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11.22.19

Links 22/11/2019: Slimbook’s GNU/Linux Laptops, Kubernetes Hype

Posted in News Roundup at 6:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Slimbook’s New Pro Laptop Wants to Take on Apple, Costs Less Too

        Meet the Slimbook Pro X 15, a new 15-inch Linux laptop from Spanish hardware company Slimbook.

        Their new device is powered by an Intel i7-9750H processor (6-core, 4.5GHz turbo boost) with a beefy NVIDIA GTX 1650 Max-Q Turing graphics card and supports unto 32GB RAM — a compelling combination that certainly helps to put the “pro” in “proformance”

        [...]

        The Slimbook Pro X 15 touts a high-resolution 2k 15.6-inch IPS display (16:9) with thin bezels (0.4 cm) and full 100% sRGB colour coverage. This should make it especially good for graphics designers, photographers and those who work with video.

        A large multi-touch trackpad and full-size backlit keyboard with choice of layout come as standard.

        Two webcams are included: one at 720p for video chats; the other a biometric facial detection webcam that (once again depending on distro and DE) can be used to login in to Linux using your face!

      • System76 To Design And Build Laptops In-House

        System76 has been selling laptops and desktops, preinstalled with Linux, since 2005. But up until recently, their desktop machines were designed by third-party OEMs. That all changed in 2018 when System76 began selling their in-house designed and built desktops, the Thelio. The Thelio machines have been met by glowing reviews across the globe, and can be specced high enough to accommodate serious loads.

        As for laptops? System76 has been depending on Sager and Clevo to design their hardware. These laptops have served the company (and consumers) well. But once System76 proved they could build one of the finest Linux-powered desktops on the market, they set out to discover if it was possible to also produce laptops in house.

    • Server

      • Just how popular is Kubernetes?

        In its study of usage data from thousands of companies and more than 1.5 billion containers, the company found “roughly 45% of Datadog customers running containers use Kubernetes, whether in self-managed clusters or through a cloud service.” Not bad for a technology that’s just over five years old.

        What’s more telling though is that almost half of all Datadog container users have already turned to Kubernetes. It’s Kubernetes’ growth rate that really tells the story. In the last year, Kubernetes’ numbers of users grew by 10%.

        In the meantime, other container orchestration programs, such as Marathon and Docker swarm mode, have simply not caught fire. Indeed, their parent companies, D2iQ, formerly Mesosphere, and Docker both started offering Kubernetes to their customers. Need more be said?

        Datadog also found that Kubernetes is very popular on the public cloud. In particular, managed Kubernetes services such as Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) dominates the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Since Kubernetes ancestry goes back to Google that comes as no surprise.

      • Rancher CEO on k3s: Kubernetes is the new Linux; you run it everywhere

        Once, Kubernetes was just some geeky cloud-native project for orchestrating containers (a virtualized method for running distributed applications). Isn’t it funny how it’s worked its way into practically every tech conversation in just a few years? In fact, thanks to technologies that shrink and simplify it, Kubernetes is about to find its way into even more use cases.

        With the technology and its uses expanding so rapidly, how do we even define it anymore? Sheng Liang (pictured), co-founder and chief executive officer of Rancher Labs Inc., has an idea: “Kubernetes is the new Linux, and you run it everywhere.”

        Cloud, on-premises data center, bare metal, internet of things edge, Raspberry Pi, surveillance camera? Check. The developer ecosystem is invading more and more spaces through tweaks that make Kubernetes easier than ever to deploy.

      • IBM

        • Red Hat advances Debezium CDC connectors for Apache Kafka support to Technical Preview

          After a couple of months in Developer Preview, the Debezium Apache Kafka connectors for change data capture (CDC) are now available as a Technical Preview as part of the Q4 release of Red Hat Integration. Technology Preview features provide early access to upcoming product innovations, enabling you to test functionality and provide feedback during the development process.

        • Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces 2 Brings New Tooling to Cloud-Native Development

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the release of Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces 2, a cloud-native development workflow for developers. The new release of CodeReady Workspaces enables developers to create and build applications and services in an environment that mirrors that of production, all running on Red Hat OpenShift, the industry’s most comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes platform.

        • What’s EPEL, and how do I use it?

          RHEL ships with only a subset of packages that you’ll find in Fedora Linux. This makes sense, because there’s a lot of software in Fedora that isn’t needed in an enterprise environment or falls outside the scope of RHEL. Red Hat maintains and supports the packages in RHEL far longer than the lifespan of a Fedora release, and we select the software we feel is necessary for our customers to be successful in deploying and using RHEL to run their workloads.

          But Fedora users sometimes find that they miss this or that application that’s available in Fedora but not through RHEL. So, EPEL was formed. Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) is a special interest group (SIG) from the Fedora Project that provides a set of additional packages for RHEL (and CentOS, and others) from the Fedora sources.

          To get a package into EPEL, it has to be in Fedora first. EPEL follows the Fedora Packaging Guidelines to ensure successful integration, and only includes free and open source software that isn’t patent encumbered. So you won’t find any proprietary software in EPEL or things like multimedia codecs that are restricted by patents, even if software enabling them is under an open source license.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Destination Linux 148 – Is Linux Slower?, Google Tracking Your Health Records, Bytecode Alliance

        Topics covered in this episode:

        Mozilla, Intel, fastly, and Red Hat Form the Bytecode Alliance
        Kdenlive 19.08.3 Released
        Volla Phone Kickstarter
        Google Project Nightingale
        If Linux Feels Slower, That’s Because It Is
        Shovel Knight: King of Cards and Shovel Knight Showdown
        Helvetii Coming To Linux

      • 2019-11-21 | Linux Headlines

        Google joins the bare-metal cloud club, Jetpack gets an important security patch, Fedora election voting begins, and Codefresh has some clarifications about its new open source fund.

      • Energy Drinks, Teen Titans GO!, Bad Superheroes, and Don Cherry

        Marcel Gagne and Evan Leibovitch riff on Linux, Open Source, computers, technology, privacy, the digital economy, movies, video games, the Internet, security, breakfast cereal, and anything else related to the modern, open world.

      • Is Vegan TV Art? | User Error 79

        Disposing of hard drives, what a TV really is, and the veganism of software.

        Plus the serious business of coffee, why modern music sucks, and making Popey feel bad.

        00:00:48 With better technology, why don’t we necessarily see better art?
        00:09:03 Is Linux (or FOSS) the vegan option within software?
        00:13:43 Do you own a TV?
        00:20:24 How do you prepare your coffee?
        00:25:05 How do you forgive yourself?
        00:32:19 How do you dispose of your old hard drives for security purposes?

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.3.12

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.3.12 kernel.

        All users of the 5.3 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.3.y git tree can be found at:

        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.3.y

        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

        https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s…

      • Linux 4.19.85
      • Linux 4.14.155
      • Graphics Stack

        • Intel’s Open-Source Gallium3D Driver Achieves OpenGL 4.6 Conformance

          The Khronos Group has officially confirmed Intel’s new “Iris” Gallium3D driver as being a conformant OpenGL 4.6 implementation.

