Tout (en)

  • ETLegacy Continues Advancing Enemy Territory With OpenGL 3, OpenAL Surround Sound (Phoronix)
    One of my favorite Linux-native games of all time would definitely be Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. Wonderful memories of that excellent id Tech 3 game and back when I had time to game on Linux, when not being challenged by early Linux GPU driver issues. This game continues to live on via the community ETLegacy open-source project and recently did issue a major update...
  • Red Hat Virtualization (RHV) environment on IBM Power Systems (IBM Developerworks)
    This article describes how to install and configure RHV components based on RHEL 7.3 LE, on an IBM POWER8 host.
  • The Linux Kernel Continues Being Piped For Intel UMWAIT Support (Phoronix)
    Nearly a year ago we reported on the initial work done by Intel's Linux team on adding new CPU instructions for Tremont CPU cores, in particular the new UMWAIT instructions for enhancing power-savings during idle periods. That code continues to be revised for the UMWAIT kernel support but it has yet to be mainlined...
  • Dan Bielefeld, Keynote Speaker Akademy 2018: Exposing Injustice Through the Use of Technology (KDE)


    Dan Bielefeld speaks at a Transitional Justice Working Group event.

    Dan Bielefeld is an activist that works for a South Korean NGO. Dan worked in the Washington, D.C. area training young activists in the areas of politics and journalism before going into researching atrocities committed by the North Korean regime. He is currently the Technical Director of the Transitional Justice Working Group and helps pinpoint the locations of mass burial and execution sites using mapping technologies.

    Dan will be delivering the opening keynote at this year's Akademy and he kindly agreed to talk to us about activism, Free Software, and the sobering things he deals with every day.

    Paul Brown: Hello Dan and thanks for agreeing to sit down with us for this interview.

    Dan Bielefeld: Thanks for the opportunity, Paul.

    Paul: You work for the the Transitional Justice Working Group, an organization that researches human rights violations of the North Korean regime, correct?

    Dan: Yes, we have a mapping project that tries to identify specific coordinates of sites with evidence related to human rights violations.

    Paul: And you were a web designer before joining the organization... I've got to ask: How does one make the transition from web designer to human rights activist?

    Dan: I was a web developer for several years before moving to Korea. When I moved here, I enrolled as a Korean language student and also spent most of my free time volunteering with North Korean human rights groups. So, unfortunately, that meant putting the tech stuff on hold for a while (except when groups wanted help with their websites).

    Paul: You are originally from the US, right?

    Dan: Yes, from Wisconsin.

    Paul: Was this a thing that preoccupied you before coming to Korea?

    Dan: I initially came on a vacation with no idea that I'd one day live and work here. In the lead-up to that trip, and especially after that trip, I sought out more information about Korea, which inevitably brought me repeatedly to the subject of North Korea.

    Most of the news about North Korea doesn't grab my attention (talking about whether to resume talking, for instance), but the situation of regular citizens really jumped out at me. For instance, it must've been in 2005 or so that I read the book The Aquariums of Pyongyang by a man who had literally grown up in a prison camp because of something his grandfather supposedly did. This just didn't seem fair to me. I had thought the gulags where only a thing of history, but I learned they still exist today.

    Paul: Wait... So people can inherit "crimes" in North Korea?

    Dan: They call it the "guilt-by-association" system. If your relative is guilty of a political crime (e.g., defected to the South during the Korean War), up to three generations may be punished.

    Paul: Wow. That is awful, but somehow I feel this is not the most awful thing I am going to hear today...

    Dan: For a long time I thought it was just North Korea, but I have since learned that this logic / punishment method is older than the division of the North and South. For a long time after the division, in the South it was hard to hold a government position if your relative was suspected of having fled to the North, for instance.

    Paul: What's your role in Transitional Justice Working Group?

    Dan: I'm the technical director, so I'm responsible for our computer systems and networks, which includes our digital security. I also manage the mapping project, and I am also building our mapping system.

    Paul: Digital security... I read that North Korea is becoming a powerhouse when it comes to electronic terrorism. How much credibility do these stories have? I mean, they seem to be technologically behind in nearly everything else.


    Dan explaining the work of the The Transitional Justice Working Group to conference attendees. Photo by David Weaver.

    Dan: This is a really interesting question and the answer is very important to my work, of course.

    Going up against great powers like the US, the North Korean leadership practices asymmetrical warfare. Guerilla warfare, terrorism, these are things that can have a big impact with relatively little resources against a stronger power.

    In digital security, offense tends to be easier than defense, so they naturally have gravitated online. Eike [Hein -- vice-president at KDE e.V.] and I went to a conference last year at which a journalist, Martyn Williams of NorthKoreaTech.org said they train thousands of hackers from an early age. The average person in North Korea doesn't have a lot of money and may not even have a computer, but those the regime identifies and trains will have used computers and received a great deal of training from an early age. They do this not only for cyber-warfare, but to earn money for the regime. For instance, the $81 million from the Bangladesh bank heist.

    Paul: Ah, yes! They did Wannacry too.

    Dan: Exactly.

    Paul: Do your systems get attacked?

    Dan: One of our staff members recently received a targeted phishing email that looked very much like a proper email from Google. The only thing not real was the actual URL it went to. Google sent her the warning about being targeted by state-sponsored attackers and recommended she join their Advanced Protection Program, which they launched last year for journalists, activists, political campaign teams, and other high-risk users.

    We of course do our best to monitor our systems, but the reality today is that you almost have to assume they're already in if they're motivated to do so.

