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Links 4/7/2019: Material Shell, Mint Going 64-Bit, GameShell

Posted in News Roundup at 4:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Linux Mint 20 will ditch 32-bit architecture following Canonical’s recent announcement

      Clem Lefebvre, head of the Linux Mint project, has announced that Linux Mint 20 and beyond will drop support for 32-bit systems. The news comes on the heels of a decision made by Canonical to drop support for the 32-bit architecture in Ubuntu 19.10 and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, the latter of which Linux Mint 20 will be based on.

      In the blog post, Lefebvre said he believes most people are happy with the decision to drop 32-bit versions and that it makes sense in 2020. Computers with a 64-bit processor have been on the market since 2003, and most of the computers that have shipped in this decade are 64-bit ready (except several infernal netbooks).

    • Linux Mint Confirms It’s Dropping 32-bit Releases

      The good news is that this isn’t happening yet. Users can continue to download Linux Mint 19.1 32-bit, install it, and use it as normal (the perks of being based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, which Canonical support until 2023).

      But by the time the Linux Mint 20 release arrives next year the distro will no longer produce 32-bit install media or on-going support for 32-bit systems.

      Sharing word of the pending retirement in his latest monthly mail-shot, Linux Mint lead Clement Lefebvre explains:-

      “Linux Mint 19.x is already available in 32-bit and it can be used until 2023. I think most people are happy with this and dropping 32-bit releases going forward makes sense in 2020.”

      Sounds, fair.

    • Linux Journal and Magazine

    • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • FLOSS Weekly 536: CX

      CX is an interpreted and compiled, garbage collected, general purpose programming language, which means that it can be used to create any type of program, such as web, desktop, and command-line applications.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 5.1.16

      I’m announcing the release of the 5.1.16 kernel.

      All users of the 5.1 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 5.1.y git tree can be found at:

      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.1.y

      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:


    • Linux 4.19.57
    • Linux 4.14.132
    • DW5821e firmware update integration in ModemManager and fwupd

      The Dell Wireless 5821e module is a Qualcomm SDX20 based LTE Cat16 device. This modem can work in either MBIM mode or QMI mode, and provides different USB layouts for each of the modes. In Linux kernel based and Windows based systems, the MBIM mode is the default one, because it provides easy integration with the OS (e.g. no additional drivers or connection managers required in Windows) and also provides all the features that QMI provides through QMI over MBIM operations.

      The firmware update process of this DW5821e module is integrated in your GNU/Linux distribution, since ModemManager 1.10.0 and fwupd 1.2.6. There is no official firmware released in the LVFS (yet) but the setup is completely ready to be used, just waiting for Dell to publish an initial official firmware release.

      The firmware update integration between ModemManager and fwupd involves different steps, which I’ll try to describe here so that it’s clear how to add support for more devices in the future.

    • With An Out-Of-Tree Kernel Patch You Can Finally Read/Write To The SSDs On Newer Macs

      While Apple computers once ran well with Linux, that’s not been the case in recent years particularly for MacBook Pros but now really all newer Apple computers have become a mess on Linux. There’s been really messy issues in trying to run Macs on Linux. With MacBook Pros from recent revisions, it’s now only finally possible for Linux to read/write to the solid-state drive if using an out-of-tree patch.

      This Linux NVMe driver patch was pointed out to us by a Phoronix reader for allowing 2016 and newer MacBook Pros (and newer Macs) to be able to read/write the NVMe SSD from Linux.

    • Linux Plumbers Conference: RDMA Microconference Accepted into 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference

      We are pleased to announce that the RDMA Microconference has been accepted into the 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference! RDMA has been a microconference at Plumbers for the last three years and will be continuing its productive work for a fourth year. The RDMA meetings at the previous Plumbers have been critical in getting improvements to the RDMA subsystem merged into mainline. These include a new user API, container support, testability/syzkaller, system bootup, Soft iWarp, and more. There are still difficult open issues that need to be resolved, and this year’s Plumbers RDMA Microconfernence is sure to come up with answers to these tough problems.

    • Zack’s Kernel News

      When Linus Torvalds recently agreed to raise the GCC minimum supported version number to 4.8, it meant that any older system that still used older build tools, including older versions of GCC, wouldn’t be able to compile new kernels without upgrading that software. The justification for his decision was partly that the various kernel ports had come to depend on later GCC versions and partly that the various Linux distributions had started shipping with later GCC versions as well. To Linus, this meant that regular users would almost certainly not be inconvenienced by the change; while kernel developers – well, Linus didn’t mind inconveniencing them so much.

      But it wasn’t entirely an inconvenience to developers, as Steven Rostedt recently demonstrated. Now that GCC 4.8 was the new minimum, the kernel no longer had to support older versions of GCC that lacked some of the modern new features. The way this generally works is that the kernel build system checks which version of GCC is installed and then compiles certain kernel features that are specifically coded for that GCC version. This way, by hook or by crook, all kernel features get implemented, even if they have to work around deficiencies in an older compiler. When the older compilers aren’t supported anymore, all of that targeted kernel code can simply be torn out by the roots, without anyone making a fuss.

