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07.29.19

Links 30/7/2019: Linux Lite 4.6 RC1, Mint Release Imminent, No More Linux Floppies

Posted in News Roundup at 9:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • Linux-based Pinebook Pro has 1080p display, multi-core processing and privacy switches

        When shopping for a new laptop, most of us would plump for Windows- or macOS-based systems. Or maybe a low cost, online working Chromebook may suit.

      • One More Reason Elementary OS Is Ideal For New Linux Users

        Other Linux distributions like Ubuntu MATE and Ubuntu Budgie have great Welcome apps that pop up after you’ve installed the OS, giving you a tour (albeit a wordy one) of key functionality and features. I have to say I sincerely love elementary’s take on the first-run experience, because it’s not only elegant but modular.

        Let’s say you’re a first-time user. You’ve just installed elementary OS. After you create your user account and log in, you’ll see the optional six-step Onboarding app. Here, you can switch on the Night Light, toggle on or off Location Services, set up some Housekeeping (this periodically deletes temporary and trashed files for you), or jump into the AppCenter to download some software. it’s not wordy, and the associated icons alone are enough to explain what each feature is.

        It gets better though, and this is where I think elementary separates itself from the pack.

        The elementary OS devs entertained what might happen if major new features were introduced “mid-cycle,” and not during a typical point release upgrade. The solution was to simply show existing users a scaled down version of the Onboarding app with only those new features. It avoids repetition and keeps things streamlined.

      • Linux for Chromebooks 101: Getting started with the command line

        So where does one start with Linux on a Chromebook?
        I’ll be writing up a series of posts to help answer that question, starting today with the basics of the Linux command line. You may not need all of these commands as Linux becomes even more integrated with Chrome OS, but they’re good to know regardless. In the future, I’ll share some more advanced useful Linux features, some of the apps you might want to use for certain instances and more.
        To level-set everyone, here’s a high-level explanation of what you actually have – and what you don’t – when it comes to Linux on a Chromebook.
        When most non-Linux users think about the open-source platform, they imagine something that doesn’t quite look like Windows nor macOS but can be similar.

    • Server

      • GitHub confirms it has blocked developers in Iran, Syria and Crimea [Ed: Microsoft wants us to believe that all companies need to do what GitHub did. That’s a lie. But Microsoft knows that it needs to lick Trump’s and Bolton’s boots to keep getting those government contracts that ‘bail it out’. Microsoft made its choice [1, 2].]

        The impact of U.S. trade restrictions is trickling down to the developer community. GitHub, the world’s largest host of source code, is preventing users in Iran, Syria, Crimea and potentially other sanctioned nations from accessing portions of the service, chief executive of the Microsoft-owned firm said.

      • Migrating an Exchange Server to the Cloud? What could possibly go wrong?

        As users stared at useless login screens, Ben and his team floundered for a few hours, trying to work out how to restore access.

        The clue was in the word “restore” as one bright spark remembered there was a user account named “backup” used, well, to do backups.

        It had been missed in the Exchange account purge and so was still active.

        And the Linux connection? The Microsoft Certified Partner used a server running the open-source operating system to perform backup duties.

        The backup software used that Active Directory account, which just so happened to have enough privileges to re-enable the Windows users via Linux LDAP tools.

        After all, these days Microsoft just loves open source, right?

      • AWS Turbocharges new Linux Kernel Releases in its Extras Catalogue

        Amazon says it has added AWS-optimised variants of new Linux Kernel releases to its extras catalogue in Amazon Linux 2 – a Linux server operating system (OS) – saying the boost results in higher bandwidth with lower latency on smaller instance types.

        Amazon Linux is an OS distribution supported and updated by AWS and made available for use with Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances. Amazon Linux users will now be able to update the operating system to Linux Kernel 4.19, as released in October 2018.

      • Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes – The Blending Continues [Ed: Cloud Foundry Foundation dominated by proprietary software firms]

        At the recent Cloud Foundry Summit in Philadephia, Troy Topnik of SUSE participated in the latest iteration of a panel discussing how the community continues to blend Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes. There is some interesting and insightful discussion between members of the panel from Google, IBM, Microsoft, Pivotal, SAP, and Swarna Podila of the Cloud Foundry Foundation.

        Cloud Foundry Foundation has posted all recorded talks form CF Summit on YouTube.

      • Don’t Throw Your Kubernetes Away

        The adoption of Kubernetes is growing at an unprecedented rate. Companies of all sizes are running it in production. Almost all of these companies were early adopters of Kubernetes where different dev teams brought Kubernetes inside the organization.

        Kubernetes is a very engineer-driven technology. Unlike instances like virtualization or other infrastructure components that are managed by the central IT team which offers them to different development groups, Kubernetes is something that developers bring into the organization.

      • Issue #2019.07.29 – Kubeflow Releases so far (0.5, 0.4, 0.3)

        Kubeflow 0.5 simplifies model development with enhanced UI and Fairing library – The 2019 Q1 release of Kubeflow goes broader and deeper with release 0.5. Give your Jupyter notebooks a boost with the redesigned notebook app. Get nerdy with the new kfctl command line tool. Power to the people – use your favourite python IDE and send your model to a Kubeflow cluster using the Fairing python library. More training tools added as well, with an example of XGBoost and Fairing.

      • IBM

        • IBM CTO: ‘Open Tech Is Our Cloud Strategy’

          IBM may not be as splashy as some of the other tech giants that make big code contributions to open source. But as Chris Ferris, CTO for open technology at IBM says, “we’ve been involved in open source before open source was cool.”

          By Ferris’ estimation, IBM ranks among the top three contributors in terms of code commits to open source project and contributors to the various open source communities. “It’s really significant,” he said. “We don’t run around with the vanity metrics the way some others do, but it’s really important to us.”

        • TurboSched Is A New Linux Scheduler Focused On Maximizing Turbo Frequency Usage

          TurboSched is a new Linux kernel scheduler that’s been in development by IBM for maximizing use of turbo frequencies for the longest possible periods of time. Rather than this scheduler trying to balance the load across all available CPU cores, it tries to keep the priority tasks on a select group of cores while aiming to keep the other cores idle in order to allow for the power allowance to be used by those few turbo-capable cores with the high priority work.

          TurboSched aims to keep low utilization tasks to already active cores as opposed to waking up new cores from their idle/power-savings states. This is beneficial for allowing the CPU cores most likely to be kept in their turbo state for longer while saving power in terms of not waking up extra cores for brief periods of time when handling various background/jitter tasks.

        • SUSE displaces Red Hat @ Istanbul Technical University

          Did you know the third-oldest engineering sciences university in the world is in Turkey? Founded in 1773, Istanbul Technical University (ITU) is one of the oldest universities in Turkey. It trains more than 40,000 students in a wide range of science, technology and engineering disciplines.

          The third-oldest engineering sciences university selected the oldest Enterprise Linux company. Awesome match of experience! The university ditched the half-closed/half-open Red Hat products and went for truly open, open source solutions from SUSE.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linus Torvalds prepares to wave goodbye to Linux floppy drives

        When Linus Torvalds first created Linux in 1991, he built it on a 386-powered PC with a floppy drive. Things change. In 2012, Torvalds bid the i386 processor adieu saying, “I’m not sentimental. Good riddance.” Now, it’s the floppy drive’s turn to bid Linux adieu.

        Torvalds has declared the floppy drive project “orphaned.”

        Why? Because floppy drives have become historical relics. No one’s using them. Indeed, Jiří Kosina, the Czech Linux kernel developer in charge of the floppy drive driver, said he “no longer has working hardware.”

        Torvalds continued, “Actual working physical floppy hardware is getting hard to find, and while Willy was able to test this, I think the driver can be considered pretty much dead from an actual hardware standpoint. The hardware that is still sold seems to be mainly USB-based, which doesn’t use this legacy driver at all.”

