Links 31/1/2020: Lars Kurth RIP, Mesa 20.0 RC1, CERN Moving to Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 11:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Linux Magazine’s Latest (Paywall)

      • Economies of Ink

        I noticed a post on Slashdot recently from a guy whose printer quit printing, because he stopped paying the monthly fee for HP’s Instant Ink system. In case you’re wondering, yes, Instant Ink is a subscription service for printer ink. You pay a flat rate per month, and the ink is delivered automatically to your doorstep. You don’t even have to order it; your smart print cartridge knows when you’re about to run out and orders it for you.

        The problem, apparently, is that some people don’t even know they have this service – they forget they signed up for the two month free trial and later notice an unexplained charge on their credit card. It appears that it is possible to exit the Instant Ink program in an orderly fashion, but you have to do it carefully and click all the right boxes. If you just stop paying, your smart print cartridge locks up and won’t print anything.

        HP’s Instant Ink system has been around for a few years, so it isn’t exactly news, but they keep extending it to include more printers, so it is gradually gaining a higher profile. I talked to an HP guy once on an airport shuttle, and he told me that ink had always been the biggest source of the company’s profits. According to my source, HP used to lose money on the retail cost of a printer just to set up the chance to keep plying the owner with proprietary print cartridges. If you’re going to play that game, you really need to price the cartridges to cover the risk associated with estimating how much the user will actually print. Now, due to market forces, the company is less able to assume that risk, or perhaps, they want to provide the user with an incentive for assuming the risk of estimating print volume.

        Instant Ink could be an attractive option – if you fit snugly into one of the available plans. Like a mobile phone company, the Instant Ink service offers different prices for different levels of service. For instance, one plan lets you print 100 pages per month for $4.99. That’s around 5 cents per page if you use all your pages, which isn’t too bad. But if you only print 50 pages, that’s more like 10 cents per page. (The plan does provide a means for rolling over unused pages, but it caps at 200 pages.) You owe the fee no matter how much you print, so if you only print one page, you pay $4.99 per page for that month. If you go over the maximum page count for your plan, the per-page rate scales up, which can lead to costly overruns.

        Interestingly, the company even offers a “Free” printing plan, which allows you to print 15 pages per month for no cost, and then you owe HP 10 cents per page for everything else you print, which is kind of like the old days, when we used to print faxes, documents, and photocopies at the local copy store for 10 cents a page, only this time, you are paying 10 cents per page to print them on your own printer.

      • On the DVD

        Kali Linux is a popular distro dedicated to the craft of penetration testing. Kali comes with hundreds of practical tools for information gathering, vulnerability analysis, wireless attacks, and stress testing. A bootable Forensics mode leaves the drives unmounted and provides a powerful collection of forensics utilities.

      • Zack’s Kernel News
      • Interview – Wikimedia’s Jaime Crespo
      • Block ads and trackers across your network with Pi-hole
      • Killing ads with the LAN-level Privoxy web proxy
      • Double Protection
      • Programming Snapshot – Go Game States
      • Charly’s Column – lshw
      • Command Line – duplicity
      • Preserve Your Favorite Pages
      • Using the curses library to view IoT data
      • Pocket-Size Programming
      • Open Hardware – DIY Soldering Kits
      • Linux Voice
      • Doghouse – RISC-V Summit
      • Organized Games
      • Building a secure, simple VPN connection
      • FOSSPicks
      • Tutorial – PeerTube
      • Tutorial – Readline
    • Desktop/Laptop

      • In the news: Kubuntu Focus Laptop Is Now Ready…

        The Kubuntu Focus is a new Linux laptop effort set to marry the Kubuntu Linux distro (https://kubuntu.org/) and a laptop aimed specifically for gamers, power users, developers, video editors, and anyone who seeks performance and seamless Linux compatibility. This brand new laptop is ready for preorder (https://kubuntufocus.myshopify.com/).

        The laptop was born from a collaboration between Kubuntu, TUXEDO Computers, and MindShareManagement Inc. The Kubuntu Focus will not only highlight the KDE desktop environment, but it will be the first officially recognized laptop created specifically for the Kubuntu Linux distribution.

        But before you visit the site for preorder, understand this is a premium piece of hardware with a premium price tag. The hardware specs alone should clue you in on the price.

    • Server

      • IBM

        • IBM reshuffles: Krishna CEO, Whitehurst president, Rometty to retire

          IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty is stepping down in April, the company announced Thursday. Arvind Krishna, noted as a key architect of the company’s Red Hat acquisition, will become CEO upon Rometty’s exit.

          Rometty will serve as executive chairman through 2020 and then retire. Red Hat’s CEO Jim Whitehurst was named IBM president.

        • IBM Names Arvind Krishna CEO, Replacing Ginni Rometty

          “Krishna, her successor, was the mastermind behind the Red Hat deal. He proposed the acquisition to Rometty and the board, suggesting hybrid cloud is the company’s best bet for future growth,” adds Bloomberg. “He has led the development of many of IBM’s newer technologies like artificial intelligence, cloud and quantum computing.”

          “Prior to IBM adopting its hybrid multi-cloud strategy, the company had a walled-garden approach to cloud computing, largely focusing on its own services. Krishna spearheaded IBM’s shift toward hybrid, prompting the company to work with rival providers rather than compete against them.”

        • Arvind Krishna Elected IBM Chief Executive Officer

          The IBM (NYSE: IBM) Board of Directors has elected Arvind Krishna as Chief Executive Officer of the company and a member of the Board of Directors, effective April 6, 2020. Krishna is currently IBM Senior Vice President for Cloud and Cognitive Software, and was a principal architect of the company’s acquisition of Red Hat. James Whitehurst, IBM Senior Vice President and CEO of Red Hat, was also elected by the Board as IBM President, effective April 6, 2020. Virginia Rometty, IBM Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, will continue as Executive Chairman of the Board and serve through the end of the year, when she will retire after almost 40 years with the company.

          “Arvind is the right CEO for the next era at IBM,” said Rometty. “He is a brilliant technologist who has played a significant role in developing our key technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud, quantum computing and blockchain. He is also a superb operational leader, able to win today while building the business of tomorrow. Arvind has grown IBM’s Cloud and Cognitive Software business and led the largest acquisition in the company’s history. Through his multiple experiences running businesses in IBM, Arvind has built an outstanding track record of bold transformations and proven business results, and is an authentic, values-driven leader. He is well-positioned to lead IBM and its clients into the cloud and cognitive era.”

        • Power Training at Red Hat Summit 2020 can build IT skills
        • Command Line Heroes – Minicomputers: The Soul of an Old Machine

          They don’t fit in your pocket. But in their day, minicomputers were an order of magnitude smaller than the room-sized mainframes that preceded them. And they paved the way for the personal computers that could fit in a bag and, eventually, the phones in your pocket. Listen to the first episode of season four of Command Line Heroes now.

        • IDC white paper: IBM Z helps enterprises move to hybrid cloud environment
        • IDC white paper: LinuxONE helps enterprises move to hybrid cloud environment

          A new IDC white paper spotlights how the next-generation enterprise IBM LinuxONE III system can help enhance the private cloud portion of a hybrid cloud environment. According to the white paper, “Transforming a Corporate Datacenter into a Modern Environment: Kubernetes as a Foundation for Hybrid Cloud,” the key enablement for hybrid cloud is made possible through the availability of a portable, multi-platform cloud platform — and as the industry moves in this direction, Linux, containers, and Kubernetes form the basis of a universal abstraction layer.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Test and Code: 99: Software Maintenance and Chess

        I play a form of group chess that has some interesting analogies to software development and maintenance of existing systems. This episode explains group chess and explores a few of those analogies.

      • 2020-01-30 | Linux Headlines

        A popular data analysis library for Python has reached a significant milestone, Google doubles down on FIDO authentication, RStudio restructures to better serve the public, and a new XMPP client is shaking things up.

      • Brunch with Brent: Peter Adams Part 2 | Jupiter Extras 51

        Brent sits down with Peter Adams, professional photographer and former founder and CTO of several internet-technology startups in New York and Silicon Valley. In this Part 2 we explore open source and photography through workflows, lighting controls, and camera OSs, artificial intelligence and the future of photography, and more.

      • Useless Dreams | User Error 84

        Whether we’d use Windows if it was FOSS, pointless tech, bathing habits, useless jobs, annoying popey with dream stories, and more.

      • Talk Python to Me: #249 Capture the Staff of Pythonic Knowledge in TwilioQuest

        Are you learning or helping someone else learn Python, why not make a game out of it? TwilioQuest is a game that doesn’t treat you with kid-gloves while teaching you Python. Using your editor of choice, write code on your machine, and still play the game to solve Python challenges.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.5 released, Bootlin contributions inside

        Linux 5.5 was recently released, as usual bringing a large number of new features and improvements, which are nicely detailed in the LWN articles on merge window part 1 and merge window part 2, but also on the Kernelnewbies wiki.

        According to the statistics, a total of 14350 changes were made to this kernel release, to which Bootlin contributed 124 patches, making us the 19th contributing company by number of commits.

      • Linux Kernel 5.6 Ready To Fix Year 2038 Problem

        ith the onset of a new decade, Linux Kernel 5.6 is already prepared to resolve the “Y2038” or “Unix Y2K” problem that can arise in the upcoming decade.

        A few days after the release of Linux Kernel 5.5, Arnd Bergmann, Linux developer, mailed Linus Torvalds mentioning that the Linux Kernel 5.6 should serve as a base for a 32-bit system to run beyond the year 2038.

      • WireGuard is Now in Linus! WireGuard is Merged with Linux 5.3 [sic] Kernel!

        WireGuard is now in Linus Tree: Recently, WireGuard founder said that he gonna merge the WireGuard with main line Linux Kernel 5.6. Yesterday (29-Jan-2020), Linus Torvalds announced the Wireguard & Linux Kernel 5.6 will be merged! You can found this message on his blog.


        WireGuard is a simple open-source application that provides Virtual Private Network techniques to create a secure point connection!

        Many VPN providers adopting the Wireguard technique to provide the most secure VPN service!.

      • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Adds WireGuard Support

        While WireGuard was merged into Linux 5.6, the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS release is currently tracking Linux 5.4 and for the April release is likely to be shipping with Linux 5.5 as the 5.6 release will be cutting it too close. But Ubuntu 20.04′s kernel has now back-ported WireGuard.

        There has been the talk in recent weeks over shipping Ubuntu 20.04 LTS with WireGuard support and indeed with Ubuntu’s latest kernel in the Focal repository is the WireGuard module back-ported for this secure VPN tunnel.

      • WireGuard VPN protocol will ship with Linux kernel 5.6

        The WireGuard VPN protocol will be included into the next Linux kernel as Linus Torvalds has merged it into his source tree for version 5.6.

        There is no set date for Linux kernel releases and being as version 5.5 was released this month, the next version will likely be released in a few months time.

        The addition of WireGurd in the next Linux kernel does also not come as a surprise as the code had already been merged into Dave Miller’s repository back in December. However, the code was just recently pulled into Torvalds’ source tree.

      • Collabora’s Contributions to Linux 5.5 Improve the Panfrost Driver, More

        Collabora continues to add numerous hardware improvements in the Linux kernel with their endless contributions, and today they’ve shared a list of contributions done as part of the latest Linux 5.5 kernel series.

        In an attempt to improve the upstream support of devices powered by the i.MX 6 family of processors, Collabora’s developers improved the brcmfmac open source Broadcom Wi-Fi driver by fixing suspend support for devices that try to save battery life by cutting the power during sleep.

        They also improved the Panfrost open source driver for modern ARM Mali GPUs, the Hantro VPU codec driver, the Chrome Embedded Controller, as well as the virtual media controller driver (vimc), and paved the way for bus format negotiation between DRM pipeline components.

      • Lars Kurth RIP

        Ian Jackson posted a note to the xen-announce mailing list with the sad news that Xen community manager and project advisory board member Lars Kurth has died.

      • Lars Kurth
        I'm very sad to inform you that Lars Kurth passed away earlier this
        week.  Many of us regarded Lars as a personal friend, and his loss is a
        great loss to the Xen Project.
        We plan to have a tribute to Lars on the XenProject blog in the near
        future.  Those who are attending FOSDEM may wish to attend the short
        tribute we plan for Sunday morning:
        For the moment, Lars's mail aliases @xenproject.org, and the
        community.manager@xenproject alias, will be forwarded to myself
        and/or George Dunlap.
        Ian Jackson.
      • EXT4 Gets Performance Work While XFS Gets 32-Bit Fixes For Linux 5.6

        File-system / storage activity is as busy as always during the Linux kernel merge windows.

        EXT4 changes this cycle include performance work in the inode locking code in the read/write paths, performance work for Direct I/O overwrites in boosting workloads like databases and other Direct I/O optimizations, and general code clean-ups and enhancements.

        XFS meanwhile has seen the removal of the last of their 32-bit timestamp code as well as memory corruption fixes affecting 32-bit platforms. There are also a variety of other fixes for XFS with this initial pull request while a secondary round of updates is expected next week.

      • pidfd_getfd Lands In Linux 5.6 With Use-Cases From LXD To Web Browsers

        In addition to the new openat2() system call in Linux 5.6, pidfd_getfd() has landed with growing interest from many different parties for what will be an increasingly used syscall moving forward.

        The pidfd_getfd() system call provides a straight-forward and easy means of accessing file descriptors from other processes via pidfd. It’s been possible to access file descriptors from other processes on existing Linux kernels but via messy ways causing unnecessary complications.

      • Graphics Stack

        • mesa 20.0.0-rc1
          Hi list,
          It's a day late, but mesa 20.0.0-rc1 is now available. The 20.0 branches
          (staging and stable) have been created, and a new 20.0 release milestone has
          also been created.
          20.0.0-rc2 will follow on 02.05 per the release calendar.
        • Mesa 20.0-rc1 Released With Intel Gallium3D Default, OpenGL 4.6 for RadeonSI, Vulkan 1.2

          Mesa 20.0 feature development is over with the code now being branched from Git master and the first of several release candidates issued.

          A lot of new and improved features are to be found in Mesa 20.0 as the project’s 2020′Q1 feature release. Mesa 20.0 includes many optimizations to the RADV ACO back-end, many RadeonSI and RADV improvements around GFX10/Navi, Intel Gallium3D improvements, OpenGL 4.6 with NIR by default for RadeonSI, NIR support for LLVMpipe, Vulkan 1.2 for Intel ANV and Radeon RADV, the Intel Iris Gallium3D driver being the default OpenGL driver now for Broadwell “Gen8″ graphics and newer, plus much more that accumulated over the past three months. My usual feature overview will be out soon.

        • UBports’ Unity 8 Has Working Wayland Support

          UBports has managed to upgrade their Mir support so Unity 8 can ride off the modern Mir implementation that provides Wayland support. In turn this means Unity 8 (and Ubuntu Touch) can run Wayland applications. There are also other benefits like now being able to run Unity 8 off the upstream Mesa graphics drivers without needing any Mir patches as was formerly the case. This also opens up Unity 8 to running nicely on more Linux distributions.

        • NVIDIA Retiring Their Pre-Fermi “340 Series” Legacy Linux Graphics Driver

          NVIDIA has sent out word that they no longer plan to issue anymore driver updates for their 340 series Linux legacy branch.

          This Linux 340 legacy driver series has provided extended support for the G8x, G9x, and GT2xx GPUs. Or in other words, the GeForce 8 series through GeForce 200 series. Moving forward though they will still be maintaining the NVIDIA 390 driver series that is their legacy driver for the Fermi GPUs.

        • NVIDIA end updates to the 340 series legacy driver for Linux

          If you have an older NVIDIA GPU, chances are you’ve been using the 340 legacy series. Well, NVIDIA have said that it’s no longer getting updates. This does not affect any of their modern GPUs, just to be clear on that point.

          The 340 legacy series is the newest driver that supports NVIDIA GPUs from the GeForce 8 Series from 2006 up to the GeForce 3xx series (rebrands of the GeForce 200 series) from 2009. We’re talking GPUs that can be well over ten years old, so it’s only natural their support had to end at some point. NVIDIA did recently give it one last update, with the 340.108 released back in December 2019 which boosted compatibility with newer Linux Kernels so hopefully if you’re still on it you will be good for a little while.

        • RADV Re-Enables NGG Geometry Shader Support

          On top of the last minute Radeon Vulkan “RADV” improvements landing on Wednesday for Mesa 20.0, another big ticket item landed… Well, re-enabled.

          Back in July shortly after the Radeon RX 5700 series unveil, RADV added NGG geometry shader support for Navi/GFX10. NGG is the Next-Gen Geometry engines found with Navi but as shown by the RADV driver work and RadeonSI OpenGL driver changes, it can be difficult/buggy to target.

    • Benchmarks

      • Valve’s ACO Helps Put New Life Into Radeon GCN 1.0 GPUs With ~9% Better Linux Gaming Performance

        Among many other Valve ACO back-end improvements for Mesa 20.0, one of the notable additions is this AMDGPU LLVM alternative now working for Radeon “Southern Islands” / GCN 1.0 graphics cards. With this, these original AMD GCN graphics cards may have some extra life out of Linux gaming boxes thanks to slightly higher performance some eight years after these graphics cards first launched in the Radeon HD 7000 series.

        ACO is the back-end to the Mesa Radeon Vulkan driver that’s funded by Valve and optimized for speedy shader compilation to help with game load times and for delivering optimal gaming performance. With the upcoming Mesa 20.0, ACO works from the Radeon GFX10/Navi graphics cards back through the GCN 1.0 products. Granted, by default the Radeon DRM kernel driver is used for these graphics cards so you need to first boot the system with “amdgpu.si_support=1 radeon.si_support=0″ for enabling the AMDGPU kernel driver that is needed for allowing RADV to work at all.

    • Applications

      • QuiteRSS 0.19.3 (29.01.2020)
      • PhotoFlare Open Source Image & Photo Editor

        If you’re looking for a free photo editor to use on your Linux or Windows system then do check out PhotoFlare.

        I hadn’t heard about PhotoFlare until very recently. But it only took one look at this image editor’s well-designed interface, ample feature set, and open-source friendly nature, to know that I had to try it out.

        In this post i’ll tell you more about PhotoFlare, its features, and show you how to install it on Ubuntu (or download it for Windows).

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • DXVK 1.5.3 Released – Helps Games Like Skyrim + Mafia II, Direct3D 9 Fixes

        Succeeding last week’s DXVK 1.5.2 is now a version 1.5.3 release with various fixes.

        Leading to this quick DXVK 1.5.3 release is a fix for a potentially critical Direct3D 9 regression introduced in the previous release. There is also a fix for Vulkan validation errors with D3D9 and on the plus side better GPU-limited D3D9 performance with some Vulkan drivers.

      • Vulkan translation layer DXVK 1.5.3 is out fixing up a ‘potentially’ critical D3D9 regression

        A small but needed release of the Direct 3D 9/10/11 to Vulkan translation layer has been put out today fixing up some issues.

        DXVK 1.5.3 has a rather important fix in as the headliner here, as 1.5.2 had a potential “critical D3D9 regression”. Additionally there’s some fixed up Vulkan validation errors, improved GPU-limited D3D9 performance on some drivers, and the HUD will now properly show D3D10 when it’s used rather than D3D11.

        For game specific fixes Mafia II, Skyrim and Torchlight were all mentioned so each should have a better experience under Wine with DXVK and so Proton too whenever Valve/CodeWeavers update it.

    • Games

      • Weekend Project: Build a portable RetroPie powered Game Console

        In this video, I show off the process of creating your very own retro gaming console that’s completely portable, powered by RetroPie!

      • Retro-styled colourful non-linear adventure platformer Alwa’s Legacy now has a Steam page

        After a successful crowdfunding campaign in December last year, Elden Pixels explain that progress is going well on their very colourful non-linear adventure platformer Alwa’s Legacy.

        In the first update this year on Kickstarter, they explained that work on it is progressing well with plenty of new content being added and it appears the story is already finished. They also now have a Steam store page up, so you can follow it along ready for release sometime in the Spring.

      • Northgard expands with The Clan of the Ox – DLC out now with a rather unique Warchief

        Shiro Games continue expanding their real-time strategy game Northgard, following on from the huge Conquest Mode free update last year they have a new DLC out adding in an entirely new Clan.