    Paul: That is disturbing. So what do you do about that? What tools do you use to protect and monitor your systems?

    Dan: What I've learned over the last three years is that the hardest part of digital security is the human element. You can have the best software or the best system, but if the password is 123456 or is reused everywhere, you aren't really very secure.

    We try to make sure that, for instance, two-factor authentication is turned on for all online accounts that offer it -- for both work and personal accounts. You have to start with the low-hanging fruit, which is what the attackers do. No reason to burn a zero-day if the password is "password". Getting people to establish good digital hygiene habits is crucial. It's sort of like wearing a seatbelt -- using 2FA might take extra time every single time you do it, and 99.9% of the time, it's a waste of time, but you'll never really know in advance when you'll really need it, so it's best to just make it a habit and do it every time.

    Another thing, of course, is defense in layers: don't assume your firewall stopped them, etc.

    Paul: What about your infrastructure? Bringing things more to our terrain: Do you rely on Free Software or do you have a mix of Free and proprietary? Are there any tools in particular you find especially useful in your day-to-day?

    Dan: I personally love FOSS and use it as much as I can. Also, being at a small NGO with a very limited budget, it's not just the freedom I appreciate, but the price often almost makes it a necessity.

    Paul: But surely having access to the code makes it a bit more trustworthy than proprietary blackboxes. Or am I being too biased here?


    The Transitional Justice Working Group uses QGIS to locate sites of North Korean human rights violations.

    Dan: Not all of my colleagues have the same approach, but most of them use, for instance, LibreOffice everyday. For mapping, we use Postgres (with PostGIS) and QGIS, which are wonderful. QGIS is a massive project that so far we've only scratched the surface of. We also use Google Earth, which provides us with imagery of North Korea for our interviews (I realize GE is proprietary).

    I agree, though, that FOSS is more trustworthy -- not just for security, but privacy reasons. It doesn't phone home as much!

    Paul: What about your email server, firewalls, monitoring software, and so on. What is that? FLOSS or proprietary?

    Dan: Mostly FLOSS, but one exception, I must admit, is our email hosting. We do not have the resources to safely run our own email. A few years ago we selected a provider that was a partner with a FOSS project to run our own email service, but we ultimately switched to Google because that provider was slow to implement two-factor authentication.

    Paul: Getting back to North Korea's human rights violations, you are mapping burial sites and scenes of mass killings, and so on, is that right? How bad is it?

    Dan: The human right situation in North Korea is very disturbing and the sad thing is it's continued for 60+ years. The UN's Report of the Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea from 2014 is a must-read on the general human rights situation in North Korea. From the principal findings section (para. 24), "The commission finds that systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. In many instances, the violations found entailed crimes against humanity based on State policies."

    Their mandate looked at "violations of the right to food, the full range of violations associated with prison camps, torture and inhuman treatment, arbitrary arrest and detention, discrimination; in particular, in the systemic denial and violation of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms, violations of the freedom of expression, violations of the right to life, ... enforced disappearances, including in the form of abductions of nationals of other States," and so on.

    For our mapping project, we published our first report last year, based on interviews with 375 escapees from North Korea who have now settled in South Korea.

    They collectively told us the coordinates of 333 killing sites, usually the sites of public executions, which local residents, including school children, are encouraged and sometimes forced to watch. It should be noted that this number hasn't been consolidated to eliminate duplicates. Some people reported more than one site, others none at all, but on average, almost one site per person was reported.

    Paul: And how do you feel about the situation? I am guessing you have met North Korean refugees passing through your workplace and that you, like most of us, come from a very sheltered and even cushy Western society background. How do you feel when faced with such misery?


    Suspected killing sites per province.

    Dan: It's a good question and hard to put into words what I feel. I guess, more than anything, I find the North Korean regime so unfair. Those we met in Seoul have been through so much, but they also are the ones who overcame so many obstacles and now have landed on their feet somewhere. It's not easy for them, but usually the longer they're here, the better they end up doing.

    Continuing about the mapping project's first report findings, from those 375 interviewees, we were also told the coordinates of 47 "body sites" - we use the term "body sites" because it's more general than burial sites. Most of the sites were burial sites, but some were cremation sites or places where bodies had been dumped without being buried, or stored temporarily before being buried. This 47 figure IS consolidated / de-duped (from 52), unlike the killing sites number.

    Paul: You manually plot sites on maps, correct? You have to rely on witnesses remembering where they saw things happen...

    Dan: We manually plot them using Google Earth, yes. During the interview, our interviewer (who himself is originally from the North) looks together with the interviewee at Google Earth's satellite imagery. You have to get used to looking down at the world, which takes some getting used to for some people.

    Paul: Is there no technology that would help map these things? Some sort of... I don't know... thermal imaging from satellites?

    Dan: Our goal eventually would be to interview all 30,000-plus North Koreans who've resettled in South Korea. The more we interview, and the more data points we get, the more we can cross-reference testimonies and hopefully get a better picture of what happened at these locations. I went to the big FOSS4G (G=Geospatial) conference last year in Boston and also the Korean FOSS4G in Seoul, and got to meet people developing mapping systems on drones. The only problem right now with drones is that flying them over North Korea will probably be seen as an act of war.

    When we get enough data points, we could use machine learning to help identify more potential burial sites across all of North Korea. Something similar is being done in Mexico, for instance, where they predict burial sites of the victims of the drug wars.

    Paul: Interesting.

    Dan: Patrick Ball of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group is doing very, very good stuff.

