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01.24.20

Links 24/1/2020: GNU/Linux in Russia and More New Openings

Posted in News Roundup at 4:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • MIG and Astra Linux start selling new, secure tablet with Russian operating system

      Russian companies Mobile Inform Group (MIG) and Astra Linux have started selling the new MIG T10 x86 tablet powered by the Astra Linux OS, an operating system of domestic origin, reports Cnews.ru. The device is resistant to a wide range of temperatures.

      The device corresponds to all the security standards of the Russian security services and the military. It is powered by the tetra-core Intel Appololake N3450 2.2 GHz processor and has a 11,700 mAh battery. The price of the tablet with the pre-installed Astra Linux OS starts from RUB 105,118.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Best Linux Operating Systems For Beginners In 2020.

        Linux operating system is getting user attraction like never before. Many users around the world are shifting towards the Linux operating system. Linux is no more the operating system of developers and system administrators. Many more users are adopting Linux for various normal purposes like multimedia, desktop publications, office uses and etc.

        Well, there are many Linux based operating systems available in the market. In this post, we thought to list out some of the best Linux operating systems for beginners in the year 2019.

      • MNT Reform, an Open Source Laptop, Expected to Hit Crowd Supply in February

        History of MNT

        The MNT Reform was initially envisioned as a DIY kit for which development started in 2017, and then MNT was able to send 11 beta units in December 2018. This was done to get feedback from earlier adopters. MNT was moved to a dedicated studio in Berlin, during this time MNT redesigned the MNT Reform from the ground up. As of November 2019, the design is mostly complete, and MNT is preparing the final details for the crowdfunding campaign.

        Many models are expected to be available

        CNX Software reported that MNT is planning to offer different variations of this laptop, some bing a mix of DIY kits and some being fully assembled laptops to the Crowd Supply Backers. No information regarding pricing for the different models was given, as well as release timing was not provided.

      • Free Software Foundation suggests Microsoft ‘upcycles’ Windows 7… as open source

        More than 10 years on from its campaign to persuade users to dump Windows 7 for a non-proprietary alternative, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) has kicked off a petition to urge Microsoft to open-source the recently snuffed software.

        On the face of it, the logic seems pretty simple. On 14 January Windows 7 reached its end of life as Microsoft turned off the free security update taps with a final fix (which seemed to bork desktop wallpapers for some users).

        “Its life doesn’t have to end,” cried the foundation. “We call on Microsoft to upcycle it instead.”

        Unfortunately, the FSF couldn’t resist a final dig, saying the killing of the OS had brought to an end “its updates as well as its 10 years of poisoning education, invading privacy, and threatening user security.”

      • Windows 7 Alternatives

        Lets go over all the alternatives you can switch to if you are stuck on Windows 7 still. This will go over upgrading to Windows 10, Linux, or Other…

      • A new glimmer of hope for Linux

        Linux 🐧 ranks third in the operating system market, and since the beginning of the new millennium, it has entered the best desktop operating system struggle after it won the title of the best server system “undisputedly”, so the GNU Linux developers began making plans to bring in more users, but it was not as effective as expected (in another article, we will take a look at these plans and the reasons for their lack of effectiveness).

        On January 14, 2020, and in light of repeated disappointments, a new glimmer of hope appeared, as Microsoft announced the end of support for Windows 7, which has a market share of more than 28%, which is a percentage that it cannot be taken lightly, as if the GNU Linux developers succeed in attracting Windows 7 refugees, it will be the linux century deal that will attract investors and major software companies (Adobe and others) and the painful blow to Microsoft that will make the company think many times before any step.

    • Server

      • Navigating Docker for Windows versions

        Windows though has a couple of gotchas, the behavior of docker on windows can vastly vary depending on which binary and/or configuration you use.

        Containers on windows are dependent on the server version of the Host. For example, your server 2016 (1607) containers can only be executed on a server 2016 host. Currently there are 2 popular base versions that docker supports, Server 2016, and 2019. Gitlab-runner only supports server 2019, so we will go with that.

      • Here’s How To Tackle K8’s Security Challenge…
      • Two New Open Source Projects for Kubernetes Security by Octarine
      • Octarine Adds 2 Open Source Projects to Secure Kubernetes

        Octarine announced today it has launched two open source projects intended to enhance Kubernetes security.

        The first project is kube-scan, a workload and assessment tool that scans Kubernetes configurations and settings to identify and rank potential vulnerabilities in applications in minutes. The second project is a Kubernetes Common Configuration Scoring System (KCCSS), a framework for rating security risks involving misconfigurations.

        Julian Sobrier, head of product for Octarine, said the projects are extensions of the namesake cybersecurity framework the company created based on a service mesh for Kubernetes clusters. The Octarine service mesh not only segments network and application traffic all the way up through Layer 7 running on Kubernetes clusters, but it also acts as an inspection engine that employs machine learning algorithms to identify anomalous traffic, Sobrier says.

      • Octarine Open Sources New Security Scanning Tools

        To enhance Kubernetes security, Octarine has released two new open source security scanning tools.

        The first tool is called Kubernetes Common Configuration Scoring System (KCCSS). It is said to be a new framework for rating security risks associated with misconfigurations. Kube-scan, the second open-sourced tool, is a workload and assessment tool to scan Kubernetes configurations and settings to identify and rank potential vulnerabilities in applications within minutes.

      • IBM

        • Red Hat Extends Runtimes Middleware Portfolio

          Red Hat has made available the latest instance of Red Hat Runtimes, a suite of lightweight open source components and frameworks that makes it easier to discover the middleware most appropriate for building a specific type of application.

        • OpenShift 4.3: User Management Improvements

          The Red Hat OpenShift Web Console has always strived to be the easiest way to interact with OpenShift resources, and in version 4.3 we’ve added more capabilities around viewing and editing user management resources. Dedicated pages to view Users and Groups for the cluster have been added, allowing cluster admins to easily see who has access to the cluster and how they are organized. These new pages are consolidated under one navigation section, so there is now just one place to look for any user management resource. Let’s take a closer look.

        • Culture of innovation: Open Data Hub

          Red Hat is continually innovating and part of that innovation includes researching and striving to solve the problems our customers face. That innovation is driven through the Office of the CTO and includes Red Hat OpenShift, Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage and innovative projects such as the Open Data Hub. We recently interviewed Juana Nakfour, Senior Software Engineer in the AI Center of Excellence for the office of the CTO at Red Hat, about this very topic.

        • OpenShift Container Platform (OCP) 4 Networking Overvi
        • How open data is helping create change in Chile
        • Starting Small: Open Data in Chile
        • Which cloud strategy is right for your business in 2020?

          At Red Hat, we’re constantly receiving useful industry insights from our customers when speaking to them about their current priorities and issues. Our recent Global Customer Tech Outlook study revealed that many organisations don’t know what cloud strategy to put in place, with 17% stating that this was something they were still working on. A further 12% had not yet developed any plans at all for their cloud strategy in 2020.

        • Editing, debugging, and GitHub in Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces 2

          In a previous article, I showed how to get Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces 2.0 (CRW) up and running with a workspace available for use. This time, we will go through the edit-debug-push (to GitHub) cycle. This walk-through will simulate a real-life development effort.

          To start, you’ll need to fork a GitHub repository. The Quote Of The Day repo contains a microservice written in Go that we’ll use for this article. Don’t worry if you’ve never worked with Go. This is a simple program and we’ll only change one line of code.

          After you fork the repo, make note of (or copy) your fork’s URL. We’ll be using that information in a moment.

        • Apache Camel K development inside Eclipse Che: Iteration 1

          The Eclipse Che 7.6.0 release provides a new stack for Apache Camel K integration development. This release is the first iteration to give a preview of what is possible. If you like what you see, shout it out, and more will surely come.

          This article details how to test this release on a local instance deployed on minikube. The difference with a hosted instance is that we avoid the prerequisites involving Camel K installation in the cluster and specific rights for the user.

        • OpenShift 4.3: Spoofing a User

          Imagine you’re a cluster administrator managing a huge number of users. A user reaches out to you with a problem: “My console is broken.” There’s seemingly an infinite number of possible explanations for why this user can’t access the console. However, you can’t see their system and they have difficulty explaining what the console is doing. The Red Hat OpenShift team recently met with a university customer whose admins frequently run into this scenario. Luckily, OpenShift 4.3’s web console UI addresses this exact problem. New to 4.3, we’ve introduced the ability to spoof users and groups.

        • IBM partners with will.i.am’s AI startup at Davos

          will.i.am’s tech company, I.AM+, and IBM have created a global partnership to ensure enterprise-level security for customer data as artificial intelligence (AI) adoption pushes further into the mainstream.

          Human-like conversational experiences are at the forefront of I.AM’s Omega AI platform, and speed and security are priorities for its worldwide customers, according to the company.

        • Istio 1.4 improves user experience and simplifies managing clusters

          At the end of 2019, Istio announced its fourth consecutive quarterly release for the year, Istio 1.4. The release focuses on improving user experience and making it simpler for operators to manage their clusters. Added features and improvements include the new Istio operator, v1beta1 authorization policy, automatic mutual Transport Layer Security (TLS) support, and updates to istioctl, as shown in the following graphic:

          Timeline from Istio 1.1 to 1.4

          The following sections describe the highlights, and give you opportunities to walk through some examples. To learn the details about Istio 1.4, see the community release notes and the Istio documentation. As of today, the 1.4 release has three patch releases – 1.4.1, 1.4.2 and 1.4.3. These patches include bug fixes, improvements, and security updates. Also, check out Dan Berg’s 6-minute presentation video from serviceMeshCon: Dramatic UX Improvement and Analytics-driven Canary Deployment with Istio (1118-RM06-06.mp4), which gives a quick recap of the Istio 1.4 release.

        • Open Innovation Stories: Tamar Eilam and how Istio become a microservices rallying point

          With microservices, the name says it all. These bite-size software services have fundamentally changed the way software is developed by breaking large applications into smaller pieces. However, with that sometimes comes complexity. This is where Istio, a services mesh for tying together microservices and applications, helps.

          Istio can be traced back to the early 2010s. Before then, software development and IT operations were separate workstreams that could drag on for 18 months for a single project. But around 2010, they became intertwined, marking the beginning of the DevOps movement. This disconnect between workstreams was a challenge that Tamar Eilam, an IBM Fellow of Cloud and DevOps with IBM Research, was familiar with, and she watched this and another fast-growing industry trend—migration to the cloud—with great interest.

          “That As-a-Service model provided an opportunity to learn much quicker what your users want because you’re observing what they’re doing,” Tamar says. “And you continue to evolve your service, not every six months, but on a daily basis.”

          Tamar joined IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., in 2000, following a Ph.D. program in computer science at Technion in her native Israel. She hadn’t been in her job for long before she began to notice a vexing problem: a widening communications gap between developers and operators. Developers didn’t always understand operational concerns, while operators often had a blind spot when it came to applications.

          To break down these barriers, Tamar devised a language she called “patterns of expertise,” a unifying set of best practices that allowed for more efficient management of applications. It gave rise to a suite of IBM computing processes, and in 2014, she was named an IBM Fellow, the highest honor for the company’s scientists and engineers.

        • How to protect your data, applications, cryptography and OS – 100% of the time

          Businesses looking to maximise the security, reliability, efficiency and performance of their essential, mission-critical applications are recognising the mainframe as a robust platform for a variety of workload types.

          With Ubuntu on IBM Z and LinuxONE, enhanced security features, pervasive encryption and cryptographic support are leveraged by any workload that must stand up to the most stringent compliance and regulatory standards and certifications.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • ZFS On Linux 0.8.3 Released With Many Fixes

        ZFS On Linux 0.8.3 has the same kernel support of Linux 2.6.32 to Linux 5.4 as the previous ZoL release, but new are a ton of fixes. There are fixes from ZTS issues to various code issues that turned up from cppcheck, various encryption handling improvements, typo fixes, and over one hundred other changes in total for this point release in the ZFS On Linux 0.8 series.

      • Two Decades Late: Mainline Linux Kernel Getting Keyboard / Mouse Driver For SGI Octane

        The MIPS-based SGI Octane IRIX workstations were first introduced in the late 90′s while recently there has been a resurgence in the work on getting these vintage PCs running off a mainline Linux kernel.

        For Linux 5.5 is initial mainline support for the SGI Octane systems two decades after they launched. We’ve also been seeing other driver work come about now that the Octane support is in place.

      • Linux 5.6 To Bring FQ-PIE Packet Scheduler To Help Fight Bufferbloat

        In addition to WireGuard being part of “net-next” as the networking subsystem material targeting the upcoming Linux 5.6 cycle, there is another big last minute addition to the networking space: the Flow Queue PIE packet scheduler has been merged.

        The Flow Queue PIE (FQ-PIE) network packet scheduler is another attempt at fighting bufferbloat. FQ-PIE is an improved packet scheduler over the existing PIE scheduling code. “It is an enhancement over the PIE algorithm. It integrates the PIE aqm with a deficit round robin scheme. FQ-PIE is implemented over the latest version of PIE which uses timestamps to calculate queue delay with an additional option of using average dequeue rate to calculate the queue delay.”

      • Linux 5.5 Ready To Shine With Navi Overclocking, Raspberry Pi 4 Support, Wake-On-Voice

        Everything is aligning that the Linux 5.5 kernel is likely to be released this coming Sunday rather than being pushed off for another week of testing.

