Jonathan Riddell will be talking about KDE’s “All About the Apps” goal this Friday at OpenUK’s Future Leader’s Training. Register by mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve launched the new Yes for EU website. We are a campaign group set up to promote independence for Scotland and re-entry into the EU. Come along and join us.
The OpenUK Awards are now open for nominations.
The First Edition of the OpenUK Awards is being held in London on 20 October 2020, 6pm and celebrates Open Technology, being Open Source Software, Open Source hardware and Open Data with 5 Awards.
- Young person (being 25 or under on 30 March 2020)
- Open Data – company or project
- Open Source hardware – company or project
- Open Source software – company or project
We are looking for the best in open source, hardware and data in the UK. Who had achieved something great? Who has not been recognised? Which company or project are doing fabulous work that needs exposure?
Nominations are open until 15 June 2020 but don’t delay nominate today 🙂
The awards final will be 20 October 2020 – 6pm, Unilever Building London, either in person or over video as appropriate.
If you’re feeling stuck indoors during the lock down you can browse some happy pretty pictures on KDE’s new Instagram account.
Instagram is one of those social medium services and is run by everyone’s favourite Facebook. The good side of it is that it’s based on happy pretty pictures rather than angry people (Twitter) or political disinformation (Facebook) but the bad side of that is it is common to feel inferior because you’re not as good looking as the people in the pictures. Well that’s not a problem because everyone using KDE or helping out the community is automatically good looking.
It’s being run by me and Niccolò Venerandi (veggero) for now but if you want to help out give us a ping. And if you have pretty pictures to go on there send them over to us.
The OpenUK Kids Competition is now open for registrations. Teams of 4 aged 11 and 14 can take part to design the most interesting use for the MiniMu musical glove from Imogen Heap.
It’s free to enter and one winning team from each Region will be brought by OpenUK to London on 10 and 11 June. They will compete in the Competition Final at Red Hat’s Innovation Lab in Monument, London on 11 June having had the opportunity to spend the night before in London.
KUserFeedback is a framework for collecting user feedback for applications via telemetry and surveys.
The library comes with an accompanying control and result UI tool.
KUserFeedback as it will be used in Plasma 5.18 LTS
KUserFeedback is a framework for collecting user feedback for applications via telemetry and surveys.
The library comes with an accompanying control and result UI tool.
KUserFeedback as it will be used in Plasma 5.18 LTS
A new step in KDE’s branding has happened today, or rather debranding. The old dump of everything we made used to be called just “KDE” and then some projects wanted to release on their own timetable so calling it “KDE” became less accurate. After a while our flagship Plasma project wanted to release on its own and lots of projects did their own release too but many wanted that faff taken care of for them still so those projects got called “KDE Applications”. But that didn’t quite fit either because there were many plugins and libraries among them and many Applications from KDE which were not among them. So today we removed that brand too and just make releases from a release service, which are source tars that are not very interesting to end users so they get a boring factual release page.
And to keep our users informed the Monthly Apps Update is now published direct on kde.org and covers both self released and release service releases.
And as our website enters the 21 century we now updated the way the stories are published so now anyone can edit or propose patches to them in Git writing Markdown. So if you know of any new features or developments in our apps which will be released by this time in January then send us a patch.
I’m voting for Owen Thompson and the SNP at the UK election on December 12th. Normally for an election I would look through the manifestos and compare them along with consideration of the candidates and the party leaders to decide. But this election is a single issue election. It was called because the flawed 2016 referendum on EU membership did not ask what people wanted, it asked what they didn’t want (EU citizenship) but because there was no question asking what people did want instead it led to three years of parliament being stuck. The SNP policy is for a double proposal to have a referendum on the UK’s EU membership against the Withdrawal Deal as currently negotiated, and then to have a referendum on Scottish independence. This offers me the best chance to keep my EU citizenship and the freedoms it brings, while offering a good chance to get rid of a corrupt and pointless layer of government.
As I’ve said before all the political parties let us down in 2016 by not effectively campaigning for EU membership and letting the racists and populists win over. They continue to let us down here on those measures. Not one party proposes to ban political advertising online as done with TV despite the well documented populism that gives. Not one seems to have a commitment to reform the rules of election and referendum campaigns to stop the illegal behaviour that Johnson’s Vote Leave campaign used in 2016. And I’ve never heard anyone point out that asking a referendum question which only says what you don’t want and not what you do want instead is a pointless question.
