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11.26.19

Links 26/11/2019: LibreELEC (Leia) 9.2.0 and Devuan 2.1 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 7:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • 7 great Linux gifts for the holiday season

        Does your buddy need a new PC? Well, they can simply turn any old computer into a Linux PC with a Linux DVD or USB stick. Or you could buy them a ready-to-run Linux PC. There are several Linux PC companies; among the best of these are Eight Virtues, EmperorLinux, LAC Portland, Purism, System76, and ZaReason.

        There are numerous great Linux laptops out there. One of my particular favorites is 2018′s Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition. This model is still available for $804.99.

        I haven’t tried the latest and greatest Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition, which runs Ubuntu Linux. But I’ve been using this family of high-end Linux laptops for years and they never disappoint. The XPS 13 comes with a high price-tag. The entry-level version comes with 8GBs of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and an Intel UHD chipset. It will cost you $1,139.99.

        If you want as free a laptop as you can get, check out Purism’s Librem 13 or 15. These come with practical, open-source firmware, such as the Coreboot SeaBIOS, and hardware. But these aren’t cheap. The entry-level Librem 13 with an Intel Core i7 7500U, 8GBs of RAM, and 250GBs of SSD lists for $1,399. If your friend or relation is serious about “all open-source, all the way,” these are the machines for them.

      • Another Microsoft mess as Windows 10 November 2019 Update breaks File Explorer

        When Microsoft announced that the Windows 10 November 2019 Update was going to be a rather minor release with only a few changes, many of us hoped that this would mean that its launch would be relatively problem free – but that unfortunately doesn’t seem to be the case, with users complaining that the new update is breaking File Explorer.

        File Explorer is the app you use to browse the files and folders on your PC. So pretty important, then.

        The biggest change the Windows 10 November 2019 Update brought was to update how you search File Explorer, giving you suggested files, and searching your online OneDrive account, when you use the search box to look for something.

    • Server

      • Tales From The Sysadmin: Dumped Into The Grub Command Line

        Today I have a tale of mystery, of horror, and of hope. The allure of a newer kernel and packages was too much to resist, so I found myself upgrading to Fedora 30. All the packages had downloaded, all that was left was to let DNF reboot the machine and install all the new packages. I started the process and meandered off to find a cup of coffee: black, and darker than the stain this line of work leaves on the soul. After enough time had elapsed, I returned, expecting the warming light of a newly upgraded desktop. Instead, all that greeted me was the harsh darkness of a grub command line. Something was amiss, and it was bad.

        (An aside to the reader, I had this experience on two different machines, stemming from two different root problems. One was a wayward setting, and the other an unusual permissions problem.)

        How does the fledgling Linux sysadmin recover from such a problem? The grub command line is an inscrutable mystery to the uninitiated, but once you understand the basics, it’s not terribly difficult to boot your system and try to restore the normal boot process. This depends on what has broken, of course. If the disk containing your root partition has crashed, then sorry, this article won’t help.

      • Top Kubernetes Operators advancing across the Operator Capability Model

        At KubeCon North America 2019 we highlighted what it means to deliver a mature Kubernetes Operator. A Kubernetes Operator is a method of packaging, deploying and managing a Kubernetes application. The key attribute of an Operator is the active, ongoing management of the application, including failover, backups, upgrades and autoscaling, just like a cloud service.

        These capabilities are ranked into five levels, which are used to gauge maturity. We refer to this as the Operator Capability Model, which outlines a set of possible capabilities that can be applied to an application. Of course, if your app doesn’t store stateful data, a backup might not be applicable to you but log processing or alerting might be important. The important user experience that the Operator model aims for is getting that cloud-like, self-managing experience with knowledge baked in from the experts.

      • IBM

        • Red Hat simplifies transition to open source Kafka with new service registry and HTTP bridge

          Red Hat continues to increase the features available for users looking to implement a 100% open source, event-driven architecture (EDA) through running Apache Kafka on Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The Red Hat Integration Q4 release provides new features and capabilities, including ones aimed at simplifying usage and deployment of the AMQ streams distribution of Apache Kafka.

          [...]

          In addition to the registry itself, users can leverage the included custom Kafka serializers and deserializers (SerDes). These SerDes Java classes allow Kafka applications to pull relevant schemas from the Service Registry instead of requiring the schemas to be bundled with the applications.

          Correspondingly, the registry has its own REST API to create, update, and delete artifacts as well as managing global and per-artifact rules. The registry API is compatible with another Kafka provider’s schema registry to facilitate a seamless migration to AMQ Streams as a drop-in replacement.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2019-11-25 | Linux Headlines

        The latest Linux kernel has some significant improvements, Kaspersky finds three dozen VNC flaws, Mozilla’s naughty list, and Sourcetrail goes open source.

      • Make Your Desktop Awesome | Here is Mine!

        This video goes over the Desktop I use on my daily videos and how you can optimize and change yours. I will be covering some of the basics of Linux Desktops and showing the differences between Window Managers and Desktop Environments.

      • Kubernetes and Containers 2020: Ask the Experts

        Kubernetes, as the leading container orchestration engine, is growing at a similar pace. 451 Research reports that the market for application container technologies will zoom up to $4.3 billion in 2022, up from a forecast $2.1 billion in 2019. Job openings requiring Kubernetes skills are expected to keep pace.

        To provide guidance about Kubernetes and containers, I’ll speak with two leading experts: Niraj Tolia, CEO, Co-founder, Kasten, and Sheng Liang, CEO, Co-founder, Rancher

      • Going Linux #381 · Listener Feedback

        We describe how to generate a file with your computer’s specifications. Our listeners comment on Zorin, suggest Feren, rebel against ‘the man’, rage against paying for SSL certs, and find videos. They also provide considerations for making live USB sticks, and give us a password manager review.

      • Linux 5.4, FTC vs YouTube, Android, System76, Half-Life, Kodi, Brave, MPV | This Week in Linux 88

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, Linux Kernel 5.4 was released and Google says they want the .Android kernel closer to the mainline Linux kernel. We’ll also take a look at some Legal News with the United States’ FTC vs YouTube regarding content For Kids vs Family-Friendly content.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Kernel 5.4 Released

        Linux founder, Linus Torvalds, has announced the release of kernel 5.4. Included in this latest release are a number of additions and improvements that will certainly benefit desktop linux. What are the top features? Read on.

        The most important addition to the Linux kernel 5.4 iteration is the new kernel lockdown mode. The goal of this new feature is a heightened level of security via the separation of UID 0 (also known as the root user) and the kernel. This feature includes both integrity and confidentiality modes. Integrity mode does not allow userland applications and services to modify the running kernel, while confidentiality mode does not allow the extraction of confidential information by userland applications and services.

        As for graphics? Other important new features to the Linux kernel include support for AMD Navi 12 and 14 GPUs, as well as AMD Arcturus graphic cards and the AMD Dali and 2020 APU platforms. Intel Tiger Lake hardware now gets early support and the Nouveau open source driver sees improved display color management.

      • Linux Kernel 5.4-rc8 is available for Download [Ed: This is an error. it's final now.]
      • Linux 5.3.13

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.3.13 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 4.19.86
      • Linux 4.14.156
      • Linux 4.9.203
      • Kernel Concurrency Sanitizer Set For Linux 5.5 To Uncover Data Race Conditions

        Adding to the list of changes on deck for the Linux 5.5 kernel is a new “sanitizer” for spotting data race conditions.

        The Linux kernel already has an address sanitizer, undefined behavior sanitizer, and other helpers while the newest is the kernel concurrency sanitizer. Like many of the sanitizers for the kernel and within compilers, the work comes courtesy of Google engineers.

      • Linux 5.5 Begins Sanity Checking RdRand Output Due To Buggy Processor Behavior

        The in-development Linux 5.5 kernel will begin sanity checking the RdRand instruction output for randomness on CPU boot/resume due to the recent spat of AMD CPUs that have yielded non-random RdRand output.

        Due to some AMD Jaguar and Bulldozer CPUs having buggy RdRand when paired with various motherboards due to firmware/BIOS differences particularly on resume, the Linux kernel resorted to no longer advertising RdRand for Family 15h/16h processors a few months back.

        But as a more generic long-term solution to fend off RdRand problems moving forward, the Linux kernel is beginning to sanity check RdRand output.

      • Linux 5.5 Crypto Code Has The Changes To Usher In WireGuard

        The main addition to the crypto area for this next kernel cycle is carrying the patches that adopt some elements of the Zinc crypto effort led by WireGuard’s Jason Donenfeld. The lack of Zinc support in the mainline Linux kernel has been the main blocker from merging this secure VPN tunnel into the kernel, but now the crypto folks have decided to integrate some of the best pieces of its design and with time some other Zinc bits could still get merged too. But what’s landing for Linux 5.5 is enough to unblock the crypto dependency in WireGuard. With that said, WireGuard should land in Linux 5.6 if the final reviews go well but sadly not in time for this new 5.5 cycle.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Vulkan 1.1.129 Brings VK_KHR_buffer_device_address To Query Buffer Addresses

          Vulkan 1.1.129 is out this morning as another weekly update to this graphics API specification and in tow comes one new extension.

          Vulkan 1.1.129 includes the usual work on resolving issues around documentation clarifications and other minor items while the only noteworthy item is the introduction of VK_KHR_buffer_device_address.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X / 3960X Linux Benchmarks

        After the embargo on the Intel Core i9 10980XE expired a few hours ago, now we are allowed to share the performance numbers on the new AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X and 3970X processors. These new Zen 2 HEDT CPUs pack a real performance punch, but do come in as more expensive than the i9-10980XE and there is one boot-stopping Linux bug to mention with a workaround… But besides that lone Linux support caveat, the Threadripper 3960X and Threadripper 3970X absolutely dominate in performance.

