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01.12.20

Links 12/1/2020: End of Windows 7, LibreOffice 6.4 RC2 and Sparky 5.10

Posted in News Roundup at 12:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Warning: Windows 7 is losing support, but so is this popular version of Ubuntu Linux!

        Windows 7 is a great operating system — there is a reason so many computer users have clung to it. Well, we can also thank the terrible Windows 8 for scaring people from upgrading, I suppose. Windows 8.1 was better, and Windows 10 is actually pretty good, but neither are loved like Windows 7 is.

        Sadly, Microsoft is killing Windows 7 for most users — it reaches end of life status in just two days, on January 14th. After that date, Windows 7 will be unsupported (except for businesses that choose to pay for extended support) — you’d have to be a fool to continue using that operating system. You should upgrade to Windows 10 ASAP or switch to a Linux-based OS.

      • Windows 7, the “fresh” install

        I have a confession. For a few years I’ve had a Windows 7 box sitting on the shelf. Literally: sitting on a shelf, unconnected to anything, unused. I had bought it as a refurbished unit from an on-line retailer, to be my wife’s PC, but I had to return it so many times for hardware problems that I finally bought her a refurb from a local store. Eventually the on-line retailer managed to send me a functioning — but now superfluous — unit, so I put it in storage. Who knows, maybe I’ll need a Win 7 PC some day.

        When I learned that Windows 7 support is ending on January 14, 2020, I thought that I’d better activate and update that computer. So off the shelf, onto the desk, connect to the Internet, power up and go. Windows Update reported that my bare Win 7 Pro SP1 needed some 170 updates, which I accepted. About 17 failed, which I attributed to download errors; repeating Windows Update fixed all but 4.

        Ah, those four.

        Windows Update reported error codes 80092004 and 8050800c. The former, it seems, is due to a change in the SHA-2 signing of updates. Update 4490628 fixes this, but for some inscrutable reason Windows Update didn’t install this essential update! So I had to go to the Microsoft Update Catalog and download and install it manually. (The Microsoft support page does not describe the procedure for manual installation, but I guessed that once I had downloaded the file, opening the Windows Explorer and double-clicking on the downloaded file would install it…and I was right.)

    • Server

      • Should You Be Using Kubernetes?

        Like most people, I was only vaguely familiar with Kubernetes until my company started working with it. Since then, I’ve gained a deep appreciation for what it brings to cloud application management.

        For those unfamiliar, Kubernetes is a container-orchestration framework developed in 2014, originally as an internal project at Google. The framework automates much of the work involved in software development, including deployment, management and scaling. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation currently manages Kubernetes as an open source project, and Apache 2.0 distributes it.

        When we started our project, I understood only the basics of this framework. But as I dove deeper into the infrastructure and logic of Kubernetes, I discovered its distinct advantages when it came to integrating hardware, vendors and clouds onto a single platform.

      • Kubernetes Gets a Runtime Security Tool
      • 4 Ways Kubernetes Could Be Improved

        Kubernetes is good, but it could be improved. Here are some things that could be better.

        Like almost everyone else these days, I think Kubernetes is the best container orchestration solution. But that doesn’t mean Kubernetes isn’t without its flaws. For my money, there are a number of things that Kubernetes could do better—and needs to if it is going to remain the de facto open source container orchestrator.

        Indeed, some days I think the best thing I can say about Kubernetes is that it has fewer shortcomings than its competitors (I’m looking at you, Docker Swarm) rather than that it truly stands apart for its strengths.

        Here’s a list of areas where Kubernetes can be improved.

      • VMware Eyes Storage Options for Kubernetes
      • What Do Customers Want From The Kubernetes Ecosystem In 2020
      • Why the Air Force put Kubernetes in an F-16
      • IBM

        • IBM Research open-sources SysFlow to tackle cloud threats

          IBM Corp.’s research division today announced the release of SysFlow, an open-source security toolkit for hunting breaches in cloud and container environments.

          SysFlow is designed to tackle a common problem in network protection. Modern security monitoring tools capture system activity with a high degree of granularity, often down to individual events such file changes.

          That’s useful to a point but also creates a large amount of noise that makes spotting threats harder. IBM researchers Frederico Araujo and Teryl Taylor described looking for breaches under such circumstances as “akin to searching for a needle in an extremely large haystack.”

        • Red Hat DevSecOps Strategy Centers on Quay

          Red Hat is moving toward putting the open source Quay container registry at the center of its DevSecOps strategy for securing containers.

          The latest 3.2 version of Quay adds support for Container Security Operator, which integrates Quay’s image vulnerability scanning capabilities with Kubernetes. Dirk Herrmann, senior principal product manager for Red Hat, says that capability will make it possible to leverage the open source Clair vulnerability scanning tool developed by CoreOS. Red Hat acquired CoreOS in 2018.

          [...]

          The latest release of Quay also makes it easier to extend DevSecOps processes across multiple instances of the container registry. Version 3.2 of Quay includes a mirroring capability that makes it possible to replicate instances of Quay container registries across multiple locations. In fact, Herrmann says one of the things that differentiates Quay most from other container registries is its ability to scale.

          Other capabilities added to Quay include support for OpenShift Container Storage 4, which is enabled via NooBaa Operator for data management, based on the S3 application programming interface (API) for cloud storage developed by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

        • 2020 Red Hat Women in Open Source Award Nominations Now Open

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that it is accepting nominations for the 2020 Women in Open Source Award program. Now in its sixth year, the Women in Open Source Award program was created and is sponsored by Red Hat to honor women who make important contributions to open source projects and communities, or those making innovative use of open source methodology.

          Nominations for this year’s awards will be accepted for two categories: Academic, open to women who are enrolled full-time, earning 12 or more credit hours, in college or university; and Community, open to all other women contributing to projects related to open source.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux In 2020 Can Finally Provide Sane Monitoring Of SATA Drive Temperatures

        Here is another long overdue kernel change… For more than a decade there have been patches trying to get SATA/SCSI drive temperature monitoring working nicely within the Linux kernel but none of that work ever made it through for mainlining. That has left various user-space tools to provide the functionality, but in doing so that has required root access and not to mention the need to first install said utilities. Well, with Linux 5.6 in 2020, there is finally a proper drive temperature driver for disks and solid-state drives with temperature sensors.

        It took until the current Linux 5.5 cycle to see a kernel driver for NVMe drive temperatures to avoid having to run third-party utilities as root in user-space while now for Linux 5.6 will be the support for even older SATA/SCSI drives with the new “drivetemp” driver.

    • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • VVVVVV goes open source for its 10 year anniversary

        VVVVVV, Terry Cavanagh’s gravity-flipping platformer, is a decade old, and to mark the occasion Cavanagh has decided to make it open source. The news was revealed at AGDQ today, and you can get your hands on the source code now via GitHub.

        In case you’ve somehow avoided it for a decade, VVVVVV’s a smart, minimalist platformer with one simple but brilliant twist: instead of jumping, you need to reverse gravity. It’s tricky but never cruel—you can turn off death entirely if you want, and there are plenty of checkpoints.

        Both the desktop and mobile source codes are available, and Cavanagh has provided some notes to accompany them.

        “I think even a peek of the source code will quickly reveal that VVVVVV is not a technically sophisticated game! Even by the standards of self taught indie devs, it’s kind of a mess,” he warns. Little does he know, it’s all equally indecipherable to me.

      • UnCiv is an open source remake of Civilization V for PC and Android

        Back in 2010, when Civilization V was launched, it was considered one of the best 4X strategy games ever released. Of the whole Civilization series, it still holds the top spot as the best selling game with 8M copies sold worldwide. Despite being ten years old now, it still maintains over 20000 Steam users playing it daily.

        Based on the success among its respective community, the developer Yair Morgenstern has decided to remake the game with a new spin.

        UnCiv uses an art style similar to an early 90s retro game, with its characteristic pixelated looks. Although it’s using an old-school style for the graphics, the mechanic and gameplay side of the project will be the same as Civilization V.

      • Steam’s December Numbers Point To A Lower Linux Marketshare But With More Oddities

        I refrained from writing about Valve’s Steam Survey numbers at the start of January when they were posted for December as the numbers didn’t seem up to scratch. But half-way through the month now, the same numbers are up with no edits by Valve, as we’ve seen in some months when they refine their measurements.

        For December 2019, the Steam Survey shows the Linux gaming marketshare slipping by 0.14% down to 0.67%. That’s quite a large slip, but keep in mind this is in percentage terms and not the absolute number of gamers. This slip is quite a surprise since the Steam Linux gaming marketshare has been quite steady for the past many months thanks in large part to Steam Play in allowing many Windows games to run gracefully on Linux.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: more speed, more features, and a bug massacre

          This week should have a little something for everyone. We’ve got bug squashing galore in preparation for Plasma 5.18, substantial speed improvements for wifi connection and Discover launch time, some welcome new features, and the return of an old one–renaming files from the context menu in file dialogs.

        • KDE Devs Fix Several Wayland Bugs, Annoying KWin Issues Plus Easier To Toggle Night Color

          KDE developers fixed a number of Wayland and KWin bugs this week along with a number of other annoying bugs as well as making several other noteworthy refinements to the growing KDE ecosystem.

          KDE developer Nate Graham has continued with his weekly summaries that meticulously detail the interesting changes in the KDE space each this week.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Project Trident Reaches Beta For Its ZFS-Based Void Linux Powered OS

          Making rounds in Q4 of last year was the little known Project Trident open-source operating system switching from its TrueOS/FreeBSD base to in turn moving to Void Linux as a base for their platform. Towards the end of the year they offered some initial images of their reborn OS while now Project Trident based on Void Linux has reached beta.

          This Linux distribution in its beta form offers a ZFS-on-root based installation, guided/easy-to-use installation, support for both Glibc and Musl C libraries, and is pushing towards other innovations as it moves along in 2020.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Melissa Di Donato, CEO, SUSE: On cloud journeys, hyperscaler complexity, and daring to be different

          When Melissa Di Donato joined SAP in 2017, having counted Salesforce, IBM and Oracle among her previous employers, she told this publication it was like ‘coming home.’ Now, as chief executive of Linux enterprise software provider SUSE, it is more a step into the unknown.

          Yet it is not a complete step. Working with a proprietary software company means your experience is primarily in selling it, implementing it and aligning it to others’ business needs. With SUSE, Di Donato knows far more acutely what customers want.

          [...]

          Not unlike other organisations, SUSE’s customer base is split into various buckets. You have traditionalists, which comprise about 80% of customers, hybrid beginners, cloud adopters and cloud-native; the latter three all moving in ever decreasing circles. Regardless of where you are in your cloud journey, SUSE argues, the journey itself is the same. You have to simplify, before you modernise, and then accelerate.

          Di Donato argues that cloud and containers are ‘very, very overused words’, and that getting to grips with the technology which holds the containers is key – but all journey paths are valid. “Whether cloud means modernising, or container means modernising, VMs, open source… [customers’] version of modernising is really important, and they want to simply and modernise to then get to a point where they can accelerate,” she says. “Regardless of what persona you are, what customer type you are, everyone wants to accelerate.”

          These days, pretty much everyone is on one of the hyperscale cloud providers as well. SUSE has healthy relationships with all the major clouds – including AWS, which is a shot in the arm for its occasionally-criticised stance on open source – aiming to offer partnerships and value-adds aplenty.

      • Debian Family

        • Sparky 5.10

          A quarterly update of live/install media of Sparky 5.10 “Nibiru” of the stable line is out. This release is based on Debian 10 “Buster”.

          Changes:
          – the base system has been upgraded from Debian stable repos as of January 10, 2020
          – Linux kernel 4.19.67-2+deb10u1 LTS (PC)
          – Linux kernel 4.19.75-v7+ (ARMHF)
          – Chromium web browser changed to Firefox-ESR (ARMHF)
          – small bug fixes and small improvements

    • Devices/Embedded

      • The Suunto 7 is the first Wear OS smartwatch with the Snapdragon Wear 3100’s Sports mode

        Despite the advancements in wearable technology, smartwatches other than those running Apple’s watchOS and Samsung’s Tizen have failed to make an impact on users. Google’s Wear OS has been a major let down for several users because of the lack of fitness features or a closed platform in contrast to the open-source Android. But more importantly, Qualcomm’s inferior hardware support compared to proprietary chips used by brands like Apple, Huawei, or Samsung on their smartwatches have led to disappointment. Besides a lagging performance, Snapdragon 3100 – the latest chipset for wearables from Qualcomm until the leaked Snapdragon 3300 is formally announced – also suffers from poor battery life, which diminishes with increased physical activity. To abate that to some extent, Qualcomm announced a “Sports mode” in mid-2019 and six months later, the first smartwatch – Suunto 7 – has been launched.

      • Rhasspy Raspberry Pi offline voice assistant is free and open source

        Rhasspy (pronounced RAH-SPEE) is an open source, fully offline voice assistant toolkit for the Raspberry Pi as well as many languages that works well with Home Assistant, Hass.io, and Node-RED. Simply specify voice commands in a template language and Rhasspy will produce JSON events that can trigger actions in home automation software or Node-RED flows. Michael Hansen explains a little more about Rhasspy.

      • Pollen Robotics is selling a $17,000 robot torso for researchers and startups

        CES has never been a great show for serious robotics. It’s not a phenomenon I expect to change at any point in the near future, though things do seem to get slightly better each year. Pollen Robotics is an interesting addition to the mix that largely revolves around things like companion and smart home robotics.

        Pollen Robotics certainly stands out from that crowd, offering a robotic torso named Reachy. The two arms, chest and a head are an open-source platform designed for prototyping and research purposes. The system just went up for sale this week as either a standalone arm ($9,000) or full half-body ($17,000), but the three-year-old French startup says it already has clients.

      • Reachy open source robot

        “The head is animated by Orbita, a unique technology developed by Pollen Robotics’ R&D team. This ball joint actuator allows unpreceded dynamic and multi-directional movement. With animated antennas, Reachy can convey many emotions to his audience (happy, sad, excited…).”

        If you are interested in purchasing the open source robot a basic single-arm for Reachy is priced at $9,000 while the top-of-the-line double-arm-and-a-head version will cost around $17,000.

      • Reachy Is an Expressive, Open-Source Robot

        SeeSeems like everybody’s getting into the AI and robotics game — at least the companies and research institutions that can afford to build their platforms from the ground up are. France’s Pollen Robotics, on the other hand, aims to kickstart the robotics revolution with its open-source system, Reachy.

        ms like everybody’s getting into the AI and robotics game — at least the companies and research institutions that can afford to build their platforms from the ground up are. France’s Pollen Robotics, on the other hand, aims to kickstart the robotics revolution with its open-source system, Reachy.

      • Reachy is an expressive, open-source robot
      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • Arduino launches a new modular platform for IoT development

          Arduino, the open-source hardware platform, today announced the launch of a new low-code platform and modular hardware system for IoT development. The idea here is to give small and medium businesses the tools to develop IoT solutions without having to invest in specialized engineering resources.

          The new hardware, dubbed the Arduino Portenta H7, features everything you’d need to get started with building an IoT hardware platform, including a crypto-authentication chip and communications modules for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy and LTE, as well as Narrowband IoT. Powered by 32-bit Arm microcontrollers, either the Cortex-M7 or M4, these low-power modules are meant for designing industrial applications, as well as edge processing solutions and robotics applications. It’ll run Arm’s Mbed OS and support Arduino code, as well as Python and JavaScript applications.

        • Innovative Open-Source 3D Printable Air-Jet System Creates Alginate Hydrogels

          In 3D printing hydrogel microbeads in a ‘controllable size,’ the researchers were able to create a model to work from, studying the potential for alginate microbeads in a variety of other applications. Microbead generators use polymers and crosslinker solutions in producing microscale hydrogel, and are being studied for biomedical applications, to include drug and cell delivery.

        • Ystruder: New Syringe System Offers Feature Rich, Open-Source Multifunction Extrusion

          Numerous open-source hardware (OSHW) syringe pumps have been created in the past ten years via 3D design and FDM 3D printing.

        • Lumi Industries introduce open-source smartphone-based resin 3D printer

          Nominated as a finalist at the Purmundus Design Challenge 2019, the LumiBee uses the light from a user’s mobile phone screen to cure resin into an object. It is designed so that 95% of its parts can be additively manufactured with an FDM/FFF 3D printer. According to Marin, the LumiBee has been developed with a mechanical, PCB design.

        • Open Source Hardware Risks

          Open-source hardware is gaining attention on a variety of fronts, from chiplets and the underlying infrastructure to the ecosystems required to support open-source and hybrid open-source and proprietary designs.

          Open-source development is hardly a new topic. It has proven to be a successful strategy in the Linux world, but far less so on the hardware side. That is beginning to change, fueled by a slowdown in Moore’s Law, rising design costs, and a growing need for more specialized processing elements in heterogeneous designs. This also has raised a long list of issues, starting with basic definitions, that in the past were largely ignored because it was simpler to use off-the-shelf proprietary solutions than to work with open-source hardware.

          [...]

          Krste Asanovic, chairman of the RISC-V Foundation and chief architect at SiFive, emphasized during a panel at the RISC-V Summit last month that there are differences between an open standard like RISC-V, and open-source hardware, which is source code for some hardware blocks in RTL.

          “When we started RISC-V, we saw a need for an open standard,” Asanovic said. “At Berkeley we also developed open-source implementations of the standard. But by far the most valuable thing is the open standard. You cannot have open-source hardware without an open standard. But it’s also true in the industry that we have hundreds of open standards. The open standard is where the big value is. Open-source hardware is enabled by it, and at a much earlier stage. Open standards are widely accepted and widely used throughout the industry, whereas open-source hardware implementations of a standard are a relatively new thing. Again, the key thing about RISC-V is that it is an open standard. It’s enabling a lot of things because you need a processor to run software on any kind of hardware platform. That’s why there is an upsurge of interest in open-source hardware, because the ISA open standard enables people to build open-source hardware.”

        • RISC-V LAGARTO

          The Barcelona Supercomputing Center has composed the production of the primary open-source chip created in Spain. Worked with TSMC’s 65-nanometer transistors, their RISC-V based Lagarto chip a key advance in the inside’s methodology to turn into a benchmark in the open-source equipment innovations’ field created in Europe. Lagarto is a significant advance in the pursuit of the BSC, drove by the middle’s chief, Mateo Valero, to create European registering innovation. This venture depends on the reason that the guidance set of things to come processors must be open source to guarantee straightforwardness and limit reliance. ISAs establish the fundamental arrangement of machine language directions that a processor can comprehend and execute and is, in this manner, the gathering point among programming and equipment. The way that they are open is proposed to go around the plausibility of chips fusing secondary passages or directions that might be adverse to the security or protection of clients.

        • Accessible Source Hardware Chances

          Open-source equipment is picking up consideration on an assortment of fronts, from chiplets and the hidden framework to the environments required to help open-source and half breed open-source and exclusive structures. Open-source improvement is not another theme. It has demonstrated to be an effective procedure in the Linux world, however far less so on the equipment side. That is starting to change, powered by a log jam in Moore’s Law, rising plan costs, and a developing requirement for progressively specific preparing components in heterogeneous structures. This additionally has raised a not insignificant rundown of issues, beginning with fundamental definitions, that in the past were to a great extent disregarded because it was easier to use off-the-rack exclusive arrangements than to work with open-source equipment.

