Links 8/6/2017: Chrome 59, Tor Browser 7.0

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Posted in News Roundup at 11:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • System76 Galago Pro is the MacBook Pro alternative the Linux community has been waiting for [Review]

      System76 sells really great Ubuntu Linux laptops, but there has been one glaring issue — the machines aren’t exactly svelte. Don’t get me wrong, the notebooks aren’t ridiculously large or heavy, but compared to, say, a new MacBook Pro, there is a very big difference.

      Many people have been anxiously awaiting a thin and light System76 laptop, and I am happy to say that it is finally here. The newest version of the Galago Pro notebook is very elegant, featuring an aluminum body and HiDPI display. But is the whole package worth your money?

    • Some Ryzen Linux Users Are Facing Issues With Heavy Compilation Loads

      I haven’t encountered this issue myself on any of my Ryzen Linux boxes, but it seems there are a number of Ryzen Linux users who are facing segmentation faults and sometimes crashes when running concurrent compilation loads on these Zen CPUs.

  • Server

    • Puppet’s Cloud Discovery: Know What’s Running in Your Cloud

      The promise of automation always has been its ability to manage a wide range of tasks across all your systems, whether they’re in your own data center or somewhere in the cloud. But in order to automate, you need to know what you have, and that’s getting harder these days.

      We’ve all come across orphaned cloud VMs and instances, perhaps spun up for a quick test by a developer, created as a bit of shadow IT or merely forgotten during the press of the latest product release. Regardless of why they were created and forgotten, these instances pose quite a few risks to your time, security and budget. After all, the meter’s pretty much always running on cloud instances, orphaned or not.

  • Microsoft

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma 5.11 and Greater Kicked Off

        The Plasma team had a mammoth 2.5 hour meeting to discuss some of the aspects of the Plasma releases going forward. Much of the debate was around when to do an LTS release and we’ve gone with Plasma 5.12 due in January. There will continue to be a couple of 5.8LTS releases in 2018 and more as necessary. We’re picking up 5.12 as an LTS at the request of openSUSE who wanted it for their next Leap release. We also banned new features which might affect the Wayland port unless they’re already functional in Wayland. Here’s the full list.

      • KDE Plasma 5.10.1 Desktop Environment Is Now Available for Kubuntu 17.04 Users

        Kubuntu users would be pleased to hear that the first point release of the KDE Plasma 5.10 desktop environment series is now available in the Kubuntu Backports PPA of the Kubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus) operating system.

      • KDE Plasma 5.12 Will Be An LTS Release In January 2018

        Jonathan Riddell has shared some early planning details for the current KDE Plasma 5.11 cycle as well as early details for Plasma 5.12.

        First up, Plasma 5.12 is slated to be a Long-Term Support (LTS) release when it debuts in January 2018. Plasma 5.12 will be supported for at least two years. It’s expected that Plasma 5.12 will require Qt 5.9.

      • KDE Plasma 5.12 Desktop Environment Lands January 2018 as the Next LTS Release

        KDE developer and KDE Neon maintainer Jonathan Riddell is today announcing that the next LTS (Long Term Support) series of the KDE Plasma desktop environment will be version 5.12, due for release in January 2018.

        A meeting was held recently by the KDE Plasma development team to decide what version of the desktop environment for GNU/Linux distributions will become LTS to replace the current long-term supported KDE Plasma 5.8 series, which should reach end of life on April 10, 2018, with the KDE Plasma 5.9.8 LTS release.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Tweak Tool 3.25.2

        Today, I released the first development snapshot (3.25.2) of what will be GNOME Tweak Tool 3.26. Many of the panels have received UI updates. Here are a few highlights.

        Before this version, Tweak Tool didn’t report its own version number on its About dialog! Also, as far as I know, there was no visible place in the default GNOME install for you to see what version of GTK+ is on your system. Especially now that GNOME and GTK+ releases don’t share the same version numbers any more, I thought it was useful information to be in a tweak app.

      • This week in GTK+ – 35

        In this last week, the master branch of GTK+ has seen 33 commits, with 5011 lines added and 8140 lines removed.

      • GSOC with GNOME : To Do

        I am really happy and excited to be accepted as Google Summer of Code Student by GNOME and i will be working on integrating Todoist to GNOME To Do. Todoist is a widely used and popular Online Task Manager App. To be honest, this wouldn’t have been possible without the support I received from people in GNOME and especially my mentor feaneron who answered my every single query, even the silliest of them ( I am sorry Georges :P). I am really excited to be a part of such an helpful and knowledgeable group of people and hope to make best of this opportunity and learn lot of new things

      • Make GNOME Shell Look Exactly Like Unity 7 with this Theme

        We’ve looked at ways to make GNOME Shell look like Unity before, but a new theme from the b00merang project provides what is perhaps the closest clone yet. It’s a Unity 7 GNOME Shell theme that faithfully recreates the look of the Ubuntu desktop shell in GNOME, BFB-included! Naturally this change is a cosmetic one and only skin deep.

