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Links 21/11/2019: Charmed OSM, Mesa 19.2.5, DXVK 1.4.5, Zorin OS 15 Lite

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

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • System76 Will Start Designing And Building Its Own Linux Laptops Beginning January 2020

        Denver-based PC manufacturer and Pop!_OS Linux developer System76 plans to follow-up its custom Thelio desktop PC with an in-house laptop beginning next year according to founder and CEO Carl Richell.

        During a recent interview, Richell was quick to emphasize that the entire process of designing, prototyping and iterating the final product could take two to three years. But the company is eager to break into this market and put the same signature “stamp” on its laptop hardware that graces its custom-built Thelio desktop.

        System76 sells an extensive lineup of laptops, but the machines are designed by the likes of Sager and Clevo. The company doesn’t merely buy a chassis and slap Pop!_OS on it, but Richell tells me he’s confident that with the experience gained from developing Thelio – and the recent investment into a factory at the company’s Denver headquarters – System76 is capable of building a laptop from the ground up that meets market needs and carries a unique value proposition.

      • Pinebook Pro Review: A $200 laptop that’s only for cool people.

        There’s a $200 laptop out in the wild now that has been getting a lot of buzz in the Fediverse. It’s called the Pinebook Pro and it ships with a customized version of Debian Stretch with the Mate desktop. If you don’t know what that means, it’s Linux. This is a Linux laptop. But that’s not all… it also has a few other tricks up its sleeve, like a bootable MicroSD card slot so you can easily run other operating systems off a cheap memory card whenever you feel like it. Now, this is being sold at cost mainly as a gift to the Free (as in Freedom) Open Source Software (FOSS) community so it’s not really meant for normal people. If you just want to open web pages like Facebook or Google Docs, you’re probably better off with a Chromebook or Macbook. If you believe in freedom and like to seriously learn about technology, keep reading… The Pinebook Pro is serious fun!

    • Server

      • Cumulus Networks updates its network-centric Linux distribution

        The Linux distribution ecosystem is pretty set, with Red Hat and Canonical in the leadership positions, followed closely by SuSe and home brews from the likes of IBM and other major vendors. Even Microsoft has its own distro for Azure users.

        And then there is Cumulus Networks, which specializes in networking software. It just released Cumulus Linux 4.0 and NetQ 2.4, its cloud network deployment and management console. With this release, Cumulus is claiming its Linux is its most stable and reliable software stack yet and NetQ is the most comprehensive end-to-end network automation product.

      • Microsoft restores services after it experienced a large global outage across numerous platforms

        Microsoft says it first addressed the issue at about 8:15 p.m. ET. As of 9:30 p.m. ET, the company said it identified access issues with the Microsoft 365 Admin Center, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, and Yammer.

        The company said in a tweet that it “identified and reverted a networking build that caused user traffic from the internet to Microsoft 365 services to intermittently fail.”

      • IBM

        • Red Hat and Microsoft debut KEDA 1.0, promise to play nice with Knative
        • Application Migration with Container-native virtualization

          More and more frequently, modern applications are choosing a container-first development and deployment paradigm built on the foundation of Kubernetes. However, not all applications are fully modernized and containerized micro services. Many applications are a hybrid of architectures and technology which have existed for years, even decades. This can add complexity, both to the application architecture and management overhead, when a container-based, cloud-native application component needs to access existing functionality which is virtual machine based.

          Container-native virtualization provides flexibility during the modernization process so that you can focus on the most critical aspects first, while still being able to access, manage, and consume VM-based aspects using the new Kubernetes-centric tools. Based on the KubeVirt project, recently accepted by the CNCF, Container-native virtualization manages both virtual machines and containers through a single control plane saving time, resources, and budget. Red Hat Container-native virtualization delivers KubeVirt functionality directly to OpenShift customers and helps to manage both virtual machines and OpenShift deployments from a single platform. This single platform simplifies the management of virtual machines and containers with a common Kubernetes interface that standardizes orchestration, networking, and storage management while also supporting the long term move to containers.

        • Alberto Ruiz: Hanging the Red Hat

          After 6+ wonderful years at Red Hat, I’ve decided to hang the fedora to go and try new things. For a while I’ve been craving for a new challenge and I’ve felt the urge to try other things outside of the scope of Red Hat so with great hesitation I’ve finally made the jump.

          I am extremely proud of the work done by the teams I have had the honour to run as engineering manager, I met wonderful people, I’ve worked with extremely talented engineers and learned lots. I am particularly proud of the achievements of my latest team from increasing the bootloader team and improving our relationship with GRUB upstream, to our wins at teaching Lenovo how to do upstream hardware support to improvements in Thunderbolt, Miracast, Fedora/RHEL VirtualBox guest compatibility… the list goes on and credit goes mostly to my amazing team.

          Thanks to this job I have been able to reach out to other upstreams beyond GNOME, like Fedora, LibreOffice, the Linux Kernel, Rust, GRUB… it has been an amazing ride and I’ve met wonderful people in each one of them.

        • Recap: OpenShift Commons Gathering at Kubecon/NA San Diego [Videos Uploaded]

          The OpenShift Commons Gathering in San Diego brought together over 550+ Kubernetes and Cloud Native experts from all over the world to discuss container technologies, best practices for cloud native application developers and the open source software projects that underpin the OpenShift ecosystem.

        • IBM Kicks Up Kubernetes Compatibility With Open Source
    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2019-11-20 | Linux Headlines

        Slack releases an open source mesh network, Private Internet Access is being bought, an update on the world’s top supercomputers, another init system debate option for Debian to consider, and NVIDIA’s new accelerated computing platform.

      • FLOSS Weekly 556: Chezmoi

        Chezmoi helps you manage your personal configuration files across multiple machines. It’s flexible, personal and secure, robust, and fast and easy to use. It has particularly strong support for security, allowing you to manage secrets (e.g. passwords, access tokens, and private keys) securely and seamlessly using either gpg encryption or a password manager of your choice.

      • Why Doesn’t Linux Work on my PC?!

        Why doesn’t Linux work on your computer? In this video I explore some of the common reasons why this might be the case. I’ll discuss some tips for finding the right hardware, and some general understanding of what some of the challenges are that we face with Linux compatibility today.

    • Kernel Space

      • The 2019 Automated Testing Summit

        As with the first ATS, this edition was organized by Tim Bird and Kevin Hilman. Bird welcomed everyone to the conference then turned things over to Hilman for something of an overview of the “kernel testing landscape”. Hilman started by noting that there were some gatherings and discussions at the Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC) in September, which he described in an email to the automated-testing mailing list. There were some themes that came out of those discussions, he said, which led to the title of his talk (slides [PDF]): “The bugs are too fast (and why we can’t catch them)”.

        He gave a brief summary of the new kernel unit-testing frameworks that were discussed at LPC in order to bring attendees up to date on what kernel developers have been up to. The existing kernel test efforts, including kselftest, Linux Test Project (LTP), syzbot, and others, are likely pretty familiar to attendees, he said. The KUnit framework (LWN article from March) has been merged into linux-next; it is a fast way to test kernel functionality in an architecture-independent way and can be run in user space with user-mode Linux (UML). The Kernel Test Framework (KTF) is another unit-test framework that has been posted for comments. Since KUnit is headed for the mainline, though, the KTF project will need to figure out how to add its functionality to KUnit, Hilman said, since there won’t be multiple unit-test frameworks in the mainline.

        He then turned to the various testing initiatives that are currently active. The Intel 0-Day test service is probably the longest running; it is “mostly Intel focused”. The Linaro Linux kernel functional testing (LKFT) has “quite a bit of in-depth testing but on a narrower set of hardware”. The Red Hat continuous kernel integration (CKI) project has been around for a while, but has only recently been seen more publicly, he said; it is focused on testing stable kernels. And, of course, there is KernelCI that he cofounded; it was officially announced as a Linux Foundation project earlier in the week.

      • Emulated iopl()

        Operating systems and computing hardware both carry a lot of their history with them. The x86 I/O-port mechanism is one piece of that history; it is rarely used by hardware designed in the last 20 years, but it must still be supported. That doesn’t mean that this support can’t be cleaned up and improved, though, especially when the old implementation turns out to have some unpleasant properties. An example can be seen in the iopl() patch set from Thomas Gleixner.

        On most architectures, I/O is handled through memory-mapped I/O (MMIO) regions. A peripheral device will make a set of registers available as a range of memory; that range is then mapped into the processor’s address space. Device drivers can then interact with the device by reading from and writing to those registers using normal memory accesses (or something close to that). This mechanism is flexible and it allows, for example, a set of registers to be mapped into a user-space process if the need arises; user-space drivers generally depend on this capability.

        Back in the early days of the x86 architecture, though, things were done a little differently. A separate address space was created for up to 65536 I/O ports, which have to be accessed via special instructions. Even devices that could map memory ranges for other purposes would use I/O ports for their control interfaces. The instructions for accessing I/O ports are necessarily privileged, so user-space code cannot normally use them.

      • Statistics from the 5.4 development cycle

        As of this writing, just over 14,000 non-merge changesets have found their way into the mainline repository for the 5.4 release; that is a bit less than we saw for 5.3, but more than most of the other recent kernels. The final 5.4 release is approaching, so it must be time for our usual look at where the code merged in this development cycle came from. It’s mostly business as usual in the kernel community, modulo an appearance from none other than Hulk Robot.

        Those 14,000 changesets were contributed by 1,802 developers, which is just short of the 1,846 who contributed to 5.3; there is still time, though, for 5.4 to set a new record for the number of contributors — a surprising number of developers wait until the end of the release cycle to fix something. Of the developers seen so far, 266 made their first contribution to the kernel in this cycle. The combined work from these developers increased the size of the kernel by 393,000 lines.

      • Analyzing kernel email

        Digging into the email that provides the cornerstone of Linux kernel development is an endeavor that has become more popular over the last few years. There are some practical reasons for analyzing the kernel mailing lists and for correlating that information with the patches that actually reach the mainline, including tracking the path that patches take—or don’t take. Three researchers reported on some efforts they have made on kernel email analysis at the 2019 Embedded Linux Conference Europe (ELCE), held in late October in Lyon, France.

        The presentation (slides [PDF]) actually listed four speakers, though one could not make it to ELCE. The three present were Ralf Ramsauer, from the Technical University of Applied Sciences Regensburg, Sebastian Duda, of Friedrich–Alexander University Erlangen–Nürnberg, and Wolfgang Mauerer, of Siemens AG in Munich. Lukas Bulwahn, who is a hobbyist active in the Linux Foundation ELISA Project and employed at BMW AG, was unable to attend. In the introduction, Mauerer jokingly suggested that the goal of the research was to understand more “than the NSA already knows” about the behavior of kernel developers. Really, though, the presentation was meant partly as a request for comments; the researchers have been observing the kernel community for some time and have been pulling out pieces they find interesting, but they would be happy to hear other ideas on the kinds of analysis that would be useful to the community.

      • Intel Details New Data Streaming Accelerator For Future CPUs – Linux Support Started

        The “Data Streaming Accelerator” (DSA) is a new block on future Intel CPUs that hasn’t been talked about much publicly… Until now. Intel’s open-source crew has begun detailing DSA for future Intel CPUs that will offer high-performance data movement and transformation operations. The Linux driver enablement has begun.

      • Graphics Stack

        • CUDA 10.2 Released With VMM APIs, libcu++ As Parallel Standard C++ Library For GPUs

          NVIDIA has released CUDA 10.2 for SuperComputing 19 week. CUDA 10.2 comes with some interesting changes, including to be the last release that will support Apple’s macOS and the introduction of a standard C++ library for GPUs.

        • Intel Iris Plus Ice Lake Graphics Run Great With Mesa 19.3′s Gallium3D Driver

          While Mesa 19.3 was the original target for switching to the Intel Gallium3D driver by default for Broadwell and newer, they shifted that goal to Mesa 20.0 to allow more time for testing and ensuring a bug-free experience as users transition from the classic “i965″ driver over to “Iris” Gallium3D. But even so if running with Mesa 19.3 today it means better performance for Ice Lake as well as Gen8 and Gen9 hardware too.

        • Vulkan post-processing layer vkBasalt has a new release up with SMAA support

          Continuing to boost the feature set of the post-processing layer for vkBasalt, a new release is up and it appears we missed a few smaller in-between releases too.

          Version 0.2.0 was released yesterday, adding in support for SMAA which is a higher-quality form of anti-aliasing which can be enabled in the config file. With that in vkBasalt now supports: Contrast Adaptive Sharpening, Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing and Enhanced Subpixel Morphological Anti-Aliasing so it’s advancing quite quickly.

