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07.31.19

Links 31/7/2019: Blender 2.80, Chrome 76 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • Open firmware and more news from July

        System76 has been granted a Thunderbolt license, meaning that we can now integrate Thunderbolt compatibility into our open firmware. This is a huge development in the open firmware project, as we can now achieve full functionality of Thunderbolt in our machines once the firmware is implemented.
        The open firmware is now functional on the Gazelle when running on Intel graphics. This will not yet be integrated, however, as more work is necessary to get the NVIDIA graphics up and running.

      • System76 Granted A Thunderbolt License To Integrate Into Their Open Firmware

        Linux laptop/PC vendor System76 has become a Thunderbolt licensee so that they can officially offer support for it in the Coreboot-based open-source system firmware initiative they are pursuing.

      • Chromebook Linux bug causing reboots when resuming from sleep, though a fix is coming

        Being able to run Linux applications on Chromebooks isn’t just useful for developers, it can help plug what little remaining app or feature gap prevents you from using the platform. Unfortunately for those that do use it, some folks have been experiencing a problem where their devices spontaneously reboot during sleep if Linux containers are running, and it isn’t clear if it will be fixed in time for the next Chrome OS release.

        Reports for the issue on the Chromium bug tracker’s relevant thread go back as early as Chrome OS 74, though others claim they didn’t experience it until 75, with yet more not having any problem until the current Chrome OS 76 betas. Those comments also vary wildly when it comes to which release channel and version combination triggered the behavior first. Many reports of similar issues elsewhere are likely related, though the specifics make it hard to draw a connection. Still, it’s a straightforward problem: If a Linux application has been run on the device in the current session, once it goes to sleep, it will reboot upon waking rather than resuming as expected. Battery life during sleep also allegedly takes a nosedive as a result of it silently crashing.

    • Server

      • Is the cloud right for you?

        Corey Quinn opened his lightning talk at the 17th annual Southern California Linux Expo (SCaLE 17x) with an apology. Corey is a cloud economist at The Duckbill Group, writes Last Week in AWS, and hosts the Screaming in the Cloud podcast. He’s also a funny and engaging speaker. Enjoy this video “The cloud is a scam,” to learn why he wants to apologize and how to find out if the cloud is right for you.

      • Google Cloud to offer VMware data-center tools natively

        Google this week said it would for the first time natively support VMware workloads in its Cloud service, giving customers more options for deploying enterprise applications.

        The hybrid cloud service called Google Cloud VMware Solution by CloudSimple will use VMware software-defined data center (SDCC) technologies including VMware vSphere, NSX and vSAN software deployed on a platform administered by CloudSimple for GCP.

      • IBM

        • Get started with reactive programming with creative Coderland tutorials

          The Reactica roller coaster is the latest addition to Coderland, our fictitious amusement park for developers. It illustrates the power of reactive computing, an important architecture for working with groups of microservices that use asynchronous data to work with each other.

          In this scenario, we need to build a web app to display the constantly updated wait time for the coaster.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • What Modern Linux Looks Like | LINUX Unplugged 312

        Manjaro takes significant steps to stand out, and the shared problem major distributions are trying to solve, and why it will shape the future of Linux.

        Plus macOS apps on Linux, and our first impressions of the Raspberry Pi 4.

        Special Guests: Alex Kretzschmar, Drew DeVore, Martin Wimpress, Neal Gompa, and Philip Muller.

      • mintCast 314 – Moss Interview

        First up, in our Wanderings, I migrate my NAS to a much smaller case, Bo has been certifying, Moss is playing with a new laptop, Josh has also been playing around with a new laptop, and Joe guest hosts on Electric City Nerds!

    • Kernel Space

      • He’s coming for your floppy: Linus Torvalds is killing off support for legacy disk drive tech

        Linus Torvalds has articulated what much of the world has known for some time, with a merge marking the Linux floppy driver as “orphaned”.

        The issue is that while there are plenty of USB floppy drives out there, actual PC hardware is becoming a thing of the past thanks to motherboard makers ditching the relevant chippery and connectors in favour of space and dollars. And because very few people use the things anymore.

        Torvalds observed that “actual working physical floppy hardware is getting hard to find” and considered the driver dead, with a few faint use cases still present in emulated environments. But if you really need to read those old disks, USB is going to be the way forward.

        Naturally, just being orphaned doesn’t mean that the driver is actually disappearing, but it does mean that unless some magnetic media meddler steps up to maintain it, the odds are it will be deprecated and eventually removed.

    • Applications

      • Blender 2.80

        Thanks to the new modern 3D viewport you will be able to display a scene optimized for the task you are performing. A new Workbench render engine was designed for getting work done in the viewport, supporting tasks like scene layout, modeling and sculpting. The engine also feature overlays, providing fine control over which utilities are visible on top of the render.

        Overlays also work on top of Eevee and Cycles render previews, so you can edit and paint the scene with full shading.

      • Blender 2.80 Officially Released With Its Revamped UI, Eevee PBR Renderer

        Blender has used SIGGRAPH 2019 week for announcing the major Blender 2.80 open-source 3D modeling software release.

        Blender 2.80 presents a redesigned user-interface, a new 3D viewport, Eevee as their new physically based real-time renderer, full 2D drawing and animation support, combined CPU+GPU rendering for the Cycles renderer, and a plethora of other improvements.

      • Blender 2.80 released

        Version 2.80 of the Blender 3D animation system has been released.

      • 4 Discord alternatives for Linux gamers

        Discord is the king of communication with gaming. Even on Linux, most people use it. It’s no secret why! The app provides users with unlimited free personal servers, unlimited chat channels, voice channels, multimedia support, and more!

        While Discord is getting all the love as everyone’s favorite gaming chat app, it’s not the only one out there. There are dozens of other chat clients out there to use while gaming on Linux. Here are the best Discord alternatives for Linux gamers.