        As it’s been two months since the Linux 5.5 merge window and already we’ve been quite busy talking about material on deck for Linux 5.6, here is a look back at some of the new features and changes of Linux 5.5…

      • AMD ADDS ZEN 3 TECHNOLOGY TO THE KERNEL OF LINUX

        Although it may feel like just yesterday that the Zen2-powered chips came out in the Ryzen 3000-series cpus, we’re already catching a lot of wind that Zen 3 is well on its way, which shouldn’t be too surprising given that AMD is doing its best to keep its CPU lineup updated annually. Today, as spotted by hardware leaker Komachi, we caught a whiff of Zen 3 microcode being added to Linux kernel.

    • Benchmarks

      • Radeon RX 5600 XT With New vBIOS Offering Better Linux Performance Following Fix

        Earlier this week AMD launched the Radeon RX 5600 XT and as shown in our Linux launch-day review it offers nice performance up against the GTX 1660 and RTX 2060 graphics cards on Linux with various OpenGL and Vulkan games. Complicating the launch was the last-minute change to the video BIOS to offer better performance, but unfortunately that led to an issue with the Linux driver as well as confusing the public due to the change at launch and some board vendors already shipping the new vBIOS release while others are not yet. Fortunately, a Linux solution is forthcoming and in our tests it is working out and offering better performance.

    • Applications

      • GParted Live V1.1.0 is here with Kernel 5.4.13 and other enhancements

        However, you shouldn’t mistake GParted for GParted Live even though they both come from the same developers. The former is just an application, whereas the latter is a small, Linux-based operating system that lets you use the GParted application in its full capacity. As it is a live OS, users aren’t required to install it on their hard drive either, as they can load GParted Live from the USB or CD containing it.

        Now coming to the latest update to GParted Live, we should first have a look at the new GParted v1.1.0 as it will be a part of the package. Firstly, all thanks to the enhancements, the application will be able to detect JFS size more accurately. Plus, the recognition of ATARAID members, and the detection of their busy status will be made possible.

        Nevertheless, the main highlight of this update has to be that FAT16/32 usage can now be better read with faster mdir and minfo. Also, if you have used GParted in the past, you might know of the error that arises when someone tries to move locked LUKS-encrypted partition, which has luckily been solved with this update.

      • 5 Best Notepad++ Alternatives for Linux

        Notepad++ has been the de facto standard for source code editors for nearly 16 years, almost since its creation in 2003. For Windows users, that is. For years, Linux users had no source code editor that compared to Notepad++ with all its bells and whistles, such as code folding, scripting, markup languages, syntax highlighting, auto-completion for programming (limited).

        Not to mention the over 140 compatible plugins developed to support and enhance Notepad++.

        Such is no longer the case. There are now dozens of comparable alternatives to Notepad++ for Linux users.

      • Kid3 Audio Tagger 3.8.2 Released with Crash Fix for M4A Files

        Kid3 audio tag editor released version 3.8.2 a few days ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, and Ubuntu 19.10.

        Kid3 3.8.2 is a small but important release for those who have a lot of M4A files. The release fixes a crash that happens when frames are removed from M4A files. Additionally it brings new Catalan, Portuguese and Ukrainian translations.

      • Cockpit 211

        Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from version 211.

      • Red Notebook 2.16

        RedNotebook is a modern desktop journal. It lets you format, tag and search your entries. You can also add pictures, links and customizable templates, spell check your notes, and export to plain text, HTML, Latex or PDF. RedNotebook is Free Software under the GPL.

      • 4 Tools To Record Your Linux Desktop (Screencast) In 2020

        This article presents 4 tools for recording your Linux desktop. All work under X11, and there are also a couple of solutions for recording your Linux screen under Wayland.

        I skipped applications that are no longer maintained, like Kazam, ScreenStudio or Green Recorder. Even though they might still work, they have many bugs that will probably never be fixed.

      • WinFF on Ubuntu: Video/Audio Conversion Made Easy

        WinFF is an Ubuntu application to convert multimedia files in easy way. It is an alternative (replacement) to Any Video Converter or FormatFactory from Windows; so you can do audio/video conversions in ways you are familiar to as well on GNU/Linux. WinFF can convert all formats, including the popular MP4, MP3, OGV, OGG, FLV, WMV, WEBM, and MKV. Actually, it is a visual version of FFmpeg command line, hence the name WinFF. This tutorial explains how to install it on Ubuntu and give you example in using it. Enjoy!

      • Converseen is an open source batch image processor for Windows and Linux

        Batch tools are efficient time-savers when you need to manipulate more than one or two images provided that the intended operations are identical. Converseen is an open source image processor that’s available for Windows and Linux that may help you in that case.

        [...]

        The program can be used to convert, resize, rotate and flip several images with a few clicks. It is based on ImageMagick, the open source image editor.

        Converseen’s interface is divided into two panes: the actions panel is to the left, and to the right you have the convert list. A menu bar and a toolbar are placed at the top of the screen.

        Use the File menu or the Open Images/Add Images button to get starte, or just drag and drop some files to the right pane. It will display the file name, type, and size of each individual image you added to the program. A checkbox is placed next to each image in the list, and only the marked ones will be converted. Use the Edit menu to check/uncheck all files in a single click.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine 5.0 Is Now Available With New Features

        The latest version of Wine is now available for download. Wine 5.0 is now available with new features. If you don’t know what actually wine is then Wine (originally an acronym for “Wine Is Not an Emulator”) is a compatibility layer capable of running Windows applications on operating systems, such as Linux, macOS, & BSD.

    • Games

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Run multiple consoles at once with this open source window environment

        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.

        Who remembers DESQview? It allowed for things in DOS we take for granted now in Windows, Linux, and MacOS—namely the ability to run and have multiple programs running onscreen at once. In my early days running a dial-up BBS, DESQview was a necessity—it enabled me to have the BBS running in the background while doing other things in the foreground. For example, I could be working on new features or setting up new external programs while someone was dialed in without impacting their experience. Later, in my early days in support, I could have my work email (DaVinci email on MHS), the support ticket system, and other DOS programs running all at once. It was amazing!

      • The 20 Best Mate Themes for Linux System in 2020

        Linux is the most popular open-source UNIX like an operating system. It is well known because of its lightweight. Unlike other OS, it can be used in a wide range of hardware devices that include PCs, laptops, netbooks, mobile, tablet, video game consoles, servers, and even in supercomputers. Mate is a desktop environment that comes with extensive features, while all the primary metaphors of Linux distribution remain the same. It comes with a lot of Linux compatible applications and can be considered as the continuation of the GENOME 2 project. It has already replaced the traditional GNOME shell. There are several powerful mate themes available out there that can help you to make your Mate desktop more clean, modern, and eye-catching as well.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Here’s the New KDE Plasma 5.18 Default Wallpaper

          To find a suitable background for the upcoming Plasma 5.18 LTS release the KDE community ran a community wallpaper competition with prizes from Germany-based Tuxedo Computers up for grabs.

          Nikita Babin’s Volna wallpaper took the top spot but several runners up were also selected, including a terrific one called ‘Milkway’ which, thanks to its ample use of aubergine, wouldn’t look out of place on the Ubuntu desktop!

        • Volna Wins Plasma 5.18 Wallpaper Contest

          Volna by Nikita Babin wins KDE’s 2nd Wallpaper contest. Volna will be upcoming Plasma 5.18′s default wallpaper.

          Congratulations to Nikita for the win. Nikita will receive the Grand prize, a TUXEDO Infinity Book 14 featuring an i7 Intel processor and an all-day battery with a 12-hours capacity.

          We would like to extend our congratulations also to the artists that made the finals, specifically (and in no particular order): metalbender and the spacey Milky Way wallpaper; CaceK, who created the dramatic Breach / Crystaline; Luwx submitted the cool looking Iridescent Shell; The Grand Canyon was designed by kevintee; and the winner of the Plasma 5.16 wallpaper competition, Santiago Cezar, also made it to the finals with Vera. They will each receive a package containing a KDE-branded baseball cap, a plush Tux, KDE stickers, a frozen glass coffee mug and more goodies.

        • KDE Receives Generous Donation from the Handshake Foundation
        • KDE Connect Website SoK 2020 Week 2

          Today marks the end of my second week of Season of KDE. This week had been great for me, I came in contact with many teams in KDE and got to work with many new people who are quite helpful and encouraging. Variety of changes came on the website which are linked above with links to commits.

          The Website can be viewed here.

          You can check out my proposal here. The repository that has the KDE Jekyll themed site is here.

          This week started off by discussion on the Web Telegram chat on how the website behaved weird on devices with large screen and how some users and even my mentor Carl Schwan felt it a bit weird. So I went onto make the website more important. I decided to try the website out on all types of screen provided by the developer tools in Firefox and Chrome and also checked for Portrait and Landscape modes of all those devices. I can assure you that the website looks as it is intended on all these devices. So it should work fine on relatable devices. All this work was done with CSS. Below are images of the website on large screen and the developer tools.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Highlights of YaST Development Sprint 92

          Until now, the Partitioner landing screen has been useful to have a big picture of the devices in your system and as a shortcut to jump directly to the device page just with a double click over it. But, do you know what? From yast-storage-ng 4.2.74 on you can work directly with devices from that screen similar as you already do in the more specific pages, through the contextual actions added below the devices list. That means, for example, no more jumps to Hard Disks just to add a new partition nor resize an existing one.

          [...]

          We got some bug reports about how installation progress reporting works and while we were touching it, we also added a few smaller improvements to the code.

          The first change is that nowadays installing from multiple discs almost never happens but still there was always a “Medium 1” column which did not make much sense. So we removed the column and if there is a multi-media source, it will be appended to the name if needed.

          The second visible change is a new Unicode character ⌛ (hourglass) during the initial phase of RPM installation until the remaining time can be estimated.

          The third change is that now the maximum time is always capped at 2 hours, so even if there are multiple sources and some of them took more then two hours, it always show just “>2:00:00” and even in total it is capped, so it can no longer show something like “>6:00:00”.

          The fourth one is that now you can read the release notes without disturbances. Previously you would get switched to the package log tab after each package finished its installation. Now it will redraw only when you go back from the release notes screen.

          The fifth one is a fix for showing the remaining packages, where it is shown only for the active source and not for all. So now it shows remaining packages for all repositories.

          And last but not least we do a bunch of refactoring, code quality improvements and also adding automatic unit tests to reduce regressions in the future.

        • Dominique Leuenberger: openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/04

          Dear Tumbleweed users and hackers,

          During week #4, we have released five snapshots. And this, despite having discarded two snapshots for QA issues. openQA saved our users from crashing chromium inside a KDE/Wayland session for example. The five snapshots released were 0116, 0117, 0118, 0121 and 0122.

      • Fedora Family

        • Devconf.cz 2020 Fedora CoreOS Lab

          Fedora CoreOS is a container focused operating system, coupled with automatic updates, to enable the next wave of cloud native infrastructure. Fedora CoreOS is built for many platforms, each of them delivered as a pre-built disk image. In every environment where Fedora CoreOS is deployed the initial boot starts with roughly the same disk image. In cloud environments these are cloud images that were made specifically for that cloud. For bare metal environments the coreos-installer can be used, which performs a bit for bit copy of the disk image with some convenience factors added.

          If the delivered artifact is a disk image how can it be customized? The answer to that is Ignition.

          Fedora CoreOS uses Ignition to provision a node in an automated fashion. Ignition config files are written in JSON and typically not user friendly. For that reason Fedora CoreOS offers the Fedora CoreOS Config Transpiler (also known as FCCT) that will create Ignition configs from a more user friendly format. Additionally we offer the ignition-validate sub-utility that can be used to verify Ignition config and catch issues before launching a machine.

        • Remi Collet: phpMyAdmin version 5

          RPM of the new major version of phpMyAdmin are available in remi repository for Fedora and for Enterprise Linux (RHEL, CentOS…).

        • Eclipse 2019-12 Now Available From Flathub

          If you don’t already know, Flatpak is the new way to build and distribute desktop applications for Linux. You can use Flathub to gain access to a growing collection of Flatpak applications, including Eclipse IDE. You just need to follow the setup instructions for your Linux distribution.

        • Fedora 31 : The twa web auditor tool.

          This tool comes with a good intro: A tiny web auditor with strong opinions.
          The tool named twa takes one domain at a time and use these dependencies: bash 4, curl, dig, jq, and nc, along with the POSIX system.

        • Tales from Google CodeIn’19

          As you may know, Google CodeIn (GCI) is a global, online contest introducing teenagers to the world of open source development. With a wide variety of bite-sized tasks, it’s easy for beginners to jump in and get started no matter what skills they have.

        • Git Forge requirements

          This document lays out a problem statement, requirements, and constraints according to the Open Decision Framework. The aim is to arrive at a transparent decision about the future of a git forge for the communities that represent the platforms that the Community Platform Engineering (CPE) team manages. Those communities are the CentOS and Fedora platforms and also include the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) platform from a tooling and integration perspective. This document is the first in a series of documents capturing the conversation about the problems we face and driving the conversation to implement the decisions captured.

      • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical Kills Off Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo)

          As we told you earlier this month, Ubuntu installations aren’t the only ones affected by the retirement of Disco Dingo, but also other distros based on the same release, including here the likes of Kubuntu, Xubuntu, and Lubuntu.

          Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) is the recommended upgrade for all users, Canonical says in a security advisory published this week.

        • Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo) End of Life reached on January 23 2020

          This is a follow-up to the End of Life warning sent earlier this month to confirm that as of today (Jan 23, 2020), Ubuntu 19.04 is no longer supported. No more package updates will be accepted to 19.04, and it will be archived to old-releases.ubuntu.com in the coming weeks.

