (IMDG) with tens of thousands of installed clusters and over 39 million server starts per month, announced it had joined the Eclipse Foundation, bringing extensive Java-driven community experience to a host of open source projects.

      Working collaboratively with other members of the Eclipse community, Hazelcast’s primary focus will be on JCache, the Eclipse MicroProfile and EE4J.

      In particular, Hazelcast will be collaborating with members to popularise JCache, a Java Specification Request (JSR-107) which specifies API and semantics for temporary, in-memory caching of Java objects, including object creation, shared access, spooling, invalidation, and consistency across JVM’s. These operations help scale out applications and manage their high-speed access to frequently used data. In the Java Community Process (JCP), Hazelcast’s CEO, Greg Luck, has been the co spec lead and then maintenance lead on “JCache – Java Temporary Caching API” since 2007.

    • GitLab update: Moving to the next step

      I have good news, after few meetings and discussions with GitLab we reached an agreement on a way to bring the features we need and to fix our most important blockers in a reasonable time and in a way that are synced with us. Their team will fix our blockers in the next 1-2 months, most of them will be fix in the release of 22th of December and the rest if everything goes well in the release of 22th of January. The one left that out of those 2 months is a richer UI experience for duplicates, which is going to be an ongoing effort.

      Apologies for the blockage for those that regularly asked to migrate their project, I wanted to make sure we are doing things in the right steps. I also wanted to make sure that I get feedback and comments about the initiative all around in my effort to make a representation of the community for taking these decisions. Now it’s the point where I’m confident, the feedback and comments both inside and outside of our core community has been largely that we should start our path to fully migrate to GitLab.

    • Khronos Releases SYCL 1.2.1 With TensorFlow Acceleration, C++17 Alignment

      SYCL as a reminder is Khronos’ higher-level OpenCL programming model based on C++. It’s been a while since the last update, but a new point release is now available.

      SYCL 1.2.1 is based on OpenCL 1.2 and improves support for machine learning tasks, supports TensorFlow acceleration, and aligns with the latest C++17 standard. SYCL 1.2 had previously been based on C++11/C++14. The C++17 standard was just firmed up this month.

    • Python data classes

      The reminder that the feature freeze for Python 3.7 is coming up fairly soon (January 29) was met with a flurry of activity on the python-dev mailing list. Numerous Python enhancement proposals (PEPs) were updated or newly proposed; other features or changes have been discussed as well. One of the updated PEPs is proposing a new type of class, a “data class”, to be added to the standard library. Data classes would serve much the same purpose as structures or records in other languages and would use the relatively new type annotations feature to support static type checking of the use of the classes.

      PEP 557 (“Data Classes”) came out of a discussion on the python-ideas mailing list back in May, but its roots go back much further than that. The attrs module, which is aimed at reducing the boilerplate code needed for Python classes, is a major influence on the design of data classes, though it goes much further than the PEP. attrs is not part of the standard library, but is available from the Python Package Index (PyPI); it has been around for a few years and is quite popular with many Python developers. The idea behind both attrs and data classes is to automatically generate many of the “dunder” methods (e.g. __init__(), __repr__()) needed, especially for a class that is largely meant to hold various typed data items.

    • A mini-rant on the lack of string slices in C
    • Simplistic programming is underrated

      I should explain. It is absolutely true that if you deploy a larger vocabulary, if you use longer, more pompous sentences, many people will think you are smarter. The same is true with programming. If you can cram metaprogramming, pure functional programming, some assembly and a neural network into one program, many programmers will be impressed by your skills.

Leftovers

  • International Digital Preservation Day

    The Digital Preservation Coalition’s International Digital Preservation Day was marked by a wide-ranging collection of blog posts. Below the fold, some links to and comments on, a few of them.

  • Google And Amazon Are Harming Consumers And Behaving Like Obnoxious Toddlers

    That decision has only resulted in an ever-escalating game of tit for tat that has started to bubble over in recent months. Around three months ago, YouTube decided to block YouTube from working on Amazon’s Echo Show hardware, pushing the bogus claim it was due to a “broken user experience.” In response, Amazon expanded its blacklist of Google products by refusing to sell Google Nest hardware as well. This was already bad enough, but the escalating game of “who can be the most obnoxious to paying customers” was taken to yet another level this week.

  • Volkswagen executive sentenced to maximum prison term, fine under plea deal

    On Wednesday, a US District judge in Detroit sentenced Oliver Schmidt, a former Volkswagen executive, to seven years in prison for his role in the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal of 2015. Schmidt was also ordered to pay a criminal penalty of $400,000, according to a US Department of Justice (DOJ) press release. The prison term and the fine together represent the maximum sentence that Schmidt could have received under the plea deal he signed in August.

  • Science

    • Boffins foresee most software written by machines in 2040

      Boffins at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory speculate that by 2040 advances in AI disciplines like machine learning and natural language processing will shift most software code creation from people to machines.

      In a paper distributed via ArXiv, “Will humans even write code in 2040 and what would that mean for extreme heterogeneity in computing?”, ORNL researchers Jay Jay Billings, Alexander McCaskey, Geoffroy Vallee and Greg Watson suggest machines will be doing much of the programming work two decades hence.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Nothing Protects Black Women From Dying in Pregnancy and Childbirth

      On a melancholy Saturday this past February, Shalon Irving’s “village” — the friends and family she had assembled to support her as a single mother — gathered at a funeral home in a prosperous black neighborhood in southwest Atlanta to say goodbye and send her home. The afternoon light was gray but bright, flooding through tall arched windows and pouring past white columns, illuminating the flag that covered her casket. Sprays of callas and roses dotted the room like giant corsages, flanking photos from happier times: Shalon in a slinky maternity dress, sprawled across her couch with her puppy; Shalon, sleepy-eyed and cradling the tiny head of her newborn daughter, Soleil. In one portrait Shalon wore a vibrant smile and the crisp uniform of the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service, where she had been a lieutenant commander. Many of the mourners were similarly attired. Shalon’s father, Samuel, surveyed the rows of somber faces from the lectern. “I’ve never been in a room with so many doctors,” he marveled. “… I’ve never seen so many Ph.D.s.”

      At 36, Shalon had been part of their elite ranks — an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the preeminent public health institution in the U.S. There she had focused on trying to understand how structural inequality, trauma and violence made people sick. “She wanted to expose how peoples’ limited health options were leading to poor health outcomes. To kind of uncover and undo the victim blaming that sometimes happens where it’s like, ‘Poor people don’t care about their health,’” said Rashid Njai, her mentor at the agency. Her Twitter bio declared: “I see inequity wherever it exists, call it by name, and work to eliminate it.”

  • Security

    • Global law enforcement operation decimates giant Andromeda botnet

      Developed in September 2011, Andromeda, aka Gamarue or Wauchos, is known for stealing credentials from victims as well as downloading and installing up to 80 different secondary malware programs onto users’ systems, including spam bots. Over the last half-year, it has been detected or blocked on an average of more than 1 million machines per month, Europol added.

    • Ex-NSA Worker Pleads Guilty to Taking Classified Data

      Pho worked for the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations Unit from 2006 until 2016 and had access to data and documents that included classified and top secret national defense information. “According to the plea agreement, beginning in 2010 and continuing through March 2015, Pho removed and retained U.S. government documents and writings that contained national defense information, including information classified as Top Secret and Sensitive Compartmented Information,” the DOJ stated.

    • Is blockchain a security topic?

      What’s really interesting is that, if you’re thinking about moving to a permissioned blockchain or distributed ledger with permissioned actors, then you’re going to have to spend some time thinking about trust. You’re unlikely to be using a proof-of-work system for making blocks—there’s little point in a permissioned system—so who decides what comprises a “valid” block that the rest of the system should agree on? Well, you can rotate around some (or all) of the entities, or you can have a random choice, or you can elect a small number of über-trusted entities. Combinations of these schemes may also work.

    • Replacing x86 firmware with Linux and Go

      The Intel Management Engine (ME), which is a separate processor and operating system running outside of user control on most x86 systems, has long been of concern to users who are security and privacy conscious. Google and others have been working on ways to eliminate as much of that functionality as possible (while still being able to boot and run the system). Ronald Minnich from Google came to Prague to talk about those efforts at the 2017 Embedded Linux Conference Europe.

      He began by noting that most times he is talking about firmware, it is with his coreboot hat on. But he removed said “very nice hat”, since his talk was “not a coreboot talk”. He listed a number of people who had worked on the project to “replace your exploit-ridden firmware with a Linux kernel”, including several from partner companies (Two Sigma, Cisco, and Horizon Computing) as well as several other Google employees.

      The results they achieved were to drop the boot time on an Open Compute Project (OCP) node from eight minutes to 20 seconds. To his way of thinking, that is “maybe the single least important part” of this work, he said. All of the user-space parts of the boot process are written in Go; that includes everything in initramfs, including init. This brings Linux performance, reliability, and security to the boot process and they were able to eliminate all of the ME and UEFI post-boot activity from the boot process.