        The Ryzen Threadripper 3960X is AMD’s new $1399 USD processor that features 24 cores / 48 threads, 3.8GHz base frequency, and 4.5GHz boost frequency with an impressive 140MB cache. This isn’t even the top-end Zen 2 HEDT and in core count and most other details already outpaces the Core i9 10980XE: the base clock is 800MHz higher than the 10980XE but the turbo/boost clock is 100MHz lower on the 3960X.

      • The Workaround To Boot Linux On AMD Threadripper 3960X/3970X Systems

        As outlined in our AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X / 3970X Linux review, these new Zen 2 Threadripper processors are phenomenal processors that offer significant uplift over earlier Threadripper CPUs and easily dominate over Intel’s Core i9 HEDT competition. But there is one big issue right now with the Linux support: on Ubuntu and the like, it doesn’t boot without a workaround. Here’s that workaround for easy future reference.

        See the details in our 3960X/3970X Linux article for more information, this is just a quick public service announcement for those that may have problems booting Threadripper 3900X series processors with TRX40 motherboards and wondering what’s going on and looking for a solution…

    • Applications

      • Top 5 Best Linux Password Managers

        It’s easy to get lulled into a fall sense of security when using Linux, but the truth is that you’re only as secure as the weakest link in your cyber defenses. Considering that billions of passwords surface online every year, it’s clear that poor password management practices are the underlying cause of many successful cyberattacks.

        The solution is simple: create a unique, strong password for each and every account, and store all your passwords in an encrypted database protected by a combination of at least two robust authentication mechanisms. How? With the help of a Linux password manager.

      • Display and control your Android device from Linux desktop

        What is your favorite superpower? Maybe, the ability to mirror your Android phone on your Linux desktop and to use it as an integrated application.

        Scrcpy does exactly that and permits you to completely control any Android device, just by connecting it through a simple USB cable. And no root access or hack is needed! This application provides a way to display and control Android devices connected to USB (or also over TCP/IP). It works fine on every GNU/Linux distribution, but it’s available also for Windows and macOS.

      • Proprietary

        • TablePlus prepares to launch database management app for Linux

          TablePlus, a creator of GUI tools for relational databases, has provided a sneak peek of its new Linux app, due for release at the end of November.

          The beta app will include MySQL and PostgreSQL support, as well as an SSH tunnel with password/private key. Users will also have the ability to edit inline, preview SQL, view data structure; run custom queries; and use advanced filters.

          Currently TablePlus provides apps across macOS, iOS and Windows.

          It supports databases including: PostgreSQL, MySQL; MariaDB; SQLite; Microsoft SQL Server; Amazon Redshift; Oracle; CockroachDB; Snowflake; Cassandra; Redis; Vertica; MongoDB (Beta); and any databases that use the same protocol with the databases listed above such as Percona, and Yugabyte DB.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The huge Journey’s End update for Terraria is delayed into next year

        Terraria is set to get a massive free expansion with the huge Journey’s End update, sadly it’s not going to make it out the door this year.

        When they properly announced it earlier in June, they said the aim was for this year but they were still sticking with a “when it’s done” approach. In a recent status update, they said that it comes down to a choice between scrapping a “bunch of the cool stuff that we want to see in Journey’s End and force this out for 2019 or go ahead and push it into 2020″. So, they decided to push it back but they’re “fully confident that the final product will be well worth the wait”.

      • Quirky and engrossing space-colony sim Oxygen Not Included has a big free update out

        Klei Entertainment have recently pushed out the Meep’s Mandatory Recreation Pack free update with plenty of fixes and some new content along with it.

        With this update you can expand your colony even more with the inclusion of new buildings, all of which go with the theme of recreation. You will be able to give your duplicants access to a Sauna, Mechanical Surfboard, Hot Tub, Soda Fountain, Beach Chairm Juicer and an amusing Vertical Wind Tunnel. Klei also gave duplicants some new “overjoyed” reactions.

      • Valve’s Open-Source Driver Developers Revise Their RADV “Secure Compile” Feature

        Last month Valve’s open-source Linux GPU driver developers introduced a “secure compile” feature to the Radeon Vulkan driver to do just as the name implies and making use of SECCOMP filters for enforcing the security aspect. They have now revised this implementation in order to provide faster shader compile times.

        The focus of the RADV “secure compile” functionality has been the ability to safely pre-compile large sets of shaders to help with game load times. In making sure there are no nefarious shaders, SECCOMP filters and forking the processes is done.

      • Petal Crash looks like a super sweet arcade-action puzzler coming to Linux

        Currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter and fully funded, the arcade action puzzler Petal Crash looks like a good bit of fun.

        In development by Tim Ashley Jenkins, who also made Grapple Force Rena, it has a focus on being easy to pick up and play while also being rewarding to master. In Petal Crash the basic gameplay rule is simple, you push a block in any direction and if you bump it into one of the same colour they will explode and possibly cause a chain reaction.

      • Building a Custom Retrogaming PC with RetroPie and Ubuntu Minimal

        RetroPie is an awesome solution for playing all of your favorite retro games, including popular consoles such as Playstation, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and more. In this video, I’ll show the entire process of taking an Intel NUC and setting up a minimal Ubuntu installation to serve as the base, and then installing RetroPie on top of it.

      • Stadia also appears to work fine on plain Ubuntu 19.10

        After recently giving some first impressions of Stadia, mostly played on a desktop with Manjaro Linux I’ve done some additional testing with plain Ubuntu and the experience is just as good.

        While in the previous article I did note about testing on Kubuntu as well, that was quite an older install. Today, the testing unit, a Dell Inspiron 5558, was wiped with Ubuntu 19.10 installed and all updates run. From there, plain Google Chrome was installed and it runs without issues.

        However, if you’re after Chromium on Ubuntu it’s now using a Snap package (even when installed via apt—more on that here). This didn’t have USB input hooked up for the Stadia Controller, so I personally spoke to Canonical today and after a little testing the Chromium Snap has been updated to allow it making it even easier to use. If you prefer Chromium over Google Chrome, once installed on Ubuntu you can just run this in terminal to hook it up too:

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Kubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine – Turn the heat up

          Kubuntu 19.10 is exactly what I’d expect from a short-support interim release. And then, slightly better, too, because it was fast, stable and robust, and nothing broke. On the other hand, it’s a bit boring. All in all, the Plasma-clad Eoan Ermine did deliver, but in almost every area, it does the nominal thing and stops short of awesome. As if it’s being pulled back by invisible strings.

          Printing and sharing can be more streamlined, KDE Connects need some polish, the application bundle is bland, there were some rough edges in the UI, and such like. Now, it’s pretty, fast and configurable. There’s a good sense of intelligent, clever decisions all over the place. But the one ingredient missing is enthusiasm. Kubuntu feels like its coasting, offering a good but never excellent alternative to other distros out there, doing just the right amount to keep the momentum going. I wish it would do more. It doesn’t take much. Now, if you’re a Plasma fan, and you’d like to taste of the fresh fruit of the geek loom, ’tis a good starting point. The distro warrants something like 8/10, but you have to be in a good mood for that. And we’re done.

        • Kdenlive 19.12 beta

          kdenlive 19.12 beta is out with many bug fixes and improvements. The highlights include:

          New audio mixer
          Bin monitor redesign
          Performance and usability improvements
          Many Windows fixes
          Master effects
          Re-implement scrolling trough compositions.

          Check it out and report any issues…

        • Shaping the Future of KDE Frameworks

          Already during this year’s Akademy we started discussing our strategies for a Qt 6 transition and created a giant work board of tasks for our next major release of Frameworks. Overall our goal is to keep API breakages to a minimum while still cleaning up some cruft that might have built up over the years. We kicked off the sprint Friday morning with discussions mostly around policies and guidelines.

          First of all, we acknowledged that our current release model with monthly feature updates works well but found that we need to be more conscious about merging large changes too close to a release. Furthermore, the fact that there’s actually a “string freeze” before each release to give translators a chance to catch up seems not widely known. In general, the categorization of Frameworks into 3-4 tiers worked but we realized a more fine-grained set of tiers might be necessary.

          When Frameworks 5 came out QML was still relatively new and its future unclear; now that it has proven itself, a key goal of Frameworks 6 is making its features more easily used in a widget-less environment. This means for instance removing and splitting out widget dependencies. Moreover, we want to apply a hacksaw to KDeclarative which has a lot of declarative wrappers for other Frameworks which are better supplied by the individual Frameworks themselves. Also, we want to have better separation between API classes and runtime services, so external users of an API don’t have to pay a build dependency price for something they then just talk to at runtime.

        • Calamares translations workflow

          Calamares, the universal Linux installer which is used by dozens of different small distro’s, is translated into more than 50 languages. However, I realised recently that my development workflow isn’t translator-friendly. That was before I heard from Nick Richards at the Linux Applications Summit about product management things.

          In any case, I’ve decided to change my own workflow a little to be better to translators. The intended effect is that future Calamares releases ship with more complete translations.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.36 Desktop Environment Development Continues with the Second Snapshot

          GNOME 3.35.2 is now available for public testing as the second development snapshot in the development cycle of the upcoming GNOME 3.36 desktop environment, bringing more new features, improvements, bug fixes, and updated translation to various of GNOME’s core components and apps. A complete changelog is available here for more details on the included changes.