    • Linux Foundation

  • Applications

    • WireGuard Snapshot `0.0.20190702` Available
      A new snapshot, `0.0.20190702`, has been tagged in the git repository.
      Please note that this snapshot is, like the rest of the project at this point
      in time, experimental, and does not constitute a real release that would be
      considered secure and bug-free. WireGuard is generally thought to be fairly
      stable, and most likely will not crash your computer (though it may).
      However, as this is a pre-release snapshot, it comes with no guarantees, and
      its security is not yet to be depended on; it is not applicable for CVEs.
      With all that said, if you'd like to test this snapshot out, there are a
      few relevant changes.
      == Changes ==
        * curve25519: not all linkers support bmi2 and adx
        This should allow WireGuard to build on older toolchains.
        * qemu: show signal when failing
        This was useful in tracking down upstream armeb bugs such as:
        * wg-quick: darwin: support being called from launchd
        We now ship a sample launchd file, for folks who would like to run WireGuard
        on macOS servers with some form of automation. Most users are still advised to
        use the GUI app from the App Store.
        * compat: some kernels weirdly backport prandom_u32_max
        * compat: unify custom function prefix/suffix
        * compat: rhel backported list modifications
        Usual maintance of our compat layer for existing platforms and kernels.
        * compat: support RHEL8's skb_mark_not_on_list backport
        We now support RHEL8/CentOS8's kernel.
        * global: switch to coarse ktime
        Our prior use of fast ktime before meant that sometimes, depending on how
        broken the motherboard was, we'd wind up calling into the HPET slow path. Here
        we move to coarse ktime which is always super speedy. In the process we had to
        fix the resolution of the clock, as well as introduce a new interface for it,
        landing in 5.3. Older kernels fall back to a fast-enough mechanism based on
        * netlink: cast struct over cb->args for type safety
        This follow recent upstream changes such as:
        * peer: use LIST_HEAD macro
        Style nit.
        * receive: queue dead packets to napi queue instead of empty rx_queue
        This mitigates a WARN_ON being triggered by the workqueue code. It was quite
        hard to trigger, except sporadically, or reliably with a PC Engines ALIX, an
        extremely slow board with an AMD LX800 that Ryan Whelan of Axatrax was kind
        enough to mail me.
      This snapshot contains commits from: Jason A. Donenfeld.
      As always, the source is available at https://git.zx2c4.com/WireGuard/ and
      information about the project is available at https://www.wireguard.com/ .
      This snapshot is available in compressed tarball form here:
        SHA2-256: 1a1311bc71abd47a72c47d918be3bacc486b3de90734661858af75cc990dbaac
        BLAKE2b-256: 3b8668eed4c11c3d5995f23152c645ee40017ab84c8b15ce5f84015730290c9f
      A PGP signature of that file decompressed is available here:
        Signing key: AB9942E6D4A4CFC3412620A749FC7012A5DE03AE
      If you're a snapshot package maintainer, please bump your package version. If
      you're a user, the WireGuard team welcomes any and all feedback on this latest
      Finally, WireGuard development thrives on donations. By popular demand, we
      have a webpage for this: https://www.wireguard.com/donations/
      Thank you,
      Jason Donenfeld
    • WireGuard 0.0.20190702 Released For This Cross-Platform Open-Source VPN Tunnel

      WireGuard 0.0.20190702 has been released as the newest snapshot for this increasingly popular open-source network VPN tunnel that has showed much potential and has now been ported to all major platforms.

      WireGuard 0.0.20190702 is available for those interested. To much dismay, it doesn’t look like the kernel module will make it into the upcoming Linux 5.3 merge window. As of writing, the code still hasn’t been queued into net-next for merging into the Linux 5.3 merge window in early July. But for that to happen anyhow, WireGuard would likely still need to survive another round of code review on the Linux kernel mailing list along with its Zinc crypto API. We haven’t seen that happen yet so long story short the WireGuard Linux support will likely still need to rely upon the DKMS out-of-tree kernel module for another round.

    • Cloud music player Olivia

      Olivia looks like a standard three-panel music player, with links to albums, artists, and playlists on the left, the player queue on the right, and a context-shifting middle pane. But it’s not. Rather than helping you manage and maintain your own music collection, Olivia has been designed to simplify access to music that’s typically played and discovered online. It’s currently in an alpha testing state, and not all the features shown in the user interface (UI) are functional, but it’s functional enough to be very useful and shows great promise. Type the name of a track into the search field, for example, and a list of image thumbnails for discovered tracks start to load into the middle pane, complete with details about the performer, release date, duration, and album. It’s exactly as if the music is sourced from your local storage. A double-click adds the track to your queue from where it can then be played. The actual source for the music seems to be YouTube, from where the music is streamed stripped of its video content.

      The UI scales and animates smoothly as you navigate through different search and playback modes, and it can even dynamically theme itself according to your currently playing track’s artwork. There’s a very neat “widget” mode, which reduces the UI to nothing more than the current track thumbnail and playback controls. This is a great way of removing the distraction of choosing music from the infinite possibilities of online resources. As you play tracks, they’re added to your “collection,” so you can easily play them back or manage them much like you would local files. Local music is supported too, and there’s an excellent song recommendation system. Type in the name of a piece of music you like, and Olivia will come back with a recommendation for something it thinks (or the Internet thinks) is similar. It works surprisingly well.

  • Instructionals/Technical

  • Games

    • Alien invasions and disasters are in the latest update to the fun god-sim city-builder “The Universim”

      The Universim continues to get more interesting as a god-game/city-builder hybrid with the latest update giving the possibility of an alien invasion. See also: Some recent previous thoughts.

      Since the game will eventually let you reach for the stars and visit other planets, as you civilization evolves and becomes more modern you might find some unexpected visitors in the form of UFOs. Developer Crytivo said this is only “first contact” and more will come in future updates. For now, these pesky invaders might destroy buildings, kidnap Nuggets and animals.

    • The strategy RPG “Pathway” is to get a big free update later this Summer, now allows you to respec skills

      Not only are Robotality continuing to polish their strategy RPG “Pathway”, they’re also working towards a big free update. See Also: My original thoughts on Pathway.

      They haven’t said what’s coming in this big free update, only that it will be due “at the end of summer” but they do plan to make a blog post about what’s coming.

    • Valve are asking for help testing “ACO”, a new Mesa shader compiler for AMD graphics

      Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais mentioned on Twitter, about a new Mesa shader compiler for AMD graphics named “ACO” and they’re calling for testers.

      In the longer post on Steam, it goes over a brief history about Valve sponsoring work done by open-source graphics driver engineers, with it all being “very successful”. The team has grown and they decided to go in a different direction with their work.

    • Valve Has Been Developing A New Mesa Vulkan Shader Compiler For Radeon

      Valve has been funding work on “ACO”, a new shader compiler alternative to the de facto AMDGPU LLVM shader compiler currently used by both the RADV and RadeonSI Mesa graphics drivers for AMD Radeon hardware.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KaOS 2019.07 just dropped with exciting new features

        For those readers who are discovering KaOS right now, let?s have a quick introduction! This operating system has been developed from scratch and mainly focuses on KDE and Qt, which explains why it comes with LibreOffice and other KDE software. Also, the fact that it is being mentioned on FOSSLinux makes it self-explanatory that it is based on the Linux kernel.