        Himminbrjotir, Clan of the Ox is the new clan and they’re a tough lot both stronger and bigger in stature than the other clans. Led by the powerful Warchief Torfin, they have +15% attack power and defence bonus, however they do eat 10% more than other clans so you need to balance your food stocks even more than usual. They’re fully featured, coming with their very own map for the Conquest Mode and if you beat it with them they have their own special Ox Townhall.

      • Proton GE has a fresh new build out with lots of updates and special fixes

        Proton GE, the unofficial build of Proton mainly for use with Steam Play (but you can use it outside Steam too – like with Lutris) has a big new release out with Proton 5.0 GE 1.

        Why would you use Proton GE instead of the official version included with Steam? Valve/CodeWeavers sometimes take a while to update it and certain games made need fixes sooner that Proton GE provides.

      • Edna & Harvey return to Linux with The Breakout – Anniversary Edition now available

        Daedalic Entertainment have been a good developer and publisher for Linux and they continue to be great. Edna & Harvey: The Breakout – Anniversary Edition, the upgraded version of the 2008 adventure game is now on Linux.

        This enhanced version of the multi-award winning adventure game released in December last year, with it gaining Linux (and macOS) support only yesterday. It has been given a “complete overhaul” with better controls, high resolution art and “new technology” (so an upgraded game engine and things like that).

      • Dungeon management and defence game Legend of Keepers releasing in March

        Goblinz Studio continue upgrading the free Legend of Keepers: Prologue and in recent patch notes, they gave Legend of Keepers a release date for Early Access.

        They’ve said it’s going to launch on March 26 but they’re still adjusting it all based on feedback, which they’re using to improve both the Prologue and the full game. Most recently, it gained a whole new Motivation system so don’t work them too hard and there’s now a Psychologist to let your monster crew talk it out and hopefully get better. Goblinz Studio also expanded the Prologue in other ways with new monsters, 7 new random events and new locations.

      • AMD Doesn’t Work Great for Gaming on Linux Desktop PCs

        AMD has been getting a lot of attention lately, especially with its great performance-over-price graphics cards and processors. However, that love story sounds limited when it comes to desktop PCs working on Linux, and with gaming.

        We wrote few months ago about how great AMD is performing on laptops on Linux comparing to Windows. You can even get 10-20 FPS higher on Linux than on Windows using your integrated graphics card. We still stand on our experiments that we did on AMD-powered laptops, however, desktops is another issue. AMD on desktop PCs perform extremely lower on Linux than on Windows for gaming, and not just by a little bit, but by an extremely huge margin, that can sometimes reach 100 FPS between the two.

        Our average hardware combination of the famous Ryzen 5 1600 CPU and the AMD RX 580 GPU is performing horribly on Linux comparing to Windows. While this setup is considered an on-budget one, and may not reflect all AMD’s cards, we think most people would consider it for their feature desktop PC, and we believed its important for you to know what you are about to enter if you plan to do Linux gaming on the same combination.

      • FTL: Faster Than Light now has Steam Achievements over seven years after release

        Subset Games today released a small update to FTL: Faster Than Light, finally giving it some Steam Achievements after the original release in 2012.

        FTL did already have its own built-in achievements but now it’s all nicely hooked up with the Steam API so you can show off how good you are. Not me though, I think I only ever had one successful run of it. Absolutely brilliant game though, a real devil with your time as you just want one more run.

      • Little Racers STREET gains a brand new Linux (and macOS) port using FNA

        Ethan Lee is back with another game port, this time it’s a little different. Little Racers STREET already had a Linux version but it’s been remade.

        Why? Well, Little Racers STREET is an older game now first released back in 2014. Milkstone Studios gave it same-day Linux support but it’s suffered from various severe issues, with many not able to actually play it anymore without digging into workarounds. So today, Ethan announced the new port that’s been completely redone with FNA.

        Going into further details, Ethan mentioned this is their 60th Linux port which is a crazy milestone. Ethan has given Linux some fantastic games like Rogue Legacy, Salt & Sanctuary, Pyre, Dust: An Elysian Tail and so on. They also did the port for free, as it’s so old and unlikely to make a profit but you can support Ethan’s porting work and FNA/FAudio using GitHub Sponsors on their page and if you’re a game developer you can hire Ethan to do porting work.

      • Valve announce Dota Underlords releasing on February 25 – new Underlord up today

        Today, Valve announced that Dota Underlords will be leaving Early Access and officially releasing on February 25.

        On top of that, the Underlord named Enno has officially joined the cast today. Enno is a ranged Underlord, who “leaps around the board poisoning enemies and generally wreaking havoc”. Hold on a hot second, poison? Yup, that’s in now too as a new status effect causing 15 physical damage per second and reduced healing—poison can stuck up to 5 times.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Regolith Desktop 1.3 Released, Makes Using i3 Even Less Scary

        For those unfamiliar with it, the Regolith desktop combines GNOME-based system management with a keyboard driven user interface built around i3-gaps, Rofi, and other shortcut-centric tools.

        Although still very shortcut dependent — you primarily open, close, move and switch windows and workspaces using keyboard shortcuts — Regolith remoulds i3 into a less intimidating shape.

        The Regolith desktop can be installed on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (and above) by adding a PPA. Alternatively, users can download Regolith Linux, an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution that ships the Regolith desktop experience by default.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • New Breeze Kate Icon

          This is now in the master branch of the breeze-icons repository.

          I hope other icon themes will update their Kate icon variants to match our new style, too.

          I first tried to enforce the use of the new icon by renaming it, but I got reminded this is too harsh and I should give the icon theme authors a chance to update them in their own pace.

          I guess that is the right approach and hope current themes will really catch up with this.

          Thanks already in advance to all people that might spend time on this in the future.

        • KDAB at Embedded World, Nuremberg

          February 2020 will be the tenth year that KDAB exhibits at Embedded World, in Nuremberg, Germany.

          When we started exhibiting, there were only five halls compared to today’s seven, so the event continues to grow and remain relevant, in a world where most interaction takes place on-line. In those ten years, trends have come and gone, with the emphasis moving from medical devices to industrial equipment and ‘automotive everywhere’, while slowly but surely software has taken center stage.

        • Season of KDE

          My first exposure to KDE was in December 2020, i was bit lost in Big KDE world at starting but KDE dev’s helped me alot to get started started. i would specially like to thanks Valorie to have that 2 hour chat with me and told me, how thing’s work here.

          Half period of the KDE has Passed and Till now it has been awesome, incredible learning experience and it was not that easy as i thought but i have super helpful mentors Johnny Jazeix and Emmanuel Charruau :). i have completed enumerate and smallnumbers2 activities, algebra_by still lefts.

          I started my SoK with smallnumbers2, the main challenge with this activity is it shares same code with some other activities too, so while working on it i have to take care that my patch shouldn’t break them. First thing which i have to do is repeat elements from JSON file several times so i have the options to acheive this eigther by modifing previous JSON files or make changes in js file.I choosed second option (ofcourse it was more interesting). The first patch i have submitted was just a rough and ready solution, which Emmanuel discussed with me for several hours and we arrived to a neat approach at the end and i remember it was 5AM in India. Things was bit smoother after that, my code quality increased then i also modified this algorithm to drop elements randomly where elements which current level is teaching will drop more often than other elements. Later i also added this updated dataset to smallnumbers activity as they both activities were sharing same code.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GtkSourceView Snippets

          The past week I’ve been pushing hard on finishing up the snippets work for the GTK 4 port. It’s always quite a bit more work to push something upstream because you have to be so much more complete while being generic at the same time.

          I think at this point though I can move on to other features and projects as the branch seems to be in good shape. I’ve fixed a number of bugs in the GTK 4 port along the way and made tests, documentation, robustness fixes, style-scheme integration, a completion provider, file-format and parser, and support for layering snippet files the same way style-schemes and language-specs work.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • MeX Linux Is Now Based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, Features Cinnamon and Linux 5.5

          Arne Exton has released today a new version of his MeX Linux distribution to give users a Cinnamon flavored Ubuntu 20.04 LTS based operating system running the recently released Linux 5.5 kernel series.

          This is Arne Exton’s second GNU/Linux distribution to be based on the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) operating system, after ExTiX 20.2 announced earlier this week. Just like ExTiX 20.2, MeX Linux now also ships with Linux kernel 5.5, but not the final version released by Linus Torvalds on January 27th, 2020.

          Shipping with Linux 5.5 means that even if you don’t plan to use MeX Linux as your daily driver, you can still use the live ISO to check if the new kernel supports your hardware that wasn’t supported by previous kernels.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Debian Family

        • Remembering Lucy Wayland

          The Cambridgeshire coroner recently held a final hearing into the death of Lucy Wayland. Wayland died almost immediately after the Debian 2018 Christmas lynchings.

          Before getting into where Debian has gone wrong, it is important to emphasize consideration for Wayland’s family at this time. Speculation about the details of Wayland’s death is both distressing for people and un-necessary when considering the problems in the Debian environment.

          The purpose of this blog is not to focus on Wayland, rather, it is about the issues.


          At the time Wayland passed away, she was at the lowest tier of the Debian hierarcy, a Debian Contributor. When I resigned from my role in the GSoC team citing extraordinary personaly circumstances, Chris Lamb, Enrico Zini and other ruthless individuals had decided to “demote” me to this same lowly tier. It was a deliberate and malicious attempt to humiliate me, but it also served to humiliate other people, like Wayland, at the same tier. None of them knew the pain my family was going through at that time. Their callous behaviour only made it worse.

          When any organization goes through restructuring, it impacts everybody.

          As noted in the blog about enforcers, all the witnesses to shaming suffer just as much, if not more, than the victims. How would Lucy Wayland feel seeing other experienced volunteers being subjected to cruel demotions at Christmas?


          When I saw what Chris Lamb, Molly de Blanc and their underlings did to Dr Preining in Christmas 2018, I couldn’t help feeling outrage. If the supposedly ruthless merchant banks of London didn’t dare to violate Christmas, how could Debian, an organization constituted on volunteering, do so?

          Yet it only got worse.

          The more questions I asked, the more evidence of corruption emerged. For example, developers sending veiled threats to interns, behind the backs of the mentors. It reminded me of the case where a manager walked out on a plum job in Canary Wharf when HR sent communications behind his back.

        • Sparky news 2020/01

          The 1st monthly report of 2020 of the Sparky project:

          • added to repos: ElectronPlayer, Stremio
          • added a new script to Sparky APTus Upgrade which lets you upgrade your OS in text mode via one command: sparky-upgrade
          • added Sparky configuration of Draco desktop to Sparky APTus-> Desktop mode; thanks to lami07
          • Linux kernel updated up to version 5.5.0
          • new live/install media of Sparky 5.10 of the stable line released
          • the old repo address: sparkylinux.org/repo/ is no available any more; use repo.sparkylinux.org instead
          • Sparky Wiki has been moved to a subdomain: wiki.sparkylinux.org
          • Nemomen translate Sparky Wiki pages to Hungarian, thanks a lot
          • migration to a new vps is on the way, stay tuned.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Touch is Shaping Up Nicely on the PinePhone [Video]

          Thousands of folks snapped up a PinePhone Brave Heart edition when it went on sale last year — now with the handsets now arriving many early-adopters will be scouting for a mobile operating systems to use on it.

          Pine64, the company behind the PinePhone, shared a video of 4 different operating systems running on the PinePhone just before Christmas. A month on from that and many of the systems showcased have improved greatly.

          Including Ubuntu Touch, the mobile OS created by Canonical but continued by the community-based Ubports.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Choosing the right tools for your open source projects

        Every open source community wants to make it easier for community members to participate and contribute. Typically, there are discussions on cultural aspects of the community to lower barriers to entry, such as fostering a friendly and welcoming environment, onboarding processes, mentorship, code of conduct, etc. However, in my discussions with several open source communities (e.g., Freedesktop, GNOME, KDE, etc.), I found that one of the key criteria when selecting new tools for code, CI, bug tracking, etc. for their projects was how a new tool could also help lower barriers to entry for new contributors.

      • CERN Replacing Facebook Workplace With A Set Of Open-Source Software Alternatives

        Facebook Workplace is Facebook’s corporate-focused product for internal real-time communication and related communication needs within organizations. CERN had been making use of Facebook Workplace and in addition to data privacy concerns, they were recently confronted with either paying Facebook or losing administrative rights, no more single sign-on access, and Facebook having access to their internal data. But now they have assembled their own set of software packages to fill the void by abandoning Facebook Workplace.

      • CERN ends trial of Facebook Workplace

        New changes to the status of CERN’s Workplace account prevent the Organization from continuing on the platform. CERN’s presence on Workplace will end on 31 January 2020. In October 2016, Facebook made Workplace available to any company or organisation.

      • Events

        • Bootlin at FOSDEM and Buildroot Developers Meeting

          This week-end takes place one of the biggest and most important free and open-source software conference in Europe: FOSDEM. It will once again feature a very large number of talks, organized in several main tracks and developer rooms.

          Bootlin CTO Thomas Petazzoni will participate to the FOSDEM conference, of course attending many of the talks from the Embedded, Mobile and Automative Devroom, to which he participated to the talk review and selection. Do not hesitate to get in touch with Thomas if you want to discuss career or business opportunities with Bootlin.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 72.0.2 Lands in Ubuntu’s Repos, Minor Regressions Fixed

            The latest Firefox 72.0.2 web browser has just landed today in the stable software repositories of all supported Ubuntu Linux releases.

            Released by Mozilla on January 20, 2020, Firefox 72.0.2 is a bugfix release that fixes inconsistent playback performance for full screen 1080p videos on certain systems, addresses some issues that occurred when opening files that contain spaces in their path, and fixes a web compatibility issue with CSS Shadow Parts.

            Various stability fixes are included as well in Firefox 72.0.2, which is now available for installation from the main archives of Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine), Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system series.

          • Open source email client Thunderbird finds a new home

            If you prefer to access your email through a desktop client, then Thunderbird is one of the better choices. However, the future of the open source tool has been a little rocky in recent years after the Mozilla Corporation decided to stop supporting it.

            However, there’s a lot of love for Thunderbird out there, and it’s managed to survive, and even grow thanks to user donations. And now the email client has found a new home.

            Thunderbird’s Philipp Kewisch says: “As of today, the Thunderbird project will be operating from a new wholly owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation, MZLA Technologies Corporation.”

          • Announcing Rust 1.41.0

            The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.41.0. Rust is a programming language that is empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.

          • Google’s OpenSK Offers An Open-Source Rust-Written Security Key Implementation

            Google today announced OpenSK as an open-source Rust-based security key implementation supporting FIDO U2F and FIDO2 standards.

            OpenSK currently is a research platform that Google will hopefully be used by security researchers and security key manufacturers. The Rust code is written the Tock embedded operating system.

            This early version of OpenSK supports flashing the OpenSK firmware onto a Nordic chip dongle as the current reference hardware.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Vendor-bender LibreOffice kicks out 6.4: Community project feel, though now with added auto-█████ tool

          The Document Foundation has updated its free and open-source LibreOffice suite to 6.4, which it describes as “performance focused”, though there are also new features.

          LibreOffice is a large office suite, and there are seven applications included: Writer for word processing, Calc for spreadsheets, Draw, Impress for presentations, Math for creating and editing mathematical expressions (with support for MathML, Base for database management, and a largely pointless LibreOffice Start Centre where you can launch the other components. There is also an online version which you can download pre-installed in a Docker container, or use a hosted version from Collabora (a key LibreOffice contributor).

          Given the size of the suite, the list of new features in 6.4 is relatively small. One that caught our eye is auto-redaction. The redaction feature was new in version 6.3 but is now enhanced with a dialogue that automatically redacts text based on a text string or regular expression.

      • BSD

        • FreeNAS 11.3 released with Wizards, Plugins, and Accelerated Replication

          FreeNAS 11.2 has been made available for the general public, and the most important highlights of this new version include better replication, easier plugins, and Wizards.

          For those of you who are unfamiliar with FreeNAS, please allow FOSSLinux to provide you with a brief introduction. According to the makers, FreeNAS is the best storage operating system you will find out there, which enables data sharing over a network.

          If you’re looking for developing a data center, FreeNAS could prove to be the right choice as it’s entirely secure and can run on pretty much any hardware platform available. Moreover, it has been developed in such a way that its use isn’t limited only for enterprise and small businesses as FreeNAS is also quite suitable for home use.

          So, now that you know a thing or two about the FreeNAS OS, it’s about time we check out what its latest update has to offer us.

        • OPNsense 20.1 “Keen Kingfisher” released

          For over 5 years now, OPNsense is driving innovation through modularising and hardening the open source firewall, with simple and reliable firmware upgrades, multi-language support, HardenedBSD security, fast adoption of upstream software updates as well as clear and stable 2-Clause BSD licensing.

          20.1, nicknamed “Keen Kingfisher”, is a subtle improvement on sustainable firewall experience. This release adds VXLAN and additional loopback device support, IPsec public key authentication and elliptic curve TLS certificate creation amongst others. Third party software has been updated to their latest versions. The logging frontend was rewritten for MVC with seamless API support. On the far side the documentation increased in quality as well as quantity and now presents itself in a familiar menu layout.

          Download links, an installation guide[1] and the checksums for the images can be found below as well.

        • OPNsense 19.7.10 released

          Hey hey,

          As Thursday nears the last preparations for 20.1 are underway. As a quick
          relief here is the End-Of-Life release of the 19.7 series with a tiny number
          of updates.

          Remember that when 20.1 is available it will take up to a day before we
          release the hotfix with the major upgrade path enabled. Please be patient
          as we simply want to ensure that upgrades will not be bumpy affair.

          Here are the full patch notes:

          o firewall: fix a typo in CARP validation
          o firmware: revoke 19.1 fingerprint
          o ipsec: add configurable dpdaction (contributed by Marcel Menzel)
          o mvc: BaseListField ignoring empty selected field
          o plugins: os-haproxy 2.20[1]
          o plugins: os-mail-backup 1.1[2]
          o plugins: os-nrpe 1.0 (contributed by Michael Muenz)
          o plugins: os-theme-rebellion 1.8.3 (contributed by Team Rebellion)
          o plugins: os-vnstat 1.2[3]
          o plugins: zabbix4-proxy 1.2[4]
          o ports: ca_root_nss 3.49.1
          o ports: curl 7.68.0[5]
          o ports: urllib3 1.27.7[6]
          o ports: isc-dhcp 4.4.2[7]

          Stay safe,
          Your OPNsense team

        • HAMMER2 questions

          Still, my recommendation is that for anything that fits on one drive no mirroring or RAID should be used. Make discrete backups to another drive on a regular schedule instead. RAIDs are not actually any more reliable than non-RAID on small systems in terms of machine uptime. For larger many-drive arrays HAMMER2 just isn’t the right solution (not yet) and I would recommend running ZFS on FreeBSD instead. But for any single-drive solution (even a large one), HAMMER2 gives premium performance and has a number of extremely useful features built-in such as automatic de-duplication (when copying a large file or tree), and compression. I use HAMMER2 on a bunch of 4TB HDDs and SSDs myself and it works flawlessly.

        • The first FreeBSD conference in Australia

          While there are many prominant Australian FreeBSD contributers, sysadmins, and users, we’ve always had to venture overseas for conferences. We’re always told Australians are among the most ardent travellers, but I always wondered if we could do a domestic event as well.

          And on Tuesday, we did! Deb Goodkin and the FreeBSD Foundation graciously organised and chaired a dedicated FreeBSD miniconf at the long-running linux.conf.au event held each year in a different city in Australia and New Zealand.

      • FSF

        • Libiquity Wi-Fri ND2H Wi-Fi card now FSF-certified to Respect Your Freedom

          The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today awarded Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification to the Libiquity dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi card, from Libiquity LLC. The RYF certification mark means that Libiquity’s distribution of this device meets the FSF’s standards in regard to users’ freedom, control over the product, and privacy.

          Libiquity currently sells this device as part of its previously-certified Taurinus X200 laptop. Technoethical also offers the same hardware with their RYF-certified Technoethical N300DB Dual Band Wireless Card. With today’s certification, Libiquity is able to sell the Libiquity Wi-Fri ND2H Wi-Fi card as a stand-alone product for the first time, and now has two RYF-certified devices available.

          “In the years since first joining the RYF program, we at Libiquity have worked to improve and expand our catalog. For anyone looking to join distant or congested 2.4-GHz or 5-GHz wireless networks, the Wi-Fri ND2H is a great internal Wi-Fi card for laptops, desktops, servers, single-board computers, and more. Most importantly, in an era when more and more hardware disrespects your freedom, we’re proud to offer a Wi-Fi card branded with the RYF logo on the product itself, as a trusted symbol of its compatibility with free software such as GNU Linux-libre,” said Patrick McDermott, Founder and CEO, Libiquity LLC.

