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07.18.19

2 Days Later (Case in Progress) and Still Media Silence About G 2/19

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Shades of something like controversial D notices

A camera cover

Summary: The very legitimacy of years’ worth of rulings and the EPO’s abusive attacks on judges are under the microscope; but the media isn’t paying any attention, perhaps deliberately

THE Campinos/Battistelli-led European Patent Office (EPO) is interfering with justice and grossly violating the EPC every single day. What’s more, those who can point out such violations are not capable of speaking out; notice how there’s still not a single article in the media or so-called ‘IP’ blogs about G 2/19. Surely a lot of bloggers (e.g. Kluwer Patent Blog) are well aware, not to mention JUVE.

“…those who can point out such violations are not capable of speaking out; notice how there’s still not a single article in the media or so-called ‘IP’ blogs about G 2/19.”“Patent law cannot exist in isolation from the technical subject matter to which patents are concerned,” Rose Hughes wrote yesterday in IP Kat, which is not the blog it used to be. These ads/puff pieces (EQEs) merely highlight the gross apathy is not complicity. They don’t seem to care that the EPO defies the very rules that govern its existence. Back in the days they did care, but then the EPO sanctioned them, whereupon some key bloggers left (“Merpel” virtually vanished) and comments about EPO abuses started to be deleted if not impeded.

The ‘Linux’ Foundation is Acting Like a Microsoft ISV Now, Commitment to Linux and FOSS Deteriorates Even Further

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 1:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lust for money can also be a nonprofit’s Achilles heel

Linux Foundation finds microsoft

Summary: The Linux Foundation has just announced a new Microsoft-funded initiative that’s pushing GitHub and CLAs (passing copyrights on code to corporations)

THE Linux Foundation makes us increasingly cynical about its use of the brand “Linux”, hence the scare quotes in the headline. Its adherence or commitment to Free software was never a big thing, but at least it was more or less loyal to GNU/Linux about a decade ago.

“Does the Linux Foundation want Linux to actually succeed? Or does it just want the Linux Foundation to succeed (in financial terms)?”Things have changed.

Earlier this year we began examining pertinent bits of evidence, based on pointers sent to us from people with connections (not necessarily insiders). The more we started digging, the more worried we became. Does the Linux Foundation want Linux to actually succeed? Or does it just want the Linux Foundation to succeed (in financial terms)? It certainly seems as though, over time, it’s more and more of the latter. Microsoft couldn’t be happier!

By paying companies like Novell and Canonical (through Azure for example) Microsoft has created the financial conditions that cultivate abandonment of GNU/Linux as a desktop platform. “Stay out of our turf,” they implicitly suggest or signal, “and you shalt be paid…”

“By paying companies like Novell and Canonical (through Azure for example) Microsoft has created the financial conditions that cultivate abandonment of GNU/Linux as a desktop platform.”Look at Linux.com’s front page. It’s full of Microsoft propaganda and anti-Linux FUD. I posted lots of complaints about it yesterday, as did some readers. For instance, they’re painting the company that actively attacks FOSS in election platforms as “Open Source” (in the elections context). By doing so the Foundation becomes an active participant in what PR agencies of Microsoft hope to spread. I’ve put remarks in daily links’ latest or here in Tux Machines (down the middle). I am disgusted, disappointed but not surprised (anymore) by the Linux Foundation becoming a Microsoft front (more and more over time). “They hijacked the Web site Linux.com,” one reader said to me this morning. This reader hates the site now. After 6 years reading it daily. “Eventually they are just going to promote Microsoft,” the reader said, “but we just noticed it first…”

So what’s the latest worrisome example? Well, the Foundation published this page entitled “Project Maintainers: Reduce Your CLA Administrative Headaches Today” (sounds benign, right?).

This is proprietary software for CLA (no friend of real FOSS). The Foundation is actively attacking, on Microsoft’s payroll, a key tenet of Free software, suggesting that people should assign copyrights (on their code) to large corporations like those which fund the Foundation. As a reminder, the Foundation actually recommended a site for job applicants (for leadership of this) which is linked to Microsoft's LinkedIn.

Is it the Linux Foundation or the Microsoft Foundation?

“Is it the Linux Foundation or the Microsoft Foundation?”But here’s the even more troubling point: The Foundation has basically just promoted proprietary software funded by Microsoft. Yes, the above is funded by Microsoft through GitHub. “Any project hosted by the Linux Foundation and using either GitHub or Gerrit can use EasyCLA,” says the Linux Foundation, embedding just a GitHub logo in the diagram/schematics. Microsoft GitHub is funding this thing for the ‘Linux’ Foundation to be acting like a Microsoft marketing/recruitment front. ISV? Channel partner? Call it whatever, but we know who’s being served.

We’ve meanwhile noticed today’s article from OpenSource.com in which an employee of IBM (not Red Hat) promotes GitHub. What’s going on here? Is IBM on the same boat as Microsoft? “Now, I am living in Munich, Germany and working as a Software Developer at IBM,” the author said. It’s all about GitHub. We’ve begun worrying that a proprietary software giant that lobbies for software patents now completely owns and controls the domain OpenSource.com. IBM and Microsoft cross-license their patents, so why worry? Remember when Microsoft apologists denied the argument about Mono being a ruinous Trojan horse until Microsoft took de Icaza ‘in-house’ (paying him millions of dollars for attacking FOSS)? Microsoft is still suing OEMs over patents. It’s nowadays trying to put more patent traps inside the Linux kernel itself (exFAT). Will Linux users be safe only on Microsoft platforms such as Azure? Is Linus Torvalds paying attention? Can he still comment on it without being blasted? In many people’s minds his younger baby, Git, is just Microsoft proprietary software with surveillance (a site/API called GitHub). Nowadays Microsoft goes after his firstborn, Linux, with WSL and Azure. Does he mind? EEE works if they throw money at it. At what point, if any, might Canonical decide that Ubuntu is used more in WSL form than standalone (‘secure boot’ makes installation hard) and then decide to just become a Windows ‘app’ developer (Ubuntu as an ‘app’)? Even if Microsoft doesn’t buy Canonical..

“GNU/Linux users everywhere will gradually come to the realisation that this thing called the “Linux Foundation” doesn’t work for them but against them.”Earlier today we saw a new article about Ceph in Linux 5.3. Notice how with Ceph development people are now throwing Microsoft GitHub links at Torvalds.

Since I was about 20 I’ve studied Microsoft’s tactics and crimes against its competition. It’s very crystal clear to me what plans they have for Linux. Did Microsoft change? No. It changed perceptions. A PR campaign such as “Microsoft loves Linux” facilitates infiltration and it seems to be working. We don’t expect the Foundation to put an end to it, but will Torvalds do something? Can he still? GNU/Linux users everywhere will gradually come to the realisation that this thing called the “Linux Foundation” doesn’t work for them but against them. It is very successfully ‘monetising’ a sellout or a passage of Linux from what remotely still resembles a community… to few large corporations.

Links 18/7/2019: OPNsense 19.7, Krita 4.2.3 and KDevelop 5.3.3 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • When Choosing Your Commercial Linux, Choose Wisely!

      “Linux is Linux is Linux,” is a direct quote I heard in a meeting I had recently with a major multi-national, critical-infrastructure company. Surprisingly and correctly, there was one intelligent and brave engineering executive who replied to this statement, made by one of his team members, with a resounding, “That’s not true.” Let’s be clear, selecting a commercial Linux is not like selecting corn flakes. This is especially true when you are targeting embedded systems. You must be considering key questions regarding the supplier of the distribution, the criticality of the target application, security and life-cycle support for your product.

    • Windows vs Ubuntu

      Kubuntu is my favorite derivative of all the Ubuntu-based operating systems. I can not point out any features as favorite because I like all of them. Everything mentioned above is part of my daily workflow.

      Now when you know all of this it is worth trying them out. I was skeptical at first but later when I built my flow and learned how to utilize these features I can do everything faster, with fewer keystrokes and the most important thing is that I have a nicely organized desktop that helps me to minimize brain fatigue while doing my job.

      Kubuntu is a great distro to switch to if you’re coming from Windows. They have a quite similar UI, and Kubuntu has all the features Windows has, plus more.

    • New Pinebook Pro Video Demos 4K Video, External Monitor, and WebGL

      The PineBook Pro pre-orders go live next week, July 25, meaning now would be an apt time to get a closer look at how the hotly anticipated Linux laptop is shaping up.

      And what do you know, Pine64’s Lukasz Erecinski has duly obliged! He shot and uploaded a short showcase of how some of the ARM laptop’s prowess is looking.

      He demos the (smooth) 1080p and 4K video playback, WebGL demo, connecting to an external monitor through the USB Type-C port, plus offers some info about screen tearing and smoothness.

    • Desktop

      • OpenSUSE Enables LTO By Default For Tumbleweed – Smaller & Faster Binaries

        The past few months openSUSE developers have been working on enabling LTO by default for its packages while now finally with the newest release of the rolling-release openSUSE Tumbleweed this goal has been accomplished.

        As of today, the latest openSUSE Tumbleweed release is using Link-Time Optimizations (LTO) by default. For end-users this should mean faster — and smaller — binaries thanks to the additional optimizations performed at link-time. Link-time optimizations allow for different optimizations to be performed at link-time for the different bits comprising a single module/binary for the entire program. Sadly not many Linux distributions are yet LTO’ing their entire package set besides the aggressive ones like Clear Linux.

      • Investigating why my 7-year old Windows 10 laptop became unbearably slow

        The laptop had also begun to run into blue screens of death (BSoD) whenever I used the built-in camera and when I opened Spotify or Netflix in a web browser. The slowdown and crashes were actually related, but I didn’t realize this at first. The camera-induced BSoD error message blamed the camera vendor’s driver without any further details. This sounds believable enough for a 7-year old laptop so I didn’t think any more of it.

    • Server

      • Pivotal Brings the Magic of CF Push to Kubernetes

        Today, Pivotal released an alpha version of its flagship product, Pivotal Application Service, powered by Kubernetes. Access to the bits are invite-only; contact your account team or sign up via the form at the end of this post for access. The documentation is publicly available here.

        Kubernetes is the new IaaS. And that means we’re embedding it into more parts of Pivotal technology. It also means that we’re here to help you achieve terrific business outcomes on top of this foundation.

      • Build cloud-native apps faster for Kubernetes with Kabanero, a new open source project from IBM

        As companies modernize their infrastructure and adopt a hybrid cloud strategy, they’re increasingly turning to Kubernetes and containers. Choosing the right technology for building cloud-native apps and gaining the knowledge you need to effectively adopt Kubernetes is difficult. On top of that, enabling architects, developers, and operations to work together easily, while having their individual requirements met, is an additional challenge when moving to cloud.
        To lower the barrier of entry for developers to use Kubernetes and to bring together different disciplines, IBM created new open source projects that make it faster and easier for you to develop and deploy applications for Kubernetes.

      • Kubernetes VS PaaS

        If you asked me 3 years ago, I would probably define the professional part of myself as a “Rails developer”. Back then, most of my new projects started with a proof of concept deployed on a free Heroku account. The reason is simple, that was the fastest way to get my Ruby application live. At the same time it was the cheapest (free right?) so that was a no-brainer.
        The last 2.5 years, my work has been mostly on CloudFoundry and Kubernetes. CloudFoundry is an Open Source PaaS solution and Kubernetes is a Container orchestration platform. I work on a project that combines these two (SUSE CloudFoundry runs CloudFoundry on top of Kubernetes). There is an argument I’ve heard more than once regarding running a PaaS on top of Kubernetes and that is: “Why deploy CloudFoundry on top of Kubernetes and not use Kubernetes directly?”. Maybe it’s my science studies, maybe it’s Myth Busters, but I had to test this theory. Thankfully, 2 times a year we get a week to hack on anything we want at SUSE (Check it out) so I got the time I needed a couple of weeks ago.

      • Issue #2019.07.22 – Kubeflow and Conferences, 2019

        Kubeflow at OSCON 2019 – Over 10 sessions! Covering security, pipelines, productivity, ML ops and more. Some of the sessions are led by end-users, which means you’ll get the real deal about using Kubeflow in your production solution

      • How to earn a promotion as a sysadmin

        There’s plenty of general advice when it comes to career advancement, such as, “Work hard and you’ll get ahead.”

        General advice can start to feel a little pat—too simplistic to put into action, or too difficult to measure. Surely, it’s not as simple as, “Work hard and watch the promotions roll in.” Not to mention, how would you know if it’s the right promotion. Is it one that matches your goals?

        This question becomes particularly important in IT. What if you’re a sysadmin who’s not particularly interested in managing a team of people? Do you grin and bear it while others move up the food chain?

      • IBM

        • From Linux to cloud, why Red Hat matters for every enterprise

          In 1994, if you wanted to make money from Linux, you were selling Linux CDs for $39.95. By 2016, Red Hat became the first $2 billion Linux company. But, in the same year, Red Hat was shifting its long-term focus from Linux to the cloud.

          Here’s how Red Hat got from mail-order CDs to the top Linux company and a major cloud player. And, now that Red Hat is owned by IBM, where it will go from here.

        • OpenShift 4: Image Builds

          One of the key differentiators of Red Hat OpenShift as a Kubernetes distribution is the ability to build container images using the platform via first class APIs. This means there is no separate infrastructure or manual build processes required to create images that will be run on the platform. Instead, the same infrastructure can be used to produce the images and run them. For developers, this means one less barrier to getting their code deployed.

          With OpenShift 4, we have significantly redesigned how this build infrastructure works. Before that sets off alarm bells, I should emphasize that for a consumer of the build APIs and resulting images, the experience is nearly identical. What has changed is what happens under the covers when a build is executed and source code is turned into a runnable image.

        • libinput’s new thumb detection code

          The average user has approximately one thumb per hand. That thumb comes in handy for a number of touchpad interactions. For example, moving the cursor with the index finger and clicking a button with the thumb. On so-called Clickpads we don’t have separate buttons though. The touchpad itself acts as a button and software decides whether it’s a left, right, or middle click by counting fingers and/or finger locations. Hence the need for thumb detection, because you may have two fingers on the touchpad (usually right click) but if those are the index and thumb, then really, it’s just a single finger click.

          libinput has had some thumb detection since the early days when we were still hand-carving bits with stone tools. But it was quite simplistic, as the old documentation illustrates: two zones on the touchpad, a touch started in the lower zone was always a thumb. Where a touch started in the upper thumb area, a timeout and movement thresholds would decide whether it was a thumb. Internally, the thumb states were, Schrödinger-esque, “NO”, “YES”, and “MAYBE”. On top of that, we also had speed-based thumb detection – where a finger was moving fast enough, a new touch would always default to being a thumb. On the grounds that you have no business dropping fingers in the middle of a fast interaction. Such a simplistic approach worked well enough for a bunch of use-cases but failed gloriously in other cases.

        • 21 to 1: How Red Hat amplifies partner revenue

          At Red Hat Summit, we announced new research from IDC looking at the contributions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) to the global economy. The study, sponsored by Red Hat, found that the workloads running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux are expected to “touch” more than $10 trillion worth of global business revenues in 2019 – powering roughly 5% of the worldwide economy. While that statistic alone is eye popping, these numbers, according to the report, are only expected to grow in the coming years, fueled by more organizations embracing hybrid cloud infrastructures. As a result, there is immense opportunity for Red Hat partners and potential partners to capitalize on the growth and power of RHEL.