        Earlier this week, there was an official announcement regarding the release of the July version of KaOS accompanying new features, updates, and security fixes. The major changes can be found in the operating system?s core, desktop environment, installation procedures, and office suite.

      • KIOFuse: June in Review

        The coding period has now extended over a month and quite a few improvements have been merged into KIOFuse. In my last post I mentioned the development of a KIO error to FUSE error mapping and 32 bit support.

        However, interestingly enough it took quite a long time for the 32-bit support branch to be merged. This was because of a test that didn’t fail nor pass – it froze. The test suite would never finish and the process would only respond to SIGKILL. After days of debugging it was determined that fuse_notify_inval_* functions don’t play well when writeback caching is enabled and hence there is now a patch to disable it. Of course this will incur a performance hit as writes will go straight to KIOFuse, and hence straight to disk (although the kernel may cache our write requests to our own cache). Whilst this is unfortunate, seeming as most KIO slaves are network based, switching from a writeback caching policy to a writethrough one is unlikely to hamper performance too much.

        In other news, KIOFuse can now handle SIGTERM, SIGINT and SIGHUP signals. Signal handlers can only call async-signal-safe functions. However in Qt there is a bit of hack one can perform, as inspired by this tutorial. Hence, in response to these signals, KIOFuse will flush all dirty nodes to disk, meaning no sudden data loss!

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • ‘Material Shell’ is Probably The Most Impressive Thing You’ll See This Month

        The really good news about this particularly slick set-up is that you don’t just have to sit there drooling at it: you can download and try it out for yourself!

        Admittedly things aren’t yet one-click easy yet, but getting this up and running on your own desktop is not super difficult either, so long as you’re running GNOME 3.32.

        Just download the Material Shell extension from Github, move the bundle to the correct location, and then enable the extension via GNOME Tweaks.

      • Material Shell Is A New Tiling Shell For Gnome (Beta)

        Material Shell is a new tiling shell replacement for Gnome Shell that’s currently in beta. It’s tagline mentions that this extension proposes “a performant and simple opinionated mouse/keyboard workflow to increase daily productivity and comfort”, while also following the Material Design guidelines.

        The extension adds a new panel on the left-hand side of the screen, which has (from top to bottom) an Activities Overview button, application categories buttons (Internet, Development, Social, etc.), and a tray at the bottom.

        What’s more, Material Shell replaces the top bar with its own bar that lists each running application for a particular category, a + button that allows opening another application from that category, and a button to switch between tiling layouts (only 2 are available for now) for the applications in that particular category.

        Also, window titlebars for applications that don’t use client side decorations are removed, being replaced with the application name in the top panel added by Material Shell. A close button is also there, for easily quitting applications, though you can also use Super + Q to quit an app.

      • Initial Fun with the Open Desktop Ratings Service: Swearing!

        The ODRS is the service that produces ratings and reviews for gnome-software. I built the service a few years ago, and it’s been dutifully trucking on ever since. There are over 25,000 reviews, 50k votes, and over 4k different applications reviewed. Over half a million clients get application reviews every single day.

  • Distributions

    • SystemRescueCd – a live system that rescues data and systems

      The SystemRescueCd live system contains numerous tools that you can use to recover deleted files or a defective system.

      The SystemRescueCd live system above all offers programs with which you can reanimate defective data carriers and recover data. It includes the Firefox browser, which can also be used to search for solutions to a problem on the Internet if the permanently installed system fails to boot. Finally, SystemRescueCd provides useful tools for everyday work, such as creating or shrinking hard disk partitions. The live system relies on standard tools such as the well-known GParted for partitioning hard disks.

    • Reviews

      • Zorin OS vs Ubuntu: Can the Student Defeat the Master?

        The Linux landscape is dominated by a small handful of venerable distributions, most of which have been around for what seems like ages, each with its own dedicated following of users willing to draw blood in its defense. But if you zoom in, you’ll be able to notice that for each major Linux distribution, there are hundreds of smaller derivates.
        While most derivatives of major Linux distributions are utterly irrelevant, some manage to rise to prominence and sometimes even join the ranks of such prominent distributions like Debian, Fedora, Arch Linux, or Slackware.

        When Ubuntu was first released, it was dismissed by many as yet another Debian clone. However, the distribution proved its critics wrong, and it now has a seat in the Linux hall of fame. Now, a relatively unknown Ubuntu derivative is attempting to follow in Ubuntu’s footsteps, and the entire Linux community is starting to pay attention, which is why we think it’s the right time to compare the two distributions to see if the student can defeat the master.

    • Fedora Family

      • F30-20190628 updated isos released

        The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated F30-20190605 Live ISOs, carrying the 5.1.15-200 kernel.

        This set of updated isos will save considerable amounts of updates after install. ((for new installs.)(New installs of Workstation have 1.2GB of updates)).

        A huge thank you goes out to irc nicks dowdle, Short-bike,Southern-Gentlem for testing these iso.

  • Devices/Embedded

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • On Why OpenStack Foundation Joined the OSI

      Over the past year, the definition of open source has been challenged, as some companies wanted to change the licensing of their software while continuing to reap the benefits of calling it open source, or at least the benefits of being potentially confused with open source.

      That makes the work of the Open Source Initiative more important than ever. For more than 20 years, the OSI has been a steadfast guardian of the Open Source Definition. They’ve kept it focused on user freedoms, evaluating new proposed software licenses against that definition, while discouraging further license proliferation. They’ve also been instrumental to the success of open source through their tireless advocacy and education work.

      These objectives resonate with the work we do at the OpenStack Foundation (OSF). Today open source is necessary, but not sufficient: users of open-source licensed software are sometimes denied some of the original free and open source software benefits. We need to go beyond how the software is licensed and drive new standards on how open source should be built. Users should be able to tell easily the difference between a truly open collaboration guaranteeing all of open source benefits and single-vendor or open core projects.

    • Web Browsers

      • Mozilla

        • 8 Years of Reps Program, Celebrating Community Successes!