But here’s a quick look at the manifestos anyway.
SNP Good stuff about refendums, no nuclear bombs and critique of why Westminster if broken. The usual vague stuff about ending austerity without defining it and promises for the NHS with no explanation of why that public service deserves them more than every other public service. Various good ideas for things to be devolved like broadcasting or employment law. They do want to fix the voting franchise for UK elections to include non-UK EU citizens and people from age 16. They seem to think the UK government will allow an independence referendum while also de-legitimising the idea that there is no need for anyone to allow Scotland to have a referendum, this is a dangerous stance to take as well as incorrect, no other country considers that it has to ask its neighbour for permission for independence. Climate emergency comes in a bit later in the manifesto than I’d like to see but I suppose there’s not much the SNP can do at the UK level since the right layer of government for this is the EU and Scottish layers. Complying with international law to allow the return of residents of Diego Garcia is pleasingly in there but not on Catalonia. I’ve done door knocking with their candidate Owen Thompson this election who is an experienced politican from local and UK layers and I’m happy to support him.
Labour doesn’t get round to the Brexit question until page 80. The central issue of the election which defines if I will have freedoms and a functional economy in a year’s time and they can’t be arsed to highlight their policy on it. When they do they say they’ll negotiate a hard Brexit (outside the customs union; outside the single market) and then have a referendum on it. This sounds faffy and dislikeable. The leaflet from their candidate said she would campaign to remain and reform but with no suggestion of what they reform would be and there’s nothing about it in this manifesto so I think she’s lying on that point. They support weapons of mass destruction despite the party membership in Scotland voting against them and UK and Scottish leaders campaigning against them, which shows what a mess this organisation is. Lots of interesting stuff about renationalising public services which I think is a strong part of the cause for the party leadership wanting to leave the EU, EU law will mean having to pay full rate for renationalising these industries while outwith the EU they can pay below market rate, but on the whole I’m against cheating the rules of a functional economy, after all this is my pension scheme they’d be cheating. No mention of complying with international law about Diego Garcia or Catalonia. Fixing the voting franchise is in there. Climate emergency is pleasingly put as a headline item.
The Lib Dems have clear constitutional positions which is fine but being against referendum on them is hypocritical. They compare Scottish independence to Brexit, which is nonsense. Climate emergency doesn’t come until half way through. No mention of Diego Garcia or Catalonia. No mention of nuclear bombs. Nothing devolved to Scotland. Pleasingly they do want to fix the undemocratic where we get a prime minister without a vote of parliament or people and they do want to fix the shutting down of parliament. Otherwise largely underwhelming.
The Conservative party is now a radicalised dangerous nationalistic vehicle which support shutting down parliament, corruption of referendums, limiting the voting franchise, blocking the release of reports on foreign interference in voting and ignoring international law. Everyone should vote to stop them from getting power. They will start the Brexit process with the Withdrawal Agreement but still with only a minimal plan for how to implement Brexit, but their lie that this will “get Brexit done” rather than the truth that it is only the start of the process seems to be ignored by the media. Their hard Brexit will put up new borders, shut off supply chains, limit the economy and take away my freedoms. The headline item of course is to stop a referendum on independence which is as hypocritical as it comes. Climate emergency doesn’t seem to feature. There is scary protectionist British nationalism like “When we leave the EU, we will be able to encourage the public sector to ‘Buy British’” which goes against basic economics and shows how far they have fallen from their Margaret Thatcher free-market politices, which as simplitic and damaging as they were, at least were consistent. This party is run by people who ran illegal campaigns in 2016, take power without a vote, ignore international and national law and shut down parliament, they are not democratically accountable, they need to be stopped.
[ Update to the below paragraph, in my rush I missed the Green manifesto which is full of good stuff.]
The Greens aren’t standing in my constituency and don’t have a manifesto and because of the voting system won’t get any result except maybe help the SNP lose where they should win so despite being a party member I can’t advocate voting for them. They make the point that the climate emergency is more important than Brexit, but alas the EU is the right layer of government to take the lead on it so EU membership is vital to helping prevent or limit it and the votes this election need to be directed towards that.