          With this certification, the total number of RYF-certified wireless adapters grows to thirteen. The Libiquity Wi-Fri ND2H Wi-Fi card enables users to have wireless connectivity without having to rely on nonfree drivers or firmware.

        • Free Software Foundation Endorses First Product Of 2020: A $59~79 USD 802.11n WiFi Card

          We’ve seen a lot of odd products pick up the Free Software Foundation’s “Respect Your Freedom” endorsement like a USB microphone, various re-branded motherboards, and even last year certified a USB to parallel printer cable. The latest product they are endorsing — and their first endorsement of 2020 — is a USD 802.11 a/b/g/n PCIe half-mini card starting out at $59 USD but going up to $79 for this outdated wireless adapter.

      • Programming/Development

        • What the Dev?

          Java is coming up on a big milestone: Its 25th anniversary! To celebrate, we take a look back over the last 25 years to see how Java has evolved over time. In this episode, Social Media and Online Editor Jenna Sargent talks to Rich Sharples, senior director of product management for middleware at Red Hat, to learn more.

        • Web performance issue — reoccurrence

          In June we discovered that Treeherder’s UI slowdowns were due to database slow downs (For full details you can read this post). After a couple of months of investigations, we did various changes to the RDS set up. The changes that made the most significant impact were doubling the DB size to double our IOPS cap and adding Heroku auto-scaling for web nodes. Alternatively, we could have used Provisioned IOPS instead of General SSD storage to double the IOPS but the cost was over $1,000/month more.

          Looking back, we made the mistake of not involving AWS from the beginning (I didn’t know we could have used their help). The AWS support team would have looked at the database and would have likely recommended the parameter changes required for a write intensive workload (the changes they recommended during our November outage — see bug 1597136 for details). For the next four months we did not have any issues, however, their help would have saved a lot of time and it would have prevented the major outage we had in November.

        • 10 Best Free Unified Modeling Language Tools

          Unified Modeling Language (UML) is a general-purpose, modeling language designed to provide a standard way for visualizing, specifying, constructing, and documenting the artifacts of distributed object systems. It’s the industry standard modeling language for software engineering.

          The aim of UML is to give software engineers, agile and small development teams, and system architects useful tools for analysis, design, and implementation of software-based systems. It also provides modeling business and similar processes. The language helps to visualize your object-oriented design and communicate with others. It offers limited use for other programming paradigms.

          UML offers an efficient way to communicate object programming concepts that are not intuitive between programmers and end users. It can also be very precise and helps to avoid ambiguities when you define your system.

          UML is composed of many model elements that represent the different parts of a software system. The UML elements are used to create diagrams, which represent a certain part, or a point of view of the system. A full list of the diagrams is set out at the end of this article.

        • Norbert Preining: CafeOBJ 1.6.0 released

          We have released version 1.6.0 of CafeOBJ, an algebraic specification and verification language.

        • 5 ways to use Emacs as your RPG dashboard

          There are two ways to play a tabletop role-playing game (RPG): You can play an adventure written by the game’s publisher or an independent author, or you can play an adventure that is made up as you go. Regardless of which you choose, there’s probably prep work to do. One player (generically called the game master) must gather monster or enemy stats, loot tables, and references for rules, and the other players must build characters and apportion (pretend) equipment. Nothing’s going to eliminate prep work from a complex RPG, but if you’re an Emacs user, you might find that Emacs makes a great dashboard to keep everything all straight.

          Organize the rules

          Unfortunately, the digital editions of many RPGs are distributed as PDFs because that’s what the RPG publisher sent to the printer for the physical edition. PDFs are good at preserving layout, but they’re far from an ideal eBook format. If you play RPGs published under an open license, you can often obtain the rules in alternate formats (such as HTML), which gives you more control and flexibility. Even the world’s first and most famous RPG, Dungeons & Dragons, provides its rules as a free download in digital format (which has been translated into HTML and Markdown by many a website).

          I open the rules as Markdown in Emacs so that I have a searchable reference at the ready. While opening the rules as a PDF in a PDF reader lets you search for embedded text, using a text file instead provides several benefits. First of all, a text file is much smaller than a PDF, so it’s faster to load and to search. Second, text files are easily editable, so if you find a rule that sends you seeking clarification, you can add what you learn (or whatever you make up) directly into your master document. You can also add house rules and additional resources. My aim is to have a single file that contains all of the rules and resources I use in games I run, with everything a quick Ctrl+s (C-s in Emacs notation) away.

        • The 2020 Rust Event Lineup

          A new decade has started, and we are excited about the Rust conferences coming up. Each conference is an opportunity to learn about Rust, share your knowledge, and to have a good time with your fellow Rustaceans. Read on to learn more about the events we know about so far.

        • Python

          • We’ve Reached a Milestone: pandas 1.0 Is Here

            Today the pandas project announced the release of pandas 1.0.0.

            For more on what’s changed, read through the extensive release notes. We’re particularly excited about Numba-accelerated window operations and the new nullable boolean and string data types. This post will focus on how Anaconda helped pandas get to 1.0.

            Anaconda is proud to have been one of pandas’ longest-running Institutional Partners by employing pandas maintainers to spend some or all of their time working on pandas. Pandas is a large project that’s central to Python’s growth in popularity. Managing that project, with an emphasis on community involvement, is a mammoth task that would be difficult to achieve by volunteers alone. Having maintainers who can reliably dedicate blocks of time to maintenance and larger tasks ensured pandas health over the years.

            Beyond just paying people to work on pandas (and other open source projects), Anaconda connects its customers, who have demanding and novel use cases, with the pandas developers. One of the challenges of developing an open-source library is knowing who’s actually using it and how it’s being used. There are institutions who can’t or won’t announce that they’re using pandas on a public mailing list, but have interesting challenges. As a leader in this space Anaconda has existing relationships with many groups and is able to make connections where appropriate.

          • Feed Generator: Writing a Python script to generate my blog feed

            Late last year I changed my blog engine yet again. I’ve been happy with it so far, with the exception of XML feeds. The tooling I chose doesn’t have good support for feeds, certainly not with the filtering I need. Specifically, I need to have a python feed, a family feed, and so on. As much as I love my wife and daughter, non-technical posts about them probably don’t belong on places where this post will show up.

            After trying to work within the framework of the blog engine (Vuepress), I got tired of fighting abstraction and gave up. My blog wouldn’t have an XML feed.

  • Leftovers

    • Just Desserts: Resistance By Wind, Cake, Shepherd, Tunnel and Hymn To The 81%
    • Education

      • Most Schools Stifle Indigenous Youth. Standing Rock Offered a Different Vision.

        In early August 2016, tribal nations throughout North America passed resolutions in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their stance to protect the waters of the Mni Sose, Missouri River, against threats from the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline. This, after Standing Rock Sioux Tribal (SRST) Chairman David Archambault II put out an official call to tribal nations for support. The Standing Rock Sioux youth runners and founder of the Sacred Stone Camp, LaDonna Bravebull Allard, put out calls of their own via social media, also for allied support. Their messages to Indian Country and beyond went viral, reaching the masses worldwide. Within days, in early August, caravans of cars and delegations from throughout Turtle Island made their way to the Sacred Stone Camp and to the newly erected Red Warrior and Oceti Sakowin Camps just across the Cannonball River.

    • Hardware

    • Health/Nutrition

      • A Public Option Sustains Health Care Inequities. Medicare for All Tackles Them.

        Health care has been at the forefront of discussion during the 2020 primary season. The debate has boiled down to whether Democratic candidates will embrace single-payer or support an expansion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through a public option. While candidates trade jabs and throw around industry talking points, the debate and subsequent media attention has largely excluded how people with disabilities will be affected by the prospective nominees’ health care plans.

      • First coronavirus cases confirmed in UK
    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Dremio CEO: Open Cloud Data Lake Levels on the Rise

              Cloud data warehouses are an improvement from the legacy on-premises versions, but they’re still just data warehouses, according to Tomer Shiran, co-founder and CEO of data lake engine company Dremio. Shiran says the cloud crusades will escalate this year, particularly in the realm of modern open cloud data lakes, as big data adoption continues to explode.

              The maturation of the technology stack, in addition to more machine learning frameworks entering the mainstream, has both accelerated cloud data lake adoption and sparked an evolution on two fronts: open cloud data lake storage and proprietary cloud data warehouses. “We believe the former will eclipse the latter,” Shiran said.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (graphicsmagick, opensmtpd, webkit2gtk, wget, and zlib), openSUSE (apt-cacher-ng, GraphicsMagick, java-1_8_0-openjdk, mailman, mumble, rubygem-excon, sarg, and shadowsocks-libev), Oracle (libarchive and openjpeg2), Red Hat (firefox, fribidi, openjpeg2, SDL, and thunderbird), Scientific Linux (openjpeg2), SUSE (glibc, java-1_8_0-openjdk, and rmt-server), and Ubuntu (Apache Solr and webkit2gtk).

          • UN didn’t patch SharePoint, got mega-hacked, covered it up, kept most staff in the dark, finally forced to admit it

            As to the miscreants’ entry point, it was a known flaw in Microsoft SharePoint (CVE-2019-0604) for which a software patch had been available for months yet the UN had failed to apply it.

            The hole can be exploited by a remote attacker to bypass logins and issue system-level commands – in other words, a big problem from a security standpoint. The hackers broke into a vulnerable SharePoint deployment in Vienna and then, with admin access, moved within the organization’s networks to access the Geneva headquarters and then the OHCHR.

          • Amazon Tells Ukraine Publication To Alter Its Article After It Links The Company To Ring’s Problematic Ukraine Branch

            An extremely-problematic wing of an extremely-problematic company is back in the news. Ring’s Ukraine division made headlines last fall when the presence of a “Head of Facial Recognition Tech” in the Ukraine office appeared to contradict Ring’s claims it was not interested in adding facial recognition to its cameras.

          • Should Your Antivirus Software Be Spying On You?

            Back in August, Wladimir Palant, the creator behind Adblock Plus, wrote a blog post detailing how Avast Online Security and Avast Secure Browser were collecting and selling the browsing data of the Czech company’s 400 million users. In response, both Opera and Mozilla pulled Avast extensions from their respective add on markets, forcing Avast CEO Ondrej Vlcek to go on a PR tour last month to downplay the issue.

          • SEO Spam Dominated Website Infections in 2019: Report

            Last year, SEO spam was the most frequently observed threat on compromised websites, according to a new report from GoDaddy-owned web security company Sucuri.

          • [Attackers] were paid ransom after attack on Canadian insurance firm, court documents reveal [iophk: Windows TCO]

            The unnamed firm had itself purchased coverage in case of a cyberattack. The company’s U.K.-based reinsurer paid $950,000 US to unlock the hijacked files and is now fighting to get the money back from criminals, according to court documents stemming from a hearing held in private.

            “A [cracker] managed to infiltrate and bypass the firewall of [the Canadian company] and installed malware called BitPaymer,” reads a Dec. 13 ruling from England’s High Court in London. The document was published Jan. 17 and the case was first reported by the New Money Review.

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

            • Qualys Reveals Critical OpenBSD Mail Server Security Flaw

              Jimmy Graham, senior director of product management for Qualys, said that OpenBSD flaw is severe enough to warrant an immediate patch that has been made available by the OpenBSD community. In addition, other distributions of Linux that might be using the OpenSMTPD mail server should apply the patch immediately, said Graham. It’s not known yet if cybercriminals or nation-states have already discovered this potential exploit to inject code into OpenBSD systems, but now that it’s been disclosed the skills required to exploit it are not especially high, added Graham.

            • Anatomy of OpenBSD’s OpenSMTPD hijack hole: How a malicious sender address can lead to remote pwnage

              The OpenBSD project’s OpenSMTPD can be potentially hijacked by a maliciously crafted incoming email.

              Infosec biz Qualys discovered and this week disclosed CVE-2020-7247, a root privilege-escalation and remote code execution flaw in OpenSMTPD. It can be exploited locally by a normal user to execute shell commands as root, if using the daemon’s default configuration, or locally and remotely if the daemon is using its “uncommented” default configuration, in which it listens on all interfaces and accepts external mail. Getting root access means it’s game over: the machine is now yours.

              This bug is bad news for anyone running a public-facing, external-mail-accepting OpenSMTPD deployment. Check for security updates to close the hole, apply this patch, or disable the daemon. The version shipping with OpenBSD 6.6, the latest available, and Debian testing, aka Bullseye, are vulnerable to attack; other releases may be as well. The bug dates back to May 2018.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Lawsuit Says Clearview’s Facial Recognition App Violates Illinois Privacy Laws

              Clearview has gathered a whole lot of (negative) attention ever since its exposure by Kashmir Hill for the New York Times. The facial recognition app developed by Hoan Ton-That (whose previous app was a novelty that allowed users to transpose President Trump’s distinctive hairdo on their own heads) relies on scraped photos to perform its questionable magic. Rather than limiting themselves to law enforcement databases, cops can upload a photo and search a face against pictures taken from dozens of websites.

            • [tor-announce] New stable releases: Tor and

              Source code for Tor is now available from the usual place at https://www.torproject.org/download/tor/ . Packages should be available within the next several weeks, with a new Tor Browser by mid-February.

              Source code for Tor is available from our distribution site, at https://dist.torproject.org/ .

            • Bernie Sanders Thinks Companies That Sell Your Browser History Are ‘Trampling Over the Rights of Consumers’

              Sanders joins fellow senators Mark Warner and Ron Wyden in calling for action over the secretive industry that makes millions of dollars tracking and selling the [Internet] behavior of ordinary [Internet] users. A joint investigation by Motherboard and PCMag published Monday found that Avast antivirus, which has more than 435 million users around the world, is selling its users’ browsing habits to companies like Google, Microsoft, McKinsey, Pepsi, Yelp, Condé Nast, and Home Depot through a subsidiary called Jumpshot.

            • Mark Zuckerberg to Somehow Become Even More Unlikable in the 2020s, Mark Zuckerberg Says

              In a call with reporters, per USA Today, Zuckerberg alluded to the numerous crises, scandals, and political headaches confronting Facebook, like hate speech and disinformation, the use of Facebook to enable political lying, and the non-transparent data harvesting operation it has successfully extended over much of the web. And his message is that more of the same is coming.

            • Facebook pays $550M to settle facial recognition privacy lawsuit

              Facebook will create a cash fund of $550 million for its Illinois users who filed a lawsuit over its privacy practices, law firm Edelson PC said on Wednesday. The settlement came after Facebook was sued for collecting facial recognition data to use in tagging photos, which allegedly violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.

              Tagging someone in a photo on Facebook creates a link to his or her profile, with the feature finally made opt-in by Facebook last year. Facebook’s photo tag suggestions come from collecting facial recognition data from other photos.

            • Confidentiality

              • Amazon Employee Believes Ring Should Be ‘Shut Down’ for Security Issues

                The news just gets worse and worse for Amazon and the P.R. it’s been getting for it’s Ring Doorbell security camera. It’s gone from bad to worse to catastrophic with security issues.


                But it gets worse than that. One of the employees, software development engineer Max Eliaser, believes the Ring should be shut down. He said, “The deployment of connected home security cameras that allow footage to be queried centrally are simply not compatible with a free society. The privacy issues are not fixable with regulation, and there is no balance that can be struck. Ring should be shut down immediately and not brought back.”

                That’s just devastating to the company, and this statement comes amongst news from the Electronic Frontier Foundation that the accompanying app for the Ring gives personal information to third parties such as Facebook.

                The investigation by EFF showed that the app gives customer names, private IP addresses, and sensor data to marketing companies who use this information to track and spy on the Ring customers.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

      • Many Danish companies doing nothing in climate battle

        The report found there were three key reasons preventing companies from buying into the idea of becoming more sustainable: a lack of customer demand, prioritising other areas, and difficulty earning money by being more environmentally conscious.

        The report showed that 62 percent of Danish companies indicated they are active in reducing their climate footprint.

      • Year without a winter? Forecast models suggest warmer than average February

        Could it be a year without winter in New England? Forecast models suggest “widespread warmth” in February, bringing us close to the official start of spring.

        The Arctic Oscillation is forecasted to go “extremely positive” for the first half of February, according to BAMWX. Forecasters added that data is “trending away from” a negative Eastern Pacific Oscillation.

      • Climate heat means new wine from familiar places

        Each great wine is a unique product of place and climate. Rising heat could force new wine into old, prized bottles from famous cellars.

      • Energy

        • The Hunt for Fugitive Emissions in the Permian’s Oilfields

          After spending a couple days with Wilson as she monitored for methane leaks at oil and gas industry sites in the Permian oilfields of West Texas, it is easy to understand why she believes that talk of meaningful regulation of the industry lacks meaning itself.  

        • Colorado Tries To Get Skiers Out Of Cars And Onto Buses To Tamp Down Traffic

          “Last year, when our family went skiing in Vail, it took six hours to get back on a Sunday night,” said Gov. Jared Polis.

          So the Colorado Department of Transportation has partnered with three ski resorts, including Loveland Ski Area, to run round-trip buses on weekends. Because buses are more efficient than cars at moving large numbers of people on a tight, winding two-lane highway, state officials hope they’ll take enough cars off the road to alleviate some congestion.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Is Iceland Losing its Taste for Whaling?
        • Cherokee Nation to Disperse Rare Heirloom Seeds Beginning on Feb. 3

          Back by popular demand, the Cherokee Nation will begin dispersing a limited supply of heirloom seeds February 3 to tribal citizens who are interested in growing traditional Cherokee crops.

          Last year, the Cherokee Nation gave away almost 10,000 packages of seeds to its tribal citizens. Cherokee Nation officials are committed to this program because it helps to keep the Cherokee culture and history alive.

        • The Ocean is Getting so Acidic That It’s Dissolving Crabs’ Shells

          The world’s oceans absorb about 30 percent of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. That means that as levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have increased, so too have levels in the seawater, leading to an increase in the water’s acidity.

          Over time, a new study has found, the effect has become so pronounced that the Pacific Ocean’s increasingly acidic water is dissolving the shells of newly hatched Dungeness crabs.

        • The night sky is increasingly dystopian

          In the predawn hours of November 18, 2019, Northwestern University astronomer Cliff Johnson noticed a huge swarm of unfamiliar objects streaking across the sky.

          That night, Johnson was surveying the Magellanic Clouds — two very dim dwarf galaxies that orbit our own Milky Way galaxy — with the telescopes at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. These galaxies are teaching scientists how stars form, and what happens when two galaxies pass near one another. Johnson was watching them remotely, through a webcam at Fermilab outside of Chicago. “All of a sudden,” he says, “we just start seeing these streaks come across the webcam view. I’ve never seen anything like that.”

          The streaks weren’t from the heavens. They were from Earth.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Why the Prospect of a “Bernie Blue Out” Terrifies the One-Percent

        I mentioned some time ago when it didn’t go without saying that Bernie Sanders stands a real chance to win the US Presidency. It goes without saying now. What’s also clear is that the One Percent establishment – both Democrat and Republican – now fear that Bernie Sanders may win any given election he enters, culminating in a potential 50 state Bernie Blue-Out.

      • Trump Lawyer Argues President Can Do Whatever He Wants to Get Re-Elected

        Lawmakers and legal analysts observing President Donald Trump’s ongoing Senate trial voiced alarm at a brazen and sweeping line of defense offered Wednesday by Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz: “If a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.”

      • Appease and Carrots
      • Experts Say Dems Should Let Hunter Biden Testify to Get Bolton on the Stand

        As the U.S. Senate continues to debate the possibility of witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump Thursday, two prominent experts are making the case that Democrats should allow testimony from former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden in exchange for compelling Trump’s former National Security Adviser John Bolton to speak under oath about what he knows.

      • What Changed at Independent Agencies in 2019

        As we have previously highlighted, independent federal agencies receive too little attention relative to their importance to our collective safety and prosperity. The Revolving Door Project has worked through multiple channels to shed light on these overlooked agencies and the threats that they face. We hope public education will generate pressure to safeguard the independence of these agencies and ensure that they are staffed with advocates for the public interest rather than corporate insiders.

      • Threatcast 2020: Our New Brainstorming Game To Explore Disinformation In The 2020 Election

        As you may recall, a few years back, I helped design and run a large group election simulation game called “Machine Learning President.” The game explored what odd or surprising coalitions might form around a 2020 election, as well as the impact of both money and technology on the races. It was a fun exercise, but a complicated one to run, and, to date, it has only been run twice.