    Paul: You mentioned that the crimes have been going on for 60 years now. What should other countries be doing to help stop the atrocities? Because it seems to me that, whatever they have been doing, hasn't worked that well...

    Dan: Very true, that. North Korea is very good at playing divide and conquer. The rivalry between the Soviets and the Chinese, for instance, allowed them to extract more aid or resources from them.

    They also try to negotiate one-on-one, they don't want to sit down to negotiate with the US and South Korea at the same time, only with one or the other, for instance. North Korea - South Korea and North Korea - US meetings are dramatically being planned right now, and it puts a lot of stress on the alliance between the US and South Korea. That's definitely a goal of North Korea's leadership. Again, divide and conquer.

    So one thing that's an absolute must is for South Korea to work very closely with other countries and for them to all hold to the same line. But there are domestic and external forces that are pulling all of the countries in other directions, of course.

    I would say to any government to always keep human rights on the agenda. This does raise the bar for negotiations, but it also indicates what's important. It also sends an important message to the people of North Korea, whom we’re trying to help.

    I also think strategies that increase the flow of information into, out of, and within North Korea are key. For instance, the BBC recently opened a Korea-language service for the whole peninsula including North Korea. And Google’s Project Loon and Facebook’s similar project with drones could theoretically bring the internet to millions.

    Paul: Do you think these much-trumpeted US - North Korean negotiations will happen? And if so, anything productive will come from them?

    Dan: I really don't know. Also, one can't talk about all this without mentioning that China is North Korea's enabler, so if you want to significantly change North Korea, you have to influence China.

    To more directly answer the question, two US presidents (one from each party) made big deals with the North Koreans but the deals fell apart. We’ll see.

    Paul: We've covered what governments can do, but what can private citizens do to help?

    Dan: One major thing is to help amplify the voices of North Korean refugees and defectors. There are a few groups in Seoul, for instance, that connect English speakers with North Korean defectors who want to learn and practice their English. There are small North Korean defector communities in cities like London, Washington DC, etc. I don't know about Berlin, but I wouldn't be surprised!

    That's at the individual-to-individual level, but also, those with expertise as software developers, could use their skills to empower North Korean refugee organizations and activists, as well as other North Korean human rights groups.

    Paul: Empower how? Give me a specific thing they can do.

    Dan: For instance, one time I invited an activist to the Korea KDE group. He and some KDE community leaders had a very interesting discussion about how to use Arduino or something similar to control a helium-filled balloon to better drop leaflets, USB sticks, etc. over North Korea.

    Paul: That is a thing? What do the Arduinos do, control some sort of rotor?

    Dan: I can't really get into specifics, but, speaking of USB sticks with foreign media and content on it, one group has a project to reuse your old USB sticks and SD cards for just that purpose.

    Paul: What do you put on the sticks and cards? "The Interview"? "Team America"?

    Dan: There are several groups doing this, which is good, since they all probably have different ideas of what North Koreans want to watch. I think South Korean TV shows, movies, and K-Pop are staples. I have heard Wikipedia also goes on to some sticks, as do interviews with North Koreans resettled in South Korea...

    Paul: Dan, thank you so much for your time.

    Dan: Thanks so much, Paul, I look forward to meeting you and the rest of the KDE gang this summer.

    Paul: I too look forward to seeing you in Vienna.

    Dan will be delivering the opening keynote at Akademy 2018 on the 11th of August. Come to Akademy and find out live how you too can fight injustice from the realms of Free Software.

    About Akademy

    For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest free and open software communities in the world—works on-line by email, IRC, forums and mailing lists. Akademy provides all KDE contributors the opportunity to meet in person to foster social bonds, work on concrete technology issues, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work bringing those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, and those that are looking for opportunities.

    You can join us by registering for Akademy 2018. Registrations open in April. Please watch this space.

    For more information, please contact the Akademy Team.

    Dot Categories:

  • Debian/Ubuntu Linux: Restrict an SSH user session to a specific directory by setting chrooted jail (Linux Today)

     Nixcraft: You may grant a user ssh access, whom you do not completely trust.

  • conf.kde.in Is Coming Back In 2020 (KDE)

    Join us for conf.kde.in from the 17th to 19th of January 2020 in Delhi, India.

    conf.kde.in 2020 will focus on promoting Free and Open Source software, including (but not limited to) Qt and KDE products.

    The Venue

    conf.kde.in 2020 will be held in Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Technology, located in Rohini, Delhi, India. MAIT was established by the Maharaja Agrasen Technical Education Society and promoted by well-known industrialists, businessmen, professionals and philanthropists. The aim of MAIT is to promote quality education in the field of Technology.

    MAIT endeavors to provide industry-relevant education and training through its well-crafted and practical training programs for the students in different semesters of their courses. The campus is composed of 10 blocks with a learning resource center. MAIT has been ranked as the 10th best private engineering institute in India by the Dataquest T-School Survey. MAIT always supports Free and Open Source communities and tech-related activities.

    About conf.kde.in

    conf.kde.in started in 2011 at RVCE in Bangalore as a 5-day event with 300 participants. This kicked off a series of KDE events in India. We held a KDE Meetup in 2013, and another conf.kde.in 2014 at DA-IICT. In 2015, the third conf.kde.in was held at Amrita University in Kerala, and in 2016 at LNMIIT Jaipur. The Jaipur conference attracted members of the KDE Community from all over the world. Attendees from different backgrounds came to meet each other, give talks, and share in the spirit of KDE. The 2017 conference was held in IIT Guwahati, Assam and sought to cater to new members of KDE, as well as to seasoned developers.


