Why You — Yes, You Too — Should Consider Migrating to GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista 7 at 7:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

YouTube link

Summary: The window is closing (and Windows/Vista 7 closing down); the chance to use machines that the users actually control is still there

THE RELEASE of Vista 7 was over a decade ago and now it’s officially out of life. Today. After midnight.

But I won’t be using that as the primary reason to migrate to GNU/Linux or at least some BSD. A migration was well overdue for at least 2 decades. Yes, 2 decades. And I also realise most readers of this site aren’t GNU/Linux users. Many work for the European Patent Office (EPO), some are connected to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) one way or another (e.g. attorneys), and I’m assuming many are examiners fed up with employers who measure everything in terms of money. To them, moneyflow is all that counts and 35 U.S.C. § 101 is seen as a barrier.

“You are a product to them and transactions take place.”So okay, I want to offer a different kind of perspective or advocacy style (than most). Forget about money. Forget about cost. I won’t be saying things like, “Linux is cheaper than Windows” or “Linux will save you money” (even if that’s true!) because that’s just not the point. Earlier this week I spent a long time explaining the notions of free and freedom. When you use Facebook or Slack it’s not “free”; you pay them. Maybe not with classic currency. But they’re paid. You might not see the payment. You are a product to them and transactions take place.

Nowadays, as more computers become de facto listening devices, it’s time to escape to something that treats you, the user, as the person in charge, in control. People tend to assume that machines they use still take instructions from them, but over time these machines actually take instructions from the real owners, the developers (Apple, Microsoft, Google) and subject the users (who hold these machines) to the will of those real owners. Do you want a machine you control or a machine that controls you? Make the choice today. Or this coming weekend. Or later this month. Or this year. But make that choice soon. Because time is running out as computing becomes more malicious over time.

Can We Please Stop Lying for Microsoft in the Mainstream Media?

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 7:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No, Microsoft attacks Open Source companies; Microsoft is not an 'Open Source company'

Summary: Dishonesty for short-term financial gain (e.g. advertising money) will be a big loss in the long run. There’s a reason why so many news sites perish and Datamation (where I wrote more than a decade ago) now throws away remnants of reputation by spreading a big lie from Microsoft.

  • 10 Leading Open Source Companies

    The days are long gone when open source software was primarily the work of hobbyists and lone developers, your impression is sorely out of date. While independent developers are still an important part of the open source community, today much of the work on open source projects is being done by corporate developers.

    Linux founder Linus Torvalds acknowledged this corporate influence and welcomed it. “It’s very important to have companies in open source,” he said. “It’s one thing I have been very happy about.”

    The list below highlights some of the leading for-profit companies that are using, sponsoring and contributing to open source projects. It includes a mix of large enterprises, small startups and everything in between. Some of the companies exclusively offer products based on open source software, while others sell a mix of proprietary and open source solutions. But all of these companies play a significant role in the open source community.

  • Datamation LOL!

    It’s Only Factual and Truthful to Point Out That About Half of the EPO’s Management Committee Are From the President’s Nation (and Many Are Underqualified Friends of His)

    Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    The (dual) French-Portuguese national only exacerbated the nepotism stigma

    French EPO

    Summary: The patent-granting extravaganza of what a reader and contributor of ours likes to call “Club Med” will result in great pain (not just for the Office but for Europe as a whole); pointing out who’s to blame (the culprits) is an exercise in practicality

    THIS morning we quoted an anonymous comment that spoke of “hispanoportofrench friends” of the President of EPOnia. It was hardly racist or bigoted. It was a factual, accurate observation.

    “When assessed outside the EPO (where judges are still being terrorised) all those abstract patent are void, null and bunk…”There’s lots to be criticised at EPOnia, even on purely technical grounds (what we did until 2014). Here’s one new example. Having highlighted this latest instance of advocacy for software patents in the European Patent Office (EPO), Benjamin Henrion said there’s a “WIPO deadline for comments [which is] c14 feb,” quoting the fragment “Computer-assisted inventions and their treatment under patent laws have been the subject of lengthy discussions in many countries around the world” from this document [PDF] that alludes to “computer-assisted inventions” (like computer-generated stuff or patents that are granted on such generative processes).

    When assessed outside the EPO (where judges are still being terrorised) all those abstract patent are void, null and bunk; No honest law firm would advise clients to pursue any, knowing the EPC and 35 U.S.C. § 101 in US courts (the USPTO sees many of its recently-granted patents perishing there).

    “It’s a money-grab. It’s a bubble. It will implode.”Team Campinos/Battistelli is a clueless bunch of non-scientists and all they seem to ‘understand’ is that they want as many patents to be granted as possible (and as quickly as possible because sooner or later stakeholders will realise the futility of European Patents). It’s a money-grab. It’s a bubble. It will implode. They won’t return their bonuses when that happens.

    Not too long ago “MaxDrei” could be seen responding to an apparent EPO insider who is sick and tired of EPO nepotism, kakistocracy, and lies. He said:

    I regret the reference in that last contribution to “hispanoportofrench friends”. Reflect on the point that the poster known as “Attentive Observer”, perhaps the most vociferous critic ever of the (French) immediate past President, might also be from that part of the world. Please don’t imply that there is one bucket in which all “hispanoportofrench” people fit. The distress is when an admirable, expert and socially valuable institution (such as a large hospital or Patent Office) becomes victim of a coup by a self-serving and incompetent managerial class that is interested only in pleasing its “make hay while the sun shines” ignorant, blinkered and greedy investor employers.

    That said, I seriously regret a loss of balance in the EU, resulting from the withdrawal of the UK from Europe. An OD or a TBA composed of three active members is perhaps the safest way to get to sound decisions. Any “rogue elephant” can be guided onto the right path, but only if there is an elephant one on each side of the rogue.

    In the EU, the Big Three were, until recently, DE, FR, GB. With the departure of GB, there is increased likelihood of the EU taking a succession of wrong turns, thereby bringing about the demise of the whole thing

    Then there’s this response: “You are so right Maxdrei. All hispanportofrenchs do not belong to the same bucket. By the way I am and EPF too. Unfortunately (luckily?) most of us are not among his ‘friends’ saving the world. We are rather easy to spot: you can find us in front of a PC, trying somehow to make the EPO functioning, against all odds. Good luck everyone!”

    “One reader and contributor of ours likes to call the collective “Club Med”.”That stigma about Mediterranean counties is an extension of what used to be a stain on France’s reputation (by admission from several French politicians on the record). One can debate if Iberian Portugal counts as Mediterranean (it faces the Pacific Ocean) and whether Corsican Battistelli is Mediterranean as he lives and works up north (Paris area and now Strasbourg). One reader and contributor of ours likes to call the collective “Club Med”. The term “hispanportofrenchs” seems to have combined some of the familiar faces in top EPO management, more so than ever after Campinos brought lots of buddies.

    Stranger Than Fiction: Team UPC’s Mental Condition

    Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    2015: UPC coming next year. Closes eyes; 2020: I've already said. Next year.

    Summary: Team UPC’s delusions continue to unmask UPC proponents (in 2020) as totally and entirely detached from reality

    THE people at the top floors of the European Patent Office’s (EPO) building in Munich must be getting a little nervous. Battistelli‘s career is practically over, António Campinos sees patent quality plunging, and he is meanwhile lobbying for software patents in Europe, seeing that — as per reports from JUVE — demand for European Patents is decreasing. By ignoring the law and kicking aside 35 U.S.C. § 101 the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office managed to fabricate ‘production’ (more monopolies granted), but as per this week’s news (more in Daily Links), SCOTUS continues throwing all these patents to the curb, as do Federal Circuit judges and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The trend has been rather clear; a very small proportion of patents tested in courts manage to withstand factual scrutiny (witnesses, experts, testimonies etc.). It’s considered a crisis of confidence (in patents) and certainty (in litigation).

    “It’s considered a crisis of confidence (in patents) and certainty (in litigation).”Patent law firms see the writings on the wall, so they’ve attempted a sort of entryism in the courts system (people like Judge Rader). But it won’t work, it only serves to alienate people and Rader’s court was consistently overturned by SCOTUS. As Benjamin Henrion put it earlier today, “if Boris [Johnson] has the CJEU as a redline, he will have a hard time defending UK staying in UPC. Cameron was heavily lobbied by GSK to remove the CJEU as having the last word on patent law. In the US, the match SCOTUS vs CAFC shows those patent courts are deviant: 8-0 !”

    CJEU would be a key part of UPC, as envisioned/codified in UPCA. Cameron’s UK stance on that matter may be revisited in the future (we’ve heard stories).

    So in a matter of about a fortnight the UPC might be squashed for good. But never mind facts; the EPO certainly doesn't let facts get in its way. We find it unsurprising but still absolutely hilarious that Bristows‘ Richard Pinckney has just published “EPO confirms it is ready to grant unitary patents” (I can also confirm I am ready to receive a trillion dollars. I confirm, so…)

    “Berlin would not go ahead, irrespective of the BVerfG’s decision, if there’s Brexit. It looks like imminently there will be.”No words can describe how those posts from Bristows make the firm look. Even Team UPC ridicules Bristows. These people are beyond delusional; they’re mentally defunct.

    Bristows admits that “[a]lthough the EPO’s report of the meeting refers to hope that the BVerfG’s decision will allow Germany to ratify the UPC Agreement and calls for the speedy implementation of the UPC system, it does not refer to the potential effect of Brexit on the system.”

    Berlin would not go ahead, irrespective of the BVerfG’s decision, if there’s Brexit. It looks like imminently there will be Brexit.

    Funnily enough even a loud Team UPC proponent has just tweeted: “DE Constitutional Court: Acc to the Court, of the 37 cases listed to be dealt with by the 2nd Senate in 2019, 10 were resolved. #UPC #ListOfLies Bundesverfassungsgericht – Jahresvorausschau 2019 https://www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/DE/Verfahren/Jahresvorausschau/vs_2019/vorausschau_2019_node.html …”

    “Team UPC needs to screw its head back on if it wants to have any credibility left when nobody even mentions the UPC anymore.”Yes, “ListOfLies”…

    Way to alienate the court…

    “Don’t despair,” I responded. “UPC is “Ready to Roll” because Team Campinos bought some wine and stored it at the top floor’s cellar. Bristows says “EPO confirms it is ready to grant unitary patents”…”

    Team UPC needs to screw its head back on if it wants to have any credibility left when nobody even mentions the UPC anymore. In 2020, saying “UPC is coming” is like saying that “Saddam has weapons of mass destruction” (in hindsight it was a massive liability to claim so). Several law firms will have their reputation tarnished and clients upset (over false promises) when all this UPC jingoism turns out to have been a lie, orchestrated principally to make “sales” (based upon wrong assumptions).

    Links 14/1/2020: IBM Joins LOT Network; X.Org Server 1.20.7, Tails 4.2.2 and Zanshin 0.5.71 Released

    Posted in News Roundup at 3:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    • GNU/Linux

      • Welcome to Linux

        It’s 2020 and there’s no doubt that this is the year of Linux on the desktop. That’s the running joke among the Linux community, but the truth hiding behind it, is that there are millions of happy desktop Linux users out there in the world and this is your chance to join them.

        If you’d told many people ten years ago Linux would be getting same-day driver support from manufacturers, you could game with Steam and play AAA titles natively on Linux, run a full office suite that is used by governments, render with software used by the largest game and film companies, that it was going to run the majority of mobile phones, and that a best-selling home computer (that’s the Pi) used it, they’d think you were mad. However, that’s where we are today, besides 20-years of the regular Linux server- and embedded-based shenanigans.

      • Desktop/Laptop

        • Are you getting it? Yes, armageddon it: Mass hysteria takes hold as the Windows 7 axe falls

          The Windows 7 hysteria machine has most definitely kicked into gear today, with Viking burials and scary statistics for the orphaned operating system.

          Business continuity outfit Databarracks sent a Windows 7 box out to water aboard a slightly shonky-looking (and on fire) Viking longboat, sending the OS to Valhalla, before repeating the warning of Blighty’s cyber snoops at GCHQ that email and banking shouldn’t be done using the veteran OS.

          British newspaper the Daily Express took a break from worrying about royal conspiracies to shriek: “Microsoft will make a monumental change TODAY” (their caps, not ours) before ominously warning users to “upgrade now or face the risks.” After all “millions are putting themselves at serious risk of attack.”

      • Server

        • Announcing the Kubernetes bug bounty program

          We aimed to set up this bug bounty program as transparently as possible, with an initial proposal, evaluation of vendors, and working draft of the components in scope. Once we onboarded the selected bug bounty program vendor, HackerOne, these documents were further refined based on the feedback from HackerOne, as well as what was learned in the recent Kubernetes security audit. The bug bounty program has been in a private release for several months now, with invited researchers able to submit bugs and help us test the triage process. After almost two years since the initial proposal, the program is now ready for all security researchers to contribute!

          What’s exciting is that this is rare: a bug bounty for an open-source infrastructure tool. Some open-source bug bounty programs exist, such as the Internet Bug Bounty, this mostly covers core components that are consistently deployed across environments; but most bug bounties are still for hosted web apps. In fact, with more than 100 certified distributions of Kubernetes, the bug bounty program needs to apply to the Kubernetes code that powers all of them. By far, the most time-consuming challenge here has been ensuring that the program provider (HackerOne) and their researchers who do the first line triage have the awareness of Kubernetes and the ability to easily test the validity of a reported bug. As part of the bootstrapping process, HackerOne had their team pass the Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) exam.

        • Kubernetes: a secure, flexible and automated edge for IoT developers

          Cloud native software such as containers and Kubernetes and IoT/edge are playing a prominent role in the digital transformation of enterprise organisations. They are particularly critical to DevOps teams that are focused on faster software releases and more efficient IT operations through collaboration and automation. Most cloud native software is open source which broadens the developer pool contributing and customising the software. This has led to streamlined versions of Kubernetes with low footprints which are suited for IoT/edge workloads.

        • IBM

          • What communities of practice can do for your organization

            Increased collaboration. A recent survey from My Customer.com shows that 40 percent of company employees report not feeling adequately supported by their colleagues—because “different departments have their own agendas.” A lack of collaboration between departments limits innovation and increases opportunities for miscommunication. Communities of practice encourage members from all roles across all departments to unite in sharing their expertise. This increases collaboration and reduces the threat of organizational silos.

            Rapid problem-solving. Communities of practice provide a centralized location for communication and resources useful for solving organizational or business problems. Enabling people to come together—regardless of their organizational reporting structure, location, and/or management structure—encourages problem-solving and can lead to faster resolution of those problems.

            Enhanced innovation. Researchers Pouwels and Koster recently argued that “collaboration contributes to innovation.” CoPs provide a unique opportunity for members to collaborate on topics within their shared domains of interest and passion. This passion ignites a desire to discover new and innovative ways to solve problems and create new ideas.

          • Goals – an experimental new tool which generalizes “make”

            For the past few weeks I’ve been working on a new tool called goals which generalizes make.

          • Goals: Red Hat Developer Working On New Tool To Improve Upon Make

            Longtime Red Hat developer Richard Jones has begun developing “Goals” as a new tool to improve upon Make, the common build automation tool.

            While more open-source projects are turning to CMake or Meson+Ninja, Red Hat’s Richard Jones has been working on Goals as an incremental improvement over Make and aiming to address some of the design deficits for this originally four decade old software.


            There is an MP4 video recording of his talk of Goals. There are also his notes where he explains more of the Make shortcomings and work on Goals.

          • What’s new in Red Hat Runtimes?

            We are excited to announce that the latest release of Red Hat Runtimes is now available. The team has been hard at work on new updates and capabilities for building enterprise-grade, cloud-native applications.

            Red Hat Runtimes, part of the Red Hat Middleware portfolio, is a set of products, tools and components for developing and maintaining cloud-native applications. It offers lightweight runtimes and frameworks for highly-distributed cloud architectures, such as microservices or serverless applications. Read on to learn more about the new updates and features that are currently available in Red Hat Runtimes.

          • Red Hat commends IBM’s decision to join the LOT Network, protecting developers from patent threats

            Red Hat is pleased to see IBM—the number one U.S. patent recipient and Red Hat’s parent company—announce today it is joining the LOT Network (LOT), a non-profit company we helped found. Since 2014, Red Hat and other top companies around the world have joined LOT to provide an innovative response to the threat patent assertion entities (PAEs) pose. IBM is an extraordinary addition to LOT’s more than 600 members, which together hold more than two million patent assets.

            Both IBM and Red Hat use patents to further their strategic interests. IBM uses patents to protect and benefit from its substantial R&D investments. Red Hat uses patents exclusively to deter patent aggression against the company and the open source projects it supports. Both companies seek a patent ecosystem that protects their communities from patent aggression while encouraging open source innovation. Red Hat and IBM have approached this challenge from several directions.

          • Modernizing Red Hat Enterprise Linux System management the easy way

            As an IT manager, you need to establish the right processes to be confident in your teams’ ability to keep critical applications running smoothly and securely. Most companies face challenges like stretched IT staff, a complex technology stack, and environment sprawl that now includes public and private clouds. It becomes clear that you have to help your teams work smarter, because manual methods cannot keep pace with these trends.

            Red Hat Enterprise Linux is the intelligent operating system of choice for many customers. Why? Many factors including a hardened operating system, years of Red Hat experience in supporting a very diverse set of customer needs, management through Red Hat Insights, attention to security and more play into this. Recognizing the management challenges of cloud and on-premises deployment models and limited staff, we have designed Insights to provide proactive management analytics that can help your teams deliver IT services with confidence.

          • Introducing new Red Hat Enterprise Linux certification for software partner products

            We are pleased to announce an improved software certification for Red Hat partner products built for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 (RHEL 8). This new RHEL software certification validates the use of common best practices, improves joint supportability, and promotes your product in the new Red Hat Ecosystem Catalog.

          • It’s time to rock at Red Hat Summit!

            What could be better than a high-energy week of innovation, education and collaboration at the industry’s premier enterprise open source technology conference?

            How about a performance by a Grammy Award-winning rock band?

            That’s just what you’ll get at Red Hat Summit 2020. On Wed Apr. 29, all attendees are invited to join us at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium for an exhilarating night full of food, drinks and music headlined by Vampire Weekend!

            Celebrated by GQ as “one of the most important bands of the 21st century,” the band from New York City released their fourth studio album, Father of the Bride, in May 2019. The third Vampire Weekend album in a row to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 has also been nominated for three Grammy awards including Album of the Year. Vampire Weekend tops several “Best Albums of 2019″ and “Best of the Decade” critic charts by: Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Billboard, NPR and US Weekly, to name a few.

      • Audiocasts/Shows

        • [S4 TRAILER] Command Line Heroes: Season 4 Audio Trailer

          No one ever said hardware was easy. Season 4 of Command Line Heroes starts January 28.

        • [S4 TEASER] Command Line Heroes: Season 4 Animated Teaser

          Command Line Heroes is back for Season 4. We’re telling 7 special stories about those who dared to change the rules of hardware and, in the process, revolutionized how we all interact with technology.

        • LHS Episode #320: The Fire Down Below

          Welcome to the 320th installment of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, the hosts cover amateur radio and the recent earthquake in Puerto Rico and fires in Australia, Bitcoin, ARRL awards, Huawei, TensorFlow, Tucnak, Gridtracker and a whole lot more. Thank you for listening to our program and we hope you have a fantastic week.

        • Brunch with Brent: Chase Nunes | Jupiter Extras 46

          Brent sits down with Chase Nunes, co-host of Unfilter, Jupiter Broadcasting’s former weekly media watchdog. We discuss his beginnings in podcasting and how Unfilter came to be, his contributions to LinuxFest Northwest, his love for Linux in the media broadcasting industry, and his recent 15-month life-changing personal transformation journey.

      • Kernel Space

        • Linus Torvalds Won’t Merge ZFS Code Into Linux Kernel

          In the recent “Moderated Discussions” forum at realworldtech.com, Linus Torvalds warned kernel developers against adding a module for the ZFS filesystem until Oracle were to re-license the code for mainline inclusion.

          He was answering a user’s question about a year-old kernel maintenance controversy, as reported by Phoronix.

          “Honestly, there is no way I can merge any of the ZFS efforts until I get an official letter from Oracle,” he wrote. “Other people think it can be OK to merge ZFS code into the kernel and that the module interface makes it OK, and that’s their decision. But considering Oracle’s litigious nature, and the questions over licensing, there’s no way I can feel safe in ever doing so.”

        • The Time Namespace Appears To Finally Be On-Deck For The Mainline Linux Kernel

          Back in 2018 a time namespace was proposed for the Linux kernel and now in 2020 it looks like this kernel functionality will be merged for mainline, likely with the upcoming Linux 5.6 cycle.

          A few hours ago the time namespace patches were queued in the timers/core Git branch ahead of the Linux 5.6 merge window opening at the start of February.

          The time namespace allows for per-namespace offsets to the system monotonic and boot-time clocks. The time namespace is suited for Linux containers usage for allowing the date/time to be changed within a container and for adjusting clocks within a container following restoration from a checkpoint/snapshot.

        • Graphics Stack

          • CoreAVI Achieves Formal Khronos OpenGL SC 1.0.1 Compliance Running its VkCoreGL SC1 Library

            Core Avionics & Industrial Inc. (“CoreAVI”) announced today that it has achieved formal Khronos Group compliance for its VkCoreGL™ SC1 (OpenGL SC 1.0.1) application library running on its Vulkan-based VkCore™ SC graphics and compute driver. Successful passing Khronos’ conformance testing process ensures implementation quality and provides implementor protection via the Khronos Intellectual Property Framework.Adhering to open software standards is a key part of CoreAVI’s philosophy and this compliance provides customers with the standards-based confidence they require for safety critical software products. CoreAVI is the chair of Khronos’ Vulkan Safety Critical Working Group to define a formal safety critical version of Vulkan and is continually focused on driving forward new standards to support true safety critical compute capabilities using graphics processors.

          • CoreAVI VkCoreGL SC1 Hits Compliance For Ushering Vulkan Into Safety Critical Systems

            Vulkan could soon be used indirectly on safety critical military and aerospace displays thanks to CoreAVI’s VkCoreGL SC1.

