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01.21.20

Links 21/1/2020: EarlyOOM Fedora Decision and AMD Zen 3 Microcode

Posted in News Roundup at 5:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Here’s Why Windows 7 Users Should Switch to Linux

      Linux has so many different distros

      Linux Mint and Zorin OS are just a few Linux distros that are thought to be very Windows-user friendly. This means within no time, you should be up and running.

      Other distros like Ubuntu, Suse Linux and offer so much functionality without feeling cluttered.

      Many Linux distros are regularly updated. Microsoft might have stopped updating your Windows but if you switch to Linux, you are assured of regular security and feature updates, regardless of which distribution you choose.

      Also, if you install your applications from a central repository, all your applications will get updated via system updates. This means your whole computer will always be up to date. This eliminates the need to update each application independently.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • The Official Kubuntu ‘Focus’ Linux Laptop Goes on Sale
      • You can buy the official Kubuntu ‘Focus’ Linux laptop now

        Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux-based desktop operating systems in the world. Why? Well, it is easy to use, preloaded with useful software, and has one of the best online communities.

        Not everyone likes the default GNOME desktop environment, however, so some folks opt for different flavors of Ubuntu, such as Xububtu (which uses Xfce) or Kubuntu (which uses KDE Plasma). Speaking of the latter, today, you can buy an official Kubuntu laptop. Called “Focus”. It is an absolutely powerhouse with top specs.

      • MNT Modular, Open Source ‘Reform’ Laptop to Hit Crowd Supply in February

        It’s easier than ever to make open source hardware that doesn’t rely on hardly any proprietary technologies. “Easier than ever” isn’t the same as “easy,” though, which is why it’s taken a few years for the MNT Reform laptop to officially debut. CNX Software reported Sunday that the wait should finally be over soon–the MNT Reform 2 is expected to hit the Crowd Supply crowdfunding platform in February.

        CNX Software said the original MNT Reform was envisioned as a DIY kit for which development started in 2017. MNT sent units to beta testers in 2018, and once it received their feedback, it started work on the MNT Reform 2. Now it’s reportedly set to debut on Crowd Supply in February; its placeholder page can be found here.

      • What you need to know about System76′s open source firmware project

        When you power on your computer, there’s a lot more going on than you might think. One of the most important elements involved is the embedded controller (EC). This is what is responsible for providing abstractions for the battery, charging system, keyboard, touchpad, suspend/resume, and thermal control, among others. These controllers are typically proprietary and usually run proprietary firmware.

        System76 is about to change that paradigm. Recently, the company adopted coreboot for their Galago Pro and Darter Pro laptop models. Now they intend to extend the open source approach to the EC. There is a project associated with Chrome OS devices called Chromium EC that is open source; however, it is only available for Chromebooks and specific EC chips. System76 wanted to supply their customers with an open source embedded controller firmware, too.

    • Server

      • Building a home lab: Sysadmin after dark

        Here at the dawn of the new decade (or, one year from now if you prefer to count from 2021), almost everyone owns and uses a computer—especially if you count smartphones as computers (which they are). System administrators, being employed in the IT industry, typically have at least one personal system (from which they do things like surf the web, purchase things, or access their online banking). They have other personal systems, whether virtual or bare metal hardware, on which they perform system administration functions for themselves in a safe, private environment entirely under their control.

      • IBM

        • Deploy Jenkins Pipelines in OpenShift 4 with OpenShift Container Storage 4

          Jenkins is one of the most important development infrastructure components, but can we make Jenkins pipelines run faster? Using OpenShift Container Storage we can speed up the build time of applications by using persistent storage to save the stateful data of dependencies and libraries, for example, that are needed during compilation.

        • IBM Ceases Work on Server-Side Swift Development

          Swift was originally developed by Apple in 2010 to make it easier for developers to build mobile applications. However, multiple groups, including IBM, have been working to extend Swift for server-side applications, participating in the Swift server workgroup. IBM has also been one of the primary contributors behind the Kitura server-side Swift framework. In late December, after almost four years of development effort, IBM decided to discontinue its server-side Swift efforts.

        • Google offers IBM AS/400 apps new home in its cloud

          Enterprises looking for a way to modernize legacy AS/400 workloads now have a new option: Move them onto Google Cloud Platform.

          Google won’t host your old AS/400 for you, but it is renting time on IBM Power Systems servers, the AS/400’s architectural successors. Its announcement follows a similar one from Microsoft in September.

          [...]

          Its software now runs on IBM i but “it goes back to the heritage of System i and iSeries, and way back to the AS/400 days,” says VAI’s CIO Kevin Beasley. “Now Google hosts IBM i, IBM hosts it, Microsoft hosts it. … Back when we started there weren’t many places that you could actually find IBM i hosted.”

          Thousands of other companies are still running systems built on the old AS/400 architecture, according to all400s.com, a website that tracks job offerings for IT workers with AS/400 skills, prompting the cloud giants to look for ways to serve these businesses.

        • Google Cloud to support IBM Power Systems

          Enterprises looking for a way to modernise legacy AS/400 workloads now have a new option: Move them onto Google Cloud Platform.

          Google will not host your old AS/400 for you, but it is renting time on IBM Power Systems servers, the AS/400’s architectural successors. Its announcement follows a similar one from Microsoft in September.

          At the same time, Google is introducing a Premium Support plan to maintain high-availability services, making the GCP more attractive to CIOs averse to down-time.

        • Red Hat Upgrades Kubernetes Security With OpenShift 4.3

          Red Hat has announced the general availability of the latest versions of Kubernetes-based Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage.

          Red Hat OpenShift 4.3 delivers FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard) compliant encryption and additional security enhancements to enterprises across industries. It also features support for remote enablement of Linux Unified Key Setup-on-disk-format (LUKS) encrypted volumes and the ability to encrypt sensitive data stored in etcd. These new features can help protect sensitive customer data with stronger encryption controls, according to the company.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • VIDEO: MX Linux 19 Features and Desktop Tour

        MX Linux is a Linux distribution based on Debian stable and using core antiX components. The distributions MX Tools is very popular among users and combined with other several ready-to-use tools, it is great for users who prefer to tweak their distro to their liking. In this video, we will take you through the features tour showing casing MX Linux 19.

      • 2020-01-20 | Linux Headlines

        Nextcloud follows up with good news for mobile users, breaking a Kubernetes install on purpose, and the amicable resolution for recent concerns in the Rust community.

      • Going Linux #384 · 2019 Year In Review

        In our annual review of the previous year we discuss Larry’s books on Ubuntu MATE, Microsoft’s transformation into an open source company, the distros we’ve tried, and predictions for 2020. We read a couple of emails from listeners and recommend podcasts and Linux applications.

      • File Systems | Which One is the Best? ZFS, BTRFS, or EXT4

        Let’s go over File Systems in this video. We will determine which one is the best ZFS, BTRFS, and EXT4. Each one might work for you based on YOUR needs!

      • Linux Action News 141

        Nextcloud’s new release is so big it gets a rebrand, why Mozilla had a round of lay-offs, and the real possibility of Steam coming to Chrome OS.

        Plus, the sad loss of a community member, and more.

      • Late Night Linux – Episode 81

        The death of Windows 7 presents yet another opportunity for the wide adoption of Linux on the desktop. Is that just wishful thinking? Plus Y2K comes back, bad news for Mozilla, a great new Nexcloud release, and more in the news.