        • mesa 19.2.5
          Hi list,
          I'd like to announce mesa 19.2.5. This is a return to our regularly scheduled
          release cadence, featuring a reasonable number of fixes. In general things are
          slowing down on the 19.2 branch, and things are starting to look pretty nice.
          There's a little bit over everything in here, with anv and radeonsi standing out
          as the two biggest components getting changes, but core mesa, core gallium,
          llvmpipe, nir, egl, i965, tgsi, st/mesa, spirv, and the Intel compiler also
          fixes in this release.
          Ben Crocker (1):
                llvmpipe: use ppc64le/ppc64 Large code model for JIT-compiled shaders
          Brian Paul (1):
                Call shmget() with permission 0600 instead of 0777
          Caio Marcelo de Oliveira Filho (1):
                spirv: Don't leak GS initialization to other stages
          Danylo Piliaiev (1):
                i965: Unify CC_STATE and BLEND_STATE atoms on Haswell as a workaround
          Dylan Baker (4):
                docs: Add SHA256 sum for for 19.2.4
                cherry-ignore: Update for 19.2.4 cycle
                docs: Add relnotes for 19.2.5
                VERSION: bump for 19.2.5
          Eric Engestrom (1):
                egl: fix _EGL_NATIVE_PLATFORM fallback
          Ian Romanick (2):
                nir/algebraic: Add the ability to mark a replacement as exact
                nir/algebraic: Mark other comparison exact when removing a == a
          Illia Iorin (1):
                mesa/main: Ignore filter state for MS texture completeness
          Jason Ekstrand (1):
                anv: Stop bounds-checking pushed UBOs
          Lepton Wu (1):
                gallium: dri2: Use index as plane number.
          Lionel Landwerlin (3):
                anv: invalidate file descriptor of semaphore sync fd at vkQueueSubmit
                anv: remove list items on batch fini
                anv/wsi: signal the semaphore in the acquireNextImage
          Marek Olšák (3):
                st/mesa: fix Sanctuary and Tropics by disabling ARB_gpu_shader5 for them
                tgsi_to_nir: fix masked out image loads
                tgsi_to_nir: handle PIPE_FORMAT_NONE in image opcodes
          Paulo Zanoni (1):
                intel/compiler: fix nir_op_{i,u}*32 on ICL
          Pierre-Eric Pelloux-Prayer (3):
                radeonsi: disable sdma for gfx10
                radeonsi: tell the shader disk cache what IR is used
                radeonsi: fix shader disk cache key
          git tag: mesa-19.2.5
        • Mesa 19.2.5 Released With Intel Vulkan + RadeonSI Driver Fixes

          Mesa 19.2.5 is out today as the latest bi-weekly stable update to the current Mesa 19.2 series.

          Mesa 19.3.0 will be out in likely two or three weeks while Mesa 19.2.5 represents the latest stable experience for this collection of OpenGL and Vulkan drivers on the Linux desktop.

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux 5.4 Is Big For AMD Radeon Users From New GPU Support To Slightly Faster Performance

        With Linux 5.4 due to be released this coming Sunday, 24 November, one of the big “winners” of this next kernel are AMD Radeon customers. Linux 5.4 brings support for new GPUs as well as better performance for existing graphics cards. Here are some fresh benchmarks of the performance wins as a result of the LRU bulk moves functionality.

        Linux 5.4 brings many exciting changes/improvements but in particular for the AMDGPU DRM driver it’s particularly exciting. As outlined previously in our Linux 5.4 feature overview some of the AMD work includes…

      • JCC Erratum Impact On Skylake Xeon Scalable Plus The Patched Assembler

        Last week ago we provided a number of benchmarks looking at the performance impact from Intel’s Jump Conditional Code (JCC) Erratum that required a CPU microcode update to mitigate but that comes with a performance hit. At least Intel has pending GNU Assembler patches to help offset that performance hit. In time for last week’s articles I didn’t have a chance to perform Skylake Xeon Scalable (1st Gen) benchmarks but now here are some metrics alongside Cascade Lake.

      • Ceph RGW dynamic bucket sharding: performance investigation and guidance

        If we know how many objects the application would store in a single bucket, pre-sharding the bucket generally helps with overall performance. On the flip side, if the object count is not known in advance, the dynamic bucket re-sharding feature of Ceph RGW really helps to avoid degraded performance associated with overloaded buckets.

        In the next post we will learn how the performance of RHCS 3.3 has improved since RHCS 2.0 and what all performance benefits BlueStore OSD backend brings with it.

    • Applications

      • scrcpy 1.11 Available For Download (View And Control Your Android Phone From A Linux, Windows Or macOS Desktop)

        scrcpy, a tool to control (and show) Android devices from a Linux, macOS or Windows desktop, was updated to version 1.11. This release includes support for touchscreens / multitouch, an option to set the initial window size and position (including support for launching scrcpy with a borderless window), along with other changes and some important bug fixes.

        scrcpy is a free and open source tool to display and control Android devices from a desktop running Windows, Linux or macOS, via USB or wirelessly. The application is developed with low latency, high performance and quality in mind, and it requires Android 5.0 or newer to work.

        For more about scrcpy, see Control Android Devices From A Desktop With scrcpy and the scrcpy project page.

      • Scrcpy Update Adds Android 10 Support, Multitouch Gestures

        Scrcpy 1.11 intros support for laptop and PC touch screen. Earlier versions of the utility only let you interact using a mouse and keyboard.

        But as of this release it’s now possible to use the touchscreen as an input method on a mirrored Android device. For example, you can use a two finger pinch to zoom in or out of images and maps.

        Several of Scrcpy’s core features (including the rather critical copy/paste function) have ‘been adapted to work on Android 10’.

        Those lucky enough to be using a phone that runs the latest version of Android can also take advantage of a new –max-fps option to (surprise) limit the frame rate.

      • The 10 Best Geometry Software for Linux System in 2019

        Today whatever you consider, be it day to day life, physics, chemistry, architecture, space science, everywhere there is geometry. The invention of the computer has invented critical geometries and quick solutions to solve those. Many software is created to make geometry accessible and easy for everyone. The Linux dominated tech world has also created some excellent software for geometry. Thus, we shall discuss some geometry software for Linux that can fulfill almost all its related issues.

      • Antoine Beaupré: a quick review of file watchers

        File watchers. I always forget about those and never use then, but I constantly feel like I need them. So I made this list to stop searching everywhere for those things which are surprisingly hard to find in a search engine.

      • [ProtonVPN] Release notes for Linux client version 2.0

        We’re proud to release version 2.0 of the ProtonVPN Linux client. Entirely rewritten in Python, the new version of the client is lighter, faster, and more stable. Version 2.0 also includes the Kill Switch feature, which keeps your data private, even if your VPN connection is interrupted.

      • Proprietary

        • Security lessons from a Mac-only fintech company

          Apple remains a highly secure choice for enterprise professionals, but security threats remain and the environment requires sophisticated endpoint management tools, according to Build America Mutual (BAM) CTO David McIntyre.

        • Trump is lying about the ‘new’ ‘Apple’ factory

          This is not true for a couple reasons — one of them nitpicky and one of them a lot more serious. The nitpicky problem is that Apple isn’t actually building a manufacturing plant. The company is building a new campus in Austin, but it’s miles away from the factory and the jobs are going to be very similar to the kind of white-collar design and engineering work that Apple does in Cupertino. Apple doesn’t do its own manufacturing, and the plant Trump is standing in belongs to a contractor called Flex Ltd (formerly Flextronics).

          But the bigger problem is that what Flex is doing isn’t anything new. This particular factory has been manufacturing Mac Pros since 2013, when Cook first announced it would assemble them in the United States. That’s before Trump took office. So the idea that we’re seeing the beginning of something, or that Trump has done something during his presidency to bring about this particular instance of US manufacturing, just doesn’t hold water.

          Trump is talking as if Apple has created a brand-new factory in Texas to build Mac Pros. If all you saw was a five-second clip on the news, that’s probably the impression you would get — but it just isn’t true.

        • SecureCRT 8.7 and SecureFX 8.7 Beta Releases from VanDyke Software Introduce New Enhancements for Increased Efficiency and Streamlined Workflow

          The new releases also introduce macOS Dark Mode, local Proxy command firewall, new algorithms, and support for Ubuntu 19.x and macOS Catalina.

        • SaltStack adds automatic vulnerability remediation tool to portfolio

          IT automation tool provider SaltStack has kicked off its SecOps division by announcing the general availability of SaltStack Protect.

          Protect is meant to make the “massive amount of coordination and work required to actually fix thousands of infrastructure security vulnerabilities” less daunting, by throwing some automation into the mix.

          To do that, the product ingests vendor CVE advisories and delivers scans and remediation workflows as a service to SaltStack customers. Automatic prioritisation of which issues to tackle first can be realised by feeding the system with real-time data on the configuration state of all assets in a SaltStack environment, which ties it in with the rest of the SaltStack portfolio.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • DXVK 1.4.5 released bringing further performance improvements for D3D11 and D3D10 to Vulkan

        DXVK continues maturing with another exciting sounding release now available with DXVK 1.4.5, bringing in some performance improvements and plenty of bug fixes.

        On the performance side DXVK 1.4.5 now enables asynchronous presentation on all GPUs, which was previously disabled for NVIDIA due to GPU hangs. You should ensure your driver is fully up to date, and try the NVIDIA Vulkan Beta Driver as well. On top of that, this release has a reduction in the amount of thread synchronization around occlusion queries which should improve multithreading efficiency.

      • DXVK 1.4.5 Brings Async Presentation For All GPUs, Better Multi-Threading Efficiency

        It’s been three weeks already since the last DXVK update but that was succeeded this evening by DXVK 1.4.5 as another notable update to this project mapping Direct3D 10/11 onto Vulkan for speeding up the Wine/Proton-based Windows gaming experience on Linux.

        DXVK 1.4.5 unconditionally enables asynchronous presentation now for all GPUs while dropping the “asyncPresent” tunable previously exposed for toggling this behavior. For those particularly on NVIDIA graphics if encountering any GPU hangs, make sure you are running the latest NVIDIA driver.

    • Games

      • Google’s Stadia Game Streaming Service Arrives To A Collective ‘Meh’

        As we noted last week, there’s a laundry list of potential issues plaguing Google’s attempted entry into the game streaming space via Google Stadia, not least of which is the US’ substandard broadband networks and arbitrary broadband caps. Stadia eliminates the physical home game console and instead moves all game processing to the cloud. And while it’s clear that this is the inevitable path forward and somebody is going to eventually dominate the space, there’s no solid indication yet that it’s going to be Google.

      • Godot Engine has a new Platinum sponsor with gambling game dev Interblock

        Good news for Godot Engine, as they have another company supporting their work on the free and open source game engine.

        This time, it’s Interblock who has become a Platinum level sponsor. This means they’re pledging at least $1,500 a month on the Godot Engine Patreon. Of their current $12.1k target to hire another developer, they’re currently sat at just over $11k so not far to go.


        We are happy to announce that Interblock is now supporting Godot’s development as Platinum sponsor! For this occasion, we asked them to share some words about the company, why they chose to support Godot and their plans to use the engine for their products.

      • Remote Play Together released out of Beta, big sale now on Steam

        Valve have decided to remove the training wheels from Remote Play Together and give it a released sticker along with a big sale.

        What is Remote Play Together? It’s a feature available in the Steam client, that allows you to host a local multiplayer game for others online to actually join you. Only the host needs to own a copy too! It’s pretty sweet stuff and works across Linux, macOS, Windows, Android and iOS for some sweet cross-platform online gaming together.

      • XWayland Work Pending To Address Game Tearing/Stuttering

        The long overdue X.Org Server 1.21 still hasn’t been organized for release but at least the extra time is allowing more XWayland bits to land.

        It’s looking increasingly unlikely X.Org Server 1.21 will see a 2019 release especially with the holidays being just around the corner. Last month plans were expressed for CI-driven, automated releases of the X.Org Server on a timed basis but so far those plans haven’t turned into action. The X.Org Server 1.20 series has been out for eighteen months and 1.21 hasn’t even been branched yet, well off their past six month release cadence. Though at least we continue seeing more XWayland changes land, which along with GLAMOR is where most of the X.Org Server changes are happening these days.

      • MOLEK-SYNTEZ from Zachtronics has left Early Access, hopefully coming to GOG soon

        MOLEK-SYNTEZ, the latest engrossing puzzle game from Zachtronics had only a very brief time in Early Access to ensure it was nicely polished and now it’s out in full.

        During Early Access, they did manage to make a number of improvements. This includes a bonus campaign with more levels, which you unlock halfway through the main campaign.

      • Operate a kitchen of the future in Neon Noodles, now with a Linux demo

        Neon Noodles is all about the future of food preparation, which has you programming a little robot worker to make a tasty dish.

        Don’t be afraid of the word programming though, this isn’t writing lines of code but rather giving a robotic worker a little automation. In Neon Noodles, you use very simple commands with movement directions and actions to perform the tasks and get them to repeat.

      • Turn-based tactical steampunk combat arrives with Steam Marines 2 now in Early Access

        Worthless Bums has just recently released the followup to their 2014 title Steam Marines, now in 3D and with an aim to be a more complex game than the original. Note: Key provided by the developer.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Krita 4.2.8 Beta

          We had to skip the October release because we were working on a bunch of issues that took longer to resolve than planned, but that means that this release has more fixes than ever. Please test this beta, and take the survey afterwards!

          There has been a lot of work on vector shapes, the transform tool and, especially, saving on Windows. Windows usually only writes out saved files to the actual disk when it feels like it.

          So if you’d cut the power to your computer before Windows did that, you might get corrupted files. With 1,500,000 distinct Windows 10 users of Kritain the past month, chances are good for that happening (just like there are people who work exclusively with unnamed autosave files — don’t do that!), so we now try to force Windows to write files to disk after saving.

        • How is User Support in Krita organized?

          Some of our users seem to don’t really know how Krita (as a project) functions or not understand how User Support is done (User Support: helping users, solving their problems with Krita, hardware, use-cases, limitations of tools, misunderstanding on how some features work). That’s natural – nobody knows details before they get inside and can see for themselves.