        • Executing .NET Core functions in a separate process [Ed: IBM/Red Hat is pushing Microsoft patent traps again (and yes, Microsoft still suing]
        • DevNation Live: 17-million downloads of Visual Studio Code Java extension [Ed: Also celebrating for Microsoft again (as if helping the proprietary MSVS 'ecosystem' is their goal now)]
        • Red Hat CTO Chris Wright to host online Q&A

          On Tuesday, July 23, 2019, Red Hat senior vice president and CTO Chris Wright will host an online forum to answer questions about what IBM’s landmark acquisition of Red Hat means for the company and its work in open source projects.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #292: Digital Operation Deep Dive

        Welcome to Episode 292 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, the hosts are joined by Rob, KA2PBT, in a deep disucussion of digital mode operation on the amateur radio bands including what modes are available, the technology behind the creation and operation of those modes and even dive into current controversy behind FCC rules regarding encryption, PACTOR-4 and much more. Thank you for tuning in and we hope you have a wonderful week.

      • FLOSS Weekly 538: Leo Laporte

        Randal Schwartz and Jonathan Bennett talk to Leo Laporte about FLOSS’s history and the TWiT Network.

      • Test and Code: 81: TDD with flit

        In the last episode, we talked about going from script to supported package.
        I worked on a project called subark and did the packaging with flit.

        Today’s episode is a continuation where we add new features to a supported package and how to develop and test a flit based package.

    • Kernel Space

      • Systemd 243 Is Getting Buttoned Up For Release With New Features & Fixes

        While it would have been nice seeing this next systemd release sooner due to the Zen 2 + RdRand issue with systemd yielding an unbootable system (that is now also being worked around with a BIOS upgrade), the systemd 243 release looks like it will take place in the near future.

      • VIRTIO-IOMMU Driver Merged For Linux 5.3 Kernel

        With the VirtIO standard for cross-hypervisor compatibility of different virtualized components there is a virtual IOMMU device that is now backed by a working driver in the Linux 5.3 kernel.

        The VirtIO specification provides for a virtual IOMMU device as of the v0.8 specification that is platform agnostic and manages direct memory accesses from emulated or physical devices in an efficient manner.

      • Linux Kernel Looks To Remove 32-bit Xen PV Guest Support

        Coming soon to a kernel near you could be the removal of 32-bit Xen PV guest support as better jiving with Xen’s architectural improvements and more of the Linux/open-source community continuing to shift focus to 64-bit x86 with trying to finally sunset 32-bit x86.

      • Kees Cook: security things in Linux v5.2

        Gustavo A. R. Silva is nearly done with marking (and fixing) all the implicit fall-through cases in the kernel. Based on the pull request from Gustavo, it looks very much like v5.3 will see -Wimplicit-fallthrough added to the global build flags and then this class of bug should stay extinct in the kernel.

        That’s it for now; let me know if you think I should add anything here. We’re almost to -rc1 for v5.3!

      • Intel’s Linux Driver To Load HuC Firmware By Default For Icelake+

        For several generations now of Intel graphics there have been the GuC/HuC firmware binaries while beginning with Icelake “Gen 11″ graphics those binary blobs will be loaded by default.

        Intel’s GuC has been used for graphics workload scheduling while the HuC firmware provides some “media functions from the CPU to GPU” for different video codec functions and CPU-GPU synchronization among other abilities.

      • ZFS On Linux Has Figured Out A Way To Restore SIMD Support On Linux 5.0+

        Those running ZFS On Linux (ZoL) on post-5.0 (and pre-5.0 supported LTS releases) have seen big performance hits to the ZFS encryption performance in particular. That came due to upstream breaking an interface used by ZFS On Linux and admittedly not caring about ZoL due to it being an out-of-tree user. But now several kernel releases later, a workaround has been devised.

        Some Linux distributions have resorted to reverting the kernel patch that stopped exporting the kernel FPU begin/restore functions used by ZoL for tapping vector-based (SSE/AVX) algorithms. But now ZFS On Linux itself has figured out a solution to restore said SIMD support on these recent kernel releases.

      • Linux Foundation

        • New EvilGnome Backdoor Spies on Linux Users, Steals Their Files [Ed: “swapnilbhartiya” keeps pushing this Linux FUD and Microsoft promotion into the front page of LINUX dot com (byline “The source for Linux information”). You can write malware for just about any platform, but the hard part is actually getting users to install it, or to find open ports with ridiculous passwords. This is not a “Linux” issue, but FUD sites like Bleeping Computer are worse than tabloids. What you nowadays find in the front page of LINUX dot com: no negative stories about Microsoft, just Microsoft marketing and overt openwashing. But you find negative FUD about Linux and nothing about GNU/Linux desktop. How revealing? The Linux Foundation serves not Linux. LINUX dot com, a ‘Linux’ Foundation site, now acts exactly how you’d expect a site to behave when its sponsors are proprietary software companies looking to advertise themselves and push their lies (e.g. Microsoft as “open”) while ‘hiding’ GNU/Linux as potent anywhere outside servers. The way things are going this past week, LINUX dot com can be deemed almost an anti-Linux site, run by people who don’t even use Linux and instead serve sponsors who engage in entryism. The Linux Foundation is fast becoming a propaganda department of anti-Linux interests…]
        • Fujitsu and GE Research Join LF Edge as Premier Members to Propel Open Source Innovation at the Edge

          LF Edge, an umbrella organization within the Linux Foundation that aims to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system, today announced Fujitsu, a leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company, and GE Research, GE’s innovation powerhouse where research meets reality, have joined LF Edge as Premier members.

          “We are pleased to welcome Fujitsu and GE Research as the newest Premier members of LF Edge,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Automation, Edge & IoT, the Linux Foundation. “Their expertise across technology sectors and experience in delivering leading products, solutions, and research at the forefront of the industry will be instrumental in helping the LF Edge community establish a common platform for edge computing.”

          Launched in January of this year, LF Edge is initially comprised of five projects – including Akraino Edge Stack, EdgeX Foundry, Home Edge, Open Glossary of Edge Computing, and Project EVE – that will support emerging edge applications across areas such as non-traditional video and connected things that require lower latency, and faster processing and mobility. By forming a software stack that brings the best of cloud, enterprise and telecom, LF Edge is helping to unify a fragmented edge market around a common, open vision for the future of the industry.

        • Fujitsu and GE Research Join LF Edge as Premier Members to Propel Open Source Innovation at the Edge
      • Graphics Stack

        • Many Vintage X.Org Modules Could Use Some Help If Wanting New Releases

          Longtime X.Org developer Alan Coopersmith who also maintains the X.Org stack for Oracle’s Solaris has been trying to get out some updated X.Org modules with different code-bases having collected enough changes over the years to warrant new versions.

          While he has been releasing a number of X.Org module updates recently, he’s left out many for varying reasons. Even for these modules accumulating enough changes, among those he has left out for releasing new versions include TWM, XKBCOMP, XKBUTILS, XRandR, Xrestop, XScope, xf86-input-keyboard, and xf86-video-dummy.

        • Mesa 19.2 Is Just Six Patches Away From Seeing OpenGL 4.6 Support

          Later this month marks two years since the release of OpenGL 4.6 and just ahead of that date it looks like Mesa could finally land its complete GL 4.6 implementation, at least as far as the Intel open-source graphics driver support is concerned.

          Mesa is now just six patches away from OpenGL 4.6! Following recent SPIR-V patches being merged, there are just five patches left plus the sixth that updates the documentation and flips on OpenGL 4.6 for the i915 Mesa driver. The remaining patches are in regards to base vertex work.

    • Benchmarks

      • These Windows 10 Vs Pop OS Benchmarks Reveal A Surprising Truth About Linux Gaming Performance

        Having a game run on Linux that isn’t built for Linux? That’s certainly a cool thing. Performance is another thing entirely. It’s not a compelling enough argument for Linux enthusiasts to tell their Windows-using friends that “hey, but the games you play run on Linux!” They have to run well. Maybe the notion of switching to Linux is an enticing one for the stability and increased privacy control, but you can’t show me an enthusiast gamer who’ll willingly trade that for a 20% drop in the framerates they’re used to on their hardware, right?

        That 20% is an important number, albeit not a scientific one. When I got into Linux last year, that’s the figure I kept seeing thrown around. “Sure, it runs on Linux but about 15% to 20% lower FPS.” With constant improvements to the kernel, Vulkan drivers and Steam Proton, however, I think the situation has changed.

        Enough of my rambling. Here’s what we’re looking at today…

    • Applications

      • Best Free Web Based Genome Browsers

        In the fields of molecular biology and genetics, a genome is the genetic material of an organism. It consists of DNA (or RNA in RNA viruses). Each genome contains all of the information needed to build and maintain that organism. In humans, a copy of the entire genome—more than 3 billion DNA base pairs—is contained in all cells that have a nucleus. The study of the genome is called genomics.

        In bioinformatics, a genome browser is a graphical interface for display of information from a biological database for genomic data. They are important tools for studying genomes given the vast amounts of data available. They typically load very large files, such as whole genome FASTA files and display them in a way that users can make sense of the information there. They can be used to visualize a variety of different data types.

        Genome browsers enable researchers to visualize and browse entire genomes with annotated data including gene prediction and structure, proteins, expression, regulation, variation, comparative analysis, etc. They use a visual, high-level overview of complex data in a form that can be grasped at a glance and provide the means to explore the data in increasing resolution from megabase scales down to the level of individual elements of the DNA sequence.

        There’s a wide range of web based genome browsers. We’re going to restrict our selection to the top 4.

      • Get going with EtherCalc, a web-based alternative to Google Sheets

        EtherCalc is an open source spreadsheet that makes it easy to work remotely and collaborate with others.

      • Daniel Stenberg: curl 7.65.2 fixes even more

        Six weeks after our previous bug-fix release, we ship a second release in a row with nothing but bug-fixes. We call it 7.65.2. We decided to go through this full release cycle with a focus on fixing bugs (and not merge any new features) since even after 7.65.1 shipped as a bug-fix only release we still seemed to get reports indicating problems we wanted fixed once and for all.

        Download curl from curl.haxx.se as always!

        Also, I personally had a vacation already planned to happen during this period (and I did) so it worked out pretty good to take this cycle as a slightly calmer one.

        Of the numbers below, we can especially celebrate that we’ve now received code commits by more than 700 persons!

      • OnlyOffice, an Open Source Office Suite for Windows, MacOS & Linux, Gets Updated

        A veritable surfeit of office suites have seen updates this past month, including WPS Office, SoftMaker Office 2018 and FreeOffice. Clearly not wanting to be left out, OnlyOffice has issued a new update too.

        OnlyOffice – which is supposed to be styled ONLYOFFICE, but I find that a bit too shouty – is a free, open-source office suite for Windows, macOS and (of course) Linux.

      • Linux super-duper admin tools: health-check

        Health-check is a very useful, practical tool. It does not replace strace or netstat or perf, but it can sure help you get a very accurate multi-dimensional snapshot of whatever you’re profiling. This is a very good first step that can point you in the right direction. You can then select a utility that specifically examines the relevant facet of the software run (maybe Wireshark for network or Valgrind for memory). In a way, this makes health-check into a Jack o’ All Trades.

        You do need some understanding of how Linux systems work – and the application you’re running. But even if you don’t have that knowledge, health-check can be used for comparative studies and troubleshooting of performance bottlenecks. If you know something isn’t running quite as well as it should, you can trace it once on a good system, once on a bad (affected) system, and then compare the two. The many types of data that health-check provides will greatly assist in solving the issue. And that brings us to the end of this tutorial. With some luck, you have learned something new, and it was an enjoyable ride, too. Take care.

      • Xsnow – Snow on Your Desktop in Ubuntu 18.04 / Higher

        Xsnow, let it snow on your desktop, now is working on Gnome, KDE, FVWM desktop in Ubuntu 18.04 and higher.

        Xsnow is a handy command tool that brings Christmas to your desktop. However, it does not work properly in Ubuntu since Ubuntu 12.04 Precise.

        Now a brand new Xsnow based on the original xsnow-1.42 is available to work on many desktop environments, along with a simple graphical interface.

      • Proprietary

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Valve releases a new update to the Steam Client, nice Linux fixes made it in again

        Valve have released a new stable version of the Steam Client today to add new features, improve existing features and catch some pesky bugs flying around.

        There’s some better “client logic” to choose and connect to download servers, which should hopefully give better download speeds, better connection login in initializing the friends list, screenshots in SteamVR Home should be sorted, a fix for certain web page elements continuing to render in the Steam client when it is minimized or closed to the system tray, some “improved reliability of registry saving on Linux and macOS” and the SteamVR dashboard should no longer obscure transition overlays when launching a game.

      • Fast-paced atmospheric arcade title “LOST ORBIT: Terminal Velocity” is out with Linux support

        You’re going to need some quick reflexes for LOST ORBIT: Terminal Velocity, a game about being stranded in deep space. Note: Key provided by the developer.

        This is actually a revamp of the 2015 title LOST ORBIT. This new definitive edition includes a brand new 12 level epilogue and story, new abilities and ways to die, 15 new challenge levels, a reworking of the original levels with new cinematics and so on. If you owned the original, you should see this new edition in your Steam library free.

      • The lovely rogue-lite platformer “Eagle Island” can now be picked up on GOG, Linux build soon

        Heads up GOG fans, Eagle Island from Pixelnicks is now available to pick up from GOG with the Linux build expected soon.

      • Total War: THREE KINGDOMS new “Eight Princes” DLC is set 100 years after the main game

        Releasing soon, Total War: THREE KINGDOMS is to get an “Eight Princes” DLC set 100 years after the Three Kingdoms period began.

        Announced yesterday, Creative Assembly are moving quickly to add in a whole lot more content to THREE KINGDOMS and it does sound pretty sweet.

        It will feature: an entirely new campaign; eight new playable princes with “substantially different” play-styles with unique buildings, assignments and court options; along with new elite units like cataphracts; four new alignments Wealth, Spirit, Might, and Mind and more.

      • Guide a robot with simple programming in “Robo Instructus”, out now

        Robo Instructus from Big AB Games, which is mainly a solo-operation, is a puzzle game where you need to guide a robot using a simple programming language.

        Is it odd to think programming can be relaxing? If so, I guess I’m pretty strange in that way. Even if you don’t know any programming, Robo Instructus walks you through things quite easily and getting started with it is pretty quick.

      • Grab Ion Fury (previously Ion Maiden) before the price shoots up tomorrow

        Interested in slick retro first-person shooters? You may want to act fast as the price of Ion Fury (previously Ion Maiden) goes up tomorrow.

        Currently in Early Access, Ion Fury offers a very good preview campaign to play through while you wait for the full release on August 15th. The price is currently around $19.99 but from tomorrow they will bump it up to $24.99.

      • TRI: Of Friendship and Madness returns to GOG with Linux support

        After being previously removed from the DRM-free store GOG, TRI: Of Friendship and Madness has now made a return with full Linux support included.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Krita 4.2.3 Released

          Today we’re releasing Krita 4.2.3. This is mostly a bug fix release, but has one new feature: it is now possible to rotate the canvas with a two-finger touch gesture. This feature was implemented by Sharaf Zaman for his 2019 Google Summer of Code work of porting Krita to Android. The feature also works on other platforms, of course.