            While there is a Vulkan safety-critical working group with aims similar to OpenGL SC, at the moment there is no released Vulkan SC specification. But Military and aerospace supplier CoreAVI (who is also involved in the Vulkan SC effort) has developed VkCoreGL SC1 as an OpenGL SC library running on top of Vulkan.

            VkCoreGL SC1 is for transitioning OpenGL safety critical applications onto Vulkan-based systems. VkCoreGL SC1 is similar to Mesa’s Zink and the other projects implementing OpenGL over Vulkan but with CoreAVI’s commercial offering they are implementing the OpenGL safety critical specification. As of today, they are now formally deemed in compliance with OpenGL SC 1.0.1.

          • xorg-server 1.20.7
            A variety of bugfixes, primarily in modesetting, glamor, and Solaris
            support. This release also contains support for choosing the DRI driver
            via EGL_MESA_query_driver. Thanks to all who contributed with testing
            and fixes!
            Aaron Plattner (1):
                  modesetting: Check whether RandR was initialized before calling rrGetScrPriv
            Alan Coopersmith (5):
                  os-support/solaris: Drop ExtendedEnabled global variable
                  Add ddxInputThread call from os layer into ddx layer
                  Add xf86OSInputThreadInit call from common layer into os-support layer
                  os-support/solaris: Set IOPL for input thread too
                  ospoll: Fix Solaris ports implementation to build on Solaris 11.4
            Kenneth Graunke (2):
                  glamor: Add a function to get the driver name via EGL_MESA_query_driver
                  modesetting: Use EGL_MESA_query_driver to select DRI driver if possible
            Matt Turner (1):
                  xserver 1.20.7
            Michel Dänzer (5):
                  modesetting: Call glamor_finish from drmmode_crtc_set_mode
                  xfree86/modes: Call xf86RotateRedisplay from xf86CrtcRotate
                  modesetting: Clear new screen pixmap storage on RandR resize
                  xwayland: Do flush GPU work in xwl_present_flush
                  glamor: Only use dual blending with GLSL >= 1.30
            Peter Hutterer (1):
                  Xi: return AlreadyGrabbed for key grabs > 255
            git tag: xorg-server-1.20.7
          • X.Org Server 1.20.7 Released With A Handful Of Fixes For GLAMOR + Modesetting

            With no sign of X.Org Server 1.21 on the horizon, the X.Org Server 1.20 point releases continue rolling on.

            Intel Linux graphics developer Matt Turner stepped up to release X.Org Server 1.20.7 as the latest point release, consisting of fourteen changes. The changes are mostly centered on the GLAMOR and xf86-video-modesetting driver bits but also some Solaris updates via Oracle’s Alan Coopersmith.

            NVIDIA’s Aaron Plattner added a check to the xf86-video-modesetting DDX around verifying RandR initialization, Intel’s Kenneth Graunke now has the modesetting driver using EGL_MESA_query_driver to select the DRI driver if possible (needed for their Iris driver), and a few other modesetting fixes are in there too. Graunke also added a change to GLAMOR for querying the driver name as well via EGL_MESA_query_driver, again, good news for their Iris Gallium3D driver.

          • Wayland Adds Meson Build System Support

            While Wayland’s Weston reference compositor has been using the Meson build system for about the past year, only this week did Wayland itself see Meson support introduced.

            Wayland has added Meson build system support for the same reasons most projects do: faster build times, cleaner than GNU Autotools, and tends to work better on other platforms especially with Windows.

            GNOME’s Emmanuele Bassi added the support. For now the Meson build system support is living alongside the Autotools support. The plan is to drop Autotools once the Meson support has proven to be at least on-par with the existing build system support.

      • Applications

        • 3 Music Media Players for the Debian 10 Terminal

          If you are addicted to the Terminal and always find the ways to do every possible thing inside the Terminal, then why not listening to music through it. The command line or Terminal gives you everything you need in a more efficient and faster way while also utilizing fewer resources. It also becomes handier when you are using a headless version of your operating system.

          In this article, we are going to look at some tools using which you can listen to your favorite music right from your command line. This may be useful in scenarios such as the one I described above. Moreover, we will explain how to install and use these tools and also to remove them if needed.

          We have run the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on a Debian 10 OS.

        • File carving tools

          In computers, file carving consists of recovering and rebuilding, reconstructing or reassembling fragmented files after a disk was formatted, its filesystem or partition corrupted or damaged or the metadata of a file removed. All files contain metadata, metadata means: “data that provides information about other data”. Among more information, files metadata contains the location and structure of a file within the filesystem and physical blocks. File Carving consists of bringing back files even if their metadata with the information of their location within the filesystem isn’t available.

        • Firebird 3.0.5 sub-release is available

          Firebird Project is happy to announce general availability of Firebird 3.0.5 — the 5th point release in the Firebird 3.0 series.

          This sub-release offers many bug fixes and also adds a few improvements, please refer to the Release Notes for the full list of changes.
          Binary kits for Windows and Linux platforms are immediately available for download, Android and Mac OS packages will follow shortly.

        • TeXstudio 2.12.20 Released! How to Install via PPA

          The open-source LaTeX text editor TeXstudio 2.12.20 was released today as a new bug-fix release for the 2.12 series.

          Most notably changes in TeXstudio 2.12.20 include fix bug when replacing highlighted search results, and add \text{} to amsmath.cwl.

      • Instructionals/Technical

      • Games

        • ShotX Studio got a big boost to sales by releasing a free torrent of Danger Gazers

          This is certainly an unusual way to get a little extra support for your game. ShotX Studio, an indie outfit of just developer Shota Bobokhidze who recently released the rather good Danger Gazers put it up in a torrent.

          After posting about what they did on Reddit, it ended up as an extremely popular post. In doing so, they had a spike of about “400%” increase in their sales (they didn’t want to share the number of copies) with many appreciating the gesture for those who cannot afford to purchase a copy directly. They had emails thanking them, people asking where they can donate and they seem generally very happy with how it turned out.

        • Super Mega Space Blaster Special Turbo arcade shooter released

          Super Mega Space Blaster Special Turbo is a long name and this is supposed to be the expanded edition of the 2019 release, giving additional arcade-style shoot ‘em up action.

        • MediaTek Helio G70 & Helio G70T Processors Targets Mainstream Gaming Smartphones

          Announced last summer, MediaTek Helio G90 & Helio G90T processors are specifically designed for gaming on smartphones and ideals for titles such as Fornite, PUBG, or KOG.

        • Grand space strategy game AI War 2 had a massive update so big it’s ‘almost a sequel’

          Arcen Games sound quite proud of how big the latest update to AI War 2 is, saying it’s “Almost a sequel in how much it adds to the core game mechanics and AI.”.

          They certainly don’t mess around when it comes to post-release support, with the actual changelog taking up around 30 pages when pasted into a word processor. Blimey, that’s a lot to go over and it would be a bit mad to attempt to. Safe to say, everything has been touched.

        • Korean survival horror-adventure ‘The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters’ leaving Early Access this month

          Atmospheric, story-driven Korean survival horror-adventure from Devespresso Games and Headup ‘The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters’ is just about ready, with a full release announced for January 28.

        • Silly physics sandbox Garry’s Mod is getting some big upgrades

          Garry’s Mod is a game about screwing around, playing with physics and possibly creating your own fun game and it’s about to get some big upgrades.

          Actually getting games and extra content to play in Garry’s Mod is about to get quite a bit easier, with an update releasing on January 21 which moves it onto a more modern Steam API. For the Steam Workshop this means addons won’t have a size limit (so you can download everything in a single pack) and they can show their real uncompressed size. Facepunch also said that new or updated addons will take less space on your drives thanks to all this too.

        • Upcoming point and clicker ‘Born Punk’ has a Steam page up, coming to GOG and newer trailer

          I do love a good bit of Cyberpunk, I also love the point and click genre getting a resurgence in recent years and Born Punk really does look and sound great.

          Funded on Kickstarter last year, Insert Disk 22 have been hacking away to get the game ready to release. Ahead of that, they now have a Steam page live you can properly follow it on. Additionally, they’ve now confirmed it will release on GOG but no store page up just yet.

      • Desktop Environments/WMs

        • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

          • ZANSHIN 0.5.71

            The GPG signing key for the tar is Jonathan Riddell with 0xEC94D18F7F05997E.

          • Jonathan Riddell: Zanshin 0.5.71

            We are happy and proud to announce the immediate availability of Zanshin 0.5.71.

            This updates the code to work with current libraries and apps from Kontact.

          • Krita in 2019 and 2020

            Let’s have some statistics first! Statistics are fun! (And notoriously unreliable) We started 2019 with about 450 open bugs — and that’s how we ended 2019. That said, we had 1236 new bug reports and closed 1272. Still, our 2018 fund raiser was all about getting rid of bugs, and that seems to be a tough proposition.

            According to openhub, we had 2271 commits from 60 contributors. This excludes translation commits, because those are still done in a subversion repository, apart from Krita. We had nine releases (4.2.0 to 4.2.8) in 2019, slightly less than we’d planned, we’d wanted to have twelve releases. We had four Google Summer of Code students, and most of their work has already been merged and will be in Krita 4.3.0: a new magnetic selection tool, the history docker and the android port.

            Next to fixing bugs, we’re work on that 4.3.0 release, but the main reason why 4.3.0 didn’t happen in 2019 was because rewriting the core system for loading brushes, gradients and so turns out to be much more work than we had ever thought. We should have approached that much more gradually, but we couldn’t figure out how to make that work.

            We had 2,346,618 unique downloads from the download page on this website; that excludes downloads from other download sites, downloads from release announcements or downloads from the various stores. At a guess, we’ll have topped 3,000,000 downloads in total this year.

      • Distributions

        • New Releases

          • Officially Linux Lite 4.8 Released & Available for Download Now!!

            Linux Lite 4.8 Released: The Developers team of Linux Lite has officially announced the release of the latest version of Linux Lite 4.8 version. According to them, this is the best alternative for Windows 7! The Linux Lite 4.8 is built based on the Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS version.

        • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • SUSE/OpenSUSE

          • Solaar | Application for Logitech Unifying Receivers and Devices on openSUSE

            I recently purchased a new Logitech wireless keyboard for my kitchen computer because the Bluetooth keyboard I previously used was driving me nuts. Mostly for the keyboard layout and sometimes because it didn’t want to connect. Possibly due to hardware failure or bad design. It also doesn’t have media keys so I thought it best just to replace it.

            I have previously used ltunify with success but I only used it because “L” comes before “S” so that was my first stop. Since I received feedback that I should try Solaar I did so this time. Since there isn’t an official Linux based application available from Logitech, the fine open source community has stepped in to make managing your devices simple and straight forward.


            Having Solaar in the system try is quite handy. Though, the reality is, I don’t need it all the time but having it to manage your devices is very handy. It’s nice to know that you can manage multiple Unifying receivers with this application. This is easy to use and has a great, well laid out and straight forward interface. I am glad I was recommended to try this application out.

          • What’s New with SUSE CaaS Platform?

            SUSE CaaS Platform continues its steady pace of advancement, delivering new capabilities targeted at improving the Kubernetes platform operator experience. In addition to updating to Kubernetes 1.16, the SUSE CaaS Platform also now enables operators to consolidate operations across multi-cluster, multi-cloud, and multi-platform environments; to simplify cluster and application management with a web-based console; and to optimize system performance with powerful monitoring and management capabilities.

            Customer centricity was once again at the heart of feature considerations and enhancements for SUSE CaaS Platform. Over the past couple of weeks, we heard an increasing desire from our customers for key capabilities like the need for a unified management console and the need for more powerful data visualization. We listened to you, and your needs, and let that be our guide for development.

        • Fedora Family

          • F31-20200113 updated Lives released

            The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated F31-20200116 Live ISOs, carrying the 5.4.8-200 kernel.

            This set of updated isos will save considerable amounts of updates after install. ((for new installs.)(New installs of Workstation have 1GB+ of updates)).

            A huge thank you goes out to irc nicks dowdle, Southern-Gentleman for testing these iso.

          • Let’s write a new vision statement for Fedora

            This statement reflects our values, the four foundations of Freedom, Friends, Features, and First.

            We talked a lot about Fedora’s Freedom foundation. As a project, we want everyone to live in a universe of free and open source software; the user should be in control of their computing. But we also recognize the reality that we have to lead people there, not push them. People have hardware that requires closed drivers, and sometimes the software they need for their jobs or life isn’t open either. We want people to be able to use open source for everything, but often the real world doesn’t let them. We need to provide a path so people can get to the ideal, not demand that they teleport there or else. We want our vision statement to encourage a productive approach rather than to act as a weapon.

            We also want the statement to reflect our community approach — the Friends foundation. Fedora isn’t bits and bytes. Fedora is our people, and we want the statement to include our vision of a healthy community. As the saying goes, none of us is as smart as all of us. A welcoming and inclusive project produces better results.

            And finally, we want to keep our focus on innovation, both by incorporating the latest upstream code and in the work we do to build our releases. While long-term support is important, it’s not our focus — and many other communities do a great job providing this already. Fedora advances the state of the art in Linux operating systems. We try new things, many of them succeed, but some do not — we learn from those and move on.

        • Debian Family

          • Tails 4.2.2 is out

            This release is an emergency release to fix a critical security vulnerability in Tor Browser.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

          • Why you should upgrade Windows 7 to Ubuntu

            Windows 7 has reached the end of its life. It will no longer receive security updates and Microsoft’s technical support will stop. Running an out-of-date OS can have serious potential risks. Fortunately, there are two simple ways to solve this problem: 1. Buy a new computer running another operating system, or 2. Install Linux on any computer you like. In this blog, we’re talking about the Linux option, specifically Ubuntu.

          • How to switch from Windows 7 to Chrome OS CloudReady

            Yesterday, a friend asked what he should do since Windows 7 has come to the end of its supported life. I asked him what he uses his computer for. He replied, “Email and Facebook.” He added that he has no interest in moving to Windows 10. He’s far from the only one. About one in five users have stuck with Windows 7 to the bitter end. And, really, for his purposes, who can blame him? For him, Windows 7 just works. So, rather than try to convince him to move to Linux, I suggested he consider Neverware’s Chrome OS variant, CloudReady. Here’s how to do it.

          • Windows 7 support is ending — what do you do now?

            Microsoft is pulling the plug on Windows 7 support, which means that the decade-old operating system will get its final security update today. You can continue using Windows 7 indefinitely — aside from a nag screen that will likely pop up to let you know support has ended, nothing will change. But Windows 7 will likely become less secure over time as new vulnerabilities are discovered, exploited, and left unpatched.

            According to StatCounter, nearly 27-percent of all Windows computers were running Windows 7 as of December, 2019. So what do you do if you have one of those PCs?


            Option 4: Say goodbye to Windows (and install GNU/Linux, Chrome OS, or something else)

            Windows isn’t the only game in town. For more than 20 years, some folks have been buying Windows computers and replacing the operating system with GNU/Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, Arch, or Gentoo, just to name a few. There are literally hundreds of options.

            The folks at Ubuntu even published a January 14th blog post titled “Why you should upgrade Windows 7 to Ubuntu.” It’s unclear if everyone would consider this an upgrade, but it is true that for many users Ubuntu (and other Linux-based operating systems) have most of the software you’d need from a modern operating system.

          • ‘Disco Dingo’ of Ubuntu to reach end of life: Make sure to upgrade

            On January 23, Ubuntu ‘Disco Dingo’ is to reach its end of life. This news is released by canonical recently. If you are still using the version released in April, make sure you upgrade it before the deadline. This will keep you notified of all the latest security updates if you think that it is difficult to upgrade to Ubuntu. It is not. You just have to go to the upgrade option to see the instructions.

            How to get notified about the latest versions?

            Canonical provides a detailed guide to install the latest update and refer to the release notes in case of any issues. Go to “Settings” and select “Update manager,” click the option “Notify me of a new Ubuntu version.”

          • Unity 8 Desktop On Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Could Take A Year Before Being Usable

            While Canonical no longer develops their Unity 8 stack for Ubuntu, the UBports crew continues advancing Ubuntu Touch mobile as a community project and as part of that they do work on Unity 8 for their devices and desktop support. But if you’re hoping to see Unity 8 running nicely on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, that could be a while.

            Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is releasing in April but it could still be a year or so before Unity 8 is considered “usable” on the updated desktop.

          • Ubuntu Touch Q&A 67

            Complete overhaul of Suru colors

          • New Folder Icons, Aubergine As Second Accent Color Currently In Testing For Ubuntu 20.04 Yaru Theme

            For the next Ubuntu release (20.04 LTS, to be released in April 2020), the Yaru maintainers are testing some important theme changes.

            One of the updates involves using aubergine as a second accent color instead of blue, which didn’t fit with the rest of the theme. Aubergine is now used for the GNOME Shell sliders and dialogs (active button/field), as well as for the Gtk progress bars, sliders, checkboxes, radioboxes and switches. The link color continues to be blue because aubergine is usually the color used for visited links, which would cause confusion.

            The Yaru icon theme was also updated with brand-new folder icons, which are now predominantly gray, with aubergine/orange as accent colors.

      • Devices/Embedded

      • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

        • CMS

          • 10 Best WordPress Migration Plugins

            Before the widespread adoption of WordPress, transferring web data between websites was more than a painstaking task for any beginner developer because it typically required using scripts and several terminal commands to SSH files around.

            Things got a lot better when WordPress came along and developers created plugins that can help even beginners to the content management system move existing website data such as plugins, themes, customizations, databases, etc. from an old site tp a new one, for example.

            Today’s article is a compilation of the best WordPress migration plugins for your WordPress websites. That is to say that they feature a beautiful modern UI, reasonable prices, easy of use, and support from both their developers and certified users.

            Nothing in this world is perfect, though, so allow me to highlight the pros and cons of each plugin as that will further simplify the choice you have to make when making your decision.

        • Funding

          • Daniel Stenberg: Backblazed

            libcurl is MIT licensed (well, a slightly edited MIT license) so there’s really not a lot a company need to do to follow the license, nor does it leave me with a lot of “muscles” or remedies in case anyone would blatantly refuse to adhere. However, the impression I had was that this company was one that tried to do right and this omission could then simply be a mistake.


            At the same time, Backblaze also becomes the new largest single-shot donor to curl when they donated no less than 15,600 USD to the project, making the recent Indeed.com donation fall down to a second place in this my favorite new game of 2020.

            Why this particular sum you may ask?

          • Google gives $1 million to UVM to advance open source research

            Members of the UVM-Google team, left to right: Juniper Lovato, director of education and outreach for Complex Systems; Nick Cheney, research assistant professor, Computer Science; Jim Bagrow, associate professor, Mathematics and Statistics; Laurent Hébert-Dufresne, assistant professor, Computer Science; Julia Ferraioli, Open Source at Google; Peter Dodds, director of the Complex Systems Center and professor, Mathematics and Statistics; and Amanda Casari, Open Source at Google. (Photo: Brian Jenkins)

            Vermont Business Magazine The Google Open Source Programs Office, a division of Google that manages Google’s use and release of open source software and promotes open source programming, has provided the University of Vermont (UVM) Complex Systems Center a $1 million unrestricted gift to support open source research.

            Open source is about more than the software—it’s a framework that defines how software is created, released, shared, and distributed, as well as the community that is formed around it.


            In addition to the core team, two postdoctoral positions are currently open in associated research areas. Other UVM faculty involved with the research include Josh Bongard, professor of Computer Science; Peter Dodds, professor of Mathematics and Statistics; Nick Cheney, research assistant professor of Computer Science; and Chris Danforth, professor of Mathematics and Statistics. The UVM program director is Juniper Lovato, director of outreach for the Complex Systems Center.

            The Google collaboration reflects UVM’s commitment to its land-grant mission to enhance the intellectual, human, economic and social capital of its community, the state, and the nation.

        • FSF

          • GNU Projects

            • First Poke-Conf at Mont-Soleil – A report

              This last weekend we had the first gathering of poke developers, as part of the GNU Hackers Meeting at Mont-Soleil, in Switzerland. I can say we had a lot of fun, and it was a quite productive meeting too: many patches were written, and many technical aspects designed and clarified.

              Attendants: Bruno Haible, Egeyar Bagcioglu, John Darrington, Luca Saiu, Darshit Shah, Jose E. Marchesi.

              First we made a little introductory talk for the benefit of the GHM attendants who were not familiar with poke, followed by a quick review of the recent developments. After that, we went to discuss some serious business: handling of stream-like IO spaces, integral “atoms” in structs, the adoption of a bug tracking system for the project, how to best support Unicode and UTF-8 in poke, and many many other things, some of which are summarized below.

          • Licensing / Legal

            • How and why to use Creative Commons licensed work

              Creative Commons (CC) copyright is a series of copyright licenses that make it easy for creators to share their work and adapt the work of others. Just because something is online doesn’t mean you are free to use it however you like.


              Photos, art, movies, songs, and books all belong to the people who made them. When a new work is created, the copyright belongs to the creator. The creator has a right to decide how their work will (or won’t) be copied, remixed (changed), and shared. No one can use someone’s work without permission.

              Creative Commons empowers creators to give implicit permission to everyone to use, share, and remix their work without needing to ask in each instance. Creative Commons licenses can be multi-layered, allowing more or less freedom.

        • Programming/Development

          • The MLIR-Targeting “FC” LLVM Fortran Compiler Is Now Open-Source

            Last week we reported on “FC” as a new LLVM Fortran compiler targeting the new MLIR intermediate representation. That new Fortran compiler is now public and open-source.

            While the Flang compiler is being upstreamed at the moment, “FC” is being worked on by consulting firm start-up CompilerTree as an LLVM Fortran compiler that has shifted focus from using the conventional LLVM IR to MLIR as LLVM’s new IR developed by Google with a focus on machine learning.

          • LLVM/Clang 10.0 Adds AMD Zen 2 Scheduler Model For Optimized Code Generation

            It’s too bad that it has taken so many months after AMD Zen 2 based Ryzen and EPYC processors began shipping to see this compiler support in place, but the good news now is that for the upcoming release of LLVM 10.0 is now the Zen 2 scheduler model being added to the “znver2″ target.

            Going back to before the Zen 2 processors began shipping last summer, in February AMD Znver2 support was added for LLVM Clang 9.0. But like the GCC compiler support at the time, it added new instructions supported by these CPUs but didn’t update the scheduler model / cost tables. In July AMD-partner SUSE added Znver2 tuning to GCC including a new scheduler model that was wired up for GCC 10 and back-ported to GCC 9.2.