      • Proprietary

        • Stable Channel Update for Desktop

          The Chrome team is delighted to announce the promotion of Chrome 76 to the stable channel for Windows, Mac and Linux. This will roll out over the coming days/weeks.
          Chrome 76.0.3809.87 contains a number of fixes and improvements — a list of changes is available in the log. Watch out for upcoming Chrome and Chromium blog posts about new features and big efforts delivered in 76.

        • Chrome 76 Released With Flash Blocked By Default

          Google today promoted their Chrome 76 web-browser to stable for all supported platforms, including Linux.

          The Chrome 76 release isn’t the most exciting update in recent times, but is notable for now no longer auto-loading Flash content when Flash is active/available to the browser. It’s another step towards eliminating Flash on the web.

        • Chrome 76 arrives with Flash blocked by default, detecting Incognito mode disabled, and PWA improvements

          Google today launched Chrome 76 for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. The release includes Adobe Flash blocked by default, Incognito mode detection disabled, multiple PWA improvements, and more developer features. You can update to the latest version now using Chrome’s built-in updater or download it directly from google.com/chrome.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Proton Re-Based To Wine 4.11, Adds D9VK Direct3D 9, Better CPU Utilization & DXVK 1.3

        Valve’s Linux developers today released Proton 4.11 as the newest release of their Wine-based software that powers Steam Play for running Windows games on Linux under the Steam client.

        Proton 4.11 is a big one with the key change being a re-base from Wine 4.2 to Wine 4.11. This big Wine upgrade brings “more than 3,300 improvements” with now being close to the upstream state of Wine.

    • Games

      • Collabora: Moving the Linux desktop to another reality

        The Collabora blog announces some ongoing work to integrate Linux desktop environments with head-mounted displays.

      • Moving the Linux desktop to another reality

        In the early days of VR on Linux, when plugging in an HMD into a system completely unaware of what it was, the display was initialized as generic desktop display and the window manager extended the desktop to it. This was obviously undesirable, but you were still able to see cropped and perspectively incorrect desktop windows on your HMD. Only the bravest of us were keen enough to find the cursor on the display and move windows out of the way to use it for extended mode rendering. While the situation was far from perfect, the goal was clear: desktop window manipulation in an accurately rendered, stereo 3D environment, controlled with VR controllers.

        The first step into this direction was to make the window manager stop extending the desktop. With his work on drm leasing, Keith Packard introduced a non-desktop property for X11 displays. A Vulkan VK_EXT_acquire_xlib_display extension was specified, intended to be used by VR compositors to enable rendering to HMDs directly. An equivalent extension is currently being introduced for Wayland and implemented into the graphics stack.

      • Collabora Brings VR Support to Linux Desktop Environments, Sponsored by Valve

        Sponsored by Valve, the xrdesktop project is developed by Collabora and designed to integrate into existing desktop environments like KDE and GNOME, making them running in virtual reality (VR) runtimes. It does that by rendering windows in 3D space, allowing users to manipulate them with VR controllers and headsets.

        “This integration of xrdesktop into the window managers enables mirroring existing windows into XR and to synthesize desktop input through XR actions. xrdesktop can be run as a dedicated scene application, but it also features an overlay mode, where desktop windows are overlaid over any other running VR application,” explains Collabora’s Lubosz Sarnecki.

      • Valve Sponsored Xrdesktop Lets You View Linux Desktop Environments In VR

        There are a number of ways you can view your desktop PC in virtual reality (VR), with apps like Bigscreen Beta or Virtual Desktop. But what if you run Linux software? Today, global consultancy Collabora which specialises in delivering the benefits of Open Source software for commercial use has announced xrdesktop, a project enabling interaction with popular Linux desktop environments, such as GNOME and KDE, in VR.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Plasma 5.16.4 Desktop Environment Released with 18 Changes, Update Now

          KDE Plasma 5.16.4 is now available three weeks after the KDE Plasma 5.16.3 update as yet another bugfix release in an attempt to keep the KDE Plasma 5.16 desktop environment as stable and reliable as possible. KDE Plasma 5.16.4 is not as big in changes as previous maintenance releases as it only includes a total of 18 bug fixes and improvements.

          “Today KDE releases a bugfix update to KDE Plasma 5, versioned 5.16.4. Plasma 5.16 was released in June with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience. This release adds three week’s worth of new translations and fixes from KDE’s contributors. The bugfixes are typically small but important,” reads today’s announcement.

        • Markdown and support of embedded mathematics

          At this moment, the version of Discount added to Cantor’s repository had two additional functional fixes on top of the officially released version of this library. First, Discount copies all LaTeX expressions during the processing of markdown syntax to a special string list, which is then used by Cantor to search for LaTeX code. Second, a useful change was to add an ASCII non-text symbol to every math expression. This symbol is used as a search key which greatly reduces the likelihood for a string collision, still theoretically possible, though.

          For example, if Discount will find (according Markdown syntax) math expression $\Gamma$, then it will write the additional symbol and the expression iin the output html string will be $\Gamma$ and Cantor will search exactly this text.

          I think, that’s all. Maybe this doesn’t look like a complex problem but solving this problem was a task that took the most time and it took me two months to fix it. So, I think the problem and its solution deserved a separate blog post.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GXml and on-the-fly-post-parsing technique

          I think this is new, so I’ll describe a new technique used in GXml to parse a large set of nodes in an XML document.

        • Sprint 4: tons of code reviews, improved web calendar discoverer

          After a fairly big push to reimplement the web calendar discoverer code, it landed in Calendar! The new code is a threaded implementation of a web discoverer where we first ping the server to see if the passed URL is an actual file; otherwise, we perform a full CalDAV discovery on the URL.

          Credentials are handled automatically — if the server rejects either the file or CalDAV checks due to permission, the user is asked about it.

          In addition to that, the Year view is now much optimized and we avoid a big amount of D-Bus traffic by caching the events that appear in the sidebar.

    • Distributions

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora Has Deferred Its Decision On Stopping Modular/Everything i686 Repositories

          The recent proposal to drop Fedora’s Modular and Everything repositories for the upcoming Fedora 31 release is yet to be decided after it was deferred at this week’s Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee (FESCo) meeting.