          “This is the second unstable release leading to the 3.36 stable series, and it’s a pretty quiet one since our most prominent modules were not updated,” said Michael Catanzaro in an email announcement. “A couple modules were temporarily back due to the various incompatibilities, but this is typical for our unstable releases and nothing that looks difficult to resolve.”

    • Distributions

      • 15 very small footprint distros

        If you have an older PC, or a small single board computer-based system, you probably want to run a version of Linux that’s light on resources and easy to download. In this gallery, we look at very small footprint Linux distros. With the exception of Damn Small Linux, all have been updated relatively recently. Each distro can run on machines with less than 1GB of RAM and most can run in a much smaller footprint.

      • Zorin OS 15 Lite Linux Distro Can Rejuvenate Your Aging Windows PC

        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.

      • Linux Lite Users Are the First to Try Linux Kernel 5.4, Here’s How to Install It

        Once again, Linux Lite users are among the first to install the latest Linux kernel series on their personal computers, in this case Linux kernel 5.4.
        Announced by Linus Torvalds on November 24th, 2019, Linux kernel 5.4 is now the most advanced kernel series, adding numerous new features and improvements, among which we can mention support for Microsoft’s exFAT file system, kernel lockdown mode as a new layer of protection to block malicious software, multiple enhancements for AMD users, and much more.

        As usual, Linux Lite developer and founder Jerry Bezencon was quick to package the Linux 5.4 kernel for all of its supported Linux Lite releases and distribute it to users through the official software repositories, which are now among the first to try it on their Linux Lite computers by following the instructions below.

      • [Slackware] Cinnamon 4.4 Packages

        Cinnamon 4.4 is out and while it’s not officially announced as per this post is created, i have prepared the SlackBuild scripts along with the binary packages ready for Slackware-Current users. These new set of packages adds two new dependencies: pytz and libtimezonemap, but removed some of the packages that are no longer needed or have become part of Slackware Current.

        Cinnamon 4.4 brings more improvements towards HiDPI especially through the icons, new XAppStatus applet, performance improvements, nemo external condition support, new scrollbar settings, and many more. Expect details on Clem announcement soon.

      • New Releases

        • LibreELEC (Leia) 9.2.0

          LibreELEC 9.2.0 (Leia) the final version has arrived based upon Kodi v18.5, the 9.2 release contains many changes and refinements to user experience and a complete overhaul of the underlying OS core to improve stability and extend hardware support compared to the LE 9.0 release.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Gentoo Family

        • HTTP/3 Support Added to cURL in Gentoo

          HTTP/3 may still be in the draft state but that isn’t stopping software from adding support for it. As a Gentoo developer, I decided to maintain Gentoo’s reputation for not being one to shy away from the bleeding edge by adding (optional) support for HTTP/3 to cURL. I believe that this makes Gentoo the first Linux distribution to ship support for this new protocol outside of the Firefox and Chrome/Chromium browsers.

          cURL is a command line tool as well a library (libcurl) that is used by a wide variety of software. It’s commonly used by applications written in php, it’s used by the Kodi media center, and it’s at least an optional dependency of everything from git to systemd to cmake and dovecot. By adding support for HTTP/3 to cURL, potentially everything that uses cURL will also instantly also start supporting HTTP/3.

          cURL added HTTP/3 support in version 7.66.0. Rather than writing the entirety of large, complex, and evolving HTTP/3 protocol implementation again (and having to maintain that forever), cURL instead leverages libraries. The two options it currently supports for this purpose are quiche and the combination of ngtcp2 and nghttp3.

      • Fedora Family

        • Some Fedora Users Concerned GNOME Software Promotes Proprietary Software With Flathub

          The Fedora Workstation working group has been weighing the matter of the GNOME Software “app store” recommending/promoting proprietary software. But this isn’t something that is done out-of-the-box but rather when activating Flathub where Flatpaks can be installed for both open and closed-source software.

          This stems from this issue report of GNOME Software recommending proprietary software. The principal issue is that when Flathub support is enabled — the de facto location for fetching Flatpaks — that GNOME Software can display banners promoting software like Dropbox or Spotify. Those Flatpaks are not open-source software.

        • Fedora Community Blog: FPgM report: 2019-47

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora Program Management thislast week. Fedora 29 will reach end of life on 26 November. Elections voting is open through 23:59 UTC on Thursday 5 December.

      • Devuan Family

        • Devuan GNU/Linux 2.1 “ASCII” Operating System Released for Init Freedom Lovers

          The Dyne.org foundation has announced the general availability of the first point release of the Devuan GNU/Linux 2.x “ASCII” operating system series.

          Coming one and a half year after the release of the Devuan GNU/Linux 2.0 “ASCII” operating system series, Devuan GNU/Linux 2.1 is here as the first major point release to add the latest software and security updates, as well as various improvements around the installer and the installation mediums.

          Still based on the Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” operating system series, Devuan GNU/Linux 2.1 comes with an improved installer that makes the option to choose the OpenRC init system more prominent so you can’t miss it and no longer requires an Expert install.

        • Devuan 2.1 Released – Still Delivering Debian 9 Without Systemd

          Devuan 2.1 is available as the latest release of this spin of Debian GNU/Linux that works without a dependence on systemd. Devuan 2.1 remains focused on “init freedom” though this new release is still tracking the older Debian 9 “Stretch” branch.

      • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Now You Can Run Ubuntu Touch OS On Raspberry Pi 3 With Touchscreen

          Ubuntu Touch is the mobile version of the Ubuntu operating system designed for mobile devices. The operating system is developed and managed by UBPorts which has recently pushed an update that brings Ubuntu Touch to Raspberry Pi 3.

          With the weekly update, now you can run Ubuntu Touch on Raspberry Pi 3 using the official Raspberry Pi 3 7-inches touch screen LCD. The update makes Raspberry Pi 3 a perfect development platform for Ubuntu Touch OS.

        • Ubuntu Touch Can Now Run on Raspberry Pi 3 with the Official 7″ Touch Screen LCD

          UBports, the makers of the Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system published a weekly update on their development progress to bring Ubuntu Touch to more devices.
          While UBports is working hard to port Ubuntu Touch to more smartphones and tablets, the latest being PINE64′s PinePhone and Volla Phone smartphones, they’ve also been able to make Ubuntu Touch run on a Raspberry Pi 3 single-board computer (SBC) with the official Raspberry Pi 7″ touch screen LCD, which appears to be a true development platform for Ubuntu Touch.

          “Ubuntu Touch was shown running on a Raspberry Pi 3 with a 7″ touch screen. Raspberry Pis are really maturing as development platforms and will make access to Ubuntu Touch application development possible for a much wider base,” said UBports. “That matters a lot because it will help create a true development platform for UT, for the first time.”

        • Ubuntu 19.10 | Review from an openSUSE User

          Ubuntu is, without any dispute, the most prolific Linux distribution today. You can look at any metric and you will see that Ubuntu is number one. How did they rise to this level? I can only speculate, perhaps it has to do with the charismatic and enthusiastic visionary of Canonical’s founder Mark Shuttleworth that made Linux more approachable and attractive by the masses. Regardless, Canonical does a great job with Ubuntu. Despite any of the controversies or blunders the company makes, they are risk takers and regardless of what distribution you use, it should be applauded.

          As part of the BigDaddyLinux Live challenge, we are testing the various Ubuntu flavors but for this article, I am going to focus on Ubuntu Proper, the mainline from which all the other flavors are derived. At one time, Ubuntu had their own desktop, Unity, of which they have discontinued development and now use GNOME as their core desktop.

          This is my admittedly biased review of Ubuntu (Proper) as an openSUSE Tumbleweed user that prefers Plasma to all other desktops. It should also be clear that I am not a fan of GNOME at all and to use it is an absolute chore to use for me. Bottom Line Up Front, Ubuntu is pretty great and I would feel good about giving it to anyone. Regardless of my bias and preferences, Ubuntu is just a great, rock solid distribution that is a bit heaver on resources than I like but if you run a reasonably modern system, this is not an issue what so ever. If you haven’t tried Ubuntu, which would be odd that a Linux user hasn’t, or if you haven’t tried it in a while and have that restless itch, Ubuntu is worth taking around the block and maybe even on the highway to stretch it’s legs a bit.

        • The Fridge: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 606

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 606 for the week of November 17 – 23, 2019. The full version of this issue is available here.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Useful and Innovative Free Fonts

        If you are looking for a replacement for a proprietary font, open source fonts offer plenty of options.

        Collecting fonts used to be expensive. The average font family cost several hundred dollars, which meant that you had to be selective. That changed overnight with the rise of open source fonts. Contrary to conventional wisdom, talented designers were perfectly willing to release their designs under a free license and to work in teams.

        Today, there are still thousands of proprietary fonts for every free font. However, that still leaves hundreds of free-licensed fonts to choose from. Some are replicas of popular fonts or revivals of older designs, while others are original designs. The best free-licensed fonts can be as useful and innovative as any proprietary font. The days when “free fonts” were synonymous with “cheap and shoddy” are now a decade in the past. Below are some examples of the diversity that is available.

      • People Find Us Troll-Free Compared to Twitter: Mastodon Founder

        Eugen Rochko: The idea behind Mastodon is that online communication should not be beholden to one private company. It’s way too important to be subject to commercial interests (e.g. ads), financial instability (e.g. Twitter’s problems on the stock market, CEO issues, potential buyout by another entity), or laws of a single government (e.g. USA) extending over the whole world. Mastodon turns that top-down hierarchy into a completely flat (non-)hierarchy.