    • Interview: Why are open-source security vulnerabilities rising? [Ed: Snyk is a FUD firm. It has been smearing Free software a lot lately in an effort to just sell its services.]
    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Mecklenburg County won’t pay $23,000 ransom to hackers [sic], manager says

      In a 2 p.m. news conference at the Government Center, Diorio said third-party security experts believe the attack by a new strain of ransomware called LockCrypt originated from Iran or Ukraine. Forty-eight of about 500 county computer servers were affected.

    • The Reason Why This 20-year-old Hacker Breached Uber Will Make You Feel Bad For Him

      In November, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowashahi revealed that the company’s third-party server was compromised in October 2016 and the details of about 57 million customers were leaked. This information was made public after a report from Bloomberg claimed that Uber made a $100,000 payoff to destroy the hacked data.

    • Uber paid to keep data breach secret: report

      The company then paid the hacker [sic] $100,000 to destroy the information, but did not notify those affected by the breach.

    • Mastermind of massive botnet caught because of basic mistake

      A Belarussian man who is said to be behind many of the biggest botnets has been caught, with investigators tracking him down because he used the ICQ number as a primary contact on both public and private websites.

    • US cyberweapons have been stolen and there’s nothing we can do [iophk: "Microsoft Windows TCO]

      The NSA is not sure how many other pieces of its arsenal have been leaked. “The US is battling a rearguard action with respect to its reputation,” says Tim Stevens at King’s College London.

    • Security updates for Thursday
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Jared Kushner By Day: Mideast Peace. Kushner Companies By Night: Donating to a West Bank Settlement.

      As Jared Kushner leads the U.S. government’s effort to develop an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, the Kushner Companies Charitable Foundation is funding a hardline Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

      The charitable fund made a donation of at least $18,000 at the “Master Builders” level to American Friends of Bet El Yeshiva Center, according to a donor book distributed at the group’s annual gala Sunday evening.

      The Kushner family has given money in past years to the group, which funds construction of the Bet El settlement outside the Palestinian city Ramallah, as Haaretz first reported. But this appears to be the first time they’ve done so while Kushner, whose title is senior adviser to the president, is the lead administration official brokering a peace plan.

    • Sucking Liberals into a New Cold War

      Out of fury against President Trump, many liberals have enlisted in the ranks of the New Cold War against Russia, seeming to have forgotten the costs to rationality and lives from the first Cold War, warns William Blum.

    • Flynn’s Secret Text Messages Show Trump Colluded With Russia, Experts Say
    • Killer cop off to jail for shooting unarmed black man in back

      A North Carolina cop who shot an unarmed black man in the back is going to jail for at least 19 years.

      Michael Slager killed Walter Scott in 2015, while an officer with the North Charleston Police Department. He was fired after video surfaced that showed Slager firing at Scott as he fled. It was clear from the footage that Slager was not in any danger: he just wanted to kill Scott.

    • Ex-cop Michael Slager faces 19 to 24 years in prison for shooting death of Walter Scott
    • Franken’s Opportunism on the Iraq War

      A year after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, Franken criticized the Bush administration because they “failed to send enough troops to do the job right.” What “job” did the man think the troops were sent to do that had not been performed to his standards because of lack of manpower? Did he want them to be more efficient at killing Iraqis who resisted the occupation? The volunteer American troops in Iraq did not even have the defense of having been drafted against their wishes.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Malta, journalist’s killers arrested. SMS detonated bomb

      Forensic evidence acquired by the FBI is key to bringing the men accused of being the assassins of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia to justice, for her family and the international public opinion. The afternoon of the 16th October, a few minutes before the white Peugeot 108 rental car in which Daphne was travelling was torn apart by a powerful charge of explosives positioned under the car body, three mobile phones linked to Triq il-Bidnija, the location where the attack took place, communicate amongst themselves. Two phones record the communications of two men waiting for the passage of the Peugeot transporting Daphne home. A third, further away from the location of the explosion, sends an SMS to the transceiver connected to the charger which served as a detonator to the explosive. This triggered two powerful explosions in sequence, and transformed the car into a fireball. For eight weeks a secret investigation has been underway into the men who held those three mobile phones in their hands that afternoon. The Maltese Police are working with the island’s security services, Europol, and three teams of foreign investigators invited by the Labour government of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat – the FBI, Dutch police and Finnish police – to liberate the investigation from any suspicions of political manipulation.

    • Institute of Journalists closes case on Daphne Caruana Galizia: “justice prevailed”

      It really is no mystery why Daphne Caruana Galizia would never join the ‘Institute of Maltese Journalists’.

      Look at them celebrating “justice having prevailed” when three lowlifes were arraigned, accused of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder.

      Their words: “The fact that tonight three people were arraigned in Court following their arrest and subsequent interrogation during these past two days marks a historic moment for the Institute where justice prevails in favour of freedom of the press.”

      Of course no one is happier about this than the prime minister. Look at him gleefully retweeting the journalists’ fawning praise.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Dakota Access Pipeline Company Tries to Sue Environmental Groups Out of Existence

      Courts shouldn’t let companies like Energy Transfer Partners use litigation to intimidate and bankrupt advocacy groups.

      If you want to experience 2017 in a nutshell, check out the billion-dollar lawsuit filed by an oil and gas company against Greenpeace and other environmental groups for their roles in the Standing Rock protests.

      In a 231-page complaint filed by Donald Trump’s old law firm, Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, claims that Greenpeace and its partners are engaged in a criminal network of fraud and misinformation. The paranoiac complaint, which includes references to “wolfpacks of corrupt” environmental nongovernmental organizations and describes Greenpeace as a “putative Dutch not-for-profit foundation,” would be amusing if it weren’t so dangerous.

      It leverages the RICO Act, a statute that was meant for mob prosecutions, and defamation law to wage a scorched-earth campaign against nonprofits that spoke out against the pipeline’s construction near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. Fortunately, as we argue in a friend-of-the-court brief filed yesterday with a coalition of public interest groups, the First Amendment prohibits companies from suing their critics out of existence.

      ETP’s lawsuit rests on two theories, neither of which holds water.

    • Patagonia joins lawsuits challenging Trump’s monument plans

      Outdoor retailing giant Patagonia on Wednesday joined a flurry of lawsuits challenging President Donald Trump’s decision to chop up two large national monuments in Utah could finally bring an answer to the much-debated question of whether presidents have the legal authority to undo or change monuments created by past presidents.

      Until that question is answered months or years from now, the fate of the contested lands in Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments will remain unresolved.

      Proclamations signed Monday by the president allow lands no longer protected as a national monument to be opened up in 60 days to mining, but conservation and tribal groups will likely try to keep that from happening.

    • Climate change already costs us all money, and it’s going to get worse

      Tuesday evening, Columbia University’s Earth Institute hosted a panel that was meant to focus on an issue we’re likely to be facing with increasing frequency: the need to move entire communities that are no longer viable due to rising seas or altered weather. But the discussion ended up shifting to how people in at-risk locations aren’t moving, and the entire governmental structure in the US is focused on keeping them right where they are.

      As a result, the entire US population is already paying for climate change, whether we accept the science behind it or not. And things will almost certainly get worse.

  • Finance

    • How Students Get Banished to Alternative Schools

      In October 2014, less than two months after entering North Augusta High School in Aiken County, South Carolina, Logan Rewis paused to drink from a fountain in the hallway between periods. As he straightened up, water fell from his mouth onto the shoe of his social studies teacher, Matt Branon, who was standing nearby. Logan says it was an accident, but Branon thought Logan had spat at him.

      “My bad,” the 15-year-old with bushy sandy-brown hair and blue eyes says he told Branon after the teacher confronted him.

      Branon, who is also the school’s baseball coach, was incensed. “Freaking disgusting,” he shouted at Logan as the teen walked away. Branon pursued Logan and grabbed the freshman by his backpack.

      “Get your freaking hands off me,” Logan recalls yelling. School officials say he used a different “f” word.

      Though Branon had arguably escalated the conflict, he wasn’t disciplined — but Logan was. In a decision that changed the course of his education and life, the school district banished Logan to its alternative school, the Center for Innovative Learning at Pinecrest.

    • Illinois Legislators Pledge to Deal with ‘Pipeline to Prison’ at Juvenile Correctional Facility

      A top juvenile official testified Tuesday that guards at a southern Illinois youth correctional facility have created a “pipeline to prison” that is hampering the state’s ability to fulfill its juvenile justice mission.

      More than 100 people gathered at a nearly five-hour hearing before the House Appropriations-Public Safety Committee to address reports of violence in Department of Juvenile Justice facilities and the state’s adult prisons.

      Kathleen Bankhead, the state’s independent juvenile ombudsman, focused her testimony on a series of alleged assaults by teenagers on staff at the Illinois Youth Center at Harrisburg in southern Illinois.

      ProPublica Illinois reported in October that guards and other employees there have pursued more criminal charges for youth-on-staff assaults since 2016 than all other state juvenile correctional facilities combined.

    • Bitcoin in the balance: The troublesome quest to reinvent money
    • Bitcoin surpasses $15,000-mark! Here’s a word of advice for retail, HNI investors

      The cryptocurrency hit a 24-hour high of $15,340 per unit and 24-hour low of $12,662.86, as of 10 am IST, data available on coingecko.com suggested.

