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08.14.19

Links 14/8/2019: Best Chromebooks, EPEL 8.0, LibreOffice 6.2.6

Posted in News Roundup at 2:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • How Mobile Linux Differs from Desktop Linux

      Next year might be “the year of desktop Linux” in perpetuity, but mobile operating systems aren’t waiting around. They represent the fastest-growing of the Linux kernel, powering the vast majority of mobile devices. But how can the same kernel work on the desktop and a mobile system? Android doesn’t make much of a desktop operating system after all. The basic rules stay the same, but there are significant differences between mobile and desktop operating systems.

    • Desktop

      • Best Chromebook laptops for school

        You might think a Chromebook is limited because it can only run programs when it’s online. That’s not true. For example, you can still work with Google Docs when you’re offline.

        Also, you can now run many Android apps on Chromebooks. And, these days you can run a full Linux desktop on your new Intel-based Chromebook. Indeed, as my tech buddy Mike Elgan points out, today’s high-end Chromebook laptops “run more apps without dual- or multi-booting than any other computing platform. Chromebook laptops can run apps from Android, Linux, and Windows concurrently in the same session.”

        In addition, as FutureSource points out, when it comes to school work, Chromebook laptops combine “affordable devices, productivity tools via G-Suite, easy integration with third-party platforms/tools, task management/distribution via Google Classroom, and easy device management remains extremely popular with US teachers and IT buyers alike.”

        One unsung advantage of Chromebook laptops is that, if your dog ate the Chromebook, you wouldn’t have lost your work. All you need do is get another one, log on, and you’re back in business with all your e-mail, documents, and calendars intact and ready to go. Another sweet deal that comes when you buy a Chromebook is that you can get 100GB of free Google One cloud storage for a year. That’s more than enough room for your homework.

        And, since it’s easy to erase a Chromebook and then reset it to your account, this is safer than using a used Windows laptop.

    • Server

      • Linux and Cloud Computing: Can Pigs Fly? Linux now Dominates Microsoft Azure Servers [Ed: This is not about “Linux” dominating Microsoft but Microsoft trying to dominate GNU/Linux]

        Over the last five years things have changed dramatically at Microsoft. Microsoft has embraced Linux. Earlier in the year, Sasha Levin, Microsoft Linux kernel developer, said that now more than half of the servers in Microsoft Azure are running Linux.

      • Google Cloud Adds Compute, Memory-Intensive VMs

        Google added virtual machine (VM) types on Google Compute Engine including second-generation Intel Xeon scalable processor machines and new VMs for compute- and memory-heavy applications.

      • Kubernetes Ingress

        On a similar note, if your application doesn’t serve a purpose outside the Kubernetes cluster, does it really matter whether or not your cluster is well built? Probably not.

        To give you a concrete example, let’s say we have a classical web app composed of a frontend written in Nodejs and a backend written in Python which uses MySQL database. You deploy two corresponding services on your Kubernetes cluster.

        You make a Dockerfile specifying how to package the frontend software into a container, and similarly you package your backend. Next in your Kubernetes cluster, you will deploy two services each running a set of pods behind it. The web service can talk to the database cluster and vice versa.

      • IBM

        • Announcing EPEL-8.0 Official Release

          The EPEL Steering Committee is pleased to announce that the initial EPEL-8 is ready for release. We would like to thank everyone in the community for helping us get the initial set of builds out to mirrors and to consumers worldwide. Special thanks go to Patrick Uiterwijk, Jeroen van Meeuwen, Robert Scheck, and many others in the community who helped in the last 6 months to get this release done.

          EPEL-8.0 has packages for the x86_64, ppc64le, aarch64, and now the s390x platforms.
          What is EPEL?

          EPEL stands for Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux and is a subcommunity of the Fedora and CentOS projects aimed at bringing a subset of packages out of Fedora releases ready to be used and installed on various Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). It is not a complete rebuild of Fedora or even of previous EPEL releases. EPEL is also a community and not a product. As such we need community members to help get packages into the repository more than done in Fedora.

        • EPEL 8.0 released
          The EPEL Steering Committee is pleased to announce that the initial
          EPEL-8 is ready for release. We would like to thank everyone in the
          community for helping us get the initial set of builds out to mirrors
          and to consumers worldwide. Special thanks go to Patrick Uiterwijk,
          Jeroen van Meeuwen, Robert Scheck, and many others in the community
          who helped in the last 6 months to get this release done.
          
          EPEL-8.0 has packages for the x86_64, ppc64le, aarch64, and now the
          s390x platforms.
          
          ## What is EPEL?
          
          EPEL stands for Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux and is a
          subcommunity of the Fedora and CentOS projects aimed at bringing a
          subset of packages out of Fedora releases ready to be used and
          installed on various Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). It is not a
          complete rebuild of Fedora or even of previous EPEL releases. EPEL is
          also a community and not a product. As such we need community members
          to help get packages into the repository more than done in Fedora.
          
          If you are interested in getting a package into EPEL, contact the
          package maintainer through bugzilla. This way the request can be
          tracked, and if the primary maintainer is not interested in branching
          to EPEL, others can step in and do so. Optionally you can send a
          request to the epel-devel@lists.fedoraproject.org mailing list. If you
          do so, please include why the package is needed, to help other
          volunteers decide whether they can support it.
          
          ## What is new?
          
          ### Playground for Rawhide like things
          We have added an additional set of channels for EPEL-8 called
          playground. It is similar to Fedora Rawhide so packagers can work on
          versions of software that are too fast moving or will have large API
          changes compared to versions in the regular channel.
          
          To make this purpose transparent, when a package is built in epel8, it
          will normally also be built in epel8-playground. This is done via a
          packages.cfg file which lists the targets for fedpkg to build against.
          A successful package build will then go through two different paths:
          * epel8 package will go into bodhi to be put into epel8-testing
          * epel8-playground will bypass bodhi and go directly into
          epel8-playground the next compose.
          
          If a packager needs to focus only on epel8 or epel8-playground they
          can edit packages.cfg to change the target=epel8 epel8-playground to
          target=epel8.
          
          Packages in epel8-playground are intended to be used in the following manner:
          * To test out a new version of the package that might not be stable yet.
          * To test out new packaging of the package
          * To test a major version change of the package intended for the next
          EPEL-8 minor release.
          * To build a package that will never be stable enough for EPEL-8, but
          still could be useful to some.
          
          At minor RHEL releases (ie, 8.1, 8.2) people can pull in big changes
          from playground to the main EPEL-8 packages. Since people will be
          upgrading and paying more attention than usual anyhow at those points,
          it’s a great chance to do that change, but you can test beforehand in
          the playground to make sure these changes work.
          Consumers should be aware that packages in EPEL8-playground are
          without any Service Level Expectations. You may want to only cherry
          pick packages from the playground as needed.
          
          ### New Architecture: s390x
          
          We have added the s390x platform to builds. Some consumers have wanted
          this platform for many years but we did not have the time to integrate
          necessary changes. We have done this with EPEL-8, and hope to be able
          to do so for EPEL-7 if there are continued requests for it.
          
          ## What is next? (Why is it called EPEL-8.0?)
          The goal for EPEL-8.1 will be implementing modules into the
          repository, which allows builds for packages that depend on
          non-shipped devel packages. It also allows maintainers to supplement
          and replace other packages they could not under standard EPEL rules.
          