          • AMD Begins Providing PowerPC Builds Of Their “AOMP” GPU Compiler

            AOMP is the AMD GPU compiler for OpenMP and HIP support on GPUs as part of Radeon Open Compute 3.0 (ROCm 3.0). Now they have begun providing PowerPC 64-bit LE builds of AOMP as part of allowing Radeon GPU compute to happen on POWER9 systems.

            As reported on in December, we’ve been seeing AMDKFD compute driver work for PowerPC that ultimately landed in Linux 5.5. This work has been continuing in user-space with their AOMP GPU compute compiler now also working for PowerPC and AMD even providing PowerPC 64-bit binaries. The actual AOMP lifting for PPC64LE support isn’t much considering this compiler is based on LLVM Clang that has long supported the architecture.

          • data-types for representing stream-processing programs

            This year I want to write much more about my PhD work on my blog, and here’s my first effort. Most of this material has been languishing as a draft for over a year, so it’s past time to get it out!

          • KDAB Challenge Solutions

            Proxy types can be tricky. If we got a QChar (or a reference to a QChar) by accessing a character in a QString with the operator[] as most people would expect to, the automatic type deduction requested by auto current = hello[i] would deduce that current is of type QChar.

            But QString::operator[] does not return a QChar. It returns a QCharRef. Even if we think of it as a reference to a QChar, the compiler does not, and the automatic type deduction can not remove the reference part like it would if the return type was a proper reference (QChar&).

            This means that current will be a value of type QCharRef. When we modify it, it will modify the original string (contrary to what most people expect because of C++’s value semantics).

            One of the solutions here is not to use automatic type deduction and explicitly specify the type of current to be QChar.

          • Introducing GVariant schemas

            GLib supports a binary data format called GVariant, which is commonly used to store various forms of application data. For example, it is used to store the dconf database and as the on-disk data in OSTree repositories.

            The GVariant serialization format is very interesting. It has a recursive type-system (based on the DBus types) and is very compact. At the same time it includes padding to correctly align types for direct CPU reads and has constant time element lookup for arrays and tuples. This make GVariant a very good format for efficient in-memory read-only access.

            Unfortunately the APIs that GLib has for accessing variants are not always great. They are based on using type strings and accessing children via integer indexes. While this is very dynamic and flexible (especially when creating variants) it isn’t a great fit for the case where you have serialized data in a format that is known ahead of time.

          • Perl / Raku

            • Create PDF using Perl/PDF::API2

              I wrote a practical and detailed description of Perl’s PDF::API2.

              It turns out that PDF::API2 is a library for performing necessary and sufficient PDF operations.

            • Paws XXXXVIII (Way too many ‘I’ s)

              Well I think it is a first here in the Paws patrol. I spent the day plunging away with CloudFront and I have no new Paws issues but I did learn and important practical lesson about using CloudFront.

          • Python

            • Interviewed about microservices

              I got interviewed about Microservice and talk a bit about my last book, Hands-on Docker for Microservices with Python.

              I was an interesting view on what are the most important areas of Microservices and when migrating from Monolith architecture is a good idea. And also talking about related tools like Python, Docker or Kubernetes.

            • Passing a function as an argument to another function in Python

              One of the more hair-raising facts we learn in my introductory Python trainings is that you can pass functions into other functions. You can pass functions around because in Python, functions are objects.

              You likely don’t need to know about this in your first week of using Python, but as you dive deeper into Python you’ll find that it can be quite convenient to understand how to pass a function into another function.

              This is part 1 of what I expect to be a series on the various properties of “function objects”. This article focuses on what a new Python programmer should know and appreciate about the object-nature of Python’s functions.

            • “Microservices require a high-level vision to shape the direction of the system in the long term,” says Jaime Buelta

              To get an understanding of what exactly microservices are, when we should use them, when not to use them, we sat with Jaime Buelta, the author of Hands-On Docker for Microservices with Python. Along with explaining microservices and their benefits, Buelta shared some best practices developers should keep in mind if they decide to migrate their monoliths to microservices.

            • Quick Dive into Selenium with python

              Hi guys, I am chris, a software engineer and I have been building stuff with python since 2016.
              This would be a fast paced introduction to selenium.

              What is Selenium?

              In simple terms, selenium is a tool used to automate browsers, in even simpler terms selenium can be used to control broswers. To find out more visit the selenium site

            • Supercharge Your Classes With Python super()

              While Python isn’t purely an object-oriented language, it’s flexible enough and powerful enough to allow you to build your applications using the object-oriented paradigm. One of the ways in which Python achieves this is by supporting inheritance, which it does with super().

            • Django 3 Tutorial & CRUD Example with MySQL and Bootstrap

              Django 3 is released with full async support! In this tutorial, we’ll see by example how to create a CRUD application from scratch and step by step. We’ll see how to configure a MySQL database, enable the admin interface, and create the django views.

              We’ll be using Bootstrap 4 for styling.

            • Creating a transparently encrypted field in Django

              This is officially PythonDiary’s first Python 3 article! Python 2 is now officially dead, so there’s less reasons to make that a major focus going forward.

              In some rare situations you may wish to have data which may otherwise be visible on the Django site, or through the Django admin, but may wish to have this data transparently encrypted into the database. This could be very useful, if for example, you use an untrusted database where it is not managed by you, and some database administrator can indeed either dump the data, or otherwise view the stored schemas. This is common with managed databases, which are either maintained by a hosting provider, or is shared with other tenants. In this current day and age with many database breaches appearing in the news from large vendors, you can never be 100% sure that the data you save into your database will never be leaked.

              Django supports custom fields on your database models, and the various CRUD and model services Django provides will use these fields with ease, making the creation of a globally transparently encrypted field possible. First lets start with the creation of the custom Django field to explain how that works first.

            • Return the word with the longest length within a string using Python

              Simple challenge – eliminate all bugs from the supplied code so that the code runs and outputs the expected value. The output should be the length of the longest word, as a number. There will only be one ‘longest’ word.

              Above is a question from CodeWars, we will create the below python function to perform the above task.

            • Getting Jenkins Jobs by Build State with Python

              I have been working with Python and Jenkins a lot lately and recently needed to find a way to check the job’s status at the build level. I discovered the jenkinsapi package and played around with it to see if it would give me the ability to drill down to the build and resultset level within Jenkins.

              In the builds that I run, there are X number of sub-jobs. Each of these sub-jobs can pass or fail. If one of them fails, the entire build is marked with the color yellow and tagged as “UNSTABLE”, which is failed in my book. I want a way to track which of these sub-jobs is failing and how often over a time period. Some of these jobs can be unstable because they access network resources, which others may have been broken by a recent commit to the code base.

              I eventually came up with some code that helps me figure out some of this information. But before you can dive into the code, you will need to install a package.

            • Wing Python IDE 7.2 Release Candidate 1 – January 14, 2020

              Wing 7.2 adds auto-formatting with Black and YAPF, expands support for virtualenv, adds support for Anaconda environments, explicitly supports debugging modules launched with python -m, simplifies manually configured remote debugging, and fixes a number of usability issues.

            • Creating password input widget in PyQt

              One of the most common parts of writing any desktop tool and taking password input is about having a widget that can show/hide password text. In Qt, we can add a QAction to a QLineEdit to do the same. The only thing to remember, that the icons for the QAction, must be square in aspect ratio; otherwise, they look super bad.

              The following code creates such a password input, and you can see it working at the GIF at the end of the blog post. I wrote this for the SecureDrop client project.

          • Shell/Ncurses

            • Organize your email with Notmuch

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

              Maildir is probably one of the most useful mail storage formats out there. And there are a LOT of tools to help with managing your mail. The one I keep coming back to is a little program called Notmuch that indexes, tags, and searches mail messages. And there are several programs that work with Notmuch to make it even easier to handle a large amount of mail.


              Tagging messages in bulk is probably more useful, though, since manually updating tags at every run can be really tedious.


              In the coming days, I’ll show you some other mail clients that will likely integrate with tools you already use. In the meantime, check out some of the other tools that work with Maildir mailboxes—you might find a hidden gem I’ve not tried yet.

    • Leftovers

      • Integrity/Availability

        • Proprietary

          • Security

            • On retiring the Maxmind GeoIP database

              Maxmind, a US-based company who is quite well-known for providing their GeoIP database which fires a lot of services that need GeoIP data, has changed their usage policy on this database with effect of the beginning of this year. Unfortunately this makes it unusable for IPFire and we have decided to replace it. Here is how we are going to do it.

              IPFire is using geo information for two things: We are showing flags next to DNS servers, firewall hits, etc. and we are using it to block connections from or to certain countries in the firewall.

              We, the IPFire developers, have started a side-project to replace the Maxmind GeoIP databases in IPFire over two years ago. We felt that this was necessary because of the quality of the database getting worse and worse. Strict licences as well as changes like this December are very incompatible with the freedom that we want to provide for all IPFire users.

            • Mozilla Security Blog: January 2020 CA Communication

              Mozilla has sent a CA Communication to inform Certificate Authorities (CAs) who have root certificates included in Mozilla’s program about current events relevant to their membership in our program and to remind them of upcoming deadlines. This CA Communication has been emailed to the Primary Point of Contact (POC) and an email alias for each CA in Mozilla’s program, and they have been asked to respond to the following 7 action items:

            • Exploit that gives remote access affects ~200 million cable modems (ars technica)

              Thus far, there doesn’t seem to be any information out there on whether routers running OpenWrt are vulnerable.

            • Exploit that gives remote access affects ~200 million cable modems

              Hundreds of millions of cable modems are vulnerable to critical takeover attacks by hackers halfway around the world, researchers said.

              The attacks work by luring vulnerable users to websites that serve malicious JavaScript code that’s surreptitiously hosted on the site or hidden inside of malicious ads, researchers from Denmark-based security firm Lyrebirds said in a report and accompanying website. The JavaScript then opens a websocket connection to the vulnerable cable modem and exploits a buffer overflow vulnerability in the spectrum analyzer, a small server that detects interference and other connectivity problems in a host of modems from various makers. From there, remote attackers can gain complete control over the modems, allowing them to change DNS settings, make the modem part of a botnet, and carry out a variety of other nefarious actions.

            • Security updates for Tuesday

              Security updates have been issued by Debian (wordpress and xen), Mageia (graphicsmagick, kernel, makepasswd, and unbound), openSUSE (containerd, docker, docker-runc,, dia, ffmpeg-4, libgcrypt, php7-imagick, proftpd, rubygem-excon, shibboleth-sp, tomcat, trousers, and xen), Oracle (firefox), Red Hat (kernel), Scientific Linux (firefox), SUSE (e2fsprogs, kernel, and libsolv, libzypp, zypper), and Ubuntu (libgcrypt20, libvirt, nginx, sdl-image1.2, and spamassassin).

            • OpenStack Security and Compliance for Telco
            • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

              • NPM security team removes malicious package caught leaking data from UNIX systems

                The security team at Node Package Manager (npm) has removed a malicious JavaScript package present in the npm repository, which was observed stealing sensitive data from UNIX systems.

              • Malicious npm package exfiltrating data from UNIX systems

                A malicious JavaScript package was uploaded Dec. 30 2019 on the Node Package Manager (npm), the world’s largest software registry, containing over 800,000 code packages that developers use to write JavaScript applications.

                The package, identified as 1337qq-js, was spotted stealing sensitive data through install scrips of Unix Systems. It marks the sixth-known incident to strike the npm repository in the past three years.

      • Civil Rights/Policing

        • Women Are Forced To Commit Crime Because Of Social Challenges – Auxillia Mnangagwa

          FIRST Lady Amai Auxilia Mnangagwa urged men to respect and support their families as a way of fighting crime and building the nation.

          Amai Mnangagwa said this in her speech at the Female Open Prison Ground Breaking Ceremony held at Marondera Prison on Friday.


          “Thus, the establishment of the female open prison would be quite conducive for promoting and maintaining such family fabric and unity given that this would provide them with more time and opportunities to be in touch with children and families apart from aiding their rehabilitation and re-integration given that such an institution would at most be serving as a hallway home,” she said.

      • Monopolies

        • Patents

          • “Nonappealable” means Not Keeping the PTAB in Check

            The Federal Circuit has denied en banc rehearing in this case that focuses primarily on the ability of the appellate court to keep the PTAB in-line. In this particular case, the PTAB did not follow a prior remand order from the Federal Circuit. In particular, in a prior SAS appeal, the Federal Circuit indicated that the PTAB should hold trial on “each claim challenged.” Instead, the PTAB decided to dismiss the whole case — finding it it be “inefficient and expensive” to include the additional grounds. Judge Newman argues that such disobedience should be treated swiftly.

          • Parallel District Court and ITC Litigation

            ARM’s US Patent 8,720,320 covers a Keurig coffee-machine adapter. Typical cartridges are single-use — rendered ineffective after being pierced by the brewer during operation. ARM’s device isn’t pierced and so retains its effectiveness over multiple uses.

            ARM filed an ITC complaint against Eko and others. Although the ITC ruled that several claims were invalid for lacking written description (e.g., claim 5), Eko defaulted with respect to claims 8 and 19 and the ITC issued an exclusion order with respect to those claims.

            Subsequently, Eko filed a district court declaratory judgment action to collaterally attack the ITC ruling as to claims 8 and 19. The district court complied and found the claims not-infringed (summary judgment) and invalid as obvious (jury verdict). The district court also awarded attorney fees to Eko as the prevailing party in what it found to be an exceptional case.


            However, on appeal, the Federal Circuit refused to order a new trial — holding that jury instructions must be considered as a whole – “we think that the instruction taken as a whole provides reasonable clarity as to the correct test for willful infringement.” In particular, the instructions allow for a finding of infringement that is simply “deliberate.” Later, the instructions also focus jury attention on intentional copying and belief of non-infringement. Those elements of the instructions were sufficient to cure the problematic language since “[t]he jury was reasonably informed that it could make a finding of willful infringement if it found that ARM deliberately or

          • South Africa’s Constitutional Court rules on whether patent validity can be used as both a sword (revocation action) and a shield (infringement action) in patent proceedings

            Late in October last year, the Constitutional Court of South Africa (the ConCourt) handed down its decision on the appropriate default position in patent proceedings in Ascendis Animal Health (Pty) Limited vs Merck Sharp Dohme Corporation and 2 Others [2019] ZACC 41. The appeal raised the question of whether a defendant who has unsuccessfully challenged the validity of a patent in revocation proceedings may be permitted to raise the issue of patent validity as a defence in infringement proceedings.


            In 2011, Ascendis Animal Health (Pty) Limited (the applicant) instituted revocation proceedings at the High Court seeking to invalidate the patent held by Merck Sharp Dohme Corporation and Merial Limited (the respondents) on grounds that the patent was not new (novelty) and lacked an inventive step (obviousness) under section 25(5), (6) and (10) of the South African Patents Act. [Paragraph 7].

            While the revocation action was pending, the respondents instituted proceedings against the applicant for patent infringement.

            The parties agreed to stay the infringement proceedings and proceed with the revocation proceedings to finality. Also, the applicant informed the respondent of its decision to argue only the novelty claim and to present oral evidence regarding the obviousness claim, should the novelty claim fail. The respondents opposed this approach as untenable in law and procedure but the applicant proceeded as it planned and there was no ruling on this during the revocation proceedings. [Paragraph 10]

            The High Court revoked the respondents’ patent for lack of novelty and on appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal, it was held that the novelty claim had no merit and that the patent was valid. [Paragraph 14]

            The applicant returned to the revocation proceedings at the High Court and filed an application to amend its application thus: remove the novelty claim; retain the obviousness claim and introduce a new defence of inutility under section 61(1)(d) of the Patents Act. The respondents opposed this application and sought to amend their pleadings to plead res judicata based on the Supreme Court decision. The respondent also sought an interim order to restrain further infringement pending the outcome of the suit. [Paragraphs 15-16].

          • Lawyers react to US plans to strengthen design patent enforcement

            In-house and private practice lawyers say that proposed legislation could help companies fight counterfeiters and enforce design patents, though others say the bill raises prior art concerns

          • The Broad Institute’s CRISPR patent appeal hearing: Day 1, Setting the Stage

            Today was Day 1 of the Board of Appeal hearing on the validity of one of the Broad Institute’s patents relating to fundamental aspects of CRISPR technology. The simple question at the heart of the dispute between the Broad Institute and the opponents was summarised with admirable succinctness by the Board of Appeal in their preliminary opinion:

            “A and B are applicants for the priority application. A alone is the applicant of the subsequent application. Is this priority claim valid even without any assignment of priority right from B to A? The appellants say that the answer is ‘yes’ and the respondents that the answer is ‘no’”.

            IPKat heard from one Katfriend that a crowd of interested parties turned up bright and early for the start of the hearing at 9am. However, it seems that the Hearing did not actually begin until after lunch, with proceedings commencing at 1pm. As expected, the afternoon was devoted to clarifying the requests of the various parties in attendance, before moving on to the arguments concerning linguistic analysis of “any applicant” according to Article 87 EPC.


            The stage is therefore set for one of the most exciting Board of Appeal hearings of recent times. If the Opposition Division hearing is anything to go by, we can expect an interesting series of days to come. As a mark of the interest in the case, today’s hearing included complaints of tweeting amongst the audience, something it seems the Board is keen to prevent.

            It is widely expected that the Board of Appeal will dismiss the appeal in view of the mountain of Board of Appeal case law in support of the current EPO approach. None-the-less, the Broad Institute have thrown a considerable amount into this fight, despite what many see as the limited chance of success. Will the EPO be swayed?

          • Barkan Wireless patent claims held unpatentable by PTAB

            On January 8, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued a public version of its final written decision in Unified Patents Inc. v. Barkan Wireless IP Holdings, L.P., holding as unpatentable 15 of 21 challenged claims of U.S. Patent 8,014,284 owned by and asserted by Barkan Wireless IP Holdings, an NPE. The ’284 patent, directed to an “add-on base station” in a cellular network, has been asserted in district court litigation against Verizon and Samsung.

          • Software Patents

            • U.S. Supreme Court on Eligibility: Nothing to See Here, Move Along [Ed: Kevin E. Noonan upset that fake, abstract patents remain invalid.]

              It can only be concluded that the Court is comfortable with the state of diagnostic method patenting (i.e., it does not exist in the U.S.). There are members of the Court who have expressed skepticism or outright hostility to such claims, fearing that they will inhibit the practice of medicine, as well as statements (some of dubious provenance) that diagnostic methods are unlike pharmaceuticals and don’t need patents (mostly from legal academics and economists). Although Bilski was a business method patent case, some of the Justices there seemed unimpressed with method claims more generally, and this prejudice may be affecting their certiorari behavior. And there is the animus many of the Justices have voiced about the Federal Circuit over the past 15-20 years, which may have made the Court less inclined to come to their rescue.

              Or maybe the Court believes that this decision (not to decide) will motivate Congress to change the law; after all, in Mayo, Justice Breyer said something along the lines of “if you disagree with us, go to Congress.” And genuinely, the Court may be facing up to the reality that, even if its concerns are real, the Justices don’t have a solution to the problem, in which case Congress is the only answer.

            • Certiorari Denied in Eligibility Cases

              Although there are several other pending eligibility petitions, I gave these three the highest potential for certiorari. The result here is that the Supreme Court is now highly unlikely to take up eligibility anew this term. The one exception is the copyright case of Google v. Oracle where the court will likely discuss a dividing line between patentable and copyrightable subject matter.


              Although several of these petitions raise important points, none of them have received the attention or support of the ones denied today.

            • A Decade of Federal Circuit Decisions

              Recently, we updated the Compendium to include all decisions arising from origins other than the District Courts and USPTO. This lets us compare decisions across all origins along a variety of dimensions.

              Figure 1 shows the distribution of Federal Circuit decisions by major source. A “decision” in the Compendium is defined as an opinion or Rule 36 affirmance. I’ve grouped origins with small numbers of appeals, including the Board of Contract Appeals, Department of Justice, and Department of Veterans’ Affairs, into the “other” category. (The figures link to larger versions.)


              These graphs show the well-known increase in decisions arising from the USPTO (mostly from inter partes review proceedings), but also a decline in decisions arising from the MSPB. (These outputs match the inputs: the Federal Circuit’s statistics page indicates a decline in the number of docketed appeals arising from the MSPB.) While decisions arising from the district courts and the USPTO have crossed paths over the past few years, the number of decisions originating from the district courts is about where it began the decade. Overall, the court’s total output has risen by about 100 decisions/year during this time.


              If there are particular graphs of Federal Circuit decisions from the last decade that you’d like to see, send me an email and if we have the data I’ll try to generate them.

              You’re welcome to play around with the data on your own. If you do use it for something that you publish, please include a citation to the Compendium. There’s a convenient cite form on the landing page for the database. You’re also welcome to use the above graphs in presentations, provided that you give credit to PatentlyO and the Compendium of Federal Circuit Decisions (https://empirical.law.uiowa.edu/compendium-federal-circuit-decisions).

        • Trademarks

    Vista 7 is Dead, Long Live GNU/Linux

    Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 8:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    PC tax

    Summary: A reminder of Microsoft’s universal “PC tax” ambitions — evidence that the company was never interested in ‘playing nice’ with anybody

    Links 14/1/2020: Git v2.25.0 and End of Vista 7

    Posted in News Roundup at 7:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    • GNU/Linux

      • Why Should You Use Linux?

        When people debate which operating system is the best-either MacOS or Windows-not many mention the third option: Linux. Why is that?

        See, Linux has its own niche in the tech industry, but that’s it. Yes, you can use Linux as your daily driver, but learning Linux can take a long time depending on which distro, Linux’s word for “version”, you have.

        But I’m not saying you shouldn’t use Linux. In fact, if you’re into technology at all, I recommend using Linux for a month or two just to see how it works and the things you can do with Linux.

      • Server

        • OpenStack’s Complicated Kubernetes Relationship

          2020 may be the year the OpenStack community comes to terms with Kubernetes

          As the open source community heads into 2020, loyalties between OpenStack and Kubernetes are likely to become increasingly divided. Contributors to open source projects are trying to determine where to prioritize their efforts, while IT organizations are wondering to what degree they will need a framework such as OpenStack to deploy Kubernetes.