      • Dash to Dock Now Supports Multi-Monitor Setups

        Dash to Dock, the hugely popular desktop dock for GNOME Shell, has been updated with multi-monitor improvements, a new click action, and various bug fixes.

      • ‘Adwaita Tweaks’ Is a Slimmer, Transparent Version of GNOME’s Adwaita Theme

        Love the look of GNOME’s Adwaita theme but don’t like its excessive padding? Adwaita Tweaks is a modified version of Adwaita that solves this.

  • Distributions

    • Gentoo Family

      • Gentoo portage templates

        Gentoo is known for being somewhat complex to manage, making clusters of gentoo machines even more complex in most scenarios. Using the following methods the configuration becomes easier.

        By the end of this you should be able to have a default hiera configuration for Gentoo while still being able to override it for specific use cases. What makes the method I chose particularly powerful is the ability to delete default vales entirely, not just setting them to something else.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Storage for the modern enterprise

        Red Hat has assumed the role of de facto open source leader, driving and nurturing hundreds of communities across the world. One could argue that, at the core, Red Hat isn’t a software company at all. In fact, our best asset is our ability to curate open source communities, bringing to bear the efforts of thousands of contributors, committers, and testers to enterprises in a reliable, secure package that can solve some of the most demanding IT challenges.

      • Red Hat: Linux Handlers Can Learn To Manage OpenStack

        Red Hat cloud architect Julio Villarreal-Pelegrino says you don’t need to know OpenStack to succeed at implementing it.

        At one time, OpenStack was going to be the open source answer to proprietary cloud computing. OpenStack clouds would proliferate – didn’t Rackspace and HP already offer public versions – and undercut the offerings of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google App Engine?

      • Red Hat Summit And OpenStack Summit: Two Weeks Of Open Source Software In Boston
      • Finance

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Debian-Based Grml 2017.05 “Freedatensuppe” Operating System Officially Released

          The development team of the Debian-based Grml Linux operating system announced the general availability of the final release of the Grml 2017.05 operating system, codenamed “Freedatensuppe.”

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu GNOME 17.04 – what does the future look like?

            You could recently read reviews of different flavours of Ubuntu 17.04 on Linux notes from DarkDuck blog: Ubuntu MATE, Kubuntu, Lubuntu.

            And you all remember the recent announcement from Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical that Ubuntu 17.10 will be the last version of Ubuntu coming with Unity Desktop Environment. It means that more attention in the Linux – and especially the Ubuntu – community is now on the Ubuntu GNOME version. I’ve never reviewed this version of Ubuntu yet.

            Let’s see what it is like. I downloaded the ISO image of Ubuntu GNOME 17.04 64-bit, which is 1.5 GB in size and “burnt” it onto the USB stick using the dd command.

          • Top 10 snaps in May

            This month we have a selection that might please those of you who like games, with apps like OpenSpades and Pin Town. Our selection is really diverse, from graphics editor Vectr to AnimationMaker, there’s a snap for everyone. Using IRC? Now there’s a snap client for that too!

            And if the word snaps doesn’t ring a bell, they are a new way for developers to package their apps, bringing with it many advantages over the more traditional package formats such as .deb, .rpm, and others. They are secure, isolated and allow apps to be rolled back should an issue occur. Also they aim to work on any distribution or device, from IoT devices to servers, desktops to mobile devices. Snaps really are the future of Linux application packaging and we’re excited to showcase some good examples of these each month.

          • Canonical Outs Major Linux Kernel Security Update for Ubuntu 17.04 and 16.04 LTS

            Canonical released new kernel security updates for all of its supported Ubuntu Linux operating systems, including Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak), and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr).

          • Ubuntu Works with GNOME to Improve HiDPI Support on Linux Desktop

            I’m yet to experience Ubuntu or GNOME on a HiDPI screen, so I can’t attest to how well things currently work, but I do know that some big improvements are coming.

          • Ubuntu Decides To Replace LightDM with GDM

            Ubuntu is switching to GDM as the default display manager for both Ubuntu 17.10 and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. GDM will replace LightDM and the Unity Greeter.

          • GNOME is now the Default Desktop in Ubuntu 17.10 Daily Builds
          • Ubuntu 17.10 Begins Transition To GNOME Shell Desktop By Default

            Those downloading the very latest Ubuntu desktop ISO of 17.10 “Artful Aardvark” for testing will find that it now boots to the GNOME Shell desktop and also provides an option for running GNOME on Wayland.

          • Amazon Web App Is Sticking Around in Ubuntu 17.10

            There’s a new default desktop in GNOME Shell, which replaces Unity 7, which in turn brings with a raft of changes, like a new notification system, a new online accounts hub, a new control centre, and so on.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google releases open-source platform Spinnaker 1.0

    Google is giving the open-source community another tool for continuous delivery and cloud deployments. This week, Google released Spinnaker 1.0, an open-source multi-cloud continuous delivery platform, which companies can use for fast, safe and repeatable deployments in production.