So hopefully an SNP win in Scotland (like they have in every election for the last decade) will help them support a Labour government in England to have a referendum (with rules fixed to make it a valid and fair one) on EU membership vs Johnson’s hard brexit proposal and then a referendum on Scottish independence. But it probably won’t be that simple.
I had the pleasure of going to the Linux Applications Summit last week in Barcelona. A week of talks and discussion about getting Linux apps onto people’s computers. It’s the third one of these summits but the first ones started out with a smaller scope (and located in the US) being more focused on Gnome tech, while this renamed summit was true cross-project collaboration.
Oor Aleix here opening the conference (Gnome had a rep there too of course).
It was great to meet with Heather here from Canonical’s desktop team who does Gnome Snaps, catching up with Alan and Igor from Canonical too was good to do.
Here is oor Paul giving his talk about the language used. I had been minded to use “apps” for the stuff we make but he made the point that most people don’t associate that word with the desktop and maybe good old “programs” is better.
Oor Frank gave a keynote asking why can’t we work better together? Why can’t we merge the Gnome and KDE foundations for example? Well there’s lots of reasons why not but I can’t help think that if we could overcome those reasons we’d all be more than the sum of our parts.
I got to chat with Ti Lim from Pine64 who had just shipped some developer models of his Pine Phone (meaning he didn’t have any with him).
Pureism were also there talking about the work they’ve done using Gnomey tech for their Librem5 phone. No word on why they couldn’t just use Plasma Mobile where the work was already largely done.
This conference does confirm to me that we were right to make a goal of KDE to be All About the Apps, the new technologies and stores we have to distribute our programs we have mean we can finally get our stuff out to the users directly and quickly.
Barcelona was of course beautiful too, here’s the cathedral in moonlight.
Three years after doing my FSRT instructor training it’s time for a refresh which for some reason is called a ‘moderation’. Dave Rossetter and Lyle Smith took 11 of us on a sunny day to swim in Loch Morlich. Here’s some notes for my own interest and anyone else who cares:
For moving use the principles of slide, push and keeping hands flat. (Not pulling and grabbing.) Near hand pushes away, far hand pulls closer.
Get the swimmer involved in rescues. ‘self, team, victim, equipment’ it was suggested to replace with ‘self, team, others, casualty, equipment’ or call them ‘swimmer’.
Throwline training doesn’t need to be too in depth, it’s foundation stuff for sheltered water here. Rope width and hand grip etc not too important and often then can just stand on the rope and tell the swimmer to pull themselves in.
You don’t need to fully empty a boat, worth emphasising that, in sheltered water you can always paddle to the side to empty. Water level below seat level is good enough.
You can do a narration throughout the rescue which keeps you focused and reassures the swimmer.
As an exercise get them to turn over the boat several times with only flat hands (for long boats do this at the end as well as the middle). Another exercise is to practice moving your boat around a capsized boat.
For towing the scenario was given of a weak paddler who can’t control their steering well, we followed them closely doing a nudge on their boat at the tail or at the front in a v form.
Self rescue is important, you’ll end up with a boat full of water but that’s fine in sheltered water. It’s fine to turn round and seat yourself into an upturned canadian canoe. Also a nifty flip round with a SUP board. When doing a self rescue (or peer rescue) stay long and flat, floating your feet up to the surface.
SUPs were added compared to 3 years ago because they are popular. They seem easy enough to do self and peer rescue on but some less able people won’t manage and we were shown a technique for unconcious paddler where you hold onto their hands and an up-turned board and step onto their board to pull them round.
For deep water rescues a rope has been added, either the pinter of a canadian through a thwart and over the swimmer’s boat or a sling & carrabeaner from your kayak over their boat, they can pull themselves up on it.
For an unconscious rescue take your far away knee out to help with the rotation.
Dave did the day without any sprey decks or air bags which certainly helps with minimising faff when swapping boats but I’m not convinced it’s useful for kayak rescues.
This week I went to Parliament square in Edinburgh where the highest court of the land, the Court of Session sits. The court room viewing gallery was full, concerned citizens there to watch and journalists enjoying the newly allowed ability to post live from the courtroom. They were waiting for Joanna Cherry, Jo Maugham and the Scottish Government to give legal challenge to the UK Governement not to shut down parliament. The UK government filed their papers late and didn’t bother completing them missing out the important signed statement from the Prime Minister saying why he had ordered parliament to be shut. A UK government who claims to care about Scotland but ignores its people, government and courts is not one who can argue it it working for democracy or the union it wants to keep.