          The Khronos Group has awarded the Intel Iris Gallium3D driver as being a conformant OpenGL 4.6 implementation in successfully passing all of the necessary OpenGL CTS test cases. As we’ve been saying, the Intel Gallium3D driver is in great shape with Mesa 19.3 and these Khronos conformance results confirm that it’s successfully behaving in-line with their specification.

    • Benchmarks

      • PHP 7.4 Performance Benchmarks Show A Nice Improvement – But PHP 8.0-dev Is Running Even Faster

        PHP 7.4 is due to be released next week as the annual major iteration to PHP7. Like we have seen through the PHP7 releases, while new features continue to be tacked on for this popular web-based programming language the performance has continued evolving. Here are the latest benchmarks of PHP 5.6 through PHP 7.4 while also looking at the PHP 8.0-dev performance that is in development on Git master.

        Outside of the performance realm, PHP 7.4 is another exciting update thanks to finally introducing FFI support. The Foreign Function Interface for PHP allows accessing C structs/functions/variables from native PHP code for making it easier to interact with C libraries from PHP.

        In addition to the headlining FFI support of PHP 7.4, this next release has a preload function to preload functions/classes to speed-up the loading of scripts by 30~50%, language alterations, TLS 1.3 support in PHP OpenSSL streams, and a variety of other smaller additions.

      • A Look At The GCC Compiler Tuning Performance Impact For Intel Ice Lake

        For those wondering if it’s worthwhile for performance recompiling your key Linux binaries with the microarchitecture instruction set extensions and tuning for Ice Lake, here are some GCC compiler benchmarks looking at that impact for the Core i7 1065G7 on the Dell XPS 7390.

        In particular, this article is looking at the affect on generated benchmark binaries when built under the following CFLAGS/CXXFLAGS configurations:

        -O3 -march=skylake – Just optimizing for conventional Skylake processors.

        -O3 -march=skylake-avx512 – Optimizing for Skylake AVX-512 processors like Skylake-SP/Skylake-X. The Skylake AVX-512 enables use of the AVX512F, CLWB, AVX512VL, AVX512BW, AVX512DQ and AVX512CD instructions.

        -O3 -march=icelake-client – Optimizing for Icelake client/desktop processors. New instructions exposed here not found with Skylake/Skylake-AVX512 include AVX512VBMI, AVX512IFMA, SHA, CLWB, UMIP, RDPID, GFNI, AVX512VBMI2, AVX512VPOPCNTDQ, AVX512BITALG, AVX512VNNI, VPCLMULQDQ, and VAES. Note there is also the “icelake-server” target for future Ice Lake Xeon Scalable processors where additionally PCONFIG and WBNOINVD are flipped on.

    • Applications

      • Top 10 Best Linux Video Editing Software

        If you aspire to become a professional video editor but hate the idea of switching to a different operating system just to use video editing software, we have good news for you: Linux has many fantastic video editing software applications that let you easily edit videos right in your favorite Linux environment.

        What’s great about most Linux video editing software applications is that they tend to be free and open source, which means that anyone can peek under the hood and implement new features or fix bugs. The video editors featured in this article are loosely arranged according to their popularity, but we recommend you go through the entire list because even less popular video editors have a lot to offer.

      • The 10+ Best Linux Wallpaper Changer Software in 2019

        Every person wants a customized desktop environment based on his choice. The most important visual element of a desktop environment is its wallpaper or background. You can easily set your desired wallpaper in the Linux system. Just like Windows PC, you can even create a wallpaper slideshow. But if you want full control and more customization, you need to download an extra piece of wallpaper changer for your Linux or Ubuntu system. With these Linux wallpaper changer programs, you can download wallpapers from different sources, schedule them and customize your desktop in your style.

      • Bauh – Manage Snaps, Flatpaks and AppImages from One Application

        Snaps, Flatpaks, AppImages and your distribution’s own packages. There are way too many of them and bauh enables you to use all of them from one single app.

      • Linux Candy: CMatrix – terminal based “The Matrix”

        Who loves eye candy? Don’t be shy — you can raise both hands!!

        Linux Candy is a new series of articles covering interesting eye candy software. We’re only going to feature open-source software in this series.

        The subject of this article is CMatrix. CMatrix is an ncurses program that simulates the display from “The Matrix”, and is based on the screensaver from the movie’s website.

        If you have been living in a cave for the past few decades, you might not know The Matrix is a hugely popular 1999 American science fiction film starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, and Joe Pantoliano.

      • Blender 2.81 Released With NVIDIA RTX Optix Back-End, Intel Open Image Denoise Support

        Blender 2.81 features some exciting changes like a NVIDIA OptiX back-end for use on RTX/Turing GPUs for faster rendering performance than the CUDA/OpenCL back-ends, Intel Open Image Denoise support, adaptive subdivision support for Cycles, new Sculpt tools, outliner improvements, a better grease pencil tool, and a lot more.

      • Proprietary

        • Ransomware Bites 400 Veterinary Hospitals [iophk: Windows TCO]

          The source told KrebsOnSecurity that NVA suffered a separate ransomware infestation earlier this summer that also involved Ryuk, and they expressed concern that the first incident may not have been fully remediated — potentially letting the attackers maintain a foothold within the organization.

          “This is the second time this year Ryuk struck NVA,” the source said. “The first time, NVA was rather open to all facilities about what happened. This time, however, they are simply referring to it as a ‘system outage.’”

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Half-Life: Alyx Releasing In March 2020 With Linux Support

        Half-Life: Alyx is powered by SteamVR on Valve’s Source Engine 2. On Linux that means Vulkan rendering. Half-Life: Alyx will work with all PC-based VR headsets.

        More details on Half-Life: Alyx at Half-Life.com and the Steam page. It’s been close to a year since last pulling out the HTC Vive, so at least this will make for a fun and fresh Linux VR look next year.

      • Set between Half-Life and Half-Life 2, Valve have now properly announced Half-Life: Alyx (updated)

        Half-Life: Alyx, the first Half-Life title in far too long has now been officially revealed with the Steam store page for it now available and you can also pre-purchase. However, their email clearly stated that Half-Life: Alyx will be “Free for owners of the Valve Index VR headset”.

        This is a title built from the ground up for Virtual Reality, so only those with a VR kit will be able to play. Valve said it has “all of the hallmarks of a classic Half-Life game” including exploration, puzzle solving, visceral combat and a story that connects it all together with the Half-Life universe. Valve also said it will be compatible with “all PC-based VR headsets”, it’s powered by their own Source 2 game engine and it will release in March 2020.

      • Humble are giving away Serial Cleaner free for their Fall Sale now live

        You have around 72 hours to grab Serial Cleaner completely free, along with the start of the Humble Store Fall Sale.

        As always, there’s tons of titles on sale. Plenty of indie games, plus multiple publishers have all put their games up with big discounts on them too.

      • BATTLETECH Heavy Metal has firmly stomped its way to release

        BATTLETECH Heavy Metal, the latest expansion to the turn-based strategy game that has you fight with massive lumbering ‘mechs is out now.