    KDE Meetup 2014

    All of these events have been successful in attracting a lot of Indian students to mentoring programs such as Google Summer of Code (GSoC), Season of KDE, and Google Code-In.

    conf.kde.in 2020 will generate even more interest and participation by creating a fertile environment for people to get started with KDE, Qt and FOSS through numerous talks, hands-on sessions and demonstrations.

    Call For Papers

    Join us! Submit a paper, explain the content for a 30-minute presentation or a workshop on any aspect of KDE, Qt or any other FOSS topic you want to cover, and become a conf.kde.in Speaker.

    Remember to include all pertinent information about your background, other talks you've given, and anything else that gives a sense of what attendees can expect from your presentation.

    See you in 2020 in India!

  • Western Digital Ships 12 TB WD Gold HDD: 8 Platters and Helium (AnandTech)

    Western Digital has begun to ship its WD Gold HDD with 12 TB capacity to partners and large retailers. The 3.5” drive relies on the same platform as the HGST Ultrastar He12 launched this year, and will initially be available to select customers of the company. The WD Gold 12 TB is designed for enterprise workloads and has all the performance and reliability enhancements that we come to expect, but the availability at retail should make them accessible to wider audiences.  

    From a hardware point of view, the WD Gold 12 TB is similar to the HGST Ultrastar He12 12 TB hard drive: both are based on the fourth-generation HelioSeal technology that uses eight perpendicular magnetic recording platters with a 1.5 TB capacity for each platter. The internal architecture of both HDDs was redesigned compared to predecessors to accommodate the eighth platter. Since the WD Gold and the Ultrastar He12 are aimed at nearline enterprise environments, they are equipped with various sensors and technologies to protect themselves against vibration and as a result, guarantee sustained performance. For example, the WD Gold and the Ultrastar He12 attach their spindles both to the top and the bottom of the drives. In addition the HDDs feature a special technology that increases the accuracy of head positioning in high-vibration environments to improve performance, integrity, and reliability. Finally, both product families support TLER (time-limited error recovery) rebuild assist mode to speed up RAID recovery time.

    Since the WD Gold 12 TB and the HGST Ultrastar He12 are similar internally and feature the same 7200 RPM spindle speed, they also have similar performance — the manufacturer puts them both at 255 MB/s sustained transfer rate and 4.16 ms average latency. The main difference between the WD Gold and the HGST Ultrastar He12 are the enterprise options for the latter: there are models with the SAS 12 Gb/s interface and there are models with SED support and Instant Secure Erase feature.

    Comparison of Western Digital's WD Gold HDDs
      WD121KRYZ WD101KRYZ WD8002FRYZ WD6002FRYZ WD4002FRYZ
    Capacity 12 TB 10 TB 8 TB 6 TB 4 TB
    RPM 7200 RPM
    Interface SATA 6 Gbps
    DRAM Cache   256 MB 128 MB
    NAND Cache   Unknown No Yes Unknown
    Helium-Filling   Yes No
    Data Transfer Rate (host to/from drive) 255 MB/s 249 MB/s 205 MB/s 226 MB/s 201 MB/s
    MTBF 2.5 million
    Rated Annual Workload 550 TB
    Acoustics (Seek)   - 36 dBA
    Power Consumption Sequential read 7 W 7.1 W 7.2 W 9.3 W 9 W
    Sequential write 6.8 W 6.7 W 7 W 8.9 W 8.7 W
    Random read/write 6.9 W 6.8 W 7.4 W 9.1 W 8.8 W
    Idle 5 W 5.1 W 7.1 W 7 W
    Warranty 5 Years
    Price as of September 9, 2017 MSRP $521.99 $410.99 $327.99 $244.99 $183.99
    Per GB $0.0435 $0.0411 $0.041 $0.0408 $0.046
    GB per $ 22.98 GB 24.33 GB 24.39 GB 24.48 GB 21.73 GB

    Western Digital aims its WD Gold and HGST Ultrastar He-series drives at operators of cloud and exascale data centers that demand maximum capacity. The 12 TB HDDs can increase the total storage capacity for a single rack from 2440 TB to 2880 TB, replacing 10 TB drives with 12 TB drives, which can be a major benefit for companies that need to maximize their storage capacity per watt and per square meter. Where the HGST-branded drives are made available primarily through B2B channels, the WD Gold are sold both through B2B and B2C channels and thus can be purchased by wider audiences. For example, boutique PC makers, as well as DIY enthusiasts, may start using the WD Gold 12 TB for their high-end builds, something they could not do with the HGST drives. These HDDs may be considered as an overkill for desktops, but since WD’s desktop offerings top at 6 TB, the WD Gold (and the perhaps inevitable future WD Red Pro 12 TB) is the WD’s closest rival for Seagate’s BarraCuda Pro drives.

    The WD Gold HDD is currently available directly from Western Digital for $521.99 as well as from multiple retailers, including Newegg for $539.99. While over $500 for a hard drive is expensive, it is actually less than Western Digital charged for its WD Gold 8 TB about 1.5 years ago ($595) and considerably less than the initial price of the WD Gold 10 TB drive last April.