          The original End of Life warning follows, with upgrade instructions:

          Ubuntu announced its 19.04 (Disco Dingo) release almost 9 months ago, on April 18, 2019. As a non-LTS release, 19.04 has a 9-month support cycle and, as such, the support period is now nearing its end and Ubuntu 19.04 will reach end of life on Thursday, Jan 23rd.

          At that time, Ubuntu Security Notices will no longer include information or updated packages for Ubuntu 19.04.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa” Release Date And Upcoming Features

          Following the tradition of a regular Long Term Support (LTS) release after every two years, the Canonical team is about to finish the development of the next LTS release, Ubuntu 20.04.

          After Ubuntu 19.10, whose life support will end on July 2020, Ubuntu 20.04 is the much-awaited LTS with major updates and improvements with the end of life until 2030.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS: Release Schedule

          The development lifecycle of Ubuntu 20.04 includes the 27-week release schedule. Canonical follows a 25-week schedule for October releases and a 27-week schedule for April. This release will be supported for 10 years as an ‘extended maintenance release’ (ESM).

        • First look at the new Dark and Light Yaru Theme in Ubuntu 20.04 Daily Builds

          In this video, we look at the new Dark and Light Yaru Theme in Ubuntu 20.04 Daily Builds (as of 23 January 2020) and how to enable it currently.

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

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

          How to get notified about the latest versions?

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

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Source Code Released for All ProtonVPN Apps

        Proton, which a few months ago released the source code for its ProtonMail app for iOS, believes open source software is better in terms of safety and accountability, and the company plans on releasing all of its client-facing software as open source in the future.

      • All ProtonVPN apps are now open source and audited

        We’re happy to be the first VPN provider to open source apps on all platforms (Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS) and undergo an independent security audit. Transparency, ethics, and security are at the core of the Internet we want to build and the reason why we built ProtonVPN in the first place.

        [...]

        The other important benefit of open sourcing our software is that it furthers our overall mission to build an Internet that’s more secure, private, and free by leveraging the power of the community. Security improvements can now be submitted by developers from around the world through our bug bounty program. And in some cases even features improvements from the community may be incorporated into the official ProtonVPN apps, similar to what we have done previously with the official ProtonVPN Linux client.

      • A guide to staying organized with open source tools

        With so many tools on the web offered as services, there’s more to getting organized than just choosing the most convenient online vendor.

        You have to think of your system of organization as part of your product, whether that’s personal productivity or a software project you ship to hundreds or thousands of users. Using open source isn’t a matter of brand loyalty. Open source is about you owning the tools that enable you to do what you do.

      • Five reasons why your business should adopt open source software

        Open source software has changed the computing landscape forever. In just over 25 years, with little fanfare and even less promotion, it’s been installed on more devices than its proprietary cousins.

        It’s the backbone of the internet and runs enterprise mission critical services for most of the world’s largest organisations. It’s generally seen as more secure, more agile, faster to drive value from, of higher quality and considerably less expensive to deploy, scale and maintain than its competitors – the standard proprietary software companies.

      • Events

        • Collabora supports Free Software Winter Camp 2020 in Eskişehir, Turkey

          Twenty one students have been selected to take part in the LibreOffice Development Workshop at the Anadolu University, EskiÅŸehir, Turkey. It is held from Jan 25 to Jan 28 as a part of the Free Software Winter Camp 2020.

        • FOSDEM 2020

          In less than 10 days, Collabora will be in Brussels to take part in this year’s edition of FOSDEM, a two-day event organised by volunteers to promote the widespread use of free and open source software. Taking place at the ULB Solbosch Campus on February 1 & 2, FOSDEM is widely recognized as the best and biggest conference of its kind in Europe.

          Collaborans will be giving 12 talks over the weekend, on topics including KernelCI’s new home, the latest on Zink (OpenGL on Vulkan), OpenXR & Monado, PipeWire in the automotive industry, JPEG2000, and GStreamer on the Magic Leap One.

          You’ll be able to hear them speak in the main track, as well as 6 different devrooms: Containers, Game Development, Graphics, Open Media, Testing & Automation, and Embedded, Mobile & Automotive. See below are the details for each presentation.

        • Daniel Stenberg: Coming to FOSDEM 2020

          I’m going to FOSDEM again in 2020, this will be my 11th consecutive year I’m travling to this awesome conference in Brussels, Belgium.

          At this my 11th FOSDEM visit I will also deliver my 11th FOSDEM talk: “HTTP/3 for everyone“. It will happen at 16:00 Saturday the 1st of February 2020, in Janson, the largest room on the campus. (My third talk in the main track.)

        • Molly de Blanc: Friends of GNOME Update January 2020

          We spent the end of 2019 at home and on vacation, preparing us for the excitement that 2020 is bringing.

          In January we’ll be at Sustain Summit 2020 in Brussels, Belgium. Shortly afterwards, you will be able to find us at FOSDEM on February 1-2!

          Saturday 12:00 (La Fontaine): Molly de Blanc will be speaking on ethics and IoT.
          saturday 14:00 (UA2.220): Neil McGovern will be debating on whether the 4 Freedoms and OSD are outdated and no longer relevant in 2020.
          Saturday 15:00 (UA2.220): Molly will be debating on the question of should licenses be designed to advance general social goals.

          On Saturday, February 1, we will be having GNOME Beers at Bonnefooi starting at 19:30. It is located at Rue des Pierres 8, 10000 Brussels.

        • Winner Announced for 2020 Conference Logo Competition

          The winner of the openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference logo competition is Kukuh Syafaat from Indonesia.

          Kukuh’s “Fresh Community Spirit” was the winning design and was one of 10 designs submitted during the competition. “Mystery Box” will be sent to Kukuh for the winning design.

          In 2020, openSUSE and LibreOffice wil have a shared conference from October 13 – 16 in Nuremberg, Germany.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Rubén Martín: Modernizing communities – The Mozilla way

            It’s been a long time since I’ve wanted to write deeply about my work empowering communities. I want to start with this article sharing some high-level learnings around working on community strategy.

            Hi, I’m Rubén Martín and I work as a Community Strategist for Mozilla, the non-profit behind Firefox Browser.

          • Mozilla VR Blog: Hello WebXR

            We are happy to share a brand new WebXR experience we have been working on called Hello WebXR!

            Here is a preview video of how it looks:

            We wanted to create a demo to celebrate the release of the WebXR v1.0 API!.

            The demo is designed as a playground where you can try different experiences and interactions in VR, and introduce newcomers to the VR world and its special language in a smooth, easy and nice way.

          • Data detox: Five ways to reset your relationship with your phone

            We use our phones for everything from hailing rides to ordering in, and even to track our literal steps. All that convenience at our fingertips comes at a cost: our personal data and our mental health. It’s hard to be present in the moment when push notifications and texts are enticing us to look down. Meanwhile, the amount of personal data we share, many times without even realizing, can be alarming.

            [...]

            We don’t really think about our phone’s name, but if you look now, chances are, it’s your name. It might not seem like a big deal, but every time you connect to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth everyone around can see your name. Why not change it to your favorite fictional character’s name or make up something funny?

            [...]

            There you have it, five easy steps to take back your data and maybe even some hours of quality you time. Enjoy your detox journey and be sure to tweet us your comments @Firefox! Stay tuned for more detox tips coming soon.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • New Confluent Platform release boosts event streaming quality

          Event streaming is a critical component of modern data management and analysis, bringing real-time data to organizations. One of the most popular tools for event streaming is the open source Apache Kafka technology that is at the foundation of the commercial Confluent platform.

          The vendor, based in Mountain View, Calif., has enhanced the platform with capabilities that make event streaming more secure and resilient.

          The Confluent Platform 5.4 event streaming update became generally available Wednesday and benefits from improvements that first landed in the Apache Kafka 2.4 update that was released on Dec. 18. Beyond what’s available in the Kafka update, Confluent’s new release adds role-based access control (RBAC) security, improved disaster recovery and enhanced schema validation for data quality.

        • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Scylla Open Source Database

          Scylla is an open source NoSQL database that leverages Apache Cassandra’s innovation and elevates it to the next level.

          According to the Scylla team, Scylla is implemented in C++14 and offers a “shared-nothing, thread-per-code design.”

          Scylla’s website claims: “You get the best of all worlds: the scale-out, fault tolerance of Cassandra, with the throughput of millions of operations per node and low and consistent latency. Scylla tunes itself automatically to adjust to dynamic workloads and various hardware combinations.”

        • As SaaS stocks set new records, Atlassian’s earnings show there’s still room to grow

          Given that public SaaS companies have now managed to crest their prior highs and have been rewarded for doing so with several days of flat trading, you might think that there isn’t much room left for them to rise. Not so, at least according to Atlassian . The well-known software company reported earnings after-hours yesterday and the market quickly pushed its shares up by more than 10%.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • Webserver/CMS

        • How I moved from Nginx to Caddy

          Let me show you how complex an Nginx configuration can get for something as simple as serving two static websites with sane TLS configuration. If we have a look on the tls.conf, there are many things I would expect from a webserver to be default in the year 2020. First there are the ssl_protocols, second there are the ssl_ciphers and ssl_ecdh_curve, third there is ssl_stapling. I expect all of these to be enabled on default and neither Nginx nor Apache do this with standard settings.

        • Tempus Fugit, or moving from hubpress to Jekyll

          When I opened my blog, I realised I hadn’t updated the underlying hubpress code in quite a while. A long while. So long, in fact, that I couldn’t update hubpress anymore, because, much to my distress, the hubpress project had been archived by its author in the meantime. It had been archived months ago, and because I had not written a blog in over a year, I hadn’t even noticed.

          I think it’s safe to say I do not have a lucky hand in picking new open source projects to build my own stuff upon. But that’s part of the risk of running new tech sometimes, right?

      • FSF

        • CiviCRM meetup looking for new organizer

          The Free Software Foundation’s (FSF) CiviCRM meetup in Boston is looking for community members who are interested in taking over and reviving this meetup.

          At one point, this meetup had about twelve people every month, but in the last two or three years it has gone down to one to three. We know there are people in the Boston area working at nonprofits, and who are using or considering using CiviCRM as an important part of their work. We would love for them to get together, but we don’t have the time to organize the meetup anymore.

        • GNU Projects

          • Why GNU Guix matters

            Have you ever installed an application on a computer, a smartphone or your favourite smart device? Can you trust that it does its job instead of doing the opposite of what it displays on screen or, worse, compromise your data and your private life?

            How can you know? You might think “Let’s use free and open source software!” The bad news: it’s far, very far from being enough.

            This is a hard and yet very real problem that hits our everyday life constantly. Consider this: the digital pictures of our loved ones, banking operations, the (political?) news feed that we read, our contacts and the communication with our friends and colleagues; all of it happens through applications.

            How can we protect ourselves from deceit? How can we guarantee trust in the machines that we use?

            First, we need to understand how applications are made.

          • [Old] Announcing HyperbolaBSD Roadmap

            Due to the Linux kernel rapidly proceeding down an unstable path, we are planning on implementing a completely new OS derived from several BSD implementations.

            This was not an easy decision to make, but we wish to use our time and resources to create a viable alternative to the current operating system trends which are actively seeking to undermine user choice and freedom.

            This will not be a “distro”, but a hard fork of the OpenBSD kernel and userspace including new code written under GPLv3 and LGPLv3 to replace GPL-incompatible parts and non-free ones.

          • GNU Guix: Guile 3 & Guix

            Most users interact with Guix through its command-line interface, and we work hard to make it as approachable as possible. As any user quickly notices, Guix uses the Scheme programming language uniformly for its configuration—from channels to manifests and operating systems—and anyone who starts packaging software knows that package definitions are in fact Scheme code as well.

            This is a significant departure from many other, and in particular from Nix. While Nix defines several domain-specific languages (DSLs) for these aspects—the Nix language but also specific configuration languages—Guix chooses Scheme as the single language for all this, together with the definition of high-level embedded domain-specific languages (EDSLs).

            It goes beyond that: in Guix System, all the things traditionally implemented in C or as a set of Perl or shell scripts are implemented in Scheme. That includes the init system, package builds, the initial RAM disk (initrd), system tests, and more. Because this leads to several layers of Scheme code, executed at different points in time, Guix includes a code staging mechanism built upon the nice properties of Scheme.

            Why do that? The arguments, right from the start, were twofold: using a general-purpose language allows us to benefit from its implementation tooling, and having interfaces for “everything” in Scheme makes it easy for users to navigate their distro or OS code and to reuse code to build new features or applications. Guix developers benefit from the ease of code reuse every day; demonstrative examples include the use of Guix container facilities in the init system, the development of many tools providing facilities around packages, the implementation of additional user interfaces, and work on applications that use Guix as a library such as the Guix Workflow Language and Guix-Jupyter.

            As for the benefits of the host general-purpose language, these are rather obvious: Guix developers benefit from an expressive language, an optimizing compiler, a debugger, a powerful read-eval-print loop (REPL), an interactive development environment, and all sorts of libraries. Moving to Guile 3 should add to that better performance, essentially for free. To be comprehensive, Guile 3 may well come with a set of brand new bugs too, but so far we seem to be doing OK!

          • 30 Days in the Hole

            Yes, it’s been a month since I posted here. To be more precise, 30 Days in the Hole – I’ve been heads-down on a project with a deadline which I just barely met. and then preoccupied with cleanup from that effort.

            The project was reposurgeon’s biggest conversion yet, the 280K-commit history of the Gnu Compiler Collection. As of Jan 11 it is officially lifted from Subversion to Git. The effort required to get that done was immense, and involved one hair-raising close call.