          I did get inside and I’m tempted to write that the answer to the question in the title is “Not at all”, but that’s not actually true – often you’ll get the first answer on reddit.com/r/krita within a few hours. On the other hand, the person answering you will most probably be me…

          When I first came to reddit.com/r/krita, a lot of questions were left unanswered, and most of the others had an answer from Boudewijn Rempt: the lead developer. I thought that I’d prefer Krita’s main developer to develop, not answer user questions. I knew that helping Krita on the code side would be difficult because of the complexity of the code and me having little time between uni and writing my thesis, so I decided to help with user support which I could easily do in small chunks of free time. A year later, when I was hired to actually hack on Krita, I realized that now there is, again, a full-time Krita developer doing user support…

    • Distributions

      • Zorin OS

        • Zorin OS 15 Lite Release: Good Looking Lightweight Linux

          Zorin OS 15 Lite edition has finally landed after a long time of Zorin OS 15 Core release. You can get your hands on the free lite editions or the paid ultimate lite edition now.

          I tried the Zorin OS 15 Lite Ultimate edition. In this article, I shall cover the details for this release and what you should know before choosing to download Zorin OS 15 Lite for your computer.

          Zorin OS 15 Lite is almost similar to the full-fledged Zorin OS 15 release. You can check out Zorin OS 15 features in our original coverage for that.

        • Zorin OS 15 Lite Released as a Windows 7 Replacement, Based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

          Based on Canonical’s latest long-term supported Ubuntu 18.04 (Bionic Beaver) operating system series, Zorin OS 15 Lite is here packed with some of the most advanced and efficient software components and the latest Xfce 4.14 desktop environment, which provides a user-friendly experience and promises extend the lifespan of your PC for years to come.

          “With Zorin OS 15 Lite, we’ve condensed the full Zorin OS experience into a streamlined operating system, designed to run fast on computers as old as 15 years. With version 15, we’ve gone the extra mile to make the XFCE 4.14-based desktop feel familiar and user-friendly to new users, especially those moving away from Windows 7,” reads today’s announcement.

        • Zorin OS 15 Lite: Xfce Has Never Looked So Good!

          Zorin OS Lite is a slimmed down version of the full (GNOME Shell based) Zorin OS 15 which is based on Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS and uses the Linux Kernel 5.0.

          Although the spin is tailored toward older, lower spec’d PCs, the distro doesn’t skimp on visual appeal.

          The Xfce 4.12 desktop environment is beautifully themed and the stock layout is both logical and ordered, mimicking a traditional Windows desktop. A reasoned selection of default apps and utilities are onboard too.

        • Zorin OS 15 Lite is Here: Breathe New Life into your Old Computers

          We’re excited to announce the release of the Zorin OS 15 Lite, our lightweight operating system for old and low-spec computers.

          With Zorin OS 15 Lite, we’ve condensed the full Zorin OS experience into a streamlined operating system, designed to run fast on computers as old as 15 years. With version 15, we’ve gone the extra mile to make the XFCE 4.14-based desktop feel familiar and user-friendly to new users, especially those moving away from Windows 7 leading up to the end of its support in January 2020. By pairing the most advanced and efficient software with a user-friendly experience, we’ve made it possible for anyone to extend the lifespan of their computers for years to come.

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora 31 elections voting now open

          Voting in the Fedora 31 elections is now open. Go to the Elections app to cast your vote. Voting closes at 23:59 UTC on Thursday 5 December. Don’t forget to claim your “I Voted” badge when you cast your ballot. Links to candidate interviews are below.

        • Council election: Interview with Alberto Rodríguez Sánchez (bt0dotninja)

          I know that it is a great responsibility and also know than the time of my fellow contributors is very valuable so I don’t want to waste it. I will be in every meeting and commenting on every ticket doing always my best.

        • Council election: Interview with John M. Harris, Jr. (johnmh)

          I believe that we’ve been rushing to make change where there is no call for it recently. We may be inadvertently ostracizing users and developers by moving from conventional tools, and moving away from our Four Foundations: Freedom, Friends, Features and First.

          For example, recently users were provided with easy ways to install proprietary software on Fedora (NVIDIA proprietary drivers, Google Chrome browser), without being told why we don’t have proprietary software (other than firmware) in the repositories to begin with. More and more, we often seem to be overlooking the first of the Four Foundations, Freedom.

        • FESCo election interview: Randy Barlow (bowlofeggs)

          There have been many regressions with ease of use for tooling that packagers need to use to deliver software to Fedora’s users over the past few years. Quite a few things are manual now that used to be automatic. As a member of the infrastructure group, I have some first hand knowledge of how and why these changes happened, and I have ideas on how we can improve them.

          There is also a project aimed at bringing the CentOS and Fedora dist-gits together in the horizon. I’ve been working on gathering requirements for this project with some other folks, and has potential to lead towards many technical changes being proposed.

        • FESCo election interview: Zbigniew Jędrzejewski-Szmek (zbyszek)
        • FESCo election: Interview with Justin Forbes (jforbes)

          There is no question that modularity is the biggest technical issue affecting the Fedora community at the moment, and probably over the next year. I believe my insight comes from a few places. I was involved with rPath quite some time ago, where we tackled some of the issues that modularity is trying to solve. And as a kernel maintainer by day to day job, I don’t have any particular stake in modularity, so I can view it objectively, with an eye to what is best for Fedora over the long term. I have been involved with Fedora for a very long time, I do have a vested interest in the continued improvement of Fedora and the success and growth of the community.

        • FESCo election: Interview with Kevin Fenzi (kevin)

          I think that modularity and the issues around it are going to continue for a while. I hope I can provide some help in bringing the ‘lets drop modularity and forget it happened’ and the ‘lets modularize everything’ camps together on some solution that works not only for Fedora, but our downstream distros too.

        • FESCo election: interview with David Cantrell (dcantrel)

          Developer controls for gating and CI. A lot of work has been happening in the context of continuous integration. We created new services, developed processes, and wrote tests. These are all beneficial. I think Fedora needs to ensure we implement developer tools that do not disrupt workflows and which are stable. In my project rpminspect, a Koji RPM and module build analysis tool, I think about developers who are running it to compare builds. A comparison of builds of zlib is very different than comparing two kernel builds, yet I still have a desire to make the tool work for both use cases, so I have added functionality to ensure it will. As we work on projects for gating and CI, we need to keep in mind the broad range and types of software that makeup Fedora.

        • FESCo election: interview with Fabio Valentini (decathorpe)

          One of the big issues I see today is the increasingly large number of packages that fail to build or install on fedora, which seems to have about doubled between Fedora 29 and rawhide, according to my data. I am trying to reintroduce a regular dependency check report for rawhide (and maybe stable/testing as well), which would at least make the problem more visible, and provide pointers to the most problematic missing dependencies.

          There’s also the fallout from the – currently incomplete (or broken, depending on who you ask) – implementation of Modularity, which has caused upgrade issues (the “libgit2 issue”), various issues around the Java stack, including the broken eclipse packages in fedora 31+ and the “forced move” to modules (or even the recommendation to use the flatpak version instead), and so on. I’ve been actively working to keep the non-modular Java stack maintained under the umbrella of the Stewardship SIG, so packagers who can’t (or won’t) move their packages into modules don’t suffer from this current, broken situation.

        • FESCo election: interview with Miro Hrončok (churchyard)

          I think that the most important issue the Fedora community is facing at the moment, and will keep facing for the foreseeable future, is not really technical but instead a communication problem of how to talk about our technical changes and challenges.

        • FESCo election: interview with Peter Walter (pwalter)

          We have a lot of people being unhappy how Modularity was “forced” on them in Fedora. I’d like to be a voice of this community and advocate of going back to simple yum repos to ship the default package set, and leaving Modularity strictly as an add-on one can choose, but doesn’t have to use.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian init systems – what, another GR ?

          Sam Hartman, the Debian Project Leader, has proposed a General Resolution (a plebiscite of the whole project) about init systems. In this posting I am going to try to summarise the situation. This will necessarily be a personal view but I will try to be fair. Also, sorry that it’s so long but there is a lot of ground to cover.

          My starting point for all of this is what I have written at the top of my proposed alternative to the DPL’s GR texts:

          It is primarily for the communities in each software ecosystem to maintain and develop their respective software – but with the active support of other maintainers and gatekeepers where needed.

          This is particularly important for a project like Debian. Debian plays a very central role for a lot of people. It is at least as much a clearinghouse or a marketplace, as it is a unified system. Supporting a different init system or a different menu system or whatever is fairly easy to do if done within Debian (if the Debian maintainers will take your patches) but a lot harder to do downstream.

        • ExLight Linux Distro Is Now Based on Debian Buster, Powered by Linux Kernel 5.4

          ExLight Build 191120 is now available for download and it’s Arne Exton’s second GNU/Linux distribution to ship with the latest Linux 5.4 kernel series, which will officially be announced by Linus Torvalds at the end of the week, on November 24th. For now, ExLight Build 191120 ships with Linux kernel 5.4 RC8.

          While previous versions of ExLight were based on Ubuntu, starting with Build 191120, the entire distribution is now based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series, featuring the Enlightenment 0.22.4-2 desktop environment and the Calamares 3.2.4-3 graphical installer.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical introduces Charmed OSM to enable telcos with network functions management and orchestration

          Canonical, the publishers of Ubuntu, today announced Charmed OSM – a pure upstream Open Source MANO (OSM) distribution designed for production-grade, highly available and scalable deployments. Charmed OSM provides telecommunications service providers (TSPs) with a generic approach to network functions management and orchestration, allowing them to benefit from cost reduction resulting from the adoption of network functions virtualisation (NFV) technology.

          Charmed OSM is a pure upstream OSM distribution. Telcos are assured of a predictable release cadence and upgrade path as Charmed OSM will be released within two weeks of the upstream, enabling them to benefit from the latest features. Charmed OSM is supported under Ubuntu Advantage to provide critical security patches, 24/7 support and production-grade SLAs for maximum uptime and stability.

          “OSM allows TSPs to move from traditional, legacy networking services to cloud-native network functions and benefit from reduced CAPEX and OPEX, and DevOps agility,” said Tytus Kurek, Product Manager for Charmed OSM at Canonical. “However, telcos need an OSM distribution that is stable, secure, supported and easy to operate. Charmed OSM brings all of that together, enabling a smooth transition and painless adoption.”

        • Canonical intros OSM distributon platform for telco NFV

          Canonical, the publishers of Ubuntu, announced Charmed OSM, a new platform for telecom operators to virtualise network functions. Charmed is a pure upstream Open Source MANO (OSM) distribution, providing a generic platform to develop NFV.

          Operators can be assured of a predictable release cadence and upgrade path as Charmed OSM will be released within two weeks of the upstream, enabling them to benefit from the latest features, Canonical said. The platform is supported under the Ubuntu Advantage to provide critical security patches, 24/7 support and production-grade SLAs for maximum uptime and stability.

          The company claims providers can reduce deployment times of complex OSM clusters from weeks to hours in an automated process with Juju, the application modelling tool offered with Charmed. Juju charms are collections of scripts and metadata which contain all necessary logic required to install, configure and connect applications.

        • Canonical Releases Charmed OSM As Its Latest Enterprise Push

          The latest enterprise push by Ubuntu maker Canonical is Charmed OSM as their own commercial flavor of Open-Source MANO.

          Charmed OSM is a distribution of Open-Source MANO for network function virtualization (NFV) management and orchestration. This Management and Orchestration (MANO) stack is designed to handle commercial NFV networks. Canonical’s Charmed OSM is targeting major telecommunication companies for their NFV needs.

        • Ubuntu’s Canonical Intros Charmed OSM – Pure Upstream Open Source MANO (OSM) Distribution

          Canonical, the publishers of Ubuntu, this week announced Charmed OSM – a pure upstream Open Source MANO (OSM) distribution designed for production-grade, highly available and scalable deployments.

          Charmed OSM provides telecommunications service providers (TSPs) with a generic approach to network functions management and orchestration, allowing them to benefit from cost reduction resulting from the adoption of network functions virtualisation (NFV) technology.

          Charmed OSM is a pure upstream OSM distribution. Telcos are assured of a predictable release cadence and upgrade path as Charmed OSM will be released within two weeks of the upstream, enabling them to benefit from the latest features. Charmed OSM is supported under Ubuntu Advantage to provide critical security patches, 24/7 support and production-grade SLAs for maximum uptime and stability.

        • Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine – Settling in, spit and polish

          Ubuntu MATE 19.10 Eoan Ermine is a good distro. Not perfect, but it’s better than Dingo in many regards. Lots of the old woes have been removed, squashed, fixed, and in fact, the make-it-perfect tutorial I wrote for the spring release is in fact no longer required. A promising start.

          But there were troubles, of course. Most of them stem from the over-complicated visual setup, and there’s really no reason for so many configurations. Three layouts would be more than sufficient for all practical purposes, and they would make testing and QA so much easier. Indeed, Brisk and Plank were the chief offenders. The performance is good, the battery life can be better, the default app selection can be more exciting, and there are some niggles here and there, like inconsistent borders, icons and alike. Now, if you’re after MATE, Ermine delivers a much more cohesive experience than 19.04. So you should definitely consider and test. Overall, something like 8.5/10. Not the greatest of heart and mind grabbers, as mentioned, but I see a solid, positive trend, and that’s rather promising. A freedom of choice is always great. Thus endeth this review.