      • Local Accountability Journalism Still Has a Huge Impact

        Judging from the conversation in Washington — “You’re a liar! No, you’re a liar” — it’s reasonable to conclude that many there no longer listen to the facts and it’s rare for journalists’ stories to make a difference.

        That may be true in our nation’s capital, but our experience with our Local Reporting Network and with ProPublica Illinois shows that state leaders across the country are still listening and things can change.

      • Corporate Media Are the Real ‘Sanders Attack Machine’

        As the Iowa caucuses approach, corporate media are beginning to panic.

      • The New York Times Endorsement Has Often Been a Boost for the Unendorsed

        The New York Times’ recent endorsement (1/19/20) of both Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Amy Klobuchar for the Democratic presidential nomination seems to have stirred up as much anger as when Time (12/25/06) selected “you” as its person of the year in 2006. CNN (1/20/20) mocked the Times’ “utterly confusing” decision as inconsequential. Others claimed it “reeked of ignorant pomposity” (the Federalist, 1/22/20) or that it “fails us all” (Nation, 1/21/20). Meanwhile, the Atlantic’s David Frum (Twitter, 1/20/20) said the board should “Quit mumbling and worrying about upsetting readers and forthrightly SAY, ‘Anybody but Bernie [Sanders].’”

      • This Is How Democracy Dies

        A new report from the University of Cambridge’s Centre for the Future of Democracy, which one of us—Foa— co-authored, provides a broader look at this issue, and the conclusions are not hopeful, to say the least. The report analyzed data collected across 154 countries, 3,500 surveys covering more than 4 million respondents, and half a century of social-science research.

        Satisfaction with democracy, according to the report, has eroded in most parts of the world, with an especially notable drop over the past decade. Public confidence in democracy is at the lowest point on record in the United States, the major democracies of Western Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America. In some countries, including the United States, this metric is now reaching an important threshold: The number of people who are dissatisfied with democracy is greater than the number of people who are satisfied with it.

      • Facebook Hires Fox News Producer Who Has Poisoned Boomer Brains for Years

        Facebook has hired Jennifer Williams, a longtime Fox News producer, to work on its editorial video strategy. At Fox News, Williams spent years working in key roles on Fox & Friends and The Daily Briefing, flagship programs of a network that has long operated as a right-wing propaganda machine.

        Williams will work on Facebook’s official curated feed of news sources alongside journalists from publications including CNN, the New York Times, ABC News, Huff Post, and the BBC.

      • Puerto Rico’s Internet Voting Plan Threatens Election Security: ACLU

        The American Civil Liberties Union and its Puerto Rico chapter urged the island’s governor, Wanda Vázquez, to veto a bill containing the Internet voting plan.

        “There is no secure way to hold elections online,” they wrote in a letter to the governor on Wednesday.

        “This measure is misguided, dangerous, and will needlessly expose Puerto Rico’s voting system to [cracking] and disruption.” The ACLU said “such disruption will only result in greater public mistrust of key democratic institutions.”

        The online voting plan is part of a bill to reform the U.S. territory’s electoral code. The bill is expected to be approved by the legislature by the end of this week.

      • University of Minnesota student jailed in China for tweeting memes of Chinese President Xi Jinping: How was he caught?

        In 2019, a twenty year old Chinese international student from the University of Minnesota was arrested, tried, and sentenced in China for tweets he made from an anonymous account while studying in America. The student, Luo Daiqing, was arrested when he returned home for summer break in 2019 and formally sentenced after a secret trial in November 2019. This news was first reported by Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian for Axios on January 22nd, 2020. This represents the first time that the Chinese government has prosecuted a Chinese citizen in this way for actions committed while abroad – and all signs show that this is just the beginning.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • The Bernie Blackout Is Real, and These Screenshots Prove It

        It’s 2020, but it could well be 2016 all over again — history is repeating itself as the cadre of neoliberal Democratic Party leaders who worked to derail Sen. Bernie Sanders’s previous presidential bid four years ago are once again projecting their confirmation biased, pro-corporate agendas into the primaries. Along with an establishment media that frames the issue of “electability” in favor of party centrists and moderates, these interests work against more popularly polling progressive candidates, like Sanders, first by ignoring them, then by attack.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Dissenter Weekly: ‘Luanda Leaks,’ Amazon Whistleblowers Defy Threats From Management—Plus, Assange Leaves Solitary

        On this edition of the “Dissenter Weekly,” host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola highlights police whistleblowing in Houston, “Luanda Leaks,” and retaliation faced by Amazon workers defying threats from management for speaking out on how the corporation fuels climate change.

        Gosztola walks viewers through the struggle to form a police whistleblower committee in Houston. Activists with We The People Organize want the Houston City Council to appoint a body that can support anonymous complaints from officers.

      • Bridget McKenzie Is The Symptom, Not The Disease

        Nationals Deputy Leader Bridget McKenzie has got herself into hot water by systematically rorting sports grants. It’s part of a pattern of corruption that dogs the Morrison government, writes Ben Eltham. 

      • «A murderous system is being created before our very eyes»

        A made-up rape allegation and fabricated evidence in Sweden, pressure from the UK not to drop the case, a biased judge, detention in a maximum security prison, psychological torture – and soon extradition to the U.S., where he could face up to 175 years in prison for exposing war crimes. For the first time, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, speaks in detail about the explosive findings of his investigation into the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Facial Recognition Technology and AI Are Tainted With Racial Bias

        A new documentary looks at the dangers of artificial intelligence and its increasing omnipresence in daily life, as new research shows that it often reflects racist biases. Earlier this month, Cambridge, Massachusetts, became the latest major city to ban facial recognition technology, joining a growing number of cities, including San Francisco, to ban the artificial intelligence, citing flawed technology and racial and gender bias. A recent study also found that facial recognition identified African-American and Asian faces incorrectly 10 to 100 times more than white faces. The film Coded Bias,which just premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, begins with Joy Buolamwini, a researcher at the MIT Media Lab, discovering that most facial recognition software does not recognize darker-skinned or female faces. She goes on to uncover that artificial intelligence is not in fact a neutral scientific tool; instead, it internalizes and echoes the inequalities of wider society. For more on the film, we speak with Buolamwini, who uses art to raise awareness on the implications of artificial intelligence, and Shalini Kantayya, director of Coded Bias.

      • Police who arrested Ivan Golunov indicted on falsification and drug possession, not just exceeding authority

        The five former police officers arrested in the investigation of Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov’s unlawful detention have been indicted. In addition to the charges of exceeding authority that had already been announced against them, the former officers were charged with falsifying evidence and with drug possession, according to Interfax.

      • Former police officers who arrested ‘Meduza’ correspondent Golunov jailed to await trial

        Moscow’s Basmanny Court has ordered the five former police officers directly involved in the arrest of Meduza special correspondent Ivan Golunov to be jailed for two months as they await trial, according to Mediazona.

      • Episode 65: The Global Sex Trafficking Epidemic – Along The Line Podcast

        Along the Line, is a member of the Demcast network, brought to you by the Media Freedom Foundation. On today’s episode hosts Nicholas Baham III (Dr. Dreadlocks), Janice Domingo,  and Nolan Higdon analyze the global sex trafficking epidemic, ATL’s  Creative Director is Dylan Lazaga.  Mickey Huff is ATL’s producer. ATL’s engineer is Janice Domingo. Adam Armstrong is ATL’s webmaster.

      • Naama Issachar freed from Russian prison

        Israeli citizen Naama Issachar, who was convicted on drug possession and contraband charges in Russia before receiving a presidential pardon January 29, has been freed, Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service told Interfax.

      • By the numbers: The real scope of domestic violence in Russia

        In Russia, public discussions about domestic violence have become far more frequent and high-profile in recent months. However, it’s difficult to understand the true scale of the problem because no detailed, comprehensive official statistics are available. How many women die at their husbands’ hands? How many survivors decide to contact the police? How often do children face violence at home? These questions and others are important, but answering them requires data. Meduza has selected 20 reliable figures to that end. These figures, which include several national studies and a few global ones, provide a glimpse into both relationship violence itself and what Russian residents think about it.

      • The Good Sister of Highway SS385

        The nun learned that up to 80 percent of the women who migrate from Nigeria to Italy end up in the clutches of criminals and working as prostitutes. She also learned that each day, some 10,000 Nigerian women, many of them underage, stand on the side of Italian roads waiting for johns. Their number has risen in recent years.

        The women are easily blackmailed because they often have to pay back the costs of their journeys to Europe. Increasing their vulnerability is the fact that they are often in the country illegally and some of them have forged passports. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the number of victims of human trafficking across the Mediterranean increased by 600 percent between 2014 and 2017.

      • Amnesty Int’l: Asia Seeing Growing Repression, Resistance

        Authoritarian governments in Asia are undermining human rights and demonizing their critics, but they face a rising tide of protest from young people who defy grave risks to protest such repression, Amnesty International said in its annual report on the region.

        The human rights group’s annual survey of the Asia-Pacific region, released Wednesday, said India and China, the two most populous nations, are trying to impose their “own bleak, domineering vision on the continent, perceiving minorities as a threat to ‘national security.’”

        The “main takeaway” from the report is that in Asia, “we saw an escalation of the repression in many countries. But we also saw an increase in the resistance and protest, often led by young people from Hong Kong to India, from Myanmar to Thailand,” Nicholas Bequelin, regional director for Amnesty International, told The Associated Press.

      • Amnesty Int’l: Asia seeing growing repression, resistance

        The effort to silence criticism and prevent the public from holding public officials and corporations accountable is a worrying trend, it said. But anti-government protests in Hong Kong and elsewhere showed an abiding will to resist repression, it said. Some highlights from the report.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • AT&T, Comcast Dramatically Cut Network Spending Despite Net Neutrality Repeal

        Comcast cut back on network investment in 2019 despite repeated claims that killing net neutrality (and neutering the FCC in general) would have the exact opposite impact. With the company’s fourth quarter earnings now in the books, it’s clear that the company’s cable and broadband division overall CAPEX dropped in 2019 by roughly 10.5%. Comcast reports cable division CAPEX in four categories, and investment dropped in three out of four of them:

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Federal Circuit affirms Obviousness based upon General Knowledge of PHOSITA

          Google & Microsoft teamed-up to challenge Phillips’ U.S. Patent 7,529,806 in an inter partes review (IPR). The Board complied and cancelled claims 1-11 — finding the claimed quasi-streaming method unpatentably obvious. On appeal here, the Federal Circuit has affirmed — adding important context to obviousness determinations based upon general knowledge.

          In KSR, the Supreme Court indicated that the obviousness analysis should consider the “background knowledge possessed by a person having ordinary skill in the art.” KSR Int’l Co. v. Teleflex, Inc., 550 U.S. 398 (2007). Under KSR, information deemed within PHOSITA’s general knowledge is more powerful than that found buried in a prior art reference because we assume that PHOSITA would consider using their general knowledge in combination with the prior art — even absent any express motivation to do so. Because of its potential power, the Federal Circuit has been somewhat concerned that the approach could serve as an end-run around traditional obviousness analysis. Here though, the court found that Google had presented enough evidence to assume that the pipelining (see next paragraph) was part of the general knowledge of PHOSITA.

          The invention: The claims call for downloading the “next file” in the background while playing the prior file. This setup is effectively a form of buffering (also known as pipelining or stream emulation). The approach uses a client-side “control information file” that facilitates sequential file retrieval. The claims have an additional feature of having a variety of media file formats, and the client device is able to “choose the format compatible with the client’s play-out capabilities.”

        • UK IPO Brexit Transition Guidance declares business as usual for IP, for now…

          The AmeriKat has been having a blissful few weeks away from the UK and the Brexit nightmare. Her head has instead been filled with palm trees, ocean waves and beautiful Pacific blue skies. That was until she looked at her email yesterday with news from the UK Intellectual Property Office alerting her to new guidance entitled “Intellectual Property and the Transition Period”.

          Tomorrow is Brexit Day. What does that mean for IP lawyers? It means that after tomorrow we will be in what is called the “the transition period”. The period starts as of 1 February 2020 and will end on 31 December 2020. The UK will remain in both the EU customs union and the single market, and, for IP, business will continue as normal, e.g., the UK will remain part of the EU trade mark, registered and unregistered Community design systems.

        • EPO: a machine cannot be an inventor

          As the EPO reported in a press release: ‘In both applications a machine called “DABUS”, which is described as “a type of connectionist artificial intelligence”, is named as the inventor. The applicant stated that he had acquired the right to the European patent from the inventor by being its successor in title, arguing that as the machine’s owner, he was assigned any intellectual property rights created by this machine.’

          In its decisions, the EPO stated: ‘The application designates a machine as the inventor and therefore does not meet the formal requirements under the EPC (Article 81, Rule 19(1) EPC).’ And: ‘Names given to things may not be equated with names of natural persons. Names given to natural persons, whether composed of a given name and a family name or mononymous, serve not only the function of identifying them but enable them to exercise their rights and form part of their personality. Things have no rights which a name would allow them to exercise.’

          The EPO also stated that the understanding of the term inventor as referring to a natural person appears to be an internationally applicable standard, and that various national courts have issued decisions to this effect.

        • Broad CRISPR loss shows how not to file a priority claim

          Life sciences in-house sources stress the importance of following the EPO’s strict priority claims guidelines after the Board of Appeal invalidated some of the Broad Institute’s CRISPR patents

        • Broad Institute Patents Remain Revoked in Europe

          Last January 17th, the Opposition Division (OD) of the European Patent Office revoked in its entirety European Patent No. EP 2771468, which named as Proprietors The Broad Institute, MIT, and Harvard College and had been opposed by Novozymes A/S, CRISPR Therapeutics GG, and several strawmen). Almost one year later to the day, the Technical Board of Appeal affirmed the revocation (after suggesting it would refer some of the Broad’s questions and challenges to the OD’s decision to the Enlarged Board of Appeal).


          In Europe, under Article 87 EPC and Paragraph IV of the Paris Convention, priority to an earlier-filed application can be validly claimed by the prior applicant or by her successor in interest. In either case, the applicant must be someone having the right to claim priority. In the U.S., these provisional applications were filed in the name of the inventor and the EPO requires that there be an assignment of the invention on or before a European or PCT application is filed. (Of course, a PCT application can always be filed naming the inventors as applicants.) In this case, proper application of the applicable rules required both the named applicants (The Broad Institute, MIT and Harvard College) and Rockefeller to have been named as applicants when the application was filed. Rockefeller was not named as an applicant. Accordingly, the OD determined that the named Proprietors could only validly claim priority to the third provisional application, and by the filing date of that application there had published prior art that invalidated the granted claims. In this regard, the formal opinion followed the earlier preliminary opinion in stating that “[i]n both the EPC and the Paris convention systems the decisive fact for a valid claim of priority is the status of applicant, rather than the substantial requirement . . . to the subject matter of the first application” (emphasis in opinion). The OD determined that “neither the requirement of the applicant’s identity nor the proof of a valid success in title [had] been fulfilled” for the claimed invention, and stressed that these were requirements to promote legal certainty that would protect third parties’ interests, and that these requirements were not subject to the national law of the priority document. Nor, according to the preliminary opinion could the granted European patent properly claim priority to U.S. 61/758,468 because that document failed to disclose the length of the guide sequence as claimed.

        • Meanwhile, Back at the Broad-CVC Interference . . .

          One of the briefs filed on January 9th in Interference No. 106,115 between Senior Party The Broad Institute, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (collectively, “Broad”) and Junior Party the University of California/Berkeley, the University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier (collectively, “CVC”) was the Broad’s Opposition to CVC’s Motion No. 1 to be accorded benefit to three priority applications for Count No. 1 in the interference as declared by the U.S. PTO.


          CVC’s Substantive Motion No. 1 argued that it was entitled to priority to its earliest provisional filings, because these applications set forth in detail the disclosure for at least one embodiment falling within the scope of Count 1. CVC further argued that these priority documents “disclosed, for the first time, that complexes of Cas9 and a double- or single-molecule DNA-targeting RNA . . . are useful for targeted DNA cleavage and described numerous applications of this gene-editing technology, including modifying target DNA in eukaryotic cells” and that “[t]he CVC inventors immediately understood that the CRISPR-Cas9 DNA-cleavage complex could be used in a variety of different cellular and noncellular settings.” The brief recited (prophetic) Example 1 in the P1 specification, asserting that the failure of the P1 specification to show actual reduction to practice is not required to satisfy the requirement for entitlement benefit. CVC also cautioned the Board against any attempt by the Broad to “erroneously to link the issues in this motion to the PTAB’s termination of Interference No. 106,048 due to no interference-in-fact,” stating that “the legal and factual issues raised here are fundamentally different from those decided in the prior ’048 proceeding” based on the PTAB’s own prior statements of the grounds for its no interference-in-fact determination.

        • Broad Files Opposition to CVC’s Motion No. 1 for Priority Benefit
        • Billion Dollar Jury Verdict for CalTech

          I posted WiLan’s $85 million verdict against Apple earlier this week out of the Southern District of California. A new verdict on Jan 29, 2020 looks to set-back Apply by another $837 million (in favor of the patent owner California Institute of Technology). Apple’s setback dwarf’s the parallel Broadcom verdict in the case of $270 million. The verdict form is not yet publicly available — the courtroom was sealed for much of the damages trial on the request of Broadcom and Apple. Craig Clough at Law360 reports that the verdict included $1.40 per device for Apple’s 600 million infringing devices and $0.26 per chip for Broadcom’s billion+ Wi-Fi chips.

        • CalTech wins $1.1 billion jury verdict in patent case against Apple, Broadcom

          The California Institute of Technology said on Wednesday that it won a $1.1 billion jury verdict in a patent case against Apple (AAPL.O) and Broadcom (AVGO.O).

          In a case filed in federal court in Los Angeles in 2016, the Pasadena, California-based research university alleged that Broadcom wi-fi chips used in hundreds of millions of Apple iPhones infringed patents relating to data transmission technology.

          “While we thank the members of the jury for their service, we disagree with the factual and legal bases for the verdict and intend to appeal,” Broadcom said in a statement.

          Apple said it plans to appeal the verdict, but declined further comment. The company had said in court filings that it believed all of the university’s claims against it resulted from its using Broadcom’s chips in its devices, calling itself “merely an indirect downstream party.”

        • Over WiFi-related patents, L.A. jury awards Caltech $838 million from Apple, $270 million from Broadcom

          WiFi is just a limited part of the technology in a smartphone, and there are numerous patents allegedly essential to that standard as well as non-essential patents with some connection to WiFi. It wouldn’t be possible to profitably make phones if one extrapolated a royalty of $1.40 per iPhone–which appears to have been the outcome–to the totality of patents potentially implemented in such a highly complex and multifunctional device.

          Based on the complaint as well as Apple and Broadcom’s answer to the complaint, I haven’t found an indication that the patents are subject to a FRAND licensing commitment. They might cover efficiency gains related to the actual implementation of the standard. I’ll update this post, or do a follow-up post, once I’ve found out.

          This is the biggest WiFi damages verdict to my knowledge. Apple and Broadcom have announced their intent to appeal, so we’ll see how much of that amount is ultimately awarded. Those verdicts tend to get slashed later on.

        • Software Patents

          • STPI’s review of Unified’s Portal & PATROLL

            The Science and Technology Policy Research and Information Center (STPI) of the National Experimental Research Institute in Taiwan has created a report detailing the use of Unified’s Portal as a free patent litigation search tool. The report provides a review of our Portal tools and capabilities, along with a quick “how-to” on searching for PTAB and litigation data. It also covers a description of our prior art crowdsourcing tool, PATROLL. The overall report concludes with a positive review of any user having the ability to “make good use of high-quality free tools to search the U.S. patent litigation database” with Unified’s Portal.

      • Trademarks

        • Same Old NFL: League Abuses Trademark to Shut Down New York Jets Parody Store

          The National Football League seems to be gunning for a spot in our Hall of Shame by setting a record for all-time career TDs—no, not touchdowns, but takedowns. We’ve written before about the NFL’s crusade against anyone who dares use the words “Super Bowl” to talk about, well, the Super Bowl.

