The final sessions at the 2019 Linux Kernel Maintainers Summit covered a number of relatively quick topics, including the “pull depth” for code going into the mainline, the handling of hardware vulnerabilities, the ABI status of tracepoints, and more.
With a brief announcement, the Free Software Foundation has let it be known that founder Richard Stallman has resigned both as president and from the board of directors. “The board will be conducting a search for a new president, beginning immediately. Further details of the search will be published on fsf.org“.
Universal Robots, already the dominant force in collaborative robots, is flexing its muscles in an effort to further expand its reach in the cobots market. The Danish company is introducing today the UR16e, its strongest robotic arm yet, with a payload capability of 16 kilograms (35.3 lbs), reach of 900 millimeters, and repeatability of +/- 0.05 mm. Universal says the new “heavy duty payload cobot” will allow customers to automate a broader range of processes, including packaging and palletizing, nut and screw driving, and high-payload and CNC machine tending.
The Linux Kernel Maintainers Summit is all about the development process, so it is natural to spend some time on how that process is working at the top of the maintainer hierarchy. The “is Linus happy?” session during the 2019 summit revealed that things are working fairly well at that level, but that, as always, there are a few things that could be improved.
THE ENGINEER’S PLACEThe world is connected. For many of us, the concept of global citizenship is hardwired into our daily lives. Many engineers have migrated from their home countries to other lands, sometimes temporarily to attend university, and then to work for a few years, sometimes forever.
Estimates of engineers in the United States say one in five, or even one in four, are non-natives. While sub-fields vary, the percentage of foreign-born engineers in the U.S. has risen this century. A study by the National Science Foundation in 1999, found 17 percent of US working engineers were non-native born (compared to 10% of all workers in the U.S. 25 and older). Today, at least 20 percent are non-natives.
For these engineers, keeping a connection to the folks back home is soul-nourishing. And they aren’t alone. Across the globe, electrical and electronics engineers are on the move, with significant numbers educated in Asia and Latin America working now in Europe and the Middle East. The high rate of mobility likely makes electrical engineering on of the most globalized professions on the planet.
My insights about expat engineers are drawn from close observations of diverse technical communities over the course of the 25 years: from 50 visits to sub-Saharan Africa; two dozen to Southeast Asia, including four to Borneo’s digital-enclave in Kuching; a half-dozen visits to the former Soviet republics of Estonia and Moldova; and single lengthy visits to South Korea and Peru. In all of these places, mastering digital and electrical technologies remains central to improving living standards and deepening global connections.
How to sustain connections is personal, and often defined by the needs of family members who stayed behind. Engineers on the move, however, find effective ways to help their home places while in faraway places.
Doing so is tricky. A lot can go wrong, even when an engineer has the best intentions. What follows are some tips on how expat engineers can sustain meaningful, gratifying and pragmatic connections with their countries of origin.
To get started, ponder basic choices. Do you wish to give money, advise distant projects, train technical people in far-flung places or visit yourself and act? These four categories of connection offer different levels of commitment, cost, risk and reward.
Giving money, in the form of donations to a worthy organization or direct cash transfers to a family member, is simple, easy and popular. If you choose this path, you can heighten your engagement by earmarking funds for specific work and by linking future donations achievement of concrete goals. For my wife, who was born and raised in Nigeria, physical evidence of success is always welcome. When she gave money recently to relatives to build a new well, she received videos via the WhatsApp of water gushing out of the ground.
More robust assistance can come from working with existing organizations. One of the most imaginative and flexible at the start of this century was Geekcorps, co-founded by Ethan Zuckerman, now a professor in MIT’s Media Lab. The non-profit paired visiting engineers from North America with counterparts in African cities around digital projects, many based on fast-changing mobile technologies. Geekcorps is today a unit of DC-based International Executive Service Corps.
Plugging into an organization of do-gooders can be difficult for those steeped in corporate values. Many of the engineering projects mounted by non-profits can appear as make-work, designed more to give training and experience to local technologists than to actually build a working system. At times visiting engineers find they are doing all or most of the heavy lifting on the ground, and even need to arrive with their own tools and resources. Once the visiting engineer departs, projects may fall into disuse because maintenance issues are neglected or prove daunting. Even worse, locals can end up fighting for control or profit from the systems designed and built by outsiders. That’s not an outcome any visiting engineer wants.