        • The Fridge: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 605

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 605 for the week of November 10 – 16, 2019. The full version of this issue is available here.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The Cross-Platform Source Explorer Sourcetrail is Now Open Source

        Also, they found it tough to provide cross-platform support while trying to reproduce the issues and apply a fix to them, especially for Linux distros. So, making their project open source was an ideal choice.

        To further clarify the situation they also explained why their commercial licensing plan wasn’t working out…

      • Sourcetrail, an interactive source code explorer, becomes open source

        Another helpful tool becomes free and open source software. Coati Software’s Sourcetrail is an interactive source code explorer that helps developers understand what is going on in existing source code and provides helpful context. You can connect various editors to it with a plugin and all source code is private, as it runs locally on your machine.
        Another celebration for FOSS. Sourcetrail, the cross-platform source explorer is now officially open source and free to use under the GNU General Public License. The project moved to an open source model instead of offering a paid commercial license. This model change will bring Sourcetrail to a wider consumer base, and more developers will be able to use it.

        The Patreon for Coati Software offers several tiers for sponsors for those who wish to say thanks and see how its development will continue.

      • Three-course professional specialization aims to close the gap between the use and understanding of open source in business

        Even though open source software (OSS) is pervasive in IT, many people in business don’t understand what open source is and how it differs from proprietary software. According to Brandeis University, “open source software now accounts for between 78% and 98% of all core digital infrastructure, yet few organizational managers understand the business behind it.”

        In an effort to close the gap between open source usage and understanding, Brandeis and the Open Source Initiative (OSI) have launched a three-course specialization in Open Source Technology Management. After attending an information session about the new program at All Things Open 2019, I was eager to learn more about it and how it will be delivered and assessed, so I reached out to the leadership at Brandeis and the OSI over email for more information. (The interview has been slightly edited for length and clarity.)

      • And the Collabora family keeps growing!

        As we begin winding down 2019, it’s time to take a moment to celebrate the new Collaborans who joined our various engineering and administrative teams in Q2 & Q3 this year!

        Comprised of some of the most motivated and active Open Source contributors and maintainers around the world, Collaborans share an enduring passion for technology and Open Source, and these 14 new joiners are no different.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Karl Dubost: Saving Webcompat images as a microservice

            Thinking out loud on separating our images into a separate service. The initial goal was to push the images to the cloud, but I think we could probably have a first step. We could keep the images on our server, but instead of the current save, we could send them to another service, let say upload.webcompat.com with a HTTP PUT. And this service would save them locally.

          • Multiple-column Layout and column-span in Firefox 71

            Firefox 71 is an exciting release for anyone who cares about CSS Layout. While I am very excited to have subgrid available in Firefox, there is another property that I’ve been keeping an eye on. Firefox 71 implements column-span from Multiple-column Layout. In this post I’ll explain what it is and a little about the progress of the Multiple-column Layout specification.

            Multiple-column Layout, usually referred to as multicol, is a layout method that does something quite different to layout methods such as flexbox and grid. If you have some content marked up and displaying in Normal Flow, and turn that into a multicol container using the column-width or column-count properties, it will display as a set of columns. Unlike Flexbox or Grid however, the content inside the columns flows just as it did in Normal Flow. The difference is that it now flows into a number of anonymous column boxes, much like content in a newspaper.

          • The Mozilla Blog: Can Your Holiday Gift Spy on You?

            Mozilla today launches the third-annual *Privacy Not Included, a report and shopping guide identifying which connected gadgets and toys are secure and trustworthy — and which aren’t. The goal is two-fold: arm shoppers with the information they need to choose gifts that protect the privacy of their friends and family. And, spur the tech industry to do more to safeguard consumers.

            Mozilla researchers reviewed 76 popular connected gifts available for purchase in the United States across six categories: Toys & Games; Smart Home; Entertainment; Wearables; Health & Exercise; and Pets. Researchers combed through privacy policies, sifted through product and app specifications, reached out to companies about their encryption and bug bounty programs, and more. As a result, we can answer questions like: How accessible is the privacy policy, if there is one? Does the product require strong passwords? Does it collect biometric data? And, Are there automatic security updates?

          • This Week In Rust: This Week in Rust 313

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

          • Firefox Extension Spotlight: Image Search Options

            Let’s say you stumble upon an interesting image on the web and you want to learn more about it, like… where did it come from? Who are the people in it? Is there a backstory? Are there others like it?

            There are a number of dedicated image search engines that can help you learn more, but if you do a lot of reverse image searching (dubbed “reverse” because instead of using text to search images, you start this search process with an image), it quickly becomes cumbersome to always copy the image, navigate to your preferred image search site, paste in the pic, sift through results, etc. Naturally, there are browser extensions designed to streamline this distinct form of search. One of the most capable is Image Search Options.

            It makes reverse image searching simple and fast. Once installed on Firefox, just right-click on any image you find to pull up a context menu offering 11 image search engines. That search engine variety should be enough to satisfy most folks, but if not, Image Search Options allows you to customize the list of search providers by adding your own or removing others. You can even set it to automatically search across multiple engines simultaneously.

          • Oxidizing Squeekboard

            The experiment relies entirely on Squeekboard as the subject. It has been chosen due to the need to redesign it for a new process (X.org to Wayland), and due to being relatively easy to separate.

            Because Rust is an element belonging to the programming language group, this analysis ignores all other constituents of Squeekboard. Squeekboard’s programming languages are almost exclusively Rust and C, with some shell and Meson impurities, which are subsequently ignored, as replacing them with Rust is not expected to yield useful results.


            Oxidation is a process of adding oxygen to a chemical compound. Some examples are burning, and rusting. This experiment concerns the Rusting of a compound called Squeekboard: a derivative of Eekboard, originally containing high quantities of C, and reacting eagerly with GObject, GTK, and the X windowing system.

            The goal of the ongoing experiment is to measure properties of Rust and the consequences of its application in real-world conditions. Due to safety and time concerns, the widely popular approach of Rewrite it in Rust (RiiR) was dismissed in favor of a gradual oxidation process.

          • Rav1e Squeezes Out More Performance For This Rust-Written AV1 Encoder

            Intel’s SVT-AV1 video encoder for AV1 is currently the fastest AV1 CPU-based encoder we have seen but it’s looking like in due time Rav1e could be closing in on it if they continue with their current trajectory.

            Recently we’ve seen this Rust-written AV1 encoder making impressive gains in performance. There has been x86 hand-tuned Assembly and more instruction set extensions now being exploited by rav1e and other performance improvements. It’s been enough that earlier this month marked the first release of rav1e.

      • Linux Foundation

        • Open Source Community Connects Global 5G Cloud Native Network

          LF Networking (LFN), which facilitates collaboration and operational excellence across open networking projects, today demonstrated an end-to-end, global, 5G, cloud native network live on-stage at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America. As a thought leader in generating technology from multiple sources based on telecom 5G requirements, LFN’s OPNFV community shepherded the cutting-edge Proof-of-Concept (PoC), which illustrates how to build, connect, and manage a global 5G network – including on-prem, cloud, and edge operations – on open architecture running network services using Kubernetes.

          As global communications providers gear up to deliver high-speed connectivity to support new services and use cases (e.g. autonomous vehicles, smart cities, specialized applications, IoT, AR/VR, and more), the need for low-latency, high-bandwidth, scalable networks is more important than ever. Conventional communications and connectivity hardware will not sustain next-generation mobile technology, so the need for cloud native architectures is essential for delivering the performance, capabilities, and automation that 5G requires.

          The LF Networking community, comprised of major projects such as ONAP, OPNFV, OpenDaylight, FD.io, Tungsten Fabric and more — account for more than 70 percent of the world’s mobile subscribers through participating carriers. It serves as the de facto open source umbrella for helping telcos evolve.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice community at Czech free software events

          Like every year, we would like to say few words about our impressions and experiences from our Czech free and open source software (FOSS) conferences in autumn. As in the last year, we participate with our LibreOffice booth at LinuxDays in Prague (me and Zdeněk Crhonek), and at OpenAlt in Brno (Petr Valach and Zdeněk Crhonek).

      • CMS

        • Birger Schacht: Converting ikiwiki to hugo

          Sometimes I play around with Tails and on rare occasions I also build a Tails image myself. One thing that makes the build of Tails a bit tedious is that it a also builds the Tails Website, which contains the whole documentation (which is really cool, because that way users have the most up to date documentation on their desktop!). The problem is, that the website takes a looooong time to build- on my Laptop (i7-5600U) it takes around 11 minutes.

          I was curious if it was possible to convert the whole website, which is based on ikiwiki, to the hugo static site generator which is known to be pretty fast (”with its amazing speed and flexibility, Hugo makes building websites fun again” as the hugo website puts it ;)). I did some research if there was some tooling to do so- the Hugo website lists some migration tools but nothing for ikiwiki, but I stumbled upon anarcat’s conversion notes which has a lot of information and also links to the write up jak did on his conversion. Anarcat also published a python script to convert ikiwiki to hugo which I tried, but there were some important parts missing.

        • WP Maintanance Plugin Vulnerable To CSRF & XSS

          If you have installed WP Maintenance plugin on your WordPress site or blog, this article is for you. Recently Wordfence team discovered CSRF vulnerability in WP Maintenance plugin that is used to put the website on maintenance mode during maintenance.

          The plugin allows webmasters to customize the maintenance page and show it to all website visitors during maintenance.

          Wordfence team discovered CSRF vulnerability in the plugin that can also allow an attacker to inject malicious code into the website and can redirect all site visitors to another malicious website.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

        • CloudFormation gets open source CLI to automate external resource creation

          AWS has updated its infrastructure as code product CloudFormation, fitting it with an open source CLI and a registry to get started with custom resource providers. The refresh is meant to let users automate the creation of non-AWS resources and improve resource coverage, both of which seem to have been requested a lot in the past months.

          CloudFormation CLI comes with sample code and documentation facilitating the creation of resource providers. To build one, users first have to describe their resource, including attributes and properties, in a schema which conforms to AWS’ Resource Provider Definition Schema. Once that is done, they’ll have to write a handler in Java or Go that defines the core operations create, read, update, delete, and list for the resource.


        • How to open a PSD file without Photoshop

          It stands to reason that with the PSD file being a photo-editing file, the best ways to open PSD image files without Photoshop are going to be other photo editing programs. GIMP, which stands for Gnu Image Manipulation Program is an excellent and free image editor alternative to Photoshop. GIMP works on Linux, Mac OS, and Microsoft Windows powered devices and is open source software, meaning it is developed voluntarily by developers all over the world.

          GIMP offers professional level features, which include being able to open and indeed edit PSD files. Many professional photographers and graphic designers use GIMP for their jobs, and many contribute towards developing new features. If you want to have complete control over the Photoshop file you’re trying to open without Photoshop, then GIMP is the tool you’re looking for. You can download GIMP by pressing the download button below. Then, once you’ve installed it, you can open a PSD file as you would open any other file type.

      • Programming/Development

        • Dart 2.6 Adds Native Linux Support

          Google’s Dart has increased support for native, ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation for Linux, Windows and MacOS. The extra support comes from an extension of Dart’s existing compiler set called dart2native, which can be used to create command-line programs.

          Dart is described as a client-optimized language for fast apps on any platform. It began life as an alternative to JavaScript that would be supported directly by browsers, but when this didn’t work out it was redeveloped as a better compiler.

        • A couple of handy zsh/bash functions for Python programmers

          Just a quick post today, to tell you about a couple of simple zsh functions that I find handy as a Python programmer.

          First, pyimp – a very simple function that tries to import a module in Python and displays the output. If there is no output then the import succeeded, otherwise you’ll see the error. This saves constantly going into a Python interpreter and trying to import something, making that ‘has it worked or not’ cycle a bit quicker when installing a tricky package.

        • Python CSV

          A CSV (Comma Separated Values) format is one of the most simple and common ways to store tabular data. To represent a CSV file, it must be saved with the .csv file extension.

        • Switching from Python 2 to Python 3: What you need to know

          In 2012, the team maintaining the Python programming language reviewed its options. There were two increasingly different codebases, Python 2 and Python 3. Both were popular, but the newer version was not as widely adopted.

          In addition to Python 3′s disruption of changing the underlying way data is handled by completely reworking Unicode support, a major version change allowed non-backward-compatible changes to happen all at once. This decision was documented in 2006. To ease the disruption, Python 2 continued to be maintained, with some features backported. To further help the community transition, the EOL date was extended from 2015 to 2020, another five years.

        • #100DaysOfCode, Day 001 – Dates & Times

          We begin with a date/time project.
          Python has objects (primitives) to deal with dates and times.
          They are part of the datetime module, which is part of the Python Standard Library.

        • Top 25 Python Libraries for Data Science Projects

          This post is attempting to enlighten you about the most useful and popular Python libraries used by data scientists. And why only Python, because it has been the leading programming language for solving real-time data science problems.

          These libraries have been tested to give excellent results in various areas like Machine Learning (ML), Deep Learning, Artifical Intelligence (AI), and Data Science challenges. Hence, you can confidently induct any of these without putting too much time and effort in R&D.

          In every data science project, programmers, even architects, use to spend considerable time researching the Python libraries that can be the best fit. And we believe this post might give them the right heads up, cut short the time spent, and let them deliver projects much faster.