    Back in November 2015, Netflix and Google collaborated to bring Spinnaker, a release management platform, to the open-source community. Since that initial release, Spinnaker has been used in several organizations like Netflix, Waze, Microsoft, Oracle, and Target.

  • Colu Open-Sources Protocol to Help Central Banks Issue Digital Currencies

    VC-backed startup Colu is open-sourcing its banking infrastructure known as Bankbox in an effort to remove the technical barriers and reduce costs for central banks that want to issue digital currencies.

    The Israeli firm’s technology was previously based on the bitcoin blockchain, but the company is overhauling its approach for its Colored Coins initiative, evolving into a more blockchain-agnostic platform.

  • Despite call for open source software, SF approves $30M contract for Microsoft products [Ed: Microsoft corruption is powerful enough at San Francisco]
  • ‘Unforgivably negligent’ not to adopt open source

    While few organisations are able to adopt open source tools and technologies for everything IT at present, it is “unwise” not to at least consider doing so as much as possible – and it will be “unforgivable negligent” to fail to do this within a few years.

    This is the view of Paul Miller and Lauren E Nelson, authors of Forrester Research’s “Open Source Powers Enterprise Digital Transformation” report.

  • SoftBank’s ‘Open Source’ Source Is a Slovakian Startup

    Founded last year, and based in the Slovak capital of Bratislava, Frinx claims to offer a “fully supported” version of OpenDaylight and is one of a crop of new companies that sees a business opportunity in open source technology.

    For anyone that’s forgotten, OpenDaylight is an open source SDN platform that is managed by the Linux Foundation. The project includes some of the biggest names in the technology industry, with Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT) and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) all listed as “platinum” members on the organization’s website.

  • Help us celebrate 23 years of FreeDOS

    This year on June 29, FreeDOS will turn 23 years old. That’s pretty good for a legacy 16-bit operating system like DOS. It’s interesting to note that we have been doing FreeDOS for longer than MS-DOS was a thing. And we’re still going!

    There’s nothing special about “23 years old” but I thought it would be a good idea to mark this year’s anniversary by having people contribute stories about how they use FreeDOS. So over at the FreeDOS Blog, I’ve started a FreeDOS blog challenge.

  • Open Source Software and Hardware for the Internet of Things

    Fast forward to the present and Torvalds’ open source operating system has been adapted for use in embedded components, routers, access points, devices and data center applications — all important aspects of generating, transmitting and receiving the huge amount of data produced by the booming Internet of Things.

  • coreboot Joins Conservancy as a Member Project

    Software Freedom Conservancy proudly welcomes coreboot as Conservancy’s newest member project. coreboot is is an extended firmware platform that delivers a lightning fast and secure boot experience on modern computers and embedded systems.

  • Coreboot Joins The Software Freedom Conservancy

    Coreboot has joined the Software Freedom Conservancy as a member project.

    The Software Freedom Conservancy as a reminder is the non-profit working to promote FLOSS projects and takes care of managerial tasks and other non-development/documentation related tasks for the project. Basically, member projects are absorbed by this non-profit and provide some legal representation, among other services.

  • LZ4m: Taking LZ4 Compression To The Next Level

    The developers behind LZ4m plan to use this new compression algorithm for a real-world in-memory compression system. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any code for LZ4m yet nor much more besides this white paper for the 2017 IEEE conference. Hopefully we will learn more soon and see a useful code drop. Thanks to markg85 pointing out this work.

  • Google’s Brotli Compression Format Nearing v1.0

    This LZ77-derived open-source data compression library used by all the major web browsers has made much progress since its public debut in 2015 for HTTP compression and other purposes.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Tor Browser 7.0 is released

        The Tor Browser Team is proud to announce the first stable release in the 7.0 series. This release is available from the Tor Browser Project page and also from our distribution directory.

        This release brings us up to date with Firefox 52 ESR which contains progress in a number of areas:

        Most notably we hope having Mozilla’s multiprocess mode (e10s) and content sandbox enabled will be one of the major new features in the Tor Browser 7.0 series, both security- and performance-wise. While we are still working on the sandboxing part for Windows (the e10s part is ready), both Linux and macOS have e10s and content sandboxing enabled by default in Tor Browser 7.0. In addition to that, Linux and macOS users have the option to further harden their Tor Browser setup by using only Unix Domain sockets for communication with tor.

      • Firefox-Based Tor Browser 7.0 Officially Released for Anonymous Web Surfing
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD


    • GNU Taler 0.3.0 released

      We are happy to announce the release of GNU Taler 0.3.0.

      GNU Taler is a free software electronic payment system providing anonymity for customers. Payments can in principle be made in any existing currency, or a bank can be launched to support new currencies. Merchants are not anonymous, and–due to income-transparency–the state can perform effective tax audits.