          ## Known Issues:
          1. EPEL-8.0 does not come with modules. Packages built for perl,
          python and other modules are only built against “default” modules. For
          example installing a perl library from EPEL will work with the
          perl-5.26 but not with the perl-5.24 module.
          2. RHEL-8.0 and RHEL-8.1 beta do not come with the same packages in
          all architectures. There are 720 ‘desktop’ packages which were only
          shipped for x86_64 and ppc64le. Packagers looking to deliver GNOME,
          KDE, or other platforms will need to exclude s390x and aarch64 at this
          time.
          3. The dnf in RHEL-8.1 beta does not work with the EPEL repository due
          to zchunk code. This has been opened as an upstream bug as
          
          https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=1719830
          
          4. Until modularity and module builds are implemented in EPEL, there
          will be many packages which can not be built for EPEL. This is mainly
          due to RHEL-8 not shipping many -devel packages and the need for us to
          rebuild those packages in a module to make those -devel available to
          build against. When running into this please open a ticket with
          https://pagure.io/epel/new_issue for us to put in a request for it to
          be added to Red Hat’s Code Ready Builder. Please list the package(s)
          which is blocked from being built because of its absence. We will
          collate these items into bugzilla tickets which will be reviewed by
          the Red Hat product groups to see if they will be added in future Code
          Ready Builder releases. Doing this will ensure that we do not have 70
          requests for foo-devel but can have one with all the packages needing
          it.
          5. /usr/bin/python does not exist in RHEL8. Developers should aim
          towards /usr/bin/python3 or /usr/bin/python2 and patch appropriately.
          Python2 packages are discouraged. RHEL-8 will contain python2.7 until
          probably the end of life of RHEL-7. However support upstream will only
          be minimal. When modularity occurs, we suggest that you make whatever
          python2 packages modules which can be pulled out when RHEL-8.N no
          longer has python2.
          6. python2-sphinx is not shipped. Most packages should work with
          python3-sphinx, and if it doesn’t please open a bug. The python team
          has been good about making fixes for this.
          7. When branching python packages, be aware that python in EL-8 is
          python36 and not the version currently in rawhide. This has come up
          with a couple of test packages where they assumed python37 or later.
          8. While EL-8 comes with platform-python, it should NOT be used in
          Requires: unless absolutely necessary. python3 should be used instead.
          (Exceptions can be made but will be rare and need justification.)
            * Accepted exception: Use python3.6dist(coverage) instead of
          python3-coverage. This package is not shipped but is needed in %check
          code.
          10. Sometimes RHEL8 only has a python3 package for a dependency you
          need for your build. (Example: python-bleach requires
          python2-html5lib, but RHEL8 provides only python3-html5lib). For
          EPEL-8.0 we recommend strongly to only focus on python3 subpackages..
          11. RHEL-8 was built with packages which were not shipped. In general
          it is OK to branch these packages and build them in EPEL.
          12. systemd-rpm-macros is not a separate packages. If needed, used
          BuildRequires: systemd
          13. You will need to make sure you have a version of fedpkg greater
          than fedpkg-1.37-4 to work with both `epel8` and `epel8-playground`.
          Versions before that should work with just `epel8`.
          
          ## Developer requests for multiple branches
          Branching is handled the same way as requesting a branch using fedpkg
          request-branch. A maintainer can request an epel8 branch using fedpkg
          request-branch epel8 which will create a ticket in
          https://pagure.io/releng/fedora-scm-requests/issues and Release
          Engineering will process these requests.
          To branch multiple packages please use this or a variant of this script:
          
          ```
          #!/usr/bin/sh
          # Reminder to get an updated pagure token for releng tickets
          # Usage: epel-8.sh package1 package2 package3 package4
          if [ $# -lt 1 ]
          then
              echo "At least one package name should be provided"
          else
              TMPDIR=`mktemp -d /tmp/epel8.XXXXXX`
              pushd "$TMPDIR"
              for pkg in "$@"
              do
                  fedpkg clone "$pkg"
                  pushd "$pkg"
                  fedpkg request-branch epel8
                  fedpkg request-branch epel8-playground
                  popd
              done
              rm -rfv "$TMPDIR"
          fi
          ```
          
          Releng will then work through the tickets in the system which is
          adding branches to the PDC and src.fedoraproject.org.
          
          ## Known RHEL-8 packages missing -devel
          * libblueray-devel
          * liba52-devel
          * libXvMC-devel
          * libdvdnav-devel
          * gfbgraph-devel
          * libuv-devel
          * rest-devel
          * qgpgme-devel
          
          ## Definitions
          * Package maintainer. Person who has accepted responsibility to
          package and maintain software in the Fedora Project ecosystem. The
          main packager is usually someone focused on Fedora Linux, and
          secondary packagers may be focused on particular use cases like EPEL.
          * Consumer. A person who has subscribed to EPEL for packages but is
          not a maintainer.
          * PDC. Product Definition Center. A tool to help list the lifetime and
          permissions that a product has so that branching and updates can be
          better managed.
          
          
          
        • EPEL 8.0 Is Now Ready To Offer Up More Packages To Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Users

          EPEL 8.0 is now ready for users of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 and the eventual CentOS 8 for complementing the standard repositories with extra packages for what is found in Fedora.

          The “Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux” continues providing a sub-set of Fedora’s packages to RHEL/CentOS users. Just as they’ve done for prior RHEL series, EPEL 8.0 provides updated/additional packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 / CentOS 8.0 users.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • mintCast 315 – Les, Dan and the Banter

        In the first half, Dan learns Jekyll and Ruby web development, Les teaches kids to code in Manchester, Leo has been testing Ubuntu 19.04 and attending a wedding, Bo is now certified, Tony Hughes has been Volunteering again and running ‘ARCH’, Moss is Distrohopping big time and is getting a new Pi 2B, Josh is publishing another issue of his magazine, and Joe buys new ‘old’ laptops for the kids and plays with Pis.

        Then, our news, we discuss new hardware, the death of the floppy drive (or not), Demise of another Linux magazine and some controversy in the OS world.

    • Kernel Space

      • BFQ (Budget Fair Queuing) I/O Scheduler Improves Linux Systems Responsiveness (Video)

        Storage is normally the slowest part of a system, and operating systems such as Linux try to limit I/O access with “tricks” like caching. The I/O.

      • RapidDisk version 6.0-1 released

        RapidDisk is an advanced Linux RAM Disk which consists of a collection of modules and an administration tool. Features include: Dynamically allocate RAM as block device. Use them as stand alone disk drives or even map them as caching nodes to slower local disk drives.

        [...]

        I also made sure to verify that the latest module code compiles cleanly with version 5.3 (currently at -RC4) of the Linux kernel.

      • Linux Foundation

        • Announcing New Course: DevOps and SRE Fundamentals-Implementing Continuous Delivery

          The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced today that enrollment is now open for the new DevOps and SRE Fundamentals – Implementing Continuous Delivery eLearning course. The course will help an organization be more agile, deliver features rapidly, while at the same time being able to achieve non-functional requirements such as availability, reliability, scalability, security, etc.