            I was still debugging the Go translation of the code four months ago when the word came from the GCC team that they has a firm deadline of December 16 to choose between reposurgeon and a set of custom scripts written by a GCC hacker named Maxim Kyurkov. Which I took a look at – and promptly recoiled from in horror.

            The problem wasn’t the work of Kyurkov himself; his scripts looked pretty sane to me, But they relied on git-svn, and that was very bad. It works adequately for live gatewaying to a Subversion repository, but if you use it for batch conversions it has any number of murky bugs including a tendency to badly screw up the location of branch joins.

            The problem I was facing was that Kyurkov and the GCC guys, never having had their noses rubbed in these problems as I had, might be misled by git-svn’s surface plausibility into using it, and winding up with a subtly damaged conversion and increased friction costs for the rest of time. To head that off, I absolutely had to win on 16 Dec.

            Which wasn’t going to be easy. My Subversion dump analyzer had problems of it own. I had persistent failures on some particularly weird cases in my test suite, and the analyzer itself was a hairball that tended to eat RAM at prodigious rates. Early on, it became apparent that the 128GB Great Beast II was actually too small for the job!

      • Programming/Development

        • 7 Best Free Web-Based Git Clients

          Git is an open source distributed version control system which was originally designed by Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, in 2005 for Linux kernel development. This control system is widely used by the open source community, handling small to extremely large projects with an emphasis on speed and efficiency, but maintaining flexibility, scalability, and guaranteeing data integrity.

          Git is one of a number of open source revision control systems available for Linux. Other popular tools in this field include Subversion, Bazaar, Mercurial, Monotone, CVS, and SVN. However, Git is frequently regarded by many developers to be the finest version control tool available.

        • Remi Collet: PHP version 7.2.27, 7.3.14 and 7.4.2

          RPMs of PHP version 7.4.2 are available in remi-php74 repository for Fedora ≥ 29 and Enterprise Linux ≥ 7 (RHEL, CentOS).

          RPMs of PHP version 7.3.14 are available in remi repository for Fedora 30-31 and remi-php73 repository for Fedora 29 and Enterprise Linux ≥ 6 (RHEL, CentOS).

          RPMs of PHP version 7.2.27 are available in remi repository for Fedora 29 and remi-php72 repository for Enterprise Linux ≥ 6 (RHEL, CentOS).

        • Remi Collet: PHP version 7.2 required

          So, now, some noarch packages in the remi repository require 7.2 as the minimal required version.

          foo requires php(language) >= 7.2
          Despite the remi repository still provides the PHP 5.6, 7.0 and 7.1, and even if I still plan to maintain these versions for some time (backporting some security patches, when some other repositories just planned to drop them), this doesn’t suite the main goal of my repository: provide the latest versions of PHP and promote their adoption by developers and users.

        • Smalltalk-Inspired Pharo 8.0 Released

          Pharo is based on thus general concepts of Smalltalk. Thuss it is strongly object-oriented and everything in the Pharo language is an object. The language is dynamically typed; inheritance is simple; memory management is automatic via a garbage collector and its syntax is very simple and small.

          There’s an enthusiastic collection of developers using Pharo, and the developers make regular commits and provide almost daily bug fixes. The language has a number of ways to interface with C, and there are Java and JavaScript libraries.

          The first change of note in Pharo 8 is the move to 64-bit as the recommended version for Windows – it already was the main version for Unix and OSX. Iceberg, the git client for Pharo, has also been improved in this release, with better management of projects and repositories management, improved merging, and faster loading and comparison for projects with big packages.

        • HackSpace’s 25 ways to use a Raspberry Pi

          The latest issue of HackSpace magazine is out today, and it features a rather recognisable piece of tech on the front cover.

        • Delete Files with Java 8

          A friend asked me to help him with the following in Bash — delete all files but a whitelisted and use mix / max depth for directory traversal. It’s probably possible in Bash with some crazy find, grep, etc one-liner.

        • Python

          • Odoo in a root-less container

            The main workstation running Fedora 31 now, devoid of any trace of python2, I had to either spin up a virtual machine (which I happily did in the past using qemu and kvm [no libvirt or GNOME Boxes]) or get the hands dirty on containers this time to develop on Odoo [1] version 10 which depends on python2. Faced with the challenge^Wopprotunity, I started to learn to use containers.

            Never tried to use docker, even though I am familiar with its technology and at times I wanted to try and have hands on experience on the technology. Fast forward, podman and buildah came along with the possibility to run root-less containers and they’re available in Fedora.

          • 3 handy command-line internet speed tests

            Speedtest is an old favorite. It’s implemented in Python, packaged in Apt, and also available with pip. You can use it as a command-line tool or within a Python script.

          • Python Program to Convert Octal Number to Decimal and vice-versa

            The octal numeral system, or oct for short, is the base-8 number system and uses the digits 0 to 7. The main characteristic of an Octal Numbering System is that there are only 8 distinct counting digits from 0 to 7 with each digit having a weight or value of just 8 starting from the least significant bit (LSB).

            In the decimal number system, each digit represents the different power of 10 making them base-10 number system.

          • Using SQLAlchemy with Flask and PostgreSQL

            Databases are a crucial part of modern applications since they store the data used to power them. Generally, we use the Structured Query Language (SQL) to perform queries on the database and manipulate the data inside of it. Though initially done via dedicated SQL tools, we’ve quickly moved to using SQL from within applications to perform queries.

            Naturally, as time passed, Object Relational Mappers (ORMs) came to be – which enable us to safely, easily and conveniently connect to our database programmatically without needing to actually run queries to manipulate the data.

            One such ORM is SQLAlchemy. In this post, we will delve deeper into ORMs and specifically SQLAlchemy, then use it to build a database-driven web application using the Flask framework.

          • Python Program To Reverse a Sentence
          • How to pad/fill a string by a variable in Python using f-strings

            I often find myself Googling for this. Always a little bit embarrassed that I can’t remember the incantation (syntax).

          • Add Styles To Templates – Building SaaS #42

            In this episode, I added a CSS framework, Tailwind CSS. After working through some issues with the log out feature, we started to style the base template of the site.

            To stay true to my “make the minimum possible thing that will work,” I added Tailwind CSS from a CDN, content delivery network.

          • Refund policy for Attendees and Financial Aid recipients traveling to PyCon internationally

            International travel to the United States has become a greater risk for many in our community. In light of current conditions, PyCon would like to highlight the support we provide for international travelers. If you are travelling internationally to PyCon, take note of the following information. Financial Aid applicants should take note of additional information specific to that process in the second section.

          • Create a project to track total sales at different locations with the Python program

            In the previous posts, we have gone through a project which will receive the user input and commit those data into the earning table. This program has been further modified to include the plotting of a bar chart to indicate the total sales of various inventories in various locations.

            This project has been uploaded to this site, you can download the source code of this project for free through this link. If you like this project, don’t forget to award me with stars on the same project page or share the project page with friends!

          • Python Program to Convert Binary Number to Decimal and Vice-Versa

            A binary number is a number expressed in the base-2 numeral system or binary numeral system, which uses only two symbols 0 and 1.

            The decimal numeral system is the standard system for denoting integer and non-integer numbers.

            All decimal numbers can be converted to equivalent binary values and vice versa for example, the binary equivalent of “2” is “10” to explore more visit binary to decimal converter.

            In this article, we will create python programs for converting a binary number into decimal and vice versa

          • Using MySQL’s LOAD DATA with Django

            While attempting to improve performance of bulk inserting data into MySQL database my coworker came across the LOAD DATA SQL statement. It allows you to read data from a text file (in a comma separated variable-like format) and quickly insert it into a table. There’s two variations of it, a local remote version. We did not experiment with the local version since we were connecting to a remote MySQL server and did not have access to the database’s local disk.

          • Cleanly removing a Django app (with models)

            While pruning features from our product it was necessary to fully remove some Django apps that had models in them. If the code is just removed than the tables (and some other references) will be left in the database.

          • Rename Files in Python: A Guide with Examples using os.rename()

            In this post, we are going to work with Python 3 to rename files. Specifically, we will use the Python module os to rename a file and rename multiple files.

            First, we will rename a single file in 4 easy steps. After that, we will learn how to rename multiple files using Python 3. To be able to change the name of multiple files using Python can come in handy. For example, if we have a bunch of data files (e.g., .csv files) with long, or strange names, we may want to rename them to make working with them easier later in our projects (e.g., when loading the CSV files into a Pandas dataframe).

        • Ansible/Bash

          • Asynchronous Tasks in Ansible

            Most users know Ansible well for its ability to perform configuration management as well as orchestrate complex software deployment. However, Ansible also has a reasonable arsenal of features that lend themselves to operational tasks. There are modules that can handle simple tasks such as creating user accounts and restarting daemons. But more than just modules, some core features of Ansible make it a great tool for any systems administrator.

            [...]

            You might think that Ansible will eventually timeout on long-running jobs. You would be correct in the default case. However, with a little configuration, you can still have Ansible take care of these tasks for you! Ansible offers the ability to asynchronously execute tasks. You have the option of configuring Ansible check back on a regular interval or you can even have Ansible “fire and forget” if you so choose. This can help you get around pesky ssh timeouts among other things!

            What is especially great about the asynchronous task feature is that it is really easy to use! There are only two flags affiliated with the feature. The -B flag is used to set our task timeout value. We pass a number of seconds with the flag.

          • ‘Thousands Of Tools Have Come & Gone, But Ansible & Bash Have Stood The Test Of Time’
          • Container debugging minihint

            What’s in my container?

          • Bdale Garbee: Digital Photo Creation Dates

            I thought briefly about hacking Piwigo to use the GPS time stamps, but quickly realized that wouldn’t actually solve the problem, since they’re in UTC and the pictures from our phone cameras were all using local time. There’s probably a solution lurking there somewhere, but just fixing up the times in the photo files that were wrong seemed like an easier path forward.

            A Google search or two later, and I found jhead, which fortunately was already packaged for Debian. It makes changing Exif timestamps of an on-disk Jpeg image file really easy. Highly recommended!

            Compounding my problem was that my wife had already spent many hours tagging her photos in the Piwigo web GUI, so it really seemed necessary to fix the images “in place” on the Piwigo server. The first problem with that is that as you upload photos to the server, they are assigned unique filenames on disk based on the upload date and time plus a random hash, and the original filename becomes just an element of metadata in the Piwigo database. Piwigo scans the Exif data at image import time and stuffs the database with a number of useful values from there, including the image creation time that is fundamental to aligning images taken by different cameras on a timeline.

            [...]

            At this point, all the files on disk were updated, as a little quick checking with exif and exiv2 at the command line confirmed. But my second problem was figuring out how to get Piwigo to notice and incorporate the changes. That turned out to be easier than I thought! Using the admin interface to go into the photos batch manager, I was able to select all the photos in the folder we upload raw pictures from Karen’s camera to that were taken in the relevant date range (which I expressed as taken:2019-12-14..2021), then selected all photos in the resulting set, and performed action “synchronize metadata”. All the selected image files were rescanned, the database got updated…

      • Standards/Consortia

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • Academic Consensus Growing: Phones And Social Media Aren’t Damaging Your Kids

        We’ve pointed out for a while now that every generation seems to have some sort of moral panic over whatever is popular among kids. You’re probably aware of more recent examples, from rock music to comic books to Dungeons and Dragons to pinball machines (really). Of course, in previous generations there were other things, like chess and the waltz. Given all that, for years we’ve urged people not to immediately jump on the bandwagon of assuming new technology must also be bad for kids. And, yet, so many people insist they are. Senator Josh Hawley has practically trademarked his claim that social media is bad for kids. Senator Lindsey Graham held a full hearing all of which was evidence free, moral panicking about social media and the children — and because of that he’s preparing a new law to completely upend Section 230 in the name of “protecting the children” from social media.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Meet the Lawyer Whose 20-Year Fight Against DuPont Inspired “Dark Waters”

        The new film “Dark Waters” tells the story of attorney Rob Bilott’s 20-year battle with DuPont over contaminated drinking water in West Virginia from toxic chemicals used to make Teflon. The Environmental Working Group credited Billot with “uncovering the most heinous corporate environmental conspiracy in history,” and the issue of contaminated water from the plastics industry continues to devastate areas across the country. On Wednesday, the Environmental Working Group released a shocking report about how toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS have been found in the drinking water of dozens of U.S. cities, including major metropolitan areas including Miami, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. The so-called forever chemicals are linked to cancer, high cholesterol and decreased fertility, and they do not break down in the environment. We speak with attorney Robert Bilott, who has just published a new book titled Exposure: Poisoned Water, Corporate Greed, and One Lawyer’s Twenty-Year Battle Against DuPont. He is portrayed by Mark Ruffalo in the Hollywood film Dark Waters. We’re also joined by Tim Robbins, Academy Award-winning actor and director, who plays Bilott’s boss at his law firm in Dark Waters.

      • ‘Biggest Loss of Clean Water Protection the Country Has Ever Seen’: Trump Guts Safeguards for US Streams and Wetlands

        “This all-out assault on basic safeguards will send our country back to the days when corporate polluters could dump whatever sludge or slime they wished into the streams and wetlands that often connect to the water we drink.”

      • Despite Lawsuit, Activists Find Evidence Plant in Texas Still Polluting Water

        On the afternoon of January 15, activist Diane Wilson kicked off a San Antonio Estuary Waterkeeper meeting on the side of the road across from a Formosa plastics manufacturing plant in Point Comfort, Texas. After Wilson and the waterkeeper successfully sued Formosa, the company agreed to no longer release even one of the tiny plastic pellets known as nurdles into the region’s waterways. The group of volunteers had assembled that day to check whether the plant was still discharging these raw materials of plastics manufacturing.