    • Taler 0.3 Released: GNU Still Striving For A Free Software Payment System

      Among the lesser-known GNU projects is Taler, which is trying to be a free software electronic payment system. Today marks its v0.3 release, but it only works so far with toy currencies.

    • Reports from the fellowship group in Vienna

      We organised an FSFE information booth on Linuxwochen Wien from 4 to 6 of May and at Veganmania at the MQ in Vienna from 24 to 27 May. Like every year it went very well and especially at Veganmania we could reach many people not yet familiar with free software. Since during the Veganmania there was a Wikipedia event in Vienna at the same time we even encountered some people from all over the world. For example an FSF activist from Boston in the US.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Study: Dutch govt should reverse attitude to ICT

      Public administrations have to understand the importance of ICT for their core processes, and must be able to implement ICT themselves, a Dutch government advisory group says. Dutch politicians, policy makers and officials are underrating the importance ICT, the group writes: ‘Government digitalisation requires a radical reversal of attitude.’


      The report, published in April, is written by 13 ICT policy experts from the commercial and public sector. They recommend following the UK’s ‘Government as a Platform policy’. This includes embracing open ICT standards and breaking-up large-scale ICT projects into small reusable services and components. The group promotes the agile development method, experimenting and creating public development projects that involve citizens and the private sector.

    • Italy approves 3-year digital transformation plan

      According to Diego Piacenti, a former VP at Amazon who heads the Digital Transformation Team, the 3-year plan outlines the technological vision of a public sector operating system. Key words include agile development methods, mobile first, security, interoperability, scalability and reliability, he writes, adding that “open source and collaboration are the new paradigm.”

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Tanzania: Strengthening Farmers’ Seed System Through ‘Open Source’

      The National Plant Genetic Resources Centre (NPGRC-Tanzania), in collaboration with Hivos, Bioversity International, Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Africa and other partners are currently implementing a project, which explores possibilities of the ‘open source seed systems’.

      When someone mentions open source, you automatically think software, an open source software movement, which was a response to increased concentration of power of a few large multinational profit oriented corporations, limiting innovation by making software a proprietary resource.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open hardware groups spread across the globe

        After our group of friends founded a small open hardware community in El Salvador a few years ago, we felt alone in the region. The open hardware movement had developed in a creative explosion of projects and (thanks to the popularization of 3D printing and digital technologies such as Arduino) under a common understanding of how to develop new physical products.

      • Why you should certify your open hardware

        The open source hardware movement has been gaining momentum since 2010 with new industries joining the community at a rapid pace. In fact, the maker and 3D printing markets are expected to become a US$ 8.5 billion market by 2020.

  • Programming/Development

    • HHVM 3.20

      HHVM 3.20 is released! This release improves compatibility with PHP7, and adds a couple new features. Packages have been published in the usual places; see the installation instructions for more information.

    • HHVM 3.20 Released With Performance Improvements, Better PHP7 Compatibility

      Facebook developers have released HHVM 3.20 as the newest release of their alternative PHP interpreter and also what serves for their Hack programming language.

    • Running Your First Programs in C – Part 2
    • Python 101 session this Sunday

      There were around 10 participants, and all of them wrote code before in various languages. A few had previous experiences with Python. Because of different Operating Systems, and also not being able to install things on a corporate laptop, my idea of using Microsoft Azure notebook service in this session helped. This also made sure that all of us were using the same version of Python (3.6) and the same environment.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • [Old] On the Futility of Email Regex Validation
  • Science

    • NSF Cuts PhD Training Grant

      The federal science agency discontinued a funding stream for graduate students in environmental science because of administrative workload.

    • You Are Not Google

      This is not how rational people make decisions, but it is how software engineers decide to use MapReduce.

    • UK universities fall down global league tables after budget cuts

      Britain’s universities are being dragged down by falling levels of research funding and employing fewer highly qualified staff than their international rivals, according to the compilers of a prestigious world university league table.

      The QS world university rankings for 2018, published on Thursday, show the majority of British universities slipping down its table, with 57 of the 76 UK institutions receiving lower ratings than last year despite British universities occupying four of the top eight places.

      “Put simply, this year’s results indicate that the UK’s universities are becoming less competitive as research-driven institutions,” said Jack Moran, rankings auditor for QS, a London-based higher education thinktank.

      The UK’s relative performance has deteriorated because of weaker research performance, with fewer research citations received from fellow academics, and lower scores on academic reputation at home and abroad, according to QS researchers.

    • Tim Peake’s next trip to space is in doubt thanks to Brexit, the falling pound, and a spat with the European Space Agency

      Britain’s fight with Europe has far-reaching implications, stretching all the way into outer space.

      In January, the UK announced that it would send its star astronaut, Tim Peake, to the International Space Station for a second time. But the trip is now in doubt, according to the Financial Times, which reports (paywall) that the UK has denied a request to increase its contributions to the European Space Agency (ESA).

