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01.20.20

Links 20/1/2020: MNT Reform, Linux 5.5 RC7, KMyMoney 5.0.8

Posted in News Roundup at 10:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • MNT Reform 2 Open Source DIY Arm Linux Modular Laptop Coming Soon (Crowdfunding)

        We first covered MNT Reform in fall of 2017, when it was a prototype for a DIY and modular laptop powered by NXP i.MX 6QuadPlus processor, and with plans to eventually use i.MX 8 hexa-core processor.

        Last year they designed several beta units of Reform to get feedback for a dozen users, and have now fully redesigned the laptop based on an NXP i.MX 8M system-on-module with the crowdfunding campaign expected to go live in February on Crowd Supply.

        The goals of the project are to provide an open-source hardware laptop that avoids binary blobs as much as possible and is environmentally friendly. These goals guided many of the technical decisions.

        For example, there are many NXP i.MX 8M SoM’s, but MNT selected Nitrogen8M as the schematics are available after registration on Boundary Devices website, and that means people wanting to create their own module compatible with Reform 2 could do so.

      • MNT Reform open source, modular laptop crowdfunding campaign launches in February

        The MNT Reform is a modular laptop designed to run free and open source software and to be easy to repair, upgrade, or customize. It’s been under development for a few years, and now the developers of the project have finalized the design.

        You’ll likely be able to pre-order one in February when a crowfunding campaign gets underway.

      • MNT Reform open source, modular laptop

        A new open source modular laptop will be launching next month via a crowdfunding campaign on the Crowd Supply website, offering an open source DIY laptop that can be modified and customised in a wide variety of different ways as well as protecting your online privacy. “Modern laptops have secret schematics, glued-in batteries, and mystery components all over. But Reform is the opposite — it invites both curious makers and privacy aware users to take a look under the hood, customize the documented electronics, and 3D-print their own parts.”

      • Is the MNT Reform the Most Open Source Laptop, Ever?!

        Every single inch of this uniquely positioned notebook has been designed to be as hacker, user, and open source friendly as possible.

        It also boasts some seriously unexpected touches, like a mechanical keyboard, a 5-button trackball, and an system-independent OLED display to relay information.

        In this post we take a closer look at what the hack-friendly MNT Reform laptop has to offer, why it’s designed the way it is, and where and when you can buy one for yourself.

      • Manjaro Linux Laptop with 10th Gen Intel Chips to Launch as “Dell XPS 13 Killer”

        Manjaro Lead Project Developer Philip Müller confirmed in an interview with Forbes that a partnership with Tuxedo Computers will bring us several new Linux laptops powered by Intel’s 10th Generation Core i7 chips.

        In essence updated versions of the InfinityBook Pro 15 model, the Manjaro-powered laptops will boast a maximum of 64GB RAM and feature 2TB SSD storage thanks to a Samsung EVO Plus NVMe drive.

        Like several other Tuxedo Computers, all devices support aftermarket upgrades without losing warranty.

    • Server

      • Catalogic Announced Open Source Kubernetes Disaster Recovery

        Today Catalogic Software, announced its open source utility, KubeDR. KubeDR is said to provide backup and disaster recovery for Kubernetes cluster configuration, certificates and metadata. On top of KubeDR, Catalogic also launched its cLabs to support new products, open source initiatives and innovations.

      • Catalogic Software Announces KubeDR – Open Source Kubernetes Disaster Recovery

        Catalogic Software, a developer of innovative data protection solutions, today announced the introduction of its Catalogic open source utility, KubeDR, built to provide backup and disaster recovery for Kubernetes cluster configuration, certificates and metadata. Kubernetes is the fastest growing and most popular platform for managing containerized workloads in hybrid cloud environments. Catalogic is also launching cLabs to support new products, open source initiatives and innovations, such as KubeDR.

        Kubernetes stores cluster data in etcd, an interface that collects configuration data for distributed systems. While there are solutions focused on protecting persistent volumes, the cluster configuration data is often forgotten in existing industry solutions. There is a market need to provide the specific requirements of backup and support for Kubernetes cluster data stored in etcd. Catalogic’s new KubeDR is a user-friendly, secure, scalable and an open source solution for backup and disaster recovery designed specifically for Kubernetes applications.

      • Elastic Brings Observability Platform to Kubernetes

        Elastic N.V. announced this week that Elastic Cloud, a subscription instance of an observability platform based on the open source Elasticsearch engine, is generally available on Kubernetes.

        Anurag Gupta, principal product manager for Elastic Cloud, deploying Elastic Cloud for Kubernetes (ECK) eliminates the need to invoke an instance of the platform running outside their Kubernetes environment.

      • Kubernetes Launches Bug Bounty

        Kubernetes, the open-source container management system, has opened up its formerly private bug bounty program and is asking hackers to look for bugs not just in the core Kubernetes code, but also in the supply chain that feeds into the project.

        The new bounty program is supported by Google, which originally wrote Kubernetes, and it’s an extension of what had until now been an invitation-only program. Google has lent financial support and security expertise to other bug bounty programs for open source projects. The range of rewards is from $100 to $10,000 and the scope of what’s considered a valid target is unusual.

      • Google Partners With CNCF, HackerOne on Kubernetes Bug Bounty
      • CNCF, Google, and HackerOne launch Kubernetes bug bounty program

        Bug bounty programs motivate individuals and hacker groups to not only find flaws but disclose them properly, instead of using them maliciously or selling them to parties that will. Originally designed by Google and now run by the CNCF, Kubernetes is an open source container orchestration system for automating application deployment, scaling, and management. Given the hundreds of startups and enterprises that use Kubernetes in their tech stacks, it’s significantly cheaper to proactively plug security holes than to deal with the aftermath of breaches.

      • IBM

        • Update: State of CentOS Linux 8, and CentOS Stream

          We wanted to update you on what is happening, largely out of sight to most of the community, on the CentOS Linux 8 front. We have appreciated the patience of the community, but we understand that your patience won’t last forever.

          A lot of the work in rebuilding RHEL sources into CentOS Linux is handled by automation scripts. Due to the changes between RHEL 7 and RHEL 8, many of these scripts no longer work, and had to be fixed to reflect the new layout of the buildroot. This work has been largely completed, allowing us to pull the source from Red Hat without a lot of manual work. This, in turn, should make the process of rebuilding RHEL 8.2 go much more smoothly than RHEL 8.0 and 8.1 have done.

        • Retooled CentOS Build Scripts To Help Spin New Releases Quicker, More Automation

          The release of CentOS 8 came several months after RHEL 8.0 and this week’s release of CentOS updated against RHEL 8.1 took over two months of work. But moving forward to RHEL 8.2 and beyond, that turnaround time will hopefully be less.

          When transitioning from CentOS/RHEL 7 to RHEL 8 sources, a lot of the CentOS community build scripts broken. The build root needed a new layout and initially a lot of manual steps were involved in pulling the enterprise Linux sources from Red Hat. But now with getting the initial CentOS 8 work done and their first stable point release under their belt, their new scripts for assembling CentOS 8 appear to be in good standing.

        • Industry Speaks: IBM i Predictions for 2020, Part 1

          We are three weeks into 2020, and that New Year smell hasn’t worn off yet. As time rolls on, the IBM i community will certainly get down to business. In the meantime, here are industry predictions from nine community members to read.

          For Alan Seiden, the CEO of Seiden Group and an IBM Champion for Power, risk management will be a common theme for how they approach IT staffing in 2020.

          “IBM i shops have traditionally operated in a lean manner, relying on key individuals who knew their systems intimately,” Seiden says. “Now, with IT staff managing more projects than ever, new technology entering, and senior staff retiring, companies are looking for reliable partner organizations to supplement internal continuity and support. In the same vein, I see DevOps automation and disaster recovery solutions on the minds of CIOs.”

        • IBM joins LOT Network to thwart patent trolls

          IBM on Tuesday announced it’s joining the LOT Network, a nonprofit group of companies that aims to thwart patent trolls. The move is a commitment to open innovation from IBM, which received a record 9,262 US patents in 2019 alone.

          The LOT Network was founded in 2014, with Red Hat (which IBM acquired in 2019) as a founding member. The organization aims to protect its members from patent assertion entities (PAEs) — entities that genereate more than half of their annual revenue from patent litigation.

          With a membership of more than 600 companies of all sizes, the LOT Network includes more than 2 million patent assets. If any of them fall into the hands of a PAE, LOT Network members automatically receive a license to that patent. Consequently, the PAE won’t be able to sue LOT members for alleged infringement of that patent.

          Since 1920, IBM has collected more than 140,000 US patents. It’s adding more than 80,000 patents and patent applications to the LOT Network.

        • Red Hat Announces OpenShift Container Platform 4.3

          Today, Red Hat announced plans to release OpenShift Container Platform 4.3. OpenShift Container Platform, sometimes shortened to just OpenShift, is Red Hat’s Kubernetes based open-source software container application. When Red Hat says open-source, they mean open source. You can find the current full release notes here alongside the source code in their GitHub repository. Red Hat was founded in 1993 as an open-source software provider and advocate. Today it provides a wide range of home and enterprise software products and services, including a Linux operating system and 24/7 support subscriptions.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • XFS – Online Filesystem Checking

        Since Linux 4.17, I have been working on an online filesystem checking feature for XFS. As I mentioned in the previous update, the online fsck tool (named xfs_scrub) walks all internal filesystem metadata records. Each record is checked for obvious corruptions before being cross-referenced with all other metadata in the filesystem. If problems are found, they are reported to the system administrator through both xfs_scrub and the health reporting system.

        As of Linux 5.3 and xfsprogs 5.3, online checking is feature complete and has entered the stabilization and performance optimization stage. For the moment it remains tagged experimental, though it should be stable. We seek early adopters to try out this new functionality and give us feedback.

      • Linux 5.5-rc7
        Well, things picked up at the end of the week, with half of my merges
        happening in the last two days.
        
        Whether that is the usual "send the weeks work to Linus on Friday", or
        a sign that things are just picking up in general after the holidays,
        I don't know.  If the former, I'll probably just release the final 5.5
        next week. But if it looks like there's pent-up fixes pending next
        week, I'll make another rc.
        
        Nothing in here looks particularly odd. Drivers is about half of the
        patch (networking, sound, gpio, gpu, scsi, usb, you name it), with the
        rest being the usual mix - arch, networking, filesystems, core
        kernel..  The diffstat looks mostly fairly nice and flat, with a
        couple of exceptions that look harmless (a few device tree file
        updates, some pure code movemment, and a couple of driver fixes that
        ended up changing calling conventions to get done and as a result got
        to be more lines than the bug otherwise would have merited).
        
        Please do test, there should be nothing scary going on.
        
                      Linus
        
      • Kernel prepatch 5.5-rc7

        The 5.5-rc7 kernel prepatch is out. Linus is still unsure whether the final 5.5 release will come out next week or not: “if it looks like there’s pent-up fixes pending next week, I’ll make another rc”.

      • Linux 5.5-rc7 Kernel Released

        The seventh weekly release candidate to Linux 5.5 is now available for testing.

        Linus noted with Linux 5.5-rc7 there was a large uptick in patch volume at week’s end. “Well, things picked up at the end of the week, with half of my merges happening in the last two days.”

        Due to the recent holidays in large part, it’s possible an eighth release candidate may be needed for Linux 5.5 before then releasing the kernel as stable on 2 February. However, in today’s 5.5-rc7 announcement, Torvalds noted he may just end up releasing 5.5 stable next week. In any case, the release of Linux 5.5 is right on the horizon and this should be the kernel powering Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and other upcoming distribution releases.

      • Do not blame anyone. Please give polite, constructive criticism

        Note that “we don’t break users” is literally about user-space applications, and about the kernel I maintain.

        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 peoples kernel changes.

        And honestly, 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.

        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.

        And I’m not at all interested in some “ZFS shim layer” thing either that some people seem to think would isolate the two projects. That adds no value to our side, and given Oracle’s interface copyright suits (see Java), I don’t think it’s any real licensing win either.

        Don’t use ZFS. It’s that simple. It was always more of a buzzword than anything else, I feel, and the licensing issues just make it a non-starter for me.

        The benchmarks I’ve seen do not make ZFS look all that great. And as far as I can tell, it has no real maintenance behind it either any more, so from a long-term stability standpoint, why would you ever want to use it in the first place?

      • What Linus Torvalds Gets Wrong About ZFS [Ed: This anti-Torvalds rant comes from the same publisher, Conde Nast, that forced Torvalds out of his own project for a month]

        Ars Technica recently ran a rebuttal by author, podcaster, coder, and “mercenary sysadmin” Jim Salter to some comments Linus Torvalds made last week about ZFS.

      • Zhaoxin 7-Series x86 CPUs Mitigated For Spectre V2 + SWAPGS

        When it comes to the Zhaoxin x86-compatible processors coming out of VIA’s joint venture in Shanghai, their forthcoming 7-series (KX-7000) has hardware mitigations in place for some CPU vulnerabilities.

        We haven’t heard much about these Chinese x86 CPUs with regards to speculative execution vulnerabilities but it appears the pre-7-Series is vulnerable to Spectre Variant Two and at least SWAPGS. But with their 7-series, hardware mitigations appear to be in place.

      • Benchmarks Of Arch Linux’s Zen Kernel Flavor

        Following the recent Linux kernel tests of Liquorix and other scheduler discussions (and more), some requests from premium supporters rolled in for seeing the performance of Arch Linux’s Zen kernel package against the generic kernel. Here are those benchmark results.

        These are some benchmarks I recently did on the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X while running EndeavourOS. Tests were done with its default Linux 5.4.8-arch1 kernel compared to the same kernel revision but using Arch’s Zen kernel flavor. That is Arch’s spin of the Zen-kernel patches (not to be confused with AMD Zen).

      • Intel’s ConnMan Is Ready With WireGuard Support

        In addition to NetworkManager having good WireGuard support in advance of this secure VPN tunnel tech landing with the Linux 5.6 kernel, Intel’s ConnMan software is also ready with supporting WireGuard.

        Intel’s ConnMan hasn’t seen a new tagged release in nearly one year but over the past two months in the Git development code WireGuard support has materialized. ConnMan, as a reminder, is the Intel-led effort for providing an Internet connection manager on Linux designed for embedded/mobile use-cases that dates back to their Moblin days.

      • AMD

        • AMD Adds Zen 3 Code To Linux Kernel

          Even though it may feel like just yesterday that the Zen 2-powered chips in the Ryzen 3000-series processors came out, we’re already catching plenty of wind that Zen 3 is well on its way, which shouldn’t be all too surprising given that AMD does its best to maintain annual updates to its CPU lineup. Today, we caught a whiff of Zen 3 microcode being added to the Linux kernel, as spotted by hardware leaker Komachi.

