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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 2 hours 50 min ago

EPO and Other Patent Updates Over RSS

Wednesday 19th of February 2020 06:17:10 AM

Summary: Site syndication (over RSS feeds or XML/Atom) is vastly better than what became popular in recent years (censored, centralised, discriminatory "Social Control Media"); here are some feeds of interest

WE recently wrote about why RSS needs to rise from the ashes again. “Social Control Media” just doesn’t cut it for a lot of reasons and many people nowadays advertise “Twitter accounts to follow” or something inane along those lines. To make it easier to follow European Patent Office (EPO) affairs and to a lesser degree U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) affairs (or new examples of 35 U.S.C. § 101 thwarting bad patents) here are some RSS feeds one can subscribe to. Notice that those are not recommendations and we monitor some of these to merely understand what the opposition says (not living in a bubble, surrounded only by those who agree just like in Social Control Media — a polarising force).

We’ve split these into two groups:

Patents news (general)

More EPO-specific

Hopefully someone will find at least some of the above handy.

When It Comes to a Unitary Patent System, Bad (or Intentionally Dishonest) Legal Advice Has Become the Norm

Wednesday 19th of February 2020 05:07:04 AM

Summary: The Unified Patent Court and Unitary Patent (UPC and UP, respectively) reinforce the old saying about lawyers being liars, doing anything to attract clients (to take their money); the UPC is basically dead, but fiction, falsehoods and outrageous fantasies still find their way into Web sites of law firms

YESTERDAY we were told that “tomorrow [there would be an] important PR to nuke the UPC as it is…”

So that’s later today.

“People deserve realistic expectations; UPC propaganda may help “sales”, but at whose expense?”Readers may have noticed a slight decrease in our coverage of European Patent Office (EPO) affairs. But we’re still watching it very closely and our latest Daily Links (published minutes ago) included a report about EPO-granted patent being found invalid, more patents granted on nature/life, and hearing delays due to the infamous pandemic (this affects EUIPO and EPO alike). This does not concern Team Campinos/Battistelli and it’s not about software patents , so we don’t have much to say about that.

On the other hand, yesterday we found this promotion of an article by Rachel Bradley (Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP). She either does not understand how deep in trouble UPC is or she is simply lying to clients for patent revenue (legal bills) to be secured, based on unhelpful delusions. Here’s what she wrote in the firm’s site (with our corrections added):

How will it affect patent portfolios?

Currently patents within the European Patent Convention (EPC) countries are taken to grant through the European Patent Office (EPO). The EPC is not an EU instrument but an international convention and the EPO itself is not a European institution. As such, the procedure and mechanisms for granting classic European Patents will remain unchanged for the UK.

The big question is, how will the proposed Unitary Patent system be affected by Brexit?

The UK intends to stay [Ed: you cannot stay in something that does even exist] in the Unitary Patent system, and indeed it ratified the Unitary Patent Court Agreement in April 2018 [Ed: and the person who was responsible for that stunt resigned, then replaced twice or thrice more]. The Unified Patent Court and Unitary Patent will [Ed: "will" or "would"? Well, the word "will" implies certainty] take effect three months after the UPC Agreement has been ratified by thirteen countries including all three of France, Germany and the UK [Ed: we know the UK cannot participate, Germany is not ratifying and France has self-interest because of positions being reserved to it; also, constitutional challenges -- of which there have been several -- can annul some of the other ratifications]. France has also already ratified it [Ed: see EPO scandals and our coverage for associated scandals; INPI is now under fire as well] along with a further 14 countries [Ed: there have been court cases standing in the way though], meaning there are now 16 ratifications in total [Ed: of which several are invalid, including critical ones]. Although Germany has passed all the laws that are needed to bring the UPC into effect in Germany [Ed: meaningless bureaucracy, also unconstitutional], ratification is still outstanding [Ed: outstanding implies almost "impending"; not true] and is dependent on the outcome of a complaint pending before the German Constitutional Court [Ed: no, Berlin has already said that due to Brexit there are additional barriers and reservations]. It is possible, if the Court dismisses the complaint, enabling Germany to ratify the UPC Agreement [Ed: no, there's also Brexit], that the UPC system will take effect during the transition period up until December 2020 [Ed: completely unrealistic nonsense, probably a copy-paste from some Team UPC site like the Preparatory Committee], with the UK as a participating member [Ed: no, it cannot participate as it's an EU system].

As currently drafted, the UPC Agreement can only take effect in EU member states and the UPC cannot be based in a non-EU member state [Ed: to change that they need to rewrite the whole thing and start a round of ratifications all over again, which can take years and become unattractive without London]. There has been much debate on the question of whether legally the UK could continue to participate in the UP and UPC [Ed: it cannot, they need to restart to have a chance], and the weight of opinion is that it could [Ed: whose opinion? The Preparatory Committee's?], if the political will is there [Ed: no, they mean lobbying, bribery and so on]. Continued participation in the UPC and UP would require a new international agreement between the UK and the participating EU member states, and would require the UK to submit to EU law, and the supervisory jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (CJEU), in relation to proceedings before the UPC [Ed: then, still, the UPC needs to be redone, rewritten, ratified all over again; It won't even be "UPC" anymore but something else]. The UK would also have to sign up to an appropriate jurisdiction and enforcement regime, such as the Lugano Convention. [Ed: This is unlikely given recent statements from Number 10]

As can be seen above, almost every sentence is a distortion, a lie, or semi-truth at best. Why would anyone pay hundreds of euros per hour for such bad ‘advice’? People deserve realistic expectations; UPC propaganda may help “sales”, but at whose expense? As a side note, is there an exodus at Bristows?

Links 19/2/2020: KDE Plasma 5.18.1, GNOME 3.36 Beta 2 and WordPress 5.4 Beta 2

Wednesday 19th of February 2020 04:12:43 AM

Contents
  • GNU/Linux
    • Desktop/Laptop
      • A $99 Chromebook is so much better with Gallium Linux installed

        Chromebooks have been around for a while now. For the most part, they’ve been relegated to schools who need cheap laptop computers that can open a web browser and connect to the internet. For a long time, that’s really the only thing Chromebooks were good for. Luckily, web-based apps have evolved a lot over the past 25 years and we’ve got some really great functionality that can be accessed all via just a web browser.

        Today, some of the more-expensive Chromebooks have added support for running Android apps as well as some Linux programs via a virtualized Crostini container. Chrome OS is, after all, based on a Linux kernel, but usually greatly dumbed-down from all of the other powerful capabilities of Linux. Those Chromebooks are in the $500+ price range though (here’s a list), which seems kind of ridiculous for something who’s main function is to open a web browser and load web pages. Why not just get a Windows or macOS powered computer at that point?

        I recently bought a $99 refurbished HP Chromebook 11 with the intention of taking it apart and converting it to a Gallium OS Linux laptop. My teenage god daughter accidentally spilled water on her really nice HP convertible Windows 10 tablet/laptop PC and of course the warranty doesn’t cover that. So she also needed something for school. She refers to Chromebooks as “Jitterbug laptops” which is a reference to those overly basic mobile phones that only have 3 buttons so that you can only call 3 people. The Chromebooks she’s used at school are similarly limited in her mind, and I’d say she would be correct. The majority of Chromebooks can basically only run Google’s Chrome web browser. Gallium Linux, on the other hand, not only gives you the power of a real computer, but also provides some heightened capabilities for technological freedom.

      • [Older] Linux-Based Windows 12 Lite Is Three Times Faster Than Windows 10

        Since its advent in 2015, Windows 10 has been affected by countless problems and bugs. Sadly, the updates meant to fix the flaws in this operating system work the other way round. If you’ve had enough of Windows 10 and wish to switch to a different operating system, then the Linux-based Windows 12 Lite might impress you.

        A Redditor recently discovered Windows 12 Lite discs being sold at a local computer fair. It is worth noting that Microsoft didn’t officially launch Windows 12 Lite. In fact, Microsoft in no way is associated with this newly discovered operating system.

    • Server
      • Surviving a security audit with enterprise Linux

        As a system administrator, you may have already experienced the joy(?) of having your systems audited by a security or risk management professional. Security tools used by auditors generally scan systems and produce a report for the auditor highlighting vulnerabilities found on the scanned system, which the auditor then presents to the team that manages the systems. The expectation is that the administration and management team will resolve the reported vulnerabilities. However, for enterprise Linux distributions, the auditor’s recommended remediations may not be the best choice for the organization to apply.

      • [Red Hat] My sysadmin career story

        Some of you might be curious about how sysadmins start their careers. Well, I cannot speak for all of us but at least I can share my career story with you.

        Born in the late 1980s, long before I started my career, I’ve had a serious interest in technology and personal computers. My first personal computer was the famous Commodore C64 and I got it at the age of eight. I loved playing games on it, loaded from Datasette. And as the years passed, I collected a lot of other peripheral devices like the floppy 1541 disk drive, two of the advanced model 1541-II, and a bubble inkjet printer. And, I started to learn my first programming language, BASIC, to write calendar applications and an inventory for my VHS collection. But, enough about the good old days.

        My professional career started not so long ago, in 2003. It was an in-firm training in a small system house that lasted three years. In this time, I learned all the things needed to become a “Fachinformatiker Systemintegration,” which is kind of a qualified IT specialist. I learned how to choose the right hardware parts to build a desktop or server system, to install operating systems, and to configure the hardware and software accordingly. Also, I learned how to manage my first small projects for our customers.

      • Building (Small) Oracle Linux Images For The Cloud

        Oracle Linux Image Tools is a sample project to build small or customized Oracle Linux Cloud images in a repeatable way.

        It provides a bash modular framework which uses HashiCorp Packer to build images in Oracle VM VirtualBox. Images are then converted to an appropriate format depending on the Cloud provider.

        This article shows you how to build the sample images from this repository and how to use the framework to build custom images.

        The framework is based around two concepts: Distribution and Cloud modules.

        A Distribution module is responsible for the installation and configuration of Oracle Linux as well as the packages needed for your project. The sample ol7-slim distribution provides an Oracle Linux 7 image with a minimalist set of packages (about 250 packages – smaller than an Oracle Linux 7 Minimal Install).

    • Audiocasts/Shows
      • LHS Episode #326: Ni Hao, Moto

        Hello and welcome to the 326th installment of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this short-topic format show, the hosts discuss a major win for Motorola, the FCC and 5.9GHz, operating practices in Australia, iText, FreshRSS, GridTracker and much more. Thank you for listening and please, if you can, donate to our Hamvention 2020 Fund.

      • Ask Lunduke – Feb 17, 2020 – Slackware and Pre-Internet Podcasts

        Ask Lunduke is a weekly podcast where the community can ask any question they like… and I (attempt to) answer them. This episode is available via Podcast RSS feed, LBRY, Patreon, and YouTube. Links on the left. Topics on Ask Lunduke this week: Why does closed source software exist? How can we fix WHOIS? Would a Star Trek Land be more popular than Disney’s Star Wars Land?

      • Another Look at My Homelab (More Detail)

        You asked for more detail on my Homelab, so here it is. In this video, I go over a bit more detail on how my Homelab is organized, so you can get an idea on how everything is connected together.

      • Long Term Rolling | LINUX Unplugged 341

        We question the very nature of Linux development, and debate if a new approach is needed.

        Plus an easy way to snapshot any workstation, some great feedback, and an extra nerdy command-line pick.

      • 2020-02-18 | Linux Headlines

        Red Hat moves up Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, Mozilla releases significant changes to its WebThings Gateway, and O’Reilly publishes analytics for its online learning platform.

      • Podcast.__init__: APIs, Sustainable Open Source and The Async Web With Tom Christie

        Tom Christie is probably best known as the creator of Django REST Framework, but his contributions to the state the web in Python extend well beyond that. In this episode he shares his story of getting involved in web development, his work on various projects to power the asynchronous web in Python, and his efforts to make his open source contributions sustainable. This was an excellent conversation about the state of asynchronous frameworks for Python and the challenges of making a career out of open source.

    • Kernel Space
      • Why Not WireGuard

        The latest thing that is getting a lot of attention is WireGuard – the new shooting star in terms of VPN. But is it as great as it sounds? I would like to discuss some thoughts, have a look at the implementation and tell you why WireGuard is not a solution that will replace IPsec or OpenVPN.

        In this article I would like to debunk the myths. It is a long read. If you are in need of a tea of coffee, now is the time to make it. Thanks to Peter for proof-reading my chaotic thoughts.

        I do not want to discredit the developers of WireGuard for their efforts or for their ideas. It is a working piece of technology, but I personally think that it is being presented as something entirely different – as a replacement for IPsec and OpenVPN which it simply is not.

        As a side-note, I think that the media is responsible for this and not the WireGuard project itself.

        There has not been much positive news around the Linux kernel recently. They have reported of crushing processor vulnerabilities that have been mitigated in software, Linus Torvalds using too harsh language and just boring developer things. The scheduler or a zero-copy network stack are not very approachable topics for a glossy magazine. WireGuard is.

      • Intel ConnMan 1.38 Released With WireGuard Support

        Intel’s open-source ConnMan software for managing Internet connections on Linux particularly for embedded systems has seen a new release.

        ConnMan 1.38 is the new release that was issued on Friday and is the first release of this Linux connection manager in nearly one year.

        One of the big additions with ConnMan 1.38 is now supporting WireGuard, which is good news with mainline WireGuard kernel support on the way with Linux 5.6.

      • Kees Cook: security things in Linux v5.4

        Linux kernel v5.4 was released in late November. The holidays got the best of me, but better late than never!

      • Cook: security things in Linux v5.4

        A bit belatedly, Kees Cook looks at some security-relevant changes in Linux 5.4 in a blog post.

      • Linux 5.7 Picking Up Support For A High-End USB-C Audio Interface

        More high-end audio gear is finally transitioning from Firewire to USB-C and one of these new high-end audio interfaces will be supported by the Linux 5.7 kernel this spring.

        The PreSonus Studio 1810c a ~$400 USD USB-C audio interface for connecting professional audio gear should be working with Linux 5.7.

      • D-Bus Broker 22 Released With Option To Use Newer Kernel Features

        With BUS1 not looking like it will come to fruition anytime soon as an in-kernel IPC mechanism and the kernel module for it not being touched since last March, the same developers continue pushing ahead with Dbus-Broker as the user-space implementation focused on D-Bus compatibility while being higher performing and more reliable than D-Bus itself.

        Out today is Dbus-Broker 22 and in fact their first release since last May. David Rheinsberg of Red Hat released this new version of the Linux D-Bus Message Broker with several prominent changes.

      • Intel Continues Optimizing Linux Memory Placement For Optane DC Persistent Memory

        With a new patch series for the Linux kernel, memory access performance by one measurement can improve by 116% on a dual socket Intel server with Optane DC Persistent Memory.

        Intel open-source developer Huang Ying is seeking feedback on a patch series that allows optimized memory placement in memory-tiered systems, principally those with Optane DC Persistent Memory. Due to persistent memory characteristics being different from conventional DRAM, the patch series works to ensure that hot pages are placed on a DRAM node and migrating hot pages that may get placed in a persistent memory node over to DRAM via NUMA migration. Similarly, cold pages can be migrated to the persistent memory and off the DRAM with related patches published by Intel. The patches do automatically determine the threshold for hot pages.

      • Linux Looking To Sunset The Calxeda ARM Server Support

        It’s already been six years since the collapse of Calxeda as the first promising ARM server company. With that, the Linux kernel upstream developers are looking at dropping the Calxeda platform support.

        Calxeda ARM servers never reached widespread deployment for these 32-bit ARM servers but mostly were used by various Linux distributions for building ARMv7 packages at the time and other software companies. Seeing any Calxeda server still in production in 2020 is quite rare and if so is probably running an older software stack, so kernel developers are looking at dropping this support to avoid the maintenance burden moving forward.

    • Benchmarks
      • AMD says Windows 10 Pro and Linux are just fine for Threadripper 3990X

        AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper 3990X is a beast. It’s one of the most powerful CPUs ever created and it can achieve feats no other CPU before it could, like the ability to run Crysis without a dedicated GPU. Up until now, however, logic dictated that Windows 10 Pro simply wasn’t sufficient for AMD’s powerhouse CPU, and Linux was off the cards if you wanted to get the most out of AMD’s monster CPU.

      • Phoronix Test Suite 9.4 M3 Released With More Improvements For Benchmark Result Analysis

        The third and likely last test release of Phoronix Test Suite 9.4-Vestby is now available for your cross-platform, open-source benchmarking needs.

        Earlier in the Phoronix Test Suite 9.4 cycle there was improved error reporting on cases of unmet dependencies/libraries, new drive temperature reporting support with Linux 5.6+ kernels, and a number of result viewer enhancements. The result viewer work includes the ability to individually annotate individual benchmark result graphs with your own commentary, support for deleting individual benchmark results from within the result viewer, editing of result file meta-data from the modern result viewer, and other enhancements.

    • Applications
      • Getting started with OpenTaxSolver

        OpenTaxSolver is an open source application for US taxpayers to calculate their state and federal income tax returns. Before I get into the software, I want to share some of the information I learned when researching this article. I spent about five hours a day for a week looking into open source options for doing your taxes, and I learned about a lot more than just tax software.

        The Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS’s) Use of federal tax information (FTI) in open source software webpage offers a large amount of information, and it’s especially relevant to anyone who may want to start their own open source tax software project.

      • Rclone Browser (Fork) 1.8.0 Gets Proxy Support, Option To Create Public Link

        Rclone Browser (fork), a Qt5 GUI for Rclone, was updated to version 1.8.0, getting proxy support, an option to display the complete directory tree for a remote, and the ability to create a public link to easily share files, among others.

        Rclone Browser is a cross-platform (Windows, macOS and Linux) Qt5 GUI for Rclone, a command line tool to synchronize (and mount) files from remote cloud storage services like Google Drive, OneDrive, Nextcloud, Dropbox, Amazon Drive and S3, Mega, and others.

        This GUI can be used to simplify operations like copying a file from one cloud storage to another or to the local drive, mount cloud storages on your system with a click, and browsing the contents of various cloud storage remotes in a tabbed interface.

      • 10 Grafana features you need to know for effective monitoring

        The Grafana project started in 2013 when Torkel Ödegaard decided to fork Kibana and turn it into a time-series and graph-focused dashboarding tool. His guiding vision: to make everything look more clean and elegant, with fewer things distracting you from the data.

        More than 500,000 active installations later, Grafana dashboards are ubiquitous and instantly recognizable. (Even during a SpaceX launch!)

        Whether you’re a recent adopter or an experienced power user, you may not be familiar with all of the features that Grafana Labs—the company formed to accelerate the adoption of the Grafana project and to build a sustainable business around it—and the Grafana community at large have developed over the past 6+ years.

      • Komikku is a GTK Manga App for Linux

        If you read a lot of manga and you use the Ubuntu desktop check out Komikku, a relatively new Manga reader app for Linux written in Python and GTK.

        Now, usually when I highlight a GTK app on this blog you’d assume that I’m talking about a desktop app. But with GTK apps now running on mobile (like the Librem 5, for instance) a new breed of Linux software is emerging, built with mobile first use cases in mind.

        And Komikku is one such app.

        Alex, aka BabyWogue, aka the Linux YouTube guy who uses a robot voice and anime wallpaper in every video, recently shared a concise video overview of Komikku (it’s how I heard about it in the first place) and how it runs on …a desktop…

      • BingWall is —Yes, a Bing Wallpaper App for Ubuntu

        A lot of folks love using Bing’s image of the day as their desktop wallpaper — a task that the app featured below makes very easy on Ubuntu.

        Now, this idea isn’t new; I think it’s written about every Bing wallpaper app ever created at one time or another, from cron job to scripts to GNOME Shelll extensions and more.

        And on paper BingWall looks no different: once installed it lets you download Bing’s featured photo and set it as the desktop background on your Linux desktop.

        So far, so same-y.

      • MyPaint 2.0 released featuring Linear Compositing and Layers

        Over the weekend, the MyPaint developers quietly released version 2.0 of their popular free and open-source raster graphics editor. For those new to MyPaint, let me quickly introduce in brief.

        MyPaint originally released in March 2005 and is comparable in functionality and quality to other popular graphics editors such as Corel Painter, Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, Krita, Paint.NET, Microsoft Paint, and others.

        It is a popular choice for digital artists since the FOSS application focuses more on painting than it does with post-processing or image manipulation, as many others do. These artists are also partial to MyPaint because of its support for unconventional and conventional brush types, full screen “distraction-free” mode, and compatibility with Wacom graphics tablets and other similar devices.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
      • The Humble Digital Tabletop Bundle 2 is out with Slay the Spire, Armello and more

        In need of a few new games? The Humble Digital Tabletop Bundle 2 just launched today with a pretty damn good selection of Linux games on offer.

      • With deck-building and real-time action ‘One Step From Eden’ launches on March 26

        Announced today, One Step From Eden from developer Thomas Moon Kang is going to be releasing on March 26 and they’ve managed to pull in Humble Bundle as their publisher.

        It’s going to join a long list of crowdfunded games available on Linux and I’m personally excited about this. Blending multiple genres together with inspiration coming from Mega Man Battle Network, One Step from Eden is a roguelike deck-builder fused with a super-fast action game as you and enemies throw abilities across the screen. Check out their brand new trailer:

      • Mad Experiments: Escape Room – an upcoming co-op escape room puzzler has a demo out

        PlayTogether Studio have announced their multiplayer escape room puzzle game, Mad Experiments: Escape Room, is going to releasing in April and you can try an early build now.

        You can try it solo and online with up to 6 people total, however there’s no matchmaking you need the name of a hosted room so gather a few friends if you wish to try the co-op. The developer said that “The rooms are filled with riddles, clues, and mysteries to uncover. Almost every items can be interacted with and examined in details, explore!”.

      • Cyberpunk RPG dungeon crawler ‘Conglomerate 451′ looks like it may come to Linux

        RuneHeads and 1C Entertainment may soon launch a new Linux game, with the cyberpunk RPG dungeon crawler Conglomerate 451.

        Currently in Early Access and due to fully launch in a few days, on the official Steam forum they developer mentioned in a reply posted in a Linux request topic that they’re “99.9% yes” and they “need to fix a couple of issues”. So not only are they planning it, they’ve actually been working on it.

      • Cyber Knights: Flashpoint from Trese Brothers is becoming a big Kickstarter success

        Trese Brothers Games (Star Traders: Frontiers) have a bit of a hit on their hands here, as Cyber Knights: Flashpoint is smashing through goals on Kickstarter.

        With an original goal of $50,000 they managed to get funded in less than 12 hours. That’s pretty incredible and good for Linux gaming fans too, since Trese Brothers continue to support Linux with Cyber Knights just like they did with Star Traders: Frontiers and Templar Battleforce.

      • Open-world turn-based RPG ‘Stoneshard’ coming to Linux in ‘the near future’

        While the free Stoneshard: Prologue is already available on Linux, the Early Access build of the proper game Stoneshard is currently not.

        It was supposed to launch at the same time as Windows on Steam, however they’ve been encountering some issues blocking the Linux version. They have mentioned this a few times on their Steam forum so thankfully they’ve been keeping people informed. I

      • Try out the Alpha testing build of the obstacle course racer Turbo Boom! – coming to Steam

        Race around tracks, avoid obstacles and attempt to get the best time in the racing game Turbo Boom! that’s coming to Steam.

        Turbo Boom! reminds me of some classic racers, giving you a simple setup that has you drive as fast and accurately as you can. You will be avoiding all sorts of obstacles like spikes, boxes and things that quite literally make you go—boom. It’s a high-score chaser as you fight for positions on a leaderboard against friends and the world.

      • Twin-stick multiplayer party game ‘Trailer Trashers’ looks absolutely mad

        Releasing on Steam on March 10, Trailer Trashers has up to four people in local multiplayer go crazy as you bounce bullets around various cramped arenas.

        There’s going to be five game modes like last person standing, team death-match, shotgun soccer and more. They made a little joke about an ‘imaginary friend mode’ so possibly some AI in there if you don’t manage to get someone to play with. However, with Steam Remote Play local-only games aren’t such a problem they once were.

      • Shotgun Farmers has a ‘Very Berry’ update with a new ‘Strawbowry’ weapon

        Continuing to be possibly the most unique first-person shooter on Steam in terms of weaponry, Shotgun Farmers has a pretty fun new update out.

        In Shotgun Farmers, all the weapons are inspired by fruit and vegetables. Not just inspired in the name and style, if your bullets miss your enemy and hit the ground they grow a new weapon right there. It’s amusing! A very sweet game that continues getting better, it really deserves more attention.

      • First-person adventure-exploration ‘Almost Epic Adventures: Neverlooted Dungeon’ coming to Linux

        That’s quite a mouthful isn’t it, Almost Epic Adventures: Neverlooted Dungeon is a first-person adventure and exploration game from Wild Mage Games and the first trailer is up.

        Wild Mage Games were originally working on Almost Epic Adventures: The Goblin’s Week, however that’s currently on pause due to a lack of current resources so instead of cutting it up they decided to go with an intermediate project focusing on ‘trapped dungeon exploration’ with Neverlooted Dungeon.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • Gpg4KDE & GPG4win Approved for Transmission & Processing of National Classified Information

          Something that may have slipped you by: Back in November, the German Federal Office for Information Security approved Gpg4KDE and Gpg4win for the transmission and processing of national classified information.

          Gpg4KDE is the encryption system that you use each time you encrypt and sign messages in KMail. Gpg4win, used for encrypting and signing emails on Windows, is built upon KDE’s certificate manager Kleopatra. The German Government has now ranked both secure enough to be used when transmitting messages with VS-ONLY FOR SERVICE USE (VS-NfD), EU RESTRICTED and NATO RESTRICTED levels of confidentiality.

          In view of the recent Rubicon/Crypto AG/CIA scandal, this is further evidence that FLOSS encryption technology is the only reliable encryption technology.

        • Season of KDE Final Report

          SoK has finally ended yesterday and it’s been a great learning experience for me. In these last 40 days, it really made me lot more comfortable and confident as an open source contributor :).

        • KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS Gets First Point Release, Update Now

          The latest KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS desktop environment series already got its first point release today as the KDE Plasma 5.18.1 packages have started appearing on the official mirrors.

          KDE Plasma 5.18.1 is here just one week after the release of the KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS desktop environment series, which the KDE Project will support for the next two years. This is aa maintenance update bringing many bug fixes for better stability, security and reliability.

          Highlights of this first point release include support for accessing the new global edit mode to those who upgraded from KDE Plasma 5.17 or a previous release and had their widgets locked. It’s also now possible to save the changes made to the default font configuration in the System Settings Fonts page.

          Support for Electron (menubar colors issue) and Chromium (missing cursors issue) based apps using the Breeze GTK3 theme has been improved as well, and KDE Plasma is now capable of detecting more AMD GPUs with GFX9 (Vega) chips.

        • Plasma 5.18.1
      • GNOME Desktop/GTK
        • GNOME 3.35.91 released! Hi, GNOME 3.35.91 is now available! This is the second beta release of GNOME 3.36. Please note: we are now in string freeze, so be kind to translators and stop changing strings. The corresponding flatpak runtimes have been published to Flathub. If you'd like to target the GNOME 3.36 platform, you can test your application against the 3.36beta branch of the Flathub Beta repository. You can also try the experimental VM image, available here for a limited time only: https://gitlab.gnome.org/GNOME/gnome-build-meta/-/jobs/598561/artifacts/file/image/disk.qcow2 It needs a UEFI bios and a VirtIO GPU to run. If you want to compile GNOME 3.35.91 yourself, you can use the official BuildStream project snapshot: https://download.gnome.org/teams/releng/3.35.91/gnome-3.35.91.tar.xz The list of updated modules and changes is available here: https://download.gnome.org/core/3.35/3.35.91/NEWS The source packages are available here: https://download.gnome.org/core/3.35/3.35.91/sources/ WARNING! -------- This release is a snapshot of development code. Although it is buildable and usable, it is primarily intended for testing and hacking purposes. GNOME uses odd minor version numbers to indicate development status. For more information about 3.36, the full schedule, the official module lists and the proposed module lists, please see our 3.35 wiki page: https://www.gnome.org/start/unstable Happy Tuesday, Michael
        • GNOME 3.36 Beta 2 Released With Initial Setup Parental Controls, Lock-Screen USB Disable

          GNOME 3.35.91 is out today as the second beta ahead of next month’s GNOME 3.36 desktop release.

          The 3.35.91 release is the last stop before the GNOME 3.36 release candidate at month’s end and then GNOME 3.36.0 should be debuting on 11 March. While past the UI and feature freeze since the 3.35.90 beta earlier this month, there are still some prominent changes to note with today’s second beta:

        • GNOME 3.36 Desktop Gets Second Beta Release Ahead of March 11 Launch

          GNOME Project’s Michael Catanzaro just announced a few moments ago the availability of the second beta release of the upcoming GNOME 3.36 desktop environment.

          With only three weeks left until the final release on March 11th, the GNOME 3.36 desktop environment received today a new beta version, GNOME 3.35.91, which can be downloaded and installed on various GNU/Linux distributions using the official Flatpak runtimes from Flathub, the official BuildStream project snapshot, the experimental VM image, or the source packages.

          The development cycle of GNOME 3.36 is almost over and String Freeze stage is now in effect. There will be one more milestone published before the final release next month, GNOME 3.35.92 a.k.a. GNOME 3.36 Release Candidate (RC), which is expected at the end of the month on February 29th.

        • Login and unlock in GNOME Shell 3.36

          The upcoming GNOME 3.36 release includes a major update to the system login and unlock experience. The new design has been anticipated for a long time, and we’re excited that it has finally arrived!

          GNOME’s existing login and unlock design has been largely unaltered since it was first introduced in GNOME 3.6, back in September 2012. That’s seven and a half years ago! It’s therefore no surprise that we’ve wanted to update the design for some time.

          The initial round of design work for the new lock screen took place in 2017, at the GNOME UX hackfest in London. There, the GNOME design team, along with GNOME Shell developers, reviewed the goals and requirements, as well as the issues with the existing design, including the main areas of feedback that we’ve had.

        • First Look: What to Expect in GNOME 3.36, Including New Lock Screen

          Well, in this post I round up the multitude of improvements, changes and features that GNOME 3.36 plans to ship with to distil them in to an easily scannable list — so be aware that spoilers follow!

          Do keep in mind that GNOME 3.36 is still in development at the time of writing. Some features highlighted below may change subtly (or substantially) prior to release, or maybe even miss the release entirely.

        • GNOME Shares Sneak Peek at Login and Lock Screens in GNOME 3.36

          GNOME 3.36 is shaping up to be a great update for the open source desktop environment used by numerous GNU/Linux distribution by default, including Ubuntu and Fedora. One of the new features in the upcoming release is revamped lock and login screens.

          GNOME’s Allan Day shared today a sneak peek at the new design of the login and lock screen in GNOME 3.36, which have not seen a major update since the release of GNOME 3.6 in September 2012.

          The new login and lock screens, which you can see in action below, aim to reduce friction and make the login and unlock experience less frustrating for users.

        • MATE 1.24 landed in Debian unstable

          Last week, Martin Wimpress (from Ubuntu MATE) and I did a 2.5-day packaging sprint and after that I bundle-uploaded all MATE 1.24 related components to Debian unstable. Thus, MATE 1.24 landed in Debian unstable only four days after the upstream release. I think this was the fastest version bump of MATE in Debian ever.

          Packages should have been built by now for most of the 22 architectures supported by Debian. The current/latest build status can be viewed on the DDPO page of the Debian+Ubuntu MATE Packaging Team [1].

          Please also refer to the MATE 1.24 upstream release notes for details on what’s new and what’s changed [2].

        • Change in Light Levels

          It’s the small things that make a smartphone feel nice to use. With the constant flow of updates, improvements to usability keep finding their way into PureOS. One of the recent improvements is how the screen adjusts brightness. This improvement will help tune screen brightness to more convenient levels.

        • Evince chosen as the Librem 5 Document Viewer

          The default Librem 5 applications define the out of the box experience. Our team has been hard at work adding essential apps that people expect from a smartphone. The latest is the popular FOSS document viewer Evince which we adapted using our powerful convergence library libhandy.

          We have put a lot of design and development into the idea of convergence – the ability to run applications on desktop and mobile without maintaining separate code basess or many additional views. libhandy has already been successfully used to adpat or build all the current Librem 5 apps including GNOME Settings, Epiphany, Calls, Chats and more. What makes libhandy so powerful for designers and developers is its simplicity. Just swap out your widget inheritance to use libhandy and add breakpoint logic.

        • Easy Librem 5 App Development: Scale the Screen

          The Librem 5 phone has a 720×1440 screen, but that is a relatively high concentration of pixels when applied to a 5.7″ screen running traditional desktop applications and would not only leave you squinting at a lot of the text, it would make it difficult to press buttons and select items in menus. As we document in our design contraints page, we scale the desktop 2x to a resolution of 360×720 and once you take the top and bottom navigation bars into account you end up with a portrait resolution of 360×648 or a landscape resolution of 720×288.

          While our native applications take these constraints into account, and we continue to adapt new applications to work well on a phone screen, there are still plenty of applications that run on the Librem 5, they just don’t yet fit. For instance, here’s Wireshark looking great on the Librem 5 in landscape mode when scaled to 1.25x:

    • Distributions
      • 10 top reasons to switch to Manjaro Linux

        Most new Linux users are exposed to big names like Ubuntu, Arch, Debian, and Mint. There are a lot of other distros that are good in their way. Manjaro is one of those distributions that we’re going to discuss today. It’s an open-source, Arch Linux-based operating system.

        Arch Linux is known to be fast, powerful, and lightweight, providing users with the latest cutting-edge application and tools. Manjaro surpasses this reputation and offers even more benefits, especially an intuitive user interface.

        If you’re a Linux user wondering whether to switch to Manjaro or stick to your current distribution, there are ten main reasons why you should switch to Manjaro Linux.

      • Living Lively with LiveCD

        LiveCD is the ability to run full operating system without installing it to computer beforehand. You can run GNU/Linux LiveCD with CD, DVD, or USB Flash, or even external Hard Disk Drive. To make it easier to understand for everybody, Windows is not LiveCD, but GNU/Linux is. I live with LiveCD everyday, many of UbuntuBuzz’s articles I actually wrote in LiveCD mode, and many reviews I could made by using it. LiveCD is a feature known and popular from GNU/Linux. The first distro to introduce it was KNOPPIX. And Ubuntu made it very popular thanks to Canonical’s ShipIt program that sent Ubuntu CDs to people in this world (including me) so many people benefited from Ubuntu LiveCDs. To you I share my story with LiveCD and things I learned from my story. I wish this writing benefits you as well. Enjoy!

      • Screenshots/Screencasts
      • SUSE/OpenSUSE
        • Open Build Service: More Responsive Than Ever Before!

          We want to change this. And with the new UI technology we introduced last year, we have the chance to do so! :clap: So in the last couple of weeks, we have focused on improving the user experience following a mobile-first approach (start the design of the page on a small screen, which has more restrictions, then expand the page features to create a tablet or desktop version).

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora
        • Red Hat finds enterprise users are adopting open-source software at a rapid pace

          Enterprise customers believe open-source software is great. In a just-released Red Hat 2020 enterprise user report, the Linux and cloud folks from Raleigh found 95% of almost 1,000 enterprise IT leaders thought open-source is “strategically important to their organization’s overall enterprise infrastructure software strategy. Of course they do. As Red Monk analyst Stephen O’Grady said in 2005, “So you took over the enterprise: What now?”, open-source software and development approaches had already reached a tipping point. There’s nothing surprising that an overwhelming majority of CIOs, CTOs, and other high-level IT managers in 2020 see an open-source future. ”

        • Metrics and traces correlation in Kiali

          Metrics, traces, and logs might be the Three Pillars of Observability, as you’ve certainly already heard. This mantra helps us focus our mindset around observability, but it is not a religion. “There is so much more data that can help us have insight into our running systems,” said Frederic Branczyk at KubeCon last year.

          These three kind of signals do have their specificities, but they also have common denominators that we can generalize. They could all appear on a virtual timeline and they all originate from a workload, so they are timed and sourced, which is a good start for enabling correlation. If there’s anything as important as knowing the signals that a system can emit, it’s knowing the relationships between those signals and being able to correlate one with another, even when they’re not strictly of the same nature. Ultimately, we can postulate that any sort of signal that is timed and sourced is a good candidate for correlation as well, even if we don’t have hard links between them.

          This fact is, of course, not something new. Correlation has always been possible, but the true stake is to make it easier, and hence cheaper. What makes correlation easier today? I can see at least one pattern that helps, and that we see more and more in monitoring systems: An automatic and consistent sourcing of incoming signals.

          When you use Prometheus in Kubernetes, the Kubernetes service discovery might be enabled and configured for label mapping. As the name suggests, this mechanism maps pods’ existing labels to Prometheus labels, or in other words, it forwards source context into metrics (hence, allowing filters and aggregations based on that information). This setup participates in automatic and consistent sourcing. Loki, for instance, has the same for logs. If you can define a context for metrics search and reuse that same context for logs search, then guess what you have? Easier correlation.

        • Fedora’s 32-bit ARM Xfce Image Demoted While Fedora Workstation AArch64 Gets Promoted

          Issues with Fedora’s 32-bit ARM Xfce desktop spin will no longer be treated as a release blocker for the Linux distribution but instead the Fedora Workstation for 64-bit ARM (AArch64) will be considered a blocking issue.

          At Monday’s Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee meeting, the FESCo members agreed that Fedora Workstation on 64-bit ARM will basically take the place of the 32-bit ARM Fedora Xfce image in terms of release priority. That Fedora 32-bit ARM Xfce spin can stick around, but it’s no longer going to hold up Fedora releases should there be any significant bugs specific to it. Promoting the Fedora Workstation AArch64 image is a win as well acknowledging the good support today for ARMv8 hardware by the distribution.

        • Red Hat tips its Fedora at CoreOS Container Linux stans: Hop onto something else, folks, cos this one’s on a boat to Valhalla

          Red Hat is set to fling a flaming arrow at Red Hat CoreOS Container Linux*, the software firm said as it laid out the details of the end of life timeline for the distro it acquired in January 2018.

          CoreOS Container Linux is designed as a lightweight operating system optimised for hosting containers. It supports various cluster architectures, and features an automated update system. The container runtime can be either Docker or rkt (Rocket), an alternative which was developed by the CoreOS team.

          When Red Hat acquired CoreOS, it said that Container Linux was “complementary to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host and Red Hat’s integrated container runtime and platform management capabilities.” The company also said it would integrate Tectonic, the CoreOS Kubernetes project, and Quay, the CoreOS container registry, with its own OpenShift Kubernetes suite.

        • OpenShift 4.3: Console Customization: YAML Samples

          Out of the box, OpenShift 4 provides a few examples for users. With this new extension mechanism users can now add their own YAML sample for all users on the Cluster. Let us look at how we can manually add a YAML example to the cluster. First we need to navigate to the Custom Resource Definition navigation item and search for YAML…

        • Red Hat Satellite Ask Me Anything Q&A from January 15, 2020

          This post covers the questions and answers during the January 2020 Satellite Ask Me Anything (AMA) calls.

          For anyone not familiar, the Satellite AMAs are an “ask me anything” (AMA) style event where we invite Red Hat customers to bring all of their questions about Red Hat Satellite, drop them in the chat, and members of the Satellite product team answers as many of them live as we can during the AMA and we then follow up with a blog post detailing the questions and answers.

        • Red Hat named to Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list for 2nd year in a row

          If you ask Red Hatters why they love working for Red Hat, you’ll hear a common theme. The culture and the people. I frequently hear from new Red Hatters that it just feels different to work here. It’s clear our associates are passionate about being apart of something bigger than themselves, a movement. As a result, Red Hat has been ranked No. 48 on Fortune Magazine’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For! This is our second consecutive year making the list and it’s most gratifying that in a year full of exciting change, one thing has remained constant. Red Hat is still Red Hat and it is a great place to work!

          Thinking back on this year and all that we’ve experienced, I’m grateful that we have put a great deal of attention and focus on continuing Red Hat’s culture because of the value it brings to our associates, customers, partners and the industry as a whole. We are all committed to preserving our way of working and this latest recognition is a testament to this effort. As we move forward, we are laser focused on maintaining what we do and how we do it—the open source way.

      • Debian Family
        • SparkyLinux 2020.02 GameOver, Multimedia and Rescue Editions Are Out Now

          Released last week on February 10th, SparkyLinux 2020.02 brought updated components from the Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye” software repositories. It shipped with Xfce, MATE, LXQt, Openbox (MinimalGUI), and MinimalCLI (text-mode) editions.

          Now, the SparkyLinux 2020.02 GameOver, Multimedia and Rescue special editions are available for download as well. They’re also based on the Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye” repos, but include special software components.

          While the GameOver edition comes preloaded with numerous games, the Multimedia edition contains a collections of utilities for audio, graphics, and video creation, and the Rescue edition brings useful tools for system maintenance and repair.

        • The Debian-based MX Linux 19.1 is Out – Download Link

          MX Linux is a midweight operating system by Linux. It’s based on Debian stable and it uses core antiX components, but it also has some additional software created by the MX community. While it made plenty of users happy and with their lives improved, MX Linux is now at its 19.1 version and ready to be downloaded.

          MX Linux 19.1 has become available for download since yesterday, February 16. And it’s worth giving it a try since the Debian-based distro uses the Xfce desktop environment and it’s pre-loaded with great software: LibreOffice, a video and music player, Firefox, and more.

        • 4 Ways to Kill Unresponsive Applications in Debian 10

          It is often annoying when a program stops working and you cannot even close it. Rebooting the system is not always the appropriate way and we search for ways to get rid of unresponsive programs, easily and quickly. In this article, we will learn about those ways including both GUI and the command line to kill the unresponsive applications in a Debian system.

          We have run the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on a Debian 10 system. Some of the methods described here have been run on the command line Terminal application. To open the Terminal in Debian OS, go to the Activities tab in the top left corner of your desktop. Then in the search bar, type the keyword terminal. When the search result appears, click on the Terminal icon.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
        • Canonical Makes It Easier to Download Ubuntu for Raspberry Pi

          Canonical’s Design and Web team have recently updated the official Ubuntu website to make it easier for users to find the right Ubuntu image for their tiny Raspberry Pi computers.

          In December 2019, Canonical published a support roadmap for the latest Raspberry Pi 4 single-board computer on their Ubuntu Server operating system and pledged to fully support Ubuntu on all Raspberry Pi boards.

          With the release of Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS earlier this month, Canonical has also refreshed the Raspberry Pi page on the ubuntu.com website to help users find the right Ubuntu version for their Raspberry Pi boards.

        • Ubuntu Blog: Design and Web team summary – 14 February 2020

          The Web and Design team at Canonical looks after most of our main websites, the brand, our Vanilla CSS framework and several of our products with web front-ends. Here are some of the highlights of our completed work over our last two-week iteration.

        • OpenStack Charms 20.02 – CephFS backend for Manila and more

          The OpenStack Charms 20.02 release introduces support for Ceph File System (CephFS) to be used as storage backed for Manila. CephFS is a POSIX-compliant file system providing a file storage layer on top of Ceph. Manila is an OpenStack project providing shared filesystem services for tenants.

          Previous releases of OpenStack Charms included manila charm with a generic plugin that could be used to configure the NFS-based backend for Manila. Although this solution was suitable for testing and development, it was not intended for production environments.

          The CephFS backend for Manila brings the OpenStack shared filesystem service to the enterprise level. This comes through enabling tenants to benefit from all the best features provided by Ceph, such as high availability, fault tolerance, scalability and security.

          In order to deploy or extend Charmed OpenStack with CephFS backed for Manila, users have to use additional charms (ceph-fs, manila and manila-ganesha). These have been introduced and stabilised in this release. Please refer to the official documentation for information on how to integrate new charms with the existing deployment.

        • Canonical Releases OpenStack Charms 20.02 with CephFS Support, More

          OpenStack Charms 20.02 is available now with CephFS backend for Manila, Policy Overrides for more charms, updated OVN and MySQL 8 previews, and much more.

        • Ceph storage on Ubuntu: An overview

          Ceph is a compelling open-source alternative to proprietary software defined storage solutions from traditional vendors, with a vibrant community collaborating on the technology. Ubuntu was an early supporter of Ceph and its community. That support continues today as Canonical maintains premier member status and serves on the governing board of the Ceph Foundation.

          With many global enterprises and telco operators running Ceph on Ubuntu, organisations are able to combine block and object storage at scale while tapping into the economic and upstream benefits of open source.

          Why use Ceph?

          Ceph is unique because it makes data available in multiple ways: as a POSIX compliant filesystem through CephFS, as block storage volumes via the RBD driver and for object store, compatible with both S3 and Swift protocols, using the RADOS gateway.

          A common use case for Ceph is to provide block and object store to OpenStack clouds via Cinder and as a Swift replacement. Kubernetes has similarly adopted Ceph as a popular way for physical volumes (PV) as a Container Storage Interface (CSI) plugin.

          Even as a stand-alone, Ceph is a compelling open-source storage alternative to closed-source, proprietary solutions as it reduces OpEx costs organisations commonly accrue with storage from licensing, upgrades and potential vendor lock-in fees.

        • MAAS 2.7 released

          Following on from MAAS 2.6.2, we are happy to announce that MAAS 2.7 is now available. This release features some critical bug fixes, along with some exciting new features.

          For some time, our users have been asking for the capability to deploy CentOS 8 images in MAAS. With the advent of MAAS 2.7, that is now possible. The Images page in the MAAS 2.8 UI offers the option to select and download CentOS 8. It is important to note that users of previous versions may see CentOS 8 as an available option, but cannot download or deploy it.

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Web Browsers
        • Mozilla
          • Firefox 73.0.1 Released With Fixes for Linux, Windows Crashes

            Mozilla has released Firefox 73.0.1 today, February 18th, 2020, to the Stable desktop channel for Windows, macOS, and Linux with crash fixes for users of Windows and Linux devices.

            This release also fixes a loss of browser functionality in certain circumstances and RBC Royal Bank website connectivity problems.

            Windows, Mac, and Linux desktop users can upgrade to Firefox 73.0.1 by going to Options -> Help -> About Firefox and the browser will automatically check for the new update and install it when available.

          • Firefox 73.0.1 Fixes Linux Crashes When Playing Encrypted Content

            Firefox 73.0.1 arrives a week after the launch of Firefox 73.0 to address a few issues reported by users. These include fixes for a bug that made Firefox to crash on some Linux users when playing encrypted content and an issue which forced Firefox to close unexpectedly when the user exits the Print Preview mode.

            Some users also reported intermittent blank page issues when attempting to log in to the RBC Royal Bank website, so this is now fixed as well in the Firefox 73.0.1 release. Also addressed are a couple of issues reported by users on Windows systems, which shouldn’t affect Linux users.

          • Mozilla GFX: Challenge: Snitch on the glitch! Help the Graphics team track down an interesting WebRender bug…

            For the past little while, we have been tracking some interesting WebRender bugs that people are reporting in release. Despite best efforts, we have been unable to determine clear steps to reproduce these issues and have been unable to find a fix for them. Today we are announcing a special challenge to the community – help us track down steps to reproduce (a.k.a STR) for this bug and you will win some special, limited edition Firefox Graphics team swag! Read on for more details if you are interested in participating.

          • Mike Hoye: Dexterity In Depth

            I’m exactly one microphone and one ridiculous haircut away from turning into Management Shingy when I get rolling on stuff like this, because it’s just so clear to me how much this stuff matters and how little sense I might be making at the same time. Is your issue tracker automatically flagging your structural blind spots? Do your QA and UX team run your next reorg? Why not?

            This all started life as a rant on Mastodon, so bear with me here. There are two empirically-established facts that organizations making software need to internalize.

            The first is that by wide margin the most significant predictive indicator that there will be a future bug in a piece of software is the relative orgchart distance of the people working on it. People who are working on a shared codebase in the same room but report to different VPs are wildly more likely to introduce errors into a codebase than two people who are on opposite sides of the planet and speak different first languages but report to the same manager.

            The second is that the number one predictor that a bug will be resolved is if it is triaged correctly – filed in the right issue tracker, against the right component, assigned to the right people – on the first try.

            It’s fascinating that neither of the strongest predictive indicators of the most important parts of a bug’s lifecycle – birth and death – actually take place on the developers’ desk, but it’s true. In terms of predictive power, nothing else in the software lifecycle comes close.

          • WebThings Gateway Goes Global

            Today, we’re releasing version 0.11 of the WebThings Gateway. For those of you running a previous version of our Raspberry Pi build, you should have already received the update. You can check in your UI by navigating to Settings ➡ Add-ons.

          • Thank You, Ronaldo Lemos

            Ronaldo Lemos joined the Mozilla Foundation board almost six years ago. Today he is stepping down in order to turn his attention to the growing Agora! social movement in Brazil.

            Over the past six years, Ronaldo has helped Mozilla and our allies advance the cause of a healthy internet in countless ways. Ronaldo played a particularly important role on policy issues including the approval of the Marco Civil in Brazil and shaping debates around net neutrality and data protection. More broadly, he brought his experience as an academic, lawyer and active commentator in the fields of intellectual property, technology and culture to Mozilla at a time when we needed to step up on these topics in an opinionated way.

            As a board member, Ronaldo also played a critical role in the development of Mozilla Foundation’s movement building strategy. As the Foundation evolved it’s programs over the past few years, he brought to bear extensive experience with social movements in general — and with the open internet movement in particular. This was an invaluable contribution.

      • CMS
        • WordPress 5.4 Beta 2

          WordPress 5.4 Beta 2 is now available!

          This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend running it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with the new version.

      • FSF
        • Charity Navigator awards the FSF coveted four-star rating for the seventh time in a row

          Recently, we got some terrific news: Charity Navigator, an independent evaluator of US-based nonprofit charities, awarded the Free Software Foundation (FSF) a four-star rating, the highest available. According to the confirmation letter from Charity Navigator president Michael Thatcher, this rating demonstrates the FSF’s “strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency.” A four-star charity, according to their ratings, “exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in its cause.”

          This is our seventh time in a row receiving the coveted four-star rating! Only 7% of the charities that Charity Navigator evaluates have gotten this many in a row, and they assess over 9,000 charities a year. As Thatcher’s letter says, “This exceptional designation from Charity Navigator sets the Free Software Foundation apart from its peers and demonstrates to the public its trustworthiness.” Even better: our overall score went from 96.66 out of 100% last year, up to 98.55 this cycle.

        • Licensing / Legal
      • Programming/Development
        • Slightly Better Iterative Spline Decomposition

          My colleague Bart Massey (who is a CS professor at Portland State University) reviewed my iterative spline algorithm article and had an insightful comment — we don’t just want any spline decomposition which is flat enough, what we really want is a decomposition for which every line segment is barely within the specified flatness value.

          My initial approach was to keep halving the length of the spline segment until it was flat enough. This definitely generates a decomposition which is flat enough everywhere, but some of the segments will be shorter than they need to be, by as much as a factor of two.

        • LLVM’s Go Front-End Was Finally Dropped From The Official Source Tree

          Most probably didn’t even realize LLVM had a Go language front-end, but this past week it was dropped from the official source mono repository.

          This LLVM Go front-end “LLGO” hasn’t been maintained in several years and never really took off… Most probably aren’t even aware of this Go compiler support for LLVM. So the code has been suffering, it was stuck at Go version 1.5 well behind the latest upstream, it likely has build errors, and there are other nuisances with the code like having an entire copy of Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” novel. For those wondering why an entire novel was part of the source tree, it amounted to serving as a compression test case.

        • [llvm-dev] [10.0.0 Release] Release Candidate 2 is here Hello everyone, Release Candidate 2 was tagged earlier today as llvmorg-10.0.0-rc2. It includes 98 commits since the previous release candidate. Source code and docs are available at https://prereleases.llvm.org/10.0.0/#rc2 and https://github.com/llvm/llvm-project/releases/tag/llvmorg-10.0.0-rc2 Pre-built binaries will be added as they become available. Please file bug reports for any issues you find as blockers of https://llvm.org/pr44555 Release testers: please run the test script, share your results, and upload binaries. I'm hoping we can now start tying up the loose ends, fixing the blocking bugs, and getting the branch ready for shipping as a stable release soon. Thanks, Hans
        • LLVM 10.0′s Release Is Very Close With RC2 Available

          The release of LLVM 10.0 is now upon us with the second and last planned release candidate issued at the end of last week.

          Ongoing LLVM release manager Hans Wennborg tagged LLVM 10.0 RC2 on Thursday with just under one hundred commits since the original release candidate. Since LLVM 10.0 RC1 in January has been a lot of bug fixing and things appear to be settling down for seeing LLVM 10.0 on time or thereabouts with its scheduled release date of 26 February.

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Haskell

          Haskell is a standardized, general-purpose, polymorphically statically typed, lazy, purely functional language, very different from many programming languages. It enables developers to produce software that’s clear, concise, and correct.

          This is a mature programming language with the first version defined in 1990. It has a strong, static type system based on Hindley–Milner type inference. The main implementation of Haskell is the Glasgow Haskell Compiler (GHC), an open source native code compiler. Recent innovations include static polymorphic typing, higher-order functions, user-definable algebraic data types, a module system, and more. It has built-in concurrency and parallelism, debuggers, profilers, rich libraries and an active community, with thousands of open source libraries and tools.

          Haskell offers many advantages to programmers. It helps rapid application development with shorter, clearer code, and higher reliability. It’s suitable for a variety of applications, and often used in academia and industry.

        • Perl / Raku
          • 2020.07 Irky Reblessing

            Arne Sommer has blogged about a recent breaking change with regards to reblessing objects: Raku and the (Re)blessed Child and Exploring Rebless with Raku. In it, they express frustration with working code suddenly not working anymore. As always, there are two sides to the story, and Arne shows them both.