    Related Reading:

  • Put a Linux-based chess app on the cloud with Bluemix and IBM Containers (IBM Developerworks)
    Build a Docker container that uses WebSockets to expose an existing Linux CLI chess engine as a cloud service. This tutorial shows step-by-step the process for building a Docker container and deploying it as a running container on IBM Containers for Bluemix. It includes sample code and a JavaScript chess game that runs in a browser and illustrates how to consume the WebSocket-based service. You can apply the methods demonstrated to containerize almost any pipe-based Linux application and leverage them as cloud services on Bluemix.
  • Benchmarks Of LLVM Clang 6.0 Through Clang 10.0 Compilers (Phoronix)
    At the end of 2019 I ran some GCC 5 through GCC 10 compiler benchmarks while here are the similar tests conducted on the LLVM side for seeing how the Clang C/C++ compiler performance has evolved over the past few years...
  • Project Trident Reaches Beta For Its ZFS-Based Void Linux Powered OS (Phoronix)
    Making rounds in Q4 of last year was the little known Project Trident open-source operating system switching from its TrueOS/FreeBSD base to in turn moving to Void Linux as a base for their platform. Towards the end of the year they offered some initial images of their reborn OS while now Project Trident based on Void Linux has reached beta...
  • IBM Power Systems solution for EnterpriseDB Postgres Advanced Server (IBM Developerworks)
    This article describes the general installation and tuning of EnterpriseDB Postgres Advanced Server database on IBM Power Systems servers running Linux. IBM Power servers offer significant advantages compared to similar configurations of Intel Xeon processor-based systems (Broadwell).
  • Installing CentOS 7.2 on IBM Power System S822LC for high-performance computing (HPC) with a USB device (IBM Developerworks)
    Use this article to install CentOS on an IBM Power System LC server with a USB device. This installation is specifically for installing CentOS on an IBM Power System (OpenPOWER) server.
  • NASA's SLS Heavy-Lift Moon Rocket Core Leaves For Testing (Slashdot)
    "The first core stage for the Space Launch System, intended to get us back to the moon by 2024, has left Boeing's manufacturing center in New Orleans for launch readiness test," writes long-time Slashdot reader Excelcia: This is very good news for the troubled project which has been plagued by delays and cost overruns. Back when it was thought the system would launch in 2017, the cost estimate was $19-$22 billion for the program. But now the race is on in earnest to see who can get super-heavy lift into orbit, and it looks like NASA is finally out of the starting gate. The next step is a full-power burn of the four Space Shuttle RS-25 engines. "Some in the space community believe it would be better to launch deep space missions on commercial rockets," reports the BBC. "But supporters of the programme say that NASA needs its own heavy-lift launch capability... The SLS was designed to re-use technology originally developed for the space shuttle programme, which ran from 1981-2011." All I know is that's an amazing photo of the enormous core stage -- the largest one ever built in NASA's Louisiana factory -- heading down a Louisiana highway.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • vCPU hotplug and hotunplug using libvirt v2 (IBM Developerworks)
    This article talks about how to perform a virtual processor (vCPU) hotplug/hotunplug operation using libvirt version 2 in a PPC64LE environment.
  • HMD Closes Nokia Brand and Patents Deal with Microsoft, Smartphones Due in 2017 (AnandTech)

    HMD Global and FIH Mobile on Thursday announced that they had completed their buyout of Nokia assets from Microsoft which opens a way for return of Nokia branded smartphones to the market. As expected, HMD and FIH will keep selling Nokia-branded feature phones in developing countries but will add a range of android-based smartphones and tablets to the lineup in 2017. The two companies hope that relationships with operators as well as manufacturing assets (Foxconn) will be instrumental for making their endeavor a success.

    As reported earlier this year, HMD Global and FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Hon Hai/Foxconn Technology Group (we will call the company “Foxconn” for simplicity), paid Microsoft approximately $350 million in cash for various Nokia-related assets. Under the terms of the agreement, HMD got exclusive rights to use the Nokia brand on mobile phones and tablets globally (except Japan) for the next 10 years, standard essential cellular patent licenses, software for feature phones and some other intellectual property. Meanwhile, Foxconn got a manufacturing facility in Hanoi, Vietnam, which is used to manufacture Nokia-branded devices along with customer contracts, critical supply agreements, sales and distribution assets (in fact, these will be owned by a subsidiary of FIH called TNS and HMD will have rights to acquire TNS over the next ten years) and so on. HMD and Foxconn will jointly develop, manufacture and sell Nokia-branded devices, whereas Nokia will participate in development and will receive royalties covering both brand and IP rights from HMD for sales of every Nokia-branded product. The three companies are poised to work together because they critically depend on assets owned by each other.

    In its announcement on Thursday, HMD reaffirmed plans to introduce a range of Android-based smartphones and tablets in 2017. The company’s announcement was short on details, but it confirmed that the devices will be jointly developed with Foxconn under supervision of Nokia (which intends to control certain aspects of design, performance, and feature-set of the devices), who has know-hows not only in high-volume manufacturing but also in device engineering. Given the short amount of time that HMD, Foxconn and Nokia had to design their new devices, expect the latter to use already known hardware platforms, but add certain elements for differentiation. We do know that Nokia has developed its own UI for Android called Z Launcher, hence it is logical to expect the company to expand the project for Nokia-branded smartphones. Meanwhile, since a lot of important Nokia IP (e.g., PureView imaging, ClearBlack display, etc.) remains at Microsoft, three companies will have to either develop certain technologies from scratch or use off-the-shelf solutions. Such approach has pros and cons: on the one hand, it is hard to create a unique device based on popular platforms; on the other hand, it is possible to build a device in a relatively short amount of time. Hence, expect HMD Foxconn and Nokia to reveal their first smartphone already in the first half of 2017.