          The Reps program idea was started in 2010 by William Quiviger and Pierros Papadeas, until officially launched and welcoming volunteers onboard as Mozilla Reps in 2011. The Mozilla Reps program aims to empower and support volunteer Mozillians who want to be official representatives of Mozilla in their region/locale/country. The program provides a framework and a specific set of tools to help Mozillians to organize and/or attend events, recruit and mentor new contributors, document and share activities, and support their local communities better. The Reps program was created to help communities around the world. Community is the backbone of the Mozilla project. As the Mozilla project grows in scope and scale, community needs to be strengthened and empowered accordingly. This is the central aim of the Mozilla Reps program: to empower and to help push responsibility to the edges, in order to help the Mozilla contributor base grow. Nowadays, the Reps are taking a stronger point by becoming the Community Coordinators.

        • Will Kahn-Greene: Crash pings (Telemetry) and crash reports (Socorro/Crash Stats)

          I keep getting asked questions that stem from confusion about crash pings and crash reports, the details of where they come from, differences between the two data sets, what each is currently good for, and possible future directions for work on both. I figured I’d write it all down.

          This is a brain dump and sort of a blog post and possibly not a good version of either. I desperately wished it was more formal and mind-blowing like something written by Chutten or Alessio.

          It’s likely that this is 90% true today but as time goes on, things will change and it may be horribly wrong depending on how far in the future you’re reading this. As I find out things are wrong, I’ll keep notes. Any errors are my own.

    • Databases

      • CIS Benchmark for PostgreSQL 11 Enhances PostgreSQL Security for Enterprises
      • Crunchy Data releases an update to the CIS Benchmark for PostgreSQL 11

        Crunchy Data, the leading provider of trusted open source PostgreSQL technology and support, in collaboration with the Center for Internet Security, announces the publication of a PostgreSQL CIS Benchmark for PostgreSQL 11.

        Crunchy Data again collaborated with CIS by evaluating open source PostgreSQL 11 against CIS’s security requirements and developed the guide defining how open source PostgreSQL can be configured and deployed to meet security requirements for enterprise systems.

        The PostgreSQL CIS Benchmark offers security-conscious enterprises a comprehensive guide for open source PostgreSQL configuration and usage. Enterprises can refer to the CIS Benchmark as they consider open source PostgreSQL as an alternative to proprietary and other database systems.

    • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • Annual Report 2018: LibreOffice events and activities around the world

        Zdeněk Crhonek and Stanislav Horáček attended the two biggest Czech FOSS events, LinuxDays in Prague and OpenAlt in Brno. There was generally positive feedback from users, interest in new features and what is going on. Also, there was discussion with someone from the National Technical Library in Prague (who enthusiastic about FOSS, migrated client computers to Linux and LibreOffice, and encouraging us to spread the word about it) and a representative of an organization trying to coordinate using FOSS in Czech municipalities (two towns running LibreOffice, with the intention to pay for some bug fixing).

        Other meetups took place at these events: a meeting with the Slovak community (Miloš Šrámek and Andrej Kapuš) in Brno, a meeting with the Czech localization community (Mozilla, Linux distributions), discussing mainly the possibility of a new Czech dictionary, and a discussion with a marketing specialist who suggested ways to simplify the LibreOffice web page.

        Apart from events, the Czech community worked continuous localization of LibreOffice’s user interface, website, help and marketing materials (press releases, video subtitles). There was also user support and moderation on the Czech “Ask LibreOffice” site.

      • LibreOffice QA Report: June 2019
    • Funding

      • NexDock 2 Hands-On Video

        The NexDock 2 crowdfunding swiftly met its goal earlier this year (no major shock as there’s little else like it out there to my knowledge).

        A 13.3-inch laptop shell that lets you use smartphones and single-board PCs as fully-fledged computers. The NexDock provides the screen, keyboard and trackpad, and your phone or Raspberry Pi provides the brain.

        Every time I see the dock in action I want one. And that want goes double since the launch of the Raspberry Pi 4 and its touted desktop-class performance…

        Anyway, if you want one you can have one.

    • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

      • A worldwide, open source model for solar performance

        As solar’s share in the global energy mix continues to grow, managing the intermittencies inherent to the technology and ensuring its reliable integration into grids is an ever more important question.

        By collecting 38 years’ of irradiation, temperature and weather data and combining it with the historical output of European solar installations, scientists at Denmark’s Aarhus University have developed a model they say can predict the output of PV projects anywhere in the world.

        “We can look at not only a single installation but energy production in entire countries or continents from PV installations,” said Marta Victoria, an assistant professor at Aarhus University. “This is extremely important for the way in which the energy systems of the future can be combined to function optimally.”

    • Programming/Development

      • Python list comprehension with Examples

        This tutorial covers how list comprehension works in Python. It includes many examples which would help you to familiarize the concept and you should be able to implement it in your live project at the end of this lesson.

      • uarray update: API changes, overhead and comparison to __array_function__

        uarray is a generic override framework for objects and methods in Python. Since my last uarray blogpost, there have been plenty of developments, changes to the API and improvements to the overhead of the protocol. Let’s begin with a walk-through of the current feature set and API, and then move on to current developments and how it compares to __array_function__. For further details on the API and latest developments, please see the API page for uarray. The examples there are doctested, so they will always be current.

      • Find the working hour for a project with Python program

        In this article, we will write a python program to figure out how much time we will need to contribute to a project as a freelancer, but before that, let us go through the below problem first!

        You are the best freelancer in the city. Everybody knows you, but what they don’t know, is that you are actually offloading your work to other freelancers and you rarely need to do any work. You’re living the life!

        Giving the amount of time in minutes needed to complete the project and an array of pair values representing other freelancers’ time in [Hours, Minutes] format ie. [[2, 33], [3, 44]] calculate how much time you will need to contribute to the project (if at all) and return a string depending on the case.