        • Python
          • PyCon India 2019 :: Late Report

            Personally, I think the venue choice this year was great again, as we were able to accommodate 20+ sponsor stalls while still not overloading the halls and having ample space to conduct multiple tracks of the conference scheduled for the attendees.

            [...]

            Apart from these, there also are some monetary benefits to volunteering at a conference- registration fee for volunteers is generally waived off at paid-ticket based conferences and some quite generous conferences also have accommodation options for volunteers during the conference days, free of cost.
            Also, organizers usually have free goodies to give away to the volunteers at the end of the conference.

            The volunteers met at the convention centre a day before the conference to prepare the goodies bags for the attendees. These bags simply consisted of a schedule page, a pen, a notebook and a couple of PyCon India stickers- one for you, and one for sharing with your pal.

          • Python 3.8.2rc2 is now available for testing

            Python 3.8.2rc2 is the second release candidate of the second maintenance release of Python 3.8. Go get it here:

          • Productivity Mondays – 5 tips that will boost your performance

            The following things are relatively easy to do, but also easy not to do. Do them consistently and they can change your career and life.

          • Roberto Alsina: Learning Serverless in GCP

            Usually, when I want to learn how to use a tool, the thing that works best for me is to try to build something using it. Watching someone build something instead is the second best thing.

            So, join me while I build a little thing using “serverless” Google Cloud Platform, Python and some other bits and pieces.

          • Uniquely Managing Test Execution Resources using WebSockets

            Executing tests for simple applications is complicated. You have to think about the users, how they interact with it, how those interactions propagate through different components, as well as how to handle error situations gracefully. But things get even more complicated when you start looking at more extensive systems, like those with multiple external dependencies.

            Dependencies come in various forms, including third-party modules, cloud services, compute resources, networks, and others.

          • Python Tools for Record Linking and Fuzzy Matching

            Record linking and fuzzy matching are terms used to describe the process of joining two data sets together that do not have a common unique identifier. Examples include trying to join files based on people’s names or merging data that only have organization’s name and address.

            This problem is a common business challenge and difficult to solve in a systematic way – especially when the data sets are large. A naive approach using Excel and vlookup statements can work but requires a lot of human intervention. Fortunately, python provides two libraries that are useful for these types of problems and can support complex matching algorithms with a relatively simple API.

            The first one is called fuzzymatcher and provides a simple interface to link two pandas DataFrames together using probabilistic record linkage. The second option is the appropriately named Python Record Linkage Toolkit which provides a robust set of tools to automate record linkage and perform data deduplication.

            This article will discuss how to use these two tools to match two different data sets based on name and address information. In addition, the techniques used to do matching can be applied to data deduplication and will be briefly discussed.

          • Integrating MongoDB with Python Using PyMongo

            In this post, we will dive into MongoDB as a data store from a Python perspective. To that end, we’ll write a simple script to showcase what we can achieve and any benefits we can reap from it.

            Web applications, like many other software applications, are powered by data. The organization and storage of this data are important as they dictate how we interact with the various applications at our disposal. The kind of data handled can also have an influence on how we undertake this process.

            Databases allow us to organize and store this data, while also controlling how we store, access, and secure the information.

          • EuroPython 2020: Presenting our conference logo for Dublin

            The logo is inspired by the colors and symbols often associated with Ireland: the shamrock and the Celtic harp. It was again created by our designer Jessica Peña Moro from Simétriko, who had already helped us in previous years with the conference design.

          • Finding the Perfect Python Code Editor

            Find your perfect Python development setup with this review of Python IDEs and code editors. Writing Python using IDLE or the Python REPL is great for simple things, but not ideal for larger programming projects. With this course you’ll get an overview of the most common Python coding environments to help you make an informed decision.

          • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #408 (Feb. 18, 2020)
          • Airflow By Example (II)
          • PyCon: The Hatchery Returns with Nine Events!

            Since its start in 2018, the PyCon US Hatchery Program has become a fundamental part of how PyCon as a conference adapts to best serve the Python community as it grows and changes with time. In keeping with that focus on innovation, the Hatchery Program itself has continued to evolve.

            Initially we wanted to gauge community interest for this type of program, and in 2018 we launched our first trial program to learn more about what kind of events the community might propose. At the end of that inaugural program, we accepted the PyCon Charlas as our first Hatchery event and it has grown into a permanent track offered at PyCon US.

          • Using “python -m” in Wing 7.2

            Wing version 7.2 has been released, and the next couple Wing Tips look at some of its new features. We’ve already looked at reformatting with Black and YAPF and Wing 7.2′s expanded support for virtualenv.

            Now let’s look at how to set up debugging modules that need to be launched with python -m. This command line option for Python allows searching the Python Path for the name of a module or package, and then loading and executing it. This capability was introduced way back in Python 2.4, and then extended in Python 2.5 through PEP 338 . However, it only came into widespread use relatively recently, for example to launch venv, black, or other command line tools that are shipped as Python packages.

          • New Python Programmer? Learn These Concepts First.

            As a novice Python developer, the world is your oyster with regards to the type of applications that you can create. Despite its age (30 years—an eternity in tech-world terms), Python remains a dominant programming language, with companies using it for all kinds of services, platforms, and applications.

            For example, Python lets you create web applications via Django or other frameworks such as Flask. Perhaps you want to create games instead? For that, learn Pygame for 2D games (or Panda3D for 3D). Or maybe you’re more enterprise-minded, and want to create useful utilities (such as automatically cataloguing e-books); in that case, Python works well with frameworks and software such as Calibre.

        • Terminal
          • Changing TTY prompt, font and colors

            Changing colors and font in a virtual terminal isn’t easy (see below). Changing colors and font in a terminal emulator, on the other hand, is just a matter of adjusting preferences in a GUI dialog. Last year, for example, I changed the color scheme in my terminal emulator.

  • Leftovers
    • Stephen Michael Kellat: Trying A Minimum Working Example

      When you make assertions in a channel like the Ubuntu Podcast’s Telegram chatter channel they sometimes have to be backed up. Recently I made reference to how you could utilize Markdown within a LaTeX document. I should take a moment to discuss a way to use LuaLaTeX to make your Markdown documents look nice. We’re going to build a “Minimum Working Example” to illustrate things.

      First, I will refer to a package on the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network simply named markdown. That handles processing Markdown input. In its documentation you find that you can actually input a separate Markdown-formatted file into the macros provided which will convert them into appropriate LaTeX code and add that programmatically into your document. LaTeX is a Turing-complete programming language after all.

    • Stuart Langridge: On the Birmingham tech scene

      You see, it doesn’t appear that the Tech Week team did much in the way of actually trying to find out whether there was a tech scene before declaring that there probably wasn’t one. If they had then they’d have probably discovered the Birmingham.io calendar which contains all the stuff that’s going on, and can be subscribed to via Google. They’d probably have spoken to the existing language-specific meetups in the city before possibly doing their own instead of rather than in conjunction with. They’d have probably discovered the Brum tech Slack which has 800-odd people in it, or2 CovHack or HackTheMidlands or FusionMeetup or devopsdays or CodeYourFuture_ or yougotthisconf or Tech Wednesday or Django Girls or OWASP or Open Code or any one of a ton of other things that are going on every week.

      Birmingham, as anyone who’s decided to be here knows, is a bit special. A person involved in tech in Birmingham is pretty likely to be able to get a similar job in London, and yet they haven’t done so. Why is that? Because Brum’s different. Things are less frantic, here, is why. We’re all in this together. London may have kings and queens: we’re the city of a thousand different trades, all on the same level, all working hand in hand. All collaborating. It’s a grass roots thing, you see. Nobody’s in charge. The calendar mentioned above is open source exactly so that there’s not one person in charge of it and anyone else can pick it up and run with it if we disappear, so the work that’s already gone into it isn’t wasted.

      [...]

      And so there’s a certain amount of resistance, on my side of the fence, to kingmakers. To people who look at the scene, all working together happily, and then say: you people need organising for your own good, because there needs to be someone in charge here. There needs to be hierarchy, otherwise how will journalists know who to ask for opinions? It’s difficult to understand an organisation which doesn’t have any organisation. W. L. Gore and Patagonia and Valve are companies that work a similar way, without direct hierarchy, in a way that the management theorist Frédéric Laloux calls a “teal organisation” and others call “open allocation”, and they baffle people the world over too; half the managers and consultants in the world look at them and say, but that can’t work, if you don’t have bosses, nobody will do anything. But it works for them. And it seems to me to be a peculiarly Brum approach to things. If we were in this for the fame and the glory we’d have gone down to London where everyone’s terribly serious and in a rush all the time. Everyone works with everyone else; BrumPHP talks about BrumJS, Fusion talks about School of Code; one meetup directs people to others that they’ll find interesting; if the devopsdays team want a speaker about JavaScript they’ll ping BrumJS to ask about who’d be good. That’s collaboration. Everyone does their bit, and tries to elevate everyone else at the same time.

    • Education
      • Donald Trump’s Plan for America: Make it Ignorant

        On February 10th, the White House released its budget for the fiscal year 2021. It broadly showcases the values promoted by Donald Trump and the vision he has for the future of the United States of America. Budgets are the practical extension of genuine commitments. Politicians, as a group, are famous for making promises that they do not deliver on. Empty promises are often rhetorical flourishes meant to generate votes.

    • Health/Nutrition
    • Integrity/Availability
      • Proprietary
        • [Attackers] are demanding nude photos to unlock files in a new ransomware scheme targeting women

          The malware doesn’t appear to be the first to demand explicit images: In 2017, security firm Kaspersky reported another type of ransomware that demanded nude photos in exchange for unlocking access to infected computers. In other cases, scammers on dating apps have requested nude photos from would-be suitors, then held them for ransom by threatening to leak the photos.

        • ScreenRec – The Fastest Growing Free Screen Recorder For Business Announces New Version For Linux

          ScreenRec has been widely recognized as one of the best free screen recording software available. Previously, only Windows users could benefit from its cloud storage, private link sharing, and upscale security features. Now, however, ScreenRec has joined the ranks of free Linux screen recorders.

          When the team over at StreamingVideoProvider first released ScreenRec in 2018, there was stiff competition in the face of giants like Windows Game Recorder, OBS, and even Camtasia. Yet, its creator, the CEO of StreamingVideoProvider Deyan Shkodrov, knew he had something worthwhile because ScreenRec had drastically improved the efficiency of collaboration between him and his team.

        • ScreenRec – The Fastest Growing Free Screen Recorder For Business Announces New Version For Linux
        • Veeam Availability Suite v10 Enhances NAS Backup, DR and Security
        • Security
          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (systemd and thunderbird), Debian (clamav, libgd2, php7.3, spamassassin, and webkit2gtk), Fedora (kernel, kernel-headers, and sway), Mageia (firefox, kernel-linus, mutt, python-pillow, sphinx, thunderbird, and webkit2), openSUSE (firefox, nextcloud, and thunderbird), Oracle (firefox and ksh), Red Hat (curl, java-1.7.0-openjdk, kernel, and ruby), Scientific Linux (firefox and ksh), SUSE (sudo and xen), and Ubuntu (clamav, php5, php7.0, php7.2, php7.3, postgresql-10, postgresql-11, and webkit2gtk).

          • The Linux Foundation and Harvard’s Lab for Innovation Science Release Census for Open Source Software Security

            The Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII), a project that helps support best practices and the security of critical open source software projects, and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH), today announced the release of ‘Vulnerabilities in the Core,’ a Preliminary Report and Census II of Open Source Software.`

            This Census II analysis and report represent important steps towards understanding and addressing structural and security complexities in the modern day supply chain where open source is pervasive, but not always understood. Census II identifies the most commonly used free and open source software (FOSS) components in production applications and begins to examine them for potential vulnerabilities, which can inform actions to sustain the long-term security and health of FOSS. Census I (2015) identified which software packages in the Debian Linux distribution were the most critical to the kernel’s operation and security.

            “The Census II report addresses some of the most important questions facing us as we try to understand the complexity and interdependence among open source software packages and components in the global supply chain,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at the Linux Foundation. “The report begins to give us an inventory of the most important shared software and potential vulnerabilities and is the first step to understand more about these projects so that we can create tools and standards that results in trust and transparency in software.”

          • The Linux Foundation identifies most important open-source software components and their problems

            Red Hat recently reported open-source software now dominates the enterprise. Actually, it does more than that. Another older study found open-source software makes up 80% to 90% of all software. You may not know that, because many of these programs are built on deeply buried open-source components. Now, The Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH) have revealed — in “Vulnerabilities in the Core, a preliminary report and Census II of open-source software” — the most frequently used components and the vulnerabilities they share.

          • Privacy/Surveillance
            • Anwesha Das: The scary digital world

              Some years ago, my husband and I were looking for houses to rent. We both were in different cities and were having a telephone conversation. We had three or four phone calls to discuss this. After that, I opened my laptop and turned on my then browser, Google. Advertisements started popping up. Showing the adds of houses for rent at the very same location, the same budget I was looking for. A chill went down my bone. How did this particular website knows that we are looking for a house?

              [...]

              Why would someone want to track me? I have nothing to hide.

              This is the general response we get when we initiate the discussion of and about privacy. To which Glen Greenworld has a great reply, ‘if you do not have to hide anything, please write down all your email ids, not just the work ones, the respectable ones but all, along with the passwords to me.’ Though people have nothing to hide no one has ever got back to him

              Everyone needs privacy. We flourish our being and can be true to ourselves when we do not have the fear and knowledge of being watched by someone. Everyone cares about privacy. If they did not have, there would be no password on their accounts, no locker, no keys.

            • Facebook works as it is supposed to work: The real scandal behind all the privacy scandals.

              Facebook was never known for its great protection of privacy. But since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, there has been one scandal after the other. However, the real scandal behind all these scandals: Facebook simply is not designed to protect your privacy – and it never will be.

            • Alarming ‘Hidden’ Cyber Attack Leaves Millions Of Windows And Linux Systems Vulnerable [Ed: Misleading headline from decades-long Microsoft booster. This isn't an OS level issue.]

              Vulnerabilities that can be hidden away out of sight are amongst the most-coveted by cyber-criminals and spooks alike. That’s why zero-day vulnerabilities are deemed so valuable, and cause so much high-level concern when they are exposed. It’s also why the CIA secretly purchased an encryption equipment provider to be able to hide backdoors in the products and spy upon more than 100 governments.

              While we are almost accustomed to reading government warnings about vulnerabilities in the Windows operating system, Linux cybersecurity threat warnings are less common. Which is partly why this report on the hidden exploit threat within both Linux and Windows systems caught my eye. The Eclypsium researchers concentrated on unsigned firmware as this is a known attack vector, which can have devastating implications, yet one in which vendors have appeared to be slow taking seriously enough. The unsigned firmware in question was found in peripherals used in computers from Dell, Lenovo and HP as well as other major manufacturers. They also demonstrated a successful attack using a network interface card with, you guessed it, unsigned firmware that is used by the big three server manufacturers. “Despite previous in-the-wild attacks,” the report said, “peripheral manufacturers have been slow to adopt the practice of signing firmware, leaving millions of Windows and Linux systems at risk of firmware attacks that can exfiltrate data, disrupt operations and deliver ransomware.”

              The truth is that, as far as cybersecurity is concerned, much of the defensive effort is focused on the operating system and applications. Hardly surprising, given these are the most visible attack surfaces. By not adding firmware into the threat prevention model, however, organizations are leaving a gaping hole just waiting to be filled by threat actors. “This could lead to implanted backdoors, network traffic sniffing, data exfiltration, and more,” says Katie Teitler, a senior analyst at TAG Cyber. “Unfortunately, though, firmware vulnerabilities can be harder to detect and more difficult to patch,” she says, “best practice is to deploy automated scanning for vulnerabilities and misconfigurations at the component level, and continuously monitor for new issues or exploits.”

            • The Week in Internet News: CIA Had Encryption Backdoor for Decades

              The U.S. CIA secretly had an ownership stake in Swiss encryption company Crypto AG for decades and was able to read encrypted messages sent using the company’s technology, the Washington Post reports. West German intelligence agencies worked with the CIA. Forbes columnist Jody Westby called for a congressional investigation.

            • Insights from Avast/Jumpshot data: Pitfalls of data anonymization

              There has been a surprising development after my previous article on the topic, Avast having announced that they will terminate Jumpshot and stop selling users’ data. That’s not the end of the story however, with the Czech Office for Personal Data Protection starting an investigation into Avast’s practices. I’m very curious to see whether this investigation will confirm Avast’s claims that they were always fully compliant with the GDPR requirements. For my part, I now got a glimpse of what the Jumpshot data actually looks like. And I learned that I massively overestimated Avast’s success when anonymizing this data.

              [...]

              The data I saw was an example that Jumpshot provided to potential customers: an excerpt of real data for one week of 2019. Each record included an exact timestamp (milliseconds precision), a persistent user identifier, the platform used (desktop or mobile, which browser), the approximate geographic location (country, city and ZIP code derived from the user’s IP address), a guess for user’s gender and age group.

              What it didn’t contain was “every click, on every site.” This data sample didn’t belong to the “All Clicks Feed” which has received much media attention. Instead, it was the “Limited Insights Pro Feed” which is supposed to merely cover user’s shopping behavior: which products they looked at, what they added to the cart and whether they completed the order. All of that limited to shopping sites and grouped by country (Germany, UK and USA) as well as product category such as Shoes or Men’s Clothing.

              This doesn’t sound like there would be all too much personal data? But there is, thanks to a “referrer” field being there. This one is supposed to indicate how the user came to the shopping site, e.g. from a Google search page or by clicking an ad on another website. Given the detailed information collected by Avast, determining this referrer website should have been easy – yet Avast somehow failed this task. And so the supposed referrer is typically a completely unrelated random web page that this user visited, and sometimes not even a page but an image or JSON data.

              If you extract a list of these referrers (which I did), you see news that people read, their web mail sessions, search queries completely unrelated to shopping, and of course porn. You get a glimpse into what porn sites are most popular, what people watch there and even what they search for. For each user, the “limited insights” actually contain a tiny slice of their entire browsing behavior. Over the course of a week this exposed way too much information on some users however, and Jumpshot customers watching users over longer periods of time could learn a lot about each user even without the “All Clicks Feed.”

            • Byos Cautions RSA Conference 2020 Attendees, Travelers and General Public to “Dirty Half-Dozen” Public Wi-Fi Risks

              Byos, Inc., an endpoint security company focused on concept of Endpoint Microsegmentation through Hardware-Enforced Isolation, recommends caution for attendees of major conferences and events such as the RSA Conference 2020, a leading cybersecurity conference in San Francisco, February 24-28, and travelers in general risks of Free Wi-Fi. Many attendees will access the Internet via multiple free Wi-Fi connection points from Hotels, Airports, Coffee Shops and the Conference itself, and every free Wi-Fi access presents security risks for users that Byos calls “The Dirty Half-Dozen.”

              [...]

              The Dirty Half-Dozen risks are:

              Scanning, enumerating, and fingerprinting
              Eavesdropping
              Evil-Twin Wi-Fi
              Exploits
              Lateral network infections
              DNS hijacking

    • Defence/Aggression
      • We Talk About One U.S.-Backed Coup. Hondurans Talk About Three.

        Tracing U.S. complicity in the ongoing human rights crisis in Honduras.

      • How the UN’s Middle East Peace Plan Was Trounced by Its Own Members

        Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has delivered a dramatic condemnation of the U.S.-drafted Middle East peace plan. No country, except Israel, has approved of the proposals at any public forum.

      • Bloomberg Defied a Flight Ban to Show Support for Israel, Defended the Country Shelling a School and Killing Sleeping Children

        Bloomberg: “Unfortunately, if there are innocents getting killed at the same time it’s not Israel’s fault.”

      • UN Condemns ‘Shocking’ and ‘Terrible’ US-Backed Saudi Coalition Bombing That Killed 31 Yemeni Civilians

        “Those who continue to sell arms to the warring parties must realize that by supplying weapons for this war, they contribute to making atrocities like today’s all too common.”

      • US-Backed Saudi Airstrike Kills 31 Civilians in Yemen

        In Yemen, 31 people were killed in U.S.-backed Saudi airstrikes over the weekend, including women and children. The strikes in the northern al-Jawf province came just hours after the Houthis said they had shot down a Saudi fighter jet in the same area. The United Nations called the drone strike “shocking.” The deadly strike follows a recent uptick in violence in northern Yemen and comes as the war there hits a five-year mark. More than 100,000 have died, and far more have been displaced, since the conflict began in 2015. On Sunday, the United Nations said the Houthis and U.S.-backed Saudi and United Arab Emirates coalition had agreed to a major prisoner swap, the first of its kind in the long-running war. We speak with Shireen Al-Adeimi, a Yemeni scholar, activist, and an assistant professor at Michigan State University.

      • Assad Predicts Victory After Gains in Northern Syria

        Syrian President Bashar Assad congratulated his forces Monday for recent gains in northwestern Syria that led to his troops consolidating control over Aleppo province, pledging to press ahead with a military campaign to achieve complete victory “sooner or later.”

      • Virginia Lawmakers Reject Assault Weapon Ban

        RICHMOND, Va.  — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s push to ban the sale of assault weapons failed on Monday after some of his fellow Democrats balked at the proposal.

      • Saudi Arabia urges Germany to lift arms export ban

        The Saudi foreign minister has told a German news agency that the current export ban went against “the good relations” between the countries. Yet he also warned that Saudi Arabia is far from dependent on German arms.

      • Niger says 25 soldiers killed in latest attack blamed on jihadist militants

        The region has been in crisis since 2012 when ethnic Tuareg rebels and loosely-aligned jihadists seized the northern two-thirds of Mali, forcing France to intervene the following year to beat them back. The jihadists have since regrouped and expanded their range of influence.

      • Islamist Militant Krekar to Be Extradited From Norway to Italy

        Krekar failed to avert extradition in the Norwegian courts, and the Justice Ministry on Wednesday gave its approval.

        An appeal to the full cabinet is possible, but on past evidence is unlikely to succeed.

        Krekar has been arrested several times during his years in Norway, once for threats against Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

        Though deemed a threat to Norway’s national security, Krekar was not deported back to Iraq because authorities there could not vouch for his safety.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
      • NSA Whistleblower Reality Winner Asks Trump To Commute Her Prison Sentence

        NSA whistleblower Reality Winner submitted a petition for a commutation of her prison sentence. “The continued imprisonment of Reality Leigh Winner serves no social or preventative purpose,” the petition declares. “Her continued incarceration is costly, unnecessary to protect the public, burdensome to her health and well-being, and not commensurate with the severity of her offense.” Billie Winner-Davis, her mother, said, “I am so very happy about the filing today. For me, this means we are finally able to officially ask for Reality’s immediate release from prison.” She emphasized, “Keeping Reality in prison serves no purpose. She is not a threat or a danger and has already served so much time behind bars. She has accepted responsibility and has paid a very high price. It’s time to bring her home.”  Winner pled guilty to one count of violating the Espionage Act when she disclosed an NSA report to The Intercept.

    • Environment
      • Climate research struggles to find funding

        Climate research is the poor relation of the academic world. Since 1990 it’s won less than 5% of the research funds available.

      • “This Thing Isn’t Over Yet”: Officials Warn Flooding in Mississippi and Tennessee to Continue

        More rain is expected through Tuesday, leading officials to sound the alarm. 

      • ‘Done Playing by the Rules,’ 20 Sunrise Activists Arrested at Capitol Protest Demanding Lawmakers Back Green New Deal

        Over 150 middle- and high-schoolers gathered to demand senators “stand up or step aside” on the climate crisis.

      • A False Solution: Why Carbon Markets Don’t Work for Agriculture

        “Carbon markets will do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. All they will do is create another way for polluters to profit from their lack of environmental concern.”

      • Energy
      • Wildlife/Nature
        • Exploring the Secrets of Marsh Happiness

          NOAA research reserve scientists and partners recently published a study that examines the secret to marsh happiness. The team learned that “happy” marshes shared similar characteristics, whereas “unhappy” marshes deteriorate in diverse ways. By understanding how marshes can deteriorate so differently, coastal managers can make wiser conservation decisions.

          Published in Environmental Research Letters, the study ground-truthed previous resilience findings from the National Estuarine Research Reserve System and U.S. Geological Survey. Many partners contributed, and the authors included scientists from the Elkhorn Slough and Narragansett Bay Research Reserves.

          According to the study, “happy,” or persistent, marshes all shared common traits. What healthy marshes shared most of all was vegetation distributed on the higher end across low-to-high landscape elevations. The single most important measurement in assessing a “happy” tidal marsh is whether a sizeable proportion of its vegetation is at a high elevation in relation to current water levels. Another feature of “happy” marshes is a low percentage of unvegetated versus vegetated area in the marsh landscape.

          Characterizing an “unhappy,” deteriorating tidal marsh is more complex because marshes can fall apart in many different ways. One finding contradicted a previous assumption: namely, that gains in marsh elevation and sediment indicate greater resilience. The authors say marshes with these characteristics performed inconsistently and often signaled the muddy mess that degrading marshes can become, not marsh health.

    • Finance
      • “Democratic Socialism” – Bring it on Corporate Socialists!

        Crooked Donald Trump, the erstwhile failed gambling czar and corporate welfare king, is assailing Bernie Sanders for his “radical socialism.” How ludicrous given Trump’s three-year giveaway of taxpayer assets and authorities to giant corporations – a perfect portrait of crony capitalism.

      • Trump’s Budget Would Slash Support for Low-Income Students

        As the presidential election campaign picks up, almost every top candidate has released a plan for higher education that addresses college affordability and student debt issues. But there’s only one candidate who’s already in the White House — Donald Trump — and last week he released his plan in the form of a proposed education budget for fiscal year 2021.

      • Buttigieg Is a Wall Street Democrat Beholden to Corporate Interests

        Given his history, it is no surprise that Wall Street, Big Tech, Big Pharma, health insurers, real estate developers and private equity have decided to invest millions of dollars into Buttigieg’s campaign.

      • EU budget to introduce rule-of-law condition

        EU states, such as Hungary or Poland, who backslide on the rule of law could lose funds in future according to a compromise text agreed on Monday and seen by the Reuters news agency. “A general regime of conditionality will be introduced to tackle manifest generalised deficiencies in the good governance of Member State authorities as regards respect for the rule of law,” the draft said.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
      • Sinn Fein’s Victory is Ireland’s ‘Brexit Moment’ When Left-Out Voters Turn on the Elite

        “People wanted to kick the government and Sinn Fein provided the shoe to do the kicking,” says Christy Parker, a journalist from the beautiful but de-industrialised town of Youghal in county Cork. He speaks of the “chasm” between the elite benefiting from Ireland’s impressive economic progress and the large part of the population that has been left behind.

      • The Wall: Separating Democracy From Voters

        The mainstream media imposes some serious certainties on the 2020 presidential election that drive me into a furious despair…

      • The Democrats’ New Chapter

        Now that the impeachment of President Donald Trump hasn’t reached the Democrats’ expected goal, it is time for them to change gears facing the coming presidential elections. Until now, the Democrats have let the Republicans take the initiative, using techniques not always politically correct, or right, and in the process losing elections that they should never have lost.

      • Iran Says US Must Fix Its Own ‘Nontransparent’ and Undemocratic Elections Before Lecturing Others

        The U.S. election system “ignores the vote of the majority of people,” said Abbas Mousavi, spokesperson for Iran’s Foreign Ministry.

      • Time to Retire the “He Can’t Beat Trump” Trope

        Now that polls show Bernie Sanders the clear front-runner in this race, leading the pack by 8 points and ready to win New Hampshire, it’s time to clear up one of the main Corporate Media myths about him: that “he can’t beat Trump.”

      • The Escalating Class War Against Bernie Sanders

        In American politics, hell hath no fury like corporate power scorned.

      • Another Five Lessons for Democrats to Defeat Trump in 2020

        As part of my last two essays on how Democrats can beat President Donald J. Trump, click here and here, I’ve added another five lessons. As an independent, as noted in my last essay, I’ve consistently been critical (to the present) of Democrats and Republicans in the areas of race, class, place, immigration, etc., as documented in my most recent book on defending Latina/o immigrants. Also, since I’m offering these perils of wisdom to the Democrats on a pro bono basis, don’t blow it!

      • ‘When the 99% Stand Together, We Can Transform Society’: More Than 11,000 Rally for Sanders in Colorado

        “This is a campaign by the working class, of the working class, and for the working class,” Sanders told the crowd in Denver.

      • NEPA is Our National Defense System

        The current attack on our land didn’t originate in Russia or China; it began in Washington D.C., in January, when President Trump proposed dismantling NEPA

      • You Tube’s Trump Predicament

        It must have been a bit of a downer for the trump.  It came just three days before his acquittal of charges of misconduct that had been brought in the House and were being tried in the Senate where his acquittal by  jellyfish-like  Republicans in the United States Senate was assured.  It came just the day before he was to make his  “trumpfant” State of the Union speech in which he would brag about his accomplishments and non-accomplishments with equal ease.  It came just 2 months after YouTube made it clear that it would not ban the trump’s misleading ads on YouTube about Joe Biden.

      • After Trump Impeachment Acquittal, Dems to Largely End Investigations of President

        “House Dems did literally the narrowest possible impeachment they could. The overwhelming majority of Trump’s corruption remains uninvestigated.”

      • Trump Shoots Romney at Prayer Breakfast; GOP Shrugs

        President Donald Trump pulled out a handgun at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning and shot Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, fatally wounding him. A day earlier, Romney had become the first senator in history to vote to convict a president of his own party in an impeachment trial.

      • Bloomberg Fought Efforts to Protect Black Homeowners From Predatory Lenders

        Soon after Michael Bloomberg took office in 2002, 40 of the 51 members of the New York City Council sponsored legislation aimed at curbing the growth of predatory lending practices by banks. According to the Daily News, “thousands of homeowners” had been taking on “subprime mortgages that have hidden charges, fees and conditions that are essentially designed to force homeowners into foreclosure.”

      • After ‘Former GOP Oligarch’ Bloomberg Airs Ad Criticizing Online Vulgarity, Progressives Point to Former Mayor’s Long Record of Bigotry

        “Speaking for myself, I’d rather be insulted on Twitter by random, anonymous users (something that has happened often from non-Sanders-supporters) than subjected to stop-and-frisk, workplace harassment, indiscriminate Israeli bombing, mass surveillance, and other Bloomberg policies.”

      • Michael Bloomberg’s Racism Goes Well Beyond Stop-and-Frisk

        Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is using his billions to pay for his presidential campaign ads, blanketing television, radio and social media feeds across the country. As pundits, including CNN’s Brian Stelter, suggest, this national visibility blitz may have boosted Bloomberg’s standing in national polls; it rose to 15% in a Quinnipiac survey last week. With that polling boost however, comes an increase in media and voter scrutiny — of his mayoral policy record, his business decisions as head of Bloomberg LP and his long history of speeches and media appearances.

      • More Than 1,100 Former Justice Department Officials Want William Barr to Resign

        More than 1,100 former US Department of Justice officials called on Attorney General William P. Barr on Sunday to step down after he intervened last week to lower the Justice Department’s sentencing recommendation for President Trump’s longtime friend and political crony Roger J. Stone Jr.

      • Why Trump Justice is an Oxymoron

        Unlike Nixon, Trump won’t resign. He has too many enablers — not just a shameful attorney general but also shameless congressional Republicans — who place a lower priority on justice than on satisfying the most vindictive and paranoid occupant of the White House since Richard Milhous Nixon.

      • Trump and His Predecessors
      • Nearly 90% of Tory adverts misleading, compared to none for Labour

        A global organisation that tackles disinformation online analysed every ad promoted by the three main political parties on Facebook in the first four days of December.

        It found 5,592 adverts ran by the Tories (88%) featured claims which had already been flagged up by independent fact-checking organisations as being either not correct or not fully correct.

        At the same time, the group found Labour didn’t run a single advert that had a misleading claim.

        The Liberal Democrats had run hundreds of potentially misleading ads – namely to do with unlabelled graphs or failing to indicate source data for quoted statistics.

        By holding back on advertising during the beginning of the election campaign, and then flooding social media with thousands of highly personalised and misleading adverts, the Tories seem to be adopting a similar tactic in this election campaign to the one ran by Vote Leave in the 2016 EU referendum campaign.

    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • Anti-BDS Laws Violate Our Freedom

        Americans’ free-speech and other rights are being violated by state laws aimed at stifling the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) Movement against Israel’s illegal rule of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, both conquered over half a century ago. Twenty-eight states have enacted anti-BDS laws or executive orders that prohibit state agencies and state-financed entities, such as colleges, from doing business with any person or firm that hasn’t pledged never to boycott Israeli goods.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press
      • Julian Assange Must Be Freed, Not Betrayed: John Pilger

        The roll call of those who have not only failed Julian Assange, but actively worked to silence him, is a long one, and a very ‘Australian’ one. John Pilger explains.

      • Extradition of Assange Would Set a Dangerous Precedent

        The Trump administration is seeking extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States for trial on charges carrying 175 years in prison. On February 24, a court in the U.K. will hold a hearing to determine whether to grant Trump’s request. The treaty between the U.S. and the U.K. prohibits extradition for a “political offense.” Assange was indicted for exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is a classic political offense. Moreover, Assange’s extradition would violate the legal prohibition against sending a person to a country where he is in danger of being tortured.

      • On The Eve Of Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing, Doctors Renew Calls For His Freedom

        More than 100 doctors and psychologists from 18 different nations have renewed calls for the release of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from Belmarsh Prison in the UK.

      • Police pepper-spray anti-virus clinic protesters

        Police repeatedly deployed pepper spray against protesters in Kowloon Bay on Sunday night during a demonstration against the government’s decision to set up a coronavirus clinic in the area.

        Several reporters, including two RTHK video journalists, were struck by pepper spray even as they were complying with police demands to retreat.

      • Governments of the world just ramped up spying on reporters

        ONE DAY LAST SUMMER, I noticed that one of our Middle East correspondents was visiting the Financial Times newsroom. I’m head of cyber security at the paper, and I have found that foreign correspondents are often at the tip of the spear for strange and interesting threats. So I stopped to chat.

        The correspondent, who I will not name for reasons that will soon become clear, mentioned that in recent weeks they had been receiving mysterious WhatsApp calls. The numbers were unrecognized. Afterward, their phone battery had drained quickly. And they were sometimes unable to end other calls, because the screen seemed to freeze.

        They had been working on an investigation into surveillance on journalists and human rights activists in a particular Middle Eastern nation, and had been in contact with sources the government was hostile to. We decided the reporter was safer with a separate device for this story.

        The next morning, as I took a similar turn around the newsroom, four other correspondents reported that they, too, had had the same issue. All were either on the same desk or helping out on the same story. It is vastly unlikely that five phones would face such a specific issue at the same time by chance. This was no ordinary bug.

    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • “Just Mercy” and Justice Don’t Exist in Alabama

        The chance of there being “just mercy” for Nathaniel Woods—facing lethal injection on March 5 for the killing of three Birmingham police officers—is as good as the chance Alabama will ever reform its dismal, no-justice-to-be-found-anywhere legal system; it ain’t gonna happen.

      • Trump Wants to Inflict Severe Pain on Disabled Community Just Because He Can

        The “need” to strip benefits from poor and working people to help maintain the lifestyles of the Mar-a-Lago set is one of the fundamental principles of Donald Trump and the Republican Party. The rich always “need” more tax cuts, so when budget deficits get in the way, those at the middle and bottom are just going to have to sacrifice.

      • Lessons From Ministering on the Border

        I recently spent three weeks at the border between El Paso, Texas and Juárez, Mexico. The experience strengthened my resolve, as a person of faith and Sister of Mercy, to share more about how the situation there concerns all of us in the United States.

      • EU: Press Vietnam on Human Rights Reforms
      • Rick James Accused of Rape — 15 Years After His Death

        A woman who claims to have been raped by Rick James in 1979 is suing his estate for damages.

      • UK Government Has Our Human Rights In Its Sights

        Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s newly-announced Cabinet “reshuffle” provides fresh evidence that his government has the courts – and our human rights – firmly in its sights.

        The government’s new Attorney General Suella Braverman, its top legal adviser, is on record recently arguing that the courts’ ability to hold the government to account should be restrained, and expressing her criticism of human rights.

      • Aww Look: Nazis Getting Married
      • Should We All Be in the Streets? Let’s Talk About Protest.

        Kelly Hayes talks with L.A. Kauffman, a longtime grassroots organizer and author of the book Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism, about the history of protest movements and what the current political moment demands of us.

      • Burkina Faso: Church attack kills dozens

        Attacks targeting Christians and churches have become more frequent in Burkina Faso’s northern provinces. The West African nation is one of the poorest countries in the world and is one of several countries in the Sahel region dealing with extremist violence.

        Since 2015, around 750 people have been killed in Burkina Faso and around 600,000 have fled their homes.

      • Outcry over reports of mass assault at New Delhi women’s college

        “Men stood in gangs and ogled at women, groped them, tried to feel them up, pushed them, and touched them throughout the concert,” the statement read.

        “People formed human chains to move from one area to another. After the concert was over, the men followed women, catcalled them, and forced them to reveal their names and Instagram IDs.”

      • Books helped me get through a life sentence. Exploitative fees rob others of benefit.

        Last year, West Virginia contracted with a company, Global Tel Link (GTL), to provide free tablets to prisoners. These kinds of initiatives are rapidly becoming more popular, as states grapple with the legacy of four decades of tough-on-crime policies and renewed public calls for more rehabilitative prisons.

        And it sounds great. Until inmates realize the company charges users every time they use the tablets, including 25 cents a page for emails and 3 cents a minute to read e-books. By that calculation, most inmates would end up paying about $15 for each novel or autobiography they attempt to read. To people who have little to no money, that’s not a benefit. That’s exploitation. The only beneficiary, aside from Global Tel Link, is West Virginia, which receives 5% of the profits.

        GTL isn’t alone in profiting off of prisoners. Exploitation of prisoners for profit is cropping up more and more across the criminal justice landscape.

      • I hate to complain, but I haven’t had water in a year. A Detroit story.

        Housework is hard, though, without running water — and Akins owns one of the roughly 9,500 homes in Detroit that city records indicate remain without water after the city disconnected them for nonpayment last year.

        So every day since April, the 56-year-old with lung disease said she fills up jugs from a neighbor’s home to bathe, cook and drink, while praying regularly for relief.

        “I can’t keep living like this,” Akins told Bridge Magazine last week from the living room of her house on the city’s west side. “I hate to complain, but nobody should live without water for this long. I’ve been lugging water for so long, my arms are ready to fall off.”

      • Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan faces two new rape charges in France

        On Thursday, as Ramadan appeared before investigating magistrates in Paris, more charges were added relating to two other women who were identified by investigators from photos found on his computer.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
      • AT&T is blocking Tutanota. This shows why we must fight for net neutrality.

        Starting on January 25th 2020, we have had constant complaints from AT&T mobile users who were unable to access their encrypted Tutanota mailbox. While AT&T seemed willing to fix this when we reached out to them, the issue is still not solved and reports from users keep coming in.

        [...]

        A similar outage happened in March 2018 when Comcast temporarily blocked access to Tutanota due to a technical issue. Back then a Comcast employee connected with us via Twitter and was able to fix the issue within one day.

        The AT&T outage of Tutanota in some US regions is now ongoing for weeks.

      • Arista Networks Acquires SDN Pioneer Big Switch Networks

        Financial terms of the deal have not been publicly disclosed. As part of the acquisition, Arista is bringing in approximately 75 Big Switch employees, most of whom are from the company’s engineering division. Big Switch was founded in 2010 by by Guido Appenzeller and Kyle Forster and had raised approximately $119.5 million in venture funding.

        In a 2012 video interview with EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet Forster explained the genesis of the company and its mission, which at the time revolved around the open source OpenFlow protocol for SDN. The company expanded its focus and offerings over the years and now has two core offerings with the Big Monitoring Fabric and Big Cloud Fabric.

        Big Switch has also grown thanks in no small part to its strategic partnerships, including one with Dell Technologies.

    • Monopolies
      • [Guest post] New empirical research on Intellectual Property Litigation and Platform Regulation

        Litigation is the theme for the first part of the event, with the presentation of quantitative studies on intellectual property litigation in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, High Court of England and Wales, and Court of Justice of the European Union. Dr Sheona Burrow and Dr Elena Cooper (University of Glasgow) negotiated exclusive access to all Intellectual Property Enterprise Court Small Claims Track Court (IPEC STC) files for its first three years of operation (1 October 2012 to 31 December 2015). They explore the types of remedies commonly granted by the Court, the sums awarded and the most pertinent arguments when assembling a case. An underpinning paper was published in the journal Legal Studies: Photographic Copyright and the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court in Historical Perspective.

        Dr Georg von Graevenitz (Queen Mary, University of London) and Dr Luke McDonagh (City University) developed a dataset containing details of all court cases on copyright heard at the High Court and the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court during 2009-2015. With the support of judges at the Chancery Division – including the High Court and IPEC – the researchers used a method (capturing information on judges, parties, claims, defences, and outcomes including appeals) that had already delivered detailed data on patent cases. See Christian Helmers, Yassine Lefouili & Luke McDonagh, Evaluation of the Reforms of the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court 2010-2013 (UKIPO 2015). The new research shows that copyright is the most litigated right in the High Court (with an average of around 300 claims per annum, ahead of trade marks, patents or designs). The majority of copyright cases are taken by collecting societies PPL/PRS and FA Premier League and are settled quickly, before a court hearing.

      • EUIPO extends deadlines for Chinese parties over COVID-19 “exceptional occurrence”

        In the decision, Archambeau cited EU Regulation 2017/1001 on EU trademarks, which allows for extensions in the event of an “exceptional occurrence”.

        Archambeau said the COVID-19 epidemic, designated by the World Health Organization as a public health emergency, had disrupted “proper communication between the parties and the EUIPO”.

        The move comes as the European Patent Office (EPO) reportedly mulls postponing some oral hearings amid the coronavirus outbreak.

        “We are in close contact with our user community and will provide information whenever this becomes necessary. Such steps could also involve postponement of oral proceedings if a party is adversely affected by the outbreak,” said EPO spokesperson Luis Berenguer.

        The EPO said it would have such powers under the rules of the European Patent Convention (EPC).

      • Patents
        • European patent upheld for foundational CRISPR-Cas9 intellectual property
        • Pre-Possessory Interests in Patent Law

          A newly canonical case in property law texts is Popov v. Hayashi, 2002 WL 31833731 (Cal. Super. Dec. 18, 2002). The case involves a Barry Bonds record-setting home run baseball. Alex Popov almost caught the ball, but as it entered his glove he was immediately engulfed by the crowd of fans who were deemed an “out of control mob, engaged in violent, illegal behavior.” The ball came-out and Patrick Hayeshi (who was also knocked to the ground) picked up the ball and took possession. There was no credible evidence that Hayeshi took part in any of the violent or illegal behavior. Because of the oddity of fandom, the $6 ball was boosted to an expected value $1.5 million based upon its record-setting experience. (It was eventually sold at auction for ~$500k because of Bonds’ drop from fame).

          [...]

          Id. In the end, the two co-owners sold the ball. The case would have come out differently if Hayashi was seen as a wrongdoer (Popov would get full ownership) or if Popov had dropped the ball without being wrongfully jostled (Hayashi would get full ownership). The halfsies outcome is somewhat unusual in property law but was made easier because both parties announced they wanted to sell the ball — it was much easier to split the money rather than share possession of the ball itself.

        • Patent case: Tomra Sorting Ltd. vs. Kiremko B.V., Netherlands

          The provisions judge determined that there was a serious chance that the patent of Tomra on a self-sealing pressure release apparatus was invalid and thus did not grant a preliminary injunction to prevent marketing by Kiremko of their Strata Invicta system.

        • Valencia Court of Appeal applies the “doctrine of equivalents” in jamonero dispute

          In Odiorne v. Winkley (1814), Harvard professor Joseph Story, then sitting as a Judge at a Circuit Court of the District of Massacusetts, upon being called to decide whether a machine infringed a patent wrote, in the context of that case, that “The material question, therefore, is not whether the same elements of motion, or the same component parts are used, but whether the given effect is produced substantially by the same mode of operation, and the same combinations of powers, in both machines. Mere colorable differences, or slight improvements, cannot shake the right of the original inventor.” The latter sentence laid down one of the seeds of what would become later known as the “doctrine of equivalents”, a doctrine with which courts around the world have been struggling since then.

          On of the latest contributions to this debate from the Spanish Courts has come from the Valencia Court of Appeal, which in a judgment of 2 July 2019 applied the “doctrine of equivalents” to a case dealing with jamoneros. Readers who do not speak Spanish might be wondering what a jamonero is. It is a device used to hold a pig’s leg to safely cut the ham (“jamón“), that wonder of the Iberian Peninsula that has arrived to this day thanks to the formidable efforts of an agricultural engineer called Miguel Odriozola Pietas, who saved a bunch of Iberian pigs from a sure death in a country where people were starving during the Spanish Civil War.

        • Nokia’s first suit against Daimler dismissed

          Mannheim Regional Court has issued the first verdict in the connected cars dispute between Nokia and Daimler. The court yesterday dismissed Nokia’s suit against the car manufacturer. Nine other lawsuits are still pending. The next hearing is on 17 March in Mannheim.

          [...]

          Daimler works with Quinn Emanuel partner Marcus Grosch, having also retained the US firm’s frontman for the Broadcom case. Quinn Emanuel usually handles such lawsuits without the assistance of patent attorneys.

          Düsseldorf IP boutique Arnold Ruess is representing Nokia in the main trial against Daimler. Once again, the boutique is cooperating closely with in-house IP head, Clemens-August Heusch.

          Arnold Ruess has worked for Nokia for some time, for example in the dispute with Blackberry, settled at the end of 2018. In addition, Nokia retains Bird & Bird for infringement suits in Germany, while Hoyng ROKH Monegier has also been active for the company.

          For the lawsuits against Daimler, Nokia has retained three patent attorney firms. Samson & Partner and Cohausz & Florack regularly advise the Finnish company, but David Molnia from Munich patent attorney firm df-mp appeared publicly alongside Nokia for the first time.

          A Freshfields’ Düsseldorf team around Frank-Erich Hufnagel is advising Continental.

        • Eli Lilly claims another victory in Taltz patent battle

          The English High Court has invalidated key claims of a patent owned by Roche subsidiary Genentech, following a lawsuit filed by US rival Eli Lilly.

          Genentech had argued that Eli Lilly’s autoimmune drug Taltz (ixekizumab) infringed the patent.

          The decision was issued by deputy High Court judge Roger Wyand last Friday, February 14.

          The patent at issue in the case was European Patent (UK) No. 2784084 B, a divisional of another Genentech patent (1641822), which had already been invalidated by both the English court and the European Patent Office (EPO).

          Justice Richard Arnold of the English High Court had previously invalidated the parent ‘822 patent in March 2019, as part of a separate action brought by Eli Lilly.

          In that judgment, Arnold remarked that the case had been “one

        • Software Patents
          • KCG Technologies LLC patent determined to be likely invalid

            On February 14, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims in an IPR filed by Unified against US Patent 9,671,955, ntegrity/Availability by KCG Technologies LLC, an NPE. The ‘955 patent, generally directed to a virtual smart phones used in in-vehicle systems, has been asserted against CarMax in district court.

          • De-Coding Indian Intellectual Property Law

            Patents for Computer Related Inventions (CRIs) or “Software Patents” have, unfortunately, been an evergreen issue in India, with much confusion, lobbying, changes, misunderstandings, and anything else one could imagine, playing its role at some point or the other. As Shamnad had once written – its indeed confusingly confounding! Readers may recall a recent post which discussed the Ferid Allani order. As Sandeep Rathod helpfully pointed out in the comments on that post – that patent application has once again been rejected by the Patent Office. I had intended on writing a follow up post, but in the course of researching on that, I was diverted when I noticed that there doesn’t seem to be a single source that I could find, outlining the rickety road that CRIs have taken in India. So, here is my attempt at outlining the major pit-stops and potholes that CRIs have had the misfortune of bumbling along, in India. Wherever possible, I’ve tried providing a copy of the relevant documents as well. Comments and corrections, if any, are welcome. (At almost 3000 words, this is double the length of our usual posts. However splitting it into two parts didn’t seem to make sense, given that this is an attempt to put all this information in one place)

            [...]

            The 2004 Patents (Amendment) Ordinance and its repeal – Rejecting the dilution of S.3(k) exclusion

            Dec 27, 2004 saw the promulgation of an ordinance (PDF here) to amend the Patent Act. The ordinance proposed splitting 3(k) into two sub-sections, which would’ve effectively diluted the exclusion:

            “(k) a computer programme per se other than its technical application to industry or a combination with hardware;
            (ka) a mathematical method or a business method or algorithms;”

            The same day, the then Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mr Kamal Nath, issued what seems to be an official statement (PDF here) saying, “In IT, the trend is to have software in combination with or embedded in hardware – such as in computers or cell phones or a variety of other gadgets. Software as such has no patent protection (the protection available is by way of copyright); but the changing technological environment has made it necessary to provide for patents when software has technical applications in industry in combination with hardware. This has been a demand of NASSCOM.” ….(and later)… “We have introduced a provision for patenting of software that is embedded in hardware”

            A plain reading of the ordinance, along with the explanatory statement by the Minister, seems to indicate that there is already a split in understanding the proposed provision. On one hand, the language of the proposed amendment essentially says, there are to be no patents for computer programes as such, but patents can be granted if the subject matter is a computer programme’s technical application to industry, or a combination of software and hardware. Whereas the Minister’s statement indicates that patents can only be provided when there is technical application in combination with hardware. The minister also indicates that NASSCOM had asked for this.

            The phrases ‘in combination with hardware‘ and ‘embedded in hardware‘ seem straightforward – i.e., software alone is not patentable, but software in combination with hardware, or software embedded in hardware would be patentable (subject to the usual novelty, non-obviousness and utility standards). Certainly the drawing of specific boundaries may be a bit more difficult, but conceptually the idea seems clear. However, the meaning of the phrase ‘technical application to industry‘ seems unclear. Personally, I would imagine that any computer programme is capable of being described as having technical application. Or to phrase it in the negative: are there any computer programmes that can be posited to have absolutely no technical application to industry? I guess it would be possible if one were to narrowly construe the words ‘technical’, ‘application’, and ‘industry’.

            In any case – this ordinance was repealed a few months later, on 4th April, 2005, by the Patents (Amendment) Act, 2005. Therefore the language of S.3(k) went back to “a mathematical or business method or a computer programme per se or algorithms;”. Further, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha debate records show that the discussions were held on the topic of disapproval of the 2004 Ordinance, in combination with the discussions on the Amendment Act 2005. This, along with a return to the previous language, would indicate a clear intention of the Parliament to prevent this type of dilution of the Section 3(k) exclusion. Interestingly, in his Press note on the Patent Amendment Bill (just before it was passed as an Act), Mr Kamal Nath stated, “It is proposed to omit the clarification relating to patenting of software related inventions introduced by the Ordinance as Section 3(k) and 3 (ka). The clarification was objected to on the ground that this may give rise to monopoly of multinationals.”

          • Around the IP Blogs

            Spicy IP has published a thorough summary of the Indian position regarding patents for computer-related inventions here, including a number of useful reference documents.

          • Processing Checks and Patent Eligibility

            In the underlying litigation, the district court denied the defendant’s summary judgment motion on eligibility. Similarly, the USPTO PTAB had refused to institute a covered-business-method review on eligibility — explaining that the method of processing paper checks includes nothing “that would indicate that it is directed to an abstract idea at all.” On appeal, however, the Federal Circuit reversed — holding that the claims were directed to the abstract idea of crediting a merchant’s account as early as possible while electronically processing a check.

          • A Step-by-Step Approach to Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Reform [Ed: The patent zealots who profit from litigation are still trying to magically legalise fake patents such as algorithm patents in spite of SCOTUS determinations]

            There is a belief in some quarters that the most significant barrier to patent subject matter eligibility reform is an implacable opposition by companies in the high tech sector because those companies are convinced that the recent Supreme Court precedent (Bilski/Mayo/Alice) as interpreted by the Federal Circuit has resulted in a diminution in lawsuits by so-called “patent trolls,” non-practicing entities who accumulate patents to be asserted against these companies. Sitting in yet another patent conference, surrounded by some of the most erudite members of the patent community (judges and former judges, PTO officials current and past, distinguished patent lawyers and company IP counsel), discussing the current (parlous) state of affairs regarding patent subject matter eligibility and the inability (Federal Circuit, Congress) or unwillingness (Supreme Court) to find a solution, it is impossible not to think that the way the issue has been addressed is, at best, insufficient. If indeed the issue cannot be resolved politically between the high tech and biotech/pharma shareholders, then it seems evident that this issue — the attachment to the status quo by the high tech community because it serves their interests — must be resolved before any solution to the problem for all other technologies becomes possible.

            [...]

            ill was, as eloquently expressed by Senator Frist, because “innovations in surgical and medical procedures do not require the midwifery of patent law.” As enacted, the bill reflects a carefully crafted (“narrowly tailored”) balance between the concerns of the medical community and the patent community at large, particularly the biotechnology community. For example, “biotechnology patents” are expressly excluded from the exemption; such patents are defined (under 35 U.S.C. § 103(b)) as “a process of genetically altering of inducing a single or multi-celled organism” or “cell fusion procedures yielding a cell line that expresses a specific protein” or “methods of using a product produced” by the above processes. Also not exempt are individuals involved in the commercialization of “a machine, manufacture, or composition of matter” related to a medical activity.