    • A Bitcoin Frenzy Like No Other Is Gripping South Korea

      So many Koreans have embraced bitcoin that the prime minister recently warned that cryptocurrencies might corrupt the nation’s youth. The craze has spread so far that, in Korea, bitcoin is trading at a premium of about 23 percent over prevailing international rates.

    • Total bitcoin value exceeds cash in UK, Canada, Australia

      The current value of the digital currency bitcoin is estimated at US$180 billion, exceeding the total cash in circulation in the UK and a number of other countries including Australia, it has been claimed.

    • How much energy does Bitcoin consume, and can it improve?

      So the energy cost of Bitcoin is tied to its cash value, not its supply (though the supply and the value have a relationship, obviously). There is a similar (but different) dynamic in play for the reward for block-processing.

    • Bitcoin’s insane energy consumption, explained

      The skyrocketing value of Bitcoin is leading to soaring energy consumption. According to one widely cited website that tracks the subject, the Bitcoin network is consuming power at an annual rate of 32TWh—about as much as Denmark. By the site’s calculations, each Bitcoin transaction consumes 250kWh, enough to power homes for nine days.

      Naturally, this is leading to concerns about sustainability. Eric Holthaus, a writer for Grist, projects that, at current growth rates, the Bitcoin network will “use as much electricity as the entire world does today” by early 2020. “This is an unsustainable trajectory,” he writes.

    • This Guy Dumped 7,500 Bitcoins Worth $100 Million, Now Digging Landfill Site

      What could have been a wealthy fortune for a British man has turned into a task that now requires an extensive amount of hard work. A Newport-based IT worker James Howells claims that he mistakenly dumped his hard drive containing 7,500 Bitcoins back in mid-2013.

      Howells might have started to regret his mistake even more as the value of the cryptocurrency has soared past $14,000. He believes that his hard drive worth millions is buried in a landfill and his recovery plan seems to be like finding a needle in a haystack.

    • Media Downplay Class Warfare as ‘GOP Victory’

      The fallacy of “neutral,” “both sides” journalism rings loud and clear in corporate media reporting on the Republican Party’s tax plan. The GOP bill, passed by the Senate in the early hours of December 2 and described by major media outlets as a “tax cut,” is in reality an explicit handout to large companies and the ultra-rich that will actually increase taxes on working-class Americans.

      But under the cover of a shallow understanding of “balance,” corporate media have internalized the outlandish idea that it is “partisan,” and thus not “neutral,” to acknowledge the undeniably destructive effects of particular political policies. These inconvenient facts are hence not emphasized in news reporting, and cannot be presented alone without being “balanced” with an opposing perspective—even if that contrary view is demonstrably false.

      In the case of the GOP legislation, which will slash the corporate tax rate and add some $1.4 trillion to the national debt, the deception took a variety of forms.

    • Susan, Was It Worth It?

      The hundreds of protesters in D.C. Tuesday chanting “Kill this bill, don’t kill us”at GOP lawmakers who passed the scourge of a tax scam have myriad kindred spirits here in Maine, where voters – many older and with much at stake – have long supported health care access and last month became the first state to pass a ballot initiative to expand Medicare. People are justifiably aiming their fury at perennially coy Susan Collins, who’s earned a reputation as a “moderate” and “independent” Republican by occasionally bending to “constant and intense pressure from her constituents” to do the right thing – most notably, by voting against the latest assault on Obamacare.

      Now, by providing a key vote for tax cuts to billionaires and corporations unfathomably far away on every level from the reality of most Mainers’ lives, she has been deemed “beneath contempt.” Adding insult to injury, she based her vote in part on health care compromises and economic claims that turn out to be specious: Two headlines on her vote describe “promises written in vanishing ink” and ask, “What in the world was Susan Collins thinking?” The result, says one fed-up resident: “This betrayal will not be forgotten.” Evidently.

    • VA cuts program for homeless vets after touting Trump’s commitment

      Four days after Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin held a big Washington event to tout the Trump administration’s promise to house all homeless vets, the agency did an about-face, telling advocates it was pulling resources from a major housing program.

      The VA said it was essentially ending a special $460 million program that has dramatically reduced homelessness among chronically sick and vulnerable veterans. Instead, the money would go to local VA hospitals that can use it as they like, as long as they show evidence of dealing with homelessness.

    • How the Cook County Assessor Failed Taxpayers

      Amid the most tumultuous real estate market since the Great Depression, Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios produced valuations for thousands of commercial and industrial properties in Chicago that did not change from one reassessment to the next, not even by a single dollar.

      That fact, one finding in an unprecedented ProPublica Illinois-Chicago Tribune analysis of tens of thousands of property records, points to a conclusion that experts say defies any logical explanation except one:

      Berrios failed at one of his most important responsibilities — estimating the value of commercial and industrial properties.

    • How We Analyzed Commercial and Industrial Property Assessments in Chicago and Cook County
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Christie: Warning about Flynn among reasons I was fired from Trump transition

      New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday he was ousted as head of President Donald Trump’s transition due in part to his opposition to the hiring of Michael Flynn as national security adviser.

      “I thought it was a significant reason,” Christie said at an unrelated press conference at his office in Trenton.

    • Trump Stands By Endorsement of Roy Moore, Accused of Sexual Assault & Harassment

      President Trump is standing by his endorsement of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused by at least nine women of sexually harassing or assaulting them when they were teenagers. One of the women says Moore removed her shirt and pants, then touched her over her bra and underwear, when she was only 14 years old. She says she recalls thinking, “I wanted it over with—I wanted out. Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.” This is Trump, speaking Tuesday.

    • Wagging the Dog in Korea?

      “President’s Trump Card May Be N. Korea If Flynn Is Threat to Him” ran the headline in the Saturday New York Daily News. The Daily News does not use the phrase “Wag the Dog,” but the association is obvious. Wag the Dog was a 1997 film, based on a novel, in which an American President engineers a war in order to distract the public’s attention from a sex scandal (molesting an underage “Firefly Girl.” Roy Moore, take note.)

      The war in Wag the Dog was faked, conjured up by a Hollywood film director (Dustin Hoffman) acting at the behest of a Washington spin doctor played by Robert De Niro. (You want me to fake a war, the director asks? No, no, De Niro assures him. Not a war: a “pageant.”)

      If it is true that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the producers of Wag the Dog must have been tickled pink when their script came true—with one major difference. This time the war was real.

      Wag the Dog was released in December 1997. In January 1998, President Bill Clinton’s Oval Office shenanigans with White House intern Monica Lewinsky were revealed. A grand jury was impaneled to investigate whether the President had lied under oath about the affair. On August 20, 1998, the second day of Lewinsky’s testimony, Clinton launched cruise missiles at suspected Al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and a factory in Sudan. Clinton claimed that the factory was producing nerve gas for Al-Qaeda. What it was actually producing was medicines. With one blow, the US destroyed the source of half of Sudan’s pharmaceuticals. Former CIA analyst and senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, Professor Melvin Goodman of Johns Hopkins University, is just one authority who maintains that Clinton knew perfectly well that the factory was not producing chemical weapons.

    • Donald Trump, unFounding Father

      Keep on staring just like you’ve been doing, just like we’ve all been doing since he rode down that escalator into the presidential race in June 2015 and, while you have your eyes on him, I’ll tell you exactly why you shouldn’t stop.

      [...]

      To begin with, it’s time to think of Donald J. Trump in a different light. After all, isn’t he really our own UnFounding Father? While the Founding Fathers were responsible for two crucial documents, the Declaration of Independence (1,458 words) and the Constitution (4,543 words), our twenty-first century UnFounding Father only writes passages of 140 characters or less. (Sad!) Other people have authored “his” books. (“I put lipstick on a pig,” said one of his ghostwriters.) He reportedly doesn’t often read books himself (though according to ex-wife Ivana, he once had a volume of Hitler’s speeches by his bedside). He’s never seen a magazine cover he didn’t want to be on (or at least that he didn’t want to claim, however spuriously, he had decided not to be on). He recently indicated that he thought the Constitution had at least one extra article, “Article XII,” which he promised to “protect,” even though it didn’t exist. (My best guess: he believed it said, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved neither to the States respectively, nor to the people, but to Trump and his heirs and there will be no inheritance tax on them.”)

    • Michael Flynn’s Indictment Exposes Trump Team’s Collusion With Israel, Not Russia

      When Congress authorized Robert Mueller and his team of lawyers to investigate “links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump,” opponents of the president sensed that sooner or later, hard evidence of Trump’s collusion with the Russian government would emerge.

      Seven months later, after three indictments that did little, if anything, to confirm the grand collusion narrative, Mueller had former National Security Council advisor Michael Flynn dragged before a federal court for lying to the FBI. The Russia probe had finally netted a big fish.

    • Hanging out with Bernie Sanders: it turns out that standing FOR something is a lot more politically important than merely standing AGAINST Trump

      Vice reporter Eve Peyser spent a weekend on the road with Bernie Sanders, and writes vividly and charmingly about the personal habits and behind-the-scenes homeliness of the famously non-materialistic, idealistic senator.