        We’ve been told this is the definitive expansion, so it’s likely to be the last as Harebrained Schemes move onto their next game. Quite an exciting expansion though and the naming of the expansion is very on point, since it comes with a bunch of classic ‘mech designs from the original ​BATTLETECH​ board game plus a new ‘mech designed just for Heavy Metal.

      • Parkitect – Taste of Adventure is out expanding your theme park building possibilities

        Possibly one of the most relaxing and engrossing games release last year, Parkitect just expanded with a free update and a big Parkitect – Taste of Adventure DLC.

      • Warlords I + II given the DOSBox and DRM-free treatment over on GOG

        Sometimes a lot of newer strategy games can be a bit much, perhaps a little retro flavour is in order? Warlords I + II, two strategy titles from the 90′s are now on GOG.

        Both of them have been nicely packaged up for Linux gamers so you can just buy them both together, install and then it will run with a pre-configured DOSBox with no hassle. That’s the way I like my retro gaming to be, a solid bit of nostalgia without some headaches.

      • How to Show FPS Counter in Linux Games

        Linux gaming got a major push when Valve announced Linux support for Steam client and their games in 2012. Since then, many AAA and indie games have made their way to Linux and the number of users who game on Linux have increased considerably.
        With the growth of Linux gaming, many users started to look for proper ways to display “frames per second” (FPS) counter as an overlay on running Linux games. An FPS counter helps in tweaking performance of running games as well as in benchmarking a PC’s overall ability to play games at different resolutions.

        Unfortunately there is no single unified way to display FPS counter in all Linux games that is independent of underlying technologies a game is running upon. Different renderers and APIs have different ways to display FPS counter. This guide will explain various methods that can be used to display an FPS counter in Linux games.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Snapcraft secret sauce: KDE neon extension

          Simplicity is the magic ingredient in any product design. For members of the KDE community, snap development has become that much simpler, thanks to the recent introduction of the KDE neon extension.

          Last year, we talked about the KDE build and content snaps, which can greatly speed the build of KDE application snaps and save disk space. The extension takes this effort one step farther, and allows for faster, smoother integration of snaps into the Linux desktop. While there are no shortcuts in life, you can rely on a passionate community of skilled techies to make the journey easier.

        • KDE e.V. board meeting in Berlin

          Just back from Barcelona – with a brief pause at home for some mathematical cabaret, a board meeting for my local badminton club, music lessons and an afternoon of volunteering at a local charity second-hand shop – and I’m off to Berlin again.

          The train is not particularly fast, but it’s a relatively predictable six hours from here to HBf and I do have some “home” feeling in Berlin. At least I have a favorite chocolate place. In Berlin we’re combining a KDE e.V. board meeting with the KDE Frameworks 6 sprint. Both events are basically “planning for the future” on an organizational and technical level.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Screencasting with OBS Studio on Wayland

          For the past few months, I’ve been doing live coding sessions on YouTube showing how GNOME development goes. Usually it’s a pair of sessions per week, one in Brazilian Portuguese so that my beloved community can enjoy GNOME in their native language; and one in English, to give other people at least a chance to follow development as well.

          We are quite lucky to have OBS Studio available for screencasting and streaming, as it makes our lives a lot easier. It’s really a fantastic application. I learned about it while browsing Flathub, and it’s what actually motivated me to start streaming in the first place. However, I have to switch to X11 in order to use it, since the GNOME screencast plugin never really worked for me.

          This is annoying since Mutter supports screencasting for years now, and I really want to showcase the latest and greatest while streaming. We’re still not using the appropriate APIs and methods to screencast, which doesn’t set a high standard on the community.

          So I decided to get my hands dirty, bite the bullet, and fix this situation. And so was born the obs-xdg-portal plugin for OBS Studio! The plugin uses the standard ScreenCast portal, which means it should work inside and outside the Flatpak sandbox, in Wayland and X11, and on GNOME and KDE (and perhaps others?).

        • Some GNOME / LAS / Wikimedia love

          About LAS 2019:

          Linux App Summit
          Linux App Summit 2019

          And about the previous LAS format:

          Libre Application Summit
          Libre Application Summit 2018

        • Ismael Olea: Linux Applications Summit 2019 activity

          And finally, I helped the local team with some minor tasks like moving items and so.

          I want to congratulate all the organization team and specially the local team for the results and the love they have put in the event. The results have been excellent and this is another strong step for the interweaved relations between opensource development communities sharing very near goals.

          My participation at the conference has been sponsored by the GNOME Foundation. Thanks very much for their support.

    • Distributions

      • Zorin OS 15 Lite Linux distro can rejuvenate your aging Windows PC

        A common complaint I hear from friends and family is their Windows PC is slow and barely usable. They explain that the computer is old and they think they may need a new one. I immediately ask them what they use the PC for, and almost always, they spend most of the time in a web browser. To save them money, I often suggest installing a lightweight Linux-based operating system. Why buy new hardware if you don’t need it? A better operating system can often make the computer run fast again.

        Today, you can download an excellent such Linux-based operating system. Called “Zorin OS 15 Lite,” it is not only lightweight, but thanks to the Xfce desktop environment and integrated Flatpak support, it should be quite familiar to those switching from Windows. In fact, the developers are intentionally targeting existing Windows 7 users, as Microsoft’s operating system will be unsupported beginning January 2020. Zorin OS 15 Lite, in comparison, is based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and supported until 2023! It even comes with the very modern Linux kernel 5.0.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Sourcetrail is now free and open-source

        Sourcetrail is very useful when you try to study/navigate large C++ codebases like @firebirdsql / @LibreOffice

      • Open-Source Intel TXT Support Published For Coreboot

        Thanks to work done by 9elements Cyber Security for an unnamed client, there is now working open-source Intel TXT support for Coreboot with the patches under review for upstream inclusion.

        This is the culmination of work that started months ago for getting Intel Trusted Execution Technology working with Coreboot. Intel TXT offers authenticity capabilities for the platform, extending the trust to the operating system, and other security features built around TPM and crypto functionality.

      • Events

        • Accepted stands

          New this year is that some stands will switch between Saturday and Sunday, so we can give more projects the opportunity to present themselves to the community.

      • Linux Foundation

        • Linux Foundation Training Announces a Free Online Course-Introduction to Hyperledger Sovereign Identity Blockchain Solutions: Indy, Aries & Ursa

          The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced enrollment is now open for a new, free, course – Introduction to Hyperledger Sovereign Identity Blockchain Solutions: Indy, Aries & Ursa. This course is offered through edX, the trusted platform for learning.

          To the surprise of absolutely no one, trust is broken on the Internet. Any identity-related data available online can be subject to theft. Breach Level Index says that over 5,880,000 records are stolen every day. The 2019 MidYear QuickView Data Breach Report shows that reported breaches in the first half of 2019 were up 54% compared to midyear 2018 (over 4.1 billion records exposed), with web being the number one breach type for records exposed, and hacking being the number one breach type for incidents. Wherever you go online, the advice is the same–make sure you understand what is behind each button before you click it.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

        • Is the future of farming under water?