      • Trademarks
        • Turkish Appeal Court rules in cow trade mark case

          In a case concerning trade mark and copyright law, the Turkish Court of Appeal has ruled that the use of a figure intensively cannot prevent the use of similar figures, as long as they are not identical.

        • Precedential No. 4: TTAB Affirms 2(a) False Association and 2(c) Consent Refusals of TRUMP-IT Logo for Utility Knives

          The Board affirmed two refusals to register each of the word+design marks shown below, for “utility knives,” finding that the marks create a false association with President Trump under Section 2(a), and further finding that because President Trump did not consent to use of his name, the marks also violated Section 2(c). The Board pointed out that it has no authority to rule on the constitutionality of the Trademark Act, but it considered and rejected applicant’s claim that Sections 2(a) and 2(c) are unconstitutional. In re ADCO Industries – Technologies, L.P., Serial Nos. 87545258 and 87545533 (February 12, 2020) [precedential] (Opinion by Judge Marc A. Bergsman).

      • Copyrights
        • China IP Forum: Pitfalls to monitor as Chinese tech firms expand globally

          In-house counsel at China Literature, SenseTime and iQiyi say copyright infringement and export control rules are keeping them awake at night

        • A copyright Snafu in the making?

          Are A&R scouts in the music industry next in the growing list of humans whose jobs are shortly to be appropriated by machine learning? Snafu Records seems to think so.

          Snafu, which is backed by various music industry bigwigs, claims to have developed an algorithm that finds new music which is off the beaten track, and which will sell.

          Sounds great. How does it work?

          As would be expected in the case of a proprietary algorithm, public details are scant. We are told that Snafu’s search software scours the far corners of the Internet (on YouTube, SoundCloud, etc.) for around 150,000 tracks per week (i.e. far more than a team of humans could). The tracks are ranked by an algorithm according to listener engagement (taking into account factors such as user comments and listener growth) and the quality of the music itself (to which we will return). A weekly shortlist of 15 to 20 songs is then reviewed by (human) record executives, and Snafu then aims to sign the best artists to contracts. The fledgling artists who are contracted receive marketing support in exchange for a share of their streaming revenues.

        • Cloudflare Blocks Access to Pirate Site For “Legal Reasons”, Displays Rare 451 Error

          CDN company Cloudflare is displaying an extremely rare ‘Error 451′ to German visitors who attempt to access a music piracy site. The message currently affecting DDL-Music.to states that the site has been rendered “Unavailable for Legal Reasons’. Contrary to Cloudflare’s own error code guide, no explanatory legal demand specifics have been published.

        • U.S. Copyright Groups Want South Africa to Ensure that 5G Doesn’t Boost Piracy

          The IIPA, which represents the MPA, RIAA, and other entertainment industry groups, sees South Africa as a major threat to its members. The group now recommends putting the country on the US Trade Representative’s Priority Watch List. Among other things, it is worried that the implementation of 4G and 5G in the country could increase piracy.

        • Time for a DMCA Overhaul? Congressional Hearings Commence

          Congress may be turning its attention to a DMCA overhaul as part of a bipartisan effort to reign in the influence and reach of leading tech companies and social media platforms. 

Is Linux Foundation a Microsoft Branch Now?

Tuesday 18th of February 2020 05:29:36 PM

Sign up with Microsoft today for better experience with the Linux Foundation (LF)?

Summary: The so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation (LF) nowadays helps Microsoft cement its monopoly — the very opposite of what ages ago it said the LF would do

SHOWN above is this page published an hour ago along with this one (same thing here, similar form). It’s yet another example of a disturbing pattern.

Last year: give us your MICROSOFT (LinkedIn) account to apply for a job!

This year: give us your MICROSOFT (GitHub) account to download the report!

Follow the money to find that in both cases Microsoft pays for it.

“Follow the money to find that in both cases Microsoft pays for it.”So they want people who apply for a job at the Linux Foundation to supply their LinkedIn account and treat nothing but Microsoft’s GitHub as though it matters or exists. Just as Microsoft would like

As a little bit of background, the press release, published at the same time, speaks of a new study, originally published here by the Core Infrastructure Initiative and in another LF site (deleted since, then reinstated later in the day).

If the LF wants to earn respect, then it must ask itself whether it’s appropriate to reinforce Microsoft monopoly. Anything to appease those sponsors ("members") with their annual fees, right?

Are Songs Property? And Maths Also Property? Artificial Monopolies Are Not Property…

Tuesday 18th of February 2020 12:09:12 PM

Published 6 days ago (on 12 February 2020)

Summary: Patent maximalists continue to face stronger arguments from their sceptics, who rightly allege that words are being intentionally misused and numbers fabricated so as to distort underlying facts

THE U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) does not deal with copyrights. That’s a separate office in the US, so the USPTO wants software developers to pursue patents, not the copyrights they already have anyway. A year ago Iancu gave the green light for examiners to more or less ignore parts of or caselaw around 35 U.S.C. § 101. Buzzwords help. Now they call algorithms and maths “property”…

“Monopoly is not property,” I told Henrion after he had said/recited that: “If intellectual property is like property, we should levy a tax on it…” (that’s a video, which we’ve added at the top)

“Now they call algorithms and maths “property”…”“The misnomers were promoted into the mainstream by plutocrats and their lawyers so as to say that “COMPETING” is “THEFT”,” I continued. He said that around the time he saw — and citing a post from last year — “Shadow writing [of] legislation” (the key bit is: “He is Vice Chair of the Intellectual Property Owners Association Section 101 Task Force and was one of the principle authors of the IPO’s proposed Section 101 legislation [] The Federal Circuit has shown significantly greater hostility to software patents than the district courts, finding ineligible subject matter in 85% of the litigated software patents.”)

Watchtroll has basically just published “Six Years After Alice: 61.8% of U.S. Patents Issued in 2019 Were ‘Software-Related’—up 21.6% from 2018″ (they wrongly try to imply that Alice somehow invalidates almost two-thirds of new patents). These sorts of distortions aren’t too uncommon.

“The CCIA’s main lobbyist against software patents has just responded to someone who cited an old article from the anti-Alice blog named after Bilski.”Many misleading numbers (lies) came from an IBM lobbyist and former employee, David Kappos. His lies — soon to be cited by Koch-backed lobbyists — contributed to the perception that past USPTO Directors are selling influence. This makes Obama look like a Trump in the sense that both appointed patent maximalists for this position (albeit to Obama’s credit he later put Michelle Lee in charge).

The CCIA’s main lobbyist against software patents has just responded to someone who cited an old article from the anti-Alice blog named after Bilski. “I hope his case analysis is more accurate than his prosecution analysis data,” he said, “which has significant errors (compounded by misuse by others who do things like describe a 101/102/112 rejected patent being abandoned as due to Alice.)”

We’ve already mentioned how the numbers have been deliberately distorted and then used to craft lies told repeatedly to politicians.

“We’ve already mentioned how the numbers have been deliberately distorted and then used to craft lies told repeatedly to politicians.”This is the kind of thing we’ve come to expect mostly from the European Patent Office (EPO) and its lobbyists in Brussels.

On Monday the EPO tweeted: “patent fact: Notice of opposition to a European patent must be filed within nine months of the patent’s grant being mentioned in the European Patent Bulletin.”

And “also prepare LOADS of money (even more in recent years) to merely stop something that should not have happened in the first place due to EPO maladministration” was my reply. Many software patents in Europe are disguised as “device” or “HEY HI” (AI) and the price of objecting is being raised, as we noted twice earlier this month.

Battistelli Blocked Techrights at EPO (Banned for More Than 5 Years), So CEIPI Won’t Respect Access to Information Either

Tuesday 18th of February 2020 11:01:23 AM

Welcome to China, I cannot read their pro-UPC tweets


Corruption can increase and perception of corruption decrease (only the latter is typically being measured) when there’s heavy censorship

Summary: The use of censorship to confront people who talk about (not even expose) corruption isn’t novel; but the adoption of this approach in Europe (not just places like Russia and China) is definitely noteworthy

THE ‘nice’ and ‘gentle’ and ‘kind’ and ‘soft’ António Campinos continues blocking us, in effect maintaining a thug‘s legacy. Don’t ever forget how he did the same at EUIPO. Nothing has actually changed at the European Patent Office (EPO) except the way the managers control the media — if not using bribes then intimidation. Apparently everything has to be ‘under control’ — not only the staff representatives but also the media. It’s appalling. It’s horrible if not horrifying that this goes on in ‘civilised’ Europe. Corruption is swept under the rug to give the false impression that all is well, enabling profound fraud to persist. Remember the Diesel scandals? How many years did those responsible manage to cruise under the radar?

Longtime readers certainly know that we used to focus on the EPO only when it concerned software patents in Europe (“as such”). 6 years ago things took a turn for the worse and media (or blogs) started talking about serious scandals. And sure, some of those who talked about it have since then been removed. Money talks and those who speak (or talk) about corruption can be ousted by those with the money. As the old saying goes, “follow the money…”

“6 years ago things took a turn for the worse and media (or blogs) started talking about serious scandals.”Ask WIPO whistleblowers what happened to them and how media responded to revelations. It mirrors much of what we’ve seen in the EPO and IP Kat, which used to write about EPO corruption (different people), has just published this ad for WIPO. IP Kat has in many ways become the opposite of what it used to be. WIPO does not even care about its own employees. It can only ever pretend to respect tribes and such… (this is what IP Kat helps convey with this ad)

Anyway, someone told us that today there will be an “important PR to kill the UPC as-is”. We recently wrote about a bunch of delusional pieces about the UPC — a subject overlooked or distorted by so-called ‘news’ sites (press releases for the rich with vested interests).

WIPO — and sometimes by extension the UN — promotes “HEY HI” (AI) hype constantly in order to defend bogus software patents (Watchtroll published as recently as yesterday an article entitled “WIPO and U.S. Copyright Office Team Up to Talk Copyright in the Age of AI”) and days ago an EPO mouthpiece (that’s what it became in recent years), World Intellectual Property [sic] Review (WIPR), advertised an event designed to help EPO with software patents propaganda under the guise of “HEY HI” (AI).

“We recently wrote about a bunch of delusional pieces about the UPC — a subject overlooked or distorted by so-called ‘news’ sites (press releases for the rich with vested interests).”Edward Pearcey wrote: “AI-powered machines and software are still reliant on human beings for their existence and development because, for now, we still need to write the code and manufacture the parts.”

This is their typical new trick. Fake/software patents are disguised by the USPTO’s Deputy Director as “MEDICAL” and “HEY HI” as recently as days ago (all the same old tricks, plus a spice of new buzzwords).

There’s also this bit/question: “How many of you think that an AI machine that contributes to the conception of a drug discovery process should be allowed to be an inventor on a patent?”

“Incidentally, our reach to people is being suppressed by those who wish to limit access to different/opposing views.”We’ve recently relegated many items about EPO — notably repetitive things about CRISPR, DABUS and Brexit — to Daily Links. Not much substance in these anymore; just shameless self-promotional spam from law firms.

The Web site “Life Sciences Intellectual Property [sic] Review,” for instance, not only does lobbying for patents on life and nature; it turns out (we’ve checked) it’s also a ‘spam farm’ with ridiculous statements/recruitment fluff of law firms. Why does Google News syndicate such stuff? Ridiculous. Cruft.

“Shortly after responding to this (maybe two minutes) not only did I find that I had been blocked; Twitter apparently blocked all subsequent tweets (about entirely different subjects!) for about an hour.”Incidentally, our reach to people is being suppressed by those who wish to limit access to different/opposing views. CEIPI — which is run by the person who hopes to control UPC (Battistelli) — is still pushing this dead thing (UPC won’t be happening). Earlier today I asked, “is CEIPI a law school or organised crime?” Its affiliation with Battistelli at the top does not help, nor does this new tweet which says: “Enrolment is open for the 2020 edition of the #CEIPI #Training Program on the #UnifiedPatentCourt which will take place in Strasbourg on March 13-14 & April 17-18.”

Shortly after responding to this (maybe two minutes) not only did I find that I had been blocked; Twitter apparently blocked all subsequent tweets (about entirely different subjects!) for about an hour. They must have reported me or something…

So the institution which is run by Battistelli (and was prior to that run by Campinos) has just blocked me in Twitter…

“Not even the EPO’s Twitter account, which I responded to many times for years, resorted to this.”Do I receive a badge of honour or something?

Not even the EPO’s Twitter account, which I responded to many times for years, resorted to this.

Welcome to Europe. It’s almost like China. Maybe soon they’ll also try to abduct me from my home. For ‘causing unrest’ or something along those lines… (in China the pretexts are always intentionally vague and voices are being ‘removed’ or ‘disappeared’ while the regime comes up with plausible-sounding excuses that don’t convince the incredulous public)

Links 18/2/2020: Linux 5.6 RC2, Wine 5.2, GNU Social Contract and Sparky 2020.02 Special Editions

Tuesday 18th of February 2020 05:27:25 AM

Contents
  • GNU/Linux
    • South Korea’s Government Aims to Drop Windows in Favor of Linux

      It is interesting to see different governments handle their computer-based needs. In South Korea, Microsoft Windows will be removed from government computers fairly soon. Instead, the operating system will be Linux, albeit it is unclear which distribution will be used.

      A total of 3.3. million devices will be upgraded by year’s end.

      The main objective of this switch is to handle the lack of support for Windows 7.

      Rather than paying a hefty fee for licenses to upgrade, switching to Linux makes a lot more sense.

    • OnMSFT.com – What we use [Ed: "On Microsoft" is actually... not on Microsoft. It's on GNU/Linux.]

      OnMSFT runs Ubuntu 18.04 and Nginx…

    • Desktop/Laptop
      • Microsoft Warning Issued For Millions Of Windows 10 Users

        Proactive users can also download the Windows Update troubleshooter, which will allow you to hide problematic updates and prevent them from reinstalling. As things stand, it is fast becoming essential software for all Windows 10 users.

        This week Microsoft demonstrated the future of Windows updates. The advances target a new generation of dual-screen devices and are not meant for the millions of existing Windows 10 PCs and laptops. Meanwhile, long-overdue Windows 10 update improvements were suddenly shelved.

        Microsoft, it is time to prioritize the present.

      • This $200 Laptop Is Like a Chromebook You Can Hack

        For some reason, despite the fact that our devices can seemingly do anything with an impressive level of polish, there are folks who want to learn from the tech they use.

        They want a challenge—and an adventure. I think I’ve learned over the last year or two that I’m one of those people. I primarily like using Hackintoshes despite the fact that the machines are intended for Windows, and I will mess with old pieces of computing history just to see if they uncover new ways of thinking about things.

        So when I heard about the Pinebook Pro, I was in. Here was a laptop built on the same ARM architecture primarily used for smartphones and internet-of-things devices, and designed to run Linux. Is it for everyone?

        Maybe not. But, if you love an adventure, you should be excited about what it represents.

      • Thanks to Linux, I just installed a pro-level video editor on my Chromebook

        We’re constantly looking around for new tricks to make our Chromebooks even more capable than they’ve already become over the past couple of years. Every day, there are fewer use-cases where a Windows or Mac device is a necessity and we truly believe that Chrome OS will eventually offer comparable alternatives to that narrowing space. If there is one product, in particular, that Chrome OS will need to figure out, it’s video editing. Sure, there are great online products like WeVideo for lightweight projects and you can even find some pretty good video editing platforms in the Google Play Store but what we’re talking about is serious, high-octane editing that’s worthy of a Hollywood studio. (Well, a low-budget studio maybe.)

    • Audiocasts/Shows
      • Linux Action News 145

        The week was packed with major project releases, we go through each of them and tell you what stands out.

        Plus an update from Essential, and NetBSD’s first big ask in ten years.

      • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 183 – The great working from home experiment

        Josh and Kurt talk about a huge working from home experiment because of the the Coronavirus. We also discuss some of the advice going on around the outbreak, as well as how humans are incredibly good at ignoring good advice, often to their own peril. Also an airplane wheel falls off.

      • Late Night Linux – Episode 83

        Joe has been playing with a PinePhone for a week and gives an honest appraisal. Plus Will’s simple solution to his Mac woes, switching to Linux and a community crowdfunder in the news, and a packed KDE Korner.

      • 2020-02-17 | Linux Headlines

        Two separate VPN companies have recently open-sourced client software, and updates to some beloved projects.

      • Change Desktop Environments on Linux

        Let’s go over what it takes to switch your desktop on Linux change it from KDE, GNOME, XFCE, MATE, Cinnamon, LXQt, etc.

    • Kernel Space
      • Linux 5.6-rc2 More than halt the rc2 patch is actually Documentaiton updates, because the kvm docs got turned into RST. Another notable chunk is just tooling updates, which is about 50/50 perf updates (much of it due to header file syncing) and - again - kvm updates. But if you ignore those parts, and look at only the actual kernel code updates, things look a bit calmer. The bulk ends up being network driver updates (intel "ice" driver - E800 series - stands out) with GPU updates a close second (i915, amd, panfrost). There's a few other driver updates in there too, but they are mostly hidden in the noise compared to the network and gpu subsystems: rdma, sound, acpi, block, gpio etc. Outside of drivers, there's the usual smattering of changes all over. Filesystems (nfs, ext4, ceph, cifs, btrfs), architecture updates (x86, arm), and some core code (scheduling, tracing, networking, io_uring). The shortlog is appended, you can get a feel for the details by scanning it. Go forth and test, Linus
      • Linux 5.6-rc2 Released – Led By Documentation + Tooling Updates
      • Kernel prepatch 5.6-rc2

        The 5.6-rc2 kernel prepatch is out for testing.

      • Fwupd 1.3.8 Brings More Improvements For Firmware Updating On Linux Systems

        Red Hat’s Richard Hughes has released Fwupd 1.3.8 as the latest version of this Linux utility for performing firmware updates of various system components.

        With the meteoric rise of Fwupd and LVFS, more Fwupd releases are having to deal with quirks and other peculiarities of different hardware components seeing Fwupd support and v1.3.8 is no different. Fwupd 1.3.8 adds a plug-in to support updating the power delivery controllers by Fresco Logic, a fix for Synaptics multi-stream transport devices, various EFI fixes/improvements, more parent devices are detected for different Lenovo USB hubs, support for GNUEFI file locations, and other fixes.

      • Linux 5.7 Staging Will Be ~28.7k Lines Of Code Lighter Thanks To Nuking WUSB + UWB

        With the Linux 5.7 kernel cycle in two months there is some “spring cleaning” within the staging area that is leading to almost twenty-nine thousand lines of code being removed thanks to removing a deprecated feature.

        Last year we reported on Linux deprecating Wireless USB and Ultra Wideband subsystems. That WUSB and UWB code was demoted after being orphaned without a code maintainer for years with Wireless USB really not being popular in an era of Bluetooth and WiFi advancements. With no one having expressed concern or stepping up to maintain the code since deprecating WUSB and UWB, the code is now set to be removed with Linux 5.7.

      • Graphics Stack
        • Nouveau Gallium3D Finally Seeing Mesa Shader Disk Cache For Faster Game Load Times

          While the open-source Intel and Radeon OpenGL drivers within Mesa have long employed an on-disk shader cache to help with game load times by being able to load previously compiled shaders from disk, the Nouveau “NVC0″ Gallium3D driver is on the heels of finally seeing similar support.

          Nouveau saw a TGSI shader cache a few years ago while now it’s finally seeing support for caching the compiled shaders.

        • LavaLauncher 1.6 Released As A Simple Dock/Launcher For Wayland

          If you have been looking for a simple dock/launcher that natively supports Wayland, LavaLauncher 1.6 is available as one such solution.

          LavaLauncher is a simple Wayland-only launcher that allows placing the dynamically sized bar against any screen edge. Unlike most launchers, LavaLauncher doesn’t rely upon .desktop files but allows specifying a path to an arbitrary image and the associated shell command to run, allowing for it to be quite extensible than just showing .desktop files for launch applications.

        • Lima Gallium3D Driver Picks Up Multi-Submit Optimization In Mesa 20.1

          Lima in Mesa 20.1-devel now can handle multi-submit support for greater efficiency in handling of multiple OpenGL frame-buffer objects (FBOs). This should allow for greater efficiency/performance in the likes of the X.Org Server or Wayland compositors and avoiding flush-reload costs when switching between FBOs. No hard numbers, however, were provided for the multi-submit benefits to expect.

        • RADV Vulkan Driver Makes A Few More Improvements For GCN 1.0/1.1 Hardware

          Valve open-source driver developer Samuel Pitoiset has contributed some improvements to Mesa 20.1′s Radeon Vulkan “RADV” driver benefiting GCN 1.0/1.1 graphics cards.

          These original GCN graphics cards are compatible with the RADV driver but require first switching the kernel driver from the default Radeon DRM driver over to the AMDGPU driver, normally via the radeon.si_support=0 radeon.cik_support=0 amdgpu.si_support=1 amdgpu.cik_support=1 kernel flags. After doing so, RADV has tended to work well with these aging GCN graphics cards — especially more recently with the RADV ACO back-end now working back to GCN 1.0 for offering better performance.

    • Benchmarks
      • Windows 10 vs. Eight Linux Distributions On The Threadripper 3970X

        When taking the geometric mean of all these benchmark results, the Windows 10 Professional performance was the same as Windows 10 Enterprise for this Threadripper 3970X testing, unlike the Enterprise advantage we’ve seen on the larger Threadripper 3990X. The slowest of the eight Linux distributions tested was the Ubuntu 20.04 development snapshot, but that still came out to be 9.5% faster than Windows 10. The fastest Linux distribution was Clear Linux on the Threadripper 3970X with a 19% over Windows in these cross-platform benchmarks. Following Clear Linux with a strong showing was the new rolling-release CentOS Stream.

      • AMD Says Reviews Are Wrong – Windows 10 Pro (and Linux) Is Good Enough for Threadripper 3990X

        As a result, higher editions of Windows 10 like Windows 10 Pro for Workstations and Windows 10 for Enterprise seemed to be the answer along with Linux.

    • Applications
      • Linux Candy: xcowsay – displays a cow on your desktop with message

        Who loves eye candy? Don’t be shy — you can raise both hands!!

        Linux Candy is a series of articles covering interesting eye candy software. We’re only featuring open-source software in this series.

        If you spend all day embroiled in data science, learning a new programming language, sit in countless meetings wishing you were anywhere else, you’ll need some light relief at the end of the day. And what better way by making your desktop environment a bit more fun.

        You might have heard of cowsay, software that generates ASCII pictures of a cow with a message. cowsay isn’t limited to cow depictions, it also shows other animals, including Tux the Penguin.

        For this article, we’re looking at a different take on cowsay. It goes by the name xcowsay. This program displays a cute graphical cow and speech bubble. The program was first started over 12 years ago, but it’s still under active development, with a new release published only last week.

      • Release Roundup: MyPaint 2.0.0, Blender 2.82, cheat 3.6.0, Gammy 0.9.56 and Drawing 0.4.11

        3 years after the previous stable release, MyPaint 2.0.0 was released over the weekend with a new layer mode and a different composition method by default. Also, the application was ported to Python3, although it still works with Python2 too.

        MyPaint is a free, open source drawing and painting program available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. The application features infinite canvas, configurable brushes, graphics tablet support, and a distraction-free fullscreen mode, on top of a simple GTK+ 3 interface. It uses Open Raster as its default file format, but it also supports saving images to PNG or JPEG.

      • MyPaint 2.0 Released with New Layer Mode, Linear Compositing

        MyPaint 2.0, free open-source raster graphics editor for digital painters, was finally released after more than a year of development.

        MyPaint 2.0 is a new major release that features a new layer mode and uses linear compositing by default.

      • Best Wallpaper Slideshow Apps for Linux

        Many Linux users love to customize and personalize their desktop environment. Linux offers plenty of choices to customize almost every part of the desktop including automatic switching of desktop background at periodic intervals. This article will list some wallpaper slideshow apps that can find and apply desktop backgrounds automatically based on your interests.

      • Second Shortwave Beta

        Today I can finally announce the second Shortwave Beta release! I planned to release it earlier, but unfortunately the last few weeks were a bit busy for me.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Wine or Emulation
      • Wine Announcement

        The Wine development release 5.2 is now available.

        What’s new in this release (see below for details):
        - More compatible codepage mapping tables.
        - Support for using the null display driver as a real driver.
        - Better UTF-8 support in the Resource and Message Compilers.
        - Fixes for using ucrtbase as C runtime.
        - Various bug fixes.

        The source is available from the following locations…

      • Wine 5.2 With Better Handling For The Null Display Driver, UTF-8 Support
      • The Wine 5.2 development release is out
      • Wine 5.2 Released with Better Support for Multiple Steam Games

        The Wine 5.2 development release is here with another set of bug fixes towards the next major release of the open-source compatibility layer for running Windows apps on Linux and UNIX systems.

        The bi-weekly development cycle continues after Wine 5.1, and Wine 5.2 fixes more crashes and other issues that may block users from using certain Windows apps and games on their GNU/Linux distributions. However, you should keep in mind that this is an unstable release that may not work as expected.

        [...]

        Also improved is support for multiple Steam games that failed to install the DirectX runtime prerequisite, which resulted in an install loop on startup. Wine 5.2 also implements GPU information for the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB graphics card.

        Furthermore, Wine 5.2 improves support for several Windows apps, including Affinity Photo 1.7.2 (Trial), Arturia MIDI Control Center, Cadence Allegro Professional 16.6, Free PDF to Word Doc Converter, Lotus Approach, Mozilla Firefox 72.0.*, OllyDbg 2.x, PDF-XChange Viewer 2.5.213, SumatraPDF 3.1.2, and Verbum 8.

    • Games
      • Do a little quiet ocean exploration in the new ‘Aquamarine’ demo

        Now fully funded on Kickstarter with 8 days to go, Aquamarine has a demo out so you can have a go at this quiet survival adventure about perception and discovery in an alien ocean.

        A small-scale, story-driven game inspired largely by the psychedelic sci-fi of the ’70s and ’80s, Aquamarine combines old-school roguelikes and the survival genre with the exploration and puzzle solving of classic point-and-click adventures.

      • Humble Store has a big sale going on some top indie games

        Another week, another sale begins. Humble Store are running a third edition of their Indie Hits Sale with some really popular titles with big discounts.

      • Paradox have updated their handy launcher – should help Linux gamers too

        Paradox have released a new version of their game launcher, the screen that appears when you load most of their modern games to give a few little handy features.

        Not to be confused with the standalone Paradox Launcher you can download from their store (Paradox need a better naming scheme…), this is the application you see when you load up Stellaris, Cities: Skylines, Prison Architect and so on. Today “2020.2 – The Palindromic Version” was released.

      • The latest update and brand new trailer for ‘Vintage Story’ look fantastic

        With a survival experience that’s so crammed full of features you’re likely to get lost for weeks, Vintage Story has always looked pretty good. Recently though? They turned it up a notch or two.

        Version 1.12 went out this month as a major update focused on adding more visual flair including new animations, more reflective surfaces, a new personal-damage overlay effect, a rework of clouds (and they sure do look pretty), cold regions will see an aurora borealis effect, armour stands, performance improvements and various other tweaks to really make it something quite special.

      • If you think you were done with RimWorld think again – the 1.1 update is in Beta

        Adding in a ton of new content, adjustments and fixed – RimWorld 1.1 is now available in Beta to suck you back into building a colony. While RimWorld was done and released in full back in 2018, they’re clearly not done with it.

        One big improvement will be for players that have high resolution monitors, as the UI should now look good even at 4K. There’s a new Quests tab to give you info on available, active and previous quests as well to help you not get lost. Modding sees improvements too with “a new data-driven quests generation and management system” so apparently modders can add or change quests “without programming” and there’s also improvements done to clean up the mod management interface.

      • Open source modern Caesar III game engine ‘Julius’ has a fresh release up

        Get ready to build a city with the classic Caesar III, as the developer behind the open source game engine Julius tagged a big new release.

        Some nice new features were added this time with a new full-city screenshot feature set to Ctrl+F12, it will be a big file of course but it’s such a fun feature. A good way to show off all that time you spent. You can also now enable a monthly auto-save, to ensure no lost progress.

      • Unique deck-builder ‘Faeria’ has a huge patch out with gamepad support

        A few bits of interesting news to talk about for Faeria, a deck-builder with a unique board-building mechanic as it just got a huge update.

        One of the major new systems introduced is a player reporting mechanic, so you can report naughty people. You will find this as an option in-game in the friends list, as recent players appear there. There’s also new music, a dynamic music system was added so during battles music will change depending on what’s happening too which is quite cool and spices it up a little. There’s also in-game leaderboards, new special PvP maps, in-game DLC display and controller support.

      • Bee-themed management sim ‘Hive Time’ has a new amusing trailer

        Released back in December, Hive Time is the rather sweet Bee hive building and management sim from our contributor Cheeseness and it has a new trailer out.

        Telling a short tale of a busy hive while introducing a worker Bee named Penelope, it’s actually quite an amusing little trailer that would have sold me on the game if I wasn’t already enjoying it.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • SD Times news digest: Visual Studio Code CMake Tools extension, Snowflakes’ $479 million funding, and KDevelop 5.5

          KDevelop 5.5

          KDevelop 5.5 has been released with improved C++, PHP, and Python language support.

          It also brings together improvements in stability, performance, and future maintainability.

          The full list of additions and changes in the new release is available here.

          KDE Frameworks 5.67.0

          The new release includes over 70 addon libraries to Qt, which provide commonly-needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms.

          The new version also allows users to port away from many Qt 5.15 deprecated methods, migrate config from KConfig to KConfigXt to allow KCM to use it. It also allows users to create Breeze style Kate icons that are based on a new design by Tyson Tan.

        • Cutelyst 2.10.0 and SimpleMail v2 released!

          Cutelyst the C++/Qt Web framework and SimpleMailQt just got new releases.

          Cutelyst received many important bugfixes and if you are compiling it with View::Email it also requires SimpleMail 2, the latter got an Async API which is on production for a few months, allowing for a non-blocking send mail experience.

        • Okular is an open source universal document viewer for Windows, Linux and macOS

          Wouldn’t it be nice if you had one program to view them all? That’s exactly what Okular does. It’s an open source universal document viewer for Windows, Linux and macOS. The program is made by KDE, a name Linux users should be familiar with, among other creations they are the ones behind the popular Kubuntu (Ubuntu + KDE Software) distro.

          Let’s begin touring the interface. The sidepanel on the left can be used to jump to the Contents, Thumbnails, Reviews and Bookmarks sections. Select one of the options and the list of corresponding items are displayed in the panel to the right of the sidebar.

          The Contents option lists each section/chapter in a document, along with the sub-items, page numbers, etc. The Thumbnail mode pane displays a preview of each page in the document, you can scroll through it and click to go to the selected page. The Reviews pane contain the annotations that have been made on the document. If you don’t have any, you can add some by hitting the F6 key or from the Tools menu > Review. Bookmarks are custom links that you have added, i.e., if you bookmark a page it will be displayed in the side-panel for future reference. Hit Ctrl + B to bookmark a page.

        • FOSDEM & Plasma Mobile Sprint

          Last week I decided to take KDE Itinerary for a test tour. Between the train rides there was also time for some KDE stuff.

          FOSDEM

          After writing an exam on Friday afternoon I took a train to Frankfurt. I did so not to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the area around Frankfurt central station at night but to be able to catch an early train towards Bruxelles for my first time at FOSDEM.

          It has been a great experience to meet so many people interested in what KDE does at the KDE booth. It also was awesome to meet all the folks that are working hard on making Linux on the phone become a thing.

        • Plasma 5.18 LTS review – The good, the bad … and yeah

          Here we go. The KDE team has released the latest version of Plasma, numbered 5.18. This also happens to be a Long Term Support (LTS) release, which in Plasma parlance means two years of support. Since I’m an avid user, and even have Plasma deployed in my production setup via Kubuntu 18.04 running on a Slimbook Pro2, it’s time to set scopes on the future, and see what gives.

          I did my testing on Lenovo G50, which happens to be my hardware scapegoat de jour. Also, I have KDE neon installed there, Developer Edition (Stable), so I get to see all the little changes and fixes and whatnot almost as soon as they are introduced. This means I had a chance to sample Plasma 5.18 since the earliest build, and now that we have the official release, I must share me experience. Avanti.

        • GCompris an educational suite for the youngest in the family

          GCompris is an educational suite that offers more than 100 activities for children from 2 to 10 years old. Some activities are game-oriented, but still educational. Here is a list of activity categories with some examples:

          Discovering the computer: keyboard, mouse, touch screen…
          Reading: letters, words, reading practice, typing text…

        • Season of KDE

          Since my last blog, I got really busy with my college and got less time to work on the website. I took some screenshots whenever I got the time and planned the work to be done.

          After 40 about days of coding, taking screenshots, writing documentation, the caligra website is ready, Well almost ready. The only thing that remains is the component selector in the navbar. The task of adding the selector is not that difficult, the difficult part was to add it to the KDE Jekyll theme so that it could be used by all websites old and new.

          I have managed to complete the task and submitted a merge request on the jekyll theme repository. My mentor will check it and hopefully it gets merged soon.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK
        • Revival of Getting Things GNOME: survey results and first status update

          Ever since my previous blogging frenzy where I laid bare the secret to my productivity, formulated my typology of workers, and published a survey to evaluate the revival potential for Getting Things GNOME, I’m sure y’all have been dying to know what were the outcomes of that survey, and how the GTG project is doing.

    • Distributions
      • Reviews
        • Calculate Linux 20

          Calculate Linux released version 20 at the end of 2019 with major updates and is based off Gentoo. Calculate Linux Desktop (CLD) includes a wizard to configure a connection to Calculate Directory Server. According to their download page, “Calculate Linux Desktop is listed in the Russian Software Register.” To sum that up, CLD is a distro from Russia, based off Gentoo, and designed to connect to a Calculate Directory Server. What is a Calculate Directory Server? Well according to their website, “Calculate Directory Server (CDS) is an advanced, LDAP-based authentication server designed to be a domain controller for business networks.”

        • Linux distro review: Intel’s own Clear Linux OS

          Intel’s Clear Linux distribution has been getting a lot of attention lately, due to its incongruously high benchmark performance. Although the distribution was created and is managed by Intel, even AMD recommends running benchmarks of its new CPUs under Clear Linux in order to get the highest scores.

          Recently at Phoronix, Michael Larabel tested a Threadripper 3990X system using nine different Linux distros, one of which was Clear Linux—and Intel’s distribution got three times as many first-place results as any other distro tested. When attempting to conglomerate all test results into a single geometric mean, Larabel found that the distribution’s results were, on average, 14% faster than the slowest distributions tested (CentOS 8 and Ubuntu 18.04.3).

          There’s not much question that Clear Linux is your best bet if you want to turn in the best possible benchmark numbers. The question not addressed here is, what’s it like to run Clear Linux as a daily driver? We were curious, so we took it for a spin.

      • New Releases
        • MX Linux 19.1 released with bugfixes and updated apps

          Popular Linux distro MX Linux received a point update 19.1 over the weekend with a plethora of application updates and bugfixes. This is the first update to the MX Linux 19 “Patito Feo” series. The release is the first with the antiX repository disabled.

        • Q4OS 4.0 “Gemini” Enters Development Based on Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye”

          For a long time, Q4OS has tried to keep the spirit of the old-school KDE 3.5 desktop environment series alive by shipping with the awesome Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) by default. But the current stable series, Q4OS 3.x “Centaurus”, also includes the more modern KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment alongside TDE to give users more options for tailoring their PCs to their needs.

          Based on the upcoming Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye” operating system series, Q4OS 4.0 “Gemini” is now in development and uses the KDE Plasma 5.14.5 desktop environment by default. Therefore, it is using software packages from the Debian Testing repositories.

      • BSD
        • NetBSD 9.0 released

          Significant new features include Arm64 support, better virtualization support, kernel address-space layout randomization, and more; see the release notes for details.

        • OpenSSH Now Supports FIDO/U2F Security Keys

          OpenSSH is, by far, the single most popular tool for logging into remote servers and desktops. SSH logins are generally considered fairly safe, but not 100%. If you’re not satisfied with the out the box security offered by OpenSSH, you can always opt to go with SSH key authentication. If that’s not enough, there’s always 2 Factor Authentication, which would then require you to enter a PIN generated by an application such as OTPClient or Authy.

          As of OpenSSH 8.2, there’s a newly supported option, FIDO/U2F security keys. What this means is that you can now use 2FA hardware keys (such as the Yubi Key) to authenticate your SSH login attempt.

          2FA is often considered the easiest method of adding an additional layer of security to SSH logins. However, for many, Hardware Keys are considered the single most secure means of preventing hackers from brute-forcing your SSH passwords. To make things easy, the OpenSSH developers have made it possible to generate a FIDO token-backed key using the ssh-keygen command. So anyone used to creating SSH keys shouldn’t have any problem getting up to speed with integrating hardware keys into SSH.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts
      • Arch Family
      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora
        • Want to be an innovative company? Adopt enterprise open source

          Nearly all IT professionals (95%) agree that enterprise open source is important, with 75% of professionals citing it as “extremely important,” a Red Hat report found. Enterprise open source isn’t just a trend, but a growing movement, as 77% of respondents expect their organizations to increase open source use in the next 12 months.

          “Historically, open source was seen [mainly] in web infrastructure,” said Gordon Haff, Red Hat technology evangelist. “What you’re seeing today is how open source is becoming a space where companies and individuals come together to collaborate in new areas of technology.”

        • Fedora 32 Gnome 3.36 Test Day 2020-02-20

          Thursday, 2020-02-20 is the Fedora 32 Gnome Test Day! As part of changes Gnome 3.36 in Fedora 32, we need your help to test if everything runs smoothly!

        • The State of Enterprise Open Source 2020: Enterprise open source use rises, proprietary software declines

          Last year we set out to determine how IT leaders think about open source, why they choose it and what they intend to do with it in the future. The result was The 2019 State of Enterprise Open Source: A Red Hat Report, and the findings were clear and confirmed what we see happening in the industry. Enterprise open source has become a default choice of IT departments around the world and organizations are using open source in categories that have historically been more associated with proprietary technology.

          Headed into the second year of the survey, we had a new directive in mind. We wanted to dive deeper into how IT leaders’ intentions and usage have changed. We surveyed 950 IT leaders in four regions. Respondents had to have some familiarity with enterprise open source and have at least 1% Linux installed at their organization. Respondents were not necessarily Red Hat customers and were unaware that Red Hat was the sponsor of this survey. This allowed us to get a more honest and broad view of the true state of enterprise open source.

        • Manage application programming interfaces to drive new revenue for service providers

          Telecommunications service providers have valuable assets that can be exposed, secured, and monetized via API-centric agile integration. They can derive additional value from new assets, developed internally or through partners and third parties and integrated in a similar way with OSS and BSS systems.

          Service providers can open new revenue paths if they enhance the value they deliver to customers and to their partner- and developer-ecosystems. APIs can help them accomplish this goal. Services that providers can potentially offer with APIs include direct carrier billing, mobile health services, augmented reality, geofencing, IoT applications, and more. Mobile connectivity, for example, is key to powering IoT applications and devices, giving service providers an inside track to provide APIs to access network information for IoT services. In mobile health, APIs can serve as the link between the customer and healthcare partners through the user’s smartphone.

          Embracing this API-centric approach, service providers can realize increased agility by treating OSS/BSS building blocks as components that can be reused again and again. They may also innovate faster by giving partners controlled access to data and services, expand their ecosystem by improving partner and third-party collaboration, and generate more revenue through new direct and indirect channels.

      • Debian Family
        • Sparky 2020.02 Special Editions

          Special editions of Sparky 2020.02 “Po Tolo” of the (semi-)rolling line: GameOver, Multimedia & Rescue have been released. It is based on the testing branch of Debian “Bullseye”.

          GameOver Edition features a very large number of preinstalled games, useful tools and scripts. It’s targeted to gamers.

          Multimedia Edition features a large set of tools for creating and editing graphics, audio, video and HTML pages.

          The live system of Rescue Edition contains a large set of tools for scanning and fixing files, partitions and operating systems installed on hard drives.

        • SnowCamp 2020

          This is just a late reminder that there are still some seats available for SnowCamp, taking place at the end of this week and during the whole weekend somewhere in the Italian mountains.

          I believe it will be a really nice opportunity to hack on Debian things and thus I’d hope that there won’t be empty seats, though atm this is the case.

        • Ben Armstrong: Introducing Dronefly, a Discord bot for naturalists

          In the past few years, since first leaving Debian as a free software developer in 2016, I’ve taken up some new hobbies, or more accurately, renewed my interest in some old ones.

          During that hiatus, I also quietly un-retired from Debian, anticipating there would be some way to contribute to the project in these new areas of interest. That’s still an idea looking for the right opportunity to present itself, not to mention the available time to get involved again.

          With age comes an increasing clamor of complaints from your body when you have a sedentary job in front of a screen, and hobbies that rarely take you away from it. You can’t just plunk down in front of a screen and do computer stuff non-stop & just bounce back again at the start of each new day. So in the past several years, getting outside more started to improve my well-being and address those complaints. That revived an old interest in me: nature photography. That, in turn, landed me at iNaturalist, re-ignited my childhood love of learning about the natural world, & hooked me on a regular habit of making observations & uploading them to iNat ever since.

          Second, back in the late nineties, I wrote a little library loans renewal reminder project in Python. Python was a pleasure to work with, but that project never took off and soon was forgotten. Now once again, decades later, Python is a delight to be writing in, with its focus on writing readable code & backed by a strong culture of education.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Private Internet Access Open Sources its Android VPN App

        Private Internet Access (PIA) has announced its decision to open-source its Android VPN app, including the dependencies of the software. As they point out, this was made in the context of proving their commitment to privacy and transparency, so they are releasing the code for the FOSS community to review. The repositories containing the source code to the app will be rolled out gradually over the next couple of weeks, starting with the Android OpenVPN repository today. This is in line with the company’s 2018 plan to open source all of its VPN clients, and follows a similar action that they took for the desktop client (both PC and Apple), and also for the Chrome and Firefox extensions.

        Three weeks ago, ProtonVPN made a similar move by open-sourcing its software and calling the Free Software community to look deeper into their code. This definitely builds a trust relationship with the users, and also helps the vendor’s spot any privacy or security vulnerabilities that may have slipped through the cracks. Sure, appointing firms to conduct audits is a way to find and iron out any issues, but the FOSS community is large, and the benefits of having hundreds or even thousands look deeply into your code are undeniable.

      • Open Source DevOps Vendor Chef Launches Its First Channel Program
      • Intel Compute Runtime 20.06.15619 Enables E2E Compression

        Version 20.06.15619 of the open-source Intel Compute Runtime was released on Friday as powering the company’s modern Linux graphics hardware compute stack.

        Notable with this latest Intel Compute Runtime snapshot is E2E compression being enabled for Linux, or engine-to-engine compression. The E2E compression provides a means of lossless compression between hardware engines/blocks for helping to save bandwidth and supplementary to the other compression means for graphics/compute. This Intel compute E2E support is enabled with this release for Tigerlake Gen12/Xe graphics hardware.

      • OPNFV Taps CNTT to Power Its Evolution

        The most recent OPNFV platform release could be the last that adheres to the organization’s legacy mindset with future releases more tied into work around the burgeoning Common NFVi Telco Taskforce (CNTT).

        Heather Kirksey, VP of community and ecosystem development at the Linux Foundation, explained in a phone interview with SDxCentral that a lot of the updates in the OPNFV Iruya release were targeted at CNTT. She added that targeting will spill into upcoming releases from both CNTT and OPNFV.

        Kirksey cited a recent LF Networking (LFN) forum in Prague, Czech Republic, that tied together developers from the OPNFV, CNTT, and the ONAP community. That forum resulted in OPNFV taking feedback from CNTT.

      • Adoption of Open Source Technologies is Increasing in Financial Data Management – But what are the Challenges?

        Moreover, adopting open source typically means deploying cloud native apps and migrating workloads to public or private cloud built on open source infrastructure. Open source often provides foundational technology, including languages, libraries and database technologies that can provide a rich foundation to quickly develop applications. That, coupled with an increase in the uptake of managed services options, is making open source still more attractive to financial services businesses – and is further driving innovation within these organizations.

      • NearForm launches Open Source Software R&D hub in Tramore

        NearForm, the premier software development and world-leading Open Source Technology company, headquartered in Tramore Ireland, has officially launched its R&D hub, NearForm Research, to further build on its existing commitment and contributions to the growth in Open Source Software. The move follows the company’s long-standing active involvement in the creation of advanced Open Source software and its importance to the global enterprise market and associated economic growth.

      • NearForm launches software R&D hub in Tramore

        “We are thrilled to be able to make this an official program within NearForm. We can now combine our experience in developing software solutions for some of the world’s leading brands with our in-depth knowledge and understanding of the languages and tools,” said head of NearForm Research, James Snell.

      • How Open-Source is the LoRaWAN IoT Community?

        One of the more positive movements in society has been the growth of organizations serving their industry of interest by creating an open-source development environment. From sports to science, grass-roots groups, clubs, and societies have sprung up to serve their target application spaces. In the embedded electronic design industry, one of those areas of interest is the LoRaWAN community, presented as an open-source development environment serving an unlicensed band of the RF spectrum.

        Members of this community range from hobbyists to tier-one manufacturers. Members of the group share LoRaWAN network technologies and protocols to advance development while ensuring security, interoperability, and compatibility. The LoRaWAN community and its flagship organizations like the LoRa Alliance are helping make LoRaWAN one of the core infrastructures in the next generation of the Internet of Things (IoT).

      • The Open Source for All Initiative: Investing in Underrepresented Minorities in Tech

        This Dot Labs, a development consultancy known for its work in providing opportunities to underrepresented minorities in tech, and StackBlitz is an online IDE used by millions of developers every month & adopted by open source projects such as Angular (Google), RxJS (Microsoft), and many others, have teamed up this February in the Open Source for All Initiative to provide $20,000 of opportunities to those who need their first foot in the door.

      • Events
      • Web Browsers
        • Mozilla
          • What’s in the latest Firefox update? Firefox 73 adds to usability and accessibility options

            Mozilla this week released Firefox 73, a minor upgrade whose most notable addition was a new default setting for page zooming.

            Software engineers working on the open-source browser also patched six vulnerabilities, half of them labeled “High,” Mozilla’s second-most-serious threat rating. As usual, some of the flaws might be used by criminals.

            “We presume that with enough effort some of these could have been exploited to run arbitrary code,” the firm wrote of two of the bugs.

            Firefox 73 can be downloaded for Windows, macOS and Linux from Mozilla’s site. Because Firefox updates in the background, most users need only relaunch the browser to get the latest version. To manually update on Windows, pull up the menu under the three horizontal bars at the upper right, then click the help icon (the question mark within a circle). Choose “About Firefox.” (On macOS, “About Firefox” can be found under the “Firefox” menu.) The resulting page shows that the browser is either up to date or describes the refresh process.

            Mozilla last upgraded the browser on Jan. 7, or five weeks ago.

          • Mozilla Reps in 2020 Berlin All Hands

            14 Reps were invited to participate in this year’s All Hands in Berlin.

            At the All-Hands Reps learned some easy German words (Innovationsprozess-swischenstands-schreihungsskizze), did some art (see here X artistic endeavor during a group activity), and learned about cultural differences in communication.

          • Waterfox: Firefox Fork With Legacy Add-ons Options

            In this week’s open source software highlight, we take a look at a Firefox-based browser that supports legacy extensions that Firefox no longer supports while potentially providing fast user experience.

            When it comes to web browsers, Google Chrome leads the market share. Mozilla Firefox is there still providing hopes for a mainstream web browser that respects your privacy.

            Firefox has improved a lot lately and one of the side-effects of the improvements is removal of add-ons. If your favorite add-on disappeared in last few months/years, you have a good new in the form of Witerfox.

      • Web
        • Open-source URL shortener ‘YOURLS’ gets updated with Bitly-like random keyword plugin

          YOURLS, which is short for Your Own URL Shortener, is open-source software that allows anyone to host their own URL shortener. It’s similar to Bitly, except you control everything. It works with any hosting provider that supports PHP and MySQL, and is easy to set up and use. For example, Coywolf uses YOURLS on a cheap shared hosting plan at Pair Networks and uses the domain coywolf.io.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra
      • Education
        • Transforming the traditional classroom with Open Education

          The Tamarind Tree school in Dahanu, India, encourages self-learning through open educational resources and open technology

          At Tamarind Tree, the traditional classroom and traditional teacher role do not exist. Using open source software and open educational resources, the school has developed an entire digital ecosystem, with their LMS built on Moodle “My Big Campus” in the centre.

          Each day, students access the learning content and go through activities independently, nurturing their curiosity and self-assurance. In this setting, the role of the teacher is not as someone who delivers content, but more like a facilitator who mentors the children during their learning journey. As well as guiding the children through what they’re learning, when a teacher detects that a student is having difficulties with a topic or concept, or requires help, they will schedule one-on-one meetings where they both research and learn together.

      • FSF
        • Open-Source Group Sends Microsoft Blank Hard Drive to Copy Windows 7 Source Code

          The Free Software Foundation publicly requested Microsoft to open-source Windows 7 shortly after the 2009 operating system reached the end of support on January 14, and now the group is ready for the next move.

          Last week, the FSF mailed Microsoft a blank hard drive which the company should use for copying Windows 7 source code and then sending it back to the organization.

        • Open Source Group Wants Windows 7 Source Code In A Blank Hard drive

          Just when Microsoft ended the support for Windows 7, Free Software Foundation filed a petition demanding Windows 7 to be open source. Now, the open-source community went a little further by making another bold move.

          Reportedly, the FSF mailed a blank upcycled hard drive to Microsoft. The foundation wants Microsoft to send back the hard drive, but after copying Windows 7 source code in it, along with license notice.

        • GNU Projects
          • GNU Social Contract version 1.0

            just a public heads-up on progress on the GNU Social Contract. Following our initially announced timeline, we had put online the first draft at the end of January. The goal of the document is to formulate a common core set of values for the GNU Project, on which we can jointly build to form a stronger community. It is both an agreement among us, GNU contributors, and a pledge to the broader free software community. Additionally, we think it can be a first step towards formalising a transparent and collective governance of the GNU Project.

          • GCC 8.4 Status Report (2020-02-17) Status ====== It has been almost a year since GCC 8.3 has been released and GCC 8.4 release should have been released already, so we should concentrate on getting it out soon. Unfortunately we have two P1s, one of them is waiting for reporter's input, so we might as well just ignore it unless the input is provided, but the other, C++ FE one, looks something that should be fixed. If we get rid of the P1s, I'd like to create 8.4-rc1 on Wednesday, Feb 26th and release 8.4 the week afterwards. If you have any queued backports, please commit them to 8 branch (and 9 branch too, we'd like to release 9.3 soon too). Quality Data ============ Priority # Change from last report -------- --- ----------------------- P1 2 + 2 P2 284 + 75 P3 38 + 4 P4 151 - 11 P5 22 - 2 -------- --- ----------------------- Total P1-P3 324 + 81 Total 497 + 68 Previous Report =============== https://gcc.gnu.org/ml/gcc/2019-02/msg00122.html
          • GCC 8.4 + GCC 9.3 Compilers Coming Soon

            GCC 8.4 is already past due for release while Red Hat’s Jakub Jelinek is trying to get its release organized in the coming weeks along with GCC 9.3. It’s been nearly one year since GCC 8.3 and thus many fixes in tow for GCC 8.4. But two “P1″ regressions of the highest priority are left to be addressed or demoted before the 8.4 release can happen. Jakub is hoping to create a release candidate of GCC 8.4 on 26 February and to then officially release the GCC 8.4 stable compiler the first week of March. A similar GCC 9.3 release is also expected soon for those on this current GCC 9 stable series.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
        • What Does Open Mean to You?
        • Open source approach needed in climate change innovation; technology and finance critical to achieving SDGs: Prakash Javadekar
        • US unveils 15MW ‘open source’ wind turbine after global project

          The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) after collaboration with global researchers has released a reference offshore wind turbine design with a 15MW nameplate capacity for both fixed-bottom and floating applications.

          The reference wind turbine (RWT) – a complete open-source turbine system with supporting models for simulation and design – makes it possible to evaluate the performance and cost of modifications before prototype development, said the partners.

        • Open-source 15MW digital turbine launched
        • Open Data
          • Roboflow: Popular autonomous vehicle data set contains critical flaws

            A machine learning model’s performance is only as good as the quality of the data set on which it’s trained, and in the domain of self-driving vehicles, it’s critical this performance isn’t adversely impacted by errors. A troubling report from computer vision startup Roboflow alleges that exactly this scenario occurred — according to founder Brad Dwyer, crucial bits of data were omitted from a corpus used to train self-driving car models.

            Dwyer writes that Udacity Dataset 2, which contains 15,000 images captured while driving in Mountain View and neighboring cities during daylight, has omissions. Thousands of unlabeled vehicles, hundreds of unlabeled pedestrians, and dozens of unlabeled cyclists are present in roughly 5,000 of the samples, or 33% (217 lack any annotations at all but actually contain cars, trucks, street lights, or pedestrians). Worse are the instances of phantom annotations and duplicated bounding boxes (where “bounding box” refers to objects of interest), in addition to “drastically” oversized bounding boxes.

          • The Open Wearables Initiative expands founding team; begins soliciting algorithms and datasets for wearable and connected health technologies

            Shimmer Research, a global leader in wearable technology for research applications, today announced that the Open Wearables Initiative (OWEAR) is now actively soliciting open source software and datasets from wearable sensors and other connected health technologies at http://www.owear.org. OWEAR is a collaboration designed to promote the effective use of high-quality, sensor-generated measures of health in clinical research through the open sharing and benchmarking of algorithms and datasets. OWEAR has also expanded its Working Group to include executives from four major global pharmaceutical companies, a major clinical research organization (CRO), Sage Bionetworks and the Digital Medicine Society (DiMe).

