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01.12.20

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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  4. The Latest Greenwashing Campaign by the EPO is Just 'Chinese Propaganda'

    When the EPO speaks of “innovation” and “clean energy transition” it means nothing but patents on batteries, in effect monopolies being granted in Europe (to a lot of Asian — not European — companies)



  5. Links 23/9/2020: Librem 14 Shipping in December, Linux Journal Returns, Istio 1.6.10 Released, Release Candidate 3 of LLVM 11.0

    Links for the day



  6. Welcome Back, Linux Journal!

    Linux Journal is coming back under the ownership/umbrella of Slashdot folks, who are sadly preoccupied and obsessed with Microsoft talking points and PR campaigns



  7. What the Efforts to Remove Dr. Stallman Reveal About the Agenda of Large Corporations (Looking to Absorb the Competition, Remove Freedom, Spread Proprietary Software in 'Open' Clothing)

    Richard Stallman's (RMS) positions and foresight are usually correct; at the moment we're losing access to key people whose leadership positions are essential for the independence of cornerstone projects



  8. Links 22/9/2020: Tails 4.11, Linux Lite 5.2 RC1

    Links for the day



  9. Minimalism for Maximisation of Productivity and Clutter Mitigation

    Unfortunately, GNU/Linux (especially the latter, Linux) embraces bloat and anti-features in pursuit of sales (appeasing large corporations, not users’ needs), reducing the modularity, reliability and productivity of computer systems in the name of helping “dumb” users (they keep telling us people are very dumb and those who disagree are “elitist” and “extremist” or even “neckbeards” — in effect insulting every person out there)



  10. IRC Proceedings: Monday, September 21, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, September 21, 2020



  11. Post-Coronavirus Linux.com Became Nothing But a SPAM Site

    As per the Linux Foundation‘s very own brochure, scripted and fake ‘interviews’ are to be produced and then edited/negotiated (before publication) with the sponsor… in Linux.com as the platform. This is corruption (or marketing, one might call them de facto ads presented as fake ‘articles’).



  12. Erosion of Free Speech and Tolerance of Opposing Viewpoints in Free Software Communities

    The concept of free speech is being reinvented by oversensitive people who nowadays expand the list of exclusions/exemptions (from scope of 'permissible' speech) to politics and criticism of large and highly abusive corporations



  13. Links 21/9/2020: PlasmaShell With Vulkan, Plasma Beta Review Day, OpenMediaVault 5.5.11

    Links for the day



  14. Guest Post: The Worrying State of Political Judgement in Free Software Communities

    A look at what Mozilla has become and what that teaches us about the Web and about software



  15. Links 21/9/2020: KTechLab 0.50.0, Linux 5.9 RC6

    Links for the day



  16. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, September 20, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, September 20, 2020



  17. Git is Free Software, GitHub is Proprietary Trap

    More and more people all around the world understand that putting their fruit of labour in Microsoft's proprietary (but 'free') prison is misguided; the only vault they have is for human beings, not code



  18. Daniel Pocock on Codes of Conduct and Their Potential Dangers in Practice

    In Debian we’ve already witnessed several examples where Codes of Conduct, if put in the wrong hands (in the Linux Foundation it’s corporate hands), can achieve the very opposite of their intended goal and its a true shame as well as a travesty for legitimate victims of real abuse



  19. Links 20/9/2020: Flameshot Screenshot Tool 0.8, Okular Improvements and More

    Links for the day



  20. Reminder: Vice Chair of the Linux Foundation's Board is an Oracle Executive Who Used to Work for Microsoft

    The Linux Foundation issued statements to the effect of opposing Donald Trump, but its current leadership (people from companies like Oracle, Microsoft and IBM) is a strong proponent of doing as much business as possible with Trump (even in violation of international law)



  21. [Meme] How to Hijack Linux and Free Software to Make Them Proprietary and Microsoft-Controlled

    Intel keeps outsourcing almost everything (that's not proprietary with back doors, e.g. ME) to Microsoft's proprietary software prison, known as GitHub; to make matters worse, Intel now uses the Microsoft-hosted Rust to develop in Microsoft servers, along with Microsoft, code that promotes Microsoft proprietary software (e.g. Hyper-V) and non-standard 'extensions'.



  22. DDOS Attacks Against Us Lately

    (Distributed) Denial-of-service attacks or DDOS attacks have slowed down the site, but we treat that as evidence of suppression and fear (of what's to come and what was recently published), or accuracy (in reporting) rather than inaccuracy



  23. [Meme] Windows as Dead Man Walking (Patches Accelerate the Death)

    Microsoft is squeezing whatever life is left in its “burning platform” (which is already exceeded in terms of market share by Android) that has a "burning" (bricked) WSL with barely any users and plenty of critical problems



  24. We Let Them Get Away With Murder, But They Make up for It by Banning Words

    The Microsoft propaganda machines (notably ZDNet this weekend) are busy portraying Microsoft as a “good company” for censoring words, never mind the actual, meaningful, substantial actions of Microsoft, which is boosting authoritarian people who imprison even babies (for the ‘crime’ of being on the ‘wrong’ side of the border)



  25. High-Profile and Invalid (Invalidated) European Patents Harm the Presumption of Validity of European Patents

    The EPO's 'printing machine' (over-producing patent monopolies) is harming the legal certainty associated with such patents, helping nobody but deep-pocketed monopolists and law firms



  26. Epitaph for (Death of) Patent-Centric Media: Litigation Giant Bird & Bird Nowadays Doing Ads as 'Podcasts' in Think Tank Site 'Managing IP'

    Publishers don't hesitate and openly revel in taking bribes as if it's a badge of honour or importance, allowing themselves to be profoundly corrupted in pursuit of quick cash; we discuss what's happening in sites that pretend to cover patent news (but actually drive agenda of litigation giants, to the detriment of actual innovators)



  27. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, September 19, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, September 19, 2020



  28. Links 20/9/2020: 4MLinux 34.0 Released, September Release and EndeavourOS for ARM

    Links for the day



  29. Video: Free Communication With Free Software - Daniel Pocock - FOSSASIA Summit 2016

    The 2016 FOSSASIA talk from Daniel Pocock (Debian) about Free software alternatives to Google, Microsoft Skype and so on (Microsoft started paying Debian in 2016)



  30. [Meme] Microsoft Downtime... Now in 'Linux' (Wait a Month for Microsoft to Restore Uptime)

    Microsoft’s utter failure that is "WSL2" is bringing the failures Windows is so notorious for (loss of work, lack of security, fatal patches) to so-called ‘Linux’; the timeframe for a fix says a lot about just how much Microsoft “loves” Linux…


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