          “Open-source equipment is open-source silicon, yet open-source equipment additionally could mean open schematic or PCB plans of the sort we see in OCP (Open Core Protocol),” said Dominic Rizzo, OpenTitan Lead for Google Cloud. “There are likewise open-source equipment details, however, those are to a lesser extent an ocean change than the ascent of open-source equipment structure guarantee. In one sense, the RISC-V ISA is novel in that it’s a transparently created ISA particular, where the most well known ISAs are ordinarily shut. There are a bunch of other open ISAs, for example, OpenPOWER or MIPS, however, the executions of these will, in general, be secret elements.” Rizzo noticed that what is strange with RISC-V is how the open-source network has united behind it. “We are seeing an expanding number of tenable open-source, white-box silicon plans like Ariane, Ibex and the OpenTitan SoC based over the RISC-V open ISA.”

        • BSC Coordinates Development of RISC-V ‘Lagarto’ Processor
      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The IT Pro Podcast: Does open source have a place in public sector IT?

        While there are some unique problems facing public sector IT, many of them are universal. From mitigating the tech skills gap and dealing with legacy kit and contracts, to allocating budget effectively and choosing a cloud strategy, the sheer vastness of government means there are many lessons to learn – including whether moving to open source can be the answer to many of the headaches facing IT leaders today.

        In the latest episode of the IT Pro Podcast, Jane and Adam are joined by Adrian Keward, chief technologist, public sector at Red Hat to discuss the challenges facing public sector today, and some of the solutions that are being found.

      • Boost Note: Open-Source Note Taking App’s New Version Is Out Now

        Programmers are known for taking lots of notes, which come from all sorts of ideas. To ensure that they are able to save the notes in an organized and structured manner, a solution specifically designed for the developers is available with Boost Note, an intuitive and stylish markdown editor for the developers. Developed by a company called ‘BoostIO’, Boost Note is available as a fully open-source desktop app for Mac, Windows and Linux.

      • 10 Best Open Source Accounting software in 2020

        Open Source Accounting software that available online are only a handful with good capabilities, however, enough to start and perform day to day accounting stuff. You can use them to manage invoices, billing, transaction records, a note of incoming and outgoing funds to manage your personal or enterprise finances. Well, also take one thing into cognizance that few opensource accounting solutions are only available of Linux users.

        Thus, if you are planning to download and start using one then no need to surf dozens of online pages, here is the list of best open source accounting software to manage your financials.

      • How the open-source movement in India has progressed | The Hindu Parley podcast

        Open Source has been part and parcel of software programming in India for a while now. Free sharing has been an ideal for long. But have Big Tech proprietary firms co-opted the open-source platforms along the way?

      • What is the state of ‘open source’ in India today?

        Venkatesh Hariharan: When we started the campaign for more OS in 2000, we had political, cultural and economic reasons to believe it was important. Politically, we wanted to ensure more diversity in the kind of players that existed in the market with twin objectives: that we were independent from a technology standpoint and that software was localised to Indian languages. From a cost perspective, if we were dependent on multinational companies for core technology like operating systems, that would have been a drain on the exchequer. So that was the logic. Today, some of the largest e-governance projects and start-ups in India are running on OS. The early days when we had to campaign for people to use OS is over; now we are in a new era where OS is the new normal.

        [...]

        VH: We’re living in an era where data is abundant and I look at the commonality between code and data. The ideals of the OS movement were about collaboration and the shared ownership of knowledge. And within that context, the proliferation of data and the fact that it’s only a few players who are able to monetise that data means that we now need to move to an era where it’s not just a few platforms that benefit from our data, but that individuals are able to leverage and are empowered with their own data. So, in a sense, I see a commonality with the OS movement in that even a college student sitting in Sweden or any other part of the world should be able to write an operating system that can be used in any part of the world. Now, we should be able to build systems where individuals can take control of their data and be in control of how other people monetise it and leverage it for loans, etc.

      • commercetools: how GraphQL works for front-end developers

        GraphQL is a layer that sits on top of REST APIs, any application or data store — and it makes the process of data retrieval and extraction across multiple APIs easy.

        Say you’re a developer for a retailer tasked with rendering a page for a product. You’ve already built a catalogue of 300 REST APIs and now need your product detail page to access data including product description, price and similar item information.

      • Open source community lagging in diversity

        Tech companies that build diverse and inclusive workforces are more successful than companies that don’t, according to a recently released report from the United Nations Technology Innovation Labs (UNTIL) in Finland.

        The report, “Inclusion and Diversity: Tech It or Leave IT”, found that companies which invest in and recruit women and minority staff at every level of their organisation function better, produce products that are appealing to more people and earn higher revenues.

      • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: ALBERT

        Google is open-sourcing a “lite” version of their BERT natural language processing (NLP) pre-training technique. ALBERT is an updated version of BERT that improves 12 NLP tasks, including the Stanford Question Answering Dataset (SQuAD v2.0) and the SAT reading comprehension RACE benchmark.

        BERT was first open sourced by Google at the end of 2018, and since then, natural language research has reached a new paradigm of leveraging large volumes of existing text to pretrain model parameters, the company explained.

      • Google Open-Sources ALBERT Natural Language Model

        Google AI has open-sourced A Lite Bert (ALBERT), a deep-learning natural language processing (NLP) model, which uses 89% fewer parameters than the state-of-the-art BERT model, with little loss of accuracy. The model can also be scaled-up to achieve new state-of-the-art performance on NLP benchmarks.

      • [Older] Is the open-source technology Zeek, one of the most trusted but underappreciated tools in security?

        Think back to the mid-1990s. If you’re old enough, you remember the emergence of Mosaic, the first web browser, which was released in 1993 and precipitated the explosion that came to be known as the “dot com” boom. Internet traffic grew exponentially as it was transformed from a DARPA-funded defence and academic network used by few businesses into the platform that drove e-commerce, global communication and the disruption of many industries.

      • Networking

        • T-Mobile Poland Deploys Mobile Core Based on ONF Plat

          The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) today announced that T-Mobile (Poland) has achieved production roll-out of the ONF’s Open Mobile Evolved Core (OMEC) open source platform. It is the industry’s first deployment of a production-grade open source Evolved Packet Core (EPC).

        • T-Mobile Poland First to Deploy ONF Open Source EPC News
        • T-Mobile Poland Rolls Out ONF’s Open Source Mobile EPC Platform

          The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) announced that T-Mobile (Poland) has achieved production roll-out of the ONF’s Open Mobile Evolved Core (OMEC) open source platform. It is the industry’s first deployment of a production-grade open source Evolved Packet Core (EPC).
          The ONF launched OMEC in 2019, making available the first production grade, disaggregated, control-user plane separated (CUPS), 3GPP-compliant open source mobile core solution that can run on containers, virtual machines or bare metal. It provides a cornerstone for the ONF‘s COMAC (Converged Multi-Access and Core) project, developed to bring convergence to operators’ mobile and broadband access and core networks. It is based on and paired with COMAC Reference Design, which is now available for ONF Member review and feedback.

        • T-Mobile Poland achieves production roll-out of open-source EPC

          Mobile operator T-Mobile Poland has achieved production roll-out of the Open Networking Foundation’s Open Mobile Evolved Core (OMEC) open source platform. It is the industry’s first deployment of a production-grade open source Evolved Packet Core (EPC).

        • T-Mobile Poland boots up fixed mobile service using ONF’s open source evolved packet core

          The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) announced its Open Mobile Evolved Core (OMEC) platform early last year, making available the first production grade, disaggregated, control-user plane separated (CUPS), 3GPP-compliant open source mobile core solution that can run on containers, virtual machines (VMs) or bare metal. OMEC is one element of the Open Networking Foundation’s Converged Multi-Access and Core (COMAC) reference design that was also announced last year.

        • FlexiWAN makes its move to put SD-WAN in open source

          FlexiWAN CEO and co-founder Amir Zmora has lived up to his promise to put an SD-WAN solution into open source by moving his company’s code into GitLab.

          Last spring, Zmora announced that flexiWAN would put its SD-WAN software into open source as a means to break up vendor lock-in from the current roster of SD-WAN vendors. Putting its software into open source provides transparency for flexiWAN, and gives service providers and system integrators (SI) a choice on what they want to use when it comes to specific features and hardware vendors.

        • FlexiWAN launches open-source SD-WAN software with partners

          FlexiWAN announced that its open-source SD-WAN software is now generally available for download and production deployments. FlexiWAN is available as a software-only offering or as an appliance on dedicated hardware purchased directly from hardware partners including Advantech, Lanner and Silicom.

        • flexiWAN Claims First with Open Source SD-WAN Now Generally Available for Production
        • flexiWAN Ships Modular Open Source SD-WAN

          The flexiWAN modular, open architecture and open source SD-WAN software is now generally available for download and production deployments. In partnership with leading hardware vendors, flexiWAN is available as a software-only offering or as an appliance on dedicated hardware purchased directly from hardware partners including Advantech, Lanner and Silicom.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • The Talospace Project: Firefox 72 on POWER

            Firefox 72 builds out of the box and uneventfully on OpenPOWER. The marquee feature this time around is picture-in-picture, which is now supported in Linux and works just fine for playing Trooper Clerks (“salsa shark! we’re gonna need a bigger boat!”). The blocking of fingerprinting scripts should also be very helpful since it will reduce the amount of useless snitchy JavaScript that gets executed. The irony of that statement on a Blogger site is not lost on me, by the way.

            The bug that mashed Firefox 71 (ultimately fallout from bug 1601707 and its many dupes) did not get fixed in time for Firefox 72 and turned out to be a compiler issue. The lifetime change that the code in question relies upon is in Clang 7 and up, but unless you are using a pre-release build this fix is not (yet) in any official release of gcc 9 or 10. As Clang is currently unable to completely build the browser on ppc64le, if your extensions are affected (mine aren’t) you may want to add this patch which was also landed on the beta release channel for Firefox 73.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • US Census Embraces the Digital Age With Enterprise Data Lake

          The Census Bureau chose Cloudera as the data platform for the 2020 census to help mine, process and extract insights that can be used to inform important decisions at all levels of government. The platform leverages the entire technology stack and professional service offerings. Cloudera DataFlow (CDF®) is used to ingest data and provide real-time analytics. Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP®) serves as the data lake and repository for the massive amount of data collected. Hadoop Distributed File System, Apache Ranger, Apache Atlas and encryption of data at rest and data in motion are used to enable data sharing, as well as security and data governance policies.

        • Database migration – getting the move right

          For many companies, the ability to use data in real time is now an essential part of how they are competitive. The sheer volume of data available to companies can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how well they are able to handle that data as it is created. At the same time, the adoption of 5G should lead to more data being created.

          To cope with the deluge of data that these applications both create and demand, companies are turning to new databases, and the majority of these are based on open source. According to Gartner, more than 70 per cent of applications developed will run on open source databases by 2022, while 50 per cent of existing applications will switch from traditional proprietary databases to open source equivalents.

        • Updated Open Source Database Offers Cluster Restriction, Performance Improvements

          Database maker ArangoDB has released the latest version of its namesake open source database with a feature that allows users to restrict individual databases to one node in a cluster.

          The feature, called OneShard, is being introduced in the Enterprise Edition of ArangoDB 3.6, which is available now.

          ArangoDB is a native multi-model database with flexible data models for documents, graphs, and key-values. A database created with OneShard enabled is bound to a single database server node, the company explained in a statement, but still replicated synchronously to additional nodes. This binding ensures the high-availability and fault tolerance of a cluster setup, but with performance similar to a single instance. It also makes it possible to run transactions with ACID (atomicity, consistency, isolation, durability) guarantees.

        • What makes Apache Spark a paramount open-source performer?

          Apache Spark is an extremely modern big data processing solution that developed to help the data scientists study big data. It is a lightning-fast data computing tool. The solution has benefitted the big data industry in multiple ways as it has successfully extended the already existing Hadoop MapReduce model. As a result, now, the solution allows more types of computation. And, one of the most useful types is stream processing. Spark has an inbuilt in-memory cluster computing. The main purpose of the tool is to amplify the speed of processing of the app. Apache Spark is becoming more and more popular day by day because of a host of interesting features like real-time processing of the data, fault-tolerance, etc. In this article, we will talk about a few of the top reasons that have made Spark a top choice of the data scientists and the businesses across the globe.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6.4 RC2 is available

          LibreOffice 6.4 RC2 is available for downloading now. There are builds for all main OS for 64 bit. There is a 32 bit build for Windows also. These builds are only for testing.

      • Funding

        • Curl Boosted By Donation

          Curl, an open source project that is widely used to transfer data, has been given a donation of $10K by indeed.com, the self-proclaimed #1 job site. The donation was made through Open Collective and is the largest single donation the project has ever received.

          [...]

          Open Collective brings transparency to giving and receiving funds for Open Source and enable us to see that this is the fourth donation of 10K USD made by indeed.com – the others being to webpack, pytest and ESLint.

          Stenberg’s blog post acknowledges curl’s other sponsors. They fall into two categories – financial backers and those who provide time and effort – notable here is wolfSSL which employs Daniel and allows him to spend paid work hours on curl.

          [...]

          So the good news is that curl has not only gained valuable funding but may also in future benefit from membership of the Linux Foundation.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • It’s 2020 And GCC Has Finally Converted From SVN To Git

            I reported a few days ago GCC was hoping to transition to Git this weekend from their large SVN repository. Going into this weekend I wasn’t going to be the least bit surprised if this transition got delayed again given all of the months of delays already, but actually, they went ahead and migrated to Git!

            On Saturday, the transition of GCC’s repository to Git was completed using Eric S Raymond’s Reposurgeon utility.

          • Marvell Is Plumbing Octeon TX2 Support Into The GCC Compiler

            Marvell has been preparing the Octeon TX2 processor support for the GCC compiler, their next-generation version of the (originally Cavium) infrastructure/network processors now based on their ThunderX2 line.

            On Saturday a Marvell engineer sent out the initial Octeon TX2 support for the GCC compiler. This Octeon TX2 enablement is based upon the Arm Cortex-A57 models while the company plans to submit their changes in the days ahead. Submitting the “octeontx2″ support now at least gets the naming/CPU detection in place with the generic models while moving forward they can submit their changes that optimize the compiler for their processor design’s scheduling and cost models.

        • Licensing / Legal

          • OSI co-founder leaves initiative over new license

            “Legally, our license can only protect the code that WE wrote. Our software is being licensed by a DEVELOPER to run their app (the currency, chat, or social network they just built) on top of Holochain. We are trying to say: The only valid way to use our code is if that developer’s END-USERS are the sole authors and controllers of their own private crypto keys,” Brock wrote.

            Perens has expressed concerns on how the license will actually be used and how it will impact users and software freedoms in practice. Now that it looks like the OSI might approve the practice, he is looking to make an exit.

            In an email thread about the Cryptographic Autonomy License, he wrote:

            “Well, it seems to me that the organization is rather enthusiastically headed toward accepting a license that isn’t freedom respecting. Fine, do it without me, please. I asked Patrick to cancel my membership, and I would have unsubscribed from OSI lists, including this one, if your server was working. I own an interest in 10 Open Source companies and manage a 50 Million dollar portfolio investing in them. That will keep me involved enough.”

            In an interview with The Register, Perens expressed more concerns with how the license is used and written. He believes the license requires users to have access to a lawyer in order to understand it, which is not the way he believes licenses should be developed for open source.

            “Most people who develop open source don’t have access to lawyers,” he told the Register. “One of the goals for open source was you could use it without having to hire a lawyer. You could put [open source software] on your computer and run it and if you don’t redistribute or modify it, you don’t really have to read the license.”

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Data

        • Open Access/Content

          • Why new strategies for developing the future’s knowledge infrastructures are needed (opinion)

            The movement to online and digital media has allowed the deconstruction of the previous academic publication process into its component parts: peer review, copyediting and design. The open-access movement, which aims to make scholarly literature freely available online, began as a response to that potential. Initially focused on self-archiving, or Green OA, researchers began making their results easily and freely accessible by uploading prepublication manuscripts to university-based institutional repositories and services. The repository movement began gaining steam in earnest when Harvard University established America’s first self-archiving policy in 2008. Other research universities around the world quickly followed.

          • Open source program to save U of R students $1.5M

            As university students head back to class, they’ll be shelling out big bucks for textbooks — sometimes costing hundreds of dollars each — but a program funded by the provincial government is aiming to get that number lower.

            For the past five years, the Government of Saskatchewan has given grants to the universities of Regina and Saskatchewan as well as Sask Polytechnic to develop open education resources.

            Those are textbooks and support materials like workbooks and labs that are created by professors and researchers at the schools for use in classes by their students, for free.

            Each school has received about $83,000 a year since 2015.

      • Programming/Development

        • Public, Private, Protected Access Modifiers and No Modifiers in Java

          After discussing Interfaces in our last article, today we will discuss the access modifiers in detail. This article is going to be very long because I will be explaining everything in depth. When I was studying, I found it very challenging to get one article that could explain all the access modifiers and all the scenarios in a single article. I had to go through the books plus a lot of internet articles on public, private and protected modifiers independently. The people who write the articles maybe they have less time or they care about the number of articles in their blog. Whatever the reason is, I felt the need to write an article that explains all the access modifiers in depth.

        • MIT Develops Machine-Learning Tool to Make Code Run Faster

          Tool predicts how fast code will run on a chip: Machine-learning system should enable developers to improve computing efficiency in a range of applications.

          MIT researchers have invented a machine-learning tool that predicts how fast computer chips will execute code from various applications.

          To get code to run as fast as possible, developers and compilers — programs that translate programming language into machine-readable code — typically use performance models that run the code through a simulation of given chip architectures.

        • Making open source JavaScript pay

          Looking at the 2019 State of JavaScript report, something stands out: Money apparently can’t buy everything. Or, at least, not every major front-end and back-end programming framework is sponsored by a big company. Sure, we have Google to thank for Angular, and Facebook gets credit for React, but what about Vue.js? Or Gatsby? Or Next.js?

          While these (and other) open source projects do seem to suggest a future without Big Corps shoveling Big Money into open source, the reality is a bit more nuanced. For the developers looking to pay their way through open source, however, reality isn’t nuanced at all. For every Vue.js founder Evan You making $16,000 per month with Patreon contributions, there are thousands of developers struggling to scrape together $16 for the important open source work they’re doing.

        • Programming language of 2019? Python beaten by trusty old C

          That’s according to Tiobe’s January 2020 language popularity index. Tiobe, which bases its rankings on queries on major search engines, awarded C the programming language of 2019 title because it saw an increase of 2.4% in queries over the past year, which was greater than C#’s 2.1% and Python’s 1.4%.

          While machine learning and data science have propelled Python to new heights in 2019, Tiobe attributes C’s continued popularity to the Internet of Things and the ton of smart devices being released these days.

        • Python

          • What I learned going from prison to Python

            Less than a year ago, I was in San Quentin State Prison serving a life sentence.

            In my junior year in high school, I shot a man while robbing him. Now, it took a while for me to see or even admit that what I did was wrong, but after going through a jury trial and seeing the devastating consequences of my actions, I knew that I needed to make a change, and I did. And although it was a great thing that I had changed, I had still shot a man and nearly killed him. And there are consequences to doing something like that, and rightfully so. So at the age of 18, I was sentenced to life in prison.

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Boeing Emails Reveal Employees Talking Shit About The 737 Max Before Deadly Crashes [Ed: Proprietary software]

          New emails and direct messages released by Boeing to congressional investigators reveal some shocking messages from Boeing employees about both their own planes and the regulators overseeing the safety on their aircraft. In one of the most startling messages from April of 2017, a Boeing employee wrote, “this airplane is designed by clowns, who in turn are supervised by monkeys.”