    Right now, the core business of HMD and Foxconn is Nokia-branded feature phones that are popular primarily in developing countries. On Thursday, HMD also announced the Nokia 216 handset with a 2.4” display running the Nokia 30-series software that will be inexpensive but will still provide basic “smart” functionality like Internet browsing and multimedia playback. Even though sales of such phones are rapidly decreasing, there are still hundreds of millions of such devices sold every year. HMD naturally hopes that it will be able to replace feature phones with inexpensive smartphones and thus will capture a sizeable chunk of the market. As such, expect HMD to focus on not only advanced models for the U.S. and Europe, but also on affordable smartphones for countries like India and Russia, where the brand is particularly strong and where reasonably priced phones are popular. From a market share point of view, inexpensive models are more important than the flagship devices. Nonetheless, Xiaomi and some other makers clearly demonstrated how fine flagship devices affect brand recognition, hence, they are crucial for success.

    Wrapping things up, the deal between Microsoft, HMD Global and FIH Mobile is now closed and Nokia-branded smartphones (and tablets) are on their way back to the market. It is unlikely that we will hear about them anything at CES, but HMD Global will be present at MWC 2017 and this is where the firm will likely showcase at least some of the upcoming products or at least their key features.

    Related Reading:

    Sources: HMD Global, FIH Mobile, Nokia.

  • How a Chunk of Human Brain Survived Intact For 2600 Years (Slashdot)
    sciencehabit quotes Science magazine: Nearly 2600 years ago, a man was beheaded near modern-day York, U.K. -- for what reasons, we still don't know -- and his head was quickly buried in the clay-rich mud. When researchers found his skull in 2008, they were startled to find that his brain tissue, which normally rots rapidly after death, had survived for millennia -- even maintaining features such as folds and grooves. Now, researchers think they know why. Using several molecular techniques to examine the remaining tissue, the researchers figured out that two structural proteins -- which act as the "skeletons" of neurons and astrocytes -- were more tightly packed in the ancient brain. In a yearlong experiment, they found that these aggregated proteins were also more stable than those in modern-day brains. In fact, the ancient protein clumps may have helped preserve the structure of the soft tissue for ages, the researchers report today in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • How to use custom commands in LibreOffice (Linux Today)

     HowToForge: LibreOffice is one of the most important pieces of free software, allowing many of us to work, study, and share information.

  • This Year's Y2K20 Bug Came Directly From 'A Lazy Fix' to the Y2K Bug (Slashdot)
    Slashdot reader The8re still remembers the Y2K bug. Now he shares a New Scientist article explaining how it led directly to this year's Y2020 bug -- which affected more than just parking meters: WWE 2K20, a professional wrestling video game, also stopped working at midnight on 1 January 2020. Within 24 hours, the game's developers, 2K, issued a downloadable fix. Another piece of software, Splunk, which ironically looks for errors in computer systems, was found to be vulnerable to the Y2020 bug in November. The company rolled out a fix to users the same week -- which include 92 of the Fortune 100, the top 100 companies in the US.... The Y2020 bug, which has taken many payment and computer systems offline, is a long-lingering side effect of attempts to fix the Y2K, or millennium bug. Both stem from the way computers store dates. Many older systems express years using two numbers -- 98, for instance, for 1998 -- in an effort to save memory. The Y2K bug was a fear that computers would treat 00 as 1900, rather than 2000. Programmers wanting to avoid the Y2K bug had two broad options: entirely rewrite their code, or adopt a quick fix called "windowing", which would treat all dates from 00 to 20, as from the 2000s, rather than the 1900s. An estimated 80 percent of computers fixed in 1999 used the quicker, cheaper option. "Windowing, even during Y2K, was the worst of all possible solutions because it kicked the problem down the road," says Dylan Mulvin at the London School of Economics.... Another date storage problem also faces us in the year 2038. The issue again stems from Unix's epoch time: the data is stored as a 32-bit integer, which will run out of capacity at 3.14 am on 19 January 2038.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Multi-disk management for IBM Systems Director VMControl: Part 2 (IBM Developerworks)
    IBM Systems Director is a platform management solution that is used to manage physical and virtual systems. IBM Systems Director provides systems management personnel with a single pane of glass, helping reduce IT management complexity and cost. VMControl is a advanced plug-in installed on top of IBM Systems Director to provide the virtualization capabilities. This tutorial talks about the multi-disk management and revision control for capturing virtual appliances using the VMControl Representational State Transfer (REST) application programming interfaces (APIs) and command line interface (CLI).
  • Charter's Spectrum Kills Home Security Business, Refuses Refunds on Now-Worthless Equipment (Slashdot)
    Charter Comunications' Spectrum cable service includes a home security service, and -- whoops. No it doesn't. "Spectrum customers who are also users of the company's home security service are about a month away from being left with a pile of useless equipment that in many cases cost them hundreds of dollars," reports Gizmodo: On February 5, Spectrum will no longer support customers who've purchased its Spectrum Home Security equipment. None of the devices -- the cameras, motion sensors, smart thermostats, and in-home touchscreens -- can be paired with other existing services. In a few weeks, it'll all be worthless junk. While some of the devices may continue to function on their own, customers will soon no longer be able to access them using their mobile devices, which is sort of the whole point of owning a smart device... Spectrum is hoping to smooth things over with "exclusive offers" from other home security companies, including Ring, which is owned by Amazon... Spectrum apparently believes it can afford to aggravate these customers, some if not most of whom will have no choice but to continue paying Spectrum for internet service. Spectrum "inherited" the business after acquiring Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks in 2016, Gizmodo reports. "It's not offering refunds, though... The firmware on the devices doesn't allow switching to other services, either."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Equifax's Stock Rose More Than 50% In 2019 (Slashdot)
    "There's still time to file a claim for a share of the $425 million that Equifax agreed to cough up after hosing almost half of the country in its massive data breach a few years ago," writes a Pennyslvania newspaper columnist, pointing victims to equifaxbreachsettlement.com. "But unless you can prove you were an identity theft victim who lost money, or had to waste time cleaning up the mess, don't expect much of a payout. Victims are being hosed again." The breach affected an estimated 147 million Americans. Hackers exploited a known but unpatched website vulnerability and gained access to names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver's license numbers and credit card numbers. Facing lawsuits from federal and state consumer protection agencies, Equifax agreed to a settlement. It offered several ways for people to file claims, with a deadline of Jan. 22. The option that applies to most people is 10 years of free credit monitoring, or a cash payout of up to $125 for those who already have monitoring. But you aren't going to get anywhere near $125. The settlement called for a pot of only $31 million for those payouts. And based on the number of people who have applied, that's not enough to cover the maximum payment. You may not even get enough to buy a decent sandwich, according to Ted Frank, director of litigation for Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute, which includes the Center for Class Action Fairness. "That's down to $6 or $7 now," Frank told CNBC in December. "Maybe even less than that." Frank spoke after the federal judge overseeing the settlement awarded $77.5 million of the $425 million settlement fund to the attorneys who represented consumers against Equifax. His organization had opposed that award as being too much. Meanwhile, the Motley Fool notes that in 2019 Equifax's stock rose 50.5% -- after dropping 21% in 2018 and remaining "relatively flat" in 2017. "The credit-reporting company's stock rose thanks to a series of earnings beats and with the shadow of the big 2017 data breach receding further into the rear view...."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • KDE Devs Fix Several Wayland Bugs, Annoying KWin Issues Plus Easier To Toggle Night Color (Phoronix)
    KDE developers fixed a number of Wayland and KWin bugs this week along with a number of other annoying bugs as well as making several other noteworthy refinements to the growing KDE ecosystem...
  • KDE is All About the Apps: October Update (KDE)