          But the NFL’s trademark bullying doesn’t end there. One of the NFL’s latest victims is Zach Berger, a New Yorker who sells merchandise for frustrated New York Jets fans through a website called Same Old Jets Store. Most of Berger’s products feature a parody version of the Jets’ logo, modified to say “SAME OLD JETS”—a phrase that’s been used for decades to criticize the team’s performance and express fans’ sense of inevitable disappointment. His other products include “MAKE THE JETS GREAT AGAIN” hats and clothing that says “SELL THE TEAM” in a font similar to one used on Jets merchandise.

        • BREAKING: CJEU in Sky v SkyKick rules that a trade mark cannot be declared wholly or partially invalid on grounds of lack of clarity and precisions of its specifications

          Whether an EU or national trade mark may be declared wholly or partially invalid on the ground that some or all of the terms in the specification of goods and services are lacking in sufficient clarity and precision to enable the competent authorities and third parties to determine on the basis of those terms alone the extent of the protection conferred by the trade mark;
          In case that answer to the question above is in the affirmative, whether a term like ‘computer software’ is too general to be considered ‘sufficiently clear and precise’;
          Whether it is bad faith simply to apply to register a trade mark without any intention to use it in relation to the specified goods or services;
          If so, whether it is possible to conclude that the applicant made the application partly in good faith and partly in bad faith if and to the extent that the applicant had an intention to use the trade mark in relation to some of the specified goods or services, but no intention to use the trade mark in relation to other specified goods or services;
          Whether section 32(3) of the UK Trade Marks Act 1994 is compatible with the EU Trade Mark Directive and its predecessors.

        • Brands sound warning over ‘cluttered’ trademark register post-SkyKick

          In-house counsel in the consumer goods, IT and e-commerce industries say the SkyKick ruling will please brands but warn they are not completely out of the woods

      • Copyrights

        • Instagram Uses DMCA Complaint to Protect Users’ “Copyrighted Works”

          Facebook-owned Instagram has taken down an independently developed API claiming that it violates the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA. The complaint claims that the tool ‘Instagram-API’ allows unauthorized access to Instagram users’ posts, which the company says are copyrighted works to which it grants protected access.

        • President Trump Signs USMCA Trade Deal that ‘Exports’ US Copyright Policy

          President Trump has signed the new USMCA trade deal with Canada and Mexico into law. The agreement covers a wide range of trade topics including copyright issues. Despite objections from many copyright holders, the USMCA includes liability protections for Internet companies, including a DMCA-style safe harbor.

        • Trump Signs USMCA Into Law, Complete With Global DMCA Protections

          President Trump has signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), expanding U.S. copyright law into Mexico and Canada.

        • Speaking Freely: Christian Frank

          Christian Frank is a freelance IT consultant who was born and raised, and currently resides, in Cologne, Germany. Last year, he did some work protesting the Article 13 demonstrations in Europe, a topic that he remains passionate about, as you’ll see in this interview.

          Our conversation gives some perspective as to the differences between German and U.S. views on freedom of expression, particularly when it comes to hate speech. But there’s also a lot of similarities: Christian’s experiences growing up in Germany during the split between East and West, with parents who experienced World War II, have shaped his views about who should—and shouldn’t—regulate what we can and cannot say.

        • YouTube Takes Down Live Stream Over Copyright Claim…Before Stream Even Starts

          It seems that the concern over how YouTube is handling its platform when it comes to enforcing copyright claims is reaching something of a fever pitch. Hell, in just the last couple of weeks we’ve seen a YouTuber have his videos demonitized over copyright claims to the numbers “36″ and “50″, rampant abuse of ContentID even as the EU edges closer to making that platform a requirement through Article 17, and wider concerns about YouTube’s inability to enforce moderation at scale in a way that makes even a modicum of sense. The point is that it’s becoming all the more clear that YouTube’s efforts at content moderation and copyright enforcement on its site are becoming a nightmare.

The ‘a b c’ of Microsoft ‘Innovation’ Teaches Us About Its Strategy (or How Microsoft Will Be Attacking GNU/Linux)

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 4:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Nice Linux you got there…”

Microsoft Loved Linux.

Summary: Microsoft’s decades-long modus operandi has been forgotten by far too many (possibly unknown to the younger generation); it’s worth reminding ourselves how it works

“The ‘a b c’ of Microsoft Innovation,” a reader told us in relation to this story about Paul Stovell, has changed little or not at all.

“Paul Stovell still doesn’t get it,” the reader asserted. “This is precisely how the Microsoft playbook gets executed. These people have no moral compass; if they see the source, they’ll just go ahead and steal it. Going way back, you’ll find similar examples.”

The reader outlines the ‘a b c’ as follows:

a. Partner with a company (“we’ll pay you for every version sold”).

“Sure, Microsoft has not formally partnered with every distribution, but it already has the Linux Foundation and the OSI in its back pocket. Canonical even hired staff to work for Microsoft.”b. Get a close look at their original work.

c. Then bring out a ‘free’ version with Windows (“oh, we were just working on something similar”).

Recall Alacritech’s story. The Alacritech case is described as follows: “Alacritech alleges it provided Microsoft details about its offload technology under a nondisclosure agreement in September 1998…”

Then there’s Avary v Microsoft: “Avary [...] claims he had a series of meetings with Microsoft in late 2002 and 2003 [...] Avary outlined his idea for a yoga game to them…”

Then, referencing Groklaw’s Microsoft Litigation page, the reader emphasised that “we haven’t even got past the ‘A’s :]” (Alacritech starts with an ‘A’, just like many others; more here from past years along with recent years)

WSL should strike a nerve too; similar strategy [1, 2, 3]. Sure, Microsoft has not formally partnered with every distribution, but it already has the Linux Foundation and the OSI in its back pocket. Canonical even hired staff to work for Microsoft. Novell did the same thing.

Collapse of the UPC is “Business as Usual” According to Bristows LLP

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 3:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What would be “unusual” for Team UPC then?

Business as Usual

Summary: Team UPC is so debased or so detached from reality that all it has to say about Brexit is that everything is normal, everything is just fine (deep state of denial)

THE “BREXIT DAY” or whatever one chooses to call it isn’t something to be celebrated, except perhaps by foes of the UK and gullible people who believe that the EU — of all things — was our main issue (not austerity or inequality or mass privitisation or zero-hour contracts or misbehaving princes etc.) and the only upside we see here in Techrights is the immediate collapse of UPC — something which Berlin too alluded to some months ago. That does not mean that the constitutional complaint in Germany is suddenly totally moot as it can help determine whether Team UPC can come up with something else in the future (it can take years) which resembles UPC but does not include the UK. UPC itself is now dead. Anything else that might resemble the UPC Agreement (UPCA) in the future would be totally different and potentially unattractive to everyone, especially now that opposition grows even outside Germany (the Poles, the Czechs, Spaniards and Hungarians are some of the examples). The UPC is in deep mud, maybe quicksand. One might say that Brexit is a nail in the coffin, depending on one’s choice of metaphor.

The European Patent Office (EPO) doing photo ops with Team UPC won’t help. António Campinos just makes himself look rather foolish any time he does those…

“One might say that Brexit is a nail in the coffin, depending on one’s choice of metaphor.”We’ve meanwhile noticed that Bristows (at least Annsley Merelle Ward) won’t even mention ‘unitary’ patents anymore. The Bristows blog had nothing to say either because a ‘unified’ patent court seems like a dead dream. Ward, a proponent of software patents in Europe (she used IP Kat to advocate these) even admits upfront that Brexit is depressing to her. We assume that’s mostly for professional reasons. Some of her colleagues retired early (possibly in connection with this; it’s difficult to prove the connection). The UPC — or anything like it — is now dead. They spent more than half a decade promoting it endlessly and now that it’s dead they don’t have the ‘heart’ to say so. They’re in denial. This is what happens when one’s career involves lying to the public and to clients (who are being robbed as well as deceived).

Where’s IAM in all this? It wasn’t until a year ago that IAM finally admitted the UPC was likely not happening (after IAM had been paid by Battistelli‘s PR firm to promote the UPC). Just promoted (Lexology apparently bumped this up in Google News yesterday) was this self-promotional nonsense from IAM that deflects to Spain and says this:

Spain currently shows no signs of becoming part of the proposed unitary patent system, is this likely to change?

While Spain shows no serious intention of joining the system, I do not see the country remaining indefinitely and voluntarily isolated from its European partners in this aspect.

The average Spanish company may not have the same innovative momentum compared with some foreign ones, but as the most dynamic among them shift their core activity from production to innovation they may become more interested in the unitary patent and the UPC and put pressure on the government and the political parties to effect change.

The level of interest in the system will also depend on how it works, if and when all of the obstacles are overcome and the unitary patent and the UPC enter into force.

Notice that laughable optimism; they — namely opportunistic law firms — want us to think that the UPC is inevitable and the only question is, will Spain participate in it? We saw similar talking points in the UK after the vote on EU membership in the middle of 2016. What will be the next bogus narrative trotted or put forth by Team UPC? 13+ years of imminence? Will an alien invasion and takeover of the planet bring about the UPC? They want to believe…

The EPO’s Epic Waste of Money (300 Million Euros) Ended up Not Only a Fire Hazard But Also a Suffocation Risk

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The European Patent Office’s (EPO) “New Main”; beware the ‘loose bits’

Summary: The Hague branch of the EPO reports yet another potentially deadly Nouvel incident; the EPO’s workplace safety is appalling even if one survives the endemic depression and chronic Upper Limb Disorder (ULD)

PREMATURELY ‘inaugurated’ by Battistelli (to avoid António Campinos taking any credit) was a faulty building — or rather a construction site — which was rumoured to be the source of funding for Battistelli's 'suite' in Munich (quite a scandal in its own right).

“Mind the lift” is the title of a new internal publication, which follows many others about safety risks — e.g. fires [1, 2, 3, 4] — which became a hallmark of the Nouvel building (whose construction team too was reportedly harmed physically — by falls — and builder made huge losses).

Nouvel has repeatedly proven to be an overhyped piece of glass and a massive waste of EPO money. As a reader of ours put it, “300 Mio Euros of Applicants’ Money really well spent?

“Let’s hope that the colleagues trapped into the lift will catch up their production since the targets are here to be met!”

Remember the above video of the building? It’s only a matter of time until EPO workers — or stakeholders — die in it. The prior building too had issues; the windows were in fact bolted down after a colleague had jumped out the window. Picture that. It’s like a prison to them. Here’s the latest episode of this “Russian Roulette”:


Local section The Hague
Section locale La Haye

29 January 2020

New Main: Mind the Lift

Dear SUEPO Members, dear Colleagues,

Recently, we have been made aware of several incidents caused by a malfunctioning of the lifts of the New Main building in The Hague. This will be no surprise to most – if not all – of you, since the unsatisfactory functioning of the lifts has been a recurrent topic in staff’s conversations since the inauguration of the building.

However, one of the most recent incidents took a more serious twist, as it involved 14 people, who remained trapped in a lift for one hour before getting freed. Some of the affected colleagues reported symptoms of nausea due to a shortage of oxygen, and a tense atmosphere inside the lift shortly after it got stuck. It was also reported that the response team was not well prepared to deal with this type of emergencies.

The incidents seem to occur regularly since the move into New Main. This raises the question of whether they pose a serious threat to staff’s safety.

We therefore urge management to promptly react, e.g. with a sound maintenance or repair plan, in order to guarantee the safety of all the users of the lifts.

It should not be an issue to solve this problem quickly. The Office has all the necessary (financial) means it needs. In any event we will follow up the matter and keep you posted.

Your SUEPO Committee The Hague

EPO is a high-financed “Russian Roulette”; who will survive the journey?


IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 30, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:12 am by Needs Sunlight



#techrights log

#boycottnovell log



#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now


The Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization (ILO-AT) is Moot, EPO Plays It Like a Fiddle

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Law, Patents at 4:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Letter from Anette Koch to Battistelli

Letter from Koch to Battistelli

Summary: Another dark episode for EPO staff, staff representatives, and even ILO/ILO-AT (repeatedly failing to uphold the law at the EPO)

REGULAR READERS may already be familiar with Koch v EPO [1, 2, 3, 4], a case we last dealt with back in November, having researched some public postings. The latest developments, which are outlined with original documents in the tweets below, show that the management of the European Patent Office (EPO), i.e. lawyers of António Campinos and his cohorts, successfully managed to thwart any meaningful consideration of the case. ILO-AT has, as usual, gone along with it, demonstrating how toothless if not useless it can be. The tweets of relevance are added below in chronological order. Many people inside the EPO are likely familiar with this case already. It concerns a former staff representative.

In less than two weeks from now there will be further judgments and thus updates.

Links 30/1/2020: New Stable Kernels and FreeNAS 11.3

Posted in News Roundup at 1:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • IBM

        • OpenShift 4.3: The Project Launcher

          In Red Hat OpenShift 4.2, we introduced a number of new console customization features, including ConsoleNotifications, ConsoleExternalLogLinks, ConsoleLinks, and ConsoleCLIDownloads. New in 4.3, the ConsoleLink feature has been extended to cover even more use cases. In addition to the User Menu, Help Menu, and Application Menu, users can now add links to specific project dashboards.

        • Vault IDs in Red Hat Ansible and Red Hat Ansible Tower

          This article demonstrates the use of multiple vault passwords through vault IDs. You will learn how to use vault IDs to encrypt a file and a string. Once they’re encrypted, the vault ID can be referenced inside a playbook and used within Red Hat Ansible and Red Hat Ansible Tower.

        • What’s your biggest sysadmin pet peeve?

          But sometimes, it feels like it’s just a little harder than it needs to be.

          We’ve taken great pains to build standardized processes, establish systems for nearly everything, document our work, and make everything we can consistent and automatable. Our work may be difficult, but at least we’ve been able to bring it under control and make it predictable.

          Well, in theory. It never works out that way in practice.

          No matter how well-written our documentation is, that’s no guarantee it’s ever going to get read. No matter how many cases our ticketing system is designed to handle, somehow it never seems to prevent the unnecessary drive-by request. No matter how much care we put in to ensure that code deployments never happen late at night or on a weekend, sometimes they always do. Something breaks, and we get the call.

          Almost always, these things generate unplanned work, throw off our carefully-made plans, and cause slowdowns, missed deadlines, and, well, headaches.

          To some degree, that’s all just a part of the job. But that doesn’t stop us from grimacing and wishing perhaps, just this once, things had gone according to plan. So we’re curious: What unplanned activity irks you the most? We’ve listed a few common headaches we’ve heard above.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 842

        alpine linux, debian, docker, pi stuff

      • FreeBSD Down Under | BSD Now 335

        Hyperbola Developer interview, why you should migrate from Linux to BSD, FreeBSD is an amazing OS, improving the ptrace(2) API in LLVM 10, First FreeBSD conference in Australia, and a guide to containers on FreeNAS.

      • Host Your Blog the Right Way | Self-Hosted 11

        We each like different blogging platforms, and share why. Then our tips for keeping your server secure.

        Plus a great way to score cheap drives, a Project Off-Grid update, making your household light switches smart, and Alex’s review of the HDHomeRun.

    • Kernel Space

      • Need 32-bit Linux to run past 2038? When version 5.6 of the kernel pops, you’re in for a treat

        Linux fans intent on holding back the years will be delighted to hear that the upcoming version 5.6 of the kernel should see 32-bit systems hanging on past the dread Y2038.

        Arnd Bergmann, an engineer working on the thorny Y2038 problem in the Linux kernel, posted to the mailing list that, yup, Linux 5.6 “should be the first release that can serve as a base for a 32-bit system designed to run beyond year 2038″.

      • Linux 5.4.16

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.4.16 kernel.

        All users of the 5.4 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.4.y git tree can be found at:
        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.4.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:


      • Linux 4.19.100
      • Linux 4.14.169
      • Linux 4.4.212
      • Linux 4.9.212
      • AMD Sensor Fusion Hub Driver Revved But Not On Tap For Linux 5.6

        Earlier this month AMD finally published their Sensor Fusion Hub driver for Linux to improve the Ryzen laptop support. That new “SFH” driver hasn’t been queued as part of any Linux 5.6 pull request but a second version of the driver did make it out this week.

        The AMD Sensor Fusion Hub support has been long awaited and is needed for supporting the accelerometer/gyroscopic sensors on Ryzen laptops among other functionality. There have been requests for supporting the Sensor Fusion Hub on Linux going back to 2018.

      • Linux 5.6 Graphics Changes Bring Open-Source NVIDIA Turing, AMD Pollock Enablement

        The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) kernel driver updates were sent in today for Linux 5.6 with plenty of fun features in tow.

        Highlights of the open-source kernel graphics driver changes for Linux 5.6 consist of:

        - Nouveau Turing GeForce RTX 2000 series support albeit required on binary firmware images not yet published by NVIDIA. Beyond that, still no re-clocking support so the performance is quite slow. TU10x GPUs are supported and not yet TU11x.

      • Staging Changes Lighten The Linux 5.6 Kernel By More Than Thirty Thousand Lines

        With Linux 5.6 the staging area has seen new functionality but thanks to removing old code it ends up removing a fair number of lines of code from the kernel.

        The Linux 5.6 staging pull is adding just under eight thousand lines of code but deleting 40,990 lines. The lightening the kernel by 30k+ lines of code comes from dropping some old Cavium Octeon drivers, dropping a number of old ISDN components, and other clean-ups.

      • Systemd-Homed Merged As A Fundamental Change To Linux Home Directories

        Systemd-homed has been merged as the latest (optional) fundamental change to Linux distributions in how home directories are handled.

        Systemd-homed makes it easier to support migratable home directories, more self containment within home directories, better password and encryption handling, and other modern Linux home directory features.

        Some of the design objectives for systemd-homed are outlined in the documentation with support for LUKS encrypted volumes, mounting home directories from a CIFS server, FSCRYPT encryption, Btrfs sub-volume handling, and making use of JSON-formatted user records.

      • process_madvise(), pidfd capabilities, and the revenge of the PIDs

        Once upon a time, there were few ways for one process to operate upon another after its creation; sending signals and ptrace() were about it. In recent years, interest in providing ways for processes to control others has been on the increase, and the kernel’s process-management API has been expanded accordingly. Along these lines, the process_madvise() system call has been proposed as a way for one process to influence how memory management is done in another. There is a new process_madvise() series which is interesting in its own right, but this series has also raised a couple of questions about how process management should be improved in general.
        The existing madvise() system call allows a process to make suggestions to the kernel about how its address space should be managed. The 5.4 kernel saw a couple of new types of advice that could be provided with madvise(): MADV_COLD and MADV_PAGEOUT. The former requests that the kernel place the indicated range of pages onto the inactive list, essentially saying that they have not been used in a long time. Those pages will thus be among the first considered for reclaim if the kernel needs memory for other purposes. MADV_PAGEOUT, instead, is a stronger statement that the indicated pages are no longer needed; it will cause them to be reclaimed immediately.

        These new requests are useful for processes that know what their future access patterns will be. But it seems that in certain environments — Android, in particular — processes lack that knowledge, but the management system does know when certain memory ranges are no longer needed. The bulk of a process’s address space could be marked as MADV_COLD when that process is moved out of the foreground, for example. In such settings, letting one process call madvise() on behalf of another helps the system as a whole make the best use of its memory resources. That is the purpose behind the process_madvise() proposal.

      • KRSI and proprietary BPF programs

        The “kernel runtime security instrumentation” (or KRSI) patch set enables the attachment of BPF programs to every security hook in the kernel; LWN covered this work in December. That article focused on ABI issues, but it deferred another potential problem to our 2020 predictions: the possibility that vendors could start shipping proprietary BPF programs for use with frameworks like KRSI. Other developers did pick up on the possibility that KRSI could be abused this way, though, leading to a discussion on whether KRSI should continue to allow the loading of BPF programs that do not carry a GPL-compatible license.
        It may be surprising to some that the kernel, while allowing BPF programs to declare their license, is entirely happy to load programs that have a proprietary license. This behavior, though, is consistent with how the kernel handles loadable modules: any module can be loaded, but modules without a GPL-compatible license will not have access to many kernel symbols (any that are exported with EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL()). BPF programs interact with the kernel through special “helper functions”, each of which must be explicitly exported; these, too, can have a “GPL only” marking on them. In current kernels, about 25% of the defined helpers are restricted to GPL-licensed code.

      • Scheduling for the Android display pipeline

        The default CPU-frequency governor used by Android is schedutil, which relies on the CPU utilization of the runnable tasks to select the frequency of the CPU they execute on: the higher the utilization, the higher the frequency of the CPU when they are runnable. This governor fits so well with the needs of mobile Android devices that, in Android, it also takes care of the SCHED_RT tasks, which are normally run at the maximum frequency in mainline Linux kernels.