          According to Chris Aniszczyk, CTO of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, “The rise of cloud native computing and site reliability engineering are changing the way applications are built, tested, and deployed. The past few years have seen a shift towards having Site Reliability Engineers (SREs) on staff instead of just plain old sysadmins; building familiarity with SRE principles and continuous delivery open source projects are an excellent career investment.”

    • Benchmarks

      • Blender 2.80 Performance With Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 vs. AMD EPYC 7742

        The Blender 2.80 release arrived at the end of July that unfortunately was too late for using that big new release in our launch-day testing of AMD’s EPYC 7002 “Rome” processors but as a follow-up here are AMD EPYC 7742 performance benchmarks up against the Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 Cascade Lake as well as the AMD EPYC 7601 2P. Blender 2.80 performance is the focus of this article along with some other renderer benchmarks.

        [...]

        The three servers used for testing (AMD Naples, AMD Rome, Intel Cascade Lake) were using Intel Optane 900p NVMe SSDs for storage and RAM satisfying all available channels and at each processor’s optimal frequencies. Ubuntu 19.04 was running on each server with the Linux 5.2 kernel. The Phoronix Test Suite test profile makes use of Blender 2.80′s official binaries and some of the common benchmark scenes, similar to the long-standing Blender 2.79 test.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Time travelling adventure game The Great Perhaps is out now

        Caligari Games and Daedalic Entertainment have today released their time bending adventure game The Great Perhaps and with it comes same-day Linux support as promised.

        A very intriguing game this one, since it’s both pre and post-apocalypse due to the time travelling mechanics involved. The game tells the story of an astronaut returning to Earth destroyed by natural disasters. While searching amongst the ruins, you find an usual old lantern which has the ability to shine a light into time itself.

      • The Great Perhaps Out Now for PC Mac and Linux

        Daedalic Entertainment has launched the original time travel adventure game The Great Perhaps, the debut title from indie developer Caligari Games. Featuring hours of puzzle-based gameplay and atmospheric storytelling in a unique sci-fi universe, this thought-provoking journey will be available for £8.99 / €9.99 / $9.99 on Windows PC, Mac and Linux via Steam, GOG.com and other portals.

      • pyLinuxWheel and Oversteer, two open source tools for managing Steering Wheels on Linux

        Don’t get frustrated by the lack of official support from Logitech for their steering wheels on Linux, reclaim your hardware with these two handy open source tools.

        The first, is pyLinuxWheel (GPL). This supports Driving Force Pro, Driving Force GT, G25, G27 and the G29.

        A few days ago, pyLinuxWheel had a brand new 0.4 release adding support for alternate modes, a Spanish translation and Driving Force Pro Logitech wheel support.

      • Dead Cells feature filled Who’s the Boss update out now under a new company

        Some exciting news if you’re a big Dead Cells fan like me, as work shall continue on it to expand the game even further under a new dedicated company.

        Motion Twin, the original developer is a “workers co-op” and they said this makes growing their team a little difficult. Since they’ve been prototyping new games, they also wanted to continue working on Dead Cells. So to do exactly that, the company Evil Empire was created. They’re all still in the same office, they have the exact same creative control as before but now they have a dedicated team for Dead Cells. Well, that’s one way to do it!

      • Tactics V: “Obsidian Brigade” brings a retro turn-based tactics game to Linux

        Retro-style tactical turn-based strategy game Tactics V: “Obsidian Brigade” has recently released with Linux support.

        Another new interesting release for you recently, developed by From Nothing Game Studios, Tactics V: “Obsidian Brigade” is inspired by console tactical RPGs from the 1990s like Final Fantasy Tactics.

      • Defeat enemies and take their abilities in the roguelike dungeon crawler Emberlight, now available

        Released on Steam yesterday with same-day Linux support, Emberlight is a dungeon crawler with a bit of a difference.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Best desktop environments for Debian

        Under Linux the desktop environment, or graphical environment is independent of the OS (Operating system) in contrast to Windows which, as its name says, incorporated windows as part of its core rather than an optional feature we could add to MS-DOS. I won’t explain deeply that Linux is a kernel rather than an OS and all additional components are complementary including the graphical environment but it is what brings the flexibility on tools choice.
        Initially Linux wasn’t developed for domestic use, based on Unix it provided multiuser, multitask and networking functions and the graphical environment wasn’t an initial priority, actually in contrast to Windows servers Linux servers lack of graphical environment because it is unnecessary (but optional, as with any Linux installation).

        For domestic or professional use, users need a graphical interface of which you can choose among many options, some of which will be explained in this article.

        The disclaimer is no one can affirm what the best desktop environments are since the choice is based on individual needs and tastes, this article lists some desktop environments currently remain unused like Fluxbox because I consider it great, sadly the Linux community disagreed.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Lazy Qt Models from QVariant

          In Calamares there is a debug window; it shows some panes of information and one of them is a tree view of some internal data in the application. The data itself isn’t stored as a model though, it is stored in one big QVariantMap. So to display that map as a tree, the code needs to provide a Qt model so that then the regular Qt views can do their thing.

          [...]

          This is strongly oriented towards the key-value display of a QVariantMap as a tree, but it could possibly be massaged into another form. It also is pushy in smashing everything into string form. It could probably use data from the map more directly (e.g. pixmaps) and be even more fancy that way.

          Most of my software development is pretty “plain”. It is straightforward code. This was one of the rare occasions that I took out pencil and paper and sketched a data structure before coding (or more accurate: I did a bunch of hacking, got nowhere, and realised I’d have to do some thinking before I’d get anywhere – cue tea and chocolate).

          What I ended up with was a QVector of quintptrs (since a QModelIndex can use that quintptr as intenal data). The length of the vector is equal to the number of nodes in the tree, each node is assigned an index in the tree (I used depth-first traversal along whatever arbitrary yet consistent order Qt gives me the keys, enumerating each node as it is encountered). In the vector, I store the parent index of each node, at the index of the node itself. The root is index 0, and has a special parent.

    • Distributions

      • How to Distro Hop With a Web Browser

        Getting familiar with Linux up close and personal is easy to do with a free service provided by DistroTest.net, a website that allows testing without ISO downloads or local installations.

        Are you a wandering Linux distro hopper looking for a way to streamline the selection process? Are you a Windows or macOS user who wants to try Linux?

        Linux has countless distributions and dozens of desktop environments. How can you choose?

        Now you can find the perfect combination of distro and desktop without leaving the Web browser running on your current operating system. Just point that browser to DistroTest.net.

        The DistroTest website is a relatively new online Linux distro-vetting system. It even includes some BSD offerings if you have a hankering to venture into an operating system that is similar to Linux.

      • Highlights of YaST Development Sprint 82

        July and August are very sunny months in Europe? and chameleons like sun. That?s why most YaST developers run away from their keyboards during this period to enjoy vacations. Of course, that has an impact in the development speed of YaST and, as a consequence, in the length of the YaST Team blog posts.

        [...]

        Bcache technology made its debut in YaST several sprints ago. You can use the Expert Partitioner to create your Bcache devices and improve the performance of your slow disks. We even published a dedicated blog post with all details about it.

        Apart of the Expert Partitioner, AutoYaST was also extended to support Bcache devices. And this time, we are pleased to announce that ? we have fixed our first Bcache bug!