      • Is This the End of Floppy Disk in Linux? Linus Torvalds Marks Floppy Disks ‘Orphaned’

        Chances are that you haven’t seen a real floppy disk in years. And if you are looking for a computer with floppy drive, you may have to visit a museum.

        More than two decades ago, floppy disks were the popular medium for storing data and running operating systems on it. The early Linux distributions were ‘distributed’ using floppy disks. Floppy disks were also used extensively for saving and transferring data.

        Have you ever wondered why the save icons in many applications look like a floppy? Because it IS floppy disk. Floppy disks were popular for saving data and hence many applications used it as save icons and the tradition continues till date.

      • Linux Foundation

        • Netflix Joins Academy Software Foundation, Will Contribute to OTIO Project

          Netflix has joined the Academy Software Foundation (ASWF) and will begin contributing to the OpenTimelineIO (OTIO) project originally created by Pixar, the ASWF said today.

          OTIO is an open-source API and interchange format for collaboration between story, editorial and production departments, making it easier to track changes in shot length, notify collaborators when shots are added or removed, and conform new renders into a cut.

        • Netflix, Amazon Web Services Join the Motion Picture Academy’s Software Foundation

          Netflix, Amazon Web Services, RodeoFX and MovieLabs have joined the Academy Software Foundation (ASWF), the group said Monday. The foundation was started a year ago by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science in cooperation with The Linux Foundation to offer a forum for open source software developers to share resources and collaborate on image creation, visual effects, animation and sound technologies.

          AWS and Netflix have come on board as premier members, Rodeo FX as a general member, and MovieLabs as an associate member.

          Initiated by the Academy’s Science and Technology Council, the foundation also announced on Monday that OpenTimelineIO has been accepted by its technical advisory council as the fifth foundation-hosted project. Created by Pixar, OpenTimelineIO is an open source Application Programming Interface and interchange format aimed at enabling collaboration and communication of editorial data and timeline information between a studio’s story, editorial, production and postproduction departments. It’s already been used in production on Coco, Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4.

        • Netflix, Amazon Web Services Join Hollywood Open Source Group
        • Academy Software Foundation Marks 1st Anniversary with Major Announcements

          The Academy Software Foundation is celebrating its one year anniversary at SIGGRAPH this week, with plenty to be proud of. The Foundation has accomplished a 78% growth in membership in the past year, with just-announced newcomers Netflix, Amazon Web Services, Rodeo FX and Movie Labs. ASWF further revealed that Pixar’s OpenTimelineIO will be the fifth project hosted at the Foundation.

          SIGGRAPH attendees can check out projects from across the industry during Open Source Day on Tuesday — a full day of Birds of a Feather sessions focused on open source projects tailored to visual effects, animation and image creation. More exciting announcements are in store for these sessions.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Radeon RX 5700 / RX 5700 XT Linux Gaming Performance With AMDGPU 5.3 + Mesa 19.2-devel

          Now that the flow of initial Navi fixes and optimizations has settled down for both the AMDGPU DRM kernel driver and the Mesa RADV/RadeonSI user-space driver components, here is a look at AMD Radeon RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT graphics card performance on Ubuntu Linux at the end of July, now three weeks after these 7nm graphics cards first shipped.

          This round of testing features the Navi Radeon RX 5700 series tested with the very latest Linux 5.3 development kernel as of this past weekend, which is the first kernel featuring this Navi support. Since the initial merge earlier this month, there have already been some Navi 10 fixes that followed. On the OpenGL/Vulkan driver side, Mesa 19.2-devel is branching in early August and now has decent support for the Radeon RX 5700 series in place. Since the earlier RadeonSI support and the RADV Vulkan driver support that landed on launch day, there has continued to be a number of fixes to land, various new features, and different driver performance optimizations.

        • AMDVLK 2019.Q3.3 Released With More Navi Performance Tuning, Vulkan Extensions

          Two weeks after AMDVLK received initial Navi 10 support, another release of this official open-source AMD Radeon Vulkan Linux driver is now available. With this 2019.Q3.3 release there is performance optimizations for Navi as well as some new extensions.

          This morning’s AMDVLK 2019.Q3.3 code drop brings performance tuning for Navi 10 with some of the affected games being DiRT 4, Total War: Warhammer II, and F1 2017. I will have out some Navi AMDVLK vs. RADV tests this week — later today will be a fresh look at the RadeonSI/RADV performance.

        • Radeon GPU Profiler 1.6 Released With Navi/RDNA Support

          AMD’s GPUOpen development team has kicked off the new week by releasing Radeon GPU Profiler 1.6, their open-source and cross-platform GPU profiling and analysis utility. With Radeon GPU Profiler 1.6 comes support for gathering insights on AMD Radeon RX 5000 “Navi” graphics processors.

          Navi/RDNA support is the headlining new feature for Radeon GPU Profiler 1.6. The release notes do mention though that the Linux support for RGP on the Radeon RX 5700/5700XT aren’t completely baked, but it doesn’t yet go into any details over those initial limitations. Additionally, the OpenCL profiling for Navi isn’t yet complete and that’s a limitation for both Windows and Linux.

        • NVIDIA have three new Linux driver releases out today

          Today, NVIDIA have released a new stable driver update in addition to an updated Vulkan beta driver and a new OpenGL beta driver.

        • NVIDIA 430.40 Linux Driver Released With RTX 2080 SUPER Support, RTX 3000 Max-Q

          NVIDIA’s Unix/Linux graphics driver team has kicked off a new week by introducing the 430.40 long-lived driver release.

          New GPU support with this NVIDIA 430.40 Linux update is handling of the GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER and Quadro RTX 3000 Max-Q graphics. Sadly no RTX SUPER Linux tests still as NVIDIA seems uninterested in Linux tests with these recent SUPER models.

          The NVIDIA 430.40 Linux driver also fixes a kernel issue when built with CONFIG_HOTPLUG_CPU and support in the NVIDIA installer for systems that provide their ncurses library with the wide character ABI only.

        • OSNEXUS and Pogo Linux Announce New StorageDirector Q-Series Storage Appliance for Multimedia Streaming and Active Archive of Media Content

          OSNEXUS and Pogo Linux will demonstrate the new solution alongside syGlass, a scientific VR software provider, at SIGGRAPH 2019 happening July 30th to August 1st at the Los Angeles Convention Center at booth number 720.

          The StorageDirector Q-Series combines the QuantaStor software-defined storage platform with Pogo-certified hardware to provide enhanced streaming and active archiving of digital content with enterprise-class availability and data services in a fully-integrated, high-capacity storage system. Additionally, the StorageDirector Q-Series storage solution provides industry-leading media processing capabilities while affording the operational agility and flexibility to handle unexpected media workflow demands.

    • Applications

      • LyricPad – access lyrics over the web with this Qt based app

        I recently wrote a review of Olivia. It’s a cloud music player for Linux developed by Keshav Bhatt. The author is writing a number of open source software. I took the opportunity to check out a few of his other projects, one of which is LyricPad.

        LyricPad is a free and open source lyrics viewer written in C++ and uses Qt, a free and open-source widget toolkit for creating graphical user interfaces. LyricPad relies on Python code and back-end developed by Rishabh Bhardwaj.

        LyricPad is at a very early stage of development. There’s no official release to date.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Pushy and Pully in Blockland looks like a fun co-op arcade game coming to Linux

        Pushy and Pully in Blockland from Resistance Studio is a solo and co-op arcade game with a retro visual style, confirmed to be coming to Linux.