        As a decentralised service, legally and operationally independent, Mastodon servers are run all over the globe, and anyone can create a new one. The social network is more robust against any risks as a result and can accommodate many communities with varying needs and rules.

      • A framework for building products from open source projects

        My first memory of playing with a computer was through an MS-DOS terminal on the x86 PC in my grandfather’s pharmaceutical research lab in the early ’90s—playing games stored on 3.5″ floppy disks and doing touch-typing exercises. As technology improved, I spent an obscene amount of time taking my computer apart to add more RAM, a new graphics card, or a new fan, mostly so I could play cooler games. It was a fun, ongoing project, and I bonded with my father over it. It was also way cheaper than buying a new computer.

        What’s the point of this in the context of open source?

        Well, even though I had no idea what “open source” was at the time, I was behaving like a typical developer does with open source projects today—spending my free time to piece together and build things I wanted, sometimes for a specific goal, sometimes to learn new things, sometimes as a way to connect with others.

      • Calculator N+ is an open source scientific calculator for your smartphone

        Mobile phones are becoming more powerful every day, so it is no surprise that they can beat most computers from the not-so-distant past. This also means the tools available on them are getting more powerful every day.

        Previously, I wrote about scientific calculators for the Linux desktop, and I’m following that up here with information about Calculator N+, an awesome GPL v3.0-licensed computer algebra system (CAS) app for Android devices.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • State of Mozilla 2018: Annual Report

            The State of Mozilla annual report for 2018 is now available here.

            This report details how Mozilla operates and includes details from our financial reports for 2018. The State of Mozilla report release is timed to coincide with when we submit the Mozilla non-profit tax filing for the previous calendar year.

            The 2018 State of Mozilla report focuses on how Mozilla leverages its unique structure and multi-pronged approach to influence some of the most pressing challenges people face online today. From misinformation to online privacy and security, in the last two years Mozilla has used its resources, influence and product know-how to push for systemic change that helps put people back at the center of online life.

            This year’s report outlines Mozilla’s collective impact as a creator of consumer technology products, an advocacy organization and a key contributor to the development of internet policy and online standards and protocols that help ensure the internet is open and accessible to all.

          • Firefox 71 new contributors

            With the release of Firefox 71, we are pleased to welcome the 38 developers who contributed their first code change to Firefox in this release, 31 of whom were brand new volunteers!

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • Confluent introduces ksqlDB event streaming database

          Confluent is looking to make it easier for developers to use stream processing with a new event streaming database it calls ksqlDB.

          The ksqlDB event streaming database became generally available on Nov. 20 and builds on the vendor’s expertise in streaming technologies, including its KSQL query language for streaming data, as well as the Apache Kafka open source streaming data technology.

          Kafka is widely used to stream data, though there are many ways that users use the data and pull it into different types of databases. With ksqlDB, Confluent is providing what it is positioning as a new type of database that is specifically built for event streaming.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Community Member Monday: Sokibi, Indonesia

          Sokibi (no last name – it’s a typical Javanese old-style name) was born in a rural village, around 45KM away from Semarang City in Central Java island, Indonesia He now runs a small store residing in a traditional market, working on repairing computers, selling new and used computers, and provided open source solutions for migrations, support and training.

          Sokibi has had extensive experience with office suites – from StarOffice and OpenOffice.org to LibreOffice. So besides his daily job, he put huge effort into teaching LibreOffice in schools, from primary schools to high schools. It was not always easy to go to different schools, which were usually very far away from his home town or company, but over the last 20 years, Sokibi has insisted on spreading knowledge about these office suites, without getting students locked in to proprietary software. During these times, Sokibi also wrote 16 books about learning computers from beginner level onwards, including four books for kindergarden kids and 12 books for primary school students.

          What Sokibi has done is not only teaching computing and LibreOffice in schools. Many villages in Central Java have libraries but no computers at all. Although Sokibi has just run a small store selling computers, he decided to donate many computers to these libraries to build computer labs there, with Linux and many other open source programs – including LibreOffice – pre-installed.

      • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

        • Donors Challenge Conservancy Supporters with Largest Match Yet

          We’ve been challenged by a group of amazing individuals and Private Internet Access to raise a total of $113,093 during this fundraising season. These are folks who believe in software freedom and believe in Conservancy. This illustrious group includes; Leslie Hawthorn, Daniel Kahn Gillmor, Martin Krafft, Mark Wielaard, David Turner and Danielle Sucher, and Bdale Garbee — you’ll be hearing more about them in the coming weeks on our blog.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Fail-free Kubernetes, significant events, and more industry trends

          As part of my role as a senior product marketing manager at an enterprise software company with an open source development model, I publish a regular update about open source community, market, and industry trends for product marketers, managers, and other influencers. Here are five of my and their favorite articles from that update.

        • Open Hardware/Modding

          • Philips Hue Bridge v2.1

            I recently bought a Hue Bridge to experiment a bit with Zigbee and 802.15.4. Following two posts for the hardware version 2.0 and some comments about the differences to version 2.1 I was able to get shell access on my 2.1 hardware.

            As there is up to now no complete guide I describe here, what I did:

            Opening the case is straigth forward. Just remove the two lower nubsis at the bottom and unscrew the two torx screws; then carefully unclip the bottom.

      • Programming/Development

        • Python Community Interview With Brian Okken

          This week, it’s my pleasure to interview Brian Okken. Brian is perhaps best known as the author of Python Testing with pytest, as well as being the host of two podcasts. Read on to find out more about the man behind the voice, his new meetup in Portland, and the advice he has for anyone new to testing software.

        • Creating Dashboard to Visualise Data In Python

          During one of my university project modules which require us to present our data from the sample dataset of the Scottish Referendum 2014.

          There I was exposed to terms like Data Wrangling and the use of D3 to create an interactive dashboard.

          Which the process to do data-wrangling was a tedious process and creating the dashboard using D3 was quite bad as well.

        • How to Create and Manage Python Virtual Environments

          It is pretty common to see Python developers installing and upgrading packages from standard and non-standard sources to develop applications. Reasons could range from using a newer version of a module to using a specific version in case there is a regression.

          These requirements and use cases can be a pain to manage when different applications require different versions of the same library. Thankfully, Python provides a robust solution to isolate development environments using virtual environments.

        • Best Cloud Based IDEs for Python

          Development environments are increasingly moving in the cloud in part or full, allowing programmers to access and collaborate on their projects on the go. Numerous such services have been launched in the past few years, especially for web developers writing code in Node.js, HTML, JavaScript and CSS. However there are very few such options available for Python, despite being one of the most popular and fastest growing programming languages.
          This article will list various IDEs and text editors available in the cloud for creating Python programs.

        • Keep These Portable Python Builds for Linux Always With You

          Most Linux distributions come with pre-installed Python packages. These packages are deeply integrated into the OS and they depend on shared libraries. If you want to keep Python projects isolated, using virtual environments is an excellent option. Another realistic option would be to use Python installed on an external drive as a portable package that you can carry it at your convenience (useful for teaching for example).
          Unfortunately, as far as portability of Python is concerned, Linux users don’t have much choice. While compiling Python with shared libraries is easy, building Python with statically linked libraries takes more than a few tweaks, patches and changing lines in source code.

          This article will list the few portable Python options available for Linux. Note that any of the methods mentioned below will work on external drives formatted in NTFS or EXT3/EXT4 file systems only. FAT32 file system doesn’t support symlinks which is a requirement for these packages to work.

        • Linux System Call Tutorial with C

          While it’s inevitable you’ll use a system call at some point in your C development career, unless you are targeting high performance or a particular type functionality, the glibc library and other basic libraries included in major Linux distributions will take care of the majority of your needs.

          The glibc standard library provides a cross-platform, well-tested framework to execute functions that would otherwise require system-specific system calls. For example, you can read a file with fscanf(), fread(), getc(), etc., or you can use the read() Linux system call. The glibc functions provide more features (i.e. better error handling, formatted IO, etc.) and will work on any system glibc supports.

          On the other hand, there are times where uncompromising performance and exact execution are critical. The wrapper that fread() provides is going to add overhead, and although minor, isn’t entirely transparent. Additionally, you may not want or need the extra features the wrapper provides. In that case, you’re best served with a system call.

          You can also use system calls to perform functions not yet supported by glibc. If your copy of glibc is up to date, this will hardly be an issue, but developing on older distributions with newer kernels might require this technique.

          Now that you’ve read the disclaimers, warnings, and potential detours, now let’s dig into some practical examples.

        • subdirmk – ergonomic preprocessing assistant for non-recursive make

          Peter Miller’s 1997 essay Recursive Make Considered Harmful persuasively argues that it is better to arrange to have a single make invocation with the project’s complete dependency tree, rather than the currently conventional $(MAKE) -C subdirectory approach.

          These problems are not theoretical for me. In the Xen Project we use recursive make and sadly suffer from occasional concurrency bugs. In my work on secnet (the currently rather unproductised greenend.org.uk vpn program) I have been frustrated by unreliability of the build system (which is developing fairly rapidly, as I overhaul secnet) .

          However, actually writing a project’s build system in a non-recursive style is not very ergonomic. I was complaining about this in the pub a week or two ago. Accepting my challenge, Mark Wooding demonstrated a proof of concept showing that it was possible to do better. I thought I had a better approach so I took his code and I ran with it.

        • Process invocation will forever be broken

          Side note: why does Windows behave this way?
          I don’t know for sure. But we can formulate a reasonable theory by looking in the past. Before Windows existed there was DOS, and it also had a way of invoking processes. This was done by using interrupts, in this case function 4bh in interrupt 21h.