      • EuroPython 2019: Late Bird Rates and Day Passes

        We will have the following categories of late bird ticket prices for the conference tickets:

      • EuroPython 2019: Find a new job at the conferenc
      • 5 common mistakes made by beginner python programmers

        During the initial days as python programmer, all of us face some or other type of weird bug in our code which, after spending multiple painful hours on StackOverflow, turns out to be not a bug but python feature. That’s how things work in python. So below are the 5 most common mistakes most of the beginner python programmers make. Let’s know a bit about them so that we can save a few hours of asking questions on Facebook pages and groups.

      • How to Use the Python or Operator

        There are three Boolean operators in Python: and, or, and not. With them, you can test conditions and decide which execution path your programs will take. In this tutorial, you’ll learn about the Python or operator and how to use it.

      • Introduction to GANs with Python and TensorFlow

        Generative models are a family of AI architectures whose aim is to create data samples from scratch. They achieve this by capturing the data distributions of the type of things we want to generate.

      • Humble Book Bundle: Open Source Bookshelf

        This book bundle is the perfect one for you if you’re interested in diving more deeply into the open-source developing space. If you’re a starving developer, this could help even more, as you will pay very little when you buy the Humble Book Bundle: Open Source Bookshelf by Bleeding Edge Press. You’ll pay as little as $1 for books that explain creating interfaces with Bulma, chatbots for eCommerce, practical gRPC, and more. You’ll get instruction and hands-on training in several areas. Buy the bundle and receive only the books you really need to dive deeper into open-source developing.

        When you purchase the instructional books you’re most interested in, the price you pay will include some of the money going toward charity. You can donate to Humble’s featured charity, Girls Who Code, or choose a different charity as well. Humble has raised $150,000,000 to date for its various charities.

      • Why We Removed the “Free” Channel in Conda 4.7

        One of the changes we made in Conda 4.7 was the removal of a software collection called “free” from the default channel configuration. The “free” channel is our collection of packages prior to the switch in recipes/compilers that we did for the Anaconda Distribution 5.0 release. The current primary channel, “main,” is also totally free of charge. This is not a switch to charging for packages, only a switch from two potential pools of packages to just one. We removed the “free” channel from defaults for a number of reasons – all oriented towards providing you with a faster Conda experience.


        The brokenness that can come from the free channel can be obvious (solves taking hours) or subtle (cryptic error messages about seemingly unrelated parts), but we hope this clarifies the situation and helps you get back on track if you’ve been affected by this change. Be sure to try to rectify the usage of free in your packages, rather than leaving this setting on.

      • Awakening from the lucid dream

        While I was happy to see her familiar face, her presence struck me as odd; what would Kat, a Collabora QA team lead, be doing managing community folks on-site at a Purism facility in California? I would have thought Heather (Purism’s phone project manager) would be around, but I didn’t see her or other recognizeable members of the team. Well, probably because I was just passing through a crowd of 20 people spread on tables around a lobby area—a transitional space—set up as an ad-hoc workshop. One of the walls had big windows that let me see into a shipping area and actual meeting rooms. I went to the meeting rooms.

      • Ngrx Entities and One to Many Relationships

        When I started with Ngrx the Entity module didn’t exist. My state consisted of arrays of objects. The reducers and selectors were array manipulations. It worked well but if the state had a large number of objects, the filter and maps were expensive and required lots of code.
        The Entity library made it much simpler. My reducers are much less code and dramatically simple in comparison. The selectors are about half the length. It all works quickly, is easy to set up.

        Essentially the data is stored as an entity object. { [id: string|number]: dataobj} There is a list of id’s, which can be sorted. You access a specific object using the id as a property. entity[id]. If you have a list of id’s, idlist.map(i => entity[i] will give you a list of objects. The Entity can sort the ids, extract whatever key you want from your data. But what if you have a relational data structure?

      • This Week in Rust 293

        Hello and welcome to another issue of This Week in Rust! Rust is a systems language pursuing the trifecta: safety, concurrency, and speed. This is a weekly summary of its progress and community. Want something mentioned? Tweet us at @ThisWeekInRust or send us a pull request. Want to get involved? We love contributions.

      • Introduction to PyCharm Themes

        If you are an intensive coder, there will always be chances of you being more inclined towards the dark coding theme. According to research, over 70% of the software developers prefer to code on a dark themed IDE since it helps them concentrate longer and pay more attention to the screen. Does that happen with you too?
        While colors and attractive backgrounds bring a fresher vibe to the working environment, completely dark background, on the other hand, makes it easier to focus on the screen and helps your brain stay active while you code. Nonetheless, always choose a color scheme that is comfortable for you and increases your productivity on all levels!

      • Go programming on a Raspberry Pi
  • Leftovers

    • Security

      • Security updates for Wednesday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (pdns), Fedora (kernel and kernel-headers), Mageia (cgit and firefox), Oracle (libssh2 and qemu-kvm), Red Hat (openstack-ironic-inspector, openstack-tripleo-common, and qemu-kvm-rhev), Scientific Linux (libssh2 and qemu-kvm), SUSE (bzip2, cronie, libtasn1, nmap, php7, php72, python-Twisted, and taglib), and Ubuntu (thunderbird and znc).

      • Google Releases July 2019′s Android Security Patch to Fix over 30 Security Flaws

        Google has released today the Android Security Patch for July 2019 for all supported Pixel devices to address the latest security issues, fix bugs, and add various improvements.


        Apart from all the security fixes, the Android Security Patch for July 2019 also fixes various bugs for supported Pixel devices. As such, it improves the “OK Google” hotword and music detection on Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL devices, and addresses an issue for some Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL devices getting stuck during boot.

        Moreover, Google fixed an issue on Pixel 3, Pixel 3, XL, Pixel 3a, and Pixel 3a XL devices getting stuck in EDL mode with a blank screen, improves Unicode Japanese language support for Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, and Pixel 3a XL devices, and improves the performance of the Titan M module on the Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, and Pixel 3a XL.

        The Android Security Patch for July 2019 is now rolling out to all supported Pixel devices, including the Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, and Pixel 3a XL, and it should also be available shortly for other Android devices from major manufacturers like Essential, Sony, and others. The rollout will take a few days to arrive to all users, so make sure you update as soon as possible.