          The most important bug fix is a workaround for Windows installations with broken, outdated or insufficient graphics drivers. The core of the issue is that our development platform, Qt, in its current version needs a working OpenGL or Direct3D installation as soon as there is a single component in the application that uses QML, a technology for creating user interfaces. We have managed to work around this issue and especially users of Windows 7 systems that have become a bit messy should be able to run Krita again.

        • KDevelop 5.3.3 released

          We today provide a stabilization and bugfix release with version 5.3.3. This is a bugfix-only release, which introduces no new features and as such is a safe and recommended update for everyone currently using a previous version of KDevelop 5.3.

          You can find a Linux AppImage as well as the source code archives on our download page. Windows installers are no longer offered, we are looking for someone interested to take care of that.

        • Latte, Documentation and Reports…

          First Latte beta release for v0.9.0 is getting ready and I am really happy about it :) . But today instead of talking for the beta release I am going to focus at two last minute “arrivals” for v0.9; that is Layouts Reports and Documentation. If you want to read first the previous article you can do so at Latte and “Flexible” settings…

        • Kaidan 0.4.1 released!

          After some problems were encountered in Kaidan 0.4.1, we tried to fix the most urgent bugs.

        • KDE Connect is Now Available for macOS

          I often write about apps that make the leap from Windows or Mac to Linux, but it’s much rarer than I get to write about things the other way around.

          But today I do as KDE Connect, the open-source smartphone-to-desktop bridge that enables a crop of handy integrations, is now available on macOS.

          Sure, macOS sports “continuity” integrations with iOS devices, letting iPhone owners benefit from some nifty sync smarts. But there’s precious little out there for Mac users who use Android smartphones.

          And that something that this port of the KDE Connect app and indicator , strange though it may seem, goes some way to addressing.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Molly de Blanc: Meet Sriram Ramkrishna

          Sriram Ramkrishna, frequently known as Sri, is perhaps GNOME’s oldest contributor. He’s been around the community for almost as long as it’s been around!

          [...]

          But more than that, GNOME was a project that if you think about it was audacious in its purpose. Building a desktop in 1997 around an operating system that was primitive in terms of user experience, tooling, and experience. I wanted to be part of that.

        • Welcome to the July 2019 Friends of GNOME Update!

          Members of the GNOME Foundation voted in the annual elections for this year’s board of directors. The current board consists of:

          Allan Day
          Carlos Soriano
          Federico Mena Quintero
          Robert McQueen
          Philip Chimento
          Britt Yazel
          Tristan Van Berkom
          Congratulation to the new board! You can learn more about the board and what it does online.

    • Distributions

      • Clear Linux Could Soon Be Faster Within Containers On AVX2 Systems

        While Clear Linux as part of its standard bare metal installations has long defaulted to having an AVX2-optimized GNU C Library installed by default, it turns out that it wasn’t part of the default os-core bundle as used by containers. That though is changing and should yield even better out-of-the-box performance when running Clear Linux within containers.

        Intel’s William Douglas sent out the proposal for adding the AVX2 version of the Glibc libraries into the os-core bundle in order to get picked up by containers and other bare/lightweight Clear configurations.

      • New Arch Linux-Based Endeavour OS Launches To Keep Spirit Of Antergos Alive

        Endeavour OS uses the familiar Calamares installer to automate the normally complex and command line-based Arch installation process. I gave it a quick spin inside a Virtual Machine and it couldn’t be simpler, although the team does warn of some early issues with manual partitioning. Give that a read before you proceed!

      • New Releases

        • OPNsense 19.7 “Jazzy Jaguar” released
          For four and a half years now, OPNsense is driving innovation through
          modularising and hardening the open source firewall, with simple
          and reliable firmware upgrades, multi-language support, HardenedBSD
          security, fast adoption of upstream software updates as well as clear
          and stable 2-Clause BSD licensing.
          
          19.7, nicknamed "Jazzy Jaguar", embodies an iteration of what should be
          considered enjoyable user experience for firewalls in general: improved
          statistics and visibility of rules, reliable and consistent live logging
          and alias utility improvements.  Apart from the usual upgrades of third
          party software to up-to-date releases, OPNsense now also offers built-in
          remote system logging through Syslog-ng, route-based IPsec, updated
          translations with Spanish as a brand new and already fully translated
          language and newer Netmap code with VirtIO, VLAN child and vmxnet support.
          
          Last but not least we would like to thank m.a.x. it for their sponsorship
          of the default gateway priority switching feature and their continued work
          of writing and maintaining plenty of community plugins.  This time around,
          Maltrail, Netdata and WireGuard VPN have been freshly added to the mix.
          
          
          
        • OPNsense 19.7 Released With Remote Logging, Firewall Rule Improvements, Route-Based IPsec

          OPNsense, the FreeBSD-based pfSense-forked firewall offering that has continued experiencing increased adoption following the closure of m0n0wall, is out with version 19.7 as its newest feature update.

      • Fedora Family

        • The NeuroFedora Blog: NEURON in NeuroFedora needs testing

          We have been working on including the NEURON simulator in NeuroFedora for a while now. The build process that NEURON uses has certain peculiarities that make it a little harder to build.

          For those that are interested in the technical details, while the main NEURON core is built using the standard ./configure; make ; make install process that cleanly differentiates the “build” and “install” phases, the Python bits are built as a “post-install hook”. That is to say, they are built after the other bits in the “install” step instead of the “build” step. This implies that the build is not quite straightforward and must be slightly tweaked to ensure that the Fedora packaging guidelines are met.

        • Fedora, GNOME Software, and snap

          A question about the future of package distribution is at the heart of a disagreement about the snap plugin for the GNOME Software application in Fedora. In a Fedora devel mailing list thread, Richard Hughes raised multiple issues about the plugin and the direction that he sees Canonical taking with snaps for Ubuntu. He plans to remove support for the plugin for GNOME Software in Fedora 31.

          There are currently two major players for cross-distribution application bundles these days: snaps, which were developed by Canonical for Ubuntu and the Snap Store, and Flatpak, which was developed by Alexander Larsson of Red Hat as part of freedesktop.org. Both systems are available for multiple Linux distributions. They are meant to give an “app-like” experience, where users simply install an application, which comes with any dependencies it has that are not provided by the snap or Flatpak runtime.

          The GNOME Software application has a snap plugin that, when enabled, supports the distribution, installation, and management of snaps. The Fedora project currently provides the snap plugin as a package in Fedora 30, though it is not installed by default. Hughes is the Fedora maintainer for the plugin; he announced his intention to disable the plugin since, he says, he was told that Canonical was not going to be installing GNOME Software in the next Ubuntu Long Term Support (LTS) release.

        • Announcing Fedora CoreOS preview

          On behalf of the Fedora CoreOS Working Group, I’m thrilled to announce the first preview release of Fedora CoreOS. Fedora CoreOS is built to be the secure and reliable host for your compute clusters. It’s designed specifically for running containerized workloads without regular maintenance, automatically updating itself with the latest OS improvements, bug fixes, and security updates. The initial preview release of Fedora CoreOS runs on bare metal, QEMU, VMware, and AWS, on x86_64 only. It supports provisioning via Ignition spec 3.0.0 and the Fedora CoreOS Config Transpiler, automatic updates with Zincati and rpm-ostree, and running containers with Podman and Moby. In the coming months, we’ll be adding more platforms, building out functionality, and creating documentation to get Fedora CoreOS ready for production use. For now, the Fedora CoreOS preview should not be used for production workloads, and it might change in incompatible ways before the stable release.

      • Debian Family

        • Sparky 5.8 “Nibiru”

          There are new live/install media of SparkyLinux 5.8 “Nibiru” available to download.
          This is the 1st release of the new stable line, which is based on the Debian 10 “Buster”.

          Changes:
          – based on Debian 10 stable “Buster” now, repositories changed from ‘testing’ to ‘stable’
          – system upgraded from Debian stable “Buster” repos as of July 14, 2019
          – Linux kernel 4.19.37-5 (i686 & amd64)
          – Linux kernel 4.19.57-v7+ (ARMHF)
          – the Calamares installer updated up to version 3.2.11
          – apt-daily.service disabled
          – sparky-tube installed as dafault
          – removed old 3rd party repositories
          – added obconf-qt (LXQt edition)
          – nm-tray installed instead of network-manager-gnome (LXQt edition)
          – network-manager added to CLI ARMHF image
          – small fixes

        • John Goerzen: Tips for Upgrading to, And Securing, Debian Buster

          Wow. Once again, a Debian release impresses me — a guy that’s been using Debian for more than 20 years. For the first time I can ever recall, buster not only supported suspend-to-disk out of the box on my laptop, but it did so on an encrypted volume atop LVM. Very impressive!

          For those upgrading from previous releases, I have a few tips to enhance the experience with buster.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 19.2 beta is now out with a streamlined Cinnamon spin

          And if you hit boot configuration problems – maybe you’re running Mint alongside Windows in a dual-boot setup – a new Boot Repair feature is able to fix the most frequent problems encountered, which could be pretty nifty.

          There are various other minor changes, as you would expect, including a load of new wallpapers. Another interesting thing to note is that the Cinnamon version of the OS uses significantly less system memory than before – something in the order of two-thirds of the RAM with the move from Cinnamon 4.0 to 4.2, the developers note.

          If you want to see the full list of what’s different with Mint 19.2, you can check the release notes here. As ever, remember this is still in beta, so there will likely be some teething issues.

          You can grab Linux Mint 19.2 from the following links each of which point to the version which carries the mentioned desktop: Cinnamon, Mate, or Xfce.

          Mint is a popular distro and is a good option for those who are new to the world of Linux, and those switching from Windows or Mac, as we explain in our best Linux distros roundup.

        • Ubuntu-based Linux Mint 19.2 ‘Tina’ BETA is here with Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce

          Linux Mint is an operating system based on the wildly popular Ubuntu. It comes with some interesting tweaks that many users appreciate, making it a popular choice in the Linux community for both beginners and experts alike. It is stable, easy to use, and has a well-designed Update Manager that puts many other distros to shame.

          Today, Linux Mint 19.2 BETA is finally released. Codenamed “Tina,” it will be supported until 2023 — long after Windows 7 support ends in January of 2020. In other words, when it achieves stable status, Linux Mint 19.2 should make a great replacement for Windows 7.

        • Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish reaches end of life on Thursday, upgrade now

          Canonical, earlier this month, announced that Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish will be reaching end-of-life status this Thursday, making now the ideal time to upgrade to a later version. As with all non-Long Term Support (LTS) releases, 18.10 had nine months of support following its release last October.

          When distributions reach their end-of-life stage, they no longer receive security updates. While you may be relatively safe at first, the longer you keep running an unpatched system, the more likely it is that your system will become compromised putting your data at risk. If you’d like to move on from Ubuntu 18.10, you’ve got two options; you can either perform a clean install of a more up-to-date version of Ubuntu or you can do an in-place upgrade.

        • Ubuntu 18.10 ‘Cosmic Cuttlefish’ reaches end of life

          CANONICAL HAS confirmed that Ubuntu 18.10 (aka Cosmic Cuttlefish) has reached end of life (EoL).

          Just as with Windows, each build of Ubuntu, one of the biggest Linux distros on the market, has a finite level of support. In this case, as it isn’t an LTS release, 18.10 had nine months of support, but all good things must come to an end.

          From this point, users of 18.10 will no longer receive security updates to their operating system, which could leave it open to attacks from external nasties.

          In a statement, the company confirmed: “Ubuntu announced its 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) release almost 9 months ago, on October 18, 2018. As a non-LTS release, 18.10 has a nine-month support cycle and, as such, the support period is now nearing its end and Ubuntu 18.10 will reach end of life on Thursday, July 18th.”

        • 8 Top Ubuntu server Web GUI Management Panels

          Ubuntu Server with command-line interface might sound little bit wired to newbies because of no previous familiarization. Thus, if you are new to Ubuntu Linux server running on your local hardware or some Cloud hosting and planning to install some Linux Desktop Graphical environment (GUI) over it; I would like to recommend don’t, until and unless you don’t have supported hardware. Instead, think about free and open-source Ubuntu server Web GUI Management panels.

          Moreover, for a moment, you can think about Desktop Graphical environment for your local server but if you have some Linux cloud hosting server, never do it. I am saying this because Ubuntu or any other Linux server operating systems are built to run on low hardware resources, thus even old computer/server hardware can easily handle it. GUI means more RAM and hard disk storage space.

        • Linux Mint 19.2 Beta XFCE Run Through
        • Linux Mint 19.2 Beta XFCE

          Today we are looking at Linux Mint 19.2 Beta, the XFCE edition. The XFCE edition of Linux Mint is one of my favorites as it comes with the stable lightweight XFCE, version 4.12 and the latest of Linux Mint, which is a great combination.

          This release of XFCE comes with Linux Kernel 4.15, based on Ubuntu 18.04 (supported until April 2023). It uses between 400-800MB of ram.

        • Linux Mint 19.2 Beta MATE Run Through
        • Linux Mint 19.2 Beta MATE

          Today we are looking at Linux Mint 19.2 Beta, the MATE edition. It comes with Linux Kernel 4.15, based on Ubuntu 18.04 (supported until April 2023) and MATE 1.22. It uses about 700B of Ram when idling.

          Linux Mint 19.2 feels for me more, like a maintenance update, to make it even more stable, but it has improvements in the automatic updates as well as a whole heap of new beautiful backgrounds.

        • mintCast 313 – A New Leaf

          Then, in our news, Linux Mint is beta testing the 19.2 updates, Ubuntu considers ZFS, some Raspberry Pi successes and flaws, and more.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Brandeis University and Open Source Initiative to Launch New Educational Partnership.

        Brandeis University’s Graduate Professional Studies division (GPS) will partner with The Open Source Initiative® (OSI) to provide new educational offerings for the open source community, the university announced at OSCON 2019.

        As more companies start leveraging Open Source Software to reduce costs, decrease time to deployment and foster innovation, the organizations that have realized success as open source consumers are now extending their participation within open source communities as collaborators and contributors. This shift can create new challenges to traditional business processes and models, requiring dedicated policies, programs and personnel to ensure that the investments in open source projects produce the desired benefits while still aligning with the values of the open source communities. The Brandeis GPS-OSI partnership will help address the growing demand for expertise within organizations seeking to authentically collaborate with, and productively manage, open source resources.

        “Understanding how to assess, engage, and contribute to open source communities while also delivering value to your company is the next generation skill set employers are looking for,” said Patrick Masson, general manager of the Open Source Initiative. “We’re thrilled to work with Brandeis to help continue the incredible growth of open source software and projects.”

      • 3 ways to benefit from open source infrastructure

        Using open source infrastructure can reduce operating costs and streamline upgrades, but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before you jump on the bandwagon.

      • Events

        • System Boot and Security Microconference Accepted into 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference

          We are pleased to announce that the System Boot and Security Microconference has been accepted into the 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference! Computer-system security is a topic that has gotten a lot of serious attention over the years, but there has not been anywhere near as much attention paid to the system firmware. But the firmware is also a target for those looking to wreak havoc on our systems. Firmware is now being developed with security in mind, but provides incomplete solutions. This microconference will focus on the security of the system especially from the time the system is powered on.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Recent fixes to reduce backlog on Android phones

            Last week it seemed that all our limited resource machines were perpetually backlogged. I wrote yesterday to provide insight into what we run and some of our limitations. This post will be discussing the Android phones backlog last week specifically.