      • Linux Kernel 5.2 gets major gaming performance enhancements, courtesy of Collabora

        Attention, gamers! The new Linux Kernel 5.2 will come with several upgrades that are sure to make your gaming experiences even better — all thanks to the Collabora team.

        Although FOSSLinux has previously covered the release of Linux Kernel 5.2, what was not into public knowledge at that time were the contributions made by Collabora. However, that changed soon afterward as the Collabora team released an official blog post highlighting their part in the development of the new Linux Kernel release, which led us to write this news post.

      • First-person strategy game “Colony Survival” finally has a major update after a year of waiting

        It sounds like this latest version might actually be worth a go. Featuring an overhaul to lots of systems in the game like world generation, to include “proper biomes” with more varied landscape features. An entirely new save system, multiple colony support, LAN play support, co-op support, much improved performance, a major update to the version of Unity used, improved modding support, gliders to move around quickly, tons of new items and much more.

      • Flippin Kaktus is an absolutely mad looking action-platformer coming to Linux

        As a huge fan of games like Broforce, I’m always on the look out for another good action-platformer with over-the-top craziness and Flippin Kaktus looks pretty sharp.

      • Retro-inspired kart racer “Super Indie Karts” updated with a bunch of new tracks

        In need of a stylish retro-inspired kart racer? Super Indie Karts might be exactly what you’re looking for. A recent update to the game added in a bunch of new tracks in the Knight Cup.

      • Sky Racket mixes together a shoot ‘em up with a block-breaker and it’s really fun

        Releasing sometime later this year, Double Dash Studios have merged together a block-breaker with a shoot ‘em up to create something a little odd but it’s very fun.

        Armed with nothing more than a fancy “laser tennis racket”, you’re not able to directly attack most enemies. Instead, you will bounce back their bullets to destroy blocks in your way. There’s a few smaller enemies you can smack around with your racket though, but most of it is about bouncing bullets around.

      • Studio Attic Salt are bringing a very stylish looking Visual Novel “Misadventures of Laura Silver” to Linux

        Releasing next month, Turkish developer Studio Attic Salt are trying their hand at a Visual Novel with Misadventures of Laura Silver and it looks good.

        What they say is the first Turkish visual novel, the Misadventures of Laura Silver is planned as three-chapter novel with this being the first part. It follows “detective and gun enthusiast extraordinaire” Laura Silver and her companion, former police officer Orewell Cooper. They’re sent over to Czechoslovakia to investigate reports of a mysterious creature lurking in the murky waters of Pilsen.

      • The in-development medieval RPG “Donensbourgh” had a huge upgrade recently

        Donensbourgh is one I highlighted only recently, a medieval RPG with no combat or violence that seemed promising. It just had a pretty massive upgrade to improve all of it.

        Definitely like the idea they’re going for here. A single-player story-based experience, with some surprisingly beautiful looking graphics in certain areas with a focus on the late 13th century. With an aim to be on the realistic side, there’s no spells or dragons or anything like that.

      • Train Valley and Train Valley 2 released DRM-free on GOG with Linux support

        Here’s a nice surprise to start your week with, both Train Valley and Train Valley 2 are now available DRM-free on GOG. Both games have supported Linux for some time and thankfully today’s GOG release comes with the Linux build ready for both games. Despite being a series, both games actually play quite differently. I’m quite a fan of Train Valley 2 myself, it’s quite challenging.

        The basic idea of both games is very similar, with you building up a rail network and ensuring your trains don’t smash into each other. While the basics and interactions are the same, the goals are completely different.

      • Beamdog have announced that Axis & Allies 1942 Online will release on July 31st

        Beamdog, the developer known for Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition and plenty more have now revealed their strategy game Axis & Allies 1942 Online will release on July 31st.

        This is the official adaption of the classic board game, Axis & Allies 1942 Second Edition, and the release into Early Access will come with Linux support, as confirmed by Beamdog to us in their press release.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Latte Dock 0.9 Brings More Bling to the KDE Plasma Desktop

          A brand new version of Latte Dock, an application launcher and task switcher for the KDE Plasma desktop, is now available for download.

          Latte Dock v0.9 is the first update to the app this year, and follows a succession of alpha and beta releases.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Andrei Lisita: Almost there

          All good things come to an end and so does the 2019 Google Summer of Code. With the last coding period having officially started my project is slowly approaching it’s last commit.

          Lately I have been working mostly on various issues regarding the looks and the behavior of the Savestates Manager, but there are also two new visible UI changes…

        • g_assert_finalize_object() in GLib 2.61.2

          One more API in this mini-series! g_assert_finalize_object(), which is available in GLib 2.61.2, which was released today.

          This one’s useful when writing tests (and only when writing tests). It’s been put together by Simon McVittie to implement the common pattern needed in tests, where you want to unref a GObject and assert that you just dropped the final reference to the object — i.e., check that no references to the object have been leaked in the test.

        • Finally TagEditor!

          After a lot of Merge Requests related with MBIDS and AcoustID, finally I started working on acoustid plugin.

          Before the logic was to return the recording with most sources. Now, we need to return multiple results. We need to retrieve first release belonging to each release group of each recording which matched with the given chromaprint.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Linux Lite 4.6 RC1 Released

          Linux Lite 4.6 RC1 is now available for testing.

        • Linux Lite 4.6 Enters Development Based on Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS, Here’s What’s New

          Linux Lite creator Jerry Bezencon announced today that the Linux Lite 4.6 operating system is now in development, giving the community an early taste of what’s coming in the next major release of this Ubuntu-based OS.

          Highlights of the Linux Lite 4.6 release include a new theme selector in the Lite Welcome tool to make it easier for newcomers to select between the Light and Dark themes, along with a new Keyboard and Num Lock sections. Moreover, the Lite Sources utility has been updated with comments only about the Linux Lite repositories.

          Another interesting addition to Linux Lite 4.6 is the CPU Performance mode plugin from the Xfce desktop environment (xfce4-cpufreq-plugin), which is now available as an option for the system tray. Users can select it and move it wherever they want by right-clicking on the Taskbar, then go to Panel > Add new items > CPU Frequency Monitor.

        • Linux Lite 4.6 RC1 is here

          Summertime is great, isn’t it? I mean, who doesn’t like fun in the sun? Many, actually. While I do enjoy the outdoors and the beach, I am certainly more comfortable in front of a computer. And I am definitely not alone. If you are the same way, don’t apologize for it — embrace it! There’s nothing wrong with being a homebody.

          For instance, today, rather than go outdoors and risk being injured by the sun, why not install a Linux-based operating system instead? Hell, get even nerdier and geekier and install a pre-release Linux distro! There’s a new such OS available for testing that you should try — the Ubuntu-based Linux Lite 4.6 RC1.

      • Fedora Family

        • Introduction Fedora CoreOS (FCOS) with Benjamin Gilbert and Ben Breard (Red Hat) – OpenShift Commons Briefing

          Fedora CoreOS is the new container-centric operating system from the Fedora community and Red Hat.

          In this briefing, Benjamin Gilbert, Fedora CoreOS technical lead, and Ben Breard, product manager, describe how Fedora CoreOS supports immutable infrastructure to make clusters easier to manage and also discuss future development plans, including integration with OKD.

          Fedora CoreOS is an automatically updating, minimal, monolithic, container-focused operating system, designed for clusters but also operable standalone, optimized for Kubernetes, but also great without it. It aims to combine the best of both CoreOS Container Linux and Fedora Atomic Host, integrating technology like Ignition from Container Linux with rpm-ostree and SELinux hardening from Project Atomic. Its goal is to provide the best container host to run containerized workloads securely and at scale.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian Outs First Linux Kernel Security Update for Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster”

          Released earlier this month, the latest Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system just got its first Linux kernel security update, which addresses a security flaw (CVE-2019-13272) discovered by Google Project Zero’s Jann Horn in Linux kernel’s ptrace subsyste, which could let a local user obtain root privileges.