        • Open Access/Content
          • Beaufort County Community College saves students over $50,000 on new textbooks

            New textbooks, called Open-Source Textbooks, are saving students more than $50,000 per semester at Beaufort County Community College (BCCC).

            Open-Source Textbooks are licensed under an open copyright license and made available online to be freely used by students and teachers.

            Some professors at BCCC are using Open-Source Textbooks to decrease the cost of student’s education and help them stretch financial aid or scholarships.

            Professors seek out Open-Source Textbooks from a curated online library developed by academics from all over the country, then add additional material.

          • Plan S does the wrong things to the wrong people

            UK researchers may worry about the effects of leaving the European Union on their research, but a bigger peril may be the united front that the UK continues to present with other EU countries over open access.

            The aim of the dozen or so mostly European funding agencies that have signed up to Plan S is to turbocharge the transition to full open access. UK Research and Innovation is very much on board with this and, last week, launched a consultation on its own open access policy that, it says, “aligns with the ambition of Plan S”.

            In its original formulation, Plan S would have required work funded by any of its signatories to be made immediately open access from this year.

          • Humanities scholars warn over UKRI’s plan for open-access books

            Proposals that would require academic monographs to be made freely available within 12 months of publication could harm the careers of UK arts and humanities scholars by stopping them from publishing, critics have warned.

            Under proposals published on 13 February, UK Research and Innovation will require all scholarly monographs, book chapters and edited collections by authors who are supported by its funds to be made open access from January 2024, unless a contract has been signed before this date that prevents adherence to the policy.

            The proposed change is most likely to affect those working in the arts and humanities, where the longer-form publishing format is more common; in the 2014 research excellence framework (REF), books and book chapters accounted for 53 per cent of submissions in history and two-thirds in Classics, according to a British Academy position paper published in May 2018.

      • Programming/Development
        • Gitea 1.11.0: Open source self-hosting Git solution gets a new update

          Gitea helps you set up your own self-hosted Git service with the use of lightweight Go code. The latest version, 1.11.0, includes a long list of updates, bug fixes, and improvements, including changing the markdown rendering to goldmark, and a new contrib command. Is self-hosting the right solution for you? See how Gitea compares to other Git hosting solutions.

        • NBD: A popular HTTP-fetching npm code library used by 48,000 other modules retires, no more updates coming

          After eleven months of planning, the npm-distributed request module has been deprecated, meaning the popular JavaScript code library for making HTTP requests is no longer supported and won’t receive further updates.

          The almost 48,000 other npm modules that include request as a dependency won’t see any immediate effect, other than a deprecation warning from the npm command line client. But the maintainers of those modules should consider revising their code so it uses an alternative library for handling HTTP interactions.

          Request, now at version 2.88.2 and still downloaded almost 17m times a week, was created in 2009 by Mikeal Rogers, who presently handles community operations at open source biz Protocol Labs.

        • Still Increasing the Power of Hybrid IT Through Open Source

          Broadcom (perhaps still better known as CA) used this year’s Arcati Mainframe Yearbook to highlight the mainframe development revolution and the growth in open source tools.

          They said that tools, like the green screens of ISPF and the Eclipse desktop IDE, enhanced with proprietary plugins have served mainframe application developers well over the years. However, there are changes in the larger world of development that are creating the conditions for a revolution in mainframe tooling.

        • Tangle EE project joins Eclipse Foundation to bring distributed ledger apps to enterprise

          As the number of IoT devices proliferate, and machines conduct transactions with machines without humans involved, it becomes increasingly necessary to have a permissionless system that facilitates this kind of communication in a secure way.

          Enter the IOTA Foundation, a Berlin-based open-source distributed ledger technology (DLT) project, which has hooked up with the Eclipse Foundation to bring IOTA DLT to the enterprise via the Tangle EE project. For starters, this involves forming a working group.

        • Eclipse Partners with IOTA on Open Source Distributed Ledger Tech
        • What to know about software development security — why it’s still so hard and how to tackle it

          The right software security practices can prevent many future security problems, and there is an increasingly realisation that software development security needs a cradle-to-grave approach, not just focusing on solving problems once they become apparent.

          There is still a long way to go and no-one can claim this is easy to address: the increasing complexity of modern software development environments, not to mention the sheer volume of code and other digital assets being created, often in continuous, fast-paced environments, exacerbates the challenge.

          [...]

          Coding standards are particularly relevant for some of the more complex programming languages — C++ in particular — which while introducing unprecedented scope for innovation and flexibility, also allow for more interpretation, which can lead even the most skilled developer to inadvertently introduce an error. Again, automation is key, especially for huge codebases and complicated embedded software projects, so static code analysis is increasingly introduced to reduce manual effort and associated risks.

        • Electron 8 – First Release As OpenJS Foundation Incubator

          At the end of last year Electron joined the OpenJS Foundation as an incubator project. The release of Electron 8, less than two months later, is an indication that it is thriving in its new home.

          Initially developed for GitHub’s Atom editor, Electron is a cross-platform desktop application development tool based on Node.js and Chromium enabling apps to be packaged for Mac, Windows, and Linux. Both Atom and Electron were open sourced in 2014.

          News that Electron was joining the OpenJS Foundation was announced in December 2019 at the Node+JS Interactive conference held in Montreal.

        • Modularity for Maintenance

          One of the best things about maintaining open source in the modern era is that there are so many wonderful, free tools to let machines take care of the busy-work associated with collaboration, code-hosting, continuous integration, code quality maintenance, and so on.

          [...]

          But… let’s say you1 maintain a few dozen Python projects. Being a good maintainer, you’ve started splitting up your big monolithic packages into smaller ones, so your utility modules can be commonly shared as widely as possible rather than re-implemented once for each big frameworks. This is great!

          However, every one of those numbered list items above is now a task per project that you have to repeat from scratch. So imagine a matrix with all of those down one side and dozens of projects across the top – the full Cartesian product of these little administrative tasks is a tedious and exhausting pile of work.

          If you’re lucky enough to start every project close to perfect already, you can skip some of this work, but that partially just front-loads the tedium; plus, projects tend to start quite simple, then gradually escalate in complexity, so it’s helpful to be able to apply these incremental improvements one at a time, as your project gets bigger.

        • Goodbye Joyent

          But as any software veteran knows, projects often don’t survive the whims of management. No one is fired for picking Linux (these days), but they might be for picking something else. I already experienced this once before, as a core developer of the Riak database. We were rigorous, paying homage to the theoretics of distributed systems, but with a focus on bringing that theory to the masses. So much so that our last CEO said we had to stop doing so much “computer science”. He meant it as an insult, but we wore it as a badge of honor. But hey, MongoDB had a sweet API and BJSON, who cares if it lost your data occasionally [1]. I understand that people like to stick with what is popular. I respect that decision — it is theirs to make. But I’ll never be a part of that crowd. I want to use software that speaks to me, software that solves the problems I have, software guided by similar values to my own. For me, no project does this more than SmartOS and the illumos kernel. It is my Shawshank Redemption in a sea of MCU.

        • Continuous integration with GDB Buildbot

          Continuous integration is a hot topic these days, and the GNU Project Debugger is keeping up with the trend. Who better to serve as a role model for tracking and exterminating bugs than a debugger?

          The GDB Buildbot started as a pet project back in 2014 but is now an integral part of the development process. It provides an infrastructure to test new commits pushed to the official repository, as well as a service (which we call try builds) for developers to submit their proposed changes. In this article, I share the story of our Buildbot instance, where we are right now in terms of functionality, and the plans (and challenges) for the future.

          [...]

          Back in 2014, the GDB project did not have a continuous integration tool. Developers kindly provided testsuite results and reported regressions in the code, often using their own machines. However, these developers had limited resources and could not test various architectures simultaneously. Compilation failures were often not caught in systems that are not widely used. Ultimately, this issue caused delays and annoyances during the release process (or in the worst cases) after GDB was released.

          In an attempt to mitigate this problem, the GDB Buildbot was set up. Only GNU/Linux running on Intel/AMD 32 and 64-bit was supported at the beginning, but the community quickly started to contribute toward support other machines and architectures. The initial setup compiled and tested the code using common configure flags, but developers still needed to consult the web page in order to know the results.

          Over time, the instance has been improved and new features were added, including email notifications whenever a commit introduced a compilation failure, and email notifications to the gdb-testers mailing list containing the results of each testsuite run.

          Perhaps one of the most useful features was the try build system.

        • Automating unit tests in test-driven development

          DevOps is a software engineering discipline focused on minimizing the lead time to achieve a desired business impact. While business stakeholders and sponsors have ideas on how to optimize business operations, those ideas need to be validated in the field. This means business automation (i.e., software products) must be placed in front of end users and paying customers. Only then will the business confirm whether the initial idea for improvement was fruitful or not.

          Software engineering is a budding discipline, and it can get difficult to ship products that are defect-free. For that reason, DevOps resorts to maximizing automation. Any repeatable chore, such as testing implemented changes to the source code, should be automated by DevOps engineers.

          This article looks at how to automate unit tests. These tests are focused on what I like to call “programming in the small.” Much more important test automation (the so-called “programming in the large”) must use a different discipline—integration testing. But that’s a topic for another article.

        • Create web user interfaces with Qt WebAssembly instead of JavaScript

          When I first heard about WebAssembly and the possibility of creating web user interfaces with Qt, just like I would in ordinary C++, I decided to take a deeper look at the technology.

          My open source project Pythonic is completely Python-based (PyQt), and I use C++ at work; therefore, this minimal, straightforward WebAssembly tutorial uses Python on the backend and C++ Qt WebAssembly for the frontend. It is aimed at programmers who, like me, are not familiar with web development.

        • Perl / Raku
          • Perl Weekly Challenge 47: Roman Calculator and Gapful Numbers

            These are some answers to the Week 47 of the Perl Weekly Challenge organized by Mohammad S. Anwar.

            Spoiler Alert: This weekly challenge deadline is due in a couple of days (February 9, 2020). This blog post offers some solutions to this challenge, please don’t read on if you intend to complete the challenge on your own.

            I have really very little time to complete this blog post in time for the deadline. My explanations will be minimal, sorry about that.

        • Python
          • A review of Processing books

            Processing is the free and open Java development environment that targets artists who are intrigued by generative code. In essence it is the Java language with a friendly development interface and built-in libraries to get you started.

            There are plenty of ways to learn Processing, including the tutorials on the organisation’s website, and the built-in examples that come with the distribution. But if you prefer a printed book, keep reading. This article will review nine available publications, so you can make an informed purchase decision.

            For the sake of completeness I will also append information on two books I haven’t had a chance to read.

          • The Digital Cat: Dissecting a Web stack

            Having recently worked with young web developers who were exposed for the first time to proper production infrastructure, I received many questions about the various components that one can find in the architecture of a “Web service”. These questions clearly expressed the confusion (and sometimes the frustration) of developers who understand how to create endpoints in a high-level language such as Node.js or Python, but were never introduced to the complexity of what happens between the user’s browser and their framework of choice. Most of the times they don’t know why the framework itself is there in the first place.

            The challenge is clear if we just list (in random order), some of the words we use when we discuss (Python) Web development: HTTP, cookies, web server, Websockets, FTP, multi-threaded, reverse proxy, Django, nginx, static files, POST, certificates, framework, Flask, SSL, GET, WSGI, session management, TLS, load balancing, Apache.

            In this post, I want to review all the words mentioned above (and a couple more) trying to build a production-ready web service from the ground up. I hope this might help young developers to get the whole picture and to make sense of these “obscure” names that senior developers like me tend to drop in everyday conversations (sometimes arguably out of turn).

          • Restoring intuition over multi-dimensional space

            We would not be human if we did not curse things. As beings that are confined in a three-dimensional world, we tend to blame space whenever we have a problem to visualize data that extend to more than three dimensions. From scientific books and journal papers to simple blog articles and comments the term: “curse of dimensionality” is being repeated like a mantra, almost convincing us that any object, whose nature extends to something more than just “3D” is out of reach to our brains.

            This article is going to discuss neither data visualization nor seek to conform to the common opinion that highly-dimensional space is incomprehensible.

            Quite opposite: the highly-dimensional space is not incomprehensible. It is just weird and less intuitive. Fortunately, take advantage of some mathematical tools and use them as a “free ticket” to gain more intuition. More precisely, we will present three “routes” we can use to get a better feeling on how things play out in “ND space.”

            [...]

            In this article, we have looked into three aspects of the multidimensionality of space. As we couldn’t visualize it (we didn’t even try…), we took advantage of some mathematical mechanisms to gain a bit more insight into the strange behavior of this world. Although not backed with any ultimate proofs, we hope that the mathematical reasoning just presented can spark some inspiration, intuition, and imagination, which is something that is often needed when having to cope with N-dimensions.

          • Airflow By Example

            Apache Airflow is a very interesting, popular and free tool to create, manage and monitor workflows, for example if you want to do ETL (Extract / Transform / Load) on data.

            This sort of enterprise software often may seem complicated or overly unrelated to our everyday experience as developers but … is it, really? How about if I just want to watch some TV shows? And experiment with some enterprise-level software at the same time?

            Let’s do that by learning how to use Airflow to watch TV.

          • The Spyder Development Community and Quansight Labs Announce the Release of Spyder 4

            The Spyder Project and Quansight Labs announced the release of Spyder 4, the latest version of the most popular open source Scientific Python development environment. Spyder 4 boasts new features that users have been eagerly awaiting.

            Spyder 4 provides users an enhanced coding experience like general purpose editors and IDEs, while strengthening its specialized focus on scientific programming in Python.

          • Refactoring and asking for forgiveness

            Recently, I had a great interaction with one of my coworkers that I think is worth sharing, with the hope you may learn a bit about refactoring and python.

            My colleague came to me to help him think through a problem that surfaced with a change to a project. The code in question sends a file to a remote storage service.

          • A Guide to the Newer Python String Format Techniques

            In the previous tutorial in this introductory series, you learned how to format string data using the string modulo operator. The string modulo operator is useful, and it’s good for you to be familiar with it because you’re likely to encounter it in older Python code. However, there are two newer ways that you can use Python to format strings that are arguably more preferable.

          • Python 101 2nd Edition Kickstarter is Live!

            I am excited to announce that my newest book, Python 101, 2nd Edition is launching on Kickstarter today!

          • February PyLadies Pune workshop

            It was the time for “learning Python with harware” in February, 2020 with PyLadies in Pune. Coding in Python becomes fun when one can see the changes it makes in the hardware.

            Selecting a place for work is always a difficult task as any organizer. College Of Engineering Pune (COEP) has always been supportive of PyLadies Pune. When I approached Abhijit for the venue he readily agreed. My sincere gratitude to him, Women Engineers Group and the FOSSMeet Pune team enough for that.

            Once I reached the venue it was already a full house and still people were coming in. We had more than 55 students of 1st to 3rd year, attending the workshop. The first year students already knew Python. Around 12-14 people were writing Python for the first time.

            The workshop started with the very basics of the language on the terminal.

            [...]

            We started with blinking the first LED of the board. When the students lit their first LED the smile and light in their eyes were precious :). Following that we spend some time with the simple codes. We tried our hands on different modules of Circuit Python. We took the help from the tutorial provided in Adafruit website. The students were enjoying and indulged into creativity. So I decided to give them problem statements instead of showing them code. I was happy to see how fast they were solving it and experimenting with different patterns, colours.

          • PyDev of the Week: Martin Fitzpatrick

            This week we welcome Martin Fitzpatrick (@mfitzp) as our PyDev of the Week! Martin is the author of “Create Simple GUI Applications with Python and Qt 5” and the creator of the LearnPyQt website. You can also check out his personal site or see what he’s up to by visiting his Github profile. Let’s spend some time getting to know Martin better!

        • Java
    • Standards/Consortia
      • Vulkan 1.2.133 Released With VK_KHR_shader_non_semantic_info

        It’s been nearly one month since the release of Vulkan 1.2.132 and that came shortly after the big Vulkan 1.2 milestone, but out today is now Vulkan 1.2.133.

        Vulkan 1.2.133 has various clarifications to the documentation, adds a vendor ID for Codeplay, VK_EXT_shader_subgroup_vote / VK_EXT_shader_subgroup_ballot are deprecated, and other clarifications/corrections to the text.

      • Work on IoT Device Communication Standardization Begins

        Most people working with industrial automation equipment are familiar with OPC UA for machine and device communications. More recently, industry has been getting up to speed with MQTT and its complimentary role for industrial device communications.

        While OPC UA has long been an industry standard, work is now beginning on a broad standardization of MQTT communications via Sparkplug, the open source software specification that enables applications, sensors, devices or gateways to integrate data within an MQTT communications infrastructure. Sparkplug defines MQTT topics namespace, payload, and session state management.

        [...]

        This work will address the issue of MQTT ‘s undefined topics structure and data types—a key differentiator from OPC UA which “provides a framework for standard and custom datatypes, a defined (hierarchical) namespace and a definition for request/response style communication patterns,” as noted by Jen Reiman in ctron’s blog post about OPC UA implementation with the Eclipse Foundation’s Milo (an open source communication stack for developing OPC UA clients and servers).

        Founding members of the Sparkplug Working Group include Chevron, Canary Labs, Cirrus Link Solutions, HiveMQ, Inductive Automation, and ORing.

  • Leftovers
    • Trump Effort to Keep U.S. Tech Out of China Alarms American Firms

      The administration wants to protect national security by restricting the flow of technology to China. But technology companies worry it could undermine them instead.

    • Science
      • Vats and Propagators: towards a global brain

        We have been living the last couple of decades with networks that are capable of communicating ideas. However, by and large it is left to the humans to reason about these ideas that are propagated. Most machines that operate on the network merely execute the will of humans that have carefully constructed them. Recently neural network based machine learning has gotten much better, but merely resembles intuition, not reasoning. (The human brain succeeds by combining both, and a successful system likely will too.) Could we ever achieve a network that itself reasons? And can it be secure enough not to tear itself apart?

        [...]

        However (and, granted, I haven’t completed it) I think there is one thing that is inaccurately described in Radul’s thesis and Sussman’s explanations, but which I think actually is no problem at all if we apply the vat model of computation (as in E, Agoric, Goblins): how distributed can these cells and propagators be? Section 2.1 of Radul’s thesis explains propagators as asynchronous and completely autonomous, as if cells and their propagators could live anywhere on the computer network with no change in effectiveness. I think this is only partially true. The reference implementation actually does not fully explore this because it uses a single-threaded event loop that processes events until there are no more to process, during which it may encounter a contradiction and raise it. However I believe that the ability to “stop the presses” as it were is one of the nicest features of propagators and actually should not be lost… if we introduced asynchronous events coming in, there may be multiple events that come in at the same time and which try making changes to the propagator network in parallel. Thankfully a nice answer comes in form of a the vat model: it should be possible to have a propagator network within a single vat. Spritely Goblins’ implementation of the vat model is transactional, so this means that if we try to introduce a contradiction, we could roll back immediately. This is the right behavior. As it turns out, this is very close to the propagator system in the way it’s implemented in the reference implementation… I think the reference implementation did something more or less right while trying to do the simplest thing. Combined with a proper ocap vat model this should work great.

        Thus, I believe that a propagator system (here I mean a propagator network, meaning a network of propagator-connected cells) should actually be vat-local. But wait, we talked about network (as in internet) based reasoning, and here I am advocating locality! What gives?

        The right answer seems to me that propagator networks should be able to be hooked together, but a change to a vat-contained propagator system can trigger message passing to another vat-contained propagator system, which can even happen over a computer network such as the internet. We will have to treat propagator systems and changes to them as vat-local, but they can still communicate with other propagator systems. (This is a good idea anyway; if you communicate an idea with me and it’s inconsistent with my worldview, it should be important for me to be able to realize that and use that as an opportunity to correct our misunderstandings between each other.)

      • The Scientific Paper Is Outdated

        For the sake of research, their careers, and their mental health, scientists should spend more time developing software.

    • Education
    • Hardware
      • Nintendo Is Likely to Suffer Global Switch Shortages From Virus

        Limited component supply coming out of China is affecting output at a Nintendo assembly partner’s factory in Vietnam, which the gaming giant primarily uses to build consoles for the U.S., said the people, asking not to be named because the details are private. A shortage of components this month would affect Switch units scheduled for arrival in April, after existing inventory and current shipments of the console have sold through.

    • Health/Nutrition
      • Insurers Are Bankrupting Patients by Charging Unexpectedly for Preapproved Care

        The more than $34,000 in medical bills that contributed to Darla and Andy Markley’s bankruptcy and loss of their home in Beloit, Wisconsin, grew out of what felt like a broken promise.

      • US-Linked South African “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” Spread Harmful Misinformation

        A senior South African health official has today vowed action as #openDemocracy reveals how vulnerable women and girls are being fed misinformation in US-backed “crisis pregnancy centres” across the world.

      • Medicare for All Would Save $450 Billion and Prevent 68,000 Deaths Every Year

        Sen. Bernie Sanders on Saturday applauded a new study published today by a team of epidemiologists in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet, which found that Medicare for All will save Americans $450 billion and prevent 68,000 unnecessary deaths each and every year.

      • “Sleep! The fastest way to burn out is to not sleep enough.” With Mitch Russo & John Newton

        As part of my series about the “5 Lessons I Learned When I Created My App or SAAS”, I had the pleasure of interviewing John Newton, CTO and founder at Alfresco. John has had one of the longest and most influential careers in content management. In 1990, John co-founded, designed and led the development of Documentum®, the leader in content management acquired by EMC®. For the next ten years, he invented many of the concepts widely used in the industry today. In addition, he built Documentum’s marketing and professional services organizations in Europe. John has also been an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Benchmark Capital. John was one of the founding engineers at Ingres® where he helped develop the world’s first commercial relational database. John graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley.

      • No, Open Source Data Does Not Show China Burning People – But Supply Chains are Being Roiled

        Coronavirus impact is being felt deeply across tech supply chains

        A drive towards open source data is one of the most compelling business stories of recent years – with enterprises drawing on everything from sentiment in Reddit posts to competitor’s prices, using a range of content-scraping, web-crawling and defence-dodging digital tools.

        (Computer Business Review’s editor recently attended an event at which vendors, lawyers, and end-users batted about the risks, limitations, and rewards of such data, which is not always obtained ethically: industry interest in alternative data, it was clear, is heightened…)

    • Integrity/Availability
      • Hover a mouse over a link – just don’t trust the results

        This appears to be a link to a good website. When the mouse hovers over this link, it will appear that it goes to www.somegoodplace.com. Click it. I dare you

        The link really goes to guce.advertising.com. JavaScript is used to dynamically change the link just as it is clicked. Pretty cool, eh?

      • Proprietary
        • Microsoft’s Edge roadmap reveals history sync coming this summer, Linux support coming

          Recently, Microsoft updated its public roadmap for its still-new Edge browser, which is based on Chromium. There’s quite a bit on there, from minor fixes to major things like support for Linux.

          Two specific things are new. The ability to navigate a PDF via a table of contents is now under review, and the tab preview feature from Edge Legacy is now in discussion. As ‘in review’ and ‘in discussion’ suggest, neither is a commitment to actually building out the features.

        • Pseudo-Open Source
          • Openwashing
            • Chief Architect OpenLogic, Perforce: Free Software Is Not A Matter Of Price

              There’s something of a storm brewing in open source. The movement that originated as something of an altruistic rebuttal to the dominance of proprietary software was at first spurned, later eyed with suspicious intrigue… and then ultimately embraced by those who initially thought of it as a cancerous discoloration on the face of enterprise commercial software.

              The storm channeling across the open [source] seas has come about as a result of the commercial sector now working to engage openly and visibly with major open source projects. The core mantra of open source remains one of free software for everyone in the community, but with an encouragement to ‘contribute back’ to the project in hand in the form of submitted code ‘commits’ or other forms of community involvement such as language translation, hosting special interest groups and so on.

              But not everybody is willing to chant the full set of verses in the open mantra.

            • Profesia – Lynx Group SpA Company – Expands Partnership with WSO2 to Become the Distributor for WSO2 in Italy
            • ZF joins Open Manufacturing Platform
            • Cloud forecast: cloud-based products open up CFD possibilities

              While large companies may have the budget to be tied into such licensing schemes, many small firms do not. A solution is cloud-based CFD. Indeed, Robin Knowles, founder of consultancy CFD Engine, undertakes simulation work for clients using just a laptop that operates the open-source CFD software, OpenFoam, which by its nature is free, with all his CFD workflow pushed to Amazon’s cloud computing platform, Amazon Web Services. “I don’t do anything locally, everything is in the cloud,” he said.

              Within the CFD market there’s a fairly strong open-source capability with the most widely used open-source CFD software package being OpenFoam. This product has been verified and validated by many users. However, the key drawbacks, according to Knowles, are a steep learning curve and, unlike commercial CFD codes, OpenFoam’s user support is patchy, so making it tricky for new users to get to grips with. And, while it is possible to do a full end-to-end workflow using just open-source tools, it isn’t an accessible route for all users.

              It’s in this gap in the market that new CFD cloud companies have popped up. The likes of SimScale, which was founded in 2012 in Munich with the intention of offering cloud-based simulation. Although still based on OpenFoam, the appeal is the ability to access the tool through a web browser and then being able to perform highly complex CFD simulations on SimScale’s cloud-based HPC platform.

            • Key management network Torus exits beta, open-sources its codebase
            • InterSystems iKnow now available as an open source solution

              Open source availability enables existing InterSystems partners and customers, as well as other organizations and academics, to capitalize on the bottom-up approach that delivers deeper insights with NLP provided by InterSystems iKnow.

            • New data security startup Open Raven just launched out of stealth to tackle the next big security challenge: helping companies find where their data actually is and preventing the next big data breach
            • Open Raven’s modern data security platform brings visibility and control to enterprise data protection

              With an open source core to be available under the Apache 2.0 license, the platform helps customers understand, manage and ensure the security of data from a single location – at a time when teams are overwhelmed and data breaches are hitting record numbers.

            • Zmanda Aims to Make Enterprise Backup Affordable with 4.0 Software Release

              Zmanda, a leader in open source enterprise backup solutions, announced that a new software release is coming in the Spring of 2020. In the upcoming release, Zmanda has made security, reliability, and affordability its key focus. The 4.0 release will mean that IT teams no longer have to choose between affordability and feature-rich backup solutions. They can now have both.

            • GeoScienceWorld’s Lithosphere to Run On Phenom, an Open System Built by Hindawi

              Hindawi’s open source scholarly infrastructure platform, Phenom, will now power the newly relaunched Lithosphere – the society-run, open access community journal for geosciences. The contract between GeoScienceWorld (GSW) and Hindawi was signed in late 2019 with Lithosphere opening for submissions on January 13th 2020.

          • Privatisation/Privateering
            • Linux Foundation
              • Tel Aviv exchange partners with BTP for blockchain securities lending

                The Hyperledger Global Forum takes place in March in Phoenix, featuring numerous industry luminaries. Register by 18 February for a discount.

              • LF Energy, Alliander Announce GXF to Tackle Interoperability on Power Grid

                LF Energy announced its new project, Grid eXchange Fabric (GXF). GXF is a scalable and technology-agnostic industrial Internet of Things (IoT) platform that allows grid operators to securely collect data and monitor, control and manage smart devices on the grid. Formerly known as Open Smart Grid Platform (OSGP), GXF was created by leading Dutch distribution system operator Alliander and is the first project contributed by the company to the open-source community since joining LF Energy last October as a Premier Member.

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)
        • Security
          • SAMM v2 – OWASP releases revamped security assurance framework

            A revamped version of OWASP’s Software Assurance Maturity Model (SAMM) adds automation along with maturity measurements to the open source security-related framework.

            OWASP SAMM v2 – released on Tuesday after three years of refinement – is geared towards helping organizations that develop software to travel down the path towards becoming more secure.

            The approach is based on a community-led open source framework that “allows teams and developers to assess, formulate, and implement strategies for better security which can be easily integrated into an existing organizational software development lifecycle”.

            [...]

            The OWASP SAMM community includes security knowledgeable volunteers from both businesses and educational organizations. The global community works to create “freely-available articles, methodologies, documentation, tools, and technologies”.

          • Smack: Some more busy nights and 12 bytes of IV

            Anu brought up the fact that the OMEMO XEP is not totally clear on the length of initialization vectors used for message encryption. Historically most clients use 16 bytes length, while normally you would want to use 12. Apparently some AES-GCM libraries on iOS only support 12 bytes length, so using 12 bytes is definitely desirable. Most OMEMO implementations already support receiving 12 bytes as well as 16 bytes IV.

          • Google pulls 500 malicious Chrome extensions after researcher tip-off

            Google has abruptly pulled over 500 Chrome extensions from its Web Store that researchers discovered were stealing browsing data and executing click fraud and malvertising after installing themselves on the computers of millions of users.

            Depending on which way you look at it, that’s either a good result because they’re no longer free to infect users, or an example of how easy it is for malicious extensions to sneak on the Web Store and stay there for years without Google noticing.

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (evince, postgresql-9.4, and thunderbird), Fedora (ksh and libxml2), openSUSE (hostapd and nextcloud), Red Hat (chromium-browser, firefox, flash-plugin, and ksh), and SUSE (firefox and thunderbird).

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation
            • Cyber-gangs using SSH identities to sell on the black market [Ed: How to associate secure shell, SSH, with "black market", skull and bones, just because of machines that are already cracked because of something totally unrelated]

              Malware campaigns equipped with the capability to exploit powerful, hidden backdoors are becoming commoditised, researchers from Venafi have warned.

              The research shows several high-profile hacker campaigns are integrating the misuse of SSH machine identities capabilities into their attacks.

              Now, any attacker with access to the dark web can gain access to the same techniques that took down the Ukrainian power grid against every business and government agency.

              Malware can target common SSH machine identities used to access and automate Windows, Linux and MacOS in the enterprise and out to the cloud.

    • Defence/Aggression
    • Environment
      • Energy
        • The 16 best bikes for beginning commuters

          To demystify the process, we spoke with bike store owners, retailers, and bike commuting advocates. They explained what features to look for in commuter-specific bikes and how much you should be ready to spend. While a top-of-the-line, aerodynamic racing bike can set you back a few grand, the experts we spoke to agreed that you can find a dependable commuting bike in the $350–$750 range. But be wary of anything much cheaper, as they’ll likely have lower-quality parts that will wear out more quickly. Read on for their 16 picks for the best commuter bikes (most are available in men’s and women’s versions) on the market. Because these bikes are all so different, and each rider will have their own specific needs, we organized the suggestions by category — hybrid, upright, and folding — as opposed to choosing one best overall model.

      • Wildlife/Nature
        • Wildfires Threaten North American Water Supplies

          As rain offers a welcome relief to fire-scorched Australia, concerns over flash floods and freshwater contamination cast a shadow on the joy. Already, massive fish kills have been reported due to heavy ash and sediment in local stream.

    • Finance
    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
      • It’s Happening Here…

        Messages of resistance in two little books, one a movie script.

      • More Than 1,100 Former US Department of Justice Officials Tell William Barr: Resign Now!

        ‘Barr’s actions in doing the President’s personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words’

      • Democrats Need to Cut the Realism and Start Dreaming — and Fighting — Big

        Even as Bernie Sanders, the most radically progressive candidate for the Democratic primary, secured early wins in Iowa and New Hampshire and the face of the moderate Democratic establishment faded toward the back, an ugly spirit of defeatism has crept into the political zeitgeist around the progressive platform.

      • Israel’s Gantz Vows to Form Government Without Netanyahu

        Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz is vowing to form a government that will include neither the indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor the predominantly Arab parties in Parliament.

      • EU to Launch Grand Plan on AI, Tech In Challenge to U.S, China

        Vestager, the European Commission’s executive vice president for digital affairs, is trying to reassure anxious Europeans that she can handle concerns Europe is becoming irrelevant while Asian and American companies dominate high-tech markets.

        The strategy “will produce and deploy much more artificial intelligence” in Europe, but “it will not be the same” as in the U.S. and China, Vestager said in a press briefing to journalists ahead of the announcement. Based on what she knows about their practices, Chinese AI might not meet European standards, she said.

      • Trump’s Budget Puts Down Stakes in Greenland

        The newly planned consulate underscores how the United States is looking to boost its presence in the Arctic, where climate change is rapidly melting ice and opening new access to potential maritime trade routes and lucrative untapped mineral and energy reserves. For the Trump administration, one of the top concerns is how China and Russia will take advantage of the changing Arctic conditions.

      • The Company Behind the Iowa Caucus App Debacle has a Deeply Troubling Plan to Manipulate Voters

        Treating citizens as mere pawns in a game run by propaganda shops

      • How EMILY’s List and Center for American Progress Sold Out to Bloomberg

        Billionaire Republican-turned-Democrat Presidential Candidate Michael Bloomberg was hit with two damaging front-page headlines Saturday.

      • Stop and Frisk Gets Renewed Attention in Bloomberg Candidacy

        David Ourlicht was a college student, walking down a street near campus, when he became one of millions of New Yorkers swept up in the era of stop and frisk.

      • Is being a billionaire a disqualifier for office?

        What I have yet to see is the talking heads debating whether great wealth, on the scale of the fortunes of Bloomberg and Trump, should disqualify one from holding our nation’s highest public office.

      • MIT researchers identify security vulnerabilities in voting app

        Now, MIT researchers are raising another concern: They say they have uncovered security vulnerabilities in a mobile voting application that was used during the 2018 midterm elections in West Virginia. Their security analysis of the application, called Voatz, pinpoints a number of weaknesses, including the opportunity for hackers to alter, stop, or expose how an individual user has voted. Additionally, the researchers found that Voatz’s use of a third-party vendor for voter identification and verification poses potential privacy issues for users.

        The findings are described in a new technical paper by Michael Specter, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) and a member of MIT’s Internet Policy Research Initiative, and James Koppel, also a graduate student in EECS. The research was conducted under the guidance of Daniel Weitzner, a principal research scientist at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) and founding director of the Internet Policy Research Initiative.

      • Blockchain voting app is dangerously vulnerable, researchers say

        Most troubling, researchers say that an attacker who compromised the servers that manage the Voatz API might even be able to alter ballots as they arrive, an alarming threat that distributed ledgers should theoretically protect against.

        “Given the severity of failings discussed in this paper, the lack of transparency, the risks to voter privacy, and the trivial nature of the attacks, we suggest that any near-future plans to use this app for high-stakes elections be abandoned,” the researchers conclude.

      • Voatz smartphone voting app has significant security flaws, MIT researchers say

        While supporters have touted its ability to enfranchise Americans with disabilities and those serving overseas — both groups with dismal voting turnout — the company has largely been quiet about addressing security concerns. While it has undergone several private independent security audits, those results have never been made public, and academic consensus has said that the technology to securely conduct online elections doesn’t yet exist.

      • Voting on Your Phone: New Elections App Ignites Security Debate

        “The choice here is not about turnout,” the report says, “but about an adversary controlling the election result and a loss of voter privacy.”

        With security already a dominant theme of the 2020 elections, last week’s debacle at the Democratic caucuses in Iowa — an app used to report results failed to, well, report results — has raised new questions about the role technology should play in American elections and prompted calls for it to be scaled back.

      • [Attackes] Can Seize Control of Ballots Cast Using the Voatz Voting App, Researchers Say

        Security researchers have found key flaws in a mobile voting app that some states plan to use in the 2020 election that can allow [attackers] to launch both client- and server-side attacks that can easily manipulate or even delete someone’s vote, as well as prevent a reliable audit from taking place after the fact, they said.

      • Voting App Flaws Could Have Let [Attackers] Manipulate Results

        The group found different types of vulnerabilities depending on what level of access an attacker has to a voter’s device or to the Voatz servers and application programming interface. If a hacker manages to get root access to your smartphone, they could bypass Voatz’s defenses to grab your data, including the PIN you use to access Voatz’s servers. They could also control your vote, block it from sending, or see how you voted. If an attacker has access to Voatz’s systems, they could uncover data meant to be locked down by the platform’s blockchain scheme, allowing them to alter votes or link votes to specific individuals even though the system is supposed to be anonymous and immutable. The researchers even found weaknesses in how the app sends votes to the company’s servers that could be exploited if a user voted on an insecure Wi-Fi network or on a connection provided by an untrustworthy internet service provider.

      • Republicans Have Made It Clear They Will Let Trump Become a Dictator. Will We?

        We are heading into election season led by a president consumed with personal vendettas and convinced that he is surrounded by conspirators. Paranoid and narcissistic, he is firing anyone who stands in his way, demanding ever more craven demonstrations of loyalty from his courtiers. In Tennessee, legislators are debating a resolution to declare CNN and The Washington Post fake news because of their critical coverage of Trump.

        Trump himself attacks the press on a daily basis, spending the wee hours of the morning tweeting insults and ignoring major developments that require his attention.

      • Trump’s Acquittal Has Ushered in a New Era of McCarthyist Purges

        Last week, Donald Trump had Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman — who had testified before Congress about his Ukraine phone call — fired and frog-marched out of the White House. Not content with this act of revenge against Vindman, the president fired his brother, an administration legal counsel, as well. Later that day, Trump also announced the firing of Gordon Sondland, his ambassador to the European Union who had likewise testified about the pressure campaign on the Ukraine.

      • Can we stop tiptoeing around the fact that Trump is behaving like a dictator?

        Folks, let’s not mince words: This is the kind of stuff we read about happening in dictatorships like Russia and North Korea and Iran. And yes, it’s the kind of rule by strong-arm fiat that was practiced by Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany. Advertisement:

        Before this week, I would have thought it an exaggeration to compare Trump’s frequent rallies to the infamous Nuremberg rallies Hitler held during the1930s. No longer. Trump’s rallies are unnervingly close to those held in Nuremberg. The MAGA hat has become a kind of Trumpian Nazi helmet. The denunciations of hated minorities are the same. As is his insane bellowing before a crowd screaming its slavish obeisance.

        Let’s just stop for a moment and consider the angry chants of “Lock her up,” first directed at Hillary Clinton, now at Nancy Pelosi. What do Trump’s cheering crowds want his Democratic opponents locked up for? Neither of those women has faced criminal charges, much less been convicted of any crime. Neither is even under investigation for corruption or alleged criminal behavior. But that doesn’t matter to Trump and his rally crowds. This stuff has been going on for so long, it’s clear that they actually do want them locked up. When Trump stands before his screaming fans, raising his arms and smiling, it’s obvious he does, too. To call for the imprisonment of political opponents without trial is not playing with rhetoric for effect. It’s not political gimmickry. It’s not cute. It’s not funny. It’s not clever. Let’s say out loud what it is: It’s pure fascism, plain and simple.

      • Megachurch Mess

        Billionaire media mogul Oprah Winfrey helped create a four-season television series – “Greenleaf” – about a black megachurch where worshipers whoop, sway, dance, wave arms, squeal, shout and shell out truckloads of money.

    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • Bloomberg’s Billions: How the Candidate Built an Empire of Influence

        A Times examination of Mr. Bloomberg’s philanthropic and political spending in the years leading up to his presidential bid illustrates how he developed a national infrastructure of influence, image-making and unspoken suasion that has helped transform a former Republican mayor of New York City into a plausible contender for the Democratic nomination. If anything, his claim — and his support among anxious moderates — has grown stronger with the ascent of the “democratic socialist” Senator Bernie Sanders in early voting in Iowa and New Hampshire.

        Since leaving City Hall at the end of 2013, Mr. Bloomberg has become the single most important political donor to the Democratic Party and its causes. His personal fortune, built on a financial information and news company, is estimated at over $60 billion. It fuels an advocacy network that has directed policy in dozens of states and cities; mobilized movements to take on gun violence and climate change; rewritten election laws and health regulations; and elected scores of politicians to offices as modest as the school board and as lofty as the Senate.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press
      • The Kashmir journalist forced into manual labour

        He then tried to file his stories on a landline phone: he would call and read them aloud to someone on the other side who could type it out. But, as he found out, his stories didn’t earn him enough money to cover the cost of travelling for hours in search of a working landline.

    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • James Baldwin Won the Battle, but William F. Buckley Won the War

        On Feb. 18, 1965, three days before the assassination of Malcolm X, a few weeks before the Selma-to-Montgomery marches, and six months before the Watts riots, James Baldwin and William F. Buckley Jr. debated before the Cambridge Union Society at Cambridge University.

      • New Film Showcases How the Rainbow Coalition’s Struggle for Justice Lives On

        One of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton’s most famous quotes is: “You can kill a revolutionary, but you can’t kill the revolution.” Unfortunately, as the new documentary The First Rainbow Coalition demonstrates, the movement can be set back decades when a revolutionary of Hampton’s magnitude is killed. That struggle will continue for as long as people are subjected to racial discrimination, eco-apartheid, oppressive policing, displacement, a lack of affordable housing, jobs, health care, and other basic needs resulting from inequitable laws and government policies.

      • Proposed Alaska Legislation Would Recognize Existence of Tribes

        A bill before the Alaska House Tribal Affairs Committee is simple: “The state recognizes all tribes in the state that are federally recognized …”

      • Australia: Enact New Law to Sanction Rights Abusers

        Expand

        In this Feb. 13, 2019, file photo Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison addresses media at Parliament House in Canberra.

      • Sri Lanka: Families of ‘Disappeared’ Threatened

        Sri Lankan security forces and intelligence agencies have intensified surveillance and threats against families of victims of enforced disappearance and activists supporting them since Gotabaya Rajapaksa became president in November 2019, Human Rights Watch said today. The Sri Lankan government should fulfill its commitments to the United Nations Human Rights Council to strengthen efforts to locate the “disappeared” and bring those responsible to justice.

        Activists working in six locations in the northern and eastern parts of the country on behalf of relatives of the forcibly disappeared told Human Rights Watch that there has been a significant increase in government surveillance and intimidation. One activist said that prior to a recent victims’ meeting, “every one of the mothers got at least six telephone calls from different intelligence agencies asking, ‘Where is the meeting?’ ‘Who is organizing the meeting?’ ‘What is being said?’” Another activist said, “We can’t do any visible programs.… We’ve stopped everything.”

      • 1 in 10 Americans uses stalkerware to track partners and exes, poll finds

        There’s a booming market for apps that track your phone without your knowledge, siphoning off call and text records, photos and more to send to the person who secretly installed the spy app. It’s called stalkerware, and according to a poll released on Wednesday by antivirus provider NortonLifeLock, one in 10 Americans admits to using it on their partner’s or ex’s devices.

      • ‘I Cannot Remain Silent’

        Scholars in China predicted a year ago in an article in the journal Viruses that it was “highly likely” that there would be coronavirus outbreaks, calling it an “urgent issue.” Once the outbreak occurred, other Chinese scientists rapidly identified the virus and sequenced its DNA, posting it on Jan. 10 on a virology website for all to see. That was extraordinarily good and fast work.

        Meanwhile, the Communist Party instinctively organized a cover-up, ordering the police to crack down on eight doctors accused of trying to alert others to the risks. National television programs repeatedly denounced the doctors as rumormongers.

      • VKontakte vs. Facebook: From Open White Supremacy To Stealth

        In March of 2019, Facebook banned white nationalist and white separatist statements from its platform. White supremacism had been forbidden for some time, but last year’s Christchurch massacre seems to have convinced the social network that a more aggresively anti-racist approach was necessary. This ban is not comprehensive, and there are numerous holes in enforcement. This article is about one such hole: the vibrant community of American racists who “hide their power level” just enough to avoid being banned, while subtly pushing their views on friends and family.

        These white supremacists are not particularly coy about their tactics. They plot out in the open, on VKontakte (commonly abbreviated as VK), a Facebook-like popular Russian social medial platform that has much looser moderation. Here’s Kevin Beair, Exalted Cyclops for the Keystone States chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, explaining how “public outreach” for the racist cause can be done on Facebook…

        [...]

        This claim is wildly innaccurate: 82% of white American murder victims are murdered by other white Americans. But the idea that black-on-white violence is an epidemic is enormously powerful to racists. It was this belief that inspired Dylann Roof to murder nine black people at a Charleston church.

        We know that Kevin Beair considers this myth to be well-worth spreading in his efforts to “red-pill” people on Facebook. Unfortunately for us, Kevin’s actual Facebook account remains hidden for the time being. But many of his colleagues have been less careful and, by monitoring their activity on both VK and Facebook, we can put together a catalogue of their attempts to mainstream racial extremism on the world’s largest social network.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
      • Here’s Where the Internet Actually Lives

        Seventy percent of the world’s internet traffic passes through all of that fiber. That’s why Ashburn is known as Data Center Alley. The Silicon Valley of the east. The cloud capital of the world. Pretty much any email sent or received anywhere around the globe passes through this town. If you’ve got something stored in the cloud, it’s probably in one of the 100-plus data centers located in Loudoun County.

    • Monopolies
      • Treat us like something between a telco and a newspaper, says Facebook’s Zuckerberg

        Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, Zuckerberg said Facebook had improved its work countering online election interference, and expanded on his previous calls for regulation of social media firms.

      • Airbnb Has Devoured London. Here’s the Data to Prove It

        In Camden and Westminster, two of the London boroughs worst affected by the rise of short-term rentals, up to seven percent of the total housing stock is advertised on Airbnb. Data compiled by Camden council reveals that of the 7,100 whole properties listed on platforms such as Airbnb and Booking.com in 2019, a staggering 48 percent exceeded the 90-day legal limit. Camden council currently has 6,000 families on its housing waiting list.

      • As Airbnb grows in Cuba, locals suffer the emotional burden of entitled tourists

        The proliferation of rooms caused by the rise of Airbnb also led to emotional labor-related externalities borne by the impacted communities. The landscape of the community had changed; many homes had completed unauthorized renovations and the influx of tourists had changed the social dynamics of the area. “Center Havana has never been one of the nicer parts of the city, we have been marginalized for ages, but now with this [Airbnb rooms], we have tourists wanting to live the authentic Cuban experience. When I’m walking around or going to the market, they look at me as if I was a character of an amusement park like I’m a toy and part of their playground,” complained Judith, a 45-year-old resident of the area.

        Airbnb was Disney-fying parts of Havana that were not meant to be for tourists. Locals emphasized that, where the area had felt like home because they walk freely and mind their own business, they now felt pressure to talk or take pictures with visitors. Judith continued:

        “When I go to the market, I’m stopped at least three times by tourists wanting directions, pictures with me, or if I can help them buy something. This annoys me, but I put on a smile and try to help, otherwise these foreigners will say that Cubans are rude. ”

      • Hospira Requests En Banc Review of Ruling Regarding Safe Harbor

        On January 15, 2020, Hospira filed a petition for rehearing en banc asking the full Federal Circuit to reconsider a prior panel’s analysis of the Safe Harbor provision and reverse the finding of infringement. In December 2019, the Federal Circuit affirmed the District of Delaware’s decision denying Hospira’s motion for judgment as a matter of law and upholding the jury’s verdict that Hospira infringed Amgen’s patent and that some batches of drug substance for Hospira’s erythropoietin biosimilar drug product were not covered by the Safe Harbor provision of 35 U.S.C. § 271(e)(1).

        [...]

        First, relying on the Supreme Court’s decision in Merck KGaA v. Integra Lifesciences I, Ltd., 545 U.S. 193, 206 (2005), Hospira argued that the panel’s analysis ignores the Supreme Court’s admonition that “all uses” reasonably related to obtaining FDA approval are exempted and that the Safe Harbor provision’s application is broader than just information required for approval. According to Hospira, it is not reasonable to expect an applicant to submit the minimum amount of data required to the FDA. Hospira argued that its accused batches were all used to generate data for the FDA as data from every accused batch was used to revise release specifications in response to the CRL.

      • Patents
        • [Old] Anish Kapoor Has Caused Another Color Controversy

          *”Note: By adding this product to your cart you confirm that you are not Anish Kapoor, you are in no way affiliated to Anish Kapoor, you are not purchasing this item on behalf of Anish Kapoor or an associate of Anish Kapoor. To the best of your knowledge, information, and belief this material will not make its way into the hands of Anish Kapoor.”

        • Life Sciences Court Report

          Synopsis: Allergan asserts infringement of the ’202 and ’896 patents. Allergen develops, manufacturers, and distributes dermal filler products including JUVEDÉRM® Ultra XC, JUVEDÉRM® Ultra Plus XC, and JUVEDÉRM® VOLUMA® XC. Prollenium makes, uses, sells, offers to sell, and/or imports into the United States Revanesse® Versa+TM, a dermal filler. Allergen asserts that Revanesse® Versa+TM infringes one of more claims of the ’202 and ’896 patents.

        • Software Patents
          • Why AI systems should be recognized as inventors

            Existing intellectual property laws don’t allow AI systems to be recognized as inventors, which threatens the integrity of the patent system and the potential to develop life-changing innovations.

            Current legislation only allows humans to be recognized as inventors, which could make AI-generated innovations unpatentable. This would deprive the owners of the AI of the legal protections they need for the inventions that their systems create.

            The Artificial Inventor Project team has been testing the limitations of these rules by filing patent applications that designate a machine as the inventor— the first time that an AI’s role as an inventor had ever been disclosed in a patent application. They made the applications on behalf of Dr Stephen Thaler, the creator of a system called DABUS, which was listed as the inventor of a food container that robots can easily grasp and a flashing warning light designed to attract attention during emergencies.

            The European Patent Office (EPO) and the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) both rejected the application, on the grounds that the inventor designated in the application had to be a human being — and not a machine.

          • 3 Malaysia MPEG-2 Patents left

            With February 13th passing it would appear there are only 3 Malaysia patents left:

            MY 128994 (possible expiration of 30 Mar 2022)
            MY 141626-A (possible expiration of 31 May 2025)
            MY-163465-A (possible expiration of 15 Sep 2032)

      • Copyrights
        • Copyright Troll Drops Lawsuits When it Gets the ‘Wrong’ Judge

          Strike 3 Holdings is one of the most active copyright litigants in the U.S. In recent years, the company has identified thousands of suspected pirates through court-ordered subpoenas. However, it doesn’t appear to like all judges equally. Several cases that were assigned to a rather critical judge in Florida were dropped like a hot potato.

        • Don’t Use the Word ‘Did’ or a Dumb Anti-Piracy Company Will Delete You From Google

          In 2018, the owner of Two-Bit History, a site dedicated to computer history, wrote a successful article about mathematician Ada Lovelace, who some credit as being the first computer programmer. Sadly, if you search Google for that article today you won’t find it. Some idiotic anti-piracy company had it deleted because it dared to use the word ‘did’.

        • UMG Discloses List of Masters Destroyed In Universal Studios Fire

          In a recent court filing from the ongoing lawsuit against Universal Music Group (UMG), additional light was shed on the extent of the damage caused by the 2008 Universal Studios fire.

Links 16/2/2020: MX Linux 19.1 and MyPaint 2.0

Sunday 16th of February 2020 08:30:25 PM

Contents
  • GNU/Linux
    • Maui Project Wants to Bring Convergent Apps to Linux Desktops and Android

      Maui Project is creating MauiKit, a free and open-source modular front-end framework built with KDE Project’s Kirigami UI framework for creating mobile and convergent apps and Qt Quick Controls 2, a collection of templated controls and tools for building complete user interfaces in Qt Quick.

      MauiKit aims to help application developers build convergent apps that work seamlessly on desktop computers and mobile phones, but a lot faster, using known technologies like C++, QML, and Qt.

    • Desktop/Laptop
      • An Alternative to Windows 7

        Probably not that many are familiar with the name of Mark Shuttleworth; more may be aware of his accomplishments. In the mid-1990s he founded Thawte Consulting. The company, specialized in digital certificates and internet security, was later acquired by VeriSign, earning Shuttleworth a substantial amount of money. From 2004, Shuttleworth invested in developing Ubuntu Linux.

        For a long time, the public perception of Linux software has been that is only something IT professionals are able to use, requiring a lot of additional coding and fine-tuning. While this is true for a specific part of the Linux ecosystem, there are many projects designed to bring Linux as close as possible to everyday users. Ubuntu is one of them. So what are the pros and cons of considering Ubuntu Linux as a replacement for Windows 7.

      • Every time Windows 10 Updates, it deletes all saved desktop icons, clears my taskbar, deletes all my saved favorites, passwords, and more!

        Every time my PC updates my desktop wallpaper goes back to default, and all saved icons, favorites, passwords, etc are gone. Every. Single. Time. This is getting tiring and I’m losing so much time at work saving my icons again, paswords, etc. What is going on? Also keeps changing my default printer even when the box is left un-checked, when the computer updates and restarts the box will be checked. Its almost as if the computer is set back to default after every update. Please help. I’ve tried quite a few things to fix and no luck.

      • February Win10 1903 and 1909 cumulative update, KB 4532693, causing desktops to disappear

        Microsoft should be paying you to beta test their buggy patches.

      • Windows 10: Update KB4532693 kills user data/profile

        There are reports that cumulative update KB4532693 for Windows 10 versions 1903 and 1909 dated February 11, 2020, is causing significant issues for some users. Desktop gone, files gone, icons gone and more.

      • Second Windows 10 update is now causing problems by hiding user profiles

        Windows 10 users are reporting that a second Windows update included in this month’s Patch Tuesday is causing problems.

        According to reports, a bug in the KB4532693 update is hiding user profiles and their respective data on some Windows 10 systems.