            The Android phones are hosted at Bitbar and we split them into pools (battery testing, unit testing, perf testing) with perf testing being the majority of the devices.

          • Q&A: Igniting imaginations and putting VR in the hands of students with Kai Frazier

            When you were in school, you may have taken a trip to a museum or a local park, but you probably never got to see an active volcano or watch great whites hunt. As Virtual Reality grows, this could be the way your kids will learn — using headsets the way we use computers.

            When you were in school, you may have gone on a trip to the museum, but you probably never stood next to an erupting volcano, watching molten lava pouring down its sides. As Virtual Reality (VR) grows, learning by going into the educational experience could be the way children will learn — using VR headsets the way we use computers.

            This kind of technology holds huge potential in shaping young minds, but like with most technology, not all public schools get the same access. For those who come from underserved communities, the high costs to technology could widen an already existing gap in learning, and future incomes.

          • This Week in Rust 295 [Ed: Just delete GitHub , Mozila, And why you're at it, stop using proprietary software and imposing it on Rust contributors.]

            This Week in Rust is openly developed on GitHub.

          • How to speed up the Rust compiler in 2019

            libsyntax has three tables in a global data structure, called Globals, storing information about spans (code locations), symbols, and hygiene data (which relates to macro expansion). Accessing these tables is moderately expensive, so I found various ways to improve things.

      • Databases

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • My todo list for LibreOffice 6.4

          LibreOffice 6.3 isn’t release but I have already plans for the 6.4 winter release.

        • LibreWaterloo: Building the LibreOffice community in Canada

          If you’ve seen our LibreOffice contributor map, you’ll note that we have a few community members in north America. (Of course, the map doesn’t show absolutely everyone in the LibreOffice project – just people we’ve interviewed recently.) So we want to grow this community!

      • Funding

        • Epic Games Backs Blender Foundation with $1.2m Epic MegaGrants

          Epic MegaGrants is a program by Epic Games to support game developers, enterprise professionals, content creators and tool developers doing amazing things with Unreal Engine or enhancing open-source capabilities for the 3D graphics community.

          As part of that, Epic Games granted Blender Foundation $1.2 million to help improve their development. If you didn’t know already, Blender is one of the best open source video editors and specifically famous for creating professional 3D computer graphics.

      • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

        • Free accounting software South Africa

          GnuCash is one of the best open source accounting software that is 100% free. It offers simplicity, flexibility, and amazing features such as handling multiple currencies and some payroll features. The application is available on Android, Linux, OpenBSD, Windows, GNU, and macOS devices. Some of the other features are managing accounts payable and receivable and managing employee expenses.

      • Programming/Development

        • Generate a List of Random Integers in Python

          This tutorial explains several ways to generate random numbers list in Python. Here, we’ll mainly use three Python random number generation functions. These are random.randint(), random.randrange(), and random.sample().

          You can find full details of these methods here: Generate random numbers in Python. All these functions are part of the Random module. It employs a fast pseudorandom number generator which uses the Mersenne Twister algorithm.

          However today, we’ll focus on producing a list of non-repeating integers only. Go through the below bullets to continue.

        • Coverage.py 5.0a6: context reporting

          I’ve released another alpha of coverage.py 5.0: coverage.py 5.0a6. There are some design decisions ahead that I could use feedback on.

          [...]

          I know this is a lot, and the 5.0 alpha series has been going on for a while. The features are shaping up to be powerful and useful. All of your feedback has been very helpful, keep it coming.

        • Gradient Boosting Classifiers in Python with Scikit-Learn

          Gradient boosting classifiers are a group of machine learning algorithms that combine many weak learning models together to create a strong predictive model. Decision trees are usually used when doing gradient boosting. Gradient boosting models are becoming popular because of their effectiveness at classifying complex datasets, and have recently been used to win many Kaggle data science competitions.

          The Python machine learning library, Scikit-Learn, supports different implementations of gradient boosting classifiers, including XGBoost.

        • What are *args and **kwargs and How to use them
        • Create a Flask Application With Google Login

          You’ve probably seen the option for Google Login on various websites. Some sites also have more options like Facebook Login or GitHub Login. All these options allow users to utilize existing accounts to use a new service.

          In this article, you’ll work through the creation of a Flask web application. Your application will allow a user to log in using their Google identity instead of creating a new account. There are tons of benefits with this method of user management. It’s going to be safer and simpler than managing the traditional username and password combinations.

          This article will be more straightforward if you already understand the basics of Python. It would also help to know a bit about web frameworks and HTTP requests, but that’s not strictly necessary.

        • Start tinkering with the Circuit Playground Express

          I’ve been a gadget person as long as I can remember, so I was delighted when I discovered an Adafruit Circuit Playground Express (CPX) in the swag bag I got at PyConUS in May. I became fascinated with these little devices last year, when Nina Zakharenko highlighted them in her All Things Open presentation, Five Things You Didn’t Know Python Could Do, with Python-powered earrings.

          After finding one in my PyCon bag, I set out to learn more about these mesmerizing little devices. First, I attended a “how-to” session at one of the Open Spaces meetups at PyCon. But learning always requires hands-on practice, and that’s what I did when I got home. I connected the CPX device to my Linux laptop with a USB-to-MicroUSB cable. The unit mounts just like any standard USB drive, listed as CIRCUITPY.

        • Getting Started with Map

          While certainly less common, it’s perfectly possible to write Python code in a functional style, and there are plenty of tools in the Python standard library to faciliate functional programming. One such tool is called map, and in this post we’re look at what map is for, and how you might use it in your own code.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • Space law is inadequate for the boom in human activity there

        Amazon would never have existed, he said, without pre-existing infrastructure: postal services to deliver packages; home computers to order goods; credit cards to make payments. The job of the current generation would be to build an equivalent “infrastructure” for space. Mr Bezos identified two elements of this: much lower launch costs and the exploitation of resources in space. But he might have mentioned another, more basic requirement for enterprise: a proper legal environment.

        What rules there are largely date from the cold-war era. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 is the foundational space-law text. It sets out some basic principles, among them that space is free for exploration and use by all states, and that no claims of sovereignty can be made. Later agreements assign liability for damage caused by space objects and require states to help rescue astronauts in distress.

        A common thread runs through these texts. They all assume that space is a realm dominated by states, not by companies, let alone individual billionaires. As space industrialises, the gaps in the law are becoming clearer. Two areas of concern stand out: debris and resource extraction.

      • The US Air Force is warning people to stay away from Area 51 after a viral Facebook joke to storm the base and ‘see them aliens’

        A joke Facebook event encouraging people to band together and storm the highly secretive Area 51 site in Nevada has gone viral, inspiring alien memes on Facebook and Instagram.

      • Why ‘Moon Shot’ Has No Place in the 21st Century

        Like the original moon shot, these are big, hard problems that demand significant investments of time and money, along with innovative technology and thinking. But these projects differ in two critical ways. First, they demand nowhere near the resources the United States used to reach the Sea of Tranquility. To make good on John F. Kennedy’s pledge to land a man on the moon and bring him home by the end of the 1960s, NASA spent $25.4 billion on the Apollo program—more than $150 billion in today’s dollars. At its peak, Apollo accounted for nearly 4 percent of the federal budget. More than 400,000 Americans worked on it in some capacity, nearly all of them in private industry.

      • Fernando Corbató, scientist who fostered digital revolution and computer password, dies at 93

        Fernando Corbató, a scientist who fostered the digital revolution by developing shared computer operating systems and put his stamp on daily life by introducing the computer password, died July 12 at a nursing home in Newburyport, Massachusetts. He was 93.

    • Hardware

      • Samsung Chromebook 3 – XE500C13-K04US
      • Samsung Chromebook 3

        Today we are looking at the Samsung Chromebook 3 (XE501C13-K01US). It is an affordable computer for all your basic everyday needs for a great price and good quality from Samsung.

        It comes with a fanless Dual-Core Intel Celeron Processor N3060 CPU, an 11.6 inch, 1366×768, LED display, and non-touch screen. It has 2GB of RAM and a 16GB eMMC SSD.

        It has Android Apps (Google Play) but it does not have Linux Apps (crostini) support and it will receive auto-updates until June 2021.

      • Acer Chromebook 11 7th Gen

        Today we are looking at the Acer Chromebook 11 7th Gen (CB3-132-C4VV / NX.G4XAA.002). It is a budget Chromebook, perfect for daily tasks like browsing the web, watching movies and writing documents.

        It comes with a fanless Dual-Core Intel Celeron Processor N3060 CPU, an 11.6 inch, 1366×768, IPS display, and non-touch screen. It has 4gb of RAM and a 16GB eMMC SSD.

      • ASUS Chromebook Flip C434

        Today we are looking at the ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 – C434TA-DS384T. It is a 2 in 1 Chromebook, familiar laptop and tablet, and it comes with a sleek all-metal look and diamond-cut edges, makes it a perfect Chromebook for anyone who wants a stylish modern Chromebook!

      • Samsung Chromebook 3 – XE500C13-K06US

        Today we are looking at the Samsung Chromebook 3 – XE500C13-K06US. It is an affordable, yet powerful, small and thin computer for all your basic everyday needs for a great price and good quality from Samsung.

      • Samsung Chromebook Pro
    • Health/Nutrition

      • House passes amendment ordering Pentagon to review whether U.S. experimented with weaponizing ticks

        Those books, however, have been questioned by some experts who dismiss long-held conspiracy theories that the federal government aided the spread of tick-borne diseases, and federal agencies, including the CDC, may have participated in a cover-up of sorts to conceal findings about the spread of Lyme disease.

        Smith has been a fierce advocate of raising awareness about Lyme disease and increasing prevention efforts. Smith, the co-chair of the House Lyme Disease Caucus, earlier this year introduced the “Ticks: Identify, Control, and Knockout Act” (TICK Act), a bill to come up with a national strategy to fight Lyme disease. If passed, the measure would authorize an additional $180 million to boost funding for Lyme disease research, prevention and treatment programs.

        The CDC currently spends about $11 million on Lyme disease research.

    • Security

      • Was DNS intentionally designed to be insecure?

        but noone considered that now-controversial near-truism at all when the core internet protocols were first designed and implemented. the idea of abuse was considered novel in the 1990′s when commercialization and privatization brought abuse into the internet world and burst the academic bubble. a lot of old timers blamed AOL and MSN and even Usenet for the problems, but in actuality, it’s what humans _always_ do at scale. putting the full spectrum of human culture atop a technology platform designed for academic and professional culture should have been understood to be a recipe for disaster.

      • Smart meters in England are mysteriously switching to Welsh

        Bulb says that the problem has occurred in around 200 cases and that it takes five steps to fix it, though if you don’t know Welsh, you’ll need to get Bulb to talk you through it by way of numbers of button pushes.

        “While we think Welsh is a great language, we understand that in many cases people will want their display to be in English.” it jibbered in a statement.

      • ‘Defnydd heddiw’: Smart meter displays in England turn Welsh in bizarre language glitch

        One customer, James Tombs, who lives well over 100 miles from the Welsh border, in West Sussex, told us: “I don’t live in Wales and don’t know Welsh. One day I saw my meter was in Welsh but ignored it as I was busy. I then came back to it later and realised that the screen was locked, the buttons didn’t do anything and the unit wasn’t updating. The clock was stuck at 15.47.

      • iOS 13 beta exposes iCloud Keychain passwords and usernames

        This allows for access to iCloud Keychain passwords, which pretty much means access to a whole suite of usernames and passwords stored by Apple’s cloud service. We can envision the potential for another iCloud hack, only with leaked nudes of early adopter Apple fanatics rather than celebs indulging their promiscuous sides.

      • Security updates for Wednesday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (libreoffice), Red Hat (thunderbird), SUSE (ardana and crowbar, firefox, libgcrypt, and xrdp), and Ubuntu (nss, squid3, and wavpack).

      • Malicious Python libraries targeting Linux servers removed from PyPI [Ed: Python does not run only on Linux, but Microsoft-funded sites like ZDNet (CBS) look for ways to blame everything on "Linux", even malicious software that gets caught in the supply chain]
      • Malicious Python Libraries Discovered on PyPI, Offensive Security Launches the Kali NetHunter App Store, IBM Livestreaming a Panel with Original Apollo 11 Technicians Today, Azul Systems Announces OpenJSSE and Krita 4.2.3 Released

        Offensive Security, the creators of open-source Kali Linux, has launched the Kali NetHunter App Store, “a new one stop shop for security relevant Android applications. Designed as an alternative to the Google Play store for Android devices, the NetHunter store is an installable catalogue of Android apps for pentesting and forensics”. The press release also notes that the NetHunter store is a slightly modified version of F-Droid: “While F-Droid installs its clients with telemetry disabled and asks for consent before submitting crash reports, the NetHunter store goes a step further by removing the entire code to ensure that privacy cannot be accidentally compromised”. See the Kali.org blog post for more details.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • US nuclear weapon locations in Europe accidentally exposed in NATO committee report

        The Washington Post reports that the document by a Canadian senator for the Defense and Security Committee of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly detailed the future of the organization’s nuclear deterrence policy but accidentally exposed the open secret.

        The report stated that U.S. nuclear weapons are being stored in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.

      • ‘The most intimidating minute I have ever spent’: The first nuclear weapon test was 74 years ago — here’s what it was like to watch the ‘shocking’ explosion

        Nicknamed Gadget, the bomb had been three years in the making. At 10 p.m. local time on July 15 it was winched to the top of a metal tower 800 meters from the ground zero site Oppenheimer had named Trinity, after a poem by the 17th-century English writer John Donne.

        The team originally planned to detonate the bomb at 4 a.m., but a passing storm caused delays, and it wasn’t until just before 5:29 a.m. that the countdown began.

      • Puerto Rico’s Vieques island ousted the US Navy. Now the fight’s against Airbnb.

        The Navy phased out of Vieques at the turn of the millennium, pushed by decades of intense local activism and international outcry after David Sanes Rodríguez, a Puerto Rican security guard, was killed in a bombing run — one of thousands conducted by the military over more than 60 years. During that period, the Navy staged training exercises on the beaches of Vieques and dropped thousands of bombs on the land and its surrounding waters — not to mention depleted uranium shells, napalm and Agent Orange.

        Almost 20 years after their departure, island leaders are still demanding the Navy clean up buried munitions and toxic pollution, and craft a sustainable development plan meant to bolster the local economy and revitalize long-fallow land.

        Many Viequenses fear the island is still not their own. Instead of military occupation, they now face “an invasion of ‘foreign’ capital,” as Guadalupe Ortiz describes it — people from the US mainland buying up property for vacation homes and Airbnbs at prices exponentially higher than what most locals can afford.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Western Elites Spruik Media Freedom While Torturing Julian Assange In Belmarsh Supermax. But What’s Stanley Milgram Got To Do With It?

        While politicians, media and commentators strut the world stage crying ‘press freedom’ an actual journalist from Australia rots in a British prison for doing his job. Clinical psychologist Dr Lissa Johnson weighs in with the science behind why we stay silent.

        On Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th July, the UK Foreign Office and Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a Global Conference for Media Freedom. Politicians and opinion-shapers from around the world gathered in London to discuss how best to promote a “free and independent media”, and ensure the “safety and protection of journalists”, who are “under threat” around the world.