Outside I spoke to the assembled vigil gathering there to support, under the statue of Charles II, I said how democracy can’t be shut down but it does need the people to pay constant attention and play their part.
Charles II was King of Scots who led Scots armies that were defeated twice by the English Commonwealth army busy invading neighbouring countries claiming London and it’s English parliament gave them power over us all. So I went to London to check it out.
In London that parliament is falling down. Scaffold covers it in an attempt to patch it up. The protesters outside held a rally where politicians from the debates inside wandered out to give updates as they frantically tried to stop an unelected Prime Minister to take away our freedoms and citizenship. Comedian Mitch Benn compared it, leading the rally saying he wanted everyone to show their English flags with pride, the People’s Vote campaign trying to reclaim them from the racists, it worked with the crowd and shows how our politics is changing.
Inside the Westminster Parliament compound, past the armed guards and threatening signs of criminal repercussions the statue of Cromwell stands proud, he invaded Scotland and murdered many Irish, a curious character to celebrate.
The compound is a bubble, the noise of the protesters outside wanting to keep freedoms drowned out as we watched a government lose its majority and the confidence on their faces familiar from years of self entitlement vanish.
Pete Wishart, centre front, is an SNP MP who runs the All Party Intellectual Property group, he invited us in for the launch of OpenUK a new industry body for companies who want to engage with governement for open source solutions. Too often governement puts out tenders for jobs and won’t talk to providers of open source solutions because we’re too small and the names are obscure. Too often when governements do implement open source and free software setups they get shut down because someone with more money comes along and offers their setup and some jobs. I’ve seen that in Nigeria, I’ve seen it happen in Scotland, I’ve seen it happen in Germany. The power and financial structures that proprietary software create allows for the corruption of best solutions to a problem.
The Scottish independence supporter Pete spoke of the need for Britain to have the best Intellectual Property rules in the world, to a group who want to change how intellectual property influences us, while democracy falls down around us.
The protesters marched over the river closing down central London in the name of freedom but in the bubble of Westminster we sit sipping wine looking on.
The winners of the UK Open Source Awards were celebrated and photos taken, (previously) unsung heros working to keep the free operating system running, opening up how plant phenomics work, improving healthcare in ways that can not be done when closed.
Getting governement engagement with free software is crucial to improving how our society works but the politicians are far too easily swayed by big branding and names budgets rather than making sure barriers are reduced to be invisible.
The crumbling of one democracy alongside a celebration and opening of a project to bring business to those who still have little interest in it. How to get government to prefer openness over barriers? This place will need to be rebuilt before that can happen.
Onwards to Milan for KDE Akademy.
The electoral commission approved a Yes and No question for the 2014 Scottish indy ref but changed to a Leave vs Remain question for the 2016 EU referendum. There is an argument that Yes allows for some bias in the question and they have now said they would re-examine the question for any future indy ref and this would take time and might mean changing all the branding.
The electoral commission is wrong. Leave vs Remain is not a fair question without bias, it is an unanswered unspecified position. This is what has led us into the position we are in now where the UK voted (through a restricted franchise with lies and cheating and criminal behaviour) to change the status quo but with no indication of what to change it to. This is what the electoral commission should worry about, what do you want rather than what don’t you want.
A more fair question would have been “Do you want to Remain, Join EFTA, Be like Turkey, No deal”.
I can’t actually think of a better question for a Scottish independence question. The proposal for how to do it was published in a long book by the Scottish Government and it is summarised by being an independent country. Questions such as “Do you want to leave the UK” are invalid because the UK isn’t a membership organisation and because it could mean any other situation instead such as uniting with Norway or having separate city states or whatever.
The electoral commission let us down badly with the conduct of the EU referendum. They should learn that a question for change needs to indicate what is being changed to not what is being changed away. The 2014 question should remain the same for a Scottish indy ref.
Some 5 years after the previous release KDE has made a new release of polkit-qt-1, versioned 0.113.0.
Polkit (formerly PolicyKit) is a component for controlling system-wide privileges in Unix-like operating systems. It provides an organized way for non-privileged processes to communicate with privileged ones. Polkit has an authorization API intended to be used by privileged programs (“MECHANISMS”) offering service to unprivileged programs (“CLIENTS”).