          “[The] first thing we did was open source our model. In the new economy, we make things accessible to everybody. Anybody with 20 acres and a boat and $30,000 can start their farm and be up and growing the first year. Our farms require minimal capital costs and minimal skill. The potential of replication is tremendous: A network of small ocean farms about the size of Washington State could feed the world and, as bio-fuel, replace all the oil in the United States, while simultaneously capturing five times the amount of carbon as land-based plants,” Smith predicts.

          The 3D ocean farming model consists of an underwater rope scaffolding system, anchors on the floor, and ropes up to the surface as well as horizontal ropes. Farmers grow their crops within this system, such as kelp (“the soy of the sea”). Mussels, scallops, and oysters are grown on the floor, and plants are grown in the mud.

          GreenWave is disseminating its model for restorative 3D ocean farms through open source manuals, farmer training programs, and an online collaboration platform to create a network of restorative ocean farming communities. Outside of ongoing replication along the waters of Long Island Sound, 3D ocean farmers anywhere in the world will be able to select appropriate native species to restore productive ecosystems along the coast, as reported by the Buckminster Fuller Insititute.

        • Seeds Or Code?

          I’d like to congratulate Microsoft on a truly excellent PR stunt, drawing attention to two important topics about which I’ve been writing for a long time, the cultural significance of open source software, and the need for digital preservation. Ashlee Vance provides the channel to publicize the stunt in Open Source Code Will Survive the Apocalypse in an Arctic Cave. In summary, near Longyearbyen on Spitzbergen is: [...]

        • What Is DeepMind? A Peek into the World’s Leading Neural Network

          Deep learning refers to an emerging area of machine learning that uses artificial neural networks to make decisions on our behalf as they are more reliable than human decisions. It consists of many interrelated fields including natural language processing (NLP), cognitive computing, recommender systems, board game programs, and image recognition.

          Ever since its takeover by Google, DeepMind has become the world’s foremost deep learning neural network. Let’s look at the story behind the AI engine, its ongoing applications and whether you should have concerns about privacy in the smart devices where it’s used.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Hardware/Modding

          • Get started with… Arduino?

            Yes, you read that title right, and no, you haven’t accidentally stumbled upon the Arduino Foundation’s website. Today, we’re pleased to announce a new addition to the Raspberry Pi Press family: Get Started with Arduino, a complete how-to guide to help you get hands on with the other pocket-sized board.

          • Exploring Zyxel GS1900 firmware with Ghidra

            Earlier this year the NSA released Ghidra, a reverse engineering suite with support for a large number of CPU/MCU instruction sets. While I have some experience with Hopper and radare2 I wanted to play with Ghidra to poke around the firmware for my Zyxel GS1900-8 switch which runs on a 32-bit MIPS CPU. All in all this has turned out to be an interesting exploration of both Ghidra and the GS1900-8-2.40(AAHH.2)C0.bix firmware image.

            Initially I wanted to write about poking around the firmware image and showing how one can use Ghidra to explore unknown binaries, but whilst looking around some libraries that are used by this switch I realised there is actually an interesting vulnerability to write about.

      • Programming/Development

        • Python Anywhere: System update on 21 November 2019

          This morning’s system update went smoothly; some websites did take a bit longer than we expected to start up afterwards, but all is well now.

          There are two big new features that we have introduced which are going through some final post-deploy tests before they go live — a new system image (called fishnchips) to support Python 3.8 and to add on a number of extra OS packages that people have been asking us for, and an update to our virtualization system that will fix a number of problems with specific programs. We’ll be posting more about those when they’re ready to go live.

        • PyCharm 2019.3 Release Candidate

          The release of PyCharm 2019.3 is right around the corner and we’re excited to announce we now have available a release candidate version. Check it out by downloading it from our website!

        • #11 Ways How To Make Home Education More Effective

          As you can see, in order to get things done, you have to actually start doing something and be creative at that. We’ve presented those points that we believe can be the most beneficial when attempting home education. But these are more like preferable advice rather than strict rules to success. Find something that suits you and work around it. We believe that anyone with enough desire to try can achieve great things!

        • Punch 2.0.0 is out

          This is the latest release of the project that I started to replace bumpversion. Update your version while having a drink!

          Punch is a configurable version updater, and you can use to automate the management of your project’s version number.

        • Navigating Python Code with Wing Pro 7 (part 2 of 3)

          Last week we looked at goto-definition, find uses, and project-wide search as tools for navigating Python code in Wing 7. This time, we’ll take a look at the code indices that Wing provides.

        • Multi-Value All The Wasm!

          There are a few scenarios where compilers are forced to jump through hoops when producing multiple stack values for core Wasm. Workarounds include introducing temporary local variables, and using local.get and local.set instructions, because the arity restrictions on blocks mean that the values cannot be left on the stack.

          Consider a scenario where we are computing two stack values: the pointer to a string in linear memory, and its length. Furthermore, imagine we are choosing between two different strings (which therefore have different pointer-and-length pairs) based on some condition. But whichever string we choose, we’re going to process the string in the same fashion, so we just want to push the pointer-and-length pair for our chosen string onto the stack, and control flow can join afterwards.

        • Python and shell tools

          I’m not a pythonista, and what little I know about Python for data work amounts to a few published recipes. Out of curiosity, I sometimes re-do those recipes with the GNU/Linux tools I use every day. Below are three such re-doings from Python 2.7 (default on my Debian 10 system, but soon to reach end-of-life).

          Please note that this post isn’t meant to be a “which is best?” contest between Python and shell tools. Each world of commands has its pro’s and con’s, and Python users have access to a large number of general and specialised data-processing tools. Personally, I like the versatility of shell tools and command chains, and I like AWK’s speed and flexible syntax (as readers of this blog will know).

        • KDevelop – possibly new release coordinator

          After many days and weeks of thinking and waiting for better person to appear (nobody appeared) I decided to take the initiative (it took a lot) and try my luck at becoming new KDevelop release coordinator.

          My reasoning as I mentioned in my mail is that if there was someone better for the job the position would be filled by now. And I wish for KDevelop to be a healthy project which can rival those monsters like MSVS, NetBeans, Eclipse, Atom, MSVC…

        • Modernizing Java to keep pace in a cloud-native world

          Java is no spring chicken and some are even referring to it as a “vintage language”. Despite its popularity, there are some complaints about it. In our new cloud-native world, why does Java need to evolve? In order to evolve to keep up with modern, cloud-native apps, Java needs to keep all of what makes it so dependable, while also being able to function in new app environments.
          Don’t worry, you are not the only one who feels old when you hear Java being described as a “vintage” programming language. While Java has been around since 1995, it is certainly not ready to retire (or rather, be retired), and continues to rank among the top languages TIOBE index. In fact, no other language has been so popular for so long.

          However, it is not without its issues, including sometimes being too clunky to keep up with some of the newer programming languages, not agile and flexible enough to work in this new world of containers, and not really relevant in applications that are not coded to be Java first. While they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, you can rethink how it performs what they already know.