          The proposal is about ending the i686 Modular and Everything repositories beginning with the Fedora 31 cycle later this year. But this isn’t about ending multi-lib support, so 32-bit packages will continue to work from Fedora x86_64 installations. But as is the trend now, if you are still running pure i686 (32-bit x86) Linux distributions, your days are numbered. Separately, Fedora is already looking to drop their i686 kernels moving forward and they are not the only Linux distribution pushing for the long overdue retirement of x86 32-bit operating system support.

      • Debian Family

        • Deepin OS – First Distro To Bring Cloud Sync Option

          The team has developed its own desktop environment based on Qt and also uses KDE plasma’s window manager aka. dde-kwin. Deepin team has also developed 30 native applications for users to make day-to-day tasks easier to complete.

          Some of the native deepin applications are — Deepin installer, Deepin file manager, Deepin system monitor, Deepin Store, Deepin screen recorder, Deepin cloud print, and so on… If you ever run out of options, do not forget thousands of open source applications are also available in the store.

          The development of Deepin started in 2004 under the name ‘Hiwix’ and it’s been active since then. The distro’s name was changed multiple times but the motto remained the same, provide a stable operating system which is easy to install and use.

          The current version Deepin OS 15.11 is based on Debian stable branch. It was released on 19, July 2019 with some great features and many improvements and bug fixes.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 19.2 ‘Tina’ is approaching release, final testing underway

          The next version of Linux Mint is very close to its stable release according to project head, Clement Lefebvre. Two weeks ago, the project released beta ISOs of Linux Mint 19.2 ‘Tina’ so that users could test the upcoming release and report any last-minute bugs; Lefebvre said that “many bugs” were identified and fixed, meaning other users are less likely to encounter problems when Mint 19.2 is finally released.

          The developers behind Linux Mint are now in the quality analysis (QA) phase and began testing final release ISOs yesterday. Lefebvre thinks that the stable release of Linux Mint 19.2 should be ready and available for download by the end of the week, so it would be a good time now to make backups if you want to do a clean install this weekend.

        • Linux Lite 4.6 RC1 operating system now available

          Linux Lite is based on the Ubuntu LTS series giving you 5 years of support per major release and includes the following software LibreOffice Suite, VLC Media Player, Firefox Web Browser, Thunderbird Email, Gimp Image Editor, Lite Themes, Lite User Manager, Lite Software, Lite Sounds, Lite Tweaks, Lite Welcome, Lite Manual, Lite Sources, Lite Updates Notify, Lite Upgrade, Whiskermenu and more.

          “Linux Lite is fully functional out of the box, this means that you won’t have to install extra software when you boot your computer for the first time. We believe that a computer should be ready to use straight away on the first boot after a new install. You’re going to need this kind of functionality on a daily basis when you are using your computer so we take the hassle out of trying to find the right software from the start.”

        • BT choose Canonical to enable its 5G cloud core

          Multinational telecom’s company, BT, has announced its collaboration with cloud native firm, Canonical, as a way of developing its 5G plan.

        • Canonical Releases New Linux Kernel Live Patch for Ubuntu 18.04 and 16.04 LTS

          Coming hot on the heels of the last Linux kernel security updates released by Canonical last week for all supported Ubuntu Linux releases, this new kernel live patch is now available for users of the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating systems who use the Canonical Livepatch Service to apply rebootless kernel updates.

          It fixes five security issues, including a race condition (CVE-2019-11815), which could lead to a use-after-free, in Linux kernel’s RDS (Reliable Datagram Sockets) protocol implementation that may allow a local attacker to crash the system or execute arbitrary code, as well as a flaw (CVE-2019-2054) affecting ARM CPUs, which lets local attackers to bypass seccomp restrictions.

        • Canonical Announces Amazon EC2 On-Demand Hibernation for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

          Canonical and AWS announced today the public availability of on-demand Amazon EC2 Hibernation support for the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS operating system on AWS (Amazon Web Services).

          As one can imagine, the Amazon EC2 On-Demand Hibernation functionality lets users start up Amazon EC2 instances, configure them to their needs, hibernate them, and then launch them again whenever they want with all the running apps in the last state before they were put to sleep.

          With Amazon EC2 On-Demand Hibernation there’s no need to rebuild the memory footprint of your apps, and it also lets you maintain a fleet of pre-warmed Amazon EC2 instances that may increase your productivity without the need to modify any of your existing applications in the cloud.

        • Amazon EC2 On-Demand Hibernation for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS now available

          AWS and Canonical today announce the public release of Amazon EC2 Hibernation support for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

          Amazon EC2 Hibernation gives you the ability to launch Amazon EC2 instances, set them up as desired, hibernate them, and then quickly bring them back to life when you need them. Applications pick up exactly where they left off instead of rebuilding their memory footprint. Using hibernate, you can maintain a fleet of pre-warmed instances that can get to a productive state faster, and you can do this without modifying your existing applications.

        • A shift to the Linux app store experience

          Linux software developers historically have faced a number of challenges including fragmentation, distribution complexity and a lack of metrics into the success of their applications. Once an application is built, the journey does not end there – for companies and individual developers creating apps, thought needs to be given to promoting their software for maximum visibility, usage and customer experience.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • GitHub Blocks Devs in US-Sanctioned Regions

        Github currently is blocking only Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria. This is so that Microsoft will come into compliance with very specific sanctions imposed by the US government, he said.

        The blocking does make developing software a bit more difficult for developers who live in those regions. Since GitHub is a distributed version control system, however, those developers simply need someone from an unrestricted region to fork onto another platform that is not being blocked, Swann said.

      • Events

        • Intel Uses Its SIGGRAPH “CREATE” Event To Talk Up More Software Advancements

          Intel’s “CREATE” event is ongoing right now at SIGGRAPH 2019 where they are using it to repeat their goal of seeing a “1,000x advancement in performance” over the years ahead.