  • Security

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Vault 7: WikiLeaks exposes Pandemic, CIA infection tool for Windows machines

      After having disclosed information about CIA’s spyware tool Athena only last week, WikiLeaks has published new information from Pandemic, another alleged CIA project that “targets remote users by replacing application code on-the-fly with a trojaned version if the program is retrieved from the infected machine.”

      Part of the Vault 7 series of documents that were either leaked following an inside job or stolen from the CIA by hackers, Pandemic basically turns Windows machines from a targeted network into Patient Zero. It then covertly infects other computers linked to the system by delivering infected versions of the requested files. Because it is very persistent, the original source of infection is difficult to detect.

    • Hand in your notice – by 2022 there’ll be 350,000 cybersecurity vacancies

      General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will force European organisations to expand their cyber workforce, causing demand to outstrip the supply of expertise.

      Two in five governments and companies will expand their cybersecurity divisions by more than 15 per cent in the next 12 months, according to a survey by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, or (ISC)2. This will lead to a shortfall of 350,000 cyber workers across the continent by 2022.

      Europe’s cyber workforce will expand faster than any other region in the world. Demand is driving record salaries with 39 per cent of UK cyber workers commanding annual salaries of more than £87,000.

    • uCareSystem – All-In-One System Update And Maintenance Tool For Ubuntu/LinuxMint

      uCareSystem Core is a thin utility that automates the basic system maintenance activity, in other hand it will reduce system administrator task in many ways and save some good amount of time. It doesn’t have any GUI and offers purely command line interface to perform the activity.

    • Matt Mitchell of CryptoHarlem is building an open source tool to help organizations prepare for data breaches

      This morning on the stage of TC Sessions: Justice, Matt Mitchell of CryptoHarlem discussed his views on the link between surveillance and minority oppression and the importance of taking a preventative approach to security and privacy. Mitchell, a specialist in digital safety and encryption, is dedicating time to creating Protect Your Org, a free, open source, tool for all organizations to prepare for inevitable data breaches.

    • Ransomware: UK firms hoarding Bitcoin in fear of attacks

      A survey of 500 IT decision-makers in British companies that have more than 250 employees has found that 42% are stockpiling digital currencies, like Bitcoin, in anticipation of a ransomware attack.

    • Internet cameras have hard-coded password that can’t be changed

      Security cameras manufactured by China-based Foscam are vulnerable to remote take-over hacks that allow attackers to view video feeds, download stored files, and possibly compromise other devices connected to a local network. That’s according to a 12-page report released Wednesday by security firm F-Secure.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • German spy agency warns of Saudi intervention destabilizing Arab world

      The BND document entitled “Saudi Arabia – Sunni regional power torn between foreign policy paradigm change and domestic policy consolidation” singled out Saudi Arabia’s defense minister, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as trying to strengthen his place in the royal succession while putting Saudi Arabia’s relationship with erstwhile regional allies in jeopardy.

      “The careful diplomatic stance of older members of the Saudi royal family has been replaced by an impulsive policy of intervention,” the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) said.

      The spy agency accused bin Salman, second in line to the throne, and his father, King Salman, as trying to create an image of Saudi Arabia being the leader of the Arab world. The BND added that bin Salman’s quest to cement his place in the nation’s leadership could also irritate other members of the royal family.

    • FactCheck Q&A: Is Saudi Arabia funding ISIS?

      The conversation about Islamic extremism should begin with “Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states that have funded and fuelled extremist ideology,” Jeremy Corbyn has said.

      The accusation is common: that the House of Saud is allowing a flow of money to finance ISIS. But the Saudi government has completely rejected the “false allegations”, dismissing them as a “malicious falsehood”.

      We can’t answer this one with absolute certainty, since any financing is highly secretively. All we can do is weigh up the documents and research that are currently available.

    • Islamist Perpetrator of Attack at Paris Cathedral Was Award-Winning Journalist in Sweden

      The Islamist terrorist who attacked a police officer outside the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris on Tuesday was an award-winning journalist who previously worked as freelancer for Swedish public radio, Swedish media outlets reported on Wednesday.

      The suspect in the attack, 40-year-old Algerian-born Farid Ikken, is said to have moved to Sweden in 2004 after marrying a Swedish woman.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump Can Commit All the High Crimes He Wants. Republicans Aren’t Going to Impeach Him.

      To imagine Republicans might turn on Trump over the Russia scandal to the point of deposing him from office is to misunderstand how they have been thinking about Trump and the presidency all along.

    • Trump Is Sending a Murderer to Do a Diplomat’s Job

      About one out of every four of those killed by drones during that time where blithely labeled “other militants,” by the CIA. In other words, the CIA had no idea whom they were killing.

    • The Three Scenarios For The U.K. Election

      On the morning of the U.S. presidential election, we pointed out that there were three scenarios for what might transpire that night, each of which were about equally likely.