        Meanwhile, publisher and journalist Julian Assange languished in Belmarsh supermax prison a short train ride away. His plight failed to rate a mention on the conference agenda, despite the event’s professed concern for journalists in jail.

      • The CIA Wants To Make It Easier To Jail Journalists And No One In Congress Is Stopping It From Happening

        The CIA is pushing for an expansion of a 37-year-old law that would deter journalists from covering national security issues or reporting on leaked documents. Thanks to a disillusioned CIA case officer’s actions in 1975, there are currently a few limits to what can or can’t be reported about covert operatives working overseas.

        In 1975, Philip Agee published a memoir about his years with the CIA. Attached to his memoir — which detailed his growing discontentment with the CIA’s clandestine support of overseas dictators — was a list of 250 CIA agents or informants. In response to this disclosure, Congress passed the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA), which criminalized disclosing the identity of covert intelligence agents.

        The IIPA did what it could to protect journalists by limiting the definition of “covert agent” to agents serving overseas and then only those who were currently working overseas when the disclosure occurred. It also required the government to show proof the person making the disclosure was “engaged in a pattern of activities intended to identify and expose” covert agents. The law was amended in 1999 to expand the coverage to include covert agents working overseas within five years of the disclosure.

    • Environment

      • Coral Deaths Spurred by Pollutants From Land: Runoff and waste may be more harmful to the animals than climate change.

        A30-year study suggests that pollution may pose a more imminent threat to struggling coral reefs than waters warmed by climate change. The research points to excess nitrogen from topsoil runoff and inadequately treated sewage as the main driver of coral death in Florida’s Looe Key reef, researchers reported July 15 in Marine Biology.

      • Nitrogen from sewage and farms is starving Florida corals to death, study says

        The study led by Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Looe Key, in the Florida Keys, showed that higher nutrient levels in Florida waters is a key cause of coral bleaching and death. As nutrient runoff from farming and from a growing population increases the amount of nitrogen levels in the water, corals are actually dying before being affected by warmer water temperatures, said Brian Lapointe, one of the authors of the study and a professor at FAU’s Harbor Branch.

      • Solar-powered barge gobbles up trash in Finland’s waterways

        Garbage tends to especially accumulate in waters near highly-populated areas. Despite the use of water purification systems as well as other anti-pollution techniques, small items such as cotton swabs often end up in waterways.

        Though Roska-Roope isn’t able to collect all of the unwanted elements in the water, part of its role is to educate the public about the effects of litter.

      • ‘Breaking’ the heat index: US heat waves to skyrocket as globe warms, study suggests

        By 2050, hundreds of U.S. cities could see an entire month each year with heat index temperatures above 100 degrees if nothing is done to rein in global warming.

        The heat index, also known as the apparent temperature, is what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature. This is the first study to take the heat index – instead of just temperature – into account when determining the impacts of global warming, Dahl said.

        The number of days per year when the heat index exceeds 100 degrees will more than double nationally, according to the study, which was published Tuesday in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Research Communications.

      • July 2019: Hurricane Barry

        On July 16, 2019, the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) began collecting aerial damage assessment images in the aftermath of Hurricane Barry. Imagery is being collected in specific areas identified by NOAA in coordination with FEMA and other state and federal partners. Collected images are available to view online via the NGS aerial imagery viewer. View tips on how to use the imagery viewer.

        NOAA’s aerial imagery aids safe navigation and captures damage to coastal areas caused by a storm. Aerial imagery is a crucial tool to determine the extent of the damage inflicted by flooding, and to compare baseline coastal areas to assess the damage to major ports and waterways, coastlines, critical infrastructure, and coastal communities. This imagery provides a cost-effective way to better understand the damage sustained to both property and the environment.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Senate passes bill making hacking voting systems a federal crime

        But most election-related legislation has stalled in the Senate, including a mammoth ethics and election reform, known as H.R. 1, that was passed by House Democrats.

      • Microsoft Data Shows [Attackers] Still Targeting U.S. Elections

        State-backed [attackers] have attempted to infiltrate targets related to U.S. elections more than 700 times in the past year, furthering concerns about potential meddling in upcoming races, according to a blog posted Wednesday by Microsoft Corp.

      • Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens dies at 99

        He was commissioned as an officer in the Navy on Dec. 6, 1941, the day before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He spent most of his Navy service, which lasted until 1945, stationed at Pearl Harbor working on breaking Japanese codes, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star.

        [...]

        With two older brothers who were lawyers, John was encouraged after his discharge from the Navy to attend law school himself. He used the G.I. Bill to attend Northwestern University Law School, where he completed his degree in two years. He was editor in chief of the law review and graduated first in the class of 1947 with the highest grade-point average in the school’s history.

      • Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Gives Talk at Apple Headquarters

        Dorsey, who co-founded Twitter Inc. and Square Inc., is one of several speakers talking to select Apple employees as part of an ongoing series, people familiar with the matter said. The billionaire spoke with staff from the marketing department, they said, asking not to be identified discussing internal matters.

      • Von der Leyen confirmed as first female European Commission president

        Von der Leyen promised to defend the rule of law, took aim at U.S. tech giants’ low tax bill in Europe and said she would update EU-wide norms for tackling the migrant issue.

      • Ursula von der Leyen is elected European Commission president

        But it was not. The centre-right EPP group and the liberals were, it is true, broadly supportive. Under a deal done by national leaders in a marathon European Council summit culminating on July 2nd, Mrs von der Leyen would be nominated for the commission, Charles Michel, a liberal, to the European Council’s own presidency and Josep Borrell, a socialist, to the role of high representative for foreign policy—with Christine Lagarde, the French head of the IMF, taking charge at the European Central Bank. But plenty of greens and socialists (led by contingents from Germany itself) objected that this was a stitch-up, that it was unfair on the left and that it contravened a post-2014 convention whereby a party-political “lead candidate” should win a mandate at the European election to become commission president. That raised the spectre of Mrs von der Leyen owing her majority to right-wing populists from outside the mainstream, some of whom backed her to avoid getting Frans Timmermans, the socialists’ preferred choice.

        Clearly Mrs von der Leyen wanted to avoid that outcome. Her speech this morning was her last effort to do so. The vote was secret. But its narrowness suggests that without the votes of, say, Poland’s right-populist Law and Justice (PiS) MPs or those of Hungary’s authoritarian Fidesz, she would not have won. One rumour, encouraged by sources in Warsaw, has it that Angela Merkel called PiS leaders to secure their support for her compatriot and ally (perhaps in exchange for German support to keep EU regional funds flowing to poor Polish regions). By contrast none of Germany’s 16 Social Democrat MEPs claims to have voted for her and almost no members of the parliament’s Green fraction did. So the incoming commission president will take office with her authority already dented. Far from commanding a centrist majority in the parliament, she faces charges of being in hock to some of the more unpleasant and unpredictable elements of the European right.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • GOP demands that Pelosi remarks be removed from record [iophk: tweets in place of official communications :( ]

        Action on the floor froze at that point, as lawmakers and the parliamentarian debated next steps.

      • (Can’t) Picture This 2: An Analysis of WeChat’s Realtime Image Filtering in Chats

        WeChat implements realtime, automatic censorship of chat images based on text contained in images and on an image’s visual similarity to those on a blacklist

        WeChat facilitates realtime filtering by maintaining a hash index populated by MD5 hashes of images sent by users of the chat platform

      • How WeChat censors private conversations, automatically in real time

        WeChat’s censors face two types of challenges. Big public posts on WeChat Moments, a public feature similar to Facebook’s Timeline, are scrutinized and filtered by algorithms that can sometimes take over 10 seconds to run—a glacial pace on social media. But one-on-one and group messages are a different problem entirely, because they are often intimate and instant conversations. That requires real-time censorship.

        Text is relatively easy to search and censor. Image filtering is harder, especially when you’re trying to examine and censor the images almost instantly. To accomplish this task, WeChat keeps a massive and always growing index of MD5 hashes, small cryptographic data signatures that are unique to every file. When a censored image is sent, it will be caught by the hash index and deleted. Neither the sender nor the recipient is ever likely to know anything was censored.

        If the image isn’t instantly censored, it’s sent for automatic analysis. Using optical character recognition, [...]

      • EU Looking To Regulate Everything Online, And To Make Sites Proactively Remove Material

        A core aim is to replace the e-Commerce Directive, passed in 2000. This is presented as “outdated”, but the suggestions in the paper are clearly a continuation of attacks on the fundamental principles underlying the open Internet that began with the Copyright Directive.

        One of the problems for the EU when pushing through the upload filters of Article 13/17 in the Copyright Directive is that Article 15 of the e-Commerce Directive explicitly states that there is “No general obligation to monitor”. Constant surveillance is the only way that upload filters can work — if you don’t monitor all the time, you can’t be sure you block everything that the law requires. Furthermore, Article 14 of the e-Commerce Directive emphasizes that “the service provider is not liable for the information stored at the request of a recipient of the service”. That’s subject to certain conditions, such as being required to remove material that infringes on copyright, but only after being informed of its presence on their servers.

      • Google, Money and Censorship in Free Software communities

        Alexander Wirt (formorer) has tried to justify censoring the mailing list in various ways. Wirt is also one of Debian’s GSoC administrators and mentors, it appears he has a massive conflict of interest when censoring posts about Google.

        Wirt has also made public threats to censor other discussions, for example, the DebConf Israel debate. The challenges of holding a successful event in that particular region require a far more mature approach.

        Why are these donations and conflicts of interest hidden from the free software community who rely on, interact with contribute to Debian in so many ways? Why doesn’t Debian provide a level playing field, why does money from Google get this veil of secrecy?

        [...]

        Google also operates a mailing list for mentors in Google Summer of Code. It looks a lot like any other free software community mailing list except for one thing: censorship.

        Look through the “Received” headers of messages on the mailing list and you can find examples of messages that were delayed for some hours waiting for approval. It is not clear how many messages were silently censored, never appearing at all.

        Recent attempts to discuss the issue on Google’s own mailing list produced an unsurprising result: more censorship.

      • Former Content Moderator Explains How Josh Hawley’s Bill Would Grant Government Control Over Online Speech

        Daisy Soderberg-Rivkin, who used to work at Google as an in-house content moderator, has written a fascinating piece for the Washington Times, explaining just what a disaster Josh Hawley’s anti-Section 230 bill would be for the internet. As we’ve discussed, Hawley’s bill would require large internet companies to beg the FTC every two years to get a “certificate” granting them Section 230 protections — and they’d only get it if they could convince 4 out of 5 of the FTC Commissioners that their content moderation efforts were “politically neutral.”

        Soderberg-Rivkin points out how that will stifle the kind of “clean up” efforts that most everyone — especially folks like Senator Josh Hawley — often claim they want when they complain about all the “bad stuff” on social media. Remember, just before introducing this bill, Hawley was whining about all the bad and dangerous content on social media.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Bulgaria tax agency [attack] exposes personal data of ‘almost all’ citizens

        However, the attack appears to have come courtesy of a [criminal] with a Russian email address who offered local media to the pilfered data. It remains unclear what motivated the attack, but the person claiming to be behind the [attack] said the Bulgarian government was corrupt, which would suggest this was a politically motivated attack.

      • In systemic breach, [intruders] [copy] millions of Bulgarians’ financial data

        The reason for the attack was not immediately clear.

        But the email’s author, who described the government as corrupt, said hackers had compromised more than 110 databases, including “critically confidential” information from key administrations, some of which was being offered to journalists.

      • Brexit Party MEP admits working in secret for Cambridge Analytica

        Phillips’s involvement came during Kenya’s controversial 2017 election campaign, when president Uhuru Kenyatta deployed a secret team to help him retain power.

        Phillips initially strenuously denying any involvement with the data firm, which has been accused of influencing the Brexit result in the UK and the American election result.

        The MEP is said to have only backtracked after the programme obtained a recording of an interview from 2017 in which she confirms she had been “employed by Cambridge Analytica”.

        The firm was exposed by an undercover Channel 4 News investigation last year in which company bosses were filmed boasting of dirty tricks, and impacting election results around the world.

      • Oakland Becomes Third U.S. City to Ban Facial Recognition

        A city ordinance passed Tuesday night which prohibits the city of Oakland from “acquiring, obtaining, retaining, requesting, or accessing” facial recognition technology, which it defines as “an automated or semi-automated process that assists in identifying or verifying an individual based on an individual’s face.”

      • Why the U.S. Must Follow Our Lead in San Francisco or Risk Becoming a Surveillance State

        Technology should work for the public good, not against it. Yet recent revelations that the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are pillaging state driver’s license records to conduct facial recognition surveillance recall the controversy beginning in 2013 over secret mass surveillance by the National Security Agency.

        Under the pretense of preventing crime, these tools are once again being trained on the innocent American public.

        The news came on the heels of a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office that showed federal authorities now have access to over 641 million photos of people’s faces in searchable databases. Since 2011, federal agents have submitted requests for over 390,000 searches. The FBI currently conducts about 4,000 searches per month through its “next generation” photo ID system.

      • How Pornhub Enables Doxing and Harassment

        The agreements they signed with Girls Do Porn are multi-page contracts full of fine legal print, and make no mention of the videos being posted online or even the name “Girls Do Porn,” according to O’Brien. “So they do sign something, but they never get a copy of it. The first time they ever see it is in this litigation,” he said.

      • Amazon Is Using Prime Day to Lock People into a Giant Surveillance Network

        However, Ring and Neighbors market themselves as a crime-fighting tools only by actively encouraging people to fear their neighbors. And by extension, Amazon positions itself as a company that can uniquely address these safety concerns stoked by Ring and Neighbors. Amazon uses Prime Day as a means of getting people to buy heavily discounted Amazon products that lock customers into their broader ecosystem. In this case, that includes Ring. But there are many reasons not to buy a ring. Here’s a summary of Motherboard’s reporting on Ring and Neighbors: [...]

      • Windows 10 will soon allow third-party voice assistants to take precedence over Cortana

        Watch out for the change is 19H2 – which will be the first bi-annual update to the operating system to be a patch rollup, similar to the old Service Packs, instead of a full new build.

      • Senators aren’t sold on Facebook’s Libra project

        “Like a toddler who has gotten his hands on a book of matches, Facebook has burned down the house over and over, and called every arson a learning experience,” Brown said. “We would be crazy to give them a chance to experiment with people’s bank accounts, and to use powerful tools they don’t understand, like monetary policy, to jeopardize hardworking Americans’ ability to provide for their families.”

      • [Older] Facebook, privacy activist Schrems face off in July 9 court hearing

        At issue is standard contractual clauses used by Facebook and other companies to transfer personal data to the United States and other parts of the world and whether these violate Europeans’ fundamental right to privacy.

        Cross-border data transfers worth billions of dollars are a fact of life for businesses ranging from banks to carmakers to industrial giants.

        Schrems, an Austrian law student, successfully fought against the EU’s previous privacy rules called Safe Harbour in 2015. He is now challenging Facebook’s use of such standard clauses on the grounds that they do not offer sufficient data protection safeguards.

      • The PGP Problem

        There are, as you’re about to see, lots of problems with PGP. Fortunately, if you’re not morbidly curious, there’s a simple meta-problem with it: it was designed in the 1990s, before serious modern cryptography. No competent crypto engineer would design a system that looked like PGP today, nor tolerate most of its defects in any other design. Serious cryptographers have largely given up on PGP and don’t spend much time publishing on it anymore (with a notable exception). Well-understood problems in PGP have gone unaddressed for over a decade because of this.