        • Federico Mena-Quintero: Moving gnome-shell’s styles to Rust

          Gnome-shell uses CSS processing code that dates from HippoCanvas, a CSS-aware canvas from around 2006. It uses libcroco to parse CSS, and implements selector matching by hand in C.

          This code is getting rather dated, and libcroco is unmaintained.

          I’ve been reading the code for StTheme and StThemeNode, and it looks very feasible to port it gradually to Rust, by using the same crates that librsvg uses, and eventually removing libcroco altogether: gnome-shell is the last module that uses libcroco in distro packages.

        • Develop a Kubernetes controller in Java

          The official Kubernetes Java SDK project recently released their latest work on providing the Java Kubernetes developers a handy Kubernetes controller-builder SDK which is helpful for easily developing advanced workloads or systems.

          [...]

          If you notice, the new Java controller framework learnt a lot from the design of controller-runtime which successfully encapsulates the complex components inside controller into several clean interfaces. With the help of Java Generics, we even move on a bit and simply the encapsulation in a better way.

          As for more advanced usage, we can wrap multiple controllers into a controller-manager or a leader-electing controller which helps deploying in HA setup. In a word, we can basically find most of the equivalence implementations here from Golang SDK and more advanced features are under active development by us.

        • p2k19 Hackathon Report: Stefan Sperling on iwm(4) wifi progress, more

          My main goal for the p2k19 hackathon was 9260 device support in iwm(4). Firmware updates for previous device generation were an important prerequisite step. One day before p2k19, the oldest generation of hardware supported by the iwm(4) driver was switched to latest available firmware images.

        • Extreme C book extract: Exploring structures and user-defined types in C

          In his new book, Extreme C (left), Kamran Amini outlines the essential features of the language before moving onto encapsulation and composition, synchronisation, as well as advanced programming – with code samples – and integration with other languages, including C++, Java, and Python.

          This extract, exclusive to Developer, explores structures within C, as well as touching on the reasons behind the almost 50-year-old language’s continued longevity.

  • Leftovers

    • Remembering the TRS-80

      Just a few years later I was at the Press Association, writing about technology. (There’s several other stories to tell about how that happened, but let’s tell them another day.) I was astonished that no similar mobile reporting system seemed to be available, at least not to youngsters like me. If you had to file from outside the office, you had to call a team of copytakers and dictate your pencil-scribbled lines over the phone.

      Eventually, an email account was set up for reporters to file text to; but hardly anyone used it, because they didn’t have the means to send email from anywhere. Smartphones were still at least a decade away.

      I was determined to find a way to file copy from anywhere, so I went shopping. I bought a Palm III, a fold-up GoType keyboard, and an Ericsson SH-888 mobile phone, which had a built-in modem. Now I could sit down anywhere, plug my Palm into its keyboard, connect the modem to the [Internet], and send and receive email.

    • Rudd says Assange faces ‘unacceptable’ and ‘disproportionate’ punishment

      More than 60 doctors from the United Kingdom, Australia, Europe and Sri Lanka, wrote to British Home Secretary Priti Patel on Monday asserting that Mr Assange urgently needs medical treatment at a university hospital.

      The doctors said in a letter, distributed by WikiLeaks on Monday, that he was suffering from psychological problems including depression as well as dental issues and a serious shoulder ailment.

      Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne have repeatedly ruled out any intervention in the case, with the PM saying last month he believed Mr Assange should “face the music” in court.

      Mr Assange will return to court briefly next month before a full hearing of a US extradition request in which he faces a 175-year jail sentence if found guilty on 18 charges relating to computer fraud and obtaining and disclosing national defence information.

    • Google Cloud Print will fold in 2020

      GOOGLE’S GRIM REAPER has struck again, and this time its swung its scythe at the thousands of ancient printers given a new lease of life by Google Cloud Print.

      The company has sent out emails to GSuite admins telling them they have just over a year to say their goodbyes to the decade-old service. It’ll stop working on 31 December 2020, meaning you’ll have time to show off your clipart skills with one last set of New Year’s Eve party invites before the service finally runs out of ink.

      “Beginning January 1, 2021, devices across all operating systems will no longer be able to print using Google Cloud Print,” the company’s support page says. “We recommend that over the next year, you identify an alternative solution and execute a migration strategy.”

      It feels a bit cruel to introduce you to a doomed service now, so if you’re unfamiliar you can remain blissfully unaware be skipping the next paragraph, if you fancy.

    • Science

      • Exclusive: Humans placed in suspended animation for the first time

        Samuel Tisherman, at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, told New Scientist that his team of medics had placed at least one patient in suspended animation, calling it “a little surreal” when they first did it. He wouldn’t reveal how many people had survived as a result.

        The technique, officially called emergency preservation and resuscitation (EPR), is being carried out on people who arrive at the University of Maryland Medical Centre in Baltimore with an acute trauma – such as a gunshot or stab wound – and have had a cardiac arrest. Their heart will have stopped beating and they will have lost more than half their blood. There are only minutes to operate, with a less than 5 per cent chance that they would normally survive.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Start with Safe

        A branch of Catholic Charities in the diocese of Albany, New York, has been operating a needle-exchange program called Project Safe Point since 2010, so harm reduction is not unknown in Catholic health care. Nevertheless, such programs remain both rare and controversial—there are fewer than two hundred of them in the whole country. This is partly because they may not be supported with federal funds. One of Project Safe Point’s directors told me that their program was launched in anticipation of the second wave of opioid addiction, when deaths from abuse of prescription drugs were compounded by deaths from abuse of heroin. Predictably, Project Safe Point generated a blizzard of commentary when it was announced a decade ago, as did the 1999 announcement of a safe-injection site that the Sisters of Charity planned to run at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia. That plan had to be abandoned after the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith warned the Sisters of Charity that operating a safe-injection site was “extremely proximate material cooperation in the grave evil of drug abuse.”

      • Does religion have a privileged status in the UK?

        The infusion of religion into law goes beyond cases involving medicine and education. In 2014, the Law Society withdrew its controversial guidance on sharia-compliant wills, under which women stood to lose an equal share of their inheritance, after pressure from the above groups.

      • Dialysis Patients Panic As Financial ‘Life Raft’ Becomes Unmoored

        Russell Desmond received a letter a few weeks ago from the American Kidney Fund that he said felt like “a smack on the face.”

        The organization informed Desmond, who has kidney failure and needs dialysis three times a week, that it will no longer help him pay for his private health insurance plan — to the tune of about $800 a month.

        “I am depressed about the whole situation,” said the 58-year-old Sacramento resident. “I have no clue what I’m going to do.”

        Desmond has Medicare, but it doesn’t cover the entire cost of his care. So, with assistance from the American Kidney Fund, he pays for a private plan to cover the difference.

        Now, the fund, which helps about 3,700 Californians pay their premiums and out-of-pocket costs, is threatening to pull out of California because of a new state law that is expected to cut into the dialysis industry’s profits — leaving patients like Desmond scrambling.

      • Warren’s New Proposal for Prescription Drugs Is Flying Under the Radar

        Earlier this month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren put out a set of steps that she would put forward as president as part of a transition to Medicare for All. The items that got the most attention were including everyone over age 50 and under age 18 in Medicare, and providing people of all ages with the option to buy into the program. This buy-in would include large subsidies, and people with incomes of less than 200 percent of the poverty level would be able to enter the Medicare program at no cost.

        These measures would be enormous steps toward Medicare for All, bringing tens of millions of people into the program, including most of those (people over age 50) with serious medical issues. It would certainly be more than halfway to a universal Medicare program.

        While these measures captured most of the attention given to Warren’s transition plan, another part of the plan is probably at least as important. Warren proposed to use the government’s authority to compel the licensing of drug patents so that multiple companies can produce a patented drug.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Security updates for Monday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (chromium, enigmail, isc-dhcp, libice, libofx, and pam-python), Fedora (chromium, ghostscript, mingw-cfitsio, mingw-gdal, mingw-libidn2, and rsyslog), Gentoo (adobe-flash, chromium, expat, and firefox), openSUSE (apache2-mod_perl, haproxy, java-11-openjdk, and ncurses), Oracle (ghostscript, kernel, php:7.2, php:7.3, and sudo), Red Hat (chromium-browser, python27-python, and SDL), and Ubuntu (dpdk and libvpx).

      • Splunk advises users it will face a problem similar to Y2K in 2020

        Analytics software firm Splunk appears to have a problem similar to Y2K, in that unpatched installations of its software will be unable to recognise two-digit dates beginning from 1 January 2020.

        Additionally, the company said in an advisory, that from 12:26:39 UTC on 13 September 2020, unpatched Splunk platforms would not recognise timestamps from events based on UNIX time.

        [...]

        The company said customers would receive a fix for this issue automatically. On-premises customers could download an updated datetime.xml file and apply it; manually modify existing installations or upgrade to a version which had the right versions of datetime.xml.

      • An introduction to network defense basics

        This is the next step in my series on system security hardening and network security. Please check out the previous article on 3 quick ways to reduce your attack surface on Linux.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Despite uncertain future, Lebanon’s uprising remains united against political elite

        Holding a megaphone, a women chants to the crowds gathered at Martyrs’ Square in the middle of central Beirut, “We are the revolution of the people, you are the civil war!” The people, filling up the entire square and streets leading up to Lebanon’s parliament, repeat the words in unison. “You are the civil war,” they chant, “we are the revolution.”

        It is an afternoon in early November, more than three weeks since the uprising against political corruption began in mid-October. Unlike previous protest movements in the small Mediterranean nation, demonstrations have spread to all parts of the country, including small towns and villages, and are targeting the entire Lebanese political elite.