Polkit Qt provides Qt bindings and UI.
This release was done ahead of additions to KIO to support Polkit.
Notable changes since 0.112.0
– Add support for passing details to polkit
– Remove support for Qt4
Thanks to Heiko Becker for his work on this release.
- Bump version for release
- Don’t set version numbers as INT cache entries
- Move cmake_minimum_required to the top of CMakeLists.txt
- Remove support for Qt4
- Remove unneded documentation
- authority: add support for passing details to polkit
- Fix typo in comments
- polkitqtlistener.cpp – pedantic
- Fix build with -DBUILD_TEST=TRUE
- Allow compilation with older polkit versions
- Fix compilation with Qt5.6
- Drop use of deprecated Qt functions REVIEW: 126747
- Add wrapper for polkit_system_bus_name_get_user_sync
- Fix QDBusArgument assertion
- do not use global static systembus instance
I’ve updated the kde.org/applications site so KDE now has web pages and lists the applications we produce.
In the update this week it’s gained Console apps and Addons.
At KDE we want to be a great place to be a home for your project and this is an important part of that.
Facebook is a business selling very targeted advertising channels. This is not new, Royal Mail Advertising Mail service offers ‘precision targeting’. But Facebook does it with many more precision options, with emotive impact because it uses video and feels like it comes from your friends and the option of anonymity. This turns out to be most effective in political advertising. There are laws banning political advertising on television because politics should be about reasoned arguments not emotive simplistic soundbites but the law has yet to be changed to include this ban on video on the internet. The result has undermined the democracy of the UK during the EU referendum and elsewhere.
To do this Facebook collects data and information on you. Normally this isn’t a problem but you never know when journalists will come sniffing around for gossip in your past life, or an ex-partner will want to take something out of context to prove a point in diverse proceedings. The commonly used example of data collection going wrong was the Dutch government keeping a list of who was Jewish, with terrible consequences when the Nazis invaded. We do not have a fascist government here but you can never assume it will never happen. Facebook has been shown to care little for data protection and allowed companies such as Cambridge Analytica to steal data illegally and without oversight. Again this was used to undermine democracy using the 2016 EU referendum.
In return we get a useful way to keep in touch with friends and family and have discussions with groups and chat with people, these are useful services. So what can you do if you don’t want your history to be kept by an untrusted third party? Delete your account and you’ll miss out on important social interactions. Well there’s an easy option that nobody seems to have picked up on which is to open a new account and move your important content over but dropping your history.
Thanks to the EU legislation GDPR we have a Right to Data Portability. This is similar but separate from the Right to Access. And it means it’s easy enough to extract your data out of Facebook. I downloaded mine and it’s a whopping 4GB of text and photos and Video. I then set up a new account and started triaging anything I wanted to keep. What’s in my history?
Your Posts and Other People’s Posts to Your Timeline
These are all ephemeral. You post them, get some reaction, but they’re not very interesting a week or more later. Especially all the automated ones Spotify sent saying what music I was playing.
Photos and videos
Here’s a big chunk. Over 1500, some 2GB of pics, mostly of me looking awesome paddling. I copied any I want to keep over to easy photo dump Google Photos. There was about 250 I wanted to keep.
I’ve really no desire to keep these.
Likes and reactions
This can be copied over easily to a new account, you just friend your old account and then it’ll suggest all your old friends. A Facebook friend is not the same as a real life friend so it’s sensible to triage out anyone you don’t have contact with and don’t find interesting to get updates from.
You can’t see people who have unfriended you, probably for the best.
Facebook’s other way to post pics to try to be cool with the Snapchat generation. Their very nature is that they don’t stay around long so nothing important here.
Following and followers
This does include some people who have ignored a friend request but still have their feed public so that request gets turned into a follow. Nobody who I deperately crave to be my friend is on the list fortunately so they can be ignored.
Despite removing the Facebook branding from their messaging service a few years ago it’s still very much part of Facebook. Another nearly 2GB of text and pics in here. This is the kind of history that is well worth removing, who knows when those chats will come back to haunt you. Some more pics here worth saving but not many since any I value for more than a passing comment are posted on my feed. There’s a handful of longer term group chats I can just add my new account back into.
One group I run and a few I use frequently, I can just rejoin them and set myself as admin on the one I run.