      But where the story is most charged and vivid is when Peyser ruminates on how Sanders is able to reach out to people — even people who voted for Trump — to articulate a vision of a better America, not grounded in the white supremacist fantasy of the lost “greatness” that he alone can return us to, but a new world, built on solidarity, decency, fairness and mutual aid. It’s a vision that cuts across party lines and speaks directly to the best in all of us.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • EU pushes tech firms to crack down on extremist content
    • Egypt must end censorship for democracy

      Under the presidency of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt has experienced a steep increase in censorship policies from the national government. With a faltering approval rating and an election coming up in 2018, Sisi is trying to ensure his success in the election by suppressing the opposition to guarantee that he runs unopposed. Unfortunately, one of the Sisi administration’s main targets is libraries, some of which have been raided and shut down because they were considered to be “seditious spaces,” according to a report from The Atlantic. Sisi’s attack on libraries is detrimental to both education and democracy in Egypt and must not be permitted.

    • New Era of Censorship Isn’t Limited to Russian Outlets

      Despite RT and Sputnik News conceding to US demands to register as foreign agents, Google has announced its intention to “de-rank” their articles, in a bid to reduce the exposure and reach of content published on both sites. Russia’s foreign ministry subsequently warned such a move would constitute censorship.

      [...]

      As free and unimpaired access to information is a cornerstone of democracy, and since the internet is contemporarily the largest, most-readily available hub of information, it’s unsurprising Google’s announcement has been dubbed an attack on democracy, and triggered an outcry.

    • China toughens web censorship, encourages others to follow
    • Conference lauds openness of Chinese Internet; during a year of unparalleled censorship

      Irony of ironies: Much of the official emphasis at China’s fourth annual World Internet Conference, held in Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province in the east of the People’s Republic, was on the “openness” of the country’s heavily policed Internet. However, it did not escape the notice of many overseas delegates that the conference took place at the end of a year of unparalleled increases in Internet control and censorship in China – although there was little public acknowledgement or debate about that in the Alice Through the Looking Glass world of the “Wuzhen Summit”.

      The World Internet Conference first took place in 2014 under the tutelage of Lu Wei, who, at that time was the man who wielded the iron rod of control over China’s Internet by dint of his role as the head of the PRC’s Cyberspace Administration. In 2015 he actually took the stage at the conference to deny that China imposes any censorship on its domestic Internet. He said, “It is a misuse of words if you say ‘content censorship.’ But no censorship does not mean there is no management.” It was a piece of sophistry worthy of a Ming Dynasty mandarin never mind a communist party apparatchik in the 21st century.

    • Chinese power ‘may lead to global academic censorship crisis’

      China’s “new era” of increased global power poses a threat to academic freedom across the world and could result in global university leaders seeking to appease the country’s Communist Party, experts have warned.

      China’s president Xi Jinping heralded the dawn of a “new era” of Chinese power during a recent speech at the Communist Party congress and said that it was time for his nation to transform itself into “a mighty force” that could lead the world on political, economic, military and environmental issues.

    • Censorship of Pakistani films ‘becoming more politicized’

      The move to give provincial authorities oversight of censorship and film exhibitions has led to greater politicization of censors’ review boards, critics say.

      On November 14, the Punjab Censors’ Board decided to ban the film ‘Verna’, three days before it was due to be released. This meant that the film’s premiere, scheduled just after that, was also canceled.

    • Pakistan: Censorship board lifts ban on film

      Pakistan’s Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) lifted the ban on film ”Verna” on 16 November 2017, one day before its scheduled opening, reported International Business Times.

      The film was originally reportedly banned for scenes of violence and rape, and in the case of the censor board of Punjab, the portrayal of “government institutions in an undesirable manned”, reported Samaa TV.

      The film was released in Punjab on 18 November after film director agreed to make minor cuts, reported Asia Times.

      Both the ban and its subsequent lifting saw an outburst on social media.

    • Snopes Debunks Fake YouTube Video; Video’s Creator Responds With A Bogus DMCA Notice

      So… that’s the kind of “truth” we’re dealing with, often pronounced “conspiracy theory.” J.K. Sheindlin is the person behind NBT Films and the author of a book that has supposedly blown minds of Islam adherents everywhere, resulting in them renouncing their faith on camera.

      One popular video on NBT’s YouTube channel shows a supposed Islamic man angrily and bitterly decrying the religion after having his eyes opened by Sheindlin’s book. But the video isn’t what it seems: it’s actually footage taken from somewhere else, dealing with an entirely different issue, but with NBT’s fabricated subtitles giving the impression Sheindlin’s book has unconverted another follower of Islam.

    • Broadband monopolies to censor Internet content

      There is a growing consensus within the ruling establishment that the Internet must be purged of oppositional, left-wing, socialist and anti-capitalist ideas, with the ending of net neutrality being yet another major step toward the implementation of Internet censorship.

      The recently released plan by the Federal Communications Commission to abolish net neutrality has evoked mass opposition across the US and around the world.

    • Censorship to set a blaze on social network
    • Furore over ‘suggestive’ painting as petition calls for removal
    • Demanding that galleries get rid of ‘offensive’ works is censorship of the worst kind
    • Threats to Deepika, ban on Padmavati a different kind of censorship: Bombay HC
    • India Cutting Sorry Figure With Threats To Artists: Bombay High Court
    • Corruption, Censorship & Violence: Business Academics Flee Turkey And Azerbaijan

      In early 2016, a group of academics from Turkey published an open letter to the government, condemning military action in the country’s Kurdish region. The group, calling themselves ‘Academics for Peace’, were denounced as terrorist-sympathizers.

      Then, in July 2016, tanks rolled across Istanbul’s Bosphorus Bridge. The Turkish Parliament and the Presidential Palace were bombed. There was violence on the streets of Istanbul and Ankara—the failed coup killed more than 200 people.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Appeals Court Can’t Decide Whether It Should Protect Critic’s Anonymity, Boots Free Speech Case Back To Lower Court

      A rather strange ruling has been handed down by the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court. It’s a ruling that could have an adverse effect on anonymous speech, although it does mitigate the potential damage by booting it back to the lower court for a final determination. But that still might not stop an aggrieved multi-level management company from learning the identity of one of its critics.

      Signature Management Team is the plaintiff/pyramid scheme. John Doe posted a link to a copy of one of SMT’s books on his “Amthrax” blog. SMT filed a DMCA takedown notice with the blog’s hosting service, Automattic. After being served with the notice, Doe removed the link to the copyrighted instruction book.

      This quick concession didn’t stop SMT from suing Doe. It alleged one count of copyright infringement. Doe asserted a fair use defense and alleged copyright misuse, i.e., the use of copyright to silence a critic. He also asserted his right to speak anonymously and argued against being unmasked.

    • Circuit breaker thieves shine light on sheriff’s use of facial recognition

      Who knew that there was money in stolen circuit breakers?

      Late last month, Riverside County prosecutors, east of Los Angeles, indicted two men on charges of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars of circuit breakers from businesses and movie theaters in southeastern California in recent years.

      According to The Desert Sun and court filings that were provided to Ars by that newspaper, the two suspects were identified by a combination of “security footage, facial recognition software, and a license plate scanner.”

    • Mozilla is Funding Art About Online Privacy and Security

      The Mozilla Manifesto states that “Individuals’ security and privacy on the Internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional.”

      Today, Mozilla is seeking artists, media producers, and storytellers who share that belief — and who use their art to make a difference.

      Mozilla’s Creative Media Grants program is now accepting submissions. The program awards grants ranging from $10,000 to $35,000 for films, apps, storytelling, and other forms of media that explore topics like mass surveillance and the erosion of online privacy.

    • Hayden, NSA, and the Road to 9/11

      Retired Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and CIA (and now, a national security analyst at CNN), has recently emerged as a leading critic of the Trump administration, but not so long ago, he was widely criticized for his role in the post-9/11 surveillance abuses. With the publication of his memoir, Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror, Hayden launched his reputational rehab campaign.

    • Former NSA spy believes he contracted Parkinson’s from a microwave attack
    • Warrantless Surveillance Can Continue Even if Law Expires, Officials Say
    • White House lets NSA’s warrantless surveillance continue until April
    • The White House just bought four more months for NSA reauthorization
    • How the NSA could spy on any American phone — without congressional approval

      As information technology has become ubiquitous, privacy has become a real concern for the average American. Sophisticated, connected devices make our life easier, giving us easy access to a wide array of services from cheap taxi rides to online shopping. From cell phones and gaming consoles to cars, the objects we use daily are connected in an endless flow of digital information known as the internet of things (IoT).

      This information technology also enables intelligence organizations, law enforcement agencies, corporations, and criminals to unlawfully collect and exploit private information. Americans today are becoming increasingly aware of the perils connected devices hold, and looking for legal mechanisms to protect their basic right to privacy.

    • The High Stakes of Misunderstanding Section 702 Reforms

      In less than a month, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is set to expire. As the clock runs out on one of the U.S. government’s most important counterterrorism and counterintelligence tools, public discussion of the program and possible legislative changes remain mired in misunderstandings, misrepresentations, and political sound bites.