      • Building A Business On Building Data Driven Businesses

        In order for an organization to be data driven they need easy access to their data and a simple way of sharing it. Arik Fraimovich built Redash as a way to address that need by connecting to any data source and building attractive dashboards on top of them. In this episode he shares the origin story of the project, his experiences running a business based on open source, and the challenges of working with data effectively.

    • Kernel Space

      • AMD’s next generation Zen 3 CPU code will be added to the Linux kernel before 2020 starts

        Aside from something unforeseen and catastrophic, Zen 3 is definitely making its debut this year. We know this because AMD managing director Dr. Lisa Su has already indicated this several times, including in an interview in which she promised that “Big Navi” (Navi 20) would also make its debut in 2020. If anyone needs more evidence on this matter, just turn their attention to the underlying code that is added to the Linux kernel.

        Interestingly, patches for the Linux kernel have been great in the past to point to new hardware before it officially launched. And more recently, updates to the Linux kernel have given references to things like Navi 22 and Navi 23, which are two unpublished Navi GPUs. Now Zen 3 is doing a cameo.

      • AMD Includes Zen 3 Microcode In Linux Kernel

        After the success of Zen 2 powered CPUs, Dr. Lisa Su, AMD’s CEO, formally disclosed in his recent interview that AMD is planning to release Zen 3 later this year.

        Additionally, famed Hardware leaker, Komachi Ensaka, also tweeted revealing the line of code added to the Linux kernel for the Family of 19h system, which is the family of AMD CPUs based on the Zen 3 microarchitecture.

      • AMD Zen 3 “Family 19h” Enablement Beginning With The Linux 5.6 Kernel

        With the upcoming Linux 5.6 kernel cycle will be the first of many patches to come surrounding AMD Zen 3 “Family 19h” support.

        So far there haven’t been any AMD Family 19h patches to the Linux kernel besides k10temp driver support. But queued up ahead of the weekend were a couple changes relating to Zen3/19h beginning to collect in ras/core for the Linux 5.6 merge window kicking off in the next week or two.

      • AMD Zen 3 Linux update suggests a radically different CPU design to Zen 2

        The new Linux patch details support for Family 19h of AMD’s processor silicon, which is widely assumed to be a reference to the Zen 3 family given that the Family 17h refers to the current Zen 2 CPUs and APUs. As such this is definitely not the Linux code base getting prepped for the Ryzen 4000 APUs that have been launched at CES, but the Ryzen 4000 CPUs being launched, likely around Computex.

        Confusing? Nah, Ryzen 4000 chips are obviously not the same as Ryzen 4000 chips, that would be stupid. Anyways, the new Linux code doesn’t really give us any extra details about the new Zen 3 microarchitecture, beyond providing a pair of different Family 19h CPU device IDs. And those themselves tell us precious little aside from the fact there are AMD Zen 3 chips being prepped for testing.

      • AMD Zen 3 Microcode Spotted in the Linux Kernel

        AMD Zen 3 microcode has recently been spotted in the Linux kernel, months ahead of the expected launch of this new line of processors.

        The discovery was shared on Twitter by @KOMACHI_ENSAKA, who says the new code is linked with EDAC, or Error Detection and Correction.

        By the looks of things, the Linux kernel is updated to support the AMD Family 19h processors, which represents the new Zen 3-based chip family.

        As the leaker notes, AMD 17h series can still be used, as they’re already supported – Family 17h is the existing AMD Zen 2 series.

      • AMD’s next generation Zen 3 CPU code will be added to the Linux kernel before 2020 starts

        Aside from something unforeseen and catastrophic, Zen 3 is definitely making its debut this year. We know this because AMD managing director Dr. Lisa Su has already indicated this several times, including in an interview in which she promised that “Big Navi” (Navi 20) would also make its debut in 2020. If anyone needs more evidence on this matter, just turn their attention to the underlying code that is added to the Linux kernel.

        Interestingly, patches for the Linux kernel have been great in the past to point to new hardware before it officially launched. And more recently, updates to the Linux kernel have given references to things like Navi 22 and Navi 23, which are two unpublished Navi GPUs. Now Zen 3 is doing a cameo.

      • Zen 3: AMD’s new architecture microcode surfaced in the Linux kernel

        Despite the fact that it only seems to be yesterday that the Zen 2 chips for the Ryzen 3000 processors were released, we have noted that the Zen 3 is on its way, which shouldn’t be too surprising considering that AMD does everything possible to keep its CPU line up to date every year.

      • AMD Zen Thermal/Power Reporting Improvements Could Hit Linux 5.6 But More Testing Needed

        Last week I eagerly reported on Ryzen CPUs on Linux finally seeing CCD temperatures and current/voltage reporting thanks to new patches to the k10temp driver by Google’s Guenter Roeck who oversees the kernel’s hardware monitoring “HWMON” subsystem. The patches seem to be working well and are tentatively queued in hwmon-next, but more testing is still needed.

      • Samsung’s Better exFAT Driver Gets Revised Ahead Of Mainline Linux Integration

        While there has been the initial Microsoft exFAT file-system driver since Linux 5.4, that code is based on a vintage snapshot of prior Samsung code. Samsung engineers meanwhile have been working to upstream a much newer and better off exFAT implementation to replace that existing driver and it looks like it could be ready for Linux 5.6.

        That current exFAT driver within the Linux kernel’s staging area is on a several year old snapshot of the driver that Samsung has continued advancing internally for use on their Android devices and more. This newer Samsung driver code is more cleaned up, offers more meta-data operations, and fixes countless bugs. Once Samsung can get this driver upstream they plan to use that as their code-base moving forward.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Think Silicon’s GLOVE OpenGL-Over-Vulkan Library Now Works On Wayland, Windows + macOS

          One of several projects implementing the OpenGL graphics API over Vulkan has been Think Silicon’s GLOVE library. GLOVE currently is focuses on OpenGL ES 2.0 + EGL 1.4 support and is a standalone project unlike Mesa’s Zink Gallium3D driver working on OpenGL / GLES over Vulkan too. GLOVE 0.4 is out today as a big feature update.

          GLOVE 0.4 is the project’s first new release in more than one year and comes with greatly expanded hardware and software support.

        • Intel’s Vulkan Driver Begins Making Infrastructure Changes For Multi-GPU Support

          For months we have seen various Intel open-source Linux graphics driver patches that begin preparing for multi-GPU support where in moving forward with their Xe graphics cards there could be the iGPU + dGPU setup or even multiple Xe graphics cards in a single system. So far those Intel Linux multi-GPU preparations have been focused on their kernel-space driver while now it’s reaching into user-space with their Vulkan driver seeing early infrastructure changes.

    • Applications

      • Read Reddit from the Linux 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.

        Taking short breaks is essential in staying productive. One of the places I like to go when taking a break is Reddit, which can be a great resource if you want it to be. I find all kinds of articles there about DevOps, productivity, Emacs, chickens, and some ChromeOS projects I play with. These discussions can be valuable. I also follow a couple of subreddits that are just pictures of animals because I like pictures of animals (and not just chickens), and sometimes after a long work session, what I really need are kitten pictures.