        Schedutil chooses the lowest frequency sufficient not to overload the system, based on the measurement of the system utilization. This solution works well when tasks are independent and are able to run in parallel. But, whenever there is a dependency — tasks that are blocked on the completion of others — the single-task utilization accounting mechanism is no longer sufficient to define the requirements of the whole task set.

        For example, in the scenario shown below, schedutil sees that RenderThread only requires 50% of a CPU’s capacity, so it sets the CPU frequency to 50% of the maximum. But RenderThread cannot run until the UI thread has done its work — the two tasks cannot run in parallel — so it misses its deadline.

      • Control-flow integrity for the kernel

        Control-flow integrity (CFI) is a technique used to reduce the ability to redirect the execution of a program’s code in attacker-specified ways. The Clang compiler has some features that can assist in maintaining control-flow integrity, which have been applied to the Android kernel. Kees Cook gave a talk about CFI for the Linux kernel at the recently concluded linux.conf.au in Gold Coast, Australia.

        Cook said that he thinks about CFI as a way to reduce the attack, or exploit, surface of the kernel. Most compromises of the kernel involve an attacker gaining execution control, typically using some kind of write flaw to change system memory. These write flaws come in many flavors, generally with some restrictions (e.g. can only write a single zero or only a set of fixed byte values), but in the worst case, they can be a “write anything anywhere at any time” flaw. The latter, thankfully, is relatively rare.

      • Linux Kernel 5.6 Source Tree Includes WireGuard VPN

        The lean-coded, fast, modern, and secure WireGuard VPN protocol has made it into the Linux kernel as Linus Torvalds merged it into his source tree for version 5.6.

        The wait is closely coming to an end, with the next Linux kernel expected to be released in just a few months, considering that the latest refresh occurred on January 26.


        Jason Donenfeld himself was excited about this step and shared that he tried to stay awake to see it happen, “refreshing Linus’ git repo on my phone until I was dreaming.”

        “I look forward to start refining some of rougher areas of WireGuard now,” announced the original author and developer of the project.

        Torvalds is a supporter of the WireGuard project. When Donenfeld made the pull request in 2018 to have it integrated into the Linux kernel, Torvalds expressed hope that the merge would happen soon.

      • Remembering the LAN

        We can have the LAN-like experience of the 90′s back again, and we can add the best parts of the 21st century internet. A safe small space of people we trust, where we can program away from the prying eyes of the multi-billion-person internet. Where the outright villainous will be kept at bay by good identity services and good crypto.

        The broader concept of virtualizing networks has existed forever: the Virtual Private Network. New protocols make VPNs better than before, Wireguard is pioneering easy and efficient tunneling between peers. Marry the VPN to identity, and make it work anywhere, and you can have a virtual 90s-style LAN made up of all your 21st century devices. Let the internet be the dumb pipe, let your endpoints determine who they will talk to based on the person at the other end.

    • Applications

      • 6 Best open source video editor in 2020

        When youtube and other similar platforms are proliferating then need of the best video editor software is at its zenith and if we get something in free and opensource to edit our videos than it would be ‘icing on the cake’.

        Now, we are in 2020 and already the Open-source software has gained a good reputation in the IT sector. It is because of the source code which is available for everyone that is not the case with closed software thus also reduce the risk of having spies or other third party spy software.

      • Dino is a Decent XMPP Client for Linux Desktops

        And it’s this service that Dino, a new desktop XMPP client for Linux desktops, makes use of.

        A small, lightweight chat app, Dino is designed with security, privacy and openness at its core, all presented in a clean, straight-forward and user-friendly interface.

        Dino is fully functional with other XMPP/Jabber clients and servers (i.e. you don’t need to be using the same app to chat) and it supports end-to-end encryption using OMEMO or OpenPGP.

      • New Update for bitfarm-Archiv GPL released

        New Update for bitfarm-Archiv GPL released
        As of today, GPL-Version 3.5.0 of the Open-Source-DMS document management system bitfarm-Archiv is available. The fully fledged DMS is in line with the current laws and contains five new features which effectively save users time.

      • Useful Backup Software For Linux In 2020

        Let’s have a quick look into the list of useful and best backup software for Linux based operating system in 2020.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Build your own first-person shooter in Unity

        Raspberry Pi Press is back with a new publication: this time, it’s Wireframe’s time to shine, with Build Your Own First-Person Shooter in Unity.

      • The Bad Seed DLC releases for Dead Cells on February 11

        One of my absolute favourite action platformers, the “RogueVania” game Dead Cells is getting a first DLC with The Bad Seed and it now has a release date of February 11.

        The Bad Seed should keep runs feeling fresh, with two new early-game biomes mixed with a bunch of new enemies and weapons plus “some unseen mechanics and a giant boss”. Sounds like everything the game needs once you’ve played multiple tens of hours in it.

      • ULTRAKILL – a fast-paced and rather violent FPS has a Steam page up and new demo coming soon

        Retro first-person shooters as a genre and theme are very much back in action, I am super happy about this and ULTRAKILL is one that needs to be in your sights.

        Fusing together elements from the classic like Quake, with modern touches from newer games and fast-paced character action from the likes of Devil May Cry it’s definitely got a unique feel to it.

        It currently has an older demo up on itch.io which we briefly covered before. Now, it has a Steam page up as it moves closer to a wider Early Access release and they’ve announced that a new demo will be coming soon.

      • Nightdive Studios have released some extended System Shock footage

        Excited for the System Shock remake? I certainly am! Nightdive Studios recently sent a special demo to backers but to keep the hype going for everyone else they’ve also doing a long new video.

        This is not the same as the demo recently released to the public, this is a bigger version that Nightdive will continue to update and backers keep hold of it until the game releases. You might want a coffee ready and the video is over an hour long but it’s a good look into what to expect from this hotly anticipated System Shock reboot.

      • Battle Axe has some awesome pixel-art with gameplay inspired by Gauntlet and Golden Axe

        Currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, Battle Axe looks impressive. A retro-themed pixel-art action adventure taking inspiration from the likes of Golden Axe, Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara, and Knights Of The Round.

        It will be launching with Linux support, as clearly confirmed on the campaign page.

      • Tactical combat with time manipulation arrives with Iron Danger on March 25

        Today, Daedalic Entertainment and Action Squad Studios announced that their tactical combat game Iron Danger will release on March 25.

        An exciting sounding game with time manipulation mechanics and it looks pretty darn good visually too. The setting sounds equally delightful, with a mixture of nordic mythology, steampunk and tech noir. We covered this briefly back in September last year, where the developer confirmed Linux would happen. With the announcement today, Daedalic confirmed very clearly on Twitter that Linux support is in.

      • Rocket League Ends Online Multiplayer Support For Linux and macOS

        If you are playing Psyonix’s Rocket League on a Mac or Linux computer, you should know that the developer has announced that they will be dropping support for online multiplayer for the game on both those of these platforms. This will happen in March after a final patch for the game has been released.

        Harmonix says, “As we continue to upgrade Rocket League with new technologies, it is no longer viable for us to maintain support for the macOS and Linux (SteamOS) platforms. As a result, the final patch for the macOS and Linux versions of the game will be in March. This update will disable online functionality (such as in-game purchases) for players on macOS and Linux.”

      • Psyonix explains why Rocket League support for MacOS and Linux was pulled

        Psyonix has explained its reasons for pulling support for Rocket League on MacOS and Linux.

        Taking to the game’s subreddit, the developer detailed its decision to stop supporting these operating systems and said that MacOS and Linux users can get a refund.

        Combined, less than 0.3 per cent of the games player base are found on both platforms.

        “Rocket League is an evolving game, and part of that evolution is keeping our game client up to date with modern features. As part of that evolution, we’ll be updating our Windows version from 32-bit to 64-bit later this year, as well as updating to DirectX 11 from DirectX 9,” said the Reddit update.

    • Distributions

      • 7 Best Linux Distros For Programmers

        Linux distributions allow you to not only browse the web but also to work on any other necessary tasks. The Linux kernel is very flexible and it enables developers to make any modifications and contributions they want. Besides, Linux can run on any hardware and is compatible with all the popular programming languages.

        The flexibility of Linux distros is a reason why Linux has always been so popular among programmers. Some distros have quite impressive functionality and many useful tools, offering the best environment for software developers. We prepared this list of the seven best distros so that you can choose the one that fits your objectives.

      • Meet Zorin Grid: A Slick Linux Desktop Management Tool For Schools And Businesses

        If you’re a decision maker for a business, school or organization that’s been tempted to migrate your PCs to Linux now that free support has ended for Windows 7, you’ve probably identified some pain points. Desktop Linux distributions like Zorin OS are fast, secure and feature an attractive desktop that feels familiar. But you need a solution for centrally managing, securing and monitoring those PCs. You also need cross-platform software that fills the void when you make the switch permanent. That’s exactly where the newly announced Zorin Grid plans to enter the picture later this year.

      • Reviews

        • Beelink Gemini T45 Pentium N4200 Mini PC Review

          No sooner had I written ‘Beelink T45 Review with Windows and Linux, and Tweaking BIOS Power Limits’ than Beelink announce they wouldn’t in fact sell that configuration but an ‘updated’ version.

      • New Releases

        • Kali Linux 2020.1 is here with a new theme and single installer image

          The minds behind Kali Linux, namely Offensive Security, started the decade with a new update that focuses on improving the user interface, making installation more straightforward, and abandoning the root user model.

          If you haven’t heard much about Kali Linux, it makes sense to first introduce it to you all before getting to its latest version details. It is an operating system that is powered by Debian and focuses on penetration testing and ethical hacking.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • Solus OS 4.1 Plasma Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Solus OS 4.1 Plasma.

        • What’s New in Elementary OS 5.1 Hera

          Elementary OS 5.1 codename “Hera” is the latest minor release of Elementary OS 5.0, brings a major update that adds many improvements and new features, as well as updated components and fresh new artwork.

          In this release, Elementary OS 5.1 based on ubuntu 18.04 LTS includes base packages and powered Linux kernel 5.0. Implemented out-of-the-box Flatpak support to make it easier and secure for users to install third-party apps that are not available in the AppCenter but are essential for their everyday tasks.

          Also, it comes with Sideload, a new, in-house built graphical utility that lets you install Flatpak apps with a single click. In addition, elementary OS 5.1 adds Flatpak support to the AppCenter so that users can manage Flatpak apps alongside regular applications from the official repositories.

      • Gentoo Family

        • exGENT 2020 Linux Distro Makes Gentoo Fun to Use with the LXQt Desktop

          Arne Exton’s exGENT GNU/Linux distribution aims to continue the tradition of Gentoo-based live distros with a new release that puts the latest LXQt 0.14.1 desktop environment in the spotlight.

          We all know by now that Gentoo is one of the hardest Linux-based operating systems to install due to packages needing to be compiled from sources locally. But the good thing about Gentoo is that it doesn’t uses a one-size fits all approach, which mens that it can be fully optimized for specific hardware.

          Newcomers who want to try Gentoo Linux on their personal computer have a hard time due to the lack of Gentoo-based live distributions. Here’s where exGENT Linux comes into play, promising to offer users an up-to-date Gentoo-based live system that can be installed in a few minutes.

      • Debian Family

        • Mollamby: the Debian Developer certificate

          In March 2018, the script for generating Debian Developer certificates was updated to create certificates for non-uploading Debian Developers.

          We can see that in the logs of the Debian keyring, the Debian Project Leader’s girlfriend, Molly de Blanc, was added to the Debian Developer non-uploading keyring in December 2018.

          In April 2019, Miss de Blanc started a new job at GNOME Foundation.

          If you assume she had to give her previous employer, the FSF, one or two months notice, then she probably received the GNOME job offer in January or February. Take another step backwards and it appears she was in the process of making job applications in December 2018.

          It appears that the DPL’s girlfriend was promoted and given that holy DD status at the very time she was looking for a job.


          Ironically, McGovern’s email accuses the person asking the question of being divisive. Yet just weeks later, Neil McGovern played a key role in one of the most divisive events in the entire history of free software, ambushing de Blanc’s former boss, Richard Stallman, using his GNOME title to add weight to an anti-RMS attack blog.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 4 open source productivity tools on my wishlist

        Last year, I brought you 19 days of new (to you) productivity tools for 2019. This year, I’m taking a different approach: building an environment that will allow you to be more productive in the new year, using tools you may or may not already be using.

        But what about…

        When searching for productivity apps, I never find everything I want, and I almost always miss something great that my readers share with me. So, as I bring this series to a close, it’s time again to talk about some of the topics I failed to cover in this year’s series.

      • Run your network with open source software

        Way back in 2005, a company called Vyatta was founded by Allan Leinwand. It offered the first commercially supported, open source router and firewall solution. Named after the ancient Sanskrit for “open,” the company’s goal of bringing open source networking products to the market was so successful that it was purchased by competitor Brocade. This effectively killed Vyatta, but because Vyatta’s product was open source, it didn’t stop it. As it turns out, Vyatta’s software-defined networking capabilities have been continued and developed as VyOS.

        The VyOS distribution is based on Debian Linux, with source code available from a Git repository and a rolling release ISO. For mission-critical applications, there are long-term support releases and support contracts.

      • Events

        • Jonathan Dowland: FOSDEM 2020 timetable

          This coming week is FOSDEM! If you’re like me and find schedule planning easier with paper and highlighters, this might be useful.

          FOSDEM provide a (30 page) schedule PDF for printing, but the printing order doesn’t clearly show which tracks are in parallel.

        • Steve McIntyre: Presenting guest lectures at the University of Lincoln, January 2020

          Dr Charles Fox from the University of Lincoln contacted me out of the blue back in September. He asked me if I would give a couple of guest lectures to his Computer Science students. I was deeply flattered! I took him up on his invitation, and on Tuesday 28th Jan I headed up to visit him and the TSE students.

          My first talk was to provide background on Free and Open Source Software. I started with the history of software in the 1950s, working forwards through the events that sparked the FLOSS movement. I spoke about the philosophical similarities and differences between Free Software and Open Source, and how FLOSS has grown to a state of near-ubiquity. Several of the students are already involved in some existing FLOSS projects, so I was clearly preaching to the choir! I hope I managed to interest the rest of the audience too; I certainly had a warm welcome!

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6.4 Released with New Features, Performance Improvements

          The new version includes a QR code generator, which technically makes it easier for users to add QR codes in their documents. The QR codes can then be scanned with a mobile phone for links and other information.

          The Document Foundation says it has also focused on improving consistency across the entire suite, so it updated the hyperlink context menus to display the same options regardless of the app you’re using. So beginning with this release, there are four hyperlink options, namely Open Hyperlink, Edit Hyperlink, Copy Hyperlink Location and Remove Hyperlink.

      • BSD

        • FreeNAS 11.3-RELEASE

          We are pleased to announce the general availability of FreeNAS 11.3-RELEASE! The 11.3 series represents a year-long development effort and brings with it a wide variety of improvements and fixes.

          Please read these Release Notes thoroughly before updating to become familiar with the potential impacts of the many new features brought in by this update. Please report any bugs to https://jira.ixsystems.com/projects/NAS.

          To install this release, refer to https://www.freenas.org/download/ for installation instructions and to download the installation file.

        • FreeNAS 11.3 Released With A Plethora Of Improvements

          FreeNAS 11.3 has a year’s worth of improvements and features a much improved Replication Engine, managing SMB ACLs via the FreeNAS web user-interface, SMB Shadow Copies being enabled by default for new shares, an iSCSI wizard, dashboard updates, ZFS performance optimizations, new APIs, and much more.

      • FSF/Similar

        • FSFellowship releases sticker set 1.0 for download

          FSFellowship is releasing our first stickers. These are licensed CC-BY for you to use as you see fit.

          You can download an A4 PDF with four stickers to a page and then print it onto A4 label paper in your printer.

          These stickers were produced with free software using LibreOffice. You can download the LibreOffice document here.

        • Licensing / Legal

          • US court fully legalized website scraping and technically prohibited it

            On September 9, the U.S. 9th circuit court of Appeals ruled (Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California) that web scraping public sites does not violate the CFAA (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act).

            This is a really important decision. The court not only legalized this practice, but also prohibited competitors from removing information from your site automatically if the site is public. The court confirmed the clear logic that the entry of the web scraper bot is not legally different from the entry of the browser. In both cases, the “user” requests open data — and does something with it on their side.

      • Programming/Development

        • Development corner: IDEs and tools that can make your coding more productive

          Every craft needs craftsmen, every craftsman needs tools. If you make a living developing code, you want a friendly ecosystem to help you achieve best results from your work. Good development software will allow you to achieve higher productivity and precision, leading to a product that is more effective and with fewer bugs. Finding the right tools is an important part of this equation. Let’s see if we can assist in the search.

        • Libvirt: adoption of GLib library to replace GNULIB & home grown code

          These problems are common to many applications / libraries that are written in C and thus there are a number of libraries that attempt to provide a high level “standard library”. The GLib library is one such effort from the GNOME project developers that has long been appealing. Some of libvirt’s internal APIs are inspired by those present in GLib, and it has been used by QEMU for a long time too. What prevented libvirt from using GLib in the past was the desire to catch, report and handle OOM errors. With the switch to aborting on OOM, the only blocker to use of GLib was eliminated.

          The decision was thus made for libvirt to adopt the GLib library in the latter part of 2019. From the POV of application developers nothing will change in libvirt. The usage of GLib is purely internal, and so doesn’t leak into public API exposed from libvirt.so, which is remains compatible with what came before. In the case of QEMU/KVM hosts at least, there is also no change in what must be installed on hosts, since GLib was already a dependency of QEMU for many years. This will ultimately be a net win, as using GLib will eliminate other code in libvirt, reducing the installation footprint on aggregate between libvirt and QEMU.

          With a large codebase such as libvirt’s, adopting GLib is a not as quick as flicking a switch. Some key pieces of libvirt functionality have been ported to use GLib APIs completely, while in other cases the work is going to be an incremental ongoing effort over a long time. This offers plenty of opportunities for new contributors to jump in and make useful changes which are fairly easily understood & straightforward to implement.

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Lua

          Lua is a lightweight, small, compact, and fast programming language designed as an embeddable scripting language. This cross-platform interpreted language has a simple syntax with powerful data description constructs. It has automatic memory management and incremental garbage collection, making it ideal for configuration, scripting, and rapid prototyping. Lua tries to help you solve problems with only hundreds of lines, or even less. To achieve this aim, Lua relies on extensibility.

          In the popularity stakes, Lua lags behind say Python, Perl, or Ruby for scripting purposes. As a barometer of its popularity, Lua is currently ranked in 41st place on the TIOBE Index (January 2020).

          Lua is not designed to develop standalone software. But Lua excels as a secondary language. Witness Lua cropping up in kernels, tools, and games. Lua was designed, from the beginning, to be integrated with software written in C and other conventional languages. But it’s also used as a standalone language.

          This language is free software distributed under the terms of the MIT license. Lua’s developers consist of a team at PUC-Rio, the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The language has been in development for 26 years.

        • This Week In Rust: This Week in Rust 323

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

        • Python

          • Random Forests (and Extremely) in Python with scikit-learn

            In this guest post, you will learn by example how to do two popular machine learning techniques called random forest and extremely random forests. In fact, this post is an excerpt (adapted to the blog format) from the forthcoming Artificial Intelligence with Python – Second Edition: Your Complete Guide to Building Intelligent Apps using Python 3.x and TensorFlow 2. Now, before you will learn how to carry out random forests in Python with scikit-learn, you will find some brief information about the book.

          • Wing Python IDE 7.2.1 – January 29, 2020

            Wing 7.2.1 fixes debug process group termination, avoids failures seen when pasting some Python code, prevents crashing in vi browse mode when the first line of the file is blank, and fixes some other usability issues.

          • A tiny Python called Snek

            Keith Packard is no stranger to the linux.conf.au stage; he has spoken on a wide variety of topics since he started going to the conference in 2004 (which was held in Adelaide, where organizers apparently had a lot of ice cream for attendees). One of his talks at this year’s conference was on an education-focused project that he has been working on for around a year: a version of Python called “Snek” targeting embedded processors. He gave a look at some of the history of his work with 10-12 year-old students that led to the development of Snek as well as some plans for the language—and hardware to run it on—moving forward.