          “Jann Horn discovered that the ptrace subsystem in the Linux kernel mishandles the management of the credentials of a process that wants to create a ptrace relationship, allowing a local user to obtain root privileges under certain scenarios,” reads the security advisory published by Salvatore Bonaccorso last week.

        • Candy Tsai: Outreachy Week 8 – Week 9: Remote or In-Office Working

          The Week 9 blog prompt recommended by Outreachy was to write about my career goals. To be honest, this is a really hard topic for me. As long as a career path involves some form of coding, creating and learning new things, I’m willing to take it on. The best situation could be that it is also doing something good for the society. This might be because that “something that I am too passionate for” doesn’t yet exist in my life. For now, I wish I’d still be coding 5 years from now. It’s just that simple. The only thing that I would like to see improvement upon is gender balance for this industry.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint Monthly News – July 2019

          I’ll be very quick with the news this month as we’re getting very close to the stable release.

          First of all, I’d like to thank all the people who helped us test the BETA. Many bugs were identified and fixed in the last two weeks and that is thanks to you! I’d like to thank our donors and sponsors as well, and all the people who support our project financially.

          We entered QA testing again yesterday and we should be able to announce the stable release of Linux Mint 19.2 by the end of the week.

          We’ll also open up and announce an upgrade path for users of Linux Mint 19 and 19.1 before the week-end.

          Next week we’ll shift focus towards LMDE 3 and update it with Cinnamon 4.2 and all the new features from Linux Mint 19.2.

          I hope you have a great Summer (or Winter if you live in the Southern Hemisphere) and you’re as excited as we are with the upcoming new release!

        • Linux Mint 19.2 “Tina” to Launch This Week, Cinnamon 4.2 Coming to LMDE 3 Soon

          Linux Mint project leader Clement Lefebvre announced today that the forthcoming Linux Mint 19.2 “Tina” operating system will launch later this week for all supported editions.
          Dubbed “Tina” and based on Canonical’s long-term supported Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system series, the Linux Mint 19.2 operating system has been in beta testing for the past two weeks, and it looks like it passed all tests and it is ready for launch as soon as early August.

          “We entered QA testing again yesterday and we should be able to announce the stable release of Linux Mint 19.2 by the end of the week,” said Clement Lefebvre in a brief monthly newsletter. “Many bugs were identified and fixed in the last two weeks and that is thanks to you!”

          Linux Mint 19.2 “Tina” will be available in the usual editions with the Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce desktop environments. Users running the previous version, Linux Mint 19.1, will be able to upgrade to Linux Mint 19.2 as Clement Lefebvre confirmed the upgrade path will be open this coming weekend.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Thiruvananthapuram: Digital signature in free software

        Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) has come up with a system for integrating digital signatures in free and open-source software (FOSS)-based operating systems used in most government offices.

        The state government had recently made digital signatures compulsory for salaries and benefits on the Service and Payroll Administrative Repository for Kerala (SPARK) portal. At present, 27,797 offices use SPARK for salary disbursement for over seven lakh employees.

        The new mechanism comes following reports of some offices, including general education department, depending on proprietary software. The government policy mandates FOSS applications in all offices.

        The IT@School GNU/Linux 18.04 operating system of KITE already has inbuilt software utilities for running drivers for Java-based digital signature.

      • Kerala: New system to integrate digital signatures in FOSS

        Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) has come out with a system for integrating digital signatures in free and open source software (FOSS) for preparing the salaries and other benefits of employees in the Service and Payroll Administrative Repository for Kerala (SPARK) portal. The state government had recently instructed all government offices to compulsorily make use of digital signatures for preparing the salaries and benefits of employees in the SPARK portal. At present, 27,797 government offices in the state use SPARK portal for salary disbursement for over 7 lakh employees. The new mechanism devised by KITE comes against the backdrop of reports of some offices, including some from general education department, depending on proprietary software for this purpose. The prevailing government policy mandates use of only FOSS applications in all its offices, said an official release issued here on Sunday. The IT@School GNU/Linux 18.04 operating system developed by KITE has inbuilt software utilities required for running the drivers for the digital signature token devices, which is based on Java.

      • KITE to give technical assistance to Govt offices in Kerala

        The Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) is all set to provide technical assistance to government offices in the state to install Digital Signature in Free Software based Operating System.

      • GitHub developers restricted in Crimea, Cuba, Iran, and other regions under U.S. sanctions

        GitHub placed new restrictions on developers in Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria. Developers face restrictions as a result of U.S. trade sanctions. Private repositories (repos) and paid accounts are under these new restrictions, but public repos are still available, and open-source repos are unaffected. Several reports surfaced over the weekend of developers being affected by the restrictions (via The Verge).

      • Yellow badges are back. This time not by Nazi Germany & not for Jews, but by U.S. tech companies

        Three days ago (Jul 25, 2019), when GitHub blocked my account, I noticed that there is an ugly fixed yellow warning on every single page of GitHub for me (as a blocked user). The warning message had no close button. I want to call it “Digital yellow badge” but this time it’s not for Jews, it’s for people who born & live in countries like Iran.

      • GitHub restricts developer accounts based in Iran, Crimea, and other countries under US sanctions

        At least one developer who was affected by the action was told that the company was not “legally able” to provide an export of the disabled repository content. Friedman added that the company does not believe it is legally able to provide advance notice of these restrictions, but he said that users can choose to make their private repos public to gain access and clone them.

      • Open Source GitHub Repositories Safe From Trump’s Ban

        The restriction is IP based, which means even if a developer is simply living in one of these countries, irrespective of citizenship, won’t be able to access these services.

      • Events

        • linux.conf.au proposal deadline extended

          For those didn’t quite get around to putting in a proposal for linux.conf.au 2020 (Gold Coast, January 13 to 17), there’s another chance: the proposal deadline has been extended to August 11. “We have heard that some of you would like a bit more time to submit your proposals for linux.conf.au 2020. So, we have decided to extend the due date by two weeks to help everyone have a chance to submit.”

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • 5 open-source Firefox alternatives for Linux users

            Mozilla Firefox is an excellent open-source web browser, perhaps one of the best tools on the entire Linux platform. Still, the Firefox browser is adding more and more features, and these new additions aren’t for everyone. If you’re looking for an open-source alternative to Firefox on Linux, we’ve got you covered. Here are 5 open-source Firefox alternatives for Linux users.

          • Mozilla WebThings Gateway open source router firmware now available

            Mozilla has this week announced the release of version 0.9 of its WebThings Gateway firmware for wireless routers, making the first experimental builds for the companies first target router hardware, the Turris Omnia.

            Based on the open source OpenWrt operating system Mozilla explains that the firmware features a “new first-time setup experience which enables you to configure the gateway as a router and Wi-Fi access point itself, rather than connecting to an existing Wi-Fi network.”

            Mozilla is also planning to add support for other wireless routers and router developer boards in the near future. As well as these new OpenWrt builds for routers, Mozilla will also continue to support the existing Raspbian-based builds for the Raspberry Pi range of mini PC systems.

          • IRL (podcast): The Tech Worker Resistance

            There’s a movement building within tech. Workers are demanding higher standards from their companies — and because of their unique skills and talent, they have the leverage to get attention. Walkouts and sit-ins. Picket protests and petitions. Shareholder resolutions, and open letters. These are the new tools of tech workers, increasingly emboldened to speak out. And, as they do that, they expose the underbellies of their companies’ ethics and values or perceived lack of them.