          The new documents, which were first obtained by the Washington Post and New York Times late last night, were delivered to Congress, which is exploring what led to the two crashes of Boeing 737 Max planes—Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed in Ethiopia on March 10, 2019, killing all 157 people on board, and Lion Air Flight 610 crashed near Indonesia on October 29, 2018, killing all 189 people on board.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Facebook Open-Sources PySlowFast Codebase for Video Understanding

              PySlowFast will enable researchers to easily reproduce video classification and action detection algorithms, whether they are basic or cutting-edge. FAIR has also open-sourced a number of pretrained models to save researchers the trouble of repeatedly training sessions.

            • Deep Dive: How Open Source ID Solutions Can Accelerate Digital ID Implementation

              Digital identity solutions are becoming increasingly necessary as the world’s population grows. An estimated 1.1 billion people worldwide lack basic ID credentials, according to the World Bank, and that number rises even higher when it includes individuals with poor-quality IDs that cannot be easily verified. Those without access to verifiable credentials are often restricted from obtaining vital services like education and healthcare.

            • Clever LVL Panel Connection Method Wins Open Source Wood Challenge
            • A-COLD-WALL* Launches “Open-Source” Hardware Package

              The idea behind this release is similar to the concept of the exhibition, with open-source design a new focus for Samuel Ross and his label. A-COLD-WALL*’s statement continues, “Open-source as a philosophy brings forth conscious brand values that have the capacity to directly enhance interaction between individual and brand.”

              [...]

              The capsule features a range of buckles, branded badges, zip pullers, elastic drawcords and silicone cord stoppers, with silicone, nylon and metal used on different pieces. The full hardware package is available now from the A-COLD-WALL* web store, with prices ranging from £20 GBP ($26 USD) for some zip pullers to £30 GBP ($40 USD) for laser-engraved matt buckles.

            • Lyft Open Sources It’s Cloud-Native Machine Learning Model ‘Flyte’
            • Lyft open sources data orchestration platform Flyte

              Uber recently open-sourced its Manifold deep learning debugging tool and has a history of pushing its technology out into the public domain from platforms for training conversational AI and machine learning to autonomous vehicle visualization systems.

            • Meet Manifold: Uber’s machine learning model debugging tool goes open source

              Manifold, Uber’s model-agnostic visual debugging tool for machine learning, is now open source and available as a demo version and a GitHub repository. Manifold is built with TensorFlow.js, React, and Redux and is part of the Michelangelo machine learning platform. The open source version includes a few new features that will make for an easier user experience.

            • What Can Happen When Your Company’s Employees Embrace the Open Source Way?

              A recent Forbes article indicates that corporate engagement with open source communities has grown to become a strategic imperative over the past couple of decades. An increasing number of companies are paying their employees to contribute to such communities. This is one manifestation of a broader growing trend toward closer collaboration between companies and open source communities. Well-recognised companies such as Google, Uber, Facebook, and Twitter have open sourced their projects and encouraged their employees to contribute to open source communities. Among software developers who contribute to such communities, estimates suggest that up to 40% of them are paid by their company to do so. Some companies see this as an opportunity to enhance their employees’ skills while others aim to influence open source product development to support their own complementary products and services. Regardless of the motives, managers should consider the impact of such arrangements on the employees involved.

            • Tier IV and DeepMap Establish Technology Alliance

              Tier IV, a deep-tech startup based in Japan, is leading the development of the world’s first open-source software for autonomous driving, known as Autoware.

              Autoware is an all-in-one self-driving car solution that integrates open source and BSD licenses. The solution supports tasks such as 3D localization and mapping, 3D road planning, subject and traffic signal detection, lane recognition, sensor calibration, and software simulation.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Falco is the First Runtime Security Project to Join the CNCF Incubator

                Sysdig, Inc., the secure DevOps leader, today announced that Falco, the open source cloud-native runtime security project originally created by Sysdig, has been accepted as a Cloud Native Computing Foundation® (CNCF®) incubation-level hosted project. Falco entered the CNCF as a Sandbox Project in October 2018, the first and still the only runtime security technology to join. In the event of unexpected behavior at runtime, Falco detects and alerts, reducing the risk of a security incident.

              • CNCF upgrades Falco runtime security tool to incubator status

                Container security startup Sysdig Inc. said today its open-source, cloud-native runtime security tool Falco has been accepted as an incubation-level project by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

                The CNCF is an organization that’s responsible for overseeing the development of numerous popular open-source, cloud-native software projects. The most famous open source project it houses is Kubernetes, which is used to manage and orchestrate software containers that host modern applications.

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • The Continuous Delivery Foundation advances CI/CD

              More organizations have matured from CI to CI/CD, but their paths differ as do their pipelines and results. Most enterprises are implementing a mix of open source, commercial and even home-grown tools, and they’re looking for answers.

              One place to look is the Continuous Delivery Foundation (CDF) which is home to many of the fastest-growing CI/CD open-source projects. The CDF fosters vendor-neutral collaboration among developers, end users and vendors to further best practices and industry specifications. DeployHub CEO and co-founder Tracy Ragan, who serves as the CDF general membership board representative, provides additional insight in this Q&A.

            • Continuous Delivery Foundation looks to build in Microsoft, further projects

              The Continuous Delivery Foundation is looking to draw in more members and projects as it heads towards its first birthday, with Microsoft top of the organisation’s hit list.

              The CDF formed back in March 2019, aiming to evangelize CI/CD as methodologies, and define/document best practices in and out of the cloud. Founder members included CloudBees and Google – it is home to the original Jenkins project, and Jenkins X, the Kubernetes-focused CI/CD platform, as well as the Google spawned Tekton.

        • Security

          • KeePassXC 2.5.2

            KeePassXC is a community fork of KeePassX, a native cross-platform port of KeePass Password Safe, with the goal to extend and improve it with new features and bugfixes to provide a feature-rich, fully cross-platform and modern open-source password manager.

            KeePassXC currently uses the KeePass 2.x (.kdbx) password database format as its native file format in versions 3.1 and 4. Database files in version 2 can be opened, but will be upgraded to a newer format. KeePass 1.x (.kdb) databases can be imported into a .kdbx file, but this process is one-way.

          • Can We Build Trustable Hardware? Andrew Huang at 36C3

            Andrew “bunnie” Huang recently presented at the 36th Chaos Communication Congress (36C3) on ‘Open Source is Insufficient to Solve Trust Problems in Hardware’ with an accompanying blog post ‘Can We Build Trustable Hardware?’ His central point is that Time-of-Check to Time-of-Use (TOCTOU) is very different for hardware versus software, and so open source is less helpful in mitigating the array of potential attacks in the threat model. Huang closes by presenting Betrusted, a secure hardware platform for private key storage that he’s been working on, and examining the user verification mechanisms that have been used in its design.

            [...]

            The Betrusted project provides an illustration of the three principles in action. It’s simple, providing a limited range of functions for secure text and voice chat, second-factor authentication and storage of digital currency. The entire system is verifiable, including keyboard and screen (rather than just the hardware secure enclave). Users can check the components for themselves without needing specialist equipment. Betrusted also illustrates that there are limitations with presently available hardware that lead to a number of compromises.

          • Connected cars: How to improve connection to cybersecurity
          • Three Ways To Bridge The Cybersecurity Talent Gap

            One study estimated that 3.5 million open cybersecurity jobs will exist globally by 2021 — a significant increase from the one million open positions in 2014. And, considering data breaches can cost companies $1.25 million to over $8 million on average, this shortage has serious implications for any company struggling through it.

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

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Amazon Employees Leak Customer Data to Third-Party Agent (Again)

              Online retail giant Amazon fired several employees this week after they leaked private customer data to an undisclosed third-party. If reading that gives you some serious déjà vu, it’s probably because the same damn thing happened less than six months ago.

              An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the news with multiple outlets after several customers received notifications from the company warning that their e-mail addresses and phone numbers had been leaked “to a third-party in violation of our policies,” per a screenshot shared by TechCrunch. The email goes on to say that the Amazon employee—singular—responsible has since been identified and fired. However, a later company statement appears to imply there were multiple Amazon defectors behind the leak: [...]

            • Confidentiality

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Iranian Americans Have Rights, Too—No Matter What’s Happening Abroad

        Military action abroad does not justify discrimination at home.

      • All the Times the US Allied With Soleimani Against Common Enemies, Giving Him Air Support at Tikrit

        Soleimani played a key role in helping defeat ISIL in Iraq, where he was a de facto and even tactical U.S. ally.

      • For Western Press, the Only Coup in Venezuela Is Against Guaidó

        For the corporate press, it would appear that the only “coup” is that perpetrated by Maduro in insisting on serving out his elected mandate.

      • Iran Says Military Shot Down Ukraine Airliner in ‘Disastrous Mistake’ Amid Heightened Tensions With US

        The admission, which confirmed conclusions from intelligence agencies, came as people worldwide continued to call for de-escalating the crisis.

      • Under Pressure, Iran Admits It Shot Down Jetliner by Mistake

        Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on Saturday acknowledged that it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian jetliner that crashed earlier this week, killing all 176 people aboard, after the government had repeatedly denied Western accusations and mounting evidence that it was responsible.

      • How the US Runs Iraq

        The murder of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani shone a strobe light on ‘independent’ Iraq, and what we saw was not pretty.

      • Congo ethnic killings may amount to crimes against humanity, UN says

        Killings, rapes and other barbaric violence committed by an ethnic armed group in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo against a rival group may amount to crimes against humanity and possibly even genocide, the United Nations said on Friday.

      • [Old] Background to the Hema-Lendu Conflict in Uganda-Controlled Congo

        During this period leaders of the RCD-ML, locked in a struggle for power, have been in Kampala at the request of Ugandan authorities, trying to settle their differences. The Congolese politicians failed to come to an agreement until last week when the RCD-ML factions supposedly reconciled and agreed also to combine with the Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) into a new front against the Congolese government. Jean-Pierre Bemba of the MLC was supposedly to head the new group, the Congo Liberation Front (FLC). But Professor Wamba dia Wamba, head of the RCD-ML, balked at this agreement which he said was “imposed” by Uganda. In Bunia, Wamba and his group are seen as more allied to Lendu and other groups opposed to the Hema. The other RCD-ML faction reportedly celebrated the merger, seeing it as confirming the status of their leaders, one of whom is a prominent Hema. In a January 19 statement, Bemba blamed “undisciplined” rebels supporting the Lendu for the violence. He asserted that his troops, presumably meaning the RCD-ML forces supposedly now under his authority, would soon restore order.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • 5 ‘Ugh’ Trump Stories The News Totally Forgot About

        We’re so inundated with Trump news that we shrug off stories and scandals that would’ve tanked literally any other president. It seems that every day, there’s a new horror demanding our attention, whether it’s children locked in cages or Trump asking a foreign government to blackmail his rivals. This is why we’ve decided to bring you some equally awful stories related to the man and his administration that may have escaped your notice. Like how …

    • Environment

      • Salty water in Bangkok is new ‘reality’ as sea pushes farther inland

        Making matters worse, Thailand’s dry season began in November and usually lasts through April, but this year, the authorities said it could last until June and drought has been declared in 14 provinces.

        The drought conditions have worsened saltwater intrusion, which can have major impacts on farming and on health as drinking water is contaminated, said Mr Suppakorn Chinvanno, a climate expert at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.

        “It is becoming a more serious issue, with the intrusion coming farther inland this year and earlier in the season,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

        “It will have a serious impact on agriculture in the region, as rice is a very water-intensive crop,” he said.

      • At Least 7 Dead as Severe Storm Plows Through Southern U.S.

        Authorities say at least seven people have died as severe storms sweep across parts of the U.S. South, bringing high winds and unrelenting rain.

      • We’ve Never Seen Conditions As Bad As This

        The first question is how we resource firefighting. In New South Wales (NSW), the state where I work, there are two fire services on the ground. The first is Fire Rescue NSW (FRNSW), which has a paid workforce, responsible for the majority of NSW’s population, including the big cities, regional centers and larger towns. The second is the Rural Fire Service (RFS), which has a largely volunteer workforce and bears primary responsibility for bushfires. In addition to this, units specialising in bush management and firefighting are attached to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

        FRNSW recently had its budget cut in the order of $20 million, limiting expansion where it was most needed. The NPWS and RFS have also endured cuts over the past few years, leading to hundreds of lost jobs and a diminished ability to invest in firefighting equipment and logistics.

      • Mayor Fiddles On Climate Change As Kangaroo Island Burns. Residents Get Busy Raising Funds To Save Wildlife.

        Wise men say only fools rush in… so sung the good residents of Kangaroo Island this afternoon at an impromptu community concert to raise funds for the KI Wildlife Network, a local charity that needs your help now more than ever.

      • Climate Activists Can’t Afford to Ignore Labor. A Shuttered Refinery in Philly Shows Why

        The people most affected by climate change will be in the working class.

      • Australia is burning. The Arctic is melting. Yet Trump keeps gutting climate change regulations.

        “He is locking in permanent, irreversible damage to our environment through his irresponsible environmental policies, including his efforts to block progress on climate change,” said Dr. Michael E. Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University and the director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center, said of Trump policies. “Once we go beyond key tipping points — the melting of the major ice sheets — there is no going back.”

      • Energy

        • [Old] Wind energy in Zambia, 200 MW wind power project launched in Katete

          Zambian renewable energy developer Mphepo Power Ltd has erected a 120m Metrological Mast for its 200 MW wind project in the Eastern Province.

          This is the first major milestone in the development of the UNIKA 1 wind project, which will have an investment value of over USD 350 million and will be one of the largest private sector investments ever in Eastern Province.

        • [Old] Power Cuts Are Plaguing Southern Africa. The Region Needs Renewable Energy.

          Zimbabwe is enduring an unprecedented electricity crisis which has prompted up to 18 hours a day of so-called load shedding, because the grid can’t generate enough energy to meet national demand or pay for adequate power imports, owing to foreign-currency shortages.

          The country has an installed generation capacity of just over 2,000 megawatts (MW), but at the time of publication Kariba South Power Station, which generates more than 50 percent of the country’s electricity, was producing a mere 238 MW, while Hwange Thermal Station, the second-biggest power generator, was producing 374 MW, leaving the country with a massive power deficit that can only be mitigated by expensive imports from Mozambique and South Africa.

    • Finance

      • School Closures Can Hit Rural Communities Hard

        The school bus begins picking up children before 6 a.m. in Elaine, Arkansas, a small, mostly African American town on the Mississippi River floodplains about 120 miles east of Little Rock. It crawls past long stretches of oxbow lakes, acres of soybean and cotton fields, and two closed schools to arrive – nearly two hours later – in another small Arkansas town called Marvell. At 3:30, the bus begins its winding return trip.

      • Trump Administration Proposes Death-Dealing Rule Change for Disability Benefits

        Janine Jackson: Corporate media’s image of Social Security is, at times quite literally, a gray-haired couple stacking pennies and smiling. Silly in multiple ways, that image, along with much of the accompanying reporting, renders invisible the millions of Social Security recipients who have a disability, not all of whom are seniors.

      • France Enters Second Month of National Strike

        Caught in a faceoff with Macron and the French government, France’s railway and other public sector workers remain on strike for the fifth week in a row. The national strike, which began December 5 of last year, is the longest transportation strike in France’s history and the longest general strike since May 1968, when the entire economy was ground to a halt by students and workers in an all out revolt against the government. As the strike continues, union leaders are attempting to negotiate with the government, but France’s workers are determined to continue the strike until Macron scraps his plans to restructure the pension system.

      • Prof. Scott Sumner: Tax reform is now boosting measured GDP

        It’s an accounting gimmick to avoid taxes, which has no implications for variables such as national income, productivity, exports, etc. But these tax shifting activities do impact measured levels of national income, productivity, exports, etc.

        [...]

        So far, the effects of the recent tax reform on measured US GDP are relatively small. But if the Google decision is copied by lots of other companies, it has the potential to raise reported GDP, productivity, and exports in the US, without affecting actual GDP, productivity and exports.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Warren Stands to Gain From Castro Donors After Endorsement

        Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) stands to gain from former U.S. housing secretary Julián Castro’s endorsement as Castro had most donors in common with Warren compared to other Democratic candidates.

      • Bernie Sanders Leads in “Gold-Standard” Iowa Poll for First Time

        With just three weeks until Iowa will hold the first nominating contest in the Democratic Party’s presidential primary race, Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading the field, according to results released Friday evening.

      • Episode 62 – Deep State?: The Historic Findings of the Inspector General’s 2016 Report on FBI Investigation in Trump’s Campaign – 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 discuss the Inspector General’s Report on the FBI Investigation into the Trump Campaign, 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.

      • Can Ranked-Choice Voting Save American Democracy?

        Drutman believes that some form of proportional representation with ranked-choice voting could lead to an increase in the number of viable parties, which would in turn reduce partisanship, and eventually gridlock and extremism. Ranked-choice voting, of course, means that voters’ second and third choices matter, too, giving candidates incentives to not alienate their opponents’ supporters. (Hendrik Hertzberg has written extensively for The New Yorker on ranked-choice voting and other potential electoral reforms.)

        I recently spoke by phone with Drutman, who is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation. During our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, we discussed whether one party is to blame for the current crisis, why ideologically incoherent voting can benefit democracy, and the place of right-wing conservatism in a multiparty system.

      • Trump says he may invoke executive privilege if John Bolton is subpoenaed by Senate

        House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that the House will send articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate next week, paving the way for a trial in the Senate to begin.

      • Instagram says it’s removing posts supporting Soleimani to comply with US sanctions

        Instagram and its parent company Facebook are removing posts that voice support for slain Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani to comply with US sanctions, a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to CNN Business Friday.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Indian court: Kashmir indefinite internet shutdown illegal

        The blackout in Kashmir has been in place for more than 150 days and is the longest in any democracy, according to digital rights group Access Now.

        A report by website Top10VPN revealed that India’s recorded internet shutdowns lasted more than 4,000 hours in 2019, costing its economy $1.3 billion (€1.17 billion).

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • He Mocks Saudi Arabia on YouTube. Yes, He Fears for His Safety.

        To Mr. al-Masarir, it’s no mystery. Years ago, he says, he was quietly alerted to an apparent Saudi plan to kidnap him, a heads-up that came from an unlikely source: the Saudi intelligence agent later accused of masterminding the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post op-ed columnist killed in 2018 in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

        And the Saudi regime has spent years trying to intimidate Mr. al-Masarir, he says, through cyberattacks on his social media platforms.

        A few months before the police showed up at his door, Mr. al-Masarir says, the campaign against him escalated.

        His smartphones had turned unaccountably sluggish, and at the behest of a friend — familiar with the side effects of covertly installed spyware — he asked a cybersecurity watchdog group to figure out why.

      • US reporter harassed by police while doing Tlaxcala sex-trafficking story

        Another police truck pulls up to block their path after which Logan says in a voiceover that “the police are guardians of the traffickers and their secrets, moving in to force us out; a veiled threat.”

        Gus then reports that “we’ve been asked to depart the area,” adding that “about a week ago they did lynch a couple of people that were here just asking around about the town.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • White House Considering Dramatic Expansion of Travel Ban

        The White House is considering dramatically expanding its much-litigated travel ban to additional countries amid a renewed election-year focus on immigration by President Donald Trump, according to six people familiar with the deliberations.