    • Server
      • How Ceph powers exciting research with Open Source

        As researchers seek scalable, high performance methods for storing data, Ceph is a powerful technology that needs to be at the top of their list. Ceph is an open-source software-defined storage platform. While it’s not often in the spotlight, it’s working hard behind the scenes, playing a crucial role in enabling ambitious, world-renowned projects such as CERN’s particle physics research, Immunity Bio’s cancer research, The Human Brain Project, MeerKat radio telescope, and more. These ventures are propelling the collective understanding of our planet and the human race beyond imaginable realms, and the outcomes will forever change how we perceive our existence and potential. It’s high-time Ceph receives the praise it deserves for powering some of the most exciting research projects on Earth.

      • Kubernetes’ Inevitable Takeover of the Data Center
      • How To Drive Infrastructure Like Uber Does
    • Audiocasts/Shows
      • GNU World Order 340

        Thoughts about licensing. Coffee. Then thoughts about Java.

      • This Week in Linux 93: MATE 1.24, KDE Plasma 5.18, Blender, OpenShot, Evernote, MX Linux

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, we have monster of a show with new releases from desktop environments like MATE and KDE Plasma to distro news from MX Linux, Ubuntu, Project Trident and Tiny Core. In App News this week, we see new releases from Blender, OpenShot and some interesting news from Evernote. We’ll also talk about some updates from TLP the laptop performance project and Wayland display server protocol. Later in the show, we’ll check out a cool gaming overlay project called MangoHud and we’ll discuss some Legal News related to Mycroft AI and their fight against a “Patent Troll”. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

    • Kernel Space
      • Reiser5 Updates For Linux 5.5 Along With Reiser4

        The out-of-tree Reiser4 and Reiser5 (Reiser4 v5) patches have been updated against the recently stabilized Linux 5.5 kernel.

        Main Reiser4 developer Edward Shishkin re-based the Reiser4 file-system patch against Linux 5.5.1 along with the experimental Reiser5.

        At the end of 2019 is when Shishkin announced Reiser5 file-system development with introducing the concepts of local volumes capable of parallel scaling out and other key iterations over the current Reiser4 design.

      • Linux 5.7 To See USB Fast Charge Support For Apple iOS Devices

        The Linux 5.7 kernel that will be out in the late spring / early summer is poised to see support for USB fast charging support for Apple iOS devices.

        Currently if charging an Apple iPhone / iPad from a USB port by default it will not draw more than 500mA per specifications. However, iOS devices can draw more power when communicated to do so via Apple’s protocol. With Linux 5.7 a new “apple-mfi-fastcharge” driver will allow this capability of up to 2500mA.

        The apple-mfi-fastcharge driver will allow setting the power supply property via sysfs to “fast” and in turn lets the iOS device draw more power from the USB port, similar to the behavior of MFi certified chargers.

      • Apple Firmware Update For Magic Keyboards Decides To Change The Fn Key

        Linux has supported the Apple Magic Keyboards since 2018 handling the Bluetooth connectivity and also needing some special handling for the numeric keypad. While that normally would be the end of the story, recent firmware updates to the Apple Magic Keyboard have caused problems.

        Newer Apple firmware updates to the Magic Keyboards have caused the function (Fn) keys to be reported differently. So on current Linux kernels when running on an Apple keyboard with updated firmware, the Fn key may not behave correctly.

      • Graphics Stack
        • NVIDIA 440.58.01 Linux Driver Fixes Vulkan Game Crashes, New Extensions

          Not scheduled to go live until Monday but up this weekend is the NVIDIA 440.58.01 Linux beta driver that offers a few Vulkan updates.

          The NVIDIA 440.58.01 Linux driver fixes a regression that caused some Vulkan games to crash due to swapchain issues. Affected games include at least F1 2017, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and DiRT 4. This beta driver also fixes a visual glitching issue when falling out of page-flipping such as alt-tabbing on Linux.

        • NVIDIA have a new Vulkan Beta driver out for Linux fixing some regressions

          NVIDIA continue being quick to advance their Vulkan drivers as today they released an update to their special Beta branch.

          440.58.01 is out which adds in support for two more Vulkan extensions with VK_KHR_shader_non_semantic_info and VK_EXT_tooling_info which sounds quite useful to help developers track down what might be causing an error.

          For games this release fixes up a Vulkan swapchain recreation crash with F1 2017, Rise of the Tomb Raider and DiRT 4. NVIDIA also solved an issue with visual glitching of Vulkan applications when “falling out of flipping” with an example being when you alt+tab, however they’re still investigating an issue to do with this on the GNOME desktop.

    • Benchmarks
      • A Quick Look At The Blender 2.82 Performance On Intel + AMD CPUs

        With Blender 2.82 having released on Friday, this weekend we’ve begun our benchmarking of this new Blender release as the leading open-source 3D modeling solution currently available. Here are some preliminary v2.81 vs. v2.82 figures on different higher-end Intel and AMD processors.

        This is just a quick look at how we’re seeing the Blender 2.82 performance on a number of distinct systems for comparing the old and new releases as well as a rough look at how these various Intel and AMD processors are comparing.

    • Applications
      • Open Source Graphics App MyPaint 2.0 Released with Major Improvements

        Open source artists should check out the latest release of MyPaint, as it scored a substantial update this weekend.

        The new MyPaint 2.0.0 release succeeds MyPaint 1.2, released back in 2017, and brings a stack of new features and improved tools with it.

        MyPaint is notable for its compatibility with Wacom graphics tablets (and similar devices), including both pressure and tilt-sensitivity, as well as it’s support for both conventional and unconventional brush types. It also has a full-screen ‘distraction free’ mode.

      • MyPaint 2.0 Released With New Features For Open-Source Drawing/Painting

        If the likes of GIMP and Krita aren’t satisfying your digital drawing/painting needs, MyPaint 2.0 has finally been released as a big update to this simplicity-minded, cross-platform and open-source program.

        MyPaint 2.0 debuted this weekend as a big update for this open-source artistic software following more than a dozen alpha releases over the past year and as their first big release since 2017.

      • MyPaint 2.0 Open-Source Drawing and Paining App Adds Major New Features

        After more than a year in development, MyPaint 2.0 is finally here and it looks like it’s a major release adding many goodies for passionate digital artists. This version replaces the MyPaint 1.2 series as the latest stable release due to important changes to brush parameters and a whole new layer mode.

        The developers explain that layer mode featured in this release uses a brand new compositing method, making files created with MyPaint 2.0 incompatible with earlier releases. Furthermore, the brush stroke data created in MyPaint 2.0 won’t work properly in previous versions of the software.

      • MyPaint 2.0 is Here With Brushes, Python 3 Support and More Features

        MyPaint is one of the top open source alternatives to Microsoft Paint. It’s a handy little tool that allows you to quickly sketch and draw. While there are more sophisticated open source tools for digital artists like Krita, MyPaint is not too bad for light sketching.

        You can also use it on Wacom touch devices without much trouble.

        MyPaint has a major new release with support for Python 3, new layer mode, new brush parameters among other changes.

      • Free Editing Software RawTherapee Adds Impressive ‘Capture Sharpening’ Feature

        Free Lightroom alternative RawTherapee just released version 5.8. And in addition to the usual compatibility and performance improvements, the open source software has also added an impressive new feature called “Capture Sharpening.”

        According to the release notes, Capture Sharpening specifically addresses detail that is lost to lens blur (AKA diffraction). “It takes place right after demosaicing, and as it works in linear space it is not prone to haloing,” reads the description. “Capture Sharpening in combination with Post-Resize Sharpening allows for detailed and crisp results.”

        People who use RawTherapee as their raw photo editor of choice will tell you that it’s already phenomenal at sharpening, and this only makes it that much better. If you don’t need the cataloging or advanced masking tools available in Darktable, RawTherapee might be your open source Lightroom alternative of choice.

      • Open Source Audio-Video: 8 Replacements for Expensive Applications

        Open source audio-video software offers an alternative to paying for expensive proprietary software. And in many cases, the open source options are as good as or better than the comparable commercial, proprietary solutions. In fact, users site the top reasons why they use open source software as: the features, freedom from vendor lock-in and the quality of the solutions. Price and total cost of ownership weren’t even on the list. In other words, people are using open source because the software is so good, and the fact that it is free is just a side benefit.

        The list of audio-video software below includes a variety of open source software for home users and SMBs. All of these applications can replace commercial products that can carry high prices. Even if buyers choose to purchase support or other services for their open source software, the open source options are generally much more affordable than the comparable proprietary solutions.

      • Record screencast or web cam video with VokoscreenNG an open source program for Windows and Linux

        VokoscreenNG is an open source screen casting program for Windows and Linux. It can be used to record videos from your webcam or the screen content, along with the audio source that you choose.

        [...]

        You can use this to record the content on the screen. You have two options to choose from: fullscreen and area. Fullscreen mode captures everything on the screen and supports monitor selection if you have multiple monitors. Area mode has preset resolutions that you can pick to resize the view-finder to the corresponding size (say 320 x 200 pixels). You can of course drag the arrows on the screen to resize it and use it as free-region selector.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
      • Comedy cosmic horror adventure ‘Edgar – Bokbok in Boulzac’ releasing on February 26

        Mixing comedy with cosmic horror might seem a little weird and it is, Edgar – Bokbok in Boulzac is releasing with Linux support on February 26.

        The first game from French studio La Poule Noire, Edgar – Bokbok in Boulzac has you play as the eccentric outcast Edgar whose best friend is a Chicken. Unfortunately, a sudden disaster forces you out of your shack and towards the bright lights of the big city, Boulzac, where an 800 year old fire rages beneath the surface, and weird things are afoot.

      • Fusing a deck-builder and a narrative adventure ‘Iris and the Giant’ releases February 27 – demo up

        Developer Louis Rigaud and publisher Goblinz Studio have announced their fusion of a deck-builder with a narrative adventure and turn-based battles, Iris and the Giant, is going to release on February 27.

        They say it mixes together “a collectible card game with RPG and roguelike elements”, with you playing a Iris who must brave her fears in her imaginary world. Behind the game’s unique minimalist art style players will explore a touching story of a young woman facing her inner demons and soothing the raging giant inside.

      • Martian city-builder ‘The Farlanders’ has a big new release up with a Happiness system

        Sweet small city-builder The Farlanders is evolving into a bigger game, with a new release now up introducing some fresh game mechanics.

        A game covered here briefly last year, as a promising up-and-coming city-builder that was aiming to do things a little bit differently and that feeling continues with this new build. Version 0.3.0 introduces a Happiness system, there’s new types of terrain and terraforming options, new building types and the game has gone through an overhaul on the balance.

      • Explore a dark mansion in the survival horror ‘Westmark Manor’ releasing this year

        Sometime later this Summer, Westmark Manor will take you on a journey into the occult and the developer Nodbrim Interactive is planning to get it on Linux too.

        It’s a mixture of gameplay elements here with exploration, puzzle solving and survival and it sounds like plenty of inventory management too as you acquire the tools needed to progress through different rooms in a mansion. Two days ago they put up a reveal trailer and while a bit dark (visually), it gives an interesting look into the horrifying things you will get up to in Westmark Manor.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • This week in KDE: Plasma bug-fixing and Samba bug-squashing

          Plasma 5.18 has been released! A ton of work went into this release and we’re very proud of it. However I’d like to apologize for it being a bit buggier than we’d have preferred. We’ve gone balls-to-the-wall off the chain bananas fixing the issues you folks are reporting! Almost all of the highest-profile issues are fixed already, to be released with Plasma 5.18.1 in a few days! And we’ve got the less major regressions in our sights too! But still, we know that stability hasn’t always been our strong suit and we’re aiming for a higher standard next time, discussing how we can get there. So thank you for your patience and understanding, and enjoy Plasma 5.18!

        • KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS Offers Better Integration With GTK/GNOME Applications

          The KDE community has come out with the new release of the open-source KDE Plasma Desktop environment, which is also the LTS (Long Term Support) version designed to run on GNU/Linux distributions.

          Offering a host of new features, Plasma 5.18 succeeds the aging Plasma 5.12 LTS.

          With the latest version, users can look forward to much better integration with GTK/GNOME applications. It also includes a varied change-log with tweaks affecting almost every part of the desktop experience.

          The developers behind Plasma 5.18 said that this new version of their favorite desktop environment is “easier and more fun” and also allows you to do more tasks faster.

        • Videos From KDE Talks at FOSDEM

          How QML, a language prominently used for designing UI, could be used to create title video clips containing text and/or images. The videos can then be rendered and composited over other videos in the video-editing process. Kdenlive’s Google Summer of Code 2019 project tried to achieve this and is still under active development.

          QML is used primarily for UI development in Qt Applications. It provides an easy way of designing and creating interactive, clean and a modern UI. Kdenlive is a popular non-linear open-source video editor and it currently makes use of XML to describe title clips — clips which contain text or images used to composite over videos. XML requires more processing in the backend as one needs to explicitly write code for, say an animation of the text. Using QML eases this restriction, making the backend more robust and maintainable as rendering in QML makes use of a dedicated Qt Scene Graph. Kdenlive’s Google Summer of Code 2019 student Akhil Gangadharan Kurungadathil tried to achieve this by creating a new rendering backend library and a new MLT QML producer which is still under active development. Owing to the dedicated scene graph while rendering, this could also possibly lead to greater overall performance.

        • KDE Sees Improvements For Samba Shares, Fixing Mouse Input For GTK Apps On XWayland

          While this week marked the release of KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS, KDE developers haven’t let up on their bug fixing activities and other improvements to this open-source desktop environment.

          Some of the highlights for other work this week besides pushing Plasma 5.18.0 out the door includes:

          - Support for creating and pasting files on Samba shares within Dolphin. There is also support for URLs beginning with cifs:// for paths to Samba shares and other KDE Dolphin improvements around Samba mounts, including support for showing the amount of free space on such shares.

        • KDE Plasma Desktop 5.18 Brings Significant Improvements. How to install [PPA]

          KDE Plasma desktop environment announced the release of its latest version 5.18. This is a long term support release (LTS) that provides security updates and support for the next two years – i.e. till 2022 while the regular versions maintained for only 4 months.

    • Distributions
      • 7 Most Beautiful Linux Distributions in 2020

        Here are some drop dead gorgeous Linux distributions that provide an overall pleasant desktop experience out of the box.

      • OSMC Skin update

        While we usually release a single monthly update, we’ve made a number of improvements to the OSMC skin and would like to get these changes out as promptly as possible for feedback.

        [...]

        To get the latest and greatest version of OSMC, simply head to My OSMC -> Updater and check for updates manually on your exising OSMC set up. Of course — if you have updates scheduled automatically you should receive an update notification shortly.

        If you enjoy OSMC, please follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and consider making a donation if you would like to support further development.

        You may also wish to check out our Store, which offers a wide variety of high quality products which will help you get the best of OSMC.

      • New Releases
        • Download Debian-based MX Linux 19.1 now

          Ever find yourself bored with the same ol’ “mainstream” Linux-based operating system such as Ubuntu, Fedora, or Mint? Yeah, I get it. Sometimes you just want to dig a bit deeper and try out something a tad less known. It can be fun to distro-hop and try new things!

          One such excellent Linux distribution is MX Linux. It has become wildly popular in the Linux community lately, but is still largely off the radar of those that aren’t “in the know.” Today, a new version of the operating system, MX Linux 19.1, becomes available for download. The Debian-based distro uses the Xfce desktop environment and comes pre-loaded with some great software, such as Firefox, LibreOffice, and more.

        • MX-19.1 now available!

          Updated iso images

          –direct download:

          https://sourceforge.net/projects/mx-linux/files/Final/

          Mirrors will populate over time. Other download locations: https://mxlinux.org/download-links/

          Torrents here: https://mxlinux.org/torrent-files/

          We are pleased to offer MX-19.1. for your use.

          MX-19.1 is a refresh of our MX-19 release, consisting of bugfixes and application updates since our original release of MX-19. If you are already running MX-19, there is no need to reinstall. Packages are all available thru the regular update channel.

          Migration notes are here:

          Due to the increasing presence of users with newer hardware (particularly newer AMD or Intel hardware), with this release, in addition to the standard 32 bit and 64 bit isos with 4.19 LTS kernels, we are producing a third iso that we call “Advanced Hardware Support” or AHS (pronounced Oz) for short. AHS is 64 bit and ships with a debian 5.4 kernel, Mesa 19.2 as well as newer xserver drivers and various recompiled apps that will utilize the newer graphics stack. We debuted the AHS repository sometime ago (blog post here), and we thought the time was right for an iso with the AHS repo enabled by default. AHS is a little untested, but the idea is that it will receive updates to the graphics stack over time, so for those that don’t need the newer open source graphics stack, there is little point is using AHS.

        • MX Linux 19.1 Released with New “Advanced Hardware Support” ISO

          MX Linux 19.1 distribution is now available for download with a new “Advanced Hardware Support” ISO image for newer hardware and latest software updates from Debian GNU/Linux.

        • Q4OS 4.0 Gemini, testing

          We are happy to kick off development cycle of the Q4OS 4, the brand new major version codenamed ‘Gemini’. The Debian ‘Bullseye’ development branch underlies Q4OS Gemini, which will be in development until Debian Bullseye becomes stable, and it’s planned to be supported for five years from the official release date. Unlike previous installation media, Q4OS Gemini live media carries the full desktop software bundle, however a user can ask the Desktop profiler tool to strip the target system into one of predefined so called ‘Software profiles’ throughout the installation process.

          Feel free to download and try the new version out, bugs and glitches reporting would be very welcome, live bootable media are immediately available for download from the dedicated Testing releases page.

      • BSD
        • Announcing the NetBSD 9.0 release

          On behalf of the NetBSD project, it is my pleasure to announce the NetBSD 9.0 release.

          This is the seventeenth major release of the NetBSD operating system and brings significant improvements in terms of hardware support, quality assurance, security, along with new features and hundreds of bug fixes. Some highlights: [...]

        • The Call for Talk and presentation proposals for EuroBSDCon 2020 is now open.

          EuroBSDcon is the European technical conference for users and developers of BSD-based systems. The conference will take place September 17-20 2020 in Vienna, Austria. The tutorials will be held on Thursday and Friday to registered participants and the talks are presented to conference attendees on Saturday and Sunday.

          The Call for Talk and Presentation proposals period will close on May 24th, 2020. Prospective speakers will be notified of accepteance or otherwise by June 2nd, 2020.

        • DragonFlyBSD 5.8-RC1 Is Ready With Many Changes From DSynth To Performance Optimizations

          Not only did NetBSD 9.0 make its debut today but DragonFlyBSD 5.8 was branched and its first release candidate made while DragonFlyBSD 5.9 is the version now open on Git master.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE
      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora
        • Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform Now Available For IBM Z, LinuxONE

          Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform is now available for IBM Z and IBM LinuxONE. OpenShift brings together the core open source technologies of Linux, containers and Kubernetes, adds additional open source capabilities such developer tools and a registry, and hardens, tests and optimizes the software for enterprise production use.

          As IBM puts it, the availability of OpenShift for Z and LinuxONE is a major milestone for both hybrid multicloud and for enterprise computing.

        • Can IBM’s New Duopoly Produce A Unifying Vision?
        • IBM Watson And The Value Of Open [Ed: Well, Watson is proprietary software. This is cheap, low-grade openwashing. See authors here. Forbes apparently takes IBM money for marketing/propaganda.]

          Not so long ago, back in 2011, IBM’s artificial intelligence technology (later packaged and sold as Watson) triumphed in the game of Jeopardy. Watson played against the two most successful contestants ever to appear on the show. This victory reflected the result of an enormous amount of work done by IBM and others to mine human language for the semantic meaning of words, and allow a machine to answer Jeopardy questions that would have been impossible for any computer just a few years earlier.

        • IBM CTO: Edge Will Implode Without Open Source [Ed: This guy is CTO of IBM proprietary software (Watson). Do as I say, not as I do...?]

          Edge computing devices are proliferating at an astonishing rate, jumping from about 15 billion devices today to about 55 billion by 2022, according to Rob High, VP and CTO of IBM Watson.

        • IBM on the first open source security platform
        • Crunchy PostgreSQL for Kubernetes 4.2 Receives Red Hat OpenShift Operator Certification

          Crunchy Data, the leading provider of trusted open source PostgreSQL technology and support, is pleased to announce that Crunchy PostgreSQL for Kubernetes 4.2 has achieved the “auto pilot” capability level as part of Red Hat OpenShift Operator Certification. The “auto pilot” capability level designates the highest level of automation associated with Operator technologies, including PostgreSQL cluster self-healing after a failover event and advanced high-availability configurations for workloads sensitive to transaction loss.

        • Minicomputers and The Soul of a New Machine

          The Command Line Heroes podcast is back, and this season it covers the machines that run all the programming languages I covered last season. As the podcast staff puts it:

          “This season, we’ll look at what happens when idealistic teams come together to build visionary machines. Machines made with leaps of faith and a lot of hard, often unrecognized, work in basements and stifling cubicles. Machines that brought teams together and changed us as a society in ways we could only dream of.”

          This first episode looks at the non-fiction book (and engineering classic), The Soul of a New Machine, to look at a critical moment in computing history. It covers the transition from large, hulking mainframes to the intermediate step of the minicomputer, which will eventually lead us to the PC revolution that we’re still living in the wake of.

        • Fedora 31 : Can be better? part 006.

          I try to use the Selinux MLS with Fedora 31 and I wrote on my last article about Fedora 31 : Can be better? part 005.After relabeling the files and start the environment I get multiple errors and I ask an answer at fedoraproject lists: This is an example of the problem of implementing MLS in Fedora and can be remedied because MLS Selinux is old in implementing Selinux.

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Best open source cloud-storage services

        Worried about storing your private files with data-hungry tech giants such as Google and Microsoft? Here are three open source alternatives

      • New Open-Source Software SHARPy Launched

        The Aeroelastics Research Group has launched an open-source software tool – SHARPy

        The tool offers dynamic simulation for everything from wind turbines to solar-powered aircraft.

        SHARPy (which stands for Simulation of High-Aspect Ratio aeroplanes in Python) is a dynamic aeroelasticity simulation package. It offers structural, aerodynamic and coupled aeroelastic/flight dynamics analysis, and has particular application for low-speed and very flexible aircraft, and for wind turbines.

      • Iowa Caucus App Fiasco Shows Need for Open Source Transparency

        The Iowa caucuses were thrown into disarray as reports surfaced an opaque app used to tabulate the results and report them to Democratic Party officials was reporting only part of the required data. Although the app had been developed to improve efficiency in communicating the final caucus tallies, it ended up causing significant delays. According to security experts, the incident served to highlight the risks of relying on digital systems and the centralization of information, and a lack of transparency regarding these systems.

      • How to Vet the Engineering Chops of Your Software Vendors

        After witnessing the debacle in Iowa, campaign decision-makers across the country are wondering just how good is the engineering behind the software they purchase for their campaigns? And for good reason: the stakes couldn’t be higher.

      • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: OWASP SAMM

        The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) has announced version 2 of the Software Assurance Maturity Model (SAMM). SAMM is an open-source framework that enables teams and developers to assess, formulate and implement better security strategies that can be integrated into the software development life cycle.

      • Austin Alexander Burridge of Rosemount Compares Open-Source and Proprietary Software Security

        When open-source software developers are made aware of a specific security vulnerability or bug in their software products, they often publish the vulnerability to the community. If there’s a developer who wants to offer a fix, he can build one and publish it as a particular version. If there’s no funding to develop an upgrade, an IT professional is still aware of the problem so that he can create a custom workaround for his company’s unique system until an updated version of the software becomes available.

      • Robust security crucial for adoption of open source

        New Delhi [India], Feb 11 (ANI/NewsVoir): While speaking at the inaugural session of the “3rd Open Source Summit 2020″ recently in New Delhi, Vivek Banzal, Director (CFA), Bharat Sachar Nigam Limited (BSNL) said that it is a challenge to keep pace with the technology, more so when security of data has to be quite robust.

        [...]

        “The Government of India has encouraged the adoption of this technology in the Digital India initiative and this has further encouraged the CIO’s of enterprises and other government organizations to make a move towards Open source technology. The rise of digital transformation in India has pushed the adoption of open source both by enterprises and government,” said Sunil Kumar, Deputy Director-General, National Informatics Centre (NIC), while commenting on the adoption of Open source by the Government to India.

      • Leaders share how agencies bring agility into application development

        Additionally, tapping into open source development communities allows them to overcome some of chronic IT skills gaps many agencies continue to face.

        [...]

        Open source is being used both in civilian and defense agencies. Even though open source code is used for unclassified applications, it does not mean it’s unsecure, assures Michael Kanaan, co-chair of artificial intelligence and machine learning for the U.S. Air Force.

      • The Top 13 Free and Open Source RPA Tools

        Searching for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software can be a daunting (and expensive) process, one that requires long hours of research and deep pockets. The most popular RPA tools often provide more than what’s necessary for non-enterprise organizations, with advanced functionality relevant to only the most technically savvy users. Thankfully, there are a number of free and open source RPA tools out there. Some of these solutions are offered by vendors looking to eventually sell you on their enterprise product, and others are maintained and operated by a community of developers looking to democratize robotic process automation.

        In this article, we will examine free and open source RPA tools, first by providing a brief overview of what to expect and also with short blurbs of the options currently available in the space. This is the most complete and up-to-date directory on the web.

      • The Two Faces of Open Source: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 5

        The open source software movement has evolved dramatically over the past two decades. Many businesses that once considered open source a threat now recognize its value.

        On the other hand, in spite of increased enthusiasm among enterprises, consumer interest by and large has not materialized.

        With large companies increasingly embracing open source, what does it mean to be a part of the free and open source software, or FOSS, “community”?

      • Pimcore’s free, open source digital experience platform – a rock tossed into the CX pond?

        The retail and eCommerce landscapes have changed dramatically over the past decade as customer experience has risen to the forefront of enterprise marketing priorities. Marketers have turned their focus away from price as the key driver of sales to their ability to deliver the most convenient, streamlined and personalized experiences across channels whether online, in-store, or on mobile phones.

        [...]

        Their solution Pimcore, introduced in 2013, is a free open source software platform for managing digital data and customer experiences for any channel, device, or industry.

      • Chef Serves Up Partner Program to Push Open DevOps Model

        Aims to help channel sell 100% open-source portfolio

      • Chef Introduces New Global Partner Program Purpose-Built for 100 Percent Open Source Software

        Chef, the leader in DevOps, today announced a new channel program specifically designed to ensure that partners and customers are able to take maximum advantage of Chef’s 100 percent open source business model. The Chef Partner Program (CPP) creates three tiers of partners — Principal, Senior and Junior — with the highest benefits and incentives applied to those who drive the strongest results for themselves and their mutual enterprise customers using Chef Enterprise Automation Stack.

      • CableLabs, Altran team to take open source to the edge

        Altran and CableLabs have teamed up on “Project Adrenaline,” an open source initiative that aims to help the cable industry build and manage edge networks and smooth the path for apps that can run on them.

        And while Adrenaline is initially focused on cable, the broader aim is to apply the resulting open source platform to multiple industries while still staying aligned with Kubernetes.

      • Events
        • oSLO Conference

          The two projects are celebrating their 15ᵗʰ and 10ᵗʰ anniversary respectively in 2020. To mark the occasion, openSUSE and LibreOffice projects are organizing a joint conference from 13ᵗʰ to 16ᵗʰ October 2020 in Nuremberg, Germany. The conference will take place at Z-bau (Frankenstraße 200). It is the same location where last year’s openSUSE Conference was held.

        • More foss stuff

          First of all – a huge thanks to everyone who submitted to the Call for Papers for foss-north 2020. We have over 70 hours (!!!) of contents to squeeze into two tracks over two days. As always, it will be hard to pick the speakers to create the very best program.

          Other foss-north activities includes starting to populate the community day activities, as well as getting a whole bunch on sponsors onboard. An extra big thanks to Luxoft and Red Hat Ansible for helping us by picking up the Gold Sponsorship packages. Ansible are even running their European Contributor Summit as a part of the foss-north Community Day together with events by KDE, Gnome, FreeBSD, Debian, and a hardware hacking workshop. I’m really looking forward to this – if you want to join in with your own project, workshop, hackaton, etc – just ping me!

      • Web Browsers
        • Data Doctors: Is the Brave browser safe to use?

          If you’re like most users, you spend more time using a browser than any other program on your computer or smartphone.

          You probably don’t think about what browser you’re using; the focus is on getting to a website, not what got you there.

          Google Chrome is by far the most popular browser, but because it’s a Google product integrated with all their tracking and advertising networks, a lot of people are looking for an alternative.

        • Here’s how to know if the Brave browser is safe to use

          A: If you’re like most users, you spend more time using a browser than any other program on your computer or smartphone.

          You probably don’t think about what browser you’re using as the focus is on getting to a website and not what got you there.

          Google’s Chrome is by far the most popular browser, but because it’s a Google product integrated with all their tracking and advertising networks, a lot of people are looking for an alternative.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases
      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra
        • Academic Writing Tools on GNU/Linux – Free Software Only

          This is my list of GNU/Linux tools for academic, educational, and research purposes which all are free software. I tried to pick up choices as simple as possible here just to represent every basic category and further I hope you could see more alternatives if you want. I also listed several specific tools like GNU Octave and Parallel which are proven to be useful for certain researches. On the other hand, I deliberately did not list LaTeX tools here as I already chosen LibreOffice for that category. I made every proprietary software name italicized here so you can spot them on easier. Happy researching!

        • Building even more of LibreOffice with Meson, now with graphics

          Note that this contains only the main deliverables, i.e. the shared libraries and executables. Unit tests and the like are not converted apart from a few sample tests.

          It was mentioned in an earlier blog post that platform abstraction layers are the trickiest ones to build. This turns out to be the case here also. LO has at least three such frameworks (depending on how you count them). SAL is the very basic layer, UNO is a component model used to, for example, expose functionality to Java. Finally VCL is the GUI toolkit abstraction layer. Now that we have the GUI toolkit and its GTK plugin built we can build a VCL sample application and launch it. It looks like this:

      • CMS
        • XSS vulnerability patched in TinyMCE

          A security update has been released for the popular open source text editor TinyMCE after a researcher discovered a a cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability impacting three of its plugins.

      • Education
        • Should You Opt For An Open-Source LMS [Ed: The proprietary software LMS vendors badmouthing Free software as if that means "no support" (which is exactly the opposite of what's true, the support of the lifeline of the developers)]

          In the modern world, organizations are increasingly using learning management systems (LMS) for corporate training. However, with the availability of both open-source LMS and commercial LMS, choosing the more appropriate one for your organization can be challenging.

          Although leading open-source industry pioneers such as Moodle has dominated eLearning over the past few years, many organizations still prefer proprietary LMS over open-source LMS. In this article, we have assessed both these options and jotted down the factors you must consider before making a decision.

      • FINOS
        • Open Source Community Responds to Rapid Adoption of Tech in Financial Services as FINOS Announces New Fintech Members

          The companies include: EPAM Systems, Inc., a product development, digital platform engineering, and digital and product design agency; NearForm, an open source solutions design and delivery company; and CloudBees, a provider of DevOps solutions.

        • Finos welcomes new members

          Finos (Fintech Open Source Foundation), a nonprofit whose mission is to foster adoption of open source, open standards, and collaborative software development practices in financial services, today announces the addition of three established fintechs to its already growing membership roster of prestigious financial institutions, technology companies and global consultancies.

      • FSF
        • [Older] Programmers Push Microsoft to Open Windows

          The Free Software Foundation is giving Microsoft’s move away from proprietary software a helpful hug.

          Can opening Windows 7 to open-source developers, which the foundation promotes, advance Microsoft’s digital transformation?

          The alliance, which is committed to user control of the software that runs electronic devices, is circulating a petition that calls on Microsoft to put the retired operating system into the public domain.

          The Redmond, Washington, tech giant stopped supporting Windows 7 for most users at mid-month.
          Programmers Push Microsoft to Open Windows

        • GNU Projects
          • GnuCash : free and open-source accounting app for Linux

            Are you looking for an accounting app for your business? If you do, try out GnuCash, an open-source, free-to-use financing platform for Linux. It is the ideal solution for small businesses. Nevertheless, you can also use it for your personal use.

            In this article, we will take a closer look at GnuCash, its installation, and what it has to offer.

        • Licensing / Legal
          • Grsecurity Breaks its Silence on Defamation Lawsuit

            Open Source Security, Inc. (OSS), makers of grsecurity, have finally broken their silence over their recently concluded defamation lawsuit. In a series of blog posts, OSS details the origins of the claims made against it, the history of controversy of the defendant of the suit, and the effects on the wider Open Source community.

          • Open source licence series – Cockroach Labs: Scaling a sustainable open source business model

            Big cloud vendors have preyed upon open source R&D by providing open source software (OSS) software as-a-service to edge out small competitors. Combine that with the platform benefits of economies of scale and greater opportunities for integration… and you can see how the big cloud providers can drown open source startups.

            That said, companies eclipsing growth-stage and legacy companies looking to store mission-critical data in the cloud are becoming wary of big vendors not investing in their R&D.

          • Open source licence series – OpenStack Foundation: Protecting open source freedoms

            Reduced to its essence, free and open source software is defining a set of freedoms, encoded into software licences.

            The Open Source Initiative (OSI) maintains an open source definition and a list of compatible licences, with the double goal of guaranteeing those essential freedoms and rights… and facilitating adoption by limiting licence proliferation.

      • Public Services/Government
        • Open source energy modelling tool shows how to decarbonise Australia

          The future of Australia’s energy mix has spawned innumerable heated arguments over how to balance secure electricity supply with economic and environmental needs, prompting energy consultants ITP to launch an open source modelling tool to settle arguments and provide clarity.

          Inspired by similar open source models in Europe and North America, ITP launched the openCEM model as a free, transparent tool to cut through the complexity of Australia’s energy mix and how it can securely transition away from carbon.

          “ITP felt, as many have felt, that public discussions around renewables were fraught with many assumptions and made with few facts and little expertise,” ITP strategy group manager Oliver Woldring said.

          [..]

          Once openCEM is being used widely by policy makers and investors across Australia, ITP and ThoughtWorks aims to engage other markets across APAC and further afield, about creating tools to model uptakes of renewables into the grids of other countries.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
        • Open Data
          • Self-driving car dataset missing labels for pedestrians, cyclists

            A popular self-driving car dataset for training machine-learning systems – one that’s used by thousands of students to build an open-source self-driving car – contains critical errors and omissions, including missing labels for hundreds of images of bicyclists and pedestrians.

            Machine learning models are only as good as the data on which they’re trained. But when researchers at Roboflow, a firm that writes boilerplate computer vision code, hand-checked the 15,000 images in Udacity Dataset 2, they found problems with 4,986 – that’s 33% – of those images.

          • New Project Eyes an Open Platform for Data From mHealth Wearables

            A Massachusetts-based partnership aims to create a common workplace for healthcare providers and researchers using mHealth sensors in wearables and other devices.

            The Open Wearables Initiative (OWEAR), launched last September by Nextbridge Health, Shimmer Research and Dr. Vincent van Hees, announced that it is now “actively soliciting” open-source software and datasets from wearable sensors and other connected health technologies. The group wants to create a platform from which researchers and care providers can share digital health source codes and algorithms.

        • Open Access/Content
          • Monash Uni, Red Cross & Red Crescent team up on open-source video program

            Monash University’s Faculty of Information Technology (IT), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have announced that they have developed an innovative approach to empower communities around the world through development of a special video program.

            According to a joint statement from Monash, the Red Cross and Red Crescent some of the world’s most isolated and remote communities will now have the ability to share their stories and raise public awareness of the local issues they’re facing “through a unique open-source video program developed by Monash”.

      • Programming/Development
        • GCC 10 Adds Late Support For -std=c++20 To Target C++20

          With C++20 now effectively complete, GCC developers have made a rather late change for GCC 10 that is also long overdue and that is introducing the -std=c++20 switch for targeting C++20.

          The GNU Compiler Collection has been working on C++20 support for a while and has much of it ironed out. But up until now -std=c++2a had to be used for specifying this support that was pretty much a given C++2A would be called C++20. With this C++ revision going to publication in the next few months, it will surely be known as C++20 in making it out before the end of the calendar year.

        • The 15 Best Vim Plugins for Programmers and Developers in 2020

          Now, before we dive into the most used and popular Vim plugins, let us first understand what Vim really is. Basically, Vim is just another text editor that we can use to write and edit the text just like Sublime Text, which we commonly use for Windows or Mac, or even Notepad that we use for Windows. Vim allows efficient text editing and it is sometimes even considered as an entire IDE for programmers. Editing existing code for software engineers become very time consuming and mundane. Since Vim is all about efficiency, it allows us to handle repetitive tasks using existing keyboard shortcuts or even customize and create our own.

        • RISC OS Seeing SDL2 Support Brought Up

          A few weeks ago was RISC OS CPU feature detection merged to SDL2 (and also SDL 1.2) while being merged this week was basic support for compiling on RISC OS and support for creating windows on RISC OS when the SDL no frame flag is set. This RISC OS + SDL support is being worked on by Cameron Cawley who has worked on other RISC OS software support from ScummVM to different open-source tools.

        • C++20 Being Wrapped Up, C++23 In Planning

          An ISO C++ Committee meeting just wrapped up in Prague and it was voted to send the draft international standard for C++ out for final approval and publication.

          This means that C++20 is now effectively complete and will be formally published in a few months. Prior to firming up C++20, they improved the context-sensitive recognition of module/import, added new rangified algorithms, added ranges::ssize, and resolved other issues.

        • 25 years of Delphi and no Oracle in sight: Not a Visual Basic killer but hard to kill

          On this day 25 years ago, Borland Software trotted out version 1.0 of the Delphi application development product, making the announcement at the Software Development ’95 event in San Francisco.

          That year, the current version of Windows was 3.11 (or NT 3.5), with Windows 95 in beta. There was high demand for custom business applications and developers had plenty of tools to choose from: Microsoft Visual C++ 1.52 for 16-bit applications, Visual C++ 2.0 for 32-bit, Borland’s Pascal or C++, various database-oriented tools like PowerBuilder or Microsoft Access, and many more.

        • Wind River Launches CD Platform for Embedded Systems

          Glenn Seiler, vice president for open source strategy for Wind River, said the CD platform is based on an open source instance of the Jenkins continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform. The company envisions organizations downloading the platform as source code that Wind River will update regularly for use on top of the Wind River Linux platform, he said.

          Wind River is taking advantage of containers, Kubernetes, the Puppet IT automation framework and a repository to ease deployment of its CD platform, added Seiler. The company is committed to providing updates to that platform, which Wind River uses internally, at least every three weeks, said Seiler.

        • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Mint

          Mint is a programming language for the front-end web that aims to solve the common issues of Single Page Applications (SPAs) at a language level.

          It is a compiler and a framework combined to provide great developer experience while allowing users to write safe, readable and maintainable code, according to the developers behind the project.

          The common issues that it attempts to fix are regard reusable components, styling routing, global and local state handling, and synchronous and asynchronous computations that might fail.

          “It was born out of the frustration of the JavaScript language and ecosystem (NPM) and the Elm language and it’s not so open development practices,” Mint said on its website. “Mint aims to combine the developer experience of Elm and the expressiveness of React to create the perfect language for building single-page applications.”

        • Perl / Raku
          • Announcing Zydeco

            Moops had a memorable name, and I think the naming really helped it gain a following. MooX::Pression was just meh. So now it’s Zydeco. Zydeco is a fun word and pretty short to type. It’s a musical genre that blends jazz, blues, and Louisiana French Creole, and it just seemed like a good fit for a module that takes what I feel are some of the coolest features of Perl programming, and blends them together under one syntax.

        • Python
          • Python 3.7.5 : The httpx python package.

            Today I will present a new python packet that can help you in developing web applications.
            This is the next generation HTTP client for Python and is named httpx.
            This python package comes with a nice logo: a butterfly.
            The official webpage can be found at this webpage.
            The development team come with this intro:
            HTTPX is a fully featured HTTP client for Python 3, which provides sync and async APIs, and support for both HTTP/1.1 and HTTP/2.
            I install it on my Fedora 31 distro with the pip3 tool.

          • PyPy and CFFI have moved to Heptapod

            It has been a very busy month, not so much because of deep changes in the JIT of PyPy but more around the development, deployment, and packaging of the project.

          • Your Guide to Reading Excel (xlsx) Files in Python

            In this brief Python tutorial, we are going to learn how to read Excel (xlsx) files using Python. Specifically, we will read xlsx files in Python using the Python module openpyxl. First, we start by the simplest example of reading a xlsx file in Python. Second, we will learn how to read multiple Excel files using Python.

          • CausalNex: An open-source Python library that helps data scientists to infer causation rather than observing correlation

            CausalNex is a Python library that allows data scientists and domain experts to co-develop models that go beyond correlation and consider causal relationships. ‘CasualNex’ provides a practical ‘what if’ library which is deployed to test scenarios using Bayesian Networks (BNs).

        • IDEs
          • software development programming – dev – choosing the right Text Editor Editor / Debugger / GUI IDE

            Of course just as programming languages every IDE was build by users for a specific purpose and it might serve this purpose well while doing additional stuff while.

            There is not a single tool that „does it all“ and it would be completely against the UNIX philosophy of: build small tools that do one task – but do it well – that can be linked/networked together (most common interface: pipe text streams)

        • Java
          • Programming languages: Java developers flock to Kotlin and ditch Oracle JDK for OpenJDK [Ed: CBS tabloid ZDNet does puff pieces for Snyk now. A Microsoft-connected attack dog -- one which badmouths FOSS and now pretends to have a 'study' (self-promotion stunt) on programming trends...]

            The vast majority of developers who use a JVM (Java Virtual Machine) language still use Java, but a sizable chunk of the population is shifting to Kotlin, a JVM-compatible language developed by JetBrains, which Google is encouraging developers to use for Android development.

    • Standards/Consortia
      • Ethernity Networks and TietoEVRY boost 5G performance with new open-source concept

        “As communications service providers continue to race toward initial 5G rollouts, they are recognizing that they cannot achieve the required benchmarks to enable true 5G performance without significant data plane acceleration,” said CEO David Levi

      • How Open Source Software Can Transform the Potential of Mobile Connectivity?

        Almost every industry has mobile connectivity at its heart to ensure the betterment of the digital economy. But to reach the Industry 4.0, open-source software is required to achieve an evolved mobile connectivity. Users across the country crave for data, which is blazing-fast in remote areas and only advanced mobile connectivity can meet their demands.

        For the better sharing of data, millions of IoT devices in India need strong mobile connectivity. IoT devices must share data over mobile networks. It is believed that by 2025 enterprises will be generating 60 percent of all data. Data will be the driving force for the economic growth and being at the heart of the Industry 4.0, the growth of industrial automation, autonomous vehicles, smart cities and more will make the mobile networks grow.

      • Improving 5G Network Security

        DARPA created the Open, Programmable, Secure 5G (OPS-5G) program to tackle many of the security challenges facing future wireless networks. OPS-5G will explore the development of a portable, standards-compliant network stack for 5G mobile networks that is open source, and secure by design. The program seeks to enable a “plug-and-play” approach to various network software and hardware components, which reduces reliance on untrusted technology sources. The goal of OPS-5G is to develop open source software and systems that can enable more secure 5G as well as future generations of networks beyond 5G.

      • Cloud native in NFVI: why it’s smart business for 5G growth
      • DARPA plans 4 year open source 5G program to address US security fears
      • DARPA Solicits Open Source 5G Tech Proposals

        DARPA’s Open, Programmable, Secure 5G initiative also calls for appoaches to secure modern wireless networks with the use of open source technology as well as increase the adaptability and support customization of such infrastructure, the agency said in a SAM notice posted Jan. 30.

      • DARPA’s plan for a US-friendly 5G network
  • Leftovers
    • Detailed tests of search engines: Google, Startpage, Bing, DuckDuckGo, metaGer, Ecosia, Swisscows, Searx, Qwant, Yandex, and Mojeek

      Since my last in-depth comparison review of alternative search engines in 2014, a lot has changed, and a lot has stayed the same. Google is appearing as a loan-verb in more and more languages due to its continued dominance in the search engine market. But at the same time, Google is being increasingly demonized by privacy focused users. An even more more interesting development is the trend of complaints that Google’s algorithm is producing results that are less relevant and more indicative of artificial stupidity than artificial intelligence. I belong in this latter camp, as I am more of a pragmatist than a privacy pundit. I simply want the best search results with minimal effort and no nonsense. Back in my 2014 article, I was hopeful that DuckDuckGo was quickly becoming a viable and attractive alternative to Google. While DuckDuckGo continues to be the darling of privacy conscious users and is enjoying more popularity than ever, I am concerned that its core search infrastructure and algorithms have largely stagnated. Since my last article, many other alternatives have cropped up, bringing some very interesting features and concepts, but it still remains to be seen if they offer acceptable results in the fundamentally important area of relevant search results. This comparison sets out to analyze and compare the current batch of alternatives in 2020.

    • Waterfox web browser sold to System1

      It appears that the Waterfox web browser has been sold to System1 recently, the same company that bought the Startpage search engine some time ago. To be precise, Startpage was bought by Privacy One Group Ltd which System1 owns. System1 is an advertising company that tries to “make advertising better and safer, while respecting consumer privacy”.

      Update: Alex Kontos, the creator of Waterfox, published a blog post on the official site explaining the change. End

      Privacy expert Liz McIntyre, who was involved with Startpage prior to the ownership change, noticed in October 2019 that System1 was looking to hire a web browser developer. She decided to keep an eye on potential web browser sales as it was likely that System1 was interested in buying an established web browser with a user base instead of building one from scratch.

      [...]

      There are apparent similarities between the Startpage and Waterfox deals. A level of secrecy surrounds these deals which leads to all sorts of speculations. Kontos mentioned on Reddit that transparency is important to him and it will be interesting to see if all important details of the deal are revealed in the upcoming blog post.

      It is too early to come to a final conclusion but if history repeats itself, answers won’t be provided to some of the most pressing questions.

    • Waterfox has joined System1

      I started Waterfox when I was 16. It was a way for me to understand how large software projects worked and the Mozilla documentation was a great introduction. Well written, easy to follow and (from what I remember) not many missing pieces as to how to do things. From there, I decided to share my exploits over at overclock.net. After that a lot of things changed. Waterfox amassed a large following because it was easy access to a 64-Bit build of Firefox. From there, I took it upon myself to take it a step further and make Waterfox fast in any way possible – that was my introduction to toolchains and masochism (Intel’s C++ compiler… what more can I say).

      [...]

      For the first time in nearly a decade, I no longer felt like Atlas with the weight of the world on my shoulders. I no longer had to panic when I thought something might be wrong with Waterfox, and I took time off. I made sure to keep security patches and pull requests going – but I gave myself proper time off for the first time in 9 years.

      To the paranoid – a conspiracy. To everyone else, a (well earned?) rest.

      We finalised in the middle of December, it was Christmas. Since nothing was changing in regards to Waterfox, apart from all the money now going to System1 instead of being split. For the last month I’ve been in California getting to know the team and DevOps have been busy setting up CI (an oft requested feature from Waterfox users) to be able to keep up with the new 4 week release cycle. I also wanted to wait until we got our first full-time team member so I could introduce everything at once, but alas here we are. Next month I’ll do the introduction and the exciting (from an Engineering perspective) things in store for Waterfox.

    • Science
      • The reality of the lizard people

        How humans form and maintain insane beliefs when there are plenty of objective reasons to know better is, I fear, a topic of continuing fascination to me. If only because when contagious and totalizing forms of insanity like Marxism or supernaturalist religions motivate the behavior of mobs they pose a significant threat to my survival.

        The lizard-people theory isn’t in that class of danger, but I think cases like it and (for example) flat-Earthism are worth analysis precisely because they’re so implausible and still manage to attract adherents. Extremes like this can be revealing about mechanisms that are harder to see closer to the ordinary.

        And indeed when I was mulling over lizard-people theory a few years ago I think I really did get a significant insight about the psychology of belief and what lizard-people conspiracy theory actually means.

        Many years ago I read a penetrating analysis of UFOlogy arguing that the reports of people who believed themselves UFO contactees or witnesses were expressing the same sorts of psychological drama that in past centuries would gave been coded as religious experiences – eruptions of nigh-incomprehensible powers into the mundane world.

      • Tech tools to make research more open and inclusive

        Doris Taylor knows the sting of being set apart as different. As a young, lesbian woman starting her career in regenerative-medicine research in the late 1980s, she was often excluded from faculty functions and private meetings on the golf course. “You want to be differentiated when doing great science, but not because of who you are,” she says.

        [...]

        Group leaders say that these tools can help to flatten power differentials between lab members and keep people connected and communicating on common, and importantly, even ground. The tools are familiar, and even ubiquitous — Slack, Skype and WhatsApp (Taylor’s tool of choice), for example. But when deployed strategically, these apps can promote a more level playing field to benefit colleagues from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds, those with disabilities, or those who might work and think differently.

        That’s not to say technology is a silver bullet — building an inclusive environment requires a sustained commitment from lab leaders and members, on multiple levels and using many techniques. And no amount of technology can erase bullying, discrimination and other bad behaviours from the workplace. But these tools are helping many inclusive-minded group leaders to transform research from an isolated pursuit into a more open, collective exercise.

    • Hardware
    • Health/Nutrition
    • Google Code and Openwash
    • Integrity/Availability
    • Defence/Aggression
      • UN Publishes List of Companies Profiting from Israel’s Illegal Settlements in Palestine

        Prominent international critics have called Israel’s Jews-only settlements, as well as segregated roads and other infrastructure, a form of apartheid.

      • Esper Says Taliban Deal Is Promising but Not Without Risk

        U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Saturday that a truce agreement between the United States and the Taliban that could lead to the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan is not without risk but “looks very promising.”

      • Erdogan raises Kashmir issue in Pakistan Parliament

        Reacting to his remarks in the UN, India said it “deeply regrets” the statement of Turkey on the Kashmir issue, and termed it an internal matter.

        External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar called upon Turkey to have a proper understanding of the situation in Kashmir before making further comments.

        India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5. Reacting to India’s move, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner.

        India has always maintained that Jammu and Kashmir is its integral part and ruled out any third party mediation, including either from the UN or the US, saying it is a bilateral issue with Pakistan.

    • Environment
      • No relief from increasing pollution

        Unplanned developmental activities are the root cause of the problem, asserts Dr T V Ramachandra of the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science. He blames the governmental agencies for it, saying they don’t assess the carrying capacity of infrastructure (road, drains, drinking water, etc) when permitting large establishments to come up in the locality. This, he says, has led to congestion and increased pollution levels. “The city’s landscape is saturated with paved surfaces to an extent of 81 per cent. Cities with poor public transport are contributing to the overall pollution levels. For instance, vehicles are responsible for 54 per cent of the pollution in Hyderabad; in Bengaluru, it is 43 per cent. While a majority of pollutants come from two-wheelers, 40 per cent is from single drive cars,” Ramachandra tells Metrolife.

      • Australia’s climate crisis has been building for years but no one listened

        Scientists had warned for more than a decade that an extreme bushfire season was coming — and that the climate crisis was to blame.

        While natural climate drivers created a perfect storm of hot and dry conditions this year, the sheer scale and intensity of the recent fires have led some experts to claim the world has now reached a turning point.

        “I think the size and the intensity of these fires, coupled with the drought, have really just pushed Australia into a place that doesn’t feel like home anymore.” said Linden Ashcroft, lecturer in climate science and science communication at Melbourne University’s School of Earth Science. “It doesn’t feel safe anymore.”

      • Kevin Rudd says Australia complacent on climate change

        Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd addresses attendees during CEDA’s 2020 Economic and Political Overview (EPO) in Sydney, saying Australia continues to be complacent on climate change. “Regrettably the Australian climate action story is reversed from the international climate story I’ve referred too….successive conservative governments have sought to carve out ways for Australia to get away with doing very little at all,” he says.

      • Rudd charts path towards reducing emissions

        Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd addresses attendees during CEDA’s 2020 Economic and Political Overview (EPO) in Sydney, talking about his “ten simple points” for governments in Australia to observe in meeting the challenge of climate change and reducing emissions. Among the recommendations is committing in legislation to net zero emissions by 2050, establishing a carbon price and making greater use of gas domestically. (AAP Video/Michael Wade)

      • Wildlife/Nature
    • Finance
    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • Slide for Reddit kicked from Play Store as age rating issue spirals into bogus content policy violation

        Slide for Reddit is a reasonably popular third-party, cross-platform, open-source Reddit client. In my humble opinion, it’s the best one out there (don’t @ me), but fans of the app may have noticed that it disappeared from the Play Store in the last couple of days. It turns out, the developer ran into a small problem with the app’s rating, which, thanks to Google’s stereotypically terrible developer support, quickly exploded into a full-blown suspension of the developer’s account.

        The issue started on Thursday when the app was removed from the Play Store due to an age rating problem: The app’s metadata listed the target audience as “17+” rather than “18+.” That’s a small distinction, but an important (and fair) one according to Play Store policies, although even the first-party Reddit app is simply rated 17+.

    • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)
      • Netflix Now Exploring AVIF For Image Compression

        Following Netflix’s AV1 adoption with collaborating with Intel on the SVT-AV1 encoder, now using AV1 streaming for Android users, and others around this advanced royalty-free video codec, Netflix is now exploring AVIF as their next-gen image format.

        [...]

        Netflix acknowledges the significant need for next-gen image coding that has better compression efficiency and more features than JPEG. Netflix believes AVIF has the potential albeit they aren’t yet ready to transition to AVIF today.

        In their testing they are finding good results out of AVIF compared to JPEG and other image formats. For those wanting to go through a long and interesting technical read, on the Netflix Tech Blog they have example screenshots and results comparing their AVIF results to other formats.