          The spotting details the addition of EDAC (Error Detection and Correction) family ops code to the Linux kernel for the Family 19h systems, which is the family of AMD CPUs based on the Zen 3 microarchitecture. Naturally, the existing family 17h (Zen2) chips can still be used, and we must note that this is not about the Ryzen 4000 ‘Renoir’ APUs that were announced at CES, as those are still based on the Zen2 microarchitecture.

        • ASUS TUF Laptops With Ryzen Are Now Patched To Stop Overheating On Linux

          The AMD Ryzen Linux laptop experience continues improving albeit quite tardy on some elements of the support. In addition to the AMD Sensor Fusion Hub driver finally being released and current/voltage reporting for Zen CPUs on Linux, another step forward in Ryzen mobile support is a fix for ASUS TUF laptops with these processors.

        • AMD Sends In A Bunch Of Fixes For Linux 5.6 Along With Pollock Support

          After already several rounds of feature work queued in DRM-Next for Linux 5.6, AMD has submitted a final batch of feature work for this next kernel as it concerns their AMDGPU graphics driver.

          While Linux 5.6′s merge window isn’t opening until around the start of February, with RC6 having come, it effectively marks an end to the feature window of DRM-Next for targeting the next kernel. AMD’s final pull request is mostly centered on fixes plus a few other extras and also enabling AMD Pollock display/graphics support for that forthcoming hardware.

        • The AMD Ryzen Thermal / Power Linux Reporting Improvements Working Well – V2 Up For Testing

          A few days ago I reported on AMD’s “k10temp” Linux kernel driver finally seeing the ability to report CCD temperatures and CPU current/voltage readings as a big improvement to this hardware monitoring driver. The work hasn’t yet been queued for inclusion into the mainline kernel, but initial testing is working well and a second revision to the patches has been sent out.

          Linux HWMON maintainer Guenter Roeck who spearheaded this work independent of AMD sent out the “v2″ k10temp driver improvements on Saturday. This allows core complex tie temperature reporting for Zen 2 CPUs and allows current and voltage reporting for Ryzen CPUs. While this information has long been available to Windows users, sadly it’s not been the case for Linux at least as far as mainline drivers go — the out-of-tree Zenpower driver and other third-party attempts have been available but nothing mainline.

      • Intel

        • More Benchmarks Of The Initial Performance Hit From CVE-2019-14615 On Intel Gen7 Graphics

          On Wednesday I shined the light on the initial performance hit from Intel’s CVE-2019-14615 graphics vulnerability particularly striking their “Gen7″ graphics hard. That initial testing was done with Core i7 hardware while here are results looking at the equally disturbing performance hits from Core i3 and i5 affected processors too.

          This article offers some benchmarks with Core i3/i5 results added in alongside the i7 CPUs previously tested with the Gen7 graphics found most commonly with Ivy Bridge and Haswell processors. Each distinct system was tested before/after from the CVE-2019-14615 posted on Wednesday.

        • Intel graphics patch “wrecks” Gen7 iGPU Linux performance

          Earlier this week Intel released details about a vulnerability in its integrated graphics hardware. Its advisory ID was INTEL-SA-00314 and it talked about the CVE-2019-14615 vulnerability. Products from 3rd Gen Core up to 10th Gen are affected including the contemporaneous Xeon, Pentium, Celeron and Atom products. Intel was made aware of this vulnerability as far back as August so already has patches available and links to recommended new drivers for both Windows and Linux users (scroll down this page about half way).

          All so regular and nothing surprising so far… However, since the updated drivers have been released, Linux-centric tech site Phoronix has been busy checking and testing the new drivers (on Linux of course) to see if there are any performance penalties, or other aberrations, delivered with the vulnerability patches.

        • More Details On Intel’s CVE-2019-14615 Graphics Vulnerability, a.k.a. iGPU Leak

          As for CVE-2019-14615 the Intel graphics vulnerability disclosed this week affecting Gen7 through Gen9 graphics architectures, it’s been dubbed “iGPU Leak” by the researchers involved. Thanks to the researcher who originally discovered this vulnerability having reached out to us, we now have some more information on this issue they describe as a “dangerous vulnerability.”

          This is the vulnerability that initially piqued our interest over the big graphics performance hit to older Ivybridge/Haswell processors with integrated graphics where in the initial patches we’ve seen quite dramatic losses.. Fortunately though the current Gen9 graphics have a mitigation where we’re seeing fortunately no change in performance. As relayed yesterday, however, they hope for no Gen7 graphics performance penalty in the final version of their mitigation.

        • Intel Gen7 Graphics Mitigation Will Try To Avoid Performance Loss In Final Version

          Intel’s open-source developers working on their security mitigation for the Gen7 graphics hardware have volleyed a new version of the patch series for that mitigation currently causing big hits to Ivybridge / Haswell performance.

        • Intel’s OSPray 2.0 Ray-Tracing Engine Released

          An area where Intel continues striking with rhythm and near perfection is on the open-source software front with their countless speedy and useful open-source innovations that often go unmatched as well as timely hardware support. Out this weekend is their OSPray 2.0 release for this damn impressive ray-tracing engine.

          OSPray 2.0 is out as their latest big upgrade to this open-source ray-tracing engine that supports photo-realistic global illumination, MPI for exploiting large system performance, volume rendering, and is all open-source software. OSPray 2.0 is another big advancement for this project that is part of Intel’s growing oneAPI tool-kit.

        • The Linux Kernel Obsoletes The Intel Simple Firmware Interface

          We haven’t heard of the Simple Firmware Interface in a number of years, but that changed this week in Linux now formally marking SFI as “obsolete” and confirmation Intel does not plan to ship any future platforms with this standard that dates back to their early days of working on Atom-powered mobile devices.

    • Applications

      • Keep a journal of your activities with this Python program

        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.

      • Use this Twitter client for Linux to tweet from the terminal

        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.

        I love social networking and microblogging. It’s quick, it’s easy, and I can share my thoughts with the world really quickly. The drawback is, of course, that almost all the desktop options for non-Windows users are wrappers around the website. Twitter has a lot of clients, but what I really want is something lightweight, easy to use, and most importantly, attractive.

      • KMyMoney 5.0.8 released

        The KMyMoney development team today announces the immediate availability of version 5.0.8 of its open source Personal Finance Manager.

        Despite even more testing we understand that some bugs may have slipped past our best efforts. If you find one of them, please forgive us, and be sure to report it, either to the mailing list or on bugs.kde.org.

        Besides the software itself, the KMyMoney website was refurbished and now has a more modern clean look. Thanks to all who were involved in the process.

      • Shotcut is an open source video editor for Windows, Linux, and macOS

        Last month, we talked about SimpleVideoCutter. This time, we’ll be looking at a more advanced video editor called Shotcut.

        Shotcut is an open source video editor for the Windows, Linux, and macOS operating systems. The application has a ton of features, and in this review, I’m giving you an overview of the program’s main functionality.

        The start screen of the application looks complex, but once you get past it, the program turns out to be user-friendly. First things first: select the project folder, name and video mode (resolution) and click on the Start button. There are some panels on the left and right sides of the screen, these are the Filters, Peak Meter and the Recent panes. You can close these if you don’t need them, they can be recalled from the toolbar at the top. The GUI should look simpler already.

      • VirtualBox 6.1.2

        VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use. Targeted at server, desktop and embedded use, it is now the only professional-quality virtualization solution that is also Open Source Software.

        [...]

        Modularity. VirtualBox has an extremely modular design with well-defined internal programming interfaces and a client/server design. This makes it easy to control it from several interfaces at once: for example, you can start a virtual machine in a typical virtual machine GUI and then control that machine from the command line, or possibly remotely. VirtualBox also comes with a full Software Development Kit: even though it is Open Source Software, you don’t have to hack the source to write a new interface for VirtualBox.

        Virtual machine descriptions in XML. The configuration settings of virtual machines are stored entirely in XML and are independent of the local machines. Virtual machine definitions can therefore easily be ported to other computers.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Christopher Allan Webber: Terminal Phase 1.0

        I’m pleased to announce that Terminal Phase, a space shooter game you can play in your terminal, has achieved version 1.0. The game is completely playable and is a fun game (well, at least a number of playtesters told me they thought it was fun). It includes two levels (one of which is more balanced than the other), and more content is on its way (1.0 isn’t the end!). You can see it being played above in cool-retro-term but it works in all sorts of terminals, including gnome-terminal and etc.

        I also released a video recently (archive.org mirror) of me doing a live playtest of the game and also showing off how to make new levels and program new enemies (which serves as kind of an introduction, but probably not the best one, to Spritely Goblins).

        Terminal Phase was actually a reward for hitting the $500/mo milestone on my Patreon account, which we achieved a little over a week ago. I aimed to get 1.0 out the door by midnight on Wednesday but I actually released it a couple of hours later, closer to 2:30am, because I was trying to make the credits look cool:

        Terminal Phase Credits

        I think I succeeded, right? Maybe you would like your name in there; you can still do so by selecting a tier on my Patreon account. I released the game as FOSS, so whether you donate or not, you can still reap the benefits. But I figure making the credits look cool and putting peoples’ names in there would be a good way of making people feel motivated. And there are more releases on the way; I’ll be adding to this now and then and releasing more stuff occasionally. In fact you may notice the cool parallax scrolling starfield in the gif at the top of this post; I added that after 1.0. I guess it’s a bit sneaky to put that on top of a post labeled 1.0, but the good news is that this means that 1.1 is not far away, which will include some new enemies (maybe a boss?), new levels, and yes, parallax starfields (and maybe your name in the credits if it isn’t already).

      • Indie Game VVVVVV Goes Open Source In Honor Of Its Tenth Anniversary

        Terry Cavanagh’s VVVVVV is an action-platform game that has offered players a tough challenge for almost ten years.

        On January 10, 2020, VVVVVV celebrated its tenth anniversary in a blog post. With the blog post came a big surprise for longtime fans of the game.

      • Indie smash hit VVVVVV is now open source

        The popular Indie platformer VVVVVV is now open source and available on GitHub. Terry Cavanagh, the creator of the game, detailed the process of porting the original Adobe Flash release to C++ for release on PC on his blog. It’s an entertaining read, especially for fans of the game.

      • Indie Platforming Classic VVVVV Is Now Open Source

        Creative game developer Terry Cavanaugh has recently decided to release the source code for his beloved gravity-bending platformer VVVVV in honor of the game’s tenth anniversary.

      • Steam for Chrome OS would make Chromeboxes even more awesome

        Once upon a time, there was this small-form-factor PC you could buy called a SteamBox. It was designed to hook up to your television and give you access to the almost 40,000 games at Valve’s Steam storefront.

        I bought a SteamBox. It worked surprisingly well until I bricked it trying to install Windows 7.

        After several reinventions and a revolving door of partners, the only way to find a SteamBox today is looking for a very overpriced used model on eBay or Amazon. It was a shame, really, because the idea was a good one — an inexpensive way to get Steam into your living room. All Valve needed was a partner with deep pockets and that wasn’t afraid to keep dipping into them.

        Hello there, Google.

      • Report: Google wants to bring the Steam game store to… Chrome OS?

        We have a wild report from Android Police this morning, as the site claims that Google is working to bring official Steam support to Chrome OS. Yes, Valve’s Steam. The gaming platform. On Chromebooks.

        The story apparently comes from a direct source: Kan Liu, the director of product management for Chrome OS. During an interview with Liu at CES, the site says Liu “implied, though would not directly confirm, that Google was working in direct cooperation with Valve on this project.” The idea is that, according the Liu, “gaming is the single most popular category of downloads for Play Store content on Chromebooks,” and Steam would mean even more games.

      • Google and Valve are bringing Steam to Chromebooks – and it’s all thanks to Linux

        Kan Liu, Director of Product Management for Google’s Chrome OS, has revealed that the Chromebook team at Google is bringing Steam to Chromebooks.

        The news, reported by AndroidPolice, is certainly exciting, as it means PC gamers won’t have to rely on Windows to play games. According to the website, Liu implied that Google is working with Valve, the company behind Steam, to make this happen.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Kubuntu Focus: First Boot And Initial Impressions Of This Powerful New Linux Laptop

          Tuxedo Computers and the Kubuntu Council recently introduced us to the Kubuntu Focus, a premium Linux laptop designed for power users, developers and gamers. I’ve cracked open my review unit and wanted to introduce a series of articles by taking a first look at the modified KDE desktop and start exploring what distinguishes this particular laptop from the crowd.

        • KDE Plasma 5.18 Seeing More Last Minute Work To Make It One Of Their Best Releases Ever

          This past week KDE Plasma 5.18 reached beta for this next long-term support release of the modern KDE desktop. While it’s approaching the finish line next month, developers have not let up on more improvements in making this one of their best and most polished releases ever.

          Some of the additional work that headed into Plasma 5.18 this week as well as other KDE components has included…

        • Plasma 5.18 is the release you’ve been waiting for

          A ton of features, bugfixes, and and user interfaces have landed for Plasma 18, and a beta release is now available for adventurous types to test out ahead of the release next month.

          I think this is the Plasma release that a lot of people have been waiting for. It’s faster, more stable, more beautiful, and more feature-filled than any previous release, and it comes with a Long Term Support guarantee. Nothing is perfect, and we can always do better (and always strive to), but I think Plasma 5.18 is going to hit a sweet spot for a lot of people. Look for it in the next LTS releases of Kubuntu and openSUSE Leap, as well as all the rolling release distros of course.

        • This Cool Cyberpunk Desktop is Easy to Recreate on Kubuntu

          Arguably the most striking feature of this neo-noir desktop in the video above is the vivid live wallpaper. Atmospheric, this instantly instills an edgy, futuristic vibe reminiscent of films like Blade Runner, Dark City, and eXistenZ.

          I am even more impressed by easy it is to recreate the whole look (assuming you’re running KDE Plasma desktop) for yourself.

          On a regular Ubuntu desktop with GNOME Shell setting up a live wallpaper requires some a bit of effort (installing an unmaintained app from a random repo or getting tricksy with mpv, fining the numbers and deftly placing enough hyphens).

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Review: Zorin 15.1 “Lite”

          Zorin OS is an Ubuntu-based operating system that aims to make Linux easy for Windows and macOS users. In the words of Zorin, it is “the alternative to Windows and macOS designed to make your computer faster, more powerful, secure and privacy respecting”. Zorin’s main product is the paid-for “Ultimate” edition, which will set you back €39 and comes with macOS, Windows, Linux and “Touch” layouts (i.e. themes) as well as a relatively large collection of software and “installation support”. Other editions of Zorin are free but come with less pre-installed software and fewer desktop layouts.

          For this review I dusted off a MacBook that dates from late 2009 and installed the “Lite” edition which, as the name suggests, is designed to breathe new life into older hardware. The laptop is one of the plastic, white MacBooks. It has an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU and 4GB of RAM – I doubled the amount of RAM a few months ago. The laptop has mostly been running Fedora with the MATE desktop and the i3 window manager as an alternative environment, both of which ran fine. Zorin’s Lite edition uses Xfce as the desktop environment.