      • Russia ups monitoring at Chinese border following coronavirus outbreak

        Amid the spread of a new coronavirus that has infected more than 600 people in China, Russian officials have taken measures to prevent the disease from gaining a foothold in their own country. In the Amur region, which borders China, a region-wide alert has been issued, said local welfare monitoring chief Olga Kruganova. On the federal level, Kruganova’s agency, Rospotrebnadzor, has instituted heightened sanitary and quarantining measures at all transfer points between China and Russia.

      • China Locks Down 3 Cities With 18 Million to Stop Virus

        Chinese authorities Thursday moved to lock down three cities with a combined population of more than 18 million in an unprecedented effort to contain the deadly new virus that has sickened hundreds of people and spread to other parts of the world during the busy Lunar New Year travel period.

      • SARS-Like Disease Could Become a Pandemic

        Do you remember SARS? Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) was so contagious; a SARS-afflicted man on an Air China flight in 2003 infected 20 passengers sitting at a distance away from him and two crew members. The simple act of flushing the toilet spread the deadly lung disease and health care workers had to wear HazMat suits to treat patients. Eight hundred people died including Pekka Aro, a senior official with the United Nations.

      • Ukraine: People with Limited Mobility Can’t Access Pensions
      • More U.S. Troops Treated for Concussion Symptoms as Trump Downplays ‘Headaches’

        Trump’s comments immediately drew fire from veterans advocates, who noted that traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are often considered to be the signature wounds of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars due to blasts from roadside bombs and other incidents. Between 2000 and early 2019, the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center reported more than 408,000 TBIs among U.S. service members worldwide, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

        Paul Rieckhoff, the founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, tweeted: “The @DeptVetAffairs and hundreds of thousands of post-9/11 veterans disagree … Don’t just be outraged by #PresidentMayhem’s latest asinine comments. Take action to help vets facing TBIs.”

      • ‘Deaths of Despair’ Aren’t Just a U.S. Problem

        According to a new report from the National Center for Social Research life expectancy in the U.K. is expected to continue to increase but the size of these increases is substantially smaller than in previous years. A more detailed study by the Office for National Statistics compared 20 countries and found that between 2005-2010 and 2010-2015 the U.K. had the greatest slowing in life expectancy at birth for women and the second greatest slowing for men (behind the U.S.).

        While the exact causes of these divides are still being debated, it’s hard not to draw parallels with the debate in the U.S. As Case and Deaton show in their book “Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism,” life expectancy in the U.S. recently fell for three years in a row, a reversal not seen since 1918 or in any other wealthy nation in modern times.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • The App Store is down

          Midday on Friday it appeared that Apple’s App Store, a critical piece of the digital and mobile economies, struggled with uptime issues. Apple’s own status page indicated that the application vendor was having an “ongoing” issue that affected “some users.”

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Design Weaknesses Expose Industrial Systems to Damaging Attacks [iophk: Windows TCO]

            On the 10,000 industrial endpoints it has analyzed, PAS discovered a total of more than 380,000 known vulnerabilities, a majority impacting software made by Microsoft. However, the company found not only typical vulnerabilities that can be patched with a software or firmware update, but also weaknesses introduced by the existence of legitimate features and functionality that can be abused for malicious purposes.

          • GMP don’t know exactly what crimes were committed in the second half of 2019 – because of its computer system

            The force’s new computer system, which prompted a flood of frustrated whistleblowers to come forward over the summer, is preventing GMP from providing the government with up-to-date crime figures

          • 250 million Microsoft customer service records briefly exposed online: report

            Consumer research group Comparitech found that records of conversations between Microsoft support employees and customers around the world spanning 14 years, from 2005 through the end of 2019, were left exposed on five separate servers between Dec. 28 and 29.

            This information was accessible during that time to anyone with a web browser, and included customer email addresses, locations, IP addresses, case numbers and confidential internal notes on cases.

          • Looking for silver linings in the CVE-2020-0601 crypto vulnerability

            The scene stealer in January’s Patch Tuesday updates from Microsoft was CVE-2020-0601, a very serious vulnerability in the crypt32.dll library used by more recent versions of Windows.

            The flaw, which also goes by the names Chain of Fools and Curveball, allows an attacker to fool Windows into believing that malicious software and websites have been digitally vouched for by one of the root certificate authorities that Windows trusts (including Microsoft itself).

            An attacker could exploit the flaw to disguise malware as legitimate – Microsoft-approved – software, to conduct silent Man-in-the-Middle attacks or to create more realistic phishing websites.

          • Critical MDhex Vulnerabilities Shake the Healthcare Sector

            Critical vulnerabilities have been discovered in popular medical devices from GE Healthcare that could allow attackers to alter the way they function or render them unusable.

            A set of six security flaws, they have been collectively named MDhex. Five of them received the highest severity rating on the Common Vulnerability Scoring System, 10 out of 10.

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (git and python-apt), Oracle (openslp), Red Hat (chromium-browser and ghostscript), SUSE (samba, slurm, and tomcat), and Ubuntu (clamav, gnutls28, and python-apt).

          • Why Networking Monitoring Tools are Important and How to Pick One?

            In today’s world, a business has to have a strong online presence to build a brand and to stay connected with the target demographic. To achieve that, it’s critical that your online network is protected against common cyber-attacks and hacking attempts so that there is minimal downtime. Network monitoring allows you to bolster your business network and also to make the most of your resources.

          • There are no root causes

            At the if statement, the CPU uses past measurements to make a prediction about which branch might be taken, and it then begins to execute that path, even though ‘x > y’ has not been executed or completed yet! At this point x or y may not have even finished being computed yet!

            Let’s assume for now our branch predictor thinks that ‘x > y’ is false, so we’ll start to execute the “return false” or any other content in that branch.

            Now the instructions ahead catch up, and we resolve “did we really predict correctly?”. If we did, great! We have been able to advance the program state asynchronously even without knowing the answer until we get there.

            If not, ohh nooo. We have to unwind what we were doing, clear some of the pipeline and try to do the correct branch.

            Of course this has an impact on timing of the program. Some people found you could write a program to manipulate this predictor and using specific addresses and content, they could use these timing variations to “access memory” they are not allowed to by letting the specualative executor contribute to code they are not allowed to access before the unroll occurs. They could time this, and retrieve the memory contents from areas they are not allowed to access, breaking isolation.

            [...]

            Our computers are still asynchronous, and contain many out-of-order parts. It’s hard to believe we have “found” every method of exploiting this. Indeed in the last year many more ways to bypass hardware isolation due to our systems async nature have been found.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Attorney General Barr’s Anti-Encryption Efforts Aren’t Supported By Many FBI Officials

              When Attorney General William Barr speaks, he represents the DOJ and all the agencies it oversees. The problem is that Bill Barr’s recent anti-encryption agitating doesn’t reflect the views of the people he oversees. While Barr is trying to turn the public against Apple by suggesting it protects terrorists and murderers, FBI employees are worried his words and actions will harm them more than help them.

            • Law Enforcement’s New Facial Recognition Toy Scrapes Photos From Websites, Serves Up ‘Matches’ In Seconds

              The biggest collection of biometric data isn’t housed by any government agency. In fact, it’s not owned by any single private company in the world. It’s the internet itself, which houses multiple billions of face photographs that one company is using to give law enforcement perhaps its sketchiest facial recognition tool yet. Kashmir Hill has the full report for the New York Times.

            • Google says Apple Safari’s anti-tracking feature can be used to track users
            • Inria and the CNIL award the 2019 Privacy Protection prize to a European research team

              On 22nd January, 2020 Guillaume Prunier, deputy CEO of Inria and François Pellegrini, member of the CNIL, presented the CNIL-Inria Prize at the CPDP conference in Brussels. This European prize, created by the CNIL and Inria in 2016 as part of the partnership between the two institutions, aims to encourage research in the field of data protection and privacy. Papers were mainly selected on the two criteria of scientific excellence and societal impact, by a jury co-chaired by François Pellegrini for the CNIL, and Nataliia Bielova for Inria.

              This prize is an opportunity to raise the scientific community’s awareness of data protection issues and the need to develop research projects in this field, particularly in the light of developments brought by the European Regulation on the protection of personal data (GDPR), and in particular the new requirements for privacy by design and accountability.

              The awarded paper, entitled “An Analysis of Pre-installed Android Software”, by Julien Gamba, Mohammed Rashed, Abbas Razaghpanah, Juan Tapiador and Narseo Vallina-Rodriguez, has been accepted for publication at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy 2020.

            • The right of the public to access documents v the right to confidentiality for marketing authorization (MA) documents: Transparency wins out in yesterday’s CJEU rulings

              The CJEU delivered two rulings yesterday ( January 22, 2020) in the cases of PTC Therapeutics International v EMA case (C-175/18 P) and MSD Animal Health Innovation and Intervet International v EMA case (C-178/18 P). Read them hereand here! These two rulings are of particular interest since the CJEU was for the first time asked to consider the right of access to EU documents that had been submitted in connection with an MA application.

              In both cases, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) had allowed a third party’s request of access, including toxicological reports and clinical studies. Only a very small portion of the documents had been classified as confidential. The request was granted not during the examination of the application, but rather post-MA grant and after the products were placed on the market.

              [...]

              These two cases are important for two reasons. First, they clarify an important principle in EU law, that of transparency, and second, they delineate aspects of the legal status of documents submitted in MA proceedings (and, in this connection, provide an interesting interpretation of Article 4 of the Regulation No 1049/2000).

              In its decisions, the Court of Justice elaborated on the importance of transparency of EU documents and confirmed that such transparency constitutes a foundation for the legitimacy of EU agencies such as the EMA. The EMA, harshly criticized during the years, among other things for its lack of transparency, obviously has a substantial interest in rulings such as the one given yesterday, which serves to enhance the broader legitimacy of its decision and the overall role of the agency.

            • Facebook’s rising Democrat problem

              Big companies of a sufficient size generally avoid becoming associated with a political party because they want to attract customers across the political spectrum and they want to profit under presidents of either party.

              But for Facebook, a Republican president has been a critical shield against angry Democratic policymakers — and a Democratic one could prove a nemesis.

            • PayPal Moves Further Into China With UnionPay Partnership

              The companies also said that the tie-up would allow PayPal and UnionPay’s global subsidiary, UnionPay International, to “explore opportunities” to expand PayPal’s reach in China. In a statement, Magats said the new partnership would give the company the option to “expand PayPal’s digital wallet to physical retail locations where UnionPay is accepted in China, or internationally.”

            • Google and Apple Clash Over Web Browser Privacy

              The Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature on Apple’s Safari web browser, which is meant to block tracking software used by digital advertisers, can be abused to do the exact opposite, according to a paper released Wednesday by Google researchers. Google told Apple about the problem in August, and in December the iPhone maker published a blog post saying it had fixed the issues and thanking Google for its help.

              But Wednesday’s paper concluded that the problems go beyond the issues that Apple addressed. Instead of making a big list of cookies to block, Apple’s ITP continuously learns what websites users visit and which kinds of cookies try to hitch a ride. Over time, this creates unique cookie-blocking algorithms for each web surfer that can be used to identify and track them, according to the paper.

            • Who Made the Spyware Used to Hack Jeff Bezos’ Phone?

              The United Nations is at odds with the world’s most notorious spyware company over an age-old question: Who built the tech that hacked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s cell phone, allegedly by sending him a poisoned WhatsApp message from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia?

              A new statement from a UN team investigating the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi says they believe Bezos “was subjected to intrusive surveillance via hacking of his phone as a result of actions attributable to the WhatsApp account used by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”

            • New alpha release: Tor 0.4.3.1-alpha

              This is the first alpha release in the 0.4.3.x series. It includes improved support for application integration of onion services, support for building in a client-only mode, and newly improved internal documentation (online at https://src-ref.docs.torproject.org/tor/). It also has numerous other small bugfixes and features, as well as improvements to our code’s internal organization that should help us write better code in the future.

            • Telegram Update Adds New Poll Options, Message Scheduling

              Telegram 1.9.7 for Windows, macOS and Linux builds on the changes introduced in the previous stable release by adding a crop of interesting new options to its interactive ‘polls’ feature.

              Didn’t know you could create polls in Telegram? Well, yup, you can — but only in groups and channels (which makes sense: a poll with only recipient isn’t really a poll).

              With the latest Telegram desktop release three new kinds of polls are available:

              Visible votes (as the name might tell you) now lets users see who voted for which option in a given poll. Previously, all Telegram polls were anonymous (and that option is, apparently, still available).

            • Police are about to deploy ‘privacy destroying’ facial recognition cameras across London

              Facial recognition cameras are set to be deployed across London for the first time, the Metropolitan Police has announced. The Police say the technology will help fight crime – but critics warn that the ‘privacy destroying’ scheme amounts to oppressive surveillance. What is your opinion on this decision?

              The roll out of the live facial recognition technology is expected to begin within a month and is designed to help the police tackle serious crime by locating and arresting wanted suspects – but privacy groups have already criticised the decision.

              The technology will be deployed in what’s described as ‘intelligence-led’ specific locations around London and will be used to scan the faces of people passing through the area, with the aim of identifying wanted individuals.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Gun Control Advocates Slam Trump’s “Reckless” Decision to Loosen Firearm Exports Regulations

        “Once again, the Trump administration chose gun industry profits over public safety.”