    • Trump’s in way over his head: Ignorant Qatar tweets make a bad situation worse
    • Theresa May’s vanity election: What’s driving her political gamble?
    • Daily Mail devotes 13 pages to attack on Labour ‘apologists for terror’
    • Jeremy Corbyn just ran the campaign of his life, while Theresa May led one of the worst in recent history

      Psephologists had puzzled for long hours over quite what last minute polling analysis had led Jeremy Corbyn to begin his final marathon day campaigning in Glasgow, and then pass through Runcorn, Colwyn Bay, Watford, Harrow and Wealdstone before the big Islington homecoming.

      Such people are not experts on West Coast Main Line stations.

      While Theresa May spent her last campaign day private-jetting between what expensively commissioned internal research indicated were seats that could still be swung her way, Team Corbyn’s strategy was less “our private polling indicates” and more “let’s get off every third stop”.

    • PM’s line on human rights is ‘outrageous’ – Amnesty chief

      British Prime Minister Theresa May’s pledge to weaken human rights protections to fight terrorism is outrageous and a gift to autocratic strongmen globally, Amnesty International head Salil Shetty said on Wednesday.

      In the final days of an election campaign that has been interrupted by terror attacks in London and Manchester, May has stepped up her rhetoric against Islamist extremism, pledging to ensure security services had the powers they needed.

      “What I’ve been clear about is if human rights law gets in the way of doing those things which I think are necessary as the threat evolves then we will change those rules,” she said on Wednesday, the eve of the election.

    • Go out and vote today, but know this – our grotesque system needs reform

      Canvassers out today on a frantic door-knock to get their vote out will often hear that heart-sinking refrain: “What’s the point? Voting makes no difference.” Or “I’m not political”, as if it were an optional hobby. Earnest volunteers may want to wring the necks of the apathetic, the clueless and the idle who are so hopelessly indifferent to the value of democracy.

      But pause a moment and consider how right people are to be dubious. Whether they precisely know it or not, phlegmatic non-voters may intuit how useless most votes will be today. Under our grotesque voting system very few ballot papers will make a difference to the result.
      First-time voter? Here’s everything you need to know in one handy guide | Hannah Jane Parkinson
      Read more

      In 2015 the Conservatives won with a seven-point lead, but so distorted is our electoral system that the Electoral Reform Society says if just 639 voters in only six Tory seats had switched their vote from Tory to Labour, there would have been a hung parliament. Just 639!

    • General election: Would rain on voting day be bad for Labour?

      Labour voters are said to be more likely to be put off going out to vote if it is raining. But is it true?

      “Bands of rain or showers affecting the UK, with the risk of hail and thunder on Thursday,” says the Met Office. Traditionally, this is said to be bad for Labour, as its voters are supposed to be more likely to be put off by the rain. Shami Chakrabarti, a member of Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, blamed the rain in Copeland for Labour’s defeat in the by-election there in February, because Labour voters are less likely to have cars.

      But is it true? It seems to be true in the United States, where a 2007 study of 14 presidential elections found an association between turnout and the weather. An inch of rain reduced turnout by 1 percentage point. This tended to hurt the Democratic candidate more than the Republican, and may have helped George Bush beat Al Gore in 2000.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Most UK ISPs block Private Internet Access by default

      VPN websites, like that of Private Internet Access, are actively being censored by internet service providers (ISPs) in the United Kingdom (UK). The website blocks were first put into place by UK ISPs on government order in an effort to censor pornography in 2014. Since then, more ISPs have joined in default blocking. However, research has shown that the blocks are overreaching – with 1 in 5 websites being blocked when the censorship program first rolled out. UK ISPs initially incorrectly blocked everything from civil rights blogs to used car sales sites; what’s worse, these blocks are on by default.

      Open Rights Group, a London-based organization, created a tool at that allows you to check whether or not a website is being blocked by UK ISPs. This crucial tool has revealed that most UK ISPs block Private Internet Access by default if the content filter is on.

    • Where’s the outrage over the killing of Christians?

      Christians around the world are being slaughtered by Islamists. They need our solidarity.


      All of this is simply the manifestation of a reality about Islamist militants that we have long known from their actions in Syria and Iraq: their special hatred for Christians, whom ISIS recently declared its ‘favourite prey’. Wanton rape, torture and murder have all played a part in the concerted effort of religious cleansing in the Middle East and anywhere else Islamists have been able to gain a foothold. However much such ideologues violently loathe and attempt to attack the West, it pales in comparison, both in terms of scale and intensity, with the bloody persecution of Christians across the world, and most especially in the Middle East.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • FCC security denies that guards pinned journalist against a wall

      The reporter who made the allegation stood by his account when contacted by Ars today.

    • Honesty About Ideology Of Islam, Not Candles And Teddy Bears

      Honesty about this is our best shot of doing anything about it.

    • Christian preachers’ disappearance in Malaysia stokes fears of crackdown on religious minorities

      Months after they were abducted, human rights activists say police appear to have taken an uncharacteristically ‘casual’ approach to their cases

    • SFR Writer Indicted Following Inaugural Protest Coverage

      Aaron Cantú, a staff writer at the Santa Fe Reporter, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that he participated in a riot while working as a journalist during protests in Washington, DC on Inauguration Day.