Past events are obviously not important. I had 1 future event I can easily rejoin.
It’s worth having a triage and review of this to keep it current and not let Facebook know more than you want it to.
Some pages I’m admin or moderator of than I can rejoin, where moderator you need to track down an admin person to add you back in.
Marketplace, Payment history, Saved items and collections, Your places
I’ve never found a use for these features.
Apps and websites
It’s handy to use Facebook as a single sign on for websites sometimes but it’s worth reviewing and triaging these to stop them taking excess data without you knowing. The main one I used was Spotify but it turns out that has long since been turned into a non-Facebook account so no bother wiping all these.
Anyone remember pokes?
What Facebook Decides about me
Facebook gives you labels to give to advertisers. Seems I’m interested in Swahili language, Sweetwater in Texas, Secret Intelligence Service and other curiosities.
I can’t think of any good reason why I’d want Facebook to know about 8 years of searches.
Holy guacamole, they keep my location each and every day since I got a smartphone. That’s going to be wiped.
Calls and messages
Fortunately they haven’t been taking these from my phone history but I’m sure it’s only one setting away before they do.
Friend Peer Group
They say I have ‘Established Adult Life’. I think this means I’m done.
Your address books
They did however keep all my contacts from GMail and my phone whenever I first logged on from a web browser and phone. They can be gone.
So most of this can be dropped and recreated quite easily. It’s a fun evening going through your old photos. My 4GB of data is kept in a cloud drive which can be accessed through details in my will so if I die and my autobiographer wants to dig the gossip on me they can.
I also removed the app from my phone. The messenger app is useful but the Facebook one seems a distraction, if I want to browse and post Facebook stuff I can use the web browser. And on a desktop computer I can use https://www.messenger.com/ rater than the distraction of the Facebook website.
And the first thing I posted? Going cabogganing!
New account at https://www.facebook.com/jonathan.riddell.737 do re-friend me if you like.
The Plasma Vision got written a couple years ago, a short text saying what Plasma is and hopes to create and defines our approach to making a useful and productive work environment for your computer. Because of creative differences it was never promoted or used properly but in my quest to make KDE look as up to date in its presence on the web as it does on the desktop I’ve got the Plasma sprinters who are meeting in Valencia this week to agree to adding it to the KDE Plasma webpage.
Even though the UK leaving the EU would result in democratic unaccountability (because we would inevitably end up being subject to EU rules without a democratic say) and economic decline (basic free market economics says when you put up barriers the economic activity will reduce) or collapse (cliff edge Brexit means much economic activity will simple cease) many people have told me that it should still be carried about because there was a democratic referendum in 2016 where a majority of the people voted to leave.
This is incorrect for a number of reasons, but it is worth stating the reasons again as they seem to have passed many people by:
- Restricted franchise. The franchise used by the UK parliament is grossly undemocratic with many UK residents unable to vote because they happen to hold the wrong passport. For a referendum on EU membership it is extremely important residents who are EU citizens but not UK citizens get a vote. But they did not. That 16 and 17 year olds did not get to vote either just shows how obsolete the UK level of government is compared to modern democracies. If either of these had been fixed the vote would have gone the other way.
- No manifesto from the Vote Leave campaign. This official campaign from Dominic Cummings, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson et al never once said what they expected the relationship to be between the UK and the EU. The Electoral Reform Society called the campaign “dire”. They have still not explained what the relationship is to be between the UK and the EU. They have run down the government of Theresa May with their illogic. They will shotrly be running the government from the top.
- Lies from the Vote Leave campaign. The figure used on the bus was a lie as an amount of money but more importantly it was a lie because it suggested that the money spent by the EU level of government was spent on something other than services for the population and it would not need to be spent if the UK was no longer in the EU, this is obviously nonsense the same money will need to be spent on much the same stuff just in a far more inefficient way. It wasn’t just the suggestion that it could go to ‘the’ NHS instead which was a lie but the misrepresentation of the money in a weekly unit. We never talk of government spending in weekly units, we talk of it in yearly units. Giving an incorrect large figure out of context suggesting the spending would no longer be needed was a lie on many levels and I’ve never seen anyone point out all those problems. Boris Johnson was taken to court over this lie, a misuse of public office but so far the English courts have refused, good luck to the puruer on the appeal.