          Most Kubernetes deployments thus far have been on top of open source virtual machines or commercial platforms from VMware. Most of those decisions have been driven by the need to isolate Kubernetes environments sharing the same infrastructure. In addition, many IT organizations lacked the tools or expertise required to manage Kubernetes natively, so it became easier to simply extend existing tools to manage Kubernetes as an extension of a virtual machine-based platform.

          The debate now is to what degree that approach will continue as organizations become first more familiar with native Kubernetes toolsets and alternative approaches to isolating workloads using lighter-weight virtual machines emerge.

          Lighter-weight alternatives to OpenStack and VMware for deploying Kubernetes clusters already exist, notes Rob Hirschfeld, CEO of RackN, a provider of an infrastructure automation platform based on open source Digital Rebar software.

          At the same time, managed service providers such as Mirantis have begun rolling out highly distributed services based on Kubernetes that make no use of OpenStack at all.

        • IBM

          • Huawei has created an alternative to Android and Windows

            A trade war between the US and Huawei has forced Chinese companies to look for a replacement Android, the license of which was revoked by Google. In the summer of 2019 mobile giant from China has introduced Harmony OS – the concept of a universal operating system for mobile devices, including smartphones, TVs and even wearable electronics. On the weekend unexpectedly Huawei has introduced another OS – openEuler, reports the Chronicle.info with reference for Today.

          • Red Hat urges U.S. Supreme Court to support unrestricted use of software interfaces

            Today, Red Hat filed an amicus brief (a “friend of the court” brief) asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decision in Oracle v. Google. The lower court incorrectly extended copyright protection to software interfaces. If left uncorrected, the lower court rulings could harm software compatibility and interoperability and have a chilling effect on the innovation represented by the open source community.

            As the world’s largest developer of enterprise open source software solutions, Red Hat’s customers include more than 90% of the Fortune 500. Using a community-powered approach to software development, Red Hat has developed reliable, high-performing, enterprise-quality cloud, middleware, storage, and virtualization technologies.

            Red Hat also has a long and extensive history of developing software written in Java as well as implementations of the Java programming language. Red Hat’s significant involvement with Java development over the last 20 years has included extensive contributions to OpenJDK, an open source implementation of the Java platform, and the development of Red Hat Middleware, a suite of Java-based middleware solutions to build, integrate, automate and deploy enterprise applications.


            “The Federal Circuit’s unduly narrow construction of 17 U.S.C. § 102(b) is harmful to progress, competition, and innovation in the field of software development,” Red Hat stated in the brief. “IBM and Red Hat urge the Court to reverse the decision below on the basis that 17 U.S.C. § 102(b) excludes software interfaces from copyright protection.”

      • Audiocasts/Shows

        • Podcast.__init__: Using Deliberate Practice To Level Up Your Python

          An effective strategy for teaching and learning is to rely on well structured exercises and collaboration for practicing the material. In this episode long time Python trainer Reuven Lerner reflects on the lessons that he has learned in the 5 years since his first appearance on the show, how his teaching has evolved, and the ways that he has incorporated more hands-on experiences into his lessons. This was a great conversation about the benefits of being deliberate in your approach to ongoing education in the field of technology, as well as having some helpful references for ways to keep your own skills sharp.

        • 2020-01-13 | Linux Headlines

          GRUB gets an important patch, a great twitter client for desktop Linux, another Linux distro reaches out to Windows 7 refugees, and the ever-deepening relationship between Microsoft and Samsung.

      • Kernel Space

        • Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux operating system, warned developers not to use an Oracle-owned file system because of the company’s ‘litigious nature’
        • It’s a no to ZFS in the Linux kernel from me, says Torvalds, points finger of blame at Oracle licensing

          Linux kernel jockey, Linus Torvalds, has taken time out to remind open source loyalists that he is no fan of the ZFS file system due, in part, to the sometimes tortuous nature of open source licensing.

          Torvalds was responding to a question late last week regarding a recent update to the Linux kernel breaking the third party ZFS module.

          With his new non-sweary hat on, Torvalds patiently explained his position around out-of-tree components such as ZFS. In essence, they aren’t his problem. We imagine ensuring nothing breaks in the user space is challenging enough.

          “Note that ‘we don’t break users’ is literally about user-space applications, and about the kernel I maintain,” he explained, adding: “If somebody adds a kernel module like ZFS, they are on their own. I can’t maintain it, and I can not be bound by other people’s kernel changes.”

          So there you have it, ZFS fans. Except, of course, you don’t.

          The Linux supremo went on to throw a little shade at Platinum Linux Foundation member Oracle, adding, “There is no way I can merge any of the ZFS efforts until I get an official letter from Oracle that is signed by their main legal counsel or preferably by Larry Ellison himself that says that yes, it’s OK to do so and treat the end result as GPL’d.”

        • Intel and AMD in Linux

          • Intel Uncore Frequency Driver On Linux Is Closer To Mainline With Latest Patches

            The Intel Uncore Frequency driver for Linux allows reading and setting the uncore frequency, which controls the RING / Last Level Cache (LLC) clocks. Increasing the uncore frequency can help with improving memory latency or at least making the latency consistent by avoiding the dynamic uncore frequency selection. Increasing the clocks obviously come with increased power/heat. By default, the Intel uncore frequency is dynamic based upon the CPU performance state and power constraints.

            Intel has long published as part of their data sheets that the uncore frequency is controlled via a specific MSR (register 0×620) while now the intel_uncore frequency driver makes it easy to read and manipulate it from user-space. Interested server administrators could already manipulate the MSR as desired, but the Intel Uncore Frequency Linux driver makes it very easy now to read and set via new sysfs interfaces.

          • Intel Revs Linux Patches For Per-Client Engine Busyness – Allowing For Great GPU Insight

            One of the set of patches for Intel’s Linux kernel graphics driver that have been floating around for more than one year is about exposing per-client (process) statistics in how each application is making use of the GPU’s render/blitter/video hardware and various insightful statistics related to that. The patches aren’t queued for mainline yet but at least a new revision of the work was published.

          • RADV’s Next-Gen Geometry Code Continues To Be Revised For Navi GPUs

            The NGG (Next-Gen Geometry) support with Navi continues to be refined by the open-source AMD Linux graphics drivers with the RADV Vulkan driver seeing a fresh batch of fixes/clean-ups, inspired in part by the NGG code from the RadeonSI and AMDVLK drivers.

            The latest batch of RADV NGG work comes via Valve open-source driver developer Samuel Pitoiset. Landing in Mesa 20.0-devel today is a performance optimization, support for the NGG passthrough mode, disabling of vertex grouping, and other tweaks.

            Nothing too major itself but the latest in a long series of NGG activity for the open-source AMD Linux graphics drivers.

      • Benchmarks

        • Looking At The Linux Performance Two Years After Spectre / Meltdown Mitigations

          Last week marked the two year anniversary since the formal public disclosure of the Spectre and Meltdown disclosures. To commemorate that anniversary, I was running some fresh benchmarks of various Intel desktop and server processors with the in-development Ubuntu 20.04 LTS to look at the performance impact today with the default CPU vulnerability mitigations and then again with the mitigations disabled at run-time.

          A daily snapshot of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS was used as of last week for offering the very latest look at the Linux performance two years after Spectre/Meltdown entered the public spotlight. Ubuntu 20.04 LTS right now is running on a Linux 5.4 based kernel, GCC 9.2.1, and the other latest stable packages.

      • Instructionals/Technical

      • Games

        • Enjoy this peaceful 4 hour long trailer for THE LONGING, a game that takes 400 days to beat

          A curious one this, a game that has a clock that counts down from 400 days as soon as you start it and you don’t even need to play it to get to the ending, as time continues when you’re not playing. I’ve played some slow games before but this is an all new kind of sloth.

          It’s called THE LONGING and you play as Shade, the last lonely servant of a King who once ruled an underground kingdom. The King’s powers have faded and he sleeps for 400 days to regain strength and you’re supposed to stick around until he awakens. Announced today, Studio Seufz have now given it a release date of March 5 and you can see the wonderful four hour long trailer below. The trailer is obviously a joke, at how you can just sit around and do nothing.

        • Feral Interactive are asking what you want ported to Linux again

          Feral Interactive, the porting studio behind a lot of great games available on Linux are asking for some feedback again on where they should go next.

          In the past, they’ve teased how they feed port requests into “THE REQUESTINATOR”. Looks like my number three from when they asked in November 2018 turned out okay with Shadow of the Tomb Raider. As always though, we want additional ports to buy and more varied titles to play through.

        • VVVVVV Goes Open Source For Its 10th Anniversary

          Indie title VVVVVV, the minimalistic platformer created by Terry Cavanagh, reached its tenth anniversary earlier this week. To mark the occasion, Cavanagh announced on his blog that he was releasing the source code for the game for others to do as they pleased.

        • VVVVVV’s Source Code Is Now Public, 10 Year Anniversary Jam Happening Now!

          Or possibly tomorrow is, depending on who you ask – technically, the game first went live at 3am GMT on the 11th January 2010, after a very, very long day of fixing every last bug I could, making last minute builds, and trying to slowly upload everything on an extremely unreliable internet connection that kept cutting out. But I’ve always gone by “it’s not tomorrow until you wake up” rules, so I still think of January the 10th as the real launch day

        • Chronicon, the excellent action-RPG now has much better gamepad support

          Chronicon is an Early Access action-RPG with a feel and atmosphere like the classic Diablo, I absolutely love it and it’s now much better with gamepads. Don’t let the retro pixel style to it fool you, this is a deep ARPG with tons of enemies, quests and loot that will have you sorting for days.

          Last time I tried it, the gamepad situation was a bit poor. Since trying it again now, it’s close to flawless. Hot-plugging works, Steam Controller works as does the Logitech F310 and it makes for a massively improved experience. Weirdly, the Back button on either is still not detected, so you will need to rebind inventory. Chronicon is damn fun with keyboard and mouse but when you want to kick back and relax a little more, gamepads are where it’s at and now you can easily do that too with no fussing. This is going to be terrible for my free time.

        • Fantastic RTS ‘Tooth and Tail’ now lets you adjust campaign difficulty plus big sale

          Tooth and Tail, a brilliant real-time strategy game released back in 2017 from Pocketwatch Games continues seeing upgrades to make it appeal to even more people.

          An RTS where you are a character in the field, you’re the flag-bearer directing your troops around as you run through all the destruction. It’s pretty damn clever actually, with a full story-based single-player campaign and cross-platform online play there’s a lot to enjoy about it. Especially with gamepad support, really easy to get into. Not seen it before?

      • Desktop Environments/WMs

        • Xfce 4.14 Maintenance and 4.15 Updates

          As promised we’re trying to be much better at doing maintenance releases for Xfce 4.14. In part, we had a hard time doing maintenance for Xfce 4.12 because with all the porting work it was hard to focus on fixing Gtk+2 bugs and many bugreports/fixes didn’t apply to both 4.12 and 4.14.

        • Xfce 4.16 Is Making Good Progress On Utilizing GTK3 Client-Side Decorations

          Several months ago we learned of the Xfce 4.16 plans to drop GTK2 support and explore client-side decoration goals among other changes for this lightweight desktop environment release expected in late 2020.

          The Xfce 4.16 goal of making use of client-side decorations and in particular the GTK3 GtkHeaderBar appears to be making good progress.

        • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

          • Akonadi / KMail and Google accounts

            You can see the consequences of that oversight in KDE bugs, for instance kmail no longer allows addition of gmail account or Dolphin Kio-gdrive authentication with Google account fails. There are probably multiple duplicates in KDE’s bugzilla as well.

            The Google account used for the integration – the one that “owns” the API tokens and a few other things – has the KDE e.V. board email attached to it. That’s sensible, since Google integration in KDE applications and frameworks is something institutional, not personal (so it wouldn’t make sense to have any individual developer’s address on it). The e.V. exists to support the community, after all.

            This does mean that when things break with the integration – and they have been broken, for months now – the board gets email with questions. This is a semi-official statement from the board about what’s going on (semi-, because it is on my personal blog, and statements like “I don’t know” and “I don’t use” are personal, not institutional).

          • gbgcpp – Ribbons using Qt

            I’ve been involved in the gbgcpp group, a part of the larger Sweden C++ community, for a couple of years. It is fun to see that there is a lot of C++ developers out there, once you start looking for them.

            In the next meetup, this Wednesday, there will be both C++ and Qt. The topic is to implement Ribbons in Qt, based on a seminar by Dag Brück. If you happen to be in the vicinity of Gothenburg, I recommend you to go there!

          • My KDE in 2019: Developer Documentation Update

            Late 2019 year-end post, I know. It’s been a rather busy start to the new year even when I tried to hit the ground running. Unfortunately, some things like blog posts have taken a backseat. Hopefully not for long.

            2019 was a wild year for me personally and I don’t mean that in the completely good sense. One of the highlights, though, was being hired to do contractual work for KDE as a technical writer and documentation specialist. TL;DR I went through KDE’s developer docs and queried a few devs on the state of the documentation and what needs to be done to make it easier for new developers to get started using our libraries/frameworks and contribute to KDE projects.

            It was definitely an honor to formally work for the community. I have been a sporadic contributor (lately more just helping out on IRC) and getting the chance to work on more technical matters again and be involved on a deeper level was exciting. Plus, the accountability definitely helped in the motivation aspect. Sadly, due to personal circumstances, I wasn’t able to follow up on the matter after the contract formally ended. Fortunately, that period is over and I can get the ball rolling again.


            2019 was spent for analysis and planning so, hopefully, 2020 will be spent putting all of these into action. Writing documentation is often seen as a boring task but, especially when it comes to developer documentation, it can be the perfect opportunity to become familiar with the software and libraries, the tools and processes, and, most importantly, with the people and the community that make KDE awesome

        • GNOME Desktop/GTK

          • GtkSourceView on GTK 4

            I spent some time this cycle porting GtkSourceView to GTK 4. It was a good opportunity to help me catch up on how GTK 4’s internals have changed into something modern. It gave me a chance to fix a few pot-holes along the way too.

            One of the pot-holes was one I left in GtkTextView years ago. When I plumbed the pixelcache into GTK 3’s TextView I had only cached the primary text content. It seemed fine at the time because the gutters (used for line numbers) is just not that many pixels. So if we have to re-generate that every frame, so be it.

            However, in a HiDPI world and 4k monitors on our laps things start to get… warm. So while changing the drawing model in GtkTextView we decided to make the GtkTextView gutters real widgets. Doing so means that GtkSourceGutterRenderer will be real GtkWidget‘s going forward and can do all sorts of neat stuff widgets can do.

      • Distributions

        • Must Read: 5 Best Linux Distros for Windows 7 Users

          With that in mind we asked our readers what they think are the best Linux distros for Windows 7 users to switch to. This post rounds up their responses.

          Now, if you’re running Windows 7 at the moment and you’re scared about making the switch to Linux let me tell you that you’re not alone — I was there was where you are once!

          One helpful tips to soinstall Linux alongside Windows 7 as a dual boot, and switch between systems just by rebooting your computer.

        • Windows 7 Support Ends Today, Upgrade to Something Supported Soon
        • Windows 7 support ends today: Here are your best Windows 10 alternatives

          Ubuntu is an open-source Windows OS alternative that, unlike Microsoft’s operating system, is free to download. Introduced in 2004, OS is based on Linux platform and has nearly all the features that one would find in Windows OS. The operating system also gets regular updates and supports Intel x86 (IBM-compatible PC), AMD64 (x86-64), ARMv7, ARMv8 (ARM64) among other architectures. The OS even runs Microsoft’s MS Office software but it doesn’t support games, in case you want that much flexibility. There’s also a slight learning curve with this one, so be prepared to invest a bit more time in this as compared to Windows.

        • Windows 7 end of life: Time to move on

          So, what are your options? Simply put, you may want to consider upgrading at last. Biting the bullet and shouldering the expense of upgrading can save you from picking up the tab for a costly cyberattack.

          On the bright side, if you were thinking about switching to another system, there is no better opportunity than now. You have several options to choose from. You can opt for Linux, which offers a number of distributions (the name for Linux operating systems) such as Ubuntu, ElementaryOS, or alternatively you can take a peek at some of the distros we discussed in one of our recent articles.

        • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

          • [OpenMandriva] Additional desktop environments updated once again!

            I am pleased to announce that all currently the most popular desktops are available in the OpenMandriva repository and have been updated to the latest releases.

            So, if you don’t like the default Plasma 5, then you have option to use a different environment like Gnome, Cinnamon, Mate, Xfce, IceWM or i3. In addition @fedya has prepared Sway, and in the repository we can also find under the tutelage of @bero the LXQT and Lumina – both QT based environments. All desktop you can find in Cooker, Rolling* and in upcoming stable release Rock 4.1.


            GNOME environment was updated to latest stable 3.34.3 along with most components that fall into this gtk stack.

        • Fedora Family

          • Fedora 32 Greenlit For Enabling FSTRIM Support By Default

            Back in December was the proposal to finally enable FSTRIM by default for Fedora 32 in benefiting solid-state storage. Today the formal approval was given by the Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee to go ahead with this long overdue change.

            The change is to enable the systemd fstrim.timer unit by default for running FSTRIM weekly on EXT4/XFS/Btrfs/F2FS file-systems running on flash-based storage devices. FSTRIM is used for notifying the underlying storage devices about unused blocks for wear leveling and more efficient handling.

          • Fedora program update: 2020-02

            I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

          • Ubuntu’s Unity Desktop Lives On

            And no, I don’t just mean on the desktops of those still running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

            Now, I’m not particularly clued up on my anime (more a Super Sentai guy myself, I like the colours) but Alex (aka BabyWogue) is a fan of the genre.

            And in recent episodes of “Rikei ga Koi ni Ochita no de Shoumei shitemita”, a new adaptation of the popular manga of the same name, Alex spotted something familiar… Something that will be of particular interest to sites like mine: the Unity desktop!

          • Root User in Ubuntu: Important Things You Should Know

            In Linux, there is always a super user called root. This is the super admin account that can do anything and everything with the system. It can access any file and run any command on your Linux system.

            With great power comes great responsibility. Root user gives you complete power over the system and hence it should be used with great cautious. Root user can access system files and run commands to make changes to the system configuration. And hence, an incorrect command may destroy the system.

            This is why Ubuntu and other Ubuntu-based distributions lock the root user by default to save you from accidental disasters.

          • All about Ubuntu editions and which version should you use?

            Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux distributions developed and released by Canonical, and not without reason. It has very enriched repositories, with support for all the programs you could ever need.

            It provides the exceptionally smooth user experience, and if you have an issue, it also has a great community, where most problems that you could potentially have are already solved.

            Apart from these things, Ubuntu provides many different flavors and you can find the one that suits you the best. Here, we have provided a concise list of these different versions of Ubuntu, and reasons it could be the one for you. Although there are hundreds of Linux distros that are derived from Ubuntu, we are talking about the distros that made a considerable impact in the Linux community and have active developers working on a daily basis for providing sustained security updates.

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 613

            Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 613 for the week of January 5 – 11, 2020. The full version of this issue is available here.

      • Devices/Embedded

      • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

        • T-Mobile Poland deploys ONF’s open-source EPC

          T-Mobile Poland is using OMEC’s gateway control, user plane and billing components to deliver a Fixed Mobile Substitution (FMS) service to its customers. The OMEC components include standard 3GPP interfaces for interconnecting to T-Mobile’s existing base stations, mobility management entities and lawful intercept platforms.

          Michal Sewera, head of the EPC Shared Service Center at T-Mobile Poland, commented, “Our OMEC deployment provides us with a lightweight packet core providing connectivity, billing and charging at scale for a large number of fixed-mobile subscribers.

        • This New Open Source Software Can Help Spot Cancerous Cells

          A global team of researchers say they have open sourced new software designed to assess the proportion of cancerous cells in a tumour sample, among a range of other functions that could make it easier to create personalised cancer treatment plans.

          Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute, UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Oregon Health & Science University, the www.bdi.ox.ac.uk, and the University of Toronto published the tools this week. They were released to accompany a study, published in Nature Biotechnology, that creates a benchmark approach to computational methods of assessing genetic diversity in a tumour.

          As the research team noted: “Cancers are often made up of many cells which vary genetically to each other. These genetic differences mean the cancer may be particularly susceptible or resistant to a given treatment.

          “As a result, identifying these variations can help clinicians decide which treatment is most likely to be successful for a specific patient.

        • US adds AI export hurdles. Open source might lessen the impact

          Industry is wary of broad government regulation which could hamper product innovation. In turn, regulators are cautious of what geopolitical impact the tech industry’s global growth might have. The focus of the regulation strikes a balance between the two forces.

          Due to the open source availability of some of the technological elements that power geospatial software, rules in this field are “potentially less impactful than one might imagine,” said Robert Cheetham, founder and CEO of Azavea, in an interview with CIO Dive.

          “Because so much of this work is happening in an open intellectual commons, from which everyone is drawing, contributing and participating in, it narrows the scope of what the regulation could cover,” said Cheetham, whose B-corporation builds geospatial applications for civic and social impact.

        • Building a Real-Time App: 13 Open Source Projects You Should Be Tracking Right Now

          Open source is the dominant model of software consumption in the modern era. Cutting-edge startups and entrenched incumbents alike find open source software development and community building a significant part of their overall business strategies.


          There are seemingly limitless open source projects to evaluate. Further complicating matters, each project has its own domain competence and cultural nuances. Considering a single distributed application will have tens or (many) more open source dependencies, development teams must continuously test new open source offerings and hone new skills to use these solutions, while simultaneously architecting their applications.

          In order to help sort through the noise, I’ve looked at six categories of open source projects for this article: data storage, message systems, service meshes, REST frameworks and streaming frameworks. For each category, I’ll identify any dominant players as well as some other projects of note.

        • These Open Source Habits Could Make Your Career

          On an average day, Ryan McKinley gets about four job offers from companies that use — or want to use — the search engine Apache Lucene.

          That’s because McKinley, as an early contributor to Lucene’s open source codebase, is one of a handful of developers with the authority to make high-level changes within the project.

          McKinley, however, isn’t looking for work. He’s the VP of applications at recently formed Grafana Labs, which builds commercial-grade software atop the Grafana open source project. The company hired him because he was the project’s leading community contributor.