          First impressions and installation

          Zorin’s website is either modern and clean or yet another bootstrap site, depending on your view. There are just three links in the navigation menu: Download, Computers and Help (the Computers section links to vendors that sell laptops with Zorin pre-installed). The Download section lists Zorin’s Ultimate edition first, followed by the Core, Lite and Education editions.

          Clicking any of the Download links for the free versions triggers a “Sign up to our newsletter & Download” pop-up window featuring a huge “Sign up & Download” button and a very small “Skip to download” link. I am not a fan of this type of marketing. I don’t mind that they ask if I maybe want to sign up to their mailing list, but I take issue with the fact that the dialogue window has been designed to make the “No thanks” option easy to miss. Such marketing techniques assume that users need to be tricked into signing up to receiving marketing materials, which reflects poorly on the project as a whole.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

      • Fedora Family

        • The Performance Cost To SELinux On Fedora 31

          Following the recent AppArmor performance regression in Linux 5.5 (since resolved), some Phoronix readers had requested tests out of curiosity in looking at the performance impact of Fedora’s decision to utilize SELinux by default. Here is how the Fedora Workstation 31 performance compares out-of-the-box with SELinux to disabling it.

          By default Fedora runs with SELinux enabled in an enforcing and targeted mode. But by booting with selinux=0 as a kernel parameter or editing /etc/selinux/config it’s possible to outright disable the Security Enhanced Linux functionality or change its operating mode.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Xubuntu 20.04 Will Include a Dark Theme

          Current Xubuntu 20.04 daily builds include a freshly created ‘Greybird-dark’ variant that does exactly what it says on the tin.

          Greybird’s steely bright aesthetic is swapped for a collection of darker greys. While new colour palette allows the theme to stay true to its name — it’s still grey — the overall effect is more transformative than you might have otherwise thought.

          In short, Greybird Dark instantly gives the Xfce desktop a distinctive, classy new look that’s more than a match for dark themes touted in other distros.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Mattermost co-founder survived tough times to launch game-changing collaboration platform

        One of the co-founders of the influential startup accelerator Y Combinator once termed the struggles of entrepreneurs to launch a business the “trough of sorrow.” As he was trying to run an independent video game business, entrepreneur Ian Tien suddenly found himself waist deep in that trough.

        Tien (pictured) had built his business on a messaging app that quickly went south after being acquired by a large company.

        “It started crashing and losing data, and we were super-unhappy,” Tien recalled. “Rather than go to another platform, we realized we had 10 million hours of people running messaging in their own video games. Why don’t we build this ourselves?”

        The result was Mattermost Inc., an open-source, online self-hosted messaging service that has attracted attention from investors and recognizable customers, such as Uber Technologies Inc., Airbus and the U.S. Department of Defense.

      • Unifying open standards and open source with agile technology

        Broadband installations globally have eclipsed the one billion mark to date. These connections are largely based upon a traditional model of modified existing central office architectures, complemented by copper or fibre access and a relatively simple edge network connecting a handful of devices in the home via wired or Wi-Fi connections.

        However, a new digital era is fast emerging, where new technologies such as 5G, Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV), a proliferation of devices driven by the Internet of Things (IoT), and a significantly more sophisticated and complex connected home have compounded matters and applied significant pressures to the network architecture and its ability to scale to meet the challenges and opportunities of this new world.

      • What’s in Your Containers? Try an Open Source Tool to Find Out

        As most security pros know, application containers — Docker, rkt, etc. — and the orchestration elements employed to support them, such as Kubernetes, are used increasingly in many organizations.

        Often the security organization isn’t exactly the first stop on the path to deployment of these tools. (If it was in your shop, consider yourself one of the lucky ones.) Instead, usage tends to emerge from the grass roots. It starts with developers using containers on their workstations to streamline unit testing and environmental configuration; builds traction as integration processes adapt to a more “continuous integration” approach facilitated by containers; and ultimately gains acceptance in the broader production landscape.

        [...]

        “Anchore Engine is an open source tool for performing deep inspection of container images,” said Ross Turk, Anchore VP of marketing. “These images can contain a whole lot: operating system packages, language libraries, credentials and secrets, and configuration that affects how the resulting containers are executed. Anchore Engine flattens and unpacks the image, layer by layer, and inventories what’s inside.”

        This information is valuable not only because it provides information on what software may need to be updated in the event of security patches or updates, but also because it gives you visibility into the implementation of applications and services before, after, or during their release into the production environment. It can inform software architecture reviews, threat modeling, conversations about secrets management, audit activities and design reviews, among other things.

      • What’s Ahead for Open Source and Financial Services in 2020

        It should not come as a surprise that software companies like to try their hand in many different industries, and it was only a matter of time before the most popular ones decided to start offering financial and banking services. Google’s recent announcement that it will start to offer “smart checking accounts” comes right on the heels of Facebook’s Libra currency announcement, and we anticipate that this trend will just continue. The biggest reason is that banking continues to happen where customers are already shopping, and/or where social networking occurs – ultimately serving to streamline the customer experience and to permit spending and lending to happen faster and in places the customer already spends a significant amount of time.

      • SD Times Open Source Project of the Week: Khronos Vulkan

        Khronos Vulkan, which just released its 1.2 update, is a low-overhead, cross-platform 3D graphics and computing API.

        Vulkan targets high-performance realtime 3D graphics applications such as video games and interactive media across all platforms.

        The new version includes improved performance, enhanced visual quality and easier development.

        Last year, Google’s Stadia launched with a host of AAA titles that use HLSL on Vulkan: Destiny 2, Red Dead Redemption II, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and the Tomb Raider games

      • LSD welcomes Knowledge Focus to Planet Open Source

        Today, LSD Information Technology (LSD) is announcing the merger of Knowledge Focus into its fold as of 1 January 2020. The strategic integration is the result of a shared vision to unify and further strengthen competencies across key open source solution spaces. With this merger, LSD hopes to explore new opportunities with their combined superpowers and will continue to deliver market-leading open source solutions.

        Stefan Lesicnik, CEO of LSD Information Technology, said on the merger: “We are really excited to no longer compete with the great team from Knowledge Focus, but rather, as colleagues, to work with them and deliver great customer solutions based on open source Elastic Stack and Kafka. Knowledge Focus’ open source experience with Elastic and Kafka, combined with the LSD expertise around DevOps, Openshift and Kubernetes, provide instant combined value for strategic solutions for our clients.”

      • Wine industry collab develops open source platform

        A University of Adelaide and industry collaboration has developed a digital platform to help grapegrowers optimise their irrigation and crop management.

      • flexiWAN Offers Escape From SD-WAN Black Box

        Israeli startup flexiWAN has introduced open source SD-WAN software that, it believes, can give telcos a competitive edge by enabling them to customize services to suit their own needs.

        The company says its approach, based on modular software elements, addresses a growing problem in the SD-WAN market — namely that service providers are struggling to differentiate because they’re all selling similar services based on the same set of inflexible systems, says flexiWAN’s co-founder and CEO Amir Zmora.

      • Inspecting TLS-encrypted traffic with mitmproxy

        Mitmproxy is a free, open-source tool whose killer feature is the ability to inspect Transport Layer Security (TLS)-encrypted mobile phone app traffic. The tool is superior to Wireshark when it comes to examining TLS-encrypted network traffic, and its zero-dollar price point beats out the not-cheap Burp Suite. The only downside (upside for some) is that mitmproxy is primarily a command line tool, unlike the swish Burp Suite GUI.

      • Value Of Open Source Strategy Is To Attract Right Developers: Sudhir Tiwari, ThoughtWorks
      • CDMO Speeds its Line with Open-Source L4 Serialization System

        Sovereign Pharmaceuticals, LLC is a CDMO specializing in small-batch prescriptions drugs, packaging solid and liquid products in their Ft Worth, TX, facility. They handle a variety of bottle sizes—from 50 cc up to 950 cc and from 1 oz to 16 oz—for a number of drugs and indications. Dealing with several virtual companies for clients, they spend a lot of time educating them about regulatory requirements.

        In 2016, the company sought a serialization solution to meet the DSCSA enforcement date in Nov. 2018. While they were driven by regulations, meeting the deadline appeared it would be a challenge. “We tried one solution and our customers tried three other solutions and none of them were going to meet the deadline,” says Ryan DeSario, Serialization Supervisor at Sovereign.

      • Open Source Luminary Marc Fleury Enters Crypto Arena with Announcement of New Crypto Asset Class and Continuous Token Offering Sale
      • Open source pioneer Dr. Marc Fleury launches Two Prime & new crypto asset class

        Open source pioneer Dr. Marc Fleury today launches Two Prime, a fintech firm that focuses on the financial applications of crypto to the real economy. Two Prime’s Chief Executive Officer Fleury and Chief Operating Officer Alexander S. Blum are bringing abundance to the crypto industry by introducing a new breed of cryptocurrency with safeguard mechanisms that use real assets. Two Prime’s ultimate goal is to bring about the next phase of crypto’s financial applications and reinvigorate the crypto market by introducing traditional tools and models to the space.

      • Open-Source Guru Fleury’s Crypto Firm to Debut Asset Token

        Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency firm Two Prime, headed by an entrepreneur who sold a previous tech business for $350 million, is set to introduce a digital token invested in a basket of blockchain-based holdings.

        The FF Accretive Token, registered in Hong Kong, will use the proceeds from its initial issuance to make crypto-related investments in a structured portfolio of cryptocurrencies, debt and equities with the goal of generating accretive cash flow, according to a company release. Instead of releasing all the coins at once like most initial coin offerings, Two Prime will issue the tokens continuously into the market based on demand.

      • Open-source Nextcloud rebrands itself, ready to compete with GSuite and Office 365

        For years now Nextcloud has been considered by many, mostly more tech-savvy users, especially those in the free and open-source community, as a fairly viable alternative to Dropbox – although one that just “isn’t there” yet.

        Not only in terms of user-friendliness – for one thing, Nextcloud is self-hosted – but more importantly, there have been complaints about its functionality and even reliability.

        However, there was always one pretty major advantage that recommended it over a proprietary service like Dropbox: Nextcloud is free and open-source, meaning that there are no “secret ingredients” in its code, which allows users full control of the data they sync, share, and host while using it.

        Nextcloud has announced taking a big step forward in the hope of growing into much more than just a Dropbox alternative.

        The product has changed its name to Nextcloud Hub to reflect the addition of new features to its integrated mail client, calendar and contacts, audio and video team chat, and real-time collaborative document editing – a competitor to Google Docs and Microsoft’s Office 365.

      • European public services rely on Bareos for backups

        European public services make up about half of all customers that pay for support services on Bareos, a backup solution available as open source. The software is used by universities across the continent, national and state archives, and municipalities small and large, reports Bareos, the 8-year-old company based in Cologne (Germany) that is the main developer of the eponymous software solution.

      • My FOSS Story

        Being a FOSS maintainer has given me a lot of interesting experiences. Some bad, some good. I’ve tried to express some of those experiences in this article with the goal of helping everyone understand each other better. This article doesn’t necessarily generalize because these experiences are told through my perception of the world. For example, my individualist perspective on life greatly colors how I perceive FOSS. Namely, it’s largely a personal endeavor for me, rather than a more altruistic attempt at improving a public good. A different perspective could greatly change how one experiences FOSS.

        My hope is that others will use these experiences to reflect on their own and perhaps the experiences of others. I think this process can lead to greater empathy and an overall better experience for everyone.

        In this article, I listed a lot of behaviors that I considered negative. Not everyone will see them as negatively as I do. That’s okay and expected. More to the point, I am certainly guilty of committing some of those negative behaviors myself. We are not perfect and we will never be able to be purely empathetic 100% of the time. This is a game of inches and my hope is that we can do better, even if it’s just a little bit.

      • The new standard in on-premises team collaboration: Nextcloud Hub

        During a keynote presentation in Berlin, Nextcloud CEO Frank Karlitschek announced the availability of a new product from Nextcloud. Nextcloud Hub is the first completely integrated on-premises content collaboration platform on the market, ready for a new generation of users who expect seamless online collaboration capabilities out of the box.

      • Nextcloud Hub Announced For Offering On-Premises Content Collaboration Platform

        Nearly four years since forking from ownCloud, Nextcloud continues taking on the likes of Dropbox, Google Docs, and Microsoft 365 — especially more so now with their introduction of Nextcloud Hub. Nextcloud Hub is a completely integrated on-premises content collaboration platform.

      • Open source fights cancer, Tesla adopts Coreboot, Uber and Lyft release open source machine learning

        It’s hard to a growing company these days that doesn’t take advantage of machine learning to streamline its business and make sense of the data it amasses. Ridesharing companies, which gather massive amounts of data, have enthusiastically embraced the promise of machine learning. Two of the biggest players in the ridesharing sector have made some of their machine learning code open source.

        Uber recently released the source code for its Manifold tool for debugging machine learning models. According to Uber software engineer Lezhi Li, Manifold will “benefit the machine learning (ML) community by providing interpretability and debuggability for ML workflows.”

      • JetBrains Mono is a free, open source monospace font

        JetBrains Mono is a new font designed especially for coders and developers. The lowercase characters are taller than the ones in other monospace fonts, improving readability.

      • Best fonts for programming: JetBrains Mono typeface is easy on the eyes

        What typeface do you program with? JetBrains released a new open source typeface that is designed with coding in mind. JetBrains Mono aims to minimize eye strain, improve code readability, reduce noise, and balance whitespace with ligatures. Besides its practical usage, it’s also just plain beautiful and aesthetically pleasing. See what it looks and add it to your IDE.
        Long hours staring at a screen is a recipe for eyestrain. Dark mode and display-altering software such as f.lux help take some of the strain away.

        What typeface is best for coding? When designing a typeface with the intention of coding, the distinction between characters, spacing, height, and line thickness are all components that need consideration.

      • Events

        • X.Org’s XDC2020 May Abandon Poland Conference To Find More Welcoming European Location

          Hopefully you didn’t yet book your tickets to XDC2020 as the annual X.Org conference as the venue — and host country for that matter — may change.

          The annual X.Org Developers’ Conference flips each year between different venues in North American and Europe. Last year it was announced XDC2020 would be hosted in Gdansk, Poland by a local Polish crew at Intel. But now that decision is being reassessed over finding a more welcoming and inclusive country for the event.

        • Top 5 Reasons Why You CAN’T MISS SUSECON 2020

          A new year, a new decade, and a new SUSE (now fully independent), all coalesce to a new SUSECON—bigger, more inspiring, and more focused on the world we live in than ever before. Like a pot of gold, SUSECON 2020 will be full of life-enhancing moments to make your world better. Here are the top five riches you have to look forward to when the rainbow lands in Dublin, March 23 – 27, 2020.

        • Xen Project Design and Developer Summit: Registration and CFP Open Now!