    KDE is all about the Apps!

    We are a community of thousands of contributors who make hundreds of Apps using collaborative open source methods. Our apps run on Linux with Plasma, of course, but also fit in well with GNOME, Enlightenment, XFCE, or any other desktop you happen to be using. Many of our apps run on Windows, Android and macOS.

    A new goal for the KDE community is to push how we are All About the Apps. We will be highlighting our best software and promoting it to increase its adoption outside the circle of current KDE fans (who we still love very much!). This is a monthly update of what's new in our apps. If you'd like to help out with this community goal, take a look at the All About the Apps workboard, and join us in our Matrix chat channel.

    App Updates

    The elite painting app Krita received a monthly bugfix release, 4.2.7. The developers have improved the layout and functionality of the color selection dialog, and made it possible to save group layers to file layers even if they are empty. The sort order of images imported as frames was fixed, a bunch of crashes removed, and dozens of other bugs tidied up.

    To celebrate, the Krita team also made a video with artist Ramon Miranda that offers some advice for improving your sketches. Krita is available in your favorite Linux distribution, for Windows, macOS, as a Linux AppImage, on Flathub, and in the Snap store.

    KMyMoney, the app for managing your finances, also got a new release - 5.0.7. This release introduces updates required for the new regulations of the Payment Services Directive, which affects the online capabilities for German bank users.

    To make KMyMoney compatible with those regulations (especially the strong customer authentication part), developers had to adapt it to updated APIs of the Gwenhywfar and AqBanking libraries which provide the banking protocol implementations.

    Coming from KDE and used by many of us, the distributed compiler cluster Icecream and Icecream Monitor have been updated. The new release improves Objective C and C++ support, removes hardcoded compiler paths, and fixes job preloading to again allow sending one extra job to a fully busy node. In the monitor app several new ice cream flavors have also been added, we're not quite sure what this means but it sounds delicious.

    In the last month, Latte Dock (panel for the Plasma desktop) had two new releases, making improvements to its new Win Indicator look.

    KDevelop, the discerning coder's IDE, published a bugfix release - 5.4.2. You can get it from your Linux distribution or as an AppImage, and you can also compile versions for Windows and macOS.

    RSIBreak, the app that helps you prevent damage to your wrists got a new release versioned 0.12.11.

    Photo management and editing app digiKam released the version 6.3. The highlight of the new release is the G'Mic plugin.
    G'Mic is the image processing library with over 950 different filters, so you can make all your photos truly beautiful. digiKam can be installed from your Linux distro, AppImage bundles, macOS package, and Windows 32/64-bit installers.

    Telescope and astronomy app KStars also had a new release, versioned 3.3.6. The KStars Live Video window can now show debayer frames in real-time, making it possible to create color video streams.

    The weather data can be directly displayed in the Observatory Module, and the user interface has been improved in a number of ways. As one of the most feature-rich free astronomy apps, KStars caters to a wide variety of use cases, so you will surely find tools that are useful to you regardless of your level of experience. KStars is available pretty much everywhere - as a Windows installer, macOS installer, Android app, Snap package, and in your Linux distribution.

    Bug Fixes

    We are continually improving our apps, so plenty of bug fixes have been made. Here are some highlights.