          After decades using open source to advance his projects and his career, McKinley has a few takeaways for engineers looking to parlay open source contributions into career growth.

        • Web Browsers

          • Mozilla

            • Conda is pretty great

              Lately the data engineering team has been looking into productionizing (i.e. running in Airflow) a bunch of models that the data science team has been producing. This often involves languages and environments that are a bit outside of our comfort zone — for example, the next version of Mission Control relies on the R-stan library to produce a model of expected crash behaviour as Firefox is released.


              I had been vaguely aware of Conda for a few years, but didn’t really understand its value proposition until I started working on the above project: why bother with a heavyweight package manager when you already have Docker to virtualize things? The answer is that it solves both of the above problems: for local development, you can get something more-or-less identical to what you’re running inside Docker with no performance penalty whatsoever. And for building the docker container itself, Conda’s package repository contains pre-compiled versions of all the dependencies you’d want to use for something like this (even somewhat esoteric libraries like R-stan are available on conda-forge), which brought my build cycle times down to less than 5 minutes.

            • Newsletter 2 (Firefox 73)

              Heads up: the next newsletter will likely cover both Firefox 74 and Firefox 75 due to the shorter release cycles this year.

            • No judgment digital definitions: Online advertising strategies

              It’s hard to go anywhere on the internet without seeing an ad. That’s because advertising is the predominant business model of the internet today. Websites and apps you visit every day are largely “free” for you because they monetize your data and your attention through advertising. And, as data sets of individuals and groups online have become more readily available to companies in recent years, advertisers have developed strategies to minimize what they spend on ads while maximizing the profit made from them. The ad tech arms race is constantly evolving, and the more invasive practices that are used, the more valuable your data is. Here are some of the most common online advertising strategies and associated activities being used that rely on collecting data about you today.

        • Funding

        • FSF

          • Licensing / Legal

            • Creative Commons and USAID Collaborate on Guide to Open Licensing

              Over the past two years, we’ve been working with USAID, the Global Book Alliance, the Global Digital Library, and the Global Reading Network on early childhood reading programs, with a focus on helping these programs to recognize the potential of open licensing to increase the reach and efficacy of resources that promote youth literacy. In the course of doing that work, we all realized that additional materials needed to be created for grantees of the programs to not only understand the open license grant requirements, but to undertake the practical steps of implementing open licenses. To respond to that need, we collaborated with USAID and the Global Reading Network to write and co-publish Open Licensing of Primary Grade Reading Materials: Considerations and Recommendations, a guide to open licenses that includes an introduction to the basics of copyright, an overview of the benefits of open licensing, and suggestions for choosing and implementing open licenses.

            • German Lawyer Niklas Plutte shares OSS tips

              Under the title « Open Source Software Recht: Große FAQ mit vielen Praxistipps” (in German language) the German lawyer Niklas Plutte (Rechtsanwalt) summarises the main questions related to open source licensing.

              In particular, the paper analyse how far open licences will produce a reciprocal (or copyleft) effect, meaning that in case or re-distribution of the program (as is, modified or in combination with other software) the copy, the modified or derivative work must be provided under the same licence and made available to the public in source code form, which could be shared and reused by anyone.

        • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

          • Open Data

            • Announcing new data sets on the IBM Data Asset eXchange

              The IBM® Data Asset eXchange (DAX) is an online hub for developers and data scientists to find carefully curated free and open data sets under open data licenses. A particular focus of the exchange is data sets under the Community Data License Agreement (CDLA). Since launching the exchange in 2019, the CODAIT team has been working on steadily adding new data sets to the exchange.


              To make it easier to use data sets on the Data Asset eXchange, we’ve introduced interactive notebooks hosted on Watson Studio that illustrate how to get started with your first steps of exploratory data analysis. Right now, we’ve added notebooks for a few data sets, including Fashion-MNIST, JFK Weather, PubTabNet, PubLayNet and more.

              We’re working on more content related to data cleansing, exploratory analysis, and machine learning with data sets from the Data Asset eXchange, so watch this space! We encourage you to check out these recent data sets and notebooks as well as all of the other data sets.

        • Programming/Development

          • Synthesizing Loop-Free Programs with Rust and Z3

            Automatically finding a program that implements a given specification is called program synthesis. The main difficulty is that the search space is huge: the number of programs of size \(n\) grows exponentially. Naïvely enumerating every program of size \(n\), checking whether each one satisfies the specification, and then moving on to programs of size \(n+1\) and so on doesn’t scale. However, the field has advanced by using smarter search techniques to prune the search space, leveraging performance improvements in SMT solvers, and at times limiting the scope of the problem.

            In this post, I’ll explain one approach to modern program synthesis: counterexample-guided iterative synthesis of component-based, loop-free programs, as described in Synthesis of Loop-Free Programs by Gulwani et al. We’ll dissect exactly what each of those terms mean, and we’ll also walk through an implementation written in Rust that uses the Z3 solver.

          • 4 things cloud-native Java must provide

            Because of Java and Enterprise Java’s history, an application built on a traditional Java stack, even if it is optimized for cloud-native environments, requires more memory and takes longer to start than applications built on other popular languages. With modern platforms like Kubernetes, Istio, and Knative, the need to have smaller runtimes that can scale up, down, and even down to zero is becoming more and more important.
            So, what should cloud-native Java look like in order to enable people to develop, build, run, debug, and deploy in an immutable infrastructure without a steep learning curve? How easily can developers evolve cloud-native Java for serverless applications on demand?

          • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn R

            The R language is the de facto standard among statisticians for the development of statistical software, and is widely used for statistical software development and data analysis. R is a modern dialect of S, one of several statistical programming languages designed at Bell Laboratories.

            R is much more than a programming language. It’s an interactive suite of software facilities for data manipulation, calculation, and graphical display. R offers a wide variety of statistical (linear and nonlinear modelling, classical statistical tests, time-series analysis, classification, clustering, …) and graphical techniques, and is highly extensible. The ability to download and install R packages is a key factor which makes R an excellent language to learn. What else makes R awesome? Here’s a taster.

          • 2020.02 Important Things

            Sterling Hanenkamp (of Raku Async Advent fame) has written an endearing blog about their position with regards to the renaming of Perl 6 to Raku and the important things in life. (/r/rakulang comments).

          • Git

            • [ANNOUNCE] Git v2.25.0
              The latest feature release Git v2.25.0 is now available at the
              usual places.  It is comprised of 583 non-merge commits since
              v2.24.0, contributed by 84 people, 32 of which are new faces.
              The tarballs are found at:
              The following public repositories all have a copy of the 'v2.25.0'
              tag and the 'master' branch that the tag points at:
                url = https://kernel.googlesource.com/pub/scm/git/git
                url = git://repo.or.cz/alt-git.git
                url = https://github.com/gitster/git
              New contributors whose contributions weren't in v2.24.0 are as follows.
              Welcome to the Git development community!
                Ben Keene, Colin Stolley, Dominic Jäger, Erik Chen, Hariom
                Verma, Heba Waly, James Coglan, James Shubin, Johannes Schindelin
                via GitGitGadget, Jonathan Gilbert, Josh Holland, Kazuhiro
                Kato, Łukasz Niemier, Manish Goregaokar, Matthew Rogers,
                Mihail Atanassov, Miriam Rubio, Nathan Stocks, Naveen Nathan,
                Nika Layzell, pan93412, Paul Menzel, Philippe Blain, Prarit
                Bhargava, r.burenkov, Ruud van Asseldonk, ryenus, Slavica
                Đukić, Thomas Menzel, Utsav Shah, Yi-Jyun Pan, and Zoli Szabó.
              Returning contributors who helped this release are as follows.
              Thanks for your continued support.
                Alban Gruin, Alessandro Menti, Alexander Shopov, Alexandr
                Miloslavskiy, Andreas Schwab, Andrei Rybak, brian m. carlson,
                Christopher Diaz Riveros, Daniel Ferreira, Denis Ovsienko,
                Denton Liu, Derrick Stolee, Dimitriy Ryazantcev, Đoàn Trần
                Công Danh, Ed Maste, Elia Pinto, Elijah Newren, Emily Shaffer,
                Eric Wong, Garima Singh, Hans Jerry Illikainen, Jean-Noël
                Avila, Jeff Hostetler, Jeff King, Jiang Xin, Johannes Berg,
                Johannes Schindelin, Johannes Sixt, Jonathan Nieder, Jonathan
                Tan, Jordi Mas, Junio C Hamano, Kevin Willford, Martin Ågren,
                Matthias Rüster, Mike Hommey, Peter Krefting, Philip Oakley,
                Phillip Wood, Pratyush Yadav, Ralf Thielow, René Scharfe, Robin
                H. Johnson, Rohit Ashiwal, SZEDER Gábor, Tanushree Tumane,
                Taylor Blau, Thomas Braun, Thomas Gummerer, Todd Zullinger,
                Trần Ngọc Quân, and William Baker.
            • Git v2.25.0

              Git 2.25 has been released. This blog post looks at “partial clone support” and “sparse checkouts” as these features mature. “A clone of a Git repository copies all of its data: every version of every file in the history.

            • Highlights from Git 2.25

              The open source Git project just released Git 2.25 with features and bug fixes from over 84 contributors, 32 of them new. Here’s our look at some of the most exciting features and changes introduced since Git 2.24.

            • Git 2.25 Released As Its First Update Of 2020

              Git 2.25 is out today with over 500 commits making up this latest feature release.

              The Git distributed revision control system is up to version 2.25 with a variety of changes. There aren’t too many notable user-facing changes but a lot of churn internally:

              - The git multi-pack index functionality now can show progress indicators.

          • Python

            • Logistic Regression in Python

              As the amount of available data, the strength of computing power, and the number of algorithmic improvements continue to rise, so does the importance of data science and machine learning. Classification is among the most important areas of machine learning, and logistic regression is one of its basic methods. By the end of this tutorial, you’ll have learned about classification in general and the fundamentals of logistic regression in particular, as well as how to implement logistic regression in Python.

            • Szorc: Mercurial’s Journey to and Reflections on Python 3

              Here is a longish blog entry from Mercurial maintainer Gregory Szorc on the painful process of converting Mercurial to Python 3.

            • Mercurial’s Journey to and Reflections on Python 3

              Mercurial 5.2 was released on November 5, 2019. It is the first version of Mercurial that supports Python 3. This milestone comes nearly 11 years after Python 3.0 was first released on December 3, 2008.

              Speaking as a maintainer of Mercurial and an avid user of Python, I feel like the experience of making Mercurial work with Python 3 is worth sharing because there are a number of lessons to be learned.

              This post is logically divided into two sections: a mostly factual recount of Mercurial’s Python 3 porting effort and a more opinionated commentary of the transition to Python 3 and the Python language ecosystem as a whole. Those who don’t care about the mechanics of porting a large Python project to Python 3 may want to skip the next section or two.


              This effort began in earnest in June 2015 with global source code rewrites like using modern octal syntax, modern exception catching syntax (except Exception as e instead of except Exception, e), print() instead of print, and a modern import convention along with the use of from __future__ import absolute_import.

              In the early days of the port, our first goal was to get all source code parsing as valid Python 3. The next step was to get all the modules importing cleanly. This entailed fixing code that ran at import time to work on Python 3. Our thinking was that we would need the code base to be import clean on Python 3 before seriously thinking about run-time behavior. In reality, we quickly ported a lot of modules to import cleanly and then moved on to higher-level porting, leaving a long-tail of modules with import failures.

              This initial porting effort played out over months. There weren’t many people working on it in the early days: a few people would basically hack on Python 3 as a form of itch scratching and most of the project’s energy was focused on improving the existing Python 2 based product. You can get a rough idea of the timeline and participation in the early porting effort through the history of test-check-py3-compat.t. We see the test being added in December 2015, By June 2016, most of the code base was ported to our modern import convention and we were ready to move on to more meaningful porting.

    • Leftovers

      • Mapache – Life On Fire
      • The Millennial Meaninglessness of Writing About Tech
      • MIT Suspends Another Professor for Epstein Ties

        MIT has placed tenured mechanical engineering professor Seth Lloyd on administrative because of a failure to disclose ties to Jeffrey Epstein, the deceased and disgraced financier accused of sex trafficking and other crimes.

        Over the years, Epstein donated $225,000 to Lloyd’s research and also gave him a personal gift of $60,000, according to an extensive report about Epstein’s connections to MIT that the university released Friday. Lloyd hid the source of the donations by processing them through various administrators — ultimately tainting his research by linking it to Epstein’s disgraceful legacy.


        Joi Ito, the since-resigned director of the MIT Media Lab also accepted — and obscured the source of — hundreds of thousands of dollars from Epstein and millions more that were funneled through Epstein’s company. Computer scientist Richard Stallman also resigned in the wake of controversy surrounding off-color comments he made about the scandal.

      • Education

        • Defying Threat of Termination, 1,200 Florida Teachers Rally to Save Public Education

          “Florida teachers are rallying for fair pay and better funding for schools, and they won’t be intimidated or undermined.”

        • An Evolutionary Explanation for Unscientific Beliefs

          “Another theory is that humans were created by God,” announced my tenth-grade biology student as she clicked past PowerPoint slides of Darwin’s finches and on to images of a catastrophic flood. After her presentation, I carefully avoided inane debate and simply reiterated the unique ways in which science helps us make accurate predictions. I then prepared for pushback from parents and administrators. Sure enough, the next day the superintendent of the school district came to my classroom with some creationist literature that he was confident would change my mind on the whole theory of evolution by natural selection thing. It didn’t, but it did lead me to pursue a PhD in educational psychology in my search to explain how such beliefs could be maintained in modern times, particularly in the face of such strong counterevidence.

          As it turns out, the theory of evolution by natural selection provides a strong explanation for how and why some people don’t believe evolution by natural selection has ever taken place. I initially thought the problem was a matter of knowledge and the standards people have for what constitutes knowledge, but eventually it became clear that holders of anti-scientific beliefs (from William Jennings Brian of the Scopes Monkey Trial to modern day conspiracy theorists) typically root their convictions in moral obligation.

      • Health/Nutrition

      • Integrity/Availability

        • Proprietary

          • Cryptic Rumblings Ahead of First 2020 Patch Tuesday [iophk: why is Canonical not utilizing this already? Do they have too many microsofters inside the perimeter now?]

            According to sources, the vulnerability in question resides in a Windows component known as crypt32.dll, a Windows module that Microsoft says handles “certificate and cryptographic messaging functions in the CryptoAPI.” The Microsoft CryptoAPI provides services that enable developers to secure Windows-based applications using cryptography, and includes functionality for encrypting and decrypting data using digital certificates.

            A critical vulnerability in this Windows component could have wide-ranging security implications for a number of important Windows functions, including authentication on Windows desktops and servers, the protection of sensitive data handled by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer/Edge browsers, as well as a number of third-party applications and tools.

            Equally concerning, a flaw in crypt32.dll might also be abused to spoof the digital signature tied to a specific piece of software. Such a weakness could be exploited by attackers to make malware appear to be a benign program that was produced and signed by a legitimate software company.

          • Pseudo-Open Source

            • Openwashing

              • Actiontec Expands Its Role at prpl Foundation With Commitment to Enable Support for the Wi-Fi Alliance’s Data Elements Specification

                Actiontec Electronics announced that it is expanding its role at the prpl Foundation with a commitment to contribute code to support the Wi-Fi Alliance’s Data Elements Release 1 specification. Actiontec is already a member of the prpl Foundation, an open-source collaborative foundation that enables high-velocity, service-driven innovation on customer-premises equipment.

                Actiontec’s contribution will enable carriers deploying the prpl Foundation’s solution on their gateways to monitor in-home Wi-Fi performance, helping to ensure the best Wi-Fi experience for each subscriber. The WiFi Alliance’s Data Elements Specification defines a standard set of Wi-Fi parameters, making it easier for service providers to gather data across CPE devices from different vendors. Support for Wi-Fi Data Elements is a requirement for Wi-Fi CERTIFIED EasyMesh™ R2 certification.

              • Uber Open-sources Manifold Visual Debugging Tool for Machine Learning Researchers

                Manifold helps scientists and engineers identify performance issues through slices and models of ML data, and diagnose their real causes by surfacing variations in the distribution of features across data subsets.

                Uber recently announced that it is has released Manifold as an open source project. Manifold is a model-agnostic machine learning visual debugging tool that the company utilizes to identify issues in ML models. To provide the advantages of this tool to other ML practitioners. Manifold was first introduced in January 2019.

              • Lyft open-sources Flyte tool for managing machine learning workflows

                Ride-sharing company Lyft Inc. today said it has open-sourced a new debugging tool for artificial intelligence data that its pricing, locations, estimate time of arrivals, mapping and self-driving developer teams have been using in-house for the last three years.

                Flyte is described by Lyft as a “structured and distributed platform for concurrent, scalable and maintainable machine learning workflows.”

              • TIER IV Alliance with LG on Advanced Cloud Simulator Technology Expected to Accelerate Safe Deployment of Autonomous Vehicles

                Tier IV, a world leader in the open-source software development for self-driving technology known as Autoware, has entered into a strategic alliance with global innovator LG Electronics related to advanced simulator technology. The collaboration, which will provide a turnkey cloud service for simulation-based testing and verification of Autoware, is expected to contribute significantly to the deployment of emerging autonomous driving technologies.

              • MicroEJ is Releasing Studio V5 for Fast Open Source Embedded Software Development

                Today, MicroEJ is releasing the new V5 version of its free Studio, an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for embedded software design, based on multi-languages, multi-libraries, and multi-app secure containers.

                It represents two years of intense efforts in close collaboration with its ecosystem of partners, customers and developers, to optimize software assets creation related to domains such as Security, User Interface, Communication, Numeric, and Simulation.

              • Facebook Shares Its 2019 Year in Review for Open Source

                Facebook said it released 170 new open-source projects in 2019, bringing its total portfolio to 579 active repositories.

                Open-source developer advocate Dmitry Vinnik said in a blog post that the social network’s internal engineers contributed more than 82,000 commits in 2019, while some 2,500 external contributors committed over 32,000 changes.

                He added that almost 93,000 new people starred Facebook’s open-source projects last year.

            • Privatisation/Privateering

              • Amazon accused of ‘strip mining’ open source software

                ust before the start of the festive season shut-down in mid-December, the New York Times published a long article accusing one of the world’s largest technology companies – Amazon – of nefarious business practices.

                Amazon reacted strongly, with Andi Gutmans, VP of Analytics and ElastiCache at Amazon Web Services (AWS) calling the NY Times article “skewed and misleading” as well as “silly and off-base”.

                Referring to open source companies that it said had complained about Amazon’s business practices, which included benefiting by integrating open source software pioneered by others into its own products, the NYTimes wrote: “Some of the companies have a phrase for what Amazon is doing: strip-mining software. By lifting other people’s innovations, trying to poach their engineers and profiting off what they made, Amazon is choking off the growth of would-be competitors and forcing them to reorient how they do business.”

            • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

              • Financial Services Firms Must Contribute More Software Repos, to Retain Staff and Stay Relevant [Ed: This article promotes the fiction that only code Microsoft controls counts as FOSS. It is a hostile and malicious takeover.]

                Does this tell us anything ? Overall, I was quite encouraged, but felt financial services firms in particular have more to do.

                My first observation regards firms not featuring on the list. Many Financial Services companies – banks, asset managers and other open source-consuming tier 1 hedge funds – are notable by their absence on Github, though in fairness some host repos elsewhere. While Goldman Sachs, for a long time active with Java, and JP Morgan are readily findable, many of their rivals sadly barely register. Kudos to those that have contributed, particularly the likes of Two Sigma and Man AHL, who have truly put money, time and effort where their mouths are.

                Vendors like Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters have found repos to be useful for promoting APIs to their databases, not unlike some internet services firm submissions represented in the list. They’re doing well.

                Particularly pleasing for me were two “proprietary” software firms active in Financial Services, MathWorks and SAS, both releasing significant numbers of high calibre code repos, not least because I worked many years for one of them. Predictably, most repos from my former company are in their own proprietary though openly-viewable and editable language, MATLAB. For SAS, somewhat less predictably to my mind at least, more code submissions were in Python and JavaScript than SAS code itself. Kudos therefore to my former competitors at SAS ! It seems they understand the programming languages preferred by their staff’s children and grandchildren, a bit like my using DuckDuckGo, chatting with gamers on Discord and shouting “boomer” at anyone over the age of 33.

          • Security

            • Security updates for Monday

              Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (file and firefox), Debian (apache-log4j1.2), Fedora (chromium, dovecot, GraphicsMagick, kubernetes, libvpx, makepasswd, matio, and slurm), Mageia (libtomcrypt, ming, oniguruma, opencv, pcsc-lite, phpmyadmin, and thunderbird), openSUSE (chromium, chromium, re2, and mozilla-nspr, mozilla-nss), Red Hat (chromium-browser, firefox, and rabbitmq-server), Slackware (mozilla), and SUSE (crowbar-core, crowbar-openstack, openstack-horizon-plugin-monasca-ui, openstack-monasca-api, openstack-monasca-log-api, openstack-neutron, rubygem-puma, rubygem-rest-client, firefox, libzypp, and openssl-1_1).

            • Arm Chips Vulnerable to PAN Bypass – “We All Know it’s Broken”

              Memory access protections baked into the ARMv8 64-bit specification are vulnerable to being bypassed – and the Arm team has only just mitigated the bug, which would allow an attacker to circumvent its “Privileged Access Never” (PAN) controls in the kernel.

              PAN, introduced in 2014, is a meant to prevent privileged access to user data unless explicitly enabled – as a security mechanism against possible software attacks.

              A Linux kernel commit message on January 6 this year acknowledges the issue and puts in place a stop-gap measure. But one security researcher, “Siguza” says they originally found the flaw in October 2018 and that PAN “was never an issue to get around”.

            • Spotify Accidentally Leaks Details on Its Home Thing Smart Speaker

              A leak may have revealed Spotify’s upcoming foray into smart home speakers. New setup images for something called ‘Spotify Home Thing’ have appeared online.

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

            • Privacy/Surveillance

              • Constitutional Court hears case against controversial snooping law

                Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) will hold an oral hearing on 14 and 15 January on whether global internet surveillance by Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the BND, is constitutional. The hearing comes after Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Society for Civil Rights (GFF) together with an alliance of four media organisations lodged a constitutional complaint before the court challenging the BND’s surveillance powers.