            In this episode of IRL, host Manoush Zomorodi meets with Rebecca Stack-Martinez, an Uber driver fed up with being treated like an extension of the app; Jack Poulson, who left Google over ethical concerns with a secret search engine being built for China; and Rebecca Sheppard, who works at Amazon and pushes for innovation on climate change from within. EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn explains why this movement is happening now, and why it matters for all of us.

      • SaaS/Back End

        • Elastic Cloud Enterprise 2.3 turns admins into bouncers

          Version 2.3 of Elastic Cloud Enterprise (ECE) is now available for download, finally bringing role-based access control (RBAC) to its general user base and letting admins decide who gets to see what. ECE allows the deployment of Elastic’s search-based software as a service offerings on a company’s infrastructure of choice (public cloud, private cloud, virtual machines, bare metal).

          The new version is the first to come with four pre-configured roles to help admins control deployment access and management privileges. This is only the first step in the product’s RBAC journey, though. Customisable deployment-level permissions and greater abilities to separate users by teams are on the ECE roadmap.

        • Cloudera open source route seeks to keep big data alive

          Cloudera has had a busy 2019. The vendor started off the year by merging with its primary rival Hortonworks to create a new Hadoop big data juggernaut. However, in the ensuing months, the newly merged company has faced challenges as revenue has come under pressure and the Hadoop market overall has shown signs of weakness.

          Against that backdrop, Cloudera said July 10 that it would be changing its licensing model, taking a fully open source approach. The Cloudera open source route is a new strategy for the vendor. In the past, Cloudera had supported and contributed to open source projects as part of the larger Hadoop ecosystem but had kept its high-end product portfolio under commercial licenses.

          The new open source approach is an attempt to emulate the success that enterprise Linux vendor Red Hat has achieved with its open source model. Red Hat was acquired by IBM for $34 billion in a deal that closed in July. In the Red Hat model, the code is all free and organizations pay a subscription fee for support services.

      • Databases

        • YugaByte goes 100% open under Apache

          Open source distributed SQL database company YugaByte has confirmed that its eponymously named YugaByte DB is now 100 percent open source under the Apache 2.0 license.

          The additional homage to open source-ness means that previously commercial features now move into the open source core.

          YugaByte says it hopes that this will directly create more opportunities for open collaboration between users, who will have their hands on 100% open tools.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • A better LibreOffice than LibreOffice

          After readings and advises from other IT directors, one of my customers and strong supporter of LibreOffice, noticed that just switching programs and teaching user to avoid pitfalls in interoperability is not enough for a smooth migration, and something more than following the migration best practices has to be done for a successful switch. He then asked me to deliver a better LibreOffice than LibreOffice.

          Challenge accepted. Together we started to investigate the needs of his organization, a civil company with strong military ties and with significant part of the workforce serving the military. We discovered a set of employees with repetitive tasks, usually performed by reusing old documents and updating them. The straightforward solution was to define a set of document templates and deploy it in the user computers.

          But that was not enough. LibreOffice templates are accessed by a bunch of clicks with dialogs navigation, a sequence that needs to be memorized. Besides, templates dialog covers all kind of documents types and more clicks to narrow the selection. There had to be some easier way to get a brand new document from a corporate controlled template. Also, my customer also wanted to let a fingerprint in the solution and he wanted the solution to bear the company logo when user access it, including the high ranked military.

        • LibreOffice monthly recap: July 2019

          ODF (the Open Document Format) is the native file format of LibreOffice, and is a fully open and standardised format, ideal for long-term document storage. At the start of the month, we announced COSM – the Community of ODF Specification Maintainers, to hold funds and to retain editors to work at the ODF Technical Committee. The goal is to accelerate development of the standard, and build up experienced editors.

      • Funding

        • How Ford Lost $181 Million Betting on a Technology Startup—Data Sheet

          In May, 2016, two months after former Steelcase CEO Jim Hackett left the board of automaker Ford to become head of its “mobility services” unit, Ford invested $182 million in a Silicon Valley company called Pivotal Software. “The investment is part of Ford’s expansion to be both an auto and a mobility company,” Ford said at the time. The emphasis was theirs. Hackett subsequently became CEO of Ford and has staked his tenure on Ford’s mobility future.

      • BSD

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Hardware/Modding

          • A New KiCAD Tutorial Hits The Scene

            KiCAD has a rightfully earned image problem regarding beginners. The shiny new version 5 has improved things (and we’re very excited for v6!) but the tool is a bit obtuse even when coming from a electronics design background, so we’re always excited to see new learning material. [Mike Watts] is the latest to join the esteemed group of people willing to export their knowledge with his KiCAD tutorial series on GitHub that takes the aspiring user from schematic through fab and assembly.

          • Alibaba’s open source processor targets complex cloud workloads like 5G

            If demanding telecoms workloads like virtualized RAN and 5G core are to move to the public cloud, the cloud providers will need to ensure their infrastructure is based on processors capable of supporting these functions. Suppliers like Intel are already investing in accelerators to surround their processors, for cloud hardware that can cope with artificial intelligence (AI), vRAN and other very high performance tasks. But in some cases, the webscalers themselves are also designing or commissioning their own processors to meet the demands of the new generation of cloud-based services and make sure their clouds are a match for specialized private cloud platforms. Google, Amazon AWS and others have periodically announced such developments, raising new challenges for Intel and other…

      • Programming/Development

        • Python Fire v0.2.0 CLI library upgrades with new improvements

          Python Fire turns up with a new update. The latest release, version v0.2.0 adds some new improvements. This library auto-generates command line interfaces (CLI) from any Python object. You can call Fire on Python functions, classes, objects, dicts, or anything else!
          Python Fire heats things up with one spicy command: Fire. This open source library automatically generates command line interfaces from any Python object. It can be used as a tool for developing and debugging by calling Fire in the library.

          The latest release arrived on July 26, 2019. Version 0.2.0 improves a few things and makes some tweaks to the library. Let’s fan the flames and see what’s included in the update, as well as some uses and benefits.

        • Python’s Mypy: Callables and Generators

          In my last two articles I’ve described some of the ways Mypy, a type checker for Python, can help identify potential problems with your code. [See "Introducing Mypy, an Experimental Optional Static Type Checker for Python" and "Python's Mypy—Advanced Usage".] For people (like me) who have enjoyed dynamic languages for a long time, Mypy might seem like a step backward. But given the many mission-critical projects being written in Python, often by large teams with limited communication and Python experience, some kind of type checking is an increasingly necessary evil.

          It’s important to remember that Python, the language, isn’t changing, and it isn’t becoming statically typed. Mypy is a separate program, running outside Python, typically as part of a continuous integration (CI) system or invoked as part of a Git commit hook. The idea is that Mypy runs before you put your code into production, identifying where the data doesn’t match the annotations you’ve made to your variables and function parameters.

          I’m going to focus on a few of Mypy’s advanced features here. You might not encounter them very often, but even if you don’t, it’ll give you a better picture of the complexities associated with type checking, and how deeply the Mypy team is thinking about their work, and what tests need to be done. It’ll also help you understand more about the ways people do type checking, and how to balance the beauty, flexibility and expressiveness of dynamic typing with the strictness and fewer errors of static typing.

        • PyPy JIT Now Running Well On 64-Bit ARM For Faster Performance

          Thanks to funding from Arm Holdings and Crossbar, the PyPy folks working on their speedy Python JIT implementation have extended it to support 64-bit ARM (AArch64) with compelling performance results.

          This performance-oriented Python implementation now supports x86, x86_64, PowerPC 64-bit, s390, ARM 32-bit, and now ARM 64-bit.

        • Mike Driscoll: PyDev of the Week: Ines Montani

          This week we welcome Ines Montani (@_inesmontani) as our PyDev of the Week! Ines is the Founder of Explosion AI and a core developer of the spaCy package, which is a Python package for Natural Language Processing. If you would like to know more about Ines, you can check out her website or her Github profile. Let’s take a few moments to get to know her better!