      • Chinese Border Agents Now Installing Malware On Foreigners’ Cellphones

        It’s a pretty open intrusion. The malware makes no attempt to hide itself. It even places an icon on the device’s application screen. The app has been uploaded by Motherboard and analysis shows this may possibly be for the convenience of the person scanning the phone. The app is sideloaded by border agents, who run a scan and search for the targeted content. Once this is done, those files can be viewed/exfiltrated and the app uninstalled. Also, soon after the article was published, most of the major anti-malware providers started flagging this software.

        It’s all part of the surveillance regime the Chinese government has directed towards the Uighur population in Xinjiang. Only now it’s spread past the historically-oppressed population to visitors to the region. Pretty much anyone travelling into the region via certain checkpoints is subject to device seizures and malware installation.

      • VMware begins patching process for Linux SACK vulnerabilities

        The two flaws, SACK Panic (CVE-2019-11477) and SACK Excess Resource Usage (CVE-2019-11478), were originally found and disclosed by Netflix researchers, along with two Linux bugs.

        “These issues may allow a malicious entity to execute a denial of service attack against affected products, warns a July 2 company security advisory that collectively rates the vulnerabilities as important in severity. (SACK Panic has a CVSSv3 base score of 7.5, while SACK Excess Resource Usage has a score of 5.3.)

        As of July 3, 11:30 a.m. ET, patches were available for SD-WAN Edge by VeloCloud, SD-WAN Gateway by VeloCloud, SD-WAN Orchestrator by VeloCloud, Unified Access Gateway and vCenter Server Appliance, and workarounds were available for Unified Access Gateway and vCloud Director for Service Providers.

    • Environment

      • US Tops List Of Countries Fuelling The Mounting Waste Crisis

        America’s thirst for consumption is not matched by an appetite for recycling, reveals new data identifying the country is the world’s top producer of waste and one of the worst of any industrialised nation for managing its trash.

        In two new indices, we’ve measured the waste generation and recycling performance of 194 countries to uncover a global picture of how countries are dealing with the waste they produce at a time where the world is facing a mounting crisis, primarily driven by plastics.

        The research calculates that over 2.1 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) are generated globally each year – enough to fill 822,000 Olympic-size swimming pools, which would stretch 41,000 kms if laid out end-to-end. However, only 16% (323 million tonnes) of this is recycled each year, while 46% (950 million tonnes) is disposed of unsustainably.

      • US revealed to be the biggest driver of the world’s waste crisis

        A new study has identified the United States—the nation where the idea of mass production was born—as the world’s top producer of waste while also being the worst among industrialised nations at managing it.

        The US generates 12 per cent of global municipal waste—three times the global average—but only accounts for 4 per cent of the world’s population, reads the report, which was produced by Verisk Maplecroft, a United Kingdom-based research firm and consultancy specialising in global risk data and country risk analysis.

        Worse still, of the staggering volumes of junk the country that created globalised consumer goods brand names such as Starbucks, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola as well as the Black Friday sales produces, only 35 per cent are adequately recycled, the study shows.

      • US top of the garbage pile in global waste crisis

        The world produces over two billion tonnes of municipal solid waste every year, enough to fill over 800,000 Olympic sized swimming pools.
        Per head of population the worst offenders are the US, as Americans produce three times the global average of waste, including plastic and food.
        When it comes to recycling, America again lags behind other countries, only re-using 35% of solid waste.
        Germany is the most efficient country, recycling 68% of material.

      • Waste Crisis: Americans Create 3x More Waste Than Global Average

        On average, each American produces three times as much trash as the global mean. That includes plastics and food waste. In fact, the firm estimates that each American produces over 1,700 pounds (773 kg) of solid waste per year, which includes 234 pounds of plastic. That means every American’s output is three times that of the average Chinese person and seven times more than people living in Ethiopia, according to the report, as the BBC reported.

        And the U.S. is not doing well at recycling all that plastic. The firm found that the U.S. only recycled 35 percent of its municipal waste, while Germany, the most efficient country recycles 68 percent of its global waste.

        “The US is the only developed nation whose waste generation outstrips its ability to recycle, underscoring a shortage of political will and investment in infrastructure,” the firm said, as The Guardian reported.

      • Park Service Directed To Shift $2.5 Million In Fees To Help Pay For July 4 Parade: Report

        The National Park Service will divert about $2.5 million in fees gathered from park-goers to help pay for the hefty costs of President Donald Trump’s Fourth of July celebration, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

        The White House has been preparing for the president’s “Salute to America” on Thursday, a grand parade meant to showcase what Trump has called the “strongest and most advanced” military on the planet. Tanks have been shipped from Georgia, and a flyover by Air Force One is scheduled, as well as a promised “biggest ever” fireworks display, according to Trump.

      • Trump’s July 4 Charade Will Take $2.5 Million Away From National Parks Funds

        Previous Independence Day celebrations have had a total price tag of around $2 million, former National Park Service Deputy Director Denis P. Galvin told The Washington Post. But Trump’s festivities will include flyovers from military jets including the Blue Angels, a display of tanks on the National Mall, and what Time reported will be the largest fireworks display in Washington, DC’s history. The nearly $2.5 million diverted from the parks will only cover a fraction of the cost, The Washington Post said.

        That money will come from park entrance and recreation fees, which usually go towards maintenance and improvement. The National Park System currently has a $12 billion maintenance backlog, The Huffington Post reported. The park money directed towards Trump’s event would typically have gone to improving the visitor experience at the National Mall or funding projects at smaller parks such as road repairs and habitat restoration, according to The Washington Post. The total equals around five percent of what lower-earning parks paid for upgrades last year.

      • This Fourth of July, You’ll See 70% More Algae Outbreaks Than Last Year

        Recreating in or near water stricken by an algae bloom can lead to serious health consequences. Short-term exposure — whether through skin contact or ingestion — to the toxins sometimes produced by algae outbreaks has been linked to sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and liver damage.

        These outbreaks don’t just affect peoples’ health, they also hurt their wallets. Algae keeps people away from businesses near affected lakes, such as marinas and restaurants.

        Lake Hopatcong, in New Jersey, is currently suffering the biggest bloom ever recorded in the state. Hopatcong Mayor Mike Francis says it could have devastating impacts on the health of residents and his town’s economy.