        Actually, there were two different bugs in the AutoYaST side. First, the auto-installation failed when you tried to create a Bcache device without a caching set. On the other hand, it was not possible to create a Bcache with an LVM Logical Volume as backing device. Both bugs are gone, and now AutoYaST supports those scenarios perfectly.

      • Fedora Family

        • Sausage Factory: Modules – Fake it till you make it

          Last week during Flock to Fedora, we had a discussion about what is needed to build a module outside of the Fedora infrastructure (such as through COPR or OBS). I had some thoughts on this and so I decided to perform a few experiments to see if I could write up a set of instructions for building standalone modules.

          To be clear, the following is not a supported way to build modules, but it does work and covers most of the bases.

        • Fedora: Flock Budapest 2019

          Probably the best from FLOCK was to being able to record several members from our community who kindly accepted to say their names, the places where they come from and the language they speak, and create a small video showing how Diverse and Inclusive Fedora is. Produce a short 2min video in such a chaotic schedule is challenging enough, so after 3 hours of recording, and a rough 2:30hs of editing, I ended up finishing the render of the video just as I was plugin my laptop to the main stage… People usually don’t know how long it takes to do something like that, but I’m just glad everyone seemed to like it and that my laptop didn’t died in the process.

          While working on the video, I was able to have small interviews with several folks from Fedora and got to ask them how comfortable they felt in the community. It was satisfactory to learn from them that the overall care we have take to make minorities feel more included has worked, however, it was a bit sad to learn how hard has been for our contributors to deal with burn out, how tired they are of putting fires out instead doing new projects and mainly getting a general sense of getting stuck into the same routine.

          As our team says, our labor is not only to help with the diversity efforts for making everyone feel comfortable, but we also need to work more to include more effective ways to give people a sense of purpose, provide new challenges that put them on a fun path and give them the recognition they deserve. Fedora has always put a lot of effort into bringing new people to contribute, but I’ve seen that the old contributors are getting on a side because “everything is working” and we need to take care of that. They need the same attention (and I would dare to say that probably more) than new contributors do. At the end, is this amazing group of people who has to mentor new contributors. Feel free to reach me or any member of the Diversity and Inclusion Team if you feel that this words got your attention and you’re willing to share some thoughts. Anonymity is a top priority.

        • Flock to Fedora 2019 Trip Report

          I just flew back from Flock 2019 in Budapest, Hungary, and boy are my arms tired!

          Flock is the Fedora Project’s annual contributor-focused conference. This was my first time attending Flock, and I’ve only attended a handful of previous conference in general, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was also my first-ever experience presenting at a conference, and I’m not a fan of long flights in cramped seats—so I arrived for the conference with a bit of anxiety in addition to jet lag. However, sampling the local food and beverage choices helped me adjust.

          I found the four days of events to be filled with interesting sessions that sometimes required difficult choices when deciding what to attend.

          Based on my impression of sessions I attended and discussions in which I participated or observed, here are several topics that seemed to be generating a lot of interest and activity within the Fedora community.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Pi-Hole – The DNS Triangle

        At the end of the day, I had Pi-hole running, but the setup was far from trivial. There were four or five cardinal problems, and none of these should have happened, because the installation wizard could have gone through separate checks to make sure things were working. Part of the first-time run could be the service check, and if there are issues there, some sort of self-diagnosis to make sure FTL is up and running. The same applies to the Web service. Then, there’s the password reset and list update. All of these would make the experience much more streamlined.

        As a product, Pi-Hole is a very nice and powerful tool. It does its job extremely well, it’s fast, effective and robust, and the Web UI is nicely designed. You also gain some on the traffic side, as there’s less content that needs to be served, and fewer queries to be resolved, hence performance improvement for the stuff that matters. The setup isn’t trivial but it is achievable, and you have a lot of flexibility in how you wire up your network. You could have Pi-Hole as a standalone system, or it could serve all the different devices in your home. All in all, this is the doomsday weapon for if and when the Internet turns rogue on you. Well worth testing, but remember the second rule of thermodynamics. You can’t have trivial and complex at the same time.

      • Proven Linux OS Expanded to Aitech’s Multi-core Remote I/O Subsystem

        Chatsworth, Calif. July 2019 – Aitech Defense Systems, Inc., a part of the Aitech Group, has ported the cost-effective, open source Linux operating system onto its intelligent Ai-RIO remote I/O interface unit (RIU). This modular small form factor (SFF) RIU internally networks up to eight expansion modules – or ‘slices’ – for extremely high density and low power in a compact physical space.

      • Tiny Type 10 module serves up Apollo Lake with 16GB DDR4

        Kontron’s Linux-friendly, COM Express Mini Type 10 form-factor “COMe-m4AL10” and “COMe-m4AL10 (E2)” modules are built around Apollo Lake SoCs and offer up to 16GB DDR4 and 64GB eMMC with up to -40 to 85°C (E2) support.

        Kontron announced two 84 x 55mm, Intel Apollo Lake based compute modules with 16GB DDR4. The Atom-powered, -40 to 85°C ready COMe-m4AL10 (E2) and Pentium and Celeron equipped, 0 to 60°C COMe-m4AL10 both support up to twice the RAM of the previous (circa-2017) industrial temp COMe-mAL10 (E2) and commercial COMe-mAL10 modules, which use DDR3L RAM.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Codefresh improves its open source marketplace by removing barriers to faster code deployment
      • Codefresh’s More Robust, Open Source Marketplace Makes Coding Easier, Faster, More Secure

        First deployed in December 2018, the Codefresh Marketplace makes it easier for code developers to find commands without having to learn a proprietary API – every step, browsable in the pipeline builder, is a simple Docker image. The Marketplace contains a more robust set of pipeline steps provided both by Codefresh and partners, such as Blue-Green and Canary deployment steps for Kubernetes, Aqua security scanning, and Helm package and deployment. All plugins are open source and users can contribute to the collection by creating a new plugin.

      • Databases

        • MongoDB 4.2 materialises with $merge operator and indexing help for unstructured data messes

          Document-oriented database MongoDB is now generally available in version 4.2 which introduces enhancements such as on-demand materialised views and wildcard indexing.

          Wildcard indexing can be useful in scenarios where unstructured, heterogeneous datasets make creating appropriate indexes hard. Admins can use the function to create a filter of sorts that matches fields, arrays, or sub-documents in a collection, and adds the hits to a sparse index.

          [...]

          Speaking of cloud, last year MongoDB decided to step away from using the GNU Affero General Public License for the Community Edition of its database and switched to an altered version. The Server-Side Public License is meant to place a condition – namely, to open source the code used to serve the software from the cloud – on offering MongoDB as a service to clients.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6.2.6 is ready, all users should update for enhanced security

          The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 6.2.6, the sixth minor release of the LibreOffice 6.2 family, targeted at users in production environments. All users of LibreOffice 6.1.x and LibreOffice 6.2.x versions should upgrade immediately for enhanced security, as the software includes both security fixes and some months of back-ported fixes.

      • Programming/Development

        • An Effective Python Environment: Making Yourself at Home

          When you’re first learning a new programming language, a lot of your time and effort go into understanding the syntax, code style, and built-in tooling. This is just as true for Python as it is for any other language. Once you gain enough familiarity to be comfortable with the ins and outs of Python, you can start to invest time into building a Python environment that will foster your productivity.