        • Invalid Syntax in Python: Common Reasons for SyntaxError

          Python is known for its simple syntax. However, when you’re learning Python for the first time or when you’ve come to Python with a solid background in another programming language, you may run into some things that Python doesn’t allow. If you’ve ever received a SyntaxError when trying to run your Python code, then this guide can help you. Throughout this tutorial, you’ll see common examples of invalid syntax in Python and learn how to resolve the issue.

        • Scraping dynamic websites using Scraper API and Python

          In the last post of scraping series, I showed you how you can use Scraper API to scrape websites that use proxies hence your chance of getting blocked is reduced. Today I am going to show how you can use Scraper API to scrape websites that are using AJAX to render data with the help of JavaScript, Single Page Applications(SPAs) or scraping websites using frameworks like ReactJS, AngularJS or VueJS.

          I will be working on the same code I had written in the introductory post. Let’s work on a simple example. There is a website that tells your IP, called HttpBin. If you load via browser it will tell your real IP.

        • Registration for PyCon US 2020 is open!

          We are excited to announce the opening of PyCon US 2020 registration. The registration site has been updated, tweaked, and tested all in the effort to provide you a seamless experience.

          The new system will allow you to access, view, and add to your current registration. You can book and view hotel reservations and request changes if needed right through your dashboard.

        • The Incredible Disaster of Python 3

          I have long noted issues with Python 3?s bytes/str separation, which is designed to have a type ?bytes? that is a simple list of 8-bit characters, and ?str? which is a Unicode string. After apps started using Python 3, I started noticing issues: they couldn?t open filenames that were in ISO-8859-1, gpodder couldn?t download podcasts with 8-bit characters in their title, etc. I have files on my system dating back to well before widespread Unicode support in Linux.

          Due to both upstream and Debian deprecation of Python 2, I have been working to port pygopherd to Python 3. I was not looking forward to this task. It turns out that the string/byte types in Python 3 are even more of a disaster than I had at first realized.


          On POSIX platforms such as Unix, a filename consists of one or more 8-bit bytes, which may be any 8-bit value other than 0×00 or 0x2F (‘/’). So a file named “test\xf7.txt” is perfectly acceptable on a Linux system, and in ISO-8859-1, that filename would contain the division sign ÷. Any language that can’t process valid filenames has serious bugs – and Python is littered with these bugs.

  • Leftovers

    • Modern Biology and Ecology: the Roots Of America’s Assertive Illiteracy

      The 2016 election elevated Mike Pence and Betsy DeVos—major supporters of teaching creationism—to the vice presidency and leadership of the U.S. Department of Education, respectively. DeVos is a billionaire funder of efforts to pass state laws that give science teachers the right to present anti-evolution materials in science classrooms under the guise of protecting academic freedom. At every political level, from local school boards to the U.S. Department of Education, anti-evolution advocates are active and gaining ground.

    • Solaris/UNIX

      • Announcing Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU15

        Today we are releasing SRU 15, the November 2019 SRU, for Oracle Solaris 11.4. It is available via ‘pkg update’ from the support repository or by downloading the SRU from My Oracle Support Doc ID 2433412.1.

      • Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU15 Has A Number Of Package Updates

        While there is no sign of Solaris 11.5 or Solaris.Next (last year was a road-map pointing to Solaris 11.Next in H2’19 or H1’20 that has since been removed), Oracle does continue putting out more updates to the Solaris 11.4 series.

        Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU 15 was released on Tuesday as the latest monthly update to the Solaris stable series. With Solaris 11.4 SRU 15 are more Python 3 modules being added along with other Python updates, updating the GCC compiler against v9.2, updates to other toolchain bits like CMake, and a wide range of security updates.

      • A Mystery of Unix History

        The two most popular historic editors on Unix, vi and emacs, both make heavy use of these features (Emacs using Esc when Alt or Meta is unavailable). Some of the later entries in the DEC terminal line, especially the vt510, supported key remapping or alternative keyboards, which can address the Esc issue, but not entirely.

        According to the EmacsOnTerminal page and other research, at least the vt100 through the vt420 lacked Esc by default. Ctrl-3 and Ctrl-[ could send the character. However, this is downright terrible for both vi and Emacs (as this is the only way to trigger meta commands in Emacs).

        What’s more, it seems almost none of these old serial terminal support hardware flow control, and flow control is an absolute necessity on many. That implies XON/XOFF, which use Ctrl-S and Ctrl-Q — both of which are commonly used in Emacs.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Medicare for All Advocate Ady Barkan Endorses Warren, Praises Her Understanding of the ‘Central Challenge of Our Time’

        “Warren understands that the central challenge of our time is the unequal distribution of power in America, and the grave human consequences of that imbalance.”

      • Democratic Naysayers Are Wrong on Medicare for All

        The American political debate over health care is absurd. Americans pay twice as much as any other nation for health care, and then are told daily that they “can’t afford” to switch to a lower-cost system very similar to those of Canada and Europe. If President Donald Trump and the plutocratic Republican party were the only ones carrying this ridiculous message, it would be

      • The Health of Millennials (and those coming next) Can Benefit from Lessons of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood

        A recent Blue Cross-Blue Shield study of millennials health revealed startling declines in the health of younger generations, who suffer higher rates of major depression, hypertension, hyperactivity, type-II diabetes, and endocrine disorders, among others.

      • Lab Rats for Corporate Profit: Pesticide Industry’s Poisoned Platter

        Newly released pesticide usage statistics for 2018 confirm that the British people are being used as lab rats. That’s the message environmentalist Dr Rosemary Mason has sent to Dave Bench, senior scientist at the UK Chemicals, Health and Safety Executive and director of the agency’s EU exit plan. In her open letter to Bench, Mason warns that things could get much worse.

      • Robert Reich: Medicare for All or Bust

        Let’s first consider a limited version that keeps private insurance — as proposed by candidates including Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris. The insurance costs remain the same because it’s the same private insurers and the same co-payments and deductibles. The only difference is more of this would be paid through your taxes, rather than by you directly, because the government would reimburse the insurance companies.This could help bring down costs by giving the government more bargaining leverage to get better prices. But we don’t know yet how much.    Now, let’s talk about a different version of Medicare for All that replaces private for-profit health insurance, as proposed by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. In this version, total costs — including a possible combination of premiums, co-payments, deductibles, or taxes — are even lower. This option is far cheaper because it doesn’t have all those administrative expenses. It’s public insurance that reimburses hospitals, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies directly and eliminates the bloat of private insurance companies.Economists at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst say Medicare for All that replaces private for-profit insurance would reduce costs by about 10 percent, mostly from lower administrative and drug costs. The Urban Institute estimates that households and businesses would save about $21.9 trillion over ten years, and state and local governments would save $4.1 trillion.You’d pay for it through a combination of premiums, fees, and taxes, but your overall costs would go way down. So you’d come out ahead.  And everyone would be covered.You’d keep your same doctor or other health-care provider. And you could still buy private insurance to supplement Medicare for All, just like some people currently buy private insurance to supplement Medicare and Social Security. The only thing that’s changed is you no longer pay the private for-profit corporate insurers.Any Medicare for All is better than our present system, but this second version is far better because — like Medicare and Social Security — it’s based on the simple and proven idea that we shouldn’t be paying private for-profit corporate insurers boatloads of money to get the insurance we need.It’s time for true Medicare for All.

      • Inside Purdue Pharma’s Media Playbook: How It Planted the Opioid “Anti-Story”

        In 2004, Purdue Pharma was facing a threat to sales of its blockbuster opioid painkiller OxyContin, which were approaching $2 billion a year. With abuse of the drug on the rise, prosecutors were bringing criminal charges against some doctors for prescribing massive amounts of OxyContin.

        That October, an essay ran across the top of The New York Times’ health section under the headline “Doctors Behind Bars: Treating Pain is Now Risky Business.” Its author, Sally Satel, a psychiatrist, argued that law enforcement was overzealous, and that some patients needed large doses of opioids to relieve pain. She described an unnamed colleague who had run a pain service at a university medical center and had a patient who could only get out of bed by taking “staggering” levels of oxycodone, the active ingredient in OxyContin. She also cited a study published in a medical journal showing that OxyContin is rarely the only drug found in autopsies of oxycodone-related deaths.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availabilitiy)

      • ACBbackdoor trojan designed to hit Linux and Windows systems

        Intezer Security has found a new backdoor, ACBackdoor, that has no known connection to an operating threat group creating the possibility it could be a harbinger of a new gang’s formation.

        ACBackdoor is primarily a Linux malware, but Intezer has spotted a Windows variant and the company believes it was created by an experienced group of threat actors.

        One piece of evidence pointing toward the ACBackdoor developers being experienced with Linux is that version has a lower detection rate, is written better than the Windows implant, with a higher quality persistence mechanism, along with the different backdoor commands and additional features not seen in the Windows version such as independent process creation and process renaming.

      • Chinese Hackers Break Into Chrome, Safari, Edge; Reveal Browsers’ Vulnerabilities

        Popular vendors received terrible news over the weekend as reports claimed that Chinese hackers were able to exploit vulnerabilities in major browsers, apps, and common utilities. At the recent Tianfu cup held in Chengdu, China, Chinese China’s top white-hat hackers have converged in to test zero-days against top software available in the market today. During the first day of the event, Chinese security researchers were able to break into major browsers such as Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Google Chrome.

        Since Mar. 2018, the Chinese government has officially discouraged security researchers from joining hacking competitions outside the county. The recent Tianfu Cup is the venue for hackers to showcase their skills and even earn six-figure bounties for successful exploits. Former Pwn2Own winner Team 360 Vulcan took home $382,500 for successfully hacking the old version of Office 365, Microsoft Edge, Adobe PDF Reader, VMWare Workstation, and gemu+ Ubuntu during the two days event, reports ZDNet.

      • New Roboto botnet emerges targeting Linux servers running Webmin [Ed: ZDNet again goes out of its way to ignore back doors in #proprietarysoftware such as Windows and instead promote the stigma of “Linux” having “back doors” and being super dangerous, courtesy of By Catalin Cimpanu as usual]
      • Linux Webmin Servers Being Attacked by New P2P Roboto Botnet [Ed: Catalin Cimpanu's 'homebase' with more from the same 'script']
      • Linux Kernel Security in a Nutshell: How to Secure Your Linux System

        The Linux kernel is the core component of the Linux operating system, maintaining complete control over everything in the system. It is the interface between applications and data processing at the hardware level, connecting the system hardware to the application software. The kernel manages input/output requests from software, memory, processes, peripherals and security, among other hefty responsibilities. Needless to say, the Linux kernel is pretty important.

        However, with power comes great responsibility, and the Linux kernel is no exception to this rule. Kernel security is critical: it determines the security of the Linux operating system as a whole, as well as the security of every individual system that runs on Linux. Vulnerabilities in the kernel can have serious implications for Linux users, and it is extremely important that users stay up-to-date on news and advisories pertaining to kernel security.

      • Security updates for Wednesday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (redmine), Fedora (libidn2), Mageia (clamav, ghostscript, kernel, kernel-linus, libexif, libjpeg, mariadb, microcode, and systemd), and openSUSE (libjpeg-turbo).

      • EFF, Antivirus Companies, and Human Rights Groups Launch Coalition to Combat Stalkerware

        San Francisco—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Kaspersky, Operation Safe Escape and seven other organizations today launched the Coalition Against Stalkerware to unite and mobilize security software companies and advocates for domestic abuse victims in actions to combat and shut down malicious stalkerware apps.Stalkerware, a type of commercially-available surveillance software, is installed on phones without device owners’ knowledge or consent to secretly spy on them. The apps track victims’ locations and allow abusers to read their text messages, monitor phone calls, see photos, videos, and web browsing, and much more. It’s being used all over the world to intimidate, harass, and harm victims, and is a favorite tool for stalkers and abusive spouses or ex-partners.Groups supporting targets of domestic abuse are seeing a growing number of victims seeking help about stalkerware. According to Kaspersky, the number of its antivirus users finding stalkerware on their devices rose by 35%, from 27,798 in 2018 to 37,532 in 2019. The threat landscape for stalkerware has also widened, as Kaspersky has detected 380 various forms of stalkerware in the wild in 2019—31% more than a year ago.The Coalition Against Stalkerware aims to provide help for victims and bring leaders in antivirus technology together to establish best practices for ethical software development.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Amazon Takes Transparency Step

        Amazon took a useful first step toward transparency on November 15, 2019 by publicly disclosing on its website the names, addresses, and other details of over 1,000 facilities that produce Amazon-branded products, a broad coalition of human rights groups, labor rights organizations, and global unions said today. But the list is not easily accessible, sortable, or sufficiently specific to learn the type of products made in each of the listed facilities, limiting its value for consumers, workers, and labor advocates.

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Hell To The Yeah

        On Tuesday, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s impeachment testimony featured more dramatic, damning evidence, a poignant thank you to his father for leaving the Soviet Union 40 years ago to live in a country “free of fear,” and a killer mic drop in response to fake farmer Devin Nunes’ smears.

      • White House Slams ‘Illegitimate’ Hearing
      • How the Photographer Got That Iconic Shot of Trump’s Notes

        It’s a simple photograph, just a close-up on a notepad filled with Sharpie letters scrawled in an all-caps shout. But the pad is Donald Trump’s, the notes are a strangled refutation of fact, and the image has instantly become the most iconic yet of the impeachment proceedings that have enveloped his presidency. In an email, Getty Images photographer Mark Wilson shared with WIRED how he got the shot.