    • Things The Intelligence Community Is Cool With: Backdoor Searches, Skirting Reporting Requirements, Parallel Construction

      More answers have been provided to Senate Intelligence Committee questions (most of those penned by the always-inquisitive Ron Wyden) by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Some, like how often the NSA “incidentally” collects domestic communications, remain unanswered. But the ODNI’s answers [PDF] — given to the Committee in July — have finally been made public. There are a few things worth noting in this rare display of transparency. (By which I mean a lack of redactions, rather than expansive openness by the ODNI).

    • GDPR: 7 Steps to Compliance

      GDPR offers a groundbreaking overhaul of rules first implemented two decades earlier, when the impact on the internet was a mere fraction of what it is today. For consumers, these new rules promise greater data protection. For businesses, however, the rules will require significant overhauls, as the cost of running afoul of rules can be stiff. Here are a few steps to ensure your business is in compliance.

    • Fappening 2017: Private Pictures Of WWE Diva Maria Kanellis Leaked
    • Jeremy Hunt attacks Facebook over app aimed at children

      “Not sure this is the right direction at all,” he tweeted. “Facebook told me they would come back with ideas to PREVENT underage use of their product, but instead they are actively targeting younger children. Stay away from my kids please Facebook and act responsibly!”

    • Evidence That Ethiopia Is Spying on Journalists Shows Commercial Spyware Is Out of Control

      The emails were specifically designed to entice each individual to click a malicious link. Had the targets done so, their internet connections would have been hijacked and surreptitiously directed to servers laden with malware designed by a surveillance company in Israel. The spies who contracted the Israeli company’s services would have been able to monitor everything those targets did on their devices, including remotely activating the camera and microphone.

    • The US Claims It Doesn’t Need a Court Order to Ask Tech Companies to Build Encryption Backdoors

      Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act gives authorities additional powers to compel service providers to build backdoors into their products. Though Section 702 is set to expire at the end of the year, it remains vehemently supported by intelligence agencies, and the current Republican-controlled Congress is generally not the type of crowd to oppose them.

    • Deadline For Linking Aadhaar To Be Extended To March 31. Conditions Apply

      Social activists have asked the Supreme Court to stop the Centre from making the linking of Aadhaar mandatory for bank accounts and mobile phone numbers, contending that it violates people’s right to privacy

    • Deadline for Aadhaar linking may be extended to March 31 but with a rider

      The Attorney General, however, made clear that February 6 next year would remain the deadline for linking Aadhaar for availing uninterrupted mobile services as it had been mandated by the apex court.

    • Germany Preparing Backdoor Law
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Getting driver’s license puts Arizonans into ‘perpetual criminal lineup’

      But beyond press releases touting its successes, the department does not inform people who have applied for a license that their photos will be scanned perpetually for law enforcement purposes. No such disclosure appears on the license application.

    • Diversion Programs Are Cheaper and More Effective Than Incarceration. Prosecutors Should Embrace Them.

      A new report from the ACLU of Kansas shows how diversion programs can combat mass incarceration.

      When it comes to reducing mass incarceration, some solutions are actually staring us right in the face. That is certainly the case when it comes to diversion programs in the state of Kansas.

      Although diversion can come in many forms, the basic principle is well-established and straightforward: A person charged with a crime fulfills certain requirements, such as completing treatment, paying restitution, or performing community service, instead of being incarcerated and saddled with a lifelong criminal record.

      Put plainly, diversion is a positive tool that should be used in our nation much more frequently. By targeting the underlying problems that led to the crime in the first place, effective diversion programs can improve long-term community safety and reduce recidivism far more effectively than warehousing someone in a prison cell before turning them back onto the streets.

    • NYT: Harvey Weinstein Built “Complicity Machine” to Facilitate His Rape & Sexual Harassment

      The New York Times has published a massive exposé on how disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein built an industry-wide “complicity machine” to allow him to perpetrate rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment for decades. Weinstein is now facing criminal investigation in multiple cities, after more than 100 women came forward to accuse him. The exposé chronicles how he was able to get away with the violence by building a web of lawyers, agents, journalists, editors and publishers to help him cover his tracks and intimidate potential accusers. The piece says Hollywood agents and managers repeatedly sent actresses to private meetings with Weinstein, even though they knew about previous assaults. The article also says Weinstein used his political connections to protect himself, often saying during the Obama presidency, “I know the president of the United States. Who do you know?”

    • Appeals Court: Forcing A Teen To Masturbate So Cops Can Take Pictures Is A Clear Violation Of Rights

      I don’t know which is sadder: the fact that this case — the absolute nadir (so far!) of stupid teen sexting prosecutions — even exists or that the lower court somehow found in favor of the officer (now deceased) being sued.

      A cop engaged in the act of producing child pornography by attempting to force a teen to arouse himself while surrounded by police officers supposedly for the purpose of matching the teen’s erect penis to photos the cop already had in his possession as part of a sexting “investigation.” The officer was told by prosecutors to do this, which shows the twisted logic of this abhorrent request didn’t spring entirely from the mind of Detective David Abbott. He, however, did not turn down the prosecution’s request. The prosecutor who ordered this “production” of evidence was Claiborne Richardson. Unfortunately, he has the sort of immunity cops like Abbott can only wish they had: absolute immunity. Richardson walks away from this with little more than reputational damage.

    • Forcing kid to masturbate for cops in sexting case was wrong, court finds

      A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in favor of a Virginia man who, as a teen, was once ordered by a lower court to be photographed while masturbating in the presence of armed police officers.

      That warrant was ostensibly part of an ongoing sexting investigation into the then-teen, Trey Sims, who had exchanged explicit messages with his then-15-year-old girlfriend. Her mother reported the incident to the Manassas City Police Department in January 2014.

      Eventually, the detective assigned to the case, David Abbott, obtained a signed warrant to take photographs of Sims’ naked body—including “the suspect’s erect penis”—so that he could compare them to Sims’ explicit messages.

    • Government Documents Show FBI Cleared Filmmaker Laura Poitras After Six-Year Fishing Expedition

      The government recently revealed for the first time that federal agents maintained an open investigation of our client, Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras, for six years despite never finding any evidence that she committed a crime or was a threat to national security.

      Coming up empty handed after Poitras had been subjected to dozens of border searches, the FBI finally closed the investigation, according to agency documents we obtained.

      We’ve learned about this fishing expedition through documents we obtained in a Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuit filed on Poitras’s behalf to find out why she was constantly being stopped by federal agents during her travels. Border agents detained Poitras at airports over 50 times from 2006 to 2012. The detentions began after she directed and released documentary films about post-9/11 life in Iraq and Yemen that challenged the U.S. government’s narrative about the war on terror.

      Poitras was subjected to hours of questioning, and had her belongings searched and notes seized at U.S. and international airports. Border agents once threatened to handcuff her when she tried to take notes during a stop.

    • Argentinian Government Bans Civil Society Organizations From Attending Upcoming WTO Ministerial Meeting

      The World Trade Organization (WTO), the multilateral global trade body that has almost all countries as members, has been eyeing an expansion of its work on digital trade for some time. Its current inability to address such issues is becoming an existential problem for the organization, as its relevance is challenged by the rise of smaller regional trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that do contain digital trade rules.

      That’s one reason why some experts are now arguing that the WTO ought to retake leadership over digital trade rulemaking. Their reasoning is that a global compact could be more effective than a regional one at combatting digital protectionism, such as laws that restrict Internet data flows or require platforms to install local servers in each country where they offer service.

    • The Muslim Ban: What Just Happened?

      Here’s what you need to know as the Muslim ban goes into effect.

      Earlier this week, the Supreme Court allowed President Trump’s Muslim ban to go into full effect while it is being litigated. Prior to the court’s Dec. 4 order, large portions of the ban were blocked by preliminary injunctions in the cases of IRAP v. Trump and Hawaii v. Trump.

      Let’s be clear: The fact that the ban is moving forward is devastating for Muslims in the United States and abroad — and for anyone who values the fundamental constitutional principle of religious equality. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits the government from favoring or disfavoring one religion among others, but that’s precisely what President Trump’s Muslim ban does.

      It’s important to recognize that the Supreme Court did not express any views about the merits of the ban — and in particular, it did not find or suggest that the ban is constitutional or compatible with our immigration laws. We have been challenging this and previous versions of the ban since President Trump started down this path, and the courts that have reached the merits have repeatedly found the bans unconstitutional and illegal. That is one reason why we believe that the ban will ultimately be struck down.

      On Dec. 8, we will be in court, along with our co-counsel from the National Immigration Law Center and the International Refugee Assistance Project and colleagues from Muslim Advocates, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Brennan Center for Justice, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, fighting to strike down the Muslim ban in its entirety. Here’s what you need to know.

    • Roy Moore and the Triumph of Partisanship

      Partisanship has reached such extremes in U.S. politics that Republicans are prepared to brush aside multiple allegations that Roy Moore preyed on teen-age girls to keep a Democrat from winning in Alabama, writes Michael Winship.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality protests start Thursday—how to find one near you

      Net neutrality supporters plan a nationwide series of protests starting Thursday outside Verizon stores, where they will express their opposition to the pending repeal of net neutrality rules.

      You can find local protests by going to this webpage and searching by ZIP code.