      • Energy

        • Philadelphia Explosion One in String of ‘Near Miss’ Accidents at Refineries Using Deadly Chemical

          Next Friday, July 12, the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery in south Philadelphia is slated to close its doors, marking the end of an era that began in 1866, one year after the Civil War ended, when 50,000 barrels of kerosene and chemicals were first stored on site.

          The plant — which continued to struggle financially after emerging from bankruptcy in August 2018 — experienced a major industrial accident on June 21. That morning, a massive fireball lit up the pre-dawn sky over Philadelphia after leaking hydrocarbon gas had ignited. Five workers were injured, all treated on site. Three explosions shook walls in Philadelphia and the blast was reportedly felt as far away as South Jersey.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Sixth North Atlantic Right Whale Found Dead Prompts Concern From Researchers

          Considered one of the most endangered species of whale in the world by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, the North Atlantic right whale population is decreasing with only about 400 animals left in the world and just 100 breeding females. As the slow-moving baleen whales follow food sources, researchers at Dalhousie University say their behavioral and feeding patterns must be tracked in order to save the species.

          “It could be that the whales are in different places or are choosing different routes into the Gulf and that made these measures somewhat ineffective. So, we have to go back and find out where the whales are, predict their distribution and take measures to protect them,” said university marine biologist Boris Worm.

          It appears the whales are shifting movements, making vessel speed and traffic restrictions in place to protect the whales less effective. Necropsies carried out this year suggest some of the whales died from collisions with ships — an increasingly common and fatal occurrence.

        • With six right whale deaths and counting, researchers seek solutions

          With six right whales found dead thus far this summer — including four in a single 48-hour span — Dal researchers discuss the urgency in identifying where the whales are migrating to help protect the endangered species.

        • Six endangered North Atlantic right whales died last month alone

          There’s more grim news for the North Atlantic right whale, one of the most endangered whale species in the world. In June this year, six individuals were spotted dead in Canadian waters. Among them was a breeding female named Punctuation who had given birth to eight known calves and had been a grandmother to at least two grand-calves during her lifetime.

          With only some 400 North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) estimated to survive today, researchers and conservation groups are worried.

        • Grandmother and Grandfather Among 4 Endangered Whales That Died This Month

          Four North Atlantic right whales were found dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Canada in the last three weeks, representing about one percent of the remaining population that is closely watched.

          One, named Punctuation, was a breeding female who had mothered eight calves and then gone on to have several grandchildren, making her death a significant loss for a dwindling population. She had been sighted as long ago as 38 years.

        • North Atlantic Right Whales Are Dying in Horrific Ways

          She was called Punctuation, after the small scars on her head that looked like commas and dashes. She was a North Atlantic right whale, one of an estimated 411 left in the world. She was one of just 100 reproductively active females left. She was mother to at least eight calves, and a grandmother to at least two grand-calves. She was about 40 years old when her body was found floating in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on June 20, 2019. Preliminary results from a necropsy suggest that she likely died after being hit by a ship.

        • Statement by Minister Garneau regarding actions taken to address the recent deaths of North Atlantic right whales

          “Due to the unfortunate deaths of a number of North Atlantic right whales in Canadian waters, Transport Canada is implementing an interim precautionary speed restriction of 10 knots, for vessels of 20 metres or more in length travelling in the western the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in the two designated shipping lanes north and south of Anticosti Island. This measure is effective immediately.

        • 2017-2019 North Atlantic Right Whale Unusual Mortality Event

          Since June 7, 2017, elevated North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) mortalities have been documented, primarily in Canada and were declared an Unusual Mortality Event. In 2017, there was a total of 17 confirmed dead stranded whales (12 in Canada; 5 in the United States) and in 2018, three whales stranded in the United States. In 2019, six whales have stranded in Canada. The current total mortalities for the UME is 26 dead stranded whales (18 in Canada; 8 in the United States).

        • Arctic Fox’s Record-Breaking Journey Might Not Have Been Possible Without Sea Ice

          Scientists were left “speechless” by a female Arctic fox’s record-breaking journey from Norway’s Svalbard islands to northern Canada, BBC News reported Monday.

          The fox traveled 3,506 kilometers (approximately 2,176 miles) in 76 days, one of the longest journeys for the species ever recorded, according to a paper documenting her trek. At one point, she clocked 155 kilometers (approximately 96 miles) a day.

        • Arctic fox treks more than 2,700 miles in four months

          Norwegian researchers have said they were stunned to learn that a juvenile fox managed to cross thousands of miles across the Arctic in just a few months last year.

          A group of scientists at the Norwegian Polar Institute recently said the Arctic fox, a species that can be found all around the Arctic, trekked from Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, into northern Canada at a pace never previously documented by researchers.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Sinclair Faces Expanded Probe For Shady Behavior During Tribune Merger

        And it’s more than this kind of homogenized, consolidation “news” being rather creepy and teetering toward disinformation. There’s data to suggest that when you obliterate nuanced local journalism and replace it with monolithic, partisan crap from the likes of Sinclair, you wind up with a more divided and less informed populace. That populace is far less likely to think independently, and far more likely to just double down on partisan viewpoints, which can actually swing elections.

        So while the idea of protecting the diversity of local media is often viewed as something that’s “partisan” in and of itself, the protection of quality, truly local journalism is something that benefits everybody. It’s not clear that’s a lesson that has truly gotten through to many Americans, whether this particular merger succeeded or not.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • EFF and OTI Respond to the UK Government’s Online Harms White Paper

        Earlier this year, the UK government produced the “Online Harms White Paper,” creating a plan for a “system of accountability and oversight for tech companies.” The draft scheme put forth by the government is flawed, and these flaws prompted EFF and OTI to respond to the questions asked by the government. Ultimately, EFF and OTI felt the need to draw a line under a few crucial problems, within the bounds allowed by comment system set up by the government.

        The white paper paints a very broad brush over the Internet, which is more nuanced than the paper accounts for. It has been validly criticized on a number of fronts. In our response to ten of the 18 questions posed by the government, the repeated themes were the dangers of one nation’s government asserting control over free expression across the world, the possibility that the system proposed would benefit tech giants the most, and the importance of protecting encrypted communications.