      • For-Profit Colleges Tap a Fox News Host to Influence Trump

        Pete Hegseth, the Fox News personality who urged President Donald Trump to pardon service members charged with war crimes, is trying to influence the White House on another military-related cause.

        An Army veteran who talks to Trump periodically and has dined with him at the White House, Hegseth traveled to New Orleans in June to address leaders of for-profit colleges at their annual convention. They are pushing to enroll more veterans, a lucrative class of students — and Hegseth is the face of the colleges’ new campaign to defend a favorable carve-out in federal law.

      • The Right to Vote Should Not Fall Victim to Partisan Battles

        The right to vote is fundamental to any democracy. Protecting that right—and making it easier to exercise it—ought to be a priority across partisan lines.Instead, in states across the country—particularly in the five years since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act—it has become a pitched battle.

      • ‘Disqualifying’: Buttigieg Faces Backlash for Praising Right-Wing Tea Party Movement in Resurfaced 2010 Video

        “I believe we might find that we have a lot in common,” Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said during an event hosted by Citizens for Common Sense.

      • ‘What Momentum Looks Like’: Sanders Becomes Fastest Presidential Candidate in History to Reach 4 Million Individual Donations

        “This is damn impressive,” said progressive strategist Rebecca Katz.

      • Making Andrew Yang Smarter

        The New York Times ran a column by Andrew Yang, one of the candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination. Mr. Yang used the piece to repeat his claim that automation is leading to massive job loss.

      • The People of the World

        The world owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi, Boris Johnson, and other heroic rulers of our glorious nations. Not only are they hard at work making their respective countries great again, but they are providing you, the people of the world, with a choice between two opportunities for mass death and destruction.

      • She Can’t Vote, but 2020 Democrats Want Her Support

        One of the most sought-after presidential endorsements in a key early voting state is from a woman who cannot vote.

      • Open Guidelines: The Foreign Interference Problem in Australian Universities

        Education has always been a political matter, whatever the apolitical advocates of it think it is. In Australia, it has proven sectarian, ideological, and skewed, often on the issue of funding. At the schooling level, private institutions receive more worldly goods from the taxpayer than state institutions. It is an absurdity that has become commonplace and unchallengeable.

      • Does Joe Biden Excite Anybody But Wealthy Donors?

        Last week, I attended Joe Biden’s first rally in California since he launched his presidential campaign more than six months ago.

      • It Was Revealing Who Joe Biden Saw—and Who He Didn’t See—in California

        Last week, I attended Joe Biden’s first rally in California since he launched his presidential campaign more than six months ago.It was revealing.The Biden for President campaign had been using social media and its email list in the Los Angeles area to urge attendance.

      • Open Letter to Jeremy Corbyn on the Eve of the Debate

        Citizen Corbyn! Boris Johnson, he of the lofty lead in the polls, has agreed to debate you on Tuesday night. The serial philanderer looks set to coast to easy victory in an election that will no doubt have repercussions across the pond. You, the level-headed, stoic leader of the Clean-up Crew, are among the least liked political figures in the whole UK. From here in France, everything over there looks a little upsidedown, even if the wheels are still in spin.

      • GOP-Requested Witness Rejects Trump ‘Conspiracy Theories’

        Sought by Republicans to testify, the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine spoke up instead for Democrat Joe Biden in Tuesday’s impeachment hearings, rejecting “conspiracy theories” embraced by President Donald Trump and some of his allies.

      • Our Better Angels

        On this date 156 years ago, Abraham Lincoln was asked to offer “a few appropriate thoughts” at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Ceremony.

      • Why Were the Russians So Set Against This Hacker Being Extradited?

        The Russian government has for the past four years been fighting to keep 29-year-old alleged cybercriminal Alexei Burkov from being extradited by Israel to the United States. When Israeli authorities turned down requests to send him back to Russia — supposedly to face separate hacking charges there — the Russians then imprisoned an Israeli woman for seven years on trumped-up drug charges in a bid to trade prisoners. That effort failed as well, and Burkov had his first appearance in a U.S. court last week. What follows are some clues that might explain why the Russians are so eager to reclaim this young man.

      • Border Guard suspects bid to open new entry route into Finland

        According to the preliminary investigation, suspects living in Finland also went to check conditions in the area a few days before the planned arrival.

        “The suspects knew about the conditions in the border area to the extent that they could find nearby roads and the border zone. The rest of the terrain conditions remained unknown,” says Mihl.

        The three people making the attempted entry were driven to a point in Russia 15 km from the Finnish border. From there, they continued on foot.

        Meanwhile they were being tracked and advised in real time by organisers in Central Europe using a mobile location app.

        “They were given instructions as needed if they got lost or deviated from the planned route,” he explains.

      • Outside the wire

        When the US entered Afghanistan, local DJs were hired to help with the war effort. And when the American military pulled out, they abandoned those voices, leaving many of them for dead.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Masnick’s Impossibility Theorem: Content Moderation At Scale Is Impossible To Do Well

        As some people know, I’ve spent a fair bit of time studying economist Kenneth Arrow whose work on endogenous growth theory and information economics influenced a lot of my thinking on the economics of innovation in a digital age. However, Arrow is perhaps most well known for what’s generally referred to as Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem, which could be described most succinctly (if not entirely accurately) as arguing that there is no perfect voting system to adequately reflect the will of the public. No matter which voting system you choose will have some inherent unfairness built into it. The Wikipedia summary (linked above) of it is not the best, but if you want to explore it in more detail, I’d recommend this short description or this much longer description.

      • Vietnam: Longtime Critic Facing Trial

        Vietnamese authorities should drop all charges against the blogger Pham Van Diep and immediately release him.

      • Russian feminist activist faces porn charges for running Vagina Monologues art group on social media

        Yulia Tsvetkova, an artist and activist for women’s well-being and LGBTQ rights in the far eastern Russian city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, has been named a suspect in a criminal pornography distribution case. Tsvetkova first spoke about the case with the human rights group and media outlet OVD-Info.

      • Despite appeal by major news outlets, Russia’s censor says it will keep issuing fines for hyperlinks to obscene language

        The chief editors at several major Russian news outlets have appealed to Roskomnadzor, the federal censor, demanding an explanation for the fines the agency has been imposing on websites for including hyperlinks in stories that direct readers to content with obscene language.

      • Evangelical ‘Financial Whiz’ Who Apparently Hates Gossip, Sues YouTuber For Criticism

        Dave Ramsey is a radio host/”personal finance guru” whose religious beliefs appear to be a key part of his public persona. A long and detailed story in the Daily Beast a few years back showcased another apparent part of his persona: what appears to be significant anger towards those who criticize him or his company, including former employees:

      • Would I have been called a Naziphobe in the 1930s?

        Who said: “Our battle with World Jewry is a question of life and death. It is a battle between two conflicting faiths, each of which can exist only on the ruins of the other.” A Nazi or an Arab leader?

        What would the media of today have said in the 1930’s when Hitler was sharing his views of the Jews? The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, CTV or the journalists at the New York Times write? Or CNN and BBC? Or fill in the blank… What would they have said upon hearing these words?

      • Sukarno’s daughter accused of blasphemy after comparing father to Prophet Muhammad

        A mass organization called the Bima Islam Youth Forum reported Sukmawati to the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim) on Saturday, accusing her of making blasphemous remarks the group said had “defamed Islam”.

        The report, signed by Imron Abidin as the forum’s representative, particularly lamented Sukmawati’s remarks made in her speech during a discussion forum dated Nov. 11, footage of which has been making the rounds on social media.

      • Ahmet Altan and Turkey’s revolving prison doors

        Many of the new inmates have continued the tradition of Turkish prison literature. Mr Demirtas produced a popular collection of essays. Kadri Gursel, a veteran journalist, spent most of his 11 months behind bars writing a new book. Can Dundar, a film-maker who fled to Germany after being released in early 2016, thanked the authorities for locking him up and confiscating his smartphone, thereby giving him a chance to focus on his writing. In a recently coined joke, an inmate asks the prison librarian to borrow a book. “We don’t have the book,” says the librarian, “but we have the author.”

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Five Senators Join the Fight to Learn Just How Bad Ring Really Is

        Amid months of damaging investigative reporting and pressure by advocacy groups like EFF, senators are finally joining the fight to learn just how invasive and harmful Amazon’s Ring cameras are to the privacy of people in their vicinity.

        In September, after it had been revealed that over 400 police departments around the country had entered into agreements with Ring, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) sent a letter to the company demanding answers. These agreements give police departments access to a portal that allows them to bulk request footage from Ring users with little beyond an incident number connected to a specific case to prove they need the footage. This simple process to access potentially hundreds of cameras in the vicinity of an incident creates a vested interest for police to help expand the use of Ring cameras within their towns. We’ve written before about concerns with Ring-law enforcement partnerships; as of November 2019—two months after Markey sent his letter—there are now well over 600.

      • Victory: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules Police Can’t Force You to Tell Them Your Password

        The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a forceful opinion today holding that the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from being forced to disclose the passcode to their devices to the police. In a 4-3 decision in Commonwealth v. Davis, the court found that disclosing a password is “testimony” protected by the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination.

        EFF filed an amicus brief in Davis, and we were gratified that the court’s opinion closely parallels our arguments. The Fifth Amendment privilege prohibits the government from coercing a confession or forcing a suspect to lead police to incriminating evidence. We argue that unlocking and decrypting a smartphone or computer is the modern equivalent of these forms of self-incrimination.

      • Democrats raise privacy concerns over Amazon home security system

        The senators sent the letter in response to reports last week that the Ring doorbell system had a vulnerability that left Wi-Fi networks of users exposed to hackers, a vulnerability that has since been patched. The senators also cited concerns related to a January report from The Intercept that found that Ring executives were given access to the company’s technical support video portal, which includes videos of customers’ homes.

      • Google issues harsh new restrictions on political ad targeting

        In a blog post, Google’s vice president of product management and advertising Scott Spencer, said that the company would begin to ban political advertisers from targeting consumers based on their political affiliation or public voter records. Advertisers will still be able to target voters based on age, gender and zip code, but no more specific location targeting will be permitted. Contextual advertising, like “serving ads to people reading or watching a story about, say, the economy,” Google said, will also be permitted.

        These changes will roll out in the United Kingdom ahead of its general election by the end of this year, and globally on January 6, 2020.

      • Aussie kids big owners, users of mobile phones

        New analysis of Roy Morgan Research data from the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) shows that in 2018, 32% of kids owned a mobile phone – with a further 16% having access to one.

        And one in four kids aged 6-7 had or used a mobile phone.

      • The continually evolving fight for freedom

        At Private Internet Access, we have always been very clear that our business allows us to carry out what we consider financially sustainable activism. We’re not afraid to stand up, we’re not afraid to speak out and we are quick to ensure that we provide support to those whose voices are often not heard, those whose causes are often overlooked.

      • House Lawmakers Extend Section 215 into Next Year Even Though They Had Years to Stop Illegal Overcollection of Americans’ Sensitive Data

        With federal agencies set to run out of money this week, House lawmakers today passed a short-term funding bill that contained a nasty surprise. Tucked into the end of this must-pass legislation, in a section titled “Other Matters,” is language reauthorizing three Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authorities currently set to expire on December 15, 2019. The new expiration date would be March 15, 2020.

        The extension of these surveillance authorities, even for three months, is bad enough. Hiding the language in the back of a must-pass funding bill shows a patent disregard for the importance of this issue.

      • Facebook Claims Users Sign Up Because They Want To See Personalized Ads, Max Schrems Disagrees — And Usually Wins These GDPR Arguments

        The privacy activist Max Schrems has been conducting a battle on multiple fronts against Facebook’s use of personal data. Last year, Techdirt wrote about one of the skirmishes, which saw the EU’s highest court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), ruling that Schrems could use the GDPR to litigate in Austria, where he is based, rather than in Ireland, where Facebook has its international headquarters. The latter option would have been prohibitively expensive for Schrems, and would probably have meant he dropped the case.

      • The Council of Europe Shouldn’t Throw Out Our Privacy Rights Just to Speed Up Police Access

        Foreign police often want to investigate a crime by gathering potential evidence from Internet companies located in another country. What if police in Poland want to get a user’s data from an ISP in Germany, Philippines, Japan—or vice versa? Can they do this? Under what rules, and with what kind of oversight?

        It’s easy to get this wrong by making deals that undercut human rights protections, like having judges review data requests after the fact, rather than needing to authorize them beforehand. Another danger is signing agreements that ignore differences between countries’ legal systems, like whether or not particular actions are even crimes in both countries. But the pressure to find ways to give police routine and streamlined access to potential evidence is mounting. We’ve seen this before with the CLOUD Act in the United States, the US-UK Cloud Act Agreement, and the European e-evidence proposal.

      • Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes (“The War of All Against All”)

        Millions of years ago, when we were the prey, we relied on our ability to have privacy to hide our location, smell and sounds. With privacy, we gained freedom — and we survived. However, over time, we gave up many freedoms in exchange for peaceful order, as social contracts and consensus on the general will had developed — but at least there was peace. 

      • Handing Trump ‘Terrifying Authoritarian Surveillance Powers,’ House Democrats Include Patriot Act Reauthorization in Funding Bill

        “Wow. House Democrats are ignoring civil liberties and including a three month straight reauthorization of the Patriot Act (with zero reform) in the continuing resolution.”