      Cantú faces eight felony counts—including inciting a riot, rioting, conspiracy to riot and five counts of destruction of property. The grand jury handed up the indictment last week.

    • Theresa May Vows To Tear Up Human Rights Laws To Tackle Islamist Terrorism

      Theresa May is vowing to tear up human rights laws that stand in the way of her fight against terrorism.

      In a speech this evening, the Prime Minister called for greater powers to restrict the movement of terror suspects – even if authorities are unable to convince a judge the measure is needed.

      May also called for longer prison sentences for people convicted of terrorist offences and promised to make it easier to deport foreign terrorists back to their home countries.

    • German NGO seeks arrest warrant for Donald Trump’s deputy CIA director
    • May: I’ll rip up human rights laws that impede new terror legislation

      Theresa May has declared she is prepared to rip up human rights laws to impose new restrictions on terror suspects, as she sought to gain control over the security agenda just 36 hours before the polls open.

      The prime minister said she was looking at how to make it easier to deport foreign terror suspects and how to increase controls on extremists where it is thought they present a threat but there is not enough evidence to prosecute them.

      The last-ditch intervention comes after days of pressure on May over the policing cuts and questions over intelligence failures, following terror attacks on London Bridge, Manchester and Westminster.

    • Jury awards $6.7M to inmate raped by guard in Milwaukee County Jail, shackled during childbirth

      A federal jury Wednesday awarded $6.7 million to a woman who was raped repeatedly by a guard when she was being held in the Milwaukee County Jail four years ago.

      The guard, Xavier Thicklen, was acting under his scope of employment when the sexual assaults occurred and therefore Milwaukee County is liable for the damages amount, the jury determined.

      The jury also found there was “no legitimate government purpose” to shackle the woman during childbirth labor, but jurors did not find she was injured and therefore awarded her no monetary damages, according to Theresa Kleinhaus, a Chicago attorney who litigated the case with other attorneys from the firm.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Comcast Pinky Swears That The Death Of Net Neutrality Won’t Hurt In The Slightest

      That ignores history. You’ll recall that the FCC’s original 2010 rules were demolished by the Verizon lawsuit, with the courts saying that the FCC couldn’t impose such rules without first classifying ISPs as common carriers under Title II. So in 2015, former FCC boss Tom Wheeler did precisely that. Walking back that decision means stripping out the legal authority to actually enforce net neutrality, and Comcast certainly knows this. In fact we’ve repeatedly noted how the government’s plan is to effectively gut privacy, net neutrality and other broadband consumer protections, and to replace them with the policy equivalent of wet tissue paper.

    • Net neutrality: Amazon among top internet firms planning day of action

      Amazon, Etsy, Kickstarter, Mozilla and Vimeo all intend to hold a day of protest on 12 July in opposition to plans by Donald Trump’s newly appointed telecoms regulator to neuter tough 2015 rules meant to protect “net neutrality” – the concept that all traffic should be equal online.

  • DRM

    • VMProtect Accuses Denuvo Of Using Unlicensed Software In Its Antipiracy DRM

      To date, the most remarkable aspect of the Denuvo story was the very brief stint it had as a successful DRM. Brief is the operative word, of course, as the past six months or so have seen Denuvo’s vaunted status devolve into one more typical of DRM stories, with defeats for the security software coming at rates measured in days and weeks of a game’s release.

      But now things have taken a turn towards the ironic. A security software firm called VMProtect, which makes software to protect against reverse engineering and developing cracks of applications, is accusing Denuvo of having used its software without properly licensing it. This is the kind of thing that folks who support DRM tend to call piracy. And, thus, Denuvo may have “pirated” another company’s software to make its anti-piracy DRM.

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  • Bristows/IP Kat Still Promoting UPC and Patent Trolls, Also Accused of Deleting Comments and “Brown-nosing” Judges to Help Patent Trolls

    Bristows LLP spends far too much time infiltrating blogs and media in pursuit of patent trolls’ and UPC agenda, at the expense of integrity of the system and accuracy of information online (some of which it is deleting once it enters the editorial process)

  • The British Election May Have Just ‘Killed’ the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    With political turmoil in the UK, including a chaotic coalition with nationalists in it, UPC is again at the very bottom of all priorities and it’s possible that Conservatives will fail to form a government, throwing into disarray any promises previously made in relation to the UPC

  • No More Battistelli Photo Ops With Michelle Lee as EPO Allies Run Out, Countries Without European Patents Pursued Instead

    Desperate for some sense of legitimacy, Battistelli travels far and obtains ‘trophies’ from countries that are irrelevant to the EPO while his few remaining allies quit their jobs

  • European Patent Office May Become Just a Mirage of Examination Office, Much Like INPI (France)

    The depressing vision of Benoît Battistelli, whose EPO is collapsing (EPs losing value, applications throughput declining, staff leaving)

  • German Media Would Rather Write Articles About Beer Than About Serious and Unprecedented EPO Scandals