      • Standards/Consortia

        • Choosing the correct representation for storing Dates and Times

          There are multiple ways of representing the same moment in time. Each representation can store one or more distinct pieces of information. The more information we have, the wider we can use the DateTime unit. In the example of tracking package delivery times, we want to know two different things: the local date and time, as well as the absolute UTC date and time.

        • Opinion: Blocking the Disabled on the Web Means Blocking Innovation

          Without the inspiration and innovation of two disabled individuals, the digital world likely wouldn’t be what it is today. Yet that same world so summarily excludes disabled individuals today that we’re eliminating the very people we will need to solve the web’s future problems.

          Since the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990, our nation has worked to accommodate the needs of the disabled. Because of this, almost one in five disabled adults are now employed. But equal access has been ignored in the digital world. Almost 98 percent of the homepages of the top million websites are to some degree inaccessible today.

  • Leftovers

    • Prince Andrew stepping back: What does it mean for the royal family?

      Will this be enough to quell the furies railing against Andrew in the wake of his car-wreck BBC interview in which he attempted to explain why he remained friends with Epstein long after Epstein pleaded guilty to sex crimes in Florida in 2008?

      And will Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the woman who says she was forced by Epstein to have sex with Andrew when she was 17, be satisfied with Andrew’s disappearance from his public royal life?

    • Health/Nutrition

      • ‘Majority of Americans Agree With Me and Bernie’: Michael Moore Makes Powerful Case for Medicare for All on Post-Debate MSNBC Panel

        “The healthcare industry has caused more pain and harm and anxiety for the American people than practically any other industry, and we should never side with candidates that say we’re going to keep this private profit-making thing going.”

      • Most Adolescents Do Not Exercise Enough to Stay Healthy, Study Finds

        A new report finds most adolescents around the world do not get enough physical activity on a daily basis to be healthy and to stay healthy as adults. This World Health Organization study presents the first-ever global estimates of insufficient physical activity among adolescents ages 11 to 17.

        Data for this study was collected from 1.6 million adolescents across 146 countries. It finds girls were less active than boys in all but four countries —Tonga, Samoa, Afghanistan and Zambia.

        The report says the biggest gender gaps are seen in the United States and Ireland where 15 percent more girls than boys were physically inactive. The World Health Organization recommends adolescents do moderate or vigorous exercises for one hour every day of the week to stay fit.

      • Stocks for marijuana companies jump after House committee passes legalization bill

        Shares of companies connected to the marijuana industry soared Thursday following a House Committee’s vote Wednesday to pass a bill that effectively legalizes marijuana on a federal level.

      • Pot stocks soar as U.S. House committee clears bill on federal weed legalization

        The latest bill, which has more than 50 co-sponsors, enables states to set their own policies while allowing to expunge federal marijuana convictions and arrests.

        Additionally, the bill will authorize a 5% federal sales tax on marijuana products that are manufactured in or imported into the United States.

      • It’s Our Choice: Medicare for All, or Endless War?

        If you’re following the presidential race, you’ve heard plenty of sniping about Medicare for All and whether we can afford it. But when it comes to endless war or endless profits for Pentagon contractors, we’re told we simply must afford it—no questions asked.Where can we find it? In a giant pot of money that’s already rampant with waste and abuse: the Pentagon. | By Lindsay

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availabilitiy)

      • Security updates for Thursday

        Security updates have been issued by Fedora (oniguruma and thunderbird-enigmail), openSUSE (chromium, ghostscript, and slurm), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (kpatch-patch), Slackware (bind), SUSE (python-ecdsa), and Ubuntu (bind9 and mariadb).

      • Princesses make terrible passwords

        When the Disney+ streaming service rolled out, millions of people flocked to set up accounts. And within a week, thousands of poor unfortunate souls reported that their Disney passwords were hacked. According to media reports, some Disney+ account holders have lost their account access while hackers have sold their logins online.

        [...]
        When setting up accounts, Lockwise can help you select something complex and unique that you never would have thought of on your own. Then you can save that tricky password straight into your browser and use it directly from the app, secured behind a master password or fingerprint login protected in the most delightful way for when you need it.

        We can’t guarantee that various services and platforms you use won’t ever be compromised, but we can help you create complex unique passwords to minimize your exposure should it occur. And with Firefox Monitor, we can alert you when breaches happen.

      • Two ways Firefox protects your holiday shopping

        We’re entering another holiday shopping season, and while you’re browsing around on the internet looking for thoughtful presents for friends and loved ones, it’s also a good time to give yourself the gift of privacy. Your research and shopping behavior has the potential to be a huge gift to the advertisers collecting data about your habits. If you’re not using Firefox, every weird search for every weird gift could get packaged up in a marketplace where companies and advertisers will be buying, selling and trading this data about you in their own holiday shopping bonanza. Using Firefox is the preventative measure you need during the holiday season (but really anytime you’re shopping online) to protect you from two potential problems…

      • Linux Webmin Servers Under Attack by Roboto P2P Botnet

        A newly-discovered peer-to-peer (P2P) botnet has been found targeting a remote code execution vulnerability in Linux Webmin servers.

        Vulnerable Linux Webmin servers are under active attack by a newly-discovered peer-to-peer (P2P) botnet, dubbed Roboto by researchers.

      • Monero attackers used Linux, Windows binaries to steal currency: Report

        On 19 November, a Reddit user warned the Monero community about CLI binaries being compromised. Soon after it was brought to light, the issue escalated and the official Monero website acknowledged having been hacked. The hack was intended to deliver currency-stealing malware to users who were downloading wallet software, according to a blog released by officials.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Kremlin says mercenary torture and beheading of Syrian deserter won’t damage Russia’s reputation

        Ekho Moskvy: Have you seen the report that includes a video from Syria taken in 2017 where a group of people — one of whom, as Novaya Gazeta found, is a Russian citizen — brutally kill and then dismember the body of a Syrian servicemember?

      • ‘Years From Now, It’ll Be Clear to Everyone There Was a Coup in Bolivia’
      • In Two-Hour 2020 Democratic Debate, No Mention of Deadly Trump-Endorsed Military Coup in Bolivia

        Sen. Bernie Sanders was the only presidential candidate on the debate stage who has condemned the coup that ousted Bolivia’s elected socialist President Evo Morales.

      • China ready to ‘fight back’ over US Hong Kong Bill

        The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act passed the House of Representatives by 417 to 1 on Wednesday, one day after the Senate unanimously passed the measure.

        The Bill requires the US president to annually review the favourable trade status that Washington grants to Hong Kong, and threatens to revoke it if the semi-autonomous Chinese territory’s freedoms are quashed.

      • China Threatens ‘Profound Disaster’ for Taiwan After Vice Presidential Candidate’s Pro-Independence Comments

        But China does not consider Taiwan to be an independent nation, and under its “One China” policy has vowed to bring the island back under Beijing’s control, whether by diplomatic or military means.