        “All of them, and we mean all of them!” the protesters chant, sparing no one.

        Like each day, it is a diverse crowd that has gathered in the square. Parents have arrived with their children, young people with their friends. In their hands are posters with handwritten slogans or jokes, each smarter than the other.

        “We are missing our lessons to teach you one,” one student’s poster says.

      • Indonesian policemen arrested after British man kidnapped and ransomed for £700,000

        Officers staged a fake arrest of the victim at a toll road in the capital last week, reinforcing the ruse by briefly taking him to a police compound before moving him to a city hotel.

      • CAIR’s Support for Violent Jihadi US Criminal Group

        However, even though the FBI had plenty of evidence to arrest Abdullah on various charges, the bureau was motivated to act at the time due to strong indications that he was preparing a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Syria watchdog accused of making misleading edits in report on chemical weapons attack

        A member of an international watchdog tasked with investigating an alleged Syrian chemical weapons attack accused his superiors of inserting bias and language that “misrepresents the facts” in an early summary of his team’s findings, an email published by WikiLeaks shows.

        The message, purportedly written by a member of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, was sent to his higher-ups in June 2018, weeks after he says he and others “conducted the investigation into the alleged chemical attack in Douma” on April 7 of that year. The attack, which the Syrian government has been blamed for, left at least 43 people dead.

        “After reading this modified report… I was struck by how much it misrepresents the facts,” the email reads. “Many of the facts and observations outlined in the full version are inextricably interconnected and, by selectively omitting certain ones, an unintended bias has been introduced in the report, undermining its credibility.”

      • Chemical weapons watchdog defends Syria report after leaks

        The head of the world’s chemical weapons watchdog has defended its conclusion that chlorine was used in an attack in Syria in April 2018, after a whistleblower alleged the report misrepresented some of the facts amid Russian claims that the watchdog is being politicised by the west.

        WikiLeaks at the weekend published an email from a member of the fact-finding team that investigated the attack which accused the body of altering the original findings of investigators to make evidence of a chemical attack seem more conclusive.

      • ‘Psychological torture’: Pamela Anderson’s direct plea to Scott Morrison

        Pamela Anderson says Julian Assange is facing “psychological torture” in a British jail as doctors have raised fresh concern about the WikiLeaks founder’s health.

        In a speech the former Baywatch star was intending to give at Parliament House this week, Anderson warned every journalist would be vulnerable under Australia’s legal system if Assange was extradited to the United States and charged under the Espionage Act.

    • Environment

      • Seventy Percent of Foreign Vessels Intercepted Were Found Fishing in Restricted Zones

        Dr. Bamba A.M Banja, the permanent secretary of the Department of Fisheries has told Foroyaa that 70% of the foreign vessels intercepted by the Navy were found operating in zones reserved for artisanal fishers in the Gambia.

        “70 percent of the intercepted vessels were all found fishing in the wrong zone. We have never intercepted any vessel fishing without a license. So all the vessels that have been intercepted were issued with a license,” he said.

        According to Dr. Banja, these licensed foreign vessels were supposed to fish from nine-nautical miles to 12 to the high sea. He added that the zone where these vessels were asked to fish was also stated on their license. He said if any vessels failed to stick to what was stated on their licenses, they would be intercepted and fined accordingly.

      • Energy

        • New Senate Climate Caucus Is Filled With Climate Deniers and Climate “Delayers”

          What’s climate change to a senatorial non-believer? The new Senate Climate Solutions Caucus might soon answer that question.

          Formed late last month, the caucus’s aim is to hold hearings with climate experts, educate fellow senators and introduce unanimously agreed-upon legislation. The caucus’s founders — Delaware Democrat Christopher Coons and Indiana Republican Mike Braun — boast of the mandated bipartisanship of the caucus. For every Democrat, there must be a Republican, and vice versa.

          Floridian Sen. Marco Rubio, a former hardline climate denier, is the group’s latest addition. He joins fellow Republicans Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney (a former climate waffler) and Lindsey Graham, who once said that greenhouse gas emissions are bad but probably don’t warm the planet all that much.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Koalas ‘are almost extinct’ after devastating bushfires and drought

          Slow-moving koalas, who curl up in trees to avoid danger, have been trapped by flames and heard to yelp in distress.

          Fires engulfing more than 3.7 million acres of eastern Australia have also destroyed 80% of their habitat.

          Eucalyptus tree leaves are a koala’s main source of nutrients, an adult can eat up to 2lb of leaves a day.

          But Eucalyptus take months to re-grow after a fire, so many of the marsupials could starve.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • UN Secretary-General: US-China Tech Divide Could Cause More Havoc Than the Cold War

        On Friday, WIRED spoke with António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, about a topic of increasingly grave concern to him: the fracturing of the internet and the possibility that a technology meant to bring nations together might drive them apart. The conversation has been lightly edited for clarity.

      • Deputy Speaker condemns fake video of MPs’ immigration exchange

        The altered video shows a different response from the interior minister to a Finns Party question about immigration.

      • Noam Chomsky: Centrism Will Only Get Us Four More Years of Trump

        Noam Chomsky is not here to reassure you. As Arctic ice melts, centrists in the Democratic Party actively hinder progress on “Medicare for All” and Republicans work equally hard on voter suppression, the activist, linguist and professor is sounding the alarm.

      • Interfering with Laura Kuenssberg

        Last night the BBC was reporting on the Conservative manifesto. This is a document whose most striking pledge is to fill in some of the potholes in roads that have proliferated due to massive cuts in local authority funding, and to give free hospital car parking to those visiting a terminally ill relative. Just think of the last one. How do you prove your relative is terminally ill? What if there is a chance they might get better? The administration of this system is going to require people to have some form of certificate or token that all hope is now lost. For the car park. The Tories are all heart.

      • Bloomberg’s Scandals Ignored or Underplayed by Press Cheerleaders

        Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s entrance into the crowded presidential race hasn’t caused big changes in polling for the top three Democratic candidates Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. It has, however, brought a number of media cheerleaders for the city’s richest resident out of the woodwork.

      • Sanders Campaign Charges Bloomberg 2020 Run ‘Is Against Bernie, Not Trump’

        “Multi-billionaires like Michael Bloomberg are not going to get very far in this election,” Sanders said Sunday.

      • Bloomberg Is Running ‘Against Bernie, Not Trump,’ Says Sanders Campaign

        Billionaire media businessman and former three-term Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg entered the Democratic primary on Sunday expressly to attack Sen. Bernie Sanders’ attempt to win the party’s 2020 nomination, the Sanders campaign charged Monday.

      • McGahn Must Testify Before House, Federal Judge Rules

        A federal judge has ordered former White House counsel Donald McGahn to appear before Congress in a setback to President Donald Trump’s effort to keep his top aides from testifying.

      • As 2020 Election Approaches, Media Literacy Is More Important Than Ever

        As we approach the 2020 presidential election in the U.S., it is necessary to examine how corporate media coverage of Donald Trump paved the way for some of Trump’s greatest media manipulations. We must also recognize that media manipulation, while in certain ways unique to Trump, has a long history within the U.S. In this interview, Mickey Huff and Nolan Higdon, authors of United States of Distraction: Media Manipulation in Post-Truth America (And What We Can Do About It), discuss that history and what we can do to fight against disinformation.

      • Could the Federal government start paying for abortions after the 2020 elections?

        In 1976, conservative Congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois introduced a bill that would ban the use of federal funding for abortion expenses except in instances of rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother.

        Today, the Hyde Amendment, which has been added as a rider to federal budget appropriation bills since 1977, prohibits abortion coverage for approximately 74 million Medicaid recipients.

        It also prohibits the federal government from covering abortion in health programs for federal employees, federal prisoners, those who rely on Indian Health Services, active military members and veterans, among others.

        I’m a social work health scholar who studies vulnerable people’s access to reproductive health care. Now that the Hyde amendment has become a focus for some candidates in the 2020 presidential election, I believe it’s important to understand who it affects and how it can be repealed.

      • More Students Are Voting — But Republicans Are Trying to Get in Their Way

        Students at the historically Black Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, lost their on-campus polling place this semester after the Republican-dominated state legislature outlawed polling places that do not stay open for the entire 12-day, early-voting period — commonly referred to as “pop-up” polls. The new law took effect in September, and Huston-Tillotson students who voted on November 5 had to trek over to the Austin Public Library’s Carver Branch a half-mile away.

        “The way I see it is disenfranchisement upon students of color,” says Jared Breckenridge, a senior majoring in education and the former president of the university’s NAACP chapter. The loss of the campus polling place, he says, comes on top of other barriers Huston-Tillotson students regularly face as they navigate the state’s voter ID law, which doesn’t allow them to use their student ID cards to cast a ballot.

        The university’s NAACP regularly organizes student registration and education efforts on campus, and is working on formulating what its new voter engagement strategy will look like now with the loss of the school’s polling place, Breckenridge says.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • What would it cost to store all 2018 phone calls in Norway?

        Four years ago, I did a back of the envelope calculation on how much it would cost to store audio recordings of all the phone calls in Norway, and came up with NOK 2.1 million / EUR 250 000 for the year 2013. It is time to repeat the calculation using updated numbers. The calculation is based on how much data storage is needed for each minute of audio, how many minutes all the calls in Norway sums up to, multiplied by the cost of data storage.

        The number of phone call minutes for 2018 was fetched from the NKOM statistics site, and for 2018, land line calls are listed as 434 238 000 minutes, while mobile phone calls are listed with 7 542 006 000 minutes. The total number of minues is thus 7 976 244 000. For simplicity, I decided to ignore any advantages in audio compression te last four years, and continue to assume 60 Kbytes/min as the last time.