        Two quick notes: first, we wrote this for engineers, not lawyers and activists. Second: “PGP” can mean a bunch of things, from the OpenPGP standard to its reference implementation in GnuPG. We use the term “PGP” to cover all of these things.

      • ICO sheds light onto cookie requirements

        At the beginning of this month, UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) published much awaited new guidance on the use of cookies and similar technologies for storing information, and accessing information stored, on a user’s equipment, such as a computer or mobile device. It is primarily addressed to the providers/operators of online services, such as a website or a mobile app, and provides more clarity and certainty about how cookies can be used as part of such services.

        [...]

        ICO has developed an online tool that may prove useful when determining where consent applies for the use of cookies.

        New guidance also tightens the requirements for obtaining the consent by pointing to the valid consent standards under the GDPR– freely given, specific, informed, unambiguous and expressly given. Consent requests must be ‘clearly distinguishable from other matters’, be presented in an intelligible and easily accessible form, and the consent mechanism must allow the data subjects to withdraw their consent at any time. Accordingly, the continued use of the website does not constitute a valid consent.

        Before the consent is given, users must be clearly informed about what cookies are in use (including any third party cookies) and what function they perform. Further, before making a choice, users must also be prevented from accessing the website. For non-essential cookies, pre-ticked boxes or equivalent default fixtures are not allowed, and user access should not be denied if they do not consent to such cookies. ICO is very specific about placement, formatting and wording of cookie information and consent request.

        Notably, the cookie rules do not apply in the same way to the intranet, which is unlikely to be a public electronic communications service.

      • Idaho Magistrate Judge Shoots Down Another Government Request For Compelled Fingerprint Production

        In May, federal magistrate judge Ronald E. Bush said compelled production of fingerprints violates both the Fourth and Fifth Amendment. He declared the fingerprint application itself to be a search, one performed with the assistance of the suspect. There’s the Fourth Amendment issue.

        And since the government hadn’t provided evidence tying the suspect to the phone, producing fingerprints would provide the government with testimonial evidence it didn’t have. The government wanted to search the phone for “indica of ownership” — something it hoped to perform after it had already compelled production of fingerprints. The government had no “foregone conclusion” to work with, so forcing a suspect to give up information only they know (namely, possibly verifying ownership by unlocking the phone) implicated his Fifth Amendment protections against being forced to testify against himself.

        In this case, Judge Bush has handed down another denial [PDF]. Once again, the government wants to compel the unlocking of a device but doesn’t have everything it needs. What the government does have isn’t much. The evidence tying the suspect to child porn possession is mostly ephemeral: IP addresses, email addresses, and online accounts. Using this as probable cause, the government is asking to search electronics seized from a searched residence. (The government also wants to search the suspect’s car, presumably in case any electronics are stashed there.)

      • Sharpening Our Claws: Teaching Privacy Badger to Fight More Third-Party Trackers

        The latest release of Privacy Badger gives it the power to detect and block a new class of evasive, pervasive third-party trackers, including Google Analytics.

        Most blocking tools, like uBlock Origin, Ghostery, and Firefox’s native blocking mode (using Disconect’s block lists), use human-curated lists to decide whether to block or allow third-party resources. But Privacy Badger is different. Rather than rely on a list of known trackers, it discovers and learns to block new trackers in the wild. It works using heuristics, or patterns of behavior, to identify trackers.

        Last week, we updated Privacy Badger with a new heuristic to help it identify trackers that have flown under its radar in the past. Here’s how it works.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Marine vet denied entry to US for scheduled citizenship interview

        Sabal lived in the US for more than a decade and joined the Marines in 1987, eager to serve the US. In 2008, he returned to Belize for a visit and while he was gone, a judge ordered him to be deported at a court hearing he was not aware of because he was not in the US.

        Sabal has been stuck outside the US since that 2008 trip.

      • We Talked to People Who Are Boycotting Amazon Prime Day

        Mateo Ramirez, age 20 from Florida, said via Instagram DM that he’s boycotting Prime Day in order to show opposition to Amazon’s union-busting and low minimum wages. Amazon recently raised its company minimum wage to $15/hour, but only while cutting stock benefits and incentive pay.

        “I work in marketing and economics so I know about the logistics of Amazon and I know that in order to provide the services that they provide, employees needs to be working diligently Around the Clock, but I also believe that a company with as much money and assets as Amazon can afford to give its employees sufficient breaks,” Ramirez said. “As a consumer, I would be more than willing to sacrifice one day shipping to ensure that employees are working in a healthy environment.”

      • “Sweden is at War”

        Under the heading, “Personal safety – tips and advice on how to avoid getting into unwanted situations”, the municipality advises its employees to “Plan your itinerary – know your area…try to minimize the time from when you park your bike / car until you enter [the destination]“. Also, “Before leaving a building, look out first and make an assessment of the surroundings to avoid getting into an unwanted situation… keep away from people who are considered potentially threatening or dangerous and increase the distance if there are no other people nearby”.

        One city employee, who received the guidelines, accused the municipality of hypocrisy: “To the media, the municipality says that everything is fine, even though it is not. Then they send this type of mail to their employees”.

      • An Epidemic of Disbelief

        “These are not the Napoleons of crime,” Tim McGinty told me. He paused, reflecting on those 7,000 rape kits sitting in storage in Cleveland while the perpetrators were free on the streets. “They’re morons. We were letting morons beat us.”

        Liz Garcia considers herself fortunate. At least the Cleveland police submitted her rape kit for testing, even if they weren’t able to identify her assailant until they retested it 12 years later. But what about the other victims, the ones who endured an invasive forensic exam, expecting the police to marshal that evidence to catch their assailants? “How can somebody just let them sit there?” Garcia asks. “You know, the women calling and calling, trying to find answers. You’re giving them some story, and all along this rape kit is sitting there, not even being tested. ‘No, we don’t have anything further.’ But you could have if you would have tested that kit! You could have avoided other rapes if you would have tested that kit.”

        This is the question that haunts every advocate, researcher, and enlightened detective or prosecutor I spoke with: How many rapes could have been prevented if the police had believed the first victim, launched a thorough investigation, and caught the rapist? How many women would have been spared a brutal assault?

      • No Federal Charges for NYC Police Officer in Eric Garner Case

        New York police officers were attempting to arrest Garner, then 43, for selling untaxed cigarettes on the street. When Garner resisted, asking officers not to touch him and batting their hands away, they restrained him. Garner, who was heard saying he couldn’t breathe, died in the altercation that followed.

        The DOJ concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Daniel Pantaleo, the officer accused of killing Garner, had violated the federal Civil Rights Act. To do so, Donahue said, the government would have had to prove Pantaleo willfully used more force than he could have believed was necessary.

      • Eric Garner’s killer will not be charged

        It’s been five years. The only punishment Pantaleo received is being demoted to desk duty.

        The person who captured video of the NYPD killing Eric Garner, Ramsey Orta, may face over 50 years in prison for filming a murder.

      • Can Ilhan Omar Overcome Her Prejudice?

        I once opened a speech by confessing to a crowd of Jews that I used to hate them. It was 2006 and I was a young native of Somalia who’d been elected to the Dutch Parliament. The American Jewish Committee was giving me its Moral Courage Award. I felt honored and humbled, but a little dishonest if I didn’t own up to my anti-Semitic past. So I told them how I’d learned to blame the Jews for everything.

        i

        Fast-forward to 2019. [...]

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • 5G’s Latest Problem: Summer Temps Are Causing 5G Phones To Overheat

        Buried underneath the blistering hype surrounding fifth-generation (5G) wireless is a quiet but growing consensus: the technology is being over-hyped, and early incarnations were rushed to market in a way that prioritized marketing over substance. That’s not to say that 5G won’t be a good thing when it arrives at scale several years from now, but early offerings have been almost comical in their shortcomings. AT&T has repeatedly lied about 5G availability by pretending its 4G network is 5G. Verizon’s falsely telling everyone 5G will help cure cancer, but its actual deployments have been spotty and expensive.

        5G device support barely exists. Apple is in no rush to get its first phones to market. The promise of 5G as a competitive and rural coverage panacea has been vastly overstated. And most surveys suggest US consumers (who already pay some of the highest data prices in the developed world) are more interested in lower bills than faster speeds. All of which is to say that 5G isn’t quite the Earth-shattering revolution it has been heralded as by carriers and network vendors eager to sell more cell phones and network hardware.

      • House Judiciary Committee Continues Its Antitrust Inquiry Into the Internet Marketplace

        Chairman David Cicilline laid out the facts as to why his Subcommittee is engaging in this antitrust inquiry: a small handful of companies wield enormous influence over Internet activity and investors that are important in funding startups noted the “kill-zone” that exists when challenging the dominant tech companies. Rather than try to launch startups that were meant to displace the Internet giants, the market seems to have trended towards building companies that the tech giants will seek to acquire through vertical mergers. Professor Fiona Scott Morton testified that what may be needed is a rethinking of mergers and acquisitions. EFF agrees that this area of antitrust law is sorely in need of a reboot. Other witnesses noted that small businesses now see companies like Amazon as potentially hostile to their ability to use the Internet to grow, Stacey Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. This represents a dramatic shift in how Internet industries have worked historically, where the garage startup became the next billion-dollar corporation only to be replaced by the next garage startup, and no company could gatekeep others.

        It’s a powerful indication that the Internet markets have changed when the giant corporations under scrutiny could only list each other as competitors, in response to requests from Congressman Hank Johnson. In a follow-up inquiry, Congressman Joe Neguse noted 4 of the 6 largest global social media companies are all owned by Facebook, which highlights how its series of mergers appeared to have gotten ahead of users who switched away from Facebook but were brought back into the fold in the end.

    • Monopolies

      • Amazon Is Celebrating Its Monopoly Power With Prime Day

        Prime Day, then, is the ultimate loss leader for the company. In exchange for spending billions of dollars on services and losing billions of dollars on deep discounts, Amazon is making the bet that you will join Prime and then spend more money on more things offered on the platform and by the company itself. Last year, most commentators paid attention to the fact that Amazon sold $3.5 billion worth of products on Prime Day, its biggest haul ever for the event. The real move here, however, is Amazon uses Prime Day to increase Prime memberships and, as analysts at the consulting firm McKinsey & Company explained, “lock consumers more tightly into its growing ecosystem of products, services, and media.”

        Amazon continues to lose money on shipping, but its long game is to lock people into its ecosystem.

      • EC launches ‘full-blown’ antitrust probe into Amazon

        If Amazon is found to have breached antitrust rules, it could be fined up to 10 per cent of its annual global turnover – which given Amazon’s complicated financial affairs might not prove as easy to calculate as you’d hope.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • How anyone can win an argument through analogy using PTAB big data

          A distinguishing feature of a good patent practitioner is his or her ability to analogize. But the usefulness of such analogizing is not limited to patent prosecutors. In fact, patent litigators are increasingly using ex parte appeals data in court with the same approach.

          First some context. Patent practitioners have long used a technique analogizing to rules and case law to bolster their position. For example, a patent lawyer can use the universe of MPEP, case law or other USPTO guidance to point out that an examiner’s rejection is improper. A problem with this is that with only finite hours to spend to sift through the thousands of pages of such resources for such analogizing information. This is where help from big data comes in.

          Ex parte PTAB appeals data can help patent practitioners analogize to overcome a particular rejection. With Anticipat Research, a savvy practitioner can simply input an examiner name, art unit or technology class of interest, along with the rejection type, filter for all reversals, and then quickly distill which argumentation and case law the Board found persuasive in overturning an application’s current rejection.

      • Copyrights

        • Organized Crime Unit Orders Pirate IPTV Sellers to Cease & Desist

          The Covert Development and Disruption Team of the UK’s North West Regional Organised Crime Unit says it has issued cease and desist notices in England and Wales to people involved in the sale of ‘pirate’ IPTV subscriptions. The sweep took place Tuesday and also targeted sellers of modified set-top boxes.

        • ‘Repeat Copyright Infringer’ Case Against Cloudflare Can Continue, Court Rules

          In a case filed in California, Cloudflare stands accused of failing to terminate customers that have been repeatedly called out as copyright infringers. The case wasn’t filed by Hollywood or the major record labels, but by two manufacturers of wedding dresses. The CDN provider tried to have the case dismissed recently but in a new order, the court refuses to do so.

Index: G 2/19 (Enlarged Board of Appeal, EPO)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

PART 3 AND PART 4 (links below) of this series concern the case which previous parts, namely 1 and 2, explained in some more detail (Wikipedia has an article about it as well). Today we concluded this series, at least for now, and we’ve decided that we shall post a more complete series-like index at the end, hopefully before a decision is reached (the outcome seems predictable). This index will be updated as additional posts on the subject are published. This page is thus a dynamic (to be updated) index.

Part 1: EPO Looney Tunes – Part 1: Is D-Day Approaching for Battistelli’s “Difficult Legacy”?
Part 2: EPO Looney Tunes – Part 2: The “Difficult Legacy” and Its Dark Historical Shadow
Part 3: EPO Looney Tunes – Part 3: The Legal Line-up for G 2/19
Part 4: EPO Looney Tunes – Part 4: G 2/19 – Faites Vos Jeux…

Also of relevance:

Outcome:

Decision (written):

EPO Looney Tunes – Part 4: G 2/19 – Faites Vos Jeux…

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Law, Patents at 5:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

Carl Josefsson

The Chairman of the Enlarged Board, Carl Josefsson

Part 1: EPO Looney Tunes – Part 1: Is D-Day Approaching for Battistelli’s “Difficult Legacy”?
Part 2: EPO Looney Tunes – Part 2: The “Difficult Legacy” and Its Dark Historical Shadow
Part 3: EPO Looney Tunes – Part 3: The Legal Line-up for G 2/19

Summary: “Josefsson needs to bring in the “desired result” for his political masters in the Administrative Council if he wants to be in with a chance of reappointment.”

The Chairman of the Enlarged Board, Carl Josefsson, is generally reckoned to be a “safe pair of hands” who does his best to please his political masters.

Most insiders are of the opinion that he is unlikely to advocate or support any course of action which might risk upsetting the apple cart (António Campinos has partial control over his position).

“The decisive question seems to be whether or not Josefsson can persuade a majority of the Board to row in behind him or whether the “contrarians” will carry the day.”So it seems like a safe bet that he will do his best to guide the proceedings in a direction that will enable the Board to dodge the awkward third and final “Haar question”.

Failing that, he can be expected to do his best to secure a decision confirming that the holding of oral proceedings in Haar is in compliance with the EPC.

The decisive question seems to be whether or not Josefsson can persuade a majority of the Board to row in behind him or whether the “contrarians” will carry the day.

EBA of EPO

The internal members of the Enlarged Board.
Top row: Legally qualified members, Ingo Beckedorf and Gérard Weiss
Bottom row: Technically qualified members, Gunnar Eliasson (no photo) and Pascal Gryczka

As far as the internal members are concerned, Josefsson can probably safely count on the support of his fellow Swede, the elusive Gunnar Eliasson.

“Eliasson is the Chairman of the Technical Board of Appeal 3.4.03 which is reputed to take a relatively “soft” and “customer-friendly” line on software and business method patenting.”Eliasson acted as ad interim Chairman of the Enlarged Board (warning: epo.org link) during the interregnum following the departure of the former Vice-President of DG3, the Dutchman Wim “the Wimp” van der Eijk, who had is reported to have fallen out of grace with Battistelli. In this role Eliasson liased closely with Josefsson during the “handover” period when the latter assumed office as “President of the Boards of Appeal”.