      Verizon stores aren’t the only places where there will be protests. In Washington, DC, for example, there will be a protest at the annual FCC Chairman’s Dinner on Thursday. There will be another protest outside the FCC building on December 13, one day before the vote to repeal net neutrality rules. Many protests will be happening on Saturday as well.

    • What Happened To Everyone Complaining About The Length Of The 2015 Net Neutrality Rules?

      If you’ve followed the whole net neutrality debate for a while, you may remember one of the more ridiculous talking points when the 2015 rules were put in place: it was the line that the rules were “400 pages of regulation on the internet.” People kept listing out the page numbers to suggest how crazy it was, and just how much bad stuff the FCC must be doing in “regulating the internet.” Ajit Pai kicked it all off with his tweet with a picture of himself holding the initial version of the rules, complaining that it was “Obama’s 332-page plan to regulate the internet.”

    • The FCC Tried To Hide Net Neutrality Complaints Against ISPs

      When FCC boss Ajit Pai first proposed killing popular net neutrality protections (pdf), he insisted he would proceed “in a far more transparent way than the FCC did” when it first crafted the rules in 2015. That promise has proven to be a historically-hollow one.

      Pai’s agency is already facing numerous lawsuits for refusing to disclose conversations with ISP lobbyists about the plan to kill net neutrality, refusing to disclose net neutrality complaints filed with the agency, refusing to be transparent about a DDoS attack the FCC apparently concocted to downplay the “John Oliver effect,” and for ignoring FOIA requests related to its failure to police website comment fraud during the public comment period.

    • Tom Wheeler slams Ajit Pai’s plan to kill net neutrality rules

      Former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler took aim at his successor’s plan to eliminate net neutrality rules today, saying that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is selling out consumers and entrepreneurs at the behest of major Internet service providers.

      “ISP monopoly carriers have been trying for four years to get to this point,” Wheeler said, pointing to a 2013 story in The Washington Post about how telecoms were trying to “shift regulation of their broadband businesses to other agencies that don’t have nearly as much power as the FCC.”

    • Net neutrality supporters predict tough court battle over FCC’s repeal plan

      The agency, led by Republican Chairman Ajit Pai, will vote next week on scrapping the 2015 net neutrality rules, which prevent internet service providers from blocking or slowing down websites or creating internet “fast lanes.”

    • FCC Boss Lies Again, Insists Net Neutrality Harms The Sick And Disabled

      For a decade now one major ISP talking point against net neutrality is that it hurts the sick and disabled. Verizon, for example, has tried to pretend that net neutrality rules hurt the hearing impaired because it prevents them from getting access to prioritized medical services like video relay or other technologies.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Another Reason To Distinguish Alcohol Markets In Trademarks: Actual Infringement Defended By Use Across Alcohol Products

        A brief review of all of the articles I’ve written in these here pages about sweet, delicious alcohol mostly have to do with trademark spats between drink-makers, including many in which I’ve made the point that it’s high time for the USPTO to get a little more subtle when it comes to its alcohol marketplace designations. Beer isn’t wine, and wine isn’t liquor, and the public looking to buy one of those is quite unlikely to confuse one product for another. The focus of many of those posts was how this lack of distinction between the alcohol markets has resulted in too many aggressive trademark lawsuits and threat letters that hardly seemed necessary.

        But there is a flip side to all of this that serves as another perfectly good reason for the USPTO to make a change. Recently, one liquor distiller sued another in what seems like a fairly plausible trademark infringement case.

    • Copyrights

      • EU Parliament Justice Committee Ponders Regulation Of Copyright And Liability In 3D Printing

        Should the European Parliament consider regulation on 3D printing with regard to intellectual property protection and civil liability? Members of the Justice Committee (JURI) today at their session in Brussels were divided with representatives from the Green Party group as well as the conservatives and liberals cautioning against erecting barriers to the technology.

        The rapporteur of the own-initiative report of the committee, Joelle Bergeron, a member of the populist party group “Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy,” listed problems like the potential decline of value of a piece of art once it can be re-produced by anybody, as well as the question of liability for damage from 3D printed spare parts. Several members of the committee also pointed to the potential creation of 3D weapons.

      • The Strange Fight Over Who Should Take John Conyers Spot Atop The Judiciary Committee

        As you may have heard, Rep. John Conyers recently stepped down from his role as Ranking Member (basically top member of the minority party) on the powerful House Judiciary Committee, and this week has announced his retirement, in response to multiple accusations of sexual harassment. That has kicked off something of an interesting and important debate over who should replace him as ranking member on the Judiciary Committee.

        The next in line by seniority is Rep. Jerry Nadler. But right behind him is Rep. Zoe Lofgren. By way of disclosure, I’ll note that I’ve gotten to know Lofgren over the years, and have donated to her election campaign. But even before I’d ever spoken to her, I’ve noted how she remains one of the few people in Congress who seems to consistently do the right thing on basically all of the issues that we care about at Techdirt. You can see our past coverage of stories involving Lofgren. Most specifically on copyright and surveillance, she hasn’t just been on the right side, she’s been leading the way. She is, almost single-handedly, the person who stopped SOPA from passing. She has consistently raised important issues and introduced important bills and amendments concerning copyright, NSA surveillance and the CFAA among other things.

      • Google, Facebook to be excluded from safe harbour provisions: report

        Safe harbour provisions protect internet service providers from court action when their users upload material that violates copyright to their platforms. The only fiat is that the providers must be adopting reasonable steps to get rid of the offending content.

      • Google and Facebook excluded from safe harbour copyright reforms

        The compromise of safe harbour provisions is a win for content creators who have argued that commercial operators monetising content or images not created or owned by them should pay some sort of licence due to the cost incurred creating things such as music, television, films and journalism.

        The Australian Recording Industry Association, Foxtel, the Australian Football League and News Corp are among the groups that have lobbied the government not to include Google and Facebook in extending the provisions.

      • New Police Anti-Piracy Task Force May Get Involved in Site Blocking

        In an effort to tackle online copyright infringement, the Danish Government has set up a new task force of investigators who will exclusively deal with IP [sic] crimes. The new police unit, which is operating on a trial basis, will help copyright holders deter piracy and may also request site blockades in the future.

12.06.17

Links 6/12/2017: CrossOver 17.0.0, SDDM 0.17.0

Posted in News Roundup at 4:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Buoyant’s New Open Source Service Mesh Is Designed with Kubernetes in Mind

    Today, Buoyant has announced a new, next-gen open source service mesh called Conduit, which was designed to be incredibly fast and lightweight, highly performant, and secure, with real-world Kubernetes and gRPC use cases in mind.

    Ahead of CloudNativeCon + KubeCon 2017 to be held this week in Austin, we spoke to George Miranda, Community Director at Buoyant, the maker of Linkerd. Be sure to catch Buoyant CEO William Morgan’s keynote on Conduit at CloudNativeCon. They’ll also be kicking off the conference with the New Stack’s Pancake Breakfast. Make sure to catch all of Buoyant’s talks at the conference.

  • Google makes AI tool for precision medicine open source

    Google announced Monday an open source version of DeepVariant, the artificial intelligence tool that last year earned the highest accuracy rating at the precisionFDA’s Truth Challenge.

    The open source tool comes as academic medical centers, hospitals, insurance companies and other healthcare organizations are gearing up for if not already embarking on artificial intelligence, cognitive computing and machine learning as well as precision medicine and the genomic sequencing that entails.

    Likewise, Google rivals IBM and Microsoft are all moving into the healthcare AI space while much speculation surrounds Apple and Amazon making forays into the space.

  • Events

    • One Month Left to Submit Your Talk to ELC + OpenIoT Summit NA 2018

      Embedded Linux Conference (ELC), happening March 12-14 in Portland, OR, gathers kernel and systems developers, and the technologists building the applications running on embedded Linux platforms, to learn about the newest and most interesting embedded technologies, gain access to leading experts, have fascinating discussions, collaborate with peers, and gain a competitive advantage with innovative embedded Linux solutions.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Woke up and thought you were in a different reality? Reality Redrawn Challenge launches with a total prize value of $40,000

        It’s not often I get to invite artists and developers to collaborate together so I’m excited to see how they respond to the Reality Redrawn Challenge from Mozilla which launches today. The boundaries between truth and fiction are becoming harder to define, in part because of the proliferation of fake news and other forms of misinformation. Mozilla wants to shed light on this by sponsoring public demonstrations, using mixed reality and other art media that make the power of misinformation and its potential impacts visible and visceral.

        We live in strange times in which legitimate news organizations such as CNN have to launch advertising campaigns to remind people what real information is. Meanwhile social networks that connect millions more people struggle to help them differentiate truth from fiction and to define their unplanned role as media platforms.

        Throughout historic moments of upheaval people have used art to make sense of what appears to be dystopian reality. The west side of the Berlin wall became one of the largest canvases in the world as Berliners attempted to make sense of their divided city, while the east side remained blank as none were allowed to get close enough to paint. I also like to remember that Jazz icon and civil rights activist Nina Simone set an enduring challenge to all artists when she asked “how can you be an artist and not reflect the times?”