                “The law allows the foreign intelligence agency to spy on journalists abroad almost without restrictions and to share the information with other intelligence agencies. This is an unacceptable restriction of press freedom,“ said Christian Mihr, Executive Director of RSF Germany. “There is a great deal of uncertainty among media professionals because you never know if you are being monitored. Besides, we don’t know what is exchanged between the intelligence agencies.”

              • The German Constitutional Court Will Revisit the Question of Mass Surveillance, Will the U.S.?

                On January 14 and 15, 2020, the German Federal Constitutional Court will be holding a hearing to reevaluate the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) Act, which gives the BND agency (similar to the National Security Agency in the United States) broad surveillance authority. The hearing comes after a coalition of media and activist organizations including the Gesellschaft für Freiheistrechte filed a constitutional complaint against the BND for its drag net collection and storage of telecommunications data. This new hearing continues a renewed effort on the part of countries around the world to re-access the high cost of liberty that comes with operating an invasive drag net surveillance program and may increase global pressure on the United States’ intelligence community.

                One of the coalitions leading arguments against massive data collection by the foreign intelligence service is the fear that sensitive communications between sources and journalists may be swept up and made accessible by the government. Surveillance which, purposefully or inadvertently, sweeps up the messages of journalists jeopardizes the integrity and health of a free and functioning press and could chill the willingness of sources or whistleblowers to expose corruption or wrongdoing in the country.

              • Star Wars icon Mark Hamill deletes Facebook account

                His followers supported the decision to delete Facebook. “I deleted Facebook 8 months ago and it feels great. Zuckerberg is making billions and destroying democracy in the process,” responded one user. “Facebook has become an Empire. Like the very one you destroyed,” tweeted another.

              • Facebook: Star Wars’ Mark Hamill deletes account over political ads

                It followed its decision to let politicians run adverts that contain lies on the social network.

                The firm has said that it does not believe decisions about which political ads run should be left to private companies.

      • Defence/Aggression

        • Cities in the Crosshairs Are Pushing Back Against Nuclear Weapons

          Two years after a mistakenly sent text alert warning of an inbound ballistic missile threat caused widespread panic and confusion across Hawaii, cities remain potential targets and nuclear jitters continue to grow around the world.

        • Droning the World: The Assassination Complex From Bush to Obama to Trump

          How the U.S. presidency became a killing machine.

        • Obama Normalized Drone Warfare. Trump Is Escalating It.

          We’re only a few days into the new decade and it’s somehow already a bigger dumpster fire than the last. On January 2nd, President Trump decided to order what one expert called “the most important decapitation strike America has ever launched.” This one took out not some nameless terrorist in a distant land or a group of civilians who happened to get in the way, but Major General Qassem Suleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force and the mastermind of its military operations across the Middle East.

        • Come Home America: Stop Policing the World and Waging Endless Wars

          I agree wholeheartedly with George S. McGovern, a former Senator and presidential candidate who opposed the Vietnam War, about one thing: I’m sick of old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.

        • Being History with Iran

          We went to Iran because you have to see these places before the U.S. blows them up, and it’s very good to see you here today in downtown Chicago, that’s also precious, for a similar reason.

        • Iran Admits to Downing Airplane, Sparking Renewed Anti-Government Protests

          Iranian protesters have taken to the streets for a third day, after the Iranian military acknowledged it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner last week, killing all 176 people on board, including 82 Iranians and 57 Canadians. Iran initially denied downing the plane, but Iran’s Revolutionary Guard took responsibility for what authorities now describe as a “disastrous mistake.” The plane was downed hours after Iranian forces fired 22 rockets at military bases in Iraq housing U.S. troops, in retaliation for the U.S. assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. Millions of Iranians took to the streets last week to pay tribute to Soleimani, but this week anti-government protests resumed in at least a dozen cities. There are reports of Iranian forces firing live ammunition and tear gas to disperse the protesters. Meanwhile, in Washington, Defense Secretary Mark Esper has publicly contradicted President Trump’s assertion that Soleimani was planning to attack four U.S. embassies at the time of his assassination. Esper said he had not seen evidence supporting Trump’s claim. For more on the Iranian protests, we speak with Ali Kadivar, assistant professor of sociology and international studies at Boston College. Kadivar grew up in Iran during the Iran-Iraq War and completed his undergraduate and first graduate degree at the University of Tehran, where he was active in the student movement.

        • Seems Increasingly Likely Trump Just Made Up the ‘Imminent Threat’ Posed by Soleimani

          New reporting reveals the president conditionally approved the Iranian general’s assassination seven months ago.

        • A Call to Catholics: Let Us End Our Complicity in War

          Once again, information has surfaced regarding United States governmental efforts to mislead and misinform people about disgraceful, cruel destruction caused by a United States war of choice against people who meant the U.S. no harm. In the Afghanistan Papers, the United States government officials acknowledged, privately, their own uncertainty about why they were going to war against Afghanistan in 2001. The trove of newly released documents about the 18-year war unmasked years of high-level deceit and deliberate efforts to obfuscate realities on the ground in Afghanistan.

        • How Democracies Die

          The U.S. suffers from an epidemic of nihilistic violence.

        • The USA’s System of Checks, Balances and Reality Crumbles as it Seeks War with Iran

          Send in Pope Francis, Not the Marines

        • Trump’s “WMD” Scandal? Was the Charge of “Imminent” Soleimani Attack Just Made Up?

          The “intelligence” on which Trump and Esper and secretary of state Mike Pompeo made their decision to off Soleimani was likely raw and cherry-picked.

        • As Tensions With Iran Escalate, It Is Time to Challenge Empire in the Classroom

          For educators, war is one of the most difficult topics to discuss within our classrooms. And yet, with the recent U.S. assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iraqi senior military leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and other Iraqis, the threat of imminent war is now forcefully part of the everyday thoughts of many students.

        • Russia’s Investigative Committee claims that investigative journalists murdered in Central African Republic were killed during a robbery

          Journalist Orkhan Dzhemal, documentary filmmaker Alexander Rastorguyev, and cameraman Kirill Radchenko were killed in July 2018 during an armed robbery, Russian Investigative Committee Deputy Head Igor Krasnov told Kommersant.

        • The Smoking Gun in the Soleimani Assassination
        • Man who made Russia’s first fake Putin gravestone faces terrorism charges for an online video role-playing executions of regime officials

          Karim Yamadayev is a 38-year-old activist from Tatarstan. He lives in Naberezhnye Chelny, a city of about half a million residents, and is part of a group called Bessrochny Protest (Permanent Protest). Yamadayev runs a political discussion group in Naberezhnye Chelny and regularly creates protest installations and other opposition projects.

        • Interview: Mohammad Marandi On Aftermath Of Trump’s Assassination Of Iranian General Soleimani (With Transcript)

          For the first interview of 2020, Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola are joined by Mohammad Marandi, a Tehran University professor in Iran.

          We start the interview with Mohammad sharing his thoughts about the Iranian response to the U.S. assassination of Iran General Qassim Soleimani.

        • How Rising Temperatures Increase the Likelihood of Nuclear War

          In the case of climate change, the unbridled emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is raising global temperatures to unmistakably dangerous levels. Despite growing worldwide reliance on wind and solar power for energy generation, the global demand for oil and natural gas continues to rise, and carbon emissions are projected to remain on an upward trajectory for the foreseeable future. It is highly unlikely, then, that the increase in average global temperature can be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the aspirational goal adopted by the world’s governments under the Paris Agreement in 2015, or even to 2°C, the actual goal. After that threshold is crossed, scientists agree, it will prove almost impossible to avert catastrophic outcomes, such as the collapse of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and a resulting sea level rise of 6 feet or more.

          Climbing world temperatures and rising sea levels will diminish the supply of food and water in many resource-deprived areas, increasing the risk of widespread starvation, social unrest, and human flight. Global corn production, for example, is projected to fall by as much as 14 percent in a 2°C warmer world, according to research cited in a 2018 special report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Food scarcity and crop failures risk pushing hundreds of millions of people into overcrowded cities, where the likelihood of pandemics, ethnic strife, and severe storm damage is bound to increase. All of this will impose an immense burden on human institutions. Some states may collapse or break up into a collection of warring chiefdoms—all fighting over sources of water and other vital resources.

        • Climate change could lead to more injuries and deaths

          Injuries like drownings, falls, and assaults could kill up to an additional 2,135 people each year in the US as climate change continues to cause unusual temperature swings. The findings by researchers from Imperial College London, Columbia, and Harvard were published today in the journal Nature Medicine. The connection between swings in temperature — unusual spells of heat or cold — and injuries still can’t be explained, but researchers say that their estimates could help spur efforts to prevent those deaths.

        • Will Boeing Survive as a Civilian Aircraft Maker in 2020?

          The dismissal of Dennis Muilenburg as CEO of Boeing might have looked like an early Christmas present to the employees and shareholders of Boeing, but the company’s disease has gone way past the point where any single corporate surgeon can save the patient. For those who bothered to look (and this evidently did not include the Federal Aviation Administration), Boeing’s increasing degeneration has been evident for decades, even as the stock price continued to rise, as a consequence of quirky accounting practices that masked the company’s deteriorating cash flow position. If the 737 Max 8 is killed off for good, it will create a huge existential risk for Boeing’s future as a viable civilian aviation manufacturer, as the company had projected revenues from its 737-related sales into its business plans for many years to come (it goes without saying that the Pentagon will keep the company afloat, with Boeing effectively operating as a military subdivision of the Department of Defense).

      • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

        • Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling, Who Went Through Kafkaesque Trial, Wins 2020 Sam Adams Award

          Former CIA operations officer Jeffrey Sterling will receive the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence this Wednesday, joining 17 earlier winners who, like Sterling, demonstrated extraordinary devotion to the truth and the rule of law by having the courage to blow the whistle on government wrongdoing.

          Tuesday will mark the fifth anniversary of the eerie beginning of Sterling’s trial for espionage — the kind of trial that might have left even Franz Kafka, author of the classic novel The Trial, stunned in disbelief.

      • Environment

      • Finance

        • California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Says She Simply Doesn’t Believe All Of Those Who Have Been Harmed By Her AB5 Bill

          We’ve written a few times now about California’s AB5 law that has more or less made it difficult to impossible for many freelancers/contractors to still work in California. Even though the stated intentions of the bill’s author, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, and its supporters was to “protect” workers, the reality is anything but that. It’s yet another case of politicians who have no clue how the world actually works, insisting that what they’re doing must work fine because their intentions are good. Many people who have been impacted by this have found that Gonzalez has been dismissive of their concerns — and at times directly rude to people on Twitter highlighting these issues. We had thought that perhaps Gonzalez had realized there might be a more constructive way at the end of last year when she asked for thoughts on a possible small tweak to the law. That change would have been wildly insufficient, but it was, at least, a step in the right direction.

        • Citing Dark Money Fears, Coalition Raises Alarm Over ‘Zombie’ FEC During Pivotal 2020 Elections

          “It is beyond belief that in this presidential year of enormous consequence, the nation’s campaign finance enforcement agency is defunct.”

        • Understanding France’s General Strike in the Context of the Yellow Vests and Global Class Warfare

          Labor and capital are at loggerheads in France. As the open-ended strike launched on December 5th against a neoliberal overhaul of the pension system continues to expand, the Macron regime has dug in its heels to defend the advantages this so-called reform would have for the wealthy (even though it has recently been forced to present what it considers to be a “compromise” to the union leadership). In order to fully understand the nature and importance of this battle, it needs to be situated in relation to the recent history of the Yellow Vests movement as well as the global context of contemporary class warfare.

        • We Need a New Deal for Housing

          When I came of age in Flint, Michigan, homeownership was a crucial part of the American dream.

        • “Apple Says ‘No!’” and what that means for the future of Better Blocker following our move to Ireland

          We didn’t want to do this.

      • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

        • Fascism Expert: Trump Has Laid the Groundwork for “Full-On Authoritarian Rule”

          Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that Congress will soon send its articles of impeachment for Donald Trump to the Senate, where Republicans are determined to acquit him on all charges, including abuse of power, obstruction of Congress, and encouraging foreign powers to interfere in the 2020 presidential election.

        • Bring Democracy Back to North Carolina

          Finally, there’s good news.

        • Queen Agrees to Let Harry and Meghan Move Part Time to Canada

          Queen Elizabeth II agreed Monday to grant Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, their wish for a more independent life, allowing them to move part-time to Canada while remaining firmly in the House of Windsor.

        • Our Country, the United States, is a Rogue Nation and Our Leaders are Criminals

          For as long as I’ve been alive, my country has been a rogue state.

        • Citing Betrayal of Oath, Watchdog Group Files Formal Ethics Complaint Against McConnell Over Trump Impeachment

          “The public declarations by Senator McConnell that his role in the impeachment process is to coordinate with the White House and thereby make a mockery of the trial directly contradict his oath of impartiality.”

        • Progressives Applaud Sanders for Willingness to Release List of Possible Judicial Nominees Before Election

          “As the field narrows, all presidential candidates should prioritize the courts if they want to show voters they have a real plan to protect any of their other ideas from a hijacked judiciary.”

        • Warren Says ‘No Interest’ in Discussing It Further After Dropping Bombshell Accusation of Sexism on Sanders

          “I would concede that I could’ve misinterpreted it and would call my ‘good friend’ for clarity before asserting something that clearly goes nuclear on his campaign,” said one observer. “Unless that is, my intention was to go nuclear on his campaign. In which case, I’d do what Warren did.”

        • Corporate Democrats Desperately Want a Sanders-Warren Feud

          Corporate Democrats got a jolt at the end of last week when the highly regarded Iowa Poll showed Bernie Sanders surging into first place among Iowans likely to vote in the state’s Feb. 3 caucuses. The other big change was a steep drop for the previous Iowa frontrunner, Pete Buttigieg, who — along with Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden — came in a few percent behind Sanders. The latest poll was bad news for corporate interests, but their prospects brightened a bit over the weekend when Politico reported: “The nonaggression pact between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren is seriously fraying.”

        • Biden, Buttigieg, and Corporate Media Are Eager for Sanders and Warren ‘Trash Talk’ Narrative to Take Hold

          It would be a serious error for progressives to buy into corporate media portrayals of the Sanders and Warren campaigns as destined to play a traditional zero-sum political game.

        • #JoeVotedForTheWar Trends After Sanders Camp Fires Back at Biden’s Denials of Support for Iraq Invasion

          “It is appalling that after 18 years Joe Biden still refuses to admit he was dead wrong on the Iraq War.”

        • The Useless War Powers Act

          Practically speaking, the Trump administration’s extrajudicial assassination of a top Iranian general was probably legal. The rationale is straightforward: Congress has steadily settled on a constitutionally dubious theory of handing the president near-limitless authority over how, when, and why the country goes to war.

        • Ocasio-Cortez’s Revolt Against DCCC ‘Exactly What We Need’ Say Progressive Democrats

          Congresswoman from New York withholds dues from the party machine and launches a new PAC to help insurgent left-wing candidates.

        • ‘Ludicrous’: Sanders Refutes Claims Made in Anonymously Sourced Hit Piece by CNN About Warren Meeting

          “This story—based on the accounts of four anonymous sources—is the most outrageous hit piece I’ve ever seen,” said one critic of the news outlet’s decision to publish the reporting.

        • CNN’s Sanders Hit Piece Doesn’t Pass the Smell Test

          CNN (1/13/19) has an anonymously sourced hit piece out today on Bernie Sanders, claiming that at a meeting in Elizabeth Warren’s home on December 18, 2018, he told her “a woman can’t win” the presidency.

        • Bernie Sanders Is Right About Biden’s Record on Social Security

          In the 2000 presidential campaign, Al Gore was roundly mocked on “Saturday Night Live” and elsewhere for promising multiple times during a presidential debate that unlike his Republican opponent, he would fight to preserve Social Security by putting it in a “lockbox.” The mockery was for what pundits considered Gore’s condescending tone and puzzling repetition of the word lockbox, but he was tapping into a core truth: Americans, across all political parties, believe in protecting Social Security. According to a 2019 Pew Research survey, 74% of Americans say Social Security benefits “should not be reduced in any way.”

        • Calling Bernie Sanders Anti-Semitic Is Islamophobic

          What follows is a conversation between professor Sahar Aziz and Shir Hever of The Real News Network.

        • Amazon’s Donation to Australia’s Bushfire Recovery Is Insulting

          To put this number in perspective, Bezos is worth $116,000,000,000; the figure is equal to .00059 percent of his net worth. It is the equivalent of someone worth $50,000 donating 29 cents. Of course, it’s not even Bezos’s money. It’s Amazon’s money. Amazon’s current market cap is $933,670,000,000. $690,000 is .000073 percent of $933.67 billion, which means that the donation hurts Amazon’s bottom line as much as it would hurt a person worth $50,000 to donate three cents.

          This is to say that Amazon’s donation is insulting. It’s a paltry donation from a tech company that has one of the worst records on environmental and climate issues, and it’s a tiny fraction of the money that Amazon should be paying in taxes but has avoided thanks to creative accounting (in 2018, Amazon paid just $20 million in taxes on $1 billion in revenue in Australia.) Yes, the donation is $690,000 that can be used for relief efforts, but Amazon’s donation isn’t happening in a vacuum.

        • The DHS classes nonviolent environmental activists in the same “domestic terrorist” category as Dylan Roof and James Fields

          The DHS classes “environmental themed ideologies” with “racial ideologies” as drivers of domestic terror attacks, despite the fact that white nationalist violence has resulted in repeated mass murders, while environmental direct action is generally nonviolent and does not harm people.

        • US Government Lists Non-Violent ‘Valve Turner’ Climate Activists as Threat on Par With Murderous Neo-Nazis

          “Apparently DHS hasn’t gotten the memo that pipeline protesters are working non-violently to ensure that the children and grandchildren of DHS employees—and everyone else—have a habitable climate to live in.”

        • Jeff Bezos Donated Some Pocket Change to Australia, Good Job

          With an estimated net worth of $116 billion, Jeff Bezo is the richest man in the world — maybe the entire freakin’ galaxy. So when he announced yesterday that he was donating a whole, entire $690,000 to Australia, you can imagine the reaction he got: anger, with a tinge of bemusement, and a whole lotta math about the precise degree to which this was a cheapskate move.

        • ‘World’s longest [Internet] shutdown cost Myanmar US$75M last year’

          The international internet research firm Top10VPN released a report – Global Cost of Internet Shutdowns in 2019 – last week, revealing a global economic cost at $8.05 billion for shutting down the internet.

          In terms of the economic impact globally, Iran was hit the hardest, resulting in over $2 billion in economic costs, followed by Sudan and India, while Indonesia came at seventh and Myanmar, 10th. However, Myanmar saw the longest shutdown in the world, surpassing Chad and India.

        • India lost nearly $1.3 bn to [Internet] shutdowns in 2019

          India imposed more [Internet] restrictions than any other large democracy, according to the Cost of Internet Shutdowns 2019 report released by Top10VPN, a U.K.-based digital privacy and security research group. The South Asian nation recorded the third-highest losses after Iraq and Sudan, which lost $2.31 billion and $1.86 billion respectively to disruptions. Worldwide [Internet] restrictions caused losses worth $8.05 billion, the report said.

        • The Real Argument Between Warren and Sanders Is About How to Win the Election

          Warren and Sanders are having an argument that’s not really about policy but about strategy: what’s the best way to create a coalition that can defeat Trump in the Electoral College.

          It’s this fundamental disagreement over strategy that sparked friction on Sunday after Politico reported that the Sanders campaign was giving volunteers a script that was critical of other candidates. The script was relatively tame: “I like Elizabeth Warren. [optional] In fact, she’s my second choice. But here’s my concern about her. The people who support her are highly educated, more affluent people who are going to show up and vote Democratic no matter what.” The script added, “She’s bringing no new bases into the Democratic Party.”

        • POLITICO EU Influence, presented by Deutsche Börse: Cabinet concerns — O’Reilly reelected — MEP revolving doors

          CABINET CONCERNS: Some EU officials say the cabinets of the new European commissioners contain too many former European Parliament aides and diplomats who until recently worked for national governments. Their concern is that they may be inclined to act more in keeping with the views of their political patrons or home governments rather than the broader EU interest, as Commission officials are meant to do.

          “Never before did party political considerations and member states’ interests play such an important role, to the detriment of experience and unbiased professionalism,” said one EU official.


          MEP REVOLVING DOORS: In October, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) wrote a letter (seen by POLITICO) to European Parliament President David Sassoli expressing concern about two former MEPs who quickly went on to join consultancies engaged in EU lobbying. The two MEPs in question were Anders Vistisen, who became a lobbyist at Grace PA, and Julie Girling, who joined BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe) in September as a senior adviser.

          Parliament in the dark: In a response to the letter (also seen by POLITICO), Sassoli confirmed that Vistisen and Girling neither informed the Parliament of their new roles nor joined the Transparency Register as registered lobbyists. Because they did not inform the Parliament, Sassoli argues he cannot take any action regarding the code of conduct for MEPs. For example, if they had registered as lobbyists, they would be prevented from using their former MEP badges when engaged in lobbying activities.

          FWIW, Sassoli writes in his letter that he has “not been notified or consulted by any former MEP concerning their post-mandate activities.” According to the code of conduct, former MEPs “who engage in professional lobbying or representational activities directly linked to the European Union decision-making process should inform the European Parliament thereof and may not, throughout the period in which they engage in those activities, benefit from the facilities granted to former Members.”

        • Trump’s Escalation Imperils Innocents

          While an eerie, surreal calm has fallen over US-Iranian relations, I wouldn’t assume we’re out of the woods yet. Trump had no reason to be confident that Iran’s response to his most recent escalation of violence would be little more than symbolic. Although he’s accepted that response more or less passively for now, with Trump, things can turn on a dime. Who can tell what determines his mood at any given time?

        • Farewell to Two Cuban Revolutionaries: Faure Chomón and Harry (‘Pombo’) Villegas

          In December 2019, Cuba bid farewell to two veterans of the struggle which overthrew the Batista dictatorship in January 1959. Both men remained committed revolutionaries and important figures in Cuba for the next 61 years. Faure Chomón Mediavilla died on 5 December, a few weeks before his 91st birthday. Harry Villegas Tamayo died on 29 December, at the age of 79. Both received state tributes and were laid to rest in the Pantheon of Veterans of the famous Colon Cemetery in Havana.