      • Most States Saw Prison Reforms in 2019, But Incarceration Rates Remain High

        On December 20, 2019, criminal justice advocates celebrated the news that President Trump signed the Fair Chance Act into law. Tucked into a massive defense spending bill, the law is a federal version of “ban the box,” prohibiting the government and its contractors from asking job applicants about their criminal history before extending a conditional offer of employment. Thirty-five states and over 150 cities already have versions of “ban the box” laws.

      • 18 Years After Its Opening, Justice Remains Elusive for Prisoners of Guantánamo

        Forty men still remain detained at the Guantánamo Bay prison camp 18 years after it opened on January 11, 2002. Only seven of them face charges, including five prisoners accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., in 2001.

      • Canada, the RCMP, and Human Rights Obligations to the Wet’suwet’en Nation

        “International human rights law requires governments to respect, protect, and promote the right of Indigenous peoples to make their own decisions about their lives and futures according to their own customs and traditions.”

      • ‘Utterly Shameful’: Progressives Slam Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott’s Decision to Refuse New Refugees

        The move, which critics called “deeply disappointing” but “not surprising,” was enabled by an executive order from the president.

      • PFAS has poisoned my town. Government needs to step up and help.

        I don’t remember when we learned that we could no longer eat the fish we caught in the river and lakes. They said that it was the local fish that were the problem, not the fish that migrated or were imported. Who “they” were was never clear to me as a child, just that I could not eat the prized fish I worked hard to catch on weekends with my father. We knew that the water in the river and manmade lakes was bad, but we just dealt with it and continued to live our small town lifestyle. It seemed simple enough to implement a catch and release method for the locals, but since the Air Force’s closing, Oscoda has relied heavily on tourism, like our beautiful beaches and boating opportunities. Explaining to the tourists why they could not eat the fish they caught on their summer weekend excursions, but still insist that they continue to travel here to maintain business in the town, was becoming more difficult.

        Recently, new regulations have emerged. People in a certain area of town should drink only filtered water or buy it bottled because it is unsafe for consumption. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, was in the water supply. PFAS is a manmade chemical that is found in many industrial surfactants in chemical processes and as a material feedstock. In our case, it was used largely through the Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) that the military used to stop petroleum fires during the Air Force’s use of the base. Though knowledge of the groundwater and soil contamination has been known since the late 1970s, little is known about the specific chemicals that currently impact the overall quality of the water today.

      • Alleged Member of Neo-Nazi Swatting Group Charged

        Federal investigators on Friday arrested a Virginia man accused of being part of a neo-Nazi group that targeted hundreds of people in “swatting” attacks, wherein fake bomb threats, hostage situations and other violent scenarios were phoned in to police as part of a scheme to trick them into visiting potentially [sic] deadly force on a target’s address.

      • The New Tools Journalists Can Use to Expose Human Rights Violations Around the World

        There are many countries around the world that continue to deny the media open access to sources and locations in order to cover up human rights violations that may be occurring.

        One recent example of this was the Chinese Government’s attempt to hide the plight of the country’s Uyghur Muslims in the autonomous region of Xinjiang. There is evidence to suggest that more than one million Uyghur Muslims have been placed in internment camps whilst facing persecution and being treated like prisoners. But, using open source technology and data collection, investigative reporters and media outlets have been able to monitor satellite footage and images to obtain a better picture of what is happening in the region and expose the lies.

        The Chinese Government has denied that the Uyghurs are being mistreated in prison-like circumstances, yet reporters have found that the buildings housing them have barbed wire and noticeable features resembling those of prisons in China, in comparison to residences or educational institutions.

        In getting to the truth, a significant discovery were the China Cables – a highly classified document, leaked last November, which was taken from the Chinese Government’s website and revealed how Chinese authorities have deliberately been cracking down on Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. For the first time, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ China Cables investigation revealed operational plans for the internment camps and orders that were given by the Chinese Government for carrying out mass detentions, guided by sweeping data collection and artificial intelligence using open source journalism methods such as gaining access to satellite maps.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • New Apple patent imagines virtual speakers that can simulate sound from anywhere in the room

          That can be used to enhance a feeling of presence — say, for example, while listening to a sports broadcast. While the business uses of the patent are fairly evident (think better conference calls), there are entertainment applications to consider: the technology could be applied to games and television shows, for example, to make them feel more immersive. Which means you might be watching even more television on your computer one day.

        • Tesla’s New Lithium-Ion Patent Brings Company Closer to Promised 1 Million-Mile Battery

          Tesla’s best performing models have a maximum single-charge battery range of 370 miles – just short of the distance between Baltimore, MD and Boston, MA. – and a lifespan of 300,000 – 500,000 miles. This is impressive, given that the average lifespan of a car in the US is 150,000 miles, or roughly 11 years using the AAA annual average of 13,500 miles per year.

        • Software Patents

          • Apple Loses Bid To Move Mobile Wallet Patent Suit Out of Texas

            Apple Inc. must defend a patent lawsuit over its Apple Wallet in a West Texas federal court, the Federal Circuit has ruled.

            U.S. District Court Judge Alan Albright did not abuse his discretion when he turned down Apple’s request that the infringement lawsuit be sent closer to the iPhone maker’s headquarters in California, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled Dec. 20.

          • Maximizing Patent Value by Effective Prosecution [Ed: The patent maximalist David Boundy is still promoting low-quality and invalid patents in the name of "well... I can make money from those!"]

            No nation has ever benefited from protracted warfare. Therefore, to gain a hundred victories in a hundred battles is not the highest excellence; to subjugate the enemy’s army without doing battle is the highest of excellence.

            To create value for your client you must assume that every application will be litigated. The value of your ex parte prosecution before a non-lawyer examiner will be tested by the standards of an inter partes litigation or negotiation against a lawyer adversary

            The value of a patent is measured solely by these objectives. A good patent is a patent that scares a competitor out of doing something he wants to do. Your patent should be so compelling that a competitor has to run his business on YOUR terms.

      • Copyrights

        • Shoveling a Path After Star Athletica

          Star Athletica purported to tell us the circumstances under which copyright will protect creative features of useful articles, such as items of clothing or cars. While a design carved into the back of a chair would be understood as separable under anyone’s test, disputes arose over things like the overall shape of a belt buckle or the pattern of lines on an outfit that made it clearly a cheerleading uniform. Star Athletica resolved the latter issue while telling us that it answered all questions about separability. This article tries to analyze the decision in a way that helps think about future cases. An object that has a noncommunicative function can be protected by copyright, but copyright should never extend to functional aspects: parts or designs that make the object work. Also, I’ll discuss why design patent law should have been more important to the Court as a way of separating copyrightable and uncopyrightable designs and speculate about art and authorship in the new millennium. One reason that Star Athletica is so confusing is because we lack a coherent account of what kinds of creation copyright should protect, even as the statute tells us that not everything that is creative should be copyrightable “authorship.” Even without a completely coherent theoretical account, however, there are doctrinal tools that courts could employ to make their job easier in deciding individual cases.

        • ‘Copyright Troll’ Malibu Media Gets Sued By its Former Law Firm

          A law firm hired by notorious ‘copyright troll’ outfit Malibu Media is suing the company over breach of contract and unpaid bills. According to a lawsuit filed this week by The Lomnitzer Law Firm, Malibu ‘circumvented’ an agreement between the companies by hiring other attorneys to conduct litigation. The law firm is also demanding that Malibu pay more than $280K to settle its debts with the company.

        • Replica Store Sells ‘Cheap’ Knock Off of €890 Pirate Bay Hoodie

          Last year the Swiss fashion brand Vetements surprised friend and foe with the introduction of a Pirate Bay clothing line. The company offered a hoodie, featuring the iconic pirate ship, for just under $900. A steep price for most pirates but good business for counterfeiters, who are now selling ‘pirated’ copies for a fraction of the price. According to some, these knock-offs can be pretty decent.

EPO Management Already Meddles in (Illegally and in Clear Violation of the EPC) BoA Cases. Now It Does the Same to Bundesverfassungsgericht (FCC, Germany’s Constitutional Court).

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Judges afraid of me? OOPS!

Summary: Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) cannot be left alone by Team UPC, its media front groups (or pressure groups with publication as a weapon) and the EPO’s active ‘harassment’ of those assessing legality; this merely reinforces many people’s negative views (the EPO operating outside the rule of laws which govern it)

THE recent setbacks for the UPC must have gotten the litigation firms in Munich (or its suburbs) rather nervous. More and more of them now realise that the UPC will never come about.

“That’s like the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) lobbying SCOTUS by lying to it on the (non)issue of 35 U.S.C. § 101. What would the judges think and feel?”European Patent Office (EPO) President António Campinos is already meddling in a case regarding software patents in Europe, which are illegal. He has leverage over the already-terrified judges, who were collectively bullied and punished by Battistelli, the man who gave Campinos this job. Their location in Haar doesn’t give them safety, it merely gives them a warning (from the President of the Office). You’re one stone-throw away from a “difficult legacy”

Looking at the latest replies to one article about the truly ridiculous late Friday press release, we now see “The Convention watchdog” stating:

The wishes expressed by the EPO and its Administrative Council which outcome they expect from pending proceedings may influence the Boards of Appeal in their decisions. This approach will certainly not work with the Bundesverfassungsgericht.

That’s like the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) lobbying SCOTUS by lying to it on the (non)issue of 35 U.S.C. § 101. What would the judges think and feel?

Another comment alludes to the EPO’s repeated lies about SMEs and the UPC’s effect on them:

High costs and lengthy proceedings make the EPO route objectively challenging for SMEs. There are reasons for the continued reliance on national filings and alternative tools when they are available, such as utility models in Germany.

If the EPO really wants to be on par with other prominent patent systems in terms of attractiveness for SMEs, why not look at a 50% reduction of all fees for SMEs and individual applicants, as in the US ?

“MaxDrei”, apparently a retired patent attorney, already envisions the UPCA process being rebooted, this time without the UK (this can take years; drafting, discussion, ratifications and so on — in the face of growing resistance in more EU member states):

Just a thought, but could it be, that departure of the UK from the EU will ease re-negotiation of the UPC, allowing it to come into force sooner rather than later (or not at all).

I mean, lawyers in England find it so hard to reconcile their system of law with that on the European mainland. And civil law practitioners from the remainder of the EU, in discussion with nit-picking English lawyers, find it hard to appreciate where those English lawyers are “coming from”.

True, the Republic of Ireland also has English law but RI is a relatively small EU Member State, with no delusions that it is the true carrier of the flame, the fount of all logic, and all nations in Western Europe should follow its lead.

So, from now on, legal discussions between the 27 remaining EU Member States, on all legal issues, not just patents, should proceed more smoothly and efficiently. That would go wider, extending for example to any legal discussions between the EU and any or all of China, Japan, Korea.

Meanwhile, lawyers in England will be more free to get into a warm and self-congratulatory huddle with their cousins in the USA.

Based on documents published by Corbyn (they had been published elsewhere beforehand) just before the latest election, the US has some plans.

All these issues aren’t properly explored by IP Kat anymore; the team there has changed profoundly. It’s not hard to see that today’s EPO is lawless and it disregards the EPC in a lot of ways, but all IP Kat had to say this past week boiled down to book promotion — a book called “A Practitioner’s Guide to European Patent Law”; is the law even followed? “The book’s approach consists of summarizing national and EPO case law for each of the 14 (plus one, see below) topics,” it said, “and identifying the common principles. To make the task manageable, the book limits the analysis to four (arguably the most influential) European jurisdictions: England and Wales, France, Germany and the Netherlands.”

Yesterday we saw also IAM, which had been paid by the EPO to promote and lobby for UPC, saying that “The EU should not contemplate abandoning the Unified Patent Court system” (that’s just typical IAM).

Joff Wild posted as “opinion” these thoughts:

Earlier this week the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson played host to the new President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. As is usually the case with such meetings, it was followed by an official communiqué from the British government giving its account of what was discussed. The document issued totalled a few paragraphs, one of which read:

The PM was clear that the UK would not extend the Implementation Period beyond 31 December 2020; and that any future partnership must not involve any kind of alignment or ECJ jurisdiction …

Only a day or two later the EPO issued the ridiculous press release, which has so far received nothing but condemnation in comments we saw about it. It’s delusional.

IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 11, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:55 am by Needs Sunlight

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links 12/1/2020: Wine 5.0 RC5, EasyOS 2.2.3

Posted in News Roundup at 2:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • How to contribute to Kubernetes

        Contributing to open source as a hobby is a great way to dip your toes in the water on a new technology—and maybe even advance your career in the process. IBM software engineer Tara Gu found both of those things to be true when she started contributing to the Kubernetes container engine project in 2018.

        In her Lightning Talk at All Things Open 2019, “Contributing to Kubernetes when you have a full-time job,” Tara shares tips for getting started with Kubernetes: the skills you need, how to find a good first issue, and good ways to manage your time.

      • IBM

        • Remembering Brad Childs

          Earlier this year, the Kubernetes family lost one of its own. Brad Childs was a SIG Storage chair and long time contributor to the project. Brad worked on a number of features in storage and was known as much for his friendliness and sense of humor as for his technical contributions and leadership.

        • Huawei’s CentOS-based openEuler goes live — source code available as well

          With the arrival of the source code on Gitee, Huawei’s CentOS-based openEuler Linux distro is taking one step forward. However, this notable effort by the Chinese tech giant is currently sabotaged by its unfinished website and documentation, as well as the apparently non-bootable ISO available for download.

        • Huawei Makes The CentOS-Based Linux Distro “OpenEuler” Open-Source

          Huawei has released the source code of its CentOS-Based Linux Distribution OppenEuler. OpenEuler is the community edition of EulerOS. You will find the source code on the Microsoft owned Github, so don’t go there. The OpenEuler’s source code has been made available on the Gitee platform, which is a Chines GitHub alternative.

        • Top 5 developer trends in 2019

          This past year saw a lot of change on IBM Developer, but one thing stayed consistent: we continued to offer code-heavy learning content to get you started with some of the most exciting technologies.

          Based on our top-viewed content created in 2019, you love containers, want to use AI, are trying to wrap your heads around blockchain, use Node.js extensively, and want to know more about mobile development. Here are the top themes from this year – and some content to get you started.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-01-10 | Linux Headlines

        A developer is seeking feedback for a proposed Rust Foundation, Amazon relaunches a machine learning tool, and Linus Torvalds issues a warning against using ZFS.

    • Kernel Space

      • AMD Has DP MST DSC Support Ready For The Linux 5.6 Kernel

        In addition to their AMDGPU/AMDKFD feature updates sent out on Thursday, AMD also sent in a special pull request to DRM-Next on its own of a new feature: DP MST DSC.

        DP MST DSC is DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport Display Stream Compression. AMD and the other common Linux display drivers have long supported DP MST for driving multiple displays off a single DisplayPort cable thanks to this specification. DP MST has been around since DisplayPort 1.2 and allows multiple independent displays to be served off a single DP port thanks to multiplexing the streams. MST also supports daisy-chaining and other convenient features. What’s new now is supporting DSC (Display Stream Compression) for MST.

      • AMD Finally Publishes Sensor Fusion Hub Driver For Linux

        One of the missing features for those with AMD Ryzen laptops has been the lack of a Sensor Fusion Hub driver that is needed for supporting the accelerometer and gyroscopic sensors for the display and related laptop sensor functionality. This week AMD finally posted patches for a Sensor Fusion Hub Linux driver.

        Going back to 2018 have been requests for Sensor Fusion Hub support on Linux and AMD confirmed last year they were working on a driver they hoped to have ready during summer 2019. This week we were finally greeted by this driver.

      • Linus Torvalds: “Don’t use ZFS”

        ZFS could be the fastest file system in the world and randomly disperse kittens and I still wouldn’t touch it with a ten metre pole if I were Linus. Oracle is a colony of snakes led by the biggest snake of them all, and adding their code – even through shims or interfaces – should be a complete non-starter for any project.

      • Linus Torvalds: Avoid Oracle’s ZFS Kernel Code Until ‘Litigious’ Larry Signs Off
      • Linaro Revives “Thermal Pressure” Code For Better Performance When CPUs Running Hot

        Back in October 2018 was a patch series out of Linaro for “thermal pressure” support in the Linux kernel for providing better task placement when CPUs are running hot/overheating to the extent their CPU frequencies are being downclocked/limited. Out this weekend is a revised version of that Linux thermal pressure support.

        Linaro’s Thara Gopinath posted version seven of these Thermal Pressure patches on Saturday. The work is still tuning the behavior and other improvements around providing better task placement during times of CPU capacity restrictions as a result of thermal activity.

      • [Linux] Git mirror available in Beijing

        If you are a developer located around Beijing, or if your connection to Beijing is faster and more reliable than to locations outside of China, then you may benefit from the new git.kernel.org mirror kindly provided by Code Aurora Forum at https://kernel.source.codeaurora.cn/. This is a full mirror that is updated just as frequently as other git.kernel.org nodes (in fact, it is managed by the same team as the rest of kernel.org infrastructure, since CAF is part of Linux Foundation IT projects).

    • Applications

      • How to install HomeBank accounting software on Linux

        If you are looking personal accounting and finance programs then there are a wide range of them for Windows which is always higher than Linux, one reason behind this is a low number of users and the complexity of using Linux distros. However, this doesn’t mean Linux operating systems deprive of good software and HomeBank is a perfect example of that.

        HomeBank is a free and open-source software for personal finance and money management. It comes with easy to understand interface along with all necessary tools that we need in accounting software for personal usage.

        It is a cross-platform tool thus is not going to make Windows and macOS feel left out, moreover, the source is also available which can be compiled for any mainstream existing operating systems.

      • Best Free & open source personal finance management software 2020

        Many people should have thought about how to better deal with their financial problems; how to track expenses, budgeting of the hard-earned money in a proper away, bank account management along with other accounting-related tasks.

        Perhaps to set a budget to reduce unnecessary expenses, or just to better understand the spending situation you can use free and open-source accounting software. Now, what is the need of using such tools or applications, it is because everyone’s consumption situation and purpose of use are different, some people are accustomed to using cash, and some people use online payment more; some want automation and simplicity, and some people seek customization and multi-function. Therefore, the practical situation of the following popular open-source tools varies from person to person for reference.

        However, using some random personal finance software for tracking expenses and allowing them to manage bank accounts by disclosing username, password or other credentials to fetch info could expose sometime user to risk, as this sensitive information stored in digital form either locally or online by the software. Therefore, go for some reputed well maintained and time to time updated Open source project.

      • Photopea – A Web Based Photoshop Alternative for Linux

        The first thing the opensource faithful say is use GIMP. Don’t get me wrong, GIMP is an incredible tool. However, if you have been using Photoshop for 20+ years, the transition to GIMP is painful.

        The interface is so much different that my workflow suffers as I hunt for tools. Plus, there is a reason why Photoshop is the industry standard, it just crushes GIMP in feature set and maturity of it’s interface. Digital Trends did a piece on Photoshop vs GIMP that sums this point up nicely.

        In my opinion, GIMP is a superb opensource tool, but it is hard to transition to once you have worked with Photoshop for an extended amount of time.

        Once the GIMP vs Photoshop conversation fades out, then comes the Wine discussion. Sure you can run a 20 year old version of Photoshop in Wine. Nonetheless, it still runs like #*&$. I have tried several times over the years to get Photoshop running in Wine and have had various degrees of success. The complexity and nuances of getting Photoshop to run correctly in Wine is just too painful. In my opinion this isn’t even an option for the average user.