      • Mozilla Files Cross-Complaint Against Yahoo Holdings and Oath

        Yahoo Holdings and Oath filed a complaint against Mozilla on December 1, 2017, claiming that we improperly terminated the agreement between Mozilla and Yahoo. Today, in response, Mozilla filed a cross-complaint against Yahoo Holdings and Oath for breach of contract.

        While this is a legal matter and much of it is confidential, as Mozilla, we want to share as much information as we can in the spirit of our values of openness and transparency.

        We will create a wiki page with links to relevant public court documents – over time we expect to add more content as it becomes public.

      • Mozilla Releases Open Source Speech Recognition Engine and Voice Dataset

        After launching Firefox Quantum, Mozilla continues its upward trend and releases its Open Source Speech Recognition Model and Voice Dataset. Well, Mozilla is finally back!

        In the past few years, technical advancements have contributed to a rapid evolution of speech interfaces and, subsequently, of speech-enabled devices powered by machine learning technologies. And thanks to Mozilla’s latest efforts, things look better than ever.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Call for Participants for the ANSI Unmanned Aircraft Systems Standardization Collaborative

      The UASSC’s mission is to coordinate and accelerate the development of the standards and conformity assessment programs needed to facilitate the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) – commonly known as drones – into the national airspace system (NAS) of the United States. The collaborative will also focus on international coordination and adaptability, with the goal of fostering the growth of the UAS market. The group will work to develop a standardization roadmap over the course of a year to identify existing standards and standards in development, as well as related conformance programs, define where gaps exist, and recommend additional work that is needed including a timeline for its completion and organizations that potentially can perform the work. The UASSC will not develop standards.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • HP & ASUS Rollout Their ARM-Powered Laptops

      Being announced from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Summit today is the HP Envy x2 and ASUS NovaGo, interesting ARM-powered laptops.

      The HP Envy x2 and ASUS NovaGo are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 SoC. The Envy x2 has a 12-inch 1080p display, goes for a convertible/2-in-1 laptop design, and 8GB of RAM with 256GB of storage. The ASUS NovaGo meanwhile has a 13.3-inch 1080p screen and also has 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Accused of medical malpractice—a lot? The VA may be the place for you

      The Department of Veterans Affairs has knowingly hired doctors with trails of misconduct allegations, licensing problems, malpractice accusations, and patient settlements, according to a recent USA Today investigation.

      In fact, the newspaper suggests that the VA may actually attract troubled doctors and clinicians because it doesn’t require that they have their own malpractice insurance. Thus, doctors dubbed too risky for private malpractice insurance based on problematic pasts may find relief at the VA, where malpractice claims are paid out using taxpayer money.

      In their investigation, USA Today dug up 15 prior malpractice complaints and settlements against neurosurgeon John Henry Schneider, who was hired in April by the Veterans Affairs hospital in Iowa City, Iowa, with an annual salary of $385,000.

    • New UNCTAD, GIZ Toolbox: How To Achieve Policy Coherence For Local Production And Access To Medicines

      What do investment, trade, intellectual property, health financing, R&D, industrial and medicines regulation policy have in common? They are all important building blocks for the successful promotion of local pharmaceutical manufacturing. As more and more countries are looking into building their own pharmaceutical production capacities, they need to ensure strong policy coherence to be successful.

    • Morals behind anti-vaccination: Vigilance against tyrannical, impure shots

      For years, doctors and health experts have tried in vain to douse the modern anti-vaccine movement with data and science. They’ve showered vaccine-hesitant parents with data on the safety and efficacy of the life-saving injections, plus information on herd immunity and the dangers of otherwise bygone diseases, such as measles. Nevertheless, the efforts largely fail. In some cases, they even backfire; mind-boggling studies have found that repeating myths and misinformation in the process of debunking them can actually reinforce them.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #136
    • Massive Breach Exposes Keyboard App that Collects Personal Data On Its 31 Million Users

      In the digital age, one of the most popular sayings is—if you’re not paying, then you’re not the customer, you’re the product.
      While downloading apps on their smartphones, most users may not realize how much data they collect on you.
      Believe me; it’s way more than you can imagine.
      Nowadays, many app developers are following irresponsible practices that are worth understanding, and we don’t have a better example than this newly-reported incident about a virtual keyboard app.
      A team of security researchers at the Kromtech Security Center has discovered a massive trove of personal data belonging to more than 31 million users of the popular virtual keyboard app, AI.type, accidentally leaked online for anyone to download without requiring any password.

    • Vortex and Bugware Ransomware Use Open Source Tools to Target .NET Users [Ed: 'News' sites continue to frame Microsoft Windows malware as "open source" to distract from the real culprit]

      A pair of ransomware variants called Vortex and Bugware are encrypting victims’ files by using open source repositories and targeting .NET users, researchers warned. Based on an investigation published by Zscaler, those affected by the two families are being hit with demands that, in the case of Vortex, start at $100 and double within less than a week.

    • 100,000-strong botnet built on router 0-day could strike at any time

      Attackers have used an advanced new strain of the Mirai Internet-of-things malware to quietly amass an army of 100,000 home routers that could be used at any moment to wage Internet-paralyzing attacks, a researcher warned Monday.

      Botnet operators have been regularly releasing new versions of Mirai since the source code was openly published 14 months ago. Usually, the new versions contain minor tweaks, many of which contain amateur mistakes that prevent the new releases from having the punch of the original Mirai, which played a key role in a series of distributed denial-of-service attacks that debilitated or temporarily took down Twitter, GitHub, the PlayStation Network and other key Internet services.

    • Mastermind behind sophisticated, massive botnet outs himself

      The mastermind behind some of the world’s biggest and longest-running botnets has been jailed and his vast criminal infrastructure taken down, in part because of a careless operational security blunder that allowed authorities to identify his anonymous online persona.

      Officials from the Republic of Belarus reported Monday they detained a participant in the sprawling Andromeda botnet network, which was made up of 464 separate botnets that spread more than 80 distinct malware families since 2011. On Tuesday, researchers with security firm Recorded Future published a blog post that said the participant was a 33-year-old Belarusian named Sergey Jarets.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Honduran Riot Police Refuse to Carry Out Crackdown on Opposition Protests After “Illegal” Election

      National police in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa—including elite U.S.-trained units—refused to impose a nighttime curfew Monday night that was ordered by incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernández after days of protests over allegations of fraud in the country’s disputed election. The move comes after at least three people were killed as Honduran security forces opened fire on the protests Friday night in Tegucigalpa. Protests erupted last week after the government-controlled electoral commission stopped tallying votes from the November 26 election, after the count showed opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla ahead by more than 5 percentage points. The commission now says Hernández has pulled ahead of Nasralla, by 42.98 percent to 41.39 percent, after a recount of suspicious votes. This comes as Nasralla and international observers are calling on the Honduras electoral commission—which is controlled by President Hernández—to carry out a recount. We speak with Allan Nairn, award-winning investigative journalist; Sarah Kinosian, a Honduras-based reporter; and Congressmember Jan Schakowsky, who represents the 9th District of Illinois. Her op-ed published in The New York Times is headlined “The Honduran Candidate.”

    • ‘This Is Very Much a US/Saudi War on Yemen’

      The enormity of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen is staggering. At least 10,000 people have died in the last two years of Saudi war in the country, already among the poorest in the region. The UN says Yemen faces the worst famine the world has seen for decades, with at least 7 million people in need of immediate food aid. More than a half million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition, and millions more lack access to any healthcare at all. This while Yemen faces an outbreak of cholera that’s being called possibly the worst in history.

      Yet Americans have heard little about what’s happening in Yemen, and still less about how it relates to us. Shireen Al-Adeimi is a doctoral candidate and instructor at Harvard University, working to bring attention to the crisis. She joins us now by phone. Welcome to CounterSpin, Shireen Al-Adeimi.

    • Trump Administration to Allow More Cluster Bombs

      The Trump administration has waived a ban on older cluster bombs, paving the way for the U.S. to expand its use of the weapons, which are banned under a treaty signed by over 100 nations. The weapons scatter so-called bomblets over a wide area, exploding into shrapnel that tears through flesh. Some of the bombs fail to explode, effectively becoming land mines that later maim and kill civilians—especially children.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Our Dirty Double Standard for Corporate Polluters

      But one thing we shouldn’t and can’t be thankful for is the double standard by which our society and its so-called “regulatory” agencies treat corporate polluters compared to private citizens. Proof positive is the recent announcement that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has yet to fine anyone for the deaths of more than 3,000 snow geese on Butte’s Berkeley Pit last year. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is supposed to be protecting our public wildlife, had “no comment.”

    • Native American Tribes Join to File Lawsuit Against Trump Attack on Bears Ears National Monument

      Five Native American tribes have joined to file what they are calling an historic lawsuit against President Donald Trump, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and several other members of the administration. The move came just hours after Trump visited Utah Monday, where he announced his plan to open up protected federal lands to mining, logging, drilling and other forms of extraction. The plan calls for shrinking the 1.3 million-acre Bears Ears National Monument by more than 80 percent and splitting it into two separate areas. Trump would slash the state’s 1.9 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by 50 percent. Bears Ears National Monument was created in 2016 by then-President Barack Obama. President Bill Clinton created the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 1996. The national monuments were designated under the century-old Antiquities Act, a law meant to protect sacred sites, artifacts and historical objects. We speak with Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk, a member of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and former co-chair of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, and with Bob Deans, director of strategic engagement at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

  • Finance

    • Homeless Samaritan buys home with money from fundraiser

      A homeless man who used his last $20 to fill up the gas tank of a stranded motorist in Philadelphia has bought a home with some of the nearly $400,000 raised for him by the woman he saved.