          Starting today, registration and Call for Proposals officially opens for the Xen Project Developer & Design Summit. This year’s Summit, taking place from June 2nd through the 4th at the PRECIS Center in Bucharest, Romania, will bring together the Xen Project community of developers and power users to share ideas, latest developments, and experiences, as well as offer opportunities to plan and collaborate on all things Xen Project.

          If you’d like to present a talk at the Summit, the Call For Proposals is open now and will close Friday, March 6, 2020.

          The Xen Summit brings together key developers in this community and is an ideal sponsorship opportunity. If you are interested in sponsoring this year’s event, check out the Sponsorship Page. For information regarding registration, speaking opportunities and sponsorships, head over the event website and learn more!

        • FOSDEM 2020 RTC Devroom schedule announced

          The schedule for the RTC devroom at FOSDEM 2020 in Brussels, Belgium has recently been announced. The devroom is on Sunday, 2 February 2020. We have 18 great presentations scheduled this year. Please share the link and come to support them.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • webcompat.com: Project belt-on.

            So last week, on Friday (Japanese time), I woke up with a website being half disabled and then completely disabled. We had been banned by GitHub because of illegal content we failed to flag early enough. And GitHub did what they should do.

            Oh… and last but not least… mike asked me what Belt-on meant. I guess so let’s make it more explicit.

          • Units of Measure in Rust with Refinement Types

            Years ago, Andrew Kennedy published a foundational paper about a type checker for units of measure, and later implemented it for F#. To this day, F# is the only mainstream programming language which provides first class support to make sure that you will not accidentally confuse meters and feet, euros and dollars, but that you can still convert between watts·hours and joules.

          • This post focuses on the work I accomplished as part of the Treeherder team during the last half of last year.

            The Taskcluster team requested that we stop ingesting tasks from the taskcluster-treeherder service and instead use the official Taskcluster Pulse exchanges (see work in bug 1395254). This required rewriting their code from Javascript to Python and integrate it into the Treeherder project. This needed to be accomplished by July since the Taskcluster migration would leave the service in an old set up without much support. Integrating this service into Treeherder gives us more control over all Pulse messages getting into our ingestion pipeline without an intermediary service. The project was accomplished ahead of the timeline. The impact is that the Taskcluster team had one less system to worry about ahead of their GCP migration.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • This Beaten-Down Software Stock Has a New CEO: Time to Buy?
        • Cloudera taps former head of the company it merged with to be its new CEO

          Data software company Cloudera named Rob Bearden as its new CEO on Monday. Bearden was previously the CEO of rival Hortonworks, which merged with Cloudera last year in a stock swap that valued the combined companies at $5.2 billion.

          Shares of Cloudera rose 3% in extended trading following the announcement.

          Bearden is a familiar face for many of the company’s employees. Now he’s keen to eke out more savings from the integration of the two companies and bring in more revenue from customers.

        • MariaDB goes bigly on cloud-native smart apps

          MariaDB Corporation is upping its cloud-native playbook.

          At the same time, MariaDB is aiming to up its approach to so-called ‘smart’ applications., so before we define the parameters at play here, let’s look at the news.

          The database company’s mysteriously named MariaDB Platform X4 is new to the table and is described as a cloud-native open source database for developers to build modern applications using smart transactions and cloud-native data storage.

          We know that modern applications (that aspire to be smart) require access to vast amounts of data — and that data needs to be optimised for analytical queries and Machine Learning (ML) models.

          In this way, transactions can be augmented with data insights, turning them into smart transactions.

        • How can CIOs avoid vendor lock-in and stop repeating past mistakes?

          Percona’s own research supports this — around 89% of respondents to the Open Source Data Management Software Survey were using more than one open source database in their applications. The most popular public cloud services make heavy use of open source in their cloud deployments, and host many open source implementations. The growth of software containers based on Docker is also increasing the consumption of open source.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • CMS

        • Alfresco Helps George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust Begin Its Paperless Journey

          Alfresco Software, an open source content, process and governance software company, has announced the successful implementation of its Digital Business Platform by George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust to enable paperless processes. By digitising clinical and non-clinical forms, the Trust is able to make creation and changes quicker and easier, as well as give patients more control over their health and well-being. After just four months, patients and staff are seeing such a positive difference that there are plans to expand the usage of the Alfresco Digital Business Platform to digitise more processes.

        • Should You Use Open-Source Document Management Software?

          A document management system (DMS) can play an integral role in the organization and efficiency of your business. Companies that want a paperless office or a streamlined way to store and access digital documents turn to document management software. The most useful systems allow you to perform a variety of tasks like scan paper documents, control file versions, organize various folders, set user permissions and collaborate with other team members.

          Not all applications are created equal; you must, therefore, choose a DMS that serves your needs and integrates with your other business platforms. Business owners and developers who want added flexibility and customization often turn to open-source DMS solutions.

        • Drupal 8.8.0 is available

          The last normal feature release of Drupal 8 includes a stable Media Library as well as several improvements to workspaces and migrations. The new experimental Claro administration theme brings a fresh look to site management. This is also the first release to come with native Composer support.

        • Drupal 8.8.0 Released, Acquia Acquires AgilOne and More Open Source CMS News

          Drupal 8.8.0 — the last normal feature release of Drupal 8 — is now available for download. Some of the updates in this release include:

      • Funding

        • UVM Gets $1 Million From Google For Open Source Research

          Open source software can be shared and modified but UVM said the concept is about more than software. The school says the aim of the project is to broaden understanding of how people, teams and organizations thrive in technology-rich settings, particularly in open-source projects and communities.

        • UVM gets $1M from Google for open source research

          The unrestricted gift is to support open-source research. Open source is a type of computer software, where source code is released under a license, and the copyright holder grants users the rights to study, change and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Make 4.3 Released!

            The next stable version of GNU make, version 4.3, has been released and is available for download from https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/make/

            Please see the NEWS file that comes with the GNU make distribution for details on user-visible changes.

          • GNU Make 4.3 Released With Performance Improvements, Newer GNU libc + Musl Support

            While a Red Hat developer is working on “Goals” to try to improve upon Make, the GNU Make project is not slowing down and is out this Sunday with a big update.

            GNU Make 4.3 is this new release and some of the changes include:

            - Makefiles can now specify the “-j” option within their MAKEFLAGS variable to enable the parallelism mode.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Is open source culture the answer to our technology woes?

          For that, open source culture is likely to be the most effective, if not the only, therapy. Open source means to be open about the source of knowledge that enables anyone to make something. With regard to technology, one important element of that source, but certainly not the only one, is represented by the code used to generate a given piece of software, AKA the source code.

          But you would be mistaken to think that the ability to read and write code is a necessary requirement to access this alternative technological world. In fact, open source should be understood in its broader sense of open knowledge. Should one wish, everyone can contribute in many ways such as by sharing, translating and editing instructions, creating tutorials and engaging with the ethical issues at stake in our technological society. Contrary to how things were 30 years ago, open source software is today as user-friendly and good-looking as any other proprietary and close-source counterpart. The ability to read and write code is certainly useful, but not necessary when using open source alternatives.

        • Open Data

          • Open source: Vatican wartime archives ready for new batch of scholars

            After decades of anticipation, the Vatican archives are ready to welcome, starting March 2, scores of scholars wishing to study documents related to the wartime pontificate of Pope Pius XII.

            All 85 researchers who have requested access have been given the green light to come and sift through all the materials from the period of 1939 to 1958, Bishop Sergio Pagano, prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Archives, told Catholic News Service Jan. 13.

            [...]

            The nationality or religion of those requesting aid did not matter to the pope, only verifying that need was legitimate, the bishop said.

            He said the archives have letters from people who admitted they were atheists but were turning to the pope for help because they saw him as the only moral leader left in such a dark time in history.

            Referring to accusations by some historians and Jewish groups that Pope Pius XII and others did not do enough to stop the Nazi rise to power and the Holocaust, Pagano said the pope “did speak with his efforts and then he spoke up with words, so it is not true that the pope was totally silent.”

            The new researchers’ stated fields of interest, he said, obviously were focused on World War II, the Holocaust, the persecution of the Jewish people, the murder of Italian citizens in Rome by Nazi German troops and the relationship between the Holy See and the Nazi’s national socialist party and with communism.

          • How open-source code could help us survive natural disasters

            In November 2019, while on a trip to Australia to discuss the power of technology to make a difference in the aftermath of natural disasters, I saw firsthand the devastation caused by historic bushfires raging throughout the country.

            Sadly, devastating bushfires are still burning on the continent, putting more and more lives at risk and destroying entire communities. As the fires persist, the smoke in Sydney and elsewhere has rendered the air quality “hazardous.” There’s been a national spike in hospital visits, many to treat breathing problems.

            Unfortunately, Australia is not alone in being ravaged by natural disaster.

        • Open Access/Content

      • Programming/Development

        • SaltStack Introduces Plugin Oriented Programming with New Open-Source Innovation Modules to Power Scalable Automation and Artificial Intelligence
        • JFrog Launches Free ConanCenter to Improve C/C++ DevOps Package Search and Discovery English

          JFrog, the Universal DevOps technology leader known for enabling liquid software via continuous updates, announces today the launch of the free ConanCenter, enabling better search and discovery while streamlining C/C++ package management. Conan is an open-source, decentralized, and multi-platform package manager for developers to create and share native binaries.

        • Rav1e Kicks Off 2020 With Speed Improvements For Rust-Based AV1 Encoding

          Xiph.org’s Rustlang-written “Rav1e” AV1 video encoder is back on track with delivering weekly pre-releases after missing them over the past month due to the holidays. With Rav1e p20200115 are not only performance improvements but also binary side and build speed enhancements.

          The new Rav1e pre-release should be roughly 30% faster while also delivering slight enhancements to the image quality at the highest speed (10). That’s a winning combination with speed and image quality improvements together!

        • RPushbullet 0.3.3

          Release 0.3.3 of the RPushbullet package just got to CRAN. RPushbullet offers an interface to the neat Pushbullet service for inter-device messaging, communication, and more. It lets you easily send (programmatic) alerts like the one to the left to your browser, phone, tablet, … – or all at once.

          This release further robustifies operations via two contributed PRs. The first by Chan-Yub ensures we set UTF-8 encoding on pushes. The second by Alexandre permits to downgrade from http/2 to http/1.1 which he needed for some operations with a particular backend. I made that PR a bit more general by turning the downgrade into one driven by a new options() toggle. Special thanks also to Jeroen in help debugging this issue. See below for more details.

        • Static Customization Of Function Signatures In Rust

          Sometimes I have a big function that does a lot, and in new code I need to do almost the same thing, but slightly differently. Often the best approach is to call the same function but add parameters (often described as “options”) to select specific variations. This can get ugly when the function has optional outputs — results that are only produced when certain options were passed in — because typically there is the possibility of an error when code looks for an output (e.g. unwraps a Rust Option) at a site that did not request it. It would be great if the compiler could check that you only use an output when you passed in the option to enable it. Fortunately, some simple Rust coding patterns let us achieve this.

        • Perl Weekly: Issue #443 – 2020-01-20 – New Book: Mojolicious Web Clients

          brian d foy has just let me know that his new book, “Mojolicious Web Clients” is now available for puchase. You can buy it on Amazon and on LeanPub as well.

          I’d recommend you buy it from LeanPub as they give him a much larger percentage of the sales and they also let you easily tip brian with extra money. IMHO the $5.99 he is asking for is ridiculously low.

          LeanPub also allows brian to update the book and easily distribute it to everyone who purchased an earlier revision of it.

        • [Old] Building a search engine from scratch

          The previous blog post in this series explored our journey so far in building an independent, alternative search engine. If you haven’t read it yet, we would highly recommend checking it out first!

          It is no secret that Google search is one of the most lucrative businesses on the planet. With quarterly revenues of Alphabet Inc. exceeding $40 Billion[1] and a big portion of that driven by the advertising revenue on Google’s search properties, it might be a little surprising to see the lack of competition to Google in this area[2]. We at Cliqz believe that this is partly due to the web search bootstrapping problem: the entry barriers in this field are so massive that the biggest, most successful companies in the world with the resources to tackle the problem shy away from it. This post attempts to detail the bootstrapping problem and explain the Cliqz approach to overcoming it. But let us first start by defining the search problem.

        • What’s wrong with computational notebooks?

          Computational notebooks, such as Jupyter Notebooks, Azure Notebooks, and Databricks, are wildly popular with data scientists. But as these notebooks are used for more and more complex tasks, data scientists run into more and more pain points. In this post I will very briefly summarize our method, findings, and some opportunities for tools.

        • How to Check If String Contains Substring in PHP
        • How to Get Current Date & Time in JavaScript
        • Che: A Revolutionary IDE for the Mainframe

          Tools such as the green screens of ISPF and the Eclipse desktop IDE, enhanced with proprietary plug-ins, have served mainframe application developers well over the years and, for those comfortable with them, will continue to do so. However, changes in the broader world of development are creating the conditions for a revolution in mainframe tooling.

          [...]

          Finally, as the velocity of overall software delivery increases, mainframe is a critical component of digital transformation initiatives. According to 451 Research, 24% of companies are releasing application software daily or hourly while, similarly, DORA’s 2019 State of DevOps survey shows 20% of teams are deploying multiple times per day. Software delivery expectations have changed with continuous deployment becoming the new normal and, to remain a vital computing platform for the long term, mainframe app development needs to support this paradigm.

        • How developers will work in 2020

          Software development is perpetually in a state of flux. Coders are constantly fighting a battle to keep their skills relevant. Each year brings new methodologies, frameworks, and languages to learn. Within the context of a highly-complex and rapidly changing industry, it’s important to find out which skills, tools, and trends are worthy of your time.

        • Setup Your Local Environment for Open Source Package Contributions

          One of the most important steps to get started in contributing to an open source package is to set up your local environment.

          [...]

          Now that you’ve pulled down your forked version of the package, let’s composer require your fork of the package locally. This will allow you to make changes to your local version of the package, and they will immediately be reflected in your local Laravel project without needing to run composer update.

        • SaltStack Introduces Plugin Oriented Programming with New Open-Source Innovation Modules to Power Scalable Automation and Artificial Intelligence
        • SaltStack Advances Automation Stack With 3 Open-Source Software Modules

          SaltStack, the makers of intelligent automation for IT operations roll out three new Open-Source projects to drive machine learning and data stream processing.

        • Perl / Raku

          • Perl Weekly Challenge 43: Olympic Rings and Self-Descripting Numbers

            These are some answers to the Week 43 of the Perl Weekly Challenge organized by Mohammad S. Anwar.

            Spoiler Alert: This weekly challenge deadline is due in a couple of days (January 19, 2020). This blog post offers some solutions to this challenge, please don’t read on if you intend to complete the challenge on your own.

        • Python

          • The tiniest of Python templating engines

            In someone else’s project (which they’ll doubtless tell you about themselves when it?s done) I needed a tiny Python templating engine. That is: I wanted to be able to say, here is a template string, please substitute a bunch of variables into it. Now, Python already does this, in about thirty different ways, and str.format or string.Template do most of it as built-in.