      • LXMusic – music player designed for the minimalist

        The music scene is where I’m happiest in life. As an amateur musician, I spend a lot of time improving my technique, practicing, practicing, and practicing. I also love listening to professional musicians. Linux is my other passion. Linux is endowed with bountiful globs of open source multimedia software. I love testing out new multimedia software early in its development, or introduce myself to popular software that’s mature and laden with tons of features. The choice is bamboozling.

        I’ve covered the vast majority of free and open source music players for Linux, but there’s always more to look at. This week, I’ve been exploring LXMusic. It’s a minimalist music player for LXDE, a lightweight desktop environment. The project aims to be the default music player of LXDE, but it runs on any desktop environment.

        LXMusic is written in the C programming language, and uses GTK+, a highly usable, feature rich toolkit for creating graphical user interfaces. LXMusic is based on xmms2, using xmms2d, a daemon through which XMMS2 clients playback and manage music.

      • OpenShot – If you have to … shot, shot, don’t talk

        As you probably know, my go-to video editor is Kdenlive, which I’ve used many times before, to great success, creating dozens of unfunny clips, all of them available on my Youtube channel. But then, I’ve recently had less luck with the program, having tested both 2018′s beta and last year’s 19.08 stable edition, and neither really impressed me.

        I came across bugs and crashes, and overall, it felt like the application has taken a nosedive. While older versions ought to keep working fine for quite a while longer, I wouldn’t like to be in a position where my artistic spread of majestic wings is curtailed for any reasons. Hence, alternatives, hence testing. And thus, I came across an old-new title, OpenShot, a free, cross-platform video editor. Funnily, I’ve seen it many times before, but never really used in properly. This article shall remedy that.

      • Evernote’s Official Linux Client is Coming Soon

        If you are an Evernote fan, you probably have been missing it on Linux desktop. There is the web version available but you cannot use it offline if you are not a premium user.

        Linux (almost) always has a way around. So, there are some third party applications that let you use Evernote on Linux. There are also some alternative applications to Evernote available on Linux.

        A native Linux client for Evernote has been requested for a long time and the good news is that it should finally be coming to Linux in the year 2020.

      • KeePassXC 2.5.3 Released with Microsoft Edge Integration

        KeePassXC password manager 2.5.3 was released today with stability improvements and new feature: browser extension for Chromium-based Edge browser.

      • GParted 1.1 Open-Source Partition Editor Is Out with Various Enhancements, Fixes

        Curtis Gedak released Gparted 1.1.0, a maintenance update aiming to include enhancements, bug fixes, as well as translation updates. Highlights include the adoption of faster minfo and mdir to read FAT16 and FAT32 usage, and the ability to calculate the size of JFS partitions more accurately.

        Moreover, this release adds support for recognizing ATARAID members, as well as to detect their busy status, and improves the moving of locked LUKS-encrypted partition. The xvfb-run dependency has been added and it’s required for the “make check” and “make distcheck” commands during compilation.

      • Comparison: Snap vs Flatpack vs AppImage

        New packaging formats like Snap, Flatpak and AppImage are providing distribution agnostic packages that work on most Linux distributions. This solves packaging problems faced by app developers who want to distribute their apps on multiple Linux distributions. Now they can focus on one build that works everywhere instead of going through different packaging standards.
        This article will list the main differences between these three packaging formats from end users’ perspective. Differences in packaging architecture and ease of packaging from developers’ point of view won’t be covered here.

        The table below summarizes the main differences between Snap, Flatpak and AppImage file formats. Most of them are self-explanatory, other points have been explained below the comparison table.

      • Syncthing: Open Source P2P File Syncing Tool

        Syncthing is an open-source peer-to-peer file synchronization tool that you can use for syncing files between multiple devices (including an Android phone).

        Usually, we have a cloud sync solution like MEGA or Dropbox to have a backup of our files on the cloud while making it easier to share it.

        But, what do you do if you want to sync your files across multiple devices without storing them on the cloud?

        That is where Syncthing comes to the rescue.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Thanks to Linux, Google and Valve are Bringing Steam to Chromebooks

        In yet another win for desktop Linux, Google and Steam are about to up the chromebook gaming field.

        On many supported chromebooks, it is already possible to run Linux applications on the chromebook. For certain user types, this has been a real boon. However, for gamers, not so much. That is about to change, thanks to a joint effort by Google and Valve.

        According to Kan Liu, Director of Product Management for Google Chrome OS, Steam is coming to chromebooks. What is Steam? Steam is a digital video game distribution service, offered by Valve, originally released in 2003 as a means for Valve to provide automatic updates for their own line of games. Eventually the service was expanded to include third-party publishers and is now one of the largest digital distribution systems for games.

      • Lucky Lanterns event is now live in Rocket League and there’s a brand new arena

        Psyonix have put the Lucky Lanterns event live now in Rocket League. No update is needed today, as one went out a few days ago to prepare for it.

        Working just like previous events, giving you a special currency for playing which you can then redeem for special customization items. This time around though, there’s no special game mode to play. Instead, there’s an entirely new arena called The Forbidden Temple Arena.

      • Amusing sticky-tongue physics platformer ‘Crumble’ has a big demo update, now with multiplayer

        A rolling-ball physics platformer where you move like slime, jump like a bouncy ball and swing using a sticky tongue like a weird version of Spider Man. Crumble has a lot of fun ideas going for it and a big demo update is out now with co-op.

        Covered a few times here now, as I’ve absolutely loved following the progress on this one. The developer posts a lot of upcoming bits for it on Twitter, and it looks like they have some pretty amusing plans for Crumble. Including a portal that turns you into a shadow that completely warps the gameplay.

      • Tower Of God: One Wish, a nice casual match-3 game released recently

        A genre Linux surprisingly doesn’t have a huge selection in is Match 3 puzzle games, thankfully if you love these casual games a new one is out with Tower Of God: One Wish.

      • The charming platformer & space shooter hybrid A.N.N.E to get a huge 1.0 update in May

        Gamesbymo have announced that A.N.N.E, the crowdfunded mixture of metroidvania style platforming with space shooter elements will get a big 1.0 update on May 20. See Also: Some previous thoughts here.

        While it hasn’t received much attention after being released on Steam last year, following a Kickstarter campaign in 2013, they have been making progress on it. Slow progress though, as it sounds like they don’t have much money left as written in the announcement they “had to get back to a barebone team” but it’s not all bad news. The good news is that a big content update was announced and it will be out on May 20, although they’re not sure if that will also end Early Access.

      • RetroArch to have the emulation ‘Cores’ as DLC when it releases on Steam, plus big updates

        The team behind RetroArch, the open source and cross platform frontend/framework for emulators (and a lot more like open source game engines), have stated their plans for handling the various emulators it works with for the Steam release.

        While there’s now no exact date for the Steam release, after being delayed from last year, work has continued on preparing for it. Part of this is dealing with the legal situation, since the application is licensed under the GPL, there are certain rules they have to follow.

      • Recent updates to Littlewood added a lot of bugs and a nervous looking Sea Monster

        Probably one of the most charming games I’ve ever played, Littlewood, just constantly gets bigger and more sweet with each update.

        What is Littlewood? A game set after the world has been saved, there’s no fighting here as it’s time to rebuild. It’s a peaceful and relaxing little building, crafting and farming sim from developer Sean Young. Currently in Early Access, each month seems to bring in a huge new update.