        Beijing is deeply sensitive to any sentiment from Taiwan pushing for formal independence. Tsai and Lai’s Democratic Progressive Party has traditionally supported formalizing Taiwanese autonomy from the mainland, though Tsai has said she is not currently pushing to change the current balance.

      • Ghost ships, crop circles, and soft gold: A GPS mystery in Shanghai

        Now, new research and previously unseen data show that the Manukai, and thousands of other vessels in Shanghai over the last year, are falling victim to a mysterious new weapon that is able to spoof GPS systems in a way never seen before.

        Nobody knows who is behind this spoofing, or what its ultimate purpose might be. These ships could be unwilling test subjects for a sophisticated electronic warfare system, or collateral damage in a conflict between environmental criminals and the Chinese state that has already claimed dozens of ships and lives. But one thing is for certain: there is an invisible electronic war over the future of navigation in Shanghai, and GPS is losing.

      • Chicago Man Charged with Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIS

        Osadzinski is a U.S. citizen who resides in Chicago. The complaint alleges that Osadzinski designed a process that uses a computer script to make ISIS propaganda more conveniently accessed and disseminated by users on a social media platform. Osadzinski earlier this year shared his script – and instructions for how to use it – with individuals whom he believed to be ISIS supporters and members of pro-ISIS media organizations, the complaint states. Unbeknownst to Osadzinski, the individuals were actually covert FBI employees and a person confidentially working with law enforcement, according to the complaint.

        [...]

        The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The material support charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

      • Accused bike-path terrorist Sayfullo Saipov tells judge he only answers to Allah

        The comments followed a hearing regarding jury selection ahead of the alleged ISIS militant’s trial for driving a truck down a crowded bike path on Halloween 2017, killing eight people.

    • Environment

      • Arctic’s oldest ice shows signs of change

        There’s change afoot even where scientists least expect it, among the Arctic’s oldest ice. If it goes, so does the wildlife.

      • Energy

        • Stanford Study Says Renewable Power Eliminates Argument for Using Carbon Capture with Fossil Fuels

          Jacobson’s study, published last month in the peer-reviewed journal Energy and Environmental Science, concludes that carbon capture technologies are inefficient at pulling out carbon, from a climate perspective, and often increase local air pollution from the power required to run them, which exacerbates public health issues. Replacing a coal plant with wind turbines, on the other hand, always decreases local air pollution and doesn’t come with the associated cost of running a carbon capture system, says Jacobson.

        • Strike for Sunshine

          Ten years later, decarbonization will have to happen much faster. The transition could be brutal for workers in the fossil fuel and related industries—but it doesn’t have to be. Climate action doesn’t have to mean lost jobs—it can mean better work for most people than what’s on offer today. Mere job training, however, isn’t going to cut it. Beyond high-quality retraining and new work in the clean-energy sector, a just transition for labor would transform work more broadly and increase the power of all workers in relation to their bosses, by offering real alternatives to bad jobs and strengthening labor’s right to organize.

          To win all this, workers themselves will have to fight for it. That means we need a long-term vision that delivers material improvements along the way, building worker power step by step.

        • Projected Fossil Fuel Production ‘Dangerously Out of Step’ With Global Climate Goals, UN Report Reveals

          “Governments are planning to produce about 50% more fossil fuels by 2030 than would be consistent with a 2°C pathway and 120% more than would be consistent with a 1.5°C pathway.”

    • Finance

      • Prosecutors Investigating the Trump Organization Zero In on Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg

        Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s criminal investigation of the Trump Organization is scrutinizing the actions of one of the president’s oldest and most trusted deputies, ProPublica has learned.

        The focus on Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, a 72-year-old accountant now running the business with Trump’s two adult sons, stems from his involvement in arranging a payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump (which Trump has denied).

      • IMF: Delay Vote on Equatorial Guinea Loan

        The International Monetary Fund’s Executive Board should delay a planned December 2019 vote on a $280 million loan agreement with Equatorial Guinea, eight human rights and good governance organizations and eight prominent experts said today in a letter to the IMF Executive Board. The program preceding the loan agreement and planned conditions for the loan are insufficient to address deep-rooted rights violations, corruption, and related impunity in Equatorial Guinea in line with IMF requirements.

      • Nonprofit Workers Join the Movement to Unionize

        The past few years have seen a rash of union victories in supposedly white-collar workplaces, from prestige publications to art museums to nonprofit think tanks and service organizations.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Alexander Vindman Now Threatens Bogus SLAPP Suit Against Fox News & Laura Ingraham

        SLAPP suits and SLAPP threats are flying back and forth these days. The latest is that Lt. Col. Alex Vindman, who is a key player in the impeachment hearings, is threatening a highly questionable defamation lawsuit against Fox News and Laura Ingraham, because she had on a guest who suggested Vindman was guilty of espionage (he’s not). The threat letter was sent by David Pressman, a lawyer who works for Boies Schiller Flexner, a law firm which has a history of sending around bogus threat letters to the media for doing reporting.

      • Billionaires and Corporations Love Anti-SLAPP Laws, Why Does John Oliver?

        John Oliver recently dedicated his HBO show to why we need a federal anti-SLAPP law. Like most of his stuff, the episode was witty and engaging. It was also sloppy, thoughtless and poorly researched. From now on, I’ll wonder whether I can trust anything he says.

      • Former Devin Nunes’ Aide Uses Nunes’ Lawyer To File SLAPP Suit Against Politico

        Steven Biss is the lawyer who filed Devin Nunes’ SLAPP suit against a satirical cow on Twitter (and against Twitter and political consultant Liz Mair), as well as Nunes’ various other lawsuits against a variety of journalists and critics.

      • Lawyer With Neo-Nazi Ties Loses Defamation Lawsuit Against SPLC For Calling Him A Neo-Nazi

        People keep suing the Southern Poverty Law Center and they just keep losing. More specifically, certain types of people keep suing the SPLC and losing. The type suing most frequently are individuals with bigoted beliefs who aren’t too thrilled the SPLC considers them to be bigots.

      • Iran’s Internet Mostly Down into 6th Day, With Slight Easing of Access in South [iophk: tweets in place of real sources, no fact checking :( ]

        In a series of Thursday tweets, London-based internet monitoring group NetBlocks said Iran’s almost-total internet shutdown began to ease after 113 hours, with the national connectivity rate rising from 5% to 10%, and later to 15% by early Friday local time. Connectivity had plummeted to about 5% late Saturday and mostly remained at that level until Thursday afternoon.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • State Duma prohibits sales of new devices without pre-installed Russian-made apps

        Russia’s State Duma has cast a final round of voting in favor of a new law that prohibits the sale of personal devices unless those devices have Russian-made software pre-installed.

      • Congress Just Temporarily Extended the Government’s Spying Powers
      • Microsoft is bringing Gmail accounts to Outlook on the web

        The integration works by tethering a Google account to an Outlook account. Once that’s done, all your mail, calendar entries, heck, even your Google Docs will start to appear.

        Entries are kept separate in matching inboxes/calendars, so it’s easy to tell what came from where. Google Drive documents can’t be managed from within Outlook, but once access is granted, you’ll be able to select and attach individual files to your mail – regardless of whether you’re using your Outlook or Gmail account.