  • Leftovers

    • Soviet Hippies: The Grass is Greener on the Other Side

      Terje Toomistu’s Soviet Hippies is a strange trippy film. It’s full of characters coming out of a thaw, as if you were watching George Romero’s zombies in Night of the Living Dead go backwards to where they started from and find themselves in the Amazing Mirror Maze at Mall of America® — liking what they’re seeing for the first time. But one dimension removed.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Judge forces insurer to help small business to clean up after a crippling ransomware attack [iophk: Windows TCO]

          A Maryland federal judge on Thursday ruled that an Ohio insurer must cover the costs following a ransomware attack that forced a client to replace much of its technology. State Auto Property & Casualty Insurance is on the hook for losses incurred by National Ink & Stitch, a Maryland screen printing business, after a 2016 hack resulted in “direct physical loss or damage” of National Ink & Stitch’s property.

          No dollar figure has been set yet. The embroidery company had sought $310,000 in damages from State Auto, which has a $1.3 billion market cap.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • NSA cloud advice, Facebook open source year in review, 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.

        • Security

          • Leaked Report Shows United Nations Suffered Hack

            Sophisticated hackers infiltrated U.N. offices in Geneva and Vienna last year in an apparent espionage operation, and their identity and the extent of the data they obtained is unknown.

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

            • Critical OpenSMTPD Bug Opens Linux and OpenBSD Mail Servers to Hackers

              Cybersecurity researchers have discovered a new critical vulnerability (CVE-2020-7247) in the OpenSMTPD email server that could allow remote attackers to take complete control over BSD and many Linux based servers.
              OpenSMTPD is an open-source implementation of the server-side SMTP protocol that was initially developed as part of the OpenBSD project but now comes pre-installed on many UNIX-based systems.
              According to Qualys Research Labs, who discovered this vulnerability, the issue resides in the OpenSMTPD’s sender address validation function, called smtp_mailaddr(), which can be exploited to execute arbitrary shell commands with elevated root privileges on a vulnerable server just by sending specially crafted SMTP messages to it.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Facial Recognition Company Clearview Lied About Its Crime-Solving Power In Pitches To Law Enforcement Agencies

              A very questionable facial recognition tool being offered to law enforcement was recently exposed by Kashmir Hill for the New York Times. Clearview — created by a developer previously best known for an app that let people put Trump’s “hair” on their own photos — is being pitched to law enforcement agencies as a better AI solution for all their “who TF is this guy” problems.

            • UK Ignores US, Won’t Fully Ban Huawei Gear From Its Networks

              We’ve repeatedly noted that while Huawei certainly engages in some clearly sketchy shit (like any good unaccountable telecom giant), the evidence supporting the global blacklist of the company has been lacking. The Trump administration still hasn’t provided any public evidence supporting the central justification for the global blackballing effort (that Huawei works for China to spy wholesale on Americans), and at least some of the effort is little more than gamesmanship by companies like Cisco, which don’t want to compete with cheaper Chinese gear as they hunt down network and 5G contracts.

            • Puerto Rico’s Justice Department Demanded Info From Facebook About Journalists Who Livestreamed Protests

              Historically, the DOJ hasn’t really let the First Amendment stand in the way of its investigations. In very recent history, the FBI has targeted journalists to hunt down leakers, and has impersonated journalists during investigations. While the DOJ and FBI have dealt with some limited repercussions due to their targeting of First Amendment activities (which includes targeting Muslims because they’re Muslims), it really hasn’t promised to stop doing this. Nor has it been told to stop doing this. Instead, the DOJ has simply made it slightly more difficult for investigators to violate people’s rights.

            • Why Public Wi-Fi is a Lot Safer Than You Think

              If you follow security on the Internet, you may have seen articles warning you to “beware of public Wi-Fi networks” in cafes, airports, hotels, and other public places. But now, due to the widespread deployment of HTTPS encryption on most popular websites, advice to avoid public Wi-Fi is mostly out of date and applicable to a lot fewer people than it once was.

              The advice stems from the early days of the Internet, when most communication was not encrypted. At that time, if someone could snoop on your network communications—for instance by sniffing packets from unencrypted Wi-Fi or by being the NSA—they could read your email. They could also steal your passwords or your login cookies and impersonate you on your favorite sites. This was widely accepted as a risk of using the Internet. Sites that used HTTPS on all pages were safe, but such sites were vanishingly rare.However, starting in 2010 that all changed. Eric Butler released Firesheep, an easy-to-use demonstration of “sniffing” insecure HTTP to take over people’s accounts. Site owners started to take note and realized they needed to implement HTTPS (the more secure, encrypted version of HTTP) for every page on their site. The timing was good: earlier that year, Google had turned on HTTPS by default for all Gmail users and reported that the costs to do so were quite low. Hardware and software had advanced to the point where encrypting web browsing was easy and cheap.

            • U.K. Police Will Soon be able to Search Through U.S. Data Without Asking a Judge

              Law enforcement officials in the U.S. and U.K. have negotiated a deal that sells out the privacy rights of the public in both nations. For Americans, it will effectively abrogate Fourth Amendment protections, and subject their data to search and seizure by foreign police.

              This is all going to start happening in a few months—unless Congress does something to stop it now. That’s why we’re launching an action today, asking you to reach out to your members of Congress and tell them to introduce a joint resolution that could put a halt to the deal. If it isn’t stopped, the worst parts of this deal will likely come standard on future agreements, and Americans will be subject to more and more searches by foreign police.

            • ‘This Type of Surveillance Threatens Us All’
            • New Bill Would Make Needed Steps Toward Curbing Mass Surveillance

              Last week, Sens. Ron Wyden (D–Oregon) and Steve Daines (R–Montana) along with Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D–California), Warren Davidson (R–Ohio), and Pramila Jayapal (D–Washington) introduced the Safeguarding Americans’ Private Records Act (SAPRA), H.R 5675. This bipartisan legislation includes significant reforms to the government’s foreign intelligence surveillance authorities, including Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act allows the government to obtain a secret court order requiring third parties, such as telephone providers, Internet providers, and financial institutions, to hand over business records or any other “tangible thing” deemed “relevant” to an international terrorism, counterespionage, or foreign intelligence investigation. If Congress does not act, Section 215 is set to expire on March 15.

              The bill comes at a moment of renewed scrutiny of the government’s use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). A report from the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General released late last year found significant problems in the government’s handling of surveillance of Carter Page, one of President Trump’s former campaign advisors. This renewed bipartisan interest in FISA transparency and accountability—in combination with the March 15 sunset of Section 215—provides strong incentives for Congress to enact meaningful reform of an all-too secretive and invasive surveillance apparatus.

            • PayPal Forecast Disappoints as Acquisitions Weigh on Profit

              Chief Executive Officer Dan Schulman has been pushing PayPal into new partnerships with banks, technology giants and e-commerce platforms as he seeks to make it a versatile financial tool rather than just a payment method for websites. In November, PayPal spent about $4 billion to buy the coupon shopping app Honey, gaining access to valuable data on consumer buying habits. About 17 million people use Honey apps or web browser extensions to find discounts at online shopping sites.

              Last year PayPal also took a majority stake in China’s GoPay, and in December, it announced an agreement with Latin America’s MercadoLibre to offer payments in Brazil and Mexico. Earlier this month, PayPal announced an expansion of its partnership with UnionPay, which could boost its presence in China’s massive payments system.

            • Google’s tearjerker Super Bowl ad is sad and creepy

              Given all the ways it collects data on us, it’s depressing to consider that Google apparently doesn’t see anything unsettling about an ad that highlights a grieving widower providing the search giant with even more personal details. What kinds of ads would our voiceover man see in Google Chrome after feeding this information to Assistant — cruises to Alaska? Mustache trimmers? Funeral services? Gross, right? But that’s what Google’s good at: convincing us that, sure, you have to give up a little privacy, but look at all you get in return.

            • Facebook’s messaging apps are more important than ever as revenue growth stalls

              More pressing, however, is that while Facebook’s user growth remains steady, the same cannot be said for its revenue and profit. Facebook still makes money hand over fist, of course, but the future of the business depends on finding ways to make more money from those new users, and that doesn’t appear to be happening even as Facebook can say more people use its products than ever before. Profit growth this past quarter compared with the fourth quarter of 2018 was only 7 percent, compared to the whopping 61 percent jump Facebook experienced a year ago.

            • Confidentiality

              • [Older] Equifax Ordered to Spend $1 Billion on Data Security [iophk: Windows TCO]

                After agreeing to pay up to $700 million to settle charges brought by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Equifax now must pay an additional $380.5 million into a fund for class action benefits, attorneys’ fees, expenses, service awards and notice and administration costs, bringing the tally to well over $1 billion.

                But expenses associated with the massive cyber blunder don’t stop here. Chief Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr., in the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta, has ordered Equifax to fork out an additional $1 billion to strengthen its cybersecurity posture and ensure history doesn’t repeat itself.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • After a Half Century of Corporate Dominance Over the Food Economy, Change Is Coming

        Family farmers are fighting back against Big Ag to put forth a complete overhaul of industrial agribusiness policies, supplanting them with sensible, democratic approaches to serve the common good.

      • The Davos Set’s Most Dangerous Delusion

        Few thinkers are more deserving of criticism than Milton Friedman. Not only was he the late 20th century’s leading proponent of unfettered capitalism, he served as one of the intellectual fathers of the neoliberal ideology that has been so dominant (and destructive) over the past 50 years. It is no exaggeration to say that the Chicago School economist was one of the most—if not the most—influential ideologists of the past half-century, shaping economic policy in Washington and beyond while providing an effective intellectual apologia for capitalists, who seldom fail to put profit over people.

      • Brexit Deal Cleared by EU Parliament; U.K. Set to Leave Friday

        The European Union grudgingly let go of the United Kingdom with a final vote Wednesday at the EU’s parliament that ended the Brexit divorce battle and set the scene for tough trade negotiations in the year ahead.

      • BoJo Johnson’s Brexit Fantasies

        Immediately after his general election victory BoJo jetted to the private Caribbean island of Mustique with his latest mistress. Sequestered in a rental villa that cost £20,000/$26000 a week for a couple of weeks (probably paid for by one of his billionaire pals), and supposedly chugging down vodka martinis while sunning his plump frame on the beach, BoJo was unavailable for a response at the start of the Iran crisis. Not that he would have done much. With an unenviable track-record when it comes to being Trump’s lapdog, his response would have been all-too predictable.

      • Condemning NAFTA 2.0 as ‘Giveaway to Fossil Fuel Industry,’ Sanders Vows to Immediately Renegotiate Trump Deal If Elected

        “We need a trade policy that works for the working class and improves the environment. And that’s exactly what I will fight for as president.”

      • Trump: New Trade Deal With Canada, Mexico to Boost U.S. Growth

        President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed into law a major rewrite of the rules of trade with Canada and Mexico that he said replaces the “nightmare” of a Clinton-era agreement and will keep jobs, wealth and growth in America.

      • Trump Legal Team Donated Thousands to GOP Senators Ahead of Impeachment Trial

        President Trump’s legal team made numerous campaign contributions to Republican senators overseeing the impeachment trial.

      • 10 Things Every American Needs to Know About Trump’s Impeachment

        Don’t get bogged down by the marathon minute-by-minute coverage of the Senate impeachment trial stretching late into the night. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the complex procedural maneuvers aimed at securing a fair and open trial with witness testimony and new documents that Republicans want to prevent at all costs.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Mutually Assured Madness: Immunity to the 25th Amendment

        When Ronald Reagan first arrived at the White House after his big electoral victory over President Jimmy Carter in November 1980, and was now cleared to see and know all the secrets and issue commands, he was asked what he wanted to do first. He asked to see the War Room. The aides, handlers, military and security people were puzzled, what War Room? Reagan described the one with the big circular-arc table and circular-arc overhead light, and the big screen-map of the world that would show the progressive trajectories of B-52 bombers making a nuclear attack on Russia, in the event of such an attack. Reagan was told there was no such War Room. “But I saw it in a movie!” he protested. Indeed, we all saw it in Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 phenomenal cinema satire of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) nuclear war (Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb).

      • ‘Out of Touch’ Pro-Israel Group Criticized for Ads Hitting Bernie Sanders on Electability

        “They know they are increasingly out-of-touch with Democratic voters, so they have to hide behind tired talking points about electability instead.”

      • With Bernie Sanders Now a Frontrunner, Corporate Media Smears His as Trump-ish

        Demonizing attacks will likely evolve, especially because the elite in both parties hates and fears Sanders so much that they would prefer Trump to Sanders.

      • ‘Absurd’: Sanders Campaign Hits Back at AP Story Equating Bernie’s Social Security Record With Biden’s

        “While Joe Biden was calling for cuts to Social Security, Bernie was sponsoring bills to block cuts and expand benefits.”

      • How to Survive this Election

        Having closely followed the 2016 Election, from the clear signs of manipulation and potential fraud in the earliest Primaries to the finger-pointing and hysteria over alleged Russian “election hacking” after one of the most unpopular US Presidential candidates in History beat another of the most unpopular of the US Presidential candidates in History, I resolved to stop following the media circus that passes for “politics” in our country. I thus managed to steer clear of what promised to be a remake of the 2016 Election – until last week when the CNN attack on Sanders finally drew me in.

      • The Swamp That Trump Built

        My favorite line from the Trumpist defense of their boss so far is from attorney Jay Sekulow. As the opening argument wound down, he told the Senate and whomever else was listening that “justice demands” the articles of impeachment against Trump “must be rejected.” There were a lot of things going on in the defense’s opening statements of Trump’s impeachment trial. Justice, however, was not one of them. Power, absolutism, corruption and denial were present, but a quest for justice certainly wasn’t, not even within the narrow confines of these stunted proceedings. The process continues in less than twenty-four hours with the likelihood that the show will continue to produce more repetition, denial and obstruction, which is how I would describe business as usual in Washington on most days. The impeachment process has just consolidated it all and put it on television. One thing I have had confirmed during my viewing is that there are a lot of lousy and overpriced attorneys who only seem smart because their clients are not.

      • ‘Huge’: Bernie Sanders Endorses Progressive Primary Challenger Jessica Cisneros

        “We’re proud that presidential candidates are taking a close look at South Texas as we fight to turn Texas blue in November—and that they know we’re the only candidate in this race who will champion Democratic values in Washington.”

      • A Different Impeachment

        For over two centuries, the American military has protected us by protecting our nation. Now it is time for the nation to protect the American military, by removing Donald Trump from the Presidency.

      • The End of American Exceptionalism? Study Indicates Failure of US Democracy Creating Wave of Self Doubt

        A new study shows that less than half of all Americans are satisfied with the nation’s democratic system.

      • US: Returns to Mexico Threaten Rights, Security
      • Why the Green Party isn’t the Problem

        I just read the open letter by Noam Chomsky, Bill Fletcher, Barbara Ehrenreich, Kathy Kelly, Ron Daniels, Leslie Cagan, Norman Solomon, Cynthia Peters, and Michael Albert calling on the Green Party not to run a candidate this year.

      • Bring It On: Why Democrats Should Take the Hunter Biden for John Bolton Trade

        What’s the worst that can happen?  Quite likely we will “learn” what we already know.

      • Trump Trial: Pointed Questioning With Bolton Book at the Center

        President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial shifted swiftly to pointed, back-and-forth questioning Wednesday as Republicans strained to contain the fallout over John Bolton’s forthcoming book, which threatens their hopes of ending the trial with a quick acquittal.

      • John Bolton Is a Shark, and There’s Blood in the Water
      • ‘He’s Desperate’: Trump Rants About Impeachment ‘Con Job’ as McConnell Admits He Doesn’t Have Votes to Block Witnesses

        “The pressure is working,” said Indivisible. “We need to hear from Bolton and the other witnesses who know exactly how egregious Trump’s abuse of power was.”

      • Game Over
      • The Impeachment Trial Has Been a Farce Staged by the GOP Since Day One

        At the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told fellow Republican senators in a private meeting Tuesday that he does not yet have enough votes to block Democrats from calling impeachment witnesses. Democrats have pushed for former national security adviser John Bolton to testify. On Sunday night, The New York Times published details about a draft of Bolton’s forthcoming book, in which he claims Trump personally told him in August he wanted to maintain a freeze on $391 million in military aid to Ukraine until Ukraine turned over materials related to former Vice President Joe Biden. On Tuesday, Trump’s defense team wrapped up their opening arguments. We speak with Mehdi Hasan, senior columnist at The Intercept and host of “UpFront” on Al Jazeera English. John Bolton’s role in the impeachment trial is “hugely ironic, because we’ve always known that John Bolton wanted regime change around the world; I just didn’t realize he wanted regime change in Washington, D.C.,” Hasan says.

      • Impeachment Battles Could Determine Who Holds Real Power in the US Government

        The legal and constitutional battles sparked by President Trump’s behavior could affect how the U.S. government works for generations, long after the impeachment trial is over.

      • What Happens If Iowa and Nevada’s 2020 Caucuses Are Disrupted?

        In 2012, the Iowa Republican Party named Mitt Romney (now Utah’s senator) as the winner of its presidential caucuses. But 16 days later, long after Romney rode a wave of momentum into New Hampshire, the Iowa GOP said that then-Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum had actually won after votes that weren’t turned in on caucus night were counted.

      • Dershowitz Is Wrong — Abuse of Power Is Grounds for Impeachment

        Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard emeritus law professor who is serving as a hired gun for Team Trump, is arguing that even if John Bolton testifies that Trump admitted the quid pro quo with Ukraine to him, the Senate could not remove the president from office. Dershowitz has gone so far as to say that even if Trump told Bolton he was withholding the congressionally authorized military aid to Ukraine until it helped him with an investigation of the Bidens, that is still not impeachable conduct.

      • New U.S. law requires government to report risks of overseas activities by ex-spies

        The new measure was driven by a Reuters investigation revealing how former National Security Agency employees clandestinely assisted a foreign cyber espionage operation in the United Arab Emirates, helping the monarchy target rivals, dissidents and journalists.

      • The US Is Losing Its Fight Against Huawei

        Now, as it weighs how to proceed, the US must confront a difficult question: Is it really prepared to cut off intelligence sharing with key partners who open their doors to Huawei? And if so, will it ultimately hand China yet another victory by weakening the very global alliance that could counter the rising superpower?

      • Presidential Primaries: What You Need to Know

        Every four years, our country holds a general election to decide who will be our next president. Before that happens, though, each party must choose its candidate through primary elections.But our system of primaries can be a bit confusing. So here’s a quick primer on the upcoming primaries, containing the most important things you need to know based on the most frequently asked questions:Are primaries, caucuses, and conventions written into the Constitution? No. The Constitution says nothing about primaries or caucuses. Or about political parties. So where did primaries and caucuses come from?From the parties themselves. The first major political party convention was held in 1831 by the National Republican Party (also known as the Anti-Jacksonian Party). The first Democratic National Convention was held in 1832. Who decides how primaries are run? It’s all up to the parties at the state level. Political parties can even decide not to hold a primary. This year, five states have decided not to hold Republican presidential primaries and caucuses, a move designed to stop Donald Trump’s long-shot primary challengers. Can state laws override party decisions? No. In 1981, the Supreme Court held that the Democratic Party wasn’t required to admit Wisconsin delegates to its national convention since they hadn’t been selected in accordance with Democratic Party rules. The court said that a political party is protected by the First Amendment to come up with its own rules. Why  did we start holding primaries? In the 19th century, the process for deciding on a party’s nominee was controlled by party bosses, who chose the delegates to the party conventions. In the early 20th century, some states began to hold primaries to choose delegates for party nominating conventions. Although the outcomes of those primaries weren’t binding, they sent a message about how a candidate might do in a general election. In 1960, for example, John F. Kennedy’s victory in the West Virginia primary [archival footage] was viewed by Democratic Party leaders as a strong sign that a Catholic like Kennedy could win the votes of Protestants. As recently as 1968, a candidate could still become the Democratic nominee without participating in any primaries, as Hubert Humphrey did that year. But since then, both parties have changed their rules so their presidential nominees depend on the outcomes of primaries and caucuses. They made these changes to better ensure their candidates would succeed in the general election. What’s the difference between a caucus and a primary?States that hold primaries allow voters to cast secret ballots in support of candidates. States that hold caucuses rely instead on local in-person gatherings at a particular time and place – maybe in a high school gym or a library – where voters who turn up openly decide which candidates to support. Here are the states that will have Democratic primaries in 2020 and those that will have caucuses: Iowa, Nevada, Kansas, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Maine.What’s the advantage of one over the other?Primaries are the easiest way to vote.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Time Magazine Explains Why Section 230 Is So Vital To Protecting Free Speech

        For years now, we’ve been highlighting just how bad various mainstream media publications have been in discussing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Therefore, it’s a bit of a pleasant surprise to find out that Time Magazine has published an excellent explainer by David French, a lawyer who has been a long time free speech supporter. At the very least, this new article makes up for an earlier Time article that appears (like so many) to confuse Section 230 with the 1st Amendment in terms of what enables the posting of disinformation online.