        December, for example, added in a massive update focused on Fishing. You can now meet Captain Georgie (who appears to be some sort of Monkey) and go out on their boat for some rare fish. It can take a while to be able to do this though, you need Level 30 in Fishing before they let you go.

      • OpenRA for classic Westwood RTS games has a new build in need of testing

        What is OpenRA? It’s an open source game engine that recreates and modernizes the classic Command & Conquer real time strategy games including Command & Conquer, Red Alert, Dune 2000 and with Tiberian Sun in progress. It’s awesome!

      • Obversion, a puzzle game from a former Google developer releases next week

        Former Google developer Adrian Marple quit to become an indie developer, with the puzzle game Obversion being their first title which is releasing next week.

        Marple said “the journey through the levels of Obversion is a coalescence of striking environments, philosophical quotes, geometric satisfaction, and intricately woven puzzles” and that if you’ve played games like Portal you should feel right at home.

      • DragonEvo, a trading card game mixed with RPG elements you can play in your browser

        Oh how I do love deck-building, card games and strategy stuffs. If you do too, you might want to take a look over at DragonEvo. Fully cross-platform, as DragonEvo is not a traditional desktop game. It’s browser-based, meaning you can play it on most things that have something resembling Firefox or Chrome.

        While we don’t usually cover many browser-based games, DragonEvo stands out as it’s actually quite good and it certainly has some unusual mechanics with how you play cards. Strategy is the key to victory, careful planning and card placement—not a random generator.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Contributing to KDE is easier than you think – Localization and SVN

          This is a series of blog posts explaining different ways to contribute to KDE in an easy-to-digest manner. This series is supposed to run parallel to my keyboard shortcuts analysis so that there can be content being published (hopefully) every week.

          The purpose of this series originated from how I feel about asking users to contribute back to KDE. I firmly believe that showing users how contributing is easier than they think is more effective than simply calling them out and directing them to the correct resources; especially if, like me, said user suffers from anxiety or does not believe they are up to the task, in spite of their desire to help back.

          This time I’ll be explaining how the localization workflow looks like for contributing to KDE; this should also immediately enable you to translate your favorite third-party Plasma widgets (if the project supports it), and generally allow you to translate any PO file with your preferred localization software. I will also explain a bit about CAT tools in general and how professional translation is done since it’s my field of expertise, but that will serve only as optional reading for those interested.

          Don’t get scared with how lengthy this blog post is: by the end of this text, you should be perfectly fine to start working with localization, that’s the point. The localization process is quite straightforward, I simply put a lot of explanations in-between so you don’t have many (or better yet, any!) doubts about how stuff works.

          This article should be timely in that a new Plasma version, 5.18, will be released in about two weeks. Contributions to the stable branch would be quite appreciated in the following days!

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME Founder responds to Code of Conduct concerns

          I like Federico’s straightforward stance on racism — one that I share — “racist behaviour will not be tolerated, irrespective of the race of those involved.” Clearly the GNOME team has their heart in the right place with that.

          With that in mind, it would seem to me to make sense to modify the GNOME Code of Conduct to reflect that. In its current state the document clearly divides racism and sexism into two categories: Those the GNOME team is going to act to stop, and those the GNOME team will allow.

    • Distributions

      • Have You Tried Kaisen Linux? — A New System Rescue Linux Distro

        Being a system administrator, lots of responsibilities and duties are to be taken care of, which are wide-ranging from covering backups, disaster recovery, hardware maintenance, automation, filesystem housekeeping, system security management, and many more to add to the list.

        To keep the system running smoothly and securely, a sysadmin has to rely upon several tools that sometimes become frustrating to install and configure regularly.

        Keeping that in mind, and to ease the life of sysadmins, 11 months back, Linux developer Kevin Chevreuil, along with his mate Eren Arslan, started the development of their own Linux distribution based on Debian 9, dubbed as Kaisen Linux.

      • Reviews

        • Zorin OS 15.1 Review

          Nothing restricts you to Zorn OS’s collection of installed software – its Software Center allows you to expand it with everything but the kitchen sink.

          Although it might be presented as a solid alternative to Windows, Zorin OS is also worth a look for everyone tired of trying to grasp with some distributions’ approach to organization. It’s uncomplicated in its use, beautiful to look at and fast. What’s not to like?

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora’s FESCo Has Deferred Any Decision On EarlyOOM By Default

          Some FESCo members have been okay with letting the workstation working group decide on their own defaults that would include the EarlyOOM decision (the Fedora Workstation WG already voted among themselves to ship with it enabled for Fedora Workstation 32), and others not necessarily being convinced by EarlyOOM with there being several ways to improve the low-memory Linux experience. Some are also waiting for systemd to integrate Facebook’s OOMD work, but that is still a number of months if not a year out.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian Policy Updated Following Recent Systemd “Init System Diversity” Vote

          Following last month’s Debian init system diversity vote where the Debian developers decided on a general resolution of focusing on systemd but support exploring alternatives, the official Debian Policy has been updated to reflect that.

          Debian Policy 4.5 is the new version that incorporates guidance following that general resolution.

          The Debian Policy manual now states that packages with system services should include systemd service units, init scripts are encouraged if there is no systemd unit but optional otherwise, init scripts are encouraged to support the “status” argument, and use of update-rc.d is required if the package includes an init script.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • User Guide to Pantheon Desktop of elementary OS

          Unlike Windows, user interface in elementary OS has a name, and it is Pantheon Desktop. It is a beautifully designed and easy to use desktop environment. This article wants to be a user guide to Pantheon Desktop that is simple to read and practice. You will learn about basic concepts of Pantheon and then practice to use it for daily tasks. You will see here how to use Wingpanel (top panel), Slingshot (start menu), Plank (taskbar), Switchboard (system settings), plus understand Headerbars and Multitasking mode. Of course I also include frequently used Keyboard Shortcuts so you can work more quickly. For your information, I use elementary OS 5.0 Juno as basis of this tutorial. I hope everybody could take benefit from this article and next time I could refer here if I write again about elementary. Enjoy!

        • XanMod-ing Ubuntu To Perform Closer To Intel’s Clear Linux

          Earlier this month many Phoronix readers were interested in our fresh tests of the XanMod-patched Linux kernel for boosting the desktop and workstation performance compared to Ubuntu’s default Linux kernel. Among many patches, XanMod does pull in some kernel patches from Intel’s performance-optimized Clear Linux, so we figured it would be interesting to see how the XanMod’ed Ubuntu compares to Clear Linux performance.

          As covered more in the earlier article, the XanMod Linux kernel flavor makes use of the BFQ I/O scheduler, offers CPU scaling governor improvements, makes use of preemptive full tickless kernel settings, and has a variety of other patches from leveraging Clear Linux optimizations to the BMQ process scheduler to the Proton FSYNC patches to much more. This round of testing was using a daily snapshot of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS with its current Linux 5.4 default kernel and then re-tested using the same Ubuntu 20.04 LTS installation but running on the 4.1.10-xanmod6 kernel at the time. Additionally, the same CFLAGS/CXXFLAGS as Clear Linux defaults to were also utilized.

        • Canonical introduces Anbox Cloud – scalable Android™ in the cloud

          Canonical today announced Anbox Cloud, a platform that containerises workloads using Android1 as a guest operating system enabling enterprises to distribute applications from the cloud. Anbox Cloud allows enterprises and service providers to deliver mobile applications at scale, more securely and independently of a device’s capabilities. Use cases for Anbox Cloud include cloud gaming, enterprise workplace applications, software testing, and mobile device virtualisation.