          This 1,000x performance advancement is being sought after by “deep investments in next-generation hardware architectures” and the software stack, primarily developer tools. We continue to see what they can achieve with software optimizations from their SVT video encoders to all the performance boosts that continue to come about in Clear Linux to their many other software initiatives.

        • Final call for proposals for the containers and checkpoint/restore track at LPC 2019

          This is the final call for proposals for the containers and checkpoint/restore track at the Linux Plumbers Conference; the deadline is Friday, August 2. LPC will take place September 9-11 in Lisbon, Portugal.

        • Final reminder: LPC 2019 Networking Track CFP

          This is the final call for proposals for the 3 day networking track at the Linux Plumbers Conference; the deadline is Friday, August 2. LPC will take place September 9-11 in Lisbon, Portugal.

      • CMS

        • Why leave WordPress behind for Nikola ?

          In my previous post I announced my website’s migration from WordPress to Nikola.

          Still, with WordPress having been my site’s engine for so many years, I feel that I owe a few explanations to the community.

          In this post I’ll enumerate what stands out in my (very good !) experience with WordPress, plus a few words about zenPhoto and what makes the difference between those two and Nikola.

        • Migrating to a Static Site

          I’ve been writing really nothing on my previous blog, and the whole WordPress install was too much overkill, besides doing a static website in python sounds way better to a programmer ;-)

          So, i’m using Pelican and plan to revert back all my customizations that make sense.

      • Public Services/Government

        • Digi imprint on software used in Kerala govt offices

          At present, 27797 government offices in the state use SPARK portal for salary disbursement for over seven lakh employees.

          [...]

          The prevailing government policy mandates use of only FOSS applications in all its offices.
          The IT@School GNU/Linux 18.04 Operating System developed by KITE has in-built software required for running the Java based digital signature token device drivers. KITE would technically assist offices to install the trust key used for digital signature token devices in offices, along with ProxKey and ePass in addition to client software required for using them on SPARK.

        • KITE provides facility for digital signature of govt employees

          The move comes after digital signatures were made mandatory in all government offices for the staff to receive salary and other benefits through Service Payroll and Administrative Repository for Kerala (SPARK) portal.
          KITE intervened after several government offices including Public Education department had to approach proprietary software providers to create digital signatures. The salary of over seven lakh employees working in 27,797 offices are being paid through SPARK.
          All the independent softwares necessary for the functioning of the drivers which run the digital signature token equipment will be available in the IT@school Gnu Linux operating system prepared by KITE.

      • Programming/Development

        • How to drop one or more columns in Pandas Dataframe

          In this tutorial, we will cover how to drop or remove one or multiple columns from pandas dataframe.

        • Dictionaries in Python

          Python provides a composite data type called a dictionary, which is similar to a list in that it is a collection of objects.

          Here’s what you’ll learn in this course: You’ll cover the basic characteristics of Python dictionaries and learn how to access and manage dictionary data. Once you’ve finished this course, you’ll have a good sense of when a dictionary is the appropriate data type to use and know how to use it.

        • How to trim string in bash

          Sometimes it requires to remove characters from the starting and end of the string data which is called trimming. There is a built-in function named trim() for trimming in many standard programming languages. Bash has no built-in function to trim string data. But many options are available in bash to remove unwanted characters from string data, such as parameter expansion, sed, awk, xargs, etc. How you can trim string in bash is shown in this tutorial by using different examples.

        • OpenCV Crash Course for Python Developers
        • Bash eval command
        • Find Length of String in Bash
        • Bash Parameter Expansion
        • HTML Text Snippet Extension

          I often need to quickly test a snippet of HTML, mostly to see how it interacts with our accessibility APIs.

          Instead of creating some throwaway HTML file each time, I find it easier to paste in the HTML in devtools, or even make a data URI.

        • How to Merge Dictionaries in Python?

          In this post, we are describing different ways to merge dictionaries in Python. There is no built-in method to combine them, but we can make some arrangements to do that. The few options that we’ll use are the dictionary’s update method and Python 3.5’s dictionary unpacking operator or also known as **kwargs.

        • How to structure a multi-file C program: Part 2

          In Part 1, I laid out the structure for a multi-file C program called MeowMeow that implements a toy codec. I also talked about the Unix philosophy of program design, laying out a number of empty files to start with a good structure from the very beginning. Lastly, I touched on what a Makefile is and what it can do for you. This article picks up where the other one left off and now I’ll get to the actual implementation of our silly (but instructional) MeowMeow codec.

          The structure of the main.c file for meow/unmeow should be familiar to anyone who’s read my article “How to write a good C main function.”

        • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #379 (July 30, 2019)
        • Compress And Decompress Files With The gzip Command

          gzip command is used to compress files in linux systems. Each single file is compressed into a single file. The compressed file consists of a GNU zip header and deflated data. By default original file will be replaced by the compressed file ending with extension (.gz).

          To decompress a file you can use gunzip command and your original file will be back.

        • Bash while Loop With Examples

          There are three types of loops in bash programming. while loop is one of them. while loop is entry restricted loop. It means the condition is checked before executing while loop. While loop is also capable to do all the work as for loop can do.

        • Bash if..then..else Statement With Examples

          In a programming language, conditionals let you decide whether to perform an action or not, this decision is taken by evaluating an expression.

        • Talk Python to Me: #223 Fun and Easy 2D Games with Python

          Have you tried to teach programming to beginners? Python is becoming a top choice for the language, but you still have to have them work with the language and understand core concepts like loops, variables, classes, and more. It turns out, video game programming, when kept simple, can be great for this. Need to repeat items in a scene? There’s a natural situation to introduce loops. Move an item around? Maybe make a function to redraw it at a location.

        • Python mind-teaser: Make the function return True

          Provide such an input that if 1 is added to it, it is the instance of the same object but if 2 is added it is not.

        • Bash aliases you can’t live without

          A Bash alias is a method of supplementing or overriding Bash commands with new ones. Bash aliases make it easy for users to customize their experience in a POSIX terminal. They are often defined in $HOME/.bashrc or $HOME/bash_aliases (which must be loaded by $HOME/.bashrc).