      • Laptop Mode Tools 1.73

        I am pleased to announce the release of Laptop Mode Tools version 1.73
        This release includes many bug fixes. For user convenience, 2 command options have been added.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Announcement
        The Wine development release 5.0-rc5 is now available.
        
        What's new in this release (see below for details):
          - Bug fixes only, we are in code freeze.
        
        The source is available from the following locations:
        
        https://dl.winehq.org/wine/source/5.0/wine-5.0-rc5.tar.xz
        
        
        http://mirrors.ibiblio.org/wine/source/5.0/wine-5.0-rc5.tar.xz
        
        Binary packages for various distributions will be available from:
        
        https://www.winehq.org/download
        
        You will find documentation on https://www.winehq.org/documentation
        
        You can also get the current source directly from the git
        repository. Check https://www.winehq.org/git for details.
        
        Wine is available thanks to the work of many people. See the file
        AUTHORS in the distribution for the complete list.
        
      • Wine 5.0-RC5 Released With Fixes For Different Games

        We are likely to see the stable Wine 5.0 release within the next week or two but for now Wine 5.0-RC5 is available for the latest testing.

        Wine 5.0-RC5 was just released as the newest weekly release candidate focused on bug fixing.

      • Wine 5.0 has a fifth Release Candidate, getting real close to final now

        The 5.0 stable release of Wine is really closing in now, with a fifth Release Candidate being released today with some more bug fixes noted.

        No new features again, since they’re still in a “code freeze” while they work to make Wine 5.0 as rock solid and stable as possible. Once Wine 5.0 is out fully, another year of development will then begin.

        This time around 19 bugs were marked off the list. However, the usual as always applies as some are old bugs that have finally been re-tested so they can close them.

        Issues solved include problems with Warframe equipment mouse-overs and the Battle.net application should be a little smoother. Turns out multiple games got improved since Wine 4.3 included FAudio too like Splinter Cell: Blacklist, The Evil Within and Rayman Origins all having open bugs related to broken or missing audio so they’ve all been marked as solved.

      • Wine-Staging 5.0-RC5 Brings Fix For Far Cry 5 Plus Sound Bug With Proton/ESYNC

        Wine-Staging 5.0-RC5 is out today as usual, arriving just one day after the upstream Wine 5.0-rc5 release.

        Wine-Staging 5.0-RC5 is carrying just under 900 patches compared to the upstream/vanilla Wine code. Over the past week Wine-Staging has updated a number of their patches around DxVA2, ActiveDS, and NTDLL. But there’s also two new fixes.

      • CodeWeavers still looking to hire more Graphics Developers

        Do you have strong C language skills and good experience with OpenGL, DirectX and Vulkan? CodeWeavers are still looking to hire Graphics Developers.

        Who are CodeWeavers? They’re the company that help to support development of Wine, also the company Valve teamed up with to develop Steam Play’s Proton software (which uses Wine). They’re expanding, as they need more people to work on the graphics side of Wine with the Direct3D implementation.

    • Games

      • Physics-based platformer LAZR has a very impressive new demo out

        Currently in development by Garrick Campsey, LAZR has to be one of the most unique platformers I’ve seen in some time with some very fun cloth simulation going on and a big new demo is out.

        Campsey calls their game a “Clothformer” due to the special mechanics it uses. You can climb across all sort of cloth-based objects, set them on fire, even some enemies are made of cloth for you to have some fun destroying them. The previous tech demo was already impressive and this new demo is much bigger featuring 5 mission levels, 5 challenge levels, 2 training levels and more to give a proper look at it.

      • If you long for the days of Caesar III you can rejoice with the FOSS game engine Julius

        Caesar III is an absolute classic and you can play it on modern systems, like Linux, with the free and open source game engine Julius which recently had a big new release.

        Originally released in 1999, like a lot of classics it is showing some age but a plenty of the gameplay ideas still hold up quite well. The Julius game engine comes with plenty of enhancements like support for high resolution displays and widescreens, support for higher quality audio, plus lots of smaller in-game quality of life fixes you would expect from a modern open source release. Saved games should even be compatible too with the original!

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE FreeBSD 2020.1

          Current state-of-the-art in KDE-FreeBSD land is that we’re all up-to-date, almost. I updated sayonara and except for Quaternion I’m all set. Quaternion has a bunch of releases after 0.0.9.4 which are all tweaks on the AppImage or FlatPak versions, not on the actual application.

          Zanshin was briefly removed from FreeBSD ports because the last release isn’t compatible with current KDE Frameworks and Akonadi releases, but both Debian and openSUSE have suitable patches (some from upstream) to get it working.

          KDE Frameworks 5.66 were released today, and we don’t have those yet. 5.65, though, that’s in.

          Along with Qt 5.13.2, KDE release service 19.12.0 (the .1 came out two days ago, also too-soon), KDE Plasma 5.17.5 (four days old), KDevelop 5.4.4. All of that is up-to-date. Looking at the KDE Planet we’re missing the latest Kdenlive (one day old) and KTimeTracker as well. Oh, and GCompris! So I suppose you could call the FreeBSD ports tree, with respect to KDE products at least, a rolling release.

        • Kontact | Akonadi Reference

          The killer feature of the Plasma Desktop has been the KDE Personal Information Manager, Kontact. I have been using it since 2004 time frame and although we have had a tenuous relationship over the years, specifically the switch to the Akonadi and the pain that came with it in the early years. I actively use Kontact on multiple machines for the feature richness of it and haven’t found anything in existence that I like better. I also exclusively use Kontact on openSUSE Tumbleweed with the Plasma Desktop Environment.

          I have decided to publish my reference concerning the maintenance it requires. I could be an edge case since I have five mail accounts and multiple calendar accounts as well. Historically, I have had issues where losing network connection, regaining it, suspending and resuming my machine over a period of time would cause the thing to have fits. So, here are my fixes, whenever the need arises.

          One quick caveat, your results may vary and don’t hold me responsible for your data.

        • Lighting the Emby Server with Kdenlive

          I recently posted about my computer build. In short, this is a computer build on parts that are in no way considered top of the line. They are all quite old and that did pose a few problems. One, this motherboard would not boot from a software RAID pool. I was able to bootstrap the BTRFS RAID pool with a separate drive and root partition. It did add some complexity to my system but I think it works out okay.

          Building a system is something I have wanted to do for quite some time. As in, several years but time, finances and decision vapor-lock had kept me from it. What pushed me over was a fortuitous conversation at a Christmas gathering last year, I struck a nerdy conversation, with a computer store owner that ultimately gave me this giant Thermaltake case without a motherboard and a few weeks later, another fortuitous happening where I was given a bunch of old computer equipment and an AM3 motherboard was among the rest of the aged equipment which drove the rest of the build. My course of action was to stuff the most memory and fastest processor in that which is what I did and I am happy with it. I am not going to belabor that process as I have talked about it before and I have a link you can follow if you are interested in those details.

          As a result of this, I had tons of fun, it was a great learning experience and that same guy gave me another case, not as big but far more robust in design with a water cooler. I now want to build another machine but I am thinking a more pure gaming machine and leave this current machine to be my server workstation. I don’t know when I would get to this but I think this one will be a project I do with my kids. Use it as a teaching opportunity and turn it into a kind of family event. Currently, the machine has a Core 2 Duo CPU platform of some kind. I think I would probably do another AMD build, something newer that can take advantage of these new fancy CPUs coming out. I still wouldn’t go bleeding edge but certainly something closer than what I have now.

          [...]

          Kdenlive is a great application with a lot more features than I know how to even use. I don’t do any complex video editing. I don’t have good video equipment so I don’t have a real high level of motivation to create a lot of video content at this time. You can only polish a turd so much and I am often not happy with the video I shoot. I am happy, however, with what I can do with the video in Kdenlive. It does make turning the lack-luster video into barely acceptable video content. Editing with Kdenlive is easy to use and is enjoyable to turn the mess I start with into something more usable. I would like to make more excuses to do more video content because the great user experience Kdenlive provides.

          I have heard of people complain that Kdenlive isn’t stable, well, that is a bunch of hooey. Kdenlive on openSUSE Tumbleweed works fantastically well without any crashing. I am very thankful for fantastic packaging and QA process from the openSUSE Project and I am very grateful for every programmer that has had a hand in every piece of this, from the Linux kernel to the Plasma desktop to the application itself. Thank you for all your time and efforts.

    • Distributions

      • Best Linux Distributions for DevOps

        There are a lot of Linux distributions for DevOps engineers. From commercial Linux distributions like Red Hat to community-supported Debian. With so many available choices, you might wonder—which Linux distribution is best for DevOps? This article reviews the most popular Linux distributions for two main DevOps use cases.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 Enters Beta with Linux Kernel 5.4, LibreOffice 6.4

          OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 is considered the first major update to the OpenMandriva Lx 4.x series and promises to ship with the latest and greatest Linux 5.4 kernel, the most recent KDE Applications and Plasma desktop suite, as well as up-to-date apps like the upcoming LibreOffice 6.4 office suite, and many improvements.

          The first beta of OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 is powered by Linux kernel 5.4.7 and includes the KDE Plasma 5.17.4 desktop environment, which is accompanied by the KDE Frameworks 5.65 and KDE Applications 19.12.0 software suites, all built against the latest stable Qt 5.14 open-source application framework.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Dominique Leuenberger: openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/02

          Week 2 this year brings you what many have been asking for: Kernel 5.4! YES, After the holiday season came to an end and the right people were back in business, we could address the issue around the invalid certificate chain and correct the issue. In total, Week 2 brought you five snapshots: 0103, 0105, 0106, 0107 and 0108, with all these nice changes:

          Linux kernel 5.4.7 (Snapshot 0108, fresh off the press)
          NetworkManager 1.22.2
          Flatpak 1.6.0
          Mesa 19.3.1
          Rust 1.40

      • Debian Family

        • Tails OS 4.2, featuring improved automatic updates, released

          Earlier this week, the Tails Project released the newest version of their security-focused Linux distro, Tails 4.2. They advised users to upgrade as soon as possible, as the latest release fixes multiple security vulnerabilities found in the previous version, Tails 4.1.1.

          Expanded as “The Amnesic Incognito Live System”, it is a Debian GNU/Linux-based distro that focuses on delivering online privacy to users who require a portable operating system. The distro accomplishes much of this by guarding users’ anonymity by forcing all Internet connections through the Tor (The Onion Router) network to help them circumvent censorship. It is amnesic by design amnesic, living in RAM, and not writing to any other drives unless strictly specified.

        • EasyOS version 2.2.3 released

          The Blueman applet is in the tray. After clicking on it, you will see “Devices…”, click that and there will be another window. With you Bluetooth audio device in pairing-mode, click the “Search…” button, then you audio device should be found.
          Highlight it by left click, then right-click for a menu and choose “Pair”, after that choose “Audio sink”.
          You are now good-to-go, however, there is one more step, to set the Bluetooth device as the default audio device. From the menu “Setup -> Multiple Sound Card Wizard” (MSCW), and then the Bluetooth audio device should be listed, and you can click the button for it to be the default audio output.
          Note, MSCW has a button to test the sound. I found that I had to click that twice for the sound to play in my ear buds. Odd. One good thing though, the 2 barks played without being truncated.

        • Add support for F2FS filesystem to GRUB and initramfs-tools
        • Debian Enabling Support For Booting From Root F2FS File-Systems
        • Markus Koschany: My Free Software Activities in December 2019

          Welcome to gambaru.de. Here is my monthly report that covers what I have been doing for Debian. If you’re interested in Java, Games and LTS topics, this might be interesting for you.

        • Outreachy post 3 – Midterm report

          Time passes by quickly when you do the things that you like. And so have passed by very quickly the first six weeks of Outreachy. The first half of the internship has been an amazing experience for me. I have worked and learned so many new things. I got familiar more closely with the Debian project that I was already contributing to in the past, but less intensively. I am very happy to get to know more people from the community, feel so welcomed and find such a warm environment.

          Since the first weeks of the internship I started working on fundraising materials for DebConf20 as part of my tasks, using LaTeX which is an amazing tool to work on creating different types of documents. My skills on using LaTeX are improved, and the more I use it the more I discover how powerful a tool it is and the variety of things that you can do with it. Lately I worked on the flyer and brochure that will be sent to potential sponsors.

          [...]

          As for the fundraising brochure, I took the content from a Google doc, which was carefully created by my mentor Karina and converted it into LaTeX. I adapted it with the new logo, colors and monetary values in the local currency. For this I needed to create a TeX \newcommand as the ILS currency symbol (₪) is not supported natively. This also led to a restriction in the choice of fonts available because the ILS symbol needs to be part of the font. With support from the wider DebConf team we settled on Liberation Sans. As we are working on the visual identity of DebConf20, we are almost finalizing the fundraising materials for this edition.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • The State of Robotics – Robotics Over the Holidays

          Canonical closes for the holidays, but robots just get more festive. Roboticists seem to feel the festive spirit, and it turns their projects into festive robots. The Ubuntu robotics team isn’t quite ready to let go of the festive cheer. So we’d like to share with you some of our favourite projects that we saw over the holidays. As ever if you want us to talk about what you’re doing, send an email to robotics.community@canonical.com and let’s talk. Next month we will be back to usual programming, for now, get look at these!

          [...]

          We love the holidays. So many passion projects come to the forefront of peoples lives, the internet lights up with festivity and robot parts appear under trees everywhere. In January the robotics team is back to work as usual so expect updates on that in February. In the meantime, if you have passion projects or robotics projects you’d like us to highlight in our next blog, send a summary to robotics.community@canonical.com and let’s talk. Happy 2020 all.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • A Brief History of Open Source Software, Part 3: The FOSS Environment Today

        OSS vendors: While the OSS development model has not often provided the golden goose that venture capital investors briefly hoped it would, there have been some solid investment wins, including MySQL, a popular relational database management system owned and sponsored by a Swedish company, MySQL AB. MySQL was acquired by Sun Microsystems for approximately $1 billion in February 2008. When Microsoft acquired GitHub in October of 2018, it paid $7.4 billion. And when IBM purchased RedHat, the distributor of the most popular general purpose Linux distribution, it paid $34 billion – the largest amount IBM had ever paid to acquire another company.

        For-profit corporations reap great commercial value from OSS in other ways, and in consequence provide an enormous amount of support for OSS, not only through direct monetary contributions to projects and supporting institutions (such as the ASF, EF and LF), but by allowing (or directing) their employees to participate in FOSS projects, which in turn redounds to the companies’ own benefit in a variety of ways (e.g., by gaining first-hand familiarity with or influencing code evolution as it happens and future direction as it is decided).

      • Argus Open Source Network Flow System Gets Commercial Boost from CounterFlow AI

        Tracking what traverses a network is an increasingly complicated challenge. Among the many groups looking to help provide network flow visibility is the Open Argus Project.

        Open Argus has its roots in the Argus network flow system that was developed in the 1980′s at Georgia Tech. The effort had been privately funded as an open source effort and is now benefiting from the sponsorship of CounterFlow AI, which will also be building a commercial solution that integrate Argus.

        Randy Caldejon, CEO and co-founder of CounterFlow told EnterpriseNetworkingPlanetthat CounterFlow recently implemented a 40Gbps network visibility solution for a customer based on Argus. He noted that the proof-of-concept proved to be a huge success and as a result, CounterFlow is basing the ThreatEye sensor it is delivering on a modified version of Argus.

      • New open-source software judges accuracy of computer predictions of cancer genetics

        The study, published in Nature Biotechnology, developed open-source software that can be used to judge the accuracy of computer predictions and establish this benchmark.

        The team developed a simulation framework and scoring system to determine how accurately each algorithm predicted various measures of genetic diversity. These included: the proportion of cancerous cells in the tumour sample; the number of genetically different groups of cancerous cells in the tumour sample; the proportion of cells within each of these groups; which genetic mutations were in each group; and the genetic relationship between the groups.

      • Google’s Influence Over the Free Software Community

        People have been asking victims about this on a daily basis, leaving little choice but to write down the details about what really happened. The increasing public scrutiny of these issues is one of the sad consequences of leaders in various organizations failing to talk to people and failing to resolve sensitive issues fairly and privately.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • US government urges everyone to update Mozilla Firefox to v72.0.1 because of an active exploit that allows remote code execution

            The US government’s Department of Homeland Security is urging all Firefox users to update to v72.0.1 as soon as possible. Earlier this week, a zero day vulnerability was found in the then most current version of the Firefox browser by Mozilla which allows hackers to take over your computer. What’s more, this 0day was found to have already been used in the wild by security researchers from a Chinese firm, Qihoo 360. Remote code execution is the holy grail of zero day vulnerabilities, and the fact that one of the most popular privacy and security focused browsers in the world had such a flaw should be a massive wake up call to internet browser users around the world.

          • This Firefox vulnerability is so bad, the U.S. government is urging users to patch it immediately

            The good news is that it’s already been patched. The bad news is that it’s already being exploited in the wild. And it’s about as bad as it can get. In technical terms, as Mozilla explains, “Incorrect alias information in IonMonkey JIT compiler for setting array elements could lead to a type confusion. That means that an attacker could exploit the Javascript code to surreptitiously hack a user’s PC and install malicious code outside of Firefox. Mozila says it is “aware of targeted attacks in the wild abusing this flaw,” but doesn’t give any information about how widespread the attacks are.

          • Mozilla Firefox 72 Is Now Available for All Supported Ubuntu Linux Releases

            If you’re an Ubuntu user, which is one of the most popular GNU/Linux distributions out there, you can now upgrade the Firefox web browser to the latest 72.0.1 release directly from the main software repositories in Ubuntu 19.10, Ubuntu 19.04, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

            If you use any of the supported Ubuntu Linux release, all you have to do to update Firefox is to run the Software Updater app and install all available updates, or execute the “sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install firefox” command in the Terminal app. Make sure you restart the Firefox web browser if it’s running for the new version to be installed correctly.

          • Firefox 72 improves site notifications tool, rolls out picture-in-picture video to Mac and Linux

            Firefox 72 continues its crusade against cross-site tracking by adding the blocking of fingerprinting scripts as a default setting for all users. Digital fingerprinting is the creation of detailed user profiles, including information about the computer, software and add-ons being used. This in turn leads to heavily personalised ads that follow users around the web.

            The feature was already present in previous builds, but has now been added to the Standard option under Enhanced Tracking Protection – users who don’t mind being tracked in this way can disable this and other protections by choosing Custom under Options > Privacy & Security.

            Another welcome improvement sees an end to the annoying pop-ups that appear when websites attempt to gain permission to provide notifications to users, forcing them to take action; instead a speech bubble will appear in the Address bar, which users can happily ignore without opening themselves up to being bombarded by future notifications.

            Mac and Linux users also gain support for picture-in-picture video, a feature introduced for Windows users in Firefox 71. Look for the blue icon on the right edge of a video – click this to pop the video into its own floating window, allowing users to browse other tabs while continuing to watch the video.

          • Dave Hunt: State of Performance Test Engineering (H2/2019)

            It’s a new year, and time for me to post an update on the state of Firefox performance test engineering. The last update was in July 2019 and covered the first half of the year. This update covers the second half of 2019.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • ArangoDB 3.6 accelerates performance of multi-model database

          By definition, a multi-model database provides multiple database models for different use cases and user needs. Among the popular options users have for a multi-model database is ArangoDB from the open source database vendor.