      “The feeling is indescribable and (it’s) all thanks to the support and generosity that each and every one of you has shown,” Johnny Bobbitt Jr. wrote on a GoFundMe page. “I’ll continue to thank you every single day for the rest of my life.”

      Kate McClure, of Florence Township, New Jersey, ran out of gas on an Interstate 95 exit ramp late one night. Bobbitt walked a few blocks to buy her gas.

    • Rep. Keith Ellison: GOP Tax Bill Would Reorder Society & Create “Hereditary Aristocracy” for Rich

      On Saturday morning, Senate Republicans passed a nearly 500-page tax bill that will have dramatic impacts not only the U.S. tax code, but also healthcare, domestic spending and even oil and gas drilling. The plan would cut taxes by nearly $1.5 trillion. Major corporations and the richest Americans, including President Trump and his own family, would reap the most dramatic benefits. Overall, the bill is expected to add $1.4 trillion to federal budget deficits over the next decade. The bill passed the Senate 51 to 49, with every Democrat voting against the bill and all Republicans voting for it except for Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee. We speak with Minnesota Democratic Congressmember Keith Ellison. He’s the first Muslim member of Congress. Ellison is also the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee.

    • Consumer Bureau’s New Leader Steers a Sudden Reversal
    • GOP Bill Restricts Suits Against Businesses

      Republican lawmakers are introducing a bill that would slash the amount of time that people have to file civil suits against businesses for injuries and other matters.

      The measure is backed by a host of powerful special interests, including manufacturers, insurers, builders, agriculture, transportation, hospitals, and doctors, among others.

      The proposal would cut the current statute of limitations for several types of civil lawsuits. The statute of limitation for lawsuits involving liability, fraud and injury to character would be reduced from six years to three years. The deadline for suing over injuries caused by property improvements would be cut from 10 years to six years.

    • Plunder Capitalism

      I deplore the tax cut that has passed Congress. It is not an economic policy tax cut, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with supply-side economics. The entire purpose is to raise equity prices by providing equity owners with more capital gains and dividends. In other words, it is legislation that makes equity owners richer, thus further polarizing society into a vast arena of poverty and near-poverty and the One Percent, or more precisely a fraction of the One Percent wallowing in billions of dollars. Unless our rulers can continue to control the explanations, the tax cut edges us closer to revolution resulting from complete distrust of government.

      [...]

      The neoliberal economists who are the shills for the rich, Wall Street, and the Banks-Too-Big-Too-Fail claim, erroneously, that by cutting the corporate income tax rate to 20% all sorts of offshored profits will be brought back to the US and lead to a booming economy and higher wages. This is absolute total nonsense. The money won’t come back, because it is invested abroad where labor costs are lower, if invested at all instead of buying back the corporation’s stock or buying other existing companies. After 20 years of offshoring US manufacturing and professional tradable skills and the incomes associated with the jobs, who is going to invest in America? The American population has no income with which to purchase the goods and services from new investment, and the American population’s credit cards are maxed out.

      All that is going to happen is that Wall Street will calculate the lower tax rate into a higher equity price. Wall Street can do this without any of the offshored earnings coming home. Suddenly, everyone who owns equities will experience a boost in wealth, or the boost has already occurred in anticipation of the handout.

      The deficit-conscious Republicans have put into the Bill for Enhancement of the Rich’s Wealth, cuts in social services in order to “save workers from higher interest rates from budget deficits.” This is more dishonesty. If the Fed lets real interest rates rise to any meaningful amount, derivatives will unwind, and the Fed will have to create trillions more in new dollars to keep its Ponzi scheme in place. The deficit that results from the tax cut will be covered by the Fed purchasing the Treasuries, not by a rise in interest rates.

      What we are witnessing in the US and indeed throughout the western world is the total failure of capitalism. Capitalism is now merely a looting machine. The financial sector no longer supplies capital for production. What the financial sector does is to turn discretionary consumer income into interest and fee payments to banks. Aggregate demand can only grow through debt expansion, and the consumers reach a point where they cannot expand their debt.

    • The Never-Ending Foreclosure

      In retrospect, refinancing their home was a bad idea. But the Santillan family never thought that it would lead them to foreclosure, or that they’d spend years bouncing among hotels and living in their car. The parents, Karina and Juan, never thought it would force three of their four children to leave the schools they’d been attending and take classes online, or require them to postpone college and their careers for years. They did not know they would still be recovering financially today, in 2017. “Having lived through everything I see life differently now,” Karina Santillan, who is now 47, told me. “I’m more cautious—I probably think through financial decisions three, four, five times.”

      In the big picture, the U.S. economy has recovered from the Great Recession, which officially began a decade ago, in December of 2007. The current unemployment rate of 4.4 percent is lower than it was before the recession started, and there are more jobs in the economy than there were then (though the population is also bigger). But for some, the recession and its consequences are neverending, felt most strongly by families like the Santillans who lost jobs and homes. Understanding what these families have experienced, and why recovery has been so evasive, is key to assessing the economic risks the nation faces. Despite ever-sunnier economic conditions overall, the Great Recession is still rattling American families. When the next economic crisis hits, the losses could be even more profound. “There are people who still, to this day, are trying to get back on their feet,” Mark Zandi, the chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, told me. “These households are slowly finding their way back, but they’re still on a journey.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump and RNC Back Roy Moore Senate Bid Despite Sex Abuse Accusations

      The Republican National Committee has recommitted money and resources to Alabama’s special election on December 12, after President Trump tweeted his support for Senate candidate Roy Moore. At least nine women have accused Moore of sexually harassing or assaulting them when they were teenagers—one as young as 14. Despite the charges, Trump tweeted Monday, “Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama. We need his vote on stopping crime, illegal immigration, Border Wall, Military, Pro Life, V.A., Judges 2nd Amendment and more. No to Jones, a Pelosi/Schumer Puppet!” The Republican Party’s support came as a woman in Florida produced evidence she says proves Moore lied during a campaign rally last month, when he said he did not know any of his women accusers. Registered Republican Debbie Wesson Gibson says she had a consensual relationship with Moore when she was 17 and he was 34. In an interview, Gibson showed The Washington Post a handwritten note she says Moore handed her at her high school graduation in 1981.

    • Roy Moore’s Son Has a Murky Employment Situation With His Dad’s Foundation

      If you look at Caleb Moore’s resume, his current position is assistant executive director at the Foundation for Moral Law, the organization founded by his father, Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore.

      He allegedly has been in that position for three years, previously serving as an information systems specialist at the foundation from May 2013 to May 2014.

      But if you ask the foundation, he is not an employee there and hasn’t been one, at least for the past year.

      The Foundation for Moral Law is no doubt a family affair for the Moores. The president of the organization is Kayla, Roy’s wife. The Washington Post reported that the charity has employed at least two of the couple’s four children, although it’s not clear what their compensation was.

    • A Second Chance: This Amazing Organization Helps Disgraced Pedophiles Rebuild Their Lives By Getting Them Elected To Political Office

      For many pedophiles, it’s impossible to make ends meet. These sex criminals are often shunned both socially and professionally, making it extremely difficult for them to find any sort of gainful employment. But now a group called the GOP is trying to change all that: This amazing organization helps disgraced pedophiles rebuild their lives by getting them elected to political office.

    • Headlines Ignore the Abuse Reports That Make Moore Endorsement Newsworthy

      Headlines typically attempt to draw in readers by including the most relevant or pertinent information, but in the case of breaking news Monday that President Trump had endorsed Roy Moore in next week’s Senate special election in Alabama, the single most important fact of the case—that Moore faces multiple sexual abuse charges—was omitted by the majority of outlets altogether.

      [...]

      FAIR has repeatedly pointed out that only 40 percent of readers read past the headlines, which means most people form their worldview based on how a story is framed. Perhaps editors assumed readers were intimate with the allegations against Moore, that the antecedent was obvious. But recent polls show people are either ignorant or confused, with 89 percent of likely Alabama voters pinning the allegations on “newspapers and the media” and 10 percent having never heard of them at all. Certainly the fact of the president—himself accused by assault by multiple women—throwing his considerable weight behind someone running under a cloud of pedophilia should lead the story.

      Editors perhaps want to avoid harsh or unseemly language. Which is a perfectly fine instinct, if such language is gratuitous or unrelated—but in this case, the depravity and visceral disgust of the crime in question is the story. By skirting the terms “child abuse” or “sexual assault,” media are burying the severity of the major issue at hand: that the most powerful person earth just endorsed a possible child molester. Newspapers aren’t meant to be managers of cognitive dissonance; in theory, they’re conveyors of truthful information. By burying and downplaying what makes this story news, they are protecting people’s feelings rather than plainly stating what’s at stake, and in doing so providing cover for an accused child abuser and his growing list of enablers.

  • Censorship/Fre