          Most distributions add at least some popular aliases in the default .bashrc file of any new user account.

  • Leftovers

    • England’s medieval sport of jousting will introduce hawk-eye technology

      “We don’t like this newfangled, modern approach because we are recreating something from the 14th century. You may as well get drones in to fly above the horses heads!

      “This technology will just slow the game down too. We’re not looking to bring jousting up to modern times, we are hoping to bring what happened in medieval times to families and young children.”

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Security updates for Tuesday

        Security updates have been issued by Fedora (cutter-re and radare2), Oracle (389-ds-base, httpd, kernel, libssh2, and qemu-kvm), Red Hat (389-ds-base, chromium-browser, curl, docker, httpd, keepalived, kernel, kernel-alt, kernel-rt, libssh2, perl, podman, procps-ng, qemu-kvm, qemu-kvm-ma, ruby, samba, and vim), Scientific Linux (389-ds-base, curl, libssh2, and qemu-kvm), SUSE (bzip2 and openexr), and Ubuntu (python-urllib3 and tmpreaper).

      • Equifax Settlement Won’t be Enough to Deter Future Breaches: The Law Must Catch Up

        Last week, news broke of a large financial settlement for the massive 2017 Equifax data breach affecting 147 million Americans. While the direct compensation to those harmed and the fines paid are important, it’s equally important to evaluate how much this result is likely to create strong incentives to increase data security for both Equifax and the other companies that are closely watching.

        We doubt it will do enough. Without stronger privacy legislation, the lawyers and regulators trying to respond to these data leaks are operating with one hand tied behind their back.

        In the meantime, EFF strongly urges everyone impacted by the calamitous Equifax breach to participate in the settlement claims process. Equifax must pay for the harm they have caused to everyone. And all too often, the fact that too few people make claims in these consumer privacy cases is used in the next case to argue that consumers just don’t care about privacy, making it even harder to force real security upgrades. If you do care about your privacy and want to make companies more responsible with your data, make your position known.

      • Capitol One Breach Sets Record

        Capitol One bank announced that a criminal hacker stole the personal information of 106 million people who had applied for credit, including credit scores, social security numbers, and bank account numbers. By some measures, it is the largest data breach of a US bank in history. The FBI arrested the alleged hacker and filed a complaint in federal court. Capitol One joins a long list of companies that have had data breaches in recent years. In testimony before the Senate and the House several years ago, EPIC warned Congress that US financial institutions were not doing to safeguard consumer data. EPIC has recently renewed calls for the creation of a US Data Protection Agency.

      • Capital One Gets In On The Data Breach Action, Coughs Up Info On 100 Million Customers To A Single Hacker

        That’s a big “if” — one that’s certainly called into question by the swift apprehension of a suspect. Maybe this is all on the level. Even if it is, does it matter? Companies collecting massive amounts of data are still, on the whole, pretty cavalier about data security, even as breach after horrifying breach is announced.

        Given the data obtained, it almost seems like it would have been far less labor-intensive to just scour the web for a copy of the Equifax breach and download that instead. The Venn diagram of the sensitive data likely has a significant overlap.

        Then there’s the press release by Capital One, which inadvertently shows how little it really cares what happens to customers’ sensitive information.

      • Update LibreOffice now to thwart silent macro viruses – and here’s how pwn those who haven’t patched their suite yet [Ed: It is not flawless when you run malicious files against it, so don’t open these or receive these…]
      • To Add to Self-Driving Car Concerns, Traffic Could Be Hacked

        There are definitely many, many concerns still surrounding the idea of autonomous cars used in force in population. There are so many concerns of whether they are as safe as human-driven cars, with constant stories of crashes when people stop paying attention because they let the car take over.

      • Pop!_OS 18.10 will no longer receive security updates.

        Pop!_OS 18.10 has reached End of Life today, meaning it will not be receiving any more updates. In order to ensure that your system remains secure and up to date, you will need to upgrade your OS to version 19.04. Pop!_OS 18.04 users can disregard this message, as they will continue to enjoy that fresh code scent that comes with new updates.

    • Environment

      • Media Downplay Climate Disruption’s Ever-Growing Role in Driving Migration

        Journalists routinely dehumanize human beings crossing the southern border by comparing them to natural disasters like a “flood” or “deluge.” But while migration has always been a natural phenomenon, the increasingly forced migration of people escaping deteriorating conditions is an unnatural disaster driven, in part, by climate disruption.

        The New Yorker (4/3/19) reported on how droughts, floods and changes to weather patterns have contributed to crop susceptibility to diseases and pests, degraded soil quality and shortened growing seasons. Reuters (5/2/19) covered UN estimates that 2.2 million people Central Americans have been affected by poor harvests as a result of climate change, with up to four in every five families having to sell animals and farm equipment to buy food in the past year.

        It would be easy for even a diligent news consumer to not know that climate change is one of the central factors driving refugees to cross the border, since it’s usually not mentioned at all in most alarmist reports about the so-called “border crisis” (New York Times, 4/10/19; Wall Street Journal, 5/8/19). In fact, although a few good articles have been dedicated to making the connection (e.g., New York Times, 4/13/19; Washington Post, 4/16/19), it’s usually absent even among reports purporting to explain why people are making the dangerous journey.

      • Energy

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Do Debate Questions Reflect Concerns of Democratic Voters?

        The initial debates, hosted by NBC, focused heavily on the economy (19% of questions), healthcare (18%) and immigration (18%) — central issues to many voters, to be sure. But other issues that Democrats want to hear about got short shrift. Climate change, which multiple polls put second only to healthcare as a top issue for Democratic voters, got only 10 questions (8%), while core issues around race and women’s rights got eight (6%) and five (4%), respectively. Two questions were asked about LGBTQ concerns.

      • Documents: CIA Successfully Pressured Michael Bay To Change Benghazi Movie

        The CIA released a batch of documents detailing how their Office of Public Affairs (OPA) staff met with the film director Michael Bay and successfully leaned on him to make changes to the script to “13 Hours.”