          Your shell is more than a prebuilt program provided to you as-is. It’s a framework on which you can build an ecosystem. This ecosystem will come to fit your needs so that you can spend less time fiddling and more time thinking about the next big project you’re working on.

          Although no two developers have the same setup, there are a number of choices everyone faces when cultivating their Python environment. It’s important to understand each of these decisions and the options available to you!

        • Think carefully about API language standards

          The idea behind an API is pretty simple. The developer exposes functions from within the application in an abstracted manner. In doing so, the developer can change the functions within the application while all external systems can access the service minus the need for rewrites.

          But developers can hit a snag when they need to change the API library to support new functionality. This this action can — and often does — break calling systems that don’t adhere to the framework of the original API.

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Farm Rot is Eating America Alive

        American politics covers up the bleeding of nature

      • Why can’t we sell our own organs?

        I just clicked the box on the government form that asks if, once I die, I’m willing to donate my organs to someone who needs them.

        Why not? Lots of people need kidneys, livers, etc. When I’m dead, I sure won’t need mine.

        Still, there are not enough donors. So, more than 100,000 Americans are on a waiting list for kidneys. Taking care of them is so expensive, it consumes almost 3% of the federal budget!

        So why not allow Americans to sell an organ?

      • Senators Call for Closing “Loopholes” That Make Health Care Fraud Easy

        Following a detailed account of how scam artists can easily gain access to health care cash, six Democratic senators this week sent a letter to federal regulators urging them to “close loopholes” that allow “bad actors” to commit fraud.

        The letter came in response to a recent story by ProPublica and Vox that traced the brazen scam of a Texas personal trainer, who despite having no medical credentials was able to submit a blizzard of fake bills with some of the biggest insurance companies in the country and recoup millions. The story revealed not only how David Williams exploited weaknesses at each step, but how slowly the insurers responded to his ongoing fraud.

        Williams’ con, for which he was later prosecuted, was initially enabled by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The federal agency issues and administers National Provider Identifiers, or NPIs, the unique numbers medical providers need to bill insurance plans. ProPublica found that Medicare doesn’t check the credentials of medical providers who apply for NPI numbers, such as whether they have valid licenses, which means scammers can lie to obtain them. Williams obtained at least 20 NPI numbers and used them to bill insurers.

        The insurers he scammed — Aetna, Cigna and UnitedHealthcare — then allowed his fraud to proceed for years, largely unchecked. The companies also failed to verify that Williams was a licensed physician, even as he billed them for complex, and expensive, office visits as an out-of-network provider. Instead, they paid him more than $4 million over a span of four years, despite alerts from his ex-wife and her dad about his scam. Williams was convicted of four counts of health care fraud in 2018 and sentenced to about nine years in federal prison. The insurers declined to comment on his fraud.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Security updates for Wednesday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (kernel, linux-4.9, otrs2, and tomcat8), Fedora (igraph and jhead), openSUSE (ansible, GraphicsMagick, kconfig, kdelibs4, live555, mumble, phpMyAdmin, proftpd, python-Django, and znc), Oracle (kernel and openssl), Red Hat (kernel, openssl, and rh-mysql80-mysql), Scientific Linux (kernel and openssl), Slackware (kernel), SUSE (containerd, docker, docker-runc, golang-github-docker-libnetwork and mariadb-100), and Ubuntu (linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux-aws, linux-aws-hwe, linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws, linux-oem, linux-oracle, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux-snapdragon, php5, php7.0, php7.2, and wpa).

      • He tried to prank the DMV. Then his vanity license plate backfired big time.

        It seemed like a good idea at the time.

      • Thoughts from Defcon 27 – This is why I do what I do

        Every year, thousands of security professionals descend upon Las Vegas to take part in a series of conferences known as Hacker Summer Camp. This year, Black Hat, BSides Las Vegas, Defcon 27 and the Diana Initiative took up the majority of the conference space. So, what makes this one of the most relevant and successful security conferences?

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Careerism and the War Machine

        In Three Guineas, which I am reading at the request of a young friend who tells us she is writing her dissertation on Woolf and James Baldwin, Virginia Woolf answers the question asked of her by a prominent liberal of his day, which is that she give her opinion as to how war – this was 1938, in Europe – can be prevented. In the course of answering, Woolf suggests that the independent aspect of women’s thought, cultivated as (unwilling) outsiders in patriarchal society is what’s needed to address the evil of war. She does not so much answer his question as state that, by virtue of their differences, well-intentioned men and women must seek to “destroy” evil in different ways. Her vision of a just (i.e., sane, healthy) society as one that must include its outsiders, bringing them from the margins into the center, has not come to pass, needless to say. The problem may have been that she did not envision women remaining outsiders, and, moreover, presumed that by the fact of their inclusion, and the breakdown of patriarchy, society would be improved.

      • Atomic Bombs Are Not Lifesavers

        One shouldn’t have to state the obvious. It is well known that two atomic detonations, in early August, 1945, killed over 100,000 Hiroshima and Nagasaki residents, revealing the unlimited human capacity for atrocity in wartime. But it seems many U.S. history teachers are still telling students that the atomic bombings somehow saved lives.

      • Massacres at Home and Abroad

        On August 5, former President Obama released a powerful statement in response to the latest gun massacres in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton that left scores dead and wounded—including children who were shopping for school supplies at Walmart with their mothers, and with their families at the wonderful Gilroy Garlic Festival. He decried the madness of violence that has been fueled by Trump’s vile pronouncements and policies that help spread anti-immigrant and racist poison across the nation.

      • Militarized Observers: Institutional Daydreams of Ethics End Runs to Weaponize Culture

        A significant limitation facing scholars studying US military uses of anthropology and other social sciences is that while the existence and activities of various military programs are known, and some related documents are available, there is much about these programs that remains unknown to outsiders. Yet, even with these gaps in knowledge, it is possible to detect patterns indicating trends or recurrent institutional desires and approaches.

      • Nothing Less Than a Revolution Can Save Us

        Is there no limit to the lethal and authoritarian absurdity of America, land of mass gun massacres like Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Aurora, Orlando, Las Vegas, Parkland, and now El Paso and Dayton among other pockmarked sites?

      • Are We Ready Now to Put Shooters’ Gender at Center of Gun Debate?

        Last weekend’s killing sprees in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, brought the number of mass shootings in the first 215 days of the year to 251. In the United States of Ammunition, that’s more than one a day. What’s going on? To paraphrase James Carville, “It’s the masculinity, people.”

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Sneering at “Conspiracy Theories” is a Lazy Substitute for Seeking the Truth

        On the morning of August 10, a wealthy sex crimes defendant  was reportedly found dead in his cell at New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center.

      • Fox News Commentator Calls For A ‘Backlash’ Against Big Tech… Because Wikileaks Released His Phone Number

        It’s widely recognized that there’s been a widespread backlash against the big tech companies over the last few years. Politicians on both sides of the aisle in the US have been calling for massive, sometimes crippling, regulations, fines or even antitrust breakups of the companies. Regulators around the globe have been fining the companies billions of dollars.