      • ‘This Is Already a Hot War the US Is Prosecuting Against Iran’
      • Today’s US-Iran Crisis Is Rooted in the Decision to Invade Iraq

        It fits a longstanding pattern in U.S. foreign policy of engaging in illegal and unnecessary foreign military interventions that create a series of crises that are then utilized to justify further foreign military intervention. 

      • Ten Best Messages for Waging Peace

        The rapid response to US war moves against Iran has been an exciting start toward rebuilding the anti-war movement we so desperately need. Thousands took to the streets in more than 80 cities. It’s a great beginning. But, if we want a movement of millions we are going to have to reach everyday people outside of the existing movement, outside of partisan politics and outside of strictly moral appeals.

      • AP Explains: Why US Troop Cuts in Africa Would Cause Alarm

        Islamic extremists are already exploiting possible U.S. military cuts in Africa that have caused a rare bipartisan outcry in Washington, with lawmakers stressing the need to counter China and Russia and contain a growing threat from Islamic State group affiliates.

        Here’s a look at the issue that has caused alarm among some U.S. security allies, while the U.S. probes the deadliest attack against its military in Africa since 2017.

      • Army begins movement for Defender-Europe 20 exercise

        Approximately 37,000 U.S., allied and partner-nation service members are expected to participate, with roughly 20,000 soldiers and 20,000 pieces of equipment deploying from the United States.

      • The UN Warns Against the Global Threat to Election Integrity

        In a report released Wednesday, the Kofi Annan Commission on Elections and Democracy in the Digital Age found the rise of social media has caused irrevocable harm to global electoral integrity and democratic institutions—and the effects may get even worse.

        The report, based on a year of global research and consultations with academics, policy makers, and representatives from the tech industry, calls for governments to form an international coalition—similar to those in place to tackle issues such as human trafficking or climate change—dedicated to addressing foreign meddling in elections and social media influence campaigns. It also urges governments to build an election vulnerability index to help determine which elections are ripe for interference or particularly susceptible to misinformation.

      • UN calls for immediate investigation into Saudi role in Jeff Bezos hack

        “This reported surveillance of Mr. Bezos, allegedly through software developed and marketed by a private company,” the statement continues, “is, if true, a concrete example of the harms that result from the unconstrained marketing, sale and use of spyware.”

        The report also mentions two former Twitter employees who were charged with spying on behalf of the Saudi government, which investigators take as evidence of a broader campaign by the country.

      • UN links alleged Saudi hacking to effort to silence Washington Post

        The United Nations on Wednesday drew a line between the hacking of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s phone and coverage of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the killing of a Washington Post journalist, calling for a further investigation.

        Two United Nations human rights experts said a deeper probe was needed to look into allegations that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince was behind the alleged hack on Bezos, who owns The Washington Post.

      • Bezos Hack Began With Saudi Goodwill Tour, Intimate Dinner

        Nearly four weeks later, on May 1, Bezos received a WhatsApp message from the crown prince’s account, which arrived “unexpectedly and without explanation, meaning it was not discussed by the parties in advance of being sent,” according to a November 2019 report by FTI Consulting Inc., a business advisory firm, which was published by Vice.

        The message included a 4.22 MB video. Within hours of receiving it, “a massive and unauthorized exfiltration of data from Bezos’s phone began,” according to the report.

      • Amazon Asks Court to Pause Microsoft Work on $10 Billion Pentagon Cloud Deal

        Amazon filed a lawsuit in November in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims alleging that the U.S. Defense Department failed to fairly judge its bid for the so-called Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, contract because President Donald Trump viewed Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos as his “political enemy.”

      • Operation Encore and the Saudi Connection: A Secret History of the 9/11 Investigation

        On the morning of Sept. 11 last year, about two dozen family members of those killed in the terror attacks filed into the White House to visit with President Donald Trump. It was a choreographed, somewhat stiff encounter, in which each family walked to the center of the Blue Room to share a moment of conversation with Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, before having a photograph taken with the first couple. Still, it was an opportunity the visitors were determined not to squander.

        One after another, the families asked Trump to release documents from the FBI’s investigation into the 9/11 plot, documents that the Justice Department has long fought to keep secret. After so many years they needed closure, they said. They needed to know the truth. Some of the relatives reminded Trump that Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama blocked them from seeing the files, as did some of the FBI bureaucrats the president so reviled. The visitors didn’t mention that they hoped to use the documents in a current federal lawsuit that accuses the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — an American ally that has only grown closer under Trump — of complicity in the attacks.

      • Regime Critic Says Saudis Tried to Kidnap Him on U.S. Soil

        A suspected agent of the Saudi government attempted to kidnap a regime critic on American soil, according to the critic and multiple U.S. and foreign sources familiar with the episode. The young Saudi man says the FBI saved him from becoming the next Jamal Khashoggi.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Investigating a Backdoor.SH.SHELLBOT.AA Infection

        Surprisingly, it’s not obfuscated beyond the initial packing. I’ve made it available here, albeit with anything that could identify the botmaster redacted.3 I believe the language here is Portuguese. The code disguises itself by setting argv to “rsync” and forking into the background. It then connects to an IRC C&C server and waits for commands.

    • Environment

      • Text and video of Greta Thunberg at World Economic Forum

        One year ago I came to Davos and told you that our house is on fire. I said I wanted you to panic. I’ve been warned that telling people to panic about the climate crisis is a very dangerous thing to do. But don’t worry. It’s fine. Trust me, I’ve done this before and I can assure you it doesn’t lead to anything.

        And, for the record, when we children tell you to panic we’re not telling you to go on like before. We’re not telling you to rely on technologies that don’t even exist today at scale and that science says perhaps never will.

        We are not telling you to keep talking about reaching “net zero emissions” or “carbon neutrality” by cheating and fiddling around with numbers. We are not telling you to “offset your emissions” by just paying someone else to plant trees in places like Africa while at the same time forests like the Amazon are being slaughtered at an infinitely higher rate.

        Planting trees is good, of course, but it’s nowhere near enough of what is needed and it cannot replace real mitigation and rewilding nature.

        Let’s be clear. We don’t need a “low carbon economy.” We don’t need to “lower emissions.” Our emissions have to stop if we are to have a chance to stay below the 1.5-degree target. And, until we have the technologies that at scale can put our emissions to minus, then we must forget about net zero. We need real zero.

        Because distant net zero emission targets will mean absolutely nothing if we just continue to ignore the carbon dioxide budget — that applies for today, not distant future dates. If high emissions continue like now even for a few years, that remaining budget will soon be completely used up.

      • Paris climate goals may be beyond reach

        Scientists find carbon dioxide is more potent than thought, meaning the Paris climate goals on cutting greenhouse gases may be unattainable.

      • Energy

        • This Problem With Fracked Oil and Gas Wells Is Occurring ‘at an Alarming Rate’

          The cause of this massive leak was a failure of the gas well’s casing, or internal lining. Well casing failures represent yet another significant but not widely discussed technical problem for an unprofitable fracking industry. 

        • Big Oil has a do-or-die decade ahead because of climate change

          That sounds unthinkable. For now, oil executives show no appetite for such a radical change of direction. If anything, they are working their oil-and-gas assets harder, to skim the profits and hand them to shareholders while they still can. Oil, they say, generates double-digit returns on capital employed. Clean energy, mere single digits.

          They may be overstating the case. First, as the Boston Consulting Group points out, no big industry performed worse for shareholders in the second half of the 2010s than oil and gas. Second, the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES), a think-tank, says climate-concerned investors are already pushing up oil companies’ cost of capital for long-term projects, crimping returns. Third, with their vast balance-sheets, and skill in building and managing complex endeavours over decades, they could dramatically scale up offshore wind and similar businesses, bolstering profitability.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Maldives: Protect Mangroves From Further Loss

          The Maldives government should preserve a mangrove forest that helps protect local residents against increased risks from flooding and coastal erosion, Human Rights Watch said today. A large portion of the mangrove forest on the northern island of Kulhudhuffushi was previously destroyed to build an airport, and authorities are now considering plans to reclaim the remaining area for development after the island was upgraded to city status.

          “The Maldives government will be putting more islanders at risk of their lives and livelihoods from flooding if they destroy more mangroves,” said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director. “The Maldives are already at serious risk from the effects of climate change, and the authorities should be taking urgent steps to protect island communities facing further harm.” 

        • Maps Are Biased Against Animals

          Brief observation of animals in their natural habitat shows that architecture is not a trade exclusive to humans. Weaver birds in southern Africa construct nests large enough to house 400 individuals, and design them to survive for over 100 years. Alberta, Canada, is home to a beaver dam that stretches more than 2,500 feet across, twice the length of the Hoover Dam. Generations of deer, bears, wolves, and other creatures have created their own versions of freeways to procure food, visit friends and relatives, and find their ways home. Despite animals’ impressive and undeniable impact on the natural landscape, the vast majority of world maps contain almost no historical record of their existence. Humans behave as if we are a self-reliant species, rather than one of many lifeforms, all of whom rely on the same fragile ecosystem to survive.

        • These sharks can

          In a paper, published Monday in Marine & Freshwater Research, scientists said the four new walking shark species are the most recently evolved species of shark known, and developed after splitting from their nearest common ancestor about 9 million years ago.

    • Finance

      • The Myth of the Free Market

        Midway through President Barack Obama’s first term, as numbing news of multibillion dollar boondoggles, scandals and swindles dominated the  headlines, the times were ripe for a critical re-examination of the basic principles underlying capitalism.  Republicans and libertarians routinely attribute the economic and technological achievements of the United States and the Western Europe to the workings of the “free market”.   Do the facts or logic support that claim?  The result was a piece I published in the fall of 2011 entitled “The Myth of the Free Market”.*  At the time I did not imagine that Donald Trump, a man whose success in business and politics is based on a myth, would be our next president.

      • Oxfam Report Contains Dire Warning for Global Capitalism

        “Extreme wealth is a sign of a failing economic system.”

      • The Myth of China’s Population Crisis

        I ridiculed the NYT and Washington Post last week for telling us that China, the world’s most populous country, is in danger of running out of people. Using a tool that seems relatively scarce in Washington policy discussions, arithmetic, I showed that China’s gains in productivity will dwarf the effects of a falling ratio of workers to retirees. To put it simply, with each worker being far more productive, China will be able to enjoy a society in which both workers and retirees enjoy much higher living standards 20 years out than they do today.

      • 4 Ways The Internet Is Built Entirely On Lies

        It works because human activity, even the regimented sweatshop variety, is harder to spot than bots. An account’s growth occurs over days, and the hundreds of thousands of SIM cards these farms churn through make each phone involved look like it belongs to a real person. Also, sometimes you just want your dystopian cyberpunk workplace to have a human touch, you know? There are still signs, of course — like the generic inanity of the comments made by click farm accounts — but nothing so obvious that catching and banning them can be turned into an automated process. Besides, what’s a platform’s motivation to crack down on a part of their economy?

      • Who’s Afraid of the IRS? Not Facebook.

        In March 2008, as Facebook was speeding toward 100 million users and emerging as the next big tech company, it announced an important hire. Sheryl Sandberg was leaving Google to become Facebook’s chief operating officer. CEO Mark Zuckerberg, then 23 years old, told The New York Times that Sandberg would take the young company “to the next level.”

        Based on her time at Google, Sandberg soon decided that one area where Facebook was behind its peers was in its tax dodging. “My experience is that by not having a European center and running everything through the US, it is very costly in terms of taxes,” she wrote other executives in an April 2008 email, which hasn’t been previously reported. Facebook’s head of tax agreed, replying that the company needed to find “a low taxed jurisdiction to park profits.”

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Fight for Our Democracy Is Far From Over

        Ten years ago, in January 2010, the Supreme Court released its disastrous Citizens United decision. The court, either through remarkable naivety or sheer malevolence, essentially married the terrible idea that “money is speech” to the terrible idea that “corporations are people.”

      • South Carolina Democrat Who Endorsed Biden Said She’s Switching to Sanders Because He Fights ‘For the Least, the Fallen, the Left Behind’

        In a tweet thanking Dalhi Myers for her endorsement, Sanders wrote, “Together, we will defeat the most dangerous president in modern history.”

      • Impeachment Cheat
      • Who are Russia’s new cabinet members? Part two: the ministers

        On January 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the new executive cabinet proposed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. The appointments were part of a major shakeup in the country’s government that will help determine Putin’s future and the future of Russia’s constitutional system. In this two-part series, Meduza profiles each of the country’s new cabinet members in brief.

      • Netanyahu to Join Trump Next Week to Announce ‘Deal of the Century’ Peace Plan Giving Israel ‘Everything it Wants’

        “A lethal diversionary tactic at the expense of Palestinian rights and international law.”

      • The Catalan Crisis Threatens to Reopen a Debate That the EU’s Power Brokers Thought They Had Long Ago Quashed

        Though it is largely forgotten today, there was during the late 80s and early 90s a vigorous debate in numerous sectors of European life about whether the EU would be best structured as a Union of Regions or as a Union of States.

      • Do Republicans Have More to Lose Than Democrats in the Impeachment Trial?

        Now that President Donald Trump’s Senate Trial has begun there are some critical points to keep in mind in evaluating both the process and the likely outcome. All analysis, up to now, is based on the very low probability that 14 Republicans would break party ranks to convict Trump on the two articles of impeachment (Abuse of Power & Obstruction of Congress).

      • Steal This Whistle

        Fifty years ago, from a cell in Chicago, Abbie Hoffman wrote in his introduction that “Steal This Book is, in a way, a manual of survival in the prison that is Amerika.” Infused with his infectious levity and intelligence, the book seemed to follow up on his 60s walk-the-talk credo: “Democracy is not something you believe in or a place to hang your hat, but it’s something you do. You participate. If you stop doing it, democracy crumbles.”