        The 2016 action thriller is the only major movie Hollywood has produced about the attacks on the United States Special Mission in Benghazi and the nearby CIA annex.

        It grossed less than $70 million against a $50 million budget and is the least commercially successful film Bay has ever produced. While audiences rated “13 Hours” more highly than critics, the film’s attempt to capitalize on the politics of the Benghazi attacks largely failed.

        On the night of September 11, 2012, a mob attacked the State Department’s outpost in Benghazi, setting fire to the main residence and murdering ambassador Chris Stevens, who was in town for a visit from the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, as well as another State employee.

        Several of the CIA’s Global Response Staff (GRS)—military veterans contracted by the CIA to provide security for their bases—left the nearby CIA Annex to help defend the outpost. A few hours after they had rescued the survivors and returned to base a string of attacks hit the Annex, killing two GRS operators.

        The documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reveal that Bay first approached the CIA in early March 2015, weeks before production started.

        OPA staff were initially enthusiastic, according to emails. When one CIA officer pointed out that they were unlikely to support a film based on a book containing “unauthorized disclosures” another responded, “Dude, you’re such a Debbie Downer. Waaah, waaah.”

      • Understanding The Abundance Of Bad Faith Arguments Against Bernie Sanders

        About six months into an excruciatingly long Democratic presidential primary, there are several bad faith arguments about Senator Bernie Sanders and his 2020 presidential campaign that are frequently promoted in the news media.

        These arguments range from vapid expressions of disgust to more calculated articulations of prejudice. Each argument degrades the conversation around the Sanders campaign, overshadowing its welcome contribution to politics as well as several good faith arguments against the campaign that are worth engaging.

        Some of the arguments existed during the 2016 presidential election, when Sanders ran against Hillary Clinton.

        One may notice the individuals who push bad faith arguments have ties back to the Clinton campaign. They may have even been involved in pushing these same arguments in 2016.

        Several voices given platforms by the establishment news media are invited to define Sanders for media consumers, and yet, they do not speak about his campaign with a forthrightness that is high-minded. They have their own ulterior motives or special interests to guard when commenting.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Josh Hawley Wants To Appoint Himself Product Manager For The Internet

        Say what you want about Senator Josh Hawley — and we’ve said a lot — but you do have to give him credit for actually proposing bills to respond to all of the problems he sees with internet companies these days. Of course, he sees their very existence as one of the problems, so the bills seem mostly nonsensical. His latest — the Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology Act (yeah, yeah, the SMART Act) — is only marginally less crazy than his last bill to strip internet companies of Section 230 protections, unless they agree to allow Nazis to speak.

        It’s… weird. It basically seems to be Congress (via Hawley) appointing itself as the new product manager for all internet services. It’s taking what is a potentially reasonable concern that certain activities on various internet platforms may lead to addictive behaviors and then assuming that Congress must ban them, outright — as well as take proactive steps to limit access to much of the internet. I’m assuming that noted Constitutional lawyer Josh Hawley will next propose a bill banning alcohol, cigarettes, TV binging, professional sports, books, and anything else engrossing in the future. Again, there are legitimate concerns about how the internet impacts people, but we’re still in the very early days of understanding (1) what those issues are and how they’re dealt with and (2) how society can and should respond to those things. And yet, this bill acts as if it’s well established that a few very specific technology features are de facto evil and must be banned.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • The Great Hack Wasn’t A Hack And Big Tech’s Problems Aren’t Really About Big Tech

        There must be some irony in the fact that the well-hyped documentary film about Cambridge Analytica/Facebook, called The Great Hack was released by Netflix — a company who really is kinda famous for trying to suck up as much data as possible to build a better algorithm to keep you using its service more — and potentially violating people’s privacy in the process. I know it’s ancient history in terms of internet years, and everyone has decided that Facebook and Google are the root of all internet/data evils, but back in 2006, Netflix launched a contest, offering $1 million to anyone who could “improve” its recommendation algorithm over a certain threshold. It took a few years, but the company awarded the $1 million to a team that improved its algorithm — though, it never actually implemented that algorithm, claiming that the benefits “did not seem to justify the engineering effort.”

        But, perhaps more interesting, was that while the contest was ongoing, some computer scientists de-anonymized the dataset that Netflix had released, leading some to point out that the whole project almost certainly violated the law. Eventually, Netflix shuttered its plans for a follow up contest as part of a legal settlement regarding the privacy violations of the original.

        So, perhaps feel a bit conflicted when Netflix’s vaunted algorithm recommends “The Great Hack” for you to watch.

      • “Equifax Settlement: Exercise Your Rights!”

        After a settlement with Equifax, consumers can now file a claim for free credit monitoring or a cash payment of $125. If you spent time recovering from the breach or lost or spent money because of the breach, you can request payment of up to $20,000. Credit monitoring or the $125 cash payment is easy and requires no documentation, though the actual amount provided may be less depending on the total number of claims. Supporting documents are necessary if you seek payment for time lost or costs because of the breach. The settlement also requires Equifax to provide all U.S. consumers with 6 free credit reports per year. EPIC President Marc Rotenberg testified before the Senate Banking Committee and recommended free credit freezes and other consumer remedies following the 2017 data breach.

      • Dutch cheesed off at Microsoft, call for Rexit from Office Online, Mobile apps over Redmond data slurping

        report backed by the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security is warning government institutions not to use Microsoft’s Office Online or mobile applications due to potential security and privacy risks.

        A report from Privacy Company, which was commissioned by the ministry, found that Office Online and the Office mobile apps should be banned from government work. The report found the apps were not in compliance with a set of privacy measures Redmond has agreed to with the Dutch government.