        Apparently all of that is news to Fox News contributor Juan Williams, who has taken to the august pages of The Hill to publish an op-ed calling for a backlash to big tech. Dude, it’s already happening. Still, perhaps Williams has a new argument that is worth considering? I mean, there are legitimate points to be made about competition, privacy and the like. But… nope. Williams is mad that Wikileaks — which, last I checked, is not considered a member of “big tech” — leaked his cell phone number in a cache of John Podesta emails…

    • Environment

      • Climate Crisis Means the Ruling Class has Failed. Can the Working Class Inherit the Earth?

        The climate crisis is proof positive that the ruling class is an utter failure — but it will not fall on its own. Can the working class rise to the challenge? It sure will help if we understand that our class interests are not merely the economic needs of working people — no matter how important that is — but the universal interests of a healthy planet for all the people. Let’s start acting like it.

      • Energy

        • Fracking and Shale Drilling Caused Spike in Climate-Warming Methane Pollution, Says New Study

          Climate-changing pollution reached unprecedented levels in 2018. That’s both judged against the last 60 years of modern measurements and against 800,000 years of data culled from ice cores, according to the U.S. government’s State of the Climate report, which was published this week with the American Meteorological Society.

          That pollution creates a greenhouse effect that is over 42 percent stronger than it was in 1990, the report added.

          And while carbon dioxide hit a new level last year, it isn’t the only climate-changing gas that’s on the rise globally. Pollution of the powerful but short-lived greenhouse gas methane also climbed in 2018, showing an increase “higher than the average growth rate over the past decade,” the report adds.

        • Fracking’s methane leaks drive climate heat

          An atmospheric methane rise that will speed up global temperature rise is probably being caused mainly by the gas industry’s fracking methane leaks in North America, a new study says.

          The analysis, confirming environmentalists’ worst fears about fracking, is a serious blow to the industry, which claims the gas it produces is cleaner than coal and is needed in the interim before renewables can replace fossil fuels.

          The study is the work of a scientist from Cornell University in the US who has examined the rapid rise in methane concentrations in the atmosphere since 2008. He has found that the gas’s carbon composition has changed.

          His research suggests that methane from biological sources such as cows and bogs has less carbon-13 relative to carbon-12 (denoting the weight of the carbon atom at the centre of the methane molecule) than does methane from conventional natural gas and other fossil fuels such as coal.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Millions of Tokay Geckos Are Taken From the Wild Each Year. International Protection Could Help Save Them

          A popular reptile often found in pet stores is also one of the most heavily traded wildlife species on the planet — perhaps even more than pangolins. A decision pending later this month could help change that.

          Tokay geckos (Gekko gecko) are colorful, foot-long reptiles native to Southern China through southern and Southeast Asia. Although widespread they’re increasingly threatened throughout their range, with millions of animals traded every year for use in traditional Chinese medicines, and to a lesser extent, as pets, which are mainly exported to the European Union and United States.

        • We Ignore Thousands of Threatened Plant Species at Our Own Peril

          Endangered animals may get more attention from the public, but without plants, humans won’t survive.

    • Finance

      • Dow set to fall 400 points after bond market flashes a recession warning, bank stocks drop

        The yield on the 2-year Treasury note topped the 10-year rate, a so-called yield curve inversion that has been a precursor to past recessions.

      • U.S. Economy Faces ‘Strongest Recession Signal Yet’

        Warning signs that the U.S. economy could be barreling toward a recession quickly became alarm bells Wednesday after the Treasury bond yield curve—a key indicator that has preceded every major downturn over the past five decades—inverted for the first time since the Wall Street crash of 2007.

        As the Washington Post reported, “the yields on short-term U.S. bonds eclipsed those of long-term bonds” on Wednesday, a phenomenon that “suggests investors’ faith in the economy is faltering.”

        Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank, told the Post that “yield curves are all crying timber that a recession is almost a reality, and investors are tripping over themselves to get out of the way.”

      • Bodies on the Ground and the Rise and Rise of the Economic Elite

        The US is less of a nation than a collective, psychotic episode.

      • Five Ways the Economy is Stacked Against the Young

        The mechanics of wealth building are fairly simple. Save more than you spend, invest those savings to generate more money. Lather, rinse, repeat.

      • Dear Progressives for Warren: Your Class Is Showing

        Let me begin by making the apparently mandatory and sacrosanct ritual offering to the gods of progressive politics in 2019: “Sure, I like Warren. In fact, I agree with her on many issues. She’s not bad.”

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Boris Johnson Recklessly Picks at the Scabs of Ireland’s Violent Past

        On 8 May 1987 a Provisional IRA unit of eight men attacked a police station in the village of Loughgall in county Armagh 15 miles from the Irish border. One man drove a digger with a bomb in its bucket towards the building, half of which was destroyed in the explosion. But British forces had been informed of the time and place of the assault and SAS soldiers waiting in ambush opened fire killing all eight Provisionals and a civilian.

      • Epstein, Faction, and Neopatrimonialism

        Never has the word “conspiracy” been spoken so easily.

      • The Case Against Voting for President

        As individuals, our choices make very little difference to the state of the world, often virtually none. Nonetheless, those same choices can have significant effects on ourselves, sometimes profoundly.

      • The Need for Unity in Ethiopia

        Ethiopia is a tribal nation, made up of 80 or so different groups, some large some small, some powerful, some not. Large numbers of people, the majority perhaps, identify themselves with their tribe more powerfully than their country, or their region. Tribal affiliation runs deep among all age groups, loyalty is strong, resentment of tribal others can be fierce.

      • Democrats and the Politics of Change

        With the political season underway, the question of an effective politics is the subtext of the debates and speeches intended to motivate constituencies and movements. This should read as odd: in the U.S., it is the act of getting elected that defines effective politics. But as neoliberalism has crept into every aspect of modern life, elections have become an anti-politics, a way of working against the democratic will.

      • The “Trump Recovery”: Behind Right-Wing Populism’s Radical Transformation

        Trump’s unique brand of right-wing populism has long been sold in “mainstream” discourse via a narrative that his supporters are angry as hell over mounting personal and economic insecurity, in an age that affords fewer and fewer opportunities to the “working class.” This story was popularized in part because of Trump’s rhetoric, and because of his higher support among those (especially whites) with low levels of education, who were angry (at the time of Trump’s election) at the state of the nation and economy, and who were opposed to corporate “free trade” agreements. But this narrative was always highly misleading. As social scientists have documented in recent years (see some examples here, here, here, and here), there is little evidence that Trumpeters are economically insecure relative to non-supporters. And their opposition to “free trade” is largely a function of being socialized to oppose it via Trump’s rhetoric, rather than due to personal experiences being harmed by the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs. There is no indication that Trumps supporters are more likely to come from rustbelt areas of the nation that are disproportionately affected by outsourcing. Rather, the story of 2016 was one of Democratic demobilization of the working class, not Republican mobilization. This was most evident in the finding that the Democrats lost 3.5 times as many working-class votes from the 2012 to 2016 presidential elections than Republicans gained. In other words, the Democrats gave us Trumpism as much as Republican right-wing “identity politics” and Trump’s activation of the reactionary right did.

      • Boris Johnson: Three Weeks After

        Johnson’s tempestuous energy which in the past poured itself into writing endless articles over a 25-year-period is undimmed. He continues to write for any paper that will publish him all sorts of diatribes that will please his voter base.

        To this arsenal, he now adds Facebook appeals produced at Downing Street. The latest was a promise to make life much harsher for prisoners and to build new prisons to house 10,000 future criminals. The UK has by far the largest number of women and men incarcerated in Europe.