      • Netflix begins streaming AV1 content on its Android mobile app

        Netflix today announced that it is beginning to stream videos compressed using the AV1 codec, on its Android mobile app. AV1 is a next-generation, royalty-free video codec that provides compression efficiency that is improved by 20%. This codec, developed to replace VP9, was built by the Alliance for Open Media, of which Netflix, Google, Amazon Prime Video, and more big-name content providers are a part of.

    • Monopolies
      • INTA to relocate the 2020 Annual Meeting from Singapore to a venue in the United States

        As you know, INTA has been continuously monitoring the coronavirus outbreak in relation to the Association’s 2020 Annual Meeting, April 25–29, in Singapore. The health and safety of Annual Meeting registrants is our main priority. We are announcing today that we are working to reschedule INTA’s Annual Meeting in Singapore until 2022 (date in 2022 to be announced). In addition, we will be relocating the 2020 Annual Meeting to a date in May or June and a venue in the United States. We will provide an update as soon as we confirm details.

        This decision follows the evolving developments, continuing uncertainty, and global concerns regarding the coronavirus, as well as guidance from the Singapore Ministry of Health to event organizers to cancel or defer non-essential large-scale events. It comes after much thoughtful discussion with our internal team and consultation with outside counsel, and in agreement with INTA’s President, Officers, and Counsel. We firmly believe that we are making the most judicious decision, so as not to jeopardize the health and safety of registrants, staff, and the public.

        [...]

        Thank you for your patience as we worked through this challenging situation. We appreciate that our members and other stakeholders value the Annual Meeting, and we look forward to welcoming you to the 2020 Annual Meeting in the United States and to future gatherings. For further updates, please watch for communications from us or visit our website, www.inta.org.

      • Patents
        • BREXIT’s Projected Impact on Intellectual Property Rights
        • BREXIT’s Projected Impact on Intellectual Property Rights

          The European patent system allows applicants either to file for a regional patent through the European Patent Office (EPO) or to file for national patents at the patent office within each country. This patent system exists independent of the EU, and Brexit will not impact patents granted through the EPO and national patent offices.

        • Unity of invention requirements: Russia versus Eurasia

          According to Russian and Eurasian patent regulations, an application must relate to one invention or a group of inventions. In the latter case, all of the inventions in the group must be linked so as to form a single general inventive concept, which meets the unity of invention requirement. However, there are differences between the Russia Patent and Trademark Office (Rospatent) and the Eurasian Patent Organisation’s rules for determining whether claims meet this requirement.

          Whether a set of claims fulfils the requirement of unity of invention is based on its contents, with special attention paid to independent claims. If one independent claim comprises alternatives, an assessment also must be carried out.

          With both organisations, in the event of a lack of unity, the applicant is invited to respond within three months of notification. They are then asked to select which group of inventions is to be examined or to amend the claims to comply with the requirement. If the applicant does not respond, the examination is carried out for the claims belonging to the group of inventions that is listed first in the claims. The applicant can file one or more divisional applications for the remaining groups of inventions.

        • Opposition fails for key CRISPR patent in Europe

          ERS Genomics announced on February 10 that the European Patent Office (EPO) has upheld an important CRISPR patent, rejecting opposition filed by anonymous parties.

          The EPO has rejected arguments filed in opposition to European patent No. EP2800811, titled “Methods and Compositions for RNA-Directed Target DNA Modification and for RNA-Directed Modulation of Transcription,” jointly held by Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier, the regents of the University of California, and the University of Vienna.

        • Lightbridge Receives Notification of Patent Grant from the European Patent Office for its Innovative Fuel Assembly Design

          Lightbridge Corporation (“Lightbridge,” or the “Company”) (LTBR), an advanced nuclear fuel technology company, today announced that it has received a Decision to Grant from the European Patent Office (EPO) for Patent #3195324 related to a Lightbridge metallic fuel assembly design for use in CANDU-type reactors. According to the World Nuclear Association, there are 48 CANDU-type pressurized heavy water reactors currently in use around the world.

          Seth Grae, President & Chief Executive Officer of Lightbridge Corporation, commented, “We are excited to see the continued progress for the Company’s intellectual property strategy to protect our innovative technology, while significantly expanding our market opportunities globally. The addition of this new piece of intellectual property underscores the strength of our proprietary technology, which is designed to enhance the operating safety and efficiency of existing reactors as well as new reactors.”

        • Software Patents
          • USPTO Patent Quality Chat Webinar Series

            The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will be offering the next webinar in its Patent Quality Chat webinar series from 12:00 to 1:00 pm (ET) on February 19, 2020. The latest webinar, entitled “Application readiness: Assessing incoming applications,” will address how the USPTO is studying the shared responsibility of patent examination quality in the area of incoming applications.

          • Webinar on USPTO Pilot Programs

            McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP will be offering a live webinar entitled “Navigating USPTO Pilot Programs” on March 11, 2020 from 10:00 am to 11:15 am (CT). In this presentation, MBHB attorneys Lawrence Aaronson and Brett Scott will present a survey of various USPTO pilot programs, some less known than others, but all useful in the right circumstances, and discuss the ins and outs of each program and present some practical prosecution tips and insights.

          • TAIYO YUDEN Joins the Open Invention Network Community

            Open Invention Network (OIN), the largest patent non-aggression community in history, and TAIYO YUDEN CO., LTD (TAIYO YUDEN) announced today that TAIYO YUDEN has joined as a community member. As a global leader in the development of advanced capacitors, inductors, functional modules and bulk acoustic wave (BAW) filters, TAIYO YUDEN provides the key components and modules that enables the growth of the mobile devices & communications, computing, personal electronics and Internet-of-Things (IoT) industries.

            “Open source has enabled the rapid development of platforms that continue to reshape the human experience. These innovations have transformed industries and created opportunities that were previously unimagined. TAIYO YUDEN provides the key electronic components and systems that integrate the backbone for these platforms, driving advances in the communications, computing and automotive sectors, among many others,” said Keith Bergelt, CEO of OIN. “Given TAIYO YUDEN’s significant patent holdings, we are pleased that the company has recognized the importance of participating in OIN as part of its intellectual property strategy.”

      • Copyrights
        • [Older] Red Hat fights for software freedom by filing a brief with the US Supreme Court

          The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal of a lower court decision: Oracle v. Google. Red Hat, one of the leaders of the open source community, has emphasized to the USSC that software interfaces should not become subject to copyright protection and are not copyrightable by design. Read the complete amicus brief filed by Red Hat and IBM.

          [...]

          As we state clearly in the opening statement of our brief, Red Hat — as a leader in the open source community — emphasised to the USSC the critical importance of maintaining the long-standing view that software interfaces should not be subject to copyright protection.

          Because computer programs achieve compatibility and interoperability with each other through specifically defined interfaces, the concern is that if copyright protection were to exist in such interfaces, the open source community could face significant barriers in the creation and implementation of new software modules to replace existing modules. This consequence may chill the innovation that is generated by open source software community development.

          Our brief also recognises that computer interfaces being uncopyrightable does not jeopardise copyright protection in software programs generally. Red Hat fully supports software programmers developing value and differentiating themselves in the marketplace via implementation code. In fact, the more freely that computer interfaces are available, the more of a market may exist for particular implementations using an existing computer interface.

        • New Wave Of Nintendo Anti-Piracy Complaints Helps Microsoft Too

          Nintendo has launched a new wave of DMCA complaints at Google in an effort to make piracy-enabling devices harder to find. In common with previous efforts, the gaming giant is making strategic use of DMCA anti-circumvention notices, to permanently delete listings from search results. Perhaps inadvertently, Nintendo also appears to be helping Microsoft too.

        • BPI Joins RIAA’s Takedown Battle Against YouTube Downloaders

          UK music group BPI has joined the RIAA in its effort to wipe YouTube download and ripping sites from Google’s search results. Using language inspired by its US counterpart, BPI repeatedly argues that Mpgun.com violates the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision. While the search engine has complied with the requests, the site remains easy to find.

Guest Article: Au Revoir, GNU/Linux

Sunday 16th of February 2020 05:20:47 AM

By Ted MacReilly

Summary: “Funny how OSI just ended up being another vehicle for their takeover of the computing world…”

When I started talking about the destruction of Free software it was Hubris, it wasn’t to warn people. As I’ve said before, some people changed my perspective when they threatened to leak my handbook to the world.

Today, I help expose the ongoing corruption in the software industry, particularly the occupation of Free software’s own territory. No longer is it Free software vs. Windows and MacOS, it’s Free software vs. GIAFAM-co-opted Free software.

As explained in the Handbook, this isn’t new; and it isn’t “old news” either, because although they’ve had this way of doing things… dare we call it a “plan?”

Naturally it’s a little paranoid to assume that a large corporation does things according to any sort of planning, right? They just wake up each morning and try random things after an impromptu board meeting, with the hopes of controlling the several-billion-dollar ecosystem they have dominated for decades. Yes, of course they go about this without any sort of planning!

But just to throw people off the scent I guess, they outlined their completely non-existent, totally hypothetical and anyway entirely-abandoned, irrelevant plan in the Halloween Documents more than 20 years ago.

The fact that everything the industry does today is was somehow predicted in that non-plan written by the very same companies doing the same things today (which was simply re-iterated in my handbook) is a complete coincidence.

The fact that IBM was doing it before Microsoft was doing it before Google was doing it is also a complete coincidence — it doesn’t mean that each wannabe monopoly learned from watching the others before it. Play Steam and don’t worry — the whole reason that GNU/Linux was created was so we could have an Open Source video game platform for non-free games. WE’VE WON! Linux Won! Pass the Cheese Twirls.

You’re entitled to draw whatever conclusions please you, from whatever facts are spoon-fed by marketing experts or “journalists” bribed by Microsoft. For those who are trying to understand what the industry is actually doing, the Handbook continues to prove itself again and again.

I notice new examples all the time, and just shake my head. These people don’t have a lot of imagination, folks. As long as some dumb old trick works on customers and delights the press, they have no reason not to use it. And these are dumb old tricks they’re using. I even explain how they get away with it — it’s really not that different from how compulsive liars in general get away with being compulsive liars. It isn’t rocket science.

But you have to hand it to them — the tricks still work. I mean, some idiot Ubuntu fan is actually making the argument on his tech blog that we need an App-Store-like App Store with non-free applications to make GNU/Linux “for everyone.” Sure, I’ve heard this nonsense for years — but he’s talking about the future design of Elementary OS. Brilliant.

They use a locked-down version of GNU/Linux so that downloaded applications have more control over the computer than the user does. For the technically-inclined, this is only partly true — you can actually become root and take over the system again. It is just a lot more tedious than before.

Oh, and as it happens, “for everyone” means fewer choices too! Isn’t that the best? We are going to better help “everyone” by shoveling crap at them, somehow. And then telling them (repeatedly) that it makes them happy. That’s how marketing generally works — manufacturing contentment.

Simulated and symbolic takeover IS the first step in an effective takeover. You need the social change, the change in user expectation before it’s safe to implement the final technological locks — adding DRM to the mix so that not only is every program locked in by your package management / CRAPP store, that is further cordoned off by TPM or some other garbage. This is happening just as they’re adding DRM to Linux. Which is a kernel, by the way. But that’s increasingly unimportant as we wave goodbye to GNU/Linux.

There’s already a class of distros like this — called “Appliance-like distros” in the Librethreat Database. Chrome OS, Endless OS, Android, plus now Elementary OS. They certainly do look good. The most efficient way to make people line up to eat a turd, after all, is to present it as Haute cuisine.

Hopefully, the current 2-YEAR-LONG coup within the GNU project led by Ludovic Courtes, Andreas Enge and Andy Wingo (all three of you are Bastards, by the way) will fail and at least we will have GNU, but no kernel yet. As with init, few but Hyperbola are truly working for the future.

This isn’t to disparage other good efforts in the distro world; It’s not “wrong” to work on GNU/Linux, and MX and Antix are doing lots of the best work to keep systemd (IBM and Microsoft’s almost-proprietary Cuckoo OS) out of our software. It’s true, neither MX or Antix are fully free. But that’s pretty easily rectified — Devuan is not fully-free either and it’s a terrible shame that Dyne:Bolic is not up to date, but still there’s Hyperbola. And it is fully-free.

Forking Linux is still more practical than switching to BSD. The copyleft is irrelevant — traitor, hypocrite, scumbag liar Torvalds (still better than GKH, you know!) sold us up the river from Day 1, so it’s hardly surprising that he sold out in the end. While the GPL made the kernel what it was last week, what it is today and what it will be (Zombie Linux) is thanks to Jim “Oh, the humanity!” Zeppelin and his fateful Micro-shaft second-in-command at the Lie-nux Foundation.

The whole idea of copyleft is to prevent exactly what is happening now, but it’s happening anyway.

What I’m not saying is that copyleft is useless; far from it. Zombie Linux will quickly prove how valuable copyleft was to the kernel when it is finally stripped away, similar to the way that AIDS proves the immune system is an important thing to have. What I am saying is that un-enforceable copyleft, like the copyleft on the Linux kernel in the near future, is practically the same as none-at-all.

Yes, I know you guys saved OpenOffice from Oracle. Nice work there. I don’t think it’s impossible to save the Linux kernel in a similar fashion, just so you know. But nobody will — feel free to prove me wrong, I’ve asked around. The Linux kernel is not getting forked. Tux, this is where we soon part ways.

But the entire concept of GNU/Linux is being attacked by idiots and Elementary OS. And Endless OS, and Android, and Chrome OS.

The GNU operating system is about freedom. Elementary OS is about control. Endless OS is about control. Google is about control.

Github, systemd and Flatpak (both of which are controlled by Github) unfortunately, are about control.

So what happens if enough people migrate from GNU/Linux to Zombie OS? Simple. We basically run 20 years BACKWARDS in terms of freedom, while using freely licensed software.

The culture of users having control over the computing will be over, and Open Source will have won.

That’s the goal, at least. The real story is that people are still fighting, but idiots who think they care about Free software are arguing with them for standing for the same thing said idiots (Looking at YOU, Trisquel!) USED TO stand up for.

Can I just say one more time — as a once-fan of Trisquel, what an absolute P-A-R-O-D-Y of its own mission it is now? Much like the FSF itself. But to be fair, any effort to do better than the FSF (or Trisquel) is struggling pretty hard, and chest-beating won’t help really. If you’re looking for Tarzan, I’m pretty sure he’s hanging out with Steve Ballmer these days. And more civilized than Steve, too.

It’s no small loss that Linux has no future in the world of Free software. It’s the biggest loss yet, and we really ought to stop just letting these things go like it’s nothing. But alas, the FSF won’t say anything because they’re bought and paid for. Honestly, the FSF gave up before GNU/Linux did. F— You, Andy, seriously…

The funny thing is, even a VERY SMALL number of people at the FSF are beginning to get clued in about all this. And that’s nothing less than awesome. It’s not enough, but it’s awesome. We DO need allies there. We DO have them. And they ARE appreciated.

Whether there are enough to still rescue the FSF Titanic (or build a new one) depends on how many more allies join in the fight — I don’t mean joining the FSF, because that’s useless.

Your money won’t help them until they stop taking bribes. They’re lying and pretending that they need your money to stop them from being “pwned” by corporations, but they’re already pwned. Your “support” is worth more than your donations, because apart from adding to the coffers you legitimize the coup with your membership. What people should be doing at this point is withholding until they get results.

Of course it’s too late for that, so forget about it. You’re either standing up for freedom (and Stallman) or you’re handing everything off to an organization that has abandoned both its mission and honesty.

Can the FSF be salvaged? I don’t think it’s too late. Can it be salvaged by joining and asking the people currently in charge to care?

Absolutely not.

But this bit of rambling aside, the point of this article is to point out that Linux isn’t going to be Free software anymore. It’s done, and it’s increasingly done each year that goes by. The trajectory of GNU/Linux is Zombie Linux, GIAFAM and DRM. The Trajectory of GNU (no f—ing thanks to Andy!) is Free software.

And to hell with you too, John. Scumbag…

The future isn’t BSD because BSD is ideal for our purposes. It’s really not. My feeling about BSD for years is that it’s a Superior kernel, in a limited context. It’s actually a really wonderful thing. I am thoroughly convinced that the reason we use the Linux kernel with GNU is that it’s more practical for more people. BSD is extremely practical, of course — just not for quite as many people.

So if you gave me a cool billion and said “Hire people, Fix the GNU project” we would probably fork Linux and get to work on that. That’s probably the best way to do it.

That’s just not relevant if people instead use BSD. I like BSD, I’ve really always wanted something like HyperbolaBSD, and I’ve tried Debian KFreeBSD.

I was hoping for it as an option, though — next to, in addition to the GNU/Linux option.

Since the GNU/Linux option is being left behind, the future looks a lot more like GNU/BSD.

Thanks anyway, Linus. Or, whatever. Idiot.

“There are ‘extremists’ in the free software world, but that’s one major reason why I don’t call what I do ‘Free software’ any more.” – Linus Torvalds

There are lying hypocrite sellouts in the Open Source community, that’s why I don’t support Open Source anymore. Because it’s a lie and a scam and a way to sell out Free software.

Ironically, the Open Source Initiative which (as part of Open Source) sold out Stallman to Torvalds, then Torvalds to Microsoft was founded by two people, the less principled of which said more roughly two decades ago:

“I also expect a serious effort, backed by several billion dollars in bribe money (oops, excuse me, campaign contributions), to get open-source software outlawed on some kind of theory that it aids terrorists.”

s/open-source/free software/ s/outlawed/criticized/ s/terrorists/extremists/ but narcissists are known for their very “extreme” hypocrisy, Eric.

Nonetheless, thank you for the Halloween Documents. You may have tried to oust Stallman years ago, but there was a time (however long ago) when you were one of our best allies against Microsoft.

Funny how OSI just ended up being another vehicle for their takeover of the computing world though.

Hey, I’m not laughing. It’s “funny” enough how the FSF is these days too.

To those who know better: keep fighting. You can still win, but I’m afraid that there are more Wingos and Raymonds than ever, and rarely enough Stallmans or Roios.

When Foss Farce has trouble gleaning the point of the article, here’s a tip — it’s right in the title. Easy enough for even the likes of you to find. But what’s the point of a tweet’s worth of text if details mean nothing? I don’t expect Open Source to get to the bottom of anything, except the barrel.

Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Former Microsoft Employee: ZDNet is Owned by Microsoft (and Others) in Some Senses

Sunday 16th of February 2020 04:53:36 AM

Response to yesterday's post

Summary: A noteworthy message we’ve received from someone who knows Microsoft from the inside

Microsoft’s marketing and sales budget is bigger than their R&D. Ad revenue fueled media outlets actively seek out entities with budgets such as this and will naturally shill for such entities while tending to avoid their ire by adhering to embargoes, letting them slip in sponsored content, not publishing negative press, and such. If they play ball, then they get privileged access and such. So yes, ZDNet is owned by Microsoft (and others) in some senses.

Media outlet gets a shit ton of ad-revenue. Company makes a fortune with an image bolstered by biased news that plays to the favor of companies with huge ad budgets in return. People and companies stand to make so much money off of an inflated and unrealistic image that there are 6 PR people for every journalist. And the disparity is probably 20:1 when you separate the real journalists from the shill journalists.

Links 15/2/2020: Blender 2.82, Qt 5.15 Alpha and NetBSD 9.0 Released

Saturday 15th of February 2020 08:08:36 PM

Contents
  • GNU/Linux
    • Desktop/Laptop
      • South Korea switching their 3.3 million PCs to Linux

        South Korean government has announced that it will switch the computers used in its central, local, and public institutions to Linux-based operating systems starting this year-end.

        The announcement comes just one month after the end of “free” support for Microsoft Windows 7, the most prevalent operating system used by the South Korean government.

        The reasoning behind the switch is two-fold. South Korea was looking to reduce its reliance on Microsoft and Windows and cut down on software licensing costs.

      • Windows 12 Lite ships as Linux in drag

        A version of Linux which rips off Windows has shipped and we really expect Vole to take notice – even if it is keen to say it is all open sauce friendly these days.

        Windows 12 Lite resembles Windows 10, but it is really just Ubuntu in drag. It is being touted by its developers as superior to Windows 10 “in every respect”. Someone is even selling physical install discs of the dodgy Linux distribution, too.

        The software is made by an UK outfit called Webhouses which says Windows 12 Lite is a Linux Lite 4.8 LTS Desktop with the Windows 10 desktop background applied.

    • Audiocasts/Shows
      • Multiboot USB UEFI & Legacy All In One

        Multiboot USB UEFI & Legacy All In One This video shows how to create the ultimate multiboot drive for uefi and legacy in both Windows and Linux!

      • Review – Manjaro ARM (xfce edition) running on the Pinebook Pro!

        The more I use the Pinebook Pro, the more I love it. In this video, I check out Manjaro running on this awesome Linux laptop, and give you my overall thoughts. Is there anything else you’d like me to run on this laptop?

      • Brunch with Brent: Broadus Palmer | Jupiter Extras 55

        Brent sits down with Broadus Palmer, Google Cloud Training Architect at Linux Academy and Cloud Career Coach at Level Up with Broadus. We explore his history as a musician and banker, sneaker bots, the value of mentorship, what gets people hired in tech, leveling up as a lifestyle, and more.

      • Name Your Shoes | User Error 85

        Open source at work, learning languages, naming cars, and innovations that haven’t appropriately delivered.

        Plus permission vs apologies, who has the most shoes, and more.

      • 5 Things I Hate About Linux Gaming

        5 Things I Hate About Linux Gaming We did Linux and now it is time to go over the things I hate about Gaming on Linux.

      • 2020-02-14 | Linux Headlines

        OpenSSH plans for the future of cryptography, NetBSD launches its first fundraising drive in a decade, Blender releases version 2.82, and Corona Labs announces its shutdown.

    • Kernel Space
      • Linux 5.5.4

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.5.4 kernel.

        All users of the 5.5 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.5.y git tree can be found at:
        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.5.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

        https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s…

      • Linux 5.4.20
      • Linux 4.19.104
      • Linux 4.14.171
      • Linux 4.9.214
      • Linux 4.4.214
      • Linux 5.7 Getting A “Tiny Power Button” Driver

        A new driver already queued in the power management code for the Linux 5.7 cycle not opening up until April is a “tiny power button” driver.

        This ACPI tiny power button driver is not for a physically tiny power button, but rather a simple ACPI power button driver out of Intel intended for virtual machines and more basic than the generic ACPI button driver given the limited scope of VMs.

      • Google slams Samsung for making unnecessary changes to Linux kernel code

        We all know that Samsung makes an extra effort in strengthening the security of its smartphones with initiatives such as Knox. However, sometimes those extra efforts hurt more than they help. Now, Google has slammed the South Korean smartphone brand for making unnecessary changes to the Linux kernel code and exposing it to more security bugs.

        According to Google Project Zero researcher Jann Horn, Samsung is creating more vulnerabilities by adding downstream custom drivers for direct hardware access to Android’s Linux kernel. These changes are implemented without being reviewed by upstream kernel developers. Horn found a similar mistake in the Android kernel of the Galaxy A50, and the unreviewed custom driver added security bugs related to memory corruption.

      • Graphics Stack
        • Imagination Working On A New Open-Source Linux Graphics Driver Project

          While many in the Linux community still cringe when hearing Imagination Tech’s PowerVR given the troubling state of their graphics drivers over the years, in 2020 it looks like they are pursuing a new open-source graphics driver project.

          Imagination is now hiring for skilled driver developers to be “a founder of our new Linux open source graphics driver project.” Imagination is currently hiring for Linux open-source graphics drivers.

        • mesa 19.3.4 Hi List, Mesa 19.3.4 is now available. There's lots of stuff here, but also a ton of release process data changes. We've got changes all over the tree, but aco and anv are leading the way in changes. Dylan Shortlog ======== Bas Nieuwenhuizen (1): radv: Do not set SX DISABLE bits for RB+ with unused surfaces. Boris Brezillon (1): panfrost: Fix the damage box clamping logic Brian Ho (2): anv: Properly fetch partial results in vkGetQueryPoolResults anv: Handle unavailable queries in vkCmdCopyQueryPoolResults Danylo Piliaiev (2): i965: Do not set front_buffer_dirty if there is no front buffer st/mesa: Handle the rest renderbuffer formats from OSMesa Drew Davenport (1): radeonsi: Clear uninitialized variable Dylan Baker (17): docs: Add SHA 256 sums for 19.3.3 .pick_status.json: Mark 58c929be0ddbbd9291d0dadbf11538170178e791 as backported .pick_status.json: Mark df34fa14bb872447fed9076e06ffc504d85e2d1c as backported .pick_status.json: Update to 997040e4b8353fe9b71a5e9fde2f933eae09c7a3 .pick_status.json: Update to ca6a22305b275b49fbc88b8f4cba2fefb24c2a5d .pick_status.json: Mark 552028c013cc1d49a2b61ebe0fc3a3781a9ba826 as denominated .pick_status.json: Update to f09c466732e4a5b648d7503787777c926dd93c29 bin/pick-ui: Add a new maintainer script for picking patches .pick_status.json: Update to b550b7ef3b8d12f533b67b1a03159a127a3ff34a .pick_status.json: Update to 9afdcd64f2c96f3fcc1a28912987f2e8066aa995 .pick_status.json: Update to 7eaf21cb6f67adbe0e79b80b4feb8c816a98a720 .pick_status.json: Mark ca6a22305b275b49fbc88b8f4cba2fefb24c2a5d as backported .pick_status.json: Update to d8bae10bfe0f487dcaec721743cd51441bcc12f5 .pick_status.json: Update to 689817c9dfde9a0852f2b2489cb0fa93ffbcb215 .pick_status.json: Update to 23037627359e739c42b194dec54875aefbb9d00b docs: Add release notes for 19.3.4 VERSION: bump version for 19.3.4 Eric Anholt (1): Revert "gallium: Fix big-endian addressing of non-bitmask array formats." Florian Will (1): radv/winsys: set IB flags prior to submit in the sysmem path Georg Lehmann (3): Correctly wait in the fragment stage until all semaphores are signaled Vulkan Overlay: Don't try to change the image layout to present twice Vulkan overlay: use the corresponding image index for each swapchain Hyunjun Ko (1): freedreno/ir3: put the conversion back for half const to the right place. Ian Romanick (1): intel/fs: Don't count integer instructions as being possibly coissue Jan Vesely (1): clover: Use explicit conversion from llvm::StringRef to std::string Jason Ekstrand (6): anv: Insert holes for non-existant XFB varyings anv: Improve BTI change cache flushing anv,iris: Set 3DSTATE_SF::DerefBlockSize to per-poly on Gen12+ genxml: Add a new 3DSTATE_SF field on gen12 intel/fs: Write the address register with NoMask for MOV_INDIRECT anv/blorp: Use the correct size for vkCmdCopyBufferToImage Kenneth Graunke (1): i965: Use brw_batch_references in tex_busy check Lionel Landwerlin (1): isl: drop CCS row pitch requirement for linear surfaces Marek Olšák (1): radeonsi: fix the DCC MSAA bug workaround Marek Vasut (1): etnaviv: Destroy rsc->pending_ctx set in etna_resource_destroy() Michel Dänzer (6): winsys/amdgpu: Keep a list of amdgpu_screen_winsyses in amdgpu_winsys winsys/amdgpu: Keep track of retrieved KMS handles using hash tables winsys/amdgpu: Only re-export KMS handles for different DRM FDs util: Add os_same_file_description helper winsys/amdgpu: Re-use amdgpu_screen_winsys when possible winsys/amdgpu: Close KMS handles for other DRM file descriptions Neha Bhende (1): svga: fix size of format_conversion_table[] Pierre-Eric Pelloux-Prayer (2): radeonsi: disable display DCC radeonsi: stop using the VM_ALWAYS_VALID flag Rafael Antognolli (1): intel: Load the driver even if I915_PARAM_REVISION is not found. Rhys Perry (6): aco: fix operand to scc when selecting SGPR ufind_msb/ifind_msb aco: ensure predecessors' p_logical_end is in WQM when a p_phi is in WQM aco: run p_wqm instructions in WQM aco: don't consider loop header blocks branch blocks in add_coupling_code aco: don't always add logical edges from continue_break blocks to headers aco: fix target calculation when vgpr spilling introduces sgpr spilling Samuel Pitoiset (2): radv: do not allow sparse resources with multi-planar formats nir: do not use De Morgan's Law rules for flt and fge Tapani Pälli (2): mapi: add GetInteger64vEXT with EXT_disjoint_timer_query mesa: allow bit queries for EXT_disjoint_timer_query Thomas Hellstrom (1): svga: Fix banded DMA upload Vasily Khoruzhick (1): lima: ppir: don't delete root ld_tex nodes without successors in current block Vinson Lee (1): swr: Fix GCC 4.9 checks. git tag: mesa-19.3.4
        • mesa 20.0.0-rc3 Hi list, Mesa 20.0.0-rc3 is now available. This is a much smaller release than last time, things seem to be slowing down nicely, and the number of opened issues/MRs against the 20.0 release milestone is 2; I'm hopeful that means we can have the 20.0 release next week, and begin the normal release process without a dozen RCs. There's a bit of everything in here, gallium, freedreno, vulkan overlays, anv, radeonsi, svga, intel common, aco, nir, swr, and panfrost, but no on thing dominates the changes, which I like a lot. Dylan Shortlog ======== Dylan Baker (4): .pick_status.json: Update to d8bae10bfe0f487dcaec721743cd51441bcc12f5 .pick_status.json: Update to 689817c9dfde9a0852f2b2489cb0fa93ffbcb215 .pick_status.json: Update to 23037627359e739c42b194dec54875aefbb9d00b VERSION: bump for 20.0.0-rc3 Eric Anholt (1): Revert "gallium: Fix big-endian addressing of non-bitmask array formats." Georg Lehmann (3): Correctly wait in the fragment stage until all semaphores are signaled Vulkan Overlay: Don't try to change the image layout to present twice Vulkan overlay: use the corresponding image index for each swapchain Hyunjun Ko (1): freedreno/ir3: put the conversion back for half const to the right place. James Xiong (1): gallium: let the pipe drivers decide the supported modifiers Lionel Landwerlin (1): anv: set MOCS on push constants Marek Olšák (2): radeonsi: don't report that multi-plane formats are supported radeonsi: fix the DCC MSAA bug workaround Neha Bhende (2): svga: fix size of format_conversion_table[] svga: Use pipe_shader_state_from_tgsi to set shader state Rafael Antognolli (1): intel: Load the driver even if I915_PARAM_REVISION is not found. Rhys Perry (1): aco: fix gfx10_wave64_bpermute Samuel Pitoiset (4): aco: do not use ds_{read,write}2 on GFX6 aco: fix waiting for scalar stores before "writing back" data on GFX8-GFX9 aco: fix creating v_madak if v_mad_f32 has two sgpr literals nir: do not use De Morgan's Law rules for flt and fge Tapani Pälli (1): intel/vec4: fix valgrind errors with vf_values array Thomas Hellstrom (1): svga: Fix banded DMA upload Timur Kristóf (1): aco/optimizer: Don't combine uniform bool s_and to s_andn2. Vinson Lee (2): swr: Fix GCC 4.9 checks. panfrost: Remove unused anonymous enum variables. git tag: mesa-20.0.0-rc3
        • Mesa 20.0-RC3 Released Along With Mesa 19.3.4 As The Latest Of The Stable Series

          On the stable front, Mesa 19.3.4 is out as the newest point release in this driver series from Q4’2019. Mesa 19.3.4 has various RADV and ANV Vulkan driver fixes, a few Vulkan overlay fixes even, several AMDGPU winsys fixes, RadeonSI is now disabling display DCC over issues, and there are also a number of Valve ACO back-end fixes too. Overall, Mesa 19.3.4 is a pretty hefty stable update particularly for Intel ANV and Radeon RADV Vulkan driver users.

    • Benchmarks
      • Windows vs. Linux Scaling Performance From 16 To 128 Threads With AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X

        As has been known for a while now, AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors really show their true potential on Linux with often significant increases to the performance thanks to the kernel’s better scalability compared to Microsoft Windows. While Microsoft has made some improvements in this area over the past year, with the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X 64-core / 128-thread HEDT processor it really shines on Linux. In this article are benchmarks of Windows 10 Professional and Windows 10 Enterprise against Linux on the Threadripper 3990X when going from 16 cores to 128 threads for seeing how the three operating systems are scaling.

    • Applications
      • The Background Story of AppImage [Interview]

        As a Linux user, you might have come across AppImages. This is a portable packaging format that allows you to run an application on any Linux distribution.

        Using AppImage is really simple. You just need to give it execute permission and double click to run it, like the .exe files in Windows. This solves a major problem in Linux as different kind of distributions have different kind of packaging formats. You cannot install .deb files (of Debian/Ubuntu) on Fedora and vice versa.

        We talked to Simon, the developer of AppImage, about how and why he created this project. Read some of the interesting background story and insights Simon shares about AppImage.

      • Blender 2.80

        The second update of the Blender 2.80 milestone release is here!

        With again over a thousand fixes and several important updates that were planned for the 2.8 series. In this release you will find UDIM and USD support, MantaFlow fluids and smoke simulation, AI denoising, Grease Pencil improvements, and much more!

      • Blender 2.82 Released with AI Denoiser for Nvidia RTX GPUs, More
      • Blender 2.82 Released With Many Improvements, 1000+ Fixes
      • Blender 2.82 Released with UDIM, USD Support

        Blender 2.82 was released as the second update for the 2.80 series. The snap package has been updated for Ubuntu 18.04 and higher.

        Blender 2.82 comes with over a thousand fixes and several important updates. Changes in the new release include

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
      • Tactical turn-based RPG ‘Urtuk: The Desolation’ now on Steam for Linux

        With a low-fantasy setting, Urtuk: The Desolation has now jumped from itch.io to Steam to give Early Access turn-based tactics to a wider audience.

        You take on the role of Urtuk, an escapee from a facility that conducts experiments on people and during your stay you suffered some kind of “severe” mutation from being exposed to Life Essence extracted from long extinct ancient Giants. Every day your health gets worse and you wander the world for a cure. Definitely a setting that grabs your attention.

      • Get ready to eat your enemies in Bite the Bullet – releasing on March 27

        We have it confirmed now that the crazy action-platformer RPG ‘Bite the Bullet’ where you quite literally eat your enemies is releasing in March.

        A mix of rogue-lite randomness with the action you would expect from a shooter, plus some RPG elements thrown in for good measure. Bite the Bullet is certainly attention grabbing, especially since the headline feature is gameplay driven by what your character eats. It’s weird I know—and Mega Cat Studios have now confirmed March 27 is the date and Linux support is online and ready.

      • Simple pleasures – bouncing and barking my way to victory in Barkour

        Sometimes it really is the simplest things that you need to make you laugh. Taking away from all the seriousness of the gaming industry we have Barkour.

        It’s a small 2D indie platformer where you play as some sort of robotic dog with a powered jump ability. You need to find your way across an obstacle course, one that’s designed to be difficult and it will take you some time to do. Get a gamepad ready for this one, you’re going to need it.

      • Free From Epic Games Exclusivity, ‘Metro Exodus’ Is Coming To Linux

        First the good news. As of Valentine’s Day 2020, Metro Exodus has been liberated from its Epic Games exclusivity agreement and is now available to purchase on Steam. And now the great news, especially for my regular readers: it looks like Deep Silver and developer 4A Games are working on bringing the post-apocalyptic shooter to Linux.

      • Metro Exodus is now live on Steam and Deep Silver say it’s coming to Linux

        We have of course reached out to Deep Silver ourselves to confirm this as well, however it would be weird for them to seek this topic out themselves to confirm it if this wasn’t true. So it looks like we’re getting Linux support for Metro Exodus!

        Since it was ported to Stadia, it’s not too much of a stretch to jump to desktop Linux on Steam. A few different libraries here and there but it’s still Linux. The developer, 4A Games, did also bring the previous two Metro titles to Linux so it certainly would be nice to see them all available.

        For now, you can check out Metro Exodus on Steam. However, as usual it’s worth holding onto your monies until it’s actually out. Once we have more information, we will share it.

      • Stuck in this weekend? Here’s a little round-up of some Linux game sales

        It’s apparently something called Valentines Day today. Here, it’s just another wonderful wet and stormy Friday so let’s cheer ourselves up with a new game or two.

        First up on GOG they’re doing a ‘We Love Games’ (who doesn’t?!) sale with some really good stuff going discounted like 40% off Stardew Valley and 30% off Streets of Rogue.

        GOG also recently gained the Linux version of We Happy Few, even though it’s a Beta and a little rough since Compulsion Games decided not to continue it. Still, nice to see GOG get it for those who prefer their fully DRM-free builds. I did speak to a GOG rep who confirmed it’s all up and correct. It’s not a sale but just a little tip.

      • Crowbar Collective want you to break Black Mesa and test the 1.0 build

        The final release of Black Mesa, the re-imagining of Half-Life is coming close and Crowbar Collective want as many people as possible to test out the latest Beta build.

        Most important for them are game breaking bugs as they want it to be “as smooth and enjoyable as possible”. However, they said it’s been “very stable” in their own testing but we all know how this type of thing goes when more people get access. They also want to know about spikes in the difficulty with the upgraded AI, if any part of the game is unclear and to make sure the achievements works as there’s now 50 of them.

      • Space Impossible has a huge new release out for you to get building a starship

        Explore space in a fully customizable and destructible spaceship in Space Impossible, which just had a massive update as they bring it into Beta.

        [...]

        Coming in hot with a brand new tutorial too, well sort-of anyway. The first star system you get is now a bit more hand-crafted and get a brief walk-through to get you going. It’s simple and effective, giving you a short intro to at least tell you the basics. Masses of other changes including a new ore system. You now mine specific ores to then refine them into other materials for building and trading.

      • Vulkan overlay layer ‘MangoHud’ continues advancing quickly with a big new release

        MangoHud enables you to quickly and easily monitor FPS, temperatures, RAM, VRAM and do a little benchmarking too with Vulkan games (native and Wine/Proton). A fresh release was just today put up.

        This big new release brings in some exciting features to make it a true all-in-one tool. You can now limit the FPS, force VSync, display RAM & VRAM, show the current time, add a crosshair and it adds support for Zorin OS and Pop!_OS with the build script.

      • 8-player mayhem is coming with ‘Aeolis Tournament’ successfully funded and on the way to Linux

        Chaotic 8-player action is coming to Linux later this year, as Beyond Fun Studio have managed to get successfully funded on Kickstarter for their amusing looking game Aeolis Tournament.

        With physics-based gameplay, a tournament mode and local and online cross-platform multiplayer play it sure does look like it’s going to be a huge amount of fun.

      • Relow is a ridiculously fast FPS with procedurally generated arenas coming soon

        I absolutely love first-person shooters, it’s often a sort-of safety net comfort zone when I just want to jump into something quick for a while and it looks like Relow might be a good choice for that.

        Arriving in Early Access on February 26, the developer has announced it will fully support Linux and there’s a number of reasons why I think Relow could be interesting. For starters, maps are generated so you’ve always got something a little fresh. I’ve played numerous smaller shooters before that end up too stale with too few maps so my curiosity has been piqued here. Not just that it will also have crazy dual-wielding weapons, character customization and a promise of no micro transactions.

      • Urban turn-based tactics arrives on Linux with Black Powder Red Earth

        Black Powder Red Earth, a new minute-to-minute turn-based tactics game set in a proxy war between the dictatorship of a failing petrostate and a brutal jihadist insurgency from Echelon Software has released for Linux with the latest update.

        Currently in Early Access, it’s only been available since December last year and they plan to remain in Early Access for at least 12-16 months yet to finish it.

      • BATTLETECH considered complete with one last patch coming, Harebrained moving on

        That’s it, it’s done, finished. Harebrained Schemes have announced that their turn-based mech strategy game BATTLETECH is done, with a last patch coming this month.

        After many patches and three big expansions across, the BATTLETECH saga is coming to a close nearly two years after the full release. Speaking in a fresh update on their Kickstarter, they said “Now, with our season pass at an end, HBS is going to focus on two brand new non-BattleTech projects. Our last free update, BATTLETECH Update 1.9, will release in late February. After that, BATTLETECH will continue to maintain customer support.”.

      • BEAUTIFUL DESOLATION looks incredible and planned for Linux once they ensure it’s solid

        2D isometric adventure, BEAUTIFUL DESOLATION, has been announced for release this month and the good news is THE BROTHERHOOD will be bringing it to Linux.

        They previously made the point-and-click sci-fi horror adventure ‘STASIS’ and another isometric horror game with ‘CAYNE’, both games have Linux builds too (although STASIS is classed as a Beta). As for BEAUTIFUL DESOLATION, it’s releasing for Windows on February 26 and they confirmed to us on Twitter that they “will be supporting other platforms with a solid and stable build” and although there’s no set date to “rest assured – it’s on our roadmap”.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • NEXTSPACE: a NeXTSTEP-like desktop environment for Linux

        KDE, GNOME, Xfce, and later MATE and Cinnamon have sucked up so much of the Linux desktop space that there’s very little room left for anything else. You’re either mainly a Qt desktop, or mainly a GTK+ desktop, and anything that isn’t based on either of those toolkits will either waste time recreating lots of wheels, or accept that half – or more – of your applications are Qt or GTK+-based, at which point the temptation to run one of the aforementioned desktop environments becomes quite strong.

        This project, while very welcome and having my full support and attention, will have a very hard time, but that’s not going to deter me from being hopeful against all odds. Reading through the documentation and descriptions, it does seem the developers have the right attitude. They’re not claiming to take on the other players – they just want to make something that appeals to and works for them.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • Qt 5.15 Alpha Released

          I am happy to inform you we have released Qt 5.15 Alpha today.

          Qt 5.15 new features page is listing new features etc coming with Qt 5.15 release. But please remember it is still under construction and some items are still missing. The Feature list should be complete by beta release coming within a few weeks.

          Please start testing Qt 5.15 Alpha immediately & report your findings to jira. Your feedback is essential in our journey towards Qt 5.15.0 release.

        • Qt 5.15 Alpha Released With Various Improvements To Qt 3D, QML, Core, New Qt PDF Module
        • Akademy 2019 – Late Report

          There has been some time since my last blog post. It has happened because of a good cause, since I was focusing on my undergraduate thesis. Now I have finished it and finally have completed my graduation, yay! Soon I will include my thesis on my blog and share it with the world… I have just decided to fix some details in the project before that. Anyway, this post is to comment about my participation in Akademy 2019. I will give a brief report, share my experiences and tell you about how this experience was for me.

        • Last week of SoK 2020

          To this one I have made an checkable action in the menu “edit”, you can select it if you want to auto save a json or xml file automatically in the current working directory. This functionality can be pretty handy when annotating a big amount of items.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK
        • GNOME Shares Designs for a Native Camera App

          The GNOME connection is even evident on the desktop thanks to the increased use of libhandy, an open source library that helps developers craft responsive GTK apps e.g., Lollypop,). These look like proper desktop apps on a regular screen but squish down nicely when used on a mobile one.

          What do both a phone and desktop have in common? A camera!

    • Distributions
      • Reviews
        • Simplicity Does More Than Simplify Linux

          Simplicity Linux, even with its more modern retooling, maintains the distro’s earlier goals of providing a simpler way to run a fully powered Linux desktop. The addition of the Gaming Edition makes it easy to get started with computer gaming.

          This new offering no doubt could be merged with the Desktop Edition for a more compact selection. That might allow the developer to release a new X Edition offering in the next release cycle.

          I am not sure if the Mini Edition needs a full-function heavyweight desktop the likes of Cinnamon. I would like to see a return to the Xfce desktop there.

          Either way, I look forward to the next release of Simplicity Linux. This distro holds considerable promise.

      • New Releases
        • Void Linux 20.02 Image Available

          Project Trident is pleased to announce the first official release image based on Void Linux, available on the Project Trident download page.

          Please note the Project Trident installer supports four different installation “levels”…

          [...]

          Note: These installation levels provide pre-defined lists of packages to install for user convenience. The installed system can be easily be changed afterwards using the built-in package system.

      • BSD
        • OpenSSH 8.2 Released With FIDO/U2F Support

          OpenSSH 8.2 is out this Valentine’s Day as the leading SSH suite. Besides working to disable the SSH-RSA public key signature algorithm due to SHA1 collision attacks, OpenSSH 8.2 also comes with new features.

          The shiny new feature of OpenSSH 8.2 is support for FIDO/U2F hardware authenticators. FIDO/U2F two-factor authentication hardware can now work with OpenSSH 8.2+, including ssh-keygen can be used to generate a FIDO token backed key. Communication to the hardware token with OpenSSH is managed by a middleware library specified via the SSH/SSHD configuration, including the option for its own built-in middleware for supporting USB tokens.

        • OpenSSH adds support for FIDO/U2F security keys

          OpenSSH 8.2 adds support for authentication via FIDO/U2F protocols, most commonly used with hardware security keys.

        • New Qt5 and OpenSSH in [Slackware] Current

          Another big thing happening in -current is the new OpenSSH 8.2 release which will bring some incompatible changes, especially if you are still using ssh-rsa as the algorithm. To test whether your machine is affected, try to run this command in your shell

          ssh -oHostKeyAlgorithms=-ssh-rsa user@host

          If you managed to connect using the above command, it means that your OpenSSH software is fine, but if you don’t, then it needs to be upgraded.

        • OpenSSH 8.2 released

          OpenSSH 8.2 is out. This release removes support for the ssh-rsa key algorithm, which may disrupt connectivity to older servers; see the announcement for a way to check whether a given server can handle newer, more secure algorithms. Also new in this release is support for FIDO/U2F hardware tokens.

        • NetBSD 9.0 available!

          Sixth months after the start of the release engineering process, NetBSD 9.0 is now available.

          Since the start of the release process a lot of improvements went into the branch – over 700 pullups were processed!

          This includes usbnet (a common framework for usb ethernet drivers), aarch64 stability enhancements and lots of new hardware support, installer/sysinst fixes and changes to the NVMM (hardware virtualization) interface.

          We hope this will lead to the best NetBSD release ever (only to be topped by NetBSD 10 – hopefully later this year).

        • NetBSD 9.0 Debuts As The “Best NetBSD Release Ever”

          The NetBSD 9.0 release is a big one with finally supporting Arm AArch64 (64-bit ARMv8) and as part of that Arm ServerReady SBBR+SBSA system support. NetBSD 9.0 also improves its existing ARMv7 32-bit support, ships with updated Intel DRM GPU drivers, improves its virtualization support and introduces NVMM virtualization, adds Kernel ASLR support, supports various compiler sanitizers, updates the ZFS file-system support, finally supports NCQ with SATA, and various other hardware improvements along with performance and security benefits.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts
      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family
      • SUSE/OpenSUSE
        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/07

          Dear Tumbleweed users and hackers,

          At SUSE we had so-called hackweek. Meaning everybody could do something out of their regular tasks and work for a week on something else they wish to invest time on. I used the time to finally get the ‘osc collab’ server back in shape (Migrated from SLE11SP4 to Leap 15.1) – And in turn handed ‘The Tumbleweed Release Manager hat’ over to Oliver Kurz, who expressed an interest in learning about the release Process for Tumbleweed. I think it was an interesting experiment for both of us: for him, to get something different done and for me to get some interesting questions as to why things are the way they are. Obviously, a fresh look from the outside gives some interesting questions and a few things translated in code changes on the tools in use (nothing major, but I’m sure discussions will go on)

          As I stepped mostly back this week and handed RM tasks over to Oliver, that also means he will be posting the ‘Review of the week’ to the opensuse­factory mailing list. For my fellow blog users, I will include it here directly for your reference.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora
        • CoreOS Container Linux Will No Longer Be Supported After May 26, 2020

          Based on Gentoo Linux, CoreOS Linux saw the light of day more than six years ago, on October 3rd, 2013. It was well received by the community for being a lightweight operating system designed for distributing payload applications inside software containers and it gained a lot of popularity in a short time span.

          Three years later, in late 2016, CoreOS Linux changed its name to Container Linux by CoreOS or CoreOS Container Linux, in an attempt to distinguish the company’s name, CoreOS, from the container-focused Linux distribution, Container Linux, making things more clear to newcomers.

        • The OpenPOWER ISA EULA Draft Published – Generous For Libre Hardware

          Last summer it was announced that IBM’s POWER ISA would be open-source and the OpenPOWER Foundation joining the Linux Foundation. Finally we’re getting a look at how the end-user license agreement (EULA) is looking for those wishing to make use of the POWER CPU instruction set architecture.

          The final draft of the Power ISA EULA was published this week that allows anyone to build their own POWER ISA compliant hardware royalty-free and with a pass-through patent license from IBM regarding the ISA.

          The EULA is quite generous and should allow anyone (well, anyone capable of spinning their own SoCs / FPGAs) to create a POWER ISA compliant chip and quite accommodating for “libre” hardware projects. The final draft of this EULA can be found at OpenPOWERFoundation.org.

        • Fedora program update: 2020-07

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora this week.

          I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

        • AAA: FAS replacement project update

          The Community Platform Engineering (CPE) team and community contributors began building our new Fedora Account System (FAS) application system on the 8th of January 2020 and completed the first two-week sprint on the 21st of January 2020.

        • rpminspect-0.11 released

          The first release of rpminspect in 2020! I release rpminspect-0.11 today. Aside from the usual load of bug fixes and performance improvements, this release comes with a range of new features. New inspections, expanded configuration file options, and runtime profiles.

        • Do not upgrade to Fedora 32, and do not adjust your sets

          If you were unlucky today, you might have received a notification from GNOME in Fedora 30 or 31 that Fedora 32 is now available for upgrade.

          This might have struck you as a bit odd, it being rather early for Fedora 32 to be out and there not being any news about it or anything. And if so, you’d be right! This was an error, and we’re very sorry for it.

          What happened is that a particular bit of data which GNOME Software (among other things) uses as its source of truth about Fedora releases was updated for the branching of Fedora 32…but by mistake, 32 was added with status ‘Active’ (meaning ‘stable release’) rather than ‘Under Development’. This fooled poor GNOME Software into thinking a new stable release was available, and telling you about it.

      • Debian Family
        • Sparky 2020.02.1

          Sparky 2020.02.1 “Po Tolo” of the (semi-)rolling line is out. It is based on the testing branch of Debian “Bullseye”.

          This is a minor update, which temporary fixes a problem of installing Sparky via Calamares with kpmcore 4.

          Changes between Sparky 2020.02 and 2020.02.1:
          • system upgraded from Debian testing repos as of February 13, 2020
          • kpmcore downgraded to version 3.3.0
          • Calamares installer rebuild using libkpmcore7 3.3.0

          No system reinstallation is required, simply keep Sparky up to date.

        • MystiQ

          There is a new tool available for Sparkers: MystiQ

          What is MystiQ?

          MystiQ is a GUI for FFmpeg, a powerful media converter. FFmpeg can read audio and video files in various formats and convert them into other formats. MystiQ features an intuitive graphical interface and a rich set of presets to help you convert media files within a few clicks. Advanced users can also adjust conversion parameters in detail.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
        • The elementary OS team takes the first steps for AppCenter for Everyone

          The Linux distribution elementary OS, which is based on Ubuntu, always keeps the minds busy. There are very strong opinions about this somewhat different Linux distribution, but it is undeniable that it is very popular among Linux beginners, switchers who come from the macOS platform, style and design enthusiasts, and minimalist-minded computer users who are more focused on productivity than on the underlying technology. This openness of most other Linux distros is a bit in contrast to elementary OS, as the team behind this OS kind of positively dictates strong but strict human interaction style guides, deep integration, thoughtful uniformity, deliberate simplicity, minimalism and also strong believes in the underlying pay what you like model with a platform for curated applications. You can find myself in the group of elementary OS enthusiasts, since at the end, an operating system is just a tool for me and being able to use applications in a productive and distraction free manner is more important. I care less about total freedom to be able to control and change everything in an operating system, and instead appreciate the effort of the elementary OS team to offer a very refined and distraction free operating system that ensures that you focus primarily on productive tasks.

        • Canonical pushes fourth point release for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

          Canonical has announced the availability of Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS. The new update is a point release which rolls all of the latest updates into a single disc image saving you time when you do a clean install as you have fewer updates to install. Also, this update includes hardware enablement stacks which adds support for newer hardware.

          The new point release is available for Ubuntu on Desktop, Server, and the Cloud as well as other flavours of Ubuntu with long-term support including Kubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu MATE, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Kylin, and Xubuntu. Detailed release notes for each of these flavours can be found on the Ubuntu Wiki.

          Each Ubuntu LTS release ships with five years of maintenance updates, this means that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS will reach end-of-life around April or May 2021. If you’re still using this older release, Canonical will offer you an automatic upgrade to 18.04.4 via the Update Manager, you can find detailed instructions for upgrading here.

        • Accelerating IoT device time to market

          Launching IoT devices and managing them at scale can be a time intensive and complex process. With 85% of IoT initiatives not launched after a year of development, it is inevitable that change is needed.

          To overcome these challenges, Canonical has introduced Smart Start, a package that reduces business and technical decision making into a 2-week, fixed-cost decision. Smart Start provides a guided journey through the infrastructure needed to develop, customise, and distribute software to fleets of devices. With consulting services to de-risk the journey at critical points, an enterprise’s IoT strategy is fast tracked to market.

          This webinar details the learnings from over 30 project summaries and case studies of Canonical customers. Nilay Patel, Product Manager for IoT and Devices, will speak about the lessons to take away, and why businesses such as Rigado, Cyberdyne and Fingbox chose Canonical to launch their IoT devices.

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • How to set up your own fast, private open source mesh network

        The reason to use open source is simple: privacy. With FreeMesh, your data is your own. It doesn’t track or collect data. Don’t trust it? You can easily check—it’s open source, after all! With some other popular mesh solutions, say those provided by very large tech conglomerates, would you trust them with your data?