        • Why I’m Still Hopeful and Not Done Fighting for a More Just Society
        • Virginians Deserve to Have Local Control Over Confederate Monuments

          Confederate monuments are back in the news in Virginia. Legislation that would let cities and counties control decisions over local Confederate monuments will be introduced this month in both the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate. Lives depend on the outcome.

      • Censorship/Free Speech

        • Anti-SLAPP Laws Work: Tennessee Doctor Suing Patient Over Negative Review Drops Lawsuit

          Tennessee is home to an overabundance of BS defamation lawsuits. It must be something in the air area. (See also: Virginia, and Kentucky) Now that the state has a decent anti-SLAPP law, things should start changing. And it may start with Dr. Kaveer Nandigam of Nandigam Neurology in Murfeesboro, Tennessee.

        • Appeals Court: Not A Crime To Say A Mayor Should Get His Ass Capped

          Harassment statutes tend to be broadly written and often undergo legislative surgery after they’ve been challenged in court. This isn’t one of those cases. The statute stands. But the conviction does not.

        • Yakut shaman arrested multiple times for walking across Russia to exorcise Putin announces start of third walk

          Alexander Gabyshev, who has twice set out from Yakutia to Moscow on foot with the intention of exorcising President Vladimir Putin, has announced that he will begin his walk a third time in March 2020. Gabyshev, who has attracted a group of companions since he first began walking to Moscow, notified his supporters of his plans in a video posted to YouTube.

        • Virginia Needs a Strong Anti-SLAPP Law to Stop Bogus Lawsuits

          Sometimes lawsuits get filed to chill speech or harass people, rather than resolve legitimate legal disputes. Unfortunately, this trend has increased over the past few decades. Since the 1980s, these lawsuits have been called SLAPPs—or Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.

          The best solution to stop SLAPPs are strong anti-SLAPP laws. The specifics vary by state, but in general, anti-SLAPP laws allow courts to expedite cases in which a defendant’s free speech rights are at risk. The laws also allow defendants who win anti-SLAPP motions to get their legal fees paid.

        • State Duma committee recommends against new online censorship bill

          The state-building and legislation committee of Russia’s State Duma has recommended against the adoption of a bill that would allow the Russian government to identify email users and block them if they use email to send banned online content. The bill was proposed by Andrey Klishas, the lawmaker behind a number of other draconian Internet regulation proposals, and a group of three other deputies. Lyudmila Bokova, one of those deputies, worked with Klishas to create Russia’s Internet isolation law.

        • Rwanda: Free Speech Convictions Upheld

          The Rwandan Court of Appeal decision on December 27, 2019 upholding the conviction of two former military officials is a violation of freedom of speech. Although the court reduced their sentences to 15 years each, it does not mitigate convictions for criticizing the authorities and government policies or the use of unreliable evidence in their trial. Human Rights Watch is also deeply concerned about reports of ill treatment and inadequately treated health problems in detention.

          On March 31, 2016, the Military High Court of Kanombe sentenced Colonel Tom Byabagamba and retired Brigadier General Frank Rusagara to 21 and 20 years in prison, respectively, on charges including inciting insurrection and tarnishing the government’s image. In the same trial, retired Sergeant François Kabayiza was sentenced to 5 years and a fine of 500,000 Rwandan francs (approximately US$650 at the time) for concealing evidence. He has since completed his sentence.

      • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

        • Half a year later, police officers who arrested Meduza’s Ivan Golunov face criminal charges

          Russia’s Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case against the police officers who arrested Meduza special correspondent Ivan Golunov. Golunov was arrested on June 6, 2019, when he said police planted drugs on him and framed him for intent to distribute. Though he was released on June 11 following a major solidarity campaign, efforts on the part of Golunov’s legal team to apprehend the police officers involved in his arrest met with stagnation for several months.

        • Special Guests Kevin Gosztola and Ted Rall – The Project Censored Show

          Independent Journalists Kevin Gosztola and Ted Rall make return visits to the Project Censored Show to update listeners on their latest work. Kevin Gosztola shares the latest news about the cases of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and military whistleblower Chelsea Manning and in the second half of the program, editorial cartoonist Ted Rall explains his legal battle with his former employer, the Los Angeles Times, a case that has gone to the California Supreme Court. Ted also analyzes corporate-media coverage of the Democratic Party presidential contenders. Both guests also comment on the U.S. assassination of Iranian leader Qassem Soleimani.

        • The rising support for Julian Assange

          The working class is increasingly supporting Assange as they learn more about his dire conditions in Belmarsh Prison, the threat to his health and the end of the bogus Swedish investigation into him. However, there has also been increased support amongst layers of the ruling class, including social democratic forces who had previously abandoned Assange.

          This has taken the form of statements of support by prominent Australian politicians. Though when any faction of the ruling class start talking in defence of human rights, they cannot be taken on face value and their motivations must be examined.

        • Former Soldier Admits to Contract Killing of Slovak Journalist

          A former soldier told a court on Monday he had been hired to kill Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak — a reporter known for his corruption investigations whose murder triggered anti-graft protests that brought down the prime minister.

          Marcek, 37, said his cousin — co-defendant Tomas Szabo — had approached him with an offer to do the contract killing and drove him to the house.

          Marcek told the Special Criminal Court in Pezinok, north of the capital, that he had not known who Kuciak or Kuciak’s fiancée, Martina Kusnirova, were when he killed them at their house outside Slovakia’s capital Bratislava in February 2018.

        • Blog site Boing Boing [cracked]

          Boing Boing, which is among the most widely read blogs globally and covers areas including tech and cyber, wrote in a post on its site that the incident involved an attacker using an employee’s login credentials on Friday and then installing a widget within the Boing Boing theme that redirected readers to a nonsecure website.

        • WikiLeaks’ Assange in UK Court Fighting Extradition to USA

          WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange made a brief court appearance Monday in his bid to prevent extradition to the United States to face serious espionage charges.

          He and his lawyers complained they weren’t being given enough time to meet to plan their battle against U.S. prosecutors seeking to put him on trial for WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of confidential documents.

          The 48-year-old was brought to court from Bealmarsh Prison on the outskirts of London. He saluted the public gallery, which was packed with ardent supporters including the musician MIA, when he entered the courtroom. He later raised his right fist in defiance when he was taken to holding cells to meet with lawyer Gareth Peirce.

          Peirce said officials at Belmarsh Prison are making it extremely difficult for her to meet with Assange.

          “We have pushed Belmarsh in every way – it is a breach of a defendant’s rights,” she said.

          Assange refrained from making political statements. He confirmed his name and date of birth, and at one point said he didn’t understand all of the proceedings against him during the brief hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

        • Julian Assange blocked from seeing key evidence ahead of extradition…

          Julian Assange’s lawyers have complained prison officers stopped them spending adequate time with their client as the Wikileaks founder appeared in court ahead of his extradition hearing.

      • Civil Rights/Policing

        • How to Navigate California County Jails: A Guide for Inmates and Their Loved Ones

          ProPublica and The Sacramento Bee have been reporting on the crisis in jails across California.

          We’ve written about jail homicides, suicides and the outdated facilities that can make life inside more dangerous.

        • Denial of Entry to Hong Kong? Our Call, Says Beijing

          “In Hong Kong” – this was the repeated and emphatic answer from the immigration officers at Hong Kong International Airport when Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, asked where the decision had been made to deny him entry to Hong Kong.

          But Hong Kong and Beijing authorities apparently didn’t manage to get their stories consistent following media coverage of this unusual and disturbing decision to ban the head of an international human rights group from entering Hong Kong. Hours later, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Geng Shuang offered a different take, saying that “Allowing or not allowing someone’s entry is China’s sovereign right” despite the language of the Basic Law (BL), Hong Kong’s functional constitution, which states that the Hong Kong government has responsibility for who is allowed to enter. An official Fact Sheet notes that “The BL provides the Hong Kong … Government with full autonomy on immigration control matters.”

        • Minneapolis Activists Ask Local Leaders to Invest in Communities, Not Cops

          In dramatic effect, a Minneapolis resident dumps a bag of money onto a podium during public comments at the final City Council meeting on the 2020 budget last month. The person with them, who identified himself as David, is addressing the council members.

        • Immunity Just Barely Denied To Cop Who Claimed Driving A Beat-Up Car And Paying For Purchases Is Suspicious Behavior

          An arrest stemming from the most specious “investigation” has resulted in the denial of qualified immunity for one officer. But just barely. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals was almost able to talk itself out of denying qualified immunity to any of the four officers involved. The one officer who will now have to face a jury is was the ringleader of the investigatory debacle, but he was far from the only one guilty of rights violations.

        • Rise in Anti-Semitism Presents Moment to Be Vigilant Against All Oppression

          Janine Jackson: Reporting on a spate of violence in the New York area targeting Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods, a rabbi’s home and a kosher supermarket, the Washington Post says, “The spike in bias incidents against Jewish communities has law enforcement and elected officials wrestling with what to do.” There don’t really seem to be that many tools in their bag, though; virtually all of them are variants on policing and more policing.

        • Six Children Died in Border Patrol Care. Democrats in Congress Want to Know Why.

          After a ProPublica investigation into the death of a teenager in Border Patrol custody, House Democrats are ramping up pressure on the Trump administration to explain how six migrant children died after entering the U.S.

          “I find it appalling that (Customs and Border Protection) has still not taken responsibility for the deaths of children in their care,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

      • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

        • Washington And Oregon Fine CenturyLink For Completely Bogus Broadband Fees

          For decades, broadband providers have abused the lack of meaningful competition in the telecom market by not only refusing to shore up historically awful customer service, but by raising rates hand over fist. This usually involves leaving the advertised price largely the same, but pummeling customers with all manner of misleading fees and surcharges that drive up the actual price you’ll be paying each month. And by and large regulators from both major political parties have been perfectly okay with this practice, despite it effectively being false advertising.

        • ICANN finally reveals who’s behind purchase of .org: It’s ███████ and ██████ – you don’t need to know any more

          Purchase funded by debt, includes another ex-ICANNer, will be done through four different companies. All perfectly normal

        • Is Iran’s Internet Down? Country Faces Fresh Web Outages During Protests Over Downed Plane

          “There are some reports of mild outages over the weekend. [They] appear linked to protests against the PS752 downing,” Adrian Shahbaz, of web watchdog Freedom House, told Newsweek via email.

          Internet providers named in the Oracle analysis include the Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI), the Telecommunication Infrastructure Company (TIC) and Respina Networks & Beyond.

        • Iran’s Insoluble Paradox of Cutting Off the Internet

          Internet blackouts restricted Iranians over the weekend as anger mounts over an accidentally brought down airliner. Authorities denied a “cover-up” on Monday after taking days to reveal the plane was accidentally shot down last week. The disaster has sparked fresh protests, while Donald Trump demanded that the government abstains from shutting down the internet.

          However, data from Oracle Internet Intelligence Map, which tracks web connections, showed cuts to Iran’s international internet access on Saturday and Sunday. And on Monday, internet monitor NetBlocks reported a drop in connectivity at Tehran’s Sharif University ahead of any new demonstrations.

        • Lebanon faces Internet shutdown

          Lebanon is at risk of being disconnected from the global web as it struggles to secure the requisite dollars to maintain Internet connectivity.

          Ogero Chairman Imad Kreidieh confirmed on Twitter that he is facing “tremendous pressure” to secure $4 million in foreign currency to avert a shutdown by the end of March.

      • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

        • Bay Staters Continue to Lead in Right to Repair, and EFF Is There to Help

          Massachusetts has long been a leader in the Right to Repair movement, thanks to a combination of principled lawmakers and a motivated citizenry that refuses to back down when well-heeled lobbyists subvert the legislative process.

          In 2012, Massachusetts became the first US state to enact Right to Repair legislation, with an automotive law that protected the right of drivers to get their cars repaired by independent mechanics if they preferred them to the manufacturers’ service depots. Though wildly popular, it took the threat of a ballot initiative to get the legislature to act, an initiative that ultimately garnered 86% of the vote. The initiative led to strong protections for independent repair in Massachusetts and set the stage for a compromise agreement leading to better access to repair information for most of the country.

      • Monopolies

        • Comparative Analysis of Innovation Failures and Institutions in Context

          Many different legal and non-legal institutions govern and therefore shape knowledge production. It is tempting, given the various types of knowledge, knowledge producers, and systems with and within which knowledge and knowledge producers and users interact, to look for reductionist shortcuts — in general but especially in the context of comparative institutional analysis. The temptation should be resisted for it leads to either what Harold Demsetz called the Nirvana Fallacy or what Elinor Ostrom critiqued as myopic allegories.

          One easy reductionist step is to focus on a particular dilemma — a particular market failure, for example, ignoring or assuming away others — and then compare institutions in terms of effectiveness in resolving the dilemma. We might, for example, want to use comparative institutional analysis to examine the problem of pharmaceutical development. If we focus on overcoming the potential undersupply of drugs (because they are expensive to develop but cheap to copy), and if we identify the FDA approval process (and specifically clinical trials) as the most important cost driver, then we might compare as potential responses patents and other institutions like prizes, grants, and government provided infrastructure for clinical trials. We might then conclude that government funding of clinical trials is best because it lowers the cost of bringing drugs to market and without the deadweight loss associated with patents. That analysis might be useful, as far as it goes, but it would ignore other market failures, such as the demand-side failure that leads to underprovisioning of drugs to smaller or nonexistent markets. This is, of course, not to say that there is anything wrong with comparing institutions as solutions to the clinical trial cost problem. But it is to emphasize that we can only design institutions to address problems we recognize, and the risk of myopia is strong in comparative institutional analysis. Engaging in meaningful comparison seems to demand a reduction in the scope of problems to which the institutions might be addressed, lest the problem seem intractable.

          We suggest that comparative institutional analysis must be accompanied by comparative failure analysis, by which we mean rigorous and contextual comparative analysis of the ways different institutional responses fail. And we argue that several different types of failures are relevant to comparative analysis. Some failures originate at the system level — that is, market systems exhibit certain sets of failures, while political/government and community systems exhibit other sets. In terms of figuring out what society wants (i.e., from the demand side), the systems rely on different signals, information, processes, and so on. And in terms of satisfying societal demand, the systems rely on different actors, distribution methods, and relationships. Other types of failures are system independent — they are a function of the resources at issue or the nature of the problem to which the institution is addressed. Institutional de-sign can, of course, exacerbate or ameliorate these failures, but it is useful to understand their fundamental causes.

          So as a starting place, we think comparative analysis should account for characteristics that vary at the system level and shape both failures and institutions — characteristics like demand signaling processes, time horizons/discount rates, evaluative criteria (for projects, investments, or innovation), and the basic capabilities operative within different settings or systems. Failures and institutions obviously don’t correspond exactly, and we suspect that comparative analysis of these and other characteristics will provide guidance for continued comparative analysis. We strongly believe that solid comparative analysis will require both theoretical and empirical work, operating in tandem rather than in isolation from each other. Comparative analysis is necessarily contextual.

        • Patents

          • Wells Fargo Told to Pay $102.8 Million in Patent Verdict

            Wells Fargo & Co. was told to pay $102.8 million after a federal jury in Texas said in infringed United Services Automobile Association’s patents for a mobile deposit system.

            It’s the second trial Wells Fargo has lost against USAA. In November, a different Texas jury said the bank should pay $200 million for infringing two other patents. That brings the total to about $303 million owed by the San Francisco-based Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo said it “strongly disagrees” with the verdict and said it’s considering its option, including a likely appeal.

            San Antonio-based USAA said it had pioneered systems to allow its members to deposit checks from just about anywhere because it doesn’t operate traditional bricks-and-mortar banks and its military customers are all over the world.

          • Supreme Court Declines to Consider Medical Diagnostic Patents

            The U.S. Supreme Court stayed out of the debate over what types of medical diagnostic tests can be patented, leaving in legal limbo companies that discover ways to diagnose and treat diseases based on patients’ unique characteristics.

            The justices rejected an appeal by Quest Diagnostics Inc.’s Athena unit that sought to restore its patent for a test to detect the presence of an autoimmune disease. A lower court had ruled in favor of the nonprofit Mayo Clinic that the test wasn’t eligible for a patent because it merely covered a natural law — the correlation between the presence of an antibody and the disease.

            Justices on Monday also rejected appeals to clarify the rules regarding software patents. The Supreme Court’s action leaves it to Congress to resolve an issue that’s created a legal gray area for such discoveries.

            The Athena case is one of five the court was asked to consider regarding eligibility for patents. The justices also rejected an appeal over a patent owned by Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. for a method of using its Fanapt schizophrenia drug, as well as three patent cases related to software.

            Congress held a series of hearings in 2019 but is unlikely to pass any legislation in this election year. Lawyers and experts had seen the case as the best shot at getting the high court to take up the issue after what Athena lawyer Seth P. Waxman called an “unprecedented cry for help” from the appeals court that handles all patent disputes.

          • Apple Handed Mixed Rulings in Bids to Ax Qualcomm Patents

            Apple Inc. won an administrative bid to invalidate much of a tech patent that Qualcomm Inc. accused it of infringing with iPhone 7 models.

            But Apple wasn’t able to convince a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office tribunal to knock out claims in another Qualcomm patent—part of the companies’ longtime global intellectual property battle.

          • How Do Patent Incentives Affect University Researchers

            Universities and other beneficiaries of public funding for scientific research are encouraged to patent resulting inventions under the Bayh–Dole Act. This controversial framework gives academic grant recipients a direct financial stake in the success of their inventions by requiring universities to share the resulting patent royalties with inventors. This incentive for grant recipients might help justify Bayh–Dole patents when the conventional justification for exclusivity — that it is necessary for commercialization — fails to hold. But there is little evidence as to whether it works.

            This article examines how one aspect of the patent incentive — the prospect of royalties — affects the behavior of university researchers. Fortuitously, different schools offer inventors different shares of patent revenue. We have created a dataset of royalty-sharing policies from 152 universities, which shows substantial variation across universities and time. (For example, Caltech switched from sharing 15% to 25% of net income in 1994, the University of Washington switched from sharing 100% of initial revenues to a flat rate of 33% in 2004, and the University of Iowa switched from 25% to 100% of initial patent revenues in 2005.) Although prior work has reported that higher inventor royalties lead to more university licensing income, we show that this result was driven by coding errors. We also extend prior work by examining more years, doing a more convincing panel data analysis, using additional outcome variables, and looking at lateral moves by the most active patenters. In all of these analyses we find no compelling empirical evidence that increasing university inventors’ royalty share has a significant effect on any of the outcomes one would expect to be most affected.

            These results do not imply that patents provide no incentives to university researchers. They may provide reputational benefits or encourage faculty-run spin-offs, or even provide financial incentives that are not captured by our statistics. But the lack of a measurable impact of higher royalty shares on patenting activity suggests that, from a social welfare perspective, it may be preferable for a larger share of royalties to be retained by universities, which are then required by Bayh–Dole to reinvest this money in science research and education. In any event, our analysis raises promising questions for future research and calls into question the existing view that increasing the inventor’s share in university patent policies encourages researchers to develop and commercialize more remunerative patents.

          • The Impact of Institutions on Patent Propensity Across Countries

            This article offers a novel critique of the impact of institutions on the propensity to patent across countries. Patenting policy is regularly known to carry deep-rooted institutional implications. Yet in the case of developing countries, the United Nations constructed only loose policy concerning the role of the government, the business sector or Multi-National Enterprises in promoting patenting activity. Based on an implicit ‘hands off’ inclination towards the business sector, this yet uncorroborated policy flatly equates developing countries with advanced ones. More particularly, in the case of the twenty four emerging economies which are spearheading the developing world as hotbeds for meaningful innovation, little thought has thus far been given to the former’s institutional particularities in view of promoting patenting as proxy of domestic innovation.

            This article argues that advanced economies and emerging economies – abridging the development divide, in fact diverge over the impact of their government and business sectors in fostering patent propensity. For emerging countries there seems to be a negative relationship between the performance of innovation activity by the business sector and these countries’ propensity to patent as proxy for domestic innovation. Equally, for advanced economies there is a negative relationship between the performance of innovation activity by the government and the propensity to patent by these countries. This article ultimately calls for a fundamental policy reexamination of the role of institutions in giving incentives to patenting activity as a proxy for domestic innovation in emerging economies abridging the archetypical North-South divide.

          • Software Patents

            • Network-1 Receives Two New Patents from U.S. Patent Office Expanding Its Cox Portfolio To Include 35 Issued Patents

              Network-1 Technologies, Inc. (NYSE AMERICAN:NTIP), a company engaged in the development, licensing and protection of intellectual property, announced today that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued U.S. Patent No. 10,521,470 (“Methods For Using Extracted Features To Perform An Action Associated With Selected Identified Image”) and U.S. Patent No. 10,521,471 (“Methods For Using Extracted Features To Perform An Action Associated With Selected Identified Image”). The claims of the newly issued patents are generally directed towards methods of content extraction and identification, including performance of actions following therefrom.

            • Parallax Health Sciences Announces Patent Enforcement Initiative

              The growth of the Parallax patent portfolio and the corresponding infringement landscape was bolstered recently last year with the issuance of its patent US10,061,812 entitled, “Data Driven Outcomes” an international portfolio issued to Parallax Behavioral Health, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company that has added significantly to the Company’s intellectual property assets. Additionally, Parallax holds exclusive worldwide licenses with Montecito Bio Sciences, Ltd., (“Montecito”). The Montecito portfolio of patents include: 1) a “Method to Produce a Plurality of Antibodies”, United States patent number US9,573,990 covering its breakthrough; 2) a “Portable Apparatus for Sample Analysis”, United States patent number US8,920,725 with; 3) its international counterparts in China CN200780039901.x; and 4) Hong Kong HK 10103654.9; and 5) India IN279743; and 6) Macau MOJ00129; and 7) a “Flow Through Testing System with Pressure Indicator”, United States patent number US9,588,114 to name a few of the Company’s patents or licenses now owned within the IP portfolio of assets.