        The alert notes that in May of this year Microsoft and the government of the Netherlands agreed to new privacy terms after a 2018 report, also compiled by Privacy Company, found that Office 365 ProPlus was gathering personal information on some 300,000 workers via its telemetry features and storing them in the US. These included such things such as email addresses and translation requests.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Daily Dose of Protest: Hope For The Underrated Youth – Yungblud

        When looking back at the history of protest movements, young people have always been at the forefront. That has been the case with recent protests against gun violence, climate change and a variety of other social ills. There has also been a long history of the powers that be trying to suppress the youthful voices of resistance.

        Yungblud is an example of a young artist who uses his music to speak out. The 21-year-old alternative musician from the UK explored themes of youth disenfranchisement on his 2018 debut album, 21st Century Liability. These themes are further explored with his latest single, “Hope For The Underrated Youth.”

        A couple of days before the release of the tune, Yungblud performed a cruise ship concert on the River Thames. He concluded the show with projecting the song’s title on the UK Houses of Parliament and making a powerful speech on a megaphone.

        “The world right now tells us to fall in line, what you’re allowed to care about, think about, even to the point of what air you should fucking breathe,” said Yungblud of the track. “Things are changing drastically, a lot of the time not for the better, and it’s hard to watch.”

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Doomed: Bethesda’s Classic Doom Re-Releases Are Fixed, But Demonstrate Again That We Don’t Own What We Buy

        We have something of a long-running series of posts centering on the disheartening theme, “You don’t own what you’ve bought.” Whether it’s digital products such as movies and eBooks, or more tangible products like thermostats, large companies are making backend alterations to how products previously purchased work and the public is just now starting to realize the full scope of what this means. That doesn’t mean that same public isn’t surprised when it happens to them, of course, but it’s strange to watch the reactions to these anti-consumer practices range mostly from shrugs to actively joking around about it all.

        Bethesda went through its own instance of this recently. Just to be absolutely clear, the problems we are about to discuss have all been resolved by Bethesda, so good on them. These issues weren’t intentional. Still, they demonstrate both how the current digital economy is one fraught with danger for people who think they’re actually buying things and also demonstrates the cow-like tranquility of the reactions of those affected.

        In the past few weeks, Bethesda announced it was re-releasing several classic Doom games for the three modern consoles. It was great news for Doom fans, especially those that own PS4 and Nintendo Switch consoles. The re-release included the Xbox One, too, but that console had already seen a re-release of the classic Doom games. Except that gamers who had originally purchased the first re-release suddenly found that their purchases were no longer available.

    • Monopolies

      • District Court Ruling: Filing an Abridged Application within RDP Term is use of a Legal Right to file an Application and therefore does not constitute Unfair Competition

        Regulatory Data Protection (RDP) issues are dealt with only by the Licensing Regulation of the Ministry of Health (MOH) of Turkey. In principle the relevant provision grants protection of data of originators for a term of 6 years as of the date of first Marketing Authorisation granted in the EU. However there is no mechanism to prevent the Gx Company from using the data before expiry of the term. The MOH interprets the relevant article as a market exclusivity and allows abridged Marketing Authorisation (MA) applications filed by using the data of the originator within RDP term. The Gx companies mostly choose to take advantage of this interpretation in order to be ready to launch as soon as the RDP term is expired.

        The only tool remaining in the hands of the owner of the regulatory data to protect its rights arising from the data is filing an unfair competition action against the Gx Company depending on the unfair competition provisions of the Commercial Code.

        In one of these actions the defendant Gx Company filed an abridged application by using the data of originator and was granted an MA before expiry of the RDP term. The plaintiff data owner argued unfair competition on the grounds that the defendant used the data without satisfying any of the legal conditions for filing an abridged MA application and therefore unfairly benefited from the the data. The plaintiff argued that regulatory data is also connected to unfair competition law. Because, the subject of unfair competition law is to protect the labour, including efforts, know-how and investment, in accordance with the principle of labour against the commercial methods and applications, in accordance with the principle of integrity. The rights of establishments on data, which are the most valuable business products, are under protection in accordance with Article 54 and Articles 55/1(c), Article 55/1(d) and Article 55/1(e) of Turkish Commercial Code (TCC), along with the general provisions, protecting property right. The plaintiff further argued that the defendant party is the competitor of the plaintiff in economic life. Also it has filed a license application in order to seize a substantial share of the client’s market, by producing and selling a product, which is identical to the pharmaceutical of the data owner. The unfair use of originator’s data by the defendant party, without authorization, is an action, by itself, incompliant with the rules of integrity, given in Article 55 of TCC and constitutes unfair competition.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Celgene v. Peter: application of IPRs to pre-AIA patents is not a taking

          While Oil States v. Greene’s Energy, 138 S.Ct. 1365 (2018), answered the question of whether inter partes review proceedings were unconstitutional generally, it left unanswered the question of whether application of inter partes review proceedings to patents granted prior to the America Invents Act constituted a taking under the 5th Amendment. Here, the Federal Circuit directly addresses that question, concluding that it is not.

          Constitutional challenges like this one can be challenging to raise effectively on appeal. While usually, the issues are brought up in a footnote or single sentence, this was not one of those instances: Celgene devoted 8 pages of its principal brief to its takings argument, making a serious go at it. Still, Celgene had not raised the argument before the Board and requests to address an argument for the first time on appeal are granted only in exceptional circumstances. However, given the circumstances–Celgene’s raising of an issue not directly resolved by Oil States, the growing number of retroactivity challenges following Oil States, and the thoroughness of the briefing on the issue, among other considerations–the court concluded that “this is one of those exceptional circumstances in which our discretion is appropriately exercised to hear Celgene’s constitutional challenge even though it was not raised below.” Slip Op. at 25.

          [...]

          In the end, “Although differences exist between IPRs and their reexamination predecessors, those differences do not outweigh the similarities of purpose and substance and, at least for that reason, do not effectuate a taking of Celgene’s patents.” Slip. Op. at 36.

          The court also affirmed the PTAB’s decisions finding the appealed claims obvious.