        Another important factor: updates. FreeMesh says it is committed to pushing out security and performance updates regularly. What about 10 years from now? With an open source solution, you are free to update the product for as long as you want.

        So why mesh? In a mesh network, multiple wireless routers work together to broadcast a single, very large wireless network. Each router in a mesh network intelligently communicates with the other(s) to provide the best “path” for your data. The following images from FreeMesh’s website highlight the difference between using a single wireless router and a mesh network. The red network represents a single wireless router, and the green is a mesh network.

      • 3 steps for product marketing your open source project

        I frequently get questions from open source project creators or new founders of commercial open source software (COSS) companies about the best way to market their product. Implicit in that inquiry lies more foundational questions: “What the hell is product marketing? How much time should I spend on it?”

        This article aims to share some knowledge and specific action items to help open source creators understand product marketing as a concept and how to bootstrap it on their own until a project reaches the next level of traction.

      • Looking for an open-source VPN? We’ve got the answer

        After undergoing a successful independent security audit earlier this year, IVPN has announced that it will open source all of its VPN clients.

        The VPN provider’s Android, macOS, iOS and Windows apps are now open source under the GPLv3 license.

        However, this is just the first step in IVPN’s multi-year plan to open source many other parts of its service. The company’s next step is to release key parts of its infrastructure to the public with end goal of enabling anyone to set up and verify its VPN server configuration.

      • Is Google cooling on open-source foundations?

        Google has been one of big tech’s biggest supporters of open-source software. But customers, partners and members of the open-source community say the company is shifting its priorities.

        Consider the case of the open-source project Istio, whose future was thrown into question late last year.

        Istio is a “service mesh,” a tool that helps technology organizations manage application strategies built around microservices. Microservices allow developers to work on various parts of an application without having to worry about screwing up the whole thing — and help ensure that if one service goes down, the impact is relatively minor. For example, adopting microservices helped Twitter end the days of the fail whale.

        Google, IBM and Lyft introduced Istio in May 2017, and discussion about donating the project to a nonprofit foundation — which is common practice for open-source projects — took place almost immediately, according to several people familiar with the talks. Google controls six seats on the 10-seat steering committee that governs Istio, and the parties agreed to table further decision-making until the project found its footing, with consensus that Istio would eventually wind up in a foundation when the timing was right.

        By 2019, that momentum had arrived, as usage of Istio grew inside big companies and major organizations, like the U.S. Air Force. Throughout the year, Google continued to make vague promises to its partners about donating Istio to a foundation, which would mean ceding control of the project’s trademarks and overall direction. The most natural time to make that announcement seemed to be November’s Kubecon, a software convention dedicated to Kubernetes, the open-source project Google gave to a foundation in 2015.

      • Web Browsers
        • Mozilla
          • I’m a (senior) staff engineer panel

            Last week, my colleague Chenxia Liu and I arranged a panel at our Berlin all-hands meeting called AMA: I’m a (senior) staff engineer. Our goal for this panel was to provide a Q&A session where staff and senior staff engineers could share their stories what that a typical day in that role looks like, how their career progressed to that level and their advice for others interested in the role.

            [...]

            Everyone company’s career ladder for individual contributors is different. At Mozilla, the change for senior engineer to staff engineer is the progression where the role changes to be substantially more self-directed. You aren’t just landing code to address issues identified by your manager or peers. Your role is to determine what problems the team should focus on. What value will solving these problems bring to the business? How can you elevate the work of your team from a technical perspective? How can you level the skills of early career engineers on your team? As a result, the promotion to staff engineer requires promotion paperwork to be approved by higher level of management than the individual’s direct manager.

            Ahead of the panel, we reached out to five staff or senior staff engineers and asked them to participate. We reached out to people from several geographies and domains of expertise within the company and also different demographics. The day before panel, Chenxia arranged a lunch with the panellists so we could share the logistics of the panel, proposed initial questions and allow the panellists to get to know each other a bit before the session. We also shared a doc in a company wide channel where attendees could add questions before the session.

          • ESLint now turned on for all of the Firefox/Gecko codebase

            About 4 years and 2 months ago, Dave Townsend and I landed a couple of patches on the Mozilla codebase that kick-started rolling out ESLint across our source code. Today, I’ve just landed the last bug in making it so that ESLint runs across our whole tree (where possible).

            ESLint is a static analyser for JavaScript that helps find issues before you even run the code. It also helps to promote best practices and styling, reducing the need for comments in reviews.

            Several Mozilla projects had started using ESLint in early 2015 – Firefox’s Developer Tools, Firefox for Android and Firefox Hello. It was clear to the Firefox desktop team that ESLint was useful and so we put together an initial set of rules covering the main desktop files.

            Soon after, we were enabling ESLint over more of desktop’s files, and adding to the rules that we had enabled. Once we had the main directories covered, we slowly started enabling more directories and started running ESLint checks in CI allowing us to detect and back out any failures that were introduced. Finally, we made it to where we are today – covering the whole of the Firefox source tree, mozilla-central.

            Along the way we’ve filed over 600 bugs for handling ESLint roll-out and related issues, many of these were promoted as mentored bugs and fixed by new and existing contributors – a big thank you to you all for your help.

          • Extending Glean: build re-usable types for new use-cases

            The philosophy of Glean has always been to offer higher-level metric types that map semantically to what developers want to measure: a Timespan metric type, for instance, will require developers to declare the resolution they want the time measured in. It is more than just a number. The build-time generated APIs will then offer a set of operations, start() and stop(), to allow developers to take the measurements without caring about the implementation details or about the consistency of times across platforms. By design, a Timespan will record time consistently and predictably on iOS, Android and even desktop. This also empowers the rest of the Glean ecosystem, especially pipeline and tooling, to know about the quality guarantees of the types, their format and, potentially, ways to aggregate and visualize them.

          • Resolve data breaches with Firefox Monitor

            Corporate data breaches are an all too common reality of modern life. At best, you get an email from a company alerting you that they have been hacked, and then you’re left to figure out how to protect yourself from there. It’s lonely, daunting and leaves you seeking closure.

            With Firefox’s newest update to Monitor, you can track the breaches you’ve been involved in, follow steps to protect yourself, and mark a breach as “resolved” when you’re ready for some satisfying closure.

          • Firefox Nightly: These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 69
      • SaaS/Back End/Databases
        • MariaDB 10.5.1 Release Notes

          MariaDB 10.5 is the current development series of MariaDB. It is an evolution of MariaDB 10.4 with several entirely new features not found anywhere else and with backported and reimplemented features from MySQL.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra
        • Call for Papers, Registration Opens for openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference

          Both openSUSE and LibreOffice are combining their conferences (openSUSE Conference and LibOcon) in 2020 to celebrate LibreOffice’s 10-year anniversary and openSUSE’s 15-year anniversary. The conference will take place in Nuremberg, Germany, at the Z-Bau from Oct. 13 to 16.

        • Call for Paper for LibOCon 2020 is now open

          The openSUSE and LibreOffice Projects are combining their annual conferences together for one year in 2020 to have a joint openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference. This joint conference, which is combined this one year to celebrate 10 years of the LibreOffice Project and 15 years of the openSUSE Project, will take place at the Z-bau in Nuremberg, Germany, from October 13 to 16, 2020. The goal of the openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference, brings together fun, smart and open-source minded community members to discuss and present topics relative to the two projects as well as open-source software development topics.

          The Document Foundation invites all members and contributors to submit talks, lectures and workshops for this year’s event. Whether you are a seasoned presenter or have never spoken in public before, if you have something interesting to share about LibreOffice, the Document Liberation Project or the Open Document Format, we want to hear from you!

      • CMS
        • Kiwi TCMS: We’re not participating in ‘QA of the year’ award

          Hello testers, this is the story of how our team is not taking part of the “QA of the year” contest organized by the QA: Challenge Accepted conference despite being nominated by Alex.

        • People of WordPress: Kori Ashton

          You’ve probably heard that WordPress is open-source software, and may know that it’s created and run by volunteers. WordPress enthusiasts share many examples of how WordPress changed people’s lives for the better. This monthly series shares some of those lesser-known, amazing stories.

          [...]

          Like many other web development agencies, WebTegrity started out with the “one-time fee and you’re done” business model. This business model is known for unpredictable revenue streams. Hearing about recurring revenue business models at WordCamp Austin was a lightbulb moment for Kori. She started drafting a more sustainable business model on the way back home.

          Support packages were key to their new business plan. Clients needed ongoing support. They decided to include at least 12 months of post-launch support into their web development projects. This doubled their revenue in one year and allowed them to even out their revenue streams.

      • FSF
        • Register today for LibrePlanet — or organize your own satellite instance

          LibrePlanet started out as a gathering of Free Software Foundation (FSF) associate members, and has remained a community event ever since. We are proud to bring so many different people together to discuss the latest developments and the future of free software. We envision that some day there will be satellite instances all over the globe livestreaming our annual conference on technology and social justice — and you can create your own today! All you need is a venue, a screen, and a schedule of LibrePlanet events, which we’ll be releasing soon. This year, a free software supporter in Ontario, Canada, has confirmed an event, and we encourage you to host one, too.

          Of course, ideally you’ll be able to join us in person for LibrePlanet 2020: “Free the Future.” If you can come, please register now to let us know — FSF associate members attend gratis. We are looking forward to receiving the community at the newly confirmed Back Bay Events Center this year. We’ve put together some information on where to eat, sleep, and park in the vicinity of the new venue.

          However, we know that not every free software enthusiast can make it to Boston, which is why we livestream the entire event. You can view it solo, with friends, or even with a large group of like-minded free software enthusiasts! It is a great opportunity to bring other people in your community together to view some of the foremost speakers in free software, including Internet Archive founder and Internet Hall of Famer Brewster Kahle.

        • FSFE
          • Max Mehl (English): I love the hidden champions

            A few days ago I’ve sent an announcement email for today’s I Love Free Software Day to a large bunch of people. Most of the remarkably many replies have been positive and a pure joy to read, but some were a bit sceptical and critical. These came from Free Software contributors who are maintaining and helping projects that they think nobody knows and sees – not because these software pojects are unused, but because they are small, a building block for other, more popular applications.

            When we ask people to participate in #ilovefs (this year for the 10th time in a row!) by expressing their gratitude to contributors of their favourite Free Software projects, many think about the applications they often use and come up with obvious ones like Mozilla’s Firefox and Thunderbird, LibreOffice, their Linux-based distribution, or CMSs like WordPress and Drupal. Not that I think this is not deserved, but what about the projects that actually form the foundations for these popular suites?

            I researched a bit on my own system (based on Arch Linux) and checked on how many packages some of the aforementioned applications depend (including dependencies of their dependencies)1:

            Firefox: 221
            Thunderbird: 179
            LibreOffice: 185
            GIMP: 166
            Inkscape: 164

          • I Love Free Software on the go: the Replicant operating system in practice

            On I Love Free Software Day 2020 I’d like to pay attention to and thank the Replicant operating system, which is in active development and empowers users to use Free Software on the go.

            As a user with a non-technical background it was an honor and a privilege to attend the Replicant Birds of a Feather (BoF) meeting at FOSDEM 2020. There I concluded that my choice for Replicant not only helps the environment and strengthens the sustainability of my hardware, but also that the project is in active development and will support more contemporary hardware. At the end of the meeting the team handed out Replicant stickers on behalf of the Free Software Foundation, which you can join.

      • Programming/Development
        • Anisa Kuci: Outreachy post 4 – Career opportunities

          As mentioned in my last blog posts, Outreachy is very interesting and I got to learn a lot already. Two months have already passed by quickly and there is still one month left for me to continue working and learning.

          As I imagine all the other interns are thinking now, I am also thinking about what is going to be the next step for me. After such an interesting experience as this internship, thinking about the next steps is not that simple.

          I have been contributing to Free Software projects for quite some years now. I have been part of the only FLOSS community in my country for many years and I grew up together with the community, advocating free software in and around Albania.

          I have contributed to many projects, including Mozilla, OpenStreetMap, Debian, GNOME, Wikimedia projects etc. So, I am sure, the FLOSS world is definitely the right place for me to be. I have helped communities grow and I am very enthusiastic about it.

        • PHP 7.4 Slated To Land In Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          PHP 7.4 should be landing in the Ubuntu 20.04 archive in the next week or so.

          PHP 7.4 was released at the end of November with some really great features. Ubuntu developers now feel comfortable enough with PHP 7.4 that they intend to land it for the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS release, which also pans out well since that provides them with an extra year of upstream support compared to shipping PHP 7.3.

          PHP 7.4 brings the interesting FFI for accessing C structures / functions / variables from native PHP code, Opcache preload, more performance improvements, support for typed properties, and much more… It’s quite a hefty annual update to PHP7 and I’m quite glad that it is indeed set to be bundled for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

        • PHP Development on Fedora with Eclipse
        • The Horrifically Dystopian World of Software Engineering Interviews

          I am rather confused with the advertised rankings of a software engineer. There seem to be only two rankings: non-senior and senior. In general job ads ask for 5 years of experience in order to be considered a senior. There seem to be some missing rankings. What do we call someone with 20 years of experience? Are they really the same thing as someone with 5? In my case, what do we call someone with 4 years of experience? I am not a new grad. I know how to write software on my own. I know how version control works and how to exist in an Agile environment. Depending on the situation I need people to set the direction for my work. To add further complexity to the issue, there is the the issue of years of experience in a technology. If a person has 5 years of experience writing Java and moves to a team that uses Python and is made up of only people who have less than two years of experience in Python should this person be considered a junior? This is such a confusing topic that it warrants an entire article of its own and even then I am not sure I can make any sense of it. My point is that I lie somewhere between junior and senior and it seems to be slim pickings for my experience level.

        • Decomposing Splines Without Recursion

          To make graphics usable in Snek, I need to avoid using a lot of memory, especially on the stack as there’s no stack overflow checking on most embedded systems. Today, I worked on how to draw splines with a reasonable number of line segments without requiring any intermediate storage. Here’s the results from this work:

        • Perl / Raku
          • av_fetch can return NULL

            If you create an array by inserting values, in the following way,

            $thing{key}[10] = 1;
            and then don’t populate the rest of the array, a call to av_fetch in the array to retrieve values lower than the tenth one may return a NULL value.

          • Struggle getting PDL book example to work on Windows 10

            As a workaround I was able to run an example on dual booted Linux and did not delve more deeply what was wrong on Windows as I wanted to learn more of Perl basics first and started reading Llama book.

        • Python
          • How to Get the Column Names from a Pandas Dataframe – Print and List

            The post How to Get the Column Names from a Pandas Dataframe – Print and List appeared first on Erik Marsja.

            In this short post, we will learn 6 methods to get the column names from Pandas dataframe. One of the nice things about Pandas dataframes is that each column will have a name (i.e., the variables in the dataset). Now, we can use these names to access specific columns by name without having to know which column number it is.

            To access the names of a Pandas dataframe, we can the method columns(). For example, if our dataframe is called df we just type print(df.columns) to get all the columns of the pandas dataframe.

          • PyCharm 2020.1 EAP 3

            We have a new Early Access Program (EAP) version of PyCharm that can be now downloaded from our website.

            We have concentrated on fixing the issues that needed to be fixed and making lots of improvements so the final PyCharm 2020.1 will be everything you hoped for. Here is a rundown of some of the things you can expect from this build.

          • Python Basics: How To Print in Python?

            It’s quite common to make mistakes when you try to print something using Python considering you’re new to Python scripting.

            No matter what program you write, you will always be needing to print something or the other (most of the time).

            So, in this article, I’ll be explaining how to print something in Python and list out some common mistakes that you can avoid.

          • Selection Sort in Python

            Sorting, although a basic operation, is one of the most important operations a computer should perform. It is a building block in many other algorithms and procedures, such as searching and merging. Knowing different sorting algorithms could help you better understand the ideas behind the different algorithms, as well as help you come up with better algorithms.

            The Selection Sort algorithm sorts an array by finding the minimum value of the unsorted part and then swapping it with the first unsorted element. It is an in-place algorithm, meaning you won’t need to allocate additional lists. While slow, it is still used as the main sorting algorithm in systems where memory is limited.

            In this article, we will explain how the Selection Sort works and implement it in Python. We will then break down the actions of the algorithm to learn its time complexity.

          • Multiple File/Image Upload with Django 3, Angular 9 and FormData

            In the previous tutorial we have seen how to implement file uploading in Django and Angular 9. In this tutorial, we’ll see how to implement multiple file uploading.

            It’s recommended that you start from the previous tutorial to see detailed steps of how to create a django project, how to install Angular CLI and generate a new Angular 9 project along with services and components as we won’t cover those basics in this part.

          • Solving python error – ValueError: invalid literal for int() with base 10

            We can get this error when trying to convert a variable to an integer.

          • New features for Raspberry Pi, Wireguard in the Linux kernel, NSA Python course and more open source news

            The National Security Agency has released its own Python tutorial for beginners. It is a 118-megabyte PDF download that provides a complete course of study from a first Python project to advanced programming examples. While it’s not clearly licensed, it is declassified and available as a great resource to learn the language. Many thanks to Chris Swenson who submitted the FOIA request to the NSA for their Python training materials, which resulted in this treasure trove of Pythonics.

          • redirect-chain – Getting a comfortable insight input URL redirects history

            You can accomplish the same with curl -L but I’ve had this as a little personal hack script in my ~/bin folder on my computer. Thought I’d make it a public tool. Also, from here, a lot more can be done to this script if you wanna help out with ideas.

          • Solving python error – TypeError: ‘NoneType’ object is not iterable

            This is one of the most common errors we all faced at least once while working on a Python code. If you are facing a similar error then it is probably due to a for or while loop on an object.

          • Creating the ultimate terminal experience in Spyder 4 with Spyder-Terminal

            The Spyder-Terminal project is revitalized! The new 0.3.0 version adds numerous features that improves the user experience, and enhances compatibility with the latest Spyder 4 release, in part thanks to the improvements made in the xterm.js project.

          • How I learned Python

            I am a Software Engineer at Robert Bosch Engineering and Private Solution with 1 Year of Experience.

          • Python 3.7.5 : Use Brython in web development to avoid javascript.

            The tutorial for today is about how can avoid the javascript and use python script in webdevelopment using the Brython.
            Brython’s goal is to replace Javascript with Python, as the scripting language for web browsers. see the official webpage.
            It is necessary to include brython.js and to run the brython() function upon page load using the onload attribute of the BODY tag.

          • Hello Word in Django 2: How to start with Django 2
          • Getting query params from request in Django

            To get query parameters from the request in the Django view, you need to access the GET attribute of the request.

          • How to display flash messages in Django templates

            Sometimes we need to show the one-time notification, also known as the flash messages in our Django application. For this Django provides the messages framework. We are going to use the same here.

            To show flash messages in the Django application, we will extend our previous project Hello World in Django 2.2. Clone the git repository, check out the master branch and set up the project on your local machine by following the instructions in the README file.

          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccxv) stackoverflow python report
        • JavaScript
          • JavaScript Internationalization in 2020

            2020 is shaping up to be an amazing year for JavaScript Internationalization API.

            After many years of careful design we’re seeing a lot of the work now coming close to completion with a number of high profile APIs on track for inclusion in ECMAScript 2020 standard!

  • Leftovers
    • Science
      • Russell Coker: Self Assessment

        A significant problem in large parts of the computer industry is that it’s not easy to compare various skills. In the sport of bowling (which Erik uses as an example) it’s easy to compare your score against people anywhere in the world, if you score 250 and people in another city score 280 then they are more skilled than you. If I design an IT project that’s 2 months late on delivery and someone else designs a project that’s only 1 month late are they more skilled than me? That isn’t enough information to know. I’m using the number of months late as an arbitrary metric of assessing projects, IT projects tend to run late and while delivery time might not be the best metric it’s something that can be measured (note that I am slightly joking about measuring IT projects by how late they are).

        If the last project I personally controlled was 2 months late and I’m about to finish a project 1 month late does that mean I’ve increased my skills? I probably can’t assess this accurately as there are so many variables. The Impostor Syndrome factor might lead me to think that the second project was easier, or I might get egotistical and think I’m really great, or maybe both at the same time.

        This is one of many resources recommending timely feedback for education [4], it says “Feedback needs to be timely” and “It needs to be given while there is still time for the learners to act on it and to monitor and adjust their own learning”. For basic programming tasks such as debugging a crashing program the feedback is reasonably quick. For longer term tasks like assessing whether the choice of technologies for a project was good the feedback cycle is almost impossibly long. If I used product A for a year long project does it seem easier than product B because it is easier or because I’ve just got used to it’s quirks? Did I make a mistake at the start of a year long project and if so do I remember why I made that choice I now regret?

    • Education
      • School Employees Have Used Isolated Timeouts Illegally, State Investigations Find

        In the first state review of isolated timeout in Illinois schools, investigators found six of the eight districts they examined violated state law by placing children in seclusion for improper reasons, for too long or without properly notifying their parents.

        The investigations by the Illinois State Board of Education came after the first part of a ProPublica Illinois/Chicago Tribune series, published in November, found public schools throughout the state overused seclusion, routinely breaking the law that allowed children to be placed in isolated timeout only when there was a safety issue.

      • Could Corporations Control What’s Taught in Our Public Schools?

        The national discussion about the movement to privatize America’s public schools has mostly focused on the issues of charter schools and school voucher schemes. But a growing number of parents, teachers, and public school advocates, as well as experts in academia, are increasingly warning about another form of school privatization.

    • Health/Nutrition
      • Global Mining Corporations Have a Friend in the New Guatemalan Government

        Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei is less than a month into his term and yet there are already disturbing signs that his administration will side with global mining corporations against indigenous communities fighting to protect their land and water.

      • ‘Code for Massive Cuts’: Audio Shows GOP Sen. Joni Ernst Telling Donors She Wants ‘Changes’ to Medicare, Medicaid

        “Again, Joni Ernst has shown that she is willing to push our families into poverty with a smile. The programs she plans to cut are a lifeline for millions of Americans. She should be ashamed.”

      • The Lies of Industry and the Liars Who Sell Them

        Climate change isn’t real. Tobacco isn’t as bad as people say. Monsanto’s RoundUp doesn’t cause cancer. The fact that these statements are still considered valid by some people is not because they might be true or because some people are just stupid. That some deny these and other scientifically proven phenomena is testament to the power of what researcher David Michaels calls the product defense industry. His new book, titled The Triumph of Doubt: Dark Money and the Science of Deception, is an expose of this industry and how it works to enable those industries who profit from the sale of carcinogens and other poisons.

      • Menace on the Menu in Post-EU Britain

        Environmentalist Dr Rosemary Mason has just written the report ‘Bayer Crop Science rules Britain after Brexit – the public and the press are being poisoned by pesticides’. It has been sent to editors of major media outlets in the UK. In it, she outlines her concerns for pesticide regulation, health and the environment in a post-Brexit landscape. This article presents some of the report’s key points.

      • Virus Cases Rise as Experts Question China’s Numbers

        Infections and deaths from the new virus in China ballooned for a second straight day Friday, on paper at least, as officials near the epicenter of the outbreak struggled to keep up with a backlog of patients’ lab work.

      • US Maternal Mortality Rate Is Increasing — and the Data Still Miss Many Deaths

        Late last month, maternal health experts from around Illinois were videoconferencing in Chicago and Springfield, poring over the files of expectant and new mothers who’d died in the state in 2017. Many of the deaths could have been prevented if only medical and other providers had understood the special risks that women face during this critically vulnerable time.

      • NPR and the Escalating Attack on Single-Payer Health Care

        National Public Radio’s Mara Liasson this weekend entered a new term into the corporate liberal establishment’s attack on single payer healthcare.

      • Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Trump’s ‘Work-or-Die’ Medicaid Requirements in Arkansas

        The ruling upheld a lower court decision, with a three-judge panel unanimously arguing Medicaid work requirements negate the purpose of the program.

      • Groups Challenge Louisiana Permits for Formosa Plastics’ Giant Petrochemical Complex in Cancer Alley

        “The fight against Formosa’s polluting and unjust petrochemical complex is part of a growing national movement to address the triple threat of climate chaos, plastics pollution, and environmental racism.”

      • We Showed How Easy It Is to Commit Health Care Fraud. Now Senators Want to Close the Loophole.

        Four United States senators have introduced a bipartisan bill to close a little-known, but gaping, loophole that allows scammers to plunder commercial insurers by posing as licensed medical providers.

        The Medical License Verification Act, introduced Thursday, comes in response to a July ProPublica story that showed how absurdly easy it is to commit health care fraud, which experts say could be costing Americans hundreds of billions of dollars a year. ProPublica told the story of David Williams, a Texas personal trainer and convicted felon, who represented himself as a licensed physician when he applied for National Provider Identifiers, the unique numbers required by the federal government to bill insurance plans.

      • Things Said in Confidence to 4000 Close Friends This Week

        A medical issue on the [L] tracks (I’m guessing someone collided with a front-car) kicked me and others off the CTA Red Line. A toothless old white woman who spoke like a poor Black woman cursed out loud for one minute straight to the disgust of most. I admired her fire and creativity.

      • Fake vaccinations and a suicide note by Dr. Van Koinis

        Yesterday’s post ended up being quite long, to the point that I had considered not writing anything today. However, there is a vaccine-related news story that I became aware of yesterday that mandates at least some comment, mainly because it’s so bizarre. Regular readers who’ve encountered this story will understand why I feel I had to write about it. I’m referring, of course, to the case of a Chicago area pediatrician named Dr. Van Koinis who committed suicide last August and who was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a forest preserve outside of Chicago. Why did this story attract my attention? It was headlines like this appearing in the news over the last three days:

      • Can the U.S. Slash Food Waste in Half in the Next Ten Years?
      • Medicare for All Helps Unions by Taking Health Care Off the Bargaining Table

        On February 11, the Nevada Culinary Workers Union publicly criticized Democratic front-runner Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All plan ahead of the state’s Democratic presidential caucus. On February 12, Sanders responded, “Many, many unions throughout this country — including some in Unite Here, and the Culinary Union is part of Unite Here — absolutely understand that we’ve got to move to Medicare for All.”

      • As WHO Forum Ends, Updated Figures From China Reveal New Virus Has Infected Over 60,000 Worldwide

        “This outbreak is a test of solidarity—political, financial, and scientific,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “We need to come together to fight a common enemy that does not respect borders.”

      • Living in Inequality, Dying in Despair

        The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released some welcome news late last month: Americans are living a tiny bit longer. In 2018, the federal health agency reported, U.S. life expectancy at birth inched up about a month, from 78.6 to 78.7 years.

    • Integrity/Availability
      • Proprietary
        • Vivaldi Browser 2.11 Released with Themes Update

          Vivaldi web browser 2.11 was released a few days ago. The new release features pop-out video improvements and themes update.

          Vivaldi 2.11 brings pop-out video improvements. Now you can easily launch the separate, floating video window via a single click on a small video box icon displayed in the center of the video.

        • Why I am not using Grindr

          Grindr is proprietary software that only runs on Android and iOS. It also depends on a centralized server infrastructure that stores data in unencrypted form. The company that hosts Grindr, Amazon is known for violating users privacy. Grindr also sends data to Third-Party Websites and is known for sharing users HIV status without their consent. The terms of use and privacy policy are much too long (about 50 pages), therefore most users don’t read them. If a user has read only parts of those terms, they should become suspect that Grindr violates their privacy and not use the service. I think that sensitive information should be visible only to the intended recipients and not the administrators of any servers or routers, therefore I never use Grindr.

        • Microsoft temporarily blocked from beginning Pentagon project

          Amazon had asked the judge to force a temporary stay of work on the Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure, or JEDI, project until the court can rule on Amazon’s protest over Pentagon awarding it to Microsoft.

          AWS had earlier alleged that the contract was awarded to Microsoft last October after US President Donald Trump exercised his influence over the country’s Defence Department.

        • Security
          • Call us immediately if your child uses Kali Linux, squawks West Mids Police

            The National Crime Agency has publicly distanced itself from a poster urging parents to call police if their child has installed Kali Linux, Tor or – brace yourself – Discord.

            Issued by West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit (WMROCU) via local area councils, the poster in question lists a slack handful of common infosec tools – as well as some that clearly have nothing to do with computer security.

            Should your child install Kali Linux, virtual machines (the image on the poster looks like Virtualbox) or internet privacy tool Tor, West Midlands Police wants to know immediately. And if – heaven forfend – junior installs Metasploit, free VoIP service for gamers Discord or WiFi Pineapple, you might as well report straight to your nearest prison and abandon your tainted offspring forever.

            “If you see any of these on their computer, or have a child you think is hacking, let us know so we can give advice and engage them into positive diversions,” intones the offending poster, forwarded to us by a reader and which we reproduce below in all its glory.

          • UK police deny responsibility for poster urging parents to report kids for using Kali Linux

            Naturally, the poster has drawn the ire of many in the cybersecurity industry and as both the WMROCU and NCA logos were included, the NCA has been forced to publicly distance itself from the advisory.

            In response, the NCA said the agency “was not involved in the production or release of this poster.”

            “There are many tools which tech-savvy children use, some of which can be used for both legal & illegal purposes, so it is vital that parents & children know how these tools can be used safely,” the NCA added.

            The team from Kali Linux might have enjoyed the marketing, though, given their light-hearted response to the poster:

          • UK Police Deny Responsibility For Poster Urging Parents To Report Kids For Using Kali Linux

            The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has publicly said it has nothing to do with a misleading poster designed to put fear into the hearts of parents and urge them to call the police if their children are using Kali Linux.

          • UK police tell parents to check if their kids use Linux or Discord because it means they could be hackers

            The day when open-source operating systems/apps, especially those based on the mainline Linux kernel, come under a smear campaign that it takes a while for authorities to properly react to – surely must be some kind of a sad milestone moment on the web – the very same web which these days depends on, and runs on that very technology.

            But – the message from British law enforcement seems to be – “don’t let your kids use it.”

            As Gareth Illmann-Walker and some of his followers said on Twitter – the list might also be considered as a handy summary of where a clever kid using the web these days should actually look to get themselves started safely and securely (“except Discord” – of course).

          • Kids Using Kali Linux Are the Next-Generation Hackers, UK Police Warn

            The warning was published online by Twitter user G_IW and obviously generated an avalanche of reactions from the WWW, many of which criticized the British police for what they consider to be disinformation.

            “If you see any of these on their computer, or have ea child you think is hacking, let us know so we can give advice and engage them into positive diversions,” the warning reads.

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (debian-security-support, postgresql-11, and postgresql-9.6), Fedora (cutter-re, firefox, php-horde-Horde-Data, radare2, and texlive-base), openSUSE (docker-runc), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (sudo), and Ubuntu (firefox).

          • 500 Chrome Extensions Caught Stealing Private Data of 1.7 Million Users

            Google removed 500 malicious Chrome extensions from its Web Store after they found to inject malicious ads and siphon off user browsing data to servers under the control of attackers.

            These extensions were part of a malvertising and ad-fraud campaign that’s been operating at least since January 2019, although evidence points out the possibility that the actor behind the scheme may have been active since 2017.

            The findings come as part of a joint investigation by security researcher Jamila Kaya and Cisco-owned Duo Security, which unearthed 70 Chrome Extensions with over 1.7 million installations.

          • PSA: Beware of Exposing Ports in Docker

            Docker is an awesome technology, and it’s prevalent in nearly every software developer’s workflow. It is useful for creating identical environments and sharing them between development, testing, production, and others. It’s a great way to ship a reliable software environment between systems or even to customers. However, like with any technology, one must know how to be secure when using it.

          • Privacy/Surveillance
            • Dating in a politically polarized world

              OkCupid saw a 187% increase in political mentions on profiles between 2017 and 2018. The company says the trend continued in 2019.

              The platform finds millennials to be the most likely to filter out matches with differing politics compared to Gen X or Gen Z.

            • Facebook Prepares for Wave of Influencer Marketing in Politics

              Facebook Inc. is trying to clarify how it will handle a new wrinkle in the world of digital political advertising: politicians paying influencers to post on social media platforms like Instagram, which it owns.

              In the past, political entities were technically barred from offering money for posts, which has become a common practice for marketers. But Facebook is changing its policy after a New York Times report this week about how Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign is paying Instagram creators to make and distribute posts making him “look cool.”

            • Palantir Revises Compensation to Save Cash, Prep for Future IPO

              Palantir Technologies Inc., a data mining company co-founded by Peter Thiel, is changing its employee compensation in a bid to cut costs, ensure all employees can own shares and prepare for an eventual public stock listing, said three people familiar with the matter.

              The company, which helps governments and businesses collect and analyze data, will move toward eliminating cash bonuses and instead reward staff with restricted stock units, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters. The change was conveyed to staff in an email Friday.

            • UK plans to regulate the internet won’t make much difference at all

              Because of that, both Ofcom and the government have said that the onus to police content would remain with the platforms. Under the mooted plans, people couldn’t directly complain about an individual piece of content to Ofcom. In that sense, nothing really has changed. And for that reason, it is unsurprising that YouTube and Facebook tell New Scientist they welcome the chance to co-operate with the government.

            • CBP, ICE Hoovering Up Cell Location Data From Third Party Vendors To Track Down Immigrants

              Supreme Court precedent says the government needs a warrant if it wants to get cell-site location info. This ruling altered the contours of the Third Party Doctrine, making it clear not every third-party record exists outside the Fourth Amendment’s protections.

            • US Takes Baby Steps Toward Providing Actual Public Evidence Of Huawei Spying

              We’ve noted a few times now how US claims that Huawei routinely spies on Americans haven’t been supported much in the way of actual public evidence, a bit of a problem given that’s the primary justification for the country’s global blackballing efforts. Previous White House investigations 18 months in length couldn’t find evidence of said spying, and many US companies have a history of ginning up security fears simply because they don’t want to compete with cheaper Chinese kit.

    • Defence/Aggression
      • The Unending Human Tragedy in Syria

        The regime of President Bashar al-Assad is winning the decade-old civil war in Syria. With the help of like-minded allies Iran and Russia, Assad is ruthlessly mopping up his remaining opposition. After the defeat of the ISIS Caliphate, the West has no security interests or oil reserves to protect in Syria. Its authoritarian Arab neighbors wouldn’t like to see a democratic and free Syria either. The nations who earlier vociferously called for the removal of the regime have lost interest. Once in control of only 20% of its territory, the Assad dynasty has another lease on life as a hapless people suffer.

      • Fueled by US Under Trump, Global Military Spending in 2019 Had Biggest Increase in a Decade

        The amount the United States increased in defense spending between 2018 and 2019 was nearly the same as the United Kingdom’s entire defense budget.

      • Can the World’s Second Superpower Rise From the Ashes of Twenty Years of War?

        February 15 marks the day, 17 years ago, when global demonstrations against the pending Iraq invasion were so massive that the New York Times called world public opinion “the second superpower.” But the U.S. ignored it and invaded Iraq anyway. So what has become of the momentous hopes of that day?

      • Dresden, February 1945

        The Allied destruction of Dresden wasn’t the biggest or deadliest aerial bombardment of a German city during World War II. But it is by far the most infamous, largely due to Kurt Vonnegut’s anti-war masterpiece Slaughterhouse-Five. February 13 marks the 75th anniversary of what Vonnegut, who survived the bombing as a prisoner-of-war, called “carnage unfathomable.”

      • U. S. Lies and Deaths in Afghanistan

        Last December the Washington Post published secret Pentagon documents showing the official lies that have undergirded the U.S. war on Afghanistan for the past 18 years. The opening paragraph of the article puts the matter bluntly:  “A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.”

      • Was James Brown Murdered? Atlanta DA Office Examining New Evidence

        An Atlanta prosecutor is considering launching an investigation into James Brown’s death after receiving new evidence.

      • Backlash After Kobe Bryant’s Death Illustrates Continued Resistance to Discussing Sexual Assault

        In the hours following the helicopter crash that left basketball star Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others dead, social media sites were inundated with mourning fans, commemorating an idol and cultural icon. But as celebrities, fans and players remembered the inspiring and dedicated Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard, thought to be one of the best players in NBA history, one less-uplifting detail of his career went largely unmentioned: the 2003 rape case.

      • Rwanda: UN Body Targets Abuse of Street Children

        (Nairobi) – The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child’s call for Rwanda to take “urgent measures” to end abuse of street children should be carried out immediately, Human Rights Watch said today. In observations released on February 13, 2020, the Geneva-based treaty body called for a halt to arbitrary detention of children in transit centers, for investigations into allegations of ill-treatment – including beatings –, and for amendments of the legal framework that regularizes this abuse.

        On January 27, Human Rights Watch released a 44-page report, “‘As Long as We Live on the Streets, They Will Beat Us’: Rwanda’s Abusive Detention of Children,” documenting the arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of street children, who are held for up to six months at Gikondo Transit Center, in Kigali, the capital. Since 2017, new legislation and policies under the government’s strategy to “eradicate delinquency” have sought to legitimize and regulate so-called transit centers. But Human Rights Watch found that the new legislation provides cover for the police to round up and detain street children at Gikondo in deplorable and degrading conditions, and without due process or judicial oversight.

      • Klobuchar Has Pushed Extreme Right-Wing Policy on Israel/Palestine

        In recent days, much of the mainstream media has been focusing on the rise of centrist Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar as a serious contender in the Democratic presidential primary. Many in the more progressive wing of the party have been criticizing her positions on climate change and broader environmental concerns, as well as her stances on economic inequality, social welfare and the criminal legal system. However, attention also needs to be brought to her surprisingly right-wing foreign policy perspectives.

      • William Barr’s Move To Rid The DOJ Of Independence Shows One Of Many Reasons Josh Hawley’s FTC Plan Is Dangerous

        Karl already took some time to highlight just one of the many absurdities in Senator Josh Hawley’s “plan” to revamp the FTC by turning it into a sub-agency of the Justice Department, rather than an independent agency. First of all, the Justice Department is the law enforcement arm of the government, and the FTC is supposed to be engaged in protecting consumers from “unfair or deceptive acts” by businesses. It is a separate and different focus than straight law enforcement by the Justice Department.

      • Warren, Sanders Join Letter Urging AG Barr to Resign Immediately Over ‘Corrupt’ Role in Roger Stone Case

        “The shocking action taken by your or your senior staff to seek special protections for Mr. Stone make a mockery of your responsibilities to seek equal justice under the law.”

      • Trump says on Twitter he has right to interfere in criminal cases after Barr criticizes president’s tweets

        Barr and his department claim that the decision to amend Stone’s sentencing recommendation came prior to Trump’s attacks on social media. Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has called for the department’s internal watchdog to investigate the matter.

      • Mali violence: At least 30 killed in spate of violence

        Twenty one were killed when gunmen attacked a village in central Mali, burning houses, crops and livestock.

        A group of eight soldiers also died in an ambush, while another was killed during an attack on a military camp in the Gao region.

        Mali has been blighted by instability since 2012 when an Islamist rebellion broke out in the north.

      • Six Key Questions We Should Be Asking About the US’s Never-Ending Wars

        My first question is simple enough: After 18-plus years of our forever wars, where are all the questions?

      • Ocasio-Cortez to Constituents on Bolivian Coup: Drop Dead

        Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the celebrity who moonlights as my Congressional representative, has repeatedly claimed to speak for “ordinary people,” but she refuses listen to them,  even if they are constituents.

      • Bolivia: An Election in the Midst of an Ongoing Coup

        On May 3, 2020, the Bolivian people will go to the polls once more. They return there because President Evo Morales had been overthrown in a coup in November 2019. Morales had just won a presidential election in October for a term that would have begun in January 2020. Based on a preliminary investigation by the Organization of American States (OAS) that claimed that there was fraud in the election, Morales was prematurely removed from office; the term for his 2014 presidential election victory did not end until January. Yet, he was told by the military to leave office. An interim president—Jeanine Áñez—appointed herself. She said she was taking this office only on an interim basis and would not run for election when Bolivia held another election. She is a candidate for the May 3 election. (For more information on what is happening in Bolivia, see this overview from Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.)

      • War Addicts, Inc.

        Making sense of the age of carnage.

      • Senate Passes War Powers Resolution to Stop Trump From Launching ‘Illegal’ Attack on Iran

        “The nation should not be at war without a vote of Congress,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, the measure’s lead sponsor.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Environment
      • Climate Change is Decimating the Chinstrap Penguins of Antarctica

        Chinstrap penguins are exquisitely adapted to their environment. They live and breed in some of the world’s harshest conditions, nesting in the windblown, rocky coves of the Antarctic Peninsula, a strip of land comprising the northernmost part of the frigid continent. In water they are precision hunters, darting after krill, the tiny shrimp-like crustaceans that are their sole food source, utilizing barbed tongues engineered for catching the slipperiest of prey. On land, these 2-2.5-foot-tall flightless birds are prodigious mountaineers, able to scale rocky escarpments in spite of their ungainly waddle. Their perfect adaptation to local conditions makes them the ideal barometer for the future of the region. If anything changes in the marine environment, the health of chinstrap penguins will be one of the most reliable indicators. They are the canaries of the Southern Ocean.

        And these endearing, black and white emissaries from Antarctic waters are starting to disappear.

      • The Medium Warps the Message Straight to Our Extinction

        I’ve been working lately on an article about Extinction Rebellion, the direct action movement that emerged out of England in 2019 and has since gone worldwide to spread the message that radical civil disobedience is the only way to alter our deranged course toward climate catastrophe.

      • Energy
        • Are Electric Vehicles Really Better for the Climate? Yes. Here’s Why

          Switching to an EV can make a big difference in how much global warming emissions we produce and is one of the biggest actions a household can take to reduce their carbon footprint.

        • Western States Petroleum Association Tops CA Lobbying Expenses with $8.8 Million Spent in 2019

          The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying group in California, placed first in the annual lobbying “competition” in California in 2019 with $8.8 million spent on influencing legislators, the Governor’s office and other state officials, a position it captures most years.

        • Speeding sea level rise threatens nuclear plants

          With sea level rise accelerating faster than thought, the risk is growing for coastal cities − and for nuclear power stations.

        • Canadian Pipeline Protest Forces Closure Of Major Rail Link

          The Mohawks of Tyendinaga are protesting the 416-mile, $4.68 billion (6.2 billion Canadian dollars) Coastal GasLink pipeline running from northern British Columbia to a natural gas facility near Kitimat, British Columbia. They’ve used snowplows, barrels and wooden barricades to block the tracks, forcing Canadian National Railway to temporarily close the line.

          Protests in Ontario have also taken place in support of the indigenous chiefs.

          The pipeline passes through the traditional territory of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation near Houston, British Columbia, in the Canadian west.

        • Indigenous Groups Block Gas Pipeline In Canada And Spark Solidarity Protests

          MCGUFFIN: It was just one of many anti-pipeline protests across Canada this week, shutting down railway lines, ports, highways, city streets, resulting in dozens of arrests. The protests are against the planned $6 billion Coastal GasLink pipeline from the western province of Alberta through the territory of the Indigenous Wet’suwet’en people in neighboring British Columbia. A long-standing Indigenous blockade against that pipeline was broken up by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police last week.

          Na’Mok is a Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief.

          NA’MOK: They came in with armed forces to remove peaceful people that are doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons. We’re protecting the land, the air, the water, our rights and title as hereditary chiefs, and we’re exercising our jurisdiction.

        • The Wet’suwet’en Fight Against New Pipeline Spreads Across Canada
        • Dumping On South Australia’s First Nations

          No means no, especially when it comes to dumping nuclear waste, write Dr Jim Green and Sister Michele Madigan.

        • Ohio Anti-Protest Bill Could Criminalize Support for Pipeline Demonstrations

          Activists say a bill advancing in the Ohio legislature could criminalize activities such as offering rides, water or medical aid to anti-pipeline protesters.

      • Wildlife/Nature
        • Measuring Our Impact on the Planet

          Is Joaquin Phoenix the voice for farmed animals everywhere right now?

        • A Short History of Humanity’s Future

          Our variety of the human species, homo sapiens sapiens, emerged from out of bands of more primitive yet contemporaneous older variants of humanity well over 200,000 years ago and rapidly expanded in both their numbers and the range of their occupancy on our planet. The competitive pressure by this efflorescence of homo sapiens sapiens against the older variants of humanity reduced the numbers of the latter to the point of extinction over the course of 1600 centuries, leaving just our variety of the human species to range over the Earth for 40,000 years up to the beginning of the 21st century. The story of our species from then up to the present moment is the subject of this work.

        • Climate Crisis Could Cause a Third of Plant and Animal Species to Disappear Within 50 Years: Study

          “Successful implementation of the Paris agreement targets could help reduce extinctions considerably, possibly to 16% or less by 2070,” according to lead author Cristian Román-Palacios.

        • Trump’s Gutting of NEPA Will Cut the Public Out of Public Lands Decisions

          The Trump administration is stampeding ahead with a rewrite of the regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This landmark law requires federal agencies to study—and let the public weigh in on—the environmental impacts of federal actions. Ironically, given NEPA’s central purpose of including the public in environmental decision-making, the Trump administration is already cutting the public out of its regulatory overhaul.

        • Just When You Thought the Sports Rorts Affair Couldn’t Get Any Worse…

          Summer rains finally fell on large parts of New South Wales this week. They didn’t fall everywhere, and much of inland Australia is still in drought, but enough rain fell where it was needed to allow weary fire authorities to announce that the New South Wales bushfires were finally contained.

        • Amazon Onslaught

          This month Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro proposed a new bill promoting mining, expanded agriculture, and energy production on indigenous lands in the Amazon. Accordingly, private developers as well as private hedge funds will occupy and develop land that’s been home to indigenous people for thousands of years.

        • Video Reveals Threat of “Wholesale Transfer and Privatization of America’s Public Lands” on Trump’s Agenda, Says Watchdog Group

          The event in question, which took place June 2019 and was hosted by the Interior Department, featured a keynote address by climate-denier Myron Ebell.

        • The Problem With Wilderness Collaboration

          Recently there has been a spate of commentaries advocating collaboration as a means of resolving issues surrounding which public lands should be given the “Gold Standard” of wilderness protection under the 1964 Wilderness Act.

        • Timber Industry Wants to Rape-and-Run on Our National Forests

          When Idaho billionaire Ron Yanke purchased the timber mills in Townsend and Livingston, Montana years ago to form RY Timber, he also bought lots of former Anaconda Mining Company timberland.  But just like Champion International and Plum Creek Timber who, according to a University of Montana study, cut trees 3 times faster than they could grow back, RY has already overcut their private land.

        • Coded Messages About Australia’s Big Burn

          Media-inflected “fatigue” has been in the news recently.

    • Finance
      • Reimagining Democratic Public Ownership for the Twenty-first Century

        A new transatlantic project will explore how new models of public ownership can shape the emerging commanding heights of the economy.

      • Who’s Afraid of Socialism?

        For decades, Republicans have painted anyone left of Barry Goldwater as a “socialist.” Why? Because for a generation raised on the Cold War, “socialist” just seemed like a damaging label.

      • Trump’s Plan to Unveil Next Round of ‘Tax Scam’ Just Before 2020 Election Slammed as ‘Another Political Ploy’

        “If Trump had wanted to help the middle-class, he would have done so already,” said Tax March executive director Maura Quint.

      • Qatar: Wage Protection System Falls Short
      • Mnangagwa’s Neoliberal Assault on the Zimbabwean People

        As Zimbabwe’s economy continues its descent since a military coup installed Emmerson Mnangagwa as the nation’s ruler in November 2017, his government’s response has been to double down on its ruinous neoliberal reform program.

      • Spectrum Workers Are on the US’s Longest Strike. When Will the Company Listen?

        The longest ongoing strike in America today is happening in the media capital of the world. It involves the people who install and repair the cables that bring the news to many of the most influential people in America. But after three long years, the Spectrum workers of New York City are beginning to feel as though everyone has forgotten about them. For those who soldier on, the fight has become much bigger than a contract dispute. It is a fight that can only be won with a wholesale reimagining of public control over corporate power.

      • Meg vs. Socialism
      • Marx, Lincoln and Project 1619

        It must have enraged the historians who signed Sean Wilentz’s open letter to the New York Times and their World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) allies to see Abraham Lincoln knocked off his pedestal. How insolent for Nikole Hannah-Jones to write in her introductory essay for Project 1619 that “Anti-black racism runs in the very DNA of this country, as does the belief, so well articulated by Lincoln, that black people are the obstacle to national unity.” Lincoln was not only an iconic figure for the average American. Karl Marx admired him as well for his war on slavery. Since the primary goal of the critics of Project 1619 was to prioritize class over “identity”, naturally Karl Marx was just the authority to help make their case against the bourgeois New York Times intent on dividing the working-class.

      • Utah Representative Proposes Bill to Stop Payday Lenders From Taking Bail Money from Borrowers

        A Utah lawmaker has proposed a bill to stop high-interest lenders from seizing bail money from borrowers who don’t repay their loans. The bill, introduced in the state’s House of Representatives this week, came in response to a ProPublica investigation in December. The article revealed that payday lenders and other high-interest loan companies routinely sue borrowers in Utah’s small claims courts and take the bail money of those who are arrested, and sometimes jailed, for missing a hearing.

        Rep. Brad Daw, a Republican, who authored the new bill, said he was “aghast” after reading the article. “This smells like debtors prison,” he said. “People were outraged.”

      • ‘Straight-Up Swampy’: Trump to Headline $580,600-Per-Couple Reelection Fundraiser at Home of Billionaire

        “Shows everything that is wrong with our campaign finance system and with Trump, that fake ‘friend of the worker.’”

      • Residents of Detroit Are Fighting Back After Foreclosure Crisis

        In Detroit, a showdown between progressive lawmakers and the city is taking on racist housing policies that robbed African Americans in Detroit of their homes and widened the racial wealth gap. On Thursday, the Coalition for Property Tax Justice announced a class-action lawsuit against the city of Detroit, Wayne County and the state of Michigan in response to unfair property tax foreclosures. One in four Detroit properties have been subject to property tax foreclosure, a level comparable only to tax foreclosure rates during the Great Depression. According to legal experts, many of the foreclosures were caused by illegally inflated property taxes that violated the state’s Constitution, which says that no property can be assessed at more than 50% of its market value. Detroit is now 80% African-American, and 40% of the city’s residents live below the federal poverty line. But as downtown Detroit becomes increasingly gentrified, thousands of the city’s longtime residents, mostly African-American families, have lost their homes to foreclosure for property taxes they should not have been paying in the first place because the poverty tax exemption excuses those in poverty from paying. From Detroit, Michigan, we’re joined by Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, who has worked on this lawsuit from before the time she entered Congress, and Bernadette Atuahene, a professor at IIT, Chicago-Kent College of Law, and research professor at the American Bar Foundation. She is a member of the Coalition for Property Tax Justice, and her forthcoming study, to be published in the UC Berkeley Law Review, is titled “Predatory Cities.”

      • Time Warp UK

        The resignation of Savid Javid yesterday as Chancellor without even presenting a budget mirrors the resignation of Lord Randolph Churchill, Winston’s father – and in so doing says something extraordinary about lack of social progress in the UK in the intervening 130 years.

      • Is tipping on the way out? Here’s why more travelers are joining the ‘do not tip’ movement

        The members of the “do not tip” movement say they want to pay their servers and tour guides a fair wage. But for them, this isn’t about workers’ pay. It’s about honesty. If a business advertises a product or service at one price, the customer should be able to pay that price, period. If businesses expect a 20% tip, why not just raise the price by 20%? Don’t try to guilt someone into paying more, they say.

      • Cloud service stocks set to gain from Wuhan virus outbreak

        Shares in cloud services are likely to rebound in the second quarter when Wuhan virus (COVID-19) cases are expected to gradually taper off, according to market analysts.

        The markets are optimistic about the prospects of cloud and data center services amid the ongoing virus threat. This is due to an increasing number of workers forced to work at home and the rising demand for video conferencing, reported CNA.

      • How Rage Against the Machine Are Trying to Beat Scalpers

        In fact, the band was anticipating this very scenario, and did what it could to get in front of the criticism. Earlier this week, scalpers started posting tickets — before they’d even gone on sale — with speculative prices, prompting a response from guitarist Tom Morello, who urged fans to be wary and get their tickets through the band’s website. Then, just as legitimate tickets hit the market on Thursday, Rage shared a statement on Instagram detailing how they planned to combat scalpers, and ensure that the profits from some necessarily higher-priced tickets went to good causes.

      • Trump Says His Budget Doesn’t Cut Social Security — But Mnuchin Admits It Does

        During a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin — using euphemistic language Democratic lawmakers described as “Washington-speak” — admitted that President Donald Trump’s fiscal year 2021 budget proposal would cut Social Security days after the president insisted he is “not touching” the program.

      • In Show of Solidarity, US Men’s Soccer Team Slams Officials for ‘Systematic’ Pay Discrimination Against USWNT

        “Achieving equal pay is so much bigger than our team and our playing fields—women in workforces everywhere deserve equality now.”

      • This One Chart Explains Why the Kids Back Bernie

        Today’s version of American capitalism can’t give the rising generation of college graduates what they were promised.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
      • When the People Lead, Leaders Follow—Lessons From the Fight to Impeach and Remove Trump

        The Senate may have betrayed the American people, but the movement for impeachment secured critical victories that will propel us forward in the longer battle for democracy.

      • ‘More Political Interference at DOJ’: Barr Installs Outside Prosecutor to Scrutinize Michael Flynn Case

        “Barr is going to burn DOJ to the ground from the inside in his crusade to advance the president’s political interests.”

      • Polling Shows Sanders Extending Lead Among Hispanics Ahead of Nevada Caucuses

        “Bernie Sanders is building the most diverse movement in America.”