          The ability to offload compute, storage and energy-intensive applications from devices (x86 and Arm) to the cloud enables end-users to consume advanced workloads by streaming them directly to their device. Developers can deliver an on-demand application experience through a platform that provides more control over performance and infrastructure costs, with the flexibility to scale based on user demand.

        • Implementing an Android™ based cloud game streaming service with Anbox Cloud
        • Canonical Announces Anbox Cloud, Ubuntu-Powered Scalable Android in the Cloud
        • Canonical announces Anbox Cloud allowing users to host Android apps in the cloud

          Canonical has announced a new service called Anbox Cloud aimed at enterprises. With Anbox Cloud, enterprises can distribute Android apps via the cloud in a container environment. By hosting the apps in the cloud, the businesses that opt to use the service will know that the app is secure and independent of a device’s capabilities. According to Canonical, it envisions this tech being used for cloud gaming, enterprise workplace applications, software testing, and mobile device virtualisation.

          If you use Linux already, you may have seen and used Anbox if you’ve ever looked for a solution to run Android apps on the desktop. With Anbox Cloud, several Canonical technologies will be included in the software stack including the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS kernel, LXD containers, MAAS, and Juju. Additionally, Canonical’s Ubuntu Advantage support programme is included to provide continuous support and security updates for up to ten years.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 614

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 614 for the week of January 12 – 18, 2020. The full version of this issue is available here.

        • Ubuntu Finally Removes the Amazon Web App You Never Use

          First introduced in Ubuntu 12.10, the Amazon web launcher gives Ubuntu users an easy, out-of-the-box shortcut to the Amazon website.

          And I do mean easy: an Amazon icon is pinned to the desktop launcher on all new installs by default.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • UN working group asking about corruption: is there any in open source?

        For example, why have so many organizations like Linux Foundation and the FSFE simultaneously eliminated their elections, shifting the balance of power towards certain corporations like Google? Why are messages about corporate influence routinely censored from the mailing lists of open source groups who claim to be both transparent and independent of the corporations funding them? Voting and censorship are both human rights issues. If we can’t get these things right in an organization of professionals, how can there be any hope for the developing world?

      • Orgs

        • If George Orwell was alive today, would he be an Internet troll?

          In 2017, a German organisation, FSFE e.V, elected me as their community representative. They had this odd approach to membership, approximately 28 people had been registered as members of the assocation. Their 1500 volunteers and donors were invited to join but kept off the books. As the organization’s contempt for membership became apparent, I started to feel Orwell’s animals coming to life. As he wrote all those years ago, All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others. In FSFE’s case, we could say all Fellows are equal but some Fellows are more equal than others.

          [...]

          Animal Farm is only one side of the Orwellian coin, the other being his uncannily accurate tour-de-force of the modern surveillance state, Nineteen-Eighty-Four. All of the organizations mentioned above (Debian, FSFE) are secretly funded by Google. Would you be less surprised to find a bible in a church than to find Nineteen-Eighty-Four under the pillows of Google’s founders? One of the most startling discoveries during my time as community representative was the extent to which all of these organizations had built their budgets around recurring annual contributions from Google. Their experiments in demotions arose at exactly the same time that women in Google’s workforce who spoke up against harassment found themselves being publicly demoted and humiliated. It was revealed that one of the organizations, Debian, had secretly banked $300,000 from Google under the radar at the same time that attention was on an identical-sized donation from a non-profit, the Handshake Foundation. What a convenient cover. After Linux Foundation and FSFE had decided to eliminate their annual elections, Google’s money had a community representative “demoted” to a lower status in Debian just days before the call for nominations in leadership elections.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 72.0.2 Improves Playback Performance for Full-Screen 1080p Videos

            Coming almost two weeks after the Firefox 72.0.1 point release, which was an important security update addressing a zero-day vulnerability, the Firefox 72.0.2 update is a maintenance release that fixes various issues, such as the inconsistent playback performance for full-screen 1080p videos on certain systems.

            Firefox 72.0.2 also addresses a web compatibility issue with CSS Shadow Parts, which shipped as part of the Firefox 72 release, a hang that occurred when opening about:logins when a master password is set, issues reported by users when attempting to open files containing spaces in their path, as well as various stability issues.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU make 4.3 released

            GNU make 4.3 is out. New features include explicit grouped targets, a new .EXTRA_PREREQS variable, the ability to specify parallel builds in the makefile itself, and more. There are also a couple of backward-incompatible changes; see the announcement for details.

      • Programming/Development

        • MIR: A lightweight JIT compiler project

          For the past three years, I’ve been participating in adding just-in-time compilation (JIT) to CRuby. Now, CRuby has the method-based just-in-time compiler (MJIT), which improves performance for non-input/output-bound programs.

          The most popular approach to implementing a JIT is to use LLVM or GCC JIT interfaces, like ORC or LibGCCJIT. GCC and LLVM developers spend huge effort to implement the optimizations reliably, effectively, and to work on a lot of targets. Using LLVM or GCC to implement JIT, we can just utilize these optimizations for free. Using the existing compilers was the only way to get JIT for CRuby in the short time before the Ruby 3.0 release, which has the goal of improving CRuby performance by three times.

          So, CRuby MJIT utilizes GCC or LLVM, but what is unique about this JIT?

          MJIT does not use existing compiler JIT interfaces. Instead, it uses C as an interface language without losing compilation speed. Practically the same compilation speed as with the existing JIT interfaces is achieved by using precompiled headers and a memory filesystem.

        • Red Hat Developer’s MIR Is A Lightweight JIT Compiler

          Not to be confused with Ubuntu’s Mir display stack or Rustlang’s MIR, the new MIR effort by Red Hat developer Vladimir Makarov is a new project focused on providing a lightweight JIT compiler.

          MIR in this context is the Medium Internal Representation (Rustlang’s is the Mid-Level Internal Representation) and is striving to be a lighter-weight JIT compiler than the JIT interfaces offered by GCC or LLVM.

          Initially, MIR is aiming to suit the just-in-time needs of CRuby and/or MRuby and from there expand out. This IR is strongly-typed, based on the concept of modules, and you can get to MIR through LLVM IR as one of the options.

        • DocKnot 3.03

          DocKnot is the software that I use to generate package documentation and web pages, and increasingly to generate release tarballs.

          The main change in this release is to use IO::Uncompress::Gunzip and IO::Compress::Xz to generate a missing xz tarball when needed, instead of forking external programs (which causes all sorts of portability issues). Thanks to Slaven Rezić for the testing and report.

          This release adds two new badges to README.md files: a version badge for CPAN packages pushed to GitHub, and a Debian version badge for packages with a corresponding Debian package.

        • The Titler Revamp – The QML MLT Producer is testing ready

          The last time I blogged about the Titler, I promised that the next update would be when we have some sort of a backend ready – and I’m happy to announce now that now we have some sort of a backend ready!

        • The Meson Manual is now available for purchase

          Some of you might remember that last year I ran a crowdfunding campaign to create a full written user manual for Meson. That failed fairly spectacularly, mostly due to the difficulty of getting any sort of visibility for these kinds of projects (i.e. on the Internet, everything drowns).