      • Here’s a recent interview I did with PBS’s “Frontline” on what’s at stake this election year

        Here’s a recent interview I did with PBS’s “Frontline” on what’s at stake this election year, and how we got to this terrifying point in American history. Hope you find it helpful.

      • Ignoring Security Experts, Washington State Eyes Voting by Smartphone

        Seattle and other Washington state residents will soon be allowed to vote in an upcoming election via smartphone—even if security experts continue to say that’s an idiotic idea.

        The King County Conservation District (KCD), a public land management agency governing 30 cities including Seattle, will soon be electing a new board supervisor position. The election itself is relatively obscure; but it’s a landmark event given it’s the first time Americans will be allowed to vote via smartphone in a public election at any real scale.

        The project, announced Wednesday by the KCD, lets an estimated 1.2 million Washington state residents vote for the new board supervisor via smartphone, mail in ballot, dropbox, or in person. The agency says it’s working with voting tech firm Democracy Live and advocacy organization Tusk Philanthropies to eliminate barriers to voting.

      • Trump Brags About Concealing Impeachment Evidence: ‘We Have All the Material, They Don’t’

        The Trump administration has exerted executive privilege while ignoring subpoenas for documents and have directed individuals not to respond to subpoena requests since the beginning of the impeachment process. For comparison, the Clinton administration turned over more than 90,000 pages of documents and material during its impeachment.

        Usually, the Trump administration either refuses to explain their stonewalling or excuses their lack of cooperation away by bashing the investigation, calling it illegitimate or a witch hunt. But here, rather astonishingly, Trump seems to be flatly admitting to withholding evidence.

      • Tulsi Gabbard sues Hillary Clinton for ‘Russian asset’ comments

        “Clinton got exactly what she wanted by lying about Tulsi – she harmed her political and personal rival’s reputation and ongoing presidential campaign, and started a damaging whisper campaign based on baseless, but vicious, untruths,” said the lawsuit, filed in federal court in New York on Wednesday.

      • Chinese Ambassador Attempts To Bully Sweden Into Ignoring Human Rights Abuses

        As soon as he arrived at Stockholm, Ambassador Gui frequently sent emails and letters to Swedish media, including newspapers Svenska Dagbladet and Expressen, and Swedish state broadcasters Sveriges Radio and SVT. Through these communications, Ambassador Gui attacked the Swedish media for its persistent coverage on the bookseller and other Chinese human rights issues as “grossly meddling” with China’s internal affairs, and has threatened not to issue visas to China for journalists from these media outlets. In addition, it was reported that between January 2018 and May 2019, the Chinese Embassy under Ambassador Gui’s leadership issued 57 statements heavily criticizing local press coverage of China, and accused Sweden of escalating the tension between the two nations.

      • The Biggest Political Party in America You’ve Never Heard Of

        This is why it’s so important for you to vote – and urge everyone you know to vote, too.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Germany Wants To Limit Memes And Mashups Derived From Press Publishers’ Material To 128-by-128 Pixels In Resolution, And Three Seconds In Length

        Last month, Mike wrote about France’s awful proposals for implementing the EU Copyright Directive’s upload filter (originally known as Article 13, but Article 17 in the final version). Just as France was the most vocal proponent of this dangerous development, so Germany was the main driving force behind the ancillary copyright requirement, also known as the snippet or link tax. And like France, Germany has managed to make its proposed national implementation (original in German) of what was Article 11, now Article 15, even worse than the general framework handed down by the EU. The former Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda has a Twitter thread (in German) that picks out the main bad ideas. Under the German proposals, in general only “single words or very short extracts” of a press article can be quoted without a license. Specifically, free quotation is limited to:

      • University of Minnesota student jailed in China over tweets

        According to an official court document dated Nov. 5, 2019, Chinese police detained 20-year-old Luo Daiqing in July 2019 in Wuhan, his hometown, where the liberal arts major had returned after the end of the spring semester.

        The court document says that “in September and October 2018, while he was studying at the University of Minnesota,” Luo “used his Twitter account to post more than 40 comments denigrating a national leader’s image and indecent pictures,” which “created a negative social impact.”

        After months of detention, Luo was sentenced in November 2019 to six months in prison for “provocation.” (According to the court judgment, the time he spent in detention will count towards those six months).

        A request for comment sent to Luo’s university email account received no reply.

      • HB 1627 Threats and harassment of certain officials and property; venue.

        If any person, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass any person, shall use a computer or computer network to communicate obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, or make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature, or threaten any illegal or immoral act, he is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. A violation of this section may be prosecuted in the jurisdiction in which the communication was made or received or in the City of Richmond if the person subjected to the act is one of the following officials or employees of the Commonwealth: the Governor, Governor-elect, Lieutenant Governor, Lieutenant Governor-elect, Attorney General, or Attorney General-elect, a member or employee of the General Assembly, a justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, or a judge of the Court of Appeals of Virginia.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Dissenter Weekly: Sham Charge Against Glenn Greenwald—Plus, US Prosecutors Argue First Amendment Doesn’t Apply To Assange

        On this edition of the “Dissenter Weekly Update,” host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola highlights the sham criminal case against journalist and Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald in Brazil.

        Greenwald was charged with a cyber crime by the right-wing government of Jair Bolsonaro. It was retaliation for the investigative journalism he spearheaded in 2019 that exposed rampant corruption among Bolsonaro officials, and the criminal complaint bears multiple similarities to the case brought against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, as Mathew Ingram pointed out for the Columbia Journalism Review. 

      • Julian Assange may not be able to use First Amendment press protection if extradited

        Julian Assange faces the prospect of being denied press protections under US law if he goes to trial there, WikiLeaks says, citing evidence submitted for his London extradition case.

        The 48-year-old WikiLeaks founder is set to face trial in the UK next month to determine whether he should be extradited to the US, where he has been charged with 17 counts of spying and one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

        The charges related to allegations Assange tried to help former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning protect her digital identity as she accessed classified Pentagon files on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

      • Why Glenn Greenwald’s Prosecution Is an Outrage

        Greenwald has recently been reporting on prosecutorial misconduct in Brazil, exposing the political motives at the heart of the prosecution of Brazil’s popular former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. His stories ultimately led to the ex-politician’s release from prison.

      • Sweden summons Chinese ambassador over criticism of country and media

        SVT also reported that Chinese embassy officials have repeatedly contacted Sweden’s main media outlets to criticise their coverage of China and to try to influence their reporting.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • White House Broadcasts Blatantly Homophobic Sermon Attended by Mike Pence

        The White House streamed a homophobic church service attended by Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday, during which a preacher claimed that a “demonic spirit” is behind homosexuality.

      • FBI, King and the Tremors of History

        The FBI—the agency that saw King and the civil rights movement as a communist plot—subjected him to merciless surveillance and may have tried to get him to commit suicide.

      • China: Free Rights Defenders for Lunar New Year
      • Moscow police report 155 non-permitted protests in 2019, an average of three per week

        The Internal Affairs Ministry branch for the city of Moscow has reported that 155 protests took place in the capital without a government permit in the course of 2019. The police agency also noted that more than 3,000 people were arrested during those protests.

      • Architect of CIA torture program testifies it bordered on unlawful

        The CIA paid Mitchell and his partner Bruce Jessen more than $80 million to develop the torture program for suspected terrorists that included waterboarding, stress positions and mock burials, among other techniques.

      • Nearly 5 Times As Many Police Officers Killed Themselves Than Were Shot In 2019

        In 2019, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, 47 police officers were shot, 7 killed in a vehicular assault, and three died from assault. Another 77 cops died as a result of car crashes, heart attacks, and illnesses. Absent from the database of fallen officers, however, are the 228 cops who ended their own watch. This number is a giant leap from the year before and the fourth consecutive year that it’s risen.

      • Troll armies, ‘deepfake’ porn videos and violent threats. How Twitter became so toxic for India’s women politicians

        The politician and activist, a powerful voice for women’s rights in India, says she receives near “nonstop” harassment — anywhere from 50 to 100 abusive messages a day on Twitter — for being an outspoken critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

        [...]

        “There is an organized army of far-right trolls on Indian social media, which belong to the ruling party, they are basically trained to target you for anything,” she adds.

      • Charity Calls on UK to Prosecute British Companies that Violate Human Rights in Liberia

        The United Kingdom should create a law that will compel British companies to respect human rights and environmental sustainability in countries they operate or be made to account for not doing so, a recent report by the charity Traidcraft Exchange is urging the government of that country.

        Released earlier this month, Traidcraft Exchange’s “Our Land: Land Grabbing in Liberia and the Case for a New UK Law” report focuses on Equatorial Palm Oil, which is listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange. The report found EPO violated local townspeople’s right to their land and are pushing them further into poverty and have not been made to account for it.

        “If the UK’s commitments to defend human rights are to mean anything, companies must be held accountable for their role in commissioning and benefitting from human rights violations,” the report said. “If UK companies are acting with impunity overseas, they should be tried in UK courts for their human rights violations,” it added. “This already happens for other types of ‘cross-border’ crime such as bribery or tax evasion. A law clarifying the responsibility of a company to respect human rights in its international operations would make it much easier to bring cases to the UK courts.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Traditional TV Enters Its Final Death Spiral

        For the better part of the decade, even Wall Street stock jocks have acknowledged that the current pay TV ecosystem simply isn’t sustainable. Broadcasters continue to demand higher and higher rates for the same programming, driving up costs for consumers. Those consumers are then fleeing to the exits in record numbers; either migrating to new streaming video alternatives or over the air antennas. Many executives’ response to the problem? Mindlessly double down on most of the behaviors that brought them here, namely, mindless consolidation and price hikes.

      • EFF Activists To Demonstrate Against Sell Out of .ORG to Private Equity at Los Angeles Protest

        Los Angeles—Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) activists will join advocates for other public interest nonprofits to protest a plan to sell out the Internet .ORG domain registry at a demonstration tomorrow outside ICANN’s board of directors meeting in Los Angeles.EFF, nonprofit advocacy group NTEN, digital rights groups Fight for the Future and Demand Progress, and other nonprofits will participate in a rally to call on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, to halt a transaction under which Ethos Capital, a private equity firm run by domain name industry insiders, will pay $1.135 billion to take over the lucrative .ORG registry, which collects fees for the use of the .org domain. ICANN has the power to stop the purchase. Organizations working in the public interest around the world in the arts, religion, culture, the environment, race, and poverty, will be affected by the sale.“ICANN and its board are mostly invisible to the public and nonprofit world, but their power and influence over the health and well-being of public interest groups that serve the needs of hundreds of millions of people around the world cannot be overstated,” said EFF Special Advisor Cory Doctorow, who will speak at the rally. “The ICANN board needs to know that their actions are under scrutiny. They are out of touch with the people who both run and rely on .orgs around the world.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • HP Remotely Kills Perfectly Good Ink Cartridge With DRM

        Ryan Sullivan was trying to print out a tweet about peeing on toilet seats when his HP printer told him it wouldn’t happen. Sullivan’s printer had plenty of ink, but HP had remotely disabled his printer because he’d cancelled a service called Instant Ink—a monthly service charge HP levies for the pleasure of using ink cartridges in certain printers. Sullivan had a printer full of ink, but no way to print until he reactivated his subscription through HP.

      • Spectrum discontinues home security service, leaving customers with bricked equipment

        Spectrum is discontinuing its home security service on February 5th, leaving customers out hundreds of dollars for cameras and other equipment they may not be able to reuse or return.

        The company is offering existing security service customers discounts on similar services from Ring and Abode, but apparently is not planning to make its own equipment compatible with other systems or give rebates for equipment purchased.

        “A number of suppliers that provide the equipment and network service necessary for your system to function will be shutting down their networks or ceasing operations,” reads a notice on Spectrum Home Security subscribers’ portal. “We are dedicated to making this as smooth a transition as possible and have partnered with two leading home security companies, Abode and Ring, to provide exclusive offers for alternate professionally monitored services.”

      • You Don’t Own What You’ve Bought: Under Armour Smart Hardware Gets Lobotomized

        Time and time again we’ve highlighted how in the modern era, you don’t really own the hardware you buy. In the broadband-connected era, firmware updates can often eliminate functionality promised to you at launch, as we saw with the Sony Playstation 3. And with everything now relying on internet-connectivity, companies can often give up on supporting devices entirely, often leaving users with very expensive paperweights as we saw after Google acquired Revolv, then bricked users’ $300 smart home hub.

      • 2×63: Give You The Key

        There seem to have recently been various examples of companies selling a thing and then exerting control over it after they’ve sold it. Sonos speakers have “recycle mode”, HP printer cartridges in their “Instant Ink” programme stop working if you unsubscribe, and farmers buy 30-year-old tractors rather than new ones because they’re still fixable in the field. But are these actually examples of a trend for the worse, or is this not actually the problem that it’s being painted as? Is this just how capitalism works, and is this how we want it to work? We’ll dive into this, from a few different perspectives, and see where we end up…

    • Monopolies

      • TripAdvisor Cuts Hundreds of Jobs After Google Competition Bites

        The online travel information provider is eliminating about 200 workers, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private decisions. The company had just over 3,800 staff at the end of September, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A TripAdvisor spokesman declined to comment, but pointed to a recent earnings conference call in which the company said it was “prudently reducing and re-allocating expenses in certain parts of our business to preserve strong profitability.”