Eliasson is the Chairman of the Technical Board of Appeal 3.4.03 which is reputed to take a relatively “soft” and “customer-friendly” line on software and business method patenting. By all accounts he seems like another managerially compliant “safe pair of hands” who can be depended on to dance to the Chairman’s tune.

The support of the other internal members for Josefsson’s line is less certain because at least some of them are known to have taken management-critical stances in the past.

“As far as the external members are concerned, they are “dark horses” and it is difficult to make any reliable prediction about the position which they might take.”Ingo Beckedorf joined the EPO in 2007 and has been a regular legally qualified member of the Enlarged Board of Appeal since 2012. Before joining the Boards of Appeal, he was an attaché de presse and deputy head of the Office of the European Parliament in Germany (2001-2003) and a judge at the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court of Hamburg (1997-2006).

Gérard Weiss, from Alsace, joined the EPO in 1982 as a legal advisor in the Patent Law Department. From 1990 to 2000 he was head of the Administrative Council Secretariat. He moved to the Boards of Appeal in 2001 and has been a legal member of the Enlarged Board since 2010.

Pascal Gryczka, who comes from Freyming-Merlebach in the Moselle region of France close to the German border, is a graduate of the University of Strasbourg (Battistelli works at CEIPI in Strasbourg now) and has been a Chairman of a Technical Board of Appeal since 2011.

EPO external

The external members of the Board.
Jochem Gröning (Germany) and Michael Sachs (Austria)

As far as the external members are concerned, they are “dark horses” and it is difficult to make any reliable prediction about the position which they might take.

These “external members” are members of a national judiciary of an EPO contracting state who are appointed to a panel for a (renewable) term of three years.

“Sachs has a reputation as a bon viveur and is a well known figure among the “champagne set” of Viennese High Society.”Jochem Gröning is a judge at the German Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe with a solid reputation in legal circles in his home country. He gives the impression that he can be relied upon to weigh up matters in a neutral manner and that he is unlikely to allow himself to be swayed too much by purely political considerations.

Michael Sachs is the Vice-President of the Austrian Federal Administrative Court in Vienna. Sachs has a reputation as a bon viveur and is a well known figure among the “champagne set” of Viennese High Society.

Michael Sachs

Judge Michael Sachs enjoying the good life at a champagne-tasting reception in Vienna

Austrian judicial appointments are notoriously political and the Federal Administrative Court which was established in 2014 is no exception to this general rule.

Michael Sachs is politically connected to the conservative Austrian Peoples’ Party (ÖVP) currently led by the “Wunderknabe” Sebastian Kurz. His colleague Harald Perl, the President of the Federal Administrative Court, is an appointee of the other main political party in Austria, the Socialist Party (SPÖ).

SPO VPO

Tweedledum and Tweedledee?
President of the Federal Administrative Court, Harald Perl (SPÖ)
and Vice-President Michael Sachs (VPÖ)

Since its inception in 2014, the Federal Administrative Court has been dogged by allegations of endemic cronyism and questionable appointments.

“In at least one case, it was confirmed that the Office of the Public Prosecutor in Vienna had opened a formal investigation into allegations of official misconduct.”Some disgruntled staff, including judges and lawyers, were sufficiently irritated to set up an “Association against Cronyism” (“Verein gegen Freunderlwirtschaft”) and even went so far as to file a number of criminal complaints about various goings-on which upset them.

In at least one case, it was confirmed that the Office of the Public Prosecutor in Vienna had opened a formal investigation into allegations of official misconduct.

In another case, allegations of abuse of office were raised against members of the Presidium of the Court who had proposed the judicial appointment of Hubert Keyl, a member of the far-right populist Freedom Party (FPÖ) founded by the controversial Jörg Haider and currently led by the equally controversial Heinz-Christian Strache. In that case, allegations were made against both Sachs and Perl who are members of the Presidium.

Coming from an environment where cronyism, intrigue and machination seem to be on the daily menu, Sachs gives the impression of being a much more “political animal” than Gröning who seems to be more of the “legal scholar” type.

“Coming from an environment where cronyism, intrigue and machination seem to be on the daily menu, Sachs gives the impression of being a much more “political animal” than Gröning who seems to be more of the “legal scholar” type.”If this impression is correct, then there is a greater probability that Sachs – in contrast to Gröning – might be more susceptible to the influence of political as opposed to strictly legal considerations.

All in all, it would seem to be an easier task to persuade Sachs to row in behind the Chairman and to refrain from supporting any “contrarian” course of action.

Assuming that Josefsson can get the internal member Eliasson and the external member Sachs on his side, then all that he would need for a majority would be to “flip” one of the undecided internal members.

Internal sources suggest that Beckedorf is very much his own man so in the end it all seems to come down to what position Weiss and Gryczka are going to take and whether or not Josefsson can persuade one or both of them to row in behind him.

“Internal sources suggest that Beckedorf is very much his own man so in the end it all seems to come down to what position Weiss and Gryczka are going to take and whether or not Josefsson can persuade one or both of them to row in behind him.”If he can, then he will have it in the bag and the “Haar question” can at least be avoided for the time being or – in the best case scenario for Josefsson – if he plays his cards right he might even manage to bury it entirely.

As he is about half-way through his current five-year term of office, it’s clear that Josefsson needs to bring in the “desired result” for his political masters in the Administrative Council if he wants to be in with a chance of reappointment.

This brings the current mini-series of EPO Looney Tunes to a close but we hope to be back with an update in the not too distant future after the Enlarged Board of Appeal has delivered its decision on referral G 2/19.

Media Not Interested in G 2/19, Which Demonstrates Patent Justice is Nowadays Impossible at the EPO

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 4:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Keep out, journalists…

Orange cone

Summary: The EPO spreads patent injustices to other countries and courts; the media is miraculously enough not interested, almost as though there’s a coordinated blackout

NOT a single patent blog is writing about G 2/19 at the moment. Nothing. We’ve checked. We’re not surprised, either.

It’s like media access is being obstructed (it isn’t, as we clarified earlier this week and I’ve urged some local bloggers to attend) or media is instructed not to deal with it anymore. IP Kat was sanctioned by the European Patent Office (EPO) after it had covered the attacks by Battistelli (and now António Campinos) on judges. How can these judges stop European software patents later this year? They cannot. We don’t expect a ‘European Alice’ or 35 U.S.C. § 101.

“Will EPO bring patents on life and nature to the UK as well?”A new comment from IP Kat (posted in the blog by Kant) said: “Apparently, Haar is indeed in Munich.” So says a rigged panel? We shall see. We are going to publish the final part of our series in a moment (see Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3).

It is meanwhile being reported that the UKIPO is cooperating with the EPO. Is this the effect of Rowan? Recall "Stephen Rowan: From UK-IPO to Operation Coverup of Team António Campinos" (published recently).

Ben Wodecki (IPPro Magazine) wrote: “The EPO is able to help under its bilateral cooperation agreement with UKIPO, which entered into force in July 2018.”

The ‘Rowan effect’? Will EPO bring patents on life and nature to the UK as well?

To quote Wodecki:

The European Patent Office (EPO) has agreed to conduct some biotechnology patent searches for the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) to help tackle its large backlog of applications.

UKIPO said it has recruited and trained patent examiners in this area, but “remain[s] unable to deliver the timeliness that we want for our customers, particularly in relation to searches”.

The EPO is able to help under its bilateral cooperation agreement with UKIPO, which entered into force in July 2018.

IP Kat is meanwhile reporting on Richard Arnold’s promotion in Mr Justice Arnold to become Lord Justice Arnold: congratulations!

“…external members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal can be problematic and help form a biased, rigged, stacked panel of judges. The final part of our series is about it and will be out soon. External members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO can be hand-picked for ‘favourable’ (to Office management) outcomes.”So British courts will soon have a connection to the EPO as well. Wodecki (IPPro Magazine) noted: “In March 2016, he was appointed as an external member of the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO)…”

As we shall show in our next post, external members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal can be problematic and help form a biased, rigged, stacked panel of judges. The final part our series about it will be out soon. External members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO can be hand-picked for ‘favourable’ (to Office management) outcomes.

From Wodecki’s article:

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has approved the appointment of judge Richard Arnold to the UK Court of Appeals.
Arnold served as a High Court of Justice judge in the Chancery Division from 2008 and was appointed to be judge in charge of the Patents Court in April 2013.

In March 2016, he was appointed as an external member of the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO).

During the high profile patent dispute between Warner-Lambert and Mylan/Actavis, it was justice Arnold’s rejection of Warner-Lambert’s arguments on the basis of lack of an inventive step that the Court of Appeal’s ruled as correct.

Going back to IP Kat, earlier this week Rose Hughes write about a Board of Appeal decision, but still said not a word about the more important Haar case that started yesterday and had a seemingly stacked panel of judges to render the case inadmissible. Hughes wrote about T 0439/17 instead:

In T 0439/17 (published online 1 July 2019), the Board of Appeal of the EPO considered the circumstances under which a third party may intervene in an opposition. In general, a third party may intervene in opposition proceedings, after the opposition period has expired, if infringement proceedings relating to the patent have been started against the third party (Article 105(1)(a) EPC). The meaning of “infringement proceedings” under this provision has presented some difficulties, given the diversity of potential “patent infringement” related court proceedings (civil and criminal) throughout EPC member states.

[...]

KCC also argued that the admissibility of the accession need not necessarily be assessed at the precise time of the submission. Other subsequent events (e.g. the bringing of an infringement action), should also be taken into account. KCC pointed to Rule 89 EPC as providing the possibility for ex tunc assessment, in particular the wording “the [statement to initiate proceedings] is only deemed to have been made when the [fee] prescribed has been paid”. The Board also dismissed this argument (r. 13). The Board commented that the wording used in Rule 89 EPC was used throughout the EPC and was not considered to have a retroactive legal effect. The appeal was dismissed.

T 0439/17 therefore confirms that pre-infringement evidence procurement procedures in national courts are not considered sufficient to allow a third party to intervene in opposition proceedings. The Boards of Appeal maintain that the intervention under Article 105(1)(a) EPC is to be considered “a procedurally exceptional situation, which is justified only by a substantial legitimate interest of the assumed infringer to enter the opposition proceedings” (T 1713/11, r.2.2). The BA thus seeks to prevent the definition of “infringement proceedings” in Article 105(1)(a) EPC from being elaborated to encompass national procedures beyond an infringement action per se. The onus is thus on potential infringers wishing to avoid lengthy and expensive national revocation proceedings to pay close attention to newly granted European patents, such that they can file timely oppositions of their own. The BA stresses that there can be no benefit of hindsight.

T 0439/17 and every other decision very much depend on G 2/19, which questions the legitimacy of all decisions issued in recent years, just like one single ILO-AT judgment rendered perhaps hundreds of others ‘invalid’ (Battistelli ignored that anyway).

We don’t suppose the EPO will say anything at all about G 2/19; it hasn’t mentioned it for a long time (probably months) and yesterday it wrote: “The EPO’s #SocialReport2018 is out! Our multinational staff, based in 4 amazing cities is what makes the EPO such a success story! Read all the facts and figures here: http://bit.ly/2Sgn3Hw pic.twitter.com/p2aoSf8mui”

As we explained before, the EPO bombarded with puff pieces the very moment G 2/19 started, painting itself with “ethics” and “peace”. These puff pieces were perfectly timed to distract… or to divert attention away from the violation of the EPC (and stacked panel chosen to thwart justice). It is abundantly clear that the location of the judges is outside the EPC’s geographical scope:

Haar

The EPO’s PR people keep dictating to European media what to do/say about the EPO (or avoid covering). Not too hard a task when there’s so much bribery money at their disposal and they indeed use it all the time to bribe publishers in creative, “innovative” ways…

The UPC Preparatory Committee and Alan Johnson (Bristows LLP) are once again desperately trying (yes, again!) to create an illusion of UPC ‘progress’ as they recently admitted to FT (they admitted they try to create a false impression). How can they justify advertising false job ads almost 4 years ago? For jobs that will never exist…

“For the 2016 applicants,” Johnson wrote, “the Preparatory Committee stated in a Press Release of 19 December 2018 that ‘Those that have applied for judicial positions in the Unified Patent Court are being contacted separately’ to enable applications to updated or withdrawn, as necessary.”

Put that on bus, Johnson! What liars and charlatans. As we’ve said many times over the years, how is it not an offense to publish false/fake job ads?

Librethreat Database Updated

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Java, Microsoft at 3:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lion's statue

Summary: Database which keeps track of variants of attack vectors on Free/libre software now includes two more forms of threat

HOURS ago we updated Librethreat Database, which had been described at the end of June. “Apathy” has been added. “I’d refer to what is labeled “Apathy” there in the Librethreat Database as the Microsoft Effect,” one reader suggested. “It is where a defeatist attitude is cultivated among end users such that “all” computers are perceived as difficult, expensive, and unreliable and thus there is no point in even investigating, and so the status quo is opted for again. I’d expect it’s some sort of cognitive dissonance, like the one illustrated by Aesop in the story about the fox and the grapes.

“However, what you describe under the title “Apathy” would be more accurately described as false help. It is so pervasive a problem that it probably even has a name.”

It’s important to understand how Free software is being attacked — so urgent a matter in fact that we nowadays cover less politics or general news in our daily links (to make time for more articles about the threats).

Moments ago we published an article about Fig, which is connected to Python (OOP like Java). Techrights “mentioned Java recently,” the reader said about this article which followed one about Netscape. “Included in the “proprietary” category below are some old links, but they could just as well be filed under “Standards”. Basically it looked like Microsoft was succeeding at two things by selling something that it called Java but wasn’t: first, it was carrying out its Embrace, Extend, Extinguish attack by including Windows-only extensions. Second, it was giving Java a worse reputation by distribution something that was significantly broken and underperforming. Sun won a Pyrrhic victory and was paid off in chump change. Microsoft succeeded in defending its Windows monopoly against Java with no real penalty for its methods.”

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. [Old] Sun, Microsoft settle Java lawsuit

    The dispute dates back to a Java licensing agreement that Microsoft signed in 1996. In November the following year, Sun filed suit against Microsoft for breach of contract, accusing the company of distributing a version of Java that was not compatible with Sun’s. Sun amended its complaint in May 1998 to include charges of unfair competition and copyright infringement.

  2. [Old] What does Sun’s lawsuit against Microsoft mean for Java developers?

    Sun has responded to Microsoft’s release of Internet Explorer (IE) 4.0, and its 2.0 release of the SDK for Java (SDKJ) with a lawsuit in U.S. District Court. According to Sun’s press release, “the complaint charges Microsoft with trademark infringement, false advertising, breach of contract, unfair competition, interference with prospective economic advantage, and inducing breach of contract.” Specifically, Microsoft made the choice last week to ship products it claims are fully Java 1.1 compliant, but which failed to pass the Java 1.1 compatibility tests the company received from Sun in February. “Microsoft embarked on a deliberate course of conduct to fragment Java,” said Alan Baratz, president of JavaSoft, during a Sun teleconference today at 10:30 a.m. PST.

    [...]