          ArangoDB 3.6, released into general availability Jan. 8, brings a series of new updates to the multi-model database platform. Among the updates are improved performance capabilities for queries and overall database operations. Also, the new OneShard feature from the San Mateo, Calif.-based vendor is a way for organizations to create robust data resilience as well as use synchronization capabilities.

          For Kaseware, based in Denver, ArangoDB has been a core element since the company was founded in 2016, enabling the law enforcement software vendor’s case management system.

      • CMS

      • Education

        • Use This Tool to Find Potential Conflicts of Interest at Public Universities. We Did.

          New prescription drugs and medical procedures become available only after they’ve passed through a battery of tests in the lab, in peer-reviewed academic journals and in governmental review.

          Potential conflicts of interest — such as when the leading investigator on an experimental treatment stands to profit from its widespread adoption — can erode the quality of that process, potentially putting public health at risk. As a safeguard, researchers who accept grant money from the federal government must disclose such potential conflicts to the National Institutes of Health.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU’s GDB Adds Multi-Target Debugging Support

            More details on the GDB multi-target debugging behavior are explained with these documentation changes.

            This multi-target support is coming with GDB 9. GDB 9 also is bringing various new built-in functions, TLS support on more platforms, better Ada support, support for compiling with Python 3 on Windows, multi-threaded symbol loading for better performance, Python API improvements, and various other additions.

          • GRUB Boot Loader Adds Support For LUKS2 Encrypted Disks

            The GRUB boot-loader has finally merged support for dealing with LUKS2 encrypted disks.

            GRUB has supported LUKS(1) but until today the mainline GNU GRUB boot-loader has not supported LUKS2 disk encryption, thus now allowing the boot-loader to decrypt disks in that newer format. LUKS2 has been around for a few years going back to the stable cryptsetup 2.0 in 2017, thus making this GRUB support rather late to the party.

      • Programming/Development

        • Productivity tools are crucial in the current development landscape

          According to ActiveState’s 2019 Open Source Runtime Pains Developer Survey, 36.8% of developers spend two to four hours per day coding, and only 10.56% spend all of their day coding. Non-coding time is typically spent on tasks such as software design or attending meetings.

          As the need for being more productive has grown, so has the availability of solutions to help developers be more productive and collaborate more easily.

          These tools come in all shapes and sizes. There are tools that are designed specifically with productivity and collaboration in mind, such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Trello. But it is also common to find development tools with productivity features baked in, such as IntelliJ IDEA, CodeStream, or ZenHub.

        • rfoaas 2.1.0: New upstream so new access point!

          FOAAS, having been resting upstream for some time, released version 2.1.0 of its wonderful service this week! So without too much further ado we went to work and added support for it. And now we are in fact thrilled to announce that release 2.1.0 of rfoaas is now on CRAN as of this afternoon (with a slight delay as yours truly managed to state the package release date as 2019-01-09 which was of course flagged as ‘too old’).

        • FC Is Yet Another LLVM Fortran Compiler, Now Targeting The New MLIR IR

          While the Flang/f18 compiler is expected to land in the LLVM 10.0 source tree on Monday, another Fortran LLVM front-end continues in development.

          FC is another Fortran compiler for LLVM that is completely separate from the likes of Flang and f18 compilers. FC was announced last year as a new Fortran compiler being developed by little-known compiler consulting firm CompilerTree. At the time they said their Fortran compiler was delivering comparable performance to Flang and GCC’s Fortran (Gfortran).

        • Python

          • PyDev 7.5.0 Released (Python 3.8 and Cython)

            The major changes in this release are Python 3.8 support and improved Cython parsing.

            Python 3.8 should’ve been in 7.4.0 (but because of an oversight on my part during the build it wasn’t, so, this release fixes that).

            As for the Cyhon AST, Cython is now parsed using Cython itself (so, it needs to be installed and available in the default interpreter for PyDev to be able to parse it). The major issue right now is that the parser is not fault tolerant (this means that for code-completion and code-analysis to kick in the code needs to be syntax-correct, which is a problem when completing for instance variables right after a dot).

          • Python Data Weekly Roundup – Jan 10 2020
          • Python 3.7.5 : About asterisk operators in Python.

            The asterisk known as the star operator is used in Python with more than one meaning attached to it.
            Today I will show you some simple examples of how can be used.
            Let’s start with these issues.

          • 50 Frequently Asked Python Interview Questions and Answers

            At present, Python is one of the most advanced and demanding programming languages that let anyone work more quickly and efficiently and helps to integrate the system more effectively. The language formulates on an object-oriented approach, that helps programmers to write readable and logical code for any scaled (large or small) projects. A developer’s caliber will be evaluated by his/her programming skills, analytical ability, problem-solving capability in the shortest possible time, and his vast knowledge on the tools and language that he will be using to do so. To assist you with your upcoming interview, we have short-listed the top 50 Python Interview Questions and Answers.

          • How to have default/initial values in a Django form that is bound and rendered

            Django’s Form framework is excellent. It’s intuitive and versatile and, best of all, easy to use. However, one little thing that is not so intuitive is how do you render a bound form with default/initial values when the form is never rendered unbound.

          • Python Can Run Up To ~27% Faster On Fedora 32 With Optimization

            Fedora developers found that building Python with -fno-semantic-interposition can yield up to 27% higher performance depending upon the workload. Test cases like nbody, scimark, django, ray-tracing, and many others yielded performance improvements in the range of 20~27% with a whole lot more delivering improvements in the 5~20% range as measured by PyPerformance.

            The only minor downside to this change of no semantic interposition is that LD_PRELOAD cannot be used with Python for overriding symbols, but that shouldn’t affect many.

          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccx) stackoverflow python report
      • Standards/Consortia

        • Library of Congress Storage Architecture Meeting

          The Library of Congress has finally posted the presentations from the 2019 Designing Storage Architectures for Digital Collections workshop that took place in early September, I’ve greatly enjoyed the earlier editions of this meeting, so I was sorry I couldn’t make it this time. Below the fold, I look at some of the presentations.

  • Leftovers

    • The Visitor: Wizards of Loneliness

      I moved to Dortmund, Germany about three months ago, though it feels more like six or twelve. The hours stretch here in a way I’m not accustomed to, even living, as I used to, in a what my landlord in Iowa City called the “Spinster’s Cottage”—a little shack originally built for an aging and unmarried daughter of the town, inside which I couldn’t fully stretch the length of my wingspan. As I did in Iowa City, I spend much of my time here in Dortmund in my house, but for different reasons—where once I favored seclusion in hopes of writing more and better, and also because of the months of numbing Midwestern cold, here I favor seclusion because I don’t speak German well, and every minute outside bends precariously under a series of small but weighty embarrassments. These are the types of experiences a dean warns her junior year study-abroaders about, under the heading of culture shock, telling them in advance to just take it in stride. At thirty-one, though, I have limited youthful zeal, and limited bandwith, as has become fashionable to say. Presented with retrieving a loaf of something called “fire bread” from the series of plastic tubes at the grocery store, I abandon the task.

    • Despair in America: the Unspoken Issue of the 2020 Election

      Ever wake up one morning and ask yourself if anything really matters?  Why do I stay alive?

    • Science

      • The Other Gorgon: Surrealism & Photography, c. 1929

        Photography has always confounded any real attempt we have made to come to grips with its powers. Since it first appeared around 1826, the electromagnetic image has lost nothing of its miraculous appeal, while the camera has itself become inseparable from everyday life. Available to all in endless multiplications, the photograph even dares to rebuild the past. Perhaps this is why the Surrealists saw in photography a material answer to dreams. Perhaps it is also why they sought to corrupt it.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • The “Ending the Diagnostic Odyssey Act of 2019″

        Senator Collins’s Homepage defines the “genetic odyssey” in the bill’s title as the delay children with rare genetic diseases endure, which the Senator says last 5-7 years on average. The tragedy of this odyssey is that many of these children do not live more than 5 years, making the provisions of the bill a life-and-death proposition for them. According to the website, “[t]here are approximately 7,000 rare diseases known today; approximately 80 percent of rare diseases are genetic, and about one-half of all rare diseases affect children.” The Senator asserts that her bill is supported by over 100 patient advocacy groups, including “the Genetic Alliance, the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance, Alström Syndrome International, Epilepsy Foundation, and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.”

        [... comment by Bruce Quinn ...]

        A comparable bill in 2018 was H.R. 5026, Advancing Access to Personalized Medicine. The language in this Senate proposal has been altered in a small but very significant way. In 2018, H.R. 5026 provided whole genome sequencing (WGS) for Medicaid babies or children IN an intensive care unit “AND” was a specialist certifying they had a likely unknown genetic disease. This is reasonable; see Farnaes, WGS decreases infant morbidity in ICU’s, 2018, NPJ Genomic Medicine 3:10.

        A small change in the new language provides WGS testing for children in an ICU, “OR,” with a likely genetic disease. The second clause in the new bill points to a broad range of children; it would include many children who need targeted, not WGS testing. There are also still gaps and undefined areas in whole exome/whole genome sequencing relative to targeted sequencing (e.g. Gotway, Clin Chem 66:199,2020).

      • New Year’s Resolutions for the Pharmaceutical Industry

        Our Reps Will Wait Their Turn To See The Doctor

      • New Report Details How EPA Is Promoting ‘Worst of the Worst Pesticides’

        From 2017-2018, the agency approved 69 new pesticide products containing an ingredient the EPA recognizes as a “known” or “likely” carcinogen.

      • Missouri Republican Bill Aims to Have Cops Stop Abortions

        A Missouri Republican legislator has introduced so-called fetal personhood legislation that could mandate law enforcement to stop people from having abortions.

      • The Corporate Assault on Cancer Alley Created an Environmental Justice Warrior

        On the evening of January 6, Louisiana state regulators issued 15 key permits to the Taiwanese petrochemical corporation Formosa for its $9.4 billion plastics manufacturing complex proposed for the historically black area of St. James Parish. Word spread today about the approvals, which pave the way for the project’s construction, opposed by local and national environmental advocates.

      • After Approval by House Democrats, GOP-Controlled Senate Urged to Pass Measure to Curtail Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’

        The legislation would require the federal government to test for health effects of PFAS.

      • Opening a Closed Markush Group

        Amgen’s patent at issue covers a drug formulation for treatment of hyperparathyroidism in particular situations sold under the trade name Sensipar with about $1b annual sales. U.S. Patent 9,375,405. Note here, that Amgen’s primary patent on the blockbuster drug expired in 2018, but this secondary formulation patent has been effective at keeping generics off the market.

        Amgen sued Amneal, Piramal, and Zydus for infringement based upon their ANDA filings with the FDA. The district court ruled that the Zydus proposal would infringe, but that the proposed formulations by Amneal and Piramal would not infringe. On appeal, the Federal Circuit has vacated the verdict for Amneal on claim construction, but affirmed no-infringement by Piramal and infringement by Zydus. Thus, Piramal has something of a green-light to move ahead.

        [...]

        In his decision, the Commissioner in Markush concluded that there are “many instances in which a generic term covering a number of substances cannot properly be employed” and that a listing of alternatives may be the only way the applicant “may cover his real invention without filing a number of applications.”

        Note here that Amgen’s Markush group is remarkably similar to that presented by Markush’s patent attorney Victor Borst back in 1925. The claim format has remained remarkably “stuck” as a limited mechanism for avoiding claim-in-the-alternative objections.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Google Releases Android 10 Security Patch for January 2020, 40 Flaws Patched

            Google has released the Android Security Patch for January 2020 and Pixel Update for January 2020 to address the latest security vulnerabilities and provide stability and performance improvements.

            Consisting of the 2020-01-01 and 2020-01-05 security patch levels, the Android Security Patch for January 2020 is here to patch a total of 40 security vulnerabilities discovered in the Android framework, system, media framework, kernel components, as well as Qualcomm components, including closed-source ones.

            Among the most severe vulnerabilities addressed in the Android Security Patch for January 2020, we can mention a flaw discovered in the Android framework that could allow a local malicious app to gain access to additional permissions, an issue in the Android system that could lead to remote information disclosure, and a flaw in the Media framework that could allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code by using a specially crafted file.

          • New SHA-1 Attack

            There’s a new, practical, collision attack against SHA-1: [...] It has practical applications: [...]

          • Lawmakers Prod FCC to Act on SIM Swapping

            Crooks have stolen tens of millions of dollars and other valuable commodities from thousands of consumers via “SIM swapping,” a particularly invasive form of fraud that involves tricking a target’s mobile carrier into transferring someone’s wireless service to a device they control. But the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the entity responsible for overseeing wireless industry practices, has so far remained largely silent on the matter. Now, a cadre of lawmakers is demanding to know what, if anything, the agency might be doing to track and combat SIM swapping.

          • [Attackers] Scan for Vulnerable Citrix ADC Systems

            Weeks after Citrix revealed a critical vulnerability impacting its Application Delivery Controller (ADC) and Gateway products, hackers have started to scan the Internet for vulnerable systems, security researchers report.

            Tracked as CVE-2019-19781 and featuring a CVSS score of 9.8, the vulnerability has existed since 2014. Exploitation could result in attackers gaining unauthorized access to internal network resources and executing arbitrary code.

          • TikTok Riddled With Security Flaws

            Researchers say they have discovered several major vulnerabilities in the short form video app TikTok. The reported vulnerabilities come as scrutiny around the Chinese-owned platform increases.

            Researchers say the most serious vulnerability in the platform could allow attackers to remotely take control over parts of victims’ TikTok account, such as uploading or deleting videos and changing settings on videos to make “hidden” videos public. Researchers also discovered a separate vulnerability that allowed them to obtain personal data of victims, such as email addresses and more.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • What Plutarchy Nurtures

              Maybe you spend most of your time online or wish you could because cyberspace was here to greet you at birth, and it’s been family to you in a way that the analog world can’t compete.You like Nature, the video game. And so on. Or maybe you have a richer social life online than offline. You have so many friends on Facebook that when you die, a real-world action, you’ll live forever as a Facebook friend. Or, maybe events in the real world like impeachment, planetary warming, war, and rising incivility in your surround has you retreating to cyberspace, where you only blood in a video game. Or just maybe you make a very good living spending your work week online, and you wish your family was an online family to enjoy your success with you.

            • NYC’s Transportation Authority Says It’s Doesn’t Use Facial Recognition Tech; Activists Say ‘Prove It’ With Public Records Lawsuit

              Like pretty much everyone else, New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is using facial recognition software. Like pretty much everyone else, it doesn’t really have any success stories to share.

            • New Immigrant DNA Collection Program Triggers Fear of Population Surveillance

              On Monday, the federal government “launched a pilot program to collect DNA from people in immigration custody and submit it to the FBI, with plans to expand nationwide,” reported the Associated Press. Eventually, the administration intends to expand the program to collect DNA samples from people in both U.S. Customs and Border Protection and ICE custody. The samples will be forwarded to the FBI for analysis and then added to the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, database. As NPR reported in October, when the Attorney General first issued the proposed rule, the expectation was that “federal authorities will gather DNA information on about 748,000 immigrants annually, including asylum-seekers presenting themselves at legal ports of entries.”

            • 4 Ring Employees Fired For Spying on Customers

              Smart doorbell company Ring said that it has fired four employees over the past four years for inappropriately accessing customer video footage.

              The disclosure comes in a recent letter to senators (in response to a November inquiry into the company’s data policies) from Amazon-owned Ring as it attempts to defend the privacy of its platform, which has been plagued by data privacy incidents over the past year. In the letter, Ring said the former employees were authorized to view video data, but their attempted access to the data “exceeded what was necessary for their job functions.”

            • How Facebook misunderstands free speech

              Yet transparency wasn’t Facebook’s problem in the first place — or at least, not entirely. The social and political problems engendered by Facebook are rooted in how the platform and its leaders misunderstand what free speech is, and how it works. Facebook brass seem to think transparency — in knowing who manipulates us — is preferable to actually, say, ceasing the manipulation entirely.

            • Good privacy laws may not withstand more tracking by ‘Big Brother’

              When novelists of the 20th century imagined “Big Brother” in its various forms, it was always assumed that it would be the government keeping tabs on us. In the U.S., it’s private companies. In Mexico, where many have accounts with those American companies, it’s impossible to know the extent to which our data is being used and shared, and by whom.

              There seem to be two trains of thought on the issue of privacy in general. The first is a generally cynical and resigned attitude that goes something like this: “It’s already happening and there’s nothing we can do to stop it, so you might as well adapt and just assume that nothing you do, say, write, or post is private.”

              The other is filled with quite a bit more worry and panic, and often leads to feelings of helplessness in the face of being used for our data at best, and exposed to those who would hurt us at worst.

            • A Facebook Bug Exposed Anonymous Admins of Pages

              Facebook Pages give public figures, businesses, and other entities a presence on Facebook that isn’t tied to an individual profile. The accounts behind those pages are anonymous unless a Page owner opts to make the admins public. You can’t see, for example, the names of the people who post to Facebook on WIRED’s behalf. But a bug that was live from Thursday evening until Friday morning allowed anyone to easily reveal the accounts running a Page, essentially doxing anyone who posted to one.

            • Confidentiality

              • Ring Throws A Moist Towelette On Its Dumpster Fire With A Couple Of Minimal Security Tweaks

                Things have gotten worse and worse for Amazon’s Ring over the past several months. Once just the pusher of a snitch app that allowed city residents to engage in racial profiling from the comfort of their homes, Ring is now synonymous with poor security practices and questionable “partnerships” with hundreds of law enforcement agencies around the nation.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Will We Always be This Way?

        “The people do not want war!”

      • The Current U.S. Approach to Nuclear Weapons Can Only Lead to Armageddon

        The decade ends with two major threats to humanity: global warming leading to a climate catastrophe and the threat of a nuclear war extinguishing our civilization. The U.S. has pulled out of the Paris Agreement and is wrecker-in-chief of the weak climate change agreement that all the countries had signed to limit the emission of greenhouse gases. It is also leading the charge for a nuclear armageddon, dismantling all nuclear arms control treaties. Expectedly, there has been a Russian response, but not by matching the U.S. efforts but by asymmetric measures designed to defeat the U.S. attempts of gaining nuclear dominance. Such an asymmetric response does not reduce the threat of a nuclear exchange but only ensures that there will be no winner in such a nuclear war.

      • The Embalming of Syria

        The Syrian civil war, which has been raging since 2011, is one of the worst tragedies of the early twenty-first century. Approximately half a million people have died, about six million people have fled the country, and another six million people remain internally displaced. Much of the country lies in ruins, perhaps never again to recover.

      • The Assassin’s Creed in the Age of Endless War and Trump

        This is the world in which we now live, one of endless war, where victory is not only impossible but undesirable, and where a mad king can run amok, and we the people just nod and go about our day. It will remain so until the American public decides that we have had enough…

      • We Need More Than the Relatively Useless War Powers Resolutions

        By any measure, the War Powers Act has failed to constrain presidential warmaking. A simpler step would be to stop funding wars.

      • The activists occupying Abkhazia’s presidential administration building are now armed

        Activists in Abkhazia who stormed and occupied the separatist enclave’s presidential administration building on January 9 broke into the armory and seized firearms, Abkhazian Security Council Secretary Muhammad Kilba told the news agency Interfax.

      • FSB reportedly fires more than a dozen agents who recorded and leaked footage of last month’s deadly shootout in Moscow

        Russia’s Federal Security Service has reportedly fired 16 staff responsible for recording and leaking cell-phone footage of last month’s deadly shootout in downtown Moscow, a source close to the agency told the website RBC. 