        • Stack Abuse: Serverless Python Application Development with AWS Chalice

          In software development, we are constantly building solutions for end-users that solve a particular problem or ease/automate a certain process. Therefore, designing and building the software is not the only part of the process as we have to make the software available to the intended users.

          For web-based applications, deployment is a very important aspect and part of the process since the application not only needs to work, but also needs to work for many users concurrently and be highly available.

          Some of the deployment options that are available to us include buying our own server hardware and deploying our applications or renting server space in other companies. This comes at a cost not only of the resources needed to acquire them, but also the maintenance costs and personnel to monitor the server resources.

        • Release of Relatorio 0.9.0

          Relatorio is a templating library which provides a way to easily output several kinds of files but mainly OpenDocument.

        • HTML Parser — Developer Tools

          This article contains a shortlist with a few code blocks written in Python on top of BeautifulSoup library, used by me to process and manipulate HTML files.

        • Pylint false positives

          In some recent discussion on Reddit, I claimed that, for cases where I’m already using flake8, it seemed as though 95% of Pylint’s reported problems were false positives. Others had very different experiences, so I was intrigued enough to actually do some measurements.

          [...]

          I took part of the code from a side project where I don’t use Pylint, ran Pylint (with some very basic tuning) and tried to analyse the result in terms of helpful warnings compared to false positives etc.

        • Understanding the Python Traceback

          Python prints a traceback when an exception is raised in your code. The traceback output can be a bit overwhelming if you’re seeing it for the first time or you don’t know what it’s telling you. But the Python traceback has a wealth of information that can help you diagnose and fix the reason for the exception being raised in your code. Understanding what information a Python traceback provides is vital to becoming a better Python programmer.

        • Automated Report Generation with Papermill: Part 2

          Welcome to part 2 of this two-part series post about automating report generation using python, jupyter, papermill, and a couple of other tools.

          In the first part, we covered 4 main important processes that are part of the automation process. In this second and final part, we will bring everything together and build our report automation system.

          Note: This code was written in python 3.7. You might have to adapt the code for older versions of python.

        • NumPy 1.17.0 released

          The NumPy team has announced the release of NumPy 1.17.0. NumPy is a fundamental package for scientific computing with Python. “The 1.17.0 release contains a number of new features that should substantially improve its performance and usefulness. The Python versions supported are 3.5-3.7, note that Python 2.7 has been dropped.”

      • Standards/Consortia

        • Vulkan 1.1.117 Adds Line Rasterization – Helping Out CAD Applications & More

          In addition to the release of OpenXR 1.0 for kicking off SIGGRAPH 2019 week, The Khronos Group has released Vulkan 1.1.117 as a fairly notable update to this high-performance graphics API.

          This SIGGRAPH update to Vulkan brings three new extensions.

        • Khronos releases the OpenXR 1.0 specification aimed at unifying VR and AR

          Today, The Khronos Group has formally announced the OpenXR 1.0 specification as an exciting step towards bringing together the various different ways of interacting with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

          If VR/AR is to become more commonplace, a proper standard should be a big boost to developers since they could target OpenXR and have it be supported across the industry. It’s gathered some pretty huge support too including Valve, AMD, NVIDIA, Epic Games, Arm, Oculus, HTC, Microsoft and more.

        • Khronos Officially Releases OpenXR 1.0

          Back during the Game Developers Conference was the release of the OpenXR provisional specification by The Khronos Group while today for SIGGRAPH they have formally announced OpenXR 1.0.

          OpenXR is the industry standard designed to address fragmentation and promote better interoperability in the AR/VR space across different headsets, software frameworks, and other interfaces. OpenXR 1.0 aims to offer a unified interface for high-performance access to VR and AR devices.

        • Khronos Releases OpenXR 1.0 Specification Establishing a Foundation for the AR and VR Ecosystem

          After gathering feedback from the XR community during the public review of the provisional specification, improvements were made to the OpenXR input subsystem, game engine editor support, and loader. With this 1.0 release, the working group will evolve the standard while maintaining full backwards compatibility from this point onward, giving software developers and hardware vendors a solid foundation upon which to deliver incredible, portable, user experiences.

        • Kernel 5.3-rc2 Is Out, Latte Doc v0.9 Officially Available, GitHub Blocking Developers from Certain Countries, the Khronos Group Announces the Public Release of OpenXR 1.0, and Netflix Joins the Academy Software Foundation

          The Khronos Group today announced “the ratification and public release of the OpenXR 1.0 specification together with publicly available implementations and substantial ecosystem momentum. OpenXR is a unifying, royalty-free, open standard that provides high-performance, cross-platform access to virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)—collectively known as XR—platforms and devices.”

  • Leftovers

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Cyberattack on Elasticseach Databases turns DBs into Zombies/Botnets

        Recently a new cyberattack added into the list of Elasticsearch which is making Elasticsearch databases into Zombies or botnets.

        There is a list of attacks conducted on Elasticsearch databases in the past few years. The new one raises more tension among security experts due to its complexity and use of different tactics to evade security system and carry forward the attack successfully.

        Elasticsearch is a popular tool that helps companies managing billions of records in the database easily. Its source code is open and big companies like Netflix, Uber, Dell, and Adobe are already using Elasticsearch. I hope you now have an idea of how important it is for hackers to find vulnerabilities in this tool and exploit them to gain systems control.

        Recently, Trend Micro, a cybersecurity company revealed hackers have targetted publicly available Elasticsearch databases by delivering a backdoor as a payload.

        The attack requires multiple scripts to be executed on the system, starting from disabling the system firewall and stopping all the crypto mining processes running on the system. Once these tasks are completed successfully then hackers download another script to the server from a compromised or a grey website.

      • Security updates for Monday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (patch, sdl-image1.2, and unzip), Fedora (deepin-clone, dtkcore, dtkwidget, and sqlite), Mageia (virtualbox), openSUSE (firefox), and SUSE (cronie and firefox).

      • Court Will Decide If AT&T Is Liable For Cryptocurrency Theft Caused By Shoddy Security

        Wireless carriers are coming under increasing fire for failing to protect their users from SIM hijacking. The practice involves posing as a wireless customer, then fooling a wireless carrier to port the victim’s cell phone number right out from underneath them, letting the attacker then pose as the customer to potentially devastating effect. Back in February, a man sued T-Mobile for failing to protect his account after a hacker pretending to be him, ported out his phone number, then managed to use his identity to steal thousands of dollars worth of cryptocoins.

        T-Mobile customers aren’t the only users who’ve experienced this problem. US entrepreneur and cryptocurrency investor Michael Terpin sued AT&T last summer (pdf) for the same thing: somebody ran a SIM hijacking scam on AT&T, then stole his identity and, in turn, stole $23.8 million in cryptocurrency.

    • Environment

      • Energy

        • New premier plans new UK nuclear tax

          All electricity consumers in Britain will pay a new UK nuclear tax, a levy on their bills to finance the construction of nuclear power plants under a scheme announced by the UK government.

          Called a Regulated Asset Base (RAB), but in reality a nuclear tax levied on electricity bills, the charge has no limits, so consumers will go on paying for any cost over-runs and delays, however long it takes to build a nuclear power station.

          The plan, launched by the UK Department for Business, is also to finance the as yet unproven technologies of carbon capture and storage.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Will the Future Be Rural?

          Much has been written about when and how that should be done. One of the organizations looking for solutions is the nonprofit Post Carbon Institute, which for years has talked about better, instead of bigger growth, and what a transition to a less carbon-intensive energy system could look like.

          Its latest effort is a report by board president Jason Bradford called The Future Is Rural: Food System Adaptations to the Great Simplification.