        Why is he doing that? Johnson cannot copy Trump and attack Muslims. He cannot copy Salvini and attack refugees. He cannot copy Kaczynski and copy attack gays.

        But to satisfy his voters’ palpable sense of indignation, he has chosen to be very tough on the women and men who are mostly locked up for non-violent offences. These include items such as petty fraud or providing recreational drugs to, well, politicians like Boris Johnson and Michael Gove in their younger years.

      • It’s Very Clear: Bernie Sanders Can Beat Donald Trump

        When trying to guess which candidate will be strongest against Donald Trump in 2020, you would be equally well-served by a dowsing rod, Ouija board, tea leaves, or deck of tarot cards as you would by the informed judgment of cable news pundits or political reporters. Yet polls show the Democratic primary electorate, apparently still scarred by Trump’s surprise win in 2016, are attempting cast their own political yarrow stalks by lining up whoever has the best chance to win next year.

        Only God knows which Democratic candidate will be the strongest in 14 months’ time. However, we can say one thing with as much confidence as can be mustered in this fallen world: Bernie Sanders could beat Donald Trump.

        Polls are obviously rather fluid at this early stage in the election cycle, but they’re also the only data we have on how candidates would stack up against Trump in a head-to-head race. They have consistently shown Sanders ahead of Trump by about 5 points (while former vice president Joe Biden is ahead by about 8 points). Sanders’ approval rating has also been consistently in the mid-50s, with disapproval in the high 30s. That is far, far better than either Trump’s or Hillary Clinton’s numbers in 2016.

      • Bernie Sanders Sees Right Through The Washington Post

        Many decades ago, the great media critic George Seldes observed: “The most sacred cow of the press is the press itself.” That remains true today.

        Bernie Sanders set off the latest round of outraged denial from elite media this week when he talked to a crowd in New Hampshire about the tax avoidance of Amazon (which did not pay any federal income tax last year). Sanders went on to say: “I wonder why the Washington Post — which is owned by Jeff Bezos, who owns Amazon — doesn’t write particularly good articles about me. I don’t know why. But I guess maybe there’s a connection.”

        Sanders has fought explicitly and effectively to raise the wages of Amazon workers as well as millions of others. Yet the mass-media pretense is that the financial interests of the Post’s owner have no effect on the newspaper’s coverage of Sanders.

        Corporate denial is the name of that media game. Usually, expressed denials aren’t necessary. But there’s nothing usual about Bernie Sanders, who’s been willing to call out the biases and blind spots of corporate media since he entered politics.

        For his latest transgression, Sanders earned purportedly authoritative pushback from the likes of the Post’s top editor, its media columnist and others with high media visibility. “Contrary to the conspiracy theory the senator seems to favor,” Post executive editor Martin Baron declared, “Jeff Bezos allows our newsroom to operate with full independence, as our reporters and editors can attest.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Difficult Discussions, Not-So-Difficult Answers

        There are some things we should not have to discuss with our kids. Ever.

      • Epstein Jail Guards Suspected of Falsifying Logs

        Jail guards on duty the night Jeffrey Epstein apparently killed himself are suspected of falsifying log entries to show they were checking on inmates every half-hour as required, according to a person familiar with the investigation into the financier’s death.

        Surveillance video shows guards never made some of the checks noted in the log, said the person, who was not authorized to disclose information about the case and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday.

        Epstein, 66, is believed to have killed himself early Saturday at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York, where he was awaiting trial in a sex trafficking case. The cause of the death has not been announced, but a person familiar with operations at the federal lockup said the financier was discovered in his cell with a bedsheet around his neck.

        His death prompted the Justice Department to place two guards on leave and remove the jail’s warden pending the outcome of investigations by the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general. Falsifying log entries can be a federal crime.

      • Epstein’s Death Should Generate Investigations, Not Conspiracy Theories

        Anti-Clinton/Trump hashtags will not get to the bottom of Epstein’s death, or how the rich and powerful’s involvement in child sex abuse, The Nation’s Jeet Heer explains

      • We’re All Enemies of the State

        We’ve been down this road many times before.

      • Educating Ourselves About Violence

        I’m at a loss to say whether Educated: A Memoir, Tara Westover’s highly-celebrated account of her escape from a fundamentalist, survivalist, home-schooled upbringing in Idaho to earn a Ph.D. from Cambridge University, is a good book. What I can say without hesitation is that it’s a disturbing book. It took me awhile to get through it, actually. I was reading it at night before I went to sleep. I had barely started it when I was overcome one morning by dizziness and nausea as I got out of bed. The feeling subsided as the day wore on, but it returned the next morning, and if anything, it was even worse.

      • Conspiracy, Death and Jeffrey Epstein

        Within minutes of news about his death in a Manhattan jail cell Saturday morning, theories spread with pestilential vigour. Was Jeffrey Epstein murdered? Accepting the premise without qualification, the next question followed: Who did it? MSNBC host Joe Scarborough was not giving anyone time to wonder. “A guy who had information that would have destroyed rich and powerful men’s lives end up dead in his jail cell. How predictably…Russian.”

      • Ken Cuccinelli just took his racist interpretation of the Statue of Liberty poem to another level

        The poem only refers to welcoming “people from Europe,” he claimed this week.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

      • Preclusion at the USITC

        The Federal Circuit previously released its opinion in this appeal that I discussed in an essay titled Who Needs Proof of Actual Confusion? Not a TM Plaintiff, Patentlyo-O (May 9, 2019) (Swagway I). Now, the court has released a new opinion focusing on the preclusive impact of ITC orders.

        [...]

        Based upon this briefing, the panel has withdrawn its original opinion and issued a new one. The new opinion has the same result, but removes the declaration that the ITC order would have no preclusive effect.

        In particular, the court found that the error alleged in Swagway’s appeal was that the ITC denied the consent order motion using the wrong paper — in the Final Initial Determination [ID] rather than in an Order. Since on remand the ITC could simply reissue the denial in an “Order” — the court found no actual harm.

        Biggest bottom line: Non-patent ITC orders are likely to begin having preclusive effect in parallel district court litigation. This improves the attractiveness of the ITC for enforing trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets against companies importing products into the US. The result then – get a quick win on the merits at the ITC and obtain an exclusion order; then take decision to the district court to collect damages.

      • Irish Supreme Court in Merck v Clonmel puts “adequacy of damages” back in the balance when granting preliminary junctions

        Right at the end of July, came big news from the Irish Supreme Court in Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp v Clonmel Healthcare Ltd 2019 IESC 65. The case concerned the launch of a generic version of an ezetimibe/simvastatin combination drug for the treatment of cardiac related issues and the grant of a preliminary injunction. The decision is a big deal in Ireland as it has reformulated the approach to be adopted by the Irish Courts in the application of the three stage Campus Oil test for the grant (or not) of a preliminary injunction (PI).