Multinational corporations offer prime opportunities, but these are more difficult to obtain. Google, for instance, has offered assignments its own African-born engineers in California to work on vital projects in African cities, such as street mapping, health information and text-message gateways to the Web. Intel has done the same in Israel, China for employees born in those countries
To be sure, fitting into an existing agenda means giving up some freedom, and perhaps surrendering your own dream for how to best the help the folks at home. Two paths are open in this case. You can start your own organization, or you can partner with a trusted existing organizations.
One impressive example of the former: a Microsoft employee from Ghana, Patrick Awuah, chose to launch and run a private university, Ashesi, in Accra, his country’s capital. Ashesi puts engineering and technology at the center of its undergraduate experience. Awuah, who now devotes full-time to running Ashesi, has been widely recognized and won a McArthur “genius” award in 2015.
More realistic is to identify a reliable and prominent engineer back home who can serve as leader or focal point for a substantial effort. Along with one of the pioneers of cloud computing in the U.S., I’m advising a professor of computer scientist at Kampala’s Makarere University. He happens to be named Engineer Bainomugisha, and with some technical and organizational help, he is designing what could be among the first “clouds” built and run in the sub-Saharan. Because the cloud pioneer and I have each met Bainomugisha over several years, both Uganda and (once) in Seattle, communication is good and integrity is high. Credit face-to-face for this sunny situation.
Purely online relations often don’t provide a strong foundation for partnerships, so global alliances built on personal relationships require time, and travel. The personal approach, while offering greater rewards, presents greater risks as well. Differences in time zones are a nuisance and gaps in resources can fuel resentments and misunderstandings even in well-meaning collaborators back home. Managing expectations of how much you can assist is also challenging.
The same advice might apply to engineers moving within a country because of the vast divide between rural and urban. Professor Bainomugisha, for instance, struggles to help his home village, far from the thriving city of Kampala, because the gap in mentality and material life between the two places is roughly as large as that between Kampala and Seattle.
The high degree of difficulty in giving back, from developed to developing world, will bedevil the community of electrical engineering for many years to come. Frankly, this specter is a positive, highlighting the centrality of electricity, electronics and engineering. Because so many foreign-born engineers in Europe and the U.S. are in their working prime, the intensity of efforts to assist across borders should only grow. And looking ahead 10 to 20 years, waves of EEs of diverse backgrounds and allegiances raises the likelihood that, in retirement, many more engineers will have the vitality, passion and resources to stretch a helping hand across the world.
Pirate site blockades are gradually spreading across the globe. Thus far, Canada hasn’t joined the movement but that’s something Bell, Rogers, and Groupe TVA hope to change.
In June, the three companies filed a lawsuit against the operators of a ‘pirate’ IPTV service operating from the domain names GoldTV.ca and GoldTV.biz. The companies argued that the service provides access to their TV content without licenses or authorization.
Among other things, the rightsholders requested an interim injunction to stop the operators, who remain unidentified, from continuing to offer the allegedly-infringing IPTV service. This was granted last month, but despite the order, some of the infrastructures remained available.
This resulted in a new request from the media giants, which could potentially lead to the first-ever pirate site blocking order in Canada. Specifically, the companies are calling for an interlocutory injunction order that would require several Canadian ISPs to block GoldTV domain names and IP-addresses.
The request was discussed in Federal Court last Thursday and Friday. Since Rogers and Bell are also ISPs, the companies are also listed as respondents. Obviously, they didn’t object to their own demands. Similarly, there are no objections from Shaw, Eastlink, Fido, SaskTel, Telus, and Videotron either.
With input from some of the Internet providers, the rightsholders drafted a blocking order that they hope to have approved by the Federal Court. It lists several domain names and IP-addresses of the pirate IPTV service and allows for more to be added.
The blocking technology that’s described in the order is fairly straightforward. Domain names would have to be targeted through DNS blocking or re-routing, and non-shared IP-addresses would have to be blocked or re-routed as well. All ISPs would be permitted to establish their preferred methods, as long as they are effective.