          • How to set a variable in Django template
          • Why ASGI is Replacing WSGI in Django

            When I first learnt about how to deploy my Django website. I took the easy route which was deploying it on Heroku.

            There’s literally tons of tutorial on how the process of deploying it work. Heck, there was even a book about the benefits of deploying Django using Heroku.

            Soon in my own work, I needed to deploy my own Django project. It was working well for a bundled development grade web server. I thought to myself, why not find a better way on a production-grade web server. Instead of just a miserable default web server that is not production-grade.

            My journey in searching on deploying Django started for me. Which if you look at multiple tutorial references they still suggest the use of Heroku or Digital Ocean.

          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccxi) stackoverflow python report
          • Understand predicate pushdown on row group level in Parquet with pyarrow and python

            We are using the NY Taxi Dataset throughout this blog post because it is a real world dataset, has a reasonable size and some nice properties like different datatypes and includes some messy data (like all real world data engineering problems).

  • Leftovers

    • Barry Tuckwell, the Michael Jordan of French Horn, Dies at 88

      Australia has lost one of its most celebrated musicians. Barry Tuckwell has passed away – he was one of the greatest French horn players of the last 70 years.

    • The Aesthetics of Panic
    • Education

    • Health/Nutrition

      • With Fate of Roe v. Wade Unsure, Abortion Fight Shifts to New Territory

        Jan. 22 marks the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that legalized abortion nationwide. Those on both sides of the furious debate say this could be the year when everything changes.

      • White House Seeks to End Michelle Obama Guidelines on School Nutrition

        The Trump administration on Friday proposed rolling back nutrition guidelines for school meals that had been promoted by Michelle Obama as part of her campaign to combat child obesity.

      • Doctor’s pro-vaccine TikTok went viral. Then came hate and threats from around the world

        For more large-scale attacks, such as what the backlash against Baldwin’s post grew into, Shots Heard triggers a “formal activation,” meaning an email is sent out to the entire volunteer network.

        Baldwin ended up with 11 people volunteering their services to monitor her social media pages and prevent the spread of inaccurate information about vaccines. By Thursday morning, the volunteers had banned over 5,000 anti-vaccine accounts on Facebook and the angry calls to Baldwin’s office had slowed. By Friday afternoon, Google Reviews had removed all fraudulent reviews of Baldwin’s practice.

        “When the bullies get pushback, they dissipate,” Wolynn said. “They’d rather go after people who don’t have help and have to try to defend themselves.”

        Baldwin says the experience won’t stop her from trying to get out the message that vaccines are safe.

      • Big Pharma Is Literally Poisoning Us

        Big Pharma spends a small fortune every year buying politicians to make sure we can’t import prescription drugs from Canada, but they’re more than happy to sell us contaminated medications from countries with weak manufacturing controls and exploitable labor that ensure high profit margins.

    • Integrity/Availability

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Virginia Braces for Arrival of Pro-Gun Militias Amid State of Emergency

        Virginia-based gun control activist Catherine Koebel is intimately familiar with the reign of terror that the state’s pro-gun forces attempt to maintain through threats and intimidation, despite the fact that a strong majority of Virginia residents support gun reforms.

      • Southern Peace Activists Help Soldiers Become Conscientious Objectors

        The South is arguably the engine of the U.S. war machine. The region is home to Fort Bragg, the largest U.S. military base in the world. Southern states supply more soldiers than others; the region is home to three of the five states with the highest military recruitment numbers in 2016 – Florida, Georgia, and Texas. Its congressional delegations have historically been some of the most militaristic, and military contractors have long put many of their production facilities in Southern communities, where right-to-work laws are a barrier to unionization.

      • Destruction Without Death: China’s Modern Day Genocide

        You don’t have to commit mass killings to perpetrate a genocide, and the Chinese government’s oppression of Uighur Muslims meets precisely that definition, writes James Devenish.

      • The Army’s cyber school now teaches information operations

        School officials are now building a cohort of instructors and curriculum to train the cyber and electronic warfare professionals. Much of the curriculum is coming directly from lessons learned from the operational force, Craft said, and includes a mixture of cyberspace operations, electronic warfare and information operations.

      • 3 Alleged Members Of Hate Group ‘The Base’ Arrested In Georgia, Another In Wisconsin

        The Floyd County, Ga., Police Department says Luke Austin Lane, 21, Michael John Helterbrand, 25, and Jacob Kaderli, 19, were “allegedly involved in a white supremacist group with plans to overthrow the government” and to kill a married couple whom they identified as having high-profile roles in the far-left group Antifa.

        [...]

        The Base was founded in mid-2018 and “seeks to accelerate the downfall of the United States (US) government, incite a race war, and establish a white ethno-state,” according to an affidavit prepared by local law enforcement.

      • How Nazis courted the Islamic world during WWII

        Hitler had already postulated the racial inferiority of non-European peoples in “Mein Kampf.” Once in power, however, German officials showed themselves to be more pragmatic: Non-Jewish Turks, Iranians and Arabs had already been explicitly exempted from any official racial discrimination in the 1930s, following diplomatic interventions from the governments in Tehran, Ankara, and Cairo. And during the war the Germans showed similar pragmatism. Muslims everywhere, it was clear to every German officer, were to be treated as allies.

      • Trump’s Space Force Is Worse Than Reagan’s Star Wars

        With a stroke of a pen, Donald Trump created an entirely new branch of the armed forces last year. It’s the first new branch of the U.S. military since 1947.

      • Trump Is the Third President to Lie About Afghan War Success

        The Bush, Obama and Trump administrations all routinely lied to the American people about the success of the 18-year war in Afghanistan. They exaggerated progress and inflated statistics to create an illusion that that the war was winnable. But after the deaths of 157,000 people at a cost of $2 trillion, corruption is rampant and the carnage continues.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • How Does This White House Stop Lying? By Not Talking at All.

        But this administration views any information sharing as a sign of weakness. Hence the extraordinary decision earlier this week to suddenly cancel two classified congressional briefings on Trump’s Iran strategy and embassy security. Given the shifting explanations for the assassination of Iran’s Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, perhaps the administration figured it had more to lose by furnishing manipulated “evidence” of an imminent threat than by simply yanking the briefings.

        Such contempt for the free flow of information is contagious. As the Senate impeachment trial nears, journalists are facing extraordinary restrictions on their ability to report its developments. Given the fact that majority leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear he doesn’t want to call new witnesses or listen to any evidence that might force the Senate to conclude that Trump is a sociopathic lawbreaker, such restrictions make perfect sense.

    • Environment

      • ‘You have not seen anything yet,’ climate activist Greta says ahead of Davos

        “So, we are now in a new year and we have entered a new decade and so far, during this decade, we have seen no sign whatsoever that real climate action is coming and that has to change,” Thunberg said in a speech in Lausanne.

        “To the world leaders and those in power, I would like to say that you have not seen anything yet. You have not seen the last of us, we can assure you that. And that is the message that we will bring to the World Economic Forum in Davos next week.”

        Protesters held signs including “Wake up and Smell the Bushfires” and “It is late but it is not too late”.

      • Astronaut Shares Heartbreaking Photos of The Australian Bushfire Smoke

        About 70 percent of Australia’s 3 million square miles of land is covered by a layer of grey-and-brown smoke. According to NASA, the smoke had already travelled halfway around the planet by January 8, “turning the skies hazy and causing colourful sunrises and sunsets” in South America.

        [...]

        “We are seeing a sign of what would be normal conditions in a 3C world,” Betts said. “It tells us what the future world might look like.”

      • ‘Our Planet Is Seriously Burning and the Adults Keep Letting Us Down’: Ninth Circuit Throws Out Youth Climate Case

        “Seeking to quash this suit, the government bluntly insists that it has the absolute and unreviewable power to destroy the Nation,” wrote Judge Josephine Staton in a scathing dissent opinion. “My colleagues throw up their hands, concluding that this case presents nothing fit for the Judiciary.”

      • Doctors Sound the Alarm on Climate Emergency

        The doctors are worried about the climate emergency. In recent days the UK’s Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has announced it’s halting investments in climate-changing fossil fuel and mining companies.

      • Energy

        • Despite Trump Vows, Coal Industry Falling as Wind Power Surges in US and Worldwide

          Trump is one of a handful of significant trans-generational genocidal maniacs whose policies will kill millions in the future.

        • ANALYSIS: Turkey becoming a second Iran

          The Turkish leader last month signed a memorandum with Libya about the linking of their so-called economic zones in the Mediterranean Sea.

          The deal that was clearly meant to prevent Israel, Greece and Cyprus from realizing their plan for the construction of the pipeline and to claim the expected gas reserves in these zones.

        • Pull out or perish: behind Blackrock’s grand exit from coal

          BlackRock, the world’s biggest fund, is quitting thermal coal. The move by the $10 trillion fund has stunned financial markets. Climate change and coal: while the people protest in the streets, progressive analysts such as IEEFA’s Buckley protest to global finance bosses. Tim Buckley, who had lobbied hard for the BlackRock exit, reports on the revolution in big money.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • The Multinational Trying to Bankrupt the Dock Workers Union Has a Sordid Past

        The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) is facing an existential crisis.

      • A 2020 Reminder: 55% of US Women Between 18 and 54 Would Rather Live Under Socialism Than Capitalism

        Not raving Marxists clamoring for state-run economy, evidence shows four in 10 Americans overall would rather live in country that provides “universal health care, tuition-free education, and a decent day’s wage for a decent day’s work.”

      • Peter Schiff Says He’s Lost His Bitcoin After Wallet Freeze-Out

        “I just lost all the Bitcoin I have ever owned,” Schiff, chief global strategist at Alliance Global Partners, said in a series of posts on his unverified Twitter account. “My wallet got corrupted somehow and my password is no longer valid.”

      • Joe Biden Thinks Coal Miners Should Learn to Code. That’s Classist.

        As of 2016, there were only 50,000 coal miners in the United States, and yet they occupy so much of our political imagination and conversation around jobs, unions and climate change. During the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump ran on bringing coal jobs back to the United States, and Joe Biden said on December 30 that miners should learn to code, as those are the “jobs of the future.” His comments, made to a crowd in Derry, New Hampshire, were reportedly met with silence.

      • Sanders Team Hits Back After Biden Claims Social Security Video Was “Doctored”

        Highlighting a major contrast between the current top two candidates in the Democratic primary field in terms of how they have addressed the issue over their long legislative careers, the Bernie Sanders campaign hit back against a claim made by Joe Biden earlier in the day in which the former vice president said there was “doctored video” being circulated by the Sanders campaign that showed him agreeing with former Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan about the need to cut Social Security.

      • Sanders Team Slams Biden for Claiming Social Security Video Was ‘Doctored’

        Highlighting a major contrast between the current top two candidates in the Democratic primary field in terms of how they have addressed the issue over their long legislative careers, the Bernie Sanders campaign hit back against a claim made by Joe Biden earlier in the day in which the former vice president said there was “doctored video” being circulated by the Sanders campaign that showed him agreeing with former Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan about the need to cut Social Security.

      • Joe Biden Can’t Outrun His Record on Social Security

        Recently, a newsletter from the Bernie Sanders campaign laid out Joe Biden’s long record of supporting cuts to Social Security. The website PolitiFact weighed in on one part of that record, a speech Biden gave in 2018 in which he expressed enthusiasm for former House Speaker Paul Ryan’s plans to cut Social Security.

      • ‘The Facts Are Very Clear’: Sanders Team Hits Back After Biden Claims Social Security Video Was ‘Doctored’

        “Biden not only pushed to cut Social Security—he is on tape proudly bragging about it on multiple occasions,” said Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir in response to accusations by the former vice president.

      • California Bill Would Raise Taxes on Corporations With Large CEO-Worker Pay Gaps

        A bill to raise taxes on corporations with large gaps between CEO and worker pay moved forward in the California state senate Wednesday after a hearing that drew sharp lines between labor and anti-poverty supporters and corporate and Wall Street opponents.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • As Citizens United Turns 10, We Need to Fight to Get Money Out of Politics

        Ten years ago this week, the Supreme Court released its disastrous 2010 Citizens United decision.

      • Britain Cannot Turn Its Back on Lone Children Now

        Eighty-one years ago last month, the first of the Kindertransport trains arrived in the United Kingdom, bearing children fleeing conflict and persecution ahead of the outbreak of World War II. In total, the Kindertransport rescue effort ferried 10,000 child refugees to safety in Britain. But now, the government is threatening to turn its back on vulnerable children.

        This month, members of parliament from the ruling Conservative Party blocked a move to guarantee the right of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children to be reunited with family members living in the UK after Brexit. Unless the amendment to a bill is blocked by the House of Lords or by the courts, countless vulnerable children across Europe will be left without a safe and legal way to rejoin their families.

      • Because ‘I Can Feel Bernie Beating Trump,’ Pramila Jayapal Endorses Sanders for President

        The co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus “has led the fight against Trump’s racism, sexism and xenophobia,” Sanders said responding to the news. “Together, we will defeat Trump and build a working class movement and transform this country so it works for all.”

      • Today’s US-Iran Crisis Is Rooted in the Decision to Invade Iraq

        The ramifications of the illegal, unnecessary and predictably tragic U.S. decision to invade Iraq are still with us. This includes the ongoing crisis with Iran, which brought us perilously close to all-out war in early January, resulted in the tragic downing of a civilian airliner and remains in a hair-trigger situation.

      • Peru: Many With Disability Left Off Voting Lists

        Actors with down syndrome represent Hamlet in a theater in Lima in December 2019. 

      • The Battle With Trump Over Refugee Resettlement Is Not Over Yet

        Refugee resettlement groups throughout the country are, thankfully, back to their usual work of finding new homes for refugees following this week’s ruling by a federal judge in Maryland temporarily barring the implementation of Trump’s executive order 13888, signed this past September. That order, part of a much broader package of anti-immigrant, anti-refugee and anti-asylum-seeker measures pushed by hard-line adviser Stephen Miller, was intended to allow cities, counties and states to opt out of the refugee resettlement program. And since new funding streams for the resettlement agencies were due to kick in on Jan. 21, based on estimates of how many refugees were to be resettled in each region of the country in the year beginning in June 2020, agencies had been scrambling to obtain approval letters from governors and local officials by the Jan. 21 deadline.

      • Parnas Spins Tales of Trumpian Corruption — and We Know Most of Them Are True

        Following the rules of an anachronistic 18th-century ritual, the House managers walked in formation to the Senate to deliver the articles of impeachment on Thursday. The sergeant at arms informed the senators that if they speak during the trial they could be imprisoned, and then the chief justice arrived in his robes accompanied by four senators. He then administered the constitutionally prescribed oath to deliver impartial justice to the assembled senators, after which, one by one, they signed their names to a book. The only thing missing was the white wigs.