      • Interpol Confirms, Denies It’s Against Strong Encryption

        The latest law enforcement agency to offer up its opinion on end-to-end encryption doesn’t seem to like it either. Joseph Menn reports for Reuters that Interpol is siding with the FBI, DOJ, and a handful of European government agencies in finding that encryption is bad and lets bad people do bad things.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • The Prosecution of Julian Assange Calls for the Public’s Defense of Free Speech

        On Saturday, The New York Times published a front-page article on the leaked files that exposed the Chinese government’s coordinated crackdown on ethnic minorities.

      • Sweden Maintains ‘Rape Suspect’ Narrative Against Julian Assange Even As It Drops Investigation Again

        The Swedish prosecution authority yet again closed a “preliminary investigation” into sexual allegations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

        It was reopened after Assange was expelled from the Ecuador embassy, indicted by the United States government, and arrested and jailed at Belmarsh prison by British authorities.

      • With Assange on Verge of Extradition to US, Sweden Drops Years-Long Rape Investigation Into WikiLeaks Founder

        From the start of the Swedish investigation, said the WikiLeaks Defense Fund, “Assange’s expressed concern has been that waiting in the wings was a United States request that would be unstoppable.”

      • The Swedish case against Assange was always political

        It was only after his arrival in London that an Interpol notice was issued for his arrest. In the meantime, Assange sought and was granted asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy on the grounds that he would be subjected to grave human rights abuses should he be extradited to the US. Despite years of his legal team requesting that Swedish authorities provide assurances that he would not be extradited onwards to the US, the opportunity for Assange to formally clear his name was never afforded to him. Nor was the right to the presumption of innocence. Many in the media still falsely claim that charges were laid. It was trial by media.

        The political nature of the Swedish case became apparent from the beginning. As early as 2013, emails from the UK Crown Prosecution Service, released under Freedom of Information, demonstrated that the prosecutors wanted to drop the case. However, pressure was placed on them to keep it open – and they were told not to get “cold feet”. The London-based organisation Women Against Rape point out that the case was pursued with “unusual zeal” and concluded it was only pursued for the simple fact that he has uncovered war crimes.

        Let’s make one thing clear, any sexual misconduct allegations should be treated seriously. But, as Women Against Rape and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture point out, this case was never about protecting the women involved; it was about ensuring the focus was kept off the war crimes that WikiLeaks exposed, and assassinating Assange’s character.
        The decision now to drop the investigation is welcome news for Assange and his legal team, and removes the possibility of extradition from Sweden to the US. However, the fact remains that an Australian citizen is being pursued by the Trump administration for political purposes and is facing serious human rights violations if extradited to the US.


        Australia and the Morrison government now face the stark choice. Do we defend an Australian citizen facing rendition and an effective death sentence, because of Trump – a President facing impeachment. Or do we abandon him?

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Illinois to Take Emergency Action to Halt Isolated Timeouts in Schools

        The Illinois State Board of Education announced Wednesday that it will take emergency action to end the seclusion of children alone behind locked doors at schools, saying the practice has been “misused and overused to a shocking extent.”

        Responding to a Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois investigation published a day earlier, Gov. J.B. Pritzker called the isolation of children in the state “appalling” and said he directed the education agency to make emergency rules for schools. He will then work with legislators to make the rules into law, he said.

      • How a single staffing shakeup changed what Putin’s Human Rights Council has to say about the death penalty
      • Denmark: Shootings, Car Torchings, Gang Violence

        “In addition to a common fondness for crime, the culture of immigrant gangs is a cocktail of religion, clan affiliation, honor, shame and brotherhood,” wrote Danish Conservative Party MP Naser Khader, who is also a co-founder of the Muslim reform movement .

      • Hong Kong Was Never Built to Stand Up to China

        The Chinese legislature has now told Hong Kong’s courts in no uncertain terms that only Beijing can decide what’s constitutional in the territory. This could be a fatal blow to Hong Kong’s already shaky judiciary independence.

      • Police Surround Last Holdouts at Hong Kong Campus Protest

        A small band of anti-government protesters, their numbers diminished by surrenders and failed escape attempts, remained holed up at a Hong Kong university early Wednesday as they braced for the endgame in a police siege of the campus.

      • Tortured by CIA and Detained at Gitmo Without Trial, Ahmed Rabbani Gives Haunting Review of ‘The Report’—a New Film He’ll Likely Never See

        “If we do not learn from history we will be doomed to repeat our mistakes—and I would hate for anyone else to endure what I have had to endure.”

      • Federal Judge Asks DEA To Explain Why All 179 Of Its Stash House Sting Targets Are Minorities

        Federal judges appear to be tiring of the government’s long-running entrapment programs. One of the federal law enforcment’s favorite “enforcement” efforts is creating crime in order to bust “criminals.” Agencies like the ATF and DEA find someone in need of cash — usually a minority someone — and use undercover agents and confidential informants to convince them to raid a drug stash house for some easy money.

      • Russia’s Justice Ministry says claims about domestic violence are exaggerated, and men are the real discrimination victims

        Russia’s Justice Ministry has formally responded to questions from the European Court of Human Rights about domestic violence connected to lawsuits filed by four Russian women. The court asked Russian officials if they acknowledge the seriousness and scale of domestic violence and discrimination against women in Russia.

      • Russia’s Justice Ministry says journalists distorted its argument that domestic violence claims in Russia are exaggerated. Fine, here’s the full quote.

        In June of 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) notified the Russian government of four complaints submitted by women who argue that the Russian authorities did not react properly to the domestic violence they faced. Natalia Tunikova was convicted of attacking a partner who was beating her. Yelena Gershman’s husband beat her as well, but investigators refused to open a case against him. Irina Petrakova’s husband was penalized for his abuse, but that penalty was cancelled. Margarita Gracheva’s husband cut off her fingers before being sentenced to 14 years in prison. The four women’s complaints to the ECHR have been unified into a single case.

      • Problematic Bills on Lebanon Parliament’s Agenda

        Lebanon’s parliament has indefinitely postponed a legislative session which was due to take place on Tuesday, after protesters blocked the entrances to Parliament and several parliamentarians announced their boycott of the session.

      • France Slammed Over Treatment of Migrant Children

        In France, unaccompanied migrant children are pushed back at the French-Italian border, are falsely labelled adults and denied services by authorities, and made to live in shabby hotels or worse, in squats, even when recognized as children. These children are denied fundamental rights, such as protection and education. Human Rights Watch has exposed this situation, outrageous in a country like France, in reports on Calais, Paris and the Hautes-Alpes region, and the French Ombudsman condemned it this week in his annual report on the rights of children.

      • Greece and the Struggle for Freedom
      • Egypt: Families Of Dissidents Targeted

        Egyptian authorities have carried out arrests, house raids, interrogations, and travel bans against dozens of relatives of dissidents who live abroad, apparently in reprisal for their activism, Human Rights Watch said today.

      • After Week of Violence and Unrest, Warren Criticized for Conciliatory Remarks on Post-Coup Bolivia

        “Maybe it’s just me, but if you’re going to call yourself a progressive who stands up for the little guy you might want to start calling a right wing coup that’s resulted in the curbing of democratic freedoms and onslaught of violence… well, a right wing coup.”

      • Bolivia: Interim Government Adopts Abusive Measures

        Bolivian authorities should repeal a November 15, 2019 decree granting the military overly broad discretion to use force, and stop harassing independent journalists and government opponents.

      • Why I Support Closing Rikers Island Without Building New Jails: A Letter From Prisoner Jennifer Rose

        Shadowproof exchanged letters with incarcerated people who are part of the abolitionist No New Jails NYC campaign to get their perspectives on the plan to invest billions of dollars in new jails as part of an effort to close the Rikers Island jail complex.

        These incarcerated people crafted a plan with outside activists for closing Rikers Island without building new jails. It was titled “We Keep Us Safe.”

      • Half of American Men Can’t Handle the Prospect of a Woman President

        In 2019, just 49% of American men say they are comfortable with a woman president, according to a new poll on attitudes toward gender and power by consulting firm Kantar Public and Women Political Leaders, an Iceland-based nonprofit coalition of female politicians.

      • The Federal Government Collects Data on How Often Schools Seclude Children. The Numbers Don’t Add Up.

        In fall 2015, Glacier Ridge Elementary School in Crystal Lake first used its Blue Room, a padded space that allows school workers to place students in “isolated timeout” for safety reasons.

        Students were secluded in that room more than 120 times during the 2015-16 school year, according to records obtained by ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune. Yet the district, in its required reporting to the federal government, said it hadn’t used seclusion at all that school year.

      • How We Reported This Story

        The state of Illinois does not collect any data on how often public schools put students in seclusion, why they do it or for how long.

        Though state rules require schools to document each “isolated timeout” incident in detail, these records are stored by schools and are not submitted for review to the Illinois State Board of Education or any other state agency.

      • Spread the Progress on Children’s Rights to All

        Today is World Children’s Day, marking 30 years since the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Over the past three decades, every country in the world – except the United States – has ratified the treaty.

      • UAE: Groups Press to Aid Prisoners With HIV

        United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities should ensure that all prisoners in their custody have access to appropriate HIV prevention, treatment, and care, Treatment Action Group, Action Against Aids Germany, Human Rights Watch, and 37 human rights and public health organizations and networks working on HIV and TB, said in a letter today to Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Abu Dhabi crown prince. The groups also said that independent international monitors should be allowed regular access to prison and detention facilities.

      • ‘Community Control Over Police Should Be a Democratic Right’
      • Tom Secker Presents ‘Jack Ryan, The CIA, And Venezuela’ (Video)

        Journalist Tom Secker, known for his work at Spy Culture, produced a video essay on the Amazon series, “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.” It breaks down how the CIA, Defense Department, and other United States government agencies produced the show.

        Secker outlines some of the history of U.S. government  involvement in Tom Clancy productions and examines U.S. foreign policy propaganda in Season 1 and Season 2.

      • Senate Passes Bill to Support Human Rights in Hong Kong

        The bill would mandate sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials who carry out human rights abuses and require an annual review of the favorable trade status that Washington grants Hong Kong.

      • Amnesty Says at Least 106 Killed in Iran Protests

        Days of protests in Iran over rising fuel prices and a subsequent government crackdown have killed at least 106 people across the Islamic Republic, Amnesty International said Tuesday, citing “credible reports.”

      • Rights Group: 106 Killed in Iran’s Crackdown on Anti-Government Protests

        In a Tuesday interview with VOA Persian, the London-based rights group’s Iran researcher, Raha Bahreini, said Amnesty determined that security forces killed 106 protesters based on eyewitness accounts, social media videos and reports of exiled Iranian human rights activists.

        An Amnesty press release said it recorded fatalities of protesters in 21 towns and cities, with the highest numbers of deaths occurring in five western cities: Kermanshah, Javanroud, Bandar-e Mahshahr and its suburbs, Mariwan and Behbahan.

      • Iran: Security Forces Violently Crack Down on Protesters

        Iranian security forces appear to be using excessive force against protests that emerged after an abrupt government increase in fuel prices across the country, Human Rights Watch said today. 

      • Burkina Faso army says 32 ‘terrorists’ killed after deadly convoy attack

        The first operation in Yorsala in Loroum province saw a number of women who “had been held and used by the terrorists as sex slaves” freed.


        Such attacks – typically hit-and-run raids on villages, road mines and suicide bombings – have claimed nearly 700 lives across the country since early 2015, according to an AFP toll.

        Almost 500,000 people have also been forced to flee their homes.

      • Detroit judge halts deportation of Iraqi Christians

        U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith said in a written order that deportation is halted for 14 days while he decides if his court has jurisdiction to hear their plight.

        The Justice Department had argued that the detainees, including many who were recently rounded up after decades in the U.S., must go to immigration court to try to remain in the U.S., not U.S. District Court. But the American Civil Liberties Union said they might be deported before an immigration judge can consider their requests to stay.

      • ACLU Sues Feds to Stop Chaldean Deportations

        Metro Detroit’s Chaldean community is the largest in the U.S. and those arrested were part of a federal roundup that was one of the biggest in years.

      • It’s Time 2020 Presidential Candidates Take Action to Dismantle the School-to-Prison-and-Deportation Pipeline

        The mandate demands that the Office of Civil Rights within the U.S. Department of Education is properly funded and staffed in order to make sure schools don’t violate our civil rights by doing things like systematically kicking out Black and Latinx students or referring them to police, or failing to ensure that trans students can use the right bathroom and be safe in schools. It also builds on a growing grassroots movement calling for the repeal and replacement of the 1994 Crime Bill, which created the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program that ultimately gave way to the largest sustained source of direct federal dollars to put police in schools.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Ajit Pai Does a Good Thing As He Pushes For Public C Band Auction

        You may have read something of late about the battle over so-called “C Band spectrum,” the wireless frequencies that lie between 3.7 GHz and 4.2 GHz. This spectrum will be hugely beneficial for deploying 5G wireless, and wireless carriers and activists alike have been pressuring the FCC for years to repurpose much of it for 5G. How this should be done has been a point of contention, however. And given there’s upwards of $60 billion to be made off of auctioning this spectrum, the typical alliances you’ll see in telecom have been more complicated than usual.