      • How women’s crisis centers operate in the Northern Caucasus

        In Russia, crisis centers for women facing domestic violence are in short supply even in large cities like Moscow and Kazan. In the Northern Caucasus, the situation surrounding domestic violence is even more complex due to practices like honor killings and bride kidnappings as well as a widespread disapproval of extramarital sex. Those who run and work for crisis centers in the Northern Caucasus regularly confront problems that are very rare elsewhere in Russia. Maria Klimova asked how those centers persist nonetheless.

      • USAID Arriving in Bolivia to ‘Monitor Elections,’ Raising Fears of US Meddling in May 3 Vote

        “The Trump administration has clearly picked sides.”

      • Thousands Across US Send Message to Trump: ‘No Threats, No Bombs, No War With Iran’

        “Tonight, the American people spoke with one voice. No war.”

      • We’re Staying, US Tells Iraq After Being Asked to Leave

        The Iraqi Parliament voted on January 5 to ask U.S. forces to leave the country.

      • U.S. Dismisses Iraq Request to Work on a Troop Withdrawal Plan

        Iraq’s caretaker prime minister asked Washington to work out a road map for an American troop withdrawal, but the U.S. State Department on Friday bluntly rejected the request, saying the two sides should instead talk about how to “recommit” to their partnership.

      • What the US Wants in the Near East: an Interview With The Saker

        The Saker: Trump has been accused of not thinking forward, of not having a long-term strategy regarding the consequences of assassinating General Suleimani. Does the United States in fact have a strategy in the Near East, or is it only ad hoc?

      • 10 Ways Trump’s Actions Against Iran Hurt the US, the Region, and the World

        We, the American people, must rise up to overcome the power of the military-industrial complex and take our country’s destiny out of the hands of warmongers and monsters.

      • Why Do We Allow This Madness To Continue?

        “What right does your president have to attack us, to ruin our country?”

      • Thanks to Trump, Iran has the Upper Hand

        The assassination of General Soleimani is proving to be a resounding success for Iran. It accomplished what the ayatollah could not: common ground between Iran and Iraq, Iraq’s invitation to the US military to leave the country; an end to Iranian popular protests against the regime’s economic policies, and instead broad support for retaliation against the US air strike; and further division in Washington over Trump’s Middle East policy, including renewed calls for restraining him from attacking Iran.

      • Innocent Iranian-Americans Pose No Threat

        Early in the morning on January 2, U.S. drone strikes decimated a two-car convoy near Baghdad’s International Airport in Iraq. Killed in the targeted attack was General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards elite Quds Force, as well as nine other individuals. There’s no debate over whether or not Soleimani was a heinous human being. In fact, if the CIA publicized its most-wanted terrorists list, there’s no doubt that Soleimani would get top billing. But this surprise attack raised the stakes in a region of the world that was already on edge, and that’s creating problems for Iranian-Americans who live stateside.

      • Iran Will Make Huge Political Gains From This Crisis

        The Iranian missile attack on two US bases in Iraq is symbolic retaliation for the US assassination of General Qassem Soleimani on 3 January.

      • Paradise Islands and Boris Johnson’s Hypocrisy

        As the Middle East lurches to deeper chaos, thanks to Washington’s drone-strike assassination in Iraq of Iranian and Iraqi citizens, and the world braces for greater reprisals than a few dud rockets, the light has shifted from the countless millions of other people deserving attention and compassion.  Human rights continue to be abused in many regions in spite of efforts by the UN and private organizations to persuade various regimes that their conduct is shameful.

      • Main Result of Soleimani Assassination: the Movement to Expel U.S. Forces

        Donald Trump postures as an anti-war president, or at least one who opposes “stupid, endless wars in the Middle East.” (Emphasis here on stupidity—read: expense—rather than morality and the issue of human suffering. Trump is a singularly non-empathetic human being.) On the other hand he’s boasted that he’s the “most militaristic” president we’ve ever seen. He has derived apparent pleasure from dramatic military actions, such as the deployment of the MOAB (Massive Ordinance Air Blast) bomb for the first time in Afghanistan in 2017, and the missile attack on Syria following the (false) report that the regime had used chemical weapons in April 2018.

      • Was Soleimani a Monstrous Kingmaker or Simply an Enabler?

        There’s an extremely grim moment in the 1967 movie version of A Man for All Seasons, the epic Robert Bolt screenplay about the chancellor Thomas More’s refusal to support Henry VIII’s divorce, when Thomas Cromwell recruits the young and ambitious schoolteacher Richard Rich to become a spy. Rich will later provide the tainted evidence that sends More to his execution. But in this first meeting – in a London pub – Cromwell offers Rich preferment (and thus wealth) in return for even the tiniest scrap of information which might be used against King Henry’s new lord chancellor.

      • From Resistance to Assistance: Corporate Media’s Pathetic Pushback to Trump’s Iran Assassination

        While corporate media like to present themselves as holding the current administration to account, in reality they offer little meaningful resistance to its foreign policy adventures.

      • ‘Completely Lawless President’: Trump Reportedly Tried to Kill Another Top Iranian Commander on Same Day as Soleimani

        “Multiple strikes on top IRGC officials is starting a war. These were decapitation strikes.”

      • Was ‘Imminent Threat’ His Impeachment? Trump Reportedly Admitted Soleimani Killed to Appease GOP Senators

        Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders both seized upon the report as evidence that Trump nearly sparked a catastrophic war for political gain.

      • As We Work to Prevent Iran War, It’s Time to End All Our Wars

        Progressives are rightly mobilizing in force against war with Iran. Preventing another war is certainly imperative. In addition, we must recognize it is past time to end the endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. With a foreign policy that is increasingly synonymous with war, will profit-minded Pentagon contractors and a politicized military leadership win another year of pointless world domination, as if it’s all a big game of Risk?

      • Pulling Back From War: Trump and the Politics of De-Escalation

        As “the loudest voice” in the room, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo successfully lobbied for President Trump to authorize the illegal assassination strike against Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. This “victory” proved fleeting, however, considering the risks to this administration’s reelection that accompanied all-out war. A full-blown conflict appeared increasingly likely following Iran’s missile strikes on American bases in Iraq’s Anbar province and in Erbil, so it is understandable for Americans to be surprised by Trump’s reversing course, and with the de-escalation he announced in his latest speech to the nation.

      • Pompeo Says ‘No Doubt’ Soleimani Was Planning Imminent Attacks But Admits He Doesn’t Know When or Where

        “That is not what ‘imminent’ means. It’s this kind of obfuscation, lying to Congress, and unchecked provocation that dragged us into the Iraq War.”

      • Bishop Thomas Gumbleton Issues Call to Catholics: Let Us End Our Complicity in War

        All Catholics should refuse to kill and should refuse cooperation with United States wars.

      • Bernie and Iran

        Even after Trump’s conciliatory speech the world still teeters on the brink of war, which could immediately draw in countries across the Middle East and beyond. Anything remains possible, since there are powerful nations on all sides demanding peace on one hand and clamoring for war on the other.

      • “This is What Empires Do”
      • The Price of Empire

        I don’t know how much longer we can keep fooling ourselves; we’ve already been at it for so long.

      • War With Iran is at Stake–and Democrats’ High Jump Over Low Standards Aren’t Helping

        The huge crisis with Iran is more dangerous because so many Democrats have been talking out of both sides of their congressional mouths.

      • Hegemony: the Supreme Law of the Planet

        In 1970, Professor Thomas Franck, with whom I studied international law at New York University School of Law, posed a question Who Killed Article 2(4)?

      • The Global War of Error

        Yes, our infrastructure stinks, our schools are failing, this country’s a nightmare of inequality,and there’s a self-promoting madman in the White House, so isn’t it time to take pride in the rare institutional victories America has had in this century? Arguably, none has been more striking than the triumphal success of the American war system.

      • America’s Dangerous Iran Obsession

        The US, seemingly with no awareness of its recent history with Iran, and led by an emotionally unbalanced president who believes he may commit murder and get away with it, is still acting out a 40-year-old psychological trauma. As usual, it’s others who are most at risk.

      • Mike Pompeo Contradicts Trump’s Claim That Suleimani Planned Attack on Embassies

        President Donald Trump claimed that Iran’s Qassem Soleimani plotted to blow up U.S. embassies when he was killed last week, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admitted that the administration had no idea when or where an attack would take place.

      • Washington Post Runs Pro-War Column Without Disclosing Author’s Raytheon Ties

        This week The Washington Post published an opinion column by Stephen Hadley, a former Bush administration official and member of the board of directors of Raytheon. In his op-ed, Hadley justified the Trump administration’s assassination of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani and argued that the United States should keep its military force in Iraq. Hadley wrote that killing Soleimani was “a bold move with potentially far-reaching consequences. It unquestionably heightens the risk of war; it could also open the door to diplomacy.”

      • Trump Ups Iran Accusations: Four U.S. Embassies Targeted

        Confronted by persistent questions about his military action in the Middle East, President Donald Trump and his top officials offered a string of fresh explanations Friday, with Trump now contending Iranian militants had planned major attacks on four U.S. embassies.

      • Assassination, Lies and the Trump Difference

        United States presidents have long lied about the pretexts for, and the nature of, their murderous and criminal foreign policy actions. Remember George W. Bush and Dick Cheney’s fraudulent claims that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq government possessed vast stocks of “weapons of mass destruction” that threatened the world and that Iraq had participated in the September 11, 2001 jetliner attacks?

      • Boeing Papers Show Employees Slid 737 Max Problems Past FAA

        Boeing employees raised doubts among themselves about the safety of the 737 Max, apparently tried to hide problems from federal regulators and ridiculed those responsible for designing and overseeing the jetliner, according to a batch of emails and texts released nearly a year after the aircraft was grounded over two catastrophic crashes.

      • U.S. Blames Iran for Ukrainian Jetliner Downing, Pledges Probe

        The U.S. promised “appropriate action” Friday in response to its assessment that an Iranian missile was responsible for downing a Ukrainian jetliner that crashed outside Tehran, as the Iranian government denied playing a role in the killing of all 176 people on board.

      • Ukraine Airliner Tragedy Evokes Memories of US Iran Air Shootdown, Cubana Flight 455 Attack

        On July 3, 1988 the US guided missile destroyer USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 655, an Airbus A300 flying in Iranian airspace and carrying 290 civilians from Tehran to Dubai via Bandar Abbas, killing all aboard.

      • Gregory Shupak on Iran Assassination, Brett Hartl on Biodiversity Loss
      • For Western Press, the Only Coup in Venezuela Is Against Guaidó

        The international corporate media have entered crisis mode following the replacement of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as head of the country’s National Assembly.

      • Iran Says It Unintentionally Shot Down Ukrainian Jet

        Iran announced Saturday that its military shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet earlier this week in the outskirts of Tehran, killing all 176 people aboard. It said it was unintentional.

      • Turkey in talks to establish schools in Germany

        The governments of the respective nations are negotiating an agreement that will create Turkish schools in the EU’s largest country. Under the new proposals, they would be located in Berlin, Cologne and Frankfurt.

      • The Marine Corps’ 4 priorities in the information environment

        “This would include new [open-source intelligence] capabilities; how do we use publicly available information; how do we do intelligence support to space, intelligence support to cyber? All of these things are really new capabilities,” said Reynolds. “There’s a lot of change required.”

      • ‘We’re on full alert’: China’s aggressive South China Sea move

        The Natuna archipelago occupies a particularly strategic spot in the South China Sea. Its waters contain significant oil and gas reserves. But it also sits astride arterial shipping lanes passing through the narrow Malacca Strait.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Not fake news: Major study finds no “liberal bias” in media — but there are other problems

        In short, despite being dominantly liberals/Democrats, journalists do not seem to be exhibiting liberal media bias (or conservative media bias) in what they choose to cover. This null is vitally important — showing that overall, journalists do not display political gatekeeping bias in the stories they choose to cover.

        In a way, that’s not that surprising: Journalists place a high value on objectivity and balance. Avoiding ideological bias “rates very high” among journalists, lead author Hans Hassell of Florida State told Salon — 8.5 on scale of 10 in the survey these researchers conducted. As Hassell acknowledged, “A response you give to a survey may be very different from the actual behaviors that you express in the things that you do.”

      • Press Watch: When Trump just makes stuff up, mainstream media still plays along

        He still got the kind of coverage normal presidents get when they say something controversial, rather than the coverage that a compulsively lying president ought to get when he says something that’s obviously made up.

        Some of the news coverage described his declaration as a new revelation, some as a contradiction, some as a possible conflation. Much of the coverage at some point noted that it lacked supporting evidence. But none that I saw called it out for what it really was: Yet another bit of disinformation intended to excuse one of the most impulsive, illegal, dangerous and consequential acts Trump has taken yet.

        Here’s what the headlines could have said: “Trump makes new, baseless claim to justify shocking, inflammatory assassination of Iranian general.”

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • ‘See? Not Radical’: New Poll Shows Nearly Two-Thirds of Americans Support a Wealth Tax to Fund Universal Programs

        “It’s simple. The majority of Americans believe that we should tax the rich.”

      • Righteous Capitalism vs. Cooperative Values

        New Belgium Brewery sold to Japanese Multinational

      • The Crushing Burden of Japan’s Debt and Other Scare Stories for Small Children

        Jim Tankersley and Jeanna Smialek had a column in the NYT talking about how economists seem to be worried about the economy, in spite of low unemployment and continued growth. The economists cited had a variety of concerns, but most seemed to center on the possibility that the government will lack the tools to respond to the next recession.

      • The Importance of Hating All Kinds of Billionaires

        “Some people say, well, taxes are regressive. But in this case, yes they are. That’s the good thing about them because the problem is in people that don’t have a lot of money. And so, higher taxes should have a bigger impact on their behavior and how they deal with themselves. So, I listen to people saying ‘oh we don’t want to tax the poor.’ Well, we want the poor to live longer so that they can get an education and enjoy life. And that’s why you do want to do exactly what a lot of people say you don’t want to do.

      • The People of the World Need a Much Better Way to Curtail the Power of Multi-National Corporations

        The seeds of a transformative corporate governance redesign movement, already sown, have sprouted and are ready to spread across the world.

      • Capitalism and the Gut-Wrenching Hijack of India  

        In India, the ‘development’ paradigm is premised on moving farmers out of agriculture and into the cities to work in construction, manufacturing or the service sector, despite these sectors not creating anything like the number of jobs required. The aim is to displace the existing labour-intensive system of food and agriculture with one dominated by a few transnational corporate agri-food giants which will then control the sector. Agriculture is to be wholly commercialised with large-scale, mechanised (monocrop) enterprises replacing family-run farms that help sustain hundreds of millions of rural livelihoods while feeding the urban masses.

      • Haiti by the Numbers: 10 Years Later

        Magnitude of earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010: 7.0

      • How to File Your State and Federal Taxes for Free in 2020

        Most Americans are eligible for free tax preparation services, but the truly free options can be hard to find. If you’re not careful, you could end up using a service that says it’s free but demands payment after you’ve spent time entering your information.

        If you make less than $69,000 a year, you can find free tax filing options at the IRS Free File webpage.

      • We Found Major Trump Tax Inconsistencies. New York’s Mayor Wants a Criminal Investigation.

        New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday that he had asked Manhattan’s district attorney to investigate discrepancies ProPublica and WNYC revealed last fall between what President Donald Trump’s company reported in filings to city tax officials and what it reported in loan filings. The discrepancies made his properties seem more profitable to a lender and less profitable to the city’s tax authorities.

        After ProPublica published its findings, de Blasio said Friday, the city decided to examine the issues. That process resulted in one matter being turned over to the district attorney in November. De Blasio said he made the referral “because there is a possibility of a criminal act having been committed.” The referral related to Trump’s historic downtown skyscraper at 40 Wall Street, a city spokeswoman added.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Kyrgyz Investigative Website Editor Attacked In Bishkek

        The editor in chief of Kyrgyz investigative website FactCheck was attacked by unidentified assailants on January 9, colleagues told RFE/RL.

        Three men attacked Bolot Temirov near the website’s office in Bishkek, beating him and robbing him of his mobile phone, his colleagues said.

      • Journalist alleging Obama administration spied on her seeks to reopen case

        While at CBS, Attkisson garnered acclaim for investigative reporting on Operation Fast and Furious, an Obama-era program meant to crack down on illegal arms trafficking but which went awry.

        Among the defendants named in her suit is Rod Rosenstein, who was a U.S. Attorney under Presidents George W. Bush and Obama, before serving out a controversial two-year tenure as deputy attorney general under President Trump.

        Attkisson alleges her Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure was violated by government intrusions into her electronic devices while she reported on controversial issues like the 2012 attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Project 1619 and Its Detractors

        Last August, the New York Times Sunday Magazine devoted an entire issue to Project 1619, an attempt to root today’s racism in the institution of slavery dating back to the seventeenth century. In 1619, British colonists in Point Comfort, Virginia bought twenty African slaves from Portuguese traders who had landed there, fresh from a body-snatching expedition. Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote the introduction to ten articles in the magazine that focused on different aspects of Black oppression, such as Traymaine Lee’s on the wealth gap between black and white Americans.

      • Texas Governor to Reject New Refugees, First Under Trump

        Texas will no longer accept the resettlement of new refugees, becoming the first state known to do so under a recent Trump administration order, Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday.

      • US: ‘Unalienable Rights’ Commission Risks Rights Protections

        The United States State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights risks calling for a dangerous downgrading of international human rights protections. On January 10, 2020, the Human Rights Watch executive director, Kenneth Roth, testified at the commission’s fourth open session.

        While the fundamental rights set out in the human rights treaties are clear, the Trump administration has taken issue with the rights they uphold, such as reproductive freedom or the rights of LGBT people not to face discrimination. Human Rights Watch expressed concern that the commission’s exercise in identifying “unalienable” rights is the administration’s unilateral attempt to rewrite international law based on its own beliefs.

      • Activists Reclaimed a Water Source for Palestinians, Showing Co-Resistance Works

        Recently, nonviolent Palestinian activist Kifah Adara drew water from the Ein Albeida spring near her West Bank village of Al-Tuwani for the first time in 15 years. The spring is a natural water source that was used by Palestinian communities in the region for generations, but a decade and a half ago, nearby Israeli settlers started swimming in the spring, which dirtied the water and made it unsuitable for drinking. For years, due to settler violence and intimidation tactics, Palestinians couldn’t access the spring at all.

      • Iran Loathes Pompeo’s Chabahar Gift

        Sometimes a crisis is needed to judge the efficacy of a country’s regional policies. The U.S.-Iran confrontation is one such moment for India.

      • Travesty of Justice for Seven Zimbabwe Activists

        A Harare magistrates court this week proved unwilling to drop baseless charges against seven activists for seeking to subvert the government of Zimbabwe. Instead, the court extended bail to January 31, when the activists must return for another hearing. The activists are Farirai Gumbonzvanda, Stabile Dewa, Rita Nyampinga, Nyasha Frank Mpahlo, George Makoni, Tatenda Mombeyarara, and Gamuchirai Mukura.  

        Their lawyers told Human Rights Watch that since their arrest in May 2019 at the Robert Mugabe International Airport in Harare, the capital, on their return from a peaceful resistance workshop in the Maldives, all seven have been denied the rights to humane treatment, a prompt trial, and other basic rights. While the activists were released on bail in June, state security agents have yet to return their laptops and mobile phones that were seized during their arrest, despite indicating that they had finished extracting information from the devices.