        • anytime 0.3.7

          A fresh minor release of the anytime package is arriving on CRAN right now. This is the eighteenth release, and it comes roughly five months after the previous showing the relative feature-stability we have now.

          anytime is a very focused package aiming to do just one thing really well: to convert anything in integer, numeric, character, factor, ordered, … format to either POSIXct or Date objects – and to do so without requiring a format string. See the anytime page, or the GitHub README.md for a few examples.

          This release brings a clever new option, thanks to Stephen Froehlich. If you know your input has (lots) of duplicates you can now say so and anytime() (and the other entry points for times and dates, UTC or not) will only parse the unique entries leading to potentially rather large speed gains (as in Stephen’s case where he often has more than 95% of the data as duplicates). We also tweaked the test setup some more, but as we are still unable to replicate what is happening with the Fedora test boxen at CRAN due to the non-reproducible setup so this remains a bit of guess work. Lastly, I am making use of a new Rcpp #define to speed up compilation a little bit too.

        • Merging Of Flang/F18 Fortran Compiler Support Into LLVM Has Been Delayed

          The modern F18/Flang Fortran front-end to LLVM had been set to land in the LLVM mono repository last Monday that could have made it included as part of the LLVM 10.0 branch set for that day. The LLVM 10.0 branching happened as planned but the landing of this Fortran support did not.

          Landing of the Flang front-end was delayed to allow for last minute changes to happen. Their revised target for merging was 20 January.

        • Connect your Raspberry Pi 4 to an iPad Pro

          Have you ever considered attaching your Raspberry Pi 4 to an Apple iPad Pro? How would you do it, and why would you want to? Here’s YouTuber Tech Craft to explain why Raspberry Pi 4 is their favourite iPad Pro accessory, and why you may want to consider using yours in the same way.

        • C

          • 2019 was the “Year of C”

            The TIOBE Programming Community has released an index indicating the popularity of programming languages in which it recognised C as the programming language of the year 2019.

            OK, it was not at the top – Java is still King – but was a number two above Python – which is a little surprising.

            C is considered the red-headed stepchild of programming these days and most people consider Python emerged as the most productive and popular language in recent times and, apparently, the language had a good year due to the Internet of Things.

            C is really good with small devices that are performance-critical with limited resources. It is a feature-rich programming language, including direct access to machine level hardware APIs. There are lots of C compilers, deterministic resource use and dynamic memory allocation.

          • Fundamental C – Files

            This extract, from my new book on programming C in an IoT context, explains the basics of files the C way. As with all things C it starts simple and then gets a little more involved.

        • Python

      • Standards/Consortia

        • This Blog Has Moved

          I moved my blog back to a self-hosted WordPress, but am powering it with Jetpack to offer many of the same features as during the seven months it ran on WordPress.com. I am also using the same theme, just have rearranged a few things. The privacy policy was updated to reflect the new status.

        • 5G: The outsourced elephant in the room

          In a break from the usual GPS/Galileo, DNA and C++ posts, here is a bit on 5G and national security. It turns out that through PowerDNS and its parent company Open-Xchange, we know a lot about how large scale European communication service providers work – most of whom are our customers in some way.

          In addition, in a previous life I worked in national security and because of that I have relevant knowledge of how governments (your own and foreign ones) “interact” with telecommunication providers. So what follows is based on lived experience.

          Note: this article is mostly about Europe. Considerations and conditions in the US and the rest of the world are very different.

  • Leftovers

    • The importance of culture

      Being abroad in Japan the last couple weeks, I’ve noticed that the high efficiency -from crossing roads to almost everything- they do (cooking/public transportation/etc) is due to the fact of using small queues for every step of the process. Reaching to a maximum throughout with small effort.

      [...]

      Is about the feedback you will get from your customers and colleagues, is about the respect to your work. Is about being happy.

      For the first time in my life, I took almost 30days out of work, to relax, to detox (not having a laptop with me) to spend some time with family and friends. To be happy. So if any colleague from work is reading this article:

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Y2038: It’s a Threat

        On Unix-derived systems, including Linux and MacOS, time is stored internally as the number of seconds since midnight GMT, January 1, 1970, a time known as “the Epoch.” Back when Unix was created, timestamps were stored in a 32-bit number. Well, like any fixed-size value, only a limited range of numbers can be stored in 32 bits: numbers from -2,147,483,648 to 2,147,483,647. (Without going into technical details, the first of those 32 bits is used to denote a negative number. The asymmetry in range is to allow for zero.)

        I immediately got pushback: did I really think that 18 years hence, people would still be using 32-bit systems? Modern computers use 64-bit integers, which can allow for times up to 9,223,372,036,854,775,807 seconds since the Epoch. (What date is that? I didn’t bother to calculate it, but it’s about 292,271,023,045 years, a date that’s well beyond when it is projected that the Sun will run out of fuel. I don’t propose to worry about computer timestamps after that.)

        It turns out, though, that just as with Y2K, the problems don’t start when the magic date hits; rather, they start when a computer first encounters dates after the rollover point, and that can be a lot earlier. In fact, I just had such an experience.

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • Docker, Perl and GitHub

              There are many reasons to use Docker Images, from setting up a development environment to pushing your code to production. The primary/first reason which pushes me to start using some Docker Images is “Continuous Integration”.

              When maintaining a Perl package used by multiple users/companies (or not), you absolutely want to know how your code behaves on different versions of Perl. Even if you could have multiple versions of Perl installed on your development environment, most of the time, the development is only performed using a single version of Perl.

              Continuous Integration system like Travis CI or GitHub Workflows allows you to run your test suite on every push, pull request… without the need of testing manually on all Perl Versions.

              When testing your code on a container (or Virtual Machine) you do not want to install or compile a fresh version of Perl each time… This is a slow operation, that ideally, should be done once.

              This is where Docker Images come to the rescue. They are “snapshots” of a pre-set linux environment.

            • Week notes – 2020 w03 – worklog – Murphy

              Also GitHub decided to revive our anonymous bugs, around 39,000 bugs are back. We haven’t yet reactivated our anonymous reporting.

        • Security

          • It’s Friday, the weekend has landed… and Microsoft warns of an Internet Explorer zero day exploited in the wild

            Still using Internet Explorer? Don’t. There’s another zero-day
            Microsoft let slip on Friday an advisory detailing an under-attack zero-day vulnerability (CVE-2020-0674) for Internet Explorer. The scripting engine flaw can be exploited to gain remote code execution on a vulnerable machine by way of a specially crafted webpage. The flaw can be mitigated by restricting access to the JavaScript component JScript.dll, and thus far there is no patch available.

            “Microsoft is aware of this vulnerability and working on a fix,” the software giant noted.

          • Verifying your system state in a secure and private way

            This is solved using a procedure called Remote Attestation. The TPM can be asked to provide a digital signature of the PCR values, and this can be passed to a remote system along with the event log. That remote system can then examine the event log, make sure it corresponds to the signed PCR values and make a security decision based on the contents of the event log rather than just on the final PCR values. This makes the system significantly more flexible and aids diagnostics. Unfortunately, it also means you need a remote server and an internet connection and then some way for that remote server to tell you whether it thinks your system is trustworthy and also you need some way to believe that the remote server is trustworthy and all of this is well not ideal if you’re not an enterprise.