      • Uber Is Recording Some Riders’ Trips, Raising Privacy Worries

        The increased surveillance of rides at Uber coincides with a spike in demand from U.S. and Canadian regulators and law enforcement officials for companies to share their customers’ information. The number of requests from U.S. state and federal law enforcement agencies increased to 3,825 in 2018, up 30% from the year before, according to Uber’s transparency report released Wednesday.

      • Bandit opens a ‘mobile-only’ coffee shop in New York

        If you wander into the Bandit coffee shop in Midtown New York, you won’t be able to just walk up to the counter and order something. Instead, you’ll need to download a mobile app.

      • Donald Trump had undisclosed dinner with Mark Zuckerberg and Peter Thiel at White House, Facebook confirms

        Facebook today confirmed what has long been rumored: Donald Trump hosted a dinner which was not disclosed to the public in October 2019 with Mark Zuckerberg and Peter Thiel, at the White House.

        The secret White House dinner with Trump, Thiel, and Zuckerberg happened around the time when Zuck testified before Congress about the Libra cryptocurrency project, which failed.

      • Trump hosted Zuckerberg for undisclosed dinner at the White House in October

        A source familiar with the dinner told NBC News that Thiel was also present. It is unclear why the meeting was not made public or what Trump, Zuckerberg and Thiel discussed.

        The White House declined to comment.

        The dinner was the second meeting between Zuckerberg and Trump in a month. Zuckerberg also met with the president in the Oval Office during a September visit to the capital.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Talvivaara bosses’ conviction upheld on appeal

        Terraframe was also at the centre of a press freedom scandal in December 2016 when then Prime Minister Juha Sipilä sent a number of emails to Yle journalists complaining about the broadcaster’s reporting on his reported on his relatives’ links to the state-supported company.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • AT&T Exec Insists That No Broadband Company Is Violating Net Neutrality Even Though AT&T Is Absolutely Violating Net Neutrality

        For a couple of years now, AT&T has been trampling net neutrality without much of anybody giving a damn. Like many ISPs eager to take full advantage of limited US broadband competition, AT&T imposes arbitrary and unnecessary usage caps and overage fees on its broadband lines. If you’re an AT&T broadband customer who uses more than 150 GB (DSL) to 1 terabyte (fiber) monthly, you’ll suddenly face having to pay $10 per each additional 50 gigabytes consumed. Again to be clear: there’s no technical reason for these limits to exist outside of nickel-and-diming captive customers.

    • Monopolies

      • JMLS IP Conference (Report 1): Antitrust, IP, data and FRAND – time for a retool?

        Chief Judge Wood explained that, in her view, there are reforms that could be helpful to rejuvenate the intersection between IP and Antitrust law, particularly on the procedural side, but also in some substantive respects. The question to be asked is: has the right balance been struck to date between intervention and restraint? To date the approach taken, whilst not being completely hands off, has been fairly cautious which begs the question as to whether that has been a mistake for 21st century industries.

        Whilst there are things that can be done to preserve competition as it is in the market, once a tight oligopoly is established, the tools for fixing that are quite limited. This is true in relation to both conventional property and IP. IP is of course a type of property; it is simply harder to define, but for the purposes of antitrust the same analysis is applied: agencies do not presume that IP creates power in the antitrust context, rather it depends on the usual criteria.

        Importantly, IP is a whole and should be considered that way. However, that is not how it is considered procedurally; where instead patents are carved off into one corner and everything else is dealt with separately. A choppy system is created as patent appeals are dealt with by the Federal Circuit, whereas anything else goes to the state Appeal Courts. This means that all types of cases that deal with patents more generally don’t go to the Federal Circuit, for example licensing disputes which end up in the regular Appeal Courts. Another lacuna is created by the fact that the statue dictates that “compulsory” counter claims for patents fall under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit, whereas “permissive” counter claims go to the regional courts.

      • Patents

        • Apple joins Intel in suing Softbank-owned Fortress for anticompetitive patent abuse through web of trollish subsidiaries

          Last month, Intel brought an antitrust ocmplaint in the Northern District of California over Softbank-owned Fortress Investment’s patent aggregation, obfuscation, and litigation tactics. Fortress’s web of hyperaggressive patent assertion entities includes a huge and growing number of legal entities, some of whom have such names as Uniloc (which sued Apple 25 times and Google even 35 times), VLSI, DSS, Inventergy (which threatened an alleged infringer with an “IP bloodbath”), IXI, Seven Networks, and KIP CR (the CR in that name stands for “crossroads”).

          [...]

          The amounts that some Fortress trolls are seeking from Apple are shocking. For an example, “VLSI claims up to $7.1 billion in connection with eight patents in the California Action and multiple billions of dollars in damages in the Delaware I Action.” And that’s just a small and limited part of the overall litigation activity by Fortress-controlled companies against Apple. Another group of Fortress entities, Uniloc, is seeking damages from Apple in the range of $2.6 billion to %5.1 billion from only 4 (!) of the 25 aforementioned Uniloc v. Apple cases as you can see on pages 30 and 31 of the complaint. According to Apple, “Uniloc “simply adopted the amounts that Apple sought from Samsung in litigation for Apple’s patents.” What Apple means is what Uniloc wants on a per-unit basis. I’ve criticized Apple very strongly for some of its damages claims against Samsung, but even if one agreed with what Apple wanted from Samsung at the time, it just wouldn’t make sense to copy and paste an amount when it’s about completely unrelated patents.

        • Avoiding Judge Hughes

          One obvious quirk is that the petition was filed with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and not the Federal Circuit. The 5th Circuit has some good law for the patentee — having previously told Judge Hughes that “he cannot enter an order after a Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(i) dismissal.” (quoting from patentee’s brief). In Bechuck v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., 814 F.3d 287, 291 (5th Cir. 2016), Judge Hughes had similarly issued a post-dismissal order that “If Bechuck sues Advantage (ASM) for the same cause of action, he must do so before this court.” The 5th Circuit ruled that statement ineffective — rather the plaintiff’s dismissal under “Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(i) necessarily allows him to choose his forum anew.”

          By Statute, the Federal Circuit has jurisdiction over patent cases appealed from district courts. 28 U.S.C § 1295. However, the statute specifically is directed toward an “appeal from a final decision.” The statute does not indicate the proper course of appeal of mandamus actions. However, the Federal Circuit has also ruled that extraordinary writs associated with district court patent cases are also “plainly” within the court’s jurisdiction. In re Princo Corp., 478 F.3d 1345, 1351 (Fed. Cir. 2007); In re Regents of the Univ. of Cal., 964 F.2d 1128, 1130 (Fed. Cir. 1992). Although the Federal Circuit has grabbed-power, the 5th Circuit has not clearly relinquished power — in that I’m not aware of a 5th Circuit decision affirming Princo. (I have not done an exhaustive search).

      • Copyrights

        • Why Was Oracle v. Google in the Federal Circuit?