        • Solutran v. Evalon: Processing Paper Checks and Patent-Eligible Subject Matter

          The Federal Circuit reversed the district court, holding that the claims failed to recite patent-eligible subject matter. The CAFC first held that the claims “are directed to the abstract idea of crediting a merchant’s account as early as possible while electronically processing a check,” Slip Op. at 7, a conclusion that followed from Ultramercial v. Hulu, 772 F.3d 709 (Fed. Cir. 2014) and Content Extraction & Transmission LLC v. Wells Fargo Bank, National Ass’n, 776 F.3d 1343 (Fed. Cir. 2014), and was not at odds with Enfish, LLC v. Microsoft, 822 F.3d 1327 (Fed. Cir. 2016). The court then concluded that the claims did not “contain a sufficiently transformative inventive concept so as to be patent eligible” by, for example, “‘purport to improve the functioning of the computer itself’ or ‘effect an improvement in any other technology or technical field.’” Id. at 12. A key issue was that, even by the terms of the patent itself, the only potentially inventive concept was the abstract idea itself…

        • Nokia persuades Munich court to issue anti-antisuit injunction against Daimler supplier Continental, pre-empting decision by Judge Koh

          If the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition (DG COMP) doesn’t help Daimler and its suppliers such as Continental, then the Nokia v. Daimler patent assertion campaign is not going to end well. Unless something changes fundamentally, the mostlikely outcome is that Nokia will gain decisive leverage pretty soon, as a result of its patent assertions in Germany, with the question primarily being whether the Munich I Regional Court or the Mannheim Regional Court will be first to enter a provisionally-enforceable SEP injunction that will force Daimler to bow to the supra-FRAND royalty demands of the Avanci group. And its supplier will continue to be denied a direct license from key patent holders such as Nokia. A court may well find that they are entitled to such a license, but at the time, their key customer (Daimler) will be bound to unfavorable and fundamentally unfair contract terms.

      • Trademarks

        • “BOSWELAN” – No Special Treatment for Medicinal Product Trade Marks

          Obtaining a marketing authorization for a new medicinal product can notoriously take a very long time. Should trademark law, and in particular the five-year grace period to commence “genuine use“ (Art. 18(1) EUTMR), be adapted to account for the time lost waiting for the marketing authorization? In a recently published case (C-668/17 not yet available in English at the time of writing), the EU Court of Justice answers the question in the negative.

          [...]

          In 2013, Hecht-Pharma filed an action for revocation of the “BOSWELAN” mark for lack of genuine use within the meaning of Art. 51(1)(a) of Regulation 207/2009.

        • The World’s Most Ridiculous Trademark Dispute Is Now Over: Yosemite Gets Its Names Back

          A little over three years ago, we wrote about what may be one of the world’s dumbest trademark disputes (involving one of the world’s most beautiful places). Yosemite National Park was in a massive trademark dispute concerning the names of various places (mainly lodging places) within the park. The background was a bit confusing, but the short version is that back in 1988, the company that operated the various facilities in Yosemite, the Curry Company, registered trademarks on the names of the various sites — including the famous historic Ahwahnee Hotel, Curry Village and Yosemite Lodge. In 1993, the concessions contract passed from Curry Company onto a subsidiary of Delaware North called DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite (DNCY). It appears that the trademarks that Curry Company registered passed on to DNCY, though basically everyone forgot/ignored the trademarks.

          Part of DNCY’s contract was that if another concession company took over, DNCY had to “sell and transfer” any interest it had in the park, including “such other property.” Fast forward to a few years ago, and Yosemite decided to drop DNCY in favor of concessions giant Aramark. Suddenly, DNCY “rediscovered” that it held the trademarks. It offered to lease them to the park for “free”… but only if Yosemite retained DNCY as the concessions company. Yosemite said no, and DNCY started demanding money for the trademarks. Lots and lots of money — between $30 and $51 million at different times in the process. Yosemite, on the other hand, countered that the trademarks were worth, at best, somewhere between $1.5 and $3 million. DNCY eventually sued for $44 million.

          Yosemite then went with the nuclear option and renamed all the historic spots in the park. So for the past three years, the Ahwahnee has been called “The Majestic Yosemite Hotel,” Curry Village became “Half Dome Village,” and the Wawona Hotel became “Big Trees Lodge.” I’ve been up to Yosemite a few times during these three years, and everyone still seemed to call the Ahwahnee the Ahwahnee (or, as I heard multiple people say, “the hotel formerly known as the Ahwahnee.”)

      • Copyrights

        • The EU Regulation on fairness in the platform economy is a let down for intellectual property [Ed: The copyright scholars left IP Kat and the blog now moans for monopolists using their propaganda terms ("intellectual property"). Society always loses when lawyers (or greedy law firms) write “the news”. Unfortunately now that ournalism has collapsed it happens a lot more often.]

          The Digital Single Market Directive, introduced earlier this year, has been the subject of much discussion (see here, here and here for previous posts). Flying under the radar of most IP enthusiasts is Regulation 2019/1150 on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services, passed on 20 June 2019.
          This Regulation aims to provide “appropriate incentives to promote fairness and transparency” in order to maintain healthy competition in the ranking of corporate website users by online search engines and across the wider online platform economy.

          The Regulation acknowledges the importance of search engines and online platforms in the commercial success of businesses, especially small and medium sized enterprises (Recital 2). It also acknowledges that often these businesses will be commercially dependent upon search engines and online platforms. On this, the Regulation stresses that:

        • CJEU roundup: Kraftwerk, Red Bull and more

          In this decision, the court said that sampling part of a song without authorisation can infringe a producer’s rights, but that if the sample is taken in a modified form “unrecognisable to the ear,” no infringement occurs, even without prior authorisation.

          The case involves members of the German techno group Kraftwerk and surrounds their 1977 track Metall auf Metall.

          The band’s members had sought an injunction on the basis that rapper Moses Pelham had included, without their permission, a two-second loop recording of a sequence from Metall auf Metall in his song Nur Mir.

          A lower court backed Pelham but Germany’s Federal Court of Justice then asked the CJEU whether the non-authorised inclusion of the sample constitutes an infringement of copyright.

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