Thus far there hasn’t been much opposition from ISPs. The only company that substantially objects to the proposed site-blocking scheme is TekSavvy.
In written comments to the Court, the ISP points out that the request comes at a curious time as Canadian lawmakers are reviewing the appropriateness of such measures, as part of the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review. Issuing a precedential injunction before this review is complete would be inappropriate, TekSavvy argues.
Aside from leap-frogging the ongoing legislative process, the ISP also points out that the site-blocking measures violate net neutrality.
“The plaintiffs seek this Court’s assistance to implement a draconian remedy that runs directly counter to the legislatively established principle of net neutrality,” TekSavvy notes in its written comments.
The ISP doesn’t believe that the blocking measures will be very effective either. There are plenty of workarounds available, for example. The company further notes that it’s unclear whether GoldTV causes any harm and adds that the rightsholders have plenty of other options to go after the service.
For example, they could target the sites through less invasive measures. By contacting its payment provider or hosting company, for example, or going after the Canadian domain name registry.
“[The plaintiffs] ask this Court to deputize TekSavvy and other ISPs to protect the plaintiffs’ profits against some hypothetical (and unknowable) erosion from GoldTV’s services, yet they have not taken some of the most basic self-help steps open to them,” TekSavvy notes.
Overall, the ISP sees website blocking as a draconian measure. While it seems fairly small and directed at a small service that’s no longer widely available, Teksavvy fears that granting the order will open the floodgates to much broader blocking requests.
“If the plaintiffs were successful in obtaining a site-blocking order in this case, there is no question that they would use it as a precedent to obtain other site-blocking orders, whether in respect of copyright infringement or otherwise.”
“TekSavvy could be faced with hundreds and even thousands of websites to block and monitor, exponentially increasing the costs of operating and maintaining a site-blocking system and overwhelming TekSavvy’s capacity,” the company adds.
As such, Teksavvy asks the Federal Court to dismiss the motion. It’s the only third-party company that has done so. Fellow ISP Distributel also objected to the proposed language in the motion, but its complaint only deals with how ISPs are compensated for their efforts.
The Wire Report notes that the Federal Court gave all parties until Wednesday to come to an agreement on the language of the proposed order. It’s clear, however, that TekSavvy is not coming aboard.
After the hearings, the Federal Court will eventually have to decide whether to grant the blocking order or not. That’s expected to take a few more weeks.
A copy of the proposed blocking order, which may be changed going forward, is available here (pdf). TekSavvy’s written responses are available here (pdf) and a copy of the affidavit of Paul Stewart, TekSavvy’s VP of Technology, can be found here (pdf).
Last week, the city of Los Angeles inked a deal for a solar-plus-storage system at a record-low price. The 400-MW Eland solar power project will be capable of storing 1,200 megawatt-hours of energy in lithium-ion batteries to meet demand at night. The project is a part of the city’s climate commitment to reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.
Electricity and heat production are the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Carbon-free electricity will be critical for keeping the average global temperature rise to within the United Nations’ target of 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid the worst effects of climate change. As world leaders meet at the United Nations Climate Action Summit next week, boosting renewable energy and energy storage will be major priorities.
The data for our weekly download chart is estimated by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. All the movies in the list are Web-DL/Webrip/HDRip/BDrip/DVDrip unless stated otherwise.
RSS feed for the articles of the recent weekly movie download charts.
Berkeley, California banned the installation of natural gas pipes to new residential construction projects last month. The city is committed to slashing its carbon footprint, and natural gas is a carbon double-whammy: when burned, it releases carbon dioxide and, when leaked, its main ingredient, methane, is a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.
Those leaks, meanwhile, may soon have nowhere to hide thanks to a growing wave of private, methane-detecting satellites being placed in orbit. Canada’s GHGSat led the charge in 2016 with its carbon-tracking Claire microsatellite, and the company now has a second-generation microsat ready to launch. Several more methane-detecting satellites are coming, including one from the Environmental Defense Fund. If gas producers don’t find and squelch their own pollution, this proliferation of remote observers will make it increasingly likely that others will shine a spotlight on it.