      • Home Owners Association Threatens Residents With Lawsuit For Online Criticism

        The fights involving Home Owners Associations (HOAs) are so legendary and stereotyped that they’ve even been a minor plot point in Seinfeld. The general stereotype is that HOAs involve insane political power struggles, significantly out of proportion to the actual issues at hand. It is often an example of Sayre’s law, in that the stakes are so little, yet the disputes are much more vicious and out of control than elsewhere. I’m thankful I don’t live in a place with an HOA, but for many years I did (as a renter, not an owner) and remember receiving a long (7 pages typed, I believe) letter from an owner complaining about HOA battles and claiming that he was afraid to go to the next HOA meeting for fear of being shot by another HOA member, and going on and on about threats of violence.

      • The Growing Threat to Free Speech Online

        There are times when vitally important stories lurk behind the headlines. Yes, impeachment is historic and worth significant coverage, but it’s not the only important story. The recent threat of war with Iran merited every second of intense world interest. But what if I told you that as we lurch from crisis to crisis there is a slow-building, bipartisan movement to engage in one of most significant acts of censorship in modern American history? What if I told you that our contemporary hostility against Big Tech may cause our nation to blunder into changing the nature of the internet to enhance the power of the elite at the expense of ordinary Americans?


        Taken together, the two rulings put online providers in a difficult dilemma. Let everything in and your service would be quickly swamped with the worst, most vile forms of expression. But if you imposed even modest controls on user content, then you’d be liable for their words. Internet companies were on the verge of being forced to make a stark choice – dive into the sewer or dive into censorship..

        So, Congress acted. In 1996, it passed Section 230. The law did two things. First, it declared that “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” In plain English, this means that my comments on Twitter or Google or Yelp or the comments section of my favorite website are my comments, and my comments only.

        But Section 230 went farther, it also declared that an internet provider can “restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable” without being held liable for user content. This is what allows virtually all mainstream social media companies to remove obscene or pornographic content. This allows websites to take down racial slurs – all without suddenly also becoming liable for all the rest of their users’ speech.

        It’s difficult to overstate how important this law is for the free speech of ordinary Americans. For 24 years we’ve taken for granted our ability to post our thoughts and arguments about movies, music, restaurants, religions, and politicians. While different sites have different rules and boundaries, the overall breadth of free speech has been extraordinary.

        As it always has through human history, free speech has been used for good and ill. Anti-vaccination activists abuse liberty by spreading medical misinformation online. Social media bullies have named and shamed even private citizens for often trivial offenses. But on balance, free speech is a great gift to American culture. As the courageous abolitionist Frederick Douglass declared in 1860, free speech is the “dread of tyrants.” It is the “great moral renovator of society and government.” The freedom to speak has been at the foundation of America’s most potent social movements.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Former officers who searched ‘Meduza’ journalist Ivan Golunov arrested, may face drug possession and evidence falsification charges

        Five former Moscow police officers have been arrested in connection with the case of Meduza special correspondent Ivan Golunov. According to Russia’s Investigative Committee, the officers are Denis Konovalov, Akbar Sergaliev, Roman Feofanov, Maxim Umetbayev, and Igor Lyakhovets, a list that corresponds with earlier reporting from TASS and Kommersant. TASS initially claimed that Andrey Shchirov, the drug control chief for Moscow’s Western Administrative District and the former boss of all five officers, had also been arrested, but the Investigative Committee later clarified that he has been classified as a witness rather than a suspect (though his status may change over time). The five arrested officers will soon be indicted.

      • “Assange, Snowden, Manning and Harrison are the resistance fighters of the 21st century”

        The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) joined the two Belgian civil society organisations, Carta Academica and Belgium4Assange, in two public actions organised in Brussels to defend freedom of expression, freedom of the press and our right to know in general, and Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Sarah Harrison and Edward Snowden in particular.

        Over 120 personalities, artists, activists and journalists and a dozen organisations, including the International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ), signed a joint petition to the Belgian authorities to urge action on Julian Assange’s case. The text asks the Belgian government to recognise Julian Assange as a political prisoner, send observers to his trial, grant him international protection and do its utmost to impede his extradition to the US.

        “This text calls on the Belgian government to recognise Julian Assange as a political prisoner, to send observers to his trial, to grant him international protection and to do everything possible to prevent his extradition to the United States,” said Vincent Engel, representative of Carta Academica, at the Palais des Académies.

        The event also served as a ceremony to grant an Academic Honoris Causa title to four whistleblowers for their contributions to citizens’ right to know by denouncing crimes and state secrets. This honorary title was granted to Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Sarah Harisson and Julian Assange, whose father, John Shipton received it on his behalf.

        “We are receiving lots of support from all over the world, also in Europe. Recently, the Council of Europe voted unanimously against Julian’s extradition and calling for his immediate release. All these actions are very important. Thank you all for all the efforts you are doing, especially to the IFJ”, John Shipton said after receiving the title.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Glenn Greenwald and David Miranda on Bolsonaro’s Far-Right Movement in Brazil: ‘We Intend to Fight This Repression, Not Flee From It’

        The Rio de Janeiro-based couple, an American journalist and Brazilian congressman, detail the attacks they have endured over the past year.

      • A Step Forward for 10,000 Rohingya Refugee Children

        Bangladesh will allow 10,000 ethnic Rohingya refugee children to get a formal school curriculum for the first time after the government approved a “pilot” education program.

        It’s a step in the right direction, but also an urgent reminder of how far there is to go until all refugee children can get a real education.

      • French Police to Stop Using Explosive Tear Gas Grenades

        This week, France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner announced that French police would stop using the controversial GLI-F4 tear gas grenade. This move is long overdue, but doesn’t address serious concerns about other weapons French police still use to control crowds.

        In December 2018, Human Rights Watch documented injuries caused by police weapons during France’s “yellow vest” mobilizations and unrelated student protests, including people whose limbs were burned and maimed by presumed use of GLI-F4 instant tear gas grenades, which carry 25g of high explosive. The report also documented cases in which people were shot and injured by rubber ball-shaped projectiles (known as “flashballs,” based on one manufacturer’s trademark), and disproportionate use of chemical spray and “stingball” riot-control grenades. Amnesty International documented similar violations and the French human rights ombudsman has repeatedly called for an end to use of or revised guidelines for the use of some of these weapons.

      • Welcome New Monitoring for Poland

        Yesterday, one of Europe’s top human rights bodies voted to bring Poland under its monitoring mechanism. It’s the first time in over two decades that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), composed of parliamentarians from all 49 member countries, has taken such a step against an European Union member state.

        It is a welcome move and a clear rebuke for the Polish government’s years of undermining rule of law.

      • Tunisia: Halt Prosecution of Prominent Activist
      • Sex Offenders Were Becoming Cops. After Our Stories, Alaska’s Governor Wants That To End.

        Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy is proposing changes to state law that would improve police hiring standards and oversight after some villages hired police officers that were sex offenders or had been convicted of domestic violence.

        The proposed legislation, introduced Monday, is intended to deter communities from appointing unqualified people as VPOs and to deter people with certain convictions from applying for the jobs, Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Megan Peters said.

      • Meet The Cops: Inside Donald Trump’s New Commission On Policing

        Attorney General William Barr swore in 18 members of a White House commission on policing.

        Comprised entirely of law enforcement officials, the commission claims it will study how to “make American law enforcement the most trusted and effective guardians of our communities.”

      • U.S. Supreme Court lets hardline Trump immigration policy take effect

        The justices, on a 5-4 vote, granted the administration’s request to lift a lower court’s injunction that had blocked the so-called public charge policy while litigation over its legality continues. The rule has been criticized by immigrant rights advocates as a “wealth test” that would disproportionately keep out non-white immigrants.

      • Michigan plans to overhaul its jail system

        That is good for nobody. Crowded jails are a financial burden for counties. It cost $478m to run Michigan’s in 2017. Pew researchers point to evidence that people jailed or imprisoned, even briefly, are far likelier to be rearrested within two years than others who pass through the justice system but are not locked up.

        If America is to put fewer people behind bars, the priority will be fixing its jails. Several states are trying. Starting this month, New York no longer demands cash bail from those arrested for minor, non-violent crimes. New Jersey ended cash bail in 2017 and has seen its jail population shrink, even as crime rates continue to fall.

        Now it is Michigan’s turn. After holding public hearings and gathering expert testimony across the state in the past year, a task force on jail reform published 18 policy recommendations for legislators on January 14th. These include spending more on mental-health care, reclassifying many of the 1,900 misdemeanour offences as civil infractions, changing rules on cash bail and promoting more non-custodial sentences for minor crimes.

      • How These Jail Officials Profit From Selling E-Cigarettes to Inmates

        A Kentucky river city once rich in tobacco was grappling with growing concerns about the health risks of electronic cigarettes.

        The former governor had already banned e-cigarettes in some state buildings, and lawmakers had prohibited selling them to anyone younger than 18.

      • All Three R. Kelly Lawyers Are Abandoning His Case

        Singer R. Kelly’s defense in a civil sexual assault case may be falling apart. Tuesday, a judge granted a motion filed by R. Kelly lawyers to withdraw from the case.

      • Vladimir Putin pardons Naama Issachar, whose prosecution on drug charges shook Russian-Israeli relations

        Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed an order pardoning Israeli citizen Naama Issachar, who was convicted on drug possession and contraband charges. Issachar was in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on a layover between Delhi and Tel Aviv when a dog found 9.6 grams of hashish in her checked luggage, to which she did not have access at the time.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Verizon’s 5G Superbowl Ads Will Hype Nonexistent Firefighter Tech And A Barely Available Network

        Speaking of over-hyping 5G: Verizon is planning to unload a significant mountain of 5G hype at the upcoming Superbowl, both via ads that will air during the game, but also with a deployment in the stadium itself. The company, still clearly sensitive to having been caught throttling and upselling firefighters during a recent historic California wildfire, is hoping to make its breathless adoration of firefighters a cornerstone of the ad campaign. Speaking to Ad Age, the company says its new ads will showcase 5G firefighter tech that doesn’t actually exist:

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Design Patents Are Useless. So Why Are They Getting a Boost in DC?

          When we talk about patents, we’re usually talking about “utility” patents. Utility patents protect inventions that claim to have some practical application or use. (A lot of them still claim things that are actually useless, but they’re supposed to be potentially useful.)

          “Design” patents, by contrast, protect only the ornamental or decorative aspects of a design. They don’t protect any kind of functionality. If there’s a functional work to protect, only a utility patent will do.

        • Software Patents

      • Copyrights

        • CC Launches the Global Search for Its Next Chief Executive Officer

          The timing could not be more exciting for CC. We will welcome our next CEO as we prepare to enter our third decade as the global standard for sharing works of knowledge and creativity.

        • Kim Dotcom Domain Dispute Settled, Next Up: Supreme Court Extradition Ruling

          After falling into third-party hands, the main domain of Kim Dotcom’s K.im project has been returned following a settlement agreement. While this progress is being welcomed by the Megaupload founder, even more serious matters lie on the horizon. Will the New Zealand Supreme Court decide against extradition to the US? Dotcom predicts that while close, the judgment will not go in his favor.

        • Promoting Pirate Apps Lands US Phone Store in Court, Again

          The company behind the movie Hunter Killer has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Verizon retailer Victra. According to the complaint, employees of the phone store promoted the use of pirate apps including Popcorn Time and Showbox. This case follows a similar lawsuit against the shop from two other movie companies, which was quietly settled in 2018.

        • Juice WRLD Reportedly Left Behind 2,000 Unreleased Songs

          According to sources, Juice WRLD left behind a vast library of unreleased work — somewhere in the vicinity of 2,000 songs.

        • CBS Gets Angry Joe’s YouTube Review Of ‘Picard’ Taken Down For Using 26 Seconds Of The Show’s Trailer

          Joe Vargas, who makes the fantastic The Angry Joe Show on YouTube, isn’t a complete stranger to Techdirt’s pages. You may recall that this angry reviewer of all things pop culture swore off doing reviews of Nintendo products a while back after Nintendo prevented Vargas from monetizing a review of a a game. The whole episode highlighted just how out of touch companies like Nintendo can be with this sort of thing, given how many younger folks rely on reviews like Vargas’ to determine where they spend their gaming dollars. Coupled with the argument that these commentary and review videos ought to constitute use of footage as fair use and it’s hard to see why any of this was worth it to Nintendo.

EPO as a Kakistocracy of Lies and Bribes

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 9:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Kakistocracy best describes the state of today’s EPO (the management) and the lies told every day in its Twitter account show that insincerity has simply become the norm, accompanying the endless misconduct

THE European Patent Office (EPO) has long promoted this illusion that it can outclass the world regardless of how bad a policy it adopts. The non-scientific presidencies (even predating Campinos and Battistelli) have meant that decisions were made by the clueless, who instead of promoting science sought to appease the litigation giants, listening only to them and their self-serving wishes (more patents, more lawsuits).

“The examiners are humans, they’re scientists and they tend to derive personal pride not from money but the contribution of their work to science, to progress, to innovation.”It typically takes a high court (e.g. Supreme Court on 35 U.S.C. § 101) to put an end to such office-wide coups. It’s a sobering moment for many.

The examiners are humans, they’re scientists and they tend to derive personal pride not from money but the contribution of their work to science, to progress, to innovation. Compare them to the top-level managers who are corrupt monsters, picked for nepotistic purposes, ruthlessness, and willingness to cover up crimes of predecessors. The former group was supposed to occupy top-tier positions as well (examiners turning into gentle and attentive management), but not so at the EPO…

Today’s EPO is a classic case of “friend brings a friend…” (even at present time; it didn’t end with Battistelli’s departure)

“Today’s EPO is a classic case of “friend brings a friend…” (even at present time; it didn’t end with Battistelli’s departure)”Earlier this week AdrianPatent wrote: “Cillian Ó Donnabháin of gave some valuable insights into the work of Examiners @EPOorg in Liverpool today @TheCIPA Merseyside meeting – turns out they *are* human after all…”

They’re good people, but they’re managed by corrupt people. This, in turn, can corrupt them against their will. Some leave, whereas others are desperate to stay (family relocated to another country already). The EPO retweeted the above and also this recruitment propaganda (as if the EPO is still recruiting examiners; it reduces their numbers).

I told them that “even EPO examiners tell people NOT to look for a job at EPO because it is corrupt and most staff have depression, partly because of corruption at the top…”

This is a typical ‘EPO day’ in Twitter. Lots of lies and nonsense all around.

The EPO has just resurrected a myth when it wrote: “140 years ago, Thomas Edison received a patent for the electric lamp. Here you can have a look at his patent document…”

“This is a typical ‘EPO day’ in Twitter. Lots of lies and nonsense all around.”But Thomas Edison was somewhat of a patent troll who ripped off people who actually invented things and amassed patents on things he exploited without doing the work. This is actually well understood by today’s scientists and historians. People like Tesla are far more worthy of credit and gratitude.

But never mind facts… the EPO has long favoured myths.

“If you’re a #startup,” the EPO tweeted, “IP rights can improve your competitiveness.”

There’s no such thing as “IP” (they meant patents I assume) and these are NOT rights. They’re simply NOT. The EPO sounds like a law firm rather than a patent office. “Having grown up with digital technology at their fingertips,” it wrote, “GenerationZ-ers think & act differently. Join us in Madrid to discuss their goals and how the IP world can adapt to their needs.”

They’ve used stock photography of young professionals — also the following day (same image) — to make this page (warning: epo.org link) entitled “IP for the next generation” — crafted like a marketing agency rather than a patent office.

“The EPO sounds like a law firm rather than a patent office.”We probably shouldn’t be so shocked by this (not anymore anyway), knowing that the EPO is run — at the management level — by people who haven’t a clue what they’re talking about and what kind of institution they run. Until his mid-fifties, for instance, Battistelli probably didn’t even know what patents really were. He probably still doesn’t know. His CV speaks for itself.

Sadly, nobody in the media talks about it anymore. It used to be occasionally mentioned here and there, but those who covered the subject and were capable of it have been threatened and/or bribed by the EPO. This includes IP Kat, which is never even mentioning EPO issues anymore, only advertising EPO agenda of the management and censoring comments critical of António Campinos and perhaps Battistelli too (it’s hard to see everything that they delete). The other day Riana Harvey advertised the “European Patent Office’s “East meets West” Forum 2020″ (she also promotes lots of Watchtroll articles, i.e. the most overzealous blogs). It’s another event of the patent maximalists with “hey hi” (AI) hype included. To quote: “The EPO’s annual ‘East meets West’ forum returns! The forum, which will provide an update on the most important developments in patent information and IP knowledge in Asia and other jurisdictions will discuss other topics of interest, from how to cope with the growing amount of patent data from Asia, and how to maximise opportunities made available by AI and new search tools, amongst others.”

“Sadly, nobody in the media talks about it anymore.”Meanwhile, the bananas (so-called ‘IP News Center’) published a repost of the EPO’s press release, bragging about bribery of academia. It’s entitled “EPO publishes six search [sic] reports” (they must have meant research, not search) and it says: “The European Patent Office (EPO) published six Research Reports that were developed with funding from its Academic Research Programme. The Academic Research Programme was launched by the EPO in 2017 with the objective of encouraging research in the field of patents and to promote the dissemination of research findings. A total of 300,000 Euros were awarded for the research projects. The final results of the research were presented at a workshop that was recently hosted by the EPO in Munich. During the research period, researchers used patent data to delve deeper into topics such as financing for innovation, knowledge transfer, trade, tracking inventions in the marketplace, and the growth of technologies to tackle climate change.”

“Why is the EPO controlling research now? Is it a patent office or what?”Why can’t anyone see what’s wrong with it and point it out in the media? This is NOT what a patent office is supposed to do. It is corrupting poor scholars in exchange for biased ‘research’ — the same thing oil giants do. Earlier this week it bragged about this at least twice. The first tweet said: “Igor Bagayev of @ucddublin has investigated how international #technology diffusion encourages local exports. His project was funded by our Academic Research Programme. You can read his findings here: https://bit.ly/38P7DkN”

Why is the EPO controlling research now? Is it a patent office or what? Is it ERC (European Research Council) or EPO? Another newer tweet: “Gaétan de Rassenfosse at @EPFL has used data science tools to build a database that tracks #innovations into the marketplace. You can read the results here: https://bit.ly/38P7DkN His project was funded by our Academic Research Programme” (to associate patents with so-called ‘innovation’).

Not only EPO bribes scholars in exchange for propaganda. As someone correctly noted this week: “Always refreshing to have a lobby meeting and you learn that all civil society and academics in Europe are basically funded by Google in order to provide research that is in the interest of Google, and against the music industry…” [sic]

We’ve long complained about companies such as Google and Microsoft funding scholars in exchange for something, i.e. bribing them. It’s a sick game that ultimately harms the reputation of academic institutions, collectively.

The EPO just doesn’t seem to care about facts.

“The EPO just doesn’t seem to care about facts.”One new example of it is this tweet which says: “3Dprinting is set to revolutionise conventional approaches to design, materials, processes & products. The potential for #innovation will change and diversify accordingly.”

“3Dprinting,” I responded to them, “is one of the BEST known examples of patents retarding progress for a number of decades. Hard to understand who in EPO thought this area would be a good marketing, it is a rout…”

If that’s not embarrassing enough (for the EPO), consider who the EPO associates with these days. The EPO’s management has again found its match in Cambodia… with zero European Patents. What does that do for science or for public interest? Nothing.

The Phnom Penh Post has issued this puff piece, which helps the image of Cambodia a lot more than it helps the EPO. To quote:

Cambodia will renew its memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the European Patent Office (EPO) to boost investment from Europe, the Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts said.

The decision was made during a meeting between Minister of Industry and Handicrafts Cham Prasidh and EPO president Antonio Campinos on Monday.


Prasidh said Cambodia works with Singapore, Japan, China and the EU to register and validate patents.

Since 2015, the ministry has received 816 patent applications, of which 150 have been finalised.

The EU has filed 230 patent applications in Cambodia.

How many Cambodian applications were filed in the EPO? Better not tell. That would make a void article.

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