      • Sri Lanka: Repeal Abusive Counterterrorism Law
      • California Governor’s Budget Makes Stronger Jail Oversight a Priority

        California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday demanded more accountability from his state community corrections board and called for more frequent jail inspections, tighter oversight and stricter standards for how sheriffs run local lockups.

        His calls followed a yearlong McClatchy and ProPublica investigation into county jails that showed that there are no limits on how long sheriffs can hold mentally ill inmates in extreme isolation, that violence goes unchecked in many lockups and that state inspectors are powerless to enforce their own standards.

      • Beyond Prisons: Certain Days Collective

        On this episode of the Beyond Prisons Podcast, hosts Brian Sonenstein and Kim Wilson catch up with  Certain Days Collective members Daniel McGowan, Josh Davidson, and Sara Falconer.

        The group publishes the Certain Days: Freedom For Political Prisoners calendar, now in its 19th year of publication and filled with radical historical dates, 12 thought-provoking articles and beautiful artwork for each month throughout the year. All proceeds support prisoners and grassroots organizations, and we urge you to visit certaindays.org to obtain copies of their beautiful 2020 edition, the theme of which is “Knitting Together The Struggles.”

      • America Could Look Like Hungary if Trump Is Re-Elected

        Now that we’ve entered an election year, there is a lot of speculation about what America could look like if Donald Trump gets another term, by hook or by crook. As Trump uses a crisis he created in the Middle East to distract us from impeachment, increases his chances of reelection, and boosts the fortunes of his buddies in the Military-Industrial Complex, it’s important to understand how other demagogic leaders consolidate their power.

      • Prison ‘inadvertently’ deleted surveillance video outside cell during Jeffrey Epstein’s first suicide attempt, feds say

        Ten of the 18 staffers who reported for duty on the midnight-to-8 a.m. shift, the one on which Epstein was found dead, were working overtime, according to federal prison records. On the previous shift, 4 p.m. to midnight, six of the 20 staffers were working overtime.

      • Robert Reich: Four reasons why millennials don’t have any money

        Millennials aren’t teenagers anymore. They’re working hard, starting families and trying to build wealth. But as a generation, they’re way behind.

        They’re deeper in debt, only half as likely to own a home, and more likely to live in poverty than their parents.

        If we want to address their problems, we need to understand those problems.

      • Of Flying Mice and Corseted Courtesans

        Spurred more by ethnographic fascination than by the pursuit of artistic uplift or even a desire for quality entertainment, I hatched a plan to brave that most Germanic of seasonal obligations: taking in Johann Strauss’s operetta Die Fledermaus over Christmas. A friend from London was also in Berlin and when I floated the possibility of buying tickets for the batty hijinks on offer at the Deutsche Opera he sent this email shot across my bow:

        “I’ve seen Fledermaus. Believe me, never having seen it is a far better place to be, and one you should not give up lightly. I even saw it, last January, at that other home of German culture, the Staatsoper in Vienna. It was like going to a Brexit rally. The guys wore felt. Everyone knew the words. Still more bafflingly, everyone knew the utterly banal music and, worse, laughed at the jokes. I would rather have been at Gilbert and Sullivan done by an am dram collective in Sussex. What I hope is coming across is that I am imploring you not to go to Fledermaus. You would be damaged by it, as I have been. You would lose faith in German, Germany, and probably human nature. It would wreck your Christmas.”

        Thus dissuaded from a potentially disastrous course of action, I ventured with my friend and our respective families to the Comic Opera where, in my long experience with this most adventurous of musical institutions, felt is never worn. More often, at least on stage, the singers—or, as dictated by directorial fiat, sculpted supernumeraries—wear nothing at all.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • AT&T TV Service Goes Dark On Roku As The Streaming Wars Get Stupid

        For years cable customers have been plagued by content blackouts as cable providers and broadcasters bicker over new programming contracts. So called “retransmission feuds” usually go something like this: a broadcaster demands a cable company pay twice as much money to carry the same content. The pay TV provider balks, and blacks out the aforementioned content. Consumers spend a few months paying for content they can’t access, while the two sides bitch at each other and try to leverage consumer anger against the other guy. After a while a new confidential deal is struck, and customers face a higher bill with little to show for it. Rinse, wash, repeat.

      • New Law Bans ISPs From Charging You A ‘Rental’ Fee For Hardware You Already Own

        For much of this year, broadband customers have been complaining that Frontier Communications, the nation’s third-biggest telco, had been charging its customers a rental fee for modems they already owned. Normally, you’re supposed to be able to buy your own modem instead of paying your ISP a rental fee upwards of $10 per month. To nab some extra dough from captive customers, Frontier basically decided to charge its customers a rental fee anyway, giving them a polite, though giant, middle finger when they complained.

      • ‘A Win for Telecom’: House Overwhelmingly Passes 5G Bill That Bars Consideration of Industry Nationalization

        “This legislation looks to be a handout to big telecom.”

    • Monopolies

      • Uber is trying to trick its drivers into skirting California’s new contractor law

        John Costa, International President of the Amalgamated Transit Union, said in a media statement Uber’s response is “yet another indication that Uber has no intention of treating its drivers fairly and respectfully.”

        “The Amalgamated Transit Union calls on California lawmakers to stand strong in the face of Uber’s scattershot attempts to avoid granting fair wages and basic benefits and protections to its drivers,” Costa said.

      • En Banc: Power of Customs & Border Protection

        Here, the particular duty order comes from two Dep’t of Commerce regulations that cover crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells but expressly exclude “thin film photovoltaic products produced from amorphous silicon (a-Si).” Products that fall within the order are subject to additional tariffs.

        Sunpreme claims its products fall within the exclusion, but CBP disagreed. Eventually the case went before the Court of International Trade (CIT) who characterized the DOC Orders as “ambiguous” with respect to Sunpreme’s modules.

        [...]

        The issues in this case remind me of what happens with claim construction and infringement analysis in district court litigation. The Judge decides claim construction while the jury decides whether the product infringes those claims (as interpreted). When a judge fully construes a claim, a jury is left with almost nothing to do except the ministerial act of finding infringement. For tough infringement questions, there is always a tendency to argue that the claims should have been more fully construed. However, I believe that approach drains too much power from the finder of fact – the Jury.

      • Patents

        • Contemporary Display patent determined to be likely invalid

          On January 7, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims in an IPR filed by Unified against US Patent 8,863,219, owned by Contemporary Display, LLC, an IP Valuation Partners entity and well-known NPE. The ‘219 patent, directed to the well-known method of a television and its on-screen display menu, had previously been asserted against various television manufacturers and service providers including LG, Verizon, and Cox.

        • USPTO Support for Filing in DOCX Format Still a Work in Progress [Ed: This office works for Microsoft instead of standards

          As of the time of this writing, the USPTO has not made a final decision on this issue. In anticipation of the fee increase, patent attorneys, agents, and paralegals have been trialing DOCX uploads. So far, the EFS DOCX parser has proven to work well with many files, but it is rather fragile in some cases, and outright buggy in others.

          DOCX is an open [sic] standard [sic] for word processing files. Since Microsoft Word 2007, it has been the default choice for the save format of that application. Unlike the proprietary DOC files that Microsoft Word used to produce, DOCX files are structured in XML. This makes them more portable between word processing applications and easier to parse.

          [...]

          Even worse, one of our applications kept getting rejected because it allegedly contained two or more of the specification, claims, and abstract (EFS DOCX support requires these three sections of the application be uploaded in three separate DOCX files). Yet, the file clearly contained only the specification. After manually removing sections of the application in a systematic fashion, we found the culprit — the USPTO’s DOCX parser apparently will not accept the word “conclusion” on a line by itself. When placed in a sentence, no problem. But on its own, “conclusion” consistently resulted in a rejected upload. Again, the error provided had nothing to do with the purported problem with the DOCX file. Only after hours of manual debugging were we able to satisfy EFS.

          Needless to say, DOCX support is not ready for prime time. Practically speaking, an attorney or agent up against a bar date may find that he or she cannot upload a reasonably-formatted DOCX file, and may be unable to address the issue in the necessary time frame due to the DOCX parser’s obtuse and misleading error messages. Instead, he or she may have to just eat the $400 fee and file a PDF.

        • Software Patents

          • Ladders of Abstractions: How Many Rungs Till the Threshold?

            Its patents at issue in this case all relate to managing access to content sent over networks, such as videos provided through online rental and streaming services. U.S. Patents 8,311,389; 9,088,942, and 9,733,522 (all with 2000 priority date).

            [...]

            Id. The Supreme Court particularly warned against undue generalization in Alice — writing that at some level of generalization, all inventions involve an abstract concept. Alice.

            [...]

            Regarding Alice Step 2, Maxell suggests that the innovative concept is easier to identify once you recognize that the patent applications were filed back in the year 2000. However, the district court refused to consider evidence of inventiveness in its eligibility analysis.

            In some ways, this case is simply asking the Supreme Court to recognize the USPTO’s eligibility examination guidelines as the law — a claim is only directed at an abstract idea if it recites an abstract idea.

      • Trademarks

        • Trademark infringement and Google PLA ads – Lessons from “Ortlieb”?

          The fundamentals of trademark infringement in relation to traditional keyword advertising in the EU have largely been settled. However, more complex and increasingly common types of search engine advertising, such as comparison-shopping ads, have largely escaped the attention of the courts. This post explores how the German courts might treat Google’s PLAs subsequent to the Federal Court’s decisions in the Ortlieb dispute.

        • Sale of second-hand goods not genuine use of Aiwa trade mark

          On the 13th December 2019, Mr Justice Mann delivered his judgement of Aiwa Co. Ltd V Aiwa Corp in the UK High Court. This was an appeal from the UK Trade Mark Registry, a decision of the hearing officer delivered on 4th February 2019, concerning the issue of whether the sale of second-hand goods could suffice as “genuine use” with the consent of the proprietor to enable a registration and avoid revocation for non-use.

          [...]

          Both parties agreed that there was no express consent but the Applicant argued that there was implied consent (relimg on The Sunrider Corp v OHIM EU Case T-203/02 as establishing that implied consent would qualify). Further, that the concept and nature of consent was the same whether the question was non-use, exhaustion of rights or infringement, relying on Einstein Trade Mark [2007] RPC 23. Therefore, they argued that when Sony Corporation put its marked goods on the market in the UK it exhausted its rights which involved implied consent to onward sales in the UK, with the result that sales could take place thereafter without infringement. Moreover, that implied consent to onward sales was a consent to genuine use of the mark in the course of onward sales, including second-hand sales.

          The Respondent disputed this line of reasoning and the end result, focusing on the nature of the required consent; arguing that whilst only implied consent could quality (in the absence of express consent), there was no implied consent to subsequent sales for these purposes.

          [...]

          The evidence of advertisement and second-hand sales were considered advertising and selling goods which had been marketed some time before when the original purpose was fulfilled, and there was no relevant market share to maintain any more. Thereofr,e it was impossible to see how Arnold J’s criteria set out in London Taxi were fulfilled on the facts of these advertisements and sales, particularly as the sales were by persons other than the proprietor and the level of second-hand sales gave little or no support to the averment of genuine use. As such, there was no genuine use and although the Court’s reasoning was not the same as the hearing officer’s, it also found that there was no genuine use with the consent of the proprietor, and the appeal was dismissed.

          This case offers a warning to those who might want to relaunch a brand in need of revival. Although Mr Justice Mann does not exclude the possibility of second-hand sales constituting genuine use, and agreed that the evidence of second-hand sales in this particular case was rather “thin.” In addition, the involvement of the proprietor in the second-hand sales might also have contributed to the fulfilling of Arnold’s London Taxi factors; as they would then have a real interest in those factors and may be consenting somehow in order to create the important effect described in those factors.

        • Evocation of geographical terms of a PDO/PGI. What elements should be taken into consideration?

          In the first case, the Consorzio for the protection of the PGI “Aceto Balsamico di Modena” contested the use of the terms BALSAMICO and DEUTSCHER BALSAMICO by Balema GmbH, for a vinegar-based condiment. On referral from a German Court, the CJEU on December 4, 2019 (case C‑432/18), held that protection of the name “Aceto Balsamico di Modena” applies to the whole denomination, while individual non-geographical components of this denomination may be freely used. Even if protection, pursuant to Art. 13 of Regulation No. 1151/2012, may cover also each single part of a DOP/IGP, generic or common terms that lack geographical connotation can be used, even jointly, and also translated, by anyone in the EU.

          [...]

          Now, with the “Glen” decision of the CJEU (case C‑44/17) in mind, we all know that the decisive criterion for interpreting the term ‘evocation’ is whether, when the consumer is confronted with a disputed designation, the image triggered directly in his mind is that of the product whose geographical indication is protected. “Evocation” does not require that the protected designation itself be used. However, how deep can one dig into the specific details of the labelling or packaging? The requirement of an image “triggered” in the mind seems to require something of immediate recognition, of prima facie evidence, while the Court of Appeal engaged in dissecting the labelling/packaging in an almost incremental analysis. We are not sure that this is what “evocation” really means, nor that the approach is in line with the latest CJEU case law. We will see in further cases!

      • Copyrights

        • [Guest Post] Remember the case of Ai Weiwei v Volkswagen?

          With thanks to Hanne Kirk and her team at Gorrissen Federspiel (Denmark) for their overview of an interesting case that may have passed readers by:

          As 2019 passes and 2020 begins, this GuestKat has one more post to share about an interesting Danish decision handed down in July, then neglected and almost forgotten during the summer heat.

          Located in Copenhagen’s historical Charlottenborg Palace, Kunsthal Charlottenborg is one of the largest and most beautiful exhibition spaces for contemporary art in Northern Europe. On 20 June 2017, the United Nations International Refugee Day, it also became the backdrop of an art installation by infamous Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, as he covered the building’s façade with more than 3,500 salvaged life jackets to form an artwork titled Soleil Levant (Rising Sun).

        • Paris Musées Releases 100,000+ Works Into the Public Domain

          Users can scroll through the collection via the museum’s portal, discovering hidden gems like this photograph of French feminist Caroline Rémy and this beautiful illustration from an early edition of Les Misérables. This collection is a unique treasure trove for anyone interested in French history, art, and culture.

        • The MTA Is Going After an Etsy Artist Over a New York Subway Map It Didn’t Make

          On Tuesday afternoon, Jake Berman got an email from Etsy informing him that one of his listings had been removed from its website for copyright infringement. Berman makes his own versions of transit maps, which he meticulously designs over hundreds of hours of work.

          But his New York City subway map, according to Metropolitan Transportation Authority lawyers who filed a takedown request under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, was a violation of the MTA’s copyright for its own subway map. Berman, they contended, could not sell his version.

        • How Music Copyright Lawsuits Are Scaring Away New Hits

          How did this culture of fear drift into the recording studio? The answer is twofold. While copyright laws used to protect only lyrics and melodies (a prime example is the Chiffons’ successful suit against George Harrison in 1976 for the strong compositional similarities between his “My Sweet Lord” and their “He’s So Fine”), the “Blurred Lines” case raised the stakes by suggesting that the far more abstract qualities of rhythm, tempo, and even the general feel of a song are also eligible for protection — and thus that a song can be sued for feeling like an earlier one. Sure enough, a jury in 2019 ruled that Katy Perry owed millions for ostensibly copying the beat of her hit “Dark Horse” from a little-known song by Christian rapper Flame, stunning both the music business and the legal community. “They’re trying to own basic building blocks of music, the alphabet of music that should be available to everyone,” Perry’s lawyer Christine Lepera warned in the case’s closing arguments.

          That case, which Perry’s team is currently in the process of appealing, suggests a second point: Plaintiffs in copycat cases are largely targeting megahit songs because they’ve seen where the money is, and the increasing frequency of those court battles in headlines is causing an avalanche effect of further infringement lawsuits.

        • TuneIn to the sound of communication to the public (Part 1)

          As Eleonora informed us in this Katpost here – the UK Courts have weighed in on communication to the public, in what the court called “a test case” about infringement of copyright in sound recordings accessed via an online platform that connects users to radio stations around the world.

        • TuneIn to the sound of communication to the public (Part 2)

          As set out in Part 1 of this post here, Mr Justice Birss found that (most of) the services of TuneIn Radio amount to an act of communication to the public of the relevant works of Warner Music and Sony Music. TuneIn infringes the copyright of Warner Music and Sony Music under section 20 of the CDPA 1988 by providing a platform that links its users to radio stations that are not licensed in the UK or elsewhere, or are licensed outside of the UK. They was also found liable for copyright infringement for providing a recording function within the Pro version of their app, and liable for infringement by authorisation and as a joint tortfeasor.

        • “Super Injunctions” and “Fast Injunctions”: enforcement against the illicit distribution of sport events

          The impact of the illegal distribution of audiovisual content is growing (see, for Italy, the report issued in 2019 by FAPAV Federation for the protection of audiovisual and multimedia content). IP enforcement is an important part of the reaction against this illegal phenomenon. In 2019, some important improvements in the fight against piracy were made, especially with regards to sport events, through orders against Internet Service Providers issued by the Court of Milan on the basis of complaints filed by the Lega Calcio. This has resulted in a new wave of court orders in Italy that can, on the basis of their structure and content, be termed “fast injunctions”. These can be compared with similar orders issued with regards to sport events in the UK, known as “super injunctions”, both being considered to be variants of dynamic injunctions. According to the Communication of the European Commission COM(2017) 708, dynamic injunctions are injunctions which can be issued for instance in cases in which materially the same website becomes available immediately after issuing the injunction with a different IP address or URL and which is drafted in a way that allows it to also cover the new IP address or URL without the need for a new judicial procedure to obtain a new injunction.

        • Chinese court rules AI-written article is protected by copyright

          A court in Shenzhen, China, has ruled that an article generated by artificial intelligence (AI) is protected by copyright, according to state news outlet China News Service, representing a notable milestone for AI’s credentials as a creative force.

          For the past five years Chinese tech titan Tencent has published content produced by automated software called Dreamwriter, with a focus on business and financial stories. In 2018, an online platform operated by a company called Shanghai Yingxun Technology Company replicated an AI-generated financial report from Tencent on its own website. The article included a disclaimer that said it was “automatically written by Tencent Robot Dreamwriter”; however, the court found that the article’s articulation and expression had a “certain originality” and met the legal requirements to be classed as a written work — thus it qualified for copyright protection.

          While the defendant had already removed the article from its own website, it was still required to pay a fine of 1,500 yuan ($217).

        • ‘Academic’ Torrent Client Hopes to Shake up the Entertainment Industry

          Researchers at Delft University of Technology have secured another €3.3 million in funding for academic research into the ‘Internet-of-Trust’. The money will in large part be used to continue development on the Tribler BitTorrent client. Professor Johan Pouwelse, who leads the Tribler lab, hopes that the software and underlying technology will shake up the entertainment industry by shifting the balance of power.

        • Kingdom Come Dev Warhorse Studios Decorates Office With Framed Codex ‘Pirate’ NFO

          The developer of the action role-playing game Kingdom Come: Deliverance is celebrating the success of its 2018 hit title in an unorthodox and humorous fashion. As part of a redecoration of its offices in Prague, Warhorse Studios has hung a massive framed replica of a Codex NFO file which was distributed along with the pirated version of its game.

        • Malibu Media’s Former Law Firm Says The Copyright Troll Has Been Screwing It Out Of Settlement Payments

          Few things are more satisfying than watching copyright trolling efforts disintegrate. Prolific abuser of the court system, Malibu Media, has been slowly self-destructing over the past few years.

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