          The report contains a premise that many may find surprising: New technologies and renewable energy will not be able to fully replace fossil fuels — or not as quickly as we will need them to. While some kinds of energy are more easily substituted by renewables, like solar and wind standing in for fossil-fueled electricity, others are not. Running heavy equipment, tractors and massive cargo ships that have relied on liquid fuels is a much more challenging task. As a result, the reasoning goes, we’ll need to learn how to use less energy and use it differently.

          If true this would have major impacts on every facet of our lives, including our food system —which today, in the United States, relies on fossil fuels and long trade networks.

          “We must face the prospect that many of us will need to be more responsible for food security,” Bradford writes in the report. “People in highly urbanized and globally integrated countries like the U.S. will need to re-ruralize and re-localize human settlement and subsistence patterns over the coming decades to adapt to both the end of cheaply available fossil fuels and climate change.”

          We talked to Bradford, who has worked for years in sustainable agriculture, about what changes he thinks are ahead and what we can do to prepare for them.

    • Finance

      • The Dangerous Austerity Politics of the Washington Post

        This passes for wisdom at the Washington Post, but it is actually dangerously wrong-headed thinking that rich people (like the owner of the Washington Post) use their power to endlessly barrage the public with.

        The basic story of the 12 years since the collapse of the housing bubble is that the US economy has suffered from a lack of demand. We need actors in the economy to spend more money. The lack of spending over this period has cost us trillions of dollars in lost output.

        This should not be just an abstraction. Millions of people who wanted jobs in the decade from 2008 to 2018 did not have them because the Washington Post and its clique of “responsible” budget types joined in calls for austerity. This meant millions of families took a whack to their income, throwing some into poverty, leading many to lose houses, and some to become homeless.

        At this point, the evidence from the harm from austerity in the United States (it’s worse in Europe) is overwhelming, but just like Pravda in the days of the Soviet Union, we never see the Washington Post, or most other major news outlets, acknowledge the horrible cost of unnecessary austerity. We just get more of the same, as though the paper is hoping its readers will simply ignore the damage done by austerity.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Splintered Parliament faces 5 years of rancor

        A fractured European Parliament threatens to make passing laws very difficult this mandate.

        The Parliament got down to work this month in Strasbourg, but with the two main political families weakened and at loggerheads over a Council deal divvying up the EU’s top jobs, cobbling together majorities won’t be easy.

        “The duopoly between the Socialists and conservatives is over,” said French Green MEP David Cormand. “This is an opportunity for us. Before, they were co-managing the Parliament, now, we will be able to politicize the institution.”

        The European People’s Party and the Socialists & Democrats — the two old families of EU politics — saw their combined delegations fall to 336 this time around, short of a majority in the 751-seat legislature. That means a straight grand coalition between the two won’t carry enough weight to ram through new laws, unlike the last time around when the two had a combined 403 seats.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • As Expected: Covington HS Teen’s Lawsuit Against The Washington Post Is Dismissed

        This was not unexpected. As we easily predicted back when it was filed, Nick Sandmann — the MAGA red hat wearing teenager from Covington Catholic High School who was briefly at the center of a viral social media Rorschach test — has now lost his laughably bad defamation lawsuit against the Washington Post. As we pointed out, he never alleged any actual defamation, and federal Judge William Bertelsman did not seem at all pleased with Sandmann’s legal arguments.

        [...]

        We see so many of these lawsuits these days, where people insist that saying something that you don’t like is somehow defamatory. That’s not how it works. Of course, it would have been nice if Kentucky had an anti-SLAPP law (it has none) or if there were a federal anti-SLAPP law (there is not) to discourage this kind of frivolous, free speech chilling, lawsuit.

      • NY Times Calls Out Politicians For Lying About Section 230

        We’ve spent months now highlighting how politicians (of both parties) continually misrepresent what Section 230 of the CDA says. There are open questions as to whether or not this is because they don’t know the law, or they don’t care, and they think lying about it helps them politically. Considering that two of the most vocal individuals are Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley — both of whom have a long history of being Constitutional lawyers — it is difficult to believe that both aren’t fully aware that they are lying.

        Now the NY Times is calling them out, with an opinion piece by editorial board member Sarah Jeong, highlighting how badly they get the law wrong. She notes that the law is short and easy to read, and therefore no one has an excuse for blatantly misrepresenting it.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Is your government requesting user data from tech giants?

        ‘User data’; it‘s a phrase many of us might not even have been aware of until recent changes to the law made it a hot topic that we can‘t ignore. New data protection laws have forced technology companies to become much more transparent about the ways they use your data and how they are sharing it with global governments.

        To do this, tech giants such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook publish regular transparency reports, which shed light on how the policies and actions of governments and corporations affect privacy, security and access to information. However, these reports tend to be impenetrable to anyone who‘s not an expert on such matters, so we decided to create a series of visualisations to break it all down.

      • Top European Court Rules Companies Using Facebook “Like” Button Are Responsible for User Privacy

        The Court of Justice for the European Union has ruled websites embedding the Facebook “like” button are responsible for user privacy. Facebook’s tracking technique collects the personal data of visitors to a third-party website and transfers it to Facebook. In Fashion ID v Verbraucherzentrale NRW, the Court stated FashionID can be held jointly responsible with Facebook for compliance with Europe’s data protection rules. Fashion ID must obtain prior consent from users or have a legitimate interest in processing their data. The case concerns Europe’s 1995 privacy law, but implicates similar terms in the new EU General Data Protection Regulation. EPIC Senior Counsel Alan Butler also recently appeared before the Court of Justice in DPC v. Facebook. The landmark case considers whether the transfer of data to the U.S. using standard contract clauses violates fundamental rights.

      • San Mateo Dumps Red Light Camera Program After A Decade Of Continuous Failure

        The response from the city back in 2009 was just as exonerative, but nowhere near as littered with bureaucratese. The city claimed the Daily Post was “irresponsible” and only published the story for the clicks. The city also claimed the Daily Post was wrong. It backed this claim with zero evidence. The city never tested the lights itself.

        Six years later, an NBC affiliate performed the same testing at San Mateo intersections. Again, it was determined the city’s yellow light timing was below federal guidelines. This time, the city refunded 948 tickets.

        The city did nothing to prevent this from happening again. So, naturally, it happened again. And, finally, the city has decided to toss the program, rather than be forced to periodically confront its failure to run a legal red light camera program.

        I’m sure the money had something to do with the refusal to kill this program earlier. According to numbers obtained by Price, the city netted at least $266,000 last year from red light cameras. Its partner — Redflex — did just about as well, collecting $239,000 in fees. That’s two sets of vested interests with quite a bit of power between them.

        Behind all the cash-grabbing is the repeatedly disproven claim that unmanned cameras with the power to automatically issue tickets make drivers safer. It doesn’t work anywhere else. It didn’t work in San Mateo.

      • Opinion: The ugly truth about red-light cameras

        San Mateo has finally pulled the plug on its red-light cameras — about 10 years too late, in my opinion.

        In January 2009, the Post received a tip that the yellow light was set too short at an intersection monitored by a red-light camera in San Mateo. Drivers were getting caught in the intersection unexpectedly and given tickets.

        So a Post reporter set up a video camera that records 30 frames every second and recorded the stoplight cycle. He then checked the recording frame by frame and discovered that, indeed, the yellow light was shorter than federal regulations.

        Then we contacted an outside expert to check our work to make sure our conclusions were correct.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Facebook and Google Algorithms Are Secret—but Australia Plans to Change That
      • The Removal of Humanity

        Occasionally I post about my personal experience of butting up against the consequences of the removal of both common humanity and common sense from the administration of the systems which govern us. It is not that my experiences of this are worse, or more consequential, than those of anyone else. It is simply that I have a forum on which to rail against the contempt with which we all are treated.