      • ‘This Is Why No One Trusts the Media’: MSNBC Slammed for Featuring ‘Body Language Expert’ Who Calls Sanders a Liar

        While the Sanders campaign demanded an apology from the network, critics of Joy Ann Reid’s morning show said the segment was “fraudulent garbage” and a “disgrace.”

      • The Women’s March Is Back and Ready to Defeat Trump

        The Women’s March is back this year — with a new board and new strategy to get women activated to oust Donald Trump in November. The organization’s flagship march in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, which culminates a week of actions, is expected to draw more than 10,000 participants. Sister marches around the country will see thousands more participate.

      • ‘The Government Can’t Airbrush History’: National Archives Denounced for Blurring Out Anti-Trump Signs in Women’s March Photos

        “It is the job of the National Archives to document history, not alter it to serve the president’s ego.”

      • Sanders Leads Democrats in New National Poll

        Amid a series of endorsements from key groups and allies in crucial primary states this week — and despite the “brouhaha” with Sen. Elizabeth Warren — a new national poll shows Sen. Bernie Sanders now in the lead over former Vice President Joe Biden and the rest of the Democratic primary field.

      • What Rod Blagojevich’s Double Impeachment Could Mean for Trump

        Impeachments are fortunately rare in American political life: Trump is only the third president to have been impeached; eight governors have been impeached and removed from office.

      • The Battle to Impeach Trump Is Part of a Global Struggle for Democracy

        The impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump — with their abundance of political theater and insipid media coverage — often treat Trump’s crimes as the endpoint of an abuse of power and an illegal act. This is a grave mistake: We must understand Trump’s crimes not as an endpoint but as symptoms of a long history of conditions that have led to the United States’ slide into the abyss of authoritarianism.

      • Trump’s Impeachment Defense, Prosecutors Dig In

        Advocates for and against President Donald Trump gave no ground Sunday on his Senate impeachment trial, digging in on whether a crime is required for his conviction and removal and whether witnesses will be called.

      • Trump Defense Team Includes Alan Dershowitz, Ken Starr

        President Donald Trump has assembled a made-for-TV legal team for his Senate trial that includes household names like Ken Starr, the prosecutor whose investigation two decades ago resulted in the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz will deliver constitutional arguments meant to shield Trump from allegations that he abused his power.

      • Bernie Sanders Leads in New Post-Debate National Poll

        Amid a series of endorsements from key groups and allies in crucial primary states this week—and despite the “brouhaha” with Sen. Elizabeth Warren—a new national poll shows Sen. Bernie Sanders now in the lead over former Vice President Joe Biden and the rest of the Democratic primary field.

      • Voters in Iowa Care More About Key Issues Than Warren-Sanders Unity

        “What people are talking about on the doors is nothing like what’s on social media.”

      • ‘Naked, Unapologetic and Insidious’ Corruption: Democrats Respond to Trump’s Official Statement on Impeachment Charges

        “Though the President describes this conduct as perfect,” said the House Managers assigned to prosecute the Senate trial, “the Founders had a different word for it: impeachable.”

      • As Senators Are Sworn In, Calls for a Full for Impeachment Trial Intensify

        For just the third time in history, the U.S. Senate has opened a trial to determine if a sitting president should be removed from office. The Senate trial comes a month after the House impeached President Trump for pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the impeachment trial in the Senate, later swore in senators who will serve as jurors when the trial officially begins on Tuesday. This comes as more information is coming to light about the actions of President Trump and his associates. On Thursday, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office said the White House Office of Management and Budget violated federal law by withholding $400 million in aid money to Ukraine even though the funds had been allocated by Congress. We speak with attorney John Bonifaz, co-founder and president of Free Speech for People and co-author of The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump.

      • US Citizen Dies in Egyptian Prison

        The death this week of Mustafa Kassem, an Egyptian-American imprisoned in Egypt after an unfair trial, underscores the Trump administration’s failed approach on human rights in Egypt.

        Police arrested Kassem in August 2013, during protests against the military takeover in Cairo. He was held for more than five years, until his conviction and sentencing in September 2018 in an unfair trial alongside more than 700 others. According to his family, Kassem, a diabetic with a heart condition, was repeatedly refused appropriate medical care.

      • Moderate Democrats are celebrating MLK. He was disgusted by them

        From a Birmingham jail cell, he wrote he was “gravely disappointed with the white moderate” that he saw as “the Negro’s great stumbling block,” as much or more so than ardent segregationists or even the KKK. The white moderate, he observed, lived “by a mythical concept of time” and constantly advised “the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.’ Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

        As King saw it, the American embrace of moderation in his time was enabled by a belief “that American society is essentially hospitable to fair play and to steady growth toward a middle-class Utopia embodying racial harmony. But unfortunately, this is a fantasy of self-deception and comfortable vanity.”

      • Election Update: The First Post-Debate Polls Are In! And They’re … Pretty Weird.

        For all that said, polls with strong house effects, because of the additional complications they present, aren’t necessarily ideal for evaluating polling swings following news events such as debates. So while it’s tempting to infer from the polls we have so far that the debate didn’t change things very much — no candidate is consistently seeing their numbers surge or crater — we should wait for a few more polls to confirm that.

      • Brazilian authoritarian Bolsonaro fires his culture minister for giving a speech plagiarized from Joseph Goebbels

        Last week, Roberto Alvim, gave a speech in his capacity as Brazil’s culture minister: backed by a Wagner aria, Alvim gave a speech about reforming Brazilian art that literally plagiarized the words of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s minister of propaganda.

      • 3 Years In, ‘A Very Stable Genius’ Authors Say Trump Decisions Are ‘More Chaotic’

        Through an aide, President Trump declined to speak to the journalists for the book, Leonnig said. Relying on more than 200 unnamed sources — many of whom were at Trump’s side during defining moments of the presidency — Rucker and Leonnig build scenes that paint Trump as dangerously uninformed as he is self-congratulatory.

        One such episode occurs six months into his presidency, during a Pentagon meeting in which, the journalists report, Trump called senior military commanders “a bunch of dopes and babies.” Leonnig and Rucker cite the anecdote as a climactic “inflection point,” marking Trump’s determination to drive away those who try to offer him counsel.

        “The guardrails are gone, and increasingly the decisions have become more chaotic,” Leonnig said. “And the people that he’s surrounded by are increasingly those who think their mission is to tell him, ‘Yes.’ ”

      • As Iraqi cleric calls for mass protests against US some Iraqis refuse out of fear of Iran

        “The Iranian-backed militias, such as Kataib Hezbollah, al-Nujaba, and Asaib Ahl al-Haq have to be expelled to Iran before expelling the American troops. “[The] US troops presence in Iraq is very important for our protection,” Sajad added. “If the US troops {are] expelled now, we as protesters will be the biggest losers, as Iranian-backed militias will kill all of us in days.”

        Over 511 protestors and security force members have been killed since December and about 17,000 people have been wounded since the beginning of the protests, according to Human Rights Watch.

      • 2 GTA men indicted in U.S. for allegedly trafficking items for Pakistan nuclear program

        Two Mississauga, Ont., men have been indicted for allegedly helping to run an international procurement network over a five-year period to traffic materials such as aircraft parts and satellite communications equipment to support Pakistan’s nuclear program.

        Father and son Muhammad Ahsan Wali, 48, and Haji Wali Muhammad Sheikh, 82, are among five men accused of being associated with an alleged front company called Business World, based in Rawalpindi, a city in northern Pakistan, according to the United States Department of Justice.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • National Archives ‘Wrong’ to Blur Images of Anti-Trump Signs

        The National Archives said Saturday it made a mistake when it blurred images of anti-Trump signs used in an exhibit on women’s suffrage.

      • National Archives `Wrong’ to Blur Images of Anti-Trump Signs

        The independent agency is charged with preserving government and historical records and said it has always been committed to preserving its holdings “without alteration.”

        But the archives said in a statement Saturday “we made a mistake.” The archives’ statement came one day after The Washington Post published an online report about the altered images.

        The archives said the photo in question is not one of its archival records, but rather was licensed for use as a promotional graphic in the exhibit.

        “Nonetheless, we were wrong to alter the image,” the agency said.

      • Stephen King Walks Back Diversity Remarks After Twitter Backlash
      • Chip Gibbons on FBI vs. 1st Amendment

        This week on CounterSpin: At a Sacramento rally in 2016, members of a white supremacist group called the Traditionalist Worker Party stabbed counter-protesters from the civil rights group By Any Means Necessary. The FBI responded by opening up a domestic terrorism investigation—into By Any Means Necessary. At first, the FBI misidentified the Traditionalist Worker Party as the Ku Klux Klan, and was going to investigate BAMN for conspiring to violate the rights of Klan members, in documents that described the Klan as consisting of people “that some perceived to be supportive of a white supremacist agenda.”

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Louis Adamic’s Life Fighting Fascism

        Louis Adamic, a popular nonfiction writer of the 1920s-40s, never escaped—perhaps never wished to escape—his status as an enigma. He was a talented journalist whose work appeared in a variety of magazines, as well as the author of well-received works of fiction and nonfiction. He was also a Slovene immigrant, from that sliver of land once part of Yugoslavia and now an independent state. He poured his finest energies into the vision of a multicultural, multiracial American democracy, something not seen then—or now. Adamic also seemed early on to be an existentialist or grim pessimist, projecting images of fatalism and a propensity for violence as the inescapable reality of his new country. In the end, he threw himself into a crusade against the incoming Cold War, and was assassinated for his trouble. His death removed one more political inconvenience from the latest version of American liberalism.

      • WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Barry Spurr: Ex-Professor, Racist, Misogynist, Turned Literary Editor

        Where Are They Now is an occasional column in New Matilda. You can read a past edition here (on party boy Corey Worthington). This edition brings you an update on Barry Spurr, the ‘Racist Professor of Poetry’.

      • Illegal Crossings Plunge as U.S. Extends Policy Across Border

        Adolfo Cardenas smiles faintly at the memory of traveling with his 14-year-old son from Honduras to the U.S.-Mexico border in only nine days, riding buses and paying a smuggler $6,000 to ensure passage through highway checkpoints.

      • Qatar: End of Abusive Exit Permits for Migrant Workers
      • Sialkot man ‘dupes’ Canadian wife of thousands of dollars

        A Canadian woman has alleged that her Pakistani husband ran away after siphoning off thousands of dollars from her bank account.

      • Hindu Fascism: An All-American Threat

        We, as Muslim and Hindu women of color, have watched in horror as both the country of our ancestors, India, and the country of our birth, the United States, have devolved into nationalism and fascism.

      • 7 Men, 5 Women Selected for Weinstein Trial

        A jury of seven men and five women was selected Friday for Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial after an arduous, two-week process in which scores of people were dismissed because they had already made up their minds about the disgraced Hollywood mogul.

      • Noam Chomsky Makes the Case for the Lesser of Two Evils

        After a harrowing discussion about humanity’s undeniable march toward a dystopian future, world-renowned thinker Noam Chomsky and Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer move on to other pressing topics related to current events and end on a positive note.

      • EFF Asks the Supreme Court to Put a Stop to Dangerously Broad Interpretations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

        At EFF, we have spent years fighting the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The law was aimed at computer crime, but it is both vague and draconian—putting people at risk for prison sentences for ordinary Internet behavior. Now, we are asking the Supreme Court to step in and stop dangerous overbroad interpretations of the CFAA.

        The CFAA was passed more than 30 years ago, before the invention of the World Wide Web. Consequently, the law is hard to make sense of in our increasingly digital world. Some courts have rightly interpreted the law narrowly, focusing on hacking and other illegal computer intrusions. But other courts have bought into tactics used by creative prosecutors, who argue that when the statute outlaws “exceeding authorized access” to a computer, it also covers violating the “terms of service” of websites and other apps.

      • Bhutan on Brink of Overturning Same-Sex Conduct Ban

        A bill that would repeal parts of Bhutan’s penal code that criminalize same-sex conduct will be introduced in the upper house of Parliament this month. The lower house of Parliament voted in June 2019 to repeal two sections of the country’s 2004 criminal code, which made “unnatural sex” between consenting adults illegal. But before being sent to royal approval, the bill first needs to pass the National Council, Parliament’s upper chamber.

        Bhutan’s penal code includes a provision derived from British colonial authorities punishing “sexual conduct against the order of nature” with up to one year in prison. While there have been no known prosecutions under the law, provisions like this one curtail the rights and freedoms of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, subjecting their intimate lives to unwarranted scrutiny.

      • At US Border, Inaccurate Mayan-Language Interpretation Can Lead to Deportation

        As the U.S. continues to use hostile policies to stop people from seeking refuge and asylum in the United States, we look at a key problem that is preventing migrants from getting due process, and in many cases getting them deported: inadequate interpretation for indigenous asylum seekers who speak Mayan languages. Guatemala has a population of 15 million people, and at least 40% of them are indigenous. In the past year, a quarter of a million Guatemalan migrants have been apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border. At least half of them are Mayan. Many speak little or no Spanish. This is the focus of a new report in The New Yorker magazine titled “A Translation Crisis at the Border.” We speak with the article’s author, Rachel Nolan, in Guatemala City. We also spoke with Odilia Romero, Zapotec interpreter and a longtime indigenous leader with the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations. Romero is a trilingual interpreter in Zapotec, Spanish and English, who recently developed a training program for indigenous-language interpreters.

      • India Failing on Kashmiri Human Rights

        Kashmir has been under a lockdown for five months. Fearing that Kashmiris might protest the revocation of autonomy provided to Jammu and Kashmir state under India’s constitution, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi clamped down.

        Since the restrictions in August, the government has taken slow, reluctant steps to ease some of them, but is still falling far short in upholding Kashmiri rights.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Thoughts on LBRY

        At the behest of people like Bryan Lunduke and DTLive on YouTube, I have started using LBRY more and last night I even uploaded a few test videos of my own. I would eventually like to put up some of my own tutorial videos.

        With that said, LBRY has some serious issues. So, let’s be frank. LBRY has no rules against hardcore porn or if they do, they are not enforced. That’s fine, and I don’t care. It’s not hard to find porn on YouTube also. However if a porn channel doesn’t flag their own content as mature, then it will be in your search results and there’s no way right now to flag it yourself. The suggestions that I got in the help forum (aka the discord server) was to report it to the #report-spam room which I did. Will that result in these channels being told to reflag their content? Who knows. It seems a little iffy.

      • AFRINIC WHOIS database tampered?

        In the same email, AFRINIC CEO, Eddy Kayihura, informed the community that following allegations of fraudulent manipulation of the AFRINIC WHOIS database, the matter has been referred to the Central Criminal Investigation Division (CCID) of the Mauritius Police Force for further investigation. Also, due to the serious nature of the allegation, an employee of AFRINIC, whose name has been cited in the allegation, has been immediately dismissed on grounds of very serious professional misconduct.

      • How just five companies came to dominate the world’s 5G networks

        The agenda for the meeting will be dominated by the topic that has cast a shadow over Britain’s relations with the US, the entire telecoms industry and ties with China. At last, the Prime Minister will decide whether to allow Huawei to supply mobile operators equipment for their 5G networks.