          Last week, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Google v. Oracle, preparing to review the Federal Circuit’s decision that application programming interfaces (APIs) are copyrightable and that the replication of an API to implement compatibility is not a fair use. There are numerous legal flaws with the Federal Circuit’s decisions, flaws addressed at length in the Disruptive Competition Project’s comprehensive coverage of the case, but one thing that isn’t in the case is a patent—it’s all about copyright.

          So why did the Federal Circuit, the appellate court whose jurisdiction centers largely around hearing patent cases, decide key issues of copyright?

          [...]

          It’s not impossible to fix, though. Several alternatives to the present situation come to mind.

          First, the Federal Circuit could lose jurisdiction over a case if no patent issue existed when the case was appealed. However, simply changing the law so that they would not hear such cases would incentivize plaintiffs to leave patent claims in a case during the appeal as a means of forum shopping, a counterproductive result.

          Second, the Federal Circuit could lose its exclusive jurisdiction over patent matters. This would result in some appeals being directed to the regional circuits. However, since the party that appeals would effectively be able to pick its appellate forum, we’d likely see forum shopping and races to appeal that would produce more expensive and less predictable appellate litigation. It also runs the risk of reducing the uniformity of patent law as regional circuits apply Federal Circuit law—though the alternative is having the Federal Circuit apply regional circuit law. And that uniformity has been more elusive than hoped, given the significant differences between district courts reflected in the forum shopping that went on prior to the TC Heartland decision.

          Third, we could implement a predominance test. If the predominance of the issues in a given appellate case are governed by regional law, the regional circuit would take the case; if patent law predominates, the Federal Circuit would. This would be closest to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vision of cases not being forum-shopped to the Federal Circuit if a patent claim is added in order to manipulate jurisdiction. At the same time, it would add one more issue to be litigated as part of appeals, prolonging cases, and the question of who decides predominance in contested cases would need to be resolved.

          Fourth, we could codify bifurcation of appeals. If a case has both patent and non-patent components, the Federal Circuit would hear the appeal of the patent issues and the regional circuit would take on the non-patent issues. This would increase litigation cost and complexity due to the need to have separate appeals, and potentially raises complex questions as to how to bifurcate the case when the regional and patent law questions are interdependent. It would avoid non-uniformity of patent law and misapplication of regional circuit law by the Federal Circuit. (An alternative, but similar, approach would be a certification procedure similar to that used between federal courts and some state courts, where the Federal Circuit takes the case and asks the regional circuit to certify what the appropriate rule is on an issue of state law. Despite its attraction, that approach might have Constitutional infirmities.)

          Finally, the Federal Circuit might simply be a failed experiment. Earlier commissions reviewing the question of whether to create a specialized patent court worried that specialized judges would succumb to “tunnel vision”, making the law in its area even more esoteric and arbitrary and even allowing the judges to “impose their own views of policy” rather than complying with the law. There’s some evidence that that may have happened with the Federal Circuit, resulting in its capture by pro-patent interests. Maybe it’s time to end the specialized court experiment and return patent law to generalist judges.

        • Scooter Braun Breaks Months-Long Silence, Pleads for Taylor Swift to Sit Down and Talk

          “I know this is going to be the most controversial thing I say. I don’t know where we got messed up along the way that we decided being politically correct is more important than having conflict resolution. … People are allowed to grow as human beings. They’re allowed to have conversations. They’re allowed to change their mind. They’re allowed to go from not liking to each other to liking each other, and vice versa. But you don’t find that out just yelling at each other. You find that out by showing each other respect and having a conversation.”

        • UK Man Admits to Selling £400,000 in Pirate Streaming Subscriptions

          A UK man who sold access to pirate streaming services admitted to copyright and fraud charges in court today. According to a police investigation, instigated by anti-piracy group FACT, the man sold roughly £400,000 worth of unauthorized streaming subscriptions.

        • Gears Reloaded: FBI Just Took Everything, Says Pirate IPTV Boss OMI IN A HELLCAT

          YouTube sensation and founder of ‘pirate’ IPTV Gears Reloaded ‘OMI IN A HELLCAT’ says that he’s been raided by the FBI who “took everything”, including his huge car collection. With a rumored net worth of around $50m, OMI was recently seen on YouTube apparently buying $300K of diamonds. According to him, the FBI are investigating IPTV, tax, and money laundering.

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    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 11, 2019



  18. EPO Promoting Software Patents in Countries Where These Are Illegal

    The EPO's vision of 'unitary' software patents (patents on algorithms in countries that disallow such patents, as per their national laws) won't materialise, but in the meantime a lot of Invalid Patents (IPs) are granted in the form of European Patents (EPs) and this is wrong



  19. We Support GNU and the FSF But Remain Sceptical and Occasionally Worry About an RMS-less FSF

    Richard Stallman (RMS) is not in charge of the FSF anymore (it's Stallman who created the FSF) and there's risk the decisions will be made by people who don't share Stallman's ethics or the FSF's spirit



  20. Links 11/12/2019: Huawei Lobbied by Microsoft (Because of GNU/Linux) and Microsoft Still Googlebombs Linux to Promote 'Teams'

    Links for the day



  21. Links 11/12/2019: Edge Native Working Group, CrossOver 19.0 Released

    Links for the day



  22. Instead of Fixing Bug #1 Canonical/Ubuntu Contributes to Making the Bug Even More Severe (WSL/EEE)

    Following one seminal report about Canonical financially contributing to Microsoft's EEE efforts — celebrated openly by GNU/Linux opponentsclosing bug #1 Ubuntu basically decided not that it was fixed but that it would no longer attempt to fix it (“wontfix”)



  23. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

    IRC logs for Tuesday, December 10, 2019



  24. Today's Example of Microsoft's Faked 'Love'

    “On 7 September 2017, users began noticing a message that stated “Skype for Business is now Microsoft Teams”. This was confirmed on 25 September 2017, at Microsoft’s annual Ignite conference,” according to Wikipedia



  25. Links 10/12/2019: Kubernetes 1.17, Debian Init Systems GR

    Links for the day



  26. 'Cancel Culture' as 'Thoughtpolice' Creep

    Richard Stallman spoke about an important aspect of censorship more than 2 decades ago (before “Open Source” even existed); it was published in Datamation (“Censoring My Software”) 23 years before a campaign of defamation on the Internet was used to remove him from MIT and FSF (censoring or ‘canceling’ Stallman himself)



  27. Microsoft Still Hates GNU/Linux and Mark Shuttleworth Knows It (But He is Desperate for Money)

    We're supposed to believe that a PR or image management (reputation laundering) campaign alone can turn Microsoft from GNU/Linux foe into friend/ally



  28. Actions Against EPO Corruption and Unitary Patent (UPC) Injustice/Lobbying

    The EPO is apparently going on strike again and an action against the UPC is scheduled for later this week (protest in Brussels)



  29. “The Fifth Freedom as a Meme”

    The issue with systemd (or SystemD) has provoked or at least stimulated discussions about the limits of the famous Four Freedoms



  30. IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 09, 2019

    IRC logs for Monday, December 09, 2019


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