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • PPH: diverging opinions at the USPTO and EPO

          Lawyers tell Managing IP that because of different approaches by the offices, plus some examiners’ tendency to take less notice of previous results, the PPH programme is not always beneficial

          Lawyers have told Managing IP that they would not normally recommend that clients opt for the Patent Prosecution Highway when trying to accelerate claims at the USPTO or the EPO – as it is uncertain whether either office would accept claims previously granted…

        • Ajinomoto Co. v. International Trade Commission (Fed. Cir. 2019)

          The Federal Circuit again reviewed a determination of infringement under the doctrine of equivalents, in this instance by the International Trade Commission (ITC), again finding that one of the Supreme Court’s exceptions to the preclusive effects of prosecution history estoppel (the “tangential relationship” test) applied, and affirmed the ITC’s finding of infringement under the doctrine.

          Ajinomoto petitioned the International Trade Commission (ITC) under Section 337 (19 U.S.C. § 1337) for an exclusion order against CJ Cheiljedang for importing animal feed-grade L-tryptophan amino acid products produced by several different strains of Escherichia coli and that infringed Ajinomoto’s U.S. Patent No. 7,666,655. The relevant claim of the ’655 patent (claim 20) is directed to methods for “producing an aromatic L-amino acid, which comprises cultivating the bacterium according to any one of claims 9–12, 13, 14, 15–18, or 19.”

          [...]

          The Federal Circuit affirmed the Commission’s decision in an opinion by Judge Taranto joined in full by Judge Moore; Judge Dyk concurred in part and dissented in part. Beginning with the Commission’s claim construction, the panel unanimously affirmed that construction and rejected Ajinomoto’s argument that the term “encompasses mutagenesis of individual nucleotides within the native promoter” rather than being limited to replacement of the native promoter with a “stronger” one. The Court found that this construction was supported by the ordinary and customary meaning of the claim language (using as examples of “replacing” an object “a laptop computer, a bicycle, a sail-boat, a blender,” comprising an interesting Markush group). The opinion asserts that “context matters, stating that “[i]n many contexts, one would not refer to swapping out one small component of a larger unit as ‘replacing’ the unit or as providing a ‘substitute’ for the unit, even though the net result is a differently constituted larger unit.” This interpretation is consistent with the disclosure in the specification of the ’655 patent, which tellingly does not recite the term “replacing” but does recite the word “substituting,” (even reciting in an express example that the promoters were substituted), which the Court held was consistent with the Commission’s construction of the phrase. And nothing in the prosecution history was to the contrary. The opinion recapped the course of prosecution and amendments and argument relevant to the construction, saying that even though patent applicants may have restricted the scope of their claims to a greater extent than necessary, “there is no principle of patent law that the scope of a surrender of subject matter during prosecution is limited to what is absolutely necessary to avoid a prior art reference that was the basis for an examiner’s rejection,” citing Norian Corp. v. Stryker Corp., 432 F.3d 1356, 1361 (Fed. Cir. 2005), and Biogen Idec, Inc. v. GlaxoSmithKline LLC, 713 F.3d 1090, 1095–96 (Fed. Cir. 2013), for the proposition that this principle applies to rejections under § 112. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the Commission’s construction.

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    Our plan to spend the weekends writing more articles about Software Freedom; it seems like a high-priority issue



  10. Why Techrights Doesn't Do Social Control Media

    Being managed and censored by platform owners (sometimes their shareholders) isn’t an alluring proposition when a site challenges conformist norms and the status quo; Techrights belongs in a platform of its own



  11. Patent Prosecution Highways and Examination Highways Are Dooming the EPO

    Speed is not a measure of quality; but today's EPO is just trying to get as much money as possible, as fast as possible (before the whole thing implodes)



  12. Software Patents Won't Come Back Just Because They're (Re)Framed/Branded as "HEY HI" (AI)

    The pattern we've been observing in recent years is, patent applicants and law firms simply rewrite applications to make these seem patent-eligible on the surface (owing to deliberate deception) and patent offices facilitate these loopholes in order to fake 'growth'



  13. IP Kat Pays the Price for Being a Megaphone of Team UPC

    The typical or the usual suspects speak out about the so-called 'prospects' (with delusions of inevitability) of the Unified Patent Court Agreement, neglecting to account for their own longterm credibility



  14. Links 17/8/2019: Wine 4.14 is Out, Debian Celebrates 26 years

    Links for the day



  15. Nothing Says 'New' Microsoft Like Microsoft Component Firmware Update (More Hardware Lock-in)

    Vicious old Microsoft is still trying to make life very hard for GNU/Linux, especially in the OEM channel/s, but we're somehow supposed to think that "Microsoft loves Linux"



  16. Bill Gates and His Special Relationship With Jeffrey Epstein Still Stirring Speculations

    Love of the "children" has long been a controversial subject for Microsoft; can Bill Gates and his connections to Jeffrey Epstein unearth some unsavoury secrets?



  17. Links 16/8/2019: Kdevops and QEMU 4.1

    Links for the day



  18. The EPO's War on the Convention on the Grant of European Patents 2000 (EPC 2000), Not Just Brexit, Kills the Unitary Patent (UP/UPC) and Dooms Justice

    Team UPC continues to ignore the utter failures that have led to lawlessness at the EPO, attributing the demise of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) to Brexit alone and pretending that it's not even a problem



  19. Links 15/8/2019: GNOME's Birthday, LLVM 9.0 RC2

    Links for the day



  20. 'Foundation' Hype Spreads in China

    Nonprofits seem to have become more of a business loophole than a charitable endeavour; the problem is, this erodes confidence in legitimate Free software and good causes



  21. Links Are Not Endorsements

    If the only alternative is to say nothing and link to nothing, then we have a problem; a lot of people still assume that because someone links to something it therefore implies agreement and consent



  22. The Myth of 'Professionalism'

    Perception of professionalism, a vehicle or a motivation for making Linux more 'corporate-friendly' (i.e. owned by corporations), is a growing threat to Software Freedom inside Linux, as well as freedom of speech and many other things



  23. Links 14/8/2019: Best Chromebooks, EPEL 8.0, LibreOffice 6.2.6

    Links for the day



  24. Being in Favour of Free/Libre Open Source Software Means Rejecting Software Patents

    Those who believe in Software Freedom cannot at the same time believe that software patents are desirable; we've sadly come to a point where many companies that dominate so-called 'Open Source' groups actively lobby for such patents, in effect betraying the community they claim to be a part of



  25. Links 14/8/2019: Apache Evaluated, HardenedBSD Has New Release

    Links for the day



  26. Planet Python is Being Overrun by Microsoft, Just Like PyCon and Python in General

    Microsoft is perturbing the Free/Open Source software (FOSS) world from the inside, promoting Microsoft's most malicious proprietary software from within that world while taking positions of power in powerful FOSS projects



  27. Coming Soon: The Innards of the Eric Lundgren Case That Microsoft is Desperate to Hide or Spin (by Defaming Lundgren)

    Microsoft is rather stressed about Eric Lundgren coming out of prison and telling how Microsoft put him there; right now Microsoft is mostly name-calling while seeking to control public dialogues



  28. Wrong Person in Charge of the Linux Foundation (and in Charge of Linus Torvalds)

    There are several glaring issues when it comes to the leadership of Linux's steward; for one thing, it lacks actual background in... Linux



  29. 2019 Tech Glossary

    This clavis refers to what the de facto definition may be, based on how (and when) media uses the words nowadays



  30. The Silence of the Media Lamb

    There are reasons that are perfectly legitimate to criticise media which is unable and more so unwilling to cover particular scandals for fear that coverage can be detrimental to the media's owners and sponsors


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