    Further reaffirming our observations, it seems as though the German media, financially connected to the German government, simply overlooks the plight of EPO staff

  • Benoît Battistelli is Scheming to Further Erode the Rule of Law and Promote More of His Cronies at the EPO

    Racing to the very bottom of human rights, dignity, morality and so on, for the sake of ultimate power and unbridled greed, Team Battistelli makes its next move

  • The US Supreme Court Stops Software Patents While They Spread Elsewhere in the World

    Justices of the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) make the United States more competitive by depriving patent trolls and denying them the ability to shake down real companies; China, in the meantime — along with Battistelli — lets everything under the sun be granted a patent, thereby inviting a torrent of frivolous litigation

  • Tim Moss, Chief Executive of the UK Intellectual Property Office, Will Need to Challenge the Battistelli Regime

    The new head of the British delegation will hopefully continue the good work of Sean Dennehey, who spoke to EPO staff about the dangers of the Battistelli regime and diplomatically dissented against this regime

  • IAM ‘Magazine’, an Adjunct or Megaphone to the Battistelli Regime, Called ‘Independent’ by the EPO and Used for ‘Quality’ Propaganda

    High-quality propaganda from Battistelli, who is attempting to bury bad news about rapidly-declining patent quality at the EPO (due to his own policies)

  • Links 10/6/2017: New Wine Release, Qt 5.9 Packages in KDE Neon

    Links for the day

  • Links 8/6/2017: Chrome 59, Tor Browser 7.0

    Links for the day

  • Links 7/6/2017: KaOS 2017.06, Mesa 17.1.2

    Links for the day

  • Links 5/6/2017: OpenELEC 8.0.4 and UberStudent

    Links for the day

  • EPO Workers May be About to Go on Strike Again

    A call for another strike at the European Patent Office is circulating among staff, which sees the writings on the wall and hopes to save the European Patent Office if it’s not too late

  • Battistelli’s ‘Boss’, Jesper Kongstad, Rumoured to Have Been Paid by Battistelli

    Potential scandal surrounding Jesper Kongstad, Battistelli’s protector, explained in light of new information

  • Links 3/6/2017: AryaLinux and BitKey Reviewed

    Links for the day

  • Patent Trolls in Europe and the Looming Collapse of the UPC

    Imminent election in the UK, as well as several other factors, may threaten to throw the UPC into even greater uncertainty just when patent trolls are beginning to flock to Europe with the intention of capitalising on it

  • Shame on the Administrative Tribunal of ILO for Helping Team Battistelli Abuse EPO Staff

    A look at the rather insidious connection between ILO and the EPO, which ILO is supposed to regulate in the labour rights sense

  • Links 1/6/2017: KDE Plasma 5.10, Qt 5.9 Released

    Links for the day

  • Another Amazing Bit of News About Patents: Supreme Court Knocks Out Lexmark a Week After TC Heartland

    Justices of the US Supreme Court have just ruled (yet again) against a culture that created a patent bubble which in no way benefits producing companies (TC Heartland case) or their clients (Lexmark case)

  • The Silencing of Critics of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) in Media and in Blogs

    Team UPC, or few parasitic entities that stand to benefit (profit) from patent trolls (preying on a high-damage court system at the heart of Europe), continues to ‘sanitise’ the Web by removing informed voices that are critical of UPC, often referred to as Unitary Patent

  • Panic in Patent Maximalists’ Circles as Both Trolls and Software Patents (TC Heartland and Alice) Are Dying

    Response to some of the latest patent news, based on news picks from Benjamin Henrion (FFII) in the wake of TC Heartland

  • Links 29/5/2017: Another Linux RC, Enlightenment 0.21.8 Released

    Links for the day

  • Links 28/5/2017: Mesa 17.1.1, Wine 2.9, KDevelop 5.1.1

    Links for the day

  • Patent Dangers to Linux and Android: Qualcomm, Apple, and Nokia

    The prevailing problem which is companies with mountains of patents going after OEMs, using a bulk of infringement accusations, and demanding ‘protection’ money

  • Colossal Institutional Failure Surrounding the European Patent Office (EPO) and EPO Chickens Out of Debate About It

    Shielded by a network of institutions, governments, and departments that facilitate the EPO’s abuses by inexcusable inaction, Team Battistelli continues to hoard more money and power

  • The United States Has Already Tackled Both Software Patents and Patent Trolls

    An outline of some notable responses to TC Heartland and where we go from here

  • Cloudflare Wants to Completely Squash the Patent Troll Blackbird Technologies by Squashing the Only Thing It Has

    Putting more of its money to good use, for a change, Cloudflare goes for the kill against Blackbird Technologies, which has no technologies, just patents and lawsuits

  • Links 25/5/2017: Mesa 17.1.1, Qt 5.9.0 RC, and Much More

    Links for the day

  • Links 24/5/2017: New RHEL Beta, SteamOS Updated

    Links for the day