            • KEI Comments on Intellectual Property Protection for Artificial Intelligence Innovation, for USPTO Request for Comments

              KEI is concerned that the Obama and Trump administrations have both promoted and entered into a series of international agreements limiting the ability of governments to force more transparency of software code or algorithms.


              The potential volume of AI-generated IP claims is something that should be evaluated very carefully, because it can create massive demands on the legal system and society at large to resolve disputes and license rights. The type of rent-seeking activity we see in the areas of software, business methods and pharmaceutical patents illustrates the costs that low quality or monopolistic IP claims can impose on society, and creates a system where AI can generate a fantastic number of potential claims. This is something that is very dangerous.


              In Europe the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has also declared on various occasions, particularly in its landmark Infopaq decision (C-5/08 Infopaq International A/S v Danske Dagbaldes Forening), that copyright only applies to original works, and that originality must reflect the “author’s own intellectual creation.” This is usually understood as meaning that an original work must reflect the author’s personality, which clearly means that a human author is necessary for a copyright work to exist.

              The second option, that of giving authorship to the programmer, is evident in a few countries such as the Hong Kong (SAR), India, Ireland, New Zealand and the UK. This approach is best encapsulated in UK copyright law, section 9(3) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (CDPA), which states:

              “In the case of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work which is computer-generated, the author shall be taken to be the person by whom the arrangements necessary for the creation of the work are undertaken.”

              Furthermore, section 178 of the CDPA defines a computer-generated work as one that “is generated by computer in circumstances such that there is no human author of the work”. The idea behind such a provision is to create an exception to all human authorship requirements by recognizing the work that goes into creating a program capable of generating works, even if the creative spark is undertaken by the machine.

        • Copyrights

          • Tech industry rallies behind Google in Supreme Court fight

            Some of Google’s most formidable rivals – including Microsoft, IBM and Mozilla, which makes Firefox – filed amicus briefs on behalf of Google on Monday, arguing the high court could severely harm technological innovation if it sides with Oracle in the landmark copyright case.

            After nearly a decade of arguments in lower courts, the Supreme Court in 2019 agreed to take on the “copyright case of the decade” and decide whether Google violated federal copyright law when it used some of Oracle’s programming language to build its Android operating system.

          • Competition and Innovation in Software Development Depend on a Supreme Court Reversal in Google v. Oracle

            Today, Mozilla filed a friend of the court brief with the Supreme Court in Google v. Oracle, the decade-long case involving questions of copyright for functional elements of Oracle’s Java SE. This is the fourth amicus brief so far that Mozilla has filed in this case, and we are joined by Medium, Cloudera, Creative Commons, Shopify, Etsy, Reddit, Open Source Initiative, Mapbox, Patreon, Wikimedia Foundation, and Software Freedom Conservancy.

            Arguing from the perspective of small, medium, and open source technology organizations, the brief urges the Supreme Court to reverse the Federal Circuit’s holdings first that the structure, sequence, and organization (“SSO”) of Oracle’s Java API package was copyrightable, and subsequently that Google’s use of that SSO was not a “fair use” under copyright law.

            At bottom in the case is the issue of whether copyright law bars the commonplace practice of software reimplementation, “[t]he process of writing new software to perform certain functions of a legacy product.” (Google brief p.7) Here, Google had repurposed certain functional elements of Java SE (less that 0.5% of Java SE overall, according to Google’s brief, p. 8) in its Android operating system for the sake of interoperability—enabling Java apps to work with Android and Android apps to work with Java, and enabling Java developers to build apps for both platforms without needing to learn the new conventions and structure of an entirely new platform.

          • The case for open innovation

            The Court will review whether copyright should extend to nuts-and-bolts software interfaces, and if so, whether it can be fair to use those interfaces to create new technologies, as the jury in this case found. Software interfaces are the access points that allow computer programs to connect to each other, like plugs and sockets. Imagine a world in which every time you went to a different building, you needed a different plug to fit the proprietary socket, and no one was allowed to create adapters.

            This case will make a difference for everyone who touches technology—from startups to major tech platforms, software developers to product manufacturers, businesses to consumers—and we’re pleased that many leading representatives of those groups will be filing their own briefs to support our position.

          • Google says nature of APIs under threat as Oracle case heads to US Supreme Court

            The case – ten years in making – centres on Oracle’s claims that its Java patents and copyrights were infringed by Google when the search giant created its Android mobile operating system. An initial ruling in Google’s favour was overturned on appeal, and the case is finally due to land in the Supreme Court this year. Google filed its opening brief for the justices this week.

          • EFF Asks Supreme Court To Reverse Dangerous Rulings About API Copyrightability and Fair Use

            The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that functional aspects of Oracle’s Java programming language are not copyrightable, and even if they were, employing them to create new computer code falls under fair use protections.The court is reviewing a long-running lawsuit Oracle filed against Google, which claimed that Google’s use of certain Java application programming interfaces (APIs) in its Android operating system violated Oracle’s copyrights. The case has far-reaching implications for innovation in software development, competition, and interoperability.In a brief filed today, EFF argues that the Federal Circuit, in ruling APIs were copyrightable, ignored clear and specific language in the copyright statute that excludes copyright protection for procedures, processes, and methods of operation.“Instead of following the law, the Federal Circuit decided to rewrite it to eliminate almost all the exclusions from copyright protection that Congress put in the statute,” said EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry. “APIs are not copyrightable. The Federal Circuit’s ruling has created a dangerous precedent that will encourage more lawsuits and make innovative software development prohibitively expensive. Fortunately, the Supreme Court can and should fix this mess.”In the first round of the case, in 2014, the Federal Circuit reversed a lower court to find that APIs were copyrightable, but sent the case back for trial on fair use. In the second round, the court took the almost unprecedented step of overturning a jury verdict of fair use. If upheld, these dangerous and flawed decisions will continue to put at risk the ability of developers to freely create innovative software that benefit the public because it can be used across platforms and services.“Treating the Java APIs as copyrightable gives Oracle, which stands to make billions from that decision, outsized control and monopoly power over the development of Java-compatible programs. Copyright law aims to stimulate creativity for the public good, not lock developers into a licensing scheme for the functional aspects of software,” said EFF Special Counsel Michael Barclay.

          • ACE Shuts Down UlangoTV ‘Pirate’ IPTV App, Seizes Domain

            The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment has claimed another scalp in the ‘pirate’ IPTV space. The UlangoTV app provided free access to thousands of unlicensed TV streams but there was also an option to pay for more reliable content. Today, however, its clear it is unlikely to be returning after its domain was taken over by the global anti-piracy coalition.

          • Game Developer Sees Boost in Sales After Releasing Official Torrent

            Most copyright holders are doing everything they can to prevent their content from showing up at The Pirate Bay. However, the developer of the indie shooter game ‘Danger Gazers’ took the opposite approach. He uploaded a free copy of his own game to the torrent site and generated enough buzz to actually boost sales.

          • Academic Journals In Russia Retract Over 800 Papers Because Of Plagiarism, Self-Plagiarism And ‘Gift Authorship’

            Academic publishing hardly covers itself in glory, as Techdirt has reported over the years. It takes advantage of researchers’ belief that they need to publish in so-called “high impact” titles for the sake of their careers, in order to pay nothing for the material they provide. Since articles are reviewed by other academics — for free — profit margins are extremely good: around 30-40%. In order to retain these unusually high levels, the industry does everything in its power to undermine and subvert cheaper alternatives like open access, and often takes a heavy-handed approach to the enforcement of “its” copyright — even against the original author. Given this dismal industry background, it will come as no surprise to learn from Science magazine that Russian academic publishing has its own problems, fueled by the bad behavior of authors:

          • ‘We traditionally turn a blind eye’ A scholar explains how mass retractions and the largest audit in the history of Russian academia will affect the country’s higher education

            On January 6, the Commission Against the Falsification of Academic Research at the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAN) announced the retraction of 869 articles published in 263 different journals from the Russian Science Citation Index. In the largest review of academic work in Russian history, RAN’s commission recommended unlisting 2,500 articles for plagiarism and self-plagiarism. To find out more about the audit and its consequences for Russian higher education, Meduza spoke to commission member and Dissernet co-founder Mikhail Gelfand.

          • How Years Of Copyright Maximalism Is Now Killing Pop Music

            Almost five years ago, we warned that years of copyright maximalists brainwashing the public about ever expansive copyright and the need for everything to be “owned” had resulted in the crazy Blurred Lines decision that said that merely being inspired by another artist to make a song that has a similar feel, even if it doesn’t copy any actual part of the music, was infringing. We warned that this would lead to bad things — and it has.

    Systematic Abandonment of the Independence of Judiciary at the EPO (or Collective Amnesia)

    Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 7:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    Derk Visser at EIP

    Summary: The ‘constitution’ or the convention upon which the EPO is based (known as EPC) is routinely violated and nobody seems to care anymore; the EPO governs itself and conducts itself without as much as a fundamental legal text

    European Patent Office (EPO) President António Campinos has done absolutely nothing to undo Battistelli‘s attacks on the autonomy of EPO judges. Nothing! To make matters worse, Campinos is already meddling in upcoming/ongoing cases, including one that shapes EPO policy on software patents in Europe. So one might say that Campinos is no different — or potentially worse — than Battistelli.

    Isn’t it fascinating that EPC experts aren’t saying a darn thing anymore? Does that seem normal to them? In the age of Donald Trump have we buried the fundamental tenants of “separation of powers”?

    In the blog of a company that pays him, the famous Derk Visser (author of a famous book) and the EPI (they like to make it all lowercase) push for more patent maximalism through the besieged boards that are illegally bullied by the Office (an EPC violation). Yesterday he published “When is a sub-range novel?”

    The December issue 4|2019 of the journal epi Information contains four interesting contributions to the discussion on the novelty test for sub-ranges as used by the EPO.

    The EPO has a special novelty test to determine whether a claimed numerical sub-range of a known broad range is novel over the known range. A sub-range must comply with each of the three criteria of the test. The criteria are, that the sub-range (i) must be narrow compared to the broad range, (ii) be far removed from known examples within the broad range, and (iii) is not an arbitrary specimen of the prior art but another invention (purposive selection, new technical teaching).

    The test was formulated in 1985 by the technical board of appeal in decision T198/84 and subsequently used broadly within the EPO. Recently, several articles have criticized the test. In 2013 Thomas Leber of the EPO regarded compliance of the three criteria with the EPC questionable (see JIPLP, vol. 8, issue 7, July 2013, pages 561-565). More recently, I argued that the three criteria are incompatible with recent EPO case law on novelty (epi Information, issue 4|2019, page 27-33).

    The latest edition of the Guidelines for Examination in the EPO, which entered into force on 1 November 2019, has removed the purposive selection criterion from the test (see section G-VI, 8(ii)). However, the latest edition of the book Case Law of the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office, 9th edition, published July 2019, still mentions the three criteria of the test (see chapter I.C.6.3.1). In addition, the book mentions a large body of contradictory case law about the purposive selection. Roel van Woudenberg argues in his recent article, that the purposive selection criterion should be kept in the test, as being consistent with the disclosure test used for novelty (see epi Information, issue 4|2019, page 34-39).


    The above course of events shows that only because the President of the epi had written a letter to the EPO, did users of the EPC learn about the development of the case law and the adoption of the two-part test by most boards of appeal. If the President of the epi had not submitted his request, the users of the EPC would still be unaware of the development of the case law and, as a consequence, would still be uncertain about what test for novelty of a sub-range to use in appeal cases.

    “The latest edition of the Guidelines for Examination in the EPO,” as Derk Visser calls it, contains serious violations of the EPC, e.g. allowing illegal software patents under the guise of “HEY HI” (AI). Derk Visser should understand this better than anyone, but maybe he’d rather look away. It helps sell more copies of his book.

    These patent maximalists aren’t honest. They’re profit-driven and they know what kind of system brings them more money. For instance, they like to tell us all that rich countries are rich because of patents but in practice they reverse cause and effect. It’s because they’re rich they come up with protectionism and monopoly mechanisms (to maintain inequality, imperil competition). The EPO does so-called ‘studies’ to perpetuate these lies. They (mis)use words like “property”, “assets”, “right” and “invention”…

    Now, citing the famous Derk Visser, whom we recently mentioned here (like a month earlier and past years), IP Kat‘s patent maximalist Rose Hughes (there are a few of them who 'took over' the feline blog in recent years) does a “me too”. It is mere repetition. Does the European Patent Institute (EPI), a front group of litigation companies, control the EPO’s decision-making process nowadays? This is insane. But the connections between EPI and EPO go quite a long way back (like exposing whisleblowers and quelling dissent).

    Here’s what the AstraZeneca attorney wrote:

    According to the European Patent Institute (EPI), the law on the novelty of selection inventions is unclear, given the diverging opinions of the Boards of Appeal. In view of this purported lack of clarity, the EPI president (Francis Leyder) wrote a letter to the President of the EPO requesting the President to refer the issue to the EBA. The President of EPI cited a number of recent Boards of Appeal decisions that did not apply the “purposive selection” criteria (including T 1233/05, T 1131/06, T 230/07, T 1130/09, T 2041/09, T 378/12 and T 1404/14) and a two recent decisions that did (T 66/12 and T 673/12). In the view of EPI “[i]t is clear from the above that there are clearly two incompatible lines of Board of Appeal decision as to what are the criteria to be used in deciding whether a sub-range is novel”. The President of EPI therefore suggested a referral from the EPO President to the EBA, that might ask the following question:

    “What are the criteria to be used in assessing the novelty of a claim where the allegedly distinguishing feature of the claim relative to a prior art document is a sub-range of a broader range disclosed in that prior art document”.


    It seems that proponents of a referral with respect to selection inventions can now only hope for a referral by a Board of Appeal (Article 112(1) EPC). Indeed, EPI urges parties in appeal proceedings who find themselves involved in a case where the use or not of the “purposive selection” criteria is influential to the case, to request the Board to refer the issue to the EBA. The opposing view is that a referral is not necessary, as the Boards of Appeal do seem to be following the approach now set out by the guidelines. Indeed, Roel van Woudenberg could be said to be pushing the issue merely because he disagrees with the removal of the purposive selection criteria (as argued his article cited by EPI).

    Selection inventions have always been a hotly debated issue. In another article cited by EPI, authored by Derk Visser, it is argued that all three criteria listed in the guidelines are inconsistent with recent case law on novelty. As with second medical use inventions (another form of selection invention), critics are keen that an inventor should not “get something for nothing” by salami slicing (or as some-would have it, “sashimi slicing”) the prior art. The boarder question surrounding the EPI recent request for a referral on sub-ranges is whether the EPO is currently striking the right balance on selection inventions. What do readers think?

    As usual, comments are a tad better (for the few who still comment there or have their comments approved). MaxDrei would be better off pointing out that EBA at EPO lacks independence now, by its own admission. It’s compelled to allow violations of the EPC by the Office. But he tackled this from another angle:

    Robin Jacob has been known to advise audiences that “We can learn a lot from the Americans. Watch carefully what they do. And then make sure not to make the same mistake that they did.”

    Observing what the Supreme Court of the USA does to patent law, one might think that, over here, a reference to the EBA can sometimes be premature.

    As here, I think. The case law of the EPO emerges like Darwinian evolution. I mean, survival of the “fittest” line of legal logic. Is that not how the best EBA case law has emerged, over the last 40 years? It will do so here, I would think.

    Sometimes patience is called for. Given time, things will all work out for the best. Meanwhile, our advocacy skills will decide which of the rival lines will prevail. For me, the “seriously contemplate” test can be reconciled with the Gold Standard, and makes a lot of sense.

    The EBA and the other boards (BoAs) still lack their independence. Even with the UPC in its deathbed we remain stuck with courts that don’t have the ability to properly enforce the EPC and nobody talks about it anymore (IP Kat in 2020 has no connection to IP Kat of 2015. Different people!), so we ought to change that.

    The next comment, “In reply to MaxDrei,” says, “I think that the proponents of a referral have a different conceptual view of law, namely as a system where there is some correct answer “out there” to any legal question (that just needs to be divulged by the judges, the Enlarged Board in this case). This correct answer is then not affected by the pleadings of the parties or our advocacy skills, such that there is also no such thing as a premature referral. Any delay just increases legal uncertainty for parties (and EQE candidates, perhaps), in this view. The epi President indeed uses “lack of clarity” a few times in his letter. Perhaps the proponents of a referral have a somewhat Dworkian view, whereas the wait-and-see attitude of the EPO fits with the Hartian view.”

    This “lack of clarity” nonsense is used routinely by the anti-35 U.S.C. § 101 lobbyists in the US. So-called Section 101 ‘reform’ is a joke. Coons et al took bribes/money from litigation firms and have attempted since 2017 — always in vain — to sell laws for those who bribed them. It’s corruption. EPI just does more of the same thing here.

    There are a couple more follow-ups there this morning, including mentions of evergreening:

    Thanks to egna for that suggestion of a contest between Dworkian and Hartian schools of thought. I must say, that had not occurred to me but I daresay he has his finger on the point.

    egna also flags up the difficulties faced by EQE candidates. Quite right too. But in the greater scheme of things, we are talking about the rather short 18 month period covered by Art 54(3) and industry uncertainty about prior art generated within that brief period. That’s not the largest source of legal uncertainty in patent law in EPC land, is it?

    Personally, I think the bigger mischief lies in deciding obviousness according to a rubric written differently in the Supreme Court of each separate national jurisdiction of the 38 EPC Member States. Why can’t they all accept the established case law of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO, as they do (more or less) already on other repercussions that derive, directly and unambiguously, from acceptance the EPO’s “Gold Standard”.

    Well that’s indeed the thing, isn’t it, Attentive. Consider the skilled person, interested in the “disclosure” of a document, wanting to milk it for everything derivable from it. The Gold Standard limits the “disclosure” to that which is “derivable” directly and unambiguously, from the document. But the imaginary addressee has at its disposal, to assist in the task of deriving stuff, all the common general knowledge that can be imputed to the hypothetical skilled person. Under those conditions, what the skilled person is deemed to seriously contemplate during the contemplation of the document can be seen as within the ambit of that which the skilled person derives, directly and unambiguously, from the document.

    Or, to put it another way, when one deems the skilled person to be the possessor of an enormous reservoir of common general knowledge, one necessarily imputes to that imaginary being subject matter that it cannot help but “contemplate” seriously and inevitably, when performing the task of deriving disclosure from the document.

    Or, to put it another way, is not the “implicit” disclosure and what the reader will “seriously contemplate” two ways of expressing much the same thought?

    After all, we here in Europe do need a pragmatic solution to the “Art 54(3) art” problem which balances the need for fair protection, as between the earlier and the later Applicant, with reasonable legal certainty for the public. The AIA solution in the USA, in making all 54(3) art available for obviousness attacks, fails that test by giving too much power to the first filer. Rendering nugatory any 54(3) attacks on later filings awards too much protection to the later filer, and enables anti-social evergreening by bulk filers. A golden middle way is needed.

    Going back to the whole “lack of clarity” nonsense, we’ve just seen more of that from Bloomberg’s Decker. It’s that latest spin by the patent maximalists, in relation to this new article about SCOTUS not wasting time on fake patents such as software patents. Decker decided to spin it like this: “Solicitor General in both Berkheimer and Hikma v Vanda (a method of treatment case) had said SCOTUS had created confusion over 101 but neither was good venue, perhaps because CAFC had upheld some claims in each case. Athena was suggested as an alternative.”

    The Solicitor General advised against SCOTUS revisiting the issue. We covered this before. Benjamin Henrion’s response was: “SCOTUS Justices on Monday also rejected appeals to clarify the rules regarding software patents. The Supreme Court’s action leaves it to Congress to resolve an issue that’s created a legal gray area for such discoveries…”

    No, that has nothing to do with Congress, but on goes Decker by tweeting: “The three software cases are HP v Berkheimer (scotus had asked for SG a year ago; SG said perhaps Athena a better area); Garmin v Cellspin and Power Analytics v. Operation Technology.

    The Solicitor General (SG) actually took an OK position. And nothing is going to change. Coons et al haven’t made progress since 2017. Coons et al are hardly even mentioned by the media anymore.

    Going back to Europe, nothing has changed at the EU/EP since summer. They made a statement on European Patents which pertain to and cover life/nature. They oppose these.

    Recently, the EPO entertained the possibility of allowing automatically-generated patents, but perhaps foreseeing the chaos this would entail it ‘bailed out’ (albeit there’s an appeal on its way, based on press reports).

    Earlier this week SS Rana & Co said:

    In a landmark ruling, the European Patent Office (EPO) has rejected two patent applications[1] wherein request was lodged with the EPO for designating machine (Artificial Intelligence) as an “inventor”[2].

    The ground cited for rejecting the aforementioned patent applications is that the patent applications did not meet the requisite requirement as enumerated under the EPC that an inventor designated in the application should be a human being, not a machine.

    The above artificial intelligence inventor namely, “DABUS” has been in news ever since patent applications were filed with the EPO on behalf of DABUS. DABUS has been invented by Dr Stephen Thaler, Founder & Board Chairman at Imagitron, LLC.

    But the EPO still allows illegal (as per the EPC) patents on software provided they’re wrapped up as “HEY HI” and that’s a very serious problem. As recently as this week KEI explained this whole “HEY HI” thing to the USPTO when it said: “In Europe the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has also declared on various occasions, particularly in its landmark Infopaq decision (C-5/08 Infopaq International A/S v Danske Dagbaldes Forening), that copyright only applies to original works, and that originality must reflect the “author’s own intellectual creation.” This is usually understood as meaning that an original work must reflect the author’s personality, which clearly means that a human author is necessary for a copyright work to exist. The second option, that of giving authorship to the programmer, is evident in a few countries such as the Hong Kong (SAR), India, Ireland, New Zealand and the UK. This approach is best encapsulated in UK copyright law, section 9(3) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (CDPA), which states: “In the case of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work which is computer-generated, the author shall be taken to be the person by whom the arrangements necessary for the creation of the work are undertaken.” Furthermore, section 178 of the CDPA defines a computer-generated work as one that “is generated by computer in circumstances such that there is no human author of the work”. The idea behind such a provision is to create an exception to all human authorship requirements by recognizing the work that goes into creating a program capable of generating works, even if the creative spark is undertaken by the machine.” (more on that in the upcoming installment of Daily Links).

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