      • Facebook had a facial recognition app that could identify employees

        An investigation by Business Insider (it’s a paywaller, not a baller) has found that in the period around 2015 and 2016, the company developed a facial recognition package which could recognise workers and their mates just by pointing the camera at them.

      • Wow, Facebook Really Made a Facial Recognition App for Its Employees

        While it may seem like much ado about a defunct company app, this news gives us a better idea on the extent to which Facebook experimented and fine-tuned the kind of facial recognition technology it later incorporated into its platforms in 2017, which then became the subject of fiery consumer pushback and a federal investigation. All so that users wouldn’t have to deal with the hassle of tagging their friends in photos.

      • Banning Strong Encryption Does Not Mean Catching Criminals. It Only Makes You Less Safe from Them.

        Why not? Because the cat’s out of the bag. The genie is out of the bottle. The horse has fled the barn. Whatever metaphor you pick, here’s the truth: Strong encryption is here to stay, and making it illegal won’t make it go away. Even if the U.S. and our allies all ban strong encryption—and companies like Facebook knuckle under and comply—it will remain available. The software, and the underlying mathematical know-how, are out there. That would still be the case even if Facebook yanked WhatsApp tomorrow. And even if law-abiding companies and individuals stopped using strong encryption, the bad guys wouldn’t. Terrorists already write their own encryption software, and the purported creator of the TrueCrypt file-encryption program (which was favored by ISIS) turned into an international crime kingpin.

        It sounds cliché, but it’s true: If strong encryption is outlawed, only outlaws will have strong encryption. Were the U.S. to enact a mandate requiring Facebook to backdoor its messaging encryption for law enforcement, then many criminals’ immediate move would be to switch to a different program. Savvy criminals, particularly traders in CSAM, have long been technologically sophisticated in cloaking their activities; they teach one another how to hide, and they respond to reports of compromised programs by shifting tactics. If law enforcement actually gets its way and strong encryption is banned, then only the dimmest criminals would still use known-harmful programs. The FBI would find it easier to catch this low-hanging fruit, yes. But savvy criminals would continue to elude them.

        Meanwhile, the law-abiding users of law-abiding companies would have weaker tools available to protect ourselves. What the police are asking for is a world where, by law, criminals have better security than law-abiding people, giving criminals more leverage over innocent people. That is what banning strong encryption means. It means legally requiring you to be weaker than the criminals. Banning strong encryption won’t stop the bad guys. It just hurts the rest of us. And yet, the police (who, remember, are supposed to protect us) are hell-bent on harming everyone’s security in the name of a measure that won’t actually stop savvy criminals.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Jailed Turkish writer Ahmet Altan wins Scholl literary prize

        The infamous Silivri detention center is the same jail where German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel claims he was tortured during his near year-long incarceration. Indeed, the verdict against Altan and five other journalists was announced on the day that Yücel was finally released from custody.

        “[Ahmet Altan's] fate, unfortunately, exemplifies the situation of many independent journalists in increasingly authoritarian or also dictatorial societies,” said the Geschwister-Scholl Prize jury that awarded the €10,000 ($9,000) literary prize to the imprisoned Turkish journalist.

      • THE GREATEST CHALLENGE TO STATE POWER: JOURNALISM IN OUR TIME W/ NOAM CHOMSKY

        In this brief discussion, we begin with Professor Chomsky examining the current state and trajectory of the United States empire within the broader scope of recent history, fitting the recent “withdrawal” of the US military presence in Northeast Syria, under Kurdish governance, as an indication of what the U.S. geopolitical influence in the region currently is. As Noam states, “the United States, didn’t leave Northeast Syria, they just moved its troops to the oil producing regions. The number of troops is about the same,” with more troops being sent to Iraq and Saudi Arabia “to support their murderous war in Yemen.”

        Secondly, we discuss the responsibility of journalists, especially in this time, to challenge state power and stand for those that are willing to risk everything to expose the crimes of the state and its corporate allies. To highlight this, we focus on the current situation of Wikileaks founder and editor Julian Assange, currently imprisoned in the high-security Belmarsh Prison in London, awaiting an extradition hearing set for February 2020, after his asylum was revoked from the Ecuadorian government and handed over to British authorities April this year. “Assange basically is being murdered by the British government,” as his health continues to rapidly deteriorate from his time holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy and his treatment by British authorities more recently. Assange faces “18 charges, including conspiracy to hack government computers and violation of espionage law, and could spend decades in prison if convicted,” (http://bit.ly/2Cjdrof) with the real possibility of him being “extradited to the United States, where he’ll be tried with crimes that, even theoretically, can lead to the death sentence, which he’s already practically suffering [from] now.” Noam compares this attack on press freedoms and whistleblowers to the Red Scare post-WWI, in which “thousands of people were deported. The independent press was virtually crushed. There was a massive attack on human rights. The so-called McCarthy period was about the same. The Trump period is innovating in a way which is familiar [to] totalitarian states. The entire system in the United States under Trump is becoming a kind of proto-fascism without the ideology, just the pertinences of fascism.” We get into this and more in this episode.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Rev transcribers hate the low pay, but the disturbing recordings are even worse

        Rev made headlines this month after it slashed minimum pay for its transcribers from 45 cents per audio / video minute transcribed to 30 cents. The company justified the change by saying it was also increasing the pay for more difficult files, and so, ultimately, the amount paid out to transcribers would be about the same. But even though Rev says the changes will only affect a “very small number of jobs,” workers say they are seeing substantial pay cuts because of the change — and for some, the work increasingly isn’t worth the time and stress.

      • Welcome to the Global Rebellion Against Neoliberalism

        If you can squint past the smoke from the barricades, the commonalities start to stand out. In Chile, anger over a 3 percent raise in metro fares revealed a population not merely miffed by “pocketbook issues”—the fare hike pushed transit costs to 21 percent of the monthly salary of a worker earning the minimum wage—but so exhausted by austerity, so squeezed by low wages and long hours and debt, so fed up with the greed and blindness of the wealthy few who run the country that they were ready to burn almost everything down. A few hours after declaring a state of emergency and dispatching the military into the streets, billionaire President Sebastián Piñera went on TV to remind the citizenry that Chile’s “stable democracy” and growing economy make it a “true oasis” on an otherwise chaotic continent. “The practices that underpin prosperity are not popular,” The Economist drily observed.

      • Justice, honor, politics: Navy secretary fired over SEAL case

        On Wednesday, the Navy had notified Gallagher that he would face a Navy SEAL review board to determine if he should be allowed to remain in the elite force. While Trump then tweeted that he would not allow the Navy to remove Gallagher from the SEALs by taking away his Trident Pin, which designates a SEAL member, the White House told the Navy it could proceed as planned, according to a Navy officer who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.

        That initially appeared to defuse the situation. The Navy SEAL review board was due to hear Gallagher’s case on Dec. 2. Spencer, speaking Saturday at an international security forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, said that he did not consider a tweet by Trump a formal order to stop the Navy review board. “I need a formal order to act,” Spencer said. He said of Trump’s tweets, “I don’t interpret them as a formal order.”

      • Bogaletch Gebre, the Ethiopian women’s rights activist who fought to end female genital mutilation, has died

        So in 1997, Gebre returned to Ethiopia with ambitions of transforming the lives of women and girls where she grew up.

        Along with her sister Fikirte Gebre, she founded KMG Ethiopia, a non-profit organization dedicated to justice and equality for women and girls.

        Through KMG, Gebre set out to make changes big and small in the lives of Ethiopian women.

        Gebre’s charity is credited with virtually eliminating the practice of female genital mutilation in the region where she grew up. In areas where KMG Ethiopia operated, the rates of the practice decreased from nearly 100% in 1999 to less than 3% in 2008.

      • ADL finds extreme Antisemitism among Muslims is 3X national rate

        Thursday, November 21, 2019, the ADL released its 2019 survey data on the prevalence (occurrence) of extreme Antisemitism (defined, below) within 18 countries assessed between April 15 and June 3, 2019. Six of these countries—Belgium, The United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, France, and Italy—included a Muslim over-sample, allowing for a direct comparison of Muslims vs. Christians, those professing no religion, and the overall populations.

      • ADL Global Survey of 18 Countries Finds Hardcore Anti-Semitic Attitudes Remain Pervasive

        The poll of 18 countries, which is part of the ADL Global 100: An Index of Anti-Semitism, was fielded between April and June 2019 in Eastern and Western Europe, Canada, South Africa, Argentina and Brazil. European and other countries with significant Jewish populations were selected for the 2019 survey. Using an 11-question index that has served as a benchmark for previous ADL polling around the world since 1964, the survey of more than 9,000 adults found that anti-Semitic attitudes in Argentina, Brazil, Poland, Russia, South Africa and Ukraine have seen marked increases since the last ADL Global 100 survey.

      • Britain, Land of Tea and Torture

        British politics is presently mired in the second general election campaign in three years, thanks to the grinding parliamentary impasse precipitated by Brexit. One of the most important features of the clamor surrounding Brexit is that very few other political issues are getting the sustained scrutiny they demand, or rather, that every piece of current affairs information is filtered through the lens of our faltering, exasperating withdrawal from the EU. Enormous and urgent issues, from climate catastrophe to austerity budget cuts, from rising homelessness to the financial crisis in the National Health Service, are all taking a back seat to Brexit, which has acted as the determinant of every political conversation in Britain since 2016. These have been boom times for those in British politics who want to get their way while avoiding accountability.