      • Patents

        • Grassley signs USMCA, sending it to Trump’s desk

          Grassley, flanked by GOP senators from major agricultural states, praised Trump for his most significant trade achievement, which fulfills his campaign promise of updating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

        • Can you patent a disease?

          While patent law differs somewhat from country to country, in the area of microorganisms most nations agree on general principles, says Schwartz.

          You can’t patent something that is naturally occurring, he says, but if an organism is modified in some way, it is patentable.

        • Neurim under fire again? – The Advocate General’s opinion in the Santen referral (C-673/18)

          Today, Advocate General (AG) Mr. Giovanni Pitruzzella handed down his opinion in the referral C-673/18 (Santen). The case concerns an SPC based on a second medical use/formulation patent and stems from a referral to the CJEU made by the Paris Court of Appeal with decision of 9 October 2018 in Santen v. INPI (see here for an English translation of the referral decision), which was previously reported on this blog.

          As a refresher, in the landmark decision Neurim (C-130/11) of 19 July 2012 the CJEU ruled that SPCs may also be granted for a “different application” of a previously approved drug, provided that the application is within the limits of the protection conferred by the basic patent relied upon for the purposes of the SPC application.

          The Neurim decision is highly controversial, as it is in conflict with the literal wording of the provisions of the SPC Regulation, as well as the previous standing case law, as evidenced by Pharmacia (C-31/03), Yissum (C-202/05) and MIT (C-431/04).

          The concept of a “different application” within the meaning of Neurim has thus given rise to considerable uncertainty and further referrals. Already in the Abraxis (C-443/17) case, AG Mr. Henrik Saugmandsgaard Øe had pointed out that the SPC Regulation is de facto incompatible with the position adopted by the CJEU in Neurim, and had advised the court to depart from this standpoint altogether, or at most restrict it to situations where the first approval is for a veterinary product, and the subsequent approval, forming basis of the SPC application, is for a medicinal product for human use.

          As discussed previously on this blog, the CJEU in Abraxis (C-443/17) has chosen not to address the conflict in the case law highlighted by the Advocate General. Nevertheless, the CJEU in Abraxis endorsed a narrow interpretation of Neurim, ruling that a new formulation of an old drug may not form basis of an SPC, thereby addressing one of the central questions raised by the Paris Court of Appeal in Santen.

        • Patent case: Judgment no. 1289/19 of Valencia Court of Appeals, dated 15 October 2019, Spain

          A dispute over a mechanical patent in the children’s toy business allows us to get a peek at the courts in Valencia, one of the latest additions to the roster of Spanish courts that have jurisdictions in patent matters, and teaches a lesson on the importance of formalities and translations in Spanish civil litigation.

        • The Swedish Patent and Market Court issues its first dynamic blocking injunction

          Dynamic blocking injunctions (or super injunctions, or live injunctions, or fast injunctions – a rose by any other name) are pragmatic tools to handle large scale repeat online copyright infringement, and not only in the area of sports, where these injunctions were initially applied. Still, as of yet, there is not consensus if and how to apply them across the EU.

          Questions such as the scope and timing of the injunction, as well as the larger and nebulous issue of how the rightsholders and the DSPs should work together to enforce the injunction, including cost allocation, have been variously handled in different jurisdictions. Despite these uncertainties, the EU Commission considers dynamic blocking injunctions to have the capacity to be “effective means to prevent the continuation of an IPR infringement.”

          [...]

          A traditional interim blocking injunction had been issued by the first instance court earlier in the year. Thereafter, in what has arguably become something of a trend in Swedish copyright litigation, the second instance Patent and Market Court of Appeal proceeded to take a strict view of the burden of proof and applicable evidentiary standards and struck down the injunction as not being proportional (on the basis of what this writer believes arguably amounted to an overly strict reading of the evidence), sending the claimants back to the first instance court with only a black eye and liability for the DSP’s litigation costs.

          Back at the first instance court, the claimants managed to right the ship and the DSP’s actions were found to constitute contributory copyright infringement. But the real bombshell was the court’s decision to issue a dynamic blocking injunction against the DSP. The injunction orders the DSP to block its customers’ access to the illegal file sharing services, not only on the current domain names and web addresses (subject to a separate traditional blocking injunction that had gone into immediate effect) but, for a period of three years, on domain names and websites whose sole purpose is to provide access to said illegal file sharing services.

          The language of the injunction itself does not specify the mechanism through which the DSP will be made aware of additional IP addresses and URLs to block, or the level of knowledge that will trigger additional blocking actions from the DSP. These points are discussed briefly in the decision and it is evident that the Patent and Market Court envisions a pragmatic system in which the claimants will inform the DSP of new instances where the infringing services are made available and the DSP acts expeditiously to block them, which the court described as within two to three weeks.

        • News from Abroad: Israel PTO Proposes to Stop Rejecting Divisional Applications for “Overlap” with Parent Cases [Ed: This is a rant; Patent maximalists love many of the same. Inflation and fake quantities.]

          Many patent practitioners will never have need to file a patent application in Israel, a country of nine million people that’s geographically smaller than New Jersey. But if you’re one of those practitioners who does file in Israel from time to time — and I suspect that readers of Patent Docs file in Israel at a higher rate than the general practitioner population — you’ll be pleased to know that the Israel PTO (ILPTO) recently proposed a change in patent examination practice that portends relief for beleaguered applicants: the ILPTO plans to tighten the criteria for rejecting claims of an applicant’s application for “overlap” with the claims of another of the applicant’s applications (or granted patents). The upshot will be that the ILPTO will no longer make such rejections in the case of divisional applications on the basis of the claims of an ancestor application.

          By way of background, section 2 of the Israel patent statute says that an applicant may obtain a patent for his invention. Like 35 U.S.C. § 101, Israel section 2 has been interpreted to mean you can get one patent per invention. So you can’t get two claims of the same scope in two different patents.

          [...]

          Although it has been proposed that the ILPTO adopt a terminal disclaimer practice like that in the U.S., until now the only way for an applicant to overcome an “overlap” rejection has been to either remove the offending matter from the claims of one of the applications (either by deleting one or more positive recitations from the offending claim(s), or introducing one or more provisos), or to show that the offending claims constitute a non-obvious selection over the earlier claims. (The latter option shows the paucity of the logical underpinnings of the ILPTO’s position: if the statute requires that there be no overlap between the scope of the claims in an applicant’s different applications, a showing of non-obviousness doesn’t obviate the double-patenting problem.)

          The ILPTO’s approach to “overlap” has been vexing for pharma and biotech applicants in Israel. For example, if an examiner is willing to allow claims of a narrower scope than the applicant believes it is entitled, in the U.S. the applicant will take the allowance of the narrower claims now, and fight for the broader claims in a continuation, knowing that it may be necessary to file terminal disclaimer to get around the claims of the parent case. But in Israel, taking the narrower claims in the parent case might presage an “overlap” rejection, which at best would necessitate figuring out a way to eliminate that “overlap,” a task that sometimes requires a significant investment of time, and in some cases might not be easily or satisfactorily accomplished.

        • Software Patents

          • Judge Kills $10M Patent Verdict Against Nintendo Under Alice

            Law360 (January 21, 2020, 10:06 PM EST) — A Texas federal judge has overturned a $10.1 million patent verdict against Nintendo over motion-sensing technology, finding Friday that the patent at issue is invalid because it claimed only an abstract idea without adding anything new.

            U.S. District Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn granted Nintendo of America Inc.’s 2017 motion for judgment as a matter of law following a trial that year in which a jury awarded $10.1 million to iLife Technologies Inc. after finding that the motion-detection functions of the Wii gaming system infringed an iLife patent.

          • Does an appeal deserve an opinion?

            In this case, the PTO refused to grant Charles Fote’s patent covering a Broker-Mediated Payment System after concluding that the claims lacked eligibility. On appeal, Fote argued otherwise — especially considering the PTO’s new (limited) approach to eligibility examination. The Federal Circuit though refused to bite and simply affirmed the PTO determination without issuing any opinion under its internal R. 36.

      • Trademarks

        • In ‘N Out Burger Continues Its Bullshit Pop-Up Technique To Keep Trademarks It Isn’t Actually Using

          Roughly a year back, we discussed famed American burger chain In ‘N Out Burger cynical process for keeping trademarks it owns in certain countries in place, despite the chain having no actual presence in the country. You might be wondering how a company with no storefronts or delivery business in a given country could possibly hold valid trademark rights to its brand, given trademark law’s requirement that companies actually use their trademarks in commerce to keep them. The answer to that is that In ‘N Out flies staff out to several countries once every couple of years and launches a pop-up store, slinging burgers for a short period of time before packing everything up and heading home. The chain claims that this is done to raise its profile in other countries for an eventual permanent launch. Except that those launches never actually happen.

        • When does a Logo Undermine a Design Patent Case?

          I have written a few posts about the design patent infringement case Columbia Sportswear North America, Inc. v. Seirus Innovative Accessories, Inc. In November, the Federal Circuit vacated the lower court’s summary judgment of infringement — holding that logo placement in this case might allow the defendant to avoid an infringement judgment. This holding is in tension with the court’s 1993 decision in L.A. Gear, Inc. v. Thom McAn Shoe Co., 988 F.2d 1117 (1993).

        • Chief Judge Rogers: ‘the USPTO never became stale to me’

          Gerard Rogers tells Managing IP why he was drawn to trademark law, what frustrates him in TTAB proceedings and how the board navigates the subjectivity of trademarks

      • Copyrights

        • The United Kingdom will not transpose the DSM Directive

          The IPKat has just learned that, currently, UK Government has no plans to transpose the recently adopted Digital Single Market Directive 2019/790 [Katposts here] into its own legal system.

        • A Juice WRLD Album Is In the Works, Release Date Still TBD

          Juice WRLD’s unreleased tracks and projects will be published posthumously.

        • Mystery as PortalRoms Disappears Leaving 4 Million Gaming Visitors in the Dark

          PortalRoms, a popular index for ROM and emulators for a wide range of gaming systems, has disappeared without trace. Up until a few days ago the site was servicing more four million visitors per month with links to download content via torrents. However, after domain issues hit the site last October, history may now be repeating itself for the ten-year-old site.

        • Popcorn Time Domain Suspension Was Triggered by Falsified Court Document

          This week, one of the most used Popcorn Time forks had its domain name suspended. We later learned that the registrar took this decision based on a US court order. That’s nothing out of the ordinary if it wasn’t for the fact that the document was clearly falsified. The registrar eventually reversed its decision after questions were asked, but the trouble didn’t stop there.

        • Copyright As Censorship: Gun Rights Advocate Gets Video Taken Down With Bogus Copyright Claim

          I still laugh when I remember a copyright maximalist think tanker insisting that copyright could never be used for censorship, because “copyright holders are champions of the First Amendment” and “have no reason to censor anything.” Of course, for years, we’ve documented over and over and over again how copyright is regularly used as a tool for censorship. And now we’ve got another example. And however you feel about the 2nd amendment or gun advocacy, hopefully you can agree that it’s a problem for the 1st amendment when someone — no matter what their political viewpoints — abuses false copyright claims to take down videos they dislike.

        • Introducing the Linked Commons

          “By visualizing information, we turn it into a landscape that you can explore with your eyes.” David McCandless

        • The Public Domain Is the Rule, Copyright Is the Exception

          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.

          Remember the monkey selfie? Animal rights organizations and a photographer went to court to fight over who owned the copyright in a picture where the photographer set up the camera but the animal took the pic, and great fun was had by all. But as our friends at Public Knowledge noted, maybe no one “owned” the picture.

        • The Key To Fixing Copyright Is Ending Massive, Unpredictable Damages Awards

          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.

          What if a single parking ticket carried a fine of up to a year’s salary? What if there were no way to know consistently how much the fine would be before you got it? And what if any one of thousands of private citizens could decide to write you a ticket? What would happen? People would start avoiding public parking and stay home more often. Business would decline. The number of false or unfair tickets would rise. Everyone would lose confidence in the system—and in the law—as parking became a huge gamble.

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  23. Missing From EPO Management: Actual Scientists

    Political figures and opportunists with connections occupy top positions at top European agencies; this assures self-destructive policies that diminish progress and cushion corruption



  24. All Software Should Come With a Cheat Mode

    Cheat modes are useful for developers because they enable debugging, and are sometimes called "Debug mode"



  25. Linus Torvalds Checks If It's Still Inclusive Enough to 'Bash' Bad Technology (of the Company Whose TPM Pusher Has Just Successfully Pushed to Remove Many Words)

    In the age of endless control of language (e.g. large corporations pushing for "inclusive" language whilst earning billions from bombing of 'inferior' countries) we see that it is still possible to condemn corporations on technical grounds (at least if you’re Linus Torvalds)



  26. Even Before Microsoft Paid ('Joined') the Linux Foundation Jim Zemlin Had a Preference for Microsofters

    Even years before the Linux Foundation was receiving money from Microsoft it had a tendency to hire Microsoft’s people for key positions (a lot of people no longer remember that, but it’s still in the public record; it was Jim Zemlin who approached if not chased Mr. Ramji to offer him the job and the colleagues saw no problem with that)



  27. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, July 11, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, July 11, 2020



  28. Links 12/7/2020: KDE Plasma 5.20 Preview and Elive 3.8.14 Beta

    Links for the day



  29. [Humour] The 'Orange One' Does Not Respect Judges Either

    More than two years after taking over the European Patent Office (EPO) António Campinos has done absolutely nothing to restore judicial independence of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO



  30. The Systemd Song

    Speak out about IBM's strategy before we're all using GNU/Linux distros 'barcoded' with systemd


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