        Allowing Huawei to continue to supply some kit in the UK, as is expected, is certain to be controversial. The US government has publicly warned allied countries not to use Huawei equipment, claiming that its closeness to the Chinese state and the country’s intelligence laws could mean that Huawei devices could be used for espionage in the future. Huawei executives have consistently denied this.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • HP remotely disables customer’s printer until he joins monthly subscription

        Just because you buy a product doesn’t mean you actually own it; that’s the new normal that the advancement of technology has been slowly establishing over the past decades. Corporations look after themselves by using copyright protections such as digital rights management, DRM, but in this process, consumers’ rights are often restricted to an absurd degree.

        For example – as Ryan Sullivan has discovered and then shared on Twitter – HP will disable ink cartridges in your (or, it would seem, their) printers if you stop paying a monthly subscription for a service that’s known as HP Instant Ink.

    • Monopolies

      • Disney is hunting down the most popular Baby Yoda toys on Etsy

        Everyone loves Baby Yoda, but official merchandise of the character has been hard to find, since Disney didn’t want to spoil the surprise surrounding the little green alien by producing toys and t-shirts ahead of The Mandalorian’s premiere. In that vacuum, plenty of enterprising Etsy sellers have popped up to sell their own homemade Baby Yoda plushies and toys — at least, until Disney started issuing takedown notices, requiring that Etsy remove listings for bootleg merch.

      • Patents

        • Taking the measure of the prior art (T 1943/15)

          In a recently published Board of Appeal decision (T 1943/15), the Board considered the circumstances under which a disclosure of a component’s dimension may be derived solely from the patent drawings, either by eye or by measurement.

          [...]

          As with any disclosure, the disclosure of a drawing used in a novelty attack should be clearly and unambiguously derivable. In order to assess whether a measurement in a drawing is clear and unambiguous, it is necessary to assess what technical teaching a skilled person could be said to derive from the drawing (T 204/83). Consequently, dimensions derived solely by measuring a patent drawing (and not complemented by the description) are not considered part of the disclosure of a patent.

          What about relative measurements? Are these disclosed by a patent drawing? In a previous decision of the Boards of Appeal, the relative size of two components deduced solely from the drawings in a patent were not considered part of the patent’s disclosure (T 1664/06). Several other decisions, based on different facts, have reached the opposite conclusion. In one decision, the relative thickness of two drawing components were considered disclosed, as the relative thickness of the components was identified in the specification as an essential component of the invention (T 748/91). Practical technical teaching could thus be said to be derivable from measurement of the drawings. In other decisions, the drawing in a patent were considered “quite” precise (T 1200/05) or akin to construction drawings (T 422/95). Measurement of the drawings could therefore again be said to confer practical teaching.

        • BioDelivery Sciences International, Inc. v. Aquestive Therapeutics, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          Last week, the Federal Circuit issued a per curiam Order in BioDelivery Sciences International, Inc. v. Aquestive Therapeutics, Inc., denying a petition for a panel rehearing or rehearing en banc filed by Appellant BioDelivery Sciences International, Inc. Judge Newman dissented from the denial of the petition for rehearing en banc.

          The dispute between the parties arose when BioDelivery sought inter partes review of claims 1, 4, 6–9, 11, 12, 26, 27, 32, 38, 44, 51, 58, 65, 72, 82, 109, and 125–127 of U.S. Patent No. 8,765,167, citing seven prior art grounds of anticipation or obviousness. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patent Trial and Appeal Board instituted the IPR on most, but not all, of the challenged claims, and on one of the grounds. The PTAB ultimately issued a Final Written Decision finding claims 1, 4, 11, 12, 26, 27, 44, 51, 58, 65, 72, 82, and 125–127 of the ’167 patent to be patentable.

          BioDelivery appealed to the Federal Circuit, which received briefing and argument before the Supreme Court issued its decision in SAS Institute Inc. v. Iancu. On BioDelivery’s motion, the Federal Circuit directed the PTAB “to implement the Court’s decision in SAS.” In response, the PTAB “modif[ied its] Decision to Institute and instead deny the Petition in its entirety, thereby terminating [the] proceeding,” and in particular, “ORDERED that Petitioner’s request for inter partes review of claims 1, 4, 6–9, 11, 12, 26, 27, 32, 38, 44, 51, 58, 65, 72, 82, 125–127 of the ’167 patent is denied and no inter partes review is instituted.”

        • Patent case: Fractus S.A. vs. Xiaomi Inc. c.s., Netherlands

          The Spanish company Fractus sued Xiaomi and their distributors for infringement of their patent on a monopole antenna with a radiation arm that is shaped as a space-filling curve. However, the provisions judge declared that the claim of the patent should be interpreted narrowly on the basis of the prosecution history and on the basis of the general knowledge of the skilled person.

        • Patent Injunctions Update: German Ministry of Justice publishes draft amendment to Patent Act and Hague Court of Appeal decides in further Philips FRAND cases [Ed: Philips imposing a patent tax on everybody, using the dubious and highly misleading (misnamed) concept of “FRAND” (each letter in this acronym is a lie)]

          This patent was upheld and found infringed by the Court of Appeal [see here for decision against Asus and here for decision against Wiko]. It then further discussed both parties’ FRAND defences.

          In the case against ASUS, the Court of Appeal referred to its earlier decision and then addressed ASUS additional arguments. It reiterated that [under the CJEU's decision in C-170/13 Huawei/ZTE] after notification by the SEP-holder, a SEP-implementer must show willingness to take a licence before an obligation to make a FRAND-offer on the part of the SEP-holder arises. According to the Court of Appeal, this is consistent with the UK approach, as set out in the decisions in Unwired Planet [see [2017] EWHC 711 (Pat) and [2018] EWCA Civ 2344, Katpost here].

          The Court of Appeal also reaffirmed that it will not always be necessary to submit claim charts as part of the notification to the implementer, but that it depends on all circumstances of the case whether sufficient notification is given. What is decisive is whether the SEP-implementer knows which rights are invoked against is, which products are alleged to infringe them and in what manner.

          As for willingness, the Court of Appeal clarified that mere attendance of licensing negotiations is not sufficient: to be considered willing, a licensee must actively engage in them. It may also oblige licensees to inquire after the relevant licensing terms if it considers these unclear. In the absence of such willingness, it will not be inappropriate for SEP-holders to request an injunction, even if they did not make a FRAND-offer – since under the Huawei/ZTE framework, they are under no obligation to do so until a licensee has proved to be willing.

          In the decision in proceedings against Wiko, the Court of Appeal did not explicitly differentiate between Wiko’s FRAND-arguments in the present proceedings and those that led to the earlier decision. Its discussion of the FRAND-issues in the case was entirely along the lines of its July 2019 decision and the Court of Appeal did not add significant new points to its earlier reasoning.

        • Software Patents

          • How Sonos’s case against Google could help shift the US patent narrative [Ed: These bogus software patents of Sonos can only highlight the absurdity of such patents; Google should work to invalidate these]

            Earlier this month the home speaker business Sonos sued Google for patent infringement in US district court and at the International Trade Commission. The case, for a journalist, had an immediate appeal to it. The search giant is sued on a regular basis, but mostly by NPEs not operating companies; and while Sonos rarely litigates it has shown a willingness to defend its IP rights in court.

            Throw in the high profile of both companies and the confrontation makes for a juicy story and so it has proved. There has been a lot of coverage, including this comprehensive piece in the New York Times.

            Sonos is by no means a small player – the company sells around $1 billion-worth of speakers annually – but it pales in comparison with the giants of Silicon Valley. What’s more, as its district court complaint outlined, it relies on the likes of Google and Amazon to reach customers and to add functionality to its products.

            [...]

            Other outlets and reporters have also turned their attention to the array of challenges faced by IP owners to protect themselves. Rana Foorahar at the Financial Times, for instance, has won a legion of fans for her reporting on what she frames as big tech’s creeping power.

            In December last year, The Economist ran a story titled “The trouble with patent-troll-hunting” on how “rules to curb frivolous patent claims may encourage infringement”. If you want a sense of how the climate has changed, in August 2015 it ran a lengthy piece on how it was “time to fix patents”, declaring that “today’s patent systems are a rotten way of rewarding” ideas.

          • Dallas Invents: 130 Patents Granted for Week of Dec. 31 [Ed: A lot of these are software patents granted to bogus entities looking to sue in Texas where courts favour all patents and trolls]

            Dallas Invents is a look at U.S. patents granted with a connection to the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area. Listings include patents granted to local assignees and/or those with a North Texas inventor. Patent activity can be an indicator of future economic growth, as well as the development of emerging markets and talent attraction. By tracking both inventors and assignees in the region, we aim to provide a broader view of the region’s inventive activity. Listings are organized by Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC).

      • Copyrights

        • Google garners support from tech industry in Supreme Court API copyright fight

          The Google-Oracle legal battle dates back over a decade, with the core issue being whether copyright laws bar the commonplace practice of software reimplementation — the “process of writing new software to perform certain functions of a legacy product”.

          Oracle won the most recent iteration of the legal fight, with the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruling that the functional elements of application programming interfaces (APIs) are subject to copyright. Since then however, Google has got the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to reconsider Oracle’s court victory.

          Submitting a joint “friend of the court” brief on Monday — a legal document that offers information that has a bearing on the issues of a court case — Mozilla, Medium, Cloudera, Reddit, along with others, have pleaded for SCOTUS to reverse the Federal Court’s decision and allow for APIs to continue to be free from copyright, or at least be available for fair use.

        • A Creative Commons-Licensed Work Walks into a Copy Shop – Great Minds v. Office Depot

          As 2019 came to a close, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in Great Minds v. Office Depot. Concerned the interpretation of permitted, non-commercial activity under the Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, this case resembles and is, in fact, intertwined with Great Minds v. FedEx, which Great Minds appealed to the 2nd Circuit in 2018.

          In both cases, Great Minds sued a copy shop for reproducing – for a profit – their Eureka Math curriculum on behalf of public schools or school districts that had paid the copy shop for the reproductions; while the schools are free to use and reproduce the curriculum for noncommercial uses, Great Minds contends that the copy shops are violating the CC BY-NC 4.0 license through commercial use by reproduction for profit. Let’s explore how courts on both coasts rejected Great Minds’ argument, finding for the copy shops.

          [...]

          On November 8, 2019, the Ninth Circuit heard Great Minds appeal from the dismissal of the copyright infringement claim; this came a year and a half after the 2nd Circuit affirmed a similar dismissal in Great Mind’s appeal against FedEx. The Ninth Circuit issued an affirming opinion on December 27th, as 2019 came to a close.

          The court noted that reproduction by the school and district licensees was permitted by the license, while “if Office Depot were itself a licensee, commercial copying of Great Minds’ material would fall outside the scope of the License and infringe Great Minds’ copyright.” As a result, the question as issue was whether or not, by the licensees using Office Depot’s services to lawfully exercise the rights of the license, Office Depot had themselves become licensees.

          The court ruled that Office Depot was not a downstream recipient licensee, citing to a “consensus in courts” that third-party agents employed by licensees to exercise the lawful rights of the license do not themselves become licensees by virtue of providing their services to the licensee. Rather, “[i]ts activities remain within the ambit of the schools and school districts’ license.”

          The court rejected Great Mind’s argument that there was a volitional element to Office Depot’s services, noting the unwanted consequences that would result from the court drawing the line of distinction sought by Great Mind’s council.

        • Most Canadian ISPs Are Staying Quiet on Pirate Site Blocking

          Canada is a relative newcomer when it comes to pirate site blocking. At the moment it remains unclear how most ISPs will technically implement these blocks and whether they’ll communicate this information to the public. To find out more we reached out to nearly a dozen providers. Unfortunately, only one took the time to respond.

        • Ebook.bike Owner Risks Crippling Sanctions Over Piracy Case Discovery Failures

          Former Pirate Party Canada leader and Ebook.bike operator Travis McCrea is facing the possibility of crippling sanctions if the plaintiff in his copyright infringement lawsuit has his way. After McCrea failed to produce discovery as ordered by the court, the legal team of author John Van Stry are moving in for the kill, demanding sanctions that have the potential to undermine any chance of McCrea winning his case on the merits.

Mansion of Pedophilia – Addendum: Accessing and Assessing Court Documents

Posted in Bill Gates at 4:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: How anyone out there can do the job the media failed to do (after an apparently unprecedented arrest at the home of Bill Gates)

THE requests for information from the police aren't progressing fast enough (or at all!) and our associates have suggested escalating this to reporters dealing with FOIA-type matters. We’ve been exceedingly patient and polite all along; there’s no excuse for over 4 months of delays. What will be the point at which we can focus on the PD‘s repeated delays and chastise the people who work there for it? They cannot be sued to divulge this information as long as they keep making such polite statements. They don’t say “no”, they just say “later” (again and again). How long can that go on for? Apparently years.

We’ve meanwhile been contacted by victims (of such abuse). They are eager to know what happened at the mansion and who worked there. It’s not easy to find information about it (the media mentioned it only briefly when people were on holiday). We’ve been investigating and exploring alternatives access points to verified information.

We’d like to share with readers one available option. Any person can do this. The process is very simple and takes only a couple of minutes (initially). This was alluded to in the seventh part.

To see the court’s record (documents) for this case go to the site of the King County Superior Court and click “I accept” (“To Continue Please Accept Terms and Conditions”).

King Country
Case overview

In their own words:

The information provided on and obtained from this site does not constitute the official record of King County Superior Court. This information is provided as a service to the general public, intended as a means to provide transparency and more equitable access to public court records.

The information may be subject to errors or omissions, and it may take up to 3 court days from a receipt of filing or court hearing for information to be available online. To obtain an official certified record of the court, please view the Clerk’s Access to Case Records webpage to learn how to request records or specific documents in person, online or by mail.

If you decide to continue and enter the KC-Script portal, you acknowledge and agree that neither the King County Superior Court, Clerk’s Office nor King County are liable in any way whatsoever for the accuracy or validity of the information provided.

Set up the account. It does not take long. Then enter the case number, which is 14-1-06789-1.

Anyone can buy the documents through this page.

King Country buy
Click on “Don’t have an account?”

When an account is set up one can buy credit (per page), e.g. at 25 cents a page.

Your current balance is: 0
Pages being purchased: 100
Total pages will be: 100
Your total cost will be: $25.00

We still wait for police records (2000+ pages, plus more items as there are other related documents).

The court documents might not have the same level of detail. In the case of the police, they likely hold the documents on Microsoft PCs/servers, which can be tampered in theory (by Microsoft and others). The delays don’t bode well. As for the courts, this is the kind of stuff that’s more public-facing, so tampering might be riskier (people outside the court may notice differences).

We’ll do this research one little step at a time. This can take a while. Notice that this case runs — in some form or another — until 2018. We have lots left to show here and speed isn’t that critical a thing as long as we’re 100% facts-based (so that nobody can nitpick).