    The sticking point is that Microsoft decided the Core Java class libraries were insufficient for its needs. Now there’s nothing wrong with extending things by subclassing and placing the new objects in a package outside of the java.* class hierarchy. But deciding to add about 50 methods and 50 fields into the classes within the java.awt, java.lang, and java.io packages, as Microsoft did, is extremely problematic. “Microsoft deceptively altered key classes and inserted them into their SDK,” said Baratz, which results in developers thinking they are writing Java, when actually they are writing something that runs only on Internet Explorer.

  3. [Old] Microsoft to Pay $20 Million to Settle Lawsuit Over Java

    In its lawsuit, filed in 1997, Sun accused Microsoft of violating the agreement by shipping a version of Java that could be made to run exclusively on Windows. Sun said the version ”polluted” Java, which is designed to run on all systems, and it asserted more generally that Microsoft was seeking to co-opt a technology that threatened the dominance of its Windows platform.

  4. [Old] Sun Microsystems v. Microsoft (Java Licensing Suit)

    Sun Microsystems makes network computing systems which use a Unix operating system. Sun also is the developer and licensor of Java Technology, a standardized application programming environment that is designed to allow software developers to create programming code that can run across different platforms. One set of uses is for applets that improve the appearance and interactive quality of web pages. On March 11, 1996, Sun and Microsoft entered into a licensing agreement which allows Microsoft to use, modify and adapt Java Technology. Microsoft proceeded to use Java Technology in developing MS Internet Explorer 4.0, and other software products. Sun alleges that Microsoft has refused to adhere to Sun’s most recent set of Java specifications and Java API, and that this constitutes an attempt to fragment the standardized application environment, and break with cross platform compatibility. Sun filed suit on October 8, 1997, seeking both injunction relief, and $35 million in monetary damages. Microsoft has counter-claimed against Sun.

  5. [Old] Sun, Microsoft settle Java suit

    Java emerged in the mid-1990s and was immediately hailed as a technology that could greatly affect Microsoft’s future, as it allowed developers to create desktop applications that could run on any operating system. As a result, developers ideally would not have to dedicate themselves to writing Windows programs to survive.

    Although hype outpaced actual Java implementation, the technology has steadily caught on.

    The germ of the suit began when Microsoft took out a Java license in 1996. Sun contended that Microsoft quickly began to run afoul of the licensing terms and filed the initial lawsuit in October 1997.

A Look Back (and Forward) at Friendly Programming

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Interoperability at 3:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Guest post by figosdev

Java

Summary: Historical perspective on computer languages and how to do better

I have stayed interested in friendly programming languages for decades now. My favourite language, fig, came from another language inspired by the way people talk to the computer on Star Trek. On the Enterprise, people create “programs” used in places such as the holodeck, though most of the lines from the show remind me more of search queries and similar parameters:

“Alexa, please stop spying on us.”

“Unable to comply, authorisation from a CEO or higher is needed.”

“Alexa, initiate self-destruct sequence, authorisation Bezos-Four-Seven-Alpha-Tango.”

This could also be looked at as a command line sequence, with three parts:

1. [ So-called "Wakeup" Command ]
2. [ Initiate command | command parameters ]
3. [ Password syntax | parameter (the password itself) ]

In GNU Bash this might look something like:

# sudo systemctl selfdestruct
Password: Bezos-Four-Seven-Alpha-Tango
systemctl: self-destruct sequence unnecessary, Systemd already running

Most (not all) common and/or friendly programming languages have a simple convention of:

1. a command name
2. command parameters after the name
3. some symbol that goes between commands (or just a newline)

For example, to say “Hello, world” on the screen in Bash, Python, and BASIC:

echo “Hello, world”
print “Hello, world”
PRINT “Hello, world”

First comes the command, then the parameters– the things you want the command to know or work with.

To the computer, this is all translated into instructions that can be expressed as a long numeric sequence. To simplify this a bit, you can think of the command to put text on the screen as a the number 8:

8 “hello, world”

Of course to the computer, there is no such thing as “put text on the screen.” The screen shows the display buffer, the display buffer to the computer is a series of numeric locations, the real job of the computer is to copy certain numeric values to these locations. It doesn’t matter whether you’re listening to music or running an interactive online 3d simulation, the computer is just a glorified calculator moving numeric values around– to and from numeric locations.

The job of a compiler author (especially the first of them) used to be to worry about getting simple instructions like “print” translated to these simpler numeric routines (simpler to the computer, more complicated to many of us.) Someone still has to worry about that, but most people don’t. Thanks to decades of innovation, if you implement or create a conventional programming language, you will probably use another existing computer language to do so.

For example, CoffeeScript is implemented in (and has since influenced development of) JavaScript. JavaScript was originally written (implemented) in the C language. V8 is a JavaScript implementation in C++. These languages are in many ways easier to work with than the native, numeric “machine language” the computer actually uses.

The pioneer of compiled languages, Grace Hopper, taught university level mathematics– yet still decided that computer languages would be more useful to a greater number of people if they were based on words, rather than “symbols.”

This is a great boon to the general understanding of computing, because these “words” can perfectly abstract the computer hardware itself. How well can they do that? Alan Turing mathematically proved they can do so, but in more practical terms, an emulator program like Qemu that lets you run a second operating system in a window from a “host” operating system is better proof for most people. If we can teach more people to code, we will have more people who are happy to say they are computer literate. We must offer greater computer literacy to everyone, if we are going to make informed political decisions about life and liberty in the 21st century.

The history of the GUI is one of creating a clumsier, more vague language for certain tasks. A GUI is very useful for things that require pointing or drawing, and sometimes very useful for other tasks (such as managing term windows.) But just like when you try to use a hammer for every carpentry task, sometimes our workarounds for not using the command line are a cure worse than the disease. Teaching a GUI is closer to application training– next year, Microsoft or Apple or IBM will move things around and you’ll need to retrain again. You probably won’t understand computing by poking at things on a menu. But you can, from learning just the basics of coding.

Believe it or not, the first code written by Linus Torvalds was not in C. His first program went more like this:

10 PRINT “Sara is the best”
20 GOTO 10

This example from the Basic programming language includes the much-maligned GOTO statement. This statement corresponds to the JMP command, one of those numeric instructions mentioned earlier. JMP is a “mnemonic” (useful imaginary association) of the number reserved for that fundamental computing task. Most modern languages avoid use of this command, because it makes it more difficult to maintain larger programs.

Again we see the command name followed by the parameters, and we also see the line numbers that the Dartmouth Time Sharing System (DTSS) used to mark each line of text, or code. Dartmouth is the university where Basic was developed in the early 1960s.

Prior to the existence of Basic for teaching, Grace Hopper influenced the design of COBOL that contained TERSE-ENGLISH-PHRASES that were JOINED-BY-DASHES. Some early computers, even some from Apple, Inc., relied on character sets that did not include lower case letters. Some of the earlier languages (such as Basic) tended towards commands and other text expressed in ALL UPPER CASE.

Around the same time as Basic, the language known as Logo was developed as part of an entire philosophy of teaching. In Massachusetts, the MIT Media Lab continues to explore applications of languages in the same family as Logo, such as AppInventor, Lego Mindstorms and Scratch.

The feature of Logo that is best known, as (like Basic) it was used to introduce many children to coding, is Turtle Graphics. Apart from not requiring graphics initialisation commands like the SCREEN command in Microsoft QuickBasic, Turtle Graphics does not (in many implementations) require much or anything in the way of punctuation in its syntax.

To draw a square is this simple:

UP 5 RIGHT 5 DOWN 5 LEFT 5

There is no symbol required between commands, it simply follows from left to right and continues taking parameters until it finds another keyword. (as with math, statements put in nested parentheses might change this.)

So in Logo, this text:

UP 5 RIGHT 5 DOWN 5 LEFT 5

Translates (conceptually) into English instructions such as:

“Draw upwards 5 points in length, then draw to the right 5 points in length, then draw downwards 5 points in length, then draw to the left 5 points in length.”

Other dialects may offer additional options or simply different commands:

TURN 90 FWD 5 TURN 90 FWD 5 TURN 90 FWD 5 TURN 90 FWD 5

This violates a useful convention in coding known as D-R-Y or “Don’t Repeat Yourself.” A better way to code the same task is:

REPEAT 4 TURN 90 FWD 5

You can change this from a square to a diamond simply by turning 45 degrees first:

TURN 45 REPEAT 4 TURN 90 FWD 5

One of the things that truly limited Basic in the 1980s and early 90s, when the PC revolution was taking place, was not just the lack of processing power but the constraints on RAM and what size a program could be. As the PC moved from 8 and 16-bit platforms to 32-bit, it was more trivial to access large amounts of RAM and have larger programs with larger units of information handling.

For example, a string of characters such as “Hello, world” in the 80s was limited to somewhere between 256 characters and 32,768 characters. You could have string arrays, which are collections of strings with a common name, but loading a large file into an array was costly. Basic traditionally has very rudimentary commands for dealing with strings.

Python deals with strings in a more flexible, modern fashion. A “list” in Python, similar to an array in Basic, can for starters mix types of data– instead of having to initialise an array as being for strings or numeric data, Python lists can contain one or both at once. Basic has a MID$ function to get part of a string, but Python has a syntax that lets you get part of a string a list.

With increases in RAM and ease of addressing it came a greater use for more flexible commands, which were more practical to implement.

This does not mean Python is easier to learn than Basic– one of the nice things about Basic is that you could master a good portion of the entire language, and feel like you definitely knew how to write programs in it. Sure, you wouldn’t actually learn every command. But you probably knew which commands did something you didn’t need for your programs.

Python has in many ways supplanted Basic in education, while Logo continues to provide inspiration for new languages that are easy to learn as a first language. Python can also be taught as a first language, although probably in later school years than Logo-based languages.

Getting back to the earliest languages designed for general education, Basic and Logo both had strengths. Basic was more obviously practical, being used to create video games, accounting programs and even point-of-sale software. There were often better languages (such as C++) for creating commercial software, but Basic enjoyed notoriety from both its success via Dartmouth and its inclusion in chips on board 8-bit computers.

Logo was an easier language, but typically wasn’t used (by most of its users, that is) to do anything very practical. Today, it is a good foundation for creating mobile apps or controlling robots, or animating a cartoon cat– but Logo-based languages (though Logo was originally a general purpose language) are not typically used for a multitude of tasks.

As a teen, I often wondered what a cross between BASIC and Logo would be like, or if such a thing was even possible. To this day, I believe exploring this question and similar questions will make it possible for more people to implement reasonably complex and sophisticated programs, with relative ease. I do not think Python is going to get friendlier, in fact I find it going in a typical direction of expanding until it is much less easy to learn than in the beginning.

Basic too, has grown more complicated than it needs to be. But Python, JavaScript and Logo are all used in education.

For my own efforts added to the pot, I have finally explored the question of combining aspects of Logo and Basic, with fig. Like 1980s versions of Basic, it is case-insensitive. Like Logo, you can avoid most punctuation in syntax. You can also add it optionally.

It goes left to right, demonstrates a variety of tasks such as drawing, array and file handling, getting text from the Internet, and even transitioning to a more feature-rich language such as Python– while allowing you to create native functions that contain inline Python code.

To make an installer less necessary, the fig translator is a single Python script. It takes a program written in fig, translates it into Python, and (as with interpreted languages in general) requires Python to run the output program.

Fig was featured, thanks to much-appreciated help from the late Robert Storey, in the first 2017 issue of DistroWatch Weekly: https://www.distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20170102

But although I enjoy using it (quite often, actually) as a heavily simplified derivative of Python, fig was always an experiment and a prototype. I would be just as happy to see people explore the concepts of fig as an educational language, which I spent many more years thinking about even while I taught myself to code (“You know what would be cool? An array that uses a string index instead of a numeric one!” …Linked lists, hash tables, Python dictionaries) than I would be for them to adopt fig itself.

The core idea of fig is simply this– instead of teaching a programming class, try to sit down everyday people and teach them to code. That’s what fig was designed to make possible– as well as make easier.

I tried doing that with BASIC, it is possible. I tried it with Python, as well as JavaScript. That was harder, though overall I think Python has some advantages over Basic. It has some rough corners too– “SCREEN 9: PSET(10, 10), 5″ draws a dot in early 80s QuickBasic and GW-BASIC. Try doing that in Python, such as you might with Pygame. It’s a bit more to begin with. Of course that particular matter could be solved with a different library– but you still have to learn how to import it.

As you teach more people, and note what it is that gets in the way of them learning, you remove as many unnecessary requirements of coding as possible. I removed Python’s case-sensitivity. Although a fan of indented code (I wasn’t one until I learned Python) I decided to replace Python’s mandatory indentation with Basic-like keywords. It’s easier to implement than you might think– I just use a variable to keep track of the indentation level and increase or decrease it when required.

Before fig, I attempted to create a language with no punctuation at all– so the print command was like this:

todisplay
hello there, world! (you can put any text of any sort on this line)
display

This is tedious, but I was trying my hand at designing a Basic-inspired language to be spoken into a microphone instead of typed on a keyboard.

When I got bored with that effort and focused on fig (then “fig basic”) instead, I still tried to keep punctuation and other syntax minimal. I used “quotes for strings” and # hashes for comments and as I received feedback, I thought it best to allow the option of putting a colon : between commands on the same line.

Ultimately I thought why not do like English, and have several characters available for grouping text together visually? You can teach fig as a way to introduce bash syntax and concepts:

p=5 ; ucase | print

or Basic:

P = 5 : UCASE : PRINT

or Python:

p = 5 ; ucase().print()

I realise these are caricatures, I can write actual code in the syntax of each of these languages.

But “why?” is a question I will answer in three parts:

1. We want more people to understand code, so they can understand computing and help write free software.

2. An educational language didn’t taint Torvalds, and most languages (even Basic) now lack the very problems that caused Dijkstra to moan about them so much. Indeed, many of them took a lot of what he said to heart. We can teach more people, more easily, if we have languages better suited to that task.

3. We can learn more about what makes languages easier to learn if we aren’t afraid to experiment and collaborate more.

This is not a solved problem– like with other tasks related to computing, the solutions are ongoing. Despite its revolutionary contributions to computer education, Basic no longer holds the title for most popular or most useful educational language. That title probably goes to Python now– or perhaps Logo, if you consider it as a language family. Of course I still find great value in Basic as a concept, I would never be happy just switching from existing versions of Basic to existing versions of Logo.

The non-standard, computer language / computer educational philosophy that is Logo may well continue its legacy, but we know the language will continue to change to suit the needs of learners.

Regardless, not everyone is going to learn Python no matter how we try, and some languages are still easier to learn. I think it is trivial to prove (for those who are interested in the idea) that we can make a language that is both easier to teach than Python, and more generally practical than Logo.

I’m very interested in multiple takes on this idea, not just one or two. What kinds of friendly languages with powerful features can we imagine, and perhaps implement? What can we learn from educators in the field (many of whom have their own difficulties with computers and programming.)

This is less about reveling in the past than first learning what we can from historical and contemporary efforts, and hopefully creating greater success in the future.

It is not a requirement, though I really do like the idea of translating to something like Python. You can technically implement a language in almost any other language (provided certain minimal features exist in it) but starting out with a friendly language means the implementation can also be tweaked or inspire a larger number of people. Someone who learns fig can even learn how to implement a similar language. (I have considered, but never gone to the extra trouble, of implementing fig in fig itself. With its inline python feature it is certainly possible.)

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