In late 2011, Intel introduced a performance enhancement to its line of server processors that allowed network cards and other peripherals to connect directly to a CPU’s last-level cache, rather than following the standard (and significantly longer) path through the server’s main memory. By avoiding system memory, Intel’s DDIOshort for Data-Direct I/Oincreased input/output bandwidth and reduced latency and power consumption.
Now, researchers are warning that, in certain scenarios, attackers can abuse DDIO to obtain keystrokes and possibly other types of sensitive data that flow through the memory of vulnerable servers. The most serious form of attack can take place in data centers and cloud environments that have both DDIO and remote direct memory access enabled to allow servers to exchange data. A server leased by a malicious hacker could abuse the vulnerability to attack other customers. To prove their point, the researchers devised an attack that allows a server to steal keystrokes typed into the protected SSH (or secure shell session) established between another server and an application server.
Thousands of retailers around the world sell Android-based set-top devices that are able to stream Netflix and other services to customers’ homes.
However, an intriguing lawsuit filed in Canada last week alleges that employees at some companies went too far with their sales promotion pitches by pushing the products for infringing purposes while advising potential buyers on how to pirate content with them.
The lawsuit, filed in Federal Court September 11 by Super Channel owner Allarco Entertainment, targets Staples Canada, Best Buy Canada, London Drugs, Canada Computers, several related companies and up to 50,000 ‘John Doe’ customers.
Allarco Entertainment alleges that one or more of the retailers and their staff (collectively described as “4Stores”) promoted, encouraged, or instructed prospective buyers of Internet streaming devices on how to use and/or modify them to obtain copyright-infringing content. As a result, the devices are described as “Pirate Devices” throughout the lawsuit.
On a website promoting the case, Allarco has published a video as part of its 19-month-long “4 Stores Investigation” which claims to show employees at the defendant companies selling “pirate devices” in a way that contravenes several aspects of local law.
The company says it has 100 hours of undercover recordings to back up its claims. The short video currently available has recordings of alleged staff members advising users to install Kodi, use Google to find Kodi “setup videos”, or even visit other sellers operating elsewhere that will configure the devices for piracy.
Super Channel CEO Don McDonald told CBC that his company showed the video to the four retailers in the spring but that didn’t bring the alleged behavior to an end.
“I wanted them to be step up and be a champion in changing the culture. They didn’t see the light,” he said. “We want the stores to stop. We want the stores to say, ‘Hey this is wrong’.”
While the lawsuit continually describes the set-top boxes as “Piracy Devices” – some of which had Kodi pre-installed – there’s no information in the lawsuit or accompanying video that specifically states that any had dedicated piracy software or services embedded at the point of sale.
That important point will probably become evident as the lawsuit progresses but the complaint does note that “one or more” defendants breached the Copyright Act by “showing pirated programming to customers in their stores.”
The lawsuit itself goes straight for the jugular, reading not dissimilar to many others that have previously targeted sellers of unambiguous dedicated ‘pirate’ devices or services.
“The devices which are the subject of this action have been programmed to steal programming i.e. view the Plaintiffs Programming without authorization and without paying for it,” the complaint reads.
“The 4Stores Defendants or one or more of them have offered for sale, sold, leased and continue to sell or lease Pirate Devices to John Doe Customers and advised, educated, counseled, encouraged, directed, induced, enabled and authorized John Doe Customers to achieve, download, install and operate services that result in the operation of the Pirate Devices and/or that enable and allow the John Doe Customers to access the Infringing Content.”
The complaint, which also references up to 50,000 ‘John Doe’ customers as defendants, states that the 4Stores know their identities and as such, they will “be identified and added as identified parties following disclosure.” Allarco is seeking an order to have these customers served by mail.
The TV company states that the alleged actions of 4Stores detailed above were designed to “encourage and increase” the sale of ‘Pirate Devices’, which would not have been sold had it not been for the “education” provided by the 4Stores staff. When combined, this created or contributed to a culture of “widespread copyright infringement” causing damage to the plaintiff.