This past week’s news was filled with puff pieces (sourced by Microsoft) about Microsoft protecting against child (sexual) exploitation and MIT making up excuses for Bill Gates passing money through a sexual exploitation network. We’re not too bothered by that as it might simply show a level of nervousness and a need to distract.

Mansion of Pedophilia – Addendum: Progress on Police Request

Posted in Bill Gates at 2:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Due the heavy workloads and shortage of staff, the Department needs additional time to complete an installment.” –Seattle PD, November 14th

You drove too fast. Do you know who my dad is? I will check.
Sometimes connections help

Summary: 9 updates from the police department of Seattle but still nothing material/concrete, only promises and major delays

There are numerous ongoing requests (different accounts, albeit similar requests) with the Seattle Police Department (SPD or SPPD). There might even be more on the way, but additional requests would slow down an already-slow process. The pertinent details probably merit an addendum or a few addenda.

“We don’t want to speculate about causes for delay or about sincerity, at least not at this point.”One person who put in a request has just shared recent updates from the SPD. They send similar/identical messages to all requesters. “NAMELY LIBERTY will be publishing all correspondence from SPD related to this request in due time. Stay tuned,” it said, “watch for future updates.”

The introduction says this: “It’s been nearly 5 years now, since Rick Allen Jones was convicted, and these documents seem to have been completely ignored by media. While the Seattle Police Department has been responsive to this request, to date, they have not produced any of the above requested items. In the several status updates they have sent, related to this request, confirmed there to be “over 2000 pages” and that attempting to download the report, at even 1/4 at a time, has caused their system to crash.”

We saw the same updates. We don’t want to speculate about causes for delay or about sincerity, at least not at this point.

“The Three Most Recent Communications From Seattle Police Department,” the site said, are as follows.

December 5, 2019 – SPD sent the following:

Good morning,

I’ve been trying to download the requested report all morning, every time it crashes my system. This report is over 2000 plus pages. I’ve even tried taking 1/4 at a time. It’s still taking forever.

I will need to speak with my supervisor with ideas of getting you this report. I will need to push this request out again. I don’t know how long it will take, but you will hear back from me tomorrow.

I appreciate your patience.

S. Hurst, Seattle Police Department, Legal Unit

December 12, 2019 – SPD sent the following:

The purpose of this communication is to provide a status update regarding your request.

The Seattle Police Department needs additional time to respond to your request due to the following:

*** The report has finally downloaded, and is being reviewed for any redaction’s ***

At this time, we anticipate having a response/installment to you on or about 1/8/2020.

S. Hurst, Seattle Police Department, Legal Unit

January 9, 2020 – SPD sent their most recent update:

The purpose of this email is to provide you with a status update. We are having technical problems with trying to process your request, because this report is over 2000 pages it keeps trashing on us. We are trying to figure out how it get this processed. At this time, we anticipate getting back to you on or about February 17, 2020.

S. Hurst, Seattle Police Department, Legal Unit

Based on public pages such as these from MuckRock, Sauncy Hurst works for the “Seattle Police Department” in the “Public Disclosure Unit”. The style is consistent and the name is already in the public record. So we doubt privacy is being compromised here.

This did not start with Seattle’s PD though. Correspondence record/timeline which was shared with us included: (notice how they discuss redactions whilst also claiming to have issues opening the file):

  • September 13, 2019 – Written request made to King County Sheriff’s Office: “Request is made for the following public records regarding criminal case # 14-1-06789-1: 1. Full police report. 2. Search warrant application and affidavit. 3. CAD report. 4. All transcripts/audio recordings/statements from defendant and witnesses related to this case. 5. Property/Evidence Report.”
  • September 13, 2019 – Received email from Sakilyne Kally | Functional Analyst II | Public Disclosure Unit – Subject: Public Disclosure Request Reference #P039465-091319. Message: “Using the information provided, the KCSO Disclosure Unit has determined that the incident you are referring to occurred outside the jurisdiction of the KCSO. We suggest you contact Seattle Police for records that may be responsive to your request. You may reach them at (206) 684-5481. Your request is now closed.”
  • September 13, 2019 – Submitted same written request to City of Seattle Public Records Request Center. Included additional optional fields for reference: “Incident Number: 14-1-06789-1. Incident Date: March 20, 2014.”
  • September 13, 2019 – Request received by SPPD, reference number is P047691-091319. City of Seattle Public Records Request Center user account created and confirmed by email.
  • September 16, 2019 – Status update received. “Your request status is: Assigned.”
  • September 19, 2019 – Email from Sauncy Hurst, Seattle Police Department Public Disclosure Unit: “Are you involved in this incident? If you are please provide your date of birth to make sure we locate the correct incident.” My only response, same day, was, “No.”
  • September 19, 2019 – Email received with: “Your request status is: Being Researched/Reviewed.”
  • September 19, 2019 – Email received from Sauncy Hurst: “Pursuant to RCW 42.56.520, this is notification that the Seattle Police Department has received your public disclosure records request and needs additional time to respond. At this time, we anticipate having a response or a status update to you on or about 10/22/2019. We are initiating the process of researching your request, collecting responsive records, and/or preparing records for dissemination.
  • October 22, 2019 – Received status update email from Sauncy Hurst: “The Seattle Police Department needs additional time to respond to your request due to the following: Records are currently being reviewed for redactions At this time, we anticipate having a response/installment to you on or about 11/13/2019.”
  • November 14, 2019 – Received status update email from Sauncy Hurst: “Due the heavy workloads and shortage of staff, the Department needs additional time to complete an installment. At this time, we anticipate getting back to you on or about December 4, 2019.”
  • December 4, 2019 – Received status update email from Sauncy Hurst: “I’ve been trying to download the requested report all morning, every time it crashes my system. This report is over 2000 plus pages. I’ve even tried taking 1/4 at a time. It’s still taking forever. I will need to speak with my supervisor with ideas of getting you this report. I will need to push this request out again. I don’t know how long it will take, but you will hear back from me tomorrow. I appreciate your patience.”

Further updates are already out there, quoted at the top. And yes, there’s some communication among petitioners. Coordination? No. But communication. It’s important to advance the request, even if not all stakeholders share the same views/positions/motivations. The public needs and definitely deserves to know what happened there. Nobody is above the law. Or maybe…

“This might be “strategic delaying” (giving you the mere impression of progress while never intending to make any).”File splitting, I might add, is very simple. It should not be hard to process such a request. I assume they use something from Microsoft, possibly even hosted by Microsoft (on a so-called ‘cloud’). They might be using Microsoft tools and maybe Microsoft hosting. If it’s them who saved these files in the first place, can’t they open their own files? Was there tampering? We don’t know and we don’t want to guess. No police department can hold a company accountable if that company controls that department’s IT facilities. That much should be obvious…

In terms of the dates, we all need to wait another month or so. This might be “strategic delaying” (giving you the mere impression of progress while never intending to make any). We’re meanwhile also advancing on the other front: court documents. We’ll post details separately in the next addendum.

IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 19, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:46 am by Needs Sunlight

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Mansion of Pedophilia – Part VIII: More Than 4 Months of Waiting for Police Department to Send Over the Files They Claim to Have an Issue Opening

Posted in Bill Gates at 1:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Who controls their software/systems anyway?

Cannot open the Files... the Files I myself created
It oughtn’t take a nuclear physicist and more than 4 months to just open a file (unless there’s no actual will to open that file)

Summary: The police department (PD) of Seattle is unable to open its own files about arrest for pedophilia at Bill Gates’ home; it has been unable to open these files for several months, it claims…

TODAY we continue our series, which we have been working on slowly and patiently (until facts can be verified). In part one, part two, part three and part four we described the matter at stake, followed by apparent cover-up in the fifth part and the sixth part. Over the past 1-2 weeks we saw further evidence of cover-up and in the seventh part we spoke about the conviction. There’s vast (over 2,000 pages long) police record/report, several dozens of court documents (spanning about 100 pages), and only about couple of press reports — all issued while people were on holiday and about one year late. As the Seattle PI put it at the time: “Among the images were photos showing the anal rape of an 8- to 10-year-old boy and a rape of an 8- to 10-year-old girl.”

The following tweet was posted on the date of the arrest/search.

Melinda Gates tweet

The details of the arrest and search (for conviction to be secured) will be shared later. The noteworthy part is, Melinda found time (in her very busy schedule and on that rather unusual date) to post some very old photo, sharing it on Twitter years later. We’re certain that she and her husband were very well aware and involved at the time (police interview at their home).

We are still waiting for the police department (PD) to release the requested files. It has been more than 4 months now! A couple of weeks ago they promised an update on February 17th, but it seems not probable (even improbably), based on the wording, that in February 2020 we’ll get anything concrete. They claim to have technical issues. But for how long? 4 months?

“We are still waiting for the police department (PD) to release the requested files.”A Techrights associate believes that the police wishes to just cover this up. “One thought regarding the coverup,” he suggested: “Someone among them or their support circles could find out which software (including versions) the PD has from Microsoft and print out the licenses for all versions going back to the original installation. The machines came with some versions pre-installed and some additional programs were added, then these were all updated many times. Each version and update comes with its own license. Print these out and then lawyer through them pedantically to read where and when Microsoft has officially written in full access to the data files stored on those machines.

“In other words the longer the coverup goes on, the more I would question the integrity of the material produced by the PD.”

We have a lot more to show, but some of it would be unwise to publish at this stage (premature because of upcoming deadlines/ongoing processes).

Starting a GNU Replacement for GitHub, Possibly Based on GitLab

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, Microsoft at 12:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gitlab and Gnu

Summary: “It might be easier if we start from the GitLab software,” Stallman said

RECENTLY, a letter was sent to Richard Stallman to discuss threats associated with GitHub (among other things). Here is one proposal he entertained last week:

[Stallman:] Developing such software would be a big job, but possible if people are dedicated. It would probably take soe [sic] years.

It might be easier if we start form [sic] the GitLab software. That is free, right?

However, I doubt we could even possibly hope to pull most free software hosting away with GitHub.

Let’s suppose we do a great job of developing that software and we set up a server running it, and we want to compete with GitHub for projects to choose us. How many free projects are there on GitHub? Hundreds of thousands, I suppose.

To provide good service for that many projects, I think we would need a server farm, and hundreds of staff. We could not afford that.

We would need those staff, and rental for the server farm.

not for a one-time development expense, but as operating costs, year after year.

The only way we could do that is by charging for the service. Most projects would choose some other service which is gratis.

However, those projects that chose our service would get good service, since we could afford to give it to them, for pay.

We could make this work, but would it make a big difference?

The response (from Thomas Grzybowski):

Hi Richard,

I feel encouraged that most of your concern about a GitHub replacement is technical and economic. Those problems can be solved. The key is to use a distributed architecture.

I see five important reasons to go with a distributed git repository:

1. Distributed I/O and CPU load.
2. No single point of failure (such as a ddos attack).
3. No single site entity would have to finance and maintain a gargantuan datacenter.
4. No one country could censor the content of the repository.
5. No single entity could completely control the entire repository.

I have done some basic research and come up with a proposed technology: For the back-end the project can utilize a PostgreSQL database server utilizing Postgresql ltrees. Ltrees is a very powerful and performant database feature for tree-like data structures such as git, and it would be perfect for this application.

Putting the git data schema entirely in a database provides a secure and robust system, with transactional integrity.

Perhaps most importantly, PostgreSQL 10 has introduced a feature called “Logical Replication”, through which one can perform intra-database object-level replication across hosts. This can provide an efficient and solid transactional mechanism for distributed replication.

So, the core idea is to have several sites, located and independently financed in a number of countries.

Now, would such a thing make a BIG difference? Well, like most software projects it would start out small, and then get bigger. Code from Savannah can begin to be migrated-in, making it immediately important, and then the project will certainly receive a lot of attention. I think volunteers will be eager to get on board. As other hubs are established and various and diverse Free Software projects worldwide join-in there will be a compounding function in effect. I think ultimately such a system will provide the preferred repository for Free Software, since that domain will be the focus, and will have the benefits of the distributed implementation outlined above.

It will be an easy sell, assuming the interactive user experience is competitive; people will understand the importance immediately, since Free Software folks do not want to be overseen by Microsoft.

I can come up with a more detailed functional description and system specification if you would like.

Thanks,

Tom G.

Removing GNU/Linux projects from GitHub should be seen as a high-priority initiative. The FSF has not spoken about this yet (not in recent years).

European Commission Pushes for Even Greater Patent Maximalism Instead of Rationality, Patent Zealots’ Site Cherry-Picks China as Whipping Boy

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 12:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The original paper is here [PDF]

European Commission's paper
The opening page with amendment noted

European Commission's paper index
What the report actually covered

European Commission's paper on China
How patent propagandists framed it all (this site is very often used for EPO propaganda, since the Battistelli days)

Summary: Fear of China is being leveraged to promote an agenda of patent maximalists; the general idea they promote is that granting millions of low-quality patents is the only way to compete, even if in reality that merely handicaps the whole market

THE previous post bemoaned (yet again) the state of journalism — if any still exists — when it comes to patents. Almost all coverage is just lobbying and propaganda of litigation firms. One can even follow the money and reassure oneself that it is funded by them.

Based on the above report, one gets the impression that the EU acts as mouthpiece for patent maximalists including the European Patent Office (EPO). It uses an image of António Campinos and says “Poor IP [sic] protection [sic] in China causes ‘irreparable harm’ to EU companies” (the same line habitually used by US litigation giants…)

“To ignore the sheer number of Chinese patents — no matter their low quality — is to be dishonest to oneself.”It’s actually easier to get software patents in China than in Europe (despite deviations from the EPC) and in the USPTO (despite 35 U.S.C. § 101 being snubbed by Iancu) and even the litigation giants say so. In the area of copyrights, China also went further than the West and allowed copyright coverage of computer-generated stuff (it was all over the news earlier this month and they called it “Hey Hi”).

To ignore the sheer number of Chinese patents — no matter their low quality — is to be dishonest to oneself. The real issue isn’t China but the declining quality of patents in the West. The other day there was this press release about a mere patent grant that said:

Synedgen, a biotechnology company using glycochemistry to develop drugs that enhance and mimic the innate immune system, today announced the award of a new patent by the European Patent Office (EPO), covering aspects of the treatment of mucositis in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract with Synedgen’s glycopolymer platform of molecules (EP 2555760).

We never see any press releases (at all) bragging about the Chinese patent office granting a patent. Why? Because it’s widely considered to be a very weak yardstick of merit. Now, to be fair, the same is becoming true when it comes to European Patents because the EPO nowadays follows the trajectory of China. If these patent maxmalists get their way — owing in part to alarmist nonsense like the above — patents as a whole will lose their legitimacy (and value). What good — or what source of pride — is a patent if millions get one each year? The problem isn’t China; the problem is patent scope.

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