      • Racist Stephen Miller Must Go, Activists and Lawmakers Say

        President Trump may be consumed by impeachment, but White House Adviser Stephen Miller remains laser-focused on executing his racist anti-immigrant agenda. Despite calls for Miller’s removal by lawmakers and civil rights organizations, his oppressive policies and appointments continue to be rolled out at a frantic pace.

        Last week, Hatewatch exposed hundreds of emails Miller sent to the conservative website Breitbart. The emails confirm what we’ve known all along: Miller is a white nationalist hellbent on anti-immigrant policies. Since the release of the emails, more than 50 civil rights groups wrote to Trump demanding Miller’s removal. More than 80 lawmakers have called for Miller’s resignation or termination. The chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus have all called on Miller to resign. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Mazie Hirono have also called for Miller’s resignation. Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro called Miller a “Neo-Nazi” and “a shame to our nation,” and Sen. Bernie Sanders called him “a danger to the American people.”

      • Green Party supports striking university and college staff

        Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley has today expressed the Green Party’s support for the strike by University and College Union (UCU) members at 80 universities around the UK.

        Bartley said: “This is about the long-term wellbeing and welfare of both staff and students. Staff at our universities have been pushed beyond breaking-point by institutions that are not giving them proper pay and conditions, or pensions, and that are leaving huge numbers trapped in the uncertainty of zero-hours and variable hours contracts.

        “The future of our world-class universities, and the quality of education of students, is dependent on staff being treated properly. I know from speaking to UCU members at previous strikes how much they fear not only for their own futures, but also their students’ futures. University pay structures need to be rebalanced away from ludicrously high pay for a few management staff, and towards maintaining the pay and conditions for those doing the teaching and research.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • The RIPE NCC has run out of IPv4 Addresses

        Even though we have run out, we will continue to recover IPv4 addresses in the future. These will come from organisations that have gone out of business or are closed, or from networks that return addresses they no longer need. These addresses will be allocated to our members (LIRs) according to their position on a new waiting list that is now active.

      • He invented the web. Now he’s warning of a looming ‘digital dystopia’

        Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist who submitted his first proposal for an “information management system” in 1989, has reiterated his call for a Contract for the Web, urging governments, companies and individuals to safeguard it by implementing nine key principles.

        These proposals, made by Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web Foundation, aim to stem the rise of online threats.

        Ahead of a conference in Berlin Monday, Berners-Lee tweeted a warning of the risks faced.

        He wrote: “If we fail to defend the free and open web, we risk a digital dystopia of entrenched inequality and abuse of rights.”

      • The Americans with Disabilities Act in the Digital Age

        The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires companies to provide reasonable accommodations and accessibility to all public and private places open to the general public.[1] It provides little to no direction, however, for what accessibility means in the digital age. The ADA was written at a time when most companies did not have websites and apps were a thing of the future. While there are voice command programs available for users who are visually impaired, they often fail in practicality.[2] Due to this frustration, disabled Americans are less likely to utilize and benefit from the [Internet]. A 2016 Pew Research survey found that only 50% of disabled users report using the [Internet] on a daily basis compared to 79% of users without a disability.[3] As technology becomes a more vital part of everyday life, lawsuits pertaining to website accessibility are on the rise.[4] Companies and consumers alike are looking toward the courts to confirm whether the ADA, which dictates America’s physical landscape, is applicable to the online landscape.

    • Monopolies

      • Uber May Be Banned From London, One of Its Biggest Markets

        Now London officials say that’s not enough. Transport for London says it uncovered at least 14,000 incidents in which Uber’s system allowed drivers to upload their photos to other drivers’ accounts, meaning the person who picked up a rider wasn’t necessarily the person attached to the account. In other instances, drivers who had been dismissed or suspended from the platform were allowed to create new accounts and drive again.

      • Uber loses licence to operate in London

        The regulator said the taxi app was not “fit and proper” as a licence holder, despite having made a number of positive changes to its operations.

        Uber initially lost its licence in 2017 but was granted two extensions, the most recent of which expires on Monday.

      • Uber’s License to Operate in London Isn’t Extended

        The decision will not immediately affect Uber’s presence on London streets, as the company has 21 days to appeal the decision and can continue to operate throughout that time. Uber quickly announced that it would file an appeal.

        Transport for London, which regulates taxi and private hire services in the city, announced the decision in a statement, saying that while Uber “has made a number of positive changes and improvement to its culture, leadership and systems,” it had not gone far enough. The license expires at 11:59 p.m. on Monday.

      • Patents

        • Pelosi signals USMCA deal is ‘within range’

          Democrats have been negotiating terms of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement with the White House for months, seeking to entrench strong enforcement mechanisms on issues such as labor, environment and pharmaceuticals.

        • Athena v. Mayo: Using Standard Techniques to Detect an Antibody that Correlates with a Disease

          I enjoy comparing the Question Presented in a petition for writ of certiorari with the brief in opposition. Perhaps the eligibility answer depends on how you frame the question.

        • Patent case: BedGear LLC v. Fredman Bros. Furniture Co. Inc., USA [Ed: The patent zealots failed to raise a stink and derail PTAB through CAFC by cherry-picking. These people hate justice and law, they want neoliberal patent offices to make everything a patent and for that patent to be beyond challenge]

          The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has vacated three Patent Trial and Appeal Board decisions following inter partes review of three patents on the ground that patent owner BedGear LLC argued in its opening brief that the Administrative Patent Judges (APJs) assigned to the case were appointed in violation of the Appointments Clause of Article II of the U.S. Constitution. In accordance with the October 31, 2109, decision of Federal Circuit in Arthrex, Inc. Smith & Nephew, Inc., the cases were remanded for reassignment to a new PTAB panel. Circuit Judge Dyk, joined by Circuit Judge Newman, filed a separate opinion concurring with the notion that the panel was bound to follow Arthrex, but disagreeing with Arthrex’s remedy of requiring a new hearing before a new PTAB panel. According to Judge Dyk, the Arthrex panel opinion “improperly declined to make its ruling retroactive so that the actions of APJs in the past were compliant with the constitution and the statute.” Judge Dyk would hear the decisions on the merits, rather than vacate them for a new hearing before a new panel below (BedGear, LLC v. Fredman Bros. Furniture Co., Inc., November 7, 2019, per curiam).

        • CRISPR Motions Day at the PTAB: Broad Files Its Substantive Motion No. 4

          On October 14th, Senior Party the Broad Institute (joined by Harvard University and MIT) filed several authorized motions in Interference No. 106,115, including Substantive Motion No. 2 and No. 3, against Junior Party the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Vienna; and Emmanuelle Charpentier; collectively, “CVC.” In its Motion No. 4, the Broad asks the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patent Trial and Appeal Board for priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/736,527 to Zhang (termed “Zhang B1″ in the motion), pursuant to 37 C.F.R. §§ 41.121(a)(1)(ii) and 41.208(a)(3) and Standing Order ¶ 208.4.1.

      • Trademarks

        • Scotch-ing decision leaves a tart taste in Isetan’s mouth

          However, the Judge declined to do so, considering that there were differences between the EU legislation in that case (which expressly prohibits “indirect commercial use” as well as “evocation” of a geographical indicator) and Singapore’s equivalent legislation, the GIA, where only “use” of a geographical indicator is proscribed.*

          The decision is the first reported case wherein the Singapore High Court has considered an opposition under s 7(4)(b) (although there have been several registry cases that have considered the issue.) The upshot of the decision is that those seeking to register a mark that may be associated with a particular geographic origin, should be mindful of the s 7(4)(b) prohibition.

        • Hold Your Colour – Cancellation Action against Nivea Blue withdrawn after 11-Year Saga in Germany

          In the Nivea colour trade mark case (that had been dragging on for eleven years before the plaintiff declared the withdrawal of the cancellation action), the German Federal Patent Court answered the question in the negative.

        • Common sense prevails in trade mark specification interpretation

          In January 2011, AxiCorp applied for registration through WIPO designating the European Union for the word mark AXICORP ALLIANCE in Classes 3, 5, 10 and 35. The applicant, Alliance Pharmaceuticals, opposed the registration based on its earlier marks; EU word mark ALLIANCE (registered August 2006 in Class 5), an EU figurative mark (registered December 2003 in Class 5) and an unregistered word mark ALLIANCE, used in the course of trade for ‘pharmaceutical preparations and substances’ in the UK.

          In May 2017, the Opposition Division rejected the opposition in its entirety on the grounds of lack of evidence of genuine use of the earlier EU trade marks and the unregistered mark in the course of trade. The applicant appealed and by decision of 7 February 2018, the Fifth Board of Appeal of EUIPO partially annulled the Opposition Division’s decision and remitted the case to the Opposition Division. This is the contested decision in the present case.

          [...]

          The EUIPO disputed the applicant’s arguments, submitting that an example of the drafting of an exclusion taken from the EUIPO’s examination guidelines cannot provide the basis for a rule determining the conjunction which should be used when drafting an exclusion in a specification. It maintained that it is the responsibility of the applicant to draft clearly and precisely the specification of the goods and services in respect of which protection is sought. Further, the EUIPO argued, the way in which the specification was interpreted was neither unreasonable nor contrary to grammatical rules, even though other interpretations could not be excluded. Thirdly, the EUIPO stated that the extent of the protection sought must be capable of being determined on the basis of the register alone. Therefore, where the designation of goods or services lacks clarity and precision, the scope of the mark must be interpreted narrowly because the proprietor of the mark should not gain from the infringement of its obligation to draw up the list of goods and services with clarity and precision.

      • Copyrights

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