            Last week I gave a talk at linux.conf.au on one way around this. Basically, remote attestation places no constraints on the network protocol in use – while the implementations that exist all do this over IP, there’s no requirement for them to do so. So I wrote an implementation that runs over Bluetooth, in theory allowing you to use your phone to serve as the remote agent. If you trust your phone, you can use it as a tool for determining if you should trust your laptop.

          • Telnet credentials of 515,000 routers, servers & IoT devices dumped on hacker forum

            A hacker has reportedly dumped Telnet credentials associated with more than 515,000 home routers, servers, and Internet-connected devices on a popular hacker forum.

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (git, java-11-openjdk, and thunderbird), Debian (cacti, chromium, gpac, kernel, openjdk-11, ruby-excon, and thunderbird), Fedora (chromium and rubygem-rack), Mageia (suricata, tigervnc, and wireshark), openSUSE (glusterfs, libredwg, and uftpd), and Ubuntu (linux-hwe and sysstat).

          • Amazon’s Ring blamed hacks on consumers reusing their passwords. A lawsuit says that’s not true.

            After a series of high-profile incidents in which hackers gained access to live footage of Ring security cameras inside people?s homes, the company blamed consumers for reusing old passwords. Two plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit accusing the company of negligence and invasion of privacy say that?s not the issue ? instead, they say their passwords were unique and that the company didn?t implement basic security measures to protect users. A security expert enlisted by Recode found that Ring?s devices lack widely adopted safety precautions.

          • DDoS Mitigation Firm Founder Admits to DDoS

            A Georgia man who co-founded a service designed to protect companies from crippling distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks has pleaded to paying a DDoS-for-hire service to launch attacks against others.

          • Siemens Warns of Security Risks Associated With Use of ActiveX

            Some of Siemens’ industrial products — the list includes SIMATIC WinCC, SIMATIC STEP 7, SIMATIC PCS 7, TIA Portal, and S7-PLCSIM Advanced — rely on ActiveX components and customers need to use Internet Explorer to execute these components.

            However, the German industrial giant has warned that using Internet Explorer to access untrusted websites can pose serious security risks. Siemens recommends using a web browser that does not support ActiveX if accessing web pages other than the ones associated with the company’s products.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Self-hosted web fonts

              Today on Lobsters I found a link to Kev Quirk’s blog post How to self-host your web fonts. For the last nine years I’ve been using Google’s font-hosting service, which whilst very convenient, carried some privacy concerns (which Joey Hess originally brought to my attention) and (it turns out) does not appear to have been faster, in network terms, than bundling what I was using locally. This is something I’ve been meaning to get around to doing for almost that long.

            • Clearview app lets strangers find your name, info with snap of a photo, report says

              The app, says the Times, works by comparing a photo to a database of more than 3 billion pictures that Clearview says it’s scraped off Facebook, Venmo, YouTube and other sites. It then serves up matches, along with links to the sites where those database photos originally appeared. A name might easily be unearthed, and from there other info could be dug up online.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Gun Rights Showdown Brewing in Virginia
      • The Virginia Anti-Gun Control Protests
      • Most Millennials Expect World War III in Their Lifetime

        A survey of 16,000 millennials in 16 countries at peace and at war indicates a majority is nervous about the future, and a large plurality believes heightened global tensions are likely to lead to a catastrophic war. Launch of the report was commissioned last year by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

        The ICRC survey finds millennials are deeply pessimistic about the future they face. The results indicate this generation of young people, now between the ages of 25 and 39, is worried about future conflicts and nuclear weapons. Other top concerns include unemployment, increasing poverty and terrorism.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Documents reveal how ‘Africa’s richest woman’ stole fortune from her country

        The New York-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) worked with newspapers such as Munich’s Suddeutsche Zeitung to reveal the “Panama Papers” tax haven scandal in 2016.

        Its latest series called “Luanda Leaks” zeros in on Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of former Angola president Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

    • Environment

      • Climate Change Is Killing Alpine Skiing as We Know It

        At the northern edge of the Alps, ski runs near the foot of Germany’s highest mountain snake down the greenish-brown slopes in narrow white ribbons of artificial snow.

        Like other resorts at relatively low altitude, global warming has left its mark on Garmisch-Partenkirchen — the site of the 1936 Winter Olympics—putting the town’s identity and affluence at risk. It’s January, and there’s so little natural snow that anxiety is building whether upcoming ski races can go ahead.

        In Garmisch and across the Alps, tourism is a key support for local economies. In neighboring Austria, it makes up just over 6% of economic output, while in the mountainous region of Tyrol the share is more like 18%. The ratio is similar for the Swiss canton of Graubünden, thanks to resorts like St. Moritz, Klosters and Davos.

      • Energy

        • ‘Pirate state’: Cyprus slams illegal Turkish drilling

          Turkey has attempted to drill in Cypriot coastal waters four times since last July, most recently in an area already licensed to Italian oil company Eni and French firm Total.

          In response, the EU has set up a mechanism to impose sanctions on any individuals or companies involved in illegal drilling off Cyprus. Possible sanctions could be put in place as soon as Monday, officials said.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • The never-ending migration of wildebeest is one of nature’s great spectacles

          The scene: Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and The Great Migration. Part magnificent spectacle, part great tragedy. One thing is certain for those who bear witness, the migration evokes a variety of emotions from awe to empathy and everything in between.

          There are few places in the world that compare to the wide-open grass plains and bush-covered Savannah of Tanzania, Africa which is home to a staggering volume and diversity of wildlife.

          It’s one of the main reasons visitors flock here. They come with the hopes of seeing nearly two million wildebeest, along with thousands of other plains animals, travel across the country in the world’s largest overland migration that takes them from the Serengeti to the south of Kenya’s Masai Mara.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • ‘An investigation loves silence’ What little we know about Igor Krasnov, Russia’s next attorney general

        On January 20, 2020, Vladimir Putin dismissed long-time Attorney General Yuri Chaika and asked the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament to approve a replacement, Igor Krasnov, who’s known for his work as a senior official on several high-profile criminal cases at Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee. Unlike his predecessor, Krasnov hasn’t been muddied by a series of corruption scandals and has generally avoided the public spotlight, Meduza investigative correspondent Maxim Solopov learned in this special report.

      • Putin replaces his attorney general

        Russia is getting a new attorney general. On Monday, Vladimir Putin dismissed Yuri Chaika, who’d served in the position since June 2006, and appointed Igor Krasnov, the deputy head of the Federal Investigative Committee, as acting attorney general. The upper house of Russia’s Parliament, the Federation Council, will reportedly vote on Krasnov’s confirmation on Wednesday, January 22. 

      • What MLK Would Make of the Israeli Occupation
      • Senators Know They Don’t Know the Whole Story

        Parnas’s recent media interviews did two crucial things that deserve urgent attention. First, he directly linked President Trump to the delivery of an ultimatum to Sergey Shaffer, a senior aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Parnas told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that he was instructed to deliver what he described as “a very harsh message,” and to do so in “a very harsh way, not in a pleasant way.” Parnas explained, “Mayor Giuliani, Rudy, told me after, you know, meeting the president at the White House. He called me. The message was, it wasn’t just military aid, it was all aid. Basically, their relationships would be sour, that he would—that he would stop giving them any kind of aid … unless there was an announcement made.”