The complaint states that the customers of 4Stores who bought such devices and accessed infringing content breached the Copyright Act. At this stage, however, there’s no information that any evidence has been gathered to prove that happened. Nevertheless, the complaint alleges Contributory Infringement by 4Stores as a result of the companies inducing customers to infringe.
Allarco further claims that the 4Stores defendants sold devices that are “designed or produced primarily for the purposes of circumventing a technological protection measure”, and/or “the uses or purposes of which are not commercially significant other than when used for the purposes of circumventing a technological protection measure.”
Finally, there are additional claims that the defendants breached the Radiocommunication Act, Trademark Act (also with damage to goodwill), engaged in intentional interference with business, unjust enrichment, and counseling to commit an offense.
In summary, Allarco is demanding interim, interlocutory, and permanent injunctions including, but not limited to, preventing the defendants from “communicating or facilitating the communication” of its works without permission, including by “configuring, advertising, offering for sale or selling Pirate Devices.”
It also wants the Court to issue a ban on the 4Stores from “teaching, inducing, coaching or demonstrating to others including their own staff, friends and families how to steal or pirate the Plaintiff’s Works.”
The Allarco Entertainment / Super Channel complaint can be found here (pdf)
The stable kernel process is a perennial topic of discussion at gatherings of kernel developers; the 2019 Linux Kernel Maintainers Summit was no exception. Sasha Levin ran a session there where developers could talk about the problems they have with stable kernels and ponder solutions.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel: http://rpf.io/ytsub Help us reach a wider audience by translating our video content: http://rpf.io/yttranslate Buy a Raspberry Pi from one of our Approved Resellers: http://rpf.io/ytproducts Find out more about the #RaspberryPi Foundation: Raspberry Pi http://rpf.io/ytrpi Code Club UK http://rpf.io/ytccuk Code Club International http://rpf.io/ytcci CoderDojo http://rpf.io/ytcd Check out our free online training courses: http://rpf.io/ytfl Find your local Raspberry Jam event: http://rpf.io/ytjam Work through our free online projects: http://rpf.io/ytprojects Do you have a question about your Raspberry Pi?
Aardman has created so many characters that the members of Raspberry Pi hold dear in our hearts. From the early days of Morph’s interactions with Tony Hart, or Christmas evenings sat watching the adventures of Wallace and Gromit, through to their grand cinema-screen epics, we all have a soft spot for the wonderful creatures this talented bunch have invented.
So when Aardman approached us to ask if we’d like to be the Educational Partner for their new film A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, we obviously jumped at the chance. Aardman are passionate about education, and we are too, so this really was a no-brainer.
Shaun the Sheep: Mission to Space
Today we are launching the brand-new, global Code Club competition ‘Shaun the Sheep: Mission to Space’.
We’re asking young people in registered Code Clubs across the world to create awe-inspiring animations featuring Shaun the Sheep and his new friend Lu-La’s adventures, by following our specially themed ‘Shaun the Sheep: Mission to Space’ Scratch project guide!
For those of you who aren’t in a Code Club, we’re also running a second giveaway here on the Raspberry Pi blog. For your chance to enter, you need to find three characters from the film that we’ve hidden throughout the Raspberry Pi and Code Club websites. Once you’ve found three, fill in this form, and we’ll pick ten winners to receive some A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon goodies, including stickers and a pair of Shaun the Sheep ears.
Please note: at least one of the characters you submit must be from the Code Club website, so get hunting!
The closing date for the character hunt is 4 October 2019.
Both competitions are open to everyone, no matter where in the world you are.
We’ll also be uploading the ‘Shaun the Sheep: Mission to Space’ Scratch project to the Raspberry Pi desktops at the Raspberry Pi Store, Cambridge, so make sure you stop by this coming half-term to try your hand at coding your own Shaun the Sheep adventure.
The 5.3 kernel is available at last. The announcement includes a long discussion about user-space regressions — an ext4 filesystem performance improvement had caused some systems to fail booting due to a lack of entropy early after startup. “It’s more that it’s an instructive example of what counts as a regression, and what the whole ‘no regressions’ kernel rule means. The reverted commit didn’t change any API’s, and it didn’t introduce any new bugs. But it ended up exposing another problem, and as such caused a kernel upgrade to fail for a user. So it got reverted.”
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