      • Gramsci and You: an Open Letter to Mayor Pete
      • Delhi Polls: A Storm Over Winner’s “Religious” Acts!

        The recent elections in India’s capital city, which also has the status of a state, have raised quite an intellectual storm over the importance given to “religion” by politicians. Elections to 70-member Delhi Assembly, held on February 8, 2020, have led to the victory of sitting Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). His party has won 62 seats against only eight won by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi heads the Central government. Considering the stunning victory of BJP in parliamentary polls held in May 2019, in which all seven parliamentary seats of Delhi were won by it, this party’s pathetic performance in assembly elections certainly raises several questions. Of these, perhaps a significant one is the development agenda promoted by AAP’s campaign against the communal card used by BJP and its associates.

      • Democrats Prepare to Spend Big to Take Control of 2021 Redistricting

        Democrats and Republicans are raising millions, preparing to battle for GOP-controlled state legislative majorities before a crucial, once-in-a-decade redistricting year in 2021.

      • Better in Dolby

        What if every week was a non-stop series of public spectacles? One big-time show after another. Every night a blockbuster.

        [...]

        Wednesday’s broadcast is an Impeachment Vote in the U. S. Senate, a show thought a few viewers even find exciting. (The writers are busy: Mitt Romney will not be asked back for season two.)

        Thursday there’s a televised flash mob around Trump where he rants and raves about his vindication.

      • Why This Election Is Different

        Elections, I think most of us can agree, usually bring out the idiocy, superficiality, and illogic in everyone who can muster any. Imagine supporting, as many did, Sanders and then Trump because they were both “outsiders.” On Tuesday, I heard somebody on CNN announce that Sanders and Klobuchar were both “change candidates” (because you’d have to change every bit of the platform of one of them to match that of the other?). Tokenism no longer embarrasses voters or even the candidates who openly campaign on it. When voters are asked on television how they choose a candidate, they talk about temperament, personality, debating skills, and intelligence.

      • Trump Served Up Projection at the National Prayer Breakfast

        One would think that a National Prayer Breakfast would encourage transparency and truth; as prayer is a primary spiritual means of self-examination, confession, reconciliation, and moral resolve. The opposite was on display at the recent National Prayer Breakfast, attended by over 3500 guests, including dignitaries from over 140 countries, Congress persons, business officials, and faith leaders. There President Donald Trump wrapped one falsehood after another in the language of faith, sadly to the repeated applause of many attendees.

      • Jim Naureckas on Democratic Primaries, Nina Luo on Decriminalizing Sex Work

        This week on CounterSpin: Remember when Les Moonves declared that Donald Trump’s candidacy “may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS“? That wasn’t a faux pas; it was an operating principle. And we can’t be shocked that it’s carrying through to coverage of the Democratic primary process, which has foregrounded far more “radical” ideas—and public receptivity to them—than corporate elites are comfortable with. We’ll take a look at election coverage with Jim Naureckas, editor of FAIR.org and FAIR’s newsletter Extra!.

      • For Media in New Hampshire, Losing Is Winning and Winning Is Losing

        The results from the New Hampshire primary are in—mercifully quickly—showing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders victorious with 26% of the vote, ahead of former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg with 24%. However, it was third place Amy Klobuchar, with 20%, who seemed to draw the greatest media buzz. The Minnesota senator has received a lot of press attention of late—almost all of it positive.

      • The Buttigieg Delusion

        Once again, dearest motherfuckers, I feel obligated to reprise my roll as ‘that bitch.’ Do I really have to be the queer bummer who smashes the Buttigieg delusion? Are all the other faggot anarchists busy? Oh well, fuck it. Hand me my hammer and I’ll do what I do best, which seems to be pissing off other queer people by interrupting their increasingly statist pride parades with the stone-cold inconvenience of reality. I’m really sorry darlings, but its time for some tough love. This hurts me more than it hurts you but hopefully, it hurts Mayor Pete the most. Because a vote for Mayor Pete may be a vote for the first gay president, but it’s also a vote for assimilation. So, here we go.

      • The Overwhelming Sex Appeal Of Bernie Sanders

        Happy Valentines Day to all Bernie Bros, Bernie Gals, and non-binary Berners.

      • Race and Class: Overcoming the Divides

        The forthcoming 2020 election is again highlighting the country’s apparently deep divides on race and class. A common formulation is that a hopelessly racist White working class is locked into the new Trump Republican Party which consciously has adopted a divide-and-conquer strategy based on race. The mainstream Democratic Party hope is that an electoral coalition of the young, women, suburban middle-class and union loyalists will provide a majority to dump Trump. The Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren challenge claims that White working class people can be won with an economic justice program that recognizes how insecure they really are and offers universal benefits that lift all working people economically, including African-Americans, Latinos and other economically marginalized groups.

        The campaign also offers an opportunity to look more deeply into these divisions that have plagued efforts to build majorities for economic and social justice programs. But before going there, let me make this stipulation: racial prejudice and discrimination against African-Americans runs deep in American culture and experience; all White people have in one-way-or-another, whether consciously or unconsciously imbibe in it. Prejudice + discrimination practiced by decision makers in powerful institutions constitutes racism; all-powerful American institutions have engaged in this practice. Saying this is a necessary step to understanding, and developing a strategy to end, racism. It is not a sufficient one. Sufficiency requires distinctions that I hope are illustrated in what follows.

      • Timeline: How the DNC Manipulated 2016 Presidential Race
      • DCCC-Backed Incumbent Henry Cuellar Gets Support From Koch Network As Progressive Primary Challenger Jessica Cisneros Picks Up Union Endorsements

        Cuellar is hosting a fundraiser in Laredo with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on February 22. 

      • Sanders vs. the Establishment Democrats: McGovern All Over Again?

        It’s a perfect time to recall a famous quote from one of the nation’s foremost philosophers, Yogi Berra: Its “déjà vu all over again.”

      • The Iowa Fallout and the Democrats’ Shadowy Plot to Stop Sanders

        Yogi Berra, the great Yankees catcher, had the memorable line, “It’s like deja vu all over again.”

      • Vichy Democrats vs. the Master Voice

        One reading of the present shows us a hyped economic reality but also political and cultural realities hyped so far that simulacra is quite easily digested and regurgitated as reality. In a world of simulacra, reality is not only a vacated former presence, like a former tenant, but unrecognizable in any reappearance. It’s a war of every simulation of reality against every other similar displacement of reality.

      • Cambridge Analytica: a Salesgirl’s Report

        Much has been written about the murky world of the UK PR firm Cambridge Analytica – a company acting by stealth which furnished the propaganda behind successes like the election of Donald Trump along with the British vote for Brexit. One of the faces that Alexander Nix, Cambridge Analytica’s shadowy boss, liked to push was that of a young American women called Brittnay Kaiser. In her 2019 book, Kaiser admits I was just a glorified salesgirl. The book’s title – Targeted – can easily have two meanings. For one, we – or at least the voters of Donald Trump and the supporters of Brexit – have been targeted by Cambridge Analytica’s manipulative propaganda machine. The title can also mean that Brittnay Kaiser, originally a young Democrat and embued with a hefty dose of naivety, was targeted and lured into the opaque underworld of Cambridge Analytica to do their bidding.

      • ‘There Needs to Be Accountability,’ Says Ocasio-Cortez as Documents Show DNC Involvement With Iowa Caucus App

        “If the DNC was responsible for security and there were security failures, we need to address that.”

      • Even With Corbyn Gone, Antisemitism Threats Will Keep Destroying the UK Labour Party

        If there is one issue that denotes the terminal decline of Labour as a force for change – desperately needed social, economic and environmental change – it is not Brexit. It is the constant furore over an “antisemitism crisis” supposedly plaguing the party for the past five years.

      • The Doomsday Cuckoo Clock

        Even when he’s losing, Donald Trump wins (and bigly!) every time. His secret? He knows how to tap into our nihilism with the same technique he used to milk investors of his real estate schemes. If greed is the stated ideology of capitalism, then nihilism is its less overt philosophical underpinning. A system of mass murder will eventually turn its blood lust inward, having expended itself in the endless pursuit of prey. Unlike his more technocratic cohorts across the aisle, Trump has the charisma to turn a collective death wish into a raucous, bloody spectator sport. No gradual march off the proverbial cliff, but a gleeful nosedive into the abyss. His high rise mausoleums across a mostly submerged Manhattan skyline will someday stand testament to yet another victory.

      • Post-Impeachment, House Democrats Set Sights on Barr

        House Democrats frustrated over the Senate’s acquittal of President Donald Trump are pushing their oversight efforts toward the Justice Department and what they call Attorney General William Barr’s efforts to politicize federal law enforcement.

      • Mayor Mike, Worse Than Mayor Pete

        The good news out of New Hampshire was, of course, that Bernie Sanders won – not by much, but by enough to leave no doubt as to who the winner was. There was more good news as well: Joe Biden, the former king of the moderates, is on his way to becoming toast.

      • Corporate Media’s Sanders Denialism Is Only Getting Worse

        The results from the New Hampshire primary are in—mercifully quickly—showing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders victorious with 26% of the vote, ahead of former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg with 24%. However, it was third place Amy Klobuchar, with 20%, who seemed to draw the greatest media buzz. The Minnesota senator has received a lot of press attention of late—almost all of it positive.

      • “Sublime Madness”: Anarchists, Psychiatric Survivors, Emma Goldman & Harriet Tubman

        When the state becomes chillingly evil—enacting a Fugitive Slave Act to criminalize those helping to free slaves, or financing prisons and wars for the benefit of sociopathic profiteers—and when dissent is impotent and defiance is required, we need the sublimely mad. For his 2013 piece “A Time for ‘Sublime Madness’” (and his 2015 book Wages of Rebellion), Chris Hedges invokes William Shakespeare, William Faulkner, James Baldwin, James Cone, Black Elk, and Crazy Horse. Hedges cites Reinhold Niebuhr, who explained why “a sublime madness in the soul” is essential when the forces of repression are so powerful that liberal intellectualism results in capitulation.

      • Democrats criticize FCC for not taking action against DC station broadcasting Russian disinformation

        In a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, the House members led by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Michael Doyle (D-Penn.) pointed to concerns around WZHF, known as Radio Sputnik, which is based in the Washington, D.C., metro area and airs Russian propaganda without informing listeners that the information is propaganda.

        A federal judge ruled last year that the station had to register as a Russian foreign agent due to the station continuously airing Sputnik International news from Moscow.

      • Facebook to allow paid political messages that are not ads

        Policy change comes days after U.S. presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg exploited a loophole to run humorous messages promoting his campaign on the accounts of popular Instagram personalities.

        Facebook decided on February 14 to allow a type of paid political message that had sidestepped many of the social network’s rules governing political ads.

      • Warren Slams Bloomberg for Blaming 2008 Financial Meltdown On End of Redlining Policy

        “We need to confront the shameful legacy of discrimination, not lie about it like Mike Bloomberg.”

      • Democratic Presidential Candidate Michael Bloomberg Is a GOP Bankroller

        Over the last decade, Bloomberg helped Republicans take and maintain control of the U.S. Senate.

      • Pundits Look to Bloomberg as Their Anti-Sanders Savior

        Coming out of the first two Democratic primary states, with Bernie Sanders leading in votes and Pete Buttigieg leading in delegates, who is “starting to dominate the national political debate like no one in the past five years other than President Donald Trump”?

      • Hackers Can Seize Control of Ballots Cast Using the Voatz Voting App, Researchers Say

        Security researchers have found key flaws in a mobile voting app that some states plan to use in the 2020 election that can allow hackers to launch both client- and server-side attacks that can easily manipulate or even delete someone’s vote, as well as prevent a reliable audit from taking place after the fact, they said.

      • Surprise! MIT Study Claims Voatz E-Voting Technology Is A Security Dumpster Fire

        You’d be pretty hard pressed to find a single respected cybersecurity expert that thinks voting via smartphone is a good idea. There’s just too many potential attack vectors as your voting data floats from your personal device, across the internet, and into the final tally repository. Despite this there’s an endless chorus of political leaders, cities, and states who continue to insist they know better. From West Virginia to Washington State, the quest for great inclusivity in voting access often results in people ignoring these warnings in the belief that they’re helping.

      • A President So Unhinged That Even Bill Barr Says He’s Out of Control

        The level of alarm about Trump’s post-acquittal rampage has been predictably high—five-alarm-fire, red-siren-for-our-democracy high. Trump may have gone too far even for one of his most stalwart loyalists. In a striking interview with ABC News, released on Thursday afternoon, Attorney General William Barr broke with Trump over the President’s public demand that the Justice Department change its recommended prison sentence for Stone, Trump’s friend and adviser, who was convicted of lying to Congress and of other offenses that came out in the Mueller investigation. Barr denied overruling his own prosecutors in response to the President and agreed that Stone’s sentence should be reduced, but then he let loose on Trump, anyway. Trump’s tweets, Barr said, “make it impossible for me to do my job.” What’s more, he added, in a swipe at the President, “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody.” Democrats, understandably, were more inclined to say “I told you so” than to give Barr the benefit of the doubt. He has, after all, been a willing accomplice in Trump’s assertion of essentially unlimited executive powers, and he only seems to be speaking out now because his own credibility has been questioned. Still, for many, the rare rebuke of Trump from his Attorney General will only underscore the grim fallout from the Senate acquittal: a President so unhinged that even Bill Barr says he is out of control.

      • Trump contradicts past denials, admits sending Giuliani to Ukraine

        Emboldened after his impeachment acquittal, President Donald Trump now openly admits to sending his attorney Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to find damaging information about his political opponents, even though he strongly denied it during the impeachment inquiry.

        The reversal came Thursday in a podcast interview Trump did with journalist Geraldo Rivera, who asked, “Was it strange to send Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine, your personal lawyer? Are you sorry you did that?” Trump responded, “No, not at all,” and praised Giuliani’s role as a “crime fighter.”

      • Trump contradicts his own impeachment defense by admitting that he sent Giuliani to Ukraine

        President Donald Trump contradicted his legal team’s impeachment defense Thursday when he admitted that he sent his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to hunt for damaging information on his political rivals.

      • Bernie Sanders Takes Lead in Texas Primary Poll, Doubling Support Since October

        A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released Thursday night showed Sen. Bernie Sanders leading the 2020 Democratic presidential field in the delegate-rich Super Tuesday state after doubling his support since last October.

      • Doubling Support Since October, Bernie Sanders Takes Lead in 2020 Texas Primary Poll

        Sanders surged from 12% support in October to 24% in the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune survey.

      • You’re a Lying, Dog-Faced Pony Soldier


        Back to Joe Biden, but, first, I need to check his age. Give me a minute. Sigh of relief. He’s 77. Maybe I have a few more years before I’m shouting, “You’re a lying, dog-faced pony soldier.” Still, it’s prudent to plan, confirm that my end-of-life decisions are known to my children, my siblings, and to my physicians. Reminder: advance directive.

        For added measure, I’ll be nitpickingly detailed and include the following instructions: If I ever say to anyone, “You’re a lying, dog-faced pony soldier,” do not allow me to run for president of the United States, to run for a seat on my condo board, to go outdoors on my own, or be relied on to make anything more complicated than Jello to take to one of my grandsons’ birthday parties.

      • The Benefits of Being Joe Biden’s Brother

        Jim Biden was in a bind. An investor had put up $1 million to help Jim and his nephew Hunter buy a hedge fund. Then it turned out that the fund’s assets were worth less than the Bidens had thought. Now the investor wanted its money back.

        It was December 2006, not long before Jim’s older brother and Hunter’s father, Joe Biden, then a Delaware senator, would announce his second campaign for president.

      • Buying the Presidency

        But let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Oligarchy is better than tyranny. But neither is as good as democracy.

      • Michael Bloomberg Hires Fyre Festival Social Media Team

        Michael Bloomberg wants to meme his way into the presidency in 2020. He’s using the same disastrous promoter as the Fyre Festival.

      • Mike Bloomberg Is Paying Influencers to Post Fake Messages to Make Him Look Cool

        Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s campaign is paying social media influencers and a social media firm to flood Instagram with fake messages purportedly sent by the billionaire.

      • The Irony of the Centrist-Progressive Debate

        Moderates consistently warn that progressive ideas can’t win “the middle.” But just look at the polls.

      • Rodney Garcia Epitomizes Trump’s Brand of Political Intolerance

        Montana didn’t need the very negative worldwide press it got last week when Billings Republican legislator Rodney Garcia decided to inform us that according to the U.S. Constitution, it’s OK to “shoot socialists.” For those who doubt the dangerous effects of President Trump’s unhinged rants against “socialism,” Garcia’s acceptance of personal violence against those with whom he disagrees on public policy should be a blaring warning sign — and one Montanans should universally reject.

      • Out of Their Grip: Ending the Repetition of Defeat

        I’m sure that there must be at least a few of you out there who remember the frustration, the insult and the pain of trying to move our country out of the grip of the two major parties political stranglehold and the ongoing tug-of- war between the greater and lesser evils of the Democratic and Republican parties back in 2016. As these two parties each decided to offer up their own versions of “most hated candidate ever”, a few voters had the sense and courage to use the moment of failure on their parts to attempt a breakaway by supporting, promoting and trying to elect one of the more progressive candidates ever to run for president, the Green Parties Jill Stein. I sure do. There were many long and bitter arguments that lost  some of us more than a few friends when we decided to stand-up for ourselves and our interests and refuse to accept the trash they were handing us for presidential candidates. Here we found ourselves in the vulnerable position of having to explain the horrors of Donald Trump and by no pleasure of our own, we also found ourselves in the position of having to remind everyone who Hillary Clinton was and why we preferred to not be voting for her either. Those were some interesting though unfortunate days, caught between the two evils, as they say and damned by our friends and foes alike for attempting an escape.

      • Devin Nunes Is Leading Republicans in a Post-Impeachment “Strike”

        Less than a week after President Trump lauded Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., as “the hardest worker,” the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee refused to show up for his first day back at work following the president’s impeachment trial.

    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • Subverting the Blacklist: Kirk Douglas’s Modest Contribution

        Leaving aside the content of the spectacular, embellished account that became Spartacus, Kirk Douglas, whose life ticked over into a century and a few years, left his own distinct mark on US cultural politics. At the very least, he managed to fashion a spear to direct through the Hollywood blacklist, an infamous compilation of the supposedly unpatriotic naughties in the film business who had sympathies, proven or otherwise, with communism. The justified question, however, is how significant his role actually was. Celebrities and thespians often assume a heft they do not have, a significance they lack.

      • Bangladesh: New Arrests Stifle Free Speech

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        Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina interacts with journalists in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Monday, Dec. 31, 2018.

      • SLAPP Suits And The Enemies Of Writing And Ideas

        Writer George Packer recently won the Christopher Hitchens Prize, which has been given out yearly since Hitchen’s death. The prize is awarded “to an author or journalist whose work reflects a commitment to free expression and inquiry,‭ ‬a range and depth of intellect,‭ ‬and a willingness to pursue the truth without regard to personal or professional consequence.” That’s quite a noble effort. This year’s award went to the excellent writer George Packer, who gave a speech that is being passed around among many people I know, on the topic of The Enemies of Writing. It is a worthwhile and thoughtful piece, and I think it does get at a growing concern today about how certain areas of exploration are considered too taboo to even suggest that the orthodoxy is not correct. His concerns, mainly, are that writing on a taboo subject or not taking an orthodox position on certain topics will get you mauled in the court of public opinion.

      • Tulsi Gabbard: A Political Postmortem

        The all-or-nothing New Hampshire gamble of Tulsi Gabbard has come up snake eyes.

      • Trouble At The Law Firm Filing Patently Ridiculous Lawsuits On Behalf Of Tulsi Gabbard

        We’ve covered the two ridiculous lawsuits filed by Tulsi Gabbard in the past few months — one against Google and another against Hillary Clinton. In both cases, the lawsuits were filed by lawyers at the law firm Pierce Bainbridge, and we questioned why they’d want to sully their own reputation by filing lawsuits that seemed clearly destined to fail, and which only seemed to serve a PR purpose in playing to her supporters.

      • How the UK government plans to clamp down on harmful online content

        Currently, providing they’re not seen to endorse posts that contain illegal or harmful material, social media companies are largely exempt from penalties, even if a user uploads pro-terrorist material or child abuse imagery onto their platforms. This new legislation will grant Ofcom the power to force companies to remove the material more quickly, and prevent most of it from being posted in the first place.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press
      • ABC Radio National on the Suffering and Resilience of Julian Assange

        Phillip Adams interviews John Pilger on ABC Radio National on the plight and hope and courage of Julian Assange ahead of his courtroom struggle to prevent extradition to the the United States.

      • Nigerian journalist Fejiro Oliver charged with cybercrime for corruption report

        Fejiro Oliver, the publisher of the privately owned Secret Reporters news site, is scheduled to appear in court in Nigeria’s southwestern Lagos city on May 28, 2020, after years of adjourned legal proceedings, he told CPJ. Department of State Services (DSS) agents separately questioned him three times about his reporting in 2019, he said. Oliver’s real name is Tega Oghenedoro, but he goes by his pen name.

      • UN Special Rapporteur On Torture Demolishes The Fake Claims Targeting Julian Assange

        The problem for the propaganda system targeting Assange is that Melzer is not just someone blogging on the internet; he is the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. In addition, he is a professor of international law at the University of Glasgow and holds the Human Rights Chair at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in Switzerland, where he has been teaching since 2009, including as the Swiss Chair of International Humanitarian Law (2011–2013). Melzer even speaks fluent Swedish. In other words, it is hard to imagine anyone better qualified to comment on the Assange case.

      • Jeremy Corbyn praises Julian Assange and calls for extradition to US to be halted

        Among Wikileaks’ revelations was video footage from a 2007 US Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed at least nine men, including a Reuters news photographer and his driver.

    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • 50th Anniversary of Abbie Hoffman’s Intro to STB

        One of the funniest bit I can remember reading about Abbie Hoffman was the time he tried to get himself arrested at a police station and the cops wouldn’t bite. His friend, and fellow Yippee, Paul Krassner said, “We went to the 9th precinct. Abbie wanted to get busted to show solidarity between the hippies and the ethnic groups. But they wouldn’t arrest him.” The Yippies had a sit-in outside the police station, where Abbie carried on, telling cops: “I want to be arrested because I’m a nigger. You’re arresting my black brothers. Arrest me.” He was invited inside the police station to talk.

      • Black America and the Presidents

        The myth of US American “greatness” is not only a right-wing narrative. Liberals too embrace the concept that the nation is fundamentally good; certainly, they insist, our worst days are behind us and we can all be grateful for the progress we’ve made. Leading us on this shining path have been enlightened figures like Lincoln, FDR, Kennedy, Carter and Obama, all of whom have sought to fulfill the promise of the wise “Founding Fathers” and their brilliant (even sacred) Constitution.

      • Rush Limbaugh Gets Medal for Being the King of Creeps

        There’s a lot going on in Trumplandia these days—from the Trumpus taking his Vindman Brothers Revenge Tour (“when you take out these terrorists, you have to take out their families,” he’d said) to elites everywhere freaking out over Bernie’s wondrous wins—but here’s a “little item” worth mentioning…

      • Yes, the ERA Has Been Ratified

        On January 15, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. According to the US Constitution, that makes the ERA part of “the supreme law of the land.”

      • Sugar-Coated Pimping

        “Sugaring” is an enormously profitable and growing trade. Women are being encouraged to sell sex through so-called sugar baby/sugar daddy arrangements. Online sugar dating sites, such as SeekingArrangement (SA), bypass prostitution and pimping laws by presenting the transaction as “dating with benefits.”

        A sugar arrangement is, according to the pimps and entrepreneurs, an exchange of cash, gifts or other financial and material benefits for good company. In fact, it is what is euphemistically known as the “girlfriend experience,” but often on a much longer-term basis.

      • Michael Avenatti Is Convicted of Trying to Extort Nike

        Michael Avenatti, the combative lawyer who gained fame by representing porn star Stormy Daniels in lawsuits involving President Donald Trump, was convicted Friday of trying to extort sportswear giant Nike.

      • A New Idea for the Old Problem of Corruption

        This week, United States Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Congressman Jim McGovern introduced a resolution to the US House of Representatives to challenge corruption at the highest levels around the world: an International Anti-Corruption Court. This novel idea, first proposed by Judge Mark Wolf in 2012, is worth considering given the desperate need to develop new mechanisms to address corruption’s severe, transnational impacts on human rights and the enduring challenge of holding kleptocrats accountable for their crimes.

        Corruption can ravage societies and be stubbornly difficult to uproot. Allowed to fester, corruption breeds poverty, violence, and instability that can spread well past a country’s borders. The World Economic Forum estimates that 5 percent of the world’s GDP is lost to corruption, and the International Monetary Fund blames it for US$1 trillion in lost tax revenue.

      • Dissenter Weekly: Alleged ‘Vault 7’ Materials Leaker On Trial, Interior Department Whistleblower Reinstated

        On this edition of the “Dissenter Weekly,” host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola highlights the trial against alleged CIA leaker Joshua Schulte, who the government claims provided “Vault 7” materials to WikiLeaks.

        Schulte’s lawyer Sabrina Shroff, according to Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press, opened the trial by maintaining the CIA did not want these documents published and the CIA had no idea how they were leaked nor do they know when, why, or who leaked them. She suggested the CIA felt pressure to blame someone and Schulte was an easy target. “All they know is WikiLeaks published the information on March 7, 2017.” 

      • Russia: Raids on Rights Defenders in Dagestan

        (Moscow) – Police in southern Russia on February 13, 2020 raided the homes and office of activists who provide legal and psychological assistance to survivors of domestic violence, Human Rights Watch said today. The raids took place in Makhachkala and Khasavyurt, two cities in Dagestan, a republic in Russia’s Northern Caucasus region.

        The activists targeted are partners of Stichting Justice Initiative (SJI), a nongovernmental organization (NGO) representing victims of grave human rights abuses in the North Caucasus and survivors of domestic violence in Russia. Police seized computers and electronics containing documentation pertaining to their work.

      • ‘These are the Bad Times’: Trump to Deploy Heavily Armed Border Patrol Tactical Units to Help With Immigration Arrests in Sanctuary Cities

        “It is unbelievable how much this action will undermine public safety. Unbelievable.”

      • Apple must pay store employees for bag-search time, court rules

        “Given that Apple requires its employees to wear Apple-branded apparel while working but directs them to remove or cover up such attire while outside the Apple store, it is reasonable to assume that some employees will carry their work uniform or a change of clothes in a bag in order to comply with Apple’s compulsory dress code policy,” she wrote.

        The court found that because Apple requires the employee searches, the law requires the employees to be paid for their time.

      • Murders of women and girls are soaring – are we dismissing the danger of controlling men?

        We need to stop minimising controlling behaviour, which requires a conversation about gender norms and inequality. And we need public services which believe women when they say they feel threatened or afraid, and understand that this does not look the same for all women. We need to redesign our response with women at the centre and accountability rather than invisibility of perpetrators. And for all of this we need leaders and champions across every part of public life. Without this, women will continue to be murdered at these alarming rates.

      • Asian grooming gangs: how ethnicity made authorities wary of investigating child sexual abuse

        The five-year investigation conducted by the IOPC, codenamed Operation Lindon, has produced a highly critical report. It states that the South Yorkshire police were scared to take action against a group of Asian men who were sexually abusing a young girl for fear of triggering unrest in the Asian community and being branded racist. Instead, they did little to disrupt the gang and safeguard the vulnerable victim and other young girls, even though they knew they were being subjected to horrendous sexual abuse.

        South Yorkshire police has accepted the findings of the report and said it has been developing a “far deeper understanding” of child sexual exploitation since 2014. It will now await the full and final report, which will focus on the actions of its former senior command team and whether it deliberately turned a blind eye to what it knew was happening.

      • An invasion of propaganda: Experts warn that white supremacist messages are seeping into mainstream

        “They’ve rebranded themselves,’’ Cohen said. “In the past they were viewed as racist individuals who were on the fringe or outside of mainstream society. Now their thoughts and ideas and messaging have been incorporated into the mainstream political discourse by a growing number of elected officials.’’

      • A New Face of White Supremacy: Plots Expose Danger of the ‘Base’

        Experts who have studied the Base say it seems to have followed the model of Al Qaeda and other violent Islamic groups in working to radicalize independent cells or even lone wolves who would be inspired to plot their own attacks.

        They describe the Base as an “accelerationist” organization, seeking to speed the collapse of the country and give rise to a state of its own in the Pacific Northwest by killing minorities, particularly African-Americans and Jews.

      • Syria Passes Resolution Condemning Turkish Genocide of Assyrians, Armenians

        The Syrian Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution on Thursday that called for the recognition and condemnation of the genocide of Armenians, Assyrians, and Syriacs that took place in the early part of the 20th Century.

      • Court of Appeal ruling will force women to discriminatory Sharia courts

        The judgment says that the state does not have a human right obligation to recognise religious marriage. Whilst we agree, this case provided an opportunity for the Court to address the cultural and religious barriers that prevent minority women from opting into the formal marriage system and to provide access to legal remedies where there is such manifest unfairness in the process of marriage.

      • Did Amy Klobuchar Condemn an Innocent Teenager to Life in Prison?

        After a surprising third-place finish in the New Hampshire primary, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is attempting to gain ground in the national polls. But Klobuchar is also facing mounting scrutiny over her record as a district attorney in Minnesota. The Minneapolis NAACP, Black Lives Matter Twin Cities and other racial justice groups recently called on Klobuchar to suspend her presidential campaign following a shocking investigation by the Associated Press. The AP report centered on the case of Myon Burrell, an African-American teenager who was sentenced to life in prison over the 2002 murder of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards. Klobuchar led the case against Myon Burrell when she was Hennepin County’s district attorney, but the AP report says she may have mishandled the case and that Burrell could be innocent. The Associated Press report shows how prosecutors had no DNA or fingerprints tying Burrell to the murder and that they relied on jailhouse informants, some of whom have since recanted their testimonies. Burrell has always maintained his innocence. On the campaign trail, Klobuchar has cited the jailing of Burrell as one of her achievements and brought up the conviction during a debate in September. We speak with Nekima Levy Armstrong, civil rights attorney, activist, head of the Racial Justice Network and former president of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP. “It’s shocking at this point that Amy Klobuchar is still in the race for president of the United States, given the significance of Myon Burrell’s case,” she says.

      • Judge Who Originally Approved Sketchy UNC ‘Silent Sam’ Settlement Now Voids Deal, Realizing ‘Confederate’ Group Had No Standing

        Back in December, we wrote about the crazy situation in North Carolina, mostly unearthed by lawyer Greg Doucette, that the University of North Carolina had “settled” a lawsuit before it was even filed. The background story was crazy, and this is only the briefest of summaries. The “Silent Sam” statue was put onto the UNC campus by the “United Daughters of the Confederacy” in 1913 as part of a process that happened throughout the south many decades after the Confederacy lost the Civil War to try to put in place racist monuments and to pretend that there was some noble cause behind the war to defend enslaving people. As more and more people have recognized the racist purpose, history and intent of these monuments, many have been removed. Students at UNC toppled the Silent Sam statue a few years ago, and the University has basically just tried to avoid talking about it since, especially as racist-celebrating officials tried to legislate that such monuments to racism must stay put.

      • The $290 Billion Noongar Claim: It’s the Constitution, It’s Justice, It’s Mabo… It’s The Vibe!

        In The Castle, Darryl Kerrigan captured the essence of belonging when he said, “It’s not a house – it’s a home”. The notion that the monetary value of land is not a measure of the true value of the spiritual and cultural connection to country, of which that land is just the geographic marker, will soon be tested in a case of major importance.

    • Monopolies
      • How the T-Mobile-Sprint Merger Will Increase Inequality

        Since economic power leads to political power, these companies have used their resources to lobby for rules and regulations that further narrow the scope of antitrust laws and harm consumers.

      • ‘Proof will be in pudding’ for China trade deal, say US lawyers

        Law professors, in-house counsel and private practice lawyers say trade secrets are among the agreement’s most important provisions, and express mixed views on the deal’s efficacy

      • Patents
        • Nokia and its trolls are losing left and right: LG defeats Conversant case in Munich over Nokia patent two days after Nokia itself lost to Daimler

          The patent-in-suit, EP1173986 on a “method and arrangement for managing packet data transfer in a cellular system,” was incorrectly alleged to be essential to the 4G/LTE cellular standard. Nokia’s privateer asserted its broadest method claim (claim 1) and two apparatus claims of similar breadth, but to no avail. The court concluded that the transmission of a traffic volume indicator (TVI) in accordance with the LTE specification does not involve a direct selection of a channel as claimed by the patent. As a result, the LTE standard does not require any technical step going beyond the prior art.

          The Nokia patents transferred to Conversant, which is basically acting as a licensing agency for the Finnish failed handset maker, have generally performed very poorly in litigation. Last month the Munich I Regional Court held an early first hearing in a Conversant v. Daimler case, and that patent doesn’t appear to have impressed anyone either.

          Nokia failed on Tuesday (Mannheim), indirectly (because it used Conversant as its front) failed on Thursday (Munich), and we’ll probably hear very soon that mediation with Daimler and its suppliers failed this week, too.

        • Mediation between Nokia and Daimler as well as its suppliers fails definitively: European Commission must act swiftly and forcefully

          A first round of talks had failed in January for the reasons I mentioned then. The fact that the supposedly super-secretive mediation process was pretty transparent to me–thanks to certain sources–even sparked a peripheral controversy at last week’s Nokia v. Daimler trial in Munich.

          A second round of talks was held this week, and went nowhere–for the very same reasons that the first round had failed. Nokia simply wouldn’t consider extending an exhaustive component-level license to Daimler’s suppliers, and Nokia continued to refuse to put highly relevant SEP license agreements with smartphone makers on the table.

          Let’s give the mediator the benefit of the doubt: he gave this another try just because he was unrealistic, not because it helped produce billable hours.

          The European Commission’s request that the parties engage in mediation–instead of doing the job European citizens pay them for–was a bad idea in the first place. It set a terrible precedent and made Mrs. Vestager, who earned herself a reputation as a determined competition enforcer during the first time, appear very weak.

          Interestingly, the fact that last week’s Munich trial went very well for Nokia didn’t bring the parties closer to a deal. Maybe no one believes that the Munich court will seriously interpret a key sentence in the Court of Justice of the EU’s Huawei v. ZTE ruling as if “and” meant “or.” It’s also possible that Nokia’s piecemeal injunction strategy–with an explicit carve-out for Samsung subsidiary Harman Becker for the time being–means even a ruling in Nokia’s favor on April 9 wouldn’t give the failed handset maker much leverage.

        • UC Berkeley gene-editing technology patent upheld by European Patent Office

          The European Patent Office, or EPO, upheld a patent on the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology following an opposition proceeding that took place from Feb. 5 to Feb. 7.

          The opposition proceedings were part of the EPO’s standard procedure, according to an email from Cate Cronin, a member of UC Berkeley’s public relations team for CRISPR-Cas9 matters. This procedure grants a nine-month window for a party to file an opposition on patents.

          These oppositions can be filed anonymously and are common in commercially important patents. In these cases, oppositions are primarily filed by opposing parties with a commercial interest in the patents.

          Cronin said in the email that the CRISPR-Cas9 patent had seven opponents.

          “Not all of the parties that have challenged UC’s patent from the EPO are publicly known,” Cronin said in the email. “They were filed as ‘straw men,’ which is a way for parties to obscure their identities while filing an opposition.”

        • European Patent Office (EPO) Upholds Foundational CRISPR Patent Owned by UC, Univ. of Vienna, and Charpentier

          On February 10, 2020, the European Patent Office Opposition Division announced the results of an opposition filed against patent EP2800811, owned by the Regents of University of California, University of Vienna, and Emanuelle Charpentier (collectively, UC/UV/Charpentier), with claims directed to methods and compositions of Cas9 and a single-guide RNA. The decision, which comes after three days of oral proceedings on February 5-February 7, 2020, upheld the patentability of the claims, and required only minor amendments, and the cancellation of two dependent claims. While the European Patent Office (EPO) hasn’t yet provided details of their decision, a non-binding opinion of the EP Opposition Board dated, August 30, 2019, found that the patent meets the European Patent Convention (EPC) requirements for novelty, inventive step, and sufficiency, but violated added matter requirements for only some dependent claims. A written decision from the Opposition Division will follow.

        • Software Patents
          • Open Source Voice Assistant Promises To ‘Nuke From Orbit’ Patent Troll

            Open source voice assistant company Mycroft AI (which we actually wrote about years back) appears to be the latest startup to recognize that the only way to properly deal with patent trolls is to fight back. This strategy was first pioneered by online retailer Newegg, whose refusal to give in to any patent trolls eventually (after years of litigation) meant that patent trolls stopped trying to shake the company down. More recently, Cloudlfare has taken a similarly successful approach.

          • Can computers invent? EPO says no to AI inventors

            In a landmark ruling, the European Patent Office (EPO) has provided its opinion on whether an AI system can be designated as an inventor on a European patent application.

            The decision: No.

            The reason: inventors under the European Patent Convention (EPC) are understood to be ‘natural persons’. That is to say, the inventor(s) must have a legal personality. The two patent applications at the centre of the EPO’s decision both named the inventor as a machine called “DABUS”, which is “a type of connectionist artificial intelligence”.

            The EPO also noted that this approach – requiring a human to be designated as the inventor – was consistent with the national approaches taken within European countries and the international consensus evident from China, Japan, Korea and the USA.

            [...]

            Philosophical questions regarding AI personalities aside, a historical precedent has been set by the EPO in this regard. If inventors want patents involving AI/Machine Learning, all inventors named on the application will have to be natural persons.

          • Can AI Be An Inventor? Not At The European Patent Office.

            The European Patent Office has denied two patent applications on the grounds that an AI system cannot be listed as the inventor.

            For the first time, the European Patent Office (EPO) has issued a ruling on its approach to patent applications that designate artificial intelligence (AI) systems as inventors. In January 2020, the EPO published its reasons for rejecting two patent applications where the inventor named on the applications was an AI system called “DABUS.” The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has also rejected the applications on similar grounds.

          • Federal Circuit: Server Is Not A Regular And Established Place Of Business

            Today, the Federal Circuit granted a writ of mandamus, ordering the Eastern District of Texas to dismiss or transfer a case for lack of venue. This order is the latest in a series of Federal Circuit decisions, post-TC Heartland, where the Eastern District of Texas has tried to hold on to patent cases even when venue isn’t appropriate.

            Patent Plaintiffs Want Venue In Texas

            In a case decided soon after TC Heartland, E.D. Texas Judge Gilstrap found venue appropriate due to a remote employee who chose to live in the Eastern District, even though the defendant company hadn’t established any locations in the district. The Federal Circuit found that to be an abuse of discretion—a “fixed physical location in the district is [] a prerequisite to proper venue.”

            So, in a follow-on case involving SEVEN Networks, the Eastern District turned around and decided that collocating servers in a district was the type of fixed physical location that justified venue. Google requested mandamus, and the Federal Circuit denied mandamus and rehearing. Several judges presciently noted in their dissent from denial that the denial would “leave unanswered a critical issue that increasingly affects venue in legal actions involving e-commerce.”

            After this decision, NPEs began to file lawsuits against companies with collocated servers in E.D. Texas. Those cases included the one the Federal Circuit decided today—Super Interconnect Technologies (SIT) v. Google—filed only four days after the denial of mandamus.

          • Is the Broad Institute planning a last-ditch attempt to save their CRISPR patent?

            Last month the EPO dismissed the Broad Institute’s appeal (T 844/18) in the high profile dispute relating to one of the Broad Institute’s CRISPR patents (EP2771468). At the hearing, the Board of Appeal deemed it unnecessary to refer the issue of priority to the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA). Many thought this would be the end of the road for the patent. However, in one last-ditch attempt to save their patent, it seems that Broad Institute is now laying the groundwork for a petition for review, the extraordinary legal remedy by which the EBA may review decisions of the Board of Appeal. None-the-less, even if the EPO amended the minutes in line with the Broad’s requests, in this GuestKat’s view there seems to be little prospect that the EBA would be willing to grant a petition for review.

            [...]

            The opponents 1 and 2 have already objected to the Broad Institute’s proposed changes to the minutes. The procedure for such disagreements about the minutes of oral proceedings is not provided for in the Rules. As of today, the opponents have merely submitted that they dispute the need for the proposed changes. They further request that the EPO defers any decision to correct the minutes until the opponents have filed more detailed submissions.

            Under what grounds might the opponents challenge the change to the minutes? The opponents may disagree that the corrections proposed by the Broad Institute are an accurate reflection of events at the hearing. Alternatively, the opponents may argue that the correction of the minutes would serve no useful purpose and that even with the correction, a request for a petition of review would be clearly inadmissible.

            The EPO will be under pressure to resolve the dispute quickly. The deadline for filing a petition for review is 2 months from the Board of Appeal decision.

          • Pebble Tide LLC v. Arlo Technologies, Inc. (D. Del. 2020)

            A few weeks ago, the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware granted Defendants’ Rule 12 motions in three different cases, each naming Pebble Tide LLC (hereinafter, “Pebble”) as Plaintiff. The Defendants in the three cases were Arlo Technologies, Inc., Uniden America Corp., and Petcube, Inc. In granting the Rule 12 motions, the Court found the claims of two asserted patents — U.S. Patent Nos. 10,261,739 (the ’739 patent) and 10,303,411 (the ’411 patent) — to be invalid as being patent ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

            [...]

            In applying the first part of the Alice test, the Court deemed claim 1 to be directed to an abstract idea of “wirelessly outputting data from one device to another,” citing Cellspin Soft, Inc. v. Fitbit, Inc. (“we have consistently held that similar claims reciting the collection, transfer and publishing of data are directed to an abstract idea”) in support of this conclusion. The Court also reached this conclusion based on the similarities between this claim and those held by the Federal Circuit to be abstract in ChargePoint, Inc. v. SemaConnect, Inc. (“abstract claims directed to transmitting data from one device to another”). The Court also found the claim to be lacking technical details, stating that both the claims and the patents’ specification merely describe the recited components in functional terms.

            Turning to second part of the Alice test, the Court shot down a variety of seemingly scattered attempts at Pebble arguing that the claims recite an inventive concept, even after considering some constructions that Pebble more-recently proposed. For instance, the Court briefly dismissed Pebble’s notions that the “information apparatus” (which the specification states “generally refer[s] to computing devices”) or the interplay of the job object process and the device object process is inventive.

      • Copyrights
        • Disqualification of a Party’s Expert Who Migrates to the Firm of a Court-Appointed Expert

          An order by Judge Alsup in Oracle Am., Inc. v. Google, LLC (N.D. Cal. Jan 28, 2020 (here)) reflects an unusual fact pattern. The court had appointed an expert (in docket 2143, which by itself says a lot) who worked with the firm of Charles River Associates (“CRA”). Google had an expert, Dr. Leonard. Google notified Oracle that Dr. Leonard was to become “affiliated” with CRA, prompting Oracle to file an “objection” with the court.

          In response, Judge Alsup issued an order stating the most it could say so far was “that Dr. Leonard (and Google) have made this move at their peril.” He asked for motion practice and an appropriate record.

        • Oracle’s brief: More competing questions

          We’re reading the Google and Oracle briefs in my Introduction to Intellectual Property class this semester as part of the concluding exercise for the unit on copyright. On Monday we’ll discuss and debate the two positions in small groups then see which is most persuasive to a group of smart law students with a few weeks of copyright law.

        • Warhorse Studios Hilariously Infringes Pirates’ Copyrights to “Support the Developer”

          The developer of action role-playing game Kingdom Come: Deliverance has hilariously turned the tables on the cracking group that first put a pirated copy of its game on the Internet. With its tongue planted firmly in cheek, the Czech company is now selling limited edition metal posters of Codex’s game-accompanying NFO file, hoping that sales of the high-quality knock-off will “support the developer”.

        • Activision Tries To Bury Cover Art For New CoD Game Via Copyright Threat…So Let’s All Look At It Together, Shall We?

          Of all the dumb ways that the DMCA process has been misused in the very recent past, one of the most frustratingly stupid certainly has to be certain interests using it to try to bottle up leaks. From Nintendo to Universal to Marvel, among others, each and every time some content, often times unfinished, gets leaked onto the internet, the lawyers fire off a bunch of DMCA notices to try to get the content taken down. And each and every time, the whole thing backfires completely and instead this leaked content gets Streisanded into the public consciousness.

        • YouTube TV Is Blocking Apple In-App Subscriptions Starting in March

          YouTube TV is stopping support for in-app subscriptions on Apple devices altogether in March.

        • BitTorrent ‘Copyright Troll’ Lawsuits Skyrocket In Sweden

          The number of piracy lawsuits filed against alleged file-sharing pirates in Sweden hit a record high in 2019. In total, more than 60,000 IP-addresses of alleged BitTorrent users were targeted. The information was made available by the local Internet provider Bahnhof, which labels the ‘copyright trolling’ practice as extortion.

        • Judge Shuts Down Copyright Troll’s Cut-And-Run Effort; Hits It With $40K In Legal Fees

          The art of copyright trolling is completely artless. There’s no subtlety to it. Flood federal courts with filings against Does, expedite discovery requests in hopes of subpoenaing a sue-able name from a service provider, shower said person with threats about statutory damages and/or public exposure of their sexual proclivities, secure a quick settlement, and move on.

Microsoft Views ‘Open Source’ as a Zero-Cost Heist Opportunity (Making Proprietary Software/Spyware Using Other People’s Free Labour)

Saturday 15th of February 2020 05:13:45 PM

“Usually Microsoft doesn’t develop products, we buy products.”

–Arno Edelmann, Microsoft

Summary: Making GPL-licensed (copyleft) software and hosting it outside Microsoft’s jaws is the best way to counter the abusive monopolist, which still says it “loves” what it is actually attacking

THE crooks have taken a Web browser that they did not develop (it started with KDE). They have also taken and now spy on an operating system they slimed for 3 decades. They’ve built a proprietary Web browser and a proprietary operating system using those bits.

“Microsoft isn’t open source (or Open Source) but proprietary.”When Microsoft says something to the effect of being "open source company" we must also remember that GitHub is proprietary software controlled by Microsoft. Anything that’s there is basically controlled by Microsoft, so it’s hardly surprising that Microsoft shelved many of its things there since 2014 (when it reportedly planned to buy GitHub and mostly ambushed that platform).

Microsoft isn’t open source (or Open Source) but proprietary. Those who relay the ‘Microsoft ❤️ Linux’ and/or ‘Microsoft ❤️ Open Source’ lies say a lot about themselves. They’re more often corrupt rather than gullible (they lie intentionally).

People who still push code into GitHub basically give that code as a ‘gift’ to Microsoft. Not too clever a thing to do in 2020…

“Their own products are major failures (VoIP, CodePlex, MSN Spaces and so on), so they try making up for it by taking more loans/debt (from misguided shareholders).”Similarly, social control media typically means you’re a ‘guest’ at ‘your’ platform and clown computing (“cloud”) means you’re a ‘guest’ at ‘your’ own business. Listening devices obliterate any remnants of one's dignity (and that of one’s family, house guests etc.) — a subject more sites ought to speak out about.

Only with Free software — copyleft in particular — people can make sure they control their own destiny. If their host does not respect software freedom, then that host is merely stalking and exploiting. Arno Edelmann’s words (at the top) say quite a lot about what Microsoft was back then and remains to this day, bar the acquisitions (except of entire platforms, such as Skype, GitHub and LinkedIn). Their own products are major failures (VoIP, CodePlex, MSN Spaces and so on), so they try making up for it by taking more loans/debt (from misguided shareholders). Yes, despite the lies they sometimes lose a lot of money. It’s not even a new problem.

“Microsoft, the world’s most valuable company, declared a profit of $4.5 billion in 1998; when the cost of options awarded that year, plus the change in the value of outstanding options, is deducted, the firm made a loss of $18 billion, according to Smithers.”

–The Economist, 1999

Did Microsoft ‘Buy’ ZDNet?

Saturday 15th of February 2020 03:54:50 PM

Snapshot from this morning (not out of the ordinary)

Summary: A look at what ZDNet tells its readers (screenshot from this morning) and a rare look at how its writers are censored/suppressed


How Microsoft’s chief PR person (from the army) talks to other Microsoft staff for merely being honest


Old mail from Mary, who covers Microsoft for ZDNet


Some things never change

“The author of the email, posted on ZDNet in a Talkback forum on the Microsoft antitrust trial, claimed her name was Michelle Bradley and that she had “retired” from Microsoft last week.

“”A verbal memo [no email allowed] was passed around the MS campus encouraging MS employee’s to post to ZDNet articles like this one,” the email said.

“”The theme is ‘Microsoft is responsible for all good things in computerdom.’ The government has no right to prevent MS from doing anything. Period. The ‘memo’ suggests we use fictional names and state and to identify ourselves as students,” the author claimed.”

Wired Magazine

Anatomy of a Crime and Protection From Prosecution

Saturday 15th of February 2020 03:25:03 PM

Context: Did Battistelli ‘Steal’ ~100,000,000 Euros From the EPO?

Summary: It’s hard to forget what António Campinos hides for his friend

Today’s EPO is a Fraud Managed by Frauds

Saturday 15th of February 2020 03:08:53 PM

These are the people who instruct the EPO on management of billions of euros it’s not supposed to even have

Summary: Beneath the scandals associated with systematic abuse against staff, union-busting (silencing whistleblowers) and en masse granting of invalid patents — the hallmark of grotesque maladministration — lie a bunch of even greater crimes

THE NEXT batch of Daily Links will contain a bunch of ‘news’ items (we use scare quotes because the authors are law firms, not actual journalists) about “DABUS”, CRISPR and Brexit/UPC. The European Patent Office (EPO) has said nothing new in quite some time and António Campinos has published no photo ops for a number of weeks. The short story is, more CRISPR patents are being pushed onto the EPO, more software patents are rejected by courts (all software patents are likely invalid in Europe), Team UPC keeps lying to itself — to the point of hilarity — in the midst of Brexit, and IP Kat (now AstraZeneca) hopes for a reversal after BoA — in defiance of the spirit of a crook — said “no” to patents on CRISPR. Across the Atlantic it’s also more or less the same; 35 U.S.C. § 101 continues to crush software patents, Koch-funded scholars want a “STRONGER” scam, and the whole Coons-led effort turns out to have been a miserable failure (again, for the third year in a row).

“It does not seem and it does not even ‘feel’ like anything is improving (certainly not quality of patents)…”It is profoundly disappointing that EPO staff is still unable to find justice. It’s not entirely shocking or surprising; we should still aim higher. How are patent examiners expected to do their job properly when they clearly lack the liberty to apply the law as they see fit? Patent maximalists have hijacked key institutions and there’s no restitution.

It’s far too easy to grow tired of responding to the EPO’s inane tweets (almost a dozen of these every day), in which they promote a lie about 50% of the time (the rest are pure fluff or repetition). It does not seem and it does not even ‘feel’ like anything is improving (certainly not quality of patents) and days ago there was a meeting which discussed austerity measures implemented by Campinos while spending billions of euros on new (and unnecessary) buildings, not to mention gambling. Need we add that Mercer with his shiny ‘reports’ now decides how to run the EPO, based on a hoax?

“And perhaps more importantly, is it lawful to bribe the media and bribe academia to not talk about these issues?”We couldn’t help but notice that SUEPO mentioned INPI scandals yesterday (it’s all in French). Don’t forget that many INPI people and their families are still in charge of today’s EPO, never mind its French-born and French-taught president Campinos, an old friend of Battistelli who owes a lot to him and would do anything to cover up his crimes. Ironically this criminal now runs a law school — the same one previously run by Campinos. Do they teach law there in order to train people to break it? And perhaps more importantly, is it lawful to bribe the media and bribe academia to not talk about these issues?

One Need Only Look at ZDNet’s ‘Linux’ Section to Understand It’s a Microsoft Propaganda Operation

Friday 14th of February 2020 06:09:13 PM

Yesterday: The Microsoft Propaganda Model

Summary: A timely new snapshot (or screenshot) that demonstrates what ZDNet became after hiring Microsoft employees as ‘journalists’ and censoring on behalf of Microsoft, defaming Free software figures and so on

More in Tux Machines

Today in Techrights

Android Leftovers

Canonical Outs New Major Kernel Update for All Supported Ubuntu Releases

Available for the Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine), Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system series, the new Linux kernel security update is here to fix a vulnerability (CVE-2019-14615) affecting systems with Intel Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), which could allow a local attacker to expose sensitive information. It also addresses a race condition (CVE-2019-18683) discovered in the Virtual Video Test Driver (VIVID), which could allow an attacker with write access to /dev/video0 to gain administrative privileges, as well as a flaw (CVE-2019-19241) in Linux kernel’s IO uring implementation that could also allow a local attacker to gain administrative privileges. Another race condition (CVE-2019-19602) was fixed on x86 platforms, which could let a local attacker to cause a denial of service (memory corruption) or gain administrative privileges. Moreover, issues (CVE-2019-18786 and CVE-2019-19947) discovered in the Renesas Digital Radio Interface (DRIF) and Kvaser CAN/USB drivers could allow local attackers to expose sensitive information (kernel memory). Read more

10 Best Linux Terminal Emulators [2020 Edition]

Do you prefer terminal emulators over GUI? But there are times when the terminal’s decent styling seems boring. In such cases, you look for more options to customize the terminal just like we do while choosing Linux distros. If that’s the case, your wait is over as we bring the list of best terminal emulators for Linux that you can use to refresh your monotonous daily work. Along with the styling, you can also turn the single terminal into a multigrid, observing the activity of each terminal simultaneously. Read more