        The key words here? That Giuliani spoke to Parnas “after meeting with the president at the White House.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • The Erasure of Political History at the National Archives

        The Post and others who went on to pick up the story noted that the director of the Archives, David S. Ferriero, was appointed by Obama. This is indeed an important point, because it provides a measure of how far we, as a society, have drifted under President Donald Trump. By the third anniversary of his inauguration, an organization created for the purpose of creating a historical record—and headed by someone who is not a Trump appointee—has falsified the historical record.

      • Wife of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi inspired by global solidarity

        It was Raif Badawi’s outspokenness that landed him in court in 2013. After criticizing the role of religion in Saudi Arabia, the young blogger and journalist was initially sentenced to death. Later, his punishment was reduced to a 10-year jail term, a fine and 1,000 lashes.

        Badawi had not only criticized Wahhabism, the state religion in Saudi Arabia, but also the power of clerics in the country. The court ruled that he had insulted Islam.

      • Raif Badawi in isolation, 5 years after his first 50 lashes

        In 2012 Saudi writer and activist Raif Badawi was imprisoned for advocating liberalism and secularism, and for “insulting Islam”. Last month, Badawi was arbitrarily moved into isolation, As was his lawyer, Waleed Abulkhair. Humanists International and other human rights organizations call upon Saudi Arabia for their immediate release.

      • [Old] Raif Badawi among Saudi political prisoners to launch hunger strike over arbitrary detention

        Three prominent Saudi political prisoners – blogger Raif Badawi, activist Khaled al-Omari, and lawyer and human rights activist Waleed Abu al-Khair, have gone on hunger strike in prison to protest the conditions they are being held under and their arbitrary detention.

        The “Prisoners of Conscience” Twitter account, which monitors the situation of Saudi political prisoners, said on Sunday evening that Abu al-Khair and Badawi began their hunger strike on December 11 in protest at being held in solitary confinement.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Women work for free while billionaires accumulate wealth

        This means not only do women earn less every day or that they earn less over the course of their lives, but also that they get a smaller pension. Germany has the largest gender pension gap among OECD countries at 53%.

        The most-affected women do not live in Germany, but in poorer countries in the Global South. There, women have less infrastructure, opportunities to afford domestic help and less technical labor-saving equipment. Women in low-income communities in Uganda, Zimbabwe, India, the Philippines and Kenya spend on average one year more during their lifetime on care work activities than women from better-off households.

      • France’s Transit Workers: “We’re Fighting for Everyone”
      • 5 Absurdly Petty Abuses Of Power By The Cops

        Our personal relationship with the police at the moment is … complicated. Well, that’s how we put it. They say “Wanted,” but that feels a little needy. Our collective cultural relationship with the police is also a little strained. It’s clear that some officers view their badges as a license to do whatever they want to whoever they want. Like how …

    • Monopolies

      • ‘Amazon Empire’ Documentary Shows How Jeff Bezos Took Over Everything

        Amazon is rapidly metastasizing into an invisible infrastructure that mediates our economy, politics, social relations, and culture. It is important we have a clear understanding of that and reject its rosy PR about simply wanting to provide goods to customers cheaply (and profitably).

        Catch the PBS Frontline documentary about Amazon’s empire on February 18.

      • Patents

        • Patent Dominance: Top 5 Companies Leading the Charge

          “Patents protect the interests of inventors whose technologies are truly groundbreaking and commercially successful, by ensuring that an inventor can control the commercial use of their invention,” according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

        • Patent case: Intrakardiale Pumpvorrichtung, Germany

          The patentee is not limited on appeal to defending the patent in the (limited) version pursued in the first instance, but may revert to the version as granted and to other limited versions. A declaration in the response to the nullity action that the patent is defended in a limited form has no limiting effect; this effect only enters into force with the final decision in the nullity proceedings. The declaration does not constitute a waiver either, unless a waiver is explicitly declared by the patentee.

        • China apex court ruling will provide more patent consistency

          In-house counsel and lawyers believe that a decision by the IP tribunal at China’s Supreme People’s Court will help to give more consistency to patent litigation.

        • One year after trial loss against FTC, Qualcomm approaching Ninth Circuit hearing on far stronger basis: scope of reversal hard to predict

          On February 13, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will hold the appellate hearing in FTC v. Qualcomm. Apart from a misleading citation that I criticized, and a few other weak spots, Qualcomm’s reply brief, which I have read more than once, was very powerful. All in all, Qualcomm’s lawyers have done far better work than the FTC’s appellate team–and than most of the FTC’s amici, though some amicus briefs (especially the ones submitted by Intel and MediaTek) were very persuasive.

          Qualcomm has made so much headway on appeal that I’m sure at least parts of the district court’s ruling will be reversed, if not by the Ninth Circuit, then by the Supreme Court.

          In the meantime, the Ninth Circuit has heard Qualcomm’s appeal of Judge Lucy H. Koh’s certification of a consumer class. The most likely outcome, based on what the circuit judges said, is that the class action will go forward, but limited to customers based in California and, possibly, other states with similar antitrust laws governing indirect-purchaser claims. However, the consumer case is based on the FTC’s claims against Qualcomm, so if Qualcomm defeated the FTC’s case on the merits, the consumers wouldn’t be entitled to anything regardless of class certification.

          With respect to Qualcomm’s appeal of the FTC ruling, the Ninth Circuit granted, as expected, an unopposed motion by the United States Department of Justice last week, allowing the DOJ to deliver, on behalf of the United States of America, five minutes of oral argument in support of Qualcomm.

        • Software Patents

          • Browse3D Settles with Unified

            On January 17, 2020, the Board issued an order terminating IPR2019-01265 pursuant to a joint settlement request filed by Unified Patents and Browse3D LLC, an NPE. The IPR involved US Patent 10,031,897, which is generally directed to providing website recommendations by monitoring a user’s selection of hyperlinks within a current web page, has been asserted against various retailers such as Nordstrom, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Carter’s.

      • Copyrights

        • Spotify Preparing To Acquire Podcasting Network the Ringer — Report

          In the wake of analysts from both Evercore and Bernstein giving Spotify an underperform rating, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the company is in early talks to acquire a podcasting network called the Ringer.

        • A Tool That Removes Copyrighted Works Is Not a Substitute for Fair Use

          YouTube, which has become essential for video creators to build an audience, has a new tool that’s supposed to help users respond to its copyright filter. Is it something that makes fair use a priority? No, it’s a way to make it easier to remove the part of a video that someone has claimed they own.

          In December, YouTube released a list of “New YouTube Studio tools to help you deal with copyright claims.” Mostly what it’s done is make it easier for you, as a video creator, to sort through all the copyright claims that have been filed against you and what that’s done to your videos. That is, so you can see difference between a “copyright strike” that is the result of the takedown process—which YouTube does in order to comply with the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA—and something which has been flagged by Content ID—a copyright filter voluntarily built and deployed by YouTube and subject only to YouTube’s policies.

        • It’s Copyright Week 2020: Stand Up for Copyright Laws That Actually Serve Us All

          We’re taking part in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of copyright law and policy, addressing what’s at stake and what we need to do to make sure that copyright promotes creativity and innovation.

          While culture is shared, copyright law has increasingly been used to lock people out of participating in it. Although copyright law is often treated as the exclusive domain of major media and entertainment industries, it actually should be serving all of us. Because, of course, it affects all of us.

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