        Tomorrow we move home, within Edinburgh but about six miles away. Cameron has finished P5 at Royal Mile Primary School and will now be entering P6 at a new school. Hopefully. In Edinburgh there is no entitlement to a place in your local catchment area school if you move there after year 1.

        About six months ago I phoned the primary school of our new catchment area to ask if they would have a place. They replied – in a rather brusque manner – that they could not give me any information and that I could not apply for a place until after we had moved. At that stage I had to send in a form direct to the school with a council tax demand plus utility bill as proof of address (making it impossible to apply until you have not only moved but received those bills).

    • Monopolies

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Gaming the system: Qualcomm leverages 3GPP working group chairmanship to distort patent portfolio valuations

          The valuation of standard-essential patent (SEP) portfolios is often performed in two steps: first, the value of all SEPs reading on the relevant standard is determined; second, the relative value of a given company’s contributions to the standard is measured. In antitrust or contract cases raising FRAND questions, the inquiry may be limited to the second part, as a disproportionately high share of industry-wide royalties collected by one SEP holder can in and of itself serve to establish overcharging and unreasonableness. The latter is a huge problem for Qualcomm in the FTC antitrust case, given that Qualcomm collects approximately 25% of all wireless SEP royalties while being far below that percentage when it comes to its ownership position in wireless SEPs relative to the rest of the industry. Even Ericsson, a company that just suported Qualcomm’s now-fully-briefed Ninth Circuit motion to stay the FTC’s antitrust remedies, gave testimony in the FTC case that undermines Qualcomm’s royalty demands. Ericsson believes to be the leader, and expressed the view that even Nokia’s SEP portfolio appears more valuable than Qualcomm’s.

        • A Different Bite At The Subject Matter Apple

          Utility patents aren’t the only form of patent, much less the only form of intellectual property. While not a frequent subject of discussion in comparison to its much better known cousins, the utility patent and the design patent, the plant patent is still relevant and provides a useful example of how to protect subject matter that might not be susceptible to protection as a utility patent.

          On a recent episode of the Inside Trader Joe’s podcast, the hosts discussed how intellectual property even extends to the most prosaic of produce, the apple. Discussing varieties of apples, the discussion focused on how “holding a patent for a type of produce is becoming really important.” Their subject was the Opal apple, a Golden Delicious/Topaz cross, which is the subject of U.S. Plant Patent 15,963. Apples are a frequent plant patent subject, and there’s even a tiny bit (or bite?) of apple plant patent litigation. The most recent reported plant patent case I found (2006) was also about apples—a particular variety of Golden Delicious referred to as the “Scarlet Spur.”

        • Amgen v. Coherus: Argument-based prosecution history estoppel

          The doctrine of equivalents (“DOE”) may be every patent law student’s favorite doctrine to hate. I sometimes introduce it as “the rule against perpetuities – except more complicated and economically significant.” Under the DOE, a patent can be infringed even when the accused product or process doesn’t literally meet all the limitations of the claim.

          Central to the DOE is prosecution history estoppel: a doctrine that prevents “a patentee from using the doctrine of equivalents to recapture subject matter surrendered from the literal scope of a claim during prosecution.” Slip Op. at 8, quoting Trading Techs. Int’l, Inc. v. Open E Cry, LLC, 728 F.3d 1309, 1322 (Fed. Cir. 2013). Because prosecution history estoppel is a question of law, it often functions as threshold question that is resolved before moving to the fact-specific equivalents analysis. Indeed, David Schwartz, Lee Petherbridge and others have argued that PHE is one of the key mechanisms that the Federal Circuit has used to limit the application of the doctrine of equivalents following Warner-Jenkinson.

          Often when we think about prosecution-history estoppel, we think about amendment-based estoppel, which can arise when an applicant makes a narrowing amendment to a pending claim. This case involves one of the trickier aspects of PHE: argument-based estoppel.

          [...]

          Amgen’s primary argument, that it asserted other reasons for distinguishing the prior art reference, was not persuasive as “our precedent instructs that estoppel can attach to each argument.” Id. at 11. Nor was the court persuaded by Amgen’s argument that it’s last response before the claims were allowed did not contain the particular-salt-combination argument. But “[t]here is no requirement that argument-based estoppel apply only to arguments made in the most recent submission before allowance.” Id. at 11. For those seeking to avoid this outcome, note the court’s final words on the subject: “We see nothing in Amgen’s final submission that disavows the clear and unmistakable surrender of unclaimed salt combinations made in Amgen’s January 6, 2011 response.” (I’m curious: has any applicant ever disavowed an argument made earlier in prosecution? This seems like a risky strategy for getting claims allowed.)

      • Trademarks

        • USPTO wants powers to fine fraudulent TM actors

          The office asked to discuss the issue with Congress during a recent hearing on Capitol Hill, where one lawmaker claimed that Chinese e-commerce platforms are doing more than their US counterparts to stamp out counterfeits

          [...]

          The USPTO is responding in several ways, Denison added, including requiring foreign-domiciled applicants to be represented by US counsel (see Managing IP’s previous coverage here) and creating a special task force to focus on improper behaviour by applicants and registrants. The full list of actions can be found here.

          Held on July 18, the hearing also discussed the problem of counterfeit goods, particularly those available online. Congressman Doug Collins (Georgia) was vocal in criticising US e-commerce platforms for not doing enough to prevent the “endless” list of fakes being sold on their websites, adding that companies such as Amazon and eBay should have been part of the discussions during the hearing.

      • Copyrights

        • CJEU rules that use of a protected work for the purpose of reporting current events does not, in principle, require authorization

          Together with its judgments in Funke Medien [here] and Pelham [here], this morning the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) also delivered its ruling in Spiegel Online, C-516/17 [Katpost here].

          This referral, also from Germany, focused on the quotation exception in the InfoSoc Directive and the compatibility with EU law of an open-ended general copyright exception like the German ‘free use’.

        • CJEU rules that unauthorized (non-trasformative) sampling can infringe a phonogram producer’s rights and German free use is against EU law

          As announced, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has just issued 3 important copyright judgments, including one – Pelham, C-476/17 [Katposts here and here], also known as the Metall auf Metall case – which concerns the important and contentious issue of whether sampling, that is the copying of the sounds fixed in a phonogram, requires a licence from the relevant phonogram producer.

          In his Opinion last December, Advocate General (AG) Szpunar had advised the CJEU to rule that indeed a licence is required.

          He noted that, when it comes to phonograms, the concept of ‘reproduction in part’ within Article 2 of the InfoSoc Directive does not require that the part copied be original (unlike ‘works’). The AG explained that, while it is incorrect to think (as some of the interveners had argued) of a quantitative threshold to protection, in the sense that only fragments long enough to represent the investment made by producers should be entitled to it, a phonogram is not subject to any originality requirement.

        • CJEU rules that freedom of information and of the press cannot justify a derogation from the rights of copyright holders beyond allowed exceptions and limitation

          The reference was made in the context of litigation between German Government and a newspaper over the unauthorized publication, by the latter, of the so called ‘Afghanistan Papers’, that is confidential military reports on the operations of German armed forces in that region in between 2005 and 2012.

          The German Federal Court of Justice asked the CJEU to clarify whether and to what extent the assessment of prima facie copyright infringement and the applicability of the exceptions in favour of the press (Article 5(3)(c) of the InfoSoc Directive) and for quotation (Article 5(3)(d) of the same directive) are informed by a fundamental rights analysis.

          More specifically: can copyright protection be trumped by the need to safeguard freedom of the press and freedom of information, and can fundamental rights be directly invoked to prevent enforcement of copyright?

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