      • Knowing What Happens Next, T-Mobile CEO Legere Heads For The Exit

        We’ve long noted that T-Mobile’s brand reputation as a feisty consumer-friendly disruptor is only really skin deep. While the T-Mobile of 2012 or so certainly added some much needed competition to the wireless sector (killing ETFs, eliminating long-term contracts, and eroding international roaming costs), more recently the company has started to look a lot like the bigger competitors (AT&T, Verizon) it pretends to be superior to. From mocking groups like the EFF to opposing net neutrality, the company isn’t all that different from the companies its brash CEO John Legere likes to make fun of.

      • PSA: DirectTV Pushes Back By Mentioning All The Refunds For Blackouts Its Issued… To Customers That Asked

        Earlier this month, we discussed how DirectTV was one cable operator the Colarado Attorney General is investigating over how it extracts varied and confusing fees from customers and more specifically how DirectTV managed to continue charging customers for a regional sports station that had been blacked out. The overall tenor of the post was, first, that cable operators charging fees in as confusing a manner as possible is par for the course and, second, that even in that landscape continuing to charge customers for a channel it wasn’t offering sure felt like a bridge too far.

    • Monopolies

      • ‘Amicus activity has never been more important’

        As technology continues to outpace the law, companies and associations are turning to amicus briefs to make their voices heard but they say that courts are less inclined to value repetitive arguments.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Divided Arguments Set for Click-To-Call

          35 U.S.C. § 314(d). Thus, the question before the Supreme Court is the extent of the no-appeal rule. The Federal Circuit has allowed appeals in this (and parallel cases) and has also given an expansive interpretation to 1-year time bar.

          At oral arguments Petitioner Thryv (who is looking to invalidate the patent) will get 15 minutes as will the Federal Government who also argues that nonappealable means no appeal. “[T]he Board’s institution decision, including its application of Section 315(b), [is] unreviewable.” Gov’t brief. The patentee Click-To-Call will have 30 minutes in response.

        • Koninklijke KPN N.V. v. Gemalto M2M GmbH (Fed. Cir. 2019)

          The ’662 patent involves checksums, which are calculations performed over blocks of data that result in a short (e.g., 16, 32, or 64 bit) code. These calculations may be a simple exclusive or operation, a more complicated cyclic redundancy check, or a hash function. Virtually all data transmitted on a network, wired or wireless, is accompanied by a checksum. In most cases, the transmitter calculates the checksum, appends the code to the blocks of data to be sent, and then sends the block and code. The receiver calculates its own version of the checksum over the blocks of data. If this matches the transmitted code, then the receiver can be reasonably assured that the blocks of data were not corrupted (e.g., due to random noise) during the transmission. But checksums are not perfect, and occasionally a corrupt block can produce the same code as if it were error free.

          The inventors of the ’662 patent observed that checksums often fail in the presence of certain types of systematic errors — non-random errors that repeat from block to block. For instance, “[i]f a fixed [checksum] generating function produced defective check data for a transmission that was corrupted with a given systematic error (e.g., first and fourth bit is erroneous in every data transmission), that fixed generating function would likely continue to produce the same defective check data every time that systematic error appeared.” In these cases, the systematic error will not be detected by the checksum.

          The ’662 patent involves “var[ying] the way check data is generated from time to time so that the same defective check data does not continue to be produced for the same type of persistent systematic error.” This variability dramatically decreases the probability that a receiver will not detect repetitive errors after validating the checksum. One of the ways that the generation of check data can be varied is “through permutation, which interchanges the bit position in a data block.”

        • Serving, Waiving Service, and the IPR Time Bar

          The PTAB found problems with Game & Tech’s U.S. Patent 7,682,243 — cancelling claims 1-7 obvious. On appeal, the Federal Circuit has affirmed — holding (1) that IPR was not barred under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b) and (2) that the obviousness decision was supported by substantial evidence.


          No Court Determination of Proper Service or Waiver: In its written decision, the PTAB sided with the patent challenger — finding no service of the complaint prior to the March 13, 2016 critical date. In reaching that conclusion, the Board impliedly concluded that it cannot find proper service if “no district court has deemed service to have occurred.” On appeal, the Federal Circuit rejected that conclusion — holding instead that the statute empowers and requires the Board (and PTO Director) to “determine whether service of a complaint alleging infringement was properly effectuated.”

        • IBM, Microsoft and Linux plan to send patent trolls back under the rickety bridge

          THREE OF Big Tech’s biggest are joining forces to fight the scourge of the patent troll.

          IBM, Microsoft and The Linux Foundation have agreed to become fully paid up members of the Open Invention Network (OIN), which has been battling the trolls for years now on behalf of its 200 member organisations and the community at large.

          What this means in real terms is that the big three are bankrolling the OIN’s work, giving it far more teeth as it fights against those who try to get rich through nuisance intellectual property (IP) lawsuits.

        • Short summary of November 12, 2019 Brussels conference on Component-Level SEP Licensing

          This is the final part of a post-conference “trilogy.” After publishing the slide decks used by seven panelists and an abstract of one presentation and reporting on the patent injunctions panel (with a particular focus on the German reform project) (where I just added the German-language version of Maurits Dolmans’s slides), I’ll now summarize the component-level licensing panels.

          It’s normally easier to report and comment on other people’s conferences. What makes it equally easy in this case is simply that all the feedback I received was extremely favorable on the bottom line. There was one panel where maybe things appeared a bit repetitive during the last third or quarter to parts of the audience, but that was the only criticism I heard.

          It was part of the plan to kick off the day in a way that would energize everyone. With Pat Treacy (Bristows), Paul Lugard (BakerBotts), Jay Jurata (Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe) and Professor Christian Donle (Preu Bohlig & Partner) I had four great lawyers–well-respected in the legal community including some of their adversaries–whom I was able to ask a few questions on component-level licensing and the royalty base. Like all other lawyers who spoke at my conference, they didn’t express the views of any particular client (nor did Mrs. Treacy speak for the England & Wales High Court, on which she serves as a Deputy Judge).

          The first question to them was about component makers’ entitlement to a SEP license on FRAND terms under the antitrust laws. Mr. Jurata and Professor Donle explained their conclusion that it’s necessary for competition to work. In those opening statements, Professor Donle made the funniest remark of the day when he said that SEPs are like railroad station toilets–not that nice, but you need to use them.


          Intel’s director of IP policy in the EU, Dr. Rebekka Porath, moderated a panel on some antitrust complaints over component-level licensing. Professor Rafal Sikorski (Adam Mickiewicz University) gave an overview that went back to the first antitrust cases in the U.S. about 100 years ago were (F)RAND was established as a principle. His cross-jurisdictional knowledge is impressive, and since SEP cases are generally not litigated in Poland for practical reasons, he’s neutral, though it appeared to me that his views on FRAND weren’t far from my own. After Professor Sikorski’s presentation, I filled in for Kent Baker of u-blox, who wasn’t able to travel that week, to give a quick overview of the Continental v. Avanci et al. case pending in the Northern District of California. (As we were running behind schedule, I requested to hold a vote, but there was a lot of interest in that part, too, and maybe that’s because Continental is also among the five companies who complained to the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition over Nokia’s refusal to license component makers.)

        • Is Big Tech FRANDly to Competition?

          On Tuesday, Apple released a new policy on its website relating to the obscure topic of “FRAND” licensing of patents. That’s an especially obscure corner of the already-obscure area of patent law. But it’s worth the attention of anyone who follows the debates over big tech and platform dominance, because Apple’s statement reveals an important industry-wide shift in many key tech companies’ views on their position in the technology ecosystem. So far, that shift has favored smaller companies hoping to break into the technology market, but current threats could endanger those small companies and competition generally.

          Though you’ve probably never heard of the acronym FRAND, you certainly know some of the acronyms it has produced: Wi-Fi, USB, HTML, 4G LTE. These are examples of “technology standards,” which allow computers and electronic devices to communicate and work with each other. Unsurprisingly, standards are absolutely fundamental to just about every smart device out there today, from your mobile phone to your Wi-Fi juice maker. Standards are the reason that, when you look for a new Bluetooth headset compatible with your latest phone, you find not just one company making them but dozens.

          Technology standards don’t arise out of thin air; they are rigorously devised by “standard-setting organizations,” consortia of companies and engineers that assemble technologies into standards. A problem comes up when a company contributes a patented technology to the standard—a patent on a component of Wi-Fi could (and did) allow someone to sue anyone who owns a wireless router. Standard-setting organizations try to avoid that by requiring members to license any patents essential to the standard on terms that are “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory,” or FRAND. Implementers of products using the standard can thus feel safe knowing that they will not be pushed out of the market due to overbearing pressure from a patent holder.

          The FRAND obligation represents a balance between implementers of standards and holders of standard-essential patents. But there is an ongoing debate as to which way that balance swings. Apple’s statement promises to push the needle toward implementers and away from itself as one of the world’s largest patent owners. That contrasts with positions of other companies and the Trump Administration, who treat the FRAND obligation as essentially allowing patent holders free rein.

      • Trademarks

        • On Remand, TTAB Denies Abandonment Claims But Finds That “ADD A ZERO” Fails To Function As A TM For Shirts And Caps

          On remand from the CAFC, the TTAB denied Petitioner adidas’s claim that Respondent Church abandoned it marks ADD A ZERO (in standard character and design form), but the Board agreed that the phrase itself fails to function as a source indicator for shirts and caps. However, the Board found that the word+design form (shown below) is unitary and does function as a trademark. adidas AG v. Christian Faith Fellowship Church, Cancellation No. 92053314 (November 13, 2019) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Cindy B. Greenbaum).

        • Another “Glen”, another GI Violation– Hamburg Court considers “Glen Els” an Evocation of “Scotch Whisky”

          Can a protected geographical indication (GI) be infringed by a sign that does not contain any of the words composing that GI? The CJEU recently had the opportunity to rule on this question in a case involving a German whisky under the brand “Glen Buchenbach”, allegedly infringing the registered GI “Scotch Whisky” (case C-44/17, Katpost here).

          Based on the CJEU decision in Glen Buchenbach, the District Court of Hamburg ultimately issued an injunction against “Glen Buchenbach” for containing a “misleading indication” within the meaning of Art. 16(c) of the Regulation 110/2008 on the definition, description, presentation, labelling and the protection of geographical indications of spirit drinks (the “Spirits Regulation”; Katpost here). However, it considered that “glen” was not sufficient for a finding of “evocation” of the protected GI within the meaning of Art. 16(b) of the Spirits Regulation.

      • Copyrights

        • Supreme Court agrees to review disastrous ruling on API copyrights

          The Supreme Court has agreed to review one of the decade’s most significant software copyright decisions: last year’s ruling by an appeals court that Google infringed Oracle’s copyrights when Google created an independent implementation of the Java programming language.

          The 2018 ruling by the Federal Circuit appeals court “will upend the longstanding expectation of software developers that they are free to use existing software interfaces to build new computer programs,” Google wrote in its January petition to the Supreme Court.

          The stakes are high both for Google and for the larger software industry. Until recently, it was widely assumed that copyright law didn’t control the use of application programming interfaces (APIs)—standard function calls that allow third parties to build software compatible with an established platform like Java.

          But the legal foundation of this assumption was always a bit shaky. And in 2014, the Federal Circuit Appeals Court blew it up with a ruling holding that software APIs actually can be copyrighted. A few years later, the same court held that Google’s use of the Java APIs was not protected by copyright’s fair use doctrine.

        • Narcos Defeats Yet Another Silly Copyright Lawsuit

          While Netflix’s Narcos has certainly been a hit show for the streaming platform, it’s still a bit surprising that there has been so much intellectual property strife surrounding the show. To date, the most notable IP dispute has been Pablo Escobar’s brother’s attempt to sue Netflix for one billion dollars. As Netflix was having Narcos actors pretend to threaten to shoot the public for pirating the show, Roberto Escobar was busy making no headway with his lawsuit, eventually dropping it.

        • Cox Knew About Pirating Subscribers, Court Concludes

          Internet provider Cox Communications can’t argue that it had “no knowledge” of the hundreds of thousands of piracy notices it received, a Virginia federal court ruled. The ruling is important for the upcoming trial between the Internet provider and dozens of music companies, as “knowledge” is a critical element of the rightsholders’ liability claim.

        • Police Arrest Three in Prolonged Movie2K Piracy Investigation

          Six years ago, Movie2K was one of the largest ‘pirate’ streaming sites on the Internet, with more traffic in Germany than Twitter or Amazon. During May 2013, the site suddenly disappeared but now, more than half a decade later, police say they have made three arrests. They include two men suspected of being former operators and another who allegedly laundered millions of euros.

        • Finally, the Supreme Court Agrees to Review the Federal Circuit’s Dangerous Decisions in Oracle v. Google

          Good news! The U.S. Supreme Court has finally agreed to review the Federal Circuit’s dangerous decisions in the long-running case of Oracle v. Google. The Supreme Court now has an opportunity to reverse the damage done by the Federal Circuit. The Court can explain why copyrighting Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) is a bad idea and why—even if there is copyright protection—fair use applies.

          To summarize the last nine years: Oracle claims a copyright on the Java APIs, and that Google infringed that copyright by using certain Java APIs in the Android OS. When it created the Android OS, Google wrote its own version of Java. But in order to allow developers to write their own programs for Android, Google used certain specifications of the Java APIs. Since APIs are, generally speaking, specifications that let programs talk to each other, it would strike at the heart of innovation and collaboration in technology to declare them copyrightable.

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