    • Our document viewer Okular gained support for HighDPI screens. This one-line fix to add automatic scaling based on the pixel density of the monitor will make viewing documents on fancy monitors so much better.
    • The advanced text editor Kate was similarly updated to work with HiDPI screens throughout.
    • The chess game Knights had a one-line fix in version 19.08.2. Thanks to the fix, you can now start a game when the second player is a computer engine again.
    • Video editor Kdenlive fixed screengrabs in Linux to eliminate crashes, and in Windows to correctly grab the audio.
    • CD burner app K3b fixed a crash where it couldn't find the supporting command-line tool mkisofs.

    Supporting Bits

    Libraries and artwork support our apps to make our software work beautifully.

    The Breeze icon theme got new icons for activities, trash, batteries, QR codes, and more. Libical, which is used by Kontact to talk to iCalendar protocols and data formats, had a bugfix release (3.0.6).

    Snorenotify is a notification framework supporting Linux, Windows and macOS. Snoretoast is a command-line application used within Snorenotify for Windows Toast notifications. It is also used in Quassel and Tomahawk, and the good news is that it got a new release this month (0.7.0).

    New in App Stores

    Our software is increasingly available directly through app stores. To celebrate and highlight this (and to help you find them more easily!), this month we added Windows Store links to the KDE Applications web page.

    More KDE applications found their way to the Windows Store:

    Welcoming New Projects

    New projects are started in the KDE community all the time. When those projects are ready for wider use, they go through a process called "KDE review", where other KDE contributors will check them for code quality, features, licensing, and how well they work on different platforms. Last but not least, we decide whether we are happy to give it the KDE stamp of approval.

    In KDE review this month is Ruqola, a chat app which talks on the Rocket Chat network and uses the Kirigami UI framework. For the more technically-inclined, Elf-Inspector is an app providing tools for inspecting, analyzing, and optimizing ELF files (the executable file format used on Linux).

    Saying Goodbye

    Sometimes, apps are left behind when their code does not keep up with the rest of the world.

    This month, a new version of our multimedia library Phonon was released. In this version, we removed Qt4 support - sensible enough, as Qt4 hasn't been supported since 2015. As a result, the music player app Amarok has become deprecated (at least for now). Don't lose hope, though: the Qt5 port is progressing, but it's not there yet.

    The web browser Rekonq was marked as unmaintained, meaning it's unlikely to ever come back. However, the work carries on in Falkon, so make sure to check out and support the project if you are interested in lightweight web browsers. Also considered unmaintained is the bootup configuration tool systemd-kcm.


    Enjoy your apps from KDE, and stay tuned for more updates!

  • Digital Business Start trial offer for IBM Power Enterprise Systems using MongoDB (IBM Developerworks)
    The Digital Business Start trial offer is for customers who have IBM® Power Enterprise Servers in their environment and want to enable inactive cores and memory to deploy MongoDB on a Linux operating system (OS). This guide walks you through the setup steps.
  • An AMD Threadripper X399 Motherboard Overview: A Quick Look at Seven Products (AnandTech)

    With the release of AMD’s Threadripper CPUs into the HEDT market, board partners have released new motherboards based on the X399 chipset. Consumers are going to see quad channel memory, native 4-Way SLI and Crossfire capabilities, more full-speed M.2 slots, added 10G network ports, and more on the new platform. We're taking a quick look at each of the motherboards that the vendors are promoting in the market, as well as a few upcoming teasers.

  • Plasma's Vision (KDE)

    Sebastian Kügler writes on his blog about Plasma's vision statement, which names durabililty, usability and elegance as its corner stones.

  • Akademy Awards 2017 (KDE)

    Every year at Akademy we celebrate some of our hardest working achievers in the community. The prizes are selected and awarded by the previous year's winners. The winners this year are:


    Kai-Uwe

    Application Award

    Kai Uwe Broulik for their valuable work on Plasma.




    Cornelius Schumacher

    Non-Application Contribution Award

    Cornelius Schumacher for their long term contributions to KDE.



     
    Olaf and Martin

    Jury Award

    Martin Konold & Olaf Schmidt-Wischhöfer for their work on the KDE Free Qt Foundation.
    Honourable mentions also go to Lars Knoll and Tuukka Turunen for their work on the Qt side of the foundation which controls Qt's licensing.




    Thanking the Akademy organisers

    The organising team were also given a certificate and thanked for their hard work. The organisation has been led by Kenny Duffus who has helped for over a decade making the events appear to run smoothly. The local team have worked hard this year led by Rubén Gómez and Ismael Olea to bring us a fabulous event.


    Lukas Hetzenecker

    Akademy continues for another four days with meetings, workshops and hacking from teams within KDE to discuss their work over the forthcoming year.

    One final announcement was made at the end of the talks. The location for next year's Akademy was announced to be in Vienna, Lukas Hetzenecker introduced what he assured us was a beautiful and welcoming city.

    Dot Categories:

  • AMD's Initial Graphics Updates For Linux 5.3 Include PowerPlay Improvements, HMM Usage (Phoronix)
    While the Linux 5.2 kernel won't see its debut until July followed by the opening of the Linux 5.3 kernel cycle, the AMD developers sent in today their initial set of staged changes to DRM-Next for queuing their preliminary AMDGPU/AMDKFD driver changes they want to get into this next kernel cycle. There are some notable additions but what we are expecting/hoping for and haven't seen yet is the Navi support...
  • Configuring flannel overlay network with VXLAN for Docker on IBM Power Systems servers (IBM Developerworks)
    This article explains how to setup flannel based overlay network for Docker containers on IBM Power servers.
  • Using Docker Swarm mode on OpenPOWER servers (IBM Developerworks)
    This article explains how to set up a Docker swarm cluster using the newly introduced Swarm mode feature of Docker Engine.