      • Senator Lindsey Graham To Host Special ‘But Think Of The Children Online!’ Moral Panic Hearing

        Senator Lindsey Graham is not exactly the most tech savvy of politicians — and he demonstrates this is the most predictable of ways: falling for bogus tropes about the internet, while always (always) kowtowing to the surveillance state. He’s not sure that bloggers should be protected by the 1st Amendment, and he thinks that the law requires internet platforms to be neutral (it does not). Of course, one thing he likes about the internet is the fact that it allows the intelligence community to sweep up all your data.

        But his latest is that next week he’ll be hosting a hearing with the most ridiculous of moral panic titles around: “Protecting Innocence in a Digital World.” There’s no more information about what the panel is officially about or who will be speaking, but from the name alone you can assume it’s going to be full on moral panics about the evils of the internet and how “something must be done” to “protect the children.” Of course, given his earlier comments on why Section 230 of the CDA is no good, there’s a decent likelihood that this, too, will be attacked during the hearing — even though CDA 230 was literally written to enable platforms to create “family friendly” spaces — and amending it would likely take away those incentives.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Amazon stores Alexa transcripts indefinitely

        Amazon has confirmed that it keeps transcripts of users’ Alexa voice recordings indefinitely on its servers. The company also keeps Alexa voice recordings indefinitely. According to Amazon, customers customers do have an option to delete both the transcripts and voice recordings.

        This comes after US Senator Chris Coons sent a letter to Jeff Bezos, CEO and Founder of Amazon, raising some privacy concerns.

        “Devices like Amazon’s Echo can make consumers’ lives easier–they can play our favorite music, order dinner, and adjust the temperature in our homes, all with a simple verbal command. While this technology can be helpful, it’s important that the right privacy protections are in place. Recent reports have raised questions about how Amazon collects and stores voice data. Senator Jeff Flake and I sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos asking what steps are being taken to protect consumer privacy and ensure information is not shared without consent,” said Coons.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Victory: Somerville, Massachusetts Stands Up to Stop Face Surveillance

        The city council of Somerville, Massachusetts voted unanimously last week to become the first city on the East Coast to ban government face surveillance. It is encouraging to see cities across the country take this proactive step in anticipating the surveillance problems on the horizon and head them off in advance. This is far easier than trying to put the proverbial genie back in the bottle after it causes harm.

        “In Somerville we take fairness, justice, and individual liberties seriously,” Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone tweeted after signing the ordinance, which was introduced by Somerville City Councilor Ben Ewen-Campen. “Facial recognition software automates civil rights abuses and extends (and somewhat corporatizes) a pervasive surveillance state.”

        Face recognition technology can be used for identifying or verifying the identity of an individual using photos or video. Government can even conduct dragnet, real-time face surveillance of entire neighborhoods. Face recognition technology is also prone to error, implicating people for crimes they haven’t committed.

        In addition to banning government face surveillance in its own city, the Somerville city council has also endorsed a pair of bills that would place a moratorium on face surveillance across Massachusetts.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • We Should Probably Stop Blaming Technology For The Failings Of Human Beings

        As she notes, we in the west can argue that US and western influence campaigns around the world were different from, say, Russian or Chinese influence campaigns these days, but it’s a distinction that doesn’t much matter to those pushing disinformation campaigns today. They see it all as the same thing.

        She ends her piece with some suggestions on what to do — and I recommend going there to read them — but I’m still thinking a lot about how the internet has really held up a mirror to society, and we don’t really like what we see. But rather than recognizing that we need to fix society — or some of our political corruptions — we find it easier to blame the messenger. We find it easier to blame the tool that held up this mirror to society.

        We can’t fix the underlying problems of society — including over-aggressive tribalism — by forcing tech companies to be arbiters of truth. We can’t fix underlying problems of society by saying “well, this dumb view should never be allowed to be shared” no matter how dumb. We fix the underlying problems in society by actually understanding what went wrong, and what is still going wrong. But fixing society is hard. Blaming the big new(ish) companies and their technology is easy. But it’s not going to fix anything at all if we keep denying the larger fundamental flaws and problems in society that created the conditions that resulted in the tech being used this way.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • NASA, NOAA, and the Navy Tell The FCC Its 5G Plan Will Harm Weather Forecasting

        More plainly, water vapor emits radiation at 23.8GHz. Both the NOAA and NASA say monitoring these vapors won’t be possible if the neighboring band is too noisy. Things like hurricane forecasts, they say, could take up to two to three days longer if adequate protections aren’t put in place. There’s far more detail in this recent article in Nature, where academics note that while far more scientific study is needed, the interference potential here is a very real threat.

        AT&T and other industry players recently gobbled up spectrum in the band at auction, and have an obvious vested interest in getting the spectrum in place quickly as they look to cash in on fifth generation wireless (5G).

    • Monopolies

      • Gibson Guitar Declares Shift In IP Enforcement After Most Recent Public Backlash

        Our past posts on Gibson Guitar, the famed guitar-maker, have revealed roughly a decade of strict IP enforcement and other busuiness challenges. Between waffling on its support for SOPA and its own failures to properly innovate in a direction that met its customers’ demand, never mind its odd legal trouble over “illegal” wood used in its guitars and the bankruptcy it underwent a few years back, we’re not left with a picture of a well-oiled business. Despite that, emerging from bankruptcy, Gibson has continued its IP maximilist ways, most notably in the past few weeks with a lawsuit against the owner of Dean and Luna Guitars for trademark infringement and counterfeiting over several guitar body designs that the defendants claim aren’t protectable.

        There are two important aspects of that specific dispute to note here. First, the public backlash against Gibson over the lawsuit was firm and swift. Second, this specific dispute originated with cease and desist notices sent out by Gibson’s legal team back in 2017. That is particularly notable as it was only in November of 2018 that Gibson brought on a new CEO, James Curleigh. In the wake of the backlash over the past few weeks, Curleigh has gone out of his way to promise the public that Gibson is going to quickly move on from its IP maximilist ways.

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