- Stolen data. This is organised crime by technology companies thinking, and knowing, they can get away with crimes to make money from targetted advertising. Facebook allowed Cambridge Analytica to steal our data and make money from it. The campaigns were happy to use that crime to their advantage.
- Targetted secret contradictory Facebook adverts. Facebook is quite open about how they can be used to persuade people of political opinions through advertising. We ban political advertising on television because it is too easy to persuade people to a cause through the emotive effect rather than rational arguments. But that law doesn’t exist for online advertising. On top of this the online advertising allows targeting people with individualised messages. Whereas a poster campaign for a political cause will receive some amount of scrutiny from the public at large that is not possible with the secret adverts done on Facebook. The Leave.eu campaign used this to their advantage. They still do.
- Dark money through the DUP. Political campaigning costs money and the more you have the more successful your campaign will be. That is why politics in the US is often won by whoever can collect the most donations. In the UK we have spending limits during election and referendum campaigns to limit this problem. But those rules are only for the 6 weeks before a vote and there are ways around them. Nobody knows where the money came from. It could have been benevelent millionairs like Aaron Banks but it could also be disinformation campaigns from the Russian government, we simply don’t know. The DUP got £435,000 in donations from Richard Cook who got it from unknown sources. That was spent in Great Britain where the DUP has no pretense so someone deliberately gave a donation through a route it knew could not be tracked. The worse part is the law allows for a change in the rules so it can be tracked but Theresa May’s government chose not to.
- Dark money through Leave.eu. The non-official campaign got an £8m donation from insurance company owner Aaron Banks. This is the largest donation to any political cause in the UK ever. The money came through tax havens. We do not allow money to come from outside the UK for political causes in the UK because it should be up to the residents of the UK to decide our politics. It’s not clear at all whether the £8million was earned by Aaron Banks in the UK or whether it was donated by, say, a Russian government disinformation campaign. The Electoral Commission worries it might be the latter and passed it onto the police. The police have refused to investigate, maybe they are corrupt or maybe just incompetant and scared. Good luck to the MPs who are taking them to court to force the case.
- Illegally Coordinated campaigns. The Vote Leave campaign got large donations which took them beyond the spending limit. But this is a free country and anyone can start a campaign for the referendum and spend money on promoting the same cause. So they gave money to someone called Darren Grimes who had made some videos promoting leave. They then coordinated with Grimes to spend the money on the exact same stuff anyway, which was mostly Cambridge Analytica adverts on Facebook using stolen data. This is criminal and lead to illegal overspending.
I’ve heard people argue there was bad practice on both sides. And indeed on the remain side Lib Dems and Open Britain didn’t keep track of its paperwork
But the bad bookkeeping by the remain campaigns is nothing compared to the scale of criminality of the leave campaigns. The main problem with the remain campaigns is they were crap, they made no good arguments for the cause, did not work with the existing groups and parties and did nothing to inspire people like me who wanted to be politically active.
So both sides were crap. One side was massively criminal. That was not a valid exercise in democracy.
The Tory party has since had entryism from radicalised former UKIP members and they will shortly be selecting Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. He claims to want no deal which will mean social and economic collapse come November. Labour is led by someone who wants to break the rules of functional economies in a false argument about it being in the interests of the people so he is also happy to leave the EU and will block attempts to do otherwise. Hopefully parliament can have a vote of no confidence in the new PM and block that but it’s very uncertain. We live in dangerous times.
The KDE Applications website was a minimal possible change to move it from an unmaintained and incomplete site to a self-maintaining and complete site. It’s been fun to see it get picked up in places like Ubuntu Weekly News, Late Night Linux and chatting to people in real life they have seen it get an update. So clearly it’s important to keep our websites maintained. Alas the social and technical barriers are too high in KDE. My current hope is that the Promo team will take over the kde-www stuff giving it communication channels and transparancy that doesn’t currently exist. There is plenty more work to be done on kde.org/applications website to make it useful, do give me a ping if you want to help out.
In the mean time I’ve updated the kde.org front page text box where there is a brief description of KDE. I remember a keynote from Aaron around 2010 at Akademy where he slagged off the description that was used on kde.org. Since then we have had Visions and Missions and Goals and whatnot defined but nobody has thought to put them on the website. So here’s the new way of presenting KDE to the world:
Thanks to Carl and others for review.